Skip to main content

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Anhad's Dev Desai, one of the signatories, displays pro-Kashmir placard with supporters

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
Seeking lifting of media and communications "blockade", including restoration of internet services, the letter insists on the release of political prisoners detained without trial since August 5. At the same rime, the letter wants Kashmir be demilitarised and a "meaningful" dialogue be initiated with the people of the region on their future.

Text:

On August 5, the Indian state unilaterally and without consultation with the J&K legislature revoked J&K’s right to self-governance. It brought the region under the direct control of the New Delhi government. In doing so, the central government displayed a blatant disregard for the nation’s founding principles of democracy, secularism and justice.
This was followed by a military blockade and an unprecedented media and communications shutdown, which has lasted more than two months. The blockade has plunged the people of J&K into fear and uncertainty and initiated a humanitarian crisis in the region. Kashmiris have been denied the basic civil liberties and freedoms of expression, information, assembly, movement and religion.
Eid and Ashura passed as the clampdown continued, and Kashmiris both within and outside the state were unable to wish their family members. Even when an ​earthquake​ hit Mirpur, killing 38 and injuring hundreds, there was no media coverage of damages, injuries and fatalities on the Indian side of the LoC, leaving Kashmiris across India unable to contact their loved ones.
Despite mounting and credible evidence of human rights abuses and a ​healthcare crisis​ from numerous international media sources and independent fact-finding missions, the Indian government continues to insist that everything in Kashmir has returned to ‘normal’.
Military forces have detained ​thousands​ of people, among them politicians, leaders, lawyers, journalists, teachers, students, and ​children​ as young as ten. Civilians, including children, are being tortured and ruthlessly beaten and subjected to electric shocks.
In a ​report​ from BBC News, a civilian is quoted saying, “we told them we are innocent. We asked why they were doing this to us? But they did not listen to us. I told them don’t beat us, just shoot us. I was asking God to take me, because the torture was unbearable.”
Meanwhile, medical reports and hospital admission logs are being ​manipulated​ in order to keep casualty reports low. Doctors report being under pressure not to issue death certificates.
On August 15, as the rest of India celebrated independence from colonial rule, Kashmir went into an indefinite lockdown imposed by the Indian government. As India celebrated freedom won through years of protest, civil disobedience, and a commitment to self-rule, Kashmiris were being denied those very liberties.
While thousands protest outside the United Nations in New York, in Ahmedabad the police ​refuses​ permission
With each passing day that this is allowed to continue, India inches closer to fascism, and further from democracy. While thousands protest outside the United Nations in New York, here in Ahmedabad the police ​refuses​ permission to protest. Gujarat is where the very spirit of dissent has been crushed under the weight of a state actively and tacitly supported by the majority.
The state has attempted to control the media narrative, shuttered places of protest, and ​stifled​ age-old democratic institutions like the Gujarat Vidyapith and the Mehdi Nawaz Jung Hall. The Sabarmati Riverfront, touted as a monumental reclamation of public space, does not allow for public assembly and dissent.
Despite this, we assert that there are still voices in Gujarat calling for change, voices that some have tried their best to quell, but that refuse to remain silent. Among civil society leaders, there is a sense of fear, uncertainty and helplessness. And yet, and still, there is dissent.
The Indian state has decided that the value of land is greater than that of human life. We cannot let this stand. ​We the undersigned stand in solidarity with Kashmiris, and demand that Kashmiri voices be heard.
Now, more than ever, is the time to remember those who fought for our freedom, BR Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, among so many others. These freedom fighters had a dream for this country, a pluralist democracy composed of states and peoples who willingly came together to preserve the idea of India. This dream of a free state did not and could not have included shutting an entire people out of the democratic process and imprisoning them.
It is imperative today that we remember their vision of a state in which justice, equality and peace could reach everyone, and in their memory, fight for freedom once more, from those who wish to usurp the very idea of what this country stands for.
  • We urge the Indian government to ​lift the communication and media blockade​, restoring fundamental human rights to freedom of movement, assembly and information.
  • We call for the ​release of all political prisoners -- leaders and young people -- ​who have been detained without trial since August 5.
  • We call for the ​demilitarisation of Kashmir​, and the ​initiation of a meaningful conversation with the Kashmiri people on the future of the state.
---
Click HERE for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

'Human rights trampled upon': Activists, litterateurs, academics 'reimagine' India

Bezwada Wilson, Romila Thapar, TM Krishna By Our Representative  The Reimagining India public lecture series, initiated by the civil rights group India Inclusive Collective, has brought together one platform about 50 prominent speakers in order to highlight how, over the last seven years, there have been “consistent attacks” on the democratic fabric of the country, with Constitutional and human rights of people being “trampled with impunity.”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ease of doing business? Govt of India seeks legal cover to 'divert' forest land

By Gopinath Majhi*  The proposed amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) vide ‘Consultation Paper on Proposed amendments in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980’ (F No FC-11/61/2021-FC dated October 2, 2021) must be dropped by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC). 

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.