Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 September 2010

Kashmir: An eyewitness to oppression in the valley

"A PARADISE turned into hell". That's how the people who live there describe Indian occupied Kashmir. Monday 13 September saw 18 people, mainly young men, mown down by some of the 700,000 soldiers in the Indian army who occupy Kashmir. Further attacks mean that well over 100 people have been killed in just over 100 days since 11 June.

Many hundreds, some as young as 14, have been injured; many will never walk or see again. Doctors describe injuries caused by inhumane torture and by the use of pellet guns, banned under international law. Across the country hundreds have simply 'disappeared'.

During the curfew/bandh (strikes) the empty streets are peopled only by khaki-clad, lathi-[large stick] and machine gun-carrying soldiers; rolls of razor wire are like some dystopian tumbleweed. Everywhere the walls shout: "Indian dogs go back", "Go India go" and, of course "Azadi" (freedom).

No-one dares to leave their house during the curfew days.

The schools have been shut for three months. Exams have been postponed. Young people's futures are on hold indefinitely.

Initially, women could venture out for food and necessities but sexual harassment, the snatching of headscarves and the abuse has made this impossible. They dare not let their children out the door. Broken windows and shot out street lamps are the calling card of the soldiers. Water provision has also been targeted. Women tell of soldiers barging through their homes and beating their children. They fear that if the young men go out they will never return.

This is what happened to Meraj-ud-Din Lone, a 22 year-old father and vegetable seller, the sole breadwinner in his family. At 10.30am on 3 August he was shot in the heart as soldiers chased a group of unarmed protesting boys.

His family and his young widow Daisy, who now have to worry about their very survival, have been frustrated in every attempt to seek justice. No-one from the authorities has spoken to them. This is not an unusual story in Srinagar. This is just one family's hell.


For ordinary Kashmiris, Azadi is the only goal. Politicians discuss so-called 'peace packages' but these are no more than tawdry tokens. Sonia Gandhi, president of the ruling Indian National Congress Party, promises an 'economic package' of jobs but this has no impact.

Almost everyone I spoke to, from civil rights activists to students and workers, said that economic packages which do not address their national aspirations will never satisfy.

The very right-wing, nationalist BJP makes demands such as "total peace" before talks take place. It is an ardent opponent of any reasonable autonomous package or settlement and demands more troops be sent in. Anti-Pakistan sentiment and the threat of 'Islamic terrorism' are the mainstays of its propaganda.

The traditional left parties, such as the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), participate in state governments alongside Congress and other parties and do not make serious demands on troop withdrawal.

The occupation has claimed about 70,000 lives. But everywhere, the hospitals, the homes of grieving families, the shops, the streets, people want to voice their demands: 'Stop the killing, get the army out, the right to self-determination and independence from India, Pakistan and China'.

While there is no trust in the government there is hope that resistance in the valley can have an effect.

The Hurriyat is an alliance of political, religious and social organisations. Geelani, one of its leaders, announces the dates for bandhs, a type of general shutdown strike. While support is uniform there is no evidence of mass participation in the decision-making process.

The government retaliates and attempts to assume control by imposing curfews at the same time.

Ehadjan, not a stone-pelting youth but a 52-year old policeman, was at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital to receive treatment for kidney damage after four days of severe torture.

He had thrown a shoe at the state chief minister during a flag unfolding ceremony. He, like others, is desperate for the eyes of the world to focus on the daily mass torture and incredible denial of human rights that is life for the masses of Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Most people fear that the Indian government's propaganda is widely accepted outside Kashmir. While this may be the case in general, some young people are starting to discuss the issue and to connect it with other aspects of the reality of life for the majority in 'shining India'.

David Cameron, British prime minister, visited Bangalore in June to declare Britain 'open for business' with the wealthy elite of India. The Financial Times entreated with him to avoid two elephant traps - speaking about poverty and speaking about Kashmir.

He heeded the FT well and actually described so-called Indian democracy as "a beacon to our world". This must be a warning to the working, poor and young people of Kashmir, of India and of the UK.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 22 September 2010:

Brutal bosses? Time to fight back!

Birmingham: Solidarity with council workers

Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the higher education lock out!

The Student Socialist:: Issue 8 1.50

International socialist news and analysis

For a 24-hour all-Europe general strike

Spain: class struggle the biggest show in town

Kashmir: An eyewitness to oppression in the valley

'Death of democracy' in Sri Lanka

Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010 - a weekend of discussion and debate

Socialist Party news and analysis

Countering the Con-Dem government's offensive

Stroud says no to BNP media centre

Bosses want workers' pensions axed

Trade unionists challenge Lib-Dems

Fast news

CNWP extended steering committee meeting

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

The sorry saga of Corus steel

Ex-Jarvis workers face more attacks

Tyneside Safety Glass: Stop the decline to the minimum wage!

Workplace news in brief

Fight every Con-Dem cut

Hastings demo against attacks on union officials

Organising to save jobs and services

Determined, widespread union action needed

Why London firefighters oppose 'reforms'

23 October march against cuts: RMT calls London demo

Socialist Party feature

The beauty industry: out of control?

Diminished responsibility

Socialist Party campaigns

Coventry 'one-stop' protest

Building the anti-cuts fightback: Local campaign launches

Save Southampton Libraries


Home   |   The Socialist 22 September 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming

triangleHackney Socialist Party: 70 years since India-Pakistan partition

triangleThe Socialist inbox


triangleHundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

triangleDictatorship's methods still reign in 'democratic' Chile


triangleThem & Us

triangleProblem gambling soars by 33%





Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict



A world in crisis, ripe for revolution



Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse



Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core



Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle



Trump's tax attacks



Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality



Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power



USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success



Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution



US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters



Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'



Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice