Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 2/19-2/26
Israeli agents set up a strategic military base in Khimber near Harwan Hills
Our sources informed us that Israeli agents, in collaboration with Indian occupation forces have set up a base in Srinagar’s Batpora, Khyber neighborhood, close to the Harwan Hills in Srinagar. The hills are known to provide a panoramic view of the city.
Residents who requested anonymity reported that Israeli agents had been visiting the area with police protection over the previous seven months and had recently moved into a building on which work had begun following the repeal of article 370 in August 2019.
“The Israelis moved into the building three days ago with the assistance of the police and the military. Today some trucks carrying secret military equipment and machinery arrived and were placed inside,” a resident told us.
We contacted a laborer who used large equipment to transport the unexplained objects from the truck into the building. “I shifted heavy metal crates within the structure. It was covered with plastic sheets so that it wasn’t visible. They told us to leave the premises as soon as we unloaded the package,” the man said.
Defense relations, commerce, and military cooperation between India and Israel have grown closer than ever before. Israeli organizations have established what they refer to as “Centres of Excellence” (CoE) in Kashmir near the Ceasefire line. These CoEs operate in border regions of several countries under cover of ‘agricultural upgradation.’
Indian forces storm village, civilians are made to appear in staged photos for G20 event
On February 13th, 2023, as the rest of the world was celebrating World Radio Day, the Indian army abruptly ordered the people of Pinglen, Pulwama in South Kashmir to leave their homes. The region had previously been the target of military operations and crackdowns carried out regularly by the Indian armed forces. Armed members of 55- Rashtriya Rifles stormed into the village, took residents out of their homes, and gathered them outside the Jamia Mosque. The populace anticipated a usual village-wide crackdown procession. Instead, there was a 55 Rashtriya Rifles (an Indian counter-insurgency force) “interaction and rally on World Radio Day.” Locals said that as army soldiers took their photos, they forced them to hoist the World Radio Day banner. A local shopkeeper who, along with others, was pushed to take photographs while carrying banners claimed: “They forced individuals to hoist banners to falsey represent good relations between locals and the invading military.” He said that the flag also featured the G20 logo.
Armed men also stopped a few Sumo taxis, according to a resident, and ordered the passengers to pose with the flags. In addition, he said, “They also distributed some gifts among the villagers, and after taking the images, the gifts were taken back by them.”
The government of India orchestrates a ‘phased withdrawal of the Indian army’ in Occupied Kashmir to portray a false image of normalcy
The news about the phased withdrawal of occupying forces in Kashmir is a frequently staged publicity strategy done by the Indian occupiers. Our knowledgeable sources said it would be a publicity stunt done before the G20 meeting to give an illusion of normalcy in Kashmir. “The Indian government will recruit paramilitary troops to fill their positions in civilian regions. The army will be transferred from within the civilian areas towards the frontier regions but remain within the state to cover them up from the public view to fool the G20 invitees. Technically speaking, the quantity of forces only increases.”
Over 1.3 million members of the Indian military and paramilitary occupation forces are still stationed in J&K, with 80,000 of them along the ceasefire line. About 40,000–45,000 forces are part of the inhuman Rashtriya Rifles responsible for conducting operations, including nightly raids, extrajudicial killings, and fake encounters. According to reports, more than 60,000 CRPF personnel are on duty in J&K, with more than 45,000 based in the Kashmir Valley. Eighty-three thousand people work for the J&K Police. In addition, a few companies from the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) are still present in the Valley. Depending on the circumstances in the Valley, different CAPFs are employed, making occupied Kashmir the world’s most militarized region.
Indian Admin to monitor the social media of government employees in Kashmir
The puppet government in Jammu and Kashmir has instructed all administrative secretaries to intensify the already-implemented social media surveillance. Per our sources, they are looking for employees who are reportedly posting “unfavorable remarks” about government policies on social media.
At a meeting on Friday, Chief Secretary AK Mehta approved the decision and gave orders to all administrative secretaries to periodically check social media networks.
Several government employees have recently had their employment terminated due to statements they made on social media criticizing the imposed administration.
India imposes a new tax on Kashmiris owning property
On Tuesday, the imposed Jammu and Kashmir administration released the procedures for assessing, collecting, and levying property taxes within the jurisdiction of local councils and committees.
Tuesday saw the publication of “The Jammu and Kashmir Property Tax (Other Municipalities) Regulations, 2023” by the Housing and Urban Development Department. The announcement states that these regulations, which would fall under the purview of municipal councils and committees, will take effect on April 1st.
India’s multi-front effort to alter the demographics of occupied Jammu and Kashmir has advanced further. Through its imposed authority in Kashmir, they have been introducing new laws and regulations as part of the settler-colonial project similar to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.