Exclusive report: lockdown in Kashmir
Since a decision by the Indian government to revoke Kashmir's autonomy on August 5, the people of this mainly Muslim state have been cut off from the rest of the world. Curfews have been in effect day and night, communications remain disrupted and travel is restricted. Our FRANCE 24 team headed inside Indian Kashmir, at the foothills of the Himalayas, where they witnessed the first few days of the blockade. This is their exclusive report.
FRANCE 24 journalist Surabhi Tandon and Adil Bhat met with locals in Kashmir who talked of the events in the hours and days immediately after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced he was scrapping Kashmir’s special independent status, which has been at the heart of tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.
In addition to the curfew and lack of access to the Internet, some Kashmiris say they now face food shortages, as shops remain shuttered and roadblocks impede travel. While residents without government-issued passes are forbidden to leave their homes, many still wait in hope to hear news of their loved ones.
Since the start of the month, India has deployed tens of thousands of paramilitaries to secure Kashmir, one of the most militarised regions in the world, where nearly half a million troops from India’s security forces are already stationed. A fear of demonstrations by Kashmiris has prompted Indian authorities to arrest some 4,000 people within weeks, who under the controversial Public Security Act can be imprisoned for up to two years without charge or trial.
Our team brings this exclusive report.