South Asian Activists, Academics Condemn 'Intensified Military Suppression' in Kashmir

"...the Government of India['s actions in Jammu and Kashmir] exhibit a complete lack of respect for constitutionalism, secularism, and democratic values."

New Delhi: More than 250 scholars, artists, activists and others have issued a statement on August 15 in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and the “inhuman clampdown” they have been subjected to.

The signatories include South Asians and those who work on South Asia, including Veena Das, Partha Chatterjee, A.S. Panneerselvan, Ayesha Jalal, Shahidul Alam, Kul Chandra Gautam, Gyanendra Pandey, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, M.V. Ramana, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Zia Mian, Sofia Karim, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Martha Nussbaum and Sheldon Pollock.

The statement also condemns the reading down of Article 370, a “historical understanding between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian state”. The signatories also talk about the reports that protestors have been fired upon, and the clampdown on people’s movement and communication.

“These actions of the Government of India exhibit a complete lack of respect for constitutionalism, secularism, and democratic values. This does not bode well for India’s people, who have, uniquely in South Asia, benefited from decades of democratic rule,” the statement says.

The full statement and list of signatories is below.


The undersigned citizens of and friends of South Asia, who stand in solidarity with all freedom-loving citizens of this region, release this statement on Jammu and Kashmir.

We are deeply concerned by recent political developments in Jammu and Kashmir. We are distraught that the people of this beleaguered land, who have lived with violence and political disempowerment for decades, have now been subjected to a further erosion of their rights under the intensified military suppression of the last ten days.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution represented a historical understanding between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian state. On 5 August 2019, not only was Article 370 abrogated, but the very statehood of Jammu and Kashmir was abolished, bringing the region under New Delhi’s direct rule. The manner in which these abrogations were accomplished, through executive order and in the absence of a state legislature, is a betrayal of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, whose elected representatives were never consulted. This is a sharp departure from democratic governance, and the constitutional validity of these decisions has been rightfully challenged.

Also read: Journalist Detained in Kashmir; Family in the Dark About Charges

We condemn the curtailment of civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir: the blackout of telecommunications and internet services; the severe restrictions on media and on the freedoms of movement, peaceful assembly, and protest; and the violent suppression of demonstrations. These are all violations of international human rights obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which India ratified in 1979.

We are alarmed by credible media reports of security forces having opened fire on peaceful protestors and disturbed by the denials issued by the authorities, who have gone on to accuse journalists of fabrication. We are gravely concerned by the Government of India’s silencing of voices of dissent, and detention of social activists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders. We condemn the Government of India’s use of majoritarian populism to perpetuate a climate of fear across the country.

These actions of the Government of India exhibit a complete lack of respect for constitutionalism, secularism, and democratic values. This does not bode well for India’s people, who have, uniquely in South Asia, benefited from decades of democratic rule. We are apprehensive of India’s future as a democracy and the implications that this degeneration will have on its population of 1.2 billion as well as on the rest of the subcontinent.

Also read: Across Kashmiri Villages, Talk of ‘Oppression, Excess, Betrayal’: Fact-Finding Team

We urge the Government of India to immediately end the inhuman clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, to restore civil liberties as well as the flow of information, to immediately release all political detainees and prisoners, and to enter into dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the middle of August, when we are meant to celebrate independence from colonialism, we condemn this regression towards despotic rule. We stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and with people across India and South Asia who aspire to peace, prosperity, and fundamental freedoms.

Signed by:

  1. A.S. Panneerselvan, journalist, Chennai
  2. Asma Naeem, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
  3. Aamina Ahmad, teacher, Berkeley, California
  4. Abdul Hameed Nayyar, retired from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
  5. Abhinit Khanna, independent arts manager, Mumbai
  6. Aditi Adhikari, educator/ researcher, Kathmandu
  7. Aftab Ahmad (PhD from JNU), Lecturer at Columbia University, New York
  8. Ajay Bhardwaj, PhD candidate, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  9. Ajay Skaria, Professor of History and Global Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  10. Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
  11. Akhila L. Ananth, Ass. Professor in the School of Criminal Justice, California State University, Los Angeles
  12. Alan Hill, Lecturer, RMIT University, Melbourne
  13. Alex Mabanta; student; University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; Berkeley, CA
  14. Alicia Virani, attorney, Los Angeles
  15. Alok Adhikari, film editor, Kathmandu
  16. Amar Singh, Amar and Associates Management Consultants, Napa, California USA
  17. Ambika Malik, education consultant, Delhi
  18. Ameer Faaiz, attorney, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
  19. Anahita Mukherji, independent journalist, San Francisco Bay Area
  20. Anasuya Sengupta, poet, Bengaluru
  21. Andrew Brandel, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  22. Angana Chatterji, University of California – Berkeley
  23. Ania Loomba, English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
  24. Anitha Pottamkulam, civil society organizer, Chennai
  25. Anjali Arondekar, Assistant Prof. of Feminist Studies and Comparative Literature, Univ. of California – Santa Cruz and Los Angeles
  26. Anjali Monteiro, filmmaker and academic, Mumbai
  27. Anne Murphy; University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC, Canada
  28. Annemari de Silva, researcher, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo
  29. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Professor, Univ. of Rhode Island, Rhode Island, USA and Bangalore, India
  30. Anu Muhammad, Professor of Economics, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka
  31. Anuradha Roy, Professor of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  32. Anurati Srivastva, Designer, Delhi
  33. Anusheh Anadil, musician and artist, Dhaka
  34. Anushka Meenakshi, filmmaker, Pondicherry
  35. Ari Larissa Heinrich, Professor of Literature, University of California – San Diego
  36. Arnico Panday, atmospheric scientist, Kathmandu
  37. Arpana Pandey, international development worker, Finland
  38. Arthur Kleinman, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University
  39. Arup Rahee; poet, singer, writer; Dhaka
  40. Asanda Benya, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  41. Astrid Hoops, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
  42. Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University, Massachusetts
  43. Ayusha Shrestha, Founder Director, Choo Mark & Futch, Lalitpur, Nepal
  44. Azhar Saleha Athar, Mississauga, Toronto
  45. Aziz Fatima Hasnain, Secretary General, Centre for Physics Education, Karachi
  46. Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Department of Religion, Hofstra University, New York
  47. Baseer Naweed, executive director, International Human Rights Council, Hong Kong
  48. Beena Sarwar, journalist, Boston/Karachi
  49. Benjamin Fildier, climate scientist, Paris
  50. Bhaskar Sarkar, Professor of Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara
  1. Bhavani Fonseka, Senior Researcher and Attorney, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo
  2. Bhupinder Singh Juneja, doctoral Student,
  3. Candace Fujikane, Associate Professor of English, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu
  4. Carmody Grey, professor, Durham University
  5. Carola Lorea, Singapore, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
  6. Catharine Neilson, photographer, Melbourne
  7. Catherine Masud, filmmaker, Salem, Connecticut
  8. Cathy Gere, Professor of History of Science and Medicine and Director, Science Studies Program, Department of History, UC San Diego
  9. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies & Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
  10. Chiara Letizia, Professor, UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Montreal
  11. Chulani Kodikara, Colombo
  12. Cristina Venegas, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  13. Cynthia Franklin, Professor of English, University of Hawai’I, Honolulu
  14. David Gordon White, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara
  15. David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Stanford University, Palo Alto
  16. David Lelyveld, Professor of History (retired), William Paterson University, USA
  17. Debjani Bhattacharyya, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Drexel University, USA
  18. Dia Da Costa, Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  19. Dwijo Goswami, consultant, New Delhi
  20. Eelum Dixit, filmmaker, Lalitpur, Nepal
  21. Elisabeth Weber, professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  22. Farida Akhter, women’s rights activist, Dhaka
  23. Gayatri Singh, librarian, UC San Diego
  24. Geeta Patel; translator, researcher, writer; Charlottesville, USA
  25. Gyanendra Pandey, historian, Emory University
  26. Harsh Kapoor, editor, South Asia Citizens Web, Montpellier, France
  27. Heidi Grunebaum, Assistant Professor, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
  28. Himali Dixit, anthropologist and activist, Kathmandu
  29. Imran Jamal, PhD candidate, SOAS, London
  30. Indrani Chatterjee, University of Texas at Austin, USA
  31. Jan Grey, bereavement counsellor, Sussex
  32. Jinee Lokaneeta; professor, Drew University; Madison, New Jersey
  33. Joel Lee, Assistant Professor, Williams College, USA
  34. Julie A. Carlson, Professor of English, Santa Barbara CA, USA
  35. Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Boston, USA
  36. Jyotirmoy Barua, advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, human rights activist
  37. Jyotsna du Ciel, multi-disciplinary artist, Los Angeles
  38. K. P. Jayasankar, filmmaker and academic, Mumbai
  39. Kamala Visweswaran, Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego
  40. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, feminist and human rights activist, Mumbai
  41. Karan Shrestha, Artist and Filmmaker, Kathmandu/Mumbai
  42. Kelly Hussey-Smith, lecturer, RMIT University, Melbourne
  43. Khyber Farahi, Graduate Student of Public Administration, Harvard Kennedy
  44. Kul Chandra Gautam, Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, New York
  45. Laila Shereen Sakr, Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  46. Lamiya Mowla, Graduate student of Astronomy, Yale University, USA
  47. Lenin Raghuvanshi, founder and CEO, PVCHR
  48. Liam Ward, Lecturer in Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne
  49. Lubna Marium, researcher in arts and culture, Dhaka
  50. M. V. Ramana, Professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  51. Mac Haque, musician, Dhaka
  52. Madhumitha Krishnan, University of California, Berkeley
  53. Maheen Zia, filmmaker, Karachi
  54. Mahmud Rahman, writer and translator, San Francisco Bay Area, USA
  55. Malabika Majumdar, India
  56. Malathi de Alwis, Socio-Cultural Anthropologist, Colombo
  57. Manel Fonseka, Sri Lanka
  1. Mario Gomez, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka
  2. Marisa de Silva, activist, Sri Lanka
  3. Marta Gutman, City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center, New York
  4. Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, The University of Chicago, Chicago
  5. Mary Hancock, Professor of Anthropology and History, University of California, Santa Barbara
  6. Masood Khan, Architect and Heritage Conservation Professional, Needham, Massachusetts
  7. Mayfair Yang, Religious Studies & East Asian Studies Departments, University of California, Santa Barbara
  8. Meera Sehgal, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota
  9. Meghna Guhathakurta, researcher, Dhaka
  10. Milin George, HR Manager at Nandi Housing Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore
  11. Moazzam Sheikh, librarian and author, San Francisco
  12. Mubasher Rashid Rather, PhD Student, Watergam, Rafiabad, Baramulla, Kashmir
  13. Mubina Qureshi, Freelancer / Academician, St Paul, Minnesota
  14. Muhammad Amjad, Retired Pakistan Government Servant, Rawalpindi
  15. Muktasree Chakma, rights activist, Bangladesh
  16. Nalaka Gunawardene, writer and media analyst, Colombo
  17. Nasim Banu Jamuna, photographer, Dhaka
  18. Nausheen Ahmad, advocate, Karachi
  19. Naveeda Khan, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
  20. Nayan Shah, Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California
  21. Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati; photographer and curator; Kathmandu
  22. Nikhil Anand, Associate Professor of Anthropology University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  23. Ninel Fernando, Colombo
  24. Nisha Thapa, social worker and healthcare professional, San Francisco
  25. Nur Khan Md., human rights activist
  26. Naila Zaman Khan, Director, Clinical Neuroscineces Center and Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation
  27. Nyla Ali Khan, Commissioner of the Oklahoma Commission of the Status on Women and Member of the International Team of the Governor of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
  28. Omar Tarek Chowdhury; author, translator and publisher; Dhaka
  29. P. Muthulingam, Colombo
  30. Panini Edirisinhe, Colombo
  31. Pankaj Bisht, Editor, Samayantar monthly, Delhi
  32. Parama Roy, Professor of English, University of California – Davis
  33. Parsa S. Sajid, Editor, Fragments Magazine, Dhaka
  34. Partha Chatterjee, professor, Columbia University, New York
  35. Patrick Anderson, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication and Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
  36. Paul Amar, professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  37. Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Department of Media Culture and Communication and the Gallatin School, New York University
  38. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dept of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
  39. Peter Rachleff, Co-Executive Director, East Side Freedom Library, St. Paul, Minnesota
  40. Petra Lamberson, PhD student, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  41. Petra Costa, Filmmaker, São Paulo
  42. Piya Chatterjee, Professor, Scripps College, Claremont, California
  43. Ponni Arasu, Chennai
  44. Prajwal Raj Gyawali, Lawyer, Kampala
  45. Pranika Koyu, researcher/poet, Kathmandu
  46. Prathama, mental health professional, Kathmandu
  47. Prawin Adhikari, writer, Kathmandu
  48. Preet Shah, women and children empowerment professional, Kathmandu
  49. Preeti Chopra; faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Madison
  50. Prerna Gupta; Ph.D. student, University of British Columbia; Vancouver
  51. Projit Bihari Mukharji, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  52. Purnima Bose, Associate Professor, International Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
  53. Qadri Ismail, professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  54. R. Radhakrishnan, Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative and African American Literature
  55. Rachel Sturman, Associate Professor, Department of History & Asian Studies Program, Bowdoin College
  56. Rachel Spence, poet and arts writer, London
  57. Raghavendra Rao K.V., visual artist, Vancouver
  58. Rahnuma Ahmed, writer, Dhaka
  59. Raja Swamy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee
  60. Rana Behal, Fellow, Max Weber Centre of Advance Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, Germany
  61. Ranitha Gnanarajah, AAL, Colombo
  62. Rashid Latif Ansari, retired civil servant, Toronto
  63. Rasik Patel, dentist, San Jose
  64. Raviraj Shetty, Lead Therapist and Project Manager, Ummeed Child Development Center, Mumbai
  65. Raza Rumi, Editor, NayaDaur Media, Lahore
  66. Reeta C. Tremblay, professor, University of Victoria
  67. Richa Nagar, professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul
  68. Ritty Lucose, professor of Anthropology and South Asia Studies, New York University, NY
  69. Ruchhita Kazaria, advertising professional and peace activist, Kolkata
  70. Ruchi Chaturvedi, Sr. Lecturer, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  71. Rupal Oza, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, Hunter College, New York
  72. Rupert Grey, solicitor, London
  73. Saad Quasem, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  74. Sadia Tasleem, Lecturer in Defence & Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
  75. Sakuntala Kadirgamar, Executive Director, Law & Society Trust, Colombo
  76. Samarth Mahajan, filmmaker, Mumbai
  77. Samia Khatun, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, London
  78. Sandhya Shukla, Associate Professor of English and American Studies, University of Virginia
  79. Sandra Laugier, Professor of Philosophy, Université Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris
  80. Saniaa Shah, Creative Director, Studio Aakar, Lalitpur, Nepal
  81. Sapana Sakya, media-arts professional, San Francisco, California
  82. Sarah Hoenicke, student, Comparative Literature, University of California – Irvine
  83. Saraswati Das, architect, New Delhi/Los Angeles
  84. Sareena Khemka, artist, Bangalore
  85. Saundarya Thapa, film researcher, Los Angeles
  86. Saurabh Mishra, Lecturer, University of Sheffield
  87. Saymon Zakaria, Assistant Director, Bangla Acadamy, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  88. Seema Nusrat Amin, Lecturer, Brac University, Dhaka
  89. Sehba Sarwar, writer, Los Angeles, USA
  90. Shahidul Alam, photographer, Dhaka
  91. Shaista Patel, Assistant Professor of Critical Muslim Studies, University of California, San Diego
  92. Shamik Mishra, archivist, Kathmandu
  93. Shareen Tuladhar, development worker, Kathmandu
  94. Shari Daya, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Cape Town
  95. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, filmmaker, Karachi
  96. Sharni Jayawardena, photographer/documentary filmmaker, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  97. Shefali Chandra, Washington University in St Louis
  98. Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University
  99. Shireen P Huq, Member, Naripokkho, Dhaka
  100. Shreen Saroor, Women’s Action Network, Colombo
  101. Shruti Jain; data scientist; Palo Alto, California
  102. Shubhecha Tewari, Kathmandu, Nepal
  103. Shumaila Hemani; ethnomusicologist; University of Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta
  104. Shweta Bajaj, journalist, New Delhi
  105. Simone Mestroni, anthropologist, Udine
  106. Siraj Khan, Global non-profit professional, Boston
  107. Sitralega Maunaguru, Colombo
  108. Smita Patel, director of communications, San Jose, California
  109. Sofia Karim, Architect/Artist, London
  110. Som Niroula, human rights activist, South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu
  111. Somak Mukherjee, PhD Student and Researcher, University of California-Santa Barbara
  112. Sreela Sarkar, Assistant Professor of Communications, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara
  113. Srinidhi, writer and activist, Hyderabad
  114. Stefan Fiol, University of Cincinnati, Associate Professor of Music
  115. Stephen Legg, University of Nottingham, UK
  116. Steve Brown, railway activist, Oakland, California
  117. Subrat Kumar Sahu, independent filmmaker, New Delhi
  118. Sumanth Gopinath, Associate Professor of Music Theory, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  119. Summar Khan, student, University of California – Berkeley
  120. Sunaina Maira, professor, University of California-Davis, Oakland, USA
  121. Sushila Sharma, Project Manager, Planete Enfants and Development Nepal, Lalitpur
  122. Sushmita Jha, Delhi
  123. Swati Chattopadhyay, Professor, History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara
  124. Syed M. Ali, Anthropologist/Adjunct Professor, Washington D.C
  125. Tapan Bose, human rights activist, New Delhi
  126. Tom Maliti, journalist, Nairobi
  127. Torsa Ghosal, Assistant Professor, California State University, Sacramento/ Calcutta
  128. Trupti Kanade, cinema researcher, Bombay
  129. Tuni Chatterji; filmmaker; Los Angeles
  130. Utkarsh Chawla, student, Boudha, Kathmandu
  131. Vasuki Nesiah, Associate Professor of Practice, The Gallatin School, New York University
  132. Veena Gokhale, writer, Montreal
  133. Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
  134. Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of English, Univ. of Johannesburg, South Africa
  135. Vijaya Nagarajan, Assoc. Prof. of Theology & Religious Studies, Program in Environmental Studies, University of San Francisco
  136. Vinay Lal, Professor of History, UCLA, Los Angeles
  137. Vinod Ravindran, theatre person, Bangalore
  138. Vishal Sharma, student, Shimla
  139. William Elison, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
  140. Yanick Noiseux, professor, Université de Montréal, Montréal
  141. Yasmin Jiwani, professor, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
  142. Yousuf Saeed, independent filmmaker and writer, New Delhi, India
  143. Zafrullah Chowdhury, Trustee, Gonoshasthaya Kendra
  144. Zia Mian, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University