Undemocratic inquiry of social-political activist Comrade Baban Thoke

Baban Thoke

Baban Thoke is an activist of Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India (RWPI), who has been active in the Mankhurd-Govandi region of Mumbai for last many years. He was the candidate of RWPI in the 2019 Loksabha and Vidhansabha elections. Baban has operated as a commited democrat, who was a major participant in the movements related to CAA-NRC-NPR, student and youth movements, and also on issues related to the working class people of Mankhurd-Govandi. Recently he has been actively galvanising democratic forces for the movement against the polluting bio-waste treatment SMS factory in Shivajinagar region. RWPI has been leading various workers’ struggles all over the country since 2018 and is committed to build a party representing the interests of the working class.

The Shivajinagar Police (ATS) called Baban Thoke for an inquiry on 3/11/22. They gave a ridiculous explanation that they have information that Baban Thoke is trying to convert his religion. It hardly needs any explanation to say how hilarious these claims are with respect to a communist who has dedicated his life for the cause of working class. When the police were told to follow the process of law, they argued that they are calling people related to the SMS-agitation for inquiry, and called Baban Thoke with others who are part of that committee.

However other members of the committee were asked to go outside, once they reached the police station, police told them that they ‘want to register only Baban Thoke’s reply’. They made inquiry citing the Bombay Police Act and ATS-43 roaster. The inquiry was conducted by ATS and CID officers. They raised the conversion issue and asked irrelevant questions like what is your religion, are you going to convert to another religion, which party do you work with, what is your opinion about PFI, etc. The stand of RWPI in waging a relentless battle against all forms of communal organizations and politics is well known and has been consistently declared all these years. It is clear that all these questions were an attempt at subjugating a democrat.

The inquiry has definitely been conducted on behalf of political masters, to suppress activists working for the cause of the working class. Earlier as well, during the NRC-CAA-NPR agitations, during the agitation on Hathras rape issue, the police attempted to provoke the other activists against him. This time, it is due to the agitation against the SMS plant. Baban Thoke is a leading member of the committee leading this agitation against a plant that is damaging the health of more than 12 lakh people of this region to ruins, and leading to transmission of diseases like Asthma, TB, Cancer, skin diseases, etc. The interests of many leading politicians are being endorsed by this polluting factory. It is clear that the police are trying to use pressure-tactics due to Baban’s active involvement in this movement.

All democrats must unequivocally condemn the undemocratic behaviour of Maharashtra government and the Mankhurd-Govandi Police. The RWPI firmly asserts that it will never relent to the slightest due to this intimidation, and pursue the struggle for the rights of the working masses of people. Such an action manifests neo-fascist designs of interrogating and framing democratic activists, which is intensifying day by day. Whatever our differences all democrats must recognise the democratic aspirations of groups like RWPI and how the present government makes every manoeuvre to strike them down.

Harsh Thakor  is a freelance journalist who has covered mass movements all around India.

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