In March 2020, when countries around the world started imposing COVID-19 lockdowns Kashmir was just emerging from a lockdown of its own. Several months prior, in August 2019 the government of India revoked the special status that Kashmir had enjoyed since the partition of India in 1947. This sparked mass protests, violence and a heavy handed government response — including curfews and an internet shutdown.
But just as restrictions were slowly being lifted in the early part of 2020, COVID emerged and the Indian government opted to invoke COVID to impose new restrictions on the people of Kashmir. This includes new citizenship laws and restrictions on press freedom.
My guest today, Adnan Bhat is a journalist in Kashmir who has documented how COVID-19 has served as a pretext to advance policies that abrogate the rights of people in Kashmir. His article on this was published as part of the Stanley Center’s “Red Flags or Resilience Series?” that uses journalism to explore the connections between the coronavirus pandemic and the factors for risk and resilience to mass violence and atrocities around the world.