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Apprehensive Of India’s Future As A Democracy: Shahidul Alam, Anuradha Roy & 249 Academics, Artists Express Solidarity With Jammu and Kashmir

"We are gravely concerned by the Govt of India’s silencing of voices of dissent, and detention of social activists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders."

The undersigned citizens of and friends of South Asia, who stand in solidarity with all freedom-loving citizens of this region, release this statement on Jammu and Kashmir.

We are deeply concerned by recent political developments in Jammu and Kashmir. We are distraught that the people of this beleaguered land, who have lived with violence and political disempowerment for decades, have now been subjected to a further erosion of their rights under the intensified military suppression of the last ten days.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution represented an historical understanding between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian state. On 5 August 2019, not only was Article 370 abrogated, but the very statehood of Jammu and Kashmir was abolished, bringing the region under New Delhi’s direct rule. The manner in which these abrogations were accomplished, through executive order and in the absence of a state legislature, is a betrayal of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, whose elected representatives were never consulted. This is a sharp departure from democratic governance, and the constitutional validity of these decisions has been rightfully challenged.

We condemn the curtailment of civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir: the blackout of telecommunications and internet services; the severe restrictions on media and on the freedoms of movement, peaceful assembly, and protest; and the violent suppression of demonstrations. These are all violations of international human rights obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which India ratified in 1979.

We are alarmed by credible media reports of security forces having opened fire on peaceful protestors and disturbed by the denials issued by the authorities, who have gone on to accuse journalists of fabrication. We are gravely concerned by the Government of India’s silencing of voices of dissent, and detention of social activists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders. We condemn the Government of India’s use of majoritarian populism to perpetuate a climate of fear across the country.

These actions of the Government of India exhibit a complete lack of respect for constitutionalism, secularism, and democratic values. This does not bode well for India’s people, who have, uniquely in South Asia, benefited from decades of democratic rule. We are apprehensive of India’s future as a democracy and the implications that this degeneration will have on its population of 1.2 billion as well as on the rest of the subcontinent.

We urge the Government of India to immediately end the inhuman clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, to restore civil liberties as well as the flow of information, to immediately release all political detainees and prisoners, and to enter into dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the middle of August, when we are meant to celebrate independence from colonialism, we condemn this regression towards despotic rule. We stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and with people across India and South Asia who aspire to peace, prosperity, and fundamental freedoms.

Signed by:

1.A.S. Panneerselvan, journalist, Chennai

2.Asma Naeem, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

3.Aamina Ahmad, teacher, Berkeley, California

4.Abdul Hameed Nayyar, retired from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

5.Abhinit Khanna, independent arts manager, Mumbai

6.Aditi Adhikari, educator/ researcher, Kathmandu

7.Aftab Ahmad (PhD from JNU), Lecturer at Columbia University, New York

8.Ajay Bhardwaj, PhD candidate, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

9.Ajay Skaria, Professor of History and Global Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

10.Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University

11.Akhila L. Ananth, Ass. Professor in the School of Criminal Justice, California State University, Los Angeles

12.Alan Hill, Lecturer, RMIT University, Melbourne

13.Alex Mabanta; student; University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; Berkeley, CA

14.Alicia Virani, attorney, Los Angeles

15.Alok Adhikari, film editor, Kathmandu

16.Amar Singh, Amar and Associates Management Consultants, Napa, California USA

17.Ambika Malik, education consultant, Delhi

18.Ameer Faaiz, attorney, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka

19.Anahita Mukherji, independent journalist, San Francisco Bay Area

20.Anasuya Sengupta, poet, Bengaluru

21.Andrew Brandel, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

22.Angana Chatterji, University of California – Berkeley

23.Ania Loomba, English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania

24.Anitha Pottamkulam, civil society organizer, Chennai

25.Anjali Arondekar, Assistant Prof. of Feminist Studies and Comparative Literature, Univ. of California – Santa Cruz and Los Angeles

26.Anjali Monteiro, filmmaker and academic, Mumbai

27.Anne Murphy; University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC, Canada

28.Annemari de Silva, researcher, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo

29.Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Professor, Univ. of Rhode Island, Rhode Island, USA and Bangalore, India

30.Anu Muhammad, Professor of Economics, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka

31.Anuradha Roy, Professor of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

32.Anurati Srivastva, Designer, Delhi

33.Anusheh Anadil, musician and artist, Dhaka

34.Anushka Meenakshi, filmmaker, Pondicherry

35.Ari Larissa Heinrich, Professor of Literature, University of California – San Diego

36.Arnico Panday, atmospheric scientist, Kathmandu

37.Arpana Pandey, international development worker, Finland

38.Arthur Kleinman, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University

39.Arup Rahee; poet, singer, writer; Dhaka

40.Asanda Benya, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, South Africa

41.Astrid Hoops, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

42.Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University, Massachusetts

43.Ayusha Shrestha, Founder Director, Choo Mark & Futch, Lalitpur, Nepal

44.Azhar Saleha Athar, Mississauga, Toronto

45.Aziz Fatima Hasnain, Secretary General, Centre for Physics Education, Karachi

46.Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Department of Religion, Hofstra University, New York

47.Baseer Naweed, executive director, International Human Rights Council, Hong Kong

48.Beena Sarwar, journalist, Boston/Karachi

49.Benjamin Fildier, climate scientist, Paris

50.Bhaskar Sarkar, Professor of Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara

51.Bhavani Fonseka, Senior Researcher and Attorney, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo

52.Bhupinder Singh Juneja, doctoral Student,

53.Candace Fujikane, Associate Professor of English, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu

54.Carmody Grey, professor, Durham University

55.Carola Lorea, Singapore, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

56.Catharine Neilson, photographer, Melbourne

57.Catherine Masud, filmmaker, Salem, Connecticut

58.Cathy Gere, Professor of History of Science and Medicine and Director, Science Studies Program, Department of History, UC San Diego

59.Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies & Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

60.Chiara Letizia, Professor, UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Montreal

61.Chulani Kodikara, Colombo

62.Cristina Venegas, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

63.Cynthia Franklin, Professor of English, University of Hawai’I, Honolulu

64.David Gordon White, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara

65.David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Stanford University, Palo Alto

66.David Lelyveld, Professor of History (retired), William Paterson University, USA

67.Debjani Bhattacharyya, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Drexel University, USA

68.Dia Da Costa, Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

69.Dwijo Goswami, consultant, New Delhi

70.Eelum Dixit, filmmaker, Lalitpur, Nepal

71.Elisabeth Weber, professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

72.Farida Akhter, women’s rights activist, Dhaka

73.Gayatri Singh, librarian, UC San Diego

74.Geeta Patel; translator, researcher, writer; Charlottesville, USA

75.Gyanendra Pandey, historian, Emory University

76.Harsh Kapoor, editor, South Asia Citizens Web, Montpellier, France

77.Heidi Grunebaum, Assistant Professor, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

78.Himali Dixit, anthropologist and activist, Kathmandu

79.Imran Jamal, PhD candidate, SOAS, London

80.Indrani Chatterjee, University of Texas at Austin, USA

81.Jan Grey, bereavement counsellor, Sussex

82.Jinee Lokaneeta; professor, Drew University; Madison, New Jersey

83.Joel Lee, Assistant Professor, Williams College, USA

84.Julie A. Carlson, Professor of English, Santa Barbara CA, USA

85.Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Boston, USA

86.Jyotirmoy Barua, advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, human rights activist

87.Jyotsna du Ciel, multi-disciplinary artist, Los Angeles

88.K. P. Jayasankar, filmmaker and academic, Mumbai

89.Kamala Visweswaran, Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

90.Kamayani Bali Mahabal, feminist and human rights activist, Mumbai

91.Karan Shrestha, Artist and Filmmaker, Kathmandu/Mumbai

92.Kelly Hussey-Smith, lecturer, RMIT University, Melbourne

93.Khyber Farahi, Graduate Student of Public Administration, Harvard Kennedy

94.Kul Chandra Gautam, Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, New York

95.Laila Shereen Sakr, Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

96.Lamiya Mowla, Graduate student of Astronomy, Yale University, USA

97.Lenin Raghuvanshi, founder and CEO, PVCHR

98.Liam Ward, Lecturer in Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne

99.Lubna Marium, researcher in arts and culture, Dhaka

100.M. V. Ramana, Professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver

101.Mac Haque, musician, Dhaka

102.Madhumitha Krishnan, University of California, Berkeley

103.Maheen Zia, filmmaker, Karachi

104.Mahmud Rahman, writer and translator, San Francisco Bay Area, USA

105.Malabika Majumdar, India

106.Malathi de Alwis, Socio-Cultural Anthropologist, Colombo

107.Manel Fonseka, Sri Lanka

108.Mario Gomez, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka

109.Marisa de Silva, activist, Sri Lanka

110.Marta Gutman, City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center, New York

111.Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, The University of Chicago, Chicago

112.Mary Hancock, Professor of Anthropology and History, University of California, Santa Barbara

113.Masood Khan, Architect and Heritage Conservation Professional, Needham, Massachusetts

114.Mayfair Yang, Religious Studies & East Asian Studies Departments, University of California, Santa Barbara

115.Meera Sehgal, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

116.Meghna Guhathakurta, researcher, Dhaka

117.Milin George, HR Manager at Nandi Housing Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore

118.Moazzam Sheikh, librarian and author, San Francisco

119.Mubasher Rashid Rather, PhD Student, Watergam, Rafiabad, Baramulla, Kashmir

120.Mubina Qureshi, Freelancer / Academician, St Paul, Minnesota

121.Muhammad Amjad, Retired Pakistan Government Servant, Rawalpindi

122.Muktasree Chakma, rights activist, Bangladesh

123.Nalaka Gunawardene, writer and media analyst, Colombo

124.Nasim Banu Jamuna, photographer, Dhaka

125.Nausheen Ahmad, advocate, Karachi

126.Naveeda Khan, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

127.Nayan Shah, Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

128.Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati; photographer and curator; Kathmandu

129.Nikhil Anand, Associate Professor of Anthropology University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

130.Ninel Fernando, Colombo

131.Nisha Thapa, social worker and healthcare professional, San Francisco

132.Nur Khan Md., human rights activist

133.Naila Zaman Khan, Director, Clinical Neuroscineces Center and Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation

134.Nyla Ali Khan, Commissioner of the Oklahoma Commission of the Status on Women and Member of the International Team of the Governor of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City

135.Omar Tarek Chowdhury; author, translator and publisher; Dhaka

136.P. Muthulingam, Colombo

137.Panini Edirisinhe, Colombo

138.Pankaj Bisht, Editor, Samayantar monthly, Delhi

139.Parama Roy, Professor of English, University of California – Davis

140.Parsa S. Sajid, Editor, Fragments Magazine, Dhaka

141.Partha Chatterjee, professor, Columbia University, New York

142.Patrick Anderson, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication and Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

143.Paul Amar, professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

144.Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Department of Media Culture and Communication and the Gallatin School, New York University

145.Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dept of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

146.Peter Rachleff, Co-Executive Director, East Side Freedom Library, St. Paul, Minnesota

147.Petra Lamberson, PhD student, University of California, Berkeley, USA

148.Petra Costa, Filmmaker, São Paulo

149.Piya Chatterjee, Professor, Scripps College, Claremont, California

150.Ponni Arasu, Chennai

151.Prajwal Raj Gyawali, Lawyer, Kampala

152.Pranika Koyu, researcher/poet, Kathmandu

153.Prathama, mental health professional, Kathmandu

154.Prawin Adhikari, writer, Kathmandu

155.Preet Shah, women and children empowerment professional, Kathmandu

156.Preeti Chopra; faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Madison

157.Prerna Gupta; Ph.D. student, University of British Columbia; Vancouver

158.Projit Bihari Mukharji, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

159.Purnima Bose, Associate Professor, International Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

160.Qadri Ismail, professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

161.R. Radhakrishnan, Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative and African American Literature

162.Rachel Sturman, Associate Professor, Department of History & Asian Studies Program, Bowdoin College

163.Rachel Spence, poet and arts writer, London

164.Raghavendra Rao K.V., visual artist, Vancouver

165.Rahnuma Ahmed, writer, Dhaka

166.Raja Swamy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee

167.Rana Behal, Fellow, Max Weber Centre of Advance Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, Germany

168.Ranitha Gnanarajah, AAL, Colombo

169.Rashid Latif Ansari, retired civil servant, Toronto

170.Rasik Patel, dentist, San Jose

171.Raviraj Shetty, Lead Therapist and Project Manager, Ummeed Child Development Center, Mumbai

172.Raza Rumi, Editor, NayaDaur Media, Lahore

173.Reeta C. Tremblay, professor, University of Victoria

174.Richa Nagar, professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul

175.Ritty Lucose, professor of Anthropology and South Asia Studies, New York University, NY

176.Ruchhita Kazaria, advertising professional and peace activist, Kolkata

177.Ruchi Chaturvedi, Sr. Lecturer, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

178.Rupal Oza, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, Hunter College, New York

179.Rupert Grey, solicitor, London

180.Saad Quasem, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

181.Sadia Tasleem, Lecturer in Defence & Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

182.Sakuntala Kadirgamar, Executive Director, Law & Society Trust, Colombo

183.Samarth Mahajan, filmmaker, Mumbai

184.Samia Khatun, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, London

185.Sandhya Shukla, Associate Professor of English and American Studies, University of Virginia

186.Sandra Laugier, Professor of Philosophy, Université Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris

187.Saniaa Shah, Creative Director, Studio Aakar, Lalitpur, Nepal

188.Sapana Sakya, media-arts professional, San Francisco, California

189.Sarah Hoenicke, student, Comparative Literature, University of California – Irvine

190.Saraswati Das, architect, New Delhi/Los Angeles

191.Sareena Khemka, artist, Bangalore

192.Saundarya Thapa, film researcher, Los Angeles

193.Saurabh Mishra, Lecturer, University of Sheffield

194.Saymon Zakaria, Assistant Director, Bangla Acadamy, Dhaka, Bangladesh

195.Seema Nusrat Amin, Lecturer, Brac University, Dhaka

196.Sehba Sarwar, writer, Los Angeles, USA

197.Shahidul Alam, photographer, Dhaka

198.Shaista Patel, Assistant Professor of Critical Muslim Studies, University of California, San Diego

199.Shamik Mishra, archivist, Kathmandu

200.Shareen Tuladhar, development worker, Kathmandu

201.Shari Daya, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Cape Town

202.Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, filmmaker, Karachi

203.Sharni Jayawardena, photographer/documentary filmmaker, Colombo, Sri Lanka

204.Shefali Chandra, Washington University in St Louis

205.Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University

206.Shireen P Huq, Member, Naripokkho, Dhaka

207.Shreen Saroor, Women’s Action Network, Colombo

208.Shruti Jain; data scientist; Palo Alto, California

209.Shubhecha Tewari, Kathmandu, Nepal

210.Shumaila Hemani; ethnomusicologist; University of Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta

211.Shweta Bajaj, journalist, New Delhi

212.Simone Mestroni, anthropologist, Udine

213.Siraj Khan, Global non-profit professional, Boston

214.Sitralega Maunaguru, Colombo

215.Smita Patel, director of communications, San Jose, California

216.Sofia Karim, Architect/Artist, London

217.Som Niroula, human rights activist, South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu

218.Somak Mukherjee, PhD Student and Researcher, University of California-Santa Barbara

219.Sreela Sarkar, Assistant Professor of Communications, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara

220.Srinidhi, writer and activist, Hyderabad

221.Stefan Fiol, University of Cincinnati, Associate Professor of Music

222.Stephen Legg, University of Nottingham, UK

223.Steve Brown, railway activist, Oakland, California

224.Subrat Kumar Sahu, independent filmmaker, New Delhi

225.Sumanth Gopinath, Associate Professor of Music Theory, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

226.Summar Khan, student, University of California – Berkeley

227.Sunaina Maira, professor, University of California-Davis, Oakland, USA

228.Sushila Sharma, Project Manager, Planete Enfants and Development Nepal, Lalitpur

229.Sushmita Jha, Delhi

230.Swati Chattopadhyay, Professor, History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara

231.Syed M. Ali, Anthropologist/Adjunct Professor, Washington D.C

232.Tapan Bose, human rights activist, New Delhi

233.Tom Maliti, journalist, Nairobi

234.Torsa Ghosal, Assistant Professor, California State University, Sacramento/ Calcutta

235.Trupti Kanade, cinema researcher, Bombay

236.Tuni Chatterji; filmmaker; Los Angeles

237.Utkarsh Chawla, student, Boudha, Kathmandu

238.Vasuki Nesiah, Associate Professor of Practice, The Gallatin School, New York University

239.Veena Gokhale, writer, Montreal

240.Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

241.Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of English, Univ. of Johannesburg, South Africa

242.Vijaya Nagarajan, Assoc. Prof. of Theology & Religious Studies, Program in Environmental Studies, University of San Francisco

243.Vinay Lal, Professor of History, UCLA, Los Angeles

244.Vinod Ravindran, theatre person, Bangalore

245.Vishal Sharma, student, Shimla

246.William Elison, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

247.Yanick Noiseux, professor, Université de Montréal, Montréal

248.Yasmin Jiwani, professor, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

249.Yousuf Saeed, independent filmmaker and writer, New Delhi, India

250.Zafrullah Chowdhury, Trustee, Gonoshasthaya Kendra

251.Zia Mian, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University

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