South Asia

Sri Lankan SEP member Mohamdiramlage Chandrasiri (1955–2018)

By Wimal Fernando, 19 July 2018

Retired bank worker Chandrasiri will always be remembered for his selfless dedication to Trotskyism, the rights of the working class and the building of the SEP.

Former Pakistan PM Sharif arrested in run-up to election

By Sampath Perera, 17 July 2018

Pakistani state authorities banned all public gatherings in Sharif’s home town prior to his arrival, suspended mobile services, and deployed thousands of police and paramilitary Rangers.

Millions of refugees face harsh conditions across South Asia

By Rohantha De Silva, 13 July 2018

The plight of millions of refugees in South Asia is a damning indictment of the imperialist powers and the regional ruling elites.

India: Victims of police attack on Tuticorin protests speak out

By Sasi Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 5 July 2018

WSWS reporters interviewed survivors of the police assault on demonstrators demanding the closure of the Sterlite copper smelter.

More support from Sri Lanka for WikiLeaks editor

By our correspondents, 4 July 2018

“WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange courageously exposes the criminality of the US, its machinations, lies and cover-ups.”

Thousands of West Bengal textile workers locked out; New Zealand nurses union cancels planned strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 June 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan unions betray national postal strike

By W.A. Sunil, 28 June 2018

The unions called off the indefinite walkout after accepting vague promises from government authorities.

SEP anniversary meeting in Sri Lanka denounces anti-immigrant attacks

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 27 June 2018

The following resolution was unanimously endorsed at the Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party’s 50th anniversary meeting, held in Colombo this month.

SEP in Sri Lanka holds powerful 50th anniversary meeting

By our correspondents, 27 June 2018

The meeting began by paying tribute to the party’s founding general secretary Keerthi Balasuriya, Wilfred Pereira and all those who gave their lives to the fight for Trotskyism in Sri Lanka and South Asia.

Greetings from David North to the 50th anniversary meeting of the Sri Lankan SEP

By David North, 27 June 2018

For a half century, the party that was founded in 1968 by an extraordinary group of young revolutionaries has upheld the banner of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Sri Lanka: Striking postal workers criticise the trade unions

By our correspondents, 26 June 2018

While postal workers are determine to continue their fight, the trade unions are seeking ways to sabotage the campaign.

Sri Lankan artists, translators and workers endorse international campaign to defend Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 25 June 2018

More Sri Lankan academics, writers and workers have spoken out in support of the International Committee of the Fourth International’s campaign in defence of the WikiLeaks editor.

Bangladesh government intensifies “anti-drug” crackdown

By Wimal Perera, 25 June 2018

The crackdown is being used to target political opponents and suppress the mounting popular opposition to Hasina’s big business policies.

Nine million truck drivers across India strike over increasing fuel prices

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 19 June 2018

Although fuel price hikes are affecting working people as a whole, the union bureaucrats are blocking any united struggle against this and other government austerity measures.

Indian workers and students demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 15 June 2018

Indian Trotskyists campaigned last week in Kolkata and Sriperumbudur as part of the international struggle to defend the WikiLeaks editor.

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) to hold lectures to mark its 50th anniversary

By our reporters, 14 June 2018

The SEP lecture series will discuss the significance of the party’s half-century struggle for Trotskyism.

Free Julian Assange rallies called in Sri Lanka and India

7 June 2018

The SEP and supporters of the ICFI will demonstrate in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, and Sriperumbudur, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lankan workers and students defend Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 7 June 2018

Many of those who spoke to the WSWS compared the attacks on WikiLeaks to the Sri Lankan government’s measures against journalists.

Sri Lanka SEP files fundamental rights case against Colombo Municipal Council

By our correspondent, 6 June 2018

The legal action against the May Day meeting ban seeks to further expose the government’s anti-democratic attacks on working people.

Over 100 killed in Bangladesh “anti-drug” crackdown

By Wimal Perera, 2 June 2018

Hundreds of police and Rapid Action Battalion personnel are being mobilised against slum dwellers.

Remembrance Day in Sri Lanka exposes dead end of Tamil nationalism

By K. Nesan, 1 June 2018

Tamil National Alliance officials were thrown out of the memorial of the May 18 massacre that ended of the Sri Lankan Civil War, as mass anger rises against the TNA.

Rohingya refugees face catastrophe in Bangladesh

By Rohantha De Silva, 31 May 2018

Despite hypocritical statements of concern by the major world powers, Rohingya are at risk from landslides, floods and epidemics this monsoon season.

Ex-Sri Lankan defence secretary calls for brutal big business regime

By Pani Wijesiriwardane, 29 May 2018

Gotabhaya Rajapakse is appealing to the ruling elite in preparation for the establishment of an even more authoritarian government.

The Tuticorin massacre and Modi’s India

By Keith Jones, 26 May 2018

The barbarity of class relations in contemporary India was laid bare in Tuesday’s police massacre of protesters in Tuticorin demanding the closure of a copper smelter that has spewed toxic chemicals for decades.

Fearful of widening mass anger over police shootings

Indian authorities shut down polluting copper plant in Tuticorin

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 May 2018

Sections of the ruling elite fear the police attacks in Tuticorin will fuel already volatile social tensions across India.

Sri Lankan filmmaker Lester James Peries dies at 99

By Pani Wijesiriwardane and Gamini Karunatileka, 23 May 2018

Peries’s best films, like the great dramas directed by India’s Satyajit Ray and Japan’s Akira Kurosawa, have left their mark on Asian and world cinema.

Bangladesh students demonstrate over job quota system

By Wimal Perera, 19 May 2018

Protesting students face government repression, severe unemployment and lack of facilities.

India: Varanasi flyover bridge collapse kills 18

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 18 May 2018

The tragedy is a further indication that government authorities and construction companies are endangering the safety of workers and the public as a whole.

Sri Lankan government imposes IMF-dictated increases on essential items

By Saman Gunadasa, 17 May 2018

The deeply-divided government has become a virtual prisoner of the IMF and its social austerity demands.

Thousands of Sri Lankan fishermen protest over fuel price rises

By our correspondents, 17 May 2018

Boycotts and strike action by fishermen are another expression of a growing anti-government movement of Sri Lankan workers and the poor.

India’s BJP government creates new category of workers who can be fired at will

By Kranti Kumara, 16 May 2018

Even the appellation “fixed-term employment” is a misnomer, since an employer can terminate a worker’s contract at any time and without providing a rupee in severance pay.

Machines: An unflinching look at an Indian textile mill

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 15 May 2018

Rahul Jain’s austere but effective documentary focuses on one of the hundreds of textile plants in Gujarat state on India’s west coast.

The JVP’s empty posturing over Sri Lanka’s executive presidency

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 14 May 2018

The campaign is a ploy to divert the growing social opposition of workers, rural poor and youth to the government and the capitalist system.

Delivery drivers strike in China, Korean Airline pilots and workers demand dismissal of company chairman

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

12 May 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan president makes anxious calls for political unity

By K. Ratnayake, 9 May 2018

Sirisena’s speech was a response to deep divisions within his unstable government and deepening working class opposition to its social austerity measures.

Oppose Sri Lanka’s National Defence University Act! No privatisation of education!

By the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Sri Lanka), 8 May 2018

The legislation is a further move toward the privatisation of higher education and increased militarisation of the country.

The Maruti Suzuki workers and the re-emergence of class struggle across South Asia

By Wije Dias, 7 May 2018

Wije Dias, general secretary of the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI, and a veteran Trotskyist of more than 50 years standing, spoke from Colombo to the ICFI’s International Online May Day Rally.

Despite government ban, Sri Lankan SEP and IYSSE hold successful May Day meeting

By our correspondents, 3 May 2018

Workers, youths, professionals and housewives, as well as Tamil-speaking residents from Jaffna and plantation workers from the central hills, attended the meeting.

International Monetary Fund demands Sri Lankan government cut fuel subsidies

By Saman Gunadasa, 2 May 2018

Despite rising discontent, the IMF has threatened to stop a scheduled loan payment.

Income inequality worsening in Bangladesh

By Sujeewa Amaranath, 1 May 2018

Official statistics contradict World Bank and the Bangladeshi government claims of “remarkable progress in poverty reduction.”

Indian Stalinist congress opts for alliance with big business Congress Party

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 30 April 2018

The corporate media has almost universally welcomed the CPM’s overture to the Congress, calculating that it will strengthen the ruling elite against the working class.

SEP and IYSSE demonstrate against Sri Lankan government’s May Day ban

By our correspondents, 30 April 2018

Almost one hundred SEP and IYSSE members and supporters participated in Friday’s picket, denouncing the government ban and other anti-democratic attacks.

Seychelles opposition alliance rejects India’s plans for military base

By Rohantha De Silva, 25 April 2018

India’s move to establish a military base in Seychelles is part of its drive for strategic dominance of the Indian Ocean.

Oppose the Sri Lankan government’s ban on May Day celebrations

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 25 April 2018

The SEP calls on all workers, oppressed people, youth, students and intellectuals to join it in protesting against this blatant attack on the democratic rights of the working class.

India’s BJP government imposes death penalty for child rape

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 24 April 2018

The BJP ordinance is an attempt to divert attention from the role its leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have played in shielding those who raped and murdered an eight-year-old Muslim girl.

BJP leaders’ cover-up of rape and murder of Kashmiri Muslim girl provokes outrage across India

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 20 April 2018

Asifa Bano was repeatedly raped, then killed in what police now concede was a conspiracy aimed at terrorizing and forcing the semi-nomadic Bakkarwal from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua District.

SEP (Sri Lanka) calls May Day meeting in Colombo

By the Socialist Equality Party, 19 April 2018

In holding its public meeting on May 1, the SEP is opposing the government’s efforts to sabotage May Day celebrations.

Indian Stalinists at loggerheads over what right-wing course to follow

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 18 April 2018

At issue in the factional struggle is how to align with the Congress Party, until recently the Indian bourgeoisie’s preferred party of government.

Indian Trotskyists hold public meeting in Chennai against Internet censorship

By our correspondents, 16 April 2018

Speakers explained the connection between the attack on free speech, the drive to war and the rising struggles of the working class.

India: Modi government accelerates anti-worker privatization drive

By Kranti Kumara, 9 April 2018

A key aim of the privatization drive is to cut jobs, impose speed-ups, and further erode wages and working conditions, making India more attractive to investors.

Bangladesh garment workers jailed on bogus attempted murder charges

By Wimal Perera, 9 April 2018

The charges follow a series of provocations against workers at the Ashiana Garments plant, south of Dhaka.

Maldives president ends state of emergency

By Rohantha De Silva, 7 April 2018

President Yameen withdrew the draconian emergency law a day after trumped-up terrorism charges were filed against his chief political opponents.

Sri Lankan prime minister narrowly survives no-confidence resolution

By K. Ratnayake, 6 April 2018

The principal concern of the ruling elite is a growing financial crisis and the mounting working-class opposition to austerity measures.

April 8, public meeting in Chennai, India

Oppose Internet censorship! Defend freedom of speech!

By the supporters group of the ICFI in India, 3 April 2018

The supporters group of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in India will hold a public meeting in Chennai on April 8 against Internet censorship.

Sri Lanka records lowest economic growth in 16 years

By Saman Gunadasa, 28 March 2018

The IMF is insisting on an austerity program to further slash social and living conditions.

Left Alliance forms government in Nepal amidst growing geopolitical tensions

By W. A. Sunil, 27 March 2018

The new government in Kathmandu is acutely sensitive to the demands of the major powers and their efforts to maintain their influence in the region.

Maruti Suzuki workers hold protest demanding release of 13 framed-up colleagues

By Saman Gunadasa, 21 March 2018

The demonstration marked one year since Maruti Suzuki workers’ leaders were sentenced to life in prison on politically-motivated charges.

Facebook and Sri Lankan government collaborate on social media censorship

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 20 March 2018

The Sri Lankan government is working with the giant social media corporation to establish greater political control of the Internet.

A travesty of justice that must not stand!

One year since India’s courts condemned framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers to jail for life

By Keith Jones, 17 March 2018

The thirteen’s only “crime” is to have rebelled against the sweatshop conditions that prevail in India’s new, globally connected auto industry.

Sri Lankan workers’ inquiry meeting to announce findings on garbage disaster

By the Independent Workers Inquiry Committee, 17 March 2018

The meeting will discuss the political reasons for last April’s tragedy that killed more than 30 residents from Meethotamulla, a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Colombo.

Sri Lankan government continues to use draconian terror laws

By Minusha Fernando, 17 March 2018

A Human Rights Watch report reveals that torture and other brutal methods are still in use in Sri Lanka under President Maithripala Sirisena.

Striking non-academic workers picket Sri Lankan universities

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 15 March 2018

While the strikers have shown their determination to expand their industrial action, the University Trade Unions Joint Committee is limiting the strike.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

10 March 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Social media giants work with Indian government to censor Internet

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 8 March 2018

The Modi government’s measures are part of escalating efforts by governments around the world to silence political dissent.

Indian Stalinists routed in Tripura bastion

By Arun Kumar, 8 March 2018

Whenever the Stalinist Left Front has formed government in one of India’s states over the past quarter century, it has pursued right-wing, “pro-investor” policies.

Sri Lanka university workers maintain indefinite strike as union backtracks

By Saman Gunadasa, 6 March 2018

The trade unions were compelled to call the industrial action as workers’ unrest grew.

EU threats add to pressure on Maldives government

By Rohantha De Silva, 3 March 2018

The EU, US and India are intensifying efforts to undermine Chinese influence on the strategically located Indian Ocean island nation.

India’s highest court upholds life sentences for framed-up Pricol workers

By Kranti Kumara, 28 February 2018

There are striking parallels between the company-state frame-up of the Pricol workers and the victimization of Maruti Suzuki workers—13 of whom have been jailed for life.

Amid continuing crisis, Sri Lankan government leaders continue fragile coalition

By K. Ratnayake, 27 February 2018

The ruling coalition was on the point of breaking up before the US and India intervened to demand that the national unity government continue.

Amid growing great power rivalry

Maldives political crisis deepens

By Rohantha De Silva, 23 February 2018

A strategically-located Indian Ocean archipelago, the Maldives has become a focal point of the increasingly explosive geopolitical competition between India and the US on one side, and China on the other.

Bangladesh opposition leader jailed for five years on corruption charges

By Rohantha De Silva, 22 February 2018

Prime Minister Sheik Hasina’s Awami League government is trying to bar Khaleda Zia from contesting the December elections.

US and India intervene to avert Sri Lankan government collapse

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 17 February 2018

The US and Indian ambassadors met the president and prime minister to reverse a publicly-announced termination of the coalition agreement that underpins the Unity government.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

17 February 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Opposition party wins Sri Lankan local council elections

By K. Ratnayake, 12 February 2018

The vote is another indication of the mounting opposition of workers, rural poor and the youth to the country’s coalition government.

Sri Lankan local elections: SEP holds public meetings in island’s north

By our correspondent, 9 February 2018

SEP candidates explained why an international socialist program is necessary to fight the government’s social austerity measures and attacks on democratic rights.

Political crisis erupts in the Maldives

By Rohantha De Silva, 7 February 2018

After the Maldives president imposed a state of emergency, the opposition leader called for an Indian intervention into the small Indian Ocean state.

India strengthens ties with ASEAN countries

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 5 February 2018

Modi’s manoeuvres with ASEAN are part of India’s transformation into a frontline state in Washington’s strategic offensive against China.

Seventy years after Sri Lankan independence: The record of capitalist decay and the necessity for socialism

By Vijith Samarasinghe and K. Ratnayake, 3 February 2018

Throughout the Indian subcontinent, there is no real independence from imperialism and the ruling classes have failed utterly to provide democratic rights and decent living standards for all.

India: First-ever visit by an Israeli PM used to strengthen strategic ties

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 27 January 2018

India’s burgeoning military-strategic partnership with Israel dovetails with its ever-more pronounced alignment with Washington and its principal Asian allies, Japan and Australia.

Indian unions betray Tamil Nadu bus strike

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 13 January 2018

The unions ordered workers back to work without any of their demands being met and despite the fact that they had defied a court order to end the strike for a week.

India: Workers defend WSWS supporters against attack by union leaders

By our correspondents, 13 January 2018

The willingness of workers to defend the WSWS team is a reflection of growing sympathy for a socialist and internationalist perspective and hostility towards the unions.

India: Bus strike cripples Tamil Nadu transport services

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 10 January 2018

While the trade unions offer to compromise, the strikers have defied court orders, media propaganda and government threats to hire outside drivers and conductors.

Striking Tamil Nadu bus workers speak out

By Sasi Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 10 January 2018

WSWS reporters spoke with several striking bus workers in Chennai who are engaged in the bitter struggle with the Tamil Nadu state government for higher wages.

Local government election in Sri Lanka: Support SEP campaign against austerity and war! Fight for a workers’ and peasants’ government!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 9 January 2018

The SEP is campaigning for the international socialist program needed by workers, youth and the poor, who are increasingly coming into struggle against the government’s attacks on their democratic rights and living standards.

Bangladeshi teachers end “fast-unto-death”

By Nancy Hanover, 8 January 2018

“It is better to die here than return home with empty hands,” said one of thousands of Bangladeshi teachers fighting for a government-paid salary.

US suspends security aid to Pakistan as part of Afghan War push

By Jordan Shilton, 6 January 2018

The deepening of US-Pakistan tensions is bound up not just with the Afghan War, but also the growing polarization of the region between the Indo-US and Sino-Pakistani military-strategic alliances.

India: Fourteen die in Mumbai fire

By Rohantha De Silva, 3 January 2018

The restaurant fire underscores the impact of India’s pro-market reforms, in which all safety concerns are subordinated to profit.

US and India pressure Sri Lanka over port deal with China

By Saman Gunadasa, 30 December 2017

Mounting government debt has forced the Colombo government to turn to China for financial help.

Indian ICFI supporters call public meeting in Kolkata to mark Russian Revolution centenary

29 December 2017

The Kolkata meeting will discuss the political and theoretical struggles led by Lenin and Trotsky and their significance for today.

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) stands for local government elections

By our correspondents, 23 December 2017

The SEP is the only party contesting the elections on an internationalist and socialist program against the looming threat of a world war, social counter-revolution and dictatorial rule.

Maldives and China sign free trade agreement

By Rohantha De Silva, 22 December 2017

Maldives has become a focal point of geo-political rivalry between the US and India on one side and China on the other.

SEP in Sri Lanka pays tribute to Keerthi Balasuriya

By our correspondent, 20 December 2017

Balasuriya’s untimely death in December 1987 “cut short an invaluable and devoted service to the cause of international socialism.”

Indian Trotskyists hold meeting for release of Maruti Suzuki workers

By our correspondents, 16 December 2017

The Sriperumbudur public meeting was held despite the illegal attempt by Indian police to disrupt it.

BJP and Congress Party stoke reaction in Gujarat state election

By Arun Kumar and Kranti Kumara, 14 December 2017

While the Congress Party is benefiting from popular anger over mass joblessness, it has mounted a foul campaign, competing with the BJP to prove its Hindu bonafides and making reactionary casteist appeals.

Sri Lankan unions betray railway workers’ strike

By W.A. Sunil, 14 December 2017

Rail unions axed the strike because it represented a direct challenge to the government’s austerity policies and threatened to draw in other sections of workers.

Sri Lankan railway workers defy government ban on strike

By W.A. Sunil, 12 December 2017

The government’s intervention against the stoppage is part of a broader crackdown on social and political opposition.

Free the Maruti Suzuki autoworkers

Indian ICFI supporters to hold a public meeting in Sriperumbudur

27 November 2017

The meeting will discuss the internationalist foundations of the struggle to release the framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers. The speeches will be given in Tamil and English and streamed live via Facebook on December 10 at 10am.

Sri Lanka: IMF-dictated budget deepens austerity and privatisation

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 November 2017

Colombo’s socially regressive budget, which will heavily impact on the working masses, is to repay debt and interest to global finance capital.

Indian Stalinists split over whether to openly ally with big-business Congress Party

By Wasantha Rupasingha, 24 November 2017

The rival CPM factions have no fundamental or principled differences, but merely disagree over which rightwing course the party should pursue.

Sri Lanka: Racialist attack on Muslims in Gintota

By Ratnasiri Malalagama and Nandana Nanneththi, 21 November 2017

Extreme-right Sinhala-Buddhist groups are operating under the patronage of the Sri Lankan government.