There is every reason to question the motivation of the Oxford Union in having Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury debate the issue of Kashmir with an official of Modi’s party, the BJP. Yechury & the CPI(M) may have strong views against the occupation. It is not clear, at least to outsiders, what role they are playing in forging a nationally coordinated anti-colonial movement. But it is highly unlikely that the majority of Kashmiris politically identify with the CPI(M). There are Kashmiris living outside Kashmir who could brilliantly represent the political range of Kashmiri resistance.

The issue is not a matter of red-baiting Yechury but of questioning his political judgement in agreeing to speak for Kashmiris, even communist Kashmiris. It’s very possible, if not likely, that the Oxford Union is too sophisticated to impugn the Kashmiri struggle as terrorist-based but also smarmy enough to suggest it is communist-based which would undermine considerable international solidarity, at least among academics. The primary political responsibility of socialists is to build Kashmiri solidarity into a massive, international, broad-based movement, not to use the movement to advance one’s own political agenda or organization. Yechury should have refused to speak for Kashmiris & insisted that a Kashmiri be invited instead. He does his own party no good by such an imperious blunder.