|The World for the Workers|
In recent weeks, the eyes of the world have once again turned to Kashmir. Although the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in 1948 calling for the Kashmiris to hold a referendum determining which country they wanted to join, it was never implemented. Instead, Kashmir was divided. The southern part has become the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the north is under the administration of Pakistan. The conflict over independence continues to simmer among residents of Jammu and Kashmir today. Indian soldiers are stationed all over the region to enforce a curfew, and this in a region that is already highly militarized. Around half a million soldiers are stationed in Kashmir.
To quell the demonstrations, security forces have been firing tear gas and pellet guns at protesters. Like shotguns, they project hundreds of shrapnel-like pellets that can cause serious injuries and even death if improperly used. Despite the outcry from human rights organizations over the use of pellets, the Indian government continues to deploy them.
Socialists are always spontaneously on the side of the oppressed against the oppressors and the massive use of overwhelming force by the Indian state clearly exposes it as the oppressor. But just because we sympathise with the victims of Indian oppression does not mean that we favour the solutions popular amongst them.
It may be tempting to support the underdog and take sides but such thinking blinds us to the real causes of the tragedy. The repression in Kashmir underlines yet again the urgent need to work for a world without nations and nationalism, bosses and workers. Nationalism holds back the growth of class consciousness.
For one people and one world contact:
The World Socialist Party (India): 257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata – 700086,