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Kashmiris Cannot Be Won Over or Suppressed at Gun point : A statement from Anhad & concerned citizens

by Anhad, 8 July 2010

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23, Canning Lane, new Delhi

Tel.: 23070740/ 22

It is a matter of grave concern and anguish that no sensitive measures have been taken by the Central Government in response to the ongoing deaths, injuries and killings in cold-blood of civilians in Srinagar and Anantnag districts of Jammu and Kashmir, including young girls and boys, most of them innocent, peaceful protestors, or even just bystanders. And consequently both North and South regions of the valley are on flame. To make matters worse, the Army, along with para-military forces, have been issued orders to shoot at sight to uphold the almost relentless curfew — basically to block protests against the continuing spiral of non-stop and indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians. The presence of army and security forces dominates the Valley and reinforces the deep-rooted angst of people. The reality is that democracy is under severe strain and is almost absent in many parts in this state, despite an elected government backed by the Centre holding the reigns of power at Srinagar.

ANHAD and many other concerned civil society groups in India want the governments in the state and Centre to come out clean — urgently and immediately — and explain if this is indeed a democratic and constitutional method of handling a manifold and multiplying crisis in a highly sensitive region. Obviously, the establishment thinks that branding it as mere law and order problem and repression and killings would ’calm down’ the situation as sensitive and grim as that of Jammu and Kashmir. This will be like choking tens of thousands of people into the silence of absolute suffering and blind rage. Will this violence ever stop, and will we ever find the root causes for a political solution based on consensus, understanding, mutual harmony and human rights?

Tuesday began with protests against one death which led to the second death and then suddenly, Srinagar was back under curfew. The cycle of violence has spun out of control all over again. Last week witnessed a similar series of killings taking its toll in Anantnag district where people were killed in clashes with security forces since they were not allowed to protest against the killings of civilians. This has become a tragic and vicious circle of hopelessness.

Instead of issuing any statement of sympathy or concern or wisdom, our highest offices of governance in the country, are only pushing for an escalation in the number of deployment of security forces. This clearly indicates the callous attitude of the governments in Delhi and Srinagar. Such acts of brutality are in complete violation of the law of the land and constitutional rights of the people that have resulted in mass outrage and alienation of large sections of the civilian population in Kashmir.

These are unarmed, non-violent citizens, who are being treated with such blatant and indiscriminate use of military force — why? Is there no other way to negotiate with civil unrest? And what is the root cause of this civil unrest if not the brutalities executed by the police and para military forces? And what about cases of atrocities committed on people who are not even protesting?

There is no excuse for such cruelty. Despite repeated assurances by the central and state governments of zero tolerance towards human rights violations, the fact remains that little has been done to punish those responsible for such heinous and gross violations. This organised insensitivity and vacillation to act firmly against such elements is bound to put a question mark on the credibility of the State and its track record in terms of human and democratic rights of the people, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Mere rhetoric and institution of official enquiries is not enough to restore the shattered and shaken confidence of the people. It is imperative that the central and state authorities take firm and visible action against those responsible for unleashing this brutish violence on innocent people. Any delay will only compound the alienation and anger of the people — resulting in irrefutable damage to the peace process in the Valley and elsewhere in the state.

ANHAD expresses serious concern over the absolute antipathy and lack of political initiative displayed by the UPA-led central government in response to the situation in the valley. They should learn some lessons from history. People cannot be won over or suppressed at gun point. Certainly, the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve a more rational, humane, visionary and sensitive response from the Indian State.

We demand from the Central and the State governments to:

• Take immediate action to prevent further loss of life and property

• Put an end to the violence perpetrated by the security forces with immediate effect.

• Immediately appoint an independent and impartial time bound Commission of Enquiry to look into the killings of peaceful civilians & human rights violations

• Initiate an inquiry into instances of attacks on ambulance services

• Ensure security of the journalists both of local and national media

• Ensure freedom of expression and press

• Immediately start a political dialogue with various stake holders

Endorsed By:

  1. Aashima Subberwal- Delhi University
  2. Abeer Gupta - filmmaker
  3. Adnan Nabi – Kashmir
  4. Alana Hunt – Artist
  5. Ali Asghar – Social Activist, Hyderabad
  6. Amit Sengupta, Journalist, Delhi
  7. Amrita Nandy – SANGAT
  8. Anil Choudhury- Peace
  9. Anjali Thomas – Student DU
  10. Anjum Rajabali, Cinema Script writer
  11. Ankita Dash – Student DU
  12. Appu Esthose Suresh - The Sunday Guardian, Delhi
  13. Aqsa Anjum – Delhi
  14. Arindam Jit Singh – Team Nishan
  15. Arun Kumar Tiwari – Anhad
  16. Aslam Khan – Student, Jamia Milia Islamia
  17. Astha Rajan – Anhad
  18. Atique Farooqui – Lucknow
  19. Avinash Kumar-Oxfam India
  20. Biju Mathew – Professor of Business, Rider University, NJ, USA
  21. Bindia Thapar - Architect/Illustrator, New Delhi.
  22. Bobby Kunhu – Researcher and Writer
  23. Colin Gonsalves-Human Rights Law Network
  24. David Devadas - Senior Journalist
  25. Dev Desai – Gujarat
  26. Dhananjay Tripathi – South Asians for Human Rights
  27. Dunu Roy – Hazards Centre
  28. Fahad Shah, journalist, Srinagar
  29. Faizen Haider Naqvi - Businessman, Delhi
  30. Gauri Dasan Nair – Senior Journalist, kerala
  31. Gowher Nabi Gora – J and K
  32. Harsh Dobhal- Human Rights Law Network
  33. Harsh Kapoor – South Asia Citizens Web
  34. Inder Salim – Activist
  35. Indu Prakash Singh- IGSSS
  36. John Dayal- General Secretary, All India Christian Council
  37. Kallol Bhowmik - Spl Correspondent Ajir Dainik Batori and Eastern Chronicle
  38. Kalpana Tikku
  39. Kashif-ul-Hoda - Editor,
  40. Madhu Chandra - All India Christian Council & North East Support Centre & Helpline
  41. Madhura Chakrvoraty – Student Jadhavpur University, West Bengal
  42. Maia Barkaia – JNU student
  43. Manas Arora – Student, IP College of Engineering
  44. Manisha Sethi – Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association
  45. Manisha Trivedi – Anhad Gujarat
  46. Manjit Singh Roperia – Student Hissar
  47. Mansi Sharma-Anhad
  48. Moggallan Bharti – JNU student
  49. Mohan Kumawat- Anhad
  50. Mohd. Ali - Delhi Correspondent of news website
  51. Mudassir Kawa, Activist, Srinagar
  52. Mukul Manglik – Historian Delhi University
  53. Murli Natarajan, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, USA
  54. Mushtaq Koka, Activist, Srinagar
  55. Naazim Mohammed – Social Activist, Bangalore
  56. Nadim Nikhat - Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  57. Navaid Hamid -Social Activist
  58. Neha Dhole, Aman Trust, New Delhi
  59. Prasad Chako- NCDHR
  60. Pratap Singh Negi, Anhad
  61. Prativa Thomas – Amnesty International, UK
  62. Prem Dangwal – Anhad Mumbai
  63. Prof Anuradha Chenoy, JNU, Delhi
  64. Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy, JNU, Delhi
  65. Prof. KN Panikkar, Historian
  66. Raj Gopalan – Trivandrum, Kerala
  67. Ram Puniyani – Ekta, Mumbai
  68. Rashid Ali – Freelance Journalist
  69. Rima Aranha
  70. Rohit Sinha – Student DU
  71. Rupal Oza, South Asia Solidarity Initiative
  72. Sabir Hussain – Jammu and Kashmir
  73. Sachin Pandya – Anhad Gujarat
  74. Sania Hashmi – Anhad
  75. Sanjay Sharma – Anhad
  76. Sanjeev Mahajan, CA, USA
  77. Saqib Sana - Mumbai
  78. Seema Duhan-Anhad
  79. Shabir Hussain – Srinagar, J &K
  80. Shabnam Hashmi- social activist, Anhad
  81. Shahnawaz Malik – Lucknow
  82. Shaweta Anand, Journalist and Researcher
  83. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi – Researcher JNU
  84. Shesh Narain Singh-Senior Journalist
  85. Shoaib Khan – Srinagar, J&K
  86. Shrish Chandra – Lucknow University
  87. Shweta Tripathi – Programme Officer, SHRUTI
  88. Sohaib Niazi – Student, Jamia Milia Islamia
  89. Sohail Hashmi-Social Activist
  90. Sonam Gupta - Anhad
  91. Sonia Jabbar- Independent Filmmaker
  92. Tanveer Hussain Khan -Anhad Kashmir Coordinator
  93. Thulasi Kakkat – Photographer, Kerela
  94. Uma Chakravarty- Academician
  95. Vijayan- Delhi Forum
  96. Vrinda Grover- Human Rights Lawyer, Supreme Court
  97. Waqar Kazi – Anhad Mumbai
  98. Wasim Khan, NJ, USA
  99. Yasmeen Qureshi, Human Rights Activist, CA, USA
  100. Zafar Abbas – journalist, Delhi
  101. Zafar Agha, journalist, Delhi