Violence against Dalits in Pune: The state is responsible for continued caste oppression and fomenting of caste conflicts

Statement of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 10th January, 2018

On 3rd January, lakhs of people participated in a state wide bandh called by various Dalit organisations in Maharashtra. The bandh had been called to protest against the brutal attacks on Dalits gathered at a memorial in Bheema Koregaon in Pune District on 1st January, 2018.

The Communist Ghadar Party of India condemns the brutal attacks on the Dalits. Turning truth on its head, many sections of the monopoly controlled media are blaming the victims for the violence. According to their narrative, those who are raising their voices against continuing caste oppression of dalits are enemies of national unity, while those who attacked the dalits are patriots! The state has banned meetings and rallies of student youth raising their voices against the violence unleashed against dalits accusing them of fomenting caste conflicts!

All evidence indicates that the attacks on the dalit rally in Bhima Koregaon were preplanned. It is reported that at least two weeks before the 1st January 2018 event, various organizations closely connected with the BJP and proclaiming themselves as “champions of Hinduism” or “Indian patriots” carried out incendiary propaganda openly. They spread venom against dalits and incited people of other castes against the dalits. The Maharashtra Government made no attempt to stop this hate campaign. It did nothing to prevent the violence unleashed against the dalit gathering on January 1.

The dalit gathering on January 1 in Bhima Koregaon is an annual event. There is a plaque erected by the colonialists in Bhima Koregaon to mark the victory of the forces of the East India Company over the Peshwas in 1818. It lists the name of those who died in the battle on behalf of the East India Company and includes many dalits.

There can be different views on whether marking the anniversary of a battle in which dalits fought in the ranks of the East India Company 200 years ago serves the cause of the emancipation of dalits from continued caste oppression. Within the movement in Maharashtra this has been a topic of debate for many years, ever since Dr. B.R. Ambedkar visited the site and hailed the battle of Bhima Koregaon as a victory of dalits against caste oppression. Opinions can differ but there can be no justification for the unleashing of state organized terror against dalits who gathered there to commemorate that event.

The continued oppression of dalits in India in a Republic based on a Constitution that claims to be opposed to caste discrimination and oppression is a harsh reality. The vast majority of dalits belong to the working class. In addition to class exploitation, they face caste oppression. Amongst workers performing the most menial work, such as skinning carcasses of dead animals and sewage disposal, the majority are dalits. Incidents of killings of dalits, torching of dalit bastis, rape of dalit women, honour killing of dalit youth for marrying those of the so called “upper castes”, attack on processions of dalits, attack on dalits celebrating their festivals, etc., are quite common.

The Indian state makes out that it is opposed to the oppression and discrimination of dalits, and is committed to end all caste distinctions. It blames the “backwardness” of people of other castes for the continuing problem. This is a lie. This is aimed at wrecking the unity of the toiling masses and enlightened people against caste oppression and class exploitation.

The Indian state is the instrument of the rule of the bourgeoisie headed by about 150 capitalist monopolies over the vast majority of people. It has deliberately preserved and defended the hated caste system including the oppression of dalits in order to prevent the working class and peasantry from challenging its exploitative and oppressive rule.

Far from taking measures to end caste oppression and discrimination, the State has institutionalized aggravating of caste divisions as a method of rule. Towards this end, a system of elite accommodation has been set in place. The Indian state has given itself the power to distribute privileges in the form of jobs in the state administration and seats in government educational institutions to different caste groups in the name of “uplifting backward classes”. This power is used to set the toiling masses against each other on the basis of caste affiliation. The political parties of the ruling class organize on the basis of caste and religion. They work systematically to inflame passions and reinforce these identities on a daily basis.

Dividing the polity on the basis of religion and caste and deliberately exacerbating such divisions was the foundation of the rule of the colonialists. The colonialists concocted the thesis that India consisted of warring groups divided on religion and caste, which needed a power standing over them to preserve unity. This self-serving thesis was the justification for the plunder of India and the exploitation and oppression of our people. The colonialists deliberately overturned all the gains of the Bhakti movement, a movement against the hated caste order and institutionalized all that was hated by the Indian people in order to preserve their rule. The Indian bourgeoisie rules over the workers and peasants of India on the same basis.

The capitalist monopolies heading the Indian state are on a dangerous course to achieve their goal of sitting on the high table with the biggest imperialist powers of the world. They are pursuing a course which is having disastrous consequences for the vast masses of our people. In order to prevent the people of our country from uniting against this anti-national and anti-social course, they are exacerbating divisions on the basis of caste and religion. They are wrecking the unity and solidarity of our people.

The struggle that is raging in India is not a struggle between different castes. It is a struggle between the exploiters headed by the big bourgeoisie on one side, and the exploited and oppressed headed by the working class on the other. The working people of other castes are not responsible for the oppression faced by dalits. It is the capitalist system and the state that defends this system which is responsible for caste oppression.

To end caste discrimination and oppression, the toiling people cannot look towards the Congress, BJP or some other party of the ruling class. The toiling and oppressed people must be organized in the struggle to overthrow the capitalist system and the state that defends this system. The aim of the struggle must be to establish a new State of the workers and peasants based on a new constitution that will guarantee human rights to all, and severely punish anyone guilty of persecuting or discriminating people on the basis of their caste.

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dalit    Jan 16-31 2018    Statements    Rights     2018   

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