Occupied Kashmir observes shutdown in protest against Indian elections
A complete shutdown is being observed in occupied Kashmir today on the first phase of the Indian parliamentary elections as well as brutal measures against the Kashmiri people and their leadership.
Call for the strike has been given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Gillani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, RadioPakistan reported.
The shutdown is also being observed against the closure of Kashmir’s main highway for civilians and the recent attack by Indian police and forces on inmates in Srinagar Central Jail.
The JRL, in its statement, said that “the strike is aimed to protest against the shifting of JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik to Delhi’s Tihar jail under the pretext of questioning by the National Investigation Agency including rigorous interrogation of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and sustained interrogation and repeated summoning of two sons of APHC Chairman Syed Ali Gilani to Delhi by NIA”.
India began voting on Thursday in the first phase of a mammoth general election, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi gunning for a second term having campaigned strongly on his national security record following a flare-up in tensions with Pakistan.
Security for the polls was increased after seven people were killed in attacks in occupied Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim majority state, and in eastern India, where Maoist insurgents were blamed for a bomb that killed a state legislator from Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Voting in the first of seven rounds is being held in 91 parliament constituencies across 20 states and federally administered regions. There are 543 seats at stake.
Pollsters say support for the BJP rose in response to Modi’s tough stance against Pakistan, which saw aerial clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbours following an attack in February that killed 40 paramilitary police in occupied Kashmir.
The main opposition Congress party, which wrested three major farming states from the BJP in December by promising to waive the outstanding loans of distressed farmers, has looked for allies among regional parties to defeat the BJP over its record on the economy.