Today around eight million Kashmiris under Indian Occupation face torture, incarceration, and brutal suppression of all their political and human rights, including, very fundamentally, the right to life and liberty. Though Kashmiris have faced repression, violence amounting to crimes against humanity, in the midst of whittling down of the constitutional guarantees for more than 70 years, the situation has worsened catastrophically since August 5, 2019 when the Government of India illegally and uncosntitutionally scrapped Article 370 and Article 35A.
Both of articles require the approval of the constituent assembly of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) for any amendment whatsoever. More critically, this nullifies any legal and constitutional relationship between J&K and India, Article 370 was the only thin legality that temporarily connected J&K to India, pending UN required plebiscite. It is now explicitly an annexation of foreign territory by the Indian state. (As part of this move, India also partitioned the part of J&K under its control into two union territories to be centrally administered, one with a legislature, another without.)
Abrogating Article 35A, which restricted people from outside to buy property in J&K, opens the door to the violence of settlement colonies on the most militarized occupied land in the world, while repressing its people’s inalienable right of self determination. Since August 5, 2019, Indian politicians and members of Indian public have been explicitly jubilant about buying land, forming task forces to do the same, and “getting” women from Kashmir – the territorial, sexualized and gendered rapaciousness of colonialism couldn’t wait even one day to declare its victory. There are already statements from Indian industrialists about holding investors’ summit in Kashmir in October.
On the ground, within the Kashmir Valley, there has been a complete lockdown on all communication including landlines, mobile and internet services, television, and radio. There is no news of more than 1300 Kashmiri activists, intellectuals, members of the civil society, and even children as young as twelve years old, who have been arrested from their homes. Reports are trickling in of deaths of newborns, delivered on the road, as women in labour made their way through dense mazes of razor wire and check posts, unable to call for medical help or ambulance. There is no doubt that once contact will be made with Kashmiri people, Kashmiri women have many more stories of brutal violence, murder and rape will come to light.
There has been a great surge of thousands of Indian troops being deployed in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK). It’s clear that the annexation of IOK is part of larger framework of militarization and capitalist concentration for plundering the resources of the world for amassing super profits. In light of the above conditions, the International Women’s Alliance reiterates demands made by people movements and women’s movements across the world:
1) Immediately revoke the curfew and its attendant conditions and reinstate communications in and out of Kashmir;
2) Immediately and unconditionally release from detention all Kashmiris who have been arbitrarily detained or arrested under the PSA or any other colonial law;
3) Immediately and unconditionally withdraw all Indian military forces from Indian Occupied Kashmir; and
4) MOST IMPORTANTLY implement the UN resolutions demanding plebiscites in all of Jammu & Kashmir, including CRITICALLY the right to full independence, and guarantee fundamental freedoms to all.