Petitioning U.S. and Canadian Embassies

The editors of Against the Current initiated a petition addressed to the Indian Ambassador in Washington DC and the High Commissioner of India in Ottawa, Canada. It requested that a ban on Dr. Richard Shapiro be lifted and charges dropped against Angana Chatterji and Zahir-ud-Din. The latter two are co-founders and co-conveners of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir. They have been charged with writing to incite against the Indian State.

Richard Shapiro is Angana Chatterji's husband, and has accompanied her to India and Kashmir on numerous occasions. On November 1, without any stated reason, Dr. Shapiro was not allowed into India.

Joining the ATC editors in signing the petition were the editors of Canadian Dimension, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, the editors of the New Socialist webzine, Ahmed Shawki, editor, International Socialist Review, the Socialist Project, Toronto and Billy Wharton, editor, The Socialist:

We ask that the Government of India to reverse the November 1, 2010 decision of Immigration Authorities in New Delhi to deny entry to Professor Richard Shapiro, Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco and husband of Angana Chatterji, Co-convener of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir (IPTK) and also Professor of Anthropology at CIIS.

Richard Shapiro, a U.S. Citizen, was accompanying his wife, a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the United States, as he has approximately thirty times before. His area of work is not India or Kashmir, but focuses primarily on issues of race, class, gender, and alliance building in the United States. Over the past four years he has also traveled to Kashmir. During his visits he has not violated the conditions of his tourist visa. He has not participated in formal conferences, nor conducted any applied research.

Without charging Professor Shapiro or canceling his visa, Immigration Authorities nonetheless insisted that he immediately leave the country. Such a ban seems to be an attempt to punish Angana Chatterji for her research and advocacy. This action interferes with the right to freedom of movement as defined under international law.

This is occurring at the same time Arundhati Roy has been threatened with possible charges of sedition and her New Delhi home attacked. In fact, since 2008 Parvez Imroz, president of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), and his family have been attacked in their home. Additionally, Angana Chatterji and Zahir-ud-Din have been charged under Section 505 of the Ranbir Penal Code, with writing to incite against the Indian State.

We call upon the Indian State to reverse its ban on Professor Richard Shapiro and seek a path that welcomes academics and journalists to India.

We also call upon the Indian State to drop charges against Angana Chatterji and Zahir-ud-Din.

The November/December issue of Against the Current has an article on the current situation in Kashmir by Dr. Angana Chatterji, who is also a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The article can be accessed at http://www.solidarity-us.org/current/node/3095.

For additional information about the facts of the case, consult the following:

1. US professor sent back from Delhi airport
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/US-professor-sent-back-from-Delhi-airport/706236/

2. US professor deported for 'political activism' in Valley
http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/706855/

3. Scholars at Risk's alert on the case
http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Events-News/Article-Detail.php?art_uid=2454

4. Basharat Peer's article
http://www.kashmirprocess.org/news/20101105_Peer.pdf

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