In Solidarity With the Kashmiri Struggle
“The children of all the enslaved nations in the world not only have to suffer the oppression and
suppression by tyrants, but also have to fight shoulder to shoulder, for freedom.”
-Shaheed-e-Kashmir Maqbool Bhat
WHAT INDIA DID TO KASHMIR: A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLOOD AND BETRAYAL
On 27 October 1947, Mountbatten wrote to the then Kashmiri Maharaja that the accession of Kashmir should be ratified by a ‘reference to the people’. Where did it happen?
On 2 November 1947, Nehru promised “not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world… to hold a referendum under international auspices such as the United Nations” to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their future. What happened next?
In January 1948, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan was formed in order to conduct a plebiscite that would determine Kashmir’s status.
Between 1948 and 1957, the Security Council repeatedly passed resolutions calling for the dispute to be settled in accordance with the will of the Kashmiri people, through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite.
From 17 November 1952, Article 370 which gave limited autonomy to Kashmir was meant to be enforced.
But, right from 1953, Indian government successfully curbed even the very little ‘freedoms’ meant to be provided through Article 370. This it did through force, intimidation, blackmail and other cheap arm-twisting tactics thereby ensuring that only puppets of Delhi could rule in Kashmir. Mass upsurges in the valley began to take place, which were suppressed through brutal methods. Kashmir started to become a police-state.
In 1956, Nehru swallowed his own promise, stating in the parliament that plebiscite in Kashmir is “beside the point”.
From 1957, all elections in Kashmir were mere mockeries of democracy. Any politician or activist even referring to Nehru’s ‘promise’ to the Kashmiri people or anyone falling out of favour with the centre was arrested. The continuation of such a situation for long increasingly contributed to the disillusionment of the Kashmiri people with India.
In 1987 March elections, a formation called Muslim United Front, which was opposed to the excessive interference of New Delhi, opposed the ruling stooge parties of Kashmir. The elections were rigged and the youth associated with the MUF were ruthlessly targeted by the Indian police and intelligence.
In 1989, realizing the futility of electoral politics to express their legitimate grievances, many youth took up the path of armed struggle for national liberation.
In January 1990, massive demonstrations for Azadi broke out in various parts of Kashmir. In March, the Indian army carried out a massacre of unarmed, peaceful demonstrators in Zakora and Tengpora.
In July 1990, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a draconian ‘legal’ provision that gives unlimited powers to the army, was enforced in Kashmir. Ever since then, the Kashmiris became prisoners in their own homes. Bloody massacres of Sopore, Gawakdal, Bijhbehara and many others could occur unchecked.
Now, Kashmir stands as a crude joke of the ‘world’s largest democracy’. It is one of the biggest militarized zones in the world. With over 4 lakh soldiers deployed to control a population of about 50 lakh, the state Kashmir is a military garrison. Over 90,000 people have been killed since 1989. Over 9000 women have been raped by the armed forces – a 2005 report of Doctors Without Borders shows that over 11% of Kashmiri women have faced some form of sexual abuse in their lives. There are regular crackdowns and arrests of pro-freedom activists and politicians. There is no media freedom and journalists are targeted on a regular basis. The fascist terror is such that even Kashmiri facebook users are hounded up by the police and interrogated. In recent protests more than 60 people have been killed and hundreds have been wounded. Almost every family in Kashmir has faced direct oppression at some level or other at the hands of the Indian state.
At this juncture, it is necessary to take the Kashmiri issue far and wide across India. It is all the more important for the other oppressed nationalities to come together and fight and expose the reactionary Indian state. With these objectives, Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) and some other progressive parties held a dharna in Chennai, on 13th Aug, against the Indian state’s atrocities in Kashmir and in support of the Kashmiri struggle. Many of the activists, including PDK president Kolathur Mani, were arrested. The arrested were denied bail on the pretext that if this kind of protests were allowed in Tamil Nadu, it would sabotage India’s agenda and strengthen the ‘Kashmiri separatists’.
The demonstrators placed the following four demands to the Indian govt:
1) India should stop its war on the Kashmiri people
2) AFSPA should be scrapped immediately
3) The Indian army should be withdrawn from Kashmir
4) Talks should be initiated on the rights of the Kashmiris to self-determination
As early as 1956, when the then Indian govt. was trying project the image of ‘one India’ at all costs, Periyar stood by the right of the Kashmiris to self-determination, recognizing them as a unique national formation. But Karunanidhi, who shamelessly claims to uphold the Periyar legacy, is cracking down on all democratic voices supporting various national-liberation struggles. As the situation stands in Tamil Nadu, anyone speaking in support of the Eelam Tamils or protesting against the racist Sri Lankan state are arrested under ridiculous charges, including the draconian NSA. The arrest of the activists who voiced their support of the Kashmiri struggle clearly shows the fascist nature of the Indian state and its stooge, the DMK govt.
Clearly, the Indian state is worried about various nationalities uniting on a common issue! And its nervousness is visible among the ‘Indian patriots’ in the campus too. Condemning the arrest of the activists and expressing our support to the Kashmiri struggle, DTSU had brought out posters on 13th August. All of the posters were torn that very night by ABVP-YFE goons. This was followed by a rally where jingoist and communally provocative slogans were raised. It is a shame that they were allowed to do such acts of hooliganism with the support of the security. They involved in such monkey antics earlier too in April in the context of the cultural meeting of the JNU Forum Against War on People. This assault on campus democracy cannot be tolerated and these junior fascists need to be fought at all levels.
But the mentality of these lumpens is the “secular and democratic basis of the Indian state” (Refer SFI’s poster of 14th Aug). If an orgy of loot, rape and murder is what constitutes Indian ‘secularism’ and ‘democracy’ the Kashmiris are far better without it. It should be clear to any progressive, least of all a Marxist, that there can be no benevolent occupying army. And no state which deploys its army to crush the genuine demands of a nationality, using communal propaganda as and when necessary, can be a secular democratic state. Contrary to propaganda by state agents, supporting the Kashmir struggle is a necessity for the other oppressed sections in India. The Kashmiri movement is not alien but complementary to the people’s revolutionary struggle in the subcontinent in that all such struggles are being waged against the same class of oppressors.
Lenin says that “it is impossible to fight for the socialist international revolution against imperialism unless the right of nations to self-determination is recognized”. The opposition of SFI-CPM to self-determination of the Kashmiris, their parroting of the reactionary argument of the so called ‘Pakistani involvement’ and the concomitant attempts to undermine and negate the conscious demands of the Kashmiri people for Azadi is nothing but a plain expression of their social-chauvinist politics, aptly described by Lenin as the defence of the privileges of one’s own bourgeoisie to pillage and plunder. CPM’s historical stance on other nationality struggles like Tamil Eelam, North-Eastern states is well known. Their hobnobbing with majoritarian-chauvinist forces like JVP of Sri Lanka until recently, their support of Operation Blue Star which led to the massacre of hundreds of Sikh civilians, their use of AFSPA in Tripura shows the color of their ‘internationalism’ – a variant of saffron.
STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE KASHMIRI DEMAND FOR AZADI!
OPPOSE THE FASCIST INDIAN STATE AND THE ABVP-YFE LUMPENS!
EXPOSE THE SOCIAL-CHAUVINIST SFI-CPM AND ITS DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF THE KASHMIRI STRUGGLE!