ML Update 42 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 15 No. 42 9-15 OCT 2012

In lieu of Editorial

The Battle of Koodankulam is a Battle for Democracy, Truth, and Reason

Dipankar Bhattacharya

(On October 1, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya made a solidarity visit to the Koodankulam struggle site, along with a team of CPI(ML) leaders including Politburo member S Kumaraswamy, Tamil Nadu State Secretary Balasundaram, G Ramesh (State Committee member and Tirunelveli advocate working in support of the Koodankulam struggle) and Chandran from Coimbatore. Police arrested the team to prevent it from reaching the struggle site. Below is an account of the experience by Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya.)

On 30 September, 2012, when Left activists from Delhi and neighbouring states had assembled in Delhi’s Mavalankar Auditorium to discuss the Left and democratic agenda to intervene in the deepening national crisis, they had one long-distance participant. In a video message, SP Udayakumar of People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy appealed to the Left to stand by the fighting people of Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu who are being persecuted by the Indian state for daring to oppose the Koodankulam nuclear plant. The convention resolved to observe a fortnight-long countrywide campaign from October 1 to 15 in support of the just demand and struggle of the people of Koodankulam. As part of the campaign, a team of CPI(ML) central leaders was to visit Idinthakarai where local people have been courageously continuing their struggle for more than last 400 days defying state repression.

When a journalist from Asianet asked me if I thought we would be allowed to go there I got the first inkling of what might be in store for us the next day. We had been to Dhinkia and other villages of Jagatsinghpur several times to express solidarity with the people of Odisha fighting against the proposed occupation of their land by Posco. Even as thousands of people were prevented from leaving their villages, activists from outside never had a problem visiting the villages and meeting the local people. I had earlier thought Jayalalitha was also following in the footsteps of Naveen Patnaik and implementing the Odisha model in Tamil Nadu. But on reaching the Tuticorin airport on the morning of October 1, I could realise she had moved ahead of her new found alliance partner. She wants to cordon off Idinthakarai from the rest of the country and physically isolate the brave fighters against the Koodankulam nuclear plant from their innumerable friends and supporters elsewhere in Tamil Nadu and beyond.
We had initially planned to go to Tirunelveli and join our local comrades in a solidarity meeting and then proceed towards Idinthakarai. Soon we got the information that there was heavy police deployment in Tirunelveli to stop comrades from marching to Idinthakarai. We quickly changed plan and headed straight towards Idinthakarai. We managed to get fairly close to the site in a vehicle that had no party flag and could not be recognised from outside as one carrying CPI(ML) leaders. But once we reached Radhapuram we ran into a police barricade, the officials giving us an option of retreating ‘freely’ or facing arrest. We were told a few days ago, Comrade VS Achuthanandan was also likewise sent back from Kerala-TN border. We argued with the police against this paranoia and denial of basic democratic right of free movement of free citizens in their own country, but to no avail. We were arrested by the police. Soon news came that comrades in Tirunelveli had also been arrested as were comrades coming from Kanyakumari district.

We wanted to go to Idinthakarai to salute our brave sisters and brothers who have been holding high the banner of truth and reason in the face of the organised repression and lies unleashed by the Indian state. The Supreme Court recognises safety as a key issue, but obviously does not think that the affected people should have the most crucial say in this matter. The brave and fighting people of Koodankulam deserve all our support and solidarity as they have alerted the whole world against the utterly irrational and autocratic move of the powers that be in inviting a potential disaster. The world heard of Chernobyl and Fukushima after disasters struck, but Jaitapur and Koodankulam are in a different league where the whole world knows about these places for the brave struggle of the people against the ominous nuclear obsession of the rulers. The people of Koodankulam and Jaitapur are fighting not just to save their own land and lives, but for the safety of generations to come. Tamil Nadu has already suffered the enormous tragedy of a devastating tsunami; must the people be condemned now to live forever in the shadow of the fear of a nuclear tsunami?

Developed countries across the world are increasingly moving away from nuclear energy, yet the Indian ruling elite are dumping the most expensive and outdated 20th century technology in the 21st century when the world is increasingly resorting to safer, cheaper, and cleaner energy options. Ironically enough from the police custody at Radhapuram we could see wind mills all around us, indicating the growing viability of wind power as an energy option.

It is ironical that governments which are systematically sacrificing all our vital national interests at the altar of FDI and humiliating deals with imperialist powers, are trying to malign and muffle the voice of truth and justice in Koodankulam by dubbing the movement as being ‘instigated by foreign agencies’. And in the process the government has already begun treating Koodankulam as foreign territory where the interests of nuclear powers prevail over the basic rights of the Indian people.
We could not physically meet our comrades in Koodankulam, but the police could not stop us from having a telephonic conversation with Comrade Udayakumar, just as the voice of the people of Koodankulam could not be stopped from reaching the September 30 convention in the national capital. These little freedoms of course mean a lot at a time when our bigger rights are at stake. Comrade Udayakumar assured us that the morale of the Koodankulam struggle remained undiminished and the people were planning to lay siege to the TN Assembly on October 29 when the state government has convened a special session to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of the foundation of the State Assembly. We assured him of our unflinching support on behalf of CPI(ML) and all other fighting Left and democratic forces in the country.
The battle of Koodankulam is a battle for democracy. It is a battle as much for public safety as truth and reason. We must all join it and fight on till victory is achieved.

Protest in Delhi in Solidarity With People’s Struggle Against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation CPI(ML) organised a Solidarity Protest on 10 October in Delhi in support of thousands of people of Idinthakarai and other villages in coastal areas of Tamilnadu who are waging a struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, braving severe repression unleashed by the Central and State Governments.This solidarity protest was organised in keeping with the call issued from the AILC Convention on 30 September.
A mass Dharna was organised at Jantar Mantar which was attended by activists and people from various walks of life. Speakers at the dharna said that the questions at Koodankulam is not just of ‘allaying fears’ of people. Nor is it an academic question of the merits and demerits of nuclear power, or the differences between nuclear plants set up before and after the Indo-US Nuke Deal. The key question is one of democracy: Will people’s democratic protests be heard in India, or will they be suppressed by brute force? Do Indian citizens have a right to the truth and facts, or will our Governments get away with lying to us? Above all, can there be any ‘national interest’ that jeopardizes the lives of millions of people, while clearly benefiting foreign nuclear companies?

Protestors raised slogans and displayed placards saying ‘No Fukushima on Indian Soil! Scrap Koodankulam Nuke Plant!’
The Dharna demanded that FIRs slapped on some 55,000 protestors and charges of ‘sedition’ slapped on 8000 protestors be withdrawn; all arrested leaders and activists at Koodankulam be released, Govt. should stop intimidating and repressing common people and activists, and above all, Govt. must immediately scrap Koodankulam Nuclear Project.

Others who spoke at the protest includes Koodankulam activist Malti, CPI(ML) leaders Kavita Krishnan and Girija Pathak, AICCTU National Councilor KK Bora, CPI(ML) Delhi State Committee members Santosh Roy, VKS Gautam, Ramabhilash and Aslam Khan, and Martand, AISA leader from JNU.

Resist FDI in Pension and Insurance

After hikes in fuel prices and FDI in multi-brand retail, the UPA Government has now decided to raise the cap for FDI in the insurance sector from the 26 % to 49 %, and to allow 49 % FDI in pension funds.

These measures seek to render the hard-earned savings and pension funds of India’s public sector employees insecure by opening them up for exploitation by the market forces and MNCs. Global insurance firms, especially US firms, are hard hit by the economic crisis and poor investment climate, and the UPA Government’s move to open up India’s insurance sector is essentially a bailout package for those firms.

The CPI(ML) strongly condemns these neoliberal policies being imposed by the UPA Government in spite of the long-standing opposition of Indian people. The CPI(ML) calls for country-wide protests against these anti-people measures.

Sweatheart Deals Between Vadra and DLF, and Various Congress Governments and DLF Must Be Investigated

Substantial evidence has been brought to light that indicates an unholy nexus between the real estate firm DLF, the businessman Robert Vadra, and various Congress Governments. The favours done by DLF to Vadra, and by various State Governments to DLF, raise several questions, none of which have been satisfactorily answered. The way in which senior Ministers including the Finance Minister and Law Minister have leapt to the defence of Vadra’s business practices is also highly suspicious. The Government cannot refuse to investigate the highly questionable deals, involving land and real estate, which have come to light.

The CPI(ML) demands an impartial and thoroughgoing probe into all aspects of the relationship between Vadra, DLF, and various state governments.

Flag Hoisting at LPG Plant, BPCL Mangalore

AICCTU hoisted the flag on 29 Sep. in front of the LPG plant of Bharat Petrolem Corporation Ltd (BPCL) in Mangalore. Shankar, Vice-President of AICCTU in Karnataka came down heavily on the contract system that is in vogue in a government-owned company. He called upon all workers to maintain utmost unity to win the battle for decent wages, abolition of contract system in perennial nature of work and also for the dignity of labour. All contract workers in the plant have joined the union and are determined to march on struggles to win over the demands. He also appealed to the union of company employees to extend all possible help to contract workers to win the demands.

Com. Chandru, BPCL unit president presided over the occasion while Sathish and Appanna also addressed the gathering.

Trade Union Class at Mangalore

AICCTU organized a class at Mangalore on 30 Sep. 2012 on Marxism and working class. Prof. Lakshminarayana from Mysore explained the fundamentals of Marxism including dialectical and historical materialism in a very lucid manner. All workers were quite young and new to Marxism and related ideas and they evinced greater interest in understanding the philosophy and its relevance to their life. Comrades Shankar, CCM, Appanna, State Secretary of AICCTU and Venugopalan, SLTM of Kerala also spoke on the occasion. Com. Sathish, president of AICCTU, Mangalore presided over the programme while Chandru of Bharat Petroleum LPG Plant welcomed the gathering.

Party recruitment camp at Banglaore

CPI(ML), Bangalore organized a party recruitment camp on 2 Oct. 2012 that was attended by around 85 workers. Prof. Lakshminarayana, delivered a lecture on ‘why workers need a communist party’ focusing mainly on Marxist fundamentals including an outline on political economy. Gopal spoke on the ‘History of CPI(ML)’. Com. Simpson, leader of the ‘Liberation Front of the Downtrodden’ from Tamil Nadu greeted the initiative with an introduction to communist party. Shankar, CCM spoke on immediate issues and also the issues involved in party building in Bangalore. Com. Puttegowda, district secretary of AICCTU presided over the occasion. Many workers were inspired by the workshop and they collected the party membership form.

Obituary

Comrade Anil Kumar

Comrade Anil Kumar breathed his last in the night of 29 September at the age of 70 in Lucknow. He was deputed at Party’s state office in Lucknow. He hailed from a working class background and used to work in a printing press. When in ’93 party asked him to help in party office work, he happily agreed and left his job. He was known for his commitment towards Marxism, and also for his hard and disciplined work-style. He always strived to accomplish every task and responsibility assgned to him. In a process he perfectly adopted himself for party’s office work and even learnt to operate computer.
Many party leaders and supporters paid him tributes at Lalkuan Party office in Lucknow.
Red Salute to Comrade Anil Kumar!

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