Unite and fight for the repeal of AFSPA and an end to army rule
On April 12,Army units deployed in Handwara in Kashmir opened indiscriminate fireon men, women and children in Handwara who had come out onto the streets to vent their anger onhearing the news that an armyman had molested a school girl as she was returning home from school. Two youth were killed in this unprovoked firing. Enraged by this murderous response of the armed forces, people all over the Kashmir Valley came out in protests. Once again, the army responded to these protests with indiscriminate firing, leading to the death of three more people, including a woman and two youth.
Just as it has failed in the past, the current reign of terror unleashed by the armed forces has failed in its aim — silencing the voice of the Kashmiri people. Protests have spread to most districts of north and south Kashmir. In north Kashmir, Handwara, Langate, Kupwara, Bandipora, Kangan and Baramulla towns and at least five towns in south Kashmir witnessed clashes between protesters and the armed forces. In Srinagar, protesters poured onto the streets in Zakura, Habbak, Natipora and Rangreth which even according to the Armed Forces were considered "peaceful areas" in the past. Curfew-like restrictions have been imposed in various parts of the city. Inter-state train services have been suspended. Major examinations have been cancelled.
What has happened in Kashmir Valley since April 12 is something the people of Kashmir have had to face whenever they raise their voice in protest against atrocities and injustice, for their rights. The Indian state rules over the Kashmiri people like a colonial and imperialist power, through brutal armed suppression and violation of all rights, including the right to life itself. For the past 26 years, Kashmir has been under open and direct Army rule, with the Army deployed in civilian areas. The fascist AFSPA gives complete immunity to the armed forces to kill, rape and commit all kinds of atrocities against the people of Kashmir.
The sequence of events in the present case – the atrocities by the army personnel followed by the people’s protests, the firing on protestors by the army, killing more innocent people and further protests and further killings by the army and security forces – is an all too familiar sequence, that repeats itself with chilling frequency and brutality in one part of Kashmir or another. Youth and children are shot at and killed, merely for pelting stones at hated Army installations or shouting slogans.
Army rule in Kashmir is one of the worst kinds of state terrorism. Entire villages and localities are invaded by the armed forces and paramilitary personnel in house-to-house searches, with people being physically violated or arrested. Mass rape of women in entire villages is commonly carried out to terrorise and subjugate the people. The armed forces fire upon the people at the slightest pretext, as in the present case, where unarmed protestors, have been fired upon and killed. Innocent people are regularly killed in false ‘encounters’ and then declared to be ‘dreaded terrorists’. Thousands of youth have been simply declared ‘disappeared’. Graveyards of hundreds of unidentified people have been discovered. Torture, extra-judicial killings, sexual violence and enforced disappearances by the security forces in Kashmirhave been the norm for decades.
This inhuman torture by the armed forces is justified by the Indian state as “necessary”, to put down “cross border terrorism” and “separatism”. This propaganda is aimed at portraying the struggle of Kashmiris to live in dignity and be masters of their own destiny as something illegitimate and sponsored by Pakistan. All people of the state who question the need for AFSPA, who demand an end to army rule, or question the present arrangement of the state of Jammu & Kashmir within the Indian Union, are persecuted as enemies and a threat to “national unity and territorial integrity of India”. Ceaseless propaganda by the Indian state and the monopoly capitalist controlled media, that Kashmiris are “anti-national” and “Pakistani agents”, is used to justify the continuation of army rule and the persecution of Kashmiris all over the country.The killing of innocent people by the armed forces is incentivised through gallantry awards and promotions.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India condemns the killing of innocent persons and the state terror unleashed by the Indian state in Kashmir. It has been documented that over 80,000 people havelost their lives in Kashmir in the past twenty six years. Army rule, far from ensuring security for the people of Kashmir, hasbecome a hated symbol of oppression. As long as Army rule continues, the alienation of the people of Kashmir from the Indian Union will only become even greater. The first and most essential step towards a resolution of the problem of the Kashmiri people is the immediate repeal of the AFSPA and the complete withdrawal of the army from civilian areas into the barracks. This is a completely legitimate demand of the people of Kashmir.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India calls on the working class and people of our country to unite and fight for the immediate repeal of AFSPA and for an end to army rule in Kashmir. This is the necessary condition for building and strengthening the unity and solidarity of the rest of the Indian people with the Kashmiri people. It is the necessary condition for a just political solution to the problems faced by the Kashmiri people based on upholding the national rights of the Kashmiri people and their right to determine their own destiny.