By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) - A Kashmiri leader has expressed gratitude for the Turkish government and its people for standing by them in a difficult time when millions of Kashmiri are under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after the Indian government scrapped the special status of the valley.
Talking with a delegation of Turkish journalists in capital Islamabad, the convener of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir chapter, Syed Abdullah Gilani, said Turkey and Pakistan are the two countries who raised voice and supported the Kashmiri people on every international forum.
"We are thankful to the Turkish government and people of Turkey who have always stood by us," Gilani said.
''Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu defended us in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting,'' he added.
Gilani said that there are two countries in the world, Turkey and Pakistan, and their great peoples who always supported them in difficult times.
Talking about the current situation of Indian-administered Kashmir, Gilani informed that the valley has been completely disconnected from the rest of the world since Aug. 5, and Indian authorities put over eight million people in a cage.
"People are facing food and medicine shortage, and even they can not go to the hospital," Gilani said.
Those who are resisting against the Indian illegal move are facing brutal actions of Indian forces, he added.
"You can freely go and stay in Azad Kashmir but you couldn't go to Indian side of Kashmir," Gilani told Turkish journalists.
He termed the international community is responsible for current situation of Kashmir who never put pressure on India to implement the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Kashmir.
- Speaker of Azad Kashmir
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Shah Ghulam Qadir, said that India declared that Indian forces have arrested over 4,000 people and leaders in Indian-occupied Kashmir and shifted to different jails across the country.
Talking to Turkish journalists' delegation in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Qadir said Indian forces have arrested and detained most of the well-known people like lawyers, local councilors, civil society activists and journalists.
"The Indian government is following the Israeli methods of demographic change in Kashmir same as Israel does in Palestine," Qadir said.
Prime Minister Modi implements the RSS ideology of forcing the minorities to convert into Hinduism otherwise they kill them or force them to leave the country, he added.
RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh is a prominent Hindu supremacist organization which gave birth to the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"The aim behind Indian government's move on Aug.5 is to bring Hindus into Kashmir to buy properties and change the majority of Muslims into minority in the only Muslim majority state in India," Qadir explained.
The Kashmiri leader added that their struggle for freedom would continue as the Kashmiri on both sides of the control line between Pakistan and India are united against the New Delhi administration.
"We are ready to give our lives for freedom," he concluded.
Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status, with the government blocking communication access and imposing restriction on movement to thwart any protests in the region.
Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.
India said that 93% of the restrictions have been eased in the conflict-ridden region, a claim that Anadolu Agency could not verify independently.
From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.
Also, the Indian government further downgraded and divided the disputed region into two centrally controlled “union territories.''
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.