The violence unleashed against people in Jehangirpuri in North Delhi on 16th April, and in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Karnataka in recent weeks, have been portrayed as clashes between different religious communities. This is a deliberate distortion of the truth. Everywhere, people have pointed out that the armed gangs which unleashed violence were not from their locality. They came from outside their area.
People of different religious beliefs did not attack and kill each other in any of these places. On the contrary, they came out onto the streets to oppose the hoodlums and defend each other. They have lived together in harmony for decades, sharing weal and woe.
Using its control over the state machinery and over the news media and social media, the ruling bourgeois class is spreading a false narrative. The fake news is being spread that people of different religious beliefs attacked each other.
In Delhi and many other places, the authorities sent bulldozers to demolish the homes and shops of toiling people, after blaming them for the violence. The propaganda of the ruling class makes out that it is attacking “unauthorised” residential areas because they are allegedly the source of all kinds of crime. The truth is that the ruling bourgeois class and its political representatives set up slums and Jhuggi Jhopri colonies where workers are forced to live in inhuman conditions. They do so in order to ensure a steady source of cheap labour to the capitalists and a source of muscle power for political parties. The working people living in such areas are at the mercy of the ruling class, its state machinery and its political parties. The vast majority of workers in Delhi and other big cities live in such slums and resettlement colonies, at the mercy of those in power. Whenever the interests of the capitalist class demand, the state machinery demolishes the homes and property of the people living in these slums and hands over the land to big land developers. In order that workers do not unite and rise up in defence of those whose homes are being demolished, the ruling class carries out the propaganda that the target is a specific community.
The struggle that is going on in India is not between people of different religious beliefs. It is between the exploiters and the exploited. In order to divert the toiling masses from the struggle against exploitation and oppression, the ruling bourgeoisie is leaving no stone unturned to spread hatred and inflame passions on the basis of religion.
For the past 75 years, the bourgeoisie, headed by the monopoly houses, has used the so-called secular Indian state to systematically spread communal poison among all sections of society. The Constitution and laws of the land perpetuate the communal identity in place of the human identity. Everyone is not treated as an Indian citizen, but as a member of a “majority community” or “minority community”, based on one’s religious belief. The laws and policies also perpetuate the caste identity in the name of providing some relief for the most oppressed sections of the people.
The Indian state, which includes the political parties in parliament, the administrative machinery and security forces, has been regularly unleashing violence against different sections of the people. After every round of such violence, the propaganda machinery of the ruling class blames the people for the violence. In this way, the ruling class has tried to ensure that the workers and peasants of our country do not unite and fight their common enemy.
The target of state-organised communal violence is not only the section of the people who are targeted. It is the entire working class and toiling masses, their unity in struggle against their exploiters and oppressors.
The Indian ruling class has perfected the method of organising communal violence through its trusted parties and through the intelligence agencies and security forces of the State. Provocations are deliberately organised, such as throwing pork inside mosques, beef inside temples, or desecration of religious books. The agents of the State spread rumours among the people in order to inflame passions. In 1984, they spread rumours that the wells supplying drinking water to the people had been poisoned.
The gangs which carry out violent attacks have the protection of the State. They dress themselves in a religious garb to make it appear that people of one religion are attacking people of another religion.
From the time India gained independence, people have witnessed repeated instances of state-organised communal massacres, including the genocide of 1984 and the genocide of 2002. Many different parties have taken charge of the government at the centre and in the states but those who masterminded mass murders have not been punished. This is clear proof that these massacres were carried out at the behest of the ruling class. They were not “riots” but state-organised crimes against the people. Unleashing communal violence is a preferred method of the ruling bourgeois class to smash the unity of the workers, peasants and other oppressed masses of people.
The ruling class is facing mounting opposition of workers, peasants, women and youth to its agenda of globalisation, through liberalisation and privatisation. The toiling majority of people are angry at the intensified exploitation, growing unemployment and rising prices. Mass protests are growing in size and strength. The ruling class is unleashing communal violence to smash the united opposition of workers, peasants and all oppressed people to its agenda.
The struggle to end communalism and communal violence is an integral part of the struggle of the working class and people against the capitalist system and the rule of the bourgeoisie. The struggle must be waged with the aim of replacing the rule of the bourgeoisie with workers’ and peasants’ rule. Only then can we build a new society free from all forms of exploitation and oppression. Only then can we ensure that the right to conscience is guaranteed for all; and no one is discriminated against or attacked because of their beliefs.