As many as 52 activists, scholars, writers and lawyers have written an open letter demanding the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a Kashmiri human rights activist who was arrested on Friday. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, where Parvez is a programme coordinator, he was not given any reason for his arrest.
He will be produced before a local court on Wednesday. On September 15, Parvez was stopped by authorities at Delhi airport from boarding a flight to Geneva, where he was to attend a session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He was not offered any reason for the action at that time either, he had said.
In their letter, the signatories called the move by the Jammu and Kashmir police "symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of the state". The letter pointed "with horror" to the 80 people who have been killed and thousands injured in the states in protests since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. "The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperilled," it added.
Here is the full text:
We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a distinguished and courageous human rights defender, and write in support of the statements issued by Advocate Parvez Imroz.
As we write this, Khurram Parvez has been remanded to preventive custody in a sub-jail in the highly militarized Kupwara District of Kashmir. He is expected to be produced before the court on 21 September 2016.
An executive magistrate in Srinagar issued the order against Khurram Parvez, invoking Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (pertaining to detention for breach of peace and design to commit a cognizable offence).
The actions against Mr. Parvez are symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of state since July 8.
We note with horror that since July 2016, over 80 persons have been killed, over 11,000 persons have been injured, over 1,000 persons have been arrested and over 100 ambulances have been attacked. For 70 days now, curfew has been imposed in various parts of Kashmir.
Pellet cartridges with about 400-500 pellets each have been fired, aimed above the waist, permanently blinding youth at civilian protests. Communication systems have been repeatedly shutdown; mobile Internet and pre-paid calls have been repeatedly banned, post-paid phone lines have been suspended for a number of days, and even newspapers have been shutdown for a couple of days.
The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperiled.
We are gravely concerned by the repeated abrogation of international law and the disregard for India’s constitutional provisions, and by the unceasing targeting of civilians and the continued denial of their civil and political rights.
We urge that the above conditions of collective internment within Kashmir require urgent attention and intervention.
Abdul R. JanMohamed, Professor, English Department, University of California, Berkeley
Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Millia Islamia
Amitava Kumar, Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English, Vassar College
Angana Chatterji, Feminist Scholar
Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
Arundhati Roy, Author
Ather Zia, Anthropology and Gender Studies Program, Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado
Basharat Peer, Writer
Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission
Bijo Francis, Asian Human Rights Commission
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University
Deepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder
Dibyesh Anand, Professor of International Relations, University of Westminster
Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar, Montclair State University
Gautam Navlakha, Member of People’s Union for Democratic Rights.
Ghazala Jamil, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Ghazi Shahnawaz, Jamia Millia Islamia
Gloria Steinem, Co-founder Ms. Magazine, Writer, Feminist Organizer
Goldie Osuri, Associate Professor in Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of Warwick
Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, Ohio University
Harsh Mander, Writer and Activist
Kavita Krishnan, Politburo Member, CPI (ML)-Liberation and Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)
Mallika Kaur, Lecturer, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
Manisha Sethi, Jamia Millia Islamia
Mansi Sharma, Activist
Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Secretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
Mihir Desai, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India and Mumbai High Court
Mirza Waheed, Novelist
Mohamad Junaid, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University
Mridu Rai, Professor of History, Presidency University, Kolkata
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Pedagogy, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Patron, Khalra Mission Organization
Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
Piotr Balcerowicz, Professor and Chair of South Asia, University of Warsaw
Rahul Govind, Delhi University
Rajvinder Singh Bains, Counsel, Punjab High Court and Haryana High Court
Richard M. Buxbaum, Professor Emeritus, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
Ruchira Gupta, Women’s Right Activist, Founder of Apne Aap and Adjunct Associate Professor, Center for Global Studies, School of Professional Studies, New York University
Sanghamitra Misra, Delhi University
Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker
Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Anhad
Shohini Ghosh, Sajjad Zaheer Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia
Shubh Mathur, Independent Scholar
Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
Tanweer Fazal, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Teesta Setalvad, Civil Rights Activist, Journalist and Educationist
Urvashi Butalia, Writer
Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
Vrinda Grover, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India