AYODHYA DISPUTE: VERDICT DELIVERED; NOT JUSTICE
The CPI(M) has always maintained that the resolution of the Ayodhya dispute must be through a negotiated settlement, failing which, the only way is to resolve the matter through a court verdict. This is the only manner in which a secular republic governed by the rule of law can deal with such a dispute. The verdict has now been delivered. There are however certain premises of the judgment that raise serious questions.
- The five-member Constitution bench headed by the chief justice states repeatedly the commitment to uphold constitutional values and that “the adjudication of civil claims over property must remain within the secular…… .” The judgement further remarks, “The title cannot be established on the basis of faith and belief……. .” Despite such declarations, the end result of the verdict has given precedence to faith and beliefs of one side. Instead of dealing with the petitioners in this case, the verdict deviates by widening the ambit referring to Hindus and Muslims.
- The verdict states unambiguously that the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 was a “serious violation of law”. But finally, hands over the site to the very forces responsible for this criminal assault. The writ filed in 1989 was represented by a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an organisation that led the agitation that resulted in the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
- The verdict states that the desecration of the mosque in December 1949 by the illegal placing of idols within the mosque was also a grave violation of law. Yet, the entire disputed site has been handed over to the violators of law.
- The verdict clearly states that the Archeological Survey of India findings do not provide any evidence for the destruction of a temple to build the mosque as claimed by the Hindutva forces. However, it goes on to say that no evidence was offered to indicate that the exclusive possession of the entire structure of the Babri Masjid belonged to the Muslims between 1528 and 1857. Since the mosque was constructed in 1528, till the British annexation of Awadh in 1856, the mosque was, for over three centuries, under the rule – first of the Mughals, later of the Awadh Nawabs. The fact that there was no dispute prior to 1857 cannot prove that the Muslims were not in exclusive possession or the mosque and it was not used for prayers. On the contrary the Hindu side’s claim of continuous possession has been upheld not on the basis of facts but it appears display of faith and belief has taken the upper hand.
- The verdict has reiterated the Places of Worship Act, 1991 as a law which enforces constitutional obligations to uphold the equality of all religions and secularism. No place of worship can be altered from the status quo as it exists since August 15, 1947. However, the court failed to bar the future raising of such disputes in other locations like Kashi and Mathura. The RSS chief has in a veiled warning declared that the disputes of Kashi and Mathura are not on the agenda “for now”. This is an ominous declaration indicating that passions can be aroused on these issues at any time in the future. A firm resolve by the apex court to bar such possibilities was not forthcoming.
- Though the December 1949 and December 1992 incidents have been categorized as serious violation of law, justice has not been delivered on the perpetrators of such criminal acts. The case against those including L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh etc. as being responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid has been languishing for nearly 28 years now. This must be expedited and guilty punished and this verdict of the Supreme Court should not impinge on the delivery of justice.
- The judicial verdict has been delivered to settle this longstanding dispute that had already claimed thousands of lives and left behind a trail of bloodshed and mayhem through communal riots for over two decades.
SABARIMALA REVIEW VERDICT
The five-member Constitution bench was to hear the review petitions and writ petitions regarding its September 2018 judgment allowing women of all ages to worship in the Sabarimala temple. Instead of disposing off the review petitions, the majority judgment, deviating from the norm, has widened the scope by making a reference to various points concerning religious rights under the Constitution to a seven-member bench. The minority judgment of two members has categorically rejected all the review petitions and upheld the 2018 judgment.
diverting the matter to other issues concerning women’s rights of other religions which are already being heard by other benches of the court, the majority judgment has failed to uphold the 2018 verdict and by keeping the review petitions pending has created an ambiguous and uncertain situation.
As far as the CPI(M) is concerned, it is committed to women’s equality in all spheres and wants the court to come out with a definitive stand at the earliest.
The Supreme Court order on Rafale controversy dismissing the review petition has clarified that this in no way bars investigation by agencies like the CBI or others to proceed with investigation on charges of misappropriation and corruption. Under this government, any faith on an investigation by the CBI does not arise. The CPI(M), therefore, since this controversy erupted and since a large scale loss to public exchequer benefiting the crony corporate friends of this government surfaced, had demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee to be constituted to investigate this scam. The Modi government refuses to accept this. Clearly, there is a lot that it seeks to hide.
The CPI(M) reiterates its demand for the constitution of a JPC to investigate this scam.
JAMMU & KASHMIR
It is now more than hundred days since the restrictions on communications, public transport movement was imposed in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Though some easing of restrictions has been announced, the daily life of the people continues to be disrupted because of immense hardships.
Most of the political leaders have either been detained under the draconian Public Safety Act or continue to remain under house arrest. The government claims that they have not been arrested nor are they facing any charges. But the fact of the matter is that they can neither leave their residence nor can anybody go to visit them. Hundreds of others are reportedly detained in various jails in the country and there is still no clarity on how many have been detained under and what charges, even after a hundred days.
The CPI(M) demands the complete lifting of all restrictions imposed on the state that continue to affect the normal life and activities of the people. Internet and even SMS messaging continue to remain barred. This is grievously affecting the state’s economy which is largely dependent on tourism and the sale of cash crops like fruits and saffron. Most of these orders and payments are made online. This continues to remain disrupted.
Annually, on an average, apple trade is in the range of Rs 10,000 crore. This is totally ruined. The BJP government must declare this as a national calamity and compensate the apple growers.
The CPI(M) demands that all the political leaders detained should be released forthwith; the complete restoration of democratic rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution must be ensured. In particular, school going children have been subjected to tremendous trauma with uncertainty over their careers, future and employment. This cannot be allowed to continue.
The Modi government continues to remain in a state of denial over the fact that the Indian economy has virtually entered a stage of recession with the GDP growth showing a decline for over two quarters. This has resulted in the heaping of unprecedented burdens on the vast majority of our people. The data released by the NSSO has shown that the consumer spending in rural areas declined by 8.8 per cent in 2017-18 indicating a fall after four decades and consequent rise in poverty levels. This report has now been withdrawn by the government over “data quality issues”. This Modi government is indulging in gross data fudging. The lack of data credibility is additionally hitting India’s global ratings.
All sectors of our economy, agriculture, industry and services, have been subject to severe slowdown. Industrial output recorded the steepest decline in eight years. Power demand fell the most in the last twelve years. All current estimates of GDP growth rate have shown it to fall below 5 per cent.
Unemployment levels have reached the highest in the last half a century. Massive lay-offs and retrenchment is taking place in factories across the board, including the IT sector.
Additionally, the government has embarked upon a largescale privatisation of the public sector. This, apart from destroying India’s self-reliant basis, also benefits directly the corporate cronies of this Modi government. Such privatisation will add to already large scale growing unemployment in the country. Further, whatever little benefit that the marginalised sections of Indian society derived from reservations would be seriously eroded.
This economic recession has been caused due to a sharp decline in the purchasing capacities of the vast majority of our people. The answer to turn around the economy lies in providing people the capacity to purchase, thus increasing the levels of domestic demand which may lead to a revival of closed factories. The Modi government has announced a package in two instalments of Rs 2.15 lakh crores providing tax cuts and benefits to the corporates with the hope that they will increase their investments. Increased investments cannot revive the economy unless people have the capacity to buy what is produced by such new investments. It is precisely this that is going to get further exacerbated by the government’s so-called “solutions”.
Instead, if this Rs 2.15 lakh crores were used for enlarging public investment to build our much-needed infrastructure, social and economic, this would have resulted in the creation of lakhs of new jobs providing employment to our distressed youth. Once they start spending their earnings, the domestic demand would have risen providing the required kickstart for an economic turnaround. Cruelly, the government has turned back two out of the 13 crores who applied for work under the MGNREGA.
However, this Modi government in its urge to provide greater avenues for profit-maximisation to foreign and domestic corporates is providing them with concessions while further pushing the vast majority of our people into languishing misery.
STATE ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
The election results of the assemblies of Maharashtra and Haryana and bye elections in various states like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Kerala and Assam, clearly showed that the impact of communal nationalist jingoistic emotional propaganda fanned by the BJP is waning.
The grim reality of increasing burdens on people’s livelihood with the economic recession deepening is coming to the fore. This underlines the need for intensifying popular united struggles on people’s growing economic miseries.
Jharkhand: In the forthcoming assembly elections in Jharkhand, the CPI(M) will contest ten seats. The CPI(M) has appealed to all Left parties to come together to forge an understanding between the Left parties in the state in the interests of improving people’s welfare.
NEW EDUCATION POLICY
The CPI(M) is opposed to the drastic changes in the education policy of our country proposed by this Modi government on various aspects. The Party has already put out its reasoned opinion in the public domain. This new policy contains proposals that are detrimental for India’s future and makes education a privilege than a right for the people particularly our children. This is completely against the interests of our country and the future of our people.
All efforts will be made to draw together the democratic sections of the people who are opposed to this education policy into the national campaign and a protest movement aimed at forcing the government to withdraw this policy.
RIGHTWING COUP IN BOLIVIA
The Polit Bureau of the CPIM) condemned the rightwing coup in Bolivia ousting the democratically elected government of Evo Morales, the first indigenous President of the country.
US imperialism’s direct and brazen interference in the internal affairs of many Latin American countries is emboldening the rightwing forces to dismantle progressive Left-leaning governments that were elected democratically by the peoples of various countries. In Brazil, the self-declared fascist Bolsanaro was elected after a rightwing reactionary destabilisation of the Left of centre government and the arrest of former presidents, Lula and Dilma Rousseff. Predictably, the Modi government has invited this president to be the chief guest at the India’s 2020 Republic Day parade.
US imperialism continues to brazenly interfere in Venezuela targeting the Maduro government and directly assisting and financing the rightwing forces to destabilise the government.
Resistance to such rightwing offensive is, however, seen in countries like Argentina, Chile etc.
The struggle between the political Right and the political Left will set the future course of politics in the continent
The Polit Bureau calls upon all Party units to conduct a month-long movement of protests, conventions and agitations against the large-scale privatisation of the public sector in December 2019. This month-long movement must dovetail to culminate in the Party’s support to the January 8, 2020 all India strike called by the central trade unions.
- STOP PRIVATISATION
- SAVE PUBLIC ASSETS
Hold Protests against ruinous economic policies in December: Yechury
SITARAM Yechury, general secretary of the CPI(M) placed the Polit Bureau communiqué at a press conference on November 18 at New Delhi.He briefed the press after the PB meeting that took place on November 16-17 at Delhi.
Sitaram highlighted the major tasks undertaken by the PB and said in the month of Decemebr there shall be widespread campaign in the country against the ruinous economic policies of the Modi government. This campaign shall be linked with the massive strike of the workers in the country on January 8, 2020. Speaking on the Ayodhya judgement, he said the verdict has been delivered but not justice.
One being asked about the JNU students march to the parliament, Sitaram said that the Party strongly condemns the police atrocities on the students and supported their demand for reversing the fee hikes. He said even elementary democracy is being threatened under the BJP rule.
Answering to another question, Yechury said that the revelations made in the electoral bonds have completely exposed the BJP in the country. Days before unveiling electoral bonds, a secretive way to channel money to political parties, the Narendra Modi government pretended to ask the RBI for its opinion. Only to summarily dismiss the central bank’s reservations, quoted one of the news portals. Through these bonds the BJP was able to amass 95 per cent of the first tranche. The BJP has got nearly Rs 6,000 crore rupees through these bonds. He informed the media that a writ petition on the electoral bonds, which was filed by him in the Supreme Court is still pending and said that the CPI(M) is completely against these bonds.
On being asked that how is the CPI(M) considering the position of the all India Muslim Personal Law Board to review the Ayodhya judgement, he said in a democracy everyone has the right to seek relief under the provisions of the constitution and there is nothing wrong in it.