Radical Socialist

Radical Socialist condemns the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid on activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand’s Mumbai residence and organisations they established and run Sabrang Communications, Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace. The raid is a clear case of vindictiveness shown by Narendra Modi and BJP towards Setalvad and Citizens for Justice and Peace. Setalvad and Anand, along with fellow activists, have been responsible for keeping alive the memory of the pogrom of 2002, for ensuring that some of the guilty at least were punished. As it has already been pointed out by defenders and supporters of Setalvad, the CBI raid’s timing is significant exposing the malafide intent of the government in power. On 13 July, the Gujarat High Court was to hear appeals by Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani. On 27 July, the same court will begin its final hearing into the petition filed by Zakia Jafri.The CBI has been used as a weapon by the Modi government to muzzle critics or dissent in any form and discipline political rivals. Setalvad and her colleagues have been harassed since 2006 by the Gujarat police. With Modi assuming the office of Prime Minister in 2014, these cases are now being pursued by central agencies.Modi’s one year in office has seen frequent incidents of attacks on minorities.  Repeatedly, Modi, or his ministers, have advocated causes from the Hindutva agenda, and have intentionally attacked and hurt minority sentiments. The reason for the severe persecution of Teesta Setalvad is of course an aggressive reaction to the determined fight put up by the organisations they have been running.

But more than that, it is a form of state sponsored terrorisation, where the aim, just as with any non-state terrorists, is not only to attack or kill certain persons, but even more, to strike terror among other people. By attacking prominent civil rights activists, the regime is seeking to discredit them in the public eye; to tie them and their time up in innumerable cases in self defence, so that they have less and less time to fight for the rights of oppressed groups of people and while knowing that these people are hardened fighters and may go on resisting, this terrorisation is trying to silence and iontimidate others, whether in Gujarat, or elsewhere, so that they accept the move to implementation of more and more Hindutva agenda without protest. The assassins of senior Communist Party leader of Maharashtra, Govind Pansare, killed in February this year, have not been caught. Similar is the case with the murderers of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Radical Socialist joins voices in supporting Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and several other activists and citizens in the time of assault from the BJP- Sangh Parivar led government. We believe in spirited action against communal-fascism and terrorism unleashed by the BJP-Sangh Parivar in the country. We join in criticism of the Police State; as affairs have come to be in the Modi regime.

In order to express our solidarity, we believe that forms, such as statements by prominent individuals, or online petitions, cannot be fully adequate. We are facing a government, headed by a party that has been repeatedly identified as fascist by many left and progressive forces. Solidarity has to take on more militant and mass forms. We propose an all India day of action, when there will be protest meetings, in public spaces if we can mobilise sufficient people, in halls where that is not possible, but in cities and towns all over India, where our demands should include:

•Oppose the move towards a police state
•Oppose the Central Government’s attempts at pushing the Hindutva agenda
•Stop the harassment of Teesta Setalvad and all other campaigners for communal harmony
•Stop state support to peddlers of communal violence from Gujarat to Muzaffarnagar
•Punish the killers of Pansare and Dabholkar