Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 7/23-7/30
Shia clerics arrested ahead of Muharram processions in Kashmir
During the holy days of Muharram, in the first month of the Islamic calendar, the Indian military forces detained two Shia clerics in North Kashmir’s Baramulla area in addition to a famous Shia Nohakhan.
The Nohakhan was detained after delivering a sermon at a mourning majlis on the second day of Muharram. He alluded to the tyranny committed by the occupying forces in Palestine and Kashmir and likened it to the oppression and atrocities committed by Yazid’s forces in Karbala.
Muharram is one of the holiest months in Islam, during which Shia Muslims all over the globe march in procession to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn Ibn Ali, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, who was killed in 680 AD in the Battle of Karbala, which took place in modern-day Iraq.
According to a local, “the Indian armed forces arrested the prominent Nohakhan of the area along with the two clerics during a night raid on July 22nd, which was the 3rd day of the holy month of Muharram”, adding that the armed forces kept a careful eye on the Muharram processions and Majalis.
“We frequently encountered frisking and harassment from the Indian army during our participation in the congressional mourning of Majalis in our neighboring hamlets,” a teenager from central Kashmir told us.
Notably, hundreds of Shia Muslims participated in the procession to honor the eighth day of Muharram after more than three decades. In 1989, India banned the Muharram procession after an armed rebellion and a popular civilian uprising against New Delhi’s control started in the Kashmir Valley. The procession was held this past week for the first time in 34 years. However, the procession was only permitted for two hours, from 6-8 am, during which time mourners were permitted to only go through designated routes in Srinagar.
While the occupation authorities have deployed the entire might of the state to ensure the success of the Hindu Pilgrimage to Amarnath in Kashmir since 1990, the city’s predominantly Shia areas have only been the site of modest processions in by-lanes. The mourners who resisted the restrictions and reached the main roads were brutally assaulted or taken into custody by the police.
In a statement, a well-known Shia scholar claimed that by placing restrictions on the procession, the government had robbed it of its essence. “The administration issued a list of requirements for the procession. One of the requirements was to refrain from criticizing the system or speaking out about the situation. I don’t think this aligns with the goals of the procession which innately has themes and history of standing against tyranny and subjugation,” he said.
This procession, he claimed, “only serves the optics of the regime in New Delhi and is a smokescreen to the world that normalcy has returned to the region.”
The occupation authorities left no stone unturned to hijack the Muharram processions by presenting their participation to propagate the fake narrative of normalcy in the disputed region. Manoj Sinha, the lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir, along with a small number of unionist politicians, and police officials went to the Bota Kadal neighborhood in the center of Srinagar on Saturday to take part in the main Zuljinah procession that is held on the 10th of Muharram – Ashura.
On Ashura, Muslims in Srinagar organized larger processions that would leave from the city’s central Abi Guzar neighborhood and travel to Zadibal, a Shia-dominated neighborhood, 7 kilometers away. In order to demonstrate harmony, the Ashura procession also used to travel through Sunni neighborhoods where people served them with drinks and refreshments.
Occupation Police detains family members of resistance fighters
The Indian army and the Jammu and Kashmir police are continuing their campaign of persecution against the families of Kashmiri resistance fighters. Police this week imprisoned more relatives of resistance fighters in addition to conducting raids and ransacking their homes.
Family members of resistance fighters Basit Dar and Umais Wani, both residents of Kulgam, and Uzair Bashir, a resident of Islamabad, were arrested by police early this week during a wave of civilian arrests in South Kashmir.
A resistance commander, who is also the spokesperson of the group, said, “Jammu and Kashmir Police JKP has fallen so low after being repeatedly defeated by the resistance fighters and cursed by their masters sitting in Delhi. Recently, the family members of Commander Basit, Commander Uzair, and now Commander Umais Wani have been detained.”
India has been bringing serious charges under the PSA and UAPA against the relatives of those connected to the resistance movement in order to pressure resistance fighters to surrender.
India introduces bill in parliament to further marginalize Muslim Tribes in Kashmir
In an attempt to further marginalize Muslims in Kashmir, the Indian Occupation is aiming to divide the seats reserved for Muslim tribes in government jobs, by passing a new law. The Gujjar and Bakkarwal tribes, which are predominantly Muslim, have opposed this move and called it an effort to marginalize Muslims tribes in Kashmir and rob them of opportunities in their own land. The law, if passed, will make Hindu Pahadis a party to the seats reserved for tribal Muslims which have historically been marginalized.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government’s proposal to confer ‘upper caste’ Paharis with tribal status has caused a significant rift in Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri regions, with the Gujjars and Bakerwals threatening to hit the streets.
The Paharis, a linguistic minority in Jammu and Kashmir, are slated to be classified as a Scheduled Tribe under the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which the BJP tabled on Thursday, July 27th in the Lok Sabha.
“They have done this in Manipur, by giving reservation to Hindu Meitei people, and they are now doing it in Kashmir, where they want to pit one community against another. The anti-Muslim agenda of the Indian occupation is clearly visible in this proposal,” a Gujjar activist told us.
We will cross LoC in future, says Indian Defence Minister
The Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh on Wednesday again threatened to launch an offensive on the Line of Control (LoC) while on a visit to Kargil for paying tributes to the Indian soldiers killed in the 1999 India-Pakistan war in the disputed territory.
“The Narendra Modi-led administration has made it quite clear that the military forces have full authority to initiate operations over the border if necessary. Even if we did not breach the Line of Control at the time (1999), this does not mean we cannot do it now. We have the ability to cross the LoC and will do so if necessary in the future,” Singh said.
After unilaterally repealing the last vestiges of Kashmir’s autonomy in August 2019, India’s aggressiveness has been more consistent. In addition to sending more paramilitary force companies into Kashmir, one of the most heavily fortified areas in the world, the military presence along the LoC was also increased.
Two civilians arrested in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district
In the Kreeri neighborhood of Baramulla in north Kashmir, the Indian military forces and the police on Tuesday detained two civilians under the fictitious label of being “militant associates.”
Dayem Majeed Khan, the son of Ab Majeed Khan of Check Panjigam Bandipora, and Ubair Tariq, the son of Tariq Ahmad Khan of Watrina Phalwanpora Panjigam Bandipora, have been named as the two arrested civilians who are allegedly affiliated with resistance groups. A case under the UA (P) Act and the Indian Arms Act, according to the police, was also filed at Police Station Kreeri.
India has been regularly carrying out civilian arrests in Kashmir. Currently, hundreds of Kashmiris are being imprisoned inhumanely in jails throughout India on fabricated charges.
Nearly half a dozen shops inundated at ‘refurbished’ Polo View Market
Even though authorities insisted that there was no drainage failure, murky water flooded almost half a dozen businesses at the renovated Polo View market in Srinagar during Tuesday’s overnight downpour.
The beautifying drive that India’s puppet administration in Kashmir started in advance of the G20 summit in Srinagar in May 2023 has been exposed by this occurrence. Workers were assigned to carry out beautifying initiatives across the city day and night. The governmental authorities celebrated the redesign and beautification of Polo View Market as a significant achievement, but the recent rains have revealed the technical faults.
Notably, India convened the G20 meeting in the contentious region from May 22–24 in an effort to legitimize its settler-colonial rule of Kashmir. The purpose of the event was to portray Kashmir as a region of India where wealth and peace had returned. However, restrictions on people’ freedom of movement were observed during the event, and certain regions had an unannounced curfew imposed by the military.
Civilian arrests under fake labels continue in Kashmir
On Wednesday, the Indian military forces and the police claimed to have found weapons and ammunition during searches in the central Wopzan region of the Anantnag district in South Kashmir. Armed personnel searched many civilian homes before arresting a civilian as part of the operation. Liyaqat Ahmad Gani, the son of Lateef Ahmad Gani, has been identified as the detained civilian. He is accused of working as an over ground worker (OGW) for the resistance fighters.
Another civilian, Davood Ahmad Malla, the son of Mohd Kamal Malla and a resident of Dardpora Bandipora, was detained on Wednesday after being linked to a resistance group. Argat Yusuf, a resident of Rajppora Pulwama, was detained by police on Saturday under the false designation of being a “hybrid militant”.
Notably, Indian agencies along with the army have arrested thousands of innocent Kashmiris under fake labels. Many imprisoned Kashmiris are currently being held under inhuman conditions in different jails across India, without any legal representation or access to basic amenities.
Occupation Authorities deny electricity to Kashmir neighborhood for protesting
After residents of the Batamaloo neighborhood in Srinagar city staged a protest over the installation of smart meters, the occupation authorities shut off the electricity there on Wednesday. Consumers in the city of Srinagar are furious with the KPDCL. Smart Meter installation has sparked demonstrations all around Srinagar, but the authorities say they are steadfast and will carry on with the installation.
“People are ready to pay a fixed amount on a monthly basis but we can’t afford the bills generated by these Smart Meters. This is our electricity which they are taking from us, and then we are made to buy the same electricity from them at such high rates. Nobody is here to listen to us,” said a female protester.
Kashmir experiences the worst forced electricity crises throughout the year, despite being a center for producing renewable energy in the form of hydroelectricity. Transmission lines from Kashmir supply energy to portions of north India, while the same electricity is sold back to Kashmir at exorbitant rates.