Thursday 23 January 2020
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The News - 2 month ago

Swedish King demands lifting of curfew in IOK

MUMBAI/SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: King Carl Gustaf of Sweden on Thursday demanded the Indian authorities to lift curfew in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and also offered mediation to resolve the matter.In a statement the king said, We can say we have people from Sweden trying to (be) as observers in these areas in Kashmir for many many years. In that sense we are trying to be an observer if possible. The Swedish king and his wife are on a five-day visit to India.Meanwhile, in occupied Kashmir the Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu and Ladakh regions continue to simmer with anger as military lockdown has entered 123rd running day on Thursday.Restrictions under section 144 remain enforced amid huge presence of Indian troops. Over eight million residents of the Valley are particularly bearing the brunt of the lockdown. Internet services prepaid mobile phones and SMS remain snapped in the occupied territory. The continued absence of Internet service has cut off people not only from their surroundings but also from the world. It has also badly affected businesses education of students and working of journalists.People in the Kashmir Valley are showing defiance and resentment against India s anti-Kashmir moves by observing civil disobedience. As part of this movement the people keep their businesses shut and stay away from schools and offices. Shops only open for few hours in the morning and evening. Public transport also remains off the roads to a large extent.On the other hand Civicus Monitor an international alliance of civil society organisations has downgraded India s civic space rating from obstructed to repressed. Civicus Monitor in its new People Power Under Attack 2019 report expressed extreme concern about the crackdown on human rights activists attacks on journalists and civil society groups and the lockdown in occupied Kashmir.A repressed rating indicates that democratic freedoms such as the freedoms of expression peaceful assembly and association are significantly constrained.The Indian government has admitted that it arrested a total of 5,161 people in occupied Kashmir after August 5 when it scrapped special status of the territory.However the tentative estimates show that over 13,000 Kashmiris including Hurriyat leaders, political workers and youth were arrested by Indian troops and police to prevent demonstrations against Modi government s illegal move. Hundreds of them were shifted to various jails in India.Indian minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy in his address in the parliament said that the arrested people included political leaders, activists and others. He said that as many as 234 prisoners belonging to Kashmir were currently lodged in different jails of Uttar Pradesh and 27 other inmates in prisons in Haryana. He also said that a total of 3,248 prisoners were lodged in the jails of the territory.

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