While Right-wing Hindu Indians celebrate victory over long gone Muslim Rulers: One year on, Kashmiris weep under a harsh lockdown where they are still cut off from the rest of the world.
August 2 – Indian authorities ask tourists to leave IOK citing ‘terror threats.’ The government sends in over 45,000 soldiers to set up barricades and get into position with riot control vehicles. The reason initially cited is an impending “terrorist attack”. Kashmir and the region is left panic struck as journalists and tourists leave in a hurry on buses and planes.
August 4 – Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and president of the Peoples Conference party, Sajad Lone, along with 500 other leaders— are placed under house arrest and section 144 – which prevents a gathering of three or more people- imposed in Srinagar. This is considered a clear violation of the state’s autonomy which it has enjoyed for seven decades.
August 5 – New Delhi unilaterally revokes Article 370 and 35A that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, imposes strict lockdown in the state and earns a strong Reaction from Pakistan. Delhi achieves this by passing a hasty presidential order in the hush of the night.
The revoking of Article 370 means that now Indian citizens will have the right to purchase property in occupied Kashmir and settle there. This is seen as a deliberate means of changing the demographics of the region which up till now has been a Muslim majority region.
August 6 – The EU, OIC, and Turkey urged restraint and caution to both India and Pakistan. The OIC referred to the incursions as “Indian terrorism” and “mass blindings”, the External Affairs Ministry said its stand on the matter was “well known”.
August 7-9– Pakistan expels Indian envoy and downgrade ties. Although relations between the two countries have always remained sour this is still the lowest point in years. A petition is filed in the Indian supreme court by opposition party Congress member Tehseen Poonawalla as he sees the revocation of Article 370 as illegal. He also expressed distraught at the cutting of communication means within the valley, as well as the detention of Kashmiri leaders.
Thousands of people protest the Delhi clampdown despite restrictions. The Indian army uses brutal counter-protest measures to curb the protests. The protestors are forced onto the Aiwa bridge where they are subjected to tear gas and pellet guns. Some women jump into the water to safe themselves. Witnesses describe a harrowing scene where the protestors are surrounded from both sides.
August 14-15 – Pakistan observes “Kashmir Solidarity Day” on the anniversary of its independence to highlight the Kashmiri people’s plight. The prime minister of Pakistan also warns of ‘strong action’ in retaliation to the illegal affront by the BJP.
On 15th august, India’s independence day, Pakistan observes Black Day. Prime minister Khan warns of grave repercussions if India resorts to ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri people.
August 16 – UN Security Council holds a rare closed-door session on the Kashmir crisis. The UN does this for the first time since 1965, nullifying India’s claim of Kashmir being a ‘personal’ matter. China’s ambassador to the UN urges caution and cites the sensitivity of the issue.
August 16-21 – US President Trump urges both Pakistan and India to normalize ties and defuse tensions in his discussion with the prime ministers of Pakistan and India. Trump offers again to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
Thousands are detained, estimates say 4000, under the Public Safety Act (PSA) whereby detainees can be held for up to two years without trial. Most of these detainees are flown out of Kashmir as the prisons start to be over-run with the influx of new arrests.
August 23-24 – Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and his delegation are stopped from entering Kashmir as they try to assess the actual situation on ground. Soura region in Kashmir rages with protests as the occupational forces use tear gas and pellets to repel the natives. The protestors call for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan, to protest against India’s decision. BJP defends its decision to not let politicians visit the region by citing that it wishes to ‘avoid controversy.’
Rahul Gandhi later says he witnessed, “the draconian administration and brute force unleashed on the Jammu & Kashmir people”.
August 25-30– Top Indian bureaucrat Kannan Gopinathan resigns from government service to protest India’s handling of Kashmir.
The BBC reports hearing from several villagers who said that they had been beaten with sticks and cables, and given electric shocks. The author of the article, journalist Sameer Hashmi, wrote that he witnessed himself the evidence as villagers showed him injuries. “Doctors and health officials are unwilling to speak to journalists about any patients regardless of ailments, but the villagers showed me injuries alleged to have been inflicted by security forces,” he said.
September3- 10 –Around 5,000 protesters gather outside the Parliament Square in the British capital and marched towards the Indian High Commission in order to protest Kashmiris’ oppression at the hands of Indian security forces. Protesters carrying placards and waving Kashmir flags chanted fiery slogans, calling the Indian incursion, state sponsored terrorism.
Amnesty international starts global campaign to highlight the human rights violations in Kashmir, launching the hashtag #LetKashmirSpeak.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister says India could drive the two nuclear-armed countries “into an accidental war.” And that New Delhi had turned Kashmir “into the largest prison on this planet.”
September 11 – US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Congressman James P McGovern ask US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press the Indian government to immediately end the communications blackout in Kashmir.
Altogether more than 700 protests are held in Kashmir with an average of 20 protests per day. Despite the curfew and the ‘draconian’ restrictions the people of Kashmir continue to relentlessly protest.
September 16-21– India arrests Farooq Abdullah, three-time former chief minister of Kashmir under the Public Safety Act.
The region’s economy plummets as the lockdown and restrictions harshly affect the harvest season of one of the world’s largest apple producers. As free movement is restricted the once bustling markets of the town of Sopore remain empty.
September 24–28– US President Donald Trump once again extends an offer of mediation over Kashmir while meeting with PM Imran Khan in New York.
This is taken with great controversy within India.
Turkey’s President Erdogan in his address to the UNGA stresses that solving Kashmir issue was a prerequisite to prosperity and stability in South Asia. He is joined by Malaysia and Pakistan.
The Pakistani premier delivers a 45-minute-long speech at the floor of the UNGA urging the international community to action. He also discusses climate change, money laundering, Islamophobia.
October 1-3– Malaysia’s PM Mahathir, in his address to the 74th UN general assembly session, accuses India of “invading and occupying the country” of Jammu & Kashmir.
A damning list of detainees shows that India has detained 114 minor including a 9-year-old since revoking the special status of the region. A large portion of these minors is found to be under the age of 15.
Dozens of British-Kashmiris gather at Parliament Square to observe a candle-light vigil. The restrictions and communication blackout imposed by India in the region reach 60 days.
The Prime Minister urges enthusiastic people not to cross the LOC to help the Kashmiris, he says this would be detrimental to the cause.
October 6-15 – US House panel asks India to end Kashmir lockdown.
National Conference spokesperson Madan Mantoo relays that the Indian government granted permission after provincial head Devender Singh Rana made a request to Satya Pal Malik, occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s governor. After two months party delegation is allowed to meet its top leaders.
India lifts its travel advisory despite lockdown subsisting in the entire region. Occupational authorities also release low level politicians. Police however detain twelve women amongst which is former chief minister of Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah’s sister, for holding an anti-India protest.
October 24-29 – UN human rights office expressed its extreme concern over the developments in the India-administered Kashmir. The office was worried at the wide range of human rights Kashmiris were being deprived.
India also holds dubious village council elections despite the imposition of lockdown throughout the region still existing. Most local parties boycott the elections. The large presence of police and military at the polling stations is seen.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), meanwhile, expresses profound concern against the human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and asked the Indian authorities to “fully restore” human rights in the occupied territory. The supreme court of India is also criticized for allowing grave human right violations to take place.
October 31– The region is split into two territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. A former Kashmiri judge says that the move is unconstitutional and undemocratic.
December 7-11 2019 – India passes its controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in which it offers Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh the right to migrate and settle in India.
A bipartisan resolution is passed in the US congress which seeks to end the restrictions imposed by the occupational forces.
Januray-10 2020 –Indian Supreme court terms the shutting of mobile services ‘unconstitutional.’ It said that internet access was a basic right and the move by the Indian government was akin to curbing the freedom of speech.
March 3-19 2020 – Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13, Omar Abdullah, his son was released on March 24.
Only partial communication networks are opened in the region and with verification. As the spread of COVID-19 spreads Pakistan asks India to open restrictions in order to curb the virus’s spread.
April 1-9 2020 -There is growing concern over India’s lack of support for the region in terms of medical supplies and assistance as the virus spreads faster.
May 3-13 2020- Increased insurgency in the region is witnessed as Kashmiri fighter are killed by Indian forces. Mobile services are again cut off to curb people from coming to fighters’ funerals.
Indian forces also fatally shoot a young man at checkpoint earning large protests. Hundreds of men and women showed up onto the streets despite curfew still in effect.
July 3, 2020 – Mehbooba Mufti’s detention extended by 3 months, while Pakistan urged the world to take the issue to Kashmir seriously and diligently.
Huge protests erupt throughout the region as an elderly man travelling with his 3-year old grandson is killed.
The family of the deceased said that he was dragged out of his car and shot dead in front of his grandson.
August 2- 5, 2020 – BJP organises the inauguration of the Ram Mandhir Temple to be built at the site of the destroyed Babri Mosque.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries has calculated the economic loses in the region at $5.3 billion and about half a million jobs lost since August last year. This has devastating effects on the local population.
The plight of Kashmiris continues as a year on after India undemocratically scraped Article 370.