72 Years of Independence in India and Present Conditions, Kashmir Issue and its Resolution

18 August, 2019. A one-day seminar was organised by the Haryana unit of Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India (RWPI) on ‘ 72 Years of Independence in India and Present Conditions, Kashmir Issue and its Resolution’ today. Shivani Kaul, spokesperson of RWPI addressed the audience. Seventy Two years have passed since India gained its independence from British Colonialism, however, the question still arises whose freedom has come about? All the electoral parties which have come to power have implemented anti-worker and anti-people policies and have favoured the capitalist class in all these years. The prevailing conditions in India has once again laid bare the true essence of the bourgeois democracy – democracy for the handful of capitalists and dictatorship for the millions of toiling masses. The situation has further worsened in past five years with the coming to power of a fascist dispensation. The Modi Government which rose to power in 2014 has proven to be the nemesis of the working class and the broad cross section of the working masses. Unemployment is at an all-time high with the automobile industry facing one of the worst crisis in the recent times causing loss of employment to lakhs of workers. Preparations are underway for the privatization of the public sector enterprises such as Railways, BSNL, HAL, ONGC etc. New draconian laws such as the recent amendments in UAPA have been passed to crush all kinds of peoples’ movement in general and the working class movement in particular. In addition to this, the labour laws have been diluted with the tabling of the two labour codes on wages and occupational safety in the parliament. In order to divert the attention of the masses from the real issues confronting them, a jingoist and ultra-nationalist campaign has been spearheaded by the Hindutva fascists in a sustained manner. Anti-minority mob lynchings and anti-Dalit atrocities along with anti-women crimes have risen manifold in past five years. The fascist propanganda needs to be countered tooth and nail and all their lies have to be exposed by the revolutionary forces by building a massive anti-fascist movement. As far as the question of Kashmir is concerned, all the governments in the past have not only suppressed but also backstabbed the Kashmiri nationality and their right to self determination. Kashmir is definitely not just a piece of land and its destiny cannot be decided by anyone but Kashmiris themselves. The question of nationality had been given a communal and religious turn in all these years by the Indian ruling class, more so by the Hindutva fascists, which is far from the truth. The issue of nationality has nothing to do with religion. The recent autocratic step of abrogation of Article 370 and division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two by the Modi Government is the culmination of the process of historical betrayal of the Kashmiri people by Indian bourgeois state which began with Nehru led Congress Government. This would undoubtedly and not surprisingly lead to the further alienation of the Kashmiri people. This new chapter in the untold repression by the Indian state will, in all likelihood, give rise to fresh wave of armed insurgency and terrorism will be fuelled in the entire region in an atmosphere of desperation and directionless anger, whose price will be paid not just by the Kashmiri people but also by the people of India. At the time of partition in 1947, under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah, the people of Kashmir had chosen to side with the largely (though formally) secular politics of India by rejecting Jinnah’s politics. The ruler of Kashmir, Hari Singh, under the special historical circumstances (invasion of Kashmir by the raiders supported by the Pakistani army)signed the instrument of accession of Kashmir with India as a provisional arrangement as a consequence of which it was conferred special status under which it enjoyed autonomy and self governance in most affairs, had its own constitution and its own flag. The Article 370 of Indian Constitution represented this very special status and defined the relationship of Kashmir with India. With the abrogation of Article 370, the constitution of Kashmir has ipso-facto become null and void and the Article 35A, too, will no longer be valid. With the unilateral abrogation of Article 370, the accession of Kashmir to the Indian union becomes null and void theoretically. The Indian state never fulfilled its promises that it made to the Kashmiri people which were also reflected in the ‘Instrument of Accession’ signed on 26 October 1947 and which formed the basis of the accession of Kashmir to India. Through this step, BJP and Sangh Parivar will intensify their campaign of polarization on communal lines and will exacerbate the alienation of religious minorities furthermore and in this guise they will do their best to hide the failures of their government. Since Pakistan is also involved in the Kashmir dispute, attempts will be made to fan the flame of anti-Pakistan jingoism along with provoking religious fanaticism. History bears witness to the fact that the entire population of not even a small territory can be militarily suppressed for long. Kashmir will not be an exception to this. At the same time we will have to be consciously alert and active to stop any kind of violence and hate-mongering against Kashmiri people. All the revolutionary and progressive forces should unconditionally support the demand of right to self determination of the Kashmiri people. We must also demand the complete demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir as well as repeal of draconian AFSPA. Besides, free and fair democratic Assembly elections must be held at the earliest in the Jammu and Kashmir. The working people of India must stand in solidarity with the fighting people of Kashmir against the onslaught, repression and their national oppression by the Indian bourgeois state which is their common enemy.