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Political protest by desperate youth: Left groups on yellow scare in Parliament

By Our Representative 

Amidst what has been described as “stunning smokescreen” on the 22nd anniversary of the December 13, 2001 terror attack on Parliament, few know who the six persons who created scare inside and outside the House were. While two of them were allowed inside the House by Mysore BJP MP Pratap Simha, a known Hindutva hardliner, ironically, left-wing organisations have revealed some details of their identity.
As reported widely, the two allowed in the House by the BJP MP were D Manoranjan, an engineering graduate who used to help his father with his family farm, and Sagar Sharma, a young man from Lucknow. It has also been reported that Sagar Sharma jumped from the visitors’ gallery opened a yellow smoke canister leaping across tables before being overpowered and handed over to the police by parliamentarians, while Manoranjan kept sitting in the visitor’s gallery, opening another smoke canister spraying yellow gas in the visitors’ gallery.
A few minutes earlier, two other young persons, Neelam Devi from Hisar, Haryana and Amol Shinde from Latur, Maharashtra, reportedly burst red and yellow smoke canisters outside the building and raised slogans against unemployment and atrocities on women, hailing the motherland and denouncing dictatorship. Two more persons named in the smoke canister episode are Lalit Jha, at whose Gurgaon home the group stayed before undertaking the operation, and Vishal Sharma, also from Gurgaon.
A Left-wing civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), which represents several trade union, students’ union and voluntary organisations operating across India*, while commenting on the police slapping the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on those involved, said, Sagar Sharma is an e-rickshaw driver and son of a carpenter. Amol Shinde comes from a family of Dalit landless peasants “unable to get a job in the Indian armed forces.”
As for Neelam Verma and Manoranjan D, they are MPhil and engineering degree holders respectively, said CASR, pointing out both are “both unemployed”, adding, “Neelam even cleared the Haryana Teacher Eligibility Test but still not landing a job.” As for Vishal Sharma, he provided shelter to the four individuals, while Lalit Ojha, a sixth accused, is also an “unemployed youth”.
CASR qualified their protest as “political” against the Indian state, stating, it represents the “angst of the working class, the peasantry, the academics and the middle class, all of whom are bearing the brunt of the BJP’s Hindutva-corporate nexus politics.”
Objecting to the Indian state treating the incident as a “terror attack” and charging those involved under the anti-terror law, it said, “It is an alarming attempt by the Indian state to shift the discourse away from the political anger and protest of the people against the affairs of Parliament, the representation of Narendra Modi’s so-called New India.”
Referring to Delhi court proceeding against those involved, it said, “The Patiala House courts has gone ahead and suggested the role of ‘terrorist organizations’ and ‘other countries,’ ignoring the fact the protestors distributed pamphlets showing Prime Minister Modi as a missing person with his reward to be paid by the Swiss bank, a satire on the ruling class and the absence of the Prime Minister.”
This happened, it said, when the “educators are finding no permanent jobs and the ad hoc staff continuously lose their employment, where caste atrocities are rampantly rising with daily incidents of Dalit students being attacked and forced to clean toilets becoming part of the news cycle, where employment, food, water and shelter for the labouring people are constantly shrinking.”
The other comment is by Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary of a small political party, CPI(ML) Liberation. He said, “On the face of it, the smoke canister episode seems designed to invoke memories of the historic Central Assembly bombing by Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt on 8 April 1929. Just as Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt wanted to draw the people's attention to the injustices of British rule, Neelam, Manoranjan and their companions ostensibly tried to protest against raging unemployment in today's India.”
Wondering “why would protesters choose the anniversary of a terrorist attack on Parliament to make their point”, Bhattacharya said, while the smoke scare has “exposed” the major breach in Parliament security” and there is “a lot of talk about the tight security system of the new Parliament building, “The entry of smoke canisters into the building inevitably raises serious questions. It is a matter of great relief that Sagar and Manoranjan who breached the security had no intention of causing any harm and carried only coloured smoke to make their point.”
He commented, “It is not difficult to imagine what the media reaction would have been like had the visitor's passes been obtained using a recommendation from some opposition MP or if the group of six included any Muslim name. Surely, the media would have lost no time discovering some major terrorist conspiracy, maybe even some act of 'jihad' attributed to Hamas. Even now we see an orchestrated media campaign and BJP IT cell propaganda to use the smoke canister episode to discredit the farmers' movement.”
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*CASR constituents: AIRSO, AISA, AISF, APCR, BASF, BSM, Bhim Army, bsCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, DISSC, DSU, DTF, Forum Against Repression Telengana, Fraternity, IAPL, Innocence Network, Karnataka Jan Shakti, Progressive Lawyers Association, Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghthan, Mazdoor Patrika, Morcha Patrika, NAPM, Nishant Natya Manch, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajvadi Jan Parishad, Samajvadi Lok Manch, Bahujan Samajvadi Manch, SFI, United Agianst Hate, United Peace Alliance, WSS, Y4S

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