The Kashmiris have spent 51 days under the curfew like restrictions imposed by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Kashmir. Thousands have been arrested and brutally tortured. There are conflicting figures and claims coming out from different sources. At least, 14,000 young people have been arrested. Communication black out continues as cell phone and internet services remained suspended since August 05. 8 million people in Kashmir valley still live in an open prison. Kashmir gives the looks of a fortified garrison.
The roads and main streets have been blocked and security forces pickets can be seen everywhere. The movement of people has been restricted and confined them to their homes. Kashmiris are living the lives of prisoners in their own homes. Schools remained closed. The businesses and shops remained closed since 51 days. India has crippled the economy of occupied Kashmir to punish the defied Kashmiris. The media has been gaged. India is only allowing partial reporting in Kashmir valley. Local journalists have been barred to report independently.
The people are starving as daily wage workers, street vendors, farm workers and construction workers find no work for long 51 days. They are facing starvation as they cannot feed their families. They have no money to buy food, milk and other utilities of life. The small shop keepers are also suffering as business remained closed since August 05.
There are nearly 0.7 million Indian Army troops and paramilitaries remain deployed in J&K’s cities, towns and villages to intimidate the population and brutally suppress any and all signs of opposition to New Delhi’s August 5 abrogation of article 370 and 35-A. The Indian occupation forces are ready to organise massacre and genocide to suppress a mass movement.
Despite New Delhi’s efforts to black out what is happening in Kashmir and silence all government opponents, information is leaking out that points to both the scale of the state repression and the strength and resilience of popular opposition to Indian occupation.
It is now known that the Indian government has arbitrarily detained at least 14,000 people under a draconian, anti-democratic law that allows the state to imprison people it deems a threat to “public security” for up to two years without charge. This is one of the most draconian laws in the world. India has also given impunity to armed forces under special powers law that exempt the armed forces from legal prosecution for committing gross human rights violations including rapes, extra judicial killings and inhuman tortures and treatment.
The detainees include “potential stone-pelters,” i.e., students and other young people previously active in anti-government protests, academics, lawyers and journalists. They also include—in an implicit admission of the lack of any support for New Delhi’s actions in the Kashmir Valley and among the Muslim population of Jammu—the top leadership and numerous cadres of the pro-Indian parties formed or traditionally supported by J&K’s Muslim elite. Thousands have been transferred to the prisons outside Kashmir. Indian government is not ready to give details of arrests and detainees.
Most of young people while talking to foreign journalists have complained of beatings and tortures in the police stations and on the street pickets. Indian forces continue to use pellet guns to blind the young people. They are even targeting the faces of young girls to disfigure them. There is no letup in the rapes and sexual abuse of women, young girls and young men and boys.
Indian occupation forces doing exactly in Kashmir what Israeli occupation forces have been doing in Palestine. The similarity is not surprising between the two occupation forces because Israeli Special Forces have been providing training to Indian forces. They have trained them well to torture, kill and abuse the innocent unarmed people resisting against repression, siege and occupation.
The Quint, noting that many of the detained Kashmiri youth have been transported to jails in BJP-administered Uttar Pradesh pointed to a sinister purpose. “That (criminal gangs) have immense influence in these jails is hidden from no one,” said the Quint. “People have been murdered and assaults are commonplace. This would mean that Kashmiris are likely to have a tough time in these jails. The government’s strategy (is) to instill this fear into the stone-pelters.”
The Narendra Modi-led BJP, with the unabashed support of most of the corporate media, is trying to give the impression that normalcy is being gradually restored to J&K. But this is belied by its actions, which betray an enormous fear of popular opposition.
The BJP government’s assault on Kashmir—its illegal rewriting of the constitution and its imposition of an unprecedented security lockdown and information blackout on a region roughly equivalent in population to a mid-sized European country or a US state like Michigan—has huge domestic and geopolitical implications.
Apart from its military occupation in Kashmir however, local Kashmiris point out that the state has been conspicuously absent in terms of social engagement and has made a farce out of any services it has provided. Furthermore, there have been reports that the Indian government has been actively encouraging controversial religious tourism under the garb of development, framing Kashmir as part of Hinduism’s glorious past in the Himalayas and the location for historic shrines and temples. Consequently the recent calls for “development” and “integration” in Kashmir, being described as a “gift of Indian democracy” for the Kashmiri people after the revocation of Article 370, are seen as the latest strategies being used as a form of a civilizing mission employed by the extremist Hindu nationalist agenda of the current government.
In this sense, recent events in India seem to affirm the complete failure of Indian secularism, as India is now being envisioned and reformulated as a “Homogenous Hindu nation” overseen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose bigotry oversaw the most terrible communal bloodletting episodes in India’s recent history, like the2002 Gujrat massacre.
In following this path, scholars point out that India is visibly following Israel’s example, as it paves the way for a full settler-colonial project in Kashmir with the next stage likely to involve Hindu-only enclaves, much like Jewish settlements in the West Bank. According to Sumantra Bose, professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, “The type of ‘democratic’ state exemplified by Israel— is the model for the Hindu nationalist movement, led by its core RSS organization, which aspires to establish in an Indian variant.”
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