India mutes Eid-ul-Azha in occupied Jammu and Kashmir

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SRI NAGAR  India further shatters occupied Jammu and Kashmir with blatant oppression, travel restrictions, communication blackout, and severe shortage of food supplies and gross violations of human rights.

Muslims in Kashmir were prohibited from going to grand mosques for offering Eid prayers, practice sacrificial rituals and congregate to celebrate Eid ul Azha whereas more than a billion Muslims have been observing the Eid with religious fervour in rest of the world.

Seeking to tighten its grip on the region, India has imposed strict curfew and other restrictions which are continued on the ninth consecutive day and the territory remains cut off from the rest of the world due to the communication blockade imposed by India since the night of August 4.

Moreover, assemblies of more than four people are prohibited and hundreds of political and separatist leaders, and activists have been detained.

Frustration is growing in Muslim-majority Kashmir as hundreds of people shouting anti-India slogans spilled on to the streets following prayers in the neighborhood of Soura, the site of a big demonstration on Friday, but authorities largely sealed off the area and kept the protest localized.

SHOPS CLOSED


Residents said the rapt silence on the city’s streets was like nothing they had ever experienced before on the Eid festival.

Even best-known areas, such as the city square, Lal Chowk, that would otherwise be crowded with people were empty.

Shops were shut, their shutters and walls carrying anti-India graffiti including, “Go India Go Back” and “We Want Freedom”.

Several paramilitary and police officials referred to the restrictions as a “curfew” in conversations with Reuters reporters.

India’s official stance is that there are restrictions, but no curfew.

The restrictions in Srinagar were the city’s tightest ever, two paramilitary officials told Reuters on Monday.

Police and troops, many wearing heavy riot gear, dotted silent streets where checkpoints had been added around midnight, with more concertina wire laid out to create barricades.

PRO-PAKISTAN SLOGANS


Many women were among the people seen breaking down in tears amid chants of “We want freedom” during the prayers.

“There have been some minor localized protests of a routine nature in a few places,” the Home Ministry statement said.

“This is not unknown in Jammu and Kashmir in the past.”

Leaders in Kashmir had warned of a backlash against stripping autonomy from a territory where Islamist militants have battled Indian rule for nearly 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 50,000 people.

Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic relations with India and suspended trade in anger at Delhi’s latest move.

The Pakistani government asked its citizens to observe the Eid festival in a “simple manner” this year to express solidarity with Kashmiris living on the Indian side of the divided region. There were prayers dedicated to Kashmiris in India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has long campaigned to abrogate Kashmir’s special privileges in the constitution, which it sees as a measure of appeasement to Muslims that hinders development.

Indian Parliament had passed a resolution on August 5 revoking the constitutional provision, which had secured special rights for the people of Kashmir.

The authorities have deployed tens of thousands of Indian troops, paramilitary and police personnel in every nook and corner of the occupied territory to prevent people from staging demonstrations against the illegal move of the Indian government.

Srinagar city has been barricaded by the troops, who disallow vehicular and pedestrian movement. The roads in the entire Kashmir valley are giving a deserted look, while the same situation prevails in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and other areas. The authorities have also clamped restrictions under section 144 in Kargal district of Ladakh following demonstrations.

There is no contact of the external world with the residents of the valley. Local newspaper could not update their online editions since August 04. Due to restrictions, majority of the newspapers failed to hit the stands as they could not be printed.

Almost all Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have been put under house arrest or in jails. 25 of the arrested Hurriyat activists have been shifted from Srinagar to Agra Central Jail. The authorities had also ordered closure of all educational institutions.

Over 560 political leaders and workers have been detained since India announced to repeal Article 370. Political leaders and activists across the political spectrum have been detained in Srinagar, Baramulla, Gurez and other areas. Those arrested include even pro-India politicians like Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajjad Lone.

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