Well-attended SASNET seminar on denial of self-determination in Kashmir

Dibyesh Anand and Talat Bhat.

SASNET organised a seminar on “Kashmiris caught in India-Pakistan Conflict: Denial of Self-Determination and Human Rights” on Thursday 8 October 2015. The main speaker was Dr Dibyesh Anand, Associate Professor in International Relations and the Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster in London. See the poster.
Talat Bhat, film maker based in Lund, was the second participant. His documentary film on Kashmir, ”Bring him back” was screened (more information about the film). The venue for the event It was held at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, in its seminar room which was packed with people. 
After the movie the main speaker Dibyesh Anand who is the author of monographs “Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination”, “Tibet: A Victim of Geopolitics”, and “Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear”, talked about his current research on colonial practices by China and India, with special reference to  Kashmir. In his presentation he focused on the fact that while Kashmir is known primarily as a site of territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, there are conflicting narratives around the dispute.
The focus was on a Kashmiri narrative and topics related to this such as that a persistent dehumanisation has been the most conspicuous characteristic of the conflict in the region. Practices of dehumanisation allow the existing nation-states to go against the principles of democracy, human rights and self-determination and enable epistemic, cultural, political and corporeal violence on the Kashmiri body politic. Questions that were raised during the seminar were for example: What are the conflicting narratives about Kashmir? Are they permanently irreconcilable? Is the dehumanisation of Kashmiris by India mainly a product of armed insurgency in the Kashmir valley in the 1990s or is it an integral part of Indian rule over Kashmiris? How important is religion as a factor? What forms of dehumanisation and violence have been deployed by the nation-states to control the people?  
The wider context of the geopolitics of the region – including the stated (post)colonial nature of states such as China, India and Pakistan vis-à-vis occupied and oppressed people of Tibet, East Turkestan/Xinjiang, Kashmir and Balochistan – was also a part of the discussion.
The entire seminar was recorded by Talat Bhat, go for his Youtube video.