Lockdown badly affected daily lives in IOK: Report

ISLAMABAD, Dec 12 (APP):The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Indian Occupied Kashmir has said that the lockdown imposed by the Indian government has egregiously affected daily lives of the people of the territory.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the APDP in a report released in Srinagar said, the indefinite curfew imposed in Kashmir in the aftermath of repeal of Article 370 is the extension of a DE-facto State of Emergency, with the consequence of placing more restrictions and shackles on Kashmiri people’s human rights.

Occupied Kashmir is under strict military siege since August 5 when Modi-led government in New Delhi scrapped Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution that granted special status and right to the territory and its residents. As part of a wider crackdown, internet services have been blocked except at government-designated kiosks and political leaders detained.

The report says that with the abrogation of Article 370, there have been reports of human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and torture. It says that the main brunt of this violence has been borne by the youth, politicians, civilians and religious organizations.

It says that hundreds of detainees were shifted to various Indian jails. It says that hundreds of the detainees were booked under draconian law, Public Safety Act. Almost everyone who has been detained and subsequently released has complained of being tortured, or experienced cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment in detention,” it says.

The report says that since the lockdown was imposed, there is a clampdown on the communication and internet services have been barred for over 4 months now, with no respite in sight. The lockdown has directly impacted all facets of life, including access to the health services, education, justice, religious freedom and business and employment.

It says that the curbs have led to a reduction in the number of patients visiting hospitals and thereby restricting access to healthcare. Due to the clampdown, the report said, various planned and critical surgeries got canceled.

“Because of the non-availability of internet, senior consultancies from across the globe, meant for discussing cases, were not possible,” it said. The report added that due to the blockade, there was a dearth of medicines at various places and mental health implications of this are unfathomable currently.
The report paints an especially grim picture of education. It says militarization has affected almost all aspects of the valley, but one group which has seen its impacts most adversely is students. It says that schools have been closed for 4 months now, yet board exams were held in these difficult circumstances.

“The situation in Kashmir has gravely impacted children: many children have been detained under the PSA for “stone-pelting”, many have lost their vision due to pellet firing on their eyes by security forces, some have died due to teargas shelling, and many experience post-traumatic stress disorder. In this context, it becomes imperative to ask how educational institutions can function in a conflict zone, particularly post 5th August 2019,” it says.

The report says that high instances of night raids by Indian forces have been reported by both Indian and international media and the atmosphere has a negative impact on children’s mental health in occupied
Kashmir.

Reports by international media such as the Washington Post have also noted that children have been detained under the PSA, the youngest being nine-years old, it says. The presence of the armed forces in public spaces becomes a hindrance to access to schools, it adds.

The report says that after the Indian government repealed the special status of occupied Kashmir, freedom of press has been severely restricted and violated. “Voices of dissent in the field of journalism have been repressed in all forms.

This is evident when one compares the coverage of the issue from the ground by the international media and Indian national media. However, this elimination of truth and suppression of the freedom of expression through the systematic silencing of local media had been set in motion ever since the 1990s,” it added.

The report says that the Jamia Masjid, the biggest congressional mosque in Srinagar, has been off limits for prayers 17 weeks in a row now. It says that the courts and other judicial mechanisms operating in the Kashmir Valley are largely inaccessible to the common Kashmiris, thereby denying them access to justice.

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