Latest eyewitness account by a socialist from Kotli, Kashmir and also a press statement from the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party (JK NAP).
Koli town is nearby the division of Nikayaal which is mentioned in the account and is also the home town of the President of JK NAP.
Increased Indo-Pak shelling deepens crisis in Asia
"This morning (07/06/02) the shelling around Kotli town began at 8.15am. Six shells expolded around the mountains surrounding Kotli. Shelling continues and large part of the forest are on fire. There is bit of panic, as it was the first time Kotli has been hit in any of the recent conflicts between the Indian and Pakistani regime. When I went to the local press office to send out a JKNAP press statement I met two United Nations military observers. One of them said to me that according to his information the shelling around the town in which we are (Kotli) would worsen and move into the town centre. He said that they did not know what was going to happen and had received no instructions from UN headquarters. He ended the conversation by saying, "Take care of yourselves and your family".
"We are going ahead with our anti-war demonstration despite the situation. Many people are worried and concerned. In order to lift spirits and give some hope to ordinary workers and youth in a desperate situation this demonstration is very important. It also gives people an alternative. We have been campaigning today by hanging banners over the main street crossings in town and holding meetings with workers and youth. Yesterday, we held a meeting with fifteen sanitary workers who are going to support the demo.
"The idea put forward in the western press that the tension is reducing is nonsense. More and more villages further away from the Line of Control are being shelled with each passing day"
Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party
Press statement, 7 June 2002
Sardar Anwar Khan advocate central president of Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party, while speaking here to party office bearers and workers said that, "withdrawl of occupational forces from Kashmir would be a step in the right direction towards peace. War is not the solution to the problems but dialogue is a step forward in a right direction. The ruling classes of India and Pakistan ought to see the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiris through ground realties and Kashmiris being first party in any negotiations. The two nuclear powers of South Asia, rather than conquering Kashmir should divert the resources of both countries to eradicate poverty, hunger, illitracy and underdevelopment. The whole of south Asia has been made hostage by the international arms dealers".
He said that in the last, "55 years the ruling classes conducted the dramas in the form of three wars and today 55% of the population was forced to live below the poverty line". He said "communalism, terrorism , poverty and arms race surrounds whole of the sub-continent, while the ruling classes were busy upon promoting and implementing an imperialist agenda in this region, which began with the division of the sub-continet in 1947". He said "it was treachery with the people in the name of freedom and independance. At present, the people were not part and parcel of the political process and the whole region was on the brink of a war, and in Kashmir it has practically began".
He said the, "people of Kashmir were being killed on both side of the Line of Control through cross border shelling and motarfire". He further said that the, "level the world capitalist system has reached [is heading the world towards disaster] rather then for the welfare of the humanity". He said that, the "world nations, while facing the real situation…the reason for world terrorism should be addressed and said the ‘responsibility’ for the ongoing bloodshed in Kashmir and Palestine falls on US and other western nations, directly or indirectly, who view their trade and business interest were important than human lives", and were "avoiding to solves these issues’". Commenting on the UN, he said that "it has lost all the credibility and rather than solving problems, was playing the role of a spectator, which show the hollowness of this institution".
He said the, "supporters of peace forces had to, once again become active, to save humanity from possible nuclear catsatrophy". He said looking at the, "Kashmir issue, division was no solution".
He said it, "was the responsibility of the pro-peace forces in the sub-continent, including trade unions, left organisations, while looking in a pragmatic way at the situation of the Kashmiri peoples struggle for independence, to eradicate the roots causes for the prevailing of terrorism, thus the region can be saved from total destruction".
He further said it has been the US who planted the seed of terrorism and today the whole world was paying for that’. He said the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party, believes that the "solution to the national question of Kashmir could only be solved on a socialist basis, because at present the capitalist system as whole was leading the process towards total destruction of the plant". He said the NAP will protest against the war, STOP THE WAR! on 8 June on Saturday (8th June) and appeals to all peace loving forces, youth, workers, and poor people of Kashmir, Pakistan and India to show concrete solidarity and participate to expose the designs of the ruling classes and save the masses from the nightmare.