A new era in Indian politics heralding the aspirations of the masses, which still yearn for justice, peace and two square meals a day even after 70 years of the Independence, will blossom into realms of reality, if a group of people who have joined hands under the banner of Alliance for Justice and Peace (AJP) succeeds in their mission. Their lofty ideals lays stress on implementing the directive principles together with secularism, equality, justice etc as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. To realise its objectives the Alliance organised a two-day national convention at Mumbai from October 15, wherein about 150 activists from across the country converged to put their heads together to figure out a strategy under a Common Minimum Programme (CMP).

Hindutva Brahminical State
The Alliance issued a short statement of objectives, which says:
1. “Capitalism, Communalism, Casteism and Criminalisation are the dominant features of the society. Poverty, ignorance, unemployment, inequality, violence, insecurity, corruption, environmental degradation and climate change are their products. The party in power at the Centre and some States are encouraging these evils, for their partisan purposes. Being proponents of theocratic Hindutva Brahminical State, caste system, social and economic inequality are not opposed to and they have been directly and indirectly promoting these social evils through violent methods.
2. All right thinking people believing in freedom, equality, fraternity, justice and humanism should come together, not only to resist the obvious attempt to convert the country into a communal, unequal fascist state, but to evolve and implement an action plan based upon a common acceptable programme.

(I) Create a society where all men, women and children are assured satisfaction of all their minimum economic needs such as nutritious food, shelter, education, health care, employment and environmental safety and security, to enable them to rise to their highest level of creativity;
(ii) Economic system to provide each individual the basic human needs and not create more than minimum possible inequality;
(iii) Political system which is democratic and secular and which will guarantee freedom, equality, fraternity, and unity;
(iv) Environmental safety & security;
(v) Religious and cultural freedom;
(vi) Protection of minorities of all kinds — racial, religious, linguistic, cultural and of gender;
(vii) Promotion of peace, non-violence, tolerance, brotherhood and co-operation and elimination of terrorism of all kinds;
(viii) Saving the Indian Constitution”.

The convention concluded with a firm resolve to build a broad alliance to save the Constitution and the nation from the clutches of Brahminical fascist forces. It also resolved to change the economic system of the nation and make it people-oriented so as to create more job opportunities as the present system is profit-oriented only. The concluding session discussed various issues pertaining to building of broad alliance amongst depressed classes such as Adivasis, Scheduled Casts, religious minorities and all secular and democratic forces. At the end of the convention a resolution was adopted christened as “Mumbai Declaration” which will act as a conceptual foundation as well as implementation frame for future initiatives. The “Mumbai Declaration” said that this National Convention of the AJP declares the launching of a joint platform named “Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao” (Save Constitution, Save Nation). This platform will strive for justice for all deprived classes in India since it is a prerequisite for the prevalence of peace. The convention was monitored by the presidium consisting of former SC Judge Justice PB Sawant, Chief Editor, Al Furqan Monthly & Spokesman of AIMPLB Maulana Khaleel-ur-Rahman Sajjad Naumani, former Judge, Mumbai High Court Justice Kolse Patil, Journalist & Human Rights Activist Teesta Setalvad, and President of Bharat Mukti Morcha Waman Meshram. The session was moderated by EM Abdul Rahiman and Gopal Menon. Speakers of the session included veteran journalist VT Rajashekhar, Dalit leader Waman Meshram, social activists Dr Taslim Rahmani, Teesta Setalvad, Elyas Muhammad Thumbe, Arif Masood of Bhopal etc. Convenor of the convention Amjad Shaikh proposed a vote of thanks.

‘Mumbai Declaration’
The “Mumbai Declaration” says: “Transfer of public resources to private sector threatens to hollow out the Indian economy. Commercialization of education and health sectors are the evidence of India’s shift from a welfare state to an oligarchy of the rich. Huge budgetary subsidies to corporates and the phenomenon of NPAs are threatening to wreck the economy while the government continues to jeopardise the interest of small and middle savings of the average Indian.

It is an irony that in our democracy, a micro-scopic minority of Brahmins can dominate the legislatures by continuously playing the Muslim hate card among SCs/STs/OBCs. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Nomadic Tribes, Denotified Tribes, Other Backward Castes and Religious Minorities like Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians — as also Women from all the sections — share and experience the same sense of deprivation and alienation. The religious minorities and Dalits are targeted in various ways from hate mongering to lynching.  Those individuals and groups belonging to progressive circles and minority sections, as also those who dare to question the Sangh Parivar politics are labelled anti-national and demonised as a prelude to repressing them. Attacks on rationalists (writers, journalists and reformers) are also increasing with impunity. Other movements pioneered by the Working Classes, Tribals, SCs, Muslims, Farmers and Women are under threats of repression. Repressive measures by state agencies against all sections — Dalits, Adivasis, Minorities, Women, Workers and Farmers, including false cases against Free Thinkers, Writers and Journalists should be collectively resisted.

The Brahminical forces are promoting communal polarization within society in order to expand and exploit the Hindu vote bank.  This acute communalization of the majority community is as alarming as communal forces actually seizing power. Majority communalism and minority communalism threaten the secular, social fabric. This situation is the result of nearly a century long divisive and poisonous propaganda of the RSS and its open and shadow armies. The Preamble to the Indian Constitution has secularism as one of its key principles and socialism the established goal. It emphasises Justice on the Social, Economic and Political fronts, for all. Our Constitution and its humanist provisions are an anathema to the Hindutva forces. These forces have been trampling on the basic freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and encouraging violation of fundamental rights. There are open and dangerous claims being made to change the Indian Constitution, something that we should guard and mobilise against. To save India and its people, our Constitution has to be saved from these evils designs.
It is the need of the hour that all deprived and targeted classes along with secular parties and Civil Society Groups build a national alliance for justice and peace despite differences among them on certain issues.

Some other resolutions which highlighted the issues like controlling price hike, agrarian crisis, repeal of draconian laws like UAPA, AFSPA, disbanding NIA, bringing all intelligence and investigation agencies under parliamentary scrutiny, safeguarding women etc were also adopted. A core committee was also formed to hold key responsibilities. Later, while addressing a Press conference Justice PB Sawant, who is the president of APJ, said APJ has identified anti-Constitution and pro-Constitution forces. Those who are openly working against the Constitution and want to change it are the enemies and are anti-Constitution forces. While those who at least swear by the Constitution and want to abide by it, which are democratic, secular and socialist in their objectives though whatever may be their faults in implementing it are pro-Constitution.

“We want to rally all the Constitutional forces in the country in order to save the Indian Constitution”, Justice Sawant of the country and insisted on a focused approach to work on an Action Plan which propels people into a mass movement. He said: “We are meeting at a time when we are forced to experience all the values, principles and ideals for which we struggled during our freedom movement and which we have already incorporated in our Constitution to preserve with, being trampled upon everyday nowadays. What is worse is that the country is being taken in the opposite direction and instead of democracy we have fascism, secularism is being replaced by communalism, the Human Rights of the masses are being relegated to a background in order to cater the vulgar luxuries of the rich. This is part of a greater design to keep the masses physically, mentally and intellectually enslaved to the privileged class. And at the top of it the immature leadership has been making the life intolerable for the people with their crazy ideals”. Muslim scholar Maulana Khaleel-ur-Rahman Sajjad Naumani, the working president of the APJ, in his keynote address, said people and organizations have been working in this direction but in a scattered manner. Now it’s time to pool in all these resources and to form a strong alliance. There was a huge social and economic turmoil within the country and some people were antagonized with anti-poor and pro-rich policies of the present regime. “We will mobilise all weaker and marginalised sections,” he asserted. Waman Meshram, the president of the ‘Bharat Mukti Morcha’, said that fascist forces have been creating communal rifts between citizens belonging to various religions and taking advantage to capture power and rule over the country.

Common Minimum Programme
• Forefront the issues of all deprived sections including structured inequality within various sections of the population;
• Work towards Building a Rational and Scientific Temper among all sections of the population;
• Struggle to retain those laws that have been brought in after decades of struggle to ensure that the right to information, rural work, right to food and the rights of forest working peoples and Adivasis over forest land are protected;
• Improve relations among different religious and social groups by facilitating mutual communication and understanding between communities;
• Establish social and political alliances among secular forces and marginalised classes including women of all sections;
• Mobilize people from all communities to check violence and maintain harmony;
• Evolve strategies to overcome casteism, communalism and patriarchy;
• Build people’s resistance against forces of capitalism, imperialism and authoritarianism;
• Strive for the creation of a society where all citizens enjoy their basic needs such as nutritious food, shelter, education, health care, employment, safety and security;
• Promote the democratic and secular political system which guarantees justice, freedom, equality, fraternity, dignity and unity;
• Promote peace, non-violence, tolerance, sisterhood, co-operation and scientific and rational temper;
• Protect religious and cultural freedom of all citizens including the freedom not to believe;
• Safeguard dignity and rights of Adivasis & Dalits;
• Protect the rights of minorities – racial, religious, linguistic, cultural, gender;
• Ensure gender justice;

• Stand against Terrorism and Violence of all kinds;
• Save the Indian Constitution;
• Form functional common platforms at state, regional and lower levels;
• Ensure that at every stage and level of the platforms and committees formed by this alliance/platform, women should constitute at least 50 per cent of the membership and leadership.

Making a startling revelation Meshram, who had filed a suit in the Supreme Court against the use of EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) in elections, alleged that two national parties are engaged in a secret pact to manipulate the election results through EVMs to propel their party to capture power and rule the country. He lamented that the judiciary seems to be helpless to call a spade a spade and stop this fraud on the people of the country. SDPI national president A Sayeed said all the political parties in the country are responsible for this pitiable socio-political situation prevailing in the country. Sayeed said the challenge in front of the Alliance is one and single. That is, formation of a people’s movement with clarity of vision and ability to struggle. Human Rights activist Teesta Setalvad, putting a straight attack on the fascist forces, reiterated the need for all secular forces to unite and put up a strong fight against the communal rule to bring back justice and peace and uphold the values of the Constitution.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah from Chennai said fascist forces at the Centre are trying to demonise the peace loving Muslim community and labels its leaders anti-nationals and accusing Muslim organizations with terror charges. The RSS, the new converts of patriots, which refused to hoist national flag, are now labelling those who oppose them as anti-national and claim monopoly on patriotism. Jinnah said the Modi government, which is actually known in the world as an event management company, has only succeeded in organizing mega Bollywood style programmes abroad and running a fake propaganda campaign. In fact, the BJP lead government at the Centre has been implementing the fascist agenda of the RSS. They are focusing on converting India into a Hindu Rashtra.

*Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.