Convention on the Democratic Rights of Kashmiri Youth

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

In the summer of 2010 nearly 120 young people were killed in separate incidents of police firing across the Kashmir Valley. This sent shock waves through the state and the country as it highlighted the plight of the youth in Jammu and Kashmir, and the callousness and indifference of the state government and the authorities that have still not lodged a FIR against those responsible for the deaths, or taken action against the security personnel.

A new generation has reached adulthood in the state, all born and brought up in conflict. A certain helplessness and desperation marked the protests that have subsequently subsided into simmering resentment and anger. Despite registering a higher percentage of literacy, the state has little to no employment opportunities for the young people. Stringent laws and curfew conditions have also robbed the youth of a life, with even SMS’s being banned by the authorities from time to time.

The Pubic Safety Act has been used against innocent young men all over the Kashmir Valley, with most able bodied youth having spent days and nights in jail under this draconian Act. The security forces pick them up at will from their homes, lock them up and by the time they are proven innocent considerable damage has been done to them personally, and their families.

The Omar Abdullah government has ignored all petitions for justice and action on this issue. Outside Jammu and Kashmir, the young Kashmiris enrolled in Universities for further studies find it difficult to survive as they are often picked up by the state police forces on little more than basic suspicion, and locked up for months at a time. There have been many such cases across India, particularly in Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh but the authorities have shown little concern for these unlawful detentions.

To highlight this and other issues affecting the youth of Jammu and Kashmir we are organizing a Convention on the Democratic Rights of Kashmiri Youth in collaboration with student organizations in New Delhi.

The Convention will be held on the first day of Parliament on March 12, 2012 at the Speakers Hall, Constitution Club, Vithal Bhai Patel House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi from 3 p.m.

Youth leaders from New Delhi and Kashmir as well as Chairman of the Minorities Commission Wajahat Habibullah, prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan and others will address the Convention.

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