SHAFAQNA PAKISTAN- Since the division of Indian Sub-continent in 1947, when the British granted independence to the two states, India and Pakistan, the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) with remarkable resilience and fortitude have been striving for their independence from India’s subjugation. Since Prime Minister Modi assumed office, the oppression of the people of Kashmir has been stepped up and acquired a horrific dimension.
Though there was no quantum of Solace of Kashmiris living under Indian occupied rule yet the ongoing flopped G20 meeting has brought a new wave of terror for the Kashmiri people with Indian army troops and paramilitary personnel being deployed in strength particularly in the Kashmir valley and Jammu region.
The frisking and checking at public places, including bus terminals in Srinagar, Jammu and Highways of the territory have been intensified. Checkpoints have been set up across the territory where vehicles are being stopped and searched while people undergo intense frisking at bus terminal. The atrocities and frisking in the name of security are going unnoticed in far-off areas of Poonch, Kathua, Rajouri and Samba districts.
Entire road towards Srinagar airport has been blocked for “VIP Movement”.
Might come as a surprise to some but people have jobs. pic.twitter.com/5xdQi3sfe1
— Azaan Javaid (@AzaanJavaid) May 22, 2023
The BJP’s fascist Govt has also launched a brutal crackdown on Kashmiri Journalists. The Indian govt has detained four arbitrarily Kashmiri journalists.
Pertinently, four journalists from Kashmir Fahad Shah, Asif Sultan, Sajad Gul and Irfan Mehraj are currently facing detention under various sections of the law.
Sultan, who was a reporter with the Kashmir Narrator magazine, was arrested in 2018 under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), an “anti-terror” law. He was charged with murder, attempted murder and harbouring rebels, but his family says he was targeted for the stories he wrote.
Shah was the editor of the Kashmir Walla website. He was arrested in February last year under the same UAPA law for “glorifying terrorism” in his writings.
Gul worked with Shah’s magazine and was arrested in January last year for spreading “false narratives” about India’s rule in its only Muslim-majority region.
Mehraj was jailed two months ago under “terrorism” charges for his association with a local human rights group, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, where he formerly worked as a researcher.
As #India holds a #G20 meeting on tourism in Kashmir, #pressfreedom remains under attack in the region.
CPJ calls on the Indian government to end its brutal crackdown on the media and immediately release the four arbitrarily detained Kashmiri journalists.#FreeThePress pic.twitter.com/zKo4rwz6iK
— CPJ Asia (@CPJAsia) May 22, 2023
Government raids on news outlets and journalists’ homes are also commonplace in Kashmir. In November 2022, police raided the homes of at least seven Kashmiri journalists, one of whom told CPJ he believed he was targeted for his critical reporting,
Press freedom worsened in the region after August 5, 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government unilaterally stripped Kashmir of its limited autonomy and brought it under New Delhi’s direct control.
Thousands of people – including top politicians, activists, journalists and lawyers – were arrested as New Delhi tightened its control over the region, which is also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan.
Since then, Modi’s government has introduced a series of laws and policies that residents say are aimed at undermining their rights and denying them their livelihoods.
Kashmiri journalists say they are operating in a climate of fear since 2019 as homes of several journalists have been raided and they have been summoned by the police for questioning. Many journalists say they have been forced into self-censorship.
Observers described the measures as India’s attempts to silence the press from reporting about the realities in the region.
@MushaalHussein Mullick #video message in Urdu #condemning the #brutalmurder of 16 youth In #IIOJK in the month of #October by Indian Occupation Forces and arrest of 5 Kashmiri journalists. #KashmirisDemandSafety #KashmirisWantFreedom #FreeIIOJK #StopGenocideInIIOJK pic.twitter.com/dtF3wOWlER
— Sabah news (@Sabahnews786) October 17, 2021
This year, Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based media watchdog, ranked India 161 among 180 countries in its annual World Press Freedom Index, the lowest rank ever for the world’s largest democracy.
The CPJ released its statement as around 60 foreign delegates along with top Indian officials gathered in the region’s main city, Srinagar, starting on Monday for a three-day meeting to promote global tourism.
CPJ has also documented foreign travel bans on Kashmiri journalists, indicating efforts by the Indian government to chill reporting on rights abuses and repression in the region.https://t.co/n9Yx6qE7z7
— CPJ Asia (@CPJAsia) May 22, 2023
Most of the Journalists in IIOJK were facing mental health issues and were concerned about the safety of their families.In the history of Kashmir journalism, such an assault is unprecedented. Even though a lot of people talk about the harsh conditions and situation of the 1990s in Kashmir, right now it’s the toughest period for Kashmiri journalists, because there is the criminalization of content and opinion.
Source: Shafaqna Pakistan
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