Justice thunders condemnation, a better world’s in birth!
The Communist Ghadar Party of India hails the powerful 3-week long mass campaign launched by a wide cross section of justice-loving people and their organisations to punish those guilty of the genocide of Sikhs in November 1984. The Jan Sunvaai, or people’s hearing, conducted on 10th November in Delhi, resolved to continue and escalate the struggle to punish the guilty of the 1984 carnage. The people resolved to insist and fight for the reopening of all cases against the leading organisers of that crime against our people. Expressing their determination to unite all sections of the people in the struggle for justice, the people’s court decided to make the 20th anniversary of the destruction of Babri Masjid on 6th December, 1992, an occasion for another powerful expression of people’s unity to ensure that the guilty are punished.
The 3-week long campaign organised by Lok Raj Sangathan, Sikh Forum, Better Sikh Schools, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Sikhi Sidak and Socialist Yuvajan Sabha, was symbolically kicked off at the historic Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, where hundreds of women, men and children were massacred by the British colonialists on 19th April, 1919. As the caravan moved through Punjab to reach Delhi, the mass support swelled. The visual exhibition of the gruesome and inhuman carnage of November 1984 became a powerful medium of educating the youth about what their parents’ generation had gone through.
The multi-religious and multi-lingual character of the mass gathering at Jantar Mantar on 3rd November bore testimony to the fact that people are united across national and religious barriers in their resolve to punish the guilty. An attack on one is an attack on all is being understood by more and more people. The campaign succeeded in collecting over 40,000 signatures in support of a petition addressed to the Prime Minister of India, which was submitted to his office on 3rd November. (Petition is reproduced on page 6)
The entire campaign, as it gained in strength from one day to the next, was met with all kinds of pressures from the authorities, from denial of police permission to slanderous propaganda that those who demand justice are supporters of fundamentalism and terrorism. For 28 years the people fighting for truth and justice have faced harassment and persecution. The victims of communal massacres have been asked by various government leaders to “forgive and forget”. The powerful campaign of October-November 2012 has brought home to all, in a resounding manner, that people will neither forget nor forgive those who committed monstrous crimes. On the contrary, the people have expressed their resolve not to rest until the guilty are punished.
Several important lessons that emerge from the experience of the struggle to punish the guilty were reiterated and found varied forms of expression during this campaign.
The first lesson is that calling it an anti-Sikh riot means to distort the truth and turn it upside down. It was a well-planned large-scale massacre organised by leaders of a political party in power, using the law and order machinery as an instrument to attack and kill people, instead of protecting them. The people did not respond with hatred, but in fact tried their best to save their neighbours and friends, as shown by numerous acts of heroism and solidarity that have gone unreported and undocumented in official records.
Second, the existing political system based on the 1950 Constitution does not provide any means for the victims of communal and sectarian violence, and those who uphold basic human rights, to seek justice including the highest level of punishment of the guilty. People are left powerless in this democracy, which gives unlimited freedom to a minority class of exploiters to commit any kind of crime to keep the people divided and diverted from their common enemies.
Third, both the Congress Party and BJP, taken separately and together, are guilty of playing the leading role in criminalizing the polity and dividing the people on a communal basis. Both when they are engaged in bitter conflicts with one another, and when they collude to protect their common interests, it is the people who are made to suffer.
Fourth, the oft repeated mantra that the Indian Republic is secular is an outright lie. The institutions of this state, and the theory underlying it, are part of the colonial legacy of preaching communal harmony and presenting the State as the arbiter, while the State actually permits and even actively assists the unleashing of communal violence and incitement of hatred among the people.
Many of these lessons were discussed at an important seminar on 4th November, focused on the question of the legal battle against communal violence. Prominent judicial, legal and political personalities participated in the discussion on how the guilty can and must be punished, and how to fix command responsibility. Spokesperson of the Communist Ghadar Party, Comrade Prakash Rao, participating as a panelist, powerfully brought home the truth that the lasting solution to the problem requires laying new foundations, a new Constitution based on the principle that sovereignty vests in the people. He emphasized that the struggle to punish the guilty is a component part of the struggle for the Navnirman of India (Speech of Prakash Rao on 4th November is reproduced on page the front page of this issue; for detailed report of the seminar see www.lokraj.org.in).
The Communist Ghadar Party of India calls on all civilised political, economic and social organisations of the people to join hands in the ongoing struggle to see that justice is done. Justice requires convicting and meting out appropriate punishment to the guilty of crimes against humanity – such as in 1984, in 1992-93, 2002 and at various other times, including Assam in 2012. This is a component part of the struggle to smash the colonial legacy once and for all and lay new foundations for building of a humane and civilised socialist society, without exploitation or oppression of any kind.