New Delhi: As the Centre proves itself eager to communicate the idea that all is well in Kashmir, HuffPost India has published a report which says that a 17-year-old boy has died after being cornered by the paramilitary forces while he was playing on Monday.
On the very same day, Union home minister Amit Shah was announcing the proposal to scrap Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.
HuffPost also noted that its correspondent’s interviews with authorities of the Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (who requested strictly to remain anonymous), had revealed that as many as 13 people in the treatment centre had pellet injuries as well.
The report, written by Safwat Zargar in Srinagar, also notes the challenges faced by the reporter in obtaining simple facts regarding protests, injuries and their confirmation from law enforcement.
While PTI quoted Jammu and Kashmir officials as having said the situation is “comfortable,” the news agency ANI has been tweeting videos and photographs of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s visit to Shopian on Wednesday and his allegedly spontaneous interactions with people there.
ANI‘s claim that the situation is “peaceful” in the region has been countered by residents and political participants who have asked why there is still a communications clampdown on the region if it is indeed peaceful.
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2019
The HuffPost report carries details of the circumstances that led to the boy’s death which also point to an overall, state-orchestrated breakdown of communication channels in the state since Sunday. Amidst raging confusion in the mainland, the order for Amar Nath pilgrims to return due to terror threat was quickly followed by a quick succession of actions in the lead up to the Article 370 abrogation announcement. Section 144 was ordered in the state, internet and communication services soon went and local mainstream party leaders were first placed under house arrest and eventually detained.
The deceased boy Osaib Altaf’s father Marazi, who lives in Srinagar’s Palpora area, told Zargar that Osaib had no idea of the events regarding his homeland unfolding in the capital when he went out to play. “We actually had no way of knowing about the Centre’s decision since we don’t have a television or a radio at home,” the father was quoted as having said.
Approached by personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force from two sides of a footbridge, Osaib and his friends jumped into the river underneath. The Class XI student could not swim.
Two of the boys who jumped in had to be admitted to the hospital.
Marazi was clear in his insistence to Zargar that he did not expect any justice in the current state of “oppression.”
There was a time, this place was filled with locals and tourists, buzzing with life but now an eerie silence prevails on the streets of Srinagar in Indian administered Kashmir
AFP Exclusive? pic.twitter.com/1FXcXxkSWm
— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) August 7, 2019
PTI has reported that Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik has directed deputy commissioners of districts to take stock of peoples’ requirements. In a meeting at the Raj Bhavan, the governor “reviewed the law and order situation” and said emergency services in hospitals were functioning, people were seen in markets buying daily provisions and electricity and water supply was also satisfactory.
PTI has also reported on “stray incidents of stone-pelting” and quoted officials as having said that security forces had arrested over 100 people, including political leaders and activists, as they were considered a threat to peace and tranquillity in the Kashmir valley.