Regular-article-logo Saturday, 10 June 2023

Dictatorship in Kashmir: Kavita Krishnan

'Military dictatorship' of the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir was a 'massive human rights violation'

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 06.09.19, 09:09 PM
Kavita Krishnan at the news conference.

Kavita Krishnan at the news conference. Picture by Gautam Bose

Kavita Krishnan — part of a civil society team that managed to enter the Kashmir Valley last month and record testimonies of people amid the lockdown and communication blockade — said on Friday that the “military dictatorship” of the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir was a “massive human rights violation”.

“Kashmir has been placed under a lockdown for over a month now, with no end in sight…. Such a prolonged lockdown of an entire people, an entire state, is unprecedented in India as well as the world. It is a massive human rights violation,” Krishnan told a news conference at the Kolkata Press Club. She displayed her team’s short film — Kashmir Caged — documenting their experience in the Valley.


Besides Krishnan, secretary of the CPIML-Liberation-backed All India Progressive Women’s Association, the team had economist Jean Dreze, CPM-backed Janwadi Mahila Samiti’s Delhi president Maimoona Mollah and anti-dam activist Vimal.

The team was able to “sneak in”, because it went unannounced, on August 9 — four days after the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status — and stayed in the Valley till August 13, recording the testimonies. The team has also published a report.

Krishnan dubbed “most outrageous” the alleged indefinite and illegal arrests, detention and torture of children.

She said that wherever the team went, it received extensive schooling from ordinary people on the history of the Kashmir dispute and saw anger and dismay at the manner in which the Indian media was “whitewashing” it, while the Centre was allegedly trying to give it an India-versus-Pakistan spin, with no place in it for the voice of the people of Kashmir.

“Kashmir was already one of the most heavily militarised regions in the world. But now, by placing Kashmir under a military dictatorship, the Modi government has told the world that India is a banana republic…. The lockdown on communications is not a ‘minor inconvenience’ — it is a grave violation not only of India’s own Constitution but also of international human rights conventions,” she said.

“The people told us everyone outside the Valley was being told that Kashmir was celebrating. ‘If it truly is a happy wedding, then why have you kept the bride’s feet tied?’ they asked,” Krishnan added.

She was equally condemnatory on the NRC exercise in Assam, calling its implementation “cruel” and alleging that the BJP was attempting to use it as a weapon against Muslims. Krishnan called for a resistance to the planned implementation of the NRC in Bengal and other states.

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