Citizens and several progressive, democratic and left individuals and organisations have held protests in different parts of the country against the brutal assault by police, paramilitaries and armed forces in the Kashmir valley that have left over 40 dead, and several blinded and severely injured. These sections have come together in large numbers to condemn the violence unleashed by the state.
Delhi: On 13 July, several hundred including right civil rights activists, students, youth, artists, women’s organizations, left organisations and individuals, and several others gathered at Jantar Mantar for a silent protest march and protest meeting. Wearing black bands and holding banners and placards that carried names of those who had been killed during the protests, the protestors demanded an immediate end to these brutalities. Addressing the protest meeting, activist Shabnam Hashmi emphasized on the urgent need to end the ‘climate of impunity’ in Kashmir that allowed the state to become a murderer. She also pointed out the contrast in the way in which the violent, armed mobs were dealt in Harayana and Gujarat and the way the unarmed protestors were dealt with in Kashmir. Com. Kavita Krishnan, PB member of CPI (ML) spoke about the need to immediately repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the urgent necessity to initiate dialogue without preconditions with all sections of society in Jammu and Kashmir. She also stressed the need for all Indian citizens to come out and say that the Indian state cannot continue to butcher the people of Kashmir in their name. AISA leader and JNUSU VP, Com. Shehla Rashid also spoke about how the continued violence unleashed by the state and the humiliation meted out to the Kashmiris had led to young generations of Kashmiris feeling alienated. She stressed on the urgent need to demilitarize Kashmir.
Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu: On 17 July, CPI(ML) and AICCTU jointly organized a demonstration in Tirunelveli, demanding justice for Kashmiri people. Demonstrators held placards that read- “No to Bullets and Pellets and YES to political resolution of Kashmir issue”; ”No peace without Justice”, and “AFSPA should go”. Com. Kumarasamy, while addressing the protestors said that even as the Modi government says that Kashmir is a part of India, the people of Kashmir cannot be seen as enemies. The grievances of the Kashmiris demanded a political solution and not the army.
Patna: In Patna too, a protest of citizens led by CPI (ML) demanded an end to state violence in Kashmir. The protestors strongly condemned the barbaric killings of innocent citizens in Kashmir. The police responded to the protestors with the use of force.
Kolkata: Hundreds of protestors participated in a rally in Kolkata on 15 July to protest the ongoing killings in Kashmir by the Indian State. In Kolkata too the protestors carried placards with the names of civilians recently killed in Kashmir inscribed on it. Protestors raised slogans demanding withdrawal of AFSPA, PSA and the presence of the armed forces in Kashmir. Protestors expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir and demanded that the Kashmiri demand for self-determination be addressed politically, not by repression.