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2019–20 Jammu and Kashmir lockdown

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2019–20 Jammu and Kashmir lockdown
Part of the Insurgency in Kashmir
and Kashmir conflict
Date5 August 2019 - Ongoing
(1 year, 2 months and 16 days) (443 days)
Location
Caused byRevocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir
MethodsCurfew, Communications and Media blackout
Casualties
Arrested~4000[1]

2019–20 Jammu and Kashmir lockdown refers to a security lockdown and communications blackout imposed to prevent protests during which thousands of people, mostly young men, have been detained in Jammu and Kashmir.[2][3][4]

The lockdown started on 5 August 2019 following Revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir via scrapping of the Article 370 of the Constitution of India, Article 35A of the Constitution of India and the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.[5][6] Since 5 August, no foreign journalists have been granted permission from the Indian government to report in Kashmir.[7]

According to a September 6 report of the Indian government, nearly 4,000 people have been arrested in the disputed region. Among those arrested were more than 200 politicians, including two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), along with more than 100 leaders and activists from All Parties Hurriyat Conference.[1]

On 1 October 2019, a three-judge bench consisting of Justices N. V. Ramana, Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy and Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai of the Supreme Court of India, heard seven petitions on the lockdown.[8]

On 3 October 2019, journalists in Kashmir staged a sit-in protest against the communications blackout describing the blockade of the internet and mobile phones as a 'gag'.[9]

On 4 October 2019, the Indian government denied US Senator Chris Van Hollen's request to travel to Kashmir.[7] Meanwhile, Sandeep Pandey, an education reformer, and other activists who were on an informal fact-finding mission were also barred from leaving the airport in Srinagar.[7] The same day, during protests people chanted pro-Pakistan slogans and demanded an end to what they described as "Indian occupation of their territory".[10]

On 24 October 2019, amid a boycott by most parties and with many mainstream local politicians still in detention, village council elections were held across J&K. However, political scientist Noor Ahmed Baba called it "more like an artificial exercise".[11]

Prepaid mobile services were barred for the 85th consecutive day on 28 October, for at least 2.5 million prepaid cell phone users in Kashmir.[12]

Re-introduction of tourism[edit source | edit]

Despite public protests and resistance as well as the restrictions on Internet and phone usage, the government of India stated that it plans to re-introduce tourism in Kashmir and lift all travel restrictions to foreigners visiting that region.[13]

Reactions[edit source | edit]

  •  United StatesAlice Wells, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said in a statement that the U.S. hopes "to see rapid action – the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained". She added that the U.S. is "concerned by widespread detentions, including those of politicians and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir".[14] U.S. lawmakers Ilhan Omar,[15] Rashida Tlaib[16] and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez[17] have also called for an end to the communications blockade.
  • Amnesty International – The NGO for human rights started an online petition titled Let Kashmir Speak demanding a lifting of "the blackout of communications in Jammu and Kashmir" while letting "the voices of the people of Kashmir be heard" and allowing "unconditional and unconstrained access to news and information from the valley".[18]
  •  United Nations – The United Nations' special rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, said in a statement that "there's something about this shutdown that is draconian in a way other shutdowns usually are not".[19]
  •  Iran – The Iranian government expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir following the lockdown, urging India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue as regional partners and resolve the situation peacefully.[20]

References[edit source | edit]

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