Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 1/21-1/28


Occupation Police conducts ‘census’ of peoples’ personal details and foreign visits

Residents in the occupied territory of Kashmir have been compelled to complete census forms by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and occupying troops since the beginning of this year, seeking their personal information without providing any justification or reasoning for this.

A Srinagar resident has explained that police officers from the neighborhood police station stopped by his house. He claimed that one of the police officers, who was wearing civilian clothes, gave him a document with a series of questions on it and instructed him to submit it “as soon as possible.”

According to another resident, the head of the family is supposed to fill out the form with information about their phone and Aadhaar numbers, foreign visitation history, any affiliations with resistance movement, the geo-location of their home, the status of any land or automobiles they own, and any family members who may have moved abroad.

Similar operations have been carried out by the Army in rural Kashmir for decades. Soldiers from the local Rashtriya Rifles units, which is the Army’s counterterrorism arm, mark buildings in this way using alphanumeric characters, and they issue warnings to the homeowners not to remove these marks.


Occupation Authorities force businesses in Srinagar to keep shops open on India’s Republic Day

The highways and streets of Kashmir were closely monitored by the Indian military forces when the residents of the region awoke to a new morning. On India’s 75th Republic Day, many chose to stay inside in protest against the imposed ‘normalcy’ under the Indian rule.

In addition to extra checkpoints being erected, all highways going into the heart of Srinagar were blocked. A week prior to India’s Republic Day, detours were also established and commuters were advised to take other routes. While the military men were busy with flag-waving photo shoots in the city center, the shuttered stores behind them told a different story.

The expressions of the store owners who were forced to stay open were sullen and showed obvious anger on their faces. While many were compelled to open their businesses, just about half of those who did so raised the shutters. A businessman with half of his clothing shop shuttered-up told us, “the threats from the Indian army and police aren’t new to us but post-Article-370 abrogation they are looking for excuses to harass and book innocent Kashmiris under fake charges.”

During nocturnal raids over the past few days, the occupying soldiers have also pillaged civilian homes throughout Kashmir. In the bitter cold subzero temperatures on Thursday, civilians in several parts of Pulwama and Kulgam districts of South Kashmir were forced to spend the night outside their homes during the nighttime raids.

Kashmir is hardly unfamiliar with the mayhem that accompany India’s Republic Day and other “national days.” Prior to such propaganda events, people are routinely frisked, traffic patterns disrupted and civilians harassed on the streets in an attempt to justify India’s unlawful possession of the disputed territory.


Occupation Authorities force govt employees to participate in ‘Ram Temple consecration event’

On Monday, the Occupation Authorities in Kashmir announced a half-day holiday across the occupied region on the controversial consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in the Indian city of Ayodhya Uttar Pradesh. The aim was to force participation of the govt employees in Kashmir in the ‘celebrations’.

The Ministry of Personnel issued an order stating that all of India will commemorate the Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha in Ayodhya on January 22. It has been determined that all central government offices, central institutions, and central industrial facilities throughout India would close for a half day on January 22 until 14.30 hrs in order to allow staff on taxpayer wages to take part in the Hindu festivities.

Monday was set aside for the contentious unveiling of the new Ram statue in the sanctuary of the Ram temple, which was constructed on the site of the destroyed Babri Masjid. Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, led the event. Thousands of radical Hindus destroyed the Babri Mosque in 1992, claiming it to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram. On top of the demolished mosque, the BJP, country’s current ruling party, has now constructed a temple.

Kashmir: Indian tourists, families of occupying forces celebrate Ram Temple consecration

To celebrate the dedication of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Hindu visitors from India and relatives of the occupying soldiers convened and performed special religious rites in a number of Kashmiri temples. At the Shankaracharya temple in the Zabarwan hills, a few Hindus and Indian visitors convened to take part in coordinated prayers for the Ayodhya occasion. The ceremony was concluded with a langar for all those present.

At the Hanuman temple in the Amirakadal region, which is situated near the Jhelum River and was decorated in observance of the contentious Ram temple consecration, similar special prayers were held. At the Sun temple in Mattan, in the Anantnag district, a havan was arranged, where devotees prayed for the full restoration of ‘normalcy’ in Kashmir.

Hindu India has been promoting a plan to destroy the majority Muslim population, erase indigenous Muslim civilization and spread Hinduism within the region. Occupation Authorities have encouraged Hindu organizations to construct new temples next to every Muslim structure in the region in addition to the settler colonial agenda of settling Indian Hindus in the area to change its demographics. According to our sources, Hindu organizations intend to construct 2,900 new temples, alleging that extreme Muslim militants destroyed them in the 1990s.

Forest fires rage across Kashmir amid prolonged dry spell

The disputed territory is facing a serious crisis as forest fires continue to wreak havoc amid a protracted dry period, all while the imposed authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are preoccupied with planning propaganda events and showcasing normalcy. With flames spreading quickly through the parched foliage, the increasing infernos have put Kashmir’s rich landscapes and complex ecosystems at risk.

As the area navigates this environmental catastrophe, NGOs and volunteer community organizations have been advising locals to be cautious and follow safety precautions.
For the past four days, a large forest fire has been burning in Bandipora. The destructive fire in the Aloosa woodland zone is still out of control. According to the residents, the fire started in a compartment in the Aloosa block and spread to other compartments.

Notably, hundreds of trees have burned as a result of several forest fire occurrences that have happened in various regions. Prolonged dry periods are being blamed as the cause of the fires.

Over the past thirty years, the area has seen severe variations in its weather patterns. Experts point the finger at the encouragement of unregulated religious, mostly Hindu zealots, and leisure travelers in Kashmir’s glacier regions as well as the growing militarization of environmentally vulnerable zones. Residents are questioning the effectiveness of firefighting operations and the resources allocated tried to address this environmental issue as the flames continue to spread.

Indian Home Minister claims ‘end of resistance’ in Kashmir

On Thursday, India’s Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that Jammu and Kashmir’s growth, infrastructure construction, and seamless education had reached unprecedented levels and that the region had put an end to resistance and stone-pelting.

He said that stones have been replaced with the laptops in the hands of JK youth. He also said in J&K jobs were being given with the active support of political leaders but gone are the days when “ministers would give slips to give jobs to youth.”

Shah further asserted that although J&K is experiencing a new era of peace, prosperity, and development, the realty on the ground is that people living in the disputed region are forced to bear the brunt of various problems, including the worst electricity crisis, the highest rates of unemployment, restrictions on their right to free speech, desecration of Islamic places of worship, and human rights violations in all respects.

It is noteworthy that thousands of young Kashmiris are being detained by Indian Occupation in jails across India on charges of being stone throwers and members of the resistance movement. In Kashmir, institutions have been militarized and all forms of protest have been made illegal.

Two civilians arrested in JK for expressing opinion over Babri Masjid demolition

Two people have been detained by the occupying troops for expressing comments on the destruction of the Babri Masjid and the subsequent building of the Ram temple on its location. Six people have been booked as a result of the ‘crimes’, which have been reported in the Jammu division’s districts of Reasi, Ramban, Rajouri, and Kathua.

Among those detained is Zaffar Hussain, a citizen of the Jammu district’s Khanna Chargal hamlet. A female college student has also been linked, however her family disputes reports that she was arrested.

The woman is reportedly Zaffar’s cousin, and both of them expressed their displeasure in comments left on their posts on the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the subsequent construction of a temple at its location.