In the early hours of February 26, 2019, fighter jets of the Indian Air Force are reported to have crossed the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan and dropped 1000 kg laser-guided bombs on terrorist camps. The corporate controlled media is whipping up war hysteria, boasting and thumping their chests about how “Pakistan has been given a fitting reply” to the terrorist attack at Pulwama.
Within Kashmir, an escalated reign of terror has been unleashed. Ten thousand troops from the BSF, the CRPF, and ITBP have been airlifted into Srinagar. On the night of February 22, hundreds of political activists were arrested in Srinagar. Top leaders of the Hurriyat Conference are being moved to jails outside Kashmir.
An extremely tense situation has been created throughout India following the terrorist attack of February 14. Mobs encouraged by the ruling party have been attacking Kashmiris in particular and Muslims in general all over the country. The principal “opposition” party has been silent on these attacks, and has given its support to any action that the Government plans against Pakistan, or in Kashmir.
People all over the country are worried as to what the Indian state is planning next. Is it going to embroil our country in a full scale war with Pakistan? Is it going to organise communal riots targeting Muslims? Is it going to organise a bloodbath in Kashmir?
Escalated repression of people in Kashmir and air strikes across the border are being justified in the name of “wiping out terrorism” and avenging Pakistan. A sober examination and analysis of the facts show that this official line of action will definitely not solve the Kashmir problem or end terrorism.
The Kashmir problem is a political problem. It is a problem of the unfulfilled aspirations of Kashmiris within the Indian Union. If the Indian state recognizes this and decides to address these aspirations, then there is a possibility of solving the Kashmir problem, in the interests of all the peoples of India, including the Kashmiri people. If the Indian state continues to treat it as a “law and order” problem, not only will Kashmir continue to bleed, the rest of India will also never know peace or progress.
In dealing with the problem of Kashmir and Kashmiri people, the Narendra Modi government is accelerating on the same bankrupt path that has been pursued by the Indian state over the past thirty years and more. Within Kashmir, the army and paramilitary forces are asked to deal with the population as an occupation force. People in other parts of the country are told that Kashmiris are “terrorists”, “secessionists”, “Pakistani agents”, who must be crushed by brutal state repression. This policy has resulted in the complete alienation of all sections of the Kashmiri people from the Indian Union. Every encounter killing by the armed forces has witnessed thousands of Kashmiri people coming out on the streets in protest, braving the brutal state terror. Lakhs of our soldiers, who are supposed to defend the borders of India from external aggression, are caught in an endless war against our own people.
Many retired commanders of the Indian armed forces have pointed out that there is no military solution to the Kashmir problem. They have pointed to the necessity of a political solution to what is at heart a political problem. But all these pleas have fallen on deaf ears of successive governments.
Kashmir is not merely its land, it is its people
When the rulers of India declare that “Kashmir belongs to us”, and in the same breath declare Kashmiris to be “Pakistani agents” and keep it under army occupation, they are thinking and acting like colonialists and imperialists. They are only concerned with the land and resources of Kashmir — not its people.
We, the people of India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and Manipur to Maharashtra fought to get rid of colonial rule with the aim of being masters of our own land. However, seventy years after independence, we workers, peasants, women, youth, and tribal people are still not free in the real sense of the word. A minority of big capitalists rule over us, through their trusted parties. We are savagely exploited and oppressed. The rulers keep inflaming passions on religion, caste, language and every other basis to smash our struggle for real freedom, for becoming the masters of our own country.
The people of Kashmir are fighting for the same freedom for which we workers, peasants, women, youth and tribal people of the rest of our country are fighting. The ruling class and its governments criminally portray the Kashmiri peoples’ struggle as “anti-national”. In the same way, they have at various times, portrayed the struggle of the people of Punjab, of Assam, of Tamilnadu, etc. as “anti-national”. We must not look at the struggle of Kashmiris from the point of view of our oppressors and exploiters. Kashmir is not merely a piece of land, it is the people of Kashmir, our sisters and brothers, our children. The struggle of Kashmiri people for the right to determine their future is also our struggle.
The rulers of our country keep drumming into the heads of workers and peasants that the Kashmir problem is a creation of Pakistan. They claim that if Pakistan were stopped from sending infiltrators into Kashmir, there will be no Kashmir problem.
This is a diversion. It is a diversion from the truth that the Kashmir problem is primarily the result of the policy of our ruling class towards Kashmir. Pakistan’s role in Kashmir is secondary.
If the Indian state actually ensured prosperity and security to all, including to the Kashmiri people, than no external force can incite rebellion in Kashmir against India. On the contrary, ordinary Kashmiri people would speedily catch the trouble makers and hand them over to the authorities.
The rulers of India boast of how they succeeded in breaking up Pakistan and creating Bangladesh. However they have not learnt any lessons from that history. Bangladesh broke from Pakistan, primarily because the people of Bangladesh rose up against the national oppression by the Pakistani ruling class. If Pakistan had worked to fulfil the aspirations of the Bangladeshi people, then India would not have succeeded in breaking up Pakistan.
The government’s fight against terrorism is a sham
People of our country are extremely concerned at frequent terrorist attacks in our country. Our rulers blame Pakistan for all terrorist attacks on our soil. In the case of the Pulwama terrorist attack, a video is being shown as proof of the hand of Pakistan behind this attack. Pakistan has claimed that this is a doctored video and denied that their state had any hand in this attack. What is the truth?
Terrorism is an instrument of state policy of majority of capitalist states. Various states organise terrorist attacks within their own countries as well as other countries, to justify state terrorism at home and wars of aggression abroad. Such attacks are carried out under the name of this or that terrorist group. Doctored videos have been used to justify military intervention, as the US did in Syria. The US is the fountainhead of terrorism on the world scale. It is well known that the US has set up, financed, trained and armed terrorist groups in Pakistan to achieve its imperialist aims in Afghanistan and Central Asia. It uses these groups to destabilize governments, incite wars between neighbours and to justify military intervention to carry out regime change.
US imperialism has been playing India and Pakistan against each other, to ensure its domination over South Asia. It wants India and Pakistan to be perpetually at each other’s throat, while it pretends to be the “peace maker” between them. It has used terrorism as a tool to set India and Pakistan against each other over the past two decades. It is doing so again today.
When the US sent its army to occupy Afghanistan in 2001, it used India to put pressure on Pakistan to support its war. The terrorist attack on Parliament was organised to justify the mobilization of Indian troops on the Pakistan border. Pakistan was forced to open its territory for US forces to invade Afghanistan.
At the present time, Iran is one of the main targets of the US policy of destabisation. US is using terrorist groups in Pakistan to achieve this. It wants to involve Pakistan in its anti-Iran campaign. Through the terrorist attack in Pulwama, US could be using India to put pressure on Pakistan to do so.
Our rulers know very well that the US has used terrorism as an instrument of its policy in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, and numerous other countries. However, the Indian state has never opposed US imperialism and its terrorist activities against other countries and peoples. Instead, our rulers have been strengthening their strategic military alliance with the US. This shows that the Indian state is not serious about ending state sponsored terrorism against countries and peoples.
The Indian state’s “fight against terrorism” is a sham to fool our people. Its beating the war drums against Pakistan has nothing to do with ending terrorism.
War with Pakistan will result in loss of precious lives, both civilian and army, of both countries. The rulers of our country, who are whipping up war hysteria against Pakistan, do not care for the lives of our people or our soldiers. By whipping up war hysteria, they want to divert the workers, peasants, women and youth from the struggle for their rights and line them up behind the ruling class. We must not fall into this trap.
The people of India must demand that the government hold talks with Pakistan on all outstanding issues, without preconditions, including the question of terrorism. It is in the interests of both India and Pakistan to resolve their outstanding issues, without outside interference.
The Kashmir problem is a political problem which demands a political solution. People must oppose the “military solution” to the Kashmir problem. People must oppose war mongering and war against Pakistan.