Mumbai, October 18 (Pervez Bari): The two day National Convention on Alliance for Justice and Peace, (AJP), held by activists from throughout India concluded on Monday with a call and firm resolve to build a broad alliance to save the Indian Constitution and the nation from the clutches of Brahminical fascist forces.
The concluding session discussed various issues pertaining to building of broad alliance among depressed classes such as Adivasis, Scheduled casts, religious minorities and all secular and democratic forces. At the end of the convention a resolution was adopted christened as “Mumbai Declaration” which will act as a conceptual foundation as well as implementation frame for future initiatives. About 150 delegates drawn from different political and social groups from different states agreed upon a Common Minimum Program, (CMP), with long time and short time actions.
The “Mumbai Declaration” said that this National Convention of the Alliance for Justice and Peace declares the launching of a joint platform called “Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao” (Save the Constitution, Save the Nation). This Platform will strive for justice for all deprived classes in India since it is a prerequisite for the prevalence of peace. This Platform will move forward according to a Common Minimum Programme, (CMP), with long and short term plans to accomplish the mission across India.
The convention was monitored by presidium consisting of Justice P. B. Sawant, former Judge, Supreme Court; Maulana Khaleel-ur-Rahman Sajjad Naumani, Chief Editor, Al-Furqan monthly & Spokesman of AIMPLB; Justice Kolse Patil, former Judge, Mumbai High Court; along with Teesta Setalvad, Journalist & Human Rights Activist & Educationist and Waman Meshram, president, Bharat Mukti Morcha.
The session was moderated by E.M. Abdul Rahiman and Gopal Menon. Speakers of the session included veteran journalist V.T. Rajashekhar, Dalit leader Waman Meshram, social activists Dr. Taslim Rahmani, Teesta Setalvad, Elyas Muhammad Thumbe etc. Amjad Shaikh, the convenor of the convention, proposed a vote of thanks.
Some other resolutions which highlighted the issues like controlling price hike, agrarian crisis, repeal of draconian laws like UAPA, AFSPA, disbanding NIA, bringing all intelligence and investigation agencies under parliamentary scrutiny, safeguarding women, etc. were also adopted. A core committee was also formed to hold key responsibilities.
Later, while addressing a Press Conference after the conclusion of National Convention of AJP Justice P. B. Sawant, who has been nominated as the president of APJ, told a questioner that APJ for the present and for the purposes of this national convention has identified anti-Constitution and pro-Constitution forces. Those who are openly against the Constitution and want to change it are the enemy and are anti-Constitution forces. The ruling class and the ruling party along with their alliance partners who are supporting them in the programme of anti-Constitutionalism are the culprits. While those who at least swear by the Constitution and want to abide by it, which are democratic, secular and socialist in their objectives though whatever may be their faults in implementing it are pro-Constitution.
“We want to rally all the Constitution forces in the country in order to save the Indian Constitution”, Justice Sawant emphasised.
It may be mentioned here that on the opening day Justice Sawant in his presidential address had talked about the current pathetic situation of the country and insisted on a focused approach to work on an Action Plan which propels people into a mass movement. He stressed that through this Action Plan the Economic system of the country should be changed as the present Economic system is profit-oriented. It should be people-oriented so that it creates employment for the youth of the country.
Hindutva Brahminical State
Meanwhile, Alliance for Justice and Peace in a Short Statement of Objectives issued on the occasion said:
1. “Capitalism, Communalism, Casteism and Criminalisation are the dominant features of our society. Poverty, ignorance, unemployment, inequality, violence, insecurity, corruption, environmental degradation and climate change are their products. The party in power at the Centre and some States are encouraging these evils, for their partisan purposes. Being proponents of theocratic Hindutva Brahminical State, caste system, social and economic inequality being not opposed to, using violent methods to secure their ends, they have been directly and indirectly promoting these social scrounges. Our Constitution and its humanist provisions are an anathema to them, and being unable to change them, they have been trampling them and encouraging their violations, while outwardly professing to uphold them. Duplicity is the main stay of their policy and governance. This has resulted in growing discontent, restlessness, insecurity and uncertainty, despondency, violence and criminalisation in all fields and on all fronts. Loss of freedom and rise of the fascist forces have compounded the situation;
2. It is high time that all thinking sections of the society believing in freedom, equality, fraternity, justice and humanism come together and not only resist the obvious attempt to convert our country into a communal, unequal fascist State, but also evolve and implement an action plan based upon a common acceptable programme;
3. With a view to facilitate the drawing up of such Action Plan, the suggestions were made, for debate and discussion in the two-day conference were as follows:-
(i) Creation of society where all men, women and children are assured satisfaction of all their minimum economic needs such as nutritious food, shelter, education, health care, employment and environmental safety and security, to enable them to rise to their highest level of creativity. (ii) Economic system which will provide each individual the above basic human needs and not create more than minimum possible inequality. (iii) Political system which is democratic and secular and which will guarantee freedom, equality, fraternity, and unity. (iv) Environmental safety & security. (v) Religious and cultural freedom. (vi) Protection of minorities of all kinds — racial, religious, linguistic, cultural and of gender. (vii) Promotion of peace, non-violence, tolerance, brotherhood and co-operation and elimination of terrorism of all kinds. (viii) Saving the Indian Constitution”.
The above Action Plan is consistent with the provisions of the Indian Constitution and also is the need of the time. It was evolved through a consensus at the two-day National Convention.
Meanwhile, the “Mumbai Declaration” among other things also said: “The transfer of public resources to the private sector threatens to hollow out the Indian economy while the commercialization of education and health sectors is in evidence, if any were needed, of India’s shift from a welfare state to an oligarchy of the rich. In fact, huge budgetary subsidies to huge corporates and the phenomenon of NPAs are threatening to wreck the Indian economy while the government continues to jeopardise the interest of small and middle savings of the average Indian.
Despite the questionable claims of making an OBC man the prime minister, the regime ruled by the Sangh Parivar has through a combination of cuts in budgetary allocations to higher education and drastic reduction of seats (and under pressure from the WTO) and representation in institutes of higher learning. This has been achieved in undemocratic ways through reducing the scholarship to poor meritorious students, cutting down the budget provisions meant for development of OBC, preventing the appointment of OBC candidates to civil service cadres. It is an irony that in our democracy, a microscopic minority of Brahmins can dominate the legislatures by continuously playing the Muslim hate card among SCs/STs/OBCs.
The Brahminical forces are promoting communal polarization within society in order to expand and exploit the Hindu vote bank. This acute communalization of the majority community is as alarming as communal forces actually seizing power. Majority communalism and minority communalism threaten the secular, social fabric. This situation is the result of nearly a century long divisive and poisonous propaganda of the RSS and its open and shadow armies.
The preamble to the Indian Constitution has Secularism as one of its key principles and Socialism as the established goal. The Preamble emphasises Justice on the Social, Economic and Political fronts, for all. While it affirms equality and non-discrimination to all. Indians and the Constitution stand firmly against religion based nationhood, The right to life, equality before the law and freedom of religion (or the freedom not to believe) are granted to all. Our Constitution and its humanist provisions are an anathema to Hindutva forces. These forces have been trampling on the basic freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and encouraging a violation of fundamental rights. There are open and dangerous claims being made to change’ the Indian Constitution, something that we should guard and mobilise against. The right to life and liberty, equality before the law and non discrimination are fundamental to this country. To save India and its people, our Constitution has to be saved from these evils designs”.
Social Welfare legislation through acts of affirmative action to ensure that rural employment (MGNREGA, 2005), transparency -Right to Information (2005), rights of Adivasis and Forest Dwellers over Land (Forest Rights Act, 2006), universal access to food against starvation and hunger (Food Security Act (2013)] need to be enhanced and protected. The present regime, at the Centre and in some states seeks to dilute these measures which in effect will be disempowering millions and further enhance the acute disparity between the haves and the have-nots.
Common Minimum Programme of AJP
This Common Minimum Programme of Alliance for Justice and Peace, (AJP), should include the initiatives as follows:-
• Forefront the issues of all deprived sections including structured inequality within various sections of the population.
• Work towards Building a Rational and Scientific Temper among all sections of the population.
• Struggle to retain those laws that have been brought in after decades of struggle to ensure that the right to information, rural work, right to food and the rights of forest working peoples and Adivasis over forest land are protected.
• Improve relations among different religious and social groups by facilitating mutual communication and understanding between communities.
• Establish social and political alliances among secular forces and marginalised classes including women of all sections.
• Mobilize people from all communities to check violence and maintain harmony.
• Evolve strategies to overcome casteism, communalism and patriarchy.
• Build people’s resistance against forces of capitalism, imperialism and authoritarianism.
• Strive for the creation of a society where all citizens enjoy their basic needs such as nutritious food, shelter, education, health care, employment, safety and security.
• Promote the democratic and secular political system which guarantees justice, freedom, equality, fraternity, dignity and unity.
• Promote peace, non-violence, tolerance, sisterhood, co-operation and scientific and rational temper.
• Protect religious and cultural freedom of all citizens including the freedom not to believe.
• Safeguard dignity and rights of Adivasis & Dalits.
• Protect the rights of minorities – racial, religious, linguistic, cultural, gender.
• Ensure gender justice.
• Stand against Terrorism and Violence of all kinds.
• Save the Indian Constitution
• Form functional common platforms at state, regional and lower levels.
• Ensure that at every stage and level of the platforms and committees formed by this alliance/platform, women should constitute at least 50 per cent of the membership and leadership. ([email protected])