Endless Feudal And Caste Violence
by: Kavita Krishnan
In the early hours of Bhagat Singh's martyrdom day on March 23 this year, villagers of Repura in the Ara Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar found the body of Budhram Paswan, secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)'s Charpokhri block committee.
He had been killed the previous night, as he was returning to the village for a meeting in preparation for the filing of Lok Sabha nominations by CPI (ML) candidates. The FIR has named several well-known feudal elements of the neighbouring village, including three men accused in the Ranvir Sena's 1998 Nagari Bazaar massacre.
Paswan also helped the survivors find courage and determination to appeal against the acquittal in the Supreme Court. On March 23, Ranvir Sena supporters celebrated Paswan's assassination, gleefully firing shots in the air. Such celebrations underline the fact that the murder is a political one, intended to terrorise CPI (ML) supporters with a show of feudal muscle on the eve of an election in which the CPI (ML) is a strong contender from the Ara seat.
The same forces faced with CPI (ML) victories in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha seats in Bhojpur in the late 80s and early 90s formed the Ranvir Sena and conducted a spate of massacres with the purpose of terrorising the poor and checking their social and political assertion. Now their strategy is to eliminate leaders and cadres like the CPI (ML)'s Rohtas Secretary Bhaiyyaram Yadav (killed in 2012) and Paswan.
On Independence Day last year, the Dalits of Baddi were subjected to organised feudal violence that claimed a life, injured several people and destroyed a temple of the poet-saint Ravidas, revered by the Dalits.
The Commission was at the point of submitting its conclusions, and was likely to name several prominent national and State-level politicians, mostly from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United), but also some from the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.
Therefore there was, among Bihar's ruling parties, a tacit consensus on the burial of the Commission. The Dalit' massacres took place with the open collusion of the RJD government, with Lalu Prasad declaring his willingness to ‘ally with the forces of hell'.
At Bathani Tola, the Ranvir Sena butchered women and children from the oppressed castes as well as backward Muslims. The Ranvir Sena distributed election leaflets in the 90s seeking votes for the BJP. Brahmeshwar Singh, chief of the Ranvir Sena, in interviews given close to his death, openly admitted to having been a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh cadre since childhood, and wanting to see Modi as Prime Minister.
Much of the literature of the Ranvir Sena was copy-pasted from RSS tracts, including demands for abolition of Article 370, ban on cow slaughter and shrill anti-communism.
And it is ironic that Modi, bragging to the people of Bihar about the development model of the ‘western states,' forgets that the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena — both vying to offer him allegiance in Maharashtra — are responsible for thrashing migrant labourers from Bihar and other eastern states, whose labour contributes in no small way to the corporate-led ‘development' of those States.
Gujarat and Maharashtra are both arenas of corporate assertion and the corporate model of ‘development,' and Modi's campaign has taken on the overtones of the corporate home base against more backward regions.
The spate of people joining the BJP after resigning from top positions in police, intelligence, and the Home departments ought to alert us to the deep-seated communal and political bias that exists at the heart of such institutions, as a result of which saffron—terror linkages are seldom probed while communal profiling is rampant.
In this poll, the challenge for progressive forces is to keep the struggles for justice and truth from ‘disappearing' or being turned into a farce.
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