A comprehensive report on 2016 turmoil titled “Why are People Protesting in Kashmir” was released this week at a function in New Delhi.
A 58 page report came out after a group of citizens visited valley in November 2016 to “understand first-hand the situation of the people of the Kashmir valley that emerged in the summer of 2016, and look into the roots of discontentment.”
The group represents various people’s movements, human rights groups, women and youth organisations, trade unions, individuals who are journalists, writers and filmmakers from the states of Gujarat, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, whose objective was to listen to the voices of the people of Kashmir.
During their 10 day stay, the group met various political parties including Hurriyat Conference and many other organizations like J&K Bar Association (JKBA); trading and business communities, including the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA).
The report, after witnessing the ground situation, called upon the Government of India to forthwith, “Recognise the Kashmir dispute and accept that its resolution can only come through a political solution, not through military intervention.”
“We also call upon all Indian citizens to recognise that the actions of the Indian state in the Kashmir valley are far removed from the values of a democratic republic and beyond the pale by any acceptable norms of a civilised society in the 21st century. We call upon all Indian people to ensure that the injustices against Kashmir’s people are brought to an end and their democratic aspirations addressed,” the report said.
Report has criticized the central government and the PDP-BJP alliance in the state by stating that “BJP government at the centre and the PDP-BJP government in J&K are engaged in actions that amount to a complete violation of universally accepted human and democratic rights and of the very Indian Constitution they claim to impose in the Kashmir Valley.”
“BJP government at the centre and the PDP-BJP government in J&K are involved in acts of vengeance aimed at forcing the peoples of Kashmir into subjugation by using every possible force available to the government for breaking the peoples’ resolve for a democratic settlement to achieve their aspirations,” the report concludes.
The group has also witnessed the internet blockade, and have also recorded the media gag in the report saying that “we were witness to the ban on internet on mobile telephone services. We also noted from media reports of raids at newspaper offices, the shutting down of all newspapers in Kashmir for three days in July.”
These actions, as per the report “amount to a violation of the right to freedom of speech and internationally accepted norms of freedom of the press.”