Almost 750,000 Indian soldiers deployed in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Tens of thousands of government forces in riot gear patrol IOK’s Streets lined with shuttered shops are deserted, steel barricades and razor wire cutting off neighborhoods. An eerie silence is broken by an occasional security vehicle whizzing past or the cawing of crows.
Total communications blackout entered a fourth day yesterday, forcing some news organisations to hand-carry dispatches out of the region. Various people across the world unable to contact their loved one in IOK. “No one knows what is happening in Kashmir told a Kashmiri girl in Melbourne. She is trying desperately to contact her mother but unable to as her every effort brings no hope to contact her family.
Mr Razir Mir, 32, described hearing a loud bang on Monday and opening his front door to find his wife Rabiya “face down on the street”. “Blood was pouring from her eyes,” he said.
Ms Rabiya, who was left with blurred vision, said that after hearing the government’s announcement that Kashmir’s special status had been stripped, she thought to buy vegetables, anticipating a long curfew period in Srinagar.
On Sunday, in the run-up to India’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy, the top commander of the largest rebel group in an audio statement called local police to “redeem” themselves by refusing to enforce New Delhi’s orders.
“India can make changes on paper, but they can’t change our sentiments for freedom,” said the Hizbul Mujahideen’s operations commander Reyaz Naikoo. “India has embarked upon plans to change Kashmir’s demography, but India is fighting a lost war. They’re here by deceit and deception.”
Kashmir’s fury at Indian rule is nothing new. Its roots lie in a broken promise of a United Nations-administered referendum guaranteed shortly after India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947.
The nuclear-armed neighbours have been unable to resolve their competing claims on the mountain territory divided between them.
The Indian side has experienced several separatist movements since then, including a bloody rebellion begun in 1989 to demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent brutal military crackdown.
“The moment I came out from my house, the soldiers out there shot at my direction,” she said, as the couple’s two-year-old cried.