Recent development in Kashmir, particularly in the past 4-5 years have brought back the Kashmir question to the fore and posed it sharper than ever. Beginning with the protests surrounding the Shopian Double Murder case and the landmark State Transport Corporations Strikes which garnered the support of hundreds of thousands of workers, we are witnessing a heightened tension in the valley as the masses advance further and further towards self determination.
Counter posed to this advance is the increased suppression of dissent at the hands of the Indian state. The past 6 months have seen over a hundred Kashmiri youth falling victim to indiscriminate firing by the security forces stationed in the valley. These acts were committed with the intent of curbing peaceful protests in the valley against Indian occupation. In the light of these events we express unconditional support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self determination.
For the self determination of Kashmir!
The occupation of Kashmir has been brutal, treacherous and unjust. The democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir have been continuously denied by the Indian ruling class time and again. The democratic aspirations of the Kashmiri people which began in the form of pro democracy movements pitted against the repressive and reactionary monarchy in Kashmir has today resurfaced against an equally oppressive rule at the hands of India. In 1948 in the aftermath of the first Indo-Pak war, it was agreed by UN mandate that Kashmiris would be allowed a plebiscite to decide accession to either India or Pakistan in a democratic manner. Notwithstanding repeated false promises from Nehru to hold such a plebiscite, the accession of Kashmir into India at the hands of the Maharaja was accepted as the valid instrument of accession without regard to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people themselves. Farce elections were made the norm in Kashmir in which the central government would conduct “tailor made” rigged elections to keep their prized proxy the National Conference in power in the state and through them exercise its own influence.
Repeatedly, the NC proved itself to be an instrument of the Indian ruling classes serving the needs of occupation of the Kashmir. The question of a plebiscite still hangs on in the air retaining its validity as Kashmir’s self determination stands unresolved. However, over time the original demand for plebiscite has lots some of its relevance owing to changes both nationally and internationally. For the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people towards self determination it is imperative a plebiscite be held to decide whether the Kashmiri people want secession or not. However, for this a new instrument of plebiscite must be charted out taking into consideration the renewed aspirations of the Kashmiri people which aims beyond accession to either India or Pakistan.
Out with the troops!
The presence of the occupational troops in Kashmir is the main foundation upon which the Indian state establishes its control over Kashmir. The fallout of the continued occupation is felt by the Kashmiri people on a daily basis who are subjected to repeated harassment and abuse at the hands of the Indian occupational force. Terror, murder and torture have become routine affairs for the Kashmiri people. The death toll of the occupation has already reached around 100000 in the last 20 years with thousands more if the years preceding the insurgency be considered. Forced disappearances, rape, torture are some of the many methods used by the security forces in the region to maintain its hold in Kashmir.
In the light of the above it is imperative that there be a total troop withdrawal from Kashmir as well as an abolition of the authoritarian laws like AFSPA which shield the troops from any legal action after human rights abuses. Additionally we demand that the strategically vital affair of defense and security be left to the prerogative of the Kashmiri people themselves and not to the hands of the Indian state to decide for them. Additionally we demand that all those who have fallen victims to the excesses of security forces, be compensated adequately and a trial be held for those responsible for perpetrating such crimes against humanity.
Down with the Indian proxy!
Since the start of the occupation of Kashmir, the Kashmiri bourgeois and their chief Political formation the National Conference have played the most treacherous role in the region paving the way for continued Indian occupation of Kashmir and courting silence at the indiscriminate human rights violations being perpetrated by the security forces stationed there.
The National Conference exists in Kashmir solely under warrant from its supreme leaders stationed in Delhi under the Indian national Congress and its Bonapartist leadership. Its primary function is not towards the masses of peasants, workers and petty bourgeois of Kashmir but towards the interests of the Indian bourgeoisie dictating its policies via its main political instrument the Congress and legislative power based in Delhi. The National Conference is in essence the main enemy of the Kashmiri people within Kashmir.
Abolish the Indus Water Treaty! For a New Water Sharing agreement!
During the Great Game between Russia and England for control over Asia a series of unequal treaties were meted out with China which gave effective control of huge regions of China to either Russian or British hands. The Indus water Treaty is like these unequal treaties in history giving the Indian bourgeois effective control over waters flowing into the Punjab river basin and effective control over Kashmiri waters thereby affecting Kashmir and Pakistan. The net effect of the treaty is drainage of wealth from Kashmir to India and a deliberate constriction of Kashmir’s potential for infrastructural development.
We demand that negotiations be started with the Indian state to abolish this unequal treaty and a new treaty be drafted of water sharing taking into consideration the needs of the Kashmiri people and by extension fulfilling the needs of all the people of the Punjab basin! The independence of Kashmir would open up a whole new avenue for the formation of a just water sharing treaty which would cater to the needs of both the Kashmiri people as well as the Pakistani people thereby nullifying the negative effects of the treaty and making it easier to irrigate the whole basin, control the occurrence of floods and make good any damage they cause.
For an independent Constituent Assembly!
The demand for a Constituent assembly is a basic demand for any oppressed nation struggling for independence. In the present legal set up the Kashmiri national assembly has an existence which is essentially constricted by myriad legal obligations imposed by the Indian state. Add to this legal complexity, the political stranglehold held by the Congress in Kashmir working through its allies, the National Conference, the independence of the legislative body gets reduced to a mere farce. This cannot possibly be a valid realization of the democratic aspirations of the Kashmiri people and it is imperative that the Constituent assembly be freed of its constraints to legislate in all matters relating to Kashmir.
The present Legislative Assembly created by the consent of the Indian ruling class would never act in the interests of the Kashmiri people and as it is would continue to remain under constraints imposed by the mother body in India. We therefore, demand the formation of a new Constituent Assembly formed by the peasants and workers of Kashmir which would work first and foremost towards securing the self determination of the Kashmiri people and independence from India. Thereafter, moving towards the full expropriation of all large landed estates and estates of the big Kashmiri bourgeois families and large Indian owned estates without compensation and nationalization of resources. Whilst, the constituent assembly may be an instrument to attain independence, to ensure freedom it is imperative that the Kashmiri people have control over the life blood of Kashmir, its resources!
For a United Kashmir!
United we stand and divided we fall. This is the principle for any successful movement and for any nation to be successful. The question of self determination of Kashmir isn’t the exclusive resolve of the people of Southern Kashmir under Indian occupation but of the whole of Kashmir and all Kashmiri people including those in Northern Kashmir ( under Pakistani occupation ) as well as Ladakh ( under joint occupation of China and India ) . For The new Kashmir which would emerge from the freedom movement, division among communal lines would mean death and re occupation. Indeed should the new Kashmir be divided communally between Hindu (South), Muslim (North and Central) and Buddhist (East) it will open up the possibility of a re occupation of Kashmir by India, Pakistan and China. The sacrifices of the Kashmiri people would have gone to waste replacing one oppressor with another. Furthermore, fuelling communal hatred in the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people only adds to the division of an already divided society.
The Indian state would be more than happy to effect such a communal division as it weakens and isolates the Kashmir struggle belittling it to the communal forte of a section of Kashmiri society against another. For the struggle for self determination to succeed it is imperative that it be carried out as a united struggle embracing each and every section of Kashmiri society and overcome communal divisions imposed by the occupation.
The creation of an independent united Kashmiri republic would then be free to decide its relations with nations bordering it as it deems fit. The slogan of Azaadi must therefore, stand for independence from India as well as Pakistan and China! Simultaneously, we appeal to the Kashmiri people not to have any false illusions on the vague promises of western imperialism. Any promise of support by western powers is necessarily contradictory and hypocritical and must be treated with suspicion. The fact that Obama appealed to India to “resolve” the Kashmir issue was enough to show that they are interested only in maintaining the status quo of occupation.
Whilst, the most important immediate demand for the Kashmiri people is independence from Indian occupation, such freedom would be only half won without freedom from Capitalism as a whole. The Kashmiri struggle therefore needs to progress uninterruptedly from a democratic one to a socialist one. Aiming as its ultimate goal a Socialist Kashmir!