What is NRC
Join the Mighty upsurge spreading fast, Challenging Hindutva Fascists!
Boycott CAA and NPR/NRC, Intensify the countrywide people’s upsurge!
The mighty upsurge sweeping the country has shattered many myths, shaken the society and challenged the RSS parivar. The No to CAA, No to NPR/NRC movement spearheaded by students, youth and women, with massive participation by minorities, especially Muslims, oppressed sections including dalits, Adivasis, and other backward sections, along with the workers and peasantry, is developing innovative forms of resistance like the massive mobilization of women at Shaheen Bagh under the banner “Women Against Fascism” which is spreading fast to hundreds of centers all over the country. It has shattered many myths and it is intensifying as a countrywide mass upsurge.
It was in early August, when Amit Shah was arrogantly moving fast, amending RTI, UAPA…etc, scrapping Article 370 reducing J&K in to two Union Territories, imposing clamp down turning the Kashmir valley in to an open prison, getting a verdict from the captive Supreme Court transferring the 2.77 acres of land where the Babri Masjid stood to the very same criminals who demolished it for building the Ram temple, replacing the hitherto labour laws with four labour codes as the corporate wanted etc, the news about proposed reintroduction of Constitution (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in the Winter Session of parliament, and about the Home Ministry’s Circular dated 31st July on starting the National Population Register (NPR) from 1st April to 30th September as the first step towards preparing the countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC), similar to the Assam NRC going to be published on 31st August, came out. The RSS parivar leaders and BJP ministers had already started announcing the immediate extension of the NRC process all over the country. Reports of the death of few inmates of the Detention Camps in Assam and suicide by people from the border districts of W. Bengal, where BJP was creating atmosphere of insecurity among the poorer sections, were coming out. Some of the ruling class parties in the opposition, like the TMC in W. Bengal, had also started coming out against NRC. Still, the panic was spreading.
Recognizing the danger, CPI(ML) Red Star studied the new developments around NRC, prepared the following appeal and sent to all communist revolutionary (CR) forces, democrats and progressive individuals on 25th August, 2019:
Proposal for Joint Move On Citizenship Question
from CPI(ML) Red Star, on 25th August.
Modi-2 Plans Publication of NRC in Assam, Followed by All India NPR based on the communal amendments in the Citizenship (Amendments) Bill before Rajya Sabha, to be followed by Detention Camps for millions who lose citizenship! Should We Not React?
Comrades and Compatriots,
According to reports, about four million people, mostly Muslims, living presently in Assam for many years are going to lose citizenship in the NCR for Assam to be released in its final form on 31st August. According to BJP governments at centre and in Assam, this NRC is now finalized including the names of those persons (or their descendants) in the NRC, 1951, or in any of the Electoral Rolls up to the midnight of 24 March 1971, or in any one of the other admissible documents issued up to mid-night of 24 March 1971, which would prove their presence in Assam or in any part of India on or before 24 March 1971. Those 4 million who may lose citizenship will get 120 days more for presenting their appeal to the Foreigners Tribunals for reconsideration.
The Citizenship Act of 1955, a result of the freedom movement recognized that every person who was born in India, irrespective of religion, would be eligible for Indian citizenship. Another method of obtaining citizenship was through descent – if either parent was a citizen of India. A third method of obtaining citizenship was by registration. A person who has been staying in India for one year or seven years (depending upon whether she or he is of Indian origin or not, broadly), could apply for being registered as a citizen. Among the other methods of obtaining citizenship was the method of naturalization. A person who had stayed in India for over 11 years was eligible of applying for becoming a citizen under it. The law for registration and naturalization was applicable to all persons from all countries and all religions. However, it was made clear that “illegal migrants” would not be eligible for citizenship. The Citizenship Act of 1955 defines “illegal migrant” as a person who enters India without a proper visa or other valid travel document or, who, having entered with a valid document or visa, but stays beyond the time permitted for stay in such a visa.
The BJP government moved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 whose Statement of Objects and Reasons says (excerpted): Under the existing provisions of the Act, persons belonging to the minority communities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have either entered into India without valid travel documents or the validity of their documents have expired are regarded as illegal migrants and hence ineligible to apply for Indian citizenship. It is proposed to make them eligible for applying for Indian citizenship.
Many persons of Indian origin including persons belonging to the aforesaid minority communities from the aforesaid countries have been applying for citizenship under section 5 of the Act, but are unable to produce proof of their Indian origin. Hence, they are forced to apply for citizenship by naturalization under section 6 of the Act, which, inter alia, prescribes twelve years residency as qualification for naturalization in terms of the Third Schedule to the Act. This denies them many opportunities and advantages that may accrue only to the citizens of India, even though they are likely to stay in India permanently. It is proposed to amend the Third Schedule to the Act to make applicants belonging to minority communities from the aforesaid countries eligible for citizenship by naturalization in seven years instead of the existing twelve years.
But, while the bill explains that the sections mentioned above shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act, nothing is said about the minorities like Muslims, or among the Muslims, the Bohri’s, Khojas and Ahmeddiyas, who are persecuted even in Muslim countries.
The preamble of our constitution calls for a secular country, whatever may be the meaning of secularism. Article 15 of the constitution of India prevents the discrimination, by the state, against any citizen of India on the basis of religion. It is clear that the proposed law is against the right to equality and the right against discrimination given by the constitution. These amendments to the citizenship law are communally conceptualized. It puts forward an abstract notion of a religious Hindu state, not one conforming with the existing modern reality, Article 25 specifically states that “every person” will have the right to freely “profess, practice and propagate religion”. These amendments show BJP government’s intention to follow Israel, the only country which allows citizenship on the basis of religion. This too is not on the basis of “naturalization” but on the basis of the unique “right of return”, a special Israeli law. All Jews have the right to return to the “promised land” In fact, the true intentions behind the new citizenship amendments put forward under Modi regime is to establish the “right of return” to an “Akhand Bharat” of the RSS. They would like the whole of the sub-continent to become a part of a great Hindu nation. Unable to come close to it or even to justify it, they had given it a back seat to this rhetoric for long. The proposed amendment to the citizenship law is the first stirring for bringing back this archaic and unjust concept.
In this bill there is also a threat to the diasporas. The Government is given the right to cancel the “overseas citizen of India” status of any person if they violate any law of India. That means that an OCI card can be cancelled if they do anything against the liking of RSS parivar.
This Citizenship (Amendment) Bill for amending the 1955 Citizenship Act was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016. It was referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on August 12, 2016. The JPC submitted its Report on January 7, 2019, and the Lok Sabha passed it on January 8. But it is not yet passed by the Rajya Sabha. Modi.2 is planning to pass it in the Rajya Sabha at the earliest, or if this is not possible, bypassing the legal aspects involved including the convening of a joint session of the parliament. This bill is for granting citizenship to migrants on communal basis (from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) including Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian and totally excluding Muslims. Against this, in 2016 itself violent protests took place in Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, alleging that the bill is going to make these states dumping grounds for the migrants.
In its Election Manifesto BJP had called for updating the National People’s Register based on the amendments proposed in the bill in a time bound manner as is done to NCR for Assam, to throw out all illegal migrants from India as Amit Shaw announced in parliament and later repeated in the president’s speech on the eve of 15th August. In accordance with this plan, the MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR GENERAL CITIZEN REGISTRATION, INDIA) has issued the NOTIFICATION of 31st July, 2019, S.O. 2753(E), in THE GAZETTE OF INDIA : EXTRAORDINARY [PART II—SEC. 3(ii) which states;—“In pursuance of sub-rule(4) of rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the Central Government hereby decides to prepare and update the Population Register and the field work for house to house enumeration throughout the country except Assam for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of Local Registrar shall be undertaken between the 1st day of April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020”.
If this Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB)is passed and it becomes an act, and the NPR process is taken up based on it with the aim of driving out all migrants, it is apprehended that at least 20 to 30 million people, who are presently staying in India, may lose citizenship. It is already announced by home minister and Assam government that Detention Camps will be constructed soon and all those who have lost citizenship shall be shifted to these Camps once the final NRC list for Assam is announced on 31st August. If the same process is continued at all India level, more than two crores of people will be pushed inside these Detention Camps. They will be almost like the Concentration Camps built by Nazi government in Germany for the Jews from the end of 1930s. This is going to be an enormous and explosive issue, the magnitude of it and the reaction to be organized against it are probably never discussed seriously in an organized form.
Friends, so, our appeal is that we should wage a consistent struggle against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and all proposals to carry out determination of citizenship based on it; we should put forward our proposals based on the 1955 Citizenship Act. Understanding the existing communalized situation, we have to adopt a proper democratic stand on this subject. For wide discussion among the democratic forces, we are putting forward the following proposals as the eligibility criteria for citizenship:
- Any person born in India must be eligible for the citizenship of India. This was the case till the 1986 act and is the case in many countries all over the world including in the USA.
- Any person either of whose parents who were citizens of India must be eligible for citizenship. This should also apply if either of the parents were eligible for citizenship though it was never taken.
- Any person who is resident in India for 5 years and who intends to stay for a further five years should be eligible for citizenship. This is the period which is considered for citizenship by registration. Right now naturalization requires 12 years of stay in India. Both can be taken on the same criterion.
- Any refugee who is fleeing from oppression, or whose democratic rights are not being protected in the country from which they are fleeing, should be eligible for some form of right to stay in India leading eventually to citizenship (say giving residential permits to such refugees for 3 years at the end of which they become eligible for citizenship).
We should demand that the Foreigners Tribunals should decide citizenship of all those who have lost it in the NRC of Assam to be published on 31st August based on this criteria. And the proposed NPR from 1st April to 30th September also should be based on it. We are putting forward these proposals for wide circulation and open discussions. so that a consensus opinion can be arrived at and the campaign for creating public opinion can be launched.
What is urgently required is arriving at a consensus on these proposals as early as possible and arriving at the broadest possible unity of all who agree with the finalized proposals. Then we can strive for creating maximum possible public opinion for it and demand even a referendum, if necessary, on it. Recognizing the seriousness of the issue, let us take it up as a challenge. Please send your esponses and suggestions to the email or post addresses given below. For speeding up the process and to involve more sections in this process we suggest state level meeting of the like-minded forces as soon as possible so that we can decentralize our move.(Appeal from CPI(ML) Red Star)
When the announcement of the NRC/Assam came out on 31st August, as apprehended, 19,06,657 people were declared stateless including even some prominent citizens or their family members like that of a former union president. These people were given four months to get clearance from the Foreigners’ Tribunals. Otherwise they will be sent to Detention Camps. The reports published in the social media, left publications and many portals, explains the ordeal the people had to gone through in Assam for three years during the NPR/NRC process, speeded up by the Modi govt and presided by the then chief justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. The more than 19 lakh people declared included about 5 lakhs Muslims and large number from the large spectrum called Hindus, including more than one lakh Nepalese, Bengali Hindus, aboriginals and descendants of those oppressed sections brought from Bihar and Jharkhand by the British as plantation workers. In spite of throwing such a large number of people in to miserable situation, not satisfied with it, the BJP, whose governments at centre and in the state spearheaded the preparation of this list, employing 50,000 people for three years spending Rs. 1,200 crores, rejected it and called for another NRC in Assam to declare more Muslims from the border districts stateless. The horrific nature of this project and its heinous intentions got further exposed, as the RSS/BJP plans to make crores of people suspected citizens during the house to house survey to be held from 1st April to 30th September, 2020, for the NPR as per the first amendment to the 1955 Citizenship Act adopted by parliament in 2003 during the Vajpayee government. If the documents demanded by the Foreigners’ Tribunals are not presented in stipulated time, these suspected citizens will become stateless and thrown in to Detention Camps, as no neighboring countries are going to receive them.
What are the RSS plans?
The RSS as per its Hindurashtra program wants to prepare a citizenship register based on its concept that India is the homeland of whom it calls Hindus. Its move to determine the citizenship of Indian people anew through Modi government raises two cardinal questions: Firstly, the preamble of our Constitution calls for a secular country. Whatever may be the meaning of secularism, it certainly cannot be the favoring of any religion over any other. It also certainly cannot mean the favoring of religious persons over atheists. Article 15 of the constitution of India prevents the discrimination, by the state, against any citizen of India on the basis of religion. Though it was passed into law, it violates of Article 15. It is clear that the proposed CAB is against the right to equality and the right against discrimination given by the Constitution. As with most laws proposed by religious fundamentalists, these amendments to the citizenship law starting from the 2003 Amendment are communally conceptualized. It puts forward an abstract notion of a religious Hindutva state, not one conforming with the existing modern reality. The law fails to see that our Constitution allows freedom of religion (as do most constitutions in the world – even those of religious countries). That is, people are free to convert to whatever religion they choose, whenever they choose to do so. When Article 15 guarantees every citizen a right against discrimination, it also guarantees that he will not be discriminated against in his right to convert or to follow the religion of his choice. Further, Article 25 specifically states that “every person” will have the right to freely “profess, practice and propagate religion”.
Secondly, most countries recognize citizenship by blood. In this, the progeny of citizens have a right to be citizens. Many countries, including India also recognize citizenship of the soil. Under this any person born in the territory of a country has a right to be a citizen. Most countries also have a right to citizenship by naturalization. The most common conditions for naturalization are a certain period of residence in the country concerned, knowledge of the language, acceptance of the laws of the country, etc. There is a big debate nowadays on the question of acquisition of citizenship. This has been sparked because today we live in a world with a larger amount of refugees than ever before. However, even with all the Islamophobia prevalent in Europe and the USA, no law (not even by Trump, who made a law to separate children from their parents and put them in cages) has ever been made allowing selective citizenship to certain religions alone among refugees. It must be noted that the countries of Western Europe and the USA are “religious” countries. Their laws recognize some form of Christianity as the official religion. India, on the other hand is a secular, democratic and socialist republic and proud of being one. But, according to the Law as amended in 2016, the Rohingyas will be sent back to Myanmar to be massacred.
The only country which allows citizenship on the basis of religion is Israel. This too is not on the basis of “naturalization” but on the basis of the unique “right of return”, a special Israeli law. All Jews have the right to return to the “promised land” In fact, the true intentions behind the new citizenship amendment adopted under Modi regime is to establish the “right of return” to an “Akhand Bharat” of the RSS. They would like the whole of the sub-continent to become a part of a great Hindu nation. Unable to come close to it or even to justify it, they had given it a back seat in their rhetoric for long. The proposed 2016 amendment to the citizenship law is the first stirring for bringing back this archaic and unjust concept. Like Hitler’s concepts, it is not just fascist but also presages the advent of a more aggressive drive for Hindutva and Akhand Bharat.. All in all it was proposal for a black law
Contrary to these RSS concepts, the 1955 Citizenship Act reflected the values of the independence struggle, the spirit of the Constitution and the basic orientation of the UN’s Human Rights’ Declaration.. The first amendment to it proposed by the Vajpayee government in 2003 itself was to undermine these values and to start the process of implementing the RSS concepts. But, though the RSS plans are clearly spelled out in Golwalkars’ Bunch of Thoughts, in an atmosphere when all the constituents of the BJP led NDA and almost all the opposition parliamentary parties starting from Congress were pursuing soft Hindutva as part of their vote bank politics, why the NPR, the construction of Detention Camps etc were proposed in the 2003 Amendment were not given the serious attention it called for. When the UPA government came to power in 2004, it sent a circular to the state governments to implement these proposals, and some state governments started to act on them. But the proposals for implementing the NPR was implemented only as part of 2011 the census.
When the 2016 Amendment was proposed by the Modi government, there were criticisms and opposition from the democratic and progressive individuals to it. Minority organizations also opposed it. But as far as the parliamentary opposition was concerned, due to vote bank politics, many of them in effect compromised with the amendments. As a result, millions of people, mainly Muslims, born in Assam, living for generations in Assam, who have their parents in Assam faced the danger of losing their citizenship. So, also the poorer sections, the dalits and Adivasis. If the NPR is prepared in 2020 based on same yardsticks it is apprehended that at least 20 millions may lose citizenship at all India level. No other country is going to receive them. The only possible option will be to construct large number of Detention Camps for them. It is going to be a hundred times more dangerous situation compared to what happened in Germany during the fascist days.
But, in spite of the gravity of the problem, when the Modi-2 was aggressively going ahead with its Hindurashtra plans in preparing the Assam NRC, the parliamentary opposition, under poaching and attacks from BJP government, it seems, remained confused and derailed. Historically also Congress like parties had failed to provide a progressive solution to the problem and to create public opinion for it. But, BJP systematically utilized the sentiments of the ordinary Assamese people through their muscular nationalist offensive. Now they are taking it at all India level, whipping up majoritarian Hindutva sentiments! For this, they are flaring up Islamophobia and divisive politics. Even in the 17th Lok Sabha elections, the opposition and minority parties could not recognize the gravity of the situation and come together in Assam and at all India level to defeat BJP. Again, even after scrapping of Article 370 and clampdown on J&K, even after Ayodhya verdict, and even after Assam NRC, the parliamentary opposition was not taking up the question with the gravity it calls for. So was the case with the parliamentary left who have abandoned all communist positions in practice.
Even the progressive, democratic and secular, splintered but struggling forces also could not fully recognize the dangerous consequences of NP/NRC for Assam, or its expansion to national level, with the prospect of detaining all those who lose citizenship in huge Detention Camps indefinitely. Though, some of them and many democrats had come forward with criticisms when the 2016 CAB put forward by Modi regime, or later, similar to the critic we had initiated in the form of an article by com. Sanjay Singhvi published in Red Star (2018), very few could visualize the impending danger posed by the NRC/NPR project taken up by the fascist Modi regime. Even if some of us recognized the grave danger, we could not develop a movement putting forward concrete proposals from our side. So, though critics were published and some propaganda was made, they could not influence public opinion pointing out where the fascist Modi regime was leading the country to under the sectarian CAB and NRC in Assam. The CAB was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016 and was passed during the winter session on January 8, but it lapsed as it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha following apprehensions that it might not pass muster there owing to its lack of majority in it.
RSS See CAB and NPR/NRC, an experiment to launch Hindurashtra..
So, after 31st August, based on the Appeal, we intensified efforts to build up resistance to CPB, NPR and NRC. Holding series of meetings with number of organizations at Delhi, an Anti-NRC, Anti-Fascist Front was formed. Similar efforts were made at al India level. Meanwhile, the October meeting of the Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star called for intensification of efforts to build common program basd revolutionary left core and building of Anti-Fascist Forum in all states to resist the fascist onslaughts of Modi regime in all fields, especially on the citizenship question. Through Red Star, online RS weekly, and through social media FB, and WhattsApp groups like Anti NRC, a continuous campaign was launched with the slogans: Withdraw CAB, No to NPR/NRC. A rally of 5-6 hundred comrades, people from the East Delhi bustees and Nepalese, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, followed by dharna was organized by the Front on 14th October, with the slogans: Reject Assam NRC, Withdraw CAB, No to NPR/NRC. Similar initistive was taken in other states also. The class and mass organizations where party comrades are active were called upon to take independent initiative uniting with like-minded organizations to join the mass movements wherever they are coming up to challenge the Modi regime.
Intoxicated with its big victory in the 2019 elections Modi government was trying to get the CAB passed somehow in the parliament and to force people to prove they are citizens under NPR/NRC, as part of a far-reaching majoritarian Hindutva program buttressed by its muscular nationalist offensive. It was giving priority to the preparation of the NPR at all India level and pressurizing the state governments to train the enumerators for starting it from 1st April and to start constructing the Detention Camps. It was intended to terrorize and maim the people and all opposition forces. These steps were intended to create confusion among the minorities and all oppressed sections of people. When the all the seven state governments in the Northeast under its leadership or with its alliance came out against the CAB, Amit Shah rushed to these states and allowed five of them except Assam and Meghalaya to issue orders implementing the ‘Inner Line permits’, which meant without special permits none other tha the citizens of these can enter there. It showed that when in the name of integrating J&K with rest of India the Article 370 was scrapped and clampdown imposed there, it moved in the revese direction in the Northeast to appease the regional forces there.
The CPI(ML) Red Star repeatedly called on its committees as well as the CR forces that if these fascist move, are not resisted immediately, it shall eventually lead to a situation like what happened in Germany where the Nazis hauled hundreds of thousands of Jews into concentration camps leading to the Holocaust! Horrible chapters in history which we thought will never return may be repeated in our soil with more tragic consequences. It was time to become very concerned and take immediate steps to create public opinion against this RSS led move. It is already proved that RSS is capable of even surpassing the Nazis through its criminal acts like pogrom in Gujarat and mob lynching at many places.
This critical situation called for a countrywide broad based move by all democratic forces against this dangerous move of Modi-2. The BJP chief ministers were clamoring for NRC in all states to divert people’s attention from burning issues caused by increasing recession. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Notification of 31st July, called for preparing the NPR at all India level on a time bound manner to be completed by 30th September, 2020. If this NPR process is allowed to be taken up based on the CAB, it will create an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy, a political retreat to medieval barbarity based on Manusmriti. So, at this critical juncture, we have to intensify the countrywide movement manifold to get the whole process of NPR abandoned, and to get all people presently living in this country and born here recognized as Indian citizens. The initiatie to contact all forces opposed to CAB and NRC, to organize campaigns and to form anti-fascist platforms at state level, uniting the Muslims, the dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed classes and sections was further intensified. Meanwhile, many more forces including opposition parliamentary parties, organizations of Muslims, dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed sections also started intensifying the campaign to oppose CAB and the NPR/NRC. Right from the beginning, the BJP was trying to present it as a Muslim question, to whip up Islamophobia and to break the unity of the forces opposing it. Forces opposed to RSS/BJP tried to disprove it through practice.
By this time the students and women, and many democratic forces and progressive intellectuals had joined the campaign and coming to the forefront. The opposition to the draconian moves by Modi government was spreading to more areas. As the cabinet approved the CAB and it was introduced in the parliament on 10th December it became clear that it was an attempt to effect a backdoor entry to the RSS notion of Hindurashtra. Its aim is not to benefit refugees and persecuted communities. Rather, it is to exclude Muslims from the definition of Indian citizenship. That is the only rationale behind linking citizenship with religion in the CAB. But, BJP’s divisive politics was being challenged by the unity of all anti- CAB forces as was reflected in recent Assembly elections in West Bengal. Modi-Shah duo hope that CAB can be used to break up this unity, and to assure Hindus that even if they are excluded from all India NRC, they will be protected by the CAB.
But the reality is that all India NRC threatens not only Muslims, but India's all poor citizens with exclusion. The poor cannot even prove they are poor, and so are excluded even from the BPL list! How can they find documents to prove their ancestors were citizens in 1951? The fact is that NRC threatens all Indians with statelessness. Meanwhile, CAB says that while Muslims excluded from NRC will remain stateless and be "thrown out", non Muslims excluded by NRC will get refugee status and be allowed to apply for citizenship. In other words, the choice facing the majority of Indian citizens if all India NRC and CAB become a reality, is a choice between statelessness, and refugee status! All India NRC + CAB turns every Indian citizen bearing inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, into a supplicant, begging for citizenship.
The NRC+CAB disaster can be compared with Modi's demonetisation disaster. Demonetisation claimed it would get rid of black money. Actually black money is pouring into BJP's funds through Electoral Bonds! Demonetisation scrapped currency notes and destroyed India's economy. Likewise, all India NRC+CAB will scrap people's citizenship and destroy India's Constitution. Indians are not suffering today because of large scale "illegal immigrants". There is no evidence at all that there is any large-scale influx of undocumented immigrants in India. Indians are suffering joblessness and deprivation today, not because of immigrants, but because of the devastation of the economy, jobs, and security by the Modi-Shah Government. So, Indians started uniting to reject and resist the all India NRC and CAB, which are an all out attack on India's secular Constitution.
The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha and in Rajya Sabha and it becoming CAA on 12th December, 2019, marked the definitive transition of India from a secular liberal democracy to a majoritarian tyranny in a profoundly legal and political sense. A development that erases the main distinction between India and Pakistan and turns India into a mirror image of our neighbor, the passage of the bill also makes India increasingly resemble Israel in terms of the determinants of her citizenship. Transforming the largest democracy and the greatest repository of diversity on earth to look like both Pakistan and Israel at the same time is no small feat. VD Savarkar and Golwalkar must be feeling jubilant i
Baba Saheb Ambedkar had warned seven decades ago: "While everybody recognised the necessity of diffusion of constitutional morality for the peaceful working of the democratic constitution, there are two things interconnected with it which are not, unfortunately, generally recognised. One is that the form of administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form of the Constitution. The other, that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, without changing its form by merely changing its form of administration and to make it inconsistent and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution." With the majoritarian Hindutva party coming to power and changing the administration, it became easy for it to subvert the Constitution!
The CAA is not a reflection of the BJP’s love for the persecuted Hindus or other non-Muslim minorities in our neighborhood. It is simply the latest in a long list of intimidating tools meticulously developed by RSS to alienate the Muslims and the oppressed sections under Manusmriti. BJP thought with the country-wide implementation of the NPR/NRC), the Muslims and all oppressed sections under the Brahmanical system can be thrown into a psychological and physical ghetto on the narrow margins of the vast canvas of our country.
Though for the last several years, the BJP government at the Centre was loudly proclaiming its intention to create a pan-India NRC, a process asking every person residing in India to prove their citizenship so that the government can “expel undocumented immigrants”. Look at the implications of an exercise like this. The NRC in the state of Assam alone took almost a decade; it required the involvement of over 50,000 government employees and cost more than Rs. 1,200 crore. This is a state that has less than 3% of the country’s total population. A nationwide NRC would take up the services of a huge proportion of state and Central government officials and require a hundred times more expenditure. During this process, a large part of government functioning would be diverted to this exercise, making the already understaffed government system essentially non-functional. It will force the whole population of the country to scramble to obtain documentation and to prove their citizenship. Still, crores of people will fail to prove their citizenship as huge numbers of Indians do not possess documentary proof of their citizenship. The overall impact of the NRC will greatly exceed the enormous disruption caused by demonetization and GST May be RSS likes to create such a situation to impose its total hegemony over the country and its people so that transformation to its Hindurashtra shall be easier! As far as the RSS/BJP leadership is concerned, after the big victory in the Lok Sabha elections they had the illusion that through Modi-Shah team, a repetition of what it did in its ‘laboratory’, Gujarat, organizing Godhra and the horrific pogrom as its follow up to impose the majoritarian Hindutva hegemony in the state, is possible at all India level also!. For the arrogant head of RSS, Bhagavat, it is just another experiment; he has stated that even if BJP loses, the RSS will gain!
RSS Experiment Confronts Countrywide Mass Upsurge.
After parliament adopted the CAB on 11th, when we had called for burning the CAA on 12th December, the response was great. Many more forces had started rallying in the anti-CAA movement. On 13th and 14th there were numerous protests all over the country including in the Jamia Millea in Delhi and AMU in Aligarh. And by the time thousands of students from Jamia organized a massive march to the parliament street on 15th afternoon, the RSS/BJP think tank had made their action plan: the police and RSS goons in police dress burned buses and threw stones to prepare the ground for the massive attack on the students that followed. When the students were forced to retreat and take shelter within the campus, they were attacked within the campus, inside the Library, and girls hiding in the toilets were pulled out and savagely attacked, severely injuring many including one with bullet wound. By this time the students of AMU, who had come out in support of Jamia students, were also barbarously attacked. The RSS plan was to isolate and attack the Muslim institutions, to communalize the resistance that was breaking out. But the RSS plans were shattered as the students from JNU and DU along with so many others from opposition parties and various organizations marched to Delhi police headquarters and gheraoed it till early hours of 16th, till the time all detained Jamia student were released. What happened on 15/16night at Delhi became a catalyst and it changed the narrative enormously. From 16th morning the countrywide spontaneous upsurge started with the students, youth and women spearheading it. . More and more sections started joining it, seeing it as a last battle to save the Constitution, to save Democracy from the RSS and its parivar. When the Yogi government launched bloody onslaught against all Muslim areas in UP, unleashing the police and RSS goons on the people, and within two days shot and killed 18 protesters, unlike in the past, the victims resisted bravely; Millions of people started coming out on the streets. India has never witnessed such an upsurge of the masses spearheaded by the students, youth and women everywhere. And, even after one month it has not weakened, it is still gaining strength every day and spreading to every corners of the country taking the shape of a massive protracted people’s upsurge prepared to fight till the CAA and NPR/NRC are withdrawn. The call for boycott of the NPR and total non cooperation with the NPR process is taken up as clarion call to be implemented at any cost!
RSS chief Bhagavat and Modi-Shah team along with other BJP leaders had never expected such a spontaneous mighty upsurge which stated creating impact in all fields, including in the Jharkhand elections, in which it lost another state under its control. When Amit Shah was roaring in the two houses of parliament, spearheading scrapping of Article 370, reducing J&K to two Union Territories, imposing clamp down and turning Kashmir in to an open jail, when the labour laws, the RTI, UAPA everything was changed as the coporates want, when Babri Masjid land was handed over to the criminals who demolished it, when the RSS goons could carry on with mob lynching, when the parliamentary opposition could be terrorized using ED, CBI, etc. and even then no effective resistance was visible, like many others among the ruling class parties, RSS/BJP had thought that they are unassailable; they can easily impose CAA and NPR/NRC, impose majoritarian Hindutva hegemony, and advance towards Hindurashtra!.
But, the mighty upsurge in the streets surprised not only the RSS/BJP bosses, but even the opposition mainstream parties whose compromises and class positions have taken the country to such a dangerous situation, when RSS has penetrated and is controlling each and every constitutional institution, the state machinery, the military, the police, intelligence agencies. The mainstream opposition parties, and even the parliamentary left had refused to understand the tumultuous changes taking place around the world after the imposing of the neoliberal LPG and corporatization from 1970s, taking the exploitation of human labor and nature to most horrific levels, especially after the 2008 imperialist crisis. As the ruling system, not only in the imperialist countries, but in the neo-colonially dependent countries also are taking increasingly ultra right, neo-fascist forms, and the traditional opposition including the ruling class paties and social democrats have no alternate to put forward, mighty uprisings and people’s movements are taking place with millions of people coming out in the streets from the days of Arab Spring starting with Tunisia in 2009. As the very concept of India which emerged through renaissance movements and the anti-imperialist independence struggle is being challenged by the muscular nationalist, Brahmanical Hindurashtrawadi RSS, and as the vast masse of people are severely affected by the unprecedented recession, threatening their jobs, livelihood and basic rights, as the students and youth are seeing how bleak and disappointing is their future, conditions were being created for their spontaneous resistance and uprisings. What Modi-2 started doing arrogantly within days in the first week if August was alienating and antagonizing them. However hard Modi tried to conceal his aims through a pack of lies, the horrific situation in Kashmir valley and Northeast, in the Detention Camps, coupled with the arrogance of linking citizenship with religion, and the consequences of an NPR/NRC exercise angered them. So, the myths spread by the RSS/BJP as well as the mainstream media, the neo-liberal/corporate ruling system and the political establishment serving them including the opposition parties got exposed; they are getting shattered in front of their eyes. The students, youth, and women are in the streets throwing up new forms of resistance, challenging the ruling neo-fascist forces, creating history!
It is just the beginning. It is not led by any particular force/ forces. It is led mainly by the students and youth who are fed up with the ruling system. Join it with all your might, but do not try to impose your leadership with your half baked ideas, with sectarian, puritan concepts. Understand class struggle is not a tea party or embroidery work, it isa mighty upheaval of the hitherto masses who were under all forms of plunder and tyranny; so it cannot be so tidy and systematic. It is a bid to overtrow the existing system, which brought the RSS fascists to power, and to create an entirely new system where democracy prevails, it is the beginning of the festival of the masses. Join it, move along with it, try to understand it, try hard to make it protracted, helping it to get politicized in the course of its development to higher levels. We should not be in a hurry to theorize or judge the numerous forces who are part of this torrent, like the variety of elements becoming part of the mighty flow in the Ganges during the floods. What is happening all over the country from the cities to the villages, to the tribal hamlets is inspiring, it is exposing the old myths about India, and about people’s uprisings.
What were the myths spread by the forces of reaction as well as by those who had abandoned the politics of social change and social justice? They said Modi-Shah are unassailable; Protests need a central leadership; People are fed up with political protests, they are boring; The Indian middle class fully supports Modi; Students and Youth are only interested in their future careers; Women are under patriarchal hegemony, they cannot become part of social upheaval; No one can beat the Hindutva social media strategy; Party manifestos don’t need to be taken seriously; Indian society is so polarised, we won’t stand up for each other; The age of street protests is over. Now only possibility is about managing public opinion through better public relations! These and similar others were the myths repeated by those who stood for status-quoism, and against social change. What is happening in the streets have started shattering many of them in the last two months.
We should try to approach what we are witnessing in the streets with the perspective of: Let hundred flowers blossom, let hundreds thought content. We should plunge in to the movement and fight together with all those who have come out to throw out the CAA and NPR/NRC; and if the slogan can be developed to throw out the RSS, well and good. Plunge in to the movement and intensify it, so that conditions are created for correct ideas capable of creating social change emerge. Seeking truth from facts, let us try to expand and deepen this upsurge so that the understanding about create a new society, a new world emerges. We should persist with the movement and continue to try for it according to concrete conditions
The upsurge against the CAA and the NPR/NRC has so far helped to reclaim some our lost democratic space. No longer are protests confined to enclosed areas designated by the police, which have to be wound up when police wants. Whether prohibitions against the public gatherings are in force or not, the upsurge has led to protestors are re-establishing their right to raise their voices, to sing, to dance and to shout slogans across India. It is a beginning. How far it can be carried forward depends upon the strenuous efforts of all the forces who have come together to unleash the people’s fury so far in the real spirit of a mass movement. So, all our comrades should untiringly remain part of this great torrent, trying to strengthen it every hour, every minute.,
Shaheen Bagh: “Women Against Fascism”, Mighty Symbol of Resistance!
Shaheen Bagh in southeastern Delhi has become the focal point of the movement of Women Against Fascism; it is creating history. The local women along with the struggling people of Delhi with the slogan: No CAA, No NPR/NRC have declared to continue this struggle centre till these draconian moves are reversed by the fascist Modi government. Everyday thousands of women and children from the locality and nearby areas reach the place and stay for hours to declare their determination to continue the struggle till victory, in spite of many attempts by the police to remove them from the area. Shaheen Bagh has already become a symbol of resistance, known nationally and internationally. In spite of state terror and RSS threats, it continues to inspire the movement all over the country..
Inspired by Shaheen Bagh, the women of Park Circus in Central Kolkata have already started the Women Against Fascism centre there pledging to continue it till the CAA and NPR/NRC are repealed. It is attracting many people and is becoming more and more lively day by day. There are reports of women in UP, Bihar, MP and other states also with active participation of all democratic forces and oppressed sections of the people.
Now Shaheen Bagh like focal points of resistance are coming up at hundreds of places all over the country, and even abroad. If it started in every state with big mobilization of women along with men taking place at these centers where they shout slogans, sing and dance, interspersed with speeches. Women Against Fascism is a great development which shall inspire the liberation of our country along with their own liberation from the patriarchal shackles in the long run..
As the RSS/BJP leaders and activists are organizing vitriolic campaign against the movement as a whole, spreading many lies and slander, trying to create an atmosphere of fear wherever possible, to challenge it more effectively the present counter propaganda campaign should be further developed by the struggling forces. Similarly the campaign to Boycott the NPR, the process of which is already started in some areas under BJP rule and all over India from 1st April should be launched. Let us continue to spread our call more widely that we are not going to prepare any documents or going to cooperate with the NPR. We shall not allow the enumerators to enter the mohallas and villages. Let us create a new wave of Non-Cooperation Movement.
Get Involved More firmly, Intensify No to CAA, NPR/NRC Movement!
The mass upsurge started with the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act and against the NRC across the country from 15th December is still spreading to more areas and intensifying day by day. At least 26 people have died so far in police firing, including 19 in UP itself and hundreds injured. While the RSS parivar is vigorously propagating the CAA is for providing protection to persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, except Muslims, they are silent on the more than one lakh Hindu and Muslim refugees from Sri Lanka who are leading a miserable life in refugee camps for three decades, or about the Rohingyan refugees fleeing from Myanmar. This Act has attracted widespread criticism as it makes citizenship religion based. The non-BJP-ruled states have refused to implement it. Four state assemblies have already passed resolutions demanding its repeal. 12 more non-BJP state governments have announced that they will not implement the NPR/NRC process. Even allies of the BJP have expressed reservations about it. Tens of millions of people are coming out on the streets for last nearly two months, with the students, youth and women playing the vanguard role, calling for repealing CAA and rejection of NPR/NRC.
But prime minister Modi and home minister Amit Shah are arrogantly repeating that even if all other parties come together to oppose the CAA, the BJP-led government will “not move back even an inch”. They have accused opposition parties of spreading misinformation, and said they could continue to do so, but the Act would not be repealed. Now, the BJP and the Modi government are organizing outreach rallies in favour of the CAA. Like Modi, Shah is also repeating the miseries faced by Hindu and other minority refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bengladesh, and CAA is for giving citizenship to them, not for taking away anybody’s citizenship. But then why are they pushing forward the NPR to be followed by the NRC? They are silent about the fate of the Hindu and Muslim refugees from Sri Lanka. An analysis of the impact of the CAA and NPR/NRC process in view of what happened in Assam show that not only Muslims as the BJP leadership is repeating, but also dalits, Adivasis, poorer sections of OBCs and other oppressed sections shall be severely affected. Under NPR crores of them will come under the category of ‘suspected citizens’, and then it will be impossible formost of them to get back the citizenship. There are also many doubts about the intentions of the new columns included under the NPR. And, the most relevant question is, what is the necessity for this whole process, so many decades after 1947 transfer of power? It is clear as day light that it is to make the register of citizens for the Hindurashtra, which the vast majority of the people firmly reject.
Instead of addressing these questions, Modi govt has resorted to unprecedented state terror, especially in UP and other BJP ruled states, and Delhi where police is under its control, to terrorize the people who are coming out in increasing numbers to join the movement against CAA and NPR/NRC, to create fear psychosis, to spread the calumny that only Muslims oppose it. At the same time, the RSS parivar is spreading lies using the captive media about the CAA, NPR/NRC to confuse the people, and attack all those who oppose them as Pak agents or traitors. As Karnataka, UP, Haryana governments already starting the NPR to find out the ‘doubtful citizens’ and all other states are asked to make preparations and to start it from 1st April, contrary to the lies spread by the RSS parivar, now the picture is absolutely clear that all the three are integrally linked Then, based on the number of ‘doubtful citizens’ in the NPR, the NRC shall be started as it was done in Assam, using CAA as the criteria and demanding documents including birth certificates from all. Thus crores of people who are resident and born in India, not only Muslims, but as happened in Assam, dalits, Adivasis, and poorer sections of the OBCs also will become stateless or refugees! They will be thrown to Detention Camps, the construction of which are already started.
When all these are happening, the attacks on the working class, all toiling masses, the peasantry, women, youth and students are reaching unprecedented levels in various forms, especially in the context of galloping recession; prices of all essential commodities and cost of essential services are sky-rocketing, further impoverishing the masses. Coupled with this, the CAA, NPR/NRC and the fascist attacks on those who oppose these have created a dangerous situation. Ever increasing number of people are in miseries and they are coming out in tens of millions spreading the resistance to even villages and tribal hamlets.
What was started at Shaheen Bagh is spreading with millions of women coming out on the streets at hundreds of centers, whose number is increasing day by day. The movement is taking the form of a festival of the masses. So, as soon as the Boycott CAA, NPR/NRC slogan is given its message is spreading fast. People are declaring that they will not participate in this process, they will not allow the enumerators to enter their mohallas or villages. It is going to become a great Non-Cooperation Movement. All struggling forces should become part of the ongoing great countrywide upsurge, making it stronger day by day, with the determination to intensify it continuously as a protracted people’s movement with the vision of a New Independence Movement.
The RSS fascists never takes lessons from history, or what is happening around them. In Jharkhand, where BJP was in power, the elections took place after the CAA was enacted, Modi and Shah waged intensive campaign for three weeks lavishly spending huge amounts of money, exhorting people to vote for the majoritarian Hindutva, muscular nationalism and for the CAA. But BJP was defeated decisively. Now, not taking lessons from it, Modi-Shah team is waging a violent campaign to re-capture power in Delhi elections attacking all those who oppose them, including the students from the universities and the women leading thee movement at Shaheen Bagh as Pak agents and traitors, with Jai Sri Ram as their election slogan! Who is dividing the people, who is making the country tukde, tukde is abundantly clear.
In many of the struggle centers in all the states where we are present, the Red Star comrades are visible and they have integrated with the ongoing mass upsurge with all their might, uniting with the masses who are creating history, as well as making conscious moves to join hands with the struggling communist revolutionary forces striving for unity among them with the vision of independent left assertion. In all the states we are present, our comrades in whichever field they are active, are visible with the masses, taking initiative to unite the struggling people, the dalits, Adivasis, Muslims along with the students, youth and women on the one hand, and the working class and the peasantry on the other. This ongoing massive people’s upsurge is a great teacher. All those who are coming forward and integrating more and more firmly with it, casting away all remnants of the sectarian past will get invaluable experience in genuine mass line.
Comrades and compatriots, The ongoing historic people’s upsurge is reaching a critical phase, History teaches that the fascists never try to take lessons from the past. They are extremely sectarian, intolerant, and criminalized in thought and action. That is why open threats are coming from thei top leaders that they will not allow any resistance in the universities, and the Shaheen Bagh like the movements after 11th February when the Delhi election results come out. They may go to any extent to unleash savage state terror, further confuse the masses with a militaristic adventure to intensify Islamo/Pak phobia and muscular national chauvinist fervor, they may provoke communal riots followed by Ahmedabad like pogroms, they can go to any extent to weaken the ongoing countrywide mass upsurge by dividing the people, weakening our unity. Guard against all provocations; Guard against any sectarian moves from our ranks; Let us continuously broaden the movement, strengthen the unity and solidarity among our fighting people for defending secularism and democracy at all cost, upholding the spirit off the Preamble of our Constitution!
The enemy may calculate that people shall get tired as the struggle is prolonged. But we should overcome all fatigue, mobilize new sections of the masses, recoup our strength and intensify the people’s upsurge until we succeed to compel Modi government to repeal CAA and entirely reject the NPR/NRC project. And, if it refuses to heed and act according to people’s will, until it is ousted from power and the fascist RSS is demolished.
CPI(ML) Red Star.
The Supreme Court has refused to stay the citizenship law or eve to stay the NPR process under the plea that it has to hear the government first! The large number of petitions were before the SC for ore than a month. It should have asked the Modi government to present its position by this time. Insteadof doing this, four more weeks are given to the government to reply. After that all the petitions shall be sent to a Constitutional Bench for consideration, according to the CJI, Sharad Bobde. It is a conscious delaying tactics, when everybody knows justice delayed is justice denied. So all those who are opposed to the un-Constitutional CAA and NPR?NRC should understand that through a conscious delaying process, similar to what it did to the Kashmir question, the CAA, NPR, NRC question also it has denied justice to the people who are agitating on the streets in their millions for many weeks, braving the severe cold conditions in North, all over the country. It shows the extent of saffronization of the Constitutional Institutions and the state machinery under the fascist offensive led by RSS.
This situation calls on the students, youth and women who spearhead this movement, the minority Muslim masses, all oppressed classes and sections including dalits, Adivasis and other backward sections, the toiling masses and the democratic forces to carry forward the movement eve more intensively. The ongoing countrywide movement should be developed as a movement for boycott of the NPR/NRC process scheduled to be started from 10th April, to a countrywide Non-Cooperation Movement..With the firm demand Repeal CAA, Boycott NPR/NRC let us intensify the movement utilizing all forms of mobilization and campaign till the Modi government is compelled to revoke the whole fascist process. Widen and deepen the ongoing movement with this orientation, till complete victory!
K N Ramachandran
CPI (ML) Redstar
23rd January 2020
- Introduction: The coming to power of the Modi-led BJP again with a thumping majority poses a serious challenge to the toiling and oppressed masses. Not only there is a further sharp turn to the far right, footsteps of fascism are growing louder by the day. Soon after Modi-2 took over there has been a spurt in mob lynchings and attacks on dalits and minorities. There is talk of implementing NRC in other states apart from Assam, thus creating a situation where millions may be deprived of citizenship rights by one stroke of the pen. Measures like the new draft education policy are a thinly veiled attempt at imposing the Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan paradigm on the younger generations and striking at the root of our culture of diversity and democracy. Fascisization of all fields is taking place more aggressively. Virulent national chauvinism is being peddled as answer to all problems, thus creating a culture of communal frenzy and majoritarian violence. Voices of dissent are being summarily throttled. The RSS Parivar is on an offensive to transform India into a Hindu Rashtra by 2024. Side by side, Modi’s neo-liberal economic policies continuously intensifying corporatization are aimed at pauperization of the masses. The projected privatization of all public sector enterprises, changes in labour laws to please the corporate, the abject surrender to US threats, the growing rate of unemployment, farmers’ distress, aggravating climate crisis – all these are making for a situation of unprecedented catastrophe. The latest developments, scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution and dividing J&K in to two union territories by Modi-2 is a direct attack against the democratic rights of the Kashmiri people. The valley is under total military occupation, with all movements of people, communication and all civilian facilities stopped with the state put under 144 and curfew imposed. While these steps have internationalized the Kashmir question even when Modi is repeating it as an internal matter, it aso threatens whatever federal values still remaining in the Constitution.. This belligerent corporate-saffron fascist offensive can be effectivey challenged and defeated only if party building is effectively take up.
- The Political Resolution adopted by the 11th Party Congress, after analyzing the present situation has pointed out the importance “to urgently engage in building up the Party, strengthening class/mass organizations and developing peoples movements and class struggle”. In continuation to it, analyzing the situation following the ascendance of Modi-2, the Central Committee in its June, 2019, Resolution has called: “to combat this all round intensification of neoliberal/corporatization policies and fascisization of all fields, the Central Committee calls for: Firstly, take up the party building as the first and foremost task, trying to merge all genuine communists and streamlining the party committees at all levels; strengthen class/mass organizations, and develop people’s movements in all fields and at all levels according to the concrete situation;......”. It is evident that unless the task of party building is taken up as the primary task all other tasks shall remain unfulfilled. In the present situation of ever intensifying fascisization, this task has become paramount. Only under the leadership of an ideologically, politically and organizationally powerful communist party, surrounded by class/mass organizations/movements, the development of class struggle and people’s movements this task can be effectively carried forward, and the united front activities according to the demands of the present situation can be initiated and developed.
- The Political Organizational Report (POR) adopted by the Eleventh Congress has explained the various aspect of party building including the necessity for theoretical offensive required for it as follows: “(5.a.3….while considering the magnitude of the theoretical challenges confronting the communist movement, as explained in The Resolution, (Resolution on Theoretical Offensive adopted by the Tenth Congress), what we could do in this field so far is still very little……” It has explained in detail the necessity to intensify the theoretical offensive to continuously develop the Party’s programmatic approach, Path of Revolution and the organizational tasks. An over-view of the organizational strength and functioning of the present state committees, which are still insignificant considering the magnitude of the challenges before us, also underline the importance of taking up the party building in an all embracive manner.
- Unification of Communist Revolutionaries
As the POR called for, the present situation, more than ever, demands the unity of the communist revolutionary (CR) forces to defeat the ruling class forces and to advance towards people’s democracy and socialism. After last five decades long practice of parliamentary cretinism, the CPI(M) led Left Front has suffered severe decimation .On the other extreme, the left adventurist stream also has alienated from the people further. In this situation, we have to expand the call to unite all communist forces who are prepared to struggle against these deviations and to pursue Marxist-Leninist theory and practice according to the concrete analysis of present international and Indian situation. Based on this understanding, as explained in the POR, during the last one decade, especially after the Bhopal Special Conference in 2009, we have merged with many sections/organizations of communist revolutionaries. This process is still continuing. Presently, when almost all the parties/organizations within the broad “left spectrum’ are undergoing a major ideological and political churning, there are good possibilities for merger of many of them with Red Star, leading to a new communist polarization. We have to intensify our efforts in this direction. The experience of the Bhangar people’s resistance struggle has created more favorable conditions for advancing unity talks with the communist forces.
- This question of winning over the communist forces to the party should be taken up at three levels: Firstly, though their number may vary considerably from state to state, there are many former members of organizations belonging to the ‘communist spectrum’ who can be won over and enrolled after convincing them about our party line; Secondly, there are many groups of comrades, especially in states where the left movement had good influence, who have left their previous organizations due to ideological or political or organizational differences, for winning over whom also initiative should be taken; Thirdly, active efforts should be made to find out organizations who are nearer to our party line and to win over them through protracted discussions and, if necessary by even working together with them for some time forming coordination committees..
- Party Membership: Though we have our presence in 17 states and SCs/SOCs in 16 states, our party membership in 2018 was only a little over 4,000. Even among them, many are not fulfilling the responsibilities as explained in the Party Constitution. During this year’s membership renewal process, such inactive members should be convinced to overcome their weaknesses, or, if this is not possible, should be weeded out. Considering the enormous tasks we have to take up in different fields, this membership is absolutely insufficient. Urgent steps should be taken to increase the membership. The following steps should be taken up for accomplishing it:
- We have formed Party Sub-Committees in all class/mass organizations and movements at central level. They are constituted at state level also at least in few states or in few fields. Make these committees active and through them take up the enrolment of party members from all fields, especially from among the workers, agricultural workers and peasantry. Considering the fairly good number of membership in TUCI, AIKKS and ABM a good number of members can be recruited from these areas.
- Though two thirds of the population in our country are under 35 years old, our membership among them is very limited. This is linked to our weakness in building the student and youth organizations in spite of repeated decisions. Give more emphasis to this field and recruit larger number of candidate members from students and youth.
- Women constitute half of our population. Without giving emphasis to women’s liberation, party cannot advance the revolutionary movement. But proportion of women among our party members and their presence in party committees are deplorable. Attention should be given for recruiting large number of women as party members.
- The results of the 17th Lok Sabha elections show severe decimation of CPI(M) and CPI, especially in W. Bengal and Tripura. During the last decade, large number of members of these parties and of the ML organizations have become inactive. Some of the comrades associated with us in the past had also become inactive. An active campaign should be organized and hold continuous discussions to win over them to our Party line and to enroll them as party members.
- The experience of Bhangar movement has taught us that successful waging of such people’s movements become a gold mine for recruiting large number of party members including whole timers. It will be reflected in the growth of party membership in Bengal this year. Similarly in all areas where mass movements are developing, proper emphasis should be given to bring the struggling people nearer to the party and to recruit new members from among them to the party.
- Give emphasis to building grass root level party committees: During the last few years the CC has emphasized repeatedly on the importance of organizing and strengthening party committees at the grass root level, that is party committees at Branch, Local and Area levels and Party Sympathizers’ Groups. Decline of our mobilization strength for party programs, and our poor performance in the elections even in the districts where we have waged many struggles are connected to the weakness of our party at grass root level. With the strengthening of the three tier panchayat system, all the ruling class or main stream parties are giving lot of emphasis to capture these Gram, Block and District panchayats, deploying even their senior cadres to them. Since enormous funds are available for these panchayats, they have become very corrupt. As we are not giving proper emphasis to build grass root level party committees and to provide party education and political guidance to them, even few of our own comrades elected to them also became corrupt and left the party. We have to seriously evaluate these negative experiences. Give utmost political and organizational importance to strengthening grass root level party committees. In districts where our party committees are functioning, select gram and block panchayats where our party presence is there; strengthen the Branch committees at village/town/municipal ward level and Local Committees at Gram/Town panchayat levels; chalk out people’s programs/our alternative development and democratization concepts, and wherever possible form people’s committees to capture the panchayats, struggling against the main stream parties. By striving to make these panchayats to function according to our political and organizational line, consistently strengthening the direct participation of the people in its activities through strengthening the functioning of the neighborhood committees. In this way we shall be able to take class struggle to the grass root levels. (see the Appendix).
- Strengthen the District Committee functioning: The district committees link the state committee with the grass root party committees, and in the party structure of the communist party it has to play an important role. It should have an office and regular office functioning, including the practice of issuing press statements on important developments. It should coordinate the working of area committees and the grass root functioning below them. It should collect the levy regularly and ensure the propagation of party organs and literature. It should maintain levy register and account register. It should send circulars to lower level committees on the one hand, and send regular written reports to state committee.
- Strengthen State Committee functioning: In a multinational/multi lingual country like India, the state committees have to play a very important role if we have to lead the revolutionary movement and party forward. But many of our state committees are very weak. Many of them have no proper office or office functioning. They do not bring out the state party organ or issue statements on important developments. We have to wage consistent struggle against the influence of liberalism on the one hand and against sectarianism on the other to strengthen the state committee functioning, taking practical steps for it.
- Give Emphasis to party Education: As explained in the POR adopted by the 11th Party Congress (quoted above), in spite of repeated efforts necessary emphasis is not given to party education at state and district levels, though central party schools are regularly conducted from 2010, party schools are not organized at lower levels including translation of all central party school papers in most of the states. All the state committees should ensure that immediate steps are taken to overcome this weakness. In the present situation of increasing fascisization of the country and the problems created by alien thinking within the “left spectrum” leading to its splintering, the importance of party education by organizing regular party classes has increased more. It also calls for making necessary basic Marxist classics available to the comrades. The state committees should give ever-increasing attention to this.
- Conclusion: With the coming to power of Modi-2 and intensification of fascisization, the concrete conditions in our country are going to face fast changes. As we intensify our struggle in all fields, it is natural that we shall come under increasing state repression, and we should be prepared to face it. While we shall continue to utilize all possibilities for open work to link the party with the masses, our party committee system and organizational functioning should be properly streamlined so that it is capable of confronting all eventualities. Let us strengthen our party building with all our might, overcoming all past mistakes and present weaknesses.
Appendix: On linking the Party Building at Grass Root level with the 3-Tier Panchayat System.
- While giving emphasis to party building, along with giving emphasis to grass root level party building, Ie, of Area, Local and Branch committees, their activities should be linked to our active participation in the functioning of the 3-tier panchayat system. In the Central Party School in 2013 we had discussed a paper on Our Approach to Participation in Local Body Elections. Even after so amny years, still we could not make any advances in this field. Not only that, as we failed or as we are very weak, in developing grass root level party building linking with revolutionary participation in the panchayat system, and preparing our comrades accordingly, almost all our comrades elected to panchayat samithis so far by and large got influenced by corrupt practices and left our party.
- Under these circumstancess, what is happening under the Bhangar Jomi Committee is significant. As the struggle was reaching its peak, confronting the armed attack of the TMC goons we could fight only six seats of Polarhat panchayat where we won with more than 90% support, while in all other 9 seats TMC won without contest or by capturing booths. When the Bhangar Agreement was signed, apart from the compensation to the affected people, the state government agreed to implement a number of projects in the affected area for the people. Now the TMC is trying to convene the full panchayat samithi and impose its hegemony so that it can control all these projects plus other panchayat projects sanctioned by the government. As it shall lead to a situation like what was happening in the past, the Jomi Committee is waging legal struggle as well as struggle in the streets to continue its control in the areas from where our comrades have won. In this way we are struggling to use the panchayat system to consolidate the gains of the Bhangar movement. It calls for regular attention of the leading comrades also. In this way the WB state committee is striving to maintain and expand our political and organizational influence in this area. It is a good example to be emulated in other areas/states according to concrete conditions.
- Numerous past experiences teach us that wherever such struggles take place, as the gains are not consolidated through effective utilization of the panchayat system and strengthening of our mass base through it, very soon our gains were lost or very little of it is continuing. Many decades of parliamentary experience of traditional communist parties also teaches that if the parliamentary institutions including the 3-tier panchayat system are not used in a revolutionary manner as part of the class struggle, they can lead to negative results. It is in this context, however micro level it may be, the present militant functioning of the Bhangar Committee after signing of the agreement should be viewed.
- Presently under neo-liberalism, both imperialism and comprador Indian ruling classes are effectively utilizing local self governments for their neocolonial objectives in the same manner as they make use of central and state governments. All the ruling class parties like BJP, Congress, regional parties and CPI(M)-led parties are functioning as proponents of this neoliberal approach to local bodies. In this context, it is imperative on the part of the struggling left forces to put forward a class approach to local body elections. It should expose the so called top-down decentralization imposed under the labels of “participatory democracy”, “participatory development” and “empowerment” by imperialist centers. It has to show that such decentralization is not intended for genuine people’s political power at the local level. On the contrary, it leads to increasing global centralization of finance capital by making local bodies as its appendage.
- At the behest of neo-colonial agencies such as the World Bank, as part of downsizing the welfare state, all erstwhile social welfare and developmental tasks of the central and state governments are put on the shoulders of fund-starved local bodies who are increasingly made direct dependencies of WB, ADB and other funding agencies. In spite of the economic burden imposed on them, the right to collect land revenue, which is now with the State government, is not set apart for local bodies. The bureaucratic set up of the local bodies has also changed little in the midst of many talks on decentralization. Even today, the elected representatives of the Panchayat system are not vested with any real powers. All the financial and executive powers are vested with the executive officer or secretary of the Panchayat system at village, bloc and district levels. More precisely, the elected local bodies still lack autonomy regarding resource mobilization and executive powers of implementation.
- Taking these aspects into consideration, according to the concrete conditions prevailing in different parts of the country, we should put forward a people’s alternative of bottom-up decentralization which is inseparably linked with the development of class struggle aimed at basically altering the existing property relations and power structure.
- The Party should actively participate in local body elections with this ideological clarity and with a political program so as to transform local bodies as primary centers of people’s political power. For this, participation in local elections should be linked with the uncompromising struggle and campaigns for redistribution of land on the basis of land to the tiller, confiscation of land held by land mafia, distribution of such lands and surplus land among landless, agitation against displacement, against all super-imposed neo-colonial projects, and so on.
- The genuine decentralization means the workers, peasants and all other oppressed sections and classes, the masses of the people, wielding political power at the local level. It is invariably linked to the abolition of imperialist strangle hold over the country and basic changes in the class relations which are maintained through the present “top-down” decentralization. Instead of this, a “bottom-up” decentralization as people’s alternative replacing the existing class relations and hegemony of imperialist finance capital is indispensable. A restructuring of the property relations including land relations in favour of the landless, entrusting land to the real tillers, is an essential component of this. In spite of the rhetoric on decentralization and empowerment of panchayats, the Indian state keeps the people in the dark and imposes various neo-colonial projects violating their jurisdiction. In numerous court cases where panchayats vs MNCs are involved, mostly the courts uphold the neo-colonial loot of the latter against the rights of the former.
- The Party should reject the neo-liberal decentralization experiments pursued In different states. It should try to draw lessons from the experiences of Paris Commune, the “Soviets” and “People’s Communes”. They should take lessons from them and make efforts for applying them in accordance with the concrete conditions prevailing today. Along with the development of struggles by class/mass organisations, a people’s development agenda should be placed before the people. All State Committees should prepare a manifesto clearly specifying the Party’s program including specific demands for land, shelter, food, drinking water, employment, education, healthcare, etc. with respect to local body elections according to concrete conditions. Along with this, an effective organizational initiative for utilizing local bodies in the interest of class struggle should be evolved.
While addressing the UN Climate Conference after Greta questioning the world leaders “How Dare You…..” destroy the nature and create environmental catastrophe, denying everything for future generations, India prime minister Modi has repeated in his speech that his government is protecting the environment and will continue to struggle for it! But what the BJP government is doing in Maharashtra? Even when there is an option available to protect the nearly 3,000 trees in Arey and save the forestry there, after managing to get orders from the pliable High Court, before the court order is published in Gazette and website and waiting for 15 days as per legal orders of the environmental ministry, the Fadnavis government has allowed the contractors to start cutting the trees stealthily yesterday night itself, so that before the courts open on Monday the butchering of the nature can be completed! As hundreds of environmental activists, youth and students including the Adivasi families got mobilized and resisted this illegal criminal act, hundreds of them are forcibly taken in to custody in the night, prohibitory orders are clamped down, and as latest reports show about 300 trees are already cut. It is a bloody criminal act. What Modi is talking about protecting environment is nothing but bullshit! Nothing can be expected from the government led by this ‘loyal friend’ of Trump who has openly laughed at all environmental movements and their warnings!
Only people of Mumbai alone can save the Arey trees and environment by militantly resisting the criminals engaged in this act and throwing them out of Arey! We appeal to all sections of people to come out and stop this carnage of nature!
CPI(ML) Red Star
5th October 2019, 08.00 AM
Observe the Century of Communist Movement in India from 17th October, 2019 to 17th October, 2020;
Participate in 17th October meeting at Bhgat Singh Bhavan, Sainik Nagar.
Following the discussion in the 1919 Congress of the Communist International, it was on 17th October, 1920, the first meeting of the comrades who were engaged in organizing the Communist Party of India was held at Tashkent, in then Soviet Union. So, on 17th October, 2020, we are completing a century of the communist movement in India. The Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star in its 8th to 10th June, 2019, meeting decided to observe the Centenary of the Communist Movement in India for a year from 17th October 2019 to 17th October 2020. On this occasion we have published an over view of A Century of the Communist Movement in India by com. KN Ramachandran, updating the overview published in English and Hindi under the title Nine Decades of the Communist Movement in India before the Ninth Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star was held in November, 2011. It is published in our website www.cpiml.in.
Following the severe setbacks suffered by the international communist movement after reaching a stage when it looked like the “East wind of socialism shall defeat the west wind of imperialist system” as Mao Tsetung stated in 1955, and the mainstream communist parties CPI and CPI(M)in India degenerating to social democratic positions following the Soviet revisionist path, while the CPI(ML), formed by the communist revolutionaries challenging the revisionists, disintegrating following the left adventurist line it followed, internationally and nationally the communist movement is not strong enough to challenge the imperialist camp and its lackeys who are intensifying the loot of the working class and the oppressed people and the nature through neoliberal/corporatization policies, impoverishing the masses and devastating the nature.
Following the 2008 crisis, the imperialist system is going through a cycle of crises. Finding it difficult to overcome these crises, most of the rightist parties which were in power are now replaced by the ultra rightist, neo-fascist forces in an increasing number of countries. In this situation, the reactionary camp has further intensified the attacks on the communist movement. So, as we had already pointed out while organizing the Century of the Communist International during 1917-18, the communist movement can overcome the present setbacks and advance the revolutionary movement all over the world only by intensifying the ideological political offensive against the imperialist forces and their lackeys on the one hand, and waging uncompromising ideological struggle against both right opportunist and left adventurist deviations within the movement. As pointed out by the Resolution on Theoretical Offensive adopted by the 10th Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star, it calls for thorough evaluation of the past experiences and developing the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism according to present situation. The Central Committee of Red Star has called for observing the centenary of the communist movement in India with the expectation that it will provide an opportunity for the communist revolutionaries to come together and forge unity in the process of this theoretical offensive.
Explaining the significance of this campaign focusing on the centenary of the communist movement in India we have already published an article in the July issue of Red Star monthly, which is also available in our website. As the first program of this campaign, a meeting is organized on 17th October at Bhagat Singh Hall (c-141, Sainik Nagar, near Nawada metro station) from 5pm to 9pm. We invite all communist revolutionary forces and friends to attend this meeting and to participate in the theoretical offensive for rebuilding the communist movement.
CPI(ML) Red Star.
The aggressiveness of the attacks on any criticisms against the government as anti-national by RSS parivar has intensified sharply after Modi-2 took over. Governments are elected by the people. According to the Constitution, the people and their fundamental rights enshrined in it are supreme. So, people have full right to criticize all actions of the government. Nobody has the right to attack it as anti-national. Those who does it are anti-constitutional forces. After Modi-2 abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution and down-graded the state to two union territories, these jingoistic attacks on anyone criticizing these arbitrary actions have further increased. At the same time, the clamp down over people of the state, especially, Kashmir valley is continuing! A major section of mainstream media is hysterically justifying these violations of the rights of the people and suppression of the media’s rights in the state. All criticisms against these draconian acts are dubbed as anti-national or pro-Pakistan.
Modi-2 and RSS parivar are treating J&K as India’s property, similar to Pakistan’s stand. Both refuse to recognize J&K people’s right to decide its future. The United Nations’ Human Rights Declaration calls for the right of self determination of all nations. India is a multi-national country and its Constitution declares it is a federal republic, not a nation. The unity of federal India is based on the unity of the peoples of various nationalities inspired by the ethos created by the anti-imperialist independence struggle, and if their right of self determination is harmed this unity also will be in danger, which the RSS parivar, intoxicated by their Akhand Bharat concept, is forgetting.
When the British colonialists signed the instrument of transfer of power with leaders of India and Pakistan, it covered only the areas under direct British rule. The large number of princely states had the right to remain independent or join India or Pakistan signing their own agreements of accession. The governments of India and Pakistan succeeded to merge the princely states within their regions signing agreements with them, sometimes even using force as India did in the case of Hyderabad Nizam. As far as J&K, Manipur, Nagaland Sikkim and Baluchistan were concerned, they were not part of British India and as per the agreement, had right to remain independent or merge with either India or Pakistan. Though the leaders of both India and Pakistan had assured they will not act like the successor states of British colonialists with regard to redefining the international boundaries and for the right of self determination of these areas, soon both proved their expansionist intentions; Indian government soon integrated Manipur and Nagaland using military force. Pakisthan did the same with Baluchistan. In 1975 India annexed Sikkim also. When J&K king Hari Singh wanted to maintain it as an independent country, initially both agreed to it. But soon Pakistan tried to annex J&K using armed intervention. So Hari Singh sought military help from India which agreed to assist him after an instrument of accession was signed, based on which the Article 370 of the Constitution was later adopted.
As the UN interfered, it enforced ceasefire and a Line of Control, with both governments agreeing to withdraw their armed forces and hold a plebiscite for the people of J&K to decide their future. But, as both the governments were not for an independent J&K, both colluded to abort the plebiscite and to keep the J&K divided during the last seven decades. The imperialists were happy to keep this spot hot enough, so that they could continue their divide and control policy in the region, and loot fortunes by selling arms and equipments to both. In the interest of the ruling class and corrupt political class on both side, both the governments were competing to whip up hatred with each other, arming themselves to the teeth (even with nuclear arms now)and fighting three wars and indulging in continuous skirmishes, which has benefitted and fabulously enriched the corporate giants, while forcing the vast majority of the people on both side to terrific miseries and impoverishment!
With BJP, the political front of RSS with Hindurashtra goal, consolidated its power in India challenging the Islamic state of Pakistan, the scenario far worsened. For both J&K became a major bone of contention. Modi rule could become a reality and could come back to power by strengthening the majoritarian Hindutva, only by whipping up Islamophobia and hate Pakistan campaign every minute. If Pakistan is already in acute economic crisis, India is also now caught in the vortex of slow down. As the imperialists, especially US imperialists want to overcome their own economic problems and inter-imperialist rivalry with China by using these junior partners smartly, they promote. jingoism on both sides. The conflict between India and Pakistan is bound to reach unprecedented levels, especially after the arbitrary moves of Modi-2, at the peril of the people of J&K and in India! India’s defense minister has announced possibility for re-thinking on ‘no first use’ of nuclear arms. It is soon reciprocated by Pak prime minister announcing his preparedness even for a nuclear war! On 28th August Pakistan test fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear arms. One Pak minister talked about war breaking out in October. It is reciprocated by India’s defense minister declaring not only J&K, even the areas beyond Line of Control are integral part of India! On both sides, jingoistic forces and corporate media are busy in whipping up hatred and war hysteria, while Trump and company are enjoying the game played by Imran and Modi!
In this dangerous situation, it is the right of the people to talk boldly and correctly: J&K is not the property of the reactionary governments of either Pakistan or India. Its future should be decided by the people of J&K through a plebiscite or referendum after both India and Pak withdrawing their army from both sides of the Line of Control. In order to achieve this, all progressive democratic forces should create public opinion to demand repealing of the arbitrary action of 5th August by Modi-2, withdrawal of the army to barracks, and immediate withdrawal of the curfew and clampdown from the whole region. If a nuclear war is unleashed by the religious fundamentalist and fascistic forces, the war mongering governments on both sides, it will be catastrophic for the whole South Asian region. So all progressive forces in this region should mobilize the peoples of the whole region to condemn this jingoism of both these governments and work for building up anti-imperialist unity against their reactionary govts., with the vision of a South Asian People’s Unity!
We appeal to all struggling forces to come together and demand the withdrawal of all suppressive acts of the fascist Modi-2 in J&K! Let us demand bilateral discussion between both governments to politically resolve the J&K problem, involving the people of J&K and based on their right of self determination! Expose and try to defeat the war mongering of both governments and create public opinion against a nuclear war which will be catastrophic to people of not only both the countries, but to whole of South Asia! Just because BJP’s or any other government is in power, we are not its slaves, we have the right to expose and oppose its anti-people deeds! Oppose and resist the barbarous policy of Modi-2 and RSS parivar dubbing all their critics as anti-national! We are the patriots who oppose imperialists of all hues and their lackeys and stand for genuine secular democratic federal India, while Modi-2 and RSS parivar are imperialist stooges who preach Akhand Bharat, but disintegrate country through their divisive Brahmanical manuvadi Hindurashtra! Intensify the struggle for federal people’s India, for unity of people of South Asia! n