India’s ultra-chauvinist BJP government abolishes decades-old autonomy rights of Muslim-majority province
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 6 August 2019, www.thecommunists.net
1. The extreme right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have launched an unprecedented and historic attack on the oppressed people of Kashmir. Modi revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution on 5 August by presidential order. The law confers special rights to permanent residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It forbids outsiders from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs, or winning education scholarships in the region. In addition, the government has also decided to split the state into two federal territories, one formed by Jammu and Kashmir, and the other consisting of the enclave of Ladakh. Now that Kashmir’s special status has been repealed, this will legally allow Indian chauvinists to systematically buy up land and settle outsiders in this region and initiate a demographic transformation of the area from majority Muslim to majority Hindu.
2. Being fully aware that this decision must inevitably provoke a major uprising of the Kashmiri people and an international outcry of protest, the Modi government has launched a brutal preemptive strike against the people of the region. "As per the order there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed," the state government ordered for Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, and surrounding areas. "There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order." Private mobile networks, Internet services, and telephone landlines were cut; with only the one government-owned mobile network remaining operational. A number of prominent politicians in Kashmir were either arrested or put under house arrest. New Delhi has also deployed at least 10,000 additional troops within the last 10 days and a further 70,000 soldiers have been dispatched.
3. In just a few hours following the Indian government’s announcement, spontaneous protests erupted. In Islamabad, Hyderabad, Karachi and various other cities of Pakistan, demonstrations and public meetings were held in solidarity with the brothers and sisters of Indian-occupied Kashmir. In Lahore, one of the largest cities of Pakistan, the All Pakistan Workers Confederation organized a demonstration. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir – the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir – a general strike has been staged on 6 August in solidarity with the brothers and sisters. Former chief ministers of Indian-Occupied Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, denounced Modi’s decision saying “Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy ... It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent.” Hours later, they were arrested by the Indian police. Reflecting the international outcry, particularly in the Muslim world, an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Kashmir-focused wing has been called for 6 August. There can be no doubt that Modi’s historic attack on the Kashmiri people will provoke a new uprising as well as increasing military tensions and the risk of a war with Pakistan.
4. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its members and supporters in South Asia express their full and unconditional solidarity with the oppressed people of Kashmir that are experiencing a historic assault on their existence. No one should be under any illusion: Modi’s revocation of Article 370 is designed to be the beginning of an “Israeli solution” of Kashmir, the only state in India with a Muslim majority. This means that the BJP’s goal is to systematically settle Hindu chauvinists in Kashmir and to expel Muslim people from the region – similar to the Zionists’ policy against the native Arab population in historic Palestine. The purpose of such a Hindu chauvinist policy of ethnic cleansing is to transform the Muslim people of Kashmir into a minority in their own state.
5. The RCIT and its Pakistani section have always given unconditional support to the liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people. Their land is divided and occupied by three powers – India, Pakistan, and China. The majority of the 14 million people live under Indian occupation; most of the rest live under Pakistani occupation. The people of Kashmir have always strived for an independent state. Since the beginning of the popular uprising in 1989 in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir, nearly 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been killed by Indian security forces. In addition, nearly 10,000 women have been gang raped by marauding bands of Indian soldiers. Before the latest escalation, the Indian state had already stationed about 750,000 soldiers and police forces in Kashmir. This is an area that has a population of only 8 million. This means that there is almost one Indian soldier for every ten Kashmiris!
6. We call on the Indian workers movement and the left to mobilize against the ultra-chauvinist attack by the Modi government. An attack against the Kashmiri people is an attack on the democratic rights of all peoples in India. If Modi wins this battle his ultra-reactionary government will be strengthened in its struggle against the entire working class and oppressed of India. We appeal to the Indian left not to fall into the social-patriotic trap of “condemning the terrorism” in case of legitimate armed attacks by Kashmiri resistance forces against the Indian occupation (as it tragically happened in February this year after the Pulwama attack).
7. We reemphasize our support for the resistance struggle of the Kashmiri people in all forms against the Indian occupation. In our opinion, the most promising road to freedom is the organized mass struggle of the workers, poor, and youth. No one should trust the empty rhetoric of the bourgeois governments of Pakistan and other Muslim countries. It should be remembered how they have all payed court to the Chinese Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship and denied its brutal oppression of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang / East Turkestan! Alternately, it is urgent to build an international solidarity movement of workers and popular mass organizations in support of the Kashmiri people.
8. The RCIT and its members and supporters in South Asia reiterate their support for the struggle of the Kashmiri people for national independence. Such a free and independent Kashmir should be a country controlled by the workers and peasants and not by a small clique of capitalists and landowners. This is why we fight for an independent socialist Kashmir, i.e. a free, united and red Kashmir! As Marxists we combine such a slogan with the perspective of a socialist federation of South Asia. We call on revolutionaries of the entire sub-continent to join us in the struggle to build a revolutionary party in Kashmir, Pakistan, India, and internationally. Only such a party can lead the liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed people to victory!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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We refer reader also to other statements of the RCIT on this issue:
RCIT: India-Pakistan: Defeat the War Mongers! Free Kashmir! 27 February 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/india-pakistan-defeat-the-war-mongers-free-kashmir/
Michael Pröbsting: Kashmir: Social-Patriotism among the Indian Left. On the opportunistic adaptation of various “Stalinists”, “Trotskyists” and “Maoists” to the chauvinistic wave in the wake of the latest conflict between India and Pakistan, 02 March 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-social-patriotism-among-indian-left/
After the Killing of Burhan Wani: Long Live the Kashmiri Intifada! Organize the Workers’ and Popular Struggle to End the Indian Occupation! For a Free, United and Red Kashmir!, 21.07.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-uprising/
RWO: Pakistan – Prospects for revolutionary class struggle (2102), http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/pakistan-action-program/
Resolution on the Kashmir Question (2010), http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-resolution/
Michael Pröbsting: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? (Chapter V) August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-india-rivalry/