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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 country today.

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:

  • 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 Parivar’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 political career;
  • 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 organizations;
  • 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 of terrorism.
Prominent Speakers at the Convention

The two day national convention was attended by over 750 activists and intellectuals from 18 states. Prominent among those who spoke at the convention include:
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.

Landelijke India Werkgroep / India Committee of The Netherlands - December 10, 2008