20 April 2013
In Chhattisgarh, on the 17th of April, the notorious GreyHounds claimed that in the bordering areas of Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, they by chance zeroed in on a Maoist meeting using a sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and ‘trapped’ a small group of Maoists killing 9, including 5 women cadres in an ‘encounter’. Civil liberties activists protested saying that the Maoists had been killed in a covert operation after they were given poisoned food and made unconscious. The Andhra Pradesh police refused post-mortem of the dead and did not hand over the bodies to the families. Instead, they sent them to Chhattisgarh for autopsy. The dead body of Maoist leader Sudhakar was not produced with the other bodies, and later a mangled body shown to the activists and his family, which convinced them that he was killed in police custody. In Maharashtra, there have been two back-to-back fake encounters this month, in the Gadchiroli area, killing 7 and 4 villagers respectively. On the 19th of March,10 CPI (Maoist) cadres were shot in cold blood in Chhatra, Jharkhand, by the TPC, a Salwa Judum styled notorious vigilante gang which is patronised by the state since 2002. The DGP of Jharkhand Police not surprisingly, said that the Maoists were losing their support among the people and the tribals themselves were fighting against them. He refused to accept that the state and the TPC were working in tandem.
At a time when more than a lakh armed paramilitary personnel are attempting to ‘comb and capture’ the mineral rich central and eastern parts of the parts of the country at the behest of the state which safeguards imperialist interests, there is no need to stretch one’s imagination to gauge that the country is in fact, in a state of war. It is a war declared by the ruling classes, aided and abetted by their imperialist masters. The war is fuelled by their corporate dream of a ‘global village’ where the world’s resources can be plundered and looted in the name of free markets, where profits can be reaped by exploiting the poor till the point of starvation or suicide, where dissenters can be jailed, bombed, hanged or ‘encountered’ for the ‘greater good’. Hundreds of MoUs with Mittal, Jindal, Essar, Tata, Rio Tinto, Vedanta, POSCO, HindalCo and many other foreign and Indian big companies involving mining projects, steel and aluminium plants, power plants, dams, SEZs etc are being signed everyday by various state governments. Theirs is a dream that spells nightmare for the millions.
But the oppressed people too have a dream. And a dream worth fighting for. And there are valiant resistances put up by the resilient masses who are fighting for their land, livelihood, basic rights and for dignity. And it is precisely to crush these genuine aspirations of the people at any cost, that the Indian state is arming itself in the most grotesque way. The brutal murders cited above are nothing but selective elimination of those who dare to realize the dream for a better society free from exploitation, oppression and injustice. With the help of intelligence input from US and Israeli defence satellites, training paramilitary troops like Grey Hounds, Cobras and Nasus and patronising local vigilante gangs like Salwa Judum, Ranvir Sena, Harmad Vahini, Shanti Sangho, Bhairav Bahini or Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), this war against the most marginalised and oppressed sections intensifies and takes new forms every day.
At a time when the state tries desperately to criminalise the revolutionary movement as well as all other militant and assertive movements by branding them all as “terrorists”, Sanjay Kak’s documentary Red Ant Dream gives a depiction of the conditions in which the dreams of the people are kept alive through struggles despite abject poverty, destitution and immense state repression. From atop 23 storied Antilla in Mumbai, or in the satellite images of UAVs of the CRPF in Chhatisgarh, from inside the tinted glass windows of imported cars on smooth new roads cutting across Latehar, the march of struggling masses may seem like that of tiny inconspicuous red ants, who may be stamped out by the jack-boot of the armed forces. But in the vast areas of the country where the state has not bothered to provide basic requirements of education, health, sanitation, water supply in the 65 years of so-called independence, today, these seemingly inconspicuous ant-people have constructed their own schools, health centres and check dams. They have dared to dream of a different world where development is not guided by the might of capital. And although these little achievements of the people are time and against razed to the ground by the state like ant-hills, they are built again, with renewed fervour. It is this fervour of the people in organised and united struggle that can never be trampled nor extinguished by the machinery of any oppressive state. This relentless struggle of the people and the ingrained dream within is what the film depicts and celebrates.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:44 am
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:40 am
18 April 2013
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 6:36 pm
No revolution without the annihilation of caste, no annihilation of caste without revolution!! The only way of paying true homage to Babasaheb Ambedkar is to fight back the caste atrocities and caste oppression!
Last week in the Bulandshahr district of UP, a 10 year old Dalit girl who had gone to the fields was raped by a man belonging to the dominant caste. The mother of the girl, waiting for her return, ultimately went searching and found her lying there unconscious in a critical condition. When the family of the girl decided to lodge a police complaint, they were threatened by the dominant caste section of the village of dire consequences. The family, as is usually the case, was bluntly asked to forget the incident. However, determined to take the fight for justice, the mother of the girl refused to yield to these threats and approached the local police station. But justice for dalits and other oppressed people remains a far cry within the current system! Refusing to lodge any complaint, the police rather kept the girl locked up in custody for the entire night while her mother helplessly waited outside the station. She was only released the next morning when the locals, hearing of the incident, started protesting in front of the police station. In another part of the country in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, over 300 dalit families have been facing a complete social and economic boycott by the dominant castes for the past few months. The ‘crime’ being that a dalit man had fallen in love with a woman belonging to the dominant caste. Fearing violent attaack, like the one that happened in Dharmapuri last year, the parents of the boy have already sent back the girl to her parents – something that the police of this self-proclaimed ‘largest democracy of the world’ facilitated. Ever since a khap panchayat ordered this decision, dalits of the area are facing a complete boycott. They have been banned from working on the fields or even in the brick kilns and other such small industries.
These incidents are neither an aberration nor an anomaly, but merely reflect the systemic oppression of the dalits. While we are constantly fed by the ruling class about the rising GDP and how India is fast becoming a ‘global superpower’, what we are not told are the growing atrocities on the dalits. For example in the state of Tamil Nadu in the last 15 years, 5,58,103 cases of Dalit atrocities have been reported. And we should always remember that the number of reported atrocities merely reflect the tip of the ice-berg. With the active complicity of the police and the local administration in most of the caste atrocities, the people hardly even approach the police. Even in the media, it is only when they take the most grotesque forms that they are even reported. But even then what is blanked out is the long and bitter struggle that Dalits and other oppressed castes have to wage to even receive simple compensation or resettlement, let alone justice. The reality of the Dalit and oppressed castes in our society is one of invisibility and systemic oppression. With the normalization of everyday caste violence, what also goes unnoticed are facts such as the lakhs who are forced to carry on the duty of manual scavenging in our country come only from the dalit communities. The oppression, exploitation and subjugation of the oppressed castes by the so called upper castes that Ambedkar fought against in his lifetime, both during the colonial period as well as after the transfer of power, remains a glaring reality even now. In a prophetic assertion, Ambedkar had rightly pointed out that ‘freedom’ was going to be a phony one if the Indian ruling classes and political elites fell anywhere short of annihilating caste.
Recently on his 122nd birth anniversary Ambedkar was paid homage by all parliamentary political parties - from the fascist BJP and Congress, to the parliamentary pseudo-left CPM/Liberation as well as other parties that claim to represent the dalits and other oppressed people within the foray of the parliament. But all of them, some by being direct perpetrators and others through their silences and opportunism, have been complicit in the atrocities on dalits. Be it Khairlanji, the firing at the dalits in Ramabai Colony in Mumbai, massacres of dalits in Jehanabad, Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Baithe in Bihar, Paramakudi, Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu or Bolangir in Orrisa all parliamentary parties have carried out massacres of dalits or have patronized and protected the killers. Committed to an inherently Brahmanical and feudal social order, many of them have nurtured and supported dominant caste militias like the Ranveer Sena. The other social base of these political parties, the comprador industrialists have also been all too candid in their support of caste institutions such as the khap panchayats. On the other hand, certain parliamentary parties claiming the mantle of the fight against caste within the parliamentary framework have also shown the worst kind of opportunism. Not only have they remained silent on many atrocities on dalits and other oppressed people, but have even supported the Indian state’s war and the witch-hunt of dalits and adivasis. In the rat-race of electoral politics, they have not even even shied away from aligning with right-wing BJP or Congress. They convienently gloss over the fact that these are the same forces that thwarted almost every progressive initiative of Ambedakar, and are today perpetuating the worst forms of reactionary caste violence in various parts of the country.
The history of the parliamentary left is not any different. While paying lip-service to Ambedkar’s legacy of fighting caste and Barhminism, the pseudo-left in each instance has stood with the ruling classes and strengthened the semi-feudal structure of the country. As Anand Teltumbde reminds us, in Nandigram in West Bengal, it was not just farmers who were killed by the social-fascist CPM. Rather, it was precisely landless peasantry from oppressed castes who were killed in the hands of harmad vahini and police in a feudal violence, which can also be termed as caste atrocities. And CPM has nurtured its own vigilante gang – the Harmad Vahini, much like the Ranveer Sena. The much touted land reforms in West Bengal have only benefitted the middle and landed peasantry from the dominant castes while the dalits and other oppressed castes continue to live at subsistence level. When CPM sees no problem in allying with the reactionary casteist AIADMK as per its electoral calculations, it merely reveals its hollow claims of fighting against caste. Some others, even those claiming for themselves the appellation of Marxism-Leninism and the legacy of Naxalbari have also not been left too far behind. From allying with CPM to Nitish Kumar, to going into peace deals with Ranveer Sena, CPI(ML) Liberation has also revealed itself as a completely opportunist force committed to blunting the anger of the people against this Brahmanical and feudal system. Liberation’s peace deals with the Ranveer Sena and leaving the dalit masses unarmed to face the wrath of the Ranveer Sena when it was carrying out massacres of hundreds of dalits in Bihar perfectly exemplifies how it has betrayed the fight against caste oppression and feudalism. That on-ground and militant struggle to annihilate caste and smash feudalism after all does not fit into its electoral scheme of things.
Despite the best of attempts of all parliamentary parties of rendering him into a harmless icon, to be merely remembered and garlanded every 14th April, Ambedkar’s legacy continues to threaten this state, as it did Hindu Brahminical order and Gandhis and Nehrus in his days. In many parts of the country, the mere possession of Ambedkar’s works have come to constitute sedition and war against the state! We may all recall the arrests of Dalit activists in Maharashtra like Sudir Dawale for possessing books of Ambedkar or more recently the witch hunting of the members of Kabir Kala Manch. Why is it that the Indian fears the words of Ambedkar – someone who in fact wrote the constitution? This witch-hunt is only explained by the fact that Ambedkar’s uncompromising commitment to the annihilation of caste will always remain a threat to the ruling classes of this country, as it inspires many a struggle which cannot always be neatly co-opted into the quagmire of parliamentary politics. Ambedkar’s insistence on seeing the material reality of caste, as he pointed out in his famous statement that caste is not merely a division of labourers but also a division of labourers, as well as the ideological aspect of it as he pointed out how that the level of consciousness remains largely a caste consciousness in India reflects an extremely nuanced understanding of the caste question, something that the pseudo left fails to see even today. A fight against the prevailing exploitative social relationship therefore cannot be delinked with the struggle to smash caste as principle of social relations as well as caste as consciousness and Brahmanical ideology. So while he relentlessly tried organizing workers, participated in labour movements, drew up alternative plans of progressive land distribution, he equally laid stress on channelizing such struggle against the caste system and untouchability. The pseudo-left of his time betrayed him unabashedly to become a hunting-dog for Nehrus and Gandhis. One may recall historic strike of mill workers in Bombay, when Ambedkar proposal of passing a resolution against untouchability and caste division was rejected by the CPI on the pretext that it would divide the workers. They failed to see that in the social reality of India, the oppressed masses are already divided and a true solidarity can only be built on the basis of all forms of equality, be it class or caste.
The anti-caste and anti-untouchability movements have seen various phases of vibrancy since the transfer of power, despite the parliamentary left’s betrayal. Unfortunately, the Dalit movement has also fallen prey to the Indian state’s various strategies to divert the attention of the Dalit masses away from questioning the very roots of caste oppression. While on the one hand, the Indian state has co-opted a section of dalit leadership, on the other parliamentary left’s betrayal of the fight against caste has also led to suspicion of Marxism amongst dalit groups. However, it is important to re-iterate that the two cannot and should not be seen as exclusive of each other. To annihilate caste we must struck at the root of semi-feudal relations that prevails in the society. The revolutionary experience in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, and now in Maharasthra and many other parts of the country shows that this fight can only be fought by allying with all other oppressed groups against the dominant caste/feudal landed sections, as well as the forces of imperialist capital that is strengthening and fortifying feudalism and caste oppression, along with simultaneously fighting against the Brahmanical ideology, which leases caste an autonomous existence. And all these struggles are enriched and strengthened by the vision of Babasaheb Ambedkar. DSU firmly believes that only true homage to Ambedkar on his birth anniversary is to acknowledge the political goal of annihilating caste as the only way to democratize this feudal caste society and infuse new life in anti-caste movement linking it with all other progressive, democratic and revolutionary movements going on in the Indian sub-continent.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 6:33 pm
13 April 2013
Stand in Solidarity with the residents of Shipra Hostel against an unprecedented eviction drive of the hostel authorities!
DSU condemns in the strongest terms the role of the Shipra Hostel authorities, particularly the senior warden and the section officer, for barging into the rooms of women students with men without informing the students or the hostel representatives and forcefully removing their belongings in the name of eviction. On 11th April 2013, an undemocratic eviction procedure was initiated against 16 residents in Shipra hostel in lieu of them being declared as defaulters of mess dues. The senior warden in the company of 10-12 male guards, all equipped with hammers and screwdrivers barged into the rooms of female residents in Shipra around 11:30 am without any prior announcement. With absolutely no regard for the rights or privacy of the women, these men led by the senior warden had the audacity to open the wardrobe and pack belongings of one of the students, declared as a defaulter of mess dues, in gunny bags. Though her rebate form was misplaced by the authorities themselves, she is now charged for those very months for which she had taken the rebate for. Also paying no heed to the requests of the students to extend the deadline, they locked up the resident’s belongings in the cashier’s room and double locked those rooms that were locked.
When the senior warden was about to initiate the second round of her eviction spectacle, the students opposed it assertively. Because of the adamant refusal of the authorities to talk to the students, they were left with no other option but to gherao them. Consequently, the hostel authorities were forced to agree to the demands of the students and the senior warden gave an undertaking that has put on hold the eviction procedure. The undertaking has also specified that further action with respect to the eviction of residents would be instituted only after due consultations with the elected hostel representatives. The residents through a very assertive agitation also compelled the section officer (who already has complaints against him in DSW) and the caretaker, who had actively participated in the whole episode, to deposit the confiscated belongings back in the resident’s room. A written complaint was lodged against the section officer for his extremely gender insensitive remarks and actions, along with a signature campaign among the residents demanding his termination at the earliest.
The authoritarian attitude hostel authorities in Shipra is not new. Earlier we had seen how the hostel authorities had tried to curb the rights of the residents through ridiculous rules and fines, culminating in taking unaccounted money from the residents. It is important to reiterate that Shipra hostel cannot have rules of its own, as per the warden’s convenience. The hostel authorities have no right to remove the belongings of the students, and forcibly evacuate the rooms. Such authoritarian moves of the hostel authorities will not be tolerated by the student community. DSU stands in solidarity with the residents of Shipra hostel, and warns the authorities against any such attacks on the dignity and privacy of women students in the future. We also strictly warn them against any targeting and singling of students for their opposition to such high handedness. The senior warden of the hostel should tender a public apology for her actions, and the section officer who already has many complaints against him should be removed immediately. The student community should remain vigilant against such intimidation and humiliation of the students by the authorities.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 3:17 pm
Of Forced Occupations, Fake Encounters & State Appointed Committees! Stand by the right to self-determination of the people of Manipur, the entire North East & Kashmir!
Our fight is against the Indian State machinery and not the Indian people… We don't trust the Indian government. New Delhi has been using peace talks as a weapon to divide and destroy small nationalities in the Indo-Burma region...I and my colleagues for one believe that India will have to eventually give up its claim on the North-East. Me and my colleagues may or may not see it coming in our life time, but the struggle will continue as long as it takes.”
- Former Chairman of United National Liberation Front, now in custody of the Indian state
“The oppressor’s government can set up commissions of enquiry and of information daily; in the eyes of the native, these commissions do not exist. ...in the colonies the native has always known that he need expect nothing from the other side. The settler’s work is to make even dreams of liberty impossible for the native. The native’s work is to imagine all possible methods for destroying the settler.” – Frantz Fanon
The skeletons stowed away by the Indian State in its cupboard have tumbled out on more than a few occasions, even as it tries very hard to hide its brutal and unjust occupation of various nationalities in the North-East under the garb of ‘peace’ & ‘development’. The Supreme Court appointed 3 member committee to probe allegations of fake encounters in Manipur expressed ‘stunned outrage’ at the handiwork of the Indian armed forces in killing seven civilians, including a 12-year-old, between March 2009 and April 2010. The committee was set up by the Supreme Court to hear a PIL filed to investigate 1,528 fake encounters carried out by the State Police and security forces between May 1979 and May 2012. While the SC appointed committee articulates its profuse anguish at this ‘discovery’, it quite expectedly refuses to look at the history of brutal occupation of Manipur by the Indian state. It is the denial of the sovereignty of Manipur, its unjust occupation and forcible integration that is being continually and legitimately resisted by the people of Manipur by all means - from 15th October 1949 when Sardar Patel forcibly ‘integrated’ the Manipuri nation into India, and brushed aside in a stroke a history of valiant resistance against British colonialism of a free people, their sovereignty and aspiration for nationhood. And this day – 15th October – is still observed in entire Manipur as anti-merger day. It is to crush this struggle for the right to self-determination that the armed forces have been given complete license to subjugate through terror. But even after investigating into these killings, recognizing these as cold-blooded fake-encounters, and lamenting the same, the committee yet again concludes: “Manipur has to be fully integrated with the country. You keep a state alienated for 10-15 years and such things will occur." A full circle, and a new lease for terror and occupation.
The 1,528 fake encounters are just the tip of the iceberg. The Indian machinery has brutally oppressed millions of people fighting in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur and Kashmir for their right to self-determination, butchering tens of thousands over several decades. The memories of the bombing of Aizawl by the Indian Air Force in 1966, of the Tera Bazaar massacre in Manipur, the mass graves in Kashmir and the continuing forced disappearances, rapes and inhuman torture in various other parts of the Northeast cannot be wished away. And in the same breath we cannot forget the uncompromising and militant resistance by the people of Manipur, the heroic fight of its youth and the assertion of its women marching naked braving the rapist Indian Army.
The answer that the question here begets is not merely the revocation of a few laws or ensuring that certain ‘guidelines’ are followed. The laws exist precisely because the nature of the state machinery requires them to exist in order to ensure subjugation. So while we condemn the countless fake-encounters, demand justice, and oppose such draconian laws like the AFSPA, we must not do so without addressing the primary question of the inalienable right to self-determination of various nationalities. DSU appeals to all progressive and democratic sections to stand in solidarity with the people of North East as well as Kashmir for their right to self-determination including the right to secede from the Indian Union.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 2:51 pm
8 April 2013
We stand in solidarity with the sincere efforts of Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) for conducting a thorough enquiry in a case of sexual harassment in which a faculty member of CSMCH/ SSS, Prof. K.R.Nayar has been found to be guilty. The students as well as the faculty of CSMCH/SSS have taken the lead in ensuring that there is no attempt by the administration to shield him. A few days back, the students of CSMCH took the initiative to meet the VC and demanded the immediate implementation of GSCASH decisions without delay. They have been informed by the VC that Prof. K.R.Nayar has been suspended, and it has been official communicated to him. We extend our solidarity to this initiative by the students and demand that the guilty must immediately be dismissed.
In the days to come, the student community has to ensure that all the recommendations of the GSCASH regarding this particular instance, are implemented in totality, and not meddled with. The JNUSU as well as the students’ representatives to the GSCASH must fight to ensure this. We have seen in the past that the JNU administration have shown utter disregard for the decisions and recommendations of GSCASH, by either scuttling completely or diluting them before implementation, especially in cases where the person found guilty is a faculty member. In this context, DSU once again reiterates its consistent demand of ensuring that the decisions of the GSCASH to be made binding on the administration. That is, if after its enquiry, GSCASH finds someone guilty, the course of actions suggested by GSCASH should be final and binding on the administration.
Another extremely shocking incident, where someone on Facebook has posted extremely objectionable comments has come to light. The GSCASH has already taken up the issue, and has even filed an FIR with the police. Such anti-women comments can not to be tolerated under any garb. DSU demands that not just the person responsible for posting the comment but also the administrator of the group, who has been approving many other highly problematic posts should be punished.
While we make sure that the above two cases are taken to their logical conclusion, it is also a time for all of us students of this campus to recognize and deliberate upon the pervading patriarchal context in which we are located and its constant influences on us. We must fight patriarchy at every level. Lastly we appeal to GSCASH to start and complete enquiry of several cases which have been pending for long. We must also in the coming days fight to ensure time-bound enquiries. We appeal to the progressive sections of the campus to be vigilant, more conscious in strengthening the body of GSCASH, which is a product of students’ struggles. Only an assertive students’ movement can strengthen the autonomy of GSCASH, and fight against different kinds of gendered violence and harassment to which people are subjected to on an everyday basis in this campus and outside.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 6:52 am
6 April 2013
Stand in solidarity with the members of Kabir Kala Manch! Resist the branding, persecution and witch-hunt of people’s artists and activists!
Nausea served in the plate , the untouchable nausea
The disgust grows in the belly, the untouchable disgust
It's there in the flower buds, it's there in sweet songs
That a man should drink another man's blood,
This is the land where this happens
This is the land of hellish nausea
– Excerpt from a song written by Sheetal Sathe
किस किस को कैद करोगे?/ लाखों हैं मुक्ति के पंछी, कैद करोगे किसको
लेकर पिंजरा उड़ जाएंगे खबर न होगी तुझको/ इस पिंजरे की सलाखों का लोहा हमने ही निकाला है
ये लोहा पिघलाने हमने अपना खून उबाला है/लोहा लोहे को पहचानेगा, फिर क्या होगा समझो
लेकर पिंजरा उड़ जाएंगे खबर न होगी तुझको
- From Deepak Dengle’s poem ‘Kis Kis Ko Kaid Karoge’ penned by him in jail
Three days back, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) courted arrest outside the Vidhan Sabha Bhavan in Bombay. In May 2011, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had arrested two of KKM members Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhosle and charged them under various sections of the draconian UAPA. The charges against them were that they were Maoists who spreading issues of caste oppression and social and economic inequality. For the last two years, all that the prosecution could present in the court as evidence to prove its claims were some books and the fact that KKM highlighted the wrongs present in society and the need to change it through their songs, plays and music. This witch-hunt that the state subjected KKM to so as to prevent them for performing and taking its message to the people forced its other members to go into hiding, and the state had declared them as ‘absconders’ since. This witch-hunt by the state of Kabir Kala Manch singers, a group of young Amberdkarite singers, faced a determined opposition from the progressive and democratic sections and eventually forced the court to grant bail to its arrested members. In a landmark judgement, the Maharashtra High Court observed that highlighting issues of social and economic inequality, far from being a crime, is commendable. Questioning the logic that leads anyone raising issues of social inequality and caste oppression being branded a Maoist, the judgement interestingly observed that such a reasoning “would indicate that these issues, which are real and important, are not addressed to by anyone else, except the CPI-Maoist” and all “the other parties or social organisations are indifferent to these problems faced by the society!” While courting arrest on Tuesday, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali have made it clear that this should not be perceived as ‘surrender’ and all they expect is a fair trial without they being subject to any torture and physical abuse.
Kabir Kala Manch is a radical Ambedkarite cultural organisation formed in 2002 that looks at art and music as an active agent of change. In various parts of Maharashtra, it spread the message of annihilating caste, providing land to the tiller and issues of structural violence and social inequity through their music – all issues well within the constitutional ambit. However, just like a large section of rights guaranteed by the constitution none of these have ever become a reality for the struggling masses of this country, and thus KKM pointed out that this can only be achieved through revolution. The group also questioned the appropriation and the hollow canonization of Ambedkar by the various parliamentary parties for their vested interests, and stressed the need to imbibe and apply his radical ideas in the struggle for justice and dignity. Parliamentary parties and cultural groups affiliated to them uses the fact – that the constitution was penned by Ambedkar – in order to blunt the anger of the people against the system. KKM however candidly pointed out that Ambedkar himself had observed that he would be the first one to burn it down if it failed to give justice to the dalits and the other oppressed people. KKM emphasised the need to bring together the radical ideas of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh to fight the oppression inherent in the society today.
The issues KKM highlighted – of caste and feudal oppression, and socio-economic inequity - are issues that the Indian state wants to silence and blanket out of public purview. The state of Maharashtra has seen vibrant movements ever since the transfer of power against the grotesque reality of caste oppression. The Indian state has done its best to divert the attention of the dalit masses away from questioning the very roots of caste oppression. This it has done either through offering some crumbs to a section of self-seeking dalit leadership and co-opting them in the rat race of parliamentary politics or by creating schisms, splits and confusions amongst groups like the Dalit Panthers that broke away from the established leadership. None of the parliamentary parties have worked towards realizing the vision of Babasaheb Ambedkar of annihilating caste. Rather, committed to an inherently Brahmanical and feudal social order, all of them have been complicit in perpetrating caste massacres and oppression. There is not a single day that passes without atrocities on dalits in some part of the country or another. But in spite of the all the crafty manoeuvres of the Indian state, the anger of the dalits against this systemic oppression has erupted time and again. The militant protests after the firing in the Ramabhai Colony in Mumbai which forced many of parliamentary leaders to flee or the spirited protests all over Maharashtra and other parts of the country against the brutal murder of Bhaiyalal Bhotmange’s family in Khairlanji in 2006 reflect the rage of the dalit masses against this casteist-communal state. This anger, even in these dark times, serves as a hope to all who are committed to the vision of the annihilating caste. KKM merely gave a voice and expression to this outrage of the oppressed, and was in turn hounded for this ‘crime’. However, what KKM lent their voice to, was not merely oppression that this communal-casteist state carries on, but also the fight for justice and dignity that the people are carrying on in spite of great odds and difficulties. The arrest and witch-hunt of the members of the KKM only reflects the mortal fear and the growing schizophrenia of the Indian state as it faces the wrath of the oppressed. DSU stands in complete solidarity with Kabir Kala Manch and appeals to all progressive and democratic sections to come together to ensure the immediate release of Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali as well as complete acquittal of the rest of its members so that they can resume taking their message to the people through their songs and music.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 9:32 pm
5 April 2013
Condemn the brutal killing of Sudipto Gupta, a student activist of SFI by the TMC regime! Two years of TMC rule demonstrates their mastery over the tactics handed over to them by the social-fascist CPM of unleashing fascist terror!
DSU strongly condemns the killing of Sudipto Gupta, a student activist of SFI who was brutally beaten to death in police custody. The police assaulted a group of SFI activists in police detention as a result of which he succumbed to injuries. TMC-led government has exhibited such fascist terror in crushing political opponents and dissent repeatedly in the recent past. We may recall not even a year ago protesters opposing slum-eviction in Nonadanga were similarly attacked. False charges were framed against them and one was even booked under UAPA. Kamalesh Mahato, Secretary of Jharkhand Students Federation in Jangalmahal, in another instance, was arrested in April 2012, mercilessly tortured for two days in police custody, falsely implicated as being a Maoist and hand-cuffed in hospital bed.
However the death of Sudipto must not gloss over the fact that this fascist terror unleashed by Trinamul Congress is merely a continuation of similar tactics used by the social-fascist CPM during their 33 year old rule. CPI(M) rode to power in 1967 over the bodies of hundreds of activists standing in solidarity with the peasants of Naxalbari. Rendering themselves as the eyes and ears of the police they were complicit in the most gruesome witch-hunt of revolutionaries in the 70s. CPM used police barricading in the most fearsome manner in Marichjhapi, Sunderban to restrict an immigrant population in the island and starved them to death by cutting supply of food and water. Their vigilante gangs, much like the Ranveer Sena in Bihar, ruthlessly crushed all dissent and opposition and continued to safeguard the interests of the landed-feudal section. On the other hand, an utterly corrupt, anti-people state-administration, duly supported by politically privileged class as cadre-base that CPM built over the years fitted as cog & screw to serve comprador/imperialist interests of TATAs, Jindals, Salems. From Singur, Nadigram to Haripur and Lalgarh bear witness to this feudal violence and state terror. In the electoral rat-race of parliamentary democracy and its attempts to prove themselves as better than CPM in serving the feudal & imperialist interests, the TMC has simply turned this repressive mechanism that CPM built over the years against CPIM itself to secure its position in the parliamentary power corridor. That is all that ‘parivartan’ has entailed. There is NO difference between these two shades of the same ruling classes vying for power.
SFI’s hoax of defending campus democracy: CPM and SFI are crying hoarse in the most hypocritical manner the death of the student activist in defending ‘campus democracy’. But the fact remains that from the very beginning of its rule to the very last days in power, students across several college/university campuses in Bengal who dared to speak against SFI/CPM were beaten up, threatened against contesting elections or voting and quite often even killed! During union elections across campuses, SFI used to file false complaints with the police against political opponents, wrecked havoc in hostel premises, disrupted election procedures with full complicity of the police and even used arms to terrorize students in many campuses. While condemning the death of Sudipta Gupta, it is important to remind the social-fascist SFI of its own bloody history.
While jumping into the bandwagon to condemn the death of SFI activist, both DSF & AISA have conveniently remained silent on CPM/SFI’s social fascist past. But its not surprising, as acknowledging CPM’s past for AISA and DSF is also to face their own politics of deceit, compromises and betrayal. And so for them at times like this the opportunistic farce of ‘non-sectarianism’ comes as a convenient defense. To defeat fascist regimes like that of TMC, we must strengthen the revolutionary struggle of the people and defeat the ruling classes and all the forces that safeguard the feudal and imperialist interests in country.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 3:07 am
4 April 2013
Immediately remove all CCTVs installed in campus aimed at monitoring students in the name of 'security'!
The JNU administration, in yet another undemocratic and authoritarian move, has installed a horde of CCTV cameras across the campus – in north gate, at T-point, in Ad Block and in front of the School Buildings. The pretext on the part of the administration is the usual rhetoric of ‘security’, ‘safety’ and ‘well being’ of the students. However, for students, the real agenda and intention of the administration is as clear as daylight. We must remember how this same JNU administration had used video-recording as the effective weapon to threaten and intimidate students in the past. In the regime of B.B. Bhattacharya, the then Vice Chancellor it became a common affair for the protesting students that the security guards, under instruction, would be recording protest demonstration from the roof top of the administration building. And of course the reason for such action, was not our safety or security. It was keeping records of the identity of the protesting students, so that direct intimidation can be used as a pressure strategy if the students become too militant, too insistent with their just demands. In fact, in the past, such subtle threats had been communicated to the all-organization students delegates also. Recent installation of CCTV must be understood in the context of a growingly anti-student JNU administration. It is nothing but a move to systematize and legitimatize their draconian practices in the past with the pretext of our safety and security. It is to monitor, control our campus life and thereby constrict our political spaces – a space that we have democratized, expanded & preserved through sustained struggles.
These recent moves are much in line with repeated attempts by the administration to monitor our campus life beyond class rooms, which is enthused with vibrant political activism and cultural expression often questioning status-quo and power-that-be. It is yet another initial but systematic effort on the part of administration to take control and decide on students’ behalf that what we speak of, what we do and how we practice our freedom of expression. We may recall in the past how JNU administration was prompt in prohibiting girls’ entry in boy’s hostel or keeping records of girls students in boy’s hostel by making them sign in register. JNU students vociferously registered their protest against such feudal measures trying to control women’s movement in this campus with the pretext of their safety and security. Subsequently students lodged their protest and successfully defended the progressive tradition of JNU, evolved through politically conscious, democratic practices where women have the equal right to mobility. In another instances, in an effort to criminalize dissent and curb our freedom of expression, the office of the dean of students issued a circular banning any cultural activity or political program which is ‘anti-national’ or harmful to ‘collective sentiment’ etc. JNU administration banned one political platform ‘JNU Forum Against War on People’ on the same ground that a widely-circulated picture in the internet which the forum used in their campaign-material to be ‘anti-national’. The JNU Forum in solidarity with students fought JNU administration tooth and nail and upheld right to political opinions and freedom of expression.
DSU firmly believes that we must not tolerate any measures or any such surveillance mechanism that intrudes in our own spaces, monitors our activities, and criminalizes us! DSU also holds that this is not just a squandering of public fund, neither is it merely mindless expenditure on the part of the administration. The fact that it would install latest surveillance machinery across our campus instead of allocating funds for MCM or hostel or such other genuine students’ demands is not to be explained as mere ‘insensitivity’ or ‘callousness’ on the part of the administration. Rather this precisely demonstrates the real purpose, priorities and concerns of the administration. It demonstrates its anti-student, undemocratic and authoritarian character.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:14 pm
3 April 2013
Uphold the Revolutionary Spirit of Bhagat Singh and his comrades! Resist right-wing and parliamentary pseudo-left’s attempts to distort and appropriate Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary legacy
During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred, and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonise them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it. – Lenin
Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites. They may be purely British Capitalist or mixed British and Indian or even purely Indian – Bhagat Singh
Yesterday was the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Martyred 82 years back by the British colonial state, Bhagat Singh’s short lived yet remarkable life represents one of the first and clearest understanding of British colonialism as well as the true nature of the Congress party. A true revolutionary, armed with the ideology of Marxism, Bhagat Singh repeatedly reiterated the need to infuse the anti-colonial struggle against the British with a revolutionary spirit and vision of a truly independent India. Unlike the latter CPI which rendered great service to the colonial rulers and their domestic agents in the Congress by diverting people’s struggles in the mire of legalism, reformism, economism and parliamentary constitutionalism, thereby blunting class struggle, Bhagat Singh’s ideas indicate a radical understanding of the Indian social reality and are perhaps the earliest formulation of the path that the glorious people’s struggles like Tebhaga, Telangana, Naxalbari, Srikakulam followed around and after ‘transfer of power’, masquerading as ‘independence’. It is precisely this uncompromising spirit of Marxism and Communism which Bhagat Singh envisioned that haunts the Indian ruling classes and their imperialist masters in the form of Maoism. His ideas and practice reflect a correct understanding of the mass organization, propaganda along with the need of armed resistance in prevailing Indian reality.
While the right wing absurdly portrays Bhagat as a ‘nationalist’ fighting for the cause of ‘Bharat Mata’, the parliamentary pseudo-left has also done everything possible to distort and appropriate Bhagat Singh’s revolutionary legacy. Both the CPM and Liberation and their students wings SFI and AISA attempt to rid Bhagat Singh of his revolutionary essence so that it can neatly fit within their electoral scheme of things. The exercise of (mis)-quoting Bhagat Singh, which they oft indulge in, further serves the agenda of justifying their own capitulation and betrayal of people’s struggles. Mired deep in the vote bank politics and parliamentary opportunism, they insisted that Bhagat Singh, too, emphasised the primacy of ideas, mass organization only, over and above revolutionary violence. In their virulent slandering against the revolutionary movement, the lines of Bhagat Singh most quoted by them are, “Bombs and pistols do not make revolution. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of ideas.” Politically bankrupt and ideologically degenerate for having left on-ground struggles, it is essential for forces like CPM and Liberation to de-contextualise statements of great revolutionaries. In Bhagat Singh’s vision there was no place for romanticising violence, neither did he ever repudiate revolutionary violence as an agent of change. Contrary to the present day revisionist left CPI, CPM, Liberation, he correctly identified the role of a people’s army under the leadership of the communist party. He was well aware that a communist movement that mobilizes people for the revolutionary transformation of the society is bound to face repression by the ruling classes and the state machinery under their control. In his message to the youth of the country a month and a half before he was executed by the British, he insisted that while he knew that, “mere bomb throwing is not only useless but sometimes harmful”, in the same breath he added, “ I do not mean that bombs and
It is not surprising that in today’s date pseudo-left forces like Liberation/AISA has to selectively claim the legacy not only of Bhagat Singh but glorious history of Naxalbari. This is because such forces have long betrayed the cause of revolutionary masses of this country and legacy of revolutionary past that Naxalbari or Bhagat Singh stands for. Camouflaging their ideological bankruptcy and complete sell-out to ruling classes in the garb of leading ‘mass struggles’, AISA/liberation now needs selective incorporation and misrepresentation of the legacy of Bhagat Singh in order to justify their own degeneration. We must not forget while these forces claim the ideas of Bhagat Singh on the one hand, on the other the same forces Liberation/AISA oppose CPM for its ‘right wing dgeneration’ while simultaneously allies with them for electoral benefits, gets into peace deals and collaborates with the Ranveer Sena when it was carrying out massacres of dalits, supports and promotes World Bank funded movements like Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption facade and allies even with reactionary parties like Nitish Kumar’s Samta Party.
The revolutionary movement in the country has kept alive the dream which Bhagat Singh envisioned for the country. A mere transfer of power from the white to the brown sahebs, as Bhagat Singh foresaw, has not changed the oppression and the injustice in the country. There has not been a single year since the transfer of power, when in some or the other part of the sub-continent, the feudal-comprador ruling classes of this country have not waged a war against the people. For the past more than 4 years, the Indian state at the behest and with the support of the imperialist forces have been carrying out the most ruthless war in Central and Eastern India to facilitate the plunder of lands, forests and other natural resources. But the repression by the Indian state is only one aspect of the war. The resistance of the people led by the revolutionary movement which is spreading like a prairie-fire has not only successfully resisted the corporate takeover of resources, but has been successful in building a revolutionary alternative. The best way of paying homage to Bhagat Singh is to stand in solidarity with the millions of people who are fighting against the brutal Indian state and its imperialist masters, and striving to turn Bhagat Singh’s dream into a reality.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 7:05 pm
DSU congratulates the student community for their enthusiastic participation in the recently concluded GSCASH election, 2013. DSU also acknowledges the solidarity of the students who rallied behind DSU’s political program and agenda in the GSCASH election and extended their support to the candidature of Srirupa. We take this appropriate moment to thank the Election Commission and its individual members for their successful conducting of the election process. It is to be noted when JNUSU election is under the clutches of undemocratic Lyngdogh Committee Recommendations, the successful completion of GSCASH election upholding letter and spirit of our JNUSU constitution is an achievement for the EC and the student community at large.
DSU stands committed to the struggle for a gender just campus and strengthening GSCASH as an institution to deliver justice. We firmly believe and restate our position that in campus-spaces such as ours, undergird by dominant feudal-patriarchal values and social relations, sensitization can only be ensured by ensuring justice. To ensure justice we must collectively stand by the GSCASH and assert GSCASH’s decisions pertaining to the cases of sexual harassment of any forms to be binding on the JNU administration. Given JNU administration’s history of complicit and at times unabashed direct shielding of sexual harassers --- especially in the cases of faculty where GSCASH found them to be guilty --- we have no illusion that only through uncompromising collective struggle, JNU administration can be exposed and ultimately forced to fulfill our democratic, just demand. To this end, we appeal to the newly elected GSCASH representatives to take concrete steps involving the JNUSU and the larger student community.
DSU also reiterates that long pending student’s demands pertaining to infrastructural development and funds for GSCASH office must be addressed immediately. It is condemnable that previous student representatives, supported by the same forces namely AISA & DSF (SFI JNU), even failed to ensure simple yet crucial demand of a photocopy machine for the GSCASH office to safeguard confidentiality. Consequently, this year too, the candidates’ agenda (including candidates of AISA and DSF) had once again produced the same demand. GSCASH representatives must ensure that these longstanding demands of the students are met without further delay.
In the context of repeated attacks on the GSCASH from the feudal-patriarchal ruling classes and their agents in the administration, it is only a militant student’s struggle that can embolden it and also carry forward the task of building a gender just and democratic campus. And this political responsibility lies on the larger democratic sections of the student community.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 6:59 pm
A Collective movement led by women and progressive sections of student community is the only way of truly strengthening GSCASH!
GSCASH is the first body of its kind in the entire country, which came into being after a sustained and protracted movement by the progressive sections of the student community, Such institutions that are themselves the products of struggles, tend to lose its meaning and vitality and in turn gets rendered into a bureaucratic body in the absence of a sustained movement of the student body.
Make the decisions of GSCASH binding on the administration!
The administration has over the years used its reactionary authority time and again to shied perpetrators of sexual violence and harassment from being punished. The administration has created hurdles in the enquiry process or has diluted/overturned the recommendations in every single case of enquiry by the GSCASH, where a faculty member is accused. We respect the decisions arrived at by GSCASH after a process of enquiry. The VC or the Proctor’s office must not have any powers to re-interpret, dilute, overturn or delay in implementing the punishments decided upon by the GSCASH.
Ensure Time Bound Enquiries!
Several cases have been pending for years owing to the lack of time-bound enquiries. Cases remain stalled for long durations in a non-transparent bureaucratic mire delaying and thereby defeating justice. While the perpetrators roam scot-free, several women students are forced to leave the campus space in the face of rumours and virulent slander campaigns..
Make the Annual Report of the GSCASH public!
There had been a practice wherein before every GSCASH elections, the Committee used to place the entire yearly report in a public GBM also discussing the various difficulties faced by the women students particularly in the campus. It gave the opportunity not only to review the functioning of the GSCASH, but also to identify the challenges ahead. But this practice has been abruptly stalled since the JNUSU elections had been stalled in 2007. This, along with the fact that a GSCASH representative left her office mid-term to try her prospects in the students’ union election, – all points towards the lack of conviction & accountability for the office of GSCASH.
Fight for the autonomy of GSCASH!
Yesterday, the Government ordinance was finally passed amidst widespread opposition outside from all progressive and democratic sections including women’s organizations. We know that in today’s context, the attacks on the cause of dignity and justice of women are manifold – from the ruling classes as well as their agents in the administration – entrenched in feudalism & patriarchy. This is visible in the manner in which the ruling classes through the govt. ordinance has bypassed all the progressive recommendations of the Verma Committee that it itself appointed. An inherently patriarchal state that rapes with impunity to push through its anti-people policies and agendas is trying to safeguard what it was forced to concede in the face of the militant and progressive demands of the woman’s movement in India. The same attack is also faced by GSCASH in campus. The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace: Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Bill is just one of its manifestations, in the legal domain. The fight for the autonomy of GSCASH cannot therefore be constricted just in terms of defending our achievements from perceptible threats. But rather, we must strive towards wresting greater autonomy for GSCASH through further politicization and militant mobilization of women, as also the entire student body, challenging the powers that be. DSU took the lead in defending the autonomy of GSCASH elections vis-à-vis the attack of Lyngdoh, while all the so called ‘left’ forces maintained criminal silence on the matter. We must continue to be vigilant against the threat of Lyngdoh.
Finally, GSCASH is not a body for only sensitizing students on the issue of gender equality; nor is it a body to maintain health, hygiene, sanitation and the general welfare of women. We cannot outsource certain issues pertaining to gender to GSCASH just because it particularly concern women students. Neither it can be treated as a ‘neutral’ ‘non-partisan’ body that just delivers verdicts over and above political contestations. We do not believe that the GSCASH should be treated as a ‘non-political’ body. The woman’s issue is as political as every other issues. And after all, every issue is a woman’s issue, and no issue is a woman’s issue alone. DSU upholds that representative’s own political commitment can only ensure justice, not supposed “neutrality” and “non-partisanship”. We may recall in the past so called non-partisan, neutral representatives in GSCAH, supported by pseudo left organizations like AISA, SFI, were instrumental in shielding harassers from these organizations. The fight for gender-justice in the semi-feudal, semi-colonial context of the Indian society has to be political-ideological everywhere be it in this campus or elsewhere. The patriarchal values are deeply entrenched in our system and our selves. In such a context the women’s issue cannot be isolated from other struggles for dignity, land, livelihood, national liberation & the revolutionary transformation of society aimed at breaking all oppressive shackles of Brahminical-feudalism, imperialism and patriarchy.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 6:56 pm
NO more Resolutions, The only Solution lies in recognition of the Right to Self Determination of the Eezham Tamils!
350,000 Eezham Tamils were annihilated in a carefully orchestrated genocidal war by the fascist Sri Lankan state in 2009. The objective being to bury forever the national liberation struggle in Eezham under the indiscriminate pounding of aerial bombardment, chemical weapons, long-range artillery, howitzers, missiles, mortars & Rocket Propelled Grenades. People were meticulously flocked into clusters demarcated as ‘No Fire Zones’ and then systematically massacred by heavy fire from land, air and sea. Inputs from Red Cross were used for targeted bombing of hospitals & schools. While at the same time Rajapaksa was heard saying: “Our troops went to this operation carrying a gun in one hand, the Human Rights Charter in the other, hostages on their shoulders, and the love of their children in their hearts.” Either the bloody facts are lying, or it is him. The international community, the US, the West and also the UN chose a side in favour of the genocide through both their actions & inactions before, during and after the war. Now when these same forces are talking of ‘rebuilding’, ‘peace’, ‘truth & reconciliation’ & UN Resolutions, we must cry out loud that…
NO more Resolutions, The only Solution lies in recognition of the
Right to Self Determination of the Eezham Tamils!
For all democratic, progressive and revolutionary sections standing in solidarity with the liberation struggle for Eezham, the hue & cry created around the latest UN Resolution (and the one before it) is nothing but a plain hoax played out by the imperialist forces. The recent Resolution triggered massive protests that rocked the streets of Tamil Nadu – one of the biggest since the anti-Hindi agitations. A large section of the protestors came out openly denouncing the Resolution as nothing but an eye-wash. The Resolution cannot be seen in isolation from the forces that have been backing it. It is of paramount significance therefore for us to recognize the role and nature of these forces and the character of the very institution of UN and its involvement in the Eezham war.
Their role was not of merely criminal silence, but also of active complicity. When we find the US sponsoring the latest Resolution apparently denouncing the war crimes, we must not forget that the war to start with had the global backing of the US sponsored “war on terror”. With LTTE being proscribed as a terrorist outfit by the US in 2006, there was an open support from the entire West for what was being referred to as “Sri Lanka’s little war on terror”, despite complete knowledge of the details of the horrific and targeted massacre of Tamil civilians, as has been established beyond doubt by Wikileaks with reference to correspondences of the American Embassy. The Sri Lankan military budget rose by 40 per cent between 2005 and 2008, and the army’s size increased by 70 per cent. The militarization was actively aided and abetted by the same imperialist forces and their allies that are shedding crocodile tears today. Israel, a close ally of the US, supplied the Sri Lankan armed forces with combat aircraft and patrol craft; India supplied patrol vessels, radars and helped block the movement of LTTE naval vessels; Pakistan supplied ammunition & hand grenades; China supplied vehicles, small arms, light weapons, artillery, ammunition on a large scale as also economic aid; US provided basic infantry supplies, maritime surveillance & radar equipment to help the Sri Lankan navy. In the build-up to the final war, Britain (the other prominent force backing the war crimes Resolution today,) had remained the biggest arms exporter to Sri Lanka in Europe. At a time when appalling crimes were being committed, British Defense Secretary was busy discussing investment & reconstruction in the beleaguered Eezham. And for buying the arms, as well as to sustain the bloody war, the Sri Lankan ruling classes needed money. So at the end of April 2009 when the war-crimes were at its peak, the UN Security Council sanctioned £1.2 billion IMF loan to the Lankan Govt. to boost its war-economy.
These war crimes being highlighted today in the context of the Resolution, have certainly not come to light now or in 2012, when the UNHRC passed its earlier Resolution against Sri Lanka. The war crimes which reached their peak in 2009 have been documented for many years. That was the time when any genuine efforts at building international pressure might have saved tens of thousands of lives. The UN and the ruling classes of various countries, in particular US and India, were well aware of what was happening in real-time. The UN, not just kept silent, but played its role in the war by downplaying the number of civilian casualties, by threatening its own staff not to reveal the bombing of ‘no fire zones’ and summarily sacking those who did. Despite having full information about the use of chemical weapons, killing of civilians the UN chose to keep the evidences to itself, waiting for the Tamils to be butchered. The UN officials were complicit in the execution of the LTTE leadership who surrendered with white flags to the Sri Lankan army. Even after the war, a Sri Lankan high ranking army commander charged of war crimes was posted as Deputy Ambassador to the UN, thereby giving him diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Sri Lankan troops right after the genocidal war were deployed around the world as UN “peacekeepers”! The UN thus played its part as a loyal friend of US imperialism as it has done historically. All of these powers that talk about war crimes today have blood on their hands.
The cry of war crime now by these very forces is only in their own interest: Since the end of the war in May 2009, the west including the UN have been talking about war crimes by the Sri Lankan army, and have brought out several reports and a few books, two Resolutions and documentaries in this regard. However, what all of them have in common is the fact that, though they agree that lakhs of Tamils were massacred, they refuse to call it a genocide; none of these forces recognize the self determination of the Tamils or talk about their right to nationhood; and all of their propaganda portray the LTTE as a murderous and terrorist organization. While praising the Lankan Govt. and its farce of a Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission for its ‘positive’ steps towards ‘restoring peace’ in the Resolution, they deliberately overlook that even after the war, the fascist Lankan state continues to systematically persecute the 500,000 displaced Tamils in the refugee camps where they live in inhuman conditions and under constant surveillance. Torture, killing, rape, molestation and intimidation being part of the daily routine. Alongside, there is calculated silence on the Lankan army being mobilized, in pursuance of its program of structural genocide, to occupy and demolish the ancestral settlements of the Eezham Tamils that are being fast converted into Sinhala settlements and military camps. In this context, the larger attempt of US and the imperialist west today is to use certain vested individuals, NGOs and also the mask of UN and its Resolutions to bury the real issue of self-determination in Eezham for the sake of a forced ‘peace’ that would entail only death, humiliation and injustice for the Eezham Tamils. It is aimed at blunting the genuine aspirations for a separate Eezham by deploying the language of ‘conflict Resolution’. At times like this, it is furthermore significant to reject such Resolutions in toto and reiterate that there can be no peace in Eezham without justice; & there can be no justice without the unequivocal recognition of right to self-determination of the Eezham Tamils.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 12:00 pm
29 March 2013
Eazham: A Genocidal War and its Aftermath! Brutal executions, massacres and lies will not douse the flames of liberation in Eezham!
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 1:04 am
Sacrificing Gender Justice at the altar of vote-bank politics! > Expose the parliamentary pseudo-left’s - CPM/Liberation/AISA/SFI/DSF - hollow claims and empty rhetoric!!
Sexual assault and violence on women has been a potent tool in the hands of the Indian state be it communal pogroms, caste massacres, or the repression on nationality struggles or people’s movements for lands and livelihood. The right wing, the landed feudal forces and Indian state’s armed forces or the many vigilante gangs have repeatedly and, at times, selectively targeted women in their attempts to suppress people’s movements. The mass rapes by the armed forces in army occupied Kashmir and North East to the rapes of adivasi women in central and eastern India to the horrific violence faced by women in Gujarat and Kandhamal exemplifies how in the social reality of the Indian sub-continent where patriarchal-feudal social relations penetrate deep, exploitation and severe repression falls more on the women. From the gallantry award given to Ankit Garg who was responsible for torturing and sexually assaulting Soni Sori, installing the ‘martyr’ statue of Salwa Judum leader Suryam Kota who raped many adivasi women in Chhattisgarh, to the shielding the army personnel involved in rapes of Kunanposhpora and Shopian, the Indian state has always shielded and at times even commemorated rapists in uniform. But a state that uses rape as a weapon of war, the Indian state and its many armed wings make no qualms about gender justice and the fight against patriarchy. The cudgels for the same have been taken up by some of our ‘left’ and ‘progressive’ friends. But a close look at their own degenerate past brings out how committed to a system that is inherently feudal and patriarchal and mired deep in the rat race of vote bank politics, their role has been no different.
As our campus gears up for the GSCASH elections, we have seen forces such as SFI (and their new 21st century avatar DSF) and AISA make tall claims about the fight for gender justice. Before taking any of their claims seriously at face-value, a scrutiny of the larger politics they represent and the rotten past of their respective parent parties brings out how all such claims are hollow and carefully aimed with an eye towards vote-bank politics.
From Biman Bose to Binoy Konar to Anisur Rehman, various senior leaders of the CPM have displayed time and again, through their patriarchal and misogynist statements that the rot in the CPM runs deep. In fact, it is not merely restricted to making atrocious statements about women, but has extended beyond in direct assaults. While CPM makes tall claims of fighting against Khap Panchayats in Haryana, they themselves aided, supported and then provided impunity to Todi, a leading industrialist of West Bengal in the muder of a young Muslim boy Rizwan-ur Rehman. Rizwan’s crime was merely that he had fallen in love with Ashok Todi’s daughter, a ‘Hindu’ and married her against the wishes of the father.
CPM’s deep love for industrialists and multinational corporations was visible once again in Singur in 2006, and Nandigram in 2007 where at their behest, they launched brutal repression on the people. Much like the Ranvir Sena or Salwa Judum, CPM’s vigilante gang Harmad Vahini was in the forefront of perpetrating violence on women. In Singur in 2006, when all the initial tactics to suppress the resistance of the people failed, CPM stepped up their efforts by unleashing the worst forms of feudal repression, which seemed more like taken from a Ranvir Sena or a Bajrang Dal guide-book. The target was a woman activist named Tapasi Malik. She was abducted and repeatedly raped by harmads. Her body was then taken to a nearby field guarded by police and set on fire. In Nandigram too, when the CPM decided to re-capture the area, women were selectively targeted. Police fired relentlessly to give covers to the harmad while the latter went on a rampage especially targeting women. While incidents of savagery abound, the incident of Amratola stood out. 600 villagers were abducted and taken to Amratola by police and harmads. There were 100 women among 600. Made to stand in a line, CPM goons came out with covered face and chose 12 young women from the line. They were taken to a nearby hut and soon what the people of the village heard were loud wails of the women. It was a mass rape in full public view just to terrorize and demoralize a spirited people’s resistance.
CPM has a long history of adopting most draconian policies and repressive measures. But what was visible from Singur to Lalgarh was its social fascist, feudal and patriarchal roots that it had been partially successful in hiding from people for decades. Brutalized by years of state terror, the women of Lalgarh were at the forefront of the struggle there in 2009. Here too, CPM repeated the same pattern of repression as in Singur and Nandigram. Police, along with harmads, entered villages and with the excuse of finding Maoists, unleashed worst form of repression. Men were beaten up and illegally detained; while women faced the wrath more severely. They were made subject to body searches in which police forced them to lift saris, expose private parts and molested them in public. A pregnant woman was hit with rifle-but deliberately in the belly. One elderly woman, aged almost 80, was hit by rifles and lathis and lost one of her eyes.
The instances cited above clearly show that a social fascist force like CPM is no different from the fascist counter-part BJP or the Congress. Notwithstanding their hollow rhetoric, CPM and its left allies have not flinched from inflicting rape, torture, molestation and sexual violence on women in order to safeguard their own interests. Liberation/AISA have in the past few years tried to show themselves an alternative to the social fascist CPM. But, it has conveniently sided with them whenever it has faced the wrath of the people for their own electoral gains.
Liberation’s Double-Speak on Gender Justice and Opportunist Electoral Alliances: In the past few months, Liberation/AISA have taken to the streets of Delhi demanding effective laws against sexual harassment. But anyone who has observed Liberation/AISA for some period of time will know how it will side-track all the demands of the women’s movement the moment it turns militant and questions the structures that lead to patriarchal oppression. Thus, the Lalgarh movement when the women courageously fought against state terror is an ‘anarcho-militarist’ movement for them, whereas the struggle of the Kashmiri women for national liberation is an ‘Islamist-fundamentalist’ movement. Such movements after-all do not fit into its neat electoral scheme of things.
CPI (ML) liberation and its student wing AISA have created lot of hue and cry about the murder and rape of Tapasi Malik and the violence on women in Nandigram nside this campus and outside. It featured as one of their main campaign slogans in the 2007 JNUSU elections. However that did not stop them to take stock of electoral calculationss and allying with CPM in Bihar when Nandigram was flashing onto media every day. It was not even a year since the carnage in Nandigram,that they went and allied with CPM. It that was not enough, their General Secretary on record spoke of the ‘great possibilities’ in the alliance. The alliance continues till date, and CPM continues to be one of their partners in the ‘parivartan’ they envisage for the country. As recent reports suggest, seeing further possibility Liberation is now toying with the idea of come into alliance with CPM in West Bengal panchayat election too.
It has always been character of the revisionist left force like Liberation/AISA, which has sacrificed people’s struggles for their electoral goals. The betrayals of Liberation/AISA is best exemplified in their lip-service in the name of fighting feudal Ranveer Sena. When landless dalit peasantry was at the receiving end of the worst brutalities with women being systematically raped, hundreds butchered, Liberation quickly responded by laying arms down and getting into talks with Ranvir Sena. The result of this betrayal was the massacre at Bathani Tola. (See CPI(ML) Liberation’s Central Committee statement regarding the Bathani Tola Massacre) Their peaceful parliamentary path at times leads them to Nitish Kumar, at other junctures to CPM, as well as at times to the Ranvir Sena. Can Liberation/ AISA care to answer to the student community that what gender justice they are talking about when they repeatedly see great possibilities for themselves in allying with such fascist and social fascist forces who are rapists, sexual exploiters, murderers of women in West Bengal, Bihar?
The hypocritical and double-speak of AISA has been all too visible too in their shielding of sexual harrasers from their own organization. In 2008, an ex-AISA activist, who was a faculty member in CIL/SLL&CS, was found guilty in a serious case of sexual harassment by the GSCASH. AISA not only organizationally openly shielded him in active compliance with the JNU administation, but the JNUSU representative to GSCASH from AISA even deleted files in the GSCASH computer pertaining to the case! When forces such as Liberation/AISA speak about ‘freedom without fear’ and ‘justice for women’, the irony is all too hard to ignore given their own criminal role in defending sexual harassers and scuttling justice.
Hypocritical pseudo parliamentary left has sacrificed justice at the alter of ballot box time and again. The story is same when it comes to justice to women. It is crash opportunism and worst forms electoral calculation that determines the content of their ‘struggle’. Betraying real struggle of the people and surrendering to electoral politics, from CPM to Liberation in today’s date envisage ‘justice’ from the top, through bills, laws, and watching over parliament. It has nothing to do with justice which can only be ensured by fighting feudal patriarchal forces uncompromisingly on the ground. The same is all to visible in their agendas that limit the role of GSCASH to sensitization and awareness, while ignoring real demand for justice. It is to everybody’s knowledge that JNU administration has time and again disregarded GSCASH’s decisions on cases of sexual harassment and over turned its decisions. Not a single faculty member has ever been punished, even when they have been found guilty. In contrary undue delay, slandering force the women concerned to leave campus. DSU upholds that real sensitization and awareness can only be achieved when we resolutely fight every patriarchal values within us, ensure justice and identify to smash entrenched patriarchic structure in this campus. DSU, therefore, is consistently raising the demand for last few years of making the GSCASH’s decisions binding on the administration. Expectedly, AISA, DSF/SFI have maintained a complete silence on this issue so far and continue to do so in the run up to GSCASH election in this year too. DSU challenges AISA, SFI/DSF to take a forthright position on these two demands. The struggle for gender justice and the fight to smash patriarchy is intrinsically linked to the larger fight for revolutionary transformation. Exposing and fighting resolutely against parliamentary pseudo-left that have betrayed all the struggles of the people is an integral part of this fight.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 12:55 am