ML Update 36 / 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 36, 30 AUG – 05 SEPT 2011

Hail the Victory of Democratic Assertion Against Sarkari Lokpal and Arrogant UPA Government,

Onwards to Ensure a Pro-People Lokpal and Reversal of Policies That Breed Corruption!

The sustained people’s movement against corruption scored a victory in forcing Parliament to acknowledge the people’s wishes in the matter of the Lokpal legislation. The UPA Government had all along tried to arrogantly preach ‘supremacy of parliamentary process’ over people’s movements. But the protestors who rallied around Anna Hazare’s 12-day fast ensured that ‘parliamentary process’ is not above the people. Rather, the people asserted their right to hold parliament and all its processes under their close scrutiny and supervision.

However, even on the limited question of the Lokpal Bill, the battle is far from won. The Government’s own draft stands thoroughly discredited and parliament has had to adopt a ‘sense of the house’ resolution accepting in spirit the demand for constitution of Lokayuktas in the states; the bringing of lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal; and a citizens’ charter with provision for grievance redressal in case of violation of the charter by public servants. Even on these three points, there is every possibility of the Standing Committee (to which the Bill has been referred) backtracking. Even in the Nuke Deal, we have seen how ‘sense of the house’ assurances have been violated by the Government. People’s vigilance and struggle will be called upon to ensure that this is not repeated in case of the Lokpal law.

Intriguingly, though, some of the major points of contention on the Lokpal issue seem to have been tacitly dropped from the debate: such as the independence and transparency of the Lokpal selection process; bringing of PM and MPs’ conduct in Parliament under the ambit of the Lokpal; and the mechanism of tackling judicial corruption. The struggle against corruption must not allow PM, MPs and judiciary to be kept out of the scrutiny of anti-corruption institutions.

While the arrogance and contempt for protesting people displayed by Congress-UPA leaders has received a sound and deserving rebuff, the vulgar elitism displayed by some speakers on Anna Hazare’s platform must be rejected and combated firmly by all democratic forces.

We have all along stressed that a Lokpal law that addresses only corruption by public servants can only be a partial measure. Corruption cannot be tackled effectively without striving for the reversal of the policy regime of privatisation and liberalisation that are breeding corruption. The biggest beneficiaries of corruption today are the corporations that are looting public resources and funds, facilitated by pliant and corrupt governments. The Janlokpal Bill draft does have some measures that could help to curb the nexus between public servants and corporates. More stringent measures are needed to combat corruption by corporations, big-funded NGOs and big media. We must strive to put the issue of corporate corruption and pro-corporate policies at the centre-stage of the anti-corruption struggle.

The worst victims of rampant corruption in daily life and in welfare schemes are undoubtedly the rural and urban poor, an overwhelming majority of whom are from deprived castes. The struggle for an effective pro-people Lokpal must demand an inclusive and democratized Lokpal which ensures participation of various oppressed sections, minorities and women. Sensitivity to the rights of workers, women, minorities and oppressed castes must be included among the criteria for selection of Lokpal members, while any track record of insensitivity on these questions must be ground for disqualification. Corporate representatives must be kept out of the Lokpal body. The definition of ‘corruption,’ too, must be expanded to include diversion, misuse and misappropriation of public funds allotted for rural and urban poor, SC/ST/OBCs, minorities, women, children and other vulnerable sections, while measures to protect whistleblowers must also make special provision for whistleblowers from these sections.

The BJP-NDA has all along been ambivalent even on the Lokpal agenda, while very much part of the larger ruling class consensus on pro-corporate policies of privatisation. At the same time, the BJP-NDA is trying to make political capital in the wake of UPA Government’s involvement in multiple mega-scams and its arrogant and repressive approach to the anti-corruption movement. They have achieved only limited success in this agenda, however, since BJP-NDA-ruled states such as Karnataka, Bihar and Gujarat are being rocked by instances of huge scams, corporate plunder, brutal repression and cover-up of criminality and corruption. The progressive and Left forces in the anti-corruption movement must expose the opportunism of the BJP-NDA parties and champion people’s anger against the corrupt and undemocratic BJP-NDA governments.

The anti-corruption upsurge reflects the renewed confidence and democratic assertion of people against authoritarian and anti-people governments, and people’s heightened aspirations for democratic transformation. It is the task of the fighting Left forces to champion these aspirations and widen the struggle against corruption to encompass resistance to corporate grab of land and resources, the neoliberal policy regime and the assaults on democracy.

AISA’s rally lathicharged in Gujarat; Communal BJP’s anti-corruption stance exposed!

Modi Government jails AISA students who marched against corruption, communalism and repression

5000 Students Come-out Next Day and Force the Release of Jailed AISA Activists

All India Students’ Association’s (AISA) call for national strike on 24th August with the call to “Combat Corruption, Stop Privatisation of Natural Resources and Education, and Defend Democracy” received a robust response with the strike being observed with human chains, torchlight processions, protest marches in many campuses of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and other states.

AISA-RYA’s march at Bhavnagar in which 700 students quit Bhavnagar Colleges and participated in the anti-corruption march, raised slogans not only against the central government, but against corruption, corporate loot and cover-up of communal violence and fake encounters in Gujarat. Exploding Modi’s “we-are-with-anti-corruption-protests” claim, police lathicharged the march and the leading activists – Yunus Zakaria, Jignaba Rana, Sonal Chauhan and Farida Zakaria – were jailed. Prior to this, they were produced before the magistrate. They refused to take bail and said they preferred jail unless the Inspector apologized for his high-handedness (the police Inspector had misbehaved with them).

Very next day, against the arrests, many Bhavnagar colleges including engineering and medical colleges observed a bandh called by AISA-RYA. 5000 students protested against the local administration, forcing them to free the jailed activists. AISA and RYA – on their own banner – took the anti-corruption initiative in their hands, and as a result, turned anti-corruption anger against the Modi Government too.

In Gujarat, the AISA, along with protesting against the scam-ridden and repressive Congress Government at the Centre, had also been protesting against the communal and anti-democratic character of the Modi Government. They had asked, “When Modi punishes honest police officers in order to cover up his government’s role in fake encounters and communal violence, is it not corruption?”

Narendra Modi has been claiming to support Anna Hazare’s movement and repressive role of the UPA Government. But when AISA students marched against corruption at both state and centre, they were lathicharged and jailed! Even women students have not been spared. The protesting students were perfectly peaceful – their only crime was that they held the march without police ‘permission.’

Even as the BJP governments—from Gujarat to Karnataka—are tainted with corruption, and whilst the party is trying to appropriate people’s anger against corruption, Modi Government’s repression of anti-corruption protestors exposes their true face. This is the same BJP which was likening the police assault on Ramdev’s rally as the most heinous incident after the Emergency!!

This incident once again establishes that anti-democratic, communal and corruption-ridden political elites cannot lead any fight against corruption, which is essentially linked to a struggle for democracy.

AISA condemned the crackdown by the Gujarat Government on an anti-corruption march by students in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, and demanded that the Modi government apologise for the high-handedness.

AISA-RYA’s Successful Bihar Bandh against Corruption

The Bihar Bandh called by AISA-RYA on 27 August demanding enactment of a pro-people Lokpal Bill in Parliament; an effective Lokayukta in Bihar; and investigation into the AC/DC Bill and BIADA land allotment scams in Bihar received an enthusiastic response. The Bandh supporters pointed out that the BJP-NDA too were as reluctant as the Congress to enact a genuinely pro-people and effective Lokpal law. Nitish Kumar claims to support the agitation for a Lokpal, but the Lokayukta in Bihar is a cipher and completely powerless. The Nitish Government as well as its predecessor the RJD-UPA government are both implicated in the AC/DC Bill scandal. The BIADA land allotment scam is comparable to the Adarsh scam, with BIADA land being handed over as gifts without even the pretence of tenders, to the kith and kin of BJP-JD(U) leaders. The firing and police brutality on people protesting land grab at Forbesganj which claimed four lives of poor Muslims, showed that the Nitish Government’s corruption is compounded by communalism and repression. Bandh supporters demanded reversal of the policies of privatization and corporate plunder that are the root of the worst corruption.

Thousands of students and youth, responding to AISA-RYA’s call, held processions in the state capital, Patna, and blockaded rail lines and highways for hours. Students boycotted classes and closed down offices in universities (including Patna University, Lalitnarayan Mishra University (Darbhanga), Tilka Majhi University (Bhagalpur) and Vir Kunwar Singh University (Ara)); colleges and schools were shut down; and even markets and shops downed shutters in support of the Bandh.

Students at Ara and Darbhanga held dharnas on the rail tracks for hours. National highways were blockaded at Arwal; Brahmapur; Ara and Sasaram. Around 300 in the road blockade at Dak Bangla Chowraha in Patna; more than 200 on dharna at JP Chowk, Siwan; and more than 100 blockading a road and holding a public meeting at Jehanabad were arrested. Huge processions were held by bandh supporters at Patna, Ara, Siwan, Purnea, Jehanabad, Arwal, Bhagalpur, Aurangabad, Bihar Sharif, and Betia.

The bandh supporters in Patna began observing the bandh at Patna University campus, where a procession was held in the leadership of AISA State Secretary Abhyuday, RYA National General Secretary Kamlesh Sharma, State Secretary Naveen Kumar, Patna Secretary Kamlesh Kumar as well as many other student activists. The procession marched through Ashok Rajpath, Gandhi Maidan, Fraser Road and reached Dak Bangla Chouraha, making the bandh successful en route.

Other processions of bandh supporters (led by RYA’s Patna convenor Durgesh and Dr. Prakash from Kankadbag; AIPWA State Secretary Sarpj Chaubey, Secretary Shashi Yadav, Joint Secretary Anita Sinha and Madhu from Kargil Chowk; and Ashok Kumar, convenor of the Shehri Gareeb Morcha [Urban Poor Front] from Lohanipur) converged at Dak Bangla Chouraha. The crossing was blockaded for several hours, until the police managed with great difficulty to arrest the scores of bandh supporters.

Processions were also held and markets closed at Anisabad, Jagdev Path, and Patna City. The Bihar State Non-Gazetted Employees Confederation (Gope faction) also came in support of the Bandh and, in the leadership of State President Ramnarayan Rai and State Secretary Rambali Prasad, demonstrated from IT crossing to Dakbangla crossing demanding release of the arrested leaders.

Leaders arrested during the Bihar Bandh included AISA State Secretary Abhyuday, RYA National GS Kamlesh Sharma, RYA State Secretary Naveen Kumar, RYA State President Amarjit Kushwaha, as well as AISA activists Kumar Parvez, Markandey Pathak, Rahul Vokas, Manish, Durgesh Kumar, and Santosh Keshri as well as AIPWA State President Saroj Chaubey, State Secretary Shashi Yadav, and Joint Secretary Anita Sinha.

Orissa: protests were held at Delang and Gunupur of Rayagda and Puri districts. AISA convener Comrade Litulal led a mass protest at Delang in which about hundred students from all rural colleges and high schools participated to end corruption, corporate loot, defend democracy and oppose land grab in Orissa. Similarly, in Rayagada all the members of AISA held a big rally at Gunupur raising slogan to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Tamil Nadu: As part of all India Strike call by AISA, in Cuddalore district, Tamilnadu, AISA held a demo at Vriddhachalam addressed by AISA leader Ayyadurai, RYA leader Dhanavel, CPI(ML) leader Amaiyyappan.

Uttarakhand: All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) held a massive demonstration with the call for the ouster of corrupt Congress/UPA and for an effective lokpal bill at Lakuan in Nainital district on 27 August. The protest demonstration in the form of a rally started from Car Road, Bindukhatta, and marched through Lalkuan bazaar. The rally was led by comrades Raja Bahuguna, Bahadur Singh Jangi, Vimla Rauthan (AIPWA’s district convener), Man Singh Pal, Bhuwan Joshi, Anand Sijwali and AISA leader Lalit Matiyali.

The rally was addressed by CPI(ML)’s State incharge Comrade Raja Bahuguna who said that the movement and fight against corruption is linked with uprooting the whole rotten system and Jan Lokpal is but one stopover. Other CPI(ML), Kisan Sabha, AIPWA and AISA leaders also participated in the rally. A similar demonstration was also held on 21 August by AIPWA and reported in the previous issue.

Trying to Protect 2 Innocent Youths, 53 Yr-old Shamsuddin Murdered by SI in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur

In the afternoon of 5 August 2011, four policemen including the daroga (SI) Shailendra Singh from Muzaffarpur’s Mithanpura police station rounded up two working-class youths Mohsin and Muhammad Munna and started brutally beating them alleging that they were involved in criminal activities. They even thrust their pistols in the two youths’ mouth and threatened to kill them.

Mohsin and Muhammad Munna come from a very poor family and are labourers at a shop making eateries. Neither are they involved in any criminal activities nor is there any allegation against them and so a 53 year old man Shamsuddin (next shop tailor) came forward to oppose the barbaric assault. The policemen instead started hammering him with severe blows on his stomach. Shamsuddin sustained such injuries in the abdomen that he lost his life before he could be reached to a nearby hospital.

Witnessing this extreme savagery and cruelty hundreds of men and women, all inhabitants of Rambag (locality close to place of incident) who are mostly poor Muslims, but Hindus too, ran to encircle the murderers. CPI(ML) activists hailing from the locality also actively supported and participated in this. The criminal policemen were thrashed by the people, their pistol seized and their motorcycle too was burnt. When more policemen from the Mithanpura PS arrived they were chased away. People kept the daroga Shailendra in their custody and even after the DM, SP, DIG and IG of police arrived with a larger force the people refused to disperse or cool down. Finally, the militant mood of the people resulted in the IG of police announcing filing of murder charges against Shailendra Singh, arrest and jail for him and his suspension. The FIR for murder of Shamsuddin has been filed. CPI(ML) leaders Comrades Krishna Mohan (district secretary) and Sakal Thakur said that such acts of false allegations and torture are being committed by the Bihar Police mostly against the poor and Pasmanda Muslims. Nitish Kumar is playing into the hands of communal forces and has completely backtracked from providing security to these sections.

AISA in DUSU Elections

Starting its campaign for Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections AISA campaigned in various DU colleges making Corruption and Corporate loot as the central theme of DUSU elections. AISA activists in the campaign questioned both NSUI and ABVP on their stands on Corruption. On one side where NSUI has no explanation to offer as Congress ministers are fully involved in all major scams, AISA also questioned ABVP which is trying to be the champion of anti-corruption campaign in DU campus. Exposing its double standards AISA exposed ABVP by questioning their stand on Yedurrappa and Reddy Brothers. In the CWG scam one of the main beneficiary was Sudhanshu Mittal former ABVP office bearer in DUSU and currently Delhi BJP leader. Asked questioned that why he is not being expelled from BJP. On SEZ act, Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt, AISA activists attacked both NSUI and ABVP and said that both BJP and Congress are responsible for selling the land, minerals, water of poor tribals and farmers. AISA put up this point that in the present context there is an urgent need to fight corruption both at the level of DUSU and outside and make DUSU elections as one such platform.

Tributes: Comrade Sadhu Saran Ram

Senior Party leader in Ranchi and leader of Karmchari Mahasangh, Comrade Sadhu Saran Ram passed away untimely while undergoing treatment at RIMS for malaria (and diabetes). The Party organised a condolence meeting attended by about hundred Party members at Party’s State HQ in Ranchi. More than 150 employees and workers attended the condolence meeting organised by Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at MLA Club and pledged to fulfil his dreams.

Comrade Sadhu Saran Ram was born on 1 July 1945 into a landless agricultural labour family of Kewat Tolia village in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. His urge to fight against the exploitative and inhuman system pulled him towards CPI(ML). He was earlier in CPI(M) and in government service. He went to jail many times leading the karmchari movement. He was committed to the goal of socialism and Marxist ideology till his last breath which will always inspire the comrades of Jharkhand.

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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