NEW DEHLI: Four prominent Indian political and civil society activists, who visited occupied Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, have said that the Indian authorities have turned the valley into a prison under military control.
On their return to New Delhi after spending five days travelling across occupied Kashmir, the activists released a report, in which they said that the Indian media’s claims of the held territory being peaceful were grossly misleading, Kashmir Media Service reported.
They said common people were seething, distrust against New Delhi had increased, which has marginalized pro-India parties and strengthened the hands of pro-freedom leaders.
The activists said the Kashmir valley looks like an open jail now and the people are not allowed to go out of their houses. “The valley was on the edge and could erupt in protests as and when the authorities lift the curfew.”
They said the valley has witnessed protests, which the Indian forces have suppressed with the use of force.
The activists – a former member of the National Advisory Council and economist Jean Drèze, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)’s Kavita Krishnan, All India Democratic Women’s Association’s Maimoona Mollah and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) – were in occupied Kashmir from August 09 to 13, travelling widely inside and outside Srinagar.
They addressed the media at the Press Club of India in New Delhi to share their experiences from their visit to Kashmir after the Indian Parliament scrapped Articles 370 and 35-A and passed a law to divide the occupied territory into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. They were not allowed to show video clips they had recorded during the visit, which they released later on social media.
“To control this anger, the government has imposed curfew-like conditions in Kashmir. Except for some ATMs, chemists’ shops and police stations, most establishments are closed for now,” they said.
The activists said most people they met said doing away with Article 370 has ended the relation between Kashmir and India. “With Article 370 gone, India no longer has any basis for its claim over Kashmir,” the activists quoted people as having told them.
Indian forces’ personnel have been “arbitrarily” picking up hundreds of schoolboys and teenagers, who are being illegally detained and women and girls complained that they were being molested during raids by forces, activists shared.
There is a clampdown on the local media, Kashmiri television channels are not telecasting, and newspapers functioning under tremendous restrictions, they added.