Taking a dig at the Central government, the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has noted in a report that the violence in Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) is “a progress card for the Modi government, who despite making tall claims of [a] return to ‘normalcy’ and ‘peace’ post abrogation of Article 370, has to contend with the rising violence.”
The situation of human rights in J-K has gone from “bad to worse” since the abrogation of the region’s special status last August, claimed the JKCCS.
On 5 August 2019, New Delhi proposed to reorganize J-K as it revoked the perks guaranteed under article 370 of the constitution. It broke down the erstwhile state into two federally-governed territories of J-K and Ladakh and clamped down on the Valley.
After the clampdown, the rights advocacy group in a year round-up report claimed, across Kashmir, especially the southern region, the government forces behaved more aggressively towards the civilian population, the JKCCS said in the report. “[After 5 August, the government forces] would barge into people’s homes and harass and detain people besides few allegations of molestation against women were reported from Habak, Shanpora area and in Shopian,” the report noted.
Fearing widespread protest against the move, the Governor-administration detained thousands of people in Kashmir, including prominent unionist leaders, lawyers, and activists. The report notes “an increased rate of detentions and invocation of draconian charges.”
Though many were gradually released, hundreds continue to languish in jails in India, which includes Jammu Kashmir High Court Bar President Miyan Qayoom.
Due to the detentions and further intimidation of the politicians, the report claimed, “no political activity has been allowed in [J-K].” “This includes restrictions on pro-India political parties like NC, PDP (whose President Mehbooba Mufti still remains in detention).”
This week, the Kashmir Walla reported how these detentions have changed lives in Kashmir — forever, pushing the youth farther from the idea of integration with mainland India.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the administration has not revoked the suspension of high-speed mobile internet. Last year, in August, the government had imposed a communication blackout. The Kashmir’s “e-curfew”, as it was talked about, became the longest ever suspension of mobile internet in a democracy. The report further noted that the suspension “continues to this day.”
The report also called out the government for “increased levels of intimidation and attacks on [the] media in [J-K].” It also pointed out that the new media policy — that the Kashmir Walla reported was aimed at creating a sustained narrative on the functioning of the Government in media — “the government seems to be hell bent to curtailing freedom of expression of the press.”
The report that was titled, “a year after Article 370: Human Rights Situation in Jammu and Kashmir”, further stated that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims of bringing down violence and ending militancy in Kashmir have not been achieved.
Their data claims that violence has not gone down and in fact the frequency of the gunfights between the government forces and militants has only gone up. From August 2019 to August 2020, at least 346 killings have taken place in J-K, which include 73 civilians, 76 government forces and 197 militants, the JKCCS mentioned.
The report further noted that since the August decision, there has also seen eighty-eight number of gunfights and as many as 133 Cordon and Search Operations (CASO).
Citing that the first seven months of 2020 — till 28 July — recorded twenty-seven gunfights in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the killing of 166 militants — a figure higher from 2019.
“The sheer scale of daily violence reported in 2020 goes contrary to the statements made by India’s prime minister that abrogation of article 370 will end ‘militancy in Kashmir’,” the report stated.
The data with the JKCCS further showed that the seven months of 2020 also recorded 127 CASO’s, which goes on to show that “the counter-insurgency measures of the Indian government are continuing despite pronouncements of all is well in the Valley.”