Kashmir Tensions: Pakistanis protest against India revoking autonomy in disputed region
Updated 13:39, 19-Aug-2019
Tensions are on the rise in the disputed region of Kashmir - with violent clashes between Indian forces and residents of Srinagar erupting again overnight. Authorities have re-imposed some restrictions. Internet and mobile phone services are now blocked, after having been re-opened just one day. The continuous cycle of violence has been particularly hard on families separated for years living on opposite sides of the border. CGTN's correspondent Danial Khan has this report from Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered territory of Kashmir.
DANIAL KHAN MUZAFFARABAD, AZAD KASHMIR "The divided and displaced families of Indian held Kashmir have organized this demonstration in Muzaffarabad. They are demanding implementation of United Nations resolutions to ensure Kashmiris exercise their right to self-determination. But more than that, they are concerned about the condition of their loved ones on the other side of the line of control. They say they have not been able to contact them for over 2 weeks."
For the last 30 years, India has been fighting a revolt in Kashmir, in which over 50,000 people have been killed. In the past 24 hours, there has been a series of protests against New Delhi's August 5th revocation of the occupied region's autonomy. Since that time, a near complete communication blackout.
MUSHTAQ UL ISLAM KASHMIRI REFUGEE "I appeal to the international community to pressure India to break the lock-down in Kashmir, my family is there. I don't know what condition they are in. There is no food, no medicine, no milk for children."
In 1990, Mushtaq ul Islam fled his home, as a teenager, after a violent separatist insurgency ensued in Indian-held Kashmir, a Muslim majority state. Now, this recent wave of violence on the other side of the border has re-opened a wound for his family, and he warns of a brewing, collective pent-up rage.
Kashmir remains one of the most militarized regions of the world. Much of the Line of Control runs alongside the Neelum river which is around 100 meters wide. Like Mushtaq, there are over 38,000 Indian Kashmiris living on the Pakistani side. For them, the last two weeks have been traumatic.
MAIRA KHAN KASHMIRI REFUGEE "I don't understand why the United Nations is not doing anything for the innocent Kashmiris. My relatives are there, I have not been able to contact them. When will the world wake up?"
RAJA FARRUKH MUMTAZ KASHMIRI REFUGEE "I want to thank China for supporting our cause. I want to tell the world that they should also support us like China. They are our brothers."
While restrictions are continuing in much of Indian-held Kashmir, there is uncertainty among the Pakistani Kashmiris, as sporadic reports pour in of at least 4,000 arrests. Danial Khan, CGTN, Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.