Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC), Lok Raj Sangathan, Communist Ghadar Party, CPIML (Liberation), and Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) organized a meeting on 22 Sep in Mumbai to oppose the proposed black law, Maharashtra Protection of internal Security Act (MPISA) and other repressive measures of the Maharashtra government. The meeting was chaired by Justice Suresh, Honorary Chairperson of Lok Raj Sangathan and attended by a number representatives of various workers’ organizations and activists.
Though the draft of MPISA has been withdrawn for the time being due to the strong opposition of people and activists to its various draconian clauses, the BJP-led Maharashtra government has not given up its attempt to impose yet this anti-people law. There are also attempts to put restrictions on use of social media for expressing any anti-government views. It was therefore felt necessary to not only spread information about all the draconian clauses in the proposed bill and other repressive steps but to continue to unitedly oppose all steps to silence the voice of the working class.
The representative of the LRS pointed out that the media has highlighted the opposition to only a few clauses and therefore the government is likely to dilute only those clauses but retain all other clauses which will make Maharashtra virtually a ‘police state’. He drew attention to all other highly objectionable clauses and exhorted all to oppose the bill in the present or any modified form. He reminded all present about already existing MCOCA since 1999, which was claimed to have been enacted to control organized crime but has often been used against those fighting for their rights and justice.
The representative of SUCI (C) asked why the government is bringing another bill when so many laws already exist to deal with any threat to security. The draft of this bill was already being prepared under the previous Congress-led government. The goal of the bill is to suppress all democratic forces who are opposing imperialism and the domination of monopoly and finance capital. The bourgeois parties like BJP and Congress work only for the capitalist class. We have to unitedly oppose this anti-people bill and simultaneously work to build an alternative to the present system.
Justice Suresh said he opposes not just this proposed law but all the existing security laws as they all have been used against people. All these security laws are used as detention laws to put innocents behind bar. He pointed out that TADA was enacted in 1985 to deal with so called Khalistanis. Out of 77,000 people arrested under TADA, only 1.8 percent were convicted. He said we have to carry out a campaign all over the country and say that we do not want any security laws.
The representative of CGPI wholeheartedly supported the suggestion of Justice Suresh. It was pointed out that black laws have been made by both the Congress and BJP. The first and worst black law, AFSPA has been in force since 1958 despite persistent demand for its withdrawal. These black laws are only meant to suppress the opposition of people to the rule of 2 lakh big capitalists led by 150 monopoly houses in our country. While opposing all the black laws, we have to work to build the unity of workers and peasants to build a society free of oppression of man by man. We have to also guard against all attempts of the ruling class to break our unity and create diversions. We must not allow them to plunge the country into a war to get out of the crisis they are facing.
The representative of CPI ML (Liberation) drew attention to various struggles of people, particularly against caste oppression, for justice and equality and emphasised the need to continue our united opposition to all forms of oppression.
The KEC representative said this government is taking away all avenues of protest of workers one by one. First they prohibited workers’ meeting in maidans by declaring them ‘silent zones’. Now they want to prohibit even hall meetings by insisting on video recording under this new law. They are also planning to restrict the use of Whatsapp to mobilize and express views. The authorities of Western Railway have warned the workers that they cannot talk against the government on Whatsapp as they are public servants. The state wants to stop use of any media and ways for expressing dissent. These attacks can be repulsed only by our united action.
Various activists, union leaders and members of the CGPI, CPI, SUCI, LRS, KEC, Jagrut Kamgar Manch, Bhartatiya Lok Kranti Andolan, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, and others supported the demand to spread the awareness about the anti-people MPISA and build a united opposition of all those in support of democratic and human rights.
A member of CPI said that already a similar law is in place in Gujarat and the police will not give you permission to hold a meeting unless you give in writing that you will not speak against the government! He said we should identify the real enemies of the people, the big bourgeoisie, and unite the people against them.
The representative of Jagrut Kamgar Manch said that this was a very good initiative and it was necessary to launch an awareness campaign among the ordinary people regarding the Governments attempts to suppress the people. She said that a joint leaflet could be drafted and distributed both jointly as well as individually by the different organisations.
The leader of the All India Guards’ Council pointed out that the British Government used to call all those fighting against them as anti-nationals. Similarly today the Government is calling all those who oppose it as anti-nationals. We all know what happened to the British. Similarly we need to unite against all the anti-people policies of the present day government. The political parties that rule are puppets of the very big capitalists, the Tatas and Birlas, etc. who are very few in number. We need to get the representatives of different working class organisations on the same platform to start a nation-wide campaign.
The meeting ended with the unanimous adoption of the resolution: “This meeting of the representatives of the undersigned organizations, union leaders, workers and human rights activists, under the chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Hosbet Suresh, held in Mumbai on 22 Sep 2016 strongly condemns the efforts of the present Maharashtra government to bring about another draconian law in the name of MPISA. This meeting unanimously decides to oppose the MPISA in the present and or in any modified form and exhorts all democratic forces to come together to defeat all attacks on the rights of people.”