Wednesday, February 15, 2017

India - Developing Fascism in India

In recent years there has been a growing political polarization in India, with ever richer billionaire capitalists, and more and more hundreds of millions of impoverished workers, farmers, and tribal peoples. This has led to more frequent rebellions by the people, more widespread and more intense. Often these rebellions are supported or led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) or other revolutionary parties and groups. In reaction to these mass rebellions the rulers of India have paid little or no attention to alleviating the poverty, exploitation and oppression of the people. Instead they have focused almost entirely on attempting to suppress the masses and the revolutionary movement, both through armed force and through ever more draconian and fascist laws.

      The most serious of these fascist laws which are moving the whole country in the direction of outright fascism is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA], passed in 2008. This replaces (and intensifies!) earlier fascist laws such as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act [TADA] and the Prevention of Terrorism Act [POTA].
      Professor Amit Bhattacharyya, in the article “Democracy and Ban Cannot Go Together” which we have posted below, explains the extreme and undemocratic nature of the UAPA:
      Why are these acts draconian? We would like to state some of the salient features. First, according to the UAPA, anyone can be kept in police or jail custody for 180 days without any trial. Second, during this period, the detained person can be brought to the police station for questioning for as many times as the police officials think necessary. Third, it is next to impossible to get release on bail under this act. Fourth, as in the draconian TADA [Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act] and POTA [Prevention of Terrorism Act], the accused would have to prove his or her innocence, rather than the accuser/police proving his/her guilt in the court of law. Fifth, all the citizens are liable to supply information about the movements of “suspects”, i,e, to act as police informers, failing which they themselves would be booked. Sixth, in the eyes of the State, all persons are suspected terrorists. Seventh, at all times of day and night, the police under some senior official of the secretariat level, are empowered to search houses of citizens for information and even arrest them. Eighth, by this act, any article, documentary film, report, essay could be suppressed and artists, writers, and even media persons can be arrested on the charge of “intend[ing] to aid terrorism”. Ninth, the prisoners would be tried in camera, the names of the witnesses would not be made public and this special court would be under the control of administrative authority. In short, this act is a new addition to the long list of draconian laws that trample down the fundamental rights of the people with impunity and brush aside all legal safeguards for the arrested and, the most important of all, make a mockery of the Indian Constitution in this “land of the largest democracy”.
      In addition to these actual laws of a fascist character, there is the general practice of the police and other agencies of the state to operate with close to total impunity with regard to any laws that are supposed to restrain and control them. In other words they routinely attack, viciously beat, arrest or kill pretty much whomever they choose, whenever they choose, almost always without any consequences to themselves no matter how outrageous their actions.
      As just one of many examples of this out-of-control police victimization of the masses we cite the common phenomenon in contemporary India of “fake encounters”. These are the cases of cold-blooded murders of revolutionaries and others while in police custody which are then falsely reported as having been armed encounters between the police and the revolutionaries. These “fake encounters” have become so frequent that even the central and state governments do not deny that they occur. But yet, except in the rarest of cases, nothing is done about them because they actually do represent the desired conduct of the police on the part of the ruling class.

      In addition to this general problem of political fascism in India there is also the specific form it often takes in combination with religion. Just as there is a tendency toward a Christian coloration to fascist movements in the U.S., and a Muslim coloration to fascist movements in the Muslim world, in India—with its Hindu majority—there is a tendency toward Hindu fascism. For this reason we will try to develop a special section below about that serious danger.

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