Article 370: International media reports protests rocking Kashmir, Indian media looks the other way

After the Friday prayers, Kashmiri people took to the streets in downtown Srinagar to protest the abrogation of the Article 370. Foreign media reported it and most of the India media showed lies

Associated Press
Associated Press

NH Web Desk

After the Kashmiri people wrapped up their Friday prayers on August 9, they got on the streets to protest the abrogation of the Article 370. According to foreign media, there was a massive demonstration. However, most of the India media turned the other way.

Reuters, BBC Urdu and Al-Jazeera have reported protests and crackdown by the armed forces. A Reuters report had stated that there was a massive protest in Soura region in Srinagar in which 10,000 people took part.

According to Al Jazeera, a crowd gathered in Soura to protest against the decision. Paramilitary police dispersed them using pellet guns and several were injured. The crowd of 10,000 was pushed back by police at Aiwa bridge, where a witness said tear gas and pellets were used against them. “Some women and children even jumped into the water,” a witness said at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where pellet victims were admitted.

As soon as the report came out, Union Ministry of Home Affairs called the report fabricated and claimed that no more than 20 people had protested.

Soon after the MHA put out this claim, the J&K Police put out a statement asking people not to believe the news that firing incidents have taken place in Kashmir. They choose to obfuscate between bullets and pellets as several news reports, including from The Wire, had shown videos of people in hospitals after having been hit by pellets in the recent protests.

Interestingly, most of the Indian media blacked out the news and preferred to show Srinagar in a state of lock down and not the protests which rocked the city. A video put out by ANI showed people in Srinagar walking on the streets and queuing up outside ATMs citing normalcy in the state.

In contrast, photos from Associated Press shows both Kashmiri men and women protesting against the Union government’s decision. This also laid bare the lie that the Indian news media had claimed. They had stated that Kashmiri women were in favour of the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35a.

According to a BBC report, "Despite the unprecedented security lockdown, thousands of people demonstrated in Srinagar and were met with live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets." . As reported by BBC, the protest was the "largest of its kind" since the Indian government's move on Monday. Pellet guns have blinded several people on ground, but the Centre continues to refuse these claims.

Looking at a video posted by BBC Urdu, it seems that the Kashmiris were very agitated, and the army personnel are firing on protestors, irrespective of whether the protestor is armed or not. The decision of scrapping Article 370 has claimed its first civilian victim—a 17-year-old boy named Osaib Altaf, from Srinagar’s Palpora area—HuffPost India reported on August 7.

BBC interviewed Arif Akhroon who said “If Kashmiris had found this acceptable, the government would not have deployed so many forces.” According to BBC, most areas of Kashmir, especially Srinagar, have people saying that Delhi is like a dictator to them, something they do not identify with but has been imposed on them. What people here call a "dictatorial order" from national capital Delhi has made people go over the edge, people who earlier never supported separatism. “How does one not pick up arms after this,” a young man carrying his young son in his arms told the BBC reporter. Before Eid, the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar should have been bustling, instead it’s deadly quiet, BBC reports.

The New York Times writes, “Mr. Modi’s political party has deep roots in a Hindu nationalist ideology, and critics saw this move as another example of his sowing divisions between India’s Hindu majority and its Muslim minority,” .

According to Al Jazeera, since Sunday over 500 people have been arrested by the Kashmiri Police forces. On Friday, Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said China was seriously worried about what is transpiring in Kashmir; and is worried because it has been the cause of two of the three wars between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

According to reports published in the news website The Wire, At least 21 young men and boys were brought in to Srinagar’s main hospital for treatment for pellet injuries in the first three days after the Modi government announced the scrapping of special constitutional provisions for Jammu and Kashmir, and the end of its status as a state.

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Published: 11 Aug 2019, 10:33 AM