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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Left Rule Wedded To Bigotry (In Defence Of Family And Culture?)

The death of Rizwanur Rehman and 30 years of `Left' rule
Death of Rizwan-ur Rahaman in Calcutta
The killing shows again the abysmal depth CPI(M) has stooped down to

Proletarian Era, 15th October 2007

Inter-caste, inter-community or inter-religion marriages hardly face
any hindrance in any civil, democratic society, for instance, in those
of the western world. But attempts to undertake such marriages appear
to be meeting insurmountable stumbling block of disapproval in our
country. Even after sixty years of independence, the country is not
freed of this curse of condemning such marriages. Rather, under the
spell of rising spate of communal, obscurantist, superstitious ideas,
gained momentum, courtesy arch-communal Hindutwavadi forces like
BJP-RSS combine and similar communal forces of other religious
communities, these shameful social maladies are spreading their roots
further into the society, even not excluding that of states like West
Bengal, which remain under the 'leftist rule' of CPI(M) for decades.
The reason, we will have to seek in the historical course of modern
nation-building processes, for it is there that people of different
caste, religion or language etc. are united in one single whole of
nation. Whereas, in western countries, modern nations emerged during
the days of Renaissance and development of bourgeois civilization,
fighting uncompro-misingly against these social differences and
maladies based thereupon, our fight for nationhood took place at a
time when the bourgeoisie had become moribund, unable to undertake any
uncompromising struggle towards social and cultural revolution uniting
people of different castes, languages, religions etc. The force like
Congress, that represented the Indian bourgeoisie in the leadership of
our independence struggle, threw aside the tasks of social and
cultural revolution, in the haste of their greed to assume political
power. Post-independence days, too, could see only the natural
aftermaths, as the different political parties of the same capitalist
class, Congress, BJP or their different alliances rose to power, but
did never take up the task from their fear-complex of revolution. Only
people had to pay for it, as their disunity on different terms, often
bursting out into internecine strife, went on increasing, vitiating
the social atmosphere. The fall-out is seen in the rise of such
maladies as among others, social, and even administrative disapproval
of inter-caste, inter-community or inter-religion marriages. A number
of the latest of such fall-outs, come from West Bengal where the
pseudo communist CPI(M) boasts of ruling for a record span of three
decades. The most glaring of them is the very recent case of
Rizwan-ur Rahman.

In Calcutta of West Bengal, Rizwan-ur Rahman and Priyanka Todi, both
of right age, fell in love and married themselves, duly and legally on
August 18. Rizwan came of an ordinary middle-class Muslim family,
and Priyanka of fabulously rich and Hindu, Todis. Reportedly, Asok
Todi, bride's father, once an ordinary trader, had connection with
unlawful betting syndicate dealing with cricket match-fixing, but
eventually built up his multi-hundred crore corporate empire, by
developing and nurturing a closely-built up network of connections
with the police- local or of the Calcutta Police headquarters at
Lalbazar- administration-business world and high-ups of the society.
On August 31, Priyanka moved out to live with her husband and his
family without carrying any valuables from her paternal source, lest
her father file any case of theft against Rizwan and her. Also, there
had been earlier cases in the same Todi family, in which inter-caste
marriages were intercepted and broken, of course not in lawful ways.
So on the same date, apprehending interception and interference from
Priyanka's father, the couple sent copies of their marriage
certificate to the Police Commissioner and DC (Calcutta South), both
in the police headquarters at Lalbazar and to different concerned
officers of the local police stations, where Rizwan and Priyanka
lived. Priyanka then talked with her father on mobile phone, stating
her decision to stay with her husband. Same evening, Asok Todi came to
Rizwan's house along with a few other members of his family, of which
one was some Anil Saraogi, an uncle of Priyanka, at whom she reacted
vehemently as 'criminal' and 'murderer'. In presence of a number of
members of Rizwan's family, they first tried to persuade Priyanka to
return to her paternal family. Finding Priyanka firm on her stand,
Asok Todi, stayed for the whole night and threatened Rizwan's
inmates with dire consequences, to the extent of wiping out the whole
family. He then filed a case of abduction of his daughter by Rizwan,
not with the local police station, but with the Lalbazar itself, with
which, as mentioned, Todis were well connected. On the other hand,
between September 1 and 8, deputy commissioners Gyanwant Singh
(headquarters) and Ajoy Kumar (detective department), assistant
commissioner of anti-rowdy section Sukanti Chakraborty and a
sub-inspector of the same section Krishnendu Das, either sending
instructions or working under such from their superiors as the case
may be, summoned the couple and even the witnesses of the
marriage-registration repeatedly to Lalbazar and threatened them in
presence of Todis in their office. They forced Rizwan, under threat
of imminent arrest, ultimately making the couple sign over a
plain-paper, agreeing to send Priyanka back for seven days to her
father's house. On September 8, Priyanka went back to be seen for the
last time. Rather, in a mysterious situation, Rizwan-ur was found dead
beside a railway-track on September 21 morning. Apprehensive and
sensing a foul play, Rizwan and his family members and friends, had
also approached the Human Rights Commission or other NGOs. Before
there was any post-mortem report and before he saw the body of Rizwan,
the police commissioner (CP) held a press conference on September 23,
where he termed Rizwan's death a suicide framing up the possible modes
and motives and arrogantly justified such naked interference by the
police into the exclusively private matters of two adult citizens,
terming it as a social act of relieving tension of parents whose ward
might have married against the parents' wills. To add here, he has
been a police commissioner enjoying unstinted favour of none other
than the Chief Minister, who, apart from other favours, had referred
to the CP, as "my candidate" in an election for the lucrative post of
the president of Cricket Association of Bengal. The privilege, thus
acquired, seems to have enthused the CP to make such haughty, uncivil,
undemocratic statements. People's opinion, including that of his
family members, was however otherwise; they suspected long and foul
hand of forces in power. On 21st night, Rizwan's brother complained
to the Kareya Police station, under which they lived, in writing about
the threats from Asok Todi and suspected a hand of him behind his
brother's death. The police station cared the least to take any
action. The whole array of circumstantial evidences, as they came out
from different sources, however, stood against the suicide mode of
Rizwan's death and pointed palpably to a murder. A few minutes before
he met his death, he had talked on cell-phone to fix up a vital
appointment with legal personnel at 2-30 pm, showing no sign of any
depression to lead him to suicide immediately afterwards. Secondly, no
driver of any of the trains that must have passed by that track around
the time of his death reported anybody to be hit by their vehicle.
Rizwan's skull bore the whole injury; there was nothing else to be
found on the body, a case unthinkable for a run-over victim of a
speedy train. There were also allegations of a fat sum of money
changing hands and use of hired professional killers in the process, a
method with which Todis were not totally unacquainted, as was known
from their past records. In this case too, some unidentified goons
threatened Rizwan's family members on September 3 at their own house.
However, with their blue-eyed CP under fire, the West Bengal State
Secretary of the ruling party CPI(M), held brief for the Police as a
part of a cover-up operation stating that they did not know the couple
to be rightfully married, a blatant false statement as it was. It has
already been mentioned that apprehending interception from the Todis,
the couple informed the concerned local police stations and the
Lalbazar of their civil marriage immediately after they had gone into
it. Soon the CPI(M) top leader of the state had to eat his words to
add that he did not know that the police had been aware of the
marriage. The incident and the shameless act of the CPI(M) leaders and
the police not only brought rude shock to people, they created deep
anger and strong indignation among all sections of the masses. Under
pressure of such rapidly growing adverse opinion, the government
announced a CID enquiry, meaning a branch of the police force was
given the charge of investigating the case, in which high officials
of another branch of the same force were already involved. Under
fire of criticism and opposition, the Chief Minister apparently made
another backtrack and announced setting up of an one-man judicial
enquiry commission under a retired judge. CBI enquiry, though also not
generally fruitful, was demanded by the inmates of Rizwan's family.
At first, it was summarily rejected; later as the bereaved family
moved the court, it was tagged up conveniently with a long-drawn legal
procedure to be dismissed ultimately.

Such being the essence of the series of relevant events, the first
point to note is that, particularly, in a country like India where
people are miserably divided into different castes, creeds, religions
etc., and repeatedly fall victims to internecine strife, such acts
of inter-caste or inter-religion marriages, as undertaken by Rizwan-ur
and Priyanka, would have provided, all the more, courageous examples
to the younger generation to make amends with the prevailing disunity
and hostility among people, at least in their personal life. Further,
even the Supreme Court ordered encouragement of these. But, as
mentioned, people are shocked with horrid tales of such couples
being ostracized, tortured, chased by the Police, even lynched
brutally, as mark of 'honour-killing' , at the instance of some
influential moneyed person or group. It is not much different in
states ruled by the arch-communal BJP-RSS combine on one extreme, and
in states like West Bengal ruled by a party, like CPI(M) which
clamours of Marxism and its pro-people attitude; neither there is any
difference between areas dominated by the Muslims or by different
other religions. Hardly, if ever, the victims find any protection or
support from the administration and even the much- trumpeted CPI(M)
party machinery. In fact, the local party bosses and the local
administration, generally either wash their hands off or even
directly join the bandwagon itself.

Right from the moment the news of this Rizwan- Priyanka incident had
come out in public, it stirred up strong indignation and hatred among
people, irrespective of religion or other differences, against the
police, which had apparently acted well beyond their legal and
constitutional jurisdiction of non-interference into personal matters
of adult citizens, in this case a valid civil marriage. People were in
no mood to meekly accept this criminal audacity of the Police and
the party. Only a few months back, the villagers of Singur and
Nandigram had stood up against the pro-capitalist, anti-people move of
the CPI(M). Particularly in Nandigram, the organized, sustained
movement of people, united cutting across the prevailing political
identities and irrespective of religion or other differences, forced
the government to abandon its project of setting up chemical hub and
SEZ in that area at the cost of life and livelihood of lakhs of
people. In fact, Nandigram incident did not remain confined to that
village. It stirred up the long-dormant conscience of people of the
entire state, from workers, peasants, students, youth and common
middle class section of the population, to even the fore-ranking
intellectuals of all shades of opinion. They stood rock-solid in
defence of the Nandigram people's right to live and against the
utterly anti-people policies of the CPI(M) that reflected their total
subservience to the ruling class, the moneyed people. When, on this
backdrop of rising surge of democratic movement, that even sent its
impact beyond the state and over the whole of the country, as well as
outside it, Rizwan had to pay with his life for his love, it did not
fail to create its impact also in the people at large. Suicide or
homicide, there was no doubt that it was the threat and intimidation
from the highest levels of the police and the Todis with their
ramified connections with the administration and even government,
which lay at the root of this tragic end of a young innocent life.
And what was the role of the master of the police, the government
itself? Did the police act on its own? No, they could not; at least,
they did not have to worry about the expressed or silent approval of
their master. Any civilized government would not have denied the
moral responsibility of revealing the truth behind this ghastly crime
with which the police was directly involved. It would have taken
drastic action against the officers, immediately suspending them. But
here the CPI(M) in government acted to the contrary. As immediate
reaction, the CPI(M) state secretary, the honourable state secretary,
flatly came up in their defence. Unfortunately, his effort was based
on sheer falsehood. As stated above, when he backtracked and said
that he had been unaware of the fact that the police knew about the
marriage, was he again making a false statement or did it betray the
sense of responsibility of a leader of his position with which he had
made the earlier statement ? Everybody knows that in a class-divided
society, the police is one of the ugliest organs, the hounding
watchdog of the state to defend interest of the ruling class. In our
capitalist state, there are ample examples of how the police stand in
favour of the moneyed class to deny and deprive the poor even their
minimum legitimate rights. In the present case also, the police was
acting in favour of the Todis, as against Rizwan and his
family-inmates, even his wife. And the CPI(M) leaders are coming up
in naked defence of the police, just as they had stood for the police
perpetrating carnage on innocent villagers, including women and
children in Nandigram or dastardly suppressing movement of peasants at
Singur. The course followed in Rizwan case reflected the same trend.
The only aim of the government is to hush up the affair, the tragic
death, the completely illegal behaviour of the highest officials of
the Police overstepping their jurisdiction and absolutely unwarranted
unlawful interference into constitutional right of individuals, all at
the instance of and to the benefit of the moneyed people, who are
hand-in-glove with the administration, the Police and thus the
government. As it stands in this country, it is hard to believe that
justice can be meted out through any CID investigation, where higher
officials of the Police are themselves involved and continue to be in
their posts while the investigation is on. Yet the government went
for that. So there are questions raised from people of any and every
stratum or section. Even there are murmurs among the ruling party or
its allies, since the incident endangered the prospect of cashing upon
minority vote-bank in the Panchayat or other elections in the near
future. The apprehension is proved correct in the interim report of
the CID, which did not mention the name of any of the involved Police
officers, even if the CID had summoned at least some of them,
questioned them and expressed concern over presence of contradictory
statements in their answers. Neither did CID file a FIR, without which
the whole investigation boiled down to an eyewash. The judicial
enquiry Commission under a retired judge instead of a sitting judge,
was another shady move, that too taken under pressure of criticism.
When named, the judge was found to be a person who had past
record of amity with the ruling party. Besides, as required formally,
the setting up of such a Commission and the associated steps were not
even reported to the Chief Justice, that really nullified the
validity of that move. It was all the more necessary to inform the
Union government, because of the involvement of IPS officers in the
incident, though the Commission had no power to deal with IPS
officers. In addition, people of the state are fully aware of a score
of such judicial enquiries ordered on past incidents ending in fiasco
without any result whatsoever for years together. There remained the
point of CBI enquiry. CPI(M), at least as the past record goes, has
never proved at all reluctant to demand CBI enquiries into this or
that incident. However, in this case, the demand of a CBI enquiry
by the inmates of Rizwan's family and others was summarily rejected;
reportedly, leaders of CPI(M) even rushed from Delhi to visit
Rizwan's family members and to persuade them not to demand CBI

We may reiterate the sum and substance once more. Rizwan will never
return. Whether Priyanka will be allowed by her brute family members
to cherish even the tragic memory of her beloved husband, is yet to be
seen. Already there are indications otherwise. Shutting Priyanka off
from the world and the media, Todis allowed only members of the
CPI(M)- dominated Women's Commission to interview her. Incidentally,
it was this Commission, which termed the brutal rape and palpable
murder of Tapasi Malik of Singur a suicide and concluded from their
talks with the rape victims of Nandigram, that there had been no rape
there. So it appears that Todis-Police- CPI(M) combine is monitoring
a script to use the Women's Commission in their cover-up game. In the
meanwhile, in face of severely adverse people's opinion, CPI(M), the
party in power and thus in charge, is playing the worst kind of
hypocritical role. The veteran former chief minister or the present
incumbent as well as other leaders of the top echelon of that party,
try to assure people that nobody found guilty will be spared, while at
the same time, the government takes such measures and avoid such
others, as discussed above, as to simply confuse the process of
finding the truth and delay meting out of justice, thus in effect and
in reality leaving the culprits safe and denying the victims the
justice. The more there are criticisms and opposition from people, the
more frantic and erratic attempts, the government and the CPI(M)
leaders make to shield the criminal police officers and hush up the
horrid incident at any cost.

Now, a bunch of questions may disturb right-thinking people who have
followed the course of events. The first is: how could the police, in
a state governed by a party like CPI(M), claiming to be Communist, act
so highhanded to perpetrate this abominable crime of interfering into
the legally performed civil marriage of two adults. And then: Why is
the government so keen on shielding the implicated police officers and
covering up the whole issue. To find answers, it must be noted that
after assuming power, even the lip-service to democratic movement
CPI(M) used to pay at one stage, although it was reformist
constitutional in nature, was completely abandoned by that party in
its bid to serve the ruling class to continue to remain in power; also
it has done away with all shades of morality and ethics. It has
simply turned out to be a watchdog to protect the interest of the
ruling class and has thus become a part and parcel of the system of
exploitation of people. And concomitant to all this, utter selfish
attitude and opportunist bent of mind are spreading fast among people
to provoke acts purported to make the most out of the situation.
Cumulatively, it is vitiating the social environment and bringing
CPI(M) further into bogs of corruption. On the other hand, having been
isolated from people as a result of these, CPI(M) is now using the
brute force more and more in suppressing the democratic movement. The
police and the bureaucracy have thus turned out to be the main planks
of their power. They cannot simply afford to live without their
support. Naturally it is providing the police and the bureaucracy with
added fillip and encouragement to go ahead with more and more
highhandedness and arrogance. Unhesitatingly, they are bringing down
ruthless attacks not only on democratic movements, also on minimum
democratic rights of people to live. This is evident in the present
case and not just here. For example, in Nandigram they pounced upon
innocent villagers, women and children not spared, fighting for their
life and livelihood or in Katwa an ill reputed officer killed a leader
of peaceful demonstration from point-blank range and went scot-free.
Under such circumstances people must come out with a massive,
organized and united struggle unequivocally demanding a neutral
enquiry of Rizwan's death by a commission formed of judges, law
professionals, intellectuals and journalists, in whom the people have
faith. They must demand for immediate suspension, and not just
transfer, of police officers implicated in the murder and immediate
arrest of Asok Todi and his accomplices, in the interest of neutral
enquiry. Only that can make some amends for the gross injustice the
society has inflicted upon the young couple, as desired by Rizwan's
hapless mother.
The other serious issue that evokes concern in right-thinking minds
relates to the cultural aspect. It makes them wonder how in the
cultural atmosphere of a state run by a party like CPI(M) boasting of
leftism for long three decades, such an incident of harassing and
threatening two adult individuals for undertaking a perfectly legal
inter-religion marriage and finally bringing death, whether suicide
or homicide, to one of them, could take place. To get the right
answer, the first point that must be realized is that had there been a
genuine leftist party in power in West Bengal, then from its seat of
power, it would have tried to give people whatever relief it could.
At the same time it would have engaged itself in developing massive
movements one after another, to help people wrest their legitimate
demands from the government and the ruling class, keeping those
movements free from the interference of the police and the bureaucracy
and building up those movements on the edifice of higher culture,
morality and ethics. And in that process, realizing the need of
uniting people of the country, irrespective of caste, creed, religion
and language, a task that was neglected by the bourgeois leadership
of our independence struggle and thus devolved upon the genuine
leftists in free India, it would have also made every possible
attempt to develop rock-solid unity and amity of the toiling people
irrespective of caste- race-religion-language, wiping out the
prevailing disunity and distrust among them. It is such an
environment given birth to by the intense united mass movement of
toiling people that would have created the concrete reality in which a
free exchange, intermixing and interaction of toiling people would
have been possible. CPI(M) has, however, never trodden that path.
Rather they have chosen the path of clinging to power, shunning the
path of democratic movement, playing upon people's disunity to gain
premium in vote-bank politics and thus, ultimately playing a totally
subservient role to the ruling class. And by these, they are simply
helping in unbridled spread of bourgeois culture, thinking and
attitude. In their thirty-one year rule, not to speak of developing
higher culture-morality and ethics, there has been rapid cultural
degeneration spreading its roots throughout the society.

And so West Bengal today finds even minimum democratic acts like
inter-religion marriages being condemned; the couples, even their
friends and family members, are being hounded by the police, at the
instance and instigation of some influential moneyed persons, and, as
in the case of Rizwan- Priyanka, the rabid communal BJP terming
people's indignation against Rizwan's killing as 'excess', thus lend
support to otherwise isolated CPI(M). It is found that with every
passing day, rampant corruption, both material and spiritual, is
devouring every walk of life, warped mindset is gaining more and more
currency, all divisive and deriding traits and propensities are on a
spiral, crude individualism, sickening philosophical intolerance and
forcible muzzling of opposing views are becoming dominant features,
sex-perversion and such other degraded mentalities are getting firmly
entrenched, drug peddling and smuggling are assuming mind-boggling
proportions, the state stands second in the country in woman
trafficking, first in child trafficking; obscurantist thoughts and
religious bigotry are found to be extremely pronounced. Instances of
rape, molestation and lynching of women even in public, prostitution,
dowry deaths are reported every hour. Witchcraft, sorcery are
increasing in rural particularly tribal belts. Liquor shops and
gambling dens mushroom throughout the state on liberal license from
the government. In many of these criminal or unlawful acts, leaders,
cadres and even supporters of CPI(M) are found involved in or abetting
the acts, be it in running a sleaze racket in Calcutta proper, or in
organizing vulgar stage shows like Hope '86. The very same CPI(M)
minister linked with Hope'86 also boasted of his close ties with
godmen or frequented temples to flaunt his 'Brahmin' credential. A
CPI(M) zonal committee secretary has been implicated in rape and
brutal murder of Tapasi Malik, a teenaged activist of Singur
resistance movement of peasants. A senior CPI (M) central committee
member openly asked the female cadres of the party to 'show their
buttocks' to Medha Patkar, in protest of her standing by the Nandigram
carnage victims. Instances galore are there. Surely all these acts and
activities only smack of typical subservience to bourgeois class
politics committed to pollute people from within, rob them of human
essence and turn them into spineless creatures so that they are unable
to stand erect against oppressions and suppressions unleashed on them.
It is in this backdrop, that the latest incidents of attacks on
inter-religion marriages and CPI(M)'s reactions to them are to be
viewed and judged.

Naturally, such limitless cultural degeneration has only encouraged
people or forces like the police or the Todis to commit the crimes
they have done in Rizwan's case. So it is precisely the crop of the
same seed of degenerated, corrupt cultural atmosphere that the CPI(M)
has carefully sown and cultivated through all these thirty one years
of its rule. And it is neither really unexpected of CPI(M), nor it
came out of the blue. This party has never grown up as a real
communist party; all through it has been a social democratic force. It
has always borne all traits of bourgeois culture and vices leaving
imprints upon the behaviour and activities of its leaders and cadres.
Noticing this painful phenomenon in CPI(M) and for that matter also in
CPI, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the founder General Secretary of our party
SUCI, pointed out time and again that the banner, the name and the
title of a party do not really matter. He maintained : The living
soul, the kernel of any lofty ideal is ingrained in its cultural and
ethical standard. If the cultural and ethical standard is not high,
the frame of even an advanced political ideology becomes a lifeless
body. When in a body, even if it is beautiful, there is no life, it
becomes a useless corpse. Left to itself, it causes harm to society.
In the same way, if anybody speaks of a lofty ideal, but does not
reflect high ethics and cultural standard, it also becomes equally
harmful for society and putrefied. So, it is not enough if a party
engages in loud and tall talks of ideology. Whether the ideology it
reflects is really high is proven by whether its leaders, cadre and
supporters reflect high ethical and moral standard in their personal
life, daily work and habits and political activities and behaviour.
Had CPI(M) been a genuine revolutionary party, increase in its
influence within the society would have brought a restraining effect
on lowering of cultural standard and degeneration of morality
resulting from decadence of capitalism. But it was not that; rather
the contrary was true (free translation from a Bengali speech of
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh made on 25th Party Foundation Day on 24 April,
1973). These notes of caution and criticism, sounded a few decades
back, revealed the reality prevailing then. Thereafter, wallowing in
power and pelf for years together, parties like CPI(M) have further
degenerated; the stench is now coming out terribly in incidents like
Nandigram carnage or Rizwan's death in West Bengal, no less from
rampant corruption unveiled in Kerala. People thus face a two-fold
task. In addition to their united movement demanding revelation of
truth and punishment of the culprits, as mentioned above, they must
rid themselves of harbouring any illusion, if they may still have,
about the real character of CPI(M) or such forces, and find out and
strengthen the force that continues to fight for people on genuine
Marxism- Leninism with their leaders and cadres and even the masses
involved in movements under their leadership reflecting a higher level
of cultural-ethical standard, that is the proletarian culture and
ethics. Failure in performing either of these tasks will only lead
to such tragic incidents as Rizwan's killing

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always want to defend peace, justice, peoples' right to love each other and live with dignity,struggles against parochial visions and hatred;instinctively a defender of socialist and democratic values