Kashmir’s Freedom is India’s Freedom: Hum Kya Chahte? Azadi

I do not think ordinary Indians support the brutality of army occupation in Kashmir. Despite what the Indian state says, and despite what the Indian army and CRPF are doing, I honestly do not believe that any ordinary Indian supports the torture of young men, the blinding of people attending a funeral, the rape of women, the killings and maiming and abuse and humiliation that are now a routinized fact of daily life in the Kashmir valley. To believe that ordinary Indians enjoy watching this spectacle of violence, that ordinary Indians take pleasure in the torture of children, would be to think India is now a country comprised of sadistic psychopaths. I honestly do not think ordinary Indians are psychopaths. I do think, however, that ordinary Indians, and I count myself amongst them, have somehow managed, till now, to keep some distance between what is happening in Kashmir and the idea of India as a whole. After all, India is a large and complex country, a huge and diverse society. Everything that happens in Kashmir, the brutality of the army and the security forces, cannot signify the whole truth of India we tell ourselves. It seems somehow unfair to us ordinary Indians that what happens in Kashmir reflects on us all.

But the time has come now to squarely face some hard truths about ourselves, and the dissimulations, psychological and social, by which we continue to live in this country and call ourselves ‘Indians’. Continue reading “Kashmir’s Freedom is India’s Freedom: Hum Kya Chahte? Azadi”

Eleven things India must do in Kashmir: Justin Podur

Indian Army soldiers at an encounter site with militants in Kashmir on Friday. AP photo

Guest post by JUSTIN PODUR: I spent a week in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, at the end of April 2013, talking to people among whom there was a wide range of opinion. While almost everyone supports freedom, some are resigned to India never letting Kashmir go, others believe that the struggle will go on and take different forms, some are just trying to survive. It seemed to me, at the end of a calm week during tourist season, that India is bringing about all of the things that it fears: Pakistani influence, violence,  radicalisation of youth, political Islam, and hatred of India. Continue reading “Eleven things India must do in Kashmir: Justin Podur”

Showkat Ahmad Paul is no terrorist: APDP

This is a press release from the Parveena Ahangar-led ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS on 11 April 2013:

The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) strongly refutes the recent claim of the police that Showkat Ahmad Paul, of Lawaypora, is part of a fidayeen squad of a militant group planning to carry out a strike in the civil lines area of Srinagar City.  APDP states that the claim floated through a section of the media quoting police sources is utterly baseless and false.  After having abducted and disappeared Showkat Ahmed Paul in 2003, this is a fabricated attempt by the security forces and  state intelligence agencies to obfuscate and deny responsibility in the case of his disappearance. The family who are being harassed by the security agencies fear for the safety of their son who is in their illegal and unlawful custody since 2003. They fear that after branding him as a Fidayeen the security agencies now intend to murder Showkat, by staging an encounter or using some other extra judicial method. Continue reading “Showkat Ahmad Paul is no terrorist: APDP”

Kashmir: Civil society objections to proposed Police Bill

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”

When the Indian nation’s ‘conscience’ was satisfied: Gazala Peer

Guest post by GAZALA PEER

CRPF personnel stand guard at the martyrs' graveyard in Srinagar,preventing entry. The graveyard has a new empty grave, that of Afzal Guru. A similar empty grave waits for Maqbool Bhat, also buried in Tihar jail. Photo credit: Mukhtar Khan/Associated Press
CRPF personnel stand guard at the martyrs’ graveyard in Srinagar, preventing entry. The graveyard has a new empty grave, that of Afzal Guru. A similar empty grave waits for Maqbool Bhat, also buried in Tihar jail. Photo credit: Mukhtar Khan/Associated Press

People who mourn under siege are not supposed to write. We cry and beat our chests. Kashmiris have long faced such predicaments, always forced to find alternatives for everything. Anything that is normal and fair is denied to them! Like a fair trial, for instance. I am not sure if everybody knows Mohd. Afzal Guru’s story. I am not sure if I can be fair to him, but whatever I could gather from legal documents, commentaries and articles, is summarised here. Continue reading “When the Indian nation’s ‘conscience’ was satisfied: Gazala Peer”

In mourning and under siege – A despatch from Srinagar: Saadut Hussain

Guest post by SAADUT HUSSAIN

Photo: Getty Images

The evening prior to Afzal Guru’s hanging, Kashmir was being prepared for a siege. The state had already started working towards barricading the entire population of Kashmir and enforcing curfew. A backlash in Kashmir was already anticipated, not only because Afzal was a Kashmiri but also because in Kashmir he is perceived to being an innocent man, used as a pawn by New Delhi in the larger political theatre of mainland India.

Even though Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday claimed that he “was informed at 8 pm on Friday night that Afzal Guru would be executed this morning” other media sources claimed that “Omar was informed about the decision when he was in New Delhi on January 31 where he met several leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.” Clearly the differing reports on claims (or denial) of his knowledge about the hanging had more political reasons to it. Continue reading “In mourning and under siege – A despatch from Srinagar: Saadut Hussain”

A review of human rights in Jammu & Kashmir in 2012: JKCCS

This brief has been put out by the JAMMU AND KASHMIR COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY


The year 2012 has just passed, and yet again like previous years, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has disgracefully claimed the year to be peaceful. This hyped peace is void of justice & peace and is packed with violence & injustice. In the year 2012 the people of Jammu and Kashmir in routine have witnessed unabated violence, human rights abuses, denial of civil and political rights, absence of mechanisms of justice, heightened militarization and surveillance. The figures of violent incidents suggest that 2012 as usual has been the year of loss, victimization, lies, mourning and pain for the people. Continue reading “A review of human rights in Jammu & Kashmir in 2012: JKCCS”