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.
On August 5, 2019 the Indian state abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution to make Kashmir a permanent territory within the Indian Union without prior consent or consultation with the people of Kashmir. For months, the Kashmiri press, television, media, mobile, telephony, internet and other essential services and institutions were shutdown under government order while dissidents, activists, and even government-sponsored politicians were put under arrest.
It became meaningless and practically impossible to keep this journal — dedicated to contemporary culture from Kashmir and around the world — running while Kashmir was put under unprecedented siege and lockdown. This special section of the journal was born out of necessity, to compile and directly cite various articles and sources from recognized media and academic institutions about what was unfolding in a Kashmir placed under complete blackout, siege and lockdown while millions of people were kept silent. None of the content referenced on the subject was published in-house and was simply linked to their orginal and verified sources in a bibliographical and citational manner.
The curated selection presents Kashmiri voices and offers a perspective on such impositions from members of the Kashmiri press, academia, independent Indian and international media through proper citation and bibliographical reference. It also includes a variety of accounts from those whose basic freedoms were taken away.
All the articles, videos, media, academic articles, and other such content are cited and linked to their original sources, since Inverse was intended to be a space of cultural engagement in the arts and humanities, with a dedicated focus on academic thinking and contemporary cultural production, and not a press outlet, nor a source for news. All of such editorial plans became impossible, blockaded by the collosal shifts enforced upon Kashmir and its peoples.
In memory of these events — and their ongoing impact on Kashmir and its peoples — this section has become a permanent part of this journal. For legal concerns, see the Editorial Disclaimer at the bottom of each page on this platform.
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.
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.
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, 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.”
On October 22, 2019, the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on human rights in South Asia with a special focus on Kashmir. Here is the video of Professor Angana P. Chatterji’s expert testimony before the US Congress, along with a cited biographical profile of her professional, academic and research experience and the written submission that the three speakers on Kashmir were offered to make. Her submission is a 31 page document that is concise yet meticulously detailed to provide the proper context for her testimony as an expert with decades of research, academic and professional experience in multiple intersecting fields that have Kashmir as a core focal point. Professor Chatterji is also the Co-Chair of the Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Initiative, and Research Anthropologist at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley, and the Founding Co-chair of the precursor, Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Initiative at the Center for Social Sector Leadership, Haas School of Business (2012-2015). She has worked extensively on Kashmir from multiple angles, producing a notable and highly referenced body of academic work and research material that has had a profound impact on scholarship and human rights activism. As such, we include references to some of her academic publications and other resources here in the context of Kashmir to bring greater attention to her extensive work. Note: all embeds are made directly from the source with each source cited.
Professor Ather Zia on Articles 370/35A and the Ongoing Siege, Lockdown and Blackout Imposed on Kashmir
Here is a list of Professor Ather Zia’s interventions in the global media regarding the Indian government’s abrupt and secretive decision to repeal Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. Also included is a useful visual bibliography for our readers, scholars, researchers and journalists to become more acquainted with Professor Zia’s extensive work in multiple relevant and intersecting fields of knowledge centered on Kashmir, its past and its present, and above all, focusing on its peoples.
Hoda Khatebi converses with Sanjay Kak, editor of “Until My Freedom Has Come” (Penguin, 2011), contributor Mohamad Junaid and Professor Hafsa Kanjwal about the present circumstances faced by Kashmiris in context of what the important text discussed eight years ago upon its publication. This revisitation to the book is as relevant as ever, especially considering the current climate entrapping Kashmir. Attached along with the Youtube Live Stream of the one-and-a-half hour discussion is a series of bibliographical references and resources to familiarize readers with some of the extensive work about Kashmir by the participants.
On October 17th, the American National Press Club held its annual Fourth Estate Gala in Washington, D.C. where imprisoned Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan was awarded the Foreign Press Freedom Award for his journalistic writing for Kashmiri Narrator, a Kashmir-based magazine. In absentia of the recipient, John Donnelly (President of Military Reporters & Editors, and Chairman of the Press Freedom Committee at the US National Press Club) accepted the award on Aasif Sultan’s behalf. Here are the award acceptance speeches from the event relevant to Aasif, along with select press about Aasif’s imprisonment since August 2018.
Sheikh Saqib arrives in New Delhi to work on his writing projects and communicate through the internet while making severe adjustments to continue with the pursuit of his education as an undergraduate student. In the process, he brings us this piece that narrates what young Kashmiris in Delhi have been experiencing through the communications blockade that has kept families apart and out of touch. The piece reflects the initial two months of the ongoing Indian siege on Kashmir, offering concrete examples of what it means when phone and internet services are deactivated by those in power and how such limitations cause severe loss, distress, and anxiety.
Having graduated recently from the Summer Institute at the Iowa International Writers Workshop, young Sheikh Saqib summarizes his experience of the ongoing lock-down and media blockade imposed on Kashmir, right upon his return from the USA. As a student barely past his teens, Saqib describes the atmosphere observed and felt by the people of his native Srinagar, days before the Indian government’s announcement abrogating Articles 370 and 35A on August 5th and the weeks that have followed since. Accounts such as his are essential to understanding the situation in Kashmir from a Kashmiri perspective, and are welcomed at Inverse Journal, from Kashmiris of all walks of life, to narrate and describe what they have felt and observed under the latest siege that has put the Valley under complete lock-down and in an unprecedented halt. This time, the account comes from a young student who, just a few weeks ago, was learning how to write more effectively under the guidance and mentorship of faculty at University of Iowa’s prestigious MFA program to then landing back in Kashmir to face the present and enforced circumstances along with the rest of the Kashmiri population.
Tabish Rafiq Mir provides a prompt critical response and interpretation to the recent Raw Mango fashion campaign that undermined the current situation in Kashmir while attempting to capitalizing on Kashmiri culture, tradition and history. The piece clearly exposes the orientalist and exoticizing gaze that repeatedly seeks to define Kashmir and Kashmris in unequal relation to India and its public, this time with Kashmiri culture becoming yet again a subject of “high end” consumerism served to a willfully oblivious Indian consumer base. Tabish Rafiq Mir’s article delves into the matter in greater detail and in unapologetic terms to expose a larger malaise that goes unquestioned as well as unnoticed. Tabish’s piece elucidates the insensitive and inconsiderate manner in which Kashmiri subjects are presented and represented beyond Kashmir, usually by non-Kashmiri others. The company has since withdrawn and recalled the release.
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
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.