Kashmir is under siege and silence is no longer an option. On Monday, August 5 2019, the Indian government abrogated article 370 of the Indian constitution, which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special status within the Indian Constitution. The article was instituted by India’s early leadership to give a certain degree of autonomy to its only Muslim-majority state — one it had incorporated without the consent of its people, who would have preferred independence or accession to Pakistan.
The Indian government also abrogated article 35A, which gives the local Kashmiri state the right to define who is a “permanent resident” of the state. Permanent residents are able to own property or buy land. This was a condition that the pro-accession local leadership insisted upon to protect Kashmir’s Muslim-majority status, and was the last thing Kashmiris were holding onto to preserve some semblance of their nationhood.
A few days before the abrogation announcement, the Indian government put Kashmir under military curfew and ordered all Hindu pilgrims and non-Kashmiris to leave the valley. The following restrictions were also put in place:
- no access to the outside or with each other
- no access to cellular phones and landlines
- no access to television or internet
This is nothing short of a crisis for the entire humanity. The Indian atrocities continue unabated. Every week dozens of Kashmiris are losing their lives.
For more than five decades, the people of Indian Held Kashmir have been denied their inalienable right to self-determination. The people of Kashmir are helpless. The international community has abandoned them to the Indian repression.
More than 100,000 killed during the last decade, over 15,000 Kashmiri women violated, over 5,000 Kashmiri youths imprisoned in India, interrogation center and torture cells, more than 20,000 kids orphaned, 8,000 to 10,000 involuntarily disappeared, over 200 totally blinded with pellet guns.
By repealing Article 35A & 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in occupied Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers
This act of abrogating these two articles is an open contravention of UN resolution #122 adopted on January 24, 1957; # 123 adopted on February 21, 1957 and # 126 adopted on December 2, 1957. These resolutions prohibit any unilateral action to change the disputed nature of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also against Tashkent Declaration of 1966, Simla Agreement of 1972, and Lahore Declaration of 1999 between Pakistan and India.
It is beyond doubt that the longer the uncertainties continue and the longer the United Nations and world powers ignore Jammu & Kashmir, the more dangerous and intractable the crisis becomes in light of the fact that both Indian and Pakistan are nuclear powers. The crisis requires immediate diplomacy that recognizes the explosive situation on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir and takes immediate measures to avert it before it explodes.
Under all international agreements and United Nations Security Council resolutions, Kashmir is not the internal matter of India or Pakistan. It is a disputed territory whose status is yet to be determined by its people.
Please help us print and distribute the following material on Kashmir:
Here are a number of items that all of us can do to take action:
- Sign our petition to tell Congress to #StandWithKashmir.
- Download, print and distribute our 2-page information guide on the crisis. The information presented in it is brief and comprehensive.
- Write letters and make phone calls to the White House and the State Department. Scroll down to the next section for a sample letter.
- Call your United States Representative and Senators voicing support for peace in Kashmir and an end to the carnage.
- Write to major and minor media outlets.
- Write letters to the editor and opinion columns.
- Meet with human rights organizations and NGOs to educate them about Kashmir and enlist their influence on behalf of the Kashmiri cause to lobby President Trump to fulfill his promise of mediation.
- Organize seminars and lectures on university campuses and Islamic centers with speakers available from the Kashmiri American Community.
- Organize video showings and exhibitions on Kashmir.
- Enlist the assistance of local church groups to write letters to Members of Congress about Kashmir.
- Request one of the more than 200 World Affairs Councils in the United States to arrange a program on Kashmir because of the nuclear danger there the greatest in the world-and unspeakable daily suffering. The WAC’s should be asked to invite Kashmiri participants because the Kashmir conflict primarily concerns Kashmiris, and cannot be solved without their consent. World Kashmir Awareness Forum will provide speakers.
- During annual Islamic Center gatherings, invite a Kashmiri or non-Kashmiri to speak about Kashmir. All viewpoints are welcome.
- Organize local sidewalk demonstrations with appropriate official permits in front of the Mayor’s office or local newspaper to publicize the Kashmiri plight and need for active action by the United States.
Sample Letter to Congress
Dear Honorable Congressman or Congresswoman or Senator,
I am a resident of the United States of America and would like to draw your attention towards grave humanitarian crisis and abrogation of special protections of indigenous 5 people in the Indian administered province of Kashmir. The events of recent days in the region, which have received coverage in the international media, have serious implications for the foreign policy goals and economic interests of the United States of America. Ignoring these events endangers stability within the South Asia region, consequently risking a conflagration, with American lives, significant investments, and resources at stake.
In your role as an elected official, I want to make you aware of my concern about these current events in the Indian administered Kashmir, the heaviest militarized zone in the world, where two nuclear powered armies of India and Pakistan are facing each other:
- Using a false pretext, Indian government recently put the state of Jammu and Kashmir behind an iron curtain, exactly what Soviet Union did during the cold war to territories it controlled. There is no phone, Internet, or physical connection to the besieged region. The Indian government has made mass arrests and deployed up to 200,000 additional troops on top of the existing 700,000-stationed troops in the region.
- The right wing BJP government in India has unilaterally bifurcated the disputed region under its control and scraped the special provisions that protect the identity of an indigenous people in the region.
- There are gross human rights violations taking place right now and without phone/internet and no people and vehicular movement, there are sick people without access to medicine, infants without access to milk, and people suffering inside a blockaded region.
- The Indian soldiers are protected by draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and none have ever been prosecuted for human rights abuses well documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights or other such organizations. In 2016, hundreds of protesting civilians were blinded through the use of pellet guns and hundreds more killed. The government forces have been using similar methods to kill and injure Kashmiri civilians for many years now.
- Given Indian state’s recent actions, mass protests are likely to happen, and I request that you communicate my concerns to the Indian government and ask them to follow International law as a signatory to the fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) and protect Kashmiri civilians from any harm or injury.
- Finally, with President Trump’s recent offer to mediate this long standing Kashmir dispute and plans of US withdrawal from Afghanistan as context, such Indian actions to change the demographics of a disputed region are going to increase radicalism and thwart plans for peaceful withdrawal of US forces from the region. That in itself will ensure that the US foreign policy interests will be severely hampered.
I request you to implore and show concern to the Indian government to seek a negotiated settlement of the dispute, and protect human rights as opposed to the indiscriminate use of force in violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) that protects civilians in the regions of armed conflict. It is imperative that the Indian authorities recognize that the conflict in Kashmir can only be resolved through peaceful means and according to the wishes of Kashmiris.
Thanking you for your consideration.
CSJ Rallies Across America
CSJ chapters in District of Columbia, California, Texas, Michigan, Georgia, and Florida held rallies to support the people Kashmir in partnership with other local and national organizations. The attendees demanded that:
- India end the communication blockade and the curfew on Kashmir
- India end the occupation of Kashmir
- India grant aazadi (freedom) to Kashmir
- United Nations condemn the current Hindu Fascist government of India
Discussion With Kashmiri-American Leaders
CSJ in the News
- KPFK Radio Station – Waqas Syed, ICNA CSJ California lead, was invited on the station to speak about the Kashmir crisis.
- GEO News – ICNA CSJ Flordia team led a successful rally in Orlando, FL and GEO News was there to cover it. (Urdu)
- Dunya News – ICNA CSJ national team led a successful rally in Washington, DC in partnership with USCMO and Dunya News was there to cover it. (Urdu)
- Washington Post – They covered our rally in front of the Indian embassy in Washington, DC. It was done in partnership with USCMO.