Indian subcontinent

Sri Lankan military presses cases against Fonseka

By Sarath Kumara, 26 May 2010

The Sri Lankan government and military are proceeding with their political vendetta against former army commander General Sarath Fonseka—the failed opposition candidate in the country’s presidential election in January.

Sri Lanka: IMF insists on severe austerity measures

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 24 May 2010

After a 10-day inspection visit, the International Monetary Fund mission to Sri Lanka announced last Thursday that it was “encouraged” by the government’s planned measures to cut the budget deficit.

Half a million people affected by floods in Sri Lanka

By W.A. Sunil and Kapila Fernando, 22 May 2010

Floods in Sri Lanka have intensified the social misery of some of the country’s poorest families.

Jaffna: One year after the end of the war in Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran and Kamal Rasenthiran, 20 May 2010

Residents of the northern town of Jaffna continue to live in dire conditions under an intensified military occupation.

India’s government tables loophole-filled anti-torture law

By Kranti Kumara, 20 May 2010

The anti-torture legislation that was recently passed by the lower house of India’s parliament is a sham. The bill is full of legal loopholes thus ensuring that India’s police and security forces will continue to routinely torture people, frequently to their deaths.

ICG report exposes Sri Lankan government’s war crimes

By K. Ratnayake, 19 May 2010

The report puts the scale of civilian casualties far higher than previous UN estimates, and provides credible evidence that the military intentionally shelled civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations.

Sri Lanka: One year after the LTTE’s defeat

By Wije Dias, 18 May 2010

One year ago today, the Sri Lankan military completed its seizure of the last scrap of land held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, with the massacre of all the top LTTE leaders.

Sri Lanka: Residents protest against demolition of homes

By our correspondents, 15 May 2010

Residents held a protest at Slave Island in central Colombo yesterday, opposing the demolition of their houses by the military on the orders of the Defence Ministry.

India and Pakistan to resume long-stalled peace dialogue

By Deepal Jayasekera, 14 May 2010

Under pressure from Washington, India and Pakistan have agreed to resume a long-stalled peace dialogue. But the US’s efforts to harness Pakistan and India to its predatory geopolitical goals in Asia are themselves a major source of friction between Islamabad and New Delhi.

Sri Lankan military takes over urban development

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 13 May 2010

The Sri Lankan president’s self-proclaimed “economic war” took on a new meaning last weekend when the Urban Development Authority utilised soldiers and police to evict families from shanties in central Colombo.

US warns Pakistan of “severe consequences”

By Peter Symonds, 12 May 2010

The Obama administration has seized on the failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square on May 1 to insist that the Pakistani military step up its war on Islamic militants and extend its operations into North Waziristan.

In cynical gesture, Sri Lankan president pardons journalist

By Vilani Peiris, 12 May 2010

The Sri Lankan government announced last week that President Mahinda Rajapakse had pardoned previously jailed journalist J.S. Tissanayagam to mark World Press Freedom Day.

Stalinist union calls off Indian coal strike

By Arun Kumar, 10 May 2010

After just one day, the All India Coal Workers Federation last week ended its three-day strike against government plans to sell off a 10 percent stake in the state-owned Coal India Limited.

Sri Lankan defence ministry begins evicting poor in Colombo

By our correspondent, 10 May 2010

The newly re-elected Sri Lankan government has deployed the police and the military to evict poor families from Colombo, and begun removing street hawkers from cities to clear the way for business projects.

Sri Lanka: State-owned newspaper publishes death threat against SEP

By Wije Dias, 8 May 2010

The government-owned Daily News, on its editorial page on April 23, published a highly provocative article against the SEP that contained an explicit death threat against the party.

Obama widens drone attacks in Pakistan

By Bill Van Auken, 7 May 2010

The Obama administration has granted secret permission to the CIA to carry out more indiscriminate drone missile strikes in Pakistan, even as protests over civilian casualties caused by the attacks grow.

Sri Lankan government extends state of emergency

By K. Ratnayake, 7 May 2010

The government indicated there would be no end to emergency rule, which, with the exception of a few years, has been in force since the start of the civil war in 1983.

Indian coal workers to strike against privatisation

By Arun Kumar, 5 May 2010

Employees of the state-owned Coal India Ltd are due to start a three-day strike today against the Indian government’s proposal to sell off 10 percent of shares in the company and its subsidiaries.

Sri Lankan SEP holds May Day meeting

By our correspondents, 4 May 2010

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Students for Social Equality held a May Day meeting at New Town Hall in Colombo to mark the International Workers Day.

Sri Lankan workers face austerity measures

By Saman Gunadasa, 3 May 2010

The Central Bank annual report for 2009 is designed to lull working people as the government prepares to implement severe cuts to living conditions.

India: West Bengal government forms industrial security force

By R. Shreeharan, 1 May 2010

In collaboration with the national government, the Left Front government in West Bengal is forming a State Industrial Security Force to protect businesses against striking workers and protesters.

Sri Lanka: New government threat against the media

By W.A. Sunil, 30 April 2010

In his first press conference yesterday, Sri Lanka’s newly installed deputy media minister, Mervin Silva, warned the media to toe the government’s line.

Sri Lanka: The political decomposition of the LSSP

By Vilani Peiris, 29 April 2010

The April 8 parliamentary election has again underlined the putrefaction of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.

Sri Lanka: Opposition parties unanimously back new parliamentary speaker

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 27 April 2010

One aspect of the proceedings in the first parliamentary session last week underlined the degree to which the entire political establishment supports the anti-working class agenda of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Amid mounting popular anger over price rises

Indian Stalinists stage one-day protest strike

By Deepal Jayasekera, 27 April 2010

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its allies in the Left Front are joining today with nine regional- and caste-based parties in staging an all-India hartal—or national strike—to protest the recent decision of India’s Congress Party-led central government to raise gasoline, diesel, and fertilizer prices.

Indian writer Arundhati Roy threatened with prosecution under anti-terrorism law

By Kranti Kumara, 26 April 2010

Police in the east Indian state of Chhattisgarh are “exploring” laying charges under the state’s draconian anti-terrorism law against Arundhati Roy.

Sri Lanka: New cabinet installed to implement austerity program

By K. Ratnayake, 24 April 2010

Following the April 8 parliamentary election, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse appointed the new cabinet yesterday in preparation for what will be a far reaching offensive against the living standards of workers.

Sri Lankan SEP and ISSE to hold May Day meeting

24 April 2010

Sri Lankan SEP and ISSE will hold a public meeting in Colombo on May 1 to mark the international workers’ day.

New parliament opens in Sri Lanka

By K. Ratnayake, 23 April 2010

While parliamentary forms were observed to the last detail, the proceedings contained unmistakable signs of the country’s political crisis and the growing irrelevance of the institution itself.

Indian telecom unions sell out major strike

By Arun Kumar and Ganesh Dev, 22 April 2010

Within hours of 300,000 BSNL employees beginning an indefinite strike on Tuesday to defend jobs and conditions, the unions reached a deal with the telecommunications minister.

Pakistani air strike kills more than 70 civilians

By W.A. Sunil, 22 April 2010

In a bid to quell public anger, Pakistan’s army chief was forced to issue a public apology last Saturday over the recent killing of more than 70 civilians near the Afghanistan border.

Sri Lankan defence secretary proposes further security laws

By Vilani Peiris, 21 April 2010

While nominally directed against the separatist LTTE, the call for new security powers foreshadows a broader attack on the democratic rights of working people.

Indian government suffers reversal in its war on Maoists and tribals

By Kranti Kumara, 21 April 2010

India’s Congress Party-led government has been thrown into serious crisis following a deadly ambush by Maoist guerrillas on April 6 that killed 76 security personnel in the forests of the eastern state of Chhattisgarh.

Indian Telecom workers commence national strike

By Arun Kumar, 20 April 2010

Around 300,000 workers employed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), are due to start an indefinite national strike today against the government’s plans to restructure and part-privatise the state-owned telecommunications corporation.

Sri Lankan government revives law to suppress student protests

By Kapila Fernando, 19 April 2010

The University Grant Commission recently issued a circular that revives legislation aimed against political protests by students, just as the government prepares to slash social spending.

Sri Lanka’s low voter turnout: A sign of coming class battles

By K. Ratnayake, 17 April 2010

The record low turnout in last week’s general election in Sri Lanka highlights the extent of popular hostility to the entire political establishment.

Severe tropical storm strikes eastern India

By Shree Haran, 17 April 2010

The storm struck the Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam, as well as Bangladesh on Tuesday night, destroying an estimated 100,000 homes and killing at least 136 people.

State repression beats back Jammu and Kashmir public sector strike

By Arun Kumar and Ganesh Dev, 15 April 2010

Unions representing 450,000 public sector workers in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) bowed Wednesday before an escalating campaign of state repression and called off a militant twelve day-old strike.

Gujarat Chief Minister interrogated about his role in 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom

By Kranti Kumara, 14 April 2010

Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister and a leading figure in India’s official opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was interrogated for nine hours late last month about his role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in the west Indian state.

Sri Lankan writer arrested for offending Buddhism

By Kalyana Amaranayake and Panini Wijesiriwardena, 13 April 2010

In a blatantly anti-democratic move, Sri Lanka police arrested Sarah Malini Perera on March 20 over her two books detailing her conversion from Buddhism to Islam.

Sri Lanka: A revealing breach of the constitution

By Sujeewa Amaranath, 12 April 2010

Just before last week’s general election, the government prevented three opposition MPs from taking their seats. While apparently a minor issue, the incident underlines President Rajapakse’s contempt for parliamentary norms and the country’s constitution.

Sri Lankan election result sets stage for class conflict

By K. Ratnayake, 10 April 2010

The ruling coalition won an overwhelming majority in Thursday’s parliamentary poll. But the historic low turnout points to widespread discontent.

A tense election day in Sri Lanka

By W.A. Sunil, 9 April 2010

A low turnout points to widespread alienation among broad layers of working people toward the entire Colombo political establishment.

Indian Stalinists’ “jail bharo”: a political stunt

By Sampath Perera, 8 April 2010

The Stalinist-led Left Front is today mounting a nation-wide agitation to protest the pro-big business economic policies being implemented by India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Sri Lankan election: Vote for the Socialist Equality Party

the Socialist Equality Party, 8 April 2010

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calls on workers, young people, intellectuals and the rural poor to vote for its candidates in the general election being held today.

Sri Lankan SEP holds final election meeting

By our correspondents, 7 April 2010

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka held a public meeting in Colombo on Sunday evening to conclude the party’s campaign for the April 8 general elections.

The international significance of the Sri Lankan election

By K. Ratnayake, 6 April 2010

The ruling coalition is campaigning for a “strong government” that will use police state methods to impose the burdens of the country’s economic crisis on working people. What is taking place in Sri Lanka is an advanced expression of the agenda of the ruling elites around the world.

Pakistan battered by inflation, anemic growth and power cuts

By Deepal Jayasekera, 5 April 2010

Eighteenth months after Pakistan was forced to seek emergency support from the IMF, the country remains mired in economic crisis.

Sri Lankan government campaigns to entrench autocratic powers

Vilani Peiris and SEP candidate for Colombo district, 5 April 2010

The ruling coalition’s central aim in the April 8 election is to gain a two-thirds majority so it can change the constitution and establish “a strong government”.

“Rajapakse’s era not golden for us”—Sri Lankan plantation workers

By Panini Wijesiriwardena, 3 April 2010

WSWS reporters visiting tea plantation areas found deep hostility toward the Rajapakse government and widespread disgust with all the parties and trade unions that have dominated Sri Lankan politics for decades.

Sri Lanka: The TNA and the program of “self determination”

By Wije Dias, 2 April 2010

The Tamil National Alliance has issued a manifesto for the general election that fails to raise the obvious question: how was it that the LTTE was defeated last May?

Election violence ahead of Sri Lankan poll

By W.A. Sunil, 1 April 2010

Just one week from the April 8 general election in Sri Lanka, political violence is on the rise.

Two deaths highlight Sri Lanka’s terrible social crisis

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 31 March 2010

Two tragedies this month underscored the plight of poverty-stricken families in Sri Lanka. Two mothers, seeing no way out of their intractable financial problems, each drowned a child in a local river.

Sri Lanka: Urban poor deprived of proper housing

By Priyadarshana Meddawatta, 30 March 2010

Government and opposition candidates for the Colombo district in the April 8 general election have been rushing to the shanty areas of the capital appealing for votes with promises of good housing.

Indian government continues its offensive against Maoist insurgents

By Arun Kumar and Palash Roy, 30 March 2010

Despite several cease-fire proposals from the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Indian government is continuing a massive, multi-state military offensive aimed at stamping out the tribal-based Maoist insurgency.

Sri Lanka: Pro-government mob attacks media network offices

By Sujeeva Amaranath, 27 March 2010

A protest against a rap singer has become the latest pretext for a pro-government mob to attack the media, in this case, the head office of the MTV/Sirasa media network.

Pro-imperialist Global Tamil Forum inaugurated at British Parliament

By Athiyan Silva and Antoine Lerougetel, 27 March 2010

The Global Tamil Forum held its inaugural meeting at the British parliament last month. This venue was no happenstance. The meeting had the blessing of the entire British political establishment and of the US government.

Sri Lankan SEP holds election meeting in Jaffna

By our reporters, 26 March 2010

Around 100 people attended the meeting, where speakers explained the global dimension of the capitalist debt crisis and the struggle facing the working class.

US and Pakistan hold “strategic dialogue,” but frictions persist

By Sampath Perera, 25 March 2010

The enduring character of the US-Pakistan relationship is exemplified by the leading role that General Ashfaq Kiyani, the current head of Pakistan’s armed forces, is playing in the talks. Even the New York Times had to concede that Kiyani “has driven the agenda for the talks” and “will be the dominant Pakistani participant.”

SEP manifesto for the 2010 Sri Lankan general election

For socialist policies and a workers’ and farmers’ government

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 25 March 2010

The SEP calls on workers and youth to support our candidates and actively participate in the party’s campaign for the April 8 general election.

Sri Lanka: Pro-government thugs attack plantation workers

By Panini Wijesiriwardena, 24 March 2010

In further election violence, an armed gang associated with the Ceylon Workers Congress attacked the homes of five members of a rival union at a tea plantation on March 17.

Russia and India improve relations

By Deepal Jayasekera, 23 March 2010

A short visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to India on March 12 resulted in a slew of bilateral agreements and improved strategic relations.

Sri Lanka: Leaked state intelligence hit list

Nanda Wickremesinghe and SEP candidate for Jaffna, 22 March 2010

The existence of such a list is particularly menacing as government critics have been targetted for detention or physical violence since President Rajapakse first took office in late 2005.

Sri Lanka: Condemn the EPDP attack on SEP members in Jaffna

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 20 March 2010

The SEP urges all workers and youth to oppose the physical attack and threats by EPDP thugs on our members in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, on March 19.

Tensions between UN and Sri Lanka over war crimes

By Sarath Kumara, 19 March 2010

A diplomatic row has erupted between the Sri Lankan government and the UN over plans to investigate human right violations in the last stages of the country’s civil war.

Sri Lanka: Military trials of Fonseka begin

By K. Ratnayake, 18 March 2010

The courts martial of retired general Sarath Fonseka, the opposition candidate in the January 26 presidential election, began behind closed doors this week.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold series of election meetings

18 March 2010

The SEP and ISSE will hold public meetings across the island as part of its campaign for the April 8 general elections.

An exchange of letters concerning the state repression of India’s Telangana agitation

16 March 2010

The WSWS has opposed the Telangana agitation. But this does not mean that we are indifferent to how the Indian state deals with this movement and to the fate of the students and others who have been caught up in it.

Sri Lankan SEP holds election meeting on Karainagar Island

By our reporters, 16 March 2010

Karainagar Island is part of the northern district of Jaffna. The whole area was placed under the control of the Sri Lankan navy in the protracted war against the LTTE. It is home to about 5,000 fishing and farming families.

Sri Lankan election: SEP campaigns at irrigation workers’ quarters

By our reporters, 15 March 2010

Many people voiced concerns about President Mahinda Rajapakse’s dictatorial agenda when an SEP team visited an irrigation workers’ housing scheme during the party’s campaign for the April 8 general election.

Hounded by Hindu right, India’s best-known painter takes Qatari citizenship

By Panini Wijesiriwardane and Parwini Zora, 13 March 2010

M.F. Husain, India’s best known and most celebrated visual artist, has accepted an offer of Qatari citizenship—a poignant protest against the Indian state’s and political elite’s complicity in his harassment and victimization by Hindu fundamentalists and supremacists.

Sri Lankan parliament again ratifies emergency powers

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 12 March 2010

President Rajapakse retains his extraordinary powers to ban public meetings and protests, censor the media, outlaw strikes, sack workers, detain people without charge and mobilise the military in strike-breaking operations.

Sri Lankan government boasts about low level of strikes

By Sujeewa Amaranath, 11 March 2010

An ILO workshop in Colombo last week underlined the degree to which the government and corporate elite depend on the unions to suppress growing anger among workers over falling living standards.

Stampede at Indian temple kills 63

By Arun Kumar, 10 March 2010

A tragic incident near the town of Kunda in the state of Uttar Pradesh last Thursday again highlighted the abject poverty facing tens of millions throughout India.

Sri Lankan SEP launches election campaign

By our correspondents, 8 March 2010

The Sri Lankan SEP launched its campaign for the April 8 general elections with a public meeting in Colombo on March 5.

Pakistan: Zardari and his PPP-led government weakened by clash with judiciary

By Sampath Perera, 6 March 2010

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the country’s Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government have suffered a further blow to their power and prestige as the result of a clash with the Supreme Court over judicial appointments.

Sri Lanka: End the state of emergency!

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 6 March 2010

The SEP warns that the emergency powers will be used to suppress the opposition of workers and the rural poor to the austerity measures the government will impose after the April 8 parliamentary election.

Sri Lanka: A reactionary alliance between the JVP and Fonseka

Vilani Peiris and SEP candidate for Colombo, 5 March 2010

The campaign for Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election next month has thrown up an odd political marriage of convenience—between the JVP and the country’s former top general Sarath Fonseka.

India’s budget: Concessions to business, new burdens for workers

By Deepal Jayasekera, 5 March 2010

India’s budget included a raft of tax concessions and “reform” measures demanded by native and foreign big business. It also imposed punishing price increases on petroleum products and fertilizer for workers, and a real reduction in social spending.

Bangladesh: Factory fire kills 21 garment workers

By Wimal Perera, 4 March 2010

The deplorable lack of safety standards in Bangladesh’s garment factories is a direct product of the drive for profit.

India and Pakistan talk, but “composite dialogue” not resumed

By Shree Haran, 3 March 2010

The talks held between India and Pakistan last week ended with no more than a promise that the rival South Asian powers will “keep in touch.”

Sri Lankan election: Tamil party splits in four

By W.A. Sunil, 3 March 2010

The April 8 parliamentary election in Sri Lanka has accelerated the break-up of the TNA, which functioned as the political mouthpiece of the LTTE prior to its military defeat last May.

SEP public meeting in Colombo to launch election campaign

2 March 2010

The Sri Lankan SEP will launch its campaign for the April 8 parliamentary election at a public meeting at the Public Library Auditorium in Colombo on March 5 at 4 p.m.

SEP stands in Sri Lankan parliamentary election

the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 2 March 2010

The SEP is contesting the parliamentary election on April 8 to mobilise the working class on the basis of a socialist program against the deepening assault on living standards and democratic rights.

Sri Lanka: IMF loan delay signals deep assault on living standards

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 27 February 2010

The International Monetary Fund has delayed the third installation of its $US2.6 billion loan, blaming the government’s failure to meet its budget deficit reduction target.

The decay of parliamentary democracy in Sri Lanka

By K. Ratnayake, 26 February 2010

Media commentators are calling for improved parliamentary standards, but the degeneration of bourgeois democracy is bound up with the incapacity of the ruling elites to address the aspirations and needs of working people.

Indian Supreme Court sanctions police occupation of university campus

By Kranti Kumara, 25 February 2010

The Indian Supreme Court issued an extraordinary ruling on February 20 giving legal sanction to the continuing deployment of paramilitary police on the campus of Osmania University in the capital city of the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Sri Lanka: Supreme Court refuses to release Fonseka

By K. Ratnayake, 24 February 2010

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court yesterday turned down a request for an interim order to release defeated opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka, who was detained by military police on February 8.

Sri Lanka: Opposition candidate challenges election result

By Sujeewa Amaranath, 23 February 2010

Defeated opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka filed a petition in the Supreme Court on February 16 to overturn the result of the presidential election.

Sri Lanka: Release of opposition supporters undermines “coup” claims

By Sarath Kumara, 22 February 2010

A magistrate’s court unconditionally released 14 supporters of opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka who had been detained over an alleged coup attempt.

Sri Lankan SEP press conference condemns government’s anti-democratic measures

By our correspondent, 20 February 2010

The Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka held a press conference in Colombo on Thursday to oppose the government’s anti-democratic crackdown, including the arrest of opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka.

India: Unions shut down two-month jute workers strike

By Arun Kumar and Palash Roy, 20 February 2010

Indian unions in the state of West Bengal called off a two-month strike of around 250,000 jute mill workers on February 12 without any of the basic demands of the strikers being met.

Sri Lanka: Thousands of Tamils still in detention camps

By Subash Somachandran and Kamal Rasenthiran, 19 February 2010

Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians, who fled the fighting during the military’s offensive against the LTTE, remain in squalid detention camps.

Amid preparations for India-Pakistan talks, deadly bomb blast in west India

By Deepal Jayasekera, 19 February 2010

Last Saturday’s terrorist bombing in the west Indian city of Pune was clearly aimed at inciting communal enmity and derailing any rapprochement between India and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka’s debt crisis worsens

By Saman Gunadasa, 18 February 2010

Despite the efforts of the Sri Lankan government to paint a picture of a vibrant economy on the brink of a historic expansion, the island confronts a worsening economic crisis.

Bangladesh: The execution of Mujibur Rahman’s killers

By Wije Dias, 17 February 2010

Amid waning support for her government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed is cynically exploiting the hangings of her father’s killers to exhort supporters to strengthen the ruling Awami League.

The international significance of Sri Lanka’s emerging police state

By K. Ratnayake, 16 February 2010

The rapid moves by the Sri Lankan government towards a police state not only spell danger for the working class on this island, but are a warning to workers around the world.

Sri Lankan government prepares new Internet restrictions

By Sarath Kumara, 15 February 2010

As part of an escalating assault on basic democratic rights, Sri Lankan authorities are preparing new measures to censor web sites critical of the government.

Sri Lankan official accuses US of supporting opposition candidate

By Wije Dias, 15 February 2010

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary has accused the US and Norway of financing the defeated opposition candidate, General Sarath Fonseka, in the January 26 presidential election.

Sri Lanka’s top court to hear challenge to candidate’s arrest

By K. Ratnayake, 13 February 2010

The Supreme Court yesterday overruled objections by government lawyers and allowed a fundamental rights case challenging the arrest of defeated presidential candidate, General Sarath Fonseka, to proceed.