August 31, 2012
Defeat the nefarious designs of the Indian state to orchestrate strife and violence amongst oppressed people! It is the unity of the oppressed masses which can fight back the exploitation of the Indian state and its imperialist masters!
Right now violence in Assam which is clearly instigated by the Indian state aided by its communal fascist agents by pitting the Muslim peasants against the Bodo tribal community has reached an alarming stage. This resulted to violent clashes which left lakhs of people from both the communities gravely affected. Since July, there have been over 60 incidents in which around 50 villages were razed to the ground, more than 85 people killed while about four lakh people from both communities are living in desperate conditions in about 300 relief camps. The violence started in Kokrajhar district but has now spread to other districts like Dhubri, Nuagaon, Chirang, Morigaon, Sibsagar etc. Yesterday, more people were killed and injured after the violence escalated. Such unabated violence is taking place with the active help of the state. Just like Gujarat or Kandhamal, now in Assam too, the state machinery is actively orchestrating the unabated spread of the violence. The machinations of the Indian state in carefully manufacturing the violent discontent between the Bodos and the muslims in Assam, also reflected in the way it tried to create a countrywide division among the muslims and the people from the north-east. Historically both the muslims and the north-eastern oppressed nationalities are among the most oppressed and persecuted communities. The Indian state is trying to deploy the age old divisive policies of the ruling class to break a unity of struggle among all oppressed masses.
The last month saw protests by various Muslim organisations in Mumbai and other cities of North India, and many of these were met with police repression. While the police action in Mumbai on the protest by the Muslim organisations led to the death of two people and injuries to many others, just a few days later the notorious Raj Thackerey was given complete protection and patronage by the police to spew venom on the entire issue despite having no permission for his rally. The protests by the Muslim organisations were clearly directed against the governments of India and Myanmar. However, in an insidious manner just the day after the protest in Mumbai the corporate media started circulating cooked up stories of “Muslims attacking the people of North East”. The people of the North East residing in the different cities of India started receiving messages on phone as well as on social networking sites which warned them of impeding attacks by the Muslims. Despite not a single case of any Muslim attack on the people of north east such stories and rumours were not just given credence, but also actively promoted by the Indian state. All of this finally spiralled into an enormous threat perception amongst the people of North East forcing thousands of them to flee for their homes. More than 50,000 people from different cities in Karnataka, Maharasthra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have already left for their hometowns. And then, there were also incidents of violence against the people of the North East. Four people were killed and nine sustained injuries as they were thrown of a train near Jalpiaguri. As the spiral of violence continued last week seven more muslims were butchered in Assam. One of the things that the Indian state has achieved by orchestrating the exodus of the north eastern people from India has been to completely displace attention away from the colossal violence that has been unleashed on the Muslims and Bodos in Bodoland. The rumour that Muslims are now baying for revenge on the people of the North East is consistent with the old colonial policy of ‘divide and rule’ that the Indian state has learned from its imperialist masters. In order to reap electoral benefits as well as keep various oppressed groups divided the Bodo tribal community has been in the past also pitted against the Santhals, Koch Rajbonghis and various other oppressed groups which led to massacres of thousands. However, pitting the Bodos against the Muslims reaps for various parliamentary parties electoral dividends far beyond just Assam.
The response of the Indian state has not been one of apathy, but of active complicity in facilitating this exodus. While pretending to take steps to impose confidence and a sense of security to the people of the North State, the Indian state has actually arranged for special trains to further facilitate the exodus. Mired deep into electoral calculations and vote bank politics, all the parliamentary parties have remained either silent or complicit in the ruling class ploy. The Congress, in power both in Assam as well as centre is trying hard to wash its hands of from both the violence unleashed on the Bodos and Muslims in the region of Bodoland as well as the attacks on and exodus of the North Eastern residing in India by once propagating the oft-rubbished theory of Pakistani hand into the entire issue. The Sangh Parivar on the other hand, in line with its communal fascist agenda has once again blamed the Muslims for the entire violence, profiled all of them as ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’ and has asked for their complete extermination. Their sudden concern for the land rights of the ‘Hindu’ Bodo tribals that are ostensibly being usurped by the ‘migrants’ is ridiculous. The role of all BJP led governments in the usurpation of tribal land and the massacres of the protesting tribals at the behest of multinational corporations across states where they are in power is well known to the people. Notorious Sanghi lumpens have started ‘helplines’ for the people of the North East. Nothing can be more ironical when the most loyal agents and supporters of the countless murders and rapes in the North East by the mercenary Armies of the Indian state suddenly start posing themselves as their messiahs. Their crocodile tears and absurd theories notwithstanding, the people of the North East know pretty well that neither is it the Pakistani state or the Muslims, but the Indian state that is responsible for the exploitation of the people and the natural resources of the North East through forced army occupation, fake encounters, countless rapes and murders as well as notorious policies like the ‘Look East policy’ which aim at massive loot of natural resources, devastation of its ecology, all in the name of ‘development’.
The revisionist left in India has also failed to come out of the security centric paradigm to look at the entire issue. The question of the North East is not one of balancing the equation between the ‘periphery’ and the ‘mainstream’ as AISA led JNUSU seemed to suggest a few days back. Even to portray the issue as one of racial discrimination would be to miss the wood for the trees. Historically military occupations have not just maimed and killed people under the military jackboot, but also profiled and stereotyped them in the vilest of ways. In this the Indian state through its repressive and ideological apparatus is no different. By calling the problem one of apathy, racial discrimination or certain policy failures, the pseudo-left is merely suggesting certain policy reversals in the North East. There has not been a single instance when these parties – primarily CPI(M) and CPI(ML)Liberation – have raised the demand for the withdrawal of all the armed forces from the North East or for the people’s right to self determination including the right to secede from the Indian union. It reflects their political degeneration when they demand the scrapping of AFSPA, but are silent when it comes to the demand for the withdrawal of the armed forces. AFSPA has been invoked in Kashmir and the North East not merely because of the inherent racism of the Indian state, but to provide impunity to the Indian state’s armed forces in their fight against the freedom movement being waged in these areas. When the lines are clearly drawn between an occupying army and a freedom struggle, the duty of every Marxist as Comrade Charu Mazumdar pointed out is to stand in solidarity with the Mizo, Naga, Assamese, Manipuri fighters.
The Muslim community which has been historically been one of the most oppressed and deprived communities in the North East and India, has been subjected to an extremely dangerous profiling through the spreading of such communalised rumours. Ever since the transfer of power in 1947, the Indian state has upheld Hindu fundamentalism and Brahmanism. In Assam and the rest of the North East too, the Muslims have been selectively targeted and hounded. In Assam, there had been an attempt by the state and the ruling class to declare all muslims as ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’. There was an attempt last year to declare thousands of muslims as Doubtful voters and thereby forcefully remove them in camps. It was only after a lot of protest by civil rights and muslim organizations that such a draconian and fascist attempt was stayed by the High Court. Right now after the manufactured riots, lakhs of muslims and bodos are indeed staying in relief camps. Developments in the past few months in the subcontinent have laid bare the nefarious designs of the imperialist forces and their puppet regimes to launch brutal attacks as well as forment strife amongst various oppressed groups. The historically persecuted Rohingya Muslims for the past few months have been facing a genocidal assault by the chauvinist Myanmar regime aided and abetted by various imperialist forces. These attacks have left over 30,000 muslims dead and have forced over 90,000 to flee from the country. Hundreds of mosques across Myanmar have been either locked, damaged or completely destroyed. The states of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as bodies such as the UN have not just remained mute spectators, but have been actively complicit in the genocide. The Bangladesh state has in fact ordered shoot at sight orders for any Rohingya Muslim trying to seek refuge in Bangladesh. Noble prize winner and touted by the various imperialist forces as the greatest defender of democracy in Myanmar, Aung Syu Kyi is yet to come up with any clear condemnation.
Muslims are not the enemy of the people of the North East and vice versa, rather they have a common enemy which is the Hindu fascist Indian state and its imperialist masters. Right from its inception, the Indian state has waged continuous wars on oppressed masses and nationalities. From aerial bombings in the North East, the military occupation of Kashmir and the North East, the military suppression of the Khalistan movement, the persecution of minorities specially Muslims to even the brutal suppression of Telangana and Naxalbari struggles and now Operation Green Hunt to crush the revolutionary movement in Central India all prove that the cornerstone of political power of the Indian state is not popular will or democratic principles, but brute force. Time and again, the various oppressed nationalities have declared their popular will to form free and independent countries of their own, but have been brutally crushed. One can never overlook the historical crimes of the Indian state in the North East for more than half a century that include aerial bombing, strategic hamleting, burning crops and property, razing entire villages to ground as well as countless rapes and murders.
The Indian Union is a colonial formation, a prison house of nationalities established through the use of force and not popular consent. The victory over fascism, the victory of the glorious Chinese revolution and the massive upsurge of the people in Africa, Latin America and Asia post World War II, made the imperialist forces realize that the only way to save their crumbling empires was to hand over power to a compador elite to keep their interests intact. The subsequent territorialisation and marking of the borders in the subcontinent did not reflect the specifities of the region or the will of the people but was part of the very same project to keep the imperialist interests intact. The question of immigration is related to this same process of territorialisation in South Asia done to keep intact the semi-feudal semi-colonial system of extraction and exploitation of resources. The fight of the various nationalities in the North East (as well as Kashmir, Khalistan, etc) challenges this exploitative edifice of the Indian state, and is thus met with all its military might. However, all its covert and overt machinations nothwithstanding, the Indian state has not been and will not be able to crush the popular fury of oppressed nationalities. Right now, various oppressed nationalities in the North East are fighting a valiant struggle for their right to self determination including the right to secede from the Indian Union. It is the duty of all progressive and democratic forces to stand in solidarity with this fight of the people for freedom and dignity.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 1:26 AM
August 20, 2012
Resist the rumour-mongering of the Hindu-fascists to terrorise the people of North East living in India! Fight the Hindu-Majoritarian Indian State’s attempt to divide Muslims and the Oppressed Nationalities of the North East!
The spreading of deliberate and calculated rumours of “impending assaults and attacks by Muslims” have forced the people from the North East to leave the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. More than 50,000 people have already left out of fear and panic, giving it the form of a mass exodus. These rumours are being concertedly spread by the Hindu fascist forces with the backing of the Indian state and its intelligence agencies. The lie is being spread through these rumors that Muslim organizations and the Muslim people are going to target and assault the people from the North East to “avenge” the violence perpetrated on the Muslims in Assam recently.
These rumours have been spread after a militant protest demonstration took place in Mumbai led by various Muslim organizations against the violence on Muslims in Assam and the massacre of Rohingiya Muslim minorities in Myanmar. This protest, or several such protests by Muslims in North India in the last few days are clearly against the Governments of India and Myanmar, and are not against the common people of the North East. Yet a day after the Mumbai protest where two youths were shot dead by the police, cooked-up stories of “Muslims attacking the people of North East” started to be circulated by the corporate media. Culprits connected to the Hindutva forces flooded the social networking sites with similar ‘news’. This finally spiraled into an enormous threat perception among the North East people, who started fleeing for their homes in large numbers.
The Indian state and its agencies are complicit in the rumour-mongering and have not done nothing to punish those who are responsible for spreading of such a communal campaign. Tejinder Singh Bagga, a notorious sanghi who has been involved in attacks on the leadership of Kashmir’s freedom movement as well as democratic rights activists in the past, is openly spreading these rumours in social networking sites. He has even opened a “helpline” to provide “safety” to the people from the North East. Such blatant attempts to create communally-motivated mass hysteria were willfully allowed and even encouraged by the Indian state which has historically pitted oppressed masses against each other. This is a planned attempt by the ruling classes to criminalise, malign and repress the tide of militant mobilization among the Muslims against the government that is gathering storm due to the killing and eviction of lakhs of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar.
For more than half a century now, the different nationalities of the North East including the Bodos have been fighting a valiant struggle for their right to self determination including the right to secede from the Indian union. Unable to suppress the aspirations of the masses, the Indian state has resorted to brutal suppression with all its military might, the enormous loot of the natural resources through notorious policies like the ‘Look East policy’ as well as the colonial ‘divide and rule’ policy. As per the insidious manner in which the Indian state and its local custodians in Assam operate, they pitted the Muslim peasants against the Bodo tribal community. This has led to violent communal clashes of last month which have left lakhs of working people from both communities gravely affected.
The Muslim community which has been historically been one of the most oppressed communities in the North East and India, has been subjected to an extremely dangerous profiling through the spreading of such communalised rumors. Muslims are not the ‘enemy’ of the people of the North East, and vice versa. It is the Indian ruling classes which are oppressing both the peoples and it is in their interest to foment clashes and distrust between the two. These ruling classes are the real enemy of the people. Let us unitedly fight against these attempts by the India state to create divisions and animosity among the oppressed masses, and defeat its devious machinations.
August 6, 2012
No amount of lies and self-praise can hide reactionary brahmanical character of AISA/Liberation on the issue of reservation and social justice
‘Just as we do not approve of those politicians who want to take revenge on the present-day progeny of Babar, we also reject those theoreticians who would punish the present-day offsprings of Manu for the crimes of their ancestors’—This was the profound statement made in 1990 by Vinod Mishra, the then General Secretary of CPI (ML) Liberation (AISA’s parent party). This is evidence not only of the party’s characteristic double-speak, but also its reactionary and brahmanical character. In short, Muslims are being called ‘Babar ke aulad’; reservations are seen as a ‘punishment’ of the upper-castes; and caste system itself is projected as a ‘crime’ that occurred sometime in the distant past. AISA/ Liberation has always tried to hide its reactionary character by arguing that reservation divides youth and thereby weakens the struggles for employment and education for all. Indeed, Liberation’s document celebrates the birth of AISA thus—‘AISA focuses on the demand for students' inalienable right to education and employment to counter the Mandal-inspired caste polarisation within the student community’ and pats itself on its back for giving the call of ‘"Daam Bandho, Kaam Do" in the midst of fast escalating Mandal- Mandir frenzy’. (http://www.cpiml.org/PGS/30YRS/HIST30.HTM). We see here Liberation/AISA’s desperate attempt to equate the democratic demand for reservations with the Hindu-fascist mobilization that demolished Babri Masjid. AISA’s victory in student unions elections in some north Indian campuses at the time was the outcome of its mastering the art of disguising its reactionary politics in ‘Left’ rhetoric. More recently, we have witnessed AISA/ Liberation playing cheerleader to the RSS backed, corporate funded anti-corruption ‘movement’ led by Team Anna— and trying to help ruling class agenda by standing with anti-reservationist forces which formed the core of this ‘movement” against corruption.
It is no coincidence that after its decade-long reduction into an insignificant force in JNU’s student politics, AISA began to consolidate itself in the campus in 2006. The context was the implementation of 27% OBC reservation in higher education, which emerged as one of the most contentious issues in student politics and was virulently opposed by casteist and brahmanical forces. While paying lip-service to the implementation of reservation, AISA readily agreed with anti-reservation forces such as YFE who instead raised the demand for 54% seat increase. Not surprisingly, this compulsory seat increase ensured a delay of three years in the implementation of 27% OBC reservation. In the 2007 JNUSU elections, when AISA won all four central panel posts, its post-election pamphlet did not even mention the issue of reservation. Liberation’s Central Committee member Kavita Krishnan celebrated AISA’s victory by stating ‘We were neither for nor against reservation.’. This AISA led JNUSU did not intervene when the Aditya Mukherjee Committee’s recommendations of ‘merit cut- off criteria’ were ratified in a 2008 Academic Council meeting. It was due to this criterion that hundreds of OBC candidates were denied admissions from 2008 to 2010. When students protested against this scuttling of OBC reservations, AISA claimed to have discovered the reason for the non-implementation in the merit cut-off criterion. We would like to ask AISA if its members in JNUSU were under the sway of sleeping pills at the time of the ratification of the merit cut-off in the AC meeting which took place in the Winter semester of 2008. In 2009, when the caretaker AISA-led JNUSU refused to protest this scuttling of OBC reservations for the second consecutive year, it was DSU which organised a protest demonstration against the JNU Administration.
In 2008, the JNUSU elections were stayed by the Supreme Court on the grounds of non compliance with the anti-student Lyngdoh Committee recommendations (LCR). The progressive students of this campus rejected the imposition of the draconian LCR or a surrender to the same, and instead launched a political and legal struggle to reinstate students union elections as per the JNUSU constitution. During this period, students of this campus extended the term of the AISA-led JNUSU elected in 2007 from time to time through UGBMs. In 2010, students refused to extend the term of the caretaker JNUSU because of its repeated political failures—be it ensuring the proper implementation of OBC reservations, or leading a decisive struggle against the LCR, or fighting against the privatization of various services and the increase in prospectus fee. We would like to ask AISA why it failed to force the Administration to fully implement OBC reservations in the entire period between 2007 to 2010 when all four central office bearers of JNUSU were AISA members! It was not the AISA led JNUSU but the united struggle launched in 2010-11 by all the democratic and progressive forces in the campus against the casteist merit cut-off criterion, that forced the Delhi High Court and finally the Supreme Court to direct the JNU Administration to implement the eligibility cut-off instead of the merit cut- off criterion. AISA’s very presence in this united struggle was the result of its electoral calculations rather than any commitment to social justice. Consistent to its nature, AISA claims the victory clinched by a united struggle as its own. But will its bundle of lies and patting its own back provide justice to the hundreds of OBC students whose admission was denied due to the merit cut-off?
The same reactionary and brahmanical character of AISA becomes visible once again on the issue of reduction in the weightage of viva-voce marks. One of the main reasons for the non-fulfillment of reserved seats particularly in MPhil/ PhD programmes is discrimination at the viva level. Just as was the case last year, this year too, the seats reserved for SC/ ST, OBC and PH candidates remained unfulfilled—more so in MPhil/ PhD. For the last few years, a struggle has been going on to reduce the weightage of viva-voce from 30 to 10 in order to minimize the possibility of discrimination at that level. The fact that the high weightage of viva marks “remains a crucial structural block” is not a revelation for the JNUSU or any student in this campus. The entire progressive democratic section of the student community has been engaged in a battle with the administration for last few years demanding the reduction in the weightage for viva marks that is a crucial tool for discrimination and scuttle reservations. It is not a “structural block” as the union claims; it is a weapon in the hands of the casteist administration and the students have been in a struggle for more than two years against this.
AISA’ claim that it had ‘initiated’ this struggle is nothing but blatant lie, as this issue was first raised in March 2010, by some common students who faced this discrimination and could not get admission. It was then taken up by AIBSF, UDSF and DSU. AISA was forced to recognize this issue much later after the demands for the reduction of viva marks became strong. Last semester after a prolonged struggle a time-bound Committee had been formed to look into the matter and report within two months. Once the administration quite expectedly started its dillydallying, the AISA-led JNUSU made no efforts to build a struggle through student mobilization, protest or campaign amongst the campus community. It rather maintained a criminal silence that its leadership today shamelessly tries to hide behind their innocuous letters to the administration and their pointless efforts at extracting “principled agreements” from it. It broke its calculated silence only once it was too late and the results were about to be declared.
Yesterday when the students took a protest march out against the scuttling of reservation, the AISA-led JNUSU, instead of intensifying this struggle, called it divisive and sectarian. This once again shows AISA’s reactionary and entrenched anti-reservation character. The struggle against the casteist administration for complete implementation of reservation and social justice must be intensified in the days to come, and the fight against the revisionist politics of AISA is an integral part of that fight.