Friends and Comrades,
As we write this letter, the Kashmiri people have completed one year of a brutal, militarised lockdown imposed by the Indian government and borne the further indignity of having their state undemocratically and arbitrarily downgraded to two Union territories. While we unequivocally condemn this act of the Indian government, we offer our greetings, respect and solidarity to the indefatigable Kashmiri people who are fighting back.
It was on 5th August last year that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution giving Special Powers to the state of J&K was abrogated. J&K, which has a long and illustrious history, was downgraded to two Union Territories, J&K and Ladakh. Fearing the repercussions such a dastardly act would undoubtedly cause, fearing the just resistance of the Kashmiri people, the abrogation of Article 370 was accompanied by a 'lockdown' and the whole of Kashmir was turned into a prison. Internet connections were cut, leaders and activists of all political parties except the BJP were detained, leaders of the liberation movements were arrested -- in effect people were reduced from citizens to subjects, and J&K, especially the Kashmir valley, came under even more complete occupation of the Indian military.
We are aware that the oppression on the Kashmiri people started from the time the British colonialists decided to hand over power and the destiny of the free kingdom of J&K to the leaders of India and Pakistan, who were not ready to accept the right of J&K to remain independent. Soon the clash of interests started and you, the people of Kashmir, were divided into 'Azad Kashmir', which is actually a Kashmir under Pakistani control, and a Kashmir under Indian Occupation, divided by the ‘Line of Control’. India did not take any initiative for implementing the plebiscite it had agreed at the UN in 1948, subjecting the people to naked suppression, imposing AFSPA-like draconian laws to crush all dissent, and engaging in all kinds of manipulations to keep it as a state with special powers, but going on diluting those special powers too over the years.
After 73 years, still you, the people of J&K, remain divided; denied the right of self-determination, living under military boots. We are aware of the inhuman murders, rapes, arrests and tortures that you, the Kashmiri people, have been subjected to by the Indian army, with increasing brutality over the past years. What happened on last 5th August was an extreme step to subjugate you. It was a step that killed the very idea of self-determination and made it clear that the Kashmiri people were being completely stripped off every kind of democratic right.
The Modi government thinks that it can put down your national liberation aspirations through brute force. Modi is emulating what the Zionists in Israel are doing to the Palestine people with US support. Modi and his ilk, like autocrats the world over, refuse to take lessons from the struggling history of the Kashmiri people. The fight you have put up in the last one year, the fight you have put up against state repression and the turning of Kashmir into a killing field for the Indian military which is gunning down hundreds of youths dubbing them as ‘terrorists’, show that all this has only strengthened your resolve to continue to fight for liberation.
In line with the international communist movement which always upheld the right of self-determination of the people, the CPI(ML) Red Star has always stood in support of this fight of the people of J&K for their basic rights. So, in spite of the restrictions imposed under the Covid-19 days, our Central Committee has called for observing 5th August as a day of protest, with the slogan 'Stand with Kashmir'. We extend complete solidarity to your struggles and raise the following demands before the Modi government:
- Revoke Abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution!
- Reinstate J&K as a State with Special Status!
- Withdraw Military from Entire J&K, Release all Political Rights!
- Implement Plebiscite; Let J&K People Decide their Future!
With revolutionary greetings,
On behalf of the Central Committee of
CPI (ML) Red Star
The arrest of a counter-insurgency DySP, Davinder Singh, who was decorated for gallantry by the president in 2018, and posted now with the security and anti-hijacking unit of J&K police along with two senior Hizbul Mujahideen militants, and the recovery of two AK-47 rifles from his quarters has led to many serious questions including his involvement in the parliament attack case of 2001 and many other cases in which he was involved. In 2003 Afzal Guru who was given death sentence for alleged involvement in the parliament attack case by arranging accommodation and vehicle for one Mohammed who was among those who attacked the parliament, had informed the authorities through his lawyer that he was implicated in the case as those arrangements for Mohammed were made by him under the instructions from this officer, Davinder Singh. Strangely, according to the IGP (Kashmir) this allegation was never investigated, Afzal Guru was hanged and Davinder Singh went on to get even the gallantry award.
Many reports about police, para-military, military and intelligence forces using surrendered militants or terrorists to trap the terrorists, and reports of many intelligence and counter intelligence moves by the authorities are frequently coming out. As a result, many cases of innocent people getting tortured, jailed or even killed during these moves are also reported. What is happening in J&K is most atrocious cases of a state-led terrorism, with so many state forces involved in it, with very little accountability continuing for decades, and reaching its climax now under Modi rule. So, Davinder Singh like officers flourish with impunity. Why he is arrested now, what is the truth behind it may not come out, or may come out only very late. At the same time, let us recollect how much sloganeering is continued by the RSS parivar condemning Afzal Guru and those who criticize the injustice done to him as tukda, tukda gangs!
It is in this context, what happened to the CRPF convoy in Phulwama during February 2019 in which 44 jawans were killed raises many questions like, why such a long convoy was allowed to move without intelligence clearance on sanitizing the route and why the investigation report about it is not published yet etc becomes very relevant. Such vital information, especially about J&K are kept out of RTI also as official secrets. With the arrest of Davinder Sungh, a senior security officer along with wanted terrorists, many doubts raised about the way Phulwama happened followed by Balakot, which gave the fuel for Modi and co to whip up muscular nationalism and Pakphobia to sideline all other issues including the intensifying economic slow-down, and manage a facile victory become more relevant today. Not only Kashmir is bleeding, it is utilized by RSS/BJP to manipulate the national politics through a flurry of post truths
We are passing through a very challenging period. On 5th August the parliament abrogated Article 370 and reduced the J&K state in to two union territories without going through any form of consultations with the people of the state or their representatives. Military, para military and police forces are deployed everywhere, preventive orders are clamped down and all forms of communications are cut. Many concerned people approached the Supreme Court, which is the authority and has right to give relief to people if the constitutional rights are violated; first group of people challenging the government action on J&K, and second group appealing against the clamp down and cutting down of all communications including the democratic rights of people of the state to go to their families and contact with them. On the first question, the SC ordered that it shall take up the question in October for hearing! On the second question, it has strangely asked the petitioners let us have faith on the government and give the government some more time before taking up the question! Only two or three individuals were allowed to go, see the individual they want to meet and return without meeting anyone else! At the same time the media is prevented from reporting what is actually happening. Government is putting pressure on the media to shut up. Foreign media reports about horrific tortures, suppression and resistance, while government and its officers repeating everything is perfect, and people are increasingly supporting govt action, while detention of thousands including MPs, ex-chief ministers, MLAs is continuing, and access to communication channels are by and large cut off still!
In spite of all these, even after many petitions to J&K High Court and the SC, they refuse to act! What has happened to our apex court? Meanwhile, the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had on August 28 ordered the transfer of the CJ from Madras, Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani to Meghalaya. The Collegium had rejected her appeal asking for reconsideration of the transfer from a 70 judges strong Madras High Court to Meghalaya High Court with 3 judges. It is quite clear that it is a calculated humiliation of her, because she on May 4, 2017, when she was the CJ of Mumbai High Court, upheld the life imprisonment of 11 convicts in the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots. She also set aside the acquittal of seven persons in the case including five police officers and two doctors, convicting them under sections 201 (tampering of evidence) and 218 (not performing duties) of the Indian Penal Code. As her plea is rejected and no explanation for this action is given by the CJI, it is crystal clear that the CJI and the collegium of the SC had ordered her transfer under dictates of home minister Amit Shaw!
What is happening to our Supreme Court? People have a right to know! Is it an undeclared emergency where the Constitution as a whole is made inoperative?
Com Kn Ramachandran
Strange things are happening in our country. According to Constitution any change in the status of a state can be made only with the approval of the people of the state. Since the provision to hold referendum is not provided in the Constitution, it means getting the approval of the state assembly. But in J&K the assembly was dissolved. It is president’s rule there. Besides, from 4th August hundreds of leaders of all non-BJP political parties, former chief ministers, most of the ex MLAs and other leaders are kept under detention. Still, the argument of Modi-2 is, since J&K is under president’s rule, his consent is sufficient for the abrogation of Article 370 and for down grading the state to two union territories! When the armed forces are for protecting the country’s borders, many lakhs of them with AFSPA like black laws are deployed to police people of J&K! From 4th August all communications are cut, 144 and curfew are imposed denying all democratic rights of the people! Against these violations of Constitution and democratic rights, people appeal to the SC. But it is telling the victims to wait! When an editor from the state approach the Press Council of India, against curtailment of all press freedoms, its president of PSI asks her to give the government more time to achieve normalcy!
Under parliamentary democracy the opposition has statutory rights and importance. But all attempts of the opposition leaders and MPs to go and see what is happening in the state, are prevented by not allowing them to go out of Srinagar and Jammu airports. The governor is saying the schools are open, but no students are not attending them. Though no emergency is declared, the situation is worse than that of emergency. Virtually it is total clamp down, throwing the people in to open jail denying them the right to contact anybody or to get essential goods. What is happening in J&K is the clear manifestation of state terror and creeping up of fascisation. No citizen with democratic consciousness can remain silent in such a situation. The resignation of a young IAS cadre from Kerala reflects the extent of dissent among the conscious people.
If what is happening in J&K is barbarous, on 31st August the Assam government is going to release the final NRC of the state, according to which about 4 million residents of the state are going to lose citizenship! These people can appeal to Foreigners Tribunals up to 120 days, and if their appeal is not redressed, they will be thrown to Detention Camps! Besides Modi-2 is going to get its Citizenship (Amendments) Bill, which refuses citizenship to Muslim minorities, passed by the Rajya Sabha somehow and complete the NPR based on it by 30th September, 2020. It is reported that 2o to 30 million may lose citizenship at all India level under it. The plan is to throw all of them to Detention Camps, as no country is going to receive them! If these moves are not reversed by creating public opinion against them, India shall be reduce to a fascist hell!
All these are taking place when the economy is under deep recession as a result of the economic policies of Modi rule from 2014. From every states reports are coming out: 200 textile mills closing down in TN, 1100 engineering units closing down in Jamshedpur alone, all the PSUs and major corporate enterprises retrenching many lakhs, and thousands of medium and small units closing down besides growing distress in the agrarian sector. If in the Economic Survey and the budget presented two months ago, the finance minister had rejected all reports about increasing slow down of the economy as propaganda by anti-national forces, and presented a glossy picture based on cooked up data, now forced to accept it as, not only the IMF and World Bank, but her own Niti Ayog chief also talked about economy facing collapse, she has announced relief measures not for the ordinary citizens, but for the corporate giants, using recession also as an opportunity for aggressive wealth transfer to corporate looters. Fascisation and aggressive majoritarian Hindutva are a cover for intensifying corporate loot and perpetuating the neo-colonial dependency.
This situation calls for massive people’s movements mobilizing the toiling masses and all oppressed sections. Let us strive to take up the challenge uniting all the forces who can be united for it at all levels!
CPI(ML) Red Star