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August 2019 Clampdown in Kashmir

India: Modi Govt. Makes a Mockery of Law, Liberty and Morality in Kashmir - Move to revoke Article 370 | A compilation of Select Statements / Commentary / updates

5 August

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An sacw.net compilation of updates, select commentary, statements from citizens groups following the unconstitutional withdrawal of special status of Jammu & Kashmir in India: - as on 23 August 2019

Contents:
I. Commentary, Op-Eds, Editorials, also some new reports
II. Select Commentary in Hindi [Videos]
III. Select commentary and reportage in the International Media:
IV. Select Statements from Citizens groups (including Human rights groups)
V. Statements from Political Parties in India
VI. Some Reference and Background Material

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I. From the Indian Media:

  • Retd military officers, bureaucrats approach SC challenging Article 370 repeal by Ashok Bagaria (August 17, 2019)
  • मीडिया और कश्मीर [Video of Bharat Bhushan’s show on Kashmir and Indian media. Anuradha Bhasin, Satish Jacob, Rahul Dev and Sanjay Kapoor the panel (August 12, 2019)] https://youtu.be/0-ij1LRsspc
  • Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell’ of Anger and Fear - The New York Times https://t.co/vB0tdDyk3d
  • Statement by The Editors Guild of India - (Aug 10, 2019)

The Editors Guild concerns over the continued shutdown in communication links with the Kashmir Valley

The Editors Guild of India is deeply concerned over the continued shutdown in communication links with the Kashmir Valley and the consequent curtailment of the media’s freedom and ability to report fairly and accurately on current developments.

While some visiting journalists may be able to file their reports once they are out of the Valley, the lockdown is almost total and draconian for the vibrant local media that are the first eyes and ears on the ground. The Government knows very well that it is impossible to process and publish news now without the internet. It owes it to the people of India, including all in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, to allow the press, a vital institution of democracy, to function freely.

In a situation such as that prevailing in Jammu & Kashmir at present, the role of free media, unhindered by such restrictions, becomes critically important in helping dissemination of news and in its democratic duty of keeping a watch on institutions of government and security.

The Guild underlines the imprudence in creating an unfair distinction in the treatment: for access, curfew passes, communication between local journalists and those coming in to report from outside. All journalists and all Indian citizens are entitled to equal freedoms.

The Guild urges the government to take immediate steps to restore normalcy for the media’s communication links. Media transparency has and always should be India’s strength, not fear.

The Guild expresses its appreciation for and solidarity to all journalists reporting from the ground despite unprecedented challenges. The Guild requests all, especially the government, to ensure their safety and freedom of movement.

  • India: ’Direct the State to Create an Enabling Environment for Media Persons in Kashmir’ - Petition in the Supreme Court of India by Editor of Kashmir Times | Aug, 10, 2019 http://www.sacw.net/article14139.html

II. Select Commentary in Hindi:

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III. In the International Media:

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IV. Select Statements & reports from Citizens groups:

Photo from Press Conference on 14 Aug 2019 at the Press club of India, New Delhi by independent citizens fact-finding team that visited Kashmir from (9th-13th Aug 2019}
  • India: Statement from Concerned Citizens Condemning Abrogation of Article 370 and in Solidarity with the Peoples of Jammu & Kashmir
7 August 2019
 
We, concerned citizens of India and organisations from across movements, condemn the attempted abrogation of Article 370 and the C.O. 272 /2019 and the Jammu and Kashmir Re-Organization Bill 2019.
 
Recognizing that the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir are facing a repressive onslaught, a lockdown of the spaces of their homes and streets, that their lives and liberty are at risk, we state that the Jammu and Kashmir Re-Organization Bill 2019 is unconstitutional, immoral, and totally devoid of legality. As recently as 2017, the Supreme Court held that Article 370 is “not a temporary provision”.
 
The manner in which the State of Jammu & Kashmir has been annihilated spells an imminent danger to all provinces, parts and territories within the Indian Union. It is a direct assault on the federal structure of the Indian constitution, and violates all the promises and commitments made to the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir.
 
We recognise the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir as the most important stakeholders of their lives and land. [ . . . ]
 

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Statements from Human Rights Groups http://www.sacw.net/article14136.html

  • PEOPLE’S UNION FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS

The Long Dark Night in Kashmir

5th August 2019

At the stroke of the midnight hour on 5 August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was blanketed in a state of siege. 35,000 fresh troops in addition to the existing 6.5 lakhs were present with orders to shoot, curfew, internet and phone shut down, media black out, and all major elected leaders under house arrest. Already, there was escalated aggression over the past week, with reports of military takeover of state institutions and frenzied evacuation of tourists and Amarnath yatris. Schools, universities and hostels were also shut down, and movement across the state restricted. With a complete gag on democratic space, and unprecedented terror among people, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tabled the resolution in Rajya Sabha to revoke autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir.

At 11:15am on 5 August 2019, Amit Shah announced that the President had already passed orders effectively abrogating Article 370, by extending all the provisions of the Constitution to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Through convoluted and illegal processes and amendments, Amit Shah then moved to introduce the J&K Reorganisation Bill in Parliament among heavy protest and disruption- a power that the Parliament would not have been allowed under the unamended Article 370. The Bill bifurcates the state into two Union Territories: one of Ladakh, and one of Jammu and Kashmir. The UT of Ladakh is under the direct control of the Union Government through the Lt. Governor, while the UT of Jammu and Kashmir has a Legislative Assembly of its own with extremely limited powers, and is overall under the Lt. Governor.

The BJP government did not circulate the Bills in the House beforehand, and the Speaker Venkaiah Naidu allowed MPs time only until 12:30 pm to propose amendments. It appears that preparations for the move had been underway for months, as the imposition of President’s Rule in December 2018 helped facilitate the government’s actions today. The people of Kashmir themselves are denied any voice through the unconstitutional capture of state institutions and elected representatives, and the force of sheer state terror.

As the day progressed, the Rajya Sabha has passed the Reorganization Bill, and it is now due to be tabled before the Lok Sabha tomorrow. 8000 fresh paramilitary troops and counting have been moved to Kashmir from the states of UP, Odisha, and Assam; and law and order forces of the entire country have been placed on high alert. By the evening, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah have also been taken into preventive detention. The blackout in the Valley prevents any access to information about the conditions of the people on the ground at the moment, and we fear ominous consequences as the BJP government brings its plan for the people of Kashmir into action at gunpoint.

We strongly oppose the move of the BJP government to unilaterally attempt to revoke the autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with no regard to the Constitution and the rights it enshrines.

Shahana Bhattacharya and Deppika Tandon

Secretaries

pudr[at]pudr.org

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  • Text of Statement issued by The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)

Escalating LOC tension harms citizens on both sides

Lahore, 5 August. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is deeply alarmed at the decision by the Indian government to revoke the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. The increased deployment of troops and curfew-like restrictions on citizens are ominous signs of what may come. This could have grave repercussions for Kashmiri citizens on both sides of the Line of Control (LOC), should the escalation turn into armed conflict. The recent increase in exchange of fire along the LOC and the rise in casualties, especially with the use of cluster bombs, whose victims reportedly include children is a matter of grave concern.

With the gathering storm, the physical security and fundamental rights of Kashmiri citizens on both sides of the border are at stake. Their safety and rights must not be barefacedly trampled. Indeed, the need for regional peace and stability has never been greater. The international human rights community, too, must add its voice to those pleading for restraint and for saner voice to prevail.

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V. Statements from Political Parties in India:

22 Aug 2019 Resolution by Political Parties in Delhi

Resolution on Kashmir adopted by opposition political parties at a demonstration and public Meeting in Delhi on 22 August 2019
  • Left Parties Statement on Dismantling the State of Jammu & Kashmir Assault on India’s Constitution, Democracy & Federalism

Monday, August 5, 2019

Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation
All India Forward Bloc
Revolutionary Socialist Party

Dismantling the State of Jammu & Kashmir Assault on India’s Constitution, Democracy & Federalism

The Modi government has dealt a severe blow to our constitutional order by unilaterally scrapping Article 370 and other provisions of the Constitution and dividing the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

The special provisions guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to the state of Jammu & Kashmir were the result of the princely state signing the instrument of accession to the Indian Union in the face of Pakistani invaders. By the current measures, the Modi government has completely negated the assurance made by the Indian government to the people of Jammu & Kashmir. This is an assault on federalism, a fundamental feature of the Indian Constitution.

The Indian union was formed on the basis of the unity of our people recognizing the immense diversities that exist, which is the legacy of our freedom struggle. Clearly, the RSS/BJP cannot tolerate any diversity and are converting Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate centrally administered Union Territories.

This is a betrayal of all promises, repeated ad nauseam by the Central government over the years, of upholding Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat (democracy) and Insaniyat (humanism). The strengthening of the bonds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India can only be through the process of political dialogue with all stakeholders, as promised by the government three years ago. Instead, this undemocratic unilateral step will only deepen the alienation. This is harmful for the unity and integrity of India.

The Left parties call upon the people of India to strongly protest against these illegal and unconstitutional methods employed by the Modi Government. These are not issues confined to Jammu & Kashmir alone. They constitute an attack on democracy, federalism and the constitutional order.

The Left parties call for a protest day on August 7, 2019 all over the country.

Stop this Destruction of the Indian Constitution

Stop the Destruction of the State of Jammu & Kashmir

Sd/-

(Sitaram Yechury), General Secretary, CPI(M)
(D Raja), General Secretary, CPI
(Dipankar Bhattacharya.), General Secretary, CPI(ML)
(Debabrata Biswas), General Secretary, AIFB
(Kshiti Goswami), RSP

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VI. Some Reference and Background Material: