Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 2/26-3/5


Indian army order villagers to organize a ‘candlelight march’ in memory of a slain soldier

On March 3rd, the Indian military attacked the village of Padghampora in the district of Pulwama, Awantipora. They then forced the locals to perform a candlelight vigil in memory of an Indian soldier killed on February 28th, 2023, during a military operation. Locals claim that following the military operation in Padgampora Awantipora, a senior official from the 55RR army camp called a group of older people from the village and ordered them to meet at the army camp. 

The army officer warned that he would seize many houses in the area for allegedly housing militants. “The officer told us to organize a candlelight march for the killed Indian army soldier or be ready to face the wrath of the armed forces,” reported a local.

One of the locals reported that he was instructed to lead the march with a few other friends, and if he didn’t, the army would resurrect old cases against them and book them under UAPA. Significantly, images of the march appeared on social media and were shared by Indian organizations, who referred to them as evidence of the Kashmiri youth’s “love and support” for the Indian army.


Civilians paraded for religious gatherings in Budgam district

The inhabitants of Abadpora hamlet in the district of Budgam in central Kashmir were paraded last week after the Indian army. The CRPF patrolled the area the day after religious celebrations commemorating Hazrat Imam Hussain’s birthday (AS). 

Abadpora, a Shia village 9 miles from Budgam’s center market, has long been known for putting religious event posters on the walls of the streets. The army personnel also demanded that the meaning of posters be translated for them because they had Urdu, Persian, and Arabic inscriptions. A local shopkeeper was harassed as the army men accused him of translating the “wrong meaning.”

Another local was instructed to inform the kids in the village about the seminars and activities the Indian army had sponsored in the region.

He reported being harassed for being part of a religious gathering and the military took details of my entire family.


Indian forces brutally torture brothers of killed resistance fighter Aqib

After being mercilessly tortured by Indian troops, the afflicted family members of the freedom fighter Aqib Must Bhat were brought to the hospital in Pulwama in critical condition. Soldiers from the 55 RR division also compelled the locals to do a candlelight march ‘to commemorate the Indian soldier’ who died during military action in Padgampora Awantipora.

Two resistance fighters associated with The Resistance Front (TRF) organization were killed during a combined military operation with the Indian occupational forces on Tuesday in the Padghampora hamlet of Awantipora in the Pulwama district of South Kashmir. The fighters who were killed were Aqib Mushtaq Bhat of Malangpora Pulwama and Ajaz Ahmad Bhat of Syedabad Tral.

An army man of the 55RR division was also killed during the military operation, following which the residents of Padghampora were forced to hold a candlelight march for him.

News Updates: 

Dead-body of ‘disappeared’ youth handed over to family

In December, Abdul Rashid Dar, 27, was picked up by the army for “questioning.” On Wednesday, the family received him a martyr. Witnesses said the body was transported from Hanjipora to Kunan on a stretcher. Several individuals rushed after the men carrying the body, loudly shouting slogans of praise and pride. Many residents from the town and surrounding regions attended the funeral after they notified the family. 

Dar’s mother rejected the police claim that Dar had “run away” from army custody and insisted that his corpse was covered with signs of torture, indicating that he had been murdered.

Dar was picked up for interrogation on December 15th in connection with an alleged militancy case, according to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara Yougal Manhas’ earlier statement on December 15, 2022. He “managed to provide a slip to troops,” according to police. Importantly, Rashid’s family had repeatedly protested in Srinagar’s press district, claiming that their kin had ‘disappeared’ after the army had taken Rashid into custody.  

G20: India paces up preparations in Srinagar

The G20 Chief Coordinator of India and other senior tourism ministry officials arrived in Kashmir on Sunday to assess the status of preparations for the summit, which will take place in Srinagar during the second week of May 2023. Locals claim that the Indian government is staging the G20 summit in Kashmir to portray a “false appearance of normality” to the wider world. At the same time, Kashmiris routinely suffer from human rights abuses.

The European Union and 19 other nations comprise the G20, sometimes known as the Group of Twenty. It strives to solve important global economic concerns, including international financial stability, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainable development. 

The false Indian propaganda activities supported by its agents are nothing new to Kashmir. Such hype and propaganda activities are intended to portray the deception of India’s illegitimate occupation of Kashmir. 

India to seize over 160 properties of Kashmiris 

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has instructed the J&K Police to start prosecuting resistance fighters, including 118 from Doda, 36 from Kishtwar, and 14 from Rajouri and other districts. The goal is to confiscate the assets of these 168 Kashmiri resistance fighters. 

Many resistance fighters from Doda, including Muhammad Irshad and Ilias Idrees, are reportedly about to have their homes seized by the  Indian authorities. The attacks on the homes of individuals connected to Kashmir’s resistance movement often occur in the occupied region. During the last few months, government authorities have seized hundreds of Jamat-e-Islami assets.

India seizes family home of Al-Umar Chief in Srinagar

On Thursday, the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) seized the home of Al-Umar Chairman Mushtaq Zargar, known by his popular nickname, Mushtaq  Latram, in the Nowhatta Srinagar neighborhood of Gani Mohalla. The NIA’s move follows a declaration by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under the UAPA, a strict law designed to target the opposition activists of illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Local police and the paramilitary CRPF helped the NIA team confiscate Latram’s property. 

Daily raids on Kashmiris are carried out in the meantime. India has conducted these searches through its armed forces to arrest Kashmiris based on unfounded allegations.

India formally takes over Kashmir’s largest healthcare facility

The Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) no longer has any independent authority because the Institute’s Director must now submit all requests for action to the Department of Health and Medical Education for approval. 

The management of SKIMS has been delegated to the Health and Medical Education Department, according to the department’s official communiqué. SKIMS is the largest hospital in JK, with a director who also serves as the office’s ex-officio secretary. The semi-autonomous super-specialty hospital and its affiliated university are governed by the SKIMS governing body, which Lieutenant Governor JK now chairs. 

SIU seizes four civilian homes in Srinagar

In the Srinagar area of central Kashmir, the State Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Police confiscated four homes from families on suspicion that they were housing resistance fighters. One of the four seized homes is in Sangam Eidgah Srinagar, while the other three are in Bharthana Qamarwari. 

The residences belonged to Shaheena, Mohammad Yunis Nath’s wife, Altaf Ahmed Dar, Mohd Abdullah’s son, Mudasir Ahmed Mir, Mohd Sultan’s son, who lived in Barthena Qamarwari, and Abdul Rehman Bhat, who lived in Sangam Eidgah.

Release Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir on Shab-e-Barat: Anjuman Auqaf 

Due to Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir, Dr. Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq’s ongoing “illegal and arbitrary” house confinement since August 5th, 2019, the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar has not held religious services or significant events like Shab-e-Baraat for the last four years. 

Anjuman claimed in a statement that the Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir is subject to severe limitations on his peaceful actions and is forbidden from carrying out his religious duties, which is unacceptable. It is doubtful that Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir would be permitted to deliver his sermon at Jama Masjid on the auspicious occasion of Shab-e-Baraat, despite numerous appeals to the authorities.

Anjuman urged the authorities to release Mirwaiz Umar Farooq unconditionally while also taking into account the strong emotions and spiritual yearning of the thousands of followers who travel from all over the valley to Jamia Masjid Srinagar on Fridays in hopes of seeing their beloved leader.