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
(2 years, 3 months and 22 days) (845 days)
Caused byRevocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir
MethodsCurfew, Communications and Media blackout

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]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Thousands detained in Indian Kashmir crackdown, official data reveals". Reuters. 12 September 2019.
  2. "At Least 2,300 People Have Been Detained During the Lockdown in Kashmir". Time. 21 August 2019.
  3. "Kashmir city on lockdown after calls for protest march". The Guardian. 23 August 2019.
  4. "Inside Kashmir's lockdown: 'Even I will pick up a gun'". BBC. 10 August 2019.
  5. "Restrictions eased as Kashmir enters Day 22 of lockdown". The Economic Times. 26 August 2019.
  6. "No respite in sight as J&K lockdown enters 25th day". The Asian Age. 30 August 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "US Senator Barred From Kashmir as Lockdown Enters 3rd Month". Voice of America. 5 October 2019.
  8. "J&K shutdown: 3-judge SC Bench to hear 7 pleas". The Hindu. 1 October 2019.
  9. "60 days of lockdown: Kashmir journalists protest against clampdown, demand restoration of internet". India Today. 3 October 2019.
  10. "Kashmir under lockdown: Anger over 'unacceptable burdens'". Al Jazeera. 5 October 2019.
  11. "India holds Kashmir elections despite lockdown, boycott". Washington Post. 24 October 2019.
  12. "Kashmir lockdown: Pre-paid mobile services barred for 85th day". The Economic Times. 28 October 2019.
  13. "India to allow tourists in Kashmir, but they likely won't have access to internet or phones". Aijaz Husain, The Associated Press. global news.
  14. "US wants Kashmir restrictions lifted". Al Jazeera. 1 October 2019.
  15. "US congresswoman calls for 'immediate restoration of communication' in occupied Kashmir". Dawn. 27 August 2019.
  16. "US congresswoman condemns India's 'unacceptable actions' in occupied Kashmir". Dawn. 14 September 2019.
  17. "Communications blockade in occupied Kashmir must end: US lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez". Dawn. 1 October 2019.
  18. "Let Kashmir Speak". Amnesty International.
  19. "Kashmir: India's 'draconian' blackout sets worrying precedent, warns UN". The Guardian. 8 August 2019.
  20. "Iran urges India, Pakistan to resort to 'dialog, peaceful methods' amid Kashmir tensions". Press TV.

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