On 5 August 2019, the Indian Government abolished the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir- an area that has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947.
The special status given under Article 370 allowed Kashmir some autonomy as a state, to have its own constitution, a separate flag, and freedom to make laws.
Since the revocation, Kashmir has to abide by the Indian constitution like all other states; all Indian laws are automatically applicable to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state can now buy property there.
It started with the deployment of 35,000 more troops in the region which was already occupied with half a million Indian troops.
An internet and communication blackout ensued.
A tight curfew was declared; people were locked into their homes, shops and schools were abandoned as tension rose with troops patrolling the streets.
Political leaders, activists, and journalists were detained.
On the 10th of August, footage of protests in Kashmir surfaced. Thousands marched, police fired on protestors, and dozens were injured.
Thousands of villagers living along LOC (Line Of Contact) migrated to safer places fearing artillery fire exchanges across the border.
Pakistan halted its train and bus service to Kashmir, and declared a ban on Indian movies.
On August 12, UNICEF ambassador Priyanka Chopra was accused of encouraging nuclear war during a Q and A session at a cosmetics event in the USA.
Shortly after, the Pakistani government asked the UN Security Council to meet over India’s decision revoking Indian-administered Kashmir’s special status.
Indian troops began using excessive force on protesters in Indian-administered Kashmir, causing life-threatening injuries. Pellet guns and tear gas were among the forces used.
An Indian politician welcomed the status change saying it clears way for Indians from outside the territory to marry Kashmiri women.
Communication and curfew restrictions were reportedly eased for preparation of Eid ul Adha celebration, however they were reinstated once again in fear of anti-government protests.
On 15th August, Jammu and Kashmir’s observed their 73rd Independence Day. A low-key celebration was held which was attended by police and government officials while most civilians were still on house arrest.
Pakistan then observed its 72nd independence day in solidarity with the people of Kashmir, followed by a ‘Black Day’ to coincide with India’s independence day celebrations.
On the 16th of August, the first special UNSC meeting took place after 54 years.
Donald Trump and Imran Khan also had a discussion about Kashmir over the telephone. Later, Trump urged them to ease tensions.
Trump offered to mediate the crisis multiple times, however Indian government refused to follow up that offer.
The next day, heavy fire was reported between Pakistan and India and tension across the borders increased.
Pakistan also announced a Kashmir desk at the ministry and its embassies in foreign capitals to “lobby for Kashmiris and their right to self determination.”
Schools were opened but remained deserted as parents feared for their children.
A report issued that week showed at least 4,000 people were arrested in Indian-administered Kashmir and held under the Public Safety Act, a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.
After Chopra’s statements at the beauty event, Pakistan lodged a complaint against UNICEF ambassador Priyanka Chopra, but to no avail.
On August 22nd, Imran Khan ruled out the possibility of dialogue with India.
A report following a student protest in PoK Muzaffarabad said at least 500 protests and incidents of stone-throwing had occurred since August 5, with more than half taking place in the main city of Srinagar.
On the 30th August 2019, Imran Khan led a rally in Islamabad in solidarity with Kashmir, which was followed by an anti-India rally in Karachi on September 1.
Come 3rd September, Imran Khan asserted that they would not initiate military conflict with India.
“We are two nuclear-armed countries, if tensions rise then there is a danger to the world from this,” Khan said.
Reports of midnight raids and torture inflicted on civilians during them started to surface around the 4th of September.
On 7th September, Pakistan refused a request by India’s President Ram Nath Kovind to fly through its airspace due to New Delhi’s recent “behaviour”. Later, the Pakistan government refused to grant India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace for his September 20 flight to Germany, aswell.
On September 9, the police arrested at least 22 people at a pro-independence protest in Pakistan-administered Kashmir after clashes broke out between authorities and demonstrators, according to police and activists.
According to a report issued on 12th September, authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir arrested nearly 4,000 people since the scrapping of its special status in the previous month as shown by government data- the most clear evidence yet of the scale of one of the disputed region’s biggest crackdowns.
Kashmir’s fruit industry continues to perish as harvesting season passes and the orchards remain abandoned due to the weeks old lockdown. Kashmir is one of the world’s largest apple growing regions; the apple industry is the lifeblood of the economy in Indian-administered Kashmir, involving 3.5 million people, which is around half the population of the state.
On the 13th of September, Pakistan PM held another Kashmir solidarity rally in Pakistan administered Kashmir.
On the same day, The Gates Foundation was criticised over award to be presented to India’s PM Modi.
A statement issued on the 15th of September showed that Kashmir had seen an average of nearly 20 protests a day against Indian rule over the last six weeks.
On September 16, Pro-India Kashmiri politician Farooq Abdullah, 82, was arrested under a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.
Malala broke the silence to tweet about the absence of students in Kashmiri schools, and was met with backlash by India.
September 20, 2019– Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned citizens against joining the fight in Kashmir, saying the Indian authorities were waiting for “any excuse” to crack down on the residents in the Himalayan territory.
“If someone from Pakistan goes to India and he thinks he will fight in Kashmir… the first person he will be inflicting cruelty on is the Kashmiris. He will have acted as an enemy of the Kashmiris.” Khan said during a speech.
September 23, 2019, marks the 50th day of the Kashmir lockdown.
President Donald Trump met Indian PM Narendra Modi and Pakistani PM Imran Khan on the sidelines of the UNGA to take place on September 27. During his time with both premiers he reportedly reiterated his offer to mediate the Kashmir crisis.
On September 26, US officials told reporters they wanted to see restrictions lifted, and noted that PM Modi had rejected their mediation offer.
On September 27, the rival PMs spoke at the UNGA, however Modi avoided to speak about Kashmir at all whereas Khan made it the focal point of his speech, warning the UN of the bloodbath that may ensue if action is not taken.
Turkish President Erdogan also spoke on Kashmir dispute at the UNGA, calling for the UN’s attention.
The next day, Indian security forces ended up killing 4 rebels who had reportedly taken up a hostage inside their house.
According to sources, Kashmiri farmers were leaving apples to rot, signifying the decline in one of the state’s most lucrative exports.
On the 30th September, an Indian diplomat was summoned over accusation of deadly shelling in IOK that resulted in casualties.
October 3, 2019– Kashmiri journalists organized and participated in a protest against the government who has silenced their right to speak.
October 5, 2019 marks the 60th day of Kashmir under lockdown.
On this day, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front also plan on marching from POK to the de facto border in protest of the two month long siege.
Over time, the UN and Amnesty International has issued many statements concerning the “grave situation” in Kashmir but have not taken any kind of action to help. Countries such as Turkey and China have offered their support to Pakistan whereas others have chosen to stay out of this “regional” conflict.