Justice and Punishment
Three of the four upper-caste men accused of gang-raping and murdering a Dalit woman in Hathras district in 2020 were acquitted of all charges by a Uttar Pradesh court on March 2.

Those cleared of all charges are Ramu, Luv Kush and Ravi.

Sandeep, the fourth person and the main accused person in the case, was also found not guilty of rape, but he was convicted on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code and for offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh has consistently denied that the Dalit woman was raped.

The four upper-caste men had allegedly raped and brutally assaulted the Dalit woman in Hathras on September 14, 2020.

The Dalit woman died of her injuries a fortnight later in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The woman had suffered multiple fractures, a spinal injury and a deep cut on her tongue.

The woman was cremated in the dead of the night without the presence of her family members.

The incident triggered a massive protest from Dalit community across India.

The Supreme Court had called the incident “extraordinary and shocking” and directed the High Court to monitor the inquiry led by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

A forensic lab had said there were no traces of sperm in samples taken from the Dalit woman.

The chief medical officer at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College–where the Dalit woman was admitted–had said the forensic lab’s report “holds no value” as it relied on samples taken 11 days after the brutal crime was committed.

The autopsy report of the Dalit woman had shown that she was strangled and suffered a cervical spine injury. The final diagnosis had pointed out that there were tears in her genitalia and there had been “use of force”.
A Reader

Organisational Principles
Lenin reiterated many times that one can work with third rate Politics but a first rate Organisation is mandatory. He formulated Democratic Centralism as the corner stone of Organisational Principles in a Communist Party Movement.

As a Party member this writer had always wondered why the Communist Party, which is constituted by professional revolutionaries and who are committed to the cause equally, cannot take decisions based on Consensus, instead of resorting to division of votes wherein the minority is bound to submit to the majority, willy-nilly.

In a committee of three, two forms the majority, one will be a minority.

In a committee of five, three will form the majority and two will end up as minority.

It is believed that the minority submitting to the majority is the effective way of organisational functioning. But in a smaller group, one should strive to achieve consensus, rather than resorting to division of votes.

In truth the division paves the way for manipulation of numbers. While the minority looks at the majority grudgingly, the majority looks at the minority with suspicion. One waiting to overawe the other, instead of respecting the differences! In the Communist Party, it is also believed or rather assumed that the majority in the Party reflects the majority in the society, and hence believed that the majority is justified in making the minority to submit to the decisions of the majority.

In conclusion, in a small group of communist activists the decisions will have to be primarily by consensus. Majority should keep striving to convince the minority, in the larger interest of the party and revolution.

Minority should sincerely and magnanimously accept the decision of the majority and implement it wholeheartedly.

This can fructify, if and only if, there is mutual respect between the two sections.

In a larger group, if consensus cannot be achieved, practically, then the group could resort to voting, preferably through secret ballot, monitored by individuals or a committee agreed by all. This would obviate avoidable misgivings within the organisation. Lower committees submitting to the higher committees is yet another organisational principle of Democratic Centralism.

Democratic Centralism ideally assures free and frank discussions at all levels while insisting that the Action has to be united, despite the differences.

If the lower committee disagrees with the higher committee the issue ought to be discussed among the larger membership for a wider discussions as per the norms of Democratic Centralism.

Whereas the Higher Committee, in practice, imposes its decision on the lower committees and resort to imposing punishments for violations, if any. This will only lead to irreconcilable division, purging and split within. It is an irony that such splits are conceived as a positive Dialectical process (One thing dividing into two) and as the process of rectification and purging. Such a process, instead of facilitating healthy rectification, damages and weakens the organisation. Very importantly, It also shatters the hope among the masses and make them disillusioned about the prospects of social transformation. This proposal is in the form of a draft seeking wide discussion.
Pon Chandran, Coimbatore
[The observation made by the author in this short letter is based on his experiences in mass organising for the last three decades in various mass organisations led by the Communist Movement.]

*Sons of Babur
The play—Sons of Babur—is about Bahadur Shah Zafar: Zafar’s view of his times and his ancestors, and his vision of India. It is written not from a historian’s perspective but from that of a tragic king and poet analysing the Mughal past. The protagonist is a Bengali research scholar of history who is deeply fascinated by Zafar, the subject of his latest research. In a state of hallucination, he meets Zafar, witnesses Mughal history and the events of 1857 from Zafar's perspective, and asks pertinent questions. Zafar has no unnecessary sympathy for his ancestors and analyses them objectively, at times even ruthlessly. Most important is his objective analysis of the events of 1857. Towards the end of the play, the protagonist calls Zafar the 'last Mughal emperor'. Quickly, Zafar corrects him, calling himself the 'first democratically elected Emperor of India'.
Salman Khurshid, New Delhi
[Sons of Babur is written by Salman Khurshid, Adaptation by Ather Farooqui and directed by Dr M Sayeed Alam. It was recently staged at LTG auditorium, Mandi House, New Delhi]

Hate Speech
This is an appeal to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the Director General of Police to take action against hate speech and provocative speeches that are targeting minorities in the state. The letter points out that since December 2022, repeat offenders have been spreading offensive speeches through gatherings organised by outfits such as the Hindu Jan Jagran Samiti, Hindu Janagran Morcha, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Antarashtriya Hindu Parishad. The letter questions the sudden interest in the state and raises concerns about social harmony. The letter calls upon all Maharashtrian Indian citizens to demand that their elected representatives and In-Charge IPS and IAS officers abide by the Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of India. The letter also highlights the oath that IAS and IPS officers take to uphold the principles and values of the Indian Constitution. The letter urges the authorities to take action before it is too late.
Citizens for Justice and Peace,

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Vol 55, No. 38, Mar 19 - 25, 2023