2019 Kashmir lockdown

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2019 Kashmir lockdown
Part of the Insurgency in Kashmir
and Kashmir conflict
Date5 August 2019 - ongoing
Location
Caused byRevocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir
MethodsCurfew, Communications and Media blackout
Casualties
Arrested~4000[1]

2019 Kashmir lockdown refers to a security lockdown and communications blackout imposed to prevent protests during which thousands of people, mostly young men, have been detained in Jammu and Kashmir (the India-administered portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir).[2][3][4]

The lockdown started on 5 August 2019 following Revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir via scrapping of the Article 370 of the Constitution of India, Article 35A of the Constitution of India and the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.[5][6] Since 5 August, no foreign journalists have been granted permission from the Indian government to report in Kashmir.[7]

According to a September 6 report of the Indian government, nearly 4,000 people have been arrested in the disputed region. Among those arrested were more than 200 politicians, including two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), along with more than 100 leaders and activists from All Parties Hurriyat Conference.[1]

On 1 October 2019, a three-judge bench constituting of Justices N. V. Ramana, Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy and Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai of the Supreme Court of India, heard seven petitions on the lockdown.[8]

On 3 October 2019, journalists in Kashmir staged a sit-in protest against the communications blackout describing the blockade of the internet and mobile phones as a 'gag'.[9]

On 4 October 2019, the Indian government denied US Senator Chris Van Hollen's request to travel to Kashmir.[7] Meanwhile, Sandeep Pandey, an education reformer, and other activists who were on an informal fact-finding mission were also barred from leaving the airport in Srinagar.[7] The same day, during protests people chanted pro-Pakistan slogans and demanded an end to what they described as "Indian occupation of their territory".[10]

On 24 October 2019, amid a boycott by most parties and with many mainstream local politicians still in detention, village council elections were held across J&K. However, political scientist Noor Ahmed Baba called it "more like an artificial exercise".[11]

Prepaid mobile services were barred for 85th consecutive day on 28 October, for at least 2.5 million prepaid cell phone users in Kashmir.[12]

Re-introduction of tourism[edit]

Despite public protests and resistance as well as the restrictions on Internet and phone usage, the government of India stated that it plans to re-introduce tourism in Kashmir and lift all travel restrictions to foreigners visiting that region.[13]

Reactions[edit]

  •  United States - Alice Wells, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said in a statement that the US hopes "to see rapid action - the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained". She added that the US is "concerned by widespread detentions, including those of politicians and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir".[14] US lawmakers Ilhan Omar,[15] Rashida Tlaib[16] and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez[17] have also called for an end to the communications blockade.
  • Amnesty International - The NGO for human rights started an online petition titled Let Kashmir Speak demanding a lifting of "the blackout of communications in Jammu and Kashmir" while letting "the voices of the people of Kashmir be heard" and allowing "unconditional and unconstrained access to news and information from the valley".[18]
  •  United Nations - United Nations' special rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye said in a statement that "there’s something about this shutdown that is draconian in a way other shutdowns usually are not”.[19]
  •  Iran The Iranian government expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir following the lockdown, urging India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue as regional partners and resolve the situation peacefully.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Thousands detained in Indian Kashmir crackdown, official data reveals". Reuters. September 12, 2019.
  2. ^ "At Least 2,300 People Have Been Detained During the Lockdown in Kashmir". Time. August 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "Kashmir city on lockdown after calls for protest march". The Guardian. 23 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Inside Kashmir's lockdown: 'Even I will pick up a gun'". BBC. 10 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Restrictions eased as Kashmir enters Day 22 of lockdown". The Economic Times. 26 August 2019.
  6. ^ "No respite in sight as J&K lockdown enters 25th day". The Asian Age. 30 August 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "US Senator Barred From Kashmir as Lockdown Enters 3rd Month". Voice of America. 5 October 2019.
  8. ^ "J&K shutdown: 3-judge SC Bench to hear 7 pleas". The Hindu. October 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "60 days of lockdown: Kashmir journalists protest against clampdown, demand restoration of internet". India Today. October 3, 2019.
  10. ^ "Kashmir under lockdown: Anger over 'unacceptable burdens'". Al Jazeera. Oct 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "India holds Kashmir elections despite lockdown, boycott". Washigton Post. Oct 24, 2019.
  12. ^ "Kashmir lockdown: Pre-paid mobile services barred for 85th day". The Economic Times. Oct 28, 2019.
  13. ^ "India to allow tourists in Kashmir, but they likely won't have access to internet or phones". Aijaz Husain, The Associated Press. global news.
  14. ^ "US wants Kashmir restrictions lifted". Al Jazeera. 1 Oct 2019.
  15. ^ "US congresswoman calls for 'immediate restoration of communication' in occupied Kashmir". Dawn. August 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "US congresswoman condemns India's 'unacceptable actions' in occupied Kashmir". Dawn. September 14, 2019.
  17. ^ "Communications blockade in occupied Kashmir must end: US lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez". Dawn. October 1, 2019.
  18. ^ "Let Kashmir Speak". Amnesty International.
  19. ^ "Kashmir: India's 'draconian' blackout sets worrying precedent, warns UN". The Guardian. 8 Aug 2019.
  20. ^ "Iran urges India, Pakistan to resort to 'dialog, peaceful methods' amid Kashmir tensions". Press TV.