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Children in the line of fire in Kashmir: report

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News Desk |

A fact finding mission that went into Kashmir for five days has published its report saying that it is children who are most vulnerable to the atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The fact finding mission consisted of women rights activist Kavita Krishnan, economist Jean Dreze, Maimoona Mollah from the All India Democratic Women’s Association, the women’s wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and Vimal Bhai, a social activist.

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Members of the commission went to Srinagar, Sopore, Bandipora, Anantnag, Shopian and Pampore between August 9 and 13.

Kashmir is in lockdown amid a troop surge after the Indian Government scrapped Article 370 which gave special status to the territory. It is already the most militarized region in the world.

A member of the commission told Huffington Post that Kashmir is like occupied Iraq or occupied Palestine. But it is children who seem to be in the greatest threat.

“We met people in villages all over Kashmir, where little kids have been… there is no other word to use… they have been abducted by the police.”, Kavita Krishnan said.

“They have been picked up from their homes in the middle of the night from their beds and they are held indefinitely, illegally, either in army camps or in police stations. They are being beaten up,” she continued.

She also said that the parents were unable to find out where their children were or whether they would come back at all.

The commission also found and interviewed an 11 year old kid who had been arrested and beaten up. But the shocking part is that he said that there were children even younger than him in custody.

Kashmir already has a history of mass disappearances from custody, especially young men. The use of pellet guns has also blinded hundreds.

However, the spirit of the children in Kashmir seems to be unbroken. “As soon as we set foot in Srinagar, we came across a few small children playacting in a park. We could hear them say ‘Iblees Modi’. ‘Iblees’ means ‘Satan’,” the report says.

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The report says that “There is intense and virtually unanimous anger in Kashmir against the Indian government’s decision to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A, and also about the way this has been done.”

“The Indian media’s claims of a rapid return to normalcy in Kashmir are grossly misleading. They are based on selective reports from a small enclave in the centre of Srinagar.”

Critics believe the abrogation of Article 370 is an attempt to change the status of Kashmir as the only Muslim majority region in India.

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