Delhi witnessed protests against the communication blackout and an alleged crackdown on a Muharram procession in Kashmir at Jantar Mantar on Ashura, the 10th Day of Muharram, today.
“Women in Kashmir used to organise protests demanding the whereabouts of their loved ones who were made to disappear by the Army on the tenth day of each month, which they obviously can no longer do. We are here to extend solidarity to those women and to the people of Kashmir,” said Annie Raja, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Women (NIFW), at the protest site.
“For over a month, their freedom of movement, the right to protest, to access healthcare, to perform rituals etc have been violated. We demand that the government should restore their freedom,” she added.
Aparna, president of Indian Federation of Trade Union, added that even the struggle demanding justice for survivor of rape cases in Kashmir was yet to find closure, for which, she said, the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) needed to be revoked from Kashmir.
“In front of Verma Commission too, women had demanded that at least the issue of violence against women should be kept outside the purview of AFSPA, and that it should be dealt by courts. However, the demand was not listened to,” she said.
“Now even more army has been sent. It should be back to barracks and democracy restored,” she added.
Noted peace activist and documentary-filmmaker Tapan Bose said that the government was clearly biased against Muslims.
In another protest held at the same site, some Delhi-based Kashmiri students were seen enacting a ‘funeral of democracy’, sitting with black cloth tied around their mouths. The cloth read: #StandwithKashmir.
They had also made a cage in which four Kashmiris were sitting down, to protest against house arrest of politicians and activists in Kashmir.
Faaiq, a Kashmiri student at the protest site, said: “If you see normalcy in a 36-day blackout, then it is a matter of grave concern”.
“Those who are silent when others are oppressed are siding with the oppressors,” Mohsin said, quoting Imam Hussain, and added that, “They are not just silent but are rejoicing lockdown of 8 million people.”