May 15, 2022
Resisting the Bulldozer Attacks

Rajeev Kunwar & P V Aniyan

THE Citizens March on May 11, 2022, turned out to be a stern warning from thousands of Delhiites that they won’t allow the RSS-BJP to bulldoze their constitutional rights.

Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau Member of the CPI(M) while speaking at the march said the RSS-BJP bulldozer which runs through the livelihood of the working people of Delhi stops in front of the encroachment of their cronies and elites. She said the united might of the working class would give a befitting reply to the RSS-BJP in the coming days. Sucheta Dey (CPI-ML), Amarjeet Kaur (CPI), Benoy Viswam (Member, Rajya Sabha, CPI), Shatrujeet (RSP), and Birju Naik (CGPI) spoke at the meeting presided over by Dinesh Varshney.

CPI(M) along with other Left parties organised a dharna at Jantar Mantar and a Citizens March to the official residence of the Delhi lieutenant governor in its bid to take to the streets against the attacks on the working people. When the bulldozers started their action in Jahangirpuri, only the working-class people of all the communities had to bear the loss. The RSS-BJP wants to strengthen the divisive communal politics through bulldozers. Modi government which failed miserably to control the backbreaking inflation and record unemployment is resorting to such unconstitutional actions.

Delhi state committee of the CPI(M), learning from the experience of communal violence in North-East Delhi, did not allow the RSS-BJP agenda to pass this time in Jahangirpuri. A rock-solid effort in front of the 'demolition bulldozer', forced it to stop. The whole world watched it. This report is aimed to bring out certain important developments during this period.

Even after the order of the Supreme Court at 10.45 am on April 20, the demolition proceedings continued till 12.15 pm. So, at first, there was prima facie contempt of court. In this connection, the very next day, on April 21, 17 members CPI(M) squad came out in three teams to understand three different issues. One team mapped the illegal procession on the day of Hanuman Jayanti. The second team met families whose family members were arrested. The third team was engaged in surveying and taking stock of the demolition done by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. It was clear from the beginning that the havoc was wreaked upon the weakest and helpless section of the society in Jahangirpuri. There has been a direct attack on the livelihood of at least 125 families. From those vending vegetables, fruits, mobile spare parts and food stalls to the poorest sections involved in the refuse collection were targeted. Incidents of rehri’s being picked up/destroyed by the authorities used to happen before as well. This time, even rehri’s of those carry certificates for vending were also destroyed. Clearly, this was a vindictive illegal act aimed at attacking their livelihood. In such a situation, on April 21 itself, the Delhi state committee of CPI(M) issued an appeal for financial help, so that immediate relief could be provided to those families.

For the next three days, CPI(M) workers reached out to more than 100 families to survey their losses. Many were on the edge as they could not last till the fight for justice from the government and judiciary, hence a plan was made to distribute food packets to 50 families who were in dire need. Each packet contained 10 kg rice, 1 kg pulse, 1 kg mustard oil, salt, spices, 1 kg sugar, tea powder, 2 kg potatoes and 2 kg onions. These packets were distributed on April 26. After this, we came to know that there are as many more families who are unable to even get food. Based on the survey, 50 vending carts were also ordered along with 80 food packets. A day before Eid, 80 people were given food packets and 20 were given rehri’s. After Eid, 30 more rehri’s got ready and it got distributed to vendors on May 5. Till May 5th, 125 survey forms have arrived. There are still some more families left who are in dire need of immediate help.

The priority of the CPI(M) Delhi state committee is to immediately help those remaining families. The RSS-BJP is trying to extend the same bulldozer politics to other parts of Delhi. 

The Dharna on April 28, 2022, organised by the Left parties had wide participation from all sections. It was addressed by Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, CPI (M), Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau Member, CPI (M), Amarjeet Kaur, national secretary, CPI, Kavita Krishnan, Polit Bureau Member, CPI (ML)-Liberation and other leaders of the left parties. Speakers underlined that the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri was a continuation of the earlier attempt of the Hindutva forces to disrupt the communal harmony in the area through an armed procession in the name of Hanuman Jayanti. What is being bulldozed are not merely the meagre belongings of the working-class families, but the basic ethos of Indian Democracy.