Omfattande krav på stopp för repressionen i Kashmir

End repression in Kashmir: A call from civil society

NOVEMBER 5, 2016

We, the undersigned, are dismayed over the ongoing crisis in Kashmir. We have watched in horror and shock the repetitive cycle of state aggression leading to violence, deteriorating state of civil liberties, violation of fundamental rights and ever escalating loss of human life and dignity in Kashmir. In the last 115 days, we have lost over 100 lives in Kashmir. More than 15,000 civilians have been injured, out of which 4500 persons have suffered grievous injuries due to pellet-guns, 4664 have been injured by bullets. Over 8000 people have been arrested out of which 434 people have been detained under the Public Safety Act (toll as on October 30, 2016).

The immediate response of the Indian state to the recent uprising in Kashmir was the imposition of curfew, which is continuing till date. A media gag where newspaper offices have been raided, copies confiscated and editors threatened with dire consequences, accompanied it. Journalists reporting the situation have been attacked, intimidated and threatened with violence by those supposedly responsible for protecting them. Most recently the government banned the publication of Kashmir Reader, a daily newspaper published from Srinagar.

Pursuant to this, a complete communication blockade was imposed and Internet services were cut down. Even voices outside Kashmir that spoke of the ongoing failure of state were targeted on social media, their posts deleted and accounts blocked. The means of communication and information flow from and into Kashmir are severely disrupted. Accompanying the communication blockade is an economic blockade in which the supply of food, medicines and other basic necessities are also affected, standing crops being burnt and orchards damaged.

It is unconscionable on the part of the Indian state to exacerbate the situation by choking the lifeline of people in Kashmir. There are reports of vandalism and violence during raids by the police and security forces. As the pillars of a modern democracy are wrecked with the media gag, the abuse of the impunity accorded to the law enforcement agencies is bound to escalate. There have been instances of harassment, abuse and baseless arrests of Kashmiris working and studying, not only in Kashmir but also in different parts of India, for having voiced their political views.

A blockade on the channels of non-violent protest by the arrests of human rights defenders, legal activists and even volunteers supplying aid in hospitals on baseless grounds has aided the creation of spaces for violent protests. The wanton use of force along with the lack of accountability has contributed immensely to the crisis prevailing in Kashmir.

Intense militarization of the valley has left deep scars on the social, economic and psychological well being of every life in Kashmir. Laws such as Public Safety Act (PSA), Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) etc., are draconian and are not conducive to contributing to a solution. Irrespective of what the situation is, whether we agree with what the Kashmiris are demanding or not, there is no law in India which allows the Indian armed forces to use their position to ransack people’s houses, decimate their food grains, crops and livestock.

It is disturbing to witness the Indian media pumping up jingoistic fervor in the minds of people in India. The propagation and glorification of state aggression and war mongering by the government, media and almost every political party has led to a lethal form of pro-state fanaticism. The success of the state machinery in realizing this propaganda also highlights the failure of the Indian civil society.
We therefore call on all readers and human rights organisations to unequivocally condemn the siege of Kashmir.

The situation in India is increasingly becoming claustrophobic, making it difficult to have any political discussion on Kashmir. Voicing any opinion divergent from the popular ‘pro-state’ narrative is now a cause for slapping charges of sedition. In such an environment even a peaceful non-violent discussion to understand the nature of problems that Kashmir faces becomes impossible. Without such understanding any solution proposed would only be a repetition of the cycles seen over the last 70 years, which have not led to any tangible solutions. We urge the government to allow an open discussion so as to facilitate the understanding of the legitimate demands and concerns that the people of Kashmir have been raising over the course of last 70 years.

We believe that national integrity at the cost of life and dignity of our own citizens would not amount to integration but colonialism. The political crisis in Kashmir cannot be resolved by being oblivious to the problem at the heart of the conflict, which is the demand for freedom. Any attempt to resolve the issue is bound to fail unless the state accepts the Kashmir conflict as a ‘political issue’ and not merely one pertaining to territory. The government must acknowledge Kashmiris as primary stakeholders in the dispute and consult them rather than considering it as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
Whatever the stand of the Government of India on the demand of Kashmiri people for independence, it is imperative to create an environment of understanding and openness and initiate a purposeful and sincere dialogue with all the stakeholders for an amicable settlement.

We therefore urge the government to:
Immediately lift the curfew and stop violence against civilians in Kashmir.
Open channels for political dialogue in consultation with all stakeholders and explore every possible solution including – complete autonomy or pre-1953 position and even plebiscite.
Stop the crackdown on media and lift the ban on Kashmir Reader.
Immediately drop all charges against activists, human rights defenders and civilians booked under the PSA and release them.
Grant unfettered access to United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to investigate allegations of Human Rights violations.
Work forcefully to demilitarize both sides of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. Further, to demilitarize all of Kashmir and immediately revoke impunity laws such as the AFSPA, PSA, and DAA etc.
Create credible mechanisms for accountability and justice, (such as an international criminal tribunal), for human rights abuses in Kashmir over the past three decades, including extra-judicial killings, torture, sexual and gendered violence, enforced disappearances and unknown and mass graves.

List of Endorsements
Aabha Muralidharan, Student
Aditya Nigam, CSDS
Ajmal Khan, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
Ajayan Adat
Akanksha, activist
Akhila Vasan
Alpana Jain
Amar Jesani, Independent Public health and Bioethics Consultant
Amla Pisharody
Amlendu Upadhyay, senior journalist
Ammu Abraham, member, FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Amrita Howlader, member, FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Anand Mazgaonkar,
Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker
Anand Teltumbde, General Secretary, CPDR (Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights)
Anannya Bhattacharjee, Garment and Allied Workers Union
Angana Chatterji, Feminist Scholar
Anjali, student
Anjali Singh, student
Anil Sinha
Anindita Mukherjee, Lawyer
Antony Samy, activist, Jagrut Kamgar Manch
Anuradha Banerji, research scholar
Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times
Anuradha Kapoor
Aquila Khan, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Archee Roy, student
Aritra Bhattacharya, Journalist, The Statesman
Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements
Arun Ferreira, member, CPDR
Arya Raje, Lawyer
Aswathy Senan, Delhi University
Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Murlidhar Reddy, Senior Journalist
Baljeet Kaur, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
Bernard D’Mello
Binayaka Sen, activist (PUCL)
Binu Matthew, Editor,
Chayanika Shah, member, LABIA and FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Brinelle D’souza, Academician
Chetan Priyadarshi, Lawyer
Chhaya Datar
Chinu Srinivasan, SAHAJ/LOCOST
Cubbykabi Sherman, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Cynthia Stephen, Founder, DAWNS(Dalit Women’s Network for Solidarity)
Debalina, activist
Deepa Venkatachalam, Social Scientist
Deepti Gopinath, Indian Airports Employees’ Union
Devika Shetty, Disability Rights Advocacy
Dibyesh Anand, Professor, University of Westminster, UK
Divya Kalanthingal, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
Divya Trivedi, journalist
Dolphy A. D’souza, Convenor, Police Reforms Watch
Fatima N, Member, Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum
Freny Manecksha, independent journalist
Gautam Bhan, activist and author
Geeta Seshu, independent journalist
Gouranaga Mohapatra, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Odisha
Gouri Patwardhan, filmmaker
Harsh Mander, activist, writer
Hartman de Souza, Writer
Hasina Khan, member, Bebaak Collective and FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Heer Ganjawala, filmmaker
Heidi Pereira, student, Ambedkar University
Hussain Indorewala, Teacher
Illina Sen, author and activist
Irfaan Engineer, CSSS(Centre for Study of Society and Secularism)
Jagdish John Menezes, Lawyer
Jairus Banaji, Professor and Historian
Jashodhara Dasgupta, Sahayog, India
Javed Anand, Co-editor, Communalism Combat
Jayashree Velankar, NAMHHR (National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights)
Jenny Sulfath, student, TISS
Jhelum Roy, researcher
Jinda Sandbhor, researcher
Juhi Bansal, Lawyer
Jyoti Punwani, independent journalist
Kalpana Mehta, Activist
Kalyani Menon, feminist researcher and writer
Kamal KM, filmmaker, teacher
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, feminist and human rights activist
Karuna D W, researcher, Chennai
Kavita Krishnan, Secretary AIPWA (All India Progressive Women’s Association)
Kavita Pai
Khateeja Talha, member, Space Theatre Ensemble
Kochurani Abraham, Kerala
Kokila Mitra, research scholar
Koyel Ghosh, school teacher
Koyel Majumder, student
Kranti LC, Lawyer
Kritika Aggarwal, GLC, Mumbai
Kulajit Maisanam, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
Labanyendu Das, Lawyer
Lalita Ramdas, peace, human rights and anti-nuclear activist and Founder, Greenpeace, India
Lara Jesani, Lawyer
Lina Mathias
Madhavi Kuckreja, women’s’ rights activist and founder, Vanangana
Madhurima Ghosh, student
Mahtab Alam, Activist, Journalist
Malini Parthasarthy, former Editor, the Hindu
Malobika, activist
Manisha Sethi, Activist, Professor – Jamia Millia Islamia
Manoj Jha, teacher, activist
Mary Antony, activist, Jagrut Kamgar Manch
Mary E John, CWDS
Medha Patkar, activist, Narmada Bachao Andolan
Meena Gopal, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Meena Kandasamy, Poet, Writer, Activist
Meena Saraswathi Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli
Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate
Milind Champanekar, activist, CPDR
Mirza Saaib Beg, Lawyer
M J Pandey, Journalist
Monica Sakhrani, Lawyer
Monisha Behal
Mubashira Zaidi, Institute of Social Studies Trust, New Delhi
Mukta Srivastava, activist (NAPM)
Murali Karnam, Faculty, School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance, TISS
Vasudevan, Convenor, Trade Union Solidarity Committee, Mumbai
Nandini Manjrekar, Professor, TISS
Niranjan Takle, Principal Correspondent, the Week
Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
Nitish Nawsagaray, Dalit Rights activist
Nivedita Menon, JNU
Norma Alvares, Senior Advocate and environmental activist
Omar Rashid, journalist
Pallavi Gupta
Pamela Philipose, journalist, writer and editor
Paramita Banerjee, Activist and Development professional
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
Paromita Chakravarty
Poushali Basak, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Pranita Kulkarni, Journalist
Preenita Banerjee, Lawyer
Preeti Mehra
Purnima Rao, writer
Srivatsan, Social Scientist
Rachana Johri
Rahul Singh
Rajashree Gandhi
Raj Merchant, member, LABIA
Admiral Ramdas
Ramesh Awasthi, PUCL, Maharashtra
Ram Puniyani, activist, writer, teacher
Ranjani Srinivasan, student
Ranjit Biswas, Psychiatrist and Research-activist
Ratnapriya, student
Ravi Duggal, independent health researcher and activist
Ravi Kadam
Rhea Bose
Richa Minocha, member secretary, Jan Abhiyan Sanstha, Shimla
Ritika Ramasuri
Ritu Dewan, Author, Professor, Director – CSSS (Centre for Study of Society and Secularism)
Rohini Hensman, Independent Scholar, Writer and Activist
Rohit Prajapati, trade union and environmental activist
Rukmini Sen, academician
Sabina Basha
Sagari Ramdas, veterinary scientist
Sakina Bohora, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Samir Dass, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Jharkhand
Sampa Dasgupta, Development Professional
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party (India)
Sandhya Gokhale, member, FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Sanjay Ranade, Professor, University of Mumbai
Sanober Keshwaar , lecturer and activist
Saranga Ugalmugle, Lawyer
Sarojini N, Health Researcher
Saswati Ghosh, Sociologist, women’s rights activist
Satarupa Santra, academician
Satnam Singh, Convener, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Haryana
Satyam Shrivastava, (SRUTI)
Satyen Bordoloi
Seema Azad, journalist, activist
Shabana Khan, activist, CPDR
Shabnam Hashmi, Activist, ANHAD
Shakeel, Convener, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Bihar
Shals Mahajan, writer
Sheetal, student, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Shefali Saini, TISS, Mumbai
Shinzani Jain
Shoma Sen, Joint Secretary (CPDR)
Shraddha Chatterjee, research scholar
Shreosi Ray, researcher
Shruti Chakravarty, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Raqs Media Collective
Shujaat Bhukari, senior journalist and editor, Rising Kashmir
Siddharth Chakravarty, Oceans Policy and Law
Simpreet Singh
Smita Gandhi, Academician
Srabasti Majumder, research scholar
Sreejith Murali, Ambedkarite Students Association-TISS
Suchitra Thapar, independent researcher
Sujata Gothoskar, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Sukanya Shantha, independent Journalist
Sukla Sen, Peace Activist
Sumita, Activist and Development Professional
Surabhi Sharma, filmmaker
Suresh Sawant, activist
Susan Abraham, Executive Committee member, CPDR
Sushmita Verma, member, CPDR and Bastar Solidarity Network
Swapna Banerjee-Guha
Swarnima Bhattacharya, Women’s Feature Service
Swati Singh, Lawyer
Swathi Seshadri, Bangalore
Swatija Paranjpe, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
Tanieem, student
Tarun Bhartiya, filmmaker and writer
Teesta Setalvad, Journalist, activist
Tejas Harad, Economic and Political Weekly
Trina Mukhopadhyay, research scholar
Ujwalla Mhatre, Head of School, Vanita Vishram High School
Ulka Mahajan, Activist
Uma Chakravarty, Historian
Uma V Chandru
Usha Iyer, Assistant Professor, Stanford University
Vani Subramaniam, member, Saheli
Varda Dixit
Varun Agarwal, Lawyer
Vasanth Kannabiran, Activist and Writer
Veena Gowda, Lawyer
Vibhuti Patel, Academician and Activist
Vidya Subramaniam, Senior Journalist
Vikas Urs
Vinitha Ramchandani, author
Virginia Saldanha, activist
Vrijendra, Lecturer and Human Rights Activist
Vrinda Grover, Lawyer and Activist
Wilfred D’Costa , INSAAF
Yashasvi Mishra
Zakia Soman, BMMA(Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan)
Aaghaaz Magazine
All India Secular Forum
Amrita Wilson on behalf of South Asia Solidarity Group
Bastar Solidarity Network
Centre for Development Research and Action
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai
Feminism in India
Fem Positive
Forum Against Oppression of Women
LABIA — A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai
Radical Study Circle- TISS
Rihai Manch, Lucknow
Sabrang India
Saheli, Delhi
Tamilnadu Women’s Forum

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