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PROLETARIAN ERA
Published fortnightly from Kolkata

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Vol. 53       No. 10     January  5  2020

In this issue

  • SUCI(C) on assassination of Iran Military Commander by US imperialists
  • SUCI(C) condemns police brutalities to suppress anti-NRC anti-CAA movements, calls for prolonged organized disciplined struggle
  • SUCI(C) strongly condemned the attack on Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan
  • SUCI(C) calls for making the countrywide General Strike on 8 January a grand success, adds 7 more demands
  • SUCI(C) on Police Raj in UP
  • SUCI(C) Assam State Committee on recent decisions of the State Government on language and other issues
  • AIDSO calls for All India Protest Day on 6 January against Hooliganism of  ABVP goons in JNUAIDSO calls all India students’ strike on 8 January
  • AIUTUC urges upon the working class to make all India general strike on 8 January a complete success

 

 

SUCI(C) on assassination of Iran Military Commander by US imperialists

Vehemently condemning the killing of the Iranian top military commander through drone missile attack by US,  Comrade Provash Ghosh issued the following statement  :

The assassination of Qassem Suleimani, the prominent military commander of Iran by US targeted missile attack in Iraq has once again exposed the brigandage character of the US imperialist rulers. On the plea that the Iraqi people‘s angry protest and attack on US embassy in Baghdad was instigated by Iran,  the US thugs on the order of President Trump have carried out the assassination of the military commander of Iran. Thus, Trump has taken up the role of both the judge and the executioner without any real authority whatsoever. None can forget how the US rulers destroyed Iraq and killed its President Saddam Husain and later Col. Gaddafi of Libya on the false plea of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. 

This killing of an Iran commander reflects a far-reaching sinister US design to create again a war tension in the Middle East and thereby give a boost to the military industry of US.  US  has already started mobilizing military troops there to help the terrorist groups and religious fanatics to resurface with strength and play with the lives of the common people of the Middle East countries, and to divert the attention of the masses of the countries in that region  who after many years of violent fratricidal clashes and bloodbath are now coming out in mass democratic movements on the real burning problems and issues of their lives against their respective capitalist governments.

Most important of all, by igniting fire in the Middle East again President Trump is also trying to shift the focus of the US people from  the impeachment debate to the war on the soil of Middle East and thereby save himself from the ignominy of impeachment in the presidential election year.

We, on behalf of our party and the all peace loving people of India unequivocally condemn this brigandage of the US imperialist rulers and call upon the people to raise their voice of protest against the sinister design of the imperialist rulers of USA.       

 

 

SUCI(C) condemns police brutalities to suppress  anti-NRC anti-CAA movements, calls for prolonged organized disciplined struggle

Strongly condemning the brutal attack by the police killing three persons, injuring and arresting hundreds of people Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist), has issued the following statement on 20 December 2019:

It is evidently clear that the most undemocratic, anti-people and communally motivated scheme of NRC and CAA hatched by the BJP-led Central Government has been rejected by the people. Already spontaneous and continuing waves of mass movements are surging forth throughout the country involving all sections of people who are braving police atrocities in pressing for demand to immediately withdraw NRC and CAA. 

We hail the courage and undaunted spirit reflected in these movements particularly by the students and the intellectuals. We urge upon the fighting people to continue the struggle with renewed vigour and also take up the burning issues such as unemployment, retrenchment and price hikes.

We appeal to the people to form struggle committees and enlist volunteers in the localities and institutions to conduct a sustained, disciplined, well organized movement which alone can compel the government to accept the demands of the people.

 

 

SUCI(C) strongly condemned the attack on Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan

 

Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist), issued the following statement on 4 January 2020:

We strongly condemn attack on Nankana Sahib Gurdwara by miscreants in Pakistan and demand stringent punishment of the culprits.

We appeal to the people to oppose any attempt to exploit this ghastly incident by any forces for nefarious political mileage.

 

 

 

 

SUCI(C) calls for making the countrywide General Strike on 8 January a grand success, adds 7 more demands

 

Extending all out support to the General Strike called by the Central Trade Unions on the 8 January 2020 on a 12-point charter of demands which includes some of the burning demands of people’s life, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist), has issued the following statement on 28 December 2019:

“Our Party, the SUCI (Communist,) extends all-out support to the countrywide General Strike called on a 12-point charter of demands by the central trade unions on 8 January 2020 to fight against the brazen anti-worker policies of the BJP-led central government in the interest of their corporate masters.

Along with that we also demand:

  1. Withdrawal of communally motivated NRC – CAA – NPR,
  2. Unconditional release of all arrested people in connection with anti NRC- CAA movement, impartial judicial enquiry into the brutal police atrocities, killing and injuring people in the movement, punishment of the guilty officials and adequate compensation to the families of those killed and injured,
  3. Arresting price-rise and introducing all-out state trading in all essential commodities,
  4. Providing permanent employment to the unemployed and reinstatement of the retrenched workers,
  5. Providing remunerative prices of the produce to the peasants, supplying them with all agricultural inputs at a cheaper rate and waiving all types of loans of the peasants,
  6. Withdrawal of utterly anti-people so-called ‘National Education Policy, 2019’ and ‘National Medical Commission’ Act and all other anti-people educational and medical policies of the governments. The Government must at once stop fee increase in medical and other educational institutions and commercialization, saffronization of education,
  7. Adopting stringent measures to prevent all kinds of atrocities on women and ensuring prompt judgment and due punishment of the guilty person.

We call upon the people to form people’s committees and enroll volunteers to develop well- organized sustained mass movements in the country to achieve the above demands.

We appeal to the people to fully involve themselves to make this General Strike on 8 January 2020 a grand success.”

 

 

 

SUCI(C) on Police Raj  in UP

 

Reacting strongly against the incidents of torture and repression let loose by the different BJP state governments, particularly by the Jogi Adityanath government of UP, on the protesters against NRC and CCA, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist) issued the following statement on 29 December 2019:

When the nefarious design of NRC and CAA brought by BJP led government at the Centre has met with all-out protest by the people in almost all states of our country, the BJP-run state governments have resorted to brutal repression and barbaric torture on the people which has resulted in the killing of 19 protesters and other innocent people in UP alone. The worst was seen when the UP government initially claimed that there was no firing by the police and it was the protesting public who used firearms. But as soon as the lie got exposed, the police in a somersault said only one person was killed by fire opened by them in “self-defence”. The government has imposed punitive fine of lakhs of money upon the protesting people for alleged destruction of public property. The UP chief minister has declared that his government would punish the agitators in such a manner that would set an example seeing which none in any state of India would ever dare to raise protest. A respected Madrasa teacher was stripped and humiliated inside a jail only because the students of his school took part in the protest. Thus a reign of state terror has been let loose in UP against the struggling people.

We strongly condemn this trigger-happy attitude of the UP government. We also like to reiterate another truth. History has proved time and again that no repression or oppression by the oppressive rulers has ever been successful in throttling the voice of fighting people against injustice and oppression.

 

 

 

 

SUCI(C) Assam State Committee on recent decisions of the State Government on language and other issues

 

Having considered different aspects of the decisions of the Assam Government adopted in the cabinet meeting on 21 December 2019, Comrade Chandralekha Das, Secretary, Assam State Committee, SUCI(C), issued the following statement on 27 December 2019 :

All sections of the people of the state are aware of the fact that correctly realizing the deep apprehension of the Assamese-speaking people on the question of preserving their language and culture, we have been putting forward right from the days of inception of the Assam movement in 1979, a concrete proposal. Our proposal was that without linking with change in the pattern of population that has no bearing upon the issue as well as respective numbers of various communities of the state  and in no way infringing on the constitutional rights of the linguistic minorities, big or small, to cultivate their respective mother tongues as they desire, – a special resolution be adopted Parliament or a constitutional amendment be adopted to make permanent the present status of Assamese as the State Language of Assam. We had noted that since then all sections of people including the Assamese-speaking people had heartily welcomed our proposal which at that time got extensive coverage in almost all news papers. We are happy to observe that the Government of Assam, late though it has been, has agreed to our demand in the cabinet meeting held on 21 December 2019. In view of this development, we demand that the State Government should now exert strong pressure upon the BJP- led Central Government to accept and implement the decision as early as possible.

As regards the declaration of the State Government to make Assamese a compulsory subject in the school level syllabus in the Brahmaputra valley stated to be in the interest of ensuring widespread learning of that language, our firm opinion is that all the non-Assamese speaking people residing in the Brahmaputra Valley, have been cultivating Assamese, expressing and exchanging their ideas and thoughts in Assamese and speaking Assamese fluently out of their own volition and necessity. If there is no imposition in this regard, we are sure they would continue this practice more and more. Another aspect to be noted is that, in the post-independent India, wherever there was an attempt of forced imposition of a language on any section of the people other than that section’s own mother tongue, the mutual amity and fraternity among the people which constitutes the basis of learning another language other than the mother tongue, was very much disturbed. The same thing happened in Assam as well. Furthermore, it bears recall that when there was a move to forcibly impose Hindi as the official language of India, a vehement protest erupted round the country. On the other hand, when that policy was rescinded, people started learning Hindi out of their own need. This is the abiding law of language learning. Lenin, the great leader of the international communist movement, also strongly emphasized this very scientific approach and outlook. Under the circumstances, our firm opinion is that it is neither necessary nor desirable to make it compulsory to learn Assamese language. In the natural process, people will learn and cultivate Assamese language.

We note with grave concern, that besides the above mentioned points, the Government has also announced some other decisions. We firmly hold that it is of paramount importance to have discussions with all the political parties, concerned organizations and individuals on such crucial issues beforehand and then arrive at a decision based on unanimity or concord of opinions.  Otherwise, the unity of the people is threatened. So our demand is that there should be a proper review of such decisions on so many critical issues following the abovementioned process.

At the same time, we note with grave concern that alongside other legitimate demands, neither the state government nor the central government has uttered a single word about the imperativeness to undertake speedy industrialization of the state by way of setting up small, medium and large scale industries in the public sector with a view to pulling up the state from severe economic backwardness and addressing the problem of spiralling unemployment which are wreaking havoc in people’s life.  We demand that immediately a well-thought out, time-based package programme of industrialization be adopted and implemented in the state based on effective discussion between the central and state governments. We also demand that the two public sector paper mills – Panchgram and Jagiroad be reopened without any further loss of time.

 

 

 

 

AIDSO calls for All India Protest Day on  6 January against Hooliganism of  ABVP goons in JNU

Strongly condemning the lethal attack by ABVP goons on students and teachers in JNU,  All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) called for an ‘All India Protest Day’ on 6 January against this barbarism and also demanding immediate rollback of hiked fees.

In a statement issued on 5 January 2020, Comrade Sourav Ghosh, General Secretary, AIDSO, stated, inter alia, that a large group of armed ABVP goons wearing masks from outside entered the JNU hostels and mercilessly assaulted the students, particularly those protesting against the exorbitant fee hike in JNU. Even girls were not spared. Many students including JNUSU President and members of the faculty have been seriously injured. The goons also damaged the  properties of different hostels. Shamefully, police that was present in the campus remained a silent spectator and thereby helped the miscreants carry out the attack.

This deadly attack of the rabid Hindu communal ABVP with the backing of JNU administration exposed the frustrations of the authority as they could not suppress the continuing anti-fee hike movement in JNU. A conspiracy was, therefore, hatched by the authority in connivance with the ABVP to divert, on the one hand, the issue of fee hike and  terrorise the students, on the other hand. AIDSO is with the struggling students and teachers of JNU and calls upon the common students in particular and people, in general, to come forward and stand with the students and teachers of JNU at this hour of grave crisis, and appeals to unleash a powerful movement against the present autocratic, undemocratic and criminal regime and demand stringent punishment to the culprits as well as immediate rollback of hiked fees.

 

 

AIDSO calls all India students’ strike on 8 January

 

While supporting the ‘General Strike’ call of Central Trade Unions, All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) simultaneously calls for an All India ‘Students’ Strike’ on 8th January 2020 against pro-corporate, anti-student & anti-education policies of the Central and state governments and in demand to withdraw NRC (National Register of Citizens) & CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), rollback fee hike in different institutions, revoke DNEP (Draft National Education Policy – 2019) & NMC (National Medical Commission), stop atrocities on the girls and  women and put an end to the police atrocities on the protesting students including recent crackdown of the police on the students of Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and other institutions of the country who are protesting against the NRC and the CAA.

 

 

AIUTUC urges upon the working class to make all India general strike on 8 January a complete success

 

In a statement issued on 1 January 2020, Comrade Sankar Saha, General Secretary, AIUTUC, severely criticized the BJP-led central government for abolishing the social security scheme of the organized sector employees by reducing contributions of PF and ESI and making both of them optional, at the behest of the corporate houses while the Central Trade Unions were demanding for long a Universal Social Security Scheme, Health Insurance, Pension and Right to Employment to all workers,  of both organized and unorganized sectors. He urged upon the working millions to make the All India General Strike on 8 January 2020, called on a 12-point charter of demand including introduction of total social security and withdrawal of NRC, CAA and NPR aimed at dividing people on religious line, a great success.

 

 

 

 

US farmer suicides on the rise

 

While suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall in the US, a recent study published by the University of Iowa found that the suicide rate for farm operators and farm workers has been more than three times higher than the national rate dating back to the 1990s and early 2000s. In an interview with Time, Mike Rosmann, a clinical psychologist and farmer from Iowa, reported that he was receiving seven calls per week from farmers with mental health problems, usually resulting from their struggles with finances. Compounding the already record rainfall from the previous year, this year saw historic floods in the Midwest from melting ice and snow from the record-breaking winter, devastating crop yields primarily for corn and soybean farmers. Farmers whose fields were less affected by the flooding were still cut off from roads and railways, limiting their ability to sell their crops and transport or feed livestock. In addition to abysmal crop yields for this year, Trump’s trade war has driven down the buying prices of crops as China has refused to buy any crops from American farmers, leaving soyabean farmers without any buyers and unable to pay off massive debts. Farm debt in the US stands at a combined $416 billion, which is an all-time high, and more than half of all farmers have lost money every year since 2013. Like other areas of the economy, small farmers and farm workers are losing their jobs to technological advances that are mostly implemented by the largest corporate farms and are too expensive for independent farmers to afford. While the US lost almost 100,000 farms from 2011 to 2018, the number of large farms with over 2000 acres has been steadily increasing.The social crisis wrought by the economic pressure on farmers has resulted in increasing rates of death by suicide and homicide all across the United States. Each aspect of the crisis facing American farmers serves as a damning exposure of the irrationality of the capitalist system. [ Source; World Socialist Website 07-12-19)

 

 

Barbaric assault to suppress anti-NRC anti-CAA movement

Need to transform it into a militant mass struggle along leftist line to be led to its logical culmination

 

They were seething in rage—the oppressed countrymen—assailed day in and day out by increasing economic-political-cultural offensive by the power that be. But there was prevailing an unusual lull. The rulers were sitting in comfort presuming that their shrewd machinations to keep the people plunged in stupor, emasculated morally, intoxicated with blind religious faith and mythical beliefs and dissuaded from raising any protest, were working well. But then the oppressive rulers of all ages wallowed in a false notion that they would be able to keep the people shuttered in meek submission and endurance for perpetuity. Had that been so, history of human civilization would have been written in different letters. However, the ruling class and its servitors still tend to hold that their cunningness, chicanery, tyranny and coercive weaponry would overpower the people’s will and action, reverse the inexorable course of history and secure their seat of power. What they fail to take note of is that they were artificially putting a lid on the crater of a volcano. Once the eruption takes place, any such lid would be blown away and bursting of people’s accumulated rage and dissent would take in its sweep all the mortifying shackles of the oppressive regime.

 

Eruption of accumulated grievance centered on anti-NRC anti-CAA movement

The ruling RSS-BJP and their masters, the capitalist class perched atop the state power, are now getting a feel of that gushing eruption from a hitherto slumbering volcano. Grievances were accruing in people’s mind over growing fiscal robbery, devastating consequence of demonetization and GST, harrowing price rise, rising fuel cost, lowering of bank and small savings interest, granting plethora of tax concessions, exemptions and reliefs to the corporate houses, waiving huge bank loans to the industrial behemoths as well as fraudsters, depriving the peasants of remunerative prices of agricultural produce, increasing number of peasants’ suicide, growing unemployment and job loss, spurt in social crimes like atrocities on women, lynching on the pretext of cow vigilantism, flagrant violation of human rights, all-pervasive corruption and so forth. The ruling dispensation was well aware of  this mounting discontent. With a view to distracting people’s attention from these burning problems of life, shifting the focus from a sinking economy and disrupting the process of development of united resistance against the out and out anti-people pro-capitalist policies, the ruling BJP and its mentor RSS-Sangh Parivar have been making persistent attempt to exacerbate communal-casteist-chauvinist divides to drive a wedge into the unity of the toiling masses, vend spurious dream of ushering in good days, incite national jingoism, blunt the thinking faculty through ceaseless propagation of obscurantist bigoted ideas, destroying scientific bent of mind, slaughtering rational  thoughts, and incessant injection of anti-life thoughts like vulgar self-centredness, individualism, apathy to social problems and  renunciation of social obligation. They nurtured a feeling that all such wiles and guiles were paying dividend and people were brainwashed enough to rejoice in injected national pride over fake claim of surgical strike on a neighbouring country remaining unmindful of how all basic necessities of life are eluding them more and more and all the wealth, privilege, preference are skewed in the hands of a few super rich. So, riding on the brute majority in the legislature, they were licenced to do whatever they wanted. But that balloon of illusory cosiness and power-mongering was only waiting to bust. Once the hideous underbelly of the NRC exercise was exposed and the panic of losing citizenship in one’s own homeland gripped the people, it sparked the fire of protest and soon found it assuming the form of a conflagration. The BJP government tried to quell the protest by hurriedly passing an uncalled for CAA with a malicious objective of creating a split between the Hindus and Muslims, both of whom have been participating in swelling number in the surging anti-NRC movement, by way of pretending to be so keen to grant citizenship to Non-Muslim refugees and thus playing on the Hindu sentiment.

But, that ploy did not succeed. Rather, the anti-NRC movement gained further momentum with incorporation of the demand of abrogation of motivated CAA, and spread to the length and breadth of the country. No political party gave call to launch this protest movement. It has been spontaneous and irresistible and creating history. Students are shedding blood. Women are storming into the movement braving chilling cold. Photograph of a young middle-class mother from Delhi joining the women’s demonstration at Shaheenbagh in Delhi with her 23-day old child in her lap, moved one and all. Another octogenarian lady participant boldly said that her citizenship might be taken away but not her right to court martyrdom. In Pondicherry University, a girl student created a flutter at the convocation function when, in protest against NRC and CAA, refused the gold medal that she had earned for outstanding performance in her studies. Similarly, at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, another girl student tore apart a page of the copy of the CAA while receiving her degree at a convocation ceremony, asserting that the gesture was her way of protesting. A retired IIT-Delhi professor and his daughter were seen distributing pamphlets explaining what NRC and CAA are. Several students and activists in Bhubaneswar were in the field of movement even as pompous celebration of New Year mostly sponsored by the power that be was going on a full-fledged scale. Such a massive upsurge of people has not been witnessed after the JP movement of the 1970s.

 

Young brigade spearheaded the movement

The most remarkable feature of this movement has been the participation of the young brigade. The vibrant and fervent students, both boys and girls, have come forward to lead the movement from the front. Particularly the courage shown by the girls has been laudable. Despite being physically assaulted and inflicted with grievous injuries, they have been showing steadfast determination to take the movement forward. Photographs of profuse bleeding from the head injuries of the girl students have stirred the democratic conscience of the country. We hail this bold and exemplary initiative of the students in melting the ice. All sections of the intelligentsia — the teachers, professors, scientists, historians, doctors, jurists, writers, journalists, social and human right activists, film personalities, winners of international awards in various fields, including Nobel laureates—as well as the common peasants and workers have firmly stood by the movement braving all odds and disdaining the red eyes of the government administration. This emblemed the fact that young India could no longer be thrown off by the politics of deception, distraction and confusion as well as promotion of all unscientific, irrational thoughts and alienation from social obligation. Obviously, such a commendable initiative on the part of the young generation did upset the apple cart of the RSS-BJP. And the BJP government and the ruling saffronites did not hesitate to bare their fascistic tooth and claw with feral ferocity to crush the movement.

 

Raid on the University students

As part of bringing down criminal assault on the agitating students, they first targeted the Jamia Milia University (JMI) of Delhi. And the saga was horrific. Students of JMI held a series of peaceful protests and demonstrations opposing the NRC and CAA. To settle score with them, the Delhi Police which comes under the jurisdiction of the Union  Ministry of Home Affairs, forcefully entered the campus of JMI on the night of 15 December and, according to various news reports and eyewitnesses, launched a brutal attack on the students present in the campus, including those studying in the library. They also flushed out the inmates from the university hostel and beat them mercilessly causing grievous injuries to many. Even girls students were not spared. The police were heard saying “bahar nikalo… bahar nikalo inhain” (“bring them out, bring them out”). Later, in a press conference, the JMI Vice -Chancellor accused that Delhi Police had entered the campus without permission and indiscriminately attacked the students with rare brutality. Standing by her students, she said that the students’ protest was peaceful and demanded a high-level inquiry. 

Media also flashed the extent of police atrocity. More than hundred people with fractures and head injuries were reportedly taken to the nearby Al-Shifa and Holy Family hospitals. Almost 150 students were detained by the police in various police stations. A good number of the students whom the police had arrested on false charges and detained in the police stations, had head injuries, deep cuts and wounds. They were not taken for several hours for Medico-legal case (MLC) examinations. Even some of the most critically injured, who were sent for treatment to the nearby hospitals, were brought back to the police station as detainees, even while they were undergoing medical treatment. A young student was severely beaten up in the library following which he sustained serious head injury. But, instead of being taken to the hospital or given emergency medical care, the student was held back in the police station for 3-4 hours, where he continued to bleed and repeatedly pleaded for medical assistance. The police was compelled to take him to a private hospital only when he was on the verge of fainting.

This disproportionate use of force by the police on students at Jamia Milia and subsequent detention without proper access to medical care did raise many ethical concerns as well as legal issues. As is known to everyone concerned, the right to life is paramount and absolute, and medical professionals as well as the police have a constitutional obligation to ensure preservation of life. Under that obligation, the police is bound to ensure the safety and well-being of the detainees. Even the Supreme Court has definite ruling confirming in no uncertain a term this obligation of the police. The International Human Rights Standards for Law enforcement too enjoins the police on such ethical and legal conduct. But the police under the BJP rule is found to have scant regard for the law of the land as well as international codes.

On the same night, the UP police raided the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and there also beastly savagery raved wild. According to media report, the AMU students had started gathering at the Library Canteen around 7:30pm on 15 December for a peaceful anti-NRC anti-CAA protest. As a procession moved towards the varsity’s main entrance, police and RAF personnel deployed outside rushed towards the iron gate. The security personnel then started abusing the students to provoke them.And in no time, the police and RAF started firing tear gas shells, rubber bullets, stun grenades, pellets and other kinds of explosive weapons into the assembled students inside the gate. They also entered the hostel premises and beat both the boys and girl students alike. A fact-finding team comprising noted civil society members including lawyers, human rights activists, journalists and academicians headed by social activist Harsh Mander visited the AMU campus on 17 December. In their report, they said that many civilians in plain clothes with masked faces who were not part of the student community were throwing stones from both ends of the gate, suggesting foul play to legitimise police entry into the campus. The police reportedly chased the students and started lathi-charging them indiscriminately, also firing teargas shells, stun grenades and bullets. The report also accused the police and RAF of denying medical assistance to injured students, even attacking one ambulance driver. 60 students suffered varying degrees of injuries and trauma and had to be rushed to the emergency department of the campus medical college.Three of them in a critical condition were admitted in the ICU.The hospital authorities, curiously enough, refused to share any details with the investigation team.But, some doctors reportedly confirmed that the blunt force trauma and resultant brain haemorrhage of a student indicated the use of rubber bullets. The hand of a PhD student had to be amputated from below the wrist due to the injuries sustained from a stun grenade that exploded in his hand. The team also found it “shocking” that a serving police officer on deputation from the UP cadre is appointed as Registrar of the university. “His attitude seemed that of a trigger-happy police person rather than a custodian of the students,” said Harsh Mander who himself is a former IAS officer.

Finally, in what happened on 5 January night at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, another premier institution of the country,  the world saw to what low the police stooped in allowing the masked goons sent by the BJP  leadership to bring down barbaric assault on the students and teachers in ‘democratic’ India. At around 5 pm, as a peace march organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association was winding up on campus, participants got word that a group of masked people was going from hostel to hostel, attacking the students. And immediately everyone found those masked hooligans ransacking the university hostel, pelting stones and beating students and teachers with sticks. At least 22 students and teachers were injured in the violence, according to a list compiled by the teachers’ association. The hooligans also attacked those journalists present and attempting to record their actions.  The media persons were shoved around, hit on the head and their cameras and other accessories damaged. A lady professor who was struck on the head, saw another lady colleague of her being hit by a stone. Photographs from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences a few hours later showed the stone-hit professor in a wheelchair with head wrapped in bandages. Later, “masked miscreants” entered another hostel and ran amok. The victims reported that the goons who went on the rampage inside the campus” chanted slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki jai” (Long Live Mother India), Jai Shriram,  and “desh ke gaddaron ko, golimaro salon ko” (shoot the rogue traitors of the country)  exhibiting their political identity. At that time, the Vice-Chancellor himself was present in the campus and he did not instruct the security guards to resist the attack.  It is also reported in the media that police personnel stationed in and outside the campus remained indulgent onlookers. This rampage by masked goons identified as storm-troopers of the Saffron Brigade pounced upon the students and faculty of JNU, seemingly with the blessings of Delhi Police who not only let them go in but refused to intervene when they went about beating up the students and teachers with lathis and iron rods.The police even let them go back without being arrested. The office of Delhi’s deputy commissioner of police (south-west district) is right across the JNU campus and still the vandals went unscathed. This glaringly unmasked the true nature of the politics of the party in power. The very fact that the prime minister, the home minister and even the HRD minister have been maintaining eerie silence on such a ghastly incident do point at involvement of the foot-soldiers of the Hindutva camp. Of late, an ABVP leader also has confirmed the involvement.  While not a single miscreant has neither been taken into the custody nor even identified so far, FIRs have been lodged by the police against the assaulted students. Incredible indeed!

 

Unprecedented barbarism in UP

As we have said, the anti-NRC anti-CAA movements snowballed into mass protests in  the entire country within no time. Thousands of protestors have been detained across the country as rallies were held in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and many other cities. But the bestiality of the police, para-military forces as well as storm-troopers of the arch communal Hindutva brigade to quell the protests in the BJP-ruled states particularly UP, Gujarat and Karnataka has surpassed all records.It is alleged that the atrocities of the UP police against the anti-NRC anti-CAA demonstrators have been nothing short of a state-sponsored violence and worst form of state terrorism. Let alone hundreds of the innocent males and youth, females including elderly women have also been facing brutal assaults by the police. Even the old and the sick are not spared.Minors, including school students, have been shot at, hurt, arrested and detained. Those who escaped arrest or detention, were chased, beaten and terrorised in their homes, shops and business premises which were also vandalised. Communal overtone of the UP government and police has been vividly exposed with the religious minorities being specifically targeted for attack. UP alone has accounted for 19 of the 24 deaths (including two in Mangalore, Karnataka) reported so far. Numbers of grievously injured including those maimed in the attack are in multiple of hundreds. Some incidents which have been narrated in the media would bear eloquent testimony to that.

The family of a 20-year old boy of Bijnor alleged that he was picked up by the police on his way to the Friday afternoon prayers. His body was later found in another neighbourhood, with wounds indicating that a bullet pierced through his stomach and exited from his back. Evidently, he was shot at close range. The police, as told by his family members, took away his body and did not let them near during the post-mortem. Although the police initially denied any firing, they later admitted that the boy was killed by a bullet fired “in self-defence” by a constable.  In Varanasi, police violence on a protest rally triggered a stampede that left 11-year-old boy crushed to death. The child was not participating in the protest but just happened to be there. Following the child’s death, the district magistrate of Varanasi in typical arrogance befitting an unfeeling despot, mocked the tragedy by saying that such things “keep happening”. Another 23-year-old driver  was shot by a bullet in his lower abdomen in Rampur district. He died within hours.His family members were shunted from hospital to hospital but no proper treatment was made available to him. One 30-year-old businessman died at Delhi’s AIIMS Trauma Centre — six days after he was shot in the neck during the anti-NRC protest on Firozabad highway. Heart-rending has been the case of a 17-year-old boy from Meerut. He had a bullet lodged in his spine and became paraplegic because of it. The teenager’s mother told the media that her son was returning home from his workplace when he allegedly received a gunshot wound near a chowk area. He returned home in the afternoon, semi-conscious and in bloodied clothes. He cried all night, as he could not move his arms or legs. His family could not take him to hospital, as everything was shut. Later they managed to get him admitted in the ICU of a Delhi hospital where he is fighting with death.Similarly, when the family of a 26 year old hawker who had died of a bullet injury at a protest movement in Muzaffarnagar town which saw a spate of communal riots allegedly at the instigation of a ruling party MLA, went to police to file a complaint, the police had refused to accept. Instead they of their own told the family that he had died of bullets fired by the protesters. The family dubbed such a police version as totally fabricated. In Muzaffarnagar only, a 66-year old teacher of an orphanage, bed-ridden with both arms and both legs bandaged, was found “sobbing in his sleep” and refusing to “show his face” to visiting relatives because he could not get over his humiliation by the police who stripped him naked and tortured him in custody. The police also detained and assaulted almost all his 100-odd students most of whom are minors and orphans. It was alleged that the boys in custody were even denied access to the toilet at times and some of them suffered rectal bleeding from the torture. In another case, a 20-year-old boy,  who was on his way to bury his grandfather was picked up by the police when he fell down where the police had pounced on the protesters. The administration has now served a notice to him for damaging public property during the protests. Hundreds of people with injuries including fractures, head injuries were taken to different hospitals.

 

Arrogance of the UP chief minister

Never before any popular protest across a whole state had been crushed with such brutality and inhumanness as in UP.  Flame of insensate cowardly violence let loose on protesting countrymen has been hallmark of a diabolic design. None other than an insane would say that there is a civilized government in the state or at the centre. Amid criticism against the barbaric crackdown on anti-NRC anti-CAA protests in the state, the saffron-clad self-styled monk chief minister of UP had no qualm in justifying the police action. In a series of tweets posted from the accounts of him and his office bragged that the action taken has shocked every rioter into silence. In fact, when the protests broke out, Yogi Adityanath had vowed to take “badla” (revenge) and  has been doing so ruthlessly knowing fully well that it would set the template for the UP police to use excessive force against the protestors trampling all canons of democratic law and transcending all limits of inhuman behaviour.

 

Violence incited by planted miscreants from outside

Eyewitnesses accused the RSS-BJP supporters of inciting and executing the violence. One such bystander during a violent incident in Muzaffarnagar said the protesters had begun gathering at a spot less than 500 metres from a local madarsa in a peaceful manner and were in constant touch with the police. Then suddenly stones began raining from nowhere. A police van was also set on fire. As the protesters ran helter-skelter out of fear, the police went on the rampage, started thrashing people and vandalising shops in the minority-dominated neighbourhood. It was a mystery who pelted stones and consigned the police van to flame. However, without making any probe into any of these allegations, the UP government has notified as many as 498 people mostly belonging to religious minorities for causing damage to public property during the anti-NRC anti-CAA protests.Branding them as anti-socials, the government has decided to seize their properties. That the list was a fabricated one was evidently clear when it was found to contain name of a person who died 6 years ago as well as name of a 90-year-old man. And the incidents of AMU and JNU corroborate the allegation of violence having been incited by planted miscreants owing allegiance to the ruling saffronites.

 

Abortive attempt to give a communal colour to the protests

And needless to say, it has been the members of the minority Muslim community who have been targeted in particular by the government in UP, Delhi, Karnataka and other places. The communal overtone of the UP police was amply laid bare when a senior police officer was found asking the protesters to go to Pakistan. He was only parroting what the BJP leaders and ministers have been saying now and then to undermine the legitimacy of the movement and giving it a communal colour. The report of the investigating team of AMU also claimed that the police  and RAF were using Islamophobic slurs and chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while chasing and beating up students. Also the BJP leaders shared a doctored video to paint AMU Students as anti-Hindu. While the students were chanting slogans against Hindutva, Savarkar and casteism, the videographed version was so edited that the anti-Hindutva slogan was made to sound as if it was against the “Hindus”. It bears recall that no person other than the prime minister of the country himself said a few days back that those protesting and indulging in violence can be identified by their clothes.  That he was motivated in his communal insinuation, and the RSS-BJP elements were pressed in action to precipitate violence, and how the communalization scheme of holding the Muslim minorities responsible for the countrywide legitimate movement has been set in motion was amply proved by an incidents reported from Murshidabad district of West Bengal. There a BJP worker and five of his associates, dressed in lungis and skull caps, distinctive items of clothing worn by Muslims in the region, were reportedly detained by the West Bengal police, after they were identified by locals while pelting stones at a train engine. It goes without saying that it is in the crucible of such utterances, which polarize people, that BJP’s “strong” ministers and leaders as well as their pliant police forces have been expertizing in. So there is hardly any doubt that theorganizedattacks on the protesters have been communalist, savage and vengeful with the ruling party and the government throwing their weight behind the police action.

But what is heartening to note that despite every effort on the part of the ruling RSS-BJP and their governments to create a communal divide and thereby enfeeble the movement from within, there has not been a single scratch on the cemented unity of the Hindus and Muslims as well as toiling masses belonging to other communities. They all are spearheading the movement shoulder to shoulder, with the students and youths in the front. Why? Because, when the common people participate in a democratic movement over common demands of life, the bond of solidarity and fraternity becomes iron-strong. The cultural milieu of such a legitimate mass struggle also helps cleansing the mind from the venom of communalism-chauvinism-parochia-lism-casteism spewed by the forces of reaction to keep the people divided and fosters the spirit of cooperation, camaraderie and oneness. 

 

Immense possibility of the ongoing movement

That is why, it is imperative to develop legitimate democratic movements of the toiling people on the pressing issues of life to thwart the attack from the ruling dispensation and foil the conspiracy of the ruling quarters to divert attention from the real problems wreaking havoc in people’s life, pit one section of the people against the other and embroil them in internecine conflicts so that they exhaust all their energy in fratricidal feuds and stay away from the path of united struggle. Hence, the people need to be made politically conscious, empowered to understand the right and wrong, distinguish between dos and don’ts, identify the devils in disguise and struggle along right track to emerge victorious. For that, it is extremely important that people’s movements are conducted in a well-knit manner under a correct leadership not only to be fruitful but also to impart the desired political consciousness to the struggling masses in its course. From that perspective, the ongoing anti-NRC anti-CAA movement has immense possibility of being heightened to the level of a turbulent organized prolonged mass movement capable of wresting the people’s demands and embolden the people with higher political consciousness.

But the current movement, from that perspective, has so far been rudderless. As we have said earlier, this movement erupted spontaneously with no political party initiating it.  But once the movement has picked up speed and took away the sleep of the rulers, all the vote-based bourgeois parties have been making bee-line to derive electoral mileage out of this. Look at the Congress which, as one of the most trusted party of the ruling monopolists, has hitherto been instrumental in serving their heinous class interest with all servility. While in power, the Congress introduced one after another anti-people policy, cruelly crushed class and mass struggles, killed hundreds of participants of democratic movements, openly peddled soft-Hindutva even the other day andorchestrated a number of communal riots. It also butchered democracy through imposition of emergency, systematic robbing of democratic rights, seeking to create a committed judiciary and enacting a host of black acts. It was in the Congress regime that one after another mega scams and scandals tumbled out of the cupboard. So, there had been a stream of mass movements against the misrule of the Congress. Now the same Congress is talking of democracy and secularism and pretending to be an ardent sympathizer of the cause of the surging movement. Let there be no mistake that both the BJP and the Congress are forces who introduced fascism in this country in the interest of exploitative capitalism. In fact, any party serving the bourgeois class interest today cannot but reflect fascistic features. Incidentally, it is pertinent to mention in this connection that way back in late 1940s when all political parties including undivided CPI thought fascism would not emerge in India, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, our leader, teacher and guide and one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of the era, showed, based on Marxist methodology of analysis, that in all capitalist-imperialist countries, fascism has appeared as a general feature. Elaborating further, he showed that fascism in India has its prop in the ‘theory of belief’in exaltation of faith’ in place of ‘reason’, turning the mental process of the people from the scientific path of causality to the mystic alley of blind faith, preconception and obscurantism, in raising slogan of national jingoism to poison mass mind against class struggle and proletarian internationalism and in adopting a dual policy of suppression and persuasion. While defining fascism Comrade Shibdas Ghosh held that more and more concentration of capital in the hands of a few monopolists is the characteristic feature of fascism. Besides centralisation of power in the hands of administration and bureaucracy is its political characteristic. And the ideological cultural base of fascism is a peculiar fusion between spiritualism and technological aspects of science. His analysis is proved to be prophetically true today.   

Coming back to the question of movement again, what are the Congress leaders doing other than making some tweets, feigning a show of protest through taking out a few rallies and talking to some of the victims of police attack in media glare? Similarly, the regional parties like the TMC, DMK etc. are also out in the field with a few meetings, rallies and tall talks to appear as big champions of the movementby securing widest possible publicity in the monopoly-controlled media?Is it not that all these parties when in power steamrolled the people with pro-capitalist policies and made every effort to suppress democratic movement? Can any of them be, therefore, a force of movement? Is any of these parties having any intention to make the people politically conscious? Or they all are for projecting themselves as having been in the movement and hence sought after candidates for winning the next election? Where will they want the movement to end in other than the ballot box? In fact, while the students, youths and common people are shedding blood, facing bullets, embracing death in this historic movement, these vote-oriented parties are calculating to what extent they could harvest electoral benefits out of these sacrifices and sufferings of the masses.

 

Need was to establish a left-democratic alternative to bourgeois vote politics

Obviously the situation is extremely grave. The fascist forces are raising their ugly head in absence of a deterrent in the form of a powerful organized prolonged democratic movement involving all sections of the toiling masses and along correct leftist line and under correct leftist leadership on the burning problems of life. So, a torrent, a tidal bore of united broad-based left-democratic movement has to be released in right earnest. It is for this reason that our Party, guided by Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought, has been repeatedly requesting the CPI (M), CPI to come forward and build up desired fighting unity of the  lefts and place before the people a left alternative to the vote-oriented bourgeois politics. But they did not heed to our proposal. This time also, we urged upon them to forge a left-democratic unity and give the rising people’s movement a leftist orientation, isolate the bourgeois parliamentary parties and elevate it to a long-drawn militant powerful organized movement on the demand of redressing the burning problems of life based on higher leftist morality and culture. With that end in view, we have added seven more demands to the charter of the ongoing anti-NRC anti-CAA movement.

 

Opportunistic tilt towards bourgeois parliamentarism by CPI (M) playing spoilsport

But they have not responded to us. Rather, it is found that the CPI (M) is avoiding us. It is to be recalled that although undivided CPI [present CPI, CPI (M) and the Naxalites] was not a Marxist party, it played a militant struggling role upto mid-1960s in West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and few other states. But after assuming governmental power in West Bengal and Kerala, both the CPI (M) and CPI not only abandoned that line of militant struggle but adopted the path of suppressing class and mass struggles just like any other bourgeois party in the states ruled by them. Since then, not only are they not developing any decisive mass struggle but  are even avoiding to join spontaneous mass movement and provide proper leadership to it. Moreover, they are combining with the Congress, a trusted party of the ruling bourgeoisie, as well as other regional bourgeois outfits only to bag some seats in election. In the name of leftism, the politics practised by them today is of staying away from building up left-democratic movement which is the urgent need of the hour and instead befriend with those parties in opposition which can gift them some seats in the assemblies or parliament. That is the reason, they had broken unity with our Party and still fight shy of us  .

It is pertinent to recall that when the JP movement which was also initially spearheaded by the students against unemployment, corruption, price rise, autocratic Congress rule and so forth, broke out with all possibilities, we called upon the CPI (M), CPI to join the movement and give it a left direction so that the right-wing forces could be cornered and eventually isolated.  But it was in vain. The CPI then was in direct alliance with the Congress while CPI (M) was moving with a tacit understanding with Indira Gandhi government. They held that since extreme right forces including communal Jan Sangh (now BJP) were in the movement, they could not join the people’s struggle on just demands. Taking advantage of that, the rightist forces captured the leadership of the movement and usurping all the credit of that movement, rode to power in 1977. When the CPI (M) saw that there was a bright possibility of the newly formed right-wing Janata conglomerate with the Jan Sangh as a constituent forming the government, it underwent a somersault to befriend Janata party by raising slogan against the Congress. This politics of opportunism of theirs paved the way for the BJP to come to the forefront and gradually become a formidable force in the arena of bourgeois power game. So, a golden opportunity of providing a genuine struggling left alternative slipped out of hand.

 

Our fervent appeal to take the surging movement to logical culmination

The same is the situation now with the anti-NRC anti-CAA movement unfolding a renewed opportunity to make a united left leadership emerge across the country. Surge of this movement attests to the fact that people are in the struggling mood. So centring on this movement, the desired left-democratic unity could have been forged and the country could once again be in ferment with intensifying class and mass struggles. But still the CPI (M) is showing no interest to come back to the fold of militant leftism. Instead it is preferring tailism of the discredited Congress and other regional bourgeois parties just for the sake of securing a few seats and staying afloat in the corridor of power. Incidentally, the CPI(M) supported NRC in Assam. So the future of such path-breaking mass upsurge is uncertain. As against the compromising policy of the CPI (M), CPI, our Party is in this movement with all our strength and trying utmost to transform it into a desired militant left movement and create people’s political power by way of setting up people’s struggle committees upto the grassroots level and forming  volunteer  corps of fearless youths.People of all states are aware of our role though we do not get any media coverage. But ours is not a vote party. We are pledge-bound to  develop class and mass struggles. We once again appeal to the CPI (M) leadership amd iits ranks to shun the path of opportunistic vote politics, respond to the need of the hour and show political honesty in forming a united left alternative and establish its leadership on the current anti-NRC anti-CAA movement to take it to its logical culmination.

 

[Sources of information:—The Hindu 17-12-19; 26-12-19, Outlook India—30-12-19, The Logical Indian-02-01-20, Business Standard -01-01-20, India Today 16-12-19, 27-12-19, 28-12-19, daily hunt 16-12-19, 06-01-20, The Wire 16-12-19, 24-12-19,  scroll.in 27-12-19, 06-01-20, Indian Express 25-12-19, 26-12-19,  The Telegraph –19-12-19, 29-12-19, Caravan Magazine 05-01-20, Times of India 07-01-20, Economic Times -06-01-20]

 

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