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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 2, New Delhi, December 26 2020

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Dec 26, 2020

Saturday 26 December 2020

Letter to the Readers – Mainstream, Dec 26, 2020

The Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly had been dissolved in November 2018 and then the Central Government abrogated Article 370 thereby taking away the Special Status of the State on August 5, 2019 and detained political leaders of all parties except for the BJP for a long spell of a year and more leading to a paralysis of political activity. People of the former State have voted in the recently held local body District Development Council elections in 20 districts and given the mandate to the Farooq Abdullah led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — the seven-party alliance that includes National Conference and PDP which wants the J&K Statehood to be restored. The BJP campaign with all the money and means tried to dislocate the parties of the State but the voters have rejected the heavy-handed stance of BJP led Central Government in the former state. This is good news for democracy.

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The Farmers protest against the three farm laws of the Central Government continues unabated. For over a month thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, had driven to Delhi’s borders in Trolleys pulled by tractors. Their movement has shown exemplary resilience and came-up with extra-ordinary capacity at self-organising their day-to-day struggle and survival in very trying conditions. Social movements across the country are ill-equipped and would have found it very hard to sustain survival for such large numbers, but here we have an amazing demonstration of what happens when there is social solidarity. So here you have thousands of farmers sleeping in their trolleys, food is being prepared for thousands thanks to the experience in ‘Gurudwaras’, there is a You-Tube channel and daily newspaper being printed by the movement, there are doctors in attendance, there is water being brought in tanks installed on trolleys, supplies of blankets, mosquito repellents, thermal underclothing, generation of small scale electrical power through solar panels, makeshift bathing and cleaning facilities and so on. Brilliant creative self-organising to keep the movement going. This movement is becoming a demonstrative training space for future ‘Angolans’ in India. All power to the protesting citizens who say no to no-say.

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The recent move by Arif Mohammed Khan the Governor of Kerala, to veto the State Government’s decision to convene a special session of the Assembly to pass a resolution against the contentious Central farm laws has created grounds for a confrontation between Kerala and the Central government. The ruling CPM and Congress Party, the main opposition in Kerala have both sharply opposed the governor’s decision as a violation of his constitutional role.

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We express deep alarm at the raid by Delhi Police’s Special Cell on Christmas eve, December 24, 2020, on the office of Mehmood Pracha, a lawyer representing several people who are accused in the February 2020 Delhi riots. This type of police raid on the premises of a lawyer where his computer equipment is seized is unprecedented and illegal, it strikes at the legal system in India. We are witnessing a clear breach of norms.

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Tributes:

The Canadian Marxist intellectual Leo Panitch, the Co-editor of Socialist Register passed away on December 19, 2020 in Canada.

Motilal Vora, a veteran leader of the Congress party passed away on Dec 22, 2020

Sugathakumari, the poet, writer and activist, passed away on December 23, 2020 in Thiruvananthapuram. She died following complications from COVID-19. She had been the chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission. She had played a prominent role in the Silent Valley protests in Kerala in the late 1970s early 1980s.

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, the eminent Urdu poet, fiction writer, critic and theorist passed away in Allahabad on Dec 24, 2020

We pay our tributes to all of them.

December 26, 2020 - The Editors

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