‘I don’t know if my wife’s alive’ says British man after Kashmir lockdown

Sep 4th, 2019 | Category: Kashmir News
Basit Mahmood

Wanting only to be identified by his first name, Adeel, 33, says he doesn’t know if his ‘wife is even alive’ after a communications blackout was imposed on the region’s 7 million residents on August 4 by the Indian government.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, he said: ‘I feel like no one cares.

‘I will have to fly out to find out more about how she is or where she is, my mum and dad don’t want me to go, because it’s quite dangerous out there, but I feel like I have to go.

‘I have no other option.’

Adeel was married to his wife who is from Srinagar, Kashmir, 18 months ago and has asked for her name not to be published over concerns for her safety.

He said the last he heard from his wife, she had to be driven for three hours by her brother, just so they were able to receive a phone signal to contact him.

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - AUGUST 30: An armed Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard on August 30, 2019 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. Indian authorities deployed thousands of government forces in Kashmir after India revoked articles 370 and 35A. Journalists continue to face harassment, obstruction and threats and media face a continued communications blackout, as the lockdown continues. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define permanent residents of the state and provided special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, also preventing non-locals from buying or owning property in the state. Prior to 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under the British Empire. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order. The Constitution Order 1954, (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) was issued by the President of India on 14 May, 1954 in accordance with Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has been a state under siege, with both India and Pakistan laying claim to it. Human rights organizations say more than 80,000 have died in the two decade long conflict with the Indian government claiming the number as 42,000. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images) (

An armed Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard on August 30, 2019 in Srinagar, the capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India (Picture: Getty Images)

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - AUGUST 18: Stones thrown by Kashmiri protesters at Indian forces lie in the road in the Habba Kadal after a protest against revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A, on August 18, 2019 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. Curfew like restrictions remain in place in Kashmir for the fourteenth consecutive day after India revoked articles 370 and 35A, and phone and internet services also remained suspended. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define permanent residents of the state and provided special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, also preventing non-locals from buying or owning property in the state. Prior to 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under the British Empire. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order. The Constitution Order 1954, (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) was issued by the President of India on 14 May, 1954 in accordance with Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has been a state under siege, with both India and Pakistan laying claim to it. Human rights organizations say more than 80,000 have died in the two decade long conflict with the Indian government claiming the number as 42,000. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images)

Stones thrown by Kashmiri protesters at Indian forces lie in the road (Picture: Getty Images)

Adeel added she sounded ‘frightened’ and the situation had taken a toll on him both physically and mentally.

He appealed to the Foreign Office to help him and said ‘all I want to do is start a family.

‘I’m close to tears even speaking about it.’

Adeel said that he has been following the news about mass arrests and allegations of the Indian army torturing civilians, as well as social media reports of ‘mass graves’ which has made him worry even more.

Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority region, has been placed under curfew for nearly a month, with internet and phone services cut.

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - AUGUST 30: Kashmiri Muslim protesters try to douse an erupting teargas shell during a protest against Indian rule and the revocation of Kashmir's special status, on August 30, 2019 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. Dozens of Kashmir Muslim protesters were wounded in the Aanchar aera of Srinagar the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, after Indian government forces fired metal pellets and teargas shells at them when they were protesting against Indian rule and revocation of Kashmiri's special status. Indian authorities have deployed its thousands of government forces in Kashmir for the last four weeks after India revoked articles 370 and 35A, media face a continued communications blackout, as the lockdown enters its fourth week. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define permanent residents of the state and provided special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, also preventing non-locals from buying or owning property in the state. Prior to 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under the British Empire. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order. The Constitution Order 1954, (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) was issued by the President of India on 14 May, 1954 in accordance with Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has been a state under siege, with both India and Pakistan laying claim to it. Human rights organizations say more than 80,000 have died in the two decade long conflict with the Indian government claiming the number as 42,000. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images)

Kashmiri protesters try to douse an erupting teargas shell during a protest against Indian rule and the revocation of Kashmir’s special status, on August 30, 2019 in Srinagar (Picture: Getty Images)

TOPSHOT - Security personnel stand guard on a street in Srinagar on August 30, 2019. - Thousands rallied across Pakistan on August 30 in mass demonstrations protesting Delhi's actions in Indian-administered Kashmir in the most ambitious public protests targeting India in years. (Photo by Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP)TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images

Human rights groups have expressed Kashmir over what’s happening in Kashmir (Picture: AFP)

Hundreds of people have been arrested, including opposition politicians and local activists.

A senior local government official, who spoke to the Washington Post, said that children were among the 3,000 people who had been detained.

The region was placed in lockdown after Indian PM Modi revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted autonomy to Kashmir, meaning the region got its own constitution, a separate flag and the freedom to make laws.

However, the Indian government has revoked Kashmir’s special status, deciding to split the region into two territories governed directly by Delhi.

Human rights groups have expressed their concern over what is happening in Kashmir, one of the most militarised regions in the world.

Mohammad Siddiq, 70, who was wounded a day before shows his pellet ridden back as his wife stands beside him inside a hospital in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. The elderly Kashmiri man says he was wounded when an Indian police man fired a pellet gun at him while returning home from a mosque badly damaging his left eye. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin)

Mohammad Siddiq, 70, who was wounded in protests in Kashmir shows his pellet ridden back as his wife stands beside him (Picture: AP)

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - AUGUST 17: Indian government forces stand guard amid curfew like restrictions in the old city, after Indian authorities revoked Article 370 and Article 35A, on August 17, 2019 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. Curfew like restrictions remain in place in Kashmir for the thirteenth consecutive day after India revoked articles 370 and 35A, and phone and internet services also remained suspended. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define permanent residents of the state and provided special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, also preventing non-locals from buying or owning property in the state. Prior to 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under the British Empire. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order. The Constitution Order 1954, (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) was issued by the President of India on 14 May, 1954 in accordance with Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has been a state under siege, with both India and Pakistan laying claim to it. Human rights organizations say more than 80,000 have died in the two decade long conflict with the Indian government claiming the number as 42,000. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images)

Indian government forces stand guard amid curfew like restrictions in Kashmir (Picture: Getty Images)

Nearly 6,000 single or mass graves have been found in Kashmir since 2008.

In the latest round of violence, it is alleged that the Indian army has used teargas, chilli grenades and pellets to disperse protesters, according to a number of civilians.

The Foreign Office says it is aware of the situation in Kashmir and has been contacted for comment.

What are the roots of the Kashmir conflict?

  • During the partition of India in 1947, the area was divided among mainly religious lines; Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.
  • Some expected Jammu and Kashmir, like other Muslim-majority regions, to go to Pakistan.
  • Kashmir was free to decide whether it wanted to be part of India or Pakistan.
  • The ruler of the princely state, which had a Muslim majority, had initially wanted Jammu and Kashmir to become independent, but decided to join India in return for help against an invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan.
  • War broke out between India and Pakistan, and Kashmir effectively became partitioned along what is now known as the Line of Control.
  • The region, which remains one of the most militarised zones in the world, has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than six decades.

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