A delegation composed of human rights defenders, left-wing political activists and Belgian-born Indian economist Jean Drèze, who returned from Kashmir on Tuesday, published a report on the alarming situation in the state after the loss. autonomy status, revoked by New Delhi.
With our correspondent in New Delhi, Antoine Guinard
The four members of this delegation, who have traveled the region for five days and discussed with its inhabitants, paint a dark picture, which contrasts sharply with the version of the Indian government .
This is a ten-page report entitled "Caged Cashmere" that the delegation presented at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Its authors denounce the anger of the overwhelming majority of Kashmiris they met, after the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gave Kashmir a special status of autonomy.
They also mention the repression, with practically one soldier per ten inhabitants in the region, and the blackout of the media , sometimes accomplices of the government.
For the economist Jean Drèze, one of the members of the delegation, the military presence aims above all to create a climate of fear among the local population. " The purpose of this military presence is not to arrest terrorists or defend the border against an attack from Pakistan . The main objective is to control the local population and to avoid any demonstration, as peaceful as it is. "
The picture portrayed by activist Kavita Krishnan is equally disturbing. " The anger is immense in the region, we did not meet a single person except a spokesman of the BJP [ruling party, ed] in Jammu who is in favor of this decision. And this feeling of anger is exacerbated by the media saying that everything is fine, while it's hell ! There is a feeling of imprisonment and people are forbidden to express themselves. The situation is extremely gloomy there ... "
" As a women's rights activist, I would like to add that the claims that these measures will liberate women in the region are totally false," Kavita Krishnan insists . There is a strong history in Kashmir , everyone gave us history lessons, and explained to us that Article 370 was the bridge between India and Kashmir, that this bridge had been destroyed, and that it would have serious consequences. "
Jean Drèze and his partners have gathered valuable testimonies from Kashmiris who claim to live in an open-air prison. The delegation also posted on YouTube a nine-minute video tour of his trip to Kashmir. A compilation of anonymous pictures and testimonials, which corroborates the content of their report.