Dozens of mainstream political leaders and workers have been under detention in Indian-administered Kashmir since August, when India stripped the region of its semi-autonomous status. Sameer Yasir reports on why political workers in the valley feel betrayed.
Saleem Mir stood pensively by the window of his room overlooking the Jhelum river, which cuts through the heart of Srinagar and flows into Pakistan.
Mr Mir, who toiled for years to get people to vote for Kashmir’s oldest political party, the pro-India National Conference, now feels like a total outcast in his own homeland.
Kashmiris like Mr Mir are used to being branded as “traitors” by their own people for siding with India during the 30-year armed revolt against Delhi’s rule in the Muslim-majority region. Many have relatives or friends who have been killed by militants for siding with India.
“Now we are also enemies in the eyes of India,” said Mr Mir, who belongs to Kulgam district, a region that has witnessed a spiral of deadly violence in recent years.
‘Enemies of India’
In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) oversaw a crackdown that they argued was necessary to prevent disorder in the disputed region.
It was stripped of its autonomy, split it into two federally-run territories, put under a lockdown, and most of the state’s political leaders and workers, including those who have been loyal to India, were incarcerated.
“Our intention is that…