Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 9/25-10/1

Indian Administration plans to usurp Land at Srinagar’s historic Eidgah.

The Indian Administration in Kashmir, controlled directly by New Delhi, plans to usurp land at the Historic Eidgah in Downtown Srinagar. 

The Waqf Board headed by BJP-appointed Darakhshan Andrabi has announced that 8.75 acres will be converted into a Cancer Hospital at Srinagar’s historic Eidgah.

Locals believe the move is in bad faith, as there are other options for land available to build the proposed cancer hospital. The current regime’s anti-Muslim policy suggests the action is being used to target revered symbols of Muslim identity in Kashmir. The Eidgah hosts the martyr’s graveyard, where more than 1,000 Kashmiris killed by the Indian armed forces are buried. 

The chief of the Jamia Masjid and Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that Persian saint Mir Mohammad Hamdani purchased Eidgah in Srinagar in the 15th century. “He gave it to the public for offering congregational Eid prayers. Many eminent scholars and saints have delivered their sermons here, such as Sheikh ul Aalam and Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom,” the Mirwaiz said.

Describing it as “a historic public space,” Mirwaiz said Kashmir’s first cricket and football games were played here. 

“Eidgah also houses the Martyrs Graveyard, a resting place for over 1,000 people who were slain in the last 33 years. The administration wants to take over the sacred space of Eidgah. For Kashmiris, this space is holy and part of their historical, cultural, and spiritual heritage,” the Mirwaiz said.

The former Chief Minister of J&K and the President of PDP said, “Why not use Tattoo ground instead of Eidgah if govt is serious about building a cancer hospital in Kashmir.” Currently, Tattoo ground in Srinagar is occupied by the Indian Armed Forces. Home Minister of India Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir has triggered more anxieties among the people as he has been urged to lay the foundation stone of the Cancer Hospital at Edgar, which is one of the largest Muslim religious centers in the valley.

Indian Police take over another civilian house in Bandipora.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police have sealed another residential house in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, alleging that the owner was ‘wilfully sheltering and harboring militants.’ Locals from the area told us that such acts are a part of pressure tactics to pull off ‘any and very’ kind of support to the armed resistance from the local population.

Other than taking over civilian properties, the imposed administration of New Delhi in J&K has been jailing and booking people under draconian laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) for supporting the resistance against the Indian occupation in Kashmir.

The residential house belongs to Bashir Ahmad Mir of Wanpora Gurez at present Watrina after obtaining sanction from the competent authorities.

The statement of the police read that the house was linked to case FIR No.166/2021of PS Bandipora U/S 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 39UAPA, 307IPC, 7/27 IA Act, dated 26-09-2021 in which “two hardcore militants were neutralized, who were involved in different crimes in Bandipora.”

Two ‘unidentified’ people were shot dead near LoC in Machil.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed to have killed two “militants in an encounter near the Line of Control in Tekri Nar locality of Machil in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district” on Sunday.

The forces have denied sharing any identification of the alleged militants. Police also said that two AK-47 rifles, many pistols, and 04 hand grenades were recovered from them. However, time and again, civilians have been killed by the armed forces in Kashmir and labeled as militants for cash rewards and promotions. 

In 2010, three Kashmiri civilians were killed by the Indian army in the Machil area of the Kupwara district and labeled as ‘Pakistani terrorists.’ Although the claim was busted later, laws like AFSPA deny any accountability and prosecution of the Indian Forces for war crimes in Kashmir.  

India unleashes economic terrorism, halts fruit trucks on Srinagar-Jammu highway

Sopore Fruit Mandi faces Rs 500 Cr loss in September 

Halting fruit-laden trucks on the Srinagar-Jammu highway has taken a heavy toll on Asia’s second largest Fruit Mandi in Sopore, with the Mandi administration stating that they have suffered around Rs 500 crore loss in the month of September alone.

The fruit industry is the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy, and almost 70% of the population is dependent on this industry. 

The move is seen as part of the offensive launched by the Government of India to crush the economy of the disputed region.

President buyers association, Fruit Mandi Sopore Mudasir Ahmed Bhat, has said, “if the situation doesn’t change and the trucks will not be allowed to pass, we will go on the hunger strike, and the government will be responsible for that.”

Similarly, President Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmed Malik, has said that the fruit industry is crumbling as they already had suffered heavy losses during the last several years. 

Notably, fruit growers and buyers across the Kashmir valley have continuously protested over the halting of trucks along the highway. In the past few years, the Indian government, to further crush Kashmir’s economy, has allowed flooding of the Indian market by smuggling Iranian apples. 

India floods Kashmir with new political parties, seven registered in 3 years. 

The multi-front offensive of the Government of India to change the demography of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir continues as the Election Commission of India (ECI) has registered seven new unionist parties in the past three years.

Registering these parties is seen as a measure to alter electoral politics by dividing the Muslim vote in the region. In the past three years alone, seven new unionist parties, including a few little-known groups, from Jammu & Kashmir have been registered by the ECI.

After abrogating the last leftovers of the political and economic autonomy of  J&K in 2019, National Awami United Party, National Democratic Party (Indian), Aman Aur Shanti Tehreek-e-Jammu & Kashmir, Voice of Labour Party (Jammu & Kashmir), Haq Insaaf Party, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement and Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party have been registered by the ECI.

Hindutva parties in India have regularly stated that they plan to divide the Muslim electorate and unite Hindus to remain in power permanently. 

As part of the economic offensive, India uses Californian walnuts to cast a shadow on Kashmir’s walnut produce.

After Kashmiri apples, the indigenous walnut produce is facing the brunt of the systematic embargo launched by the Indian Government on Kashmiri products.

Despite being high in produce, Kashmir’s walnut is gasping for breath and survival as an intrusion of the Californian walnut breed in Indian cities has cast a shadow on Kashmir’s walnut produce and brought down its price.

Another reason which has left the walnut growers of Kashmir worried is climate change which is attributed to the installation of military infrastructures in ecologically fragile areas and the imposition of unjust taxes (GST and VAT) by the Government of India.

Official figures suggest that India produced 2.82 lakh tons of walnuts in 2021-22, with J&K accounting for around 92 percent of the produce. Anantnag and Kupwara are the leading producers of walnuts in Kashmir.

President of dry-fruit growers association Kashmir, Bahadur Khan, said that India’s unjust taxation policies (imposition of Goods and Services Tax/VAT) had taken a severe toll on walnut import in Kashmir. 

“In July 2017, walnuts were first put under the 12 percent tax slab but later added to the 5 percent bracket after a show of strong resentment by growers,” he said.

Jailed Kashmiri Activist diagnosed with Renal Cancer. 

The Daughter of Kashmiri activist Altaf Ahmad Shah highlighted her father’s declining health condition and wrote to the Government of India to give him immediate medical attention.

Ruwa Shah, whose father Altaf Ahmad Shah has been in Tihar jail since 2017 on bogus charges of ‘terror funding,’ said that her father had been diagnosed with renal cancer that had “metastasized and spread to other parts of his body, including his bones,” and required immediate medical attention. 

Shah, the son-in-law of the prominent resistance leader late Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was among seven people that India’s National Investigation Agency arrested in 2017.  

“My incarcerated father has been diagnosed with [sic] acute renal cancer, which has metastasis and has spread to his other body parts, including his bones. It is my whole family’s request to please allow us to see him and consider his bail application on health grounds,” she said in a tweet that tagged both the PMO and the Ministry of Home Affairs of India.

In a letter to the Union Home Minister — which she tweeted — Ruwa also asks that Shah’s bail conditions be reconsidered in light of the circumstances and that — until the court hears his bail application — he be put under house arrest. 

“Till the bail is granted, with due process, we request you to put him in [sic] house arrest so that we can treat him at a private hospital,” the letter reads.

India deployed additional military, arranging fake crowds for the Indian Home Minister’s visit.

Ahead of the Home Minister of India Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Union Territory unit has said that it is expected that nearly 30,000 people will participate in the rally in the Baramulla district. 

“The people from different parts of the Valley would participate in the rally. We expect 30,000 participants from Srinagar, south Kashmir and mostly from Bandipora, Baramulla, and other nearby places,” said party president Koul.

Meanwhile, in such rallies, people from different districts and far-flung areas are brought in with the fake promise of participation in cultural programs, free government schemes, and employment packages. And the vast public presence is portrayed by Indian News Networks as a sign of people’s support for the ruling New Delhi Government.

Shah is scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir on October 4 and will address gatherings in Baramulla.

The military has also been beefed up and put on a “maximum alert” across the valley. The movement of the city traffic and even emergency services suffer during these visits. Checkpoints, barricades, and army patrols deny the local population the right to travel, which is already facing the brunt of a substantial military presence. Even ambulances are not allowed to pass while the passing of army convoys. 

Sources told us that Shah would also hold a meeting with aspirants to elect mayor and deputy mayor positions. BJP has snatched the power of finalizing names from local leaders, who earlier claimed that Jammu would get Mayor, Deputy Mayor in a few hours, after incumbent Chander Mohan Sharma asked to put in his papers and resigned on September 24.