‘Disempowering day’: Kashmiri political leaders mark 4 years since special status revoked

‘Disempowering day’: Kashmiri political leaders mark 4 years since special status revoked

On Aug. 5, 2019 Indian government revoked special status of region accompanied by security clampdown, complete communication blackout

By Nusrat Sidiq

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) - On the fourth anniversary of India’s revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the mainstream political leaders in the region called it a “disempowering day for the people of the region.”

People’s Conference President Sajad Lone said that the belittling of institutions, individuals and the people of the region continues.

“For those patting their own backs and believing in their own fiction-don’t mistake fear for consent,” he said on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

On Aug. 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked the special status of the region accompanied by a security clampdown and a complete communication blackout. The move’s immediate implications were that India’s only Muslim-majority region lost its flag, criminal code and constitution.

Mehbooba Mufti, the former chief minister and head of the People’s Democratic Party, claimed that she along with other senior party workers have been put under house arrest. She also said that some of her party members were “illegally detained” in police stations.

“Government of India’s false claims about normalcy to the Indian Supreme Court stands exposed by their actions driven by paranoia,” she said on X.

However, Manoj Sinha, the lieutenant governor of the region, defended the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and said: “The biggest change that is visible on the ground is that the common people of Jammu and Kashmir are living life according to their own wishes."

“Street violence has ended,” he added.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in part, but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

New Delhi revoked the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5, 2019. Islamabad says the move is illegal, and has since downgraded diplomatic ties and halted trade. Official bilateral talks remain suspended since then.

India, for its part, accuses Pakistan of helping Kashmir groups who have for years battled its security forces, something Pakistan denies, saying it only provides moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris for self-determination.

Meanwhile, India’s top court on Wednesday began hearing petitions challenging the legislation that stripped the disputed region’s statehood.

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