Guest Post by Dwaipayan Banerjee
Close to five hundred people came out in a rally yesterday, 15th July, to protest the ongoing killings and mayhem in Kashmir by the Indian State. The overwhelming majority of participants were students, but they were joined in good numbers by feminists, queer-activists, trade union activists, writers, journalists, academics, human rights activists, dalit rights activists, cultural activists, with many among them not affiliated with any organisation. Student and youth activists carrying flags and placards of PDSF (Progressive Democratic Student Federation), USDF ( United Students Democratic Front), AISA (All India Students’ Association), Progressive Youth League (PYL) and many from other student-youth organisations were present in good numbers, so were human rights activists from APDR (Association for Protection of Democratic Rights) and those from Bastar Solidarity Network (BSN). Many carried with them their own banners and posters. Like the rally in Delhi, protesters carried with them hand-written, hand-painted and printed placards with the names of civilians recently killed in Kashmir inscribed on it, and through those posters a connection of shared pain and solidarity flowed from the streets of Kolkata to the turbulent and stormy blood-stained streets in Kashmir. Those posters were reaching out to the people of Kashmir with messages that they were not alone in their hour of sorrow, anguish and mourning. Some of the protesters had written verses by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali on their posters. One of those many posters summed up the mood of the rally, ‘Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris’.
[ Video by Peoples’ Camera]