Skip to main content

'Targeting Modi' a repeat of Gujarat in early 21st century, narrative changed from 'Jihadi' to 'Urban Naxal': NSI

Counterview Desk
The New Socialist Initiative (NSI), which calls itself "collective committed to regeneration of revolutionary socialist politics" and is spread in several states, has said that the recent arrests of human rights defenders and public intellectuals is the “BJP's McCarthy moment”, reminding people that it is similar to the type of witch-hunt happened in the US regime in late 1940s and early 1950s against writers, scholars and activists “alleging Left leanings”. 
Saying that the arrests clearly suggest that Indian “democracy is under siege”, in a statement, it insists, “With ground slipping fast beneath its feet, BJP government resorting to draconian measures."

Text of the statement:

Strongly condemning the recent arrest of five activists -- New Socialist Initiative strongly condemns the arbitrary and malicious manner in which the Pune Police, at the behest of its saffron masters, raided the houses of leading human rights activists, lawyers, professors and poets in different cities simultaneously and arrested five of them -- Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao -- under concocted charges.
Demanding immediate release of all these persons unconditionally and withdrawal of fabricated charges filed against them under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) , it also said that appropriate action should be taken against the guilty policemen as well involved in this act.
Reports of these raids reveal that the police had no qualms in treating these persons - who are highly educated and have devoted larger part of their lives fighting for the marginalised and exploited upholding constitutional methods - as dreaded terrorists and also insulting their near and dear ones.
The case of Prof Satyanarayan, Head of the Department of Cultural Studies and Dean of inter-disciplinary studies at the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) - a highly respected academic and scholar in his field and author of many books - reveals, how his house was also raided just because he happens to be son in law of Varavara Rao, a well-known Telugu poet and activist. Police had the gall to question his wife why (despite being a Brahmin) she has opted for intercaste marriage (with a Dalit) and why does not she puts 'sindoor' on her forehead.
The fast changing developments reveal this ill-conceived move has completely backfired and has led to tremendous outrage and uproar all over the country, with marches and rallies organised in different cities and towns joined by hundreds of people. Declaring that the unfolding situation in the country as worse than emergency, with a 'republic of Hope' turning into 'republic of fear' people have underlined that the present government has resorted to this move basically to deflect attention of the wider populace over its all round failure in managing the economy or addressing the issue of growing ruptures in social fabric or reining in vigilante gangs who have made a mockery of rule of law.
It need to be noted that even the mainstream print media has also questioned the government for this ill thought move and charged that it is BJP's McCarthy moment reminding the people of the witch hunt by the US regime in late fourties and early fifties against writers, scholars and activists alleging left leanings.
The unprecedented intervention by the highest courts of the country in this issue has played a key role in putting the government on the defensive. The Supreme Court created history of sorts when it allowed a third party intervention in this case responding to a petition filed by leading intellectuals and constituting a three member bench an issue a notice to the Maharashtra Police. Terming that 'Dissent is safety valve of Democracy' it has reminded the government that democracy would not be safe if the government quells dissent. As of now the focus of the case has shifted to the Supreme Courts, which will deliberate on the issue next week.
It is crystal clear that the immediate trigger for this action on part of the Pune Police was the great expose by the Maharashtra ATS itself of a cache of arms, explosives and detonators from the houses of Hindutva zealots allegedly associated with the Sanatan Sanstha and related Hindutva groups, arrest of five activists and unearthing of a plot to further exacerbate communal tension by putting bombs at crowded places and festivals.
In fact, these revelations had put added pressure on the government at the state level as well as the centre to ban the Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliated organisation Hindu Janjagruti Samiti. which openly talk of 'Destruction of Evildoers as Spiritual Practice'. It should not be forgotten here that these outfits have been under the scanner of the investigating agencies for more than a decade, for their promotion of violent activities and even involvement of their associates in terror acts and earlier governments in the state had similarly sent its recommendations to the centre to ban these outfits.
It is important to emphasise that this expose was possible because of investigations into the assassination of Gauri Lankesh (Sepember 2017) undertaken by Karnataka police which had revealed how people associated with these organisations were not only responsible for this particular killing but earlier assassinations of rationalists, scholars and left activists – namely Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Comrade Govind Pansare and Prof Kalburgi – which had rocked the nation The Maharashtra ATS is reported to be in possession of a hit list prepared by these terrorists of many scholars, activists, social workers who have always remained critical of the idea of Hindutva world view and have consistently opposed its proponents.
The powers that be had also presumed that nationwide arrests - followed by a pliant media - would also help cover up their blatant failures on the economic front. In fact it is for everyone to see that the way in which the BJP dispensation led by Modi has bungled the economy has also become more and more apparent.
Close on the heels of the controversy around Rafael deal which is being called a 'Defence Scandal Larger than any thus far" and where "gross misuse of office and monumental criminal misconduct" is evident has come the report released by Reserve Bank of India itself which has revealed that 99.3 per cent of the demonetised currency has returned to the bank which has vindicated what ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said on the floor of the house that the whole demonetisation exercise was 'organised loot and legalised plunder".
Barring few cheerleaders of the present dispensation there is general consensus that within a span of one year the Modi government has delivered ‘twin blow’ to the economy firstly through demonetisation and secondly through the ill-conceived Goods and Services Tax (GST), which have proved to be a complete disaster for our economy and broke the back of small businesses.
Whatever might have been the claims of the present dispensation before assuming power, they have proved a disaster on the employment front also. While two crore jobs were promised to the youth, not even 2 lakh new jobs have been created till date.
As the unfolding developments demonstrate the government’s calculations in this case have gone awry. It had felt that with these arrests of leading human rights activists, renowned intellectuals it would be able to deflect people's attention from its cosy approach towards these Hindutva terrorists and their deadly machinations. And as already discussed the government is finding itself on the backfoot on this issue.
Equally troubling for the government has been the arrest of a person associated with Shiv Pratishthan, an organisation floated by Sambhaji Bhide, a fanatic Hindutva leader, in the arms haul case. It is the same organisation which is allged to be involved in the Bhima Koregaon violence against Dalits when they in their lakhs had taken out a massive procession to the Vijay Stambh situated at Koregaon near Pune to commemorate 'victory of Dalits' against the Peshwas two hundred years ago.
A FIR filed immediately about the violence had directly blamed Sambhaji Bhide and another Hindutva zealot Milind Ekbote for this orchestrated violence. Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, who was a key speaker at the 'Elgaar Parishad' event held a day earlier in Pune to 'celebrate this Dalit victory' had also lodged a similar complaint against these zealots and asked the police to take up the cases under SC-ST Atrocity Prevention Act (1989). While the Maharashtra police has not even deemed it necessary to even interrogate Sambhaji Bhide – with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis giving him clean chit on the floor of the house – it seems to be hyper active in following a fabricated case by a Hindutva activist against these left leaning scholars, activists.
We should not forget that these raids and arrests are in continuation of arrests of Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Advocate Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson in June on allegations of 'instigating the Bhima-Koregaon violence' which was witnessed a day after the Elgaar Parishad and also being part of a 'Rajiv Gandhi type assassination plot' targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Time and again two retired judges of the Supreme Courts, Judge P B Sawant and Justice Kolse Patil, have underlined that they were the organisers of this Elgaar Parishad and the persons arrested earlier or in this round had no role to play in its organising the government wants to 'prove' that these persons were involved in it.
The cavalier manner in which the government itself is investigating the alleged assassination plot is visible not only in the questions raised by the Delhi HC about the irregularities and lapses on part of Maharashtra Police when it was hearing the Habeas Corpus petition against the transit remand ordered by the CJM Saket Court in the context of Gautam Navlakha’s arrest but also the time gap of around three months in the two round of arrests.
The story of this plot -- supposedly targeting Modi -- reminds one of the Gujarat of the first decade of the 21st century, when similar plots were talk of the town, when Modi happened to be chief minister of the state. It witnessed deaths of many a innocents in fake encounters on the specious claim that the particular 'jihadi' had come to assassinate Mr Modi. It is now history how many a police officers spent years in jail for their alleged role in these fake encounters. Today, the word 'Jihadi' has been replaced by 'Urban Naxal' – a new narrative which the government wants to build against its critics and dissenting voices.
The New Socialist Initiative is of the opinion that draconian laws like UAPA – which have been used in arresting these activists and which have earlier been used against thousands of activists and innocent persons - should not have any place in democracy.
The New Socialist Initiative has appealed to the people at large – citizens, residents of this country who still believe in democracy, secularism, equity, pluralism – to remain vigilant about the machinations of the powers that be at the centre, as survey after survey indicate that the BJP under Modi is fast losing its popularity, and it is possible that to remain in power in next elections it may resort to divisive agendas to polarise people.

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

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.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.