India deploys troops in strength to avoid “solidarity march”

Thursday – April 5, 2018
SRINAGAR (India): In Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK), curfew and restrictions were imposed by the Indian authorities across the occupied territory to prevent a solidarity march towards Shopian, on Wednesday.

According to Kashmir media service (KMS), call for the march was given by the joint resistance leadership (JRL) to express solidarity with the people and families of 18 martyrs, massacred by the Indian troops on Sunday.

The IOK authorities sealed all main roads and highways including Pulwama-Shopian highway with barricades. The troops were deployed in large numbers in Srinagar, Pulwama and south IOK districts to prevent the march.

Indian police barred the chairman of all parties hurriyat conference (APHC), Syed Ali Gilani, from coming out of his Hyderpora residence while arrested Mirwaiz Umar Farooq along with hurriyat leader Hilal Ahmad War after he defied his house arrest and tried to march towards Shopian town.

The puppet IOK authorities continued to put hurriyat leaders Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Ghulam Ahmed Gulzar, Hakeem Abdul Rasheed, Bilal Siddiqi, Umar Aadil Dar, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Mukhtar Ahmed Waza, Zafar Akbar Butt and Javaid Ahmed Mir under house arrest or in jail.

Complete shutdown was observed on the fourth consecutive day, on Wednesday, against the killings. All business establishments were closed while public transport was sparse. Government offices were empty, while schools, colleges and Kashmir university (KU) remained closed.

All university exams were postponed. The IOK authorities continued to suspend train and internet services. Clashes were reported between protesters and Indian troops in Shopian and other parts of the occupied territory.

Dukhtaran-e-millat (DeM) chairperson Aasiya Andrabi in a statement in Srinagar welcomed the government of Pakistan’s decision to observe Kashmir solidarity day on Friday. She asked Pakistan to put the Kashmir issue at its national agenda for settlement of the dispute as per Kashmiris’ aspirations.

A court in Srinagar acquitted senior APHC leader, Masarrat Aalam Butt, of charges framed against him in 2008 park attack case. However, he was not released from jail.

Meanwhile, Indian supreme court (SC) has endorsed that the article 370 of the Indian constitution, which gives special status to IOK, is not a temporary provision. The Indian apex court gave the ruling while hearing a petition filed against a similar verdict given by Delhi high court in April 2017.

Interestingly, the high court of occupied Kashmir while rebutting the Indian claim of Kashmir being part of India had in October 2015 ruled that IOK had never been part of India and that article 370 of Indian constitution that deals with the status of IOK was beyond abrogation, repeal or even amendment.

Noted Kashmiri jurist and secretary general of the London-based Jammu and Kashmir council for human rights, Syed Nazir Gilani, in his latest statement said that the Sunday massacre in Shopian had exposed Indian army’s design that it was using demographic and psycho-graphic profiling to decimate the youth of IOK.