August 5th marked the second anniversary of the tragedy that befell the Kashmiri people at the hands of the Indian government. People under the Indian occupied Kashmir were silent in protest by observing a partial shutdown. Reports of Indian troops breaking locks and doors spiralled out with the justification to maintain “normalcy”.
Traders complained that the police did not care what would happen to the goods inside and continued to force open business outlets to disrupt the peaceful protest. A video went viral showing a mob of police forces breaking locks at Laal chowk main market.
Aljazeera’s correspondents attempted to interview locals, but no one stepped forward due to fear of losing their lives. The President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries shared that businesses should be kept out of politics and criticised the ruthless actions of New Delhi for trying to erase the spirit of Kashmir. Troops continued to patrol the region and backed themselves with riot gears while also barricading several main roads in the region.
Marches in Pakistan, and Rallies from the BJP
Hundreds of Pakistanis took the streets to march in the name of their oppressed Kashmiri brethren; Many Parliamentarians alongside President Arif Alvi joined the marches waving the flag of Kashmir.
Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted in solidarity with the Kashmiris calling out the BJP government’s terror-inducing Hindutva ideology as a tool projecting state-terrorism. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi emphasised the need for the international community to recognise Indian aggression in the region to put a halt to it.
I have raised the voice of Kashmiris on the world stage & will continue to do so till Kashmiris are allowed to decide their future according to UNSC resolutions. Pak will continue to fight the Kashmiris' case with conviction & InshaAllah Kashmiris' struggle will succeed.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 5, 2021
On the other hand, staunch followers of BJP led by some members of the party, rallied around the Southern district of Anantnag, and other districts like Kupwara, Bandipora and Ganderbal, waving the Indian flag to ‘celebrate this anniversary. While the Hindutva fuelled nationalism propelled towards such insensitive celebrations, some called out their governments for these actions. Ashok Swain, who is a Professor at Uppsala University tweeted:
Kashmiris observing shutdown to mark the 2nd anniversary of abrogation of Art 370. To project normalcy, security forces breaking the locks. What a way to win hearts and minds! https://t.co/lhURSWZYrZ
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) August 5, 2021
The incident came under fire from people in Pakistan and especially from people online, in support of the oppressed Kashmiri people. The people of Kashmir have been subject to years of wars with no clarity ahead. On 30th June United Nations (UN) Chief Antonio Guterres pointed out “grave violations” in the Indian occupied Kashmir, where children continue to suffer from pellet attacks.
Independent UN experts have highlighted the atrocities minorities suffer under the Indian government and that the revocation of Article 370 has led to serious infringement of the rights of the Kashmiri people. Several European Union parliamentarians have also written to their European Commission on the humanitarian situation to not overlook Indian actions in Kashmir.
The Kashmir dispute is perhaps the next most dangerous black hole in the region. It is a threat to the peace and stability of the region endangering the lives of innocent women and children. Diverting attention from this severe problem can house more terror outfits in the region than eliminating them. It is in the best favour of the international community to pressurise the Indian government in curtailing its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, and instead utilising diplomacy and dialogue to solve the problems.