The hanging of Afzal Guru is a stain on India’s democracy

Despite gaping holes in the case against Afzal Guru, all India’s institutions played a part in putting a Kashmiri ‘terrorist’ to death

The Guardian, Sunday 10 February 2013

Police bring Afzal Guru to court in Delhi in 2002

Indian police bring Afzal Guru to court in Delhi in 2002. Photograph: Aman Sharma/AP

Spring announced itself in Delhi on Saturday. The sun was out, and the law took its course. Just before breakfast, the government of India secretly hanged Afzal Guru, prime accused in the attack on parliament in December 2001, and interred his body in Delhi’s Tihar jail where he had been in solitary confinement for 12 years. Guru’s wife and son were not informed. “The authorities intimated the family through speed post and registered post,” the home secretary told the press, “the director general of the Jammu and Kashmir [J&K] police has been told to check whether they got it or not”. No big deal, they’re only the family of yet another Kashmiri terrorist.

In a moment of rare unity the Indian nation, or at least its major political parties – Congress, the Bharatiya Janata party and the Communist party of India (Marxist) – came together as one (barring a few squabbles about “delay” and “timing”) to celebrate the triumph of the rule of law. Live broadcasts from TV studios, with their usual cocktail of papal passion and a delicate grip on facts, crowed about the “victory of democracy”. Rightwing Hindu nationalists distributed sweets to celebrate the hanging, and beat up Kashmiris (paying special attention to the girls) who had gathered in Delhi to protest. Even though Guru was dead and gone, the commentators in the studios and the thugs on the streets seemed, like cowards who hunt in packs, to need each other to keep their courage up. Perhaps because, deep inside, themselves they knew they had colluded in doing something terribly wrong. Continue reading

Arundhati Roy Advocates Buffer State Status For Kashmir

Kashmir Observer

New York, Nov 12: Internationally acclaimed novelist and activist Arundhati Roy has reiterated her support for an end to what she termed as “brutal” Indian occupation of Kashmir.

“I think that the people of Kashmir have the right to self- determination—they have the right to choose who they want to be, and how they want to be,” she said in the course of a discussion on ‘Kashmir: The Case for Freedom’ at Asia Society.

“Kashmir is one of the most protracted and bloody occupations in the world and one of the most ignored,” Roy said. Continue reading

Voices from Kashmir: A Conversation with independent Journalist Parvaiz Bukhari‏

Tejaswini Madabhushi
Balaji Narasimhan
The Kashmir valley is seeing the third consecutive summer of protests against the Indian security forces. 18 people were killed on Monday by security forces in Kashmir, five of them in Tangmarg in the Baramulla district, 45 kilometers from Srinagar, where thousands took to the streets in defiance of the curfew, protesting the rumored burning of the Koran in the United States. Since then the police have arrested for inciting this violence a local leader, reportedly of the National Conference Party of the ruling coalition in the state. Six more have been killed last week, including three last Friday. Civilian death toll since June 11, when the current round of protests began, has crossed 90. The government banned all local TV channels on Monday. Other severe restrictions have been placed on the media and journalists. To find out more about life in Kashmir, we spoke with Parvaiz Bukhari, an independent journalist based in Srinagar, Friday evening in Kashmir.

In part 1 of the conversation, Parvaiz describes the recent events, the curbs on the press and the current security crackdown.

In part 2 of the conversation, Parvaiz sets the recent events in Kashmir in context and describes his own personal experiences and observations of living under the current siege.

Kashmir: Shoe thrown at Chief Minister at Independence Day event

Shoe throwing has kindled imaginations worldwide, and even has become a website

Thousands March Towards Shoe Throwers House

By Wasim Khan

15 August, 2010
Agence India Press

Srinagar: Hundreds of people while defying curfew came out on roads in various wards of Bandipora including on Sunday and staged a massive pro-freedom demonstration, after announcements were made over loud speakers.

Thousands of villagers are marching towards the village of Abdul Ahad Jan, a policeman who tossed a shoe at Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, during August 15 functions at Bakshi Stadium here on Sunday.

Eyewitnesses told Agence India Press that amid pro-freedom and anti-Indian slogans, people are converging from Safapora, Sopore, Sumbal, and many other neighbouring areas of Bandipora towards the Jan Mohalla at Ajas. Continue reading

Security blitz, strike break calm in Indian Kashmir

An Indian paramilitary soldier on guard in Srinagar

(AFP) – July 18, 2010

SRINAGAR, India — A security lockdown and a general strike called by separatists crippled life in Indian-ruled Kashmir on Sunday after a brief calm returned to the region on Saturday.

Thousands of police and paramilitary forces moved into the streets of Srinagar, Indian Kashmir’s summer capital, early Sunday warning residents not to venture out of their homes.

Police said there was no official curfew in place but were enforcing “strict restrictions” to prevent violent protests.

The scenic Himalayan region has been wracked by demonstrations since June 11 when police were accused of killing a 17-year-old teenage boy.

Since then, another 14 protesters and bystanders — many of them youngsters — have been killed. Continue reading

Indian-occupied Kashmir: Bar Association head/human rights defender jailed

Kashmir Bar Association President Mian Qayoom at a press conference in Srinagar, Kashmir in December 2009

Srinagar, July 15, 2010


Permanent “State of Exception” in Indian-administered Kashmir

Advocate Mian Qayoom’s Arrest:  The People’s Tribunal expresses grave concern regarding the arrest of Advocate Mian Qayoom, President of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, and a human rights defender, under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978 (PSA). Advocate Qayoom’s home was raided around midnight on July 7, 2010, and he was taken to Hiranagar Jail in Jammu.

IPTK is concerned for the physical and psychological safety and security of Advocate Qayoom. We ask that Advocate Qayoom be released and due process, as per international humanitarian law, be followed.

Advocate Qayoom’s arrest was made without evidencing due cause under the PSA. The PSA continues to be used arbitrarily in Indian-administered Kashmir to repress dissent without due cause or process. The PSA is a preventive detention law that authorizes incarceration for up to two years on grounds of uncorroborated suspicion, if authorities feel that the detainee may impede peace and order or threaten the security of the state. Continue reading