On 15th October in Sangrur, the Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab staged a seminar on democratic Rights. It was attended by around 200 persons, but had qualitative significance. Main speakers were Charanjeet Patwari,Swaranjeet Singh,Himanshu Kumar and Vishwakant.Farmers,agricultural labourers ,workers and intellectuals attended the programme,
Himanshu Kumar from Chattisgarh, dwelled on how state repression was intensifying in political, economic and social realms., He portrayed how proto fascism had penetrated an unscaled height with rulers closing the doors of justice, narrating how thousands of democrats were fabricated n false charges under the pretext of being ‘maoists.’In his view socio-economic conditions in certain regions were reminiscent of primitive days, with exploitation of Adivasis prevailing for over one thousand years.Jungle,Jal and Zameeen were all grabbed from the Adivasi community.Himanshu Kumar recounted how the state was devising new methods of perpetrating feudal or capitalist exploitative or patronising the corporates.The merciless cruelty or exploitation of women was also adressed.He described how it had become imperative for Adivasis to arm themselves in self defence which provoked the ruling classes in placing thousands of them behind jail bars.Himanshu narrated how the state was plundering the natural resources from the people like land, mineral resources, forests ,iron, silver and diamonds ,through the instrument of the para-military forces He stated that it was imperative for the Workers, farmers, agricultural workers,Muslims,dalits etc who today were fighting separately, to unite on a common platform with the Adivasis, to pave the path for an organized resistance against the fascist attacks., Remaining in isolation would cripple the movement.Himanshu Kumar called the people to bravely resist the black laws and repression on dissent without which it would lade to people throwing themselves on the streets. He stated that to save any remnants of democracy the people would have to make immense sacrifices.Himanshu summarized how the state was arming itself to it’s teeth to fortify its weaponry to deliver a crippling blow to democratic resistance of people.
In recent times the Association for Democratic Rights has undertaken creditable work in combating black laws, opposing fabricating of activists, organizing solidarity against suppression of dissent etc.,drawing people from all walks of life, as well as activists from varying streams within the democratic movement. Its resurrection in recent times, is heartening, in light of neo- fascism striking at its’ helm. In recent times democratic forces of Punjab have rendered great service in giving solidarity to the movement against state repression in Dantewada and established a link between the democratic movement of Punjab with that of the tribals in Bastar.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist from Mumbai who has covered mass movements all around India and frequently visited Punjab .