Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 5/28-6/4
Kashmiri traders pressured to endorse harmful Indian policies by local occupation agencies
Several business executives have been asked to write letters endorsing India’s stance on Kashmir to international envoys.
“We were told to send letters, meet with Indian envoys in Delhi and abroad, and express a desire for growing tourism to Kashmir.” Another business representative claimed that after being coerced to attend one such meeting in Delhi, he saw spies from intelligence organizations there as well.
Non-local laborers looting Kashmiris with the support of the Indian Military
The Indian military has assigned non-local laborers from various regions of India to watch for “suspicious” movements and activities in different areas of occupied Kashmir. These workers have been threatening the locals with military action when asked to pay their rent. Many locals also reported that these non locals are also robbing the fields and orchards of their crops.
A Budgam resident caught a non-local robbing his vegetable field but had to keep quiet about the matter, knowing the person is frequently seen visiting the army camp. The resident reported, “Knowing these people have deep connections in the Indian army, we are forced to stay quiet on their loot of our crop.” The rate at which the Indian government is detaining innocent Kashmiris under the PSA and UAPA is making the residents fearful; he continued, “We can’t even ask them to leave the rented apartments.”
Another incident included a non-local house help who confined the homeowners inside a toilet to steal gold from a family in Budgam. When the couple called for aid, nearby residents came to assist and chased the foreign woman who had fled with the gold. The non-local woman entered a military bunker, from where she was escorted out in an army jeep, while the locals were threatened with action if they decided to pursue the thief.
Notably, since Jammu and Kashmir lost their autonomous status, more Indian enterprises and organizations are allowed to operate there, and the number of foreign workers employed by these companies has surged to establish residency in the contentious territory.
Qazigund shuts in protest against the opening of liquor shops
In opposition to the establishment of a liquor store by BJP government supported Hindu business owners, the town of Qazigund, held a total closure of business on Monday. “It will be a catalyst for lawlessness and moral decay. The government asserts that it has been harsh on drug dealers while allowing wine businesses to operate without interference,” one of the villagers said.
Another resident said opening a liquor store would be detrimental to young people. “It’s time to prevent young people from using drugs and drinking alcohol,” he argued, “rather than encouraging them to do so.”
There have been demonstrations against establishing liquor stores in several areas of the Kashmir Valley in the past as well, and in Uri, North Kashmir, Muslims, Sikhs, and Pandits recently organized a demonstration over the same issue, which compelled the administration to close the liquor store.
Civilian shot dead in South Kashmir’s Anantnag
On Monday night in South Kashmir’s Anantnag, a civilian from the Udhampur district was shot and killed. The injured man died from his injuries after being taken to the hospital, according to the police, who also claimed that a case had been filed while the investigation was ongoing. Locals suspect Indian state agents of carrying out such acts to defame Kashmir’s armed insurgency.
Court issues notice to Occupation Authorities for the destruction of Bangus Valley
On Monday, the Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh High Court notified the Occupation Authorities about the devastation of Bangus Valley, an environmentally vulnerable area. The court also asked for a master plan to guarantee environmental preservation and sustainable development.
The military infrastructure in the Bangus Valley, part of the Kupwara district in north Kashmir, was strengthened after Article-370 was repealed. The militarization of these environmentally vulnerable zones is another breach by the occupying troops that puts the region in danger.
In addition to the dense woods, streams, hills, and their side plateaus, the petitioner in the PIL has called attention to and requested the conservation of the natural beauty and meadows of Bungus Valley. After hearing from the petitioner, the court ordered the administration to reply within four weeks.