Academics and People of Conscience Across the Globe Call For Democracy, Freedom, Dignity, Self-Determination and Justice in Jammu and Kashmir

We, the undersigned, are distressed by the Indian government’s recent actions in Jammu and Kashmir—in particular:

The abrogation—without consulting the people of Jammu and Kashmir, of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, thus ending Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutionally-guaranteed autonomous status, which had been in place for over 70 years.

The deployment of additional 38,000 military and paramilitary forces to Jammu and Kashmir (700,000 troops are already stationed in the region), where it already maintained one of the largest military occupations on the globe.

The imposition of a complete communications blackout and round-the-clock curfew. Wireless, Internet, television, and landline telephone connections have been cut, and, except for rare instances, people have been confined to their own homes, particularly in the Kashmir Valley.

The arrest and “preventive” detention of politicians from across the spectrum, members of civil society, human rights activists, and many others, and the torture of detainees.

The prohibition of peaceful assembly and the use of military force to quell protests, which has resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.

The gagging of journalists and news publications through heavy restrictions and constraints on their reporting.

As people of conscience who are committed to the principles of freedom, dignity, and justice, we refuse to remain silent as India—which touts itself as the international community’s largest democracy—continues its assault on due process, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. As the Indian government suppresses the voices of the indigenous population, we stand together with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and raise our collective voice to demand that the Indian government:

Lift the blackout and the curfew in Jammu and Kashmir immediately and completely;

Release the detainees immediately and without condition; and

Allow journalists and news organizations to conduct their reporting duties without fear of intimidation, censorship, or reprisal.

These demands are consistent with India’s obligations as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Furthermore, we call on the Indian government to:

Revoke draconian laws, such as

the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Disturbed Areas Act (1992), which grants impunity to the Indian military and prevents adequate legal redress to the victims of abuse;

the Public Safety Act, which enables the Indian government to detain a person for up to two years without a trial; and

Section 144, which bars the assembly of four or more persons in any one area.

Demilitarize Jammu and Kashmir;

Determine mechanisms under international law for justice and accountability to the crimes of gendered and sexualized violence, torture, enforced disappearances and unknown and mass graves committed by Indian forces since 1990.

Respect the security and rights of civil society, students, medical staff, journalists and lawyers.

Hold violators of human, civil, and political rights to account; and

Honor its commitments to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and to the international community under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and various United Nations Security Council resolutions by allowing the free exercise of the rights of self-determination and self-governance, among others. The right of Kashmiris as primary stakeholders in all decision making involving them be respected.

In solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,

Adnan A. Husain, Associate Professor of Medieval Mediterranean and Islamic World History and Director of the Muslim Societies-Global Perspectives Project, Queen’s University, Ontario

Ahlam Muhtaseb, Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Center for Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, California State University, San Bernardino

Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, Editor-in-Chief, Maydan, Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University

Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English, Ohio University

Angana Chatterji, Professor and Co-chair, Initiative on Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley

Anneeth Kaur Hundle, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair of Sikh Studies, University of California, Irvine

Ather Zia, Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado

Bassam Haddad, Director, Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Britney Kyle, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology, University of Northern Colorado

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor, Syracuse University

Christine Marston, Associate Dean, College of Humanties and Social Sciences, University of Northern Colorado

Cornel R. West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Department of African and African American Studies, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Harvard Divinity School

David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and Professor of Comparative Literature, Stanford University

Edward E. Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts & Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts

Elsadig Elsheikh, Director, Global Justice Program’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, University of California, Berkeley

Farhan Mujahid Chak, Associate Professor of Political Sciece, Gulf Studies, Qatar University

Farid Esack, Professor, Department of Religion Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Director, School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Maryland, College Park

Ghulam-Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum

Hafsa Kanjwal, Assistant Professor, Lafayette College

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Hamid Algar, Professor Emeritus, Near Eastern Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley

Harvey Dong, Lecturer, Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies Program, Ethnic Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley

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Tom Ozden-Schilling, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

Tomas Ojeda, PhD Student, Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics

Toorjo Ghose, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania

U. Jannat, Senior Office Assistant, Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute

Ubaid Mushtaq, Research Scholar, IIT Kharagpur

Umer Mukhtar Mir, Mathematics Teacher, Ministry of Education, Maldives

Uneza, Teacher, Delhi Private School, Sharjah

Usaama Al-Azami, Departmental Lecturer in Contemporary Islamic Studies, University of Oxford

Usha Iyer, Assistant Professor, Stanford University

Vaqar Adhami, Scientist, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Varsha Pai, Graduate Student, Simon Fraser University

Vasuki Nesiah, Associate Professor of Practice, New York University

Victor Jaimes, Graduate Assistant, Villanova University

Victoria Bernal, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

Vinicius Tavares De Oliveira, Assistant Professor, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais

Virinder Kalra, Professor, University of Warwick

Walaa Quisay, Teaching Fellow, University of Birmingham

Waseem Ahmad Mir, Research Scholar, Aligarh Muslim University

Whitney Duncan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Northern Colorado

William Elison, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

William J. Maxwell, Professor of English, Washington University in St. Louis

Yamini Krishna, Research Scholar, English and Foreign Languages University

Yasmeen Azam, Graduate Student, The University of Chicago

Yasmin Naqushbandi, Secretary, The Saffron Trust

Z. Ara, Teaching Assistant, Giles Academy, UK

Zachary Lesser, Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Zarka Shabir, Law Student, Harvard Law School

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are those of the signatories, and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of their respective employers or affiliated institutions.

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