Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 1/22-1/29
India uses client politicians to unfurl Indian Flag in occupied Kashmir
On its republic day, the Indian government used collaborating Kashmiri politicians to demonstrate support for their authority. Many BJP members from India who have received large remunerations, positions of authority, security, and benefits to seize land in occupied Kashmir gathered in Srinagar’s city center at Lal Chowk. The members raised the Indian flag while significant troop deployment was in place.
The Hindutva media from New Delhi presented these images as residents who were content with Indian rule in the region and were rejoicing. After India unilaterally revoked Article 370, which forbade outsiders from holding land in Kashmir, and abrogated Kashmir’s political and financial autonomy, the Indian government used all resources to show support in the Kashmir Valley falsely.
Armed Forces coerce businesses to open on Indian Republic Day to show normalcy
The residents of occupied Kashmir awoke to a new dawn with the Indian armed forces heavily patrolling the city’s streets and roadways. On India’s 74th Republic Day, people opted to stay inside in protest against the Indian occupation. There were barricades on all routes going to the city center of Srinagar, and more checkpoints were set up. A week before India’s Republic Day, detours were also established, and commuters were warned to take alternate routes.
The shuttered stores in the background were telling a different story than the one being told by the occupation troops posing for photos with the flags in the city center. The business owners had glum expressions and a noticeable appearance of contempt. Many businesses were forced to open, and those that did only raised half of their shutters.
“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’, said a shopkeeper with half the shutter of his garment shop lifted up.
Trade in Kashmir is now being run by outsiders, while people face economic apartheid
Large trade agreements in occupied Kashmir have now been granted to outside parties to exclude Kashmiris from the local economies. The Indian government has published bid documents for several projects over the past three years, including mining, sand extraction, and construction work; while enforcing restrictions that disqualify local firms and contractors. And in their place, Indian corporations are given an unjustified advantage in occupied Kashmir.
According to Rahim Shah (name changed), a former borewell worker and contractor in the building industry, the most recent ventures ensure that no Kashmiri company is even qualified to work on the projects currently underway in the state. “Even the sand mafia from Indian states are destroying the environment by excavating close to settlements while being fully protected by the Indian army. Additionally, outsiders are receiving transportation jobs, leading to local truckers turning to bankruptcy.
Kashmiri Civilian used as a human shield by Indian Forces
A Kashmiri civilian was forcefully used as a human shield by the Indian military forces while they searched the entire property during the operation in Tral, South Kashmir. The homeowner was beaten up on false suspicion of housing resistance fighters.
The entire family was transferred from the kitchen to the barn. The household’s pregnant cow was in labor and in serious condition. The army stormed the house after the cow gave birth, and the owner was called out to disclose the precise location of the “hiding fighters” in the house.
According to the homeowner, the army commander said that “the vigil was being kept on the strange activities in residence over the last night.” However, the military discovered nothing but a cow and a newborn calf after searching the premises thoroughly for over an hour.
Indian authorities continue land grab and bulldozing properties across Kashmir
Around 60 acres of land belonging to local Kashmiri Muslims were taken by the Indian-imposed administration in South Kashmir’s Shopian area on Saturday. About 40 stores in the region were sealed. The imposed administration has been claiming that it is reclaiming “state land,”
As part of the ongoing eviction campaign, a property owned by a former minister of Jammu and Kashmir was also destroyed on Friday, January 27th in Shopian town.
Submit details of the property or face action: India threatens Kashmiris
On Thursday, the imposed government in occupied Jammu and Kashmir ordered government employees to fill out the yearly property return information by the end of the month or face consequences. The locals claim that the directives are open threats and harassment of the inhabitants of the occupied region, who are the targets of many policies and initiatives within India’s settler colonial project in occupied Kashmir.
The directive stated, “It is clarified that failure to submit property returns shall invite action against such defaulting workers pursuant to applicable provisions of law and shall result in rejection of vigilance clearance as well.”
Indian court denies JKLF chief Yasin Malik’s right to ‘cross-examine’
On Monday, a special court in Jammu “closed” Yasin Malik’s right to cross-examine a key witness in a 1990 case involving the killing of four occupying forces. Malik, detained in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, had been pleading for permission to cross-examine witnesses in the Jammu court and physically attend the proceedings.
Malik refused to do so and reiterated that he would like to question Sharma in person in court physically, following which the court denied him the right to cross-examine.
Along with Malik, hundreds of innocent Kashmiris are currently being held inhumanely in several Indian and regional prisons on false charges.
India to impose a special tax on Kashmiris for owning property
The Indian government has decided to charge Kashmiris who own land a specific tax. In Jammu and Kashmir, this tax is expected to be implemented alongside other significant negative changes to the land laws.
According to sources, the Housing and Urban Development Department is working on a plan to levy property taxes in occupied Kashmir.