Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mumbai: murderers target working people

MUMBAI, 2003. Woman wounded in blast which killed 11 on train. City has suffered series of such attacks.

WHOEVER was behind the train bombings around Mumbai, which have so far killed 190 people and injured hundreds more, we should not hesitate in identifying their target.

Those killed on crowded commuter trains were for the most part, inevitably, ordinary working people trying to get home. The killers would have known this. This was no accidental "collateral damage". The victims were the target.

Mumbai has suffered a whole series of murderous attacks. It is India's biggest western-facing port, a centre of commerce and industry. As such, it is a centre also of modernity, where people from different communities work and intermingle, and of the secular, educated outlook that is hated by reactionaries of every background.

Whatever group was used to carry out the well-planned operation, this has nothing to do with liberating Kashmir, which is not just occupied by Indian troops but partly by Pakistan forces too, a victim of partition. The enemies of Kashmiri freedom are not ordinary working people. But some of the gangs sent into Kashmir with past connivance, if not backing, from elements within the Pakistani state, are not fighting for freedom.

They are not interested in uniting Kashmiris against foreign rule. Quite the opposite. They are waging sectarian communal war on Kashmiris.
As Awaaz South Asia Watch reported, as many as thirty five Hindus were rounded up from their homes and killed on April 30 and 1 May in the Doda and Udhampur districts of Jammu and Kashmir. "In the past fifteen years more than 90 per cent of Kashmiri Hindus who lived in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley have fled their homes for fear of attack and are living as refugees in the lowlands and in India's cities. Several armed groups, including the Harakat-ul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e Tayyiba have been implicated in attacks on civilians in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu. Both these organizations have been fostered or sponsored by sections of the Pakistani state".

The Indian and Pakistani governments, having brandished their nuclear weapons - acquired with resources that could have helped poor people throughout the sub-continent - have been moving towards better relations, as both step under the umbrella of alliance with US imperialism. But it suits powerful right-wing politicians and people in the military-security establishments that people should be divided, and young people's unrest channeled into violent communal thuggery.

In India we have the BJP and its offshoots, with state ministers who have been implicated in anti-Muslim pogroms. More recently there have been attacks on lower-caste people and Christians. In Pakistan, whatever powers they give themselves for "the war on terror", the authorities have found it conveniant to keep a blind eye to the use of some madrassas as covers for terrorist recuitment and indoctrination. Nor should we forget that when a Pakistani journalist fled to Britain after exposing the madrassas, the British Home Office deported him back to Pakistan.

The Mumbai train bombings were not some ill-thought action by amateurs. They were well-planned and deliberate. Having killed so many innocent people, from all community backgrounds, they will be used by reactionary political leaders in India to incite more hatred, demand more repressive policies in Kashmir, and encourage more violence against Indian Muslims.

We can only assume that this too is deliberate.

The partition of India in 1947 was a reactionary project which brought death and suffering to millions of people. Those who try to perpetuate and deepen divisions are enemies of the people in Pakistan, Kashmir and India. Freedom, unity and progress, not only for Kashmir but the rest of the peoples in the sub-continent, will be attained in a free and secular democratic South Asian Federation.



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