By Zafar Iqbal
Left-leaning parties and political groups from India and Pakistan have expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir at a time when the mainstream corporate media and conventional political parties in both countries have failed to give voice to the public mood and apprehensions of people of Kashmir.
In Lahore- the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, joint processions were arranged by Labor Party Pakistan and Joint Action Committee for the People’s Rights (JAC) and others like-mined progressive groups and rights organizations to demand immediate end to curfew and lockdown in Indian administrated Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
The agitators demanded immediate abolition of human rights abuses and clampdown in Kashmir.
Addressing the rally, the speakers expressed concerns about the awful human rights situation in Indian Kashmir and the humanitarian crises due to a prolonged curfew, and the complete lock-down and blockade of communication links.
They demanded withdrawal of Pakistani and Indian armies from disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.
‘The citizens of Kashmir must be given the right to self-determination in accordance to the UN Security Council Resolution 39, adopted on January 20, 1948.
After partition of British India in 1947 two sovereign States-India and Pakistan started a war in Kashmir.
At the end of processions, a memorandum was issues which termed that India’s unilateral abrogation of the Special Status granted to Kashmiris’ in constitutional provisions of 370 and 35-A has radically changed the status of Kashmir and has been a major setback to the pledge to hold a plebiscite under the UN Security Council.
The memo warned that border skirmishes across the Line of Control(LOC) in Kashmir between Indian and Pakistani troops may escalate into a dangerous war which will have catastrophic consequences for the world.
‘Rulers from both sides need to stop their war jingoism and ‘name calling’. It is imperative for India and Pakistan to immediately start diplomatic efforts to resolve the future of Occupied Kashmir with the people of Jammu and Kashmir foregrounded in all talks and resolutions,’ it further stated.
The rally urged international people’s movements, networks and peace groups to assert pressure on the governments of both India and Pakistan to refrain from any misadventure of war and to highlight the most harrowing negation of human rights in Kashmir.
The joint declaration signed by representatives and office bearers of local of civil rights groups also demanded:
- An immediate end to the occupation, illegal annexation, arbitrary detentions and the curfew
- The immediate restoration of normal civic life and provision of food, medicine and health care services in the valley.
- The Urgent release all Kashmiri leadership and political prisoners
- That the state Jammu and Kashmir be immediately reverted to its former state in the first instance.
- JAC fully supports Kashmiri’s right to self-determination and demands that both Pakistan and Indian governments make all possible efforts to enable Kashmiris to meet frequently and exercise their right to self-determination without any pressure or coercion.
- The demilitarization of both sides of the Line of Control and the Working Border is a precondition of plebiscite agreed to by India and Pakistan in 1948. It is essential this be undertaken as soon as possible.
It is appropriate to mention that during the proceedings in Indian Parliament (Rajya Sabha) when constitutional amendments were announced by Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, the leaders of the Left parties vehemently condemned Narendra Modi government’s decision to scrap the special status that Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed under Article 370.
Major Indian Left parties including the Communist Party of India Marxist-CPI(M), The Communist Party of India (CPI), the Revolutionary Socialist Party, All India Forward Bloc and the Communist party of India-Marxist Leninist(CPIML) also arranged demonstrations in various Indian cities, including at Jantar Manetr area of Delhi, capital city of India.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, civils rights activists and members of Communist party of India, including CPI(ML) senior official Kavita Krishnan visited Jammu and Kashmir and collected eyewitness account of ‘siege ‘of Kashmir.
When the Narendra Modi-led BJP government and Indian Corporate media have projected ‘return to normalcy’ in the region, this delegation issued a fact -finding report which declared the present situation of Jammu and Kashmir as an ‘open prison’.