500 Indian academics, scientists decry Held Kashmir lockdown Ask New Delhi to restore full communications, lift curfew

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Observer Report

Islamabad

A 500-strong group of Indian academics and scientists have expressed deep concern over the humanitarian crisis in Held Kashmir precipitated by the New Delhi’s illegal decision to de-operationalise Article 370 of the constitution to end occupied valley’s autonomy. The Indian government has restricted communications in Kashmir, detained opposition leaders and dissidents and flooded the state with security personnel. “We are appalled by the government’s decision to restrict telecommunications and the internet in Kashmir for over a month.
We understand that landlines have been restored in some parts of Kashmir, but since landline teledensity in Kashmir is below 1%, and hence this measure has failed to provide substantive relief to Kashmir’s residents,” a statement issued by the academicians and scientists said. “In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families. Moreover, credible reports suggest that these restrictions have made it difficult for ordinary people in Kashmir to procure medical and essential supplies or even for children to attend school,” the statement read.
“We believe the Indian government’s actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic. Whatever views one might hold about these individuals, a fundamental norm in a democracy is that the party in power does not have the right to lock up its political opponents when they have not even been accused of any crimes,” the statement maintained. “We are disturbed by the multiple reports of human rights violations in Kashmir by Indian security forces. We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Kashmir and offer our support to those outside Kashmir who have been cut off from their families and friends as a result of these decisions taken by the government of India,” it added.
“We remind the government that it is duty-bound to uphold the rights and protect the welfare of all of its citizens. In line with these obligations, we call on the government to immediately restore full communications in Kashmir, lift the security restrictions that are hampering ordinary life, release dissidents and opposition leaders, and conduct transparent and impartial investigations into the allegations of human rights abuses,” they concluded. Abhisodh Prakash, Suvrat Raju, Adhip Agarwala, Junaid Majeed, Tuneer Chakraborty, Apratim Ganguly, Parita Mehta, Animesh Nanda, Srashti Goyal, Subhadip Chakraborti, Divya Jaganathan, Faizan Bhat, Omkar Shetye, Rituparna Ghosh, Aditya Kumar Sharma, Arif Shaikh, Saientan Bag, Zaid Zaz, Subrata Dev and Abhishek Dhar are prominent among the group.
At present, all small and major sectors of life including business and commerce, education, transport, horticulture and tourism in Held Kashmir are virtually defunct with unprecedented communications blockade adding more to the prevailing uncertainty. Transport sector is among the one that has been affected the worst as 50,000 vehicles stand grounded since August 5. The tourism front has also taken a hit due to the clampdown.

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