ML Update | No. 15 | 2016

April 7, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No.15 | 5-11 April 2016

Kolkata Calamity:

Time to Question The ‘Flyover Model’ of Urban Development

On the 1st of April, a flyover that had been under construction for several years in Kolkata, collapsed in a crowded commercial area, trapping pedestrians and vehicles under concrete and metal. This deadly calamity killed 26 and severely injuring nearly a 100 people.

The flyover collapse highlighted India’s chronic lack of preparedness for calamities, with rescue cranes arriving hours after the collapse, and ordinary citizens attempting in vain to help those trapped and slowly dying under the debris.

On the eve of West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee predictably washed her hands off responsibility for the whole incident and blamed the previous Left Front Government.

It is true that the LF Government had awarded the contract for the construction of the Vivekananda flyover to the Hyderabad-based IVRCL in 2007. Since then, however, the company came on the Railway Ministry’s watch-list for non-performance, and was blacklisted twice by different government departments in Jharkhand, and faced questions in Andhra Pradesh as well. Why did Mamata Banerjee’s own Government not monitor the flyover construction more closely, given the company’s dubious track record?

The flyover was being constructed under the central government’s JNNURM/ Amrut project. It had missed its original deadline of August 2010, but the CM Mamata Banerjee announced last November that its new deadline was February 2016, ostensibly so that she could boast of its completion before the Assembly elections. While the Government placed a political burden of haste on the project, why could it not monitor the project for compliance with all required safety norms? Why were pedestrians and traffic allowed on the narrow, congested roads while the construction was underway? Was the long-delayed structure checked regularly for design and structural flaws as well as for poor maintenance? Why were the complaints of local residents that the flyover came dangerously close to their own homes, not taken seriously?

The IVRCL has called the collapse an “act of God” – thereby washing their own hands too off any responsibility and accountability for criminal negligence. And given the track record of impunity enjoyed by private companies – Uphaar cinema and Carbide-Dow in Bhopal are glaring instances – that have played God with the lives of people, IVRCL also has reason to feel confident. ‘Private-Public-Partnership’ after all has come to mean public patronage for private profit and plunder. With the Government acting to minimize the accountability of the private partners and to slacken on compliance of labour and safety norms, the private companies have no incentive to invest in safety or to abide by norms.

The BJP too is trying to make political capital on the collapse, using it to argue that West Bengal needs the BJP ‘model of development.’ That fact, however, is that the collapse of the flyover highlights the fatal ‘design flaw’ in the ruling class development model itself, especially the PPP model. NCRB data shows that in the past five years, seven people were killed every day in structure collapses in India. Collapse of structures like flyovers resulted 47.3% of such deaths, while collapse of residential buildings accounted for 37.3% of such deaths. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat have the worst record, reporting more than 150 deaths each year. The famed ‘Gujarat model’ of the BJP is no exception to the general trend; one may recall the collapse of the under-construction flyover in Surat in June 2014.

In West Bengal, too, there have been such collapses in the past, too. An under-construction flyover collapsed in Ultadanga in 2013; the casualties were fewer only because the collapse took place before dawn when the area was deserted. The victims of the 2011 AMRI Hospital fire in Kolkata still await justice.

In the wake of every engineering or medical disaster, anti-reservationist propaganda blames the so-called ‘privileging’ of caste over merit. Such propaganda is fond of arguing that reservations in the private sector would jeopardize ‘quality’ and lead to lack of safety. In fact, the systematic impunity for private companies who only recognize the imperative of corporate greed over any safety norms, is the single biggest reason for the epidemic of avoidable calamities like structure collapses, urban fires, and medical calamities.

The flyover syndrome (along with the bullet train) itself is a metaphor of the elitist model of development which prioritises the interests of the affluent at the cost of the needs and interests of ordinary citizens. The experience of cities the world over, as well as India’s own experience go to show that flyovers are not necessarily the best solutions to the problems of traffic congestion in most Indian cities, yet the many variants of Smart City schemes prioritise flyovers over public transport and pedestrian safety.

Take the example of Chennai, which witnessed a flyover construction boom in the last decade or so. Studies have shown that while each flyover cost around 5 times a normal road, and the total cost of flyovers could have instead been spent on 7,000 public transport buses or more than 2,000 km of dedicated cycle lanes or an extensive bus rapid transit system, flyovers have not really solved the problem of traffic congestion. The reason is obvious: flyovers act as an incentive to buy more cars. In fact, it was the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) that pushed for construction of flyovers – precisely in the hope that these would boost automobile sales. Governments that allow transport policy to be shaped by automobile manufacturers are ignoring the well-established fact that a smoothly functioning public transport system that encourages people to choose public transport over cars, is the only lasting solution to traffic congestion as well as dangerous levels of pollution.

Cities the world over are showing a drop in automobile use and a marked preference for public transport. The truly ‘smart’ cities are the ones that prioritise the needs of the poorest citizens; that invest in public transport and ensure that roads and public spaces are friendly to pedestrians and the poor. The ‘flyover’ is a metaphor for a model of urban development that bypasses and flies right over the mass of people whose lives and whose needs – for housing, transport, sanitation, basic services – are rendered invisible. This model of development is what the Uruguayan writer, the late Eduardo Galeano, described as ‘A bridge with no river/A tall façade with no building/ A sprinkler on a plastic lawn/An escalator to nowhere/ A highway to the places the highway destroyed…’

It is imperative that we take lessons from the collapse of the flyover in Kolkata, and ensure that it is the last of such accidents that have become routine in our country. The owners of the company responsible for the construction must not only face criminal charges and a timebound trial, but must be made to pay for the costs of rescue and rehabilitation. The role of the concerned Ministers and political leaders must also be investigated so that they also can face appropriate action. And, while ending the culture of impunity of private companies at public cost, there must also be a reappraisal and overhaul of the ‘Smart City’ model of urban planning, so that the needs and interests of the poor and ordinary citizens is prioritized over the needs and interests of the private profiteers and the rich and privileged.

Call of April 22:

Strengthen the Student-Youth Upsurge!
Build a Bulwark of People’s Resistance!!
Save Democracy, Save India!!!

This April 22 we will observe the 47th anniversary of the foundation of CPI(ML), and May 25 will mark the commencement of the 50th year of the historic Naxalbari uprising which presaged the emergence of the CPI(ML) as the new rallying centre for a whole new generation of communist revolutionaries in India. As we remember the glorious past our feet are firmly placed on the fighting ground of the present and our vision is focused on the challenges and great potential that are knocking on our doors.

With Narendra Modi at the head of India’s first BJP-majority government at the Centre, it is amply clear that the Sangh brigade is busy systematically unleashing the whole gamut of its corporate-worshipping communal fascist agenda. From the natural and human resources of the country to the institutional structure of the state, from the realm of history, culture and knowledge to the constitutional domain of liberties and rights of the people and secular and democratic foundation of the republic – the Sangh brigade has launched a concerted attack in every sphere, using the state power to the hilt to suppress and incriminate dissent, brazenly plant its hand-picked people in key positions in various institutions and protect its thugs and goons with utter impunity.

While confronting this offensive of the Sangh brigade we must of course focus on the brighter side of the picture – on the reassuring signs of unity, determination and courage with which the people are resisting, successfully exposing, challenging, and even beating back the corporate-communal offensive at times. In 2015 the government had to withdraw the land acquisition ordinance in the face of stiff opposition from peasant organisations and most opposition parties. In this year’s budget, the government had to roll back the proposed taxation on withdrawals from workers’ provident funds. And the protests that were initiated last year by prominent writers, historians, scientists and cultural personalities in the wake of the killings of Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Mohammad Akhlaq have now found its complement in a powerful student-youth upsurge.

This student upsurge or India’s growing youth spring has a great potential to challenge and thwart the fascist offensive of the corporate-communal order. It is an upsurge of a protracted nature, glimpses of which we have been seeing intermittently for the last few years. We saw it erupt in Delhi against the horrific rape and murder of a young girl, and go on to resonate across the country with the call for freedom for India’s women from the shackles of patriarchy. We saw it erupt in Hyderabad in the wake of the tragic end of young dreamer and researcher Rohith Vemula and strike a chord across the country against the continuing shame of social discrimination and the growing danger of saffron regimentation in India’s educational institutions. And then we saw it erupt again in Delhi following the police crackdown and saffron witch-hunt in JNU and grow into a loud cry for ‘azaadi’ and democracy in today’s India.

What we are witnessing is an assertion of the awakened youth that refuses to be sedated after a change of government. After the rise of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP in Delhi on a popular anti-corruption plank in early 2014, many had thought the upsurge had found its new political destination. In May 2014, many more claimed that Modi had emerged as the most decisive answer for young India’s quest for change. But the renewed post-Modi assertion of students has made it clear that far from being quenched, the thirst for change among India’s young is only growing and they have all the courage and strength and ability to confront the diktats and machinations of the forces in power. It is a quest for change which inherits the legacy of both Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and if we look at the desperate attacks by RSS-BJP-ABVP goons on activists and academics whether in Delhi or Allahabad, Gwalior or Muzaffarpur, it becomes quite clear how mortally afraid the Sangh brigade is of this legacy and this quest.

And it is not difficult to see why they are so afraid of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and the prospect of the two legacies coming ever closer in action. The BJP is keenly aware that it has no roots in the glorious history of India’s freedom movement. The best known figure from its ideological family during the freedom struggle days was Savarkar who eventually became notorious for his mercy petitions to the British rulers and his advocacy of Hindu Rashtra. The founder leaders of RSS drew their inspiration from Mussolini and Hitler and when the colonial rulers finally had to leave the country amidst the bloodbath of Partition, the RSS-Hindu Mahasabha contribution was the assassination of Gandhi, which invited a ban on the organisation imposed by none other than Sardar Patel, the Congress leader who Advani and Modi have been so keen to appropriate. In contrast to this history of shame and disgrace, the radical youth of India continues to draw their inspiration from the sacrifice and vision of Bhagat Singh, his legacy of uncompromising battle against imperialism and total commitment to the cause of the emancipation of the people from all kinds of slavery and bondage.

Like Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar too is an anathema to the RSS because he strikes at the very Manuvadi foundation of the RSS vision of Hindu Rashtra and challenges the RSS dream of resurrecting the caste system with his clarion call for annihilation of castes and the constitutional proclamation of liberty, equality and fraternity as the basis of the Indian republic. In recent years while maligning secularism as minority appeasement and invoking Hindu majoritarianism to transcend the caste divide, the BJP has been trying to hard to hide its casteist core and project a pro-dalit OBC-friendly image of the party, marketing Narendra Modi as India’s first EBC Prime Minister. Ambedkar not only tears asunder this carefully constructed camouflage but also inspires the building of bridges of solidarity to unite a whole range of struggles for justice. This is why a desperate Sangh brigade forced the IIT Madras authorities to disband the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, restoring it only after countrywide protests, and accused Rohith Vemula and his comrades in Hyderabad central university of indulging in casteist and anti-national activities when they questioned the communal carnage in Muzaffarnagar.

The ongoing student-youth awakening will have to confront the political machinations, ideological diktats and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment not only in university campuses but also in the larger battlefield of the society and state and unite with the fighting people on different fronts. This was the mission of Bhagat Singh during the freedom struggle; this was the call of Charu Mazumdar to the revolutionary students in the 1960s and 1970s which united the historic student upsurge of that period with the uprising of the rural poor; this is the spirit of Ambedkar’s message ‘educate, agitate, organise’. Let us carry forward this mission by infusing the ongoing ‘youth spring’ with the revolutionary spirit of the ‘spring thunder’ of Naxalbari and defeat the fascist threat to march towards a new India of fuller freedom and deeper democracy.

– Central Committee, CPI(ML)

AISA-RYA’s national campaign- ‘Utho mere desh’ reaches various parts of the country

On 23 March 2016, the martyrdom day of Com. Bhagat Singh, AISA and RYA launched the campaign ‘Utho Mere Desh: Naye Bharat Ke Waastey, Bhagat Singh Ke Raaste’ in New Delhi. As a part of this campaign, conventions and other events were organised this week in several parts of the country.

AISA Convention on “Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism” in Madurai.

AISA unit of Madurai Kamaraj University organized a convention on 25th of March on ‘Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism’. It was presided over by Com. Pandiarajan of AISA. The list of speakers included Prof. Vivekanandan, Vice President of AIFUCTO, Mr. Murali Ex. Principal of Madurai college and also state campaign committee member of AIPF, Com. Kumarasamy, state secretary of CPI(ML), Com Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President of JNUSU and Com. Sucheda De, National President of AISA. The convention was attended by Left and progressive students and Youths of Madurai and neighboring districts.

Com. Shehla spoke at length on the issue of branding students fighting for democracy as anti-nationals by the ruling establishment. She said that the ruling BJP government wanted to cover its inability to overcome economic crisis by using intimidation as a tool to silence fighting students. They had resorted to manipulation of video clippings and opened fake twitter accounts to foister cases against students of JNU. Sangh parivar wanted to narrow down India into a single identity. However, even as they claimed to stand for uniformity, why did they want the society to remain divided into varnas and castes? She said that nationalism meant encouraging love for the people of the nation and not manufacturing hatred. We, students stand for the unity, rights and dignity of the people.

Com. Sucheta De said that it was because of the democratic and egalitarian space created by the left politics in JNU that there were no barriers to student activism. The students had strived to follow Dr. Ambedkar’s call for annihilation of caste. She added that the student community should stand for democracy and for annihilation of caste. They must also stand to defend in solidarity with Pricol workers in their fight for their rights. The students must steadfastly oppose the WTO dictates in education. She said this anti-people, communal and fascist Government will be charge-sheeted in the peoples’ court and declared guilty.

Com Kumarasamy, accused the BJP of trying to equate nation with the Modi government. He condemned the killings of dalits by castiest forces in the case of inter caste marriages and called for a vibrant democratic movement for annihilation of castes.

A booklet on the struggles of AISA was also released on the occasion and convention demanded the repeal of British era sedition law.

Rallies and seminars in Jharkhand

On 23 March 2016 big rallies were taken out in Topa and Ghutua of Ramgarh district in Jharkhand, organized by AISA, RYA, and CPI(ML) activists. The marches were taken out from Railway Colony and Ghutua Bazaar respectively. Folders were distributed at the rallies and a seminar was held at Ghutua. These rallies marked the beginning of the widespread campaign to be conducted under the banners of AISA and RYA between 23 March and 14 April 2016. Subsequently, once again on 28 March another march was taken out from Railway Colony, Topa, with greater mobilization, led by CPI(ML) leaders comrades Ashok Gupta, Ram Singh Marandi, and others. In Jhumri Tilaiya of Koderma district, students and youth from various regions were mobilized and the AISA district committee was formed. On 23 March a Student-Youth convention was organized by the newly constituted AISA district committee under the banners of AISA and RYA, addressed by CPI(ML) district Secretary Mohan Datta and Koderma district committee members. It was resolved at the convention to conduct the ‘Utho Mere Desh Naye Bharat ke Vaaste Bhagat Singh Ambedkar ke Raaste’ widely through all the regions in the district.

Ex JNUSU President comrade Ashutosh, Vice President Anant and AISA leader Niraj also participated in several public meetings. In several instances the state administration tried to create problems by cancelling permissions last minutes. In Deoghar, the state police watched silently as ABVP goons threw stones and engaged in violence against AISA and RYA activists. Com. Ashutosh was also hurt but comrades continued with the programme. Speaking later, Ashutosh said that from Delhi, to Hyderabad to Bihar and Jharkhand, everytime Babasaheb Ambedkar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s names are mentioned, the sangh brigade gets agitated. They do not realise that they cannot kill ideas. We will rise from the ashes, each time they try to put us down.

Convention in Karnal (Haryana)

A convention on the theme of the campaign was also organised in Karnal on 3 April. Omprasad, National Secretary of RYA and AISA activist Geeta, spoke during the convention. Prem Singh Gahlawat, Haryana state incharge of CPI(ML) was also present in the convention.

In the coming days AISA and RYA activists will continue spreading the campaign in different parts of the country. The campaign will continue till 14 April 2016, birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar.

AIPWA, CPI(ML) protest forced evacuation of nurses and their families from the nurses’ hostel in DMCH

A new nurses hostel was recently constructed in Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and the union of DMCH (affiliated to AICCTU) had led the struggle to ensure its allotment. However, soon after the superintendent declared it illegal and started machinations to have it vacant. Continuing the series of such attempts, the superintendent recently forced several nurses and their families to vacate the hostel and move to streets terming their residing in hostel as encroachment. He cited ‘high court’ to forcibly push them out. No concern was shown for ensuring an alternative accommodation for them. AIPWA and CPI(ML) intervened on behalf of the nurses and forced the administration to reach an agreement.

District Conferences of CPI(ML) held in several districts of Bihar

District conferences of the CPI(ML) were held in districts across Bihar in the month of March. The conferences were occasions for discussing the current political and social situation in the country as well as in Bihar, paying tributes to martyred comrades, intellectuals and students including Com. Pansare, Dhabolkar, Kalburgi, Rohith Vemula, and others, discussing, amending, and passing the previous year’s reports, and electing new committees.

The 10th district conference of Eastern Champaran district was held on 5-6 March 2016. Inaugurating the convention CCW member and AIARLA National President Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that the pro-corporate, communal and fascist forces in power today are attacking farmers, workers, as well as intellectuals and students; MNREGA funds are being cut and farmers’ produce is not being adequately purchased; economic and trade union rights are being snatched away from workers; fabricated cases of sedition are being slapped on students. He called upon all these forces to unite and raise their voices in opposition from a united platform. Joint Editor of Samkaleen Lokyudh Pradeep Jha and other leaders also addressed the convention.

The 10th district conference of Siwan was on 23-24 February. CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, State Secretary Com. Kunal and other leaders addressed the open session of the conference held near the statue of martyred former JNUSU President and CPI(ML) leader Com. Chandrashekhar. Com. Dipankar said that today the Central government is attacking the same JNU which gave us a peerless leader like Com. Chandrashekhar. He stressed that the government will never succeed in its unholy attempt to snatch the freedom of expression from people and demanded that the cases of sedition against JNU students should be withdrawn immediately. He pointed out that the mahagathbandhan government is also doing injustice to political activists, and gave the example of the false cases against comrades Satyadev Ram and Amarjeet Kushwaha. Violence against women and crime are on the rise in the state, but the government is doing nothing about it.

The 4th and 10th district conferences were held in Arwal and Aurangabad on 5-6 March and 4-5 March respectively. Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya and Com. Rajaram Singh, were the main speakers and they spoke of the dark times (burre din) today for students, youth, intellectuals, farmers, workers, and the common people, but said that the bright side is that the people are fighting back and putting up spirited struggles against injustice and oppression.

The 8th district conference was held in Muzaffarpur on 6-7 March. Addressing the inaugural session AIPWA National President Com. Meena Tiwari said that the Modi government is attacking all democratic systems and the basic rights of the common people. Education, culture, history, and even science is being saffronized. The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the arrests and fabricated sedition charges against JNU students are part of the Sanghi agenda. She stressed the need for a strong and united fight under ‘Save democracy, save the country’ against this all-round attempt to murder democracy.

The 9th district conference of Gaya was held on 6-7 March. Inaugurating the delegates’ session Com. Ram Jatan Sharma said that the Modi government is anti-farmer and anti-worker. Acting on the directions of the Sangh, it is attacking HCU, JNU and other campuses and trying to destroy all democratic institutions and crush democratic movements.

The 6th district conference of Beguserai was held on 7 March. Comrades Rajaram Singh, Naveen Kumar, Divakar, CPI leader Com. Anil Anjan, CPI(M) leader Com. Ravindra Singh and others addressed the conference. The speakers stressed the need for strengthening Left unity in order to fight effectively against the anti-people policies of the governments both at the Centre and in the State. The 10th district conferences of Jehanabad and Kaimur were held on 12-13 March and 8 March respectively. The 8th district conference of Gopalganj was held on 15-16 March. The speakers condemned the failure of the State government to act against the Sanghi violence at the CPI(ML) meeting in Muzaffarpur and said that the Party would not be crushed by such violence but work with renewed vigour to expose the governments at the Centre and the State.

ML Update | No. 14 | 2016

April 7, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19 | No. 14 | 29 MAR – 4 APR 2016

Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism,

Defeat Modi’s Attempt to Appropriate Ambedkar

Close to two years in power, the BJP now realises it pretty well that it cannot fight another election on the pretentious plank of development or repatriation of black money. Last November we saw them fight the elections to Bihar Assembly on the issue of beef ban. The decisive defeat in Bihar of course means the BJP now needs a new item on its poll menu other than beef. So with elections scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few weeks, we find the BJP designing a new test of nationalism – those who chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai are super nationalists and those who don’t are liable to be branded anti-national and perhaps also charged with sedition. A Muslim MLA in Maharashtra Assembly has already been suspended for failing this test, with the Congress and NCP both colluding with the BJP and Shiv Sena in enforcing the suspension. We now also know that Urdu writers have been asked by the MHRD to give a prior undertaking that their writings do not have anything against the government or the nation.

So the government has effectively declared itself equivalent to the nation. Opposition to the government has virtually been dubbed seditious. And as the Congress President had equated Indira Gandhi to India during the infamous Emergency, former BJP President and senior minister in Modi cabinet, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has described Modi as God’s gift to India. Another minister, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs in Modi cabinet, believes that the rise of Modi as India’s Prime Minister was predicted by the French seer Nostradamus in 1555 and Modi will continue to rule till 2026, with the people’s initial ‘hatred’ for him turning into great admiration and love! Whatever the people may think of the Modi government’s performance in the first two years, the government believes it is here to stay, and if the people do not want it, a government which believes it has been mandated by God and fate will no doubt go to the extent of ‘electing the people’ – the immortal imagery penned by Brecht in his poem to describe every Hitler in our history.

The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula early this year in Hyderabad had come as a rude jolt to the whole country, exposing the sordid reality of social discrimination and saffron regimentation in India’s universities and other institutions of higher education. The subsequent police crackdown and witch-hunt in JNU has made it very clear that the government is out to stifle dissent and subvert and destroy every institution that has a record of promoting critical thinking. The students and teachers arrested on sedition charges are now out on bail, and the united protests of JNU students and teachers and the massive solidarity expressed by informed citizens across the country and also internationally have thwarted the government’s design to discredit and shut down JNU. Yet the government sticks to its script, MHRD minister Smriti Irani dished out malicious lies from the floor of Parliament, BJP leaders are constantly spewing venom against students, intellectuals and JNU and goons of the Sangh brigade are physically attacking public display of solidarity with JNU and even lectures by noted exponents on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar.

In a stunning mockery of history, the Sangh Parivar now seeks to present itself as the biggest champion of Indian nationalism, all its assaults on the Indian people and their democratic rights are now accompanied by loud chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. BJP leaders would now like us to believe that this is the slogan Bhagat Singh had on his lips while embracing the gallows. The whole world knows that ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and ‘Down With Imperialism’ were Bhagat Singh’s last message to India and the world, but facts have little meaning in the Sangh’s scheme of things where myths and lies constitute the whole narrative. It must be pointed out that while Bharat Mata Ki Jai was a popular slogan during the freedom movement, the images of Mother India evoked by most of our poets and writers and freedom fighters were not the image of a militant goddess with a saffron flag in her hands that the RSS would like to impose on us. People do have a special attachment to the language and land of their birth – the terms ‘mother tongue’ and ‘motherland’ being used widely across the world – the Sangh’s notion of a Bharat Mata baying for blood and bullets stands in glaring contrast to the common Indian’s notion of a mother who cares and nurtures and showers equal love on all her children.

History also tells us that when there were talks of making Bankim Chandra’s ‘Vande Mataram’ the anthem for the Congress and India, Rabindranath Tagore had explicitly advised the then Congress President Subhas Chandra Bose against this idea. Vande Mataram is appropriate for literature, but with its explicit invocation of Durga, a Hindu goddess, it is inappropriate for Indian Parliament where people from different religions will assemble – this was the clear opinion of Tagore, and accordingly only the first part of the poem praising the natural beauty of India is today known and sung as ‘Vande Mataram’. The freedom movement has given rise to many slogans and invocations about India, and people in different parts of the country use different expressions for their motherland in their own mother tongues, and the Sangh-BJP establishment has no business imposing the RSS images and slogans of Bharat Mata on the Indian people. An organisation which had no role in India’s freedom movement except praising and helping the British colonial rulers and invoking Mussolini and Hitler as their ideals, which worships Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Gandhi, as their hero, and which today in power is busy bartering away the country’s resources and helping the likes of Vijay Mallya to flee from the country after looting the banks, has no right to give lessons on nationalism.

It is also instructive to note that Ambedkar, another icon Modi and his men are desperate to appropriate, had held caste as the biggest obstacle to nation-building, calling for annihilation of castes, and held the constitution with its secular democratic proclamations as the foundation of the Indian republic. The RSS wanted Manusmriti to be the basis for India’s constitution and Ambedkar consigned this charter of human slavery to fire, but today Modi describes Ambedkar as India’s modern Manu and seeks to perpetuate the oppressive caste order in his name. Ambedkar was a staunch champion of the liberties and rights of citizens and was a sworn enemy of the notion of a police state and repressive rule, but today Modi is bent upon reducing India precisely to a police state riding roughshod on the democratic rights promised and protected by the Constitution. Ambedkar had joined hands with communists to reject so-called labour laws that denied freedom to workers and sought to treat them as slaves, but today Modi invokes Ambedkar to justify his ‘Make in India’ labour code that seeks to sacrifice the rights of Indian workers at the altar of global capital and its Indian affiliates.

The people of India will never allow Modi to appropriate Ambedkar and make a mockery of the secular democratic constitutional foundation of the Indian republic laid down by Ambedkar on the strength of the Indian freedom movement and various allied streams of social awakening and struggles for emancipation. We will continue to draw inspiration from Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and use their legacies as weapons of struggle to stop the corporate plunder promoted by the Modi government and defeat the divisive agenda, disinformation campaign and communal-fascist aggression of the Sangh brigade. And the forthcoming Assembly elections will give yet another roaring rebuff to the dangerous design and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment.

Condemn the Heinous Lahore Terror Attack

The CPI(ML) condemns the suicide bomb blast in a crowded Lahore park claimed the lives of some 72 people, mostly women and children, and injured more than a 100. The attack was carried out by Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, to target Christian minorities on the occasion of Easter. The park was full of families celebrating the Easter holiday. Those killed include both Christians and Muslims.

The attack, deliberately targeting little children, is a heinous crime against humanity.

The attack has underlined the vulnerability of Pakistan’s religious minorities. The attack coincides with protests against the execution of Mumtaz Qadri and in support of the blasphemy law that criminalises religious minorities in Pakistan. Qadri had assassinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for defending a Christian woman against the blasphemy law.

Significantly, Pakistan’s Christian community is largely Dalit, facing an unspoken caste discrimination as well as religious discrimination. Pakistan’s religious minorities are vulnerable just as the religious and ethnic minorities of most South Asian countries including India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are vulnerable.

It is source of hope that Pakistani people have risen up in revulsion and outrage against the Lahore attack, and are flooding hospitals to donate blood and offer all kinds of help.

Cameron-Modi Bhai Bhai

British PM David Cameron has taken a leaf from Indian PM Modi’s book, by indulging in Islamophobic and racial profiling for votes.

In the London Mayoral polls, Cameron has distributed a letter to Hindus, especially Gujarati Hindus, and Punjabi Sikhs, asking them to vote for the Tory candidate, suggesting that voting the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan would be wrong at a time when "we need to be keeping our streets safe from terrorist attacks”.

In the letter captioned “The Gujarati community makes London great”, Cameron writes: “Closer ties between the UK and India have been a priority for me as prime minister. I was pleased to join Zac (Zac Goldsmith, the Tory Mayoral candidate) and thousands of British Gujaratis in welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the UK last year.”

Remember, the bonhomie between the Sanghis and Tories in the UK in their shared attempt to deny caste discrimination and propagate Islamophobia, goes back a long way. In the Parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party candidate in Harrow East, a constituency with a large Indian community, campaigned specifically on a promise to ‘work with the Dharmic community’ (sic) to overturn legislation outlawing caste discrimination which was recently passed in Britain after a campaign by Dalit organisations. Leaflets issued by a Sangh Parivar group urged their supporters to vote Conservative to overturn the anti-caste legislation!

But some voters have exposed and snubbed Cameron’s latest attempt. Retired biochemist Barbara Patel wrote back to Cameron, calling him out for his “facile and inaccurate attempt at racial profiling”. She wrote: “You have made a number of assumptions based on my surname (Patel = Gujarat and Gujarat = Hindu) and have attempted to use these ethnically based assumptions to ‘scare’ me into voting for your candidate, Zac Goldsmith….I am not from Gujarat. I am not a Hindu, my husband’s family are lapsed Muslims. Above all, I have never been, nor ever would be, a Tory voter.” She added that “the most distasteful aspect” of Cameron’s letter was his “attempting to cause division between the London Hindu Indian community and its Muslim community, shame on you”.

Farmers’ Convention for Loan Waiver in Punjab

All India Kisan Mahasabha and its Punjab affiliate Punjab Kisan Union organised a ‘Loan Waiver Convention’ in which thousands of peasants participated. Peasants came all Malwa region districts of Punjab including Mansa, Bathinda, Barnala, Sangrur, Faridkot to the convention which was held in Mansa.

The convention expressed deep concern over the escalating incidents of suicides of farmers due to anti-farmer policies of Akali Dal led NDA govt. of Punjab and demanded appropriate measures to stop farmers’ suicides. Thousands of farmers unanimously raised their voices in favour of immediate waiver of all loans, including governmental as well as those acquired from private usurers. They felt urgent need for amending legislations related to loans which are highly biased in favour of money lenders and resolved to struggle for the enactment of a new Loan Waiver Act that can protect crisis ridden peasants.

The Farmers’ Convention also passed resolutions demanding an Employment Guarantee Act for unemployed youth and for reversal of the neoliberal agrarian policy regime in order to make agriculture profitable. They also shared their concern regarding growing crop losses due to increasing number of stray abandoned cattle and asked from the Punjab administration to stop this menace.

The convention was addressed by the popular peasant leader of Punjab and National President of AIKM Ruldu Singh, AIKM Gen. Sec. and ex-MLA of Bihar Rajaram Singh, Vice President Prem Singh Gahalawat, Mazdoor Mukti Morcha leader Bhagwant Singh Samaon, AIPWA’s Jasbir Kaur and many others. The proceedings were conducted by Punjab Kisan Union’s Secretary Gurnam Singh. This convention was a culmination of an intensive campaign which was carried out in hundreds of villages. Many thousands of loan waiver applications were filled in by farmers of this region during this campaign. The filled in application forms were handed over to the state government through a Tehsildar sent by the authorities for this purpose. He took away a couple of very big cartons containing loan waiver applications and promised to hand them over to the state government.

Comrade Rajaram Singh, General Secretary of AIKM, said that the lives and livelihood of farmers have been further devastated after the Modi Govt. came to power which is quite evident by the increased number of suicides in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bundelkhand of UP. But the government is unwilling to take any pro-farmer measures. On the contrary the Modi government continues to pursue anti-peasant policies in order to satiate the unending corporate hunger for farmers’ profits as well as their lands. The Modi Government cannot succeed in deviating nation’s attention from deteriorating plight of farmers by its communal divisive politics. The irony is the government is waiving loans and taxes for corporate sector but not for farmers. Comrade Rajaram Singh strongly condemned the recent attacks on students in JNU and HCU and terming it as an attempt to strangle democracy. He said that united movements of farmers, workers and student-youth to counter the growing attacks on democracy are the need of the day.

Imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand Murder of Democracy

CPI(ML) Calls for Dissolution of Assembly and Fresh Elections

The CPI(ML) Uttarakhand State Committee has termed the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand when there was still one day remaining for the Harish Rawat government to prove its majority on the floor of the House, a murder of democracy and called for the immediate dissolution of the Assembly and holding of fresh elections.

The Assembly should be dissolved without delay and fresh elections held, since the failure to do so is itself an encouragement to horse trading. The Modi government had tried a similar ploy in Arunachal Pradesh. The CPI(ML) has appealed to the people of the state to strongly oppose the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand.

On 28 March Party workers led by Lalit Matiyali and Vimla Rauthan burnt the effigy of the Modi government and held a protest meeting in Bindukhatta (Nainital district) against the murder of democracy in the State.

CPI(ML) district units in Uttarakhand have sent memoranda to the President on 29 March demanding end of President’s rule in Uttarakhand, dissolution of the Assembly in order to stop horse trading of State legislators, and fresh elections without delay.

Third CPI(ML) Puducherry State Conference

The Third Puducherry UT Conference of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was held on 20th and 21st Mar 2016. The conference/venue Villianur, a semi urban town was named in memory of Com. T.K.S. Janarthanan, former vice president of AIARLA. The Conference hall was named in memory of Com. Ammaiappan, former District Secretary of CPI(ML) Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu state.

The conference began with an impressive and colourful “Save India, Save democracy and Save working people of Puducherry” rally on 20th. Puducherry town committee secretary Com. S. Purushothaman inaugurated the rally. Hundreds of activists marched through the main thoroughfare of the Villianur. The rally preceded by the flag hoisting and floral tributes to the martyrs. The flag was hoisted by Com. Maliga, Puducherry district committee member. The public meeting was addressed by Com. Balasundaram, central committee member and central observer for the conference, and Com S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary CPI(ML) .

On 21st Mar, the delegates session was inaugurated by Com. Balasundaram. Com. S. Mothilal gave the welcome address. Com. Balasundaram stressed the importance of the Central Committee’s 18th December 2015 call and called for the all out initiatives towards the forthcoming Assembly 2016 elections.

S. Balasubramanian, the outgoing State secretary placed the draft report on behalf of the outgoing state committee. Delegates present gave their opinions and suggestions over the draft which was adopted by the conference. The conference elected unanimously a 9-member state committee with S. Balasubramanian as its Secretary. The other members of the State Committee are G.Palani, P.Murugan, S.Mothilal, AS Singaravelu, A. Saroja, S. Purushothaman, R. Azagappan and M.Maliga. M. Venkatesan and G. Danavel, party’s District Secretaries in Villupuram and Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu also attended the conference as guests and took part in the rally.

CPI(ML) is contesting independently four seats in the Assembly elections in Puducherry. The Conference passed an 11-points resolution for action as well as chalked out a plan for the “Rise My Country – Save India, Save Democracy” campaign from Mar 23rd – Bhagat Singh’ martyrdom day to Apr 14th Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth Anniversary.

AISA RYA Launches National Campaign- Utho Mere Desh- Naye Bharat Ke Wastey, Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Ke Rastey

From 23rd March to 14th April

The All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) have launched a campaign Utho Mere Desh: Naye Bharat Ke Waastey, Bhagat Singh Ke Raaste from March 23rd (Bhagat Singh’s Martyrdom Anniversary) to April 14th (Dr. Ambedkar’s Birth Anniversary). The inaugural program of the campaign was held at the Press Club at Delhi. The panel discussion cum press conference was addressed by Gen. Secy. CPI(ML) Dipankar Bhattacharya, scientist and poet Gauhar Raza, President Dalit Lekhak Sangh, Karamsheel Bharti, journalist at Hardnews Amit Sengupta, social activist Vidyabhushan Rawat, Ram Karan Nirmal (Ex-Student of BBAU Lucknow, who protested against Modi during their convocation), Ashutosh, Ex-JNUSU President and Anant Ex-JNUSU Vice-President. Om Prasad, Gen. Sec. RYA, moderated the discussion.

On 23rd March programs were held across the country to commemorate the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and start of National Campaign. Comrades in Patna, Bhojpur, Giridih, Guntur, Ahmedabad and other centres organized programs. In Punjab, left student and youth organizations from across the state gathered at Hussainiwala, where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated. Anant former JNUSU Vice President from AISA also participated in the program. In Bhubaneswar, a convention was organized on 23rd March by AISA-RYA launching the campaign, Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU and Om Prasad, Gen. Secretary RYA were the main speakers at the convention.

In Bihar as part of the National Campaign a joint AISA RYA ‘Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar Sangharsh Yatra’ has been launched. The yatra will reach out to the people of Bihar, especially young people and expose the Modi Govt’s attempts to dismantle the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and crush all voices of dissent. On 31st March on the martyrdom day of Com. Chandrasekhar a Student Youth Assembly will be held in Patna, where comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, and Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President JNUSU will be the main speakers.

On 25th March a seminar was organized in Madurai to mark the launch of the campaign. In the seminar Shehla Rashid and Sucheta De, President, AISA were speakers. A booklet on the JNU issue was also released and pamphlets on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar were also distributed. On 27th March AISA RYA organized a seminar in Chandigarh titled ‘Relevance of Bhagat Singh’s ideology. The speakers in the program were Rama Naga, Vishwadeepak, Journalist, who resigned from Zee News over its coverage on the JNU issue and Om Prasad, Gen. Sec. RYA. The seminar was preceded by a painting, essay writing and debate competition on Bhagat Singh and his ideas. In Koderma convention was held on 27th March which was addressed by AISA and RYA leaders.

Against The Crackdown in Hyderabad Central University

On 22 March, Appa Rao Podile resumed charge as the Vice Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (HCU) after being forced to proceed on “long leave” in January for his role in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. It is condemnable that Appa Rao Podile has been reinstated in spite of the fact that he is currently facing a judicial enquiry as well as serious charges under the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act.

The reinstatement of Appa Rao Podile justifiably led to massive protests in HCU at the VC lodge in the campus. As has now become the pattern, the ABVP-RSS along with the University administration and the Police together launched a brutal and well-planned crackdown on the protestors. Hundreds of students and even teachers were brutally lathi charged, abused, dragged, and detained by the police. The police threatened the students with fake encounters, threatened women students with rape, and branded Muslim students as ‘terrorists’.

27 students and 2 faculty members were arrested and sent to jail. The campus was turned into a prison, hostel messes as well as the supply of drinking water, power supply and internet facilities were shut down for two whole days. Two students were cooking food in a community kitchen when the police suddenly swamped upon them and brutally beat up one student, Uday Bhanu, who was critically injured and had be hospitalised in ICU.

The CPIML extends all support and solidarity to the ongoing movement demanding dropping of all charges against students and faculty of HCU, immediate removal and arrest of HCU VC Appa Rao Podile and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatraya under Prevention Of Atrocities against SC/ST act, withdrawal of police from the campus, action against police for the targeted violence, detentions, misinformation about the detained people and physical assault of women students and faculty, enacting of the Rohith Act against caste discrimination on campuses and resignation of HRD Minister.

Obituary

Comrade Mahendra Sahni

Comrade Mahendra Sahni passed away on 23 March 2016 in Purnea. He was only 58. An ex-army man, he joined the communist movement during peasant struggles for land and livelihood led by CPI(M) leader comrade Ajit Sarkar who was later murdered in Purnea. He joined CPI(M) in 1990s, and later became a member of CPI(ML) in 2002 and began his life as a full time political activist. He will be remembered by his fellow comrades for his indomitable spirit, courage, dynamism and for taking timely political initiatives.

He could not recover completely after a heart surgery in January which ultimately led to his demise after a cardiac arrest.

He actively distributed party organs Liberation and Samkaleen Lokyuddh and himself was an avid reader of party literature. He is survived by his wife, who is an activist in Nurses’ association, and a son and daughter.

We pay our tributes to the departed comrade and reiterate our pledge to carry forward the movement for which he remained devoted till his last breadth.

Red Salute to comrade Mahendra Sahni !

ML Update | No. 13 | 2016 |

March 23, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

| Vol. 19 | No. 13 | 22-28 MAR 2016 |

Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism,

Defeat Modi’s Attempt to Appropriate Ambedkar

Close to two years in power, the BJP now realises it pretty well that it cannot fight another election on the pretentious plank of development or repatriation of black money. Last November we saw them fight the elections to Bihar Assembly on the issue of beef ban. The decisive defeat in Bihar of course means the BJP now needs a new item on its poll menu other than beef. So with elections scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few weeks, we find the BJP designing a new test of nationalism – those who chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai are super nationalists and those who don’t are liable to be branded anti-national and perhaps also charged with sedition. A Muslim MLA in Maharashtra Assembly has already been suspended for failing this test, with the Congress and NCP both colluding with the BJP and Shiv Sena in enforcing the suspension. We now also know that Urdu writers have been asked by the MHRD to give a prior undertaking that their writings do not have anything against the government or the nation.

So the government has effectively declared itself equivalent to the nation. Opposition to the government has virtually been dubbed seditious. And as the Congress President had equated Indira Gandhi to India during the infamous Emergency, former BJP President and senior minister in Modi cabinet, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has described Modi as God’s gift to India. Another minister, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs in Modi cabinet, believes that the rise of Modi as India’s Prime Minister was predicted by the French seer Nostradamus in 1555 and Modi will continue to rule till 2026, with the people’s initial ‘hatred’ for him turning into great admiration and love! Whatever the people may think of the Modi government’s performance in the first two years, the government believes it is here to stay, and if the people do not want it, a government which believes it has been mandated by God and fate will no doubt go to the extent of ‘electing the people’ – the immortal imagery penned by Brecht in his poem to describe every Hitler in our history.

The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula early this year in Hyderabad had come as a rude jolt to the whole country, exposing the sordid reality of social discrimination and saffron regimentation in India’s universities and other institutions of higher education. The subsequent police crackdown and witch-hunt in JNU has made it very clear that the government is out to stifle dissent and subvert and destroy every institution that has a record of promoting critical thinking. The students and teachers arrested on sedition charges are now out on bail, and the united protests of JNU students and teachers and the massive solidarity expressed by informed citizens across the country and also internationally have thwarted the government’s design to discredit and shut down JNU. Yet the government sticks to its script, MHRD minister Smriti Irani dished out malicious lies from the floor of Parliament, BJP leaders are constantly spewing venom against students, intellectuals and JNU and goons of the Sangh brigade are physically attacking public display of solidarity with JNU and even lectures by noted exponents on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar.

In a stunning mockery of history, the Sangh Parivar now seeks to present itself as the biggest champion of Indian nationalism, all its assaults on the Indian people and their democratic rights are now accompanied by loud chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. BJP leaders would now like us to believe that this is the slogan Bhagat Singh had on his lips while embracing the gallows. The whole world knows that ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and ‘Down With Imperialism’ were Bhagat Singh’s last message to India and the world, but facts have little meaning in the Sangh’s scheme of things where myths and lies constitute the whole narrative. It must be pointed out that while Bharat Mata Ki Jai was a popular slogan during the freedom movement, the images of Mother India evoked by most of our poets and writers and freedom fighters were not the image of a militant goddess with a saffron flag in her hands that the RSS would like to impose on us. People do have a special attachment to the language and land of their birth – the terms ‘mother tongue’ and ‘motherland’ being used widely across the world – the Sangh’s notion of a Bharat Mata baying for blood and bullets stands in glaring contrast to the common Indian’s notion of a mother who cares and nurtures and showers equal love on all her children.

History also tells us that when there were talks of making Bankim Chandra’s ‘Vande Mataram’ the anthem for the Congress and India, Rabindranath Tagore had explicitly advised the then Congress President Subhas Chandra Bose against this idea. Vande Mataram is appropriate for literature, but with its explicit invocation of Durga, a Hindu goddess, it is inappropriate for Indian Parliament where people from different religions will assemble – this was the clear opinion of Tagore, and accordingly only the first part of the poem praising the natural beauty of India is today known and sung as ‘Vande Mataram’. The freedom movement has given rise to many slogans and invocations about India, and people in different parts of the country use different expressions for their motherland in their own mother tongues, and the Sangh-BJP establishment has no business imposing the RSS images and slogans of Bharat Mata on the Indian people. An organisation which had no role in India’s freedom movement except praising and helping the British colonial rulers and invoking Mussolini and Hitler as their ideals, which worships Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Gandhi, as their hero, and which today in power is busy bartering away the country’s resources and helping the likes of Vijay Mallya to flee from the country after looting the banks, has no right to give lessons on nationalism.

It is also instructive to note that Ambedkar, another icon Modi and his men are desperate to appropriate, had held caste as the biggest obstacle to nation-building, calling for annihilation of castes, and held the constitution with its secular democratic proclamations as the foundation of the Indian republic. The RSS wanted Manusmriti to be the basis for India’s constitution and Ambedkar consigned this charter of human slavery to fire, but today Modi describes Ambedkar as India’s modern Manu and seeks to perpetuate the oppressive caste order in his name. Ambedkar was a staunch champion of the liberties and rights of citizens and was a sworn enemy of the notion of a police state and repressive rule, but today Modi is bent upon reducing India precisely to a police state riding roughshod on the democratic rights promised and protected by the Constitution. Ambedkar had joined hands with communists to reject so-called labour laws that denied freedom to workers and sought to treat them as slaves, but today Modi invokes Ambedkar to justify his ‘Make in India’ labour code that seeks to sacrifice the rights of Indian workers at the altar of global capital and its Indian affiliates.

The people of India will never allow Modi to appropriate Ambedkar and make a mockery of the secular democratic constitutional foundation of the Indian republic laid down by Ambedkar on the strength of the Indian freedom movement and various allied streams of social awakening and struggles for emancipation. We will continue to draw inspiration from Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and use their legacies as weapons of struggle to stop the corporate plunder promoted by the Modi government and defeat the divisive agenda, disinformation campaign and communal-fascist aggression of the Sangh brigade. And the forthcoming Assembly elections will give yet another roaring rebuff to the dangerous design and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment.

Ghastly Murders of CPI(ML) Activists in Begusarai

Two CPI(ML) activists Comrade Mahesh Ram(25), member of Party’s Begusarai block committee and Comrade Rampravesh Ram (27) were killed by the men of BJP supported feudal criminal Surendra Singh in Baliya block of Begusarai district at 6 pm on 21 March 2016. Both leaders were ambushed when they were returning from Baliya bazaar to their village Maksudanpur.

Both these comrades were leading an ongoing struggle for the landless in the village. 134 dalit-poor families of their village were allotted land pattas on 120 acres of land in 1980-81, but were kept deprived of their lands since then. After a protracted struggle as well as a long legal effort the district administration and the High Court both gave a verdict in favour of the landless patta holders. The feudal goons perpetrated an attack on landless families when they went to take possession of their lands in November 2015 resulting in many injured. The police present at the spot remained a mute spectator. This attempt too was repulsed valiantly by the united villagers and all the patta holders were able to sow seeds on their lands. Few month ago patta holders harvested their crops under party’s leadership and mass mobilisation in their support.

The Nitish Government’s tacit support and refusal to rein in feudal criminals has boosted the morale of anti-poor forces which ultimately resulted in this cowardly killing of two activists who were much-loved by the villagers. Not long ago Comrade Rajendra Mahto in Bhojpur and Comrade Sanjay Chaurasiya in Siwan were brutally murdered. But the government which claims ‘Development with Justice’ has failed miserably to arrest and punish the killers in all these incidents.

On the morning of 22 March ML legislator Sudama Prasad, AIARLA leader Gopal Ravidas, and Kisan Sabha leader Umesh Singh visited Begusarai and the site of the crime and met with the families of the martyred comrades.

Dalit Basti Burnt in Nawada in Bihar

Criminals under BJP protection burnt down a dalit basti in Kajhiya in Akbarpur block of Nawada district. Even after such a big incident local BJP MLA Anil Singh did not visit the spot.

A CPI(ML) team comprising CC member and former MP Rameshwar Prasad, Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad found that the police picketing by the administration has served not to protect the dalits from attack but to prevent them from rebuilding their basti there.

The FIR has been deliberately weakened and the police investigation states that the fire was ‘accidental’, which claim our investigative team has found to be blatantly false. A rumour is being floated that the poor people there deliberately torched their own huts!

The CPI(ML) team found that poor Dalits were living in huts made on 1 acre and 62 dismil of Bihar government gair mazarua land. The site has a total of 9 acres of government land. This land is quite valuable as it is bounded by roads on 3 sides. For this reason feudal dominant caste forces have had their eye on this land for some time.

In the past also, huts of the poor had been burnt with a view to terrorizing them and driving them out. Work is under way to set up a private college at that site. The constructors of the college also have their eye on this gair mazarua land.

The administration has placed the number of burnt huts at only 35, whereas the actual number is 60. People are living under the open sky; not even temporary living arrangements have been made for them. Neither food nor plastic for shelters has been made available to them.

The villagers had written several times to the zonal authorities for issue of parchas but in spite of the Government’s much touted ‘dakhal-dehani’ scheme (that promised to give papers and secure possession of land for the landless), attempts to evict the poor from their land are in full swing.

Nitish Kumar and RJD leaders lose no changes to make speeches against the BJP – but they do not walk the talk when it comes to protecting the poor from the feudal and communal forces on the ground.

Citizen’s Delegation Gives Memorandum to Chief Minister of Bihar With 5 Lakh Signatures

A memorandum on the questions of justice signed by 5 lakh people through a signature campaign initiated by the CPI(ML) in January 2015 was submitted to the Chief Minister on 17 March. The demand have been made through the memorandum that the decisive mandate given by the people of Bihar in favour of democracy, secularism, and justice should be respected and necessary steps in some prominent instances be taken.

The memorandum demanded a guarantee that the Ranvir Sena leaders acquitted by the Patna High Court in the Bathani, Bathe and Miyanpur carnages will be given strict punishment and these matters will be monitored properly in the Supreme Court. The Cobra Post sting operation has made a stunning expose about the Ranvir Sena in these massacres of dalits, women, and children. Taking cognizance of this expose, all the Ranvir Sena chiefs involved in the massacres as well as the politicians and officials who aided them should be arrested and punished.

It was also demanded that newly elected Darauli MLA and AIARLA State President Satyadev Ram, RYA National President Amarjeet Kushwaha, and popular youth leader from Bhojpur district Manoj Manzil who are in jail on fabricated charges against them, as well as other political prisoners should be released without delay.

It has also been demanded that the 10 TADA prisoners still in jail even after expiry of their life imprisonment term should be immediately released (14 CPI (ML) leader-activists were slapped with life sentences in false cases against them under the draconian TADA law, of whom 4 including the popular Mukhiya Shah Chand died in prison due to lack of adequate medical treatment).

The memorandum demanded implementation of the schemes for comprehensive rehabilitation and compensation for the Bhagalpur victims and guarantee of justice for the victims through just punishment for the guilty.

During talks with the Chief Minister, the issue of revoking the false charges against Rajaram Singh in the Aurangabad incident was also raised. A letter from the Human Rights Commission was also handed over to the Chief Minister which exonerated the Aurangabad protesters and imposed a fine on the administration which it held guilty for the incident.

The delegation which met the CM included former NIT teacher Prof. Santosh Kumar, physician Dr PNP Pal, former MP Rameshwar Prasad, former MLA and AIARLA General Secretary Rajaram Singh, CPI (ML) Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad.

The delegation also raised the matter of growing incidences of crime, especially violence against dalits and women. They told the CM that the incident of 60 huts of poor dalits being burnt in Kajhiya (Nawada) by BJP- The delegation also raised the issue of the RSS attack on the ‘Main JNU Bol Raha Hun’ programme in Muzaffarpur.

After Dadri, Lynchings of Two Muslims at Latehar in Jharkhand

(Fact finding report team comprising ML State Secretary Janardan Prasad, MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Palamu district Secretary RN Singh, Ramvilas Singh, Sarfaraz Alam, AIPF Campaign Committee member Yugal Pal, Ravindra Ram, Anil Anshuman, Dhiraj Kumar, and members of the Ranchi Anjuman Islamia.)

On 18 March Majloom Ansari (32) of Nawada village (Latehar district) and Imtiaz Ansari (12), of Arhara village started at 3.30 am from Nawada village to the Latehar haat bazaar with 8 bullocks for sale. After 10 km they reached Jhabar village where members of the ‘Gauraksha Samiti’ (cow protection outfit associated with the RSS) caught both of them, tied their hands and mouth, and beat them up brutally. Both were killed and strung up from a tree.

At around 6 am, Majloom’s trader friends tried to search the two but they were chased away by the killers when they were on way to Jhabar village. Around 7.30 am Majloom’s younger brother somehow reached the spot where two local journalists had reached before them. The police reached only at around 8 am. The victims’ families were unaware of the ghastly killings till that moment; police and the local journalists had come there on intimation from some other source. Had someone from among the perpetrators informed the Press in order to create a sensation?

The victims’ family members opposed the police when they tried to take away the dead bodies from the spot. Majloom’s younger brother searched his pocket and found only Rs 250 whereas according to him Majloom had started from home with Rs 5000-7000. The SIM of their mobiles had been broken and thrown at the spot, and there was no trace of both mobiles.

At around 10 am people brought the dead bodies near the thana and blocked the road with demands for arrest of the murderers and compensation for the victims’ families. The people blockaded the road till afternoon. The villagers agreed to take the dead bodies with them after talks with the Latehar district SP Birthare who had reached to the spot. When they were preparing to take the bodies with them, police led by Chandwa thana incharge Ratan Kumar Singh suddenly started a brutal lathi charge which not only left many injured but also created a stampede. The police also fired many rounds of bullets on the already frightened villagers.

Later the Chandwa thana incharge pulled at the beard of the deceased Majloom’s grieving elder brother, shouting that Muslims would be taught a lesson.

This incident is no spontaneous ‘anger at cow slaughter.’ The team found no communal enmity between Hindus and Muslims of the village – rather, the Hindus have resolved not to celebrate Holi but instead to hold a peace march to protest the killings.

It was a handful of Gauraksha Samiti men who cold-bloodedly committed the lynching early in the morning when the villagers were not even awake. This incident is the result of a well-planned conspiracy. BJP leaders talk of politicization by other parties but in truth it is they who are creating communal polarization for political gains.

Both the victims come from extremely poor families. They earned their livelihood by selling bullocks for agricultural work or milch cows at bazaars. Majloom’s family was entirely dependent on him, while Imtiyaz, at the tender age of 12, was the support for his entire family, since his father is crippled and his elder brother mentally challenged.

A national-level ‘cow propagandist’ Acharya Gopal Mani Ji Maharaj is said to be behind the assault; his supporters are known to paint slogans on walls instigating people to hang those who eat beef. The local BJP MP from Chatra is known to have attended public meetings addressed by this hate-monger. BJP leaders at known to attend events of the ‘cow vigilantes’ in Ranchi also.

After the formation of the BJP government in Jharkhand various outfits linked with the BJP have perpetrated over a dozen incidents of communal violence. Many communal incidents have taken place in Balumath (Latehar) earlier. About a year ago, in the Murapa region of Balumath, a Muslim youth married a girl from a Baniya family because of which all the Muslims of that area were boycotted. For several months Muslims were not allowed to travel on public transport vehicles. Men from the Gauraksha Samiti have on many occasions beaten up Muslims in Jhabar where these killings took place. These incidents were intended to keep the Muslims in a state of constant fear.

This latest incident of terror is neither a common criminal incident nor is it a result of sudden social anger as the ruling BJP is now trying to portray. This is a result of a well-thought out conspiracy and long term planning.

The CPI(ML) has demanded a high level judicial inquiry into the incident particularly of the people who are behind the said Gauraksha Samiti, criminal action against Chandwa thana incharge who played a role in inflaming communal tension and abusing the Muslim community, compensation to the families of Majloom and Imtiyaz and employment for their dependents.

Jharkhand Mid-day Meal Workers Confront Vidhan Sabha Once Again

Mid-day meal workers in Jharkhand organised under the banner of Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sanyojika Adhyaksh Sangh affiliated to AICCTU protested by thousands in front of the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha and submitted a 21 point charter of demands to the Chief Minister.

Association leaders from different districts as well as Central President Ajit Prajapati, Treasurer Anita Devi, Bihar State Vidyalaya Rasoiya Association President Saroj Chaube, ML legislator Rajkumar Yadav, AICCTU leader Shubhendu Sen and other leaders addressed the meeting. The proceedings were conducted by Premnath Vishwakarma.

Com. Saroj Choube said that we must organize ourselves against the anti-education and anti-labour policies of the Centre and State governments; we also have to fight against the growing attacks on people’s democratic rights in the country. She laid stress on asserting for the women’s empowerment and freedom in social and political spheres. Com. Rajkumar Yadav strongly attacked the Raghuvar government’s anti-people policies and promised to once again raise the issue of injustice being done to midday meal workers in the Assembly.

AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen said that according to the 7th Pay Commission recommendations government employees should get a minimum wage of Rs 21,000 per month, whereas the government is not even implementing the wage of Rs 15,000 monthly honorarium it had already announced for the midday meal workers.

Protest against Adani’s Land Grab

CPI(ML) organised state wide protests in Jharkhand on 14 March 2016 against signing of an MOU with the Adani group for the adivasis’ lands in Godda district at throwaway prices. A march was taken out in Ranchi where an effigy of Jharkhand CM was burnt at Albert Ekka chowk. Adivasis’ lands are being grabbed for the corporate houses; this has cunningly and misleadingly been named a ‘land bank’. Sudama Khalkho, Enamul Haq, Rajdev Mahto, Nirmal Tirkey, Santosh Kumar, Shanti Sen, Elisabba Ekka, Eti Tirkey, Nazia Khatun and others addressed the meeting. A protest and effigy burning programme was also held at Dhanbad. Protests were held in Baliyapu-Jhariya, Ramgarh, Jhumri Tilaiya in Kodarma district, Bagodar, sariya, Rajdhanwar, Jamua, Giridih, Kundheet in Jamatada district, Lohardaga, Garhwa, and many other places. Protesters demanded to stop the land loot by corporates though MoUs, which has further been facilitated by the Mumbai Start-up programme, and cancelling all such MOUs.

Darbhanga District Conference of CPI(ML)

10th Darbhanga District Conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 13-14 March. The conference was inaugurated by the leader of the CPI(ML) legislature group in Bihar Mahboob Alam. He said that democracy and democratic institutions are under attack and the Ganga-Jamni culture and social fabric of the country are being destroyed. The government is protecting looters and absconding capitalists and at the same time it is muzzling freedom of ideas. Strengthening the Left movement against capitalist attack and the ideological attack by RSS is the need of the hour.

He further said that the Nitish government has betrayed the people’s mandate. Attacks on dalits and poor are rife and there is rampant loot in people’s rights and welfare projects. In the Assembly the government is insensitive to issues of workers and farmers. Most of the State’s rice mills are closed; paddy is not being purchased; and the government has shied away from its promise to pay bonus. Workers and farmers must unite and fight to protect their rights and save democracy and secularism in the country.

Presenting the work-report at the conference the outgoing Secretary Baidyanath Yadav stressed the need to convert the Party’s impact into concrete organizational strength. 235 elected delegates from all 18 blocks of the district participated in the conference.

Bhojpur district Secretary and State standing committee member Jawahar Singh attended the conference as State observer. He said that CPI(ML) is emerging as the centre of Left struggles and it is only by fighting all ruling class parties that marginalized social forces can forge their independent political identities.

Addressing the organizational session PB member and Mithilanchal in-charge Dhirendra Jha said that the manner in which the Modi government is giving open protection to looting, corporate, capitalist machinery in the country will further erode the rights of workers, farmers, students, youth, and geographically backward regions. There is a clear attempt to divert attention from the agenda of socio-economic development through the politics of hate and destruction, in order to save the Modi government which is failing on every parameter of people’s expectations. He said that the way in which a democratic-intellectual programme in Mujaffarpur was allowed to be attacked by Sanghi goons shows that the administration of the Nitish govt is also heading towards appeasing the communal forces. The govt should act promptly against such saffronized officials sitting in the administration. He stressed that democracy would be strengthened only by the rejuvenation of the Left movement in Mithilanchal. He said that Ashok Paper Mill had become the centre for looting money from government banks which was being used for other purposes. He stressed on the need for sharpening people’s struggles on the issues of opening Ashok Paper Mill as well as all other sugar, rice, jute, and other mills, opening a Central University in Mithilanchal, and finding a permanent solution for floods and droughts for agricultural development.

CPI(ML) State Conference in Uttarakhand

The 2nd Uttarakhand State conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 19-20 March 2016 in Srinagar (Garhwal). The conference venue was named in memory of Com. Nagendra Saklani who was martyred in the decisive struggle against the Tehri monarchy on 11 January 1948, and the conference city was named after Com. Chandra Singh Garhwali who was the hero of the Peshawar Rebellion on 23 April 1930.

The conference began with flag hoisting by Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi and 2 minutes’ silence as tribute to the martyrs.

Inaugurating the open session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that not only in India but across the world from Latin America to England to America, calls are reverberating for a new socialism, a better world, and a better society. Within one year the true character of the Modi government has been exposed. It is the responsibility of the Left to positively use this new situation of struggle which has emerged in the country and in the world. He said that the attack on JNU in the name of nationalism, based on fabricated and doctored videos, has failed miserably in the face of the spirited struggle by students. The nation, the country is its people, workers, farmers, students, youth, dalits, adivasis, and women. By attacking these sections those who claim to be nationalistic are proving their nationalism to be false. Com. Dipankar further said that Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar are our true heroes whose vision was to make the country for the oppressed, the poor and dalits. Ambedkar’s dream of annihilating caste is not possible without changing the existing system. The attack by the Sangh on Rohith Vemula on the grounds that Rohith was speaking not only of dalit issues but of other issues exposes the mindset of the RSS; they want to keep the dalits within a boundary. To prescribe limits for everyone and pressurize them into staying within those limits: this is what fascism is.

Commenting on the political situation in Uttarakhand, Com. Dipankar said that States like Uttarakhand have become places of loot. It is essential to make policies keeping in mind the special geographical conditions of Uttarakhand. Instead, as in Jharkhand, BJP and Congress leaders are engaged only in vying for the post of Chief Minister.

CPM State Secretary Rajendra Singh Negi addressed the inaugural session and said that the need of the hour is to establish the politics of people’s struggles in the State, for which Left parties should unite and mobilize all pro-people forces.

CPI(ML) CC member Raja Bahuguna said that the current political upheaval in Uttarakhand is nothing but a fight for a share in the loot of the State’s resources. He said that the land, mining, and liquor mafia have become institutionalized. He pointed out that 15 years of BJP-Congress rule has entirely destroyed the vision and objectives with which the State was created.

CPI State Secretary Anand Singh Rana also sent a message of solidarity with the CPI (ML) conference. ML Garhwal Secretary Atul Satee gave the welcome speech. Ganesh Singh Garib, who inspired the Chakbandi agitation, said that it is not possible to save Uttarakhand without saving agricultural and lands in the hills. The conference was also addressed by Com. Girija Pathak and Com. Shrikant from Delhi.

A 15 member State committee was elected by the conference and Com. Rajendra Pratholi re-elected State Secretary.

Obituary

Com. Ramchandra Yadav

Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha Darbhanga district Vice President and Satighara (Bahadurpur block) branch Secretary Ramchandra Yadav passed away after a heart attack on 14 January. He was about 64 years old. A loyal and upright comrade, he was active even on the day of his death in the agitation for paddy procurement in front of SFC in Darbhanga. Under pressure from the agitation which had started on 7 January, the District administration had taken up the entire paddy for purchase on 14 January. After the agitation Com. Ramchandra suffered a heart attack before he reached home. He died before the villagers and family members could comprehend what was happening. On his way home he had stopped for about 2 hours in a neighbouring village where he discussed the victory of the struggle and the need to further strengthen the peasant movement. His demise is an irreparable loss for the Party and the movement in Darbhanga district. The Party expresses heartfelt condolences on his death. Red Salute to Com. Ramchandra Yadav!

ML Update -A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine | Vol. 19 | No. 12 | 15 ­– 21 MARCH 2016 |

March 23, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

| Vol. 19 | No. 12 | 15 ­– 21 MARCH 2016 |

Corporate Plunder From Public Sector Banks
A Scam Even Worse Than The 2G Scam

The Modi Government has made it clear that while it will help corporations loot and scoot from India, it will brand activists defending the rights of India’s poor as ‘anti-nationals’.

The Modi Government prevented the environmental activist Priya Pillai from flying out of India, branding her ‘anti-national’ for seeking to discuss concerns about MNC plunder of adivasis’ land and destruction of the environment.

But the same Government has just facilitated the super-rich Vijay Mallya in fleeing Indian shores to avoid paying his massive debts to public sector banks and evade criminal charges of money laundering.

The police issued ‘lookout notices’ to Ms Pillai and to two JNU students facing ‘sedition’ charges. But the CBI under Modi ‘modified’ the original lookout notice seeking Mallya’s detention at the country’s exit points, instead seeking only ‘information’. For the Modi Government, then, dissenting students can be treated as dangerous criminals and arrested, but corporate scamsters are given a free hand to plunder the country and then go scot free to evade justice. Mallya’s company Kingfisher called itself ‘The King of Good Times’ – and indeed Modi’s promised acche din has materialized for the likes of Mallya and Ambani alone.

Another notable contrast is between how different categories of loan defaulters – depending on whether they are poor farmers or corporate cronies of the Government – are treated in the country. Farmers who take loans of modest amounts and fail to repay them are hounded and humiliated by the police and loan recovery agents – resulting the suicide of some 15000 farmers every year. But Mallya, who owes public sector banks upwards of Rs 9000 crore, is allowed to flaunt his lavish lifestyle of yachts, parties and private islands, and simply quit Indian soil rather than life itself.

Both the UPA and NDA Governments promoted cronyism, forcing the public sector banks to bear the burden of the unpaid debts of the Mallyas, Ambanis and other corporations. In 2010, when Mallya’s Kingfisher airlines was heading for a crash, the UPA Government facilitated a safe landing, with a debt-restructuring agreement. Mallya handed over goodwill and trademarks of the Kingfisher brand to the public sector banks as security in the event of non-payment of dues – but today, the brand value of Kingfisher has plummeted and the banks are unable to find buyers! In 2015, the Modi Government facilitated a debt restructuring agreement for Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Gas, allowing it to repay its massive loans to public sector banks by 2031 instead of 2019!

These corporate bailouts combined with a larger economic slowdown, have precipitated a banking crisis in India, with Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of banks surging to 17 per cent in the past couple of years. A report of the Credit Suisse titled ‘House of Debt’, has listed the 10 most indebted corporate houses in India – Lanco Group, Jaypee Group, GMR Group, Videocon Group, GVK Group, Essar Group, Adani Group, Reliance ADA Group, JSW Group and Vedanta Group – pointing out that the bulk of these unpaid debts are owed to public sector banks.

These unpaid loans point to a scam even larger than the 2G scam. Rs 1.14 lakh crore – amounting to 40% of corporate bad loans – have been written off during the last three years (2013-15). According to the India Ratings Report, a further Rs 52,227 crore is expected to be written off in the financial year 2016 – taking the total up to 1.66 lakh crore. This does not count the huge loans which have been ‘restructured’ to delay repayment periods or slash interest costs. RBI governor Raghuram Rajan pointed out that “this money would have allowed 1.5 million of the poorest children to get a full degree from the top private universities in the country, all expenses paid." Imagine, then, how many degrees from public universities this amount could have funded? Yet, the BJP machinery brands subsidies to JNU, where a substantial percentage of students are from socially, economically and regionally deprived backgrounds, as a ‘waste of public funds’, while presiding over an open plunder of public funds by crony capitalists!

The phenomenon of crony capitalism extends also and especially to crony ‘godman’ businesses – where godmen close to Governments, like Asaram, Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar are allowed to flout laws with impunity. Recently the Modi and Kejriwal Governments have together allowed the godman Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living organizations to organize a massive extravaganza on the banks of the Yamuna, irreversibly destroying the fragile riverine ecology and grabbing land forcibly from Dalit peasants. Sadly, even the National Green Tribunal and the courts, while noting the illegality and the damage, disciplined and restrained themselves rather than the offenders. Instead of putting a stop to the Ravishankar extravaganza, the NGT merely imposed a fine to ‘compensate’ for the damage – of which Ravishankar arrogantly refused to pay a paisa.

Why are the public sector banks not declaring the names of serial offenders in terms of unpaid loans – and the pending unpaid amounts? The country deserves to know the amount stolen from the public banks and the names of plunderers – and the Government must be made to answer for this loot. Crony capitalists and crony godmen cannot be allowed to practice the ‘Art of Cheating’ and the ‘Art of Looting and Leaving’ India.

International Women’s Day:

AIPWA’s Sankalp March in Patna and Launch of All-Women’s Cultural Team ‘Chorus’

AIPWA observed International Women’s Day with a Sankalp March in Patna from the Radio Station to Gandhi Maidan. Hundreds of women from different blocks of Patna district participated in the march, raising slogans demanding 33% reservation for women in the Parliament and state legislative assemblies, rollback of sedition charges on JNU students, implementation of total prohibition in Bihar and government employee status for temporary ‘honorarium’ workers. The march was led by AIPWA national General Secretary Meena Tiwari, national Secretary Kavita Krishnan, national Vice President Prof. Bharti S Kumar, Bihar State President SarojChoube, Secretary ShashiYadav, Joint Secretary Anita Sinha, Tulika Asthana from Bhubaneshwar, Kusum Verma from Banaras, Patna AIPWA leaders Damyanti Sinha, Madhuri Gupta, Anuradha Singh, Vibha Gupta, Sona Devi and others.The march culminated in a meeting at Kargil Chowk in Gandhi Maidan.

Addressing the meeting, comrade MeenaTiwari said that communal forces are playing the politics of frenzy and destruction in the country today. From Hyderabad Central University to JNU, Lucknow and Allahabad University, they are not just murdering democracy but also smothering students’ voices by slapping false cases of sedition on them. She further said that the women’s reservation Bill has been pending for the last 20 years but they do not consider this important or a priority. Incidents of violence against women are moreover on the rise under the JD(U)-RJD-Congress government in Bihar which has come into power with a large majority; MLAs of the ruling Parties are implicated in rapes but they have not even been arrested. The government which had promised total prohibition is now talking of prohibition in phases; they are also going back on their word by now saying it will be done first in villages and then in cities. Various speakers pointed outthat honorarium workers have not been given the status of government employees. Their right to fight panchayat elections has been taken away. Their votes were garnered in the elections by increasing their honorarium by a mere 25%. The proceedings of the meeting were conducted by Comrade Anita Sinha. It was declared at the meeting that AIPWA and Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh would jointly organize a protest at the Chief Minister’s office on 18 March 2016 to press for the above demands.

On Women’s Day, an all-women’s cultural team, Chorus, was inaugurated. This all-women’s team was an initiative of the revolutionary poet Maheshwar, and has been revived now. Comrade Samta Rai will be the convenor of the Chorus team. Chorus staged Premchand’s Manovritti and also presented various songs. Theatre artist Maya Krishna Rao also presented a version of her legendary performance ‘Walk’.

CPI(ML)’s 10th Patna District Conference

People’s Convention on “Save JNU, Save Democracy”

The open session of the 10th Patna district Conference of CPI(ML) was held in the form of a people’s convention at the public library maidan in Patna on “Save JNU, Save Democracy, Save the Country from Assaults by Sangh Parivar and Modi Government”. This was organized in memory of Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare, Prof. Kalburgi and Rohith Vemula. CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Politburo member Ramji Rai, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Rajaram Singh, CPI(ML) legislative group leader in the Bihar Assembly Mahboob Alam, Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad, former Professor of Patna College Nawal Kishore Choudhury, Dr. PNP Pal, former JNU student Prof. Abhay Kumar, Advocate Javed Ahmed and several others participatedin the convention.

After the people’s convention, the delegates’ session started at 6 PM and was conducted by a committee comprising of comrades Rambali Prasad, Anita Sinha, Satyanarayan Prasad, Mohan and Anwar Hussain. The session was inaugurated by Politburo member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya. Outgoing District Secretary Comrade Amar presented the written working report, and reviewed the struggles and movements which had been undertaken. He highlighted the Party’s experiences during this period as well as the future responsibilities facing the Party. This was followed by a discussion on the report. The delegates gave concrete suggestions on several issues, including the Party’s role in panchayats, developing a concrete working system for educating and training new members, strengthening Party branches and other lower structures, maintainingthe Party’s control over use of economic resources, ensuring adequate guidance from the Party organization to people’s organizations and other issues. Comrade Amar welcomed the delegates’ suggestions and said that they would be incorporated in the report as required, after which the report was unanimously passed.

Addressing the delegates’ session, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya highlighted the need to develop a system for strengthening branches and local structures to make them active and able to shoulder new responsibilities and achieve new targets. He also stressed on the need to strengthen the role of people’s mass organizations. In the final session, the rural and urban sectors of Patna district were integrated and a 53 member Patna district committee was elected under the watch of observer Comrade RN Thakur. The Conference concluded with the district committee members electing Comrade Amar as Secretary.A total of 221 delegates attended the Conference.

Mahadharna by Contract and Honorarium Workers

In response to the call by the Bihar Rajya Anubandh-Mandeya-Niyojit Sewakarmi Sanyukt Morcha, about 1000 contractual-honorarium workers belonging to 17 unions (affiliated as well as not affiliated to the Morcha) staged a massive protest on 1 March 2016 in Gardanibagh, Patna, on the following issues: protesting the Nitish government’s policy of repeated extending the tenure of the high level committee and procrastinatingon the crucial issue of regularization of contractual and temporary workers; demanding regularization of contract-honorarium workers; and demanding passing of the Bill related to service security until the age of 60 and ‘equal pay for equal work’ in the current session of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Apart from these demands, the Mahadharna also announced a 3-day protest from 10 to 12 March to demand removal of anomalies in payment and fixation of honorarium. It was announced that during this period all contract-honorarium workers would work wearing black bands.

The Mahadharna was addressed by Comrade Rambali Prasad, State President Pradeep Kumar Pappu, honorary President Ranvijay Kumar, Bihar Shiksha Pariyojna Parishad Employees’ Union General Secretary Shivshankar Prasad, Karyapalak Sahayak Sewa Sangh Ashish Kumar, AIDS Niyantran Karmachari Sangh General Secretary Dayashnkar Prasad, Sankhyiki Swayamsewak Sangh President Manjay Kumar Chandravanshi, Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya Union President Vidyavati, ASHA Union President Shashi Yadav, Rasoiya Sangh President Saroj Choube, Samvida Ameen Sangh President Ravishankar, Midday Meal Karmachari Sangh leader Dinesh Prasad Singh, Shikshak evem Visheshagya Sangh President Rakesh Kumar, Jeevika Karmachari Welfare Association State President Pradeep Kumar Singh, Shiksha Abhiyan Karmachari Sangh General Secretary Shashi Kumar, Anuj Kumar of Sakshar Bharat, TET-STET Shikshak Sangh President Markandeya Pathak, ITI Sangh President Chandrashekhar Verma, Samaveshi Shiksha Sangh spokesperson Santosh Kumar, and Kastura Gandhi Vidyalaya Sangh President Atul Bansal.

The speakers at the dharna questioned the intensions of the Nitish Kumar government on the question of regularizing the lakhs of contract-honorarium workers in Bihar. They alleged that the workers who were already deprived of their rights are now being also deprived of the right to fight elections; it was pointed out that this is unconstitutional.

‘JNU Speaks’ Event Attacked by ABVP at Muzaffarpur

In Muzaffarpur in Bihar, a citizens’ forum Muzaffarpur Nagrik Manch organised a ‘JNU Speaks’ (Main JNU Bol Raha Hun) program on 13 March, inviting several JNU teachers, students and alumni. They had booked the Municipal Corporation hall. At the last minute, the Bihar Administration cancelled the permission citing objections from one Pandit Chandra Kishor Parashar who runs a Cow Protection Committee (Gau Raksha Samiti – this is a vigilante, violent outfit of the kind that killed a man in Dadri on the pretext that he ate beef). The organisers then continued the program on a stage outside the hall. Around 20 ABVP goons flung huge rocks at more than 200 people gathered peacefully for the program, injuring several. The gathering included a large number of women.

The police did not arrest the assailants, and instead made an attempt to arrest the organisers, but could not do so because hundreds courted arrest along with the organisers.

Participants included Dr.Subodh Malakar, JNU Professor and Comrade Kanhaiya’s guide, ex-JNUSU President and Delhi AISA Secretary Ashutosh, Prabir Purkayastha, Science Activist who as a JNU student was jailed during Emergency, Dr.Ish Mishra of Hindu College, JNU alumni QaiserShamim, former JNUSU President Jagdeeshwar, ex-JNUSU Joint Secretary Kavita Krishnan and several others.

The gathering then held a protest march on the streets of Muzaffarpur where all was peaceful, and then culminated the ‘JNU Speaks’ event in the garden outside the CPI(ML) Office.

The whole episode raised several issues. First, the episode once again showed how the ABVP and RSS is systematically launching dangerous physical attacks of a murderous nature on public events that are critical of the Government and the RSS worldview. Lacking ideas, they launch rocks, batons and in Gwalior, even bullets, at speakers and intellectuals who do not share their ideas. It is such violent fascist attacks that constitute a clear and present danger to India and democracy. Second, the Grand Alliance Government headed by Nitish Kumar – with its newfound bonhomie with Modi – kneeled to the Sangh and cancelled permission at the diktats of the Gau Raksha goon. The cancellation of the program deliberately exposed the participants to the violent attacks of a handful of ABVP assailants, whom the police did nothing to disperse or arrest. Why is it that the Nitish Government seems helpless or lacks the will to prevent Dalits’ huts being burnt down by feudal attackers in Nawada, nor able to walk its talk on supporting JNU and defending democracy from Sangh attacks? Third, the people of Muzaffarpur showed that unlike the JD(U)-RJD administration, they would not kneel to the Sangh’s hooliganism. Hundreds of people from Muzaffarpur including scores of women refused to disperse or run away – and stayed till the very end, saying that JNU was the one place where students from poor homes could study and emerge as leaders of society.

Speaking at the event Ashutosh reminded the gathering that Chandrashekhar, the JNUSU President martyred at Siwan, had been the one to lead a struggle against fee hikes in 1995 and for affirmative action in admissions – due to which JNU fees remain low enough for students from poor and deprived backgrounds to enter JNU and thrive. Ashutosh demanded the release of JNU students Umar and Anirban and DU Professor Geelani, justice for Rohith Vemula, and withdrawal of all punishment for JNU students by a biased enquiry committee. Prof.Malakar pointed out that a substantial section of JNU students were SC/ST, OBC students and women, and this was taken as an affront by the RSS. Dr. Ish Mishra spoke of his days as a student in JNU in the 1970s, when JNU students fought to keep DTC bus rates low – for the people of Delhi. Prabir Purkayastha remembered the days of Emergency and said that JNU student activists were being arrested now in 2016 from the campus as they were during the Emergency. Qaiser Shamim and Jagdeeshwar spoke of the attack on JNU in the context of the concerted attacks on the Constitution and democracy under Modi’s rule. Kavita Krishnan pointed out that Modi was hunting JNU students for slogans, while allowing Mallya and other corporates to loot India and scoot. She said that the whole country drew hope and inspiration from the resistance of HCU and JNU students, and hoped that an even more powerful movement would be seen in days to come, to defend the path of BR Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh. Organisers of the JNU Speaks event included the Convener of the Muzaffarpur Nagrik Manch and JNU alumnus Vijay Shankar Choudhury, Shahid Kamal of AIPF, Prof Awadhesh Kumar of RVBM Mahila College, Prof Harish Chandra Satyarthi, Social Science Head of BR Ambedkar University, Dr Nand Kishor Nandan of LS College, Prof DP Rai retired professor of of RVBM College, Suraj Singh Convener Insaf Manch, AAP leader Anand Patel, as well as CPI, CPIM, CPIML, CPIML-ND, Insaf Manch, Gram Sabha and Mohalla Sabha.

10th year of Pricol Workers’ Struggle Commenced

Pricol workers held a meeting on 13 March 13 to celebrate the commencement of the 10th year of their struggle for workers’ rights and dignity. The whole area around the venue was decorated with red flags which announced that the efforts of the State, the industrial lobby in Coimbatore and the management to crush the Pricol workers’ movement can never succeed. The programme commenced with a spirited performance of folk music and dance by the Kovai Cultural Team.

Comrade Mallika, one amongst the 29 workers who were slapped with false cases and acquitted on 3 December, hoisted the red flag. The workers then paid homage to those who laid their lives for the cause of workers’ rights and transformation of society. Comrade Saminathan, General Secretary of the Kovai Maavatta Pricol Workers Otrumai Sangam, presided over the meeting. Advocates K.M. Ramesh, Lakshmananarayanan and Bharathi who fought Pricol workers’ cases at various stages were honoured by Comrades Gurusami, Krishnamurthy and Janakiraman, leaders of Pricol workers’ movement.

Com. Dipankar released AICCTU’s Working Class Charter for the 2016 Elections and AICCTU state office bearers Comrades S. Jawahar, N.K. Natarajan, A.S. Kumar, T. Sankarapandian and Bhuvaneswari received the copies. Comrade Dipankar said that the Pricol workers’ struggle began as a workers’ struggle, developed into a struggle of their families and then as a struggle of the working class as a whole. He came down heavily on the BJP government at the Center and Sanghi forces for their concerted attempts to push their corporate, communal and casteist agenda. He referred to the various electoral fronts that are emerging in Tamil Nadu on the eve of elections and said these ruling class political parties can form many fronts but the actual front is the battlefront which fights for the rights of workers’ and people.

Comrade S. Kumarasami said that Pricol workers are in jail as they fought for the rights of the workers, they are in the same jail where the freedom fighter and working class leader V.O. Chidambaram was lodged for fighting for workers. Comrade Dipankar introduced the candidates of two constituencies in Coimbatore. Comrade P. Natarajan, area committee secretary of the Party and President of KMPTOS is contesting the assembly elections from Mettupalayam constituency and Comrade Velmurugan, former councillor in Coimbatore Corporation in Goundampalayam constituency. The meeting concluded with militant slogans of the workers who vowed to do all that they can to bring their comrades in jail back. Earlier, Comrade Dipankar inaugurated a library opened in the memory of Comrade TKS Janarthanan.

AIPF Meeting in Solidarity with Hyderabad-JNU-JU and against the Communal Fascist BJP

“Have you ever seen an anti-national? If not, look at me, I am an anti-national”: Dr.BinayakSen thus began his speech at the Bharat Sabha Hall in Kolkata on 27 Febaruary, in a protest meeting organised by AIPF West Bengal in solidarity with student protests in Hyderabad, JNU and Jadavpur. Dr.Binayak Sen exposed the designs of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh and highlighted the fact that even after the High Court in Chhattisgarh had announced a sentence life imprisonment on his case, the Chhattisgarh government had appealed that he should be hanged to death becausehe was an “anti-national”! After a long legal battle, Dr. Binayak Sen was released by the Supreme Court. At the AIPF meeting, he made the crucial distinction between being anti-State and anti-national – a distinction which the RSS-BJP is aggressively undermining. He also pointed out that charges of “sedition” are aimed at stifling the voices of protest against the anti-people policies of the government. He called for the promulgation of a law against “anti-people”activities, to be used against all those who propagateanti-people policies.

Addressing this well-attended protest meeting AISA President Sucheta De said that struggling people all over the country are with JNU. She also mentioned that JNU has consistently exposed the corporate-fascist policies of the Modi government. And so, JNU was an eye sore for the Sangh Parivar and to be “punished” for consistently daring to oppose the RSS-BJP. Other speakers included Subhonil Chowdhury, alumni of JNU and Research Scholar of Institute of Development Studies, social activist Bolan Gangopadhyay, Advocate of Calcutta High Court Subroto Mukherjee, Secretary of APDR Rajnit Sur, Student of Jadavpur University (JU) Sudhanya Pal and Professor of JU Manas Ghosh.The meeting was presided over by Dr. Debasish Dutta, Meher Enginear, Amlan Bhattacharya of PUCL, AB Chowdhury and Kalyan Sen, A resolution demanding immediate release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, repeal of Sedition Act, and withdrawal of all cases on JNU students was passed in this protest meeting.

Red Salute to Comrade Chinta Singh !

Comrade Chinta Singh, a veteran of several struggles in Palamu in Jharkhand, passed away on 12 March. For the past 5-6 years, she had been suffering from goiter. She was born on 25 August 1964 in the Manatu block of Palamu in Jharkhand, an area known for feudal oppression. She joined CPI(ML) in 1986 and led several movements against feudal forces in the area. She played an important role in organizing the poor, and especially women, in the Palamu block. In the 1990s, she led a massive and successful movement of Dalit-adivasi workers against the local forest officials, demanding more wages for workers employed in the tendu leaf industry. She organized workers of the Hindalco Siding company to demand their rights, and led a movement against state repression in Latehar. Comrade Chinta emerged as a voice of resistance against feudal oppression and state repression, leading movements against a gang rape in Tarwadih in 1986 and against the draconian TADA law in 1992. In 1995, she was also the CPI(ML) candidate from the Assembly constituency. In 2005, she fought the zila parishad elections from Tarahsi. From 1992 to 2003, she held several responsible positions in AIPWA as well as the Party at the district, state and Central levels. In all these struggles and responsibilities, she received support from her husband, Comrade Gupteshwar Singh, who is a government teacher. CPI(ML) salutes the legacy of our beloved comrade Chinta!

ML Update | No. 11 | 2016

March 8, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19, No. 11, 08 ­– 14 MARCH 2016

Victory to the Fighting Students of JNU!

Victory to Young India’s Dream of Freedom and Equality!

​w​
ith the release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on an interim bail, his return to the campus amidst a rousing reception and his equally rousing and widely televised address to the JNU community, we have now entered a challenging new phase in the ongoing student movement.

On the face of it, the bail granted to Kanhaiya Kumar marks an initial victory for JNU students and the wider sections of the democratic opinion in the country in the face of a police crackdown instigated by absurd charges of sedition on students and teachers, and the open and concerted thuggery of the Sangh brigade in court premises and on peaceful protests and assemblies. But the unwarranted remarks made in the High Court order pitting students against soldiers, describing dissent in terms of infection and gangrene and prescribing treatment ranging from antibiotics to amputation clearly tell us more about the dominant ideological environment than principles of constitutional law and justice.

With the judiciary speaking in such vicious terms, the RSS goon brigade naturally feels emboldened to carry on with its open display of terror and thuggery. A BJP youth leader in UP has offered a Rs 5 lakh bounty for whoever chops off Kanhaiya’s tongue while another has put up posters right in the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi announcing a bigger reward for bumping him off. And according to the Delhi police directed by the Union Home Ministry, this open death threat is only a matter of ‘defacement of property’ just as Bassi had earlier trivialised the assault in Patiala House premises as an incident of ‘jostling’.

Against these odds, it is inspiring to see the undiminished resolve of the JNU community to carry on the battle for justice. Unconditional acquittal of all the arrested students, withdrawal of sedition charges on all students and restoration of full rights of all the eight students who have been debarred from academic activities in JNU are the three core demands of students and teachers. The chief proctor of the university has resigned in protest against the bureaucratic high-handedness of the authorities and injustice meted out to the students, and the teachers’ association has called for removal of the registrar who has been instrumental in plotting and spearheading the ongoing assault on campus democracy in JNU.

Thanks to the bold resistance of the JNU community and the widespread solidarity it evoked across the country, the BJP smear campaign and witch-hunt against JNU students has been thoroughly exposed. Yet, far from accepting defeat and mending its ways, the Sangh-BJP camp is claiming victory in the ‘ideological war’ over JNU! With elections already declared in five states, BJP leaders have launched a vicious and vitriolic countrywide campaign against the alleged anti-nationalism of the Left. Having won the first round of the JNU battle against the saffron witch-hunt, the Left must now accept this larger challenge and combat the BJP’s communal-fascist pseudo-nationalist campaign with the spirit of progressive democratic patriotism and the unity of people’s struggles for social transformation and greater rights.

The JNU struggle has emerged as a rallying point for students and intelligentsia across the country. The slogan of ‘Azaadi’ or freedom raised so passionately by JNU students has struck a chord with a whole range of ongoing struggles for rights and justice. The Modi government is pursuing an aggressive agenda of subjecting the resources of the country to predatory corporate plunder. It wants unrestricted corporate control over land and water, forests and minerals, labour power and bank finance. The universities and other institutions of learning and research are now being sought to be subordinated to this design, and the culture of debate and dissent is being systematically subverted to promote RSS-dictated intellectual enslavement and ideological regimentation. The call of freedom is today resonating against this stifling atmosphere of fear and corporate-communal aggression.

The convergence of the struggles for justice for Rohith Vemula and rights of JNU students has been a source of great strength for both these struggles. Along with the demand for scrapping of the sedition law a key demand of the present struggle is enactment of a new legislation named after Rohith to stop social discrimination in educational institutions. Beyond the immediate demands of the struggles, the ongoing churning has also highlighted the need for, and potential of, reinvoking the ideas and messages of Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Ambedkar as the defining spirit of the agenda of patriotism, social justice and democracy.

Against every RSS attempt to define Indian nationalism on the basis of Hindu majoritarianism and corporate subjugation, Bhagat Singh will continue to inspire today’s youth to fight for a united people’s India, free from exploitation and oppression. Against every RSS attempt to appropriate Ambedkar as the ‘modern Manu’ and resurrect Manuwadi domination subverting the constitutional values of liberty, equality and fraternity, Ambedkar will continue to guide our forward march towards ‘annihilation of castes’ and attainment of real equality, justice and freedom by defeating the forces and structures of social discrimination, injustice and oppression. In the coming weeks, as we remember Bhagat Singh on his 85th martyrdom anniversary and celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar’s birth, let us arm ourselves with the ideas and inspiration of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to give a resounding rebuff to the pseudo-nationalist offensive of the Sangh-BJP brigade.

10th Tamil Nadu State Conference of CPI(ML)

CPI(ML)’s 10th Tamilnadu State Conference was held on 27th and 28th February at Sengundram, in Thiruvallur district. The conference hall was named after Comrade TKS Janardhanan and Comrade Ammaiappan. The conference began with young woman comrade and AISA leader Com. Seetha hoisting the Party Flag, after wihich all leaders and delegates paid floral tribute to the Martyrs. A seven-member presidium led by Com. Chandramohan conducted the proceedings. Com. Ramesh, State Committee Member presented the condolence resolution and Com. Janakiraman, Thiruvallur district secretary welcomed the delegates. Com. Swapan Mukherjee, central observer, inaugurated the conference. He appealed to the delegates to prepare for bigger struggles against the onslaught of fascist, communal, pro-corporate BJP government at the centre and also against the autocratic Jayalalitha government at the state. Political resolutions and work report were presented by outgoing state secretary Com. Balasundaran. About 250 delegates and 50 observers from 23 districts attended the conference. The exhibition on the topic “Class struggle continues…” was inaugurated by Com. Swapan. After deliberations Com. Balasundaram summed up the discussions on the report and it was unanimously accepted by the house. Com. Balasubramanian, Party secretary of Puducherry UT and Com. John Erimeli, Secretary of Kerala State greeted the conference.

The conference also elected a 35-member state committee which in turn elected Com. Kumarasamy as its Secretary. Com AS Kumar submitted financial report of the Party which was also accepted. Newly elected Secretary in his concluding address gave a call for bigger movements to “Save democracy and Save the nation”. He said that recently lakhs of Tamil Nadu Government employees are up in arms against the neo liberal policies and we were the first to support them. The ground is ripe for the revolutionary party to develop mass movements beyond electoral calculations. Resolutions expressing solidarity with ‘free Pricol 8’ movement and demanding -release of JNU student leaders, an end to atrocities on dalits, scrapping nuclear and methane projects etc. were passed. Workers of Chennai contributed Rs.1 lakh and state AIARLA contributed Rs.15000 to the Pricol movement and handed it to the presidium. The Conference resolved to make 10th anniversary of the Pricol movement on March 13 a success, in which Com. Dipankar will also participate, and also resolved to carry forward the central committee call of ‘Save the nation, Save Democracy, Save the Constitution’ campaign from March 23 – Bhagat Singh’s Matrydom day to April 14 – Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary.

AICCTU holds 5th Jharkhand State Conference in Bokaro

AICCTU held its 5th Jharkhand State Conference in the Bokaro, at the Community Hall on 9 February 2016. The Conference was inaugurated by PB member and AICCTU VP Com. DP Bakshi, after which 2 minutes’ silence was observed as a tribute to and in memory of all the martyred comrades.

A workers’ convention was held in place of the open session, in which the unfair double life imprisonment sentence for the Pricol 8 was condemned and their release was demanded without delay. The convention was presided over by AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen and addressed by several workers’ leaders. Addressing the convention, AICCTU General Secretary Com. Rajiv Dimri said that the government and the judiciary are hand in glove in promoting and forcing corporate Company Raj upon the toiling poor and the working class. He gave the examples of the Pricol 8 and the workers of Maruti and Graziano who have been punished unjustly for asserting the workers’ right to form and join a union of their choice. He said that the time is ripe for a decisive workers’ agitation in India on the lines of the May Day agitation of 1886 in Chicago.

Speakers at the delegate session stressed on taking on the governments at the Centre and in Jharkhand to fight the anti-worker amendments to the Labour Law, increasing the AICCTU membership, organizing contract and honorarium workers like ASHA and Anganwadi workers and construction workers, and standing in solidarity with farmers and movements demanding justice for Rohith Vemula and the ongoing movement in JNU.

After Jharkhand Secretary Shubhendu Sen presented the report it was discussed and decided that AICCTU should form new unions in Jharhand, especially in Ranchi, and should intervene in more workers’ struggles which are not in affiliation with AICCTU; AICCTU should launch a big struggle in the matter of workers being laid off in Jamshedpur on the excuse of medical examination; AICCTU district committees should work on the agenda for opposing privatization and transfer of coal blocks. After discussion the report was passed unanimously.

Addressing the Conference, Com. DP Bakshi said that the union must be strengthened and more contract workers, honorarium workers, construction workers, brick-kiln workers, as well as organized sector workers must be brought under the ambit of AICCTU. He pointed out that in earlier days though the membership was less, the movement was stronger; today the struggle has been weakened because of the Welfare Board. He said that we must look beyond the narrow objective of organizing the workers for making them members of the government Welfare Board. The Conference concluded with the election of a 47 member State Council and a 15 member State Executive. Central observer Com. RN Thakur gave the concluding address in which he said that the true achievement of the Pricol 8 is not merely that they showed exemplary courage in their struggle and went to jail, but also that they organized rural and industrial workers around them and set an example which we must follow.

Ranchi: Left Parties March to Raj Bhawan
Curb Saffron Terror

Left Parties marched to Raj Bhawan on 25 February to demand withdrawal of false cases on JNU students and their immediate release, and to protest against the attack on Constitutional rights and the conspiracy to destroy the democratic system in the country. Hundreds of activists from CPI(ML), CPI(M), CPI, MCC, SUCI and other Left Parties joined the march. Starting from Shaheed Chowk the protest march made its way through Main Road and Kacheri Chowk to reach Raj Bhawan where it culminated in a meeting. The march was led by CPI(ML) State Secretary Com. Janardan Prasad, MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav, District Secretary Com. Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, CPM State Secretary Com. Gopikant Bakshi, Com. KD Singh, MCC leader Com. Mithilesh Singh and SUCI leader Com. Siddheshwar Singh.

Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav said that the Modi government is creating an atmosphere of hatred and frenzy in the country through pseudo-nationalism in order to hide its all-round failure on all fronts. The history of the BJP-Sangh Parivar in the struggle for the country’s freedom and integrity has been that of acting as informers and agents of the British and betraying the country. The Left fought bravely in the freedom struggle and that is why Shaheed Bhagat Singh walked the Marxist road. Those who honour murderers like Godse have no right to hand out certificates of patriotism to people.

MCC MLA Arup Singh said that the real agenda of the BJP is to capture control of JNU which is a centre of Left progressive thought. All the accused students have been framed in fabricated cases and; they are all innocent and will be proved innocent. The BJP will have to pay the price for tearing the democratic fabric of the country and ruining the future of innocent students.

AIPF Meeting in Solidarity with Hyderabad Central University, JNU & JU

“Have you ever seen an anti-national? If not, look at me, I am an anti-national” — with this sentence, Dr. Binayak Sen started his speech at Bharat Sabha Hall on 27th Febaruary, in a protest meeting of AIPF, West Bengal, and in solidarity with “Hyderabad-JNU-Jadavpur”. Dr. Binayak Sen exposed the evil design of Chattisgarh Govt. and reminded that after the court declared life imprisonment for him in 2010, the Chattisgarh govt. appealed that he should be hanged to death, because- “I am an anti-national! In a 147 page judgement, High Court of Raipur denied my bail petition. Finally, Supreme Court granted my bail.” Dr. Sen also mentioned that “anti-state and anti-national are not synonymous. Anti-national charges are aimed at stifling the voices of protest against those who are challenging the anti-people policies of the State.” He rather proposed to promulgate the “anti-people law” against the anti-people policy makers of the state.

In this well attended protest meet, National AISA President, Com. Sucheta De said that in the division created between those in favour or against JNU, the struggling people all over the country are with JNU. She also mentioned that JNU had consistently exposed the corporate-fascist policies of Modi govt. Modi government has failed to develop JNU as an ‘elite brand’, and has established an anti-thesis of the ruling classes. In the wake of rising people’s resistance, Modi Govt had to eventually backtrack on Land Acquisition Bill after promulgating it through ordinance route four times. She mentioned that Rohith Vemula not only raised Dalit issues, but also questioned capital punishment and protested against social oppression. JNU stood firmly in support of Hyderabad and therefore had become an eye sore for the Sangh Parivar.

Other speakers were Subhonil Chowdhury, alumni of JNU and Research Scholar of Institute of Development Studies, social activists Bolan Gangopaddhyay, Advocate of Calcutta High Court, Subroto Mukherjee, Secretary of APDR, Ranjit Sur, Sudhanya Pal, Students of Jadavpur University and Manas Gosh, Professor in JU.

The meeting was presided over by Dr. Debasish Dutta, Meher Engineer, Amlan Bhattacharya of PUCL, AB Chowdhury and Kalyan Sen. A resolution demanding immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, repeal of Sedition Act and withdrawal of all false cases was passed in this protest meeting.

Countrywide Protests against Sangh, Modi Govt, on Rohith and JNU Issue Continue

The countrywide protests against the Sangh-Modi government on the Rohith-JNU issue are spreading and getting stronger.

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the CPI(ML) observed a state-wide protest week from 14 to 20 February after which on 22 February dharnas and hunger strikes were held at District Headquarters in Varanasi and the entire Poorvanchal on the occasion of Modi’s Varanasi visit. From 23 to 25 February 6 Left parties had called for a countrywide protest, in response to which CPI(ML) and other Left parties organized protests, rallies, marches, and effigy burnings.

During the protest week- protest meetings, marches, and meetings were held in Sitapur, Faizabad, Mathura, Chandauli, Ghazipur, and Muradabad. CPI(ML) and AISA held a protest at BHU gate in Varanasi which was disrupted by ABVP and Sanghi goons. The administration arrested ML and AISA activists and released them at the Police Lines where they resumed their protest march. Protest meetings and marches were also held at Sukrut (Sonbhadra), Urai (Jalon), Mirzapur, Azamgarh, Bhadohi, Deoriya, and Gorakhpur. At Pilibhit AIARLA held dharnas at Puranpur and Marori block headquarters.

In Lucknow, the CPI(ML), CPM, CPI, SUCI, along with people’s organizations and intellectuals took out a march on 25 February which culminated in a meeting at the Gandhi statue chaired by former VC of Lucknow University Prof. Rooprekha Verma and addressed by Dr Girish, Subhashini Ali, Ramesh Singh Sengar and other distinguished speakers from PUCL, AIDWA, AIPWA, AISA, Women’s Federation, IPTA and JASAM. The speakers said that the Sangh Parivar, which made no contribution to the country’s freedom struggle, is now giving the country lessons in nationalism. It is essential that we give a fitting reply to their pseudo-nationalism and their attack on democratic rights including the right to dissent and freedom of expression. Earlier, on 13 February these Parties and people’s organizations had held a joint protest at the Ambedkar statue at Hazratganj Chowk which the saffron brigade had unsuccessfully tried to disrupt.

As part of the united Left protest call, a joint protest was organized in front of the Allahabad court where some lawyers resorted to violence and attacked and beat up the protesters, injuring several people including women. Clearly, these lawyers were Sanghis who used the black coats as a cover for vandalism and lumpenism on the same lines as the condemnable incident at the Patiala House court. It was only after repeated insistence that the police registered a complaint in this matter.

On 25 February protest marches and meetings were also held in Sonbhadra, Baliya, Ghazipur, Lakhimpur Kheeri, Pilibhit, Kanpur, Faizabad, Azamgarh, Gonda, Muradabad, Mathura, and Mughalsarai.

In Rajassthan, protests were held jointly by CPI(ML), CPM, CPI and the Loktantrik Adhikar Evam Sadbhavana Manch in front of the Udaipur Collectorate on 25 February against the Modi government’s relentless attacks on citizen’s democratic rights. The protesters demanded justice for Rohith Vemula and the unconditional release of the JNU students arrested on false charges of sedition. Speakers addressing the protest meeting said that Universities like JNU and HCU are being targeted for opposing the anti-student policies and saffronization and privatization of education by the Modi government; only recently these Universities had played a major role in the nationwide protests against the ending of non-NET fellowships and in the Occupy UGC and WTO Go Back agitations. They pointed out the hypocrisy and opportunism of the Modi government which calls the JNU students anti-national for organizing an Afzal Guru event, but is desperate to form a government in Kashmir with the PDP which openly calls Afzal Guru a martyr. At the conclusion of the meeting a delegation met the Collector and submitted a memorandum.

In Bhojpur district, Bihar, 45 prisoners in the Ara jail went on a 2-day collective hunger strike to demand justice for Rohith Vemula and release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya and other students and withdrawal of all the fabricated sedition charges. On the first day hundreds of inmates who are ML supporters marched inside the Ara jail and held a meeting at the Bhagat Singh statue. The speakers at the meeting said that all justice-loving people are with the JNU students who have been falsely implicated in sedition charges. They demanded justice for Rohith Vemula and the removal of Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya as well as the VC of HCU. On the second day the prisoners continued their protest and boycotted court appearances. The condition of Pramod Kahar, on hunger strike, worsened and he was hospitalized. The speakers stressed that students and youth would continue their protests until their demands were met. Manoj Manzil, Anjay Mehta, Suresh Lal, Pappu Paswan, Budhan Choudhury, Arun Singh, Satendra Rawani, Satyadev Ram, Ramesh Paswan, Raju Choudhury, Sonadhari Yadav, and others took part in the hunger strike.

18th District Conference of Nirman Mazdoor Union Held in Lucknow

The Nirman Mazdoor Union affiliated to AICCTU held its 18th District Conference on 22 February in the B-Block Common Hall at Darulshafa, Lucknow. Inaugurating the Conference, AICCTU State President Hari Singh said that all-round assault on the working class has escalated after the Modi government came to power. Through amendments in the Labour laws, the government is attempting to push the working class into a new slavery and to break their will power by slapping false cases and jailing them. 8 workers of Pricol in Tamil Nadu have been sentenced with double life imprisonment. He called upon workers to give a befitting reply to this injustice by responding to the call of major trade unions for a countrywide strike on 10 March and making it a resounding success. The Conference was also addressed by CPI(ML) District in-charge Com. Ramesh Singh Sengar, AIPWA State President Com. Tahira Hassan, Jan Sanskriti Manch State President Com. Kaushal Kishore and others. Com. Surendra Prasad of the outgoing Union Committee presented the annual working Report which was passed after discussion. Finally, a 15 member Executive was elected with Com. Rajpal as President and Com. Surendra Prasad as Secretary. Hundreds of construction workers participated in the Conference.

Left Parties Hold People’s Convention in Bhopal

A people’s convention was organized by all the Left and communist parties in Madhya Pradesh at Bhopal on 3 March to highlight the ever growing attacks on the fundamental rights of the people of MP. The Convention was addressed by CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Prabhat Kumar.

ML Update | No. 10 | 2016

March 1, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 10 | 1-8 March 2016

Rise against the Brazen Lies, Repressive Rule and Anti-people Budgets of the Modi Government

The first week of the Budget Session of Parliament has once again revealed the deep disdain the current ruling dispensation has for the people and their concerns, needs and rights. The session began amidst countrywide protests against the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the subsequent police crackdown in JNU, the arrests and interrogation of JNU students on charges of ‘sedition’ and the concerted RSS-BJP assault on JNU students, teachers and other citizens defending JNU and democracy. But we could trust the Modi government to keep conspicuously silent about all this and the President’s inaugural address to the joint session of Parliament has done precisely that.

The arrogance of the government found its most loud melodramatic expression in the speech of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Already in the dock on the Rohith Vemula issue, Smriti Irani could only weave a web of brazen lies in a vain attempt to project herself as a victim of a conspiracy, her lies being quickly nailed by Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula and the doctor who first checked Rohith soon after his death. In a brazen attempt to divert attention from her role in the Hyderabad episode, she started reading out from alleged leaflets circulated in JNU on the mythology of Durga and Mahishasur, trying to project JNU students not only as ‘anti-national’ but also as anti-Hindu. It did not matter to her that in India’s pluralist tradition Mahishasur is also seen as a martyr in many regions and by many groups, especially among adivasis and dalits and her own party MP from Delhi, Udit Raj has been associated with the Mahishasur celebration in JNU.

While the government continued with its paranoid demonization of JNU and declared a virtual war on the JNU community, the Home Minister even trying to discover a Pakistan connection and terrorist links with the JNU incident, in BJP-ruled Haryana the Jat reservation agitation was allowed to go berserk, indulging in indiscriminate acts of arson and even horrific crimes like gang rapes. The government which swooped down on JNU students with astonishing alacrity, remained a mute spectator even as Haryana was ravaged and RSS goons attacked Kanhaiya Kumar and journalists, teachers and activists right in the premises of the Patiala House court. And the Prime Minister only amplified this paranoia by invoking the bogey of destabilisation which has been notoriously used in the past to clamp down Emergency and inflict a blanket suspension of constitutional liberties and rights.

Ever since coming to power with the grand rhetoric of ‘achchhe din’, the Modi government either claims to be a victim of the past or continues to conjure visions of a rosy future even as the present is overshadowed by a growing all-round crisis. The pattern has been evident once again in this year’s railway and general budgets. The government shamelessly claimed credit for not raising fares in the railway budget even as it announced several pre-budget increases in fare, drastically raised the cancellation fee and abolished the fare concession hitherto available to children in the 5-11 age group. And let us not forget that this huge burden has been thrust on passengers amidst a significant drop in global oil prices. The railway ministry remains mired in its elitist obsession with ‘bullet trains’ and other high-speed train services while ignoring the questions of improving basic amenities for ordinary passengers, ensuring railway safety and expanding railway routes and train services in backward and remote regions.

The general budget presented by Arun Jaitley provided yet another statement of the government’s failure and betrayal on the economic front. Having painted the Indian economy in rosy colours in last year’s economic survey – the economy was said to have reached a ‘sweet spot’ where double-digit growth was just round the corner – the government now has to deal with the reality of a falling growth rate and acute crisis in the two crucial sectors of agriculture and banking. In his budget speech, Jaitley blamed ‘an unsupportive global environment, adverse weather conditions and obstructive political atmosphere’ for the economic decline. BJP propagandists are describing this year’s budget as being ‘farmer-friendly’, but the fact is all that farmers have got in this budget is a vague promise of doubling agricultural income by 2022 and a moderately increased allocation for irrigation without any immediate relief to face the impact of widespread drought, crop failure, credit crunch, unremunerative prices and unresponsive procurement mechanism. If anything, the budget has added a huge insult to India’s deeply injured farmers.

The budget said nothing about the non-implementation of the Food Security Act even three years after enactment and made false claims about making the highest allocation for MNREGA even as it fell way short of the 2011-12 level in terms of real prices. The government is now deafeningly silent on its 2014 election claim of repatriation of black money; instead it announced yet another amnesty scheme for people with unaccounted income and wealth. The habitual tax thieves and loan defaulters got a big nod with the announcement of the corporate-friendly dispute resolution mechanism which will effectively abolish all corporate liability for unpaid taxes in lieu of some token payment. Having pushed public sector banks into a huge crisis by forcing them to extend massive loans to corporate houses and then write off the accumulated dues, the government is now pushing for increasing privatisation of the banking sector as has been made apparent by the decision to lower the government’s stakes in IDBI from the current level of more than 80 percent to less than 51 percent.

The tax policy in India is among the most regressive in the world with a low tax-to-GDP ratio coupled with a huge reliance on indirect taxes hitting the common people. By further increasing the burden of service tax while leaving corporate taxes unchanged, this year’s budget has only reinforced the regressive nature of India’s revenue structure. The government has pocketed the lion’s share of the gains accruing from the drop in oil prices by increasing duties and now with added across-the-board cess on the purchase of almost all goods and services, the government has passed on the entire burden of its economic failures and the impunity enjoyed by the super rich for its routine violation of almost every law of the land on the shoulders of the poor and the middle classes. It is this vast majority of the people who fund the budget (by paying taxes and duties and also responding to the government’s appeal to give up subsidies), yet it is they who bear all the burden and remain permanently at the receiving end.

The budget session began with powerful protests outside Parliament by students and peasants and adivasis. With the government refusing to address the immediate needs and demands of the people, the protests must now get louder against the callous and repressive Modi regime.

A Budget of Betrayal

Arun Jaitley doesn’t Address the Burning Issues Facing The Common People and The Indian Economy

The budget presented today by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley does not address the burning issues facing the common people and the Indian economy, while blaming “an unsupportive global environment, adverse weather conditions and an obstructive political atmosphere” for the growing economic hardship.
The budget does not even mention the Food Security Act which is yet to be implemented in full. The only reference to public distribution system is made in the form of proposed ‘automation’ of three lakh fair price shops. While promising an increased emphasis on irrigation, the government has done little to address the credit crunch and procurement crisis which lie at the heart of the deepening agrarian crisis that continues to drive thousands of Indian farmers to suicide in every month.
The vague promise of setting up a funding agency for higher education with a meagre corpus of Rs 1,000 crore does in no way address, let alone answer, the crisis on the higher education front where students from middle class and poor backgrounds are being systematically priced out. There is no major initiative on the health sector either – the government seems to be only interested in leaving poor patients at the mercy of an increasingly expensive and ever expanding PPP mode.
While as many as 75 lakh middle class households responded to the government’s appeal to give up LPG subsidy, the super-rich continue to violate tax laws and default on repayment of bank loans. Yet, the government has extended no benefit to the middle class while continuing to pamper the rich with greater exemptions, tax amnesties and even incentives to violate the laws of the land. The regressive character of India’s taxation policy has been further reinforced in this year’s budget with the government going for added cess and surcharges on goods and services, leaving corporate tax rates unchanged and announcing only a minor increase of 3% surcharge on annual personal income of more than Rs one crore.
The huge jump in the allocation of the road transportation sector from Rs 28679 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 69,422 in 2015-16 (revised estimate) to 1,03,386 crore in this year’s budget clearly shows the government is bearing a growing burden of road construction projects while the private players in PPP mode are walking away with all the benefits.
Indian banking sector is reeling under the burden of huge corporate defaults and the Rs 25,000 crore allocated for recapitalisation of banks will hardly provide any cushion to the public sector banks. The announcement of lowering of government stake in IDBI from more than 80% at present to less than 51% clearly indicates that the government is only interested in using the banking sector crisis as a pretext for privatisation.
CPI(ML) appeals to all to press the government to provide for immediate full implementation of the Food security Act, expansion of MNREGA, availability of greater quantities of easier and cheaper credit for farmers and for people engaged in various livelihood-related projects and small enterprises and increased allocation on health and education fronts.

Countrywide protests in solidarity with JNU continue

Protests continue to be being held across the country to show solidarity with JNU and to oppose the crackdown by the government on the University and the oppression unleashed upon students.

West Bengal and Tripura: In Kolkata the CPI-ML took out a rally on 18 February to stand with JNU students and to condemn the oppression and witch hunt being unleashed upon the campus. In Tripura University the students held a protest demonstration to express solidarity with JNU. In Kolkata AISA also organized a rally and demanded a stop to the witch hunt of JNU students. During a protest held at Jadavpur University, ABVP goons attacked the protesting students and trampled upon posters bearing pictures of Rohith Vemula. This was strongly protested by the students.

Bihar: Protests in support of JNU were held across Bihar. In Patna, a spirited protest was organized in front of the State BJP office during which BJP activist resorted to stone throwing, resulting in injuries to several students and one journalist. The police did nothing to control the violent BJP workers and instead lathi-charged the students. The dharna demanded the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar and others, ending the witch hunt of JNU students, and revoking of all false cases of sedition.

On 19 February a ‘rail roko’ demonstration was held at Rajendra Nagar railway station in Patna during which many trains were stopped. AISA, AISF and other student organizations took part in this protest. On 20 February a human chain was organized from Patna University gate to Darbhanga House, in which about 150 students from various student organizations as well as intellectuals participated shouting slogans of ‘Save JNU’ and ‘Justice for Rohith Vemula’. On 23 February a protest meeting was organized at Patna University in which leaders and activists from CPI-ML, AISA, RYA, Patna University Professors, and various people’s organizations participated and Hirawal presented songs.

Protests were also held in Purnea, Bhagalpur, Supoul, and Muzaffarpur.

Jharkhand: In Giridih on 16 February and in Raj Dhanwar and Bagodar on 19 February rallies were taken out under the banner of AISA, RYA and AISF. In Bermo, Bokaro district, a rally was taken out on 16 February where ABVP goons attacked the protesters; an FIR in this matter has been registered at the local thana. Again on 20 February another huge protest rally was taken out to stand with JNU.

AISA and RYA took out a protest march in Ranchi on 12 February. On 17 Febraury the Vidhan Sabha was gheraoed under the banners of AISA, SFI, AISF, RYA, AIYF, and AIDSO, after which a protest meeting was held at Firayalal Chowk. On 18 February a collection of poems ‘Pratirodh ke Paksh’ was released at Ranchi University during which the Sanghi assault on JNU was condemned. A citizen’s march was organized by AIPF, JSM and other cultural organizations.

Maharashtra: In Pune AISA along with Phule Ambedkar Kriti Samiti called for a bandh in Pune University on 12 February; campaigns were conducted in the week leading up to the bandh to call for participation. About 80% University departments remained closed on the day of the bandh and some examinations had to be postponed. A protest meeting was held at the University main building in which the speakers condemned the role of the government, police and administration in JNU as well as the Rohith Vemula case.

A protest was held in Nagpur on 13 February in which CPI-ML, CPI-M, CPI, SUCI, Bolshevik Party and BRP Bahujan Mahasangh participated. A huge protest was held in front of Mumbai University on 15 February in which AISA, SFI, AISF, DYFI, Samta Vidyarthi Aghadi and other organizations participated.

Chhattisgarh: A joint Left protest was held in front of the Durg Collectorate under the banner ‘Save JNU, Save Democracy’. Speakers addressing the protest meeting condemned the crackdown on JNU and a memorandum was submitted to the President through the SDM demanding immediate release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya, revoking of sedition charges on all 8 accused students, ending the witch hunt on JNU students, constituting a high level enquiry and punishing the guilty.

Uttar Pradesh: The CPI-ML organized a rally in Gorakhpur in which hundreds of youth, women, and intellectuals participated, starting from the district party office and culminating in a protest meeting at the Town Hall in front of the Gandhi statue. The speakers condemned the anti-people and anti-student actions of the government. They protested the Gorakhpur University VC‘s becoming a signatory to the BJP’s signature campaign and demanded that the UP Governor take action against him as he was acting like an agent of the BJP.

Rajasthan: On 18 Feb in Udaipur, Left activists Saurabh Naruka and Rahul Rot along with 4 other activists went to distribute pamphlets in the Science College where about 30-40 ABVP activists attacked them. They were badly beaten up with wooden stools by the ABVP goons and threatened with death threats. Com. Saurabh Naruka received grave injuries on the hands and shoulders and Com. Rahul Rot’s motor cycle was also broken.

The injured Left activists went to the Bhoopalpura thana where their complaint was accepted but till 7 pm no FIR was registered. Due to political pressure, without an FIR, no medical examination of the injured could be done. Later a delegation of Left parties went to the thana, met the thana in-charge and demanded that an FIR should be registered without delay and action should be taken against the guilty.

AICCTU Holds Convention In Bhilai

AICCTU organized a convention on ‘Assault on Workers’ Rights and Our Responsibility’ at the BMG Hall in Bhilai. AICCTU is conducting a countrywide campaign for the release of the 8 Pricol workers unjustly sentenced to double life imprisonment. The AICCTU convention was organized as part of this campaign and reiterated the demand for the release of the Pricol 8 while expressing total solidarity with them.

Through the Convention AICCTU called upon the people to participate in maximum numbers in the All India Virodh Diwas to be observed on 10 March by all Central Trade Unions. This Virodh Diwas is to demand a 12 point charter of demands including- Rs 18000 per month wages, taking back anti-worker amendments to the Labour Law, to oppose privatization and disinvestment, to demand equal pay for equal work for contract workers, and others.

The Convention also demanded the immediate release of the JNUSU President, condemned the witch hunt and persecution of students and demanded that the sedition charges against students be withdrawn.

Lohardaga Block Office Gheraoed

The CPI-ML Lohardaga Block Committee (Jharkhand) gheraoed the Sadar Block for 2 hours on 16 February demanding that government declarations should be implemented without delay and the services of honorarium workers should be made permanent. The protestors also expressed solidarity with JNU. The gherao was led by Party district in-charge Com. Mahesh Kumar Singh. Many activists including Hazari Oraon, Bal Govind Bhagat, Biga Sahu, Manu Thakur, and others participated in the protest. The BDO and CO held talks with a delegation from the Party and gave them a firm assurance that these problems would be resolved.

Protests Demanding Ration Card, 50 Kg Rice For All Poor And Release Innocent Students Of JNU

Protest programmes were organized under the joint banner of CPI-ML and Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Sabha at the block offices in Mandu, Patratu, Ramgarh and Gola blocks of Ramgarh district (Jharkhand). Hundreds of people took part in the dharnas at each block office. Speakers addressing the dharnas said that the BJP government in Jharkhand is showing much haste to implement the pro-corporate policies enacted by the Central government and has launched an attack on democracy. The State government has ignored the demand that all poor should be included in the BPL list and should get 50 kg food grains and 5 litres of kerosene; the government has made ration cards for only 20% of the poor and kept out a major portion of the population of poor from the list. Ration card holders have been promised 5 kg rice per person but only 4 kg is being given. 100 days’ work for rural workers through MNREGA and payment of minimum wages are being flouted brazenly; corruption is rampant in the issue of dakhal-kharij of lands, caste, residential and income certificates. The protesters shouted slogans on all these issues.

The protests also strongly condemned the arrest of JNUSU President and the witch hunt and suspension of 8 JNU students. The speakers said that this action is part of a calculated drive by the Modi government to crush campus democracy and students’ movements. Only recently Rohith Vemula was branded as an anti-national and made the victim of political repression; now in the same way JNU students are being made victims of a planned witch hunt. HCU and JNU are being targeted for opposing the policies of the government and the RSS. The meeting vociferously made the following demands: (1) All poor should get ration cards and 50 kg rice and 5 litres kerosene per person should be issued; (2) Arrested JNU students should be released and false charges against them should be taken back; (3) The 8 Pricol workers should be released; (4) Ramgarh should be freed of pollution from sponge factories and other polluting factories; (5) rural raiyyats who have been displaced due to land acquisition for CCL, Rail, Tata Coal, Patratu Thermal, Jindal Steel, Sponge Factories, India Forbes, Glass Factories and other industries should be given rehabilitation, employment, and long due proper compensation.

Shramik Vichaar Ghosthi in Kanpur

AICCTU organized a symposium of ideas on 21 February at Leela Park, Swarup Nagar, Kanpur and demanded that the unjust sentence of double life imprisonment on the 8 Pricol workers should be revoked and they should be released. Several workers’ organizations participated in the symposium which was presided over by Com. Hari Singh and the proceedings were conducted by Com. S.A.M. Zaidi. The speakers condemned the anti-worker policies of the Central and State governments and called upon workers to organize themselves and put up a united fight to oppose these policies.

Anganwadi Workers’ Demonstration in Front of Parliament

Thousands of Anganwadi workers marched to Parliament in Delhi on 15 February with the slogan ‘Save ICDS’. Coming from all corners of the country, these women protested against the huge cuts in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) budget by the Modi government and the proposal to hand over this project to private corporate companies. They vociferously demanded the strengthening of this project which is for the future generations of Indian youth, and regularization and wage increase for the women working in this project.

About 27 lakh Anganwadi workers across the country are part of the ICDS project. Around 10 crore children and women are benefited by this project. This is a project meant for alleviating malnutrition in children and pregnant women, giving them proper and timely health care, creating a good pre-school environment for children in the village/tola itself, and creating awareness towards cleanliness in homes and families. Unfortunately, at the current juncture, this project itself has become a victim of serious malnutrition! In the last budget the Modi government made huge cuts in fund allotment to this project and thus weakened it, adversely affecting its quality. A conspiracy is on for large scale closure of Anganwadi centres. Anganwadi workers are not getting timely payment of even their meager honorarium. There has also been no increase in their honorarium since 2011.

The Anganwadi workers’ movement is being led by the joint front of the Anganwadi karmachari Federation formed by the initiative of 6 Central trade unions. The protesting women gathered at Jantar Mantar from where the rally comprising of thousands of Anganwadi workers marched towards Parliament. A huge public meeting was organized on Parliament Street, addressed by Com. Shashi Yadav of AICCTU, Dr BB Vijayalaxmi and Com. Amarjeet Kaur of AITUC, Com. SR Sindhu of CITU, Comrades Champa and MA Patil of HMS, and Dharmveer and Lata Yadav of INTUC. The meeting was also addressed by AICCTU leader Com. Uma Netam, CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member Com. D Raja, and CITU leader Com. Tapas Sen.

The meeting gave a call for protests across the country and effigy burning of PM Modi. The meeting also condemned the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. At the conclusion of the meeting a 6member delegation met the Finance Minister and submitted a 4 point charter of demands. The demands were as follows: Rs 36,000 crores should be allocated for ICDS in the coming budget so that the Anganwadi system can be improved and more nutritious food can be provided to women and children; under no circumstances should this project be privatized; Anganwadi sevikas and sahayikas should be declared Class 3 and Class 4 workers respectively; they should get 18,000 as wages apart from other facilities. It was also demanded that 2 other women-centred projects (ASHA and Midday Meal Project) should be given increased funds in the Budget and workers in these projects should get increased honorarium.

The delegation which held talks with the Finance Minister consisted of Comrades D Raja, Tapas Sen, Rajiv Dimri, Shashi Yadav, SR Sindhu, BB Vijayalaxmi, Kamlesh Mahal, and MA Patil.

ML Update – A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine -Vol.19 | No. 09 | 23-29 FEB 2016

February 27, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19 | No. 09 | 23-29 FEB 2016

Modi Government’s War on Students and on Democracy

The Modi Government has waged war on campuses and on the right to dissent. If one young life – that of Rohith Vemula – was snuffed out in this war, several other young students charged with ‘sedition’ are facing vilification, arrest, and custodial violence.

But two historic mobilizations on the streets of Delhi – mainly by students and youth – offered a remarkable resistance to Modi’s war on campuses.

On 18 February, defying the TV channels whipping up a frenzy against ‘anti-national JNU’, thousands of Delhi’s students and young people, supported by working class men and women, intellectuals and citizens from all walks of life, marched on the streets of Delhi to show solidarity with JNU. They demanded the release of the JNUSU President and withdrawal of all sedition charges from students, and demanded that JNU revoke the arbitrary suspension of eight student activists. They asserted that shouting slogans was not sedition, and demanded repeal of the anti-sedition law. Above all, they asserted that true patriotism lay in the determination to dissent, to care for the rights of people, and to speak truth to power.

On 23 February, students from all over the country gathered in Delhi in response to the ‘Chalo Delhi’ call by the Joint Action Committee for Justice for Rohith Vemula. Thousands who marched in Delhi asserted that they would not allow the Modi Government to shrug off its responsibility for the suicide of the Dalit scholar and activist.

The march culminated in a public meeting – in which the dais was shared by two anguished parents whose sons are targets of a witch-hunt by the Modi Government: Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith Vemula, and SQR Ilyasi, father of Umar Khalid, one of the JNU students who has since been arrested.

In his suicide note, Rohith had written about how the “value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity” – his caste. Umar, before his arrest, had also spoken of how he too had been ‘reduced to his immediate identity’ as a Muslim man, branded as a member of a Islamic terrorist outfit based purely on his name.

Rohith was expelled from his University based on faked ‘injuries’ by an ABVP leader. He was branded ‘anti-national’ based on slogans raised by his and his comrades in a protest against the hanging of Yakub Memon. Eight students including JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU General Secretary Rama Naga, former JNUSU President Ashutosh Kumar and former Vice President Anant Prakash Narayan, as well as Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, have been thrown out of their University and accused of sedition based on fake videos, fake tweets and fake ‘intelligence reports’. As in Rohith’s case, their slogans condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru have been branded as ‘anti-national.’ The vilification and expulsion of Rohith and the JNU students was incited by ABVP and led by BJP MPs. Far from learning its lesson from the tragic consequences of the witch-hunt of Rohith Vemula, the Modi Government has repeated the witch-hunt of student activists on an even more vicious scale in JNU.

The courageous student and youth movement in support of Rohith Vemula and JNU has effectively ripped off the cloak of ‘nationalism’ and exposed the Government’s authoritarian agenda of cracking down on constitutional liberties, crushing voices of dissent against the Hindutva and pro-corporate agenda, using assaults and murderous attacks by Sanghi thugs as well as the might of the police machinery.

This student movement has also thoroughly exposed the role of certain media channels in inciting hatred and violence against JNU students, using fabricated videos and other fabricated materials. This shameful conduct is in contrast to the courage shown by some journalists, including one young journalist who resigned from one such channel and exposed its role in manipulating videos to incite anti-JNU and anti-Left frenzy.

The Sanghi hate-campaign against JNU raises the slogan of ‘Jo Afzal ki baat karega, voh Afzal ki maut marega’ (Anyone who speaks of Afzal Guru will meet Afzal Guru’s fate), even as the BJP is poised to form Government in Jammu and Kashmir once again with the PDP, which calls Afzal’s hanging a ‘travesty of justice’ and seeks to bring Afzal’s remains back to Kashmir.

But it is no longer hidden that the hatred against ‘Afzal ki baat’ is only a pretext: even ‘Ambedkar ki baat’ (ideas of Dr Ambedkar) are met with hatred and violence. The Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP, fired at Prof Vivek Kumar of JNU in Gwalior recently, when he was about to speak at a public meeting on ‘India of Ambedkar’s Dreams’. The BJYM vandalised copies of the Indian Constitution, as well as other writings of Dr Ambedkar.

The BJP, RSS and ABVP are unable to hide their hatred and disgust for Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution. By allowing ’lawyers’ and a BJP MLA to beat up students, teachers and journalists unchecked inside Court premises, the Modi Government is sending a message of contempt for the Constitution.

One of the most prominent pro-BJP figures, actor Anupam Kher, has called the crackdown on campuses from HCU to JNU as ‘pest control,’ while leaders of BJP and ABVP have called for campuses to be ‘purged’ and ‘sanitised’ of Leftists and progressive activists. Was Rohith Vemula one of the ‘pests’ that the BJP purged from HCU to sanitise the campus? Such dehumanizing language is reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany, and also of more recent remarks by BJP leaders comparing Dalit and Muslim victims to dogs, puppies and so on.

In the meeting of Vice Chancellors convened by the HRD Minister Smriti Irani, there was conspicuous silence on the burning issues of Dalit suicides on campuses and on the recommendations of the Thorat Committee report including the demand for enactment of a ‘Rohith Act’ to curb caste discrimination on campuses. There was also silence on the move to slash scholarships and impose WTO rules on India’s higher education. Instead, the Minister shamefully sought to hide these burning issues under the diktat to fly the tricolour on all campuses – ignoring the fact that the tricolor already flies in most campuses.

The Sangh Parivar and Modi Government, admirers of Savarkar and Godse, have always feared and hated the legacies of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh. Now, they are engaged in a desperate attempt to brand the followers of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh as ‘anti-national.’ They will certainly fail in this bid – and the brave young followers of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh will give them a fitting rebuff, and save democracy from the Sanghi onslaught.

#StandwithJNU –
Voices Of Solidarity Resonate In India And Across The Globe

As the sordid tale of morphed pictures, doctored videos, witch-hunting based on fake twitter handles and brutal violence against JNU students and faculty inside the court premises and outside begin to emerge, voices from various parts of the country and the world have affirmed their solidarity with JNU. In fact, even before the lies underlying accusations against JNU students were exposed, students, youth, cultural activists and scholars across the world questioned the crackdown on the space that encouraged debates and discussions on diverse views and where certain problematic slogans had been unanimously condemned by JNU students’ union and teachers’ association.

On 12 February a massive march took inside the campus demanding release of JNUSU president Com. Kanhaiya and withdrawal of sedition charges against other students. The march was led by the JNUTA and over 4000 students and teachers participated in the march. Besides leaders of the left, several other scholars and political leaders addressed the meeting held after the march. Disturbed by the immense support on campus with the student leaders arrested and charged, the ABVP in keeping with its destructive politics attacked Congress leader Anand Sharma inside the campus. The next day, students, faculty members, alumni and several others joined hands to form a nearly 3 km long human chain in JNU. The students and faculty of JNU have continued to stay in the ad-block, and holding a lecture series on ‘nationalism’ and the ‘idea of the nation’ in which lectures have been given by Prof. Ayesha Kidwai, Prof. Prabhat Patnaik, Prof. Nivedita Menon, Prof. G. Arunima, Prof. Vivek Kumar, noted journalist P. Sainath, among others.

Nearly 40 teachers’ associations from across campuses of this country have come out and expressed their solidarity with JNU. Teachers from some of the top universities in the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and Columbia have expressed their support to the JNU students. Nearly 455 faculty members from these and other universities worldwide have issued a joint statement condemning the state action on students and expressed solidarity with the JNU students. In the letter of support to JNU, they write, "JNU stands for a vital imagination of the space of the university — an imagination that embraces critical thinking, democratic dissent, student activism, and the plurality of political beliefs. It is this critical imagination that the current establishment seeks to destroy. And we know that this is not a problem for India alone". The teachers expressed a grave concern over the unfolding situation in JNU and termed the detention of students “illegal” and “autocratic”. Noted scholars and writers like Noam Chomsky and Orhan Pamukh, besides other eminent scientists and writers across the world have also issued a strongly worded statement that says it is "evidence of the present government’s deeply authoritarian nature, intolerant of any dissent". The letters of support have come from not just from the faculty, but even students from various universities who have sent their pictures holding the banners of ‘Stand with JNU’. Protests have been organised in cities like London in support of JNU.

Within the country, CPI(ML) and AISA organized a rally in Patna demanding release of JNUSU president and withdrawal of sedition charges against other students, of whom five are ex JNUSU office bearers. The next day a joint rally comprising of several student organizations was also taken out in Patna against the BJP-RSS-ABVP designs to malign and defame JNU. Protests were also organized in many towns including Darbhanga, Fatuha and Arwal and effigy of Prime Minister Modi was burnt.

In Kolkata, several demonstrations were organized by AISA and various cultural activists to protest against the attack on JNU. In some of these demonstrations ABVP resorted to its routine hooliganism but the protestors remained undeterred.

Similar protests by left parties, students’ organizations and progressive sections have also been organized in Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Varanasi, Udaipur, and several other places. Support has also poured in from students across universities in India such as AMU, TISS, FTII, DU, AU and several others.

More recently, three hundred and seventy-nine Indian scientists and academics have written a letter to the Vice Chancellor of JNU expressing their dismay at the recent events there. They write, “One may agree or disagree with this viewpoint — and, indeed, signatories to this letter hold different positions — but we are unanimous that students should have the right to freely discuss this issue… India is a vast country, and no one group can define what it means to be “nationalist” or “anti-national”, in specific terms of positions to hold and causes to support. The country’s fabric is strong enough to accommodate a plurality of views. It is the attempt to suppress differing viewpoints that is genuinely damaging for the country’s ‘democratic ethos”. They also castigated the university administration for allowing the witch-hunt of students. “Senior members of the government have aggressively targeted your students. The JNU administration should have protected its students against these attacks and charges that have also vitiated the police investigation. We are deeply disappointed that you have failed to carry out this responsibility”.

On 18 February, a massive solidarity march took place in Delhi in which tens of thousands of students (across campuses), faculty members, youth, progressive sections, cultural activists and common people participated. In a peaceful protest in which students carried roses, colourful banners and placards, they urged the media to stop deliberately airing fabricated news based on unverified facts, fake tweets and doctored videos which was inciting violence against JNU students and faculty. Exposing the agenda of the BJP government, the students raised the slogans of “JNU to bahaana hai, Rohith ka mudda dabaana hai” (JNU is only a pretext to bury the issue of Rohith Vemula’s institutional murder). The students affirmed that they will not let the government divert the attention from Rohith’s institutional murder and continue to demand justice for him. The students also demanded that JNUSU president be released, charges against JNU students be withdrawn and BJP MLA O.P. Sharma be arrested for violence against JNU community and sympathisers. They urged that the vicious attempts by RSS-BJP-ABVP to malign and criminalise the JNU community must be strongly resisted.

AIPWA Convention In Bhubaneswar

AIPWA organized a State level convention at Nagbhushan Bhawan in Bhubaneshwar on 13 February. About 250 women from Raigarha, Bhadrak, Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar (6 districts) participated in the Convention, whose proceedings were conducted by Com. Savita Baraj and presided over by a 12 member board.

The women who had come from Raigarha spoke about the loot of their jal-jangal-zameen. Currently 100 houses built by the housing colony are being razed and a stadium built there. The convention opposed and condemned this move without first making alternative arrangements for re-housing. It was decided that AIPWA would protest against this on 19 February at Gunpur.

The Convention demanded that the women’s reservation Bill be passed. The issue was also raised that if prohibition could be implemented in Bihar, then why not in Odisha? Speakers at the Convention also pointed out growing police atrocities in the name of the anti-Naxal drive, persecution of women, violence against women, and other issues. Mandakini Sethi, Kalpana, Meena, Premlata, Atyosi Malik, AS Kaliya, Sumati Das, Sanyukta Panigrahi, Manju Lata and others spoke at the Convention.

The Convention was inaugurated by CPI(ML) CC member Com. Yudhishthir Mahapatra and AIPWA National President Saroj Choube was the chief speaker. Com. Saroj spoke about the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, Sanghi dirty tricks and inflammatory actions in JNU, and the growing communal frenzy all over the country; she outlined the historical journey of AIPWA and discussed the current challenges facing the women’s movement. She highlighted the need to build a struggle against oppression against women, organize and unite honorarium women workers, struggle for students’ issues and women’s rights, and stand against police crimes and State repression.

At the conclusion a 23 member AIPWA State Co-ordination Committee was constituted with comrades Mandakini Sethi and Savita Baraj as conveners. The committee targeted a membership of 10,000 before the AIPWA National convention to be held in Patna in November this year; it was also decided to strengthen AIPWA’s base in at least 6 districts, and hold a rally in Bhubaneshwar on 8 March.

AIPWA Foundation Day Observed In Bihar

AIPWA Bihar State committee had decided to observe its 22nd Foundation Day with dharnas, protests, and symposiums to demand curbing of violence against women, passing women’s reservation bill, total prohibition in Bihar, opening sub-health centres in every panchayat and appointing women doctors, declaring honorarium workers as government employees and making their honorarium Rs 15,000, payment of honorarium arrears, and other issues.

A symposium was organized in Patna on 11 February at the IMA Hall on the subject ‘Growing Fanaticism in the Name of Culture vs. Women’s Freedom’ where AIPWA General Secretary Com. Meena Tiwari was the main speaker. The symposium was addressed by Prof. Bharti S. Kumar, Dr Gogi Kumar, Alka Verma, Madhu, Anuradha, Nivedita and others. Anita Sinha conducted the proceedings. In her talk Com. Meena Tiwari said that today in the name of culture, it is being decided what women shall eat, what they shall wear, and when and where they shall go. This is the same anti-women culture being that is being foisted on dalits by patriarchal and brahminwadi ideas. This is what led to the death of Rohith Vemula. We must step up our fight against this culture.

On the same day in Fatuha block AIPWA and Bihar State Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh jointly organized a dharna in the block office complex. The dharna was addressed by AIPWA leader and State President of Rasoiya Sangh, Saroj Choube. Block officials and mid-day meal officials accepted the memorandum and announced that there will be total prohibition in Fatuha from April. They said that there is a shortage of not only woman doctors but also of male doctors in the sub-health centre and that they have been writing about this to the civil surgeon continuously for the past one year. Questions of ration-kerosene were also raised on this occasion. ADM in-charge gave his clarifications. Over 150 women took part in the dharna.

In Bihata a protest was held at the block office on 10 February. The BDO was conspicuous by his absence. A delegation submitted a memorandum to the SDO. A convention was organized on 10 February in Dulhin Bazaar.

Tributes were paid to martyrs and flag hoisting was done in Siwan on 12 February. In Darbhanga AIPWA, Rasoiya and ASHA workers met on 10-12 February and decided that ASHA would take out a march in front of the CM on 14 February and Rasoiya Sangh and AIPWA would hold a protest on 18 February.

Protests were held in Bhojpur at Piro, Jagdishpur, and Sandesh on 15, 16, and 17 February. The delegation comprising comrades Indu Singh, Shobha Mandal, Sita Devi and Sangeeta Devi was met by the Zonal Officer in Piro.

Earlier, on 3 February an AIPWA delegation met Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma and submitted a charter of demands. The delegation included comrades Saroj Choube, Shashi Yadav, Anita Sinha, Madhuri Gupta and Anuradha Singh. The delegation was astounded by the Minister’s statement that liquor was necessary for stress relief! The attitude of the Minister on the other issues was indifferent. The Minister expressed support to the demand of including rasoiyas in the standing committee report on regularizing samvida workers.

AICCTU Demonstration In Bangalore

Workers demonstrated in front of the Karnataka Labour Commissioner’s office at Bangalore on 17 February 2016 demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 21000 and halting of proposed anti-worker, pro-corporate amendments to Factories Act and Rules by the Karnataka State government.

Workers from Bangalore Corporation (BBMP), Bangalore Water Supply (BWSSB), Readymix concrete workers (RMC, RDC, Lafarge), public sector workers (BHEL, HAL, BEML, NAL), Race Course Workers, MICO BOSCH workers, etc., participated in the demonstration.

AICCTU Karnataka state president Balan, General Secretary Clifton D’ Rozario, CPI(ML) Central Committee Member Shankar, State Secretary Appanna, and comrades Nirmala, Mohan and other activists addressed the demonstrators. Demonstrators resolved that this demonstration is only a beginning of a broader campaign and bigger struggles on the issue.

Peasants Protest On The Issue Of Paddy Purchase

CPI(ML) and the All India Kisan Mahasabha held protests at several block offices in Bhojpur on the issue of paddy purchase from all farmers including sharecroppers. The first protest was at the Jagdishpur block office led by Tarari MLA and Kisan Mahasabha State Secretary Sudama Prasad. Farmers arrived at the block office with about 50 tractors laden with paddy and jammed the block entirely. The farmers put pressure on the SDO and BDO for purchase of the paddy. The SDO called the Primary Agriculture Credit Society (PACS) President and assured him about paddy purchase. He also agreed to purchase paddy from the sharecroppers and had a Performa prepared for this.

Similarly, protests were held at Piro, Charpokhri, Agiaon, Sahar and Tarari blocks on 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9 February respectively. Legislator com. Sudama Prasad said that the government is dilly-dallying on the issue of paddy purchase from farmers. Now that the farmers are bringing their paddy here in tractors, the administration is agreeing to keep their paddy, but not making payment for the paddy. He further demanded that the government should give a guarantee of paddy purchase from all farmers including sharecroppers without paper work, as has been done in Punjab. He also demanded that the government should declare a support price of Rs 2000 per quintal and a bonus of Rs 500.

CPI (ML) Statement On Attack Against Tribal Rights Activist Soni Sori And Prof. Vivek Kumar

CPI(ML) strongly condemns the attacks on tribal rights activist Soni Sori in Bastar and on Prof. Vivek Kumar that took place in Gwalior. The two horrific attacks are just latest additions to the ongoing war against democracy that continues unabated under the present regime.

On the evening of 20 February, Soni Sori was attacked by some unknown assailants near Kodenar in Bastar. They forcibly stopped her vehicle on the road and threw some black substance on her face, causing intense burning and pain. The attack on Soni Sori is not sudden. In fact, for past several months and others who are working to safeguard the rights of the tribals in Bastar and in other districts of Chhattisgarh including Dantewada, Kanker, Sukma, and Bijapur, have been receiving regular threats. Just a few days back, lawyers belonging to Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, known as ‘JagLAG’ (which was formed to provide legal aid to people of the aforementioned districts as they were subjected to frequent imprisonment on false cases) were forced to leave Jagdalpur. Soni Sori has been a courageous voice against state repression and has remained undeterred even after state’s considerable efforts to silence her, be it by imprisoning her for long periods in false cases or the brute custodial torture inflicted on her. Once again, she remains unfazed by these attacks and assets that her fight will continue. CPI(ML) salutes the indomitable courage of Soni Sori, stands with solidarity in her and the tribals in Chhattisgarh fighting for their democratic rights against brutal state oppression and demands immediate action against her assailants.

In another attack on voices that have spoken against oppression, members of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, attacked activists of Ambedkar Vichar Manch who had organised a seminar and invited Prof. Vivek Kumar of JNU to speak in the same. While he was speaking, a grouo of BJYM activists led by their district president Vivek Sharma entered the seminar venue demanding that seminar be stopped. They started beating up the organisers and also attacked Prof. Kumar. BJYM activists also shot gun fires. This is not the first time that student and youth wings of the BJP have disrupted discussions on oppression based on caste, religion and gender. With BJP coming to power at the centre, vandalism by their hoodlums in venues of seminars, conferences, movie screenings and debates has become a routine affair. In most instances, their vandalism enjoys overt state and administrative support as has been witnessed recently in Lucknow University, Hyderabad Central University, JNU, DU and elsewhere.

The two incidents above and the spate of incidents involving assaults on democratic voices, especially on those speaking up for the rights of the oppressed, particularly- Dalits, tribals, religious minorities, women and sexual minorities, shows the intolerance of the sangh brigade towards anyone who espouses the cause of democracy, equality and social justice. Even as routine rabble rousing, incitement of violence and divisive speeches by Sangh members like Adityanath, Giriraj Kishore and others fail to invite any state action, it is those speaking for the oppressed who are either criminalised (as seen in the case of Rohith Vemula and student leaders in JNU) or intimated, as seen in the assaults mentioned above.

CPI(ML) stands in solidarity with all who are braving state repression in their efforts to defend democracy and speak for the oppressed. All assaults on democracy must be strongly resisted.

ML Update | No. 08 | 2016

February 19, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19 | No. 08 | 16- 22 FEB 2016

No Crushing of Dissent in Hyderabad and

JNU – Sanghi Disinformation and

Despotism Shall Not Pass

The stunning sequence of events in Delhi in the last few days has appalled all who care about democracy in India. The unprecedented alacrity with which the Union Home Ministry, Delhi Police and sections of the media swooped down upon allegations of some controversial slogans having been raised inside JNU campus on the third anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, the police crackdown, the arrest of the President of the elected Student Union and the witch-hunt of other activists of the Students’ Union and Left student groups on absolutely ridiculous charges of sedition, the harassment and arrest of Delhi University teachers on similar grounds, acts of vandalism by rightwing goons targeting the CPI(M) Central Committee office in Delhi, the shocking and absurd attempt by the Union Home Minister to link the JNU events to Hafiz Saeed followed by a warning by the Delhi Police to the student community of the entire country, the detention of cultural activists for the ‘crime’ of ‘looking like JNU students’, the open assault on students, faculty members, journalists and activists right in the premises of Delhi’s Patiala House Court by a group led by Delhi BJP MLA OP Sharma with the Delhi police watching cheerfully – it looks like the Modi regime has declared a veritable war on students, teachers, journalists and activists in Delhi.

Soon after Modi took over as the PM in May 2014, it became clear that while the government was desperate to turn India into a lucrative laboratory for aggressive corporate acquisition, it was equally anxious to hijack and control, and even destroy, the institutions of higher education and research, the laboratories of creative freedom where ideas developed through debate and dissent, and where voices could thus emerge even from the otherwise most deprived and oppressed sections of India to challenge the age-old structures of exclusion and domination, including those of the universities themselves. The new regime wants its handpicked persons to decide the academic content and environment of these institutions so dissenting and inconvenient ideas can be nipped in the bud and intellectuals can be subdued and string-pulled by the puppeteers of the Sangh brigade. The conspiracy revealed itself first in IIT-Madras and then in FTII Pune, and now almost simultaneously and in quite similar fashion we see the script playing itself out in Hyderabad and Delhi.

In both Hyderabad and JNU, the allegation is of students indulging in ‘anti-national’ activities. If raising questions about the hanging of Yakub Menon and the screening of a documentary film on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar carnage were dubbed anti-national in Hyderabad, remembering Afzal Guru on the third anniversary of his hanging and the raising of certain slogans by some people – the identity of several of them is not clear from the footage while some are now apparently exposed to have been from the ABVP itself – have been branded as sedition. The modus operandi is also quite similar – local ABVP unit complains to local BJP MP who then writes to ministers and the entire state gets into the act of a concerted and systematic persecution. The ABVP is thus playing the role of saffron stormtroopers on the ground while the government, police and a heavily pressurized and increasingly saffronised university administration are working in tandem to push the Sangh agenda.

In the case of JNU, it should be remembered that the RSS has long been campaigning to defame the institution and vitiate the democratic environment of the campus. Long before Modi came to power, the likes of Subramanian Swamy have been openly abusing women activists with a JNU background on television channels and print and social media, especially in the wake of the December 16 anti-rape movement of 2012 and the powerful resonance it had across the country. More recently, JNU students’ role in the Justice for Rohith Vemula movement and in #OccupyUGC and fighting privatization in education made the saffron brigade even more determined to target them. Of late, the RSS has been carrying a strident tirade against JNU with a continuous campaign of defamation and disinformation in its journals which has now reached this climax with physical attacks on JNU students and faculty, police crackdown in the campus and the loud Sanghi clamour for shutting down the University.

Some of the slogans raised in the said JNU event were opposed on the spot itself by the students’ union leadership that was there to avert violent clashes sought by the ABVP. Many well-wishers of JNU and the Left student movement have also found some slogans ill-advised and liable to be misunderstood. We should however consider the context of the provocative slogans that the ABVP in JNU have been known to raise and that were raised by them from the sidelines even in the widely televised and hugely attended meeting in the campus following the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar. For example, ABVP slogans included ‘jo Afzal ki baat karega, wo Afzal ki maut marega’ (whoever talks about Afzal Guru should be hanged just as he was).This slogan incites violence against the many in India, and not just in Kashmir, who have quite persuasively articulated the position that Afzal’s hanging was judicially untenable and wrong.

ABVP also raised several other slogans with violent imagery such as ‘Desh Hai Pukarta, Pukarti Maa Bharati, Khoon se Tilak Karo, Goliyon Se Aarti’ (The Country is Calling, Mother India is Calling, Anoint Yourselves with Blood, And Worship with Bullets). As for slogans calling for destruction of India, it is patently unthinkable that any activist of the Left student movement in India would raise such slogans. On the contrary, disintegration and destruction of India has been the Sanghi agenda which it pursues relentlessly through its policies of corporate plunder and communal polarisation.

The BJP thought it had found in the JNU incident the perfect weapon to crush the radical student politics of JNU and tarnish and isolate the Left movement as being ‘anti-national’. But in the process it has only managed to trigger a massive solidarity movement within JNU and powerful protests across the country. If the BJP thought it could escape the heat of Hyderabad by targeting JNU, it has only succeeded in further strengthening the bonds of solidarity between the struggling students, and now 40 universities including Hyderabad have come out in support of JNU. Even a party like the Congress which had initially begun to toe the BJP line has had to change its stance and stand up in support of JNU and against the Sangh-BJP assault on democracy. A leader like Mayawati who usually keeps quiet on such issues has also come out in opposition to the BJP’s tactic of using the colonial era sedition law against the students.

Indeed, in every corner of the country, it is the BJP which has now been thoroughly exposed and isolated, not only on the question of democracy but also on the plane of patriotism. The progressive vision of patriotism which combines consistent anti-imperialism with the struggle for justice, dignity and democracy for the oppressed millions, and views the nation, first and foremost, in terms of the people and their needs, aspirations and rights is being articulated boldly and eloquently all around us. The legacy of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar cherished by generations over the last eight decades and more, and now brought ever closer in articulation and action by the resistance emanating from Hyderabad and JNU, will give a crushing defeat to the fascist project of the Nazi-inspired pseudo-nationalists of Nagpur.

AISA Statement on the 9th February Incident in JNU

Condemn Manufacturing of Lies to Malign JNU and Progressive Forces by ABVP and Some Media Houses!

Condemn Politically Motivated Divisive and Reactionary Sloganeering in the Name of Left!

The ABVP and some media houses are in an all out attempt to malign JNU and left-progressive organisations by spreading mis-information about a program on 9th February in JNU. At a time when the anti-national, anti-student and anti-people character of the BJP and ABVP have been exposed to the people of this country, this is an age old tactics by these forces to hide their real character.

Condemn the Reactionary Divisive Sloganeering: On 9th of February some students held a program named ‘A Country Without Post Office’. It is important to mention here that AISA was not an organiser of the program, unlike what is being spread by ABVP and some media. While the poster of the program mentioned that it is being held on death anniversary of Afzal Guru, some slogans raised in the program were extremely divisive and reactionary and have nothing to do with concerns raised by a large section of civil society on capital punishment, or on the unanswered questions about the Parliament Attack case. Slogans like ‘Bharat ke Tukde Honge Hazar’ were raised in the program. AISA outrightly condemns such reactionary slogans. We believe such slogans and ideas have no place in the left and democratic movement. On the other hand, left and democratic forces are the most consistent ones to defend the country and unity of its people against fundamentalist, majoritarian, casteist and anti-people forces. It is this unity of people of India, as has been seen in recent times that has challenged various autocratic and anti-people policies of the BJP government and the ABVP. That is why such slogans are not only condemnable but the political intentions of such sloganeering are highly questionable, since they only provide fodder for a discredited force like ABVP. During the program along with AISA activists several common students of JNU also opposed and stopped such sloganeering.

Some of the facts related to the program must be stated clearly. Some students organised the program. The administration at the end moment cancelled the already given permission under ABVP’s pressure. But the organisers decided to go ahead with the program as declared. The ABVP not only played a role in cancelling the permission using administrative power, it was also present at the spot in full force to physically stop the program and create violence. It was in this backdrop that AISA along with several left and democratic organisations as well as common students were present at the spot to stop any kind of violence or vandalism. In this chaos, the provocative and reactionary slogans were given by some who are not associated with organisations like AISA. In fact such provocative sloganeering were opposed and stopped by AISA as well as various other progressive students.

However, ABVP’s continuous vandalism, using administrative and state machinery, as seen that day is nothing new. The ABVP’s role that day once again brings out their habitual tactics to create vandalism and spread flared up tension through the media. It is the ABVP which had physically stopped screening of Muzaffarnagar Baqi Hai from HCU to DU. Even in JNU, the ABVP got into physical violence when the film Caste On The Menu Card was being screened. They have also targeted minority students in JNU without any provocation during India-Pakistan cricket match. From HCU to Delhi the ABVP has used state and administrative power to clamp down on any voice which is different from them, rather than engaging into debate. It is the same ABVP that used the office of the MHRD and HCU administration to punish students like Rohith Vemula and his friends. That time too, they had tried hard to use the anti-national card against Rohith and his friends.

As far as the question of hanging of Afzal Guru is concerned, a large section of civil society, writers, well known lawyers and democratic forces have raised concern over capital punishment and its selective execution. Even PDP, the BJP’s ally in J&K have raised questions over execution of Afzal Guru- before their alliance with BJP in 2013. (http://www.rediff.com/news/report/disappointed-at-the-hanging-of-afzal-guru-says-pdp/20130209.htm), as well as after the alliance in 2015 (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/after-sayeeds-pak-remark-pdp-now-demands-return-of-afzal-gurus-mortal-remains/). Yet, the BJP has no problem in running a government in J&K itself with the PDP. ABVP’s opportunism is clear, they have no problem in BJP’s running a government with PDP, however they would silence every differing voice using administrative and state power in campuses.

The ABVP’s habit of suppressing all differing opinions by branding them as ‘anti-national’ must be resisted and the space for democratic debate and discussion must be safeguarded.

Sucheta De, National President

Sandeep Saurav, National General Secretary, AISA

Pricol 8—Workers’ Solidarity Day Observed

Release Pricol 8 Campaign Continues

The Delhi unit of AICCTU organized a protest dharna at Jantar Mantar on 18 January 2016 in response to AICCTU’s call for countrywide support to and solidarity with the 8 Pricol comrades sentenced to double life imprisonment. 8 workers, leaders belonging to the Pricol union ‘Kovai Maavatta Pricol Thozhilargal Orumai Sangham’—Gunabalan, Manivannan, Rajendran, Ramamurthy, Sampat Kumar, Shrawan Kumar, Sivakumar and Velmurugan—were sentenced by the Coimbatore trial court on 3 December 2015 to double life imprisonment in connection with the unfortunate death of a Pricol HR executive.

The dharna was attended by hundreds of workers. The speakers pointed out that workers were being unfairly persecuted in factories and companies across the country including Maruti, Graziano, and Pricol. The corporate-ruling class nexus attacking workers’ rights and unfortunately the judiciary is also dancing to their tune; Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has time only for attacks on Rohith Vemula and dalits but not for the interests of workers; the perpetrators of Bathani and Bathe massacres roam scot free while the Pricol 8 are given the unjust sentence of double imprisonment without evidence. It was resolved at the meeting that the struggle of the brave Pricol 8 would be carried forward and the fight for justice would be taken to the workers of Delhi.

AICCTU Ranchi city committee took out a rally on 21 January to protest against the unjust sentencing of the Pricol 8 and the institutional abetment to suicide of dalit scholar Rohith. The rally, during which Labour Minister Dattatreya’s effigy was burnt, echoed with slogans for workers’ rights and culminated in a meeting at Albert Ekka chowk. Speakers addressing the meeting said that the unjust sentence exposed the two-faced hypocrisy of the Modi government and ‘start-up’ is nothing but an assault on workers’ rights.

Pricol 8 Solidarity day was observed by the Tamil Nadu unit of AICCTU by holding protests in different parts of the State, in which several unions including CITU, AITUC, HMS, LPF, INTUC, BMS, LPF, NTUI participated, demanding the release of the Pricol 8 as well as the Maruti workers who have been in jail for a long time without a hearing.

The Bangalore unit of AICCTU organized a protest against the unjust double life sentence for the Pricol 8 in the town hall where hundreds of workers and students gathered and demanded the release of the 8 workers. AIARLA also held a protest in HD Kota led by Com. Javaraiyya.

In Bhagalpur, Bihar, central trade unions jointly held a convention to protest in against the double life sentencing of the 8 Pricol workers who were fighting for workers’ rights. The convention unanimously passed a resolution to stand in solidarity with the Pricol 8 and carry forward their struggle for workers’ rights.

On 9 February 2016, a day long demonstration and dharna was organized by Gujarat unit of AICCTU in front of Regional Labour Commissioner Office at Ahmedabad. A five-member delegation handed over a memorandum to PMO through DLC demanding immediate justice for the 8 pricol workers convicted.

State Level convention in Patna- A State level convention as part of ‘Release pricol 8 campaign’ was held in Patna on 8 Feb 2016 in the IMA hall, attended by workers from several districts of Bihar. Leaders from CITU, UTUC, and AIUTUC were present at the convention to show their solidarity. AICCTU National General Secretary Rajiv Dimri was the chief speaker at the convention. He said the present government is oppressing workers and acting in the interest of corporate companies. Bihar State General Secretary Com. RN Thakur presented readings from the folder related to this campaign. AIPWA leader and Rasoiya Sangh President Com. Saroj Chaube informed that this campaign was also being run among the midday meal workers of Bihar who are collecting a fund for the brave Pricol 8. CITU State Secretary Com. Nathun Jamadar, UTUC State Secretary Com. Virendra Thakur, and AIUTUC leader Com. Suryakar Jitendra also addressed the convention and demanded the immediate release of the 8 workers, who, they said, have become the champion of workers’ rights in the entire country. They said that the government is snatching away the hard won rights of the workers through the amendments to the Labour Act. An 8 point resolution was passed unanimously by the convention. Earlier, the Hirawal group presented “Hum Mehnatkash Jangwalon Se” and other songs.

Hold Panchayat Elections on Party Basis

The Bihar government has to take back its condition of mandatory toilet for fighting panchayat elections. It should be noted that the CPI(ML) and AIARLA had taken up a campaign demanding revocation of the ‘toilet’ condition, conducting panchayat elections on party basis, and against giving cash instead of food grains. On 25 January different gram panchayats had taken out mashal juloos and on 29 Jan dharnas were held at block offices.

Bihar State Secretary, Com. Kunal said that the taking back of the condition of toilets was a people’s victory, as this condition was imposed with the aim to keep out marginalized sections from the election process. Victory marches were taken out in various panchayats from 3 to 9 February. However, the fight for party-based panchayat elections and against cash-for-food would continue. In this regard, CPI-ML and AIARLA jointly held district level dharnas on 9 Feb across the State.

In Patna a dharna was held at Gardanibagh. Speakers at the meeting said that 3-phase panchayat elections have been announced in Bihar, but these elections are not party-based, thus giving the ruling class parties the opportunity to run pocket panchayats with dominant-bureaucrat-middlemen nexus and remain free of accountability to the people. Thus the panchayats have become mere agencies for implementing government decisions. Such a non-party based panchayat model holds no future for the people; they must be party-based in order to have strong panchayats which strengthen the political claim of the poor. However, the government is deaf to this demand and is encouraging the use of money, power, and wheeling-dealing in the elections. They further said that the cash-for-food scheme is nothing but a route for corruption and a plan to avoid paddy purchase from the farmer. This is part of the government’s anti-poor pro-corporate policies. They also pointed out the anti-people policies of the State and Central governments, such as cut in MNREGA and Indira Aawas funds, and plans to close the red and yellow card schemes. They warned that the people would strengthen their agitation if the government does not take back its anti-people policies.

Protest dharnas and meetings were also held in Bhojpur, Buxar, Rohtas, Kaimur, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Darbhanga, Arwal, Muzaffarpur, Beguserai, Bhagalpur, Jamui, Motihari, Purnea, Nawada, Nalanda, Gopalganj, Samastipur, Gaya, Sitamarhi, and other places.

Second Phase Of Midday Meal Workers’ Agitation Begins

After the successful agitation last year, the Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh has begun its second phase of struggles in 2016. Last year their honorarium was increased by Rs 250 and a payment of 4 lakhs on compassionate ground for a dependent was announced in case of a midday meal workers’ death while on duty. The increased honorarium came into effect since August 2015, however, no funds have been allotted for the compassionate payment amount.

On 23 January, the Rasoiya Sangh held a state level meeting in Muzaffarpur and chalked out the agitation plan for the current year. It was decided to demand that workers should be declared government employees, honorarium should be raised to 15,000, payment of arrears should be made without delay, honorarium should be paid into their accounts, appointment letters should be given, 4 cotton saris should be given, and health insurance and maternity leave should also be provided. Protests would be held outside district headquarters across the State to press for these demands. Two new demands have been included: 1. Midday meal workers should be included in the committee for regularizing ‘samvida’ workers (a category of contract workers). 2. Funds should be allotted for payment of compassion grant after death.

It is being reported that midday meal workers will not be permitted to stand for panchayat elections. Considering that the government has still not recognized them as government employees, the rule pertaining to government employees not contesting elections cannot be applied to them. The committee for regularizing samvida workers, under Ashok Kumar Choudhury, was to have submitted its report but it has been extended for 6 months for the third time.

About 2000 midday meal workers took part in the protest in front of the DM office in Muzaffarpur on 6 Feb. They marched from the Zonal office and held a meeting in front of the Collectorate. A 5 member delegation submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Collector. They also apprised the collector of the ground realities. Protests were also held in Jamui and Fatuha.

In light of the movement ahead, zonal level rallies and meetings were held in all 27 zones of Eastern Champaran district. Meetings have already been organized in Chiraiya, Patahi, Tetariya, Madhuban, Kesariya, Banjariya, Harisiddhi and Motihari zones. Protests are also scheduled in the remaining zones. A protest will be organized at the district headquarters on 26 Feb. A rally and protest meeting will be held at the Nalanda district headquarters on 29 February, prior to which there will be zonal level protests.

Remembering the Bakhaura Martyrs

There is a shaheed sthambh (martyr’s memorial) on the outskirts of Gosawan in Mallawan village of Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh reminding us of the struggle and sacrifice of the martyrs during the anti-feudal peasant movement. This memorial is a special tribute to Com. Shivnath Trivedi and Com. Devi Ghulam who were martyred in the Bakhaura incident. Com. Hivnath was martyred on 23 Jan 1978. On this day farmers gather here, rain or sun, and pay tribute to the martyrs. This year was the 38th anniversary of Martyrdom of Com. Shivnath. Many senior as well as young comrades from nearby villages, farmers, and Com. Shivnath’s old comrades came from afar to gather at the memorial site and festooned it with red banners and flags.

The meeting started with floral tribute to Com. Shivnath. The chief guest was Com. Avdhesh Kumar Singh. He paid tribute to the revolutionary communist martyrs of Bakhaura who had fought against the feudals for establishing the rule of workers and farmers. They gave everything, even life itself, for a social cause; the irony is that today killers are being glorified in this country and being called patriots and martyrs. During these hard times, it is our responsibility to preserve our revolutionary heritage and carry forward the dreams of the revolutionaries of old.

The meeting was presided over by senior peasant leader Ram Vilas while Dr. Satyapal conducted the proceedings. Lalaram Singh, Rajaram, Raj Bahadur and others addressed the meeting. The speakers said that the ruling and oppressor classes are becoming more powerful in the present time, and we must unite and fight with all our might to bring change; that would be the true tribute to Com. Shivnath and Devi Ghulam.

Inspired by the 1967 naxalbari peasant uprising ‘Vasant ka Vajranaad’, many revolutionary groups were formed in several districts of Uttar Pradesh during the period between 1971 and 1975, and they grew and developed rapidly. Struggles took place in Azamgarh, Baliya, Ghazipur, Barabanki, Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheeri and other districts. Mallawan in Hardoi district emerged as a centre of struggle. Farmers took up arms against feudal oppression. The ruling powers, feudal powers, and police formed a nexus and wreaked destruction on the farmers, persecuting and arresting them. This incident is known in this entire region as the Bakhaura incident. Com. Devi Ghulam was martyred on 17 September 1970 in this armed struggle and Com. Shivnath died under severe torture in the Fatehgarh Central jail in 1978. It is in their memory that the Shaheed Sthambh was built where every year people come to honour and respect the martyrs.

ML Update | No. 07 | 2016

February 10, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19 | No. 07 | 9- 15 FEB 2016

Salary-starved Municipal Employees Expose the Myth of Urban Governance in Delhi

For the last two weeks, municipal employees of Delhi have been on strike demanding the most basic right of a worker – to get his or her due salary on time. This is not the first time that municipal employees have had to go on strike for this demand. In fact, this is the third such strike in the span of just one year. The previous two strikes in June and October had ended with the Delhi government releasing some additional funds. But this time round, salaries have not been paid for three months and the ‘loan’ of Rs 551 crore offered by Arvind Kejriwal in early February after a week’s strike has failed to end the deadlock. The Rs. 300 crore promised by the Lt. Governor from the DDA’s account has also helped little.

While supporting the demands of the MCD workers, Arvind Kejriwal has also described the whole development as a political conspiracy by the BJP to precipitate a crisis in Delhi and destabilise the AAP government. Given the continuing confrontation between the Delhi government and the Centre over issues of powers of the former, especially on the question of control over the Delhi Police, there is obviously an element of political contention between the BJP and AAP. Moreover, the three corporations of Delhi are currently held by the BJP and the MCD elections are due next year. The affairs of the Delhi government or the MCD are therefore bound to have the unmistakable context of political rivalry between the BJP, AAP and the Congress. But when thousands of municipal staff – from sanitation workers to teachers and medical personnel – do not get their salary for months on end in the national capital, it is clearly primarily a crisis of urban governance and its policy framework.

In 2007 the municipal corporation of Delhi was trifurcated with the ostensible aim of greater decentralisation of power and better delivery of services. While this has obviously increased the establishment expenditure, there has been no commensurate increase in revenues landing the corporations into increasingly unmanageable deficits. Meanwhile, the share of taxes due to be devolved to the municipal corporations has been reduced from 5.5% to 4%, leaving the rest to a performance-linked Municipal Reform Fund (MRF). The deficit-ridden North and East Delhi corporations reportedly verge around bankruptcy even as the MRF has swelled to more than Rs 1300 crore. The municipal finances are also adversely affected by non-payment of dues like big institutions like the Delhi Development Authority which owes more than Rs 1300 crore by way of unpaid duties and taxes. Municipal revenues are also crippled by corruption and non-enforcement of rules and norms – the East Delhi Corporation for example earned only Rs 12 crore as advertising revenue even as corporate and political propaganda billboards scream from every rooftop and street corner.

Much of Modi’s propaganda blitzkrieg with slogans like Make In India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat, Smart Cities and so on and so forth promises a rapidly changing urban landscape. Yet when sanitation employees and other municipal workers right in the national capital have to go on strike to secure their salaries we can easily see the mess that rules in the name of urban governance. It can be seen in the everyday denial of basic civic amenities to a great majority of India’s urban population, in the absence of basic rights of the workers who run the basic services and increasingly also in major environmental disasters or health hazards as witnessed recently during the Chennai floods and the Mumbai garbage dump fire. The urban renewal and livelihood missions have not addressed either the infrastructural issues of mass housing and public transport, or guaranteeing basic amenities, not to talk of universal healthcare and education. The smart cities being announced can only make this model of skewed urbanisation even more unequal and unsustainable, centralising a disproportionate amount of resources and facilities for the urban elite and those belonging to the gated communities and effectively subordinating the democratic structure of municipal governance to the processes of privatisation and commercialisation.

AAP is widely appreciated as an innovative urban party with visions of improved urban governance. In its brief tenure so far it has indeed touched some basic urban concerns like electricity and water, school admission and traffic congestion. Yet on a policy level we can hardly see any alternative approach. The ‘odd-even’ model best illustrates this AAP approach of ad-hocism and superficiality where the whole focus is on easing traffic congestion without addressing the basic question of availability of affordable public transport for the bulk of Delhi’s growing population. The promise of regularisation of contract employees in key sectors like municipal and transport services has remained only on paper. While blaming the BJP for financial mismanagement, the AAP does not propose an alternative framework for strengthening the municipal finances of Delhi. If the present policy regime continues, the municipal structure, even if reunified under a single corporation, will get increasingly subverted by the forces of privatisation and the ‘aam aadmi’ in whose name Arvind Kejriwal runs his party and government will get further marginalised. While insisting on a reliable solution to the demands of Delhi’s striking municipal employees, pressure must also be mounted for a reorientation of policies of urban governance in favour of the marginalised ‘aam aadmi’.

Yet Another ‘Institutional Murder’ of Three Girls in Tamil Nadu

Following closely on the heels of the suicide of Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, a suicide which has correctly been identified as an institutional murder, three young girls in the Villipuram district of Tamil Nadu drowned themselves. 19-year old Sharanya, Priyanga and Monisha were students of the SVS Yoga Medical College, and were driven to desperately take their lives by the exorbitantly high fees charged by the college.

SVS college has a long history of dubious practices. It was set up in 2008 without fulfilling any of the norms and conditions prescribed. The very first step of procuring land allegedly involved a violation of rights: farmers’ lands were encroached upon, and 3 medical colleges were constructed on 12 acres of land. Though the AYUSH Council had granted permission for setting up the college in 2008, the Chennai High Court had subsequently raised objections. Since then, students have been fighting against the management and its multiple irregularities and violations. Instead of addressing and rectifying the gross violations pointed out by the students, the college administration resorted to all-out intimidation of the protesting students. The students however refused to buckle down to this intimidation. They sent petitions and appeals to as many as 14 departments and bodies of the State and Central government. The students also sent urgent messages with their concerns to the Dr. MGR Medical University and to the CM’s Office in Chennai. Yet, none of the 14 bodies responded to their concerns. In October 2015, 6 students even tried to self-immolate themselves in protest in front of the Villupuram Collector’s office. The Collector, instead of looking into the demands of the students and holding the erring management responsible, abused and scolded the students. She allegedly told them to commit suicide in their homes, rather than protest at the Collector’s office!

The entire sequence of events leading to the death of three young students at Villipuram thus clearly shows that it was an institutional murder. All the 3 students came from extremely poor and deprived backgrounds. What is all the more shameful is that despite extracting huge amounts as fees from the students, the SVS college does not provide even the basic facilities required in a Medical college. The owner and chairperson on the SVS college, Vasuki Subramanium, is not a qualified doctor. She, along with her husband (who is a homeopathic doctor), her son and one local henchman effective rule the roost, and run the entire place. There is neither a hospital, nor the required number of doctors, professors and laboratories in the college. The 3 students who committed suicide paid Rs six lakhs each to join the college, apart from the huge fees they had to pay each year. The students who protested and who were unable to pay the money demanded by the college administration were subjected to massive intimidation and repression. Some students were even forced to do construction work in the campus and clean the college toilets.

Both the DMK as well as the AIADMK are implicated in the proliferation of such dubious private education shops masquerading as colleges all over Tamil Nadu. A previous Health Minister from the DMK had given permission to set up the SVS college, and the current Health Minister from the AIADMK had sided with the college administration despite all the complaints and petitions filed by the students. Another minister intervened to help the SVS college ensure that the Medical University acts in their favour. The powers-that-be in Tamil Nadu used every foul means possible to support the SVS administration at each and every step.

CPI(ML) has been at the forefront of the protests against the tragic suicides in Villipuram. Immediately after hearing the horrific news, CPI(ML), AISA and RYA organised protests across Tamil Nadu. On 26 January, AISA and RYA held a protest in Kallakurichi near where the SVS college is situated. Comprehensive and effective protests and campaigns were launched, even on social media. On 4 February, a protest demonstration was held in Chinnasalem town near the SVS college. The protests highlighted that this was an institutional murder, in which several authorities were deeply implicated, including the SVS Chairperson Vasuki, the Villupuram district collector, authorities of the Dr. MGR Medical University and the Tamil Nadu Health Minister. CPI(ML), AISA and RYA demanded that action be taken against all those who have misused their positions of power, leading to three tragic deaths. The situation at the SVS college is no aberration. In several private institutions in Tamil Nadu, similar problems have been highlighted, such as most recently in the Sairam college of Engineering, where students are being subjected to horrific moral policing, harassment and intimidation. CPI(ML), AISA and RYA thus also demanded that such private profiteering educational shops should be closed down, and the government must step in to open state-funded colleges and Universities, since provision of education is the government’s responsibility.

Sharecroppers Demand Week Observed by Kisan Mahasabha

Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha observed ‘Sharecroppers’ Demand Week’ all over Bihar from 18 to 24 January 2016 with a 6 point charter of demands, during which they held block level dharnas in various districts, and held chakka jam, rallies, and other programmes. The demands are as follows: (1) Register the sharecroppers and give them the status of farmers as well as all facilities farmers are entitled to; (2) Give a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal in addition to the fixed purchase price on farmers’ products, and give a guarantee of paddy purchase from small and medium famers as well as sharecroppers; (3) Give crop-loss compensation to all drought-affected farmers, make all irrigation resources in proper condition, electrify farmers’ personal hand pumps and give them free electricity for irrigation purpose; (4) If seeds sold to farmers by the government or other branded companies fail to sprout, give the farmers full compensation, conduct a full enquiry and take action against these seed companies; (5) Give land entitlement rights to Shikmi sharecroppers and farmers who are beneficiaries of bhoodaan; distribute benami and extra lands from gair-majrua bhoodan and ceiling among the poor and landless; (6) Ensure speedy start of Durgawati Reservoir Project and Hamid Nagar Irrigation Project; Take up speedy construction of Indrapuri Reservoir Project.

The decision to observe this Demand Week was taken in the State unit meeting of December 2015. After the Demand Week, a ‘Purchase Paddy Fortnight’ will next be observed from 1 to 15 February and on 10 March a mahadharna by farmers will be organized in front of the Bihar Assembly.

The Sharecroppers’ Demand Week has sent out a strong message of agitation and struggle to sharecroppers and farmers, and has exposed the anti-farmer and anti-sharecropper face of all the ruling class Parties. During the various protests held while observing demand week, a 17 point charter of demands was submitted to the Chief Minister through the BDOs at various block offices, in which important district level demands were included apart from the State level demands. Hundreds of sharecroppers and pattadar farmers participated in these protests.

Protest March against False Cases against Mahadalits

A rally was taken out on 17 January 2016 from the CPI(ML) office in Ballia zone (Beguserai district) which proceeded through Ballia bazaar and culminated in a meeting at station chowk. This rally was in protest against the false cases lodged against the parchadhari mahadalits of Masudanpur. The rally resounded with slogans such as “Take back false cases against mahadalits”; “Arrest the powerful goons under the SC/ST Act”; “End oppression of mahadalits”; “Give administrative protection for tilling on parcha lands”; “Stop goons from going into parcha lands”; and other such slogans.

Addressing the meeting at station chowk, CPI(ML) district Secretary Com. Divakar Kumar said that even though mahadalit women have registered cases against people from powerful dominant sections but no arrests have been made in those cases. On the other hand, mahadalits are being arrested on the basis of false cases registered against them by people from dominant sections and the administration. It is clear that this is a part of the a conspiracy to illegally dispossess them from their parcha lands. The people will not allow this conspiracy to succeed. He demanded that the district administration should without delay take back these false cases against mahadalits, and should arrest the goons who have conspired to dispossess the mahadalits from their parcha lands.

The meeting was presided over by CPI(ML) block Secretary, Com. Noor Alam. Com. Noor Alam said that the grand alliance government which came to power on the strength of the votes of the poor, mahadalits, and minorities, has become a government of dominant sections and criminals. Law and order have collapsed and criminals are flourishing unchecked; the need of the hour is to organize the common people and launch an extensive movement against this.

Contract Sanitation Workers’ Struggle for Regularization in Bangalore

AICCTU led contract sanitation workers of BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) rallied more than a thousand and formed a human barricade demanding regularization of all contract sanitation workers on 2nd Dec. 2015. The struggle was led by Comrades Balan, state president, Clifton D’ Rozario, state General Secretary and Nirmala, the General Secretary of the contract sanitation workers union (Guttige Powrakarmikara Sangha).

The protest was in response to the state government’s move to recruit few thousands of people quite alien to any sanitation work at all. It is a well known fact that it is only Madigas, even among dalits, who are engaged in sanitation work. Still, the government revealed its intention to recruit new people who are totally unrelated to any sanitation activities while more than 18000 existing contract workers under BBMP are left in the lurch. Workers protested vociferously. They demanded regularisation of the existing workforce and then to look for any new recruitment.

The government has not considered the demand for regularization of existing work force in spite of a definite recommendation for its abolition by the sub-committee on contract labour under BBMP constituted under the chairmanship of Com. Balan, all India Vice President of AICCTU. The newly elected Mayor of Bangalore Corporation came to the spot to listen to the grievances of the contract workers and assured that he will bring it to the attention of the state government. The meeting subsequently organized with Mayor and the Commissioner of the Corporation assured to rectify certain immediate issues of minimum wage arrears of few recent years, due to workers and also the issue of holidays, drinking water and rest room facilities, etc. The contract workers struggle for regularization is still on.

Kisan Sabha Dharna in Arwal

A one-day dharna was held at the Arwal block office on 20 January to demand bonus for and paddy purchase from farmers, especially sharecroppers. Addressing the dharna, Kisan Mahasabha State Secretary and Party MLA from Tarari, Com. Sudama Prasad said that the Nitish government has failed on all fronts. This government has betrayed the farmers. Expenses for paddy and other kharif crop production have gone up considerably due to 44% less than average rainfall in the State; production in any district has been limited to between 25% and 50%, yet the State government refuses to pay the Rs 500 per quintal bonus apart from the support price. The Central and State governments which made policies that 33% or more crop loss would entitle compensation is now refusing compensation for 50% to 75% crop loss. Almost all the government hand pumps in the State are closed; the Durgawati reservoir and Hamidnagar irrigation project have not been started; construction has not even begun in the Indrapuri reservoir (Kadvan dam). The government is showing no interest in electrification of farmers’ private hand pumps and providing them free electricity for irrigation. Even the government’s announcement of diesel subsidy remains confined to the newspapers only.

No policy has been made for the development of sharecroppers and pattadars who are farming on the lands from where the distressed farmers have left. It is only after the series of agitations by CPI (ML) and Kisan Mahasabha that the Central and State Farmers’ Commissions have given sharecroppers and pattadars the status of farmer, and yet these sharecroppers who farm more than 70% of agricultural lands are given no facilities by the government. As in the previous years, this year also the Bihar government has placed stringent conditions for purchase of paddy from small and medium farmers and sharecroppers in December-January which is their peak time of need; the farmers will become forced to sell their paddy to traders and middlemen and as before, the conditions for purchase will then be relaxed and the paddy will be purchased from these traders and middlemen.

The commission constituted by the Centre to assess outlay expenses had fixed the average outlay for paddy production as Rs 1,600 per quintal. The government had promised to pay 1 ½ times the outlay expense as support price, but it has fixed the support price as Rs 1,410 per quintal, which is much less even than the outlay expense fixed by the government commission; the government has also decided to cut State investment and grants in agriculture and to open the doors national and foreign capital investment which will only increase agrarian woes. If sharecroppers and farmers are thus neglected, the development of Bihar remains questionable.

People’s Protest in Karnal

The CPI (ML) Karnal district unit organized a protest demo in Karnal on 20 January on various burning people’s issues and resolved to carry on an agitation on these issues.

Speaking on the occasion, CPI(ML) State in-charge and Kisan Mahasabha National Vice president Prem Singh Gehlawat said that the Khattar government is foisting the condition of ‘education’ as panchayat election eligibility criteria. Under this law, 72% SC men and 83% General category women can only cast their vote in the panchayat election; they cannot stand for election, whereas the Constitution guarantees that anyone who has the right to vote has the right to stand for election as well. CPI (ML) strongly opposes this undemocratic decision of the Khattar government.

CPI (ML) Karnal district Secretary Com. Mahindra Chopra said that the Khattar government is using issues of blind superstition like cow, Ganga, and Geeta to divert attention from real issues and implement its pro-corporate agenda. Com. Renu Nayak said that incidents of violence against women are becoming rampant in Haryana but the government remains a mute spectator. Liquor contracts have been opened in Haryana villages and illegal liquor is being sold at every nook and corner. It has become difficult for women to venture out and homes are being destroyed, the brunt of which is being borne by the women. She said that efforts would be made to mobilize the women of Haryana to start a big agitation against the government.

AIARLA district convenor Com. Krishna Saini Karnal said that the government machinery is fully involved in the huge corruption going on in MNREGA. RYA in-charge Com. Lalit Saxena said that lakhs of youth in Haryana are unemployed and there are no employment opportunities for them. AISA leader Com. Dinesh said that education is being privatized and commercialized in the State; huge fee hikes are making it veritably impossible for common people to get an education. A resolution was passed unanimously on the occasion that an all-out agitation on these burning issues would be launched.

Workers’ March in Ranchi

AICCTU Ranchi city committee took out a protest march on 21 January and burnt the effigy of Union MoS for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya to protest against the ‘start-ups’ for the benefit of companies, double life imprisonment for 8 Pricol workers, and driving Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula to suicide. Shouting slogans like “the company raj stands exposed”, “Remove Union Labour Minister and HRD Minister”, “Release the Pricol 8”, and “Take back the Start-up scheme”, the march proceeded to Albert Ekka chowk where it culminated in a meeting.

The speakers at the protest meeting said that the double standards of the Central government policies have been thoroughly exposed. They are meant to benefit companies and corporate houses rather than workers or common people. ‘Start-up’ is an attack on workers’ rights. Political protection to the mafia and the sentence of double life imprisonment for the 8 Pricol workers is an assault on the working class. AICCTU will continue the struggle against the Modi government which is intent on enriching companies and impoverishing workers.

Students Gherao Delhi Police HQ

Hundreds of students protested on 2 February at the Delhi Police headquarters at AISA’s call against Delhi Police and RSS’ crackdown on protesting students while they were marching from Ambedkar Bhawan to RSS Head Office on 30th January. The agitated students blocked the ITO road for some time demanding that the police commissioner B S Bassi should take responsibility of the crackdown on students.

Sucheta De, National President of AISA said that the Delhi police is hell bent to crush the ongoing protests demanding justice to Rohit Vemula is a clear case of political victimization. The police is not only siding with the real culprits of Rohit’s suicide but leaving no stone unturned to crush the students movement.

"While the BJP government and its ministers are engaged in shamelessly maligning Rohith’s background and the protesters and its political machinery like the ABVP and RSS are busy defending culprits of Rohith’s institutional murder like the union ministers, the Delhi police which takes order from the central government is time and again coming down violently on us. This is an issue of social justice and discrimination against marginalised communities be it inside campuses or outside of it. Most shamelessly, the Delhi police rather than taking moral responsibility of the violence on protesters is now working as a propaganda machinery for the RSS. The police commissioner is trying to defend police violence and spreading lies about the police violence on 30th" Said, Sandeep Saurav, National Secretary of AISA.

Dharna in Solidarity with Pricol Eight

Gujarat unit of AICCTU organised a day long dharna in solidarity with Pricol Eight on 9 Feb before Regional Labour Commissioner Office at Ahmedabad. This protest was led by comrades Ranjan Ganguly, Dashrath Sinhali, .Ramdash Katara, Jivaji Damor, Bhavan Singh. A memorandum addressed to PMO was handed over to the DLC which demanded to immediately give Justice to 8 convicted PRICOL workers on false charges.

A convention was also organised by AICCTU in association with RYA on 8 Feb. in Ahmedabad to express solidarity with struggling PRICOL Workers. The programe was presided over by veteran TU leader Com. Laxman Bhai Patanvadia. Along with AICCTU leaders RYA activists Amit and Ashmit spoke in the convention. The speakers hailed the spirit of struggling PRICOL workers and pledged to unitedly work for wider propaganda and to gather all kind of support for them.

ML Update | No. 06 | 2016

February 10, 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19 | No. 06 | 2 – 8 FEB 2016

Sangh-BJP Attacks and Police Brutality Cannot Stop the Battle for Justice for Rohith

The institutional murder of young dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad has shocked the entire country and students everywhere have erupted in protests. Given the crucial involvement of BJP central ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani in the entire episode, the resignation of these two ministers has emerged as a key demand of protesting students across the country. Far from listening to the voices of anguish and outrage, the Modi government and the Sangh-BJP establishment have virtually declared a war on the ongoing student agitation. They would like to prove that Rohith was not Dalit, his views and activities were ‘anti-national’ and of course they would like to crush dissent by all means. We have seen dissenting students being victimised in other university campuses after Hyderabad, and now the brutality inflicted on student activists, including girl students, in front of the RSS HQ in Delhi signals a new level of fascist offensive where police constables and goons in civilian clothes were seen beating up students in tandem.

The supreme sacrifice of Rohith against the deep-rooted and institutionalised injustice that dalits and other oppressed communities routinely have to suffer even in today’s twenty-first century India and the intensified assault on the crucial democratic right to dissent in Modi’s saffron regime has touched several chords and opened up new possibilities in the growing struggles against the repressive and regressive Modi raj. Students, who have been actively resisting the saffron assault on education and democracy in the campuses and beyond – whether against the dissolution of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT Madras or the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of FTII in Pune, against the suspension of fellowship or sell-out of higher education under WTO, against saffronisation of education or attacks on rationality and dissent – have naturally responded angrily to the saffron witch-hunt of a bright and sensitive young scholar.

Through his sacrifice Rohith has also given voice to the pain and anger felt so deeply by the Dalits and other oppressed communities and identities in India. The Indian state would like us to believe that caste discrimination and atrocities on dalits belonged to some previous era. Decades of reservation and legislation against atrocities on dalits have changed the situation quite sufficiently. Then there are market fundamentalists who tell us that what the state and society could not do is now being done by the market which is the ultimate annihilator of castes and promoter of social mobility. A party like the BJP which is now in power at the Centre and in several of India’s states is now desperate to appropriate Ambedkar and woo dalits by celebrating Ravidas jayanti even as it brazenly upholds Manuvad as an integral part of its vision of Hindu Rashtra and relentlessly attacks the values and principles of the Constitution drafted under the chairmanship of Dr. Ambedkar.

What makes the predicament more painful is the opportunist silence of many Dalit leaders who routinely invoke the name of Ambedkar but have none of his spirit of questioning and challenging the existing order of injustice and oppression. From Ramvilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale to Udit Raj and Jitan Ram Manjhi – the list of Dalit leaders who have no difficulty in allying with or even joining the BJP is quite significant. Then there is Mayawati’s BSP which habitually keeps silent over most economic, political and socio-cultural questions of the day. Rohith had rejected this politics of silence and opportunism, instead choosing to speak out on everything that mattered to him. And these are indeed questions that would haunt everybody who would like to see a just, democratic and egalitarian society. It is this spirit of Rohith, the spirit of the young India of Rohith’s friends and fellow fighters which the BJP is mortally afraid of. And hence the desperation in the Sangh-BJP camp to prove that Rohith was not a Dalit, the desperation to beat up and silence whoever is insisting on justice for Rohith.

Rohith and his friends felt for the Muslim youth being persecuted as terrorists. They felt for the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar. RSS ideologues and propagandists accuse him of speaking on everything under the sun except on ‘Dalit issues’! So his crime was that he did not conform to the familiar and convenient pattern of Dalit politics, that he transgressed the secluded slot of ‘Dalit issues’ to build bridges with other oppressed and persecuted communities and identities and stand up for democracy and justice for all. He obviously liked the communist principle ‘to each according to his need’ (‘from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need’ is a well-known basic principle of the communist vision) and even questioned Indian communists as to how far they have been alive to the needs and aspirations of Dalits and oppressed identities. Rohith thus represented a very urgent need and possibility of critical dialogue, cooperation and unity among Dalits and religious minorities, among Ambedkarites and communists. While fighting for bringing the guilty of Rohith’s institutional murder to book, we must also do all we can to nurture and develop the possibility that Rohith represented and free India from the clutches of the Sangh-BJP establishment.

CPI(ML) condemns the Delhi Police and RSS Assaults on Students in Delhi

On 30 January, students from JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, DU and AUD who were protesting against the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula were brutally assaulted by the Delhi Police. The students, who marched peacefully from the Ambedkar Bhawan to the RSS office in Jhandewalan, were protesting against the role of the ABVP-RSS-BJP in the entire sequence of events leading to Rohith’s tragic death. Not just the Delhi Police, but also some people who were not in uniform attacked the protestors. CPI(ML) strongly condemns this attack.

For quite some time now, each and every protest against the Modi government and the RSS has been dealt with by the Delhi Police with brute force. Detentions, lathi charges, water cannons – all have been deployed to try and arrest the spate of protests by students and youth in Delhi. On 30 January too, what was seen was no less than the blatant use of the Delhi Police and the state machinery to curb all differing and dissenting opinion. It is indeed dangerous that the Delhi Police is effectively being used as an extended arm of the RSS-BJP to crack down on political dissent.

Apart from eyewitness accounts and statement of the students themselves, there are also videos made by students and journalists, clearly showing the horrific role of the Delhi Police. CPI(ML) demands that action be taken immediately against this gross misuse of office and power. The Delhi Police chief and all those responsible for the attacks on the students should be held accountable and punished.

AISA, JNU Students’ Union and other students organisations also held protest demonstration in front of the Delhi Police HQ on February 2 against this attack.

CPI (ML) Team Visits Drought Affected Bundelkhand Farmers

A CPI(ML) team comprising of UP state standing committee member Ramesh Singh and comrades Rajiv Kushwaha, Ram Singh, and Sudhir Kumar visited the direly affected areas of Lalitpur district on 24 January to appraise the situation of the drought-affected Bundelkhand farmers. They visited the villages of Talbehat and Bar blocks and met the farmer families.

According to the team, the effects of the drought in Lalitpur have been escalated further due to the government’s neglect and administrative corruption at local levels, so much so that most of the farmers ruined by last year’s hail storm have not yet received government compensation; large scale corruption is going on in whatever little compensation is being given. People have been forced to migrate from their villages in large numbers because of failure of agriculture due to scarcity rainfall and lack of water in canals. In this situation farmers have become trapped in the clutches of government loans and moneylenders.

The CPI(ML) team said that in spite of all the announcements and claims of the government in regard to the Bundelkhand drought there has been no relief for the farmers as evident in Lalitpur district. The report demanded that Bundelkhand should be declared drought-affected, all loans to the farmers should be waived, strict action should be taken against private moneylenders, free fodder should be provided for cattle, work should be made available under MNREGA throughout the year, the scope of food security should be increased and an increased amount of food grains should be made available for each family, water should be released in canals, cleaning and re-boring of wells should be done, and hand pumps should be installed.

RYA Observes Protest Day

Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) conducted a National Campaign demanding the release of RYA National President Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha, National Executive Member Com. Manoj Manzil and Com. Satyadev Ram, CPI(ML) MLA from Darauli, Bihar. All three of them have been arrested due to false cases foisted upon them while leading struggles against feudal forces and fighting for the rights and dignity of the struggling masses of Bihar. As part of the campaign thousands of postcards addressed to the Chief Minister of Bihar, demanding the immediate release of the three comrades, have been sent from different parts of the country.

As part of this Campaign, RYA observed 25th of January as National Protest Day. Protest demonstrations, marches and dharnas were held across the country. On the eve of Republic Day the youth of the country asked as to why those who defend the rights of the people and fight to ensure the principles enshrined in the constitution are being imprisoned and the perpetrators of massacres at Bathani Tola, Bathe, Gujarat are roaming free and occupying the highest offices of the country. On this day programs were held at Chandigarh, Gwalior, Mughalsarai, Faizabad, Patna, Siwan, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Gopalganj, Bokaro, Ramgarh, Hazaribagh and many other places. Memoranda to the Chief Minister of Bihar were submitted through the local administrations.

Delhi’s Striking Workers’ Demands Must be Fulfilled Immediately

CPI(ML) Delhi State Committee condemned strongly the current impasse between Govt of Delhi and three Municipal Corporations on the issue of payment of salaries of employees especially of sanitation workers.

It is to be noted that the Commissioners of three corporations as per minutes of meeting held on January 15 with Chief Minister have accepted that they have received this year’s non-plan funds from which salary was supposed to be paid.

The employees of three municipal corporations have been at the receiving end of this petty politicking on part of BJP led Corporations while Central government’s deliberate silence on the issue only facilitating the present impasse. Their salaries have not been distributed for months and they are on strike demanding salaries. Along with employees, the people of Delhi’s daily life have got a hit with garbage piling in city and with regular municipal and even health services coming to standstill with doctors and health employees of MCD joining the agitation.

CPI(ML) Delhi state secretary Ravi Rai has said in an statement that it’s not difficult to see that current impasse has more political connotations than merely financial aspects with elections in three corporations due at the end of year. The BJP is trying to hide its failures in Municipal corporations in Delhi in particular and of its central government’s in general, behind such petty politicking which is not going to yield anyway. On the other hand, instead of merely relying on politics of posturing against Central Govt, had the AAP govt. implemented its own promise of regularisation of Delhi’s contractual employees on priority, the ongoing discourse in Delhi’s politics would have been quite different today.

CPI(ML) extends its solidarity with striking workers and demands that their salaries should be cleared immediately. The current impasse must be resolved by all sides, including Central Govt, Delhi Govt. and all three Municipal Corporations, keeping interests of people of Delhi in mind whose daily life has taken a hit.

Sand Workers Oppose Privatisation of River Bank, Rally To Demand Work

Thousands of rural sand workers took out a rally on 8 January 2016 in Dadi block of Hazaribagh district. They were raising slogans: ‘Give the sand bank royalty to the land owners’; ‘Give work for every worker’; ‘End willful royalty from sand banks’; and ‘Include sand workers in the BPL list.’ The rally reached the BDO’s office where a public meeting was held. Men and women attended the rally with traditional weapons, belchas and kodis. Tongi panchayat in Dadi block falls in the Pathari region, not suitable for agriculture, with a majority of adivasi population. Earlier, people used work in limestone quarries, but they are completely closed now. The second alternative for livelihoods for men as well as women was to work as sand lifters from the banks on the Damodar river, which since last year has been given to big contractors from Mumbai by the Jharkhand government. Under the banner of the CPI(ML), the rural workers have been demanding that the work on the sand banks should be given under the control of the local village panchayats. After the sand banks were auctioned off to the contractors, the latter are extracting tax arbitrarily as per their whims instead of following the norms fixed by the government. In comparison to other banks of the Damodar river such as Patratu and Barkakana, the contractor is charging Rs. 500 per truck more, with the result that the number of trucks here is very less. This situation has created a grave crisis of livelihood for the workers, to which the government and the administration are paying no attention.

Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) district Secretary Com. Bhuneshwar Bediya said that the State BJP government had come into power with the promise of adopting localized policies and creating jobs, but in the last year it has nothing to show except broken promises and a series of anti-people policies. It has totally neglected people’s basic needs, conservation of water, forest and land, and the task of employment generation. Instead, the government has formed a land bank to facilitate handing over of water, forests and lands to corporate houses and private companies. The government is giving the common people polluted air and polluted rivers in order to benefit the corporate houses and companies; land and minerals are being looted.

Struggle against Workers’ Retrenchment

Samvas Sadan Samiti Karamchari Sangh (Gaya) affiliated to AICCTU is carrying on a struggle for the reinstatement of workers who have been illegally removed from their jobs after having worked for 15-20 years.

Samvas Sadan Samiti has been constituted for the care of the Vishnupad temple in Gaya, and for taking care of travelers’ convenience. The President of the Samiti is the district officer and its members are government department officers and representatives of the pandas. From October 1983 onwards the permanent and temporary workers of the Samiti have been getting wages and allowances as per government norms. The Patna High Court had dissolved the Samiti, however, the Supreme Court ruled against the dissolution and reinstated it. Meanwhile, flouting all rules, temporary workers were removed from work from February 2015 and the wages and other payments to permanent workers are not being paid, causing a situation of starvation for the families of the workers. The workers are struggling for reinstatement of jobs and other issues. In support of their 5 point charter of demands, AICCTU organized a convention on 19 December 2016 which resolved to intensify the agitation further.

Demonstration In Solidarity With Pricol Workers Struggle

AICCTU and AISA held a demonstration at Bangalore in solidarity with workers of Pricol in Coimbatore. Hundreds of workers and students gathered at Town Hall demanding release of 8 imprisoned workers. Com. Shankar recollected that this is a first ever conviction in the period of liberalization where verdicts are delivered not on the basis of evidence on record but keeping the vested interests of capital in mind. Com. Clifton D’ Rozario, Karnataka state General Secretary, pointed out the struggles and enormous amount of sacrifice by workers of Pricol. Com. Appanna, AICCTU, Com. Maruthi, AISA and Com. Nirmala also addressed the protestors. A similar demonstration held at Gangavati was led by the CPI (ML) state secretary Com. Bharadwaj and another one at HD Kote by AIARLA state secretary Com. Javaraiah.

Protests in Bihar Against Tax Hike By Nitish Government

The CPI(ML) has strongly condemned the increase in taxes by 13.5% on essential goods in the name of revenue increase by the Nitish government. Protests were held across the state on 16 January. Party State Secretary Kunal said that it is quite unfair and unnecessary to raise taxes on the people when they are already burdened with spiraling prices. The Nitish government has got a mandate from the poor in Bihar for development and guarantee of justice, not for increasing the already sky high prices. The Bihar government is following the footsteps of the Central government and both are bent on making the common man to shoulder the burden of price rise in various ways, proving that both are anti-people governments.

Com. Kunal further said that the government is not keeping its promise on its electoral promise of total prohibition, which has now been limited to country liquor alone; in other words, the sale of foreign liquor and black marketing of country liquor will continue. On the other hand, using the loss of revenue through prohibition as an excuse, it is raising taxes on essential goods; the government could have explored other means of compensating the revenue loss such as taxing the rich and ending corruption.

As part of the state-wide protests, demonstrations were held in front of several district headquarters with the demand to revoke the raised taxes without delay. Effigies of Nitish Kumar were burnt in Rohtas and Nasriganj. A protest march was taken out at Nawada. Effigy burning was also done in Jehanabad, Nawada, Siwan, Bhojpur, Bhagalpur, Beguserai, Darbhanga, Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur, Arwal and all other districts.

AIARLA Memorandum To Bihar Food And Supplies Minister

A delegation comprising of AIARLA General Secretary Dhirendra Jha, former MP and AIARLA National President Rameshwar Prasad, CPI(ML) MLA from Balrampur Mahbood Alam, AIARLA State Secretary Virendra Prasad Gupta and Gopal Ravidas, submitted a memorandum to the Food and Supplies Minister of Bihar on 18 January.

The socio-economic census of 2013 has once again established that Bihar is in the grip of dire poverty. A large part of the State’s population is affected by starvation, near starvation, and malnutrition. Continuous drought conditions have made the situation even worse. Most of the dalit, mahadalit, and EBC families as well as senior citizens, disabled, and children of destitute families are deprived of the right to food. The Bihar government has passed the Food Security Act, but even today a large section of needy families is deprived of this right. The list of beneficiaries of the Food Security Act is a bundle of irregularities. Moreover, the PDS system is so corrupt and lax that the poor do not get rations for even 6 months in a year. Food security is very important for a backward and poor State like Bihar and the guarantee of social justice is also very important. Therefore, the AIARLA delegation demanded from the Minister for Food and Supplies to act without delay on the following demands:

1. Issue food security coupons to all needy families under the Food Security Act. Remove rich families from the food security list. Make an all-party panchayat level committee to finalise the list of beneficiaries under the food security list. Fix the date for final publication of the list and prior to that put it in the public domain and ask for corrections.

2. The mega-alliance government should put a stop to the process of cash-for-food being inflicted on the people by the BJP.

3. End the dealer system of ration-kerosene distribution and start government co-operative shops on the basis of revenue villages as in Tamil Nadu.

4. Break the dealer-MO-SDO nexus responsible for loot and black marketing of rations. Make the distribution system transparent, computerized, and digital.

5. Display the ration-kerosene distribution report on the 15th of every month on boards at Block offices. Cancel licenses of erring dealers on the basis of complaints and register cases against them.

6. Make the work system of district SFCs and godowns corruption-free and transparent.

7. The right to food should be made more meaningful by distributing eggs, potatoes, onions, milk and dal along with rice, wheat and sugar under the PDS system, as per the recent directive of the Supreme Court in connection with drought-affected areas. Give the benefit of the already existing Antyodaya scheme to dalit-mahadalit and destitute families and further expand this scheme.

Protests Against Institutional Murder of Rohith Vemula Continue

Bangalore: A massive all organisation Protest was held at Bangalore on 19 January demanding justice for Rohith Vemula. The protestors demanded immediate Resignation of HRD Minister Smriti Irani, MoS Labour Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice Chancellor of HCU, Revoking of expulsion of 4 Dalit Students and Judicial Inquiry into the casteist attack on dalit students by HCU administration and ABVP. The protestors shouted slogans against Brahmanism, against fascist attacks on University students and growing intolerance to the voices of dissent. AISA students from Bangalore University and various other colleges led by state president Com. Maruthi participated in the demonstration. On 26 January, AISA organized a convention on this issue. The convention was addressed by Com. Balan, state president of AICCTU, Raghupati from CPI(ML) and Rangaswamy, who is a lecturer.

Uttar Pradesh: CPI(ML) had called for state wide protests from 20 to 24 January. A protest march was taken out on 23 January in Lucknow from Parivartan Chowk to Hazratganj Chowraha. CPI(ML), CPI(M), CPI and some other organizations participated in the march. The meeting held near the Ambedkar statue was addressed by critic Virendra Yadav, IPTA General Secretary Rakesh, Jan Sanskriti Manch State President Kaushal Kishore, Janvadi Lekhak Sangh Secretary Nalin Ranjan Singh, CPI(ML) district in-charge Ramesh Singh Sengar, CPI’s Mohd Khalid, CPI(M) leader Prashant Singh, AIPWA State President Tahira Hasan, and AIDWA leader Rupa Singh. One day earlier on 22 January the protest of the students in the presence of PM Modi during the convocation ceremony at Ambedkar University, Lucknow, was an expression of the countrywide anger and outrage. Condemning the arrest of the students who protested against Modi, the speakers demanded the withdrawal of all cases registered against those students. The programme was conducted by Rajeev Kumar of the CPI(ML).

In Varanasi a march was taken out on 25 January from Ambedkar square culminating at the Collector’s office, in which hundreds of protesters participated. On the same day the CPI(ML) held dharnas in Kanpur at Ram Asre Park and in Ballia at the district Collector’s office. In Gorakhpur the CPI(ML) along with Jan Sanskriti Manch took out a march on 20 January. In Mau HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s effigy was burnt on 20 January. On 24 January protests were held in Suriyawan (Bhadohi), Robertsganj (Sonbhadra), and Lalganj, Madihan, Ahirora and Jamalpur blocks in Mirzapur.

Red Salute to Prof Randhir Singh

Eminent Marxist scholar and popular teacher of political theory Prof Randhir Singh passed away on the night of 31st January in Delhi. He was 95.

Prof Randhir Singh was a founder of the Left student movement in India, during India’s freedom struggle. He was a brilliant student even in his school and college days. He is best remembered for his unwavering lifelong commitment to popularising and communicating Marxist theory widely, in the most accessible language of the people. Till very recently, he would still travel to Punjab villages and small towns to give talks on political developments as well as on Marxist thought.

In spite of his formidable academic prowess, he was always had the unassuming air that is the hallmark of the activist. He was a close friend of many Left activists, and many in the CPI(ML), young and old, will have fond memories of their rich interactions with him.

Prof Randhir Singh inspired many generations to study Marxism and to study society using Marxist tools.

CPI(ML) extends its heartfelt condolences to his family members.

Red Salute to Comrade Randhir Singh !


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