• “We owe each other justice.”

    Statement by Centre for Policy Analysis on the current situation in Kashmir

    June 7, 2018

     

    We, the citizens of India, note with increasing distress and despair the escalating tide of violence in Jammu and Kashmir over the last two years. The intensification of violence has led to serious injuries, harm, and grave losses of life of Indian citizens who live in the region, as well as those of the security forces. Incidents of grave violence have heightened cross-border tensions. They have alarmingly militarised the political atmosphere in the rest of the country. We welcome the cease-fire announced by the Government of India during the holy month of Ramzan. We appeal  the cease-fire be extended indefinitely, and that the government strives to bring some modicum of peace to this beleaguered region.

    We citizens note with sadness the tragedy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its people are viciously caught in the grip of extreme violence launched by different sets of agents: armed militants but also the security forces. We consider that it is the primary responsibility of a democratic government to protect the lives and liberties of its citizens. In conflict situations. it is incumbent upon the government to explore every avenue of conflict resolution short of the use of coercion, force, and intimidation. We expect the  democratically elected central government to seriously address and redress the grievances of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We urge it to resolve the problem in accordance with the tenets of the Constitution of India. This is the obligation that democracy places upon people who occupy positions of power. History will not forgive them if they default on this obligation to the people of the country.

    We citizens condemn the use of violence by armed militants, and sometimes by, otherwise innocent Indian citizens who live in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We recognise their frustration but still hold that they should know that the route taken by violence is unpredictable and dangerous. It leads to harm, bears consequences such as deaths of innocent bystanders, generates fear and resentment in civil society, loses out on the sympathy quotient, invites retaliation on a massive scale and sweeps up the perpetrator, the victim and innocent bystanders in a vicious spiral of merciless destruction and impairment. There is little that is noble about violence.

    We citizens sympathise with the pain and the suffering of our fellow citizens who are trapped in repeated and reiterative cycles of violence in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is our duty as peoples of a democratic India to extend solidarity to other members of our political Community.

    We owe each other justice.

    We note with sadness the creation of perverse stereotypes of our own people, stereotypes that are perpetrated by agents of hate, purveyors of violence, and irresponsible sections of the media. These have alienated Indian citizens from each other.

    We appeal to powerful media houses to refrain from demonising any section of Indians, and to refrain from any sort of discussion that creates an atmosphere of hate and suspicion. We should be able to understand and sympathise with the fate of our own people who are forced to live in the shadow of a gun since birth. They have known no other life. We owe them justice.

    We citizens, owe justice to the Kashmiri Pandits who were hounded out of their homes and hearths by armed militants in 1989 and 1990. We urge the state government of Jammu and Kashmir to encourage their return and welcome them back to their ancestral land, the land of their birth, the land of their memories and mythologies, and help them resettle. This is their right. People without land are homeless and rootless. Citizens of India have an obligation to the displaced people of Jammu and Kashmir. And for the security of those who continue to live in the Valley, the Hindus and the Sikhs.

    It is time that we, the citizens of India, begin to think of the Kashmir issue in terms of democracy, rights, and justice that is owed to all citizens.

    It is time that we begin to think of the problems of the region not as part of a narrow hyper-nationalism, or as a by-product of our dispute with our neighbour Pakistan, but as part of the problems of a democratic India.

    It is time we begin to ask why the people of the region revolted decades after the state acceded to the Indian Union. It is time that we set aside abnormal and disgusting typing of our fellow citizens as the ‘other’ or as the ‘enemy’ and try to understand each other.

    It is time that we become conscious of the responsibilities of democratic citizens of a democratic India.

    It is time we restructure our democratic political community that has been torn asunder by the politics of hate which equates all Muslim inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir with terrorists and terms them anti-nationalists.

    It is time that we citizens give each other a chance to become full members of our democratic life. To be outside the pale of democracy is to be doomed to live in a twilight zone. This is not something we wish upon anyone, least of all our own people.

    SIGNED:

    1. Anil  Chamadia
    2. Annie Raja
    3. Amit Sengupta
    4. Anuradha Chenoy
    5. A S Dulat
    6. Avinash Mohananey
    7. Gauhar Raza
    8. Ganesh Devy
    9. H K Dua
    10. Harsh Mander
    11. Jawed Naqvi
    12. John Dayal     
    13. Kamal Mitra Chenoy
    14. Kapil Kak
    15. Kamal Morarka
    16. K Satchidanandan
    17. Madhu Bhaduri
    18. Manoj Kumar Jha
    19. Meera Khanna
    20. Mohammed Salim
    21. Mohini Giri    
    22. Nayantara Sehgal
    23. Neera Chandhoke
    24. Nuzhat Kazmi
    25. Pamela Philipose
    26. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
    27. Prabir Purkayastha
    28. Prashant Bhushan
    29. Rajeev Dhavan
    30. Rita Manchanda
    31. S P Shukla
    32. Satish Jacob
    33. Shastri Ramachandran
    34. Seema Mustafa
    35. Subhashini Ali
    36. Suneeta Dhar
    37. Sehba Farooqui
    38. Sukumar Muralidharan
    39. Shabnam Hashmi
    40. Tehmina Arora
    41. Wajahat Habibullah
    42. Vineed Tiwari
    43. Yashwant Sinha
    44. Zafar Agha
    45. Zoya Hasan 

     

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Indian Writers' Forum.

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