Call for an end to militarisation, colonisation of all parts of Kashmir, arrests and torture of Kashmiri leaders and activists; resolution of conflict through dialogue
By Haider Ali
Lahore: Leftist, feminist and student organizations have expressed deepest concerns over the annexation, militarization and occupation of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) against the will of the Kashmiri people, international laws on civil rights of the oppressed, disenfranchised and colonized people.
They condemned the revocation of Article 370, change in Article 35-A and bifurcation of J&K ostensibly for ethnic cleansing and demographic alteration of Kashmiris’ and usurpation of their resources by the ruling communal fascist class who pose no lesser a threat to the secular and democratic character of India and its working class and the minorities.
They expressed these views during a protest march held at Liberty roundabout here on Wednesday (Aug 20) to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and against the annexation of J&K by ultra-nationalist BJP government and clampdown on civil liberties.
The leaders and activists of the Left Front condemned the mass arrests, persecution and torture of political activists, killings and injuring peaceful protesters and children with pellet guns, sexual violence against women as a weapon of colonisation by the fascist Modi-led BJP government.
They also condemned imposition of curfew, censorship and suspension of internet and communication service in the valley, fanning of war hysteria that could endanger South Asia’s existence and global ecosystem.
Lack of resolution of the Kashmir issue and perpetuation of the conflict between the two nuclear states have resulted in militarisation, arms race and nuclear proliferation in the region, on the one hand, and marginalisation and disenfranchisement of the people of all parts of the former Himalayan state, the charter of demand read.
Apart from the divided Kashmir, the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan also remains in limbo resulting in the demographic change in GB as the people are losing their ethnic-cultural identity due to influx and settlement of outsiders to the region.
The participants called upon the people of South Asia and the world to support the peaceful resistance of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination.
They demanded an immediate end to curfew, imprisonments, detentions, state repression, killings, harassment, rapes of women, censorship, suspension of all forms of communication; restoration of all fundamental human and civil rights, freedom of expression, travel without hindrance; access to health, education services and all necessary human needs.
We also call for allowing international human rights bodies, including UN Human Rights monitors, observers and media to assess the human rights situation in all parts of J&K and GB, they demanded.
We also demand allowing the divided families to freely meet with each other, observance of ceasefire agreement across the LoC, to ensure safety of the people living near borders and avoid escalation of conflict between India and Pakistan, the charter read.
They asked the two governments and international community to facilitate Kashmiris to exercise their inalienable right of self-determination as promised by the two dominions and the UN.
Pending the plebiscite, the peoples of all regions of Kashmir and GB should be given equal rights and opportunities in a transitional fully autonomous arrangement with soft borders allowing free interaction.
“We also warn against all sorts of provocation and violence by state and non-state actors and urge the two governments to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and avoid military conflict or war,” the charter read.
The march was organized by the Left Front — Awami Workers Party, Pakistan Trade Unions Defence Campaign, Mazdoor Kissan Party, Communist Party of Pakistan, Revolutionary Socialist Movement– in association with Aurat March, and Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, SAFMA, J&K Students Council, JKNSF and Progressive Students Collective. Representatives of International Marxist Tendency (IMT), Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and Awami Workers Party Gilgit-Baltistan as well as a few mainstream political parties also participated in the march.