Sabah Khan
Posted October 3, 2019 from India


Statement issued on 27 September 2019. NEW DELHI. NEW YORK


On 30 August 2019,the United Nations’ International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Parveena Ahangar, mother of Javaid, a 16 year old who was ‘disappeared’by paramilitary forces in Kashmir in 1990 mourned again. “Every year, the families of APDP (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons) come together on 30 August. This is our way of reassuring each other that we are not alone in our grief. Yet this year we have been strangled, and there was no coming together because through its siege, India has denied us even the right to mourn.”

Kashmir under siege. Kashmir caged. Kashmir imprisoned. Analogies abound for of the Indian Government‘s actions of August 5, 2019 when it unilaterally terminated the semi-autonomous Constitutional status granted to the region as a condition of its accession to India, and bifurcated it into two directly ruled Union Territories. This action was preceded in the previous week by a military blockade, a state of undeclared emergency, and an unprecedented media and communications clampdown. An estimated 4,000 Kashmiris have been arbitrarily detained including politicians, business leaders, lawyers, human rights defenders, chartered accountants, journalists, teachers, and students. Some are being held without charges or trial, under administrative detention laws such as the Public Safety Act, 1978 while the grounds of detention and whereabouts of a large number, including children as young as ten, remain unknown. An unknown number of people have been moved to prisons outside the state of Jammu & Kashmir.The Indian government continues to declare that all is ‘normal’ in the face of credible and mounting evidence of a healthcare and humanitarian crisis, civilian deaths and blindings and other injuries in pellet gun attacks by Indian security forces, torture, molestations, and the severe curtailment of freedom of opinion, expression, and information; assembly and movement; and religious freedoms.

As the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi addresses the UN General Assembly on 27 September and reasserts this claim of ‘normalcy’, we, the women of the world urge the global community to remember that 8 million Kashmiris will still be held hostage by close to 1 million Indian security personnel. Still stripped of their constitutional rights, fundamental freedoms and liberties. The promise of plebiscite given to them at the time of their accession to India, broken.. Their right to self-determination, throttled. Their control over their lands, shattered.

Like colonised peoples anywhere, the future of the Kashmiri people is deeply uncertain. Their imprisonment is strengthened by the silence of world leaders, international civil society, the near complete gag on the media, as well as Indians who have celebrated the constitutionalised annexation of Kashmir, and believed the narrative that this is being done for their own good. One  particularly pernicious strand of this discourse  has been that the move will benefit women, dalits and sexual minorities by granting them constitutional rights so far denied to them. Not only does this bolster the colonial tropes of a backward Muslim majority region whose women are in need of rescue by the civilisationally ‘superior’ people of India, it is based on outright falsehoods, misinformation, misrepresentations and false equivalences, that are being deliberately amplified, including by high state functionaries, despite being repeatedly debunked by experts and lawyers. The government’s concern for the women of Kashmir might have rung truer if members of the ruling party were not witnessed publicly gloating over their new found sexual access to Kashmiri women, now that Indian men can finally get “Kashmiri brides” as though Kashmiri women are spoils of war.

The Indian government claims Kashmir needs ‘development’, but its social development indices, including gender indicators such as maternal mortality, age of marriage, child sex ratio and female literacy are better than the Indian average. Land reforms enabled by Article 35A have reduced  social and caste inequities and landlessness, and brought relative prosperity. While acknowledging that militarisation and militarised sexual impunity exacerbates both public and private patriarchy, we need to listen to Kashmiri women, when they say, as they did to a recent Fact Finding delegation from India: “We are capable of fighting our own battles. We don’t want our oppressors to claim to liberate us!”.

The women of Kashmir should know. As successive governments in Delhi have systematically violated all democratic norms in Kashmir, it is the women of Kashmir who have been at the forefront of the struggles for justice, truth and accountability for widespread human rights violations particularly  sexual violence and enforced disappearances. They have stepped out in protest, been jailed, sexually assaulted, and still risen to make sure they are heard.

As feminists, women’s rights activists, peace, democratic and civil rights’ activists, lawyers, academics, students, journalists, scientists, artists, writers, etc., we raise our voice today in salute and solidarity with the women of Kashmir. About 500 individual women and women’s organisations from about 30 countries across the globe – ranging from South Asian nations to the U.S, Iran to Indonesia, Afghanistan to Argentina, Europe to Mexico, Israel, Palestine, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa – stand with them in this, their darkest moment.

·         We condemn the actions of the Indian government and their dealing with a political problem as a territorial one.

·         We call for an end to the culture of fear and terror, violence and assault that has been cultivated in the state for far too long.

·         We speak out against the continued detention of countless people of the state and demand their immediate release.

·         We seek an immediate end to the Internet shutdown, lift on all restrictions on movement and communications, and a restoration of real ‘normalcy’.

·         We call for restrictions be lifted in order to allow the independent media in Kashmir to carry out its duty of reporting facts and informing the public, without fear or favour

·         We urge the Indian government to step back from its current aggressions and stop the militarisation that has failed to solve the problem since independence.

·         We seek a reinstatement of consultative processes with the people of Jammu and Kashmir on any action that concerns them, their lives and their community.

·         We call for an end to the smokescreens of Kashmir being an ‘internal matter’ etc., to avoid meaningful dialogue. For that is the only way to evolve a long lasting peaceful solution to Kashmir.

Because like the women of Kashmir, we have also, all too often, been told that the violence and control we face in the home, family, community and nation is an ‘internal matter’, not to be exposed to the world. But we all have lived and learnt the reality, that it is only in breaking our silence that we break the shackles of our oppressions. And in that fight, we #StandWithKashmir, #StandWithTheWomenOfKashmir!

For as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King famously said “No one is free until we are all free.”

……. Statement issued and endorsed by:

Individuals - India

Individuals - International

Organisations – Indian/Global

1.              Vasanth Kannabiran, Asmita Resource Centre, Hyderabad.

2.              Devaki Jain, Economist, New Delhi.

3.              Uma Chakravarti, Feminist historian & Filmmaker, New Delhi.

4.              Syeda Hameed, writer, activist, Delhi

5.              Roshmi Goswami, Researcher and human writer activist, Shillong.

6.              Sarojini NB, Health activist, New Delhi

7.              Annie Raja, NFIW.

8.              Srilatha Batliwala, Independent gender/women’s rights consultant.  

9.              Flavia Agnes, Mumbai.

10.          Lalita Ramdas, Feminist-Activist-Educator, PIPPFD, CNDP.

11.          Meena Kandasamy, novelist, poet and activist

12.          Nivedita Menon, JNU, New Delhi.

13.          Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh, Lawyer and legal researcher, Delhi.

14.          Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist

15.          Bishakha Datta, Film-maker/Writer, Mumbai

16.          Govind Kelkar, Independent Gender consultant.

17.          Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi.

18.          Ritu Menon - Writer, Feminist publisher, New Delhi.

19.          Imrana Qadeer, Distinguished Prof. Council for Social Development, New Delhi

20.          Rosemary Dzuvichu, Ph.D - Advisor, Naga Mother’s Association, Kohima

21.          Pratiksha Baxi, Academic, New Delhi

22.          Kalyani Menon-Sen, Feminist Learning Partnerships, New Delhi.

23.          Mary E John, Academic, New Delhi.

24.          Pamela Philipose, Journalist, Delhi

25.          Farida Khan, Retd Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi

26.          Freny Manecksha, Independent Journalist, Mumbai.

27.          Chhaya Datar, Mumbai

28.          Kalpana Kannabiran - Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

29.          Dr Anita Ghai, New Delhi.

30.          Dr Sagari R Ramdas, Secunderabad

31.          Nalini Nayak, Trivandrum 

32.          Monisha Behal, New Delhi.

33.          Ammu Joseph, Journalist, Bangalore

34.          A. Mangai, Theatre person/academic/activist Chennai.

35.          A.R Vasavi, Farmer’s Rights Activist, Delhi.

36.          Aarthi Pai, Lawyer and activist, Bangalore

37.          Abha Dev Habib, Miranda House, University of Delhi.

38.          Ajitha G.S, publisher and editor, Bangalore.

39.          Albertina Almeida, Goa.

40.          Aleyamma Vijayan, Trivandrum Kerala

41.          Amarinder Kaur, Visthar

42.          Amla Pisharody, Independent Researcher, Bangalore

43.          Amrita Gogoi - Researcher, Women & Conflict, Dibrugarh.

44.          Anchita Ghatak, Kolkata.

45.          Angela Rangad, Social activist, TUR, Shillong

46.          Annie Thomas, Journalist, Delhi.

47.          Anu Aaron, South India AIDS Action Programme, Chennai.

48.          Anuradha Banerji, Independent Researcher, New Delhi.

49.          Anuradha Chatterji, Women’s Rights Activist, New Delhi.

50.          Anuradha Kapoor, Social Activist, Kolkata.

51.          Anurag Modi, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan.

52.          Anurita P Hazarika, woman activist, Guwahati. 

53.          Archana Dwivedi, Delhi

54.          Archismita Choudhury, Mumbai

55.          Arshia Sattar, Academic, Bangalore

56.          Arshie Qureshi, New Delhi, India.

57.          Aruna Burte

58.          Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements.

59.          Ashima Roy Chowdhury, feminist activist, New Delhi

60.          Bharati Jagannathan, Delhi University.

61.          Bharati, Feminist Activist, Jaipur.

62.          Bhavna Jaimini, Architect, Mumbai

63.          Bijoya Sawian - writer, educationist, Dehradun

64.          Bindhulakshmi Pattadath, Associate Professor, TISS Mumbai.

65.          Bondita Acharya, Jorhat, Assam

66.          Brinelle D’Souza, TISS, Mumbai..

67.          Chitra Joshi.

68.          D. W. Karuna, visiting faculty, Azim Premji University

69.          Deepa V, Health Activist, Delhi

70.          Deeptha Achar.

71.          Deepti Sharma, queer feminist activist, Delhi

72.          Dimple Oberoi Vahali, Delhi.

73.          Dr Manasee (Nadi) Palshikar, author, Pune.

74.          G. Arunima, Professor, Centre for Women's Studies, JNU

75.          Gargi Sen, Film-maker, Delhi

76.          Gaura Narayan

77.          Gayatri Menon, Bangalore.

78.          Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai.

79.          Ghazala Jamil, JNU.

80.          Gitanjali Mahadevan, Retired Doctor, Bengaluru

81.          Gitanjali Rao, Film maker, Mumbai

82.          Hamsila Samuel Rajan, Bengaluru.

83.          Himanjali Sankar, Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

84.          Huma Khan, Lucknow.

85.          Indira Chakravarthi, Public Health Researcher, Delhi.

86.          Indira N, Consultant R & D, Hyderabad.

87.          Jabeen Merchant, Film Editor, Mumbai.

88.          Jahanvi Pai.

89.          Jalashaya, film maker, Mumbai

90.          Jaya Sharma, Activist and Writer, New Delhi.

91.          Jhelum Roy, Jadavpur University.

92.          Jhuma Sen, Jindal Global Law School, New Delhi

93.          Jyoti Punwani, journalist, Mumbai.

94.          Jyotsna Murthy

95.          Kaushiki Rao, Counsellor, Bangalore

96.          Kavin Malar, Writer/Activist, Chennai.

97.          Kavita Panjabi

98.          Kavita Srivastav, PUCL, Jaipur.

99.          Khairunnisa Nakathorige, Department of English, MANUU, Hyderabad.

100.       Kirtana Kumar

101.       Kochurani Abraham, Feminist Theologian, Indian Christian Women’s        Movement (ICWM), Kerala

102.       Krishna Roy, Women’s Rights Activist, AIPWA, Kolkata.

103.       Lata Singh, New Delhi.

104.       Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bengaluru.

105.       Lubaina Suares, Teacher, Mumbai

106.       Madhu Bhushan, writer/activist/researcher, Bangalore.

107.       Madhu Sarin, Psychoanalyst, Delhi

108.       Madhura Chakraborty

109.       Malini Ghose, Educationist and researcher, New Delhi

110.       Mallika Virdi, Maati, Uttarakhand.

111.       Mamatha Karollil, Assistant Professor, New Delhi.

112.       Manasi Asher, Researcher and Activist, Himachal Pradesh.

113.       Manasi, Educator-Learner, Pathashaala, Tamil Nadu

114.       Manorama Sharma - Retd. Prof. North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, and Academic Advisor, Assam School of Journalism, Guwahati.

115.       Masooma Ranalvi, Delhi.

116.       Meenakshi Kapoor, Researcher, Dharmshala.

117.       Miriam Chandy Menacherry, Filmmaker

118.       Monalisa Tiamerenla Changkija, Poet and Editor, Nagaland Page, Nagaland

119.       Mubashira Zaidi, ISST, New Delhi.

120.       Nandini Mazumder, Devleopment professional, Delhi

121.       Nandini Rao, Women’s Rights Trainer, New Delhi.

122.       Nandita Narain, Associate Professor, St Stephen’s College.

123.       Nasir Tyabji, Former Director and Professor, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi.

124.       Navaneetha Mokkil, Assistant Professor, Center for Women's Studies, JNU

125.       Navsharan Singh, Activist and Researcher, New Delhi.

126.       Nazreen Fazlbhoy.

127.       Neha Gupta, Journalist, Delhi

128.       Niloufer Bhagwat, Lawyer, Mumbai.

129.       Nimi Ravindran, Writer/Theatre Director, Bangalore.

130.       Nisha Abdulla, Theatre maker, and Artistic Director, Qabila, Bangalore

131.       Nisha Biswas, Kolkata.

132.       Nitasha Kaul

133.       Nonibala Narengbam, Manipur.

134.       Padma Velaskar, Retd professor, Mumbai.

135.       Padmaja Shaw, Hyderabad.

136.       Pallavi MD, Singer/Actor, Bangalore.

137.       Payal Dhar, Author, New Delhi.

138.       Ponni Arasu, Historian and Women’s Rights Activist.

139.       Ponnuthai Sappani, President  Kalanjium Women Farmers Association, India.

140.       Praveena Kodoth, Trivandrum.

141.       Priti Kodikal, Doctor, Bengaluru

142.       Purnima Gupta, Delhi

143.       Purwa Bharadwaj, Delhi

144.       Radha Gopalan, Educator and Researcher on Social and Ecological Justice, Visiting Faculty, Azim Premji University, Thiruvananthapuram

145.       Radhika Chitkara, Legal Researcher, New Delhi.

146.       Radhika Khajuria.

147.       Radhika Menon

148.       Rajashri Dasgupta, Independent Journalist, Kolkata

149.       Rashee Mehra, Senior Associate – IIHS, Delhi.

150.       Rashmi Sawhney, Associate Professor, Christ University.

151.       Ridhima Mehra, Delhi

152.       Rinchin, India.

153.       Rita Manchanda, Independent researcher and human rights activist, Pak-India Forum for Peace and Democracy.

154.       Ritu Ghosh.

155.       Rohini Hensman, Writer and Independent Scholar, Mumbai.

156.       Roopa Ratnam

157.       Roopashri Sinha, Freelancer researcher and K M consultant, Mumbai.

158.       Runu Chakraborty, New Delhi.

159.       Rupa Chinai, journalist and author, Mumbai.

160.       Rupsa Malik, Women’s Rights Activist, New Delhi.

161.       Rushda, NFIW, New Delhi.

162.       Sabah Hasan, Artist, Mumbai.

163.       Sabah Khan, Mumbai.

164.       Sabeena Gadihoke

165.       Sadhna Arya, Delhi University, New Delhi.

166.       Sadhna Saxena.

167.       Safina Nabi, independent journalist.

168.       Sajaya Kakarla, Hyderabad Women and Transgender Organisations Joint Action Committee.

169.       Sakina Kurawadwala, former Professor and current HR head, Mumbai

170.       Sameera Khan, Journalist/Writer, Mumbai

171.       Sandhya Srinivasan, Mumbai

172.       Sanghamitra Malik, Singer & Activist.

173.       Sangita Chatterji.

174.       Sanjana Gaind, Women’s Rights Activist, Delhi/Calcutta.

175.       Sarah Mathews

176.       Satnam Kaur, feminist activist, New Delhi

177.       Seema Baquer, Disability Rights Activist and Lawyer, New Delhi.

178.       Sehba Taban, India.

179.       Shabnam Hashmi, Social activist - ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy)

180.       Shakun Doundiyakhed, Begaluru.

181.       Shalini Singh, Women’s Rights Activist, New Delhi.

182.       Shanta Gokhale, Writer, Mumbai.

183.       Sharanya Nayak.

184.       Sheba Chhachhi, Artist.

185.       Sheba George, Ahmedabad.

186.       Sheelu Francis, President, Women's Collective, Tamil Nadu.

187.       Sheila Kumar, Author/Editor, Bangalore.

188.       Sherin Balachandran, Architect, Bangalore

189.       Shewli, Social activist

190.       Shifa Haq, Delhi

191.       Shipra Nigam, New Delhi.

192.       Shiva Pathak, Artist , Bangalore

193.       Shivani, activist

194.       Shraddha Chickerur, University of Hyderabad.

195.       Shweta Vachani, Editor and Web Developer, New Delhi.

196.       Simona Sawhney, IIT Delhi.

197.       Sister Leelamma N.T, Advocate, Kottayam, India.

198.       Soma Marik, India.

199.       Sonia Jabbar, Filmmaker           

200.       Srinidhi Raghavan, Gender and disability rights activist, Hyderabad

201.       Stella Issac, President, Kalanjium Unorganized Workers Union.

202.       Sudarsana Kundu, Social development professional, Hyderabad.

203.       Sujata Patel, National Fellow, IIAS.

204.       Sumi Krishna, writer, researcher, teacher, Bangalore

205.       Sumitra Sunder, Curator/Artist, Bengaluru.

206.       Sunanda Bhat, film-maker, Bangalore.

207.       Sundari Perumal, Trustee, Tamilnadu Resource Team.

208.       Sunita Vishwanathan.

209.       Sushama Varma, Activist, Bangalore.

210.       Susheela Mahadevan, Retired Teacher, Bengaluru

211.       Sushma Veerappa

212.       Sushobha Barve, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

213.       Svati Joshi,  academic, Ahmedabad

214.       Swathi Seshadri, Researcher, Bangalore

215.       Swati Paranjape, Thane.

216.       Uma Shankari Naren

217.       Uma V Chandru, Bangalore.

218.       Usha Raman, Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad

219.       Vahida Nainar, PH.D scholar, Mumbai.

220.       Vaishnavi K, gender and sexuality activist, New Delhi.

221.       Vani Subramanian, Feminist activist and filmmaker, Delhi

222.       Vijay Rukmini Rao, Social/feminist activist, Hyderabad.

223.       Vineeta Bal, Scientist, Pune.

224.       Virginia Saldanha, Secretary, Indian Women Theologians Forum, Goa.

225.       Yasmeen Lukmani, University of Bombay, Mumbai


1.              Rashida Manjoo - Professor University of Cape Town, South Africa, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

2.              Charlotte Bunch - Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, USA.

3.              Savitri Goonesekere - Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and former member of UN CEDAW. 

4.              Shanthi Dairiam - Founder IWRAW-AP, Former UN CEDAW Committee member.

5.              Sultana Kamal - Human rights activist, Chair, South Asians For Human Rights, Dhaka, Bangladesh

6.              Kamala Chandrakirana - Human rights defender, Former Chair, UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice & Komnas Perempuan.

Comments 10

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Dawn Arteaga
Oct 03, 2019
Oct 03, 2019

Thank you for sharing this powerful statement Sabah. I agree that women are often the first and most impacted by conflict. It is inspiring to see the collaboration and unity of women rising in power together. I stand with you in sisterhood.

Oct 03, 2019
Oct 03, 2019

Hi Sabah,

I encouraged you and stand with you in sisterhood.

Oct 03, 2019
Oct 03, 2019

Dear Sabah,
You all wonderful sister in world Pulse are all solidly behind you. Our voices must never be underestimated. We are the society, we are the community, we are the country. I pray sincerely for quick solution for your crises. May things never be the same again.
Wow, you got a quiet number of signatories there, amazing. Keep it up and let's not give up.
Take care

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Oct 04, 2019
Oct 04, 2019

Hello, Sabah,

Wow! This is love in action. I shall sent a link of this post to our sister Sumera. How do we add our names? Thank you for this call to action! Women are simply amazing!

Jill Langhus
Oct 04, 2019
Oct 04, 2019

Hi Sabah,

How are you doing? Thanks for sharing this super powerful synopsis and powerful women's movement. I hope peace and security will be restored to them and their land soon!

Oct 04, 2019
Oct 04, 2019

Wow this is such a powerful statement and so much love in action! I applaud you and stand with you in sisterhood! ❤

Tarke Edith
Oct 04, 2019
Oct 04, 2019

Hi sister
Thanks for sharing this powerful program
It's great to hear that dear keep up
Have a nice day sis

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 05, 2019
Oct 05, 2019

Hi Sabah,
At a time when women's voices are rarely heard in the mainstream news, we can depend on understanding what is really going on thanks to news we share here within Wold Pulse. Please keep us informed. It is the voices and perspectives of women across borders that will bring a true peace.

Sumera Reshi
Oct 05, 2019
Oct 05, 2019

Dear Sabah,

Thank you so much. The news from Kashmir is really appalling. Whenever I get connected to my home, I can hardly hold back my emotions. Tell you people and your government to leave us. We were never Indians and we won't be anymore especially since they invaded us by deceit.


Nabila Abbas
Oct 06, 2019
Oct 06, 2019

Thanks for sharing your powerful voice with us :)