On August 5, 2019, the Indian government took full control of Kashmir by revoking Article 370 & 35A. Following this, they broke the region into 2 Union Territories: The Jammu & Kashmir territory & the Ladakh territory. In this case it’s the far-right Hindu-centric Bharatiya-Janta Party or BJP.
This is like demoting Pluto from a planet to a moon or a drawf planet. Or as some nerds might call it the Gimli Planet! We took all its planetary autonomy away and some were even trying to boycott Pluto from revolving around OUR sun! “Go orbit Uranus, you butt” some would scream! But Pluto can’t hear them because sound doesn’t travel in the vacuum of space.
With its special status revoked, Kashmir was placed under full military occupation & a communications lockdown! The Indian government cut phone lines, cell service & all internet to the region! This means there are teenagers in Kashmir that haven’t been able to masturbate for months.
Now obviously that’s a crude joke, but if we want Americans to pay attention we have to include boobs and dicks…also explosions. Hell most Americans didn’t care much about Africa or even knew it was a continent till National Geographic put topless African women in their magazines. Now all of a sudden, people are yelling to save Africa…well kinda. There’s like one commercial that still airs at like 3am.
This communication lockdown & military occupation prevented people from getting proper healthcare. Kashmiris couldn’t even call the ghostbusters let alone an ambulance. And the chances of getting to hospital in the midst of a medical emergency when all the roads are barricaded are slim to none! Hospital visits decreased by 38%! So this occupation is killing more people than its saving.
From August 2019 to January 2020, there was no way for the people of Kashmir to let the world know what was happening to them. Since January of 2020, the Indian government has opened up the internet again but only at 2G speeds. That’s about 250 kilobytes per second. At those speeds it’d take days to download one nipple or just the tip of a penis on any porn site!
Even with 2G speeds, the Indian government has disrupted services for up to a week in various parts of Kashmir. If Americans loose the Internet for more than 38 seconds we’re on the phone with Comcast cussing out a poor white collar worker who had nothing to do with Comcast’s policies or shitty service. The low speeds & constant disruptions have led to a vast amount of college dropouts!
And before someone says “Lazy millennials! Back in my day we read books!” just remember:
1. You didn’t. You likely beat up the kids that were reading books. It’s more likely that you waited for the movie to come out. &
2. Authoritarian governments aren’t particularly known for their love of books. Book burnings on the other hand…they love em! Hell they even love burning copies of the movie based on the books.
Students living under occupation have PTSD & education becomes secondary to survival. As the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition & Civil Society, or JKCCS, notes that these digital sieges have become common place in suppressing rights & preventing dissent. It takes away the constitutionally guaranteed civil, economic, socio-political rights & any enjoyment the people of Kashmir can take part in.
And yes, enjoyment & happiness are a human right! For far too long we’ve been propagandized to think that any recreation in our lives is a luxury meant for the rich & famous. Happiness is meant for all of us, so instead of making people feel guilty, it should be encouraged! Hell even corporations know the importance of happiness! That’s why they allow you to wear jeans once a week instead of your gray sadness uniform.
At this point in our history it has become very hard to argue that the internet isn’t a basic right. We buy food, pay bills, educate ourselves, make medical appointments & call each other cunts from great distances thanks to the internet! There is absolutely no justification for any government to allow a communication lockdown like this!
Considering most of the world is looking at 5G, fiber optics, new PlayStations, cars that are also mobile hotspots & improvements in doorbell technology, it is absolutely insane & criminal that Kashmir is facing internet speeds that makes dial up look like the Indy500!
In addition to the on going communication lockdown, India has also introduced 2 new laws that allow the military & the police to act without consequences. Not that trials were common place in Kashmir considering 99% of all cases have been delayed because of the lack of internet & the pandemic.
The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or UAPA, has targeted civilians, protesters & even people that post opinions on Facebook. These people are arrested and in most cases never heard from again. Some are put into jail in Kashmir and others in Delhi. And it’s damn near impossible for families to visit them in prison due to barricades, both physical & financial & the fact that there might not even be an arrest record.
Both the Public Safety Act & the UAPA are put into place under the guise of protecting people, much like both versions of the Patriot Act. And much like the Patriot Act, all this did was allow the government to open the fascist Pandora’s box. Safety is often used as a rationale by a lot countries to strip away rights, squash protests, turn neighbors against each other, encourage hate & propel politicians into full super villainy!
Groups like the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons have been pushing back in an attempt to get answers about these forced disappearances, which includes kids that have disappeared too! [POD 3] There’s stories of the military arresting kids for playing Cricket, which is a sport similar to Baseball, but more fun! Clearly the Indian Military is anti-fun!
[COVER] Without help from the International community, the stories of these parents and the disappeared go unheard. And as of now, there aren’t any International communities that are speaking out against India’s brutal occupation of the valley. If you’ve ever wondered what the meaning of the phrase “silence is violence’ means, Kashmir is a glaring example.
The government of India has also decided not to prosecute any military personnel or police in the area. So the police get away with theft & violence, while the military is getting away with kidnappings & rape! This is similar to the problems with the military & police in America as well. Women in Kashmir don’t feel safe from the gaze of the military.
And to triple down on the military dictatorship, India has adopted a new media policy which tells journalists what they can & can’t say. With journalists also being forced to reveal sources most people are too scared to speak out! And with no foreign reporters allowed in Kashmir, the world only hears the narrative the far-right Indian government wants them to hear. So the average westerner gets spoon fed propaganda, but don’t worry they get it coated with sugar. Regular propaganda tastes real bitter, like over steeped tea or what I assume Winston Churchill tasted like when people had to kiss him.
Most of the true reporting is coming from Independent journalists who spend most of their time debunking government narratives. But independent Journalists are usually arrested for doing their jobs. Journalists like Asif Sultan have been in prison for almost 3 years for covering stories that weren’t approved by the Indian government or the police. And he’s not the only one. Several young photojournalists have also been arrested for…well being journalists!
Governments controlling journalism is like a professor grading on a curve where only they get an A & the students all get an F+!
Kashmiri journalists are treated the same way the US has treated Julian Assange. They’re being criminalized for telling the truth. So to America, India is nailing freedom of the press, by getting rid of the press! It’s good to mentors right? The stories of Kashmir are getting out there but it’s not easy. Ifat Gazia, host of the Kashmir podcast reflects on how she was able talk to folks in the valley. Ifat Gazia’s Twitter was recently suspended without warning for publishing for her podcast! Thanks to activists, Twitter restored her account so she can share her stories with a global audience!
But don’t worry guys, it’s not just Kashmiri journalists that India is censoring via Twitter. Anyone talking about India’s current COVID crisis being a consequence of trading public health for the sake of capitalism is also a target. And anyone talking about the Farmer Strikes against neoliberalism is also a target. India believes in censorship for all. They’re super progressive authoritarians!
Thanks to the fascist Pandora’s box, the international community commends India for being a champion of Democracy. But there is no democracy in a world that imprisons journalists, cuts access to information & communication & robs kids of their childhoods via military occupation! Democracies don’t use 1984 as an instruction manual. History isn’t written by the winners, rather by assholes who claim victory! But if we amplify the truth in mass & make the international community face the truth, then we might be able to close that fascist Pandora’s box.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!