Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 6/25-7/2
India Shuts Kashmir’s Grand Mosque for Eid Prayers
The historic Jamia Mosque in Srinagar, Kashmir, was once again closed by the Indian Occupation Authorities during the Eid congregational prayers. The Eid prayers were to be performed on June 29th at 9:00 AM, according to a statement from Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid, the organization in charge of running the revered mosque. However, there was an increased military presence, and the mosque’s entrance gates were shut.
The basic religious right of praying in a place of worship in the capital city of Srinagar has frequently been denied to Kashmiris. Significant religious celebrations like Shab-e-Qadar, Jummatul-Wida prayers, and the Eid prayers have been prohibited.
The 600-year-old mosque in Kashmir’s capital has long served as a significant community and religious hub for the residents of this Muslim-dominated Himalayan region. However, the Indian government believes that the Grand Mosque will serve as a focal point for the “Right to Self-Determination” demonstrations.
“Jamia Masjid is paying the price for its advocacy of people’s rights that it has stood for, for decades,” said a resident Noor Bhat. Jamia’s shut doors are a form of collective punishment from the Indian government for Bhat and thousands of Kashmiri Muslims.
According to a local, the state is interfering with Muslims’ freedom of religion by targeting the Grand Mosque. “The Jamia Masjid’s shutdown”, he continued, “is intended to alienate the residents of the area from this space that has held the central significance in all matters.”
Any democracy must guarantee the freedom of religion, but despite India’s claims to be the world’s biggest democracy and a champion of secularism, the reality on the ground is far from any of these things, particularly when it comes to its colonization of Kashmir.
By instilling a sense of terror and constraint to their surroundings, the Indian state is waging a psychological war against the people of Kashmir. And this denial of the right to practice one’s faith is a tangible illustration of this inner conflict. Since the Hindutva BJP administration assumed control of the Indian legislative offices in 2014, the Kashmiri liberation struggle has seen significant transformations. By eliminating Kashmir’s special status in 2019, the Hindutva administration has successfully stifled the voices of hundreds of Kashmiris and crushed their independence movement. The residents of the valley have been terrorized since Article 370 was weakened, making it impossible for them to exercise their faith or to speak out in opposition to it.
The Modi-led Indian Government’s ongoing Settler colonial project, which includes the closure of Kashmir’s most important religious sites, the arrest of Shia Muslims during the most auspicious month of Muharram, the banning of Islamic organizations, and other systematic attacks on religious freedom in Kashmir, is intended to lessen and alter the region’s cultural and religious identity.
Five days before Eid-ul-Adha, on 24th June, the Indian forces attacked two mosques in Pulwama and forced worshippers to chant slogans in praise of the Hindu God Ram. Such is the level to which the Indian government is willing to go to push their Hindu supremacist ideology to eventually wipe out the valley’s own religious and cultural identity.
India disallows Eid prayers at Eidgah in Srinagar
Indian authorities on Thursday disallowed Eid-ul-Azha prayers at the historic Eidgah Srinagar. Anjuman Auqaf, in a statement, said that it was announced that Eid prayers would be held at Eidgah at 9 AM. However, the authorities prohibited this from happening.
“Barring prayers at Eidgah is extremely unfortunate and condemnable. The decision has hurt the sentiments of Muslims of the Valley,” the statement said.
The ongoing arrest of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who customarily gives the Eid sermon at the Eidgah before Eid prayers, was also criticized by Anjuman Auqaf. “It is very sad and disturbing that he is being held indefinitely despite requests for his release from numerous religious, political, social, and civil society organizations,” it continued.
Majlis-e-Ulama condemns provocative, sacrilegious acts in Pulwama by the Indian army
Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulama (MMU) Jammu and Kashmir on Monday expressed serious concern and strongly condemned the incident that took place in Masjid Sharief of Zadoora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, on the night of June 23 and 24, wherein the Indian Army’s 50 Battalion Rashtriya Rifles harassed the local people and beat up some residents forcing them to raise slogans in praise of Hindu God Ram from within the mosque.
In a statement, the MMU said the silence maintained by the authorities in this regard is unacceptable. It asked them to clarify their position in this regard as the religious sentiments of Muslims of JK have been badly hurt, and people are shocked.
The MMU expressed concern over the fact that the Indian government-backed institutions in Jammu and Kashmir are increasingly interfering with the management and working of mosques, shrines, imambaras and other religious institutions, saying this is causing distress which needs to be addressed.
Resistance fighters killed by Occupation Forces in Kulgam
Tuesday’s military operation in South Kashmir’s Kulgam area resulted in the death of a resistance fighter connected to the Al-Badr organization. Adil Majeed Lone, the combatant who was murdered, was a local of Hawoora Kulgam. A handgun and other weapons, according to the police, were found at the scene.
After the military operation, a video went viral on social media in which Adil could be seen claiming that he was associated with Al-Badr and was circled by the Indian army inside his house during the night.
Occupation Agencies raid multiple locations across Kashmir
The spree of raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India continues in Kashmir daily. On Monday, the NIA conducted raids across Kashmir in alleged ‘militancy funding cases’.
The operations were carried out in South Kashmir’s Pulwama, Kulgam, and Shopian districts with the cooperation of police and CRPF soldiers. Raids were also conducted in the Bandipora area of northern Kashmir concerning case RC 5/22, which is connected to the campaign against the resistance network.
AFSPA to be removed in JK only when situation under total control: Indian Defence Minister
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) would only be removed from Jammu and Kashmir once the situation is “under total control” in the disputed region.
The legislation would be lifted from JK after the situation in the disputed territory is completely under control, the Indian defense minister declared while speaking to a gathering of the military troops in Jammu.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which grants impunity to the armed forces, has always benefited the Indian military forces, which have been egregiously violating human rights in the area for decades. The legislation forbids any legal action to be taken in response to the Indian army’s human rights abuses.