SRINAGAR: At least nine Kashmiris were martyred in two incidents in Indian-occupied Kashmir, authorities said Sunday, as a lockdown was enforced to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Three Indian soldiers were also killed.
Occupied Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region in the Himalayas, had already been under a long-running curfew after India on August 5 scrapped its special status as a semi-autonomous state.
Indian army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia early Sunday confirmed the martyrdom of five Kashmiris in the northern Keran area close to the Line of Control (LoC). Several soldiers were critically injured, he added.
The fighting came within 24 hours of another gun battle in the southern Kulgam area that had left four dead. Police had said all four were from the local area.
Occupied Kashmir has waged a three-decade-long rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives — mostly civilians — lost in the conflict. The conditions have become dire after India’s August 5 move, following which several local leaders were imprisoned or put under house arrest and a communications and media blackout ensued.
According to a report released by the Kashmir Media Service on the completion of eight months of unrelenting military siege and lockdown since India had revoked the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) on August 5, 2019, at least 956 people were critically injured due to use of brute forces, firing of bullets, pellets and teargas shells on peaceful demonstrators by Indian military, paramilitary and police personnel in the occupied territory.
The report stated that thousands of Hurriyat leaders, activists, politicians and civil society members, including All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom, Dr Hameed Fayaz , Muhammad Yasin Attai, Ghulam Muhammad Hubbi, Muhammad Yasin Attai, Showkat Ahmad Bakshi, Noor Mohammad Kalwal, Advocate Zahid Ali, Moulana Mushtaq Veeri, ,Zafar Akbar Butt, Bashir Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, Abdul Samad Inqilabi,Abdul Ahad Parra, trade union leader Mohammad Yaseen Khan and human rights activist Muhammad Ahsan Untoo continued to remain under house arrest or in jails.
Others illegally detained in Tihar and other jails of India include senior Hurriyat leader Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Masarrat Aalam Butt, Syeda Aasiya Andrabi, Fehmeeda Sofi, Nahida Nasreen, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Aiyaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, Mohammad Aslam Wani, Syed Shahid Shah, Syed Shakeel Yousuf Shah, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, Maulana Sarjan Barkati, Qazi Yasir Ahmad and Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar. They are facing illegal detentions in different jails of occupied Kashmir and in other parts of India.
The report stated that increased cordon and search operations have also added to the miseries of the people of the occupied territory.