The CPM office near Clocktower in Dehradun is a small single room office, but that wasn’t enough for it be spared from the RSS mob gathered outside. For ten minutes, long-time party activists Lekhraj and Pradeep Sharma had to endure the pelting of bricks that also heavily damaged neighbouring buildings including a Tibetan-owned restaurant. On the following day, students of the RSS-affiliated ABVP attacked CPM-affiliated SFI students who were protesting the previous mob attack at DAV College. The ABVP students even snatched lathis from the police in their brutal attack that left four SFI members injured. Eye witnesses also noted that the police failed to intervene and only then to blame the SFI for their own victimization.
Needless to say, the unprovoked attacks by RSS goons on both the office and SFI students on March 10 and 11th represents a grave threat to democracy and civil liberties in Uttarakhand. If their fascistic tactics are not condemned, then they will feel empowered to carry out such mob actions again. The dereliction of duty by the police and their open siding with the RSS is another ominous sign that the law and order machinery is being overtly politicized.
It also reveals much about the political situation in the state that such groups with the support of the government can openly move in such a fascistic manner. Indian parliamentary democracy is predicated on the coexistence of political ideologies whose differences are worked out at the ballot box, not by street fighting. Attacking party offices is a grave breach of this trust and can lead to the cataclysmic unravelling of the system. That one would countenance such actions reveals much about the designs of these individuals as the Garhwal Post ominously notes:
This is yet another incident of the freedom being provided by the government to its activists to carry out physical attacks on opponents of various kinds.
Ganesh Joshi, the MLA who was present at the CPM office incident should in no categorical terms repudiate the actions of the mob as should the Chief Minister. Failure to do so would hang as a damning judgment of the government that only confirms the worst fears of the BJP’s detractors.
Note: An all-party meet bringing together all anti-fascist forces has decided to stage a protest at the Vidhan Sabha.