Joint Statement by Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy on the denial of democratic right to protest and killings by the Indian security forces in Kashmir.


Pakistan Indian Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy is deeply distressed and shocked by the cynicism and insensitivity of the security forces in Kashmir, which recently fired from a close range on a group of young men who were playing carom outside their house in Maisuma. There are very few examples in history where a Government has allowed the use of this level of force against the people of a state.


Since the beginning of the present mass protest on June 11, till date 69 Kashmiris have fallen to the bullets of Indian security forces and scores have received serious injuries. The Central Reserve Police Force has done most of the killing.


The protest started in north Kashmir during the last week of May against the “staged Killing” of three youth from Machil village of Baramula by 4 Rajput Regiment of the Indian army. The protest marches by an outraged and frustrated Kashmiri youth began in May. On June 11, the security forces opened fire with automatic weapons and rifles on the people who were out on the streets protesting against the death of 17 year old Tufail Ahmad Matoo of Saidakadal, Srinagar allegedly in police action. Since then the security forces have been on a killing spree.


There is no evidence that the protesting youth in Kashmir carried arms. They had nothing but “stones”. It is clear that Indian armed forces have fired at the unarmed crowd killing mostly young persons including a few minor children and women. On the other hand, as the recent event of kidnapping of 22 year old Ejaz Ahmed from Shaharkote village of Vilgam, Handwara by Ikawanis a pro-government group of surrendered militants shows, the government, now is encouraging armed gangs to kidnap and kill protesting youth.


We are sorry to observe that Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Kashmir in early June and his subsequent meeting with representatives of mainstream political parties in August who made several suggestions for the resolution of the current conflict, has failed to reduce the excessive level of force unleashed by the Indian Security forces on unarmed people in Kashmir. The killing of unarmed Kashmiri youth continues and the recent incident of firing in Maisuma locality of Srinagar demonstrates the depth of the callousness of the authorities.


It is evident that the youth of Kashmir are leading the ongoing protest movement. These young persons have grown up under the shadow of the gun. From their childhood, they were exposed to “crackdown” by the Indian army, body search on the roads, disappearances, killings by the security forces and the militants. They learnt about rape as the women committed suicide while mothers, aunts, and sisters cried quietly to cover their shame. Most of them never played any games. Their worldview is overshadowed by their experience of death and degradation. Their dignity and humanity have been robbed. They do not know what peace is.


Yet, the youth of Kashmir have shunned the path of “armed struggle”. They have adopted the path of democratic protest. The stone throwing happened when they were denied their right to peaceful agitation.

Jammu and Kashmir has remained a disputed territory, with both India and Pakistan claiming ownership of the entire region. The wars that the two states have fought on Kashmir and the various “dialogues” that the states have held have completely bypassed the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan are guilty of denying the Kashmiri people basic human rights like the right to family reunion and the right to participate in dialogue on the future of their homeland must end immediately.  


No solution of the Kashmir dispute can be sustainable without the involvement of all sections of Kashmiri people from both sided of the LoC. The peoples of all regions of Kashmir must be taken into confidence and be allowed to participate in the inter-state efforts to resolve the conflict. The two warring states need to realize that it is not a mere conflict over territory, it concerns the lives and aspirations of he peoples of Jammu and Kashmir. The dispute must be resolve in a transparent manner with the participation of all sections of Kashmiri people from all areas.


* We call on the Government of India to take immediate steps to stop the killings in Kashmir to take the following steps to address the immediate crisis. These are necessary to build confidence of the peoples of Kashmir before ant dialogue can begin..


* We demand that all political prisoners including the children arrested on the frivolous charges of stone pelting should be released immediately and all cases against them be withdrawn immediately. 


* We urge the Indian government to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Disturbed Areas Notifications and the Public Safety Act of Jammu and Kashmir, which grant virtual impunity to the forces of the state.


·       We call on the government to set up a justice commission empowered to investigate all complaints of abuse of human rights against the forces of the state in a transparent manner and to award the requisite punishment as per law. 

·       We appeal to the governments of India and Pakistan to set up empowered Task Forces on both sides of the LoC with the mandate of visiting every district and tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the LoC and hold “open and transparent” discussions with the local people on the future of Kashmir. The Task Forces set up by both the governments should consist of persons belonging to government and non-government organisations. These Task Forces should be authorised to interact with each other and prepare a joint set of recommendation, which should put before the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir and the two governments for taking the process of peace building and reconciliation ahead.


       Dr. Manoranjan Mohanty                        Ms. Anis Haroon

President, PIPFPD – India                        Secretary General – PIPFPD, Pakistan

New Delhi                                                Lahore


September 15, 2010-09-15                        September 15, 2010

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