Taking cognisance of the lockdown in Kashmir, several Indian academics and scientists have written an open letter to the government, asking for communication and normal life to be restored in the valley.
“We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Kashmir and offer our support to those outside Kashmir, who have been cut off from their families and friends as a result of these decisions taken by the government of India. We remind the government that it is duty-bound to uphold the rights and protect the welfare of all of its citizens. In line with these obligations, we call on the government to immediately restore full communications in Kashmir, lift the security restrictions that are hampering ordinary life, release dissidents and opposition leaders, and conduct transparent and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights abuses,” states the letter.
There are 504 signatories from various areas of academics and science who have signed the letter, including people from eminent institutions such as IITs, Delhi University, TIFR (Hyderabad), JNU, IISc (Bengaluru), AIIMS and some foreign institutes as well. They’ve drawn attention to the alleged human rights violations by Indian security forces in the valley, and have asked for appropriate action to be taken immediately.
The signatories have also stated that they are appalled by the government’s restrictions telecommunication and the Internet in Kashmir, and have stated that the lockdown has made it difficult for medical services to be provided to those in need.
“Moreover, credible reports suggest that these restrictions have made it difficult for ordinary people in Kashmir to procure medical and essential supplies or even for children to attend school,” the letter said.
“We believe the government’s actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic. Whatever views one might hold about these individuals, a fundamental norm in a democracy is that the party in power does not have the right to lock up its political opponents when they have not even been accused of any crimes,” it added.
It has been a month since Article 370 was revoked and a massive information and communication blockade has been enforced in Kashmir.