Protests, Ruling Class

Statement on Agitation by Jats in Haryana

Militant agitation by Jats of Haryana for reservation in OBC category enjoys widespread support in that community. While violent attacks on other communities might have been engineered by vested interests linked to ruling class parties, the wide disillusionment and anger in the community is quite evident. We strongly condemn the senseless violence indulged by lumpen elements against common people and reported assaults on women passengers. We also strongly condemn the killing of 18 agitators and injuring hundreds in police firing. Police in India knows only one way of tackling people i.e. to fire live bullets to kill and maim them.
This agitation by Jats and earlier agitation by Patidars in Gujarat, by Marathas in Maharashtra and by Kapus in Andhra Pradesh demonstrate deep agrarian crisis in the country and increasing hardships of peasantry. Decreasing share of agriculture in the gross domestic product with continuing dependence of large section of people on agriculture has led to deterioration of the conditions of the peasantry and rural masses in general. Rising cost of agricultural inputs and lack of corresponding rise in the prices of agricultural produce thereby further worsening terms of trade against agriculture, continued neglect of irrigation and protection from vagaries of nature, lack of agri-based industries and industries in the rural areas, lack of emphasis on development in the rural areas and their continuing backwardness, and increasing privatization of education and health taking them beyond the means of overwhelming population in rural areas have led to worsening conditions of rural masses including landowning peasantry. This has given rise to large-scale anger and resentment among the peasantry who find themselves increasingly marginalized.
Ruling classes and their political representatives have no desire to address the root causes of this situation. They rather want to further push the policies which have led to this sorry state of affairs of rural masses. They are robbing the peasants of their land and means of livelihood, are further depressing and squeezing agriculture thereby putting further burdens of peasant masses. They are increasing the cost of inputs to benefit foreign and domestic corporate, they are further depressing the prices of agricultural produce by slashing and planning to eventually eliminate Govt. procurement of agricultural produce and Minimum Support price (MSP) mechanism. All this they are doing to benefit foreign companies and their Indian compradors.
While the ruling classes are intensifying the implementation of the policies responsible for the present catastrophic situation, they are trying to divert the peasant masses by leading them astray. RSS-BJP is trying to divert their anger into communal channels as was evident in Muzaffarnagar and many other places. Ruling class parties are also trying to sow discord among communities to divert this anger from challenging the present system. These parties are also promoting drugs and alcoholism to lull the sensitivities of the youth of these communities. These are criminal conspiracies directed against the rural masses including peasantry.
Out of this abysmal and deteriorating conditions are emerging the movements for reservation for increasing the share of these communities in Govt. jobs and educational institutions. This demand is arising at a time when creation of jobs in Govt. departments and public sector is very low and there is no provision of reservation in private sector. This demand, borne out of real distress of these communities, helps to divert their anger which ruling class parties try to channelize into discord among different communities. It allows these parties to portray as if reservation is a panacea for the rising unemployment among youth of these communities. Ruling class parties have been promising reservation to these communities to mobilize their support in the elections. Just before general elections in 2014, Congress led UPA II Govt. had announced reservation for Jats. During assembly elections in Haryana in November 2014, Narendra Modi in public meetings had promised to usher in reservation for Jats. However, after elections, Modi led RSS-BJP had forgotten this promise which has led to the present outburst. Now the same RSS-BJP are trying to mobilize other castes against Jats in Haryana. It is worth mentioning that Congress-NCP Govt. had announced reservation for Marathas in Maharashtra and Chandrababu Naidu had promised reservation for Kapus in Andhra Pradesh.
Ruling class parties instead of evolving a scientific and democratic approach to the question of reservation, have used this as a tool for dividing the people and for mobilizing different castes for electoral purpose. Indian Constitution provides for reservation on two counts. Firstly for those who have suffered social discrimination for generations. And secondly for those classes of people who are under-represented in the services of the state. In the first category fall the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In this too ruling class parties have sought to exclude many social groups who qualify for the inclusion. On the other hand, ruling class parties for furtherance of their electoral objectives promise to include social groups who do not qualify for inclusion. These parties have made this a tool for political exploitation though it was a measure for providing opportunities to the people of these social groups.
In the latter category i.e. representation in the services of the state, come other backward classes (OBCs). They have not suffered the same discrimination as SCs/STs but have been out of the Govt. services and education. These include agriculturist caste groups. With days of “Uttam Kheti..” gone, these social groups feel marginalized in the country. However, rather than evolving certain objective and scientific criteria for providing reservation, ruling class parties have been making announcements to serve their political ends. Supreme Court has pointed out in some of such cases that announcement was made without any study or evaluation. The attitude of the ruling class parties shows their utter lack of sincerity on the issue. Their utter insincerity is also amply evident when one sees the implementation of reservation already provided. The ruling establishment including the ruling parties connive in not fulfilling the reservation quotas which are disregarded with impunity and no responsibility for this blatant violation of the law of land is fixed. These parties pay lip service to reservation while flouting them in practice.
While reservation on the basis of castes corresponds to the reality in the country, certain objective and scientific criteria must be evolved to ensure that this measure remains a tool of affirmative action i.e. to ensure representation of social groups and does not become a tool of vested interests or for electoral manipulation. Any social group not adequately represented in services or education should be provided affirmative action i.e. reservation and the same should cease to be the case when the objective is fulfilled to a defined level. The progress on this score should be monitored periodically so that such deprivation does not lead to slippage of the community to the level below such defined level. This process should be continuing one and it should not be allowed to be tempered by the biases and machinations of ruling establishment and ruling parties. Further all jobs including those in the private sector should be brought under this ambit. In India as in other countries, private sector enjoys considerable patronage and support from the state and hence must not be exempted for the provisions of law on this score. Only such process would take away the sense of deprivation and discrimination from the vast masses of different social groups and place the whole question on a sound scientific and democratic basis.
This is not to dilute the task of preventing and addressing the caste discrimination and harassment of those who are able to enter the educational institutions and services through reservation. There must be prompt and effective action against such practices in the institutions of higher learning where such cases abound. These are often brushed under the carpet to save the image of the institutions while this dirt should be brought out into open to be cleaned. There should be automatic and early redressal of all grievances on this score.
Agitation by Jats, particularly youth, in Haryana has once again brought to the fore the need to address the underlying causes of deepening economic crisis, of curbing rising costs of inputs and providing remunerative prices for the produce. Besides it has also highlighted the need to evolve and implement scientific criteria for providing reservation under OBC so that these youths are not exploited and manipulated by the ruling class parties for perpetuating anti-people policies and rule.