Tag Archives: Kashmir

Terror and the Political Space of Southasia

A year ago in hearing of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto my heart sank as I thought our region was at boiling point.  Over the last week as I heard news of the brutal attacks in Mumbai my heart sinks further as I mourn not only for Mumbai but for our region.

I want to begin with Southasia, borrowing from Himal SouthasianHimal claims it wants to “restore some of the historical unity of our common living space – without wishing any violence on the existing nation states”.  I want to go further and not only hope for the eventual withering away of those nation states, but also consider the political space of not only Southasian history but of the Southasian present.  And in thinking about Southasia, I can not avoid considering South Asia, as defined by the nation states and their relationship, particularly in the form of SAARC.  And when I remember the last two SAARC Summits in 2007 and 2008, I recall a silence and an emphasis.  Silence on political processes and emphasis on terrorism.  Why the latter and not the former, even from the nation state perspective, both would be important within nation states and between nation states. Continue reading Terror and the Political Space of Southasia

“Gentle persuasion” in Kashmir

Some intelligence agencies have also warned of a low-poll percentage. But a senior police official said: “One cannot wait for the perfect situation in Kashmir.” According to him “gentle persuasion” in rural and border areas will help improve turnout. “After all, it is not a crime to ask people to vote. In several countries, voting is mandatory,” he argues. [George Joseph, Sakaal Times]

What an admission, what a giveaway! Indian democracy never went beyond Lakhanpur anyway. Nationalists and the weak hearted, please be ready to shut your eyes and ears for the next two months. The Indian state is planning to show its ugliest face in the Valley. Get ready, get ready.

A cartoon in ‘Greater Kashmir’

Meanwhile, some links to the sort of news from Kashmir that the Delhi media won’t give you:

Even expecting mother not spared during curfew

CRPF administers ‘patriotic’ dose to 56-yr old

Crippling curfew devastates fruit industry

Sikh Youth thrashed by Samiti supporters

‘Dangerous conspiracy to give communal color to movement’

While we were gagged
8 Killed, Hundreds Injured In 7 Days, Massive Clampdown On Valley

Where are pro-freedom leaders?
Geelani’s Son-In-Law Seeks Red Cross’ Intervention

Curfew relaxed, not beating
‘It is terrorism in uniform’

Yeh BBC London Ki Urdu Service Hai
News starved Kashmiris tune into popular radio program of 90’s in curfew

Tangmarg Imam goes missing

Curfew revives water transport on Jhelum

AMK condemns demand for ban on Kashir channel

Hindu chauvinist derails Mumbai citizens’ sit-in

Azaadi echo in Delhi
Civil right activists favour Kashmir independence

Steep rise in CRPF battalions in Valley

Statement on Censorship in Kashmir by Reporters without Borders

Censorship and violence against press in Kashmir
Reporters WIthout Borders, 25th August, 2008

Reporters Without Borders calls on the Indian authorities to put an immediate stop to the censorship and violence against the media in Kashmir that has been prompted by a wave of protests against Indian rule. At least 13 journalists were beaten by police yesterday in Srinagar, local TV stations are being censored and a curfew is making it hard for newspapers to bring out their issues.

“This latest crisis in Indian Kashmir must not be used as a pretext for subjecting the press to more violence and obstruction,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Journalists must have all the guarantees they need, including permanent passes, to be able to work freely despite the curfew. We also call on the police authorities to investigate the violence by certain elements that have led to injuries in the ranks of the press. If no sanctions are adopted, the door will be left open for more abuses. Finally, we call for an end to the censorship of local TV stations, which is a clear violation of the right of Kashmiris to be informed.”

Continue reading Statement on Censorship in Kashmir by Reporters without Borders

“I See Kashmir from New Delhi at Midnight”

(Adapted from a posting made earlier today on the Reader-List, Apologies for Cross Posting)

Even as the Indian state seems to be on the threshold of losing its grip both on hearts and minds in Kashmir and on its own wisdom, we have our own bunch of proud patriots making a heroic effort to convert the column inches of newspapers and the floor space of television studios into their own, special, battleground. Perhaps they might be consoling themselves with the hope that the turf battle of perception management in the media may yet be won, even if Kashmir is lost. Somehow, I am not so sure that this is going to be the case.

Unfortunately for them, to win in arguments, both – the state in Kashmir, and the Indian nationalist hard liners in the media and on other public fora, need some ideas, some attempt at reason, some amount of vision. I am afraid, that so far, neither the state, nor its hyper-loyal editorialists, sound-byte commandos and cyber-footsoldiers, have been able to display any. Instead, we have had bullets in Kashmir, and as I write this, news of midnight raids, arrests and the putting in place of the machinery of a major crackdown tomorrow, on those planning to assemble to protest peacefully on Lal Chowk in Srinagar, and restrictions on the freedom of expression. It is possible that a lot will happen tomorrow and in the next few days that will not filter through on television and the newspapers. It is possible that internet connections will be momentarily ‘down’ and that phone contact with the valley may be suspended. If it is not, then it is imperative that those who are in the valley, especially journalists of major international newspapers witness and report what might happen. If the worst does not come to pass, then, everyone will be relieved, and I really hope that is the case. We must remember, that in 1989-90, major massacres took place in Srinagar and in the rest of India, nobody really knew what was going on before it was too late. It is not as easy today for the Indian state to replicate the news blackout that accompanied the crackdown that took place in 1989, but certainly, the signs are that there might just be an attempt to do precisely that underway.

The PTI report quoted in a story just uploaded on the Indian Express website an hour before midnight, yesterday, 24th August, makes for chilling reading, especially if we read between the lines. It deserves being quoted in its entirety.
Continue reading “I See Kashmir from New Delhi at Midnight”