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Kashmir should be united and free from India and Pakistan

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Kashmir should be united and free from India and Pakistan

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:02 pm

Partition 70 years on:
The turmoil, trauma - and legacy


As India and Pakistan celebrate 70 years of independence, Andrew Whitehead looks at the lasting legacy of the Partition of British India, and the turmoil and trauma which marred the birth of the two nations.

It's about 700km (430 miles) from Delhi to Islamabad - less than the distance between London and Geneva. A short hop in aviation terms.

But you can't fly non-stop from the Indian capital to the Pakistani capital. There are no direct flights at all. It is only one of the legacies of seven decades of mutual suspicion and tension.

Take another example: cricket.

India and Pakistan played each other a few weeks ago in the final of the Champions' Trophy. Both countries are cricket crazy.

Partition of India in August 1947

    Perhaps the biggest movement of people in history, outside war and famine.

    Two newly-independent states were created - India and Pakistan.

    About 12 million people became refugees. Between half a million and a million people were killed in religious violence.

    Tens of thousands of women were abducted.

    This article is the first in a BBC series looking at Partition 70 years on.

However, the game was played not in South Asia, but in London. India and Pakistan don't play cricket in each other's countries any more, although they have met in one-day matches around the world, including in countries in their region like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

But it is almost 10 years since they faced each other on South Asian soil in a Test match. Despite a lot of shared culture and history, they are not simply rivals, but more like enemies.

In the 70 years since India and Pakistan gained independence, they have fought three wars. Some would say four, although when their armies last fought in 1999, there was no formal declaration of war.

The simmering tension between India and Pakistan is one of the world's most enduring geopolitical fault lines. It has prompted both countries to develop their own nuclear weapons.

So the uneasy stand-off is much more than a regional dispute: it is fraught with wider danger.

Image
Indian nationalist leader Jawaharlal Nehru (l), Viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten (c) and the president of the All-India Muslim League Muhammad Ali Jinnah (r) discuss Partition in 1947

India and Pakistan gained their independence at the same moment. British rule over India, by far its biggest colony, ended on 15 August 1947.

After months of political deadlock, Britain agreed to divide the country in two.

A separate and mainly Muslim nation, Pakistan, was created to meet concerns that the large Muslim minority would be at a disadvantage in Hindu-majority India.

This involved partitioning two of India's biggest provinces, Punjab and Bengal. The details of where the new international boundary would lie were made public only two days after independence.

Image

Partition triggered one of the great calamities of the modern era, perhaps the biggest movement of people - outside war and famine - that the world has ever seen.

No one knows the precise numbers, but about 12 million people became refugees as they sought desperately to move from one newly independent nation to another.

Amid a terrible slaughter in which all main communities were both aggressors and victims, somewhere between half a million and a million people were killed.

Tens of thousands of women were abducted, usually by men of a different religion.

In Punjab in particular, where Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs had lived together for generations and spoke the same language, a stark segregation was brought about as Muslims headed west to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs fled east to India.

Image
Amritsar saw violent clashes in March 1947 between the city's Muslims, who wanted to be part of Pakistan, and its Sikh and Hindu population, who wanted to stay in India

This was not a civil war with battle lines and rival armies - but nor was it simply spontaneous violence.

On all sides, local militias and armed gangs planned how to inflict the greatest harm on those they had come to see as their enemies.

Image
An estimated 2,000 were killed, and more than 4,000 injured in communal riots ahead of Partition in Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1946

Those wounds have been left to fester. No one has been held to account - there's been no reconciliation process - and for a long time, the full story of what happened has been smothered in silence.

Literature and cinema found ways of representing the horror of what happened. Historians initially focused on the politics of Partition. It took them much longer to turn their attention to the lived experience of this profound rupture.

Big oral history projects have got under way only in the last few years, as the number of survivors dwindles. There are no towering memorials to the Partition dead.

The first museum devoted to Partition opened in 2016 in Amritsar in Indian Punjab.

Partition poisoned relations between India and Pakistan, and has shaped - many would say distorted - the geopolitics of South Asia as a whole.

Pakistan initially consisted of two wings 2,000km (1,240 miles) apart, but in 1971, East Pakistan gained its independence, with Indian military support. Another new nation, Bangladesh, was born.

Image
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the Muslim-majority Kashmir, which both claim in full but control in part

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the Muslim-majority Kashmir, which both claim in full but control in part

India also accuses Pakistan of supporting militant organisations which have carried out terrorist-style attacks in Indian cities. Pakistan says India colludes with breakaway movements in areas such as Balochistan.

The political leaders of the two countries have met from time to time. There have been occasional hopes of a breakthrough in relations but, at the moment, relations are distinctly frosty.

The consequences have been far-reaching.

India has much more trade with countries such as Nigeria, Belgium or South Africa than with its neighbour to the west.

Although India's phenomenally successful Hindi-language film industry - known as Bollywood - is hugely popular in Pakistan, and Pakistan's TV soaps are eagerly watched in India, cultural links are fragile.

When tensions rise, which they do regularly, every aspect of relations suffers.

Image
After a backlash against his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Difficulties of the heart), Indian director Karan Johar pledged not to use Pakistani actors

Just a few months ago, one of India's leading film directors Karan Johar felt obliged to promise that he would never again cast a Pakistani actor in one of his movies.

The two countries are not well informed about what is happening on the other side of the border. No major Indian or Pakistani news organisation currently has a correspondent in the other country's capital.

For both Indians and Pakistanis, travelling to the other country is not easy - even if it is to visit family.

It is not the difficulty of getting a visa or the lack of direct flights between the two capital cities. There are very few air links between the two countries at all.

Image
The elaborate daily closing ceremony at the India-Pakistan Wagah border crossing near Amritsar attracts many spectators on both sides

Despite a lengthy shared border, India and Pakistan have hardly any border crossings.

In Pakistan, the army and its intelligence wing are by far the most powerful institutions - and the country has had repeated spells of military rule.

The abiding sense of a military threat from its much larger neighbour has - many feel - boosted the power of the armed forces and hindered the development of a mature democracy.

Pakistan has a population of about 200 million - mostly Muslims. India has almost 1,300 million citizens and about one in seven follow Islam. There are almost as many Indian Muslims as Pakistani Muslims.

One projection suggests that by 2050, India will overtake Indonesia to become the country with the world's biggest Muslim population. But Muslims are under-represented in India's parliament and many other areas of public life.

Some observers believe the perception - however unfair - that Indian Muslims sympathise with Pakistan has fed prejudice and discrimination.

The pride that almost all Indians and Pakistanis feel about their nation is self-evident. Patriotism is a powerful force in both countries.

It is on public display every time they play each other at cricket. But both have been unable to overcome the legacy of the tragedy which accompanied what should have been their finest moment 70 years ago.

And the result of their most recent tussle on the cricket pitch? Well, for the record, Pakistan won a surprise - and emphatic - victory.

Some in India were gracious in defeat. But on social media, and some sections of India's news media, there was anger and anguish - losing face to your old rival remains, for many, almost too painful to endure.

About this piece

This analysis was commissioned by the BBC from an expert working for an outside organisation.

Dr Andrew Whitehead is a former BBC India correspondent. He is the author of a book about Kashmir in 1947 and is currently honorary professor at the University of Nottingham.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40643413

NOTE: Academics from both the Indian and Pakistan communities state that well over MILLION people died in the fighting following the separation :shock:

As we all know both the people of Kashmir and those of Balochistan still fight for their independence :((
Last edited by Anthea on Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:53 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Kashmir should be united and free from India and Pakistan

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Re: Indian 70 years after Britian divided the once great nat

PostAuthor: Piling » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:14 am

The split India/Pakistan is not a good advertisement for islam, because if you ask to most of foreigners in which part they would chose to live if they were oblige, I guess that India would be the great winner.
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Re: Indian 70 years after Britain divided the once great nat

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:05 pm

Hundreds at Kashmir independence rally in Birmingham

Campaigners have called for Kashmiri independence in Birmingham City Centre

The protesters gathered in Victoria Square on Saturday to call for an end to the Indian occupation of the province.

Bright green and yellow Kashmir flags were waved high, while placards highlighted alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir for the rally organised by Balsall Heath based campaign group the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Council (JKLC).

It holds protests on or about July 13 every year, known as Kashmir Martyrs' Day, to mark the anniversary of the deaths of 22 Kashmiris died in an uprising in 1931. Similar protests are held across the world.

Campaigners also commemorate the deaths of other independence fighters.

Many people joined the Birmingham protest where calls of 'What do we want? Freedom' and 'Foreign forces out, out'.

Protest organiser Najib Afsar, of the JKLC, said: "To this day over 600,000 Kashmiris have been martyred and today we commemorate and pay tribute for their sacrifice.

"We want the demilitarisation, and reunification of Kashmiri and for the people to be allowed to decide whether they want to be sovereign or remain with India or Pakistan.

"There are killings in Kashmir and it all falls on deaf ears."

He defended the right of Kashmiris to take part in an armed struggle against the Indian occupation and said they are not terrorists as they do not export their violence to other parts of the world.

"There is a wholesale massacre taking place, the people have no choice."

He called on the British Government and other world Governments to intervene to protect people from human rights abuses as they had in Syria and Iraq.

Conflict in Kashmir

Kashmir sits between India and Pakistan. Both countries own portions of the region but have fought wars to gain complete control.

It has a population of about 20 million. About 100,000 Kashmiris and their descendants live in Birmingham.

In 1948 the struggle for self-determination was supported by United Nations resolution. But the resolution has never been implemented X(

The disputed part of Kashmir has been under Indian rule, or occupation, and the scene of conflict and human rights atrocities for 70 years despite the UN resolution and many others around the world backing the right of the population to a vote to determine their own future.

Campaigners regard the occupation by India as illegal and say the population have been subjected to large scale human rights abuses.

Indian authorities have claimed this is false propaganda and branded those involved in the armed struggle as terrorists.

There are many Kashmiri independence groups, such as Hizbul Majahidden, which are regarded as either freedom fighters or terrorists depending on views of the conflict.

Last year in Parliament MPs of all parties called for the people of Kashmir to be given a vote on independence in answer to an upsurge of violence in the region. Birmingham councillors made a similar call in 2016 .

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/m ... s-14909179

I have always said that Kurds should work with the Kashmiri instead of loony left wing and Marxist groups :ymdevil:
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Re: Kashmir still struggling for independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:48 pm

Kashmir attack:
Bomb kills 40 soldiers in military convoy

At least 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers have been killed in a bomb attack by militants on their convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir

Click Image to Enlarge:
1081

Police told the BBC that a car filled with explosives rammed a bus carrying the troops to the city of Srinagar.

Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e Mohammad said it was behind the attack.

It is the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule began in 1989.

Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir but only control parts of it.

Indian Prime Minister described the attack as "despicable".

What happened?

The blast took place on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 20km (12 miles) from the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir, Srinagar.

"It's not yet clear how many vehicles were in the convoy. A car overtook the convoy and rammed into a bus with 44 personnel on board," a senior police official told BBC Urdu's Riyaz Masroor.

The official said the death toll might increase because dozens were "critically injured".

The AFP news agency said Jaish-e Mohammad had sent a statement to local media saying it had carried out a suicide bombing.

What's the background?

This latest attack is likely to heighten tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Prior to Thursday's bombing, the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir this century came in 2002, when militants killed at least 31 people at an army base in Kaluchak near Jammu, most of them civilians and relatives of soldiers.

At least 19 Indian soldiers were killed when militants stormed a base in Uri in 2016. Delhi blamed that attack on the Pakistani state, which denied any involvement.

The latest attack also follows a spike in violence in Kashmir that came about after Indian forces killed a popular militant, 22-year-old Burhan Wani, in 2016.

More than 500 people were killed in 2018 - including civilians, security forces and militants - the highest such toll in a decade.

Bashir Manzar, a journalist based in Indian-administered Kashmir, said the bombing would boost the morale of militants and contradicted claims the situation in Kashmir is being brought under control.

"Over the past few months, political leaders in Srinagar and Delhi have made tall claims about how the situation in Kashmir has been normalised and hundreds of militants, including top leaders, had been killed," he told the BBC.

"They claimed that militant groups were on the defensive and fewer people were joining their ranks."

The two countries have fought three wars and a limited conflict since independence from Britain in 1947 - all but one were over Kashmir.

Who are Jaish-e-Mohammad?

Started by cleric Maulana Masood Azhar in 2000, the group has been blamed for attacks on Indian soil in the past, including one in 2001 on the parliament in Delhi which took the nuclear-armed rivals to the brink of war.

It is also said to have introduced suicide bombings in Kashmir, with the first such attack taking place in 2000.

It has been designated a "terrorist" organisation by India, the UK, US and UN and has been banned in Pakistan since 2002.

However Maulana Masood Azhar remains at large and is reportedly based in the Bahawalpur area in Pakistan's Punjab province.

India has often demanded Maulana Masood Azhar's extradition from Pakistan but Islamabad has refused, citing a lack of proof.

Link to Full Article - Links to More Details:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-47240660
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Re: Kashmir still struggling for independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:42 pm

India demands Pakistan release
pilot as Kashmir crisis intensifies


India has demanded the release of a fighter pilot shot down by Pakistan warplanes in a major escalation between the two nuclear powers over Kashmir

Video showing the pilot - blindfolded and with blood on his face - was shared by Pakistan's information ministry.

India described the images as a "vulgar display of an injured personnel".

Wednesday's aerial attacks across the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Indian and Pakistani territory in Kashmir are the first since a war in 1971.

The incident, in which Pakistan said it had shot down two military jets, has escalated tensions between the two nations, both of whom claim all of Kashmir, but control only parts of it.

It comes a day after India struck what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed at least 40 Indian troops in Kashmir.

A Pakistan-based group said it carried out the attack - the deadliest to take place during a three-decade insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir.

What happened to the pilot?

The Indian Air Force pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan, had been reported "missing in action" by Indian officials.

Images then circulated of his capture, which were both condemned for what appeared to be a physical attack at the hands of residents in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and praised for the actions of the Pakistani soldiers who intervened to create a barrier.

Pakistan's information ministry published - but subsequently deleted - a video purporting to show the blindfolded pilot, who could be heard requesting water, after he had been captured.

In later footage, Wing Commander Abhinandan could be seen sipping tea from a cup without a blindfold and appeared to have been cleaned up.

He answered a number of questions including his name, military position and that he was from "down south", before refusing to share any details when asked about his mission: "I'm not supposed to tell you that."

Pakistan's military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the pilot was being "treated as per norms of military ethics".

What were the air strikes about?

Maj Gen Ghafoor said that Pakistan fighter jets had carried out "strikes" - exactly what they did remains unclear - in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday.

Two Indian air force jets then responded, crossing the de facto border that divides Kashmir. "Our jets were ready and we shot both of them down," he said.

He added that one Indian pilot was in the custody of the Pakistani army. Officials had previously said two pilots had been captured and one had been taken to hospital.

No explanation has been given as to why the numbers have changed.

Pakistan's information ministry also tweeted what it said was footage of one of the downed Indian jets.

Link to Article - Photos - Videos:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-47393454

Maj Gen Ghafoor said jets had "engaged" six targets in Indian territory but then carried out air strikes on "open ground".

"We don't want to go on the path of war," he said.

India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar acknowledged the loss of a MiG-21 fighter jet and its pilot.

He also said that an Indian plane had shot down a Pakistani fiMaj Gen Ghafoor said jets had "engaged" six targets in Indian territory but then carried out air strikes on "open ground".

"We don't want to go on the path of war," he said.

India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar acknowledged the loss of a MiG-21 fighter jet and its pilot.

He also said that an Indian plane had shot down a Pakistani fighter jet, and Indian ground forces observed it falling on the Pakistani side of the LoC. Pakistan denied any of its jets had been hit.
What have India and Pakistan said?

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a televised address that the two sides could not afford a miscalculation "given the weapons we have".

"We should sit down and talk," he said. ghter jet, and Indian ground forces observed it falling on the Pakistani side of the LoC. Pakistan denied any of its jets had been hit.
What have India and Pakistan said?

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a televised address that the two sides could not afford a miscalculation "given the weapons we have".

"We should sit down and talk," he said.

"If we let it happen, it will remain neither in my nor Narendra Modi's control.

"Our action is just to let them know that just like they intruded into our territory, we are also capable of going into their territory," he added.

Mr Modi has yet to comment but was meeting top security and intelligence officials to discuss the situation, reports in India said.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said her country would act "with responsibility and restraint".

"India does not wish to see further escalation of the situation," she said, speaking from a meeting with Russian and Chinese foreign ministers in China.
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Re: Kashmir still struggling for independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:11 am

Tension at boiling point despite
Khan's pledge to return captured pilot


TENSIONS remain high in Kashmir with Indian military officials refusing to confirm they would de-escalate a conflict with Pakistan despite the planned return of a captured pilot and troops continuing to mass at the border

The airman, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, became the human face of the flare-up over the contested region of Kashmir following the release of videos showing him being captured and later held in custody. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said the pilot would be released tomorrow despite exchanges of fire which saw four Pakistani civilians killed by India shooting across the disputed border in Kashmir.

A rally in Pakistan featured protesters waving their country's flag and telling their military: “Move forward, the nation is with you.”

But Mr Khan said: "As a peace gesture we will be releasing him tomorrow.”

Indian military officials said they welcomed Pakistan's planned return of the pilot but pointedly ignored questions about de-escalating the conflict.

Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said: "We are happy our pilot is being released.”

Some Indian politicians have also called for more aggression including “secret missions” to target suspected terrorists in Pakistan.

The EU, US, China and other powers have urged restraint from the two nuclear powers as tensions escalated following a suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on February 14.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity, since the partition of the British colony of India into the separate countries of Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India.

It is divided between India, which rules the Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city, Pakistan, which controls a wedge of territory in the west, and China, which holds a thinly populated high-altitude area in the north.

On Tuesday, India said it hit a training camp for a Pakistan-based group who claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, and a senior government source told reporters that 300 militants had been killed.

Pakistan denies this, saying the attack was a failure and no one died, with bombs dropped on a largely empty hillside. It denies any militant camp was in the area.

Local people said they had seen no sign of major casualties or significant damage, with only one man known to have been slightly hurt by the bombs.

Asked about the damage caused by Indian warplanes in Tuesday's air strike, Mr Kapoor said it was premature to provide details about casualties.

But they said they had "credible" evidence of the damage inflicted on the camp by the air strikes.

He said: “Whatever we intended to destroy, we did.”

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/10 ... imran-khan
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Re: Kashmir still struggling for independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:49 am

Talk to Pakistan, former Modi ally
urges India amid Kashmir tension

By Fayaz Bukhari,Reuters

India should talk to Pakistan and separatists in Kashmir to defuse tension arising from a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that was claimed by Pakistan-based militants, a former chief minister of the state said

Mehbooba Mufti, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from early 2014 to June last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party withdrew support for her regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting secession could further alienate the people.

India has vowed to kill all the militants in the country's only Muslim-majority state if they do not give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40 paramilitary troopers in a suicide attack last month. Indian security forces have killed 18 militants in Kashmir since then, the army said on Monday.

The attack nearly led to another war between arch-rival India and Pakistan, both of which claim the Himalayan region in full but rule in part.

"I strongly feel that there has to be a dialogue process internally as well as externally, with Pakistan," Mufti said in an interview on Friday. "The situation is going to get worse if some kind of political process is not initiated on the ground now."

Indian officials have repeatedly ruled out talks with Pakistan unless it acts against militant groups based there. India says its warplanes late last month bombed a militant camp in Pakistan, which responded with an aerial attack the next day.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Washington with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and told him the United States stands with India against terrorism.

"Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Gokhale discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil," the State Department said in a statement.

Gokhale said on the day of the strike that it had killed many Jaish-e-Mohammed "terrorists". Pakistan said no one was killed.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has sought to speak with Modi amid the hostility, said no militant group would be allowed to operate from his country to carry out attacks abroad, days after his government announced a sweeping crackdown against Islamist militant organizations.

"This confrontational attitude - no talks, no discussion -has an impact," Mufti said. "Whatever relationship we have with Pakistan, it has a direct impact on Jammu and Kashmir and we are the worst sufferers of this animosity."

Indian authorities have arrested many separatist leaders in Kashmir in the past few weeks, and the chief of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said recently that the government had made it clear to them that "if they want to live in India, they will have to speak the language of India, not Pakistan's".

Mufti, whose father was also a chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the tough stance by India would only lead to "some calm on the surface". India killed 248 militants in Kashmir in 2018 - the highest in a decade.

"Once you start choking the space for dissent in a democracy, people feel pushed to the wall and then it leads to further dissent and alienation," she said.

Mufti said India's general election - starting April 11 and whose results will be declared on May 23 - could delay the process of any inter-party talks on Kashmir.

'ELIMINATING MILITANTS'

Lieutenant-General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, India's top military commander in Kashmir, said on Monday that security forces had killed 10 local and eight foreign militants in the region in the past three weeks.

He said most of the dead were from Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for the attack on the paramilitary convoy in the district of Pulwama on Feb. 14.

"Our main emphasis after the convoy attack was to eliminate the JeM leadership and we have been successful in that," he told a press conference in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state.

"We have reasonably succeeded in eliminating JeM militants so that a Pulwama-type attack does not take place."

https://news.yahoo.com/modis-former-all ... 26571.html
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Re: Kashmir still struggling for independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:05 am

India to revoke special status for Kashmir

India's government has moved to revoke the part of the constitution that gives Indian-administered Kashmir special status in an unprecedented move likely to spark unrest

Article 370 is sensitive because it is what guarantees significant autonomy for the Muslim-majority state.

The entire region is disputed between India and Pakistan. Each claim it in full but control only parts of it.

There has been a long-running insurgency on the Indian side.

Thousands of Indian troops had been deployed to the region ahead of the announcement and tourists were told to leave X(

Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the measure in parliament amid massive protests from the opposition. He said it would become law as soon as it was signed by the president.

This means that it will not be voted on in either house of parliament, though Mr Shah said that there would be a discussion.

Soon after the announcement, the Ministry of Law and Justice released an unsigned presidential order spelling out the details of the proposed changes.

The move has been widely criticised with some legal experts calling it an attack on the constitution.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised in its 2019 election campaign to revoke the law. It won a resounding victory in the May-June elections.

Article 370 allows the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir to have its own constitution, a separate flag and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications. About 12 million people live in Jammu and Kashmir.

The former chief minister of the state, Mehbooba Mufti, said the move effectively made India an occupying force X(

"Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy," she said in a tweet, adding that the government's "unilateral decision" was "illegal and unconstitutional".

The announcement in parliament came hours after two of the state's former chief ministers, including Ms Mufti, were placed under house arrest.

Public meetings have been banned in the state, with mobile networks and the internet also restricted.

In recent days thousands of tourists as well as pilgrims on an annual trek to a major shrine were asked to leave the state immediately amid the deployment of tens of thousands of troops X(

India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, have fought two wars and a limited conflict over the Himalayan territory.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-49231619

This is extremely bad news and likely to spark a conflict far more violent and deadly than that of ISIS, as Kashmir has MILLIONS of supporters worldwide
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Re: India to revoke special status for Kashmir as troops inv

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:37 pm

Why a special law on Kashmir is controversial

Tensions are high in Indian-administered Kashmir amid speculation that a law which grants the state's residents unique privileges including property rights could be revoked

Top leaders have been put under house arrest, public meetings have been banned and reports say mobile networks and the internet have been restricted.

Article 35A, as it is known, has always been a source of contention between the Muslim-majority valley and the right-wing Hindu BJP party that now governs India.

The party has long vowed to revoke the law, which many see as a core aspect of the special status the Indian constitution gives Kashmir. This provision, known as Article 370, allows the state its own constitution, a separate flag and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications.

What does Article 35A say?

Article 35A of the constitution allows the legislature of Indian-administered Kashmir to define the state's "permanent residents" and what distinguishes them. It applies to all of Indian-administered Kashmir, including Jammu and Ladakh.

All identified residents are issued a permanent resident certificate, which entitles them to special benefits related to employment, scholarships and other privileges. But the biggest advantage for permanent residents is that only they have the right to own and, therefore, buy, property in the state.

Who does it cover?

All those who were living in the state as of 14 May 1954, when the law came into effect; and those who have lived in the state for 10 years anytime since, are counted as permanent residents.

The state legislature can also alter the definition of a permanent resident or other aspects of the law by a two-thirds majority.

How did it come about?

The Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, first passed the law in 1927 to stop the influx of people from the northern state of Punjab into the state. Reports say he did this on the urging of powerful Kashmiri Hindus. The law still exists in parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

In India, the law in its current form was introduced in 1954. It's part of Article 370, the constitutional provision that grants Kashmir special status within India.

When the Jammu and Kashmir constitution was adopted in 1956, it ratified the then two-year-old permanent resident law.

It protects the state's distinct demographic character.

Since Indian-administered Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state in India, many Kashmiris suspect Hindu nationalist groups of encouraging Hindus to migrate to the state. This doesn't sit well with Kashmiris given their tumultuous relationship with India - there has been an armed revolt in the region against Indian rule since 1989.

India blames Pakistan for fuelling the unrest, a charge Islamabad denies.

Both countries claim Kashmir in its entirety but only control parts of it. Since India's partition and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two wars and a limited conflict over the territory.

What do those who defend the law say?

They say abolishing the law would dishonour the Indian government's promise to protect Kashmir's special status.

They also fear that it would open up the state for outsiders to settle, eventually changing its demographics.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted that removing the law would have "grave consequences" for Jammu and Ladakh.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has warned that it would destroy India's fragile relationship with the state.

Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari contributed to this story in 2017. He was killed in Srinagar on 14 June 2018.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-40897522
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Re: India to revoke special status for Kashmir as troops inv

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:43 pm

Kashmir leaders under
house arrest as unrest grows


Top politicians in Indian-administered Kashmir have been put under house arrest, days after thousands of troops were deployed to the disputed region

Public meetings have been banned and reports say mobile networks and the internet have been restricted.

Last week authorities also ordered tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave, citing a "terror threat" against an annual pilgrimage to a major shrine.

It is unclear what is behind the latest moves, which have stoked tensions.

No explanation for the government's actions has been given as yet but it comes amid speculation that Delhi might be poised to revoke some of Kashmir's special privileges - specifically Article 35A, a constitutional provision, which among other things, prevents people from outside the state buying land there.

A cabinet meeting to discuss the situation has ended and home minister Amit Shah will address parliament.

Kashmir has been under governor's rule since June 2018 when the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of a state government coalition with the regional People's Democratic Party (PDP).

It was in the early hours of Monday that two former chief ministers of Indian-administered Kashmir, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were placed under house arrest.

The two leaders tweeted late on Sunday night about their impending house arrests and the situation there.

Why have additional troops been deployed?

The federal government has not made an official statement. But they have cited security concerns while deploying tens of thousands of troops to the Muslim-majority valley in the past week.

The influx of troops, the terror warnings and the speculation about Kashmir's status have alarmed residents across the Indian-ruled region, many of whom queued for hours outside petrol stations, supermarkets and cash machines.

If Article 35A is indeed revoked, it would spark anger across the valley, and escalate tensions with Pakistan.

There have also been reports of skirmishes across the de facto border with Pakistan in recent days. Kashmir has been a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbours for decades. Both countries claim the entire valley, but control only parts of it. They have fought two wars and a limited conflict in the region.

India accuses Pakistan of backing militant groups based in Kashmir, which Pakistan denies.

What is Article 35A?

Article 35A is a part of Article 370, which allows the state its own constitution, a separate flag and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications. This provision guarantees Kashmir a unique status within India.

Article 35A itself allows the legislature of Indian-administered Kashmir to define who the state's "permanent residents" are, and what distinguishes them. It applies to all of Indian-administered Kashmir, including Jammu and Ladakh.
Residents stand in a queue as they hold empty cans to get filled at a petrol station in Srinagar on August 4, 2019 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alarmed residents have queued for hours outside petrol stations

All identified residents are issued a permanent resident certificate, which entitles them to special benefits related to employment, as well as scholarships and other privileges. But the biggest advantage for permanent residents is that only they have the right to own and, therefore, buy, property in the state.

But Article 35A was introduced by a presidential order in 1954, without seeking the consent of parliament.

Some constitutional experts believe this means it can be revoked in the same manner - through a presidential order - while others say such a move could still be challenged in court since it would be unprecedented.

Why is Kashmir's special status significant?

Article 35A is a sensitive law because its restrictions on who can buy or own property protect the state's distinct demographic character. Many Kashmiris have long suspected Hindu nationalist groups are encouraging Hindus to migrate to the state. They see revoking Article 35A as further proof of this.

But the ruling BJP has long vowed to revoke the law. Its 2019 election manifesto said it was "discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Kashmir", adding: "We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state."

India has been fighting an armed insurgency in Kashmir since 1989. High unemployment and allegations of human rights abuses by Indian security forces have aggravated the problem.

Kashmir's special status, experts say, is especially significant given this fraught relationship. Any attempt to dilute the status is seen by many as a violation of Kashmir's autonomy.

Earlier, the detained politicians and other leaders issued a resolution warning Delhi of "consequences" if it "changed the special status of Kashmir".

The BJP has a decisive majority - it won 300 of the 543 seats in the lower house of parliament earlier this year. This will likely help the government weather the political storm that is likely to follow, as revoking the law is expected to lead to constitutional and legal challenges.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-49230883
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Re: India to revoke special status for Kashmir as troops inv

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:35 pm

Restrictions, night curfews
imposed in several parts of JK


Restrictions and night curfews were imposed in several districts of Jammu and Kashmir as the Valley remained on edge with authorities stepping up security deployment

The Indian government imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC in Srinagar district with effect from Sunday midnight as a precautionary measure, officials said.

"There shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions (in Srinagar district) shall remain closed," according to an order.

It stated that there was a complete bar on holding any kind of public meeting or rally."Identity cards of essential services officials will be treated as movement passes wherever required," the order said.

Schools and colleges in Jammu, Kishtwar, Resai, Doda and Udhampur districts were also ordered to remain close on Monday, the officials said.

The authorities imposed night curfew in Kishtwar and Rajouri districts and Banihal area of Ramban district, while restrictions were imposed in Jammu, Resai and Doda districts, besides Srinagar on Sunday, they said.

"We have imposed night curfew in Kishtwar district from tonight as a precautionary measure", Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Angrez Singh Rana, told PTI.

He said all schools and colleges have been closed in the district.

The authorities also imposed curfew and restrictions in Rajouri district from Sunday night and ordered closure of all educational institutes, the officials said.

The University of Jammu will remain closed on Monday and all scheduled examinations have been postponed, they said.

Various educational institutions in the Kashmir Valley also directed their students to vacate hostels.

The authorities in Jammu have also imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC in the district and banned all types of congregation, the officials said.

Schools, colleges and academic institutions are advised to remain closed as a measure of caution, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Sushma Chauhan, said.

Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, Indu Kanwal Chib, said the CrPC's section 144 has been imposed in Reasi district and educational institutions will remain closed from Monday, till further orders, as a precautionary measure.

In Doda district, too, authorities have imposed restrictions and closed down educational institutions, the officials said.

Mobile Internet services have been suspended in the Kashmir Valley, they said, adding that satellite phones are being provided to police officials and district magistrates.

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Re: India to revoke special status for Kashmir as troops inv

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:44 pm

Modi’s Sudden Move on Kashmir

When New Delhi announced this week that it would revoke Article 370, the constitutional provision that gave some autonomous powers to India-administered Kashmir, the declaration was unilateral. There were there no parliamentary consultations, and key Kashmiri politicians were placed under house arrest over the weekend to prevent them from reacting in public

Why now? Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision should not be a surprise: Revoking Article 370, as well as another law that bars nonresidents from buying land in Jammu and Kashmir state, was part of Modi’s campaign manifesto. But why act this week?

One theory, according to senior government sources cited by the Hindu, suggests that New Delhi brought forward its plans after U.S. President Donald Trump falsely claimed that Modi approached him to mediate India’s dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.

There are other possible factors: The decision could have been timed for India’s Independence Day celebrations on Aug. 15, or it could have been designed to distract from growing concerns about the health of India’s economy.

Blackout. If there has been little news out of Kashmir, it’s because New Delhi planned it. On Aug. 4, internet and telephone landlines across the state were shut down. As FP’s C.K. Hickey reports, there is precedent:

India has the highest number of internet shutdowns in the world—more than Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan combined. Regular Kashmiris face an immense impact on their lives and livelihoods.

What’s next? While several opposition parties support Modi’s decision, there may yet be a challenge from the country’s Supreme Court. And while the prime minister’s long-term plan could be to populate Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindus from other parts of the country, there will likely be resistance in the restive Kashmir Valley. India has already moved tens of thousands of new troops to the region.

FP’s Elias Groll interviews Irfan Nooruddin of Georgetown University, who explains that Hindu Kashmiris fled the state three decades ago—and they are key supporters of Modi’s decision.

Pakistan’s Trump card? In an address to Parliament on Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he might approach the U.N. Security Council to oppose New Delhi’s move, fearing that India may “initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir to wipe out the local population.”

He has already called in a favor that Trump promised him during their meeting in the White House last month: “President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so,” Khan said. We’ll see whether Trump takes the bait—and whether Pakistan reacts in other ways.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/06/wh ... -conflict/
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Re: UN fears India may initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:09 am

What happened in Kashmir
and why it matters


India's BJP-led government is hailing its decision to strip the state of Jammu and Kashmir of autonomy after seven decades, characterising it as the correction of a "historical blunder". The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi explains why this has happened and why it's important

Why is Kashmir controversial?

Kashmir is a Himalayan region that both India and Pakistan say is fully theirs.

The area was once a princely state called Jammu and Kashmir, but it joined India in 1947 when the sub-continent was divided up at the end of British rule.

India and Pakistan subsequently went to war over it and each came to control different parts of the territory with a ceasefire line agreed.

There has been violence in the Indian-administered side - the state of Jammu and Kashmir - for 30 years due to a separatist insurgency against Indian rule.

What's happened now?

In the first few days of August, there were signs of something afoot in Kashmir.

Tens of thousands of additional Indian troops were deployed, a major Hindu pilgrimage was cancelled, schools and colleges were shut, tourists were ordered to leave, telephone and internet services were suspended and regional political leaders were placed under house arrest.

But most of the speculation was that Article 35A of the Indian constitution, which gave some special privileges to the people of the state, would be scrapped.

The government then stunned everyone by saying it was revoking nearly all of Article 370, which 35A is part of and which has been the basis of Kashmir's complex relationship with India for some 70 years.

How significant is Article 370?

The article allowed the state a certain amount of autonomy - its own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws. Foreign affairs, defence and communications remained the preserve of the central government.

As a result, Jammu and Kashmir could make its own rules relating to permanent residency, ownership of property and fundamental rights. It could also bar Indians from outside the state from purchasing property or settling there.

The constitutional provision has underpinned India's often fraught relationship with Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority region to join India at partition.

Why did the government do it?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had long opposed Article 370 and revoking it was in the party's 2019 election manifesto.

They argued it needed to be scrapped to integrate Kashmir and put it on the same footing as the rest of India. After returning to power with a massive mandate in the April-May general elections, the government lost no time in acting on its pledge.

Critics of Monday's move are linking it to the economic slowdown that India is currently facing - they say it provides a much-needed diversion for the government.

Many Kashmiris believe that the BJP ultimately wants to change the demographic character of the Muslim-majority region by allowing non-Kashmiris to buy land there.

Although Home Minister Amit Shah's announcement in parliament on Monday came as a surprise to most Indians, it would have taken the government some preparation to arrive at the decision.

The move also fits in with Mr Modi's desire to show that the BJP is tough on Kashmir, and Pakistan.

What's changed on the ground?

Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution but will have to abide by the Indian constitution much like any other state.

All Indian laws will be automatically applicable to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state will be able to buy property there.

The government says this will bring development to the region.

"I want to tell the people of Jammu and Kashmir what damage Articles 370 and 35A did to the state," Mr Shah told parliament. "It's because of these sections that democracy was never fully implemented, corruption increased in the state, that no development could take place."

The government is also moving to break up the state into two smaller, federally administered territories. One region will combine Muslim-majority Kashmir and Hindu-majority Jammu. The other is Buddhist-majority Ladakh, which is culturally and historically close to Tibet.

P Chidambaram, a senior leader in the opposition Congress Party described the decision as a "catastrophic step" and warned in parliament that it could have serious consequences.

"You may think you have scored a victory, but you are wrong and history will prove you to be wrong. Future generations will realise what a grave mistake this house is making today," he said.

According to the constitution, Article 370 could only be modified with the agreement of the "state government". But there hasn't been much of a state government in Jammu and Kashmir for over a year now.

In June last year, India imposed federal rule after the government of the then chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, was reduced to a minority. This meant the federal government only had to seek the consent of the governor who imposes its rule.

The government says it is well within its rights to bring in the changes and that similar decisions have been taken by federal governments in the past.

But expert opinion is sharply divided.

One constitutional expert, Subhash Kashyap, told news agency ANI that the order was "constitutionally sound" and that "no legal and constitutional fault can be found in it".

However another constitutional expert, AG Noorani, told BBC Hindi it was "an illegal decision, akin to committing fraud" that could be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Opposition political parties could launch a legal challenge but Kashmir is an emotive issue with many Indians, and most parties would be wary of opposing the move lest they be branded anti-India.

That could leave any challenge up to individuals or activists.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-49234708
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Re: UN fears India may initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:30 pm

Pakistan downgrades ties
with India in Kashmir row


Pakistan has announced plans to expel India's top diplomat and suspend trade with its neighbour, deepening a row between the countries over the disputed territory of Kashmir

Indian-administered Kashmir has been on lockdown since the Indian government decided on Monday to strip the region of its special constitutional status.

Phone networks and the internet have been cut off since Sunday evening.

Tens of thousands of troops have been patrolling the streets.

Instances of protest and stone-throwing have been reported, despite the communications blackout and a curfew.

Kashmiris in other parts of the country said that they were unable to get through to their families. Local leaders have also been detained.

India and Pakistan - both nuclear-armed states - have fought two wars over Kashmir, most recently clashing in a series of aerial attacks over the territory in February.

Why is Kashmir so contentious?

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, but they each control only parts of it.

There is a long-running separatist insurgency on the Indian side, which has led to thousands of deaths over three decades. India accuses Pakistan of supporting insurgents but its neighbour denies this, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris who want self-determination.

Under Article 370 of the Indian constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir had special dispensation to make its own laws - the basis for its complex relationship with India for some 70 years.

However, the Indian government is now revoking most of Article 370.

What is Pakistan doing?

Pakistan is suspending all trade between the two countries.

It is expelling India's high commissioner (the equivalent of an ambassador) from Islamabad. Meanwhile, Pakistan's newly-appointed envoy, Moin-ul-Haq, was yet to start his role but now will not move to Delhi.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has "directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose [the] brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations", a Pakistani government statement said.

He also directed the armed forces to remain vigilant.

In addition, Pakistan is asking the UN Security Council to consider the dispute.

How serious is this?

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Many people in Indian-administered Kashmir do not want it to be governed by India, preferring instead either independence or union with Pakistan.

The population of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir is more than 60% Muslim, making it the only state within India where Muslims are in the majority.

Many Kashmiris think revoking Article 370 is an attempt to change the territory's demographic character, by allowing non-Kashmiris to buy land there. Before now, Indians from outside the state could be barred from settling or buying property.

While the current insurgency began in 1989, violence surged again in 2016, with the death of a young militant leader, Burhan Wani. Last year, more than 500 people were killed - including civilians, security forces and militants - the highest such toll in a decade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have for a long time wanted to scrap Article 370 - a promise included in their manifesto for elections earlier this year.

They argued that Kashmir needed to be put on the same footing as the rest of India.

Once returned to power with an increased majority in May, the government lost no time in acting on its pledge.

What's been the international reaction?

Neighbouring China has strongly opposed India's move to revoke the article, calling it "unacceptable".

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reportedly said he had spoken to India's foreign minister and "expressed some of our concerns around the situation and called for calm".

An official at the US State Department meanwhile denied reports the US was informed about India's plans.

"Contrary to press reporting, the Indian government did not consult or inform the US Government before moving to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special constitutional status", the state department said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-49267912
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Re: UN fears India may initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:16 am

'Even I will pick up a gun':
Inside Kashmir's lockdown


Indian-administered Kashmir has been an under unprecedented lockdown since Monday, when India revoked a special constitutional status dating back nearly 70 years. The BBC's Geeta Pandey travelled for two days around the region, where a bitter sense of betrayal threatens to fuel fresh conflict

In the heart of Srinagar city, Khanyar is an area notorious for anti-India protests. To get here during what amounts to a virtual 24-hour curfew, we pass through half a dozen roadblocks.

As we come across yet another barricade, I get out of my car to take some photos. A few men emerge from a laneway to complain about living under what to many feels like a siege. "This is extreme thuggery on the government's part," says an elderly member of the group.

The paramilitary police try to hustle us away but the man wants to be heard. "You lock us up during the day. You lock us up at night," he shouts angrily, wagging his finger. The policeman says there's a curfew in place and that they must go inside immediately. But the diminutive old man stands his ground and challenges him again.

At that point, I'm ordered to leave. But before I can, a young man, carrying his toddler son in his arms, tells me he is ready to pick up a gun to fight India.

"This is my only son. He's too small now, but I will prepare him to pick up a gun too," he says. He's so angry that he doesn't even care that he's saying all this within earshot of the policeman standing near us.

Across the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, I meet men who tell me they no longer want to live life in fear of the security forces. An insurgency has been taking place here for 30 years, but what residents call a "dictatorial order" from far-away Delhi has pushed people who never supported separatism into a corner.

They say it will have serious consequences for both Kashmir and India

This is very much the dominant sentiment everywhere I go - anger mixed with fear and worry, and a fierce determination to resist the central government's move.

Srinagar - the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir - has been under a virtual lockdown since Monday morning and the city resembles a ghost town. Shops, schools, colleges and offices are all shut and there is no public transport on the roads.

Thousands of gun-wielding troops patrol deserted streets that are barricaded with coils of razor wire, and residents remain locked up inside their homes

For nearly a week now, two of the former state chief ministers have been in detention while a third, who is currently an MP from the state, is under house arrest. Hundreds of others, including activists, business leaders and professors, have also been detained and are being held in makeshift prisons.

Rizwan Malik says Kashmir "now feels like a jail, a big open-air jail"

He flew from Delhi to Srinagar less than 48 hours after Home Minister Amit Shah laid out his plans for Kashmir in the parliament on Monday. Rizwan Malik flew from Delhi to Srinagar because he couldn't reach his parents on the phone for two days

He said he had last spoken to his parents on Sunday night, a few hours before the government shut down all communications, including the internet. There was a total information blackout, and because he couldn't reach any of his friends or relatives either, he decided to return home.

"It's the first time in my life that we had no way of communicating with anyone. Never before have I seen anything like this," he told me at his parents' home in Srinagar.

Mr Malik is furious that India has revoked Kashmir's special status - which gave it a significant degree of autonomy and underpinned the region's relationship with the rest of India for decades - without consulting the state's people.

He's not someone who believes in separatism, or has ever gone out and thrown stones at soldiers in protest; he's a 25-year-old aspirational young man studying to be an accountant in Delhi. He says he has long believed in the idea of India because he is sold on the story of its economic success.

"If India wants us to believe that it's a democracy, they are fooling themselves. Kashmir has long had an uneasy relationship with India [but] our special status was the bridge that joined the two. By scrapping it, they have taken away our identity. This is unacceptable to any Kashmiri," he says.

When the siege is lifted and protesters are able to take to the streets, Mr Malik predicts that every Kashmiri will join them: "It was said that in every family one brother is with the separatists and the other is with the [Indian] mainstream. Now the Indian government has united the two."

His sister Rukhsar Rashid, a 20-year-old architecture student at Kashmir University, says when she heard the home minister's speech on TV, her hands began to shake and her mother, sitting next to her, began to cry.

"She was saying death would be better than this," says Ms Rashid. "I keep waking up with panic attacks. My grandparents who live in the city's Batmaloo area say it has turned into Afghanistan."

India had been building up to its big move on the part of Kashmir it controls for some time. The government first announced late last month it was sending more than 35,000 additional troops to the region, an area that's already the most militarised in the world because it is disputed between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Last week, the annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine was called off abruptly as the authorities warned of a terror threat. Then, hotels and houseboats along the picturesque Dal Lake were ordered shut and tourists asked to leave.

Everyone in Kashmir by then knew something was afoot, but of the dozens of people I spoke to, no-one expected Delhi would go this far and unilaterally revoke part of the constitution.

The communications blackout means reliable information is hard to come by, and news of what's going on spreads by word of mouth. Despite the lockdown, we hear daily reports of protesters pelting security forces with stones in Srinagar and elsewhere. We hear a protester drowned when he was chased by troops and jumped in a river. Several people are believed to be injured and in hospital.

The Indian government has been trying to show that all's well in Kashmir

On Wednesday, TV channels showed National Security Advisor Ajit Doval lunching with a group of men on the streets of Shopian, a town that's described in the Indian press as "a hotbed of militancy". It was an attempt to tell the world that there's popular support for the government's move even in the most difficult of areas and that peace and calm prevails.

But Kashmiris have dismissed it as a stunt. "If people are happy, then why do they need the curfew? Why is there a communication shutdown?" asks Rizwan Malik

The same question is repeated in every part of Srinagar - in homes, on the streets, in the sensitive old city areas that the locals call "downtown", and in the southern district of Pulwama, home to the militant who carried out the audacious suicide bombing targeting the security forces in February that brought India and Pakistan close to war.

As I drive through the region, men hanging out in groups by the roadside or in moving vehicles flag down my car to talk to me. They say Kashmiri voices are being suppressed, and they are desperate to be heard. They tell me how angry they are and issue dire warnings of impending bloodshed.

"Kashmir is under siege at the moment. The moment it's lifted, trouble will start," says Zahid Hussain Dar, a lawyer living in Pulwama. "Once the political and separatist leaders are freed from detention or house arrest, there will be calls for protests and people will come out."

Some in the Indian press have reported that since there have been no major protests in Kashmir valley so far, it means people have accepted the government's decision.

But the Kashmir I see is seething. I've been visiting the region regularly for over 20 years to report on the long-running insurgency against Indian rule, but the sort of anger and resentment that is being expressed now is unprecedented.

Most people here say they will settle for nothing less than the government rescinding its order and restoring Kashmir's special status

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is not known for rolling back decisions and this underpins fears in the valley that the government will come down heavily on those who resist.

On Thursday, Mr Modi defended his controversial decision, saying it was "the beginning of a new era" and promising employment opportunities and development for Kashmir.

Yet not many here are ready to back down. And it does not augur well for either Kashmiris or India

Muskaan Lateef, a high school student, describes the current situation as "the calm before the storm".

"It's like the oceans are quiet, but the tsunami is about to hit the shore."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-49294301
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