Election under army rule and blockade is an insult to the people of Manipur!

Fight for workers’ and peasants’ rule and a new voluntary Indian Union!

Call of Communist Ghadar Party of India on the occasion of elections to the Manipur Assembly, 11th February, 2017

The Election Commission has announced 4th and 8th March as the dates for election to the 60-member Legislative Assembly of Manipur. The election process is to take place in unusually difficult conditions, caused by prolonged trade blockade and the Note Ban, in addition to the fascist reign of terror by the central armed forces.

In addition to being treated like criminals in their own land and deprived of even the right to life, the people of Manipur are facing acute shortages of essential medicines and food supplies at the present time. This is the result of a three month long economic blockade organised by the United Naga Council. Neither the Congress-led state government nor the BJP-led Central Government has taken any action to sort out the problem and restore normalcy of commodity supply. They are cynically using the situation to set Nagas, Meiteis and other peoples against one another and cultivate vote banks through such divisive politics.

In addition to the suffering caused by the continuation of Army Rule, the fascist AFSPA and the recent economic blockade, the Note Ban and acute cash shortage has led to further economic disruption and misery for the people. There are permanent long lines outside banks, which are few and far between except in the capital city. Many women who sell vegetables have lost their means of livelihood.

Communist Ghadar Party of India condemns the decision to hold elections to the State Assembly in the present conditions as an insult to the people of Manipur and further assault on their democratic rights!

Election to a state assembly is supposed to be an exercise to determine the will of the people. It is supposed to be an act involving democratic participation of the people in choosing their representatives to the highest decision-making body in the state. In Manipur, most people know that the state assembly is not really the highest decision-making body.

Even when all the members of the state assembly have unanimously demanded in the past that AFSPA be repealed, it did not happen because the central government did not want to “upset the morale of our troops”. The Government of India considers the morale of the troops to be more important than the human rights of people in Manipur, including even their right to life.

In such conditions, the coming elections are only generating increasing disgust and anger among the people. Numerous organisations and independent candidates are contesting with the demand to scrap AFSPA and end army rule. However, the electoral arena is dominated as usual by those with maximum money power, the Congress and BJP. Self-seeking politicians have been lining up to get tickets from one or the other of these two parties. It is reported that every time a partial list of candidates is announced by the BJP or Congress, a large number of politicians who got left out deserted and crossed over to the other side hoping for a ticker there.

This election is an exercise in capitalist competition. It is a dogfight between rival groups of exploiters, robbers and killers of the people of Manipur, to decide who will get how much of the public loot over the next five years. It has nothing to do with the “people’s will”. It is an exercise aimed at further dividing and diverting the people of Manipur from their real enemies. It is aimed at providing legitimacy to the continuation of central dictate and state terrorism, with the false claim of having obtained the “people’s mandate”.

The people of Manipur do not approve of the present state of affairs. They do not want the terroristic rule of the central armed forces to continue, with the fig leaf of an “elected” government that allegedly has the people’s mandate.

What exists is a dictatorship of capitalist exploiters, no different from that of the British colonialists. The big capitalists of India do not care about the national interests of anyone. They care only about their control over territories so as to maximise the exploitation and plunder of land and labour for their private profits. They are ever ready to trample on the rights of nations, nationalities, communities and individual human beings, in their rapacious imperialist drive. The “Look East” policy of the Indian big capitalists is aimed at expanding their markets and spheres of influence in South-East Asian countries and not to address the economic needs of the people of North-East India.

By destroying the unity of the peoples of different national origin and identity within India, the official policy of “divide and rule” is actually enhancing the danger of India being broken up by external interests. It is thus the rulers of New Delhi and their divisive politics which is anti-national, not the struggle of Manipuris or any other people for their legitimate national rights.

Manipur existed as an independent political entity well before the British colonial conquest of the Indian sub-continent. The people of the Imphal valley and its surrounding hills had established their own political state and constitution. These were deliberately marginalised and deprived of power when the interim government headed by Nehru held Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh under house arrest in Shillong, and coerced him to sign a Merger Agreement dated 21st September, 1949.

The adoption of the 1950 Constitution of the Indian Republic did not end colonial rule in Manipur. Alien rule has continued to be imposed on the people through the force of arms. The people of Manipur do not accept this condition of remaining colonised. They are not willing to be deprived of even those political rights granted to the majority of Indians.

Denial of national rights, democratic rights and blatant violation of human rights is the cause for Manipur being a “disturbed area”. The longstanding and continuing movement for democracy and national liberation in Manipur, which is called “insurgency” by the Indian ruling class, is the result of, and in response to the denial of rights.

Congress, BJP and other parties of the Indian ruling class turn the truth on its head. They are deliberately mixing up cause and effect when they argue that “insurgency” is the cause and justification for imposing Army rule and trampling on people’s rights.

Until and unless AFSPA is scrapped and the rule of central armed forces is ended, there can be no democracy, normalcy or peace in Manipur.

People of Manipur!

Too long have we suffered under fascist army rule and the farce of periodic elections organised by the existing Indian State. We are fed up with this state of affairs.

Workers, peasants, women and youth in all parts of the country are getting increasingly fed up with the existing system and State. There are several movements which are growing against the dictate of the Central Government and the violation of human, democratic and national rights, not only in the North East but in various states including Tamil Nadu

Our struggle is against the same enemy, the Indian ruling class headed by the capitalist monopoly houses. It is a common struggle against the existing Indian Union, which is an organ of capitalist dictatorship and imperialist expansion. It is a prison house of nations and a legacy of colonialism. By combining our forces we can defeat this enemy.

We Manipuris have a proud history of refusing to be enslaved by any alien exploiting force. This is the time to draw upon that revolutionary tradition and contribute to the struggle for national and social liberation of the people of Manipur and of all the other oppressed peoples of India.

Let us remember the words and deeds of Comrade Irabot, who organised our people to wage the struggle in unity with the working class and peasants of India, so as to defeat the common enemy.

The existing Indian Union, which is constituted on colonial foundations, is the common enemy. We need to reconstitute the union afresh, on a new foundation. We need a new Constitution that recognizes the existence and rights of all the nations, nationalities and peoples who have inhabited this subcontinent for centuries. It must recognise the right of Manipur and other nations to secede from the union. Such a union will be stable and strong precisely because it is a voluntary union.

Workers and peasants together make up the vast majority of the population in every part of our country, within every nation, nationality and people. We must establish a voluntary union of workers’ and peasants’ republics, committed to provide prosperity and protection for all. The languages and cultures of all the peoples must flourish; and the predominant role of English must come to an end. Every nation, nationality and people will willingly join such a union and defend it because of the benefit it brings to one and all.

This is the vision of the modern Indian working class, which is multinational and multilingual in composition. Let us unite and fight for this vision and program for the Navnirman of India, for workers’ and peasants’ rule and a voluntary union!

Immediately and permanently repeal AFSPA!

End army rule in Manipur and return all regular and paramilitary troops to their barracks!

Onward with the struggle for the Navnirman of India!

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