Joining several others who have raised concerns over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, when the Centre read down Article 370 and stripped the state of its special status, as many as 504 academics and scientists have written a statement expressing deep worry over the clampdown.
Citing news reports, the signatories note how the Centre has swamped the state with security personnel, to the detriment of normal life and living there.
“We are appalled by the government’s decision to restrict telecommunications and the internet in Kashmir for over a month. We understand that landlines have been restored in some parts of Kashmir, but since landline teledensity in Kashmir is below 1% according to the government’s own statistics, this measure has failed to provide substantive relief to Kashmir’s residents. In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families,” the statement notes.
It also highlights the plight of those seeking medicines and medical care.
“We believe the government’s actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic. 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,” it further says.
The statement ends on a note of solidarity with the people of Kashmir and a reminder to the government “that it is duty-bound to uphold the rights and protect the welfare of all of its citizens.”
The signatories are from both international and national institutions.