Achche din for Left, not BJP: Gautam Navlakha


Gautam Navlakha  a civil liberties, democratic, and human rights activist, and  journalist, addressed the public meeting  organised by Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) Mumbai , titled  “Acche din? One Year After” at Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh,  in early May in Mumbai. Below is a summary of his speech

It is achche din  for Left and demoractic-minded people. Its a challenge, but no reason for feeling pessimitic. The Left has been fragmented and it is time  to come together and The Modi regime,compels the Left to sharply demarcate their position against the right wing.

It is time to look critically and examine our understanding and analysis of social and political atmosphere. To come out with facts, arguments, reason and not rhetoric and cliché, which is not going to get us anywhere, he said.

Freedom of speech

Looking at the BJP, on how  they used the  freedom of speech, the beautiful gems coming from various BJP  MPs,  Adityanath, the sadhvis,  instead of helping  their cause actually,  not only scared away people, but also repulsed a wide section of people, even those who were taken in by their ideology and compelled to raise questions . The mood in the country was shifting left of centre.

Reflecting on the one Year Modi regime, he pinted out that it  provided opportunity to intervene and show.  Things would not get worse .

Change in discourse of Jammu and Kashmir

Over the last one year, jingoism came to the fore, even so called respectable newspapers, used strongly language like “traitor” and “anti national”. This shift  showed the emergence of majoritarian thinking.

Recently, Masarat Alam Bhat was arrested over raising of pro-Pakistan slogans and hoisting Pakistani flag at a Geelani’s rally in Srinagar.

Navlakha stated this  was nothing  new, it had been happening from 1947, when anyone listening to Radio Pakistan was arrested,  beat up and tortured.  “Kashmir is  a disputed territory and there is nothing wrong with people coming out  and protesting.”

Masarat Alam has spent 17 of his 42 years in jail for the cause of an independent Kashmir. Alam  has been booked in 27 criminal cases but in most of these he has either been exonerated, or bailed out and later released. He has been in preventive detention and not even chargesheeted.

In Contrast, Pravin  Togadia, Adityanath, , Rithambara and other gems of BJP have caused greater damage to national unity.

Togadia on 1 March 2002, when  people were being killed in Gujarat , on  ZEE TV was asking people to carry on with the carnage,  and  till today he cant be touched.

“Hence, we can say that there is no uniform criminal law in the country. The first  major anti-Muslim riot  took place  in Jabalpur in the 60s. Since then,  no perpetrator has been caught.

Hashmipura killings

Atrocities on Kashmiris have been going on for the last two decades and the culprits are not being brought to book. Human rights violations are being inflicted while justice remains evasive.

There are extremist Hindu parties which are encroaching upon the rights of common people in various cities across India, but no action is taken against them. But when Kashmiris come out in support of their democratic and human rights, they are suppressed through brute force.

Prabhat Kaushik, 23, an RSS worker, died in Meerut standing on the roof of the house of his aunt Shakuntala Kaushik, a  BJP leader of her time. Strangely, in  less than 14 hours after Prabhat’s death, his elder brother, Major Satish Chandra Kaushik, posted in Meerut, was seen conducting house-to-house searches in Hashimpura, along with two other army officers. His brother cremated, he was also seen dragging young Muslim men out of their homes and handing them over to the dreaded PAC of Uttar Pradesh.

There are extremist Hindu parties which are encroaching upon the rights of common people in various cities across India but no action is taken against them. But when Kashmiris come out in support of their democratic and human rights, they are suppressed through brute force.

Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill

The most obnoxious part of the bill is the empowerment of an investigating agency to continue with the investigation for 180 days, as against the permitted 90 days under the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C). In this period, the accused may or may not be in judicial custody.  Any confessions made to senior police officers - of the rank of superintendent of police and above - is admissible in evidence Section 25 of the Bill that makes the government immune from any legal action for “anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act.” There is anxiety that the executive will exploit this section and become less accountable to the law for its commissions and omissions.

 In last one year we have seen the police and security forces  misusing their powers, e.g.,   Telegana fake encounters.   Although a SIT inquiry has been initiated but there is a remote possibility of getting any conviction under the present regime.

The fast tracking of Land Acquisition Bill, is a pro-corporate instrument and against the poor.

It was  reported in Rajya Sabha that the government has given approval for diversion of 35,867 hectares of forest land in a total of  only 783 cases in 2014.

Referring to his recent visit to  Chhattisgarh , Gautam Navlakha said, “earlier we were fighting against Essar, TATA, Jindal  and other private sector companies , but today it is the state which has taken their roles . The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) had major mining facilities. The company had been operating two mining complexes in the area namely in Kirandul and Bacheli. State-run companies, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and NMDC would set up an ultra mega steel plant (UMSP) in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region.

Looking back,  in 2005  Salwa Judum gave fillip  to land grab , forest  grab and corporates,  and it  did make an impact. The SC intervened in 2010 and it did decrease. “In coming years we will  see increase in land grab and excessive mining”, he said.

He concluded by giving a call to be on the offensive than defensive. He said, we know the lies of the Modi regime.we know they are distorting  history and  facts. Today is the time for all organisations to come out and take them head on. “It’s  acche din for the Left,” he concluded.     

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 June 2015 on page no. 11

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