ML Update 21 / 2013

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16 No. 21 14-20 MAY 2013

The Game Is Up for Team Manmohan –

It’s the PM who Must Go Now!

Recent revelations have once again confirmed the extent to which the UPA Government is mired in corruption and cover-ups, from a series of Ministers right up to the Prime Minister.

The UPA Government, which had brazenly denied the coal scam in which the PM was directly implicated, has now been caught red-handed trying to ‘fix’ the probe into the scam by ‘editing’ the CBI’s status report submitted to the apex court. Now, the Supreme Court has delivered a scathing indictment of the role of the Government and the CBI, calling the CBI a "caged parrot speaking in master’s voice", and finding that the "heart of the report had been tampered with".

The CBI’s own affidavit testifies to the fact that the Government lied to the Court when it assured that the report had not been amended. Not only the Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, but the Joint Secretaries of the PMO and the Coal Ministry (the very same institutions directly being probed for their role in the coal scam!) perused the CBI’s status report and dictated strategic deletions and amendments. Eventually the Government, which had defiantly refused to sack the Law Minister, was forced to get the Law Minister to belatedly resign as a last-ditch attempt at damage control. But if Ashwani Kumar had to lose his job as Law Minister, why should not Manmohan Singh lose his job as Prime Minister, since the PMO too was equally implicated in the same offence of influencing the CBI report?

Another instance of blatant corruption directly implicating the UPA Government came to light with the CBI’s arrest of the nephew of the Union Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, on charges of taking a Rs 90 lakh bribe from a member of the Railway Board, allegedly to secure a new post within the Railway Board. In the Rail Scam as well, the UPA Government first tried to brazen it out, until eventually forced to go for the belated resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal.

The Railway Board is a very powerful body, directly answerable to the Rail Minister. The open support of JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav for Pawan Bansal, and the silence, if not open defence of the tainted minister, of various former Rail Ministers across parties (including Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Laloo Yadav), is clearly because the cash-for-posts scam is a long-entrenched practice that goes back a long way. A thorough probe that investigates the tenures of former Rail Ministers as well is called for to expose the extent of the scam.

The Congress party is trying to hide behind the Karnataka results, claiming that Karnataka proves that Congress’ electoral fortunes will not be affected by the spate of scams and cover-ups. The opposite is true. Karnataka proves that the people are waiting to punish governments for corruption: in Karnataka, the BJP paid the price of defeat for its Government which presided over the worst corporate plunder and loot of land and minerals. Karnataka exposes the BJP’s bluff of being a ‘clean’ alternative to the corrupt Congress, and it is also a stern reminder that the corrupt UPA Government will undoubtedly be taught a lesson by the people, as the BJP was taught a lesson in Karnataka.

The PM cannot hide behind the resignations of Ashwani Kumar and Bansal. As the PM who presided over the Coal Ministry at the time of the Coal Scam, and is directly implicated in the PMO’s manipulation of the CBI’s status report, and is moreover leading the pack of a series of corrupt Ministers, Manmohan Singh must quit! With one tainted minister after another being exposed and forced to make an ignominious exit, the game is up for Team Manmohan. The captain must now quit and let the people express their mandate.

For the people of the country, it is completely unacceptable that the CBI remain a parrot of the Government, in a cage where the ruling party holds the key. But it is also equally important to assert that the country can no longer afford a Government which is the parrot of corporations, and which keeps the people shackled by neoliberal policies and repressive measures. Ridding the country of pro-corporate policies and guaranteeing the rights of the people with pro-people policies and institutional arrangements is the urgent need of the hour.

CPI(ML) Welcomes Pakistan Elections

The CPI(ML) welcomes the historic Pakistan elections, in which for the very first time in the history of that country, a transition has taken place through democratic elections from an elected civilian government to another. The people of Pakistan must be congratulated for defying all odds to assert their democratic rights.

Apart from the return of Nawaz Sharif, another significant development in these elections has been the emergence of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by Imran Khan as a significant Opposition force which has emerged victorious in Peshawar. The latter’s success in Peshawar can be attributed in large part to his promises to resist the American drone attacks that have claimed numerous civilian lives there in the name of fighting terrorism.

The CPI(ML) wishes the people of Pakistan well in their struggle to overcome the many challenges that face them, calls for strengthening the unity of the people of Pakistan and India against imperialism, war-mongering and fundamentalism, and calls upon the Indian Government to seriously pursue dialogue and friendly relations with Pakistan.

Bihar Human Rights Commission Indicts State Government for Police Brutality

On 2 May 2012, CPI(ML) Central Committee member and former MLA Comrade Rajaram Singh and other activists leading the struggle against the murder of a young panchayat mukhiya (head) Chhotu Kushwaha in Aurangabad district of Bihar were brutally beaten up by the police in the course of a peaceful demonstration. Rajaram Singh in particular was singled out for sustained public beating by senior cops, following which he was jailed. Two women activists – Usha Sharan, District Convenor of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch and ex-mukhiya Kiran Yadvendu were also badly beaten up. Shocking photographic images testified to this brutality.

The Bihar Human Rights Commission investigated allegations of custodial violence, and has recently concluded that the allegations are true, and has directed the State Government to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Rajaram Singh and Rs 50,000 to two other activists.

For the Bihar Government under Nitish Kumar, police brutality has become the norm: Forbesganj firing on minorities, Madhubani firing on students, brutal lathicharge on teachers which the Supreme Court also noted, and the Aurangabad brutality are just some of the worst instances. After the Supreme Court’s scathing observations on the lathicharge on teachers, the Bihar Human Rights Commission’s observations are yet another glaring indictment of the repressive State Government. The State Government must lose no time in complying with the directive and paying the compensation, and must sack the DM and SP of the district who presided over this brutality which took place in their presence.

Excerpts of the Bihar Human Rights Commission’s observations and conclusions are below:

"The Commission is satisfied on seeing the visuals that Raja Ram Singh was mercilessly beaten by the police. There is nothing on the record to indicate that he committed any act of vandalism, destruction of property etc. or that he incited the people to engage in such acts. Raja Ram Singh is a former two-time member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly (MLA), member of the Central Committee of the CPI (ML) and National General Secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha. As a public figure and an activist, he had every right to

participate in the protest meeting which had been organized to highlight the police inaction.

Similarly, applicant Usha Sharan is the District Convenor of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch and applicant Kiran Yadvendu is an ex-Mukhiya, and as public figure they had right to participate in the protest meeting. They were also allegedly physically beaten by the police in the occurrence even though were simply bye-standers. It may be relevant to mention here that they met the Chairperson of the Commission and showed their injuries on their bodies in presence of the then Secretary of the Commission Smt. Vandana Kini while presenting complaints on 9.5.2012. The Commission found clear marks of injury on different parts of their body. Photographs showing marks of injury have been annexed and they are part of the record. There are no specific visuals showing them being assaulted by the police but the Commission is inclined to think that they too sustained injuries as a result of the beatings by the police in the same occurrence. As in the case of Raja Ram Singh, there is nothing to indicate that they either committed any acts of vandalism etc. themselves or incited others to commit such acts. The police action viz. beatings, therefore was uncalled for and unjustified.

In the facts and circumstances, the Commission is satisfied that all the three victims suffered violation of human rights at the hands of the police and are entitled to compensation.

In the facts and circumstances, the Commission is of the view that the compensation of rupees one lakh in the case of Raja Ram Singh and rupees fifty thousand each in the cases of Usha Sharan and Kiran Yadvendu would be just and adequate.

The Commission accordingly directs the State Government through Secretary, Department of Home, to pay compensation of rupees one lakh to Shri Raja Ram Singh and rupees fifty thousand each to Smt. Usha Sharan and Smt. Kiran Yadvendu within six weeks. Put up on 28.6.2013 awaiting compliance report."

AISA-RYA Agitate for PM’s Resignation

On 12 April, AISA and RYA held agitations at several centres in the country to declare that belated resignations of two Ministers is too little, too late – the PM responsible for the coal scam cover up and manipulation of CBI must quit! Students from DU, JNU, and Jamia Millia Islamia, and youth from various localities in Delhi, held a vigil at Jantar Mantar, where protestors raised slogans saying, "CBI is PM’s Parrot, and PM is Corporates’ Parrot’, ‘Corrupt, Cover-Up PM Must Resign’ and ‘Free CBI from Govt Cage, Free Govt and Country from Corporate Cage.’

The day-long vigil was addressed by AISA National President Sandeep Singh, RYA National General Secretary Ravi Rai, RYA leader Aslam Khan, JNUSU Joint Secretary Piyush Raj, AISA leader Sunny Kumar, Akbar, Prerna, Anubhuti, Farhan and several others, as well as CPI(ML) leaders Girija Pathak, and Polit Bureau member Kavita Krishnan.

The protestors said, "The CBI’s own affidavit shows that the Law Ministry as well as representatives of the Coal Ministry and PMO were among the ‘masters’ who coached the ‘CBI Parrot’. Today, if Ashwani Kumar must lose his job as Law Minister, why should not Manmohan Singh lose his job as Prime Minister?" They declared, "We neither need cage nor parrot! We need a CBI that is structurally free of political manipulation and control, and a Govt free of corporate control – without any delay!" Protestors noted that the Rail Scam was yet another instance of business-politics nexus in corruption, of which Bansal and Vadra were prime examples, but so is Nitin Gadkari of the BJP.

Protestors’ demands were as follows:

• The PM stands directly implicated in the coal scam, as well as in the cover-up of the scam though manipulating the CBI’s status report – we demand that the PM must resign.

• The PM has been shielding corrupt Ministers to the hilt – acting to remove Ministers only when there is absolutely no option left. The PM leading a pack of corrupt Ministers must resign!

• A thorough probe must be conducted into the rail scam, encompassing the tenures of past Rail Ministers as well.

• The CBI must be made completely and genuinely autonomous – rather than a puppet in the hands of the ruling Government

• From Bansal to Vadra to Gadkari and Ajit Pawar – there is an endless list of political leaders implicated in peddling their business/corporate interests. This corrupt business-politics nexus facilitating corporate plunder of our precious resources is at the heart of corruption. We demand a reversal of the policies promoting corporate plunder.

• We demand release of the anti-POSCO leader Abhaya Sahoo and a stop to the POSCO project, which is a glaring instance of corporate plunder and corruption

Protests were also held at Patna, Jehanabad, Arwal, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Saharsa in Bihar, Bokaro, Giridih, Ramgarh in Jharkhand, Ambedkarnagar, Faizabad and other centres in UP, as well as Bhind in Madhya Pradesh.

Seminar in Patna Against Modi’s Corporate Fascist Agenda

On 23 April, a seminar was held in Patna on Narendra Modi’s Corporate Fascism and the Democratic Agenda of Resistance. The seminar was organised by AISA, RYA, JSM and Inquilabi Muslim Conference. The speakers included Prof. Naval Kishor Choudhury, Arshad Ajmal, Nivedita Jha and other journalists and intellectuals and the main speaker was CPI(ML) GS Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya.

Speaking on the occasion Comrade Dipankar emphasised that Modi’s communal fascism of 2002 now stands before us in a new and enhanced form, as a corporate-backed fascist project. Narendra Modi’s agenda today is very much part of the corporate offensive on people’s land, livelihood and democracy today. The Congress Govt too is of course competing with Modi to be the champion of this offensive, but with the Congress standing badly discredited by scams and open repression, the corporates have sought to fashion a new darling in Modi and his model of repressive governance. Resisting communalism in India today called for more than speaking against BJP and RSS: it calls for rejecting and resisting the Indian State’s growing corporate fascist character. It also calls for resisting the agenda of witch-hunt of minorities, aggressively peddled by the ruling class across parties, which makes communalism in India today an inseparable part of the imperialist agenda of Islamophobia in the name of ‘war on terror.’

He called the bluff of Nitish Kumar’s anti-Modi posturing, pointing out that Nitish had backed Modi to the hilt and remained a Minister in the BJP-NDA regime at the Centre when the Gujarat genocide of 2002 was actually taking place, and now Nitish’s Govt had facilitated the growth of Modi’s party, the BJP, in Bihar. Nitish’s surrender to feudal-communal forces had led to the renewed assertion of these forces in Bihar.

Protest Against Child Sexual Violence in Ranchi and Delhi

An incident of abduction, rape and murder of a little girl came to light in Doranda, Jharkhand on 24 April. A fact-finding team of Ranchi AIPWA, comprising District Secretary Sarojini Bisht, President Singi Khalko, VP Shanti Sen and District Committee member Neela Munda, visited Doranda on 26 April. The child’s family is of the Darji (tailor) mohalla, an area of Ranchi where most of the residents are poor Muslims. The entire community had been turned into a virtual police camp. Neighbours and family members informed the team that the little girl had returned from school on the 24th and was playing outside the house. Her mother noticed her disappearance a couple of hours later and the search began. Scores of people reached the police station in the evening; police registered a case but did not search in the area or keep watch at night. As a result the abductors/rapists got rid of the street lights and threw the child’s body in an under-construction house at around 3 in the night in the area itself. People informed the police at 5 am, but police turned up only at 8 am. The post-mortem revealed a brutal rape.

Ranchi observed a bandh on 27 April against this heinous crime and criminal apathy of the police. AIPWA participated with full strength in the bandh, demanding arrest of the rapists, FIRs to be registered against the police officers responsible for criminal delay in searching for the child, and other demands to ensure the safety of women and children. AIPWA held a protest mass meeting at Albert Ekka chowk and then marched ahead from there. Participants in the protest included AIPWA State President Guni Oraon, Ranchi AIPWA leaders Nikhat Parveen, Sabeena Parveen, Gadi Khatun, Soni Tiraiyya of the Prerna team, Soni Kacchap, Meena Lakda and CPI(ML) leaders Bhuneshwar Kewat, Sudama Khalko, and JSM Convenor Anil Anshuman.

Obituary

Progressive Scholar and Reformer Ashgar Ali Engineer Passes Away

Renowned progressive scholar and reformer Ashgar Ali Engineer passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He was 74.

Born in Salumbar, Rajasthan, in a Dawoodi Bohra Amil (priest) family March 10, 1939, Engineer received early training in Islamic scholarship. A civil engineer, he worked in the Brihan Mumbai Corporation (BMC) before voluntarily retiring and plunging into the movement for social reform within his community.

Disturbed by the growth of communal forces, he dedicated his life to the pursuit of communal harmony. He was at the forefront of the struggle to resist communal violence in Mumbai and ensure friendship and harmony between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

He was also a staunch advocate of women’s equality and rights. On some occasions he even faced violence from fundamentalists within his own community. He was a prolific writer, wielding his pen on the subject of the rights of women and against communalism and fundamentalism.

His death is a huge loss to the progressive and secular movement, which will always draw strength and inspiration from his legacy and his writings.

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: 22518248, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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