Prominent writers, academics express solidarity with Kashmiris


NEW DELHI: More than 800 prominent writers, academics and others have expressed their solidarity with people in conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir, following violent protests after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The signatories include Noam Chomsky, Mirza Waheed, Nitisha Kaul, Kamila Shamsie, Basharat Peer and others. The letter expresses their “deep concern about the armed violence perpetrated by the Indian state through its 700,000-strong army on civilians” in the region.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh is in the state to review the security situation and speak to local leaders, as the toll from clashes in the Valley is more than 40. Last week, the state reportedly clamped down on local media and newspapers as well, following which, newspapers did not come out for four days. 

A full list of the signatories is HERE and the full text of the letter is below:

In Solidarity With Kashmir and Kashmiris

We the undersigned are deeply concerned about the armed violence perpetrated by the Indian state through its 700,000 strong army on civilians in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir since the 8th of July 2016. More than 50 people have been killed on the pretext of crowd control since then. More than a 100 eye surgeries have been performed. We don’t know yet how many will be partially or totally blinded by the use of “non-lethal pellet guns.” Pellet guns shoot over 500 small lead balls, and thus severely injure multiple protesters at once. Children as young as a 3-year-old have been injured inside their houses, alongside more than 3500 civilians – many of them in critical condition.

The killing of unarmed Kashmiri protesters comes after Indian government forces with automatic rifles and in riot gear fired live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas against mourners, in wake of the killing of popular 21-year-old rebel commander Burhan Wani. Rather than expressing remorse over the loss of life in Kashmir, India only vowed to take tougher action against Kashmir’s Protestors. The ruthless killings has led to spontaneous protests across the state against the continued brutalities of the Indian armed forces which has impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Instead of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and opening communications channels, India has enforced a complete lockdown on the millions of inhabitants of the Valley since 8th July. Indian authorities have severely crippled all communications; jamming mobile and internet services, and seized offices of local newspapers and staff members were detained. Many hospitals and ambulances have reportedly been damaged by security personnel.

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kashmir currently is not a one off. It has been an integral part of how India continues to rule over Kashmir. Such events have repeatedly occurred throughout the past three decades, with India continuing to look away from the writing on the wall. The current protests, and those in the three bloody summers of 2008-10, only reflect the resilience of the Kashmiri people and their demand for right to self-determination, which not only is guaranteed by UNSC resolutions, but was also promised by the Indian Parliament in 1948.

We condemn the systematic violence used by Indian armed forces in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, and we demand an immediate end to this state terrorism against civilians. We furthermore, demand that Indian government communicate with Kashmiris, rather than considering it a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. We also call on world leaders and human rights organisations to unequivocally condemn the siege of Kashmir and the ensuing war crimes and human rights violations by India’s security forces.

Pro Kashmir protests held in Asia and Europe

Srinagar: Demonstrations are being held against Kashmir killings in length and breadth of globe including some Indian states from past many days while the protesters are urging international community to put pressure on India to stop innocent killings and have a permanent solution to the long pending issue. 

Media reports said that the Kashmir Study Forum Sri Lanka along with Pakistani and Sri Lankan community organized a peaceful demonstration in front of United Nation Office at Baudaloka Mawatha in Sri Lanka to highlight the recent upsurge in extrajudicial killing and human rights violation in this part of Kashmir by the Indian forces.

The participants of the assembly expressed their grave concern about the on-going killings of civilians by Indian security forces in the towns and villages of Kashmir,The Asian Tribune reported.

“The participants urged the Secretary General of the United Nations to encourage, facilitate and support efforts leading to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions to ensure resolution of this longstanding unresolved issue,” the news report said.

A signature campaign was also launched to raise awareness, encourage advocacy and to emphasize the centrality of the resolution of Kashmir Issue to the lasting peace and prosperity of South Asia across the Island nation.

Meanwhile, Non-Resident Kashmiris (NRKs) also held protests in Germany and Sweden.

The protestors raised slogans in favour of Kashmir’s independence and asked world bodies to investigate “grave human rights violations” in this part of Kashmir.

In South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a Rail Roko protest in Chennai and Coimbatore junctions was held by Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi (MJK) on Friday.

In a statement, a spokesperson said above 2000 people were detained and later released.

MJK leader Tamimun Ansari, who is also a local legislator, urged the Indian government to take necessary steps to stop killings of innocent Kashmiri Muslims. 

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