As Occupied Kashmir enters fourth week of lock down, the news coming out is not encouraging, it talks of blatant violations of international law and human rights, torture of young Kashmiris and violation of honor of Kashmiri women. Unfortunately international community has just looked the other side, some of our friends in Middle East have awarded Modi with highest civilian awards. Pakistan has to keep up the ante and raise the issue of Human Rights violations at every forum and on daily basis.

Within last two weeks Soura and its people have made headlines on BBC, Al Jazeera, Press TV and France 24. AFP reports on Soura are eye opening for India and international community. Soura is a medium sized locality on the outskirts of Srinagar in the North West along Anchar Lake, one of the famous mosques Janab Saeb is also located in Soura, and has become a symbol of defiance against the Indian Occupation Forces.

As reported by AFP on 24th Aug, clashes were reported after Friday(23 Aug)prayers at Soura in Srinagar in India-administered Kashmir. The situation got tense after incidents of stone-pelting were reported at the site.

Since Indian Army and Intelligence agencies have tried to block information from Occupied Kashmir, Social Media has become a major source of information, though scanty. One activist remarked, “Thanks a lot for ‘Sharing’ this excellent piece about the “Valor And Resolve of Soura residents, in facing the wretched brutality of the Murderer MODI & His Military And RSS Juggernaut” .Another remarked, “What a great resolve to resist the brutal Military hordes & the RSS rascals in fake garbs of Military”.

Some of the international media outlets and news agencies have described the mood by quoting the sentiments of people of Soura, “We won’t give an inch’: India faces defiance in ‘Kashmir’s Gaza’. Selected paras from AFP report are being posted below to highlight the spirit of Soura Fortress:

AFP report suggests that Soura neighborhood has sealed itself off from Indian security forces. Young men sit beside a pile of rocks and a bonfire, protecting the only entrance to a besieged neighborhood they call “Kashmir’s Gaza” as a mosque loudspeaker broadcasts slogans of liberation. In an act of defiance against New Delhi’s controversial decision to strip the Muslim-majority region of its autonomy, Soura neighborhood on the outskirts of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar has sealed itself off from security forces. Since early August, residents have erected ramshackle barricades of tin sheets, wooden logs, oil tanks and concrete pillars, and dug trenches to keep soldiers at bay amid daily protests against India.

“They can only enter Soura over our bodies. We won’t give even an inch of land to India,” Mufeed, a resident who volunteers to guard the neighborhood at night, told AFP. “Just like Gaza is resisting Israel, we will fight for our motherland with all our might,” Mufeed added.

Despite curfew imposed by Indian army and LEAs, now numbering closer to one million, protests have broken out, with the lower-middle class Soura leading the way. At least 15,000 people rallied on August 9, the biggest demonstration in Kashmir so far.They were met by security forces firing live ammunition, tear gas and pellet guns to disperse the crowds, with more than two dozen people reportedly injured. The crowd shouted ‘Go India, go back’ .

The renowned mosque Jenab Saeb has become an assembly point for thousands of protesters in the neighborhood. Every night, residents march through its narrow lanes, carrying torches and passing graffiti with the words “Freedom for Kashmir” and “Go India, go back”.

Police forces, who have deployed drones and helicopters, tried to enter Soura at least three times but were pushed back by stone-throwing youth, some also armed with axes and harpoons. Familiar with police’s crowd-dispersing tactics, protesters use saltwater to wash their faces after chilli and tear gas are fired, and wear helmets and glasses to protect themselves against pellets.

“They (India) are testing our resilience and they will definitely fail,” local Nahida told AFP. “We defeated them last time and even if this situation continues for years, we won’t give-in.”

Soura resident Rafiq Mansoor Shah said many locals shared his misgivings about Abdullah’s decision to accede to India. Despite Indian gimmickry, many Soura natives like Shah believe New Delhi has “nefarious plans to grab our land”. “Because of (the Abdullah family’s) greed for power.. we have become slaves of India. We are trying to correct the historical mistake,we are trying to lead and inspire the rest of Kashmir,” he told AFP.

CFL is very hot and the extensive exchange of fire indicates that Kashmir conflict could implode into a devastating war.

PM’s interview with NYT and his recent address to the nation has clearly spelt out the environment in South Asia and specter of a nuclear holocaust. India pretends that she can bulldoze her way through, while international community looks the other way. Apparently international community has condoned India for all her actions and pushed the region to the brink of a new war.

With reports of more atrocities in Occupied Kashmir, the chances of a humanitarian catastrophe are increasing. Is Pakistan losing time? As reported by BBC, a doctor in Srinagar was arrested for appealing to Indian government to open internet, as health care system connected to internet is non- functioning in hospitals and people may die.

Soura is just one story of 15000 people, one can only imagine the pain and oppression inflicted in other cities ,town and villages across Occupied Kashmir where a collective punishment has been imposed on 14 Million Kashmiris. This collective punishment is in all domains; political, social, economic, psychological and moral. This includes sleep deprivation, night raids, food and medicine shortages, economic strangulation(fruit and tourism which form the main stay of economy of Occupied Kashmir have been totally blocked with apple season is going dry), reports of destruction of orchards and maize crop, cutting of Kashmiri diaspora from their kith and kins in occupied Kashmir, denial of health cards for critical patients, non-issuance of death certificates, wholesale arrests of youth from almost every house, terrorizing houses with no male members and the list goes on.

Indian Army and intelligence agencies are playing havoc with 14 million Kashmiris. If International community keeps sleeping on these atrocities and Human Rights violations, South Asia will move into a conflict sooner than later. RSS agenda of imposition of Nazi ideology is fully exposed. Even moderate Muslim leaders in India have started raising voices. Message from Syed Sarwar Chishti of Ajmer Sharif is eye opening and India must realize that sentiments in occupied Kashmir have started resonating in 300 million Muslims (as stated by Syed Sarwar Chishti).

While political parties are discussing One year of PTI, there is a need to leave all these narratives and focus on Occupied Kashmir. After all, passive policy of last 15 years emboldened India to take this step. Those who are critical of present leadership for handling of Kashmir cause and UNSC discussion should look inwards for keeping the issue buried for half a century.