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Sunday March 03, 2024

Indian-occupied Kashmir in 2020

January 07, 2021

What has India gained after the August 5, 2019 draconian step whereby it revoked the Article 370 that had maintained the status quo in occupied Kashmir? What progress has India made in the year 2020 to integrate the occupied Valley into the Indian mainstream? The answers are not hard to arrive at.

We have been already witnessing unparalleled restrictions on movement and communications in the Valley since August 5, 2019, while fundamental freedoms and liberties had been seized and human rights defenders targeted, the political leadership of Kashmir was placed under house arrest or imprisoned, over 10,000 Kashmiris vanished, arrested without due process of law and sent to prisons in India and systematic and serial violations of fundamental freedoms in the Valley had increased.

But the year 2020 saw further deterioration in conditions in the Valley. Now more and more innocent Kashmiris are being picked up and gunned down after being declared as militants. Recently, two teenage boys and a young man were killed in Indian-occupied Kashmir by government forces during an alleged firefight.

Parents of the students said they had been on their way to a private tutor in Srinagar while police insisted two of them were “hardcore associates of terrorists and the third might have recently joined fighter ranks.” On the other hand, Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar admitted the names of the three killed were not in the "list of terrorists".

Earlier in July 2020, three innocent labourers were killed and weapons planted on their bodies. Referring to the July killings of labourers, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the recent revelations of planting weapons on the bodies of the victims killed in Shopian by Indian troops to make it look as though they were armed fighters "are deeply disconcerting and an affront to the collective conscience of humanity".

In all, it was revealed that Indian forces killed more than 300 innocent Kashmiris, including women and children, in 2020 in fake encounters and staged cordon-and-search operations. Also, 750 people were left critically injured. Thousands more were picked up by security forces.

On the other hand, those who got domicile certificates are being attacked by desperate Kashmiris. Recently, a jeweler was shot dead by

The Resistance Front (TRF), a militant outfit, which said all such “outsiders” who had received domicile certificates under the new Modi law were “RSS agents” and warned them. Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah in an interview said, “What about the representative character of the government?” and stressed the Muslim majority of the area. “Please look at the make-up of our administration today. Your LG is non-Muslim; chief secretary non-Muslim; DGP non-Muslim; both your divisional commissioners are non-Muslims; both your IGs of police non-Muslims; the chief justice of J&K high court is non-Muslim; the rest of the high court bench, barring two judges, are all non-Muslims.

How many of your deputy commissioners and SPs posted in Kashmir today are Kashmiri-speaking? It may appear minor, but please understand these are the issues that resonate with people. We are not a fundamentalist people. We don’t play the religious card, but when there is such a severe communal imbalance, there will be resentment.”

Also, an alliance of Kashmiri parties opposed to the occupied state’s annexation by India swept the local bodies polls against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has favoured talks between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute. It stated the win was a verdict to reverse New Delhi’s arbitrary rule in the region.

Media was also under attack in held Jammu and Kashmir in 2020. Several newspapers were shut down and journalists threatened or arrested under India’s laws.

The bottom-line is that India is not winning in the occupied Valley. It never will. The only option is that there should be a fair solution to the liking of the majority of the people of the Valley.