Statement to condemn Vadodra attack on Youth Karvan Group


Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Jan Sanskrtti Manch, SAHMAT, Udbhavna and a number of  writers, artistes, cultural activists and members of the intelligentsia, express sorrow and distress over the death of 26 women and children in a stampede at a BJP organised event held in Lucknow on April, 12, 2004. We also condemn the attack by the VHP on the ANHAD founder, Shabnam Hashmi and members of her peace mission, at a press conference held in Vadodara April, 11, 2004. We welcome the stand of the Supreme Court on the Best Bakery case. The Court has sharply criticised the role of the Narendra Modi government and ordered that all matters related to the Best Bakery case be transferred to the Maharashtra Courts.

The BJP and its senior leader, Lalji Tandon, are directly responsible for the tragedy that has occurred in the constituency of the P.M. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The programme of distributing saris among poor women was clearly intended to benefit the electoral fortunes of Mr. Vajpayee. Therefore we demand that Lalji Tandon, who has been Vajpayee’s main election manager in Lucknow, be arrested forthwith. We demand a public apology to the nation from Mr. Vajpayee and, as the sari distribution function is a blatant violation of the model code of conduct, we appeal to the Central Election Commisssion to debar the BJP from contesting elections in the Lucknow constituency. We caution the U.P. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to desist from his attempts to shield the BJP and Lalji Tandon.



The attack on ANHAD and Shabnam Hashmi by VHP goondas shows clearly that if the fascist forces are not fought back, then the entire country is likely to be engulfed by the `Gujarat model’ of which we are already seeing `incidents’ in different parts of the country. This is not just an attack on freedom of expression, but threatens the entire structure of democracy.

With the Supreme Court’s recent judgement in the Best Bakery case, Prime  Minister Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Advani are directly placed in the dock, for they regularly extol the virtues of the Modi government. In view of this judgement, the Modi government has lost all moral right to govern and should not continue in office for even one more day. With the incidents of Lucknow and Vadodara, and the Best Bakery judgement, the anti-democratic, inhuman and brutal character of the BJP and the Sangh Privar is completely exposed.

Therefore we wish to warn the people that in this election, democracy itself is at stake. For the election will decide if a democratic and secular India can survive, or whether it will be overcome by the right-wing, fascist and communal forces. We appeal to the people to defeat the BJP, the pre-eminent political representative of these forces, which is at the same time mortgaging the nation’s interests of dictates of U.S. imperialism.