Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners, End the Occupation of Kashmir

We send you this request in hopes of garnering your crucial and valuable support for the letter attached below. This letter is a response to the dire conditions of thousands of Kashmiri political prisoners, both adults and minors, under the Indian Occupation. Your support will help bring global attention to this critical and urgent issue.

Indian Occupation Forces and their 'Fearsome' Targets: Young Kashmiri Boys
Indian Occupation Forces and their ‘Fearsome’ Targets: Young Kashmiri Boys


We send you this request in hopes of garnering your crucial and valuable support for the letter attached below. This letter is a response to the dire conditions of thousands of Kashmiri political prisoners, both adults and minors, under the Indian Occupation.  Your support will help bring global attention to this critical and urgent issue.

On the ground, in Kashmir and elsewhere, we have a concurrent month-long campaign, the “Fast for Freedom,” first initiated via Facebook, which involves optional fasting, sit-ins, protests, lectures, and film-screenings.  This will culminate in civil protests, fasts and sit-ins by various organizations – including the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons(APDP) – and campus events in Srinagar, Delhi, and Berkeley et al, from 9th to 11th February 2014.  It is an opportunity not just for Kashmiris but for all people of conscience to show solidarity with an oppressed people, to protest an illegal military occupation, the illegal detention and torture of thousands of Kashmiri political prisoners, and incessant human rights abuse, including mass graves, fake encounters, forced disappearances, mass and gang-rapes, and daily humiliation under the ongoing military occupation.  (Please see the linked report Alleged Perpetrators for more details.)

Your endorsement of the attached letter will help bring urgently needed political attention to this long-festering issue, as well as help to generate intellectual energy to begin necessary conversations on military occupations with regard to power and privilege, coloniality and postcolonialism, sexual assault as a weapon of war, imperial and decolonial feminisms, the colonial politics of prisons and capital punishment, post/colonial tourism, the construction of the “terrorist,” Islamophobia and other forms of racialization in the context of Kashmir.  

We request you to please sign the online petition “Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners, End the Occupation of Kashmir.”  Thanks!

In solidarity,

Organizers of Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners campaign and the month-long event Fast for Freedom.

List of Links in Order of Appearance:

1. Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons [APDP]:

2. A BBC Report on the widespread torture of Kashmiri political prisoners:

3. An article on the unmarked mass-graves discovered in Kashmir:

4. A Report on “Fake Encounters” by International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir [IPTK]:

5. A Report by the European Union Parliament on “Enforced Disappearances”:

6. An article on mass and gang rapes by the Indian Army in Kashmir:

7. A landmark Report on the “Stories of Impunity from Jammu & Kashmir” researched and produced by IPTK and APDP:

8.  Online petition called “Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners, End the Occupation of Kashmir”:

9. Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners:

10. Fast for Freedom: Return Our Political Prisoners, Return Our Martyrs’ Remains: 

Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners, End the Occupation of Kashmir

We write this letter in solidarity with the people of Kashmir who have been living under one of the most dense military occupations in the world, where for every 15 Kashmiri civilians there is an armed Indian soldier. We express support for the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination by highlighting and opposing the repression of political dissent in Kashmir through military violence and illegal detentions. We centrally demand the release of all Kashmiri political prisoners – including leaders of the resistance kept under illegal indefinite house arrest and hundreds of children and teenagers detained under brutal conditions – and an end to the state culture of harassment and intimidation through spurious court cases against peaceful political dissenters.

Since 1947, Kashmir has often been framed as a region contested between India and Pakistan. However this framing leaves little consideration for the voices and demands of the Kashmiri people. Since 1990, India, which aggressively controls the most populous region of Kashmir, has deployed close to 700,000 armed forces there. Indian forces have been given protection under laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which  grants them effective immunity from prosecution for human rights abuses, including murder, rape, and torture. While tens of thousands of Kashmiris have been killed in the violent counterinsurgency campaigns, no serious prosecution of Indian military personnel has ever taken place. Kashmiris have consistently called upon international agencies to press for a democratic solution to the Kashmir question, a solution that would allow Kashmiris the primary role in deciding their political future – as also promised in various UN Resolutions.

Since 2008, the movement for Kashmiri self-determination and liberation from the Indian military occupation has overwhelmingly expressed itself via peaceful protests and vigorous mass mobilizations. The Indian government has responded to this renewed struggle through brutal killings, debilitating injuries (including the use of pellet guns and empty tear-gas canisters to blind and maim), and mass detentions of Kashmiris. Under harsh laws like Public Safety Act (PSA), state authorities have imprisoned thousands of Kashmiri youth and activists. Over 5,000 Kashmiris were arrested in the summer of 2008 alone. Since then, more than 15,000 Kashmiris have spent some time in prison at one point or the other. Amnesty International has called PSA a ‘lawless law,’ under which Kashmiris are arrested through executive orders without charge or trial. Even when some Kashmiri prisoners are released over time, the government keeps most of these cases open specifically for punitive and preëmptive purposes – using them to re-arrest activists, especially before publicly announced civil society demonstrations, and to extract monetary bribes and “espionage work” via threats and torture.

Moreover there are many Kashmiris who have been languishing in Indian jails over several years, some without trial — an overwhelming majority of whom are denied a fair chance to defend themselves in court. The case of Sheikh Farhat and Sheikh Imran, two young Kashmiris, who are lodged in a jail in the West Bengal state of India, is one such case. Both of them have gone on hunger strikes several times to seek a fresh trial and transfer to a jail in Kashmir. They were arrested in 2003 from Kashmir, and were given life sentences purportedly for having links to the discovery of a truck in West Bengal carrying ammunition, a charge they and their families have denied.

Through this letter we, the undersigned, demand:

1. The release of all Kashmiri political prisoners, especially those who have been arrested without charges or on spurious charges of “sedition” — often simply for expressing political dissent,

2. Fair trials for those who are imprisoned, and are charged or otherwise, for criminal conspiracy against the state,

3. End to the culture of open cases against those Kashmiris who are peacefully expressing their dissent,

4. Revocation of the draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA — rooted in the most repressive phase of the British colonial period — that allow for indefinite detention without charges or trial,

5. Return to their families the last remains of Shaheed Afzal Guru and Shaheed Maqbool Bhat, being kept illegally in the Tihar prison in New Delhi, where they were executed based on politically-motivated judgments and against all norms of justice and fairness, and

6. A sincere and time bound political process that will lead to negotiations with genuine Kashmiri representatives for the future of Kashmir.


South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) Report, “Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA): A Study in National Security Tyranny”:

Amnesty International’s Report “A ‘Lawless Law’: Detentions Under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act”:


Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, PhD, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies, Senior Scholar, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED), College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University, SF, CA, USA

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, Lecturer, University for the Creative Arts, UK

Mara Ahmed, Independent Filmmaker, Neelum Films, Rochester, NY, USA

Dibyesh Anand, Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, UK

Ghazala Anwar, Associate Professor of Quranic Studies, Starr King School for the Ministry, Graduate Theological Union (GTU), Berkeley, CA, USA

Jackie Armijo, Associate Professor, International Affairs, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

Abira Ashfaq, Juris Doctor, Law Faculty, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Karachi, Pakistan

Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, Gender & Women’s Studies, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Moustafa Bayoumi, Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, USA

Dr. Hatem Bazian, Near Eastern and Asian American Studies, and Founder and Director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the Center for Race and Gender, UC Berkeley; Co-Founder and Professor, Zaytuna College, CA, USA

Naren Bedide, Round Table India Portal (For an Informed Ambedkar Age), India

Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Professor of Middle East History, Department of History, Stanford University, CA, USA

Victoria Bernal, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, USA

Judith Butler, Hannah Arendt Chair at the European Graduate School EGS, Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Sylvia Chan-Malik, Assistant Professor, American and Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Piya Chatterjee, Dorothy Cruickshank Backstrand Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies, Scripps College, Claremont, CA, USA

Elora Halim Chowdhury, Associate Professor, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA

Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, NY, USA

Huma Dar, Lecturer, Asian American & Asian Diasporas Studies Program, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Rochelle Davis, Associate Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA

Lisa Duggan, Professor, American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University (NYU), President-Elect American Studies Association (ASA), USA

Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor and Director, Center for Law, Justice & Culture, Ohio University, OH, USA

Ibrahim Abdurrahmani Farajajé, Provost and Professor of Cultural Studies and Islamic Studies, Starr King School, Graduate Theological Union (GTU), Berkeley, CA, USA

Cynthia Franklin, Professor of English, University of Hawai’i, HI, USA

Nouri Gana, Associate Professor, Departments of Comparative Literature & Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California at Los Angeles, CA, USA

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, Director of Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, Graduate Center, City University of New York, NY, USA

Zareena Grewal, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Religious Studies, & Ethnicity, Race, & Migration, Yale University, New Haven, Conn, USA

Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Juliane Hammer, Associate Professor and Kenan Rifai Scholar of Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Azfar Hussain, Associate Professor, Liberal Studies Department, The Global Center for Advanced Studies and Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Ayesha Jalal, Mary Richardson Professor of History, Professor at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Director of Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA

Abdul R. JanMohamed, Professor, English Department, Emory University, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Mohamad Junaid, Doctoral Candidate, PhD program in Anthropology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, NY, USA

Sanjay Kak, Independent Filmmaker, New Delhi, India

Priya Kandaswamy, Assistant Professor Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Mills College, Oakland, CA, USA

Rafiq Kathwari, Social Entrepreneur / Writer, NY, USA

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Associate Professor, Anthropology and American Studies, Wesleyan University, MA, USA

Nitasha Kaul, Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster, UK

Suvir Kaul,  A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA

Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University, NJ, USA

Rachmi Diyah Larasati, Associate Professor of Cultural Theory, Critical Studies, and Dance History, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA

Shuja Shafi Malik, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA

Joseph Massad, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), Columbia University, NY, USA

Qalandar Bux Memon, Editor, Naked Punch Review, Assistant Professor Political Science Department, Foreman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan

Rima Najjar Merriman, Ph.D., Professor, English Department, Al Quds University, Occupied Palestine

Waheed Mirza, Novelist, London, UK

Minoo Moallem, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies Department, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, Director of the University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol, UK

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University, Syracuse NY, USA

Kamal Munir, Reader in Strategy & Policy, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, UK

Tahir Naqvi, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, USA

Britta Ohm, Associated Researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland

Rupal Oza, Director, The Women and Gender Studies Program, Hunter College, City University of New York, NY, USA

Mridu Rai, Associate Professor, Department of History, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Anu Ramdas, Round Table India Portal (For an Informed Ambedkar Age) & Savari: Adivasi, Dalit Bahujan Women’s Collective, USA

Sherene Razack, Professor, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education and Department of Comparative, International and Development Education,  OISE, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Jenny Rowena, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Miranda House College, University of Delhi, India

Steven Salaita, Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech., VA, USA

Rakhshanda Saleem, Associate Professor of Counseling and Psychology, Lesley University, Boston, MA, USA

Naheed Shah Sheikh, Psy.D., The Wright Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA

Irum Shiekh,  Ph.D., Visiting Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Elora Shehabuddin, Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Sciences, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA

Magid Shihade, Ph.D., Faculty Member at the Institute of International Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine

Dina Siddiqi, Professor of Anthropology, Department of Economic & Social Sciences, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Nancy Snow, Professor of Communications, California State University, Fullerton, and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, CA, USA

Neferti Tadiar, Professor and Chair of Women’s Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University, NY, USA

Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, Women & Gender Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Saadia Toor, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, College of Staten Island, City University of New York, NY, USA

Fouzieyha Towghi, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar, Gender & Women’s Studies, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA

Kamala Visweswaran, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA

Waziyatawin, Ph.D., Executive Director, Oyate Nipi Kte (The People Shall Live), Dakota, Turtle Island (USA)

Ather Zia, Doctoral Candidate, PhD program in Anthropology, University of California at Irvine, CA, USA

PRESS RELEASE from Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners:


Fast for Freedom Facebook site:

Petition, Free Kashmiri Political Prisoners, End the Occupation of Kashmir,” for everyone to sign at:

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