Restrictions continue in Kashmir despite security ease

Cheryl Sanders
August 19, 2019

Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir on Saturday began restoring landline phone services after a almost two-week unprecedented security crackdown and news blackout following a decision to downgrade the majority-Muslim region's autonomy.

The Indian government says that restrictions are being lifted from 35 police stations across the Kashmir Valley, while schools are due to reopen from Monday, along with government offices. He also said on Twitter that food and other supplies were available "in abundance".

A police official who asked to remain anonymous said "around 6,000 people were medically examined at a couple of places in Srinagar after they were detained".

Indian security forces reportedly injured at least six people on Saturday in Srinagar as several protests broke out against New Delhi's revocation of the region's autonomy.

State and federal officials did not respond to the allegations or give any estimates of the number of stone-throwing incidents, raids, arrests or injuries.

Rohit Kansal, another administrator, told reporters that public transport buses had started operating in some rural areas.

More than 500 political or community leaders and activists remained in detention, and some have been flown to prisons outside the state.

The security crackdown and a news blackout were installed following an August 5 decision by India's Hindu nationalist government to downgrade the Muslim-majority region's autonomy.

There was a deadly exchange of gun and mortar firing between Indian and Pakistani forces Saturday across the militarized Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the archrivals.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan.

Observers said that the Security Council had put the onus of resolving the conflict on India and Pakistan. He said this is an issue that impacts not just the region but also the world.

After Islamabad's abysmal failure at UNSC, Beijing did try and console Pakistan.

The rare closed-door consultations on Kashmir by the Security Council ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful 15-nation UN organ, dealing a huge snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China to internationalise the issue, which an overwhelming majority stressed is a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.

No specific results were announced from the meeting, which was called by China at Pakistan's request.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has said the measure is necessary to integrate Kashmir fully into India and speed up its development.

The financial blow came hours after Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan dialed US President Donald Trump to lobby for his demand for action against India over the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

"There was a police presence", Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said on Sunday.

The heavy overnight clashes took place mostly in the Rainawari, Nowhetta and Gojwara areas of the old part of Srinagar, where Indian troops fired tear gas, irritant pepper grenades and pellets to disperse protesters, eyewitnesses and officials said.

Kashmiri Muslim girls shout pro-freedom slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers amid curfew like restrictions.

"However, what Modi doesn't know is that these gags and detentions can't break the commitment and resolve of Kashmiri people for freedom".

Other reports by iNewsToday