As the world experiences a lockdown for the first time, the long suffering people of Kashmir are in their tenth month of lockdown.

Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir - For seven million residents of India-administered Kashmir, lockdowns are not new - but had made the month of Ramadan all the more harder.

Manzoor Ahmad, a pharmacy owner breaking his fast at his shop. The hospitals with poor infrastructure in the region have been struggling to meet the health crisis caused by pandemic. There have been more than 1,000 positive coronavirus cases and 19 deaths. India-administered Kashmir continues under lockdown to combat the virus.
Manzoor Ahmad, a pharmacy owner breaking his fast at his shop. The hospitals with poor infrastructure in the region have been struggling to meet the health crisis caused by pandemic. There have been more than 1,000 positive coronavirus cases and 19 deaths. India-administered Kashmir continues under lockdown to combat the virus. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

Kashmiris have been struggling with hardships as the government has imposed a strict lockdown for the last three months to combat the highly contagious coronavirus. This is the second lockdown in the disputed region, that had slowly started to turn to normalcy only in February. 

Ghulam Mohiudin sells dried corn outside a shrine in Srinagar, in India-administered Kashmir. Due to the repeated lockdowns in the region it had caused unemployment and given setback to the region’s economy. While there have been relaxations at many places in India, the strict restrictions in Kashmir continue due to coronavirus.
Ghulam Mohiudin sells dried corn outside a shrine in Srinagar, in India-administered Kashmir. Due to the repeated lockdowns in the region it had caused unemployment and given setback to the region’s economy. While there have been relaxations at many places in India, the strict restrictions in Kashmir continue due to coronavirus. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

The first lockdown in the region started in August 5 last year, when the Indian-government stripped the disputed region of its limited autonomy triggering outrage and protests. 

The move was followed by repressive measures of a complete communication lockdown and severe military restrictions. 

Khadija, a destitute woman sitting on the stairs of a mosque in Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir, as places of worship are under lockdown in the holy month of Ramadan.
Khadija, a destitute woman sitting on the stairs of a mosque in Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir, as places of worship are under lockdown in the holy month of Ramadan. (TRTWorld)
Muhammad Tahir Shah, a lone worshipper at a mosque in India-administered Kashmir.
Muhammad Tahir Shah, a lone worshipper at a mosque in India-administered Kashmir. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)
Women feed dried corn to pigeons in the main city of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir.
Women feed dried corn to pigeons in the main city of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

Repeated lockdowns in the region have led to unprecedented economic loss and mental trauma.

An indoor sports stadium that has been turned into a quarantine centre for Covid-19 cases in India-administered Kashmir. Cases have crossed 1,000 and continue to rise. Hundred of hotels, schools and sports centres have been turned into quarantine centres.
An indoor sports stadium that has been turned into a quarantine centre for Covid-19 cases in India-administered Kashmir. Cases have crossed 1,000 and continue to rise. Hundred of hotels, schools and sports centres have been turned into quarantine centres. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

Residents of the Muslim-majority region have been cut off for months and restricted to their homes.

A Kashmiri boy prays after he finishes reciting Quran at a Quranic centre in they outskirts of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir.
A Kashmiri boy prays after he finishes reciting Quran at a Quranic centre in they outskirts of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

The region has so far recorded more than a thousand positive coronavirus cases and thousands of people have been put under quarantine in government set-up facilities. The poorly equipped hospitals are struggling to meet the crisis situation.

Men wearing masks on a shikara at the Jehlum River in India-administered Kashmir. To prevent the highly contagious coronavirus, the administration in the region has made masks mandatory.
Men wearing masks on a shikara at the Jehlum River in India-administered Kashmir. To prevent the highly contagious coronavirus, the administration in the region has made masks mandatory. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

This year, the month of Ramadan has also passed quietly in the region without any festivities as religious places continue to be closed to prevent large gatherings.

The markets are completely shut with little preparations among residents about the upcoming annual festival of Eid. 

Suhial Ahmad offers prayers at his shop in the old city of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir. In the disputed territory mosques are empty of people due to the lockdown.
Suhial Ahmad offers prayers at his shop in the old city of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir. In the disputed territory mosques are empty of people due to the lockdown. (Masrat Zahra / TRTWorld)

The government has justified the lockdown terming it necessary to combat the virus but many believe that such measures are being “taken to further suppress people.”

Zainab, 24 studies at home in India-administered Kashmir. With educational institutions in Kashmir witnessing a closure of over ten months, children are now dependent on online education and home schooling. Schools were initially shut in August last year, when the government stripped Kashmir of its autonomous status, they opened for less than two weeks in February before they were again closed due to the pandemic.
Zainab, 24 studies at home in India-administered Kashmir. With educational institutions in Kashmir witnessing a closure of over ten months, children are now dependent on online education and home schooling. Schools were initially shut in August last year, when the government stripped Kashmir of its autonomous status, they opened for less than two weeks in February before they were again closed due to the pandemic. (TRTWorld)