Lakhs of youth and their families held a mammoth rally in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on August 25, demanding access to higher education and government jobs. Far from addressing the legitimate demands of the people, the government of Gujarat carried out a series of provocations to deliberately inflame the situation. This included arresting the leaders of the protest, turning off the lights in the rally ground, and lathi charging and firing upon protestors. The police went on a rampage breaking into the homes of people, beating up men, women and children indiscriminately. In this reign of terror unleashed by the state, at least 8 people are reported to have lost their lives and hundreds injured. The Central Government has placed Ahmedabad and other cities of the state of Gujarat under the rule of the Army and paramilitary forces, allegedly to maintain “law and order”. Once more a political problem has been turned into a “law and order problem”.
Political and social problems cannot be resolved through repression. Experience shows that whenever any section of the people takes to the streets to raise their concerns, various parties of the ruling class deliberately portray these concerns in a distorted manner. They inflame passions and set one section of the people against other, while the full might of Indian State is deployed to “restore law and order”.
The source of the problems of all sections of the people lies in the fact that people are completely marginalised in the present political process. They do not have any other role other than giving their vote to this or that party. Political parties come to power in the name of the people. But they work in the interests of big business houses and monopolies and not in the interests of people. They do not pay any heed to the just demands of the people such as livelihood, drinking water, availability of essential commodities at reasonable prices, transport and health facilities, education, etc. The ruling parties deliberately divide the people on the basis of religion, caste and region, in order to perpetuate their rule.
The people of Gujarat must refuse to fall into the trap of this or that party of the rulers. They must defeat the divide and rule tactic of the ruling class by uniting as one in defence of the rights of all. In the present case, it is by upholding the banner "education for all, jobs for all" , and condemning state repression against any section of the people that they will be able to defeat the divisive agenda of the ruling class.
All sections of the people of India are waging a just struggle in defence of their rights, against the attacks of the ruling class and its state. Together, we must wage the struggle with the perspective of people taking power in their own hands..