Press Release, August 6, 2010
Wake Up, Listen to your Conscience Mr. Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
The grave situation in Kashmir valley with more and more people dying every day (49 dead after 55 days of street protest and 26 in the last 5 days) is at best a law and order problem for the Government, a statistic for the media and a blip in a far away land for most people in the country. The youthful State Chief Minister and the enlightened Union Home Minister seem to have an agreement on ‘a bullet for every stone’ policy. The CRPF under the Home Minister’s leadership orders procurement of ‘chest protectors’, ‘shoulder & elbow pads’ for ‘total body protection’. The Government could perhaps also procure some gear or devices to help them think more soberly of dialogue!
Every bit of injustice experienced by the Kashmiris gives them a feeling of further insecurity, as in the Shopian case. Perhaps a brilliant lawyer like Mr Chidambaram could appreciate the need for fast and fair justice better. The monumental mishandling by the State Government and subsequent bungling by the Union Government only plays into the hands of the certain elements who have had a vested interest in continuing the violence in the valley. We are almost tempted to think that both Governments and their arms have a vested interest in keeping Kashmir on a boil so that many other burning issues can be put on the back burner. It is a shame that feeling of long years of injustice, hurt sentiments and repeated heavy handedness is sought to be compensated by economic packages. We would like to reiterate our demand, as mentioned in July 8th statement, from the government of India to :
Immediately work out and announce a phased, time-bound demilitarisation plan to withdraw the Army from internal security duties, and use the political tools of dialogue and consultation with all concerned state and non-state actors to create an atmosphere for early return to normalcy.
Immediately institute independent and impartial inquiries into the killings, tortures, unlawful detentions, forced disappearances and other human rights violations perpetrated by security forces, by appointing retired judges of the Supreme Court and representatives of reputed human rights organisations. These inquiries should be time-bound, and Central and State governments should make public declarations to take transparent action to fix criminal liabilities and prosecute all those found guilty.
NAPM stands in solidarity with the struggling people of Kashmir and shares the grief of the families who have lost their dear ones in these protests. We also feel that the civil society organisations across the country need to realise that lack of sensitivity to the problems of Kashmir and North Eastern states is only at our own peril, and its time we started agitating for constitutional rights of the people there too and ending the state’s impunity and violence.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Thomas Kocherry, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) S G Vombatkere, P S Ajay, Anand Mazgaonkar, Suniti S R, Rajendra Ravi, Mukta Srivastava, Vimal Bhai, Saraswati Kavula, Madhuresh Kumar, Krishnakant