Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj says Kashmir blackout is 'terrifying'

Indian-American 'Patriot Act' host Hasan Minhaj dedicates Indian Independence Day clip to Kashmir
3 min read
16 August, 2019
The 'Patriot Act' comedian has spoken out against India's power grab in Kashmir, warning that 'things are only gonna get worse'.
The comedian has previously criticised Saudi human rights abuses [Getty]

Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj has spoken out against India's Kashmir power grab, calling the communications blackout imposed upon the disputed territory "terrifying". 

Parts of Kashmir that India controls have been under lockdown since August 4, with freedom of movement restricted and phones and the internet cut.

A day later, New Delhi scrapped Article 370 in the Indian constitution that had granted Kashmir special autonomy, splitting the state of Jammu and Kashmir in two and downgrading their status to union territories.

"It's really, really terrifying, and I'm scared because I think that things are only gonna get worse," Minhaj stated in a clip published on Twitter on Thursday.

After Indian actress and model Priyanka Chopra was chastised earlier this week for her support for right-wing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, supporters of Kashmiri autonomy had called on Minhaj to speak up in support of the Himalayan region.

Minhaj, a comedian formerly affiliated with "The Daily Show" who now hosts "Patriot Act", is known for not shying away from controversial topics.

The Indian-American comedian was praised for critiquing Saudi human rights abuses and dedicating an episode of his Netflix show to protests in Sudan.

"We're seeing an erosion of autonomy, and it's happening in different parts of the world with Kashmir right now and even what's happening in Hong Kong," Minhaj said in the clip filmed on India's Independence Day.

"It's quite interesting that these two vestiges of British imperialism are standing and they're fighting for their right to be their own. 

"On India's Independence Day, I'm thinking about the people of Kashmir, who are fighting for their own independence." 

Read more: After decades of failed promises, India's assault on Kashmir's autonomy invites a bleaker future

India's revocation of Kashmir's autonomous status has damaged already shaky relations between Pakistan and India, with five Pakistani and five Indian soldiers killed on Thursday along the Line of Control (LoC) separating Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Pakistan has warned that it was ready to meet any Indian aggression over Kashmir, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has compared the move by nationalist Indian premier Modi to Nazi occupation.

The United Nations Security Council will on Friday morning discuss the crisis behind closed doors. 

It is extremely rare for the Security Council to discuss Kashmir, which has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947.

The last time there was a full Security Council meeting on the Himalayan region was in 1965.