We believe that continuing the blockade and brutal use of force will only further alienate millions of Kashmiris. Any effort that does not take the elected representatives and political leadership of the people of Kashmir into confidence will only further escalate the conflicts in the region. Wide-spread military enforcement and intelligence efforts place an undue burden on peace-loving people leading to increased mental health issues and decreased sense of belonging on the common man, woman, and child of Kashmir. We need to ensure our efforts are aimed at protecting our allies (peace-loving Kashmiri citizens) instead of penalizing them for the actions of the criminal minority. We emphasize the need to have a roadmap for the people experiencing distress. Therefore, we request the following steps for restoring the faith of Kashmiris in democracy.
Request for immediate relief from Kashmir blockade
We, Scientists for Peace, Progress, and Prosperity, seek your support to end the current communication blockade and restrictions placed on citizens in the Kashmir region of Jammu and Kashmir for more than two months. We believe that the blockade takes away the fundamental rights of the people of Kashmir guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and terms of accession of Kashmir to India. It also goes against fundamental human rights enshrined by various articles of the Indian constitution and the United Nations.
The current blockage, lack of communication and conflicting reports by media, makes it challenging to find the truth about the current situation. However, ground reports by reporters covering from J&K and our own first-hand surveys of scientists from Kashmir and their experiences suggest that the situation is far away from normalcy. It showed that the people of Kashmir are experiencing:
1. Isolation due to restrictions on travel on people out of their own homes or within the state.
2. Isolation due to restrictions on travel on people outside the state to visit Kashmir although it has been officially lifted.
3. Inability to contact near and dear ones and subsequent inability to know about their well-being because of the blockade on telephone and internet services although post-paid services have been recently allowed.
4. Social isolation through restrictions on TV and news updates resulting in inability to assess their own situation.
5. Inability to access medical facilities leading to loss of life and adversely affecting health.
6. Harassment from security forces leading to fear of life and protection of fundamental rights.
7. Inability for teachers and children to attend school in spite of the announcement of exam dates.
8. Mental health issues from the trauma of fear and isolation.
9. Inability to access their local elected representatives and administration for redressing their concerns and grievances.
10. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression restrictions as all outlets are shut down or inaccessible.
11. Scientific collaboration and progress affected as communication, travel, and access to facilities are shutdown.
12. Livelihood loss.
Every experience listed above is based on ground realities. We believe that continuing the blockade and brutal use of force will only further alienate millions of Kashmiris. Any effort that does not take the elected representatives and political leadership of the people of Kashmir into confidence will only further escalate the conflicts in the region. Wide-spread military enforcement and intelligence efforts place an undue burden on peace-loving people leading to increased mental health issues and decreased sense of belonging on the common man, woman, and child of Kashmir. We need to ensure our efforts are aimed at protecting our allies (peace-loving Kashmiri citizens) instead of penalizing them for the actions of the criminal minority. We emphasize the need to have a roadmap for the people experiencing distress. Therefore, we request the following steps for restoring the faith of Kashmiris in democracy.
Fair and respectful treatment of fellow citizens.
1. Lift the information blockade immediately and restore fundamental rights for all citizens.
2. Train army/defense personnel patrolling the region in civilian communication and engagement strategies, so they refrain from hostile and threatening behaviours that affect the fundamental rights of the local Kashmiris.
Education and health
1. Give students who fell behind during the academic year the opportunity to make up for their loss by deferring examinations, relaxing syllabi, and allowing catch-up with lost time.
2. Ensure students are not afraid to attend schools and colleges.
3. Provide mental health support to students who have experienced trauma and harassment.
4. Encourage and ensure participation from local political leadership and parents, and coordination with the administration to supervise and maintain peace in schools and colleges to resume educational services.
5. Provide reprieve and remedial measures for students who secured admissions to courses within and outside the state, but could not follow through and secure those positions as a result of the blockade.
6. Provide reprieve and remedial measures for candidates who got jobs outside the state but could not follow through and secure those positions as a result of the blockade.
7. Provide reprieve and remedial measures for researchers/professors who lost important national and international grant deadlines.
8. Provide reprieve and remedial measures for researchers/professors whose access to funds and other resources were affected.
9. Provide salary and contingency to affected research scholars.
Restore rights that rest of Indian enjoys
1. Allow unrestricted access to the media so that the rest of the world can listen to what Kashmiris feel about the abrogation of 370.
2. Allow unrestricted access to political leaders, especially from neutral third parties to provide unbiased view of ground realities, to assess the situation on the ground.
Jobs and livelihood
1. Organize the unemployed youth and establish vocational training/rehabilitation to generate employment.
2. Restore access to communication, food and medical supplies, trade and markets, and transportation.
3. Compensate people for their losses and economic hardships.
4. Ensure the protection of jobs and livelihoods, as well as the life and liberty of the people of Kashmir.
5. Maintain transparency when detaining people and release details of people who are held.
6. Stop the transfer of political prisoners out of state with immediate effect and take measures for the immediate return of those transferred out of state.
7. Restore the right to peacefully assemble and protest.
8. Release political prisoners and ensure due democratic process.
9. Maintain transparency and meet obligations on Right to Information (RTI) requests.
10. Expedition and cooperation from Govt of India on various Public Interest Petitions in the Indian Supreme Court.
Last, but not least, we request a compassionate approach based on universal love and brotherhood, based on the principles of kindness and humanity, to understand and respect the democratic aspirations of the Indian citizens living in the state of Kashmir. We request that love and respect for fundamental rights and diversity be the guiding principles.
Scientists for Peace, Progress, and Prosperity are a group of people who are citizens and residents of many different countries, followers of many different religions or no religion, and believers of equality, equal rights and non-discrimination. As signatories to this statement, we hold multiple views on the issue of Article 370 and other substantive questions about the conflict in Kashmir. However, we all agree on the above points and request immediate relief for the millions of people of Kashmir and the lifting of the blockade in Kashmir that is endangering their lives, livelihoods, and future.
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Children and youth
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Health and Social health
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Gender violence and human rights
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Communication and Media
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The Request for immediate relief from Kashmir blockade petition to Global was written by Syam Anand and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.