Yesterday, 280 companies (28,000 troops) of Indian soldiers were deployed to Kashmir on top of the 10,000 deployed last February, the 40,000 for the Hindu pilgrimage last month, & the 10,000 just days ago ” to strengthen counterinsurgency operations & law & order duties.” The Indian government is offering no explanation for the deployments but according to the Hindustan Times, the troops are being deployed “in vulnerable spots” of Srinagar & the rest of Kashmir. All major entry & exit points have been taken over by the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces, a division of the Indian military with several different kinds of soldiers who function as police, border patrol, counterinsurgency, surveillance, & occupation.
Kashmiris are uncertain what the additional deployments mean since there have been increased hunt to kill operations for the past few years where under the guise of hunting down armed militants, civilian protesters are shot at & assaulted, homes are invaded, vandalized, & razed, livestock are killed. There is already the highest ratio of soldiers to civilians in any region in the world
These excessive deployments are a provocation & a threat to Kashmiris. It’s reported that many have begun panic buying probably in expectations of the curfews India imposes for months at a time & in fear of the ubiquitous troops. Children are put in even more danger & certainly sustain more emotional trauma.
Stand with Kashmiris by educating others about their struggle against colonialism & occupation, by organizing forums & panels about their struggle, & by organizing public rallies demanding the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all Indian troops from Kashmir.
(Photo of Indian troops in Kashmir by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times file)