The BSF had opened fired on a mob that was protesting against the alleged manhandling by BSF personnel of a local imam, followed by the reported desecration of the Holy Quran the previous night. The following morning, a group of protestors had reached a BSF post in Gool in Ramban district and they were responded with a massacre.
Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign is a nation-wide campaign in support of Irom Sharmila and for the repeal of the draconian law of AFSPA. For two years, it has been working to spread awareness, mobilise support and generate political pressure to repeal the law. It is an umbrella of many civil society organisations. The protest was joined and supported by many progressive groups namely AISA, Campus Front of India, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, NCHRO, PUCL, J&K RTI and PUDR among several others.
The organisers said that this shameful and unacceptable incident called Ramban massacre is, however, not a sudden reaction to the protest.
Group of these people from all organizations and individuals who took part in solidarity marched on Jantar Mantar road and then sat there for slogans and speeches. Heavy police force was deployed and roads were barricaded, however protestors went till barricades and sat there for at least two hours. It was a protest where large number of people from J&K and North East also participated.
Speakers who were from various organizations includes Ravi Nitesh from Mission Bhartiyam, Mohd Tanveer from NCHRO, Amit, Sandeepan and V Arun from AISA, Dr Muzaffar Bhat from J&K RTI forum, Piyush from JNSU, Hemant from DSU, Talha Huseyn from Campus Front, Asad Ashraf from JSS, Manjit from PUDR, Guneet from PUCL, Dar Rashid a Human Rights lawyer from J&K and Devika Mittal from Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign and some other activists and student leaders.
“The Ramban incident is a prima facie case of coercive method adopted by the security personals. It highlights the highhanded attitude of the security forces that they have acquired over a period time due to their absolute powers and the impunity granted to them”, said Ravi Nitesh, founder of Mission Bhartiyam.
“This protest is about this unacceptable massacre, it is to show our solidarity with the victims and demand justice but it has been organised to attack the root. We know that this incident is not the first incident in Kashmir. These inhuman incidents are quite frequent in Kashmir and in states of North East because draconian laws like AFSPA breed them. We are here today to appeal for humanity, to demand the repeal of AFSPA.” remarked Devika Mittal, core member of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign.
The organizers believe that real justice for the victims of the massacre will be to attack the “root” cause i.e. militarization and draconian laws like AFSPA that has led to fake encounters, rape and killings of civilians.
“It is unfortunate that these incidents are happening in the World’s largest “democracy”. It is unfortunate that these killings are justified in the name of upholding the ‘integrity’ of the nation. We feel that development, basic civil rights, basic amenities and justice should be used to uphold the ‘integrity’ not torture,” said V Arun Kumar of AISA.
Dr, Muzaffar Bhat of J&K chapter of RTI remarked, “This incident happened in Jammu which is seen to be more “peaceful”. So there cannot be any justification. It shows that the entire Kashmir is under attack.”
“There is a long list of incidents where security personals of almost all wings have violated the human rights in J&K. There have been fake encounters, torture, rapes etc. in the state but nothing has been done to prosecute the culprits till now. So there is every reason to believe that like other similar incidents before, there will be no action taken by the government against security personals in Ramban massacre too. In such situation the only option left for the democratic forces to raise voice against such injustices”, said Mohammad Tanveer of Campus Front of India.
Asad Ashraf from Jamia Solidarity Students said, “Unless and until there is demilitarization, the situation will not improve in J&K. We must know that dissatisfaction is a primary reason for increase in insurgent activities so it’s high time that we think about “their” welfare, not “ours”.
Kaashif who was here from Chhatra Vimarsh magazine, added, “How do we take pride in being the world’s largest “democracy” when democracy is not extended to all states within our own country.”
Manjit from PUDR remarked, “It is tragic that Kashmiris are looked upon as “anti-national”, as “anti-Indian”. It is true that there are anti-state slogans in Kashmir but this is because the only symbol of India i.e. the army has created hell in their land”.
The protest was supported by renowned Activists like Gautam Navlakha, Prashant Bhushan, Manisha Sethi, Dr Sandeep Pandey and many others. Though they could not be present. The protest was joined in by many people from Kashmir and even from states of North-East.
During the protest many voices came forward against state repression. It seemed that voices from Chhatisgarh to Manipur to Bihar , all were extended their support and and solidarity with Kashmiri People and their struggle. In a very loud voice, and with the full capacity and passion, slogans were aired to demilitarize Kashmir and to repeal AFSPA. Slogans were revolutionary and english hindi mixed. They aired as many slogans and some includes ‘AFSPA ko Jaana Hoga’ ‘Kashmir ki Galiyan Sooni hain, AFSPA khooni hai’, ‘Hum sab ki hai ek awaaz, Inqulab inqulab’.
The organisations demands the repeal of AFSPA, it demands the de-militarisation of all civilian areas in the AFSPA-imposed states, to investigate all crimes committed under it, to prosecute the guilty persons, compensate the victims and just initiatives to improve the situation in J&K and in the states of North-East. People were signed on the memorandum and They will be submitting this memorandum to the Prime Minister, to the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Defence.