kashmir

“Denied” — Amnesty International Report on Kashmir

From Amnesty International: “Denied

AI has just published “Denied: Failures of Accountability for Human Rights Violations by Security Forces Personel in Jammu and Kashmir”. To download click the link above.

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 11.53.59 AM
“This report documents obstacles to justice for victims of human rights violations existing in both law and practice in Jammu and Kashmir, and shows how the government’s response to reports of human rights violations has failed to deliver justice for several victims and families. Addressing Jammu and Kashmir’s impunity problem, and indeed India’s attitude towards impunity, is a challenge; but it is essential to ensure justice to victims of human rights violations, and facilitate the healing process for those who have suffered during the course of Jammu and Kashmir’s decades of struggle and alienation.”

The main researcher Christine Mehta was deported from India last year. Read her account “How I was deported from India“. An excerpt:

“In 2014, I was on the cusp of publishing a report on the abuses committed under the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite the need for reform amongst the ranks, the Indian government remains extremely sensitive to the image of its Army and other security forces. The state terms anyone who raises questions about the conduct of the security forces as “anti-national”.

There had been signs of official unease with my work in Jammu and Kashmir. In early 2013, an officer from the MHA had visited our office after I returned from a trip to the State. He claimed that he needed to conduct a background check because a Pakistani journalist with suspected ties to terrorist groups had listed me as a reference while applying for an Indian visa. I had not been in touch with any Pakistani journalist.

When he discovered that I was a PIO, and that my grandfather had migrated from India to the U.S., he stopped questioning me. He advised me to be wary of what Kashmiris tell me as they “have a special interest” in tarnishing India’s image.

In October 2014, Ananth Guruswamy, then the chief executive of AII, told me that the government had informed him that it would no longer tolerate my research in Jammu and Kashmir. The conversation sparked a discussion about my future in the organisation. “

Uzma Falak

From The Caravan: “How Indian Surveillance Disrupts Ordinary Life and Lives in Kashmir

On 6 November 2014, two teenagers were killed by the armed forces while they were on their way to see a Muharram procession in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The killings, that the military later stated were a “mistake” led to a  series of clashes between the armed forces and civilians in the area. Among those who were protesting, was a 22-year-old student who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Science in Kashmir. When I met him in Srinagar in February this year, the twenty-two-year-old science student recalled finding out about the killings and spending his entire day on the streets to participate in the agitations that took place. At around midnight, exhausted but restless after the events that transpired, he called a childhood friend—a student from Kashmir who was pursuing his higher studies in New Delhi—and began an eager narration of his triumphs and tribulations from the day. However, the exchange struck him as a little odd as his friend kept disconnecting the phone repeatedly. Once his initial confusion dissipated, the student realised that his friend was trying to avoid the omnipresent third entity in the conversation. The student felt increasingly exasperated with this presence once he registered the strange beeps and echoes during the phone call. In the next call he made, he defiantly mocked and swore at the “third person,” a covert listener. The two friends laughed.

kashmir

The panopticon that has been encircling Kashmir is a construction of the Indian state, which has been intensifying its mass-surveillance architecture in the region for over a decade. Although surveillance has always been a vital constituent of the ruling apparatus in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), electronic snooping underwent a marked increase from 2008 to 2010, with a surge in mass civil uprisings (more…)

Samreen Mushtaq

From Kindle Magazine: A Tale of the Tortured

“I don’t like enjoyment. Where one lakh people have been killed, what peace will Tulip Garden or Gulmarg give you? Can one just live in a palace and enjoy when so much blood has been spilled?” he asked me. I met him in a bakery shop at Khwajabagh, some four kilometres from the main town of Baramulla in North Kashmir. I got to know from the shopkeeper that he’d also been a victim of torture, one among thousands in the valley. I started asking him questions, and by the time he finished narrating the events from his tortured past, over an hour had passed. Yes, all this conversation was taking place inside a shop, but I had to listen. And listen I did.

He was affiliated to Muslim Janbaz Force once the armed conflict erupted in the valley. On 12 December 1991, aged 21, he was picked by the Border Security Force in Littar, Pulwama. At that time, he was working on an ad-hoc basis in the health department, earning 525 rupees per month. “I was taken to the BSF I46 Battalion camp there and tortured non-stop for six days. From being beaten with rods to being given electric shocks even in my private parts, the kind of torture I suffered was quite common among those who were picked up. They’d even call the ‘source’ in and ask him to beat me. He broke my nose and I had to be hospitalised”. He remembers every detail vividly: “Even if I am mumbling incoherently in my sleep, I am sure I’d narrate the events exactly as they happened. How can I ever forget it?

Read more on Kindle Mag.

(more…)

Maleeha Lodhi in Pakistan

From The News: “The Past as Present

“Chants of freedom resonated throughout the Valley—at the funerals of the martyred, in the mosques, in hospital compounds and at public rallies in towns and villages. This stressed the unchanged reality of Kashmir where every protest morphs into the popular demand for an end to Indian occupation. This pattern has repeated itself with ever greater intensity and is exemplified by the widespread mass protests last year and even bigger ones in 2008. That it takes but a spark to set off a storm of anti-India protest belies New Delhi’s claim that state elections have “settled” the Kashmir issue.”…

“…the protests reinforce a new phase in the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination which started with the popular protests of 2008. In a context where militant violence has ebbed, the decades-old freedom movement has increasingly been transforming itself into a peaceful civil disobedience campaign. The mass protests in three consecutive years attest to the fact that the Kashmiri resistance is increasingly assuming the shape of a popular, non-violent movement. This has made it much harder for the Indian authorities to demonise or de-legitimise it, and even harder for them to blame the unrest on militants or Pakistan’s intervention.”…

“…the Indian government has continued to resort to force to deal with the situation. This points to the most enduring feature of the Kashmiri landscape: the infrastructure of repression and control that is mobilised and deployed to staunch mass protests when they re-erupt.”

“The culture of oppression spawned over decades of Indian occupation remains in place even though militant violence is at its lowest point since the uprising began in 1989, according to the Indian authorities themselves.”

“For the third successive year young Kashmiris have shown a resolve to orchestrate their own “referendum” and intensify their call for India to abandon its occupation.”

Tariq Ali on 2010 uprising

From London Review of Books: “Not Crushed, Merely Ignored

“When it comes to reporting crimes committed by states considered friendly to the West, atrocity fatigue rapidly kicks in. A few facts have begun to percolate through, but they are likely to be read in Europe and the US as just another example of Muslims causing trouble, with the Indian security forces merely doing their duty, if in a high-handed fashion. The failure to report on the deaths in Kashmir contrasts strangely with the overheated coverage of even the most minor unrest in Tibet, leave alone Tehran.”…

“An ugly anti-Muslim chauvinism accompanies India’s violence. It has been open season on Muslims since 9/11, when the liberation struggle in Kashmir was conveniently subsumed under the war on terror and Israeli military officers were invited to visit Akhnur military base in the province and advise on counter-terrorism measures…Their advice was straightforward: do as we do in Palestine and buy our weapons. In the six years since 2002 New Delhi had purchased $5 billion-worth of weaponry from the Israelis, to good effect.”

Public opinion in India is mute. The parties of the left prefer to avoid the subject for fear that political rivals will question their patriotism. Kashmir is never spoken of, and has never been allowed to speak.”

“The Abdullah dynasty continues to hold power in Kashmir and is keen to collaborate with New Delhi and enrich itself. I rang a journalist in Srinagar and asked him about the current chief minister, Omar Abdullah, a callow and callous youth whose only claim to office is dynastic. ‘Farooq Abdullah,’ he told me, ‘is our Asif Ali Zardari when it comes to corruption. Now he’s made his son chief minister so that he can concentrate on managing his various businesses.’ The opposition isn’t much better. Some Kashmiris, the journalist said, call Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the effective leader of the opposition, and his cronies ‘double agents. That is, they are taking money from Pakistan and India.’

“Now a new generation of Kashmiri youth is on the march. They fight, like the young Palestinians, with stones. Many have lost their fear of death and will not surrender. Ignored by politicians at home, abandoned by Pakistan, they are developing the independence of spirit that comes with isolation and it will not be easily quelled.”

Arundhati Roy on 2008 protests

From Outlook: “Azadi

“The unimaginable sums of public money that are needed to keep the military occupation of Kashmir going is money that ought by right to be spent on schools and hospitals and food for an impoverished, malnourished population in India. What kind of government can possibly believe that it has the right to spend it on more weapons, more concertina wire and more prisons in Kashmir?

The Indian military occupation of Kashmir makes monsters of us all. It allows Hindu chauvinists to target and victimise Muslims in India by holding them hostage to the freedom struggle being waged by Muslims in Kashmir. It’s all being stirred into a poisonous brew and administered intravenously, straight into our bloodstream.

At the heart of it all is a moral question. Does any government have the right to take away people’s liberty with military force?

India needs azadi from Kashmir just as much—if not more—than Kashmir needs azadi from India.”

Gautam Navlakha in New Delhi

From Outlook: “Shooting down Slogans

“But then Kashmir is unique. The electronic media was not allowed to broadcast more than 15 minutes of news every day in the name of ensuring that they remain “responsible”. TV channels had to furnish CDs of their daily telecast to the police and the information department. Media-watcher Sevanti Ninan was told by the DCP of Srinagar that these restrictions would remain “till they (the cable operators) discover their proper professional role—they should not show activities of the Hurriyat aimed at secession”. One assumes that the lifting of these restrictions implies that the operators have learned their lesson the hard way. Of course, this is a throwback to the controlled media of totalitarian states where people were/are fed propaganda.”

Protest Against Repression in Kashmir and Civilian Killings, July 20, 2010 New York City

JOIN PROTEST

AGAINST CONTINUED REPRESSION OF THE PEOPLE OF KASHMIR

AND RECENT KILLINGS OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS

AT THE HANDS OF INDIAN PARAMILITARY FORCES

_____________________________________________________________

JULY 20, 2010

2:30 –4:30 PM

AT THE UN HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK

Dag Hammarskjold Park

East 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues (UN Plaza)

_________________________________________

We call upon all concerned individuals and organizations to join us to PROTEST and CALL UPON the UN, which has a long association with the Kashmir issue, to press the Indian government to:

*End its militarized governance of Kashmir, and withdraw army into barracks

*Revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), which gives Indian troops in Kashmir immunity from civil legal action, and promotes HR violations

*End oppression of Kashmiri people, release political prisoners and young boys from jails, and lift the overbearing security apparatus from Kashmir

*Initiate meaningful process to democratically resolve the issue, and include Kashmiris as the primary party to such a process

Organised By

KASHMIR SOLIDARITY NETWORK
SOUTH ASIA SOLIDARITY INITIATIVE
ACTION FOR A PROGRESSIVE PAKISTAN
SANHATI


Contact: Shubh 347-404-2238; Siddhartha 503-914-8425 Email: Kashmir.solidarity.network@gmail.com

Sumit Ganguly in the US

From Wall Steet Journal: “The Flag March won’t fix Kashmir

“The problem that the government confronts has no military solution. The anger that has spilled out into the warren-like streets of Kashmir’s villages is not the work of Pakistan-supported jihadi terrorists or organized indigenous separatists. Instead it is the spontaneous outburst of a generation of young Kashmiris who have witnessed much hardship over the last two decades of the insurgency.

This anger has its roots in economic stagnation”

“Mr. (Manmohan) Singh, who is widely considered to be above the political fray and neutral actor, can offer to introduce some legislation that is likely to address long-held demands for regional autonomy (sic).”

Najeeb Mubarki in New Delhi

From The Economic Times: “The age of Stone Wars in Kashmir

“So why did the patent insanity of the last few days occur? Why does it happen repeatedly? Why did, day after day, the police and the CRPF shoot dead youngsters who were out protesting, rioting, against the deaths of the day before?”…

“..the broadest answer as to why those killings took place is that there is a denial of that political reality. That, leaving Pakistan out entirely, New Delhi refuses to recognise and engage with the fact that it faces a political crisis in Kashmir.”