Clear Message from the Revolutionary Democratic Movement in Punjab
We Firmly Stand with the People of Kashmir
Once again, Kashmir is boiling with rage. The pent-up anger of the people of Kashmir against their brutal oppression by the Indian security forces has erupted in powerful massive protests in the form of gatherings, demonstrations and skirmishes and clashes with these forces, in which more than 75 people have been killed, many blinded and more than thousand injured so far. It is more than 60 days now since the cold-blooded killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani by the security forces on 8th of July. Yet the anger of the people is finding no let-up. Brave Kashmiris are valiantly fighting against the atrocities and brutalities of the security forces. They are coming out on the roads time and again, in large numbers, caring little for the restrictions, curfews and even firings. They deserve our salute.
The just and righteous struggle of the people of Kashmir has gained support from variety of sections of the people world over. In India too, the reports of such solidarity actions supporting the Kashmiri people are pouring in. In Punjab also some such actions have taken place. The solidarity activity in Punjab, scattered over a wide area and taking different forms such as conventions, public meetings, demonstrations and other forms of mass-propaganda, was chiefly organized by the communist revolutionary, revolutionary democratic and other pro-people forces active in the state. Almost all the sections of society such as peasants, workers, employees, intellectuals, students and youth participated in these solidarity actions; especially the leading sections and front rank activists and fighters of the revolutionary democratic movement of the state participated in considerable numbers and with a marked conviction.
“We, the willing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.” Notes from the diary of a soldier who served in Siachen. (Original quote by Mother Teresa.)
India and Pakistan may have their guns aimed on each other at Siachen, but in reality they are both fighting nature, nature defeating them and being defeated by them. At 20,000 feet the world’s largest glacier outside the North and South Poles, Siachen is the world’s highest battlefield. Continue reading A pointless battle in Siachen: Saadut Hussain→
Given below is a note written by a Kashmiri student from downtown Srinagar who calls himself ‘Kale Kharab’, meaning ‘hot headed’. Taken from his blog, the note reads like a personal manifesto, a statement of purpose, a testimony more telling than what the most patient interviewer can elicit. This note gives you more insight into what is happening in Kashmir than a lot of what you may have read or seen on TV news about the killing of 115 protestors across Kashmir in 2010 by Indian forces. This testimony, written early on during the uprising, on 30 August 2010, shows how irredeemably India has lost the plot in Kashmir all over again, with a new generation of Kashmiris.
How and why I became a stonepelter
I am from downtown srinagar born in 1991. I was admitted to one of the best school of valley. As a child I had dream to became engineer. Whenever somebody used to ask me about my aim I would proudly say engineer. As I started to grow up I started to became familar with many words which everyone used to talk about that among them few were “azadi” (freedom), “hartal” (shutdown) but I was unable to understand the meaning of these words. I loved the word hartal as it was holiday, so I always wished for hartal. As I grew up I came to know about mujahids. I used to listen stories of mujahids. I would oftenly ask my elders to tell me about mujahids. They told me stories of many mujahids like Issac, Ishfaq, Jan Malik which I liked to share with my friends. Continue reading “These are not stones these are my feelings”→
In Hazaribagh, one of the oldest cities of the newly formed state of Jharkhand, one is more likely to come across the word Kashmir than the name of the city itself these days. Kashmir, a place that most of the residents of Hazaribagh would have only heard of. At almost every nook and corner, teashop, wall of the city one would find an invitation to the ‘raashtriya ekta yatra’ from Kolkata to Kashmir to hoist the revered Indian flag at Lal Chowk. And this public invitation comes from none other than the youth wing of BJP, namely the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha. Continue reading ‘Kashmir ho ya Guwahati, Apna desh, apni maati’: Mahtab Alam→
Two monoliths of pro-India politics in Kashmir, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Dr Farooq Abdullah, are soaring high in the dark autumn skies of the valley like vultures. Below are the 110 bodies of warm-blooded children, boys, men and a lone woman. From these bodies will they and their offspring derive nourishment because serving a nation of 1 billion people is indeed an uphill task.
The way Madhu Kishwar and Prem Shankar Jha are lobbying for Mufti at every seminar in New Delhi demonstrates Mufti’s silence is really studied. What about Abdullah duo. They are neck deep in muck, which reminds one of those famous lines of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Kubrick’s masterpiece Full Metal Jacket—you are the lowest form of life on earth…
This is the third of a series of fact-finding reports on the recent violence in Kashmir. The fact-finding has been conducted independently by a team ofBELA BHATIA,VRINDA GROVER,SUKUMAR MURALIDHARANandRAVI HEMADRI. For an introduction to this series, see here.
This is the second of a series of fact-finding reports on the recent violence in Kashmir. The fact-finding has been conducted independently by a team ofBELA BHATIA,VRINDA GROVER,SUKUMAR MURALIDHARANandRAVI HEMADRI. For an introduction to this series, see here, and also see the first report.
Apologies for taking the liberty of writing a separate post to respond to yours. I am doing so as a separate post not only because this response is rather too long for the comments space, but also because I have been wanting to address the issues you have raised. The issues are not new; I have been hearing them ad nauseaum since 2008, when the Kashmiri demand for independence from India took on a renewed momentum. In your post you bring in various external contexts – such as Rosa Luxemburg and the Sinhala-Tamil conflict. I am grateful that you do so, because it is always useful to learn from history and not repeat history’s mistakes. However, there are other recent histories of conflict and conflict resolution you don’t talk about, but which many Kashmiris are aware of – Kosovo, East Timor, Northern Ireland. Some new countries are being formed as we speak!
Also, there is history and context in Kashmir too, which you don’t go into. Your post talks more about LTTE than about Kashmir. Here, I will try to stick to Kashmir in responding to you.
This is the first of a series of fact-finding reports on the recent violence in Kashmir. The fact-finding has been conducted independently by a team ofBELA BHATIA,VRINDA GROVER,SUKUMAR MURALIDHARANandRAVI HEMADRI. For a introduction to this series, see here.
This post introduces a fact finding team’s work on the recent violence in Kashmir. The contents of the report are being posted as separate posts and will be linked below as and when they’re posted.
Since June this year, the Kashmir valley has been torn by mass protests which have been met with overwhelming force by Indian security forces. Curfews and closures have been frequent, often shading into each other. No less than 111 deaths have been registered, of which a large number have been of students and youth in the age group of 8 to 25 years. There have besides, been hundreds of cases of injuries, of both protesters and those who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. An independent fact-finding team went to the Kashmir valley at the end of October to go into the totality of the situation, principally to inquire into the causes for the unconscionably large number of deaths that have occurred in the current phase of mass agitation. The team comprised of academic BELA BHATIA, advocate VRINDA GROVER, journalist SUKUMAR MURALIDHARAN and activist RAVI HEMADRI of The Other Media, a Delhi based campaign and advocacy organisation, at whose initiative the effort was organised. Each member of the team spent varying lengths of time in the valley, but in total, roughly about twenty-five person days were put in the fact-finding exercise. In groups or individually, the team met the families of almost 40 persons who had been killed since the beginning of the civil unrest. Several individuals who had suffered serious injuries were also met. The team worked out of the state capital of Srinagar, and visited villages and towns in five of the Kashmir valley’s ten districts: Baramulla in the north (Sopore and Baramulla tehsils); Anantnag (Bijbehara and Anantnag tehsils) and Pulwama (Pulwama tehsil) in the south; Badgam in the west (Chadura and Badgam tehsils) and Srinagar itself. Separate sessions were held with journalists and media practitioners, university teachers and students, doctors, lawyers and activists besides officials in the police headquarters and the civil administration. The findings of the team are being released in a series of short reports beginning with following two sections. Forthcoming reports will deal with various facets of the situation that civilians in the Kashmir valley face in a season of unabated turmoil.
There are various divisions of pain the different classes of people feel in Jammu and Kashmir. Like those bank credit cards which classify customers according to precious metals—Platinum, Gold, Silver—pain is a class thing. For example, when PDP veteran Muzaffar Hussain Baig, after making a long convoluted speech in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, said Omar Abdullah’s name figured in the list of the people who used their authority to sexually exploit girls, the junior Abdullah was transformed into a character from a Greek tragedy.
During the convention, Azadi the only Way, at LTG auditorium on Thursday, a potbellied man was standing on the aisle, listening intently to the speech of professor of history at Jadavpur University Sugata Bhadra. The man, I reckon, might be easily burdening earth with nearly 130 kilograms of his fair, north Indian bulk. The professor was stripping the Indian state to its bare minimum and the audiences clapped. The man could stand it no more. I soon found out his voice was equally weighty, and gravelly—a cross between Shatrugan Sinha and Kulbushan Kharbanda. Quite audibly he said jis thali ma khatey hai usi main chaid kartey hain. In Bollywood films this saying condemning treachery is reserved for domestic helps who fall in love with the pretty daughters of their employers. Here, the context was different. A Maoist sympathizer was sharing the dais with a Kashmiri pro-freedom leader who was sharing the dais with a Sikh secessionist who was sharing the dais with a Naga human rights defender…A veritable thali of secessionism and dissent indeed. No wonder Arnab Goswami was hysterical. Continue reading Let Delhi have its thali→
Everyone is losing its plot in Kashmir — be it separatists, mainstream political parties, New Delhi or Pakistan. The biggest losers in the unarmed but stone-laden street uprising are Pakistan and separatists.
The failure of Pakistan in shifting paradigm of new realities in Kashmir can be gauged from its dwindling influence over separatists’ spectrum. It failed to unite fractured separatists to its 1992-like unified forum politics despite placing in half-a-dozen interlocutors between warring factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Its influence over separatists’ spectrum has been wavering and waning. It was after former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf pick-and-choose policy that saw separatists cocooning and ensconcing their politics as per the public mood in Kashmir. If Musharraf’s four-point formula convinced moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, many hard-liners like Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and United Jehad Council chief Sayed Salahuddin rejected it. Continue reading In Kashmir, everyone’s losing the plot: Peerzada Aashiq→
Update 2 on 11 July: As was being feared, the state has begun to crackdown on Facebook users for ‘anti-India activiies’. I can already spot one Facebook account missing. Very soon they will ban eating, drinking, breathing and shitting and offer curfew passes to some for these activities.
In a clear signal that it continues to dictate what we get to know about the ground situation in Kashmir, curbs on the local media in the Valley continue despite government claims that they have been lifted. At the same time, Delhi journalists are able to freely move around and report in Srinagar. This is yet another blatant example of how the Indian state considers Kashmir its private property and the rights of its residents are secondary. As the Delhi media continues to do the bidding of the Home Ministry, the best sources of news on what’s happening on the ground remain Twitter and Facebook. Those updating their profiles and pages with information are doing so with the apprehension of censorship, state reprisal, blocking of these sites and suspension of internet services altogether in Kashmir. Continue reading Curbs continue on Kashmir media; is it martial law in Srinagar?→
So far in 2010, ‘security’ forces have killed 32 innocent Kashmiris, sometimes not even in a protest. Far from investigating these killings and promising justice, India has banned protest in Kashmir, which is what curfew amounts to, and even the media is not allowed to function. Curfew passes have been canceled even for journalists – there were no newspapers this morning. 12 photojournalists have been beaten up. Newspapers have been BANNED!
The Delhi media reports that the army has been brought into Srinagar for an indefinite period, and that the army staged a flag march. However, what is a flag march? It can’t be a security measure to deal with terrorists because there is complete curfew. The army has been asked to strictly impose the curfew. People are dying because they are not allowed to go to hospitals. After killing 32 innocent people what does “maximum crackdown” by 1,700 Indian troops in Srinagar mean? And if not even a bird is allowed on the streets, who or what is the flag march for? Continue reading But what is a flag march?→
(On June 30th 2010, Asif Rather age nine ran out of his home in Baramulla in Kashmir to look for his older brother. As he left, he told his mother ‘I am going to make you cry today’. Minutes later he fell victim to shooting by the forces. At the time he was 150 meters from his house. – The Indian Express)
He stood at the sunlit door
A nine-year old with tousled hair
Asif Rather, student of class four,
Baramulla, 55 kms from Srinagar
‘Where is Touqeer?’
He sought his older brother.
‘Nowhere! You come back now
Here’s tea and last night’s bread
My baby, let me comb your hair’
Which Indian has not heard of General Dyer? General Dyer opened fire on unarmed protesters. Hundreds died, the figures are disputed between Indian and British version to this day. A commission of enquiry was set up by the English. General Dyer told the Hunter Commission, “I think it quite possible that I could have dispersed the crowd without firing but they would have come back again and laughed, and I would have made, what I consider, a fool of myself.” Continue reading A conversation in Sopore and other stories→
Military Governance in Indian-administered Kashmir
STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Srinagar, June 29, 2010
INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR (IPTK) | www.kashmirprocess.org
The People’s Tribunal feels morally obligated to make this statement today. Sustained alliances between local communities and IPTK have enabled us to bear witness to the escalating conditions induced by militarized governance, and the severity of psychosocial dimensions of oppression in Indian-administered Kashmir. From our work since being instituted in April 2008, from the reports and briefs we have authored, investigations we have undertaken and are in the process of completing, we find it ethically imperative to comment on the direction in which the Governments of India and Jammu and Kashmir, and the Indian Armed Forces, appear to be headed, and the consequences they will likely effect. Continue reading IPTK Statement on Military Governance in Indian-administered Kashmir→