500 Academics, scientist express concern about crisis in Jammu and Kashmir

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Wahid Bhat | Srinagar

Over 500 academics, scientists released a statement expressing their deep concern about the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, over a month-and-a-half since the BJP led NDA government abrogated special status for the Jammu and Kashmir article 370 and 35A divided the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories (UT) one is Ladkah and Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under a curfew since August 5 this year, when article 370 and 35A was scrapped by central Government. Since then, the government has restricted communications in Kashmir,  detained opposition leaders and dissidents, and flooded the state with security personnel.

“We are writing to express our deep concern about the crisis in Kashmir that has now persisted for over a month, and which was precipitated by the government’s decision to de-operationalize Article 370 of the Constitution and to end Jammu and Kashmir’s full statehood,” the signatories to the statement said. “Since then, the government has restricted communications in Kashmir, detained opposition leaders and dissidents, and flooded the state with security personnel.”

The signatories said that while they held differing views on Article 370, all of them are appalled by the shutdown of the communications system and internet in the state. “We understand that landlines have been restored in some parts of Kashmir, but since landline tele-density in Kashmir is below 1% according to the government’s own statistics, this measure has failed to provide substantive relief to Kashmir’s residents,” the statement read. “In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families.”

said the restrictions have apparently made it difficult for citizens to even buy medical supplies or for children to attend school. “We believe the government’s actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic,” the signatories said. “Whatever views one might hold about these individuals, a fundamental norm in a democracy is that the party in power does not have the right to lock up its political opponents when they have not even been accused of any crimes.”

The academics and scientists said they were disturbed by the reports of human rights violations in Kashmir. “We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Kashmir and offer our support to those outside Kashmir, who have been cut off from their families and friends as a result of these decisions taken by the Government of India,” they said.

We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Kashmir and offer our support to those outside Kashmir, who have been cut off from their families and friends as a result of these decisions taken by the government of India.

We remind the government that it is duty-bound to uphold the rights and protect the welfare of all of its citizens. In line with these obligations, we call on the government to immediately restore full communications in Kashmir, lift the security restrictions that are hampering ordinary life, release dissidents and opposition leaders, and conduct transparent and impartial investigations into the allegations of human rights abuses.

The signatories said that the government is duty-bound to uphold the rights and welfare of all citizens of the country. They demanded that full communications be immediately restored in Kashmir, security restrictions be lifted, opposition leaders released, and investigations conducted into alleged violations of human rights in the state.