Kashmiri leader calls for peaceful protests, blasts information blockade
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Kashmiri leader calls for peaceful protests, blasts information blockade

Syed Ali Shah Geelani said in a statement published on Sunday that Kashmiri locals should continue their demonstrations in a peaceful manner and resist India’s decision to end the region’s special constitutional status. The chairman of Kashmir's moderate faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) also blasted New Delhi’s strong-arm tactics in the disputed region and stressed that despite attempts to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris, the “blank pages would speak loudly.” “Not only have they blocked the entire communication systems used by common people since about the beginning of the month, but they have also gagged local reportage and news media without any formal declaration,” Geelani said. “No news about the brutalities and repression of the Indian armed forces, killings, and arrests of thousands of youth are being published. Common people are unable to know about their kith and kin,” he added. Geelani went on to say that, “the oppressors might try to hide reality, but history will not spare anyone. The blank pages will speak loudly.” In his statement, Geelani underscored that Kashmir’s autonomy had been stripped to “change Kashmir’s demography and make it one of India’s colonies.” The APHC chairman said it was unfortunate that “instead of mourning this murder of democracy, the people of India have celebrated the decisions of their government.” “The rulers from Delhi are drunk in power and arrogance of majoritarianism and they have snatched away all precepts of humanity, ethics, and democracy,” he said. Geelani urged in his statement that all Kashmiris as well as people in Pakistan and Muslims around the world take decisive action against India’s moves and “machinations.” Geelani has been under house arrest since India stripped Indian-controlled Kashmir of its autonomous status earlier in the month. Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition from Britain in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory. On August 5, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a surprise move, revoked Article 370 in the Indian constitution that had granted Kashmir special autonomy, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years. The controversial move not only infuriated India’s nuclear-armed Pakistan, which controls parts of Kashmir, but also sparked strong anger among the local population, who want their region merge with Pakistan. Pakistan has called the decision “illegal” and has expelled the Indian ambassador to Islamabad. The Indian premier has claimed that the decision was necessary for Kashmir’s economic development and also to stop “terrorism.” Other countries have called for restraint and de-escalation.

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