Report on Access to justice and legal developments under Kashmir siege Dec. 4, 2019. Authored by Shrimoye Nandini Ghosh
Kashmir Syllabus: A list of sources for teaching and leaning about Kashmir. It foregrounds voice, histories, and aspirations of people from within Kashmir, and moves beyond prior scholarship that often took securities studies approaches and thereby privileged the statist perspectives of India and Pakistan. This critical body of work on Kashmir allows for a lens into the broader study of the modern state, occupation, nationalism, sovereignty, militarization, social movements, resistance, human rights, international law, and self-determination.
Recent Human Rights Reports and Statements
United States Congressional Hearings
Several KSCAN scholars appeared as witnesses at the US Congressional hearings. You can find their statements below:
October 22, 2019 Hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region”, US House of Representatives.
Prof. Nitasha Kaul’s testimony
Dr. Angana Chatterji’s testimony
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
United States House of Representatives
JAMMU AND KASHMIR IN CONTEXT
November 14, 2019
Prof. Haley Duschinski’s testimony
Signatories include Yashwant Sinha, former member of the BJP and former Finance and Foreign Minister of India , Wajahat Habibullah, former National Chief Information Commissioner, Air Vice Marshall (R) Kapil Kak, Bharat Bhushan, Senior Journalist
1. Release forthwith all Kashmiris who were taken into preventive detention
under Public Safety Act (PSA) – whether they are politicians,
businessmen, academics, opinion makers or students – if they are not
accused of any crime. If there are specific cases against individuals and
they have been sent to jails outside the state, they should be brought back
and housed locally. It is a punishment for their family members to travel to
UP, Delhi, Rajasthan or Haryana to meet the prisoners.
2. Restore all internet and mobile phone connections in J&K. It is immoral to
impose a collective punishment on the entire population of a region.
3. Lift all curbs on all peaceful political activity and allow peaceful public
4. Lift all restriction on the movement of public and commercial vehicles on
the national highways to restore normal road communication links.
5. Alleviate the fears of the Kashmiris about their future by starting a multi-
level dialogue process with all those affected by the events following
6. Compensate Kashmiri farmers and businessmen for their economic losses
which were the direct result of unilateral action by the government.
7. Restore land rights to the local inhabitants and give up plans of
demographic change and last but the most important:-
8. Restore the statehood of J&K by reuniting the two union territories created
after August 5.
This report is a narrative of the situation that arose in Kashmir valley, after the events of August 5th 2019. The report sheds light on the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 in the Indian Administered State of Jammu of Kashmir. The report highlights the political history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and outlines its accession to the Union of India. Further, it looks into the history of Article 370 and its incorporation into the Indian Constitution. It also makes a detailed study into its constant erosion by the Indian State, from time to time.
Post abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian Parliament, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of siege and lockdown; the lockdown has egregiously affected the daily lives of the people living in the valley. Since the lockdown, there is a clampdown on the communication and internet services have been barred since 4 months now, with no respite in sight1. The lockdown has directly impacted all facets of life, including access to the health services, education access to justice and business and employment. Schools have been closed for 4 months now, yet board exams have been held in these difficult circumstances. The health sector has taken a massive hit and has been over burdened with the lack of professionals and essential medical supplies. The Jama Masjid, the biggest congressional mosque in Srinagar, has been off limits for prayers 17 weeks in a row now. The courts and other judicial mechanisms operating in the Valley are largely inaccessible to the common Kashmiri, thereby denying them access to justice. This report presents a detailed picture of life under lockdown in the Kashmir valley.
This Report will be followed by a more detailed report about the human rights violations in the Kashmir valley since August 5th, 2019
An eleven member team comprising advocates, trade union and human activists and a psychiatrist visited Kashmir from Sept 28-Oct. 4, 2019. The broad aim of the team was to understand the situation persisting in the two months since the Abrogation of Article 370, and, to assess the quality of access to justice in these compelling circumstances. Based on the reality on the ground, the team released the most comprehensive report
Key conclusions and recommendations:
- Recognise that a dispute exists between peoples of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian government
- Repeal the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 and the Armed Forces (Jammu &Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990.
- Withdraw all army and para-military forces from civilian areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Open a transparent unconditional dialogue with the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir and their representatives so as to address peoples’ aspirations to determine and define their own destinies through democratic means and to find a political solution that respects the democratic will of the people in accordance with human rights and international law.
Based on their visit to various districts of Kashmir and interviews with over seventy five people –ordinary citizens, tradesmen, transporters, fruit merchants, youth, women, and children, the authors report nothing is normal in Kashmir. This report also confirms illegal detention minors as young as five.
A team of Indian citizens visited Jammu and Kashmir and published this report base don their first hand interaction with people from various sectors. The team comprise don Anirudh Kala, Brinelle D’Souza, Revati Laul and Shabnam Hashmi.
” we have spoken to a spectrum of people from politicians (those who were not in jail), bureaucrats, homemakers, schoolteachers, traders, fruit-sellers, taxi unions, students, teachers, intellectuals, poets, writers, farmers, children, journalists, civil society workers, Pandits, Sikhs and Christians and even wedding caterers across five districts over eight days. From Srinagar to Baramulla to Anantnag to Badgam and even Jammu, all had one thing in common – every single interaction was an emotional outpouring. “
Women’s Voice : A report on the ground situation in Kashmir, September 24, 2019
A team of five women who visited Kashmir from September 17-21 brought out a fact-finding report Women’s Voice. The team comprising of Annie Raja, Kawaljit Kaur and Pankhuri Zaheer from National federation of Indian Women, Poonam Kaushik of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi and Syeda Hameed of Muslim Women’s Forum visited 17 villages all across Kashmir to bring out the ground realities of the state after the Centre’s decision of abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution. Here is the full report
Kashmir Caged: A report on the ground situation; August 23, 2019
CPI(ML) member and activist Kavita Krishnan, Eminent economist Jean Drèze, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) member Maimoona Mollah and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) member Vimal Bhai visited different parts of Jammu and Kashmir such as Srinagar, Sopore, Bandipora, Anantnag, Pulwama and Pampore from August 9 to August 13 to find out what has been happening in Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August 2019 .
Here is the full report
Amnesty International (080719): Amnesty’s statement on UN OHCHR report on human rights situation in Kashmir.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (080719):
Update of the Situation of Human Rights in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019.
TRT documentary: Kashmir: Fault Lines in the Valley
Amnesty International (110619): Tyranny of a ‘lawless law’: Detention Without Charge or Trial Under the J&K Public Safety Act
Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) (290319): TORTURE – Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir
International Federation for Human Rights (March 2019): Key human rights issues of concern in Indian-Administered Jammu & Kashmir.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (140619): Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from June 2016 to April 2018, and General Human Rights Concerns in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (140619): First-ever UN human rights report on Kashmir calls for international inquiry into multiple violations (Press release)
Human rights organizations in Kashmir
The Dear Disappeared, By Iffat Fatima
Here Still (2019), directed and produced by Tara Dorabji and Jamie DeWolf
Khoon diy Baariv (Blood Leaves its Trail) (2015 ), by Iffat Fatima
Kashmir Media Sites
UN Cartographic Department: Map of Jammu and Kashmir area