People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 08, 2013







For Accountability in Governance, Against Hatred


 Teesta Setalvad


IT was an energising weekend, November 23-24, at Allahabad when over 1,000 activists from different parts of the country, representing various mass organisations, assembled in this city of Uttar Pradesh to demand the tabling of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 in the winter session of parliament as well as to launch a united and concerted battle against the communal and fascist forces.


At the public meeting organised on November 24 evening to round up the deliberations of the convention, representatives of five political parties joined the stage to lend their voice and weight to the Insaaf Sab Ke Liye (Justice for All) campaign. The venue of the Prayag Sangeet Samiti resounded with popular slogans and songs as the participating crowd demanded swift tabling of the bill.


What made the convention effective and unusual was the visible and strong participation from a wide section of political parties. They included Shri Prakash Kashyap, secretary of the Uttar Pradesh state committee of the CPI(M); Ravi Mishra, Allahabad district secretary of the CPI(M), Dr Girish Verma, secretary of the Uttar Pradesh state council of the CPI; D P Tripathi of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Anugraha Narain Singh (Indian National Congress). Rita Bahuguna Joshi, an official spokesperson of the Indian National Congress, was also present, as was Ram Singh, UP state secretary of the SC-ST Federation. The meeting was presided over by Ziaul Haq.


The deliberations that continued for one and a half day dealt with the immediate need for a nationwide campaign to ensure the tabling of the bill. It also outlined sustained short term and long term people’s campaigns required to ensure victory over the communal forces. Towards that end, a detailed action plan was finalised by Sunday, November 24, 2013. Two resolutions on the recurrent violence in Assam (2013) and Muzaffarnagar were also passed.


Though Professor Irfan Habib was for some reason unable to attend the convention, he sent a special paper prepared for activists. It was titled Talking Points on Communalist Misuse of History, and was widely circulated. It will be translated into several Indian languages soon.


The action plan chalked out by the convention, included the following measures.


Starting now and between November 26 and December 20, 2013, letters or memorandums will be sent to Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs belonging to all the parties to demand the tabling of the aforesaid bill in the winter session of parliament that starts from December 5 and would ends on December 20, 2013. On December 5 and 6, 2013, thousands of sms and emails will be sent to the elected representatives in both houses of parliament. A one page memorandum will also be sent to all MPs as well as office bearers of all the political parties at the national, regional and state levels, whether or not they are members of any house of the parliament.


One may note that already since October 28, 2013, thousands of postcards have reached the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s office, making the same demand.