South Asia

The political crisis in Sri Lanka: Its lessons for the international working class

By Keith Jones and K. Ratnayake, 16 November 2018

Only the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) fights for the working class to assert its own class interests, independently of and in opposition to both rival bourgeois camps.

Sri Lankan parliament rejects Rajapakse as prime minister

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 15 November 2018

The major global powers are monitoring the developing political and constitutional crisis and firing off warning signals.

Sri Lanka crisis escalates as Supreme Court overturns Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 14 November 2018

The Supreme Court made its ruling after hearing 12 fundamental rights petitions challenging Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament on November 9.

Sri Lankan political crisis deepens: Prime minister splits from president

By W.A. Sunil, 13 November 2018

None of the factions of the ruling class will defend the basic rights of working people, but will ruthlessly impose the austerity dictates of the IMF and big business.

In another anti-democratic act, Sri Lankan president dissolves parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 10 November 2018

Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament exposes the degenerated state of parliamentary democracy and the Sri Lanka ruling elite’s moves towards dictatorial forms of rule.

Tamil nationalists support US-backed factions in Sri Lankan political crisis

By K. Nesan, 10 November 2018

The TNA is pursuing the same pro-imperialist course that led it to back the US-led regime change operation, that brought President Sirisena to power in 2015.

The kiss of death: Stalinists seek to tie Tamil Nadu auto strikes to right-wing parties

By Arun Kumar, 10 November 2018

Opposing all attempts to broaden the struggle, the Stalinists convened an “all party” meeting, where they touted the leaders of opposition parties and their affiliated unions as the strikers’ allies.

Factional conflict in Sri Lankan elite underscores dangers facing working class

By K. Ratnayake, 9 November 2018

All sections of the ruling class are preparing a major onslaught against the social and democratic rights of the working people and the poor.

Pakistan’s government bows to Islamist right, victimises anew woman in blasphemy case

By Sampath Perera, 9 November 2018

Pakistan’s PTI government has ordered the Supreme Court to review its decision vacating the blasphemy conviction and death sentence imposed on Asia Bibi.

Sri Lankan political coup: Rajapakse makes bogus promises to ease social crisis

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 November 2018

In a bid to deflect the opposition of working people, the newly installed prime minister announced token measures to assist workers, peasants and the poor.

Plantation unions move to shut down wage struggle amid Sri Lankan political crisis

By W. A. Sunil, 7 November 2018

The long-running plantation workers’ pay dispute has won powerful support from young people and other sections of the Sri Lankan working class.

Sri Lankan crisis: SLFP holds rally to defend political coup

By K. Ratnayake, 6 November 2018

Sirisena and Rajapakse appeared on the same platform, praising each other to the hilt, as major global powers press for the reconvening of parliament.

Indian Trotskyists to hold meeting on 80 years of the Fourth International

6 November 2018

The meeting in Chennai, which will also mark 50 years of Sri Lanka’s SEP, will outline the lessons of the protracted struggle for Trotskyism in South Asia and internationally.

Wigneswaran’s Tamil People’s Alliance: A trap for Sri Lankan workers

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana, 6 November 2018

Amid an international radicalization of the working class, the TPA aims to divide workers along ethnic lines and block the growth of the Socialist Equality Party.

Sri Lankan political crisis: Pseudo-left NSSP promotes UNP campaign

By K. Ratnayake, 5 November 2018

NSSP leader Karunaratne is desperately attempting to tie workers to the pro-US UNP and prevent the development of an independent movement of the working class.

Sri Lankan crisis: Washington intervenes to maintain its political influence

By Deepal Jayasekera, 3 November 2018

The Trump administration, which is preparing for war against China, does not want to lose political domination in strategically-located Sri Lanka.

The JVP’s fraudulent attempt to capitalise on Sri Lanka’s political crisis

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 2 November 2018

The JVP, a Sinhala supremacist party of the political establishment, is posturing as an opponent of both competing factions of the ruling elite.

Sri Lankan crisis: UNP rally demands reconvening of parliament

By our correspondents, 1 November 2018

The demonstration was part of a campaign to regain power after President Sirisena sacked UNP leader Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

Fight for a socialist solution to the political crisis in Sri Lanka

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 31 October 2018

The SEP calls on the working class to reject the cynical manoeuvres of all factions of the ruling elite and to mobilise independently to fight for its own class interests.

Infighting deepens between rival factions of Sri Lankan elite

By Deepal Jayasekera, 30 October 2018

The government’s ultimatum for Wickremesinghe to vacate the prime minister’s residence has set the stage for bloody clashes and political violence.

Sri Lankan president’s cynical justifications for his political coup

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 29 October 2018

Sirisena’s self-serving speech was to justify his anti-democratic actions as well as appeal to layers of the population opposed to the government’s attacks on living standards.

Under US pressure, Maldives president accepts election defeat

By Rohantha De Silva, 29 October 2018

The pro-US shift in Maldives will only intensify geopolitical tensions, particularly between Washington and Beijing.

Indian state government arrests at least 14 union leaders

By Kranti Kumar, 29 October 2018

The Hindu-extremist BJP government in the northern Indian state of Haryana has arrested union leaders after 200,000 workers took action in solidarity with striking public transport workers.

Sri Lankan President Sirisena sacks prime minister

By K. Ratnayake, 28 October 2018

The coup is an expression of the huge political crisis confronting the Sri Lankan ruling class amid a profound economic crisis, rising geo-political tensions and a resurgence of the class struggle.

Thousands of youth demonstrate in Sri Lanka to support plantation workers’ wage struggle

By our correspondents, 27 October 2018

The protest in Colombo was the first time that Sri Lankan workers have conducted such a campaign via social media.

Pakistan caught up in intensifying US-China rivalry

By Pradeep Ramayake, 27 October 2018

Amid a worsening balance-of-payments crisis, Pakistan desperately needs an estimated $12 billion, but is under pressure from the US to distance itself from China.

Indian court dismisses Maruti Suzuki workers’ bail application

By Keith Jones, 23 October 2018

There is incontrovertible evidence the Maruti Suzuki workers have been jailed for life as the result of a crude frame-up, but the judge callously refused to hear any of it.

India seizes “shadow bank” to avert potential “catastrophic” impact on financial system

By Kranti Kumara, 20 October 2018

Financial observers have said the collapse of IL&FS could have been India’s “Lehman Brothers moment”—a reference to the September 2008 bankruptcy that triggered the global financial meltdown.

Nineteen sentenced to death over 2004 grenade attack in Bangladesh

By Rohantha De Silva, 20 October 2018

The harsh sentences dovetail with a broader crackdown on political opposition by the Awami League-led government.

Divisions erupt within Sri Lankan government

By K. Ratnayake, 20 October 2018

Allegations that President Maithripala Sirisena told a cabinet meeting that “Indian intelligence” was planning to assassinate him, have brought deep rifts within the government to the surface.

Striking Tamil Nadu auto workers face dismissal

By Moses Rajkumar and Nanda Kumar, 17 October 2018

The unions have refused to mobilise workers to defend strikers at Yamaha, Enfield and MSA, and instead are making futile appeals to the courts and state government.

As Pakistan seeks IMF bailout, US intensifies pressure on Islamabad

By Sampath Perera, 16 October 2018

Washington has served notice that it intends to leverage Pakistan’s current account crisis to disrupt Islamabad’s economic and strategic partnership with China

Sri Lankan tea estate workers step up demands for higher pay

By M. Thevarajah, 13 October 2018

Demonstrations by estate workers underscore growing working-class opposition to the attacks of the government and employers.

The struggle for socialism and the importance of history: David North interviewed on Radio Sri Lanka

12 October 2018

David North, chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, was interviewed at length on Radio Sri Lanka’s “Coffee with Dan” program early this week.

Tamil Nadu police arrest hundreds of striking Indian autoworkers

By Arun Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 11 October 2018

Strikes and protests have broken out in Tamil Nadu companies that employ the majority of India’s 7.6 million auto manufacturing workers.

David North’s lecture at Peradeniya University in Kandy attracts significant support from students and workers

By our reporters, 5 October 2018

The 200-strong audience responded enthusiastically to the lecture marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International.

David North outlines contemporary relevance of Trotskyism at Colombo media briefing

By our reporters, 3 October 2018

North’s address provoked thoughtful questions from Capital Radio and Independent Television Network reporters.

Text of David North's remarks to Sri Lankan press conference on Trotskyism

By David North, 2 October 2018

These remarks were delivered by David North, chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board, at a press briefing in Colombo on October 1.

Sri Lankan students discuss upcoming anniversary meetings on the history of the Trotskyist movement

By our reporters, 2 October 2018

University students in Kandy and Colombo outline their financial difficulties, concerns about unemployment and voice support for David North’s forthcoming lectures.

Sri Lankan plantation workers demonstrate for higher wages

By M. Thevarajah, 29 September 2018

The union-controlled protest was organised to promote illusions that the companies and the government will grant a “reasonable” pay rise for estate workers.

BJP government pushes Air India into financial morass to hasten privatization

By Kranti Kumara, 28 September 2018

The Indian government is determined to sell off what is among the country’s most identifiable companies internationally, so as to underline its commitment to the fire sale of public assets.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The RCL/SEP’s political struggle against petty-bourgeois radicalism

By Kapila Fernando, 28 September 2018

The past five decades have confirmed the far-sightedness of the RCL/SEP’s political analysis and exposure of the petty-bourgeois radicalism of the JVP.

Pro-US candidate wins Maldives presidential election

By Rohantha De Silva, 26 September 2018

Yameen’s electoral defeat will be used by the US and India to boost their political and strategic influence in the Maldives which will heighten regional geopolitical tensions.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

From the LSSP’s Great Betrayal to the founding of the RCL

By Wije Dias, 26 September 2018

This is the second in a series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka to mark the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in June 1968.

UN expert advises Sri Lankan government about social impact of austerity measures

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 September 2018

The statements are a warning to the government and international finance capital that the worsening living conditions of the working people in Sri Lanka will produce a social explosion.

India cancels talks with Pakistan, threatens military action

By Keith Jones, 24 September 2018

India’s army chief said “pain” should be inflicted on Pakistan, while applauding New Delhi’s scuttling of foreign ministerial talks with Pakistan.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The lessons of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party’s Great Betrayal

By Rohantha De Silva and Vilani Peiris, 24 September 2018

This series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka marks the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in June 1968.

Bangladesh garment workers denounce minimum wage offer

By Wimal Perera, 20 September 2018

Four million workers in the profitable garment industry have not had a pay rise since 2013.

80th anniversary of the Fourth International and 50th anniversary of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

David North to address meetings in Sri Lanka on the lessons of the history and contemporary struggle for socialism

19 September 2018

Understanding the historic fight waged by the Fourth International and the SEP for the revolutionary leadership of the international working class is vital for the emerging class struggles.

Sri Lankan prime minister threatens increased internet and social media censorship

By Saman Gunadasa, 10 September 2018

Wickremesinghe’s comments are part of the escalating global censorship of the internet and social media, and other attacks on democratic rights.

India: Police charge pro-Dalit activists under anti-terrorism laws

By Kranti Kumara, 6 September 2018

With the aim of muzzling opposition to the BJP government and its noxious Hindu supremacist ideology, police arrested five left-wing activists after conducting warrantless searches of their homes.

US and Japan increase efforts to undercut Chinese influence in Sri Lanka

By Rohantha De Silva, 3 September 2018

The US, Japan and India are continuing to publicly voice their concerns over Colombo’s relations with Beijing.

UN condemns Burma’s persecution of Rohingya minority

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2018

The release of the UN panel report coincides with calls for tougher US sanctions against Burma, aimed at pressuring it to scale back its ties with China.

India: Kerala floods death toll climbs to 445

By Sathish Simon and Deepal Jayasekera, 27 August 2018

Although water levels are receding, flood survivors have been virtually abandoned by government authorities.

Right-wing populist Imran Khan sworn in as Pakistan prime minister

By Sampath Perera, 22 August 2018

Khan’s promises of an “Islamic welfare state” will quickly prove to be a cruel hoax as his government imposes a fresh-round of IMF-style austerity.

Unprecedented monsoonal floods kill over 370 in southwest India

By Sathish Simon, 20 August 2018

While heavy monsoonal rain is normal at this time of the year, the disastrous levels of flooding in Kerala are unprecedented and not a “natural” event.

Taliban attack on Afghan city deepens crisis of US puppet regime in Kabul

By Jordan Shilton, 18 August 2018

Driven by the mounting instability of the Afghan regime and the threat that regional rivals Russia and China could expand their involvement in the country, Washington has quietly reopened direct talks with the Taliban.

Amidst Turkish crisis Indian rupee falls to all-time low

By Deepal Jayasekera, 18 August 2018

The decline of Indian rupee is a part of a global rush by investors away from so-called emerging markets.

Sri Lankan unions sell out railway workers and call off strike

By W.A. Sunil, 13 August 2018

Railway workers must reject the unions’ betrayal of their longstanding salary demands and build action committees of rank-and-file workers on an alternative socialist program.

Government-backed thugs attack student protests in Bangladesh

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 10 August 2018

Demonstrations involving thousands of teenage students erupted in Dhaka and continued for nine days.

Indian government threatens to end citizenship for millions of Assam residents

By Rohantha De Silva, 9 August 2018

The Bharatiya Janata Party is whipping up Hindu chauvinism, not just in Assam state, but throughout India.

Bangladesh: Police and government thugs attack protesting students and teachers

By Rohantha De Silva, 3 August 2018

The Awami League-led government has encouraged the ruling party’s notoriously violent youth movement to assault demonstrators.

Indian government backs mob lynchings targeting Muslims and minorities

By Pradeep Ramayake, 26 July 2018

These attacks are the result of provocations by Hindu extremist groups, supported by the BJP government.

A reply to a comment on the obituary of Sri Lankan filmmaker Lester James Peries

By Pani Wijesiriwardane and Gamini Karunatileka, 24 July 2018

Our basic objective was to examine Peries’s general contribution to Sri Lankan cinema and how he came to be known as its father.

Indian elite alarmed as Maldives gravitates toward China

By Rohantha De Silva, 20 July 2018

The rivalry between India and China over the Maldives underscores the geo-political tensions created by Washington’s offensive against Beijing.

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.