Indian activists barred from showing videos of current situation in desolated Kashmir


As a group of Indian activists and members of leftist organisations, who have returned from a five-day trip to the disputed region of Kashmir, moved to hold a press conference at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, they were restricted from showing pictures and videos of shackled Indian-occupied Kashmir on a projector.
However, while speaking about the current deteriorating situation in Kashmir, the group of activists, economists and writers presented their observations and urged the Modi-led Hindu nationalist government to withdraw its move of revoking the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).
Kavita Krishnan, a left-wing activist, said the situation is “absolutely not normal”, contrary to reports by several Indian news broadcasters.
“There is a sense of imprisonment. There is a sense of being in prison. And people are not being allowed to speak and the situation is extremely grim over there,” she said.
“We were able to go to villages as well as small towns also. So the situation there is absolutely not normal. If some people of the media are saying all is well Ö the only thing we could think of saying was all is hell is a better description,” said Krishnan.
Activist Maimoona Moolah urged the Indian government to “stop this occupation” of Kashmir.
“The occupation of Kashmir will not work. Get rid of this occupation. Put an end to the way press and people have been gagged there. And return democracy to the region. Return Article 370 and 35(A),” she said.
“The whole place was desolate, quiet, silenced, caged. People looked helpless. People looked humiliated. And people also looked angry.”
Jean Dreze, a Belgian-born Indian economist, slammed claims of Kashmir being backwards and needing investment from India and Indian companies.
“I have been to Kashmir four times since 2000 and every time, I am struck by the prosperity of the people. Especially the rural population. Especially in comparison with the catastrophic poverty and hunger of states like Bihar and Jharkhand and UP [Uttar Pradesh] that I am familiar with,” he said.
The group compiled several videos of their trip showing deserted streets, bereft of people even on the festive day of Eid-ul-Azha.
Tens of thousands of Indian troops have been deployed in the occupied Kashmir with an unprecedented communication lockdown since August 4, and the following day Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government decided to revoke privileges of Jammu and Kashmir, including a right to their own constitution.
Modiís government has called it a move to integrate the disputed region into India, despite strong opposition from the people of Kashmir.