Day in and day out, the people of Kashmir, men and women, girls and boys, have been coming out onto the streets, with death defying courage, asserting their right to decide their own affairs. No amount of brutality unleashed by the Indian state has lessened the resolve of the Kashmiri people to carry forward their struggle.
The Army has declared that people who come out to defend “militants” during combing operations in villages and towns would be treated as terrorists and killed. Every day reports come in of masses of villagers blocking combing operations, in order to prevent the army from arresting and killing their youth.
Hundreds of girls and boys have been cruelly blinded by pellet bullets aimed at their eyes. Civilians have been used as human shields by tying them up in front of army vehicles. The no holds barred state terror has only brought more people onto the streets in protest. The funeral of every person killed by the army has been the occasion for massive protests, and further clashes with the armed forces. Scores of army jawans have also lost their lives in recent months.
Thus Kashmir has been made into a killing field. The Indian State has been covering up its crimes by carrying on incessant propaganda that the problem in Kashmir is Pakistan sponsored militancy; that infiltrators from across the border are responsible for the attacks on the armed forces. However, such blatant lies and its outright denial of the massive dissatisfaction and unrest among the people, are only further adding fuel to the fire.
The Indian State has lost all credibility amongst the people of Kashmir; neither do the parties of the ruling class or the so called elected governments that have replaced one another in Kashmir.
Successive governments at the Center have cynically used the Kashmir problem to foment anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan hysteria amongst the people of the rest of India. All those who call for an end to Army rule in Kashmir, all those who defend the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination, are hounded as “anti-national”, and enemies of “national unity and territorial integrity”.
The policy pursued by the BJP government at the center towards Jammu and Kashmir is a continuation of the policy pursued by all governments since the time of accession of the state to India in 1948 without the consent of its people. The government has made a pretense of sending interlocutors to ascertain the real situation in Kashmir, but no effort was made by them to engage the people of Kashmir to discuss a political solution. Central governments have consistently denied the Kashmiri people their right to determine their destiny. They have imposed their dictate through brutal repression. They have denied that the Kashmir problem is a political problem which needs a political solution in consultation with the people.
The imposition of Governor’s rule in Kashmir is an alarming sign that the Indian State is going to further escalate State terror against the Kashmiri people. This means that it is going to continue to treat Kashmir as a “law and order problem”. It seems that Kashmir is destined to burn even more.
A dangerous situation exists for not only the people of Kashmir, but for all the Indian people. There is indeed a serious threat to the unity and solidarity of the Indian people. However, the threat to this unity does not come from the people of Kashmir as the Indian ruling class claims. It is the Indian ruling class itself which is the source of the threat to the unity of our people. The Indian State looks at its own people as a threat to its existence. In order to safeguard its oppressive rule, the Indian ruling class has followed the policy of smashing the unity and solidarity of our people, by fomenting discord amongst people on the basis of religion, caste, language, region, and nationality. It has tried and is trying to sow disunity within the state itself, between the people of Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh. It has created a fertile ground for Anglo-American imperialism to interfere in our country and weaken us. It has provided the imperialists with a justification to interfere in the internal affairs of the sub-continent through their agencies with the accusation that human rights are being violated, while they themselves launch aggressive wars and violate the sovereignty of peoples.
The working class and people of our country must raise their voice against the policy of the Indian State of treating the Kashmiri people as “enemies” to be crushed through brutal state repression. They should demand that the Indian army should be withdrawn to the barracks and that AFSPA be repealed. All those concerned about the unity and solidarity of our people must fight for an immediate political solution to the problem faced by the Kashmiri people.