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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Massive protests erupt in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Thousands of young men and women defied curfew and protested on streets of Kashmir amidst rattle of machine gun fire - a BBC vide shows. Indian government claims that protest never took place.

News Desk |

Thousands of Kashmiris manage to defy strict curfew and protest on the streets, in Soura, Indian occupied Kashmir, on Friday. They walked on streets and assembled in a ground to reject New Delhi’s decision to revoke occupied Kashmir’s autonomous status on Friday, showed a BBC video report.

BBC South Asia Bureau Chief Nicola Careem shared a video on micro-blogging website Twitter showing people in the Occupied Kashmir protesting against the Indian move and bravely facing Indian forces in the region. Earlier, Indian government claimed that this protest never took place, and Indian authorities never used tear gas against any protestors.

“Despite government saying reports of protests in Saura were completely fabricated. Thousands marched, police fired on protesters, dozens injured,” wrote Nicola Careem.


Delhi wants to convince Indians and the world at large  that its unilateral decision to revoke Article. 370 and 35-A have been accepted by the people of Kashmir. But in the video report one clearly sees thousands of young men and women running on streets amidst rattle of machine gun fire.

On Friday, August 9, police used tear gas and pellets to fight back at least 10,000 people protesting Delhi’s withdrawal of special rights for Muslim-majority Occupied Kashmir state in its main city of Srinagar.

The demonstration soon after Friday prayers was the largest since authorities locked down the whole region five days ago, cutting off telephone and internet services and detaining more than 500 political and separatist leaders.

India this week scrapped Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s right to frame its own laws and allowed non-residents to buy property there.

Kashmiri leaders have warned of a backlash in the area, where freedom fighters have been battling the Indian rule for nearly 30 years, leading to the martyrdom of more than 50,000 people.

A large group of people gathered in Srinagar’s Soura area, a police officer said, in violation of orders that prohibit the assembly of more than four people.

The crowd was pushed back by police at Aiwa bridge, where a witness said tear gas and pellets were used against them. “Some women and children even jumped into the water,” a witness said at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where pellet victims were admitted.

“They (police) attacked us from two sides,” another witness said. The police officer said 12 people had been admitted to two hospitals in the city after receiving pellet injuries at Soura, taking the total injured in the protests this week to at least 30.

“There were around 10,000 people at the protest in Soura,” the police officer said. “This was the biggest so far.”

Thousands of extra paramilitary police were deployed across Kashmir just before the sweeping measures were announced on Monday to prevent large-scale protests.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led party has long campaigned for abrogating Kashmir’s special privileges in the constitution.

United Nation affirms the disputed status of Kashmir

On Aug 8, United Nation’s Secretary General’s office issued another call for restraint. It also asserted that UN continues to look at Jammu & Kashmir through the charter of the United Nations and applicable Security Council Resolutions. It also clarified that while Simla Agreement exists, but even in the Simla Agreement of 1972, between India and Pakistan it was reaffirmed that dispute will be settled as per the charter of the United Nations.


ARRESTS in Kashmir

A police officer, who requested anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that political detentions in the wake of the Modi government’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special rights were continuing.

“Over 500 people are now arrested since Sunday,” he said, including former chief ministers, ministers, lawmakers and leaders and workers from political parties and separatist groups.

Massive protests erupted in Indian Occupied Kashmir in response to the Modi government’s decision of scrapping Article 370.

Scrapping the article means that Kashmir’s special status will no longer be valid, potentially exposing the area to a demographic change. Kashmir is the only Muslim Majority state in the whole of India.

Read more:India’s new lawfare on Kashmir and Pakistan’s strategic options

Footage of the protests recorded by the BBC lays waste the claims by the Modi administration that people are actually welcoming the decision of abrogating Article 370.

The footage shows massive crowds of protesters taking to the streets in Kashmir, defying the strict curfew that has been in place for the last few days. There has also been a massive increase in the number of troops in the region which is already the most militarized in the world.

“What do wen want? Freedom” (Humein kya chahiye, Azaadi), the protesters can be seen chanting.

Protesters can be seen wielding flags of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir in the video. Some protesters are also carrying placards that say “We Want Freedom” and “Abrogation of Articel 370 is unacceptable”.

The Indian soldiers, clearly outnumbered can be seen taking videos of the protesters on their phones. There is also some footage of forces firing live ammunition right into the crowds.

Read more: Kashmir capital readies for Eid ul Azha amid lockdown