Ensure Press Freedom in Kashmir — Noam Chomsky, Ayesha Jalal, Tariq Ali, Hamid Dabashi and Several Prominent Figures Endorse Letter Addressing the UN and Worldwide Organizations with 450+ Signatures by Academics, Journalists, Writers, Researchers

Prominent figures from academia and worldwide press along with several researchers and scholars have endorsed a written a letter and its petition to the UN and several international organizations to demand protection and freedom of press for Kashmiri journalists “charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)” that “can carry jail time of two to ten years” and without bail, for doing their job as journalists reporting from and about Kashmir. The letter covers the last few years of state-sanctioned targeting of Kashmir journalists, particularly since August 5, 2019, when India revoked Articles 370 and 35A while maintaining Kashmir under a media, communications, telephonic and press lockdown that a wide majority of Kashmir observers, scholars and experts have called “a siege.” With only 2G internet and mobile telephony restored recently and the press allowed to operate under constant threat of persecution in Kashmir, a new series of cases have been filed against Kashmiri journalists through the “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Inverse Journal has embedded this letter directly from its source and provided a series of “relevant links” embedded directly from their respective sources covering this series of events.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Over 170 Academics from Around the World Demand India Restore High-Speed Internet, Release Kashmiri Political Prisoners

While the world readjusts to handle the Coronavirus, Kashmir is stuck under 2G internet (which was first rolled out in 1995) and without adequate equipment and facilities. As a result, the following letter has been sent from the Kashmir Scholars Consultative and Action Network (KSCAN) and Concerned Academics & Professionals from around the world to the World Health Organization, UN Special Rapporteurs, and various international health organizations. You can view the official letter here. We have included relevant links embedded directly from the original news sources at the bottom of this letter. For more, check out our Kashmir 2019 Siege section.

A Kashmiri Heart at Siege — A Personal Account by Omair Bhat

August of 2019 became a month of insomnia, despair and nightmare-ridden sleep for most Kashmiris, and particularly for those who were stranded away from home while Kashmir was put under a media, telecommunications, internet, broadcast news and public transport blockade unshy from being a complete lockdown and siege. Kashmiri poet and writer Omair Bhat presents his personal log of the first two weeks of such restless nights and tiresome days, when desperation competed with grief and anger to suffocate people like him in an endless uncertainty.

20 Must-Read Pieces on Six Months of Kashmir Lockdown — Curated by Majid Maqbool

Majid Maqbool curates a list of 20 must-read pieces on six months of the Kashmir lockdown. Readers and members of the Kashmiri press are welcome to send us their own suggested readings using the form at the end of this curated list.

Professor Hafsa Kanjwal on the Last 100 Days of Kashmir Under Siege

Professor Hafsa Kanjwal, who teaches South Asian history at Lafayette College and completed her doctorate specializing in contemporary Kashmiri history and women’s studies from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), has been a prominent voice on Kashmir under siege over the last 100 days. Here is an aggregated list of articles, interviews and media and television participations by Dr. Kanjwal, including a basic bibliography of resources pertinent to her work concerning Kashmir and its history. All media embedded/linked directly from their respective sources. As more material is published in the public domain with Hafsa’s participation on different platforms, we will keep on updating this “visual bibliography.”

Amid Communications Blockade, Kashmiri Journalists Report via Alternative Indian and International Media

Amid Communications Blockade, Kashmiri Journalists Report via Alternative Indian and International Media

In the spirit of sharing knowledge, at Inverse Journal we have employed oEmbed technology that allows us to cite and reference news and media items directly from their original source through direct embedding of such content displayed here in a visual format. Attached is our latest content aggregation of the stories emerging from the pens of Kashmiri journalists. Our purpose quite simply is to bring attention to Kashmiri voices during the ongoing media blackout and internet shutdown enforced since August 5th. Since there are limitations restricting the Kashmiri press in being able to do its job, especially in disseminating news reports of on-ground happenings via the internet, members of Kashmiri journalistic community have slowly been able to report in cooperation with alternative Indian and international media houses to get their reports, stories and coverage across, past the internet clampdown that continues to be imposed on the valley’s people.

Historically, Kashmiri journalists have had to follow a very strict protocol of reporting given the overreach of the Indian state and the militarized environment that Kashmir has been turned into, especially over the last three decades, with already several restrictions to freedom of press enforced seasonally, along with monitoring of what is written in local newspapers and publications. Within this context, and considering the fact that there is a greater volume of reporting coming from India and Pakistan about the current situation in Kashmir, it is important to highlight Kashmiri voices, and particularly, those emanating from the Kashmiri press at such a crucial hour. Given that Kashmir remains under a communications and media lockdown (with mobile and internet services down), an alternative media perspective has been required and logically emerged to give voice to silenced Kashmiris, among them members of the Kashmiri press. The possibility of recognized international media channels and alternative Indian press outlets finding their way into Kashmir has resulted in Kashmiri voices being heard as the media blackout remains intact and freedom of press severely denied or limited.
Kashmiri journalists and their readers will find an anonymous URL submission form at the bottom of this page in case they wish to share the link to their published work directly embedded along with the content already visible on this page. The content you submit must be published in compliance with the aforementioned curatorial approach, giving priority to Kashmiri voices, and can consist of stories and media co-produced with others.

Professor Nitasha Kaul On India's Revocation of Articles 370 and 35A — Additional Media and Bibliography Included

Professor Nitasha Kaul On India's Revocation of Articles 370 and 35A — Additional Media and Bibliography Included

Nitasha Kaul, Associate Professor in International Relations and Politics at University of Westminster, speaks in the global media about India’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A. For the sake of knowledge-sharing, we have included additional media and a visual bibliography of some of her extensive writings on Kashmir that further contextualize the current situation. All content items are embedded directly from their original sources.

Day 26: Select Indian Press Coverage of the Siege on Kashmir

Day 26: Select Indian Press Coverage of the Siege on Kashmir

In the spirit of bibliographical citation and referencing, here are some of the main stories and media (aggregated in a visual format) from the Indian press regarding the revocation of Article 370 and 35A and the events that have followed. The coverage on display here is properly embedded directly from the source and offers a view that is distinct to what mainstream Indian TV channels have been reporting when they claim that normalcy has been maintained in Kashmir. In abscence of Kashmiri journalists being able to do their job adequately and local press being severely restricted through the imposed internet and media blackout, Indian and international press outlets have taken on the task to report the happenings on the ground. This selection includes certain opinion pieces as well to provide further perspective on this historically abrupt chain of events enforced by the Indian government on August 5th.

The US Calls India to Respect the Basic Human Rights of Kashmiris in a Transparent Manner

The US Calls India to Respect the Basic Human Rights of Kashmiris in a Transparent Manner

The US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, chaired by Congressman Adam Smith, made a press release of the call made by Congressman Smith to the Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

The call by Congressman Smith to Ambassador Shringla refers to “legitimate concerns about the ongoing communications blackouts, increased militarization of the region, and enforcement of curfews” imposed on the people of Kashmir.

The statements made by the US Congressman also emphasized that the “Indian government must take steps to reduce these fears and offer greater transparency for the world to see what is happening there” while also demanding India’s “commitment to the protection of basic human rights and equal rights.” Congressman Smith also sought India’s “recognition for the potential disparate impact of this decision [Revocation of Articles 370 and 35A] on the region’s Muslim population and other minority groups.” The full statement from the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee is linked directly herein.

#TheKashmirSyllabus - A List of Sources for Teaching and Learning about Kashmir

#TheKashmirSyllabus - A List of Sources for Teaching and Learning about Kashmir

Our readers have been asking about reading material to better understand what far too many Kashmiris have bitterly and desolately called The Forgotten Conflict.  As such, and now more than ever, the following embedded Google Doc titled #TheKashmirSyllabus is a course plan with weekly readings compiled by Kashmir scholars and experts from multiple fields of knowledge and with years and decades of experience in research, writing and scholarship on the topic of Kashmir and its unresolved history. The result are readings and resources from a diverse field of academic knowledge called Kashmir Studies. The document is featured in our Academia section and is embedded directly from its original source such that any updates and changes will be reflected immediately.

The International Press Covers the Ongoing Indian Siege on Kashmir

The International Press Covers the Ongoing Indian Siege on Kashmir

The following is a Pinterest-like selection of videos, media and articles from the international press in its attempt to cover the ongoing siege of Kashmir by the Indian state, whose armed forces are patrolling every street corner and public place of gathering. With over 500,000 armed soldiers already placed within Kashmir for almost three decades, another 35,000 have been mobilized into the Himalayan territory. Phone lines and internet services have been disconnected, a military curfew has been imposed, and civilian movement stands severely restricted.

It is difficult at this time to gain access to ground-level reports from Kashmir (and Kashmiris themselves) as journalists have been kept from doing their job and press outlets restricted from carrying out their daily duties, with all such news outlets going out of circulation, particularly on the online medium. Added to that, the public assembly of people has been strictly disallowed, while despite the fact protests have emerged with armed attacks through tear gas shelling and pellet fire perpetrated by the Indian armed forces on Kashmiri civilians as the standard procedure policy of crowd containment that India has enforced in the valley.

Under such circumstances, this journal of contemporary culture has had to invoke the capital C in culture to fulfill the tasks of the press in some limited manner by presenting a compilation of materials that are already in circulation so that our audiences can be informed about the recent developments in Kashmir after the Indian election (that to a great extent obstructed us here at Inverse from routinely publishing the type of content that we all love, from poetry, fiction, to writings and reflections on film, music, art and academic writing). Needless to say, this editorial introduction is exclusively grounded in the limited news that has emerged from Kashmir along with the content provided by international outlets covering the dissolution of Articles 370 and 35A from the Constitution of India.

Given the rather secretive and abrupt decision by the Indian government to override provisions of the Indian constitution and the subsequent lock-down and media blackout in Kashmir imposed by the Indian state, there is great speculation as to what extreme measures (added to the current ones) the Indian government will take. Such measures translate directly to use of police and military force in case Kashmiri civilians respond through mass protest as would be expected since no democratic consensus has been established in revoking Articles 370 and 35A to incorporate Kashmir as a permanent union territory. Incidents of brute force against protesting and marching civilians have emerged, particularly from on-ground coverage by the BBC.
It is difficult at this time to gain access to ground-level reports from Kashmir (and Kashmiris themselves) as journalists have been kept from doing their job and press outlets restricted from carrying out their daily duties, with all such news outlets going out of circulation, particularly on the online medium. Added to that, the public assembly of people has been strictly disallowed, while despite the fact protests have emerged with armed attacks through tear gas shelling and pellet fire perpetrated by the Indian armed forces on Kashmiri civilians as the standard procedure policy of crowd containment that India has enforced in the valley.

Under such circumstances, this journal of contemporary culture has had to invoke the capital C in culture to fulfill the tasks of the press in some limited manner by presenting a compilation of materials that are already in circulation so that our audiences can be informed about the recent developments in Kashmir after the Indian election (that to a great extent obstructed us here at Inverse from routinely publishing the type of content that we all love, from poetry, fiction, to writings and reflections on film, music, art and academic writing). Needless to say, this editorial introduction is exclusively grounded in the limited news that has emerged from Kashmir along with the content provided by international outlets covering the dissolution of Articles 370 and 35A from the Constitution of India.

Given the rather secretive and abrupt decision by the Indian government to override provisions of the Indian constitution and the subsequent lock-down and media blackout in Kashmir imposed by the Indian state, there is great speculation as to what extreme measures (added to the current ones) the Indian government will take. Such measures translate directly to use of police and military force in case Kashmiri civilians respond through mass protest as would be expected since no democratic consensus has been established in revoking Articles 370 and 35A to incorporate Kashmir as a permanent union territory. Incidents of brute force against protesting and marching civilians have emerged, particularly from on-ground coverage by the BBC.

Updated: Kashmiri Scholars and Members of the International Community Voice Dissent Over India's Latest Siege on Kashmir

Updated: Kashmiri Scholars and Members of the International Community Voice Dissent Over India's Latest Siege on Kashmir

A significant number of Kashmiri scholars, journalists, writers, members of the diaspora and the international community have their say on India’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A. The Indian state stands in contradiction of its own constitutional logic as the primary provisions of democratic consensus have been bypassed by presidential order and employing the governor’s authorization. As it stands, there has been no democratic consensus over the matter by the people of Kashmir, who aside from not being consulted by means of a proper vote, have also been put under house arrest, under military watch on every street corner and public space, with mobile and broadband services shutdown, television channels out of service, telephone lines disconnected, public assembly prohibited and Section 144 being imposed indefinitely. Despite such extreme restrictions and mass scale silencing imposed by the government, members of the international Kashmiri community as well as global figures have not ceased to offer perspective on the matter. Meanwhile, back in Kashmir, it is impossible to receive news of any developments at ground level and people living outside of Kashmir are not able to contact their loved ones in the valley, which remains under severe military and police surveillance and watch. Attached is a compilation of media, articles and tweets from the besieged Himalayan territory.

Professor Ather Zia Speaks About Articles 370 and 35A on BBC World News

Professor Ather Zia Speaks About Articles 370 and 35A on BBC World News

Professor Ather Zia provides her perspective on a special program by BBC World News covering the Indian government’s abrupt and secretive decision to repeal Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. The provisions of the articles have been illegally bypassed and contradicted to nullify the Kashmiri right to self-determination. Professor Zia provides the necessary historical and legal contexts from a Kashmiri perspective.

Kavita Krishnan on the Revocation of Articles 370 and 35A (Jantar Mantar Protest)

Kavita Krishnan on the Revocation of Articles 370 and 35A (Jantar Mantar Protest)

Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML), Kavita Krishnan presents a series of logical, rational and measured counterarguments against the Indian government’s decision to scrap Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. Krishnan approaches the abrupt and contradictorily unlawful shift in the Indian government’s new order from the logic of federalism, placing particular emphasis on the simple fact that other territories governed by India maintain similar property and self-governance laws as Kashmir had been constitutionally held under for seven decades of Indian interjection in the disputed Himalayan territory. Kavita Krishnan is accompanied by other notable Indian leaders and members of India’s civil society at a peaceful protest held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Articulating their views within the Indian legal and constitutional framework, the members of Indian civil society unanimously observed the illegality of the government in indefinitely dissolving the democratic process in Kashmir, as yet again no consent whatsoever from the Kashmiri people has been sought in repealing Articles 370 and 35A. According to the speakers, the Indian state has established the groundwork for a complete colonial occupation that is projected to create a massive shift in the demography and culture of the region. Prior to this event, Kashmir has seen over thirty years of military rule, with 500,000 to 700,000 troops placed in close proximity to civilian habitations, reducing the Himalayan territory to a police state. Kavita Krishnan’s speech is in Hindi.

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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