Kashmir

Narendra Modi on India News in Politics

Just before midnight on the eve of the biggest political change in Indian-administered Kashmir in decades, authorities shut down internet access, mobile and landline phones and cable TV in the disputed region home to 12.5 million people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government presented an order in Parliament on Aug. 5 revoking the autonomy of India’s only Muslim-majority state. The following day, lawmakers passed a bill to split the state, Jammu and Kashmir, into two federal territories. Government officials have filled the communications void by asserting the changes have widespread acceptance in Kashmir, across India and internationally — a portrayal that hasn’t stood up to scrutiny. By circulating photos and videos with rousing Kashmiri folk music but no voices — evoking 20th century wartime newsreels — India’s foreign ministry asserts life is returning to normal. Independent news reports suggest otherwise. Kashmir has been disputed territory since 1947, when India and Pakistan won independence from British rule. Each claimed Kashmir and they have fought two of their three wars over it, with each now administering part of it. The nuclear rivals approached war again in February, when a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary soldiers. India responded by bombing an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan. The response was meant to signal Modi’s hard-line stance on Kashmir, where soldiers are authorized to shoot civilian demonstrators with marbles and pellets, blinding some people. The Indian government has also regularly cracked down on communications, especially in the Himalayan region whereContinue reading

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Soura - Kashmir - India News

For more than a week, the young men of Soura, a densely populated enclave in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, have been taking turns to maintain an around-the-clock vigil at the entry points to their neighbourhood. Each of the dozen or so entrances have been blocked with makeshift barricades of bricks, corrugated metal sheets, wooden slabs and felled tree trunks. Groups of youths armed with stones congregate behind the biggest obstacles. The aim: to keep Indian security forces, and particularly the paramilitary police, out of the area. “We have no voice. We are exploding from within,” said Ejaz, 25, who like many other residents in Soura interviewed by Reuters gave only one name, saying he feared arrest. “If the world won’t listen to us too, then what should we do? Pick up guns?” Soura, home to about 15,000 people, is becoming the epicentre of resistance to Indian government plans to remove the partial autonomy that was enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state. The enclave, which has effectively become a no-go zone for the Indian security forces, is now a barometer of the ability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government to impose its will in Kashmir after its dramatic move on Aug. 5 to tighten its control over the region. The change, the government said, was necessary to integrate Kashmir fully into India, tackle corruption and nepotism, and speed up its development, which Modi says is the key to securing lasting peace and defeating terrorism. InContinue reading

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'Dhara 370' Song Urges Hindus to Claim Kashmir

The music videos began appearing on social media within hours of the announcement by India’s Hindu-led nationalist government that it was stripping statehood from the disputed region of Kashmir that had been in place for decades. The songs delivered a message to India’s 250 million YouTube users about moving to the Muslim-majority region, buying land there and marrying Kashmiri women. It’s the latest example of a growing genre in India known as “patriotism pop” — songs flooding social media about nationalism and the country’s burgeoning right-wing ideology. Earlier songs were limited to the rise of Hindus in India, defeating regional rival Pakistan and hoisting the Indian flag in every household. Now, they include settling in Kashmir — a rugged and beautiful Himalayan region claimed by both Pakistan and India, although both countries control only a portion of it. On Aug. 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Kashmir’s decades-old special status that was guaranteed under Article 370 of India’s Constitution and sent thousands of troops to the region. The move has touched off anger in the Indian-controlled region, which has been under a security lockdown that has seen thousands detained to prevent protests there. One of Modi’s revisions allows anyone to buy land in the territory, which some Kashmiris fear could mean an influx of Hindus who would change the region’s culture and demographics. Critics have likened it to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. The patriotic songs are mostly shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the fast-growing app TikTok, whichContinue reading

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UK Colonialism Legacies

We are still reminded of the consequences of British colonialism with the ongoing volatile situations in places such as Indian-controlled Kashmir and Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Kashmir share the same legacy, that of imperialism in Asia, and the locals are still paying for the mess that the British left behind during its days of unbridled colonialism. Unlike Hong Kong, India – including Kashmir – went from being a colonial subject to an independent country. Following independence, the unique cultural region of Kashmir turned out to be a very difficult problem for India and its policy of assimilation. So, New Delhi resorted to the same conceptual tactics perpetrated against them while under British rule: military occupation and limitations on free speech. Hence, earlier this month, a presidential decree revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution, which guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters, except defense, communications and foreign affairs. Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, in return, censured India’s ‘illegal’ Kashmir move, vowing to fight the decision, including at the UN Security Council. Khan said the move was in breach of international law, adding that he feared ethnic cleansing by India. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has merely expressed “concern” about India’s decision to strip Kashmir of its special status, which was guaranteed by Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Meanwhile, heading into 11 weeks of demonstrations in Hong Kong, Britain has consistently supported anti-ChinaContinue reading

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Narendra Modi - India Politics News Headlines

The achingly beautiful Himalayan valley was flooded with soldiers and roadblocks of razor wire. Phone lines were cut, internet connections switched off, politicians arrested. Public gatherings were banned. The prime minister of the world’s largest democracy had clamped down on Kashmir to near-totalitarian levels. And Narendra Modi’s country reacted with roaring approval: As he had Kashmir stripped of statehood and its special constitutional status, even some of his political opponents were calling out support. Modi, a Hindu nationalist by the time he was 10 years old, had upended life in India’s only Muslim-majority state, flexing those nationalist muscles for his millions of followers. They loved him for it. “All of Kashmir is ours!” a jubilant middle-aged demonstrator, draped in the saffron-colored scarf of a Hindu, shouted during a New Delhi street celebration just before Parliament voted to end Kashmir’s decades of semi-autonomy. “Modi has fulfilled another promise,” said a more quiet-spoken supporter, Sushanto Sen, a retired senior manager with an aerospace and defense company, who lives in the crowded north Indian city of Lucknow. “Kashmir is part of India, and whatever rules apply to us should apply to others too.” To his critics, Modi is an authoritarian manipulator who wants to turn India into an avowedly Hindu nation. But to his supporters, Modi is an incorruptible ascetic unafraid to tell the truth — a man who understands what it means to be poor but, like so many of his supporters, wants India to be treated with respect by the restContinue reading

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Indian-Controlled Kashmir News

In India’s curfew-smothered Kashmir valley, even the freedom to mourn the dead has been shut down. When his father suddenly passed away this week in Srinagar, Irfan Ahmad Bhat’s grief was compounded by a military lockdown that not only prevented family members gathering to pay their respects, but also meant many could not be told he had died. “My greatest regret is that my father’s close relatives could not see his face one last time or perform his last rites,” Bhat told AFP. “This should not have happened.” Srinagar is coming up to one week without internet or phones — the city’s 1.5 million people cooped up in their homes unless they have a curfew pass. The lockdown and communications blackout is being enforced by tens of thousands of troops that New Delhi’s Hindu-nationalist government deployed to back its move on Monday to strip the Muslim-majority territory of its autonomy. So tight are the restrictions that Bhat said he had only been able to inform four family members who live in Srinagar that his 58-year-old father had passed away. The proper mourning period can only end when the whole family has been told, but “I don’t know how long that will take,” he added tearfully. Wired in Kashmiris are used to mourning. The region has been bedevilled by a three-decade-old insurgency that has left tens of thousands dead. But the inability to observe basic funeral rites is a stark illustration of the severity of the current clampdown that has transformedContinue reading

Indian-Controlled Kashmir

A strict curfew keeping residents of Indian-controlled Kashmir in their homes for a fifth day was eased for Friday prayers, the police chief said. The mostly Muslim region has been under an unprecedented security lockdown and near-total communications blackout to prevent unrest as India’s Hindu nationalist-led government announced it was revoking Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood. “People will be allowed to go to the area-specific mosques for the prayers in most parts of Srinagar city,” the region’s police chief, Dilbagh Singh, told The Associated Press on Friday. The relaxing of the curfew in Kashmir’s main city was temporary but a precise timeframe wasn’t given. Friday prayers started at 12:37 p.m. in Srinagar and lasted for about 20 minutes. Television images showed small groups of people offering prayers in local mosques. “We see a sense of calm and normalcy (in Kashmir). There has been no incident of violence,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters in New Delhi. The Press Trust of India news agency earlier said authorities would allow people to offer prayers in small local mosques, but there would be no Friday congregation at the historic Jama Masjid where thousands of Muslim normally pray every week. Jama Masjid has been a center of regular anti-India protests after Friday prayers. Authorities will be closely watching for any anti-India protests, which are expected to determine a further easing of restrictions for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha to be celebrated Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in anContinue reading

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Narendra Modi - India Politics News Headlines

Indian security forces have arrested more than 500 people since New Delhi imposed a communications blackout and security clampdown in divided Kashmir, where people remained holed up in their homes for a fourth day. Pakistan, which claims the divided Himalayan region together with India, on Thursday suspended a key train service with India over change in Kashmir’s special status by New Delhi, as tensions between the rivals soared. India’s government this week revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgraded the region from statehood to a territory. Rebels in Muslim-majority Kashmir have been fighting Indian rule in the portion it administers for decades. State-run All India Radio, which reported on the arrests without details, also said that cross-border firing by Indian and Pakistani troops hit the Rajouri sector of the Indian-controlled Kashmir late Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the nation on Thursday to discuss Kashmir. His national security adviser, Ajit Doval, visited the region on Wednesday to assess the law and order situation. Activist Ali Mohammed told the New Delhi Television news channel that he has been organizing ambulances to carry sick poor people to hospitals in Srinagar, the main city in India’s portion of Kashmir, as local residents can’t even use phones to ask for medical help. “It’s hell,” a patient told the television channel. In New Delhi, opposition Congress party activist Tehseen Poonawalla said he expected the Supreme Court to hear his petition on Thursday seeking immediate lifting of curfew and otherContinue reading

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