National Convention, 25-26 October 2008, New Delhi
Countering Fascist Forces
Defending the Idea of India
Two days' National Convention on Countering Fascist Forces: Defending the
Idea of India concluded today. Around 750 activist from 18 states from 90
NGOs attended the convention and resolved to fight the fascist forces who
have attacked on the idea of India which was invented by Mahatma Gandhi,
explored by Jawaharlal Nehru and redefined by Dr. B. R. Amdebkar.
The following is the resolution of the convention which was also released
to a press conference held today during the Convention.
The urgency to intervene in defence of democracy, secularism and justice
has never been more pressing than in the conditions prevailing in the
The rise of communal fascism has emerged as a threat not only to its
immediate victims but to the very long-term survival of India as a unified
nation of diverse religious, linguistic and ethnic groups. The mysterious
and condemnable acts of terrorism that have shaken different parts of the
country have engendered a climate of fear, insecurity and fueled the
politics of communal division.
In recent months, vicious attacks have been mounted across India against
religious minorities by Hindutva fascist organization and communalism has
even become the dominate tenor of public discourse. In Maharashtra the
regional chauvinist forces of Bal and Raj Thackeray, both offsprings of
the Hindutva politics of hate, has targeted north Indians in a bid to
drive them out of the state.
The BJP, RSS and their allies in the Sangh Parivar have mounted a vicious
campaign against the Christian community across India. Orissa and over 10
states have seen violent attacks on the Christian community, their
institutions, religious places, property and business on the basis of
fabricated stories and hate campaigns.
Throughout the country Muslim youth are being targeted without any or
little evidence, as responsible for the various bomb blasts taking place
in the country. There is a concerted attempt by the Indian police,
intelligence agencies and certain political parties to portray all members
of the Muslim community as 'terrorists and extremists' to be
arbitrary arrested, tortured and killed in fake encounters. Sections of
the media instead of investigating the truth are blindly parroting these
sensational and unsubstantiated claims.
Even more disturbingly the accused are being systematically denied their
basic right to legal defence by some bar associations themselves which
have threatened, expelled and even violently attacked lawyers brave enough
to take up these cases. The Indian judiciary has failed to take suo moto
cognizance of such attacks as being contempt of court.
All this while hard evidence available against Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu
Parishad and other Sangh outfits of their direct involvement in terror
attacks is not only being ignored but actively pushed under the carpet by
the Indian state. The Hindutva terrorist groups like the Bajrang Dal are
openly claming responsibility for this communal violence against
Christians and are yet being allowed to go scot-free.
There is a growing feeling among religious minority communities that the
Indian state and judiciary is biased against them and unwilling to provide
impartial justice even in cases such as the demolition of the Babri
Masjid. No action has been taken on the recommendations of the Srikrishna
Commission report following the anti-Muslim pogrom in Mumbai of 1993. On
the other hand some members of the judiciary are now willing to be puppets
of communal forces, a dangerous trend set by the Nanavati Commission,
which has exonerated the Narendra Modi government of responsibility for
the Gujarat Genocide of 2002.
Instead of confronting these fascist forces the Indian state is cracking
down hard on 'soft targets' like human rights and social activists.
The fundamental rights of life, liberty, freedom of speech, religion and
dissent guaranteed to all citizens by the Indian Constitution are being
shred to pieces right in front of our eyes.
Entire swathes of the Indian North-East and Kashmir are covered by the
draconian Armed Forces Special Power Act (ASFPA) that authorizes even the
lowest soldier to shoot and kill civilians on mere suspicion of their
being 'militants'. In Chhattisgarh, large numbers of citizens continue
to be detained using the highly restrictive Chhattisgarh Special Public
Security Act (CAPSA). Those defending the rights of the poor, Dalit,
Adivasis and other marginalized people are being falsely branded as
'extremists' and 'anti-nationals'. The state sponsored,
unconstitutional 'Salwa Judum' campaign, which as unleased horrific
violence on innocent tribal populations over the past four years in the
name of countering Maoism, is their basic democratic rights everywhere.
Within the country, the pattern of elitist development has turned a vast
majority of the population into second-class citizens, reinforcing with
misguided policies the apartheid of the ancient and racist caste system,
The ghost of the East India Company, buried long ago, is being resurrected
in myriad forms and those who run the Indian state are willfully abetting
the return of a neo-colonial order.
It is a state of affairs that calls upon all those who value Indian
independence, democratic rights and social justice to come forward, take
responsibility and resist the onslaught by fascist and imperialist forces
on the foundations of our national values and existence. We also urge all
anti-communal activists and secular political parties to forge alliance to
defeat fascism and communalism. We, the delegates and participants of the
National Convention on Countering Fascism: Defending the Idea of India in
New Delhi held on 25-26 October 2008 resolves as follows to:
Prominent Speakers at the Convention
- Call for resignation of Shivraj Patil, Home Minister of India for his
abject failure to prevent bomb attacks in major India cities; take action
against Hindutva terrorist despite evidence provided to him by civil
society groups; stop the Sangh Parivarâ€™s attacks on Christian
populations in Orissa, Karnataka and other parts of India; and for using
face police encounters and false evidence against Muslim youth to save his
- Call for dismissal of M.K. Narayan, National Security Adviser for
incompetence and all the intelligence lapses leading to rise in to both
terrorist and communal violence;
- Demand prosecution of all members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and ABVP
who have links with Hindutva terrorist organizations, such as the ones
implicated in the Malegaon bomb blasts.
- Condemn the UPA government for falling prey to the Hindutva agenda while
paying lip service to secularism.
- Demand the setting up of a time-bound judicial inquiry into the Jamia
Nagar 'encounter' headed by sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
- Review major cases of 'terrorist' attacks and immediately release
those against whom there is no evidence of any kind; implementation of
NHRC instruction regarding independent investigation into all deaths in
police custody and in police encounters over the last 5 years;
- Call for a ban on RSS, The Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad for
terrorist, anti national activities and seizure of their national and
international assets; a White paper on terrorist activities of these
- Demand the presentation of a White Paper on the scope of India's 'war
on terrorism' and the level of its cooperation and collaboration with
US-led war on terror;
- Enact the Communal Violence Bill after through revision in consultation
with citizen's bodies, human rights groups and anti-communal
organizations across India;
- Provide immediate relief and compensation to the victims of communal
terrorism in Orissa and other states including reconstruction of destroyed
private property and restoration of livelihood. Set up a permanent
statutory body to deal with such issues in future.
- Demand the formation of a strong statutory body like election commission
(or extend the scope of the EC) to monitor pre-election conduct of
political parties and their leaders which generally leads up to
polarization of vote banks. Such a body should have right to disqualify
party and/or its functionaries or elected representatives in the
legislature in the wake of a breach of conduct;
- The immediate release of Human Rights Defenders, such as Dr. Binayak Sen,
who have been arrested for exposing police atrocities and state violence
against innocent citizens.
- Demand a White Paper on misuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in
Kashmir and the Indian North-East and the immediate withdrawal; search for
a political rather than military solution to the Kashmir problem;
- A National commission of inquiry into the misuse of special security laws
by the police to arrest members of the minority community in false cases
The two day national convention was attended by over 750 activists and
intellectuals from 18 states. Prominent among those who spoke at the
Abhay Sukhla, Achin Vanaik, Amit Sengupta, Ani Choudhary, Apporvanand,
Colin Gonsalves, Deepak Bundele, Digant Oza, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Dr.
Sayeda Hamid, Harsh Dobha, Iftikhar Gilani, Jaya Mehta, John Dayal,
Justice A.M. Ahmadi, Kamala Bhasin, Kavita Srivastava, Kerala, Ksitij Urs,
Kuldip Nayar, Manisha Sethi, Manoj Sharma, Pooja Patel, Poorprekha Joshi,
Prasant Bhushan, Prof KN Panikkar, Prof Mushir Ul Hasan, Prof Upendra
Buxi, Prof Rooprekha Verma, Satya Sivaraman, Sanjay Sharma, Shabnam
Hashmi, Subhash Gatade, Sumshot, Suresh Khairnar, Swami Agnivesh, Tanika
Sarkar, Vineet Tiwari, Yogi Sikand, Yusuf Shaikh, Safar Agha.