Twitter Chat: Kashmir

Twitter Chat: Kashmir

Kashmir has been convulsed by violent clashes between protesters and security forces. The current violence has left over 100 people dead and has raised concerns over the widespread human rights violations committed by Indian security forces in their efforts to tamp down the violence. The litany of abuses are long—heavy restrictions on Kashmiri media, heavy-handed curfews and outright killings of protesters. Worst of all, most of these human rights violations can occur with complete impunity because of the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in parts of Kashmir.

With India in the spotlight over 2010 Commonwealth Games and the violence not garnering the same attention in the media, it’s even more important for us to highlight the human rights concerns in Kashmir and to urge the Indian government and the Jammu and Kashmir state government to take immediate steps to prosecute security forces. India is also supposedly one of the new great powers taking over from US hegemony; therefore, it’s more important than ever to publicize human rights violations in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.

Govind Acharya, a member of the South Asia Co-Group for Amnesty International USA and the newly constituted Terrorism Task Force aimed at addressing AI's response to terrorist attacks around the world, hosted a Twitter Chat on October 14, 2010 in order to answer questions about human rights in Kashmir.

Followers on Twitter were able to submit their questions and receive answers during this chat by directing them to @acharya_dude and using #AskAI as a hashtag. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions! Follow us on Twitter at

Govind’s introduction:

welcome 2 #askai i'll start w/ preliminary comments now. feel free to keep asking qxns. i'm govind acharya, south asia co-group amnesty USA

in case u wonder, my family originally from mysore karnataka. i also work on bangladesh and maldives for AIUSA. we r all volunteers

many qxns aren't strictly stuff that amnesty takes position, that won't stop me! but it doesn't necessarily represent amnesty intl

this will kick off lots more actions on #kashmir in the coming months aimed at justice for victims of HR violations committed

if u feel that my response didn't ans ur qxn, u can follow up by writing to my twitter acct

i will use acronyms. here is one: AFSPA = Armed Forces Special Powers Act we want it repealed immediately

LOTS of qxns abt UN involvmnt; AI is *not* UN. UN isn't worth the effort b/c they r toothless. my opinion, not official AI


Here’s the Q&A:

Q: @RR2303 writes: dear #kashmir the @acharya_dude guy of #askai is INDIAN.!!!ask away though.thought you didnt trust Indians..)

A: born in USA, but my name is pretty obviously Indian, no? #humanrights is human rights

Q: @_Faysal writes: Its really heartwarming that you are doing this for #Kashmir. I have one question.Can India be prosecuted for War-Crimes in Kashmir.

A: 4 war crimes: India isn't signatory to ICC, so wld require UNSC vote- unlikely. india must repeal AFSPA 2 prosecute.

Q: @_Faysal writes: Could u please establish an Office dedicated for Human Rights In Kashmir. How has India responded to your recommendations? .

A: AI has ppl working on Kashmir and went 2 valley to investigate. India listens 2 AI, but we don't have lot of influence. we need + ppl in US & other countries 2 write 2 india telling them to stop the killings & prosecute human rights violations

Q: @mazloomkashur sir wl u plz ask thm y it takz world r delhi to respnd to kashmir only aftr burning f kashmir.also r HR orgntnz afraid f india

A: @mazloomkashur when amnesty highlights HR violations in kashmir, we hope that india listens. Not sure if I understand qxn fully.

Q: @pawandurani: single question 2 begin w/..Has Amnesty even asked Govt y not even a single person has bn prosecuted for KP killings

A: @pawandurani AI met w/KP reps; call 4 justice 4 victims nadimarg massacre 4 yrs:

Q: @hoosiergringo writes: I've heard Arundhati Roy say Kashmir is the most heavily militarized area in the world- could you comment on this?

A: very militarized but don't know if it's the "most". i luv arundhati roy. pak involvement unhelpful but also irrelevant. ppl in kashmir don't want to be treated as 2nd class citizens.

Q: @Panun_Kashmir writes: KPs wailing, rehabilitation still distant dream #Kashmir #India

A: why did KP leave valley? can't they come back?

Q: @majidpandit writes: Any status on followup for AI's statement in 2008? | Thousands lost in #Kashmir mass graves |

A: one of the saddest things 4 me- nothing done 2 investigate mass graves. another ex of impunity & angers kashmiris & me. we will have an action on mass graves issue soon

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: AI must be closely watching the HR violations by #India in #Kashmir, How effective has it been? any example?

A: we closely watch kashmir not effective as we wish. we r NGO & we can raise voice, but it requires india 2do right thing

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: Since 2006, graves of at least 940 people are reported to have been discovered in 18 villages in Uri district alone #Kashmir #Askai Action ?

A: yes, mass graves issue is issue that we r going to b working on more. india needs to account 4 what happened

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: More than 9,000 persons have gone missing in #Jammu and #Kashmir since 1989 | what has been AI doing on that front?

A: 9,000 missing, maybe more actually. support grps like APDP working there + highlighting thru actions abroad.

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: More than 9,000 persons have gone missing in #Jammu and #Kashmir since 1989 | what has been AI doing on that front?

A: can't even imagine the pain of not knowing what happened to family/friend who went missing

Q: @Me_usf asks: Why are we #Kashmir Killed when we ask for our Basic Rights, Is Anybody Asking Answer from #India on these Killings.)

Q: FB qxn: has the situation over there improved at all?

A: not really, but media isn't talking much anymore b/c of Commonwealth Game fiasco; hence my desire to talk more abt it

Q: @Me_usf writes: Y not #international agencies interfere in resolving #kashmir Issue. How long we Kashmiri are going to be Killed By #Indians.

A: US/EU prefer to see India as place to do biz; it's up to HR orgs like AI & others to shame them into speaking out

Q: @dr_ather_wani writes: what is amnesty doing to make the world more aware about the human rights violations in #kashmir ?

A: as an NGO, we can inform/shame ppl in india and abroad to highlight cases. we have no power other than our voices

Q: @dr_ather_wani writes: what do you propose should be the way ahead for a solution to the #kashmir dispute?

A: solution? immediately, repeal AFSPA & other impunity laws, lift civil liberties curbs, prosecute & start talking

Q: @dr_ather_wani writes: who would you primarily blame for the current situation in #kashmir .. #india , #pakistan or the #kashmiris ?

A: who's 2 blame? as a HR activist, anyone committing HR violations. easy to blame india and/or Pakistan

Q: @dr_ather_wani writes: whats are ur views on acts like AFSPA and PSA ? #kashmir

A: views of AFSPA/PSA-easy they need 2 b repealed immediately they r bad for human rights kashmir & frankly bad for india

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: please let us know your role in resolving #kashmir conflict so far. wht has been ur intervention if any?

A: our role is as an NGO- trying to publicize HR violations. take action where we can thru our membership.

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: enforced disappearances have left thousands of Half widows n orphans. has thr been a concrete action taken n whats ur role? #Kashmir

A: we have highlighted enforced disappearances and plan more actions on it in coming weeks/months

Q: @DawoodShah writes: How can India get away with Serial Rape, Murders, Killings, Disappearance of Innocent people of #Kashmir in the 21st Century ?

A: how can india get away with it? b/c int'l community won't condemn. US govt/EU want to do business w/india

Q: @saadut writes: Dos it justify to arrest and imprison kids and teenagers in Kashmir for holding protests & lodging them alongside hardened criminals

A: no, kids & teenagers shld not be imprisoned w/common criminals. they really shldn't be imprisoned at all 4 protesting

Q: @saadut writes: I don't believe Amnesty is an impartial organization after seeing its inaction in Kashmir.

A: thx 4 ur criticism. amnesty is impartial, but with 190 countries, we can't be the only ones. HRW does good work,so do others

Q: @Me_usf writes: #india is doing Open Crime in #kashmir, R International Agencies Like U kpt ur Eyz Closed . Y r u nt asking india abt it.

A: amnesty is an NGO, not intl organization, but we do ask india abt Kashmir

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: KunanPoshpora Feb 23, 1991 | 53 women gang raped by soldiers tht night #HRW says 100 women. 19 years gone, still no justice? #Kashmir

A: re: 1991 gang rapes. this is one of the problems-complete impunity, but india always blames pakistan.

Q: @Me_usf writes: Rcntly #india Hv censor Media in #kashmir,r not they trying to put Crime under carpt, Hv u Done something Abt these kind of Bans

A: recent statement: #askai media restrictions r done by india/j&k govt & imo counter-productive & wrong

Q: @RR2303 writes: dear #kashmir the @acharya_dude guy of #askai is INDIAN.!!!ask away though.thought you didnt trust Indians..)

A: indians need 2 question their government's actions in kashmir and seek justice 4 victims in Kashmir

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: 8 year old Sameer, stamped to death by Indian forces at batamaloo.. His killers in uniform still free. Any comments?

A: re: sameer. indians need to ask why in their name soldiers r allowed impunity like this under AFSPA & other laws

Q: @pawandurani writes: Sir , this doesn't tell about visit to KP refugee camps . 99.2 pc KP's are forced out

A: re: KP just as 4 ALL kashmiris- any HR violations MUST be prosecuted.

Q: @pawandurani writes: also pls do ask Govt why non has been convicted for killing of KPs .. Why cases were selectively dropped

A: killing of KP and all kashmiris not investigated b/c of impunity by india in kashmir. pandits/non-pandits shld join forces & ask india 2 prosecute all HR violations

Q: @pawandurani writes: countless temples destroyes / looted / burnt the movement in KMR started with persecution of 'kafirs'

A: re:religious places. shouldn't b destroyed, it's better for all faith groups in kashmir to join forces & demand justice

Q: @pawandurani writes: why even today separatist lay conditions for KPks return..asking to join their thought

A: call me naive, but i think pandits and all kashmiris have common cause re: their homeland

Q: qxn from jmccdon Is India's influence in favor of human rights in neighbring countries like Sri Lanka reduced due to HRVs in Kashmir?

A: esp 4 sri lanka, kashmir that is treated as it is makes india much less effective urging lanka to deal with the effects of civil war

Q: @kabirspeaks writes: New AI chief Indian origin n knows #Kashmir quiet well, is he planning something concrete? What value add vl Salil bring to table?

A: New AI SG knows lot abt kashmir & i think it'll lead 2 more pointed critique of india's role not just 4 HR violations by security forces, but also violations of economic, social, cultural rights of kashmir

A: re: ESC rights- how curfews & other restrictions cause violations of ESC rights, for example

Q: qxn from blog: Maybe the Commonwealth Games were meant to distract from this violence

A: No. CWG distracts 4 media. timing coincidence, but CWG prep + forced evictions in Delhi shows India's heavy hand

Q: @ritesh91 writes: According to AI, should AFSPA be repealed from all over the country that is it should not be a law at all?

A: re: AFSPA. it's in effect in kashmir & northeast. amnesty's position is it should be repealed everywhere

Q: @panditkmr writes: What your organisation says about proved fake encounters in #Kashmir , is not it a black dot on Indian democracy & HR

A: fake encounters are certainly a black mark on indian democracy

Q: @RatanSpeak writes: The way Geeta Sehgal was hounded out 4spking aganst Al Qaeda Beg by Amnesty I don't xpct fairness frm u on Pandit Cleansing

A: what does geeta sahgal have to do with this??

Q: @ritesh91 writes: If AI is not pragmatic, it may not be heard, isn't it?

A: AI is pragmatic, but demands accountability for all HR violations.

Q: @iShahnaz writes: Some months ago, representatives from @amnesty were finally allowed to visit Kashmir. Would like to know what came out of that

A: Here is some background from that visit to kashmir by amnesty:

Q: @DawoodShah writes: US / EU want to do business with China also. Doesn't stop attention to Tibet, or Nobel Peace Prize to chinese dissident

A: fair point re: business w/china.

Q: @HelloKashmiri writes: What are some good ways for international citizens assist Kashmir?

A: AI & other orgs have actions that u can do + publicize articles on kashmir as they come out. i can follow my twitter

Q: @ritesh91 writes: Are there any human rights violations from the side of separatists in Kashmir according to AI?

A: yes, there r also HR violations on the other side. that's why i said all HR violations must be prosecuted