Arun Kumar and Kranti Kumara

From World Socialist Web Site: “Mass Protests Continue in Indian-held Kashmir

“Despite savage state repression—including curfews, mass arrests and indiscriminate firing on demonstrations—protests continue to rock the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. J&K, frequently referred to simply as Kashmir, is India’s lone Muslim-majority state.

Since the current wave of protests began in mid-June, the Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and state police have shot dead at least 58 protesters (some reports claim 80 or more dead) and injured hundreds more.”

“Far from attempting to bring to book any of the state personnel responsible for that killing, the state and Congress Party-led national government have given carte blanche to the CPRF and police to open fire on unarmed protesters and even funeral processions.

The savagery of the state violence has itself become a major factor in sustaining the agitation. There have reportedly been more than 900 clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The successive curfews have made daily life for workers, small traders, and all those with meager and insecure incomes extremely difficult, further stoking popular anger.”

“The popular defiance of Indian and J&K authorities is fueled by anger born of decades of repression in what is essentially a police state.

For two decades, the Indian state has deployed more than half a million security forces in J&K, which has a population of slightly more than 10 million people. With a ratio of one security personnel for every 20 residents, J&K is one of the world’s most heavily militarized regions.”

“In his August 10 address, Singh claimed to “feel the pain and understand the anger and frustration that is bringing the young people out on the streets of Kashmir,” but then went on to express his appreciation for the murderous security forces. They are, declared Singh, “performing an extremely challenging task in difficult circumstances.”

The Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party quickly rebuked Singh for speaking of greater autonomy for J&K. The reality is that India’s constitution already grants J&K a special status within the Indian Union, but these provisions have been violated virtually from the beginning by India’s central government and ruling elite.

Even many commentators in the corporate media had to concede that Singh’s promises are akin to those made by India’s governments for years—promises that have only served as a cover for continuing state repression.”

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