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26 November, 2008

Setting the agenda to counter the fascist state

A Seminar on “The Fascist state: setting the agenda to counter” was held at the Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Ahmedabad, on Sunday, November 23, 2008. Below is the text of a resolution adopted at the seminar:

We, the participants of the Seminar on 'The Fascist State: Setting the agenda to counter' held at the Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, on Sunday, 23rd November 2008, are extremely concerned at the increasingly fascist nature of the Indian State, as illustrated by several instances in the recent past.

Gujarat 2002 certainly heralded the fascist era in Indian politics; but it is getting deeply entrenched in Indian politics as a whole, without exception of the party in power. The genocide of Muslims in Gujarat, the subversion of the criminal justice system in order to achieve this, the application of POTA on Muslims in Godhra and other cases, the refusal to acknowledge the large numbers of Internally Displaced Muslims, the persecution of Christian and Muslim Adivasis and the holding of the Shabri Kumbh in the Dangs – all these did expose the fascist characteristics of the State in Gujarat. Encounter killings of Muslims under the pretext of a conspiracy to kill the CM, the appointment of Sanghis in the universities and the saffronization of the campuses, the recent massive drive against Muslim youth following the Ahmedabad blasts also reiterate this.

The brutal and blatant attacks on Christians and their institutions in Orissa and Karnataka, with total connivance of the State governments has exposed the massive fascist project that is underway. The misrepresentation of the constitutionally granted right to practice and propagate one's religion as "forced conversions", in order to threaten the marginalized communities into submission and acceptance of the dominant Hindutva discourse which finally culminates in draconian anti-conversion laws, seems to be passively accepted by the political parties and civil society across the board.

We express deep anguish at the increasing fascist mobilization in society, rising State terror and a circumvention of the rule of law by the law enforcing agencies, and the large scale violation of civil and political liberties.

We condemn these acts of repression in no uncertain terms. We call upon the Central and State Governments to act immediately: uphold and protect the sanctity of the Constitution, to guarantee the rights and freedom of all citizens and to contain the fascist forces which are inimical to the pluralism and diversity of the country.

We invite civil society and all citizens of India, to raise their voice against these fascist forces and make our country in the real sense of the word, one which is 'by the people, for the people and of the people'.

The seminar was organized by Action Aid * Aman Biradari * Aman Samuday * Antarik Visthapit Haq Rakshak Samiti * Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan * Centre for Development * Documentation and Study Centre for Action * Himmat * INSAF * JanVikas * Lok Kala Manch * Mahila Swaraj Abhiyan * Movement for Secular Democracy * National Alliance for Women * Niswa * PRASHANT * PUCL * Safar * SAHR WARU * Women's Action and Resource Unit * Samarpan * Samerth * Samvedan Cultural Program * Sanchetna * Saurashtra Dalit Sangathan * St. Xavier's Social Service Society * Swabhimaan Andolan * URJA

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