Srinagar: Prominent writers, academics, journalists, artists, students, doctors and concerned citizens in UK have issued a joint letter expressing solidarity with Kashmiris following the horrifying events over the past week.
According to the organizers over 750 signatures have been collected in less than 48 hours.
The solidarity letter has expressed deep concern about the armed violence perpetrated by the Indian state through its 700,000 strong army on civilians in Kashmir since the 8th of July 2016. “More than 47 people have been killed on the pretext of crowd control since then. More than a 100 eye surgeries have been performed. We don’t know yet how many will be partially or totally blinded by the use of “non-lethal pellet guns,” the leader reads.
“Rather than expressing remorse over the loss of life in Kashmir, India only vowed to take tougher action against Kashmir’s protestors. The ruthless killings has led to spontaneous protests across the state against the continued brutalities of the Indian armed forces which has impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA),” the leader reads adding further that instead of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and opening communications channels, India has enforced a complete lockdown on the millions of inhabitants of the Valley since 8th July.
“Indian authorities have severely crippled all communications; jamming mobile and internet services and seized offices of local newspapers and staff members were detained. Many hospitals and ambulances have reportedly been damaged by security personnel,” the letter said
The joint letter signed by the likes of Basharat Peer, Professor Noam Chomsky, Mirza Waheed,
Kamila Shamsie, Gillian Slovo, Meena Kandasamy, Madhushree Mukherjee and Professor Angana Chatterji etc.said the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kashmir currently is not a one off.
“It has been an integral part of how India continues to rule over Kashmir. Such events have repeatedly occurred throughout the past three decades, with India continuing to look away from the writing on the wall. The current protests, and those in the three bloody summers of 2008-10, only reflect the resilience of the Kashmiri people and their demand for right to self-determination, which not only is guaranteed by UNSC resolutions, but was also promised by the Indian Parliament in 1948,” the letter read.
Condemning the systematic violence used by Indian armed forces, the joint letter has demanded an immediate end to this “state terrorism against civilians.”
The letter has asked the Indian government to communicate with Kashmiris, rather than considering it a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. “We also call on world leaders and human rights organisations to unequivocally condemn the siege of Kashmir and the ensuing war crimes and human rights violations by India’s security forces,” it said.