Note from the Editorial Board: The following resolution was adopted in 2010 by the RCIT’s predecessor organization – the League for the Fifth International (LFI). It was written by comrades who were expelled or left the LFI in 2011 and went on to found the RCIT. The RCIT fully stand on the positions expressed in this resolution.
The Kashmir national question plays an important role both in Pakistan and in Indian politics. In two of the three wars Indo-Pakistan wars Kashmir was the casus belli. Kashmir is one of the worst examples of the reactionary division of India in 1947. The Kashmir people are divided into three states – similarly to the fate of the Kurdish people. India presently administers approximately 43 per cent of the region including most of Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and the Siachen Glacier. Pakistan occupies approximately 37per cent of Kashmir, mainly Azad Kashmir and the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. In addition, China occupied 20 per cent of Kashmir after the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the cession of the Trans-Karakoram Tract by Pakistan in 1963. While about 3.6 million Kashmiris live in Pakistan, the majority live against their will in the Indian state Kashmir. This makes it the only majority-Muslim state in India. In the Kashmir valley Muslims form over 90 per cent of the population. However in Jammu about two million Hindus form a majority, and there is also a small minority Buddhists, mainly living in Ladakh.
The Muslim majority population in Indian Kashmir constitute an oppressed nation. They are forced to live under Indian state control against their will. Today the Indian state has placed about 700.000 troops and 70.000 police forces for a population of roughly 8 million. This means that proportionately there are more occupation soldiers than in Afghanistan or Iraq – about one for every ten Kashmiris! Since 1989 93,274 of the 5 million Kashmiri Muslims living in Jammu and Kashmir Valley have been killed by the Indian security forces. In other words 1.9%, i.e. nearly 2%, of the Kashmiri Muslims have been murdered since the beginning of the uprising in 1989. In addition to this nearly 10,000 women have been gang raped by marauding bands of Indian soldiers.
There is a historic tradition of resistance of the Kashmir people against the Indian occupation with which the people in Pakistan sympathise. After a rigged election in 1987 this resistance turned into an armed uprising. In this uprising organisations like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which was a petty-bourgeois nationalist movement with socialist rhetoric, played a leading role. However this uprising was brutally suppressed by the Indian army, which did cost the lives of at least 30.000 people.
The repression of the resistance led to the decline of the progressive JKLF and the rise of Islamist terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. While they certainly expressed in an obscure way the desire of a section of the Kashmir people for national self-determination, they often acted as marionettes of their sponsors, the Pakistan intelligence service ISI.
However in the past few years new movements and protests have been built up. Since June 2010 these protests have been transformed in a genuine Intifada of the masses.
The League for the Fifth International (LFI) and the Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) in Pakistan are in complete solidarity with the Kashmir resistance against the Indian apparatus repression and support the demand for national self-determination.
While nearly all national movements of the Kashmir people agree that they don’t want to live any longer under Indian control, some forces – mainly Islamists – support the joining of Kashmir to Pakistan. However there is a long tradition and with mass popular support for azadi (independence) – i.e. the separation of the Kashmir areas from both India and Pakistan and their unification into a separate sovereign state. This is expressed in slogans like “No India, No Pakistan, We Want Free Kashmir”. Given the reactionary character of the Pakistan state an independent Kashmir, if freely and democratically expressed, certainly has more progressive potential than joining Pakistan. Socialists therefore should support this demand, against Indian and Pakistani annexationists. Neither country’s “religious” or “historic” claims should override the views of the people of Kashmir.
How can the masses decide if they want to live in a separate state or access to Pakistan? This is why socialists raise the demand of the election of a sovereign constituent assembly to decide on the future of Kashmir. This revolutionary democratic demand could be important to unite the masses for a common democratic goal.
However the question would immediately arise what should an independent Kashmir look like. Will a class of new class of capitalist and landlord oppressors rule it or will it be a free republic of the workers and peasants? Socialist obviously fight for the later perspective. But such a workers’ and peasants’ Kashmir of course could not last long in isolation.
For Kashmiri socialists fighting for the closest solidarity with their class brothers and sisters in India and Pakistan is decisive. For Indian and Pakistani socialists defending the right of Kashmiris to secede from the partitioning states if they so wish is the foundation of internationalism. If a free Kashmir is to resist the superior armed forces of the Indian and Pakistan state and prevent the country succumbing to isolation and economic underdevelopment. The goal must be to make the socialist revolution permanent - to spread the struggle to the masses in India and Pakistan. The aim must be a Socialist federation of the whole Indian Sub-continent.
One important lesson of the Palestinian Intifada is that the masses must organise themselves in action committees in the towns and villages and decide over the perspective of the struggle. Only in this way they can avoid being led into defeat by petty bourgeois and bourgeois forces that lack any socialist perspective.
* For the immediate and total withdrawal of all Indian and Pakistani forces from Kashmir
* For the right of national self-determination for the people of Kashmir! For an independent socialist Kashmir!
* For the election of a sovereign constituent assembly to decide on the future of Kashmir
* For the release of all the political prisoners of the Kashmir struggle
* For the right to return to their homes of all Kashmiris driven out by the Indian or Pakistani security forces
* For workers and peasant republics in India, Pakistan, Kashmir
* For a socialist federation of South Asia