External interference and terrorism have inflicted heavy blows against the indigenous movement of the Kashmiri masses spearheaded by the youth. With the failure of the UN and the other international institutions masquerading as peacekeepers and saviours of victims of tyranny, armed struggle has become an intrinsic part of the mass uprising. Various religious terrorist outfits sponsored by strategic interests have been trying to use this situation to the detriment of the movement. The Jaish has rebuilt its network and overtaken two rival religious outfits (HizbulMujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba) in these terror activities. This February 14 attack is a mark of their growing activity. Some Kashmiri politicians have acknowledged that armed militancy has now attained a local base, and have pointed to the BJP’s repressive policy and security flaws as contributory factors in this attack. Sheikh Farooq Abdullah, the most prominent pro-India Kashmiri politician, has now come out with an outright rejection of the accusation that Pakistan is responsible for the security lapses and the intensification of the mass revolt. Ever since the installation of the Modi regime in 2014, its communal Hindu xenophobic policies have provoked the mass revolt even more. “Terror-related incidents” in Jammu and Kashmir rose by 177 percent between 2014 and 2018, and deaths of armed forces personnel surged by 94 percent. Despite the military’s claims of having killed more than 800 insurgents over the last five years, their numbers have been rising, mainly due to the defiance of local youth indignant at the continuing repression and discrimination. Pellets fired by the police have left hundreds blind and others severely injured. Such has been the resentment and political pressure of the movement on Kashmiri politicians that the BJP’s former coalition government with the PDP fell and the toppled elected state government was replaced by direct dictatorial rule from Delhi. The main base and spur for the upsurge are the crippling socioeconomic deprivation, along with national oppression and religious discrimination. The Kashmir valley’s severe and freezing winters have been made even harsher with the prolonged electricity cuts. It is ironic that Kashmir exports hydro-electricity to the rest of India, while its subjugated inhabitants are deprived of this basic necessity. The masses are aware and resentful of their treatment as a colonized people at the hands of the repressive Hindutva state with its callous imperial designs. External interference and terrorism have inflicted heavy blows against the indigenous movement of the Kashmiri masses spearheaded by the youth Successive wars between India and Pakistan have failed to resolve the conflict; a negotiated settlement has proved to be a non-starter. There is a new awareness on the part of the youth and ordinary people of Kashmir that the region’s main states and their masters actually don’t want to resolve the Kashmir issue. This ‘irritant’ has become a vital element in their much-needed hostility and diplomatic jugglery. Through this hostility, the top military brass of the region’s armies enjoys privileged positions, social honour, political hegemony and massive kickbacks in dollars through arms procurement deals with the military industrial complexes’ of their imperialist masters. Above all, the ruling elites use these issue to whip up chauvinism by creating a ‘state of war’ even when they are unable to launch or fight an actual war. The reality is that these rulers can neither go to war nor sustain a durable peace. The Kashmir issue is continuously oscillating from high to low “burners” and vice versa to engineer the theatrics of war and peace. These are contrived to confuse and distract the oppressed, deprived and exploited masses from the real issues of their existence. They use this chauvinistic nationalism to quell and distort the class struggle and perpetuate their odious rule. For generations, this rule of capitalist coercion has brought misery to the region, which has the highest concentration of poverty in the world. The Kashmiri masses have suffered the most bloody atrocities and repression; yet they have revolted and fought with a valour that has given courage and inspiration to more than a billion and a half youth and the oppressed of the entire sub-continent. Paradoxically, it is these very youth and working classes of the region who are the real comrades in arms of the Kashmiri masses in the struggle to put an end to this system of tyranny and oppression. They are not likely to go for a full fledged war, but the Modi regime can launch more deep and intense surgical strikes or any other belligerent act to use this terror attack to further its games of hatred, extortion, plunder and war. As Lenin once remarked, “War is terrible – but it’s terribly profitable.” This terrorist act can have a negative impact on the mass revolt in Kashmir. But the struggle of the Kashmiri masses shall not go in vain. Despite periodic temporary aberrations and travesties, the rulers cannot disorientate or weaken this upsurge. It will re-emerge sooner rather than later. The crucial task is to link and unite this struggle to the movements of the workers and youth throughout the subcontinent. This is only possible if the struggle in Kashmir is recognised as an integral part of the class struggle throughout the region. In the coming period, these struggles of the students of the youth in Kashmir will kindle uprisings throughout India and Pakistan. A revolutionary victory of this class struggle with the overthrow of these coercive capitalist states in any of these countries will light the torch of revolution throughout the region. Such a successful outcome will lead to the formation of a voluntary socialist union of the South Asian sub-continent, in which the oppressed can live in a national, social and economic realm of genuine freedom and emancipation. The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign Published in Daily Times, February 19th 2019.