The source of communal violence and terror is the ruling class and its political system
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar expresses its deep sorrow and outrage at the cold-blooded murder of a young man, Mohsin Shaikh, on the streets of Pune on June 2. Mohsin Shaikh was targeted entirely because of his Muslim faith. The beating to death of this young man in broad daylight, as he walked home after offering prayers at the local masjid, was a barbaric crime which must be condemned in the strongest terms. MEL conveys its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
The media has repeatedly linked this murder to some provocative and incendiary posts on the internet, even though Mohsin Shaikh had absolutely no connection with these. What is more, a leading politician from the area pronounced that it was ‘natural’ that there would be a ‘response’ to such provocation, thereby very clearly giving justification for the murder. This comment is of the same devilish nature as the famous justification of Rajiv Gandhi 30 years ago, when he declared after the massacre of Sikhs following Indira Gandhi’s assassination: ‘when a big tree falls, the earth shakes’. The aim of such comments is to lay the blame for crimes of communal terror squarely on the masses of people and their ‘emotions’, in particular their allegedly deep-seated feelings of communal hatred. The truth is exactly the opposite. The source of communal terror and violence, the source of criminal gangs such as the one that bludgeoned Mohsin Shaikh to death, is the ruling class, which systematically promotes and uses communal violence for political ends.
Attempts are also being made to link this murder to the circumstances of the electoral victory of Modi, by saying that ‘right-wing Hindu fanatics’ are rearing their head in a spirit of ‘triumphalism’. This too is misleading and ill-intentioned propaganda. It hides that crimes of communal terror are not something that have just started to happen, but are a regular occurrence in India. They have occurred repeatedly in the past, and will occur again because keeping people terrorized, paralysed and divided is part and parcel of Indian bourgeois ‘democracy’. The murderous gangs, the incendiary speeches, the spreading of mischievous rumours – these are all part of the arsenal of the ruling class and its political parties, whether it is the ‘right-wing’ ‘Hindutva’ type or the ‘secular’ type. In this political system, those criminals who make their living by arousing hate against people of different communities, and who specialize in organizing large-scale murders are not only not punished, but they are rewarded and become leaders and head of governments.
The truth is that there is nothing in the laws and Constitution and system of government that prevent this. This shows that communal violence and terror are not some ‘aberrations’ but are built into the very nature of the Indian State. This is the state of an exploitative ruling class. Its hold over political power is based on keeping the people suppressed. Dividing the people, disorienting them and keeping them politically paralysed using all means available, including communal violence and terror, is part of the arsenal of this class.
Since the murder of Mohsin Shaikh, the local police has made a point of daily arresting more and more local youths who they claim belong to the Hindu Rashtra Sena. Experience tells us that such measures will not do anything to stop such crimes, because the real source of communal violence will not be touched. Those in positions of responsibility who use criminal gangs and spread communal poison will remain free to carry on their dirty work, at other times and other places.
The whole experience of the Indian people over the last so many decades tells us that the people cannot place their faith in the State and its agencies to prevent such crimes from occurring in the future and to deliver justice to the victims. The only way forward is for the people to unite irrespective of religion, caste or community and to denounce all such crimes and to demand that those responsible, especially those at the highest levels, be given exemplary punishment. There should be widespread public discussion and investigation into the real nature and source of communal and other forms of terrorist violence in this country. The struggle to replace the rule of the exploiters with the power of the working class and people must be taken forward.