ML Update 24 / 2012

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 24, 05 – 11 JUNE 2012

The Exit of Brahmeshwar Singh

Brahmeshwar Singh, the founder of the notorious Ranveer Sena and the mastermind behind dozens of massacres perpetrated by the Sena in Shahabad and Magadh regions of Bihar between 1995 and 2000, was gunned down at Ara in the early hours of 1 June. The cremation took place in Patna on the next evening. For two full days, Sena supporters went on a rampage, attacking hostels of dalit students at Ara, setting on fire private or public vehicles parked anywhere on the Ara-Patna route, beating up passers-by and journalists trying to take snaps of their acts of arson and vandalism. Ara on 1st June and Patna on 2nd June wore a deserted look and the state administration virtually disappeared from the scene leaving the people at the mercy of this rampaging contingent of thugs. As we go to press, reports of renewed attempts at whipping up a feudal frenzy are coming in from many corners of the state. So much for the real meaning of good governance and rule of law in the Nitish Kumar dispensation!

Even though the Ranveer Sena was formally banned soon after its inception, the Sena had all the freedom in the world to carry out one massacre after another, usually at night but at times also in broad daylight, killing hundreds of innocent people, sparing neither women nor children or elderly people. The gruesome killings were sought to be justified with the most macabre logic possible – the massacres were the only way to wipe out the CPI(ML)! Women were targeted as they would give birth to Naxalites, children were eliminated as they would otherwise grow into Naxalites! The police were often hand in glove with the killers. While the Sena butchered people at Bathani Tola, the police were present in as many as three camps and one police station within a vicinity of 100 metres to two kilometres and yet not a single bullet was fired. In Ekwari village of Bhojpur, it was the police that raided houses so the Sena could barge in and kill people.

It was only in 2002 when the Sena had been completely exposed and isolated that the Sena chief was finally arrested in what many believed was essentially a case of surrender. The Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Amir Das that was set up in the wake of the Laxmanpur Bathe massacre in December 1997 to probe the politico-administrative links of the Ranveer Sena was never really allowed to take off and soon after he became the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar officially disbanded the commission much to the relief of many political bigwigs of Bihar. Incidentally, almost all the political leaders of the BJP, JD(U), RJD and Congress who had been summoned by the Amir Das Commission were conspicuously present in Singh’s funeral.

When the massacre cases finally came up for trial, in a mockery of judicial procedures, in the cases of both Bathani Tola and Bathe, Brahmeshwar Singh was declared an absconder even as he was in jail and judgement delivered for the other accused! Singh was eventually let out on bail in 2011 when Nitish Kumar became Chief Minister for the second time.

After the recent Patna High Court verdict acquitting all the 23 persons convicted by the Ara Court in May 2010 for the Bathani Tola massacre, Singh warned the government not to appeal to the Supreme Court against the acquittal. Following his provocative statements and renewed attempts to whip up feudal violence, the CPI(ML) had called upon the Nitish Kumar government to get Singh’s bail cancelled. This was in fact one of the demands on which CPI(ML) leaders had been on an indefinite fast in Patna, Ara and Daudnagar from May 26 onward.

While Singh’s supporters and even sections of the media tried their best to project him as a hero or saviour of the peasantry, the informed democratic opinion in Bihar as well as the rest of the country treated him as one of the most hated symbols of decaying feudal domination in Bihar. The world heard of Brahmeshwar Singh not as leader of any kind of peasant movement, but only through the most brutal massacres carried out by the Ranveer Sena. No wonder that few tears were shed after the news of his killing spread and his supporters had to go on a rampage to ‘mourn’ his exit.

The formation of the Ranveer Sena itself was an act of last-ditch feudal desperation to reclaim the decaying feudal hegemony of yesteryear. Far from intimidating the people, the massacres however only steeled the resolve of the rural poor to fight back and the sustained political battle waged by the CPI(ML) had left the Sena thoroughly exposed and isolated. Renewed attempts by Brahmeshwar Singh and all the patronage of the JD(U)-BJP government could not put much life back into the once dreaded feudal private army. The question many are asking now is whether the exit of Brahmeshwar Singh will once again revive the Ranveer Sena? Initial reports may well indicate an emotional backlash, but one can only hope that saner wisdom will prevail and the folly of Ranveer Sena will not be attempted again.

The exit of Brahmeshwar Singh may signify the exit of one of the most notorious symbols of Bihar’s stubborn feudal vestiges, but that by no means should be construed as an automatic weakening of feudal forces in Bihar. Feudal forces still weigh quite heavily on the legislative, judicial and bureaucratic balance in Bihar as can be inferred from signs like the disbanding of the Amir Das Commission, the abandoning of the Report of the Land Reforms Commission and the most recent acquittal of the perpetrators of the Bathani Tola massacre. But even if it signals the end of the feudal private army mode in the twenty-first century, it will mean not a small victory for the people in one of the historic sites of India’s protracted war for social transformation and genuine democracy.

CPI(ML) Statement on Ranvir Sena Vandalism in Patna and

the Role of the Bihar Government

New Delhi, 3 June 2012: Seldom in our recent memory have we seen a funeral procession indulge in such indiscriminate acts of vandalism and arson as Ranvir Sena men participating in the funeral procession of Brahmeshwar Singh did in Ara, Patna and elsewhere in Bihar on June 1-2. This has once again exposed the true character of the Sena which had shamed Bihar and the entire humanity earlier by perpetrating dozens of brutal and barbaric massacres in various districts of Shahabad and Magadh zone.

The vandalism witnessed right in the state capital of Patna has given a complete lie to Nitish Kumar’s tall claims of good governance. If anything, it has exposed the utter inability or even refusal of his government to tackle such acts of feudal-criminal violence. Contrast the state’s laid-back attitude on June 1-2 to the brutal ways the police have been tackling mass protests, and the inherent bias of the state government and its police administration becomes crystal-clear.

Exactly a year ago, Bihar police had killed four innocent Muslims in Bhajanpur village near Farbesganj of Araria district who were protesting against state-led encroachment on the traditional road connecting their village to the nearest highway. Just a month ago, the police in Aurangabad staged a brutal crackdown on people demanding a CBI probe into the killing of mukhiya Devendra Kushwaha in Haspura block of the district. Comrade Rajaram Singh, CPI(ML) Central Committee member and two-term MLA from Obra (1995-2005) was abused and beaten up by the SP himself and is till date in jail along with 28 other protestors including two mukhiyas and one member of district council.

The growing imprint of the BJP variety of politics and governance in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar cannot be ignored any more. However much Nitish Kumar may like to distance the Bihar NDA from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, the attitude of the top brass in Bihar on June 1-2 was remarkably similar to that in Modi’s Gujarat in the wake of the Godhra incident. The Bihar government too perhaps believes that some chosen people should have the special privilege to give vent to their ire in whichever way they want while every legitimate protest and movement of the people should be crushed by all means.

The CPI(ML) appeals to the people of Bihar to stay united and vigilant and rebuff any attempt by miscreants and feudal-criminal forces to vitiate the atmosphere and gag the democratic voice. In view of the tense situation and the state’s refusal to provide security to the people, the CPI(ML) withdrew the indefinite fasts launched by Party leaders simultaneously in three centres on and from 26 May – Comrades Arun Singh in Patna, Sudama Prasad at Ara and Anwar Hussein at Daudnagar, Aurangabad – on 2 June, but the movement for justice will continue unabated.

On the first anniversary of Farbesganj firing, the CPI(ML) reiterates the demand for a CBI probe into the incident and stern action against the guilty members of the police. The CPI(ML) also insists on unconditional release of Comrade Rajaram Singh and other protestors now jailed in Aurangabad and action against the SP and DM of Aurangabad district. Nitish Kumar and his administration owe an apology to the people of Bihar for the vandalism that was allowed to be staged in Patna on June 2.

Dipankar Bhattacharya

General Secretary, CPI(ML)

Convention against Koodankulam Nuke Project and State

Repression on Protestors

CPI(ML) held an open convention in Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu on May 30 against Koodankulam nuke project and state repression on the protestors.

In Tirunelveli, police and administration is not giving permission to any democratic protest against the nuke project and in support of the people of Idinthakarai to any organization as a part of a larger design of the Central and State Governments’ attempts to stifle any democratic voice against the project. Hundreds of false cases are booked against the people of villages in and around Idinthakarai who are still participating in the peaceful protest against the largest nuke project of the country which could cause radiation everyday and havoc in case of accident or natural disaster. Coordinator of the protest SP Udayakumar and core team member Pushparayan, who are facing sedition charges are in Idinthakarai and will be arrested if they step out of Idinthakarai.

In this backdrop, Party planned an open convention in Tirunelveli and police denied permission. Party filed a writ petition against the refusal of permission and sought quashing it. The government cited improvement of power situation as reason to postpone the convention. The Judge was not convinced by this rationale and ordered quashing the refusal of permission and as a result we could organize the convention on the same day we originally planned. We accepted the court’s advice for a change of venue and we got a venue which is a more crowded centre.

On May 30, Comrades Kavita Krishnan (Party’s Central Committee member), SM Anthonimuthu, (Kanyakumari District Party Secretary and SCM) and Bhuvana (SCM) visited Idinthakarai and met SP Udayakumar and Pushparayan and expressed Party’s support to their struggle. The latter expressed their happiness about our timely intervention. Though they could not attend the convention they organized around 300 people from Idinthakarai and nearby villages to participate in the convention.

The convention was conducted by Comrade T Sankarapandian, SCM, and Tirunelveli District Party Secretary. Comrades S Kumarasami, CPI(ML) Politburo member, Balasundaram, Party’s State Secretary, Kavita Krishnan, SM Anthonimuthu, G Ramesh, SCM, Bharathi, SCM and State Convenor of RYA, Sagaya Imida of Idinthakarai and Samuel Aseer Raj, Convenor, Teachers Against Nuke Power addressed the convention.

Comrade S Kumarasami called upon the people of TN to take up vigorous struggle against the killer nuke plant and foil the attempts of the UPA government to jeopardize the lives of lakhs of people at the altar of global nuclear corporations. He also called upon the people of TN to fight against the repressive attempts of the Central and State governments. Comrade Balasundaram came down heavily on the repressive measures of the state government and demanded that all false cases against the protestors be withdrawn immediately. Comrade Kavita Krishnan expressed support of the Party and AILC for the Koodankulam Protestors and said that the struggle of Idinthakarai people will become victorious in closing down not only Koodankulam nuke project but also similar projects at Haripur and Jaitapur. Comrade Thenmozhi read out the resolutions of the convention which demanded immediate scrapping of the project and withdrawing all false cases against the protestors.

Comrades from Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Virudunagar, Dindigul and Madurai districts also participated in the convention.

Solidarity Visit to Comrade TP Chandrashekharan’s Family

A JNU Students’ Union team comprising JNUSU President Sucheta De and JNUSU Councillor Shivani (both elected from All India Students’ Association – AISA) visited the family of martyred comrade TP Chandrashekharan on 1 June. They were accompanied by JNU students from Kerala, Lal and Sharad.

CPI(ML) Liberation Central Committee member Kavita Krishnan from Delhi also accompanied the team. They met with Comrade TPC’s wife Rema and his son, as well as his mother and other family members, and expressed heartfelt condolences.

The JNUSU leaders and Comrade Kavita Krishnan addressed a press meet on 2 June. On the evening of 2 June, they addressed a memorial meeting for Comrade TPC organised at Kodangallur in Thrissur district. In spite of the late hour and rainy weather, hundreds of people had gathered for the meeting. They listened intently as JNUSU President Sucheta De addressed them, saying that JNU students and well-wishers of the Left in Delhi were outraged at the murder and also at the attempts by CPI(M) to tarnish the memory of Comrade TP Chandrashekharan. Left Coordination Committee Secretary KS Hariharan’s moving speech had a tremendous impact on the gathering. CPI(ML) leader Comrade Kavita too addressed the gathering.

On 3 June, the Left Coordination Committee (Edathupaksha Ekopana Samiti) and Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) had organised a Communist Sangamam (meeting) at the Nalanda Hall in Kozhikode. Hundreds of comrades – not only from the RMP and LCC but also those who had hitherto been in the ranks of the CPI(M) – gathered at the meeting. They hoisted the red flag at the venue and raised slogans. The prevailing mood was to assert that the communist movement and red flag can have nothing to do with the politics of barbaric murder. Right at the beginning of the meeting, the video visualisation of a poem by noted exponent of Kerala’s traditional Sopaana Sangeetham, Njeralath Hari Govindan, in memory of Comrade TP Chandrashekharan, was screened. This beautiful poem and its musical visualisation had a great emotional impact on the packed hall.

On the dais were seated communist veteran ‘Berlin’ Kunhananthan Nair, who has the distinction of having attended the CPI’s first Party Congress in 1943; LCC Secretary Comrade KS Hariharan; Comrade TP Chandrashekharan’s 17-year-old son Abhinandan; RMP’s Onchiyam Secretary Comrade N Venu; well-known writer N Sugathan; KC Umesh Babu, poet and political activist; CPI(ML) Central Committee member Kavita Krishnan, JNUSU President Sucheta De and JNUSU’s Councillor from School of Social Sciences, Shivani Nag. The meeting was presided over by LCC President Comrade P Kumaran Kutty.

Addressing the gathering, ‘Berlin’ Kunhananthan Nair observed that the CPI(M) had degenerated into a party of a ‘corporate’ character. He commented on the tremendous popular goodwill enjoyed by VS Achuthanandan’s gesture of visiting Comrade TPC’s family in Onchiyam the previous day, even as the official CPI(M) continued to call TPC and his party ‘traitors.’

Comrade Kumaran Kutty commented on the way in which CPI(M) leaders were intimidating the police, saying that this in itself exposes that CPI(M) has a lot to fear from the investigation into the murder.

Kavita Krishnan greeted the gathering of communists on behalf of the CPI(ML) and the All India Left Coordination (AILC). She said that the CPI(M) is trying in vain to justify the murder by branding Comrade Chandrashekharan as a ‘traitor’ and a ‘parliamentary opportunist.’ However, it is Comrade TPC and others like him who embody the true communist spirit. They left the comforts, power, and parliamentary prospects of a party like CPI(M) – not to join the UDF or Congress, but to brave all the dangers and discomforts in order to defend the red flag. She reminded comrades of how in 1993 the CPI(M) had burnt alive 5 agricultural labourers in Karanda (West Bengal) on the day of panchayat polls, because they had left CPI(M) to join CPI(ML). She said that true tribute could be paid to Comrade TPC’s memory by continuing his efforts to build a genuine Left alternative to the degenerate CPI(M) in Kerala and in the Country.

JNUSU President Sucheta De said that students in JNU are outraged that the CPI(M) has killed a honest, brave, and committed Left leader who dared to challenge them. She shared the experience of JNU, where the SFI arrogantly defended Singur, Nandigram and other indefensible crimes by CPI(M), confident that JNU would remain its bastion. But JNU students overwhelmingly and repeatedly rejected SFI and opted for AISA, and in the process the Left base among students expanded. She expressed the confidence that young comrades and genuine well-wishers of the Left would reject the CPI(M) and would strengthen the effort to build a genuine revolutionary left platform inside Kerala and in the Country.

Shivani Nag, addressing the gathering, said that she was struck by the fact that when they visited Onchiyam, Comrade TPC’s young son greeted them with a ‘Laal Salaam (Red Salute).’ Clearly he did not associate the Red Flag and Red Salute with his father’s killers, but rather with his father’s own efforts to leave the CPI(M) and build a fledgling revolutionary Left party. She said that the defeat of the CPI(M) in West Bengal and Kerala did not signify a rejection of the Left values and politics, rather it was a rejection of the pro-corporate and anti-people policies of the CPI(M). In West Bengal, she said, the right-wing autocratic TMC regime had come to power, but genuine Left forces were mobilising against the all-out attack on democracy and the Left by the TMC. She called for the urgent need to build a Left alternative in the country, that would reject the CPI(M)’s politics of violently and brutally murdering dissenting voices – be they Comrades like TPC or peasants of Singur and Nandigram.

In Kerala, it is very apparent that the common people and even the Left rank and file are completely in sympathy with Comrade TPC’s family and his party – and are totally unwilling to swallow the CPI(M)’s denials, threats, and its position that Comrade TPC was a right-wing renegade.

Reports of the all-India ‘Rail-roko’, ‘Rasta-roko’ on 31st May

against Massive Petrol Price Hike

Bihar: CPI(ML) Members Stopped Trains and Blockaded Roads all over the State. As part of the Country-wide protest programme declared by the Party to completely block rail and road transportation on 31st May, blockades were effectively enforced in many parts of the State. Most of the important trains were stopped for hours and several National and State Highways were blockaded by the agitated demonstrators raising slogans against both the UPA and NDA Govts responsible for massive price rise and petrol price hike. Hundreds of Party activists, members and supporters were arrested throughout the State. Major blockade programmes were organised in Bettiah, Ara, Buxar, Bikramganj, Sasaram, Kudra, Mohania, Bhabhua, Siwan, Bhagalpur, Purnia, Jahanabad, Arwal, Gaya, and many other towns and districts.

In Patna, hundreds of Party members led by CC member Comrade Dhirendra Jha and other State leaders took out a march from Kargil Chauk to Dakbunglow crossing at 11a.m., where BJP-JD(U) goons attacked the leaders on the direction of BJP’s MLA from Sandesh- Sanjay Tiger and Bankipur MLA Nitin Naveen. Dozens of our leaders were seriously injured including Umesh Singh, Tota Chaudhary, Murtaza Ali and Abhyuday. Comrade Dhirendra Jha said the attacks show the frustrations of Nitish Kumar Govt arising from the widespread peoples’ movement recently against his Govt. The Nitish Govt is terrified of the popular support the CPI(ML) movement is generating and hence the attacks on its leaders by BJP-JD(U).

Delhi: Rasta roko against petrol price hike was held in delhi where increase in CNG prices by the Delhi Govt was also opposed. Vikas marg near Laxmi nagar was blocked by CPIML activists. At Govindpuri an effigy of Manmohan Singh was also burnt during rasta roko organised by DTC workers. In Narela too effigy burning and blockade was conducted, while in Wazirpur, Party activists blocked Ring Road and defying police attempts to disperse after lathicharge, courted arrest.

Puducherry: On 31st May the ‘Rasta roko’ was led by Comrade S Balasubramanian, State Secretary of CPI (ML), and a large number of Party and AICCTU activists. Later protesters were detained by the police. An intensive protest demonstration at Karaikal also was held.

West Bengal: Demonstrators marched to Hashmi Chowk in Siliguri where a huge police battalion blocked the way. There was a scuffle with the police and the road remained blockaded, after which police arrested 25.

Tamilnadu: Rail-roko was enforced at Tirunelveli junction, Perianaickenpalayam in Coimbatore and Kumbakonam. Demonstrations were held in CHennai and Salem. Com. S Kumaraswami courted arrest along with others.

Punjab: At plaza Sec.17 a guitarist band organised by AICCTU and RYA sang in protest against petrol price hike amidst Left slogans and flags.

Uttar Pradesh: The State Committee members held a march in Ballia and some adjoining areas. Hundreds of Party members blockaded roads in Ghazipur, Saidpur; Gorakhpur, Baansgaon; Deoria, Nichlaul and Farenda in Maharajganj; Allahabad; Mirzapur, Madihaan; Chandauli, Chakia and Naugarh in Mughalsarai district; Robertsganj, Ghorawal and Duddhi in Sonebhadra; at 3 local markets in Bhadohi; Sitapur; Lakhimpur Khiri; Pilibhit; Ambedkar Nagar among other districts. Apart from road blockades, Manmohan Singh’s effigy was burnt at many places.

Uttarakhand: Effigy was burnt after a march in Lalkuan in Nainital district. The Bareily-Nainital SH was blocked. At Srinagar in Garhwal the comrades pushed motorbikes symbolising petrol becoming too precious. Effigy was burnt at Bhikiasaind. Memorandum was submitted to the DM in Udham Singh Nagar.

Protest on Forbesganj Anniversary

A demonstration was organised on 2nd June by CPI(ML), RYA, AISA, JNUSU jointly with several other human rights’ organisations including APCR, HRLN, NAPM, SFR, CPHRD at Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi on the anniversary of Forbesganj firing. A memorandum for Governor of Bihar was handed over requesting him for immediate intervention to ensure justice to the victims.

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-15-24.doc
MLU-15-24.pdf

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