DESPARDES — India has imposed a phone and internet blackout in the occupied region of Jammu and Kashmir for the past week — a common tactic to prevent large protests and the spread of information unfavorable to authorities.
- Amid the news and views blackout, BBC and Reuters reported that thousands of people on Friday protested against Indian government in Srinagar, a major city in occupied Kashmir, and that the police used tear gas to disperse them. The situation is said to be worsening according to independent and social media reports.
- Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Monday that India is trying to divert the world’s attention from occupied Jammu and Kashmir to the Line of Control and Pakistan, and for this purpose it can do anything.
“We stand with our brothers and sisters in Kashmir and no matter how much time and whatever effort it takes, we will prove equal to the challenge, Insha Allah.”
- Friday’s demonstration was the largest since India announced unilaterally occupied Kashmir’s status and constitutional changes on Monday, the BBC and Reuters both said. The Modi government in New Delhi had not consulted Kashmiris on the decision beforehand.
- Delhi accused both news outlets of lying about the demonstration in occupied Kashmir, saying that protests in the occupied valley never exceeded 20 people. A spokeswoman for the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, Vasudha Gupta, tweeted that the report was “completely fabricated & incorrect”. “There have been a few stray protests in Srinagar/Baramulla and none involved a crowd of more than 20 ppl,” she added.
- Reuters’ written report was based on the testimony of two unidentified witnesses and one police officer, while the BBC recorded footage of the protest. (See video below)
- India has imposed a phone and internet blackout in the region for the past seven days. Many residents have no access to news or medical care. Major mosques remain closed for Eid as Indian security clampdown continues.
- The protests in occupied valley have gathered momentum after India revoked the part of its constitution that established the quasi-independence of Kashmir.
- Despite UN Security Council Resolution in 1948 calling for plebiscite in the Muslim-majority Kashmir, India insists it considers the occupied Himalayan valley an ‘internal matter’.
Watch the BBC’s report here: