Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
TORONTO – Kashmiris living in the Greater Toronto showcased their artwork on Sept 21. Their work was displayed at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm. Called ‘Kashmiri Resistance Art,’ this exhibit displays Kashmiri peoples’ responses to the siege by the Indian government. It is a response to colonial aggressions, military occupation and widespread atrocities against the Indigenous people of the valley.
At the time, it was 48 days, or 7 weeks as of Sept 21 since India imposed a communications blockade [no internet or phones] and unilaterally ended its constitutional relationship with Kashmir, while simultaneously imposing direct colonial authority. Since then, International rights monitoring bodies have criticized India for collectively punishing millions of innocent Indigenous Kashmiris. Kashmiris in Kashmir have been silenced, they are unable to communicate with each other or the rest of the world. The free press has been threatened, attacked, and repressed from reporting what is happening there. Meanwhile, Kashmiris economy has collapsed due to the lockdown and restrictions, and the healthcare crisis is worsening each day.
This Exhibit is a place where some Kashmiri Canadians are choosing to tell their stories. “Art voice allows our community members to share what’s on their mind, be heard, during a moment of an unprecedented crisis. This is their way of communicating how they’re grappling with not having access to their loved ones under a lock-down and blanket blockade for 7 weeks…” said Binish Ahmed, a Kashmiri artist, academic and Director of Kashmir Gulposh.
Over 15 Kashmiri artists of all ages have registered to exhibit their work. Their works speak to the impact of 70+ years of militarized occupation and colonization, attempted land grab, demographic change, and genocidal violence. They are looking forward to displaying their work. We invite the Toronto community at-large to come spend time with us.
Genocide Alert: Kashmir India
August 15, 2019
Genocide Watch is issuing a Genocide Alert for India Administered Kashmir.
On August 4, 2019, the Indian Parliament revoked the Special Autonomous Status of India Administered Jammu and Kashmir under Section 35a, and Article 370 of the Constitution of India. India has over 600,000 troops in Kashmir. Movement of people and freedom of the press are restricted. India has cut off internet communications.
At the time of Indian and Pakistani independence in 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state with a majority of Hindus in Jammu and a majority of Muslims in Kashmir. During Partition, its Hindu Maharaja chose to remain independent. When Pashtun militias invaded from Pakistan, the Maharaja acceded to the Union of India and India airlifted in troops. Under Article 370, his accession could be revoked through a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
Fighting between Pakistani militias and Indian troops ensued. India took a dispute with Pakistan to the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 47 of 1948. It called for withdrawal of Pakistani fighters and reduction of Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. It also called for a plebiscite to determine Jammu and Kashmir’s future. The plebiscite has never been held. India and Pakistan both assert sovereignty over Kashmir. They divide the territory along the “line of control.” They have fought three wars since independence. Both nations have nuclear weapons.
In 1984, Kashmiri Muslim youth began demonstrations for Kashmiri indigenous self-determination that were crushed by Indian armed forces. Riots destroyed Hindu properties in 1986; armed Muslim insurgents targeted Hindus in 1989; and in 1990, over 100,000 Hindu pandits fled from Kashmir. Human Rights Watch reported that 50,000 people were killed in Kashmir from 1989 to 2006. The Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has evidence of 2,730 bodies buried in 40 mass graves. The Commission reported over 8000 disappearances. The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said that by 2016, there were over 70,000 killings, most by Indian forces. Amnesty International reports that disappearances, torture and rape by Indian Army units against Kashmiri Muslims are common.
Applying Prof. Barbara Harff’s risk factors for genocide, the following are early warnings of massacres in Kashmir:
- Prior genocidal massacres and continuing impunity for such killings;
- Continued armed conflict between India and Pakistan over border areas in Kashmir;
- An exclusionary ideology of “Hindutva” – India as Hindu nation – by Modi’s ruling BJP;
- Authoritarian military rule without legal restraints imposed by civilian Indian officials;
- Rule by a minority military force (Hindus and Sikhs) over majority Muslim citizens;
- Cut-off of communications and outside access by internet, media, and trade;
- Widespread violations of basic human rights – torture, rape, 2-year detentions without charge, arbitrary arrests and deportations of Muslim political and human rights leaders.
Genocide Watch’s Ten Stages of the genocidal process are also far advanced:
- Classification: Hindu and Sikh Indian Army “us” vs. Kashmiri Muslim civilian “them;”
- Symbolization: Muslims have Muslim names (on ID cards), Kashmiri language, dress, mosques;
- Discrimination: Hindu pandits were economically dominant until 1990; BJP reasserted Hindu power;
- Dehumanization: Muslims are called “terrorists”, “separatists,” “criminals,” “insurgents;”
- Organization: 600,000 heavily armed Indian Army troops and police dominate Kashmir;
- Polarization: Modi and the BJP incite anti-Muslim hatred; social media spread falsehoods;
- Preparation: The Indian Army occupies Kashmir; BJP leaders speak of the “Final Solution” for Kashmir;
- Persecution: Kashmiri Muslims are locked down, subject to arrest, torture, rape, and murder;
- Extermination: Genocidal massacres occurred during Partition; since 1990, there have been at least 25 massacres with death tolls over 25: 10 of Muslims by Indian troops; 15 of Hindus by Muslim militants;
- Denial: Modi and BJP say their goals are to “bring prosperity” and “end terrorism”; they deny any massacres. No Indian Army troops or police are ever tried for torture, rape or murder. Modi’s takeover is popular in India.
Genocide Watch calls upon the United Nations and its members to warn India not to commit genocide in Kashmir.