September 26, 2023
As Kashmirs we have been following the news of the targeted hate attacks by the Indian state towards the Sikh community in Canada, UK, US, India and beyond for some time. Today, we take a moment to express our unconditional solidarity with the Sikh community in Canada and worldwide as they grieve, and call for accountability in the assassination of brother Hardeep Singh Nijjar. We express our condolences to the loved ones of the slain brother Hardeep, who was gunned down outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara by Indian-state agents on June 18, 2023. He will be remembered in our community as a beloved and thoughtful Sikh community leader who exercised his rights to freely and firmly express the vision he had for his community, and whose loved ones we will continue to keep in our thoughts and prayers.
The Sikh community are well known for their exemplary lived-ethics, work of seva (mutual aid/community care) and contributing vibrantly to the cultural life of all communities they are part of.
Sadly, the Indian settler-colonial regime has a long history of targeted violence towards the Sikh community in so-called India, Canada and beyond. The Sikh community has been raising issues pertaining to violation of their fundamental human rights, infiltration and suppression of movements for justice and safety by the Indian state for decades. They have been demanding accountability in the death of brother Hardeep since June 18, 2023 and have publicly long-made-known that this was a targeted assassination by Indian agents.
Today we are happy to see the challenges faced by the Sikhs finally acknowledged in the mainstream media and become the subject of public discussions, however are disappointed to see that it took the targeted-assassination of yet another Sikh leader by the settler-colonial Indian regime, who had to have Canadian citizenship in order to matter, and receive public empathy and recognition.
All Sikh lives as well as freedoms are sacred and matter, regardless of where they are in the world. To the Sikh community – please know that we believe you matter wherever you are, regardless of what citizenship status you hold. Your Sikh lives and freedoms mattered yesterday, matter today, and we will continue to hold space for you in solidarity.
Like the Sikh community, members of the Kashmiri community based in Canada are subjected to targeted hate based attacks and violence by the settler-colonial fascist Hindu supremacist Indian nationalists and state agents. This hate comes in the form of physcal assaults, death and rape threats, and various forms of harrassment in-person and online. Additionally, Kashmiris with Canadian citizenship are prevented from entering Kashmir via India at Indian airports despite having valid travel documents such as passports and visas. Furthermore, when they attempt to leave India, they experience arbitrary prevention from traveling and leaving India at the airports, even when they hold a Canadian passport, for example, by being blocked from boarding flights at airports (including while traveling with children.)
A genocide is ongoing in Kashmir: since the 1990s, mass rapes have been ordered and committed by Indian military, hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris have been arbitrarily arrested, detained, mass blinded and maimed with pellet guns by the Indian armed forces, killed and disappeared. No trials to hold the Indian military to account to date have taken place, and Kashmiris continue to seek accountability and justice to unfold at the international bodies such as the International Criminal Court.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 and Sec 35A on Aug. 5, 2019, and prior, self-determining Kashmiris have never given consent to the theft of their lands by the Indian state’s genocidal colonial corporate development schemes, for extraction, or to change to laws governing Indigenous Kashmiri jurisdiction, or membership. Both before and after the illegal annexation of Kashmir, India has used militarized policing with complete impunity, and the world’s longest internet/communication shutdowns to repress our resistance movement for self-determination. Between 2019 and 2021 alone, approximately 10,000 women have been reported missing in Jammu and Kashmir. Since 2019, there have been widespread and frequent internet shutdowns and surveillance; local media in the region has been decimated to be replaced with the fascist state’s mouthpieces; hundreds of journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders like the world renowned Kashmiri human rights defender, Khurram Parvez, and journalist/Editor in Chief of the Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shad, have been incarcerated indefinitely under trumped-up arbitrary charges.
Religious freedoms of the Muslim Kashmiri population have been suppressed, descent or protests are punished and suppressed with mass incarceration and imprisonment under India’s draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA.)
Since Aug 5, 2019, India has cut down hundreds and thousands of trees in Jammu & Kashmir, accelerated deforestation, contributing to the climate change catastrophe, eviction of our tribal kin – the Bakarwals from their communal and forest homes. There is just no justice for Kashmiris under India’s genocidal settler-colonial occupation.
We are witnessing the same mass scale violent practices that have been used in Kashmir and for Kashmiris globally being applied by the settler-colonial Indian state against Sikhs, Muslims, Advasis, Dalits, and other minority communities.
It is clear to us that our liberation and freedom is connected with the freedom, liberation and protection of rights of all oppressed peoples. We are united in rage, grief, and love. We will continue to co-resist the ceding of rights of these communities, and remain united as allies in the face of the ongoing pressures to divide our movements for liberation and justice.
Today we scream loud and clear: justice and Azaadi for the Sikh and Kashmiri communities!
- an end to intelligence sharing, and state-surveillance between India and Canada that compromises the safety of Kashmiris and Sikhs and violates their fundamental and collective rights, and premised on the criminalization of our communities
- the release of all arbitrarily detained political prisoners and prisoners of conscious
- an end to the repression of dissent and peaceful protests
- an end to violent police and military actions against peaceful protests
- an end to suppression of fundamental human rights
- an end to the collective punishment of Kashmiri and Sikh communities for exercising their fundamental human rights
- an end to the muzzling information and internet shutdowns
If you are an individual or an organization interested in supporting us and being an ally, please write to us at ContactUs@KashmirGulposh.com