Stand With Kashmir expresses its deepest appreciation for the different organizations from the Indian state of Punjab that have come together in defense of the rights of the Kashmiri people.
Led by farmers, workers and students from different walks of life in Punjab, your organizations are well aware of how the fascist regime in India led by Narendra Modi is not just a threat to Kashmiri lives but also to the lives of common people in India.
As Kashmiris spread around the world unable to reach our families and friends in Kashmir, we want you to know that we are looking at you.
By preventing the protests from your organizations through police action, the Indian state has shown that it is afraid of its own citizens expressing dissent with the authoritarian and undemocratic decision to revoke Articles 370 and 35A.
At a time when Indian media has not merely adopted the government line but has actively peddled lies about Kashmiris, your protest shows there are very little possibilities of change except the ones forcefully demanded by ordinary people outraged by Modi regime’s violence.
That the Indian state has sought to cruelly silence Kashmiris who demand freedom and their right to self-determination has come as no surprise. We are witness to Indian atrocities for the last seventy years.
The Indian state from its inception has been at war with those people who have refused to submit to its imperialism.
Under Hindutva, the desire to subdue Kashmiris has become a genocidal desire. Hindutva parties want to take away the rights of Kashmiris to their land and allow Indian elites and corporates to buy land in Kashmir. This is meant to erase Kashmiri people’s identity and create a humanitarian disaster that is already beginning to unfold.
Kashmiris have won the rights to their land through centuries of struggle against feudal regimes. The people of Punjab know those struggle well. The same feudal lords betrayed the people of Punjab, and allowed the British colonialists to take over, who then ruled Kashmir with barbaric cruelty. Before and after 1947, Punjabi cities became sanctuaries for farmers and artisans from Kashmir fleeing feudal taxation and forced labor.
The people of Kashmir have yet to be able to decide their future. That democratic process can only begin when the Indian state rolls back its military occupation of Kashmir. The cost of that occupation is not only paid by Kashmiri lives, but also the ordinary people in India who are being held hostage to the rhetoric of nationalism.
Both India and Pakistan have a violent minded elite but with a huge population of poor. Instead of wasting resources on bloated militaries and seeking to snatch the freedom of Kashmiri people, these countries should respond to the cries of their own poor.
The ordinary people of India must understand that their freedom from poverty, casteism, and corporate loot is intimately tied to the freedom of Kashmiris.
Long live the solidarity between the struggling peoples of the whole world!
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