Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 11/20-11/27
Indian agencies threatening families of resistance leaders:
Family members of imprisoned resistance leaders have received threats from Indian agencies and military intelligence to concede and side with the Indian government. A family member of a leader who is now detained informed us that Indian officials visited him at his workplace and demanded a meeting later.
“They informed me in the meeting that I had no choice but to join Modi’s party, the BJP. They said that doing this will ensure my relative’s release from jail,” the family member told us. “I tried not to engage with the agents to get out of the situation, but they kept pressing. I finally told them I wouldn’t do it even if I had no other choice. They then threatened to punish a member of my family if I do not upload a video raising the Indian flag,” he added.
Another family member of a resistance leader who has now migrated to Azad Kashmir informed us that Indian operatives had also contacted them with similar demands. The person’s home was raided a day after he refused to submit to the Indian agents’ commands. The individual informed us that, “they had confiscated property owned by my wife and told me that her government employment will be terminated.”
‘Leave Kashmir Immediately’: Police tells foreign laborers in Kashmir:
Over the last few days, the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) have been threatening foreign laborers in several Srinagar neighborhoods. Initial reports indicate that a few JKP Stations House Officers (SHOs) have begun contacting non-local employees in various areas of downtown Srinagar and asking them to urgently leave Kashmir. Similar orders were issued by the Indian authorities to foreign laborers before imposing a clampdown and abrogating Article 370 in 2019 which granted Kashmir a semi-autonomous status.
Asim, a waiter at a restaurant in Srinagar’s old center, expressed that the SHO had said that it was for their “safety” without elaborating. For the past five years, Asim, an Indian citizen from the state of UP, has been visiting Kashmir. Every year, a sizable number of non-local employees from various regions of India come to Kashmir to work in factories, restaurants, and other jobs. An SHO in Srinagar’s civil lines district summoned Asim’s cousin and told him to leave as soon as possible. Additionally, police have threatened to take action if their identities and police station addresses are disclosed.
India increases surveillance of Kashmiri neighborhoods:
The imposed Indian authorities in Srinagar ordered shop owners to share CCTV video footage with the police daily. The police have also asked landlords to put CCTVs outside the dwellings that they rent to migrant workers and warned them not to wander about in “risk regions at night”. The deputy commissioners in the Valley had issued orders in April telling store owners to install high-definition CCTV cameras outside their businesses. In addition, Srinagar police had threatened to take action if the CCTV installation directives were disobeyed.
Kashmir has been transformed into an outdoor jail with checkpoints at every neighborhood’s entrance and exit. Along with regular police and paramilitary units, there are over 700,000 members of the Indian armed forces permanently stationed in Kashmir. The army has been conducting censuses of Kashmiri homes regularly and labeling each property with a code number raising fears among Kashmiris.
India registers over seven hundred thousand new voters in Kashmir:
The Indian election commission has registered more than seven hundred thousand additional voters following the recent delimitation of voting regions, a gerrymandering effort to ensure that India’s favorite political factions remain in power. Anil Salgotra, the joint chief electoral officer for Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, said on Friday that during this year’s special summary revision exercise the number of voters in Jammu and Kashmir increased by 7,72,872.
According to confidential sources in the department, there is uncertainty about who these new voters are. Locals worry that the BJP, now in power in India, is actively attempting to sway election outcomes in its favor by attracting votes from outside Kashmir. The Chief Electoral Officer’s earlier ruling, which said that outsiders staying in Kashmir for a year might now cast a ballot in the next election, increased this worry. This order was issued shortly after the election commissioner stated that the administration anticipates 250,0000, additional voters, in this election.
Indian Police arrest local woman, accusing her of having militant links:
On Tuesday, a woman and three other people were arrested in the Bandipora region of North Kashmir by the Indian military forces and the police. The police have alleged that the woman is an agent of the militants, while the other people arrested are over-ground workers of a militant organization. The police released a statement saying that “Bandipora Police along with 13RR & CRPF during a cordon & search operation launched at Gundbal Nursery arrested two active militants”.
The arrested people have been identified as Suraya Rashid Wani, a resident of Wahab Parray Mohalla Hajin, and Imran Majeed Mir, a resident of Wangipora Sumbal, who the police accuse of being militant supporters. Police also arrested Musaib Mir resident of Rakh Hajin and Arafat Farooq Wagey resident of Gulshan Abad Hajin and accused them of being active militants.
The Indian army and police are currently conducting large-scale raids in Kashmir, arresting people and accusing them of having militant links. Presently, thousands of Kashmiris are being held inhumanely in various jails around India, and most of them have not been brought before a judge.
Indian forces raid newspaper office, residences of journalists in Kashmir:
Indian Police have hit a new low by raiding newspaper offices and homes of journalists in different parts of Kashmir. Sources told us that the Police entered the Kashmir Reader office and accessed computers and seized digital devices and papers from the office. The police claim that these raids are being conducted concerning a case of ‘online threats to journalists. One of the journalists whose house was raided claimed that police are using this as an excuse to intimidate, threaten and target critical voices.
The raids are being held at the residences of Asif Maqbool Dar, journalist Ishfaq Ahmad Reshi, a resident of Pushkar Khag in Budgam, Saqib Hussain Mughloo, a resident of Lal-Bazar Srinagar, Haji Hayat Ahmad Bhat, owner of Kashmir Reader (Daily Newspaper) at Pampore Pulwama. Raids were also conducted at the residence of Showkat Ahmad Motta of Lal-Bazar Srinagar, Advocate Adnan, a resident of Nowgam Srinagar. During these raids, the Srinagar police teams seized papers, digital devices, and cell phones from the targeted sites.
Indian agencies continue the assault on Jamaat-e-Islami:
Indian Police have continued their crackdown on the religious-political organization Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). On Saturday, more Jamaat-e-Islami property was confiscated by Indian authorities in the Anantnag area. The District Magistrate of Anantnag said that these properties are being used illegally” by JeI. “The seized properties include orchards, shopping complexes, agriculture land, and residential properties as well,” the official said. The seized properties also include land, buildings, housing, and the office of Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT).
A significant part of the Kashmiri people’s struggle for independence has been played by religious and political organizations like Jamaat-e-Islami. The Indian military forces have frequently targeted it, assassinating its leaders and rank-and-file members, while imprisoning a large number of its members. To promote public education, the organization operates several schools throughout Kashmir, and part of its community service is helping war orphans and widows. Public service particularly disaster relief and have been some of the passions for Jamaat over many decades.
Indian sleuths grill top resistance leader Professor Gani Bhat for eight hours:
Senior Hurriyat leader, Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, was grilled by Indian agents on Saturday for nearly 8 hours at the Joint Interrogation Center. The police have maintained that Professor Abdul Gani was called by the investigating agency in connection with a case involving “militant funding”. In the past, Professor Bhat served as both the leader of the Hurriyat Conference and the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.
Indian authorities have intensified their crackdown on Hurriyat Conference which calls for an end to Indian occupation in Kashmir. The Hurriyat Conference is a coalition of individuals from various political and ideological backgrounds who support resolving the Kashmir dispute per the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Crackdown on religious freedom- Mirwaiz continues to be under detention:
Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid Srinagar stated on Friday that the illegal and arbitrary house detention of the valley’s most important religious figure, Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Dr. Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq, has caused the minbar-o-mihrab of the centuries-old grand mosque, which is a great religious and spiritual center of the Muslims of Kashmir, to remain silent for the past three and a half years. The decision by the authorities to prevent Dr. Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq from leading Friday prayers and carrying out his religious duties as the Mirwaiz of Kashmir for the past three years has been regrettable and has caused thousands of Muslims and his followers to feel deeply hurt, according to a statement from Auqaf.
Anjuman referred to this government’s behavior as anti-Islamic, outright meddling in issues of faith, and a violation of the right to free speech, calling it both unfortunate and condemnable. The revered, devotees, and followers of Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir have had to leave the historic Jama Masjid Srinagar disappointed for the past more than three years due to the absence of the Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir, according to Anjuman. “Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is not only an important religious personality of Kashmir but also a beloved leader of the people.”
Another dead body found under mysterious circumstances:
An official said on Thursday that a missing man’s body had been found in the Larnoo forest in the Kokernag region of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. According to a representative, Ghulam Mohammad Lone, the son of Lassa Lone of Lessu Larnoo, had gone to the Lehnvan Forest to check on his sheep but hadn’t come home since yesterday evening. He said that “locals and police retrieved his body from the wooded region this afternoon.” According to him, police gave the family the body and started the suspicious death investigation.
Indian government renames Baramulla Chowk after ‘killed policeman’:
Towing the party line, the Indian regime in Kashmir renamed the Main Chowk Baramulla (a major marketplace or open area in the village) on Tuesday in remembrance of a police officer who was killed during a military operation.
After the people of Kashmir voluntarily named significant landmarks after the martyrs and leaders of the resistance struggle, India adopted the practice of naming highways, institutions, buildings, etc. after members of the armed forces. The villagers have been deriding India’s enforced measures as “acts of desperation” while continuing to support the rebel leaders.