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September 10, 2019

More Indian troops to block Ashura marches

Top Story

September 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) curfew and restrictions imposed since August 5 have been further intensified to prevent Muharram processions across the territory as more troops were deployed in different parts of the held Valley.

According to reports the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining areas are completely sealed by the police and Central Reserve Police Force. However, people defied curfew and restrictions took out processions at many places including Abiguzar locality in Srinagar city center. More Indian troops were deployed in different parts of held Valley to stop Muharram processions. Entry and exit routes were closed and people ordered to remain indoors.

Meanwhile normal life remained severely affected in Kashmir on the 36th consecutive day today Monday with all markets are closed while transport is off the road.

While, authorities on Sunday tightened a month-long security lockdown in Srinagar after breaking up religious processions by Muslims who defied a ban. Police drove around the city from early Sunday, announcing through loudhailers that “residents are informed not to venture out of their homes. “Strict action under law would be taken against violators,” they added.

At least two small protests on Sunday morning by between eight to 10 mourners, who were quickly detained and taken away in police vehicles. Police were also seen hitting the mourners with bamboo sticks. Witnesses said they saw at least six more similar protests, with police also detaining the participants.

Locals said the processions have taken on a political aspect this year after India’s controversial autonomy decision.

One journalist said his camera lens was broken and another had visible marks on his body after he was allegedly hit with bamboo sticks by security personnel.

Sunday’s clampdown was one of the tightest since Aug. 5. While barricades had been manned by up to three paramilitary troopers, there were now up to 10. Tensions could further heighten on Tuesday, which is Ashura, the climactic 10th day of Muharram.

While the rituals are traditionally marked by Muslims in the Sunni-majority valley, who said they would take part in processions on Tuesday to show solidarity with their fellow Muslims.

Meanwhile, in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) thousands of Kashmiri youth have been rendered jobless with 1500 in the Information Technology (IT) industry alone as the communication blockade which entered the 36th straight day on Monday has hit the industrial sector in the territory. While, journalists faced vandalism, harassment and abuse at the hands of Indian forces personnel in Srinagar.

Officials say Kashmir-based subsidiaries of various IT companies suffered irreversible losses after their foreign clients switched to other companies outside the Valley to avail services. “Don’t put yourself in danger by coming to office for an update. We will reach out to you about the decision to move some employees to Delhi,” reads a notice of a reputed IT services company in Srinagar to its staff.

At Rengreth Industrial Park which comprises prominent IT companies and provides services to clients in the United States, United Kingdom, Middle East and South Africa nearly 1500 employees have been rendered jobless, said a senior official of an IT company. The companies like Aegis Lelafe STC and IQuasar which do business in crores of rupees have shifted a few IT professionals to New Delhi to minimise losses.

With an employee strength of 150 the Aegis opened with much fanfare during the NC-Congress government has asked its employees to quit.

Meanwhile, in occupied Kashmir journalists faced vandalism, harassment and abuse at the hands of Indian forces personnel in Srinagar. The police and paramilitary forces who had closed all roads with concertina wires did not allow them to visit the so-called media facilitation centre set up by the authorities in the Sonwar area of Srinagar just to hoodwink the international community.

Journalists and photojournalists said even curfew passes and media passes were not acknowledged by the forces personnel.

A female journalist Rifat Mohidin one of many who had to face the ire of the police on Sunday said, “I was stopped near the Jehangir Chowk flyover and was not allowed to move further by policemen. They abused me and my family. I told them I have a curfew pass but they did not budge. They even damaged my car with batons. I was in tears,” she said. She said, “The policemen warned her of dire consequences and also tried to seize her vehicle. I was sitting inside the vehicle the whole time and was in a state of shock,” she said.

Many journalists at the media facilitation centre complained of harassment by the police and paramilitary forces. “I had to keep my car two kilometres away from the media centre and had to cover the distance on foot,” a photojournalist said, adding that the restrictions were severe on Sunday.