South Asia

Growing number of Bangladeshi garment workers infected with COVID-19

By Wimal Perera, 18 May 2020

The government is implementing “herd immunity” policies that could lead to the deaths of tens of thousands.

Modi promotes “herd immunity,” vows “quantum jump” in pro-investor reforms

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 18 May 2020

As the Modi government expands its reckless back-to-work drive, India reported yesterday its biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases to date.

COVID-19: Military steps up repression in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran, 16 May 2020

The government and the military are nervous about the growing unrest among workers and poor against the draconian social conditions.

Worsening conditions at Hirdaramani garment plants in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 16 May 2020

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have responded to the COVID-19 crisis with a wave of wage and job cuts and the imposition of increased working hours and productivity targets.

Thousands of migrant workers demonstrate across India; Tamil Nadu cleaners demand COVID-19 protection

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

16 May 2020

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The brutal face of India’s ruling class

Sixteen migrant workers killed by goods train

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 14 May 2020

The workers, aged between 20 and 35, were attempting to return to their home state of Madhya Pradesh, having previously worked at a steel plant in Maharashtra.

Sri Lankan president “reopens economy” despite pandemic

By W.A. Sunil, 13 May 2020

The Rajapakse regime is seeking to overcome the economic crisis at the expense of the health and lives of working people.

Hundreds of Rohingya refugees stranded in Bay of Bengal

By Rohantha De Silva, 11 May 2020

The Rohingya were attempting to reach Malaysia in a bid to escape the appalling conditions in Bangladesh and in the hope of finding work as undocumented labourers.

Strikes and workers’ protests mount against “back to work” campaign

By Shannon Jones, 9 May 2020

The incompetence and callous disregard for human life by the capitalist authorities in country after country is fueling an upsurge in the class struggle.

India: Toxic gas leak in Visakhapatnam kills 11 people and puts thousands in danger

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 9 May 2020

The deadly leak began as employees were about to resume work at the LG Polymers plant, following the Modi government’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Tamil National Alliance backs Sri Lanka’s Rajapakse regime on COVID-19

By Athiyan Silva, 9 May 2020

TNA leader M.A. Sumanthiran declared that he does not “allow political opinions or differences…not only in our country but throughout the world.”

Workers in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan strike to demand coronavirus-safe working conditions

Workers Struggles: Asia

9 May 2020

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Modi eases lockdown restrictions even as COVID-19 cases surge across India

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 8 May 2020

India’s far-right BJP government is pressing to “reopen” the economy so that sweatshop exploitation of the working class can resume at full throttle, even as the number of COVID-19 cases surges.

Garment workers’ protests hit Bangladesh industrial belts

By Wimal Perera, 7 May 2020

Bangladesh garment industry bosses are reopening plants, threatening workers’ lives as COVID-19 spreads, in line with the demands of US and European retailers.

Modi government punishes officials for urging increased taxation of rich to fight coronavirus

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 4 May 2020

Even as India’s workers and toilers face the COVID-19 pandemic and mass hunger, the Modi government is opposed to imposing even one additional rupee of tax upon the capitalist elite.

US trains Sri Lankan naval elite forces during COVID-19 lockdown

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 4 May 2020

US combat training of Sri Lankan navy personnel forces is part of Washington’s military preparations throughout the Indo-Pacific against China.

Thousands of Assam tea workers demand lockdown wages in India; Protests continue in Bangladesh over wages, factory closures and safety

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

2 May 2020

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“The central and state governments, as well as the opposition parties, don’t really care for human lives”

Tamil Nadu auto workers denounce Indian government responses to COVID-19

By Sasi Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 1 May 2020

Millions of workers, particularly those in the so-called informal sector, have been left without any income to purchase food and other basic items.

Coronavirus pandemic surges across South Asia, even as governments push for a return to work

By our correspondents, 29 April 2020

The response of South Asia’s governments to the pandemic underscores the contempt of the national bourgeoisie for the lives of hundreds of millions of working people and rural toilers.

Is Sri Lankan President Rajapakse plotting a coup under cover of anti-pandemic measures?

By K. Ratnayake, 28 April 2020

The government is using the COVID-19 pandemic as the pretext to mount a power grab, insert the military into the running of the state, and run roughshod over working people’s democratic rights.

Why Gotabhaya Rajapakse wants Sri Lankan election held as soon as possible

By Vilani Peiris—Socialist Equality Party election group leader for Colombo district, 27 April 2020

Rajapakse wants a quick election before the full brunt of the economic meltdown hits and there is a social explosion by the working class and the poor.

India’s BJP and its Hindu-right allies scapegoat Muslims for spread of pandemic

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 25 April 2020

The manifest failure of the Modi government to protect the population from the ravages of the pandemic and its economic fallout have led the BJP to vilify and scapegoat Muslims.

Sri Lankan president says military to impose “discipline” when lockdown ends

By K. Ratnayake, 25 April 2020

Rajapakse’s threats have nothing to do with enforcing “social distancing” and the spread of COVID-19 but are in preparation to suppress mass unrest in the working class.

Tens of thousands of Nepali workers stranded abroad by COVID-19 disaster

By Rohantha De Silva, 24 April 2020

Nepal has a population of 28 million but so far only 8,763 people have been tested for the virus.

India: Modi government moves to “reopen” economy as virus cases surge

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 22 April 2020

Modi and big business have cynically sought to justify their push for a premature return to work by pointing to the desperate plight of hundreds of millions of day labourers.

South Indian film directors discuss coronavirus impact on local movie industry

By Yuvan Darwin, 22 April 2020

The Modi government’s sudden three-week lockdown abruptly brought the film industry to a halt and rendered thousands of daily wage workers jobless overnight.

Millions of internal migrant workers suffering under India’s lockdown

By Rohantha De Silva, 20 April 2020

A police attack on a Mumbai protest has highlighted the fate of workers under the Modi government’s measures.

TNA offers a “democratic” veneer to Sri Lankan president’s coronavirus emergency powers

By S. Jayanth, 17 April 2020

The Tamil National Alliance is providing political cover for Rajapakse’s rapid moves towards a presidential dictatorship.

Pakistan “reopening” much of its economy as COVID-19 cases and deaths spike

By Sampath Perera, 16 April 2020

Under Islamabad’s “partial” lockdown, workers in key export industries and construction are being ordered to return to work under conditions where the COVID-19 pandemic is anything but contained.

Garment workers protest in Bangladesh as COVID-19 spreads

By Wimal Perera, 15 April 2020

Employers have shuttered the plants, sacking thousands of workers and refusing to pay outstanding wages.

As COVID-19 pandemic surges across India, business presses for quick return to work

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 14 April 2020

Due to the criminal negligence of the Modi government and the Indian elite, the country’s workers and toilers face a combined health and socio-economic catastrophe.

Three years since Indian court ordered 13 framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers jailed for life

By Kranti Kumara, 13 April 2020

The World Socialist Web Site urges workers around the world to redouble their efforts to free these class war prisoners, whose only “crime” was to challenge a brutal work-regimen, cheap-labour and precarious contract jobs.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online meeting on COVID-19 pandemic

By our reporters, 13 April 2020

SEP General Secretary Wije Dias exposed the Rajapakse government’s reactionary response to the disaster and outlined a revolutionary socialist program for the working class.

Against rising social opposition, Sri Lankan prime minister calls for “unity” against COVID-19

By K. Ratnayake, 11 April 2020

Hundreds of thousands of workers have no income and poor farmers in the rural areas have no means of selling what they grow.

India: Punjab health workers and poor farmers protest over inadequate COVID-19 supplies; Queensland public health workers demand promised wage rise

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

11 April 2020

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Police in Pakistan beat and arrest health care workers protesting over Coronavirus safety concerns, lack of PPE

By Dr. Zayar, 9 April 2020

Police brutally attacked several hundred medical staff after they marched to the house of the Balochistan Chief Minister in Quetta to protest the lack of personal protective equipment or PPE.

Social crisis looms in Pakistan as COVID-19 pandemic surges

By Sampath Perera, 9 April 2020

Pakistan's health authorities expect the outbreak in the country will increase rapidly this month to hit 50,000 cases by April 25.

Sri Lanka government intensifies crackdown on social media

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 9 April 2020

The arrest of social media users exposing Colombo’s inadequate responses to COVID-19 will be extended to online publishers and media outlets.

Sri Lanka: Billions to big business as government prepares new attacks on working people

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 April 2020

No meaningful government funds have been provided for personal protection equipment for health workers, ventilators for patients or kits for mass coronavirus testing.

US military calls for another $20 billion to counter China

By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2020

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, an Indo-Pacific Command report to the US Congress sets out plans for a further military build-up in the region directed against China.

Letter from Indian-held Kashmir:

Emergency amidst Emergency—Modi government denies Internet access imperiling lives

By Muzamil Yaqoob and Nilanjana Bhattacharya, 7 April 2020

The Indian state has refused to comply with World Health Organization guidelines to lift the internet lockdown in Kashmir, denying doctors and the public access to critical information in a life-and-death situation.

Indian medical staff speak to WSWS on COVID-19 pandemic

By Yuan Darwin and Nanda Kumar, 6 April 2020

Indian medical staff are struggling to fight COVID-19 under conditions of a run-down public health system and high-population densities without basic facilities.

Amid India’s calamitous lockdown, Modi seeks to censor coronavirus reports

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 4 April 2020

India’s Supreme Court has ordered media outlets to publicize “official” government-authored coronavirus reports, and threatened prosecution if they disseminate “fake news.”

Nepal: Masses confront enormous hardships from coronavirus pandemic

By Rohantha De Silva, 4 April 2020

Nepal’s government has made no serious effort to ensure that the country’s overwhelmingly poor population will have daily essentials, medicine and health safety equipment.

India: Maoist-led union alliance betrays Sanmina workers

By Yuan Darwin, 3 April 2020

The Sanmina workers walked out on strike on March 3 to demand a pay rise and reinstatement of victimised militant workers.

Sri Lankan medical experts demand mass coronavirus testing

By Naveen Dewage, 2 April 2020

The dangerous conditions facing millions of Sri Lankan workers, farmers and the poor are the result of decades of government cuts to the health system and other vital services.

India’s calamitous lockdown punishes poor while undermining efforts to halt spread of coronavirus

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 30 March 2020

The Modi government’s ill-prepared, three-week lockdown has resulted in chaos, including large disorganized movements of desperate poor people, thereby providing conditions conducive to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Sri Lankan president grants clemency to war criminal

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 30 March 2020

By releasing a war criminal Rajapakse has declared that the military will have the immunity for past and future crimes against the masses.

Coronavirus crisis in Sri Lanka: A program for the working class

the Socialist Equality Party, 28 March 2020

The Rajapakse government is exploiting the pandemic to prepare a presidential dictatorship and impose even deeper attacks on the working class and the poor.

Sri Lankan doctors speak out over coronavirus dangers facing health workers

By Sakuna Jayawardena, 28 March 2020

Hospital workers are making a huge effort to treat the rising number of patients, but they lack the protective gear they need.

Pakistan: District government workers strike over unpaid wages; New Zealand plastics workers strike over COVID-19 concerns

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

28 March 2020

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Indian prime minister’s coronavirus lockdown threatens social disaster for millions

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 26 March 2020

Modi has not outlined any comprehensive program to deal with enormous difficulties that millions of workers and rural poor will face.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists begin election campaign with online meeting

By our reporters, 26 March 2020

The rally attracted the attention of a politically enthusiastic and significant audience in Sri Lanka and internationally.

Sri Lankan workers and young people endorse SEP’s election program

By our reporters, 26 March 2020

“The coronavirus pandemic has proven that the nation-state system is irrational.”

Nepal declares one-week coronavirus lockdown

By Rohantha De Silva, 25 March 2020

The coronavirus pandemic will have dire consequences in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in Asia.

Two Sri Lankan prisoners killed and six injured amid national coronavirus lockdown

By Saman Gunadasa and K.Ratnayake, 23 March 2020

Reports indicate Sri Lankan prisons are so congested that, in some cases, 5,000 inmates are crammed into facilities meant to accommodate 800 people.

Medical expert warns India could be next coronavirus hotspot

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 21 March 2020

The Indian ruling elite’s response to the unfolding disaster has been criminally negligent, with only 14,175 tests conducted in a country of 1.3 billion people.

As coronavirus cases surge in Pakistan, its prime minister preaches “no need to worry”

By Sampath Perera, 21 March 2020

If the rapid spread of the deadly virus is not halted, it will prove catastrophic for millions of people in Pakistan, an impoverished South Asian country of more than 200 million.

Fight for an international socialist program against war, social devastation and dictatorship

Vote Socialist Equality Party in the Sri Lankan general election

Manifesto of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 21 March 2020

The working class needs a revolutionary leadership in its struggle against capitalist reaction and the preparations for a presidential dictatorship.

Sri Lankan government responds to COVID-19 by mobilising the military and helping the financial elite

By Saman Gunadasa, 18 March 2020

There are concerns in ruling circles that the lack of health facilities and job security, along with wage cuts, will lead to major social struggles.

Modi feigns concern for regional cooperation to fight coronavirus, as pandemic spreads across South Asia

By Wasantha Rupasingha, 18 March 2020

The poverty to which capitalism has condemned the majority of South Asia’s 1.9 billion people makes the region exceptionally vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sri Lankan SEP to launch election campaign with live streamed online public meeting

18 March 2020

The SEP is fighting for the independent mobilisation of the working class for international socialism and against deepening social inequality, imperialist war and the threat of dictatorship.

Bangladesh government downplays COVID-19 threat as job losses mount

By Wimal Perera, 16 March 2020

While the Awami League government is seeking to aid industry owners, workers are bearing the brunt of the health crisis.

Coronavirus pandemic threatens to overwhelm India’s dilapidated health system

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 14 March 2020

Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party government are stubbornly refusing to mobilize state resources to stem the spread of the virus.

Tamil Nadu sanitary workers demand permanent jobs; Sri Lankan plantation workers strike; New Zealand bus drivers resume industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

14 March 2020

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Sri Lankan president militarises administration to stop strikes and civil unrest

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 13 March 2020

Ex-military officers appointed by Rajapakse to civil sector posts have begun openly expressing their hostility to fundamental democratic rights.

Modi government shields instigators of Delhi anti-Muslim violence

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 12 March 2020

The Delhi police, in line with their actions during last month's riot and the ruling BJP’s communalist policies, are targeting Muslims, the riot’s victims, rather than the true perpetrators.

India restricts drug exports due to coronavirus impacts, threatening global drug supply

By Kranti Kumara, 9 March 2020

As India is a major global supplier of generic drugs, there are widespread fears that the export restrictions will lead to pharmaceutical price-hikes and shortages in countries around the world.

Modi government leaves millions of Indians vulnerable to coronavirus

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 9 March 2020

Given India’s high population density and dysfunctional public health system, its population is threatened by any rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Sri Lankan government withdraws from UN resolutions in order to boost the military

By W.A. Sunil, 7 March 2020

Rajapakse’s government is moving toward dictatorial rule amid mounting economic problems and social tensions.

Sri Lankan president dissolves parliament, calls national election

By K. Ratnayake, 6 March 2020

Rajapakse and his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna hope to win a two-thirds majority in order to reinstate, and expand, the president’s anti-democratic executive powers.

Record fall in key China production index

By Nick Beams, 2 March 2020

China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced over the weekend that the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 35.7 in February, down from 50 in January, hitting an all-time low.

Sri Lankan government, companies and unions conspire to impose harsh wage deal on estate workers

By M. Thevarajah, 2 March 2020

A scheme is being prepared behind the backs of workers to impose exploitative new work models.

Over 200,000 teachers strike in Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 29 February 2020

Thousands of teachers marched to the education ministry in Colombo as public school teachers across the island struck to defend free education and demand better salaries and conditions.

Sri Lankan teachers denounce the government and unions

By our reporting team, 29 February 2020

“It’s time for all workers—teachers and workers from the railway and the banks—to fight together and not be divided by their professions or trade unions.”

India: Death toll in BJP-instigated violence in Delhi rises to 38

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 28 February 2020

After three days during which Delhi was convulsed by horrific communal violence, authorities claimed yesterday that “order” had been restored to India’s national capital.

Trump hails Modi as his supporters engulf Delhi in communal violence

By Keith Jones, 26 February 2020

It is Trump’s “true friend,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his government that are politically responsible for the Hindu supremacist violence that has claimed at least 13 lives.

Sri Lanka: IMF presses new government to implement austerity

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 February 2020

The Rajapakse government is desperately trying to patch up the ailing economy, which registered just 2.6 percent growth in 2019—the lowest since 2002.

As Trump embraces Modi, communal violence convulses India’s capital

By Keith Jones, 25 February 2020

Modi is politically responsible and elements in his BJP directly culpable of instigating communal violence that has killed at least 10 people.

A “ceasefire” in Washington’s Afghanistan debacle

By Bill Van Auken, 22 February 2020

After 18 years of war, the killing of nearly 2,400 troops and the squandering of roughly $1 trillion, Washington is negotiating a deal it could have had with the Taliban without a shot being fired.

Tamil Nadu public transport workers demonstrate; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers protest; Jetstar baggage handlers on strike in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

22 February 2020

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Sri Lankan school teachers join rising opposition to Rajapakse government

By Kapila Fernando and Pradeep Ramanayake, 21 February 2020

In opposition to racist provocations whipped up by Sri Lanka’s ruling elite, teachers from the north and east of the island participated in the Colombo protest.

US imposes travel ban on Sri Lankan army chief

By K. Ratnayake, 19 February 2020

Washington is demanding every faction of Colombo’s political elite line up with its war preparations against China.

Sri Lankan government prepares to privatise Kahatagaha graphite mines

By Naveen Dewage, 17 February 2020

Kahatagaha mine workers will face management demands for increased production and job cuts to make the company profitable.

India: BJP loses Delhi election as voters reject communalism

By Rohantha De Silva, 15 February 2020

Delhi has been a focal point of the nationwide protests against the BJP’s anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act.

India: Punjab government teachers protest against privatisation; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers demonstrate; New Caledonia miners strike against long hours

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 February 2020

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“Shoot them down”—India’s government incites violence against opponents of its anti-Muslim citizenship law

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 13 February 2020

The BJP government has been shaken by the mass opposition to the CAA, which it rushed through parliament and into law last December.

Indian budget inflicts more austerity amid job crisis, deepening economic slowdown

By Kranti Kumara, 12 February 2020

The budget was unveiled five months after the Modi government announced a slew of impromptu pro-big business measures, including a massive corporate tax cut and accelerated privatization drive.

Folk singers charged for violating Bangladesh’s draconian Digital Security Act

By Wimal Perera, 12 February 2020

In an outrageous attack on democratic rights, Baul singers Rita Dewan and Shariat Sarker face prosecution on bogus claims of “hurting religious sentiments.”

Police crackdown on sacked workers after Sri Lankan president’s “Independence Day” speech

By Saman Gunadasa, 10 February 2020

The police action is a warning that the Rajapakse government will not tolerate any challenge to its big-business, cost-cutting agenda.

Sri Lankan union leader Saman Ratnapriya paid off with a parliamentary position

By Rohantha De Silva, 8 February 2020

The United National Party has rewarded Ratnapriya for his treacherous service to the previous Wickremesinghe government, and his more than 20-year defence of capitalist rule in Sri Lanka.

India: 10,000 Karnataka midday-meal workers strike indefinitely; Tahiti workers strike against Macron’s pensions “reforms”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

8 February 2020

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Sri Lanka: The ruling elite’s hollow national independence celebrations

By K. Ratnayake, 6 February 2020

The past seven decades of so-called “independence” has seen successive governments viciously suppress the masses and defend capitalist rule.

India: One million public sector bank workers strike for higher pay and against privatisation

By Arun Kumar, 6 February 2020

The two-day national walkout demonstrated public sector bank workers’ determination to fight the Modi government’s austerity, privatisation and job-cutting policies.

Sri Lanka: Presidential commission orders halt to trial of naval officers over abductions

By S. Jayanth, 5 February 2020

The attempt to use the presidential commission to interfere in the work of the attorney general is a threat to basic democratic rights and legal norms.

Sri Lankan Tamil party leaders ready to work with President Rajapakse

By Subash Somachandran and S. Jayanth, 4 February 2020

Having previously stated that Gotabhaya Rajapakse had “authoritarian tendencies,” the Tamil National Alliance leadership is offering to help the new president impose his pro-business program.

BJP to table Indian budget amid mounting economic crisis, popular anger

By Kranti Kumara, 1 February 2020

The rapid unravelling of India’s economy has shocked Indian big business and such representatives of global capital as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

India: Maoist union betrays 140-day Motherson auto parts workers’ strike

By Arun Kumar, 1 February 2020

Having isolated the strikers since August last year, the union has ordered the auto-parts workers to end their strike without winning any of their demands and abandoning 79 victimised colleagues.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

1 February 2020

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Sri Lanka: Pseudo-left blames working people for Rajapakse’s election victory

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and K. Ratnayake, 31 January 2020

The responsibility for Rajapakse coming to power squarely rests with the pseudo-left groups, such as the NSSP, as well as the trade unions, the JVP and the Tamil bourgeois parties which promoted the UNP as the lesser evil.