Protest Against Repression in Indian-administered Kashmir

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 2:30pm
UN headquarters, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park, 47th St between 1st and 2nd Avenues

This summer Indian forces have systematically killed around 20 people on the streets of Kashmir. Most of the dead are teenagers, including Tauqeer Ahmed, a 9-year old boy. Ruthless suppression of protests against fake encounters and the spiraling cycle of death, combined with strict curfew on people’s movement, have created a humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. Many people are facing extreme shortage of food, medicine and other essential supplies. Sick and injured have been barred by armed forces from reaching hospitals and medical staffs have been beaten. At the same time, a gag on the media has been imposed. Cell phones in many places have been jammed, while the messaging services have been banned. What little information is coming out reveals that rampaging troops barge into houses at many places and beat up residents. Government has arrested hundreds of teenagers and activists and put them behind bars. For the last few days, Srinagar has been in the hands of the army.

There are already around 700000 Indian troops in Kashmir. For a population of 5 million Kashmiris, this has meant total militarization of everyday life. Over the last 20 years, close to 80000 people have been killed in Kashmir. Thousands of Kashmiris have been forcibly disappeared over the years. Civil society activists have recently discovered mass graves near border areas, raising fear that the disappeared persons might have been killed. The state has enforced militarized governance on the people of Kashmir, and consistently denied them political rights. Thousands of political activists are languishing in various jails without trial, while hundreds of teenagers, some as young as 12 or 13, have been picked up in recent days and put behind bars.

We call upon all concerned individuals and organizations to join us to PROTEST and CALL UPON the UN, which has a long association with the Kashmir issue, to press the Indian government to:

• End its militarized governance of Kashmir, and withdraw army into barracks;
• Revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), which gives Indian troops in Kashmir immunity from civil legal action, and promotes HR violations;
• End oppression of Kashmiri people, release political prisoners and young boys from jails, and lift the overbearing security apparatus from Kashmir;
• Initiate meaningful process to democratically resolve the issue, and include Kashmiris as the primary party to such a process.