Kashmir conflict: Workers’ Unity to Stop Nuclear Threat
Exclusive report from Kasmiri socialist
KASHMIR, INDIA and Pakistan stand on the edge of a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Two unstable capitalist regimes with nuclear weapons threaten to bring destruction to millions of people already suffering from poverty, disease and mass unemployment.
An eyewitness account from a socialist in Pakistani occupied Kashmir
“AS I write this report, information has come in that in the Poonch sector shelling has caused widespread devastation.
I have just spoken to a father of a three-year-old – a refugee from Poonch – who said that shelling started in the villages of Mandole, Thar, Butel, Serah, Tatri Note, and Tattapani, this morning [28 May], during which over 500 shells were fired.
Around 32,000 people have been displaced. Three women were injured, houses destroyed, and buffaloes killed. Housing rent has escalated again.
It is much the same terrible situation in Nakyaal sector and surrounding villages, where shelling continues all day. Anwar Khan, president of JKNAP (Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party, a left organisation), said that around 50 shells fell on the Pakistan occupied Kashmir side of the Line of Control [the ceasefire line separating Indian and Pakistani troops], ten of them near his house.
The situation in hospitals is that even before the conflict they were in a dire state, with lack of basic medical facilities. I spoke to a woman who had suffered leg injuries. She told me that because of the pressure on beds she was moved from a bed with a fan (vital in the searing heat) to one that had no ventilation. Her son complained to the hospital authorities but with no success.
Her son was a student from Khuratta, 30 kilometres from Kotli. Indian shells fell on a degree college in Khuratta and all educational institutions have been closed. This was the first time the town was fired upon since the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Unknown numbers of people have fled the area. The mood on the ground is one of fear, but a greater anti-war mood exists in the urban areas, which needs to be organised.
Recently, Committee for a Workers’ International supporters, [CWI – the socialist international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated] and members of JKNAP held a demonstration of 150 young people against the war in Hajeera, Pakistani occupied Kashmir. This village is within shelling distance of the Line Of Control. Two days after the demonstration shelling from the Indian army killed six villagers.
There is an urgent need to mobilise a mass movement of workers and peasants in Kashmir, India and Pakistan against war. Such a movement, armed with a socialist programme to overthrow capitalism and landlordism is the only guarantee against the possibility of nuclear conflict.”