JNU Students Prevented to Hold Protests at Gujarat Bhavan by Delhi Police

Source:http://www.rina.in/national/jnu-students-prevented-to-hold-protests-at-gujrat-bhavan-by-delhi-police/
Posted on May 25, 2014
akshardham

JNU students protesting in Jantar Mantar, after being prevented to protest in font of Gujarat Bhawan

New Delhi 25-May (RINA):The Delhi Police prevented the JNUSU to protest outside Gujarat Bhavan demanding justice for the 6 people falsely framed and accused in the Akshardham Blast in 2002 and now acquitted by the Supreme Court. The Delhi Police entered the bus carrying the protestors at Safdarjung Madrasa and forced the bus to Jantar Mantar where the protest continued.Along with JNUSU other student organisations also participated in the Protest Demo.

The Protest Demonstration was being held in the context of the Supreme Court verdict of 16th May which acquitted all the six accused, in the Akshardham Blast Case, including three who were sentenced to death by a lower court, and slamming the Gujarat Police for framing innocents.

Speaking at the Protest Demonstration JNUSU President Akbar Chawdhary said, ‘We condemn the Delhi police who have stopped us from exercising our democratic right to protest at Gujarat Bhavan and hijacked our bus and brought us to Jantar Mantar. This also shows that the government that is going to be sworn wants at all costs to crush all voices of dissent and justice.Who Will Compensate For The Lost Years, Ruined Lives? Shouldn’t the former Chief Minister of Gujarat and the current Prime Minister be held accountable for illegally sanctioning prosecution under POTA? We demand that

  • ·         That the current Prime Minister be held responsible and accountable for his illegal sanctioning of prosecution under POTA when he was Home Minister and Chief Minister of Gujarat.
  • ·         An apology from the former Home Minister and Chief Minister of Gujarat for the framing, torture, forced confessions of innocents, and failure to prosecute the real culprits.
  • ·         Compensation and public apology to the innocents, FIRs and action against those who ordered and implemented this blatant framing of innocents in the Akshardham case.
  • ·         Scrapping of draconian laws like UAPA and the NIA Act which legalise the violation of rights and create space for torture.

If  the hijacking of today’s protest by the Delhi Police is indeed the sign of ‘good times’ then will contest it tooth and nail’ Akbar added.

link of another report in firstpost:http://www.firstpost.com/india/akshardham-case-jnu-students-protest-seek-damages-for-the-acquitted-1541013.html

 

Protests Follow Suicide of Woman Worker at Factory Gate

rakhiRakhi Sonkar, a single mother of 3 small kids was terminated by managers of Swiss Auto Pvt Ltd on the pretext of being a few minutes late. After trying in vain to persuade the factory authorities to take her back on the job, she consumed rat poison at the factory gate, in full view of fellow workers and the police. Before doing so, she publicly names the supervisor and other factory authorities who pushed her to take this extreme step.

She died in hospital two days later. Her brother recounted that even the doctor at the hospital slapped him – a reminder that workers cannot expect dignity and respect at their workplace, or even when they accompany terminal patients to a hospital! 

“There were three policemen at the factory gate, but they simply watched while she threatened to kill herself and drink the rat poison. She fell over and they acted only after she showed no signs of movement,” said a 25-year old worker, who worked in the crimping section with Rakhi.

He and other workers alleged that the factory owners had fired Rakhi for supporting Amarjeet Singh, a 22-year-old former line manager at Swiss Auto in contesting his dismissal at the Deputy Labour Commissioner’s office in 2013.

Further, she had filed a complaint against the Wazirpur labour court alleging mistreatment on factory premises, they said.

“Rakhi helped me get my employment reference letter from the factory when I challenged my termination at Deputy Labour Commissioner’s office. She came to the DLC office during my hearing. She was under tremendous pressure and faced verbal abuse and she had complained about this at the DLC office three weeks back,” said Amarjeet Singh. He recounted that he had started working at the factory when he was 14.

“I worked there for six years and rose to the position of line manager. I objected to our working conditions — permanent employees were being dismissed on flimsy grounds, a five-minute delay in arriving at work meant losing a day’s wage, we were not allowed to go to the toilet for more than a few minutes a day, many workers were not being paid provident fund. When labour inspectors visited the factory, owners would not allow us to speak to them,” recounted Mr. Singh. Women workers in Wazirpur say that they are not allowed to visit the toilet when needed, even when they are having their monthly period.

Rakhi was persecuted and eventually thrown out of her job because she spoke up for the rights of other workers. Following her suicide, workers at her factory protested spontaneously. Women workers lay down on the main road near the factory gate, blocking traffic, demanding arrest of the factory authorities whom Rakhi had named as responsible for her suicide. When chased by the police, they would get up and occupy another portion of the road. The police brutally lathicharged the workers, injuring several of them, and detaining them in the police station.

AICCTU held several demonstrations and gate meetings at the factory gate, demanding justice for Rakhi, arrest and punishment of the factory authorities implicated in her suicide, compensation for her family and care of her children, and strict implementation of all labour laws in all factories in the Wazirpur Industrial Area. Every time, the police attempt to prevent activists from distributing leaflets and holding gate meetings, and try to forcibly disperse workers who gather at such meetings. The episode is a comment on the state of industrial democracy in the national capital.

In another episode in JNU, a woman sanitary worker, employed earlier in Koyna Hostel through SE Services, was not been taken back on work after she went on leave due to pregnancy. Despite the fact  that the worker has the ESI documents, which shows her to be fit for work from date- 12 December-2013,  the Dean of Students office, particularly the Sanitary Inspector has refused to take the worker back on duty.  This is a blatant violation of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. After this case, another woman worker in an advanced state of pregnancy refused to avail of the maternity leave she was sanctioned, for fear that she would lose her job. AISA activists took up these cases and have been struggling in support of the rights of workers on the JNU campus. In solidarity with the woman worker, and also in protest against the non-payment of monthly salary, workers stopped work for a day. The contractor was forced to make the monthly payment to the workers, while the crucial issue of taking back the woman worker still remains unsolved. It is as though the university administration are implying that the workers must refrain from bearing child in order to save an already underpaid job!

(This report was published in ML UPDATE, 21 – 26 MAY 2014)

 

(With inputs from a news story titled ‘Activists demand justice for woman who killed self’ by Anumeha Yadav in The Hindu, May 15, 2014, and Comrade Abhishek of AISA, JNU)

The Other Verdict of 16 May 2014: SC Acquits All the Accused of 2002 Akshardham Terror Strike, Slams Gujarat Police Probe

shahwan

Son, wife of Adam Ajmeri, who is among six Akshardham accused acquitted.

After 11 Years of False Framing, Stigma and Injustice, the Supreme Court Nails Another Case of Witch-Hunt by the Gujarat Govt!

In an IRONIC COINCIDENCE on 16 May 2014, alongside the electoral verdict, the Supreme Court too delivered its verdict on Akshardham Temple Terror Attack case (of Gujarat, Sep 2002), acquitting all the six accused including three who were sentenced to death by a lower court and slamming the Gujarat Police for the incompetence with which it investigated. On the day when the “Modi wave” was “sweeping the nation” and Modi’s media cheer-brigade ensured that ‘nation did not want to hear anything else,’ another skeleton tumbled out of Modi’s cupboard!

Acquitting all the six convicts, the judgment said: “We intend to express our anguish about the incompetence with which the investigating agencies conducted the investigation of the case of such a grievous nature, involving the integrity and security of the nation.”

“Instead of booking the real culprits responsible for taking so many precious lives, police caught innocent people and got imposed the grievous charges against them which resulted in their conviction and subsequent sentencing,”

The Supreme Court in its judgement categorically slammed the then Gujarat home minister of “non-application of mind”. Modi had held the portfolio in November 2003 when sanction to prosecute the six under POTA was granted.

Though Acquitted, Will Modi Compensate for the Lost Years, Ruined Lives?

Let us not forget, post-Godhra and post-Gujarat pogrom of 2002, a grand narrative unfolded in Gujarat and went on unabated till 2006: there was Akshardham temple terror attack (24 September 2002, 25 dead, 77 injured) and a series of “encounters” of the alleged “Islamist terrorists” out to kill Modi and his men.  Many of these encounters which received considerable media attention are Samir Khan Pathan( 2002), Sadiq Jamal (2003), Ishrat Jahan case (2004) Sohrabuddin Sheikh case (2005), Tulsiram Prajapati case(2006). All the incidents had more than one similarity: All had a common narrative of purpose. All happened under same set of officers and cops. All needed the shooting down of the “conspirators”. who allegedly belonged to terrorist outfits like LeT or Jaish. And all remained shrouded in a cloud of doubts.

Politically, each episode went to build up Modi’s image as a ‘Hindu nationalist’ hero being targeted by so-called ‘Muslim terrorists’. Each episode was employed to reinforce the idea of Muslims as the supreme threat to the social/national order, who were ritually vanquished by Modi’s police force, over and over again.

Many of the top cops involved in these acts are behind bars today. One common actor among them, DIG D. G. Vanzara, languishing in Sabarmati Central jail since 2007, in an explosive letter in September 2013, explicitly charged: Gujarat CID/Union CBI had arrested me and my officers in different encounter cases, holding us responsible for carrying out alleged fake encounters. If that is true, then the CBI investigation officers of all the four encounter cases of Sohrabuddin (Sheikh), Tulasiram (Prajapati), Sadiq Jamal and Ishrat Jahan have to arrest the policy formulators also as we, being field officers, have simply implemented the conscious policy of this government, which was inspiring, guiding and monitoring our actions from very close quarters… I’m of the firm opinion that the place of this government, instead of being in Gandhinangar, should either be at Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai or at Sabarmati Central Prison in Ahmedabad.”

In January 2012, a Supreme Court Bench, acting on the two petitions filed by B.G. Varghese, Javed Aktar and others, pending since 2007, appointed a Monitoring Authority to probe 22 cases of fake encounter deaths in Gujarat from 2003 to 2006!

 

A Different Kind Of A Victory — In Gujarat

Indian Express 18 May 2014

Shahwan remembers the day nearly 11 years ago that the Gujarat Police came to arrest his father Adam Sulaiman Mansuri alias Adam Ajmeri. He especially remembers how his mother pleaded with them, telling them her husband was an innocent mechanic and not a terrorist involved in the attack on the Akshardham temple of a year ago. Shahwan remembers the visits to jail on Eid, and that every time, his father broke down, saying he had nothing to give him for the festival.

On a day that little else registered in the Narendra Modi wave sweeping the country, came the news that the Ajmeris had been waiting for. Pulling up the Gujarat Police for framing “innocent” people in the Akshardham case, the Supreme Court ordered that all the six convicted by the lower court, including Adam, be freed. It also accused the then Gujarat home minister of “non-application of mind”. Modi had held the portfolio in November 2003 when sanction to prosecute the six under POTA was granted. Two of the accused have already finished their terms.

In September 2002, two armed attackers had entered the Akshardham temple complex in Gandhinagar, and killed 30 people and injured more than 80. Both the attackers had been killed. Adam and four others were arrested from Shahpur and Dariapur areas of Ahmedabad in August 2003, and the sixth accused from Uttar Pradesh days later.

Sentenced to death, Adam is currently lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail.

News of Adam’s acquittal sent a cheer through his Shahpur mohalla. His emotional wife Naseem Bano, 40, said she had struggled to raise Shahwan and elder brother Almas (20) on the money she made from embroidery work and stitching of burqas.

“My own family, brothers cut all ties saying my husband was a terrorist. Those in the neighbourhood supported us as they knew the real Adam — a poor mechanic who worked with his father to make ends meet.” Adam’s family kept Naseem out even when his mother died six months ago.

Recently the brothers opened a small handkerchief shop at home. Shahwan, who is waiting for his Class X board results, hopes to study further. “My father always told my elder brother to take care of Ammi. My brother dropped out to work but it is my father’s wish that I study,” he says.

Dressed in a new pair of jeans and shirt bought for a family wedding, the 16-year-old adds, “Now that Abba is coming back, family members will realise that he was framed.”

Just 4 km away, in Kankodi ni Pol in Dariapur, is the house of another Akshardham convict, Mohammad Salim Hanif Sheikh. It is currently rented out.

Despite the charges against the Riyadh-based Sheikh, this pol surrounded by Hindu pols in Kalupur never lost its respect for him. Salim and brother Irfan were known as Seth na Dikra in their mohalla. Their father Hanif Sheikh used to run a small jewellery store with Irfan and wife Mumtaz.

Salim’s cousin and neighbour Kausar Sheikh says, “Salimbhai was the one man in Kalupur loved and respected by all. He was absolutely chivalrous, respectful and a person of morals. This charge ruined his family.”

Salim, who was alleged to have links with key conspirator Abu Hamza and given life term, used to work in Riyadh and came home once in two-three months. He was arrested just two days before he was to return to Riyadh.

The family spent its entire savings fighting the case and now Irfan drives an autorickshaw for a living. Salim’s wife Parveen lives at her mother’s house in Juhapura with their two children.

Neighbours remember Hanif running from home to home to seek support for his son, to try and convince the police that Salim was innocent.

Says Salim’s aunt Shehnaz, “His mother Mumtaz pleaded with police officers. They told her ‘Your son is a terrorist who killed innocent pilgrims. There is no mercy for him’. He was treated very badly.”

Dabgarwad, which lies a short distance away, is known as ‘Abdul Latif’s area’. It was from here that another Akshardham accused serving death sentence, Abdul Qayyum Mansuri alias Mufti Baba, was picked up.

While some believe he had mafia and terror links, including with Dawood Ibrahim aide Abdul Latif, others talk of his knowledge of the Quran.

Mansuri had been teaching at the Haji Sakhi Masjid of Dariapur when he was held. He had also set up a hospital, Lokhandwala General Hospital.

Says Mansuri’s brother Salim Sheikh, “He is a learned man and was a social worker. The case was built by D G Vanzara and Mufti was made a target because they wanted someone who was strong, well-known and had contacts.”

Salim is a member of the Jamiat-Ulema-E-Hind that had been fighting for Mansuri’s release. On Saturday, his wife and two teenage children were busy trying to collect a copy of the Supreme Court judgment. At home, Mansuri’s ailing mother waited alone to finally see her son.

Shahwan says he will ensure he doesn’t meet his father’s fate. “My brother and I will make money in such a way that no police can ever frame us just because we are poor and weak.”

Electoral Victory is NOT a Substitute for Justice and Accountability!

The Truth Must Prevail!

 

Photo Courtesy : Indian Express

Normalising the Corporate-Communal Idiom: Can the Mainstream Media Any Longer Claim to Call Itself a ‘Pillar of Democracy’?

modi

Photo Courtesy: R Prasad

Media-manufactured-Modi-mania (M4) continues to be the most unique feature of the Elections 2014. On economic and human rights issues, big corporate media have always sided with the corporate ideology and blacked-out people’s voices. However, for ruling class mainstream political parties and views, it maintained, so far, a degree of ‘plurality’ and ‘balance’. What is new this time is media’s open propaganda for one political personality, throwing to winds all pretensions of political ‘plurality’ that media in ‘liberal’ capitalist ‘democracy’ claim to represent.

The government controlled media in earlier years, indeed, lacked autonomy and often appeared as the propaganda machine of the ruling party. But is the privatised media ‘autonomous’ either? Should ‘Autonomy’ mean only ‘freedom from government control’ and not  ‘freedom from corporate control’? Privatisation and huge proliferation of big media channels did not bring in either ‘plurality’ of opinions or ‘autonomy’. The fact that big corporates have chosen Modi as their political hero, inevitably got reflected in the political ‘news’ and  political ‘views’  of all the media channels they have come to control. So multiplicity of channels did not mean plurality of even political views, but repetition of the same with ever increasing frequency. No wonder, some of the most offensive communal hate speeches by Modi and his men were ignored and eventually ‘normalised’ by the media.

Modi’s No-Holds-Barred Communal Hate-Mongering

On 4 May, Modi in his Asansol speech said, “Those (from Bangladesh) who observe Durgashtami, they are a part of our Hindustan and they will stay here. But we will deport those who are infiltrators.” In a tweet on 4 May, Modi said, “Those who were children of Bharat Mata, those who observe Durgashtami they are my brothers. We must treat them like children of India.”

Don’t these words constitute dangerous hate-speech where Modi defines ‘Hindustan’ and ‘children of mother India’ in terms of Hindu religious customs – whether someone is to be treated as an Indian or an illegal ‘infiltrator’, is to be based on whether they ‘observe Durgashtami’ or not! Aren’t these words thoroughly unconstitutional because they imply that those of non-Hindu faith are not “part of our Hindustan”, not “children of Bharat Mata”? Isn’t Modi making it clear that he INTENDS TO ACT as though India (Hindustan) is the ‘Hindusthan’ or ‘Hindu Rashtra’ of the Sangh’s fanatic dreams? Yet the media left him unquestioned and EC remained silent.

 In this context, we reproduce below, a powerful critique of the election-time mainstream media by noted historian and author Mukul Kesavan.

The Tinderbox Project : The BJP and the Mainstreaming of Majoritarianism

Mukul Kesavan

The most interesting — and insidious — aspect of this election is the mainstreaming of the sangh parivar’s principal belief: that India is a Hindu nation.

The ideologues of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have consistently maintained that India as a nation ought to be defined by the culture and preferences of its Hindu majority and that minorities ought to defer to this idea of India as a Hindu nation state. The definitive statement on Hindu hegemony came from the second sarsanghchalak or supreme chief of the RSS, M.S. Golwalkar: “…the non-Hindu people in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of the Hindu Nation…” If they don’t, they “…may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not even citizens’ rights.” Golwalkar’s unambiguously Hindu supremacist position used to embarrass the Bharatiya Janata Party (not because of what he had said, but on account of the starkness with which he said it) and was often explained away by gesturing at its context — the politics of the 1930s when India was a colonized country, threatened by Muslim separatism. The implication was that the BJP had evolved ideologically and no longer wanted Muslims to be treated as helots in republican India.

However, after the electoral defeat of 2009, as the party regrouped around its most polarizing leader, Narendra Modi, it became less shy about its Hindu supremacist project. One straw in the wind was the BJP’s admission of Subramanian Swamy, the sole proprietor of what remained of the Janata Party, into its ranks. In 2011, Swamy wrote an article in a newspaper (DNA 16 July, 2011) that updated Golwalkar for the 21st century. This was his prescription: “Implement the uniform civil code, make learning of Sanskrit and singing of Vande Mataram mandatory, and declare India a Hindu Rashtra in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus. Rename India Hindustan as a nation of Hindus and those whose ancestors were Hindus.”

Swamy joined the BJP soon afterwards in 2013 and he has been one of the BJP’s most visible spokesmen through this election season, a regular in news television’s panel discussions and a trenchant champion of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Model. That a man who advocates the disenfranchisement of all Muslims who don’t acknowledge that they are basically lapsed Hindus should be treated as a respectable party spokesperson on prime time news tells you something about both the New Model BJP and the biases of the news industry.

Try to imagine a Muslim advocating the assimilation of Kashmir into an Islamic caliphate, becoming a regular on ‘Left, Right & Centre’ or ‘The Newshour’ or ‘The Buck Stops Here’ and you begin to grasp the extent to which majoritarianism has been normalized by prime time television and its panel discussions.

There is a curious consensus in both the print and the broadcast media that the BJP has replaced its traditionally communal agenda with a new emphasis on development and governance. Curious because a) there is no contradiction between a focus on economic growth and a commitment to Hindu chauvinism and b) in actual fact, Amit Shah and Praveen Togadia and Narendra Modi were happy to dogwhistle their Hindutva agendas right through their election campaigns.

Thus Amit Shah, performing for a gathering of Jats in western Uttar Pradesh, attacked Mayavati for giving a ‘particular community’ (read Muslims) 19 tickets for the Lok Sabha elections in UP. Helpfully Shah suggested that Mayavati had allotted these seats to a community that violated the honour of his audience’s sisters and daughters. A few days later, after apologizing to the Election Commission for his political rhetoric, he was at it again: this time describing Azamgarh as a base for terrorists.

Not to be left behind by his consigliore, the BJP’s prime-minister-in-waiting denounced the Congress for promoting meat export and cow slaughter. The Congress, he alleged, gave subsidies to those-who-slaughtered-cows. On another occasion, Modi expressed a marked preference for hosting Durga-loving Bengalis as opposed to Bengalis of any other sort, leaving us wondering who those others might be. Bengali Vaishnavs, perhaps, disinterested in the cult of a mother goddess? Calcutta’s Marwaris? Its Armenian Jews? Who?

To everyone’s utter surprise, it turned out that Modi had been referring to Bengali-speaking Muslims, aka Infiltrators or Bangladeshis. Ever the man of action, Modi found new allies in his virtuous crusade against Bengali Muslims in Assam. After armed Bodos had killed a considerable number of Bengalis, Modi promised to deport the rest.

Earlier in the election campaign, Modi made the important point that the Congress was killing rhinos to free up living space for Bangladeshis. This is not a secularist canard or some magical realist flourish, this is what he actually said: “Aren’t rhinos the pride of Assam? These days there is a conspiracy to kill them. I am making the allegation very seriously. People sitting in the government… they are carrying out this conspiracy to kill rhinos so that the area is made clear to settle Bangladeshis.”

The fantasy of demographic extinction via mass immigration is a hardy staple of majoritarian right-wing politics everywhere, but casting rhinos as stand-ins for aboriginal Hindus is a novel touch.

The BJP leadership’s concerted attempt to stigmatize Muslims as fifth columnists, infiltrators and predators has, predictably, turned Muslims against the prospect of a BJP government. Polls and other guesstimates often show Muslims voting en bloc against the BJP whereas the party captures a much larger share of the non-Muslim vote.

This wholly explicable difference in Muslim and non-Muslim voting patterns has, by a strange sleight of hand, been read by pundits as a symptom of a condition that Marxists used to describe as ‘false consciousness’. Thus, while India’s other human species are seen to be voting for well-being and voting their aspirations, Muslims are simply voting their fears. And given that the BJP’s election campaign was branded early on as a non-sectarian pitch for growth and governance, these fears, it followed, were unfounded.

Sadanand Dhume, who concedes that Muslims have reason to be wary of Modi, still sees Muslim opposition to the BJP as a kind of political outlier: “Viewed through the narrow prism of the Muslim community’s concerns, Mr. Modi remains a troubling choice to lead India. But apply an economic lens to the country as a whole — not just the Muslim minority that makes up 14% of the country’s 1.2 billion people — and the choices look different.”

The problem with this judgment is that a minority community’s view of Modi is a ‘narrow lens’ only if you think that its predicament and its fears are irrelevant to Indians who aren’t classed as a religious minority. Except that they are, as even a cursory acquaintance with South Asian history will show.

Thus, Sri Lanka’s majoritarian turn, where the Sinhala Buddhist majority made a bid to become the sole proprietor of the Sri Lankan nation state, led to endless violence and a bloody civil war which brought that country’s economy to a standstill for twenty years.

The eager media consensus that sees Narendra Modi and Subramanian Swamy as agents of economic rationality and Indian Muslims as paranoid dead-enders is a grotesque inversion of India’s political reality. Given the BJP’s unremitting hostility towards them, Muslims are the rational actors here; not voting for a party that loathes you is a reasonable thing to do. Asking Muslims to admit that they are basically Hindus, on the other hand, isn’t.

If a Modi sarkar were to act on Swamy’s supremacist fantasies or fashion Shah’s slanders into institutionalized suspicion or convert Modi’s dog-whistling into policy, India might well turn into a tinderbox. And if Indian newspapers and television channels continue to normalize extremist rhetoric into ‘common sense’, they will be remembered for having had a hand in sowing the wind.        [The Telegraph May 11, 2014,http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140511/jsp/opinion/story_18327692.jsp]

 

Red Salute to Comrade Mukul Sinha: Courageous Crusader for Truth, Justice and Democracy

10269367_10202369790860240_7123740818310956277_nActivist and lawyer Mukul Sinha succumbed to lung cancer in Ahmedabad on 12 May 2014. He was 63. A trade union activist, Sinha also fought many landmark battles for civil liberties and justice – many of them in the heart of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, valiantly keeping alive the hope of justice for victims of communal pogroms, fake encounters and custodial murders.

As a young researcher in a university in Ahmedabad, Mukul Sinha became a trade union organiser when 133 persons were laid off from the university in 1979. Throughout the 1980s, he, along with his wife and lifelong comrade Nirjhari, organised many labour struggles. He acquired a law degree to be better equipped to take up such struggles.

He and Nirjhari formed the civil rights organization Jan Sangharsh Manch, which did sterling work in the struggle for justice for the victims of the 2002 pogrom.

Manoj Mitta, in his book The Fiction of Fact Finding: Modi and Godhra, recounts how in proceedings before the Banerjee Committee, Sinha representing the Jan Sangharsh Manch, sought evidence of the Gujarat carnage: “The upshot was that the mobile phone evidence of the Gujarat carnage became officially public. This enabled lawyers, activists and victims to cite the data…while pressing for action against influential persons such as (former Gujarat minister) Maya Kodnani, (former Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader) Jaydeep Patel, and senior police officers in carnage cases”.

Zahir Janmohamad writes of him, “After the 2002 pogrom, Sinha became known as a human rights lawyer and a Gujarat riot activist. Neither term sat well with him and he always saw himself, and his work, through the lens of a labour organiser. ‘What both 1992 and 2002 did was to fool people into believing that the communal divide is greater than the class divide,’ Sinha said. ‘As soon as you convince a society that Muslims or whatever group is the problem, you have tricked them into overlooking the real problems like labour laws, corruption, housing shortages, and poor infrastructure.’”

Mukul Sinha played an immensely courageous part in the legal struggle to expose the truth of the fake encounters in Gujarat, involving Sadiq Jamal, Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati.

Mukul Sinha will also be remembered for assisting families of fake encounter victims in Congress-ruled Manipur to secure justice. The Supreme Court set up a high powered commission chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Santosh Hegde and two other members, former Chief Election Commisioner JM Lyngdoh and a former DGP of Karnataka, to look into some of the 1000s of custodial killings by security forces in Manipur. Assisting Manipur’s young widows’ association before the commission, Sinha conducted most of the cross examinations of the police and Manipur Rifles personnel. The result was a landmark report by the Commission that declared all the ‘encounters’ to be cold-blooded murders. Writing about the Gujarat and Manipur fake encounters, Comrade Mukul Sinha observed, “The encounters of Gujarat and the encounters of Manipur have several similar trends, but the motives appear to be quite distinct and different. While Gujarat encounters are purely politically motivated to profile the Chief Minister as a Hindu icon, the Manipur encounters are entirely in connection with the siphoning of Government grants. The common thing is that the ordinary citizens are being slaughtered for the benefit of the political leaders be it BJP or Congress.”

Mukul Sinha was among the founder members of the New Socialist Movement (NSM), a political party.

With exit polls declaring Modi as India’s impending PM, Sangh supporters are taunting Left and democratic forces, advising them to flee or accept defeat. Comrade Mukul fought so-called ‘lost causes’ in Gujarat, challenging Modi’s authoritarian regime: as a result of those battles, many of Modi’s top cops are in jail, and the battles for justice continue to be fought. Mukul SInha was not afraid of Modi as CM – and democratic citizens and fighters for democracy are not afraid of Modi even if he becomes PM.

And regardless of whether Modi becomes PM or not, regardless of whether we get a BJP Government or not, we know that Governments will not defend democracy and fight for the rights of workers, minorities, women, activists. It will always be the Mukul SInhas of the world who are the true life and soul of our democracy. The likes of Mukul Sinha do not die – they live on in the struggles they inspired and in the courage and perseverance of other activists.

In a world where the parties of power – and even parties that claim to represent common people – rely on the cult of the individual, it is worth recalling what Zahir Janmohamad says about Mukul Sinha: “Sinha was also mistrustful of the term leader because his whole life was dedicated to finding new voices and empowering them. During the many times I visited Sinha, I met some of Gujarat’s most respected judges, journalists, and activists. But just as often, I also met bus drivers, railway workers, and labourers, each of whom Mukul was training. This was perhaps his finest quality—he taught others and amplified their voices, even if it meant muting his own.” Mukul Sinha’s legacy will live on in those bus drivers, railway workers and labourers, as well as young lawyers and activists.

And Mukul Sinha’s outlook on activism – in his own words as told to Zahir Janmohamad – is a useful reminder to us all: “If you believe in a person or work against a person, you are bound to be disappointed. You will develop false hope and you will become fatigued. But if your goal is to change ideas, then this will sustain you.”

‘CHALO EFLU’ on 12th May Against the Administrative highhanded decision to rusticate three students for participating in students’ Movement

efluAISA strongly condemns the rustication of three student leaders of the English and Foreign Languages university (EFLU) for participating in a democratic protest demanding better library facilities. Mohan Dharavath (President of Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minority Students Union) and Satheesh Nainala (general secretary of Telangana Students Association, EFLU), Subhash Kumar (AISA member and Prominent Student Activist of EFLU)  have been rusticated by the university administration for two years without any probe, ostensibly for participating in a protest called by the EFLU Students’ Union.  To rusticate these students who were part of a huge and collective protest called by the students’ union is bizarre, illogical and completely unacceptable. The student union’s protest has been deemed ‘illegal’ and show cause notices as well a police cases have been filed against the protesting students. It is shameful that a protracted protest for a basic students’ demand is being subjected to such a draconian and autocratic crackdown – clearly aimed at clamming down all dissenting voices and closing democratic spaces and options.

Moreover, it needs to be noted that this rustication is just the latest in a series of draconian and undemocratic moves, on the part of the autocratic EFLU administration. To begin with, students of EFLU found it necessary to launch a protracted protest because the 24×7 reading room had been closed down. One of the veiled reasons for this closing down of reading room was an attempt at gender segregation – since the reading room remained one of the few academic spaces in the university where men and women could interact and study together. In a move that smacks of moral policing, the administration claimed that students were “misusing” the reading room. Also, time and again, the administration has simply refused to address students’ genuine concerns, instead often calling in the police to deal with the students.   

Such attempts of university administrations to stifle all dissenting voices are becoming increasingly common, and have to be unitedly resisted. In the Delhi University for instance, a series of anti-student policy decisions are being taken, running roughshod over dissent from students and teachers alike. Over the past few years, in DU, we have seen the semester system as well as the FYUP programme being introduced even as protests continue. And across campuses, administrations refuse to listen to genuine demands for hostels, library facilities and more democratic policies in university spaces. AISA stands in complete solidarity with the students of EFLU in their struggle against the EFLU administration’s draconian moves. We join the EFLU students in their demand for immediate withdrawal of the rustication orders, handed out to Mohan Dharavath and Satish. Such shrinking of democratic spaces within university campuses cannot be allowed.

Various organizations have jointly called for a “EFLU CHALO” march, on 12 th May against this administrative high-handedness. AISA appeals to the student community to join this March in large numbers to demand withdrawal of rustication and removal of Vice Chancellor of Eflu.

EFLU CHALO on 12th MAY

REVOKE THE RUSTCATION OF THREE STUDENT ACTIVISTS!

REMOVE THE PRESENT EFLU VC!!

Condemn the Gruesome Massacre by the Militant Groups in Assam Which Has Claimed the Lives of Around 30 Muslims!

Stop Communal Flare-Up and Targeting!

 

Ensure Immediate Protection and Security, Compensation and Rehabilitation!

Condemn the Insensitive Gogoi Government!!

 

AISA Joins Joint Protest Demo in front of ASSAM BHAWAN on  7TH May, Condemning the Massacre…

 

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Photo- Courtesy IBN LIVE

 

At least 23 people have been killed in 3 separate attacks by suspected Bodo militants during Thursday-Friday (2nd May) in the Kokrajhar and Baksa districts under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam. However, according to later TV reports, death toll rose to 30 as seven more bodies were recovered from Narayanguri area of Baksa district in Assam early Saturday. The massacre was carried out apparently on the ‘belief’ that the people in the area did not vote for the candidate dictated by the Bodo militants! (Prabin Kalita,TNN | May 3, 2014, 01.41 AM )

The frenzy against Muslims in the area had been recently exacerbated by the forces like BJP, whose only ploy for garnering votes in Assam is to of stoke communal passion in the name of “Bangladeshi infiltrators.”  Recently, in a shocking speech at Dhemaji, Modi went to the absurd extent of saying, Rhinos being killed to make room for Bangladeshi settlers!!! He went on to add: “Those who are conspiring to finish of rhinos, they should listen to this carefully. After May 16, they will be taken to task one by one (chun chun ke hisab liya jayega).” (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-bjp-assam-government-congress-poaching-of-rhinos-bangladeshi-settlers/1/352179.html.)

In the context of Modi’s speech, one needs to be reminded of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s infamous speech in Assam, just preceding the Nellie massacre (of 18 Feb 1983), during 1983 Assam elections. “In 1983, Mr. Vajpayee hit the headlines for a speech he made during the violent Assam election which was fought on the foreigners’ issue, and which saw the massacre of over 2000 mostly Muslim men and women in Nellie. The BJP disowned the speech. However, thanks to the irrepressible Indrajit Gupta, who read out excerpts from it in the Lok Sabha while debating the motion of confidence moved by Mr. Vajpayee on May 28, 1996. (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/two-bjp-men-so-alike-and-so-different/article62165.ece).

In this shocking speech, preceding the Nellie massacre, Vajpayee has been quoted to have said, “Foreigners have come here; and the  Government  does  nothing. What  if  they  had come into Punjab instead, people would have chopped them into pieces and thrown them away.” (http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/lsdeb/ls11/ses1/0528059603.htm). When it was read out in the Parliament on May 28 1996, it was not contested.

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AISA Joins Joint Protest Demo, in Jantar Mantar

We all know that in the RSS-BJP lexicon, “Bangladeshi infiltrators” is a code word for all Bengali or Assamese-speaking Muslims, in order to justify harassment, discrimination and violence against the latter. Down the years, it is this calculated hate-mongering which is compounding the ethnic tension and precipitating the communal bloodbath.

 

 

 

Several Left and Democratic organization jointly caled for a protest Demo in fron of Assam Association on 7th May. AISA members and leaders participated in the protest demo. Following demands were raised by the organization

 

Demands:

shehla assam1. A high level judicial enquiry be instituted, as state (Assam) security forces have utterly failed to prevent the massacre and can not be relied upon to carry out fair and thorough investigations.
2. Adequate compensation and rehabilitation package be provided to families of deceased and injured.
3. Secured relief camps with adequate standards be provided to the victims till they feel confident to return to their villages.
FIR be registered against Pramila Rani Brahma for her inflammatory public remarks.
4. Since it has come to light that guns belonging to forest department have been used in the massacre and involvement of forest guards have been suspected, investigate the possible involvement of official and executive members of the forest department of Bodoland Territorial Council.

Shame on the Gogoi Govt For Failing to Stop This Pre-Meditated  Massacre Despite Enough ‘Intelligence’ Inputs and Call for Protection!

Down With the Open Incitements By Modi in His Election Speeches Designed to Raise the Communal Hate!

JNUSU’s Anti – Modi Campaign Receives Growing Solidarity and Support from common people and intellectuals of Varanasi

AISA led JNUSU is campaigning against the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, in his Varanasi constituency. Comrade Om, the JNU AISA Unit Vice President reorts from Varanasi.

 Varanasi – Update from Day VIII, 6th May

Day 8JNUSU’s Varanasi campaign against communal corporate fascism has completed eight days toady. After rigorous door-to-door campaigning, interacting with thousands of people in Varanasi in last one week – one thing is crystal clear – there is NO Modi Wave in Varanasi (forget about tsunami), as declared by the Sangh brigade and corporate media. The common people in Varanasi is extremely angry against the intimidation and lumpenism of Sangh and ready to answer on 12th May.

Today morning JNUSU team campaigned and distributed pamphlets in Vasundhara Railway Colony, and in the evening in Bajardiha, Sundarpur, Naria and BHU Employees Colony. JNUSU has also demanded that the restoration of Student Union Elections and Campus Democracy in BHU has to become a poll issue.

Extremely glad to know from comrades from JNU, that a team of 25 activists are joining us tomorrow morning in Varanasi. 

Together friends, We shall fight, we shall win!
Intimidation of Sangh and corporate backed media can’t stop our voice of resistance against communal fascism!!

 

 Days VI & VII (5th & 6th May)

day 67On days VI and VII, JNUSU continued its determined campaign to expose the corporate backed communal fascism that Modi represents.

Yesterday a convention was held in Banaras celebrating Kabir’s legacy. Several intellectuals, cultural and social activists participated in the event. JNUSU too participated in the event and forcefully put forward its understanding of BJP’s communal politics that now enjoys a tremendous and eager corporate backing, along with exposing the development myth propagated by Modi and his PR agencies.

Today the JNUSU visited Kashi Vidyapeeth University and did extensive class campaigns there. The response of the students was extremely encouraging. In the evening the JNUSU led team visited Chittupur, a locality in Varanasi (near BHU) that has a large student population residing in it. Another rigorous campaign was held in this area which again was met by an enthusiastic response by the residents.

The deflation of Modi balloon appears to be on the way as open resistance to his kind of politics and his supporters can be seen. Baba Ramdev, who continues to be in news with his unending and extremely offensive anti-Dalit and anti-women comments, was to come to Banaras for a pro-Modi campaign. Given his track record of rabble rousing, hate mongering and insensitive comments, his visit was further likely to vitiate the atmosphere in Banaras. However, the news of his intended visit was met with a strong protest by a number of women groups, Dalit groups and JNUSU. In the end, he was forced to cancel the trip under this united pressure.

More power to the voices of resistance against these forces of communal-fascism!!

Varanasi Update – Day V (3rd May)

“Modi Wave” in Corporate Media – Varanasi Prepares to Rebuff Communal Fascism 

day 3,1Today JNUSU team rigorously campaigned and distributed pamphlets in Railway Colony area, Seer Govardhanpur (near Ravidas Temple), adjoining areas of BHU. As media has gone gaga over Modi, “Gujrat Model”, and “Development”, the common people of Varanasi gets ready to rebuff and resist communal fascism. The response to common people to our anti – Modi campaign in last five days is really overwhelming and encouraging.

The common people of Varansi is very disgusted with lumpenism and intimidation unleashed by Sangh brigade. Any utterance of a word against Modi and Sanghi goons will descend on you and not let you speak a single word against Modi in Banaras. The Sanghi Brigade will get more desperate as 12th May comes near, but the common people of Varanasi is ready to fight communal corporate fascism tooth and nail and expose the bluff-master called Narendra Modi.

Finally, thanks a lot to faculty members of BHU and intellectuals of Varanasi who have expressed their solidarity with JNUSU against Sanghi lumpenism.

“Loot, Daman aur Jansanghar…Nahi Chalega Modi sarkar!”,
The Voice of Resistance will emerge stronger and louder!

Day IV  (2nd May)

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In Conversation in with local students

Today morning we started our campaigning in adjoining areas of B.H.U, and we got calls for different media channels who wanted to cover our campaign. Soon several media persons arrived and they instead of asking us any question, randomly picked up 2-3 Modi supporters for interview asking them if JNUSU’s campaign has effects on them. The media shamelessly went all out to show that people of Varanasi is not convinced by our campaign.
While the media circus went on, we rigorously campaigned and distributed pamphlets in Lahartara, Hyderabad Colony, BHU and Police Line areas. The response from the common people of Varanasi to our campaign was really encouraging.

day 4,5

Campaigning at BHU adjacent localities

Further, several faculty members of BHU and intellectuals of Varanasi have expressed their solidarity with our campaign and issued a Joint Statement against Sanghi intimidation of JNUSU team day before yesterday.

With all your Solidarity and Support, We shall fight, we shall win!

 

Day III (1st May)

Intimidation Continues, and Our Campaign Picks Up

at police station

At Police Station

Yesterday the JNUSU team was threatened by Sangh brigade at Lanka. After we came back from police station, last night around 1:15, we got a call from police station for recording our statement and asked us in an intimidating tone to immediately come there. We categorically told them that it is not possible for us to go to police station in such a time. Today morning we went to police station around 10. But instead of recording our statement, the police first threatened us to serve legal notice! But because of our continuous pressure, the police was finally forced to lodge FIR against Sanghi lumpens on two solidgro unds – a)threatening the JNUSU team, b) there was no print-line of the pamphlet circulated by Sangh brigade.

Even in this extreme hostile situation, we campaigned and distributed pamphlets in Railway Colony Cantonment in morning and in the second half, in Bhimnagar, Kutchery Chauraha and Police Line Chauraha. The common people there responded really well to our anti – Modi campaign.

Several friends and comrades from JNU communicated us that they are joining in 2 – 3 days. And thanks a lot for your support, calls and well wishes. Whatever the situation of Banaras under saffron terror remains in coming days, we will continue our campaign and fight back communal fascism tooth and nail.

The Undeclared Emergency in Varanasi can’t stop Our Resolute Fight Against Communal Fascism.

 Day II, (30th April)

day 2

Police Officers ‘requesting’ us postpone our campaign

Today morning we started our campaigning in BHU, and the Proctor tried his best to interfere and disrupt our campaigning twice. But the common students of BHU responded very well to our anti – Modi campaign. Around 5:30 in the evening, while we were distributing pamphlets in front BHU gate, at Lanka suddenly sanghi lumpens arrived and tried to create clash. They said they will check our bags and if we don’t go back to Delhi, we will face dire consequences. We went to the police station to lodge FIR, but the intimidation continued even in front of the police. The police, ironically requested us not to campaign for 5 -6 days, as they can’t provide security because most of the force is on election duty!

Any utterance of a word against Modi in Varanasi today and Sanghi goons will descend on you and not let you speak a single word.

But we are not going back anywhere, we will continue our campaign with firmest determination till we expose the communal fascist monster Modi!

Day I,  (29th April)

day 1 press conference

JNUSU Officebearers Adressing the Press

The JNUSU team reached Varanasi today morning. We attended a press conference after reaching and talked about our campaign against the face of corporate-communal fascism- NaMo. It was surprising that it seemed even the media persons are completely unaware of counter-Modi truths and discourse. They appeared surprised when we mentioned Modi’s anti-dalit statements stating it is the divine duty of the Shudras to continue with manual scavangering. The media persons also appeared unaware of the several truths of Gujarat and its development. Now, whether it was a genuine ignorance or a intended veil of ignorance, is surely a matter of debate given the working of Big capital behind media knowledge. But surely, assertion of such facts by our team to the media in Varanasi was necessary, whether or not they publish it.
After the press conference we started a rigorous door to door campaign. While campaigning in Madanpur, where mainly minorities reside, a lumpen gang of BJP appeared and tried to threaten us and create clash. Astonishing is the realisation that if there is so much a Modi wave, what is the fear that drives this Sanghi lumpen gang to create clash with our campaign team in the minority residential area?
While campaigning in the city, we realised what is well-known about Varanasi, the absolute lack of basic infrastructure like road, sanitation etc in the city. it is also important to mention that Varanasi has been having MP from BJP since 1991, except for 2004. The sitting MP is Murli Manohar Joshi from BJP. If ‘development’ is something for which we are asked to forget 2002, then we must ask why this situation in Varanasi? What was BJP’s MPs doing till now?
We hope we will be able to bring these questions to the focus and the masses will expose this bluff master named Narendra Modi on 12th May

day4,2

JNUSU campaign Against Modi in Varanasi moves ahead, braving Sanghi Lumpenism