Skip to main content

Top civil rights body plans India-wide tour to "restore, protect" the values of Constitution, democracy

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), one of India’s largest civil society networks, is all set to begin a nation-wide march, Samvidhan Samman Yatra, meant to protect the basic tenets of the country’s Constitution, starting on October 2 in Dandi, Gujarat, and ending on December 10 in Delhi.
To be undertaken in three phases, the first phase from October 2 to October 15, would cover Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Gadchiroli areas of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, while the second phase would be from October 20 to November 5, covering the rest of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The third phase, from November 11 December 10, would cover Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, North Eastern states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Kashamir is proposed to be covered between first and second phases, an NAPM note says.

Text of the NAPM note on the need for the Yatra:

People of any democracy are called upon to assert themselves once in a while. That assertion has to be more active than mere voting at elections. It has to ensure that the core values that we all cherish, those that the generations that fought for our freedom gave us through our Constitution are protected and nurtured to make the various pillars of democracy accountable to We The People.
Over the past 70 years, our democracy, based on our Constitution, has survived numerous elections as well as social, economic and political upheavals and has managed to sustain to this day, despite being beseeched with numerous challenges. However, the last four years of the political journey and churning in this country has in numerous and fundamental ways shaken the ethos and fabric, which many of us probably took for granted as secure.
In order to invisiblize its draconian, corporate-friendly, anti-people economic and political policy and to drown out popular awareness, questioning and resistance to the burning issues, the present Government and its ‘Parivar’ have used slogans, statements, diversion, obfuscation, brute force, troll armies, lynch-mobs etc. to misguide, dis-empower, attack, arrest, loot and even kill people, in particular Muslims and Dalits, repress farmers, workers, women, students and other sections, silence and jail (also shoot) academia, activists, writers, thinkers and anyone who dares question.
All this, even as multi-crore scams kept surfacing, multi-millionaires keep fleecing and fleeing the country under the nose of the Govt and thousands of crores of loans waived off for large corporates. Every day has thus been and become an undeclared Emergency! The blood and bruises of our people in Mandsaur, Toothukoodi and elsewhere are fresh in our minds! It is indeed a time of alarming fascist onslaught with lawlessness and impunity!
The agricultural distress is so overwhelming, the injustice against Dalits and Adivasis so gruesome, violence and mob-lynchings of Muslims so ubiquitous, the crackdown from primary education to universities and students so brazen, privatization of health, education, assault on reason and dissent and complete neglect and sell out of social sector, the persecution of women and transgender persons so atrocious, the big promises about jobs and black money so hollow, the supposedly big-bang attempts such as demonetisation and GST so upstartish and the attempts at destroying the pillars of democracy, our Constitution, our basic values and social fabric so systematic that, in spite of a pliant, sold out media and pressurised judiciary, the tide had to turn, and it has already started turning.
The Vibrant Gujarat Model has Utterly Failed. It is now increasingly becoming clear that neither bribe nor bullet nor bullet train can silence people for too long or prevent the harsh reality from expressing itself. The challenge before all sane and sensible people and groups of this country is to be able to cohesively forge a spirit of coming together, fight for alternatives in a concerted manner to the destructive, divisive and distorted regime ruling us, ruining us.
We have been witness to foul politics at play, bending democratic electoral processes and violation of constitutional norms in states of Uttarakhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Delhi and Goa; subversion and hijacking of judicial processes, misuse of the investigating agencies and systematically eroding the credibility and legitimacy of every autonomous institutions in the country, even as every institution, every space is sought to be communalized.
The once reliable public banking system is no more bankable, they have been looted of crores of rupees by white collar criminals who are now safely out of the country and are leading a life of luxury in foreign countries. The textbooks, syllabus and the plural history is being re-written to build a vicious Hindutva narrative and the seeds of lies, disbelief, disdain and enmity are being sowed.
The progressive and people-oriented laws, enacted after decades of struggles by people’s movements whether on land, forests, environment, labour, right to information, anti-corruption, etc. are being amended to facilitate corporate loot, plunder of community resources and promote crony capitalism. The government is becoming the biggest violator of the parliamentary and constitutional democracy today and usurping the power, space of local governance bodies as well as smaller parties.
We are standing at crossroads and passing through a critical juncture in India’s history and have a historical responsibility to save and salvage the ethos of this country, to fulfill the dreams of social, economic and political justice that Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar envisioned.
We all have an immediate responsibility to safeguard the constitutional values and principles of humanity, based on social justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, scientific and rational thinking in the social psyche to deal with all these political, economic, social, cultural challenges.
The need of the hour is to create understanding and tolerance in society, by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means. It is equally vital to aim for economic equity, social parity, environmental protection, sustainable development, the establishment of people’s rights over access to resources and annihilation of caste and patriarchy.
It is with this urgency and spirit that the NAPM has, after numerous discussions, planned a Samvidhan Samman Yatra – a nationwide tour to restore and protect the core values of our Constitution and democracy. The yatra shall commence on October 2, 2018 from Dandi, Gujarat, the place where Gandhi led his famous salt march in 1930. It will travel through various States in the country holding meetings, discussions, public events, supporting struggles, sharing the grief of victims of the violence and hate and spreading a message of plurality, love and peace and shall culminate in Jan Sansad in Delhi on 10th December 2018, the International Human Rights Day.
Representatives of peoples’ movements, prominent activists, thinkers, academics, cultural activists, students and others will participate. We invite other comrades, sathis, movements, institutions, organizations and forums to come along with us and endorse the yatra. Everybody who subscribes to the core values of the yatra is welcome to participate either for the full period of the yatra as well partially.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”