People's Democracy

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


No. 4

February 01, 2009



CPI(M) Organises Statewide Jathas Against Communalism And Terrorism

THE state committee of CPI(M) has organised state-wide jathas to campaign against communalism as well as terrorism, the twin dangers to the unity and integrity of our country. Jathas were organised particularly in the background of BJP government assuming power for the first time in Karnataka and south India besides and in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks.

True to the character of BJP which is backed by RSS and Sangh Parivar, it has extended its tentacles to different parts of the state to bring about communal polarisation so as to increase their vote bank. During the tenure of its 20 months rule with JD(S) and full fledged six months rule at present, hundreds of attacks were organised on the Christian minorities. On September 14, 2008, 17 churches were attacked at a time in five districts in a planned manner, in the name of alleged conversion. In Davangere, three churches were closed with the help of local municipal corporation led by BJP. The police, naturally helped the ruling party. The reasons cited for closing down the churches are funny - the pastors who conduct the prayer did not take permission to hold the prayer!

The heinous terror attacks in Mumbai were condemned by all sections of the people in Karnataka like elsewhere in the country. But the BJP has been campaigning against one particular community.

In the above background, jathas against communalism and terrorism had its own importance. Jathas began on December 8, 2008 from Bababudangiri in Chikmagalore district, on December 9 from Basava Kalyan in Bidar district, on December 13 from Gokarna in Uttara Kannada district and on December 15 from Kudala Sangama in Bagalkot district.

Bababudangiri is not only famous for its scenic beauty but also for Sufi tradition where both Hindus and Muslims worship. But now, it is the hotbed of the communal forces and the BJP claims that it would be south India’s ‘Ayodhya,’ meaning thereby to destroy the Sufi tradition and impose its own communal agenda. Basava Kalyan and Kudala Sangama are the places where Basavanna, during 12th century led the movement for casteless society. He upheld the values of labour, termed it as ‘Kayakave Kailasa’. Gokarna is famous for the historic temple situated in coastal Karnataka. Recently the ownership of the temple was handed over to another Mutt by the BJP government to serve the interests of the Sangh Parivar.

The four jathas covered 6669 kilometers and held 212 meetings through out the state. More than three lakh handbills were distributed. During the public meetings, people donated generously wherever our volunteers approached them. Besides Party units, the leaders and activists of mass organisations not only welcomed the jathas in motorcades and padayatras but also contributed their might to take care of the day to day expenditures.

Portraits and messages of Tippu Sultan and Kittur Rani Chennamma who fought against the Britishers, Basavanna and Kanakadasa reformers of 12th and 14th century respectively, litterateurs like Kuvempu and Shivarudrappa and others were displayed prominently.

Each jatha had a song troupe who were trained in the workshop. Songs depicted the messages of communal harmony and for the betterment of the downtrodden. Two such troupes conducted street plays also which were well received by the general public.

The jathas culminated in a mass rally of more than 5000 people in Bangalore on December 23. Prakash Karat, general secretary of CPI(M) addressed the rally. He congratulated the Karnataka Party for spearheading a serious campaign against both communalism and terrorism, to enlighten the people. India is a multi-lingual, multi-religious country where different customs and cultures were practiced. At the same time people lived together harmoniously. However, communalism has affected the unity of the people. Hindutva forces are targeting the minorities with an intention to establish their autocratic rule, Prakash Karat said.

BJP government in Karnataka had failed to stop the attacks on the churches. Indian constitution has given the freedom to every citizen to practice any religion of his choice. BJP claims that it is a nationalist party. But on the issue of foreign direct investment, it supports the anti-national policy of the Congress and helps the foreign capital, he said.

Prakash condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in which hundreds of innocents lost their lives and crores of rupees worth property was damaged. Communalism and terrorism are the two faces of the same coin and feed on each other to grow. The people of the country have to fight against both the dangers, he said and further urged the central government to approach the United Nations Security Council if Pakistan does not take proper action against the terrorists operating from its soil.

The leaders of jathas who are also state secretariat members of the Party, Nithyananda Swamy, K Neela, Maruthi Manpade, and G V Srirama Reddy spoke about their experiences. They said that the response of the people was good. Although most of the audience had voted for BJP during recent elections unable to find an alternative to the Congress(I), they have not been communalised so far. But the Sangh Parivar is very active to communalise them. The role of the Party to build the confidence of the people is very important in this critical period, they said.

In a public meeting in Bangalore, which was addressed by Nithyananda Swamy and Neela, the activists of Bajrang Dal obstructed the speakers. The police, under BJP rule were mere spectators while goons indulged in vandalism.

Two resolutions were adopted, one condemning the continuous attacks on ‘Karavali Ale’ daily news paper from Mangalore and another one condemning the attack on jatha at Kurubarahalli, Bangalore by the communal forces. In the case of ‘Karavali Ale’ which stood for secular values, the sale of news papers was not allowed by Sangh Parivar activists and filed false cases against its managing director, B V Seetharam and his wife Rohini. Cases were filed in different police stations to harass them. V J K Nair, state secretary presided over the meeting. Secretariat members S Y Gurushanth welcomed the gathering and G C Bayya Reddy extended vote of thanks.