An oration was organized by Indian Social Forum and Jo Shehar Chalate Hain-Who Hi Shehar Banate Hain– a Citizens Forum. The Chairman was Former Vice Chancellor RTMNU Dr Haribhau Kedar, Orator Senior Human Rights Activist Teesta Setalvad and Guest of Honour General Secretary of Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) Virendra Vidhrohi and Labour Rights Activist Jammu Anand.
While addressing the audience, Teesta Setalvad started her speech with a question that is our country Nationalist in its outlook today? Is our country constitutional?
If not, we have to raise our voice against these non-constitutional organizations like RSS, Hindu Maha Sang etc claimed Teesta. She went on to claim that our constitutional rights are non-negotiable truth, which we often forget.
Teesta went on to speak about the recent video which was posted on whatsapp and social media by some unscrupulous elements who showed how the Dalits were being beaten up for allegedly skinning a cow. She said that they feel that they are doing a good deed by beating up a Dalit. She claimed that their fight is against all forces which are against the constitution. She added that as Kanhaiya Kumar rightly said that we must draw a line and what is not within our side of the line, we should start fighting.
We do not want the Jatiwadi (Casteist) Government.
Teesta claimed that even today, if we take the statistics of animal husbandry in Gujarat there are one crore cows of which nearly 2700 cows die a natural death. The Dalits who were skinning a dead cow in Una in Rajkot were allegedly flogged by Gau Rakshaks on July 11, 2016 for skinning a dead cow. Teesta claimed that it has now been established on the basis of eyewitness account that the cow was killed by a lion, and that it was not a case of cow slaughter as was claimed by Gau Rakshaks. Teesta wanted to know what punishment will be awarded to these Gau Rakshaks.
Teesta then spoke about the riots in Gujarat. She claimed that earlier it appeared to be a local phenomenon but later has become a nationalist phenomenon after BJP came into power. She called this government Proto-fascist with like-minded people who came in majority. Teesta claimed that this government has adopted a Financial Excluding Policy backed by RSS and BJP with their icon Modi.
While speaking about labour rights, Teesta said that this government has made its stand clear that they are not in favour of labour rights. They have systematically deleted all labour protection rights. One can see the examples in Rajasthan and Maharashtra which till recently claimed to be progressive.
Media is biased!
While explaining the cause of how the media is biased, Teesta spoke about how 2% of the Members of Parliament are Crorepatis (ultra-rich) and the other 2% are those who own media directly or indirectly.
She spoke about the Government Run national TV as Prasad Madhyam as Communal TV which has no interest in running stories where the Dalits are beaten up. This TV is directly run by RSS and BJP which is unconstitutional.
RSS does not want Constitution
Teesta then spoke about a book written by Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and his book “Bunch of Thoughts”. Teesta said that this 119 page book clearly states how RSS believes that they do not want Constitution. The question is power and not rule of law.
Gujarat Model is a misnomer
Teesta said that Gujarat is a unique state. This is the only state where Capitalists have seen growth. She went on to allege how Ambanis were excluded from many taxes and how BJP government’s growth meant growth of Ambanis. Teesta spoke about Atul Sood’s book “Poverty Amidst Prosperity” which speaks about the widespread belief that Gujarat is a shining star on the Indian growth horizon and that all other States would do a great service to Indian masses by emulating the Gujarat Model embarked upon under the stewardship of Narendra Modi.
Teesta added how Atul Sood’s book reveals how goals like social equality, sustainable livelihoods, access to education and health, justice and peace have been abandoned in the race for growth in the high-speed lane.
Teesta alleged that they do not want to speak about the Gujarat Model simply because this model should be interrogated and debated upon. She called this Model as Corporate Fascist model.
She added that there have been no land reforms laws in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Many believe that they do not want Gujarat Model. She spoke how many youngsters who paid hefty fees (Rs 40000 or 50000) for simple graduation in arts and commerce and yet are jobless. They are on the roads. As far as the Industrial growth in Gujarat is concerned, they still have Chota Adivasis and Bada Adivasis, where the Bada Adivasis exploit Chota Adivasis.
With the rampant exploitation of Dalits by Gau Rakshaks which has become viral on social media, for the past 15 days carcasses of cattle are not being removed and it has started smelling.
She spoke about the need for on-line news media which will present news without any political power’s interference. She claimed that there needs to social revolution.
She spoke about how there is no law and order in Gujarat and still nobody speaks about it. She claimed that there is no conviction for crimes committed against people of SC or ST Community. Many feel Gujarat is separated from India. They have separated the lay people from the masses. Teesta claimed that there are many Muslim Advocates who are fighting the cases of Dalits and Muslims. However, there is no Dalit Union or Left Movement in Gujarat.
While speaking about the policies of the government, Teesta claimed that Central Government is cutting the UGC Scholarships, which will in-turn, result in many schools having to close down. This is a slap on democracy claimed Teesta.
Teesta claimed that elite in India have abdicated from Constitutional law.
Teesta said that there seems to no law to curtail these Cow Talibans. These members of Gau Rakhshaks know that nothing will happen to them because they know that the law makers are on their side. The government has legitimized the lowest common denominator.
She went on to speak about Kashmir. Teesta claimed that it is time the Government rethinks on the concept of military way of ensuring peace in Kashmir. The very fact that lakhs of youth came to attend the funeral of Burhani speaks about the distrust on the government. If the government does not want to sit and talk amicably with them, they are the biggest Bewkoof (fools) Teesta added.
Teesta spoke about the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) and how it is being misused by Military and Para-military forces in Kashmir, North east, Manipur etc.
Teesta Setalvad said that she has been fighting for justice for the victims of communal violence in the state of Gujarat from 2002 said that in the 2002 riots in Gujarat more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims were dead. She spoke of how they have been systematically planning and executing their plans. This is the first state where a separate census was taken for Christians and a separate census of Muslims violating the basic tenets of Constitution.