Billboards at New York city’s iconic Times Square are being lit up in solidarity with the eight million Kashmiri residents being held captive by an authoritarian Indian regime in the Himalayan valley. Due to COVID-19 and the Indian state’s attempts to brush away any criticism levied at it for its fascist occupation, it might be easy to forget that Kashmiris have been living in absolute oppression and deprivation of their essential human rights for a year now. Yet it is important to never forget that the lockdown restrictions many of us find difficult to live in are the way of life for many Kashmiris in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK), and it is essential to detail the many atrocities of the Indian state.

The lockdown that many citizens of the world have had to live in because of COVID-19 is just a small glimpse of the much harsher and severe lockdown that has been imposed on the residents of IIOK. Since the August decision, Indian authorities have enforced an information blackout and a harsh security clampdown in Kashmir, resulting in the residents being completely isolated and cut-off from the world, destroying economic activity and isolating family members from each other.

Yet the curfew is only the tip of the iceberg of India’s fascist policies in IIOK. Since the decision, Indian security forces have illegally imprisoned or detained anyone that dares to disagree with their policies. Thousands of politicians and leaders were rounded up and detained. That has been one full year of forced disappearances, torture, and a siege that threatens to never end. It is appalling yet unsurprising then that Prime Minister Modi has never even visited Kashmir or geared the courage to face Kashmiris in a press conference, as if hoping that by suppressing the issue and imposing silence, it will go away.

This is why the world cannot allow this imposed silence to go on and give voice to the Kashmiri cause. On “Youm-e-Istehsal”, a year after the siege, it is important to remember why the Indian atrocities in IIOK must always be highlighted and fought against.