Hurriyat leaders in Indian occupied Kashmir have urged people to defy a curfew and join a mass march after Friday prayers against New Delhi's move to revoke the region’s autonomy.

Indian occupied Kashmir has been under curfew and lockdown since August 5 after the Indian government abolished Article 370, which granted special status to the valley. The curfew and lockdown has led to protests in the valley with thousands of Kashmiris including Hurriyat leaders placed under house arrest or detained.

Curfew and communication blackout entered its 19th day in the occupied valley today with empty streets and thousands of Indian troops patrolling them. 

Schools in the valley continue to give an empty look as parents refuse to risk the lives of their children.

As a result of the strict curfew and communication blockade, a humanitarian crisis is fast unfolding as residents of occupied Kashmir face severe shortages of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines.

United Nations human rights experts have urged India to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests in occupied Kashmir. 

“The shutdown of the internet and telecommunication networks, without justification from the Indian government, are inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality,” the UN experts said. “The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence.”

“We remind the Indian authorities that the restrictions imposed by the Indian government are intrinsically disproportionate because they preclude considerations of the specific circumstances of each proposed assembly,” they added. 

“We are gravely concerned about allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known as well as the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arrests and restricted access to the internet and other communications networks,” added the experts.