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Iran Press TV

India announces easing of brutal curfew over Kashmir

Iran Press TV

Sat Aug 17, 2019 09:54AM

Officials in the disputed Indian-controlled Kashmir region have started restoring landline phone lines since imposing a brutal curfew and news blackout on the majority-Muslim territory in early August.

Administrator Shahid Choudhary announced on Friday that restrictions are being lifted in most areas and government offices will open on Saturday for service delivery while Indian police and military forces deployed to the restive Himalayan region remained on high alert as hundreds of residents took to the streets of main city of Srinagar following Friday prayers to take part in anti-India protest rallies.

Pakistani PM slams India's 'fascist tactics' in Kashmir

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has blasted what he described as Indian government's "fascist tactics" in Kashmir, vowing that New Delhi's moves to suppress the struggle of Kashmiri people for freedom will "fail miserably."

In a series of Twitter posts on Friday amid escalating tensions between the two nuclear-powered neighbors after New Delhi decided to revoke Article 370 of its Constitution -- granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir -- Khan further warned the Indian government that "no force can stop" a nation from achieving its goal for liberty when popular resistance brings about unity.

"The fascist, Hindu supremacist (Narendra) Modi government should know that while armies, militants and terrorists can be defeated by superior forces; history tells us that when a nation unites in a freedom struggle and does not fear death, no force can stop it from achieving its goal," Khan wrote as quoted in a report by India-based Indo-Asian news service (IANS).

"That is why the Hindutva exclusivist creed of the Modi-led government with its fascist tactics in Indian-occupied Kashmir will fail miserably in its attempt to smother the Kashmiri liberation struggle," he added.

India's decision to ease its oppressive restrictions in Kashmir as well as the harsh statements by the Pakistani prime minister coincided by closed-door "consultations" of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the Kashmir unrest for the first time in decades amid reports of Russian support for New Delhi's position on the issue and the Chinese siding with Islamabad.

According to UN diplomats, Friday's discussion on Kashmir was not considered a full Security Council meeting but rather referred to as closed-door consultations.

The UNSC meeting came after China asked for an informal, closed-door consultation to discuss Pakistan's letter on Kashmir.

Speaking after the meeting, China's UN Ambassador Zhang Jun reportedly said members of the Security Council generally feel India and Pakistan should both refrain from unilateral action over Kashmir, further noting that the situation in the Muslim-majority area is "already very tense and very dangerous."

Russian, however, appeared to side with India during the UN meeting by describing New Delhi's measures in the disputed region as an "internal" matter, further noting that India's move comes under constitutional framework.

"Russia continues to consistently promote normalization of India-Pakistan ties. We hope that existing divergences around Kashmir will be settled bilaterally by political and diplomatic means only," Russia's UN Envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy wrote in a Twitter post.

"So we will open-heartedly continue to engage with Islamabad and New Delhi in order to help both of them come to terms and have good neighborly relations on the basis of Simla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore declaration of 1999," he added.

Pakistan, meanwhile, insists that holding a UNSC meeting "nullifies" that Jammu and Kashmir is a domestic matter for India, which scrapped the autonomy of the disputed region earlier this month.

"I think this meeting nullifies that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter for India," said Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN, at a Friday press conference, adding that her country was "grateful to China for calling this meeting."

"The voice of the Kashmiri people have been heard today. The fact that this meeting took place is testimony to the fact that this is an internationally recognized dispute. This meeting has reaffirmed the validity of the UNSC resolutions on the status of Jammu and Kashmir," she further said.

India's UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, however, lambasted the UNSC meeting for "international interference" over Kashmir.

"We don't need international busybodies to try to tell us how to run our lives. We are a billion plus people," said Akbaruddin at a press conference after the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York.

India has regularly blocked discussion of Kashmir at the world body since it perceives the issue as a domestic affair.

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