Janhastakshep: A campaign against Fascist Designs
Emergency in offing?
“The attack on citizen’s rights, particularly on the rights of peasants and workers by the present Modi government brings the memories of Emergency back” said Justice (retired) Rajinder Sachchar, addressing the meeting jointly organized by Janhastakshep, Delhi PUCL (Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties); CFD (Citizens for Democracy) and the Champa Foundation at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi to mark the imposition of Emergency by the then Indira Gandhi government in 1975. The Janhastakshep convener, Ish Mishra, while introducing the subject, expressed the apprehension of new kind of emergency kind fear with the concentration and centralization of power by PMO under Narendra Modi in its eagerness to serve the global corporate, including the ones under the dispensation of the Indian capitalist by anti labor laws and land acquisition ordinances aimed at dispossession of peasants and the tribal population and attack on right to expression and dissent as exemplified by the ban on study circle in Madras IIT. The meeting presided by Delhi PUCL president was addressed by Justice Sachchar; the veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, one of the very few journalists who did not succumb to the threats; national president of IFTU(Indian Federation of Trade Unions), senior journalist Seema Mustafa; Dr, Aparna and the senior Supreme Court lawyer, Dr. Ashok Panda. All the speakers expressed the apprehension of authoritarianism on present government’s acts of dismantling or subverting the constitutional, cultural and academic institutions by installing RSS cadres with redoubtable credentials at their heads.
Seema Mustafa made an incisive comparison of present situation under the “macho militaristic PM with no respect for democracy following the might is right principle and instilling fear among the people” with pre emergency days. She also talked about how all the decisions of the various ministries are being controlled by the PMO in Indira-Sanjay Gandhi style and the literal ban on ministers to speak to media and media being disallowed in the ministries. She also expressed the need to combat the declared communalism and fascism. Kuldip Nayar while presenting the graphic picture of the Government’s attempt to dictate terms to media leading to his arrest and the inhuman treatment in the jail and succumbing of journalists to the threats compared with the present scenario of corporate controlled media singing the eulogy of the perceived invincible PM and appealed to the journalists and intellectuals to take u[on the new challenges and challenge the politics based on religion and the caste. Dr. Aparna pointed out that the restrictions on common people prevailing in the normal times just get extended to the bourgeois opposition too. She also pointed out that the Indian corporate is subservient to imperialist corporate and aids to its plunder of the peoples’ resources and also that in the matters of corruption and black money BJP and Congress have convergence of interests citing the cases of corruption surfacing against the ministers of Modi Government. In the context of Land Acquisition Ordinance, she expressed optimism about mobilization of peasants, workers and other democratic forces, citing the various ongoing, though under reported anti-displacement movements in various parts of the country. Dr. Ashok Panda apart from other things pointed to Government’s attempt to scuttle and control the judiciary through dangerous designs of controlling the judiciary by the acts like NJAC for the self preservation as was done by Indira Gandhi during the emergency.
All the speakers expressed the concern over continuing attacks on minorities, particularly the Muslims and their religious places in RSS attempt to maintain and enhance the communal polarization and to divert the attention from anti people policies and need to stand up against it. They also shared the need to stand against the democratic rights of all the sections. All the speakers also shred the need of developing alternative media and of using the social media channels to expose the government and to mobilize people in the defense of democratic rights of the all the sections of the society and support the peoples’ movements, wherever they are and would take place. The meeting ended with the vote of thanks by N.D. Pancholi and unanimously adopting the resolution stressing the need to “support and invigorate the struggles for civil liberties and democratic rights” and to “vigorously oppose the attacks on religious minorities and the minority nationalities, which are being targeted by Modi government.” (a copy of the resolution attached).
N D Pancholi, President, Delhi PUCL
Ish Mishra, Convener, Janhastakshep.