Students from Delhi Universities hold joint protest against Kashmir siege

NEW DELHI, India: The Pinjra Tod: Break the Hostel Locks will organize a joint protest and public meeting against the continuing siege of Kashmir on October 17 at Arts Faculty, Delhi University.

The Pinjra Tod is an autonomous collective effort to ensure secure, affordable and non-discriminatory accommodation for women students across Delhi.

The demands put forward by the Pinjra Tod include;

  • Reinstate Article 370 and 35(A)
  • Revoke bifurcation of the State of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)
  • Ensure popular participation of Kashmiri people in any further policy decision
  • Immediately restore all channels of communication in Kashmir
  • Immediately release all political leaders, social activists, youth and children.
  • Action against army and paramilitary forces responsible for the repression and continued killings of Kashmiri people
  • Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
  • Demilitarize the region
  • Special provision to be given to all Kashmiri students across all universities, who couldn’t take admission this academic year.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had remarked in a rally that “We have once again to build a paradise in Kashmir”. However, the Pinjra Tod was of the view that the paradise the Central government seeks to build is nothing but a prison.

In a statement, the Pinjra Tod said that the sinister clampdown on communication, the fresh plans of corporates to invest in Jammu & Kashmir, the celebration of the “freedom” of non-Kashmiris to buy land in the valley and the joyful declarations of being able to marry “fair-skinned Kashmiri girls” — are all part of RSS and Modi-Shah government’s ruthless nation-state building project.

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The Pinjra Tod said that almost three long months have painfully passed since the Indian state’s abrogation of section 370 and the division of J&K into two union territories. The mainland barely strains its ears to hear horrific stories of the detention of children, tales of curfew and whispers of desolation and anger in Kashmir.

It said that the Indian state loudly proclaims that “All is normal” and that “Violence has reduced” in Kashmir. Almost the entire media machinery in India is under their control which acts as a propaganda machine for the Modi-Shah regime and deliberately black-outs all information about the on-going state repression and siege of Kashmir. The government has conveniently characterised as false all facts and reports in the international media highlighting the tremendous human rights violations in Kashmir, which have only intensified since the revocation of section 370.

The Indian authorities are masters at selling lies and forcing consent to their rule. The ever-increasing deployment of brute military force against the democratic aspirations of people in the Valley has led to a mass resistance movement that threatens the imperial dreams and desires of the Hindu Rashtra and its brutal integrationist fantasies of Akhand Bharat. It is this mass resistance against Indian occupation that the Indian state seeks to crush.

It further said that the Indian judiciary (that cannot find the time to hear petitions regarding Kashmir) and parliament (that supports the abrogation with a 2/3 majority) have all succumbed to political pressures of the ruling party and stand exposed and complicit in their support for this heinous occupation.

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The Pinjra Tod stated that the fact finding reports on Kashmir reveal horror after horror. The snatching away of minors and young men from their homes by the army, the inability of pregnant women to access medical resources while going into labour, the constant fear of rape and sexual violence by the Indian army- stories of death and detention fill the air we breathe.

Mental health crises, educational crises, medical crises, job crises, economic crises- the violent acts of the Indian state have thrown Kashmiri society and people into a multi-layered state of continued, prolonged emergency. With students worrying about giving their exams, labourers leaving the valley en masse, farm produce rotting on trees and crucial medicines being denied to the sick, the Indian state has systematically snatched away from the people of Kashmir every right to existence and dignity.

The activists of Pinjra Tod stated that for those of us from Kashmir, studying in Delhi and other universities of the country, have experiences of rage and trauma — unable to communicate with families and friends, unable to receive any news from home, numerous difficulties in paying fees and covering living costs, police visits in hostels and colleges demanding lists of Kashmiri students, everyday taunts and threats from fellow classmates and faculty.