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India: 75 Days of Lockdown in Kashmir are 75 Days Too Many - For Peace and Freedom in Kashmir | Report on a citizens protest 19 October 2019

19 October

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A citizens protest was organised today at Jantar Mantar [in New Delhi] to protest against the 75 days of oppression of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Over 200 activists, academics, intellectuals, prominent citizens, students, citizens from a large number of groups attended the protest.

Over 30 representatives of various organisations, intellectuals, activists, artists spoke and performed at the protest. Those who spoke include Annie Raja, National Gen Secy NFIW, Maimoona Mollah, President, AIDWA, Delhi, Revati Laul, independent journalist,
Naveed, a youth leader from J&K RTI, Aadil , Shafqat Raina, D Raja, Tikendra Panwar, CPI(M), Shabnam Hashmi social activist Anhad , Aliya Shah Mubarak , Shaikh Abdulla’s grand daughter, Shahid Imran Kashmiri journalist, Bilal Bhatt, Kashmiri journalist, Shakti from NTUI, Yasmeen, Kashmiri lawyer..

IPTA JNU performed a play, Gauhar Raza, Nandini recited poetry, RAAG, Nandita Narain, former DUTA president, Shashi Bhusan Pandey, Purushottam Bhatt sang protest songs. N Sai Balaji and Pankhuri Zaheer conducted the program.

A statement with demands was released. A copy is pasted below.

A film by Shafqat Raina was released during the protest about forced labour in Kashmir from 1990- 2003. Link is pasted below.

https://youtu.be/rAA1QFErYV0

Citizens’ Statement

October 19, 2019, New Delhi

Recognising that the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir are facing a repressive onslaught, and that their lives and liberty are at risk, we, concerned citizens of India on this 75th day of the abrogation of Article 370 & 35A and lockdown of Kashmir, register our protest through poetry, songs of resistance and solidarity with the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

We affirm that we recognise the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir as the most important stakeholders of their lives and land.

Consequently, we demand, immediately, that -

1. No steps about the future of Jammu & Kashmir are taken without the consent of the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir. This implies the following:

Restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019 situation with regard to Article 370 and 35A and implementation of the commitments India has made to the people of J&K and the United Nation

The reversal of the bifurcation of the territory, as well as a reversal of its downgrading to the status of a ‘Union Territory’.

2. We demand an immediate scaling back of the troops (armed forces and paramilitaries) deployed in Jammu & Kashmir. Specifically, we call for the withdrawal of CRPF, BSF, ITBP and Indian Army troops deployed in all civilian areas. We call for the dismantling of interrogation centres, which we know are torture cells, and demand the immediate end to the practice of detaining people for any length of time in military and paramilitary camps.

3. We demand to end intimidation and harassment of children and their parents, by police, paramilitary and military personnel. We demand an immediate end to the practice of forcing children to report to police stations, and security barracks. We recognise that the detention of children is being used as an excuse for extortion, and demand immediate action against those in the armed forces, police and paramilitary personnel indulging in this illegal practice.

4. We demand an end to the illegal practice of torture (physical as well as psychological) being committed under the cover of ‘interrogation’ by the armed forces. We demand an end to the usage of pellet guns and tear gas, and the destruction of property by all armed forces personnel.

5. We demand an immediate restoration of communication infrastructure, all forms of mobile telephony (not just the token restoration of Post Paid connections) and the internet. We demand an end to censorship and restriction on the freedom of the press. We call for an end to the harassment and intimidation of journalists, doctors, lawyers and human rights activists.

6. We call for an immediate lifting of restrictions on civil society, and demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detenus, and demand that no further arrests be made. We demand a repeal of draconian measures like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act.

7. We appeal to the Supreme Court of India to cease delaying the application of its judicial power to intervene, especially in Habeas Corpus and Preventive Detention Matters.

8. We appeal to the Supreme Court of India to deal with a sense of urgency and seriousness with the several petitions that address the constitutional crisis occasioned by the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A

We appeal to all sections of society, political parties, trade unions, student organizations and individuals to stand with Kashmiris, especially young people and students from Jammu & Kashmir who are in workplaces, neighbourhoods and educational institutions everywhere in India.

We express our solidarity with the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir, and wish to assure them that we stand by them in the quest for justice, freedom and peace.

Finally, we assert our categorical opposition to the attempts being made in both India and Pakistan to stoke war-hysteria. Kashmir must not be made an excuse for another subcontinental war. We call for an immediate end to it war-mongering and the initiation of dialogue involving India, Pakistan and the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir with a view to the establishment of a lasting peace in South Asia

For queries contact

MJ Vijayan-9868165471
N Sai Balaji-7042952053
Annie Raja -9868181922
Shabnam Hashmi-9811807558
Maimoona Mollah -9811478191
Nandita Narain-9811050686