Skip to main content

Kashmiris 'betrayed', India's solicitor general 'doesn't understand' ground realities

Counterview Desk
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), India’s top civil society network, has claimed that the Government of India (GoI) us “lying about the situation in Kashmir”, insisting in a statement signed, among others, by Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Dr Binayak Sen, Prafulla Samantara, Lok Lingraj Azad, Kavita Srivastava and Sandeep Pandey that it is totally wrong to say “migrant workers and marginalized communities continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.”
Contesting solicitor general Tushar Mehta claiming on behalf of the GoI that there was “no crackdown in Kashmir” and restrictions were “reasonable and limited”, and that the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A were welcome by the people of Kashmir as also by Dalits, tribals, and migrant labourers, NAPM said, independent reports actually suggest loss of personal liberty, illegal detentions and communications blackout.
The statement said, “We condemn lack of understanding of the situation of the marginalized section by the solicitor general. We also take this opportunity to appeal to him to understand that our lived experiences make us realize that the people of Kashmir feel betrayed and are suffering; we appreciate their courage and stand in solidarity with them.”

Text:

Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and the way it was done has been a matter of great concern for the nation. The Supreme Court has had four hearings in November on the Kashmir lockdown case. The fifth hearing happened on 21st November, in which the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, arguing on behalf of the Union government, claimed that there was no crackdown in Kashmir, and that reasonable and limited restrictions were imposed in Kashmir to maintain the safety of its residents.
He further asserted that there was no protest in Kashmir, as people welcomed Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, which has paved the way for bringing in 106 people-friendly legislations from which Kashmir was exempted in the past. He also asserted that the action of the state has support from women, SC/ST community, Safai karamchari community, migrant labourers and other marginalized sections.
As an alliance of national movements working with marginalized communities we want to let it be known that the NAPM has found the Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and the way it was done extremely problematic. We are deeply anguished at the claims of the Solicitor General and would like to lay out the facts, as have come out.
The clampdown, and the pain and hurt caused to the people of Kashmir was clearly visible to a four-member team which visited Kashmir for five days (9-13 August 2019) traveling extensively in Kashmir, bringing out the report “Kashmir Caged”, which included eminent women's activists Kavita Krishnan and Memoona Mollah, economist Jean Dreze and NAPM representative Vimal Bhai.
Since then many other independent reports have also highlighted the loss of personal liberty, illegal detentions (including that of children), communications blackout, absence by arrests of non-BJP political and social actors and the non-violent resistance to all this, that has characterised the lives of Kashmiris since August 5.
We would like to refer to two reports here, one of an eleven-member team comprising advocates, trade union and human activists and a psychiatrist which visited Kashmir from September 28 to October 4, 2019 and brought out the report “Imprisoned Resistance August 5 and its Aftermath”.
The second, that of Nitya Ramakrishnan (advocate) and Nandini Sundar (sociologist) who visited the Kashmir Valley between October 5 and 9, 2019, speaking to a cross-section of people, brought out the report “Go back to India and cover every statue of Gandhi so that he doesn't have to face this shame”. Kashmiris mark the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday with Satyagraha.
Clampdown has resulted in loss of livelihood to thousands of migrant workers from other states
Internationally also these concerns have been raised. On October 22, the US House Subcommittee on Asia held a historic hearing on Human Rights in Asia where the current situation in Kashmir was also discussed. “Witnesses were able to highlight the immense amount of state repression in Kashmir, and not just after August 5. Amnesty International's representative, Francisco Bencosme, spoke of the detentions, the lack of press freedoms and the worrying attacks on religious freedom in India”.
We would also like to stress that the clampdown has resulted in loss of livelihood to thousands of migrant workers from other states. Thousands of migrant workers had to return to their home state. Communication breakdown caused great pains to both the workers and their family members who were unable to contact their loved ones.
Recent reports (click here and here) indicate that the exodus of migrant workers from Kashmir is only escalating with time. Further reports indicate that the economy of Kashmir has suffered greatly since August 5. According to the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the estimated loss to the Kashmiri economy is at least Rs 10,000 crore.
The handicrafts sector has been hit particularly hard, with one report estimating losses at Rs 300 crore. Such a sudden deflation of the economy of Kashmiri economy is bound to have damaging consequences both for Kashmiri workers and entrepreneurs, and on migrant workers dependent on the economy for their livelihood.
We as NAPM condemn this lack of understanding of the situation of the marginalized section by the solicitor general. We also take this opportunity to appeal to him to understand that our lived experiences make us realize that the people of Kashmir feel betrayed and are suffering; we appreciate their courage and stand in solidarity with them.

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Biodiversity bill 'undermines' tribal rights, ayurveda, India's federal structure

Counterview Desk  Demanding immediate and complete withdrawal of proposed Biodiversity Act Amendment Bill, 2021, a statement issued by the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India, consisting of tens of civil society organisations, activists and experts, has said that it is a “well calibrated and clear attempt to progressively undermine and destroy the sovereign rights and control that the people of India have over their biodiversity, bioresources and associated traditional knowledge.” Floated by the Bangaluru-based Environment Support Group, it adds, the proposed Act would undermine “a right that is particularly crucial for adivasis, Dalits, farmers, fishers, vaids, hakims, nomadic and de-notified tribes, and such other natural resource dependent peoples whose lives, livelihoods and socio-economic wellbeing are intricately linked to nature.” Text : The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has proposed comprehensive amendments to the Biological D

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.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.

Blunting Constitution? 'Secular' parties using communalism to compete with BJP

By Prem Singh*  Most spheres of Indian politics have been tainted by communalism. Looking at the current political scene of the country, it seems that just as there is a consensus on neoliberalism among the political and intellectual elite of India, similarly a consensus has been made on communal politics or political communalism.