Save Gujarat, Save India

AS SOON as the news of VHP-RSS violence against minorities was flashed by the TV channels on 1 March, the day of All-India Bandh called by VHP, the CPI(ML) activists took to the streets in Delhi to stage a protest demonstration the very same day. Since then the Party and mass organisations have staged numerous demonstrations all over the country. The Party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and CPI(ML) MP Comrade Jayant Rongpi rushed to Gujarat on March 4 for a two-day visit even as the state was reeling under violence and Ahemadabad was still under curfew. This team, the frst by a political party, was followed by several other, from the Party and mass organisations, which visited Ahemadabad and other parts of Gujarat to get a firsthand account of the happenings, to express solidarity with the victims and to offer relief and rehabilitation.

Addressing the press in Delhi on 6 March, Comrade Dipankar called for the resignation of the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Advani. On March 9, CPI(ML) had given a call for All-India protest day under the slogan “Save Gujarat, Save India” which witnessed vigorous protests all over the country. Many other left and democratic forces joined these protests. Narendra Modi Must Go! – this became the main war cry in the protests. Meanwhile, Ayodhya was hotting up. There was another round of natiowide protests on March 14 demanding a ban on VHP, arrest of VHP leaders, and maintenance of status quo in Ayodhya. There was also a massive rally of nearly a lakh people in Patna reiterating these demands.

The very next day, Party activists were again on the streets in many states, launching street-corner meetings and taking out marches protesting charade going on parallelly in Ayodhya. Notable among them was the demonstration organised by AISA-RYA on March 15 itself at Faizabad, a few kms away from Ayodhya, under very difficult circumstances.

CPI(ML) also joined hands with other left parties like CPI and CPI(M) in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh to launch united initiatives.

Meanwhile, there was no sign of anti-minority violence abating in Gujarat. More than a month after the carnage, Vajpayee made a belated visit to Gujarat, waxed eloquent there about Rajdharma, but also revealed his true saffron colours by refusing to act against Modi. On April 15, again the CPI(ML) observed protest day all over the country. Next came the BJP’s National Executive meet at Goa which was brazen in its definace of the pubic opinion in the country and defiance of an indefensible Modi. The BJP made no secret of its intention to play hardball, disillusioning the liberal camp that was hoping for some action against Modi by Vajpayee. The democratic forces in the country can pick up the gauntlet and wage this war only by deepening the movement against communal fascism among the broad masses.

The Party has also decided to organise a week-long campaign – Campaign against Communal Fascism and for People’s Unity – from May 4-10, coinciding with the day marking the beginning of the anti-British revolt of 1857. The highlight of this campaign would be a Martyrs Mela in Faizabad on May 9-10 – a festival dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of 1857, with cultural performances by theatre groups and folk artistes, poster exhibitions, and anti-communal conventions etc.