Archive for June 23rd, 2008

Call to Action


Emergency’ Day – June 26, 2008

*People’s Declaration of Emergency and Pledge to reclaim democracy*

India, today is at the crossroads, for a multitude of reasons. While on the one hand the city lines are gleaming with glossy malls, plush high rises, immaculate roads, flyovers and other ‘structures of growth’, a vast majority of the rest of the nation, presents a grim reality, which the State planners and policymakers would love to brush under the carpet. From the continuing spate of rather frequently reported suicides of farmers and weavers, and equally poignant /albeit /less reported suicides of thousands of others practicing traditional livelihoods, to persistent starvation and malnourishment in urban and rural pockets, continuing atrocities against women, dalits, adivasis, fisher folk, hawkers, and other marginalized groups in the name of SEZs, large dams, and other infrastructure projects (read ‘development’), continued deprivation and neglect of 93% of the country’s toiling work force to the plummeting state expenditure on crucial human rights concerns like education, health, agriculture and food security, among others on the one hand and the rocketing inflation, which is hitting the poor hardest, the State in every which way seems to be disowning its most fundamental constitutional mandate and instead paving way for corporatization and privatization of all essential services. The State is infact actively abetting, now even blatantly through the legal framework, the plunder of natural and human resources, stamping away the rights of communities, coupled with scheming exploitation of already limited state investments in irrigation, water and allied sectors, not to mention the countless incentives doled out to big business houses and branding anyone who questions this unconstitutional paradigm of ‘development’ in a confrontationist way as ‘maoists, naxalites and so on….

We, the people, are particularly concerned about the increasing legitimization of this skewed and distorted form of technocratic and capitalist development from all quarters of the State, which is further
passed off as India – Shining, glowing, glittering by political manipulators the media megaphones.

We are living in a ‘police state’ today where human rights defenders,artists, and those fighting for the justice have to bear the brunt of state’s oppression. The laws like AFSPA, CSPSA, NSA etc. continue to harass and terrorise its own citizens all across India including J&K and North East.

The Legislature enacts nothing short of draconian legislations like the SEZ Act, proposes blatant changes in the CMZ Rules, introduces the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, which distorts the definition of public purpose, excelling even the British lawmakers and anti-people policies like JNNURM and scores of other policy and legal initiatives in various states to please corporates at the cost of the people Submissive to the global powers and allowing the vision to investment, the self-reliance to sovereignty is compromised and loot is permitted.

The Executive as always is over-zealous in the execution of these policies and further indulges in non-transparent exercises of bringing in questionable Government Orders, Policies, Rules and Regulations and special amendments in the garb of ‘delegated legislation’. Failure of global markets and paradigm in providing employment, of protecting masses from terrorism, preventing price rise stands exposed.

The Judiciary has also, in many cases, chosen to be blinded by the vision of ‘development’, be it in the Narmada case, or in the recent order in the Vedanta Case, or many other cases. The lives and cultures of dalit, adivasis and other marginalised communities have and are being staked in the process of monolithic vision of technocratic development. It has also failed to defend the fundamental rights of its citizens when the State is impinging on them with impunity in name of fighting terrorism and naxalism and continues to use draconian laws in the name of security.

Key to be noted also is the manner in which one set of legislations are sought to be brought in and favoured by bypassing, neglecting, and violating another set of legislations and constitutional guarantees. In the latter line fall the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the Forest Rights Act, the V Schedule to the Constitution the CRZ and EIA Notifications, the Environment Protection Act, related legislations and most important of all, the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments.

Central to all of these is probably the willful slackness of /India Private Limited /in that. Despite decades of these historical parliamentary interventions to further democratise governance, the State
has chosen not to enact a law that would actualise the constitutional-democratic-decentralised governance by people themselves whether in urban or rural areas.

Nandigram to Narmada to Nandgudi, Kakinada to Kevadia to Kushinagar, Polepally to Plachimada to Posco, Raigad to Sonbhadra to Teesta, thestruggle, issues and repression is the same, in a strange way bringing together and binding the victims of development in a common voice against this unconstitutional, undemocratic and inhuman process of limited growth just as the pre-independence era saw the unison of varied forces with the common agenda of deliverance.But the movement’s politics, beyond electoral politics needs to be asserted towards the goal of ‘people’s power’ that can bring in true democracy and development, both. It is this demand for a comprehensive Development
Planning Act that we, the people’s movements, put forth as the real pro-people alternative to the current pro-rich, pro-corporate paradigm of development and it is the passion for the realisation of this which brings us together in solidarity to continue our struggle for a just, sustainable and humane society and development.

The Why and What of ‘Emergency

A Government declares a ‘State of Emergency’ when it cannot handle a situation, either due to incompetence or because it is truly beyond its control. Such a declaration entails the abrogation of citizens’ rights, suspension of recourse to law, press censorship and investiture of special powers in the Executive Authority. State authorities invoke such sweeping powers, more often than not, to suppress people’s democratic rights as was the case 33 years ago in 1975, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi
declared an unwarranted ‘Emergency’ to cling to power.

Quite unlike 1975, we are now in a real crisis-situation where the State has unleashed a kind of a war on the common people of this land, be they farmers, fisherpeople, factory workers, Adivasis, Dalits or women. That is borne out by untold violence and atrocities perpetrated on the people of Nandigram, Nandagudi, Kalinganagar, Raigadh and Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, slums of Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, the farmers’ suicides, displacement and dispossession of traditional communities across the country.

In spite of the unprecedented crisis facing the country the Government of the day is at best mouthing platitudes and promises. The people of this country will therefore have to take it upon themselves to declare that we are in a ‘State of Emergency’ and announce a series of measures to counteract the crisis. The citizen-announced ‘Emergency’ would call for the following code of conduct to be followed (measures that would bereverse of a Government-announced Emergency):

1) Rather than a draconian censorship the Press is called upon todisseminate the truth, facts that sensitively portray the toiling people’s struggle for survival against the State-corporate nexus and its
machinations to privatise all natural resources and public properties.

2) The State rather than being given sweeping powers, its right to acquire land in the name of ‘public purpose’ for SEZs, for destructive industrial and other ‘development’ projects etc. will be abrogated.

3) If Courts abdicate their responsibility of protecting peoples’ rights, all issues of public interest will be decided in ‘Janata Adalats’.

4) The only real ‘opposition’ to the State-corporate-bureaucracy nexus is not from opposition political parties but from affected people, victims, concerned and aware citizens. The hypocrisy of the all mainstream political parties whether in power or opposition, stands exposed in this ‘state of emergency’. People would do well to realize that all parties, of whatever hue, are hand-in-glove with each other.

5) People will have to watch out against the twin threats of Communalism and New Economic Policy, declaring NO to the new treaty with the WTO.

6) Declaring people’s rule, ‘Lok Raj’, we would begin in small to large ways, to assert our rights to resources to planning towards fuilfillment of basic needs.

7) More sustainable ways of harnessing and utilizing our natural and human capital would be facilitated and expropriative global to national powers be challenged.

8 ) People and people’s politics will take over, step by step, the Statist and fascist controls of powers-to-be, to bring in a revolutionary change towards a humane society.


Read Full Post »