ML UPDATE 13 / 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 13, 22 – 28 MARCH 2011

US Agent UPA Government Must Quit Immediately!

The leaked Radia tapes revealed how corporate houses control crucial decisions made by the Central government, and exposed several UPA Ministers as corporate appointees. Now, US embassy cables leaked by the whistleblower website Wikileaks have revealed clear evidence of the lengths to which the US monitors and influences the functioning of Government and Parliament.

A U.S. Embassy cable dated January 30, 2006 sent by Ambassador David C. Mulford to Washington observed that in January 2006, the Manmohan Singh Government appointed Murli Deora (described by the Ambassador as "pro-US" ) as Petroleum Minister, removing Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is described as a “contentious and outspoken Iran pipeline advocate”. Mulford adds that “The UPA inducted a large number of serving MPs (among them Deora), including seven from the IUPF (Indo-US Parliamentary Forum) who have publicly associated themselves with our strategic partnership.” Mulford therefore concludes approvingly that the Cabinet reshuffle is “likely to be excellent for US goals in India (and Iran),” signifying the Manmohan Singh Government’s "determination to ensure that US/India relations continue to move ahead rapidly.”

Another official US cable dated July 17, 2008 reveals that when the US Embassy’s Political Counselor visited Congress MP Satish Sharma, Sharma’s political aide reported on how MPs were being bought for Rs 10 crore each, and is quoted as saying that "money was not an issue at all, but the crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money would vote for the government.” Further, to convince the US representative that the Congress was indeed doing its utmost to ensure a pro-Nuke Deal vote, Sharma’s aide showed him chests full of crores of cash which was meant for buying the votes of MPs! The American representative also quotes Sharma as saying that he would persuade "former Prime Minister Vajpayee’s (foster) son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya to speak to BJP representatives.”

Other cables testify to the fact that the UPA Government lies to the Indian public on the real nature of its relationship with Israel and Iran. One cable makes the assessment that India’s seemingly warm engagement with Iran meant for “public consumption," mostly to please the “domestic Muslim and Non-Aligned Movement audience." Another cable quotes then National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan as saying that India would like to vote against Iran when the matter came up in the IAEA a second time, was worried about the reaction in its “domestic political constituency.” The US cables also record that US representatives warned India that failure to vote against Iran at the IAEA would jeopardise the Nuke Deal. Events show that the Manmohan Singh Government ably served their US masters by voting as directed by the US.

In Parliament, Pranab Mukherjee and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have declared that they “cannot confirm the veracity, contents or even the existence” of the Wikileaks cables. Their protestations however sound completely hollow when faced by the statement of the former US Ambassador David Mulford who has indicated that the leaked cables, many of them authored by him, are genuine and generally accurate. The Prime Minister has further made the arrogant claim that the victory of the UPA in the 2009 elections was proof that the people have rejected allegations of bribery in the confidence vote, and therefore the matter merits no re-investigation. It is time the PM faced up to the fact that the cables offer fresh and explosive evidence – not just of bribery but of the much more serious charge of undermining India’s own interests and subverting democracy to meet the demands of the US. Such evidence cannot be brushed under the carpet.

One set of cables has also exposed the duplicity of the BJP, proving that in matters of subservience to the US, the BJP and the Congress are birds of a feather. A senior BJP leader is quoted assuring the US representative that the BJP’s political resolutions criticising the United Progressive Alliance’s ‘subservience’ to the US should not be taken too seriously since it is “only political rhetoric meant to score easy points against the UPA.” Another cable refers to L K Advani’s playing down of the BJP’s stated opposition to the Nuke Deal, and promising ‘continuity’ in Indo-US relations and the Nuke Deal too, if the BJP were to come to power.

Till now it was evident that the Manmohan Singh Government had presided over scams and corporate loot of epic proportions. Now, to cap it all, it is shamefully apparent that the UPA Government ‘fixed’ Cabinet appointments and corrupted the process of voting on the floor of Parliament to ensure that the outcome suited US interests. Confirmation of the cash-for-votes information (already exposed on the floor of Parliament) as well as for the UPA Government’s ‘hidden agenda’ of effecting a far-reaching pro-US shift in the country’s policies and priorities, now comes straight from the horse’s mouth – the records of the Government’s own trusted ‘strategic partner’ and master, the United States of America. No self-respecting country can allow a government to remain in power which has so shamefully been caught in the act of selling out the country’s interests to imperialist forces. Enough is enough, the UPA Government must quit now!

Condemn the NATO Air Strikes on Libya

The CPI(ML) strongly condemns the air strikes on Libya by NATO allies France, Britain and the US. Once again after Iraq, this is an act of aggression by the US and its allies on an oil-rich country in the Arab-African region, being conducted in the name of ushering in democracy and toppling a dictatorship. While the UN Security Council Resolution on Libya called for "protection of civilians" and not for regime change, it is clear that the resolution is serving as a pretext for military aggression by imperialist forces.

The uprisings in a series of Arab countries have unseated a large number of dictators backed by the US and have thus created uncertainty for continued US hegemony in the region. The uprising in Libya too reflected the aspirations of Libyan people for democracy, and the brutal suppression of this uprising by Muammar Gaddafi and massacre of civilians is highly condemnable.

But military aggression by the Western countries is not inspired by concern for democracy (the same countries have supported suppression of popular uprisings in Bahrain, for instance). Rather, through military intervention in Libya, these countries are seeking to reassert an imperialist foothold in the region and rollback the impact of the wave of democratic uprisings that have thrown off the yoke of decades-old, US-backed despotic regimes.

Imperialist wars can never be a route for democracy. Genuine democratic change that can only be brought about from within countries themselves. The Libyan people have the sovereign right to determine their own future free from imperialist intervention. The CPI(ML) demands that the US and its allies keep their hands off Libya and call an immediate end to the aerial bombardment of Libya. We also call upon the Indian government not to be a silent spectator to the US-led aggression but rather to play an active role to stop the aggression on Libya.

CPI(ML) Central Committee

Resign Yeddy-led BJP Government!

‘Vidhana Soudha Chalo’ at Bengaluru!

Coinciding with the March to Parliament in Delhi on 14th March 2011, the CPI(ML) organised a ‘Vidhana Soudha Chalo’ rally on 14 March 2011 demanding resignation of the corrupt and anti-people BJP government in Karnataka. The rally culminated in a public meeting in front of the Town Hall.

Corruption, price rise and state repression were the focus of the rally and was organised in association with AICCTU, AIALA, AIPWA and AISA. CPI(ML) Central Committee member Com. V Shankar, State Secretary E Ramappa, AIALA State President J Bharadwaj, AICCTU State Secretary C Javaraiah, AIPWA state Vice President Ranjani, Secretary Gandhimathi, AISA State Convener DM Prasad, and AICCTU Bangalore District Secretary G Somu addressed the public meeting.

Com. Shankar called upon the people of Karnataka to put an end to the anti-worker, anti-people BJP government in the state and demanded resignation of the Yeddyurappa-led BJP government. He also said that the secular nature of Karnataka must be rescued from the regressive and reactionary RSS and BJP. BJP’s mantra of development is not for the development of the society as a whole but a development of mining mafia and the families of its leaders. He criticised the central leaders of BJP for defending Yeddyurappa’s corrupt Govt.

He exposed the BJP Government’s claim of ‘a separate and special Budget on agriculture’ as hollow and devoid of substance. The budget claims to increase the rural income and to slow down migration to urban areas, but, in reality, the budget is focusing more on agri-business and capital investments in agriculture. It is trying to make Karnataka an attractive destination for global and domestic capital. Bellary district is divided between Reddy Brothers and Mittals. Jindals are also offered their share of hundreds of acres of land. Haveri district is being offered to POSCO. Now, the Yeddyurappa government is planning to sell off remaining lands also to agri-business corporate companies. The budget has offered to formulate Agri-Business Development Policy and also to organize a “Global Agri-Business Investment Meet” for the first time. He said the ‘Krishi’ Budget is nothing but a ‘Corporate Budget and has offered nothing to small and marginal farmers and to the vast majority of agricultural labourers.

He said that neither the BJP nor the Congress and JD(S) have any moral right to fight corruption. He also condemned the Somashekhara Commission report which covered up the Sangh’s attacks on churches. He accused the BJP government of promoting state terrorism against minorities in the state. He called the rally a signal of the determination of revolutionary Left forces in Karnataka to assert themselves and intensify the fight for justice and secular democracy.

Com. E Ramappa, CPI(ML)’s State Secretary, called upon the people to fight for the demands like inclusion of all unorganised workers under BPL list and regularisation of Bagarhukum lands apart from other demands. He said that only people’s struggle can really be an alternative to the BJP, not the Congress or JD(S).

AICCTU workers of Bengaluru came forward on their own to provide lunch to all rallyists coming from faraway places in the state. The effort was not based on any decision but a spontaneous act by urban workers showing maturing class consciousness and their humanism. Solidarity acts like these with the rural toiling masses is comparable to the struggles of ‘80s when public sector workers of Bengaluru fed thousands of struggling farmers from Nargund and Navalgund with chappatis piled like mountains. Such spontaneous acts of solidarity will surely foster stronger bonds between rural and urban working class.

Solidarity Programs in AP in Support of March to Parliament

On March 14th, demonstrations and other protest programmes demanding UPA govt to quit office were held in different districts of Andhra Pradesh in which 2000 people participated. In Visakhapatnam protest was led by comrades M Malleswara Rao and B Vasudeva Rao. In Kakinada a colourful rally was organised from Party Office to Collectorate in which 1000 people participated. A protest meeting was organised before the Collector’s office addressed by N Murthy, B Bangarrao and others. In Vijayawada 400 people participated in protest held before the Sub Collector’s office. Comrades D Harinath, D Viplava kumar, P Satyanarayana, R Nagamani, T Aruna, D Pullarao and others led the programme. In Ananthapur demonstration was led by CKV Siva Reddy and K Gayathri in which 250 people gheraoed the Collectorate. In Khammam, a rally of 100 people was held which culminated as dharna before Collector’s Office led by CK Damodhar and K Janardhan. In Jangareddygudem of west Godavari protest was held before RDO office in which 150 people participated and the programme was led by D Parvathi. A dharna was held before mandal office at Nandikotkur led by Lakshmeshwaragoud.

Demo in Andamans

On 14 March, a protest programme coinciding with AILC’s Parliament March in Delhi was held in Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) by CPI(ML) and allies in AILC. AICCTU, A&N Islands, held a demonstration in front of the Secretariat at Port Blair between 3-4 p.m. against soaring prices and rampant corruption of UPA Regime. Comrades M Sadasivan, NKP Nair and P Thatha Rao addressed the gathering.

Kakarapalli Police Firing

Yet another Heinous Crime Perpetuated by the Congress Govt

Protests Held all Over AP on March 1st

Effigies of CM burnt and protests held at Sattupalli of Khammam dist., Chatrayi and Vissannapeta of Krishna dist., Jangareddy and Gudem of West Godavari dist., Yeleswaram, Prathipadu, Govindapuram and Kakinada of East Godavari dist, Narsipatnam of Visakha dist, & Ananthapuram town.

From Sompeta to Kakarapalli: Bloodshed and Bold Resistance: [On 28 February, villagers protesting a thermal power plant in Kakarapalli, Andhra Pradesh, faced severe repression and police firing in which two were killed and many injured. On 2 March, a CPI(ML) team comprising N Murthy, D Harinath, B Vasudevarao, R Nagamani, T Sanyasirao, M Ramarao, P Kameswarrao, K Dushyanth, P Sundaramma and others visited the affected people of the concerned villages. A report follows.]

The people of Kakarapalli, Vadditandra, Akasalakkavaram, Seerapuvanipeta of Santha Bommali mandal of Srikakulam district had been waging a determined struggle against a proposed thermal power plant by the East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd, which enjoyed strong political backing. East Coast Energy, promoter of a thermal power plant with an investment of Rs 11,500 crores with the target of 660 MW production in the first phase, claimed to have acquired 2550 acres waste land from the government and initiated work on the plant three years back. Initially the people of the area were promised development, reasonable compensation and employment opportunities. Resolutions were passed in panchayats in favour of the factory by managing representatives of the local bodies. It was claimed that all necessary clearances had been procured in favour of the plant. But the realities are quite otherwise.

Devastation of Nature and Agriculture: A village named Thene Neelapuram, very close to the plant site, houses a bird sanctuary visited by migratory birds from Siberia. The acquired area of 2550 acres government lands by the plant authorities is illegal because the said lands were under the lease of nearly 100 fishermen’s societies right from 1948 till the present. Now the government is refusing to renew the lease of those lands. Actually these lands are called Thampara Bhoomulu (wetlands created by seven streams including the Vamsadhara river which flow to join the Bay of Bengal) by local people and are breeding ground for a rare variety of tortoise and some types of fish. These are the lands which provide livelihood for nearly 800 families. Forest and environmental Acts and laws are being grossly violated. A detailed report by the Forest department objecting to the project was discarded.

As the level of the construction site is raised and a long wall constructed, water flow to the sea gets obstructed due to which 3000 acres of paddy lands were drowned and the crop of 10000 acres partly affected. The livelihood of thousands of peasants was affected as a result.

Resistance and Repression: The bloodstains at the Beela lands in Sompeta are yet to fade, where the people of Sompeta fought a heroic battle to protect lands, livelihood and environment from the Nagarjuna Construction Company and the government which involved prolonged hunger strikes of 570 days. Even at the cost of severe repression and bloodshed the people there continue to struggle. Thus Sompeta showed the way to Kakarapalli.

On 15th August 2010 people of 20 panchayats affected by the thermal power plant formed a struggle committee and a camp was opened for hunger fasts. Alongside the hunger fast, construction work at the plant was stopped by a road blockade. Determined to suppress the movement, the Government mobilised around 2000 police to seize the entire area, not allowing the people to leave the villages even for medical emergencies. The police destroyed the hunger fast camp and arrested the people. They raided the villages and arrested the people including women.

Police resorted to firing rubber bullets on 25 February as people’s resistance soared against the police repression in which many were injured. Even this firing couldn’t terrorise the people for withdrawing from their struggle.

The police then began raiding the villages to arrest the leader of the movement named Ramireddy who is also a sarpanch of Akasalakkavaram village. On 27 February people involved in the resistance faced indiscriminate firing by the police, in which two people died and number of people got injured. Police fired tear gas shells on the villages in which 27 houses were burnt and paddy crop of 100 acres was destroyed by the fire. After the police firing, police raided the villages, beat up people and arrested them. Even old women were not spared and all were implicated in many false cases.

People’s Determination: Even in the face of severe repression and bloodshed, people of the area are determined to continue the struggle until the thermal power plant is scrapped. After the police firing when leaders of the ruling parties arrived in the villages to console the people, they were heckled and questioned by the people. When a Congress minister, Pardhasaradhi visited the villages he was gheraoed by the people. Even Chandrababu Naidu, ex-chief minister of TDP was not spared by the people. People demanded that Chandrababu expel TDP leader Yerram Naidu who has stakes in the factory and is a strong supporter of the thermal plant. People have already reopened the hunger fast camp. Srikakulam has been earmarked for 6 thermal power plants and 1 atomic power plant. People of Sompeta and Kakarapalli have shown that people will reject these destructive projects in Srikakulam and the rest of Andhra Pradesh.

More IWD Reports

International Women’s Day was celebrated by the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and participated by party’s various mass organisations across India. Programmes held in some states were reported 2 issues back. More report follows:

Uttarakhand – Seminar on “100 Years of Women’s Movement and Challenges” was organised by AIPWA at Pithoragarh. AIPWA has begun functioning in Pithoragarh recently. AIPWA’s District incharge Sangeeta Munaula gave the inaugural speech and Pushpa Martoliya conducted the seminar. Many others spoke at the seminar.

Jharkhand: AIPWA’s State unit observed 8th March as “bring prices down” day and was preceded by a week of “women’s assertion week”. On 8th March and during the women’s assertion week, programmes were organised by AIPWA across Jharkhand highlighting various local and broader issues of women.

A procession was taken out in Bundu by hundreds of women led by AIPWA’s State Secretary Sunita. Procession was also held in Ranchi on 6th March. 300 women marched in Mandu block’s Kedla on 10th March led by AIPWA’s State President Gunni Oraon. Another programme wa held in Mandu where 100 women participated led by Rupa Besra. A programme was held in Hazaribagh’s Dandi block led by Soni Tiriya. In Bagodar of Giridih dist. 500 women participated in IWD celebration led by Punam Mahato. Protest march and meeting was held in Rajdhanwar where 250 women participated led by Kaushalya Das. Block office was gheraoed by 150 women in Jamua led by Meena Das. Marches were held in Deoghar, Patratu, Dumka (300 women led by Bitiya Manjhi), Dhanbad, Garhwa (500 women), Panki in Palamu, Nawadih in Gumla (200 women) and Bishunpur apart from several otherplaces in Jharkhand.

Uttarakhand: AIKM’s 1st State Conference

First Uttarakhand State Conference of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) was held on 9-10 March at Almora. Conference venue was named after legendary hero of Bhojpur’s peasant movement Comrade Ram Naresh Ram and venue entry was named Comrade Chandra Singh Garhwali after the hero of Peshawar rebellion. About 85 delegates participated in the Conference.

Comrade Raja Ram Singh, General Secretary of AIKM and addressing the conference as the main speaker said that small-scale and marginal farmers are being constantly thrown out of agriculture by making it unrewarding and farm work is being transferred to big corporate houses. Governments are acquiring agricultural lands for SEZs, hydropower projects and all other things by evicting the poor from their land. On the other hand poor are also being driven away from cities in the name of beautification of cities. The question then is where will the poor go? He asked whether the Country belonged to a bunch of corporates and more than 800 million poor people have no right and claim in this Country and its resources.

State’s Party incharge Com. Raja Bahuguna inaugurated the Conference and stressed on creating new wave of peasant struggles. Com. Purushottam Sharma presented the discussion paper and noted that anti-farmer policies of successive governments in the State have resulted in shrinkage of agriculture sector to less than 10 %. The paper was passed unanimously after enthusiastic debate. The summing up remarks of the 2-day Conference were presented by CPI(ML)’s CC member Com. Rajendra Pratholi.

The Conference resolved to spread the AIKM to all 13 districts of Uttarakhand in next two years and raise the membership to fifty thousand from the present ten thousand. The Conference also elected 27 member State Council and 7 member State Executive. Comrades Purushottam Sharma and Jagat Martoliya were elected State President and Secretary of AIKM respectively. Comrades Indresh Maikhuri and Ghulam Nabi were elected Vice Presidents.

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

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