Condemn cancellation of the event “Media Blackout and State Repression in Kashmir”

Condemn the undemocratic action of state and Delhi Police to cancel the CASR’s program titled “Media Blackout and State Repression in Kashmir”.

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Campaign Against State Repression strongly condemns Delhi Police’s action of pressurizing the management of Gandhi Peace Foundation in form of notice by IP Estate Police Station and cancelling the event titled “Media Blackout and State Repression in Kashmir” scheduled for 15th March 2023. The program was to address the question of continuing harassment and incarceration of Journalist in order to suppress the grim realities of state repression in Kashmir. This undemocratic action of cancelling the event on the frivolous pretext of “law and order situation” is also part of the same attempt at creating information blackout and narrative building. The reason cited for cancelling the event was that the intelligence input suggested that the program was being organized by the “anonymous groups” and that the information of the participants and organizers couldn’t be ascertained by the police. It is ridiculous to even claim that the Delhi Police and its so called intelligence unit couldn’t ascertain the identity of our panelists consisting of renowned Documentary Film Maker, Retired High Court Judge, Journalists, Academicians and Civil Rights Activists. Similarly, the organisers, a joint front of more than 30 progressive democratic organizations, who have organized dozens of programs against State Repression, have been conveniently labelled as “anonymous groups” by the state. Less than a week ago, a similar notice was sent to the management of HKS Surjeet Bhavan by the same police station to cancel the “Bharat Bachao: National Convention”, by giving the same argument down to the last word, except the name of the Event and Venue. The organizers of Bharat Bachao approached the High Court and got permission for the event. Interestingly, this time the police sent the notice to the management and the organisers only on the day of the event, just a few hours before it was to start, thereby denying any alternate remedies to the organisers. In reality, this has nothing to do with anonymity of the organisers and participants but everything to do with covering up the repression unleashed by the state on the people, democratic/political organisations, media and human right defenders.

A few days ago, the Army Court Martialed and awarded life sentence to an Army Captain for staging a fake encounter of 3 young Kashmiri boys in Amshipora in 2020, and later claiming them to be militants and which was subsequently hailed by the state/corporate media and the government. Such encounters and disappearances have been normalised for Kashmir to suppress their democratic assertion. A few months ago, a Kashmiri Youth named Rashid Ahmad Dar, who was picked up by the 41 Rashtriya Rifles and later claimed to have escaped their custody during a combing operation, was found dead and decomposed few days back. Rashid Ahmad Dar belonged to the Kunan Village of Kupwara district, which still longs for justice to the survivors of Kunan Poshpora Mass rape of at least 21 including girls as young as 8 year old, reportedly by the soldiers of Indian Army on 23 Feb, 1991. In 2014, the Division Bench of J&K High Court Chief Justice M.M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi, one of the today’s speaker, accepted the State Human Rights Commission’s Report and directed the state to pay compensation to the victims.

These multifold repressive tools unleashed on the people of Kashmir has been the order of decades in the government’s repression of the democratic assertion of the Kashmiri people. As part of this repression by the state, the attack on democratic/human rights activists and journalists like Khurram Parvez, Asif Sultan, Fahad Shah has been ever intensifying and many such people have been jailed for months and years, despite the international call for their release. Similar attacks on Journalists are being unleashed in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and North Eastern States to suppress the grim realities of state repression in these regions. The arrest and continued detention of Jharkhand Journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh is a mirror image of the modus operandi of the state in Kashmir, and vice-versa. We believe that this undemocratic action of cancelling the event is an attack on the democratic and civil liberties of the people of Delhi and elsewhere, but most importantly it is an attack on the solidarity between the Indian People and the Kashmiri People. Furthermore, it is also an attack on the people’s right to information and access to truth. We, once again, strongly condemn this undemocratic act of the Brahmanical Hindutva Fascist State Machinery and call upon all democratic progressive people everywhere, be it India or abroad to stand with the people of Kashmir and for press freedom everywhere, be it Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh or North Eastern States.

(Organising Team: AIRSO,AISA, AISF, APCR,BASF, BCM, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, BSCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, Fraternity ,IAPL, Karnataka Janashakti, LAA,Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, Mehnatkash Mahila Sangathan, Morcha Patrika, NAPM, NBS, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad,Smajwadi lok manch, Satyashodak Sangh, SFI, United Against Hate, WSS,Y4S)


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