A Brief Report of the proceedings of the Sit-In on the evening of 7 August 2010 against the crimes on the people of Kashmir by the Indian State
The evening of 7 August 2010 witnessed after a long long time voices of freedom from the people of Kashmir. Despite the heavy repression and the draconian laws to maim and incarcerate the people of Kashmir, to subjugate their indomitable spirit for Azadi, the evening of August 7 at the heart of Delhi just half a kilometre away from the parliament witnessed unprecedented scenes of assertion of the political will not to say genuine desire of the Kashmiri people for freedom from the exploitative and oppressive rule of the Indian State. Around six to seven hundred people had gathered including people from various peoples organisations in Delhi to protest against the increasing repression of the Kashmiri people.
Every Kashmiri—students, teachers, journalists, working people—who spoke in the meeting was unequivocal about their demand for Azadi which set the tone of the proceedings as the dharna cite reverberated with slogans against India’s occupation of Jammu & Kashmir and the demand for Azadi. Various people’s organisations from Delhi which participated in the meeting expressed their unconditional solidarity to the struggle for freedom of the Kashmiri people. Revolutionary poet Vara Vara Rao who was also an emissary of the present CPI (Maoist) party in their early talks with the government of Andhra Pradesh asserted that the people of Kashmir are not alone in their struggle against Indian occupation. He pointed out that the fighting masses of Dankaranya, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand are with the struggle for freedom of the people of Kashmir. He said that the enemy of the both the oppressed people of Kashmir and the poorest and the wretched in India is the Indian ruling class which is a prop of US and other imperialist forces and the struggling people of Kashmir and India should join hands for the realisation of the freedom of both. Noted film maker Sanjay Kak pointed out that the Kashmiris should stop looking at themselves as victims. While it was important for the Kashmiri people to be emotional in their struggles braving the repressive machine of the Indian State it was also necessary to have a political temperament to see the light at the end of the arduous struggle. Mrigank from the Nav Jawan Bharat Sabha expressed his solidarity for the movement of the people of Kashmir. Narender from the Popular Front expressed his organisation’s support for what he termed as the “complete independence” of the people of Kashmir. Kavita Krishnan from the CPI (ML) (Liberation) talked about the scores of atrocities committed by the Indian army on the people of Kashmir as well as the need for a meaningful dialogue for which the Indian government should be made accountable. GN Saibaba of the Revolutionary Democratic Front pointed out that the rising struggle for freedom of the Kashmiri people will usher in the death knell of US imperialism. He also stressed that the liberation of the people of Kashmir is in the interest of the people of India who are also fighting for revolutionary transformation. Sharmila Purkayastha from the PUDR, former Ambassador Madhu Bhaduri, Karen Gabriel from Delhi University, Banojyotsna Lahiri from DSU JNU, Om from AISA JNU, Tara Basumatary from DU also spoke expressing their solidarity for the struggle of the Kashmiri people for Azadi. Members of the progressive cultural organisation Prathidhwani sang songs while some of the Kashmiri participants read out the poems of well known Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali. Later in the night at 10 the meeting ended at a high note amidst thundering slogans for Azadi, Demands to resolve the Kashmir issue, condemning the fake Indian Democracy, to stop the Genocide in Kashmir, when one of the young Kashmiri thundered: “the Indian government terms our struggle anti-national. They brand us anti-national. I want to ask: How can you call us anti-national. We are not part of your nation. We were never. We are Kashmiri nationalists fighting for our freedom. We want Azadi!”
Press Release: for the Night Long Sit-In Protest against India’s Crimes against Humanity
Far away from their home in Kashmir, where life has been put under curfew and dead bodies of boys and girls arrive in every neighborhood, Kashmiris living in Delhi have come together to protest against the repression and killings by armed forces. Hundreds of people from Delhi also protested in solidarity with Kashmiris asking for a political solution to Kashmir rather than a military one.
On June 11, a 17 year old school boy Tufail Matoo, was killed after tear smoke canister fired by the armed forces hit him on his head. This was few weeks after the fake encounter of three Kashmiri men by the Army in Rafiabad in north Kashmir and Kashmiris were already angry. Kashmiris came out in thousands to protest the death in which more people were killed. The police and CRPF then fired on the mourners killing more boys. Two girls, Fancy and Afroza, aged 23 and 17, lost their lives to the bullets. A 7 year old boy was beaten to death in Batamaloo. Most of the dead were teenagers and children. They threw stones at the CRPF bunkers, which they consider symbols of occupation, and the armed forces kept firing live ammunition at the crowds killing 55 civilans.
In the last 7 days, 600 people have been seriously injured and wounded. According to doctors in the SMHS hospital, out of the 37 people who had been shot at were in one ward, 35 had been shot at point blank range and above their chests. Thousands have been maimed, blinded and paralysed in the last one month.
No place in Kashmir, be it homes, hospitals or ambulances have been spared in Kashmir and even the media was gagged and were often beaten up. In the unarmed protests in Kashmir since 2008, not a single soldier or policeman has been killed but more than 160 people have been killed.
As usual, Indian state this time as well only answered militarily by sending 1900 more troops in addition to the 7,00,000 soldiers that are already there. By conservative estimates, 70,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1990 but it has not been able to change the ‘sentiment for Azadi’ on ground. Killing people cannot achieve anything, it is the ‘aspiration of Azadi of Kashmiri’s that India needs to engage with and work towards a political solution. ‘They make desolation and call it peace’. Peace cannot and will not come through gun barrel nor will India win by buying time. For the last several decades we have seen that Indian state has faced one generation of Kashmiris after another, and cosmetic measures and economic packages will not help change the situation in Kashmir.
On Saturday, at the Jantar Mantar at the 5.30 Pm, people came together for a night long Sit- In to protest against Indian State’s Crimes against Humanity in Kashmir and its insensitivity to the loss of innocent lives.
The night long protest is an attempt to tell Kashmiris back home, who are out on streets all night, that though we are not under Curfew and repression as they are, we feel the gun barrels against us and the tear smoke gas around us.
We, as Kashmiris, want India to acknowledge J&K as a dispute between Kashmiris and the neighbouring countries and not as a law and order problem.
We also put the following demands in front of Govt. of India:
* Demilitarize our land, our schools, our hospitals, our streets, our orchards, our cities, our towns and our villages.
* Repeal the draconian laws like AFSPA, J&K-PSA, Disturbed Areas Act, etc.
* Release all political prisoners who have been arrested in last 21 years.
* Allow international agencies to investigate into the mass graves in Kashmir and the crimes against humanity committed by Indian forces in Kashmir.
* Learn to respect dissent and respect democratic right of people to disagree.
* Initiate dialogue on Kashmir, in Kashmir, with Kashmiris.