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September 22, 2019

48th day of military lockdown in IOK: Indian troops raid Kashmiris’ houses, subject inmates to torture

Top Story

September 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD/HELD SRINAGAR: The Indian troops barged into the residential houses, thrashed the inmates and vandalised the household goods in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The troops also damaged property worth millions of rupees, Kashmir Media Service reported. On the other hand, normal life remains disrupted in the Kashmir valley due to continued military lockdown on the 48th successive day on Saturday.

Indian troops went berserk in Panzgam area of Kupwara district and subjected the residents to torture.

Meanwhile, Indian police arrested two persons in Pulwama on false charges. The arrestees were identified as Suhail Ahmed Dar, a truck owner, and Bashir Ahmed Lone.

Millions of people have been besieged in their houses as hundreds of thousands of Indian troops continue to be deployed in every nook and corner of the valley. The troops have created a fear psychosis among the people forcing them to remain indoors. All shops, markets, business establishments and educational institutions remain closed while transport is off the road. Even presence of employees is very thin in government offices.

The continued suspensions of communications means including internet and mobile phone services in Kashmir valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu has added to the woes of the residents, who are facing immense problems in meeting their daily needs.

Forcefully tightening its grip on the Himalayan region, India has been violating basic human rights and freedom of speech and expression, including curbs on religious rituals and activities, fearing that these gatherings could turn into anti-India demonstrations.

India has restricted Muslims from offering Jumma prayers at Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid and other big mosques of the valley.

Indian troops have been using pellet guns, canes and teargas shells on the rallies, injuring dozens of protesters so far. Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s secretary on Saturday denied a report published in ‘The Hindu’ that he had signed a bond for his release.

“The Mirwaiz’ access to people and communication is extremely limited since August 5,” said his Secretary Syed-ur-Rehman Shams and said the Hurriyat chairman had not been released after signing a bond.

Shams, in a written statement, said, “The Hurriyat stands firm on its principled stand on the issue of J&K and stands with the people in this unprecedented situation that all are facing.”

Mirwaiz is among the top separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, who were detained after the Centre had revoked J&K’s special status on August 5.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has strongly criticised the BJP-led Modi government for holding a public gathering in the United States and concealing current economic slump of the country. According to radio Pakistan in a Tweet, he took a dig at the government and said amazing what Prime Minister Modi was ready to do for a stock market bump during his Howdy Indian economy jamboree.

Rahul Gandhi said the Houston event was the world's most expensive event ever, but no event could hide the reality of the economic mess Howdy Modi has driven India into.

Meanwhile, over 500 academics and scientists in a statement have expressed deep concern about the humanitarian crisis caused by continued curfew in IOK.

The signatories said while they held differing views on Article 370, all of them are appalled by the shutdown of the communications system and internet in the territory.

“We understand that landlines have been restored in some parts of Kashmir, but since landline tele-density in Kashmir is below 1% according to the government’s own statistics, this measure has failed to provide substantive relief to Kashmir’s residents,” they said in the statement. “In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families,” they added.

The signatories revealed that the restrictions had apparently made it difficult for citizens to even buy medicines and children attend school. “We believe the authorities’ actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic,” the signatories said. “Whatever views one might hold about these individuals, a fundamental norm in a democracy is that the party in power does not have the right to lock up its political opponents when they have not even been accused of any crime,” the statement said.

The academics and scientists demanded that full communications means be immediately restored in Kashmir, restrictions be lifted, opposition leaders released, and investigations should be conducted into violations of human rights in the territory.

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