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Denied permission in Ahmedabad to protest on Kashmir, NGO seeks online support

A protester in New York
By Our Representative
Gujarat chapter of the Delhi-based Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which calls itself is a socio-cultural organization established “as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots”, has sought support from state academics, activists and professionals for a petition against the “unilateral” decision of the Government of India to “revoke” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) legislature’s “right to self-governance”.
Apparently seeking signatures after the police refused permission to stage a protest on Kashmir, the petition says that while thousands protesting outside the United Nations in New York, in Ahmedabad, “the police refuses permission to protest.” It adds, “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 petition alleges, “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”.
The petition says, by bringing J&K “under the direct control” of the GoI, the Centre has “displayed a blatant disregard for the nation’s founding principles of democracy, secularism and justice.” It is not clear, however, as to who would be sent this petition, which Counterview received as an email alert from an Maansi Shah, a teaching associate, CEPT University, Ahmedabad.
Calling “military blockade” and media and communications “shutdown” unprecedented, the petition says, “The blockade has plunged the people of J&K into fear and uncertainty and initiated a humanitarian crisis in the region”, adding, “Kashmiris have been denied the basic civil liberties and freedoms of expression, information, assembly, movement and religion.”
Objecting to the GoI calling Kashmir situation as ‘normal’, the petition states, “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.”
The petition urges the GoI “to lift the communication and media blockade, restoring fundamental human rights to freedom of movement, assembly and information”, release “all political prisoners” and “demilitarise” Kashmir to initiate of “a meaningful conversation with the Kashmiri people on the future of the state.”

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