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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

India- A historic event exactly 27 years ago regarding comrades and their contributions and sacrifices

By Harsh Thakor
 DIP OUR BLOOD IN MEMORY OF 18 GLORIOUS MARTYRS OF SEWEWALA ON MARTYRDOM DAY TODAY ON APRIL 9TH WHOSE PATH TODAY CONTINUES IN PUNJAB LIKE THE WATER FLOWING IN A RIVER OR AN OCEAN.THEIR GLORIOUS RESISTANCE AGAINST THE FASCIST KHALISTANI TERRORISM IS EMBEDDED IN OUR MEMORIES FOREVER AND THEIR SPIRIT IS INEXTINGUISHABLE.THIS VERY SPIRIT PERVADES IN PUNJAB TODAY WITH THE VIRTUAL BONDAGE OF THE LANDED AND LANDLESS PEASANTRY TO THE TREACHEROUS DICTATES OF GLOBALIZATION WHERE ALMOST EVERY WEEK SOME FARMERS COMMIT SUICIDE BECAUSE OF DEBT ENTRAPMENT..THE MARTYRS OF THE FRONT AGAINST REPRESSION AND COMUNALISM STAGED HEROIC RESISTANCE AGAINST THE TWIN MONSTERS OF STATE AND KHALISTANI TERRORISM AND WE MUST FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE TODAY WHEN SAFFRON FASCISM IS AT IT'S HELM.NO REVOLUTIONARY CAN EVER FORGET THE MARTYRDOM CONFERENCES IN 1991 AND 1993 SHIMMERING THE TORCH OF LIBERATION.THE STRUGGLES OF THIS FRONT CREATED THE VERY BASE FOR THE MASS REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN PUNJAB TODAY. FRONT LEADERS REJECTED ANY ARMS FROM THE STATE AND GAVE ECHOES OF THE COMRADES IN VIETNAM FIGHTING THE ENEMY. RED SALUTES TO THE MARTYRS OF SEWEWALA (Martyred on APRIL, 9,1991)!
1. Introduction
Today is the 27th martyrdom anniversary of 18 activists of the Front against Repression and Communalism’ in Punjab in Seweala village in Faridkot. A 6 member gang of armed Khalistanis, armed with A K-47rifles attacked a meeting of the ‘Front.' This event will be written in red letters in the annals of the history of the Communist Movement in India. On this day revolutionary sympathizers and activists dip their blood in memory of the Seweawala martyrs. The ‘Front’ displayed exemplary examples of mass revolutionary resistance against the twin terrors of State and Khalistani terrorism. The front was originally backed by various communist revolutionary groups like the UC.C.R.I.M.L-Nagi Reddy group (later merged into the C.C.R.I. in 1988), THE C.T group, C.P.I.M.L.(Party Unity), the R,C,C.I (M.l.) etc. Below I am submitting a biographical sketch and a brief report of the event and the post-martyrdom conference. The purpose of he Front was to organize mass revolutionary resistance against Khalistani and state terrorism. It initiated a programme to combat the Khalistani terrorism inbuilding 'cores' of revolutionary resistance. No political leader could use the image of the front to project their political image. The Front would also not play a role of mass sectional organizations nor be attached to any group as 'front' organization. It would have it's independent structure, in order to pool all the possible resources against the twin enemies of Khalistan and State terrorism. It was reviewed that mere propaganda was in sufficient and a separate organization had to be created as a mass political platform to combat the enemy.

From the early 80's to the early part of the 90's the state of Punjab was ravaged by Khalistani terrorism. Communal fascists were a great threat to the people's democratic movement. The Akali Dal represented the Sikh communalists while the Congress represented Hindu Communalism. Both parties used the communal terrorists aganist each other. Indira Gandhi created and patronized Bhindranwale, a Sikh communal fanatic, to electorally defeat the Akali Dal. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale belonged to a Sikh fundamentalist sect which opposed the electoral Akali Dal politics. In the earlier phases the Akali Dal patronized the Sikh fundamentalistforces, harbouring several terrorists in religious temples. However when thecontradiction between the Khalistani liberation and Akali Dal ideologybecame acute, the Congress won Bhindranwale to their side to de-stabilisethe Akali Dal, the ruling party. The Khalistani movement wasused as an agent of the Indian state. Heavy stateterrorism took place in Punjab against the common people in the name of combating the communal terrorists. Often a truckload of weaponry sent for arming the Khalistani terrorist forces were allowed by the Police. The situation was reminiscent of the Vietnam war and in no post-partition period was such communal terror experienced. The rays of darkness had extinguished the light from the land of Punjab. The Khalistanis were armed to the core. Innocent Hindus were shot in buses by bullets from AK-47 machine guns. Women were raped who disobeyed the Khalistani dictates, houses raised to the ground.

2. Event

Village
 Sewewala is located on the Bathinda-Jaito-Faridkot road 2 km from Jaitu town to one side and Baghtuana to another. What was significant was that in a recent wage-hike struggle, the Sarpanch had tried to woo the Jat peasants and pit them against the Harijan of the village, who were mainly agricultural labourers. The Sarpanch tried to use the rural caste-divide for mobilizing the Jat peasants against the new organization. The entire Harijan basto became staunch supporters of the front. This has class-significance .

On April 9th in 1991, a local assembly was organized in the village by the ‘front.’ In Sewewala village. State –level leaders of the front were invited to participate in the platform. Five hundred people assembled in the compound. A popular anti-communal play was staged and a volunteer force team with pistols and fire-arms guarded the compound.
Khalistani terrorist forces camouflaged themselves and came through the village sarpanch’s house wearing green military uniforms carrying 3 assault rifles, 2 stun guns at least one 7.62 bore gun, and H-E 36 grenades. They attacked the manning members and moved from check post to check post. They lobbed a grenade onto the roof and destroyed the wall of the compound. They had discovered the minute details of the volunteer force like their positions, weaponry and numbers. Mata Sada Kaur, a woman activist from Bhatinda and Jagpal Singh, a state committee member of the front were the first to be killed. Mata Sada Kaur daringly challenged them to shoot her before they shot the young, while Jagpal Singh was shot when moving the children out of the range of fire .
The Khalistanis lobbed another grenade at the dais but it failed to burst. Megh Raj who had not been hit, snatched a 12 bore gun from a comrade and fired 2 shots. However by now his gun was empty and while re-loading his gun the terrorist showered bullets on him. Comrade Megh Raj could have saved his life had he not launched himself in hot pursuit of the Khalistanis, challenging and firing upon them as they were retreating after the attack. Mother Sadana could have saved her life, had she not stretched out her chest against the Khalistanis while unleashing her wrath, while Paapi invited his death by raising slogans against the Khalistani terrorists, amidst the shower of bullets.
Post-massacre summary and resistance


In this encounter, the Khalistanis remained superior, in the military context of killing men, came out winners, but in the political context of causing demoralization, they have failed. In fact the ‘Front ‘ became more popular after the attack.
The failure in thwarting the bloody attack has brought to light the serious weaknesses, limitations and defects of the ‘Front.' However this cannot deny that the Front launched a protracted fight against the Khalistanis. The Front should have conducted the fight with more seriousness, preparation and vigour.
This attack was not on the ‘Front’ alone. It was an attack on the rural labourers (the Harijans) and was specifically mentioned in the handout of the Khalistanis. Above all it was an assault on the entire democratic movement of Punjab.
On the day of the assault of the Khalistanis it looked like it was a victory for them and a loss to the Front but reflecting on the overall history of the period the Front had overlapped the enemies and gained many notable victories. The achievements of the front were fare greater than it’s defeats. The Khalistani forces felt that Megh Raj and his fellow-comrades would repent their doings and their families would be intimidated. But the Khalistani bombs and rifles could not fulfil their political plans, as the martyr comrades were not horrified by death, but mocked by it.
To combat the oppression of the communal –fascist forces activity was undertaken by party platforms and mass organs. Special issues of the ‘The ‘Inquilabi Jantak Leh’ and the ‘Surkh Rekha ‘ were printed as well as messages and statements of other Communist revolutionary groups. A printed statement of the Central Committee and the state committee of the C.C.R.I was brought out in a leaflet and a poster was also printed by the same organization.
Hundreds of people gathered at Baghtuana, Rampura, Selbrah and Dhilwan to bid farewell to the martyrs, marching to the cremation grounds, raising militant slogans. At Baghtuana, bodies of 4 martyrs were cremated in a common pyre, encased in red flags. The slogans raised reflected the resolve f the people to combat the communal fascist forces.
Bog Samagams(conferences) of individual martyrs were held in Bhatuana, Dhilwan, Selbrah and Rampura. In spite of terrorist threats they were successfully held. In these meetings, speakers from a huge range of mass organizations of agricultural workers, peasants, labourers employees etc displayed their resolve to combat the communal-fascist forces. Taking into consideration the earlier threats issued by the terrorists, great priority was given to security arrangements. They planned to foil any terrorist onslaught on the activists and that to thwart tan attack the democratic forces would retaliate in a more comprehensive manner, literally giving back the enemy a taste of their own medicine. One major problem was that it was not possible to move all men and material to smagams in 4 different places –all within 10 days of the massacre. Thus volunteers and arms had to be arranged locally. Effective measures were deployed to provide security cover not only to the pandal and procession but also to the participants on their way coming from all over the state.

On May 18th,one of the most memorable conferences or samagams (in Hindi) was held in memory of the Sewewala martyrs. The main aim was to project the revolutionary mass –political message of offering revolutionary mass resistance to the twin onslaught of Khalistani and State terrorism. The objective was to pool in all the revolutionary democratic allies and exclude forces like Paigam group that supported the Khalistani Movement. The aim was to narrow down the differences between the different communist revolutionary forces. It was decided that no revolutionary group should use the conference to project it’s political image and that it was not a forum to project party politics. This trend was predominant in the K.N Ramchadran group which refused to differentiate between the party and mass-political platform and believed that mass organizations were only needed to propogate economic demands. This trend was predominant in the K.N Ramchadran group which refused to differentiate between the party and mass-political platform. Some groups talked of mere class struggle,some gave less emphasis like the RCC on Khalistani terrorism while some like Ramchandran group insisted on participating only on the 'party' plane. The samagam organizers insisted that no party should participate in it's own name or it's own banner.
For the conference great preparations were made for adequate security arrangements. The firepower of all the Communist revolutionary groups was pooled together. Due care was taken to ensure that the communist revolutionary groups were not forced to expose their men and material. Some groups did not wish to expose their armed preparedness/squads. To satisfy these parameters, the participant groups were asked to specify only the number of volunteers and the quantity of arms and ammunition with them.C.C.R.I, (Centre of Communist revolutionaries of India)C.T .(Central Team)and R.C.C.groups acted collectively in this.It was planned that a volunteer force equipped with about two-thirds legal and one-third illegal weapons would be deployed.However,the number of armed volunteers and weapons grew beyond expectations.No armed licences from the state would be procured.
A committee of prominent mass leaders,intellectuals,writers,editors and democratic rights leaders were formed to conduct this programme.The purpose was to achieve maximimum possible mobilization of communist revolutionary, democratic and secular forces. It included Gursharan Singh (dramatist), Amolak Singh (editor, Surkh Rekha), Japal Jassi(editor, Inquilabi Jantak Leh), Sujan Singh (short story writer), Mohunder Singh Sandhu, Jagmohan Singh(Association for democratic Rights) etc. The people of Jaitu were greatly encouraged when they saw the security arrangements. Besides volunteers with firearms, hundreds of volunteers were armed with traditional weapons. As it was routinely apprehended that the terrorists in the garb of police personnel may hit at the participants while the latter were on their way to Jaitu, the police authorities were asked to inform the Samagam (conference) organizers about the deployment of their checkposts.The police refused permission for this. Mobile patrolling was undertaken by volunteers on jeeps and 2 –wheelers.
The function started at 9.a.m on May 18th.Militant slogans were raised and about 10,000 people assembled. At first only around 250 people assembled but like a spark turning into a prairie fire the number increased to 10,000. The speech that touched the hearts of most of the participants was that of Amolkak Singh (State convenor of the Front. The stage secretary Jaspal Jassi spoke about the need for combating both types of terrorism and also exposed the tendency in the revolutionary camp with either state or Khalistani terrorism. He explained the correct approach of mass revolutionary resistance against both kinds of terrorism. The masses responded warmly, continuously raising militant slogans. After the function, Jaspal Jassi discharged the responsibility of the staege secretary. After the conclusion of the Samagam, a militant demonstration was held in the town escorted by volunteers. At the parking place adequate security arrangements were made to thwart attempts of Khalistanis gangs to plant bombs in the trucks.
What was important was that the revolutionary democratic message was so effectively conveyed and that the conference was not utilized as a forum for projecting the line of any communist revolutionary group. It promoted the unity of communist revolutionary and democratic force s and combated any trend to convert mass –political platforms into party platforms. The samagam and the demonstration increased the confidence among people that a successful protracted fight can be waged. One was reminded of the spirit of the Vietnamese people when combating the Americans and the confidence they gained from the Vietminh combat forces. Please consider for publication nad confirm receipt.
The front martyrs and activities sowed the seeds for later revolutionary developments in Punjab.
Written with reference from journal ‘the Comrade’ issue of June 1991 and May 1991 supplement of magazine. The author wishes to remind readers that the ‘Front against Repression and Communalism’ did not belong or was a front organization of any revolutionary political group and thus should not be misunderstood as one.
 

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