Remember Godhra – Defend Teesta – Reclaim Democracy

Defend Teesta

Public Event – 28th Feb, 2002. Town Hall, Bangalore

The following protest is being organized by Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns – Bangalore, which includes the New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India). For more information, visit event page on facebook.

Remember Godhra: It is fifteen years since the horrible events that engulphed not just Gujarat, but the entire country and communities, particularly the Muslims of this country. The society was torn apart, when lawlessness and the trampling of democracy was blatant and the blaze of communalism was parching all human feelings in every nook and corner of this country.

It is now more than certain and can be argued that Godhra incident was a pre-planned event to target and hound the Muslims, but the Hindutva votaries continue to argue and hold on to the propaganda that the Muslims were the culprits who ignited it. Claims and counter claims apart, from the fundamental point that WE THE PEOPLE are supposed to be governed and live under a DEMOCRACY, nothing can justify the organised crimes against the minorities in different parts of Gujarat killing innocent people and raping women.

Godhra and the aftermath reverberates even to this day. The continuous hate campaign against the minorities by the Hindutvavadis goes unabated, tearing apart the fragile secular fabric that alleged to have knit the post British modern India.

Defend Teesta: Neo liberalism of the last quarter century, has dictated its brutal terms on the populace of this vast land mass named as India. Every facet of life in this once slow paced, feudal society has unbelievably changed its gear to a break neck speed. Death, politics, rights, law and constitutionality have become mere foot notes in research papers. What would universally affect a couple of decades ago, be it communal riots, price rise, strikes, genocide and war have reduced to become events that only bother directly affected sections of the society. Apathy is the bi-product of capitalist modernity, as islands of affluence dot unevenly, nothing but the individual and his/her interests matter.

There are very few if not none, who have made HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL as their life’s mission. Teesta Setalvad is that rare person who has put her neck out and braved all odds to defend and fight for the rights of the oppressed. Post Godhra, the anti-Muslim riots that maimed, raped, tortured and killed thousands of Muslim population was in fact a genocidal act of Hindutva goons that undoubtedly was supported and supervised by the state administration of Gujarat in 2002.

When the Muslim minority, the very citizens of this “boastful Democracy” became helpless and hounded, it was Teesta and her team of human rights defenders that stood by those victims of Hindutva hatred. To this day, Teesta in spite of all attacks on her from the state, has unflinchingly continued her efforts to bring the murderers of 2002 Gujarat to books and get justice to victims.

Defending Teesta becomes more urgent and important in the context that we live today. In recent times, along with the attacks against the minorities, the majoritarian Hindutva communal forces have also started attacking human rights defenders. Human rights defenders in India are being killed, physically threatened, forcefully silenced or harassed with legal cases. Along with such actions, organisations defending human rights are continuously getting harassed and many of their support mechanisms are getting blocked by the Government. Such actions against human rights defenders and human rights organisations is a serious threat to democracy and such moves must be condemned by all sections of the society.

Reclaim Democracy: Every tenet that is enshrined in the preamble of India’s Constitution has come under attack. Be it JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation, without exception all these highly valued social, political and economic principles have been watered down, if not destroyed. It is high time that WE THE PEOPLE solemnly resolve to RECLAIM DEMOCRACY.