AISA Fact Finding & Solidarity Visit To Dalit Hostels Attacked By Ranveer Sena In Ara & Muslim Families Affected By Communal Witch-Hunt In Darbhanga

Unite Against The Politics Of Feudal Anti-Dalit Violence And Minority Witch Hunt!

                   The tormenting of Muslim youth in the country in the name of war against terror continues and after Batla House, Azamgarhand Malegaon, it is now the turn of Darbhanga (Bihar) to bear the tyrannical onslaught of minority witch hunting. In 2012 alone, several Muslim youth belonging to Darbhanga have been arrested in different parts of the country on various flimsy grounds as part of a so called counter-terrorism action of the government.In Ara in Bihar, following the killing of Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh, Ranveer Sena mobs attacked, burnt and looted dalit hostels.

In the wake of the attack on dalit hostels, and several recent incidents of witch-hunt of young Muslims, an AISA team is visiting Ara and Darbhanga to meet the affected students and families, express solidarity, and bringfacts to light.The incidents at Ara and Darbhanga, as well as the firing by brutal and communal police at Forbesganj, expose the reality of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar behind his posturing as a ‘secular’ face of NDA in contrast to Narendra Modi. Meanwhile therefusal to ensure justice or even an impartial probe into the Batla House killing, and the failure to ensure justice for theMuslim youth of Azamgarh and Malegaon, who had been falsely implicated on the charges of terrorism and bomb blasts,even after results of several investigations have conclusively proved the role of Sangh Parivar behind the attacks, exposesthe ‘secular’ claims of the UPA Government, which not taken a single initiative to ensure justice in any of these cases otherthan shedding crocodile tears every now and then on the eve of elections, adding insult to the injury.The rise in the number of cases of minority witch hunting in Darbhanga clearly shows that even as Nitish Kumar takes uponhimself the right to distribute the certificate of secularism to his allies, his own self proclaimed secular credentials aredangerously dubious. The case of Naqee Ahmad, who was overnight turned from a police informer to a terrorist by the Maharashtra ATS, without a word of protest from the Chief Minister is sufficient to call the secular bluff of Nitish Kumar. Itshould be noted that after the Maharashtra ATS announced that it had ‘cracked’ the case and arrested Naqee, the DelhiPolice Special Cell and Home Ministry floundered for a while. But instead of defending their informer, they chose to‘congratulate’ the ATS for solving the case. The Delhi Police and Home Ministry obviously felt that it was better to maintainmutual solidarity and sacrifice the hapless informer rather than risk exposing the tactics of false framing that all investigativeagencies, after all, employ!More recently, the cold blooded murder of Mohd. Qateel Siddiqui illustrates this tragic and outrageous reality once again.He had been arrested in November 2011 on charges of involvement in the Jama Masjid shootout, and several blast cases,and has been in jail since then. However, the Maharashtra ATS had failed to file a charge sheet against him in the 7 monthsfrom November 2011 till June 2012. By rights, Qateel should have been free, given the failure of authorities to assemble anyproof against him. Yet, he remained in jail, and the ATS kept claiming he was a ‘key Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative.’ On8 June, it got reported that notorious Maharashtra gangsters Sharad Mohol and Alok Bhalerao strangled Qateel to deathinside jail itself. It is said that these gangsters killed Qateel because their ‘patriotism’ could not bear to allow this ‘terrorist’to remain alive!Several questions are raised by this killing.· Qateel was kept, not in the barracks, but in the high security part of the jail where there is supposed to becontinuous surveillance. How come the gangsters could commit the murder unsupervised by jail authorities, then?Is it not likely that the Yerawada jail authorities are complicit in the murder?· The ATS and IB claimed that Qateel was the key to unravelling the IM network. Now that he has been killed, howwill the ‘IM network’ be exposed? Or is it possible that he was killed precisely to hide the fact that theinvestigating agencies failed to collect any proof for their claim?!· Has the IB and ATS had Qateel killed, in order to avoid having to admit the inconvenient fact –that they jailed aninnocent man, and that the true terrorists are yet to be identified and arrested?

 Lying underneath the tall claims of development in Bihar is the untoldstory of brutal feudal oppression and communal hate-mongering. It needsto be asked that what is it about Nitish’s rule that makes possible theresurgence of the Ranvir Sena style violence on Dalits, the Forbesganjstyle firing on the minorities, and the denial of justice in case of BathaniTola massacre and ex-JNUSU president Com. Chandrasekhar’s murder!!The AISA fact finding and solidarity team of students of JNU andJamia Millia Islamia including JNUSU Vice President andCouncillors from SSS and SLL&CS are visiting Ara and Darbhangafrom June 28-July 1.

AISA PARCHA on recent crises of JNU-SFI Unit.

Before the ongoing debate in JNU, initiated by CPI(M)’s support for Pranab Mukherjee, can proceed, one clarification is needed from the SFI-JNU.Students need to know, what exactly is ‘SFI-JNU’? Are we debating with the JNU unit of the SFI, which is claimingfederal independence to take positions in opposition to the SFI national body, which is the CPI(M)’s student wing?Or are we debating with a new entity called ‘SFI-JNU’, which is now taking birth, attempting to carve out a new ideological foundation distinct from that of the CPI(M), as a JNU-specific response to SFI’s electoral defeat in JNUSU elections?

Ideological Rethink Should Not Be Based on Electoral Outcomes and Convenience

The SFI-JNU, in 2012 July, decided to adopt a critical posture towards CPI(M)’s stands on Pranab Mukherjee, TPC,Singur-Nandigram, and AFSPA. What prompted this rethink? Let us examine the reasons given by the SFI-JNU.According to SFI-JNU, it could not afford to “defend unconvincing political decisions in public” nor “remain silent,”because “in a left-leaning campus like JNU”, organisations like AISA and the common students too, demand an answerfrom the SFI, and take SFI to task for “doublespeak” if they defend the CPI(M)’s indefensible positions. In particular, theSFI-JNU cites the “adverse electoral trend” experienced by them in 2007 in the wake of Singur-Nandigram, and again in2012, as a the main factor in leading them to realise that elections in JNU cannot be won by defending the politicalpositions adopted by the CPI(M) which are rejected by the “progressive and democratic-minded students.”The question that arises is: what took the SFI-JNU so long to realise and oppose the right-opportunist trends in theCPI(M)? Why did the horrific bloodshed of peasants unleashed by the CPI(M)-led West Bengal Government at Singur andNandigram in 2006-07, not prompt the SFI-JNU to rethink, until faced with electoral defeat in JNU?Ideological positions and introspection cannot be a matter of convenience, prompted by electoral results and thecompulsions of a taking a publicly acceptable posture in a ‘Left-leaning campus like JNU’. While we have welcomed SFI’sbelated and partial acknowledgement of the grievously wrong positions of CPI(M) that it hitherto defended, we would alsolike to respectfully underline that ideological realisation and rectification need to go much deeper.

Sectarianism and Opportunism Have Gone Hand in Hand

SFI-JNU (in its leaflet dt. 9 July 2012) accuses CPI(ML) and AISA of indulging only in ‘CPIM-bashing,’ rather than onmobilizing mass movements and building Left unity. Before we examine this question beyond the campus, let uslook at JNU’s own experience.SFI-JNU always hitherto dismissed AISA’s principled critique on Singur-Nandigram, AFSPA, Nuke Deal and otherissues as ‘CPI(M)-bashing.’ But hasn’t SFI-JNU’s own leaflet of 7 July 2012 admitted that its own change of posture onCPI(M)’s policies came about because it faced questions from AISA in JNU, questions that the progressive section of JNUendorsed and supported?We would like to ask: had there been no AISA to ask questions on Singur, Nandigram, AFSPA, or TPC,wouldn’t SFI-JNU’s introspection on these issues have been delayed or never arisen? After all, isn’t it true thatoutside JNU, the SFI nationally is yet to arrive at any such realization and rethink? So, it should be honestly admittedthat AISA’s critique of CPI(M), far from being mindless ‘bashing’ that damaged the Left, has helped shape aconstructive Left debate, that pushed elements within the SFI to realise the need to oppose CPI(M)’s right wingdeviations.Throughout the period between 2004-2012, the AISA-led JNUSU has always mobilized students on a positive Leftdemocratic agenda, resisting right-wing policies and forces, and expanding the space for the Left in JNU. But the campushas witnessed, time and again how the SFI, far from adopting the non-sectarian broadness they talk of now,opposed and undermined several struggles (such as the anti-Nestle struggle, workers’ struggle, black flags toManmohan Singh, and the struggle against distortion of OBC reservation in JNU) led by the AISA-led JNUSU.Today, the SFI-JNU is distancing itself from the burden of CPI(M)’s right-deviation; but surely an honest introspection woulddemand that they examine their own sectarian and right-wing deviations in JNU, that led them to defend Nestle andManmohan Singh, and withdraw from the workers’ struggle? None of these struggles had any anti-SFI or anti-CPI(M)content; SFI-JNU could easily have decided to support and participate in these struggles. Instead, SFI-JNU pitteditself against these movements, and got rejected by students. The SFI-JNU’s actions in JNU were not only an outcomeof their sectarianism towards AISA, but also a reflection of the overall rightward framework of the CPI(M). Theirwelcome to Nestle in JNU was akin to Buddhadeb’s welcome to MNCs in West Bengal; and their opposition to showingblack flags to Manmohan Singh was influenced by the CPI(M)’s alliance with the Manmohan-led Government.Not only that, when AISA won the Presidential post in 2004-05, and VP and GS posts in 2006, on the basis of theseprogressive struggles that SFI had tried to vilify, SFI-JNU’s leadership wrote articles in the CPI(M)’s organ People’sDemocracy(PD), alleging that that AISA won as a result of an unprincipled ‘mahajot’ with right wing organizations, ratherthan recognizing that progressive democratic opinion on campus had approved of AISA’s positive Left agenda for students,and disapproved of SFI’s misplaced opposition to this agenda. The sectarianism was such that SFI-JNU could not evenwelcome a Left victory on the post of JNUSU President, simply because it was AISA which won that post!On SFI-JNU’s Recent PositionsP.T.O.10.7.12We would also like to remind that in 2007, AISA’s JNUSU office bearers even organized a protest march against firingat CPI(M)-supported peasants at Khammam in Andhra Pradesh; it is SFI-JNU which, due to its own sectarianism, andfearing allegations of doublespeak on Nandigram and police firing on peasants, boycotted the march.

Electoral Victory is Not the Only Yardstick to Judge Mass Movements

According to SFI-JNU, CPI(ML) has suffered erosion of its support in Bihar because it does not mobilize massmovements and is sectarian towards CPI(M). Is this even remotely borne out by facts?The CPI(ML) was born waging struggles of dalit agricultural labourers against feudal forces, and for dignity and politicalassertion; and has continued the mass struggles for land reform, against corruption and scams by various regimes,against political assassinations by RJD and NDA regimes, for implementation of MNREGA, for justice for Rupam Pathakwho was raped by a BJP MLA, etc. It is due to these mass struggles that CPI(ML) is the leading Left force in Bihar, whileother Left parties lament their failure to make an impact in the Hindi heartland. While CPI(ML) has always sought Left unitywith CPI and CPI(M), both in these movements and in elections, the latter have, as a rule and with few exceptions, optedfor bourgeois partners like RJD or LJP rather than Left unity! In the name of ‘non-sectarian’ approach, should CPI(ML) havejoined CPI and CPI(M) in supporting the RJD rule in Bihar, even when it patronized the mass murderers Ranveer Sena andcriminal mafia politicians like Shahabuddin? CPI(M) even betrayed its own martyred Comrade Ajit Sarkar by goingfor an alliance with his killer, Pappu Yadav. Should CPI(ML) have similarly gone for an alliance with the RJDand campaigned, as CPI(M) did, for Comrade Chandrashekhar’s killer Mohd. Shahabuddin? And should CPI(ML)have betrayed Bathani’s martyrs by allying with RJD whose Government and police deliberately allowed theRanveer Sena to commit massacres with impunity?In the last elections, CPI(ML), whom SFI-JNU accuses of being sectarian, was in alliance with CPI and CPI(M) inBihar! In spite of heroic mass movements, sacrifices, and principled Left unity, many times ruling class politics mayremain dominant. Mass movements are not always ‘rewarded’ with electoral victory! SFI-JNU mentions CPI(M)’s strugglesagainst casteism in Tamil Nadu. But these struggles, too, did not lead to CPI(M)’s electoral victory in TN. Rather, theCPI(M), in order to win seats, has gone for an alliance with Jayalalithaa: the same Jayalalithaa who has presided over thedastardly and politically dictated, police-led, massacre of dalits at Paramakudi. (Perhaps due to Jayalalithaa’s support forthe Koodankulam Nuke Plant, CPI(M) is opposing the struggle of dalits and poor fisher-people against the Nuke Project.While SFI-JNU failed to join the JNUSU’s protest in solidarity with the anti-Nuke struggle at Koodankulam, recently, theSFI-JNU even organized a Public Meeting to covertly garner support for the Koodankulam Nuke Plant!)Once again, we reiterate that CPI(M)’s debacle in West Bengal is not comparable with Left defeats in other parts ofthe country. That debacle was not an ordinary defeat that Left comrades must take in their stride – it was a punishment forits adoption of right-wing and repressive policies. The CPI(ML) does introspect on how to overcome electoral challenges– but thankfully, we do not have to correct any right-wing policy deviation that has crept into our line!SFI-JNU contends that the dedicated Left cadres in CPI(M) outnumber those of the CPI(ML), and they cite severalstruggles by these cadres in many states. Comrades, we are not in any way questioning the integrity or fightingspirit of those CPI(M) cadres. The point is, that right-opportunism leads the CPI(M) to betray those very samecadres. As we have pointed out, when CPI(M), thanks to its overall opportunist tactical line, goes for an alliance with theanti-dalit Jayalalithaa, they betray their own cadres’ struggle against casteism in TN. When they go for an alliance withPappu Yadav, they betray their martyred Comrade Ajit Sarkar.

Rejection of Left Adventurism Cannot Mean Support for State’s War on Tribals

SFI-JNU alleges that AISA is silent on Left-adventurism. May we remind them that neither AISA nor CPI(ML) are silenton Left-adventurist trends, especially on the violence by the latter on common people or Left cadres. Not only have wecategorically condemned their violence on CPI(M) cadres, it is well known that CPI(ML) has paid a high cost in cadreskilled by Maoist groups in Bihar and Jharkhand. But we, unlike CPI(M) and SFI-JNU, do not lose our sense of proportionand Left principles on this question. We maintain that State violence on adivasis and peasants, and crackdown on dissent,in the name of ‘fighting Maoism,’ is the main enemy. Whereas the CPI(M) has supported and implemented OperationGreen Hunt in Bengal, while SFI in JNU has, not long ago, even refused to support a joint struggle for lifting of administration’sban on a student outfit, on the grounds that it was a ‘pro-Maoist’ outfit! And SFI-JNU boycotted the JNUSU’s initiativesagainst the witch-hunt of Binayak Sen.Anyone interested in CPI(ML)’s detailed position on these questions can read Comrade Arindam Sen’s booklet,‘Green Hunt is Witch-Hunt.’(serialised in Liberation since December 2009 issue)AISA has never been silent on Left adventurist acts. But why have SFI-JNU’s leaflets for years past, prior to July2012, always been completely silent on the dangers of right-opportunism in the Indian Left movement?The answer is simple. CPI(M)’s stance was that right-opportunism was represented by CPI. But increasingly, therehas been a convergence of CPI’s and CPI(M)’s positions and tactics, including right-opportunist partnership with Congressat the Centre. Therefore the CPI(M) directed all its fire in misplaced opposition only to ‘Left adventurism’, mischievouslyeven branding CPI(ML) as the same. And SFI-JNU branded all AISA’s positive initiatives (like workers’ movement) andcritique of CPI(M) (on Singur-Nandigram, AFSPA, Nuke Deal, etc) as Left adventurism and ‘infantile disorder’!2It is well known that the bulk of Lenin’s writings comprise his polemic with the right-opportunists in the Russiancommunist movement, while he also cautioned against Left adventurism. Lenin never equated both the dangers – rather healways held that anarchism was “a kind of penalty for the opportunist sins” of the communist movement, and the “reverseside of opportunism”. Thereby Lenin always maintained that fighting right opportunism was the primary task for revolutionaries,and Left adventurism could never be contended without a resolute struggle against right opportunism.SFI-JNU is now distancing from some of the right-wing positions taken by CPI(M) – we hope it dawns on them tointrospect on the grievous right-wing deviation that the CPI(M) and even SFI-JNU have indulged in by supporting the state’swar on adivasis and its crackdown on dissent and banning of groups in the name of fighting Maoism.

CPI(M) Has Always Shunned Dissent

When we remind SFI-JNU of the criticisms by Prabhat Patnaik, Ashok Mitra, or Rezzak Mollah, or those of Left Frontpartners like RSP, FB and CPI, we do so not to ‘seek credibility’ for our own critique, but merely to point out thatCPI(M) does not just reject critiques made by a Left party like CPI(ML), but even ridicules those (partial, hesitant)advices or critiques made by its own members and allies.At the same time, we also engage with the shortcomings and palpable weaknesses of those critiques. In the case ofPrabhat Patnaik, CPI(ML) has also, while welcoming his critique of CPI(M), engaged with that critique and pointed out theweakness and blind spots inherent in that critique ( See Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya’s article on Left Resurgence inEPW Vol – XLVI No. 47, November 19, 2011).SFI-JNU has refused to defend CPI(M)’s official stand on RMP Comrade TPC’s killing, and Prabhat Patnaik hasexpressed his moral anguish at the murder. That’s a welcome change. But may we remind them that CPI(M)’s brutalviolence against Left activists who chose to criticize it, is in no way new or unusual. In 1993, CPI(M) cadreshacked five agrarian labourers to death at Karanda village near Bardhaman town on 31 May, for leaving CPI(M) to joinCPI(ML). There is a Hindi saying, ‘poot ke panv palne mein’: in 1979, in the euphoric early years of the CPI(M)-ledGovernment’s rule in West Bengal, thousands of dalit Namashudra refugees from Bangladesh were massacred at Marichjhapi,in order to evacuate an island in the Sunderbans where they had settled.Take even the case of Naxalbari. CPI(M) was entitled to differ with the political line taken by Comrade Charu Mazumdar.But can we forget that the Government in which CPI(M) shared power, fired bullets on its own peasant comrades atNaxalbari who had launched a struggle against landlords? How can that brutal bloodshed and repression be condoned?Is it not the long-standing policy of willful amnesia and silence on the massacres and murders at Naxalbari,Marichjhapi, Karanda and so many more, that finally allow a Nandigram massacre, and a murder of ComradeTPC to happen?

Broad Unity of Left Forces and Solidarity with People’s Struggles

SFI-JNU has mentioned the need for broad Left unity on people’s issues and struggles. The All India Left Coordination(AILC) precisely shares such a perspective, where the varying history and programmatic perspective of different groupshas not been a barrier to developing a shared platform of united struggles.SFI-JNU has mentioned the need for broad, non-sectarian solidarity with a range of people’s struggles, irrespective ofwhich party or group is leading the struggle. For SFI-JNU, this may be a new perspective and attitude, but not for JNU’s Leftdemocratic students. AISA has already been expressing such non-sectarian solidarity with people’s movements for long.Be it AFSPA or POSCO or Jaitapur or Koodankulam, it is AISA which has visited these movements, and expressedsolidarity, irrespective of which group is leading these struggles! Now that SFI-JNU too would like to participate in suchexpressions of solidarity, they are very welcome. Join us in doing so comrades!

(AISA Poster, dt: 10 July 2012)

AISA Welcomes the Decision of SFI’s JNU unit to Oppose CPI(M)’s Support to Pranab Mukherjee in the Upcoming Presidential Polls

 

The JNU unit of the Student’s Federation of India (SFI) decided at a general body meeting held on the night of July 5th, to oppose CPI(M)’s support for UPA’s Finance Minister in the upcoming presidential polls. The resolution passed on July 5 by SFI’s JNU unit states that CPI(M)’s position is “unconvincing” and “not in the best interests of the left and democratic movement” (seehttp://sfijnuweb.wordpress.com/).

AISA welcomes this decision of the SFI’s JNU Unit to oppose CPI(M)’s support to Pranab Mukherjee. We have consistently maintained that supporting UPA’s candidate for President’s post would be a betrayal of a principled opposition to UPA’s neo-liberal policies, which is wreaking havoc on the common people of the country.

In JNU, Left and democratic student opinion has time and again debated and overwhelmingly rejected SFI’s support of CPI(M)’s indefensible decisions: whether it is the forcible land acquisition and state repression in Singur and Nandigram, CPI(M)’s support for UPA’s anti-people legislations like the SEZ Act, or the CPI(M)’s dilly-dallying on the issue of the Indo-US nuke deal, or CPI(M)’s support for the draconian AFSPA. The SFI’s JNU unit’s refusal to defend CPI(M)’s support for Pranab Mukherjee, which is a departure from its norm, is to be seen in this light. The SFI’s leaflet dated July 7 has also indicated much the same analysis – that “in a left-leaning campus like JNU,” Singur and Nandigram “eroded the SFI’s support base among the progressive and democratic minded students,” and led to SFI’s defeat in the JNUSU elections of 2007 and 2012.       

 Going by the CPI(M)’s track record of elimination of Comrade TP Chandrasekharan, expulsion of Prasenjit Bose, restraining of Abdur Rezzak Mollah from joining the March to Singur recently, and rejection and ridicule of VS Achuthanandan’s solidarity with TP Chandrasekharan’s party and family, and ignoring of the constructive criticism of intellectuals like Prabhat Patnaik and Ashok Mitra, it is clear that the CPI(M) has, time and again, responded with contempt for any inner-party struggle against right deviation. It remains to be seen whether the SFI as an all-India organisation, and the CPI(M) party, take heed of this realisation and ferment in its unit in a leading Left campus of this country.

 The support for Pranab Mukherjee is not the only symptom of CPI(M)’s right deviation. Its policy of land grab and state repression in West Bengal, its defence of the draconian AFSPA in the name of national unity and counter-insurgency, its defence of Operation Green Hunt and the war on tribals in the name of fighting Maoism, its continued denial of the reality of peasants’ resistance to land grab at Singur and its support for the pro-Tata verdict in the Singur case, its role in covering up the murder by its own cadres of Comrade TP Chandrasekharan – are some of the many instances that call for a vigorous and sharper struggle against the CPI(M)’s increasingly opportunist and rightward praxis, and undemocratic response to dissent and questioning. We note that SFI JNU unit, in its latest leaflet, has raised some of these issues (especially relating to Singur, Nandigram, and TP Chandrasekharan) as well, taking a position sharply different from the official CPI(M) line.

These undoubtedly positive developments (SFI’s change in stance on Singur, Nandigram, and TPC, and its refusal to endorse the support for Pranab Mukherjee) have been made possible, as SFI’s own leaflet suggests, due to the fact that SFI could not afford to remain silent or continue to defend CPI(M)’s wrong positions, and found itself ‘vulnerable’ to AISA’s questions regarding ‘doublespeak’; questions that struck a chord with the progressive and democratic opinion on the campus at large. 

 There is an unprecedented all-out assault on people’s livelihood, lives, and democracy. At such a time, there is an urgent need for Left forces to resolutely resist the right-wing offensive, and also to fight the trends of right-wing deviation and surrender to ruling class policies and politics within some of the Left streams. We are confident that all genuine fighting Left forces will respond to this challenge, and will eventually develop a unity in the fields of struggle.

(AISA Poster, dt: 8 July 2012)