The 34th national conference of the All India Kisan Sabha expresses grave concern at the communal menace in the country, which has alarmingly risen in the wake of the coming to power with an absolute majority of the Narendra Modi-led BJP regime in the country in 2014. This has been followed by the victories of the BJP in some other states in the country, notably Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam, Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Nitish Kumar’s opportunistic defection has brought back the BJP in office in Bihar. The BJP is nothing but the political arm of the thoroughly communal and fascistic RSS.
There is an intensified attack on the secular fabric with systematic attempts to communally polarise the country with the intention of reaping political benefits. Criticism is not tolerated and dissent is suppressed. This poses a threat to the unity of the peasantry, the working class and all other toiling sections of the people, who are bearing the brunt of the attacks of neoliberal policies pursued with even greater vigour by the BJP-led regimes at the centre and in the states.
Beginning with communal campaigns like Love Jihad and Ghar Wapsi, the Sangh Parivar then turned its attention to beef and cows. Attacks on Muslims and Dalits increased manifold. A free hand was given to the barbaric Gau rakshaks, self-styled cow-protection vigilante groups. Many attacks on people on the pretext of either eating or possession of beef have taken place. Cattle rearers, dairy farmers, cattle breeders, transporters of cattle and those involved in the leather and meat industry have all been attacked brutally by these gangs. Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri, Zahid Ahmad in Udhampur, Pehlu Khan in Alwar and Junaid in Ballabhgarh as well as on cattle traders were some of the many instances of the killing of Muslims in the name of cow protection and ban on beef.
The terroristic killing of intellectuals, rationalists and journalists by reactionary communal groups is another strongly condemnable aspect of the communal menace. In the latest attack senior journalist and vocal critic of the Hindutva forces Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru on 5th September, 2017 in a killing similar to the killings of Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, and Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi in 2015. Massive protests across the country were witnessed against these killings. But the culprits still remain untraced. Many other writers were threatened by the Hindutva forces. These killings serve as a stark reminder of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi within six months of independence by criminals of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha.
Against these dastardly acts a united resistance came up. Hundreds of writers, artistes and academicians protested in a unique manner by returning the awards won by them. Around 40 writers gave up their Padmashri awards and Sahitya Akademi Awards. Many other writers, artistes and academicians also gave up their awards in protest. Historians led by Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar and others spoke out against the growing communal attacks. Over 200 writers and academicians as well as Nobel Prize winners from across the globe voiced their opinion against these dastardly killings.
The other card employed by the communal forces is that of so-called patriotism and nationalism, through which they brand any form of dissent as anti-national and seditious. This was strikingly seen in the events at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and in several other academic institutions last year. However, strong resistance was built up here both among the students and the faculty, and this was reflected in the recent student elections in these Universities, where the Left and secular forces trounced the communal elements.
The RSS, Hindu Mahasabha and the then Muslim League – all communalists – were the three forces that scrupulously stayed away from the glorious patriotic freedom struggle of the people of India against the hated British imperialist rule – a bitter struggle that resulted in the martyrdom of tens of thousands of Indian patriots, from Birsa Munda to Bhagat Singh, and from Tipu Sultan to the Rani of Jhansi. These communalists have thus no moral right whatsoever to preach about patriotism and nationalism.
It is also a well-recognised fact that majority communalism and minority fundamentalism feed on each other and aid and abet each other’s growth. Hence it is necessary to fight both and to prevent the communal polarisation that both of them seek to achieve.
The communal attacks of the RSS-BJP, coupled with growing authoritarian trends, disregard for the Constitution, federal principles and Parliament all point to the necessity of united struggles to save democracy and secularism in the coming crucial days.
This AIKS conference calls upon the peasantry of India to recognise the grave menace of communalism to the integrity of our nation and the unity of our people and gives a clarion call to build unity with all forces fighting against communalism, caste oppression as well as neoliberal policies. It also calls upon the peasantry and the people to bend all their efforts to ensure the defeat of this monstrous BJP-RSS government at all costs.
Proposed By: Ashok Dhawale
Seconded By: Jaswinder Singh