A fresh spate of violence has gripped Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) for the past few days, with over 500 people being arrested in a crackdown against suspected attacks and targeted killings after three Hindus and a Sikh person were shot dead. A day later, an army officer and four other soldiers were killed in action during an encounter between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district yesterday.
The lockdown enforced in the Valley after the revocation of Article 370 has shut off entire communities as well as their communication to the outside world. Kashmiris in the Valley have been deprived of political rights, and of that modern means of communications, the Internet. Many political workers are still under arrest while those who aren’t remain under threat of being packed off to jails in far-off Indian states. The numbers of army and paramilitary forces remain very high. The condition of the people worsened during the covid-19 pandemic and health workers going to attend cases were frequently harassed, even thrashed.
Staged encounters still continue. Several militant leaders have also been killed and their mortal remains interred in far-off areas because the Indian government fears large public participation and anti-India slogans at funerals; Syed Ali Geelani’s last rites, forced to be performed in relative secrecy, is a recent example of this cowardice. Protests have been contained but could not be throttled despite the free use of the Indian state’s coercive power. Sparks continue to fly off from what look like ashes. In June, killings of nine militants led to protests and clashes as hundreds of residents tried to march to the site of the encounter. Chanting slogans demanding an end to India’s occupation of Kashmir, demonstrators threw stones at police and paramilitary soldiers, who fired shotgun pellets and tear gas.
The revocation of Article 370, the lockdown of the valley and subsequent Indian atrocities received ample coverage in international media, putting India on the defensive. But until the international community as a whole does not outrightly condemn Indian atrocities in IOK, there will be no letup in the latter’s cruel activities. Spurts of violence and uprising are bound to prop up with more frequency as Indian atrocities against the indigenous people of Kashmir continue. They are bound to fight back one way or another.