ML UPDATE 15 / 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 15, 05 – 11 APRIL 2011

Census 2011: False Alarms and Real Challenges

The provisional figures of the 2011 census, released on March 31, raise several questions while demolishing several population-related myths. With a total population of 1.21 billion, India has now inched closer to China, the most populous country in the world. According to current projections, India may well surpass China by 2025. Those who see India’s population figures as the biggest problem facing the country will of course continue to raise a huge alarm; but census 2011 clearly tells us that the rate of growth of Indian population is slowing down. In terms of annual rate of growth, India with a growth rate of around 1.4% is ranked 93rd in the world. In decadal terms, the growth rate during 2001-11 stood at 17.64%, down from 21.5% during 1991-2001. Even in absolute terms India actually added less people between 2001 and 2011 than in the previous decade.

The Sangh brigade never misses an opportunity to talk of growing infiltration from Bangladesh as a key factor propelling India’s population growth. Indeed, the issue of ‘foreign nationals’ remains an explosive topic in the northeastern state of Assam, with both Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi promising ‘to do everything to deport foreign nationals’ in the ongoing election campaign in the state. But the 2011 census figures tell us that the decadal population growth rate in Assam remains lower than the all-India rate – in 2001 it was 18.92% (as against the all-India figure of 21.5%), in 2011 it is 16.93% (as against the all-India figure of 17.64%). In neighbouring West Bengal, another state where the bogey of Bangladeshi infiltration is being invoked increasingly, the growth rate has come down from 17.77% to 13.93%.

The biggest real question raised by the census figures concerns an acute gender imbalance, driven by a growing disappearance of India’s daughters in the 0-6 age group. The sex ratio may have recorded a marginal improvement from 933 to 940 (Modi’s Gujarat and Nitish Kumar’s Bihar being two notable exceptions where the sex ratio further declined), but the number of girls in the 0-6 age group has fallen from 927 to an alarming 914, an all-time low since independence. Haryana (830), Punjab (846) and Rajasthan (883) continue to be the biggest offenders on this score, but alarmingly enough as many as 27 states and UTs recorded a decline in child sex ratio. At a time when Indian rulers boast of rapid economic growth and social advance and closer integration with the global economy and culture, India’s daughters are finding the country to be increasingly inhospitable, nay downright hostile.

The National Commission for Women has demanded stricter prohibitive action in terms of both legislation and enforcement. The PC & PNDT Act (Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994) has clearly failed to have any deterrent effect – the number of cases registered and convictions under this Act has been utterly negligible. But the issue cannot be seen merely as a case of weak legislation and law enforcement, nor can it be hoped to be overcome through official campaigns of ‘awareness and empowerment’. It is clearly part and parcel of a larger multi-layered phenomenon of violence against women. If Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan are the capital of female foeticide and infanticide, the region also witnesses the largest number of killings of women in the name of protecting the honour of family/caste/clan. States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar remain traditionally notorious for cases of rape and other feudal patriarchal assaults on women. If the number of women per 1000 men has still increased from 933 to 940, it is surely because women are putting up a more effective resistance to this patriarchal violence and not because of the state’s false claims of women’s empowerment.

There is also a lot of loose talk these days about India’s so-called ‘demographic dividend’ with more than half of Indian population being younger than 30 years. But India’s policy-makers and rulers hardly talk about the challenge posed by this demographic profile – the challenge of fulfilling young India’s basic needs for education and jobs, not to talk about meeting the aspirations for a better life. As it is, there is a growing demographic divide in India with northern and eastern India accounting for the lion’s share of population growth (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan accounting for 52% children in the age group of 0-6 years) and yet lagging way behind in terms of literacy and employment, even as the southern and western states race ahead in terms of economic growth without however creating enough job opportunities. The findings of the 2011 census have only corroborated this divide which threatens to negate much of the so-called demographic dividend.

Census 2011 has shown a slow improvement in literacy levels among both men and women, more among women than men. The effective all-India literacy rate has now risen to 74.04%, up from 64.83% in 2001. In fact, female literacy rate grew by 11.8% (up from 53.67% to 65.46%) while male literacy rate registered an increase of only 6.9% (up from 75.26% to 82.14%). The gender gap on literacy front is evidently still pretty huge, while the Planning Commission would like to see the gap brought down to 10 percentage points by 2011-12, it is still as high as 16.68. And in states like Rajasthan and Bihar, the female literacy rate is still as low as 52.66% and 53.33%. But surely the time has come when the focus should shift from mere literacy to at least basic education and on this score the situation still remains absolutely alarming with low enrolment and high dropout rates.

Neo-liberal ideologues wax eloquent about economic growth and accumulation of wealth, viewing the ordinary people at best as a prospective market and at worst as an avoidable burden. Any meaningful notion of development with democracy and dignity must treat the population not only as crucial human resource but also as the focal point of development. As we await the final and detailed census figures, we must intensify the battle for a more democratic people-oriented model of development which will also ensure a more equitable distribution of the fruits of development. This alone can ensure a comprehensive and qualitative improvement in India’s demographic profile.

Student-Youth Parliament in Patna Declare “Ghera Daalo – Dera Daalo” in Delhi

The All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) jointly organised an Indian Student-Youth Parliament against the corporate loot, corruption and assaults on people’s rights on 29 March 2011 inside the campus of Patna College in Patna. The student-youth parliament declared that the way in which Tahreer Square has emerged as centre of politics for change, in the same way the students and youth of India along with other sections of the people will transform Delhi into a centre of historical action for uprooting pro-corporate and pro-US policies along with ending the scam and corruption ridden governance of all colours of governments to establish a true democracy in this Country. To this end the Student-Youth Parliament declared to mobilize and galvanize people from villages, muhallas, hamlets, students and youth in universities, common citizens, women, peasantry and workers into “ghera daalo-dera daalo” at the Parliament in Delhi on 9th August.

Addressing the meeting in Patna, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that such action is the need of the hour and recalled the student-youth actions of 1974 against corruption and the autocracy of Indira Gandhi had shown the path to the whole Country and the forces that were bent upon establishing dictatorship in this Country were defeated. He said that once again there is tremendous anger inside people’s heart and student-youth are once again being looked upon to show the right path to the Country.

The Student-Youth Parliament was also addressed by RYA’s National President Comrade Salim, General Secretary Kamlesh Sharma, Prof. Santosh Kumar, AISA’s National President Sandeep Singh and General Secretary Ravi Rai apart from many other AISA and RYA leaders from Bihar, UP and Jharkhand. Comrade Dhirendra Jha, General Secretary of All India Agricultural Labourers’ Association (AIALA) also addressed the meet. Prior to the meeting thousands of students and youth from different states marched from Bhagat Singh Square located near Gandhi Maidan to Patna College. The meet also decided to hold anti-corruption big conventions at one hundred centres across the Country before 9th August programme in Delhi.

Farmer Suicide in UP and Callous Mayawati Govt

CPI(ML) Teams Visit Gonda and Ambedkar Nagar

A 30 year young man Ved Prakash Pandey burnt himself to death at the Gonda District Magistrate’s residence on 27 March. The CPI(ML) team that visited the village found that the youth’s father who’s a farmer had been arrested for failure to repay a loan of Rs. 2.5 lakh. The loan was taken to buy a tractor. Disturbed at the arrest of his father and insensitiveness of District Officials the youth had been knocking on every Govt. officials’ door including the SDM, requesting them to release his father. He had also arranged one installment of the loan and even assured those officials that he would arrange the remaining amount in due course. Perceiving the insensitive and unhelpful nature of those officials he even warned them that he would take his own life if his father was not released.

Expressing grief at the death, CPI(ML)’s Uttar Pradesh State Secretary Com. Sudhakar Yadav issuing a statement in Lucknow said that the Mayawati Govt. which is so engrossed in recovery of the loans is not caring for the lives of innocent farmers and their families. If the Dist. Administration had shown even a slight flexibility, Ved Prakash could have been alive. But the Govt’s insensitiveness has reached such a level that it is not bothered about the lives and suicides by farmers and peasants. He said that Mayawati Govt.’s anti-farmer and anti-peasant policies are squarely responsible for this arrest of a farmer and death of his young son.

Gonda’s incident points to an emerging reality that this Govt. can give all sorts of support to scamsters, corrupt officials and ministers and mafias, but not to debt-trapped farmers. The month of February and March has been specially harsh on such farmers. The administration released the father in panic hearing the death of the son. CPI(ML) State Secretary has demanded fixing of responsibility for this death and strict action against those found culprits, adequate compensation to the family members of the deceased and general amnesty for all small and medium scale farmers trapped in debt. Gonda’s Party unit too has written to Divisional Commissioner and demanded justice.

Another team of CPI(ML) toured Ambedkar Nagar’s Tilaktanda village in Jahangirganj PS led by Comrade Rambharos, Party’s Dist. Incharge. Here, a 15 year girl student Pratigya who was studying in class 9th was kidnapped on 21st March, sexually assaulted for three days and burnt to death by the rapists. Members of the team met the father and mother of the deceased girl and found that when the parents found their burnt daughter on 24 March from a pond in the village she was still alive and by the time they rushed with her to a nearby hospital she had become severely critical and lost her life shortly after. She narrated the ghastly crime to her mother before she died. She named the villagers involved in assaulting and burning her. Same night the father of the victim reported this in the Police Station but the police did not write an FIR. Only when much pressure was put by people that the police registered a complaint.

CPI(ML) said that there has been steep rise in such incidents of crime against women and young girls that goes to show how safe and secure women and girls are in Mayawati’s rule. The rapists have shed all fear as the police can be bought to their side. In Badayun, one BSP MLA, declared wanted by the Court for assaulting another girl student, is absconding in police record even when he is addressing public meetings. Party has demanded immediate arresting of the criminals and urgent action against all the accused.

CPI(ML)’s All India

Campaign in Gujarat

As part of the nation wide campaign against corruption, price rise and state repression campaigns and programmes were held in districts Valsad, Himmat Nagar & Ahmedabad from 15 Feb to 31 March.

On 31 March a huge demonstration took place at Valsad District Collector’s office. Hundreds of rural Adivasi people from several of the talukas of the district, in which more than 500 were women participated in the demonstration. The Adivasi people from Umargaon, Bhilad, Karambele, Sanjan, etc. reached the Valsaad District HQ by railways. The rallyists carrying red flags and banners marched through the main streets of Valsad town and shouting slogans reached the Collector’s office after covering 3kms on foot.

A memorandum was handed over to the District Collector by a delegation of CPI (ML) leaders. The memorandum demanded strengthening of PDS and curbing corrupt practices in it as well as in NREGA, fully implementing the Adivasi Forest Rights Act, stopping all forceful acquisition of tribal land in the name of industrialization by the GIDC, checking the proliferation of land mafias who are tricking the tribals into giving their lands by forging documents and getting signatures from illiterate tribals, constituting a special investigative team (SIT) to investigate these fraud cases and nab the land mafias, etc.

The rally transformed into a mass meeting which was held inside the campus of the Collector’s office. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Prabhat Kumar (CC Member), Ranjan Ganugly (Party Incharge, Gujarat), Amit (RYA leader) and Laxman Warli apart from many others. The meeting was also addressed by CPI(ML) leaders from Mumbai Comrades SN Gohil and Dheeraj Rathore.

Himmat Nagar (District Sabarkantha)

Campaigns were organized between February 15 -10 March at several places in the District including Khairbrahma, Dantral, Peepalsari, Kheroj, Meghraj and Vijaynagar. Mass meetings were organized in all these places. Apart from central demands, several local issues were also part of the campaign such as – stopping eviction of Adivasi and other backward caste people from forest land and making provisions for drinking water and other basic necessities. Several party members from this District led by Comrade Dhashrath Singhali had also participated in the All India Left Coordination march in Delhi on 14 March.

On 25 March a rally and a militant demonstration was held at Himmat Nagar District Collectorate. About 250 women and men from different talukas participated in this demonstration. Here also the rallyists marched through the main streets of the town before reaching the Collectorate. Mass meeting was addressed by Comrade Ranjan Ganguly, Dhashrath Singhali and others. Later a memorandum was handed over to the Collector.

23 march Shahadat Divas – Ahmedabad

On the martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev an impressive rally, public meeting and cultural programme was organized by CPI(ML) Ahemdabad’s District Unit. Rally starting from Amraivadi to Hatkeshwar Circle was held in the evening in which workers and youth participated. CPI(ML) district secretary, comrade Laxmanbhai Patanwadia was also present at the programme. The participants garlanded the statue of Bhagat Singh before beginning the cultural event. The mass meeting addressed by youth leaders including Comrade Amit lambasted UPA govt as well as Narendra Modi led BJP Govt in the state for state repression, black money, corruption and high unemployment of the youth. After the meeting an impressive cultural programme was held at the Azad Chowk in which revolutionary songs were rendered.

Statewide Campaign in Uttarakhand

All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) members organised a rally in Munsyari on 23rd march commemorating the great martyrs and demanded closing of alcohol businesses in the State. Throughout the State people’s campaign was organised between 23-31 March against corruption, black money, loot and state repression. A convention was organised in Rudrapur on 23rd March addressed among others by Comrade Rajendra Pratholi.

UPA Govt’s effigy was burnt and a mass meeting held at Deghat in Almora on 23rd March. Comrade Purushottam Sharma led the programme.

AISA organised a torch-light procession at Srinagar in Garhwal. Despite examination going on, there was thick and enthusiastic participation of students. The programme was led by Comrade Indresh Maikhuri. Public meetings were organised in Gautar, Karnaprayag and Gairsain on 24, 25 and 26 March. On 31 March, effigies of Central and State govts were burnt at Srinagar.

On 31 March a march was held at Haldwani well decorated with red flags and banners on the concluding day of the campaign. Comrade Raja Bahuguna led the march apart from other State leaders.

Shaheed Chandrashekhar Remembered

AISA and RYA jointly held a demonstration at Agartala in Tripura to commemorate the 14 martyrdom anniversary of Comrade Chandrashekhar who was assassinated by RJD’s Shahabuddin in Siwan on 31st March 1997.

Delhi: Various programmes were organised in JNU from 23-31 March as part of Shahadat Saptah (Martyrdom Week) that is held every year.

Begusarai: Cultural programme was organised by Jasam in Begusarai on 23rd March commemorating the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdeo and people’s poet Avtaar Singh ‘Paash’.

Sand Labourers Demonstrate in Front of Bihar Assembly

For the second time in 6 months, the sand labourers from different sand mining districts of Bihar, who are subjected to intense exploitation and are being threatened by loss of employment to sand extraction machines, held a militant demonstration in front of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha on 28 March. The angry workers even smashed the gate at R-Block meant to prevent them from advancing. AICCTU’s National Secretary Comrade RN Thakur addressed the massive assembly of sand workers as the main speaker. The rally also raised the issue of severe environmental degradation due to excessive sand extraction due to extraction by machines. Despite the villages and people resisting the ecological catastrophe being made by the sand businesses and mafias there has been no serious action by the Nitish Govt. and rivers are fast losing their historical richness thus adversely affecting many villages.

Third Odisha Party Conference at Bhubaneswar

The Third Odisha Party Conference was held at Nagbhushan Bhavan, Bhubaneswar, on 2-3 April 2011. The Conference began on 2 April with the hoisting of the red flag outside the Conference Hall by Party Politburo member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya. Tributes were then paid to the martyrs’ memorial and two minutes silence observed for departed comrades.

A six-member presidium was formed to conduct the proceedings. The Conference was inaugurated by Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, who in his inaugural address outlined the challenges before the Odisha party. Odisha was one of the major centres of corporate loot of land and resources that was the defining feature of corruption in the liberalised economy, he said. People’s resistance against corporate loot was facing severe state repression that the Government was attempting to legitimise in the name of combating Maoists. This corporate plunder and war on the people is directly targeting the livelihood and survival of the adivasis and poorest people in the state. The CPI(ML) faced the challenge to build a powerful people’s movement against this all out plunder and repression – and Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya called on the Odisha party to rise to the occasion.

Comrade Khitish Biswal, outgoing State Secretary, placed a work report document for discussion in the house. Over the course of the two days, around 130 delegates from many districts of Odisha participated in the Conference, many of whom enthusiastically participated in the discussion on the document. On the second day, Comrade Khitish Biswal responded to the issues raised in the deliberations, and the house unanimously adopted the draft document. Politburo member Comrade D P Buxi addressed the Conference, calling upon the delegates to build people’s struggles and a party organisation fitted to respond to the situation.

The house then elected a 25-member State Committee with Comrade Khitish Biswal re-elected as Secretary. CC member Comrade Kavita Krishnan, who was the Central Observer for the Conference, gave the concluding speech.

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-14-15.pdf

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