ML Update | No. 35| 2015

August 26, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 35, 25 ­– 31 AUGUST 2015

Intensify People’s Resistance against the Aggression of the BJP-Ranveer Sena Nexus

​When​
Cobrapost reporters caught commanders of the Ranveer Sena on camera boasting about how they perpetrated serial massacres of the fighting rural poor in Bihar with the blessings and patronage of senior BJP leaders, the clips did not just dig up the ugly truth about a sordid chapter of Bihar from the recent past. They also brought to the fore the glaring weaknesses and biases in the judicial process where massacre perpetrators go scot-free and victims are denied justice. And most crucially, the revelations exposed the rotten feudal core of the BJP in a state like Bihar and the complicity and appeasement on the part of the JD(U)-RJD leadership that allowed the BJP-Ranveer Sena nexus to get away with its politics of feudal violence.

The Cobrapost released its video investigation about the Ranveer Sena in Delhi on 17 August. The very next day we saw Modi address a rally at Ara in Bhojpur, and quite characteristically Modi attempted to brush the entire truth about the BJP-Ranveer Sena nexus under the carpet with the theatrical announcement of the so-called Rs. 125,000 crore Bihar package. But the truth was out again after forty-eight hours when BJP-Ranveer Sena goons killed CPI(ML) leader Comrade Satish Yadav near Agiao. The BJP’s campaign for the Bihar Assembly elections had begun, much the same way as during the Lok Sabha elections, when Comrade Budhram Paswan, another popular leader of the CPI(ML) was killed in a similar fashion.

Comrade Satish Yadav was a young popular leader of poor peasants and sharecroppers. He was a key leader of the recent agitation conducted by the CPI(ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha to compel the administration to procure paddy from small farmers and sharecroppers. The procurement agitation was followed by a second round to secure payment of dues for the paddy sold. Be it the issue of irrigation for farmers, ration for the poor, electricity supply to the hamlets of the poor, education for local children or dignity of the oppressed, Comrade Satish was always in the forefront of the campaign to serve the people and fight for their rights.

The Ranveer Sena has always sought to justify its murderous campaign against the rural poor in Bihar in the name of ‘protecting the interests of the peasantry’. But once again it has been caught red-handed killing a popular leader who fought as much for the peasantry as for rural labourers and stood for the broader unity of the aggrieved agricultural population. When they could no longer sustain the politics of massacres, the feudal-criminal nexus epitomised by the Ranveer Sena began targeting individual CPI(ML) leaders. It started with the assassination of Comrade Manju in Arwal in November 2003, and more recently we have lost Comrade Bhaiyaram Yadav (member of Party State Committee and secretary of Rohtas District Committee), Comrade Budhram Paswan (member of Bhojpur District Committee), and now Comrade Satish Yadav. Comrade Upadhyay Yadav, popular leader and Zila Parishad member of Jahanabad district survived a lethal attempt on his life in May this year and is now recovering from serious bullet injuries.

Serial massacres, targeted killings of CPI(ML) leaders and activists, attacks on Dalit students and hostels in the wake of the killing of Brahmeswar Singh, brutal assaults on women (the gangrape of Mahadalit girls in Kurmuri of Bhojpur in October 2014 and the recent attack on dalit women in Shiromani Tola in Parbatta block of Khagaria on 27 July this year are two horrific instances in recent months) – such has been the track record of the feudal-criminal forces patronised by the BJP in Bihar. And the BJP in turn has been appeased by the JD(U) till as recently as 2013 – the disbanding of the Amir Das Commission and the dumping of the Land Reforms Commission Report having been two most conspicuous examples.

Even when the RJD and now the JD(U) have been claiming to oppose the BJP, more often than not they have capitulated to the BJP, if not connived with it, in targeting the fighting rural poor and the Left, CPI(ML) in particular. The BJP in Bihar is not imported from Gujarat, nor is it an external power represented by the Modi government at the Centre. First and foremost, the BJP is the organic political representative of feudal power in Bihar. It is easy to treat the BJP as an external power and talk of Bihari pride; but challenging the feudal-communal roots and designs of the BJP within Bihar and resisting the growing corporate-communal offensive that it is unleashing on a countrywide scale is an altogether different proposition. Those who collaborate and connive with forces like the Ranveer Sena can only pay lip-service to the task of checking the BJP.

Ever since its inception, the CPI(ML) has challenged the domination of feudal forces in Bihar most courageously, comprehensively and consistently. The Janata Dal of course emerged as the dominant political force in the post-Congress political order of Bihar, but its record of complicity with the anti-poor anti-Dalit offensive of the feudal camp has only emboldened the feudal forces to rally more aggressively around the BJP. But the people of Bihar are not going to take this feudal aggression lying down and we have witnessed intense popular anger against each and every recent instance of feudal violence – be it the attack on Comrade Upadhyay Yadav in Jahanabad, the assault on the women of Shiromani Tola in Khagaria or the killing of Comrade Satish Yadav in Bhojpur. The CPI(ML) and the Left must transform this anger and resolve of the people into a powerful political force against the aggressive BJP-NDA and the opportunist JDU-RJD-Congress combine.

Comrade Satish Yadav Killed in Bhojpur by Feudal Forces

Sea of People Join Final Journey, Bid Farewell

On 20 August 2015, CPI (ML) leader comrade Satish Yadav was ambushed and brutally killed by Ranveer Sena goons as he was returning at around 6 pm from Badgaon in the Agiaon assembly segment after conducting a ‘Jan davedaari Sabha’. The rising political claims of the poor, just before the Bihar elections, has clearly created frustration and disquiet amongst the feudal forces in the state. These forces, operating with impunity under the patronage of the BJP as well as some leaders from the grand ‘secular’ alliance, are hell-bent on stopping the increasing mobilization the poor, dalits, farmers, and working sections of society at any cost. They are thus once again training their guns on CPI(ML) leaders in their frustration. A few months ago, a popular CPI(ML) leader, comrade Upadhya Yadav, was mortally attacked by feudal criminal forces in Jehanabad. In this latest incident, popular Party leader from Bhojpur comrade Satish Yadav has been murdered by Rinku Singh’s gang, known to have close links with the Ranveer Sena as well as the BJP.

This killing has come at a time when strong agitations across the state have been demanding the arrest of Ranveer Sena leaders who have openly confessed their roles in the mass carnages of Laxmanpur Bathe, Bathani Tola and other gruesome massacres. The recent Cobrapost sting reveals the open secret of the role of the Ranveer Sena in these massacres, and also of their patrons in the BJP such as BJP leaders Sushil Modi, CP Thakur, and others. A few days ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a public meeting in Ara, which served to boost the morale of feudal criminals and comrade Satish Yadav’s murder only highlights the chilling arrogance and impunity with which feudal-casteist forces seek to instill terror. Eyewitnesses say that the killing was done with the connivance of the Ajeemabad police station in-charge Shyamdev Singh. When Satish Yadav made his way from the jan davedaari sabha in Badgaon, the police followed on the same road just a few minutes later. They went into the village, and almost immediately news came of comrade Satish’s murder. Clearly, people’s leaders are being regularly attacked and killed with the connivance of the BJP and the Nitish government’s police.

The news of comrade Satish’s killing left people stunned, and a wave of grief spread throughout the entire district of Bhojpur. CPI(ML) called for a Bhojpur bandh on 21 August, and demanded the immediate arrest of the killers. His final journey took place on 22 August, and it was an unprecedented event. It began at the Ara Party office where Party leaders (including PB member Swadesh Bhattacharya, State Secretary Kunal, PB member comrade Amar, CCW member and former State secretary Nand Kishore Prasad, district secretary Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sudama Prasad, Raju Yadav, Manoj Manzil and others) paid floral tributes to the beloved departed leader.

The last voyage then began. From Ara to Ajeemabad, hundreds of motorcyclists led the way, a convoy of cars followed, and people lined both sides of the road to catch a last glimpse of their beloved leader.

Comrade Satish Yadav: A Life Sketch

Comrade Satish Yadav, who was killed by feudal-casteist forces, was only 40 years old. At this young age, he had already become very popular amongst the people due to his commitment to struggles. Comrade Satish was born in the Kamariya village of Agiao block in a farmer’s family. His father, comrade Judge Yadav, was a popular leader and in 1990 he fought the elections as a Party candidate from the Badhara seat and secured about 25,000 votes. From childhood, comrade Satish came into contact with the struggles by the poor, led by the CPI(ML). That was the time when the historic Baga Math fight took place, which left a strong impression on the young Satish and resulted in his decision to dedicate himself to revolutionary struggles. He became a member of the CPI(ML) in 1995. That was the phase when the bloodthirsty Ranveer Sena was spreading terror in Bhojpur and carnage after carnage was being perpetrated. Comrade Satish took up the fight against the Ranveer Sena and fought several historic battles as part of the Party’s propaganda squad. His capabilities soon made him a popular leader within the Party as well as with the people.

After the decline of the Ranveer Sena phenomenon, he led several movements and struggles for basic issues of workers and farmers, against crime, and for developmental issues of the area. His initiatives, not only on issues concerning the poor, but also on issues concerning the middle class, became a talking point. Last year when the paddy crop in Ajeemabad was withering due to drought-like conditions, Comrade Satish led a 4-day road block agitation by farmers demanding that water be released into the canal. Under pressure from this agitation, the canal from Nonaur to Ajeemabad was replenished and water came to the fields. The administration, under pressure, also sent their work proposal for implementing the Dedhua pump canal project, a long standing demand of the farmers. Comrade Satish emerged as a popular leader among the farmers. When the paddy crop was ready, he led a historic struggle for its purchase in Agiao and forced the administration to purchase 30,000 quintals of paddy from sharecroppers and small farmers.

Ranveer Sena leader Rinku Singh, a BJP leader and also the President of the Badgaon panchayat PACS, was also pressurized by Comrade Satish to purchase paddy from farmers. Even now, he owes Rs 8 lakhs to the farmers as purchase arrears, for which comrade Satish was incessantly fighting. By killing comrade Satish, the BJP has snatched away a beloved young leader from the farmers. This clearly exposes the anti-farmer character of the BJP and its protégé the Ranveer Sena.

Comrade Satish led several struggles in the area for development, and against crime. A case was filed against him in the Pawana agitation for electricity. He was also charged in the Narayanpur agitation against murder of a father-son tradesmen duo by feudal criminals. He carried out strong agitations on the issue of electricity in Narayanpur, Akauna, Pawana, Madanpur and other villages, after which electricity first came to the Mahadalit tolas. He also mobilized sand workers who were losing their livelihoods because of sand mining using JCB machines by the dominant forces in the Ajeemabad sand ghat, resulting in the ultimate victory of the sand workers. He led struggles on the issues of registering names of the poor in the BPL lists of Agiaon panchayat, and issues of ration. He was also active in agitations regarding schools and roads. He successfully led the agitation for reinstatement of teachers in the school at Poswa.

Students Demand Revocation of CBCS in AISA’s “Opinion Dhamaka” in Delhi University

On 21 August 2015, hundreds of students of the Delhi University (DU) marched against the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) in AISA’s “Opinion Dhamaka” rally. AISA had been conducting a “Students’ Opinion on CBCS” campaign in 38 colleges of the Delhi University from 11 August 2015. During this campaign, AISA activists collected responses on different aspects of the CBCS from 24,780 students who have joined DU under the CBCS program. The results of the survey show a resounding mandate against the CBCS, and a growing disappointment with the content of the courses which have been introduced in a hurried manner in DU at the behest of the UGC and the MHRD.

A whopping 93% of students (23045) opposed the CBCS, and most students enrolled in various Honours programs reported that CBCS has devalued their courses by reducing the number of Honours papers to 14 from 18-20. 87% students complained that there was no clarity regarding text books in the Generic Elective courses. 95% felt there was no clarity regarding the method of evaluation and credit distribution for assessment. Almost all the students agreed that the colleges are not offering the choices given in the UGC course outline.

Around 600 students attended a rally in Delhi University following the announcement of the results of the survey on CBCS. Many students who attended the rally spoke of the dilution of quality, and the restriction of internal choices within the Honours degree. They also highlighted the complete chaos in the implementation of CBCS in Delhi University, and the lack of any clarity on course content and evaluation.

Dharna in Sampatchak against Increasing Crimes

The CPI(ML) Sampatchak block unit organized a dharna on 25 July 2015 at the block office on the issue of the growing number of crimes in the Sampatchak area, demanding action against criminals. The dharna was presided over by comrade Hriday Narayan Rai and the proceedings were conducted by block secretary comrade Satyanand Paswan. Hundreds of poor men and women participated in the dharna. Addressing the meeting, comrade Umesh Singh pointed out that on 6 July, Naresh Choudhry, a mahadalit, was killed in village Jaibar but the culprits, protected by the police, tried to pass it off as an accidental death. On 12 July a mahadalit woman midday meal worker was beaten up and injured by a school teacher Alok Krishna in Faislabad (Bhelwada). Similarly, a schoolgirl in Ajeemchak was molested by her teacher who tried to rape her. In all these matters, even the registering of a simple FIR had become a difficult task and could be done only after dharnas and protests were held at the police stations. The arrest of the culprits was still a very far cry. The speakers stressed on the need to organize all poor and marginalized sections against the government and the administration in a united struggle to give them a befitting lesson in the forthcoming elections.

AIPF’s Convention in Tripura

On 19 August 2015, a convention was organised by AIPF and the "Tripura Border Road Organisation Civil Workers Association" at Kumarghat, in Unakoti district of Tripura. Around 175 workers attended this convention. A mass meeting was also held after the convention, which was attended by comrade Mrinmoy Chakraborty from AIPF, district secretary CPI(ML) comrade Joydeep Roy, and newly elected secretary of the TBCWA comrade Biswajit Shilsarma.

Since the past 35 years, the national highways in Tripura have been maintained by the Border Road Organisation (BRO, a Central government organisation). Around 10,000 workers from Tripura were employed as permanent or casual workers in this organisation. In 2014, the Tripura state government entered into a contract with Central government, and since then the state government has maintained the national highway in Tripura. When the BRO handed over the works to the state government, all the workers lost their jobs. The AIPF has been organising these workers.

Protests Demanding Arrest of Ranveer Sena Criminals and Their Protectors

The CPI(ML ) declared a two-day Vishwasghat Diwas on 19-20 August 2015 demanding immediate arrests of Ranveer Sena criminals as well as BJP, JD(U) and other Party leaders exposed by the recent Cobrapost sting. In the Cobrapost sting, various Ranveer Sena leaders openly admitted that they had perpetrated dalit massacres in Bihar in the 1990s; the role of various BJP/JD(U) leaders in supplying money and arms to the Ranveer Sena was also exposed.

The Vishwasghat Diwas was observed across Bihar, especially in Patna, Arwal, Ara, Jehanabad, Patna rural, Gaya, Rohtas, Nawada, Bhagalpur and other districts in south Bihar. In the capital Patna, a protest march from the Radio Station culminated in a meeting at JP chowk, led by Saroj Choube, Santosh Sahar, Murtaza Ali, Sudhir, Gurudev Das, Santosh Jha, Rakesh Manjhi and other leaders. Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) leaders pointed out that once again the names of BJP/JD(U) leaders have been exposed in connection with protecting the Ranveer Sena. It is also clear that Nitish Kumar dissolved the Amir Das commission for the benefit of the Ranveer Sena criminals. They demanded that after this exposure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the people of Bihar and expel from BJP all those whose names have been exposed in this connection. It is significant that after the Cobrapost expose, Modi maintained a complete silence on this issue when he addressed a public meeting in Ara. In fact, one of the prime protectors of the Ranveer Sena, Sushil Modi, was present on the dais with Modi on that day. The speakers at the CPI(ML) rally demanded the immediate arrest of CP Thakur, Sushil Modi, Shivanand Tiwari and Arun Kumar and guarantee of justice to the poor.

In Jehanabad, hundreds of Party supporters marched from the Party office to the railway station and participated in a meeting. Protest marches, meetings, and effigy burnings of Nitish Kumar were also held at Arwal and at Ara, Nawada, Bhagalpur, and Bihata in Patna rural district. A two-day hunger strike was also held at Arwal, Ara, Jehanabad, Gaya, Rohtas, and Bhojpur.

On 19 August 2015, the CPI(ML) organized a protest march at Jantar Mantar in Delhi demanding the immediate arrest of the Ranveer Sena criminals and their BJP protectors exposed in the Cobrapost sting. CPI(ML) demanded reinstatement of the Amir Das commission and that its findings should be made public. The meeting was addressed by PB members Swapan Mukherjee, Kavita Krishnan and other leaders.

Agitation for Road Construction in Chandauli

The All India Khet Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) and CPI(ML) organized a dharna on 22 June 2015 at the Shahabganj BDO office in Chandauli district to demand construction of an access road to the dalit basti in Baraon village. The dharna also demanded construction of other roads, issue of pattas for the landless in all villages, and a social audit to enquire into the MNREGA scam in Hadaura. AIKMS and CPI(ML) have been raising these issues for some time now. On 17 July 2015, several CPI(ML) workers including Karail area local committee member comrade Sanjay Kharwar, Branch Secretary Gorao Prasad, Shabbir Ahmad, and Narad Vishwakarma sat on an indefinite dharna. Hundreds of villagers participated in the dharna.

Even though the local Administration tried to disperse the agitation by citing section 144, the agitation and mobilisation only increased. More than 600 villagers participated. Subsequently, owing to public pressure, the BDO acting under instructions of the ADM gave a written assurance for the road construction, after which the dharna ended.

Protest for Implementation of Forest Rights Law

On 22 July 2015, AIKMS and CPI(ML) protested at the office of the ADM, Chakiya in Chandauli district demanding proper implementation of the forest rights law. The Forest Department is currently digging pits and organizing tree plantation with the clear intent of displacing adivasis and forest dwellers who have for generations engaged in agriculture on these lands.

Addressing the dharna, CPI(ML) district secretary comrade Shashikant Kushwaha said that with the connivance of the Forest Department, the land mafia has captured thousands of acres of forest land in Naugarh. Adivasis and forest dwellers participated in the dharna, and demanded 4.5 acres of land due to them under the forest rights law. Under pressure from the people, the ADM was obliged to come to the dharna venue and he assured the people that action would be taken against the land mafia and the poor would not be displaced. The dharna was presided over by AIKMS district President comrade Ramkrit Kol and proceedings were conducted by Anil Paswan.

Red salute to comrade Ramapati Yadav!

CPI(ML) Beguserai district committee member and Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha district secretary comrade Ramapati Yadav passed away after suffering from a cardiac arrest at a private clinic in Beguserai on the night of 7 August 2015. His mortal remains were brought to Shrichandrapur village in Sahebpur Kamal block, where CPI(ML) and Kisan Mahasabha leaders paid their tribute. Hundreds of farmers and workers accompanied comrade Ramapati on his 5-km long last journey.

Comrade Ramapati was born on 19 December 1952, in a middle farmer’s family. He was a graduate in Science. Party leaders said that his untimely death is an irreparable loss and his honesty, hard work, and dedication to the people and the Party will always remain a source of inspiration. A sankalp sabha was organized at his village on 19 August 2015.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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ML Update | No. 34 | 2015

August 20, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 34, 18 ­– 24 AUGUST 2015

Bring the BJP-Backed Ranveer Sena Terrorists To Justice

Arrest Terrorists and Top Politicians Exposed by Cobrapost Sting and Amir Das Report


Th​​
e Cobrapost sting operation has confirmed what was already an open secret. The terrorist feudal outfit Ranveer Sena, backed by the Bhartiya Janata Party, slaughtered poor labourers from the Dalits and oppressed castes in Bihar in the 1990s, mostly unarmed women and children, to teach them a lesson for their struggles for wages and dignity and political assertion in the form of the CPI(ML) Liberation. The police and administration under the then Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad and then Rabri Devi, colluded with the terrorists, allowing them to massacre with impunity. The Commission headed by Justice (Retd.) Amir Das set up to probe the political linkages of the Ranveer Sena, received no cooperation from the Rabri Devi regime, and when it prepared its report in the face of all odds and was on the point of submitting its findings, it was disbanded by the JDU-BJP Government headed by Nitish Kumar.

In a series of shocking verdicts between 2012-2013, the Patna High Court overturned sessions court verdicts and acquitted each and every one of those who had been convicted for the massacres at Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe, and Miyanpur. In 2014, a sessions court acquitted all the accused in the Shankarbigha massacre. The Patna High Court in the Bathani Tola case held that eyewitnesses were ‘lying’ and ‘spinning tales’, and had held eyewitnesses in the Laxmanpur Bathe case to be ‘unreliable.’ The Cobrapost reporter caught some of the acquitted men on his secret camera, in which they openly, brazenly boast of having perpetrated the massacres, and also confirm what the witnesses had maintained – that the mastermind of the massacres was Brahmeshwar ‘mukhiya’, the Ranveer Sena chief. Six Ranveer Sena commanders caught on camera by Cobrapost, openly and readily give details of their role in the Bathani Tola, Bathe, Sarthua, Miyanpur, Shankarbigha and Ekwari massacres.

How come the police failed to do what an investigative journalist has done? How come these terrorists have escaped justice and enjoy impunity?

Some of the answers to these questions also can be found in the Cobrapost interviews of the Ranveer Sena terrorists. These terrorists declare that powerful politicians – including former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, former HRD Minister from the BJP Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP leaders Sushil Modi and CP Thakur and several others – helped them procure sophisticated arms to which only the Indian Army has access. They received training from Army men – either retired or on leave. They also say that criminal politician Anand Mohan Singh and JDU leader Shivanand Tiwari offered them material support. They say that Murli Manohar Joshi intimidated the investigative officers and LJP MP Arun Kumar helped them escape the police.

It is also significant that the Ranveer Sena terrorists tell Cobrapost that theirs were not stealthy operations. The date of the massacres were often announced in advance, to strike terror – and the Bathani Tola massacre, thus announced, was even conducted in broad daylight. Survivors of the massacres told Cobrapost how police and prosecution in the Laloo-Rabri regimes failed to act even when warned that massacres had been announced. Police posts a stone’s throw away from the targeted villages would look the other way until the massacre was over. Evidence was destroyed by the police, and prosecution deliberately weakened cases.

The Cobrapost has also spoken to Justice (Retd.) Amir Das, and has also acquired a copy of the Amir Das Commission report. Justice Amir Das states that witnesses deposed before his Commission, testifying to the involvement of several prominent politicians, mostly from the BJP. This is why his Commission was abruptly wound up by Nitish Kumar, when the JDU-BJP Government came to power.

It is clear that from police to prosecution to judiciary, from the Laloo-Rabri regime to Nitish regime to the BJP, all are implicated in the massacre of the poor and the massacre of justice.

Narendra Modi talks of ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar – but can he deny that the BJP-backed Ranveer Sena terrorists were the most dangerous man-eaters in the jungle, that preyed on the weakest, the poorest, women and children? Will BJP’s Giriraj Singh tell us why he called the terrorist Brahmeshwar Singh – mastermind of all the massacres – Bihar’s Gandhi?

Nitish Kumar is trying to claim that the decision to disband the Amir Das Commission was taken before he assumed power. This is a false and specious argument: after all, if so, why did he not reverse that decision and refuse to announce the disbanding? Why in the past decade has he refused to re-promulgate the Amir Das Commission in spite of CPI(ML)’s demands to this effect?

The truth is that Nitish Kumar disbanded the Commission that would have revealed the truth about BJP’s backing of the Ranveer Sena, because he did not want Bihar’s people to ask why he had joined hands with the butchers of Bihar’s poor Dalits, women and children.

Moreover, after Brahmeshwar’s killing, why did Nitish Kumar allow Ranveer Sena goons to go on a rampage in Ara, attacking Dalit hostels? Today, Nitish Kumar claims to be ‘secular’ and against the communal BJP. But it is Nitish Kumar who is responsible for the shameful denial of justice and betrayal of the massacre survivors and victims’ families, because it is he who shielded the communal-casteist BJP by disbanding the Amir Das Commission. And even today, the JDU Administration and BJP leaders today operate in a tacit nexus to shield the perpetrators of the sexual assault on Dalit women at Parbatta: an assault that was organized and led by a local BJP leader.

Those self-proclaimed leaders of Dalits, mahadalits and backward communities of Bihar who are shamelessly allying with the BJP, must answer to Bihar’s people about why they are insulting Bihar’s poor and oppressed by joining hands with their killers.

The struggle for justice must seek the arrest of the Ranveer Sena commanders who have confessed to the massacre; the arrest of all the politicians including BJP top brass who are named by the Ranveer Sena commanders and the Amir Das Commission report; and investigation and arrest of the Army and ex-Army leaders who trained and armed the banned Ranveer Sena terrorists.

AIPF Mahapanchayat in Jharkhand to Mark August Kranti Diwas and World Adivasi Day

9 August is observed as August Kranti Diwas and, since 1995, also as World Adivasi Day when indigenous people all over the world celebrate their identity and their rights. This year the BJP govt in Jharkhand played the drama of celebrating World Adivasi Day on a governmental level, whereas the truth is that this very govt is attacking the rights of adivasis over jal-jangal-jameen and progress through its pro-corporate policies. The AIPF organized a huge mahapanchayat in Ranchi, attended by the CPI-ML and dozens of people’s organizations, and thousands of adivasi people whether women, workers, farmers, youth, students, in their traditional attire.

Addresing the mahapanchayat, CPI-ML General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that this mahapanchayat would become the voice of the adivasis for their rights, against the anti-people policies of the govt. He pointed out the irony that on this August Kranti Diwas, the reins of the country are in the hands of those who belong to a political stream which took no part in the Independence struggle and who are today hell-bent on imposing Company Raj on the country. He said that World Adivasi Day is celebrated, with UN approval through the efforts of Dr. Ram Dayal Munda and Jharkhandvasis, to protect the adivasis’ fundamental rights and as a symbol of adivasis’ right to take their own decision regarding jal-jangal-jameen, but this pro-corporate govt is violating all the rights of the adivasis, including hard won legal rights such as CNT, SPT, PESA, and the 5th Schedule and the Govt was bent upon giving their jal-jangal-jameen away to the corporate houses. The rights of the poor are also dwindling with cuts in MNREGA and food security. Workers’ rights are also in grave danger with the govt weakening labour laws. The govt has been forced to back down on the Land Ordinance because of people’s protest, but their attempts are still on. The AIPF must stand strong on the rights of adivasis, and also must work for the success of the September 2 All India strike called by trade unions to oppose the weakening of labour laws.

The mahapanchayat was also addressed by AIPF leader Kavita Krishnan, Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Rajaram Singh, human rights activist Fr. Stane Swami, Forum steering committee member Dayamani Barla, MLA Rajkumar Yadav, AIPF leader Yugal Pal, Insaf Manch leader Nadeem Khan, AIPWA leader Geeta Mandal, anti-displacement activist Damodar Turi, adivasi leader Nande Pahan, Left activist Tridib Ghosh, JMS leader Devki Nandan Bediya, Rajesh Sinha and other leaders. Earlier, Forum Advisory committee member and well-known journalist Faisal Anurag gave the keynote address and stressed the need for AIPF to fight against the anti-adivasi policies of the govt. Former MLA Vinod Singh conducted the proceedings and CPI-ML CCW member Anant Prasad Gupta welcomed the participants of the mahapanchayat and read out the 21 point political proposition. Anil Anshuman read out the declared programmes of the AIPF and proposed a vote of thanks. The Jharkhand JASAM team Prerna presented jangeet. Filmmaker Meghnath, social activist Prof. Hasan Raja, right to food activist K Balram, and members of the Forum steering committee also participated in the mahapanchayat which concluded with the constitution of a 21 member Jharkhand State committee executive and a 43 member State council.

The following organizations joined the mahapanchayat: 1. Adivasi-Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch; 2. Jangal Bachao Andolan; 3. Bagaicha; 4. Bhoomi Raksha Manch; 5. Visthhapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan; 6. HEC Hatiya Visthhapit Parivar Samiti; 7. Jharkhand Para Shikshak Sangh; 8. Jharkhand Jan Sangram Morcha; 9. United Milli Forum; 10. Dalma Raiyyat Suraksha anch; 11. Jharkhand Minority Forum; 12. Jharkhand Andolankari Morcha; 13. Bermo Coalfield Visthhapit Mazdoor Union; 14. Jharkhand Petroleum Transport Shramik Union; 15. Rajhara Bachao Sangharsh Samiti; 16. Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha; 17. AICCTU; 18. AIPWA; 19. Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch; 20. AISA; 21. RYA; 22. AKHDA ; 23. Insaf Manch; 24. Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Samiti; 25. APCR. During the mahapanchayat many other people’s organizations also joined the Jharkhand AIPF.

Protest by Adivasis in Gujarat

On 10 August 2015, the day following World Adivasi Day, a strong protest was organized under the leadership of CPI-ML at Umargam taluka in Valsad district of Gujarat, in which hundreds of adivasi women and men participated. At the end of the protest a 7-member delegation met the tehsil officer and submitted a charter of demands.

Their chief demands are: 1. The anti-people land acquisition law (especially in adivasi areas) should be immediately repealed; 2. Adivasis should be given ownership rights as per the forest rights act (which many whose forefathers had ploughed the land have not yet got; some adivasis in this plight were presented before the tehsil officer); 3. Adivasi families should be given BPL cards, and adivasis engaged in agriculture should get insurance without premium; 4. Corruption in distribution of MNREGA job cards and work to adivasis should be investigated immediately and this process should be properly and quickly completed; 5. Each family should be provided food grains at Rs 2 per kilo under the food security act; 6. Contract labour supply system in factories under the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation should be stopped immediately and contractual workers (most of whom are local adivasis) should be made permanent employees; 7. There are several small chemical factories here whose effluents are polluting both land and drinking water in this area; these factories should be banned immediately and their owners punished.

Hundreds of adivasi women and men from Malkhet, Nagam, Jharoli, Khatalvad, Bharoli, Dhodhipara, Manda, Mohangaon, Angaam, Kaprada, and other villages participated in the demonstration. The rally attracted large numbers in spite of heavy rain and the fact that the majority of fishermen were out at sea on work. The rally was led by Politburo member Prabhat Kumar, Gujarat Party in-charge Ranjan Ganguly, RYA National Secretary Amit Patnawadia, District secretary Laxmanbhai Patnawadia, women leaders Jayantiben, Sushilaben, and others. Disabled persons also participated in the rally led by disabled persons’ union leader Com. Haresh Bhai. Speakers addressing the rally called for widening the agitation for land, employment, and food. It was resolved at the rally to make full preparations for the success of the forthcoming All India strike on 2nd September.

Protest Meeting against Parbatta Incident

A people’s protest meeting was organized near Kabir Math in Parbatta on 11 August to protest against the attacks on dalits and women at Shiromani tola in Parbatta block of Khagariya district. Party Politburo member Com. Kavita Krishnan, former MP Com. Rameshwar Prasad, AISA State President Rinki and other leaders participated in the protest meeting. Earlier, Party leaders had met and spoken with the victims’ families.

Addressing the protest meeting, Com. Kavita Krishnan said that the Nitish govt in the State and RJD supremo Lalu Yadav are protectors of the people who perpetrate injustice and attacks. They are also the nurturers of feudal forces. After the 80’s, now women are taking steps forward but they are being subjected to violent attacks. The JD (U) and BJP are both shielding the culprits. Under the protection of these two Parties, feudal forces joined together to attack Nayagaon Sharma tola on 27 July 2015. Homes of the poor were destroyed, property was looted, and even children and the old were not spared from barbaric attacks. The victims were not given protection and shelter by the govt but by the poor people. The administration tried to put pressure to force them back. Com. Kavita raised the question of why no medical investigation of the victims was done. She pointed out that while the JD(U) local MLA is protecting the feudal oppressors, BJP leader Mithilesh Choudhury is the mastermind in the incident. At the same time Jan Adhikar Party leader and MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav is shedding crocodile tears prodded by the BJP. All these Parties are playing politics for votes. It is only the CPI-ML which is fighting for justice.

Former MP and CCW member Com. Rameshwar, AISA State President Rinki, Mukesh Kumar, Bindeshwari Mandal, Naveen, Akhilesh Bharti, Arun Das, and other leaders also addressed the meeting.

People’s Kabja on 22 Bighas of Land In Bhojpur

On 12 July 2015 the poor people set a laudable precedent in the vaasbhumi andolan by setting up 1,700 huts and taking control of 22 bighas of land in Padhariya Mauja coming under Gadahani block of Bhojpur district, where Ara town resident absentee landlord and notorious capitalist of the district Vinay Jain had kept the said land under his illegal kabja. No administrative officer dares to go there in the face of the people’s courage and unity. This has increased the enthusiasm and belief of the people in the Party.

Vinay Jain owns several properties in Ara town. The land in question was earlier the property of the Bihar govt. The revenue officer of this Mauja used to live in Vinay’s house, and with his connivance Vinay’s family made documents through fraudulent means to get kabja of this land. Local sharecroppers used to farm this land. For the last 30 years this land has been fallow (parti). In 1992 flags were planted under the Party leadership and it was declared that the land would be freed.

Recently, after a series of fraudulent attempts by various fraudsters to claim the ownership of land the Party decided not to let the land remain ‘parti’ any more, but to let the neighbouring poor people settle on the land. On this basis the landless poor of Gadahani, Padhariya, Suari and Dhamniya villages were mobilized and on 12 July hundreds of them gathered to put up huts on the land and establish Nirmal Nagar there. Gradually, 1,700 jhopdis in all have been put up there. The authorities are silent, and the media is also largely silent. Regardless of what the govt or the media does, the people’s need for dwelling is so acute and urgent that they are ready to face anyone who challenges them.

The land now bears an air of celebration. Passers-by stop to take in the scene. Even now people are coming to see this and the people who have taken its kabja. They are being told that all villages have similar lands; they are being urged to find out such lands and take kabja there also. Nothing will be achieved by depending on the govt for land or housing. It is better to mobilize the people under the leadership of the CPI-ML and free gairmajrua and ceiling lands of the Bihar govt from feudal and dominant forces, and take kabja by putting up jhopdis. Preparations are under way for mobilizing the people under the Party flag and putting up jhopdis in various other villages in the future.

Karyakarta Conventions in Major Assemby Constituencies

Preparations are under way for the Bihar Assembly elections. In the first phase, karyakarta conventions were organized in some major Assembly constituencies in South Bihar which is of significance for the Party. The Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya was the chief speaker at the conventions. Assembly level karyakarta conventions were organized on 5 August at Karakat, on 6 August at Arwal, and on 7 August at Paliganj. Along with the General Secretary, Politburo member Com. Amit also participated in the conventions. On 10 August conventions were organized in different Assembly constituencies of Bhojpur, in which senior Party leader Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya, State Secretary Kunal, Bhojpur district secretary Com. Jawahar Singh, and other leaders participated. Through these conventions the karyakartas resolved to work with full dedication and strength for the coming Bihar Assembly elections.

Bihar Rasoiya Sangh Plays Significant Role in 3 Day Strike By Contractual-Honorarium Workers

A concerted struggle has been on for the past 7 months under the banner of Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh for a 17 point charter of demands including the declaration of rasoiyas as govt employees, Rs 15,000 per month honorarium, and guarantee of safety and dignity. A protest in front of the CM on 31 March also did not yield any positive response. On 27 July Nitish Kumar announced that other than tola sewak and kisan salahkar, a grant of Rs 4 lakhs would be paid in case of death of any honorarium worker during tenure of service. This is a cruel joke on honorarium workers as they have neither appointment letter nor, in most cases, is their signature taken anywhere. So with what evidence can the families claim this grant for death-in-service? This announcement is nothing but an electoral carrot; realizing this, they took part in large numbers in the 5-6-7 August strike.

In Siwan around 2,000 rasoiyas took part in a rail chakka jam. The administration has registered cases under several sections against leaders Sohila Gupta and Manjeeta Kaur. Earlier, protests were held in 11 blocks on 5 August and in 3 blocks on 6 August and effigies of Modi and Nitish were burnt. 1,500 rasoiyas protested in front of the Collectorate in East Champaran and held a meeting inside the gates of the Collectorate. On the 2nd and 3rd days protests were held in front of education officers and in all 27 blocks. Earlier a protest had been held on 24 July and a memorandum submitted to PM Modi.

In Nalanda, after an earlier protest on 24 July and a cadre convention on 2 August, Protests were held on 5 August in front of the Collector, on 6 August in front of Education officers, and on 7 August in all blocks. Rallies were taken out on 5 and 6 August. In Muzafffarpur a protest was held at the Collectorate on 24 July. On 5 and 6 August protests and dharnas were held in the blocks. Rasoiyas were gathering in large numbers, and as a result on 7 August. the protests were joined in by rasoiyas and small organizations from areas where the Party is not so active. In Jehanabad, in which 500 women participated, protest was held on 5 August in front of midday meal authorities. An 800 strong Akrosh march was taken out on 6 August and PM Modi’s effigy was burnt on the 3rd day when maximum numbers were present. Block committees of the Rasoiya Sangh are now being constituted.

Protests were held in all 10 blocks of Jamui district by over 500 rasoiyas. In Arwal protests were held on 7 August in which 500 rasoiyas participated. They protested at the Collectorate. Protests were also held at Nawada, Roh, Darbhanga, and Samastipur. Protests in Bhojpur took place on 5 August in front of the Collectorate in which 150 women took part. On 7 August protests were held at Udwantnagar, Jagdishpur and Shahpur block offices.

It was decided to organize protests daily at Kargil chowk in Patna, but the administration did not give permission for this. There was a curfew-like atmosphere in Patna, despite which a rally was taken out on 6 August from Buddha Park which culminated in a meeting at Kargil chowk. Marches and meetings were held on 6-7 August also. Protests and effigy burning of Modi and Nitish were held in fatuha block of Patna rural on 6 August and a road jam was organized on 7 August. Protests and effigy burnings were also organized in Masaurhi, Dhanrua, Bihata, Maner, and Paliganj.

This hartal once again showed the great dissatisfaction and anger amongst the rasoiyas who responded voluntarily to the call for the bandh. The hartal declared 8-9-10 August. to be observed as “Black Day” to protest against the indifference of the govt and the oppression unleashed on those agitating for their rights. Further preparations are on for bigger agitations.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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ML Update | No. 33 | 2015

August 12, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 33 | 11 – 17 AUG 2015

Bhagalpur Riots Revisited :
A Quarter Century of Deception and Injustice

On the concluding day of the last session of the Bihar Assembly before the forthcoming elections, the Nitish Kumar government tabled the report of Justice NN Singh commission on the 1989-90 Bhagalpur riots. The government had received the report in February, but it evidently waited till the final day of the Assembly to prevent any discussion in Assembly over the report and over the continuing apathy and inaction of successive governments in ensuring justice and rehabilitation for the hapless riot-affected families.

The Justice NN Singh commission was set up in February 2006 soon after Nitish Kumar had come to power with the support of BJP. The terms of reference of the commission included inquiry into ‘the conduct and performance of the investigating and prosecuting agencies of cases arising out of Bhagalpur Riot 1989-90’ and suggestion of relief and rehabilitation measures for the riot survivors. The commission was required to submit its report within six months of its first sitting. As it happened, the commission submitted an interim report on 28 August 2007 and the full report only in February 2015.

Twenty years before the NN Singh commission submitted its report we had the report of the first commission on Bhagalpur riots set up under the chairmanship of Justice Ramanandan Prasad in December 1989 and reconstituted in September 1993. The first report had effectively absolved the district administration of all culpability, blaming only the ‘inexperience’ of the then DM Arun Jha and SP KS Dwivedi. The second commission has taken the same line, saying "I refrain from making any comment on the conduct" of the DM and SP, even as it compares the Bhagalpur riot to the November 1984 anti-Sikh riot in terms of "their enormity, extent, barbarism, devastation and loss of life and property." Indeed, the only new point made by the second commission is recommendation of compensation to Bhagalpur victims on the lines of the 2006 package announced by the UPA government for 1984 riot victims.

The reports of the two commissions not only refuse to fix administrative responsibilities for the riots that claimed hundreds of lives and ruined thousands of families, they are also shockingly oblivious of the specific context of the vicious and aggressive communal mobilisation by the Sangh Parivar which resulted in a veritable communal bloodbath that began in Bhagalpur and went on through the demolition of Babri Masjid till the post-demolition riots in Surat and Mumbai. The commissions go back to the history of Partition to explain the context of the riots, and effectively accuse Muslim organisations and leaders of virtually ‘inviting’ the riots, but give a clean chit to the BJP despite noting the involvement of members of VHP and RSS. The 1995 commission report even sanctifies the Sangh Parivar’s scheme of ‘division of labour’: "the political wing cannot be blamed for any misdeed of the social wing,"

Bhagalpur was the most decisive turning point that triggered the downfall of the Congress in Bihar and catapulted Lalu Prasad to the seat of power. Both VP Singh in Delhi and Lalu Prasad in Patna then enjoyed the support of the BJP, and Lalu Prasad never showed any urgency to expedite the cause of justice for the riot survivors of Bhagalpur or even to expose the BJP and Sangh brigade’s sinister role in the massacres of Muslims in Bhagalpur. Kameswar Yadav, one of the key accused of Bhagalpur riots who contested the 1990 Assembly elections on Hindu Mahasabha ticket from Nathnagar in Bhagalpur district, went on to receive the political patronage of Lalu Prasad in later years. Arun Jha and KS Dwivedi, the then DM and SP of Bhagalpur who are held centrally responsible by many in Bhagalpur for the scale of violence and killings, went on to secure promotions and plum postings. When Nitish Kumar came to power with a changed social equation, his government reopened the case against Kameswar Yadav only to reward another key accused of Bhagalpur riots, Ratan Mandal, with the position of the chairperson of the Bihar Extreme Backward Castes Commission.

The survivors of Bhagalpur have also been subjected to tremendous hardship on the economic front. Systematic ruin, and not rehabilitation, has been the bitter real life experience for most of them. Under distress and duress, thousands of Muslim families from more than two hundred villages/mohallas have had to sell their houses and plots of land at nominal rates, leading to enforced displacement and ghettoization. Effective rehabilitation in all these cases must include compensation at current market rate. Many in Bhagalpur who got some initial financial assistance to resume their business and other occupational activities were later charged with non-repayment of ‘loans’ and even sent to prison. The enhanced compensation and monthly pension recommended by Justice NN Singh commission in its 2007 interim report remain just another promise on paper for most riot survivors in Bhagalpur.

Several senior journalists and officials in the know of the actual scale and events of Bhagalpur riots have all along maintained that had the government acted immediately on the basis of the findings reported by Ajit Dutt, DIG of Bhagalpur (rural), the guilty could have been punished and survivors rehabiltated without much delay. The commissions have not only delayed justice by consuming crucial time but also ended up understating the scale of killings and devastation – it is popularly believed in Bhagalpur that more than 2,000 people had perished in the massacres as opposed to the figures of 900 Muslims and 100 Hindus put out in the 1995 commission report – and cushioning the guilty.

Of the twenty five years that have elapsed since Bhagalpur, the first fifteen saw Lalu Prasad at the helm of Bihar with his slogan of social justice and secularism, while the last ten have been the Nitish era of ‘good governance’ and ‘development with justice’. For the victims of Bhagalpur, the entire period has been a period of protracted betrayal and injustice. And the feelings of the Bhagalpur survivors are shared equally by victims of injustice elsewhere in Bihar, most notably the oppressed rural poor in today’s south Bihar who suffered dozens of massacres by the infamous Ranveer Sena. In the latter case, the culprits have all been acquitted by the High Court and the commission which was asked to probe the political patronage behind Ranveer Sena was disbanded by Nitish Kumar before it could submit its report. This was around the same time Nitish Kumar set up the Justice NN Singh commission on Bhagalpur!

Evidently, the battle for justice can win victory by defeating not just the perpetrators of riots and massacres but also the forces that deceive, delay and deny justice in the name of delivering it.

CPI(ML) Condemns Brutal Killing of Blogger Niloy Neel in Bangladesh

CPI(ML) strongly condemns the brutal murder of Niloy Neel, a 40 year old secular blogger in Bangladesh. He was hacked to death in his apartment in Dhaka on 7 August. Niloy Neel was known to raise voice against Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh and in defence of the rights of women and minorities. He is the fourth secular and an atheist blogger to be killed this year in Bangladesh, following brutal killings of Avijit Roy in February, Washiqur Rahman in March and Ananta Bijoy Das in May. The spate of attacks on secularists in Bangladesh who have consistently raised voice against religious fundamentalism reflects the failure of the current Bangladesh government to rein in the fundamentalist forces. These groups have been issuing open threats to anyone who is seen as a rational anti-fundamentalist voice and brazenly carrying out the threats. There is an urgent need that the government of Bangladesh takes strong action against such forces and sends out a strong message to them.

The increasing number of attacks on those speaking out against religious fundamentalism in the sub continent and across the world calls for a strong unity against any form of religious fundamentalism across religions and countries.

CPI (ML) extends solidarity to grieving family and friends of Niloy Neel and salutes his courage for standing up for democratic and secular values in Bangladesh.

CPI(ML) & AIPWA hold Statewide Protests against Oppression and Rape of Dalits in Bihar

The organized and open attacks on Dalits and women in Shiromani Tola of Parbatta block in Khagariya district in Bihar on 27 July 2015 have exposed the Nitish government’s hollow claims of bringing about a “Naya Bihar”. It has also exposed the true face of the power hungry BJP. On that day, an organized gang of about 250 people from the dominant Bhumihar community attacked the Dalit Tola openly, but the government, eager to appease the upper caste feudal forces, did not think it fit even to bring out a statement on this heinous attack.

Earlier, a bandh in Parbatta on 1 August and a dharna in Khagariya on 3 August were organized, in which state Party leaders. The police resorted to brutal lathi charge during the Parbatta bandh and arrested 4 Party leaders. A fact-finding team from the CPI (ML) visited Shiromani tola on the day of the bandh. The team included former MP from the Party Com. Rameshwar Prasad, AIPWA Gen Secrteray Com. Meena Tiwari, State committee members comrades Nawal, Rinku, AISA State President, Com. Rinki, AIPWA leader Com. Renu and Party district convenor Com. Arun Kumar Das.

The report prepared by the enquiry revealed that the background of the incident was the love which had sprung up between Prince Kumar Sharma, a boy from the tanti caste in Shiromani tola of Nayagaon and a girl from the Bhumihar caste in the same village. The couple had eloped in March but later returned under pressure. The girl’s family got her married in Beguserai after 2 or 3 months but the girl went away from her in-laws’ place. A case was registered in Beguserai thana against Prince and other boys of the tanti caste, and 2 were arrested. On 26 July the girl came to Beguserai thana in defence of the boys. The girl’s family got this news and the son of the village mukhiya and the sarpanch, along with some women of the tanti caste, came to Beguserai thana and tried to put pressure on the boy and girl, but the girl refused to return with them.

On 27 July the feudal forces called a meeting near the Durga sthan after which they, about 250 in number, launched an attack on Shiromani tola with cries of “Jai Maa Durga”. The attackers beat and threw children around. They crossed all limits with the women, particularly young women. They dragged, beat, and crushed them, and assaulted their private parts. A pregnant woman was so severely beaten that she started bleeding and is still in hospital. Despite all this, MLA RN Singh tells the victims to forget what has happened and return to the tola, as the fault was theirs. The BJP also holds the tanti caste guilty. Clearly, this attack was perpetrated to maintain social dominance and to tell the boys from the mahafalit caste that they should not dare to love or marry girls from upper castes.

After the incident, the police arrived at the village but a fresh attack was launched in the presence of the police. Even journalists were beaten up. Homes were looted and those who had escaped in the earlier attack were beaten up this time. Certificates were torn, jewellery looted, and mobiles snatched. A total of 3 attacks were made in all.

The victim families are currently taking shelter in a private school in neighbouring Goriyari village. The administration has sent nothing but some poor quality rice and wheat for their sustenance. 25 women and 15 men have been seriously injured in the attacks. The role of the local JD (U) leaders, the mukhiya’s son, and the sarpanch and the BJP leaders has exposed the continuing power of feudal forces in Bihar and the anti-Dalit face of the Nitish government.

Protest marches were taken out on 4 August in different districts of the State. The effigy of CM Nitish Kumar was burnt at several places.

A “Nyay March” was also taken out in Patna on 4 August. The march started from Station Golamber and reached Kargil Chowk where it culminated in a public meeting. Addressing the meeting, the speakers said that in spite of the tall claims of the Nitish government touting justice with development, empowerment of mahadalits, and encouragement for inter-caste marriages, there is absolutely no safety or security for couples who marry out of their caste as well as for the mahadalits. The speakers put forward the following demands: government jobs and social security for the affected boy and girl, evaluation of the loot during the incident and 5 lakhs compensation and rehabilitation of each victim, and immediate arrest, speedy trial and punishment for the guilty. They also demanded the release of the Party leaders arrested during the Parbatta bandh.

AIPF Protest for Tribal Rights in Chennai

Following the protest demonstration for tribal rights held on Hul Diwas on 30 June at Villupuram, AIPF-Tamil Nadu organized one day hunger strike at the Tamil Nadu state headquarters in Chennai on 7 August demanding Tamil Nadu government’s immediate intervention for the release of more than 2000 Tamil tribals languishing in Andhra Pradesh jails on false cases. Even though the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes advised that the AP Government must release the innocents including Tamil tribal who have been languishing in the Andhra jails since 2010, so far it has not been implemented. To avoid the migration of Tamil tribal workers in search of jobs to Andhra- Tirupati forests, that has become a killing field, AIPF demanded the speedy implementation of NCST’s 24 April recommendations, ensuring the land rights & livelihood of Tamil tribal people and implementation of Forest Rights Act-2006 in Tamil Nadu.

More than 200 participated in the programme including 150 people from the tribal communities,-majority of whom were women. Close relatives of the jailed workers travelled all the way from far off, hilly and ill connected villages from Villupuram, Salem, Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai districts to join the one day hunger strike of AIPF.

Com. Jawahar, state President, AICCTU, presided over the program while CPI (ML) Chennai district secretary, Com. Shekar inaugurated the programme. Main speakers were included Com. S. Kumarasami, PB member-CPI (ML), Dr. Suresh, Gen. Secretary, PUCL, Com. A. Marx, campaign committee member, AIPF, Sujatha Modi, National Secretary. NTUI, R. Sampath, Vice President, WPTUC, Lawyer. Muthusami, T.N. Scheduled Tribe Malayalee Peravai, Com. Venkatesan State Gen. Secretary, AIARLA, Com. Gajendran RYA State committe member, Com. Arivalagan, AIPF, Athiyaman of Democratic Lawyers Association. Com. Balasundaram, State secretary CPI (ML) gave the concluding speech. Three tribal women speakers narrated their pathetic conditions of life in the hills as the breadwinners of the family were locked in Andhra jails. As a mark of solidarity, Unorganized Workers Confederation leaders, comrades Jayalskshmi and Chandrika also participated. Many speakers appreciated AIPF’s initiative on this grave issue that other political parties had failed to address. They also extended their solidarity.

Education Parliament Held in Delhi

Students and teachers gathered on 5 August 2015 in hundreds from all over the country at the Education Parliament hosted by the JNU Students’ Union, to make the parliamentarians hear their voice of protest against commercialisation and saffronization of education by the Modi Government.

The JNUSU President Ashutosh Kumar, welcoming close over 1000 participants, said that Parliament is in session and is not addressing our concerns about the Modi Government’s assaults on quality and autonomy of institutions and democratic rights on campuses. He highlighted the issues of saffron and substandard appointments at FTII, NCERT, ICHR, ICCR, DU and various Universities, the humiliation of noted intellectuals and scientists such as Amartya Sen and heads of IITs and IIMs, the attempt to ban the Ambedkar-Periyar group, the assault on protesting students at Pondicherry University, and violent attacks by ABVP to curb freedom of expression on many campuses from Lucknow to Delhi to Pune and Hyderabad.

Addressing the Education Parliament, the DUTA President Nandita Narain said that the CBCS is being imposed in spite of the opposition by students and teachers. This proves that CBCS has nothing to do with providing ‘choices’, and everything to do with opening up space for private profit by restructuring and destroying the quality of public-funded universities. JNUTA President Sachidanand Sinha said that we have five months in hands to resist surrender to WTO, and we must all pool our strength and unite to resist the binding commitments to the WTO.

Vikash, a student of Magadh University, said, “Authorities threaten us if we talk about politics, and tell us that as students our task is only to study. We ask, how do we study, where are the teachers to teach us? Mukhtar from Patna University said that only 30 percent faculty posts are filled in Patna University. Nachi Muttu, President of the FTII Students’ Union spoke about the ongoing agitation at FTII, saying that the support from all sides gives them hope and strength. Shahzeb Ahmad Aashu, Secretary, AMUSU spoke about the denial of democratic rights at the AMU. Vitthal from Savitri Bai Phule Pune University said that the Govt is slashing scholarships for SC/ST students and self-financed courses and education loans are the order of the day in Maharashtra.

Students from Allahabad Univ, Andhra Univ, Assam Univ(Diphu Campus), Adikavi Nannaya Univ, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University (Muzaffarpur), Bhagalpur Univ, BHU, Bundelkhand Univ (Jhansi), Calcutta Univ, Devangere Univ, Diphu Govt College, Dr. Bhimrao Ambendkar Univ(Agra), Delhi Univ, Eastern Karbi Anglong College, FTII, J P Univ(Chhapra), Jadavpur Univ, Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU, Kannada Univ, Lalit Narayan Mithila Univ (Darbhanga), Lucknow Univ, Magadh Univ, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Mumbai Univ, Osmania Univ, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Univ(Gorakhpur), Patna Univ, Punjab Univ, Ram Manohar Lohiya Awadh Univ, Ruhelkhand Univ(Bareily), Thong Nokbe College, Uttar Pradesh Pravidik Univ, Veer Kunwar Singh Univ (Ara), West Bengal State Univ shared their experiences.

Among the teachers and educationists who spoke about the massive policy attacks on education by the present Government were Prof. Anil Sadgopal, AIFRTE, Prof. Roop Rekha Verma, former VC, Lucknow University, Prof. Harbans Mukhia, noted historian, Prof. Satish Deshpande, DU, Prof. Anup Dhar, AUD, Prof. Vinod Singh, President, LUTA, Prof. Prasenjit Biswas, NEHUTA, Prof. Manoj Pandey, LUACTA, Prof. M.S. Bhatt, Jamia TA, Prof. Mustafa Zaidi, Secretary, AMUTA, Prof. Saraswat, President. IGNOU TA, Prof. Shiv Mohan, Gen. Secretary, AUTA.

Rain pouring down towards the end of the programme could not put a dampener on the enthusiasm, with participants raising slogans under a tent for a full hour. The Education Parliament also adopted resolutions to intensify the struggle against WTO dictated educational policies, imposition of CBCS, attempts to centralize higher education and dilute the autonomy of educational institutes under the garb of the Central University Act and Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), attempts to saffronize education by way of tampering with content of education and through partisan appointments in various institutes and also against all attempts to curb campus democracy by encouraging the culture of bans and suspensions and through implementation of provisions such as the Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations. The Education Parliament also resolved to support ongoing student agitations in Pondicherry University, FTII, as well as several other campuses.

Convention on CM Martyrdom Day

A party cadre convention was organized at Mughalserai in Chandauli (Uttar Pradesh) on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Party Founder Secretary Com. Charu Mazumdar. Before the start of the convention, senior Party leader Com. Satyanarayan Singh raised the Party flag at the Party district office. The cadre convention commenced with a 2 minute silence. District committee members Com. Ramesh Rai and Com. Shrawan Maurya presented the roadmap for the national workshop and the approach paper, respectively. This was followed by a discussion in which 31 people participated. The proceedings of the cadre convention were conducted by a 3 member presiding board consisting of Com. Anil Paswan, Com. Satyanarayan Singh, and Com. Anita.

Cadre Workshop in Andhra Pradesh

State level Workshop of Andhra Pradesh was held at Vissannapeta Mandal of Krishna District on 1 and 2 August 2015. Comrades from various districts participated in the workshop. Workshop discussed various issues and also made a plan for immediate tasks as per the Lucknow workshop guidelines. The workshop helped develop clarity on the political situation at the national and the state level among the comrades who felt enthused after the conference. The workshop concluded with resolve to fight the BJP and TDP duo at the Centre and State level.

Dharna against Atrocities on Mahadalit Widow

Local land mafia and criminals committed atrocities against a mahadalit (musahar) widow, Tileshwari Devi in village Anion, Mansingpur Panchayat, Fatuha block of Patna district, for the purpose of capturing her house and lands. The culprits set fire in her home, looted it, and beat her up. A CPI(ML) enquiry team led by Umesh Singh enquired into the incident that occurred on 4 July 2015.

The team found that Tileshwari Devi’s family was residing in the said place since 1945 and this land (9 dismil residential and 57 dismil agricultural land) has been in her father-in-law Janki Manjhi’s name since 1972. The revenue receipt for this land is currently being made out in the name of Tileshwari Devi. The Deputy Mukhiya Yogendra Ram made false papers in order to capture this land and on the night of 15 May 2015, they set fire to the premises, looted the property and beat her up, causing injuries. When the Gaurichak police station failed to register a complaint, Tileshwari Devi went to the Janta Darbar of the Senior Superintendent of Police and registered an FIR there. However, the station has not so far arrested the culprits. Since then the accused have been oppressing Tileshwari Devi and her family members and trying to drive them away from the place.

The CPI (ML) Fatuha block committee organized a dharna at the Fatuha block office on 11 July 2015 on the issue of justice for Tileshwari Devi, in which hundreds of poor and mahadalits participated. At the end of the mahadharna a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister was submitted through the BDO, demanding arrangements for full safety and security of the life, property and lands of Tileshwari Devi and her family members; immediate arrest of Deputy Mukhiya of Mansingpur Panchayat, Yogendra Ram and other culprits; and an investigation into the nexus between the Gaurichak thana police and the land mafia and criminals. The mahadharna was presided over by Com. Shailendra Yadav. Tileshwari Devi was also present along with her family members.

Temple Stampede in Deoghar Exposes Inhuman VIP Culture

CPI(ML) expresses deep condolence over the death of 10 people in the stampede that took place in Deoghar and expresses its sympathies and solidarity with the grieving families. This incident has exposed the inhuman apathy of the state government and the administration towards the devotees coming from different places. On the pretext of special arrangements for the worship by the VIPs, the common devotees are made to stand in long queues for several hours and they are allowed to enter the temple only after the VIP pujas are over. The preparations made by the state have no place for the basic facilities for those standing in long queues. This situation increases the possibilities for such incidents. In 2013, a similar stampede had taken place during a satsang in Deoghar itself in which nearly a dozen people had lost their lives. CPI(ML) demands that besides providing compensation to the families of the victims, the state government also makes provisions for basic facilities for the common people and put an immediate stop to the VIP worship.

ML Update | No. 32 | 2015

August 5, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 32 | 4 – 10 AUG 2015

Yakub Memon’s Hanging Exposes Double Standards

Blatantly disregarding fresh evidence from Indian Intelligence sources of his cooperation, appeals from mercy from a wide range of Indian citizens as well as an initial split verdict by a Supreme Court bench, Yakub Memon, convicted in the 1993 Bombay Blasts case, was hanged to death.

Yakub Memon maintained till the end that it was his brother Tiger Memon, not himself, who was the mastermind of the blasts. Evidence for Yakub’s own involvement rests on the weak ground of a police approver’s testimony and the retracted custodial confessions of two co-accused people. Yakub not only escaped ISI protection in Pakistan to return to India but also brought members of his family back to India, trusting in the assurance that the Indian justice system would treat them fairly. Instead, Yakub been executed after being jailed for 22 years.

In the wake of Yakub’s hanging, many have raised the very valid objections to capital punishment itself as unjust and vengeful. But the point must also be made that Yakub’s case did not meet the bar of ‘rarest of the rare’ even by the guidelines laid down for death penalty by Indian Courts. Evidence emerged from intelligence agents themselves suggesting strong mitigating circumstances; it is only by ignoring these mitigating circumstances that Yakub was executed.

Yakub’s hanging underlines the systematic injustices, biases and double standards built into India’s judicial and political systems. It starkly underlines the utter failure of the State to punish the guilty of the 1992-93 Mumbai riots, which killed more than 900 people. The 1993 blasts were perpetrated in the name of avenging the Mumbai riots. The Sri Krishna Commission named Shiv Sena and BJP leaders as well as policemen who perpetrated the riots – yet these guilty were never prosecuted and punished. Instead, the mastermind Bal Thackeray received a state funeral and a memorial in Mumbai.

Similarly, the perpetrators of the Gujarat genocide of 2002 enjoy power. Even those convicted for the Naroda Patiya massacre in 2002 – such as Babu Bajrangi and BJP’s ex-MLA Maya Kodnani – are out on bail, and Kodnani’s life sentence was suspended recently by the Gujarat High Court. How come the perpetrators of the Hashimpura massacre of Muslims or Bathe and Bathani massacres of the oppressed castes get mass acquittals? Why such lenience for those perpetrators of mass killings who enjoy political support? Why does ‘rule of law’ become so flexible for Kodnani and Bajrangi and the Hashimpura or Bathe-Bathani convicts, and rigid when it comes to Yakub Memon?

The case of the blasts perpetrated by Sanghi terror groups is even more shameful. A series of such cases are being sabotaged by investigative agencies in the Modi regime. A Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon blasts case, Rohini Salan, has gone on record to say that the NSA was pressurizing her to weaken the case. A witness in the Ajmer blasts case, Randhir Singh, turned hostile – and was rewarded with a Ministerial berth in the Jharkhand BJP Government’s Cabinet! The entire file of the Jammu and Kashmir mosque attack case has disappeared. Blasts cases involving Muslim accused are accompanied by a high-pitched patriotic media rhetoric branding any demands for due process or appeals for mercy as ‘anti-national’ or ‘support for terrorism’. Barring a few honourable exceptions, the media is largely silent on this open, systematic sabotage of justice in the Sanghi terror cases.

The Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy branded the mourners in Yakub Memon’s funeral procession as ‘potential terrorists,’ followed by BJP MPs like Sakshi Maharaj who said all such mourners should be sent to Pakistan. Many BJP leaders have branded all citizens who opposed the hanging and pleaded for mercy, as ‘anti-nationals.’ It is condemnable that Roy should be allowed to occupy a Constitutional post after his communal tweet. And the BJP leaders making such statements need to be asked why they don’t find perpetrators of communal and caste massacres and Sanghi terror – and their political protectors in their own party and Government – as anti-national.

The stance of the non-BJP and self-proclaimed ‘secular’ political spectrum on the Yakub hanging was also shameful. While the Congress and SP toed the BJP line, there was deafening silence from the RJP, JDU and other parties. The united position of the Left parties that boldly mobilized opinion against the hanging was encouraging.

Yakub’s hanging, with its message of the untrustworthiness and double standards of the Indian State, has left a deep scar on the Muslim psyche, comparable to the wound caused by Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh pogrom of November 1984 or the demolition of Babri Masjid and subsequent Mumbai-Surat riots and Gujarat genocide.

Democratic forces must take up the challenge of turning the alienation of India’s minorities and oppressed sections including Dalits, workers and women, and their anger at double standards, into a shared revolutionary resolve for democracy and justice. Yakub’s hanging has revived and strengthened demands for abolition of death penalty and for bringing the guilty of communal riots and caste massacres to justice. This growing democratic voice shows the way forward to broaden and intensify the resistance to the Modi regime’s assault on democracy.

14th National Conference of Jan Sanskriti Manch

The two day 14th national conference of JSM was held on 31 July and 1 August 2015 in Nabarun Bhattacharya Hall, Hindi Bhawan, New Delhi. More than 200 delegates from Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and other states participated in the conference.

Renowned painter, Ashok Bhowmik, welcomed the delegates and guests during the inagural session. The session was chaired by Prof. Manager Pandey and conducted by Com. Radhika Menon.

Highlighting the impact of the economic scenario of the current times in his keynote address during the inaugural session, Prof. Arun Kumar said that post 1991, the state had relinquished its responsibility of ensuring the welfare of the people and the people had been left to fend for themselves. The principles of the market dictated that people should not be viewed as poor or rich but only as potential consumers. The market was least interested in moral concerns and even as several technological advancements had been made, the societal transformation had been left behind. Poet-scientist Laltoo expressed concerns regarding the much talked about Indian Consciousness and if it were not merely an illusion. He particularly stressed the need for the activists working on cultural fronts to focus on language issues and the need to strengthen the culture of science. The cultural activists must try to strengthen rational and scientific thinking among people and at the same time also try to forge strong emotional ties with people. Ali Jawed and Murli Manohar Prasad Singh, in their address during the inaugural session focussed on the threats posed by fascist designs of the Sangh Parivar. Karamsheel Bharti of the Dalit Lekhak Sangh said that the India cannot rise only if it rises against casteism and religious discrimination. The chair of the inaugural session, Prof. Manager Pandey said that five kinds of power existed in Indian society- power of the ruling establishment, power of the corporate and the capitalists, power of caste, power of religion and power of men. These powers did not tolerate any kind of disagreement and even as they raise slogans of democracy, they only work to destroy it. He stressed the need for the activists to fight on all these five fronts. A resolution was also passed in the support of activist Teesta Setalvad.

The cultural session saw performances by Hirawal and an audio visual presentation on progressive writers by Saman Habib and Sanjay Mattoo titled- ‘Aasman hilta hai jab gaate hain hum” (The sky shakes when we sing). Paintings by Com. Anupam Roy were also displayed at the conference venue.

In the delegate sessions that took place during the two days, draft papers on – drama, painting, media, cinema, education, poetry, people’s languages and stories were presented, followed by an intense discussion on the same. In order to intervene creatively in these areas and intensify the debates, new convenors were selected in these areas. A call was given to intensify the struggle against the right wing assaults on social and cultural activists.

The conference ended with constitution of 151 member National Council and 49 member National Executive. Prof. Rajendra Kumar, poet and critique, was elected as the new President and Com. Pranay Krishna was re-elected as the General Secretary.

FTII Students March to the Parliament

The students of FTII have been waging an inspiring and a determined struggle against the sub-standard, partisan and saffronized appointments in FTII for almost 2 months now. These include appointment of Gajendra Chouhan as the chairperson of FTII and appointments of Anagha Ghaisas, Shailesh Gupta, Narendra Pathak, Pranjal Saikia and Rahul Solapurkar to the FTII governing council and FTII society. The selection of the aforementioned persons was made not on the basis of their creative contributions in the field, but solely on the basis of their loyalty to the RSS–BJP brigade. On the 53rd day of their strike, the students of FTII came from Pune to New Delhi to March to the Parliament in order to have their concerns heard and addressed. JNUSU and AISA, extending solidarity with the students of FTII gave a call urging all the progressive sections to join this march. Besides several other progressive and left organizations, the march was also attended by Kavita Krishnan, PB member CPI(ML), JNUSU president Ashutosh, AISA National President Sucheta De. Com. Kavita while addressing the protestors said that filmmakers were often known to provide different lenses with which one could view the world, however, the current lot which had appointed to crucial posts in FTII, were known more for their preference for only a saffron lens and more often than not breaking any other lens that allowed an alternative perspective. The cultural groups Sangwari and the Hirawal team of Jan Sanskriti Manch also performed during the protest. However, even as the students marched peacefully, the Delhi police once again tried to silence a peaceful march by detaining students and seizing the cameras and mobile phones of those participating in the march. Such acts of brute force to silence voices of dissent are extremely condemnable. CPI(ML) and its fronts will continue to stand in solidarity with the students of FTII as they wage a brave struggle against saffronization of education and dilution of quality of higher education.

Left Parties Protest in Uttarakhand

On the call of the main left parties to observe a nationwide protest day on 20 July 2015, CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML) and SUCI (C) organized a protest march in the state capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun. The massive protest march was followed by burning the effigy of the Modi government at the Lansdown Chowk.

The left leaders addressing the protest said that though the BJP government had come to power riding on the anti-corruption wave against the Congress, having completed only one year in office, the involvement of some of its own ministers in various acts of corruption and scams have become already become a major talking point. In the Lalitgate, the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan who have been found involved along with their family members. The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh has turned into a killer scam in which the direct involvement of the MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and several RSS leaders has been brought to light.

The speakers said that with several scams involving Centre and state governments of BJP, Congress and other parties seems to suggest as if the various central government and the state governments are in competition with each other as to who can create bigger records in looting the masses. They also said that in Uttarakhand too, the Harish Rawat led Congress government too has been found involved in serious cases of corruption. The corruption during the relief efforts following the 2013 calamity has already been exposed through R.T.I. Now the government is trying to do a major cover up. The report on the disaster relief related scam by the Chief Secretary appears to be one such attempt towards cover up.

The public meeting following the protest march was addressed by the comrades Bacchiram Konswaal, Surendra Singh Sajwaan of CPI (M), comrades Samar Bhandari and Jeet Singh of CPI, Com. Indresh Maikhuri, State Committee Member of CPI (ML) and Com. Mukesh Semwaal from SUCI (C). The meeting was moderated by the district secretary of the CPI (ML), Com. Rajendra Singh Purohit.

CPI (ML) Protests Communal Statement by the Tripura Governor

While on one hand the BJP government was quick to dismiss the voices that called for the abolition of death penalty and pointed out various lacunae in the justice system in general, and particularly in the case against Yakub Menon, there also have been several prominent people associated with the BJP that have been quick to term those who mourned the miscarriage of justice as terrorists. The governor of Tripura, Tathagat Roy who had been a senior BJP leader before he was appointed to the post had tweeted following Yakub’s hanging that "Intelligence should keep a tab on all (except relatives & close friends) who assembled before Yakub Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists”. To call all those who mourn this travesty of justice and act of revenge by the state –‘potential terrorists’, reflects Tathagat Roy’s disdain for voices of reason. Further, the selective terming of only those who mourn the death of Yakub as potential terrorists while choosing to remain silent on those who carry forward or support the agenda of a Hindu nation or are known to have close links with those convicted for their role in Gujarat riots, exposes his own double standards. The CPI (ML) Tripura unit organized a protest on 1 August at Jagannath Dighi of Udaipur, Tripura, where the effigy of the governor was burnt. The protest meet was addressed by the state CPI(ML) secretary Partha Karmakar and Lokman Hussein and Swapan Banik.

AICCTU State Conference in Puducherry

The 7th AICCTU state conference of Puducherry (UT) was held on 5 July 2015 at Puducherry. The conference started with a massive worker-peasant solidarity rally. The rally was led by Com. S. Balasubramanian, state president AICCTU and Com. P. Murugan, state secretary Jananayaga Kattumana Thozhilalargal sangam (AICWF). The rally passed through main thoroughfares of the town.

The conference town Puducherry was named as Com. Murali Mohan Nagar and the Conference hall was named as Danasekar hall. The conference flag was hoisted by Com. G. Palani and all the participants paid homage at the martyrs column set at the conference venue.

Com. S. Mothilal gave the welcome speech in the opening session. Com. S. Balan, All India Vice President of the AICCTU was the central observer and he gave rousing speech. The others who addressed the gathering were Com. . S. Balasubramanian, State secretary CPI(ML), Puducherry, Com. G. Danavel, district secretary CPI(ML) Cuddalore Tamilnadu, R. Mangayarselvan, campaign committee member AIPF, P. Murthy, Ex-MLA AIPF, Manjakkal Upendran AIPF, and R.V Lenin, organizer AIARLA.

The delegate session started after the lunch. 74 delegates and 5 observers took part in the conference. Detailed discussions and deliberations were held in the entire session. The conference unanimously elected a 31 member state council including 9 office bearers. Com. S. Balasubramanian was elected as president and Com. S. Purushothaman was elected as the state general secretary along with three vice-presidents and four secretaries.

The conference passed 22 points resolutions. The important resolutions were as follows.

1. The conference strongly condemned Modi government’s proposed amendments in various labour legislations in favor of employers.

2. The Conference demanded National minimum wages to be fixed as Rs 17000/- per month.

3. Reopening of all closed state public sector mills, Co-operative Mills and private industries.

4. The conference called for the working class of Puducherry to oust corrupt, anti labour and anti people four years old N.R. Congress from power.

5. The conference demanded a minimum pension of Rs 3000/- for all unorganized workers.

6. Conference demanded the state and central government to protect the handloom workers and the industry.

Voices from the Midday Meal Workers’ Struggles

The midday meal workers in Bihar went on a three day long hunger strike from 8th to 10th July 2015 demanding regularization, a monthly honorarium of at least Rs.15000/- besides other necessary provisions that they should be entitled to. The call for the hunger strike received a massive response from the midday meal workers. Some of the experiences voiced by women midday meal workers’ who joined the 3 day strike have been shared below:

Sona Devi, a midday meal worker, who till 6 months back was too shy to speak in public, delivered a long speech in midst of her fellow workers as the joint secretary of the Bihar Rajya Vidyalay Rasoiya Sangh. She recalled that she had spent her early childhood years in the Masaurhi block of Patna district, and the anti-feudal struggles of the CPI(ML) in that area left a lasting impact on her. This memory, sleeping within her, was revived after she came into contact with the party again in the past few months. She began her speech with a song – ‘Jhuki jhuki piyava goliya chalave, shaheedva bhaiya ho nanadi’ – about the militant anti-feudal resistance. She used the song to tell her fellow workers that the militant Left activists had sacrificed their lives in the movements of the 1980s, thereby achieving increased wages of agricultural workers from 1 kg to 5 kgs of grain. She said, “We can achieve an increase in our wages today by being part of this same movement and radical Left politics. The Government can kill one, it can’t kill a united and strong organisation.”

Kalavati Devi, Secretary of the Maner block unit of the BRVRS union, said in her address to the other mid day meal workers- “We should neither support Modi nor Nitish. We should support and strengthen AIPWA that is with us in our struggle”. Kalavati had contacted AIPWA after reading newspaper reports about the mid-day meal workers’ struggles.

A mid-day meal worker hailing from East Champaran, holding a small baby in her arms, had joined the protest demonstrations in the burning June sun and the July monsoon rain. She did not get a chance to speak publicly at Patna because there were so many other speakers, but after the dharna she came up to Com. Saroj Chaubey, state president of the Rasoiya Sangh and said “Didi, being part of the struggle with you has opened my eyes. I’m ready to come anywhere to be part of the movement.”

Kamli Devi, the joint secretary of Fatuha block has established herself in her school as a fiery activist, whose very presence deters authorities from wrong-doing. She said, “We became mid-day meal workers expecting that the Government would recognise us as Government employees. After 8 years of toil, we find that the Government has just ignored us. We are not begging for charity – we are demanding what is our right. If any administrative officer makes food at my house I will pay them Rs 2000 – I expect them to pay us for cooking in Government schools!”

Several of the midday meal workers displayed remarkable leadership qualities during the course of the struggle and showed tremendous enthusiasm towards mobilization for the next phase of the struggle. The next agitation has been planned for 5,6,7 August when the assembly is in session.

ML Update | No. 31 | 2015

July 29, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.18 | No. 31 | 28 JUL – 3 AUG 2015

The Competitive Lies of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar

Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule for the forthcoming elections to the Bihar State Assembly. But the stage has already been set and the whole of urban Bihar is dotted with Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi billboards. Amit Shah has flagged off BJP campaign vehicles to traverse the whole of Bihar and millions of ‘NaMo’ printed saris have also been shipped from Surat to flood the state. And on July 25 Narendra Modi paid his first visit to Bihar after becoming PM to fire the BJP’s election salvo. Two days later, it was the turn of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad to respond – Lalu responded with a Bihar bandh on the SECC issue and Nitish Kumar with what he called the report card for his ten years in power. Let us take a quick look at how the battle lines are being drawn in Bihar.

Narendra Modi’s Muzaffarpur speech was just like one of his poll speeches from his 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Modi did not seem to remember that his party actually ruled in Bihar in alliance with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) for as long as eight years from 2005 to 2013! He did not even care for the fact that he was speaking as the Prime Minister and that across the country people were protesting against the growing price-rise and agrarian distress under his government and demanding resignations of his own central ministers and his party’s chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh over the very issue of corruption which he had promised to end.

Modi made the same appeal to the Bihar electorate which had failed spectacularly in Delhi in January that people should vote for the BJP in the state because it was in power at the Centre! The idea that development could be best ensured by having the same party in power in both Centre and states smacks of utter contempt for the principles and spirit of both democracy and federalism. It is time Modi’s much touted thesis of ‘cooperative federalism’ was renamed as ‘coercive federalism’ and the obnoxious attempt to browbeat the people in state elections by brandishing the powers of the central government was rejected resoundingly.

Taking a leaf out of Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, Nitish Kumar has also launched a propaganda blitzkrieg projecting himself as the messiah for Bihar. In a report card on his ten years of rule he has claimed that his government has brought about significant progress in education and health, two sectors that are actually facing a grave crisis in Bihar. With characteristic arrogance, Nitish Kumar said that those who are questioning his development claims should get their ‘eyes operated’! The fact remains that the Nitish Kumar government continues to face sustained agitations by people engaged precisely in the two sectors where he claims significant progress – education and health. And his government has only resorted to lathis and lies to deal with the demands and agitations of contract teachers, mid-day meal workers, ASHA activists.

Nitish Kumar’s hollow claims have been exposed most recently by the rural development data of the SECC conducted between 2011 and 2013 which shows Bihar is still 90 per cent rural, and the overwhelming majority of rural households are landless. The survey conducted by the CPI(ML) among two lakh rural poor households in 2014 had found that more than 90% of the households had not got any benefit from the land reform programmes of the state government. In fact, Nitish Kumar now keeps conspicuously quiet about his abandoned promise of land redistribution and rights for share-croppers, the objective with which his government had set up the land reforms commission only to unceremoniously consign its report to the dustbin.

Nitish Kumar had promised not just ‘development’ but ‘development with justice’. And justice has been one of the biggest casualties of his tenure. He began his rule by dismantling the Justice Amir Das Commission set up in the wake of the heinous Laxmanpur Bathe massacre to bring the perpetrators of the serial massacres of the rural poor to justice and the end result was wholesale serial acquittal of culprits. A recent report on the riot survivors of Bhagalpur revealed a similar picture of injustice and neglect. Good governance or ‘sushashan’ was another catch phrase of Nitish Kumar and the recent ‘face-saving’ arrest of two notorious JDU MLAs – Anant Singh and Sunil Pandey – only exposed the true face of that ‘sushashan’ where corruption ruled the roost and politically empowered economic criminals called all the shots.

The BJP and the JD(U) are trying to reduce the Bihar elections to a spectacle of a bipolar personality-based contest between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, thereby drowning out the real issues and burning questions haunting the people on the ground. The CPI(ML) and other Left forces in the state will have to foil this game plan by bringing to the fore the might and agenda of the fighting people of Bihar. The mass response to the July 21 Bihar bandh at the call of the Left showed the appeal and potential of the united Left campaign in Bihar. The Left ranks must carry forward this spirit and project the real agenda of democracy and social transformation with all their strength.

Left Parties’ Bihar Bandh on 21 July

The Left parties organized a Bihar bandh on the issues of revoking the Land ordinance, resignations of scam-tainted Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Raman Singh, Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj, curbing price rise, legal rights for sharecroppers, 5 decimals homestead land for the poor, registration of BPL names and other issues.

During the bandh CPI-ML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI-ML State Secretary Kunal, PB member Dhirendra Jha, CPI State Secretary Satyanarayan Singh, CPIM State Secretary Awadhesh Kumar, SUCI (C) State committee member Arun Kumar, Mahesh Singh of the RSP and Dinesh Singh Dangi of the Forward Bloc along with thousands of other bandh supporters were arrested in Patna.

Other leaders who participated in the bandh included CPI leaders Ramnaresh Pandey, Rambabu Singh, and several others from CPI; CPI-M State Secretary Board member Arun Mishra, Com. Sadhna from the SUCI(C), and CPI-ML leaders Com. Amar, Meena Tiwari, and Shashi Yadav. The arrests took place when bandh supporters blocked Dak Bangla crossroads, and Ashok Raj Path.

The bandh supporters targeted the train services throughout Bihar. CPI-ML activists stopped the Shramjeevi Express at Rajgir. Train services were affected with the blocking of the Howrah-Gaya Express in Shekhpura, the Vaishali superfast at Muzaffarpur, and other trains.

300 bandh supporters kept the GT Road at Sasaram blocked from 9 am to 12 noon. The NH5, NH 57 and NH 28 in Muzaffarpur, the Laheriya-Samastipur, Darbhanga-Supoul, Darbhanga-Jaynagar, Laheriyaserai-Bahedi roads in Darbhanga, the Siwan-Mashrakh, Siwan-Chhapra, and NH 57 at Siwan were blocked at various places. All the bazaars at Mairwa, Guthni, Aandar, Raghunathpur, Hasanpura and other places remained closed. The Rasoiya Sangh (mid-day meal workers) participated in the bandh at Siwan under its banner. Most of the block HQs and even the banks at Muzaffarpur remained closed. The NH 57 at Darbhanga were blocked at Mufti and the Darbhanga-Jaynagar was blocked at Dome chowk.

About 500 Left activists took out a march at Aurangabad. The bandh was very effective at Obra, Daudnagar and other areas. CPI-ML activists blocked the NH 31 at Beguserai. Traffic was paralysed at NH 110. At Katihar the Shaheed chowk was blocked and a meeting was held under the leadership of former CPI-ML MLA Mahboob Alam, attended by thousands of bandh supporters.

The Patna-Ranchi NH 31 at Biharsharif in Nalanda district, the Patna-Gaya road at Hilsa, and the Patna-Biharsharif road at Chandi were blocked. The NH 28 was blocked at Chatoni chowk in Motihari. 150 people were arrested at Raksol. Thousands of bandh supporters were arrested at Prajatantra chowk at Navada. Most shops remained closed and traffic was affected at Lakhiserai. Left activists blocked the Darog Rai chowk at Chhapra for 3 hours. The Patna-Aurangabad NH 98 at Arwal and the Arwal-Jehanabad road were fully blocked.

The bandh had a widespread effect in the Patna rural areas of Masaurhi, Bihata, Maner, Fatuha, Dhanrua, Paliganj, and Punpun. The bandh was also effective at Buxar, Vaishali, Gaya, Bhabhua, Purnea, Arariya, Champaran, and other regions.

Left parties congratulated the people of Bihar on the success of the bandh. They condemned the attack by BJP activists on bandh supporters in Siwan and the arrests in Patna.

Mercy Petition for Yakub Memon by Eminent Citizens

The CPI(ML) Liberation General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and Politburo member Kavita Krishnan joined eminent jurists, activists and citizens in sending a mercy petition to the President of India against Yakub Memon’s death sentence.

The petition, while seeking commutation of Yakub Memon’s death sentence and pointing out various lacunae in the justice system and mitigating factors as grounds for mercy, also made a strong case for abolition of the death penalty in India, in keeping with the international commitment to abolish the death penalty.

The 200 signatories to the petition, along with Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya and Kavita Krishnan, include CPI(M) GS Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader and MP D. Raja, CPI(M) Politburo members Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat, Justice Panachand Jain (Retd), Justice H.S. Bedi (Retd), Justice P. B. Sawant (Retd), Justice H. Suresh (Retd), Justice K. P. Siva Subramaniam (Retd), Justice S. N. Bhargava (Retd), Justice K Chandru (Retd), Justice Nagmohan Das (Retd), Prashant Bhushan, Shatrughan Sinha MP, Mani Shankar Aiyer, MP, Ram Jethmalani, MP, Majeed Memon, MP, K.T.S Tulsi, MP, several academicians, lawyers, activists, filmmakers and actors including Naseeruddin Shah and Mahesh Bhatt.

Comrade Charu Mazumdar Martyrdom Day Commemorated

Party units all over the country observed the Martyrdom Day of comrade Charu Mazumdar and pledged to carry forward his mission and legacy. In Charu Bhawan, the party headquarters at Delhi, comrades observed two minutes silence to pay tributes to the martyrs. Party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said on the occasion that Charu Mazumdar was a visionary who while building and tempering the party in the spirit of the revolutionary upsurge of Naxalbari, also prepared the ranks for facing the repression and crackdown unleashed by the Indian state. In the face of the setback to the revolutionary campaign in the early 1970s he had the indomitable courage and revolutionary optimism to envision a future upsurge and call upon the party to resist the offensive of the ruling classes by forging ever closer ties with the masses and developing united resistance in cooperation with wider democratic forces. His last message “People’s interest is the Party’s interest” remains a cardinal principle for the CPI(ML). Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, member Politburo, also addressed the gathering.

Condemn the Gurdaspur Terror Attack

The CPI(ML) condemns the heinous terror attack at Gurdaspur in Punjab. The 12-hour gun battle claimed the lives of four policemen, including SP (Detective) Baljeet Singh and three civilians. CPI(ML) extends condolences to the families of all the seven victims of this attack.

The terrorist agencies behind this attack must be identified and punished.

Evidently, the intention of such attacks is to vitiate the environment for peace in the sub-continent and derail the dialogue between India and Pakistan. While condemning the terror attack, we therefore also reject the jingoism and war-mongering of the hawks and call upon the Indian Government not to allow the terror attack to succeed in derailing efforts at furthering peace and dialogue.

Mahadharna at Dhanbad District Headquarters

Disturbed by agitations to rid the Jamuniya cold dump (in Baghmara block of Dhanbad) of the extortionist mafia and demand employment for local villagers, the outsourcing company slapped a false case against CPI (ML) leader Com. Baldev Verma. Comrade Baldev was jailed at the behest of BJP MLA Dhullu Mahto and the BCCL Manager.

A mahadharna was organized on 16 July under the leadership of the CPI (ML) in front of the District headquarters to protest against this. Over 200 people participated in the protest, many of whom were residents of Baghmara.

Com. Verma, influenced by the Party struggles in Bagodar Assembly constituency of Giridih district, left the JMM to join the CPI (ML). This is why he is being targeted with false cases (including a fabricated case under the SC/ST Act) and jail.

The mahadharna demanded the immediate release of Com. Verma, revoking the false case, and action against the guilty Baghmara police (including the DSP). If these demands are not met the Party will carry out a “Jail Bharo Abhiyan” (campaign to court arrest). he Dhanbad SP, accepting the charter of demands, gave the assurance that the false and baseless charge under the SC/ST Act would be withdrawn. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Krishna Singh, Subal Das, Radhamohan Singh, Kartik Hadi, and also by Com. Verma’s wife Parvati Devi.

Adivasi Ekta Rally in Gujarat

A huge adivasi ekta rally and public meeting was organized under the banner of the AIPF on 6 July 2015 in Kaprada taluka of Valsad district in South Gujarat. The rally was attended in large numbers by adivasi agricultural labourers and poor farmers, with CPI(ML) as a major constituent of the rally. Over 60% of the rally was comprised of adivasi women.

The rally raised the demand of a stop to the Gujarat Government’s policy of facilitating grab of adivasi land by land mafias; documents for adivasis for rights to agricultural and residential land under the Forest Rights Act; BPL cards for poor adivasi families of Kaprada taluk and 25 kilos of foodgrains at Rs 2 per kilo under the Food Security Act; enquiry into the widespread corruption in MNREGA and issuing of job cards; crop insurance without premium for adivasi farmers; pension for all aged women and men farmers of Kaprada taluka; repair of roads; pukka toilets in all adivasi homes in Kaprada taluka under the cleanliness drive; simplification of income certificates for adivasi students with a validity for a minimum of 3 years; housing for adivasis under “garib awaas” scheme, failing which adequate funds for housing be disbursed; arrest of land mafia elements under PASA; and a special women’s team to report directly to the women’s commission or the High Court on growing violence and atrocities against adivasi women.

The CPI(ML) along with other people’s movements have been consistently supporting the adivasis’ resistance to the Gujarat Government’s offensive on their rights. This struggle now continues, also resisting the Land Acquisition ordinance of the Central Government. After the public meeting which followed the rally, a memorandum was submitted to the Magistrate.

10th Delhi CPI(ML) State Conference

The 10th Delhi State Conference of CPI (ML) was held on 25-26 July 2015 in the MCD Community Hall, Azadpur, Delhi.

The Conference began with the hoisting of the red flag by veteran Comrade Mulk Raj.

CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya inaugurated the Conference. In his inaugural address, he observed that Delhi has been the axis of political tumult in the past few years, as an axis of several movements and the axis of regime change. The Modi Government at the Centre is attacking democratic rights of people, and the AAP Government has exposed itself as having very superficial differences with other ruling class parties. Our party activists were at the forefront of the movements that Delhi witnessed, and it is important now to strengthen the party organisation and carry forward the movements on the streets.

125 delegates attended the conference and participated in the deliberations on the report that was presented by the outgoing Delhi Secretary Sanjay Sharma. The document carried reporting of the work of the party and various mass organisations in the state.

Uttarakhand State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi, AICCTU General Secretary Rajiv Dimri, Politburo member Prabhat Kumar, Chandigarh Secretary Kanwaljeet, as well as Girija Pathak from the Party Central Office, attended the Conference as guests. Comrade Girija addressed the Conference to share some observations and suggestions, while Comrade Kanwaljeet shared the Chandigarh experience of party building in an urban context.

The Conference elected a 29 member state committee with Ravi Rai as the State Secretary. Comrade Swapan Mukherjee was the central observer for the Conference. The Conference adopted several resolutions: demanding independent probe into Vyapam and Lalitgate scams; resolving to resist the Modi Government’s offensive on human rights activists like Teesta Setalvad and its bid to weaken the cases of terrorism in which groups close to the RSS are implicated; opposing anti-worker changes proposed in labour laws and land grab ordinance, and supporting the call for all-India General Strike on 2 September; and condemning communal violence in Atali and attempts to foment communal tension in Delhi. The resolutions also condemned the attempts of the Delhi LG to set himself up as an agent of the Centre and parallel power centre. Condemning the heinous incident of public murder of a young girl in Anand Parvat, Delhi and the Delhi Police’s apathy, the Conference reminded that Kejriwal today was peddling the same excuse as Sheila Dixit before him – blaming lack of women’s safety on the Delhi Government’s lack of control over Delhi Police. The Conference declared that LG and Delhi CM both wanted to have the police in their respective pockets, while the Delhi Police Commissioner wanted the police to have no accountability whatsoever. Instead, the people’s demand must be for police reforms to make the police accountable to the Constitutional rights and liberties of people. In this context, the Conference also sought an SIT into the Batla House fake encounter, on the same lines as the SIT that has been set up in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. The Conference also demanded commutation of the death penalty for Yakub Memon. The Conference, while appreciating the special Delhi Assembly Session on women’s safety, said that the Delhi Government was reducing the question of women’s freedom and safety to CCTV cameras and policing. The Conference demanded measures from the Government to guarantee economic rights of women, as well as crisis centres and legal aid for women facing domestic and sexual violence; creches for slum children; and public toilets for women. The Conference also demanded that the Delhi Government act on the Justice Garg Committee report that had found AAP MLA Somnath Bharti guilty for the violent raid on African women at Khidki village. The Conference condemned incidents of communal, caste, racial and ethnic discrimination by landlords, and demanded legislation to curb such discrimination as well as arbitrary rents by Delhi landlords. Expressing concern over the dangerous levels of pollution in Delhi, the Conference condemned the decision of the AAP Government to scrap the BRT bus corridors under pressure from the elite 20% of car-users. The Conference resolved to agitate against the AAP Government’s failure to keep its promises to make contract workers permanent, and to implement minimum wage laws strictly, and to ensure clean and dignified housing as a right of every single Delhi citizen. The Conference condemned the CBCS policy of the Central Government that threatens to destroy the autonomy and quality of India’s universities.

The Conference concluded with the resolve to expand and strengthen the party organisation in Delhi and prepare the party to rise up to the political challenges of the day in keeping with the guidelines of Lucknow Workshop.

CPI(ML) Condoles the Passing of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

CPI(ML) condoles the passing of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong. Coming from a humble background Kalam had struggled hard to secure higher education and rise through India’s scientific establishment. His emphasis on science and technology, work ethic and unassuming persona endeared him to the Indian youth as a welcome departure from the traditional image of an Indian President. The Indian state of course used him predominantly as a military scientist and nuclear hawk while ignoring his inconvenient views on issues like abolition of death penalty. While remembering Kalam, we strongly reject the RSS attempt at appropriating Kalam to serve its jingoistic and majoritarian agenda.

ML Update | No. 30 | 2015

July 25, 2015


ML Update

CPI(ML) Weekly

Vol. 18, No. 30, 21-27 July 2015

CBI Parrot Sings Modi Tune

The CBI was a caged parrot in UPA rule. And in Modi rule, the parrot is not only caged when it comes to cases in which those close to the ruling regime are implicated. The parrot is singing the tune copied from Prime Minister Modi himself, and branding Teesta Setalvad a ‘threat to national security’!

The CBI’s declaration that Teesta Setalvad is a threat to national security is a blatant display of the fact that country’s top investigative agency is being used as a tool to punish activists regarded as enemies of Modi, the BJP and the RSS.

Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and their organization Sabrang Communications have consistently campaigned against communal violence since the 1990s. After the communal pogrom of Gujarat in 2002, they, as part of the Citizens for Justice and Peace, did remarkable work to challenge the impunity hitherto enjoyed by powerful political perpetrators of pogroms. They worked to identify and protect witnesses and wage painstaking legal battles – all in the face of relentless intimidation and harassment including a host of false cases. If there have been 120 convictions in the Gujarat 2002 pogrom cases, it is due in very large part to the efforts of Teesta and her comrades. This has naturally earned them the ire of Modi, the BJP and the Gujarat Government which did all they could to subvert justice.

What Modi found unforgiveable, however, is that Teesta worked with another courageous and indomitable woman – Zakia Jafri – to hold Modi directly accountable for his role in the 2002 violence. Zakia Jafri, wife of the former MP Ehsan Jafri who was brutalized and murdered by a mob in 2002, was helped by the CJP to file a criminal complaint implicating Modi and other politicians and police officers for their role in the 2002 pogrom.

The timing of the CBI raid on Teesta is significant. Zakia Jafri’s criminal revision petition (filed to challenge the rejection of her petition) is coming up for hearing on July 27th – and the CBI raid is the latest bout of intimidation, timed to disrupt and deter CJP’s work in pursuing that petition.

Systematic subversion of justice marks one year of Modi’s rule at the Centre – with agencies and institutions working to protect scamsters and killers close to the BJP, RSS and Modi, while hounding activists who pursue justice for these crimes.

The CBI that has declared Teesta to be a threat to national security, is the same that failed to challenge the court order dropping Amit Shah from the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. In the past year, cops and politicians who were jailed as undertrials or convicts in 2002 pogrom cases or Gujarat fake encounter cases, have secured bail. Public Prosecutor Rohini Salan has publicly testified to the efforts of the NSA to go soft on the terror blast cases in which Hindutva groups are implicated. In what can be called a ‘witness scam’, Jharkhand agriculture minister Randheer Singh, who had won on a JVM ticket, defected to the BJP and was made a Minister turned hostile in the Ajmer blast case!

In the Asaram rape case (in which the rape-accused godman is being publicly defended by prominent BJP leaders), there is evidence that witnesses are being bribed to turn hostile – and those that fail to do so are being killed or murderously attacked. In the Vyapam scam too, in which powerful BJP and RSS leaders of MP are implicated, witnesses, investigators and journalists are being murdered or dying mysteriously, and a whistle-blower has been given a ‘punishment’ transfer. Now, the Vyapam case has been handed over to the CBI. But can the CBI, which has already shown how it is a tamed pet of the Modi regime, be expected to expose and punish the likes of MP CM Shivraj Chouhan and former RSS chief KS Sudershan who are implicated in the Vyapam scam?

If Modi has nothing to hide regarding his role in the 2002 pogrom, why is he fearful enough to make ridiculous claims, via the CBI parrot, that Teesta is a threat to national security? Courageous activists can’t be silenced or deterred by intimidation and false cases. The Modi Government, by going after Teesta, is only confirming that it has reason to fear Teesta’s activism for justice in the Gujarat 2002 cases.

Left Parties’ Nationwide Protests Against Corrupt Modi Government

Left parties- CPI (ML), CPI, CPI (M), Forward Block, RSP and SUCI (C) held protest marches and meetings in several cities, state capitals and the national capital, Delhi on 20 July 2015, to protest against the shielding of scamsters, murder and terror accused by the Modi government even as it launched a vindictive witch hunt of activists. The blatant attempts by the BJP government to shield the accused in the Lalit Gate, Vyapam Scam and Vyapam murders and several other scams surfacing in states where there are BJP governments such as in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.

In Delhi, along with the six aforementioned parties, CGPI also participated in the protests. Among those who addressed the protestors were Com. Kavita Krishnan, PB member CPI (ML), Com. D. Raja from CPI, Com. Sitaram Yechury from CPI (M), Com. Abani Roy from RSP, Com. Debabrata Biswas from Forward Block, Com. Satyavan from SUCI (C) and Com. Prakash Rao from CGPI. Com. Brinda Karat, PB member CPI (M) also participated in the march that started from Mandi House and culminated in a public meeting in Jantar Mantar during which the effigies of scam tainted ministers were also burnt. The left leaders who spoke in the public meeting, raised the issue of the BJP governments at the centre and the state who were using every possible trick to shield the BJP ministers and other high profile people with strong BJP-RSS links whose involvement in scams like Vyapam and Lalitgate have exposed the hollowness of BJP’s anti-corruption claims. The attempts to shield the accused this time have assumed an unprecedented level with nearly 50 people related to a particular scam dying under ‘mysterious circumstances’ in last two years. They demanded immediate action against Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Besides raising the issue of shielding of accused, the left leaders also highlighted how the government was launching a witch-hunt against activists like Teesta Setalvad and Javed who were carrying on a determined struggle for justice for the victims of the Gujarat 2002 riots.

In Ranchi also the left forces combined to protest against the various scams and the subsequent attempts to shield the accused by the central and state BJP governments. CPI (ML) General Secretary, Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya and ex CPI (ML) MLA, Com. Vinod Singh were among the left leaders who participated in the protest in Ranchi. The issues raised also included the massive corruption that is coming to light in the civil supplies, health and housing departments.

Protests were also held in several places in Tamil Nadu such as Tirunelveli, Madurai, Pudukkottai, Coimbatore, Kanchipuram, Namakkal, Karur, Dharmapuri, Erode, Salem, Thiruvallur, Kanyakumari and the state capital, Chennai. In the protest march organised in Chennai, the left leaders who addressed the hundreds of protestors included, CPI (ML) State secretary, Com.Balasundaram, Com K. Subbarayan, ex MP from CPI, Com. T. K. Rangarajan, Rajya sabha MP from CPI (M) and Com Rengasamy from SUCI(C). Protests in all places, particularly Pudukkotai, Chennai and Coimbatore, witnessed a massive participation by the people.

In Odisha, the 6 left parties organized a demonstration in front of Odisha Assembly in which several hundred activists and people participated. The demonstration was led by CPI (ML) Central committee member Com. Yudhistir Mohapatra, Com. Ashok Pardhan, Com. Mahendra Parida from CPI (ML), Com. Ali Pattnaik and Com. Suresh Panigrahi from CPI (M), Com. Ramakrushan Panda and Com Dibakar Nayak from CPI, Com. Raghunath Das and Com. Puran Behera from SUCI(C) and Com. Joyti Mohapatra from Forward block. Protest demonstrations were also held in various districts like Kalahandi, Bhaadrak, and Kendrapara. Raising concerns about corruption at both state and centre levels, the left parties demanded resignation of the accused ministers.

Protests were also held in several places in Punjab such as Moga, Tarn Taran and Chandigarh. The protestors demanded sacking of the accused ministers and also raised slogans against the anti-people land acquisition ordinance. The state leaders of the left parties – Com. Hardev Arshi (CPI), Com. Charan Singh Virdi (CPM), Com. Mangat Ram Pasla (CPM-Punjab) and Com. Gurmit Singh Bakhtupur (CPI-ML) Liberation) addressed protestors in several protest sites.

Left parties also joined to hold similar protest in Lucknow near the Gandhi statue.

In Bihar, the left parties have jointly called for a Bihar bandh on 21 July to protest against the corrupt and anti people governments at both the centre and the state.

People come out on the streets to protest killing of Com. Arun Pandey

Thousands of people came out on the streets in Giridih district on 13 July 2015 against the killing of Com. Arun Pandey. Earlier, on 7 July too, a protest march had been taken out in Ranchi against the murder of Com. Arun. The protesters demanded the arrest of the culprits and exposed the murderous politics of the BJP. The people cautioned the police and administration not to shield the culprits. The police have arrested one accomplice of the killers and are calling it a matter of mutual enmity, but the statement of the arrested man exposes the BJP’s lie that he is an innocent Party activist.

The 13 July chakka jam brought rail and road traffic to a standstill across the district. The GT road and railway line at Hazaribagh were blocked for several hours causing stoppage of train traffic. Traffic remained blocked in almost all districts including Bagodar, Sariya, Birni, Dhanwar, Deori, Jamua, Bengabad, Gande, Giridih town and Dumri.

In the recent past, local criminals were being protected by BJP MLA Nagendra Mahto and it is these criminals who murdered Arun Pandey. Com. Arun, who had earlier worked under the leadership of Com. Mahendra Singh, was an extremely popular leader amongst the poor, dalits, and adivasis of Koyridih and neighbouring panchayats.

He had mobilized the marginalized people under the CPI (ML) banner in struggles against feudal and criminal elements. Considered a spoke in the wheel by the BJP who indulged in the politics of crime, a number of false cases had been slapped on him but he never allowed them to weaken the struggle. One hand, while the police under pressure from Nagendra Mahto are not apprehending the killer, on the other hand the Jharkhand State BJP President and Kodarma MP Ravindra Rai is openly issuing statements in support of the killers. Addressing the protest meeting, State Secretary Janardan Prasad said that the Raghuvar government is suppressing dissent by taking recourse to murder. He pointed out the killings of Com. Arun, 12 killings in Bakoriya, and the murder of Ladu Sao in Chandwa by the coal mafia. Party leaders who spoke, vowed that the Party would strengthen agitations throughout the State to fight against the unholy deeds of the BJP.

From the killings in Gujarat to the recent killer-Vyapam scam in MP, the killer politics of BJP is there for all to see. The people are coming out against this protection of killers, scamsters and corporates. Protest marches were also taken out and effigies of CM Raghuvar burnt in Ramgarh Patratu and Gulmi of Ramgarh district, Dhanbad town, and Jhumri Talaiyya of Kodarma district.

Midday meal workers in Bihar organize a 3 Day hunger strike

There are about 2,28,000 workers, mostly women who are engaged in preparing midday meals in government schools in Bihar. Earlier, in March, mobilized by CPI (ML), they had submitted a memo to the Chief Minister demanding government employee status and 15,000 per month honorarium. In May this year, they had organized a conference in Patna and formed the Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh affiliated to AICCTU. As a result of their agitation in the months of May and June, the Bihar government was forced to bow down and at least give a wage scale albeit very low. Inspired by the initial outcome of the struggle, the association called for a 3 day hunger strike on 8, 9, 10 July in front of the Chief Minister’s office. A massive rally was taken out from Gandhi maidan on 8 July led by AIPWA Gen Secretary Com. Meena Tiwari, Rasoiya Sangh State President Com. Saroj Choube, State Secretary Com. Sohila Gupta, Com. Anita Sinha and others. AICCTU leaders also participated in the march. Addressing the rally, the speakers said that women workers play the biggest role in implementing all the welfare schemes of the government, but the government does not pay heed to the rights of the women workers or try to improve the quality of their life. They are given a mere pittance of 1,000 as honorarium which is far less than the minimum wage fixed by this very government.

The third day of the hunger strike saw the biggest rally of about 2,000 midday meal workers, with the maximum number coming from Motihari. The meeting was addressed by Com. Kunal and Com. Krishnadev Yadav. They stressed on the unjustness of the low honorarium and said that the fight for the midday meal workers’ rights would be carried on till the end. They pointed out that the trend of contractual/honorarium employment was closely linked to the pro-corporate policies of the government.

While the government took no cognizance of the hunger strike on the first two days, on the third day however, when both gates at R block were blocked, the Magistrate promised to meet a delegation, following which the strike was called off with pledges to make the 21 July bandh a huge success. The next agitation will be held on 5, 6, 7 Aug during the Assembly session, during which it will be ensured that no midday meal is prepared by workers at the honorarium of Rs 1,000.

Initiatives for Agitation in Chandauli District

Following the Party’s national workshop on 30-31 May, the CPI (ML) and other people’s organizations took several initiatives in the direction of carrying out agitations on a local level. A dharna under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha was held in Raiyan of Chahniya block on 12 June against the corruption in the distribution of disaster relief cheques to farmers. The dharna, led by Kisan Mahasabha leader Dinesh Maurya, was called off after assurances from the tehsildar to end the corruption.

On 15 June AIARLA national councilor Com. Ram Dular Bind and AIPWA leader Com. Anita led a dharna in Dhapri village of Niyamtabad block on issues of accommodation-housing and corruption in MNREGA. The dharna was called off on 23 June when the tehsildar came to the spot and gave assurance of fulfilling the demands. On 17 June a dharna was organized at the Chakiya district hospital demanding an end to the widespread corruption in the hospital and providing food, ultrasound facilities, and medicines to patients by the hospital. The dharna was called off after the CMO and ADM gave assurances that the demands would be fulfilled. On 22 June Com. Shashikant Kushwaha led a dharna at the block head quarters demanding withdrawal of false cases slapped on innocent people by the Forest Department. Kisan Mahasabha leader Dinesh Maurya led a dharna on 24 June at Chahaniya to demand disaster relief cheques for sharecroppers and to protest against the fixing of 1 acre land as the minimum for compensation eligibility. On 25 June at Tajpur village in Chakiya possession was taken on patta land by planting the Party flag. An indefinite dharna had started on 8 April in this village to demand action against those who sold this revenue village, to cancel registrations, get back money paid, and give residence parchas to those settled here. On 21 May after a public meeting, the dharna was converted into an indefinite relay hunger strike. Under pressure from the agitation, the ADM visited the spot and assured fulfillment of demands and possession to 65 people. However, when after one week the possession was still not given, a land-right march was taken out on 25 June and possession was taken forcibly by planting flags. The police tried to stop the agitators but could not do anything in the face of the people’s fight for their rights. Finally the administration was forced to give in writing that they would give immediate possession and it was only after this that the people left the spot.

On 26 June, the anniversary of the Emergency, a march under the banner of RYA was taken out at the Collector’s office under the leadership of comrades Shrawan Maurya and Sanjeev Yadav. On 30 June, a march was organized under the banners of CPI (ML) and AIPF in which over 500 people participated.

DAA demonstration in Chennai demanding punishment for the killers of a Dalit youth

A Dalit youth Gokulraj, who was in love with an upper caste girl was murdered by casteist forces in Tamil Nadu. Democratic Advocates’ Association organised a demonstration outside the Chennai High Court on 30 June demanding that the culprits be immediately booked. District Organiser of DAA, Com. Athiyaman presided over the meeting during the protest. The meeting was also addressed by Mr. Sankarasubbu, senior counsel of the High Court, Com. Rajanikanth, president of Tamil Nadu Progressive Advocates’ Association, Com .Milton of Peoples Rights Protection Council and Com. Bharathi, state organiser of DAA. Com. Bharathi also addressed a demonstration organised by Oppressed Peoples’ Liberation movement belonging to CPI on the same day.

Chetavani Rally by Asha Workers in Bhind

A Chetavani or a warning rally was organized on 4 July 2015 under the banner of ASHA Karmachari Sangathan, Bhind (affiliated to AICCTU) in Bhind town. The rally started from the Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti gate and progressed through the main roads of the town to culminate in a public meeting at the Collector’s office gate. The rally was led by ASHA Karmachari Sangathan district coordinator and AICCTU district General Secretary Com. Suraj Rekha Tripathi, comrades Manju Tomar, Aruna Sharma, Seema Ranavat, Geeta Jatav and others. At the close of the meeting a memorandum was submitted to the Collector through which the ASHA workers demanded from the Prime Minister, State Chief Minister and Health Minister that- (i) ASHA workers be given the status of government employees and that they be paid a monthly wage of Rs 18,000; (ii) until such time as they were regularized, they should be paid an honorarium of Rs 15,000; (iii) ASHA workers be provided with a Scooty for travelling in the health insurance project areas, and that they should be given maternity leave facilities, uniforms, kits, and travel allowance. The memorandum listed a total of 12 demands.

Kisan Mahasabha Protest in Mathura

A huge march was taken out on 29 June 2015 under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha, Mathura district committee to protest in front of the Collector. Hundreds of farmers and workers from dozens of villages participated in the march which started from the Tank chowraha and culminated in front of the Collector’s office. The marchers rent the air with slogans such as, “Kisan mazdoor ekta zindabad, poonjivad ho barbad” (farmer-workers’ unity long live, down with capitalism), “Bhoomi adhigrahan adhyadesh wapas lo” (Take back land acquisition ordinance), “Ola vrishti se barbad faslon ka muawza do” (Pay compensation for crops destroyed by hail storm), and “Ek lakh tak karja maaf karo (Waiver debts till the amount of one lakh)”. Braving the scorching heat, the protesters showed remarkable enthusiasm. The march culminated in a meeting in front of the Collector’s office conducted by Com. Rakesh Verma and presided over by Com. Hada Ranvir Singh. All the speakers exposed the anti-farmer policies of the Central as well as the state government. They dubbed the Modi government an Ambani-Adani government which was soaked in corruption and also unmasked the anti-people policies of the Akhilesh government. At the end of the meeting a delegation submitted a memorandum to the President through the SDM, who was representing the DM.

AIPF demonstration in Tamil Nadu demanding the protection of livelihoods of tribals on Hul Diwas

AIPF organised a demonstration at Vilupuram demanding the state government to take necessary action for the release of Tribal people of Tamil Nadu languishing in Andhra Pradesh prisons falsely framed in cases of red sandalwood smuggling. They are forced to migrate to Andhra Pradesh for livelihood since they have been deprived of their traditional lands and the continued neglect by Tamil Nadu state government. Following demands were raised during the protest:

i. Form legal assistance for the release of tribal and other toiling people who have been unable to obtain bail for years and are languishing in jails.

ii. Grant grant money for the subsistence of their families.

iii. Form a separate state act to prevent their migration and to protect their land from being grabbed.

iv. Immediately implement the Forest Rights act 2006 immediately and also ensure the rights of the tribals to sell small forest and hill grown products.

v. Introduce special schemes to provide employment in their areas of living.

vi. There should not be a reduction in reservation quota in central and state PSUs. A special drive should be launched to fill up all the vacancies.

Tamil Nadu State secretary of CPI (ML) Com. Balasundaram, AIPF Campaign committee member Com. Chandramohan and the District secretary of CPI (ML) Com. Venkatesan led the protests.

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ML Update | No.29 | 2015

July 15, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 29, 14 ­– 20 JULY 2015

Murderous Trail of Vyapam and Asaram Cases

​B​
oth the Vyapam recruitment and admissions scam in Madhya Pradesh, and the rape cases against the ‘godman’ Asaram, have been marked by systematic murderous attacks on witnesses. Deliberate cold-blooded elimination of suspects on this scale could not be possible without powerful political backing and collusion of the state machinery.

50 people associated with the Vyapam scam, including beneficiaries of the scam who were witnesses; a medical college dean who was providing evidence to the investigating team; and a TV journalist working on an exposé of the scam-related deaths, have died in mysterious and suspicious circumstances.

The police as well as the STF that had been set up to probe the Vyapam scam ignored the first autopsy report on 19-year-old Namrata Damor, a medical student and alleged beneficiary who had been found dead on a railway track. That report had stated that she was strangled to death and had not ruled out rape. The police and STF had relied instead on a subsequent report by a Government-controlled Medico-Legal Institute that had said Damor’s death was an accident. The TV journalist Akshay Singh died mysteriously, soon after he interviewed Damor’s parents. ‘Road accidents’ are a leading cause of the convenient deaths of many of the witnesses. One witness died in custody inside jail.

This spate of convenient deaths in suspicious circumstances and the role of the police and STF in ignoring facts, points to a cover-up on a grand scale. The purpose of such a massive, murderous cover-up cannot be to save the small fry – the young boys and girls who benefited from the exam/admission and recruitment scams. It points inexorably to the involvement of extremely powerful, influential people. One Cabinet Minister in the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh Government has been arrested. The Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Ram Naresh Yadav, has been named in a Vyapam FIR, while his son, a beneficiary, is among those who ended up dead. Significantly, the Central Government has remained silent and turned a blind eye to the fact of a Governor being implicated in a massive scam.

The BJP Chief of Madhya Pradesh has declared brazenly that the BJP “has no regrets for Vyapam.” It is clear that a scam and cover-up on this scale are unimaginable without the involvement of the very top levels of the State Government, Chief Minister and BJP leadership. Further, one of the accused has also named former RSS Chief KS Sudershan and other senior RSS leaders for their role in the Vyapam scam. The elaborate, mafia-style murderous cover-up is aimed at keeping BJP and RSS bigwigs out of the ambit of the probe.

Will the Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe stem the spate of murders and nail the masterminds of the scam and killings? The CBI, certainly, inspires little confidence. The ‘caged parrot’ of Congress-UPA days, has in the Modi regime worked openly to let Amit Shah off the hook in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case (which also involved the murder of key eyewitnesses Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati). It is now being used to witch-hunt human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad. It remains to be seen if SC-monitoring will succeed in ensuring that truth and justice prevail in the Vyapam case.

In the Asaram case also, nine witnesses in all have been subjected to murderous attacks, three of which succeeded in killing key witnesses. Asaram faces a charge of sexual assault against a minor girl, a daughter of a devotee in his Jodhpur ashram. On the heels of this case, two other women in Surat filed cases alleging that Asaram and his son had sexually assaulted and exploited them.

Soon after Asaram’s arrest, top BJP leaders including Uma Bharati had rushed to defend Asaram. Leadings lights of the Sangh Parivar including Ashok Singhal and Pravin Togadia as well as BJP leader Subramanian Swamy have publicly continued to defend Asaram, claiming he is the victim of an anti-Hindutva conspiracy. Can the serial murders and attacks on witnesses in the Asaram cases be happening without political collusion?

If the Vyapam and Asaram cases are being hollowed out from within by the mafia-style execution of accused persons, the Special Prosecutor Rohini Salian has revealed how the NIA is going soft on terror cases masterminded by Hindutva outfits. The Ajmer and Modasa bomb blast cases have collapsed with witnesses turning hostile, and the Malegaon case is fast heading the same way. Meanwhile, the Modi Government’s priorities are clear. The Prime Minister is silent on the Vyapam and Asaram murders. But the Government is pursuing a vendetta against human rights defenders like Setalvad, sending no less that 16 CBI officials to raid her home in a fabricated FCRA violations case!

The democratic forces in India must fight for justice to prevail to nail the scamsters and killers in the Vyapam scam; the rape-accused Asaram and those responsible for the murder of witnesses; and in the various Hindutva-sponsored terror cases.

AISA-RYA Holds Nationwide Protests Demanding Probe in Vyapam Scam and the Resignation of MP CM

AISA and RYA held protests across the country on 8-9 July 2015 demanding a Supreme Court monitored probe into the murderous Vyapam Scam that has seen death of nearly 48 people who had in some way been related to the scam, either as accused, or as witnesses or even as those assisting the investigation processes. The protestors also demanded the resignation of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan in whose tenure the scam had surfaced and the series of deaths of people associated with the scam taken place. In Patna, AISA-RYA activists took out a march from the radio-station to the DakBunglow and burnt the effigy of the Prime Minster who had failed to take any pro-active step to ensure that the guilty are brought to book. In Delhi, AISA held protest against Vyapam scam, Vyapam killings and Lalit gate at Jantar Mantar. AISA leaders addressing the protest pointed out that the Modi government had not only failed to act against the accused, but had instead gone out of the way in its efforts to shield them. The protestors demanded resignation of Shivraj Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj. Protests and effigy burning also took place in several other states.

Two Day AIPF State Conference in Odisha

The first state level conference of All India People’s Forum (AIPF) was held in Bhubaneswar on 11-12 July 2015. The conference was attended several leaders and representatives from various people’s movements and struggles in Odisha. In the inaugural session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary, Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya addressed the participants and spoke at length about the need to broaden and strengthen the AIPF initiatives. He said, ever since the BJP government was formed at the centre, almost every promise made to the people of this country at the time of elections has been broken, be it BJP’s promise to bring back black money, reduce inflation or put an end to the series of scams. The recent exposes pertaining to what is termed as Lalit Gate and the mass murders to prevent the truth of Vyapam Scam from coming out, had exposed the hollowness of BJP’s anti-corruption stance. Elaborating on the various anti-people policies of the current government at the behest of the corporate, he stressed on the need to wage a united struggle against them. Invoking the inspiring legacy of people’s movements in Odisha that had regularly taken on the might of the corporates and also defeated them on several occasions, he emphasized on the need to strengthen AIPF as a united platform for struggles.

Several sessions focused on the burning issues of the day. In the first discussion session on day one, the focus was on the issues pertaining to land, livelihood, and food security. Participants pointed out the hypocrisy of the BJD government in Odisha, which while claiming to be opposed to the Land Acquisition Ordinance of the BJP government, was itself pushing forward anti-poor land related policies in Odisha. The anti-land grab prohibition ordinance of the BJD was not aimed at protecting the land and livelihood of the poor or the farmers, but instead it was aimed at snatching back the gains of various pro-poor land struggles and land reforms. The second session focused on ‘caste, gender based and communal violence and the rights of sexual minorities’. The speakers in the session included AIPWA national secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan, transgender activist Menaka, activists Amiya Pandab, Romita Kundu and others. The post lunch sessions on day I saw discussions on ‘health, education and housing rights’ and ‘labour law reforms’.

On day two, the pre lunch sessions saw activists from various people’s movements and fronts including such as POSCO Virodhi Sangram Samiti, Chilika Matsyjivi Sangh, AIARLA, Koraput Adivasi Ekata Sangathan, and others share their experiences and talk on ‘State repression, draconian laws and the need to defend democratic rights of people’. Member of the Jharkhand chapter of AIPF, Dayamani Barla, highlighted the increased oppression of people’s movements by the current state and central governments and the need for the movements to build solidarity with each other and give befitting response to the anti-people governments. In the last discussion session of the conference, CPI(ML) central committee member, Com. Yudhistir Mohapatra and human rights activist Manas Jena raised concerns pertaining to electoral reforms and the proportionate representation system. In the concluding session of the conference, resolutions pertaining to the need to strengthen pro-people’s struggles, fight against state oppression and victimization of activists and condemning the Modi and Naveen Patnaik governments’ anti people policies were tabled and passed. Members were also selected to AIPF state campaign committee, state council members and the convening group from among the several fronts, groups and rights’ activists who participated. The next state level conference of the AIPF will be held in Jharkhand on 9 August 2015.

Joint Left Protests in Bihar, Call for Bihar Bandh on July 21

A successful programme of protest demonstrations at block headquarters across the State was carried out by the CPI(ML) and other Left parties in Bihar from 23 June to 30 June to raise burning issues of the people. Strong protests at Patna rural, Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Arwal, Siwan, Darbhanga, Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada, Western Champaran and other places which were attended by the common public clearly brought out the anger of the people against the treachery of the Central as well as State governments.

On 30 June leaders from CPI(ML), CPI, CPI-M, SUCI, and other left parties led protests at Sandesh, Sahar, Udwantnagar, Piro, Tarari, Bihiya, Shahpur, and Gadhani. At Phulwari Sharif, the protesters marched through the main roads, held a meeting at the BDO office which was addressed by leaders from the various left parties and submitted a memorandum to the BDO. Party leaders led the agitation at Paliganj. CPI(ML) and CPI leaders led protests at Masaurhi, Dhanarua, Naubatpur, Bihta, Fatuha, and other places. Joint left protests were also held at Guthni, Mairwa, Badhariya and Pachrukhi blocks in Siwan, Ratni, Makhdumpur, Ghoshi, Modanganj and Kako in Jehanabad, as well as all four blocks in Arwal, and Rohtas.

The following demands were made through the protests:

1. Immediate revoking of the anti-farmer, pro-corporate Land Acquisition ordinance.

2. Bihar government must totally stop acquisition of agricultural land, give full compensation for acquired land, and immediately return land that has been acquired through Biyada or has been lying unused.

3. Implementation of the Bandopadhyaya Commission recommendations, possession for parcha holders to hathbandi, bhoodan, shikmi and all such lands, fulfillment of the promise to give 5 dismil vaas land to the poor and dalits, and arrangements for permanent residential land for the urban poor also.

4. An end to the continuing farmer suicides in Bihar, immediate waiver of all debts of farmers, and provisions of government jobs and 10 lakhs compensation for family members of deceased farmers.

5. Interest-free loans for farmers with less than 10 acres, an annual 1.5 times increase of minimum support price as recommended by the Swaminathan commission, and fulfillment of the BJP’s promise to fix MSP at 1.5 times the cost price for farmers.

6. Immediate payment of paddy purchase arrears to farmers, opening of wheat purchase centres, fixing of MSP for maize and all other crops, ending the sway of middlemen at purchase centres, and a CBI enquiry into the paddy purchase scam.

7. Registration and all government facilities under KCC for sharecroppers, an end to the corruption in crop loss compensation and immediate payment of compensation to affected farmers. Changes must be made in crop insurance policy that is pro-insurance company and anti-farmer crop according to which the compensation should be given only if 80% crops in a block are destroyed; instead, compensation must be paid even if a single farmer’s crop is destroyed. Government jobs must be given to the families of those killed in cyclones or earthquakes, 10 lakhs compensation, with rehabilitation of affected farmers and poor.

8. Repair of all defunct hand pumps, timely supply of water in canals, adequate electricity supply for agricultural purposes, and a permanent solution for tackling floods and drought.

9. Central and State governments should control price rise, take back cuts in food security, MNREGA and all other welfare and poverty alleviating programmes, register the names of all poor under BPL and provide them ration cards, provide 50 kg rice at Rs 2 per kg to all poor without discrimination between APL and BPL, and put an immediate stop to the system of cash transfer in lieu of rice.

10. Central and State governments must take back the policy of contractual and honorarium employment, implement a policy of equal pay for equal work, regularize anganwadi workers, midday meal workers, shikshakarmis, ASHA workers, home guards, nursing and other contractual and honorarim workers, and pay them salary instead of honorarium, and also provide them with all other government facilities and terms and conditions.

11. An end to the growing atrocities against women, dalits, minorities, and other weaker sections. Attempts by the BJP to disrupt communal harmony and saffronize educational and research institutions, history and culture must be put an end to.

12. Curbing of the increased morale of feudal-criminal forces and reinstatement of the Amirdas Commission so that criminals and their protectors can be punished.

13. Acquittal of the protesters pronounced guilty by the court in the Sitamarhi incident and strict action against the administration which fired bullets. There should be an immediate end to the increasing violence and false cases against people’s leaders.

Protest Day Observed on Second Anniversary of Uttarakhand Disaster

A protest was held under the joint banners of CPI(ML) and Kisan Mahasabha on 16 June at Lalkuan town in Nainital district. Addressing the protest meeting, CPI(ML) Nainital district Secretary Com. Kailash Pandey said that even after 2 years of the disaster while there had still been no arrangements for rehabilitation of the victims, many scams related to disaster relief had coming to light. Kisan Mahasabha State councilor Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi said that whenever any scam is exposed in Uttarakhand, the Congress and BJP start indulging in blame games. 122 scams have taken place in Uttarakhand from 2000 till date but no FIR has been registered against even a single culprit. Even today lakhs of people living in the hills of Uttarakhand are living in fear of disaster. Not a single family has been rehabilitated. The meeting, conducted by Com. Rajendra Shah, was also addressed by Comrades Bhuwan Joshi, Laxman Suyal, Basanti Bisht, Gopal Gadiya, Lalit Matiyali, Vimla Rauthan, Pushkar Singh Panda and others.

It was demanded through the meeting that the disaster relief scams be probed by the CBI, all affected villages be rehabilitated, all farmers be compensated for crop loss due to unseasonal rains, and embankments be constructed on the river Gola to prevent disasters in Bindukhatta and nearby regions.

In Srinagar, AIPF observed Protest Day by burning the effigy of the State government. Addressing the meeting at Gola Park, CPI(ML) State committee member Com. Indresh Maikhuri said that the disaster relief scams have exposed the ugly face of the State government and bureaucracy. He said that a case should be lodged against the then CM Vijay Bahuguna, there should be a CBI enquiry and the scamsters should be put behind bars. In Joshimath also the effigy of the state government was burnt. A CBI enquiry into the scams was also demanded.

CPI(ML) Convention in Bhilai on ‘Footfall of Emergency’

A convention was organized in Bhilai on 10 July 2015 on ‘Footfall of emergency’ by CPI(ML). The chief speaker at the convention was CPI(ML) politburo member, Com. Kavita Krishnan. The convention was moderated by Com. Brijendra Tiwari. In her speech, Com. Kavita said that in 1975, said that the Modi Government had imposed an undeclared emergency on the country and called upon every citizen to resist it. The approach paper was read out by Com. J. P. Nayar. Com. CR Bakshi of CPI, Vakil Bharti of CPI-M, Com SP Dey of CITU, Com. Kaladas and Com. Surendra of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, and other left leaders also spoke on the occasion.

Activists’ Conference at Patna

The CPI(ML) Eastern Patna regional activists’ conference was held in Fatuha on 30 June 2015. It was attended by 200 Party members including 65 women activists. The focus of the conference was on fulfilling the call for 28 July, doing grassroots mobilization for fulfilling the resolution made at the Lucknow workshop, and on training party members to make the organization active and strong to suit the present circumstances.

The conference was chaired and conducted by Fatuha block Secretary Com. Shailendra Yadav and Sampatchak-Patna joint block committee Secretary Com. Satyanand Kumar. Addressing the conference, Patna district Secretary Com. Amar said that today an undeclared emergency has been imposed in the entire country. After discussing the national scenario, he said that in Bihar even as Nitish Kumar talks about a green revolution for agricultural development, he could not even get a single hand pump repaired out of the 1030 that have been defunct for the last 10 years. The modernization of the Son, Gandak and Kosi canals have also not been done. Even after paddy purchase the farmers have not received payment. A scam to the tune of Rs 3,400 crores has taken place in paddy purchase. The farmers of Bihar are being forced to commit suicide due to the twin burdens of poverty and debt. A strong agitation against this must be carried out and for doing this the need of the hour is to build a strong and organized Party. Therefore, the party branches must be organized and able to take independent initiatives. Patna district Eastern region in-charge Com. Umesh Singh stressed the need for development and spread of the Party in Fatuha. Patna district Legislative Council candidate Com. Gopal Ravidas also addressed the conference. It was resolved to double the party membership by the time of the next party conference and to organize the Party under branches.

Protest in Arwal on Demands of Rural Poor

A strong protest was organized in Arwal on 25 June in front of the Collector on the issues of electricity, ration-kerosene, payment of paddy price arrears to farmers, 5 dismil residential land for the poor, vasgeet parchas, pucca housing, and old age pensions. About 4,000 people participated in the protest. Addressing the protest meeting, party district Secretary Com. Mahanand Prasad said that other than 3 or 4 villages in Kaler block there was no electricity anywhere in the region. Even the block headquarters are swathed in darkness. There is no electricity in several panchayats of Karpi block. It is a matter of shame that in spite of repeated announcements by the government and administration, these villages are still bereft of electricity.

Arrears of paddy payment are also not being paid. Even now there is no water in several canals including Saidpur, Amra and Rajwaha, and this is a big obstacle to agriculture. There are no arrangements for adequate water in the canals. Tubewells in the Karpi-Kurtha region are lying defunct but the administration remains totally oblivious. The same conditions prevail in case of the ration-kerosene and vaas-avaas land for the poor. Construction works for roads, drains and streets are also lying ignored. The protesters demanded immediate action on these demands. State committee members comrades Jitendra Yadav, Shah Shad, Vijay Kumar, Ravindra Yadav, Nandkishor Kumar and others participated in the protest.

Rally in Chhattisgarh to remember the 17 workers killed by police firing in 1991

A rally was organized by Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) on 1 July 2015 in the memory of 17 workers who were brutally killed in police firing in 1991. Prior to the rally and public meeting, the photos of the workers were garlanded in Bhilai Power House Railway station. The public meeting following the rally was addressed by leaders from CMM, CPI(ML) and AICCTU. The leaders speaking on the occasion pointed out how the promise of ‘acche din’ was turning out to be a nightmare for the working class. A memorandum was also submitted to the SDM, Durg, demanding that labour courts be set up in all the 27 districts and that the labour courts be brought under the high court. A memorandum addressed to the President was also submitted demanding a re-investigation into the killing of Shankar Guha Niyogi.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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ML Update | No. 28 | 2015

July 9, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 28, 07 ­– 13 JULY 2015

The Greek Referendum and its Global Resonance

T
he Greek people have done it again. In January this year they had given a powerful anti-austerity mandate by voting Syriza to power. And now in the face of tremendous economic hardship and concerted political blackmail by the powerful lobbies and institutions of global capital, they have once again said a loud no to the austerity commandments of the Troika of IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank. In the July 5 referendum called by the Syriza government, more than 61% voters said OXI or NO to the humiliating and disastrous EU package of austerity. Regardless of the future trajectory of the Greek crisis, the bold popular assertion has indeed been a historic moment, a definitive assertion of the courage and power of the people over the commands and conspiracies of capital.

In economic terms, the Greek crisis is an alarming case of systematic debt-driven devastation of an otherwise developed country. The Troika and propagandists of the neoliberal order the world over attribute the debt burden on Greece to allegedly profligate public spending and advocate austerity – deep cuts in wages, pensions and welfare expenditure – and privatisation as the ‘solution’. The Truth Committee on Public Debt – an independent committee of experts from 11 countries set up by the President of the Greek Parliament – has shattered this propaganda in its preliminary report released on 17 June 2015. The preliminary report has shown that public spending in Greece has been lower than that in other Eurozone countries and that the debt burden is almost entirely due to the payment of extremely high rates of interest to creditors, excessive military spending under previous governments, massive illicit capital outflows and the transition from the erstwhile Greek currency Drachma to the new common currency Euro.

Particularly revealing is the escalation of the debt burden since 2010, when Greece was subjected to harsh measures of austerity in the name of ‘rescuing’ its economy. The so-called ‘bailout’ packages have been appropriated almost entirely by Greek and other European private banks, with hardly 10% going to fund any kind of public spending. The cuts in wages, pension and public spending rather depressed the economy and increased the debt-GDP ratio, thereby deepening the debt trap. The committee says the IMF itself had warned about the unsustainable nature of the debt, yet it opposed any rational restructuring of the debt and only allowed the burden to escalate. The committee has therefore described the debt as not only unsustainable but illegal, illegitimate and odious, insisting on a substantial write-off and restructuring of the debt and rescheduling of loan repayment.

The rationality of the Greek position can be better appreciated if we compare the Greek problem to similar situations elsewhere in the past and also in recent times. Germany, which currently dominates the European establishment, was itself a beneficiary of a major debt write-off in the post-war period. The end of the world war in 1945 had left Germany with a crushing debt burden twice its GDP, but the London Debt Agreement of 1953 cancelled 60% of Germany’s external debt obligations and also favourably restructured its internal debt. Today Germany is bent upon inflicting austerity on Greece and exacerbating its debt crisis! To take another example, let us look at the US which is today the most indebted country in the world and which also suffered a major banking crisis in recent past. But the freedom with which the US bailed out its banks and continues to manage its debt is denied to Greece. While the US can simply print dollars, Greece has no control over its present currency Euro. It has to keep borrowing Euros to maintain internal liquidity of its banks, let alone repay its past debt.

What is the way out of the Greek crisis? Many believe the answer lies in the eventual exit of Greece from the Eurozone and European Union, a return to its earlier currency Drachma and nationalisation of its banks. Many who voted OXI would actually support this radical position and they believe Greece cannot possibly hope to strike any ‘reasonable deal’ within the current European framework. The Syriza government has, on the other hand, rested its case on the plank of a just and dignified solution for Greece within the European framework, for a treatment of Greece as ‘an equal among equals’ as Tsipras put it. To facilitate a possible deal, Tsipras has even replaced his Marxist finance minister Yanis Varoufakis with his deputy, the soft-spoken Euclid Tsakalotos, who has been the chief negotiator for Greece with the European establishment. On his part Varoufakis has resigned gracefully promising to help Tsipras ‘exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted … through (the) referendum.’

Only time will tell if and how Tsipras manages to withstand the next phase of negotiations with the European establishment. But by setting up a Truth Commission on the issue of Greece’s public debt and by invoking the initiative and voice of the Greek people through the historic July 5 referendum, the Syriza government has surely managed to expose the irrationality of the Troika and mobilise popular anti-austerity pro-democracy solidarity for Greece across the world. The Greek battle has already spread to Spain; the question of restructuring of the Greek debt is growing into an agenda for a European Debt Conference to solve the debt problems of other European countries like Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy; and, the slogan of European solidarity has begun to challenge the menace of European austerity. And this can also only further strengthen the demands for the cancellation of the enormous unjust debt burden which many Third World countries have been bearing since the 1980s.

The Greek assertion of its economic sovereignty and the invocation of the people’s choice is a particularly inspiring example for us in India, where the ruling classes have been complicit with the troika of IMF, World Bank and WTO in inflicting the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and now austerity on the Indian people. In fact, even the CPI(M)-led state governments in West Bengal and Kerala also chose to comply with the central policies whether in the name of ‘provincial compulsions’ in a federal set-up or in the name of reaping the harvest of ‘growth and development’ rather than go to the people and draw on their energy and courage to challenge the neo-liberal tyranny. Apart from drawing inspiration from the Greek experience of popular resistance, the Left in India will also find it relevant to study the Syriza experiment of “unity and struggle” where various Left currents are engaged in serious debates even as they pool their strength to push the coalition ahead. Let us wish all power and victory to the Greek people.

Joint Statement by Six Left Parties

Press Release

July 5, 2015: Leaders of six Left parties – CPI(M), CPI, AIFB, RSP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and SUCI(C) met today and issued the following statement:

All the claims made by the BJP central government and the Prime Minister that during the course of this one year the NDA government has offered a corruption free administration are being thoroughly exposed by the day.

In the Lalit Modi-IPL scam, the Union Minister for External Affairs and the Rajasthan Chief Minister have figured as persons grossly misusing their office to help a fugitive from Indian law, Lalit Modi.

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development has given a false statement regarding her educational qualifications.

Cases of misuse of office for pecuniary gains have come up in the BJP ruled states of Maharashtra, involving two BJP state ministers. In other BJP ruled states like Chattisgarh such instances of high level corruption are being reported.

The Left parties demand that a thorough CBI investigation under the supervision of the judiciary must be conducted in these cases and the guilty should be booked and punished. All tainted ministers in the Centre and the states must be removed from office until the investigations are completed and action taken.

Crime & Corruption: The admission and recruitment scam in the state of Madhya Pradesh – Vyapam scam — has exposed the BJP state government as having perpetrated one of the worst corruption cases in the state ever. Officially 27 people associated with this case, including nine important witnesses, have died under mysterious circumstances. Important journalists, reporting on the scam, have also been victims of such mysterious deaths. Nearly 47 inexplicable deaths of people connected with this scam in one way or the other have been reported.

July 20 – All India Protest Day

The Left parties decided to hold an all India protest exposing corruption at high levels in this BJP central government as well as in various states on July 20. State level protest actions will be held demanding the removal and action against all those involved in corruption and nepotism.

The state units of the Left parties will take up the state level issues of corruption, like the massive Saradha and other chit fund scams in West Bengal, Bar licence scam etc in Kerala, along with those mentioned above in their state level protest actions.

2. Hindutva Terror: The Left parties strongly condemn the efforts of the BJP governments at the Centre and the states to subvert justice in investigated cases of Hindutva terror like Malegaon, Hyderbad Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharief and the Samjuatha Express cases. In the Malegaon and the Ajmer Sharief investigations, efforts are on to scuttle the cases.

3. September 2 Workers Strike: The Left parties decided to give a joint call of support to the September 2 all India call for strike given by the central trade unions.

4. Bihar Assembly Elections: The Left parties have decided to jointly contest the forthcoming assembly elections in Bihar as an independent, united bloc.

The meeting was attended by Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat from CPI(M), Sudhakar Reddy and D. Raja from CPI, Dipankar Bhattacharya and Swapan Mukherjee from CPI(ML)-Liberation, G Devarajan from AIFB, Satyawan and Pran Sharma from SUCI(C) and Abani Roy from RSP.

Released from CPI(M) Office

CPI(ML) Statement on Vyapam Scam

The shocking trail of Vyapam deaths has stunned the entire country. Admission and recruitment scams have been exposed in several states, but Vyapam has become notorious as a killer scam. The systematic serial elimination and intimidation of witnesses, whistleblowers, doctors and even journalists covering the scam that the country is witnessing challenges the very foundations of justice and democracy.

Faced with growing mass resentment over the Vyapam deaths, the BJP has finally accepted the demand for a CBI probe. The CPI(ML) insists that the probe must be closely monitored by the Supreme Court and Shivraj Singh Chauhan must immediately resign in view of his dubious role in the entire episode.

AIPF-CPI(ML) Organize Countrywide Programmes against Company Raj on ‘Hul Diwas’

On the completion of the 100 days of AIPF campaign for land rights and labour rights, which marks the end of the first phase of the campaign, various programmes were held on 30 June 2015 in different parts of the country. 30 June is also celebrated as ‘Hul Diwas’ for the famous Santhal upsurge against the British Raj.

Jharkhand: Protesting against the Land Acqusition ordinance and the anti-people policies of the Modi government, AIPF & CPI(ML) held a protest demonstration outside the district office in Giridih and also held a march. Hundreds of people participated in this march raising the slogan of "Gaon Shehar se Uthi Awaaz, nahin Chalega Company Raaj" (Call of every village and town, company raj down down!) Addressing the gathering of the people the General Secretary of CPI(ML), Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the one year of Modi government has been dedicated to the service of Adani and Ambani instead of the common people. BJP’s promise of ‘Acche Din" during the election campaign has been long shattered. In Jharkhand and several other states, land and rights of adivasis are being forcefully snatched in keeping with policies aimed at establishing the Company Rule. Comrade Manoj Bhakt, CPI(ML) MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav and ex CPI(ML) MLA and Jharkhand state in-charge of AIPF, Com. Vinod Singh, also addressed.

A day earlier, on 29 June 2015, an ‘Adhikaar March’ (March for rights) was organized in Dhanbad. The march was led by Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) CC member, Com. Shubendu Sen and Com. Vinod Singh. Hundreds of people participated in the march holding the banner of ‘Save Democracy, Save Jharkhand’. Addressing the march, Com. Dipankar said that with BJP at the centre and the state, the mafia raj had only been strengthened. Referring to the anti-people changes being made in the labour laws, he said that we must already start prepairing for the All India Strike on 2 September.

Protest marches were also organized on ‘Hul Diwas’ by AIPF in Dumka, Garhwa, Gumla and Ramgarh in Jharkhand. CPI(ML) and AIPF leaders addressing these marches pointed out how on this day several years ago, the adivasis of Jharkhand had ignited the spark of revolt against the colonial rule of the Company. Remembering the leaders of that revolt- Siddhu, Kanhu, Chand, Bhairav. Phulo and Jhano, they reminded people the need to once again launch a determined struggle against the present day Company Raj.

Uttar Pradesh: Protest marches, rallies and meetings were held at Lucknow, Kanpur, Baliya, Gazipur, Gorakhpur, Chandauli, Faizabad, Seetapur and Mau among other districts. In Sonebhadra, on the day when AIPF rally for land and labour rights was to be held, i.e., on 30 June, the police arrested the members of the AIPF early morning. Despite the machinations of the administration which besides arresting AIPF leaders, also threatened those who were to participate in the rally, people refused to be bullied into silence and still went ahead to hold the rally.

West Bengal: A massive AIPF rally was organized on 30 June in Kolkata in which hundreds of people participated carrying colourful banners and holding cultural performances. The protestors marched from College square raising slogans demanding end to corporate loot by the Modi Govt. They also held banners demanding release of political prisoners.

Odisha: Programmes were organized in various districts between 24-30 June. In Bhadark district around 300 CPI(ML) activists organized a colourful rally shouting slogans against Modi government under the leadership of Com. Samar Bal and Sanjay Swain. CPI(ML) CC member Com. Yudhistir Mahapatra and SCM Com. Mahendra Parida addressed the rally in front of the office of the district magistrate. Both criticized the Modi government’s one year rule and Naveen government’s corporate friendly policies in the state. On 29 June, protest demonstrations were held in Bhubaneswar and Khurda. On 30 June a huge rally was organized at Rayagada in the leadership of Comrades Tirupati Gamango, Brundaban Bidika and Sambrasabar that saw a massive participation of hundreds of people. In Puri also, around 400 comrades joined the protest rally in front of DM’s office. Demonstrations were also held in Kendrapara and Rourkela.

Puducherry: A People’s Rights Convention was held at Puducherry on 30 June presided by Com. S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary, CPI(ML), in the presence of comrades G. Kandasamy, Trade Union leader in CPWD, M. Muthukannu, Social Activist, R. Thanigai Thambi, Journalist and V. Murthy. The convention was well attended and saw a discussion on several relevant issues. Com. S. Balasundaram, Vice-President AIARLA spoke extensively on the issue of ‘Guarantee of Land, Food and Livelihood’. Others who spoke on various issues affecting the people included Com. K. Mohanasundaram, National Council member, AIPF, Prof. M.L. Thangappa, Member, Advisory Panel, AIPF, Social activist and NCM A. Laigat Ali, P. Murthy, Ex. MLA of Puducherry Assembly, Manjakkal Upendiran, former TU leader and presently editor of local monthly journal, R. Muruganantham, NCM, AIPF and R. Mangayarselvan, Campaign Committee member AIPF. An eleven points resolution was introduced by S. Thamizhmani, Friends of Earth and was passed unanimously.

Andhra Pradesh: A weeklong protests and rallies on ‘Land and Labour Rights’ were held in East Godavari, Srikakulam and Krishna districts. On 30 June, protest programmes were held at Kakinada and Vijaywada. Around 1500 people attended the dharna organized in Kakinada.

Comrade Arun Pandey, A Popular CPI(ML) Leader of Koyridih, Brutally Murdered

Comrade Arun Pandey, CPI(ML) block committee member of Sariya block, Giridih district, Jharkhand, was brutally murdered on 5 July morning when he was on his way from Simrabeda village to Koyridih on a cycle. As he was riding, he was attacked by Baleshwar Manjhi, Pawan Pandey, Jayprakash Verma, Ramashankar Thakur and Bheem Maanjhi. As soon as he fell off his cycle, his throat was brutally slit and he died on the spot.

Com. Arun Pandey was on the target list of his political opponents owing to his following among the poor adivasis of the area. They had on earlier occasions too tried to attack him and frame him on several false charges. On several occasions the local MLA Nagendra Mahto appeared from the side of the above mentioned assailants in police station. Following his murder, massive protests have been staged by CPI(ML) demanding immediate arrest of his killers.

Thousands of people joined the funeral procession of Com. Arun and paid their tributes.

Red Salute to Comrade Arun Pandey!

Protest in Jahanabad against BJP’s Communal Politics and Attack on CPI(ML) Leader Com. Upadhyay Yadav

On 2 May 2015, a young CPI(ML) leader and a member of the Jahanabad Zila Parishad, Comrade Upadhyay Yadav was fired at repeatedly by criminals. Com. Yadav is one of the leading leaders in the movement in Ratni block for paddy procurement. The attack on Com. Upadhyay had led to massive unrest among the people leading to a people’s movement as a result of which the police was forced to arrest the attackers. On 27 June a people’s resistance rally was called to protest against the attack and the repeated attempts by the communal forces to create communal frenzy in the district. However, on the same day, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad declared a bandh in Jahanabad, in order to once again try and create trouble. Thousands of people came out to participate in programme despite rains and also defying a bandh called by the VHP. People not only from Jahanabad but also from the neighbouring district of Arwal, participated in the rally. The massive and enthusiastic participation by thousands of people once again sent an emphatic message to feudal and communal forces that their kind of politics will not work in Jahanabad and that the poor of the district will give a befitting response to each and every tactic of theirs.

Due to his courage and strength Comrade Upadhyay Yadav has not only survived four bullet wounds to his chest but is also recovering well at the moment.

Frequent Killings of Dalits in TN

Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu is known for caste domination and atrocities against Dalits. Mr. Sait of Ambedkar Periyar Makkal Kazhakam was one among those in the forefront in the struggles against atrocities on Dalits in 1990s. He was murdered on 19th May 2015. More than 1000 people assembled at the spot of murder demanding justice. Few people were arrested immediately by police. However, as per the police version the murder was committed by a dalit youth who was arrested and sent to jail. Even though people were not able to identify the real culprit, suspicion looms large among the dalit community about the police’ version.

In this background, CPI(ML) held a demonstration against honour killings and atrocities on dalits on 26.06.2015. It also included a demand for impartial probe into the murder of Mr. Sait and also demanded that the suspicion in the minds of the people be cleared. The police denied permission for the programme. Defying the ban, dalit youths in and around Gandarvakottai poured in and raised slogans. Protestors also demanded justice in the recent case of honour killing of Gokulraj of Salem. Police arrested hundreds of youths assembled there and this programme was widely welcomed by other left and dalit outfits.

Protest by AIPF in TN and AP

More than 400 people attended a public meeting organised at Coimbatore on 26th June against the undeclared emergency in the country today. It was presided over by Com. Balasubramanian, district secretary of CPI(ML). The meeting was addressed by Com. Kumarasamy, Politburo member of CPI(ML), Com. Balamurugan, state GS of PUCL, Com. NK Natarajan, State President of AICCTU, Com. Chandramohan, National Campaign Committee member of AIPF and Com. Balamurugan, GS of Shanthi Gears Employees’ Union. On the same day a convention was also organised at Sriperumputhur. Com. Rajaguru, state president of RYA presided the meeting. It was addressed by Prof. A. Marx, National campaign committee member of AIPF, Advocate Prakash, NCM and also President of the United Labour Federation, Com. Sujatha Modi, NCM as well as National secretary of NTUI, among others. Workers from factories like Diamond engineering, Nippon express, Hyundai and C &F participated. The Nagerkoil convention was presided by Dr. RS Lalmohan of Nature protection trust and the welcome address was delivered by Com. Mary Stella, TN’s SCM of CPI(ML).

In Andhra Pradesh too anti-emergency day dharnas were organized on 26 June in front of 12 mandal revenue offices. Hundreds of people participated in these dharnas. The protestors also raised slogans against the undeclared emergency that has been imposed on the nation today by the Modi government.

AIPWA Held Country-wide Protests against Vitriolic Social Media Attack on AIPWA National Secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan and Actor Shruti Seth by Supporters of the PM

The national executive of AIPWA condemns in the strongest words the personally directed social media attack replete with racism, misogyny, homophobia and brutal verbal violence that has been unleashed on Com. Kavita Krishnan and actor Shruti Seth for daring to critique the ‘selfie with daughter’ campaign initiated by the Prime Minister.

AIPWA held countrywide protests against the attack and abuse from 2nd to 4th July.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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ML Update | No. 27 | 2015

July 1, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 27, 30 JUNE ­– 06 JULY 2015

Tainted BJP Ministers Will Have to Go

​C​
orruption is once again turning out to be a great leveller in the Indian Political League of ruling class parties. Only a year ago Narendra Modi had stormed his way to power riding on the wave of anger against corruption. Repatriation of black money and transparent governance had figured high on his list of promises. The promise of repatriation of black money has already been buried by Amit Shah with his candid confession that the whole thing was meant to be just poll rhetoric to garner votes. Yet on the first anniversary of the Modi government’s ascent to power, Modi and several other senior BJP ministers and leaders claimed credit for delivering scam-free governance. Now the claim is being washed away by a virtual flood of corruption cases surfacing almost on a daily basis.

The shadow cast by the damning disclosures on Lalitgate is getting darker with every passing day. What initially appeared to be a case of impropriety and conflict of interest on the part of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has now been exposed to be an intricate and intimate multidimensional nexus involving Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and her son Dushyant Singh who is also a BJP MP. The clout enjoyed by Lalit Modi grew through the earlier term of Raje as Rajasthan CM with state property being clandestinely converted into lucrative private property and Lalit Modi expanding and consolidating his business interest with the launch of the money-spinning annual inter-city cricket carnival called IPL.

The Congress is now revelling in the revelations of the Raje-Modi nexus. But it is common knowledge that the rise of Lalit Modi as the IPL czar owed no less to the blessings of powerful Congress/UPA leaders. And as far as the issue of private appropriation of the controversial Dholpur palace is concerned, the Congress cannot absolve itself of its past complicity and silence. The Ashok Gehlot government had done nothing to undo this illegal appropriation, rather it validated the wrongful appropriation with payment of hefty compensation to Dushyant Singh for land utilised for road construction. The power wielded by the likes of Vasundhara Raje, Dushyant Singh and Lalit Modi is no aberration in today’s India; it is typical of the crony capitalism that has evolved on the feudal soil of apparently abolished landlordism and princely status.

Rajasthan is not the only BJP-ruled state where corruption has become the talking point. In fact, corruption is fast becoming the common characteristic of every BJP-ruled state. Take the case of Madhya Pradesh where the BJP has been uninterruptedly in power for more than a decade. The government here is overshadowed by the Vyapam (the board that conducts all tests in the state for admission and recruitment in various services) scam with senior RSS functionaries alleged to have been manipulating the recruitment process in connivance with ministers and bureaucrats. This systematic manipulation has not only promoted financial corruption but also ensured that the professional network is filled overwhelmingly by loyal pro-RSS people. The MP government has been brazenly suppressing the scam since it got exposed a few years ago, and more than thirty people from among the accused and witnesses have already died under suspicious circumstances.

Two ministers of the Maharashtra cabinet – women and child welfare minister Pankaja Munde and education minister Vinod Tawde – also stand accused of major irregularities, ordering purchases at excessive prices without issuing public tender. Dubious deals with business houses – the so called sweet deals between business and politics – remain an open secret in states like Gujarat and mineral-rich Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Then there are the Smriti Iranis who are stubbornly continuing in office despite having been exposed to be guilty of submitting anomalous affidavits in elections.

Modi and the BJP used to blame Manmohan Singh for his silence even as the UPA government got embroiled in scam after scam. Modi had sarcastically renamed Manmohan Singh as Maunmohan Singh for his notorious silence. But ever since he became Prime Minister, Modi too has been practising selective silence. His silence on the issue of communal hate speeches delivered by his colleagues has been as ominous as his own hate speeches in the wake of the Gujarat genocide in 2002. And now even on the issue of corruption charges concerning his own government and party, he has become conspicuously silent. In his latest Mann Ki Baat (straight from the heart) radio speech, he talked about yoga and encouraged his listeners to send him selfies taken with their daughters, but remained absolutely tight-lipped about the scams involving his own party and government.

Ironically, while Modi practises silence on charges of communal hate and corruption, the things he talks about – yoga and ‘selfie with daughters’ for example – are also being used by BJP/RSS leaders, activists and many of those who proudly proclaim themselves as Modi Bhakts to target conscientious citizens and entire communities and ideological currents. Vice President Hamid Ansari was targeted on the issue of yoga by BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, while CPI(ML) leader Kavita Krishnan was singled out for a campaign of vile abuses on social media for raising the well documented issue of the Gujarat government under Modi snooping on a young woman architect.

The Modi government and the BJP must not be allowed to get away – neither with their selective silences nor with their vicious hate campaigns – and must be held accountable for every scam, every act of communal hate and violence and every assault on the livelihood and liberties of the people. Rajnath Singh has brazenly said that NDA ministers will not resign. This arrogance of power must be defeated and the democratic opinion of the country must press ahead with the demand for resignation of tainted BJP ministers.

AIPF, CPI(ML) organize Anti-Emergency Programmes on 26 June

On 26 June 1975, the Indira Gandhi led Congress government had imposed Emergency in India. On 26 June 2015, to mark the 40th anniversary of this day, AIPF and CPI(ML) held anti emergency programmes in different parts of the country.

In Delhi, an evening of protest was organised at Jantar Mantar to voice protest against the ‘Emergency then and now’. The programme was conducted by Com. Kavita Krishnan. Activist and lawyer, N. D. Pancholi, talked about the Rss & BJP leaders’ apologies offered to the government during the emergency and their cowering before Indira Gandhi, quoting none other than current BJP member, Subramanian Swamy. He quoted excerpts from a write up by Subramanian Swamy, published in The Hindu in 2000 that showed how the then RSS chief, Balasaheb Deoras, wrote several apology letters to Indira Gandhi from inside the Yerawada jail in Pune and also on how Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee had written apology letters to Indira Gandhi where after he remained on parole. The evening also saw protest songs sung by Sangwari and a beautiful rendition of ‘Bol ke lab azzad hai’ by Roma Malik. She also spoke about the struggles being fought by the adivasis to keep their land from being forcefully grabbed. Shabnam Hashmi sang a song composed to mock Indira Gandhi during the emergency. Prof. Atul Sood of JNU spoke about the undeclared emergency that the country was facing today. Poems were read out by Viren Dangwal and Vishnu Nagar. A ragini on Modi was performed by Satbir Shramik. Select film clippings were also presented by Sanjay Joshi, national convenor of Cinema of Resistance during the programme.

In Patna, an AIPF organized an evening of protest on ‘Emergency then and now’ in Gandhi Maidan in Patna. CPI(ML) General Secretary, Com. Dipankar addressed the gathering and cautioned them regarding the signs of emergency that could be seen and heard in today’s context. Programmes were also organized in Bhagalpur and several other places in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh where anti-emergency rallies were held protesting against increasing assaults on people’s democratic rights and livelihood in current times by the incumbent government.

Bihar ASHA Worker’s Strike Ends After Receiving Assurances on Major Demands

The ASHA workers union in Bihar (Gope group) had started a state wide strike on 21 June 2015. Though the ASHA workers form the backbone of the various health care programmes in India, there has been no attempt by the governments to address their essential concerns. Denied monthly honorarium, regularisation, basic facilities such as toilets and changing rooms in work places and subjected to continuous harassment by hospital doctors and staff, more than 15000 ASHA workers joined the strike bringing the rural health care services to a standstill.

During the period of strike, several demonstrations, marches and other programmes were undertaken. However instead of responding to the demands of the striking workers, the state government initially chose to respond by way of threats and oppression. There were concerted efforts to break their spirit by way of spreading several rumours and misinformation. However, undeterred by these threats and newer assaults, the ASHA workers continued to fight for their rights including- fixing a minimum of Rs. 15,000 as monthly honorarium, regularisation and dignified working conditions. AIARLA also extended support to the strike and announced effigy burning of the CM in front of various block headquarters between 23-25 June. A letter of demands was submitted to Health Department officials by Com. Shashi Yadav, CPI(ML) central committee member and the state president of ASHA workers union.

Finally the concerned authorities were forced to respond and talks were held between the Principal Secretary of the Health Department and a delegation comprising of Com. Shashi Yadav, leader of Gope group federation, Com. Rambali Prasad and AICCTU leader Ranvijay Kumar. The Principal Secretary assured of concrete steps towards fixing of a monthly honorarium and regularisation of ASHA workers. The delegation was also assured the cases filed against the ASHA workers and the disciplinary actions on the striking workers will also be taken back.

AIPF’s Statement of 30 June on the Arrest of Activists by UP Govt

The AIPF condemns the arrest today of AIPF Campaign Committee Member Roma Malik and AIYUWP leader Sokalo Gond in Sonbhadra. The arrest took place this morning, the same day that a rally of the All India People’s Forum (AIPF) was planned in Sonbhadra. The rally was held to culminate the country-wide 100-day Land Rights Labour Rights campaign by the AIPF and raise the question of undeclared Emergency and the climate of fear and repression in India and in Uttar Pradesh. The police also detained others including a District Committee member of the CPI(ML) Bijan and NTUI leader Avijit, but released them in the evening.

In spite of the efforts of the administration and police to disrupt and terrorise the participants in the rally, the rally took place. Thousands gathered and assembled on the street itself and held the ‘sabha’ without a mike, with defiance and determination. The sabha was addressed by Sandeep Pandey of Socialist Party India, Ashok Choudhury, All India General Secretary of the AIUFWP, CPI(ML) Central Committee member and AIPF Campaign Committee member Mohd. Salim, AIUFWP leaders Mata Dayal and Sanjay Kumar from Bundelkhand, All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) leaders Jeera Bharti, Om Prakash Singh and Bhakt Prakash Srivastava, and activists Shankar Kol, Vijay Kol and Shahjehan. The meeting was conducted by CPI(ML) Central Committee member Sudhakar Yadav.

The arrests of Roma Malik and Sokalo Gond is the latest in a series of repressive actions by the Sonbhadra district administration to crack down on activists resisting the grab of forest land and for rights and dignity of the adivasis and the rural poor. The enthusiastic participation in the rally sent a message that the people’s struggles would not yield to terror tactics by the Government.

The AIPF demands the release of Roma Malik and Sokalo Gond, and an end to the harassment of activists in the region.

CPI(ML) Activists Lathicharged and Arrested for Attempting to Stop Demolition Drive Targeting Poor in Chandigarh

Dhanas is a small colony situated in the Union territory of Chandigarh and it also houses several workers living and working in the city. Since last few years there have been concerted efforts to demolish the houses of the poor in Dhanas. CPI(ML) has been waging a determined struggle to safeguard the interests of the poor residing in Dhanas and has successfully managed to stall several such attempts to displace the people living there. A few days back, while no legal notice was served to the people, it came to the notice of CPI(ML) and Inaquilabi Naujwaan Sabha (INS) activists through various newspapers and administrative personnel that a demolition drive was being planned on 30 June. It may be noted that this is a month of incessant rains. Also, the colony also houses several Muslim families who are observing Ramzaan fasts this month. The very plan to carry out demolition at such a time reeks of heightened insensitivity. In light of the impending threat on the shelter of several hundreds, CPI(ML) and INS activists decided to take immediate steps to ensure that people were not forced out of their homes. They decided to call for a dharna outside the DC’s office. However, not only did the DC refuse to meet the protestors, a lathi charge was ordered on the people and used tear gas to try and to disburse them. However, hundreds of people continued to protest and in the process were also injured. CPI(ML) and INS leaders Com. Kanwaljeet, Com. Eisha, Com. Navkiran, Com. Jyoti and Com. Hasmeet were arrested and continue to be in custody. Angered by the response of the authorities, hundreds of people blocked the sector 16 road. About 100 people were arrested while blocking the road. A protest day has been called in Punjab on 30 June to carry on the struggle and protest against the atrocities carried out on the protestors and the arrests made.

AIPWA-CPI(ML) Organize a Memorial Lecture on the 8th Death Anniversary of Comrade Jeeta Kaur in Mansa

A memorial lecture was organized by AIPWA-CPI(ML) on 8 June 2015, in Mansa (Punjab) to mark the 8th death anniversary of the national leader of AIPWA and CPI(ML), Com. Jeeta Kaur. The topic of the lecture was – ‘Policies of the Modi government and the situation of women’. Several hundred women attended this memorial, organized by the Mansa district unit of AIPWA in Bachat Bhawan. The lecture was chaired by noted playwright and daughter of thinker Gurusharan Singh, Dr. Areet. Others in the chairing committee included Prof. Kanwaljeet Kaur Dhillon, Harbans Kaur Acharwaal, tej Kaur Bhupaal, Beant Kaur Taamkot. Referring to the Badal Govt and family that has been running the State Govt, she said that not only had they sidelined the humanitarian ideals propounded by the various Sikh gurus, they had also pushed the women of the state towards seeking refuge in paraphernalia and superstitions.

The chief speaker on the occasion, Prof. Kanwaljeet Singh Dhillon, who has been active in movements for women rights since very long, said that acting on the directives of the RSS, the Modi government was trying very hard to propagate a culture that is against the women, dalits and the religious minorities. She said that because of the pro-corporate policies of the government, in Punjab as also in the rest of the country, the incidents of honour killing, female foeticide, violence against women, and sexual assaults against women had been increasing. She emphasised on the need for women to be educated by saying that literacy was the first step towards awakening and uniting. The other leaders who also spoke on the occasion invoked the women to join the struggle since the women will themselves have to enter the struggle for social, economic and political equality.

Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha District Conference in Nainital

The third district conference of the Nainital district unit of Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha was held on 21 June at Bindukhatta, Nainital. The chief guest of the conference was the national secretary of the Kisan Mahasabha, Com. Puroshotam Sharma. Inaugurating the conference, Com. Puroshotam said that today through the land acquisition ordinance, the Modi government wanted to snatch lakhs of acres of land from the farmers across the country and hand it over to the big corporate houses. He pointed out that even in Uttarakhand, in the name of urban development, and for establishing 100 new towns, a conspiracy is underway to evict farmers from their lands. By making the laws for purchase of land in hilly regions and for change in land use, the Harish Rawat government had opened the gates for land grab in the state. The farmers of the region will give a befitting response to such moves.

Several political resolutions were passed at the conference. The key resolutions included- (i) demand for a CBI inquiry into the corruption in management of relief funds that were received post the 2013 calamity; (ii) rehabilitation of all the people affected by the 2013 calamity; (iii) revoke the decision to turn Bindukhatta into a municipality and give ownership rights of the land to the farmers; among others. It was also resolved that on the day of the inauguration municipality office in Bindukhatta, a protest will be staged in which thousands of farmers will march to the municipality office.

The Conference also elected a 31 member district council and a 9 member district executive. Comrade Bahadur Singh was elected as the district President and Com. Rajendra Shah was elected as the district secretary. Comrades Kamalpati Joshi, Captain Shankar Singh Chufaal, Ghulam Nabi, Hayaat Ram and Pushkar Ram were elected as district Vice Presidents, while Com. Vimla Ronthan was elected as the Joint Secretary.

Protest in Phulwaari Sharif Block to Demand Basic Facilities for the Mahadalits Rresiding in the Block

Under the leadership of CPI(ML), a forceful protest demonstration was staged on 18 May by Mahadalits residing in the north of Beur Jail and towards the south of Maila Tanki to demand basic facilities. The demands raised by the included- 5-5 dismil land for each mahadalit family, and provisions of toilets, bathhouses, electricity, safe drinking water and primary education centre (Anganwaadi) in Musahri. The protest demonstration was led by CPI(ML) CC member, Com. Shashi Yadav, CPI(ML) leaders Com. Ramnaresh Yadav, Com. Murtaja Ali and others. Participating in the protest demonstration, hundreds of women, men and children marched from Beur to Phulwaari block. Thereafter a six member delegation comprising of Com. Shashi Yadav, Com. Ramnaresh Ram, Com. Murtaja Ali, Com. Krishna Kumar Sinha, Com. Gorki Devi and Com. Subhash Manjhi held talks with the Block Development Officer (BDO), Circle Officer (CO) and the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO). The zonal authorities assured the delegation that a quick and a significant action would be taken on the issue of providing land to the mahadalit families. They further ensured that letters would be written to the authorities of the concerned authorities on the other demands raised. The CDPO assured that an anganwadi for primary education will soon be established.

CPI(ML) Candidate Wins the Council Election from Ramgarh Camp

Ramgarh is a district town in Jharkhand with a population of about 45 thousand that has been divided into 8 wards. Dozens of tribal and dalit villages have been included in the Ramagrah Camp council. However, nearly 67 years after the independence, the people residing here remain deprived of basic facilities such as education, health, roads, accommodation, and pension schemes for old, widows and the physically challenged. Several areas in the villages have been declared as ‘restricted areas’ as a result of which the villagers cannot build pakka houses. People residing in the Ramgarh camp are required to travel to Patratu block to get caste and domicile certificates and also for the payment of land revenue. However, when it comes to the development of the people, authorities of both the zones shirk of their responsibility claiming that it is the responsibility of the other. When any funds for development are received, the administration head who is a Brigadier, distributes it among army personnel. CPI(ML) has been waging a long struggle over the issues of the villagers and the willfulness of the army. In the elections for ward numbers 1 and 7 of the Ramgarh Camp Council on 17 May, Com. Manita Devi and Com. Prabhu Karmaali fought elections as CPI(ML) candidates. In ward number 7, Com. Prabhu Karmaali received 1043 votes, defeating his nearest rival by 193 votes. An active member of the CPI(ML) since 1982, Com. Karmaali has been active in several struggles fought over people’s issues. Despite the attempts by competitors to spread misinformation about the party, the party is committed to bring together the poor workers, farmers, dalits and adivasis and carry forward struggles on their issues.

Obituary
Praful Bidwai

CPI(ML) expresses shock and grief over the sudden demise of renowned journalist, noted columnist, anti-nuclear activist and Left political commentator Praful Bidwai. Known to speak truth to the powers that be, he always wrote and spoke what he truly believed in, without fearing the consequences. His particular efforts towards ensuring a world that was free of war and nuclear weapons and energy were reflected in his tireless activism in the anti-nuclear movements, as well as in his writings. He wrote extensively on this subject and also founded founded the Coalition of Nuclear Disarmament and Peace in 2000. A powerful voice for the left in India, he was also consistent in his efforts to fight promotion of prejudice, superstitions and non-scientific thinking in education. Co awarded International Peace Bureau’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize along with Prof. Achin Vinayak, he was committed to a vision of secular, democratic and an egalitarian India. CPI(ML) joins Praful Bidwai’s many friends and comrades in mourning his loss. The demise of Praful Bidwai is a huge loss for the democratic movement in India as people’s movement has lost a consistent champion and friend.

Red Salute to Com. Praful Bidwai

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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ML Update | No.26,| 2015

June 27, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 26, 23 ­– 29 JUNE 2015

Resist BJP’s Agenda of Yoking Yoga to Communal Politics

The long-standing global appeal of yoga as an easy and affordable choice for staying fit and healthy has now been recognised by the UN with the declaration of June 21 as the International Yoga Day. The interest and participation witnessed on the occasion of the first IYD in India and beyond reflected this popularity.

But for the Modi government and RSS-BJP leadership, yoga has turned into yet another weapon of political propaganda, cultural homogenization and communal targeting, apart from promoting the interests of a select few who have made fortunes by commercializing yoga. It is therefore imperative to make a clear distinction between yoga as an Indian heritage as well as a modern-day fitness choice and the Sangh-BJP politics of yoga.

As part of Indian heritage and tradition, it is important to recognise the plural origin and development of yoga with multiple schools and exponents contributing to its popularisation. Most yoga positions and postures are inspired by natural phenomena and the animal world and have no overt religious connotation or symbolism. Yet by trying to make it compulsory in schools and blaming Muslims for non-adherence (BJP leader Ram Madhav, for example, questioned the absence of Vice President Hamid Ansari in IYD celebrations in Delhi before withdrawing his communally motivated tweet), the BJP is bent on using yoga as an item of cultural regimentation and communal polarisation.

In his IYD message, Modi cautioned against commodification of yoga. Yet, the BJP scheme of yoga promotion revolves primarily around Baba Ramdev who has built up a massive business empire by selling yoga and a growing array of products with dubious claims of curing diseases and reinforcing sexist attitudes and superstitious beliefs. Of the 600-odd camps where IYD was observed under official patronage, a good many were outsourced to centres run by Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar. Instead of promoting yoga as a free personal choice and private experience, the Modi government has turned yoga into a state-sponsored televised public spectacle.

Let us now consider the issue in the context of public health. Contrast the Modi government’s all-out promotion of yoga to the growing neglect of public health infrastructure and services, and it becomes clear that for the BJP the yoga campaign is not really part of any public health agenda. For all its health benefits yoga is no panacea for India’s acute public health crisis. And a government which is busy slashing its health budget and social welfare spending, and is systematically abdicating the state’s responsibility of providing universal healthcare, cannot absolve itself of its guilt by just patronizing yoga promotion events and subsidising dubious yoga commerce. Indeed, Bhopal gas disaster survivors used the IYD occasion to tell the world how the government has shut down yoga centres meant for them. Like the much-touted ‘swachhata abhiyan’, the yoga campaign too promises to be another grand televised exercise in tokenism.

The IYD celebrations came close on the heels of the surfacing of the first major scam of the Modi government. The government which came to power promising repatriation of black money and corruption-free governance now stands deeply implicated in patronizing the kingpin of IPL scam defying the law of the land. The mass resentment generated by the land grab ordinance, escalating prices, and cases of complicity in corruption is not going to be swept aside by the IYD hype.

We are approaching the 40th anniversary of the infamous Emergency. The agenda of cultural regimentation in the wake of IYD is one of symptoms of Modi’s authoritarian, ‘Supreme Leader’ style of governance that presents the undeclared but very real threat of Emergency in India today. We must resolve to resist this undeclared Emergency and defend our diversity and freedom with all our might.

Government Concedes Demands after an Effective Strike by Bihar State Karyapalak Sahayak Sangh

The recently formed Bihar State Karyapalak Sahayak Sangh (Bihar State Peons and Assistants Union) staged an effective state wide strike from 8 June to 11 June with a 7 point demand charter including regularization of service, increase in honorarium (from 9,000 to 20,000), and maintaining seniority of those who are removed after a project is finished so that they may be re-employed. The BSKSS, associated with the Mahasangh (Gope group) and AICCTU, had on 26 May submitted their demands to the Chief Secretary, General Administration, who had called them for talks on 5 June and also asked upper Project Director, Bihar Administrative Reforms Mission Society to be present. However, on 27 May the upper Project Director issued directives for honorarium raise which was very discriminatory (from 9,000 to 10,500 for karyapalak sahayaks, from 30,000 to 40,000 for IT managers, from 10,000 to 17,000 for IT assistants). The talk to be held on 5 June was also mysteriously cancelled. The Sangh submitted a letter of protest on 29 May.

Outraged, the BSKSS gave notice of the strike on 5 June and a 4 day strike was successfully carried out. On the first day itself, the administration started putting pressure for ending the strike. On the second day Chief Secretary Amir Subhani issued a directive notice ordering appointment of new karyapalak sahayaks and sacking of the striking sahayaks. On 10 June, copies of this directive were burnt in protest in 35 district HQs of Bihar. On the same day a fresh notice was issued repeating the 9 June directive with an added note, “As the number of applications received for Bihar Lok Seva Adhikar in 32 dstricts is zero, the process of removing the striking sahayaks from service should be started immediately”.

However, the administration had to finally bow down in the face of the effectiveness of the strike and on 11 June Amir Subhani called a delegation (which included Rambali Yadav, Ranvijay Kumar, Ashish Kumar, and Mohd. Belal) for talks, during which Shri Subhani gave positive assurance on all the 7 demands of the striking sahayaks. He promised to raise the issue of regularization strongly in the committee constituted to look into the regularization of sahayaks. Agreeing that the honorarium rise was unfair to sahayaks, he promised to rectify and increase it within a month. He also promised that the validity of the seniority panel would be increased from 1 year to 3 or 5 years. In case of theft or damage to the computer system (which belongs personally to the sahayak), the honorarium would be maintained, and pending honorariums in various departments would also be paid without delay. After the talks, the strike was conditionally called off with the caveat that if the promised assurances were not fulfilled within the stipulated time limit, a stronger strike would be organized. A letter to this effect was submitted to the department on 12 June.

Sahayaks from 33 out of 38 districts participated in the strike, and were joined later by 2 more districts. Work came to a standstill in about 500 out of 523 blocks. Dharnas were held simultaneously during the strike by sahayaks in various districts. In Patna the dharna was held in front of the Collectorate.

Eight Day Hunger Strike in Ara by CPI(ML) Leaders

Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha State Secretary, Com. Sudama Prasad and RYA President Com. Raju Yadav sat on an 8 day hunger strike in front of the Ara Collectorate from 6 June to 13 June to demand – (i) payment to farmers for paddy purchase, (ii) crop damage compensation to farmers and sharecroppers, (iii) arrangement for water in canals, (iv) quick completion of the Dedhua project, (v) to end cuts in ration, kerosene, MNREGA, and Indira Awas, (vi) to give 5 decimal residential land to all poor, (vii) revoke the Land Grab ordinance, (viii) take back all false cases on CPI(ML) leaders, and (ix) to regularize contractual and honorarium workers and teachers. The district authorities paid no heed to and did not even bother to meet the protesters, who then did a chakka jam on 10 June and called for a bandh on 12 June.

On 13 June the leaders broke their fast and accepted juice from CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya and State Secretary Com. Kunal. Addressing the meeting on the occasion, Com. Dipankar said that the 8 day hunger strike held up the mirror to the anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the central as well as Bihar governments. He pointed out that farmers, workers, shikshakarmis, anganwadi workers, and others are being cheated of their rights. Instead of rule of the people, these governments have brought in Company Raj. Farmers’ suicides have spilled over from Maharashtra and Punjab into the entire country. The livelihoods of workers, youth, and small shopkeepers are in jeopardy. The jan-dhan accounts are only another means to cheat the people. Com. Dipankar said that Nitish’s opposition to the Land ordinance is not credible because he himself is guilty of grabbing land through BIADA, and liquor factories that are being run on bhoodaan land in Patna. He said that Bhojpur, true to its revolutionary traditions would fight to overturn these governments and their anti-people and anti-poor policies.

The meeting was also addressed by AIARLA National President Com. Rameshwar Prasad, Kisan Mahasabha National General Secretary Com. Rajaram Singh, Com. Sudama Prasad, Com. Raju Yadav, AISA State Secretary Com. Ajit Kushwaha, Kisan Mahasabha Bhojpur district Secretary Com. Chandradeep Singh, and Com. Sudhir Suman. A 12 point political resolution was read out and a mass protest against the Land ordinance was announced for 26 June. A resolution was also passed against the insensitive behavior of the Bhojpur DM which did not befit a public servant.

News was received that after this agitation, the Bihar State Co-operative Bank sent Rs 370 crores to the central co-operative banks of all districts for payment of paddy purchase to the farmers. Com. Sudama Prasad and Com. Chandradeep Singh said that this was a victory for the protesters. They asserted that the financially burdened farmers of Bhojpur would not commit suicide but would fight to keep their land, their agriculture, and their dignity.

AIPF fact finding team visits Palamu to Investigate Cases of State-police Repression and Social Oppression

The team comprising of ex-MLA from CPI(ML), Vinod Singh, Ananta Prasada Gupta, Dayamani Barla, Jugal Pal and Anil Anshuman, investigated the incidents of – murder of civil rights activist Prahlad Sao by the coal mafia in Chandwa of Latehar district, killing of 12 people by the police in a fake encounter in Bakoriya (Satbarwa) of Manika, molestation of a minor girl by a CRPF jawan in Betla, and burning of dalit-adivasi homes in Anharidhodha (Chainpur) of Palamu district.

(i) Murder of Civil Rights Activist Prahlad Sao

On 15 May, Prahlad Sao, well known activist and Jan Kalyan Samiti President was murdered. Till date the killers have not been caught. The AIPF team reached Tori on 17 June, and came to know many facts about the deadly business of mining and mafia in the region. For the last 7 or 8 months hundreds of trucks have been bringing illegally mined coal to platform 3 of Tori railway station from where it was sent by train route to Reliance, Amrapali, Dhanuka, BK, Hindalco and other companies. Local people informed the team that this illegal business received the protection and patronage of police and administration. Prahlad Sao’s family told the AIPF team that they used to get phone calls from IAS and IPS officers in Ranchi telling them to make their father stop the agitation. Some days ago, coal trader Dhanuka had come and said they could take as much money as they liked, but should stop obstructing the coal loading. The AIPF team has demanded CBI enquiry into the whole matter and stressed that the more important issue is not who fired the revolver but who is behind the firing.

(ii) Bakoriya (Satbarwa) Encounter Case

Twelve people were killed by the police in the name of Maoist encounter on the night of 8 June. Local people and media personnel told the AIPF team that this was a strange encounter where only people from one side were killed. The police did not suffer even a scratch. The dead received bullets on their chests. The police have said that four of the dead were Maoists, but are silent on the rest. The dead include four minor boys. The team visited the home of the victims and talked to their families and local villagers. While all of them gave statements in a mechanical way as if they were under pressure to speak as instructed, the general talk in the area was that the killings had been carried out by a criminal outfit JJMP which enjoys police patronage, and the police was taking vicarious “credit” for this fake encounter.

(iii) Betla Molestation Case

10 May, when a minor girl from Akhra village came to a primary school hand pump in Betla to draw water, one jawan from the Betla national park CRPF camp caught her and took her into a school room. He was accompanied by another jawan. A woman who was passing by raised an alarm to collect the villagers. The angry villagers went into the camp and demanded that both culprits be produced. But the camp officials denied the whole matter and said it was a false accusation. CPI(ML) leaders Birju Ram and Kanhai Singh reached the spot and, along with the angry people, demanded the immediate arrest of the molesters, and blocked the Barwadih main road. When the enquiry team reached the spot, the victim, her family, and hundreds of villagers gave full details of the incident. Eye witness Jeera Devi and many other women described the misbehaviour of the CRPF jawans.

(iv) Andharidhodha Case

On 18 June the AIPF team reached Andharidhodha village in Chainpur block of Palamu district where strongmen with political patronage had recently burnt down dalit-adivasi homes. CPI(ML) and Jharkhand Vanadhikar Manch, Chainpur, called a public meeting in village Navadih. A dalit-adivasi victim of the brutal arson incident described to the team how, at the instance of the Forest Department, armed strongmen (from the dominant Yadav community) from nearby village Jhalar came and abused them, beat them up, broke and destroyed all the things in their houses, and then doused the homes with kerosene and set fire to them, ordering the dalit-adivasis to leave the place.

Following the enquiries, a press conference was held in Daltonganj where AIPF leaders condemned the incidents at Chandwa, Bakoriya, Betla, and Andharidhodha and raised demands pertaining to investigation of these incidents, arrest of the culprits and punishment for the guilty. The team informed that a mahapanchayat would be held on 9 August in front of the Governor of Jharkhand at Ranchi to press the above demands.

School Building Construction Starts after Agitation

The school grounds in Agiaon (Bhojpur) had been under the control of dominant forces for many years, whereas 400 students had to study in merely 2 rooms of the school. This affected the working of the school badly and teaching came to a near standstill. The government was seen to be playing with and destroying the future of the children.

The people of the village had raised the issue with the block and district authorities. On 27 September 2014 they held a dharna at the block HQs. Beginning from 16 January this year, the school was kept under lock-out for 3 months. Despite everything, the dominant forces retained capture of the grounds, and construction of the school building could not be started.

Finally the people of the village, under the leadership of CPI(ML) and RYA, carried on a sustained struggle, cut down the trees and broke down the wall put up by these forces, and freed the school grounds. After this, the police administration, at the behest of the current MLA, former MLA, and his powerful brother, slapped false cases on 15 young men of the village. Instead of acting against the land grabbing dominant forces, the police continuously harassed RYA leader Manoj Manzil and other youth. When the 50-strong police came to arrest them, they had to face the wrath of the villagers and had to go back empty-handed. Protesting against this police action, hundreds of villagers including school children, students, youth and women took part in a gherao. Senior district officials assured them that the false cases would be taken back and construction of the school building would be started soon, after which the gherao was withdrawn. Addressing the gherao, Party leaders said that Nitish Kumar is destroying the future of the children, workers, and farmers of the village, but the CPI(ML) would not tolerate this and would launch widespread agitations for ensuring proper education for rural children.

Thus the government and the administration had to bow down in the face of strong agitation and the construction of the school building has finally started. The success of this agitation has enthused the people of the entire area and their faith in the CPI(ML)’s commitment to fight for people’s rights has increased.

Historic Bandh in Kaler Block (Arwal) for Electricity as Thousands Take to the Streets

Of the 5 blocks in Arwal district, Kaler is the only one which does not have electricity even in its Headquarters. In spite of several agitations, the people have so far received nothing but assurances from the administration. Several initiatives have been taken by the Bijli Lao Sangharsh Samiti which includes many Party leaders. Responding to the concerns of the villagers who have been raising the question of electricity, the CPI(ML) Arwal district committee held a meeting on 20 May 2015 and announced a bandh in Kaler block on 26 May. After a sustained campaign, the people gave a positive response to the bandh call. On 26 May people came out on the streets from 7 am. Most shopkeepers closed shop and gathered on NH 98, blocking the road. Soon people took to the streets in Validad, Parasi, Belasar and Amir Bigaha also. The bandh took on historic proportions, paralyzing the entire district. The bandh continued till late evening and meetings were organized at various places. Leaders addressing the meetings pointed out the step-motherly treatment meted out to Kaler by the Nitish government. The block headquarter was shut down and the BDO was obliged to come out on to the streets.

Finally, the electricity department officials and SDO assured the people that work on electrification would start within one week, after which the bandh was called off. The bandh had a visible effect, as a truckload of poles was unloaded very soon in Kaler, and a junior engineer conducted a survey in Validad for electrification. It is noteworthy that agitations by the CPI(ML) have been instrumental in bringing transformers and electricity to dozens of villages in Arwal. The people have been enthused by the initiatives taken by the Party for electrification.

Effective Agitation for Electricity in Giridih

As part of a series of agitations launched by the CPI(ML) against irregular electricity supply in Rajdhanwar block of Giridih district, a decisive “Ghera Dalo Dera Dalo” agitation was held on 21-22 May, led by Party MLA Rajkumar Yadav.

Hundreds of people under the leadership of Com. Rajkumar Yadav and Com. Rameshwar Choudhury marched from the block headquarters to the electricity office in Barjo and started the Ghera Dalo Dera Dalo. A huge gathering of people from Rajdhanwar, Gaava and Teesri blocks joined the agitation under the leadership of Kishori Agarwal, Nagehwar Yadav and Jainarayan Yadav. Posters at the venue declared that if the demands were not met by 22 May, the CPI(ML) MLA would sit on an indefinite hunger strike from 23 May.

Work at the electricity was brought to a standstill from 21 May, with the people at large participating actively in the bandh. The demands included changing of transformers in Rajdhanwar, and connecting the Rajdhanwar Vidhansabha line to the Giridih 33 KV line instead of to the Kodarma line which was full of faults and could not give a regular supply. Getting no positive response from the administration, the CPI(ML) MLA started his indefinite hunger strike on 23 May as announced. This news spread like wildfire and people from far and near started gathering at the venue, and even collected Rs 10,000 for the program. The response of the people shook the administration and they had perforce to take note of the agitation. On 24 May, about 4,000-5,000 people were gathered at the site of the strike. The administration hurriedly started talks at the hunger strike site itself, in which the electricity department General Manager, supervising engineer of DVC, Kherimahua civil SDO, Rajdhanwar BDO-CO, and Jharkhand State Electricity Board supervising engineer also participated. At the conclusion of the talks the administration bowed down and agreed to all the main demands of the people.

An Eight Day Strike Called by ASHA Workers Union in Bihar From 21-28 June

The ASHA workers union in Bihar (Gope group) has called for a strike from 21 to 28 June with support from CPI(ML) and AIPWA. The working conditions for ASHA workers in Bihar are in a terrible state. The workers do not receive monthly wages, are not provided with even basic toilet facilities in health centres where they work and there is not even changing room for their needs. Several doctors and other health centre staff mistreat them on a regular basis. They are paid a paltry sum of Rs. 75 per day for providing polio and other vaccinations. One month prior to the strike, the ASHA workers had submitted their demands to the government and to their department but there was no response. Instead of responding to the demands of ASHA workers, the government has instead chosen to resort to threatening and oppression. However, the ASHA workers remain undeterred in their spirit to carry on their struggle for their rights.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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