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Students, Academicians In Delhi Raise Concerns Over Violence In Kashmir In Open Letter

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Editor’s note: As the number of deaths and injuries continue to rise in Kashmir, several students, academics, and individuals- most of them from Delhi University- have issued a statement on the recent developments there. Noting the state’s response to the past and present agitations, the statement appeals to “the democratic sections of India” to stand in solidarity with Kashmir and to respect their democratic aspirations. It also asks them to demand an end to the violence, punishment for the guilty, and initiation of a political process to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute. There have been continuous protests in Kashmir since the killing of Hizb-ul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, resulting in the death of close to 70 people.

Read the statement here:

The current escalation of violence in Kashmir started on July 8, 2016 after the killing of Hizb ul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani by the armed forces of the Indian State. As per reports from the local media, Burhan’s funeral was attended by an estimated 4 lakh people, apart from the numerous other assemblies of mourning held in-absentia across the valley.

The essential character of resistance to the Indian state in Kashmir today is not primarily in the form of a guerrilla war between the armed forces and the militants. Since 2008 mass rebellions have broken out against the Indian state, including stone pelting by youth. In the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Indian government has responded to the mass movement through the use of brutal violence leading to the killing of over two hundred civilians, and injuring thousands, many of whom have been blinded for life through the use of pellet guns by the Indian armed forces. We have also witnessed how the Indian state has responded to these agitations by imposing continuous curfews, curbing the local press, snapping all forms of communication and by incarcerating the pro-freedom leadership, thus denying the people all avenues to express and demand the fulfillment of their aspirations peacefully. In 2016 the State continues to respond much the same way.

As we write this, 69 civilians have been killed, including Amir Nazeer, who studied at the University of Delhi. Thousands have been injured and yet again scores have lost their eyesight forever due to the firing of pellet guns. The government has yet again as always, blamed Pakistan for instigating the protests, thus completely refusing to acknowledge the ground reality in Kashmir.

The State’s militaristic response is not just grossly disproportionate and violative of basic human rights, but designed to perpetuate violence and state terror. There must be a political process that aims to find a lasting solution to the dispute, and such a process must begin by acknowledging the aspirations of the people in Kashmir, who are claiming the right to self-determination or Aazadi. There can be no dialogue based on purposeful non-recognition of what the other party wants.

We appeal to the democratic sections of India to respect the democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir and to stand in solidarity with them. We appeal to them to demand the cessation of the present cycle of violence and to punish the guilty. Most importantly we appeal to them to raise their voice demanding of the State that it begins a political process aimed at finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute.

[su_spoiler title=”Concerned Students of University of Delhi and Academicians”]Burhan Qureshi, Delhi School of Economics
Gowher Fazili, Delhi School of Economics
Tahiba Ulfat, Delhi School of Economics
Thanzeel Nazer, Delhi School of Economics
Naincy, Delhi School of Economics
Gayathri Devi VG, Delhi School of Economics
Urmika, Delhi School of Economics
Pallab, Delhi School of Economics
Ankita, Delhi School of Economics
Samiksha, Delhi School of Economics
Grace Mary S, Delhi School of Economics
Mrigakshi Parashar, Delhi School of Economics
Ajanti, Delhi School of Economics
Bhavneet Kaur, Delhi School of Economics
Arunima Nair, Delhi School of Economics
Vasundhara Jairath, Delhi School of Economics
Sumbul Farah, Delhi School of Economics
Sarbani Sharma, Delhi School of Economics
Fahad Hashmi, Delhi School of Economics
Nargis Vasundhara, Delhi School of Economics
Seram Rojesh, Delhi School of Economics
Rameez T, Delhi School of Economics
Uma Chakravarti, Rt. Prof. University of Delhi
Anand Chakravarti, Rt. Prof. University of Delhi
Shivangi Sharma, University of Delhi
Lokesh Malti Prakash, University of Delhi
Vidyun Sabhawney, University of Delhi
Abeen Bilal, University of Delhi
Archit Nanda, University of Delhi
Aniket Chetri, University of Delhi
Mayurakshi Kumar, University of Delhi
Ritesh Jaiswal, University of Delhi
Santosh Hasnu, University of Delhi
Amit Kumar, University of Delhi
Nandini Sundar, Delhi School of Economics
Sudha Vasan, Delhi School of Economics
Satish Deshpande, Delhi School of Economics
Rajni Palriwala, Delhi School of Economics
Radhika Chopra, Delhi School of Economics
Saumya Malviya, Delhi School of Economics
Nivedita Ghosh, University of Delhi
Nivedita Menon J.N.U
Ishita Dey A.U.D
Rukmini Sen, A.U.D
Asmita Mahajan, AUD
Farhana Ibrahim, IIT Delhi
Reshma Radhakrishnan, Delhi School of Economics
Malay Firoz, Brown University
S. Anand, Navayana
Pothik Ghosh, Radical Notes
Ruchika Jain, IIT Kanpur
Soibam Haripriya, TISS
Swatahsiddha Sarkar, University of North Bengal
Sanghamitra Misra, University of Delhi
Arzoo Sahni, University of Delhi
Aakash Pandey, University of Delhi
Manas Pandey, University of Delhi
Amrita Queen, University of Delhi
Anuradha Kumari, University of Delhi
Shrestha, University of Delhi
Rafal Alam, University of Delhi
Abhigya Shekhar, University of Delhi
Talha Rashid, University of Delhi
Maunama Rehman, University of Delhi
Rahul Raj Mishra, University of Delhi
Sudhanshu Shekhar, University of Delhi
Arifa Anis, University of Delhi
Aman Nawaz, University of Delhi
Kunal Garg, University of Delhi
Meghna Mehra, University of Delhi[/su_spoiler]


Image source: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
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