As heavily armed Israeli soldiers continue to target and kill the Palestinians who gathered near Gaza’s border with Israel to “March for Return,” a peaceful demonstration to mark the anniversary of the 1976 expropriation of Arab-owned land by the Israeli government — also known as the Land Day — there is similar violence unfolding in another part of the world that is going almost completely unnoticed.
A fresh wave of deadly violence claimed at least 20 lives in Indian-occupied Kashmir, including 13 suspected militants, four civilians and three Indian soldiers. Dozens of people were also injured after law enforcement officials open fired on the demonstrators who had taken to the streets in the city of Srinagar and adjoining areas to protest against the Indian government.
With more locals groups calling for more protests in coming days, Indian authorities claim they are getting ready to face more violence, even though the most these protesters have are stones picked off the streets while the soldiers and police are not only heavily armed but don’t hesitate before firing into the crowds.
Given the ongoing violence, schools, shops and businesses have been shut closed.
The decades-old conflict in Kashmir may not have garnered much international hype but the dispute has been there since 1947 and has cost tens of thousands of lives.
In fact, as The Washington Post reported, the Indian military crackdown has killed nearly 70,000 people in the occupied territory.
Kashmir is an 86,000-square-mile region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The region is disputed upon by the neighboring India and Pakistan. The two nuclear-armed countries have been fighting over the area since both countries gained their independence in 1947.
Both claim the territory in full but rule it in part. India controls about 45 percent of Kashmir whereas 35 percent comes under Pakistan. Another 20 percent of the territory falls under China, which India claims Pakistan has ceded to the neighboring country.
A 700-km Line of Control separates India- and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir.
Although the violence in the Indian-occupied area never truly ceded, the conflict has barely been able to make international headlines despite the magnitude of human rights violations being committed by the armed forces against civilians.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Danish Ismail