Fascism In India - Madhya Pradesh Police Assassinated Eight Alleged Associates of the Students
0 comments | by Anandi Sharan
On Monday the 31st of October 2016 the Madhya Pradesh police assassinated eight alleged associates of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) after an alleged escape from prison near Bhopal. This was not coincidentally a day when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hyping Hindu nationalism on Diwali, the Hindu festival that celebrates the return of the mythic god Ram to Ayodhya in present day Uttar Pradesh. The assassination was most certainly a celebration of Diwali and Hindu nationalism by assassination of Muslims. Narendra Modi on the previous day had sent sms to all Indian citizens asking them to send sweets to soldiers on Diwali. He had tweeted: “festivals are fixed not only by the mood of the moon but by the mood of the people.” It was a message to policemen members of the Sangh Parivar to seize the moment and perform a Hindu nationalist strike against Muslims in the name of anti-Muslim terrorist national pride.
Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 on the basis of a twenty-year-old Hindutva fascist take over of the country by the Hindu political establishment including the Supreme Court.
For 18 years in the lead up to the 2014 Parliamentary elections 19 Chief Justices failed to reverse an illegal judgement pronounced by J.S. Verma in the case of R.Y. Prabhoo vs P.K. Kunte on 11 December 1995, a judgement issued at the end of P.V. Narsimha Rao’s Prime Ministership.
In that judgement, known as the Hindutva Judgement, Verma claimed that Hinduism/Hindutva is not a religion but a way of life, failing to see that just because Hinduism does not have a book like most of the other religions does not mean it is not a religion.
A.M.Ahmadi was CJI at the time of the Hindutva Judgement, having been appointed on 25 October 1994. The demand for an expeditious and authoritative decision on the question of whether appealing to Hinduism is an appeal to religion was made by K. Ramaswamy, on 16 April 1996. In the case of Abhiram Singh vs C.D. Commachen & Ors the judge stated:
The demand was made on 16 April 1996. If Ahmadi had acted immediately he could have prevented Atal Behari Vajpayee becoming Prime Minister for the first time a month later on 16th May 1996. Vajpayee was a Sangh Parivar pracharak who said he may or may not be PM but he will always be an RSS swayamsevak for as long as he lives. He said there is no difference between BJP and RSS, and that he had had the privilege of undergoing training under RSS founder Dr. Hedgewar and former chief Gowalkar. Hindutva is a fascist ideology taken over by Hedgewar and Gowalkar from Savarkar who adapted it from Europe to justify extermination of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalits and Adivasis for the greater glory of the sacred Hindu nation in the world.
The cross-party Hindu Indian elite presented Vajpayee as a respectable moderate elder statesman, a worthy successor to P.V.Narsimha Rao. No one questioned that his political power is fascism. A report by the RSS in the aftermath of the riots in Delhi in 1984 in which Sikhs were murdered as a community for Indira Gandhi’s assassination revealed the true attitude of the RSS to Sikhs. They were to stay silent and wait for the righteous anger of the murderers to abate. The RSS are not alone in their justification of communalism. Rajiv Gandhi who became Prime Minister after the riots in part due to the sympathy vote for the assassination of his mother said at the time that if a big tree falls the forest is bound to shake. The Congress Hindu elite in India has always used communalism as a political tool, and has no compunction in allowing the RSS to do the same. The organisers of the anti-Sikh pogroms have still not been arrested though the official report has found irrefutable evidence against all of them.
The failure of law and order in BJP states such as demonstrated on 31st October 2016 and the failure of the central government law and order enforcement machinery including the Supreme Court is due to the hijacking of the institutions and organs of justice including the constitution by the Hindu political elites. It may seem shocking to some to hear the SC so accused. But the failure of law and order enforcement is only the visible tip of the iceberg of a complete break down of secular democracy in India since Nehru’s days, a break down that is in fact nothing other than the take over of the country by fascists under the aegis of the Congress party. Once the government looses its commitment to equality, justice, secularism, socialism, fraternity and rule of law, as mandated by the constitution, and instead starts to rewrite the constitution, the stage is set for fascism. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru started the rot when he imprisoned Sheikh Abdullah of Jammu and Kashmir in the 1960s and illegally dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly contrary to Article 370 of the constitution. Nehru’s betrayal of Kashmiris was the beginning of fascism in India. It was a short step to overthrowing the Representation of the People Act that forbids appeal to religion to garner votes.
Ahmadi’s tenure as CJI was to come to an end on 24 March 1997. By convicting BJP politicians for promoting enmity between classes on the basis of religion under the RP Act Ahmadi could have forced politicians to abide by the law and adopt secular democratic politics. Such a judgement would have helped enforce the law in all aspects of public life, which was a big concern at the time. The time should have been right for the overthrow of fascism in India.
On the 19th of July 1996 there had been the strange case of Dr.D.C. Saxena vs Hon’Ble The Chief Justice Of India in which CJI Ahmadi and Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao were accused of corruption for misusing public accommodation and transport for private purposes. It is very strange how instead of the major issue of subversion of secular democracy in the Hindutva Judgement, the CJI chose to take up this strange case at the highest level. Why take up such a marginal issue of misuse of public accommodation and transport, and hold the petitioner guilty of contempt of court and so on? One cannot help feel that this was just a gigantic manoeuvre to pull the wool over the eyes of the public to hide other much more major failings of both the CJI and the PM, namely failure to implement the Verma Committee Report on corruption in the government, and failure to give an authoritative and expeditious decision on Hindutva, which were part and parcel of the same fascism that he could not get himself to challenge.
The N.N.Verma Committee report had exposed the failure of the state machinery to deal with law and order and political mafia nexus. If Ahmadi and P.V. Narsimha Rao had no interest in outlawing the Ram Temple Party it must have been because they found themselves incapable of dealing with the infiltration of the mafia including the Sangh Parivar mafia into all aspects of public life with which they were in collusion. In that sense they were part of the mafia, especially P.V. Narasimha Rao of course, whose son is a well-known crorepati with business interests in road construction all over the country. On his retirement Ahmadi had a princely sum of Rs 5000 a month to live on. He did want to return to Ahmedabad, his hometown, but stayed in Delhi. He probably needed to make and keep friends in high places in private and public business to live a more comfortable lifestyle.
On the 9th of July 1993 the government of P.V. Narsimha Rao could no longer escape the pressure to deal with corruption and he established the N.N. Vora Committee. Its mandate was to take stock of all available information about the activities of Crime Syndicates/Mafia organisations that had developed links with and were being protected by Government functionaries and political personalities. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the central government was supposed to determine the need, if any to establish a special organisation/agency to regularly collect information and pursue cases against such elements. The report brought out, in N.N. Vora’s words, “that the activities of Memon Brothers and Dawood Ibrahim had progressed over the years, leading to the establishment of a powerful network. This could not have happened without these elements having been protected by the functionaries of the concerned Government departments specially Customs, Income Tax, Police and others. … The CBI (said ..there was a) .. nexus between the Bombay City Police and the Bombay under-world.. over time, the money power thus acquired is used for building up contacts with bureaucrats and politicians and expansion of activities with impunity. The money power is used to develop a network of muscle-power, which is also used by politicians during elections. CBI has reported that all over India crime Syndicates have become a law unto themselves. Even in the smaller towns and rural areas, muscle men have become the order of the day. Hired assassins have become a part of these organisations. The nexus between the criminal gangs, police, bureaucracy and politicians has come out clearly in various parts of the country. The existing criminal justice system, which was essentially designed to deal with the individual offences/crimes, is unable to deal with the activities of the mafia; the provisions of law in regards to economic offences are weak; there are insurmountable legal difficulties in attaching/confiscation of the property acquired through Mafia activities. …. In cases where a crime Syndicate has graduated to big business, it would be necessary to conduct detailed investigations into its assets, both movable and immovable. It has been stressed that when such action is not timely and effectively taken, the lower functionaries of the concerned State and Central Departments /organisations start overlooking the activities of the crime Syndicates. … The Director Intelligence Bureau (said)…. due to the progressive decline in the values of public life in the country warning signals of sinister linkage between the underworld politicians and the bureaucracy have been evident with disturbing regularity. ……. the network of the Mafia is virtually running a parallel Government, pushing the State apparatus into irrelevance. …..During discussions with Secretary (Revenue) and his principal officers, the following significant observations were made: …the field officers of his various Departments were faced with various problems, amongst which are the utter inadequacy of the criminal system; cases are not heard timely; functioning of the Government lawyers is grossly inadequate; all this results in a low percentage of convictions and mild punishments…. The field officers of the various agencies of the Revenue Departments are often pressurised by senior government functionaries/political leaders apparently at the behest of crime Syndicates/Mafia elements. Unless the field level officers are offered effective protection, they cannot be expected to maintain interest in vigorously pursuing action against the activities of such elements.…The linkages developed by crime syndicated get generally confirmed when pressure is mounted on the concerned agencies not to take action against the offenders or to go slow in the cases against them. Such pressures are mounted either immediately after a raid is conducted or at the time when prosecution is about to be initiated. Pressures are also exerted whenever corrupt and undesirable officers are shifted from sensitive assignments. >>
The appeal from the three-judge bench to review the Hindutva Judgement was urgent. The case had arisen along with others precisely because of the illegal politics of the Shiv Sena who were the lords of the Bombay underworld. Ahmadi had only a total of 881 days as CJI, a length of term he knew much in advance of ever being appointed due to the well-known system of CJI appointment by seniority. But instead of planning carefully before becoming CJI, and acting immediately on becoming CJI, Ahmadi declined to act authoritatively and expeditiously and let the Shiv Sena remain in control of Bombay and Maharashtra, and he let Vajpayee and the BJP in as ruling party at the centre for the first time. The BJP was the mafia in Ahmadi’s own home state of Gujarat. But for some peculiar reason he did not perceive the BJP as a Hindutva fascist gang that can be controlled by the RP Act. The RP Act was not considered the law par excellence to introduce probity into public life. This is baffling in the extreme.
In an interview given to the journalist Kuldip Nayar two days before he retired published in Outlook India on 09 April 1997 Nayar reported that
The demand sent eleven months and three weeks before could hardly be termed as “recent.” After his retirement Ahmadi said: “”We have let down the constitution, the constitution hasn’t let us down. We have not used our constitutional rights to our advantage. We have not seriously tried to avail our legal entitlements,” The report stated:<< Former Indian chief justice A.M. Ahmadi yesterday said Muslims have let down the constitution by not availing of rights enshrined therein. Ahmadi, in his no-nonsense address at the city’s India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), urged the gathering of around 50 Muslims drawn from different walks of life to use constitutional rights to their advantage.>>
The only explanation is that the BJP had something over Ahmadi, some personal corruption that made him behoven to them. Or maybe he made secularism subservient to the politics of ejecting the Congress party. Or maybe he thought the judiciary was helpless. Afterwards he blamed himself as a Muslim for not taking action. But at the time he probably considered himself less a Muslim and more a part of a legal system that was unwilling to take a stance to hold politicians accountable under the law. That was a personal moral risk he as a CJI was not willing to take. Enforcement of RP Act is not a matter of constitutional rights but of law. Ahmadi was not willing to enforce the law.
18 Chief Justices after him also avoided addressing the demand that Ramaswamy bench had made for a larger bench of the Supreme Court to solve the conflicting judgements on whether or not Hinduism is a religion.
The BJP should more aptly be called the Ram Temple party to highlight the fact that the very existence of that party represents fascism par excellence in our country as it is illegal to appeal to religion under the Representation of People Act.
In retrospect it is apparent that the BJP came to power in 1996 because the Congress party was discredited due to its corrupt practices as brought out in the N.N. Vora Committee report in 1993. During their tenures as Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from October 1984 to December 1989 and P.V. Narsimha Rao from June 1991 to May 1996 had given up any semblance of defence of the tenets of equality, justice, secularism, socialism and fraternity as envisaged by the secular democratic constitution. The BJP won only two seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984. But appealing to Hinduism it won eighty-five seats in 1989 and became the third largest party. Prime Minister V. P. Singh had accepted the Mandal Commission report and reserved 27% of government jobs for Other Backward Classes. Anti-reservation slogans were raised by the BJP along with anti-corruption. Rajiv Gandhi appeased Mullahs by reversing the Shah Bano case. Shah Bano had filed a case in the Supreme Court for maintenance from her ex-husband. Under criminal law she was given right. Three years later in 1986 Parliament under Rajiv Gandhi reversed the decision. Arif Mohammed Khan who was in support of the SC judgement, resigned. The BJP’s appeal to so-called majority sentiment was one thing. On the other side the courts banned Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses which in the eyes of Hindu nationalists was appeasement of minorities. No one raised the point that this is the law under the Indian Penal Code. On the other hand Rajiv Gandhi also called Babri Masjid land as “Ram’s land” to try and get back the Hindu vote. In reality assassination of Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and all dark-skinned Indians is the means the Indian state of all parties to date use to consolidate the nation. This is the Hindu Brahmin supremacism. In 1983 the Nellie massacre of 1983 had seen 5,000 people, mainly Muslims, killed; the 1987 Hashimpura massacre saw 40 Muslims killed in cold blood; in the Bhagalpur riots of 1989 the victims were predominantly Muslim; in the Hyderabad riots of 1990 both Hindus and Muslims died; in the Surat riots of 1992 mainly Muslims died. These were all party politically orchestrated events. The Congress party was finished as a secular democratic force. In the Muzaffarnagar event in 2013 forty-six Muslims and sixteen Hindus died, instigated by the socialist Samajwadi Party. In March 2015, sixteen accused policemen were acquitted of their involvement in the Hashimpura massacre. In that violence men from UP police drove Muslim poor daily wage labourers and weavers to a canal and threw them in. Both Samajwadi Party and BJP leaders are instigators of riots.
After Nehru’s betrayal of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah, Indira Gandhi had engaged in her own list of illegalities culminating in the Declaration of Emergency to protect her political career. Once Rajiv Gandhi and P.V.Narsimha Rao came to the fore there was no semblance of socialism or commitment to equality left. The only appeal was to liberalism. Once that was equated with corruption the Congress had no vision with which to counter the charge. None of the parties took up the chellenge set to them by the N.N.Verma Committee Report. The BJP claimed it would root out corruption and do liberalisation better but in fact corruption in India is basic to the Hindu supremacist agenda. Liberalism is a means to perpetuate it.
The next CJI after Ahmadi was J.S.Verma. He clearly would not choose to overturn his own judgement, and he didn’t. In the period after Babri Masjid Verma and Narsimha Rao did nothing to get Babri Masjid rebuilt. Thus his illegal act that overthrew the constitution, stood because he and the Prime Minister and the political establishment wanted it to stand. Verma retired on 17 January 1998 and was replaced by CJI M.M.Punchhi who had 264 days as CJI and retired on 09 October 1998. There had been a petition of the Committee on Judicial Accountability (CJA), which demanded a probe against Punchhi on corruption charges and Ram Jetmalani and others wanted to get him impeached in the Rajya Sabha, and Verma could have recommended supersession. Jetmalani is an advocate for the BJP and a Hindutva fanatic. By attacking Punchhi for corruption he ensured that the Hindutva fascists had him in their power. If elevated to CJI he was to behave. And he did. He did not constitute the bench to overthrow the Hindutva Judgement. It is highly likely that the deal was negotiated by Verma. Punchhi would get the CJI post if he did not raise the Hindutva issue. It is quite likely Verma delayed announcing the appointment for two months because it took him that time to persuade Prime Minister IK Gujral to agree. The BJP by now was the main opposition party as the United Front was floundering. There was no secular alliance between Congress and the United Front parties that would have backed a secular CJI. How could there have been. They all use assassination of Muslims to further their party politics. The stage was set for the RSS man V.B. Vajpayee to become the next Prime Minister for a full term.
Punchhi was replaced by Adarsh Sein Anand as CJI. Anand was CJI from the 10th of October 1998 to the 11th of January 2001. With his predecessors not having rocked the boat of the BJP, what was Anand going to do now that a BJP Prime Minister with an absolute majority was installed in Parliament? A reversal of the Hindutva Judgement would have meant dissolving Parliament and calling fresh elections at a time when the country was just coming out of that period of apparent instability of the United Front government. Deve Gowda had been a Kannadiga farmer who refused to speak Hindi or English in Parliament. Vajpayee was a civilised Hindu. Anand himself was a Kashmiri Hindu. He was a human rights activist. He introduced compensation in cases of custodial death. But then in 2000 Ram Jethmalani the Hindutva activist Supreme Court advocate accused Anand’s wife and mother in law of corruption. Though no charges were brought it was enough to keep Anand toeing the Hindutva government line. He buried the Hindutva Judgement review demand.
Sam Piroj Bharucha was the next CJI, from the 11th of January 2001 to the 6th of May 2002. He had been on the bench with K. Ramaswamy when they found the Hindutva Judgement to be in conflict with other SC judgements on the RP Act and when they had demanded the authoritative and expeditious decision from a five-judge bench that Ahmadi was supposed to set up. Then why did he not take it up when he became CJI, familiar as he was with the entire case? A.B. Vajpayee, BJP, was in power, yes, but an upright CJI would surely not put the political wellbeing of the BJP above the RP Act? The inexplicable thing is that Bharucha did just that. He set up a continuous SC constitutional court of eleven judges under Justice Kirpal to hear 200 petitions to interpret the meaning and content of the word ‘minorities’ in Article 30(1) of the constitution. It was only the 2nd time in 30 years than an eleven-judge constitution bench was set up. The one set up under Punchhi was disbanded before it could complete the task. But the bench did not take up the inquiry into the scope of review to be conducted when a charge of corrupt practice is levelled under section 123 (3) and (3A) of the RP Act of promoting enmity between classes by appealing to religion to garner votes. He took up hundreds of cases that had been pending for 20 years, why not the Hindutva Judgement? He made a statement at a meeting of the Bar Council of India and the Bar Council of Kerala on the 22nd of December 2001 whilst CJI that 20% of judges are corrupt and that the problem is that in the Supreme Court the only remedy is impeachment. He said: “impeachment is a cumbersome process and as a recent instance showed may not achieve the desired result for reasons that are political.” On February 9th 2002 he said, that in his experience as a senior judge none in the Bar fought corruption. But even as CJIs are expressing anguish at financial and political corruption in the judiciary, the absolutely fundamental corruption that allows a CJI to be pressurised actively or passively by the BJP to avoid enquiring into the BJP manifesto is not questioned. It can hardly be an argument that it is in the national interest not to call fresh elections in which the BJP might not be able to participate. Was Bharucha of the view that it is politically expedient to let the BJP continue in power? Was he basically by this time of the view that Hinduism is not a religion? And so fascism continued to reign supreme, with the entire political discourse about the role of the judiciary hijacked as anti-corruption, and an eleven-judge constitution bench going no further than working to define “minority”.
Bhupinder Nath Kirpal succeeded Bharucha on the 6th of May 2002 and was CJI for 186 days till the 8th of November 2002. In March 2002 he had told the RSS PM that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was not allowed to hold a religious ceremony on the land of the Babri Masjid where the BJP wanted to erect a ram Temple. “It is because of judges like these that our Supreme Court is known as a secular temple all over the world” Rajya Sabha MP Wasim Ahmed said, forgetting that Kirpal also sweetly ignored the pending request to overrule the illegal Hindutva Judgement and consign the BJP to the dustbin of history. Why did Ahmed have to use the word temple? At that time Kirpal had 24’000 cases pending before him in the SC. Still he could have chosen to address the Hindutva case and truly live up to Ahmed’s overhasty praise. Kirpal’s view on corruption in the Judiciary was that “judges are also Indian citizens who come from the same aggregate as those in the legislature and administration therefore that there are also instances where corruption and incompetence have pervaded the judicial establishment cannot be denied.“ The comment says a lot. Government of India is one great big fat Hindu supremacist elite affair where no one rocks the boat. Progressive ideas are strictly within the confines of what Hindu money and the Hindu elite can tolerate. The political parties in the state legislatures and the members of state administrations must throw secular democracy over board and run with the fascist hounds or they will not survive in public life.
Gopal Ballav Patnaik was the next CJI. Later it was found he had been given a 4000 square foot plot in Cuttack meant for underprivileged in the year 2000. He was CJI for a month. During his month as CJI he never once as far as I know raised any issue to do with Hindutva.
Patnaik was succeeded by V. N. Khare on the 19th of December 2002. V.N. Khare was made the BJP governments arbitrator in a case brought by Reliance on the 23rd of November 2011 when RIL had challenged a government notice to disallow cost and moved the Supreme Court for appointment of a second arbitrator. Ex CJIs Bharucha and Khare failed to agree on the name of the third presiding arbitrator for 13 months and in 2015 Bharucha recused himself from the arbitration after the government challenged his nomination saying that he had not disclosed all previous associations with RIL and that his arbitration could create doubts about his independence and impartiality. So now the arbitration panel has only foreigners on it and Khare is on the BJP government side. Khare had been CJI when Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat encouraged Hindu mobs to attack Muslims who had protested against Hindus for travelling to and forth to Ayodhya to establish a ram temple. The attack happened ostensibly because Muslims had set on fire the bogeys carrying those RSS cadres. In tapes afterwards it was revealed that Hindus had set the train bogeys on fire, boasting it was Hanuman’s tail that lit the flame. Thereafter 800 people mainly Muslims died across the state in revenge killings encouraged by the government. Sexual violence played a critical role in the pogrom. In the aftermath of the riots in the Best bakery case CJI Khare said “I have no faith left in the prosecution and the Gujarat government” and he moved the case out of Gujarat. After his retirement as CJI Khare said that the Gujarat government did not provide adequate protection to the riot victims owing to the complete collusion between rioters and the state machinery. Modi replied sarcastically that why did he not say anything when he was CJI. Modi clearly was referring not to the Best bakery case but to the fact that Khare did not address the Hindutva Judgement or take up any other election petitions that would have challenged Modi’s appeals to religion during elections. Jairus Banaji in his paper wrote “The spinelessness of the judiciary and its overt or covert sympathies with the extreme right was a major part of the story of the success of German fascism. We have not reached that state of judicial disintegration yet, and luckily we still have a Supreme Court that is beyond the direct reach of regimes immersed in criminality, even if its Special Investigation team can be subverted.” But actually the SC was already subverted by Verma’s Hindutva Judgement and not even Khare did anything about it not even taking up the pending case. Khare retired as CJI on the 2nd of May 2004. It is really strange that no academic commentaries seem to mention this pending appeal on the Hindutva Judgement and the unwillingness of CJIs to take it up and the fact that this shows how fascism had taken hold of the country latest by May 1996 when Vajpayee was elected for his first short term as Prime Minister. Praful Bidwai wrote in 2007 that the secular parties collectively failed the victims of Gujarat in 2002 when “they did not get together and mobilise strong protests all over the state demanding that the centre dismiss the Gujarat government under article 356, although it is beyond dispute that the functioning of the government was blatantly violative of the constitution”. In that article of the 3rd of November 2007 Bidwai wrote that Manmohan Singh is yet to mention the G word. Even Bidwai in that article forgot to mention the Hindutwa Judgement though.
V. N. Khare was succeeded on the 2nd of May 2004 by S. Rajendra Babu who was CJI for just a month. On the 1st of June 2004 Babu was succeeded by Ramesh Chandra Lahoti. Manmohan Singh had been sworn in as Prime Minister on the 22nd of May 2004. There is a photograph of Former Chief Justice of India Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti taken by Indian Photo Agency published on the 28th of March 2011 with a caption reading: “firebrand Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) activist Sadhvi Ritambhara and former Chief Justice of India Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti with BJP leader L.K.Advani on the occasion of release of a book Ramayan the hymns of Himalaya a prosaic English translation of the epic authored by Dr Akhikesh Gumashta. In New Delhi on Friday the 25th of March 2011.” Need one say more. Would a CJI who after retirement chooses to consort with Hindutva fascists reverse the Hindutva judgement? On June 28th 2004 Lahotia said that only 18% of judges posts were filled in the country. But was that a reason to leave the Hindutva Judgement in place? No. Obviously he thought the judgement was right and saw no reason to open a debate even though in reality an appeal to religion is illegal. In any case the Congress party also never gave a fitting reply to Sushma Swaraj who promised to shave her head if Sonia Gandhi was made Prime Minister. Instead of defending the right of a naturalised citizen to all the rights and privileges of a natural born Indian citizen, the Congress government got a Hindu priest to offer a reply that tonsuring of head was “un-Hindu”. There was no attempt made by the Congress party to outlaw religion in public discourse. Rather the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Supreme Court bowed down before the power of Hindu discourse and the G word and the H word were never mentioned. In a letter to Outlook magazine in 2015 Lahotia criticised the mag for its anti BJP stance. He was obviously a Hindu and Hindutva supporter during his time as CJI.
Lahotia was succeeded on the 1st of November 2005 by Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal. Sabharwal upheld Parliament’s decision to expel cash-for-vote MPs, and claimed the right of the SC to review Parliament’s action. But there is no news anywhere of him urging Manmohan Singh to allow the Hindutva Judgement to be revisited or in any other way questioning the promise to build a Ram Temple in the BJP manifesto. In any case his sons benefitted from a case he heard through which land was cleared for development in Delhi. He was obviously not interested in preventing politicians getting to power by promoting enmity between classes. What is a bit of enmity if your sons get rich in the process.
Sabharwal was succeeded on the 13th of January 2007 by K. G. Balakrishnan. The RSS attacked him for being from Kerala and therefore a communist. But no one attacked him from any end of the political spectrum for being unwilling to enforce the RP Act.
And so it went on. Balakrishna was succeeded on the 12th of May 2010 by S. H. Kapadia. Kapadia was succeeded on 29th September 2012 by Altamas Kabir. Kabir was succeeded on the 19th of July 2013 by P. Sathasivam. Sathasivam was succeeded on the 27th of April 2014 by Rajendra Mal Lodha. Lodha was succeeded on the 28th of September 2014 by H. L. Dattu. Dattu was succeeded on the 3rd of December 2015 by T. S. Thakur who is CJI today.
In the 1990s the combined charge of corruption and ineffective liberalisation paved the way for the Hindu nationalists who have been preparing to take over the country since before Independence. Hindus used the anti-corruption plank and minority appeasement language to mobilise qua Hindus. They brought corruption and pollution into a single focus of moral outrage. The Supreme Court and the Congress party were too weak to disbar them permanently from political life under the RP Act after having banned them temporarily after they demolished Babri Masjid. The BJP, RSS and VHP came back, the BJP with the same manifesto promise to build a Ram Temple, thanks to the Supreme Court that refused to call appeal to Hinduism an appeal to religion.
Today Narendra Modi also applies the words corruption and pollution when talking about Muslims and how they have to “purify” themselves if they want to remain part of the Hindu nation. Thus anti-corruption morphed into clean liberalisation to be executed by the Hindu BJP and the entire media and political Hindu fascist state machinery colluded. Assassination of Muslims by police is how the political parties maintain themselves in power, like how Nazis maintained themselves through genocide of Jews.
If India is a Hindu majority country, which may or may not be true, the Hindu majority are not particularly vigilant about preserving secular democracy. In any case given that fascism is based on Hinduism more and more groups will be defecting from Hinduism that is for sure. Constant education is needed to inculcate secular democratic values in a rapidly growing young population. But education does not serve the interests of the Hindus who want to keep Dalits, Adivasis, Other Backward Castes and Muslims and Sikhs in their ghettoes. Liberalism and capitalism and appeal to religion and what in India is termed communalism all adds up to fascism of Hindu elites as they give themselves power and money. Thus the 38% of voters who voted for the BJP in 2014 became the enemy of the constitution. In any case the rot had already set in with Nehru when he illegally disbanded the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly.
The illegality under the Representation of People Act 1951 of appeal to religion to garner votes was forgotten as the BJP became the anti-corruption party of Hindu nationalists to defeat Congress. Of course, the entire Sangh Parivar including BJP are the corrupt mafia par excellence in the country. The Verma Committee Report itself showed that the BJP/RSS/Sangh Parivar /Shiv Sena and other Sena gangs were an uncontrollable mafia, a parallel state. But amazingly, and certainly because the Congress itself was corrupt and operated the state institutions as its own mafia, Narendra Modi managed to keep the taint of corruption away from himself personally in the 2014 election campaign and even managed to protect Amit Shah who had engaged in multiple political assassinations to get himself and Narendra Modi to power. He thus succeeded Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in 2014.
It would require an entire book to understand how Atal Bihari Vajpayee could manage to give the BJP a holier than though look vis-a-vis the Congress party in the eyes of the voters when he became Prime Minster with an absolute majority on the 19th of March 1998. Appeal to build a Ram Temple instead of being outlawed was somehow an appeal to incorruptibility and nationalism. The national media and television elevated a man steeped in RSS ideology and a founder of Hindu nationalism to a statesmanly level. His role in demolition of Babri Masjid on the 6th of December 1992 was forgotten. The Liberhan enquiry into the events of that day would take 17 years to deliver its report that the whole thing had been planned by the RSS of which A.B. Vajpayee has been an active member his entire life. The Liberhan report submitted on the 30th of June 2009 found the BJP’s so-called moderate face guilty along with many other leaders of the BJP. But nothing has happened to them. They continue in politics. The delay in issuing the Liberhan report itself speaks volumes about how fascism maintains itself in the country.
Even during the Manmohan Singh led Congress administration during the period 2004 to 2014 the Supreme Court of India could not get a grip on the illegal shootings by police in Madhya Pradesh (MP), ruled by the BJP. On the 29th of December 2007 Sunil Joshi, an RSS man, had been gunned down by his own associates as he was about to reveal details of the vast network of crime and terrorism against Muslims organised by the RSS. Today Narendra Modi’s Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) rules MP and half of India’s states. The means to electoral victory is appeal to Hindu chauvinism. The modus operandus of the Sangh Parivar police or members of other institutions of state is to appeal to Hindu voters by assassinating Muslims. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) and other Sangh Parivar gangs use ideology culled from their leaders’ writings to justify the murders. These gangs are indistinguishable from business fraternities. Often when petty criminals are killed the RSS claim it was a communal attack but in reality the murder is due to struggles between RSS business/mafia gangs. When Muslims are suspected it is invariably a false flag operation by Sangh Parivar to unleash Sangh Parivar controlled state agencies on innocent Muslims for no reason other than inflicting pain and establishing Hindu supremacy. RSS is also involved with the Vyapam scam in MP, hence the investigations into the deaths of those students are also deadly slow. The nexus between the BJP state government and central government and the police is all-encompassing.
Last week the Central Bureau of Investigation, which, it hardly needs to be mentioned, is under the control of the central BJP government and Narendra Modi the Prime Minister, released without charge several BJP strongmen including the ex-Chief Minister of Karnataka Yeddiyurappa from prison. This is the mafia gang originally established by the Congress Chief Minister S.M.Krishna to rob the people of Bellary district of their agricultural livelihood by establishing mining industries. Narendra Modi released him and Yediyurappa is now free to win back Karnataka for the BJP from the ruling Congress party. His associate in crime, another Reddy, was allowed by the Supreme Court to take out a triumphant motorcade through Bellary to announce his daughter’s marriage, despite the fact he is still on trial. This is the same CBI whose present Director said: “If you can’t prevent rape enjoy it” an apparently perfectly acceptable analogy for legalising gambling.
The present Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur recently took up the demand to look into the scope of section 123 (3) and (3A) of the RP Act. A miracle!! Arguments were conducted over two weeks.
It is expected that he will deliver a judgement on a narrow interpretation of the request for an authoritative and expeditious decision on interpretation of Article 123 (3-A) of the RP Act. He said he will not go into what is religion.
Advocate B.A. Desai during arguments had argued that a reference put to the bench is always a mix of fact and law. Here the entire appeal has been referred to this bench. The “plank of Hindutva, Hindu and Hinduism” are part of the reference and falls within the scope of section 123 (3) of the RP Act.
The judgement is awaited any time before Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur retires in January 2017. An offer from the CJI to interveners to be heard by a five-judge bench on the plank of Hindutva/Hindu/Hinduism has been made.
Can we expect the Supreme Court to throw out fascism? The CPI(M) in its intervention on the last day of arguments expressed the hope that it will. We must wait both for the narrow judgement to be given before January by T.S.Thakur and also possibly for the five judge bench decision, if still needed after Thakur’s judgement.
Only once that judgement is delivered will we know whether the protests of secular democratic Indians against fascism will be heard and assassinations such as those of 31st October this year can be avoided in the future.
The entire political establishment across all the Hindu supremacist parties are more interested in money than in social equality. The Congress, the BJP, the CJIs of the Supreme Court and the people who would eventually form into the Aam Admi Party are Hindus first and foremost, Aryan invaders who want to oppress the indigenous black-skinned Indians; they are the educated elites and their croneys from all castes and classes regard the workers and peasants simply as vote banks and as the labour resource to be used and thrown. BJP, Congress, Janata Dal and all the other United Front parties, as also Aam Admi Party and their offshoots, are unable to understand that the basic feature of the Indian constitution is justice, equality, secularism, socialism and fraternity. They have not raised the need to review the Hindutva Judgement all this time. They all are fascists.
Eight Muslim undertrials who were assassinated near Bhopal are martyrs to the cause of secular democracy. Appeal to religion in politics and unwillingness to overthrow the Hindutva Judgement is fascism.
This regime is illegal under the RP Act. Unless the RP Act is enforced fascism will continue to reign supreme.
Only the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its left front allies, and the Bahujan Samaj Party and its offshoots are separate from the fascist Hindu regime.
CPI (M) and their left front partners and BSP and their offshoot parties who are upholding Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh (see Periyar and Ambedkar articles on Bhagat Singh published in countercurrents here and here) are the only secular democratic parties in India. We must save the people of India.
Considering one third of all seats in Parliament come from just three states namely UP, Bihar and West Bengal it is in those three states that fascism has to be annihilated. All efforts by the BSP, BMP, CPI(M) and CPI (ML) and CPI have to be concentrated there.
Finally one cannot but be horrified that someone who purports to be a secular activist Javed Anand on television complained that at least one of the men assassinated on 31st October near Bhopal should have been kept alive so that the public could know what had happened. One simply cannot believe the level of cynical nationalism the comment displays on par with fascist politicians and police. In any case it is highly likely that Indresh Kumar who was behind the assassination of Sunil Joshi and who was the mastermind behind the Chishti Dargha murders and other Hindutva terrorist bombings is also behind the assassination of the eight men allegedly associated with SIMI. After all he is the master strategist for so-called security issues for Narendra Modi. A visible killing of Muslims was needed at Diwali time because targets in Kashmir are so far away and killing a Kashmiri or even a Pakistani is not as ideologically valuable as killing a mainland Muslim who shouldn’t be here in the first place. Except, in fact, it is Indresh Kumar and his Hindu ilk, who are part of the invader Aryan dispensation, that should not be here, or at least should undergo reform, considering they unleashed this sectarian madness in India several millennia ago.
In his intervention at the Supreme Court hearing the CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury maintained that his party is also an affected party in this debate.
“All that we want to know is if an appeal is made for votes in the name of his religion, then what is the meaning of the word his? Is it the religion of candidates or religion of agent or religion of the third party (seeking votes) or religion of voters or that of all of them?” the bench observed. “Yechury’s counsel senior advocate Sanjay Hedge advanced the arguments that there is more at stake. Not only law but also fact regarding what is religion is part of the discussion. The CPI (M), one of the six national parties of the country, became the first political entity to voluntarily join the legal debate in the apex court over the contentious issue. Yechury also took the opportunity to target the RSS. “With the communal and fascistic RSS-led combine’s assuming power at the centre, systematic efforts are on to communalise the institutions of the state, the administration, the education system and the media.” He also added, “The growth of majority communalism will strengthen the forces of minority communalism and endanger national unity.” The CPI(M)’s late move, underlining its secular credentials and also seeking an opportunity to launch attack on the BJP establishment, however, faced time constraints in the apex court.” (Hindustan Times 28th of October 2016). Considering CPI (M) have also used the word fascist to describe TCM in West Bengal the word may have lost some of its meaning to them. But it has not for me. In India the RP Act has been overthrown. That to me is fascism.
Actually those efforts to communalise India started much before Modi won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. In fact his victory was a culmination of the efforts to communalise India in the preceding 25 years, in fact it started earlier, indeed the seeds were sown with the Hindu invasion of India those many millennia ago. Only mass agitation can finally wrench the country from the fascists and allow us to enforce the constitution and the rule of law especially the RP Act.
Anandi Sharan is an environmental historian and writer based at Bangalore. She is a Board member of the global environmental platform CBD Alliance and has been articulating the global South’s concerns on climate change. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org