Even as the divisive, communal and sinister CAA was passed amidst surging protests throughout the country, led in great part by women and youths, atrocities against women and the relentless pauperization of the masses have continued to rise steadily.

We are approaching the International Working Women’s Day at a time when Indian women are not only facing unprecedented violence but also being deprived of decent jobs and wages and being pushed into an existence of dependence and penury. Data released by the National Crime Records Bureau have revealed that a total of 2,249 unemployed women committed suicide in 2018. The total number of suicides by unemployed women and men surpassed that of farmers and serve as a harsh comment on the state of joblessness and poverty in the country.

The new Codes on Labour, which will condense over 40 labour laws into four codes, is being sought to be passed in Parliament and will further affect labour rights in the country, especially those of the most vulnerable section, women. As it is the female labour participation rate in India — the share of working-age women who report either being employed, or being available for work —has fallen to a historic low of 23.3% in 2017-18, meaning that over three out of four women over the age of 15 in India are neither working nor seeking work.

According to a recent Oxfam report ‘Time to Care’, released in January this year, such is the income inequality in India, it would take a female domestic worker 22,277 years to earn what a top CEO of a technology company makes in one year. The report further said that women and girls put in 3.26 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day — a contribution to the Indian economy of at least Rs 19 lakh crore a year, which is 20 times the entire education budget of India in 2019 (Rs 93,000 crore). If care work had been socialized and industrialized – if communal kitchens, public laundry, crèches for children and the like had to replace today’s system of individual women and girls spending billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly – then not only would employment rise but also women’s unpaid work would be replaced by work for wages.

Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving, and little wonder that this ‘hidden engine’ is driven by women who have little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how the society and country is run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy. Yet, no government till date has come up with a policy to replace this unpaid care work with socialized and paid care work as a means of empowering women.

Unable to give all able-bodied women work for wages, unable to provide equal wages for equal work, unable to create an enabling atmosphere for women to get educated and employed, unable to ensure a modicum of safety for women, the government is now bent on destroying whatever remains of the democratic and secular fabric of the country in the name of CAA-NPR-NRC. If not resisted, these communal tools will make women further vulnerable to devastation, displacement and even disenfranchisement. The evil design of transforming India into a Hindu Rashtra, based on the precepts of Manu Smriti, where women are but objects of male desire and slaves of patriarchal families, cannot be allowed to succeed.

Thus it is indeed heartening to note that across the country women are taking to the streets in thousands. Shaheen Bagh has already created history in women’s non-violent resistance to divisive state policies. Further, Shaheen Bagh is not alone. In various cities of the country similar prolonged demonstrations by women continue to thrive. The women’s mandate on CAA-NPR-NRC is clear: it cannot be allowed to stand. Kashmiri women, in the face of the most brutal kind of state terror, continue to fight for democracy.

All India Revolutionary Women's Organisation (AIRWO) too resolutely opposes CAA-NPR-NRC and, besides frequently hitting the streets demanding its repeal, extends its solidarity to Shaheen Bagh and its sisters. On March 8 this year, AIRWO calls upon all democratic women to rise and organize to the following slogans:

No to CAA-NPR-NRC!Stop violence against women! Equal pay for equal work! Dignified and secure employment for all able-bodied women of working age!

Sharmistha Choudhury, GS, AIRWO

The surge of Hindu nationalism in India can be seen as a revolt of the upper castes against the egalitarian demands of democracy. The Hindutva project is a lifeboat for the upper castes in so far as it promises to restore the Brahminical social order.

The recent upsurge of Hindu nationalism in India is a huge setback for the movement to annihilate caste and bring about a more equal society. The setback is not an accident: the growth of Hindu nationalism can be seen as a revolt of the upper castes against the egalitarian demands of democracy.

Hindutva and Caste

The essential ideas of Hindu nationalism, also known as “Hindutva”, are not difficult to understand. They were explained with great clarity by V.D. Savarkar in Essentials of Hindutva (Savarkar, 1923), and amplified by other early Hindutva thinkers such as M.S. Golwalkar. The basic idea is that India belongs to the “Hindus”, broadly defined in cultural – rather than strictly religious – terms that include Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains but not Muslims and Christians (because the cradle of their religion is elsewhere). The ultimate goal of Hindutva is to unite the Hindus, revitalise Hindu society and turn India into a “Hindu rashtra”.

Incidentally, the arguments that were advanced to support these ideas involved startling departures from rational thinking, common sense and scientific knowledge. Just to illustrate, consider Golwalkar’s argument that all Hindus belong to one race, the Aryan race. Golwalkar did not have to contend, at that time, with the scientific evidence we have against that argument today, but he did grapple with an alleged discovery that Aryans came from somewhere north of India, in fact near the North Pole. He dealt with this claim by arguing that the North Pole itself used to be located in India:

… the North Pole is not stationary and quite long ago it was in that part of the world, which, we find, is called Bihar and Orissa at the present; … then it moved northeast and then by a sometimes westerly, sometimes northward movement, it came to its present position… we were all along here and the Arctic Zone left us and moved away northwards in its zigzag march. (Golwalkar, 1939: p8)

Golwalkar did not explain how the Aryans managed to stay in place during this “zigzag march” of the North Pole. He used similarly contrived arguments to defend the odd claim that all Hindus share “one language”.

The Hindutva project can also be seen as an attempt to restore the traditional social order associated with the common culture that allegedly binds all Hindus. The caste system, or at least the varna system (the four-fold division of society), is an integral part of this social order. In We or Our Nationhood Defined, for instance, Golwalkar clearly says that the “Hindu framework of society”, as he calls it, is “characterised by varnas and ashrams” (Golwalkar 1939, p. 54). This is elaborated at some length in Bunch of Thoughts (one of the foundational texts of Hindutva), where Golwalkar praises the varna system as the basis of a “harmonious social order”.1 Like many other apologists of caste, he claims that the varna system is not meant to be hierarchical, but that does not cut much ice.

Golwalkar and other Hindutva ideologues tend to have no problem with caste. They have a problem with what some of them call “casteism”. The word casteism, in the Hindutva lingo, is not a plain reference to caste discrimination (like “racism” is a reference to race discrimination). Rather, it refers to various forms of caste conflict, such as Dalits asserting themselves and demanding quotas. That is casteism, because it divides Hindu society.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the torch-bearer of Hindu nationalism today, has been remarkably faithful to these essential ideas. On caste, the standard line remains that caste is part of the “genius of our country”, as the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ram Madhav, put it recently in Indian Express (Madhav, 2017), and that the real problem is not caste but casteism.

An even more revealing statement was made by Yogi Adityanath, head of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, in an interview with NDTV three years ago. Much like Golwalkar, he explained that caste was a method for “managing society in an orderly manner”. He said: “Castes play the same role in Hindu society that furrows play in farms, and help in keeping it organised and orderly… Castes can be fine, but casteism is not…”.2

To look at the issue from another angle, Hindutva ideologues face a basic problem: how does one “unite” a society divided by caste? The answer is to project caste as a unifying rather than a divisive institution.3 The idea, of course, is unlikely to appeal to the disadvantaged castes, and that is perhaps why it is rarely stated as openly as Yogi Adityanath did in his interview. Generally, Hindutva leaders tend to abstain from talking about the caste system, but there is a tacit acceptance of it in this silence. Few of them, at any rate, are known to have spoken against the caste system.

Sometimes Hindutva leaders create an impression that they oppose the caste system because they speak or act against untouchability. Savarkar himself was against untouchability, and even supported one of Dr. Ambedkar’s early acts of civil disobedience against it, the Mahad satyagraha (Zelliott 2013, p.80). But opposing untouchability is not at all the same as opposing the caste system. There is a long tradition, among the upper castes, of defending the caste system along with opposing untouchability, often dismissed as a recent perversion of it.4

 

 

Uncertain Power

The Hindutva project is a good deal for the upper castes, since it effectively stands for the restoration of the traditional social order that places them at the top. As one might expect, the RSS is particularly popular among the upper castes. Its founders, incidentally, were all Brahmins, as were all the RSS chiefs so far except one (Rajendra Singh, a Rajput), and many other leading figures of the Hindutva movement – Savarkar, Hedgewar, Golwalkar, Nathuram Godse, Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Mohan Bhagwat, Ram Madhav, to name a few. Over time, of course, the RSS has expanded its influence beyond the upper castes, but the upper castes remain their most loyal and reliable base.5

In fact, Hindutva has become a kind of lifeboat for the upper castes, as their supremacy came under threat after India’s independence. By and large, of course, the upper castes have managed to retain their power and privileges in the post-independence period. Just to illustrate, in a 2015 survey of the “positions of power and influence” (the university faculty, the bar association, the press club, the top police posts, trade-union leaders, NGO heads, and so on) in the city of Allahabad, we found that 75 % of the “POPIs” had been captured by members of the upper castes, whose share of the population in Uttar Pradesh is just 16% or so. Brahmins and Kayasthas alone accounted for about half of the POPIs. Interestingly, this imbalance was, if anything, more pronounced among civic institutions such as trade unions, NGOs and the press club than in the government sector. Allahabad, of course, is just one city, but many other studies have brought out similar patterns of continued upper-caste dominance in a wide range of contexts – media houses, corporate boards, cricket teams, senior administrative positions, and so on.6

Nevertheless, the upper-caste ship has started leaking from many sides. Education, for instance, used to be a virtual monopoly of the upper castes – at the turn of the 20th century, literacy was the norm among Brahmin men but virtually nil among Dalits.7 Inequality and discrimination certainly persist in the education system today, but in government schools at least Dalit children can claim the same status as upper-caste children. Children of all castes even share the same midday meal, an initiative that did not go down well with many upper-caste parents (Drèze, 2017). The recent introduction of eggs in midday meals in many states also caused much agitation among upper-caste vegetarians.8 Under their influence, most of the states with a BJP government are resisting the inclusion of eggs in school meals to this day.

The schooling system is only one example of a sphere of public life where the upper castes have had to resign themselves to some sharing of power and privilege. The electoral system is another example, even if “adult suffrage and frequent elections are no bar against [the] governing class reaching places of power and authority”, as Dr. Ambedkar put it (Ambedkar, 1945, p 208). The upper castes may be somewhat over-represented in the Lok Sabha, but their share of it is a moderate 29%, in sharp contrast with the overwhelming upper-caste dominance of POPIs in society (Trivedi et al, 2019). At the local level, too, Panchayati Raj Institutions and the reservation of seats for women, Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) have weakened the grip of the upper castes on political affairs. Similarly, the judicial system restrains the arbitrary power of the upper castes from time to time (for instance in matters of land grab, bonded labour, and untouchability), even if the principle of equality before the law is still far from being realised.

Some economic changes have also undermined the dominant position of the upper castes, at least in rural areas. Many years ago, I had an opportunity to observe a striking example of this process in Palanpur, a village of Moradabad district in western Uttar Pradesh. When we asked Man Singh (name changed), a relatively educated resident of Palanpur, to write down his impressions of recent economic and social change in the village, here is what he wrote (in late 1983):

  1. Lower castes are passing better life than upper castes. So there has been a great jealousy and hateful-ness for lower castes in the hearts of upper caste people.
  2. Ratio of education is increasing in low castes very rapidly.
  3. On the whole, we can say that low castes are going up and upper castes are coming down; this is because the economic condition of lower castes seems better than higher castes people in the modern society.

I could not make sense of this until I understood that by “lower castes”, Man Singh did not mean Dalits but his own caste, the Muraos (one of Uttar Pradesh’s “Other Backward Classes”). With that clue, what he wrote made good sense, and indeed, it was consistent with our own findings: the Muraos, a farming caste, had prospered steadily after the abolition of zamindari and the onset of the Green Revolution – more so than the upper-caste Thakurs. Even as the Thakurs were struggling to keep the appearances of idle landlords (traditionally, they are not supposed to touch the plough), the Muraos were taking to multiple cropping with abandon, installing tubewells, buying more land and – as Man Singh hints – catching up with the Thakurs in matters of education. The Thakurs did not hide their resentment.

Palanpur is just one village, but it turns out that similar patterns have been observed in a good number of village studies.9 I am not suggesting that the relative economic decline of the upper castes is a universal pattern in rural India in the post-independence period, but it seems to be a common pattern at least.

In short, even if the upper castes are still in firm control of many aspects of economic and social life, in some respects they are also losing ground, or in danger of losing ground. Even when the loss of privilege is relatively small, it may be perceived as a major loss.

Striking Back

Of all the ways upper-caste privilege has been challenged in recent decades, perhaps none is more acutely resented by the upper castes than the system of reservation in education and public employment. How far reservation policies have actually reduced education and employment opportunities for the upper castes is not clear — the reservation norms are far from being fully implemented, and they apply mainly in the public sector. What is not in doubt is that these policies have generated a common perception, among the upper castes, that “their” jobs and degrees are being snatched by the SCs, STs , and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).10

As it happens, the revival of the BJP began soon after the V.P. Singh government committed itself to the implementation of the Mandal Commission report on reservation for OBCs, in 1990. This threatened not only to split Hindu society (the upper castes were enraged), but also to alienate OBCs — about 40 per cent of India’s population — from the BJP, opposed as it was to the Mandal Commission recommendations. L.K. Advani’s Rath Yatra to Ayodhya, and the events that followed (including the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992), helped to avert this threat of “casteism” and re-unite Hindus on an anti-Muslim platform, under the leadership of the BJP — and of the upper castes.

This is a striking example of Hindutva enabling the upper castes to counter a threat to their privileges and reassert their control over Hindu society. That, indeed, seems to be one of the main functions of the Hindutva movement today. The potential adversaries of this movement are not just Muslims but also Christians, Dalits, Adivasis, communists, secularists, rationalists, feminists, in short anyone who stands or might stand in the way of the restoration of the Brahminical social order. Though it is often called a majoritarian movement, Hindutva is perhaps better described as a movement of the oppressive minority.

One possible objection to this interpretation of the Hindutva movement (or rather, of its rapid growth in recent times) is that Dalits are supporting it in large numbers. This objection, however, is easy to counter. First, it is doubtful that many Dalits really support the RSS or Hindutva ideology. Many did vote for the BJP in the 2019 elections, but that is not the same thing as supporting Hindutva — there are many possible reasons for voting for the BJP. Second, some aspects of the Hindutva movement may appeal to Dalits even if they do not subscribe to Hindutva ideology. For instance, the RSS is known for its vast network of schools, and other kinds of social work, often focused on underprivileged groups. Third, the RSS has gone out of its way to win support among Dalits, not only through social work but also through propaganda, starting with the co-option of Dr. Ambedkar. Objectively speaking, there is no possible meeting ground between Hindutva and Dr. Ambedkar, yet the RSS routinely claims him in one way or another.

Finally, it is arguable that even if Hindutva does not stand for the abolition of caste, its view — and practice — of caste is less oppressive than the caste system as it exists today. Some Dalits may feel that, all said and done, they are treated better in the RSS than in the society at large. As one RSS sympathiser puts it: “Hindutva and the promise of a common Hindu identity always appealed to a large Dalit and OBC castes [sic] as it promises to liberate them from the narrow identity of a weaker caste, and induct them into a powerful Hindu community” (Singh 2019). It is another matter that this “promise” often proves illusory: Bhanwar Meghwanshi’s experience as a Dalit in the RSS is an enlightening example (Meghwanshi, 2020).

As mentioned earlier, the rise of Hindu nationalism should not be confused with the electoral success of the BJP. Nevertheless, the sweeping victory of the BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections is also a big victory for the RSS. Most of the top posts in government (prime minister, president, vice-president, speaker of the Lok Sabha, key ministries, many governors, and so on) are now occupied by members or former members of the RSS, firmly committed to the ideology of Hindu nationalism. The quiet revolt of the upper castes against democracy is now taking the form of a more direct attack on democratic institutions, starting with the freedom of expression and dissent. The retreat of democracy and the persistence of caste are in danger of feeding on each other.

References: 

Aggarwal, A., Drèze, J.P., and Gupta, A. (2015). “Caste and the power elite in Allahabad”. Economic and Political Weekly, 7 February.

Ambedkar, B.R. (1945), What Congress and Gandhi have done to the untouchables. Bombay: Thacker & Co.

Balagopal, K. (1990)”This anti-Mandal mania”. Economic and Political Weekly, 6 October.

Drèze, Jean (2017). Sense and solidarity: Jholawala economics for everyone. Ranikhet: Permanent Black.

Drèze, J.P., Lanjouw, P., and Sharma, N.K. (1998). ”Economic development in Palanpur, 1957-93". In Lanjouw, P., and Stern, N. (Eds.), Economic development in Palanpur over five decades. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Drèze, J.P., and Sen, Amartya (2013). An uncertain glory: India and its contradictions. London and New Delhi: Penguin.

Gandhi, M.K. (1933). “Religion degraded”. Harijan, 11 February 1933. Reprinted in Gandhi (1964), pp. 12-15.

Gandhi, M.K. (1964).Caste must go and the sin of untouchability, compiled by R.K. Prabhu. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House. Available at www.gandhiheritageportal.org.

Golwalkar, M.S. (1939). We or our nationhood defined. Nagpur: Bharat Publications.

Golwalkar, M.S. (1966). Bunch of thoughts. Bangalore: Vikrama Prakashan.

India Today (2019). “Chhattisgarh BJP MLAs oppose eggs on mid-day meal menu in govt schools”.

Madhav, Ram (2017). “Coming full circle at 70”. Indian Express, 15 August.

Meghwanshi, Bhanwar (2020), I Could Not be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS (New Delhi: Navayana).

Savarkar, V.D. (1923). Essentials of Hindutva, later reprinted under the title Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? Bombay: Veer Savarkar Prakashan.

Singh, Abhinav Prakash (2019). “A common Hindu identity has always appealed to OBC and Dalit castes”. Hindustan Times, 18 July.

Trivedi, P., Nissa, B.U., and Bhogale, S. (2019). “From faith to gender and profession to caste: A profile of the 17th Lok Sabha”. Hindustan Times, 25 May.

Zelliott, Eleanor (2013). Ambekdar’s world: The making of Babasaheb and the dalit movement. New Delhi: Navayana.

(This article is also a contribution to the inaugural issue of CASTE: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion. The India Forum welcomes your comments on this article for the Forum/Letters section. Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Attitudinal violence and structural violence contribute immensely to physical violence in the forms of communal riots and mob lynching. This was the scenario facing India in 2019. There were 25 incidents of communal riots in India in 2019, and 108 incidents of mob lynching, according to the monitoring of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS). CSSS monitors reportage of communal riots and mob lynching in the Mumbai editions of five leading newspapers- The Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, Inquilab and Sahafat. As per the reportage in these newspapers, the number of communal riots in 2019 (25) is lesser than 2018 where 38 communal riots were reported in the same newspapers.

Though the number of communal riots has declined, the discourse of communal violence driven by ideology of Hindutva supremacy remains the same. Newer issues are being used to heighten the discourse of communal violence- for instance the discriminatory legislation of Citizenship Amendment Bill which excludes Muslims linked with NRC, the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and the clamp down on communication subsequently, the demand for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Thus, though it appears that the number of communal riots has declined, that in no way can be construed as decline in communal discourse leading to communal violence itself. If at all, through discriminatory legislations and increasing dismantling of democratic institutions which were expected to safeguard democracy, communal violence is taking deeper roots in our society. The discourse promoted by the ruling party in conjunction with the impunity and patronage given to police and non state cadre is effectively perpetrating violence against the marginalized. Even if the number of communal riots is low, communal violence has stronger manifestations in structural and attitudinal violence.

Methodology of Monitoring

The findings of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) are based on the reportage of communal riots reported in Mumbai editions of five newspapers- The Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindu, Sahafat and Inquilab. This is also the limitation of the findings since they are based on the city editions of only these five newspapers. In the past, CSSS could give a fair comparison between the number of communal riots emerging from its monitoring and the number of communal riots reported by the National Crimes Report Bureau (NCRB) which used to routinely place this data in the public domain. It’s interesting to note that though the Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy claimed that the Centre has zero tolerance for incidents of communal violence, it hasn’t proved this claim through figures and stopped giving out data(Scroll in, 2019). The NCRB ceasing to publish data of the communal riots from 2017 is no mere coincidence. In the past, the number of communal riots reported by the NCRB or the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was way higher than that reported by CSSS.

Sections: Communal Riots and Mob Lynching

As explained last year in its report, CSSS reported that though there is a decline in the number of communal riots in India in 2018, it doesn’t imply that there is a decline in communal violence (Engineer, Dabhade, Nair, & Pendke, 2019). Communal violence is a broader term encompassing communal riots as well as mob lynching. While the number of communal riots is declining according to the reportage in the Mumbai edition of these five newspapers, the number of mob lynching is increasing. Mob lynching is an instrument to achieve the objective of sustained communal polarization by involving communal symbols like cow, the issue of love jihad or even the more innocuous pretexts like theft etc targeting the Muslims. In 2019 too, the same pattern continued where though the number of communal riots decreased, the number of mob lynching were high. Thus the report of communal violence which manifested itself in the form of physical violence is divided into two sections: Communal riots and Mob lynching. This section will attempt to under-stand the salient features of communal riots in 2019.

Salient Points: Religion-wise Break up of Deaths and Injuries

In 2019, from January 1 to December 31, according to the above mentioned newspapers, 25 communal riots took place in 2019. In these 25 riots, 8 lives were claimed. Out of the 8 persons deceased, three killed were Hindus, three killed were Muslims and the communities of two persons killed were not specified in the reports. The two Hindus were killed in Maharashtra and UP. In the communal riot in Maharashtra, a fight broke out between the two groups which got a communal angle. The fight broke out during a game of gambling in the Amravati resulting in the death of one Sham Phelwan. A riot ensued and subsequently two Muslims were killed in the riots. In the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, again, a personal conflict over a trivial issue of kite flying between some children assumed the communal colour. Both sides confronted each other and one group entered the house of the deceased, Raj Kumar and attacked him and other family members. Raj Kumar got critically injured in the clash and later died while being taken to hospital. One Vishnu Yadav died after being attacked over the issue of stone pelting during a procession of immersion of some idols in Bihar’s district of Jehanabad. One more Muslim, Jamiruddin Tapadar died in Hailakandi, Assam. This riot was resulting from a traffic congestion caused due to Friday prayers. 54 persons were injured in these 25 incidents of communal riots.

Religion-wise Break up of Arrests

In 25 incidents of communal riots, there were a total of 48 arrests. 47 of the arrested from 48 arrests were from unspecified community whereas one was a Muslim. There were no arrests of specifically any Hindu.

Region-wise Break up of Communal Riots

The state of Uttar Pradesh continued to top the list of states which had the most number of communal riots. Out of 25 communal riots, 9 took place in UP. This is contrary to the claim of the Chief Minister of UP who claimed that there have been no communal riots in UP after BJP came to rule (Times of India, 2019). UP was followed by the state of Maharashtra where 4 communal riots were reported in 2019.  Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir each had two communal riots in 2019. In the states of Karnataka, Haryana, Assam, Delhi, Bihar and West Bengal reported one communal riot each.

These figures indicate that communal riots have mostly been reported in the northern zone of the country and the north has been the theatre of violence with deep faultlines. The western zone of the country has been prone to communal violence traditionally. Interestingly, though no communal riots from Gujarat were reported in the Mumbai editions of the five newspapers, the local newspapers in Gujarat have reported 9 incidents of communal riots in 2019.

However it will be misleading to believe that there is little or no menace of communal violence in the South and Eastern parts of the country only because of the low number of communal riots reported from these regions. The communal discourse replete with hatred and hate speeches is very much prevalent in the east and south. The discourse is infused with newer issues like Citizenship Amendment Bill, National Register of Citizens, abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and the overall narrative of Muslims being disloyal and second class citizens of India. Such a discourse manifesting in structural and attitudinal violence has sharply polarized the communities along religious lines. 

Triggers/ Immediate Causes

In total, nine incidents of communal riots are associated with religious processions, festivals or celebrations. As observed in the previous few years, aggressive sloganeering, deliberate loud music to instigate the other communities, deliberating planning procession routes to clash with other religious communities has been used as a pretext to trigger communal riots. Out of the – riots, four took place in the state of UP, two in Rajasthan, one in Maharashtra, one in Madhya Pradesh and one each in West Bengal and Biha.  

In 2019 too like in 2018, the use of religious processions and festivals has been instrumental in fomenting communal tensions leading to violence. Out of the 25 communal riots, nine were triggered off by or during religious processions. The Kanwariyas or the Kavadyatras have been given protection and state patronage in a way that the State has favoured them. Out of the nine communal riots triggered due to issues related to religious procession, three took place in UP itself. In the Badaun district of UP, stone pelting took place during a Kanwariya yatra which coincided with the timings of Id namaz. The Muslims objected to the loud religious music played in the yatra which led to the riot. In Agra, members of Bajrang Dal protested against the Muslims offering the Id namaz on the road. 70 Bajrang Dal members who were not allowed to pass through the road due to the prayers threatened to recite Hanuman Chalisa on the road. In Balrampur district of UP, stone pelting took place during the idol immersion ritual on Dussera over playing of music.

In 2019, in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, the participants in the Kavad Yatra came in conflict with a group of Muslims who were together to offer Eid prayers. The procession had devotional songs playing on speakers. Both the groups started shouting religious slogans. In Jaipur, Rajasthan, communal riot ensued after a Haridwar bound bus was pelted by stones by some Muslims and blocked the Delhi Highway. This was a fall out of the tensions with the Kanwariyas. In Tonk district of Rajasthan, stones were pelted at a Vijayadashmi procession in the town, triggering vandalism and arson. Locals staged a sit-in outside the Malpura police station and refused to burn the effigies of Ravan till their demand for immediate arrest of the miscreants was met.

In Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh, stones were pelted on a Muharram procession. During the violence some two wheelers were set on fire. In Jehanabad, Bihar, riot broke out when a stone was thrown at the procession being taken out for immersion of idols near the Arwal More. The devotees blamed by-standers belonging to another community for the same after which both sides indulged in heavy stone-pelting which had left 14 people injured. The riot claimed two lives. Several shops in the area were set on fire by the rampaging mobs and the situation was brought under control after prohibitory orders were issued.In Purba Medinipur in the state of West Bengal, Christmas celebrations in a Church were disrupted when a group of men entered the church premises raised slogans “Jai Shree Ram”, attacked about 100 worshippers and vandalised the church and a vehicle belonging to the pastor. According to police, one was severely injured and others few had minor injuries and the locals appeared to be associated with the BJP as per the initial investigation.

Though religious festivals or processions remain the main reason emerging from the reportage of communal riots, there are other triggers that have led to communal riots which are insightful as far as understanding the patterns of communal riots are concerned. Rumours of cow slaughter/ beef and eve-teasing of women by members of “other” communities are still triggers for communal riots. However there is a more overt and aggressively emboldening shift in the pattern where Muslims are targeted and attacked and told to go to Pakistan, sending a message that they are second class citizens of the country and don’t belong to India.

In a blatantly shocking incident in Dhamaspur in Gurgaon, members of a Muslim family and guests who had come to visit them were beaten with sticks and rods, allegedly by 20-25 men, who barged into their home and attacked them on Holi evening. The incident took place when some of the accused allegedly approached the boys from the family, who were playing cricket outside, and demanded that they “go to Pakistan and play”. During the attack the family members were beaten up mercilessly and their house was damaged along with 2 motorbikes and a car. The accused also fled with valuables from the house.

This is not an isolated incident but comes in the wake of the persistent attacks on individuals across the country demanding them to chant ”Jai Shri Ram” or asking Muslims to go to Pakistan, especially after the re-election of BJP in general elections.

Role of the State

The State in its response to communal riots is guided by its ideology of Hindutva or supremacism based on religion. Muslims and other minorities are targeted by state and non- state taking cue from the hate speeches of those in power and the active network of patronage. This has allowed the violent supremacist to wreck violence with impunity. The police did not only fail to prevent the riots or bring the culprits to justice, but the police itself have indulged in violence against the innocent. The response of the police at Jamia in the midst of protests against the discriminatory CAA was starkly telling of this pattern. In unprecedented action, the police entered the Jamia Milia Islamia campus in Delhi on 15th December, 2019 and beat up the students with batons and used tear gas. The police have reportedly used stun guns used in terrorists operations to attack students of Jamia in their hostels and libraries leading to one student losing one of his eyes and other one losing one arm. The police action at Seelampur was also condemnable. One can’t help but notice that the police have become a brute force or army of the ruling party and wrecks violence on innocent students and Muslims whenever ordered to do so with no regard to law and order. The police indulge in shoddy investigation to allow the culprits to exploit the loopholes and go scot free.

The judiciary too has been tardy and not hearing these cases with priority, thereby delaying and now clearly denying justice. The role of the executive and the police in Uttar Pradesh has been particularly disturbing given how it has violently targeted the Muslim community leading to 23 deaths, and recovering the cost of damage from the Muslim community with a vengeance to break the very morale and backbone of the protest against the CAA.

Instead of acting as an antidote to hatred and violence, the State has actually turned against its own citizens and is attacking them in the most brutal. The State has become so overbearing that it has influenced all arenas of public knowledge and debates like it has in terms of state institutions. The media especially is influenced to only present the narrative weaved by the state and achieving this with whatever means necessary — manipulation of facts and highly partial coverage of news. Such incredibly biased reportage is shaping the popular imagination of the country and shrinking the spaces for impartial and objective public debates.

Conclusion

2019 sees the brazen communal attitude of the State which is using all its organs to maintain a highly polarizing communal discourse. This discourse doesn’t depend on communal riots alone but has in fact found many other forms to seep into the Indian society. However, the year 2019 ended with re-invigorating energy and hope when citizens across religious identities came together to put up a determined and spirited protests to save the constitution of the country in the face of discriminatory laws pushed by this government matched only by its brutality to defend these laws. Such unity may be the anti-dote required to counter communal riots.

Noam Chomsky is one of the leading peace workers in the world. In the wake of America’s attack on Vietnam, he brought out his classic formulation, ‘manufacturing consent’. The phrase explains the state manipulating public opinion to have the public approve of it policies—in this case, the attack of the American state on Vietnam, which was then struggling to free itself from French colonial rule.

In India, we are witness to manufactured hate against religious minorities. This hatred serves to enhance polarisation in society, which undermines India’s democracy and Constitution and promotes support for a Hindu nation. Hate is being manufactured through multiple mechanisms. For example, it manifests in violence against religious minorities. Some recent ghastly expressions of this manufactured hate was the massive communal violence witnessed in Mumbai (1992-93), Gujarat (2002), Kandhamal (2008) and Muzaffarnagar (2013). Its other manifestation was in the form of lynching of those accused of having killed a cow or consumed beef. A parallel phenomenon is the brutal flogging, often to death, of Dalits who deal with animal carcasses or leather.

Yet another form of this was seen when Shambhulal Regar, indoctrinated by the propaganda of Hindu nationalists, burned alive Afrazul Khan and shot the video of the heinous act. For his brutality, he was praised by many. Regar was incited into the act by the propaganda around love jihad. Lately, we have the same phenomenon of manufactured hate taking on even more dastardly proportions as youth related to Hindu nationalist organisations have been caught using pistols, while police authorities look on.

Anurag Thakur, a BJP minster in the central government recently incited a crowd in Delhi to complete his chant of what should happen to ‘traitors of the country...” with a “they should be shot”. Just two days later, a youth brought a pistol to the site of a protest at Jamia Millia Islamia university and shouted “take Azaadi!” and fired it. One bullet hit a student of Jamia. This happened on 30 January, the day Nathuram Godse had shot Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. A few days later, another youth fired near the site of protests against the CAA and NRC at Shaheen Bagh. Soon after, he said that in India, “only Hindus will rule”.

What is very obvious is that the shootings by those associated with Hindu nationalist organisations are the culmination of a long campaign of spreading hate against religious minorities in India in general and against Muslims in particular. The present phase is the outcome of a long and sustained hate campaign, the beginning of which lies in nationalism in the name of religion; Muslim nationalism and Hindu nationalism. This sectarian nationalism picked up the communal view of history and the communal historiography which the British introduced in order to pursue their ‘divide and rule’ policy.

In India what became part of “social common sense” was that Muslim kings had destroyed Hindu temples, that Islam was spread by force, and that it is a foreign religion, and so on. Campaigns, such as the one for a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Rama to be built at the site where the Babri masjid once stood, further deepened the idea of a Muslim as a “temple-destroyer”. Aurangzeb, Tipu Sultan and other Muslim kings were tarnished as the ones who spread Islam by force in the subcontinent. The tragic Partition, which was primarily due to British policies, and was well-supported by communal streams too, was entirely attributed to Muslims. The Kashmir conflict, which is the outcome of regional, ethnic and other historical issues, coupled with the American policy of supporting Pakistan’s ambitions of regional hegemony, (which also fostered the birth of Al-Qaeda), was also attributed to the Muslims.

With recurring incidents of communal violence, these falsehoods went on going deeper into the social thinking. Violence itself led to ghettoisation of Muslims and further broke inter-community social bonds. On the one hand, a ghettoised community is cut off from others and on the other hand the victims come to be presented as culprits. The percolation of this hate through word-of-mouth propaganda, media and re-writing of school curricula, had a strong impact on social attitudes towards the minorities.

In the last couple of decades, the process of manufacturing hate has been intensified by social media platforms that are being cleverly used by communal forces. Swati Chaturvedi’s book, I Am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army, tells us how the BJP used social media to spread hate. The Whatapp University became the source of understanding for large sections of society and hate for the ‘Other’, went up by leaps and bounds. To add on to this process, the phenomenon of fake news was shrewdly deployed to intensify divisiveness.

Currently, the Shaheen Bagh movement is a big uniting force for the country; but it is being demonised as a gathering of ‘anti-nationals’. Another BJP leader has said that these protesters will indulge in crimes like rape. This has intensified the prevalent hate.

While there is a general dominance of hate, the likes of Shambhulal Regar and the Jamia shooter do get taken in by the incitement and act out the violence that is constantly hinted at. The deeper issue involved is the prevalence of hate, misconceptions and biases, which have become the part of social thinking.

These misconceptions are undoing the amity between different religious communities which was built during the freedom movement. They are undoing the fraternity which emerged with the process of India as a nation in the making. The processes which brought these communities together broadly drew from Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar. It is these values which need to be rooted again in the society. Communal forces have resorted to false propaganda against minorities, and that needs to be undone with sincerity.

Combating those foundational misconceptions which create hatred is a massive task which needs to be taken up by social organisations and political parties which have faith in the Indian Constitution and values of the freedom movement. It needs to be done right away as a priority issue in with a focus on cultivating Indian fraternity yet again

The sweeping victory of AAP in the closely contested, and the most communalized and divisive elections in the country so far, with RSS/BJP trying with their all might to establish the hegemony of its majoritatian Hindutva in Indian politics is significant. But, based on this victory if it is analyzed that, in spite of the thumping victory of BJP led forces in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the consecutive setbacks it has suffered in the elections to the state assemblies after that, for example in Haryana where it lost its majority, in Maharashtra where it failed to continue the coalition ministry under its leadership, in Jharkhand where it lost power and now in Delhi getting trounced where it had won all Lok Sabha seats with big majority in May last year, it will be wrong.

It is in this context one should see the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagvat in last September: “even if BJP is losing elections, the RSS will be growing”. Why he could make such a confident statement? Since, during the last 4-5 decades, especially after the mid 1970s, the socio-political and economic atmosphere in the country was becoming increasingly conducive for the very fast growth of the RSS and its parivar. A glance through developments during this period is sufficient to substantiate this.

 Though Congress under the leadership of Indira Gandhi had won a thumping victory in the 1971 LS elections, India also was impacted by the severe crisis confronting the imperialist powers during this period, which compelled them to adopt the neo-liberal policies. Coupled with the authoritarianism of Indira Gandhi and growing corruption, by the middle of 1970s Congress rule was in crisis following the Navnirman movement in Gujarat, followed by the Jay Prakash Narayan led massive revolt in Bihar against Congress governments there. Faced by them and the court verdict unseating her, Indira Gandhi declared internal emergency curtailing all democratic rights. The right of centre or rightist Congress was weakening. Who will benefit from this, who will occupy the space lost by it, the left or the ultra right became a crucial question.

As far as the left was concerned, internationally itself the socialist camp was disintegrating, with Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries degenerating to capitalist path, and by 1976 in China also the capitalist roaders usurping power. These developments were ideologically, politically and organizationally weakening the communist movement and splintering it. The CPI leadership which was openly following the Soviet revisionist line became camp follower of Congress and supported the emergency, in the name of Indira’s regime’s close relations with Soviet Union. The CPI(M) which was following a centrist line, in spite of the opposition of its then General Secretary Sunderayya, leading even to his resignation from the post, and even after the arrest of many of its activists, decided not to openly oppose the emergency.

As far as the Communist Revolutionary forces who were in CPI(ML) or in other local formations following the Naxalbari uprising, had splintered by that time. Though some of these groups, especially in Bihar tried to utilize the anti-Indira movement, since they had no vision of mobilizing the masses for resisting the emergency, or strength to do this, though all of these groups opposed the emergency, they came under severe suppression and could not do much. On the whole, the the broad spectrum of ‘left’ forces could not use the opportunity to strengthen themselves using the opportunity when Congress was weakening and people were seeking an alternative. As far as the socialist stream was concerned, they had already splintered, and because of their opposition to the communist movement had started compromising with the ultra right trend getting strengthened under the umbrella of JP.

By this time, the ultra right forces led by RSS and its then political front, Jan Sangh, had already emerged as a sizable parliamentary force in the 1967 general elections in the Hindi belt, had formed united front governments with some of the opposition parties including even CPI, and was trying to end its isolation from the masses following its assassination of Gandhi in 1948. It entered the Gujarat and Bihar movements against Congress rule, joined the JP movement with all its might. As a result, it could become one of the main ruling class forces opposing the emergency. Though the undivided CPI had dissolved all its secret fractions within the armed forces in 1952 at the beginning of its right deviation itself, from the very beginning RSS was effectively pursuing the policy of penetrating every sphere, including major political parties like the Congress, spreading its Brahmanical, Hindu Rashtra concept and creating organizational hold. It penetrated the JP movement effectively.

After withdrawal of emergency, when Janata party was formed, which defeated Congress in 1977 elections and came to power, Jan Sangh had become part of it and became a powerful component of it. When the Janata Party splitted in 1979, the BJP was formed in the place of Jan Sangh. Since it had got acceptability among the ruling class parties by this time, and the RSS parivar had strengthened and spread to more areas, participating in joint mass struggles, the fact that BJP is the political front of RSS which works for transforming India to Hindu Rashtra, diametrically opposed to the concepts of Indian Constitution was, in effect, neglected.

As the CPI which aligned with Jan Sangh in 1967 to form united front governments in some of the Hindi speaking states, and it along with CPI(M) had aligned with Muslim League like forces in Kerala and West Bengal to form United Front governments in the same year, they had no political position against giving recognition to BJP. In effect, nobody in the parliamentary political stream, had recognized the danger posed by the fascist RSS and its parivar, though occasionally RSS was criticized for its role in the assassination of Gabdhiji. By this time the whole spectrum of parliamentary was using communal and caste appeasement as part of vote bank politics. With this acceptability, BJP and behind it RSS started growing very fast in all the states, spreading  its Hindu Rashtra concept along with its sakhas.

Though RSS/BJP always try to distance themselves from the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, RSS had an active role in this along with Congress. In the elections to LS same year, RSS openly supported Congress. While Congress won with record majority in the history of the LS, BJP’s strength sharply fell to just 2. By this time, Congress had already shifted from its affinity to SU, and was taking pro-US positions at international level. In some fields, Rajiv government started neo-liberal approach also, following a huge IMF loan.  Under RSS pressure, Jagmohan, an RSS cadre, was made governor of J&K. He created havoc paving the way for communal srife, leading to the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits and worsening the situation there.

Following the compromising line taken in the Shahbano case, under RSS pressure, Rajiv govt opened the Babri Masjid closed down in 1949, for Shilanyas, allowing the Hindutva forces to start worshipping at the place where the Ram idols were stealthily kept in 1949. By 1989 election time, RSS and BJP had grown manifold.  When VP Singh splitted from Congress and formed Janata Dal, he formed an alliance with BJP on the one hand and adjustment with CPI(M) led Left Front on the other to fight Congress. In the election BJP’s strength leaped from 2 to 84! While VP Singh led JD government was formed, spreading manipulated falsehoods about Babri Masjid, putting forward the demand for replacing it with Ram temple, RSS and its parivar with top leaders of BJP in the forefront, launched the rath yatra from Somnath temple in Gujarat with this demand, provoking communal along its path, till it was stopped in Bihar.

To combat this Kamandal march, VP Singh government published Mandal Commission Report and based on it, reservation to OBCs also was announced. BJP led the violent anti-reservation struggle and withdrew support to his govt. In 1991 elections BJP contested mainly putting forward Ram temple issue violating all secular principles and election rules based on it, increasing its strength to 90 plus. While, the minority Narasimha Rao led Congress government adopted neo-liberal policies of Liberalization-Globalization- Privatization under IMF-World Bank advice, it resorted to double talk, claiming to oppose it outside, but never voting against it inside parliament.

At the same time, RSS and its parivar intensified the temple movement with all their might, demolishing the Babri Masjid in December, 1992, with the help of Congress government at centre which did not to protect it, though assurances were given to protect it to the Supreme Court.  RSS parivar unleashed communal riots at many places. Both Congress and BJP were happy that the attention was diverted from the growing people’s movements against the neo-liberal policies to temple issue. While Congress led government followed by the two United Front governments got alienated due to the consequences of the neo-liberal policies they were pursuing, BJP along with RSS went on strengthening. RSS became increasingly strident starting to Hindutva Radicalization provocatively in its strongholds like Gujarat. After 1998 elections briefly, followed by 1999 elections, when BJP led NDA government came to power with Vajpayee as prime minister, on the one hand it speeded up implementation of the neo-liberal/corporate policies. At the same time, it intensified efforts to speed up the radicalization process as much as possible. Though BJP was slow in it at centre as it had not majority of its own in the Lok Sabha and as it was very much a minority in the Rajya Sabha. But, RSS experimented its Hindutva radicalization in Gujarat under Modi in 2002, resorting to the pogrom in which more than 2000 Muslims were killed, women were raped, houses were burnt, rendering tens of thousands of families homeless. It was the beginning of the fascist offensive by the RSS parivar.

It was during the Vajpayee government’s time, especially following the Gujarat pogrom, the fascist discourse started in the country. Still, when the Congress led UPA came to power defeating the BJP rule in 2004, it soon forgot the gravity of the situation. While the Manmohan Singh government merrily went ahead implementing the neo-liberal policies, it did not bother to take up the Gujarat pogrom cases with the importance they called for. Though the cases involving Muslim culprits were soon processed and culprits punished, Malegaon like cases in which Pragya Thakur (present MP) is the main accused went on indefinitely. UPA government did not make an evaluation of the Hindutva projects implemented by the Vajpayee government including the 2013 amendments to the 1955 Citizenship Act introducing the NPR and construction of Detention Camps, and reject what is harmful to the existing secular concepts.

On the contrary it went ahead with its soft Hindutva policies to strengthen the vote bank. As corruption became rampant, it used constitutional institutions and enforcement directorates to make the opposition leaders who had corruption charges against them, to fall in line. The Left Front government in W. Bengal in its bid to speed up neoliberal policies fell in 2011 and the whole LF got a setback. In this situation, RSS and its parivar could continue to strengthen its Hindutva offensive without any serious challenge from the UPA government, or from the CPI(M) like parties. So, by the time of 2014 elections, not only Congress and the UPA parties and except BJP led NDA, all other opposition parties were under allegations of corruption or nepotism, seriously alienated from the people. Allegations of corruption were coming forward against many ministers. It was in this atmosphere of all-round corruption charges, Anna Hazare, an old Gandhiyan, launched an anti-corruption movement, with massive mobilization at Ram Lila Grounds, Delhi, demanding the appointment of the Lokpal immediately. It was evident that BJP was very much behind it. In mobilizing support RSS played an important role. Many voluntary organizations as well as large number of bourgeois and petti-bourgeois individuals and groups also got involved in it actively. This included Aravind Kejriwal, present Delhi chief minister, and many of his AAP activists also. The UPA was pushed to more defensive positions.

Using this strong anti-incumbency, anti-UPA atmosphere, and by putting forward a very populist manifesto, the NDA could get comfortable majority with BJP’s position further strengthened. It was like the Congress and other opposition parties who refused to recognize the fascist danger posed by the RSS through BJP rule, and who had no alternative to provide, giving something like a easy walk over for BJP led NDA to come to power under Modi’s leadership.

Very soon RSS plans were clear. It started coming to the forefront more frequently to lead the Hindutva radicalization and under it, in order to intensify the fascistization plans were made for saffronizing the state machinery, as well as all constitutional institutions. What Ambedkar warned was happening. After coming to power through the constitutional process, Modi government started undermining the Constitution and whatever secular, democratic values existed. But, still many of the parties, not only Congress and other ruling class parties, but also CPI(M) led parties refused to recognize the fascistization taking place in front of them; Many of them theorized fascism cannot come to countries like India. Meanwhile, spreading islamophobia, calling everyone opposed to Modi rule anti-national, terrorist had started. So also, the mob lynching, attacks on dalits and women increased. Modi -1 was merrily advancing along the path of intensifying corporate fascist policies. As the opposition parties could not understand the real threat in front of them, they continued to remain arrogant and sectarian; they failed to give a united fight to Modi in the 2019 elections. By that time, the economy was in doldrums and the people were getting devastated through loss of job, unemployment and price rise.

But, by side lining all these issues, spreading muscular nationalism using Pulwama followed by Balakot, BJP got a thumping victory, getting of its own majority in the LS. The rest is very recent history. From Lok Sabha to panchayat, under RSS guidance, BJP is fighting the elections imposing majoritarian Hindutva campaign, terrorizing the opponents, dubbing them Pak agents and traitors. Hindutva radicalization is taken to its zenith, creating atmosphere of extreme hatred and divisiveness; an explosive situation when anything can happen any time. So, even if BJP loses, the RSS fascist steam roller shall push forward, smashing everything before it. This is Hindutva radicalization led by RSS pushing forward fascistization has taken the country to!

The students, youth and women who are spearheading the present upsurge have not made any theorization; they did not wait for classical fascism to come; but when the saffronized Delhi police savagely attacked the Jamia students on 15th December night, they could understand what we saw in Gujarat in 2002 in microform has broken out at all India level, using the banner of AA, NPR, NRC. They had only one option before them, either perish, or resist and advance. They have taken the second path; Shaheen Bagh, and the hundreds of Shaheen Baghs coming up literally all over the country practically everyday reflect this  situation. The saffronized Supreme Court is becoming impatient; the Brahminical lords sitting there have started asking: how long this will continue, you have to come under rules and regulations! But the people are retorting by saying, we shall continue till you take back your draconian acts, or till you are thrown out. This is the positive side of the present situation.

But the negative side is that Hindutva radicalization continuing for decades have made the fascist challenge really big. To challenge and demolish it, on the one hand, the ongoing movement has to be carried forward and continuously expanded; at the same time, the struggling people have to be politicized and mobilized for a protracted movement. Are we prepared to take up this challenge, putting forward a people’s alternative before the struggling masses and lead them forward?

The above over view shows how the political degeneration of the parliamentary parties from Congress to social democrats provided the opening for the fascists to reach this stage. Still how many of them are really concerned? How the revolutionary left forces, however small they may be, can we united, speeding forward the party building? Let us take up these cardinal issues on an emergency basis. It is the cardinal question before all those opposed to this fascist reality!

On 24th February when Trump and Modi were displaying bonhomie, and Trumps was spewing Islamophobia boasting about how US administration has put down Islamic terrorists making the largely RSS mobilization at Ahmedabad stadium happy, and the mainstream media was eulogizing these neo-fascists in power, Modi’s own RSS men, the Hindutva terrorists, led by BJP leaders indulging in hate speeches had started surrounding the Muslim areas of Northeast Delhi and indulging in large scale arson, looting and killing. As happened in Gujarat in 2002, the police was not visible for two days, or if present, were helping the RSS men on 24th and 25th February, resulting in large scale arson of Muslim shops, workplaces and houses, killing of 23 and bullet injuries to hundreds. By the time Amit Shah opened his mouth giving ‘shoot at sight’ orders to the saffronized Delhi police, and Modi appealed for peace on 26th February, what the RSS wanted was started and realized in a big way, terrorizing the Muslims, in their latest bid to show that the Muslims are entirely responsible to the Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement. It was surprising that when a defeated Assembly candidate of BJP, Kapil Misra, could lead the attacks by the RSS men, none of the elected AAP MLAs or leaders of the mainstream opposition parties were also not visible in the streets to support the victims of this aggression by Hindutva forces. Reports from this area on 26th also shows that, in spite of putting the whole area under prohibitory orders and police making flag marches, RSS men are still on the streets and they are still burning down if any shops, factories or houses of Muslims are still remaining in this area. As a result, hundreds of Muslim families are fleeing from their houses to more safe areas in Delhi. Instead of addressing this state of affairs and to arrest the RSS muscle men indulging in these crimes, BJP is justifying their actions by comparing what Congress did in 1984! It is an outright criminal approach! As far as the masses are concerned they unequivocally condemn all criminal acts of pogroms in 1984, 2002 as well as what is happening in Delhi now in order to communalize and suppress the Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement.

Modi government cannot justify what the RSS men are doing in the streets of Delhi, indulging in large scale arson and killings by their muscular forces providing state support. A whole section of the population, the Muslims, are subjected to barbarous attacks in order to communalize and brutally suppress a peaceful movement by masses of people, not only Muslims, but also the dalits, Adivasis and other most backward sections spear headed by the students and women on a large scale. What the Modi government is doing is illegal, unconstitutional and cannot be justified at all. So we demand his government should resign taking responsibility for what is happening in the country to impose the CAA, and to go ahead with the NPR from 1st April, to be followed by the NRC process after 30th Sept, the entire process aimed at making millions of people stateless, as was done under NRC/Assam in that state, rendering 19 lakhs of residents stateless.

We appeal to the Masses of Muslims undaunted by the criminal attacks by the Modi government, the dalits, the Adivasis and other most backward sections of people, along with all secular democratic forces who are part of the present Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement, to intensify the movement to its highest levels so that the Modi government can be prevented from launching the NPR anywhere in the country. Along with this, let us intensify the campaign demanding the banning of RSS which is the largest, uniformed, trained and armed terrorist organization in the world, as well as the resignation of Modi government which has subverted all its constitutional responsibilities, resorting to criminal acts to impose the majoritarian, Hindutva agenda of fascist RSS. n

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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.