Lawmaker in India quits to protest New Delhi crackdown in Kashmir

A prominent Kashmiri politician has resigned from India’s parliament to protest an ongoing crackdown by Indian government forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Tariq Hameed Karra quit on Thursday to express his anger at the “brutal policy” adopted by Indian Premier Narendra Modi’s administration in the Muslim-majority valley.

Karra also strongly condemned his People’s Democratic Party for its state-level alliance with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He accused the New Delhi government of brutality and insensitivity toward Kashmir.

“Kashmiri blood is being spilled on the walls, lanes and drains of the valley,” Karra told reporters in Srinagar, the main city in Kashmir, on Thursday.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said that the mass closure of mosques in Kashmir seriously hampered Eid al-Adha rituals this week.

“For the first time in history, the people of Kashmir were not allowed to offer Eid prayers. Certain shrines and even the Grand Mosque were locked,” he said.

Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, marked the culmination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Most residents in Kashmir remained indoors for the Islamic ritual

Indian authorities did not allow congregational Eid prayers in the main mosques and grounds in the Muslim-majority region, but prayers were held by people in small neighborhood mosques.

Tariq Hameed Karra, a Kashmiri lawmaker in the Indian parliament

Indian-controlled Kashmir has witnessed violence since early July, when Burhan Wani, a top figure in a pro-independence group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops in Kokernag area. More than 80 people have lost their lives ever since.

There are an estimated 500,000 Indian troops currently deployed in the restive territory. The country has imposed a curfew across large parts of the territory since July.

Curfews, communication blackouts and a tightening crackdown have failed to halt the protests against Indian rule in Kashmir in recent years.

Kashmir lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947.

Police detain prominent Kashmiri rights activist

Meanwhile, Indian authorities have detained Khurram Parvez, a prominent rights activist in Kashmir, after he was barred from traveling to the Swiss city of Geneva to participate in a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Police arrested Khurram Parvez at his home in Srinagar late Thursday night.

Police have given no details about potential charges against the activist.

This came a day after immigration officials at New Delhi’s international airport barred Parvez from boarding a plane to Geneva despite him having a valid visa and letter of invitation from the UN body.