2nd anniversary of Indian lockdown in Kashmir | By Sultan M Hali


2nd anniversary of Indian lockdown in Kashmir 

SINCE 5 August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of lockdown. On this black day, Indian government illegally amalgamated Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into Indian Territory, after revoking Articles 370 and 35A of its own Constitution, which gave Kashmir special status.

The security lockdown and communications blackout that had been imposed throughout the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), with the goal of preemptively curbing unrest, violence and protests.

Thousands of civilians, mostly young men, had and have been detained in the crackdown, while hundreds of protesting youth were gunned down.

Two years have passed and despite strong condemnation by Pakistan and the world community, Indian obduracy is relentless.

5th August has been marked as a “Black Day”. Even on Eid-ul-Azha, Indian authorities displayed complete disrespect and deep-rooted prejudice against Muslims by imposing restrictions on offering prayers and sacrificing animals in IIOJK.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), officials barred Muslims from offering prayers in the historic Jamia Masjid, Dargah Hazratbal, Eidgahs and other big mosques by erecting barricades.

If that were not enough, India tried to sabotage the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) cricket tournament (T-20 format) which is scheduled to start from August 6 in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and will be contested by six teams captained by Pakistan’s current and former cricketers – Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim.

International cricketers are being threatened and warned by the Indian Cricket Board against taking part in the inaugural of the KPL.

Former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs tweeted that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) warned him against taking part in the League which has been sanctioned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif also alleged that the BCCI was warning cricket boards against allowing their players to take part in the tournament.

Pakistan Cricket Board has expressed its displeasure over reports that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has called multiple ICC members and forced them to withdraw their retired cricketers from the Kashmir Premier League.

In a statement on the other day, the PCB said “it considers that the BCCI has brought the game into disrepute by issuing warnings to multiple ICC Members to stop their retired cricketers from featuring in the Kashmir Premier League”.

“Such conduct from the BCCI is completely unacceptable, against the preamble of the Spirit of Cricket and sets a dangerous precedent, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored,” the statement added.

“The PCB will raise this matter at the appropriate ICC forum and also reserves the right to take any further action that is available to us within the ICC charter.”

India, last week, strongly rejected references made to Jammu and Kashmir in a recent joint press statement by Pakistan and China and asserted that the Union Territory as well as Ladakh have been and will remain its integral and inalienable part.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also objected to reference made to the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the statement, saying it is in Indian territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.

“As in the past, India categorically rejects any reference to Jammu and Kashmir. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh has been and will remain an integral and inalienable part of India,” Bagchi said at a media briefing.

This outburst was in reference to the CPEC in the joint press statement, following talks between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi at Chengdu in Sichuan province in China.

It said the Pakistani side briefed the China side on the “deterioration of the situation” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan has been making concerted efforts to internationalize the Kashmir issue. Situation in IIOJK continues to deteriorate.

In IIOJK, the PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti has said that former police officer Davinder Singh, who was caught ferrying ‘militants’ in a vehicle last year, was let off the hook by the Indian government while innocent Kashmiris rot in jails for years under anti-terror laws.

Mehbooba Mufti denounced the Indian government for its double standards, saying Kashmiris are “considered guilty until proven innocent”.Mehbooba’s remarks came after a copy of a government order dated May 20 dismissing Singh, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, from service went viral on social media.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had ordered Singh’s dismissal from service with “immediate effect” under Article 311 of the Constitution, according to the official order.

This provision enables the government to withdraw presidential pleasure without holding an inquiry and the decision can only be contested in the high court.

“Innocent Kashmiris, arrested under anti-terror laws, rot in jails for years. For them the trial becomes the punishment.

But the Indian government doesn’t want an inquiry against a cop caught red-handed with ‘militants’. Is it because he colluded with the system to orchestrate certain dodgy incidents?” Mehbooba asked in a tweet.

India, which is reeling from the onslaught of the global pandemic COVID-19 because of its mishandling of the epidemic, is unrepentant of its tyrannical rule in IIOJK.

Indian economy is on a downward slide and there are fears of total bankruptcy yet Indian focus is on wreaking havoc on the hapless Muslims of IIOJK. There is trouble in Assam as well as Mizoram.

The Naxalites are on a rampage but India is not heeding to the writing on the wall. Its disintegration is inevitable and the blood of the Kashmiri martyrs will not be in vain.

—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.

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