In occupied Kashmir, curfew and communications blackout continued for the 44th consecutive day, today, with all shops and business establishments closed and schools without attendance.
The authorities relaxed restrictions to a limited extent in some areas and opened schools but the students failed to turn up as parents were unwilling to send their children to schools in view of their safety.
The attendance in government offices in these areas also remained thin. The mobile telephone and internet services continued to remain totally suspended.
Due to the ongoing military clampdown, the people of the Kashmir valley are facing acute shortage of basic essentials including food, milk and life-saving drugs.
Under the prevailing circumstances, the local newspapers find it difficult to hit the stands, while they couldn’t update their online editions.
Meanwhile, international media reported that screams of people are often heard from Indian army camps in occupied Kashmir at night, as troops pick up youth from villages and torture them at their camps to make them an example for others.
Sajjad Hyder Khan, a local official in Pinjoora village, told media that he had seen a list of 1,800 people detained by police and troops from Shopian alone. The residents say the troops are committing such inhuman acts with an aim to create a climate of fear in the occupied territory.
APHC leader and Muslim Khawateen Markaz Chairperson, Yasmeen Raja in a statement urged the international community to take serious notice of worst human rights situation in occupied Kashmir.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami in a statement said that the people of Kashmir were dying a slow death.
On the other hand, thousands of sit-in protests were held and effigies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi burnt at different places in volatile Indian Punjab after protesters were stopped by the police from conducting a march towards Chandigarh for their scheduled rally in solidarity with the besieged Kashmiris.
Dozens of activists, including women, from different farmers’ and students’ unions, were also arrested in Mohali to prevent the protest march. These Left-leaning groups had drafted a memorandum for Punjab governor V.P. Singh Badnore demanding the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir and the immediate withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
The government’s decision to deter protestors from reaching Mohali, however, backfired with thousands holding sit-in wherever they were stopped. These sit-ins were held mainly in the south of Punjab across Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar, Sangrur, Ferozepur and Barnala districts, besides Mohali and Tarn Taran where protestors also burnt Modi's effigies.
Narendra Modi’s effigy was also burnt in Muktsar. Protestors were demanding the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, and immediate withdrawal of the armed forces from the Kashmir Valley.
Such protests were held at 23 places in 11 districts after Punjab police thwarted the March to Chandigarh in Mohali.