Posts Tagged ‘All India Patriotic Forum’

ALL INDIA PATRIOTIC FORUM – Convener – Amaresh Misra

November 15, 2008

ALL INDIA PATRIOTIC FORUM

 

                                  PREAMBLE 

 

 

I am happy to announce the formation of All India Patriotic Forum. This will be a new kind of a roving, internet based, activist civil rights-political platform. The Forum has been formed by several prominent constituent organizations who feel that Indians have to be empowered in civil rights first—there can be no modern, democratic society without civil empowerment. Civil empowerment is the first step towards social and political empowerment.

While there are parties and organizations fighting for social and political empowerment of minorities and weaker sections, there is no organization fighting consistently for civil empowerment of the Indian underprivileged. In their individual and collective capacity, human rights groups are doing great work. But they often get bogged down in firefighting, responding to threats on issue by issue basis. In any case, human right groups are involved basically in fighting against human rights abuses. The need of the hour however is also to form a long-term, strategic  perspective—especially about human and civil rights issues in India.

The fact is that in India, the concept of civil society and citizens with civil rights protected by law is weak. The influence of  penal-bureaucratic-Statist mindset is overwhelming—this mindset reduces the concept of civil society to a society protected merely by penal laws, which are to be enforced by law enforcement agencies. Besides giving enormous power to State agencies, this mindset militates against any concept of individual and community rights vis-à-vis the State, the concept that not just violation of human life, but violation of human dignity of individuals and communities constitutes a crime.

It is because of this reason that there are no laws in India against say, using abusive-racist-communal language against communities and persecuting community and individual groups. When Bal Thackeray called Muslims `Laandiya’, he could be booked at most under Indian Penal Code (IPC) laws which are very general and do not mention or take into account, such specific communal and racist abuses. If a police officer tortures an under-trial, then that under-trial has no law or section to file a case against the police officer. The most he can do is to file a writ petition or register FIR. Even if a FIR is registered, it will be under section 307 (attempt to murder)—because there are actually no laws that specifically constitute a section where a crime like torture in custody is punishable by law.

India functions as per a written constitution, where Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21 guarantee equality before law, fundamental right to life, and non-discrimination on the basis of caste, community or religion. So India has a secular constitution and a secular penal law—but there are no specific guarantees to see to it that the articles of constitution are implemented in letter and in spirit.

America offers a good example where despite a written constitution which promised that all men born are equal, that no discrimination ought to be made on the basis of race of color, a civil war had to fought, to protect the constitution. Further, a civil rights bill was enacted in the 1960s, almost a hundred years after the civil war, which guaranteed the rights of blacks and minorities and the end of segregation through separate laws.

The lack of civil laws leads to unchecked statism and power to the state—at the same it weakens the state as society does not have strong civil laws and rights which promote adherence to the state. In fact, this is the dialectics of the situation—statism flourishes on denying individual rights—but it is only and only those rights that actually guarantee the development of a citizen of a civil society of a nation. And a national entity with a strong civil society will always have more nationalism and loyalty to the State. The State which denies civil rights to its citizens, despite appearing `strong’, is actually a weak state as it does not command the natural loyalty of its citizens, many of whom have been denied the full benefits of peaceful existence protected by civil laws and individual rights.

In India, right before our eyes we are witness to the phenomenon of the strong Indian state failing to act against challenges to Indian sovereignty in Maharashtra and Gujarat, mounted by self serving regional players. Civil rights are the nut and bolts of any society, nation and State power. Without civil rights, a State remains a porous State however strong are the postures that it takes.

Hence, in India we see a situation where a `hard’ Indian State in Kashmir and the North-East ultimately fails to act against communal and fascist forces by and large. This situation is a direct result of lack of civil rights in Kashmir and the North-East—the existence of these rights would have stopped human rights abuses, knitted the two regions closer to the all India fabric and helped the Indian State concentrate on the real challenges.

 

It is also the case that legal awareness about even available legal redress is very weak. This can be seen in several cases where Muslim boys in particular have been picked up at random by the Police after bomb blasts; often they have been let off; but in at least 8 cases out to 10 those boys and their families have not sought legal redress. There is no actually legal cell in India working consistently to bring legal relief to victims of communal persecution.

 

Lack of civil rights is an invitation to fascism and colonialism in India. As the strong state in form, becomes weak in practice, fascist elements will gain control in the name of order and more power to the center and this will alienate further the Indian people from the Indian state. Ultimately a foreign power will start knocking at India’s door.

 

It is to make people realize these dangers and fight against them, that AIPF has been formed. The sad case in our country is that a whole battery of well meaning secular intellectuals have little concept of civil nationalism; perhaps, this is because India is a young state. Either ways, it is the bounden duty of activists, patriots and intellectuals to address this problem.

In India several political formation including those of the third front emerge from time to time and they do come to power also for short periods. But these forces and the Left movement at large, which have fought several battles for justice and sovereignty in India, have failed to articulate the problem of ensuring civil rights to its citizens, and building a civil-composite nationalism where all people and communities feel that they are part of a single whole.                  

    As India slowly slides towards Fascism, liberal individuals/formations, democratic and Left forces lack information and feedback about Human Rights abuses and Muslim persecution. These forces, despite their genuine efforts on several fronts, have failed in pinpointing the role of security forces in profiling minorities, especially Muslims and in inventing the whole specter of Muslim terrorism, especially organizations like SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen (IM).

          In India what we are seeing today, as witnessed in several incidents from Batala House encounter to Assam bomb blasts a twin process—the institutionalization of fascist Muslim persecution through democratic institutions and slow coming to the fore, over-ground one may add, of majority-Hindutva-fascist-terrorism which is openly justifying bomb blasts in Muslim areas. The phenomenon of Saadhvi Pragya Singh and the whole conspiracy that is slowly being unearthed in the Malegaon Blast case speaks precisely about this aspect of the present crisis. The Raj Thackeray affair in Mumbai shows that there is a final conspiracy to break the Indian nation and state, by playing, along with the communal card the regional card as well.

Aims and Objectives

         

         

The AIPF shall pursue the following aims:

 

1.    Create Civil rights awareness and Civil Empowerment Forums all over India through workshops, seminars etc.

2.    Collect a proper data base for Civil rights and Civil Rights abuses in India, for different castes and communities in India, as per the specificity of the Indian situation.

3.     Work as a liaison Forum between different secular forces, NGOs and other organizations and form adjunct organizations concerning civil rights as and when the need arises   

4.    Create special awareness about minority rights and the concept of civil-composite-democratic nationalism as opposed to fascist nationalism and nationalistic chauvinism.  

5.    Working politically to act as an open Forum to bring together different political forces, especially of the Third Front and the Left on several issues, especially those concerning civil rights. Helping those political forces in particular who make the implementation of civil rights laws in India.

6.    Act as a global Forum for peace, harmony and civil rights awareness, working with similar Civil Rights organizations all over the world, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

7.    Facilitate a sense of history where the role of minorities in the history of nations, like the role of Muslims in the Indian freedom struggle is highlighted. This point makes the AIPF a research center as well. The AIPF will sponsor research and other activities in this field.

8.    To make special use of the audio-visual medium, especially films and theater, to spread civil rights awareness and civil-composite nationalism. This will involve making films and creating works of art that will spread the message of unity in diversity and communal harmony and would focus especially on changing the sense of history, from a communal to a secular one, with a special emphasis on themes like 1857, the first war of Indian Independence, which presents a shining example of civil-composite nationalism wherein all castes, communities and religions of India participated with equal vigor.     

9.    To organize social and political actions for the implementation of civil rights and against violation of human and Civil rights.

10.                       To form legal cells all over India to protect the legal rights of minorities and oppressed sections.

 

The AIPF will have a loose structure; anyone (individual or group) wishing to contribute to the above aims in whatever capacity is welcome to work for it, irrespective of whether they belong to some party or formation. This is not a NGO or civil rights organization in the conventional sense.        

     

First Action

 

 

In association with American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI), Tehrik-e-Hind, Vishva Sanatan Dharma Parishad, the All India Muslim Mahaz, and several other organizations, the AIPF is organizing a civil rights march in India in early 2009. The march will have two issues: the enactment of a `atrocities against minorities (prevention)’ act and a `torture and compensation act’. These actions will ensure that calling Muslim a Laandiya, or similar names to Sikhs and Christians, or torturing and picking up Muslim/Sikh/Christian boys for interrogation, or not giving flats on rent or to buy on the basis of religion become punishable offences.

The march will impress upon all secular political parties to include these issues in their programs. The march will also mark the first step towards the civil empowerment of Muslims and other minorities—it will be followed by other measures for other weaker sections like Adivasis and Dalits. The Torture and Compensation act will cover all citizens of India.

For this purpose, the AIPF has invited the AFMI office bearers from the US to come to India and address Muslim and other organizations so that the date, time and tenor of the proposed civil rights can be fixed.

The meeting will be held on 28th December at the India Islamic Center, Lodi Road, New Delhi.

 Detailed information and invitation will follow.

 

 

Amaresh Misra,

 

Convener,

 

All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF)

 

                    House No. 688, 1st Floor,  Sector 14, MG Road,

                    Gurgaon, Haryana, National Capital Region (NCR)

                    PH-91-9250305699

                

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