Lok Raj Sangathan has been actively organising the people of Delhi, at their places of work and in their residential areas, to counter the anti-people offensive of the state and to fight for their rights. To assess this work in the present political context as well to chalk out the plan of work for the future, a Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan was organised in Delhi on April 17, 2016.
Birju Nayak, secretary of the Delhi Council of Lok Raj Sangathan, reported on the work done by LRS in this region over the past year. This has been a period of definite changes in the political situation in Delhi, with a new government in place and growing demands of different sections of the people for their rights.
In this context, the report presented by Birju Nayak described the persistent campaign carried out by Lok Raj Sangathan, through the Lok Raj Samitis organised in different residential muhallas, in defence of the rights of the people. Basic rights such as clean drinking water and piped water supply, toilets, sewage disposal and sanitation, proper paved roads, covering of open drains, improved bus services, schools and health services – these were some of the major issues on which the Lok Raj Samitis of different residential localities of Delhi have been carrying on a sustained agitation for several years.
Following the formation of the AAP government in Delhi a year ago, the Delhi Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan stepped up the agitation for the rights of people. In this context several meetings were held in different residential areas of the city to work out the charter of concerns of the people. The Lok Raj Samitis in Delhi submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Delhi in August 2015 listing these concerns and demanding that the government address them. This was followed up with public meetings, poster campaigns and vivid forms of agitation involving hundreds of residents, led by the youth activists of LRS. As a result of this concerted campaign, some of the immediate demands such as water supply, toilets and paved roads were addressed by the government, in some of the areas. This campaign is continuing and many more basic demands remain to be addressed.
The report highlighted the sustained campaign carried out by Lok Raj Sangathan, on state organised communal violence and state terror. This is one of the major challenges in building the unity of the people. A detailed illustrative power point presentation and animated discussion on this issue were organised in several residential areas as well as in some schools and community resource centres. The presentation and discussions brought home the fact that organising communal divisions and communal violence has been and remains a favourite weapon in the hands of the state, to smash the united resistance of the people to the attacks being launched on them by the big capitalist ruling class and its state. This has been the case, no matter which party of the ruling class is in power, at the centre or in the states. The systematic use of state terror to crush the struggles of the people -- the staging of fake encounters and disappearances of youth, imprisonment and torture, custodial rape and killings, use of fascist laws such as the UAPA , AFSPA and sedition act – these are all part of the standard operating procedure of the Indian state, no matter which government is in power. The presentation and discussions firmly concluded that this is part of the colonial legacy inherited by the present day Indian ruling class, from their British colonial masters and this needs to be resolutely exposed and opposed.
The consistent stand of Lok Raj Sangathan against state organised communal violence and state terror, for punishment of the guilty and in defence of the empowerment of the people, was brought out in the report. The joint demonstrations and public rallies organised by LRS, together with nearly 30 other organisations, on November 1, on the occasion of the anniversary of the genocide of Sikhs in 1984 and on December 6, on the occasion of the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the communal massacres that followed, were reviewed. Lok Raj Sangathan has fearlessly raised its voice in defence of the rights and freedoms of all sections of the people, stood shoulder to shoulder with them in all their struggles, and will continue to do so, the report concluded.
The president of Lok Raj Sangathan, S. Raghavan, addressed the meeting. He called on the young activists to come forward in the struggle to become the future decision-makers of our society. He drew attention to the nefarious efforts of the ruling class and its state, to provoke divisions among the people and set them against one another. All the major political parties, which form governments, turn by turn, at the centre or in the various states, are guilty of this. Referring to the elections in 5 states, he pointed out that the situation is not going to change in favour of the people, because all the political parties vying for power are nothing but managers of the ruling class. Whichever party forms the government, the rule of the exploiting class will continue. Raghavan also pointed out that while the youth are being persecuted as “anti-national”, it is the Indian ruling class that is making all kinds of strategic deals with the US and other big imperialist powers. They are the ones who are anti-national, he explained. He called on all present to build the unity of the people and take up the struggle for Lok Raj, where the people will be truly empowered to shape their own destiny.
The speech of the President of Lok Raj Sangathan was followed by a power presentation by the youth activists of Lok Raj Sangathan, entitled “Kiska raj, kiska hit?” (Who is ruling for the benefit of whom?) The presentation clearly exposed the existing rule as the rule of the biggest monopoly capitalists, imposed through the political parties which defend their interests. It vividly brought out the reality that behind all the talk of “democracy” lies the brutal exploitation and plunder of the labour and the land and natural resources of our people. It brought out how the political system and process of representative democracy actually marginalises people from political power. Such a political system and process is suitable for the rule of a exploiting minority over the vast majority of the people. It pointed out to the kind of reforms in the political system and process necessary to make the people the rulers. Only by carrying out these reforms will the people succeed in building a society in which prosperity and security for all can be guaranteed. The presentation highlighted the importance of building and strengthening the Lok Raj Samitis as instruments of the people to agitate for the thoroughgoing reform of the political system and process to ensure people become the decision makers.
Another power point presentation entitled “Logon kee ekta mein baadhaayein” (Obstacles in the way of unity of the people) exposed how our rulers systematically divide the people on the basis of caste, community, religion, language, region, etc. and set them against one another. They organise brutal communal genocide from time to time, to smash the unity of the people against their exploiters. They use fascist state terror, including black laws such as the UAPA and the AFSPA, to crush the struggles of the people. Communal violence and state terror are favourite weapons of our rulers, which they inherited from their predecessors, the British colonial rulers, the presentation pointed out. It called on the people to unite to oppose the communal violence and state terror, to demand punishment of the guilty. The presentation concluded with the necessity to build the Lok Raj Samitis as instruments to build and defend the unity of the people in defence of their rights and against the communal and fascist terror of the state.
Both power point presentations were followed by discussions, in which many young activists came forward and boldly expressed their views. They cited their own examples of how governments come and go, but the rich continue to grow richer while the condition of the poor and working people keeps getting worse. They described how the media serves the interests of the rulers by spreading all kinds of lies. They spoke of their experiences in building Lok Raj Samitis to strengthen the unity of the people, in taking forward the campaign for their rights and against state organised communal violence and terror.
Delivering his concluding remarks, Prakash Rao highlighted that it was the persistent and militant struggle of the people, organised in their samitis, which has forced the government to respond to the urgent needs of the people – for water, roads, toilets and other civic amenities. Today, in every struggle of the people in Delhi, the voice of Lok Raj Sangathan is there, firmly standing in defence of the people and their rights. He pointed out how just 150 monopoly capitalist houses, heading about 2 lakh big capitalists, are ruling and imposing their will over 125 crore Indian people, using the Indian state and the existing political system and process. The British colonialists carried out the practice of ‘divide and rule’ in India, as they did in many of their other colonies, and the Indian ruling class has perfected this method. Prakash Rao spoke of the wealth created by the labour of the people, the wealth of our land and rich natural resources, which the exploiters have looted from us. They are the traitors to the nation and people, he pointed out, who are making alliances with the most bloodthirsty imperialist powers such as the US, and gravely endangering our sovereignty and peace in the region. We have to reclaim what has been looted from us, we have to defend the unity of our people and our sovereignty and peace, we have to become the decision makers and the masters of our own destiny, we have to establish Lok Raj, he concluded.
The Convention ended on an enthusiastic note, with participants seriously planning how to organise the different sections of the people of Delhi in the residential areas and places of work and study, and extend the organisational and political reach of the Lok Raj Sangathan.