Manushi: Citizens First Forum requests you to join a citizens delegation to present a memorandum to Smt Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson UPA on the unprecedented crisis in Jammu and Kashmir and participate in a candlelight vigil in the memory of the innocents who have lost their lives in the current phase of violence in the state. We also urge you to sign the Resolution given below.
Date: September 3, 2010
Submission of Memorandum: 5.30 p.m.
Venue: AICC office, 24 Akbar Road, New Delhi
Candle Light Vigil: 7.00 p.m with Sufi music by Madan Gopal Singh and Youth Expressions from Kashmir
Venue: India Gate
Kashmir is again on fire. The Kashmiri people are living out what may well be the worst nightmare in their history. In the last 75 days sixty four young men and school going children have lost their lives to police bullets. Hundreds more, women, children and security personnel, are grievously injured. Those killed or injured are not militants or cross border terrorists- just ordinary young men aspiring to live an ordinary life of dignity. All they have done to deserve the ferocity of the State’s coercive might is to protest against the killing of their innocent brethren and to express their rage for having to live under the shadow of the gun, under conditions of unending, relentless fear, security pickets, at every few yards, in every street and mohalla, search operations, arbitrary arrests, crackdowns and deaths due to custodial violence.
Similarly, the men of security forces who have lost their lives or limb working under the most hostile and stressful conditions are paying the price of political mismanagement.
What began as a simple protest against the killing by the state police of an innocent schoolboy, Tufail Mattoo, and an expression of disenchantment with a regime which had failed to live up to the hopes placed on it by the people just 20 months ago, has now turned into an overwhelming anti India upsurge because of the indifference of the Centre and its desire to defend and endorse a regime marked by insensitivity, aloofness and arrogance.
What should have been dealt with as a normal, legitimate expression of popular discontent has through sheer political and administrative mismanagement given new life to the call for separation from India. What the separatists and ISI trained terrorists failed to achieve in 20 years has been delivered to them on a platter by 20 months of misrule. The only face of the Indian State now visible to the Kashmiri people is one of repression, violence and brutality. The cry for ‘Azadi ‘, as yet a plaintive appeal for freedom from this life of fear, may rapidly burgeon into an irretrievable movement for secession. The situation is worse than it has been ever before, and worse than in any other part of the country, including those areas that harbour secessionist desires. We ignore it at great peril.
In such an explosive situation, the Kashmiri people’s sense of isolation worsens the problem. There is a widespread perception that no one else in India seems to care about the living hell they face everyday - a life dominated by guns and bullets, and the graveyard. There are no protest marches or candlelight vigils for them. They feel they are alone in their suffering and that Indian democracy or Indian Civil society does not care to offer to them any gesture of support or solace.
It is time that we, as citizens of India, show that we stand by the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their hour of grief; that they are an inseparable part of the unique tapestry of diversity and plurality that is India, and that - ‘We Care’. We need to demonstrate visibly that, citizen-to-citizen, people to people, we want to understand what is going through their hearts and minds, create a conducive and convivial environment for them to communicate their feelings and legitimate aspirations.
Our failure to build bridges of understanding will only lead to further communalization, brutalization and the militarization of state and civil society in Jammu and Kashmir.We appeal to all of you, as concerned citizens to join us in our efforts to prevent this from happenning..We also appeal to you to sign the attached Resolution as a gesture of your support.
We look forward to your presence on September 3, 2010 at 5.30 p.m. outside 24 Akbar Road and at 7 p.m. at India Gate.
Madhu Kishwar (Professor, CSDS), Amitabha Pande (IAS Retd, Former Secretary Govt of India), Major General (retd.) Lakhwinder Singh, Sanjay Tikkoo ( Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti), Mohammad Yaseen (social activist, Srinagar), Wahidur Rehman (Himalyan Broadcasting Network, Pulwama), Imtiyaz Ahmed Bazaz ( freelance journalist, Kashmir).
On Behalf of MANUSHI--Citizens First Forum
We, the signatories to this resolution, wish to convey our deep concern over the worsening situation in Jammu and Kashmir and offer our sincere condolence to the families of those who have lost their dear ones in the ongoing spiral of violence in J&K.
We mourn the untimely death of all the men, women and children as well as security personnel who have become victims of needless violence--a violence which is the consequence of gross political mismanagement on the one hand and the pursuit of divisive political agendas on the other. We wish to convey that we stand by our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir in this their hour of grief. We believe that they are an inseparable part of the unique human tapestry of diversity and plurality that is India and we want to say as Indians that “We Care”.
We resolve that as citizens we will do all that we can to create a conducive and convivial environment for restoration of normalcy in their tragically disrupted lives.
We also pledge to build bridges of understanding to prevent the communalization, brutalization and militarization of state and civil society in J&K.
We wish to reach out to join hands with the people of J&K to find ways of seeking a permanent solution to the prolonged conflict in the region through the peaceful and constructive engagement of all the stakeholders.
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