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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Covid-19 used as a weapon of oppression

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Amid the threat of the deadly virus Covid-19, Kashmir once again has been brought under the purview of lockdown or in normal parlance ‘bandh’ or ‘curfew’. This lockdown or curfew is not a new phenomenon for every person residing in Kashmir. It has become a part and parcel of their lives now. In fact, normalcy appears antagonistic to that of abnormality, which means the absence of ‘curfew’ or ‘shutdown’ is something unusual for Kashmiris. But fortunately, or unfortunately the divine power has given a golden opportunity to Government of India to lockdown the recently born “Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir”, after the abolition of article 370 of Indian constitution.

Once again people have been restricted to the four walls, deprived of getting basic necessities in the form of procuring food items, medicine, baby products, commuting from one place to another and hence marked the dark era again.  It is claimed that this lockdown is meant for safety and security of common masses. What about the complete lockdown that Kashmir had been placed under for the past six months and off and on for decades? Was it for the safety purpose of the people or was it aimed at limiting the voices of innocent people who have been demanding their right to self -determination since time immemorial?

Now looking at the efforts of the government of India at the grassroot level, sensitization by local police through loudspeakers, requesting and sometimes intimidating people to restrict their movement to indoors only, provides yet another tool to restrain them and legitimates their illegitimate actions through their humanitarian efforts. As a person, born and brought up in Jammu & Kashmir, which is one of the most densely militarized zones on earth, with more than one million Indian soldiers, para military forces, plus Indian Central Reserve Police and local Kashmir Police controlled by India, allotted for a population not more than 12 million people. It brings me no difference to limit my existence within four walls of my home.

At present, not only a so called “democratic” country India is under lockdown but the whole world has been facing such lockdown over the past few weeks for the first time. Thus, enabling the global population to understand what the word ‘lockdown’ actually stands for. But the difference lies in the availability and approachability while accessing basic amenities which undoubtedly has crossed all the limits in this part of world. There is no denial that the current pandemic has taken toll on human lives but at the same time it cannot be nullified that it has again brought misery for helpless Kashmiri people. The statement used by Indian government that restrictions have been imposed in Jammu & Kashmir amidst of outbreak of Covid-19 acts as a safety gear to protect their own Indian troops which have again been allotted at every nook and cranny of Kashmir Valley. Thus, directly or indirectly, these imposed restrictions act as a bonus for the government of India to oppress Kashmiri people further.

Author: Syed Wasifa Mehraj, Srinagar, Kashmir

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not necessarily reflect Alfafaa’s editorial views

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