Saturday, August 30, 2008

Indian civil society calls for international intervention in Kashmir: Daily Times

Indian civil society calls for international intervention in Kashmir
* Indian troops beat up ambulance drivers, two pregnant women die without medical attention
* Hundreds of injured left without healthcare
* Severe shortage of food, medicine
Daily Times, August 30, 2008

SRINAGAR: Indian intellectuals and civil society activists called for international intervention to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Indian-held Kashmir, after a stern curfew led to a shortage of medicine, baby milk and essentials, and left hundreds of injured without healthcare.

Two pregnant women have died since Tuesday as Indian troops refused to allow them to go to maternity hospitals, according to a statement sent out on Wednesday, and ambulance drivers were beaten up as dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured along with their attendants were stranded at hospitals. Medical personnel were not able to attend their duties as hostile Indian troops deployed on the streets were not honouring identity cards and curfew passes.

“In view of the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the media blackout of the events in Kashmir, we call upon the international humanitarian agencies, particularly the United Nations bodies and the world press, to intervene immediately to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Kashmir,” said the statement, signed by a number of noted social activists and civil society organistions.

“Owing to the strict curfew, hundreds of the injured lying in various hospitals of Kashmir are not able to get critical medicines and the attendants are without food. . . The sick and the injured are not able to reach hospitals, resulting in deaths. Attendants of dozens of dead in various hospitals in Kashmir are awaiting transport for the final rites.” The Indian government has indiscriminately banned all newspapers, short message services on mobile phones, and all news and current affairs programmes on local cable TV channels as part of an information blackout. “The flow of information has completely stopped for the first time in the history of Kashmir and no newspaper has been able to publish in last 3 days,” according to the civil society statement. “Such communications blockade is resulting in loss of news about the unfolding events, blackout of significant happenings in Kashmir’s countryside – where currently media has no access – and which is tightly controlled by the army. We call upon the international community to call upon the government of India to lift the communications blockade without any delay.”

The Indian civil society condemned the use of heavy force to thwart peaceful protests, resulting in the killing of 50 civilians. They also condemned an alleged attack by militants that resulted in three civilian deaths. “In view of the four days of stringent restrictions on people’s movement and heavy clampdown by the state forces across the 10 districts of Kashmir, including Srinagar city, we appeal the international community to ask the government of India to immediately ease curfew restrictions so that people are able to access basic essentials.” daily times monitor

Also See:
Summer of discontent - ANANYA JAHANARA KABIR - The Hindu
Kashmir press muzzled, overtly and covertly - Greater

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