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AMU students protest Pulwama civilian killings; write to President Kovind

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Srinagar, Dec 19: The students of Aligarh Muslim University on Wednesday held a protest against the recent civilian killings in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A statement issued by AMU Students’ Union said the students condemned the civilian killings in Kashmir and pressed for the resolution of Kashmir dispute.

The union also submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind over the Kashmir situation.

“Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union is shocked by the escalation of violence in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The killing of seven civilians on Saturday, 15 Dec, 2018, in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir by the armed forces is unbearable and highly regrettable,” reads the memorandum to President Kovind.

It pointed out that all of the civilians had bullet wounds above their waist – on head, abdomen or chest. “A bullet had made a deep hole in the neck of one of the civilians.”

Referring to the information of Ministry of Home Affairs, the memorandum says 587 incidents of violence have been reported in J&K in 2018 alone, and that civilian deaths have increased by a staggering 167 percent as compared to 2016.

“India’s conscience cannot attain peace after killing the unarmed civilians,” it reads.

“Only weeks before, Hiba Jan, the 19-month-old baby was hit with pellets in her eye, when she was in the lap of her mother in her native village, Kapran in south Kashmir, and doctors are not sure about the future of her eyesight. Use of pellet-firing shotguns have dented the image of India at the international level after they caused death of over a dozen people and injured more than 6,000 including nearly 800 with eye injuries,” the memorandum says.

Referring to the United Nations’ report on the situation of human rights in Kashmir, the memorandum while quoting from the report: “the killing of civilians between 2016 and 2018 raises the question of whether security forces resorted to excessive use of force to respond to protesters, some of whom were throwing rocks”, says “international human rights groups have raised the issues of excessive force and are questioning our adherence to the application of national and international standards on the use of force.

“India is seen in a bad light at the international level when it comes to the handling the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The report by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) earned a fierce denial by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), however, the fact remains that all is not well in Kashmir, and that denial is not an answer to the situation. The deteriorating situation in Kashmir calls for a serious attention,” the memorandum says.

“We find the situation in Kashmir very explosive and going out of hand. The civilian population has shown a deep resentment towards the iron fist policy of the Government of India. The local mainstream political parties have failed to govern the state and the Governor rule is about to turn into Presidential rule in next few days. The absence of political engagement has worsened the situation. The local elections have been boycotted by most of the mainstream parties,” the memorandum points out.

It said that Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union “takes this occasion to address your Excellency as the head of the state, to take serious cognisance of the situation in Kashmir. People cannot live under consistent political vacuum and there is an immediate need of the intervention from your esteemed office.

“Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union requests your highness to take some immediate measures including the following to address the crisis in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the memorandum reads while suggesting that the “iron fist policy should be immediately revoked and the policy of love and care must be adopted with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The armed forces should maintain restrain and prevent the civilian causalities. The law should be allowed to take its course and all the civilian killings should be probed through credible investigation.

“The use of pellet gun must be immediately stopped and non-lethal alternatives must be adopted.”

It says that Kashmir is a long-standing problem and is political and humanitarian in nature. “It should not be treated as a mere law and order problem. Kashmir needs a humane touch and greater political wisdom. India is capable enough to engage with all stakeholders and break a peace deal. The time has come to show humanitarian and statesmanship approach to end the cycles of violence in Kashmir,” it suggests.

“The era of Prime Mininster Atal Bihari Vajpayee and later the talks by Prime Mininster Dr. Manmohan Singh had given hopes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. These initiatives should be launched at the same level. Our Army General Bipin Rawat has said that there isn’t a military solution to this issue and the Ex-Army chief General Ved Prakash Malik told ToI that Kashmir needs a political solution. The hour demands a political approach to cater to the aspirations of the people,” the memorandum suggests.

It says the recommendations by the government appointed interlocutors should be adopted as CBMs and the trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be gained. “CBMs will help the disgruntled youth to return to the non violence and make peace possible.”

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