While the world’s focus is on battering the coronavirus, the Indian government see an opportunity in this pandemic to knuckle under the Kashmiri people. Another lockdown after a six-month siege last year has made situations shoddier.
Tariq Mir, a freelance journalist based in Kashmir, who wrote the piece underlines, “By initiating gunfights with guerrilla fighters, jailing people for going to buy food and medicine, bringing charges against journalists, and beating doctors, paramedics and municipal workers, India is tightening its grip on Kashmir”.
Since the revocation of the ‘special status’ for Kashmir, a modus operandi of brutal repression ensued. All the essential services including phone, internet, schools, businesses and universities are shut down. The journalist highlights, “The residents of Kashmir are no strangers to life under restrictions. But today we are under siege”.
Kashmiris have a fear that with the wavering of the status Indian citizens will purchase their lands and that the authorities support them as they are machinating a demographic change of Kashmir “where Hinduism could become the dominant faith”. The pandemic now has compounded their fear. Indian government’s repression is at its extreme as around 2,500 people have been arrested. Those who express their discontent, including Masrat Zahra, Peerzada Ashiq and Gowhar Geelani were booked under draconian “anti-terrorism” law that could result in seven years of imprisonment.
In an exchange of artillery fire between Indian and Pakistan, eight people were killed including children on both sides. Meanwhile, the author fears, getting bitten up by police in the streets.
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