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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MLU-18-27.pdf

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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ML Update | No. 25 | 16-22 JUN 2015

June 19, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18 | No. 25 | 16-22 JUN 2015

Crony Capitalist Nexus Between Lalit Modi and Modi Government, BJP

The UPA Government lost credibility and earned people’s anger for the series of scams stemming from its crony capitalist nexus with corporations. Within a year of the Modi Government, it has become apparent that the Modi Government and BJP are deeply mired in the same crony capitalist nexus. The mutually beneficial relationship between Gautam Adani and Narendra Modi has always indicated this. And now further evidence is available in the form of revelations that BJP leaders and Modi Government Ministers have worked to help IPL scamster Lalit Modi evade the law in India.

It was the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in her earlier term, who had helped Lalit Modi get a foothold in the BCCI via the Rajasthan Cricket Association. She had done so by passing an ordinance that tweaked the rules to deny voting rights to powerful rival members, and by supporting Modi’s candidature in spite of his criminal conviction in a US court for drug possession, kidnapping and assault. The RCA coup paved the way for Lalit Modi’s journey to become BCCI Vice President and then IPL Chief.

After being implicated in multiple charges of corruption in the IPL scam, Lalit Modi fled to the UK. In 2011, the Enforcement Directorate got his passport revoked and issued a blue-corner notice against him, requiring foreign law enforcement agencies to detain and deport him back to India to face questioning and trial. In 2014, the Delhi High Court restored Modi’s passport citing that the ED had presented inadequate materials to justify revocation of the passport. Significantly, the ED under the Modi Government’s Finance Ministry, and the MEA, did not challenge the Delhi HC order.

It now emerges that Sushma Swaraj, when she held the Constitutional post of leader of the Opposition in Parliament, sought his help to secure admission for her nephew in a UK University. Her husband and daughter are Lalit Modi’s lawyers. As Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj intervened to help Modi secure travel documents to allow him to leave the UK for Portugal. Swaraj now claims this was a ‘humanitarian’ gesture that allowed Modi to be with his wife for cancer treatment in a Portugal hospital. If that was the case, why did she not stipulate a specific period for which travel permission be granted? Why did she make no effort to get Modi to return to India to face justice? Lalit Modi is now holidaying in Montenegro, brazenly mocking the Indian investigative and legal process. Sushma Swaraj’s ‘humanitarian’ relationship with scamster Lalit Modi is similar to her ‘blessings’ to the scam-tainted Bellary brothers in the past.

It also emerges that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, when she was leader of the Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly in 2011, gave testimony backing Lalit Modi’s bid to get a permit to stay in the UK. She did so “on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authority.” The testimony explicitly relies on Raje’s weight as a leader of Opposition, a leader of the BJP and a member of a prominent political family with links in both Congress and BJP. This means that Raje used her clout in a Constitutional post to assist a fugitive from Indian law – carefully seeking to hide this assistance from Indian authorities. Raje’s Rajasthan Government also signed an MoU with the Portugal hospital where Lalit Modi’s wife was treated, a couple of months after her surgery.

The manner in which BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje and the Modi Government helped a scam-tainted person evade Indian law and live freely in foreign countries, mocks the BJP’s, RSS’ and Narendra Modi’s claims of probity and patriotism.

Corruption does not simply involve an exchange of bribes or money. The deep, mutually beneficial links between political leaders, parties and Governments, and corporations are the very essence of cronyism and corruption. The lack of enthusiasm of the Enforcement Directorate under the Modi Government for pursuing cases of corruption against Adani, Ambani or Lalit Modi; the decision to bail out Mukesh Ambani’s loss-making Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Limited by rescheduling its repayment of loans to public sector banks from 2019-20 to 2030-31; and the ED’s recent decision to drop a Rs 1000 crore case of money laundering against Baba Ramdev, are instances of the Government’s special favours to corporations that have close relationships with the Government and with BJP leaders.

Narendra Modi has recently claimed that the country was ‘scam India’ until he took over the reigns as Prime Minister. Why is Narendra Modi silent now on the manner in which the MEA and Finance Ministry as well as a prominent leader of his party have all helped the scam-accused Lalit Modi evade the Indian legal system?

Dangerous Jingoism in the Wake of the Myanmar Operation

The jingoistic rhetoric and posturing by the Modi Government as well as sections of the media in the wake of the Indian Army’s recent Myanmar operation is extremely irresponsible and harmful to India’s interests as well as to peace in the Soth Asian neighbourhood.

The ambush that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers in Manipur is condemnable. It also underlines the failure of the Government at making headway with a political resolution to conflicts in the North East. The mysterious Myanmar operation clouded in jingoistic frenzy is no answer to the many conflicts in the region, and can in fact worsen the situation considerably.

The aggressive boasts made in the wake of the operation have damaged India’s relationship with Myanmar and the much-vaunted ‘Look East’ policy. Myanmar has denied that it was a cross-border attack at all. Insurgent groups have denied heavy losses on their side. It is unclear if what, if anything, has been gained by the action. But doubtless, the Government’s chest-thumping over the action has damaged peace in the region.

The manner in which spokespersons of the ruling party and sections of the media have used the action to bandy about threats of a ‘hot pursuit’ policy in the territory of Pakistan and China, is of extreme concern.

Defence Minister Manohar Parriker for instance has said that respect for the Army is waning because India has not fought a war in decades, and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has similarly observed that India has not fought a ‘serious’ war in decades, since Kargil was a mere one-sided skirmish. These remarks expose the fact that BJP leaders want to impose wars and Army ‘actions’ on India and its neighbours, for political gains, with no concern for the grievous human costs. India and Pakistan are both armed with nuclear weapons – such irresponsible war-mongering threatens the people of both countries with mutual destruction.

It must be remembered that the key to resolving conflicts in the North East and Kashmir lie in dialogue towards a political resolution. Towards this end, the first and most urgent requirement is to heed the calls of the citizens of these regions for scrapping of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and ensuring accountability and justice for all crimes against citizens by armed forces.

Akhilesh Yadav Government Must Answer for Murderous Attacks on UP Journalists

A Shahjahanpur-based journalist Jagendra Singh who had exposed a scam involving Uttar Pradesh’s Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Ram Murti Verma, was set on fire and burnt alive by policemen during a ‘raid’ on his house. He has succumbed to his injuries, after implicating the Samajwadi Party Government Minister in his dying declaration.

In Pilibhit, another journalist who had exposed dubious land deals was tied to a motorcycle and dragged.

These horrific incidents point to the free rein enjoyed by criminals under patronage of the Akhilesh Yadav Government and ruling Samajwadi Party.

The CPI(ML) condemns these incidents and demands independent judicial probes to establish the nexus between police, corrupt and criminal forces, and Minister and SP leaders behind these attacks, and to punish the guilty.

CPI (ML)’s ongoing struggle in Bhojpur for farmers

Since 6 June, CPI (ML) leaders Comrade Sudama Prasad and Comrade Raju Yadav had been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding immediate payment to farmers from whom paddy had been procured but the payment had been delayed by nearly two months and also payment of compensation to farmers and sharecroppers whose crops had suffered due to hailstorms and untimely rains a few weeks ago. Days after the indefinite hunger strike had started, the government officials had failed to even meet the hunger strikers. In solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike and CPI (ML) called for a Bhojpur Bandh and Chakka Jaam on 12 June 2015. Several Nukkad Sabhas were held in days leading to the Bandh to mobilize the masses and increase the pressure on the officials to respond to the demands of the farmers. On 12 June, thousands of people responded to the CPI (ML)’s call and for hours buses and rails were stopped during Chakka Jaam. Protest marches were also organized in Ara, in which people from Ara and other areas of Bhojpur too participated in large numbers.

Protest demonstration in Delhi over appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Chairperson

The recent appointments of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman, Anagha Ghaisas and Shailesh Gupta as Governing Council members of FTII have been made not on the basis of creative contributions in the field but solely on the basis of their loyalty to the RSS-BJP brigade. The students of FTII have been engaged in a determined protest against the appointment of Gajendra Singh as Chairman of FTII. AISA and JNUSU earlier in the week released statements congratulating the students for their spirited protests and expressed solidarity with the students. JNUSU president and AISA leader Com. Ashutosh Kumar has also left for Pune to join the agitating students in an expression of solidarity.

On 16 June 2015, Students, Flimmakers, Alumuni of FTII, Students of FTII and student organisation participated in a protest at the I&B Ministry at Shastri Bhavan. The protest was in solidarity with the on going students strike at FTII and the Saffron appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council of FTII. Nakul Sawney, Filmmaker, Sanjeev Sood Sec of the Northern Region of the Alumni Association of FTII, Kishlay ex- Gen Sec of FTIISA, President of NSDSU Naresh, JNUSU VP Anant, Student Organisations like PACHHAS and Naujawan Bharat Sabha participated in the protest.

A delegation met the PS of Arun Jaitley and submitted a memorandum to him which stated that the current Chairman Appointee doesn’t hold the necessary credentials needed to hold a post of such immense responsibilities an. There are wide ranging speculations of the appointments in FTII (the Chairman and other newly appointed governing council members) being political and to make the situation worse, Mr Gajendra Chauhan is a known face of the ruling party. His association with BJP and his selection bypassing well known stalwarts, has created an atmosphere of mistrust and anger among the student-teacher-film maker fraternity.

Speaking at the protest Sucheta De, National President of AISA said, ‘We are time and again seeing that appointments to the heads of institution are being made as a reward for being loyal to the ruling party rather than actually fulfilling the criterion required for the said post. This is the case for institutions like ICHR, ICCR, Censor Board etc. The students of FTII have shown that this won’t be allowed and we have to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Nakul Shawney filmmaker said, ‘The FTII has produced filmmakers who have shunned corporate funding and made films by collecting money from the public, it is this idea that the Government wants to kill but we shall not allow it to happen. Kishlay, Ex Gen Secretary of the FTIISA and Sanjeev Sood, Secretary of the Alumni Association of FTII, Northern Region, representatives from PACHHAs and Naujawan Bharat Sabha also spoke at the protest.

AIPF Dharna in to demand basic rights for Bhagalpur 1989 riots victims

The Bhagalpur unit of AIPF called for a dharna on 10 June 2015 to carry forward the struggle of Bhagalpur riots victims for their rights. Nearly 26 years after the Bhagalpur riots, the riots victims and those displaced are yet to be given complete compensation. The dharna was organized to raise the demands which included (i) complete compensation for the displaced, injured and those who lost their family members, (ii) housing provision under the Indira Awaas, (iii) inclusion of names in the BPL list, and other basic rights. The dharna was organized in front of the Amarpur block head-office in Banka district.

Left Parties Joint Activists’ Conference in Madhya Pradesh

CPI-ML, CPI, CPI (M), and SUCI (C) organized a State level joint activists’ conference on 24 May at Neelam Park in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) to oppose the Land Acquisition ordinance, to demand compensation to farmers for crop damage due to unseasonal rains, and to discuss other burning issues. About 1500 activists from different districts of the State participated in the conference. CPI-ML activists from 3 districts in Chambal participated in good numbers.

The conference was organized at the initiative of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha national Vice President, Madhya Pradesh co-ordinator and CPI (ML) State in-charge Com. Devendra Kumar Chouhan. He emphasized the need for mobilizing Left activists against the anti-people policies of the Central and State BJP governments. CPI (ML) leader Com. Mohd. Khan Bharaiya, CPI (M) leader and former MP Com. Subhashini Ali, CPI (M) State leader Com. Badal Saroj, CPI National Secretary Com. Amarjeet Kaur, Com. Shailendra Kumar Shaili and other Left leaders also addressed the conference. It was decided that dharnas and protests will be organized in various districts and blocks in the month of June against the Land Ordinance and other burning issues of the people. The leaders pointed out that the Central and State governments have failed on all fronts, therefore a pervasive and united Left movement must be carried out against the anti-people policies.

Left Farmers’ Organizations Hold Joint Protest in Bihar

Protest marches, dharnas, and meetings were held on 25 May in front of DM’s offices in different district of Bihar in response to the call from Kisan Sabha (Kedar Bhavan), Kisan Sabha (Jamal Road), Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha, Akhil Baratiya Kisan Gramin va Khet Mazdoor Sabha, All India Risak Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, Bihar Prantiya Khetihar Mazdoor Union, All India Kisan Federation, Bihar Rajya Khet Mazdoor Union, Akhil Bharatiya Agragami Kisan Sabha, Pragatisheel Kisan Sangh, Akhil Bharatiya Janvadi Kisan Sabha, Pragatisheel Khet Mazdoor Union, All India Khet Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, and other Left farmers’ organizations. The demands of the protesting farmers included- (i) revoking of the Land Grab ordinance, (ii) speedy payment for all farmers including sharecroppers after paddy purchase, (iii) curbing corruption, (iv) speedy compensation for all farmers including sharecroppers for crop loss due to unseasonal rains and ending scams related to compensation, (v) Rs 10 lakh compensation to farmers who committed suicide due to anti-farmer policies of the Centre as well as State, (vi) waiving of bank/moneylenders’ loans, (vii) making farming a productive occupation, (viii) guarantee of wheat crop sale by opening purchase centres, (ix) modernizing all canals including Son canal, (x) 20 hours electricity for villages, among several other demands.

In Patna the protest march started from Gandhi Maidan. The protest march was followed by a meeting addressed by National President of Akhil Bharatiya Gramin va Khet Mazdoor Sabha Rameshwar Prasad, Patna district Kisan Mahasabha Secretary Umesh Singh, Kisan Sabha State joint Secretary Rajendra Patel, and other leaders. Com. Rameshwar Prasad pointed out that the large scale migration from rural areas was due to the wrong policies of the government. He said that rural workers are facing starvation due to the Modi government’s cuts in MNREGA. In the absence of the Collector, a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Collector.

The protest in front of the Buxar Collectorate was led by Kisan Sabha State Vice President Alakh Narayan Chaudhury, while State Secretary Sudama Prasad led the protest in Ara. The protests in Rohtas district HQ at Sasaram were led by Kisan Mahasabha National Secretary Arun Singh, district Secretary Jawahar Singh, and other leaders from Left farmers’ and workers’ organizations.

The protests at Aurangabad, Kaimur, Jehanabad, and Jamui were led by peasant leaders Babban Singh, Ramadhar Singh, Manoj Pandey, and Shambhusharan Singh. Farmers associated with organizations of CPI, SUCI (Communist) and CPI (ML) participated in the dharna at Arwal, led by Ram Kumar Sinha and Rajeshwari Yadav. About 500 people participated in the protests at Nalanda, l​​
ed by Munni Lal Yadav, Pal Bihari Lal, and other leaders. About 3000 people protested at Purnea led by Avinash Paswan and others. At Beguserai, a joint convention was organized in the town hall, led by Ramapati Yadav and Parwez Alam. Protests in Darbhanga were led by Sivan Yadav, Praveen Yadav and others. About 600 people participated in the protest march in Muzaffarpur with significant participation by SUCI (C), led by Jitendra Yadav, Parshram Pathak, Bindeshwari Sah and others.

About 600 farmers participated in the protests at Western Champaran, led by Virendra Gupta, Suni Rao and others. A big protest march was taken out in Hajipur, led by Visheshwar Prasad Yadav, while Jainath Yadav led the joint protests in Siwan. A huge dharna of 1500 people was held in Samastipur. The protest in Gopalganj was led by Kisan Mahasabha leader Lal Bahadur Singh and others.

This is the first time that small and big Left farmers and khet mazdoor organizations have come together on such a large scale to raise burning issues of farmers, sending a positive message to left forces and raising possibilities of future joint programmes by khet mazdoor organizations.

Jharkhand State Non-Gazetted Workers’ Mahasangh Holds 5th State Conference

The 5th State conference of the Jharkhand State non-gazetted workers’ mahasangh was held on 23-24 May 2015 at Com. Sadhusharan Ram Manch of the Van Sabhagaar (Subodh Narayan Choube Sabhagaar) in Doranda (Ranchi). After flag hoisting by State President Sushila Tigga and tributes to martyrs, proceedings began under Chairpersons Comrades BD Das, Sushila Tigga and Singheshwar Ji and a 3 member steering committee of Comrades Ajit Prasad, Chandrashekhar Singh and Gopal Sharan ingh.

Leader of Bihar workers’ movement Com. Rambali Yadav and Jharkhand AICCTU General Secretary Com. Shubhendu Sen were present as special guests. Com. Somar Oraon welcomed the gathering by remembering former AICCTU national President and father of Bihar workers’ movement Com. Yogeshwar Gope. Inaugurating the conference, AICCTU national Vice President Com. Swapan Mukherjee said that Yogeshwar Gope, Subodh Narayan Choube and Sadhusharan Ram are shining examples of development of class consciousness in the workers’ movement. These leaders developed the revolutionary tradition in workers’ struggles. In addition to unifying the workers’ movement, they also joined it to the revolutionary trade union tradition of AICCTU and strengthened the communist party foundation in the workers’ movement. True tribute to these departed leaders can be paid only when the above three points are fully incorporated into the workers’ movement.

Com. Swapan Mukherjee further said that “Make in India” means corporate raj, and maximum profit and cheap labour for the corporate houses. All legal and constitutional principles with regard to workers’ rights are going to be scrapped through the amendments to the labour laws. Wage differences are at their peak in the organized sector. Now even pension funds and EPF are being put into the share market. Workers on contract, honorarium, and incentive payment are also government employees but they are not permanent. This is the reason the mahasangh needs to organize contractual, honorarium, and incentive workers and fight for their minimum wages and regularization of appointment. The mahasangh can become a mass base organization for struggle, and can play a big role in changing society and regime by uniting with the country’s workers’ movement.

The conference was also addressed by West Bengal leader Com. Anjani Bishwas, Bengal secretariat leader Com. Shriman Guhaji, Bihar Non-gazetted Workers’ Mahasangh (Gope group) General Secretary Com. Premchand Sinha, Jharkhand AICCTU State Secretary Com. Bhuwaneshwar Kewat, and Com. Sukhdev Prasad. The reports by Mahasangh General Secretary Com. Subal Thakur and State Secretary Com. Sushila Tigga were presented and were unanimously passed after detailed discussion. Next, a 27 member State committee was elected. Com. Sushila Tigga, Com. Subal Kishor Thakur, and Com. Brajesh Kumar Singh were elected President, General Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Com. Singheshwar Singh and Com. Tarini Prasad Kamat were elected honorary President and chief patron respectively.

It was resolved at the conference that 10 chosen districts would be developed as strongholds of workers’ movements and activists would have to take serious initiatives for this. The first priority of the mahasangh would be to mobilize the huge base of incentive, honorarium, and contractual workers.

AIPF and CPI (ML)’s Dharna for making Usri river pollution free

Usri river is the main river of Giridih. The increasing pollution in the river has been a major concern among the residents. Demanding steps to make the river pollution and dirt free, a dharna was organized in Giridih under the leadership of AIPF National Council member, Rajesh Sinha and CPI (ML) leader Deepak Lal on 13 June 2015. The one day dharna was organized to put pressure on the apathetical municipality officials towards the deteriorating state of the river.

Obituary
Com. Ashok Pandey

Com. Ashok Pandey, from Bigah village in Nalanda district passed away on 14 May 2015 following a snake bite while he was sleeping. He was 52. Com. Ashok had come in contact with the party in 1989. He led several revolutionary paeasant struggles of the rural poor. He was a member of AIARLA district committee of Nalanda district and a member of the party’s leading team of Kateersarai.

Red Salute to Comrade Ashok Pandey.

Com. Mohammed Nizam

Com. Nizam passed away on 1 June 2015 following a heart failure. He was 42. Com. Nizam hailed from Chapri village of Mandu block in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand. He became associated with RYA in 1998 and received the party membership in 2000. Associating with the local party committee of Kanjgi, he initiated the struggle in Chapri against the coal mining and displacement by CCL. A condolence meeting was organized in Chapri village to pay tribute to Com. Nizam.

Red Salute to Comrade Nizam.

ML Update | No. 24 | 2015

June 10, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 24 | 9-15 JUN 2015

Modi’s Misogyny is Not A Slip of the Tongue

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced international outrage and criticism when he remarked about Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, that “Despite being a woman, she has declared zero tolerance for terrorism.” This remark is rightly being criticized for its blatant sexism. The remark is especially patronizing and demeaning, coming from a Prime Minister of one country about his counterpart in a neighbouring country. What is important to understand is that this was no casual slip of the tongue – it goes to the heart of the political philosophy of Modi and his party.

The remark implies that it is unusual or surprising for a woman to be a strong leader of her country. The BJP is trying to defend the indefensible by suggesting that Modi only praised Hasina for overcoming the hurdles that patriarchy poses for women. To this, they also insinuate that the remark is justified because Bangladesh, by virtue of being a Muslim-majority country, is particularly oppressive to women. So they are compounding gender stereotypes with communal stereotypes.

The fact is that women in Bangladesh are not worse off compared to India. In the UN Gender Inequality Index, Bangladesh is ranked 12 places ahead of India, performing better on sex ratio, female infant mortality, female literacy, female labour force participation, and lowered fertility rates. In Bangladesh, as in India, work conditions in globalised factories are especially exploitative for women labourers. And in both countries, communal politics targets the freedoms of women, minorities and dissenting voices.

Modi’s remark was not a critique of patriarchy. He did not say ‘despite facing gender discrimination.’ Nor did he say that women political leaders proved patriarchal stereotypes to be wrong. Instead, he invoked the patriarchal stereotype that strength and courage do not normally go with ‘being a woman.’

Another patriarchal aspect of Modi’s remark has received little attention. Modi’s idea of a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to terrorism is a patriarchal one. He means that concerns for human rights and civil liberties in the ‘war against terror’ must be mocked as effeminate, and torture and summary execution of terror suspects are the required macho, muscular attitude to tackling terrorism.

An instance of this approach came not long after Modi’s ‘despite being a woman’ gaffe. The Modi Government has just denied permission to prosecute the Intelligence Bureau officers implicated in the fake encounter of Ishrat Jehan. Ishrat Jehan was a teenage girl killed by the Gujarat police when Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister. She was branded in death as a terrorist killed in an ‘encounter’, and her killing was one of the instances invoked by Modi to showcase his own ‘zero tolerance’ approach to terror. Another of many such instances was the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh (also branded posthumously as a ‘terrorist’). In an election meeting in 2007, Modi justified this custodial killing openly, asking the crowd ‘What should be done with the likes of Sohrabuddin’, and eliciting the response, ‘Kill him’. The fact is that in order to claim Sohrabuddin was a terrorist, two witnesses to his killing – his wife Kauser Bi and another eyewitness Tulsiram Prajapati – were also killed in police custody. Modi’s ‘zero tolerance for terror’ has actually meant tolerance and state patronage for politically motivated custodial killings of innocent civilians, including women like Ishrat Jehan and Kauser Bi.

Those who respond to Modi’s remark by reminding him of ‘tough,’ draconian and jingoistic leaders like Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher are also playing into the same patriarchal notion of political leadership. In 2005, VHP leader Giriraj Kishor, for instance, had praised Indira Gandhi by saying, “She divided Pakistan into two. She was the only man in her cabinet. She acted like a He-Man.” Both Modi’s praise for Hasine and Giriraj Kishor’s praise for Indira Gandhi display the same sexism, that believes political leaders must be ‘He-Men’, and that a woman is a good leader only if she is ‘manly’.

This is hardly the first time Modi has made a sexist remark. In his election campaign, he repeatedly referred to his own ‘He-Man’ like qualities, claiming that he had a ’56-inch chest’. This metaphor, too, equates leadership with ‘toughness’, and courage with manliness.

His taunts to political opponents also have displayed crude sexism (such as when he referred to Rahul Gandhi as the ‘hybrid calf of a Jersey Cow’ and to Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor as ’50 crore girlfriend’). As Prime Minister also, he has displayed casual sexism when, in a speech promoting branding and packaging for small industries, he said, “If a farmer sells mango, he gets a little money. If he makes pickles, he makes more money. And if that pickle is packed in a nice bottle, he gets much more. If he puts the bottle in the hands of a girl for advertisement, he will get still more money.”

Even worse, Modi used the state’s police and intelligence machinery as Gujarat Chief Minister, to conduct illegal surveillance on a young woman. His party has not denied the illegality of the surveillance; they have only defended the stalking on the grounds that the it was done to ‘protect’ the young woman – a claim that is not borne out by the transcripts of phone calls between the police and the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah.

Modi’s sexism is of course no exception; Indian politics across parties is rife with examples of blatant misogyny. But it cannot be ignored that Modi’s own misogyny reflects the ideology of the RSS, to which he owes his political and ideological grooming. The RSS is a militarized, majoritarian political outfit which has no women members. While the RSS name means ‘National Volunteer Corps,’ its ‘women’s wing’ is called ‘Women Servants of the Nation.’ The contrast between the male ‘Swayamsevak’ (volunteer), and the female ‘Sevika’ (servant) is telling.

The RSS today, emboldened by Modi in power, has intensified its campaign to impose dress and moral codes on women in the name of ‘Indian culture’, especially its offensive against love marriages and inter-caste, inter-community marriages. The Prime Minister maintains a silence this aggressive campaign against women’s autonomy.

Modi’s misogynist remark about the Bangladeshi Prime Minister is not a stray one that can be taken lightly. It is a symptom of the sexism that is dictating policies towards women in the Modi Government. What offers hope is that such sexism and misogyny are being met with vigorous resistance by women and common people in India.

Booklet on “Debates on Religious Conversions“ Released

Chennai city committee of CPI (ML) organised a programme to release a booklet on “Debates on religious conversions”, published by Theepori – organ of CPI(ML) in Tamil on 23 May 2015 in Chennai .The meeting was presided by Com. Sekar, secretary, Chennai district committee. Speakers on the occasion included among others- CPI (ML) Politburo Members, Com. S. Kumarasamy and Com. G. Ramakrishnan, state secretary of CPI (M), Com. Veerapandian, state Deputy secretary of CPI, Com A. Marx, Campaign committee member of AIPF, Com Janakiraman, Thiruvellore district secretary of CPI(ML). Workers of industries such as MRF, Asian paints, Diamond engineering and others also took part. The booklet release was attended by nearly 200 people, mostly youth.

The booklet release programme was also held at Coimbatore, presided by Com. Balasubramanian, district secretary of the party. Com. Balasundaram, state secretary CPI(ML), Com .Ramamurthy, district secretary CPI (M) Com. K. N. Selvaraj, district secretary CPI, Novelist Murugavel and city secretary of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Com. Sajith were the main speakers at the meeting. Com. Damodharan, state committee member CPI (ML) greeted the audience. The Book release was attended by workers of Pricol, Shanthi Gears and other industries.

Tirunelveli District committee of CPI (ML) also organised a programme to the booklet at Hotel Sakunthala. The meeting was presided over by Com. G. Ramesh, Member editorial board, Theepori. District secretary of CPI, Com. Kasi Viswanathan, District secretary of CPI (M) Com. K. G. Baskaran, Com. Narum Poonathan of Progressive Writers and Artists Association, state committee members of CPI (ML) Com. K. G. Desikan and Com. Sankarapandian and the district secretary of CPI (ML) spoke on the occasion. All left party leaders who participated in the meeting welcomed the initiative and expressed that the unity of left and democratic forces to combat communal fascist forces is the need of the hour. Cadres of CPI (ML) and democratic sections of the city attended the meeting.

CPI(ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha’s Hunger Strike in Bhojpur

CPI (ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha have been leading an indefinite hunger strike in Bhojpur district since 6 June. Com. Sudama Prasad and Com. Raju Yadav have been sitting on the indefinite strike. The hunger strike has been organised to raise the basic issues of the farmers in the region. Some of the key issues being raised have been mentioned below.

A few days back the state government procured food grains from some farmers but even two months since the purchase, the payments have not been made. According to the state’s own policy, the payment must be made within 24 hours of the purchase. This delay in payment is therefore in violation of state’s own policy.

Again, a few days earlier, following massive hail storms and untimely rainfall which had caused severe damage to various crops, both the central and the state governments had announced that compensations would be paid to the affected farmers. However, none of these pronouncements have yet been implemented on ground. Nowhere have the farmers been paid the promised compensation.

The government has further made no efforts to procure grains and other rabi crops from the farmers as a result of which they are forced to sell the same to middlemen at very low prices. The weather department has already cautioned regarding the delay in monsoons and the possibility of the rainfall being less than normal. Despite this, the state government has so far made no effort to ensure water provisions to the farmers. Though Prime Minsiter Modi had made abundant promises during the election campaign regarding providing irrigation facilities to the farmers, but today, far from having lived up to his promise, his ministers have been found to make irresponsible and unfortunate statements even on a matter as serious as farmers’ suicides. The state government too has been silent on all these issues. Worse, it has started a targeting of CPI (ML) leaders just prior to the elections by framing them on false charges, to try and silence any opposition to their misdeeds.

The particular demands that are being raised by the protestors are:

1. Pay compensation to all farmers and share croppers who have been affected by the hailstorms and untimely rains.

2. Provide water till the lower most base of main canal and other canals and start all the closed state run tubewells.

3. Revoke the pro-corporate and anti-farmers land acquisition ordinance.

4. Take back all the false cases that have imposed on ML leaders.

5. Stop all the cuts in ration and kerosene provisions and Indira Awaas scheme. Provide 5 dismil land to all the poor.

6. All the contractual para teachers, ASHA workers, mid day meal workers, aanganwadi workers and all such others who are paid honorarium should be regularised and their wages should be decided.

The governments have left no stone unturned to assault the livelihood of farmers. All governments since independence have had the same attitude towards agriculture leading to the crisis situation today. However, as the indefinite hunger strike to raise these issues enters the fifth day, no administrative official had bothered to meet the agitators and inquire what their concerns were. This reflects the attitude of the government towards the farmers. On the fourth day of the strike, i.e. on 9 June, several nukkad sabhaas were organized in Bhojpur district to mobilize masses to unite in order to strengthen the ongoing struggle. A call for ‘Chakaa Jaam’ has been given all over Bhojpur on 10 June, in light of continued apathy of the state government towards farmers’ issues and the refusal to pay heed to the ongoing movement.

CPI (ML) statement on the revocation of de-recognition of Amebdkar-Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras & refusal of MHRD to act on the complaint received against Pondicherry University officials

CPI (ML) welcomes the re-recognition of Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle by IIT Madras administration and congratulates the students of APSC who refused to bow down in front of the autocratic dictates of the institute. The re-recognition is a victory of students of APSC, IIT Madras and all the progressive organizations and individuals who took to the streets to ensure that such steps that were aimed at curbing dissent and freedom of expression and also towards imposing upper caste hegemony, were resolutely fought defeated.

However, it is unfortunate that despite being forced to take back its oppressive dictates, both the IITM administration and the MHRD have not yet offered an apology for acting on the basis of anonymous complaints while giving no chance to the concerned group to present its case. Both IITM and MHRD owed an apology to the students of APSC.

It is extremely shameful that MHRD that immediately shot off a letter to IIT, Madras on receiving an anonymous complaint about the activities of APSC, for over a year has been sitting over a complaint of a student of Pondicherry University who was illegally detained and tortured and forced to strip by the institutional authorities over false charges. The student in his complaint had named the Director of Academic Staff College, a faculty of department of International Business, two security officials and the Vice Chancellor of the University. While there is ample evidence backing the student’s complaint and exposing the ruthlessness of the concerned authorities, the MHRD has not thought it worthy to act on this complaint and question any of the university officials who were involved in the harassment of the student. Such double standards in acting on complaints reveals the agenda of the ruling government which is to curb all critique of the government while having no problems with actual hatred being spread against students coming from socio-economically disadvantaged homes by university authorities.

CPI (ML) condemns this shocking abuse of authority by Pondicherry University administration and demands that MHRD act on the complaint immediately. Besides suitable action against the culprits, the institute must tender him an apology and compensate him for the trauma he has been forced to undergo.

Gherao IIT-Madras against Ban on APSC

Cadres of AISA, RYA, AICCTU and CPI (ML) jointly Gheroed the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras campus at Chennai on 3 June, 2015 against the ban on the activities of Ambedkar- Periyar study circle inside the campus based on the anonymous complaint. More than 100 activists , both men and women assembled and raised slogans against the Modi government’s intolerance to alternate ideas. They also criticized the Jayalalitha government for its silence over the issue. The programme was led by Com. Bharathi, National secretary of RYA. Other leaders who participated included Com. Seetha , state secretary of AISA, Comrades Rajaguru and Dhanavel , state President and Secretary respectively of RYA, Com Munusamy and Mohan, state leaders of AICCTU. Com. Kumarasamy, PB member of CPI (ML) participating in the gherao also addressed the protestors launching a scathing attack on the pro-Corporate and communal Modi government and the state’s Jayalalitha government for their silence over the matter. There was a scuffle between police and activists during Gherao in which all the cadres were arrested by the police. However, the participants remain undeterred in their protest against the anti-democratic step and the silence of those in power.

Meet on Freedom of Expression in Solidarity with Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IITM

AISA, Madurai organized a meet on Freedom of expression to express solidarity with the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IITM and to their repression. Comrade Mathivanan, District Secretary, CPI (ML) gave an insightful prelude for the discussion with his introduction on Ambedakar, Periyar and Bhagat Singh and the extremely crucial role they played in Indian politics. He stressed on the need for upholding the politics they stood for and to forge ahead with their legacy in the contemporary context. Comrade and academician Rabeek Raja participated in the event and facilitated the discussion among the students. The urge to counter the saffron emergency and curb down the moves of infiltrating Indian education system to ensure the existence of Brahminism was reflected sharply among the comrades and participants.

In the course of the discussions and debates, comrades came out with two resolutions. The first resolution was to initiate Ambedkar-Periyar-Bhagat Singh Study Circle based in Madurai city. The second resolution was to strengthen the AIPF more actively. The forum expressed its conscious interest in making the motto of APBSC effective in practice and not to limit the same to forums of discussion. Comrades Hari and Tamil will act as the organizers of APBSC, Madurai. Comrade Arun coordinated the event and Comrade Pandiyarajan concluded the session with AISA’s perspective on the Freedom of expression and solidarity with the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IITM.

AISA’s ‘Reject CBCS and Save Universities’ Campaign Gains Momentum

Momentum is being built up all over the country against imposition of the disastrous Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) programme. As a part of this campaign AISA activists have been initiating interventions in several universities.

Last week an eight member delegation of AISA met Prof. Pradeep Bhargava, member of academic council member, Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Jhusi, Allahabad and also a part of the 5 member Parliamentary committee for implementing CBCS. They updated him on the disastrous effects of the CBCS. A member of the representative team and a Political Science research scholar Ankit Pathak said that in case of Allahabad University, the university was already facing a shortage of nearly 523 teachers as a result of which it was becoming difficult to manage the regular semesters and fulfil the basic requirements of the students. A programme like syllabus, on the other hand requires a large strength of teachers and provisions of basic infrastructural necessities. A member of the national council of AISA, Saurabh Yadav, said that CBCS was a step towards destroying the higher education system. He also added the other upcoming acts like Central University Act (CUA) and Rashtroya uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) (National Higher Education Mission) were also assaults on the autonomy of the higher education institutes. Another member of the AISA national council, Shakti Rajvar pointed out that this entire set of changes were being forced on by WTO-GATS on countries like India under the pressure of the World Corporate Powers. A heated debate took place between the AISA delegation and Prof. Bhargava. The AISA delegation insisted that CBCS be immediately revoked and students and teachers be informed about these upcoming proposals and the opinions of students and teachers of various departments of the university be sought. The members added that in light of the massive movement across the country against the proposed onslaughts on higher education, the specific concerns of students of AU be also taken up and addressed. Later the delegation invited the students to participate in the ‘Reject CBCS, Save Universities Campaign.

Meanwhile the ‘Reject CBCS’ campaigns are being organized in campuses across the country and AISA activists have been regularly meeting students, distributing leaflets and organising them against the ongoing onslaughts on education.

Elections in Turkey: Mandate against authoritarian, majoritarian dictatorship

In the recently held elections in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lost majority in the Turkish parliament for the first time in 13 years since 2002. In an election which saw a massive 86% turnout, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 258 seats in the 550-seat parliament. Though the AKP is the single largest party in the Parliament, it lacks the numbers to form the next government on its own. The AKP moreover suffered a 10% decline in its vote share.

This mandate assumes significance for several reasons; the people of Turkey have voted for more inclusion and against the AKP’s policies of divide-and-rule. The left-leaning People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has won 79 seats, and around 12% of the vote. This mandate ensures a significant presence in the Turkish parliament for left forces and to the Kurdish minority of Turkey.

AKP, which has been seen as espousing a dangerous divide-and-rule policy in order to rally its religious-conservative base, was challenged by the HDP’s campaign. The AKP and Erdogan had plans to rewrite the Turkish constitution to establish Erdogan as the executive-President. HDP, on the other hand, ran on a platform defending the rights of ethnic minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The HDP moreover formed an electoral coalition with the Kurdish minority in Turkey’s south-east and progressive forces in Istanbul and elsewhere. The election results will therefore give the Kurds – who, with 20% of Turkey’s population, are the country’s biggest minority – true representation in parliament. In 1980, the military-dictated constitution of Turkey had decreed a 10% threshold of vote share in the elections before a party could enter the Parliament. This clause has over the years often restricted the representation of minorities in the Parliament. The HDP has surpassed the 10% threshold and entered the parliament.

Significantly, 40 percent of the HDP’s newly elected MPs are women, while women hold only 17 per cent of the total seats in the country’s Parliament. Along with Kurdish rights and the rights of women and the LGBT community, the HDP also raised the issues of minimum wages and anti-corruption.

This mandate is also being seen as a culmination of the Gezi Park protests which rocked Turkey in 2013. During the protests, which spread to large parts of the country, several issues were raised, including defending Turkey’s secularism and defending freedom of expression.

ML Update No. 23 | 2015

June 6, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 23 | 2 – 8 JUN 2015

Why Does the Modi Government Feel Threatened by Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle?

In the latest instance of saffron crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression, the IIT Madras de-recognised the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, after the Modi Government’s MHRD forwarded an anonymous complaint about the group to the IITM Director and sought comments.

The MHRD letter had alleged “Distribution of controversial posters and pamphlets in the campus of IIT-Madras and creating hatred atmosphere among the students by one of the student group named Ambedkar Periyar.” The anonymous letter to the HRD Minister Smriti Irani had said accused the group of “trying to de-align ST, SC students and trying to make them protest against the MHRD and the Central Government” and “trying to create hatred against the Honourable Prime Minister and Hindus.” The anonymous complaint referred to a talk organised by the Ambedkar Periyar group. This talk was one in which a professor, speaking on the “Contemporary Relevance of Ambedkar,” had criticised the Modi Government for the Bill facilitating land grab, and for encouraging programmes like ‘ghar wapsi’ and ban on beef. The anonymous complaint also attached a copy of a leaflet by the ‘Revolutionary Student Youth Front’ which referred to RTI findings that revealed that IIT Madras was violating the reservation policy both in faculty recruitments and in student admissions.

The IIT Madras management, acting on the letter from the MHRD, de-recognised the APSC, and advised the APSC that the name ‘Ambedkar Periyar’ itself was controversial and provocative and should be changed.

The MHRD (and the anonymous complaint it chose to take notice of) clearly equates criticism of the Government and defence of the policy of reservations as ‘hate-speech’. Why should students or SC/ST people be expected to be ‘aligned to’ (i.e loyal to) the Central Government? Why should criticism of ‘gharwapsi’ and beef ban be equated with ‘hate speech against Hindus’? Why should dissent against the Prime Minister and Government policies lead to de-recognition?

The anonymous letter also referred to posters and pamphlets by the APSC against the MHRD Circular “for separate dining for vegetarians and use of Hindi in IITs.” The reference to the MHRD circular on separate dining is significant, since it reminds us of the pattern followed by the Sangh Parivar, Modi Government and managements of higher education institutions to crush and punish dissent. The modus operandi is that Sangh elements write ‘anonymous complaints’ to the MHRD, which in turn forwards the anonymous complaint to the managements of educational institutions, seeking ‘comments’. The same modus operandi, used to crackdown on the APSC, was also used to push for separate canteens for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In that instance also, the MHRD circular had forwarded five letters by a group demanding separate dining arrangements, and had sought ‘opinions’ from the IITs.

In both the above instances, what is on display is not just the Modi Government’s intolerance for diversity and dissent. There is also a distinct agenda of imposing upper caste hegemony. Ambedkar and Periyar are both towering figures of modern India, known for their scathing critique of caste-ridden and patriarchal Hindu society. In addition to these two figures, the APSC letterhead also uses the symbol of Bhagat Singh – a freedom fighter and martyr with Marxist ideology and politics. The Modi Government’s discomfort with and hostility for the values that Ambedkar, Periyar, and Bhagat Singh stood for could not be more obvious. The attempt to ban a group named after the author of India’s Constitution Ambedkar, exposes the contempt the BJP and Sangh Parivar have for the Indian Constitution and the rights and liberties of oppressed groups and minorities. The attempt to impose vegetarianism or bans on beef is another instance of imposing the culture and diet of the upper caste communities on the Dalits and other communities that have no objection to non-vegetarian food or beef.

The imposition of upper caste Hindu culture (in the shape of beef ban and other dietary rules for instance) on the rest of the people is not just an act of violence on the identity and culture of the latter. It has real consequences for the health of India’s poor children, when the Chief Minister of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh withholds eggs from the anganwadi meals. Eggs are the best source of protein and contain all essential nutrients except Vitamin C. For children who prefer not to eat eggs, bananas are served in anganwadis. Being vegetarian can be a personal choice – how can it be imposed on others?

Unfortunately, the agenda of the Sangh Parivar and BJP is also aided by the fact that non-BJP Governments too have used draconian measures to clamp down on dissenting students and citizens, and have pandered to upper caste hegemony. Many North Indian state governments, for instance, have, under pressure from powerful upper caste lobbies, refused to provide eggs in mid-day meals in anganwadis and schools. Most Governments disallow, discourage, and punish progressive student activism (while themselves sponsoring violence by ruling party student outfits on campuses).

It is encouraging that progressive forces from across the country have risen up to demand that roll-back of the de-recognition of the APSC. It is also significant that apart from the BJP, the AIADMK that rules Tamil Nadu has also chosen to remain silent on the de-recognition of APSC, and has instead allowed the TN police to detain those protesting the crackdown. Once again, the AIADMK and Ms Jayalalitha have displayed their tacit affinity with the Sangh Parivar and BJP and anti-Dalit forces.

CPI (ML) All India National Workshop held in Lucknow

The CPI(ML) held a two-day All India National Workshop for activists at the Gandhi Auditorium in Kaisarbagh, Lucknow on 30-31May 2015.

700 grassroots organizers from 23 States and Union Territories, working in nearly 200 districts and in various sectors, including railways, health, universities, and various mass organizations, participated in the workshop.

Detailed discussions were held on the need and ways to increase membership and expand and strengthen the network of party organization, so as to intensify the ongoing campaigns against the pro-corporate and communal agenda of the Modi Government as well as the anti-people policies of various State Governments.

Addressing the workshop in its concluding session, the party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar said in just one year, the real life experiences of people have exposed the Modi propaganda hype. People’s anger against the government is growing and the time is ripe for large scale mass movements. In these circumstances each activist of the Party must play a conscious role in the planned and systematic growth of the Party. He emphasized the need for a series of movements and protests, booth level strengthening of the organization, and increasing the number of women, workers, youth, and farmers in the Party. The Party took up a target of expanding its membership up to 2 lakhs before its next Party Congress.

AIPF Convention in Delhi

All India People’s Forum (AIPF) held a convention in Delhi on Wednesday, 27 May, to assess the changes caused and challenges posed by the Modi government in the last one year on livelihood, Rights and democratic fabric of the country.

The speakers at the convention highlighted the policy shifts that have been instituted in the last one year of NDA government at the Centre. It is clear that the government has worked overtime to hand over the country’s land, water and forests to corporate houses. The concerns of the common people have been sacrificed as they have been made to bear the brunt of these pro-corporate policies.

The government has been sponsoring corporate loot through Land Ordinance and has even proposed changes to Forest Rights Act, which was won after prolonged struggle. Farmer suicides have once again peaked as Acts, plans and policies have been floated to loot land, labour and livelihood of the people. Those who do not have land are being stolen of their labour through supposed ‘reform’ measures accompanying the “Make in India” slogan that Modi harps upon on his foreign visits. Even the small freedom available to the country’s children is being looted by putting their labour for sale following the cabinet approval to change child labour laws.

While corporates are being wooed with offer of the country’s resources and its future, the poor have faced serious threats to their existence. There have been massive budget cuts in allocations to health, education, food security, women’s empowerment and other public services. Instead it has invited the private companies to make profit out of people’s needs for health and education.

To cover up the surrender of people’s interests to corporate bodies, the government has periodically unleashed the Sangh outfits to drum up communal tension. It has also been saffronising the public institutions of the country including education. The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) has become the latest ploy to undermine higher education in the country so as to keep it ready for corporate take over.

Analysing these patterns of Modi government’s functioning and destruction of public institutions and people’ rights, the speakers at the AIPF convention noted the challenges posed in countering it. Senior counsel ND Pancholi noted how Right to work was being robbed and the absence of democratic measures available to the people to challenge these as the government undertook labour reforms. Journalist-activist Gautam Navlakha, pointed out that while 1 crore 20 lakh young people were added to the workforce each year, the government had only generated 20 lakh jobs. NTUI leader and AIPF member Gautam Modi, pointed out that the Labour Amendment Act , 2014, which offered self certification and compliance by companies was undermining labour rights by equating a profit making company with a citizen of the country to negate the labour rights during industrial disputes. Journalist-activist and AIPF member Kiran Shaheen who also conducted the meeting, said that Modi government’s attempt to sell away the country’s resources was by dumping Indian markets with foreign products despite grand talk of ‘Make in India’.

CPI-ML General Secretary pointed out that restructuring of laws and policies were taking place not only on land and employment but also finance and education to complete the corporate circuit of exploiting the country’s resources. Educational restructuring he said was as much part of the ‘Make in India’ campaign as Indian youth were being offered to foreign investors as pliable cheap skilled labour rather than future makers of the country. Economist and Professor Atul Sood said that the government’s ‘Make in India’ was posing a new definition of nationalism where creating an environment for business was made out to be national duty. State were pushed into a competition for garnering foreign investment and labour rights were being systematically violated in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where these models have already taking off. While capitalist crisis was being softened by the government, its infilitartion was being opened up in peri-urban areas. ‘Smart cities’ were only to soften the blow on the middle classes, who would inevitably fall prey to the capital’s crisis.

Highlighting the patriarchal nature of the communal hate-mongering, AIPWA leader Kavita Krishnan, pointed out that violations were being justified in the name of family. Women were being forced back on families in the name of honour while Sangh goons invoked ‘ghar wapasi’ campaign to undermine minority rights. The family arguments of Sangh parivar, she said was bound to fail as evident during anti ‘love jihad’ drives of the Hindutava goons when girls refused to be brain-washed into surrendering their free-will.

Vijay Pratap observed that there was a greater need for mobilisation of united resistance against the policies. Journalist-activist Gautam Navlakha, stressed that solidarities be made with other movements. He pointed out that there was no dearth of alternatives in popular action, movements, and models from within the Left, democratic, progressive experiments in the country and that dialogue be initiated between various streams to expand these ideas. Gautam Modi said that debating and uniting would continue under AIPF. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that various groups in AIPF were working to build the resistance campaign of 30 June on issues of land, labour and livelihood against the emerging Company Raj.

The meeting was attended in large numbers by students, workers and activists from across Delhi. Theatre group Sangwari’s members sang songs against the loot of labour.

Protest at MHRD against the ban on Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle

On 1 June 2015, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) called for a united protest demonstration outside the MHRD. Several other progressive organisations and groups joined the demonstration including AISA, DSF, Disha, Nishant Natya Manch, PUCL, Anhad, All India People’s Forum (AIPF) and other groups. The Delhi Police tried to detain JNU students and divert the protest to Jantar Mantar, however, the students eventually prevailed, and insisted on holding the demonstration at MHRD itself, surrounded by heavy police and CRPF presence. The demo was addressed by ND Pancholi, Shamsul Islam, Shabnam Hashmi, Malathi Maithri, Navaid Hamid, Kavita Krishnan, JNUSU Vice President Anant and others.

The protestors through their speeches, slogans and placards conveyed to the Union Minister, MHRD that they expected institutes like IITs to be run according to the values of Einstein and not Hitler, according to the vision of Ambedkar and Periyar and not Golwalkar. They resolved to continue the struggle till the ban was revoked.

JNUSU Statement on De-recognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle

We condemn the de-recognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle by IIT Madras, at the instigation of the MHRD, for the ‘crime’ of criticizing the Modi Government and raising relevant concerns about the failure to implement the policy of reservations in the IIT Madras.

This de-recognition of the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle amounts to a majoritarian, casteist crackdown on voices of dissent among students.

Those defending the de-recognition on the grounds that the IITs as institutions of excellence need to crack down on ‘politics’, need to answer why there was no crackdown when students of the same IITs launched political agitations against the policy of reservations? Why are they so allergic to the values of Ambedkar, Periyar, and Bhagat Singh? These are the values embraced by the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, and it is these values which continue to hold out a hope for a truly free and egalitarian India?

Innovation and fresh scientific research will be stifled to death if denied the oxygen of free speech, expression and action. Human minds that are restricted from free expression of social and political dissent, can never feel free to come up with fresh and new scientific research or fresh academic thinking of any kind. The best poets, scientists and thinkers have never been products of ‘darbari’ culture.

Speaking about Nazi Germany, Albert Einstein said, "…The liberty of the individual brought us every advance of knowledge and invention….If we want to resist the powers which threaten to suppress intellectual and individual freedom, we must keep clearly before us what is at stake…Without such freedom there would have been no Shakespeare, no Goethe, no Newton, no Faraday, no Pasteur, and no Lister. It is only people who are free, who create the inventions and intellectual works which to us moderns make life worthwhile." We hope the MHRD and those who run the IITM and other institutions of higher education, will remember these words of one of the world’s greatest scientists, before they try to tell us that scientific or academic ‘excellence’ demands a ban on free speech.

The current Central Government, in cracking down on freedom of expression in colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education, is imposing an undeclared emergency. And this emergency is the biggest threat not only to free speech and expression, but to the excellence of our institutions of higher education.

It is clear to the world that the de-recognition of the student group is a direct result of MHRD intervention. The MHRD cannot now try to distance itself from the de-recognition. We demand that the MHRD ensure that de-recognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle be rolled back with immediate effect.

We stand committed to resisting every assault on free speech and expression anywhere in the country, and to defending the rights of students and people to free speech and association.

AISA protests against the CBCS and the violence unleashed by the ABVP

After having been forced to take back the anti-student FYUP programme last year, following a massive movement by students and teachers, the Delhi University is once geared to introduce another ill-conceived programme on students- ‘Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). The programme, as in case of the FYUP, only aims to add to the existing burden of the students and the teachers without adding any substantial quality to the education offered. Further, the university at the current juncture even lacks the basic infrastructure in terms of a well developed syllabus, prepared after due consultation with subject experts, the needed classroom spaces or the teacher strength to run such a programme. Protesting against this new onslaught on students’ right to quality higher education, the Delhi AISA unit started its campaign against the CBCS programme on the very first day of the orientation session in Delhi University. The activists had prepared pamphlets with detailed explanation on the problems with the CBCS and these pamphlets were also distributed among students and parents.

In keeping with the campaign, on 28 May 2015, AISA organised a protest against CBCS outside the Arts faculty in University of Delhi. Just when AISA activists were distributing the pamphlets, ABVP activists, including one of their current representatives in Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), along with their DU unit leaders, tried to stop AISA activists from distributing pamphlets and interacting with the new students. When AISA activists asserted their right to protest, a brutal lathi charge followed whereby ABVP hoodlums beat up AISA activists with thick lathis, hurling misogynist abuses at them while the Delhi Police continued to watch in silence. An FIR was lodged against the ABVP hoodlums who were captured beating AISA activists in several videos and photographs. An official complaint was also registered in the Proctor’s office, however no action has been taken on them so far.

AISA activists, undeterred by such onslaughts have been carrying forward their anti-CBCS campaign in the interest of the student community receiving solidarity from the Delhi University Teachers’ Union and also other left progressive groups on the campus. The activists in a united protest held a day after this incident reaffirmed their pledge to carry on their struggle for students’ rights and against renewed attempts to make Guinea Pigs out of Delhi University students by frequent experiments.

Workers’ and students’ protest in JNU

In JNU, workers and students have been waging a collective struggle over the years to ensure workers’ fundamental and legally mandated rights. Various contractors operating in JNU have a horrific track record of violating workers’ rights – and the JNU administration refuses to accept responsibility in its role as the principle employer. There are around 1300 contractual workers employed in JNU, excluding construction workers. Time and again, JNUSU as well as workers have had to struggle against retrenchment, and to ensure implementation of labour laws.

In May 2015, M/s G.A. Digital Web Word Pvt Ltd., which employed 443 contract workers in JNU, finished its contract in the University. This contract, which was being repeatedly extended since 2012, expired on 30 April 2015. These contract workers employed by G.A. Digital Web Word Pvt. included gardeners in JNU’s Horticulture department, sewer men in the Civil and IHA departments, computer operators and office attendants. There are several instances of PF dues, bonus and over time payments to workers still pending with the contractor. Sybex Computer Systems Pvt Ltd took over this contract and decided that it would recruit fresh workers. They asked existing workers to attend written tests and interviews. This clearly was a means to ensure that workers who had been employed for several years in JNU would lose their jobs. In this context, the workers and JNUSU called a massive protest in JNU on 22 May 2015.

Hundreds of workers and students participated in the protest. The protest was addressed by workers’ leaders, JNUSU representatives including JNUSU President Ashutosh and School of Languages convenor Vijay, AICCTU leaders, and representatives of various student organisations in JNU. As the JNU administration intensifies its offensive against contract workers, the real stakeholders of the university protested and pledged to oppose any layoffs. The ongoing ‘reforms’ of the Modi government, will only embolden anti-labour practices everywhere, pointed out the speakers at the protest.

As a result of the protest and the constant vigilant intervention of students and workers in JNU, the layoffs were averted. The JNU administration, the new contractor and AICCTU representatives signed an in-principle agreement in conciliation proceedings currently underway at the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) office at Parliament Street that the workers employed through the old contractor would be retained by new contractor. In the days to come, the struggle to protect employment, oppose retrenchment and ensure workers’ rights will continue in JNU.

AICCTU demonstration in Odiansalai against the policies of the NDA government

AICCTU activists staged a demonstration at Odiansalai on 26 May 2015, to protest against the policies of the Modi led NDA government at the centre. The agitated protestors expressed that the central government was adopting a pro-corporate approach which was severely hurting the lives and livelihoods of the working class. In specific they pointed out the anti-poor nature of the government’s decisions to enhance the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), make amendments in the Labour Act and introduction of the Land Acquisition Bill. They demanded immediate withdrawal of the Land Acquisition Bill. The agitators also raised slogans against the Puducherry Government for frequently hiking the electricity tariff, additionally demanding that the Government reopen the AFT mills.

Obituary

Comrade Hirendra Nath Chatterjee or “Mesomashai”

Comrade Hirendra Nath Chatterjee passed away on 23rd May, 2015 at Ranchi. He was 96 years old. He is survived by three sons and one daughter.

Comrade Hirendra Nath or ‘Meshomoshai’ as he was known among friends and comrades, played a very important role in the re-organisation of the CPI(ML) in the 1970s. Durgapur was a major centre of this re-organisation between 1972-77, after much of the first generation leadership and cadres of the party had been martyred or incarcerated in jail.

Comrade Hirendra Nath was a civil engineer who used to work in various construction companies including British Enterprises. He shifted to Durgapur Steel Township to run a small business. When his second son Comrade Prasun became a whole time party worker on the rural front, he too decided to be more active in the party. His home was one of the most reliable shelters for the party, where leaders including Comrade VM, DP Buxi, Kartick Pal and many others used to take shelter. He and his wife Comrade Bela Chatterjee incurred considerable risk to themselves and their family in thus providing shelter to revolutionaries of an underground party. Their entire family would stand vigil on rooftop and balcony when comrades were sheltering in their home.

After 1977, Meshomoshai became active in the Indo-China Friendship Society, the Kotnis Committee and other such mass activities. Eventually he and Comrade Bela shifted to Ranchi.

He and Comrade Bela will always be remembered for their commitment to the party and their willingness to put their home at the disposal of the party, even at great personal risk.

Red salute to Comrade Hirendra Nath Chatterjee!

ML Update | No. 22 | 2015

May 28, 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 22 | 26 MAY – 1 JUN 2015

One Year of Modi Rule:

The Acche Din Hype Unravels

The self-congratulatory cacophony generated by the Modi government and the BJP to celebrate the first anniversary of Modi’s 2014 ascent to power makes us wonder if the BJP believes that time stood still for the last one year. Even as the heat wave claims hundreds of lives across the country, large sections of the people reel under the burden of deepening distress and soaring prices, and the opinion polls reflect growing disappointment of the people who had voted Modi to power a year ago, the BJP propagandists have launched a massive campaign patting their own backs. The government has issued a 180 page booklet listing the government’s ‘achievements’, and in the coming days and weeks the country will be bombarded with 200 rallies and 5000 public meetings. It almost sounds like a rerun of the India Shining propaganda blitz which had boomeranged spectacularly in the 2004 elections.

Modi set the tone of this arrogant and absurd hyperbole when addressing the Indian community during his recent trip to China and South Korea, he said till his government came to power NRIs were ashamed to admit that they were Indian. Indians, according to Modi, used to curse themselves for the sins they must have committed in their previous lives to have merited the shame and punishment of being born in India. Back in India, Modi continued in the same tone. Addressing a rally in Mathura on 25 May, Modi said what his government had already performed was a veritable miracle. Announcing the arrival of ‘acche din’, he said only looters, thieves and power brokers were complaining of ‘bure din’ or bad days!

Now in real life, ‘acche din’ has actually become a joke, a metaphor for the misery that most people find themselves subjected to on a daily basis, whether on account of economic distress, callous governance or dysfunctional basic services. The non-implementation of the tall electoral promises made by Modi and his men has become the talking point among the common people across the country. Even in Modi’s own constituency of Varanasi, surveys have revealed widespread disappointment. Apart from some cleaning up operation in two out of Varanasi’s eighty-odd ghats, the residents of this VIP constituency have not experienced any improvement in the first year of the Modi government. A few weeks ago, the agriculture minister of Haryana’s BJP government, who was earlier president of the farmer organisation of the Sangh Parivar, had dubbed farmers committing suicides as cowards. Now Modi calls people complaining of bad days corrupt!

While the people are waiting for the Modi government to fulfil the basic promises Modi and the BJP had made during the 2014 election campaign, the Sangh parivar is busy advancing what it considers its ‘core’ agenda. ‘Ghar wapsi’, ‘love jihad’, sermons to Hindu women to produce ten children, ban on beef and so on and so forth – BJP ministers and MPs have been working overtime to enforce this agenda. During the election campaign Giriraj Singh had voters who did not want Modi to become PM to go to Pakistan. He has found his place in the Modi cabinet. And now Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, another Modi minister asks those who want to eat beef to go to Pakistan! For other items of the ‘core agenda’ like Ram Mandir and removal of Article 370, Amit Shah has asked the people to give 370 seats to the BJP so the BJP could amend the Constitution as it wished.

For all the propaganda blitzkrieg of Modi and his men, the actual experience of the first year of the Modi government will go a long way in exposing three mega myths that have played such a central role in making the BJP the number one party in India. Beyond the core support base of the Sangh Parivar, the myth of the Gujarat model and the so-called Modi magic now evokes growing scepticism. The thesis of the mythical metamorphosis of the BJP into a ‘normal’ rightwing party which will contain, if not shed, the communal agenda is also being questioned by many liberal sections of the middle classes who had thrown their weight behind the BJP in the 2014 elections. And last but not the least, the BJP’s ‘nationalist’ farmer-friendly trader-friendly image has been severely dented with the unmasking of the corporate-encircled FDI-begging real face of Narendra Modi.

For a party like the BJP which has always sought to camouflage its communal agenda as ‘cultural nationalism’, it is indeed revealing that Modi’s first year in office has been overshadowed by the foreign factor – making foreign trips and soliciting foreign investment. As many as eighteen foreign trips claiming two of the twelve months that Modi has been in power have been the highlight of Modi’s first year. And on the economic front, Modi has turned out to be a devout worshipper of FDI. Those who argue that ‘Make in India’ is about creation of jobs and increasing the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP do not tells us why FDI has to be at the centre of this strategy. If job creation and manufacturing growth were the real objective, why is the government systematically dismantling the public sector and privileging FDI and private corporate participation to the neglect of the labour intensive small and medium enterprises that can be the real platform for creation of jobs?

It is significant that while the BJP leaders were busy congratulating themselves on the first birthday of the Modi government, peasants, workers and students were out on the streets against the government’s policies. The people’s experience of the first year of the Modi government will be the biggest ammunition as we take on the corporate-communal offensive of the BJP in the coming days.

A report on CPI (ML)’s Solidarity Visit to Quake-Hit Nepal

Comrade Prabhat Kumar and Com. Dhirendra Jha, on behalf of the CPI(ML) Politburo, made a solidarity visit to Nepal, that is struggling to recover from the quake of Himalayan proportions. During the visit, they attended a volunteer training convention that had been organized by the CPN (UML) and presented a cheque for 1 million INR towards the natural disaster relief fund to CPN (UML) Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Party General Secretary Ishwarchandra Pokhrel.

The disastrous earthquake on 25 April caused indescribable havoc in Nepal. 75 districts including Kathmandu have suffered terrible loss and damage. 8519 lives have been lost and even today 500 people are missing. 638 people were killed in the second quake on 12 May. Most of the dead are women and children. More than 2 lakh buildings have been damaged. Historical heritage sites are in ruins. Cracks are visible in the Army HQ, Rashtrapati Bhawan, PM’s house, Parliament, and most government buildings.

The UML Party office has suffered huge damage and has been declared abandoned. The office now functions in a small building, although even this has cracks. Essential work is also going on in tents put up on the campus.

Heavy damage has been suffered by Nepal’s oldest school Durbar school (established in 1854) and Trichand College. Around 7000 school buildings are unfit for use. This devastating earthquake occurred on a Saturday which happened to be a holiday in Nepal and the schools and colleges were closed; otherwise, the loss of lives would have been even greater. The regular aftershocks occurring in Nepal are terrifying for the people.

Kathmandu appears to be a city of tents. The road sides and maidans are lined by long rows of blue tents. Water supply has been regulated to an extent and electricity has been restored.

Heavy destruction has occurred in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bharatpur, Gorkha, Chadig, Rasua, Nuakot, Sindhupal, Dolkha, Kabhi, Ramechhap, and other districts. Important tourist destinations such as Langtang and Bhaili have been totally damaged. More than half the people in these areas have been killed. Heartrending scenes of destruction due to landslides can also be seen at Sindhupal near the Tibet border.

The CPN(UML) has formed a coordination committee for relief and rehabilitation, under the leadership of the General Secretary, which includes Party leaders as well as leaders of mass organizations. This committee started immediate relief operations, playing a significant role in rescuing trapped families, taking the injured to hospital, arranging food, water, and medicines for affected families, and making funeral arrangements for the dead. The Party has taken initiatives to form different groups to attend to arrangements for food, sanitation, medical aid, rescue, damage assessment, and other such tasks. Area wise survey teams have been formed for damage assessment. This survey report will be submitted to the district administration as well as to the national disaster committee formed by the government.

The rainy season is imminent. A large portion of the population continues to remain bereft of shelter, and most buildings are damaged. In this situation, providing permanent or temporary accommodation for such a vast number is a big challenge. The CPN(UML) plans to press 10,000 volunteers into service in 50 constituencies of 14 districts with the express task of providing shelter. Work in this direction has already started. Money and resources are being collected.

CPN(UML) has already collected more than Nepali Rs 1 crore. In our presence, the Nepali Trade and Industrialists Association donated a cheque for Nepali Rs 10 lakh. Various organizations and people from unaffected areas are contributing generously.

Talking informally, several Nepali intellectuals, journalists, and social activists said that the immediate cooperation and help from India was very heartening. However, they said their self-respect was hurt by the attitude of some of the Indian media and the publicity war in connection with aid to Nepal.

On the road from India to Nepal via Janakpur, and back from Kathmandu to India though the difficult hilly roads via Veerganj, it felt as if not only the earth has been shaken, but the people themselves have been left shaken. The beautiful valleys of Kathmandu are in mourning. Nepal faces the dual challenges of making its Constitution, as well as the difficult task of rebuilding the country.

Bandh called by CPI(ML) in Naubatpur and Bihta over farmers’ suicide

A series of farmers’ suicides has begun in Patna district in Bihar. Most recently two farmers, Gajendra Singh and Ramesh Singh, who were reported to be heavily in debt, were forced to commit suicide in Maner and Naubatpur respectively. During the course of the movement launched under the banner of ‘Peasants affected by the Mega Technological Park’, to demand compensation for the survivors of the farmers who had committed suicide, the peasant leader Kaushal Baba also passed away. Agitated and enraged by the death of Kaushal Baba, increasing spate of farmers’ suicide in Patna district and the continued apathy of the central and the state governments, a massive bandh was called by the CPI (ML) in Naubatpur and Bihta. Protest demonstrations were also held in Paliganj. The main demands raised included waiving off the debts of the farmers and compensation for the family of the farmers who have died. CPI (ML) leaders while addressing the protestors highlighted the increasing agricultural crisis in the country and the increasing incidents of farmers’ suicides. They pointed out how the policies of the current Modi government such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Land Acquisition’ had added to the woes of the farmers. They questioned if the Modi government that had recently announced a channel for the farmers or the Nitish government in the state will only confine themselves to rhetoric on the issue of farmers’ suicide while continuing to remain apathetic to their state, or will they dare to show some concrete action on ground.

New front to oppose pro-corporate policies- Angry Farmers, workers, and small retailers launch joint struggle

Reeling under the anti-people policies of the central government, farmers, workers, and small retailers in Punjab came together on a united platform to raise their voice. The “Kaarobaar Bachao, Rozgaar Bachao (Save business, save employment) conference was organized on 12 April, 2015 at Manasa in Punjab by the Mazdoor-Kisan-Dukandar-Karmchari Sangharsh Committee. The conference was addressed by Punjab Kisan Union State President Raldu Singh, Kirana Association (Manasa) President Suresh Nandgarhiya, Aadhati Association Secretary Ramesh Tony, CPI-ML (Liberation) Punjab State Secretary Rajvinder Singh Rana, and Mazdoor Mukti Morcha State President Bhagwant Singh.

Speaking on the occasion, Com. Rajvinder Singh Rana said that the people must once again unite to rid the country of the second Company Raj that the governments are trying to inflict upon them, and this effort is an initiative in that direction. The special guest at the conference, Dr. Baldev Singh, an economics professor in Punjabi University Regional Centre Talwandi Sabo, explained in detail how the green signal for FDI in retail is accelerating the process of destroying small shopkeepers and traders.

PKU State President Raldu Singh welcomed the coming together of workers, farmers, small shopkeepers, traders, and karmacharis to protect their rights against the government’s destructive policies. He stated that through this united struggle they would stop the homes, shops, and livelihoods of recession-affected shopkeepers and traders from being seized or auctioned,

Kirana Assocation President Suresh Nandgarhiya said that the homes and shops of several shopkeepers (who are unable to repay loans) in danger of imminent auction can be saved through the leadership of this joint committee. Retailers’ leader Ramesh Toni said that the governments of the country are responsible for looting and ruining the retailers. Prof. Bikarjeet Singh Sadhuwala of the Educational Reforms Committee pointed out the loot being perpetrated by private school owners and called upon the people to participate in the ongoing struggle against this loot. The conference was also addressed by Bhagwant Singh Samaon, Sikandar Singh Gharangana, Darshan Singh Khiyala, Vijay Nandgarhiya, Vir Singh Bhasse, Advocate Balkaran Singh Balli, Vasudev Garg, Sukhdarshan Singh Natt, and Sukhbir Khara.

AISA observes National Protest Day against CBCS, RUSA and Central University Act in campuses across the country!

Holds Protest Demonstration in front of MHRD Against Imposition of CBCS in DU!

The All India Students’ Association (AISA) observed a ‘National Protest Day’ in campuses across the country against the imposition of CBCS, RUSA and Central University Act and against bringing education under WTO-GATS.

As part of the National Protest Day against these policy offensives on higher education by the central government, AISA held a protest demonstration in front of the MHRD in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum.

The protest was held at MHRD, because there is a clear attempt to impose such policy change as the CBCS by the MHRD and several notices are being sent to universities across the country. The protest was also held at a time when the DU administration is once again showing hurriedness in introducing a fundamental change in the course structure without taking the opinion of academicians, teachers and students. The admission process has started in DU; and yet till now, no one, neither the new students and their parents nor the teachers are clear about what would be the curriculum for the upcoming session. Moreover, there is no clarity about the syllabus that will be taught in the upcoming session. Addressing the protest Om Prasad, Delhi State Secretary, AISA said, “Senior DU officials are telling the media that they are waiting for UGC letter to implement CBCS from the next semester. We would like to ask them, will a directive from the UGC or the MHRD solve the problem of complete unpreparedness of the DU administration to introduce such a policy change? Where is the syllabus that will be taught? Where is the infrastructure needed to ensure ‘mobility’ of students under CBCS? Where are the classrooms and the teachers required, if real ‘choice’ is to be offered?” A memorandum raising these concerns was also submitted to the MHRD and the delegation met the Jt. Secretary Mr. Mohanty and shared the concerns.

Niraj Kumar, VP, Delhi AISA, said at the protest, “Enough ill-conceived experiments have already been done with DU students through FYUP. When more than 50 staff associations, the DUTA and several students groups have rejected the implementation of CBCS, why is the DU administration and MHRD so desperate to go ahead with CBCS? CBCS is nothing but FYUP brought in through the backdoor, as the course structure aimed at dilution of academic content is the same in CBCS as was in FYUP.” A memorandum was also submitted to the MHRD.

In parts of the country too AISA activists held protest demonstrations and in some places effigy of Modi in whose prime ministership these onslaughts have been unleashed with renewed vigor, was also burnt.

5th district conference of Nainital unit of CPI (ML) held on 24 May 2015

The 5th district conference of Nainital unit CPI (ML) concluded on 24 May in Ambedkar Hall in Laalkuan. The session began by observing a minute’s silence to remember the comrades who had been martyred in the time period between the last conference and the ongoing conference. Addressing the inaugural session of the district conference, the state secretary of CPI (ML) – Uttarakhand , Com. Rajendra Pratholi said that on the completion of the first year of the Modi government, even as the government was aggressively engaging in proclaiming false achievements all over the media, the truth was that the first year of the Modi government was spent in implementing anti-peasants and anti-workers’ policies and serving the corporate masters. He added that the peasants and workers had been regularly organising and agitating against the anti-people policies of the Modi government and that a movement founded on a broad unity among peasants and workers alone can provide a new direction to this nation. Only this unity can destroy the corporate-fascist agenda of the Modi government and its’ efforts to re-establish company raj in this country. Speaking about the Harish Rawat government at the state, he said that the state government too following the steps of the central government was busy in looting the land of the people and Bindukhatta was a clear example of this. Despite the fact that the residents have time and again thronged the streets to reject the declaration proclaiming Bindukhatta to be a municipality, the state government under the influence of the land mafia has become deaf to the demands of the people.

The conference resolved to double the membership by the next conference. A 7 member district committee was also founded with Com. Kailash Pandey as the secretary.

District conference of AICCTU affiliated ASHA health workers’ union held in Nainital

The Nainital district conference of the AICCTU affiliated ASHA health workers’ union concluded in the Press Club in Nainital on 21 May 2015.

Addressing the conference, the national Vice President of AICCTU, Com. Raja Bahuguna said that the central government wanted to pulls its hand off the responsibility of the ASHA workers who formed the axis of a fundamental sector such as the health sector. By putting the entire responsibility for ASHA workers on the state, the centre government was creating crisis for the ASHA workers. He added that the governments in this country had only one slogan for the women workers- “Jam kar lenge pura kaam, nahin milega pura daam” (Will fiercely take full work, and not give full wages). The leaders speaking at the conference pointed out that the Uttarakhand government was a pro-mafia government that sacrificed the interests of the workers at the behest of the mafia and hence a united women workers’ movement should be built and intensified in Uttarakhand so that that government can be forced to work on our agenda. The state President of Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers’ Union, Kamla Kunjwal said that it was only by building a unity among the union members and developing a feeling of a collective leadership that we could fight the- anti women policies of the state and the central governments. She added that it was on the basis of unity and struggles of the union that the state government had been forced to provide an annual incentive amount and in future also, on the basis of this we could win the fight for the monthly wages. A new district team of ASHA workers’ union and office bearers were also elected during the conference.


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