AMU Students Protest Over Civilian Killings in Kashmir

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The students’ union of AMU also submitted a memorandum to President of India over the Kashmir situation. — GK photo

Web Report

NEW DELHI — The students of Aligarh Muslim University on Wednesday held a protest at the varsity premises in Aligarh against the recent civilian killings in firing by security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

On December 15, seven civilians were killed and many more injured when security forces opened fire on residents protesting against the army operation launched in southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district in which three militants and a soldier died.

The students’ union of AMU, in a statement, condemned the civilian killings by security forces in the state and pressed for the early resolution of Kashmir dispute to end the misery of innocent population of the valley.

Student leaders said that the firing had not only violated human rights blatantly but had also angered the common people of Kashmir.

If the protesters were to be stopped water canons, pellet guns or tear gas could have been used but the defense personnel opened fire, the demonstrating students said.

The students later submitted a memorandum addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind over the Kashmir situation.

AMUSU Memorandum is here:

Mr. Ram Nath Kovind

Honourable President of India

Subject: Memorandum regarding the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir

Sir,

Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union is shocked by the escalation of violence in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The killing of 7 civilians on Saturday, 15 Dec. 2018, in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir by the armed forces is unbearable and highly regrettable.

All of the civilians had bullet wounds above their waist – on head, abdomen or chest. A bullet had made a deep hole in the neck of one of the civilians.

Since last three days, the majority of the places in the state are observing shutdown or have been put under curfew like restrictions. As per the information of Ministry of Home Affairs, 587 incidents of violence have been reported in J&K in 2018 alone, and that civilian deaths have increased by a staggering 167% as compared to 2016. India’s conscience cannot attain peace after killing the unarmed civilians.

Only weeks before, Hiba Jan, the 19 month-old baby was hit with pellets in her eye, when she was in the lap of her mother in her native village, Kapran in South Kashmir, and doctors are not sure about the future of her eye sight. Use of pellet-firing shotguns, which are 12-gauge pump-action shotguns that fire metal pellets have dented the image of India at the international level after they caused death of over a dozen people and injured more than 6,000 including nearly 800 with eye injuries. These days the visuals of the burning houses in the cold winter are also disturbing. The situation in Kashmir is not an ordinary one.

Even the United Nations, in its report on the situation of Human Rights in Kashmir has said, ‘The killing of civilians between 2016 and 2018 raises the question of whether security forces resorted to excessive use of force to respond to protesters, some of whom were throwing rocks. International human rights groups have raised the issues of excessive force and are questioning our adherence to the application of national and international standards on the use of force’.  India is seen in a bad light at the international level when it comes to the handling the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The report by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) earned a fierce denial by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), however the fact remains that all is not well in Kashmir, and that denial is not an answer to the situation. The deteriorating situation in Kashmir calls for a serious attention.

We find the situation in Kashmir very explosive and going out of hand. The civilian population has shown a deep resentment towards the iron fist policy of the Government of India. The local mainstream political parties have failed to govern the state and the Governor rule is about to turn into Presidential rule in next few days. The absence of political engagement has worsened the situation. The local elections have been boycotted by most of the mainstream parties.

The Students’ Union takes this occasion to address your Excellency as the head of the state, to take serious cognisance of the situation in Kashmir. People cannot live under consistent political vacuum and there is an immediate need of the intervention from your esteemed office.

Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union requests your highness to take some immediate measure including the following to address the crisis in the state of Jammu and Kashmir:

1. The iron fist policy should be immediately revoked and the policy of love and care must be adopted with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

2. The armed forces should maintain restrain and prevent the civilian causalities. The law should be allowed to take its course and all the civilian killing should be probed through credible investigation.

3. The use of pellet gun must be immediately stopped and non-lethal alternatives must be adopted.

4. Kashmir is a long standing problem and is political and humanitarian in nature. It should not be treated as a mere law and order problem. Kashmir needs a humane touch and greater political wisdom. India is capable enough to engage with all stakeholders and break a peace deal. The time has come to show humanitarian and statesmanship approach to end the cycles of violence in Kashmir. The era of Prime Mininster Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and later the talks by Prime Mininster Dr. Manmohan Singh had given hopes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. These initiatives should be launched at the same level. Our Army General Bipin Rawat has said that there isn’t a military solution to this issue and the Ex-Army chief General Ved Prakash Malik told ToI that Kashmir needs a political solution. The hour demands a political approach to cater to the aspirations of the people.

5. The recommendations by the government appointed interlocutors should be adopted as CBMs and the trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be gained. CBMs will help the disgruntled youth to return to the non violence and make peace possible.

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