Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative, Delhi Chapter
The valley of Kashmir is on the boil again. Forsaking the so-called normal routines of their lives, people are on the streets. Not just young men, but even children and women are out, challenging the military might of the Indian state. Any fear of the police and army appears to have been discarded. Police stations and even CRPF camps have been attacked. A popular upsurge, it is energised by mass fury. Forty people have lost their lives in one week at the hands of the Indian security establishment. Hundreds of others have suffered serious eye and other injuries from presumedly ‘non-lethal’ pellets used by the police. While people are out confronting the police, para-military and army, the other organs of the Indian state in Kashmir, the elected government and its bureaucracy, elected members of the legislature, panchayats, etc. are in a rathole, fearing public appearance. It is just the people of Kashmir valley versus the institutions of organised violence of the Indian state.
While the immediate cause of popular anger is the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, reasons for this anger go much deeper and have a longer history. The stifling and repression of the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination stands at the root of this conflict. This repression has taken on extreme violent forms. For twenty five years now, the Kashmir valley has been among the most militarised places in the world. More than half a million troops of Indian army and para-military forces have been stationed in the state and its border with Pakistan. Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF camps dot the land scape. Highway checkpoints and random searches are part of everyday life. Thousands of men have disappeared, been picked up by security forces, thrown in the black hole of interrogation camps, often ending up in unmarked graves. The hated AFSPA gives Indian security forces legal cover to assault basic rights of Kashmiris to live a life of elementary dignity. If an average valley resident is alienated from the normal practices of the Indian state such as elections and its administrative initiatives, s/he harbours deep resentment against the presence of Indian security forces in their homeland. This resentment has erupted in mass protests again and again.
Continue reading Statement On the Unfolding Situation in Kashmir : NSI Delhi Chapter
Guest post by ARIF AYAZ PARREY
The beloved is like snow after a chilly wind. The beloved is a bright sun after snowfall. The lover is like the cinders in a kãger that refuse to die. The lover is the immortal heat of ashes.
In the 2008 Hindi movie Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! the playing out of virtues of theft in a world of (corrupt) systems is not the only delicious element. As a matter of fact, even more lovable is the song Tu raja ki raj dulari which echoes Shiv’s plea to Parvati after she has hopelessly fallen in love with him, and chosen a path of austerity competing with his asceticism. Tu raja ki raj dulari mein sirf langoti aala sun, bhaang ragd ke piya karoun mein kunde sote aala sun. He tells her. “You are a king’s royal darling, I possess only a loincloth (Will tiger-cloth be a more helpful description here?), I drink ashes which I grind on a pistil and mortar.” Now there are several ways of looking at this parable. At the surface, and then again at its very core, it is a narration of one of the major themes of storytelling: An independent, beautiful and strong woman poignantly falling for a clumsy, reclusive and basically loser-type man, against better advice and to much heart-ache all around. But this characterisation holds only at the surface, the patriarchy of this theme works through the neat device of depth, the woman is strong, but only on the outside, quite literally when you know that Parvati once shed her outer mantle which became a powerful warrior-goddess in its own right, but in depth and beyond the obvious, she is a woman after all, while the man, clumsy, reclusive, scrawny on the surface, has an inner strength which can gulp Halahal (funnily enough called zahr-e-Hilal or ‘poison of the crescent-moon’ in Kashmiri) without much ado or do the Tandav when he feels like it. Continue reading A song for snow: Arif Ayaz Parrey
The press release below has been jointly issued by a number of eminent citizens and civil society members in Kashmir. Full list of signatories at the end.
Srinagar, 18 August 2012: Civil society groups of Kashmir express their serious concern over the recent Supreme Court directions to the J&K government for undertaking civil engineering works leading to construction of roads and other infrastructure in the environmentally fragile Himalayan habitat around the Amarnath cave shrine in the valley of Kashmir. This move comes even as the committee formed by the Hon’ble court for recommending ways and means to promote safe journey of pilgrims to the cave shrine is yet to submit its report.
At a joint meeting of various civil society groups held on 16 August at Srinagar, the following resolution was adopted: Continue reading Kashmir civil society express concern over Amarnath construction plans
This press release was issued by the ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS on 31 July 2012
Today, 31 July 2012, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), held its regular monthly meeting where various issues confronting the struggle of the family members of the disappeared were discussed. Besides other issues, the recent suo-moto cognizance of the Supreme Court of India regarding the deaths of Amarnath pilgrims and its continued indifference towards the sufferings of the family members of the disappeared were raised.
On 15 July 2012, the Supreme Court took suo-moto
cognizance of the deaths of 67 Amarnath pilgrims over the first 17 days of the Amarnath Yatra. Referring to a clear disregard for human life, the Supreme Court cited the constitutional rights to life [Article 21] and freedom of movement [Article 19(1) (d)] in India and issued notices to the Central Government, Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the head of the Amarnath Shrine Board. Subsequently, a high powered committee was constituted to investigate the reasons behind the deaths. Continue reading APDP statement on Supreme Court’s suo-moto cognizance on Amarnath pilgrim deaths