A blatant exposure of the communal nature of the Indian State
Fifteen years have passed since the state-organised genocide in Gujarat. In spite of the attempts of vested interests in India and abroad to brush it under the carpet, the failure to render justice to the victims remains a burning issue. The demand for truth and justice continue to be raised by the victims as well as all men and women of conscience.
The following have by now been established as indisputable facts:
- Armed mobs went around with petrol bombs and trishuls, looting and burning houses and shops belonging to Muslims, murdered men and young boys, raping women and young girls.
- Preparatory work for the communal genocide had begun at least two months earlier, involving the identification of names and addresses of Muslims in Ahmedabad and other cities based on voter lists, collection of petrol and other weapons for distribution, etc.
- On 28th February, 2002, 58 kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya were burned alive in a train at Godhra railway station. Without establishing how the train got burnt the local Muslims were blamed and the ruling BJP in Gujarat called for revenge.
- The then Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, proclaimed that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. The state government he headed organized for the bodies of the kar sevaks killed at Godhra to be paraded by road all the way to Ahmedabad.
- Within a few days, thousands were slaughtered, lakhs of people were turned to refugees and tens of thousands of children condemned to become orphans. The senior-most police officials and bureaucrats were under verbal instructions to allow the “opposite reaction” to take place and not protect the victims from the genocidal mobs.
- A few weeks later, the BJP won an absolute majority in the elections to the Gujarat Assembly, on an openly Hindu chauvinist platform.
These facts do not support the theory that people got killed because of some “intelligence failure”. The governments in Ahmedabad and in New Delhi could have prevented communal violence if they wanted. There were many battalions of the armed forces that were stationed close by at the Pakistan border. It is clear that those in command deliberately permitted the communal gangs to carry on for several days at a stretch. The state police acted as onlookers, on call to aid the attacking mobs but not to protect the victims.
The communal violence of Gujarat in 2002 could not have happened if those in power in that state and in India did not want it to happen. To talk of “intelligence failure” or to call it a communal riot, painting the picture of a spontaneous reaction of revenge, are pathetic attempts to cover up the basic fact that the rulers benefited from the genocide. Not only did BJP benefit in the form of capturing an absolute majority of seats in the state assembly, but the ruling class of big capitalists gained from the political diversion and division of the working class and people. Under the cover of diversionary and divisive communal politics, the big capitalists pushed the second generation of capitalist reforms involving more aggressive privatisation and more complete liberalisation of domestic and international trade.
For close to 20 years preceding the Gujarat genocide, India had been witnessing repeated incidents of large-scale communal violence with increasing frequency. The Nellie massacre of 1983 in Assam, the Sikh genocide in Delhi and other cities in 1984, and the massacre of Hindus and Muslims following the destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992 were some of the most horrendous. The Gujarat genocide has been succeeded by several more incidents of communal violence as in Bhagalpur, Aligarh and Muzzafarnagar.
Certain features are common to all these incidents. One is that political parties and their elected representatives have been involved in preparing conditions and in executing the violence. Official security forces failed to protect the victims, not out of accident but by design. The massacres were pre-meditated and were organized with professional ruthlessness. The official propaganda blamed the people for being communal while presenting the State and those in charge as being the saviours who will allegedly restore communal harmony.
During the past 15 years, the Congress and BJP have alternatively been in power at the centre. Each has promised to punish the other for its crimes. Commissions of Inquiry and Special Investigation Teams have delivered lengthy reports after years of work. However, till date only a few officials of lower rank and one expendable politician have been punished. The principal organisers of communal violence have been rewarded with high political positions.
There are many striking similarities between the genocide of November 1984 and the genocide of Gujarat in 2002. In each case, a mysterious event took place, which served as the excuse for unleashing the massacres. In the former case it was the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In the latter case it was the Godhra episode. It should also be noted that such mysterious events serving as the excuse for launching communal crusades and imperialist wars were happening on the global scale. The 21st century had opened with the 9/11 terrorist attack which became the excuse for US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The history of communal massacres since British colonial times and in post-colonial India shows that dividing people on communal lines, attacking one community at a time and setting them against each other is a preferred weapon of rule of the exploiting minority in power. The strategy of “divide and rule” was systematically developed by the British Raj. It has been inherited, preserved and further developed by the Indian ruling classes with the capitalist monopoly houses at the head.
One of the important lessons to be drawn from historical experience is that the source of communalism and communal violence does not lie in any section of the people and their religious beliefs. It lies in the communal and divisive nature of the State and the exploitative and anti-social nature of the class in power. The State includes the executive power controlled by one or another party or coalition, the legislative bodies, the judiciary and all the coercive organs of enforcing law and order. The big bourgeoisie controls the State and wields it to divide and rule over the toiling majority of people.
There is no scientific basis for classifying parties which are part of this communal State into “communal” and “secular” parties. The big bourgeoisie uses the mass media to promote this notion so as to line up the people behind one or the other of its principal parties.
History has provided ample evidence which proves that both BJP and Congress use communalism and communal violence to keep the people divided and enslaved to the existing system. One of them is openly communal while the other is deceptively communal, while both formally swear by Secularism. They are both parties of the capitalist class headed by the big monopolies. Colluding and contending with each other is part of their nature. The working class, peasants and other victims of communalism and communal violence have nothing to gain and everything to lose by taking sides in the rivalry between BJP and Congress Party.
The repeated occurrence of state sponsored communal violence and lack of punishment of the guilty explodes the myth that the Indian Constitution is based on a “secular foundation”. People are constantly told that our Constitution is against communalism while the problem lies with the fundamentalist beliefs of some people and some parties. In fact, the Constitution is based on the communal outlook of considering the Indian polity as being made up of a “Hindu majority” and numerous religious minorities. It sanctifies the existing political system in which those in power can wield armed force to organise communal violence and go unpunished.
The way forward is to build the revolutionary unity of all those who want to end the colonial legacy of divide and rule. Life experience has repeatedly shown that merely changing the ruling party through the existing electoral process does not lead to any real change. It has also shown that any party that seeks to capture power in its own hands through the existing electoral process becomes part of the divide and rule strategy of the big bourgeoisie.
Communist Ghadar Party works with the aim of leading the working class and all other oppressed to establish a new State and political process in which sovereignty will be vested in the people and not usurped by any party or coalition. With power in their hands, the working people can ensure that the economy is geared to fulfil their growing needs and not the rapacious greed of big capitalists. Such a State will ensure that those guilty of organising communal massacres and other horrendous crimes against our people are severely and promptly punished, so that nobody dares to violate anyoneCs rights. It is in the interests of all workers, peasants, women and youth to unite around this political aim and program for the Navnirman of India, so as to ensure prosperity and protection for all.