25th Anniversary day of the founding of The ‘All India federation of Organisatios for Demoratic Rights.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
This day is the 25th anniversary year of the founding conference of the All India Federation of Organizations for Democratic Rights which was held on May 29th 1982 in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.This federation marked the historic trend of an All India trend to promote the democratic Rights Movement as a struggle oriented one, which recognized the right to struggle against socio-economic repression as the fundamental right from which stem up all democratic Rights.The organizations that merged into the federation were the Association for Democratic Rights of India(Punjab),the Organization for Protection of Democratic Rights(Andhra Pradesh),the Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana(Maharashtra),the Gantanatrik Adhikar Suraksha SAmit(Orissa) ,Janadhipatya Avakasa Samrakshana Samiti,Kerala and the Janatantrik Adhikar Surkasha Samiit(Rajasthan) Although he civil liberties movement started from the 1950's the demarcation of civil liberties with democratic Rights was not made. The historic manifesto was as follows
1.Mobilise public opinion against al fascist laws,acts and atrocities by the ruling classes.
2. Propogate and organize amomg the people about the democratic Rights
3.Give all assistance to the people whose rights were abused.
4.Build unity among all sections possible explaining the connection between their interest.
To build a movement for the right to political dissent and thus demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners.
5.To oppose all capital punishment and build public opinion against it.
6.To protect academic and cultural freedoms and oppose state interference
7.To strive to establish the correct practice o the democratic Rights Movement.
The first such democratic Rights organization representing the correct trend was the Organization for Protection of Democratic Rights formed in Andhra Pradesh in 1975.They fought against the trend where the democratic Rights platform was used as a platform for promoting political ideology. This is what differentiated the O.P.D.R with the A.P.C.LC(Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Comitee) .It was O.P.D.R that was the founder of the slogan'It should be broad-baded,pro-people, and recognize the right to struggle of the people as the fundamental right'In ontrast the A.P.C.L.C propogated that the democratic Rights Movement should uphold the path of 'armed struggle.'The first major work of O.P D.R was the report on the Srikakulam Girjian Movement 1977 with regard to police encounters.This was one of the most significant reports in the democratic Rights. Movement in India and the first of it's kind.Hundreds of Girijan families were interviewed and the agency of Srikakulam area was extensively toured.The report narrated the historic background f the Srikakula Girijan Movement which originated in 1967.The taem demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners and for a all parliamentary committee to inquire into the socio-economic conditios in the Agency areas.It was also demanded that the guilty policeman be brought to the book,police camps removed and that he 'Distrurbed areas act be scrapped.' All the victims were innocent sympathizers and not what the police alleged them to be.Earlier O.P.D.R had also propogated against the death sentence of Kista Gowd and Bhumiah In 1975 during e emergency.In 1978 it conducted a historical investigation in East Godavri district.Several innocent Girijans were arrested and police camps were launched. Two innocent Girijans perished In police Firing.O.P.D.R demanded an inquiry and punishment to he guilty policeman.A demand for withdrawal of police camps was made as well as for the protection of Girijan's lands.. A campaign was done to defend the 1917 and 1959 Tribal area land regulation act.
In the 1980's O.P.D.R highlighted a huge range of other issues on all sections ,whether tribals, peasants ,workers students or middle class employees.(like teachers)Male chauvinism was opposed as well as caste Chauvinism.It also took out a campaign against te 'Rape and murder of Shakeela'Custodial rapes were opposed like that of Ramizabee in 1978 in Hyderabad.Other cases wee of Shakhila in Bonagiri and Erukula Kistappa in Ananthapur district.Further reports were carried out on the East Godavri tribals in 1983 and the issue of Communalism was also highlighted. Living conditions of quarry workers was researched in Krishna district as wel as Guntur district. Starvation deaths were investigated in Kolapur Taluka in 1985Mass propaganda was done against Police encounters wiht A.P.C.LC.But the struggle-oriented trend was always emphasized.(The author attended 2 conferences of O.P.D.R.in 1986 and 1990). In Vijaynagarm district O.P.D.R organized a campaign against police firing on 4 people.O.P.D.R took out a report on repression in Sircila In Karimnagar. In 1978 opposing repression on the Rythu Coolie Sangham demands were made for the repealing of cases and charges on innocent peasant mass activists of the Rythu Coolie Sangham.. In July 1982.Again In 1982 November O.P.D.R investigated the killing of 2 Girijans,Kunja Rajulu and Madam Laxmiah in Kondomadulu In East Godavri District.
The O.P.D.R also took out several reports on issues of drought like in Krishna ,Medak and Nalgonda,Prakasham and Srikakulam districtdistrict, where the govt's anti-people policies were explained .Even relief was carried out..This was predominant in Krishna district.Tremendous efforts we made to defend the rights of the rural poor.East Godavrid district was given great attention as well as Karimnagar. .Campaigns were launched protesting against attacks by Bank officials on Riots in Nalgonda district in 1982.
Mass campaigns were also organized against police firing.A campaign was launched to oppose the unconstitutional overthrow of the N.T.R Govt. The organisation also protected student Movements an once successfuly fought for thre right of the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union to propagate their programme in aUniversity room which he authorities at first disallowed. In 1984 Often the platform of the Andhra Pradesh Civil liberties Committee was used as a platfrorm of Maoist groups to propogate ideology.The Organization brought out an Organ ' Janpadam'O.P.D.R also opposed the trend of individual terrorism in the People's Movement as opposed to mass based Movements.True O.P.D.R did virtually all it's fact-finding reports wit AP.C.L.C but never compromised the ideological difference.It is significant that the left sectarian trend in the Maosit Movement deployed it's cadre in the A.P.C.L.C and not in the O.P.D.R.(Could not differentiate between party and mass platform)It was a tribute that O.P.D.R had units in so many districts like Srikakulam,East Godavri,Nalgonda,Vijayawada,Krishna district,Hyderabd City
The A.F.D.R.(Punjab)also did significant work in investigating the Naxalite encounters of the early 1970's .It also played an important role in defending democratic movements .In the early 1980's the A F D R organized trade Unions opposing the black Laws and formed a joint democratic Front which opposed the curbing of trade Union rights. The way the govt was using black laws in the name of curbing terrorist was explained with great depth..Infact the no existence of such an organization in the time of the emergency was the prime reason of the defeat the Communist revolutionary led movements in Punjab in the 1970's.
The federation(A.I.F.O.F.D.R) brought out many historic reports through fact-finding teams. During the Khalistan movement a report was brought out which gave a political analysis of the Punjab Problem in the political and socio-economic light had explained how the State functioned as an agent of the Khalistani terrorism.The report explained the genesis of the Khalistani Movement and how the Congress Govt led by Indira Gandi(It was Indira Gandhi who created Bhindranwale) used it to subvert the democratic movements and to topple the Sikh Communal Akali Dal.The ruling class parties connived with the landlords to suppress the democratic movements and used Khalistani gangs against each other to capture power. The report reported the progressive movements led by left organizations combating the Khalistani terror and upheld all the Communist martyrs In the struggle.The fact finding team interviewed all section s of people from peasants,to workers to students to politicians and gained very useful information.
A.F.D.R(formed in 1977) played a major role investigating false police encounters and standing by and giving solidarity to al the anti-Khalistani democratic movements by organisations like he Front against Communalism and state repression and the Revolutionary Centre. Several reports were brought about explaining the nexus between the landlords with the Khalistani forces.The Organization continuously explained the need of mass combat struggle to defeat the communal forces and how the ruling classes were using the Khalistani movement to suppress the people's day to day struggles.Great anti-communal propaganda was done which as appreciated by the oppressed sections and many a policeman was brought to the book.Attacks on democratic rights by the police like the raiding of villages(Daoke in Amritsar district in 1984 and in the Malant-Lambi area are famous incidents which the organsiation investigated) was a common occurrence,like in Operation Woodrose.A.F.D.R did most creditable work campaigning against the police attacks on the innocent Sikh youth.The organsiation brought out a monthly paper alee 'Jamhoori Hakk'. A protracted and sustained campaign was carried out exposing state and Khalistani terror.A.F.D.R investigated several instances of repression of workers.(particularly in Ludhiana eg in Sahan Woollen mils)).In 1995 it carried out a report on a May Day attck on workers at Sangrur of he Sangrur Industrial Corpoation where workers opposed their illegal termination.Creditable work was done against repression on members of a rickshaw Union and against kidnaping of student leaders by plainclothes polieman.Sustained campiags were taken out opposing the National Security Act,the Terrorist and Disruptive Areas act,the Disturbe Areas act Etc.Atrocities on women,o Harijan labour,on cases of bonded labour as well as legal aid comitees were it's other contributions to the movement.A.F.D.R had units in Amritsar,Jalandhar,Ludhiana,Faridkot,Bhatinda ,Sangrur.
In Orissa the G.A S.S.made all efforts to promote the movement opposing the Baliapal Missile base.It also supported the movement of the Adivasi SAngh of the Malkangiri region and gave all support to the anti –people development policies of the govt. promoting high-tech. Another famous report was brought out by the Federation based on the peoples Movement against the building of a missile base in Baliapal in Orissa. The report covered all the areas of Baliapal and explained the policies of the government which promoted military expansionism at the cost of he economic welfare. The class angle as also elaborated but unity with the better off sections like rich farmers was suported .The report highlighted the false propaganda of he government which stressed that too little was spent on defence..
In Maharashtra the Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana(formed in 1978) did significant work in bringing out reports on repression on slumdwellers where the relationship with the trade Union movement was projected.L.H.S alos did acampaign against poice torture ,fought agaisnt the retrenchment of workers in Mukesh Mils in Mumbai in Colaba area,took up poster and leafleting campaigns against communalism(against the Ram Janmabhoomi and Rath Yatra or Mandir propaganda).With regards to communalism emphasis was palced on the role of the working class.LHS also brought out reports on drought and in 1983 and 1989 brought outrepost on repression by the C.P.M on Kashtakari Sanghatana,a struggling organization of Adivasis in Dahanu.(A tribal region of Maharashtra)The report brilliantly explained the relationship betwewn the socio-economic conditions of the Adivasis and the repressin by the C.P.M.In 1984 it investigated the riouis in Bhiwandi from aWorking class viewpoint and also the firing in Goregaon. L.HS also did propaganda in working calls areas opposing state trepresion in Bihar and in Andhra Pradesh.Peaasnt leaders from Bihar were invited to address the gathering.Significant work was done in 1992-93 during the Mumbai riots to build struggle committees promoting communal solidarity .L.HS brought out reports on Contract workers at the Airport in Mumbai and on the closure of the Mills in Mubai with a historic socio-economic angle.Although LHS worked with Commitee For Protection of Democratic Rights there was a difference in the approach of work.It was L.HS that worked I the factories and the Chawls projecting democratic Rights issues.Earlier it had a paper called 'Lok Hakk'.The author has vivid memories how activists of the left sectarian trend in the Maosit Movement would use the O.P.D.R platform and not work within L.H S.In Rajasthan also significant solidarity work was done with regards to black laws and communalism
The federation held 2 Sammelans,one in 1990 in Udaipur and the other in 1995 in Faridkot..here was no great mass mobilization but the methods of work and issues we of historical significance.A.I.F.O.F.D.R also brought out reports on drought and on the massacre of Christian missionaries in Orissa in 1999.
Historic resolutions have been passed by the Federation on repression on Kashmiri People, Punjab Problem, ,state repression in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh,retrenchment of workers in West Bengal, Black Laws tc.Upto the early 1990's the Federation progressed at an All India level but sadly by the late 1990's the trend declined. The A.F.D.R hardly now displayed the same militant orientation and nor did the O.P.D.R.
The author of his article wishes that the readers of this site could get hold of the earlier issues of he A.I.FO.F.D.R organ called "In Defence of Democratic Rights .'and help in reprinting and re-distributing the issues .Brilliant portrayals have been done on communalism ,Repression on peasants and Workers Struggles EtcThe genesis of the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition s and communal riots in the aftermath is well explained.
Today a struggle oriented democratic Rights Movement is very much needed which relates the cause of democratic Rights as different from mere civil liberties.Civil liberties are what exists in the Constitutio,but democarti Rights have always been won over by the people .Eg.The rights of Black people in America or the Working Class in England.Today in ligt of the advance of he Specia economic Zones and repression on the Nandigram peasant struggle a united democratic Rights movement is the need o the hour.
Let us remember this day when a federation was formed 25 years in Guntur in Andhar Pradesh ago to promote he Democratic Rights Movement.
The author wishes that readers could obtain articles on the history of the Democratic Rights Movement and get he earlier reports of te Federation.All readers could kindly request the author of the article.It is impossible in this article to refer to all of the reports and struggles.Please alo read the 1985 December issue of Democratic Rights which historically differentiates civil librties from Democratic Rights. Also purchase reports of A.I.F.O.F.D.R. like the 1987 All India Fact finding report on 'The Punjab Problem-A Report to the nation.'done in 1987.Alos get 1983 L.H.S report on Repressio in Dahanu.'
posted by Resistance 5/30/2007 09:07:00 AM,