Dharna against killings of Innocent Civilians in Kashmir at Jantar Mantar

A Dharna to register protest against killings of Innocent Civilians in Kashmir at Jantar Mantar was organised by ANHAD. The dharna was two hour long where representatives from various civil society groups gathered to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Kashmir. Following people expressed their views in protest: Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Harsh Kapoor (South Asia Citizen Web), Navaid Hamid ( member, NIC), Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy (JNU), Prof. Anuradha Chenoy (JNU), Tanveer Hussain Khan (ANHAD), Indu Prakash (IGSSS), Madhu Chandra (North Eastern Helpline), DivyavVinod (YWCA), Sanjay Kumar (AAA), Amitabh Pandey (Free Lancer), Ravi Himadri (The other Media), Prof. Rizwan Kaisar (Jamia Millia Islamia), Swami Agnivesh, Mansi Sharma (ANHAD), Seema Duhan (ANHAD). The following statement endorsed by various organisations in addition to many other individuals across India was released to the media.

It is a matter of grave concern and anguish that no sensitive measures have been taken by the Central Government in response to the ongoing deaths, injuries and killings in cold-blood of civilians in Srinagar and Anantnag districts of Jammu and Kashmir, including young girls and boys, most of them innocent, peaceful protestors, or even just bystanders. And consequently both North and South regions of the valley are on flame. To make matters worse, the Army, along with para-military forces, have been issued orders to shoot at sight to uphold the almost relentless curfew — basically to block protests against the continuing spiral of non-stop and indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians. The presence of army and security forces dominates the Valley and reinforces the deep-rooted angst of people. The reality is that democracy is under severe strain and is almost absent in many parts in this state, despite an elected government backed by the Centre holding the reigns of power at Srinagar.

ANHAD and many other concerned civil society groups in India want the governments in the state and Centre to come out clean — urgently and immediately — and explain if this is indeed a democratic and constitutional method of handling a manifold and multiplying crisis in a highly sensitive region. Obviously, the establishment thinks that branding it as mere law and order problem and repression and killings would ‘calm down’ the situation as sensitive and grim as that of Jammu and Kashmir. This will be like choking tens of thousands of people into the silence of absolute suffering and blind rage. Will this violence ever stop, and will we ever find the root causes for a political solution based on consensus, understanding, mutual harmony and human rights?

Tuesday began with protests against one death which led to the second death and then suddenly, Srinagar was back under curfew. The cycle of violence has spun out of control all over again. Last week witnessed a similar series of killings taking its toll in Anantnag district where people were killed in clashes with security forces since they were not allowed to protest against the killings of civilians. This has become a tragic and vicious circle of hopelessness.

Instead of issuing any statement of sympathy or concern or wisdom, our highest offices of governance in the country, are only pushing for an escalation in the number of deployment of security forces. This clearly indicates the callous attitude of the governments in Delhi and Srinagar. Such acts of brutality are in complete violation of the law of the land and constitutional rights of the people that have resulted in mass outrage and alienation of large sections of the civilian population in Kashmir.

These are unarmed, non-violent citizens, who are being treated with such blatant and indiscriminate use of military force — why? Is there no other way to negotiate with civil unrest? And what is the root cause of this civil unrest if not the brutalities executed by the police and para military forces? And what about cases of atrocities committed on people who are not even protesting?

There is no excuse for such cruelty. Despite repeated assurances by the central and state governments of zero tolerance towards human rights violations, the fact remains that little has been done to punish those responsible for such heinous and gross violations. This organised insensitivity and vacillation to act firmly against such elements is bound to put a question mark on the credibility of the State and its track record in terms of human and democratic rights of the people, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Mere rhetoric and institution of official enquiries is not enough to restore the shattered and shaken confidence of the people. It is imperative that the central and state authorities take firm and visible action against those responsible for unleashing this brutish violence on innocent people. Any delay will only compound the alienation and anger of the people — resulting in irrefutable damage to the peace process in the Valley and elsewhere in the state.

ANHAD expresses serious concern over the absolute antipathy and lack of political initiative displayed by the UPA-led central government in response to the situation in the valley. They should learn some lessons from history. People cannot be won over or suppressed at gun point. Certainly, the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve a more rational, humane, visionary and sensitive response from the Indian State.

We demand from the Central and the State governments to:

• Take immediate action to prevent further loss of life and property
• Put an end to the violence perpetrated by the security forces with immediate effect.
• Immediately appoint an independent and impartial time bound Commission of Enquiry to look into the killings of peaceful civilians & human rights violations
• Initiate an inquiry into instances of attacks on ambulance services
• Ensure security of the journalists both of local and national media
• Ensure freedom of expression and press
• Immediately start a political dialogue with various stake holders

Endorsed By:

1. Aashima Subberwal- Delhi University
2. Abeer Gupta – filmmaker
3. Adnan Nabi – Kashmir
4. Alana Hunt – Artist
5. Ali Asghar – Social Activist, Hyderabad
6. Amandra – AAA
7. Amit Sengupta, Journalist, Delhi
8. Amrita Nandy – SANGAT
9. Anil Choudhury- Peace
10. Anjali Thomas – Student DU
11. Anjum Rajabali, Cinema Script writer
12. Ankita Dash – Student DU
13. Appu Esthose Suresh – The Sunday Guardian, Delhi
14. Aqsa Anjum – Delhi
15. Arindam Jit Singh – Team Nishan
16. Arun Kumar Tiwari – Anhad
17. Aslam Khan – Student, Jamia Milia Islamia
18. Astha Rajan – Anhad
19. Atique Farooqui – Lucknow
20. Avinash Kumar-Oxfam India
21. Barkat
22. Biju Mathew – Professor of Business, Rider University, NJ, USA
23. Bindia Thapar – Architect/Illustrator, New Delhi.
24. Bobby Kunhu – Researcher and Writer
25. Chandra Nigam
26. Colin Gonsalves-Human Rights Law Network
27. David Devadas – Senior Journalist
28. Dev Desai – Gujarat
29. Dhananjay Tripathi – South Asians for Human Rights
30. Divya Vinod – YWCA
31. Dunu Roy – Hazards Centre
32. Fahad Shah, journalist, Srinagar
33. Faizen Haider Naqvi – Businessman, Delhi
34. Gauri Dasan Nair – Senior Journalist, kerala
35. Gowher Nabi Gora – J and K
36. Harsh Dobhal- Human Rights Law Network
37. Harsh Kapoor – South Asia Citizens Web
38. Inder Salim – Activist
39. Indu Prakash Singh- IGSSS
40. John Dayal- General Secretary, All India Christian Council
41. Kallol Bhowmik – Spl Correspondent Ajir Dainik Batori and Eastern Chronicle
42. Kalpana Tikku –
43. Kashif-ul-Hoda – Editor, TwoCircles.net
44. Madhu Chandra – All India Christian Council & North East Support Centre & Helpline
45. Madhura Chakrvoraty – Student Jadhavpur University, West Bengal
46. Maia Barkaia – JNU student
47. Manas Arora – Student, IP College of Engineering
48. Manasi Pingle – Student, DU
49. Manisha Sethi – Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association
50. Manisha Trivedi – Anhad Gujarat
51. Manjit Singh Roperia – Student Hissar
52. Mankasha
53. Mansi Sharma-Anhad
54. Meeta Bhandari – IGSSS
55. Moggallan Bharti – JNU student
56. Mohan Kumawat- Anhad
57. Mohd. Ali – Delhi Correspondent of news website TwoCircles.net
58. Mudassir Kawa, Activist, Srinagar
59. Mukul Manglik – Historian Delhi University
60. Murli Natarajan, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, USA
61. Mushtaq Koka, Activist, Srinagar
62. Naazim Mohammed – Social Activist, Bangalore
63. Nadeem – IGSSS
64. Nadim Nikhat – Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
65. Navaid Hamid -Social Activist
66. Neha Dhole, Aman Trust, New Delhi
67. Prasad Chako- NCDHR
68. Pratap Singh Negi, Anhad
69. Prativa Thomas – Amnesty International, UK
70. Prem Dangwal – Anhad Mumbai
71. Prof Anuradha Chenoy, JNU, Delhi
72. Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy, JNU, Delhi
73. Prof. KN Panikkar, Historian
74. Prof. Rizwan Kaiser – Jamia Milia Islami
75. Raj Gopalan – Trivandrum, Kerala
76. Ram Puniyani – Ekta, Mumbai
77. Rashid Ali – Freelance Journalist
78. Rima Aranha
79. Rohit Sinha – Student DU
80. Rupal Oza, South Asia Solidarity Initiative
81. Saaimah Khwaja
82. Saba Diwan – Film maker
83. Sabir Hussain – Jammu and Kashmir
84. Sachin Pandya – Anhad Gujarat
85. Sania Hashmi – Anhad
86. Sanjay Kumar – AAA
87. Sanjay Sharma – Anhad
88. Sanjeev Mahajan, CA, USA
89. Saqib Sana – Mumbai
90. Sargam Mehra
91. Seema Duhan-Anhad
92. Seher Hashmi
93. Shabir Hussain – Srinagar, J &K
94. Shabnam Hashmi- social activist, Anhad
95. Shahnawaz Malik – Lucknow
96. Shaweta Anand, Journalist and Researcher
97. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi – Researcher JNU
98. Shesh Narain Singh-Senior Journalist
99. Shivayan Raha – The Other Media
100. Shoaib Khan – Srinagar, J&K
101. Shrish Chandra – Lucknow University
102. Shweta Tripathi – Programme Officer, SHRUTI
103. Sohaib Niazi – Student, Jamia Milia Islamia
104. Sohail Hashmi-Social Activist
105. Sonam Gupta – Anhad
106. Sonia Jabbar- Independent Filmmaker
107. Sri Nidhi Baglodia
108. Tanveer Hussain Khan -Anhad Kashmir Coordinator
109. Thulasi Kakkat – Photographer, Kerela
110. Uma Chakravarty- Academician
111. Vijayan- Delhi Forum
112. Vrinda Grover- Human Rights Lawyer, Supreme Court
113. Waqar Kazi – Anhad Mumbai
114. Wasim Khan, NJ, USA
115. Yasmeen Qureshi, Human Rights Activist, CA, USA
116. Zafar Abbas – journalist, Delhi
117. Zafar Agha, journalist, Delhi



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