Kashmiris spend Eid-ul-Azha amid lockdown and communication blackout
Source: The Guardian
Reportedly, the Muslims in Kashmir are unable to offer Eid prayers or sacrifice animals as there is deployment of military and security forces in every street and corner.
Almost all areas of the city were almost entirely deserted on what is usually one of the biggest celebrations of the year.
Blocks on landlines, mobile phones, the internet and cable TV, introduced last Monday, continued.
Last week 10,000 people reportedly took to the streets of Srinagar to protest against India’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status.
Reportedly, government forces opened fire and used teargas to dismiss protestors; however, Indian ministry of home affairs denied that any protests of more than 20 people took place despite the TV footage appeared to show very large crowds chanting: “Go back, go, India, go.”
As per The Guardian’s correspondents in Kashmir three people sustained injuries from pellet guns but they were unable to confirm the total number of people wounded as hospitals have apparently been warned not to disclose patient numbers.
India’s foreign ministry shared photographs of people visiting mosques but did not specify where the photographs were taken, reported The Guardian.
The communication blackout means there is very little independent information about what is happening in Kashmir, where tens of thousands of reinforcement troops have flooded the streets.
Cuts to phone and internet services have forced people to resort to passing paper notes to friends in order to contact relatives. It took three days for one note, sent by a woman working in Delhi, to be hand-delivered to her father in Kashmir. “I am fine, do not worry about me. You take care of yourself,” the note said.
Inside the small room where calls were taking place, a young girl could be heard telling her father, who was in Hyderabad: “I don’t want any gifts, just please come back.” As her mother started to cry, so did others in the queue outside. A police officer told her to stop weeping, and said there were CCTV cameras operating.
The curfew has resulted in shortage of essential commodities including food and medicine in the valley. On the other hand, there is a complete communication blackout with no internet or mobile service.
According to Kashmir media service, the government of India holds ban on Eid gatherings in Kashmir today and almost all political leadership including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are under house arrest.