Monday Aug 12, 2019
Indian authorities are expected to continue their military clampdown in occupied Kashmir on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha amid protest fears.
Indian-occupied Kashmir has been in a security lockdown since last Monday, when India´s Hindu-majority government rescinded years of autonomy and gave full control to New Delhi.
Officials eased restrictions earlier Sunday but imposed them again in the afternoon amid a tense atmosphere in the main city of Srinagar.
They plan to keep security tight on Monday to block any big gatherings of people during Eid-ul-Azha, a police official and sources in Srinagar told AFP.
"People were apprised of the situation and were asked to celebrate the festival in their neighbourhood. They were told that officials were keeping an eye on the situation and people have been asked to offer prayers locally," the region´s police chief Dilbagh Singh said.
Some 500 people took part in protests on Sunday. Local leaders have warned the loss of autonomy could lead to unrest in the region, which has witnessed tens of thousands of deaths as Indian atrocities continue.
Prime Minister Imran Khan asked earlier Sunday if the international community was just standing by as Indian Hindu nationalism spread into occupied Kashmir.
The premier tweeted that the "ideology of Hindu Supremacy, like the Nazi Aryan Supremacy, will not stop" in Kashmir.
Describing the move as "the Hindu Supremacists version of Hitler´s Lebensraum", he said it would lead to "the suppression of Muslims in India & eventually lead to targeting of Pakistan".
He also telephoned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday "as part of his outreach to world leaders on the Kashmir situation," a statement issued by his office said.
Officials said Khan would visit Azad Kashmir this week to show solidarity.
Pakistan has already expelled the Indian ambassador, halted what little bilateral trade existed and suspended Samjhota Express services following New Delhi´s move on occupied Kashmir.
Tensions also remain fraught in the mountainous Ladakh region, where a local activist told AFP dozens of protesters took part in rallies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with at least 10 people injured by security forces using tear gas and sticks.
Residents in Indian-occupied Kashmir, meanwhile, said they were struggling to prepare for Eid because of the security crackdown.
A mother who gave her name as Razia said she tried to explain to her daughter that she would not be able to buy her clothes to mark the occasion, as her husband fretted about feeding the family.
"What sort of Eid is this?" asked the 45-year-old in Srinagar.
"We are not even allowed to move outside. My husband is a daily wage labourer but hasn´t made any money for the last eight days."
A sheep trader at a Srinagar market, who gave his name as Maqbool, said the number of people buying sacrificial animals for the holiday was sharply lower and he had gone from "huge profits" to a "big loss" this year.
Under its previous constitutional autonomy, Kashmiris enjoyed special privileges such as the sole right to own land or take government jobs and university scholarships.
With occupied Kashmir now fully part of the Indian union, Modi said the region would enjoy more jobs and less corruption and red tape, adding that key infrastructure projects would be expedited.