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We, the undersigned, are appalled and outraged by the arrest of Kanwal Bharti eminent Dalit writer for his comments on Face book. If one looks seriously at the banner headlines in the corporate media, the Indian ruling classes are the new economic power house of the world and India, the world’s largest democracy. Various clauses of the Indian constitution guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens to to freedom of expression and to choose ones cultural and political views. The pretensions of the Indian state about it being a liberal democracy have proved to be a total mockery of the very meaning of the words like liberalism, democracy and rule of law. Since the past six decades, under draconian laws like AFPSA, UAPA, National Security Act, tens of thousands of people have died in ‘encounters’, thousands of youth have vanished from Kashmir and Punjab. There are genocides happening on the struggling people of oppressed Nationalities, thousands are tortured, there are thousand of unknown mass graves in Kashmir. Thousands of woman are raped, tortured and killed in police custody.
When it comes to writers and cultural activists the Indian state has always bared its fascist and casteist fangs again and again. There glaring examples are the prosecution on false charges of the members of Kabir Kala Manch; the shooting of eminent revolutionary balladeer Ghadar, a living legend in the revolutionary peasant resistance struggle, by Andhra Police some years ago, after which he had to be hospitalized for months; Jiten Marandi an eminent radical cultural activist from Jharkhand, jailed for years on trumped up false criminal charges.
Progressive poet and writer Savyasachi Goswami is still languishing in Jail on false criminal charges, and comrade Gantiprasadam of RDF who was a famous revolutionary writer, was ruthlessly murdered.
These facts prove that Dalit writers and cultural activists are ruthlessly oppressed and persecuted by the Indian state. In this context one has to look seriously at the dialectics of the rise of identity politics in Indian via the Mandal and Kamandal debate. The rise if identity politics in late 80’s and early 90’s created an opportunity for the rise of a thin strata of OBC kulaks, who join hands with upper caste landlords to commit atrocities on Dalits. The Vanniyar Sangham hooliganism clearly proves this. However one has to look at the identity question in a dialectical prism.
There are identities and identities, some are oppressed some are oppressors. We should discern the democratic content of the identity struggles and we should firmly stand with the oppressed identities. History has shown it is only the oppressed who can break their own chains.
We appeal to the left and democratic organizations, and the progressive intelligentsia to join hands and fight together against the right to expression and atrocities on Dalits.
The very logic of Predatory Neoliberalism accentuates the class differentiation within the endogamous caste groups, further creating class polarization and exploitation. On the one hand it pauperizes vast masses of Dalits, OBC’s Pasmanda Muslims on the other hand a handful of minorities rich peasantry and the kulak elements of the OBC’s join hand with upper caste land lords to perpetuate atrocities. With the rise of identify politics in late eighties and early nineties especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar these elements have become the subsidiary part of the Indian Ruling Classes.
We draw attention to another danger in contemporary Identity discourse, the rise of slogans like Dalit Capitalism and formation of neoliberal clubs like DICCI, its ideologues conveniently forgetting the fact that 90% of the super exploited agricultural labourers are predominantly Dalits and the Dalit female agricultural labourers are also sexually exploited.
These stooges of Wall Street simply over look the fact that under the Neoliberal regime it’s the Dalits, Adivasis, poor OBC’s and Muslims that form that vast mass of super exploited, mobile, insecure “foot loose labour” which forms a bulk of the contractual, informal workers in the post fordist production relations and labour process. Therefore this dubious notion of Dalit capitalism is an albatross around the neck of every exploited Dalit.
1. We demand the withdrawal of all criminal cases on Jiten Marandi, Aparna Marandi, Savyasachi Goswami, Members of Kabir Kala Manch and Kanwal Bharti.
2. We demand a high level judicial enquiry on the murder of Com Ganti Prasadam and the resignation of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister for this tragedy.
3. We demand Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav apologise to the Dalits of this country
1. Arjun Prasad Singh PDFI
2. Prof. Uma Chakravarty Women Against Sexual Violence (WSS)
3. Anand Teltumbde CPDR, Mumbai
4. Kiran Shaheen (WSS)
5. Shiv Sethi SANHATI, Bangalore
6. Subhash Gatade Convenor, New Socialist Initiative
7. Anirban Kar SANHATI, Delhi Chapter
8. Students for Resistance Delhi University and JNU
9. Swati Birla SANHATI, Mumbai and State Representive (WSS)
10. Mahtab Alam Civil Rights activist, Delhi
11. P.K. Sundram Research Scholar, JNU
12. Usman Research Scholar, JNU
13. Mayur Chetia Research Scholar, JNU
14. Kaveri Rajaraman SANHATI, Bangalore
15. Nayan Jyoti Krantikari Naw Jawan Sabha (K.N.S.)
16. Rakesh Ranjan Nowroz, Delhi
17. Asit Das Contributing editor, India resists.com
18. Imran Potential and Powerful Research Scholar in Hindi literature
and firm and committed activist of Radical left.
19. Wilfred D’costa INSAF
20. Pravin NSI, Delhi
21. Vivek Sunder Human Right Activist Mumbai
22. Vira Sathidar Republican Panthers
23. C. Laxmanan Dalit Intellectual Collective, Chennai
24. Shirisha Naidu SANHATI, Chennai
25. Rita Jyoti Bandopadhaya Assistant Professor in History CSSS, Kolkata
26. Virbharat Talwar Professor CIL, JNU
27. Kamayani Bali Mahabal Social Activist, Mumbai
28. Sumit Chakrabarty People together Kolkata
29. Nisha Biswas WSS
30. Sudha Reddy Social Activist, Bangalore.