South Asia

Pandemic rages across South Asia as total cases near 1 million

By our correspondents, 1 July 2020

The governments of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are rushing to “reopen” their economies even as COVID-19 cases and deaths are growing exponentially.

Pandemic surpasses 10 million COVID-19 cases and over 500,000 deaths globally

By Benjamin Mateus, 29 June 2020

COVID-19 cases in the United States have careened out of control, with health care systems in Texas, Florida and Arizona nearing collapse.

Indian and Pakistani health workers strike over coronavirus safety; Australia Paper maintenance workers locked out

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

27 June 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

India rapidly emerging as epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic in Asia

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 25 June 2020

As a result of the Modi government’s abandonment of lockdown measures, the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire in both urban slums and rural areas.

NSSP leader contests Sri Lankan elections on United National Party slate

By Vilani Peiris—leader of the SEP slate for Colombo district, 25 June 2020

The NSSP’s decision to contest with the UNP is a further expression of the right-wing political degeneration of this middle-class formation and other pseudo-left groups internationally.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold first election rally online on June 28

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 24 June 2020

The SEP meeting will discuss the crucial political developments in Sri Lanka and internationally and the tasks before the Sri Lankan working class.

Sri Lankan soldiers kill Tamil youth in Jaffna

By Wimal Perera, 23 June 2020

The shooting of Thiraviyam Ramalingam is part of the army occupation of the North and East and President Rajapakse’s increasing militarisation of his rule.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online meeting on global protests against police murders

By Wije Dias, 22 June 2020

Wije Dias, General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, delivered the main speech at an online meeting on the global protests against the police killings and moves towards autocratic methods of rule.

US stokes India-China conflict, blames Chinese “aggression” for border clash

By Keith Jones, 20 June 2020

Senior US official David Stilwell provocatively told a press briefing that the Chinese army had “invaded” the “contested area” between India and China.

India and China remain on knife edge as war tensions continue

By Shuvu Batta and Keith Jones, 19 June 2020

While proclaiming they want to de-escalate, India and China are each demanding the other stand down and pouring additional troops and weapons into their border regions.

Sharp spike of coronavirus deaths in India

By Saman Gunadasa, 19 June 2020

Right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi has categorically ruled out a second lockdown even after India registered more than 2,000 deaths on Tuesday and over 13,000 new infections on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Dozens die in India-China border clash

By Keith Jones, 17 June 2020

It is the enmeshing of the India-China rivalry with the strategic confrontation between China and US imperialism that makes the border dispute so combustible and incendiary.

Over 1,170 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic surges in Bangladesh

By Wimal Perera, 15 June 2020

The Awami League government ignored warnings by medical experts who publicly opposed any lifting of the lockdown.

Three months since the cruise industry shutdown

Mauritian government and cruise companies hold stranded crew for ransom

By Tom Casey, 13 June 2020

The government’s repatriation plan has incurred bitter opposition from crew members of all nationalities, as well as from the families of Mauritian crew who anxiously await their relatives’ returns.

India: A massive explosion in Gujarat chemical plant kills 10 workers

By Arun Kumar, 13 June 2020

The tragic loss of life and terrible injuries are a direct result of government and company indifference towards mandatory work safety measures.

Sri Lankan police violently suppress protest against the killing of George Floyd

By our reporters, 12 June 2020

The police attack is a message from the Rajapakse administration that it will not tolerate any opposition from workers, young people and the poor.

UK: Indian cruise ship crew members still awaiting repatriation

By Paul Bond, 12 June 2020

Around 650 Indian crew members of TUI/Marella cruise ships are still laid up in waters off Southampton on the south coast of England.

COVID-19 cases rise rapidly after South Asia’s governments abandon lockdowns

By our correspondents, 10 June 2020

India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have all recorded dramatic increases in COVID-19 infections and deaths over the past week.

Sri Lankan president establishes military taskforce: Another step toward dictatorship

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 9 June 2020

The working class can stop the threat of a dictatorship only by mobilising its independent strength to overthrow capitalism.

More Australian war crimes exposed in Afghanistan

By Jason Quill, 6 June 2020

The exposure of Ziauddin’s killing highlights the years of coverups by successive Australian governments, both Liberal-National and Labor, of military abuses in the Middle East.

India-wide protests by military armament and power industry workers; Australian airport workers demand JobKeeper pay

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

6 June 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan health workers protest wage and transport cuts during pandemic

By W. A. Sunil, 4 June 2020

While hospital workers across all grades and union affiliations participated in the protests the unions are seeking to head off a confrontation with the government.

Indian government abandons lockdown measures as coronavirus infections soar

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 2 June 2020

An epidemiologist who is advising the government on its plan to “reopen” the economy blithely acknowledged that it will result in a catastrophic loss of life, declaring that “India may see at least two million deaths.”

SEP (Sri Lanka) calls for action committees to counter COVID-19 and defend jobs

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 2 June 2020

In defending their rights, workers cannot rely on the trade unions which have become appendages of big business.

Explosion at Indian thermal power plant kills four workers

By Arun Kumar, 1 June 2020

The tragic deaths are a result of the management’s hasty moves to resume work, in line with the Modi government’s instructions to reopen the economy.

Coronavirus cases surpass six million globally

By Bryan Dyne, 30 May 2020

New epicenters in Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent are rapidly causing massive public health crises.

Bangladesh COVID-19 deaths soar past 500

By Rohantha De Silva, 30 May 2020

The death and infection curves are still rising, but the Awami League government is reopening the economy in the interests of big business.

After ignoring migrant workers’ plight, the Indian Supreme Court now acknowledges unfolding social tragedy

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 30 May 2020

The court’s intervention reflects concerns fear by India’s legal authorities that mounting mass anger will erupt against the entire capitalist elite and its state.

Indian autoworkers strike for COVID-19 safety measures; Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers demonstrate

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

30 May 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan government responds to rising COVID-19 infections by abandoning expatriate workers

By Saman Gunadasa, 29 May 2020

The Rajapakse government’s ruthless attitude towards the stranded migrant workers is matched by its hostility to ordinary people inside Sri Lankan.

Mumbai health care system overwhelmed as COVID-19 surges across India

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 28 May 2020

”It’s a war zone,” said a doctor employed at one of the main hospitals in India’s second largest city.

COVID-19 destroys almost half a million tourism jobs in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 28 May 2020

Big tourist companies demand more funds to revive their businesses, not out of sympathy for workers, but to boost profits.

Sri Lankan Everbest garment workers protest job and wage cuts

By our reporters, 26 May 2020

The trade unions, like the counterparts around the world, are assisting the government and the employers.

South Asian countries ease COVID-19 lockdowns despite sharp rise in infections

By our correspondents, 25 May 2020

The absence of health care infrastructure across the region means that huge numbers of cases are going undetected, and many are dying due to a lack of basic medical care.

Gulf States force India and other South Asian states to repatriate impoverished migrant workers

By Shuvu Batta, 25 May 2020

The migrant workers, whose labour has helped keep the Gulf States oligarchs basking in luxury, are being deported as COVID-19 renders them an economic burden and political threat.

Ninety-seven die in Pakistan International Airline crash

By Sampath Perera, 25 May 2020

The plane was in the air for 10 to 15 more minutes after its initial aborted landing attempt, according to eyewitnesses.

Sri Lankan government understates COVID-19 figures to recklessly reopen economy

By Naveen Dewage, 23 May 2020

The low number of infections in Sri Lanka is because few COVID-19 tests are being conducted—an average of less than 600 per day between February 18 and May 20.

Indian police detain thousands of sacked migrant workers; Pakistani health workers demand unpaid wages and allowances

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 May 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Sri Lankan president demands legal immunity for the military

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 21 May 2020

The real purpose of Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s defence and promotion of the military is to prepare for another savage war against the working class.

Seven Sri Lankan families homeless after plantation fire

By M. Thevarajah, 20 May 2020

Fires frequently occur in the old and rundown estate plantation line rooms.

As Modi government eases lockdown, coronavirus cases surge in India

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 19 May 2020

Municipal authorities in Mumbai, India’s second largest city, recently announced that due to a lack of hospital beds, they were placing COVID-19 patients on a waiting list for medical treatment.

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

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

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

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

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

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

“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

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

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

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

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.