Kashmiris stage protests in Srinagar

Sunday – April 1, 2018
SRINAGAR (India): In Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK), people staged forceful demonstrations in Soura area of Srinagar, on Saturday, to protest against the nocturnal raids conducted by the Indian forces.

According to Kashmir media service (KMS), people took to streets to demand release of the arrested persons. The protesters blocked the road, leading to traffic disruptions in the area.

Indian police fired teargas shells to break up the demonstrations, triggering clashes between the protesters and the police personnel.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir democratic freedom party (JK-DFP), secretary general, Mohammad Abdullah Tari in a statement in Srinagar expressed serious concern over the unabated human rights’ violations including harassment and detention of youth and the frequent search operations carried out by Indian forces in every nook and corner of the disputed territory.

He urged the world human rights bodies to take strong notice of the human rights’ violations committed by the Indian forces in the IOK valley, in particular.

“We strongly condemn the harassment of people and vandalising of properties in the name of cordon and search operations (CASOs) in length and breadth of IOK,” Tari said. He maintained that justice continued to elude the residents of the disputed region even after the passage of seven decades.

Tari said party leader, Shabbir Ahmad Shah and hundreds of others have been placed behind bars to suppress the voices of oppressed Kashmiris. Shabir Shah and other political prisoners are facing fabricated charges and they are deprived of their basic rights in different jails, he added.

Separately, glorifying the use of human shields by the Indian army in occupied Kashmir, a bharatiya janata party (BJP) leader in India is selling t-shirts online showing the infamous scene of an Indian army jeep with a Kashmiri human shield tied to the front that has created outrage in the IOK.

The online shopping site run by Delhi BJP spokesman, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga’s company, bagga fashions, is selling the t-shirts with caption “Indian army … saving your a** whether you like it or not”. The t-Shirts are being sold for Rs 495 ($8).

The t-shirt in question has a representational image of a man tied to the front of a jeep. It is an obvious reference to the incident when a youth, Farooq Ahmed Dar, a resident of Chill village in Budgam district of IOK was tied in front of an army jeep last year.

Indian army major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, the officer who had done it, had said that it was done to deter stone-pelters on April 9 last year.

The incident took place during the so-called Indian parliamentary ‘by-election’ in the occupied territory. The by-election was marred by violent clashes between Indian forces and demonstrators that left at least 8 people killed and more than 200 wounded.

Dar’s family says he is traumatised and had to stop working. “His life changed completely since the incident. Sometimes he leaves home without informing anyone. His condition has worried us,” Dar’s brother, Ghulam Qadir told Al Jazeera.

“He used to weave shawls to earn livelihood, but now he doesn’t work. He doesn’t do anything normal now. He is very depressed,” Qadir added.

Noted Kashmiri human rights defender, Khurram Parvez, said that it was nothing new. “This is what sells in India; they want to boost the morale of army towards impunity which they are already enjoying in occupied Kashmir. The BJP government wants to sell the army’s military might which is getting support from its people,” he added.

The t-shirt has attracted the attention of international media due to the picture that many in India and outside have found to be in bad taste. An article dated March 25 on the website of “the express tribune” of Pakistan states the “clothing brand has launched t-shirts to make fun of the persecuted Kashmiris”. Another article by Aljazeera.com says this act has further outraged the Kashmiris who have termed it as “selling the pain”.

On the other hand, a BJP member of legislative assembly (MLA), Ravinder Raina, clicked pictures with the personnel of Indian forces in Sunderbani area of Rajouri while a cordon and search operation was going on and later posted them on social media. Various Indian agencies have termed it a breach of security and an act against the standard operating procedure (SOP).