Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Public hearing in Delhi on Babri mosque demolition day on "efforts" to drop words secular, socialist from Preamble

By Our Representative
In an apparent move to go political, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), apex body of tens of mass organizations of India, has organized a hearing of representatives of civil society and grassroots organizations on whether the words “secular” and “socialist” in the Indian constitution are redundant, as projected in a Government of India advertisement a year ago.
To be held at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Delhi on December 6, 2016, an invitation note distributed by NAPM says that a Government of India advertisement, published on January 26, 2015 “ominously” dropped the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ from the Preamble, wondering whether this was “deliberate.”
Apart from hearing prominent social activists, the hearing -- which will be held to mark the anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition-- will listen to “testimonies on violation of fundamental rights and constitutional values” from "Dalit, tribal, Muslim, Christian and project-affected communities representatives", the note says.  Babri demolition, organized by Sangh Parivar, took place on December 6, 1992.
The note wonders, “After numerous attempts to distort the social fabric of India, is this government trying to alter the very fabric of the Constitution of India? Infamous for its prejudiced and insensitive policies towards a host of minority communities, the present government has invited criticism from all quarters.”
“However”, the note says, “its constituent elements, namely the Hindutva outfits, have been openly attacking social institutions starting from places of worship and education to daily lifestyles of the people with active support from state, police and administration.”
It points out, “Burning of churches, hate crimes towards Dalits and Muslims over the sensationalized issue of beef, rampant pro-Hindu replacements in educational, research and art institutions further proved the ulterior motives of this government which wants to turn India into a majoritarian, militant state where voices of the marginalized can be openly stifled.”
The note further says, “Writers, poets, singers, historians, scientists – flag-bearers of our rich and evolving culture – are being threatened and humiliated by these same elements whose only objective is to cause a rift between communities and reap the benefits of a voter base divided on caste and religion.”
Insisting that “communalism is “only the tip of the iceberg”, as it “only serves as a tool for power consolidation by fascists”, the note says, things are happening “just the way Nazi Germany fanned the ‘German-Jew’ divide.”
“Fascists in turn are a greedy corporation’s best friend. Authoritarian, anti-people political forces are nurtured by multi-billion corporations in almost all countries. In India, it’s no different”, the note underlines.
“This government won after consolidating ‘majority community’ votes and by spending millions of corporate money on advertising”, the note says, adding, “After winning, they are eager to please their funders by forcibly amending the – land, labour and environmental laws to suit corporate interests.”
“In the name of single-window clearance”, the note says, government is “uprooting entire forests and selling it for corporate profit”, and “there is no regard for constitutional processes and safeguards for the people.”
Claiming that “everybody knows” who killed academics “Pansare, Dabholkar and Kalburgi”, the note asks, “The question is who will challenge this audacity. As citizens of India, will we tolerate this distortion of our Constitutional values?”
Based on this, the note says, following “India’s eminent cultural icons”, who have “set an example by returning their state-sponsored awards”, the NAPM, which is led by well-known social activist Medha Patkar, says, it is taking “this opportunity to carry forward the dialogue” for a day-long convention in “defence of India’s Constitution.”

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