Kashmir under lockdown: All the latest updates
Six Indian security personnel were injured in a grenade attack in Srinagar on Saturday.
The Indian government revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.
A presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.
In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.
The move has worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic relations with India.
India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for 30 years.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, October 26
Six security personnel hurt in grenade attack
Six Indian paramilitary force personnel were injured in a grenade attack in Srinagar.
In a statement, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said that six of their men were injured after unknown armed rebels hurled a grenade in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar.
“They [the injured] were transported to hospital,” the statement added.
Ravideep Singh Sahi, the inspector general of CRPF in Srinagar sector, told Anadolu Agency that a “search operation has been started in the area”.
Thursday, October 24
Pakistan praises US Congress on Kashmir hearing
Pakistan welcomed the United States Congressional hearing in the Asia-Pacific sub-committee on the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir held on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement that: “Heart rending accounts of detentions, beatings and torture of innocent Kashmiris remained the most poignant part of the hearing, which evoked a unified reaction from [Congress] members.”
“The latest hearing in the US House of Representatives is timely and shows the world community’s continued concern over the unacceptable situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the need to address it urgently,” the statement said.
Representative Ilhan Omar, who was part of the sub-committee, in a tweet said that Kashmiris were “restricted” from contacting the outside world – and wondered “at what point do we question whether Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi shares our values?”.
Kashmiris have been restricted from communicating outside their country for 50+ days.
In Assam, almost 2 million people are being asked to prove their citizenship. This is how the Rohingya genocide started.
At what point do we question whether PM Modi shares our values? pic.twitter.com/xazzwfiR61
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) October 22, 2019
Tuesday, October 15
India suspends SMS services after trucker killed
Text messaging services were blocked in Indian-administered Kashmir, only hours after being restored when a truck driver was killed by suspected armed rebels who then set his vehicle ablaze.
Authorities said SMS services were cut on Monday night following the attack on the driver of a truck carrying apples in the district of Shopian.
Security sources said the decision to cut text services was taken to reduce the ability of armed rebels to communicate.
Monday, October 14
JKLF’s hunger strike near LoC over India’s Kashmir move
At least 32 activists of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) have begun a hunger strike at a sit-in protest in the village of Jaskool in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, about 10km from the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a JKLF spokesperson said.
Muhammad Rafiq Dar, the JKLF spokesperson, said the participants would abstain from food or drink for 24 hours at the protest camp in Jaskool, in protest against India’s revocation of Article 370 and Pakistan’s refusal to allow the Kashmiri protesters to cross the LoC.
Last week, Dar and other JKLF leaders led a march of hundreds across the length of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, culminating in their desire to cross the LoC at Chakothi and march onwards to Srinagar. When Pakistani authorities placed road blocks to stop the protesters, negotiations ensued, with the demonstrators deciding to hold a sit-in until they were allowed to proceed.
Post-paid cellphone connections restored in Kashmir
India says it has restored call facilities on post-paid cellphone connections in Indian-administered Kashmir more than two months after it downgraded the region’s semi-autonomy and imposed a security and communications lockdown, the Associated Press reported.
The ban on more than two million prepaid mobile connections and internet services will continue. The move to restore post-paid mobile services comes at a time when civil disobedience against India’s surprise move has continued despite authorities ending some restrictions.
Sunday, October 13
Modi: Kashmir situation will normalise in 4 months
At a rally in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it would take four months for Jammu and Kashmir state to return to normal.
“I assure you that it won’t take more than four months to normalise the abnormal situation that has persisted there for 40 years,” Modi said at the rally, speaking in Hindi. “Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh aren’t just a piece of land for us,” Modi said, referring to the region bordering China.
Although many curbs, including those on movement have been eased, mobile telephone and internet connections in the Kashmir valley, home to around seven million people, remain cut off. Some mobile phone connections were expected to be restored on Monday, the government said.
Saturday, October 12
India to ease mobile phone shutdown in Kashmir
Most mobile phone connections in Indian-administered Kashmir will be restored, the Indian government has said, after more than two months. Indian government spokesman Rohit Kansal said the decision was taken after a review of events in the disputed Himalayan region.
“All post-paid mobile phones irrespective of the telecom service provider will stand restored and be functional from noon on Monday,” he told a news conference, adding that the measure would apply to all districts of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Friday, October 11
‘Modi has played his last card’: Imran Khan
“Narendra Modi committed a mistake, he has played his last card,” Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told participants of a “human chain” rally held in Islamabad to express support and solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir.
“He [Modi] doesn’t know that what the Kashmiri people have faced in the last several decades, it has eliminated the fear of death among them,” he added.
Khan said that thousands of Kashmiris would “not accept” Delhi’s decision to revoke Article 370 and would come out against it once the curfew was lifted.
Khan says global media ‘ignoring’ Kashmir
Pakistani Prime Minister Khan criticised the international media’s supposed lack of coverage of the ongoing clampdown in Kashmir.
Khan said that while the “international media continues to give headline coverage to Hong kong protests”, it was ignoring the humanitarian situation in the Kashmir Valley.
I am puzzled as to how international media continues to give headline coverage to Hongkong protests but ignores the dire human rights crisis in IOJK – an internationally recognised disputed territory illegally annexed by India with 900k troops imposing a siege on 8mn Kashmiris
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 11, 2019
Thursday, October 10
Pakistan says Indian fire kills soldier in Kashmir
Pakistan’s military has said Indian troops fired across the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border dividing the Kashmir region between the two countries, killing one of its soldiers and wounding two women in a village.
In a statement, the military says Pakistani troops deployed along the heavily-militarised frontier returned fire, causing casualties in the Indian-administered portion of the Himalayan region. There is no immediate comment from India.
The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours often accuse each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement and frequently exchange fire in Kashmir.
Wednesday, October 9
China’s Xi says he is watching Kashmir: Report
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he was watching the situation in Kashmir and would support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xi told Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Beijing that the right and wrong of the situation was clear, the report said. Xi added that the parties should resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue.
Xi is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai on Friday.
Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Congress: We've come to realise that these elections (Block Development Council elections) are being held to facilitate only one party – ruling party. Our leaders are under detention. We have no other option but to announce that we are boycotting the election. https://t.co/CRipmCudqb pic.twitter.com/SLhW5mbrlZ
— ANI (@ANI) October 9, 2019
Tuesday, October 8
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat at an event organised on the occasion of #VijayaDashami in Nagpur:The move of the re-elected regime to nullify #Article370 has once again proved that it has courage to fulfill those expectations&respect people’s sentiments&wishes in interest of the country pic.twitter.com/v5lzx7Qu3i
— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2019
Kashmiri prisoners transported far from home
Hundreds of people arrested in the Kashmir lockdown have been held without trial by the Indian authorities and moved to jails far from home. At least 300 have been arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows for detentions of up to two years without trial.
Most have been sent to jails across the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Indian officials say the policy of transporting detainees, which started last year but has snowballed since August, is required to cut off the rebels from their networks.
The transportations are often conducted without warning, and families say they are allowed little contact with detainees once they find them. Proving innocence is difficult even for those with resources given the communications situation in Kashmir and the number of cases.
Sanjay Dhar, the registrar general of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, said two judges in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar were handling around 300 appeals against PSA detentions filed since August 5.
Monday, October 7
Tourists to be welcomed back to Kashmir: Governor
Tourists warned by India to leave Kashmir just days before stripping the restive valley of its autonomy will be welcomed back later this week, the region’s governor has said.
Authorities in early August called for holidaymakers to leave “immediately” over “terror threats” to a major Hindu pilgrimage, sending thousands scrambling for places on planes and buses.
New Delhi also imposed a clampdown on movement and cut off all communications including the internet and phone lines right before the controversial autonomy decision to quell unrest.
But local Governor Satya Pal Malik said in a statement after a security meeting that the “Home Department’s advisory asking tourists to leave the valley will be lifted” from Thursday.
Time to lift Kashmir restrictions: US House panel
The House Foreign Affairs Committee has urged India to lift restrictions on Kashmir as it impacts their daily lives.
“India’s communication blackout in Kashmir is having a devastating impact on the lives and welfare of everyday Kashmiris,” the tweet said. “It’s time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris the same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen.”
Indefinite sit-in by Kashmir protesters at LoC
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) protesters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir have announced they will hold an indefinite sit-in protest at their present location – 10km from the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between India and Pakistan – but will not confront the police barricade.
They are demanding to either be allowed to cross the LoC or for the United Nations secretary general or UN Security Council to send representatives to negotiate with them.
Indian firing kills one in Pakistan-administered Kashmir
A woman was killed by sniper fire from India outside her home in Pakistan-administered Kashmir near the LoC, a Pakistani police official said.
Police Chief Zulqarnain Chaudhry says the woman was killed on Sunday, and that the fire came from the Indian sector across the boundary in the disputed Himalayan region.
The incident took place as US Senators Chris Van Hollen and Maggie Hassan were visiting Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Impasse as Kashmir protesters blocked near LoC
Hundreds of marchers protesting against the Indian decision to revoke Article 370 camped out on Sunday night in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir town of Chinari, about 10km (six miles) from the LoC, after Pakistani police stopped them from crossing the de facto border into Indian-administered Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) organised the People’s Freedom March over the weekend to lead protesters through the length of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, culminating in their desire to cross the LoC and march onwards to Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.
“Instead of confrontation [with Pakistani police], we stopped the crowd about 300 metres before the barricades,” Rafiq Dar, a JKLF spokesperson, told Al Jazeera on Monday morning. “We do not want any kind of confrontation or fight.”
Negotiations with the government are ongoing, Dar said, with two senior ministers requesting the JKLF to call off the protest late on Sunday. Dar said demonstrators would stage a sit-in at the current protest site if they were not allowed to move forward.
Sunday, October 6
Naga leader wary of India over Kashmir move
Veteran Naga leader Thuingaleng Muivah says New Delhi’s abrupt decision to strip Kashmir’s special status was “unacceptable”. Nagaland is safeguarded by Article 371A, which exempts it from following Indian laws.
“India’s Kashmir decision [was taken] without respecting the history of the Kashmiris. [It] is not acceptable to us,” Muivah said, adding that he feels “nothing short of betrayal” since India removed Kashmir’s special status and brought its only Muslim-majority region under direct central rule.
Read the full story here.
Arrested Abdullahs meet party members: Report
Two months after they were arrested, the authorities have allowed a National Conference (NC) party delegation to meet their top leaders, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, Indian media reports said.
NC delegation meets Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar, clarifies stand on Article 370
Read @ANI story |https://t.co/z0qIdj0UXY pic.twitter.com/3WgVGYY33u
— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) October 6, 2019
The two leaders, both former chief ministers of the Jammu and Kashmir state, met the delegation in the main city of Srinagar. NC spokesperson Madan Mantoo told Press Trust of India that the government granted permission after they made a request to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik.
Saturday, October 5
JKLF’s solidarity march to de facto border with India
Thousands of people belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) group have started a march from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border diving Kashmir territory between India and Pakistan, in protest against India’s crackdown in the region.
The JKLF, which has support on both sides of the LoC, intends to cross it with an estimated “3,000-5,000 supporters” into the main city of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir, which has been under a security lockdown for two months, Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder reported from Muzaffarabad.
“We are participating in this march for the freedom of our country because India has seized our country,” Zubair Butti, a member of the JKLF, told Al Jazeera.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has cautioned the protesters against crossing the LoC, which he said would “play into the hands of the Indian narrative”.
I understand the anguish of the Kashmiris in AJK seeing their fellow Kashmiris in IOJK under an inhumane curfew for over 2 months. But any one crossing the LoC from AJK to provide humanitarian aid or support for Kashmiri struggle will play into the hands of the Indian narrative –
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 5, 2019
Man with cancer jailed, family fears for his life
Parvez Ahmad Pala, 33, from Matibug village in Kulgam district was picked up by the Indian security forces in a midnight raid on August 6. His father Muhammad Ayoub Pala is unsure whether his cancer-stricken son arrested in August is dead or alive.
Parvez, who has two children aged eight and 10, is a cancer patient on life saving drugs, his family said. He was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2014 and has also undergone surgery, his medical records show. The family was denied a meeting with him by authorities in a jail in Uttar Pradesh state.
Read the full story here.
Several injured in grenade attack in Kashmir
Ten civilians were reportedly injured in a grenade attack in the city of Anantnag, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has said on Twitter.
10 persons including a traffic policeman and a journalist injured.Only minor injuries reported so far.Follow up action initiated.
Police on job to identity & nab the culprit.@KashmirPolice @diprjk @ZPHQJammu @PIBHomeAffairs https://t.co/m7ANlQA8uV
— J&K Police (@JmuKmrPolice) October 5, 2019
US legislators want end to ‘humanitarian crisis’: Report
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has called for an end to the “humanitarian crisis” in Kashmir, according to India’s The Hindu newspaper.
An appeal proposed by Democrat senator Chris Van Hollen “notes with concern the current humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and calls on the Government of India to: fully restore telecommunications and Internet services; lift its lockdown and curfew; and release individuals detained pursuant to the Government’s revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution.”
Hollen was in New Delhi this week as part of a congressional delegation. He reportedly requested the Indian government to allow him to visit Srinagar, but was denied permission.
Two months of crackdown and misery in Kashmir
Children as young as nine have been arrested, protests and tear gas, allegations of torture, businesses shut and no mobiles or internet: It has now been two months of misery in the Kashmir valley.
More than 4,000 people, including 144 minors, have been arrested since August 5, and around 1,000 of them remain in custody – some under a law that allows suspects to be held for up to two years without charge.
Landlines have been restored but mobile phones and the internet remain snapped in most of the Kashmir valley, home to around seven million people. India insists “normalcy” is being restored.
Friday, October 4
All voices in Kashmir arrested: Writer Arundhati Roy
During the two-month clampdown by the Indian government, every single native of Jammu and Kashmir state “who has a voice at all” has been put behind bars, says Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy.
“Every single person who has a voice at all has been arrested. And that, as you say, includes all the former chief ministers, people who have been carrying India’s water for the last 70 years. Everybody is in jail,” she told the US-based website The Intercept.
The Booker Prize-winning writer said Kashmiris want the right to self-determination “to be independent, to be in charge of their own destiny, the stewards of their own land and their culture.”
“It’s not an impossibility. Why should it be?” she asked.
Thursday, October 3
Kashmir journalists protest two-month blackout
Dozens of journalists in Indian-administered Kashmir have held a sit-in to protest a communications blackout in the disputed Himalayan region, describing the blockade of internet and mobile phone services as a government-imposed gag.
To go online, the area’s 250 accredited journalists visit a government-run media centre in the main city of Srinagar where they wait often for hours to use one of the 10 computers for a maximum of 15 minutes.
“We are protesting against the press gag that the fraternity has faced,” said Shuja ul Haq, president of the Kashmir Press Club, one of around 160 journalists at the demonstration.
“Every journalist has suffered and we demand from the government that the communications blackout be lifted,” he told AFP news agency before a silent protest march.
One dead, three injured after Indian shelling
Indian shelling in Pakistan-administered Kashmir has killed at least one woman and wounded three other civilians, Pakistan’s foreign office said on Wednesday.
“Such cowardly acts by Indian Army reflect its consistent disregard to humanity and is detrimental to peace and stability along LOC,” according to a foreign office statement.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s foreign office summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner to protest against the shelling.
“The deliberate targeting of civilian-populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws,” said the Pakistani statement released after that meeting. “The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security, and may lead to a strategic miscalculation.”
Jammu & Kashmir: Locals from Hiranagar sector in Kathua, say, "We live in constant fear due to heavy firing from across the border. We have to keep our families safe at all times. It is difficult to lead a normal life. We haven't received any help from local administration." pic.twitter.com/CpQc4N9JHN
— ANI (@ANI) October 3, 2019
Wednesday, October 2
Minors arrested in Kashmir crackdown
Abrar Ahmad Ganai was taken into custody and was sent several thousand kilometres away from his home to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh state. He was released last week after two months in custody under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which authorises detention up to two years without trial.
The detention order and the police dossier listed Ganai as 22 years old and recommended a two-year detention. The court, however, released Ganai after his family challenged the detention on the grounds that he is 16. Ganai’s school certificate shown to the court by his family, and also seen by Al Jazeera, shows that Ganai was born in March 2003.
Read the full story here.
Tuesday, October 1
Kashmir blockade must end: US congresswoman
US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has expressed her solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir, demanding the ongoing “blockade must end”.
In a Twitter post, the Democratic congresswoman said: “We stand for the basic human dignity of Kashmiris & support democracy, equality, and human rights for all – including the most vulnerable.” Stressing that reports of violence and torture are “extremely concerning”, she said the “blockade from communication and life-saving medical care must end”.
She also shared a video posted by a user, in which she was seen participating in a solidarity march on Kashmir and scribbling a message on a huge coloured chart board. “Our entire community’s prayers and support are with the families of Kashmir, as we work to establish peace and justice there and throughout the world,” the congresswoman wrote on the chart board.
Monday, September 30
Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over LoC shelling
Pakistan’s government has summoned India’s top diplomat in the country over accusations of deadly shelling by India in its portion of the disputed region of Kashmir.
A 60-year old woman and 13-year old boy were killed and three wounded in shelling over the Line of Control (LoC) near the informal border with India on Saturday and Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.
“The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” said Pakistan’s foreign ministry statement, adding that its spokesman had summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to condemn the incident.
Sunday, September 29
Kashmir farmers leave lucrative apples to rot in protest
Farmers in Kashmir are deliberately leaving their apples to rot, undermining the restive territory’s most lucrative export as bitterness towards the Indian government grows.
Either in anger or at the urging of local rebels, farmers have joined in the rebuke of India’s actions by deliberately sabotaging a crop vital to the local economy. Rebels have circulated letters and stuck posters outside mosques, appealing to orchard owners not to harvest and instead join the “resistance”.
The fertile Himalayan region usually sells hundreds of millions of dollars worth of apples each year, and more than half of Kashmiris are engaged directly or indirectly in cultivation.
In just 8 police stations out of a total 196 in J&K, there's just section 144 implemented. There's no curfew in any part of Kashmir.
The restrictions are in your mind, there's no restriction in Kashmir: Shri @AmitShah pic.twitter.com/IijGc210Ug
— BJP (@BJP4India) September 29, 2019
New York: Thousands rally for human rights in Kashmir
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun still has vivid memories of the summer of 1984. A teenager at the time, he remembers security forces taking boys from his village in Punjab in the aftermath of a deadly Indian army operation in the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines.
On Friday, Pannun, a lawyer in New York, stood outside the United Nations alongside thousands of protesters to rally for human rights in Kashmir as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his speech at the world body’s general assembly.
Read the full story here.
Saturday, September 28
Besieged Kashmiris hail Imran Khan’s UN speech
Firecrackers were set off and slogans shouted in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir, immediately after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ended his speech at the United Nations on Friday.
In his UN General Assembly address to the world leaders, the Pakistani leader said he feared there could be a “bloodbath” in Kashmir when the security lockdown in place since early last month is lifted.
Read more here.
Indian security forces kill four rebels
Security forces have killed four rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir. Three fighters were killed in the Batote market area of Jammu where, according to officials, they had taken a civilian hostage inside his house. The hostage was rescued unharmed, a spokesman for the central reserve police force said.
Another rebel was killed in an encounter in Kangan in the north of the region, Dilbagh Singh, director general of Jammu and Kashmir police told AFP news agency. Singh also said the rebels had thrown a grenade in the Safakadal area of Srinagar city but that no one was injured in the incident.
Security forces had tightened restrictions in Kashmir and the Hindu-majority Jammu region on Friday, fearing protests ahead of speeches at the UN by the leaders of India and Pakistan.
Friday, September 27
Pakistan’s Khan warns of ‘bloodbath’ in Kashmir
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned the United Nations General Assembly of a “bloodbath” in Indian-administered Kashmir, which has been under lockdown since New Delhi scrapped its semi-autonomous status in early August.
Khan said armed forces there would turn on the population after the curfew was lifted. “There are 900,000 troops there, they haven’t come to, as Narendra Modi says – for the prosperity of Kashmir… These 900,000 troops, what are they going to do? When they come out? There will be a bloodbath,” he said.
Read more here.
LIVE: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the 74th session of the #UNGA.
Follow latest updates: https://t.co/2Y0TL05w9n
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) September 27, 2019
India’s Modi dodges mention of Kashmir in UN speech
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi broadly denounced “terrorism” at the United Nations but avoided any direct mention of Kashmir, where 7 million people have been put under an unprecedented security lockdown since August 5.
Modi told world leaders gathered at the annual UN General Assembly that India’s “voice against terrorism … rings with seriousness and outrage”.
“We belong to a country that has given the world, not war, but Buddha’s message of peace,” said Modi. “And that is the reason why, our voice against terrorism, to alert the world about this evil, rings with seriousness and the outrage.”
Thursday, September 26
US wants Kashmir restrictions lifted
The US has said it wants India to quickly ease restrictions imposed in Kashmir, a senior official said after President Donald Trump met the leaders of both India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“We hope to see rapid action – the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained,” Alice Wells, the top State Department official for South Asia, told reporters.
She also said that Trump was “willing to mediate if asked by both parties” – although she noted that India has long rejected any outside role.
“The United States is concerned by widespread detentions, including those of politicians and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“We look forward to the Indian government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of the promised elections at the earliest opportunity,” she added.
Opinion: Ruins of British empire on fire
Continued mayhem in Palestine, increasing bloodshed in Kashmir, mass protest in Hong Kong – how do we connect these dots? Are they related?
Well, of course: The sun never set on the Union Jack! In the sunset of that empire – as is inevitable for all empires – chaos and turmoil were destined to follow.
“The world is reaping the chaos the British Empire sowed,” Amy Hawkins recently wrote in Foreign Policy, “locals are still paying for the mess the British left behind in Hong Kong and Kashmir.”
Read more here.
It’s been 52 days since a brutal lockdown was imposed in Kashmir. Hope world leaders in UNGA speak up. @jacindaardern @JustinTrudeau @unhrcpr @BernieSanders @AOC @IlhanMN @RashidaTlaib @RepJayapal @RoKhanna @jeremycorbyn @RCorbettMEP @davidakaye @CharlesMichel @trpresidency pic.twitter.com/2wpLZxEhyg
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) September 26, 2019
Wednesday, September 25
Crackdown on lawyers narrows road to justice in Kashmir
For nearly a month, Shafia Ganai, a softly-spoken 19-year-old undergraduate student of sociology in northern Kashmir’s Bandipora, has visited the police station every day.
“The security forces took my brother Mohsin, a quarry worker, in a raid on our neighbourhood on August 16,” she said. “When I go to the station, the police ask me to come the next day, that they will release him in one or two days. But 27 days have gone past like this.
Read the full story here.
Kashmir teens taken away and tortured: Report
A team of five Indian women visited Indian-administered Kashmir from September 17 until 21 to put together a fact-finding report about the situation in the region. The group, made up of members of various NGOs, visited 17 villages across Kashmir to witness the realities on the ground after India’s decision to strip the state of its autonomous status, a press release said.
“Abrogation has united the people of Kashmir, and every one of them feel that this is the last blow on them,” said Annie Raja from the group. “Every woman we met had a sorry story to tell. Their boys are being picked up by the army,” she said.
“[They have been] waiting and waiting for their 14, 15, 17, 19-year-old sons. Their last glimpse is embedded in each heart, they dare not give up hope, but they know it will be a long wait before they see their tortured bodies or their corpses.”
Tuesday, September 24
Trump reiterates offer to mediate Kashmir crisis
US President Donald Trump has reiterated an offer to mediate between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir, a flashpoint of recent tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours, but says he will only do so if both countries accede to the offer.
Trump met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a day after accompanying Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a political event in Houston.
Read more here.
Erdogan says dialogue ‘imperative’ for solution in Kashmir
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for dialogue to resolve the row between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.
“In order for the Kashmiri people to look at a safe future together with their Pakistani and Indian neighbours, it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, but not through collision,” Erdogan said in his address at the UN General Assembly session in New York.
Erdogan criticised the international community for failing to pay attention to the conflict, and said that the stability and prosperity of South Asia could not be separated from the Kashmir issue.
Monday, September 23
Kashmir in focus at Muslim Day Parade in New York
The 35th annual Muslim Day Parade marched down New York’s Madison Avenue on Sunday afternoon, with a strong focus on Kashmir and Muslim unity.
Organisers estimated that nearly 3,000 people attended the parade, which celebrated Muslim Americans of different heritage.
Read more here.
Sunday, September 22
Ironic that a move ostensibly taken to secure “special interests” of J&K gets cheered on everywhere except in the state that’s it meant to benefit. While people in Kashmir have been gagged , mass hysteria is orchestrated elsewhere to justify this decision. https://t.co/Z3cr3BkqDr
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) September 22, 2019
In Pictures: Night raids, arrests amid Kashmir lockdown
In the weeks since Kashmir’s lockdown, hundreds of elected politicians, activists and trade unionists have been imprisoned or put under “house arrest”. Thousands of young men – including minors – have been arrested in night raids by the police, with many transported to jails outside the state.
Despite criticism from human rights organisations, India says its actions are legal under the strict emergency laws in place in Kashmir since an armed rebellion began there in 1989.
The photos here show the effects of the forced disappearances of young men on their families and how the communities in Kashmir are responding to – and resisting – the crackdown.
Why has the Indian government militarized Kashmir, and what does Israel have to do with it? pic.twitter.com/K0g5c05dro
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 22, 2019
The Kashmir blackout is over 40 days old. 8 million people are under lockdown. In the world’s most militarised zone. pic.twitter.com/wzOsmMeCCz
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) September 22, 2019
Saturday, September 21
Kashmiris struggle to meet loved ones in Indian jails
Hameeda Begum described her arduous journey from the Himalayan region of Indian-administered Kashmir to the hot and humid room in Agra Central Jail in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where the exhausted 70-year-old was waiting to see her son.
A man in his early twenties offered her a bottle of water, saying, “Don’t lose hope. You are not alone.” Hameeda drew a long sigh, placed her hand on the man’s hand and spoke in a barely audible voice: “May God give us patience.”
Read the full story here.
Friday, September 20
We abrogated Article 370 and 35A as these were amongst the principal reasons that Kashmir was almost cut off from India when it comes to economic development and growth: @PiyushGoyal pic.twitter.com/vEVoufcGNA
— Piyush Goyal Office (@PiyushGoyalOffc) September 20, 2019
Thursday, September 19
Abdullah’s arrest leaves India with few allies in Kashmir
The detention of pro-India politicians and the crackdown against their party members in Indian-administered Kashmir indicate a further shrinking of New Delhi’s allies in the region. For most of the past five decades, the National Conference (NC) party headed by the influential Abdullah family has been synonymous with the Indian politics in the Jammu and Kashmir state.
But things changed on Monday – the 42nd day of the ongoing Kashmir lockdown – when the family’s patriarch and NC president Farooq Abdullah was arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a law that allows detention without trial for two years.
Read more here.
Apples rot as lockdown puts Kashmir economy in tailspin
It is harvest time, but the market in the northern Kashmiri town of Sopore – usually packed with people, trucks and produce at this time of year – is empty, while in orchards across India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, unpicked apples rot on the branch.
A market in Sopore, a town known locally as “Little London” for its lush orchards, big houses and relative affluence, was deserted, its gates locked. “Everyone is scared,” a lone trader, rushing to an adjoining mosque for morning prayers, told Reuters news agency. “No one will come.”
Apples are the lifeblood of Kashmir’s economy, involving 3.5 million people, around half the population of the state. Read the full story here.
Wednesday, September 18
Khan warns Pakistanis against joining anti-India fight in Kashmir
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned citizens against joining the fight in Kashmir, saying the Indian authorities were waiting for “any excuse” to crack down on the residents in the Himalayan territory.
“If someone from Pakistan goes to India and he thinks he will fight in Kashmir… the first person he will be inflicting cruelty on is the Kashmiris. He will have acted as an enemy of the Kashmiris.” Khan said during a speech in Torkham on the border with Afghanistan.
Read the full story here.
Pakistan denies Modi permission to fly across its airspace
The Pakistan government has said it will not grant India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace for his September 20 flight to Germany.
“Keeping in mind the situation in occupied Kashmir, India’s attitude, and the ongoing oppression, tyranny and the violations of rights in the region, we have decided not to grant this request,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a video statement.
Pakistan condemns India over ‘jingoistic rhetoric’
Hours after Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a news conference that the Pakistani-controlled Kashmir is “part of India and we expect one day that we will have the… physical jurisdiction over it”, Islamabad fired back at New Delhi’s “jingoistic rhetoric”.
“We strongly condemn and reject the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian external affairs minister,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said. “Such irresponsible and belligerent statements have the potential to further escalate tensions and seriously jeopardise peace and security in the region.”
Monday, September 16
Malala’s tweets on Kashmir face India backlash
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai’s call to the world leaders attending the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York to help children in Indian-administered Kashmir to “go safely back to school” has faced a backlash in India.
I am asking leaders, at #UNGA and beyond, to work towards peace in Kashmir, listen to Kashmiri voices and help children go safely back to school.
— Malala (@Malala) September 14, 2019
The ruling BJP party’s legislator Shobha Karandlaje asked the 22-year-old Pakistani activist to “spend some time speaking with the minorities” in her country on their “forceful conversion and persecution”.
Sincere request to the Nobel winner, to spend some time speaking with the minorities of Pakistan.
To speak against the forceful conversation & persecution taking place on the minority girls in her own country!
Developmental agendas got extended to Kashmir, nothing suppressed! https://t.co/Um3BmGuJwi
— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) September 15, 2019
Indian journalist Barkha Dutt said she was “disappointed” Yousafzai had waded into a “cliched Pakistan state narrative”.
Disappointing to see @Malala wade into cliched Pakistan state narrative about #Kashmir when the hard truth is that she can never even return to her own country because she was shot for the rights of girls to go to school.
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) September 15, 2019
Restore normal life in Kashmir: Supreme Court
India’s top court said the federal government should restore normal life in Kashmir as soon as possible, as a partial shutdown of the disputed region entered its 42nd day.
Some of those curbs have been relaxed, but mobile communications in the Kashmir Valley are largely still blocked, and more than a thousand people are likely to still be arrested, according to official data.
“We direct Jammu and Kashmir to make the very best endeavour to make sure normal life returns,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said after a panel of three judges heard several petitions relating to Kashmir.
India arrests senior Kashmir leader
Pro-India Kashmiri politician Farooq Abdullah, 82, has been arrested under a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial. “We have arrested him, and a committee will decide how long the arrest will be,” said Muneer Khan, a top police official.
The three-times chief minister of the Muslim-majority state was arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA), under which rights activists say more than 20,000 other Kashmiris have also been held in the last 20 years.
Amnesty International has called the PSA a “lawless law”, accusing India of using the law to stifle dissent and circumvent the criminal justice system.
Read more here.