Right to self determination should be granted to people of Kashmir'

‘Right to self determination should be granted to people of Kashmir’, argue activists

Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Asad Ashraf | Edited by: Swati Bhasin
In a seminar organised on Tuesday by the political science department of Jamia Millia Islamia, to discuss the Kunan Poshpora mass rape incident that took place in Kashmir more than two decades ago, activists, writers, thinkers, and acadimicians congregated to shed light on the prevailing political crisis in the Kashmir valley.

Human rights defender and eminent scholar Gautam Navlakha chaired the session while Sukumar Murlidhar, a veteran journalist, Uzma Falak, a writer from the valley and Warisha Farasat, Delhi based lawyer participated in the programe as speakers.

Giving the context of resolution passed in the United Nations, Navlakha, while addressing the gathering, advocated the right to self determination to be granted to the people of Kashmir. Drawing parallels between the history of Kashmir, Scotland and Czechoslovakia, he argued that even in the modern nations, right to self determination should not remain an alien question.

Commenting on the incident of mass rape in Kunan Pushpora, where 60 women were allegedly raped by the military forces on the fateful night of February 24 in 1991, he said, “The incident once again exposes the kind of impunity the security forces enjoy in the valley, that they can go to the extent of committing a heinous crime like this.”

Talking further about the political history of Kashmir he described the crisis as an unfinished agenda of the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan which needs to be solved at the earliest.

Murlidharan who also adressed the gathering mainly spoke on the human rights violations in Kashmir. Talking about the accountability of the government with regards to the crimes committed by security forces in the valley, he said, “We cannot expect the state to uphold the rule of law in Kashmir as it is the institution which violates the laws it has itself drafted.”

Delhi based lawyer Farasat also highlighted on the need to withdraw laws like AFSPA, PSA that allow the armed forces to commit such crimes. While explaining the nature of democracies and the role of judiciary, she said, "In Kashmir the judiciary has failed to keep a check on these crimes. May be these people have succumbed to political pressures.” However, she maintained that judiciary still plays a pivotal role in making the officials accountable.

She also the questioned the intention of the then government appoint Press Council of India to investigate into the matter of incident that drew widespread rage instead of appointing a judicial commission. 

Young writer Falak also commented on the political crisis in the state. "Every violation of human rights in Kashmir can be attributed to the political crisis there. It is important to work towards the political solution which can only happen if Kashmiris are given to exercise their right to self determination."