Protest the ongoing bloodshed of Kashmiri civilians
and the brutal suppression of protest by security forces
at Jantar Mantar, F riday, 9 July, 11 am
“Don't tell my father I have died,” he says,
and I follow him through blood on the road
and hundreds of pairs of shoes the mourners left behind,
as they ran from the funeral,
victims of the firing.
From windows we hear grieving mothers, and snow begins to fall
on us, like ash.
Black on edges of flames, it
cannot extinguish the neighbourhoods ,
the homes set ablaze by
Kashmir is burning…
- Agha Shahid Ali, ‘I See Kashmir from New Delhi at Midnight '
Kashmir is once again exploding in anger. At least sixteen civilians including a nine-year-old young boy was killed by paramilitary forces in the month of June. In the fresh firing yesterday (6 July), there are reports of at least four more deaths, including a young woman and a teenager, in CRPF attack on protesters in Srinagar . It is curfew-raj in the Valley once more, and even sms services and movement of media have been banned.
If a child were to be killed in police firing anywhere in India , would it not evoke angry mass protests? But when this happens in the Kashmir valley, why are the Kashmiri people denied even the dignity of tears and rage at the killing of a child? Why is the State so afraid of the people and so contemptuous of any notion of democracy that the people are not allowed to protest even when they lose their near and dear ones in police firing or in fake encounters by the armed forces?
By and large, most sections of the mainstream Indian media which otherwise play a role in exposing many scams, human rights violations or policy failures and betrayals of the ruling parties and the state – Bhopal is a most recent case in point – tend to go with the ruling establishment's version of the Kashmir story. The voice from Kashmir has little place in the ‘national' media. An English paper from the valley editorially questioned and decried this media bias: “ matters are made worse by the motivated and manipulative coverage by mainstream Indian media whereby the Kashmiris are depicted as hostile people up against the “patient” troopers.” Kashmiri journalists and writers have rightly asked, “ In which part of India “undeclared” curfew is imposed and strict “restrictions” are applied to imprison people in their homes simply because they want to protest peacefully against the excesses of forces? In which part of India mobile phone networks are ordered to suspend operations and SMS service is banned for so called ‘security reasons'?”
By blaming the mass protests in Kashmir on Pakistan , the Indian ruling elite is only mocking at its own claim of Kashmir being an integral part of India . If Kashmir is an integral part of India , then the protests in Kashmir must be seen as protests by a section of the Indian people, and the Union Home Secretary who dismisses the protests as “a separatist nonsense” must first be dismissed. If PM's belated ‘promise' of ‘no tolerance for human rights violations' has any relevance whatsoever then, the government must immediately revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act and lift all restrictions on the Kashmiri people's democratic right to express dissent and organise protest. Let the powers that be in New Delhi and Srinagar show the courage to bring the perpetrators of killings to justice. Let them show the courage to talk to the brutalized, angry and anguished people of Kashmir .
Join Protest Demonstration at Jantar Mantar, 9 July, 11 am
Delhi State Committee
C-90 Z, Jahangirpuri, Delhi-33