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Statement Against State Violence in Kashmir: Ashoka University Students and Alumni

July 25, 2016

Guest Post by Ashoka University Students and Alumni

Letter condemning the State Violence in Kashmir


The Govt of India. and the Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir.

We, the undersigned—current students, alumni of the Young India Fellowship, and faculty of Ashoka University—write to voice our deepest anguish and grave concern at the violent turn of events in Kashmir in the past few days. The violence perpetrated by the Indian State after the extra-judicial execution(1) of 22-year old Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani (2) is highly condemnable. The Indian Army, Kashmir Police and other task forces have reacted violently with bullets, pellets and lathis in the clashes that erupted after Burhan’s funeral. This was immediately followed by many more protests and demonstrations as part of Kashmiri resistance to the military occupation of Kashmir by the Indian State. In the violent repression of the protests which had a huge ground support (evident from the large attendance to Burhan’s funeral) , 55 civilians (3) have been killed and around 3100 people (4) were severely injured by the pellets(5), lathis and bullets, some of whom have lost their eyesight. We, unequivocally, condemn this brutal use of force by the Indian State in dealing with the protests after the killing of Burhan Wani. Read more…

Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

July 25, 2016

Guest Post by  New Socialist Initiative

Can the Saffron Establishment ever wash its hands of the growing menace?

( Courtesy : Cartoonist Satish Acharya,

Cow vigilantism which has received tremendous boost since the ascendance of BJP at the centre got its first fitting reply in Gujarat recently. The way in which a self-proclaimed Gau Rakshak Dal – owing allegiance to Shiv Sena – attacked a group of Dalits in Una (11 th July 2016) who were skinning a dead cow, publicly flogged them, led them to the police station charging them with cow slaughter and even circulated a video of the whole incident on social media to spread further terror, has caused tremendous uproar. Read more…

बरवक्त यहां ‘गाय’ कानून तोड़ने का सुरक्षित तरीका

July 24, 2016

cow politics

..उना, गुजरात की इस घटना ने पूरे देश को स्तब्ध कर दिया है. पिछले दिनों इस मसले पर बात करते हुए गुजरात सरकार के चीफ सेक्रेटरी जीआर ग्लोरिया ने गोरक्षा के नाम पर चल रही गुंडागर्दी को रेखांकित किया. उन्होंने बताया कि समूचे गुजरात में दो सौ से ज्यादा ऐसे गोरक्षा समूह उभरे हैं जो ‘अपने हिंसक व्यवहार के चलते और जिस तरह वो कानून को अपने हाथ में लेते हैं, उसके चलते कानून और व्यवस्था का मसला बन गए हैं.’

ग्लोरिया ने अपने बयान में यह भी जोड़ा कि ऐसे समूहों के खिलाफ हम सख्त कार्रवाई करनेवाले हैं क्योंकि भले ही यह ‘स्वयंभू गोभक्त हों मगर वास्तव में गुंडे हैं.’ शहर से गांव तक फैले उनके नेटवर्क तथा स्थानीय पुलिस के साथ उनकी संलिप्तता आदि बातों को भी उन्होंने रेखांकित किया.

ध्यान रहे कि यह पहली दफा नहीं है जब गोरक्षा के नाम पर बढ़ रही असामाजिक गतिविधियों की तरफ संवैधानिक संस्थाओं या उनके प्रतिनिधियों की तरफ से ध्यान खींचा गया हो. अभी ज्यादा दिन नहीं हुआ जब पंजाब-हरियाणा हाईकोर्ट ने भी इसी बात को रेखांकित किया था.

अदालत का कहना था कि ‘‘गोरक्षा की दुहाई देकर बने कथित प्रहरी समूह जिनका गठन राजनीतिक आंकाओं एवं राज्य के वरिष्ठ प्रतिनिधियों की शह पर हो रहा है, जिनमें पुलिस भी शामिल है, वह कानून को अपने हाथ में लेते दिख रहे हैं.’..

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Students Protest in JNU Over Rising Civilian Casualties in Kashmir

July 24, 2016

The number of unarmed civilians killed in instances of firing by the armed forces, police and paramilitaries enforcing the occupation of Kashmir by the Indian state in the latest wave of violence has crossed fifty. Many more have been blinded by pellet guns. Hundreds have been injured and hospitalized. Reports of protests are coming not only from the Kashmir valley, Kargil, Drass and Jammu, but also from many cities in India. From Delhi (where there has been a public protest at Jantar Mantar, a press conference at Gandhi Peace Foundation and a student protest at Jawaharlal Nehru University), from Kolkata, which saw a massive turn out in a public march, from Chennai, from Patna, and from Kochi and Tricky in Kerala.

On Friday 22nd July, I went to a night protest march and public gathering by students at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. The march was called by Shehla Rashid, Vice President, JNUSU and Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU (Both AISA activists) There were perhaps two hundred students gathered peacefully. The march began around 10:00 pm, made its way around the university campus and the protest continued well past midnight. Several student organizations, AISA, BASO, Hundred Flowers, Collective, DSU and individual students participated in the march. Shehla Rashid, Vice President, JNUSU and an AISA student activist, addressed the gathering before the march began, stating clearly, that this was going to be a peaceful expression of the democratic right to protest against the atrocities being enacted by the Indian state on the people of the part of Kashmir that is under Indian occupation. She asked the students to be vigilant in case any disruptive slogans were raised by planted agent-provocateurs. The entire march, and the protest meeting was documented by the students, so as to ensure that no ‘doctored videos’ would raise their ugly digital heads in the days to come. The students raised the demand for freedom for the people of Kashmir, and for people in all parts of South Asia. The slogans connected the realties of the people of Kashmir, the North East, Bastar, Jharkhand, with the experiences of Dalits, Workers, Peasants, Women, Students and Minorities. Slogans were raised against the killings and blindings by pellet guns in Kashmir. against torture, again rape, against draconian acts like AFSPA and PSA. The march made its way through the entire campus and culminated outside Chandrabhaga Hostel, where a meeting was held on the steps. The meeting lasted over two hours, was completely peaceful,and more than two hundred students listened to the speakers with close attention.

Police officers and campus security guards were present, and recorded everything. The students also recorded everything. And the indefatigable Shamim Asghor Ali made video recordings of several speeches, and uploaded them on to youtube, which we are lucky to be able to share here. We are also grateful for the still images uploaded by V. Arun, several others also took pictures and videos, which are now being shared on Facebook. Read more…

Where Judges Lead Societies Astray: Bobby Kunhu

July 21, 2016

This is a guest post by BOBBY KUNHU


That subjective morality influences judicial interpretation of law is a given. But, this influence has to remain within the paradigm set by the law and cannot operate outside it or breaking it. So there are two moralities that effect the outcome of any case, one the morality of the law itself and second how the morality of the judge works in the interpretation of the law. It is in this context that judicial attitude towards sexuality has to be analyzed. And for this first the entrenched patriarchy of the legal profession has to be acknowledged. The best evidence for this is the representation of women at every level of the profession from the bench to senor advocates to advocates on record to the lowest echelons of the bar and judicial bureaucracy.
Indian law with respect to sexuality is in a Victorian time warp. It continues to criminalize any sexual activity that is not penile-vaginal penetration, so much so that till recently when the definition of rape was amended and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act was enacted this was the paradigm of penalizing non-consensual sexual predation. Add to it the ingredients of individual judges’ patriarchy and accumulated religious and social conditioning.

Read more…

The Outsiders: Jagjit Pal Singh

July 21, 2016

This is a guest post by JAGJIT PAL SINGH

It was the year 2013; I took an auto-rickshaw from Dal Gate to Shankaracharya temple. As the auto-rickshaw took a right from the Boulevard towards the road that goes to the temple it was halted by a long queue of vehicles, mostly cars. I could see a security-check post from the distance, men in uniform grilling the drivers and their automobiles with the same thirst. You have to clear it before you pay visit to the deity. In Kashmir, these security-checks posts are just like traffic signals we habitually obey and cross in Delhi or in any other city, every day, every few kilometres. As I got off from the auto to take some fresh air a faujee approached me. He inquired from where I was coming, a very friendly tone in his voice. I was not new to these security-checks. I am half-Kashmiri, half-Punjabi, half-Sikh, half-Indian, half-Pakistani, half- refugee, and many others halves I could never put together to give a name to. He was visibly happy to see an ‘Indian’ in the land of ‘terrorists’, probably mistaken by my Punjabi/Sikh appearance. I’m more Kashmiri than a Punjabi though. If it were 1980’s or 1990’s the approach would have been different. Punjabis, mostly Sikhs, were terrorists those days. There are few other adjectives he used for Kashmiris I would like to skip. I instantly gathered all my Indian-ness and replied in an equally friendly-Indian tone to his friendly-Indian questions. It was a casual chat. Then, he went to the auto-driver in his role as a uniformed Indian in a ‘conflict-zone’; spoke to him in a dialect ‘only Kashmiris understand’, gave a green signal and in few minutes our middle-class auto-rickshaw bypassed all the expensive cars with JK number at the rear. Read more…

What Made Burhan a Hero?: Muzaffar Ali

July 21, 2016

This is a guest post by MUZAFFAR ALI

Around two lakh people participated in the funeral procession of Burhan Wani: the slain Hizb militant from Shareifabad, Tral. Without a break Kashmiris are offering prayers in absentia and paying tributes to the `martyr.` Community kitchens in his locality have been set up to feed people who come to pay tributes. Defying curfew, people are crossing hills and hamlets on foot to reach his native place. Graffities in the Lalchowk area of Srinagar hail him as a hero who lives in “our hearts.” Never before has anyone witnessed such a tremendous support or tribute base for a slain militant. Militants have died before as well, but his death has given life to something unprecedented. Banners in his honour have been installed across the valley to convey the message that he will be remembered. The valley is on boil, and people are risking lives to attack armed police officers and CRPF personals. The death toll according to reports in Rising Kashmir has reached 43 and thousands of people are injured, many of them critically. While the state and the propagandistic TRP driven media emphasize Burhan being a ‘terrorist’, Kashmiris hail him as their ‘hero’ and ‘saviour.’ The question is what turned Burhan into a hero and why are Kashmiris across age groups eulogizing him? What is inspiring people to raise a slogan like, “mubarak tas maajeh yes ye zaav: shaheed hai aav, shaheed hai aaav” (congratulations to the mother who gave birth to Burhan—the Martyr). Read more…


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