ML Update | No. 48 | 2015

November 25, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 48 | 24 – 30 NOV 2015

Red Salute to
Comrade Jauhar,

Comrade Nirmal and

Comrade Ratan (Rajender Yadav)

on the occasion of their 40th Martyrdom Anniversary!

Comrade Jauhar became CPI(ML) General Secretary after the 1974 reorganisation, and laid the foundation of what grew into a revolutionary peasant upsurge in Bhojpur and adjoining districts of Central Bihar. He led the party in the difficult phase of setback and, on November 29th 1975, along with Comrades Nirmal and Ratan, went down fighting the armed might of the Indian State in the heroic battle of Babubandh.

ISIS Attacks and Their Aftermath

A series of terror attacks by the ISIS – killing 128 people in Ankara, bringing down a Russian passenger aircraft, killing 43 in a Beirut suicide bombing and 18 in an attack on a funeral in Baghdad, and the shock-and-awe style massacre of 130 people enjoying a Paris evening – have shaken the entire world. On the heels of these attacks has come the hostage crisis followed by killing of over 20 people in a Mali hotel by an outfit said to have al-Qaeda links.

If the ISIS shares a vicious ideology of hatred and genocide with many others across the world, its scale of operations and its penchant for graphic displays of spectacular violence certainly set it apart. The ISIS attempts to justify attacks on innocent civilians in France as retaliation to French air strikes in Syria, or more generally to justify its whole existence as an answer to wars by the US and Western powers in the Middle East must be squarely rejected. Nothing can possibly justify such heinous massacres of innocents.

At the same time, there can be no evading the grim questions posed by history. The ISIS (and earlier, the al-Qaeda) are not, as some would have us believe, cultural by-products of Islam as a religion. Instead, these terrorist outfits are very much political products of a historical process for which the Western powers are squarely responsible. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted as much in a recent interview, when he conceded that had he and Bush not waged war on Iraq in 2003 on false pretexts and toppled the Saddam Husain regime, the ISIS would probably not exist. Similarly, the role of the US in funding and arming Saudi-backed militants in Afghanistan in creating what eventually became the Taliban and the al-Qaeda is widely recognized. Even today, the US and Western powers continue to back and legitimize the regime in Saudi Arabia, that is not only highly regressive and repressive to its own citizens but also instrumental in the survival of terrorist outfits in the region.

Western powers have meddled in the Middle East – either to bolster up repressive regimes and crush protests, to sponsor regime-change, or to wage wars, bomb civilians and back occupations – to suit their own geopolitical interests and pursuit of oil. Such meddling and even opportunist sponsoring of terrorism has helped destroy or weaken democratic institutions and affected the balance of powers in the region, and has undoubtedly helped the terrorist outfits take root, fill vacuums, exploit disaffections and resentments and grasp power.

To recognize these facts is not to justify the ISIS or the al-Qaeda or accept and endorse the terrorists’ own rationale of retaliation. Rather, acknowledging these facts can shape our response to the present situation and prevent a repeat of the mistakes of the past. US, French or Russian policy of bombing Syria, in turn claiming lives of beleaguered Syrian civilians, or of offering military backing to either Syrian rebels or the repressive Bashar-al Assad regime, has proved disastrous – and the response to the Paris attack simply cannot be more of the same. It is to draw attention away from this reality that Western leaders ranging from Obama to Hollande to Putin peddle the rhetoric of ‘pitiless war’ and identify terrorism with Muslims.

Obama, for instance, said that while Muslims worldwide might not condone the ISIS, they are ‘not as willing to challenge some of the extremist thoughts or rationales for why Muslims feel oppressed.’ Such a statement is calculated to brand any critique of systematic Islamophobia as a rationalization of ‘extremism.’ The truth of course is that Islamophobia and wars affecting vast masses of civilians in the Middle East, especially since 9/11, as well as legacies and continuing policies of colonialism and racism (in France for instance) are very real and grave concerns. The ISIS or Taliban or al-Qaeda do not seek to deter or resist Islamophobia or racism, rather they thrive on it. But by seeking to associate any expression of those concerns with rationalization of terrorism, the US President seeks to get a license to continue those disastrous policies.

The Paris attacks have, for instance, provided a pretext to US and European politicians and governments to justify the sealing of borders against Syrian refugees. This is of course outrageous, given that the refugees are fleeing the horrors of the ISIS back home! The intensified racist and Islamophobic rhetoric and the declaration of a prolonged Emergency and ban on protests in France are reminiscent of the US response post 9/11 – and the consequences are likely to be as counter-productive and disastrous.

India’s foreign policy too has been, for the past decade and a half, embedded in ‘War on Terror’ serving Western strategic interests. With the Modi Government, the Islamophobia that seeks to tar all Muslims with the brush of terrorism while condoning and encouraging Sanghi terrorism has intensified alarmingly. Modi’s appeal, in the wake of the Paris attacks, to urge the international community to ‘give a definition of terrorism’ and reject spurious distinctions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorism, is in glaring contrast to his own Government’s policy of weakening bomb blast cases in which Sangh elements are implicated. It is imperative for India’s own interests that we condemn all forms of terrorism and slaughter of innocents, and remain alert to reject any attempt to fan up communal hatred on the pretext of the IS attacks.

The Turkish bombing of a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border is another ominous reminder that the war on Syria is not going to stay confined to Syria. It is already escalating and spilling over into Europe – and presenting a threat to peace in the whole world. There is an urgent need for de-escalation and for an unsparing review of the policies pursued by the US, France and Russia in Syria and the Middle East.

The ray of hope lies in the growing voice of popular protest that combines the condemnation of terrorism with rejection of Islamophobia, racism, suspension of democracy at home and war in the Middle East. In France for instance, it is heartening that some 15,000 people marched in Toulouse in defiance of the Emergency. The marchers responded to efforts of France’s largest public sector education union among other groups, and raised slogans of ‘Their wars, our death!’, ‘For freedom and peace, against the barbarity of coalitions’, and ‘Against the state of emergency, let’s intensify our fight’! In the US too, many have spoken up in protest against the attempt of Republican leaders to call for profiling and ‘registration’ of US Muslims or allowing entry only to Christian refugees while denying asylum to Muslim ones.

The peace-loving people of the world must unite to resist the ideologies of hatred, terrorism of all hues.

World Congress Of Working Women

In its 70th anniversary year, WFTU held the World Congress of Working Women in Cyprus on 2015, November 1 – 2. The congress was hosted by PanCyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) of Cyprus, a federation of 8 trade unions of the country.

73 delegates from 45 unions in 28 countries participated in the congress. From India 7 delegates of AICCTU, AITUC, CITU and AIBEA participated.

Delegates from Vietnam, which gave a fitting rebuff for imperialist aggression, Greece, which resisted anti-austerity measures of imperialist economy, Pakistan and Nepal, the neighbors, Venezuela and Chile, which are inspiring anti-imperialist struggles, Palestine and Syria, which are ravaged by imperialist wars, Panama, Somalia and Congo, where people are fighting against imperialist loot of natural resources, shared their view on onslaught of neo-liberal policies, on the exploitation and inhuman working conditions women workers are facing every day, the urgent need to organize them in trade unions to rise up against the capitalist onslaught and raise their demands, the need to bring the issue of unpaid labour of women at home to the fore and the need to strengthen left trade unions to protect the interests of women workers.

On November 1, a rally and public meeting was held on the beach. The message of the congress reached the people of Cyprus who were gathered in the beach-side restaurants in large numbers. The meeting began and concluded with performances of a cultural team which rendered songs in the beginning and traditional dances toward the end.

The session continued on November 2 with delegates from various countries delving into the issues of women workers in their countries and called for a resolute struggle against neo-liberal policies.

Along with passing resolutions on many issues of protecting the rights of workers in general and women workers in particular, the congress called for reunification of Cyprus which was divided by Turkish aggression, immediate withdrawal of imperialist military troops from Palestine and Syria and called for an end to imperialist war.

The congress decided to observe March 8 every year on behalf of WFTU from 2016 and bring focus on various women workers’ issues. On March 8 2016 WFTU will raise the issue of ensuring maternity benefits for women workers. It was also decided to form a women secretariat for WFTU in the forthcoming conference of WFTU which will be held in South Africa and to bring out a publication with the papers presented by the delegates in the congress.

The delegates then visited PEO office in Larnaca. PEO runs a museum in this office which portrays the conditions of workers of Cyprus before trade unions were formed, the history of struggle of Cyprus working class, important milestones in the history of PEO including significant collective agreements reached by PEO. The museum also has a collection of tools used by workers during different periods on display. The delegates then visited a hospital in a nearby building which is run by PEO. Members of PEO and their family members are entitled for treatment in these hospitals. PEO has entered into an agreement with a panel of doctors throughout the country for attending patients in PEO hospitals. Fund for running the hospital is raised by a contribution from the management and the workers through a collective agreement.

The delegates then visited Nicosia, capital of Cyprus where they were taken to the ‘green line’. This is the area in Nicosia which demarcates North Cyprus which is occupied by the Turkish forces and is under the rule of Turkish Cypriots from the South Cyprus which is ruled by Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots have built a monument of the devastating conditions of war in their part of the city and have also displayed the aerial view of Nicosia showing the broken city. Cypriot delegates said their main demand is reunification of the country into a united Cyprus.

Kudos to Bahadur Oraon for Returning Award

Bahadur Oraon, Jharkhand movement veteran, Former Jharkhand MLA from Chakradharpur, and former CPI(ML) CC member, has returned the award he had received from the Speaker on the occasion of the 15th foundation day of the Jharkhand assembly. He returned the award on the spot itself, following up with a note of protest saying that he felt ashamed to receive an award as an MLA, when the Assembly had failed “to protect tribal rights in a state that was carved out of Bihar for protection of tribal identity.” Tribal land continued to be plundered in violation of the CNT and SPT Acts, he said. Bahadurji has on previous occasions refused awards from the hands of Lalu Prasad and Madhu Koda also. His gesture this time has resonated with the protests of concerned citizens all over the country who have returned awards to protest against acts of discrimination and violence against vulnerable sections of India’s society.

Condemn Unconstitutional Hate Speech By Governors, BJP MPs

The BJP and Modi Government functionaries have been seeking to allege that the return of awards by intellectuals was a political ploy aimed at influencing Bihar elections, and that these protests have dried up since the Bihar results. But the vigorous protests and voices of dissent continue to go strong.

Noted Odisha poet and writer Jayanta Mahapatra is the latest to return his Padma Shri in protest against the growing climate of bigotry in the country. Film star Aamir Khan’s patriotism is being questioned because he shared the intensely personal insecurity and disquiet his wife felt for their child. The basis for this insecurity is apparent to all: it flows not only from the cold-blooded murders of minorities and dissenting voices, but from the unstoppable spate of bigoted comments from Ministers, MPs, MLAs and even Governors justifying such murders. BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargeeya has suggested that Aamir Khan’s remarks on intolerance are a ploy to cover up black money. BJP MP Adityanath has made yet another remark associating Muslims with overpopulation, saying that it would help reduce the country’s population if Aamir Khan were to leave India. Such nakedly bigoted statements only confirm the concerns expressed by so many Indian citizens about the growing climate of intolerance.

It is strange that Aamir Khan should be branded ant-national because his wife expresses fear for the safety of their child and wonders momentarily if they should move to some other country; but BJP MPs, Chief Ministers and Governors appointed by the Central Government are not branded anti-national for asking anyone who questions the Government or eats beef to “go to Pakistan.” It must also be pointed out that that the Prime Minister indulges in extravagant displays of Indian patriotism among NRI audiences in Silicon Valley and Wembley in the US and UK – clearly he does not consider those Indians who chose to live outside India to be anti-national. In fact, the BJP hails all its supporters – be they living in India or settled abroad – as “patriotic”, while it brands all its critics whether in India or broad, as “anti-national.” BJP equates itself to India, and when concerned citizens say that the BJP is intolerant and bigoted, the BJP accuses them of shaming India by branding the country as intolerant!

It is ironic that as the Government prepares to celebrate the anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of India on the coming 26th November, the Governor of Assam PB Acharya has repeatedly declared that “India is for Hindus, no Bangladeshi will be allowed to register in Assam” and “Muslims can go to Pakistan or Afghanistan.” His remarks are the exact mirror image of some of the bigoted US leaders who are recommending that the US accept Christian refugees from Syria but refuse Muslim ones. Even his “clarification” exposes the fact that he considers Hindus living anywhere to be Indian – but that he considers Muslims – even those living in India – to be “free to go to Pakistan”! The Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy is also notorious for regular flow of bigoted tweets decrying secularism.

It is the dissenting voices that are moved by true concern and love for the country, while the BJP has from Babri to Dadri, from Bihar elections to Assam, from the Prime Minister to its foot-soldiers, shown its willingness to divide and polarize the country and poison peace and harmony to get a chance to rule.

In Dr Ambedkar’s centenary year and on the occasion of the anniversary of the Indian Constitution, it will not do for the Prime Minister and the Government to merely use the Constitution as a fig leaf behind which to hide their continuous promotion of bigotry. India’s citizens must reclaim and reassert the true spirit of the Constitution – a spirit that Dr Ambedkar embodied, a spirit that does not lie in branding dissent as disloyalty, but in fact lies in boldly speaking up for the country’s diversity and the rights, freedom and dignity of the minorities, oppressed castes, women and all human beings.

Free Palestinian Poet Sentenced to Death in Saudi Arabia

Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet and artist, has been sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia on charges of blasphemy and atheism. He was arrested by members of Saudi Arabia’s Committee on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. He faces the prospect of execution, possibly by beheading.

Such laws and courts in Saudi Arabia that allow people to be arrested by morality police and sentenced to death and punishments like flogging and executions for the views are barbaric and inhumane.

CPI(ML) condemns the regressive regime in Saudi Arabia, and demands the release of poets and writers like Ashraf Fayadh and Raef Badawi and a stop to the practice of draconian and barbaric sentences for such dissenting voices.

Salute Allahabad University Students For Keeping Out Hate-Monger Adityanath

The students of Allahabad University including Richa, the first woman President of Allahabad University Union, and various progressive and Left student organisations, are to be congratulated for taking a principled stand to oppose the University’s move to allow the vicious hatemonger, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath to inaugurate the Students’ Union Office Hall. Adityanath and his organisation are notorious for vicious hate-speech targeting minorities and democratic values, and for his role in many episodes of organized communal violence. The Students’ Union office bearers from the ABVP unilaterally took a decision to invite Adityanath, riding roughshod over the dissenting opinions of common students of the University as well as the Union President herself.

The students’ success in ensuring that Adityanath stayed out of Allahabad University is reminiscent of the students’ movement led by AISA in 1992, which braved severe repression to keep VHP leader Ashok Singhal out of the same University campus, at the peak of the toxic ‘Mandir’ and anti-Mandal agitations in which the RSS and VHP had a big hand.


Shakuntala Prasad (affectionately called Munni ji), passed away on 24 November 2015 at the age of 60. Raised in Jamshedpur, she had become a CPI(ML) member and activist. She had been Patna town AIPWA President as well as a member of the AIPWA Bihar State Committee. Her first husband had passed away. She had then married the late Comrade Ashok, former editor of Lokyuddh. She is survived by her son Santosh from her first marriage, with whom she had been living in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, where she passed away after a protracted illness.

Red salute to Comrade Shakuntala!

ML Update | No. 47 | 2015

November 18, 2015


A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 47, 17 ­– 23 NOVEMBER 2015

Modi Government’s Foreign Policy:

Appeasement of Imperialists and Global Capital,

Arrogance Towards South Asian Neighbours

he crushing defeat of the BJP in Bihar was a decisive mandate against feudal-communal arrogance and the Modi Government’s pro-corporate ‘development’ that had meant nothing but land grab and steep prices of essential food items.

The Modi Government, in the wake of this historic verdict, has responded by trying to reassure corporates that the Government’s determination to ram through unpopular policies will continue, immune to democratic opinion. Regulations for FDI have been eased in 15 sectors including single brand retail, banking, construction, media, airlines, defence, banking, plantations and media, as a move to appease foreign capital before the Prime Minister embarked on another spate of foreign tours to London, G-20, Malaysia and Singapore. Corporate taxes have been reduced and rail fares hiked, even as food prices continue to soar.

But the questions and protests of India’s citizens continued to pursue Prime Minister Modi even in London. He was greeted by massive protests, including those by women’s groups, human rights groups, Dalit groups as well as various community organizations. The British media, too, did not spare Modi on his human rights record and attacks on minorities’ rights, though he failed to answer a direct question about the protests.

Significantly, his visit was also marked by protests by Nepalis against an unconscionable India-backed blockade of the land-locked, quake-hit country. While the question of Madhesi representation and citizenship is indeed a genuine democratic one that the republic of Nepal will have to address, India’s big-brotherly arrogance and meddling is rightly resented by Nepal.

The Modi Government’s foreign policy failure when it comes to Nepal and the South Asian neighbourhood is in marked contrast to its appeasement of the US, UK and other imperialist powers. Addressing the extravaganza of Indian diaspora at Wembley, Modi chose to remain totally silent on the legacy of India’s resistance to British colonialism. Meanwhile the BJP back home in India was whipping up communal hatred and violence against the legacy of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Mysore ruler who was killed while resisting the East India Company!

Instead, Modi went to the extent of stating that India enjoyed a unique relationship with Britain that was much closer than that with any of India’s own neighbours! This statement exposes the skewed character of the Modi Government’s foreign policy priorities.

In his Wembley speech, in the name of hailing India’s legacy of tolerance, Modi pandered to Islamophobic prejudice by suggesting that the Sufi tendency was the only peaceful tendency in Islam which otherwise was the source of global terrorism. In the wake of the terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris, Modi called on the “international community” to “give a definition to terrorism” in order to put an end to the spurious distinction between “good and bad terrorism.” This is ironic, given the fact that Modi himself in India has been projecting terrorism by Hindutva groups as “good terrorism.” A public prosecutor has gone on record to accuse Modi’s own Government of pressurizing her to weaken the cases against Hindutva elements accused in terrorism cases. Modi and his own Government and camp followers openly seek to brand all Muslims and voices of dissent and democratic protests as potential “terrorists” while defending acts of terrorist blasts, assassinations and lynchings by Hindu majoritarian outfits.

Questioned about attacks on India’s diversity and minorities’ rights in London, Modi chose to take refuge behind the legacy of Buddha, Gandhi and the Indian Constitution. To Indians, though, this answer is supremely unconvincing because even as he hailed Gandhi in London, his camp followers including even MPs of his party have been venerating Gandhi’s killer Godse, making bigoted statements mocking the Constitutional rights of and justifying organized violence against Dalits and minorities, and branding dissent as “anti-national” disloyalty.

The bitter Bihar lesson has done nothing to dent the arrogance of the BJP and the Modi Government and their hostility to dissent and democracy. On a visit to America to address a gathering of Indian diaspora, the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh declared that India’s leading writers, scientists and intellectuals were “paid” by vested interests to protest “intolerance.”

The attempts to paint all citizens critical of the Modi Government’s communal and pro-corporate policies as ‘paid’ or ‘Pakistani’ will fail as miserably as it did in Bihar. The Modi Government will be punished by the people for its betrayal of India’s anti-colonial legacy, its appeasement of imperialist forces and arrogance towards neighbours, and its blatant espousal of corporate interests at the cost of those of India’s peasants, workers and common people.

Condemn the Terrorist Attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Nigeria

The CPI(ML) condemns the heinous and unconscionable spate of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Yola in Nigeria. The ISIS attack in Beirut (Lebanon) claimed 50 civilian lives while a series of ISIS attacks on various public places in Paris killed 128 people. A suicide bombing in a Baghdad funeral killed 17 people. On 17 November an explosion at a busy market in Yola, a north-eastern city of Nigeria killed 32 people with 80 more injured. It is yet unclear as to who is behind the explosion, but in the past Boko Haram pledging allegiance to ISIS has claimed the killings of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring regions of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, targeting mostly public places.

Alarmingly, the Paris attacks have been followed by several racist and Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Arabs in France and other parts of Europe, with the Czech President Zeman even attending an anti-Muslim rally.

The terrorist attacks in Paris are being used to stoke further prejudice against Syrian refugees. It has rightly been reminded that the refugees are in fact fleeing the very same barbaric ISIS that has attacked Paris and Beirut.

The racism and Islamophobia, the rhetoric about ‘pitiless war’ and the plans to intensify airstrikes by European powers and USA in Syria that will inevitably claim scores of civilian lives will only provide more fodder for the ISIS.

The resistance to the ISIS today cannot be built without sober reflection about the role of imperialist war and occupation or Iraq and meddling in West Asia that has created the Frankenstein that is the ISIS today.

Indian people must stand firm in solidarity with people all over the world in rejecting and resisting all forms of terrorism, and refusing to fall into the trap of racism, communalism and Islamophobia.

On Tamil Nadu Floods

The CPI(ML) expresses deep concern over the rainstorms and floods ravaging Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai city and several coastal districts of the state. More than a 100 lives have been lost needlessly in the absence of shelter and suitable prevention, protection and relief.

The party calls upon the Governments of Tamil Nadu and the Centre to immediately provide relief, food, medical care, other forms of humanitarian assistance as well as rehabilitation measures to the affected people of Tamil Nadu.

The party demands that Tamil Nadu be declared a national calamity-hit state; that the State Government demand at least Rs 10000 crore as funds from the Centre; and that MNREGA be expanded on a large scale in the flood affected rural districts. The party has demanded that the State Government shed its apathy and callous attitude and display a sense of urgency towards relief and rehabilitation work.

The party extends condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones in this disaster.

Protests in the UK Against Modi Visit

The ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome protests in London at Downing Street and Parliament Square, organized by the Awaaz Network of which South Asia Solidarity Group is a constituent organisation, were attended by thousands of people. They included members of women’s organisations, left South Asian groups, Dalit, Sikh and Kashmiri groups and as well as a Nepali contingent. Slogans such as ‘Modi, Modi you can’t hide- you committed genocide’ and ‘Modi, Modi, RSS, Nazi Fascism No Less’ and ‘David Cameron – Shame, Shame – inviting Modi – Not in Our Name’ pursued Modi as he moved from Downing Street to Parliament Square. As he hypocritically laid flowers at the Gandhi statue, even as his amp followers prepares to celebrate the death anniversary Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse, the crowd which lined the square roared ‘shame on you’!

Speakers at a rally facing the square vowed to continue to stand in solidarity with those opposing Modi and the Sangh Parivar in India. Among other speakers, Amrit Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group spoke about the horrific escalation of violence against minorities, Dalits and women which has been orchestrated by the Hindu Right and supported by the Modi government – that people were being lynched with impunity just for what they eat or whom they love. She said ‘We stand in solidarity with those fighting Hindutva fascism in India, with the workers facing the sweeping away of labour laws, and we stand with the people of Bihar who have decisively rejected Modi’s hate politics. Modi’s visit to Britain is about selling off India to the new versions of the colonial East India Company.‘ Mentioning the fact that India is the biggest client of Israel’s arms industry, she said that the arms India buys will be used against Indian citizens. Satpal Muman of Castewatch UK spoke of the horrific tally of killings of Dalits since the new government had come to power and highlighted the way Hindutva organizations in the UK have systematically tried to block the implementation of the anti-caste discrimination in the UK. Rahila Gupta of Southall Black Sisters spoke about how gender violence and attempts to control women had intensified under Modi. Sangeeta a student active in the ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome campaign, highlighted the way in which Hindu Right groups in the UK were dividing the South Asian diaspora in UK, including the younger generation, and was feeding into Islamophobia, and how these groups had imported the myth of ‘love jihad’ into Britain. Banners reminded people of Modi’s culpability for the Gujarat genocide 2002 and placards remembered individual victims of Modi in Gujarat, including Ishrat Jehan, Ehsan Jafri and Kauser Bi. Nepali protesters demanded that Modi ‘back off!’ and lift the devastating blockade of Nepal.

The night before the #ModiNotWelcome protest at Downing Street and Parliament Square, we had received threatening phone calls warning us that ‘15,000’ Modi supporters would converge there and there would be disturbances. But in fact only a small group of 50 showed up and stood opposite the tail end of the demonstration from where they hurled invective -demonstrating their much touted ‘tolerance’.

The protesters vowed to continue their campaign both against Modi’s visit and against the Hindutva forces in the UK, as well as standing in solidarity with those who are confronting and resisting Hindutva’s corporate fascism in India.

Statement Issued by Left Parties

Six Left Parties – CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML)-Liberation, RSP, Forward Bloc and SUCI – met on November 10 at Ajoy Bhavan, New Delhi.

The meeting was attended by Comrades – Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, S Ramachandran Pillai from the CPI(M), S Sudhakar Reddy, A.B. Bardhan and D Raja from the CPI, Dipankar Bhattacharya & Swapan Mukherjee from the CPI(ML)-Liberation, G Devarajan from the AIFB, Abani Roy from the RSP and Krishna Chakraborthy & Pran Sharma from the SUCI(C).

The meeting issued the following statement:

The Left Parties will launch a nationwide campaign against the communal hate offensive spearheaded by the RSS and patronized by this BJP led government, from 1st to 6th December, 2015 through various forms of protest.

The Left Parties congratulate the people of Bihar and hail the BJP’s humiliating defeat. The United Left bloc campaign was well received by the people of Bihar and has won three seats.

The Left Parties salute the litterateurs, scientists, historians, film personalities and intellectuals who have bravely risen against the growing communal hate and polarization unleashed by the RSS /BJP. The Left Parties condemn the campaign of vilification against them.

Left Parties Demonstration in Uttarakhand to Make Gairsain Permanent State Capital

Hundreds of left activists reached Gairsain on 5th November to participate in the protest call given by three left parties CPI-ML, CPI-M and CPI in Gairsain, Uttarakhand. As left activists poured in from all over the state, to demand making Gairsain the permanent capital of the state and against the anti-people policies of the Govt, the town was filled with red flags and banners. This was the first time since the formation of Uttarakhand as a separate state that the three left parties had mobilized at this level.

The program was organized to assert the demand for declaring Gairsain as the permanent Capital of the state as well as to expose the betrayal of people’s aspirations by organizing a sham of a Assembly session in Gairsain which resulted in huge waste of public money as it completely failed to show any intention to declare Gairsain the permanent Capital of Uttarakhand. It also failed in redressing the genuine demands of the people be it the huge crisis in agriculture in the state, slapping of false cases against workers in SIDCOL, and privatization of health facilities in the state.

People from all over the state gathered at the Ramlila Ground and enthusiastically marched through the streets of Gairsain, the rally culminated in a mass public meeting at the Ramlila Grounds of Gairsain.

Addressing the meeting CPI(ML) Uttarahand State Secretary Comrade Rajendra Pratholi said, ‘In policies there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP, both make policies which suits corporates like Ambani-Adani. Govt owned land is being sold to corporates at ridiculously low prices in the whole of Uttarakhand. At the behest of Modi Harish Rawat is gifting away 250 Acres of land to Adani on a platter. The govt is welcoming companies such as Coca Cola which have a history of depleting ground water, destroying environment and even toppling democratically elected governments all over the world. On the other hand the Govt is failing to address any of the genuine grievances and aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand.

CPI-M State Secretary, Comrade Rajendra Singh in addressing the meeting said that holding the assembly in Gairsain without committing to make it a permanent Capital of the State is a betrayal of the aspirations and demands of the people. CPI State Secretary Comrade Anand Singh Rana highlighted the situation of unemployment in the state on the face of rising prices of essential commodities, he pointed out that even retired soldiers are forced to work as contract workers in the state.

CPI(ML) State Committee members Purushottam Sharma and Indresh Maikhuri also spoke at the meeting. The Chairperson of Karnprayag Municipality, Subhash Garaula, CPI National Council member Comrade Samar Bhandari were also among the speakers at the Mass meeting.

The meeting was conducted by Vinod Joshi, Joint Secretary of CPI Chamoli District Committee.

Birsa Munda Birth Anniversary Celebrated on 15 November

On 15 November, Shaheed Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary was celebrated by CPI(ML) at several places across the Country. At Palghar in Boisar district in Maharashtra 250 people, men and women participated in a mass meeting remembering the legacy of Birsa’s revolutionary tradition and applying it to current context when even the basic and millenniums old livelihood, cultural and human rights of indigenous and tribal people is being attacked for benefitting the powerful, the rich and the corrupt sections of the Indian society. The meeting revolved around the issue of “Jal-Jungle-Jamin ke Loot Ke Khilaf”, and “Adivasi Sanskriti Ko Phir Se Sthapit Karne Ke Liye” (against the loot of water, forests, land; and to reestablish the tribal culture).

At tribal populated Kusdi in West Panki district, the anniversary was celebrated. Several people attended a meeting. Inside the Hazaribagh Central Jail also the anniversary was celebrated. Here the CPI(ML) comrades started holding this anniversary event since last year after renovating a dilapidated and ignored Statue of Birsa. In Dhanbad, CPI(ML) and AIPF held a demonstration with candle lights to pay tributes to the people killed in terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere recently, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shaheed Birsa Munda. At Deoli in Govindpur also a meeting commemorating the anniversary was held attended by Comrades Subal Das and Subhendu Sen.

Everywhere the meetings began with garlanding the Statue or a portrait of Birsa Munda. Birsa Munda (1875-1900) is one of the most important leaders of anti-colonial Independence movement who led massive resistance of the indigenous people against British colonial policies that was not only alienating the tribals from their land and millenniums old livelihood sources, but were also bringing in settlers that would start exploiting the tribal population by transforming the tribal agrarian system into feudal estates. Eventually, in many places the tribal owners of land became agrarian labourers, being exploited in various ways. This process also caused a weakening of tribal culture. It was in this context that the young Birsa united various sections of the tribal population to resist the offensive of British colonialism.

CPI(ML)’s Initiative to Bring Back the Indian Workers Stuck in Malaysia

Several workers who are inhabitants of villages under Bagodar in Jharkhand have been stuck in Malaysia and the Malaysian authorities are creating roadblocks for their return, even denying the workers food and shelter for wanting to return to their Country.

Party leader and ex-Legislator in Jharkhand Assembly, Comrade Vinod Singh has met the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jharkhand – Rajeev Gauba and NN Pandey respectively, in order to expedite the process for their return. It is to be noted that they were apprised of the case earlier, despite that new roadblock in their return are being created. The two high ranking officials assured our Party leader of urgent action.

On 10 November the parents and family members of the troubled workers had met Comrade Vinod to urge him to ensure their return. It is noteworthy that seven other workers have returned in the recent past due to the efforts of CPI(ML) and Comrade Vinod. In October, around Dussehra festival, this issue had got highlighted after which the Jharkhnad CM Raghuvar Das and Bagodar MLA Nagendra Mahto had stated about ensuring the workers’ return. Since then a month has elapsed but nothing much has happened. Moreover, in this one month the workers have rather been threatened by the Malaysian authorities and coerced to stay back. After this the workers telephoned their family back in Bagodar, all of whom who then met Comrade Vinod to seek action. The Party has assured the families of all possible efforts to bring their children and family members back.

A lot of unsuspecting and vulnerable Indian workers are trafficked to Malaysia by human traffickers with the lure of good paying and better jobs. Upon their arrival in Malaysia they are faced more often than not with horrible working conditions bordering on slavery. Many of them face abuse and are beaten up. When complained about this by activists in Malaysia, the Malaysian police rescues them from one abusive employer and dumps them into some other similar abusive factory. When the workers try to run away from extremely inhuman conditions they quite often lose their work permit and are at risk of becoming further enslaved. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not taken adequate steps to ensure to prevent trafficking and to ensure that Malaysian Government make adequate and stricter regulations to regulate and monitor the working conditions of the Indian migrants working in Malaysian factories or rubber plantations.

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:

ML Update | No. 46 | 2015

November 10, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 46 | 10 – 16 NOV 2015

The Essential Bihar Story:

Roaring Rebuff against an Autocratic Communal BJP,
Aggressive Campaigning by a Compact JDU-RJD-Congress Alliance,

Vindication of the Core Strength and Developing Potential of the Left

After sundry exit polls and post-poll surveys did their rounds, we finally know what Bihar has spoken. The Bihar verdict has left the loud and foul mouths of the ruling Sangh-BJP establishment speechless while amplifying the voice of every defender of democracy in an India ruled by an openly RSS-driven government. Contrary to what the Modi-Shah duo had notoriously foretold, the Bihar verdict has ignited celebratory crackers not in Pakistan but all over India. If the Delhi mandate in early 2015 gave the first resounding rebuff to the arrogant autocratic rule of Narendra Modi, Bihar has now unfurled a real banner of revolt. And defying the pressures of a bipolar election and a massive wave in favour of the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance, revolutionary communists have creditably defended their citadels of struggle and sacrifice.

The direction of the Bihar outcome was not at all difficult to see. Any political observer keeping his or her ears open could easily hear the distinctly audible whispers that eventually grew into a roaring rejection of the BJP as the marathon poll campaign drew to a close. Yet the way exit polls failed to read the writing on the wall, and the way respectable TV channels continued to report pro-NDA trends till minutes before actual results started coming in, point to nothing short of a scary censorship syndrome. Unlike the Emergency era media censorship four decades ago, this one is perhaps more corporate-driven and even ‘voluntary’, but that does not diminish the danger. Has indicating or reporting the truth now become too risky an undertaking inviting accusations of indulging in some ‘anti-national’ and ‘anti-state’ activity?

The JDU-RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar had an arithmetic advantage to begin with. Even in the height of the Modi wave of 2014, the combined vote shares of the three parties would have given the alliance a comfortable majority of 145 seats. The new factors that could have dented this arithmetic advantage were revolts by Jitan Ram Manjhi and Pappu Yadav and the entry of the SP or AIMIM. The mainstream media hyped up these factors like anything, projecting a non-existent SP-NCP-Pappu Yadav coalition as the ‘third front’ for Bihar, while systematically ignoring the Left bloc, the only policy-based alternative platform with a recorded history of not only powerful struggles but also consistent electoral strength. As it turned out, the ‘third front’ broke down midway through the elections, the AIMIM could not make any inroad, while the BJP’s allies collapsed spectacularly, failing even to match the modest CPI(ML) tally of three seats.

What has really surprised the general political observer is the stunning scale of the victory of the Nitish-Lalu-Congress alliance. What transformed the assumed 2014 arithmetic of 145 seats into an actual 2015 statistic of 178 seats is the real political story of the Bihar elections. Admirers of Nitish Kumar are keen to explain it as a pro-incumbency vote, as a vindication of Nitish Kumar’s record of ‘development and good governance’, but this explanation is more wishful than objective. The Nitish-Lalu alliance drew its strength primarily from the negative campaign and arrogant divisive politics of the BJP. The Modi-Shah campaign reeked of absolute political arrogance and unmitigated communal venom. While the Mohan Bhagwat and VK Singh ‘mann ki baat’ on reservations and dalits, and the desperate obsession with Pakistan and cows and beef, ripped apart the deceptive ‘development’ facade and laid bare the ugly feudal-communal face of the Sangh-BJP persona, the fact that two Gujaratis were storming Bihar with this feudal-communal campaign, gave a strong resonance to the Nitish campaign theme of ‘swabhiman’ or ‘Bihari self-respect’. And the smart and innovative Nitish-Lalu campaign drove this message home with clear focus and great energy.

The CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M) contested these elections as a united and independent bloc of six Left parties. While the outcome of three seats marks only a modest improvement of the 2010 ebb of only one Left member in the Assembly, the combined Left vote share of close to 4% coupled with a seat tally of three in the Assembly, marks out the Left as the only credible and potential third force in an otherwise bipolar Bihar. Defending the Left base built through decades of struggles and translating the Left’s undisputed credibility and goodwill in terms of honest pro-people politics into votes is no easy challenge in a wave election and the CPI(ML) had to dig deep into its core strength to win its three seats in the midst of this electoral storm. The solid support of the rural poor, spirited and dynamic role of the youth and increased participation of peasants and women gave the CPI(ML) campaign its basic strength and energy. What makes this modest victory truly memorable is the extremely unequal nature of the electoral battle and the inhospitable media environment. In Bhojpur CPI(ML) activist Satish Yadav was killed just on the eve of the elections and three of CPI(ML)’s most prospective candidates – agricultural labour leader Comrade Satyadeo Ram, who has won from Darauli in Siwan and youth leaders Amarjeet Kushwaha and Manoj Manzil who finished close third from Zeradei (Siwan) and Agiaon (Bhojpur) respectively – were arrested on fabricated charges at the time of filing their nomination.

The Bihar elections were fought in an unmistakably national context and the verdict will clearly have a major national resonance and ramification. Apart from signifying obvious encouragement for opposition politics within the parliamentary arena, and a major setback to the BJP’s dreams of securing a greater Rajya Sabha presence, the verdict will clearly inspire the whole range of ongoing democratic protests and people’s struggles in the country. As for Bihar, Lalu Prasad has termed the new phase as Mandal-II while Nitish Kumar continues to harp on his familiar planks of ‘good governance’ and ‘development with justice’. While holding the new regime accountable to its promises, the CPI(ML) and the Left in Bihar will have to champion the alternative direction and priorities articulated in the joint Left appeal with a clear focus on employment, agriculture, education, health, opportunities and rights for youth and women, and basic democratic rights and justice for all, especially for the vulnerable sections of the Bihari society. It is a major political juncture for Bihar and India, and revolutionary communists will have to advance in bold steps with full clarity of purpose and courage of conviction.

CPI(ML) Victories:
In the Face of All Odds

The CPI(ML), it must be remembered, had no spin doctors hired at exorbitant expense to run a high-decibel media campaign. It had no huge hoardings, no vans playing videos, and no helicopters, no TV coverage of leaders’ election speeches, and only very minimal coverage in the print media. In contrast to the other contenders enjoying state machinery of Delhi or Patna, many CPI(ML) candidates contested from jail, arrested in false cases slapped on them for leading people’s struggles. The CPI(ML)’s only medium of election campaign was the people themselves – and this was turned into a strength, not a weakness.

In spite of these enormous odds, the CPI(ML) managed to emerge victorious because of the enormous trust gained as a result of struggles, movements and sacrifices.

Comrade Satyadev Ram – Jailed for Supporting Dalits’ Struggle For Land

Satyadev Ram (Darauli, Siwan), who defeated the BJP candidate by a margin of 10,000 votes, contested from jail. He and the CPI(ML) candidate from Ziradei, Siwan – Amarjit Kushwaha are both in jail thanks to false cases slapped on them in 2013 during a struggle by Dalit landless labourers to occupy land that was rightfully theirs. BJP-backed landlords led by the local BJP MLA had fired on the Dalits. Comrades Satyadev Ram and Amarjit Kushwaha had gone there later to intervene and ask the administration to arrest the BJP-backed goons and allot land to the Dalits. Instead of punishing the BJP MLA and his goons, the administration in Nitish-ruled Bihar foisted murder cases on both the comrades and arrested them! Comrade Amarjit also polled third after giving a close fight to BJP and JDU both – and by electing Comrade Satyadev Ram in Darauli, the people of Siwan paid tribute to the countless martyred comrades including former JNUSU President Comrade Chandrashekhar who resisted the RJD’s mafia leader Shahabuddin and who have braved jail and bullets to defend the rights and dignity of the Dalit landless poor.

Comrade Sudama Prasad- Tarari’s Anti-Feudal Assertion

Comrade Sudama, who defeated the NDA candidate in a photo finish by a margin of 296 votes, has been at the forefront of anti-feudal resistance of poor and oppressed caste peasants in Bhojpur, continuing the glorious legacy of the late Comrade Ram Naresh Ram who used to be the iconic leader and unbeaten MLA of the party from this region.

Ironically, at Tarari, all the other candidates – be they from MGB, LJP or Samajwadi Party – had connections with the Ranveer Sena.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Modi ally Ram Vilas Paswan had fielded Geeta Pandey, the wife of Ranveer Sena man Sunil Pandey, who had been the sitting MLA from Tarari, elected from the JDU!

The Mahagatbandhan had fielded Akhilesh Prasad Singh – former RJD MP and Union Minister who now contested on a Congress ticket. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, at the funeral of Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh had had referred to the architect of the massacres of Dalit labouring poor as "a towering personality the likes of whom are born once in 100-200 years…His stature remains higher than any MP or MLA.” And the Samajwadi Party had fielded none other than the son of Brahmeshwar Singh, Indubhushan Singh, who now leads the organization that is the front of the Ranveer Sena.

This state of affairs in Tarari is a reminder of how hollow the talk of ‘social justice,’ ‘socialism’ and ‘Dalit pride’ are when it comes to opportunist ruling class parties. In the soil watered by the blood of Bathani Tola’s poor, Laloo’s Government that boasts of having stopped Advani’s riot-Rath, allowed the BJP-RSS’ Ranveer-Rath to rampage for over a decade, massacring with impunity. The JDU and Nitish Kumar then helped BJP share the seat of power in Bihar for the first time ever – and in order to do so, buried the Amir Das Commission and truth and justice about the Ranveer Sena massacres. And in 2015, defying history and insulting the victims, all the other rival formations fielded Ranveer-linked candidates!

But Tarari upheld the legacy of Bathani Tola’s fighters. Remember, Bathani Tola was where Muslims fighting for Karbala land, chased by the Ranveers, took shelter in the homes of the oppressed castes. This bond of unity across communal lines was forged by the CPIML. The Ranveer Sena could not kill that legacy – and in 2015, Tarari once again rebuffed the communal-feudal Ranveer-linked candidates and elected Comrade Sudama from the CPI(ML).

Comrade Mahboob Alam– Victory of People’s Struggles

Comrade Mahboob Alam, was once more elected from the Balrampur seat in Katihar district, defeating the BJP candidate by a margin of nearly 23000 votes. The CPIML has been elected thrice before from the Barsoi/Balrampur seat.

Comrade Mahboob Alam has faced countless false cases against him – all for having taken up the struggles of poor Dalits, adivasis and Muslims in the area, against powerful landlords. But he has earned the unflinching love and trust of the poor in this extremely backward region – they all know they can count on none but Comrade Mahboob and CPI(ML) in the face of every instance of harassment, injustice and violence.

The CPI(ML) struggles here are living instances of staunch secularism on the ground – a secularism crafted not by opportunistic unity of leaders for power, but the solidarities of the powerless against the powerful.

Demonstration in Tamilnadu against Communal and Castiest Forces

At the call of the state committee of CPI(ML) against Hindutva communalism and castiest forces, state wide demonstrations were held on November 2, 2015 all over Tamilnadu. Demonstrators demanded to protect the life, liberty and dignity of Muslims, Dalits and women, and stringent punishment to Hindutva communal and casteist forces.

The protesters also condemned the arrest of Comrade Kovan, folk singer of People’s Art and Literature Association on a sedition charge for having composed and sung a song criticising the Chief Minister for failure to implement prohibition of alcohol.

While Comrade Kumarasamy, PBM, attended the demonstration at the Demonstration in Chennai, State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram attended the demonstration at Vilupuram along with Comrade Balasubramanian , Puducherry state secretary. Demonstrations were also held at Sriperumputhur, Salem, Coimbatore, Kandarvakottai, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Myiladuthurai, and Karur. Constituents of AIPF also took part in many places.

Pricol workers of Coimbatore Fast For Bonus

The management of Pricol announced 8.33% Bonus unilaterally to workers without even talking to the recognised AICCTU union. Even last year it has dispersed the bonus of 35.34%. Angered by the move of the management hundreds of workers went on a day long fast at Periyanaikan Palayam on 4.11.2015. Workers working inside the factory also refused to take food on that day. Each and every worker has also sent a memorandum to the management demanding bonus of 35.34% as given by the management last year. AICCTU National President Comrade Kumarasamy addressed the workers at the fasting venue. A Gate Meeting was also held by workers paying tributes to the departed state President of AIARLA Comrade TKS Janardhanan.

#OccupyUGC Protests Continue And Swell

The students’ occupation of the UGC demanding restoration and enhancement of the Non-Net Fellowships continues even as the fire of students’ enthusiasm fails to be dampened by the colder weather.

On 3 November, former UGC member Prof. Yogendra Yadav along with activists from Swaraj Abhiyan, and Prof. Chaman Lal joined the OccupyUGC movement and spent the night with the students. Journalists like Dilip C Mandal and academics like Prof Mary John took Open Classes at the barricades nearly every day.

On 4 November, students held a solidarity rally at Jamia Millia Islamia in support of #OccupyUGC movement. They also organized a protest in ‪‎DU Arts Faculty and raised slogans against scrapping of non- net fellowship, the WTO and the BJP government.

On 5 November, students, teachers and activists from various Universities in the NCR region held a massive ‪#‎OccupyUGC March to the MHRD. The sheer strength of students, teachers and activists who had gathered outside MHRD, forced the minister to come out and address the protesters. The students demanded a complete scrapping of the review committee which has been formed by the UGC to "look into" the distribution of Non-Net Fellowship from the next academic session. The Minister refused to make any commitment to students and stood by the press release which was released by MHRD after first round of demonstrations under Ocuppy UGC movement.

The students too refused to budge from their demanded and resolved to continue their movement until and unless higher education becomes a right of every citizen of India.

#ModiNotWelcome Protests in the UK

Preparations are on to ensure that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted with massive protests on his impending visit to the UK. In the run up to a huge Day of Protest on 12 November, several groups held a ‘Reclaim Diwali’ celebration on 6th November, with music and a feast including vegetarian and non-vegetarian and beef items. This Reclaim Diwali event was organised by the South Asia Solidarity Group, Dalit Solidarity Network, South Asian Women’s Creative Collective London, and Freedom Without Fear Platform as part of the Modi Not Welcome campaign.

On 8th November, the Modi Not Welcome Campaign projected the words "Modi not welcome" onto the Houses of Parliament building. The projection showed Modi wielding a sword in front of "an OM sign that is tragically being transferred to a Nazi swastika."

The Modi Not Welcome protests are being organised by Awaaz Network, South Asia Solidarity Group, Sikh Federation UK, Southall Black Sisters, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, Indian Muslim Federation, Indian Workers Association, Muslim Parliament, and Voice of Dalit International.

After facing a rout in the Bihar elections and a wave of dissent and protest from writers and intellectuals in India, Modi is all set to face massive protests in the UK as well.

ML Update | No. 45 | 2015

November 5, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 45, 03 ­– 09 NOVEMBER 2015

Accusations of ‘Ideological Intolerance’ and ‘Ideological Terrorism’

Modi Government’s Offensive On Dissenting Voices

he past month has been witness to an unstoppable tide of dissent against intolerance and bigotry patronized by the Modi Government in India. Hundreds of writers, followed by artists, scientists, filmmakers, sociologists, historians and actors have returned awards or otherwise expressed concern at the growing climate of intolerance and violence in the country. In addition, even members of the ruling establishment, including the President of India and the RBI Governor have also expressed similar concerns. The global investment ratings company, Moody’s Analytics, also warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his failure to “rein in” the intolerance and sectarian violence promoted by members of his party would harm India “domestic and global credibility.”

In the face of this all-out loss of credibility for the Modi Government, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has responded by accusing all the dissenting voices of being “Congress and Left thinkers and activists” who are displaying “ideological intolerance” towards Modi. The Prime Minister, he said, was in fact the biggest victim of this “intolerance.” Some days later, the Jharkhand CM from the BJP added that writers returning awards were in fact guilty of “ideological terrorism.”

Such a response to dissent, only confirms the accusations of authoritarian arrogance that the Modi Government is facing. Dissent and criticism are crucial for any democracy – and dissent by definition “speaks truth to power.” For the party wielding power to claim to be a victim of “intolerance” is laughable. It implies that only possible place the Modi Government envisages for citizens is of cheerleaders. Anyone who does not join the cheering chorus but speaks up in dissent is accused of “intolerance.”

Worse, dissenters are accused of being “terrorists” and “Pakistanis.” Those who stand up for the right to eat beef or question the killing of Muslims or writers, or criticize Modi in any way are advised by BJP Ministers like Giriraj Singh to “go to Pakistan.” The BJP President Amit Shah, in speeches in the Bihar elections, claims that BJP’s defeat will be greeted by firecrackers and celebrations in “Pakistan.” Such statements slyly use “Pakistan” and “terrorist” as shorthand for Indian Muslims and those who speak up for the rights of Indian Muslims. Citizenship and patriotism are redefined as approval of the BJP and RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra and corporate appeasement, and every citizen who votes against the BJP, or any activist who agitate against land grab laws or other pro-corporate policies, or stand up for civil liberties, freedom of expression and dignity of minorities can be branded as a “terrorist.”

These allegations of “intolerance” and “terrorism” are of course an admission of failure by the BJP: failure to turn the tide of public opinion in their favour in spite of holding all the power. But they are also dangerous – because branding dissenters as terrorists is a ploy to justify cracking down on them.

Jaitley’s claim that the “national situation is absolutely peaceful…The country is not intolerant," and wave away incidents like the Dadri lynching as an aberration are belied by facts. Dadri-style lynchings of Muslims on the pretext of ‘cow slaughter’ happening thick and fast, accompanied by open threats of violence and murder by BJP MPs, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states and Sangh Parivar leaders against “those who promote beef or eat beef.” One BJP leader in Karnataka has threatened to behead the Chief Minister if he dares to keep his word and eat beef.

The very statements of no less than the Prime Minister in the Bihar elections confirm rather than allay the apprehensions of growing intolerance and Hindu-Muslim polarization. Modi has tried to inject communalism into caste-based reservations, by claiming that he will “stake his life” before he allowed Muslims to benefit from such reservations.

It would befit a Prime Minister to say that he would “stake his life” to make sure that no Muslim man is lynched for his supposed diet, and no Professor or a rationalist is murdered in his home for his views, or Dalit children burned alive. Instead the Prime Minister has staked the life of peace, tolerance and democracy in India, to seek votes in the Bihar elections and to allow the Sangh Parivar to push India towards the goal of a Hindu Nation.

But no matter how much the BJP and Modi may issue threats and abuse dissenters, the growing sense of anger, disillusionment and dissent against the Modi Government is unmistakable. The writers, scientists, and other intellectuals have shown the way – and this wave of protest in defence of democratic values is fast growing stronger.

Occupy UGC Movement Gains Strength and Spreads Across Cities and States
he #OccupyUGC movement begin on 21 October 2015, following the shocking decision taken by a UGC committee (constituted for enhancement of non NET fellowship) to scrap the non NET fellowship being currently provided to researchers pursuing M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Central Universities. In the memorandum submitted to the UGC by JNUSU (including representatives from AISF and AISA), it was demanded that the decision to scrap non NET fellowship be immediately revoked; the scholarship amount be increased from 5000 to 8000 for M.Phil. and from 8000 to 12,000 for Ph.D.; that the fellowship also be extended to research scholars in all State Universities; and that government of India refuse to sign on the WTO agreement in December this year. However, despite several protests and the refusal of the students to leave the UGC premises, the UGC authorities have refused to address the demands of the students. The Union Minister for MHRD too has refused to meet the protesting students (only choosing to speak BJP’s own student wing ABVP and instructing it to confuse and demobilise student movement). Further, the committee formed by the MHRD as a result of the pressure exerted by the OccupyUGC movement, far from addressing the demands of the students, aims to further restrict the scope of the fellowships by subjecting them to various merit and income based conditions. The students have outrightly rejected such diversionary tactics of the government to not address the real issue.

After a brutal lathi charge afflicted on protesting students on 27 October, where several common students and student activists including several from AISA, the students have remained undeterred. Not only have they refused to end the movement, they have courageously continued to occupy the UGC and turn into a site of day and night protest. In the last week, several eminent scholars and teachers have gathered at ITO to express solidarity with the students. Members of JNUTA, DUTA, AUTA, faculty members from Jamia, IIT, former members of UGC like Prof. Yogendra Yadav, have regularly been joining the protesting students in an expression of solidarity. Several teachers like Prof. Janaki Nair, Dr. Naveen Gaur, Prof. Hargopal have been conducting open classes at the barricades on topics ranging from ‘Feminism and the Democratisation of Higher Education’ to ‘Science Research in Times of Fund Cuts. The open classes are being accompanied by regular performances by various cultural groups like Sangwari, Swar, Janrang and others. Movie screenings have also been organised at the site of protest. The arrival of winters has failed to dampen the zeal of students, as lighting fire on the streets near ITO, they continue to OccupyUGC.

The last week has not just witness the movement intensify at the UGC office but also the spread of the movement across the country. The movement has spread to colleges and universities across the country like Hyderabad, NEHU Shillong, Sikkim, Gujarat, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Wardha, Allahabad, Pondicherry, Chandigarh, Sagar, Rohtak and elsewhere. Regional offices of the UGC across are being bombarded by students. Over the past two weeks, the OccupyUGC movement has received inspiring solidarity from #FeesMustFall movement of South Africa, FTII and also various other progressive sections. However, as in case of Delhi, the spread of movement in other places too have been met by brutal crackdowns. On 2 November 2015, an occupy UGC call was given by AISA, USDF, PERIODS, RADICAL, SFI, AISF, AISB, PSU and AIDSO. As the protest began, the students were mercilessly beaten up the state police and several students including AISA activists like Com. Abhishek and Com. Ipsita were brutally beaten up. 26 activists were arrested and taken to a police station whose location was not disclosed to them. Unfortunately for the state and central governments keen to sell out education, as was witnessed in Delhi, the state crackdown failed to deter the students who are continuing their protest in even larger numbers.

As the December deadline approaches for signing the WTO agreement which will confirm the status of education as a tradable commodity, the OccupyUGC movement that is gaining strength with every passing day has shown the firm resolve of the student community in India that will not allow access to higher education and opportunity for knowledge creation to be converted into privileges for some and denied to others. CPI (ML) salutes the student movement and expresses solidarity with them.

First AIPF Conference in Tamil Nadu

The All India People’s Forum held its first Tamil Nadu State Conference at Tirunelveli on 11.10.2015. The Conference began with a Presidential address by Comrade G Ramesh. In the run up to the Conference, activists of the various AIPF constituent groups campaigned vigorously in various parts of Tamil Nadu. There was enthusiastic participation from working people, and intellectuals and activists from all over Tamil Nadu. A large number of women from the anti-nuclear Koodankulam movement participated.The Conference was inaugurated by CPI(ML) Politburo member Kavita Krishnan, who spoke about the Modi Government that was at the same time selling out India, and dividing India too. Both the corporates and the RSS are trying to make hay while the Modi sun shines. There were several inspiring instances of anti-corporate and anti-communal resistance. And the AIPF had emerged out of a felt need for uniting various streams of fighting forces.

Vasanthi Devi, former Vice Chancellor of Manonamanian Sundaranar University, said that Hindutva politics was founded on Brahminical patriarchy, and stressed the need to draw on the resources of Ambedkar and Periyar to combat it. S Balamurugan of the PUCL spoke about the challenge of resisting the all-round attack on activists, movements and freedom of speech. Prof. Murali, former Principal of a Madurai College, spoke about the moves to make education a tradable commodity under the WTO, and the moves afoot to discipline and morally police college students in order to produce campuses compliant with the WTO regime.

Leader of the anti-Koodankulam PMANE, Dr SP Udayakumar said that the AIPF Conference was the beginning and not an end in itself. He stressed the need for mutual unity and solidarity. He spoke of the experience of the Koodankulam women activists who had not been silenced or scared by killing, arrest, or sedition charges. He spoke on the dangers of nuclear energy. Com. Deebak of December 3 Movement, a Disability Rights Alliance, spoke very inspiringly about the rights of the disabled and the need for all platforms of people’s movements to be sensitive to those rights.

Others who spoke included A Simson, writer Samsudeen Heera, scientist Dr Lal Mohan, omrade KM Sherif of Tamilnadu People’s Democratic Party, Comrade Kathiravan of Athi Tamilar Katchi, Comrade Arivalagan of Dalit Research Centre, and Comrade Sujatha Modi of NTUI, Comrade Bharathi of Democratic Advocate’s Association, Comrade Thirumalaisami of TTSF, Comrade RR Srinivasan of Kanchanai Film Society, Comrade Mukilan of Makkal Sananayaga Kudiarasu Katchi,Comrade Pandiarajan of AISA, Comrade Abdulrahman of Satta Panjayathu Iyakkam, Comrade Jawahar of AICCTU, Comrade A Chandramohan and Mangaiyarselvan, AIPF NCCM members, and Com Balasundaram Tamil Nadu State Secretary CPI(ML). Comrade S Kumarasamy, PB member of CPI(ML) also attended the Conference. A State-level Council, Campaign Committee and Advisory Committee were elected from the Conference.

Effigy Burning of the State Govt by All India Kisan Mahasabha in Bindukhatta

On 23 October 2015, the All India Kisan Mahasabha burnt the effigy of the state Congress government at Car Road in Bindukhatta to protest against the government’s move to hand over 350 naali land in Dwarson (Almora) to the corporate and against the repression and crackdown unleashed on the protestors.

Addressing the protestors after the effigy burning, the area secretary of CPI (ML), Com. Lalit Matiyali said that during the time of the previous BJP government led by Khanduri, this 350 naali of barren land not owned by anyone, was recovered after ceiling. However, the control over the land was kept in the hands of the state government. At that time the CPI (ML) had demanded that the authority to manage and distribute this land recovered after ceiling from Dwarson and other areas be handed over to the Gram Panchayats, else the state government would hand it over to the land mafias and the corporate. Today when the Congress government has handed this land to the Jindals, the concerns of the CPI (ML) have been proved right. The Congress and the BJP have been conspiring to sell the entire land of the state to the corporate at throw away prices. He also added that despite massive protests by the people, it was extremely shameful that the Chief Minister still decided to go for the inaugural function of Jindal Group’s International School.

Com. Matiyali appealed to all the democratic forces to raise their voice against such anti-people policies of the state government. Com. Gopal Singh, district committee member of the All India Kissan Mahasabha said that the state government is only keen to protect the interests of the land mafia and the corporate, when it also had the option of giving this land to those who had been affected by the calamities. He added that the crackdown on the protestors and their arrest by the state police only exposes how the state government has turned dictatorial. The dictatorship of the Congress government had also come to light during the lathi charge unleashed on protestors who had earlier gathered to protest against the inauguration of Bindukhatta municipality and it had been proved once again.

AIARLA Viluppuram District Conference Held

AIARLA district conference of Viluppuram district of Tamil Nadu was held at Ulundurpet town in a Hall named after Com. Ammaiappan. A four Member presidium comprising of Comrades Kaliyamurthy, Babu, Dakchinamurthy and Kannammal conducted the proceedings. Com. Venkatesan, state Deputy General secretary of AIARLA and Com. Balasundaram, state secretary of CPI (ML) addressed the delegates. Several resolutions were passed in the conference, which included among others, the demands to- (i) disperse the arrears of MGNREGA wages, (ii) withdraw the cases booked against the workers protesting for this demand, (iii) evict occupiers from Panjami land and redistribute it to Dalits, (iv) stop the loot of natural resources, (v) Implementation of Forest act in Kalvarayan hill areas, (vi) take steps to release tribal prisoners languishing in Andhra jails, (vii) establish rural based industries, (viii) provide house site pattas and houses to the rural poor, (ix) provide potable water , and (x) establishing primary health centres and schools with increased teacher strength, proper kitchen etc.

Hunger Strike by Inmates of J.P. Central Jail Demanding Release;

CPI (ML) Dharna in Support


In support of the hunger strike started by the inmates of the J.P. central jail in Hazaribagh district, CPI (ML) and AIPF staged a dharna in front of the deputy district magistrate on 17 October 2015. The protest event was conducted by Sudhir Yadav and several AIPF and CPI (ML) leaders addressed the participants. The leaders handed over a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through the dharna and demanded that the inmates’ demands be met and the hunger strike be brought to an end.

The leaders who addressed the dharna shared that 56 inmates who had completely their sentence in the Jai Prakash Central Jail, had sat on a nine day, demanding that they be released now. In their support, nearly 650 other convicts who were still serving their sentence too had come forward. Several women inmates along with their children to had joined the hunger strike in solidarity. The hunger strike started on 6 October and continued till 15 October, during which health of several hunger strikers got deteriorated. With several hundred inmates joining the strike in solidarity, the work of the jail had come to a standstill. Printing press, powerloom, handloom, agriculture, kitchen, tailoring and several other works involving participation of the inmates remained shut. This added to the difficulties of the jail administration. The inmates demanded to know why those who had completed their sentences were not being released. Was the government waiting for their death?

CPI (ML) leaders pointed that at the time of sentencing the date on which the sentence would be over was fixed. There was no legal provision for keeping inmates locked up after their sentence was over. The fact that despite there being no such provision, inmates were languishing in jails exposed the weakness in the legal system. At present, nearly 6000 innocent poor tribals were languishing in jails of Jharkhand but the state government had no concern for them. The AIPF has been running a continuing campaign against such negligence by the state. CPI (ML) leaders demanded that besides immediate release of inmates who had completed their sentence, the jail manual be implemented properly and completely and also that there be quick execution of cases involving innocent under trials.

On 17 October, CPI (ML) and AIPF also organised a march in Ranchi from party office (Com. Mahendra Singh Bhawan) to Alberta Ekka Chowk, followed by a sabha. The combined pressure built by the movements inside and outside the jail forced Chief Minister Raghuvar Das to visit the jail and get the inmates to break their fast by assuring them that their demand would be met.

AIPF Protest Convention in Delhi on ‘Politics of Fear & Hate unleashed by RSS-BJP’

AIPF organised a protest convention against the reign of terror of the RSS-BJP combine on 29 October at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi. The speakers included Manglesh Dabral, Asgar Wajahat, Prof. Shamsul Islam, Cultural activist Kapil Sharma, AIPF leader Com. Girija Pathak and CPI (ML) activist, Com. Aslam Khan, among others. The cultural group Sangwari also sang songs of protest during the convention.

While addressing the audience, the speakers focussed on how the atmosphere of hate and fear was being created by the RSS-BJP and their associated groups. The current times have seen the attacks unleashed by the reactionary forces become more organized and brutal. From the genocide in Muzzafarnagar just prior to General Elections in 2014 to the cold blooded murders of Com. Govind Pansare and Prof. M.M. Kalburgi and the continued attacks on minorities and dalits taking place throughout the country, are clear indicators of this well thought out majoritarian ploy to instill fear in the minds of minorities and Dalits by spreading hatred. The social political fallout of the growing failure of the Modi government in fulfilling its election time promises to people is being sought to be covered up by stoking the communal card and spreading the politics of fear, hatred and violence. In response to this onslaught, people have been protesting throughout the country and for the first time since independence, India has seen so many writers, intellectuals, academics, scientists and artists return their awards and give up their posts to announce very clearly their principled opposition to the present onslaughts. The speakers also expressed their solidarity with all those who had taken a stand to voice their protest against such onslaughts by returning their awards.

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:



ML Update | No. 44 | 2015

October 31, 2015


A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 44 | 27 OCT – 2 NOV 2015

Students Occupy UGC To Protest Cutbacks in Fellowships

In a historic action, students of various Universities occupied the premises of the University Grants Commission in protest against the UGC’s move to scrap all non-NET fellowships for research scholars. The protests continue even after the students were evicted from the UGC premises and severely caned by police, several students were severely injured while dozens were taken to police custody. The Modi Government, rather than speak to protesting students, have instead chosen to rain batons on defenceless students.

Ironically, it was a Committee appointed to address the students’ demand to increase the paltry fellowship in keeping with steep inflation rising costs of higher education and living which announced the scrapping of the fellowship, effectively excluding the vast majority of scholars from pursuing research.

The massive wave of protests – intensifying in Delhi and spreading now to Universities all over the country and supported by teachers’ unions and intellectuals – by students comes in the wake of other significant protests by students and intellectuals. First, there was the successful resistance by the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT Madras against an attempt at muzzling dissent, followed by the ongoing FTII students’ protests against attempts to impose a saffronized and ill-qualified management. Then, there has been an upsurge of dissent and protest by writers and intellectuals against the Government’s patronage for forces involved in intimidation and murders of minorities and dissenting voices. The Occupy UGC protests are another powerful chapter in these growing voices of protest against the Modi Government’s destructive attitude towards creative arts, research and institutions of education.

The move to scrap the fellowships and restrict fellowships only to those scholars who clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) was correctly diagnosed by students as a move tailored to fit the Modi Government’s plans to accept the WTO grouping of higher education under GATS as a "tradable service". The UPA Government had already made an "offer" to this effect in 2005 and in the WTO Ministerial talks due in December, the Modi Government plans to seal this "offer" and accept "binding commitments" to make India’s higher education a tradable service. It is well known that if India indeed accepts these "binding commitments" under WTO-GATS, the Indian Government would be "bound" to cut subsidies in public-funded higher education, since such subsidies would be seen by WTO as a violation of its "commitments" to provide a "non-discriminatory" "level playing field" for domestic and international traders in education. Scrapping or restricting the non-NET fellowships in higher education is a move very much in keeping with the plans to comply with the WTO-GATS "binding commitments."

The students of Delhi University, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Ambedkar University have shown remarkable resilience and farsightedness, braving both cane-charges and detention by the police and abusive violence by the RSS-BJP student wing ABVP.

The attempts by the ABVP and the Modi Government’s HRD Ministry to spread disinformation and break students’ unity have also been recognised and rejected.

The HRD Ministry tried to diffuse the protests by "assuring" that the fellowships would not be scrapped. But the students rightly recognised that the statement implied only that students already receiving fellowships would continue to do so – but in future, students would only get fellowships based on ‘merit’ or ‘economic’ criteria. Moreover the HRD Ministry made this ‘assurance’ by a tweet, without any discussion with protesting students. Rather they did so only after talks with ABVP leaders – as though the whole issue could be settled within the cozy confines of the ‘Sangh family.’

Rejecting such ‘assurances’, the Occupy UGC movement continues to fight for the rights of existing as well as future research scholars and higher education itself. Students have joined the protests at the UGC from Aligarh Muslim University, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Punjab University Chandigarh and MD University Rohtak. Also protests are being organized in various Universities of the country like Central University Gujarat, Allahabad University, NEHU Shillong, University of Hyderabad, EFLU Hyderabad and Aligarh Muslim University and in Kolkata. Students from across the country are also planning to come to Delhi and join the Occupy UGC Protests .

The protesting students in India can take heart and inspiration from the spirited countrywide shutdown of universities achieved by the ongoing struggles of South African students against fee hikes and privatisation/outsourcing of University services. The resonances between the struggles of Indian and South African students against policies of privatisation is a significant counterpoint to the dominant State-led narrative on the ongoing third India-Africa Summit in Delhi.

More power to the students whose protests are striving to defend not only their rights but the inclusive and democratic character of higher education and the country’s autonomy.

CPI(ML) Protests Burning Alive of Dalit Children and Increasing Anti-Dalit Violence in Haryana

On 20 October 2015, two dalit children, one aged three years and the other all of nine months, were burnt alive when as some upper caste Rajputs set their home on fire. Their parents too suffered injuries and the mother was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. Soon after this horrific incident, on 22 October 2015, the CPI (ML) Team comprising of CPI (ML) Haryana in charge, Com. Prem Singh, CPI (ML) activist Aslam Khan, National Secretary of RYA, Com. Omprasad, AICCTU activist Com. Abhishek and journalist Raziv Raaz, visited the Sunped Village where this gruesome incident had occurred. The team met the villagers and family members of Jitendra, the father of the two children who were burnt alive, and spoke at length with them. The team is of the opinion that the Haryana Government. must take responsibility for this barbaric attack as Jitendra’s Family was under Police Protection when the attack happened. The team will release a detailed report very soon.

CPI (ML) also held a protest outside Haryana Bhawan on 24 October 2015. The protestors not only expressed anger over the burning alive of the two children and the failure of the government to protect them, despite the awareness that the life of the family was in threat, but also over increasing atrocities against Dalits in Haryana. Soon after this gruesome incidence of violence against Dalits that had taken place on 20 October, On 23 October 2015, yet another incident of violence against Dalits was reported. A 15-year-old Dalit boy, who had been charged with theft of a pigeon, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Haryana’s Gohana town today. The boy of the family alleged torture by the police, however, even before the post-mortem report was out, the Haryana Chief Minister went on record backing police claims that the boy had committed suicide. CPI (ML) leaders addressing the protestors pointed out how such incidents of violence against Dalits had been increasing in Haryana. They also pointed out that not only had the BJP government in Haryana failed to protect the Dalits in the state, the statements being issued by the Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and ministers like V.K. Singh had further exposed BJP’s real intentions.

The protestors demanded that the Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh be sacked for his insensitive and shocking remarks comparing deceased Dalit children to dogs and the burning alive of humans to pelting stones at dogs.

Activists from AICCTU and AISA also joined the protest.

A Massive Student Movement to Withdraw Non-NET Fellowships Spread Countrywide Despite Continuing Repression

In a meeting held on 7 October 2015 with enhancement of non NET fellowship as one of the agendas, the University Grants Commission (UGC) shockingly decided to completely withdraw the UGC non-NET Rs 5000/8000 fellowships. As soon as the news about this anti-student decision came to public, the National leadership of AISA condemned the move and called for a massive protest. In a press statement released by AISA, Com. Ashutosh, Delhi State Secretray, AISA said, “If this fellowship is discontinued, it will be impossible for a vast majority of the country’s students to engage in research and knowledge creation”. The statement also pointed out that – “The recent decision by UGC is another step in BJP-led central government’s series of moves to cut budgetary allocation in education and restructure higher education to make it inaccessible and destroy its quality. This must also be seen in the context of the impending negotiations of the GoI with WTO to commit Indian higher education as a tradable service in the upcoming Xth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi this December”.

In Jawaharlal Nehru University, the JNUSU immediately gave a call for a protest at UGC office on 21 October afternoon to demand an immediate withdrawal of this decision. On 21 October, students from JNU, JMI, DU and AUD gathered in huge numbers outside the UGC office to register their protest however the UGC chairperson refused to meet the students. Instead, the protesting students were beaten and several of them were injured. Delhi AISA leader and former JNUSU Vice President Com. Anant Prakash Narayan and DU AISA activist Yashaswini were among those who sustained severe injuries. JNUSU office bearers from AISF and AISA submitted their demands to the UGC officials demanding- revocation of the withdrawal of the non NET fellowship, enhancement of the current fellowship amounts of Rs. 5000 for M.Phil and Rs. 8000 for PhD and extension of non NET fellowship to all state and Central Universities. By evening when the UGC chairperson continued to deny meeting the student delegation, the students from across universities began an #OccupyUGC movement and decided to not leave the premised till the decision was withdrawn.

It is to be noted that JNUSU office bearer from ABVP was not a part of the JNUSU delegation that submitted the memorandum. Instead the ABVP tried its best to demobilise the student community first by claiming that their demands had been met by the MHRD in an exclusive meeting between the minister of MHRD and the ABVP activists, and when the agitating students refused to end the OccupyUGC movement till an official circular to this effect was released by the MHRD and the UGC, the ABVP goons reached the UGC office at night to threaten the common students. However, the students continued to occupy the UGC office on two successive nights, singing protest songs and painting slogans against sale of education in the UGC premises.

On 23 Morning, after having been subjected to ABVP lumpensim the entire night, as the students were waiting for more students to join them, scared by the student might, the Delhi Police detained the protesting students who had been up all night in UGC office and took them, not to the nearest station, but Bhalsava police station on the outskirts of Delhi. However, much to the disappointment of UGC authorities and Central Government, the news of detention only encouraged more and more students in Delhi and outside to join the movement. As students gathered to block the ITO, a brutal lathi charge of students followed.

In the last couple of days, protests against UGC have been held in North-Eastern Hill University (Shillong), Aligarh Muslim University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad Central University and many others. Students have carried protest marches in Wardha, Mumbai and elsewhere. AISA activists organised protest in Allahabad and also an effigy burning Minister of MHRD, Smriti Irani.

Beginning on 26 October, a joint call for ReOccupyUGC was issued and this time students from across the country have joined. While students from universities like Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Punjab University, Aligarh Muslim University, MD University, Rohtak have arrived in Delhi to join the OccupyUGC call, several others have been holding protest demonstrations in their own universities and cities.

Once again, just prior to the ReOccupyUGC call, the MHRD and the ABVP tried to confuse the student community and demobilise them by issuing confusing circulars. However their farce was again seen through by the student community. Soon after the MHRD circular was released, AISA immediately released a press statement pointing out the several flaws and problems in the circular. Terming the MHRD circular as fraud, it was pointed out how the MHRD was trying to introduce economic and merit criteria in the award of fellowships, which as per students’ demand must extended to all researchers. Rejecting the attempts to restrict the scope of the fellowship, the movement continues and the students have vowed to strengthen it till their demands are met. Since 26 October, the students in much more numbers have once again occupied the UGC office and the slogans that had since then be wiped out have been repainted.

On 27 October, the protesting students were lathi charged yet again and several had to be rushed to G.B. Pant hospital. Several students have been detained and taken to police station even as several hundred more continued to join.

The message of this historic student movement, where for the very first time in history of India have the students occupied the office of the most important educational body in the country, is clear- Education is Not for Sale!! CPI (ML) salutes the revolutionary zeal of the students and expresses solidarity with the movement.

Democratic Advocates’ Association’s day long fast demanding Democracy in Judiciary

Recently, 14 advocates who had been protesting to demand that Tamil be made an official language of High court of Madras were suspended from practicing by the Bar council of India. In another case, contempt proceedings were initiated against Madurai Bar association President and Secretary for criticising judgements and leading protests aimed at exposing corruption in Judiciary. In light of these events, the Democratic Advocates Association organised a day long fast in Chennai demanding democracy in Judiciary and pressing for the following specific demands- (i) to revoke suspension orders of advocates, (ii) declaring Tamil as official language in High court of Madras in the interest of common people and (iii) for filling up of vacant posts of Judges in High court. The protest event was presided over by Com. Bharathi, state organiser of DAA. Com A. S. Kumar, state committee member CPI (ML ) inaugurated the event. More than hundred advocates participated from various parts of Tamil Nadu. The protest was also attended by Advocate Senthamil Selvan who had been recently released from prison in the struggle for Tamil as official language of High court. Com Vidya Sagar and Com. Jawahar on behalf of AIPF, Com Seetha of AISA, Com. Rajaguru of RYA, Advocate Gini Immanuel , Vice President of Madras High court Advocates’ Association, Comrades Sivakumar and Pradhaban of AILU , Advocate Athiyaman along with DAA activists and also scores of advocates from other left and democratic streams took part.

CPI(ML) March in Gurdaspur District in View of Increasing Tensions in Punjab

In view of the increasing tensions in Punjab and the rising communal tensions, a march was organised by the CPI (ML) in Gurudaspur district appealing that for calm and restoration of peace. The several hundreds who joined the march also condemned the increasing atrocities against Dalits in Haryana and condemned the state and central government ministers who instead of taking initiatives for peace, had only been fanning communal and casteist sentiments and adding to the existing tensions. Com. Gurmeet Singh Bakhutpur addressed the march.

Demonstration against the Death of Two Workers by Asphyxiation

Two contract labours of Madurai Corporation died due to asphyxiation when forced to enter into underground drainage. They had not been provided with any protective equipment by the contractor and corporation officials. The Workers’ right movement affiliated to AICCTU unit of Coimbatore organised a demonstration before the taluk office demanding the arrest of Contractor and Corporation officers, and also a compensation of Rs.25 lac for the families of the victims. The protestors also demanded- (i) Government employment (other than scavenging work) be provided to one of the family members of deceased, (ii) strict implementation of ‘The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavenging and their Rehabilitation Act 2013’ and (iii) 3 cent House site pattas within corporation limits. Com S. Kumarasamy, Politburo Member of CPI(ML), state committee members Comrades N. K. Natarajan and Venkatachalam, District secretary of CPI(ML) Com. Balasubramanian, AICCTU District General Secretary Com. Damodharan addressed the protestors. Hundreds of workers including sanitary workers of Coimbatore corporation took part. They have also decided to observe strike on 26th October on the same demands.

United Left Protest in Haryana against Hike in Electricity Tariffs

CPI (ML), CPI (M), CPI and SUCI (C) held a joint protest at Shakti Bhawan, Panchkula, Haryana against the hike in electricity tariff. Thousands of people joined the protest. The changes in the slab system, increase in rate of electricity and the increased surcharge in the fuel rates had been effected in April 2015 as a result of which there has been a considerable increase in the electricity bills of people. Despite some changes in slab system made by the Electricity Regulatory Commission, there is no respite for those consuming under 500 units of electricity as they would get a relief of a mere 50 to 70 rupees. As a result of this there is a considerable anger among the rural and urban poor, workers, peasants, small shopkeepers and small artisans.

The leaders pointed out that since 1997, when the electricity board was broken down to five corporations, the situation had only got worsened. A memorandum consisting of the following demands was also submitted which included the demands to- (i) Withdraw the increase in the electricity rates and fuel surcharge and reinstate the old slab system; (ii) Cancel the arrears of the new rates effected from April; (iii) Revoke the decision to give 23 sub divisions on contract; (iv) revoke the condition to not give tubewell connections to farmers with land only upto 2 acres; (iv) review the decision to form corporations in order to put an end to the process of privatisation and contractualization; (v) reduce administrative expenditures and put an end to massive corruption in the corporations; (vi) stop the theft of electricity in big industries and commercial enterprises; among others.

Com. Prem Singh Gehlawat, Com. Kanwaljeet, Com. Mahendra Chopra were among those who participated.

AIPF Demonstration in Puducherry

In view of the unabated activities by some communal groups leading to insults, attacks and horrible murders of progressive intellectuals, Dalits and minorities, on 23rd October 2015 at Puducherry, AIPF held a massive demonstration near Periyar Square, against silencing of progressive thoughts, hate campaign, intolerance, killings and imposition of food code. The protest demonstration was led by Prof. M. L. Thangappa, the Advisory panel member of AIPF. Com. S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary (CPIML), Com. Liqat Ali, AIPF advisory panel member, and R. Murugnandham, K. Mohanasundaram, National council members, S. Thamilmani, Friends of Earth movement also participated in the demonstration and addressed the protestors.

Com. S. Balasubramanian strongly condemned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over these continued attacks and demanded stern action against the culprits. He also demanded withdrawal of beef ban in some states which had created undue advantage for Hindu communal forces. A large number of activists, workers took part in the demonstration.

CPI(ML) Salutes the Historic #FeeMustFall Movement in Africa

CPI (ML) salutes the historic #FeeMustFall movement that has been launched by students in South Africa against the 10-15 percent fee hike that will be come to effect in 2016. Expressing their anger towards attempt to exclude a large section of students from the ambit of education, students have managed to mobilize thousands of students from across different province in the country through a social media campaign to turn out on the streets and resist fee hike. From Europe to North America to Asia and elsewhere, the students are now coming out on streets and protesting the universal sale of education. In times when WTO is compelling countries to convert higher education into a tradable service good, the students across countries are coming out in protest.

CPI(ML) expresses solidarity with #FeeMustFall movement in Africa, #OccupyUGC movement in India and all such student movements across the globe against privatization and marketization of education.


TKS Janarthanan

Comrade TKS Janarthanan, CPI(ML) State Committee member and Vice President of All India Agricultural and Rural Labour Association (AIARLA) passed away around 10.35 pm on 27 October 2015. We express our condolences and pledge to carry forward on the path where he had been our comrade in arms since 1970s.

Red Salute to Comrade TKS Janardhanan !

ML Update | No. 43 | 2015

October 22, 2015


A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 43 | 20 -26 OCT 2015

Serial Re-Enactment Of The Dadri Lynching By The Sangh Parivar

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, breaking his silence very late, claimed that the lynching of a Muslim man over ‘cow slaughter/beef-eating’ rumours was a mere ‘social tragedy’ with no political motive, for which the Central Government and the ruling BJP bore no responsibility. The Minority Affairs Minister in his Cabinet said Dadri belonged to “the past” and India needed to “ look to the future.”

Since then, a series of lynchings and attempted lynchings of Muslims in various parts of India, is a chilling reminder that far from being an isolated ‘tragedy’ that is ‘past,’ communal mob lynchings of Muslims is becoming a grim part of India’s present. A young man, Noman was killed by a mob in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, over an allegation that he was driving a truck that smuggled cows for slaughter. Another young truck driver, Zahid, in Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) was burnt to death by a mob – on the pretext that he was transporting cows for slaughter. There have been attempted mob violence over ‘beef’, ‘cow slaughter’ and ‘cow smuggling’ at Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Hubbali (Karnataka).

Leaving no doubt whatsoever about which forces are planning and carrying out such organized mob violence, the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya has defended the Dadri lynching by repeating the lie that “Mohammad Akhlaq was killed in Dadri because he killed a cow.” Not only that, the Panchjanya has brazenly rationalized mob murders by saying that "Vedas mandate killing of those who slaughter cows."

The Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has also declared that Muslims “can live in India but must give up eating beef.” BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj has called for public hanging of those who eat beef and support the eating of beef. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has announced a countrywide ‘cow protection’ campaign that promises to ‘rescue’ cows from ‘smugglers.’

The timing of this vicious campaign is quite deliberate. Assembly elections are on in Bihar, and the BJP is desperate to create a Hindu-Muslim polarization over ‘cow slaughter’ and ‘beef’, hoping in particular to prise away Yadav support from the RJD. Prime Minister Modi himself led the charge, making repeated speeches asking Yadavs to consider if they, the worshippers of the cow, wished to vote for those who defended the eating of beef. The non-BJP ruling parties in Bihar too had begun to falter and fall into the BJP trap, getting defensive on the question of beef. It is ironic that while the BJP and Modi himself are so openly using lynch-mob politics to forge a Hindu vote-bank in Bihar and the rest of India, PM Modi has dismissed all concerns about the hate-crimes against Muslims as ‘pseudo-secularism’ and ‘vote bank politics.’ The so-called ‘reprimand’ by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP chief Amit Shah to the hate-mongering BJP leaders is an unconvincing eyewash, especially since the said leaders are openly unreprentant, the lynchings continue unabated, and the BJP remains as wedded as ever to communal politics over ‘beef’ and ‘cow.’

It is India’s writers, artists and intellectuals who have spearheaded a remarkable tide of resistance. At present count 315 writers, performing artists and others have expressed protest – by returning awards, stepping down from posts, writing essays and open letters, or otherwise speaking out, to condemn mob lynchings and murders of writers and India’s minorities.

Common people too are speaking out, and resistance can be seen all over the country in various forms. In Bihar itself, a national daily found that across rural-urban and caste-community divides, young voters are declaring “This is a democracy: we have the freedom to eat what we like,” and voicing opposition to communal polarization and violence.

The Modi Government’s attempt to shrug off responsibility for the lynchings of Akhlaq, Noman and Zahid, and to jeer at and question the credentials of the protesting writers, artists and intellectuals is only exposing the Government’s arrogance and high-handedness.

India is a country of diverse cultural traditions and dissenting voices. The serial lynchings of Muslims and murders of writers and rationalists accompanied by explicit and implicit encouragement and patronage from the Narendra Modi Government make it clear that a war is being waged both on diversity and on dissent. The courage and conscience displayed by India’s common citizens and writers and artists show the way ahead. India’s Culture Minister derided the protests, saying ‘Let writers stop writing.’ But threats, insults and even bullets have not silenced the pens of India’s writers, nor the voices of India’s citizens who are defending pluralism and democratic values.

Jan Adhikar Yatra in Jharkhand

Against Anti-People Policies of the State and Central Governments

Sky-rocketing prices of onions and dal, back-breaking cost of living, the drought-famine crisis—and the people are supposed to be enjoying the pleasures of “achhe din”! Through the alleged “sabka sath, sabka vikas” (development for all) the governments at the Centre and State are implementing policies to deprive the poor and fill the coffers of big corporate houses and companies and give them free license to loot. For the rest of the people, what remains is “Mann ki Baat”, announcements, assurances, and rhetoric. The situation is going from bad to worse, and hard fought people’s welfare laws and schemes are being sought to be weakened or removed. The AIPF, through a Jharkhand Jan Adhikar Yatra (People’s Rights Drive)from 1 October to 10 October, appealed to the people to fight against this conspiracy and to raise voices in unison in order to defend people’s rights.

The AIPF and several other people’s organizations jointly conducted the Jharkhand Jan Adhikar Yatra and studied and analyzed the ground situation by visiting different villages in North Chhota Nagpur, Palamu, South Chhota Nagpur and Kolhan. They called for the people in the villages to agitate in a united struggle for their rights. During this Yatra, leaders from the AIPF and other people’s organizations organized village level meetings, nukkad meetings, and night meetings which were attended in good numbers by adivasis, women, youth, and people from different sections of rural society.

In Chhotanagpur zone, the Yatra began from Bagodar on 1 October with a huge gathering of people. After paying tribute at the Birsa Munda Samadhi in Ranchi, the Yatra in South Chhotanagpur zone was flagged off with the resounding of drums played by the Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch, led by AIPF leaders Dayamani Barla, Anil Anshuman, Nadeem Khan, Xavier Kujur, film maker Meghnath, Aloka and prominent persons from people’s organizations.

In Palamu zone, the Yatra started from Tihri (Badgad Bhandariya) on the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border, led by noted economist Jean Dreze, Ravindra Bhuian, and leaders from people’s organizations. The Jan Yatra proceeded through hundreds of villages in remote hills, dense forests, as well as plains in various districts and blocks, and culminated in a public meeting at Raj Bhavan on 11 October.

The Jan Adhikar meeting began with people’s songs sung by Jan Sanskriti Manch. Throwing light on the aims and objectives of the Jan Ahikar Yatra, AIPF national advisory committee member Jean Dreze said that the issue of struggle for people’s rights should be an issue of daily struggle for us. He pointed out that all rights regarding land, food, forests, education, employment and information are rights which have been won after hard fought battles. The present central government is bent on ending these rights; therefore we must struggle to save them. The Jan Adhikar Yatra has succeeded in making the people alert and conscious. In the days to come, we shall fight together and win.

Com. Vinod Singh said that this Yatra is a symbol of the struggle of the oppressed and marginalized people of Jharkhand. The rights regarding food, forests, MNREGA that the government has so far given the people are not favours granted by the government. During this Yatra we saw how the government machinery is openly flouting all laws, causing much anger among the people of the villages. The overwhelming support given to the Yatra shows the resolve of the people. The meeting was also addressed by Dayamani Barla, human rights activist Fr. Stane Swami, Afzal Anees of the United Milli Forum, Jhamas President Devki Nandan Bediya, and representatives from different people’s organizations. Conducting the programme, Anil Anshuman of JASAM said that this Yatra is the beginning of our fight for our rights and that there are many battles that lie ahead. James Herenz (NREGA Watch) and Subhadra Devi lent active cooperation in conducting the programme. Giving the valedictory speech, AIPF advisor and senior journalist Faisal Anurag stressed the need for a struggle based on a pervasive unity.

The Jan Adhikar Yatra raised and discussed the following issues: the government’s assault on land rights and employment guarantee; false cases and imprisonment of thousands of innocent people; food security bill, social security pension, and forest rights guarantee. The AIPF, Campaign for Right to Food, Adivasi-Mulvasi Raksha Manch, Bagaicha, Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Ekta Parishad, Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Jangal Bachao Andolan, NREGA Watch, United Milki Forum, Jharkhand Jan Sangathan Morcha and other people’s organizations participated in the Yatra. A resolution was passed to start a statewide agitation on the issues raised in the Yatra.

Kisan Mahasabha March in Uttarakhand

Against Acquittal of Rape-Murder Accused

On 10 July 2012, an 8 year old minor Dalit girl Sanjana, hailing from Tiwarinagar village in Bindukhatta, Uttarakhand, was found raped and murdered. The accused was arrested after several days had passed and much pressure was built by way of protests by the party. The lower court found the accused in the murder case guilty and passed a death sentence on them. But on 8 October 2015 the High Court acquitted them for want of proper prosecution by the government. In protest, the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha burnt the effigy of the Stat government in Bindukhatta on 9 October and demanded an answer by the government to the people for their failure to provide proper prosecution. Addressing the protesters, Kisan Mahasabha State President Com. Purushottam Sharma said that the Congress government in the State and the local MLA and Labour Minister Harish Durgapal are responsible for this. The government was deliberately negligent in the case through the government lawyer and ensured the acquittal of the accused. He said that this government is a government of criminals and mafia. The MLA is misusing power to provide protection to all the criminals in the area. He demanded that the State government should without delay file an appeal in the Supreme Court. Kisan Mahasabha team under the leadership of Com. Sharma also met the family of Sanjana and assured them that they would continue the fight for justice for Sanjana.

On the 10 October, the Kisan Mahasabha took out a march against the State government from Lalkuan, led by Com. Purushottam Sharma, district President Bahadur Singh Jangi, Bindukhatta President Basanti Bisht, and CPI (ML) district Secretary Kailash Pandey. The march started at Shaheed Smarak, went through Lalkuan bazaar, and culminated in a protest meeting at the Railway station. Addressing the meeting, Com. Purushottam held the State government and the local MLA responsible for shielding the guilty, and also questioned the suspicious role played by the government lawyer in the case, demanding an enquiry into his role and the authenticity of his degree. He said that the negligence shown by the lawyer, considered close to the Chief Minister, smacks of pressure from above. He stressed that it is the responsibility of the State government to ensure punishment to the guilty in this case, and the agitation would continue until justice is done to Sanjana.

The CPI (ML) has resolved to observe 12 October as Protest Day throughout the State to protest against the suspicious role of the State government and the Labour Minister Harish Durgapal in getting the guilty persons acquitted from the High Court. On 12 October the various units of the Party in the State will hold protests, marches, dharnas and effigy burnings.

Dharna by JHAMAS in Ramgarh Coal Sector

Jharkhand Mazdoor Sabha (Jhamas) organized a one-day dharna on 18 September 2015 in front of the Barka-Sayal area’s Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) GM’s office situated in the Ramgarh coal sector. The dharna was organized to demand- (i) appropriate compensation for the raiyyat displaced, (ii) employment in lieu of land acquisition, (iii) employment for unemployed youth, (iv) starting a local cell, among various other demands. Hundreds of people including displaced families from within a range of 25 km of the Barka-Sayal area, local women, men and youth participated in the dharna.

Speakers who addressed the dharna said that coal mining is being done through outsourcing in Balkudra colliery. Bhurkunda which comes under the GM, Barka-Sayal, and the villagers’ lands have been taken for this purpose. However, the villagers have not got appropriate compensation and they have also not been rehabilitated. With the connivance of brokers and the coal mafia, the CCL management is getting the coal mining done by any means, fair or foul. Even a local cell is not being opened in this project for the local unemployed people. As a result, the local people and the affected families are forced to work as contractual labour. They are not paid the minimum wages as fixed by the government. Employment can be given on a large scale and migration of youth to other states can be prevented by starting a local cell. But the CCL management shows no interest in starting a cell. The rural unemployed are angered at this attitude of the management and by staging this dharna they have warned the management that if the displaced villagers are denied employment they will be forced to fight for their rights.

On the other hand, the CCL are bound by CSR rules to develop rural areas coming within a range of 25 km of Barka-Sayal. They must make arrangements for roads, electricity, clean drinking water, schools, toilets, irrigation, medical facilities, and professional training for unemployed youth. However, there is lack of transparency in this and CCL is misusing funds allocated for this purpose. The company is creating very few vacant posts in the name of giving professional training. Recently they brought out only 25 vacancies for mining engineering training which makes for an extremely small number. Thus the project affected people are being cheated. People have been displaced in large numbers in 14 districts of CCL. If CCL does not solve the issue of their employment and livelihood, a chakka jam will be done in front of the CCL in days to come.A delegation from Jhamas also met the personnel officers of Barka-Sayal area and submitted a 7 point memorandum to them.

Protests against Declaration of Municipality Rather Than A Revenue Village

On 14 October, a large number of rural protesters under the banner of Nainital unit of All India Kisan Mahasabha faced repression by police and goons backed by local Congress MLA and Labour Minister in Bindukhatta. This was a protest against forcible implementation of state government’s decision of making Bindukhatta a Municipality instead of a revenue village. Local people are opposing this move by the Congress government of Uttarakhand, a move that will mean an indirect handover of thousands of acres of local peasants’ lands to the land mafia operatives. These lands had been acquired by the Bindukhatta peasants after a protracted and long land struggle spanning two decades during the 1980s and 1990s – and now the peasants’ control over the same lands is in danger of being weakened. People of Bindukhatta were not given their due status of a revenue village for which they are struggling since three decades, now the ‘municipality’ status will force them to an unnecessary tax regime, but their greater worry is that their lands will not remain safe. They reiterate their demand for a ‘revenue village’ while opposing the forcible making of a municipality. Their fight to save their lands and democracy is facing stiff attacks by various vested interests which are backed by the local MLA and land mafia lobby.

A “road block” protest was organised on 14 October to stop the inauguration of the municipality office. Ironically, the place chosen for this office is the local community hall which was constructed by the people through their collective efforts and resources, without any governmental support, and symbolises their collective resolve and unity evolved through long struggles and comradeship. The determined people of Bindukhatta protested vigorously and the Minister’s convoy could not move even for an inch for half an hour till the police lathi-charged the protesters. Even then, the Minister’s convoy had to divert its route. The police, frustrated at not being able to quell the protest, have arrested 18 of the protesters and framed various false charges on leaders.

It was land seizure movement led by CPI(ML) during the 1980s and 1990s that rehabilitated Bindukhatta after a long and protracted land struggle which has acquired a place in the history of democratic struggles of Uttarakhand. Thousands of poor landless who came from almost every district of the state showed how redistribution of land can save thousands of families from penury as well as forced migration to other states in search of livelihood. Their hard toil on lands and their collective resolve that through their shramdaan (voluntary labour) created roads, dozens of schools, community halls, and play grounds amidst state repression and without any help from any agency, has transformed Bindukhatta into a relatively prosperous area which now has its own share in the region’s economy, in spite of the fact that they are still deprived of a revenue village status and entitlements on their lands. The decision of making it a municipality is now being seen as a clever ploy to turn back their social and economic achievements.

CPI(ML) Uttarakhand Secretary Rajendra Pratholi has condemned the police repression on the protesting people and said that this peaceful resistance is for saving lands and reiterating demand for entitlements. He said that people’s opinion must be taken by the government before making any decision which affect their lives. He condemned attack on women protesters by Congress supporter goons and demanded stern punishment for them. Kisan Mahasabha State President Purushottam Sharma alleged that local MLA and Labour Minister Harish Durgapal is misusing power by trying to forcibly capturing the Rajiv Nagar people’s community hall for the municipality office. He told that a memorandum of protest has been sent to the DM by the people of Rajiv Nagar and Car Road which has a population of 6,000. On 13 October a petition had been filed in the High Court Chief Justice’s bench asking for a stop to the process of capturing the people’s community hall and forcibly opening a municipality office by the administration. The petition states that other than this single community hall for a population of 6,000, there is no other public place available for community programmes, cultural programmes, marriages and other functions. The Bindukhatta community health centre also functions in this community hall, and two polling booths are also put up here during Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Comrade Purushottam further said that it is necessary for Bindukhatta to not be made a municipality in order for farmers to secure ownership rights to agricultural land. The farmers will lose their lands if Bindukhatta becomes a municipality.

CPI(ML), AIKM and AIPWA organised a protest on October 19 against this repression. A large number of people including activists of Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers Union participated. A memorandum was sent to the CM through this protest. Comrade Raja Bahuguna addressing the protesters criticised Congress and BJP both for betraying from the promise of revenue village and for increasing mafiadom under Harish Rawat’s CM tenure. Protesters demanded immediate and unconditional withdrawal of cases framed and pledged to continue the struggle till the demands are met. They also termed the so called inauguration of the municipality a mockery as this was done amidst repression, beating of local people including women, and in presence of those who were outsiders brought there only to fill the vacant seats.

For Employment and Ration

“Khanapuri band karo, ration ka prabandh karo” (stop superficial excuses, make arrangements for ration), “Declare Jharkhand drought-affected”, “Begin relief work, waive farmers’ loans”, “Pay arrears of agricultural insurance”- these were some of the slogans accompanying the CPI (ML) protest on 9 October at the Chanho block HQ in Ranchi.

Addressing the meeting, district Secretary Com. Bhuwaneshwar Kewat said that the entire Jharkhand is in the grip of drought but the government is sunk in oblivion. In the name of assessment and evaluation, the government is not going beyond cosmetic superficialities. The farmers and rural people are desperate with imminent famine looming large. If relief work is not started immediately, Jharkhand will become another Vidarbha in the country. He added that people did not want announcements and promises; they wanted employment and ration. CPI (ML) leader Jagannath Oraon said that there is a yawning gap between the promises and delivery of the government. They talk of the poor but work for the rich corporate houses. We, the people of Jharkhand, will not give anyone the license to loot the resources, land, forests, and minerals of Jharkhand.

After the meeting a 13 point charter of demands was submitted to the Deputy Magistrate stating the above demands as well as demanding strict implementation of MNREGA, conducting a survey to bring all poor families under BPL and making arrangements for 50 kg ration-kerosene and oil, dal and sugar.

Prisoners’ Mass Protest and Hunger Strike in Hazaribagh Jail

Prisoners in Hazaribagh jail serving life sentences protested by sitting on indefinite fast from 6 October against Jharkhand government’s inability to implement Supreme Court’s directives regarding constitution of a review Board to review the release of prisoners who have served up to twenty years of prison term as per the law. Nearly 150 other inmates in Hazaribagh jail also sat on a day’s fast on 8 October in solidarity with justice seeking fellow inmates. It was also demanded from the state government to follow regulations regarding shifting of life sentence serving people to open jails after seven years. The indefinite fast was concluded on 16 October.

Terming this a grave human rights violation being done by Jharkhand government, the CPI(ML) and All India People’s Forum held a march in Ranchi on 17 October in support of prisoners demands.


Comrade Bhim Paswan

Com. Ram Karan Paswan (Bhim Paswan), 55 years, passed away in the morning of 12 October 2015 at PMCH. He remained a dedicated soldier of the Party till his last breath. Com. Bhim had been in the forefront of several protest struggles in many blocks of Patna district. He was ill with a liver ailment for the past one year, and was treated at different hospitals. At one point there seemed to be some improvement in his condition, but on 11 October his condition deteriorated and he was immediately admitted in Emergency where he breathed his last.

The outpouring of people in his funeral procession on 12 October proved his popularity among the masses. The funeral procession started from his ancestral village, wended through Dulhin Bazar, and reached the banks of River Punpun in Ichipur where he was cremated after the people bade their final farewell.

Com. Bhim’s association with the Party started in 1985. He was born in a landless family in Baliyari Math of Vikram block. He stood like a rock with the Party through its ups and downs, and worked ceaselessly in the area as an excellent organizer.

Red Salute to Com. Bhim Paswan!

Comrade Sachchidanand Singh

Com. Sachchidanand Singh from Gamharbad village, Jaynagar block, Kodarma district, Jharkhand, joined the CPI-ML in the latter half of 1990. He was a dedicated and hard-working Comrade from the very beginning. He was the CPI-ML branch Secretary in Gamharbad, and was ever active in the interests of the people and the Party. Com. Sachchidanand passed away on 23 September after a serious illness. A condolence meet in his memory was held at his village Gamharbad on 4 October. The Jaynagar block Party base as well as many local people gathered to pay tributes to Com. Sachchidanand.

Red Salute to Com. Sachchidanand Singh!

ML Update | No. 42 | 2015

October 14, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 42 | 13 -19 OCT 2015

Writers And Artists Speak Truth To Power In India

Writers and artists in India are making a powerful statement against the Modi Government’s patronage of assaults on dissent and pluralism, by returning prestigious awards and resigning from posts in cultural institutions. These gestures of protest come in the wake of the horrific lynching to death of a Muslim man in Dadri on the allegation that he ate beef, and the murders of noted Kannada writer Prof MM Kalburgi, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and communist Govind Pansare. They are protesting against the fact that India’s ruling Government and party are stoking hate to create an India where a person can be killed for what they eat, write, speak or believe.

Hindi writer Uday Prakash was among the first to return his Sahitya Akademi award, followed by Nayantara Sehgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, and Rahman Abbas. Since then, the spate of protests by writers and artists continues unabated. Kerala writer Sara Joseph; Hindi poets Manglesh Dabral and Rajesh Joshi; four Punjabi writers – Gurbachan Singh Bhullar, Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Atamjit Singh, Waryam Sandhu; Kashmiri writer and poet Ghulam Nabi Khayal; noted Gujarat-based literary critic Professor Ganesh Devy; six Kannada writers – Veeranna Madiwalar, T. Satish Javare Gowda, Sangamesh Menasinakai, Hanumanth Haligeri, Shridevi V Aloor and Chidanand Sali and Aman Sethi, winner of a ‘Yuva Puraskar’ award for young writers, are among those who returned Sahitya Akademi awards, while dancer Maya Krishna Rao returned her Sangeet Natak Akademi award. Writer Shashi Deshpande, poet K Satchidanandan, Kannada writer Aravind Malagatti have quit Sahitya Akademi posts in protest. Carnatic singer TM Krishna has written an open letter to the Prime Minister calling the bluff of his non-response to the Dadri lynching. Novelist Salman Rushdie has expressed support for India’s writers and expressed concern about the future of freedom of expression in India.

The writers and artists are protesting not only against the lynchings and murders by Hindu-majoritarian outfits emboldened by the Modi Government; they are also protesting against the explicit rationalization, even celebration and stoking of such acts by Ministers of the Modi Government and elected representatives of the ruling BJP, and the tacit, implicit support of the Prime Minister himself for such acts of violence and the accompanying hate-speech. They are also protesting against the fact that the ‘autonomous’ cultural Akademis are silent on the killing of writers and the attacks on pluralism led by the Culture Minister of the Modi Government.

The Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma commended the Dadri lynch mob for not having raped the victim’s daughter) and described the lynching as an ‘accident’, and had earlier called for ‘cleansing’ of cultural and educational institutions of ‘foreign influence’ (read dissent and plurality). Responding to the writers’ protests, he taunted them, saying ‘Let them stop writing, then we will see.’ In a blatant espousal of impunity and injustice that has now become the hallmark for the Modi Government, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah has said that Dadri is now past and India needs to look to the future.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has remained totally silent on the serial murders of rationalists and writers, even in the wake of evidence that the suspected killers are from Hindu-majoritarian groups that Modi himself has approved of and endorsed. On the Dadri lynching, the Prime Minister remained silent for long. And when he eventually spoke at an election rally, he refrained from any mention, let alone outright, unequivocal condemnation of the lynching. What was needed from any democratic leader was a simple, forthright affirmation of the right of every Indian to eat, speak, write or believe without fear of being killed for it. What was needed was a clear condemnation of his camp followers who sought to rationalize the lynchings and murders. Instead, Modi merely said that Hindus and Muslims should decide whether they wished to fight themselves or fight poverty. He appealed to people not to listen to hate-speech – but significantly refused to ask his own Ministers and BJP MPs and MLAs to refrain from uttering hate-speech! And in other election speeches in Bihar, Modi himself used ‘beef’ as an excuse to stoke divisive politics. His words were quickly echoed by Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi, who said Bihar’s voters must “choose between beef-eaters and those who would ban beef.” The very politics that killed Akhlaque in Dadri, is being used by the PM and the BJP in the hope of garnering votes in Bihar.

Modi Minister and BJP leader from Bihar Giriraj Singh has gone even further in venomous and sexist hate-speech; saying that the difference between mutton and beef is like that between a wife and a sister. The BJP seems unaware that such statements reveal that to them, women are like meat – items for consumption.

What must be stressed is that the ‘beef ban’ and ‘meat ban’ agenda of the BJP is merely a pretext, a cynical alibi for anti-Muslim hatred. It has emerged that BJP MLA Sangeet Som who made vicious provocative speeches on beef and meat in Dadri, is himself an owner of a company that exports meat and buffalo meat!

At a time when the Modi Government and BJP-RSS leaders are openly trying to turn India into a Hindu Nation with no room for plurality and dissent, it is heartening to see the courage of the writers and artists speaking truth to power. More strength to their pen and their voices!

Left Initiatives in Midst of Communal Tensions in Ranchi

The Sangh Parivar has once again been trying to disrupt the communal harmony in Ranchi. On 25 September 2015, during a brief period of power cut at night between 9.30 pm to 10 pm, an incident involving throwing of prohibited meat pieces in two temples located in Shivpuri area took place. An uproar followed once the power was restored at 10.30 pm. While it remains unknown as to who threw the meat pieces and who informed the rest about this occurrence, at about 11 pm a massive mobilization of Hindu groups took place to block the roads. According to the sources, however, the pieces of prohibited meat that had been found had been pasted with light colour clothing on animal skin.

Within no time, the gathered group set on fire an egg-selling shop and a hut like club belonging to people from minority sections. They started demanded a ban on sale of prohibited meat in Manitola. People belonging to both Hindu and Muslim religions reside on the Patthar road in Manitola. Soon the communal tension escalated to a level that deafening silence and turning off lights began to mark Muslim mohallas. VHP and Bajrang dal goons begin to incite people by provocative speeches even as the state administration continued to watch in silence.

Incidents of communal violence begin to take place in presence of police forces which had gathered to watch in silence. On 26 September, a popular news daily in Ranchi carried a provocative story that further accelerated the communal tension in Ranchi. On 26 September itself, goons belonging to RSS and VHP tried to further vitiate the atmosphere.

On the same day, on the initiative of CPI (ML) state secretary, Com. Janardan Prasad an urgent meeting of left forces including CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML), MCC, Forward Block, besides others, was called. Following the decision taken during the meeting, immediately a team of left leaders met the district authorities and demanded arrest of the goons who had been trying to create communal tensions in the state.

On 27 September 2015, a massive peace march was carried out in Ranchi under a united left banner. A fact finding team comprising of representatives from the left parties was also sent to Doranda. Another meeting of left parties took place on 28 September and from 29 September to 1 October 2015, pamphlets appealing for peace were distributed. A team also met the Governor to hand over a memorandum.

On 2 October 2015, on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, another massive peace march was organized by the left parties. The initiatives taken by the left played a crucial role in foiling the attempts of Sangh Parivar to engineer major communal violence in Jharkhand and influence the Bihar elections through such attempts at communal polarizations.

NHPC Contract Workers’ Struggle in Uttarakhand

On 15 September, a contract worker, working in National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) met with an accident while returning from work and died. He was also a member of the NHPC contract workers’ union (affiliated to AICCTU). Since the accident had taken place while returning from work, the union decided that the NHPC pay compensation to the deceased worker’s family and his dependent also be given a job. It was further decided that each Union member should deposit one day’s salary with the Union towards financial aid for the family.
On 21 September, however, it came to light that the Union President, Com. Uday Singh had been removed from work. The workers at Power House spontaneously left their duties and by the afternoon workers in the project’s residential colony, dam site and at the project headquarters had also left their duties. On 22 September a decision was taken to go on an indefinite strike till the reinstatement of the Union President and compensation paid to the family of the deceased worker. The strike went on for six days during which the NHPC management did not call the workers for talks but tried to break the strike in connivance with officials from permanent workers’ unions BMC and INTUC. Contract workers were denied NHPC bus services. NHPC cut the water and electricity connections in the Nigalpani housing colony and put the blame on the contract workers. The management also gave a complaint against the union officers in the Dharchula kotwali. At night attacks were made upon union members living in the colony and their tin sheds were stoned, after which a complaint was immediately registered with the police the following day. However, soon the momentum of the struggle and support received from various places forced the NHPC management to enter into dialogue with the contract workers’ union, district AICCTU leaders, trade union coordination committee members, CPI (ML) district leaders and others. The pressure built finally resulted in the management of NHPC agreeing to reinstate Union President Uday Singh and to take all necessary steps to assure compensation to the family of the deceased.
On fulfillment of their demands, the contract workers gathered at the Dharchula headquarters and after a gap of 1½ years the Dharchula tehsil was once again covered with red flags.
Parties Continue Protests in Uttar Pradesh against Dadri Incident

On 28 September, Mohd. Akhlaq, a 50 year old resident of Bisahada village in Dadri was dragged out of his home and lynched to death, and his son critically injured, on a conspiratorially-manipulated allegation that he and his family had stored and eaten beef. Soon after the incident, CPI (ML) sent its fact finding team and released the report and a strong condemnation of the incident. Thereafter, several protests have been collectively held by the left forces against the increase in spate of communal lynchings, hate mongering and communal violence in Uttar Pradesh.

CPI (ML), CPI (M), and CPI jointly held dharnas and demonstrations on 5 October 2015 at various district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh to protest against the murder of Mohd. Akhlaq in Dadri (Greater Noida). In the capital city of Lucknow, the three parties staged a dharna at GPO Park in Hazratganj. CPI (ML) activists took out a march up in Gazipur. In Allahabad, CPI (ML) and CPI (M) took out a march, held a meeting at the Collectorate and submitted a memorandum to the District Magistrate. The three parties also jointly burnt PM Narendra Modi’s effigy at Mau. SUCI (C) joined the three parties at Moradabad in a protest at the District Sessions Court. Protests were also held at Mathura, Jalaun and several other districts and memorandums were sent through the DMs.

It may be noted that most of the accused arrested so far in the Dadri incident are sons and relations of local BJP leaders. The BJP is defending the accused to the hilt, and is ceaselessly engaged in spreading poison against the minorities. Akhilesh Yadav government has once again failed to provide security to the minorities in the state.

Joint protests have also been held in various other parts of the country including Delhi.

Fourth State Conference of Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Sabha (JHAMAS)

On the occasion of Com. Ibnul Hassan Basru’s Memorial Day the Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Sabha (JHAMAS) organized its 4th State conference on 29 September 2015 at the Com. Arun Pandey auditorium in Mirzaganj (Ibnul Hasan Basru Nagar) in Jamua block of Giridih district.

Prior to the conference thousands of rural workers led by CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Comrades Janardan Prasad, Manoj Bhakt, former MLA Vinod Singh, sitting Dhanwar MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Parmeshwar Mahto, Usman Ansari, and others took out a 5 km march from Jamua chowk, culminating at the conference venue.

The opening session of the conference started with songs presented by cultural teams from Bengal and Jharkhand. Inaugurating the conference, Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that Ibnul Hassan Basru had dedicated his whole life to carrying forward the struggles of the rural workers of Jamua and nearby areas, and he always emphasized the need to strengthen the CPI (ML) for the freedom of rural workers. Referring to the current scenario, he added that the BJP government is working in the interests of capitalists and big multinational companies, and prices are skyrocketing in this regime. The common people were not being benefited in any way. He called for a concerted struggle and emphasized the need to build the rural workers into a force to reckon with.

Com. Rajkumar Yadav and Com. Vinod Singh highlighted the anti-people policies of the BJP governments in the state and at the centre which included rampant loot of resources, huge cuts in food security, price rise, cuts in MNREGA, weakening of CNT and SPT acts, policies facilitating land grab of the poor and increased state oppression. Jharkhand State Secretary, Com. Janardan Prasad said that the rural poor under the banner of Jhamas would play a decisive role in the forthcoming panchayat elections and in fighting for the political claims of the rural poor.

The delegate session was conducted by a board chaired by eight members and attended by 300 delegates. Currently Jhamas is active in 14 districts where 1 lakh family memberships were targeted, out of which 41,000 memberships have so far been achieved. At the conclusion of the conference a 70 member State Council and 21 member National Executive were constituted with Com. Parmeshwar Mahto as General Secretary and Com. Devki Nandan Bediya as President.

The following responsibilities were undertaken by the Conference: 1. To fight against forcible land acquisition- to oppose any tampering with SPT-CNT Act and ensure implementation of 5th schedule; to fight for distribution of ceiling, gairmajrua, unutilized government land, agricultural, and housing land among the poor; 2. To ensure passing of food security bill and guarantee of 50 kg grains, 5 liters kerosene, and other necessities at affordable prices for the poor; to oppose scams in ration-kerosene distribution; 3. To demand housing; house construction funds in proportion to rising prices and housing for all the poor who do not come in the BPL list; 4. To fight for 200 days’ work under MNREGA; fixing minimum wage at Rs 300; ensure weekly payments, and fight attempts to link this with Adhar card 5. Guarantee of free health and education through health centres in every village; appointment of doctors in each health centre; to fight for improvement in quality of primary education; 6. Guarantee of clean drinking water, roads, and other basic amenities in every tola; 7. To fight for social security pension for the aged and helpless even without BPL.

The conference resolved to take up the struggle for these issues by developing them as the focus of the struggle of the rural poor.

Public Hearing organized by AIPWA in Kolkata

The incidents of sexual violence have increased in the past few years and most of the accused continue to roam free. Far from showing a resolve to address the increase in sexual violence, the government has more often been found to engage with blatant victim blaming. Time and again, the people of Bengal have been made to witness threats of sexual violence by those in power. It in this context that AIPWA organized a public hearing against violence on women and for demanding justice on 29 September in Dharmatala Y-channel . The survivors of Kadambagachi [near Barasat, N24parganas], Jagacha [Howrah], Hoogly, Bidhan Sarani[Kolkata]and from several other places of Bengal took part in the public hearing. The face of women’s movement like Mousumi and Toompa from Kamduni, Pramila Ray from Sutia(sister of the slain school teacher Barun Biswas’) and Aminul’s family members were also present in the hearing. The women’s movement activists like Soma Marik and Ratnaboli Ray, advocates like Rangta Munshi, Chandranath Banerjee, Ajanta Sarkar, Sharmila Dey, Nisha Biswas, and Dr Debasish Dutta were present as judges. AIPWA general secretary was also present during the hearing. The survivors shared their pain and agony and the form of violence they faced. They also described the problems they faced while lodging complaint in the police stations and while trying to get proper treatment in hospitals.

Rama Karmakar from Hoogly shared how during the court procedures when she clearly said that she had been raped by her brother-in-law, the public prosecutor advised her to compromise. Expressing her anguish she asked as to when will the courts focus on delivering justice rather than suggesting survivors to compromise.

Parboti, from N24parganas informed that though her daughter was killed by her in-laws, the culprits got bail. The women of Kadambagachi vividly described how she was tortured, her dress was torn apart making and how the culprits tried to insert bamboo stick into her vagina till she got senseless. All these were done by her in-laws in full public view on a road. Shockingly, the hospital denied her medical examination and also misguided her that if she does these medical tests she would face physical problems.

The director of transgender organizations ‘Kolkata Rishta’ , Dr Santosh Giri mentioned that not only women , transgender people also face sexual violence, however no discussion takes place on the subject and there are no demands for justice. Aditi, an organizer with Anjali [organization working for the rights of people having mental problems] said that nobody thinks about the people with mental problems. She pointed out that several of them were subjected to torture in government hospitals and even sexually harassed. Swati Chatterjee who deals with the acid attack cases said that if hospitals seriously follow medico-legal directives, the way to achieve justice would be smoother but most of the hospitals are not aware of the directives. The girl student of Bidhan Sarani Rape Case confirmed that the hospital did not follow health directives while doing her examination.

The representatives from domestic workers, mid-day meal workers, ASHA workers and construction workers also shared that sexual harassment often took place at their workplaces and they were regularly deprived of their proper wages .The stage of the public hearing became a stage of protest.

Toompa and Mousumi of Kamduni movement raised their voice of protest while saying that they were marked as Maoists as they protested against the rape cases and added the WB CM Mamta Banerjee had failed to keep her promise that she had made in front of the villagers.

The activists also strongly condemned the recent incident in Bakura Khayerberi Gram Panchayat where a class 12 student was killed in a salisi sabha [kangaroo court ] organized by Trinamool Congress for having an affair.

Towards the end of the hearing and protest, state AIPWA secretary Com. Chaitali Sen assured that this demand for justice would be turned into a powerful movement and to ensure swift action, a gherao of CM’s office would be called.

Victory for tea workers in North Bengal

The tea garden workers in North Bengal had been fighting for their bonus since a prolonged period. Several rounds of talks were held between the trade union leaders, including members of the Terai Sangrami Cha Shramik Union (Affiliated to AICCTU). After nearly five rounds of fierce debates between the trade union leaders and the tea garden owners, on 7 October 2015, the owners were forced to agree on paying twenty percent bonus to the tea workers. This is an important victory for the workers’ towards getting an increased bonus packet calculating the increased daily wages since 1 April 2014. Com. Basudeb Basu represented the Terai Sangrami Cha Shramik union at the last bipartite talk that was held at Bengal Chamber of Commerce, in Kolkata on 7 October.

Comrade Nagbhushan Memorial Day

The 18th Nagbhushan Memorial Day was commemorated on 9th October as "Smruti Divas" at Nagbhushan Bhawan in Bhubaneshwar. Many left leaders and intellectuals of different streams spoke on "Necessity of left unity in the present political juncture" on this occasion. Prominent among them were Kshitish Biswal, Radha Kanta Sethi and Ashok Pradhan from CPI(ML), CPI state secretary Dibakar Nayak, CPI(M) state secretariat member Dushmant Das, SUCI(C) leader Raghunath Das and Forward Bloc State convener Purna Padhi, Prof. Birendra Naik, senior journalist Rabi Das, Samadrusti editor Sudhir Pattanaik and many others. Com. Yudhisthir Mohapatra chaired the programme. Comrades paid tribute to the great revolutionary.

At Gunupur, Comrades Phanibhushan Pattanaik, Tirupati Gomango, James Sabar, Anasim Sabar and many others led a procession from Union office in memory of comrade Nagbhushan Patnaik and garlanded his statue. This was followed by a mass meeting.


Com. Virendra Kumar Singh

CPI(ML) Supaul district committee member and Khet Mazdoor Sabha district President Com. Virendra Kumar Singh passed away due to a heart attack at 2 AM on 12 July 2015. On hearing the news of his death a pall of gloom descended on district party workers and well-wishers in his village Rajeshwari. Com. Virendra had plunged into student politics while he was a student at Patna Law College. He was arrested during the emergency and after his release in 1977, he became a member of the CPI(M) dedicating himself to people’s struggles. Fighting against the personality-based and bureaucratic tendencies in the CPI(M), he finally left the party in 1994 and became a member of the CPI(ML), taking active part in the people’s struggles initiated by the party.

Workers in large numbers took part in his funeral procession and the condolence meeting chaired by Com. Achhe Lal Mehta.

Red Salute to Com. Virendra Kumar Singh!

ML Update | No. 41 | 2015

October 6, 2015


A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 41 | 6 12 OCT 2015

Dadri Lynching

Modi Government and BJP Are Promoting

A Murderous Politics of Hate

The murder of a Muslim man by a communal lynch mob on the pretext that he had ‘eaten beef’ should be an urgent wake-up call for the country to recognize and reject the dangerous divisive politics being systematically fostered by the ruling party and Central Government.

In Bisahda village of Dadri district in Western Uttar Pradesh, close to Delhi, a mob forced its way into Akhlaque’s home, molested his wife and daughter, beat his mother, dragged Akhlaque and his son Danish away, and beat them up with stones, bricks and a sewing machine. Akhlaque was killed, while Danish is still struggling to survive after two brain surgeries. The pretext being offered by Sangh Parivar and BJP leaders for this ghastly murder has been that the mob believed, thanks to an announcement from a temple, that Akhlaque had ‘stolen and killed a cow’ or ‘eaten beef’ and thereby inflamed Hindu sentiments.

Facts however point to a larger conspiracy and an organized communal mobilization, with ‘beef’ and ‘cow’ being a mere pretext to kill Muslims and incite communal violence. The ‘Samadhan Sena,’ one of the many saffron armies of the hydra-headed Sangh Parivar, has been spreading communal venom in the area for a long time.

The deafening silence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the spate of statements by Modi Government Ministers, BJP MPs and MLAs and RSS leaders rationalizing the lynching, all make it clear that the lynching was part and parcel of the BJP’s politics of hate-mongering.

VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi has warned that all those eating beef will meet the same fate as Akhlaque; local BJP leaders have demanded that a case of cow slaughter be registered against the survivors of the lynching; Modi’s Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma has called the lynching a mere ‘accident’ for which no one should be punished; BJP MP and former editor of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser Tarun Vijay wrote a piece playing down the Dadri lynching. Mahesh Sharma, even more outrageously, praised the lynch mob for its restraint in ‘not lifting a finger against the 17 year old daughter’ of Akhlaque! It is clear that the Culture Minister, who seeks to ‘cleanse’ India’s culture of ‘pollution’, needs to cleanse his own mind of crass rape culture.

Modi himself is the fountainhead of the provocative hate-speech around ‘cow slaughter.’ In his election speeches during the Parliamentary elections, he repeatedly stoked emotions against eaters of beef and meat, referring to the killing of animals as ‘murder’ (hatya) and calling the meat industry ‘Pink Revolution.’

India is a vast country, where people have very diverse diets and food cultures. To impose Brahminical Hindu taboos on beef or meat on the rest of the population – through ever-proliferating food bans in various states – smacks of totalitarianism. It needs to be recognized, however, that ‘beef’ is one pretext among many others, for inciting murderous communal violence against minorities and casteist violence against Dalits.

The Dadri episode and its aftermath also makes a mockery of the ‘secular’ claims of the Samajwadi Party and its Government in Uttar Pradesh. The UP police not only failed to prevent the lynching. It began its investigation by sending the meat in Akhlaque’s fridge for forensic examination, to check whether or not it was beef, thereby turning the victim into the accused. BJP MLA Sangeet Som, accused of stoking the Muzaffarnagar riots with inflammatory speeches accusing Muslim youth of ‘love jehad’, has made violent provocative speeches in Bisahda village, threatening violence if the arrested members of the lynch mob are not released. Why was Sangeet Som, with a known history of provocative speech-making and riot-mongering, allowed by the UP Government and Police to violate Section 144 and make provocative speeches in the wake of a communal mob lynching? Clearly the SP Government of UP has learned no lessons from Muzaffarnagar, and is doing nothing to protect vulnerable minorities and curb communal forces.

What is most ominous of all is that Dadri is no isolated incident, but part of a disturbing and dangerous pattern. Just days before the Dadri lynching, a Muslim man was lynched to death in Kanpur on the strength of a rumour that he was a ‘Pakistani terrorist.’ In August this year, three young Muslim men were lynched to death by a mob in the same Dadri district on the pretext that they were ‘stealing cows.’ Last year in August, in Delhi’s Najafgarh bordering Western UP, a Dalit man was lynched to death on the pretext that he was found skinning a cow. The excuse proffered by the local BJP Councillor on that occasion that the mob has mistaken him for a Muslim who had stolen a cow! There have been many recent incidents in various parts of India where Muslim youth have been stripped, beaten or lynched to death on the allegation that they have befriended/loved/married/‘raped’ Hindu women. In the past couple of weeks, Sangh Parivar elements fomented communal tensions in Ranchi and Banaras. In the latest Cobrapost sting operation, leaders of Sangh outfits confessed on camera how they use false cases of ‘love jehad’ to foment communal tensions, how they indulge in ‘Hindutva terrorism,’ and how they “are sad when they fail to kill a Muslim and hold celebrations the day they succeed.”

And can we forget that in 2002, five Dalits were killed in Jhajjar in Haryana on the pretext that they had killed a cow. The VHP leader Giriraj Kishore had then answered the question ‘Is a Dalit’s life worth less than that of a cow?’ with the words “The scriptures say that the life of a cow is priceless.”

Such lynch mobs are not spontaneous ‘reactions to rumours’ – they represent a planned, systematic injection of communal poison into the very fabric of Indian society. And the purpose of this poison is to promote the politics of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar that make no secret of their aim to transform India from a secular country into a Hindu Nation. The Prime Minister himself, while on foreign tours, openly mocks at India’s secularism and secular values.

The Prime Minister who calls the eating of beef and non-vegetarian food ‘murder’, needs to tell us if he considers the lynching to death of a human being, murder? His calculated silence on the Dadri lynching and his inability even to issue a simple condemnation of the murder, is screaming out to the whole world his approval for and promotion of the politics of divisiveness, hate-mongering and communal violence.

Citizen’s Protest against the Dadri and Kanpur Communal Lynchmob Killings!

On 28 September, hardly an hour from India’s capital Delhi, a 50 year old Muslim man Mohd. Akhlaq was killed by a lynch mob and his 22 year old son brutally injured after the local temple announced that his family has eaten beef. The son was admitted to the hospital in state of coma. Less than a week ago another Muslim man was beaten to death by a lynch mob based on rumors that he is a ‘Pakistani Terrorist’.

Outraged by the brutal killings, the continued silence of the Prime Minister and the shameful attempts of the BJP leaders to justify the violence, more than 500 protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar on 2 October 2015 and registered a massive protest against the lynch mob killing of Muslims in Dadri and Kanpur. Several organisations such as AISA, AICCTU, AIPF, CPI (ML), KYS, NSI and PUDR along with noted activists like Kiran Saheen, Kumar Sundaram participated in the united protest.

Addressing the protestors, Com. Rama Naga, JNUSU general secretary and AISA leader asked, “Thousands gathered to attack a Muslim family, killing an old man, brutally injuring his son, unleashing violence on the women members of the family. Did so many attackers gather only on the basis of a rumor? Organised hate mongering against Muslims either in the name of Beti-bachao or Gow Mata, from Muzzafarnagar to Dadri is going on. Don’t we know who the mastermind is? Don’t we know that the RSS and BJP machinery have been systematically manufacturing hate and violence through mahapanchayats, whatsapp messages, youtube videos?”

Gautam Navlakha from PUDR pointed out that “Even after the killing and violence, BJP leaders are spreading further hatred against Muslims. Mahapanchyats are being convened, hate-speeches are being delivered by well known BJP leaders. Manufacturing of riot is going unabated. How much blood of minorities is needed to get the security act on punishing hate-mongers?”,

On behalf of AIPF, Com. Girija Pathak said, “The PM says in America Ahimsa Parama Dharma, while violence is being organised on minorities in India. His party leaders and ministers continue to spread venom. He must speak up.” Kiran Saheen, while addressing the protest, said- “Why has meat of animal been sent to forensic lab after the killing of human beings? Rather than acting on the well known leaders who are further spreading hatred and communal tension, why is the security busy in feeding into communal division based on food preference?”

The protesters demanded punishment of those engaged in the lynch mob killing and those who made the announcement from the temple about beef being eaten. Protesters also demanded that action must be taken against the well known leaders who are continuing to spread communal hatred and justifying the killings.

Earlier, on 1 October 2015, a fact-finding team that included CPI (ML) leaders Com. Girija Pathak, Com. Aslam and National Secretary of RYA, Com. Omprasad visited Bisada village to meet the family of Late Mohd. Akhlaq’s and other villagers. After talking to the family of Mohd. Akhlaq and other villagers it came became clear that the murder of Mohd. Akhlaq was a planned communal attack using the pretext of the ongoing hate campaign being run by the Sangh Parivar and BJP around beef eating and cow slaughter. A detailed report has been prepared by the fact finding team.

Campaign in Punjab For Land Rights and Employment

In rural Punjab, there are several acres of common land meant for the purpose of animal grazing that has been illegally occupied by kulaks. In 2009, CPI (ML) fought for the housing rights of Dalits and rural poor on this land and occupied some parts of the land for the purpose. The movement was met by severe repression and crackdown. Unfazed by the repression, the movement was continued and in 2009, thirty percent of this land was legally granted for the purpose of housing of the rural poor and Dalits. However, the proper implementation of the same has not been ensured till date. Additionally, reduced wages in MNREGA and massive corruption in implementation of the scheme have also added to the misery of the rural poor in the state. In light of the deteriorating situation in rural Punjab, CPI (ML) and All India Agricultural and Rural Labourers’ Association (AIARLA) undertook a month long campaign in several districts of Punjab on the issue of land rights and employment.

The month long campaign involving district level mobilization by CPI (ML) and AIARLA leaders and activists culminated in the form of massive rallies that were organized on the issue of land rights and proper implementation of MNREGA in Bhatinda, Mansa, Barnala, Sangrur, Gurudaspur and Amritsar. The campaign was met with encouraging response from the people. Thousands of farmers and youths participated in these rallies.

DTC Contract Workers’ March to Delhi Secretariat

In February 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Delhi riding high on expectations of common people. Among several of its promises, a key promise was to end the saga of contractualization and ensure regularization of workers in various sectors. Unfortunately, seven months since coming to office, the AAP government has not taken any initiatives towards the fulfillment of this key election time promise.

Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) too has continued with process of recruiting young workers through the process of contractualisation. On 30 September 2015, several young contract workers working in DTC mobilized under the AICCTU banner marched to Delhi Secretariat demanding that they be made regular and their wages be fixed accordingly. The DTC workers have also been raising concerns regarding the pension provisions and the massive corruption that takes place during wage payment and other provisions. Additionally, the workers also expressed anger with the Kejriwal led AAP government that far from addressing their concerns has instead chosen to crackdown on their right to protest and strike. In May 2015, when the DTC workers had gone on strike demanding compensation for the family of a driver who had been beaten to death in a road rage incident, the Delhi Government had responded by imposing Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the agitating staff.

The workers demanded that the Delhi Government explain its betrayal of election time promises and take concrete initiatives to meet their grievances.

Kisan Mahasabha for Vaishali as Drought-Stricken District

More than 100 farmers sat on a dharna outside the Bidupur block office in Vaishali district, Bihar on 11 September 2015 under the Kisan Mahasabha banner with the following demands- (i) to declare Vaishali district drought-stricken; (ii) to give free ration-kerosene to farmers until the next crop; (iii) to waive agricultural loans up to Rs 1 lakh; (iv) to give farmers and sharecroppers interest-free loans for farming the next crop; (v) to associate MNREGA with agriculture and to give MNREGA workers 200 days’ work in farmers’ fields at Rs 300 per day; (vi) to restart all State hand pumps and to repair derelict canals and release water into them; (vii) to electrify farmers’ private hand pumps and give free electricity for irrigation; (viii) to set up camps in villages and insure the crops of all non-loan farmers including sharecroppers on the basis of physical verification; and (ix) to give farmers including sharecroppers immediate diesel subsidy. A memorandum with these demands was submitted to the Block Development Officer. It may be noted that up to September this district had recorded only 435 mm rainfall as against the normal average of 790 mm which amounts to a deficit of 45%.

Earlier, on 6 August more than 400 farmers had protested in front of the District headquarters with the same demands and had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Collector. Again, on 1 September, jointly with other Left farmers’ organizations, ‘Farmers’ Demand Day’ was observed and a memorandum was submitted to the Prime Minister through the Collector, with 11 demands that included- (i) declaration of Vaisahali as a drought-stricken district, (ii) laws to be made to protect agricultural land, and (iii) a pension of Rs 3,000 per month for farmers and sharecroppers. These programmes, led by State President Com. Vishveshwar Prasad Yadav, were addressed by Kisan Mahasabha district President Com. Pradeep Rai, Secretary Com. Arvind Kumar Choudhury, Joint Secretary Com. Suman Kumar, Com. Harinarayan Singh, Com. Ramyatna Rai, and other peasant leaders.

11-Day Jan Adhikar Yatra in Jharkhand

An 11 Day Jan Adhikar Yatra (People’s rights rally) called by various people’s fronts and movements including All India People’s Forum (AIPF), Bharat Gyaan-Vigyaan Samiti, Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand unit of Jan Sanskriti Manch, NREGA watch, Jungle Bachao Andolan, Bharat Jan Andolan, Gram Swaraj Abhiyaani and several others, begin in from Bagodar, in Giridih district on 1 October 2015. The 11 day yatra has been called to highlight the consistent attack on people’s rights by the BJP led state and central governments. The various issues that will be raised during the course of the Jan Adhikar Yatra include- implementation of Food Security Act, rolling back of cuts in MNREGA, ensuring provisions of social security pension, proper implementation of Forest Rights’ Act, protesting against assaults on people’s rights and movements and also against the unbridled loot of forests, land and resources. The Yatra started in the form of a massive people’s rally and covering a lot of areas transformed into a public meeting near Bagodar Bus stop. The public meeting was chaired by Com. Sandeep Jaiswal, member of the national executive of the RYA. Addressing the public meeting as one of the chief speakers, Com. Vinod Singh, CPI (ML) leader and ex-MLA from Bagodar pointed out how the assaults on common people’s rights had been increased under the chief ministership of Raghuvar Das. Concerted efforts were being made to instigate communal tensions in several parts of the country including Jharkhand.

The Jan Adhikar Yatra will cover various villages in forest areas and hilly terrains of Jharkhand and will culminate in Ranchi on 11 October in form of a massive public meeting where roadmap for strengthening people’s movements will be chalked out.

Fact Finding Team from AICCTU Visits Protesting Manesar Workers

On 26 September 2015, brutal lathi-charge and crackdown was unleashed on the protesting Maruti workers in Manesar. In early hours of 26 September, nearly 2000 casual workers had sat on a strike at the factory gate protesting against the anti-worker attitude of the Maruti administration. The management of the Maruti Factory in Manesar had been regularly deploying fraudulent ways to take work from the casual workers. The management had been taking work from them on the assurance that they would be made regular after a period of six months, but several of these workers had finished several such six month periods without being made regular. The workers expectedly were feeling cheated the management. The workers had also been unhappy and angry about the failure of the government to ensure ‘equal wages for equal work’ under the labour laws.

An AICCTU fact finding team that included Delhi AICCTU President, Com. V.K.S. Gautam and members of the JNU unit of All India Kaamgaar Union, Com. Lillu and Com. Satyawaan, visited the Maruti plant in Manesar on 27 September 2015.

During the interaction with the fact finding team, the workers shared that the management once again proved its anti-workers attitude when all the causal workers were kept out of the provisions of the wage agreement that took place prior to the 26 September strike. It must be noted that these casual workers, who are being made to work using fraudulent means and false promises, constitute a major part of the production process that contributes to the increasing profits of the Maruti.

There are 5-6 casual workers and 2 apprentices per every two permanent worker in the Maruti factory. By using various terminologies such as permanent, casual, apprentice, contractual worker, etc., workers are being recruited and subjected to severe exploitation. The workers also continue to be angered and pained by the refusal of the Maruti management to take back nearly 2300 workers who were illegally thrown out in August 2012.

During the interactions with the fact finding team, the workers shared that on the morning of 26 September, the Maruti management called for bouncers from nearby areas and instructed them to assault the peacefully striking workers. Several strikers were brutally injured. Most of the casual workers who were ruthlessly beaten were 17-20 year old youths. Haryana police which on earlier occasions has also demonstrated its loyalty to the factory owners by always siding with them, continued to display the same attitude as soon after its arrival it immediately arrested two comrades- Jeetendra and Khushiram, while failing to protect from them from being beaten up. Worse, the arrested workers were again severely beaten up by the police in custody. In the lathi-charge unleashed by the police also several workers were gravely injured.

It is not new for the Haryana government to stand in solidarity with the capitalists who have frequently made mockery of labour laws. The actions of police controlled by the BJP government in Haryana are no different from the actions of the police during the rule of the Congress government. It is clear that be it Congress or BJP, both are only too eager to act as agents of the capital and will not refrain from oppressing the working class. Earlier, on 2 September 2015, during the All India Workers’ Strike, thousands of workers of Maruti Factory had participated in the strike proving that no amount of oppression can deter them from fighting for their rights. During the fact finding team’s visit, Com. Gautam pledged AICCTU’s solidarity with the workers of the Maruti factory and assured them that in coming days AICCTU will stand with them and fight along with them in order to intensify the movement.

Cultural Activists’ Convention in Ara on ‘Left Alternative in Bihar’

Continuing with their initiatives to mobilize the cultural activists and intellectuals in support of the Left Alternative in Bihar, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, and Jan Sanskriti Manch organized a convention on ‘Agenda 2015: Left Alternative in Bihar’ on 20 September 2015 in the Red Cross auditorium, Ara, in which cultural activists and intellectuals declared their support for CPI (ML) candidates in all the Bhojpur district seats and Left candidates in the entire Shahabad area. A similar convention had earlier been organized in Patna on 13 September 2015.

Speakers from Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Jan Sanskriti Manch, Hirawal, Insaaf Manch, Bihar State Primary Teachers’ Association (Gope group) and All India Students Association stressed on the need to unite against forces instigating communal passion, strengthening feudal oppression, and acting on the instructions of pro-corporate forces.

Poet Sunil Shrivastava said that capitalism only creates a false glitter, but actually spreads a web of trickery and cheating. The corporate also throws political alternatives in front of us, and it is because of the choice being limited to these alternatives that the character of governments remains unchanged, no matter who wins. It is necessary to strengthen the forces engaged in building a correct and viable alternative for the people.

Story writer Anant Kumar Singh, speaking on the recent circular issued by the Maharashtra BJP government, said that now they are threatening to charge those with sedition who criticize MLAs or MPs or Ministers. Why should the people elect such persons? He said that with the coming of the Left alternative, the people will not be faced with the dilemma of choosing between the devil and the deep sea. He also sent out the message of support sent by novelist Sheen Hayat. Expressing concern over the election-time polarization in favour of casteist-feudal forces, Prof. Tungnath Choudhury said that this time a new synergy will be generated through Left unity.

Ashutosh Kumar Pandey read the 3 point resolution of the convention – (i) to support the Left alternative; (ii) to support the FTII students’ agitation (a poster marking the completion of 100 days of the agitation was signed by cultural activists, students, and intellectuals; (iii). to strengthen the protest against the attack on progressive, intellectual and rationalist thinkers by the RSS and its satellite organizations.

ML Update | No. 40 | 2015

September 30, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 40 | 29 SEP – 5 OCT 2015

Modi’s US Visit –
And Unanswered Questions
About ‘Digital India’ and Democratic India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used his visit to the USA and especially Silicon Valley to sell India as an investment destination for digital services, in particular the Government’s ‘Digital India’ programme. Beyond the hype and hard-sell of Modi’s interaction with top CEOs, several urgent questions remain unanswered.

Some of those questions were posed by protesters at Silicon Valley itself during the PM’s visit. Under the banner of Alliance for Justice and Accountability, protesters raised their voices against growing communal, caste and gender violence in India, systematic erosion of environmental safeguards, and above all, the crackdown on freedom of expression and civil liberties, and the purging of diversity and dissent from academic and cultural institutions in the name of ‘cleansing’ foreign (read non-Hindutva) influences. The protesters also included LGBT groups that demanded that the Prime Minister break his silence on India’s shameful Section 377 law that criminalizes homosexuality. Leading academicians from various US universities had also written an open letter raising many of these concerns. It must also be noted that Modi, on his visit to Ireland, chose to use Irish soil to take a dig at India’s secular ethos and concerns.

Ironically, at the venue, Modi supporters from the Hindutva camp confirmed many of the concerns being raised about the crackdown on dissent by abusing, intimidating and roughing up the protesters. It is indeed significant that while Modi poses with CEOs of social media and Internet-related service companies, the social media in India have become spaces where dissenting voices, especially voices criticizing the Prime Minister, his party, his organization the RSS or his Government are subjected to an organized campaign of intimidation and abuse by a virtual army of Modi supporters. In India, the police under Governments ruled by parties of most hues have been quick to arrest and harass dissenting voices on social media. Section 66A was the legal instrument for such arrests and harassment; it has now been outlawed by the Supreme Court but not before the Modi Government defended it in Court.

The Modi Government has also, in recent times, been forced to retreat on several policy moves to undermine privacy and freedom of users of the internet and social media. The Department of Telecommunication and IT Ministry of the Modi Government had to backtrack on a proposal to introduce a draft encryption policy requiring users to preserve every WhatsApp, SMS or email message for 90 days and make these available to security agencies on demand, or else face a jail term. Similarly, the Government had to make a U-Turn on a misguided attempt to ban porn sites on the internet. And earlier, the DoT tried to undermine net neutrality in collusion with some Indian telecom corporations, but was forced to retreat.

Modi’s meeting with Facebook CEO Zuckerberg also raises the spectre of a threat to net neutrality. Zuckerberg’s project is already under fire for its proposal to undermine net neutrality (i.e a free internet) by carving up the net into different saleable ‘segments’ or ‘packages.’ This project is being defended in the name of internet access for the poor: but the hidden agenda is to restrict the existing free access to the internet by compromising net neutrality.

In the name of providing important Wi-Fi in railway stations and broadband services in rural India, PM Modi has rolled out the red carpet to Google and Microsoft. But the question is, why can’t such basic infrastructure be provided by Indian companies? Why allow MNC penetration in what is a potentially strategic area? More importantly, why is the Modi Government itself lagging behind drastically in implementing the National Optic Fiber Network plan to lay down the fibre optic cables required to ensure broadband access to 250,000 villages? The deadline for this plan has been delayed and extended several times even in the tenure of Modi himself. The ‘Digital India’ promise can only remain a mirage unless the Government delivers on such infrastructure.

Another issue on which Modi’s Silicon Valley visit was silent is the condition of the IT sector in India. This sector is today primarily one of brain drain, with Indian IT workers overworked and underpaid in exploitative and repressive conditions.

Modi’s US visit throws up other areas of concern too. On Modi’s past visit to the US and US President Obama’s visit to India, there have been shadowy talks concerning pharmaceutical patents and nuclear liability. Both are areas which have grave implications for India’s poor and common citizens. Yet the details of such discussions and agreements lack transparency and Indian citizens are kept in the dark.

At home in India, Modi’s graph is declining with his Government increasingly surrounded by questions about steeply rising prices, the control exerted by the RSS and corporations over the Government, meat bans, saffronization, the worrying spectacle of emboldened Hindutva terror groups that are assassinating secular and rationalist activists and intellectuals, and the Government’s own harassment of activists and dissenting voices. Modi’s ‘development’ rhetoric too is being questioned, since the promised ‘good days’ are yet to arrive for the poor and deprived while the corporations and MNCs bask in the Modi sun. The carefully scripted optics of Modi’s foreign tours cannot get rid of these questions that are growing louder and demanding answers.

Declare Jharkhand Drought Affected Region

Even as entire Jharkhand has been severely affected by the drought, the BJP government headed by Raghuvar Das has so far shown no steps towards addressing those affected by the drought. As starvation, unemployment and forced migration continues to increase, the government apathy shows no signs of ending. In view of the severe drought conditions affecting the entire state of the Jharkhand, CPI(ML) organized a series of protests in several districts across Jharkhand demanding that Jharkhand be declared a drought area.

On 19 September, the CPI(ML)’s Ranchi city committee organized a march, followed by a meeting to protest against Jharkhand not being declared a drought area and giving a call to observe a state-wide protest day against the increase in petrol prices. During the entire march, slogans were raised demanding- “Declare Jharkhand a drought area”, “Start relief work”, “Guarantee 200 days’ work under MNREGA”, “Roll back increase in petrol price” and “Pass employment guarantee law for urban poor”. Addressing the meeting, Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, district secretary, said that despite continuous fall in prices of crude oil in the international market, the people of Jharkhand have received no relief; rather, they are burdened with increased petrol price and spiraling cost of living. The government is oppressing the people with more and higher taxes. People from villages across the State are being forced to migrate because of the government’s failure to declare Jharkhand drought-affected despite continuous drought conditions and failure of maize and paddy crops.

Protests were also organized in other districts including- Garhwa, Palamu, Latehar, Lohardaga, Gumla, Giridih, Ramgarh, Dhanbad, and Jamtara under CPI(ML) and AIPF banners. In Dhanbad, about 100 farmers sat in dharna at fertilizer factory gate on 21 September, protesting the management’s illegal takeover of farmers’ lands, and demanding long pending compensation for land by the factory. In several districts memorandums were submitted to the Chief Minister through the local DMs.

CPI(ML) leaders warned that if the state of apathy continued, the agitation would be strengthened in days to come.

Five CPI(ML) leaders in Punjab Sentenced for Leading Anti-Land-Grab Struggle

On 19 September, the Fatehabad court sentenced five CPI(ML) leaders from Punjab, Sukhdarshan Singh Natt, Ruldu Singh, Gurjant Singh, Jasbir Kaur and Rajvinder Rana for three years in jail for their role in anti-land grab struggle in Punjab. In 2011, a series of ‘kurkis’ took place in Mansa district, by the money lenders whereby they grabbed the land of poor peasants against their pending debts. During one such incident, a moneylender fired at the peasant union activists who were resisting the land grab and a peasant leader Pirthi Singh was killed in the firing. The police refused to arrest the money lender, who had fired, for almost a month owing to considerable political pressure. It were only relentless protests by peasant organizations and CPI(ML) that the administration was forced to arrest the murderer eventually. When the murderer was brought to the court, amidst continued protest and raising of slogans against the delay in arrest, and some angry peasants and protesters manhandled the hated killer inside the court premises. The police took even this as an opportunity to act in favour of the usurer, land-grabber and murderer and revengefully slapped serious false criminal cases against CPI(ML) and other peasant leaders!

The five leaders have now been granted bail in order to appeal in the higher court.

The conviction of leaders of anti-land grab movement comes at a time when the government of the day is pushing hard the policy of land grab and displacement and brutally oppressing dissenting voices. CPI(ML)’s struggle against anti-poor, anti-peasant measures of the government will continue undeterred

Candle March against the Move to Make Bindukhatta a Municipality.

Hundreds of Bindukhatta residents came out on the streets once again on 23 September under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha, for the campaign “Harish Rawat Sarkar, Jawab Do” and raising slogans against making Bindukhatta a municipality.

A meeting was held at Car Road, Bindukhatta in the evening. Addressing the meeting, Kisan Mahasabha State President Com. Purushottam Sharma said that the government has betrayed the people of Bindukhatta by making it a municipality. The people of Bindukhatta voted MLA Durgapal to a one-sided victory so that he could fulfill his election promise to make Bindukhatta a revenue village and give ownership rights to the farmers who had settled on lands here. But the MLA, by making this a municipality, has made full plans to enable the land mafia to loot the people’s lands. Bindukhatta was made a municipality, waiving all laws, as it was not legally possible. As a result, the government has not even been able to file a reply in the ongoing case in the High Court. He pointed out that MLA Durgapal and his workers had been spreading misinformation among the people that it was not possible to make Bindukhatta a revenue village under the Forest Act. However, the Congress government is unable to explain as to how it is possible to make it a municipality if making it a revenue village was not permissible since the process for transfer of land revenue is the same in both cases. However, in view of the existence of a municipality, transfer of land in Bindukhatta will mean that the land will be considered “nazul” land whose owner will be the municipality. In order to get ownership rights to the land that they are settled in, the farmers will have to pay 25% of the circle rate and double the revenue amount, into the government account. Therefore, in order to get ownership rights, most of the villagers will have to sell their lands to the land mafia at throwaway prices. On the other hand, if Bindukhatta was to become a revenue village, it would be directly beneficial to the villagers as there is a provision for making up to 3 ¼ acres of land in the villagers’ names without fees.

Purushottam Sharma further added that even if the government wishes to make it into a municipality, they must either first give the ownership rights of the lands to the farmers otherwise the municipality order should be revoked without delay.

Addressing the meeting, CPI (ML) district Secretary Kailash Pandey said that the State government is the government of the mafia. Under the Congress rule, only the land mafia and mining mafia are being strengthened. The land mafia has its eye on the lands of Bindukhatta, which is why the government wants to make it into a municipality. The people have been long agitating against this move but the local MLA, instead of replying to the High Court and listening to the people’s demands, is trying to obstruct panchayats by sending goons to disrupt Kisan Mahasabha Panchayats. He further said that the fact that people have once again taken to the streets in hundreds after 1 April to protest against the municipality proves that however much the MLA and the Congress try to threaten, frighten, tempt and mislead the people, they will not be fooled and will not rest till they get ownership rights to their lands.

Convention in Support of Left Candidates in Bihar Elections

A convention of writers, cultural activists, and intellectuals was held on 13 September 2015 at the Madhyamik Shikshak Bhawan in Patna on the topic, ‘Left Alternative in Bihar’. It was co-organized by Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh (Progressive Writer’s Association), Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, Janvadi Sanskritik Morcha, and Paigham Cultural Society. Addressing the convention, Chief Editor of Samkaleen Janmat, Ramji Rai said that the seeds of fascism, communalism, violence and brutality are present inside the neoliberal policies on which the governments of this country are running. The Modi government is implementing this policy even more aggressively. Even otherwise, there has always been a fascist tendency in the Indian ruling echelons. Narendra Modi is a product of a continuum. This is the reason the Left did not consider Modi’s becoming the Prime Minister an ordinary phenomenon. Neither Lalu, nor Nitish, nor the SP, nor the BSP have the capacity to fight fascism. Time has placed this historic responsibility of fighting fascism on the shoulders of the Left, and it is this responsibility which has made possible the present unity among the Left parties. The seeds of a strong united Left in the future are present in this current unity.

Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh national committee member and critic Khagendra Thakur said that the Left has played a historic role through its struggles in passing the Land reform act, Sharecroppers’ Act, and other pro-people laws. The unity of the Left parties is a historic event which has filled Left activists with a new energy and enthusiasm. He appealed to litterateurs to write on political subjects also. He expressed the belief that they would also write articles in support of the Left.

Addressing the convention, Janvadi Lekhak Sangh Bihar State President Prof. Neeraj Singh said that this moment of Left unity has been long awaited. Writers in this country have always been predominantly fromthe Left, and the lack of unity among the Left parties has been a matter of concern to them more than to anyone else. That is why they always found themselves in a dilemma during elections. However, this time there is no dilemma. Writers are full of hope and enthusiasm with the unity among Left parties.

AISA protests against draconian UGC guidelines

Students from JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambedkar University and Delhi University staged a massive protest outside the UGC office under the banner of AISA, against the ‘Guidelines on Safety of Students on and off Campuses of Higher Educational Institutions’ issued on April 16th 2015’. The students express tremendous anger over the fact that in the name of security, UGC was trying to convert campuses into jails. The protest against this circular has also sparked off protests against moral policing in several campuses. Addressing the protestors, the National President of AISA, Sucheta De said that it is evident that the sole purpose of this circular is to curb students’ voices and open doors for moral policing. Students across universities and states ranging from engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu to Lovely University in Punjab have also conveyed their criticisms on the basis of their experiences.

Prior to organising the protest outside the UGC, a massive signature campaign had also been launched to inform and warn students, youth and other progressive-democratic sections about the contents and implications of this circular. The signature campaign had received massive response from the students across the universities and in several campuses protests against this circular had already started.

Comrade Sucheta pointed out how one after another anti-student policies were being undemocratically imposed by UGC and MHRD and whenever students organized themselves and came out to protest, they were being labelled as anti-nationals. At a time when there major lacks in campuses in terms of – infrastructure, regular teachers proper implementation of provisions to ensure social justice, and basic infrastructural and educational tools to challenge patriarchal mindsets, it is outrageous that the UGC and the MHRD spend their time and resources to come out with such regressive measures.

The UGC circular includes guidelines such as construction of high walls with barbed wires surrounding girls’ hostel that cannot be crossed, installation of CCTV cameras, presence of police forces and metal detectors on campuses, use of digital technology and biometrics to keep track of students’ movements, regular parent-teachers’ meeting, issuing conduct codes to students, monitoring of students’ mobile phones, among others.

A delegation of students also met the UGC authorities. Sandeep Saurav, National General Secretary of AISA, who was a part of the delegation later informed the students that the UGC was bent on providing justification for the draconian guidelines citing a few incidents. However, considering that the UGC did not bother to consult any representatives from among the student and teacher communities, showed that they were least serious about the issues they claimed to be concerned about.

AISA Delhi unit President, Anmol Ratan asked if the UGC did not consider students studying in universities as citizens deserving of freedom, dignity and right to choose. Several guidelines included in the UGC circular contribute to the culture of victim blaming.

AISA leaders declared that the students’ agitation against such draconian dictates will intensify in days to come. A government that is committed towards ‘sell out’ and marketization of higher education and towards curbing of democratic spaces in campuses by silencing dissent, will not be allowed to trample upon our freedom, dignity and choices!

Viren Dangwal

CPIML dips its flag in salute to noted Hindi poet Viren Dangwal who passed away in the morning of 28 September 2015, finally succumbing to a long battle with cancer. Viren Dangwal infused a fresh energy into progressive poetry, using a lucid idiom accessible to every common person. Always disarmingly humble and warm, Viren Dangwal associated himself with the Jan Sanskrit Manch and other progressive cultural platforms. His passing away is a tragic loss for all of us.

Red Salute to Comrade Viren Dangwal !

Lalan Thakur

Com. Lalan Thakur passed away on 7 September 2015 after a prolonged illness at the age of 70. He hailed from Patna. Com. Lalan was associated with the Party immediately after the spring rising of Naxalbari. He, along with other comrades, used to paint slogans on walls at night. He played a significant role in establishing the Party’s base in Patna’s Jakkanpur Mohalla at a time when the struggle had started in Jakkanpur against feudal domination. Com. Lalan was also arrested during this time and lodged in Ward No. 2 where all the prisoners associated with the Naxal movement were kept and not allowed to meet other prisoners. Com. Lalan played a significant role in initiating study, discussion and debates on political books and literature.

On coming out of jail, he was put to organizational work by the Party. After staying at Ranchi for a time, he came to Patna and worked in the Irrigation department first on a casual basis, and later as a regular employee. He continued to be associated with Party work. Very few people knew that he was a government employee, as he was active in all the Party programmes. Despite his transfer to Dehri, he stayed for the most part in Patna and made it clear to the authorities that his first priority was Party work.

Com. Lalan remained dedicated to the Party and continued to maintain contact with the Party base in the mohalla. During the several ups and downs seen by the Party, saw he remained a firm and a strong pillar for the Party. Red salute to Com. Lalan Thakur!

ML Update | No. 39 18 | 2015

September 23, 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18 | No. 39 18 | 22 – 28 SEP 2015

Delhi’s Dengue Deaths:
India’s Public Health System In Crisis

Delhi’s annual dengue epidemic is taking a deadly toll – in the process making a mockery of the tall claims of ‘Swacch Bharat,’ good governance and development by Central and State Governments that govern India’s capital city. While the Delhi Government admits to 15 deaths, the actual count is likely to be higher, while several thousands are affected by dengue.

Compounding the crisis was the callousness of privatized health care. Tragically, two small children Avinash Rout and Aman Sharma died of dengue after being denied admissions in a series of private hospitals. Avinash’s parents, traumatized by the loss of their son, committed suicide. Their suicide and the deaths of Avinash and Aman finally triggered a response from the hitherto apathetic Delhi Government, that ordered some belated measures.

It is well known that dengue cases peak during the monsoon months in Delhi. In spite of being forewarned, the Government, MCD and NDMC took no adequate measures to prevent, contain and cope with the epidemic.

Dengue epidemics are primarily an urban phenomenon; poorly planned urban growth, unregulated construction sites, poor drainage, congested colonies with poor civic amenities create ample breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito. Contractualisation and casualization of the MCD services has meant that an abject failure to check homes and colonies to get rid of stagnant fresh water breeding grounds. The strength of the MCD staff responsible for inspecting and treating dengue and malaria breeding grounds is far short of what is needed. These workers are overworked, often denied salaries for months on end, denied gas masks, ear plugs or uniforms to protect them from mosquitoes and during fogging operations, and forced to handle poisonous substances like temefos granules and liquid, BTI, methylene, pyrethrum and malathion with bare hands.

Much is being made of the shortage of hospital beds. In reality, a network of local health centres equipped with laboratory facilities to monitor platelet counts could have coped ably with the bulk of the cases, requiring hospitalization only in the worse cases and averting the crisis entirely. In the absence of such basic facilities, hospitals overflow with patients. Public hospitals are eroded and emaciated by privatization, and their services are stretched to their limits. Private hospitals greedy for profits subvert their obligation to admit poor patients in EWS beds, while sucking other patients needlessly into the system with unnecessary tests and hospitalization. Private laboratories blatantly charge exorbitantly for tests.

One of the key promises of AAP Government of Delhi was to ensure access to health services for all Delhi’s citizens. But in health as in other public services, the AAP Government is unwilling to challenge or change the privatized system of health care. In fact the Government has slashed allocation for municipality-level health care. The share of allocations in the Delhi Government’s 2015-16 health budget to counter vector-borne diseases was nearly halved (from 9% to 4.8% of the total health budget) from 2012-13. Not only that, the Delhi Government reduced its demand for funds from the Centre from 260 crore in 2012-13 to 42 crore this year. Not to be outdone in callousness, the Modi Government allocated just 17 crore this year to Delhi from 50 crore in 2012-13.

The apathy and callousness of Governments and policies of privatization have needlessly cost lives of people due to a disease which is both preventable and curable. The Delhi Government must urgently ensure that private hospitals comply with obligations to give free beds and treatment to EWS patients, and to ensure free sample collection and testing for suspected dengue cases.

Above all, it is imperative that the lessons of this year’s dengue epidemic be learnt well to ensure that the crisis is not repeated against next year. Central and State Governments must ensure a network of well-equipped health centres across the city; and in fact all over the country. The two-tier system of health care (steeply-priced private health care for the rich and poor public health facilities for the poor) must be dismantled, and the Governments must invest to strengthen public health care systems, including not only hospitals and health centres but robust mechanisms to prevent and control epidemics.

No more Avinashs and Amans must be left to the mercy of cruel profit-driven health care systems.
Left Parties’ Joint People’s Political Convention in Bihar:
Call of the Left – Employment and Land Reforms for All

Six Left parties organized a joint political convention in Patna, underlining their main aim of defeating the feudal, communal, pro-corporate alliance under the BJP as well as the opportunistic and deceitful JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance. Over 5,000 activists from CPI, CPI(M), CPI-ML, SUCI, Forward Bloc and RSP from districts across Bihar attended this historic convention on 7 September 2015. Great enthusiasm and energy was witnessed, especially among the younger participants, as this was the first joint programme of its kind.

The convention began with revolutionary songs sung by Jan Sanskriti Manch and Hirawal. A 6-member board was constituted to chair the convention, consisting of CPI State secretary Satyanarayan Singh, CPI-ML State secretary Kunal, CPM State secretary Awdhesh Kumar, SUCI State committee member Arun Kumar, AIFB State Vice President Ashok Prasad, and RSP State secretary Mahesh Prasad Sinha. Senior Left party leaders A B Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury, Dipankar Bhattacharya, Chhaya Mukherjee, Devavrat Biswas, Avani Roy, and other leaders were present on the dais. These Left parties had prepared ‘a joint Left appeal to the voters of Bihar and an alternative agenda for the pro-people development of Bihar’, which was presented at the convention by Com. Dhirendra Jha. Com. Dhirendra pointed out that credit for societal change through agitations by the working class, poor, youth, students, teachers, goes to Left forces, and the Left must unite to conduct people’s struggles so that this new agenda can become a reality. Com. Sarvoday Sharma and Ram Babu Kumar endorsed this view, and the ‘appeal’ was passed unanimously.

Addressing the convention, CPI leader Com. A B Bardhan called for the defeat of the two unholy alliances, the NDA alliance as well as the JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance. The people of Bihar have seen through the Nitish and Lalu regimes of misrule as well as the anti-people, pro-rich Modi govt at the centre, he pointed out. He stressed that a united Left was the way to defeat these opportunistic and dangerous alliances. CPI(M) General Secretary Com. Sitaram Yechury said that with this new Left unity, a three-cornered contest has been provided in the State: the first is the politics of communalism/feudalism led by Modi and his false promises of ‘achhe din’; the second is the ‘throne’ politics of power led by the so-called ‘grand alliance’ which has destroyed Bihar economically and socially over the past 25 years; and the third is the politics of ‘people’s rule’ led by the Left which aspires to fulfill the needs of the people. He stressed that it is time to deny the pro-rich policies of these ruling class governments and choose the Left which aims to establish true ‘people’s rule’.

CPI-ML General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that this welcome Left unity has come after a wait of many years and for the first time all Left parties will fight together, not just on separate issues but on a joint platform. He pointed out that 2014 was a year of ‘jumlebaaji’ and false promises, when Modi got a full majority on the strength of these false promises. With his coming to power the corporate houses thought that they would get full license to exploit the poor with amendments in the labour laws and the Land grab ordinance. However, neither of these could be implemented in the face of people’s protests. The Land ordinance was forced to lapse, and the 2 September 2015 labour strike was a unique success in which even the RSS-affiliated BMS was obliged to join in certain places. It is time to defeat the saffron forces, but the JD (U)-RJD-Congress cannot do this as they are anti-poor and anti-dalit and are protecting perpetrators of carnages like the Ranveer Sena. The Nitish government dissolved the Amir Das commission to shield the Ranveer Sena-politician nexus, but the Cobrapost sting has exposed this nexus. The land reforms recommended by the Bandopadhyay commission have been put in cold storage by the Lalu and Nitish governments, as both pander to feudal and corporate interests. Modi and Nitish are both indulging in a fraudulent ‘package war’ but the basic rights of the farmers, workers, ASHA, midday meal workers and contractual workers are being denied. The Left must enter into these elections not to bargain for a few seats but to ensure a life of dignity for the people of Bihar.

The convention was also addressed by comrades Meena Tiwari, Rajaram Singh, Chhaya Mukherjee, Devavrat Biswas, Avani Roy, Satyanarayan Singh, Vijaykant Thakur, Arun Kumar, Amresh Kumar Singh, Akhilesh Kumar, Arun Kumar Mishra and others.

Protest against Sexual Harassment

The students of Patna Women’s College (PWC), AISA and AIPWA have been organising a spirited and sustained campaign against sexual harassment and victim blaming. In a recent incident, a student of the PWC complained against harassment by a faculty member. Shamefully, the college administration as well as the Principal, instead of addressing her complaint, launched into a full-fledged campaign of intimidation, victim blaming and character assassination. The complainant, as well as all those who chose to support her, were villified and openly threatened by the Principal, who said: "if you wear such clothes and wear your dupattas in such a style, [men’s] attention will obviously go there. It is not their fault at all, it is all your fault. If I want, I can remove all of you in one moment, and not one person will know. I can completely ruin your reputations, and all you will be able to do is watch.”

On 18th September, a massive protest was held at the PWC. The protesting girls blocked the Bailey Road for two hours. Yet, the Principal refused to meet the protesters, and various faculty members try their level best to break the protest and intimidate the protesters. Later, an AIPWA/AISA delegation led by AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari met the Principal as well as representatives of the PWC. The delegation articulated the demands of the ongoing protests, and argued that democracy and women’s freedom should be defended by the college administration. The following demands were made: an impartial enquiry should be instituted against the accused faculty member; a democratic atmosphere must be ensured in the college campus so that women feel free to express their grievances; a committee against sexual harassment should be instituted consisting of faculty members as well as students from all academic streams in the college; the rustication of the complainant should be immediately revoked and the campaign of intimidation and victim blaming against her should be immediately stopped; the accused faculty member should be suspended pending enquiry, and the notice of the same should be made public within the college. The college administration assured the delegation that these demands would be looked into. There are also protests in Darbhanga, Ara and other districts in solidarity with the students of the PWC.

Midday Meal Workers’ Dharna

The Bihar State Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh and AIPWA staged a dharna on 26 August 2015, in front of the Collectorate in Gaya, to press for various demands. A six point charter of demands was submitted to the Collector. The following demands were put forward: to increase the midday meal workers’ honorarium from Rs 1,250 to Rs 15,000; to pay honorarium for all 12 months; to pay without delay arrears of 5-6 months pending in schools in the district; to regularize their employment; to guarantee safety and rehabilitation of rape victims; to start speedy trial of accused; to constitute an SIT to go into the incident of a daughter’s molestation by her father in Fatehpur Neemi, and other demands. The dharna was led by AIPWA district secretary Rita Varnwal, Sheela Verma, Varti Chowdhury, Rasoiya Sangh leaders Vima Bharti, Mira Devi, Renu Devi, and others.

Initiatives have also been taken to organize the Rasoiya Sangh in Dobhi, Sherghati, and Tikari blocks in Gaya district. In Dobhi, a protest was held on 15 August and a memorandum submitted to the BDO. Over 300 midday meal workers participated in the protest. On 20 August a protest was organized in Sherghati in which about 350 rasoiyas participated. These protests were led by leaders from the CPI(ML), AIPWA, and Rasoiya Sangh. A meeting of women midday meal workers was held on 9 September in Tikari led by the Party and AIPWA. After the announcement of elections, women midday meal workers of Dobhi and Sherghati took the initiative and organized meetings. They welcomed the Party’s fielding women candidates in the election and pledged full support to the CPI(ML) candidates.

Agitation by Para-Teachers in Jharkhand

The para teachers of Jharkhand started a “Ghera dalo Dera dalo” agitation at Mohrabadi Maidan near the Chief Minister’s residence on 22 August 2015. Their main demands were the following: better and regular wage scales; employment guarantee till the age of 60; regularization and honorarium similar to that in Chhattisgarh; direct recruitment (without test) of TET qualified para teachers; promotion of 750 para teachers to the post of teacher. About 20,000 para teachers participated in the agitation led by General Secretary Vikrant Jyoti, Virendra Dubey, Sintu Singh and others. Thousands of para teachers remained at Mohrabadi Maidan throughout the night also. On 23 August (Sunday), many more para teachers joined the protest. Women para teachers also joined in large numbers and family members of para teachers were also present at the venue. The protesters remained at the venue throughout the next day and night.

The para teachers’ agitation became a topic for discussion amongst political circles in the capital. On 24 August, this agitation led to the issue of para teachers and their demands being discussed inside the Jharkhand Assembly. CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav played a major role in uniting the Opposition on the issue of para teachers and putting pressure on the government. JMM leader Hemant Soren tried to bring an adjournment motion till the para teachers’ demands were fulfilled, but did not succeed. The Speaker and the BJP government did not show seriousness on the issue of para teachers. However, at Mohrabadi Maidan, the para teachers became more determined, and their numbers grew larger. On 24 and 25 August, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav held public meetings at Mohrabadi Maidan in support of the para teachers, after which the agitation gained in momentum. On that day also the Assembly echoed with voices which pointed out that governments changed, but the demands of the para teachers have never got fulfilled.

On 25 August, the para teachers’ agitation at Mohrabadi Maidan was addressed by by 5 MLAs including Hemant Soren and Jaiprakash Verma. On 26 August another section of para Teachers led by Vinod Bihari Mahto staged a dharna at Birsa chowk. Now the Mohrabadi Maidan as well as Birsa chowk have become strongholds of the agitation in Ranchi. The Vinod Bihari section announced that they would wear black badges from 28 to 31 August, take out a mashal juloos on 31 August, and go on indefinite strike from 1 September. Scared of these announcements, the government was forced to bow down and on the evening of 26 August Education Minister Neera Yadav and Secretary Aradhana Patnaik held talks with a delegation led by Vikrant Jyoti. The Education Minister attempted to evade the issue of pay scales by citing the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the Atal Pension Yojana but the para teachers refused to be fobbed off by these claims. Finally the Minister promised an immediate wage increase of 25% and a 10% increment every year from the year 2016. However, no agreement was reached on the issues of retirement at the age of 60, PF, pension, and eligibility-based honorarium. The Minister spoke of raising these issues later, and finally no written agreement was reached.

Therefore, the para teachers took back the “Ghera dalo, Dera dalo” agitation on 27 August and went on an indefinite strike from 28 August. Talks were again held with the Education Minister on 31 August. This time, there was a written agreement announcing an immediate 25% wage increase and 10% increment every year from 2016. As a scheme for recruitment of teachers is in process currently, the agitation was called off. However, as the Modi-Raghubar governments are clearly bent on encouraging privatization in education, a huge teachers’ agitation in the future remains a distinct possibility.

Dharna for Housing and Toilets

Hundreds of women led by the CPI(ML) and AIPWA a gheraoed the municipal commissioner’s office in Gorakhpur on 9 September 2015, to demand housing, toilets, and clean drinking water for the poor in the Gorakhpur city area. The protesters marched to the commissioner’s office shouting slogans of “Stop the hypocrisy of Swachhata Abhiyan”, “Housing, Toilets, and Drinking Water for All Poor”, and sat on a dharna in front of the commissioner. A meeting was held at the venue which lasted till 3 p.m. The meeting was addressed by CPI(ML) district Secretary Rajesh Sahni, Sugreev Nishad, Nandu Prasad, Shyam Rathi Chouhan, Mira Sharma, Maryadi, and others. The speakers pointed out that in most of the wards of the city area, the poor are deprived of housing, toilets, and drinking water. The Swachhata Abhiyan has been reduced to a hypocritical posturing. There is a lot of talk but no work at the ground level. The municipality does not give a hearing to the voices of the poor.

As a result of the dharna, the commissioner held talks with protestors and gave an assurance that a survey would be conducted and all eligible people would be given housing and would be provided amenities of toilets and clean drinking water.

Meeting in Memory of Comrade Satish Yadav

The CPI-ML held a ‘sankalp sabha’ at Agiaon in Bhojpur in memory of martyred Comrade Satish Yadav. Addressing the meeting, Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the politics of killing those who fought for the rights of the poor and oppressed has been going on in Bhojpur for the last 40-50 years. CPI-ML leaders have regularly been targeted – from comrades Manju, Bhaiyaram Yadav and Budhram Paswan, to the recent martyrdom of Comrade Satish Yadav. Even after 15 days of Comrade Satish’s killing, no one has been arrested. On the other hand, the administration is very quick to slap false cases on CPI-ML leaders. Comrade Dipankar pointed out that the Cobrapost sting showed the perpetrators of carnages proudly owning their crimes, and also exposed the protection given to them by the BJP. After this, Prime Minister Modi came to Ara on 19 August 2015 and on 20 August 2015 Satish Yadav was killed. Clearly Modi and the BJP are morale boosters for killer feudal forces.

Comrade Dipankar said that the elections in Bhojpur would not be fought on Modi’s ‘package’ or on Lalu’s humorous anecdotes, but on issues of the farmers such as paddy price, seeds, irrigation and fertilizers. The BJP MP from Ara, BJP MLAs from Sandesh and Agiaon and the MLA from Tarari have never done anything for the poor. The CPI-ML flag must fly in the panchayats, PACS, and Vidhan Sabha in order to wrest dignity and rights for the poor from the feudal forces. He said that Modi had to face defeat in the matter of the Land grab ordinance, which he had to revoke in the face of stiff opposition from the people. The 2 September 2015 workers’ strike was a unique success and showed the power of the working class, which would never allow the Modi to implement the anti-worker amendments to the labour law.

Bihar is at present going through a phase of struggles. Teachers, Midday meal workers, ASHA workers, contract workers, and even students have had to agitate for their rights. Land, electricity, education, paddy price, and sharecropping will be the issues in these elections. Comrade Dipankar pointed out that jandavedari sabhas are being held to determine the issues of each Vidhan Sabha constituency. On this basis, a manifesto will be announced for each constituency. It is while returning from one such jandavedari sabha that Satish Yadav was killed by the person against whom he was fighting to secure paddy payment for farmers. Comrade Dipankar said that in Satish Yadav we have lost a warrior who fought several battles for people’s rights. We have to carry forward our comrade’s fight and convert our anger and grief into agitation and victory for the people. One the one hand is the path of lies, loot, betrayal and anti-poor policies; on the other hand is the path of Comrade Ramnaresh Ram which is for truth, justice, and people’s rights. By choosing this road we can pay fitting tribute to the martyrs who fought for the people.

The sankalp sabha was also addressed by Comrade Satish’s wife Usha who pledged to carry forward her husband’s fight. RYA President Comrade Raju Yadav, Manoj Manzil, Chandradeep Singh, Sudama Prasad, Raghuvar Paswan, Upendra Yadav, Indu Devi, Kamta Prasad Singh, Sidhnath Ram, Shah Shad, Vimal Yadav and other leaders also addressed the meeting. A huge public gathering attended the meeting, showing their love and honour for martyred Comrade Satish Yadav.


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