Rape, abuse, sleep deprivation: What is happening in ‘disconnected’ Srinagar?
Despite halted connections and media ban, international media's new report reveals horrors in Kashmir's Srinagar.
In an attempt to diffuse protestors in Indian-administered Kashmir, Indian troops have fired tear gas and shot live rounds in the air. According to local sources, thousands have come on the streets, rallying against New Delhi’s decision of stripping the region’s autonomy.
On Friday, with thousands of people marching towards Sri Nagar, the rally or of protestors erupted afternoon prayers, completely ignoring a curfew that was imposed as a part of security lockdown in the region, Al Jazeera showed exclusive footage of the ongoing event.
Some of the protestors carried blag flags and placards that read “abrogation of Article 370 is not acceptable” and “we want freedom”, as a response to the decision made by the Indian government to revoke Article 370, this limits Kashmir’s decision-making powers and discards its right to its own constitution.
The incumbent Indian government also demoted Indian-administered Kashmir from the statehood of two federally administered territories – Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir – run by New Delhi directly.
Police using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets on protestors in Srinagar:
Citing local news sources, stated that the police made use of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and fired live bullets to scare off the protesters.
“We understand there have been injuries,” Priyanka Gupta said.
She also stated that some of the protestors even got injured by the pellet guns.
A police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency that the protest consisted of 10,000 people. They gathered together in Srinagar’s Soura area and were retreated back to Aiwa Bridge.
A witness stated that some women and children jumped into the water. Another witness told the news source Reuters that the police attacked them from both sides.
India even sent 10,000 more troops to the region with Muslim majority due to its announcement on Monday, imposing a curfew on some parts, completely shutting down telecommunications and arresting their political representatives. About 700,000 Indian soldiers are now positioned in Indian-administered part of Kashmir, where the rebels want one of the two things, either a merger with Pakistan or Independence.
On Friday, the security forces weakened the restrictions so that Muslims could go and attend their afternoon prayers in the mosques. However, the Jama mosque in Srinagar remained closed and a police officer informed Reuters that he faced continuous attack from young people, that threw stones.
32 years old Tariq Ahmed warned of an adverse reaction against India’s government once it liberates the restrictions on movement in the city.
“If they (authorities) have used force on unarmed Kashmiris, we will also react with force,” – Ahmed, a university worker, told Reuters.
“We have no faith in the Indian government. They should let us protest. Otherwise, the only option is an armed struggle.” – he added.
Kashmir’s residents, from the fear of being ruled by BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party), discarded the region’s unique standing so that it could shift its demographics, partly by authorizing people from outside of the region to own property of their own there. Article 370 however, did not allow Indians from outside to own land there or permanently settle there.
In a speech Modi delivered on Thursday, he spoke in defence of the status change. As per him, change in status was a necessary step to free the region from separatism and terrorism. He further stated that this move will accelerate economic growth and pledged to boost development projects.
The abrogating of Kashmir’s special status has increased tension between the two neighbours, India and Pakistan as both of the two govern a portion.
How is Pakistan reacting to Indian brutality?
Reacting to New Delhi’s decision, Islamabad expelled the Indian envoy, stopped cross-border train service, banned Indian films and suspended trade.
Thousands of Pakistanis also staged rallies on Friday, with the protestors in Karachi setting fire to Modi’s sculptures, calling him a terrorist and critically criticizing the UN for its inactivity.
These protests took place in Lahore, Quetta and Islamabad. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, travelled to Beijing, China’s capital, to discuss with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
China, that also governs a part of Kashmir in Ladakh, protested against India after it asserted its claim to Beijing’s territory on Aksai Chin plateau. Both the countries, India and China, fought a border war in 1962, and Chinese forces occupied the Himalayan Plateau.
After meeting with Shah Mehmood Qureshi, China’s foreign ministry released a statement that read Beijing was concerned with the ongoing turbulence and escalating tensions in Srinagar.
“China will continue to firmly support the Pakistan side in safeguarding its legitimate rights,” the statement continued, adding that the Kashmir issue should be resolved at the United Nations.
“Both Pakistan and India are China’s friendly neighbours … We call on both sides to focus on national development and peace in South Asia,” – the statement said.
Qureshi released a video after his meeting in which he said,” I am very pleased that China once again proved today that it is Pakistan’s reliable friend”.
India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will visit Beijing this Sunday for discussions with Wang Yi.