We, the members of civil society and more than 40 rights organisations including women’s rights organisations, dalit rights organisations, adivasi mass organisations, legal aid and research organisations, environmental groups, trade unions, students etc., have come together to register our condemnation of the continued hounding and reprisals by the state of human rights activists arrested allegedly in the BhimaKoregaon case.
Stretching to the very last day of the temporary relief of house arrest granted by the Supreme Court vide order dated September 28, 2018 in RomilaThapar&Ors. v. Union of India, the Sessions court in Pune rejected the bail applications for Advocate SudhaBharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, who were arrested allegedly in the BhimaKoregaon case on August 28, 2018. Lawyer and activist ArunFerriera and Vernon Gonsalves have been taken under custody by the Pune police yesterday, on October 26 and have produced before the Pune Sessions Court today, which has granted remand until November 6.
Advocate SudhaBharadwaj’s has also been taken under custody a short while back by the Pune police, who were stationed at her house since late last night.
October 26 witnessed high power drama in various courts- Pune trial court, Mumbai High Court and the Supreme Court -hearing and delivering orders on various pleas ranging from rejecting bail application of SudhaBharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and ArunFerriera by the Pune Sessions Court; Mumbai High Court rejecting a plea for the extension of house arrest of ArunFerriera and Vernon Gonsalves and adjournment of the hearing until October 31 on application for quashing of FIR of Father Stan Swamy and until November 1, of GautamNavlakha, and AnandTeltumde; Supreme Court hearing the review petition filed by RomilaThapar&Ors. v. Union of India from the Supreme Court’s order dated September 28, which was rejected earlier today.
Background of arrests, RomilaThapar’s petition and the court cases After the arrests and simultaneous raids on the houses of activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, SudhaBhardwaj, GautamNavlakha and VarvaraRao; and raids on houses of Stan Swamy, AnandTeltumbde, KranthiTekula, Susan Abraham, KV Kumaranath, Prof. Satyanarayana on August 28, an urgent petition was filed by five eminent personalities in the Supreme Court on the question of arbitrariness of the arrest and curbing of dissent.
Justice Chandrachud while delivering a dissenting judgement (2:1) on September 28, laid bare the entire petition and discussed various points of law rigorously, striking at the heart of the matter — the utter violation of due process as per the provisions of the CrPC and the UAPA and the attack on dissent.
The majority judgement authored by Justice Khanwilkar and signed by the then Chief Justice DeepkaMisra, in all but a few lines noted that the Pune Police is responsible and can be trusted to carry out the investigation following due process.
Although the dissenting judgment grants the demand for an SIT, the majority judgement extended the house arrest of the five rights activist for four weeks allowing them to seek other remedial measures in the trail court and the Supreme Court. A review petition on the above judgement was filed in the Supreme Court which was listed for a chamber hearing incidentally on October 26- the last day of the house arrest.
While no order was passed on October 26 leaving much ambiguity, the review petition now stands rejected by an order passed earlier today. Similarly, the order, rejecting the bail application for SudhaBharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and ArunFerriera was filed in the Pune session court was also delivered on the last day.
A matter concerning the extension of house arrest of ArunFerriera and Vernon Gonsalves was also adjourned on the last day of the house arrest without grant of interim relief. As a result, this gave no time to the three activists – SudhaBharadwaj, ArunFerriera and Vernon Gonsalves – to seek legal recourse.
In case of Gautam Navlakha, Delhi High Court had released him from house arrest on October 1.
The petition seeking the quashing of the FIR against Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumde and Father Stan Sway also came up before the Bombay high Court of October 26.
The Bombay high Court has granted interim relief against arrest to Navlakha and Teltumbde until Novemeber 1 and Swamy until October 31. Hyderabad High Court on October 25 extended the house arrest of VaraVaraRao for three weeks allowing him to move local court in Pune and Mumbai High Court for quashing of FIR by Pune police.
This is not the first spate of attack by the State on rights activists. The first to be arrested were eight worker of Reliance Infrastructure in the month of January by the Anti terrorist Squad (ATS) in relation to the BhimaKoregaon violence.
They have been charged under various section of draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and are yet to get bail even after months of being under custody.
Incidentally, the chargesheet filed in their case finds no mention of the BhimaKoregaon violence! On June 6, 2018, five others were arrested —SudhirDhawale, the editor of the progressive Marathi magazine Vidrohi and one of the organiser of the Bhima-KoregaonShaurya Din PrernaAbhiyan; Professor ShomaSen, the then head of the Department of English, Nagpur University; Advocate SurendraGadling, general secretary, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers; Mahesh Raut, anti-displacement activist from Bharat Jan Andolan and a former fellow at the Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD); and Rona Wilson, public relations secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners.
The planned raids and subsequent arrest of June 6 were similar to the ones in August 28. On October 24, the Bombay High Court quashed the Pune Sessions Court order granting extension of 90 days to the state to file the charge sheet in the matter pursuant to arrests on 6th June 2018 of the earlier five activists – Professor ShomaSen, Advocate SurendraGadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and SudhirDhawale, paving way for the possibility of their bail. A stay was granted until November 1, to allow the state to appeal from the order.
The state has filed an SLP challenging the order in the Supreme Court which is fixed for hearing on Monday. Motive of State- targeting activists The State has played foul in the entire investigation. To begin with no action has been taken against the right wing leaders- ShambajiBhide and MilindEkbote- against whom the first FIR(2/2018) was filed for inciting violence. State sponsored news channel displayed the ‘sensitive’, ‘controversial’ letters allegedly written by Bharadwaj to some comrade in national channel even before they made it to the court rooms.
Joint Commissioner of Police in one instance and ADG (Law and Order) in the other, breaking all codes of neutrality and discretion- conducted press conference where all the alleged letters which have formed the basis of the investigation were handed out to the media organizations, paving way for a vicious media trial. Even the dissenting judgement of Justice Chandrachud chided the Pune police for the purported and disturbing intention to carry out a media trial against the accused. Interestingly, BhimaKoregaon and the FIR under which the activists are arrested are not even the important factors in the case anymore.
Very slyly, these alleged letters have been used to slap the draconian UAPA against the activists who have been striving to bring out the anti-people policies of the present ruling government, BJP. Condemnation of bail rejections and arrests We, at MRSD question the grounds of rejection of bail despite there being no substantial evidence against activists ArunFerriera, Vernon Gonsalves and SudhaBhardwaj.
We extend our continued and whole hearted support to the activists facing the reprisals. The manner in which the state has been hellbent on depriving the liberty of the activists, while openly violating every norm of natural justice throughout the investigation in the case, is appalling and an assault on democracy.
On the other hand, there is a clear attempt to divert attention from investigation into the role of Hindutva groups in attacking the BhimaKoregaon visitors and prosecuting the real culprits, which has been pushed to the sidelines to protect the perpetrators of violence.
We urge the conscientious citizens and media to highlight the lapses in the investigation and the criminalisation of these activists by the state.
We emphatically condemn the continued use of the draconian UAPA in a concerted manner to target dissenting and inconvenient voices alike. UAPA, an act that came into existence in 1967, has no place in a democratic society. UAPA has been regularly used against Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, Activists, Lawyers, Journalists etc. in order to spread a reign of terror.
UAPA especially makes it difficult to get bail and has stringent provisions, on account of which people can be perpetually imprisoned without any trial. It is a draconian law that can be invoked on vague and untrue grounds. We would like to draw the attention of media organisations to the BhimaKoregaon Judicial commission hearings that are going on to investigate the failures of Maharashtra government in being able to control the violence that ensued after alleged Hindutva groups attacked Dalit Bahujans at BhimaKoregaon memorial on January 1. We would like to strongly urge the Maharashtra government to take stringent immediate action on the original FIR lodged in the BhimaKoregaon case which implicates Hindutva leaders ManoharBhide and MilindEkbote and to stop the diversionary tactics being employed to falsely implicate and target activists with long standing credibility working for the rights of the people.
In the wake of news reports of the police having dropped criminal cases against the two Hindutva leaders for rioting in the past, there is a strong suspicion of foul play to protect these individuals with criminal antecedents.
We Demand –
1. The immediate and unconditional release of democratic rights activists, workers, families falsely arrested in alleged connection to the violence at BhimaKoregaon
2. That the false UAPA charges against the activists, workers, Dalits, Muslims, Adivasis be dropped
3. That the real culprits of the BhimaKoregaon violence, Hindutva leaders ManoharBhide and MilindEkbote who instigated and planned the attacks on visitors to BhimaKoregaon, be arrested and prosecuted under law
4. That the draconian UAPA be repealed
5. That the attacks, criminalisation and reprisals by the state on dissenting voices in civil society, democratic rights activists and to stifle constitutional freedoms be stopped immediately.
MUMBAI RISES TO SAVE DEMOCRACY
1. People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
2. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR),
3. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)
4.. New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)
5. Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI)
6. Student Islamic Organisation (SIO),
7. AmbedkarPeriyarPhule Study Circle (APPSC), IIT
8. Police Reforms Watch
10. Spark magazine
11. National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO)
13. Forum Against Oppression of Women (FAOW)
14. LABIA- A Queer Feminist LBT Collective
15. JagrutKamgarManch (JKM)
17. Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD)
18. Women against Sexual Violence and State repression (WSS)
19. Bharat BachaoAndolan (BBA)
20. Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF
21. People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Spaces (PCSDS)
22. Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)
23. Cause Lawyers Alliance
24. National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
25. KashtakariSanghatna, district Palghar.
26. Sarvahara Jan Andolan, district Raighad
27. ShramikMuktiSanghatna, district Thane.
28. Human Rights Defenders Alert (HRDA)
29. Innocence Network
30. Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR)
31. Students of St. Xavier’s
32. Students Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) students
33. FTII Alumni
34. The Leaflet
36. Bastar Solidarity Network (BSN)
37. Satyashodhak Feminist Collective
38. Indian Christian Women’s Movement – Mumbai Chapter
40. JagrutKashtakariSanghatana, Raigad
41. Justice and Peace Commission and Others Speakers:
Noted Rights’ activist Teesta Setalvad, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) Adv Nilima Dutta, Trustee, Lawyers Collective Police reforms activist Dolphy D’souza, Police Reforms Watch Adv Susan Abraham, advocate practicing in Bombay High Court
freedom for all political prisoners in India
stop green hunt
support people’s struggle in India
support people’s war line in India
built an international support’s movement
built an international solidarity committee
organise a solidarity week for
21/27 january 2019
Maoists in eastern India have launched ‘operation Ghamasan’ to counter ‘Operation Samadhan’ launched by the Narendra Modi government last year to end the five-decade-long Naxalite insurgency in various parts of the country.
While Samadhan, in English, means solution, Ghamasan means fierce. Senior security officials who have read the newly-released Maoist document said the ultra-Left rebels are likely to try to escalate violence to recover from the reverses they suffered in the past few years.
“We have thoroughly studied the new policy (Samadhan) of our enemy forces and have come up with our response plan. Ghamasan is the answer to Samadhan,” says the 11-page handout, dated June 25 and published by the eastern regional bureau (ERB) of the central committee of the banned CPI(Maoist).
Ghamasan, just like Samadhan, is an acronym. Overall, operation Ghamasan centres on the idea of combining ‘armed struggle’ with ‘mass mobilisation’ and opening new fronts of struggle while staying focused on ‘self-rectification’. It stresses on intensifying armed struggle by arming more people and increasing arms power.
The publication urged students, intellectuals, cultural activists and workers and farmers to focus on building the ‘a broad anti-fascist front’ against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government and to expedite building movements against displacement.
“Our appeal to members of all level of party committees, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army and the Revolutionary People’s Committees (Maoist-run outlawed self-governments) is to fight on the basis of class struggle and the right to self-determination of the people. Our appeal to the broad mass, including workers, farmers, students, youths, intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists and the women is for uniting all anti-fascist forces,” the publication said.
Incidentally, this publication emerges less than a month after Pune police told a court that rights activists Gautam Navlakha, lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj and poet-cum-Maoist ideologue Vara Vara Rao, among others, were acting on behalf of the Maoist for forging an ‘anti-fascist front’.
“The underlying theme of the document is that Maoists have tacitly admitted that security operations have weakened them. ‘Ghamasan’ is their bid to recover from the setback and also to boost the morale of their cadres and sympathisers,” said R K Mallick, additional director general of police (operations), Jharkhand.
“It is also clear made clear that while we want a solution to the problem of wanton violence, they want to make it deadlier. We anticipate they would try to escalate violence,” Mallick added.
The eastern India chapter of CPI(Maoist) is headquartered in the dense forests of Jharkhand and headed by Prashanta Bose alias Kishan-da, the senior-most leader of the party. Presently, eight members of CPI(Maoist) central committee are attached with ERB.
The publication, in circulation in parts of Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal since August, also stresses on the need to strengthen ‘united front activities.’ This refers to joint activities with other democratic and legally functioning organisations.
October 11, 2018
The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) demands the immediate resignation of the Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar against whom many complaints of molestation, sexual assault and harassment have been made.
The harrowing experiences narrated by Ghazala Wahab of the sexual depredations that she had to face as an intern in Asian Age by the then editor M J Akbar is extremely shocking. Several accounts of sexual assault and harassment by the former newspaper editor-turned BJP minister have come to light. So far, allegations of sexual harassment have been made against him by six journalists. AIDWA strongly stands in support of Ghazala and all the women who have bravely brought out the horrendous details of the exploitation that they have suffered through the #MeToo campaign.
AIDWA is deeply concerned at the deafening silence of the Modi government which exposes its indifference towards the trauma and insecurities these working women have had to undergo. It is condemnable that the Ministry of External Affairs has so far declined to comment on the matter despite so many complaints against its minister.The government must institute an urgent inquiry into these complaints so that the perpetrator of these crimes against can be brought to justice. Any further delay in taking action will only show its tacit support and protection to the people accused of violence against women.
AIDWA calls upon all its units to organise protest actions against sexual violence and demand the resignation of M J Akbar. It will hold a protest demonstration tomorrow at 12:30 pm at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. We appeal to all organisations and individuals fighting against violence against women to join this protest.
Malini Bhattacharya Mariam Dhawale
President General Secretary
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in the world. It penetrates into underdeveloped nations in the guise of neo-colonialism to continue its obsessive compulsion for loot. It sucks the blood of the common people and the oppressed, and it is the cause of their extreme misery and distress. “Modern wars are the result of imperialism,” said Lenin, time and time again. The two world wars in first half of the 20th century broke out among the imperialist countries as a contest to gain supremacy over the world by dividing and reorganizing it. “The attempt to escape the new political and economic crises of the imperialist countries led to the last two world wars,” said Mao.
America has plundered the wealth of the world through imperialist war. It acquired windfall gains by selling weapons in abundance to countries who have engaged in war. In this way, America has become the imperialist superpower of the capitalist world. When America’s imperialist economic system incorporated a war economy, it focused only on wars. Hence, it orchestrated aggression and war. We can see this trend from Korea, Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. War will continue so long as imperialism prevails. If we want to abolish war, we must eradicate the capitalist-imperialist system. The cold war between the then superpowers of the US and the USSR had an impact on the developed and underdeveloped countries. This gave rise to wars directly or indirectly among them. From 1945- 1990, at the least 125 regional wars, civil wars, and armed conflicts led to the deaths of more than 40 million people, while millions more were victimized and displaced. The economic crisis that resulted in these countries because of imperialist war is greater than that of the crisis that caused the World War II.
Wars continued to break out during the 1990s. American forces waged treacherous wars in Honduras, Ukraine and in Egypt, and America fomented incessant armed riots. Military interventions by Britain and America’s other allies have led to the deaths of nearly 3.2 million Muslims. The wealthiest and the most secular country in Africa, Libya, was destroyed by America. Libya, which once warmly embraced migrants, is now being destroyed, displacing half its population. More than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty and suffer from malnutrition. Moreover, nearly 17 million people are dying due to poverty every year. Half of them are children. America is trying to cover the ever-increasing expansion and expenditure of Israel. Leaving aside the welfare of its own people, America is amassing more than 20 trillion-dollars in debts to pay the debts of Israel and massacre Muslims. America is directing trillions from its budget to do this, subjecting its own people to misery and thereby causing the deaths of more than 200,000 of its own people every year.
The imperialist riots unleashed in Syria with the intent to overthrow the government of Bashar Al
Assad have led to the deaths of 500,000 people and another 2 million wounded or displaced. Moreover, millions of people were made homeless, migrating to neighbouring countries as well as some European countries. America destroyed many communities that had lived together amidst their shrines and holy places in brotherhood, peace, secularism and non-violence. The imperialist wars of aggression waged under the leadership of America on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq and many other countries have caused countless deaths and injuries, destroyed countless homes, and forced countless people worldwide to migrate.
In order to secure the imperialist system and deceive the people of the world, imperialists and revisionists mislead the people in all possible ways with various fictions according to the changing scenery of the contemporary world. It is time to expose and mortify them. The contemporary political vengeance of imperialism is a predictable result of the capitalist economic system. Imperialism is extending its political machinery to suppress the people by implementing its fascist dictatorship far and wide. The stronger the repression, the stronger the resistance. The worker-peasant classes, the petty-bourgeoisie and other oppressed classes of society, even the endangered species, are relentlessly waging wars against Imperialism. Our party, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), is relentlessly striving to exterminate imperialism from the earth, to install communism, and to unite the oppressed classes and masses. Our party leads them and shoulders the responsibility to fight alongside them.
In light of China’s rise as a social-imperialist power, the present task is for all working-class parties around the world to develop manoeuvres to sustain themselves. Party leadership, on these principles, must gather the oppressed classes and people of their societies and lead them in the march towards socialism. This document was released by the Central Committee to elucidate how socialist China transformed into a capitalist and imperialist power and how to develop strategies to combat it. Let us study this document thoroughly. In the light of five inherent features and three special aspects of imperialism taught by the great Lenin, let us analyse and synthesise in the light of Marxism-LeninismMaoism in order to build a correct scientific understanding of China’s social-imperialist development.
Translated from Telagu by the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement
India: Salute the Historic Protest in Barnala in Punjab on October 2nd 2018 says Harsh Thakor
SALUTE THE HISTORIC PROTEST IN BARNALA IN PUNJAB ON OCTOBER 2ND LIGHTING THE SPARK OF JUSTICE TO RELEASE MANJEET DHANAR WHO WAS FRAMED ON FALSE CHARGES WITH LIFE SENTENCE FOR MURDERING KIRANJEET KAUR.
A SPARK TURNED INTO A PRAIRIE FIRE AT THE VENUE.SYMBOLIZED THE STRUGGLE OF INDIAN OPPRESSED MASSES AS A WHOLE TO RELEASE ACTIVISTS FRAMED REPRESENTING REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY WHO ARE LANGUISHING BEHIND JAIL BARS
The flame of justice was rekindled to its highest crescendo in Barnala on October 2nd creating the vibrations of an Ocean. .The issue was the release of Comrade Manjeet Dhaner who was framed by a death sentence for the murder of girl Kiranjeet Kaur in 1997.
3 persons namely Prem Kuman,Narain Dutt and Manjeet ihaner were framed on false charges of the 3 persons wrongly convicted Prem Kumar and Narain Dutt were pardoned in 2005 in a hearing by Karnal special court but Manjeet Dinar was still imprisoned.
In spite of a supreme court order in 2011 to release Dhaner the governor of Punjab refused to implement resolution.
The state govt earlier had the audacity to oppose the pardoning of the killers arrested but the democratic movement prevented it.
The committee formed to scrap the life sentence to Daner organized the rally.
Over 20000 people converged reminiscent of an army turning a spark into a prairie fire.It comprised of over 40 organizations of peasants,youth,workers ,women and govt. employees.Activists assembled from Bathinda, Barnala,Mansa, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Faridkot, Sangrur, Abohar and Kotkura,
The majority of the participants were those belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Union Dakaunda and Ugrahan factions.
The rally was addressed by Buta Singh Burgill,Jogender Singh,Raminder Singh Patiala,Satnam Singh Ajnala ,Zora singh Nasrali and Prempal Kaur.
Other participants included Raldu singh Mansa,Gurdep Singh Sukhpur, Rajinder Badhode Kanwaljeet Khanna,Harjinder Kaur,Mahima Singh and Kulwant Rai.
All speakers narrated how arresting democratic activists like Manjeet Dinar is part and parcel of the anti-people ruling class politics which perpetrates injustice on women and often works hand in hand with goonda elements.They vociferously asserted that if death sentence on Dhaner was not lifted in coming days the state would have to pay a big price.On 4th October the Supreme court would give the hearing.
One of the most significant protests ion the history of the revolutionary democratic movement of Punjab or of the democratic revolutionary resistance against injustice on framed activists .
It symbolized the fight against injustice on political prisoners as a whole in the semi-fascist socio-political system .It proved the great revolutionary potential of the masses of Punjab
Image courtesy: The Indian Express
The Indian government under the Bharatiya Janata Party treats Kashmiri Muslims as Erewhonian criminals, aggressively turning their longstanding struggle and their pain of living in a conflicted state into terrorism and ‘crime’, while also repeatedly pathologising Kashmiri Muslims as terrorists. This is reflected in the violence unleashed by the Indian army on the common, dissenting people of Kashmir, mutilating their bodies, their faces with pellets to counter the tension that erupted in the wake of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in July 2016.
In December 2016, a team comprising well-known documentary filmmaker Tapan Bose, activist Harsh Mander, professor Dinesh Mohan, journalist Pamela Philipose, and independent researcher Navsharan Singh called the Concerned Citizens’ Collective travelled to Kashmir to assess the impact of the violence on the common and innocent people of the state. They brought out their findings in a book titled Blood, Censored: When Kashmiris Become the ‘Enemy’, published by Yoda Press in July 2018.
In the following essay, republished here with permission, the authors explain how the Indian Army, by openly filming and photographing the way they torture the Kashmiri ‘suspects’, in addition to the actual physical torture they inflict on them with the full sanction of the Indian state, has resulted in a violent visual culture that grants them greater and stronger impunity.
It is impossible to comprehend the policy of New Delhi with regard to Kashmir without recognising that for people on both sides of the ideological divide in India, Kashmir has a supreme symbolic importance well beyond just the land and its people. What makes Kashmir supremely significant for both is that it is the only Muslim majority state in India. All other Muslim majority regions in undivided India (except Hyderabad which was subdued) joined the union of Pakistan. Kashmir, through a historical default, remained with India.
For secular Indians, Kashmir is a test-case for a country that declares in its constitution that the nation belongs equally to people of every faith. By that tenet, the fact that Kashmir has an overwhelmingly Muslim population is irrelevant to the claims that Pakistan lays on Kashmir, on the grounds that the majority of its people are Muslim; because Pakistan is a country whose central organising principle is religion while for India it is not. The problem is of course the gaping chasm between the principle and practice of India’s constitutional secularism. If the majority of Muslims in Kashmir are not convinced that India in practice assures them the dignity and protection of equal citizenship, then the moral claims on their hearts and minds of India’s secular constitutional break down. They also shatter if the Hindu (and Sikh Buddhists) minorities do not feel safe and equal in Kashmir. The exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the 1990s, and the lack of any effective political and social initiative from the Muslim residents of Kashmir to either prevent their flight, or to ensure that they can return safely today and live in mixed settlements with their Muslim neighbours as in the past, further enfeebles the secular premise for Kashmir to remain a part of India.
But the greatest weakness for those who believe that Kashmir’s continuation in India is the ultimate litmus test of the success and authenticity of its secular credentials is that if the majority of Kashmiri Muslims demonstrably do not want to continue to throw their lot with India’s destiny, then no secular democratic principle is endorsed by holding them to India by decades of military suppression.
For the Hindu nationalists, on the other hand, precisely the fact that Kashmir is a Muslim majority state makes it suspect in its loyalty to the Indian nation. In the eyes of the RSS, in the orthodoxy of the Sangh, the Muslim is the ‘enemy within’. The taming and domestication of Kashmir has therefore always been high on the RSS agenda for India as a Hindu Rashtra, the flying of India’s flag in Lal Bagh central square in Srinagar. (The irony is that the RSS has long refused to fly in Indian tricolour in its headquarters in Nagpur; it flies instead of a saffron flag). The annulment of Article 370 of India’s constitution, which guarantees a special status to Kashmir, is one of the triumvirate of paramount demands of the RSS. The other two are the construction of a Ram Temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, and a uniform civil code (again aimed to revoke the rights of Muslim men to have more than one wife or to divorce their spouse at will).
Therefore, in the present era of triumphalism in the Hindutva camp, with Prime Minister Modi’s repeated impressive successes in the hustings, the suppression of any kind of popular or militant Kashmiri assertion is politically fundamental to the advance of the Hindu Rashtra. It is for this reason that the domestication of Kashmir is seen to be imperative not just for the integrity of the Indian nation, but for the triumph of Hindu nationalism.
Unlike in the erstwhile UPA administration, which also subscribed to a militarist approach to Kashmir but at the same time kept open other avenues of dialogue and development, the present administration is happy for the Kashmiri to see the Indian state mainly in the form of a menacing and unrelenting gun-toting Indian soldier.
The Guardian asks, ‘How did India get here? How is it all right for a constitutionally democratic and secular, modern nation to blind scores of civilians in a region it controls? Not an authoritarian state, not a crackpot dictatorship, not a rogue nation or warlord outside of legal and ethical commitments to international statuses, but a democratic country, a member of the comity of nations. How are India’s leaders, thinkers and its thundering televised custodians of public and private morality, all untroubled by the sight of a child whose heart has been penetrated by metal pellets? This is the kind of cruelty we expect from Assad’s Syria, not the world’s largest democracy.’ The answer can only be—India got here because of the triumph of majoritarian nationalism: its hubris, its spectacular want of compassion.
Image courtesy: Kashmir Observer
The suppression of Kashmir is now a made-for-television spectacle, designed to both whet and assuage bloodlust in the rising ranks of Hindu nationalists, who see themselves as by definition the only authentic Indian nationalists. The army records videos of its military operations and successes, not just against Pakistan but also Kashmir, and hands these out to television channels which obediently, uncritically and often with a shared triumphalism relay these, portraying the unruly Kashmiri not just as the disloyal ‘other’, but as the enemy. It is difficult to recall an occasion in the past in which the army chief in India has openly held out threats to a section of the country’s own civilians. General Bipin Rawat does so belligerently, aware that he is openly intimidating young citizens of his country and theirs. The army is a highly disciplined force, and its serving officers would not speak to and through the media unless they were authorised to do so. Again, we do not recall junior officers of the armed forces defending strategies such as the human shield aimed against Indian civilians in the way that Major Gogoi did on prime-time national television. As Apoorvanand observes, ‘That it did not shock us when Gogoi addressed the nation through the media after being decorated is a disturbing sign. Before him, and the current army chief, we do not remember any army officer addressing a press conference, not even after the Pakistan Army’s surrender in 1971, not after Operation Blue or the Kargil conflict. In all these, the army was the main actor. But it refrained from being seen as the director. It was always seen as following the civil authority. The present government is invoking nationalism to legitimise itself. It is trying to show it is the first government which backs the army. The latter is obliging by making the government’s nationalist agenda its own.’
Even more extraordinary is the release, presumably by Indian army sources of videos, that record their harsh coercive and violent action against protesting Kashmiris. Earlier we could have expected security forces to restrain any such public celebration of their breaking of the backs and spirits of unarmed civilians, because of service discipline, for fear of criticism by liberal opinion within and outside the country, and perhaps the sense that the violent repression of one’s citizens is not something to publicly celebrate in a democracy. But no longer. Instead, these videos are circulated as evidence of army valour, and of decisive action against the unruly and disloyal Kashmiri. Mohamad Junaid says that the ‘open-air theatre’ of violent repression was an essential part of the strategy of the Indian security forces in the first phase of militancy in the 1990s. During ‘crackdowns’ on Kashmiri urban neighbourhoods and villages, the Indian military would pick Kashmiri men and publicly beat and torture them. It was done in front of other Kashmiris, who were forced to gather in open spaces and watch. This served ‘as a warning but also as a psychological operation to break people’s will.’
But he feels that the current ‘visual politics’ of the display of army action on social media in Kashmir is different. First, he says, it helps serve the political objective of satisfying hyper-nationalist sentiment: ‘The military is matching in practice what the true desh-bhakts are asking for in their blood-curdling discourse. The videos are meant to bring the Indian nation out of the closet, and unabashedly embrace the hard reality of Indian rule in Kashmir.’
The distribution of these videos, he says further, is also to reassert a fragile masculinity against the deflation he feels has taken place since Burhan Wani’s killing and then on election day on 9 April 2017. ‘The Indian military has become inadequate to the task of keeping Kashmir subdued, or at least this is what it reads in its assessment of the desperate nationalist mood in India. It has responded with febrile displays of violence where it used to try to hide it. For long, only images of mangled bodies of dead militants were publicly displayed to assert Indian military’s masculinity. Now it is bodies of unarmed Kashmiri civilians, beatings of youths and women, the humiliation of children, and blasted houses in Kashmir.’
One can agree or disagree with Junaid’s harsh assessment, but the question remains. Why should the army post celebratory videos of its severe punitive action against civilians who are unarmed or armed at best with stones, often very young, and sometimes women and girls? Videos that establish that the way it treats citizens of the country is in brazen violation of human rights, the law of the land, and international law?
For retired army personnel, free from even the formality of army discipline, this is of course open season. A number of them rally their hyper-nationalist rage against the rebellious stone-pelting Kashmiri youth in noisy television studios. An Indian Army veteran, Major Manoj Arya, wrote an open letter to Burhan Wani. He describes him as ‘despicable’. ‘You could have been an engineer, a doctor, an archaeologist or a software programmer but your fate drew you to the seductive world of social media, with its instant celebrity hood and all encompassing fame. You posted pictures on the internet with your “brothers”, all you fine young Rambos holding assault rifles and radio sets. It was right out of Hollywood… The day you started with your social media blitzkrieg, you were a dead man. You encouraged young men of Kashmir to kill Indian soldiers, all from behind the safety of your Facebook account. Your female fan following was delirious. You were a social media rage… I wish we had met… (before killing you). And your parent’s son is dead. Dead from a 7.62mm full metal jacket round to the head.’
Ode to Prison Guard
through the bars
to shake me up
from my early morning dreams
with a hug
of a good morning
clanking a huge bunch of keys
into the cage of my life sentence.
A dark blue Nehru topi
on the scalp,
brutal khaki robes
from top to bottom
girding with a snake-like
black belt around the waist,
he stands and sways
in front of my sleepy
like a devil
guarding the gates of hell.
He appears like an apparition
from an enemy’s army
but with a warm smile
and friendly face,
checking if one were alive or dead
as the day breaks
and counting each live head.
He opens and closes
the locks of the iron gates
a thousand times a day
without expressing pain
He demands no tips
for his untiring services.
He calls the unattending doctor
repeatedly on his wireless set
when I am sick and unconscious
his own sad stories
lending his patient
and compassionate ear
to those of the chained
never bothering for their
crime or innocence.
the evil forces in power
and frown on his eye-brows
when the bosses
are away into their offices.
on the dark steps
of the devilish state
all night along
with his eagle eyes
He comes from
the deepest well
of our social misery.
He has no time for his beloved ones
languishing outside the gates.
Imprisoned by his duties
days and nights
behind the high four walls
and closed gates,
he spans away
a life time in prison
for a pittance.
The cursed souls come and go,
but he is a permanent prisoner,
he has no holidays
or holy days and week-ends.
He is a nun,
and a priest,
a pious persevere
A tireless slave
to the bars of my cage,
he is friend,
a cousin, and a comrade.
He is the guard,
and the guardian
of my life’s sentence,
phrases, words and syllables.
Publicado por dazibao rojo
We call upon all the democratic and revolutionary forces and then workers, peasents, Dalits, Adivasis, Minorities and women to join togeather and fight back and defeat these Brahminical Hindutva fascist forces.
Central Committee – CPI (Maoist)
Scuffle between demonstrator and police for the 3rd of October strike in a Mumbai suburbs against Hindu fascist assault against dalits the day before it.
Soni Sori with burnings on her face after a vile hindu fascist attack with acid
People Liberation Guerrilia Army (maoist)
After the mass arrests of militants in India on charges of being associated with or supporting the CPI (Maoist) and the peasant movement in arms, a wave of solidarity with the fighters in India has increased worldwide
The Communist Party of Greece (ml) calls all the organizations on the left to carry out a demonstration in Athens on 6 October.
As is known, in the Indian state the repression has never stopped and now there are little to new arrests of leftist militants and persecutions. With the category of “connection with the CPI (Maoist)” and an alleged “assassination plan of Prime Minister Modi”, terror aimed at militants, activists, intellectuals, lawyers, journalists, all accused of being “urban Naxalites” was unleashed. , “Defenders of the Dalits” and “enemies of the state”.
Those who defend the Dalits (Hindu lower caste) and the Adivasi people living in rural villages are persecuted and imprisoned, and there are many cases of murders by paramilitaries.
These actions have triggered a vast defense and solidarity movement in India and internationally. Recall that in the past there have been similar movements in our country on the life sentence of Professor Saibaba with 90% of disability who is still in prison and his life is in danger.
Demonstration Saturday, October 6 at 12am in front of the Indian embassy in Athens
against the terrorist policy of the Indian government for the immediate release of those arrested