ML UPDATE 7/ 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 07, 08 – 14 FEBRUARY 2011

From the Nile to Nepal:

New Upheavals, New Prospects, New Challenges

After the student and youth explosions in Europe, the theatre of powerful protest movements has shifted back to the Third World – to the Arab world to be more specific. An uprising in Tunisia has already led to the overthrow of the country’s 23-years long dictatorship of President Ben Ali. A so-called transitional government was formed, but the movement for democracy has continued, demanding a totally new government without the relics of the dictatorship. Other countries like Yemen, Algeria, Jordan and Egypt have witnessed massive and militant agitations often in the face of brutal repression leading to the death of more than 300 agitators.

The protests are so powerful because they are propelled by the most genuine demands of all sections of the people – the working and the middle classes including journalists, lawyers, teachers and most prominently students and the youth, not excluding those from an elite background. The issues are those with which we are most familiar here in India: price rise, unemployment, state tyranny and terror, food scarcity, corruption. In Egypt, strategically the most important country in the region, workers and others had been waging a series of militant strikes and demonstrations since December 2006.

Notwithstanding the overwhelmingly popular character of the ongoing “Nile Revolution”, the upsurge is also clearly marked by some serious limitations and weaknesses. In Egypt the US has sufficient clout among the anti-Mubarak forces to influence the direction and outcome of the movement. The foreign power which operates behind the scenes thus remains shielded from the agitation: the US embassy in Cairo is not among its targets. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Freedom House (FH), both having ties with the CIA, have long been active among civil society associations some of which are now in the forefront of the agitation in Egypt and other Arab countries. Under the auspices of the FH, opponents of President Mubarak visited the US and were received by Condoleezza Rice in May 2008 and by Hillary Clinton a year later. The friendly neutrality of an army, which is believed to be basically pro-US, towards the agitating opposition and President Barack Obama’s enthusiasm for a more rapid "transition" are also quite meaningful.

It therefore remains to be seen whether the struggle in Egypt stops at some sort of manipulated "democratisation" – some kind of liberalisation and reshuffle within the ruling elite – or goes beyond that. Meanwhile, the tottering dictatorships are granting various kinds of concessions to quell people’s anger. Jordan’s King Abdullah has dismissed his government and Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised that a 19-year-old state of emergency will be lifted “in the very near future.” Following talks between Egypt’s newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman and a motley opposition, the government has decided to raise the salaries of government employees by 15 per cent and promised progress within a month toward free elections. It also pledged to free political prisoners, end media restraints and lift the emergency law, which gives security forces far-reaching powers to detain people perceived as threats to the state, when “conditions allow”. However, all this has failed to stop thousands from demonstrating and calling for the immediate removal of Hosni Mubarak and occupation of Cairo’s Tahir Square has entered the third week.

In another interesting and welcome development nearer home, Nepal now has a Communist-led government. After as many as sixteen rounds of parliamentary voting failed to elect a Prime Minister, the Maoists withdrew from the race and extended support to UML candidate Jhalanath Khanal. The latter then defeated his nearest rival from Nepali Congress by a huge margin. Significantly, the deal was struck when the president of Nepal was conferring with Indian leaders in New Delhi and Manmohan Singh became the first foreign head to congratulate the newly elected Prime Minister. To be sure, the new government is faced with a backlog of very challenging tasks – like managing the economic crisis, drafting the new Constitution, implementing the peace agreement through reconstitution of the Nepalese army, to name only a few. Yet it is important that the deadlock has ended and the end has come through the cooperation of the two leading communist forces in Nepal. Let us hope that this cooperation continues and is able to carry Nepal forward along the path of republican and democratic transition.

CPI(ML) Central Committee Concludes 3-Day Meeting in Odisha, Calls for National Campaign against the UPA for its Utter Failure to Control prices and Curb Corruption, Extends Full Support to Land Struggles in Rayagada-Koraput-Kalahandi and

People’s Resistance to Posco and Vedanta Projects

As a mark of solidarity with the ongoing just democratic struggles in Odisha, especially the courageous struggle of Chilika fisherpeople, the resistance against Posco, Vedanta and Tata projects and the land struggle in Rayagada-Koraput-Kalahandi region, the Central Committee of the CPI(ML) held its first session in 2011 at Barkul near Balugaon in Khurda district from 3 to 5 February.

The CPI(ML) apex body strongly rejected the UPA government’s decision to give the go-ahead signal to the Posco project in spite of the adverse reports submitted by all expert committees. The project will have huge negative impact on the local natural and human resources and fulfil corporate greed at the expense of the land, livelihood and rights of the local people. A central team of CPI(ML) leaders comprising General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, state secretary and veteran communist leader Khitish Biswal and peasant leader Rajaram Singh will visit the site of anti-Posco resistance on 7 February. It is significant that the Congress, BJD and BJP are all united in defence of Posco while only the CPI(ML) and other Left organisations are standing by the just resistance of the affected people.

The Central Committee also resolved to launch a nationwide mass campaign against the thoroughly corrupt and repressive UPA government at the Centre. The government has landed the country in a deepening all-round crisis. Relentlessly rising prices are pauperizing the common people while mega scams and growing black money are robbing the national exchequer. Instead of controlling prices and punishing the corrupt, the government is bent upon protecting the guilty and harassing honest and upright people like Dr. Binayak Sen by slapping false charges and unleashing state repression. The CPI(ML) meeting called for immediate unconditional release of all human rights activists and leaders of people’s struggles and scrapping of all black laws.

As part of this national campaign, the party will organize a series of programmes independently and also jointly with other organizations. On 21 February a student parliament will be organized in Delhi and on 23 February all left-led central trade unions will organize a massive workers’ rally in Delhi. On 14 March activists of the CPI(ML) and other constituents of the All India Left Coordination will march to Parliament to demand resignation of the UPA government for its utter failure to control prices of essential commodities and curb corruption. The party’s student-youth wings will organise an anti-corruption campaign from 23 to 31 March.

The meeting also discussed major political developments in the international arena. It expressed support for the growing popular upheavals in Egypt and other Arab world countries for democracy and change and student protests in Europe against unemployment and welfare cuts. The Central Committee condemned the killing of Indian fisher-people by the Sri Lankan armed forces and the humiliation and harassment of Indian students in the US and called upon the government of India to protect the lives and dignity of Indians seeking education and employment abroad. The Central Committee welcomed the election of CPN(UML) leader JN Khanal as the new Prime Minister of Nepal and hoped that the end of the nearly yearlong deadlock would now help and expedite the process of constitution making and republican transition in Nepal.

(Dipankar Bhattacharya)

General Secretary, CPI(ML)

(Khitish Biswal)

Secretary, Odisha State Committee

CPI(ML) in Solidarity with the anti-Posco Resistance Struggle in Odisha

Following the CPI(ML) Central Committee meeting held at Balugan in Odisha from 3 to 5 February, a CPI(ML) team comprising General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Odisha State Secretary Khitish Biswal, General Secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha Rajaram Singh and Odisha state AICCTU leader Mahendra Parida visited Dhinkia panchayat in Erasama block of Jagatsinghpur district, the main centre of the people’s resistance to the proposed Posco project on 7 February, 2011. The delegation met several leaders of the Posco resistance struggle including Akshay Das, Prakash Jena (member of Erasama block panchayat samiti) and woman activist Monorama Khatua and several others and addressed an impromptu meeting of villagers at Dhinkia.

The villagers of Dhinkia were visibly angry with the UPA government for giving the go-ahead signal to the Posco project in spite of adverse recommendations by several expert committees and the continuing struggle of the local people for the last five years. But they also expressed their determination to resist the Posco project in one straightforward slogan: “Maribo kintu daribo na, bhita-maati chhadibo na” (we are not afraid to die, but we will not abandon our hearth and home). The Posco project entails acquisition of 4,000 acres of coastal/forest land that has been home for several hundred years to as many as 8 villages in three panchayats. At least 20,000 people face eviction and loss of livelihood – the area is known for its good crop of paddy, cashew, coconut and high quality betel leaves that are much in demand outside of Odisha. The project also involves the construction of a new captive port for POSCO (with devastating consequences for the coastal ecosystem including nesting sites for the threatened Olive Ridley turtles) in spite of the availability of the nearby Paradip port.

Activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) also described how the state administration was trying to break the morale of the fighting people. An undeclared embargo has been imposed on the area with some 2000 people facing arrest on leaving the village. Routine panchayat work has come to almost a standstill and people are being denied basic benefits like ration or old age pension. Elected panchayat representatives are being harassed by the block administration for supporting the resistance struggle. Even the post master of Dhinkia post office has been suspended for his alleged sympathy for the movement. In the face of this economic blockade and repressive threats, the morale of the people of Dhinkia and other adjoining villages like Gobindapur, Nuagaon etc. still runs high and the PPSS is determined to fight till the end.

The CPI(ML) Odisha unit has been in close touch with the anti-Posco resistance movement since its inception and this was the second visit to the struggle site by a central team of Party leaders. Reiterating the party’s full support to the struggle and saluting the courage and determination of the local people, Comrade Dipankar described the resistance struggle as not merely a struggle against forcible land acquisition but as a battle for freedom from corporate rule. He said the fighting people of Dhinkia had set an inspiring example and enjoyed the support of democratic forces from all over the country. Comrades Khitish Biswal, Rajaram Singh and Mahendra Parida also addressed the meeting along with leaders of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

Crimes against Dalit Women in Mayawati’s Sarvajan Raj

On 9 February 2011, the Uttar Pradesh unit of AIPWA held a dharna at the state capital of Lucknow against the steep rise in gruesome crimes against women, especially women from oppressed communities in the state, with the police and government protecting the perpetrators (many of them top leaders and MLAs of the ruling BSP) in several of the cases. In particular the dharna protested against the latest instance in which assailants chopped off the body parts of a young dalit girl in Fatehpur when she resisted their attempt to gang rape her.

The dharna was held at Jyotiba Phule Park in Lucknow. Addressing the dharna AIPWA National Vice President Tahira Hasan said that heinous acts against women in some or the other part of the State has become almost a daily feature. State’s police are more proactive in sending the victims themselves to jail and issuing ‘clean chits’ to perpetrators rather than nabbing them. The police is shying away from netting the accused who are associated with the ruling party – be it the Banda case where a BSP MLA was involved, or the gangrape of a minor student in Allahabad or Itawa’s Sonam rape case. As a result, the rapists, especially feudal forces who rape women from oppressed communities, are getting emboldened.

At Jaunpur late in January, a school teacher immolated herself after failing to secure justice against the director of her institute who sexually exploited her. A school girl at Firozabad immolated herself after being gang raped by two youths. Recently, a group of CPI(ML) leaders visited Chinhat (Lucknow) and met the family and villagers of a dalit rape and murder victim. The dalit girl was gangraped on 25 January and her dead body was found in the fields. Initially, the police tried to ignore the evidences found from the site and rubbish the incident. Even the doctor performing the autopsy colluded with the perpetrators and gave a fictitious report. It was only the mounting people’s pressure that resulted in re-postmortem of the victims’s body two days later and gangrape was confirmed.

In another recent instance, a 17-year-old dalit girl Vandana immolated herself in UP when police acted to protect an upper caste men who had kidnapped and raped her. The accused were arrested only after enormous popular protests and outrage at the case. Another 18-year-old Dalit girl Kavita Bharti of Unnao was raped and killed in the ICU of the Chandini Nursing Home, Kanpur where she had been admitted after an accident. In this case as well, policemen acted to protect the perpetrators and deny the rape.

Addressing the dharna, AIPWA State President Vidya Rajwar said in Mayawati’s latest tenure, no less than five BSP MLAs had been implicated in crimes against women; in most cases the BSP failed to expel the leader or ensure justice for the victim. In a state ruled by a ‘dalit ki beti,’ Mayawati, why are the daughters of the poor and oppressed so vulnerable?

In effect, Mayawati’s sarvajan raj has meant that the feudal and patriarchal forces, embedded and pampered within the Government and ruling party itself, have been emboldened, and justice and security for women, especially from oppressed communities, remains a far cry. AIPWA in UP plans to intensify the state-wide protests against the rising spiral of violence against women.

Fact Finding in the case of Suspected Child Sacrifice in TN Village

A fact finding team of PUCL, AIPWA and AISA visited the village Katchaikatti in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu on 26 January to investigate the brutal murder of a four and a half year old girl child Rajalakshmi. It is to be noted that the child (Rajalakshmi), daughter of a dalit couple Mr. Thottan and Annakili, had disappeared on 1st Jauary 2011, and her body was found the following day in a strange condition- without any blood in the body and no signs of blood at the site where body was found.

The team was constituted on people’s request and led by PUCL after the police could not make any headway even in 25 days. The team included PUCL’s Vice President Dr. R Murali (and Professor of Philosophy in Madurai College), Prof. Mohan Kalyana Sundaram, former Principal, Saraswathi Narayan College, Madurai, Usha, State General Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, Divya , All India Students’ Association, Prof. R.Govindarajan, Dept. of Chemistry, Madurai College, Prof. Periyasamy Raja, Dept. of Tamil, VHNSN College, Virudhunagar, Mr. Hameed, media activist, Marupakkam and Mr.Balaraman, Research Scholar,Vadipatti.

The team, upon return from fact finding held a press conference and released its detailed findings which got wide coverage in the media owing to the high public resentment and importance of the incident.

The throat of the child was slit and a portion of flesh smeared off near its right eye. The body was first spotted by one Panchu in that village in close proximity to a well while the entire village beyond the caste lines were searching for the child and were draining out the well for 4 hours by a motor pump. The fact finding team had found that the blood of the child was completely drained and even a drop of blood could not be extracted from the body. The murder was committed in a fashion similar to sacrificing a goat or chicken for its blood and was executed on Amavasya (new moon) which is considered auspicious day for black magic.

Now that the child is suspected to have been sacrificed, the entire Dalit hamlet is scared as to whose child will be next. The team members have therefore demanded that the State administration should ensure the safety of the children there which will relieve the stress to some extent. Usha, State general secretary of AIPWA, and member of the fact finding committee, said that the interrogations carried out by the police tried to intimidate the people and indulged in excesses when people planned to initiate a movement for justice. Police had interrogated a woman from Kutladampatti who was said to have involved in some superstitious practices and she clarified that there was a man who was practising some sort of magic in that area and the man was missing since the report of the murder.

Students from JNU, Jamia and DU Protest at Egypt Embassy Against Hosni Mubarak Regime’s Crackdown on Democratic Protests!

Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University protested at the Egypt Embassy on 2nd February against the dictatorial Hosni Mubarak regime’s brutal crackdown on democratic protests in Egypt. AISA leaders also addresses a meeting there showing solidarity with the brave people of Egypt. The demonstration was led by AISA General Secretary Ravi Rai and Sucheta De, student leader from JNU.

AISA’s Dharna in Lucknow for Arrest of the Rapists

The UP unit of AISA held a dharna at Shaheed Smarak in Lucknow on 29 January to protest and demand for immediate arrest of the rapists of a girl student from Allahabad. AISA has demanded an enquiry into the role of Minister for Higher Education in the BSP Govt. Rakesh Dhar Tripathi and the arrest of his nephew and all the accused in the incident and strict action against the police officials involved in harassing and pressurising the girl at women’s cell for changing her statement. The dharna was led by AISA leaders Sarita Patel and Ramayan Ram. AISA members and activists from Lucknow, Allahabad and Benaras participated in the Dharna.

CPI(ML)’s State-level Cadre Convention in Chhattisgarh

CPI(ML) held its State-level Cadre Convention at Comrade Rajendra Bairagi Hall in Bangoli of Raipur on 28 January. The Convention was inaugurated with a rally in Bangoli village. The rally demanded immediate release of Vinayak Sen, repeal of Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and curb on price-rise, loot, corruption and state repression. Com. Rajaram inaugurated the Convention. We will carry more reports of the Convention in the next issue.

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

MLU-14-07.pdf

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s