By Pervez Bari
Bhopal: Tens of thousands of netizens watched live the online conference organized by the National Executive Council of Popular Front of India, (PFI), with the slogan “Lockdown Fascism: Unmask the Hidden Agenda”. The conference was organized to expose the misuse of the Coronavirus lockdown by the Central government to intensify its authoritarian measures, and also draw the attention of the citizens towards the utter disregard of the authorities over the plight of millions of poor people stranded across the country due to the lockdown.
PFI chairman of the organization, OMA Salam delivered the presidential address. He said that while the entire world is fighting a virus, India is fighting two viruses during lockdown, the Corona virus and communal virus. Definitely communal virus is far deadlier for the country.
“We have never witnessed such an anti-people government like the present one. While poor labourers and small industries suffer, the government is writing off the huge debts of the corporate looters. The media which portrays the Muslim community as disease carrier is creating new class of untouchables among the people. The government is using the lockdown to implement their hidden agenda by arresting NRC-NPR-CAA protesters under draconian UAPA provisions, while the Hindutva fascist elements who engineered Delhi anti-Muslim pogrom are left free”, Salam charged.
He asked parties, civil rights organizations, all citizens to unite and raise their voice to save the democratic republic system of the country.
PFI National General Secretary Anis Ahmed presented the keynote address. He said that the conference was organized because while the entire nation has been brought to a standstill by the lockdown, fascism is working without restraint .The voices of the people were crushed; only the government narrative is allowed to be heard like the Nazi Germany. Labourers who are asking for their basic right to be allowed to go home are being presented as the enemies of the nation.
He reminded that however powerful they may appear, fascism is not invincible. However, only when country’s secular and democratic forces come together and put up a united struggle, we can eliminate fascism from this land.
Addressing the conference Maulana Khaleel-u-Rahman Sajjad Noumani said that we cannot flight an evil with evil. An evil deed has to be fought with a good righteous deed. Muslims of India have literally demonstrated this example through their actions. “I am sure that Muslims have carried out the largest amount of relief work in the country. Yet they are treated brutally by the authorities. This struggle is not against any particular religion but against oppression of any form. Definitely India will change for the better. For that we have to join hands setting aside all our differences, he asserted.
Raj Ratan Ambedkar, National President of the Buddhist Society of India, also addressed the online conference. He remarked that it has now become clear that the fight in the country is not between the parliament and the opposition but between the parliament and the rest of India. We have to take our protests to the streets. “If one Anna Hazaare can gather tens of thousands of people at Ram Lila Maidan for a false cause, why can’t we do the same for our constitutional rights,” he questioned.
Addressing the conference, Sasikanth Senthil, IAS officer and social activist, said that government has been going ahead with a policy of arresting any voice of opposition from activists and intellectuals. Now they have started arresting even youngsters and students and charging them under UAPA. “I would like to express my solidarity with them all and want to say that they are not alone. I am also optimistic that unlike Germany or Italy, India is too big and diverse to be controlled by a single ideology”, Senthil added.
Dr. Tasleem Rahmani, National Secretary of Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), also addressed the virtual gathering. He said that there is a lockdown in the country where there is a control on people’s daily life movements but using this opportunity the government is imposing a lockdown on people’s voices of dissent. “Through this conference, Popular Front has wrecked out of that lockdown by raising their voice”, he remarked.
PFI national secretary Mohammed Shakif while proposing vote of thanks said the lockdown will not be a reason to stop us from our activities, even during lockdown the movement is working relentlessly following all the social distancing guidelines. Despite of attempts from the fascists to interrupt, he said the active participation of the people in the conference and the twitter hash-tag campaign calling out the lockdown fascism was highly encouraging.