Kashmir Lockdown: NO NEWS is NOT SO GOOD News

“We seem to be moving in the direction of pre-WWII situation”.

Photo courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

DESPARDES REPORT (UPDATED) — India’s August 5 military lockdown of occupied Kashmir entered 67th day and has reportedly cost the territory’s economy more than Rs200 billion over the past two months.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), (as reported by Pakistan Today), amid continued military siege, internet and mobile phone services are shut down, public transport is off the roads, and business establishments are shuttered while schools and offices continue to wear a deserted look.

Some 400,000 migrants have left since India imposed undeclared martial law in occupied Kashmir, KMS reported.

As per industry experts, Srinagar’s iconic houseboats ( almost 1,000) have been running empty due to absence of tourists.

Meanwhile in India, the University of Hyderabad (UoH) students Thursday carried out a solidarity march against the inhuman siege in the Valley. Several hundred students came out in the campus and carried out a candlelight march protesting against the illegal lockdown.

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Students from the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association participated in the march and spoke about how they have spent two months of anxiety and trauma as they are not able to speak to their parents.

The students in Hyderabad have to go to the nearest government office for a landline connection so that they can speak to family members, reported Deccan Chronicle.

The students said there are deaths in the Valley as people are not able to reach hospitals on time for medical treatment.

Amid no-news-is-not-so-good-news situation in and about Kashmir, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat said India’s annexation of Kashmir is illegal and prolonging the issue would only threaten regional peace.

The dispute between the two neighboring countries has kept the region on the edge for the last 7 decades –absent plebiscite according to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

Meanwhile, those still in detention include three former Kashmir chief ministers: Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

Several hundred people have also been sent to jails, outside Jammu and Kashmir, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said last month she was “deeply concerned” while Washington has called for a “rapid” lifting of restrictions and offered mediation if India agrees (Pakistan does).

The issue has clouded diplomatic environment for a two-day “informal summit” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping beginning in India on Friday. Xi said this week Beijing stands by its ‘iron brother’ Pakistan’s core interests. Pakistan considers the occupied valley its jugular vein, said General Hayat on Thursday.

All these are not so good news for the region, some observers say.

One Pakistani defense expert (on condition of anonymity) said, “We seem to be moving in the direction of pre-WWII situation”.