Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 11/12-11/20
Harassment of Journalists continues in Kashmir
This week many journalists were summoned and interrogated, by the Srinagar-based interrogation center (infamously known for torture) code-named CARGO, and the Cyber Cells of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. A journalist who asked to remain anonymous stated that he and others had to go through many interrogation sessions. Afterwards he was allowed to go, but his cell phone was confiscated. He was ordered to report back at the interrogation center. At least five other journalists’ homes in Srinagar and Islamabad were raided and searched. During the raids items including cash, passports, and family members’ phones were seized and taken away by the agents. These raids and interrogations are made on different pre-texts by the Indian agencies.
After being assaulted at an Indian University, a Kashmiri student is booked
A counter-case has been registered against a Muslim student from Jammu and Kashmir, who was injured after being beaten ruthlessly at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in India. During a dispute, students at the university assaulted and struck Sajid Hussain, a college student. Later, a counter FIR 606/2022 (First Information Report) was filed against Sajid, who sustained injuries after being struck in the head.
The Proctor at AMU said, “the attack was abrupt and inflicted grave damage on Sajid’s head and other essential body parts.” The statement added that the wounded student was later rushed to the hospital due to his serious condition, and is still being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).
This is not the first incident in which Indian students have assaulted a Kashmiri. Due to their faith, nationality, and support for the resistance movement, Kashmiri students studying in India are frequently victims of these attacks. The police then book the Kashmiri Students for violence. The assailant was booked for the attack, but the reason for filing a case against the Kashmiri student who was attacked was not clear.
Indian forces murder a civilian after using him as a Human Shield
During a military operation in the Bijbehara district of South Kashmir, Indian soldiers murdered a civilian after using him as a human shield. The police after killing the civilian, identified as Sajjad Tantry of Kulgam, labeled him as a “Hybrid Militant”. Sajad’s dead body was then transported to the sub district hospital, where medics pronounced him dead.
Police have now concocted a story to justify the murder by claiming that Sajjad was a ‘hybrid militant’ shot dead by his militant comrades during an ongoing military operation where he was brought by the armed forces to “identify a hideout”. Similar cases are not uncommon in the occupied Kashmir where Indian soldiers use Kashmiris as human shields during their military attacks on civilians.
Indian Government cancels land allotment of Kashmiri Industries
The Indian government in Kashmir issued a notice permanently revoking the land allocation of 586 firms, owned and managed by local Kashmiri Muslims. The notice, according to the officials, was sent because the firms failed to establish units as part of the much-heralded “new industrial development strategy.” On Thursday, Director Smita Sethi of the Jammu and Kashmir State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) issued the notice. 462 of these units are in the Kashmir valley, and 124 are in the Jammu area. The authorities claimed that the firms had not followed protocol and that “ others were in the long queue”.
There are concerns that the “others” who the authorities have identified after canceling their allotments are indeed Indian business owners who have applied for land allocation in Kashmir to set up industries. Indian businesses in Kashmir have been supported and installed by Indian authorities to further marginalize Kashmiris and undermine the Kashmiri economy and drive Kashmiri business owners out of business in their own country. It fits well into the pattern of the ongoing Indian settler-colonial project in Occupied Kashmir.
Outsourcing of Kashmiri assets to Indian firms continues
India continues to plunder and destroy Kashmiri resources that in any way support the disputed region’s economy. The Pahalgam Club in Kashmir, the Ashoka Hotel in Jammu, and the JK tourist department huts in Patnitop are among the twelve assets that have recently been identified for outsourcing. The entire procedure is expected to be finished by the middle of next year.
According to the government, Phase-II will identify more locally owned properties for acquisition by outsiders. The Joint Secretary in the India Ministry of Home Affairs and the JK Tourism Department are collaborating in assigning prime Kashmiri pretties to Indian organizations and corporations.
India continues to deny Kashmir its own energy
In an absurd order, an Indian official banned the use of heating appliances in order to conserve power. Although the order was eventually withdrawn, the absence of energy has made it hard for enterprises to operate efficiently.
With effect from November 15, the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) released a new power restriction plan as per which metered zones will see a daily curtailment of 4+ hours of electric power. There will be a daily eight-hour restriction of electricity in the non-metered zones.
Kashmir is denied electricity during the brutal winter season despite being a hub for producing renewable energy in the form of hydroelectricity. Kashmir remains without power, while the transmission lines carry energy from Kashmir to parts of northern India. The imposed power crisis has had a significant impact on local industries, as well as people from all walks of life, who rely on technological devices to go about their daily business.
Four more civilians were arrested under fake labels
The Indian military forces and police continue raids and arrests of a large number of civilians on an everyday basis. Four people have now been arrested by the police and have been classified as “hybrid militants.” The families of the people who were arrested contest the police’s assertion and label it as unfounded.
Nearly 10,000 Kashmiris are currently being held locally, and in regional jails throughout India on fictitious accusations. Most of them are still being tried under spurious charges with entirely insufficient and trumped up charges. Most victims do not have enough financial resources to mount a legal defense. In some cases, the defendants have already served more than five years in jail and the trial has yet to start.