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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 41 New Delhi October 1, 2016

’Establishment of a Full-blown RSS-led Fascist State must be Prevented at All Costs’

Sitaram Yechury Asserts in Interview to ‘Ganashakti’

Monday 3 October 2016

The following interview of the CPI-M General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury, was recently published in Ganashakti, the CPI-M West Bengal Committee’s Bengali mouthpiece. It clearly brings out the fascist direction of the present BJP Government, led and guided by the RSS.

Q: The united Left has scored an impressive victory in the JNU Students Union elections. Is this the way that the communal forces can be confronted and defeated in the country?

A. Yes, this is a very significant victory. In the background of the attacks on the University and the Central Government‘s efforts to destroy its progressive character, this victory is very encouraging. Left unity amongst the student organisations could have been stronger though. Even then, the JNU students have resoundingly rejected the RSS/BJP’s ideological project and their communal agenda by totally marginalising the RSS student wing, the ABVP.

As far as the country is concerned, in this political fight against this communal danger, of course Left unity is of prime importance. But the political correlation amongst the Indian people is not the same as it is amongst the JNU students. As the CPIM‘s 21st Party Congress decided, the strength of the unity of the Left and democratic forces is the decisive factor to change the correlation of political forces amongst the Indian people in the Left’s favour. This can be achieved by strengthening popular struggles against the all-round attacks being mounted by this Modi Government. On all anti-people measures and those threatening the unity and integrity of India and its secular democratic foundations, the Left should rally all forces opposed to these measures in struggles. It is only by strengthening such popular struggles that the Left and democratic forces can be strengthened.

Q: In spite of the All Party Delegation’s visit to Kashmir and the unanimous statement issued by the delegation upon its return, why is there no sign of return to normalcy in the Kashmir Valley?

A: This is grievously unfortunate. Reports of the past two days show that the deaths of Kashmiri youth continue and the Army has been deployed in at least four districts. The All Party Dele-gation’s statement, read out by the government, had unequivocally called upon the Central and State governments to take the initiative to start a political dialogue with “all stakeholders”. Such an initiative has not happened so far. Unless this is set in motion, the likelihood of any effort to return to normalcy will not materialise. The government unfortunately continues to treat the events in Kashmir as primarily a law and order problem, inspired and engineered by Pakistan across the border. The question of Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir is well known and the entire political spectrum in india has unitedly both condemned it and asked successive governments to ensure that this is halted. However, without a political engagement with all stakeholders in Kashmir in the beginning, the problem cannot be solved.

The CPI-M had suggested a dual-track approach: on the one hand initiate an uncon-ditional political dialogue with all stakeholders in India. Also, we suggested the PM use the forthcoming SAARC summit to re-start the Indo-Pak dialogue.

The other track is of announcing immediate confidence building measures such as the stoppage of the use of pellet guns; adequate compensation and rehabilitation to those injured, families who lost their children must be immediately announced; allegations of excesses by the security forces must be judiciously probed and the guilty punished; the AFSPA be withdrawn from civillian areas; and the immediate starting of employment generation programmes for the Kashmiri youth.

Unless this dual-track approach is sincerely implemented by the government the country may have to continue to pay the price for such events in Kashmir which will be very injurious to India’s unity and integrity.

Q: Why is the government not doing this then?

A: This is the question that the government continuously avoids answering. However, it appears that functioning as the political arm of the RSS, the BJP Government seeks the sharpening of communal polarisation, to advance the RSS’ ideological project of converting India into a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

With the UP elections round the corner, they probably think that sharper the communal polarisation as a result of Kashmir, the greater the electoral benefits the BJP can to reap in UP, and also the rest of the country.

Q: How else is the BJP Government seeking to advance the RSS’ ideological project?

A: In various ways. Periodically, new issues are raked up in order to sharpen communal polari-sation to achieve their ends—the so-called love-jihad, ghar-wapsi, forced reconversions etc. The latest is the Gaurakshak samitis or Cow vigilante groups that have been formed across the country in various States. Bands of storm-troopers proc-laiming themselves as protectors of the cow are claiming to enforce the law. They indiscriminately terrorise the minorities and Dalits, falsely accusing them of leading cows to slaughter and murder them, as, for example, Akhlaq or the instance of two young cattle traders in Latehar, Jharkhand, or the flogging of four Dalits in Una in Gujarat. The latest in the string of such attacks is what has happened in Mewat, a predominantly Muslim district in Haryana where two young girls were gang-raped, people murdered under the charge that they were possessing beef. Biryani samples in the village are being “checked” for beef content. This terrorising of the entire community on the eve of their major festival Eid-uz-zoha or Bakrid where Biryani is the traditional meal, is the current flavour for communal polarisation.

Such cow vigilante gangs are chillingly similar in their terror methodology to the fascist storm-troopers, organised and unleashed by Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.

Many BJP State governments and others have enacted laws for cow protection. The law enforcement agencies of the State must do the job. Law enforcement is not the job of such vigilante groups. These State-patronised vigilante Gaurakshak samitis must be immediately banned by law.

Similar expressions will continue to show their ugly faces. We have seen instances of moral policing with bands of marauders moving about, terrorising women on dress codes, behaviour patterns etc.

Q: This government came on the promise of Achhe Din and 10 crore jobs in five years. Why is all this happening in the country instead, then?

A: This is for two reasons.

One, these promises were meant only to attract a people groaning under economic burdens by providing false hopes to enlist electoral support.

Secondly, the government’s inherent inability to implement pro-people pro-poor policies given its very pronounced pro-rich, pro-corporate pro-foreign capital bias, is reflected in what we see today—instead of pro-people development, the phenomenal rise of crony capitalism where the corporates and the rich are getting away with the virtual loot of resources—for example, Rs 5.5+ lakh crore worth tax concessions in each of the last two years, a loan waiver of Rs 1.12 lakh crore in these two years to corporate loan defaulters while refusing to provide any debt relief or MSP to the Indian farmer who continues to commit suicide unable to repay a loan of a few thousand rupees. Industrial stagnation, manufacturing decline, 1.35 lakh job creation in 2015 (against the requirement of 1.3 crores and a promise of two crore jobs!), drastically cutting social welfare programmes, like MNREGA, PDS etc., in short further enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor.

To cover this up, data is fudged, to project a high GDP growth rate. The latest is making the poor disappear! The PM’s handpicked Niti Aayog says it is unable to define poverty in India!

Q: This government is now at its halfway mark. Your assessment?

A: During this period, it has created a very disturbing situation in the country, which can lead upto becoming very dangerous to the democratic, secular character of our Republic. To put it in a nutshell, this government has ‘four faces’. One, is its brazen communal agenda, to further the RSS project. The second, its anti-people economic policies further widening the divide between the two Indias and working completely in favour of international and domestic corporates and big capital. Thirdly, an increasingly authori-tarian tendency as seen in the dismissal of elected governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and the manner in which it seeks to undermine the institutions of parliamentary democracy, including parliamentary procedures. Fourthly, reducing India to the status of a junior partner of the USA’s global strategic, political, economic interests as is clearly spelt out in the last Joint Indo-US Communique that PM Modi signed with President Obama.

These two-and-a-half years have confirmed that this government has fused neo-liberalism and communalism. It is pursuing pro-imperialist neo-liberal economist reforms more vigorously than the Manmohan Singh Government. Simultaneously it is sharpening communal polarisation.

These 2.5 years have weakened rather than strengthened the four foundational pillars of our Constitution—secular democracy, economic self-reliance, social justice and federalism.

Q: We had a BJP-coalition government in power for six years before. How is this BJP Government different?

A: Yes, we have had a BJP-led NDA Government before headed by A.B. Vajpayee between 1998-2004. But there is a major difference between the two governments. On that occasion, Mr Vajpayee was heading a coalition government where the BJP did not have a majority of its own; so due to “coalition compulsions” that government put its hardcore Hindutva agenda—temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya; abrogation of Article 370 for J&K; and the enactment of the UCC—on the back-burner. This Modi-led government has a majority in the Lok Sabha. Hence it is brazenly going ahead with advancing the fascistic RSS project.

Regarding this fascistic RSS project, the CPI-M’s updated Party Programme says: “The threat to the secular foundations has become menacing with the rise of the communal and fascistic RSS-combine and its assuming power in the Centre.” The Programme goes on to describe the dangers of this trend to India’s constitutional order and national unity. “The support of the sections of the big bourgeoisie for the BJP and its communal platform is fraught with serious consequences for democracy and secularism in the country.” (para 5.7)

The Programme further says: “The danger of fascist trends gaining ground, based on religious communalism, must be firmly fought at all levels.” (para 5.8) Further, the Party Programme says: “The Bharatiya Janata Party is a reactionary party with a divisive and communal platform, the reactionary content of which is based on hatred against other religions, intolerance and ultra-nationalist chauvinism. The BJP is no ordinary bourgeois party as the fascistic Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh guides and dominates it. When the BJP is in power, the RSS gets access to the instruments of State power and the State machinery. The Hindutva ideology promotes revivalism and rejects the composite culture of India with the objective of establishing a Hindu Rashtra.... Besides, a substantial section of big business and landlords, imperialism headed by the USA, is lending all-out support to the BJP.” (Para 7.14)

It is on the basis of such an understanding that I have been saying and writing since the time of Mr Advani’s infamous Rath Yatra that left behind hundreds dead and India divided, that the RSS is resolutely pushing forward its agenda to transform the character of India from a constitutionally declared Secular, Democratic Republic into a rabidly intolerant fascistic Hindu Rashtra.

The latest instance where I said this was in my inaugural address at the EMS Smrithi on June 14, 2016 in Thrissur. Reflecting on the present ground realities I had said that though the Modi Government is not a fascist govern-ment at the moment but, “if the RSS does succeed then it is a qualitatively different situation. That is the situation that the revolutionary forces must work to render unrealiseable.”

As Dimitrov says in his Report to the Communist International, “Before the establishment of the fascistic dictatorship, bourgeois governments pass through a number of preliminary stages and institute a number of reactionary measures, which directly facilitate the accession to power of fascism. Whoever does not fight the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie and the growth of fascism at these preparatory stages, is not in a position to prevent the victory of fascism, but on the contrary, facilitates that victory.” (Emphasis in original)

The Centre, has found some regimes such as Mamata Banerji’s Bengal today, which tacitly go along with the RSS and work to systematically weaken the democratic forces. Anyone conscious and rooted in today’s lived realities can see the direction India is heading towards, unless the threats are not fought back, head-on and unitedly. If we don’t fight this assault vigorously, we will be undermining whatever little gains India has made since 1950. After this ‘trailer’ we have seen in the past two-and-a-half years, the dangers of permitting a full-blown RSS-led fascist state to get established are too grim and dark to be allowed. This must be tripped up and prevented, at all costs. To fight this, is both, our commitment and our resolve.