Indian, Pakistani Students at Oxford Issue Joint Statement For Peace

Indian and Pakistani students outside the Radcliffe Camera at Oxford, holding up placards with the message 'Say No to War'. (Photo: Rahul Bajaj via The Wire)

(Reposted from: The Wire.  March 3, 2019)

New Delhi: At a time when divisive and warmongering narratives have strained Indo-Pak relations to virtually breaking point, Indian and Pakistani scholars and students of Oxford University held a solidarity demonstration at the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford on Saturday. The group also issued a statement, reproduced in full below:

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We are a group of Indian and Pakistani students at the University of Oxford who are deeply disturbed by the escalation of tensions over an impending war between India and Pakistan.

We strongly condemn the suicide bombing in Pulwama, Kashmir on February 14, 2019 which claimed the lives of around 44 Indian soldiers.We denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

As students in a land that is foreign to our homes – India and Pakistan – we’ve always marvelled at how we seamlessly gravitate towards each other, and how we are able to come together in community in ways we can’t back home. We often talk about the similarities we share in our food, culture, histories and the challenges we face. The Indo-Pak community has emerged as a place of refuge and comfort for us. However, when we imagine visiting each other’s homes we realise all the ways in which visas and politics restrict us. As we sit together now, watching the increasingly violent direction the current discourse is taking, we are frightened.

We come from parts of the world where the rhetoric of war isn’t new, and its consequences aren’t abstract. War only benefits a handful of influential profiteering interests who feed on hatred and fear. It is the people who never wish for war that face its repercussions. It is a luxury to be able to debate the possibility of war when the death, grief and loss that accompany it are not part of your everyday. For some people, especially the already dispossessed, the human cost of war is no cliché. It is lived reality.

We urge our fellow Pakistanis and Indians both within and outside the subcontinent to stand together in unity, focus on our commonalities, and reject divisive narratives. We call upon the leaders of our countries to develop de-escalation protocols, organise constructive peace talks and dialogue for the resolution of all bilateral issues, especially for Jammu and Kashmir. It has historically borne the brunt of power struggles between the two states. We call for an end to the violence being perpetuated on Kashmiris.

War and warmongering are always unequivocally deplorable. At a time when India and Pakistan are lurching from crisis to crisis, we condemn the irresponsible rhetoric flooding the media in both countries in the strongest possible terms.

We dare to imagine a future that is free of divisions and violence, and unshadowed by the politics of war. We refuse to succumb to this environment of fear and suspicion. We refuse to see our friends as enemies. We refuse to hate those we hold dear.

This is not our war.

  1. Fatima Zehra Naqvi
  2. Archit Jain
  3. Sana Naeem
  4. Sameer Bhat
  5. Krishnendu Ray
  6. Adil Hossain
  7. Arslan Chaudhry
  8. Tanyah Hameed
  9. Nikita Arora
  10. Mehroz Ehsan
  11. Pooja George
  12. Saumya Pandey
  13. Iqbal Singh Bhalla
  14. Arya Tandon
  15. Vishrut Mittal
  16. Aastha Tyagi
  17. Sneha Priya Yanappa
  18. Zunaira Mallick
  19. Sparsh Ahuja
  20. Gayathree Devi KT
  21. Vikaran Khanna
  22. Oxford South Asian Society
  23. Naganand Saravanan
  24. Arushi Garg
  25. Karishma Tiwari
  26. Shreya Munoth
  27. Ria Ranadive
  28. Rishika Sahgal
  29. Ashwin Nair
  30. Harshavardan Raghunandhan
  31. Urvi Khaitan
  32. Ral Daryanani
  33. Sanya Samtani
  34. Zara Naseer
  35. Milan Divecha
  36. Deepak Kamlesh
  37. Nabeela Zaman
  38. Mary Kavita Dominic
  39. Aarathi Ganesan
  40. Niyati Sharma
  41. Dr Muniza Ahmed Siddiqui
  42. Zeena Oberoi
  43. Aradhana Cherupara Vadekkethil
  44. Sumaera Rathore
  45. Saman Tariq Malik
  46. Ayesha Mir
  47. Aishwarya Amar
  48. Mano Sathyamurthy
  49. Aman Gupta
  50. Bestin Samuel
  51. Anahitha Sagar
  52. Daniel Waqar
  53. Gunjita Gupta
  54. Dhruti Babariya
  55. Ayesha Qaisrani
  56. Afrin Shairaj
  57. Kapil Yadav
  58. Maryam Ahmad
  59. Reena Dsouza
  60. Fatima Zahrah
  61. Paras Abrol
  62. Ranjamrittika Bhowmik
  63. Chaitanya Kediyal
  64. Dhruva Bhat
  65. Fuaad Coovadia
  66. Bihani Sarkar
  67. Talha J. Pirzada
  68. Shraddha Singh
  69. Myra Ali
  70. Rahul Bajaj.

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