Kashmir’s unrelenting siege continues on the 39th day. There is no semblance of normalcy in Kashmir. Businesses remain shut, offices sparsely attended, public transport still not plying on the streets, schools, colleges and universities, still closed. This week a sixteen year old Kashmiri died after being admitted to a hospital for tear gas canister and pellet wounds. Hospitals remain in accessible as do other essential services. The communications blockade continues, and people from within and outside Kashmir remain disconnected from their loved ones. Although the Government sources claim they have restored land lines in some areas, people trying to connect through land lines express disappointment in getting through most of the times. Cell phones and internet is still shutdown. Reports of illegal detentions and torture continue to pour in. Fears of demographic change and land appropriation are growing.
Strict lockdown continues, religious processions for the religious observance of Muharram were banned. Constant surveillance of people with drones flying over residential areas, mosques, and streets is reported. Detentions of ordinary citizens and political leaders continue. Many youth have been transferred to jails outside of Jammu Kashmir and parents have to go through a security clearance by the JK police before being allowed to meet their children. Getting clearance amidst the shutdown is causing enormous difficulties for parents with limited means who travel outside of Kashmir searching for their children. The Govt. has not released any numbers of detentions. Reports of abuse and torture in prisons and in night raids are being reported.
Kashmir’s economy is taking the biggest hit, especially the IT, fruit, and tourism industry. The loss is reported to be irrecoverable.
Intimidation and harassment of journalists continues. A female journalist associated with a national newspaper was attacked and abused by the local police in Srinagar on Sept. 8th, and a photo journalist was hit by pellets on Sept. 7th.
The UN Human Rights Council expressed deep concern over the human rights situation in Kashmir on Sept. 9th at the 42nd session of the Council. UN High Commissioner reiterated that in any decision about the future of Kashmir, Kashmiris must be consulted.
Law makers in Europe, the US, and Australia continue to speak out against the Kashmir siege. On September 10th. , fifty two members of the United Nations called on India to end human rights violations in Kashmir.
Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights watch expressed concern over reported torture of thousands of young men in Kashmir and Amnesty International UK launched a Let Kashmir Speak campaign calling for an end of lock down.