Intensify the struggle for women’s rights! Defeat the forces which want to destroy our peace and unity!!

Intensify the struggle for women’s rights! 
Defeat the forces which want to destroy our peace and unity! 

Pay respects to the soldiers killed at Pulwama - 
Resist the attempts to use their deaths for votes! 

Dear sisters and fellow citizens, 

8 March is International Women’s Day. In April-May, there will be Parliamentary elections in India. So this is the right time for women to assert their rights.    

The whole country is full of anguish at the Pulwama attack which has claimed the lives of fifty CRPF jawans. Even as India copes with this tragedy, the Sangh brigade has launched an orchestrated campaign to exploit the emotions of the people and use the sacrifice of the jawans for the BJP’s own electoral gains. There is a vicious campaign to orchestrate frenzied demands for war against and destruction of Pakistan, as well as an internal war against Kashmir, Kashmiri people, the Muslim community, and all voices advocating peace, harmony, and justice and demanding accountability from the Government. Shamefully, even those sworn to upholding the Constitution, such as the Meghalaya Governor and a BJP-backed Delhi MLA, are openly calling for boycott, genocidal massacres and rapes of Kashmiri people. A Gujarat BJP leader has openly asked BJP cadres to “turn the nationalistic wave into votes” for the BJP (https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-turn-nationalistic-wave-into-votes-says-bharat-pandya-5590917/) and BJP President Amit Shah, in the same vein, said “the CRPF personnel’s sacrifice won't go in vain as it's a  BJP Government, not a Congress government at the Centre.” (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/sacrifices-of-crpf-jawans-will-not-go-in-vain-amit-shah-1458189-2019-02-17) 

Demanding justice and accountability for the Pulwama attack is not the same as demanding war and destruction of Pakistan, or communal targeting of Muslims and Kashmiris. Mita, wife of Bablu Santra, a jawan who was killed at Pulwama, said, “We do not want war. Many wives like me will lose their husbands. Many daughters like mine will lose their fathers. But I want those guilty to be punished.” (https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pulwama-attack-west-bengal-crpf-martyr-bablu-santra-5587628/) Ranjit, brother of a jawan Ajit Kumar who was killed at Pulwama, said, “When all are uniting to share and lighten the grief of the jawans’ families, why are some politicians seeking to divide us? Modi was elected because he said all previous governments were bad, but in my opinion the past 4 and a half years have been the worst ever in independent India, and we all know who is responsible. The Government spends on advertising itself not on soldiers’ welfare.  Why play politics over the Army and soldiers? I even saw the shameful sight of politics being played at the funeral procession of a soldier.” (https://aajtak.intoday.in/karyakram/video/halla-bol-family-members-pulwama-attack-jammu-kashmir-martyrs-nation-farewell-bravehearts-1-1062104.html) Diwakar Singh, the father of jawan Ratan Singh of Bhagalpur, killed at Pulwama, said, “Had the Government taken care of the country’s security, my son would be alive. Only the sons of the poor are killed in such attacks - no one from the rich families joins the Army. How long will the sons of the poor be sacrificed like this?” Ratan Singh’s father-in-law Kamlakant Thakur said, “Our sons’ sacrifice is being used as a pretext for hatred and violence. Our sons are sacrificed for the sake of power games. We need to end this - not promote hatred which breeds terrorism.” (http://samkaleenlokyuddh.net/?p=3582)  

We appeal to every citizen of India and every woman to work to uphold our unity and protect vulnerable minorities and Kashmiri people from hateful, politically motivated  mobs. We appeal to every citizen and woman to defuse and defeat this last-ditch desperate design of the Sangh-BJP establishment. We welcome the fact that young women of Pakistan too have come out to condemn the Pulwama attack and demand accountability from their own Government. 

The Modi Government, which was already in the dock for its failures and betrayal on every front (the Rafale deal, cronyism and corruption, unemployment, farmers’ and workers’ distress, communal lynch mobs, defending rapists at Kathua, Unnao, Muzaffarpur and Devariya shelter homes, attacking women’s rights at Sabarimala, use of 56% of ‘Beti Bachao’ funds only for advertisements, rise in food and fuel prices) is now even further in the dock for the Pulwama attack. The Modi government owes an answer to the people for the huge lapse in security leading to the attack, as well as for its disastrous policies which have led to a drastic deterioration in the Kashmir situation (militant attacks in J&K increased 177% over four years to 2018, from 222 to 614). 

We appeal to every citizen and woman of India to recognise that war is no solution and to reject cynical election-time war-mongering. Sisters, the history of 8 March teaches us that rulers send our sons and brothers and husbands to war, and foment jingoism and hatred to divert attention from their own failures. So let’s courageously say no to wars and hatred, and instead compel our government to make serious national and international efforts to find political solutions to the grave problem of terrorism. 

 - issued by AIPWA

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