Kashmir crisis update, February 11, 2020

Kashmir siege crosses the six month mark

Kashmir siege has completed six months and the signs of clampdown on various fronts have yet to ease. “Normalcy” has been redefined as lives of Kashmiris continue to the surveilled and policed, freedom of assembly, expression, and press still curtailed, thousands still languishing in jails, educational institutions still non-functional, and access to the world of information still cut off. Essentially lives of eight million Kashmiris in the Valley remain is a state of abnormalcy.

The longest ever e-curfew in Kashmir continues. While the Indian Supreme Court ruled that internet access is integral to individual right to freedom and expression, restoring 2G access and whitelisting merely 300 internet sites of the one and a half billion, defines a new kind of policed, immensely slow, controlled and meaningless access that continues to adversely affect students, researchers, business, and health care.

While there has been international condemnation of the Kashmir lockdown, the Indian government has worked hard to change the perception of its discriminatory policies among various diplomatic circles and sell false narratives through organized trips of foreign dignitaries and visits of foreign diplomats to Kashmir.

After August 5, the people of Kashmir feared exploitation and abuse of their resources, economic extraction in the name of economic development, and threat to Kashmir’s ecology.  The recent business ventures in Kashmir have already started to put local business community at a disadvantage. And the destruction of ecology continues at a fast pace.

Harassment of journalists and curbs on journalism continue to be the norm. Kashmiri journalists are finally speaking out against threats and intimidation by government forces.

Tourism, the back bone of Kashmir’s economy is down by eighty six percent post-August 5, 2019. As per Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, internet shutdown has caused irreversible damage to the economy. Commercial losses are estimated to be over 15,000 crores with job losses of 496,000.

Detentions of ordinary people, lawyers, human rights workers, academics and politicians continue. Detentions of several politicians, including Indian loyalists, has been extended under the lawless Public Safety Act. The head of Kashmir Bar Association remains in detention in spite of failing health including a recent heart attack in jail. In spite of various appeals, the J&K High Court upheld his detention under the PSA.

 The International Federation for Human Rights and People’s Watch urged India to immediately end all draconian restrictions on fundamental freedoms in Jammu and Kashmir, and fully reinstate communications. Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway and Executive Chair of the Oslo Center urged the UN to take the lead in solving the long standing Kashmir conflict.

There are increasing reports of negative impact of lockdown on the population, especially children and adolescents who are feared to be scarred for life.  According to health officials, depression among Kashmiris is manifesting more and in different forms. As per a psychiatrist in Kashmir, lack of access to the internet has further isolated the youth in the Valley leading to greater rates of depression. The professionals believe that full extent of damage will only be assessed after communication modes are fully operational.

The dramatic arrest of Davinder Singh, a high ranking police officer in Jammu Kashmir police, along with militants, on January 11, raised new questions about the relationship of the state actors and terrorism. As one journalist points out, the arrest of this officer highlights the nexus between terror operatives and security agencies. “It exposes institutional decay in the security apparatus in a region where the government’s obsession with security concerns rides roughshod over democratic norms and people’s civil liberties.”

In the Media

The paradise India is constructing in Kashmir looks a lot like a prison, seems to be a throwback to 1951

A finely-tuned war of attrition in Kashmir

The Kashmir model of humiliating journalists for media control

International Federation for Human Rights seeks immediate end to Mian Abdul Qayoom’s detention

Kashmir scholars seek immediate intervention in the detention of Mian Abdul Qayoom

Kashmir scholars publish a biography of the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons of Kashmir

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce report on Business losses August to Dec 2019

With 370 gone, locals lose majority bids for sand extraction in Kashmir

International Federation for Human Rights seeks immediate end to all draconian restrictions on fundamental freedoms in Jammu and Kashmir

History’s longest ever e-curfew

Adrift in Kashmir, Bereft in India

The siege of Kashmir in context: A journalist’s account

The forgotten massacre of Uri

The UN must take the lead and mediate a political solution to Kashmir

VPN users being tortured in Kashmir

Restoration of broadband in Kashmir not anytime soon

What you must read and watch on Kashmir: A compilation

How Bollywood furthers India’s nationalism

JK Administration to fell 21 lakh trees to ‘reclaim’ Wular lake

We are in the stone age, Kashmir students on internet shut down

Verses about their homeland: Poets of Kashmir

On Kashmir, poetry and hierarchies of resistance

Kashmiri children traumatized by years of systemic violence

Kashmir tourism dropped by 86% since Article 370 was hollowed out

Kashmir is a prison right now: Chomsky

Nothing is normal in Kashmir

Kashmiri Pandit in Kashmir; Those who stayed back have a home—and a roomful of regret

Both Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits will have to find empathy, generosity to overcome their political differences

Counting the dead : Wandhama massacre

No closure of Wandhama massacre

JK hunts for 7,500 acres of land for investors ahead of April global summit

No internet for 164 days

It took me six months to send an email form Kashmir

Internet with limited access brings little relief to people

How August 5 changes Jammu and Kashmir: Interview with Khurram Parvez

Deliberate denial of internet to journalists

Kashmiri journalists, news outlets still offline after India partially restores internet

Kashmiri Youtubers in Internet blackout: from inspiration to depression

Indigenous iterations of Azadi in Kashmir

EU motion urges India to uphold self determination in Kashmir

Kashmiri Hindus could have been brought back by the Government

What about the Kashmiri Pandit? Thirty years later, make the question count

Why Kashmiris want a fair probe into the killings of Pandits, prosecution of guilty

Shared trauma underpins Sikh-Muslim solidarity in Kashmir

Stand with Kashmir statement on Kashmiri Pandits and ongoing aspiration for a pluralistic Jammu and Kashmir

Here is what you need to know about Kashmir: List of readings since Artciel 370 abrogation

Davinder Singh tortured me, told me I had to do small job for him: Afzal Guru letter

RAW used rogue police officer Davinder Singh in operation to infiltrate Hizb

Davinder Singh arrest: The plot thickens

Custody death of a 20 year old is part of cloud over Davinder

NIA to probe  Davinder Singh

Davinder Singh was building a mansion next to army base

Davinder Singh embodies the dark, dirty underbelly of Kashmir’s security apparatus

Kashmir’s tourism faces losses over 9,000 cr; 1.4 lakh people lose jobs

Love in a time of internet shutdown

Gaw Kadal massacre that fueled Kashmir insurgency 30 years ago

Kashmir: Memories of colonial unknowing

J&K police now deploys drones to map Srinagar and conduct ‘surveillance’ in Valley

In Kashmir, an empty bed signifies a life lost

Internet used to watch dirty films in J&K says Aayog member

Kashmiri families struggle to meet those detained far from home

MHA website under reports Kashmir’s population by more than ten times

Mir Shafqat Hussain, People’s lawyer passes away

Indian General talks of deradicalization camps for Kashmiris

Voices of a thirty year war: Book review

HRW: India mounting human Rights abuses

The mainstream is dead, long live the mainstream

In Kashmir, a family’s harrowing quest to prove their son’s death

Kashmir suffers further as ICRC stops humanitarian work

Increased anxiety and sale of antidepressants as Kashmir lockdown continuesIndia’s is abandoning fundamental rights, say US human rights lawyers