Friday, June 15, 2012

Kashmiri workers still demanding justice

Kashmiri government workers in Srinagar, India, have protested several times since April demanding payment of arrears in wages & to raise the retirement age by two years (because India has no social security net)--& they’re out again this week, met once again by cops with water cannons spraying purple dye. Using dye in water cannons is not new against government workers in Srinagar (it goes back to a strike in 2008) & is not exclusive to India. Several countries use it since it can identify protestors for arrest. In 1989, anti-apartheid protestors in South Africa being sprayed with purple water wrested the water cannon from cops & turned it back on them & government buildings--creating the anti-apartheid slogan, “The purple shall govern”. Dyes shot from water cannons are not non-violent weapons. Water cannons alone cause serious injuries, including broken bones, damage to internal organs, eye injuries. The chemical in purple dye is toxic & may cause skin rashes & cancer but will certainly cause eye injuries. (Indians have been warned not to use the same chemical during Holi, the Hindu color festival.) The combination of water cannon & dye can lead to any number of health hazards. Our fullest solidarity with the striking workers of Srinagar who were not just assaulted but also arrested. (Photo by Mukhtar Khan/AP)

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