Communist parties in India are known for their murky history with the Communist Party of China (CPC). As the news of a violent face-off between India and China at Galwan valley broke in, many started to recall the Indo-China War of 1962.
During the India-China war of 1962, the radical wing of the then Communist Party of India (CPI) opposed the unqualified support to the Nehru government, because of its class character, in its fight against China.
This event was believed to be one of the major factors responsible for the split within the Communist Party of India. Thus, by 1964, the differences among the communists increased beyond reconciliation. After this few leaders form the communist party walked out and founded the party which is today known as the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
On Tuesday, after the violent stand-off between China and India at Galwan valley, CPI (M) came up with a statement on 16th June, wherein it did not criticise the neighbouring country.
The party in its statement said, “The Government of India should come out with an authoritative statement as to what actually happened. It is imperative that both the Governments immediately initiate high-level talks to defuse the situation and advance the process of disengagement on the basis of the agreed understanding of maintaining peace and tranquility on the border.”
This is not the first time of CPI(M) coming up with a statement on India-China standoff without criticising China. Going back to 2017, during the stand-off between India and China at Doklam in 2017, CPI(M) in an editorial in its journal People’s Democracy, wrote, “It must be underlined that Bhutan has been negotiating with China directly on its border issues since the year 1984. It is better that, India let Bhutan take the lead in negotiating with China on the Doklam Plateau and other disputed territories. India can lend support to Bhutan’s position.”
It added, "Within the country, the Modi government has increased the profile of the Dalai Lama and the so-called Tibetan provisional government. The visit of the Dalai Lama accompanied by a union minister to Arunachal Pradesh and the recent unfurling of the Tibetan flag of the provisional government in Ladakh are serious irritants for China."
The CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also issued a statement for “peace and tranquility” with China amidst the Doklam crisis.
However, the party, which otherwise is very vocal about the Indian foreign policy, could not even criticize the neighbouring country responsible for the Doklam issue in its statement.
Now, to be fair, the CPI(M) has time and again distanced itself from CPC. Be it the Madurai Congress of 1967 wherein it issued a document titled “Divergent views between our Party and the Communist Party of China (CPC) or its criticism of China for supporting Pakistan during the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
However, its legacy of the 1962 war and its failure to utter a C-word in its statement issued during the recent standoffs with China help the discourse to simply tag the party as "China sympathiser".
After the recent border tensions, such discussions on social media took a centre stage. On Wednesday, one of the Twitter users found an old poster written in Bagla which said, "The Chinese chairman is our chairman."
Although it is not clear that it was CPI(M)'s poster, many started to question the party's General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Twitter.
Check out the poster here:
The CPI(M) also faced backlash on Twitter for all India protest which was launched on 16th June. The protest was staged against the Modi government’s anti-people policies. Coincidentally the launch date overlapped with the news of the India-China stand-off breaking in. Many Twitterati found the coincidence suspicious and tagged the party as "China's proxy in India".
Check out the reactions here:
CPI(M) cadre in several districts across the country observed the protest while adhering to the norms of social distancing on Tuesday. In Delhi, at the CPI(M) central committee office, the party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury led the protest.
The party said that the Modi Govt left Indian people to fend for themselves in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe economic crisis arising out of the Govt's unplanned lockdown. "This has caused inhuman suffering to the workers, reducing them to hungry non-entities", the party added.
The protest collided with the news of India-China faceoff at Galwan valley breaking in.
The violent face-off happened on late evening and night of June 15 in Ladakh's Galwan Valley as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to "unilaterally change" the status quo during de-escalation in Eastern Ladakh and the situation could have been avoided if the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side, India said on Tuesday.
The Army confirmed that 20 soldiers were killed in the face-off including 17 who were critically injured at the stand-off location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain.
Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area in Ladakh where they had earlier clashed on the night of June 15 and 16, Indian Army said.
(With inputs from ANI)