25 June 2020 will mark the 45th anniversary of the infamous Emergency imposed on India. On this day, we call upon all Indian citizens to launch a peaceful, non-violent nationwide movement to fight against the SUPER EMERGENCY the country is being subjected to today.

This can only be done through upholding the Indian Constitution, contributions to nation building, organizing resistance to all violations of fundamental rights and ensuring the dignity of poor and marginalized citizens.

For the last five years India, under the regime of Narendra Modi, has been going through, what many have called the Silent or Undeclared Emergency. However, the situation in reality is much worse than what happened almost half a century ago.

The Indian state is today far more powerful and dehumanized than it has ever been, fascist ideology looms large over all facets of our lives while intolerance, violence and intimidation have completely replaced national discourse. The centralization of all power in the hands of the ‘Supreme Leader’, and a small coterie of people around him, has become a grave threat to Indian democracy itself.

If it was an Emergency in the past, what Indians are going through now can only be called a Super Emergency.  The only thing missing is a formal proclamation. And there is no doubt at all this also a Super Political, Economic, Social and Communal Emergency, all rolled into one.

The total subversion of democratic institutions like judiciary and media, the persecution of political opponents and policies favouring the very rich have become the norm. The routine violation of Constitutionally guaranteed rights and autonomy of state governments pose an existential threat to the federal structure of the Indian Republic today. The dismal fate of Kashmir, following the abrogation of Article 370, is a portend of what is in store for all Indian states in the days ahead.

The routine violence against Muslims and Christians, Dalits and Adivasis, often through the use of brutal lynch mobs and torture by police has risen dramatically under the current government. The policies of ‘one culture, one language, one country’ as part of the Hindutva agenda and denial of the right of people to eat or wear what they want, have undermined the great diversity and very soul of India.

The Modi regime’s whimsical policies have also impacted the urban and rural poor drastically.  These include demonetization of Indian high value currencies, done with just 4 hours of notice to a nation of 130 crore people and the botched GST reform that has destroyed small businesses and robbed state governments of their fiscal autonomy.

The failure to recover massive debts owed to Indian banks by big business groups has brought the country’s financial system to a point of collapse, besides exposing the incumbent regime as nothing more than a front for corporate scamsters. It is not surprising at all that India’s national debt has risen from US$ 1.1 trillion to US$2.2 trillion in just the last five years under PM Modi.

India is also rapidly becoming a ‘Data Driven Dictatorship’.  The regime considers only the 400 million odd data-extractable smartphone users as citizens of India. The imposition of various digital barriers such as Aadhaar and Arogya Setu are preventing the rest of the nation from accessing even basic entitlements, including disaster compensation.  The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the plan to carry out the National Register of Citizens (NRC), have further given the Indian state machinery very dangerous powers to monitor, surveil and manipulate all citizens.

Since April this year, with the imposition of a nationwide lockdown to control the COVID-19 pandemic, all these ongoing brazen attacks on Indian democracy have escalated further. Using the cover of lockdown, the Indian government has viciously attacked fundamental rights of movement, association and speech guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Indian parliament has become completely dysfunctional while state governments are being arm twisted to obey diktats from New Delhi.

The incompetently imposed lockdown has also thrown millions out of work, disrupting key supply chains and creating a famine-like situation in large parts of the country. There is an attempt to use the engineered chaos as cover to dilute existing labour laws and rollback historically hard-won rights of the Indian working class.

India’s informal sector workers have been fleeing urban centers by the millions, many dying on the way back home due to hunger and exhaustion, amidst scenes not seen since Partition of the country in 1947. The sheer callousness of the regime towards these workers is also explained by the fact that they mostly belong to the Dalit and Adivasi communities, who have been suppressed and enslaved for centuries in Indian society.

Worst of all has been the deployment of an unprofessional police force to enforce social distancing and quarantining policies – all very reminiscent of the harsh methods used during the Emergency, in the name of ‘family planning’. The targeting of the Muslim community today, in particular, is far worse that whatever happened in the mid-seventies, when the Turkman Gate incident became symbolic of the communal bias of the Indian state.

And all these attacks on democracy are happening while COVID-19 infections themselves are skyrocketing and the lack of health infrastructure is resulting in citizens left to die without medical attention.

If the Emergency of 1975 was bad, what Indian citizens are going through now in 2020 is a thousand times worse. And if the historic resistance to dictatorship then, resulted in a great transformation, it is the task of Indians today to take inspiration and launch a vigorous campaign to oppose the Super Emergency imposed on the nation.

All this will call for great sacrifices and effort of course but then, no form of dictatorship is acceptable to the people of India. There is no future for the Republic of India except on the path of a truly federal, socially just and secular democracy. This is the time for all of us to pledge that ‘DEMOCRACY MATTERS!”.

However, there is also an urgent need to go beyond merely rhetorical challenges to build organisations of the Indian people, solve immediate problems directly where possible – no matter how small the intervention. The resistance to the Super Emergency, if it is to succeed, has to provide constructive solutions that are in the best interests of the vast majority of our citizens.

Keeping this in mind, here are some of the actions (add your own ideas to this list) that individuals and organisations can take on 25th June 2020 and beyond, as part of the great struggle to restore Indian Democracy:

  • Observe a day of protest against the Super Emergency on 25 June 2020
  • Demand your elected representatives to convene the Indian parliament immediately to restore democratic functioning in the country
  • Call for the immediate release of all political dissidents and those locked up on false charges in Indian prisons
  • Join the #YaadKaroSamvidhan campaign against the arrests of students and activists peacefully protesting the CAA, NPR and NRC policies and educate the public about these policies
  • Demand minimum income guarantees for workers, farmers, the urban and rural poor
  • Demand implementation of completely free healthcare for all COVID-19 patients in both public and private hospitals
  • Volunteer for public health work to help overcome the COVID-19 epidemic
  • Use all forms of art and media, including social media, to express your resistance
  • Start Food Banks to fight hunger
  • Organise or take part in blood donation camps
  • Organise film festivals on the theme of democracy
  • Learn about and promote India’s pluralist culture and traditions of communal harmony
  • Begin a business and create jobs. Contribute to the creation of jobs in this period of growing unemployment.
  • Start a movement for the ecological revival of your area
  • Make Self Help Groups involving all communities
  • Translate the works of Ambedkar, Periyar, Gandhi, Tagore and Bhagat Singh as also any materials on the above issues related to the Super Emergency and circulate them widely

Appeal issued by:

Indian Democracy Matters!

Email: defendtheindianconstitution@gmail.com

Indian Democracy Matters is a group of people all over India that stands for the revitalization of the country’s democracy and Defence of the Indian Constitution

Educate ! Organise! Agitate!


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