Kashmir Crisis Day 160 of the siege, Janauary 11, 2020
In response to petitions filed against the communications blockade and other restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir since August, 5, the Supreme Court of India responded with lofty words on fundamental rights and free speech while failing to apply these principles in Kashmir. The internet blockade the longest ever on record, has ruined people’s lives, disrupting livelihood, education, and medical care. Below is a legal analysis by Kashmir legal scholar, Mirza Saaib Beg
Mirza Saaib Beg
On December 10, nearly 160 days after the Indian government cut off all communication in Kashmir, the Supreme Court of India asked the Indian government to review all blockade orders within 7 days. Given the absolute lack of critical engagement till now, some observers have termed this decision “encouraging” and international media even called it “a blow to the Hindu nationalist government.” However, a closer examination reveals the timid nature of the court’s stand in passing a judgment but not delivering justice. It is imperative to highlight the continued dereliction of duty by the Supreme Court of India by letting the Indian government off the hook.
While the Court has rightly observed that indefinite suspension of rights is an abuse of power and a direct violation of the telecom rules, the judgment refrains from striking it down. No reason has been provided why the order, that continues to inflict collective punishment on Kashmiris, has not been struck down. Having paralysed the lives of 8 million people, the longest shutdown of internet in any democracy is grossly unreasonable and outrageously disproportionate. By refraining from striking down the ban, the Supreme Court of India has underscored the fact that Indian courts treat Kashmir in an anomalous state of emergency where rule of law can be suspended on executive whim.
To add insult to injury, instead of exercising a judicial review, the court has directed an administrative review of the orders passed by government which will be conducted by bureaucrats appointed by the government.
The court has not ruled on the validity of the internet shutdown in Kashmir because the Indian government refused/failed to place the orders before the court, despite being directed to do so. For nearly 100 days no order was made public by the Indian government. There was no order in public domain that informed the public why this ban has been imposed. There was no official communication by the Government on how long it would last. An act that inflicted such sweeping punishment, against free speech, was shrouded in darkness. During the hearing on 16th of October, India’s solicitor General claimed privilege over the orders. He reportedly informed the court that the petitioners had no right to seek the orders since he may be required to withhold them from the petitioners for national security. When the petitioners suggested that the Government wanted to supress the Court from discharging its duties. The Chief Justice of India firmly replied, “we know our duties.”
Ironically, in June 2014, after a month in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted “our democracy will not sustain if we can’t guarantee freedom of speech and expression.”
By deflecting all calls for such disclosure, the Indian government has effectively delayed any opportunity of pursuing a legal remedy. It appears to be an exercise of grotesquely undemocratic means and the Supreme Court of India is vested with the power of judicial review to check such means. If the Supreme Court of India fails to rise to the occasion and exercise its power to ensure appropriate disclosure, it would amount to a repudiation of principles that the Court is expected to stand by.
Additionally, courts in Kashmir have been left in peril as hundreds of Kashmiri lawyers have been arrested, including presidents of various Bar Associations in Kashmir. An impact on democratic freedom can be remedied by the legal system but a dysfunctional legal system will render democratic rights meaningless. The situation is so grave that Chair of the Bar Council of England and Wales, Richard Atkins QC, and Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, Schona Jolly QC, wrote to India’s Prime Minister expressing concern over the arrest of lawyers.
The rights of citizens in the online world have to be treated with the same yardstick as the rights in the offline world. The internet shutdowns are a violation of the Kashmiri peoples’ right to freedom of speech and expression. In this regard, it is imperative to remind India of its international obligations. The reckless actions of the Indian government are in violation of the Article 25 and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1979, India ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which sets forth internationally recognized standards for the protection of freedom of expression. India is also a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. During the current blockade, UN representatives made statements reminding India that the restrictions are “without justification”, and “are inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality.”
As the final arbiter of the law in India, the Supreme Court of India must appreciate that “national interest” as defined by a government in power, is not a ground that qualifies the test of reasonable restriction on fundamental rights and basic human rights.
In a bid to seek legitimacy of its moves in Kashmir and convey a sense of normalcy, amidst increasing questions being raised about the situation in the Valley, India organized a visit of foreign diplomats to Kashmir, a visit termed as a guided tour by opposition members of the Indian Parliament and Kashmiris. Diplomats for Australia, Gulf nations and European Union countries refused to participate in the tour. To this day, Indian politicians are still not allowed to freely visit Kashmir.
Many people, especially from very poor families, continue to remain in detention far away from home, causing enormous difficulties for their families. More than 400 detainees booked under the Public Safety Act remain in detention. Collective punishment of Kashmiris continues since August 5, 2019.
Detainees including those who attempted to protest, political activists and some lawmakers, have been freed only after signing a bond that guaranteed that they will not speak against government policies, or issue any public statements.
A mental health crisis is emerging as a result of the five and a half month long siege. Lack of access to education remains with schools still empty. With no access to the internet, health care continues to suffer and the economy continues to bleed, mostly as a result of the internet ban. There are also increasing communication controls being imposed such as asking people to register their Whatsapp groups with the police. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported a decline of 62% in the handicrafts sector in the last five and half months with 50,000 artisans without work. Losses in other sectors are estimated to be over 1.5 billion
In the media:
Kashmir Crisis update, January 2, Five months, 151 Days of siege
The year 2019 will be marked as a watershed year in the history of Kashmir, a year that almost brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war in February, a year when Kashmiris, particularly Kashmiri students all over India, suffered severe discrimination and violence and curbs on fundamental rights ensued soon after. The year also marked severe curtailment of press freedom, harassment, intimidation, physical assaults, and detention of journalists and a crackdown on all resistance leadership. The August 5 unilateral, undemocratic, unconstitutional, and illegal decision to remove the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories under increased militarization, was long in the making. Since August 5, Kashmir is an open air prison where the population has been under a communications clampdown, and despite Indian government’s claims of “normalcy”, conditions are absolutely abnormal. The new “normal” for Kashmir is captured well in this essay .
To date there have been seven on the ground reports ((Report 1, Report 2, Report 3, Report 4, Report 5, Report 6, Report 7) all uniformly disturbing, documenting: mass detentions of elected officials, doctors, lawyers, and children as young as 12; use of torture and lethal force against civilians; dwindling supplies of life-saving medical treatments and inability of patients to access hospitals; curtailing of religious freedoms; economic and ecological destruction; land grabs; and demographic change.
As per the 2019 annual human rights report by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, released on Dec. 31, 2019, 662 Habeas Corpus petitions (challenging detentions under the Public Safety Act) were registered in 2019 out of which 412 were registered post August 5. As per their report, in 2019, the “judicial processes have not resulted in adjudication of any human rights violation cases.” There have been serious violations of religious rights, most of which remain in place. The internet blockade also continues. Even before August 5, the internet was blocked 54 times in Kashmir. Serious cases of “sexualized torture and gendered violence”, many incidents occurring during cordon and search operations and night raids, have been documented. The report verified 69 killings in different incidents of violence including 33 civilians (out of which 14 were non local civilians), 20 militants and 16 armed forces personnel. Since August there have been no reports of Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) and raids in the local media. Only six CASOs were reported officially but a media report in September recorded 350 CASOs in the Gulmarg area, close to the Line of Control. Since August 5, the JKCCS report records 387 cases of preventive detention under the Public Safety Act, a law that Amnesty International in June 2019 termed as the “lawless law”. These cases of detention involved three former Chief Ministers of the state, who along with other political leaders, remain in custody. Most detainees have been moved to jails around India causing an incredible hardship for the families of detainees, including denial of access to their loved ones. The report documents torture of tens of people and forced labour by armed forces, While enforced disappearances have been difficult to document during the siege, the JKCCS report states, “there are reports of many person (sic) have gone missing since the imposition of siege and clampdown.”
There has been a complete silencing of any dissent by the Government and that ban remains in effect, and the silencing impacts local media as well. While international media reported incidents of torture and abuse, the local media remained silent. Inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees has been reported. Arbitrary and illegal detention of children in violation of the international obligations under the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which India is a signatory, was widespread after August.
Right to health and right to livelihood remains under threat because of the communications blockade. Many of the children were detained for long periods and released without any charges, many juveniles were only released after the community members signed a bond on their behalf, a violation of the CRC code.
As per reports 653 additional companies of Central Armed Police Forces were deployed in Kashmir after August 5, most housed in schools and colleges which have remained non-functional since then. The occupation of land by the army and central reserve police, especially in environmentally sensitive areas of Kashmir have wreaked havoc on the lives of Kashmiris as documented by Kashmir scholars in its report on the indigenous people of Kashmir to the United Nations. Deforestation is at its peak with the Government ordering the clearing of 727 hectares of designated forest land including felling of 1847 trees. Over 60% of this designated forest land will be used for building roads for the army.
Judiciary in Kashmir remains dysfunctional. In many of its decisions the High Court as per the JKCCS report, “has undermined its own powers and sanctity”. The courts since August 5 largely remained deserted as clients and lawyers cannot access the High court for lack of communication and transportation. A sense of fear is prevalent among the lawyers in Kashmir as they are afraid to take on cases which will involve criticism of the government decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status. Current and former President of the Bar Association of Jammu and Kashmir High Court are in detention in prisons outside of Kashmir and two other district Bar Presidents are detained in Srinagar. The General Secretary of the Bar Association was also arrested after he issued a statement that lawyers should plead cases of PSA detainees. None of the lawyers in detention have filed bonds or bail applications for fear that seeking legal recourse will lead to further persecution.
The State Human Rights Commission which offered easy access to people for filing human rights complaints has been disbanded, leaving no mechanism for common people to report their grievances. People who had cases that were pending in the SHRC no longer have any hope of getting justice and are now fearful of reprisals for previously reporting human rights cases.
Kashmir’s economic losses, impacting various sectors—tourism, fruit, handicrafts, IT etc. are estimated at over 2.4 billion.
The ban on foreign journalist, human rights workers, and any impartial observers remains in place. The façade of “normalcy” in the region continues to be promoted through a massive network of fake news and disinformation, aimed at molding opinion of foreign governments in India’s favour. Over 1 million workers lost jobs since Aug. 5, 2019 in a variety of sectors ranging from IT to tourism to retail. The hospitality industry was hardest hit, with data released by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries revealing that nearly 80 percent of 1100 hotels in the valley have been shut. Job losses have been increasing as local jobs that were protected for the indigenous peoples of Kashmir (or “State Subjects”) are now being thrown open to people across India.
Among 152 laws that adversely impact the indigenous population, India has scrapped a 37 year old law that guaranteed the right of return to Kashmiris who fled to Pakistan in 1947-1954. This discriminatory law is one amongst many moves against the indigenous people of Kashmir and intended to facilitate a permanent change in the demography of Kashmir.
Health sector continues to function without access to the internet in spite of repeat demands of doctors to resume access for patient care. Mental health of the populace has reached crisis proportions. The 2015 MSF study identified one in five residents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Given the current conditions, the situation has worsened and most patients are still unable to access care.
Education sector remains crippled. Schools and Colleges are still non-functional. Research work has come to a standstill with many scholars unable to complete their thesis and losing on scholarships and grants because of lack of access to the internet. Students have no access to the internet for filing their forms for competitive exams and receiving important notices. The internet shut down is so far the longest that any “democracy” has ever imposed. Institutions that cater to the poor and needy students, including orphans, are operating with minimal resources and many boarding schools have had to send students back to live with their relatives.
On international human rights day, over 500 women and women’s organizations form thirty countries expressed solidarity with Kashmir.
A second delegation of the Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) of India also issued reports based on their two visits. This delegation was comprised of Yashwant Sinha, former Finance and Foreign Minister of India, Wajahat Habibullah, former National Chief Information Commissioner, Air Vice-Marshall (R) Kapil Kak, and Bharat Bhushan, Senior Journalist issued two reports base on their visits to Kashmir. The CCG made following recommendations to the Indian Government:
1. Release forthwith all Kashmiris who were taken into preventive detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) – whether they are politicians, businessmen, academics, opinion makers or students – if they are not accused of any crime. If there are specific cases against individuals and they have been sent to jails outside the state, they should be brought back and housed locally. It is a punishment for their family members to travel to UP, Delhi, Rajasthan or Haryana to meet the prisoners.
2. Restore all internet and mobile phone connections in J&K. It is immoral to impose a collective punishment on the entire population of a region.
3. Lift all curbs on all peaceful political activity and allow peaceful public protests
4. Lift all restriction on the movement of public and commercial vehicles on the national highways to restore normal road communication links.
5. Alleviate the fears of the Kashmiris about their future by starting a multi- level dialogue process with all those affected by the events following August 5
6. Compensate Kashmiri farmers and businessmen for their economic losses which were the direct result of unilateral action by the government.
7. Restore land rights to the local inhabitants and give up plans of demographic change and last but the most important:-
8. Restore the statehood of J&K by reuniting the two union territories created after August 5.
In the media
Kashmir siege completes four months—Crisis update, December 5, 2019
While the Prime Minister of India had suggested that the situation in Kashmir will return to normal in four months, Kashmir remains under siege had crossed the four month mark. Schools, colleges, and universities, remain closed even as tens of thousands of students have been forced to appear in annual exams. While education remains suspended, and students are depending on private tuitions to keep up with their studies, Kashmir’s educational institutions are being used for housing the armed forces. Classrooms serve as army shelters who are reported to have trashed the premises of every school and college.
Women of Kashmir continue to bear the heaviest burden under India’s lockdown. A 2015 survey of mental health issues in Kashmir by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Srinagar (IMHANS) found that mental health problems had reached epidemic proportions. After Aug 5, as per a psychiatrist, there is a significant increase and recurrence of PTSD symptoms in most patients. And, the lockdown has further exacerbated lack of access to mental health care for those who need it most.
There is no official word on the restoration of internet services which is impacting every aspect of life in Kashmir, especially traders in handicrafts, students and journalists. The government of India defended the internet ban in the Supreme Court calling it an exceptional situation. Businesses that wish to have internet access have been asked to sign a bond stating that the internet services will be solely used for “business purposes.” No encrypted files containing any sort of videos or pictures will be uploaded, no social networking, proxies, VPN’s and wi-fi and that all USB ports will be disabled. Since Kashmiris have been unable to access their internet, on Dec. 4, millions of WhatsApp accounts were automatically deleted.
Based on a conservative estimate by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, Kashmir economy has suffered a loss of 15,000 crores since August, 5. There have been major job losses due to clampdown on internet services and the general clampdown. The worst hit areas include the handicraft industry, tourism, and e-commerce. The handicraft industry alone has suffered losses of 50,000 jobs as artisans are unable to get fresh orders in absence of communication facilities. Hotel and restaurant industry has lost 30,000 jobs and the e-commerce sector close to 10,000 jobs. The government on the other hand continues to claim economic development as a result of abrogation of Article 370 and denies any reports of economic losses. There is also no estimate of the costs incurred for security forces.
Shops and businesses now open late mornings and close by early afternoon. Some public transportation has also resumed. However, school and university buses are still off the roads. Per official reports of the 5,161 people arrested, 609 continue to remain in detention.
Reports of torture of minors continue to pour in, and have been documented.
During the first foreign and ministerial dialogue between Japan and India, the Japanese spokesperson said that Japan examined the situation in Kashmir “very carefully” and that Japan hoped for a peaceful resolution of the issue. Prior to the recent visit of Swedish Royals to India, the Swedish foreign minister issued sharp criticism of India’s Kashmir policy and emphasized the importance for respect for human rights. It urged the Indian government to avoid escalation of the situation and urged India to resolve the Kashmir conflict as per the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
In its 2019 report, Civicus Monitor, an international alliance of civil society organizations, has downgraded India’s civic space rating from “obstructed” to “repressed”. Civicus expressed deep concern over the clampdown on civic space in Kashmir. The report states that “the people of Jammu and Kashmir have long suffered violations of their fundamental freedoms. Instead of ensuring justice and accountability for these abuses, the government has resorted to increasing its repression with arbitrary detentions and restrictions on access to information.”
Eight advocates in their jointly filed written submissions to the Supreme Court have challenged the constitutionality and legality of Kashmir lockdown. The petitioners say that the state’s case on Kashmir lockdown fails “test of proportionality” and that the case has “internal contradictions.” The petitioners also claim that the State has place incorrect facts before the court. Complete reports of daily hearings in the Kashmir case can be found here. For an update on justice and legal developments on Kashmir case, please see detailed report published by Kashmir Scholars.
The threat of land grab is close to becoming a reality as government is creating a “land bank” as outside companies are lining up with investment proposals. The new registration act also changes the authorities who control registration of land transactions. The government has opened a new department to register land transactions which will now replace the former revenue department in Jammu and Kashmir. This decision touches on one of the major changes resulting from the Aug 5 decision. Under the reorganization act, land sale is no longer restricted to state subjects. There is growing opposition to the transfer if registration powers by lawyers in Jammu.
At a private gathering in New York, India’s Consul General, called for an ‘Israel model’ of settlements for Kashmir, and openly advocated for erasure of the identity of Kashmiri Muslims
In the media:
Kashmir crisis update: Note on Access to Justice and Legal Developments , December 4, 2019
Statements and Fact Finding Reports
- On 31st October 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 which divides the disputed territory under Indian control into two directly administered Union Territories came into effect. It was accompanied by a notification for the continuance of President’s Rule, and a spate of new executive orders including orders abolishing the Upper House of the State Legislature, dissolving state human rights institutions, reorganising critical infrastructure provision departments , changing land registration procedures, and enacting that rules relating to conduct of business by government departments under to Jammu Kashmir Constitution, 1956 would henceforth be under the new States Reorganisation act. The UN Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights’ press briefing note of 29 October 2019 on Indian – Administered Kashmir noted that “the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, the State Information Commission (which implements the right-to-information laws) and the State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights are among key institutions being wound up, with the new bodies to replace them yet to be established.” In addition to the bodies mentioned, the J&K State Commission for Persons with Disabilities (constituted under the J&K Right of Persons with Disability Act 2018) has also been wound up.The delay of over three months for the hearing of time-sensitive cases pertaining to the changes in the legal and constitutional scheme and and the refusal to grant an interim stay against such far reaching, adverse and possibly irreversible state actions before the new legal regime came into effect on 31st October is particularly concerning.The UN Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights’ press briefing note of 29 October 2019 on Indian – Administered Kashmir took note of the constant delays and deferrals by the India Supreme Court in hearing urgent matters concerning deprivation of fundamental human rights of Kashmiris. It stated “The Supreme Court of India has been slow to deal with petitions concerning habeas corpus, freedom of movement and media restrictions.”
- Absence of due process, unconscionable delays and systemic denial of access to legal remedies, resulting in impunity for state perpetrators of grave and continuing human rights violations and international crimes, continues to be an issue of serious international concern. Preventive arrests which afford minimal legal remedies for bail or release continue to be a pervasive pattern. Latest official figures tabled by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Indian parliament indicated 5161 people have been preventively detained in Kashmir valley in since 4 August 2019. These include individuals profiled as “stone pelters, miscreants, OGWs (overground workers), separatists and political workers.”
- On 21 November 2019, the Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales wrote a strongly worded letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing serious concerns about the state of “near collapse” of the Justice system in Kashmir amidst alarming reports of rights violations including the illegal detentions of senior lawyers of the Jammu and Kashmir bar. It cited the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990) which require states to ensure that lawyers are free to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference. It stated that the prevailing circumstances of restrictions of mobility, reprisals, illegal detention and intimidation of lawyers, and blockading of communications in Jammu and Kashmir had resulted in a lack of availability of effective legal representation and hindered the right to a fair and speedy trial. And further that “In circumstances in which grave and widespread human rights violations are being alleged, disabling the justice system substantially compounds the crisis.” They also expressed concern that delays in access to justice on critical human rights’ concerns would defeat the essence of the rights in question. They called on the Indian state to allow independent investigators entry into Kashmir to ensure accountability for its actions under international law, and to take urgent steps to lift all restrictions, restore internet and communications and publish the names of all individuals, including lawyers who have been detained.
- Amnesty International issued a Situation Update and Analysis on 31 October 2019, documenting familiar patterns of mass, arbitrary and indefinite detentions of political dissenters particularly under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code which allows for preventive arrests. Lawyers interviewed by Amnesty International India stated that most of their clients do not have copies of PSA detention orders which hinders them from filing habeas corpus petitions in courts. Many others do not have access to lawyers, especially when they are lodged in jails outside Kashmir
- A Fact Finding Report Imprisoned Resistance released on 4 November 2019, by an 11 member delegation of Indian human rights lawyers, trade unionists and civil society activists provides detailed observations on the prevailing lack of access to Justice in Kashmir. Their findings are based on their visits the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, several District Courts and other quasi judicial institutions in Kashmir valley. Besides widespread arbitrary, undocumented and incommunicado detentions including of children, mass preventive detentions without charge, illegal night raids, cases of torture and excessive use of force, the report focusses specifically on access to justice issues and highlights the arbitrary detention, illegal surveillance and reprisals on lawyers, delays and lack of functioning judicial instutions due to curfews and other undeclared restructions on mobility and communication including the postal service, and forms of collective punishment using the law. The report highlights the pervasive misuse of preventive detention provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Sec 107, Cr Pc) to force “profiled” individuals, particularly youth and male children to sign personal bonds, or provide collective guarantees of “good behaviour” from village elders as a pre-condition to their release.
Judicial Proceedings in the Supreme Court of India
- There are several cases presently being heard by the Indian Supreme Court relating to the events of 5 August 2019 and its aftermath.
(i) Writ Petitions challenging the constitutionality of the changes to Article 370 and Article 35 A that effectively repealed Jammu and Kashmir legislative autonomy
More than twenty Writ Petitions have been filed on the question of the constitutional validity of the Indian Parliament’s abrogation of Article 370 by amending the definition of Article 368 of the Constitution. Petitions have also challenged the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 and various executive orders issued under it. Petitioners include politicians (including those currently under illegal detention), political parties, retired bureaucrats and defence officials, and well-known Indian civil liberties group, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). While most of the Petitions argue that the amendments were unconstitutional, a few Petitions have also been filed by private parties upholding the constitutionality of the state’s actions. On 28 September 2019 the Supreme Court set up a special five judge Constitutional Bench to hear these petitions, after several unproductive hearings. On 9 November 2019, the Centre filed its response affidavit avering that Article 370 was neither in the national interest nor in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir, reiterating highly contentitious and unsubstantiated claims on under- development, gender discrimination, “secessionism” and “terrorism” apparently caused by the existence of the “special status”. It further stated that the procedure adopted for the abrogation was constitutionally permissible. On 13 November 2019, Petitioners filed a rejoinder affidavit, countering the state’s arguments and stating that the case required a judicial interpretation of “the nature, scope and limits of President’s rule in a democracy” and that the state could not “hide behind the veil of policy arguments”. On the last date of hearing 14 November 2019, the Court once again adjourned the case providing the State further time to file its additional response to new Petitions that have been filed, while disallowing the filing of any further pleas related to the question. The matter is now listed to be heard on 10 December 2019.
(ii) Writ Petitions challenging the constitutionality of the restrictions on civil liberties and fundamental freedoms
On November 27, a three judge bench of Supreme Court finished hearing substantive arguments in two connected cases challenging the legality of the restrictions imposed in the aftermath of August 5. The cases have now been reserved for judgment.The hearings in the Supreme Court between 6 November and 27 November covered issues of declared and undeclared emergencies, necessity and proportionality of restrictions on fundamental freedoms, and the Supreme Court’s power to judicially review executive decisions made on national security grounds. Of the cases that have been heard the first petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Editor and Executive Director of Kashmir Times, focussed on how the restrictions on communication and movement violated the freedom of the press in Kashmir. The Foundation for Media Professionals, Indian Journalists Union, and some other individuals have intervened in Anuradha Bhasin’s petition to support press freedom. The second petition was filed by politician and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad about the impact of the restrictions on the right to healthcare, education and livelihood. The cases primarily concerned the legal validity of two sets of administrative orders, (i) Under the Telecom Suspension Rules 2017 for suspension of landline, voice calls, SMS services, broadband internet and mobile internet in Kashmir. (ii) Under Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code imposing restrictions on mobility and public gatherings. Another plea filed by Dr. Sameer Kaul on the immediate restoration of internet in hospitals had earlier not been admitted by the Supreme Court on grounds that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court was a more suitable forum to decide the case. On 24 October 2019, after months of delay the state of Jammu and Kashmir filed a “limited response” to the Petition justifying the restrictions on grounds of the prevalence of “cross border terrorism” and “militancy” in the state, drawing links between such militancy and the occurence of street protests, and stating that the internet and communications shutdown and “pre-emptive measures” under section 144 CrPC were necessary to maintain law and order, and had been by and large succesful in achieving this objective. According to the government’s affidavit, day time movement restrictions were eased in 35 out of 105 police stations in Kashmir on 17 August and they were completely removed in all 105 police stations only by 27 September, i.e almost two months after their initial imposition on 5 August. However, even as on date, there continue to be night time movement restrictions in certain areas. On 20 November 2019, the state filed a further status report on the prevailing situation, stating that the situation was almost back to normal citing statistics on the restoration of phone lines, availability of internet at five star hotels and government facilities and availability of public transportation. It also referred to the extension of local governance and affirmative action provisions of the Indian Constitution as the justification for the amendments.
(iii) Writ Petitions on Illegal detentions, including Habeas Corpus Petitions; and Public Interest Litigation regarding the illegal detention of children.
Several family members and friends of individuals under illegal or preventive detention had filed habeas corpus pleas on their behalf challenging their house arrests/ detentions in the weeks following the imposition of restrictions, however only one such Habeas Corpus Petition that of businessman Mubeen Shah currently remains pending as the rest have either been dismissed by the Court or withdrawn by Petitioners. The Supreme Court has faced criticism for its approach in these cases, which has consisted primarily of “permitting” Petitioners to meet the detainee, and report back to the Court, without requiring the state to disclose the grounds of detention or produce the detained individual.
In the case concerning the detention of Member of Indian Parliament Farooq Abdullah filed by a fellow MP Vaiko, asking that he be produced before the Court and be permitted to attend a conference in Chennai, the state converted his undocumented house arrest into a Public Safety Act detention immediately after it received notice of the habeas corpus petition. On 29 September the Petition was dismissed on the basis that “nothing remained” in it, since state had detained him under the Public Safety Act. This follows a well established pattern of illegal detentions in Jammu and Kashmir, where a legal challenge to an illegal detention results its formalisation and escalation into a dreaded PSA detention order, and cycles of revolving door detentions involving multiple cases, making people afraid of seeking legal remedies for illegal detentions. This was also recently documented by the Eleven member Fact finding delegation.
In the case concerning the detention of businessman Mubeen Shah, filed by his wife Asifa Mubeen before the Supreme Court on 20 September, the Supreme Court on 24 October, directed the Petitioner to approach the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for relief, as there was already a pending petition in the High Court (filed without the Petitioner’s knowledge). Thereafter the Petition in the High Court was withdrawn and the Supreme Court on 5 November adjourned the matter for two further weeks, for the State to file its response. Mr Shah who is very unwell, has been held in preventive detention in Agra Central Jail since the night of 4 August 2019. An initial preventive detention order on “public order” grounds under the PSA , which the state claims it imposed on 7 August is valid only for three months , subject to extensions by the state. This means the initial order would have lapsed on 7 November.
In addition to the individual illegal detention cases, child rights expert, Enakshi Ganguly and Professor Shanta Sinha, Former Chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the illegal deprivations of the right to life and liberty of Kashmiri children, based on media reports of illegal detentions of children, some as young as ten years old. On 20 September the Court had directed the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee to inquire into the allegations of illegal detention of children. Instead of carrying out an independent inquiry the JJ Committee, relied on a widely criticised report by the Director General of Police, which refuted credible media accounts, claiming “strict adherence is placed on the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act”. But the same report went on to admit that 144 children under 18 years of age, the youngest aged 9 years had been “picked up” by police between August 5 and September 23, but released shortly, that as many as 75 children had been preventively detained under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, and 9 sent to observation homes as a “preventive measure” although preventive detention is expressly disallowed by the Juvenile Justice Act. The Petitioners then filed a rejoinder questioning the JJ Committee’s findings and methodology. Dissatisfied with the Committee’s Report on 5 November the Supreme Court ordered it to file a fresh, more detailed report. The matter is now listed to be heard on 3 December 2019.
Judicial Proceedings in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Trial Courts
According to a credible ground report filed by a local journalist, court officials stated that 1438 new cases were filed in the High Court Srinagar from August 5 until November 17, 2019, including 1069 civil cases and 369 Habeas Corpus petitions. A senior lawyer stated that most of the Habeas Corpus Petitions filed against Public Safety Act (PSA) detention Orders were based on “old cases”.
In the first order in a Habeas Corpus case filed regarding the undocumented “house arrest” of a family members of a politician after 5 August, the High Court dismissed the Petition asking the Petitioners to “prove (his) arrest by evidence” before a “proper forum” and in “appropriate proceeding.” The order came after a reply filed by police on October 23 that the political family were neither under house arrest nor had their liberty been curbed. The Court accepted the police version at face value, and rejected the Petitioner’s plea to adduce evidence and witnesses, stating that such inquiry could not be conducted by a Writ Court, despite substantial precedents to the contrary, particularly in cases involving the fundamental rights to life and liberty.
The Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association in Srinagar, a body with 1600 members, continues to be on strike protesting the arrest of its senior office bearers, including President Miyan Qayoom and Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Bhat. The Bar Association has appointed a special panel of lawyers to appear in matters concerning the life and liberty of individuals including Habeas Corpus Petitions and bail.Lawyers continued to report unconscionable delays in the hearing of Habeas Corpus Petition, in violation of case flow management rules which say that such cases must be decided within 15 days. Regular work in the trial court including hearings in cases of under trials was severely effected with an absence of prosecutorial and court staff until 20 October causing delays and backlogs. Trial court lawyers reported on the use of the preventive detention provisions under the Criminal Procedure Code as a means of collective punishments and indefinite detentions, through coercing suspects into signing illegal bonds of “good behaviour” and illegally holding them in custody unless they, or their guarantors , who may be family members or village do so on their behalf. Lawyers also reported an increase in the number of arrests under the draconian anti-terror legislation the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which allows for extra ordinary police powers and pre-trial detentions for up to 180 days.
Kashmir crisis update: Day 106 of Kashmir Siege, November 18, 2019
Passing the hundred day mark of loss of autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the lockdown of Kashmir Valley enters its 106th day. Kashmir is still without all internet services, SMS text and prepaid phone service. Heads of various government offices have received notice to submit an undertaking to the police for use of internet services. Schools, colleges and universities remain nonfunctional. Students are required to appear in Board examinations in spite of no instruction for three and a half months. Public transport still remains largely suspended and businesses remain mostly closed. Life came to stand still in Kashmir due to an early heavy snowfall leaving the populace without electricity for several days in severe cold temperatures.
In this time religious freedom has been severely curtailed with no prayers at the main grand mosque of Srinagar, Jamia Masjid, no prayers and gatherings at key religious festivals at Naqshband sahib, Hazratbal, and Chrar Sharief.
As per government’s admission, 6500 individuals were arrested after August 5, of whom 1200 remain in detention.
Hospital conditions are deteriorating and patient care has suffered a huge set back because of lack of access to the internet. Reports of increase in various forms of mental illness has been reported. communication blackout and being disconnected from family and friends has worsened the alienation of ordinary citizens, especially women and children.
Through the Jammu and Kashmir reorganization Act, the government of India has repealed 153 State Acts, including some that were far stronger than the Central Acts. Among the 153 are Acts through which the Human Rights Commission, Commission for Persons with Disability, Information Commission, Consumer Commission, Women and Child Rights Commission, Accountability Commission and Electricity Regulatory Commission were constituted. It is reported that close to 4000 cases were pending in these statutory bodies when the J&K Reorganizations Act was passed, putting the appellants’ quest for justice on hold. During the reorganization, there has been complete disregard for the issues of common people whose cases are pending under these various Commissions.
The Supreme Court of India has deferred all hearings on the challenge to the Abrogation of Article 370 until December, 10.
Reports of illegal detentions under the Public Safety Act, a lawless law under which a person can be detained for up to two years without bail, continue. Families of minors who have been detained allege that authorities pick up their children and even ask them to pay for the food to be served to their kids while in detention. Torture of minors in detention has also been reported. The government continues denying that there have been any arrests or detention of minors and has raised objections in a case filed before the Supreme Court. The government claimed that the cases were “based upon a falsehood”. Yet, the analysis of police’s own report submitted via the juvenile justice committee of the J&K high court last month provides evidence of arrest and detention of minors, verifying the claims of petitioners as well as media reports. With the justice system in a limbo, justice for victims remains elusive. Several senior advocates continue to remain under detention under the Public Safety Act. In most cases there is no available paperwork making it hard to fight for the release of detainees. Threats and extortion are used to silence the families of detainees. Given the breakdown in postal services and public transportation, petitioners have no way of knowing when the cases will be heard and when to be present at the court.
While the government of India claims all of Ladakh region is happy with the recent changes, people of Ladakh reject changes in property ownership. They are concerned about ecological and demographic changes and are demanding safeguards to protect the local population.
Journalists in Kashmir continue to work in impossible conditions and reports of abuse of journa
lists continue to pour in. Reporters without Boarders (RSF) released a series of videos documenting the conditions imposed on reporters. Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk said that the stories of journalists were shocking. “Technological obstruction, surveillance, intimidation and arrests – everything is designed to ensure that only the New Delhi-promoted version of events is being heard. The Kashmir Valley’s population has been buried in a news and information black hole for the past 100 days. This situation is a disgrace to Indian democracy.”
On November 14th. , a US Congressional Hearing was held on human rights violations in Kashmir calling for an end to the lockdown and allowing the people of Kashmir to determine their political future. The Commission also stressed that India should allow foreign journalists and human rights workers to investigate the situation on the ground in Kashmir. In response, India’s external affairs minister continues to refuse foreign journalists access suggesting “their presence could incentivize some Kashmiris to show there is agitation in the Valley.”
Academics are beginning to speak out on behalf of their Kashmiri colleagues impacted by the lockdown. On Nov. 12, the ten thousand member strong American Anthropology Association called on the Indian government to remove the communication ban and to “restore free exchange of scholarship and ideas vital to a functioning democracy.”
On October 30th, an eleven member team comprising advocates, trade union and human rights activists, and a psychiatrist, published a report based on their fact finding visit to Kashmir. The key conclusions and recommendations of the report include the following:
- Recognise that a dispute exists between peoples of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian government.
- Repeal the Jammu &
Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 and the Armed Forces (Jammu &
Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990.
- Withdraw all army and para-military forces from civilian areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Open a transparent unconditional dialogue with the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir and their representatives so as to address peoples’ aspirations to determine and define their own destinies through democratic means and to find a political solution that respects the democratic will of the people in accordance with human rights and international law.
In the media
Eight eight days and counting: October 30, 2019
October 30, marks eighty five days of the siege and communications clampdown in Kashmir. In another day, the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be officially bifurcated and turned into a Union territory of India.
In the Valley, public transportation remains suspended, internet blocked, schools, colleges and universities nonfunctional, and only postpaid mobile phones and some land lines are working. Accounts of detentions in faraway lands, torture and harassment as well as forced labour continue to pour in. There is reported increase in mental health illness as a result of the curfew, confirming reports of the fact finding missions to date.
On Oct. 25, Asif Sultan, an imprisoned Kashmiri journalist was honoured in absentia with the International Press freedom award. The Committee to Protect Journalists says India uses opaque legal process to suppress Kashmiri Journalism and commentary on twitter.
Several institutions including the J&K Human Rights commission, State Information commission (which implements the right-to-information laws), Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights, and Commission for Persons with Disabilities, are some of the key institutions being shut down as of October, 31.
The Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce estimates losses to the tune of over 1.6 billion US dollars. The economy has suffered tremendously especially because of lack of internet connectivity, making basic transactions an impossibility. Given the economic downturn, even those in Jammu who favoured the abrogation of Article 370, especially transporters and other business people, are regretful of their initial euphoria, and report being silenced by the government. Minorities in Jammu region, especially students from Muslim minority communities are feeling unsafe and targeted by supporters of the ruling BJP.
The Association of the Parents of the Disappeared People published an important report on blinding by metal shot guns used on protesters and ordinary people.
For the first time we also have a report from the tireless human rights activist, lawyer, and convener of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Mr. Parvaiz Imroz. He reports that the level of fear and suffocation by the army is unprecedented. All the government institutions have been paralyzed, including the courts. Imroz also states that the Judiciary is not following its own laws, especially in habeas corpus petitions, making the judicial institutions irrelevant. Besides the formally recorded detentions, Mr. Imroz estimates indiscriminate detention of between 20,000 to 30,000 youth.
The army seizes identity cards of ordinary citizens, and families of detainees, as ransom. To recover their identity cards, they are required to appear at army camps where they risk detention, torture, extortion, and/or bonded labour. Informal ways of collective punishment are being used to inflict fear and to prevent any expression of protest. Most young people do not even stay in their homes for fear of being detained. Jails such as Agra central prison refuse to provide details of detainees even under the Right to Information procedures.
While all political parties opted out, BJP held Block Development elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
On October 29, in a bid to create a false sense of “normalcy” in the Valley where nothing is normal, a group of right wing European Parliament (EP) members were brought on a private tour to Kashmir. EP member, Chris Davies, called it a “PR stunt for the Modi government.” The purpose of the trip, as well as the sponsor of the trip, have been called into question by other members of EP, Indian politicians, and civil society. Kashmir Scholars wrote to the European Union members expressing their concern over this false promotional visit. Even though the students have been out of school for three months, and their syllabi incomplete, on Oct 29, the students of Grade 10 were required by the government to appear in their Board examinations, once again presenting a sense of false normalcy to the visiting EP team.
The spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement of concern stating that the UN body remains, “extremely concerned that the population of Indian-Administered Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights” and urging “the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied.” OHCHR also expressed concern over the delay in considering habeas corpus petitions pending in the Supreme Court, freedom of movement and media restrictions. They also noted that “most serious underlying issues which remain to be addressed, including impunity for past violations by Indian security forces” that were outlined in the two previous reports by the UN Human Rights Office in July 2019 and June 2018.
Six US law makers wrote to the Indian Ambassador seeking free access to Kashmir for foreign media. “We believe true transparency can only be achieved when journalists and members of Congress are allowed free access to the region. We encourage India to open Jammu and Kashmir to both domestic and foreign journalists, and other international visitors, in the interest of open media and increased communication,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
On October, 22, the first ever Congressional Hearing on Kashmir was held in the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee. Representatives of the US government testified at the hearing and also submitted written statements. Arti tikoo Singh and Mr. Ravi Batra, testified on behalf of India. Professors Nitasha Kaul and Angana Chatterji, both of whom have conducted extensive research in Kashmir and written extensively about the Kashmir conflict, were called in as experts witnesses, along with Francisco Bencosme of Amnesty International. All witness statements can be accessed here
On 27th October, vigils for Kashmir were held all around the world to mark the day when Indian army first landed in Kashmir.
National Women’s Studies Association takes a strong stand on Kashmir
Day 70 of Kashmir under siege : October 14, 2019
The Kashmir siege completes day seventy, life in Kashmir remains disrupted. To date, we now have five on the ground fact finding reports from members of the Indian civil society
All reports have been uniformly disturbing, including mass detentions of elected officials, doctors, lawyers, and children as young as five; use of torture and lethal force against civilians; sexual violence and abuse by the armed forces; dwindling supplies of life-saving medical treatments and inability of patients to access hospitals; and curtailing of religious freedoms.
While most people remain disconnected with no phone or internet and students have had no access to schools for over two months, announcements of final exams to held in October and November have shocked the students who feel unprepared for exams upon which rest their future careers.
While the government claims that all is normal is Kashmir, it takes out advertisements in local newspapers asking people to resume normal lives
Although the Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police claims that there is no child under illegal detention in the state. The J&K Juvenile justice Committee has submitted its report to the Supreme Court. As per the police report, 144 juvenile, including children 9 and 11, were arrested since August 5. Detainees continue to be sent far away from home. Special rules and laws imposed on the people of Kashmir clearly demonstrate that Kashmir is not by any means part of that one nation, one constitution claim made by the government of India.
Kashmir siege enters third month and normalcy remains a distant dream
Kashmir Crisis Day 60, October 3, 2019–Two months of siege continues
On day 60 of the siege, normal life remains disrupted in the Kashmir Valley. While the Indian home Minister claims that there are no restrictions in Kashmir, the ground reality is starkly different. Main markets and business establishments sometimes open only for a couple of hours in the mornings. Schools, colleges, and universities remain closed. Indian paramilitary forces occupy educational institutions in the Valley. Public transport remains off the streets and mobile and internet services remain suspended. Land lines work only in some areas, calling the land lines from outside the Valley remains very difficult. Cut off from hospitals, residents treat serious pellet injuries in homes. For the injured youth, going to a hospital can lead to arrest. Illegal detention of children and youth in large numbers and allegations of abuse and torture continue.
On October 1st. the Supreme Court of India conducted hearings on various cases related to Jammu and Kashmir without showing any urgency in addressing them. The Court appears to be ignoring the wholesale suspension of civil rights in Kashmir.
The three types of cases in front of the court include cases about the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganization of J&K, cases challenging the restrictions imposed in J&K following the moves of August 5, and habeas corpus petitions filed challenging the detention of various people.
The Court decided that the cases related to abrogation and reorganization will be heard on Nov. 14th, two weeks after the changes take effect. This effectively signals that the court is not interested in deciding the constitutionality of the issue of abrogation of Article 370, or the reorganization of the state. The restriction cases will be heard on Oct 16th only if the Govt. of India decides to respond to these cases by then. So far the Govt. has shown no interest or urgency in responding. And, the detention cases may be heard mid-October. The Supreme Court keeps giving the Govt. of India extended time to respond to some simple questions about why they have levelled restrictions, and the Govt. continues delaying their response. Lawyers are saying that the Indian authorities are flouting the basic legal procedures for preventive detention and are detaining people “under grounds that are vague to the point of absurdity.”
In J&K the High Court is dysfunctional, operating at half its strength, hence further impeding the process of justice as there are 250 writs of habeas Corpus before the Court.
While there are widespread reports of illegal detention of children, the Govt. continues to deny such reports in their official response.
International concern over the siege of Kashmir is mounting. In the US, a statement, addressed to Prime Minister Modi, was issued jointly by Congressmen Gilbert R Cisneros, Jr, Judy Chu, Pramila Jayapal, Carolyn Maloney, Gerald Connolly, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, Al Green, Zoe Lofgren, Andy Levin, Mike Levin, James P McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, and Katie Porter. “On behalf of thousands of families across the country who have been unable to contact family in Jammu and Kashmir, we are urging Prime Minister Modi to lift the communications blackout and address the ongoing humanitarian concerns,” the lawmakers said in the joint statement.
UK opposition passed Kashmir resolution, and called for international intervention.
At the United Nations General Assembly meeting, the Prime Ministers of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia raised the issue of Kashmir. The Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir of the Organization of Islamic Countries issued a statement denouncing the Indian action of abrogating Article 370 in Kashmir as “inconsistent with international law, applicable UN Security Council resolutions and India’s own solemn commitments to implement UNSC resolutions.” The statement expressed grave concern over the human rights situation and stated that, “India’s actions aim to change the identity and demographic composition of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir and to transform it from a Muslim-majority state into Hindu-majority territory.”
Alice Wells, the top State Department official for South Asia commented on the Kashmir situation and said, “We hope to see rapid action — the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained”. She also acknowledged that while PM Modi had rejected outside intervention, President Trump “was willing to mediate if asked by both parties.” On October 22, Ms. Wells is due to testify at a US Congressional subcommittee hearing on human rights situation with focus on Kashmir.
Worldwide protests have continued. The largest gathering of protesters was in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly session on September 27th.
Hundreds of US scholars issued a call for democracy, freedom, dignity, self-determination and justice in Jammu and Kashmir. Artists, filmmakers, and creative workers from around the world issued a Kashmir solidarity statement. Seven hundred and eighty one Indian scientists and academics also issued two statements urging the Modi Govt. to end Kashmir’s communication blockade.
Kashmir Crisis, Day 50, September 22, 2019
Lockdown and collective punishment of the Kashmiri people continues. There has been no change on the ground. Freedom of expression, movement, and gathering, remains suspended. Shortages of medicine and other essential supplies remains. Hospitals continue to be inaccessible for those dependent on public transportation and other essential services such as ambulances and fire services are out of reach because of the communications blockade. All schools, colleges and universities remain shut. Thousands of detainees remain in prisons, most far away from Kashmir. And new reports of torture have emerged. A teenager has reportedly committed suicide after he was allegedly beaten by the Indian army.
The communication blockade, directly in violation of Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, continues. The blackout has caused enormous suffering for all sections of the Kashmir society, especially for those Kashmiris who live away from Kashmir, and are unable to be in touch with their loved ones. The United Nations has described the communications black out as “a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence.”
Over five hundred Indian scientists and academics issued a statement expressing concern over the communication black out, as well as the human rights situation on the ground.
Over fifty US lawmakers have raised concerns over human rights violations in Kashmir. Bernie Sanders, Beto O’ Rourke, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Andy Levin, Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep. Rashid Tlaib. Sherrod Brown and Rep Don Beyer, Rep. Jans Chakowsky all issued statements expressing concern about the situation in Kashmir. Member of European Parliament, Theresa Griffin, The French Green Party, head of Turkish parliament’s Human Rights Commission, among others, also expressed concern over the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.
Nobel Laureate Malala Yusufzai urged the UN to help Kashmiri children return to schools. Other Nobel Laureates, Mairead Maguire, Tawakol Karman, and Shirin Ebadi in their letter to the Gates Foundation with regard to conferring an award to Prime Minister Modi, expressed grave concern over the siege in Kashmir. They highlighted the communication blackout and other human rights abuses which especially deprive children and youth from education.
Lawyers around India are filing litigation in various courts, including the Supreme Court of India, challenging the suspension of Article 370, as well as the communication blockade. The response of the court has not been encouraging. No orders/remarks have been passed by the courts against the actions of the Government of India. The Supreme Court has essentially accepted the submission of the attorney General of India that the communication ban is required for security reasons, citing “national interest.” Senior counsels have been asking the court for the law/orders under which the communication ban has been issued. Instead of directing the Government’s counsel to provide information, the Supreme Court has been hesitant in pushing the Government on providing explanations.
In Kashmir the legal system has come to halt. At a time when lawyers are needed most, they have been in short supply. Since the detention of prominent lawyers of Kashmir, most of the 1050 member Kashmir Bar Association members have been on strike. The president of the Bar Association of Kashmir, Mian Abdul Qayoom, has been jailed since August 5th as is the former president of the High Court Bar, Nazir Ahmad Ronga. Since then, Fayad Sodagar, President of Anantnag District Bar Association and Abdul Salam Rather of the Baramulla District Bar Association have been detained under the Public Safety Act. In Shopian District Court Advocate Zubair Ahmed Bhat, and his father Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, a senior advocate have also been detained. The detention of lawyers is seen as a means of intimidating the members of the Bar Association. Many lawyers are reluctant to file habeas corpus petitions for fear of reprisal. Since August 5, 250 habeas corpus petitions have been filed in the Kashmir Valley by individuals challenging their detention by the government under the draconian Public Safety Act.
All media activity, including the publication of newspapers remains curtailed. New restrictions were placed on journalists preventing them from accessing communication facilities and reporting freely and independently. In spite of proper documentation and curfew passes, movement of journalists is restricted by security forces. Many local journalists are routinely harassed at security check points and their vehicles seized by security forces. Anuradha Bhasin, editor of the Kashmir times, who had earlier filed a law suit in the Supreme Court of India against curbs on press freedom in Jammu and Kashmir, has filed an additional affidavit regarding the continued blockade of communication.
Reports of Human rights violations against children are reportedly continuing. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir Scholars network issued an open letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council member states seeking urgent debate on the human rights crisis in Kashmir and to work towards the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Prime Minister Modi faces a federal lawsuit in Houston Texas for alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.
Kashmir Crisis update: Day 39, September 12, 2019
Kashmir crisis update September 4, 2019
Kashmir completes one month of siege. The situation on the ground remains unchanged. The communications blockade continues even though the Government claims that it has restored a few land line exchanges in some areas. People remain cut off from each other in the Valley, and from others outside the Valley. Hospitals and other essential services remain inaccessible, schools, colleges and universities remain shut. Freedom of movement, gathering and expression, and basic living with dignity continues to be denied. The clampdown on media also continues. Revolving detention of youth and severe torture of detainees has been reported by the BBC. Various international bodies condemn the ongoing siege of Kashmir and lawmakers from the US and Europe express their concern. A team of journalists from the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) and Free Speech Collective (FSC) release a report on the state of media in Kashmir (see the report below)
Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, said in an op-ed in The New York Times that “if the world does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, there will be consequences for the whole world as two nuclear-armed states get ever closer to a direct military confrontation.”
Day 21 of the Indian siege: 25 August 2019
“Valley in total paralysis” for three weeks now: The
shutdown has been going on since 5 August, with most services, business and
News from inside Kashmir is very limited as communication blockade is still
ongoing with internet services and mobile networks still down. Some landlines
in some areas seem to be operating during short intervals.
The curfew is still in place in large part of Kashmir; it has been eased in
some areas in rural Kashmir and Srinagar to and from last couple of days –
though reports state that they were tightened on Friday (23 August 2019) after
calls for demonstrations to UNMOGIP office. The roads to the UNMOGIP office
Protests took place on Friday (23 August 2019) in different parts of
The Civil Secretariat in Srinagar failed to hoist the Jammu and Kashmir flag
for the first time in 67 years today.
At least three deaths are reported due to asphyxiation from tear gas when
Indian troops fired tear gas shells into houses. Indian troops have been firing
tear gas and chili powder into homes for years, besides smashing windows.
Injuries from pellet guns are reported, along with the arrest of those injured
if they seek treatment in hospitals. Many of the injured are staying away from
hospitals for this reason.
In Soura neighborhood, residents have blocked the streets against army
patrols to prevent them from seizing children.
Peerzada Ashiq, The Hindu (250819): Kashmir’s
Civil Secretariat lowers separate Jammu and Kashmir flag after 67 years
Arun Sharma, The Indian Express (250819): ‘My
children are there, I’m here…’
News 18 Kashmir Dispatch 11 Valley
Running Out of Medicines With No Fresh Supply Coming, Say Doctors
Ishtiaq Ahmed Shauq, The First Post (240819): Adivasis
and the Indian State: Facing govt apathy and discrimination, Kashmir’s Gujjar
Bakarwal tribe struggles to preserve nomadic way of life
Ishfaq Naseen, The Telegraph (240819):
‘It took us days to even find out he was dead’ – Kashmiris blocked from burying
the dead as India reimposes unprecedented curfew
The Wire (240819): Delegation
of Opposition Leaders Sent Back from Srinagar
The New York Times (230819): India’s
Move in Kashmir: More Than 2,000 Rounded Up With No Recourse
Adnan Bhat, TRT World (230819): India’s
clampdown and communication blackout destroys Kashmir economy
Soumya Shankar, Foreign Policy (230819): Kashmiris
Won’t Stay Silent Forever
Karan Deep Singh, Ahmer Khan, Neil Collier and Ben Laffin , New York Times
(August 2019): What’s
Happening in Kashmir? Our Cameras Contradict India’s Official Story
Elyse Samuels, The Washington Post (230819): Kashmir:
The Indian government vs. the facts on the ground
Thewire.in (230819) More
Than 150 Tear Gas, Pellet Injury Cases at Two Srinagar Hospitals
Commentary and analysis
The Citizen (250819): 21
Days of Curfew – ‘Where Even Stones Weep’
Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Jamal Aziz, Muhammad Oves Anwar, Ayesha Malik and Shayan
Ahmed Khan, Research Society of International Law (August 2019): Legal
Memorandum:The Status of Jammu & Kashmir under International Law
Sumaiya Shaikh, Amit Gupta and Rajiv Kumar, The Print (240819): Lancet
has always written on conflict zones & health. Why should Kashmir be an
Shubh Mathur, Foreign Policy in Focus (220819): This time,
the world is watching in Kashmir
Fozia Nazir Lone, TRT World (230819): The
BJP has marched into a legal bind over Kashmir’s accession to India
Ahmed bin Qasim TRT World
Kashmir: ‘On social media, a majority of Indians are celebrating our pain’
Rep. Pramila Jaypal (D-WA)
“Deeply troubled by reports of Indian Govt’s arrests of 2,000 in Kashmir.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Chair of the House Intelligence Committee “The
situation in Kashmir remains deeply concerning”
National Education Union NEU, UK “The
NEU stands in solidarity with people of Kashmir against heightened
militarisation, violence and information black-out.”
Kashmiri woman shares the problems they are facing with Rahul Gandhi as
Indian journalist tries to prevent her from speaking (Urdu)
arrest anyone who steps
outside the house. My
brother is a heart patient, he went outside to look for his kids. He was
taken away and his family didn’t know his whereabouts for ten
days…we are tormented in every way.”
BBC Hindi reporting from Soura neighborhood. No subtitles, no translation
people have blocked the streets against the Indian army and keep watch round
the clock to stop them from arresting children.
Day 18 of the Indian military siege: 22 August 2019
The news and communications blockade
continues. Some land lines work intermittently and allow brief conversations of
less than a minute with family and friends. Hospitals are running out of basic
medicines and doctors are prevented from going to work. The total number of
Indian troops in Kashmir is now one million. The UN Office of the High
Commissioner on Human Rights has issued a statement calling on the Indian
government to “to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to
information and peaceful protests” and expressed concern about “reports that
security forces were conducting night raids on private homes leading to the
arrests of young people.”
Newsclick (220819): Srinagar, Kashmir: The Protests and Seige of Soura
Mudasir Ahmad, The Wire (220819): Kashmir
Running Short of Life Saving Drugs as Clampdown Continues.
Mia Holmgren, Dagens Nyheter
(220819): ”Kashmirs befolkning lever under ockupation”
Cristina Tardáguila, Poynter
(220819): Fact-checkers in Kashmir: What they saw (and felt)
Jalees Andrabi, AFP (210819): We
won’t give an inch’: India faces defiance in ‘Kashmir’s Gaza’.
The Wire (210819): The Truth
Behind Government’s ‘No Casualty’ in Kashmir Claim (video)
Kaisar Andrabi, The Wire (210819): Ground
Report: Why Most Kashmiri Children Are Keeping Off School.
Indian Express (210819): Hyderabad:
Complaint against reporter’s ‘anti-national’ post on J&K.
The reporter, Rehana Begum of NTV,
had in her post described the “pain” of Kashmiris “in shackles” following the
lockdown in J&K. She later deleted the post.
Jalees Andrabi, AFP (210819): Kashmir
families demand answers for ‘unaccounted for’ deaths.
“The medical report seen by AFP
said she “had inhaled toxic gas from a tear gas shell” and that a
possible cause of death was a “toxic lung injury”.
CNA (200819): Teens
swept up in night raids in Kashmir clampdown
Commentary and Analysis
Nishita Trisal, The Washington Post
(220819): India must stop weaponizing the pain of Kashmiri Pandits
Payal Dhar, The Independent (
tells us the Kashmir crisis will be particularly dangerous for women – so why
aren’t we talking about it?
Goldie Osuri, The Conversation
are living a long nightmare of Indian colonialism.
Tariq Ali, The New York Review of
Books (130819): Kashmir
on the Edge of the Abyss Tariq Ali in The New York Review of Books
UN Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights (220819): UN
rights experts urge India to end communications shutdown in Kashmir
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) Chair, House
Armed Forces Committee (210819): “I
am committed to the protection of basic human rights and equal rights in the
disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir in India – read more in my
TRT World (220819): “At least
50-60 armed men came and took my son and beat him up.”
This video is from Buchpora
Mehmoodaabad in #Kashmir is 19 Aug 1:40 am. A child
is arrested and the women of the house are running after him.
Day 15 of the Indian military siege: 19 August 2019
Today is the 15th day of the Indian
military siege of Kashmir
While the government claims that
some landlines have been restored, very few people have been able to connect to
their families and close friends in Kashmir. AFP reports over 4,000 arrests and
prisoners are being moved to Indian prisons because the jails are overflowing
in Kashmir. Curfew and restrictions have been reimposed following protests on
Saturday. Reports are emerging of torture, and the few who are able to report
from the ground are receiving threats on social media from Indian
internet users. Genocide Watch has issued an alert for Kashmir.
Reports from the ground: lockdown,
protests, torture, raids on homes by Indian army personnel
British Medical Journal (190819): “Kashmir
communications blackout is putting patients at risk, doctors warn”
The Telegraph (190819): Wanted, private space to detain Kashmiris
“The administration is now facing an
acute shortage of space for the detainees and has been forced to rent
guesthouses and vacant private houses and turn them into makeshift detention
Intelligence Bureau Officer quoted in The Telegraph.
Basit Zargar, The Citizen (190819): Schools open in Kashmir without students – in pictures
Muzaffar Raina, The Telegraph
(190819) “Iron fist in rural Kashmir”
Times of India (190819): Criminal complaint filed against Shehla Rashid under
The Wire (190819): Army, Shehla Rashid Lock Horns Over ‘Torture’ Charge
Parvaiz Bukhari, AFP (180819): 4,000 detained in Kashmir since autonomy stripped: govt
Fahad Shah, The Atlantic (180819): ‘News From Here Doesn’t Go Out’: Kashmir Simmers Under
Basit Mahmood, Metro (180819): There have been daily protests since August 5, when the
Indian government revoked the region’s special status.
The Wire (180819): Restrictions Reimposed in Srinagar After Protests, Clashes
Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari,
Reuters (170819): Several injured in Kashmir in clashes with Indian
Aditya Menon, The Quint (170819): Kashmir: How Govt Gathered Massive Data Before Article 370
Binish Ahmed, The Conversation
(080819): “Call the crime in Kashmir by its name: Ongoing genocide”
At the UN Security Council
Devirupa Mitra, The Wire (180819): In a First, Russia Talks of UN Resolutions on Kashmir
Genocide Watch: Current Alerts: Kashmir
Editorial, The Lancet (170819): “Fear and uncertainty around Kashmir’s future”
Experts on Kashmir from Stand with Kashmir
and communication blockades are still in place, with mobile networks, internet
services and landlines closed.
group comprising Kavita Krishnan from the CPI (ML), economist Jean Dreze and
Maimoona Mollah of All India Democratic Women’s Association and Vimal Bhai of
National Alliance of People’s Movement, spent five days in Kashmir, shared its
fact-finding report with the media. Full report here.
and emergency services are still struggling with lack of personnel and
medications running out. See yesterday’s
young boys and men have been detained in Pulwama and Shopian in South Kashmir.
(Some under Public Safety Act (1978).)
men also report having been randomly attacked by military personnel and beat up.
civil society and political leaders are still detained.
Khan, Karan Deep Singh and Ben Laffin, New York Times (140819): Inside the Crackdown in Kashmir (video)
Raafi, The Wire (140819): South Kashmir Ground Report: ‘Not A Single Day Since August 5 When
No Youths Were Picked Up’.
Ratcliffe, The Guardian (140819): Kashmir: Imram Khan says Pakistan will ‘teach India a lesson
Bukhari, The Wire (140819): Families of Kashmir Detainees in the Dark About Where or Why They Are
Wire (140819): Shah Faesal Stopped from Travelling, Detained Under Public Safety Act
Sharma, Leaflet.In (140819): Kashmir is under siege, say rights activists
Ahmad, The Wire (140819): Kashmir’s Political Leaders Remain in Detention, Government Mum on
Ahmad, The Wire (140819): Interview: ‘Revocation of Article 370 Biggest Betrayal of J&K, Won’t
Stand Test of Law’
Bhan, Haley Duschinski and Goldie Osuri, OpenDemocracy (140819): The international community must intervene on Kashmir Kashmiris need
self-determination, not military occupation.
Kaul, Foreign Policy (130819): Kashmir Is Under the Heel of India’s Colonialism
Waheed, The Guardian (140819): India’s illegal power grab is turning Kashmir into a colony
BDS National Committee, Mondoweiss (140819): Solidarity and unity in opposing global militarization: BNC statement on
communication blockades are still in place, with mobile networks, internet
services and landlines closed. Fact-finding group comprising Kavita Krishnan
from the CPI (ML), economist Jean Dreze and Maimoona Mollah of All India
Democratic Women’s Association and Vimal Bhai of National Alliance of People’s
Movement, spent five days in Kashmir, shared its fact-finding report …Continue readingDay
10 of the Indian military siege: 14 August 2019
The lockdown that
started on 5 August is still ongoing: mobile networks, broadband services, and
landlines are still down and news are still limited.
still unable to access basic services.
transport is not working and road blocks still in place.
services, such as ambulances, are still not in operation.
doctors and patients have trouble reaching hospitals and healthcare providers.
are also reporting shortages, with some medicines running out by the end of the week.
small number of ATMs have been opened in some areas, though often during short
periods of time.
shops and banks have remained closed.
of food shortages is expressed by many observers and locals.
Das, Livemint (130819): Kashmir struggles to cope with communication curbs
Express (130819): Kashmir in lockdown: Exclusive Express photos from the Valley
Jazeera (130819): Kashmir: Srinagar a maze of razor wires and steel barriers.
Free Europe (130819): Pakistan Wants Emergency UN Meeting On Kashmir.
Farooq and Vidhi Doshi, The Guardian (130819): The crisis in Kashmir.
Owen, The Guardian (130819): UK must help the ‘half-widows’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari, Reuters India (130819): Authorities lock down Srinagar on Eid holiday
Sofi, The Wire (130819): In a Ravaged
Kashmir, One Woman’s Fight to Give Birth
Janjua and Hugh Tomlinson, The Times (140819): Unified Kashmir dream fades for families torn apart by border
Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada:
“Canada continues to closely follow developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In
recent days, I have spoken to many Canadians—including Canadians of Kashmiri
descent who have family in Jammu and Kashmir—about this important issue. Like
them, Canada is concerned about the risk of escalation, infringements on civil
rights and reports of detentions. We encourage meaningful discussions and
consultations with affected communities. We call on all parties to maintain
peace and stability along the Line of Control and in the region.”
human rights activists and organizations sign letter to Prime Minister Narendra
The lockdown that
started on 5 August is still ongoing: mobile networks, broadband services, and
landlines are still down and news are still limited. Curfew is still ongoing in
many places. Majority still unable to access basic services. Public transport is
not working and road blocks still in place. Emergency services, such as
ambulances, are …Continue readingDay
9 of the Indian military siege: 13 August 2019
Eid ul Azha is
honoured in Kashmir, but few celebrations can take place with curfew and
communication blockade still in place for the eighth day:
usual open air large-scale Eid prayers are forbidden. Instead some small
mosques have been open and allowed for prayers.
of some men being able to walk in pairs to
banks and ATMs remained closed; reports of people queuing outside branches of
J&K Bank for hours, both in Pulwama and Srinagar.
of people having trouble accessing hospitals and healthcare, and medications
are running low.
are also having difficulties leaving the hospitals due to lack of public
transportation and curfews blocking the roads.
versions of local newspapers have been unavailable since 5 August; yet
journalists are succeeding in printing small numbers of brief hard copies to circulate news locally.
Yasir and Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times (120819): With Pens, Paper and Motorcycles, Journalists Chronicle Kashmir Crackdown.
Yasir, Suhasini Raj and Jeffrey Gettleman, The Telegraph (120819): Kashmir report: ‘Living hell here’
Masood, The Indian Express (120819): In separatist stronghold Sopore: ‘Do not misunderstand our silence as
Javaid, The Print (120819): J&K govt refuses to give information on Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba
Post India (120819): Hundreds Of Kashmiris Protested In Srinagar On The Eve Of Eid: Report.
Radio (120819): The Current for August 12, 2019
in Soura after Eid
prayers, August 12, 2019
Wallstreet Journal (120819): Protesters
Demonstrate in Kashmir Despite Indian Clampdown.
(120819): Curfew brings
life in Kashmir to a standstill ahead of Eid today
Rights Watch (120819): “India Needs to Step Back in Kashmir.”
citizens comprising Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras and Sikhs have stated that they
“unequivocally condemn the abrogation of Article 370,” and have made a call for
“an immediate lifting of the state of siege” in the Valley. Full list of names and statement available on The Quint.
Thomas Suozzi, Democratic Party, United States
“I am concerned Prime Minister Modi’s recent actions in Kashmir have
contributed to tensions higher than ever; our administration must make Kashmir
a major focus. PM Khan’s recent trip to USA assures we are working together to
counter extremism and other issues.”
Eid ul Azha is
honoured in Kashmir, but few celebrations can take place with curfew and
communication blockade still in place for the eighth day: The usual open air
large-scale Eid prayers are forbidden. Instead some small mosques have been
open and allowed for prayers. Reports of some men being able to walk in pairs …Continue readingDay
8 of the Indian military siege: 12 August 2019
day of Eid ul Azha (Eid Qurban)
and communication blackout still ongoing for seventh day.
were forced to keep closed.
- “Shoot at sight” order by J&K Police
No Eid celebrations allowed.
low number of people succeed to call relatives from outside Valley through
police stations and helplines.
Krishnan, The Independent: “Modi’s act of tyranny in Kashmir will soon be the blueprint for all of
Nabi and Bilal Kuchay, Al Jazeera: Amid ‘disheartening Eid siege’, Kashmiris try to reach loved ones
The Observer: View on India’s aggression over Kashmir (11/08/19).
Editorial Board: “India Is Making a Mistake in Kashmir.”
Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden
“Closely following serious developments in Kashmir. The population of
Kashmir must be included in decisions concerning its future.”
Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, UK
“The situation in Kashmir is deeply disturbing. Human rights abuses
taking place are unacceptable. The rights of the Kashmiri people must be
respected and UN resolutions implemented.”
Magid, Green Party MEP for Yorkshire & The Humber and Former Lord Mayor of
“Wishing you all a blessed Eid Mubarak! I hope your day is filled with nothing
but love, hope & joy! As we celebrate let’s also remember and pray for the
people of Kashmir, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq & wherever people are
suffering injustice and persecution.”
First day of Eid ul
Azha (Eid Qurban) Curfew and communication blackout still ongoing for seventh
day. Shops were forced to keep closed. “Shoot at sight” order
by J&K Police No Eid celebrations allowed. A low number of people succeed to
call relatives from outside Valley through police stations and helplines.
Analysis Kavita Krishnan, …Continue readingDay
7 of the Indian military siege: 11 August 2019
The media and
communications blockade of Kashmir by India continues into the seventh day.
Some news trickles out:
of 10’000 protestors on the streets.
of use of tear gas, pellet guns and live ammunition by Indian
forces against protestors; injuries.
- Mass arrests; over 900 people arrested including Mian Qayoom
of the Kashmir High Court Bar Association and Mubeen Shah of the Kashmir
Chamber of Commerce.
paucity of news in this update underlines the fact that Kashmir is cut off from
the world, under a complete military takeover by India.
will continue to post updates as they become available, at this blog and on
useful collection of resources on the aftermath of the revocation of Article
370 from Critical Kashmir Studies can be found here.
on twitter @_Faysal
Hole Kobbeltvedt, Rafto Foundation: “From bad to worse in Kashmir. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide must
work to ensure that the situation is addressed by the UN Security Council.”
Samreen Mushtaq in TRT World: “The violent misogyny that partners India’s stripping of Kashmiri
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty in The Wire: “Biryani With Locals: What Ajit Doval’s Visuals From Kashmir Tell Us.”
UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye: “A view on the Kashmir internet blackout.”
Careem, BBC: WATCH: Despite government saying reports of protests in Saura were
completely fabricated, see exclusive BBC footage here for the truth. Thousands
marched, police fired on protesters, dozens injured 10 August 2019
Irish Times: Police in Kashmir use tear gas as at least 10,000 protest
Singh Brar in The Indian Express: “Religious duty of Sikhs to protect Kashmiri girls: Akal Takht Jathedar”
Lib Dem MEP for West Midlands region
“…condemn outrageous move by India to revoke autonomy of Kashmir. We
stand with Kashmiris. LibDems will be moving urgency resolution seeking very
Leader, Labour MEPs. Yorks&Humber
issue has long been neglected by the international community, despite the very
clear UN Security Council resolutions that require the issue to be settled by a
referendum of the Kashmiri people themselves.”
Labor MP and Shadow Foreign Minister
“Today I have written to Foreign Secretary @DominicRaab to ask what
representation he has made to the Indian Government regarding their unilateral
decision to abolish #Kashmir’s special status, and what discussions he has had
with the UN over this increasingly volatile situation.”
Labour Co-op MEP NW England
“I strongly condemn India’s illegal and unconstitutional revocation of
Article 370 to annexe Kashmir. I call on the European Union and Member States
to work with the Indian and Pakistani governments as well as the people of
Kashmir and Jammu, including the diaspora community, to ensure that the
conflict does not escalate.”
@leerhiannon, former MP New South Wales, Australia
“#IndianGovernment stands condemned for acts of brutality and human
rights abuses in #Kashmir. Modi regime may cut off mobile and internet, bring
in more troops but they can not destroy Kashmiris fight for self-determination.
Labour MP, UK
“Over 45 MPs and peers have co-signed my letter calling on @UN
Secretary-General @antonioguterres to intervene and prevent India’s
unconstitutional attack on Kashmir’s autonomy. The international community must
Irina von Wiese, Shaffaq Mohammed, Phil Bennion, Judith Bunting, Chris Davies,
Antony Hook, Martin Horwood, Lucy Nethsingha and Sheila Ritchie appeal to the High Representative of the EU, Ms Federica Mogherini to
act on escalating situation in Kashmir.
The media and
communications blockade of Kashmir by India continues into the seventh day.
Some news trickles out: Reports of 10’000 protestors on the streets. Reports of
use of tear gas, pellet guns and live ammunition by Indian forces against
protestors; injuries. Mass arrests; over 900 people arrested including Mian
Qayoom of the Kashmir High Court …Continue readingDay
6 of the Indian military siege of Kashmir 10August 2019
August 9th, 2019
of the fifth day of the Indian military takeover of Kashmir, the Valley remains
cut off, prisons are overflowing, patients are dying because ambulances cannot
get through to the barely-functioning hospitals and protesters are being
injured and killed by Indian forces. While Indian televisions channels and
reporters roam freely with the help of the army, all Kashmiri newspapers and
television channels are shut down, there is no internet or mobile phone
services, and no landlines. The communications blockade is nearly complete.
is a compilation of the day’s best news and analysis, including many media
appearances by KSCAN members.
Kaul on Newsnight BBC
Anand in Foreign Policy: “Kashmir Is a Dress Rehearsal for Hindu Nationalist Fantasies”
Brännlund in Svenska Dagbladet: “Sweden must not be silent about the abuses in Kashmir”
News Canada features Idrisa Pandit: ‘A total blackout’: Kashmiri-Canadians unable to contact relatives since
India cut internet
Osuri on Al Jazeera
Zia interview on BBC
Zia on Al Jazeera: “There is reason to fear for the safety of every Kashmiri in India”
Malik on BBC: “India is trying to thwart the peace process in Afghanistan”
Kanjwal in Washington Post: “India’s settler-colonial project in Kashmir takes a disturbing turn”
Noorani in Huffington Post: “Kashmir: Scrapping Article 370 “Unconstitutional”, “Deceitful” Says
Legal Expert A.G. Noorani”
Parthasarathy in Times of India: “An exercise of executive whim: Negation of Article 370 in J&K
doesn’t stand up to constitutional test, strikes at federalism”
Sethi in Huffington Post: “As Kashmir Is Erased, Indian Democracy Dies In Silence”
Commission of Jurists: “India: Ending autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir fans flames of existing
human rights crisis”
Foundation Norway: “We are deeply concerned for the Rafto Laureates in Kashmir”
International, PUDR, PUCL and more: Statements and reactions to the move by Indian government to revoke
Article 370 on J&K special status
Varadarajan on Thewire.in: Pellet Blindings a Reminder that on the Ground, Kashmir’s ‘Special
Andrabi in Huffington Post India: Kashmir: Government Using Pellet Guns To Suppress Protests
Javaid in Theprint.in: Don’t come home
for Eid, a Kashmiri mother tells her son on a one-minute phone call
Saaliq in AP News: Kashmir’s streets silent as people’s despair and rage grow
News: Kashmir dispute: Hundreds detained as anger grows
Majumdar and Aliya Iftikar for Committee to Protect Journalists: In Kashmir, obstruction, confiscated equipment, and hand-carrying
stories and photos on flash drive
Scroll.In: Listen: TM Krishna recites poet Agha Shahid Ali’s ‘Postcard from Kashmir’
August 9th, 2019 As
of the fifth day of the Indian military takeover of Kashmir, the Valley remains
cut off, prisons are overflowing, patients are dying because ambulances cannot
get through to the barely-functioning hospitals and protesters are being
injured and killed by Indian forces. While Indian televisions channels and
reporters roam freely with the …Continue readingUpdates:
Day 5 of the Indian military siege of Kashmir