News Desk |
On Thursday, the normal routine of Kashmiri merchants, traders and students amongst others was brought down to a halt after a complete shutdown against the holding of so-called Indian parliamentary elections in the territory and the atrocities of Indian authorities against Kashmiris and their leaders.
Radio Pakistan reported that Hurriyat leaders of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), which includes Syed Ali Gillani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had called for a strike against heightened Indian brutality and the closure of the Kashmir highway, which happens to be an economic lifeline for the people of the valley.
Using armed forces at polling stations to coerce people to vote for the BJP shows their desperation & hunger to usurp power by hook or crook.”
This shutdown is also an act of protest against the harassment and victimization of the Hurriyat leadership and their relatives by New Delhi’s National Investigation Agency, who has called Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and two sons of senior leader Syed Ali Gillani for an investigation that is exploitative and harassing in nature. Earlier, Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested by the Indian authorities and taken to New Delhi before the election, where he languishes in Tihar jail.
A statement issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership states, “The strike is aimed to protest against the shifting of JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik to Delhi’s Tihar jail under the pretext of questioning by the National Investigation Agency including rigorous interrogation of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and sustained interrogation and repeated summoning of two sons of APHC Chairman Syed Ali Gillani to Delhi by NIA”.
Kashmir has come under brutal restrictions that have been imposed by New Delhi on the behest of tightening security measures to facilitate the elections. On Thursday, India enters the first phase of the greatest general election campaign ever recorded in the world, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has trumpeted his national security rhetoric by stirring up anti-Pakistan propaganda and exercising heavy-handedness in Kashmir.
The curfew imposed in the Kishtwar district of Indian occupied Kashmir enters its second day following the assassination of senior RSS leader Chanderkant Shama. On Tuesday, the Indian army and police officials undertook an extensive cordon and search operation in different areas to identify the attackers who had assassinated the RSS leader and his personal guard.
Kashmir has come under brutal restrictions that have been imposed by New Delhi on the behest of tightening security measures to facilitate the elections.
BJP’s Agenda to “Usurp Power by Hook or Crook”
It appears that Modi’s strategy of quelling anti-BJP sentiments and hatred for Hindu nationalism in Muslim majority areas of Kashmir and eastern India, which is under control of Maoist insurgents, by increasing security and imposing restrictions on all movements.
Kashmir media reports the presence of security forces throughout the valley and polling stations, which has created an intimidating environment for the throngs of voters who have come out to cast their vote in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
Former Chief Minister of Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti shared an appalling video from a polling station in Jammu, where voters are being “manhandled” by the Indian authorities. The PDP Chairman stated, “A voter at polling booth in Jammu was manhandled by the BSF because he refused to cast his vote for BJP. Using armed forces at polling stations to coerce people to vote for the BJP shows their desperation & hunger to usurp power by hook or crook.”
A voter at polling booth in Jammu was manhandled by the BSF because he refused to cast his vote for BJP. Using armed forces at polling stations to coerce people to vote for the BJP shows their desperation & hunger to usurp power by hook or crook. pic.twitter.com/Hmr8zocQ44
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) April 11, 2019
Needless to say, this election is an important turning point in the history of Kashmir, and the Muslim majority has come out in full swing, encouraged by their leaders to vote against the BJP. After its announcement of repealing the Articles 370 and 35A that grant special privileges and autonomy to the Kashmiris, the valley is gripped in a wave of political turmoil, and the closure of the highway amongst others brutal restrictions have caused normal life to come to a standstill across the valley.
This article was written by Mina Jahangir and edited by Sana Mushtaq.