Sunday, August 11, 2019

On what's happening in Indian controlled Kashmir, which doesn't seem important to American media

"India’s portion of the disputed Kashmir region, which is under a military lockdown after India removed its semiautonomous status last week, saw protests over the weekend as residents emerged from their homes in greater numbers for the first time in nearly a week.

...Nearly all communication links to the area remained blocked, including the internet and mobile and land-based telephone lines.

The Indian government put Jammu and Kashmir state directly under the central government early last week, permanently ending the measure of autonomy the state had enjoyed.

...Gatherings in public are illegal under the military clampdown.

The streets remained lined with a heavy military presence, frequent checkpoints and coiled concertina wire."


"...Mr Modi's nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party ended self rule in Kashmir for the first time since 1947 on Monday. He scrapped Article 35A that banned non-permanent residents of Kashmir from buying land and property or seeking employment in the state.

In a rare interview with western press by a BJP official, Ram Madhav, the party secretary, told The Sunday Telegraph the government was already looking to set-up special territories in Kashmir for returning Hindus, adding that all legal channels were now open.

“Someone who has the key for his home could claim it and if someone stalls him he could go to the police or the court to get his property back,” added Krishna Saagar Rao, Chief Spokesperson at the BJP, citing party ideology. He said that new powers giving greater control over the state through the national police force will make it safe for returning Hindus.

...In Pakistan, which maintains its claim to rule Kashmir in its entirety, Pervez Musharaf, the former president, accused Mr Modi of emulating Israeli policy by annexing land for resettlement, while Raja Farooq Haider Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, warned “there will be a great unrest in Kashmir, there will be killings in Kashmir” if mass Hindu migration caused demographic change.

“Establishing Hindu settlements is a nefarious act to change the fabric of Kashmir from a Muslim majority to a Hindu majority,” said Mr Musharaf, the former President of Pakistan.

...Kashmiris living under the current lockdown told The Sunday Telegraph that tension was already high. Residents said the strict curfew meant they would be shot on sight if they left their homes, adding that many were starving as they are unable to access food and dying in the streets as they were refused access to hospitals.

Up to 500 people - including university professors, business leaders and political activists - have also allegedly been detained by the Indian authorities."

"Hundreds have been arrested since Monday, according to local media, in the wake of the decision by Modi's Hindu-nationalist government to downgrade the portion of Kashmir it administers from statehood to a territory, limit its decision-making power and eliminate its right to its own constitution.

...University professors, business leaders and activists are among the 560 people rounded up by authorities and taken to makeshift detention centres - some during midnight raids - in the cities of Srinagar, Baramulla and Gurez, the Press Trust of India and the Indian Express reported.

Thousands of paramilitary police on Thursday remained deployed in Kashmir's largest city, Srinagar, and schools were shut and roads and neighbourhoods barricaded to stop public demonstrations against the sweeping changes.

Since the announcement of the revocation of Article 370 by India's Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah, social media has been flooded with purported advertisements offering plots of lands for sale in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Article 370 was preventing Indians outside Jammu and Kashmir from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.

"This government claims that such a move was necessary for the full integration of the state and for its prosperity and development. But you see the mentality of the Indians, they are more interested in land than in the people of Kashmir," Syed Muntazir, a Kashmiri student at New Delhi-based Jamia Millia University, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday at a protest against the move in the Indian capital.

"Since yesterday, my friends from different parts of India and in the university have called to ask about the land rates in Srinagar, Anantnag and other parts of the region. They want me to tell them which is the best place to buy land."

Critics of the BJP have also accused it of changing the constitution to shift Jammu and Kashmir's demographics - it is currently majority Muslim - as well as to pander to its Hindu nationalist base, which has long demanded the right to own property in Kashmir."
Atmosphere of fear

By Aamir Peerzada, BBC News, Srinagar

By the time we woke up this morning, the internet was gone and we now have no mobile connectivity.

If people step out of their homes, they see paramilitary forces on every street. Almost every major road is shut - we are hearing that more troops are being deployed.

No-one knows what is happening in other parts of the state - we can't talk to anyone else.

People are concerned - they don't know what is happening, they don't know what is going to happen.