Kashmir has been largely cut off from the outside world for months and the internet remains cut off. Residents share stories of state violence and terror.
By Laura Höflinger and Sunaina Kumar
November 15, 2019
The first thing that comes as a surprise to a visitor is just how quiet it is. You can see people on the streets, but shops and offices are all closed. Officially, the schools are open, but the classrooms are largely empty because many boys and girls stay home out of fear. Someone has painted the message “We exist to resist” on the shutter of a shopfront.
The Indian government insists that the situation in Kashmir is returning to normal. Or at least what could be considered normal in a region where roads are blocked with sandbags and barbed wire, where passerby are monitored by soldiers in bunkers and where more than 400 people lost their lives last year due to terrorism and state violence.
Three months have now passe Minister Narendra Modi took the further step of dividing the once semi-autonomous state into two federal territories and placing them under the control of New Delhi.
Hundreds of politicians were arrested and remain behind bars. India had offered them freedom, but only if they agreed to refrain from speaking about the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy for an entire year. Foreigners and Indian opposition leaders have been banned from traveling to Kashmir. The first foreigners allowed to enter the region recently were 23 members of the European Parliament, who visited in late October. Most were members of right-wing populist parties, including from the Alternative for Germany party.
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