Lok Sabha debate on Gujarat massacres: Parliamentary democracy stinks

After 2 weeks of procedural wrangles between the BJP and the "opposition", the Lok Sabha debated on the Gujarat genocide. The debate merely confirmed the politicians of the ruling class as charlatans with no concern for the people or their lives, livelihood or dignity as human beings. Even more, it confirmed the bankruptcy of parliamentary democracy.

After 2 weeks of procedural wrangles between the BJP and the "opposition", the Lok Sabha debated on the Gujarat genocide. The debate merely confirmed the politicians of the ruling class as charlatans with no concern for the people or their lives, livelihood or dignity as human beings. Even more, it confirmed the bankruptcy of parliamentary democracy. At a time when people all over the country have gone beyond condemning communal holocausts and have put on the agenda for solution "HOW TO END COMMUNAL VIOLENCE ONCE AND FOR ALL IN INDIA", the debate turned out to be an exercise in one-upmanship on the part of the BJP-Samata-Sena alliance and the Congress-CPIM alliance. It was an exercise in trading "smart" charges against one another, each one justifying and defending the existing positions, with cynical disregard to the plight of the people.

The main feature of the parliament debate was that the parties of the ruling as well as "opposition alliance" all blamed, directly or indirectly, the people of Gujarat for being "communal". Gujaratis of the Muslim faith have been devastated. Gujarat—its people, its workers, peasants and middle strata—have suffered a great tragedy. Nobody can dispute the fact that the vast majority of the people have had no role in the genocide, except their courageous attempts against great personal odds to save people. The victims—the people of Gujarat—were blamed for the crime. The rulers fault was just their "dereliction of duty"— not organising and executing systematically a genocide. This is the typical method of the political hucksters who have ruled our country for the past 55 years. They talk of "administrative lapses" and other nauseating stuff, but all the while make out that Indian people want to slaughter each other along religious or other lines and the only thing preventing this is their rule. This is how British colonialism justified its rule declaring that it was necessary for "civilising" the backward Indians who would kill each other on caste or religion or ethnic basis.

Minister for culture Uma Bharti, referred to the Gujarat events as a "kalank ka dhabba" on what she claimed to be the otherwise unblemished record of the NDA government. Who is responsible for organising these masacres, why did the government fail to protect the lives of people, the bestial rape, torture and burning of women, such issues were not even touched upon. Instead, her energy and enthusiasm were concentrated primarily in lambasting the "college student-like" behaviour and "lack of tahzeeb (manners)" of the leader of the opposition, Sonia Gandhi. War Minister George Fernandes arrogantly declared that mass rape, sexual violence and burning of Muslim women was "nothing new". He brought ridicule on himself by statements such as "this has been happening for the last 54 years", this happened "on the streets of New Delhi in 1984", "this is not the first time", etc. Not that this repeated violence against women was a matter of any great concern for him, for he simply brushed it all aside saying "we should not feel bothered about such things!" Internal Security Minister Advani called the Gujarat events a matter of "personal shock and anguish", but said not a word about who are the guilty or how the guilty are going to be punished. Instead, he defended the BJP government in Gujarat, despite what he called "administrative and police lapses" and of course, shamelessly denied the by now, well-established charges of "deliberate carnage and state engineered genocide".

Prime Minister Vajpayee, while expressing pain and anguish at the happenings in Gujarat, was more interested in lambasting the media for showing scenes of the violence in Gujarat and for identifying the community of the victims of the violence. His main concern appeared to be to clarify how he had been misunderstood and misquoted, rather than how to bring about an end to the communal violence and massacres.

The "secular" Congress party and its "secular" allies including the CPI and CPIM kept blaming the BJP and the Sangh Parivar for the genocide. None of them was interested in addressing the question raised indirectly by George Fernandes that communal violence, the rape and burning of people, has been a regular feature of India in the entire period since 1947. Of course none of them want to answer the question raised by the Indian people time and again "HOW TO PUT AN END TO COMMUNAL VIOLENCE ONCE AND FOR ALL IN OUR COUNTRY"! None of them, including the parliamentary communists, ever bothered to begin debating why and how state organised communal massacres are part of the system of rule in India! None of them bothered to discuss how both secularism and communalism were weapons used by British colonialism to establish their rule in India and have nothing to do with Indian rajdharma!

The parliamentary debate on Gujarat clearly shows how little concern our rulers have for the people of this country. It shows that their real interest is only to use the present situation to strengthen their position at the expense of the people and their struggle for a better life. It shows how they are least interested in actually ending the politics of divide and rule, the politics of state organised communal violence and terror, which they have inherited from their British colonial mentors, and which they have all used time and again, to stabilise the class rule of the Indian big bourgeoisie and crush the resistance of the people. It shows how all of them stand for defending the existing rule of the big bourgeoisie, the brutal exploitation and impoverishment of the vast masses of toiling people, and that their mutual contention is only for the purpose of settling who can defend this rule better and make maximum gain out of the loot and plunder of the people.

People who want to end communal violence can afford to have no illusions that the present system can be relied upon to do so. Our rulers will switch on and switch off communal massacres whenever it serves their interests, which is to keep the exploitative order in place. There can be no cure for state organised communal pogroms from the organisers of these pogroms, just as there can be no cure for plague from the gods of plague. People must organise to defend themselves from communal violence, as they cannot expect the state to do so. Simultaneously, they must build that alternative political system and political process which will really empower the toiling masses and punish all those guilty of committing crimes against the people.

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