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Kashmir Crisis: Reports Of First Casualties Emerge Amid Media Blackout

  • August 07, 2019

Marazi said he last saw his youngest son alive on Sunday afternoon. 

“I left for work on Sunday afternoon and returned on Monday morning. I was sleeping until Monday afternoon and Osaib had left for playground in the morning,” he said. 

The family is not aware if the police has filed any case in the incident. It also seems to have given up any hope for justice. 

“Who’ll give us justice? We are under oppression. There’s no justice in oppression,” Marazi rued. 

HuffPost India tried multiple times to reach Safa Kadal police station, under whose jurisdiction the case falls, for a comment on the incident. However, the security forces deployed on the way to police station didn’t allow this reporter to move ahead. 

Violence in the Valley

So far, the government hasn’t officially announced any casualties or injuries of civilians during the current crisis. Due to the communications blackout, it’s hard to ascertain the actual figures of civilian casualties or injuries. 

However, when HuffPost India managed to reach Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar on Tuesday night, we found eight cases of bullet and pellet injuries admitted in the hospital. 

“I was walking in the lane leading to my house when CRPF personnel fired pellets on me. It all went blank and I fell down. I don’t know how I reached here,” Owais Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar’s old city’s Nawa Kadal, told HuffPost India. 

On Wednesday afternoon, SMHS hospital officials said that they have received 13 cases of pellet injuries on the eyes from district Srinagar and Ganderbal. “Two of them have got injuries on both their eyes. However, none of the cases are serious and they will not lose their sight,” an official said. 

Editor’s Note

On August 2 2019, HuffPost India commissioned journalist Safwat Zargar with writing a series of stories on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the backdrop of the unprecedented (and at the time, unexplained) mobilisation of troops in the former state.

Two days later, the Indian government cut off the internet and severed all means of communication in the valley. This blackout, it has since been revealed, was a calculated strategy to silence Kashmiri voices as the Bharatiya Janata Party fundamentally altered the terms of Kashmir’s accession to the Indian Union.

For two days, the government — and many sections of the Indian media — have launched a propaganda blitzkrieg extolling the virtues of this unprecedented decision while refusing to let the media access the voices of the people of Kashmir. 

On August 6 2019, the Hindustan Times carried a report claiming people in Srinagar welcomed this decision. Their source? National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

In this situation, which is clearly without precedent, Zargar sent us a report on the human cost of the Indian government’s decision. 

Given the absolute blackout on all news coming out of Kashmir, we are carrying this story to start a conversation. We anticipate questions from our readers — in fact, we welcome them.

We stand by Zargar’s reporting, and call upon the government to clarify the circumstances around the death of 17-year-old Osaib Altaf, and to face the consequences of its decision by lifting the communications blackout in Kashmir.

Aman Sethi


HuffPost India

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