India Eases Restrictions in Kashmir for Islamic Festival - NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

India Eases Restrictions in Kashmir for Islamic Festival

Authorities appear to be acting with utmost caution because of a fear of a backlash from residents who have been forced to stay indoors since last Monday

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    India Eases Restrictions in Kashmir for Islamic Festival
    TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images
    Security personnel stand guard during a lockdown in Srinagar in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 10, 2019.

    Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said they eased restrictions in the region's main city for a third straight day on Sunday ahead of a major Islamic festival, following India's move to strip the region of its constitutional autonomy and impose an indefinite curfew.

    More than 250 ATMs were made functional in Srinagar and bank branches opened for people to withdraw money ahead of Monday's Eid al-Adha festival, city administrator Shahid Choudhary said in a tweet.

    There was no immediate independent confirmation of reports by authorities that people were visiting shopping areas for festival purchases, as all communications and the internet remained cut off for a seventh day.

    The New Delhi Television News channel showed video of jeeps fitted with loudspeakers moving in the region after lunchtime, telling people to return to their homes and shopkeepers to shut markets. NDTV said the move may have been prompted by sporadic clashes that took place in Srinagar after the restrictions were relaxed on Saturday.

    Footage Shows Mom's Pleas as Baby is Rescued From Hot Car

    [NATL] Footage Shows Mom's Emotional Pleas After Baby Rescued From Hot Car

    Police released footage of a mother who said she accidentally left her 5-month-old in a car for half an hour in a Goodyear, Arizona, parking lot when she, her sister and other daughter went into the store. Officers are heard on camera saying it was about 99 degrees outside. 

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019)

    Authorities appear to be acting with utmost caution because of a fear of a backlash from residents who have been forced to stay indoors since last Monday. The restrictions were briefly eased for the first time on Friday, when residents were allowed to attend mosque prayers.

    The predominantly Muslim area has been under the lockdown and near-total communications blackout to prevent unrest and protests after India's Hindu nationalist-led government said last Monday that it was revoking Kashmir's special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood. Thousands of Indian troops have been deployed to the area.

    On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi, a leader of India's main opposition Congress party, said there were reports of violence and "people dying" in the region. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Gandhi said "things are going very wrong there," and called for the Indian government to make clear what is happening.

    Authorities in Srinagar said Saturday night that there had been instances of stone pelting by protesters but no gun firing by security forces in the past six days. Television images showed cars and people moving in some parts of Kashmir.

    State-run All India Radio quoted the region's top bureaucrat, Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, as saying that people were coming out of their homes for Eid shopping.

    Junior Home Minister G. Kishan Reddy said he expected the situation in Kashmir to become "fully peaceful" in 10-15 days.

    Campaign Teaches Bystanders to Save Lives During Shootings

    [NATL] 'Stop the Bleed' Campaign Teaches Bystanders How to Save Lives During Shootings

    There's a renewed push for first aid training following the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton—specifically training in techniques that slow or stop heavy bleeding. The training itself is just five steps. 

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019)

    He said communication facilities would be restored in phases. "We have only taken precautionary measures with the view that even small incidents should not occur when a major decision has been made," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted him as saying.

    Reddy said there had been occasions in the past when a curfew had continued for weeks at a stretch, but there was no such expectation now.

    On Thursday, Modi assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as the region is known, that normalcy would gradually return and that the government was ensuring that the current restrictions do not dampen the Islamic festival.

    New Delhi rushed tens of thousands of additional soldiers to one of the world's most militarized regions to prevent unrest and protests after Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government announced it was revoking Kashmir's special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood. Modi said the move was necessary to free the region of "terrorism and separatism."

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Sunday on Twitter that India's crackdown was an attempt to change the demographics of Kashmir by introducing Hindu supremacy to the Muslim-majority area. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made similar comments a day earlier.

    On Saturday, Pakistan said that with the support of China, it will take up India's unilateral actions in Kashmir with the U.N. Security Council and may approach the U.N. Human Rights Commission over what it says is the "genocide" of the Kashmiri people.

    S.C. Storm Lifts, Throws Restaurant Worker Onto Roof

    [NATL] S.C. Storm Lifts, Throws Restaurant Worker Onto Roof

    Two employees at a South Carolina restaurant were injured after a strong gust of wind from a storm lifted them into the air as they tried to secure a tent. Samuel Foster was one of the injured when he was lifted into the air and hit the gutter on the roof on his way down. 

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019)

    Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan and is divided between the archrivals. Rebels have been fighting New Delhi's rule for decades in the Indian-controlled portion, and most Kashmiri residents want either independence or a merger with Pakistan.

    "When a demographic change is made through force, it's called genocide, and you are moving toward genocide," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad after returning from Beijing.

    With India moving to erase the constitutional provision that prohibited outsiders from buying property in Jammu and Kashmir state, Indians from the rest of the country can now purchase real estate and apply for government jobs there. Some fear this may lead to a demographic and cultural change in the Muslim-majority region.

    Qureshi also said that while Pakistan is not planning to take any military action, it is ready to counter any potential aggression by India.

    India's ambassador to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, left Islamabad on Saturday night after Pakistan retaliated against India by lowering diplomatic ties. Fourteen other Indian mission officials and their families also left Islamabad, airport official Mohammad Wasim Ahmed said.

    A regional political party from Kashmir petitioned the Supreme Court to strike down the government's move to scrap the region's special status and divide the state into two federal territories. An opposition Congress party activist has already filed a petition challenging the communications blockade and the detentions of Kashmiri leaders.

    Philadelphia Police Commissioner Has Resigned Over Mismanagement Of Sexual Harassment Allegations

    [NATL]  Philadelphia Police Commissioner Has Resigned Over Mismanagement Of Sexual Harassment Allegations

    The Mayor, Jim Kenney, said Richard Ross did not put policies in place to protect its employees from sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019)

    Associated Press writer Zarar Khan contributed to this report.