मेरठ के एक निजी विश्वविद्यालय में भारत-पाकिस्तान के बीच हुए क्रिकेट मैच में पाकिस्तान की जीत पर कश्मीरी छात्रों की खुशी जाहिर करने पर स्थानीय छात्रों द्वारा उनकी पिटाई और तोड़-फोड़ के बाद तीन दिनों के लिए छियासठ छात्रों के निलंबन (निष्कासन नहीं) और फिर ‘उनकी हिफाजत के लिए’ उन्हें उनके घर भेजने के विश्वविद्यालय के फैसले के बाद उन छात्रों पर राष्ट्रद्रोह की धाराएं लगाने से लेकर उन्हें वापस लेने तक और उसके बाद भी जो प्रतिक्रियाएं हुई हैं,वे राष्ट्रवादी नज़रिए मात्र की उपयोगिता को समझने के लिहाज से काफी शिक्षाप्रद हैं.आज यह खबर आई है कि ग्रेटर नॉएडा के शारदा विश्विद्यालय में भी छह छात्रों को छात्रावास से ऐसी ही घटना के बाद निकाल दिया गया है जिनमें चार कश्मीरी हैं. मामला इतना ठंडा क्यों है, ऐसी निराशा जाहिर करते हुए फेसबुक पर टिप्पणी की गयी है और उसके बाद तनाव बढ़ गया है.
रोशोमन नियम के अनुसार घटना के एकाधिक वर्णन आ गए हैं और तय करना मुश्किल है कि इनमें से कौन सा तथ्यपरक है. स्थानीय (राष्ट्रीय या राष्ट्रवादी?) तथ्य यह है कि पाकिस्तानी खिलाड़ियों के प्रदर्शन और फिर उस टीम की जीत पर कश्मीरी छात्रों ने पाकिस्तान जिंदाबाद के नारे लगाए जिससे भारतीय टीम की हार से पहले से ही दुखी स्थानीय छात्रों में रोष फैल गया. निलंबित कश्मीरी छात्रों का कहना है कि वे हर उस खिलाड़ी के प्रदर्शन पर ताली बजा रहे थे जो अच्छा खेल रहा था. बेहतर टीम पकिस्तान के जीतने पर उनका खुशी जाहिर करना कहीं से राष्ट्रविरोधी नहीं कहा जा सकता. उनके मुताबिक इसके बाद उन्हें पीटा गया और तोड़-फोड़ की गई. Continue reading राष्ट्रवाद का मौसम
Away from the obscenity of a parade of tanks, nuclear missiles, and military might, the citizens of Delhi, once again (yesterday, the 26th of January, Republic Day) demonstrated that their re-definition of citizenship and the idea of a republic does not necessarily need an army, the AFSPA, restrictive laws like section 377, moral policing, censorship and assaults on workers, gay, lesbian and transgender people, women, the young, pensioners, minorities, Africans and other non-Indian inhabitants of Delhi, disabled people, or discrimination against people from the North East and Kashmir. Since last year, in the wake of the anti-rape protests, the 26th of January, which is nominally observed as the day when the Indian state performs its show of strength on New Delhi’s Rajpath has now been liberated by many of Delhi’s citizens groups as an occasion for us to turn away from the spectacle of the state and walk towards a liberated future. This is how the Republic gets Reclaimed on 26th January in Delhi.
Continue reading Reclaim the Republic 2014
Call given by VARIOUS CITIZENS GROUPS
As we commemorate another Republic Day, We The People proclaim that the parade of the powerful at Rajpath does not represent us. We The People, Reclaim our Republic.
As members of the LGBT community, women, workers, sex workers, students, teachers, activists, persons with disabilities, health rights activists, Dalits, indigenous people, farmers, those affected by unconstitutional military rule, we are united not as “minorities” or “others,” but as the people. We invoke the promises of the Constitution of India in our name. Our struggle will continue until all arms of the state are unwavering in their constitutional promises towards the marginalized in our society, rather than only representing the powerful.
Continue reading We The People, Reclaim the Republic: Various Citizens Groups
List of signatories at the end; statement put out on 25 February
Following a preliminary reading of the Draft Jammu and Kashmir Police Bill, 2013, made public on 15 February 2013, the undersigned condemn the attempt of the Government to formally
put in place powers and structures that the Jammu and Kashmir Police have for long enjoyed and employed to carry out systematic human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. Further, specific sections of the Draft Bill that are seriously objectionable are listed. As an immediate step, the Government must extend the time allotted for feedback from people. Continue reading Kashmir: Civil society objections to proposed Police Bill
Guest post by ABHIJIT DUTTA; all photographs by the author unless otherwise mentioned
It looks like any other village in Kashmir.
You go past a wooden bridge, past open fields winter-barren and wet with rain. Past mountains with snow on their chin. Past wistful looking poplars. Past a brook with clear water. Past grumpy apple trees gnarled like a grinch.
Then the road narrows, and homes – of timber and brick – come into view. Some have fences, unpainted wood. Heaps of hay, dung cakes, piles of dried leaves left to smoke. Ditches and dykes choked with snowmelt. Leafless walnut trees and brunette willows. The chinars, wild redheads just months ago, now old and arthritic. There is a government school on the right, a madrassa on the left. A few houses of stone, fewer of concrete, tin roofs over all.
Before you walk any further, the village ends. The next village is Poshpora. Like Kunan before it, it looks like any other village in the valley. The two villages are so close that people no longer call them by their individual names. Everyone knows this two-in-one village as Kunan Poshpora. Continue reading 22 Years after Kunan and Poshpora, Rethinking Kashmir: Abhijit Dutta
Guest post by WARISHA FARASAT
The protests against the brutal gangrape of a young 23 year-old girl in Delhi have been unprecedented. Finally, it appears that the impunity with which crimes against women in our country are committed is causing outrage, and both men and women are demanding justice. What is encouraging is that although the protests were triggered by the recent incident of rape in Delhi, it has also forced us to reflect on the larger issue of impunity for rape and other crimes against women, particularly when it happens against women belonging to the marginalized communities. Moreover, it is also politicizing an entire generation of young people that are realizing that their voice can create ripples in the political establishment in Delhi.
Shuddhabrata Sengupta in his earlier post has lucidly articulated about how our response to sexual violence should not be selective, and our protests should recognise the brutality of crimes against women in the conflict areas of Kashmir, Manipur and Chhattisgarh. In Kashmir, accusations of rape have been repeatedly made against the security force personnel. It has been alleged that rape and assaults have occurred during crackdowns, cordon and search operations. During these operations the men were held for identification outside their houses, near mosques or in a common ground while the security forces searched their homes. During these search operations, safeguards such as inclusion of a women officer in the search teams were never followed. Continue reading Armed Forces Special Powers Act provides impunity for rape: Warisha Farasat
This press release was issued on 23 December by BONDITA and ANJUMAN of WING and WSS, Guwahati
Aggravated sexual violence in Guwahati in July 2012 and gang rape in Delhi this month have led to public outrage and anger, compelling the media and the government to take serious note of the rampant sexual violence against women. Even as the current attention on sexual violence on women raises several questions over laws, their enforcement and policing, there continues to be absolute silence and complete denial about sexual violence by the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces. It is high time to review and repeal laws and practices that promise complete impunity to the armed forces for sexual assault in counter insurgency conflict areas. Continue reading Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman
This release was put out by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL on 1 June
On 24 May 2012, India’s human rights record came under renewed international scrutiny during its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council. Amnesty International welcomes the recommendations made to India by the reviewing states, many of which reflect concerns raised previously by the organization.
Amnesty International is disappointed, however, that despite India’s assertion that it sees the UPR mechanism as one of “constructive engagement,” the government did not immediately accept any of the recommendations made, some of which were put forward in 2008 during India’s first UPR. Amnesty International urges India to demonstrate by September 2012, a genuine resolve to deliver on its outstanding human rights commitments and the UPR recommendations, when the report on India’s second UPR is formally adopted at the 21st session of the Human Rights Council. Continue reading India must deliver on its repeated commitments to the human rights council: Amnesty International
This release comes from the JAMMU KASHMIR COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY
2 May 2012: The recent Supreme Court judgment in the Pathribal case is very disappointing.
Fake encounters, along with various other human rights violations, have been a reality for the people of Jammu and Kashmir over the last twenty two years. In 2008, according to media reports, Supreme Court Justices Aftab Alam and G.S. Singhvi made observations in court in relation to the practice of fake encounters for rewards in Jammu and Kashmir. With about 8000 persons disappeared, 70,000 persons killed, numerous cases of torture, rape and other human rights violations, Jammu and Kashmir has seen institutional denial of justice. Continue reading …and now Judicial Impunity?: JKCCS
This press release comes from AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
1 May 2012
Special powers that allow India’s armed forces suspected of involvement in extra-judicial killings to sidestep the civilian courts have been reinforced in a disappointing court ruling over the notorious killings of five Kashmiri civilians 12 years ago.
India’s Supreme Court has contradicted a reported statement by its Justices in February 2012 that army personnel suspected of murder should be placed in front of a civil judge.
Instead it opted to give military authorities eight weeks to bring about the court martial of eight army officials allegedly responsible for the unlawful killing of five youths in Pathribal, in March 2000. Failing that, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), may apply to prosecute the army personnel. Continue reading Pathribal ruling a setback for justice in Jammu and Kashmir: Amnesty International
Press release issued today by the NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS
New Delhi, December 10 : For some months now, Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) has been spreading the word about Irom Sharmila and her struggle across the nation and beyond.
Started only by few organizations, campaign has now received support over more than 80 organizations and movements and thousands of supporters. Campaign has reached in almost every state of India and even outside. Campaign has organized various programs including its famous Nationwide Signature Campaign, Sri Nagar- Imphal Save Sharmila Jan Karwan in October and Ahemdabad- Srinagar Jattha in November this year. Continue reading Nationwide opposition to the government’s refusal to a peaceful fast in support of Irom Sharmila: NAPM
Guest post by GOWHAR GEELANI
There is a lot of noise in the media over AFSPA. Ask any senior Indian security official, a turn-coat politician or a retired Army General what AFSPA stands for. “Armed Forces Special Powers Act,” they will say. Now pose the same query to an ordinary Kashmiri living there in the hapless Vale for the past two decades. The answer perhaps would be: “Armed Forces’ Say Prevails Anyway”. Continue reading AFSPA in Kashmir – “Armed Forces’ Say Prevails Anyway”: Gowhar Geelani
This is a press release from the ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS
The Bund Amira Kadal, Srinagar – 190001, Jammu and Kashmir
28th October 2011
APDP feels that the recent announcement by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on the partial revocation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir would be insignificant for improving the human rights situation and also for providing justice to those affected by the mindless violence by armed forces.
Continue reading End the culture of impunity, not just AFSPA: APDP
Guest post by MAHTAB ALAM
आज बाईस मई की सुबह जब ऑफिस या काम पर जाने की चिंता से बेफिक्र हम सोते रहेंगे, उसी समय नॉर्थ-ईस्ट और कश्मीर की जनता जो सुबह देखेगी, वह कानून के नाम पर बर्बरता की 53 वीं सालगिरह होगी. जी हाँ, मैं आर्म्ड फोर्सेस स्पेशल पावर्स एक्ट (अफ्स्पा) की बात कर रहा हूँ. कानून के नाम पर, ला-कनूनियत नाफ़िज़ करने का घिनौना हथियार. जिसके खाते में अगर कुछ लिखा है, तो सिर्फ ला-क़नूनियत और बरबरियत की न खत्म होने वाली दास्तानें.
बाईस मई 1958 को नागा लोगों को ‘नियंत्रित’ करने के लिए ये कानून अमल में लाया गया. नागा जनता के पुरजोर विरोध के बावजूद, अपनी आदत के मुताबिक भारतीय संसद ने 18 अगस्त 1958 को इस कानून पर अपनी मुहर लगा दी. पहले- पहल ये कानून सिर्फ नागा जनता को ‘नियंत्रित’ करने के लिए बना और कहा गया कि जल्द ही हटा लिया जायेगा. पर ऐसा कभी हुआ नहीं. बल्कि धीरे-धीरे ये ‘कानून’ पूर्वोत्तर के 7 राज्यों से निकलता हुआ कश्मीर की घाटी तक पहुँच गया. आख़िरकार, कानून के हाथ लम्बे होते हैं. वैसे भी, अगर भेड़िये को एक बार खून का स्वाद मिल जाये तो फिर उसे कौन रोक सकता है और खासतौर पर खून ‘विदेशी’ या अलग नस्ल का हो. इस पूरे मामले में भी कुछ ऐसा ही दिखता है. Continue reading अफ्स्पा: एक काले कानून की आधी सदी: महताब आलम
…which in these dark times is so life-affirming:
I can spot a Khushwant Singh, a Khalil Gibran and a Chetan Bhagat in the pile of books. “Most of these books have been gifted to me by my lover,” she says. This is the first I’ve heard of a man in her life. I hesitate, but Sharmila is clearly keen to talk about him. A Britisher based in Kerala, he got to know about Sharmila after he read Burning Bright, a 2009 book on the Manipuri struggle written by Deepti Priya Mehrotra and published by Penguin. “He wrote me a letter after he read the book. We have been exchanging letters since then,” she says shyly. Continue reading Irom Sharmila is in love
Sedition: the attempt “to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India”, a crime under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, a provision introduced by the British colonial government in 1860.
The only revisions to this colonial legal provision since its passing have been over the years, to remove anachronistic terms like “Her Majesty”, “the Crown Representative”, “British India”, “British Burma” and “Transportation for life or any shorter term”.
But it seems “Disaffection towards the government”, the archaic usage notwithstanding, is a timeless crime. Section 124A, therefore, these few cosmetic changes apart, has remained unchanged for the last 150 years.
Continue reading Sedition: ‘The highest duty of a citizen’
Irom Sharmila has been on a fast unto death for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) after troops of the Assam Rifles gunned down 10 civilians at Malom near Imphal airport on November 2, 2000. She is periodically arrested and force-fed by the Indian state.
Dear Prime Minister, Home Minister and Sonia Gandhi,
We have noticed a striking anomaly in the way the armed forces and the state treats the people of Kashmir and the Northeast. When contemplating the use of the armed forces in the forest belt, the armed forces and the state concluded (quite correctly, in our opinion) that they should not be used against the people of this region, including the Maoists, since ‘they are our people’. Yet the very same armed forces have no compunction about being deployed against the people of Kashmir and the Northeast, and the state agrees! Worse still, the armed forces insist that they cannot carry out their duties without AFSPA, which allows them to rape, torture and kill with impunity.
So what is happening here? Are the people of Kashmir and the Northeast not ‘our people’? This is indeed the message that comes across. And if these people feel that they are not regarded or treated as ‘our people’ by the state and armed forces of India, is it surprising that many of them do not want to belong to India?
In fact, AFSPA allows the armed forces to commit atrocities that would be considered war crimes even if they were directed at a foreign enemy. There is no justification for keeping it on the statute books, because it is incompatible with international humanitarian law. Its enforcement in these states has been one of the main reasons why there has been no resolution of the conflicts in them for decades. Consulting the armed forces about the repeal of a law that allows them unlimited power is worse than useless: why would they ever agree? Surely you ought instead to be consulting people like Irom Sharmila, who has been waging a heroic and totally non-violent struggle against AFSPA for ten years!
Shouldn’t the government be asking her why she is ready to sacrifice her life to get this law repealed? And taking her answer deadly seriously before she dies?
COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF DR BINAYAK SEN MUMBAI
(Apologies for cross posting on the Reader List)
As if by magic, those who had hidden themselves for the past few months in Kashmir are leading mobs and setting schools and public buildings on fire. And many more people have died tragic and unnecessary deaths. This time, unlike in the past, the blame must be squarely shared between those who fired the bullets, and some of those who led the incendiary crowds. Perhaps Kashmir has just entered a new and darker phase, brandishing a burning torch. This situation, in order not to be irreversible, needs the urgent and sane attention of Kashmiris themselves, and of all those who wish Kashmir and its people well.
We could do well by way of beginning by turning our attention to a surprising detail hidden within the reports of the recent events of arson. National Conference apparatchiks, who did not even dare appear in public till recently for fear of being attacked for their role in sustaining the occupation of Kashmir by India’s armed might, are now allegedly seen openly goading mobs of zealots to burn down a school in the name of the defence of religion. If this is true, the what we are witnessing is the realization by them of a wonderful opportunity to wear new costumes and speak new lines in the unfolding theatre of the moment.
Continue reading Kashmir, September 2010. The Reichstag Fire (dispersed) Redux ?
There is dismay in some sections that the FIR lodged by the driver of the ill-fated Gyaneshwari Express does not name Maoists as the suspect perpetrators. Within hours of the derailment and death of the passengers, newspapers were already lamenting that the centre did not have guts to take on Maoists. Suggestions have been made that this is an extraordinary situation and vacuous talk of human rights should not be heeded. There is a familiar taunt being hurled at the UPA government for its unmanly response to the biggest threat to the internal security of the country. The principal opposition party, which otherwise very zealously guards the rights of the state and resents any interference by the centre in matters which fall under the state list, even in one of the most extra-ordinary moments of recent history , I am referring to the state sponsored massacre of Muslims in Gujarat , now feels that the nuanced division of the rights and duties of the state and centre is not something which should keep the centre from treating the Maoist threat as a national issue and going for an all out armed intervention against the enemy of the nation.
Continue reading Humanise First
Guest post by PRIYA THANGARAJAH
The piece is unfinished, consciously so. The thought is unfinished and needs to be fleshed out and thus posting this, so that this important idea can be evolved collectively. It raises a range of questions and contributes to existing debates on constitutional law from a social change/human rights perspective. (consciously the words ‘constitution’ and ‘india’ are not capitalised. ) It contributes significantly to an understanding, not just of north east india but the realities of chattisgarh, jharkhand, bihar, kashmir to name a few. It helps us understand all the wars fought within the country – ‘constitutionally’ about which much is being said in the media and elsewhere by state and non-state actors.
The constitution, some argue, is an aspirational document. Baxi states that it is created to protect the rights of the impoverished. Created to protect the weaker sections of society and that’s how the Dworkinian trumping of rights works. Rights of the weaker parties always trumps that of the stronger. But whatever the aim of the constitution maybe, its sacrosanct. Sacred. Amendments can be made with great difficulty but the constitution per se cannot be done away with for a new one. Continue reading ‘constitutional’ Realities: Priya Thangarajah