Militarization, Surveillance, and Silencing: The 75th Year of Indian Occupation in Kashmir

In this report, we document and highlight the recent strategies employed by the Indian government to advance its settler-colonial project in Indian-occupied Kashmir. While an all-out armed war against Kashmiris remains in force on the ground, India has been opening other fronts of this war at a rapid and aggressive pace.

The report has broadly been divided into five sections. Each section of the report documents a different strategy the Indian government uses to ensure the success of its settler-colonial project in Kashmir. Since the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status in 2019, the Indian government has taken a more brutal approach to quashing the resistance of the Kashmiri people against its illegitimate rule, while also advancing a program of demographic change and resource extraction.

Section I details

The widespread crackdown on Kashmiri lives including:

  • ‘Anti-encroachment drive’ to grab land and evict Kashmiris from their homes,
  • Incarceration of human rights defenders and pro-freedom leadership,
  • Harassment, illegal imprisonment, and criminal intimidation of journalists, no-fly lists,
  • Firing, intimidation, and arrests of academics,
  • Stifling the religious freedom of Kashmiri Muslims and,
  • Profiling and attacks on Kashmiris who study or work in India.

Section II details

India's increased global network built to help facilitate Kashmir's occupation including:

  • Israel’s increased support to India in funding, arms trade, and surveillance including facial recognition technology and security drones to help terrorize Kashmiri civilians,
  • Investments from United Arab Emirates to develop settler-colonial infrastructure on ground while promoting India’s narrative of “progress” in Kashmir and,
  • Social media tactics such as shadow banning, geo-blocking, and suspending pro-freedom accounts, and forcing companies within India and Indian-occupied Kashmir to share user information with the Indian government in order to detain them.

Section III details

Examines the Indian government's 'normalization' policies including:

  • The use of Indian travel influencers to promote tourism using signs saying ‘Kashmir is Safe’ or ‘Kashmir is Normal’,
  • Organizing Indian-state sponsored music, art, literature and cultural festivals in collaboration with local artists, whose participation is exploited to show acceptance of India by Kashmiris and,
  • ‘Militarized Humanitarianism’ in the form of army-sponsored sports and charity events.

Section IV details

Explains the economic and ecological ramifications post-2019 including:

  • The Indian government’s strategy of limiting Kashmiri trade to Indian markets, incentivizing decrease in local rice cultivation, choking Kashmir’s fruit industry by stranding fruit exports or importing competition,
  • During the world’s longest communication blockade in Kashmir by India, the government auctioned mineral extraction contracts online, a vast majority of which were grabbed by Indian businesses
  • Rising deforestation caused by India’s “development” as thousands of trees were cut to make roads for the transit of Indian army vehicles and more settler infrastructure and,
  • The near-extinction of the indigenous Kashmiri deer Hangul which shrunk dramatically due to rampant poaching done by outsiders to the region.

Section V details

Documents the aggressive approach taken by India to put technology in service of its occupation in Kashmir such as:

  • Use of high-security drones for surveillance and the deployment of Israeli-style ‘Facial Recognition Technology’,
  • ‘Twitter Ops’ used by India to cultivate an online discourse of ‘India-loving Kashmiris’ (this has been debunked by the Stanford Internet Observatory)

Digital censorship of Kashmir

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