Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 4/16-4/23


Victims of torture are being lured with drugs by Indian Forces  

Victims of torture who have suffered extreme sexual and physical abuse inside Indian prisons are being made to turn to drugs to ease their pain. 

At least four people confirmed that they were approached by people they saw inside police stations with “solutions to their pain” in the form of drugs. 

“I am undergoing psychiatric treatment after I was released from prison because I cannot sleep and have suffered trauma. I am under medication. Seeing me as vulnerable, the same people I saw roaming freely inside the prison visited me at my home and said they would give me a substance that will help me ease the pain and make me sleep better. I understood immediately what it was. They were giving me heroin. I took it because I could not say no to them, but I threw it in the river,” said a torture victim. 

There are at least three other cases where after being subjected to extreme torture and abuse, individuals employed by Indian forces approach victims luring them down a path that leads to eventual drug addiction. “They have done the same thing in Punjab. Drug abuse is used as a counterinsurgency measure. Now they are doing the same in Kashmir,” a village elder said. 


Harassment of journalists continues in Kashmir 

The Indian occupation forces have been routinely halting the cars of journalists in Kashmir over the past several weeks on the pretense of inspecting them. Particular journalists have been stopped, frisked, and have had their devices checked by the occupation forces at various spots daily, as they go to their offices and on their way home.

According to the journalists, the Indian occupation army has intensified these tools of harassment and intimidation of journalists as a justification.

Indian authorities stepped up their campaign against the institution of journalism in the disputed territory after repealing Articles 370 and 35A in August 2019. They did this by booking journalists under harsh laws, including the UAPA and PSA, and conducting raids on their homes by various state agencies.

News Updates:  

Occupying forces bar Eid prayers in Kashmir, and deny people their right to religion

The occupying army once again did not allow Eid prayers at the Eidgah in Srinagar and Islamabad, and all major masjids were shut down. Numerous men, women, and children offered Friday prayers at the revered Jamia Masjid Srinagar on the final Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. The crowds shouted at the time, demanding Mirwaiz-e Kashmir’s immediate and unconditional release.

The famous Jamia Masjid of Srinagar, which serves as the primary location for congregational prayers in the disputed territory, was forbidden by Indian authorities from holding Eid prayers for the fourth year in a row. On Saturday, Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid strongly criticized the authorities for forbidding the Eid prayer at Jamia Masjid.

“The Anjuman expressed strong resentment against the continuous illegal and arbitrary detention of Mirwaiz–e-Kashmir and said the authorities should change their dictatorial attitude and release him before Eid,” the statement said.

Indian occupation authorities seize the homes of the resistance leader’s family

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India confiscated two houses owned by the sons of resistance leader Mohammad Yousuf Shah, aka Syed Salahuddin, in Srinagar and Budgam on April 24, 2023. A three-story home owned by Salahuddin’s son Syed Ahmad Shakeel in the Nursing Garh neighborhood of Srinagar’s Mohalla Ram Bagh was attached (confiscated) according to an NIA notification. 

At the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar, Shakeel worked as a medical assistant. According to sub-Section 33 (1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, by decision of the Special NIA Court, “the immovable property owned by Syed Shakeel, son of Syed Yousuf Shah, alias Syed Salahuddin, under UA(P) Act, 1967, stands attached.”

The second property, owned by Salahuddin’s other son Shahid Yusuf, was likewise ‘attached’ under the same sub-Section and is located in Soibugh village, Budgam district. Both brothers have been lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since their arrest in October 2017 and August 2018, respectively. The agency claims they received charge sheets on April 20 and November 20 of, 2018.

Since 2017, India has undertaken a huge crackdown against resistance groups in the disputed territory using the NIA, CID, SIA, SIU, and army. More than 60 properties, including 30 homes in Kashmir, have been taken over by the occupation administration in the last three years.  

Mass civilian arrest in Poonch after alleged ‘militant attack’ on army vehicle 

Following an alleged attack on a vehicle of the occupying Indian army on a highway on Thursday that resulted in the deaths of five soldiers, the Indian military has made several civilian arrests around Poonch. According to the occupying army, the attack occurred between Bhata Dhurian and Bhimber Gali in the deep jungles. 

Resistance fighters ambushed an army truck traveling in the direction of Bhata Dhurian, and the vehicle caught fire. The 25-kilometer section between Bhimber Gali and Bhata Dhurian on route 144-A, which connects Jammu with Rajouri and Poonch districts, was then closed to vehicular traffic by the army.  

Farooq Abdullah, a unionist politician and the former chief minister of J&K voiced alarm about the widespread arrests of civilians in the area and urged authorities to cease “harassing innocent people.” After doing Eid prayers at the Dargah Hazratbal on Saturday, Abdullah stated, “Innocent people are being arrested and tortured in Poonch.”

While the Director General of the Border Security Force assessed the situation, the National Investigative Agency of India assumed control of the case’s investigation and visited the scene.