The Centre for Policy Analysis, in collaboration with Action Aid, India and Focus on the Global South, organized a Youth Convention in Srinagar on June 2, 2012 as a sequel to a similar Convention on the Democratic Rights of Kashmiri Youth held in New Delhi in March, 2012. Nearly sixty students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia along with five journalists and activists travelled from Delhi by bus to Srinagar to participate in the Convention being held at the Institute of Management and Public Administration.
They were joined at the day long Conference by at least 150 young people from Kashmir in what was described by speakers as a “historic initiative” and a first for the young people of Jammu and Kashmir. Although youth meetings have taken place at various levels, this was the first such large scale interaction between the young people from Delhi and Kashmir where they spoke freely, and at the end embraced each other in solidarity. The Convention was addressed by the youth from both sides as they sought a common plan of action. This was after a short Opening Session addressed by Professor Gul Wani from Kashmir University, Siddiq Wahid who is heading the Institute of Kashmir Studies, Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir, Hameeda Nayeem, Professor and well known human rights activist along with Yasin Malik, JKLF chairperson, Yousuf Tarigami, CPI(M) legislator from Kashmir, and Engineer Rashid, Independent MLA from Kashmir.
CPI(M) MP from Kerala MB Rajesh addressed the Concluding session of the Convention.
The Youth took active part in the last session to formulate the recommendations. The following list of recommendations that will become part of a joint action program were adopted by the Convention:
1) Demilitarization: maximum withdrawal of the Army from the civilian areas of Jammu and Kashmir;
2) Withdrawal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act;
3) Trial and Punishment of the security personnel responsible for killing the young people in the summer of 2010;
4) Release of the Youth illegally detained; legal aid for all the young people in jail;
5) Investigation by an impartial authority into all fake encounters and immediate action against those found guilty;
6) Registration of cases of enforced disappearances followed by investigation and action within a time frame;
7) Investigation by an impartial authority into the rape cases that still remain unresolved;
8) Investigation by an impartial authority into the unmarked graves to establish the identities of those killed, and the culpability of those responsible for the murders;
9) Respect by the Indian state for the Right to Dissent;
10) Freedom to the young people to form students unions and organizations in Kashmir as per the mandate of the courts;
11) Unrestricted use of the social media in Kashmir; the government must stop harassing and terrorizing the young people of Jammu and Kashmir on this issue;
12) Unrestricted use of the SMS service on the mobile phone that is generally not allowed; easy access to SIM cards that has also been curtailed by the government;
13) Steps to issue passports to the youth most of whom are denied this basic document without any explanation;
14) Rehabilitation and compensation of the victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir;
15) Facilitation of the return of Kashmiri pundits;
16) Immediate steps should be taken by the government to stop environmental degradation in Jammu and Kashmir;
17) The government must apologise for forced labour, and take immediate steps to compensate the victims;
18) An impartial committee should be set up to monitor the misuse of state funds at all levels as a step to deal with rampant corruption in Jammu and Kashmir;
19) In the complete absence of verifiable government statistics, authentic and transparent surveys should be undertaken to fix the number of missing persons, those killed in encounters, and those who have disappeared without trace till date;
20) Immediate resumption of dialogue with all shades of opinion in Kashmir; and fast tracking of the ongoing talks between India and Pakistan on the resolution of Kashmir.