People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 48

December 02, 2012




‘Uphold Rule of Law to
Thwart Communal Forces’



UNAMBIGUOUS implementation of rule of law is very crucial in thwarting the rise of communal forces in the country. Those occupying constitutional posts must believe in the Constitution and never hesitate to prosecute anyone who tries to fuel communal passions, felt Communalism Combat editor and activist, Teesta Setalvad in Hyderabad on November 18, 2012. She was addressing a state level seminar on ‘Atrocities against Muslims’ organised by Awaaz state committee.


The seminar, which was held in the wake of recent communal disturbances in the old city of Hyderabad on the issue of expansion of Bhagya Lakshmi temple abutting historic monument Charminar, was chaired by Awaaz . Teesta spoke about the issue and said that both the Hindutva forces and MIM are trying to communalise the issue and benefit politically. The strategy of Hindutva forces in using these kinds of issues is well known. In this background, it is very important that ordinary, well-meaning people of both communities should sit down and engage in discussion about resolving this controversy in a balanced manner. They should not let the entire public discourse and space be taken up by the communal forces in both communities, she said.


Talking about the threat of communal forces, Setalvad said that they are working 24x7 among all sections of people to achieve their aim of communalising the society. They are picking and creating issues that would drive a wedge among the communities. The Hindutva forces, as seen in Gujarat and elsewhere, are roping in tribals and dalits as foot soldiers for their hate campaign. The secular forces in the country must wake up to this danger and take on these forces unitedly.


In this connection she spoke about the importance of enforcement of rule of law. She felt that if justice was done to the victims of 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi then the Mumbai riots would not have happened or if justice was done to victims of Mumbai riots then Gujarat 2002 carnage would not have happened. Therefore the ongoing struggle for justice in Gujarat is very important. She said the recent Supreme Court judgement in Naroda Patiya case was a huge step forward in the struggle because it punctured the culture of impunity. For the first time politically important people with backing of top leaders have been convicted.


Setalvad expressed disappointment that this important judgement did not get as much coverage as it deserved in the media. She said our media would call attacks on Sikhs in US a ‘hate crime’ but would not call Gujarat incidents as ‘hate crimes’. She felt that the upper caste and upper class dominated media and our middle classes are uncomfortable in dealing with communalism, hate crimes and hate speeches. “They are comfortable in raising corruption as an issue. But they refuse to see communalism as a cancer that is eating at the vitals of our nation. That’s why they push these things under carpet without confronting them.”


Setalvad attacked the BJP as being the most cynical party that is always raising divisive issues because electoral politics have been linked to such issues. However, if one sees last two or three elections, people, particularly youth, are not getting swayed by these issues because they have seen through the gameplan of these communal forces. She said that is the rason why BJP and Hindutva forces have become desperate and are trying their best to destabilise the secular framework. For example, after the Samajwadi Party came to power in in Uttar Pradesh, there have been 12 incidents of communal violence perpetrated by these forces. Faizabad, which was a secular bastion, also witnessed violence recently. These efforts can be foiled only if the secular parties become assertive and ensure that rule of law prevails.


Referrring to Narendra Modi being projected as the future prime minister of the country, she said it is largely because of the public relations exercise that Modi is carrying on in order to makeover his image. Modi pays $25,000 per month to APCO Worldwide, an international PR firm that specialises in image makeover of dictators across the world. Also top industrialists like Ambanis, Mittal, Ratan Tata, Bajaj and others have endorsed him as suitable PM candidate, which has never happened in the history of India. She felt that global capital and Indian big business seem to desire Modi’s dictatorial style of functioning as a means to rush ahead with their loot of resources and wealth. “Although this is a very dangerous trend, I am sure people of India will reject Modi as PM”


CPI(M) central committee members M A Gafoor and P Madhu, Siasat Urdu daily editor Zahed Ali Khan, Awaaz secretary M A Gayas  and others also spoke in the seminar.