Seven Decades of Kashmir, 1940-2010

Venue: Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
Date: 21 September 2010
Time: 11.00 AM to 3.00 PM

It has been more than three months since Kashmir has erupted to protest against the murder of civilians by the Indian army. The current phase of protests started on June 11th, when a teenager was killed by a smoke shell fired by Indian security forces. People of Kashmir came out on the streets, en-masse, to demonstrate against this killing. Instead of punishing the culprits who were responsible for this murder, protesters were met with live bullets, tear gas shells, batons, curfew and scores of arrests. According to the Government’s own estimate eighty one people have died since June 11. This includes a numbers of teenagers and even an eight year old child. However, vicious repression unleashed by Indian forces, under impunity granted by the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act, has failed to intimidate the Kashmiri people; in fact every act of brutality has brought increasing number protesters on the streets. The latest stage of this decades-old
conflict between the people of Kashmir and the Indian state has only been escalating, with civilian deaths at the hands of the armed forces being reported almost daily.

Today Kashmir has forced us to think critically about Indian democracy. The erosion of democratic space won’t stop at the border of Kashmir; it will engulf us – if it has not done so already. At this crucial juncture it has become imperative for the entire civil society; particularly students to engage themselves with the debate on Kashmir and its future. However, we must remember that the recent protest and repression in Kashmir is not an isolated event, it has a long history of seventy years. If we fail to contextualise the issue then a debate today will be rendered useless. This is particularly important because the mainstream media houses, as usual, are doing their best to trivialise the issue by dissociating it from the historical background.

To start an informed debate on Kashmir and Indian democracy, we invite you to an EXHIBITION on the HISTORY OF KASHMIR.

A Few facts about Kashmir:

700,000 Indian troops are posted in the valley

One soldier for every 14 Kashmiri, biggest militarized non-war zone of the world

80,000 people have been killed, 81 in last three months

International People’s Tribunal found 2700 mass graves where victims of fake encounter killings were buried

Kashmir University Students’ Association has been banned, 15 students were arrested under UAPA for protesting against the recent killings.

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