Violent protests rock Pakistan-occupied Kashmir over heavy taxation, two killed in police firing

  • Protests were held in Samahni, Sehansa, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Khuiratta, Tattapani, Hattian Bala, all in PoK against heavy taxation, high inflation, and electricity shortage.

Written By Saurav Mukherjee
Updated11 May 2024
 A policeman in an attempt to distort the protesters, fire tear gas, pellets, and bullets in the air.
A policeman in an attempt to distort the protesters, fire tear gas, pellets, and bullets in the air.

With people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) protesting against heavy taxation, high inflation, and electricity shortage, Pakistani government is carrying out a massive crackdown on residents.

According to several reports, the business remained closed and normal life was affected in PoK's capital Muzaffarabad.

Also, police – the Pakistani Rangers and the local police – in an attempt to distort the protesters, fired tear gas, pellets, and bullets in the air. Two protesters have died in the attack by the police. 

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Several videos emerged where policemen were seen firing AK-47s in the air and even towards the crowds. 

Why people are protesting: 

On Friday, the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JKJAAC) had called for a shutter-down and wheel-jam strike in Muzaffarabad, following which the police, reported The Dawn, adding demonstrators pelted stones at the police.

Protests were held in Samahni, Sehansa, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Khuiratta, Tattapani, Hattian Bala, all in PoK.

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The report by The Dawn claims that after several of its leaders and activists were arrested by police in overnight raids in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur divisions, the JKJAAC gave the strike call for Friday.

The JKJACC in April announced that people from across the state would stage a long march towards Muzaffarabad on May 11. Also, they were upset with 'unjust' taxes levied on electricity bills and had observed a similar shutter-down strike in August 2023.

The Dawn mentioned that the JKJAAC movement sought electricity should be provided to consumers following the production cost of hydro-power in the state.

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After the strike call by JKJACC, the Chief Secretary of the PoK had written to the Secretary of the Interior Division in Islamabad and request for six civil armed forces (CAF) platoons for security.

In the letter, Chief Secretary Dawood Muhammad Bareach, in his letter of April 22, said: “We are (now) faced with calls for shutter down and wheel-jam strikes from May 11 onwards given by the sub-nationalists and other disgruntled subversive elements. They intend to create a law and order situation by forcibly closing markets and disrupting public service delivery.”

India must act:

Political activist from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) Amjad Ayub Mirza said India cannot remain aloof from the current situation in PoJK and must act now. 

In a statement, he said, "India cannot remain aloof from the current situation in Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir. At the moment, our people are fighting. The whole of Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir has been shut down by peaceful protesters who are being beaten up and shot at by the Pakistan police, Punjab police, the so-called Azad Kashmir Police and the FC."

"Situation is getting out of hand. It already is actually out of hand. and India now should focus all its attention on Pakistani-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and help and facilitate the independence of this occupied territory, including Gilgit-Baltistan," he added.

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Calling on India to act considering the situation in PoJK, he said, "The situation is getting worse by the day. India must act. India has to act. India must not follow the footsteps of previous governments where they thought that by ignoring Pakistani-occupied Jammu and Kashmir it can be business as usual. It is not business as usual. And if today the Indian government does not step up their efforts to free PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan then this golden chance of our freedom will wither away."

PoK belongs to India: Amit Shah

Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while hitting out at Congress, said that the grand old party wants to give up India's rights over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

He added that PoK belongs to India and India will take it.

With agency inputs. 

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