Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 5/21-5/28


G20 in Kashmir: Indian forces detain thousands, seize cars, assault vendors

While international delegations were in occupied Kashmir as part of the G20 workshop, Indian forces did not lessen their human rights violations on the Kashmiri population. Numerous Kashmiri civilians have been abducted, and the crackdowns in Kashmir’s capital city of Srinagar during the G20 Summit were increased. Despite possessing the necessary documentation, the armed forces confiscated numerous motorbikes and scooters.

On May 23rd, police in Srinagar apprehended many two-wheeler drivers and confiscated their vehicles in front of the Kothi Bagh Police Station. “I showed them all of my paperwork, but they still took my bike inside the police station,” said a food delivery driver. The delivery boy, who was waiting impatiently outside Kothi Bagh police station with a few other people for the release of their vehicles, remarked, “How can they seize my vehicle if I showed them all of my documents and driver’s license?” He continued, “My employment will be impacted by my bike seizure. If my bike is in the police station for two days, who will pay me?”

The CRPF soldiers also assulted several sellers in the city’s uptown. The police and CRPF pursued these cart-mounted fruit and vegetable merchants for more than 15 days across the neighborhood. The owner of a vegetable cart, whose thumb was broken due to being attacked by the CRPF soldiers, claimed, “They turned my cart upside down and thrashed me.”

All significant political voices continue to be muzzled, and activists, elected officials, and media are under pressure to promote the narrative of the occupying Indian government. Threats, extortion, jail, and raids are some of the methods the authorities use to force everyone in Kashmir to submit.


Sunday markets forced to shut for G20 summit in Srinagar

The occupational military officers invaded the Sunday Market in the city center a day before the G20 delegates arrived in occupied Kashmir amid a heightened military presence, forcing traders to close the market. The market began operating as usual early in the morning, but shortly thereafter, SMC staff and police arrived and announced over loudspeakers that “Those who have installed the stalls will face action; their belongings will be seized.”

A merchant from Dargah Hazratbal, who arrived early in the morning, stated, “I lost my working day and travel fare; it cost 900 rupees to bring all my merchandise here. Authorities claim that the G20 would provide livelihood oppurtunities to Kashmir, yet they are stealing our livelihood to serve delegates,“ the merchant said. Another seller, who was packing up all he had and was ready to leave his house in north Kashmir, stated, “We earn one day and squander the money for the full week.

“We have already spent 1000 rupees to bring all of our merchandise here; we have no money to carry it home,” another merchant from Sopore stated. A vendor was seen begging at Regal Chowk to collect money for those who didn’t have money to travel back home.

India seeks death penalty for Kashmiri resistance leader Yasin Malik

Kashmiri resistance leader Mohammad Yasin Malik, who is the head of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and an internationally recognized freedom fighter, has been petitioned to be put to death by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India in a plea to the Delhi High Court.

On May 29th, a Division Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh will hear the petition. In a case involving alleged funding of terrorism, Malik was given a life sentence by a special NIA court in May 2022. At the time of the initial trial, the NIA had also called for Malik to get the death penalty, but that was converted into a life sentence.

Notably, Malik and many resistance commanders are among the many thousands of Kashmiris who are now detained inhumanely in various jails across India on false charges. Most of them have been imprisoned in these facilities for more than five years, some over 30 years without being tried.

Call-blocking system to be installed across JK jails and torture centers

To stop communications from the state’s 14 jails and torture centers, the occupation authority in Jammu and Kashmir has given the go-ahead for installing towers of a “harmonious call blocking system” there.

The plan to install a call-blocking system for blocking 2G, 3G, and 4G signals that could also be used for 5G in all 14 jails in J&K, has been approved by the JK Home Department. Incoming and outgoing calls, SMS messages, and data services would be blocked on prison grounds by installing towers of a seamless call-blocking system. Jails and torture centers in Kashmir are notorious for violating human rights and denying political prisoners their legal right to contact their families. Currently most Kashmiri political prisoners are being transferred to remote jails in Jammu and parts of India to make it difficult, if not impossible, for families to travel to see their loved ones.

CPJ calls on India to end the crackdown on Press in Kashmir

As India hosts the G20 meeting in Srinagar, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claimed on Monday that journalistic freedom in Kashmir is still being attacked. The statement read, “CPJ calls on the Indian government to stop its brutal crackdown on the media and immediately release the four Kashmiri journalists who were detained without cause.”

The statement continues, “CPJ has also documented foreign travel bans on Kashmiri journalists, indicating efforts by the Indian government to chill reporting on rights abuses and repression in the region.”

“Government raids on news outlets and journalists’ homes are also commonplace in Kashmir. In November 2022, police raided the homes of at least seven Kashmiri journalists, one of whom told CPJ that he believed he was targeted for his critical reporting,” the statement added.

Four civilians were booked in Baramulla for alleged involvement in ‘anti-India’ activities.

Four citizens were detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in Baramulla on Friday on suspicion of taking part in “anti-India” actions in the region. The arrested individuals have been identified as Nisar Ahmad Wani, son of Late Abdul Samad Wani, resident of Sultanpora, Pattan, Abid Parvaiz Hajam, son of Parvaiz Ahmad Hajam, and Jan Nisar Khaliq Ganai, son of Abdul Khaliq Ganai, resident of Chanderhama, Pattan, and Javaid Hussain Yatoo, son of Farooq Ahmad Yatoo.

The individuals who had been arrested were held before being transferred to Kot-Bhalwal Central Jail in Jammu. India has started accusing and arresting individuals who are connected to or supportive of the resistance movement under harsh statutes, including the PSA and UAPA.