This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Nayan Jyoti. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

With 451 Dead In 2017, Why It Is Important That Indians Know The Reality Of Kashmir

Kashmir has been in the news for the longest time, however, not always for the right reasons. It is important to understand the ‘everyday-reported-conflict’ and critically analyse the issues. I got such an opportunity to visit Kashmir, interact with the people and listen to their stories and their reality, as part of my doctoral research. As most others, I too had certain pre-conceived notions about the general population and the place, mostly sourced from the ‘national’ television channels. Despite these notions and the not so encouraging perspectives from my fellow researchers and associates, I wanted to be in Kashmir.

When I travelled through Kashmir, I realised that this region is the victim of ‘hateful journalism’ both by hyper-nationalist and the liberal press of India. The narrative of history and the portrayal of the general population of Kashmir in mainstream India are far from the truth. There have been constant attempts by the news media to obscure the reality and create a situation that legitimises military persecution of the residents of Kashmir.

The Kashmiris are losing confidence in the Indian democracy because of this sort of media behaviour. These media activities deepen the rift and constrained the extent of peace initiatives and conflict resolution. The government’s artful conduct towards managing the Kashmir issue also needs to be blamed. Kashmir separatist leaders assert that the government’s peace talk process and arrangement of delegates is just a time-buying strategy, taken under international pressure and regional compulsion. This statement itself reflects the extent of trust the stakeholders have in the Indian administration.

During my interactions with few youths from different districts across the valley of Kashmir, I was amazed at their deep understanding of issues. They shared their views about political disputes, territorial disputes as well as the alleged polarisation of their freedom movement. Their perspectives are fundamentally the same as discussions revolve around the sob for freedom. For them freedom is the suspension of all the military atrocities, repealing of the Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and extra-judicial killings in the name of terrorism.

At the same time, they also demand the government to provide a legitimate platform for self-determination. There is sheer outrage in the valley against all the military barbarities in the name of cross-terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The administration of India is still of the supposition that military annexation coded as ‘Operation Polo’ against the princely state of Hyderabad can likewise be executed in the valley of Kashmir. This non-stop push to mutilate the historical backdrop of Kashmir and propagate a narrative of Pakistan’s role in destabilising the valley with funds, arms and terrorism, delegitimised the freedom struggle in Kashmir. However, I am not of the opinion that Pakistan’s impact in the Kashmir valley is insignificant; but it should not belittle the Kashmiris’ aspiration for freedom or self-determination just as a foreign influence. Likewise, the ‘National News Media’ in several cases attempted to communalise the desire of the Kashmiris.

The big question here is why every citizen of India should know and understand the Kashmir strife. Being a part of India’s democratic society, we Indians remain absolutely uninformed about the politics of Kashmir. We have ideas that the region is an ‘aggravated/a contested region’ and adhere to the well-known accounts propagated.

According to the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society’s (JKCCS) Annual Human Rights Review 2017 report, the year 2017 saw an upward surge in human rights abuse as compared to 2016. After the death of Burhan Wani, the Hijbul commander and the poster-boy of new-age militancy in Kashmir, there has been a significant rise in human rights violations and killings. Burhan was the most popular freedom fighter the valley had seen in the last three decades of the armed uprising. The administration was under the assumption that the slaughtering of Burhan will help control militancy in the valley. However, it backfired. It infused a new life into this freedom movement which has now reached more households than ever.

The year 2017 has seen an aggregate of 451 killings, which includes civilians, militants and armed forces. The killings have been highest in the last 8 years with another much-abused practice of administrative detention in the form of Public Safety Act (PSA) to curb and curtail dissent. In the last three years, 1059 PSA dossiers have been prepared against political activists and youth accused of stone pelting. Even the local news media faced the wrath of Indian administration. As many as 8 incidents of assault against journalists were reported in the valley, including the arrest of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf by India’s National Investigating Agency (NIA) in September.

It is important to know that Indian administration has refused visas to the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) as they aimed at ascertaining human rights infringement in Kashmir. India persistently denied visas to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team and several other human right activists and numerous international columnists for visiting Kashmir. This rejection of different UN delegates and additionally human right activists and columnists reflects that the government of India is terrified of reality being disseminated to the outside world.

The year-long cycle of savagery and continuous abuse of human rights such as the killing of innocent civilians, enforced and involuntary disappearances, torture in custody, utilization of pellet shotguns, and arrest under administrative detainment still continues. Although the enforced and involuntary disappearances have decreased significantly over the years it still exists. There continues to be no trace of more than 8,000 vanished people in Jammu and Kashmir and their families endure relentlessly. The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) asked the administration a few times to investigate the presence of 2080 unmarked and mass graves in the twin locales of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu territory. At the same time, fatalities and permanent blindness caused by the pellet guns to the fate of the younger generation of Kashmiris is unimaginable.

The impunity enjoyed by the armed forces operating in J&K keeps denying justice to the casualties of human rights abuse since 1989. A friend of mine narrated the spine-chilling Kunan Poshpora mass rape and how Supreme Court has been dreary to begin the trial of armed forces associated with the rape. No other case reflects the way in which the impunity shields the military from any sort of indictment better than the Kunan Poshpora case. Various massacres, unending fake encounters and Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) proceeded as a phenomenon in the valley of Kashmir with 540 CASO’s in a year which is more than one CASO every day. CASO is a practice in which military and a police cordon an entire area and start searching houses of the civilian populace. The most extreme assaults and killings occur amid the act of CASO. Allegedly the military takes possession of the private and agrarian property after Cordon and later transform it into a camp.

India has always been averse to accept global consideration and mediation in the Kashmir dispute. Other than direct infringement of the privileges of Kashmiris, the Indian State utilise communication blackout, to turn away global leaders and citizens from accessing the current information about ongoing violations.

Undemocratic means to curb political dissent, slapping sedition charges against the fighting voices and humiliating mothers, sisters and fathers of young political activists have created a dread psychosis among the general population of Kashmir. With India’s expanding worldwide presence, it should go about as a responsible democracy in the valley by giving space to peaceful resistance. As during the Indian freedom movement, British had also provided several genuine political spaces to Gandhi to pursue a peaceful resistance. The people of India could at least stage resistance, debate, and question and pressurise the Indian administration to peacefully resolve the issue of Kashmir. The appeal to resolve the conflict is only to bring normalcy back in the valley and let the people live with dignity.


You must be to comment.

More from Nayan Jyoti

Similar Posts

By Sajad Rasool

By vishal

By Shoba Prakash

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below