Besieged people of IOK continue to suffer amid lockdown

Concern increases about Kashmiris lodged in Indian jails

Srinagar, December 27 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the besieged residents of the Kashmir Valley continue to suffer enormously due to unrelenting lockdown since 5th August this year while the severe cold has added to their miseries.

The Kashmir Valley remained under military siege on 145th consecutive day, today. An atmosphere of fear and uncertainty continues to prevail in the Valley as well as Muslim majority areas of Jammu and Ladakh regions due to heavy deployment of Indian troop to prevent demonstrations against India’s anti-Kashmir moves. Restrictions under Section 144 are in place and internet across all platforms, short messaging and prepaid mobile services remain totally snapped in the territory. Businesses remain largely shut, shops open but only for few hours in the morning and evening, offices witness thin attendance while little public transport is seen on the roads.

The intense cold and chilly weather has brought more problems for the people of the Valley who were already facing shortage of essential commodities including food and life-saving medicines due to India-imposed lockdown since 5th August. The minimum temperature across Kashmir and Ladakh remains several degrees below the freezing point. The occupied territory is currently under the grip of ”Chillai-Kalan” – the 40-day harshest period of winter.

On the other hand, the death of illegally detained leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, in a jail of Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh recently has caused worries among the family members of hundreds of other Kashmiri detainees lodged in different Indian jails. Parvez Imroz, founder and President of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, in an interview in Srinagar said that lodging Kashmiri prisoners outside occupied Kashmir violated Indian Supreme Court’s directions and also international law. Irfan Meraaj, a researcher at the JKCCS, said that he found most families of the detainees reeling under anxiety because there was virtually no communication with the detainees.

The Imam of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, Syed Ahmed Naqshbandi, addressing the Juma congregation at the historic mosque, today, said that people were reluctant to offer prayers at the worship place due to the atmosphere of fear created by the heavy deployment of Indian troops in the area. He demanded immediate release of all unlawfully detained Hurriyat leaders and activists including the Chairman of Hurriyat forum Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Heavy traffic jam was witnessed on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway at Nagrota toll plaza in Jammu, today, after drivers protested against the occupation authorities for not allowing them to ply their vehicles on the highway. The drivers said that they moved towards Kashmir only after a go ahead from traffic police but were not being allowed to proceed further.

At least 18 shops were gutted in an incident of mysterious blaze in Gandoh area of Doda district.

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