Authorities enforcing a strict curfew in Indian-administered Kashmir will deliver trucks of essential supplies for an Islamic festival next week, as the divided Himalayan region remains in lockdown after India stripped it of its constitutional autonomy.
The indefinite 24-hour curfew was briefly eased on Friday for weekly Muslim prayers in some parts of Srinagar, the region’s main city, but thousands of residents are still forced to stay indoors with shops and most health clinics closed. All communications and the internet remain cut off.
Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan and is divided between the arch rivals. Rebels have been fighting New Delhi’s rule for decades in the Indian-controlled portion, and most Kashmiri residents want either independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as the state is known, that normality would return gradually and the government is ensuring the restrictions do not dampen the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha on Monday.
New Delhi rushed tens of thousands of additional soldiers to one of the world’s most militarised regions to prevent unrest and protests after Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government said on Monday that it was revoking Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood.
The PM said the move was necessary to free the region of “terrorism and separatism”.
The relaxing of the curfew in Srinagar was temporary and was followed by protests in some parts of the city. Police used tear gas and pellets to force back the protesters who gathered in their largest numbers since authorities clamped down, and detained more than 500 political and separatist leaders.
Other stone-throwing incidents were reported from northern and southern parts of Kashmir.
Authorities are closely watching for any anti-India protests, which will determine a further easing of restrictions for the Eid holiday.
The top administrative official, Baseer Khan, said essential commodities including food, grains and meat will be delivered to different parts of the region by Sunday.
While some easing on the movement and opening of shops is expected around Eid, officials are still holding reservations against restoring mobile and internet services. Some relaxation of curbs on landline communication could be considered, they said.
In Islamabad on Friday, about 8,000 supporters of the Pakistani Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami marched towards the Indian embassy to denounce New Delhi’s action on Kashmir. Hundreds of activists held similar peaceful rallies across Pakistan.
Pakistan says it is considering an approach to the International Court of Justice over India’s action. It also has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi, expelled the Indian ambassador and suspended trade, train and bus services with India.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?