‘Indian govt has refused to understand Kashmiris’ desire for freedom’

Another fact-finding team comes back with horror stories from Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir

News Desk October 05, 2019
In this file photo taken on September 8, 2019 an Indian paramilitary trooper patrols along an empty street during a strict curfew in Srinagar. PHOTO: AFP

Another fact-finding team has come back to tell stories of Kashmiris' despair as New Delhi's siege of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) enters its third month.

New Delhi deployed thousands of additional troops, shut down internet access and mobile phone services, detained nearly all of IOK’s political leadership after revoking its decades-old autonomous status in a rushed presidential decree on August 5.

According to The Wire, the team of four women from the collective ‘Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression’ visited various parts of Jammu and Kashmir between September 23-28.

Speaking at a press conference, the fact-finding team expressed palpable concern among Kashmiris over New Delhi's move.

The collective said the Indian government has refused to understand the feeling of oppression, of grievances that are unaddressed and the desire for freedom.

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The government’s decision to read down Article 370 has, they said, “created a sense of anger, outrage and strong anti-India feelings among people across the valley.”

They also said that their observations have been “very different from what the Indian state and media have portrayed.”

For example, they said they did not find even one person who said they were happy with the decision to scrap provisions in Article 370 and then lock down the state.

They said that the situation seemed ‘silent’ but ‘abnormal’ and the heavy presence of security personnel “every few metres ensures terror in people’s minds about who they can speak to, who can step outside their home, etc. The risk of being picked up is real.”

People told the team that security personnel has been barging into people’s houses at the night. Women and girls live in fear of molestation. The team met a 10-year-old girl who was “kicked around by security personnel while she was asleep.”

They also met the family of 17-year-old Osaib Altaf who died on 7 August, allegedly after he was chased by security forces and then he drowned trying to escape them. The activists said that the family has not even been able to file a police complaint in the last two months since the incident: “What could possibly heal his parents, grandmother, siblings, and family? How many more people have been whisked away in this manner? How many more will be eliminated? Who will give the people answers?” they asked.

This article originally appeared on The Wire


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