THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 17 AUGUST, 2019
Kashmir Protests Continue, Curfew Lifted Partially
Curfew relaxed in some areas
SRINAGAR: Demonstrations in Kashmir continued with photographer Basit Zargar sending the following photographs yesterday, August 16. However, curfew today has been relaxed on 35 police stations with vehicles now visible on Srinagar roads.
Independence Day was celebrated amidst tight curfew as Zargar’s photographs of August 15 indicate:
Meanwhile protests on the government decisions on Kashmir were added to by over 200 writers and cultural activists now demanding “the state of siege in Jammu & Kashmir be lifted, and all basic freedoms — including those of free expression, communication and media freedoms — be restored with immediate effect. We demand the restoration of Article 370, and the restoration of the state of Jammu & Kashmir.”
The statement signed by prominent writers reads, “By revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and splitting it up into two union territories, the central government has made a mockery of democracy. It has violated the solemn promises made to the state of Jammu & Kashmir by the Union of India during the accession of the state in 1947.
The abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the breakup of the state has been executed unilaterally, clandestinely and coercively. The people — across religious, cultural, ethnic and ideological segments — have not been consulted. Indeed, the unprecedented security and information clampdown in the state since 5th August 2019 is proof of the government’s fear of popular discontent and democratic dissent.
We, Indians who are writers, artists, media persons and cultural activists, condemn the undemocratic and unconstitutional moves of the government in Jammu & Kashmir. We condemn the government’s division of people and territories from above, subverting the very basis of our constitutional federalism. We condemn the state of siege imposed on the people of a state already suffering for many long years.
We demand that the state of siege in Jammu & Kashmir be lifted, and all basic freedoms — including those of free expression, communication and media freedoms — be restored with immediate effect. We demand the restoration of Article 370, and the restoration of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. We declare our solidarity with the Kashmiri people, and call on all our fellow citizens to resist this authoritarian challenge to the freedom and autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir.”