The Kashmir-EU Week is an initiative primarily directed at enhancing the awareness about the Kashmir conflict and its myriad aspects especially regarding human rights. The objective of this effort is to expose the gravity and urgency of the issue and to impress upon the members of the European Union that their support was vital for the safe and dignified future of a great nation; Kashmir.
We are very proud to say that we have been successfully organising this event for last four years. During these years, we have seen our supporters increasing in numbers. Besides that, there are those, like Sajjad Haider Karim (MEP), the traditional host of this event, who are the real strength behind our humble initiatives. We have seen that every passing year has enhanced the commitment of such friends. The sympathies are not worn out rather we are surrounded by even more MEPs, human rights organisations, forums, individuals and scholars. This event has created its ambience in the corridors and rooms of the EU parliament.
The event primarily emphasizes upon two major points; cultural diversity and peaceful dialogue. As far as peaceful dialogue is concerned, we invite MEPs, human rights activists, scholars, political leaders, journalists and researchers to sit together and discuss the recent situations in Indian Held Kashmir in the context of the historic realities. We are sorry to say that every year; we see the gravity of the situation at ground as increasing. We started with a grave report, “Buried Evidence”, regarding the discovery of the unmarked mass graves. By the end of 2013, we are having another report, “Alleged Perpetrators: Stories of impunity from Jammu and Kashmir”. Meanwhile, the Indian state hanged Afzal Guru in mysterious and illegal circumstances. In fact, every year, we have something to mourn on and something to lament about. The high handedness of Indian state seems unchangeable in Kashmir. It seems that they don’t believe in learning anything from the past.
We believe that the cultural diversity and interfaith harmony are the cornerstones of the Kashmiri civilisation. And that constitutes the other half of Kashmir-EU Week events. We organise a comprehensive exhibition of Kashmiri arts, handicrafts, books, paintings, photographs and indigenous literature and music. The history of Kashmiri culture shows beyond doubt that Kashmiris have never let themselves divided on the lines of religion or sects. The culture of Kashmir is a product of all of its inhabitants; Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others. A land of Sufis and Rishis, Kashmir deserves a peaceful life for everybody living there. We present the best images of the peaceful culture of Kashmir in this exhibition in order to show what we want as our future.
But this exhibition shows some horrible images as well. These are the photographs that depict sad realities of today’s life in Indian Held Kashmir. A life under Siege; the images show how citizens are brutally tortured and murdered, how life is crippled by curfews and raids, how economy is paralysed, how senior citizens, professional and even teachers are insulted, how 700,000 strong army presence affects the life in general. The shadows of fears can be seen on faces. But it is not only fear rather it is desperation and anger as well.
We are thankful to many friends for the success of Kashmir-EU week. Instead of naming individuals, we think that it is European Parliament that should be thanked in general. The European Parliament has proved that it is a great support for all the peoples and nations who are victimised by the forces of tyranny. In fact, the resolutions and fact finding missions and statements of the European Parliament and untiring support from its individual members is the biggest factor behind the success of our efforts for keeping the Kashmir conflict alive in the collective conscience of the humanity.