South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

SANSAD is a Canada-based group with ties to INSAF and CERAS. In fact, the founder of SANSAD was the first President of INSAF. SANSAD is yet another body that routinely demonizes India and Hinduism based on a Marxist/Maoist world view combined with outdated and racist theories about Hinduism.

Founded in 2000 by the late Hari Sharma,[1] a known Marxist/Maoist scholar and activist in the Vancouver area, it initially was known as Non-Resident Indians for Secularism and Democracy (NRISAD) formed in 1993 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.[2]

SANSAD’s website shows Daya Varma of INSAF and CERAS is one of the current directors of SANSAD.[3] Chinmoy Banerjee, the President of SANSAD since 2011,[4] has also been associated with SANSAD for a long time.

According to an obituary posted in INSAF Bulletin, Sharma drew great inspiration from the Naxalite movement in India.[5] In fact, he maintained contacts with many of the groups until his death. Mourning his death on March 18, 2010, Santosh Rana, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), published an obituary in the party’s mouthpiece New Democracy, declaring Sharma as an eminent Marxist-Leninist who held on to his belief in the ultimate victory of socialism even after the “…the collapse of the Soviet Social Imperialism and the restoration of capitalism in China.”[6]

On June 13, 2010, after the death of Sharma, SANSAD elected a new board to run the organization. At that Annual General Meeting, the new board passed a seven-point resolution calling an end to various oppressions on minorities in South Asia.[7] Sadly, the resolution had no appeal on behalf of Hindu and Christian minorities who have been subject to ethnic cleansing, rape, torture and forcible conversions in Pakistan or Bangladesh. But, true to its Marxist/Maoist roots, it chided the Indian government for oppressing the tribal people and demanded that the Indian government “…cease its military operations against the adivasis, remove the label of ‘terrorist’ from the CPI (Maoist) and engage in negotiations to seek a political solution to the issues involved.”[8] Thus, SANSAD argued for giving the Maoists a freer hand in carrying out violent attacks and conflicts in India in order to overthrow the government and establish a “New Democratic Rule” that adheres to Communism.

Indeed, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, the intentions of CPIM were clearly delineated in a Press statement dated October 14, 2004, by General Secretaries of the People’s War Group and Maoist Communist Centre of India (both have merged to create the Communist Party of India – Maoist):

The immediate aim and programme of the Maoist party is to carry on and complete the …ongoing and advancing New Democratic Revolution in India as a part of the world proletarian revolution by overthrowing the semi-colonial, semi-feudal system under the neo-colonial form of indirect rule, exploitation and control… This revolution will be carried out and completed through armed agrarian revolutionary war, i.e. protracted people’s war with the armed seizure of power remaining as its central and principal task, encircling the cities from the countryside and thereby finally capturing them [emphasis added].[9]

SANSAD’s tirade against the Indian government is evident in yet another 2008 resolution passed at an event titled Crisis for Minorities in India: Kashmir and Orissa[10] at Langara College, in Vancouver, Canada. It made India look like an oppressive dictator and essentially argued for self-determination of the people of “Indian-administered Kashmir”. The resolution declared that “…the people of Indian-administered Kashmir have been consistently denied the right of political self-determination and genuinely democratic self-expression…”[11] and that “…the systematic denial of their aspirations has compelled the people of Kashmir to take up arms as the only means of self-determination available to them…”[12] In spite of being a South Asian organization, SANSAD conveniently leaves out Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the need to look at all the pieces together rather than focusing on just the Indian side of Kashmir. Furthermore, there is no sympathy toward or outrage against the systematic ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits out of the Valley; and no mention is accorded to the terror outfits supported by Pakistan.

In the same forum, SANSAD argues for Canadian intervention and use of diplomatic pressure to force India off Kashmir.

 

[1] See bottom of the announcement of a lecture titled “HARI SHARMA MEMORIAL LECTURE 2012” in memory of Hari Sharma, http://www.insafbulletin.net/archives/1572. Accessed January 23, 2014

[2] http://sansad.org/sansad/our-history/. Accessed January 23, 2014

[3] See the list of the 2013 SANSAD Board at http://sansad.org/. Accessed January 23, 2014

[4] “SANSAD NEWS RELEASE JULY 25, 2011”, July 25, 2011, http://www.insafbulletin.net/archives/1031.  Accessed January 24, 2014

[5] Chin Banerjee, Harinder Mahil, Raj Chouhan, Daya Varma, Vinod Mubayi, Charan Gill, “HARI SHARMA: 1934-2010” http://www.insafbulletin.net/archives/728. Accessed January 23, 2014

[6] A copy of the obituary can be accessed on INSAF’s website at http://www.insafbulletin.net/archives/723.  Accessed January 23, 2014

[7] Ka Frank, “Resolutions from SANSAD Meeting in Vancouver, B.C.”, Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle, https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/resolutions-from-sansad-meeting-in-vancouver-b-c/.  Accessed January 24, 2014

[8] Ibid

[9] “Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist): Incidents and Statements involving CPI-Maoist: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014”, South Asia Terrorism Portal, http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/terroristoutfits/CPI_M.htm. Accessed January 24, 2014

[10] “RESOLUTIONS adopted at the SANSAD forum : Crisis for Minorities in India – Kashmir and Orissa:” September 23, 2008, Communalism Watch, http://communalism.blogspot.com/2008/09/resolutions-adoped-at-sansad-forum.html. Accessed January 24, 2014

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid