Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI – In a bid to boost the morale and the confidence of minorities, Dalits and other weaker sections, Popular Front of India on Sunday organised a mammoth conference at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here. The conference on ‘People’s Rights’ made a host of demands including withdrawal of all legislations and measures which violate people’s rights and deny justice to minorities and weaker sections.
The national conference was attended by thousands of people from UP and adjoining states.
Terming the NRC as conspiracy to target the minority community, it called upon people to join hands to defeat communal, fascist and sectarian forces in the country.
In the face of militant Hindutva groups’ onslaught and atmosphere of hatred and tensions, the conference stressed the need to build alliances with like-minded forces to fight against communalism and fascism which are fast taking over the entire country. It reminded that it is a fundamental right of every citizen to “live without fear and live with dignity”.
E. Abubacker, chairman, Popular Front of India, flagged that the country is heading to a disaster ever since the Narendra Modi led BJP government came to power at the Centre. In his opening remarks, Abubacker touched upon a host of pressing issues including lynching, polarisation, hatred, slump in economy, NRC, Kashmir, Babri Masjid and draconian legislations etc.
He said the country has been hearing radical slogans from those who are running the government. First they called for “Congress-Mukt Bharat”. Now, their slogans are veering round to “one nation, one language” and “one nation, one law”. Soon, they will raise the slogan of “One country, one party” and later on it will be “one party, one rule”.
“We are witnessing the dire consequences of these two slogans. What is happening in Kashmir after the abrogation of the Article 370, Abubacker said was a testimony to that. There is no need to worry more about the fascist regime as their politics of polarisation and Hindutva are on the decline.
Putting his contention in perspective, Anis Ahmed, national secretary of the front, pointed out the difference between 2014 and 2019 general elections. The BJP had relied on fake promises for coming to power in 2014. But it did not seek vote in 2019 on the performance of the government and instead made promises of providing security to Hindus. Referring to Triple Talaq Bill, Anis Ahmed said the government is not sincere on women’s safety and security. In this context he cited the recent rape cases against BJP leaders.
In his key note address, the front’s national secretary said the draconian laws were made more stringent to suppress organisations like Popular Front and people who speak up for the rights of people.
Without taking the name of Mahmood Madani led Jamiat Ulama-i- Hind’s inclination towards the Modi Government on the issue of Kashmir, he said one cannot be foolish enough to dream that fascist forces can be tamed by appeasing them. He said we must learn lessons from the past and present.
He also targeted the so-called secular parties saying these have been exposed during the first session of new parliament as many of them supported the government. He spoke at length about the NIA and new amended law stating that it will be used against religious minorities to cow them down.
Mahant Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri from Ayodhya said “Hindutva terrorism is the real danger to the unity and integrity of the country not from Muslims or Pakistan.”
Criticising the mob-lynching incidents, Yugal Shastri suggested a tit-for-tat tactic to deal with them. The Ayodhya mahant also criticised the government’s action on Kashmir saying it has alienated the people of Kashmir further.
Echoing similar views, Sikh community representative, Prof. Baljinder Singh (Khalsa College, Amritsar) slammed the government for the revocation of the Article 370 and Article 35A. He said Article 370 was a bridge between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India. But the incompetent rulers have scrapped it without realising its consequences. He urged the gathering to stand up against repression and tyranny.
The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) vice-president, Advocate Sharfuddin Ahmad, said the government has failed on all fronts. He presented the data on economic downslide and bank frauds to buttress his point.
He accused the government of using emotional issues to divert the attention of public from the real and pressing issues. He said it is a matter of grave concern that India’s debt burden has risen to Rs 88 lakh crore while thousands of crores have been sunk in bank frauds.
Maulana Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani, spokesperson, AIMPLB, said the country is passing through a critical phase. We need to take up the issues of the people.
Dalit leader and principal advisor to National Confederation of Dalit & Adivasi Organisations (NACDAOR), Ashok Bharti, said there is a need of unity among minorities, Dalits and weaker sections for fighting Hindutva forces in the country. They first demolished Babri masjid and now Ravidas Mandir in Delhi.
Woman speaker, Lubna Minhaj Siraj, vice-president, National Women’s Front, said, “We need to stand up against all odds.”
Reading out a nine-point declaration of the conference, M Mohamed Ali Jinnah, national general secretary, Popular Front, warned that “the country is taking a downward journey to despair, destitution and fear psychosis which unless stopped forthwith will undermine the composite and plural nature of the republic.”
On Kashmir, the Declaration stated: “The hasty steps taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs to make inoperative Article 370 and 35A and massive deployment of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and demotion of the autonomous state to Union territory status have made the province into an open sky prison.
On Babri Masjid, the declaration said, “Justice lies in rebuilding the Babri Masjid on the same site and punishing all the culprits responsible for its demolition.”