A Kashmiri Perspective of Solidarity and the Protests Across India

For the past few days, thousands of Indians, including many students, have been protesting in cities and campuses across India against a new citizenship law, that effectively excludes the country’s 200 million Muslim minorities, and consolidates the BJP plan to create a Hindu majoritarian state. Nawal Ali Watali explains what the protests mean to her as a Kashmiri

I as a Kashmiri (and many others I know) stand in solidarity with Indians protesting the rise of Hindutva right now, although we have been abandoned by them a long time ago. When Kashmiris bore the brunt of the Indian state’s violence for decades, most Indians either turned a blind eye, or worse, celebrated and justified such atrocities.



Despite most Indians’ positions on Kashmir, I still stand in solidarity with the protestors.

This is because we, as a nation, are better than them. We are kinder, considerate, and thoughtful. We have lived under oppression and tyrannical rule for the past seven decades and know how it is to be alone in a battle against fierce powers. Hence, by virtue of being humans, who are committed to justice and equality everywhere because of our principles, we will support the Indian protestors.

However, we ask that they not equate their current struggle, internet blockade, and police repression to Kashmir’s fight, which is fundamentally for freedom and self-determination.

Our fight has been going on for a much longer time, and our political realities and relationship with India is different. Indians may raise “azadi” slogans and display Indian flags, but we raise “azadi” slogans coupled with anti-Indian government remarks; we are not the same.



has knocked on their doors, when at the first place, there shouldn’t have been silence at all.

They should have acted by virtue of being a human, and looked beyond their nationalism and jingoism.

And now, most still only invoke Kashmir as a unit of measurement of state repression. We ask them to stop it.



BJP, they say, is their worst government. But even their best governments, that claimed to be secular, have been the worst for us Kashmiris.

India has always been a tyrant in Kashmir.

Kashmir has been under Indian occupation not since 5th August, or even when the BJP came to power, but 72 years.

To Indians protesting the Modi regime: will you still speak about Kashmir after this agitation of yours is over, or even if the citizenship law is revoked?

For Kashmir, it is more than an internet blockade and curfew.

In Kashmir, it is a different story. It is a story of 70,000+ state sanctioned killings, more than 8000 enforced disappearances, and a presence of 700,000 armed personnel even on days deemed “normal.”

Indian forces have committed gang rape of 882 Kashmiri women in 1992 alone, torture, custodial killings, detentions of minors and a LOT more.

You are fighting to reclaim your nation now, or an idea of what you thought your nation was. We have been trying to claim our nation for decades.

We have been fighting India’s sinister territorial ambitions in Kashmir for long.

So, please, while we extend our solidarity, please dump this irresponsible narrative of Kashmir.

We prefer your silence over this appropriation and misrepresentation.

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