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Bradford demo: Thousands demand self-determination for Kashmir
Bradford Socialist Party members
Up to 5,000 people attended a rally outside Bradford Town Hall on 26 August under the banner of 'Free Kashmir'. While many of those attending were from Bradford, some had travelled across the Pennines and even from as far away as London.
This response came after the recent suspension of Kashmir's 'autonomous' status by the right-wing BJP government in India and the arrests of thousands throughout Indian occupied Kashmir.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian armed forces are now present in the territory. Several people on the demonstration told us that they had been unable to contact family members in Kashmir because the Indian BJP government has cut communications.
From the speakers' platform there were varied ideas on the way forward. Many of the speakers emphasised the need for United Nations intervention, including one speaker calling for UN armed forces to replace the Indian army.
Yet the UN is dominated by the same capitalist powers vying for trade ties and links with the Indian capitalists whose interests the Modi regime represents.
On the Socialist Party stall, and in the leaflet we were distributing, we pointed out that the real allies of the Kashmiri oppressed masses are the working class internationally, in particular in India and Pakistan.
The leaflet we distributed was based on the statement produced by our sister section of the Committee for a Workers' International in India (New Socialist Alternative) and CWI supporters in Pakistan.
We also sold many copies of the Socialist which contained a much longer analysis of the Kashmir national question. Many Bradford demonstrators were inspired by our comrades in India taking part in protests against Modi's repression and facing arrest in cities like Pune for doing so.
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