In occupied Kashmir, contrary to what is being projected by Indian media, the Ramadan ceasefire has hardly brought any relief to South Kashmir from the daily harassment meted out by Indian troops.
The people of South Kashmir told an English Daily Kashmir Monitor that there has hardly been any let up in frisking, raids, arrests, and vandalising of the public property by the Indian forces’ personnel.
“Since day 1 of Ramadan, as many as 12 youth have been arrested, two of whom are juveniles,” said a youth from Khudwani, Kulgam, who, fearing reprisal, did not wish to be named.
Four among the detained, the youth said, were released last week, while the remaining eight continue to be in custody. He said, one of them is the brother of martyred mujahid, Junaid Mattoo. “The two juveniles are from Qaimoh’s Kawaki Bazaar and Ghat areas,” the youth said. He said that the personnel of Rashtriya Rifles posted near the Research Centre of Kashmir University of Science and Technology continued to harass every second passer-by. “They check our identity cards and phones. It has almost become a daily affair,” the youth said.
As per him, the situation was similar in Redwani, Qoimoh, and other adjacent areas of the district. Next to Kulgam, Shopian, too, does not see any improvement in the overall situation.
“I do not see any change, except that the encounters haven’t happened since ceasefire started. If you ask me, the incidents of civilian harassment have, instead, increased during this time,” said Ishtiyaq, a Shopian youth who wanted to be quoted with his first name only. He referred to the Monday’s incident in which the Indian Army had wreaked havoc in Sugan area of Shopian after three of its personnel were injured in a blast.
“They first uprooted dozens of apple trees stretched on around 18 kanals of land. Then they barged into our homes and destroyed everything that came in their way including washing machines, refrigerators, televisions, kitchen whatnots, even cars and scooters. What sort of ceasefire is this?” he said.
In Islamabad district’s Dialgam area, a local Yasir Rather said, the civilians continued to face harassment by the CRPF troops stationed nearby. “They check our cards and phones, and if they find a photo or a video relating to Kashmir, they beat us up. It used to happen, and it continues to happen now,” he said. Another youth, Asif Hamid, of Islamabad district’s Qazigund area said, “Even as the search operations have decreased, the harassment by the forces has not.”—KMS