At the height of the uprising in Kashmir In September 2016, there were tens of thousands of unarmed protesters which the Indian Army brutally & mercilessly assaulted with pellet guns, live ammo, tear gas & mass arrests of young men. Kashmiri independence leader & icon Syed Ali Geelani, now 90-years-old, who was/is under house arrest was prevented from holding a press conference when Indian forces put up a cordon around his house. So instead, he emailed a statement to media which is a powerful manifesto of #azaadi worth reading in full. These two passages are particularly forceful & resonant today:

“…between us & our freedom stand half a million Indian guns only. Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now. We have reached this stage because the people of Jammu & Kashmir have not only resisted the brute military occupation of India with exemplary courage & sacrifices but also repeatedly shown that the people would not be defeated.”

“The greatest sign of our victory is that the mighty army of our occupier has to shoot dead middle-aged women, a 21-year-old girl & beat to death a teacher. If after 70 years of military control, a soldier has to kill an unarmed woman & a schoolboy with a stone in his hand to forcibly keep Kashmir under Indian control, what bigger proof do we need of who has been defeated & who is victorious? The bullets of Indian soldiers are merely the symbols of their cowardice.”