Action against Khurram Parvez symptomatic of escalated repression in Kashmir Valley since July 8

khurramAs many as 52 activists, scholars and writers and lawyers led by well-known names Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy have written an open letter demanding the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a Kashmiri human rights activist who was arrested last Friday. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, where Parvez is a programme coordinator, he was not given any reason for his arrest.

Likely to be produced before a local court on Wednesday, on September 15, Parvez was stopped at the Delhi airport from boarding a flight to Geneva, where he was scheduled to attend a session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. No reason was given for not allowing him to board the plane.

The signatories have called the move by the Jammu & Kashmir police “symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of the state”. Referring to the death of 80 people during protests in the state since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 8, the statement adds, “The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperiled.” Full text:

We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a distinguished and courageous human rights defender, and write in support of the statements issued by Advocate Parvez Imroz.

As we write this, Khurram Parvez has been remanded to preventive custody in a sub-jail in the highly militarized Kupwara District of Kashmir. He is expected to be produced before the court on 21 September 2016.

An executive magistrate in Srinagar issued the order against Khurram Parvez, invoking Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (pertaining to detention for breach of peace and design to commit a cognizable offence).

The actions against Mr. Parvez are symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of state since July 8.

We note with horror that since July 2016, over 80 persons have been killed, over 11,000 persons have been injured, over 1,000 persons have been arrested and over 100 ambulances have been attacked. For 70 days now, curfew has been imposed in various parts of Kashmir.

Pellet cartridges with about 400-500 pellets each have been fired, aimed above the waist, permanently blinding youth at civilian protests. Communication systems have been repeatedly shutdown; mobile Internet and pre-paid calls have been repeatedly banned, post-paid phone lines have been suspended for a number of days, and even newspapers have been shutdown for a couple of days.

The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperiled.

We are gravely concerned by the repeated abrogation of international law and the disregard for India’s constitutional provisions, and by the unceasing targeting of civilians and the continued denial of their civil and political rights.

We urge that the above conditions of collective internment within Kashmir require urgent attention and intervention.

The undersigned:

  • Abdul R. JanMohamed, Professor, English Department, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Amitava Kumar, Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English, Vassar College
  • Angana Chatterji, Feminist Scholar
  • Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
  • Arundhati Roy, Author
  • Ather Zia, Anthropology and Gender Studies Program, Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado
  • Basharat Peer, Writer
  • Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission
  • Bijo Francis, Asian Human Rights Commission
  • Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University
  • Deepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder
  • Dibyesh Anand, Professor of International Relations, University of Westminster
  • Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar, Montclair State University
  • Gautam Navlakha, Member of People’s Union for Democratic Rights.
  • Ghazala Jamil, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Ghazi Shahnawaz, Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Gloria Steinem, Co-founder Ms. Magazine, Writer, Feminist Organizer
  • Goldie Osuri, Associate Professor in Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of Warwick
  • Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, Ohio University
  • Harsh Mander, Writer and Activist
  • Kavita Krishnan, Politburo Member, CPI (ML)-Liberation and Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)
  • Mallika Kaur, Lecturer, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
  • Manisha Sethi, Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Mansi Sharma, Activist
  • Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Secretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
  • Mihir Desai, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India and Mumbai High Court
  • Mirza Waheed, Novelist
  • Mohamad Junaid, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University
  • Mridu Rai, Professor of History, Presidency University, Kolkata
  • Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Pedagogy, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Patron, Khalra Mission Organization
  • Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
  • Piotr Balcerowicz, Professor and Chair of South Asia, University of Warsaw
  • Rahul Govind, Delhi University
  • Rajvinder Singh Bains, Counsel, Punjab High Court and Haryana High Court
  • Richard M. Buxbaum, Professor Emeritus, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ruchira Gupta, Women’s Right Activist, Founder of Apne Aap and Adjunct Associate Professor, Center for Global Studies, School of Professional Studies, New York University
  • Sanghamitra Misra, Delhi University
  • Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker
  • Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Anhad
  • Shohini Ghosh, Sajjad Zaheer Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Shubh Mathur, Independent Scholar
  • Suddhabrata Sengupta
  • Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tanweer Fazal, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Teesta Setalvad, Civil Rights Activist, Journalist and Educationist
  • Urvashi Butalia, Writer
  • Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
  • Vrinda Grover, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India


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