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October 15, 2019

Kashmir in protest


October 15, 2019

While the mass deployment of Indian troops in Occupied Kashmir is preventing street protests, the Kashmiris according to a new report are resorting to civil disobedience to demonstrate their resistance to the actions of the Indian federal government in the occupied valley. A fact-finding report published online on an Indian news website has looked into how the people of Kashmir are dealing with a curfew that has now lasted over 70 days. The report describes how people are refusing to open shops and offices despite pressure from Indian forces. Needless to say, Kashmiris are far from happy with the sort of repression they have to face.

India, in the meanwhile, has continued on a path of belligerence, with the Indian defence minister issuing pointless threats to Pakistan and Indian PM Modi mocking domestic opposition on its stance on the revocation of Article 370. In more bizarre news from India, the chief of the hardline Hindu organization, the RSS, has said that India has the happiest Muslims. There is little doubt that the Muslim, Dalit and other minority groups who have recently suffered lynching and other forms of mob violence across India would disagree. Such violence directed towards minorities has increased remarkably since the Modi government came to power in 2014. Although the BJP and RSS are different entities, Modi is seen as inspired by the fascist RSS and its extreme philosophy.

India has continued to deny that there is a problem in Kashmir. But the rest of the world, including an increasing number of leaders and persons of influence see an immense human rights problem in Kashmir. Some, like US presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, have already called for an end to the atrocities in Kashmir. Human rights groups including Amnesty International have warned that the consequences of continued repression could be catastrophic. The RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, does not however appear to have read these reports. For now, the Kashmiris seem to have opted for non-violence and organized campaigns of civil disobedience which they hope will send out the right message to the right people. It is necessary that this message be sent out as far and wide as possible to compel the world to act.

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