NEW LABORATORY OF FASCISM: THE UP MODEL

Georgi Dimitrov had rightly said that “Fascism in power was correctly described by the Thirteenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.” But if fascism needs to be explained to a layman, the incidents that took place in the past few days and are still going on as this article takes shape are enough to give a vivid description of what fascism looks like on the streets. The incidents from Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh have jolted the entire nation. A nightmare fuel for every peace-loving, justice-seeking believer in (even) the bourgeois democratic order. The two incidents, namely, the heinous and brutal rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras, UP along with the whole array of blatant disregard for human life and the democratic framework displayed by the UP Police from the beginning of the incident up until now, and the grand acquittal of all the 32 accused in the Babri Masjid Demolition case can be specially mentioned. Let’s look at each incident and decipher what they stand for. 

The details of the incident that happened in the morning of 14th September 2020, when a 19-year-old Dalit woman was raped in broad daylight by four thakur men, has been discussed in rather gory and gruesome details. The word ‘plight’ doesn’t do justice to the horrific mental and physical torture that a rape victim faces. But in this case, as also in most other cases, the matters were made much worse by the way it was handled by the police from its very inception. The family members of the victim complained that there was a delay in filing the FIR and police didn’t do anything even when the victim laid outside the police station “groaning in pain on a stone platform in the sun”.  The family also alleges that the police was hesitant in filing an FIR because the accused were men from the landlord Thakur family. Even now the UP police are boldly refuting the incident of rape saying that there is no evidence that the woman was raped. The ADG of Uttar Pradesh police Prashant Kumar shamelessly said, “The police had taken timely action in the matter from the beginning. … Those who twisted the matter (to bring in “caste-angle”) will be identified and legal actions will be taken against them.” The victim was taken from one hospital to another and had to stay in a normal ward for almost a week with such grave injuries before the pressure mounted and she was shifted to an ICU and eventually to Safdarjung hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

The Hathras incident was not the first and the last such incident in the long list of heinous rapes (the reported cases, one may never know about the all the incidents that take place) that has taken place. It was just the tip of an iceberg. Just after this, many such incidents were added in the list that comprises a 14-year-old raped in Bulandshahr, 8-year-old raped in Azamgarh, 22-year-old raped, brutally tortured and murdered in Balrampur, 17-year-old raped in Baghpat and rape of a minor in Agra, while police is busy in white washing what happened in Hathras and for this it went up to destroying the dead body of the Hathras victim right away in the dead night instead of handing it over to the family to perform the last rites.

Let us discuss in brief the figures of rape and murder in UP. The figures released by the government of India show that in 2019, an average of 87 rape cases per day were reported and a total of 4,05,861 cases of crime against women took place which was 7% more than those recorded in 2018. Crimes against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities increased by 7.3% and 26.5% respectively in 2019, according to the latest ‘Crime in India’ 2019 report by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) which was released on 29th September 2020. According to a report, cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis recorded under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (PoA Act) have increased by 281.75% and 575.33%, respectively between 2009 and 2018. The increase in figures over these years is not a coincidence. This is the direct result of the reactionary, misogynistic, casteist and communal propaganda of RSS and BJP in order to push forward their cause of Hindu Rashtra, the Indian variant of fascism. It shows that in RSS’s Hindu Rashtra, a society based on the teachings of Manusmriti, the oppressed minorities like women, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims would be subjected to unspoken miseries and torture with no right of dissent and protest. Citizens would be reduced to subjects with no democratic rights and even minor dissents will have grave consequences. The fact that the cases of atrocities against women and other oppressed sections is increasing only proves the fact that the vicious fascist propaganda is fast penetrating among the masses. 

The Hathras incident is especially noteworthy because of the role of UP police (and the high level forces including their political masters acting behind them) that followed after the victim passed away. After her death, the body was escorted back to her village, but instead of taking the dead body home and handing it over to the family, the police took the body straight away to the cremation ground and cremated (read burnt and destroyed) the victim’s dead body in the middle of the night while the family kept protesting and pleading to let them take their daughter’s dead body home. The police, as if acting on orders from above did not budge. It was as if the police was instructed from their political masters to destroy the dead body as soon as possible. They were not even allowed to see her face for the last time. One is aghast at seeing this happen so blatantly in India who is still a ‘democratic’ country. The family members alleged that the police were forcing them to cremate the body and so they had to lock themselves up in order to stop the cremation, but imagine the audacity and insensitivity of the police that they burnt the body with petrol in a secret pyre (as if prepared in advance) despite the fact that no family members were present. Some reports also suggest that the police themselves locked the family members inside their homes and also barricaded the whole village while the body was being cremated (burnt).

It must be noted that the police officers on duty couldn’t have taken such a big decision by themselves when the matter had gained nationwide attention. It was a decision taken from the higher officials in order to seal the matter shut. Some reports suggest that even now, section 144 has been imposed in Hathras and the police has completely barricaded the place, not allowing anyone, not even the press men, to enter the village and meet the family members of the deceased.

Doesn’t it look like us living under a foreign invader? Yes, it does. The most horrifying part of this gory incident that gives birth to the above feeling is not just the act of insensitivity on the part of UP police, but the fact that it was so done amidst and despite a series of nationwide protests. Various women and student-youth organisations, including even workers organisations and human rights organisations were protesting in the whole country and amidst them the UP police behavior came. It makes it all the more terrifying. The Yogi government was well aware that this matter had gained national attention and such steps may lead to mass unrest but that like a fascist ruler, it didn’t deter the Uttar Pradesh Government. It believes that fascist ideas that have penetrated the minds of people would not let any mass movement go beyond a limit. And if it does, it can suppress it with the combined might of the State Power as well as the armed fascist outfits spread and deeply penetrated throughout the country. It would be out of place to mention here that when the likes of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, the top figures of the main opposition Congress Party that ruled the country for most of time after ‘independence’, can be heckled and detained and finally not allowed to protest by the UP Police in the presence of numerous media persons and channels, while they were on way to Hathras to meet the victim’s family, then it is amply clear as to how much respect is left for the democratic rights of the common masses or activists. The UP government seems to completely disregard and ignore the mass unrest across the country. The thrashing of the opposition leaders in such a blatant manner signals towards the fact that they have successfully seated themselves over the top with their feet right on every institutions of the state machinery with the least regard and respect for ‘democracy’. They are fearlessly stifling the voices with the help of such absolute power.  

The latest and the most solid proof of what has been said is, however, is coming from Special CBI Court, the so called ‘independent’ part of judiciary. The recent act of acquittal of all the 32 accused in the Babri Masjid Demolition Case by the Special CBI Court is yet another judgment in a series of such judgments that act as a pointer to show that there would be now no such judgement that can put men belonging to Power behind the bar (however big crimes they may have committed) and embarrass the political master who is running the country openly like a dictator fulfilling all the desires of the corporates to loot and plunder the country’s source of wealth, Labour and Nature. A history soaked with the blood of thousands of innocent lives has been wiped clean. In his verdict, CBI court judge S K Yadav so innocently agreed with the defense lawyer that the structure was demolished by miscreants who defied the directive of VHP and BJP leaders who were actually trying to stop the miscreants. The judge refused to accept the audio-visual evidence. He said that there was no proof that the accused had incited the kar sevaks, nor is there any evidence to show any kind of planning behind the whole act. However, irrespective of what the judgment is, everyone knows that many like Pragya Thakur from among the accused have been openly and proudly claiming and will again openly claim to have Babri Masjid demolished. Pragya Thakur said that she was present when the Babri masjid was being demolished and herself took part in the act. There was a whole movement that led to this act. But who cares, when the system as a whole is ready to ignore the facts, save the accused and give clean chit to them. Now the later descendants of the same accused are giving a call to liberate Mathura and Kashi. Did the respected Judges not know this? Contrary to what happened and the whole world saw and can still see them in images and videos, the CBI court has conveniently said that they (accused) were rather trying to pacify and stop the kar sevaks from destroying the structure!

It is shocking that this decision doesn’t come as a shock for the whole country, as something quite enough for rousing inner souls of crores of people belonging to the whole country so that they rise and say a Final No to such things. It surprises that it still doesn’t produce a sense of indignation as strong as one that can rouse the inner sense of the whole country and that can help the people to see where our beloved country is being headed to. Thanks to deeply propagated Hindu-Muslim hate politics of RSS and BJP and their numerous outfits!

There is a strong indication that if not stopped, this will trigger the onset or beginning of an end, a complete destruction of the Indian glorious traditions of unity in diversity. The onward march of history has been reversed. A very serious regression is underway and is inching closer to final triumph. Institutions are being successfully turned one by one into a tool to subjugate the whole mass of common people particularly the workers, toilers, Dalits, Adivasis and of course the minorities, particularly the Muslims. They are being reduced to a second-class citizen status. On the other hand, rampant and unhindered transfer of all the public and natural resources to the big corporates and capitalists is taking place. The media is actively working to distract and douse any spark of protest that may arise as a result of the atrocious attacks on the democratic rights and livelihoods of the common masses. The voices of dissent which still rise are either being threatened, imprisoned or thrashed and even killed. 

Our Prime Minister is a product and also the creator of the Gujarat Model, which enabled him to showcase the future of India under his rule, where the minorities will be ghettoized and massacred and the big businesses will have no problem in looting resources or getting sanctions, thanks to the policies under the name of ‘ease of doing business’. In Modi, the big capitalist class saw the potential of a ruler who can enable them to loot and plunder as per their will and can still stay popular among the masses by launching a reactionary mass movement and instilling hate politics leading to complete take over the institutions in due course of time for the purpose of establishing open bourgeois dictatorship. We can see how the Gujarat Model is being applied to the whole nation. What is being seen in UP is the harbinger of things that will happen in the whole country.

No doubt, Modi enabled the exponential loot and plunder by the corporates as seen in the privatisation and corporatisation in the agriculture sector, coal sector, banking, electricity, defense and numerous other areas and industries and he still enjoys the faith of his bling followers, but since the economic crisis is an inescapable reality as inbuilt it is in the capitalist mode of production and it will further deepen and is deepening, the popularity of Modi has also taken a hit due to the unprecedented unemployment and loss of livelihood, as is being seen in the form of spontaneous student-youth protests across the nation continuing up to Modi’s birthday on 17th September. The wheel of profit is still stuck, the GDP still negative and the investment is still negligible. The capitalist class is getting more and more anxious by the passing second. And in this backdrop, Yogi Adityanath is building the new UP Model which will be even more intolerant, casteist and misogynistic than the Gujarat Model.

The past trajectory of the UP government where numerous atrocities was inflicted upon the dissenters as well as the common masses also adds much to extremely horrifying present. From the formation of anti-romeo squads to harass youth, the gau rakshak dal which till today is behind most of the cases of lynching of Muslims and Dalits, attacks on students and the incarceration of victims itself in the Aligarh Muslim University Violence Case, publicly putting up billboards of anti-CAA protesters and imposing huge fines on them, the suspension of labour laws for three years blaming covid-19, to the most recent love jihad ordinance, the passing of laws barring qualifying students from getting government jobs until they work for five years on a sort of contract system subject to an appraisal every six months and the formation of UPSSF (Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force) which will have the power to arrest anyone without a court’s warrant, all present a very clear picture of what is next. May be people still believe that what is being done in the name of Hindutva is for common Hindu brethren, but the fact is this, and this is becoming clearer with every passing day, that this is all being done to offer all opportunities to the blood sucking capitalist class to loot and plunder. A new India of his vision is one where the minorities will be shown their place, but more than that the voices of dissent would stifled as soon as they are uttered, the workers will have no laws to protect them, the protests demonstrations would be crushed brutally, there would be no place for opposition of any kind and his personal army of fascist goons will roam the streets instilling fear in the hearts of anyone who raises his/her head. And with all this in place, the big capitalists will be free to loot everything that is available to Mankind with no hindrance whatsoever. This is real meaning of his Ram Rajya or Hindu Rashtra.

But as the atrocities are hurled at the masses and unemployment and pauperization are rising, people belonging to all religions, particularly those belonging to Hindu religion, are continuously being pushed to the edge and they are beginning to feel the impact. From the working class to the middle class, all the sections have seen and faced unspoken horrors during the ongoing covid-19 pandemic due to the sheer negligence and insensitivity on the part of the elected governments. Every section of the masses be it student-youth, workers, women, farmers, small and medium business owners or the petty bourgeois section, all of them are dissatisfied and unhappy on some level with the present regime, even the staunch Modi supporters have started to point flaws in the current regime and are coming out in spontaneous protests against the government policies. It is a proof that light of hope has not extinguished and the days of horror would come to an end. However, it is true it will cost much to the nation in the meantime.

What we need to understand at this point of time is that the days of token protest, appeals and prayers are coming to an end as they fall on deaf ears. The incidents of the past few days show that the current regime isn’t even obligated to let you raise your voice for justice. Then how can one expect it to adhere to immediate demands of people and addressing their problems? This is the main question. The present regime is relentlessly anti-people while dealing with people demands and aspirations. The progressive democratic forces must take note of this. No doubt, Yogi’s UP is the prequel to the RSS’s Hindu Rashtra and here motto is clear. The government is here not to take care of people. Such a government nowhere in the world has been obligated to respect people lives and is at no time in history has ever felt threatened by symbolic protests. This development is clearly visible and must not be overlooked. The task of today is to rise on the crest of spontaneity and educate, politicize and mobilize the masses in the midst of this and putting ahead of the immediate purpose or demands the long-term aim, merge the two and thus help people to realise to overthrow whatever is unjust. The task is to innovate new ways to ignite creative imagination of a new world order based on unhindered justice and prosperity for all by overthrowing the monarchy of capital. progressive democratic forces need to learn this art soon as the days of unrest amidst rapes, murder and corporate loot are unfolding very fast. The task is to come together wherever we are and join our strengths as quickly as possible on an urgent basis. Let us feel summoned by history to come to grasp this task. Let us call upon the proletariat of the country to intervene politically in the ongoing scenario that is making its presence felt by all means. Let us hope that the rotting corpse of decadent capitalism will be dumped into its grave. Let us help its grave diggers come and take position and usher in a new world where such horrors can never be inflicted upon mankind ever again.

Originally published in Editorial of The Truth: Platform for Radical Voices of The Working Class (Issue 6/ October ’20)

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