Kashmir protests continue over Article 370’s revocation

Kashmiri protesters, some of them holding black flags, shout slogans in Srinagar on Saturday. (AN photo by Masrat Zahra)
Updated 11 August 2019
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Kashmir protests continue over Article 370’s revocation

  • Some protesters with eye injuries from pellets admitted to different hospitals

SRINAGAR: For the second day in succession on Saturday, Srinagar witnessed protests against the Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the constitution that grants autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 
The protest took place in Soura, in south Srinagar. Paramilitary forces chased the people and fired in the air. Protesters refused to talk to the media, blaming them not showing the real picture of resistance to the world.
On Friday also, the same area witnessed mass resistance with at least 20,000 people on the streets after the Friday prayer.
Scores of people were believed to have been injured. Some people with eye injuries from pellets were reported to have been admitted to different hospitals of the capital Srinagar. “We were going toward Eidgah (prayer ground) in a peaceful procession when the paramilitary forces started firing. There was no stone pelting.
“At first, they fired pellets and then they started firing bullets. Many people were badly injured.
“Among the injured were some old men and children. I saw a young girl also lying injured. I have been hit in my leg,” said the man.
The local government initially denied the report about protest. Later, it admitted that there was a “minor incident of procession and some injury.”
Talking to Arab News, S. J. M. Gillani, additional director general of police, said “it was a minor procession and there was no serious injury. We did not fire on any one. We used tear gas.”
However, a local photo journalist (on condition of anonymity) told Arab News that “paramilitary forces first fired in the air, and then fired indiscriminately toward the crowd, causing injures.”
“There are more than a dozen cases of bullet and pellet injuries,” the journalist said.

HIGHLIGHT

The local government initially denied the report about protest. Later, it admitted that there was a ‘minor incident of procession and some injury.’

On Saturday, the local administration relaxed the ban in the city to allow people to do shopping on the eve of Eid.
The valley has been under unprecedented clampdown since Sunday with all the communication networks remaining inaccessible.
The government has kept a close watch on the city to prevent any major violent reaction in the aftermath of the revocation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. However, anger on the street was visible everywhere.
“We are not Indians. We have been occupied by force,” said Samiullah Ashraf, a trader in downtown Srinagar.
“New Delhi thinks that after removing Article 370 the movement will go down. It will go up, quite the opposite,” said Ashraf.
“We are under house arrest, but the Indian media is forced to show to the world that there is normality in the state. This is not true,” Ashraf told Arab News.
Mudashar Rashid, a scientist, said: “The Indian government’s action is not only undemocratic but also against the spirit of secularism and the basic spirit of preamble.
“As a government employee, I have never spoken against the Indian government. But now I have put aside all decorum and I feel like revolting against what the government has done to the Kashmiris.”


North Korea faces lowest crop harvest in 5 years, widespread food shortages -UN

Updated 20 September 2019

North Korea faces lowest crop harvest in 5 years, widespread food shortages -UN

  • South Korea has pledged to provide 50,000 tons of rice aid to its northern neighbor through the UN World Food Programme
  • Sporadic famines are common in North Korea, although a severe nationwide famine in the 1990s killed as many as a million people

SEOUL: North Korea’s crop production this year is expected to drop to its lowest level in five years, bringing serious shortages for 40 percent of the population, as a dry spell and poor irrigation hit an economy already reeling from sanctions over its weapons programs, the United Nations said on Thursday.
In its latest quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the poor harvest of the country’s main crops, rice and maize, means 10.1 million people are in urgent need of assistance.
“Below-average rains and low irrigation availability between mid-April and mid-July, a critical period for crop development, mainly affected the main season rice and maize crops,” the FAO said. The report, which covers cereal supply and demand around the world and identifies countries that need external food aid, didn’t disclose detailed estimates of production by volume.
North Korea has long struggled with food shortages and a dysfunctional state rationing system, and state media has in recent months warned of drought and other “persisting abnormal phenomena.”
The crops shortfall comes as the country bids to contain the spread of African swine fever in its pig herd, following confirmation of a first case in May.
The disease, fatal to pigs though not harmful to humans, has spread into Asia — including South Korea — since first being detected in China last year, resulting in large-scale culls and reduced production of pork, a staple meat across the region including in North Korea.
The FAO report followed earlier UN assessments this year that the isolated country’s food production last year fell to its lowest level in more than a decade amid a prolonged heatwave, typhoon and floods.
South Korea has pledged to provide 50,000 tons of rice aid to its northern neighbor through the UN World Food Programme (WFP). But its delivery has been delayed by Pyongyang’s lukewarm response amid stalled inter-Korean dialogue and denuclearization talks with the United States, Seoul officials said.
In July, the North’s official KCNA news agency said a campaign to mitigate the effects of drought was under way by digging canals and wells, installing pumps, and using people and vehicles to transport water.
But North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of its staff it deploys in the country for aid programs. citing the “politicization of UN assistance by hostile forces.”
Sporadic famines are common in North Korea, but observers said a severe nationwide famine in the 1990s killed as many as a million people.