(1/n) This thread raises important ethical and political concerns about the ethnographic research and writing of US based anthropologist Saiba Varma @SaibaVarma in Kashmir
(2/n) Saiba Varma, an anthropologist @UCSanDiego, recently published her book The Occupied Clinic @DukePress. The book is about militarism & medical care in Kashmir. But ethical problems have been ignored
(3/n) The research & book raise problems re: positionality, methods, consent & especially honesty & transparency with vulnerable informants -- mostly PTSD patients who have suffered at the hands of the Indian military & intelligence establishment
(4/n) The intention w this thread is to raise questions about ethical obligations of scholars w power & privilege who work in settings of occupation- in this case Indian scholars in Kashmir
(5/n) This thread is published anonymously bc of power dynamics amongst those who get to write & speak about Kashmir, and bc of the fear & backlash we face as Kashmiris
(6/n) For those questioning the choice to stay anonymous, ask yourselves how else you, as a Kashmiri, would publicly critique a scholar with family connections to Indian intelligence operations? The playing field is already set against us
(7/n) SV's father is Krishan Varma, an integral part of India's intelligence & espionage establishment. He spent his career as an agent in RAW, India's Research & Analysis Wing. He held sensitive assignments in Kashmir
(8/n) RAW is India's top counter-terrorism agency. It oversees India's intelligence & surveillance operations in Kashmir. RAW spy networks have traumatised generations of Kashmiris.
(9/n) Altho now retired, he is actively involved with orgs like Global Counter Terrorism Council & Rashtriya Raksha University
(10/n) According to her own professional code, researchers must follow ethical principles: honesty, integrity, openness, transparency & accountability. They must protect vulnerable populations and minimise harm & maximise benefit to the people, esp in an occupied region
(11/n) SV is an upper caste India, w links to defense/intelligence institutions that are responsible for killing Kashmiri Muslims. And yet she has never talked about her role vis a vis Kashmir or disclosed her compromised family background in writings or interviews
(12/n) Did the trauma patients in Kashmir know who they were talking to? Would they still have felt comfortable talking to her if they knew who her father was?
(13/n) Did her father's connections assist SV in any way during her research? Has she gained special access?
(14/n) Were Indian and local Kashmir intelligence agents & agencies aware that SV was present & conducting research in Kashmir? Did it make the surveillance worse for the trauma patients?
(15/n) What are the responsibilities of Indian researchers interviewing Kashmiri trauma patients in clinics where they are being treated?
(16/n) In the book, SV tells how the psychiatric doctor told his patients at the clinic to speak in Urdu/Hindi since SV doesn't speak Kashmiri. What are the responsibilities of Indian researchers forcing people to seek medical treatment in a language that isn't their own?
(17/n) Has SV publicly disavowed her father's role in Kashmir? She thanks him in the book. How to reconcile the fact that the father oversees the agencies that create trauma, while the daughter studies the effects?
(18/n) In 2017, KV ran for president of super elite Delhi Gymkhana Club. Six previous presidents endorsed him, including notorious spymaster AS Dulat, who has been at the centre of India's coin ops in Kashmir for decades.
(19/n) What are the responsibilities of Indian researchers doing work in Kashmir? And what happens when researchers choose not to disclose who they are?
(20/n) SV should be transparent about her father's work w RAW and why she has hidden it. If she was not 'able' to reveal it -- then why work on Kashmir? There are many other places where one can work where one is not potentially dishonest or harming people
(21/n) Given her compromised family connections, why should SV continue researching/writing/speaking on Kashmir?
Postscript: we are a group of Kashmiri activists, students & researchers who are concerned about these issues. We are angry & also scared. The only way we could raise these issues publicly is by being anonymous.

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