Over one hundred secondary school students and workers took part in a demonstration against the war on Saturday 22 March, organised by the Kotli branch of the Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party (JKNAP).
Stop the war in Iraq. Kashmir.
Kashmiris demonstrate against the US war in Iraq
Many of those protesting were members of JKNAP and of the Jammu and Kasmir National Students’ Federation (JKNSF). Members of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and of its student federation also took part. The initiative to organise this demonstration against the war came from CWI sympathisers within the Kotli JKNAP. To organise a demonstration like this risks physical attack from Islamic fundamentalist groups in the town, who while using anti-imperialist rhetoric, are bitterly opposed to any socialist, left or radical young people organising independent action.
Protesters led the demonstration with banners reading, ’Stop the war for oil – US and British imperialists out of the Gulf and the Middle East’. The demonstration wound its way through the town to the main crossroads where a small rally was held.
Niaz Khan, one of the local organisers of JKNAP, told the rally, "This war for oil is being carried out by the main capitalist powers to get control of the second largest oil fields in the region and to emphasise US control of the Middle East. The cost of this madness is already being paid for by the massacre of Iraq youth, workers and peasants. All young people, workers and left activists on both sides of the Line of Control dividing the two parts of Kashmir should unite to oppose this war through strikes and demonstrations."
The day before the protest a district meeting was held of JKNAP and JKNSF activists to build support for the demonstration. At that meeting the national President of JKNAP, Sadar Anwar Khan, explained, "Under the cover of UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq, an illegal war was being conducted against innocent Iraqis…This war for oil will prove disasterous for US imperialism and the whole world should express their hatred of it."