Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 2/5-2/12
Indian police forcing Kashmiri youth to join militancy for espionage
A 21-year-old from Baramulla has alleged that a senior police officer from the Indian police force has been coercing him to join militant ranks to spy on them. The boy says that after his classmate was killed in a recent military operation and dubbed as a militant, he was briefly detained by the police and tortured.
“They told me I was in contact with him, so they will make a fabricated case against me and send me to jail for life. He was my classmate, and we attended the same tuition center. He disappeared out of the blue, and some days later, Indian armed forces informed his parents that he was killed in a gunfight when in reality, he was first kidnaped, then put in jail, and a few days later, Indian armed forces killed him in a fake encounter. While in detention, I saw many other boys languishing in torture centers on false cases, and I believe they have also been kept in jail to force them to become Indian spies”.
The Indian army conducts night raids in Srinagar
During illegal nighttime raids in Srinagar, Indian military forces ransacked residents’ homes ahead of the death anniversaries of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Afzal Guru. The military also took family members’ names and contact numbers. A civilian from Srinagar’s uptown neighborhood said, “after searching my entire house, the army asked for names and phone numbers of my family members, including my 11-year-old kid. Similarly, another civilian also reported, “on my way out of the mosque, I was stopped and asked to turn in details of my family members, including names and phone numbers of my daughters.
In Kashmir, nocturnal raids and arrests are commonplace, in addition to routine frisking and street harassment. Notably, civilians have been arrested in Kashmir frequently under fabricated accusations. Thousands of Kashmiris are currently being held in various prisons in India on fake accusations.
Illegal demolitions and land grabs continue in Kashmir
Indian authorities have been continuing their land grab campaigns by evicting Kashmiri Muslims from their homes, continuing their settler colonial project in occupied Kashmir. In the last week, over 7,000 hectares of land have been taken. The administration has since issued a notice ordering everyone close to water bodies to leave.
According to the order, if the populace disobeys, a demolition crew will enter, and the occupants will be responsible for paying the costs associated with having their dwellings demolished by the government. The government is securing strategic areas like raised land and water bodies in the garb of retrieving water bodies from encroachers.
Five civilians arrested after protests against demolition drives
After the change in the land rules, India has been forcibly grabbing large swaths of land belonging to the local Kashmiris. During a protest against the demolition campaign started by the Indian state to remove indigenous people from their land on the pretext of what India calls “state land.” Police detained four persons and arrested five more.
The police are also under orders from the imposed administration to “keep a close eye on law and order situations and those people expressing negatively against the action.”
Relevantly, the government has ordered the seizure of “state land” and the removal of structures erected there. Over the past several weeks, it has prompted a wide-ranging demolition effort in the illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Demolitions in Kashmir must be immediately halted: Amnesty International
Amnesty International on Tuesday said that demolitions in Kashmir must be immediately halted and those affected compensated. Responding to the illegal demolition of homes and businesses in Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, and Baramulla in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir since February 4, Aakar Patel, chair of the board for Amnesty International India, said, “The ongoing demolitions appear to be an extension of the brutal human rights violations in the region of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority region of India.. These demolitions could amount to forced evictions which constitute a gross violation of human rights”.
He said, “under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which India is a state party, everyone has the right to adequate housing which includes a prohibition on forced evictions.” He added that no one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions.
The arrest of civilians continues in Kashmir; three more were arrested this week.
In the Srinagar district of central Kashmir, three more civilians were detained under the pretext of them being “militant allies.” Umar Adil Dar, the son of Ghulam Hassan Dar, a resident of Soiteng; Bilal Ahmad Sidiqi, the son of Ghulam Ahmad Sididqi, a resident of Kursoo Rajbagh; and Salik Mehraj, the son of Mehraj Din Dar, a resident of Soiteng, have all been identified as the arrested civilians.
Currently, hundreds of Kashmiris are being imprisoned inhumanely in jails in occupied Kashmir and throughout India on fabricated charges. Most have been detained in these facilities for more than five years without a trial.
Shut down in Kashmir parts on the death anniversary of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat.
On Thursday, Srinagar and other districts of Kashmir observed a shutdown on the death anniversary of Maqbool Bhat, who India hanged inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Shops and other business establishments in Nowhatta, Gojwara, and NallaMar roads were closed due to the protest strike called by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Maqbool Bhat (18 February 1938 –11 February 1984) was a Kashmiri resistance leader and one of the founders of the National Liberation Front (NLF), which was a precursor to the present-day Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). He was captured and given a double death sentence. He was hanged on February 11th, 1984 in Tihar Jail in Delhi.
Environmental damage causing springs to dry up in North Kashmir
Springs and other water sources in Lolab Valley, in the Kupwara area of north Kashmir, are becoming contaminated. India has been destroying and stealing Kashmir’s natural resources for more than seven decades due to its ignorance and exploitation. Experts believe that tunneling projects, building dams, and power projects across the region have been disturbing the natural flow of water underground, thus causing water bodies to shrink. In addition, the rampant numbers of Indian military forces numbering close to a million siphon off the fresh spring water across the valley of Kashmir.
There are numerous springs in the Lolab Valley, and the Lalkul stream passes through them all (Lahwal). Many other water bodies from the neighboring hills enclosed by deep Deodar forests supply water to Lalkul.