Kashmir under unprecedented lockdown, 8 mn captive: Shah Faesal

New Delhi: Kashmir is experiencing an “unprecedented lockdown” with its entire eight million population “incarcerated like never before”, Kashmiri IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal said on Wednesday on the massive security arrangements in place after the Centre scrapped special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

Taking to Facebook, Faesal, who quit the Indian Administrative Service in January this year citing “unabated killings” in Kashmir and set up a political party, posted: “Unprecedented horror in Kashmir. Everyone is heartbroken. A sense of defeat written on every face. Fall.

“From citizens to subjects. History has taken a catastrophic turn for all of us. People are numb. A people whose land, identity, history, was stolen, in broad day light.”

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Faesal used both Facebook and Twitter to describing in detail the tight security in the Valley.

“Kashmir is experiencing an unprecedented lock-down. From Zero Bridge to Airport some movement of vehicles is visible. Other places are completely out of bounds. Except for patients or those with a curfew pass.”

He said it was not possible to reach prominent local politicians like Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajad Lone or send a message to them, while in other districts, “curfew is all the more strict”. 

“You can say that the entire 8 million population has been incarcerated like never before. As of now there is no shortage of food and essentials,” he said.

Citing sources in the administration, he said that satellite phones given to officers are being used to coordinate civil supplies and no other means of communication is available.

“Those with Dish TV have access to news. Cable services are down. Many people still have a bleak idea of what happened. Radio was working till a few hours ago. Most people are watching DD.

“National media is also not being allowed to move into interior areas,” he said.

He said that the Lal Ded hospital is functioning beyond its capacity as expecting women are getting admitted days in advance to avoid any last moment hassles, while some people are planning to set up community kitchens there.

Faesal said that no violent incident has been officially reported so far, while random incidents of stone throwing were reported from Rambagh, Natipora, Downtown, Kulgam, Anantnag. “But no news of any killings”.

However, he said: “People are in shock. Numb. Yet to make sense of what befell them. Everyone is mourning what we lost.

“In my conversations with people besides 370, it’s the loss of statehood that has hurt people deeply. This is being seen as the biggest betrayal by the Indian state in last 70 years.”

Faesal said: “Few leaders who have escaped detention called for calm through TV channels. It is being said that the government is ready for a casualty figure of 8 – 10 thousand. So sanity demands that we don’t give anyone a chance for mass massacre.

“My appeal has also been that let’s stay alive, then we shall fight back.”

He also alleged that the body language of paramilitary personnel manning the security barricases is “extremely harsh” and the state police is “totally sidelined”.

“One guy told an acquaintance of mine that now we are going to show your place to you.

“Such stories of locals being bullied have reached me from many places. But its extremely heartening that Kashmiris are staying calm,” he added.

He advised those who wish to travel to Kashmir to put it for some time, for even if restrictions are relaxed, the “situation will remain extremely volatile”.

On the way ahead, he said: “At airport I met crowds of heartbroken youth asking me questions about what should we do now.

“I said we shall go to Supreme Court together and ask for reversing this injustice.

All political parties are together on challenging these unconstitutional laws that have deprived us of our history and identity.”

He added that this was now the “only hope” as the “international community has shut its eyes”. 

“The sad fact of life is that only Narendra Modi and Amit Shah can one day give back to us the wealth that has been stolen from us in broad day light.

“But then what’s lost has been lost. Or Perhaps everything has been lost. Except our resolve to fight back. And we shall,” he said.

Many on social media trolled Faesal after his post.

One person stated that “Please give opportunity to Faesal … He writes fiction very well,” while the the other said “Dear Faesal, it seems you too have been brainwashed by @fawadchaudhry & @OfficialDGISPR. Nothing has happened till now but your ideas will certainly lead to a bloodbath. You are in fact instigating the locals to indulge in the crime & should be booked for the same.”

A user from J&K also commented that it is all drama. “Fake and drama…I am from J&K. We are celebrating. We are happy. Jai Bharat. Don’t fool people. Let the development to come in J&K,” he tweeted.

The former IAS topper had in March launched his political outfit – Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Movement (JKPM) – in Srinagar, promising a youth-oriented politics and to become a voice to help bridge the gap between the state and the Centre and India and Pakistan.

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