Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 12/10-12/17


Families of Kashmiri activists living abroad being harassed by Occupation Police

The Indian Occupation Police are violating the human rights of the families of Kashmiri activists who are active internationally. Families of activists, lawyers, and journalists based abroad have experienced harassment and home raids in the last week.

“Five Occupation Police officers visited our home last week and began questioning us about my son’s whereabouts. We informed them that we don’t communicate with him and that he departed from Kashmir due to harassment and intimidation here,” the father of a Kashmiri human rights lawyer told us. “They took away our phones, documents, and passports.”

Tuesday night, armed police officers also raided the home of an activist who is a foreign national. The family claims that late at night, Occupation Police gunmen broke into their home and thoroughly searched it. “They even examined our toilets and water tanks,” the family member stated. “This is an obvious attempt to silence my activist son who has been exposing India’s war crimes in Kashmir.”


Indian Forces detains hundred across Kashmir ahead of Article 370 verdict

The occupying troops summoned a large number of people from Kashmir, including journalists and social activists, one day before the India Supreme Court’s decision on the Article-370 Abrogation was made public on December 11, 2023. The majority of the citizens who were called in were instructed to show up at the police station on Monday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

A social activist from South Kashmir stated, “I was held in the lockup for the entire day without any reason, along with a few other Bait-ul-Maal members and a local journalist.” She mentioned that they were all released in the evening. “The reason for our day-long detention was not provided.”

“Only after our release did we learn about the rulings of the Indian Supreme Court and what appears to be a reason for our incarceration,” the woman continued. The inmates stated that their phones had been scanned and linked to a gadget that they did not recognise. In the valley, several citizens who had previously booked under false pretenses were also detained until the ruling of the Supreme Court came out.


Occupation forces profiling Kashmiris associated with Tableegi Jamaat

The occupying Indian Army has continued its relentless intimidation and harassment tactics, as the civilians associated with the Tableegi Jamaat have been receiving calls across the disputed region. The calls according to the locals are made by the officers of the Indian army who seek every minute detail of the people associated with the Tableegi Jamaat in the respective locality.

A young man from Srinagar’s uptown area said, “I received a call from an Indian Army officer last week. He asked for details that include the address of the mosques where I pray, timings and dates of the weekly Jamaat gatherings, names of the brothers associated with us.” During the 45-minute call, the man also asked about his personal and family details. Most of the calls come in late at night, and in some cases they result in physical assault and torture.

Another young person reported that he was questioned about why he hadn’t looked up the number that was written on his gate. “In the icy early morning hours, I received a call. I was asked for the number that the soldiers had inscribed on our entrance gate at about 12:00 am the same night.”

“You better check it now or we’ll make you sit naked for the rest of the night right outside your gate”, the youth was told and forced to check the number at that moment. The Indian army has also contacted the senior officials of the Jamaat to inquire about the specifics of the planned trips, including the locations and itineraries.

Journalists, social activists, and members of community-based non-governmental organizations in Kashmir are among the individuals who have experienced this intimidation throughout the last four years.

News Updates:

Indian Court upholds GoI’s 2019 move of annexing JK illegally

On Monday, the Supreme Court of India dismissed the petitioners’ appeal against the illegitimate annexation of the disputed territory in 2019 and referred to Article-370 as “a temporary provision” meant for war time emergency.

The Indian Supreme Court affirmed the President’s directive for the Government of India (GoI) to modify Article 370 without the constituent assembly’s advice. The Court determined that because of the state’s ongoing conflict, Article 370 is a provision that should only be used temporarily. Additionally, the top court ordered the Indian Election Commission to hold elections in the contested area by September 30, 2024.

While the local populace feels the Indian SC’s judgment was fairly predictable given that institutions throughout the Union of India are in agreement over policies in the occupied territory, unionist leaders have called the verdict “disappointing.”

Court verdict won’t affect our position; says China on Indian SC’s Article-370 verdict

The Chinese government has stated that the recent Indian Supreme Court verdict on Article 370 would not influence China’s stance on Ladakh. China contends that the western part of the India-China border has always been under its jurisdiction.

During a media briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning emphasized that China has never acknowledged the unilaterally and illegally established union territory of Ladakh by India. Responding to an inquiry from a state media outlet, Mao asserted that the domestic judicial decision in India does not alter the historical fact that the western section of the China-India border has consistently been recognised as part of China.

Regarding the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the abrogation of Article 370, Mao reiterated that China maintains a consistent and clear stance on the Kashmir issue. In 2019, China expressed strong disapproval of the “reorganization” of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the separation of Ladakh into a union territory.

Unionist politicians put under house arrest ahead of court verdict

Unionist politicians, which included former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were placed under house arrest on Monday in anticipation of the Indian Supreme Court’s decision on a number of pleas contesting the repeal of Article 370, which granted Jammu and Kashmir special status.

The PDP stated that “police have sealed the doors of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s residence and put her under illegal house arrest even before the Supreme Court judgment is pronounced.” The party said that the police had also shut off the PDP officer near Sher-e-Kashmir Park.

According to a National Conference (NC) politician, the police had shut the main gate of the residences of party president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah early in the morning. “Omar Abdullah’s home has been locked up. Democracy?” Sara Hayat Shah, the state spokesperson stated.

Party members also shared images of the Abdullah residence’s shut gate. A posse of police personnel was deployed at the entry point of Gupkar Road and journalists were not allowed anywhere near the residence of the NC politicians.

JK HC quashes PSA against Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed the Public Safety Act (PSA) filed against Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan. The court directed the Manoj Sinha-led JK administration to release him from preventive detention unless he is required in any other case. Asif was jailed in 2018. In 2019, he received the annual John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award by the National Press Club of America.

Earlier on August 27, the journalist completed the fifth year in jail. He was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and is currently lodged at Ambedkar Nagar Central Jail in Agra, Uttar Pradesh after being transferred from a prison in Jammu and Kashmir. Press Freedom organizations on a global scale have been consistently advocating for Aasif Sultan’s immediate release. They have collectively characterized his detention as a “targeted action” against him.

In July 2018, Sultan wrote a cover article for the Kashmir Narrator that highlighted Burhan Wani, the commander of the resistance. In July 2016, Wani was killed by invading troops. Interviews with non-combatants from Wani’s organization, Hizbul Mujahideen, were featured in Sultan’s narrative. According to Sultan’s brother, the police pressured Aasif Sultan to reveal the sources behind the story.

On April 5, 2022, a court in Srinagar granted him bail in the UAPA case. Nevertheless, his release was short-lived as he was promptly taken in for questioning by the CIK (Counter Intelligence Kashmir). Subsequently, he was once again detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA). He was initially transferred to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu, only to be subsequently relocated to Agra Central Jail in Uttar Pradesh.

No jobs for Kashmiris associated with resistance: Indian Home Minister

The Indian Home Minister reiterated on Monday that anybody with a history of “stone- pelting” or any kind of affiliation with the resistance movement will not be granted administration jobs in the disputed area of Jammu and Kashmir, reflecting the xenophobic policies of its fascist right-wing government.
In response to the Rajya Sabha’s consideration of the J&K Reservation (Amendment) Bill and the J&K Reorganisation Bill 2023, Shah said that he would have no patience for “militancy and their sympathizers.”

Shah added that at a cost of Rs 130 crore, a jail dedicated to housing only militants will be built in J&K. “To ensure no security breach, there will be jammers and other state-of- the-art facilities,” stated Shah.

Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir calls Indian SC’s Article-370 verdict ‘sad but not unexpected’

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, stated on Monday that the Supreme Court’s decision to support the revocation of Article 370 was “sad but not unexpected.”

“It’s unfortunate, but the decision was not surprising, especially given the current situation,” Mirwaiz said. “People who trusted the assurances and promises given to them by the Indian government and backed J&K’s accession during the Partition must feel deeply betrayed.”

“Concerning the rest,” the Hurriyat leader went on, “the State as it existed in August 1947 is still divided along the ceasefire line, meaning that there is still a political and humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed.”

The Indian top court on Monday unanimously upheld the GoI’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and directed restoration of statehood in Jammu and Kashmir “at the earliest” and set a September 30, 2024 deadline for holding assembly elections there.

SIA raids multiple locations across South Kashmir

The State Investigative Agency (SIA) is conducting raids throughout Kashmir on a regular basis. On Wednesday, its agents, along with the police and CRPF personnel, raided several places in South Kashmir.

Residential homes and business assets owned by civilians affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami and community-based non-governmental organizations are among the raided places in the districts of Anantnag and Kulgam.

India has been carrying out these searches under false pretenses in order to harass Kashmiri individuals using its agencies, including the army, NIA, SIA, CBI, SIU, and others.

The 1987 rigged elections are what incited violence in Kashmir, not Article 370: Omar Abdullah

The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, refuted the BJP’s assertions that the militancy in Kashmir is related to Article 370. He emphasized that, as opposed to the constitutional clause, the turbulent past of the area can be traced back to the events of 1987.

“If militancy in JK was primarily caused by Article 370, then militancy ought to have begun in 1947 rather than 1987. Before 1987, you had no militancy for forty years,” he stated.

After India manipulated the 1987 election and imprisoned hundreds of MUF workers and leaders in various jails where they were subjected to torture, Kashmir’s resistance movement turned to armed conflict.