[Marxism] grief turns to anger: uprising in Kashmir

Jorge Martin jorge at marxist.com
Tue Apr 18 17:00:08 MDT 2006

This is a fascinating report of the movement that has erupted in
Kashmir inthe last few days over the question of distribution of
relief funds. As was the case with the Mexican earthquake where people
set up their own organisations to deal with reconstruction effort a
natural catastrophe compounded by the inability of capitalism to
respond or prevent it can have revolutionary consequences:

Insurrection in Kashmir								 						 By PTUDC			 			   			 		
				Tuesday, 18 April 2006
As the snow begins to melt in the Himalayas, a wave of mass protests
is sweeping Muzafferabad, the devastated capital of Pakistan-held
Kashmir against the failure of the Musharraf regime and Earthquake
Rehabilitation Agency (ERA). At least 40,000 people protested on April
13 in the various towns and cities in the area of the capital. These
protests were organised by the United People's Front (UPF) and
initiated and by the Marxists of Kashmir.

As we reported previously the situation in the devastated areas of
Kashmir is worsening with each passing day due to the behaviour of the
state authorities, who have humiliated the people, and the lack of
funds provided by the regime for the reconstruction of homes. A storm
of anger and resentment was gathering among the masses which
eventually erupted on April 13.

A widespread feeling of anger and discontent has existed since the
calamity on October 8. This seething anger occasionally burst into the
open over the last period, but it was on March 31 that this new wave
of class struggle began with the first protest which was held in Garhi
Dopatta, Muzaferabad, where more than 1500 people participated. The
people were angered by the ERA. In the second phase of the
distribution of reconstruction funds an average of Rs 25,000 ($416)
was given to each family for the reconstruction of their homes. This
was an insult to the victims of the earthquake because the average
cost of constructing a home to accommodate as many as two or three
families (because the joint-family system still dominates in this
remote area) is approximately $8000.

This second wave of distribution simply added salt to the wound. It
has been reported that approximately 40 percent of victims had not yet
received anything in the first wave of distribution. It seems that
even in the second wave of distribution, this same 40 percent of the
people would not be included in the assessment and would not receive

The anger of the masses had reached its limits. After the protest of
March 31, which was organised by the Jammu Kashmir Revolutionary Youth
Alliance (JKRYA), a united front of youth organisations formed by the
Marxists of Kashmir, a mass meeting was held on April 1 in which the
Marxists of Kashmir united the representatives of all the devastated
villages and towns to form a new front – the United People's Front.
This new front was formed with the overwhelming participation of the
masses. A key role was played by Comrade Shujat Kazmi, the former
president of the Jammu Kashmir National Students' Federation (JKNSF),
who was unanimously elected the coordinator of the newly formed front.

On April 3, in response to the call of the UPF, a complete "shutter
down" (the closing of all shops and workplaces) and strike was
organised in Garhi Dopatta in which more than 200 people participated.
On April 7, a protest was held when the Chief Secretary of Kashmir,
Kashif Murtaza, and the Chairman of ERA, General Saleem Altaf, visited
the area. Three hundred people took part in this demonstration and
chanted slogans against the ERA and the Musharraf regime and called
for a district level protest on April 13.

After the formation of the UPF the newly elected coordinator, comrade
Shujat Kazmi, and the district coordinating body visited all the main
towns and villages around the devastated capital in order to expand
and strengthen the front. They published and distributed four leaflets
in one week. On April 13 an unbelievable mass demonstration took place
- unbelievable because not one of the traditional parties or mass
organisations were involved. In fact, not even a single leader of
these mass political parties was involved. It was only the young
Marxists of Kashmir, with their very small forces but tireless
efforts, that made this protest successful. More than 10 small
villages and 12 big towns in the area of the capital participated in
the general strike of the district.

Even the conservative bourgeois media, despite their previous criminal
blackout of news from the area, was forced to report that more than
40,000 people had protested against the policies of the ERA and
demanded that it be dissolved and that the reconstruction work be
handed over to the people's committees at the town and village level.

full article here: <http://www.marxist.com/insurrection-in-kashmir180406.htm>

More information about the Marxism mailing list