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