(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/28/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today renewed its call on all Americans who support human rights and democracy to stand with Kashmir by contacting their members of Congress and telling them to pressure the Indian government to lift the siege on millions of people in the Kashmir valley.
Earlier this month, the Indian government illegally Article 370 of the constitution, taking away the protected status of the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir. The legal maneuvering which led to the revocation of Article 370 has been widely panned by legal experts as unconstitutional and a complaint has already been filed in the Indian Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the revocation.
For more than 70 years, this protected status granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir in all matters except defense, foreign affairs, and finance and communication. The accession of the Princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to India in 1947 was conditioned on a protected status for Jammu and Kashmir. United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, passed in 1948, allowed the people of Jammu and Kashmir a plebiscite to determine their future.
Since revoking Article 370, India’s military has maintained a continued communications and internet blackout of Kashmir, forcibly detained 4,000 elected Kashmiri political leaders, business leaders, civil society members and rights activists in secret jails and levied a near-constant curfew on the region’s 8 million residents.
In a statement last week, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council called the blackouts a “form of collective punishment” lacking “even a pretext of a precipitating offense.”
The Indian government’s mobilization of more than 40,000 to 50,000 additional military personnel to the existing 700,000 stationed troops in the region has made it the most militarized region of the world. Since the Kashmir campaign for self-determination escalated in 1989, more than 70,000 people have been killed and reports of gang rapes by Indian military abound. Some 8,000 to 10,000 people have “disappeared” since 2016, and more than 6,000 have suffered eye injuries from pellet guns, in what the New York Times called “an epidemic of dead eyes.”
CAIR’s Action Alert urges members of Congress to pressure the Indian government to lift the curfew, end the communications and internet blackout, reduce Indian security forces in the region and immediately reinstate the protected status for Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier this month, CAIR issued an Action Alert targeting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and urging him to take immediate action on Kashmir. The alert generated over 7,000 messages and CAIR, along with other members of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, met with officials from the State Department today.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org