The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

India:
Protests against Prejudice

Jan 6, 2020

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

Protests of tens of thousands of people in India exploded when the legislature passed a discriminatory law proposed by prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Police repression of the demonstrations left 25 dead and dozens injured by Christmas.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) claims to make it easier for immigrants fleeing religious persecution in India’s neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to become citizens. But the law concerns only Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Sikhs. The law excludes Muslims on the absurd pretext that Muslims can’t be religiously persecuted in Muslim countries.

This discriminatory CAA outraged many Indians, and not only Muslims. It was so obviously intended to divide the Indian people.

Since taking power in 2014, Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP have played on the prejudices of people supporting privileges for Hindus in order to push through anti-worker policies and attacks on the poor. They became bolder after winning elections last spring.

The CAA is yet another provocative discrimination against the one out of seven Indians who are Muslims: 201 million human beings.

The BJP government has an interest in diverting attention away from its unfulfilled campaign promises—economic growth one-fifth slower than predicted, corruption at all levels, unemployment, nine million jobs cut in six years, and poverty for 800 million people forced to live on less than three dollars a day.

After deadly repression targeting students, the anger of demonstrators in North East India and other main cities went beyond opposition to this one law. On December 22 Modi announced a campaign to meet millions of families at rallies and press conferences. But this didn’t deter protestors from gathering the very next day.