‘Resilience in Kashmir’ by Rollie Mukherjee
Please consider this background for more to follow.
From Hasnat Sheikh, Dissedentvoice.org, June 12th, 2016
“Thousands of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, mass graves and recurrent incidents of violence brushed under the carpet away from plain sight. Under the power of the world’s largest democracy, an organized system of institutionalized violence has evolved, specifically in the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir. To enforce and legitimize this system of persecution and instrumental oppression, legislation such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is employed.
AFSPA, one of the most dreaded words in a Kashmiri’s vocabulary, is not less then a curse on the population of the occupied territory. Conventionally applied in “disturbed areas” of the Indian federation, the provisions of the act empower their Army personnel to shoot and use force, even to the extent to kill anyone that they consider is acting in contravention with law and order. Further, it allows them to arrest any person on the basis of suspicion and to enter any building or stop and search any vehicle, all without any warrant.
A provision of this law also requires all arrested people to be handed over to the nearest police station with a report on the circumstances of the arrest, but the more than 8,000 enforced disappearances in Kashmir from 1989 to 2009 speak volumes on the implementation of this provision.
The Special Powers Act was extended to Kashmir in 1990, but it has been enforced in the Northeastern states declared “disturbed areas” for long before that. The entire Manipur state was declared “disturbed” in 1980.”
He mentions several commissions whose reports concluded that the outrageous law should be repealed, recommendations that crimes such as’ sexual offenses’ should be prosecuted as criminal law, as systematic sexual violence ‘in the process of Internal Security duties is being legitimized by the AFSPA.
“The law is not only in contravention with basic human rights, but also against the essence of the Indian constitution which clearly provides for “equality before law” through its article 14, “protection of life and liberty” through article 21 and “protection against arrest and detention” through article 22. Further, this act has to be reviewed every six months which, according to a Supreme Court ruling in 2008, had not been done in the case of Jammu and Kashmir.
From international human rights groups to activists inside India, voices are consistently being raised for the removal of this tyrannical piece of legislation and for the accountability of the armed forces. The debate is sparked every now and then with fresh incidents of human rights violations, but it is the unavoidable and humane responsibility of the international community to pressure the Indian government to strike down this act before more incidents of rapes, disappearances and killings with “legal protection” surface.” (Again, the rest is here.)
I’d meant to add some history concerning Kashmir (mainly Muslim) being accorded to India (mainly Hindu) in 1947 just after independence from the British, but as there seems to be news concerning Kashmir/Jammu’s independence movement, or at least a plebiscite, I’d wanted to include it. I’ve gotten myself into a tangle, though, over terms and reports from both Pakistani politicians, Indian bloggers, and whether or not the coming July elections have any bearing whatsoever on a possible plebiscite…or it’s a bit of rhetorical hot air, and it’s all up to New Dehli in the end. I did find an email address for an author in the Punjab who seems to know what he’s about, so I’ll give him a jingle and see if he can sort me out. If I don’t hear back soon, I’m almost ready to put up something to the effect of: Modi and the Imperium: New Geopolitical BFFs or Mister Modi Goes to Washington…