Kashmir- A maze of barbed wires!

Kashmir Situation Update- Report 15

Despite the unanimous condemnation of the curfew in Indian Occupied Kashmir and associated Human Rights situation by US, EU Parliament, France, Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, UNHCR, UNGA, OIC; as per recent reports India have sent more boots on ground in the Occupied Valley and roads have been sewed with even intricate patterns of barbed wire. It is the 55th day since the inhumane curfew and communication blackout!

 “Shops closed, hotels closed, schools, colleges, institutes and universities closed, streets deserted was the first visual impact as we drove out from the airport,” said a report, “To us, it seemed a punitive mahaul [environment] that blocked free breathing” the report noted on Tuesday.

Kashmiris are waiting for the world to understand the humanitarian costs of the lockdown since August 5, Syeda Hameed from Muslim Women’s Forum told Anadolu Agency in Ankara, over the phone after the release of the report. Hameed is one of the five women activists from several local NGOs who visited IOK on September 17-21 and prepared the report after meeting people in Bandipora, Shopian and Pulwama districts.

“People are waiting for world opinion [to build] pressure [on India],” she added.

The report claimed that boys as young as 14 or 15 were taken away by the authorities and allegedly tortured.

“One estimate given to us was 13,000 boys were lifted during this crackdown,” the report said about the alleged detentions by Indian forces to disallow any protests.

“Army pounces on young boys; it seems they hate their very sight. When fathers go to rescue their children, they are made to deposit money, anywhere between 20,000 Indian rupees [$281] to 60,000 Indian rupees [$845],” read the report.

Negating claims of Indian government that August 05 move was for development of Kashmir, Hameed, who has been a member of India’s now defunct planning commission, said: “Human development indicators of Kashmir are very high when compared to any other part of India. This [government’s] argument makes no sense.”

Responding to a question about Indian government’s claim that removing special provisions granted occupied valley the ability to fight separatism in the region, Hameed said: “Even those politicians who stood for India have been arrested.”

The report said that doctors are facing problems to examine patients because of the hurdles imposed by the government. An orthopedic doctor was stopped by Indian army while on way to his duties, and held for seven days, it added. “It is a big human tragedy,” Hameed said.

The group demanded that for normalcy to restore in the region, the Indian government should immediately withdraw army and paramilitary forces.

They added that cases filed against people including First Information Reports should be withdrawn and allegations of torture by Indian army should be investigated.

It demanded an immediate lifting of the communications blackout and restoration of special provisions back to their status before August 5.

Since then, the Indian government has blocked communication access and imposed restrictions on movement to thwart any protests in the region.

Several rights groups and international media including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, BBC, TRT World, and New York Times respectively have repeatedly reported on the matter and called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

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