People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 35

August 29, 2010


SFI-DYFI Demo Against Violence in Kashmir


ON August 10, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) held a protest demonstration at Parliament Street in New Delhi in protest against the continuing violence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Students from Delhi University, JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia as well as youth activists participated in the demonstration. CPI(M) leader Yousuf Tarigami, an MLA in the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, also participated in the demonstration. 


The demonstration was in compliance with the DYFI-SFI call to observe a protest day in various parts of the country to press their demands related to the situation in Kashmir. The call came through a joint statement issued by the two organisations on August 7. Noting that the situation in Kashmir had further worsened during the past few weeks, the DYFI-SFI statement demanded that all possible steps including a dialogue at the political level should be initiated immediately. The central as well as state government has failed to take concrete steps during this entire phase of a vicious cycle of protests, firing, and killings and, now again, the entire sequence is being repeated. The massive mobilisation of youth in the protests in itself explains that there is an urgent need to hear the voices of Kashmiri youth, a vast majority of whom are unemployed. They are unable to understand as to why there is no change in their condition during all these years, the August 7 statement noted.


While making an appeal to the Kashmiri youth to shun violence, the DYFI-SFI statement asked the governments at both levels to start the process of a political dialogue, on the one hand, and to take urgent steps for providing employment opportunities to the youth in the state, on the other.


Endorsing these sentiments while addressing the demonstration in Delhi on August 10, Tarigami slammed both the central government and the J&K state government for not taking steps to address the situation in the state in order to restore normalcy there. He categorically said that the both the central and the state governments had betrayed the people of Kashmir, especially the youth who had participated in the democratic processes and the state assembly election that took place one and a half years ago. 


Tarigami said what is happening in Kashmir today is a serious threat to the secular democratic fabric of the country. While a delegation of leaders of various political parties from the state was then to meet the prime minister shortly, Tarigami said the prime minister should have visited the Kashmir valley himself. He was of the categorical opinion that the insensitivity of the governments, both in Delhi and Srinagar, was responsible for the disillusionment of the youth in the valley. He also said it was unfortunate that even when the parliament was in session, no delegation of its members had visited the valley, and asked the government what message it wanted to convey to the people of Kashmir. He also criticised the right wing forces like the BJP who were justifying the excesses committed by the security forces and advocating the use of highhanded means in the state. Tarigami said these forces too posed no insignificant a threat to the unity of the country.


According to the CPI(M) leader, the democratic movement across the country must speak, and speak loudly, against the injustice being committed in Kashmir. He said that the excesses being committed by the police and security forces must be condemned in unequivocal terms, just as they are condemned when they happen in other places in the country. He said that serious efforts should be made to urgently start a process of political dialogue in Kashmir with all sections of public opinion. Moreover, the dialogue must involve even those who have not so far been a part of it, so that a way out could be find in Kashmir.


The demonstration was also addressed by Pushpendra Tyagi of the DYFI and Sivadasan from the SFI. They demanded that the excesses being committed in the valley must immediately stop and that all draconian laws must be repealed. They demanded that a political process involving a meaningful political dialogue should be started to find a solution to the current situation in the state. They also demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir economy should be restructured to provide meaningful employment to the youth in the state.


Delhi state SFI president Roshan Kishore presided over the public meeting.


On behalf of the youth and students community, a memorandum enlisting some Kashmir related demands was sent to the prime minister. The memorandum said, “On behalf of the youth and student community of our country, the Democratic Youth Federation of India and Students’ Federation of India express their deep concern over the serious situation in Kashmir. The recent developments in the valley in the form of a vicious cycle of violence have further worsened the situation. Several people have lost their lives and it is clear that whatever gains were achieved in the past few years have now been lost.”


Giving voice to their feeling that at this critical juncture there is an urgent need to address the situation in a holistic manner, the memorandum dispatched by the two organisations raised the following concrete demands in this context:


1) The government must immediately put an end to the excesses being committed in Kashmir and revoke the draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).


2) It must take concrete steps to start a process of political dialogue in Kashmir at the earliest, with all shades of political opinion.


3) It must announce a concrete plan for development by providing employment to the Kashmiri youth, majority of whom are unemployed. It must also restructure the state’s economy.


4) Serious efforts should be made to restore peace in Kashmir. (INN)