|Volume 50 Number 30, August 8, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
August 5, 2020, marked the first anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. This meant that the Indian government abruptly changed the semi-autonomous nature of India-controlled Kashmir, imposing a media lock-down and a curfew. The move was met with widespread international criticism. The Indian government had previously enacted the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in 1990, which had been invoked to arrest, search and destroy property, and kill with impunity. In Kashmir, prior to the first anniversary, authorities imposed on curfew on the the city of Srinagar on August 3 with immediate affect until the anniversary itself, marked as a "Black Day" by the people.
On Wednesday, August 5, to oppose the Indian government's suppression and lock-down of the Kashmiri people, which amount to a siege of Jammu and Kashmir, demonstrations were held in Britain outside the Indian High Commission in London, and the Council House in Birmingham, a city where 150,000 Kashmiris live. Hundreds of Kashmiris participated in these two significant actions.
The Kashmir people themselves have been asserting their right to self-determination for many decades, dating back to the partition of India in 1947, in which the British state played such a nefarious role. An important demand in the present situation is that the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be allowed to settle the Kashmir issue through a fair, transparent and democratic referendum under the auspices of the United Nations, as required by UN resolutions.
Large numbers of Indian troops have contributed to the suppression of the movement of the people of Kashmir for independence. The leadership of the movement has been incarcerated, and new psychological methods of disorientation and oppression are being applied. There have been a massive number of arrests in Kashmir, together with the violence of the Indian military against the people. The Sino-Indian confrontation has also added to the already fraught situation in Kashmir. Furthermore, thousands of Indian workers without Covid-19 tests are being brought into Jammu and Kashmir for work and settlement by the Indian government, demonstrating how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in a hurry to obliterate the identity and heritage of Kashmir. It is reported that over 19,000 cases of the disease have been recorded in Kashmir.
Workers' Weekly stands with the people of Kashmir in their struggle for self-determination. The oppressed people of Kashmir are bound to continue their march for freedom, justice and democracy until victory.