Admit atrocities in USSR, China: Kavita Krishnan stirs debate as she leaves CPI(ML)

While quitting all her posts and responsibilities in the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation — including as a member of the CPI(ML)’s Polit Bureau and Central Committee, secretary of the party’s women wing All India Progressive Women’s Association and the editor of the party’s journal “Liberation” — Kavita Krishnan said that she needed to “pursue certain troubling questions” that was “not possible to explore” in her party fold.

Among questions highlighted by Krishnan, a prominent Marxist feminist and civil liberties activist, are those pertaining to the Indian communists’ inconsistency in not recognising the subversion of rights in socialist regimes that have been totalitarian, such as USSR under Stalin and China, while fighting such subversions in India.

A failure to acknowledge these facts, said Krishnan, has prevented the Indian and global Left from standing with Ukraine — a victim of Russian and Soviet colonialism and imperialism.

“The question is very simply about democracy. All my political life, the work that we have done is to advocate free thinking and the agency of people. The fact is that governments do not respect democracy – the State does not respect the people’s constitutional rights – and this can be seen in the atrocities carried out by the police including arbitrary arrests that we are increasingly seeing. There is a need to protect people from the power of the State — once we clearly acknowledge that, only then can we protect the rights of the people. This is something I have been thinking of for a long time now. The situation is worse since 2014, but even prior to 2014, citizen’s rights have not been respected,’’ said Krishnan while speaking to The Indian Express.

Krishnan, who grew up in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, began political activism when she joined JNU, going on to become the joint secretary of the JNU Students Union in 1995. She also became the president of the All-India Students’ Association. Since the 1990s, she has been a leading Left activists, especially for gender rights.

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CPI(ML) general secretary, Dipankar Bhattacharya, told the Express that the issues raised by Krishnan were not “taboo” subjects. “These are discussions that we hold internally in the party all the time. As a matter of debates such issues, including those concerning civil liberties in China and Russia have always been discussed…,” he said. “Probably the difference is that Kavita felt that this should be a more public discourse, while we debate these issues internally. She has made a choice, and we completely accept and respect that choice,’’ Bhattacharya said.

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