Politically Motivated Attacks on Civil Society in Jammu and Kashmir
Posted By Zaheerul Hassan
-India seeks to further muzzle Kashmiri voices with new round of raids-
On 11 November 2020, The World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF) issued the following statement in responses to the actions of the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We condemn the Indian government’s continued Hindutva fascist assault on the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The Modi government seems to be bent on suppressing the voices of Kashmiris and anyone else who raises a finger against its settler-colonial agenda and blatant human rights abuses in the region.
In recent days, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has carried out surprise raids in Jammu & Kashmir and across India on the business offices of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and media outlets, as well as the offices and residences of human rights activists, political opponents, and journalists. These raids by NIA have now become the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s favored tools, used to investigate the alleged use of funds collected “for secessionist and separatist activities.”
NGOs targeted by recent raids include the Jammu & Kashmir Yateem (orphan) Foundation, the Salvation Movement, Human Welfare Foundation, Jammu & Kashmir Voice of Victims, Falah-e-Aaam Trust, the humanitarian outfit Athroot, and Delhi- based Charity Alliance. In addition, the NIA has searched the offices of Agence France-Presse and the Greater Kashmir Trust for “incriminating documents.”
The Orwellian dragnet has also been cast on the most vocal civil society members and human rights activists and their associates. Among them: the famed rights defender Khuram Parvez (Co-coordinator of Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society), Parveena Ahanger (Chairwoman of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons), and their associates in Jammu & Kashmir and across India. These two organizations have been at the forefront of extensive reporting on human rights abuses in Kashmir, including indefinite incarceration, torture, extrajudicial killings of political opponents, and the extensive impunity enjoyed by Jammu & Kashmir’s armed forces.
The WKAF condemns these raids unequivocally and calls on men and women of conscience worldwide, particularly international human rights advocacy groups and other NGOs, to redouble their efforts in highlighting the ongoing human rights abuses in the Indian occupied Kashmir, and to demand that the government in New Delhi work for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. The Indian state’s new repressive measures may bring temporary silence among Kashmir’s besieged population and their supporters, but it will never buy their allegiance to India. Prolonging the settlement of the Kashmir dispute will bring peace neither to India nor to South Asia, and will prolong the unnecessary suffering of thousands of innocent civilians.”