Kashmir — crushing the voice of dissent

Two youth were killed at Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district in an army operation on April 13. The killings of these youth has been followed by widespread protests all across Kashmir against the hated Army Rule.

On April 18, a 16 year old school boy was killed and two others injured, when the CRPF opened fire on protestors at Narbal in Budgam district in Central Kashmir. According to the mother of the boy who was killed and other eye witnesses, the CRPF men ordered this boy who was in his school uniform to run and then shot him in the back as he did so. They kicked him ruthlessly as he lay bleeding on the road and did not allow his family to take him to the hospital until he died.

Following massive protests all over Kashmir Valley, the J&K police have declared that two of their personnel were suspected to have violated Standard Operating Procedures and killed the youth. (According to the SOPs, even if a person is suspected to be a 'terrorist' or 'militant' and is seen to be running away, he can be shot at in the legs but cannot be shot at higher up than the waist and killed, as was done in this case and is done routinely in many other cases).

Massive protest actions have been taking place all across Kashmir, condemning the killings and demanding an end to the AFSPA. Young men have been pouring out on to the streets in large numbers, clashing with the army and police. Huge numbers of youth have been arrested. All this is happening at a time when the just recently formed PDP-BJP government in the state has declared this the "Year of the youth" and promised "zero tolerance" for human rights violations.

These are just some of the latest examples of state terrorism, which is the actual Standard Operating Procedure for the army and the police and security personnel all over the country. Those fighting for their rights and opposing the atrocities of the state and the violation of their rights are labelled as "terrorists", "militants", "secessionists", "threat to national unity and territorial integrity", etc. Innocent men, women and children are eliminated in fake encounters, their dead bodies dumped into rivers and canals or destroyed, and then declared to have been "dreaded terrorists". The jails of our country are full of people who continue to languish under inhuman torture for years on end, without ever having been proven guilty of any crime. Fascist laws such as the Public Safety Acts of different states, the UAPA, the AFSPA, the Control of Organised Crimes Acts of different states are used to criminalise all forms of dissent. Under these draconian laws, persons can be shot dead on mere 'suspicion', confessions extracted under torture are admissible as evidence in court, people can be locked up for extended periods without trial, etc. Women and girls are routinely picked up, raped and killed. Under the AFSPA which is in place in Kashmir and the North eastern states, the armed forces and security personnel enjoy completely immunity for their crimes against the people. The aim of all this is to completely terrorise the people and crush all forms of protest against the atrocities that the Indian state continuously carries out against all sections of the toiling people, in defence of the interests of the biggest Indian and foreign monopoly capitalists.

MEL calls upon the working and oppressed people, all democratic minded people to unite in the struggle to put an end to state terrorism.

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