A Statement On Kashmir

India and Pakistan now stand on the brink of a war potentially thousand times more devastating than the earlier ones they had fought since 1948. This war will bring nothing but incalculable destruction and misery to the peoples of both countries irrespective of race, religion, language and sex. Armed with nuclear weapons both the belligerent states now threaten not only the normalcy of daily life, but the very existence of millions of peoples in the entire region of South Asia.

Being goaded by imperialism, particularly Anglo-U.S. imperialism, both India and Pakistan are carrying their so-called campaign against terrorism to new heights, accusing each other of cross-border and internal terrorism, and in the name of fighting terrorism promoting a kind of state terrorism which continuously increase tension between them and worsen the communal situation.

Communal conflict and confrontation in British India finally led its partition, but the people of South Asia did not have the good fortune to see the end of communalism and communal conflicts. It cannot be denied that the situation arising out of the Kashmir dispute has been the greatest single factor in perpetuating hostility between the two states and communalism among large sections of the peoples of both countries.

Forcible occupation of parts of Kashmir by both India and Pakistan has created a situation in which the broad masses of the people of India-held Kashmir are undergoing repression by the Indian State machine and its armed forces in the most brutal manner, and innocent people are bring victimised physically and otherwise by cross-border infiltration and armed incursions into that area by Pakistan. These actions of the governments of India and Pakistan are not only victimising the people of Kashmir but also perpetuating communalism and creating opportunities for them to use    communal sentiments and violence whenever they are plunged into domestic crisis of one kind or another.

In this critical situation, as concerned persons, we emphasise with the greatest seriousness the need to resolve the Kashmir problem and express our view that it is the people of Kashmir, and not either the government of India or Pakistan, who have the right to decide their own fate.

It is a fact that there is a substantial struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination and independence which has nothing to do with either communalism or religious fundamentalism. The Government of India is trying to brand this struggle as terrorism and as entirely inspired and sponsored by Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalists, and the Government of Pakistan is trying to divert this democratic struggle for self-determination into a communal channel.

These developments are the follow ups of gross disregard for and violation of the U.N. resolution on a plebiscite for determining the future of Kashmir, a resolution which both India and Pakistan formally agreed to implement as fulfillment of their pledge to respect the democratic right of the Kashmiri people to determine their future.

The forcible occupation of Kashmir by India and Pakistan has not done any good to either the people of Kashmir or to the Indian and Pakistani peoples. On the other hand, the dispute arising out of such occupations has provided a powerful political instrument to the ruling classes and Government of both countries to oppress and suppress their own people and people across the border. It has been the greatest single factor responsible for huge unnecessary and wasteful military expenditure, for perpetuation of communalism and for creating political instability in the region.

It is because of this that Kashmir must no longer be taken as an integral part of either India or Pakistan and arrangements must be made for allowing the people of Kashmir to decide their own future and thus to solve the present Kashmir problem democratically and for ever.

With this end in view, at this critical moment of our history in South Asia, we urge upon all democratic and progressive peoples in India and Pakistan including intellectuals, journalists, political activists, persons belonging to various professions, to take up this matter and to demand and work for a plebiscite to be held under U.N. auspices and supervised by a team composed of representatives of countries who have no direct interest and stake in South Asia, with clear options to the people of Kashmir either to vote for accession to India or to Pakistan or to have an independent State of their own.

We urge the Indians to launch a movement to put an end to repression on the people of Kashmir and to put pressure on the Government of India to agree to hold the plebiscite in Kashmir under U.N. supervision.

We urge the Pakistanis to mobilise public opinion against cross-border terrorism either by the Government of Pakistan or by any other Pakistan based terrorist groups, and thus create a favourable condition for holding the plebiscite.

We urge all democratic governments and peoples of the world to mobilise all their efforts to put pressure on the governments of India and Pakistan to redeem their pledges to allow the people of Kashmir to determine their future by holding a plebiscite supervised by the United Nations.

Name of the Signatories

1. Badruddin Umar, Coordinator, Democratic Revolutionary Alliance
2. Col. (rtd.) Qazi Nuruzzaman, Sector Commander, 7th Sector, War of Independence  1971
3. Ishtiaque Ahmed, Barrister-at-Law
4. Shamsur Rahman, Poet
5. Fayez Ahmed, Writer-Journalist
6. Professor Jamal Nazrul Islam, Director, Research Center for Mathematical and Physical Science, Chittagong University
7. Shawkat Ali, Writer, President – Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir
8. Ataus Samad, Journalist, Former representative, BBC
9. Sirajul Islam Chowdhury, Former Professor of English, Dhaka University
10. Enayetullah Khan, Editor, Weekly Holiday
11. Sultana Sarwatara Zaman, Former Professor of Psychology, Dhaka University
12. Sufia Ahmed, National Professor and Former Professor of Islamic History, Dhaka University
13. Rashidul Haque, Former Professor of Mathematics, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Tripoli University
14. Faizul Hakim, General Secretary, Bangladesh Trade Union Federation
15. Sajib Roy, President, Bangladesh Peasant and Rural Workers’ Federation
16. Prashit Bikash Khisha, President, United People’s Democratic Front
17. Abdur Rouf, General Secretary, Bangladesher Sammyabadi Dal (M-L)
18. Pranesh Samaddar, Trustee and Minister, Brahma Samaj
19. Dr. T. Ali, General Secretary, Moulana Bhashani Parishad
20. Ayub Reza Chowdhury, Convenor, Communist Forum
21. Somari Chakma, President, Hill Women’s Federation
22. Mamunur Rashid, Play Write
23. Nasiruddin Yusuf, Former President, Group Theater Federation
24. C. M. Murshed, Former Bangladeshi Ambassador to Rumania, Afghanistan, Turkey and China.
25. Mannan Hira, General Secretary, Arnnyak Theater
26. Anu Muhammed, Writer, Professor of Economics, Jahangirnagar University
27. Obaid Jaigirdar, Writer
28. Mohsin Shawstrapani, President, Gono Sanskriti Parishad
29. Shahin Akhter, Writer
30. Hasibur Rahman, General Secretary, Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir
31. Akmal Hussain, Professor of International Relations, Dhaka University
32. Abul Momen, Journalist, Professor of Journalism, Chittagong University
33. Suraiya Islam

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