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Jammu and Kashmir: Srinagar pro-India Mayor under house arrest

5th Sep 2019
Jammu and Kashmir: Srinagar pro-India Mayor under house arrest

By Shuriah Niazi


NEW DELHI, India (AA): The Mayor of the capital of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region has been placed under house arrest following remarks critical of the ongoing brutal clampdown on Kashmir and the detention of its political leaders, said media reports.

Junaid Azim Mattu, the Pro-India mayor of Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Srinagar, was in Delhi, India for medical treatment when he was put under house arrest. In a recent interview with local broadcaster NDTV, Mattu had said while there may not be any bodies littering its streets, assuming that the region has returned to normal would be “highly unrealistic.”

According to NDTV, Mattu, who is also the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) party’s spokesperson, was particularly scathing in his condemnation of the decision to place mainstream politicians in Kashmir under arrest as a “precautionary” measure.

“Over the years, political activists in Kashmir have braved threats and violence by terrorist elements to survive in the mainstream. But today, they are hunted and hounded,” he told NDTV.

Mattu criticized the revocation of Kashmir’s special status by New Delhi, saying a lot of families are not able to communicate with their loved ones due to the move.

After revoking the special status on Aug. 5, the government restricted Mattu’s movements.

“While the communication blackout has created a situation where specifics are speculative, it is safe to assume the ground situation can’t possibly be anywhere near normal. The media and administrative narrative seem content in defining ‘normalcy’ in a purely operational context,” Mattu told NDTV.

Earlier, Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani had claimed that authorities at Delhi airport had stopped him from traveling abroad.

Geelani was traveling to Germany to attend a training program organized by a media organization. Geelani had criticized the government’s decision last month to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Meanwhile, India on Wednesday reimposed daytime restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after an injured teenager succumbed to his injuries, a media report claimed.

Asrar Ahmed Khan was injured in police action in the state capital Srinagar on Aug. 6 as he joined a large crowd to protest against a controversial move by the Indian government of scrapping the special status of the disputed Himalayan region, Press Trust of India reported.

The nature of injury is unclear as a police official quoted in the report ruled out the use of live bullets at protester

President of Pakistan-administered Kashmir has accused the international community of “doing nothing to reduce the suffering of the Kashmiri people” amid the recent crisis in the disputed region.

Addressing a national conference Tuesday on the Kashmir crisis in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Sardar Masood Khan said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is growing worse by the day.

“Today people in occupied Kashmir are being tortured, killed, incarcerated and deprived of their basic rights while the international community is not mobilized and doing nothing to reduce the suffering of the people of the occupied valley,” said Khan of Azad Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status, according to several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

India has blocked communication and imposed strict restrictions to thwart any rebellion, while political leaders in the region have been detained as rights groups repeatedly called on New Delhi to lift the restrictions and release political detainees.

However, Indian authorities have claimed 90% of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir is free of daytime restrictions.

From 1954 until this Aug. 5, Jammu and Kashmir had special provisions under which it enacted its own laws. The provisions also protected the region’s citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

[Photo: A Kashmiri woman (C) takes part in the protest against India’s brutal clampdown by revoking of Article 370 of its constitution in Srinagar,Kashmir on August 30, 2019. Photographer: Faisal Khan/AA]

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