Uneasy calm in Indian Kashmir on Islamic festival day

Published August 12, 2019, 12:51 PM

by Patrick Garcia

 

By the Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) — An uneasy calm prevailed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday as people celebrated a major Islamic festival during an unprecedented crackdown after India moved to strip the disputed region of its constitutional autonomy and imposed an indefinite curfew.

Muslim women return after getting fresh henna decorations on their hands on the eve of Eid al Adha, in Jammu, India, Sunday, Aug.11, 2019. Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said that they eased restrictions Sunday in most parts of Srinagar, the main city, ahead of an Islamic festival following India's decision to strip the region of its constitutional autonomy. There was no immediate independent confirmation of reports by authorities that people were visiting shopping areas for festival purchases as all communications and the internet remain cut off for a seventh day. (AP Photo/Channi Anand/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Muslim women return after getting fresh henna decorations on their hands on the eve of Eid al Adha, in Jammu, India, Sunday, Aug.11, 2019. Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said that they eased restrictions Sunday in most parts of Srinagar, the main city, ahead of an Islamic festival following India’s decision to strip the region of its constitutional autonomy. There was no immediate independent confirmation of reports by authorities that people were visiting shopping areas for festival purchases as all communications and the internet remain cut off for a seventh day. (AP Photo/Channi Anand/ MANILA BULLETIN)

All communications and the internet remained cut off for an eighth day Monday.

News reports say authorities will allow Eid al-Adha prayers at neighborhood mosques during the day but will not permit large congregations to avoid anti-India protests.

The security lockdown appeared aimed at avoiding a backlash in India’s only Muslim-majority region where most people oppose Indian rule. The restrictions had been briefly eased on Friday for residents to attend mosque prayers, and people also were allowed to shop for the Eid festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Magistrate Shahid Choudhary tweeted late Sunday that he held a meeting with religious leaders for prayer arrangements and visited several venues.

Also Sunday, as people were shopping in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the New Delhi Television News channel showed video of jeeps fitted with loudspeakers moving in the region after lunchtime, telling people to return to their homes and shopkeepers to shut markets. NDTV said the move may have been prompted by sporadic clashes that took place in Srinagar after the restrictions were relaxed on Saturday.

Thousands of additional troops were sent to the disputed Himalayan region before India’s Hindu nationalist-led government said last Monday that it was revoking Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation that the move would free the territory of “terrorism and separatism” and accused India’s archrival Pakistan of fomenting unrest.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both nations and divided between them, and rebels have been fighting Indian rule in the portion it administers for decades.

 
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Uneasy calm in Indian Kashmir on Islamic festival day

Published August 12, 2019, 6:58 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By the Associated Press

NEW DELHI — An uneasy calm prevailed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday as people celebrated a major Islamic festival during a severe crackdown after India moved to strip the disputed region of its constitutional autonomy and imposed an indefinite curfew.

People shop at a market on the eve of Eid al Adha, in Jammu, India, Sunday, Aug.11, 2019. Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said that they eased restrictions Sunday in most parts of Srinagar, the main city, ahead of an Islamic festival following India's decision to strip the region of its constitutional autonomy. (AP Photo / Channi Anand / MANILA BULLETIN)
People shop at a market on the eve of Eid al Adha, in Jammu, India, Sunday, Aug.11, 2019. Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said that they eased restrictions Sunday in most parts of Srinagar, the main city, ahead of an Islamic festival following India’s decision to strip the region of its constitutional autonomy. (AP Photo / Channi Anand / MANILA BULLETIN)

All communications and the internet remained cut off for an eighth day. News reports said that streets were deserted, with authorities not allowing any large congregations to avoid anti-India protests.

A tweet by Kashmir police said Eid festival prayers “concluded peacefully in various parts of the (Kashmir) Valley. No untoward incident reported so far.” It was not immediately possible to independently confirm the claim.

India’s foreign ministry shared photos of people visiting mosques, but a spokesman wasn’t able to specify where the photos were taken within Jammu and Kashmir, which New Delhi downgraded from a state to two federal territories a week ago.

Shahid Choudhary, a government administrator in Srinagar, the region’s main city, tweeted late Sunday that he held a meeting with religious leaders for prayer arrangements.

Indian news channels did not show any video of street life in the region on Monday morning. In previous days, the channels had been broadcasting live video of the movement of people, cars and other vehicles in Kashmir, raising hopes of a further easing of curfew restrictions for Eid.

The security lockdown appears to be aimed at avoiding a backlash in India’s only Muslim-majority region, where most people oppose Indian rule, and is expected to last through Thursday, India’s independence day. The restrictions had been briefly eased last week for residents to attend mosques for Friday prayers, and people also were allowed to shop on Saturday and Sunday ahead of the Eid festival.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed support for people in the Indian portion of Kashmir to have the right of self-determination. Both visited the Pakistani portion of Kashmir on the occasion of Eid festival.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir, and the first one ended in 1948 with a promise of a UN-sponsored referendum in the territory. It has never been held.

Foreign Minister Qureshi urged the international community to take notice of “Indian atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir.” He said that Islamabad was trying its best to highlight the Kashmir issue internationally and expose Indian “cruelties” in the region.

India’s Junior Home Minister G. Kishan Reddy said Sunday that he expected the situation in Kashmir to become “fully peaceful” in about two weeks.

Thousands of additional troops were sent to the disputed Himalayan region before India’s Hindu nationalist-led government said last Monday that it was revoking Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation that the move would free the territory of “terrorism and separatism” and accused India’s archrival Pakistan of fomenting unrest.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both. Rebels have been fighting Indian rule in the portion it administers for decades.

 
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