A meeting was organized by Lok Raj Sangathan in Delhi on February 2, 2020, on the subject: ‘The nationwide protests against the NRC/CAA/NPR – lessons learnt and the path ahead’.
The meeting was attended by activists of Lok Raj Sangathan as well as several organisations with whom LRS has been actively working, in our common struggle to defend the rights of people from the attacks of the state. Professors and teachers, lawyers and advocates, youth and women participated in the meeting.
The meeting was chaired by Birju Nayak of Lok Raj Sangathan.
Sucharita of Lok Raj Sangathan made an initial presentation on the subject, which was followed by though-provoking interventions from the participants and extensive discussion.
The presentation referred to the widespread protests all over the country, against the NRC/CAA/NPR, involving people of all religious faiths, in which women as well as youth are playing a leading role. It highlighted the vicious response of the state which shows that the political power – represented by the central government – is completely antagonistic to the people. The government is practicing blatantly divisive politics, communal and hate propaganda, attacking Muslims and abetting hate crimes. Brute force is being unleashed by the state to crush the struggle, to provoke anarchy and then blame the people, in order to discredit the struggle. There is not even an attempt at any kind of reconciliation.
In May 2019, just about 7 months ago, BJP government led by Modi was voted to power with an unprecedented majority. It claimed to have people’s mandate. It came with the slogan of ‘Sab ka saath’. Now this has turned into its opposite.
The present agitation is revealing the deep pent up anger of people at the criminal attempts of the state to divide us, at all our long standing demands and aspirations being violated and at the attempt of the authority to suppress and criminalise dissent.
The presentation raised the question – what happened to the mandate? What are the problems with the political system and process in our country, which permit such criminal politics to get elected to power and carry out such crimes against the people with impunity?
It pointed out that the “free and fair” elections conducted every five years are a big fraud played on us. Capitalist monopolies brazenly finance the election campaign of their favorite parties and carry out every kind of manipulation to ensure that one of them which can best serve their interests comes to power. Once in power, such parties faithfully implement the agenda of the capitalist class. The entire electoral process works in favour of the political parties backed by the monopoly capitalist houses and against those candidates who voice the interests of the people. In reality, elections are a means for the ruling monopoly capitalist class to settle the inter monopoly capitalist contradictions and to determine who will enrich themselves by fooling the people and looting them, for the next 5 years.
Through several examples, the presentation highlighted the fact that decision making power is concentrated in the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is not accountable to the legislature, which in turn is not accountable to the electorate. Sovereignty, i.e. decision making power, is not vested in the people.
The role of people is limited to casting their vote. All other powers are surrendered to the elected representative. People have no mechanism to select their candidates before election, to hold the elected representatives to account or to recall them. People have no mechanism to initiate legislation. Only Parliament has the right to make new laws, repeal existing laws and amend the constitution.
This is the reason why no matter what the outcome of the elections is, the interests of the biggest monopoly capitalist houses prevail, while the demands of the people fall on deaf ears.
The presentation concluded with a call to all participants to defeat those who are trying to smash our unity through their communal and divisive politics. It called on all to strengthen our unity and advance our struggles, with the vision of building a new, truly democratic political system and process, in which decision making power will be in the hands of the people.
Advocate Mohd. Aslam pointed out many faults with the criminal justice system and the electoral system. He pointed out that just as an old building needs to be renovated with time, the need today is for the new generation to take up the problems in the existing Constitution for solution, according to needs and aspirations of our people at the present time.
Others who intervened in the discussion included women leaders of Jamaat Islami e Hind, women activists of Purogami Mahila Sangathan, professors of Delhi University and IIT, students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University, working youth and various professionals.