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Post-Pulwama, Kashmir Helpline Gets Over 500 Calls

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism

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The Indian Army said that all the top leadership of the JeM outfit have been eliminated by security forces in the Kashmir Valley within 100 hours of the terror attack. Pixabay

With nationalist sentiments on a high after the suicide attack that left 40 CRPF troopers dead, it is the Kashmiris around the country who have felt the heat. Post-February 14 Pulwama attack, a helpline for students from the state in the NCR area received over 500 calls — more than 25 calls a day.

Vidushi Kapoor, Jammu and Kashmir’s Liaison Officer in-charge of Delhi-NCR area, told IANS that although no major incident was reported, she received around 500-600 calls, especially from Dehradun, from Kashmiri students saying that they are “feeling insecure”.

“Police and college authorities were very helpful. Full security and support was provided to the students at all times,” she said. However, the charged-up environment and reports from other areas has prompted many Kashmiri students to return home, she added.

“The environment has cooled down now, but two weeks were quite upsetting… the students were really scared.”

Kapoor is one of the seven Liaison Officers appointed around the country by the state government in November 2018 for support of students from the state. After the attack, their contacts were published in newspapers and social media to enable students to contact them.

More worryingly, the situation also shows that the rift between the state’s three major regions – Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh – extends to influence the perception of their people around India.Kapoor noted that the helpline had not got a single call from any students from the Jammu region.

Meanwhile, it is those from the Kashmir Valley who are squeezed between the terror outfits and the security forces.

Noting how all this takes a mental toll on its residents, Mehr (name changed), a 21-year-old living in the Kashmir Valley, said: “We are in repressive conditions. Being surrounded by security men is normal for us…livelihood, schools being suspended is normal.”

About the Pulwama attack, she said: “Violence wouldn’t solve the issue. The attack was not a good thing” but noted that people joined militancy because of “excesses”.

Taniya Tikoo, a Kashmiri Pandit living in Delhi, said it is best for both India and Pakistan if Kashmiris are allowed to have a dialogue among themselves. “It will be a win-win situation for everyone,” she said.

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FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

People from Jammu region have a different take.

Citing the recent grenade attack in Jammu bus stand, Delhi University student Saloni, who hails from Kathua, said, “A lot of violence has shifted to Jammu (region).”

She demanded greater linkage between the state and India. “India has been investing so much… we should be integrated with the rest of the country and Articles 370, 35A (of the Constitution) should be scrapped – they have done no good so far.”

Hitu, another girl from Jammu region studying in Delhi, however, said whenever any violence takes place in Kashmir, it affects everyone including “our schools, banks, highways also close”.

She also said that people from Jammu and Ladakh region “have a general feeling of being ignored by the leaders”.

Jigmat Paljor, President of the Ladakh Student Welfare Society in Delhi, is in agreement with his Jammu counterparts – but to a point.

Paljor told IANS how his people feel alienated because with all focus on Kashmir, issues of Ladakh, which is the state’s biggest region but sparsely populated, get overlooked.

Also Read- Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism.

“And since Ladakh has a border with both Pakistan and China, there is always fear of tensions escalating….”

While Paljor maintains Kashmir is an integral part of the country, he wants Articles 370 and 35A to stay as his region “is very fragile and susceptible in terms of economy, culture, language, environment, from outside influence”. (IANS)

Next Story

Pakistan’s Fake Social Media Accounts Spreading Lies on Kashmir

Pakistan has adopted the strategy of giving a religious colour to its propaganda campaign, posing a fake threat from India, while reminding India of the consequences of the rise of extremist forces

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Social Media Icons. VOA

Fake social media accounts, often emanating from Pakistan, continue to paint a grim picture of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

From passing off a High Court-ordered drive to clear illegal encroachments on forest land in Himachal Pradesh as “barbarism” in the Kashmir valley to terming mobile phone restrictions in the region as “siege in Kashmir”, a false narrative propagated by Pakistanis’ propaganda machinery finds many takers on social media, partly due to relentless promotion by fake accounts.

“Pakistani terror & proxy war paraphernalia burning vehicles, attacking fruit growers & merchants, killing & threatening shopkeepers, enforcing shutdown and calling this SIEGE,” Imtiyaz Hussain, a top IPS officer in Jammu and Kashmir, said in a tweet on Thursday.

“For all those ‘SIEGE’ obsessed reporters. There’s no SIEGE in Kashmir except some restriction on mobile phones which’s being lifted soon. Post 5th August except initially for few days, there hasn’t been any restriction imposed by Govt. Roads & streets are full of people, vehicles,” Hussain said in an earlier tweet.

Fact-checking website BOOM on Wednesday reported that a two-year-old video of clashes between protesters and security personnel in Kashmir is now being shared as the reaction of Kashmiris following the scrapping of Article 370.

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The end of Article 370 heralds a new beginning for many Kashmiris, despite the doom and gloom in some quarters over its revocation. Pixabay

For more than one month now, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations wing of the Pakistan armed forces, is busy spreading fake news related to Kashmir in a bid to sow seeds of discord among security forces and fuel hatred among citizens in India.

As part of its information warfare, Pakistan has resorted to spreading propaganda, fake news, threatening statements and manipulating the social media.

Also Read- Microsoft Joins Hands with Eros Now to Develop Next-generation Online Video Platform

Pakistan has adopted the strategy of giving a religious colour to its propaganda campaign, posing a fake threat from India, while reminding India of the consequences of the rise of extremist forces. (IANS)