ML Update 23 / 2013

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 23, 28 MAY – 03 JUNE 2013

The Worst Attacks on Democracy Are Conducted by Its Supposed Custodians

U
PA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has described the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, which claimed the lives of several Congress leaders including Salwa Judum leader Mahendra Karma, as an ‘attack on democracy.’

The Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi, as leaders of the Congress party, must be asked if Mahendra Karma and Salwa Judum, declared ‘unconstitutional’ by the Supreme Court, represented ‘democracy’? The Salwa Judum SPOs stand accused of burning entire villages, raping women, and killing countless people. Yet Mahendra Karma and his extra-constitutional terrorist outfit got the backing not only of BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh but of the Union Home Ministry and the Congress party. Was this democracy?

The Salwa Judum, flouting the Supreme Court ordering it to be disbanded, continues to be operational under a variety of pretexts, with the tacit support of the Central Government. In Chhattisgarh, then, the worst and most flagrant attacks on democracy are being launched by its supposed custodians, the State and Central Governments and the security forces.

While one cannot condone the killing of innocent or abducted people, the Maoist attack on May 25 surely cannot be seen in isolation from the political context of Chhattisgarh where the State has given up even the pretence of upholding Constitutional norms or democratic rights. Just a week before the Maoist attack on the Congress convoy, 8 adivasis including 3 children aged 10-15, were shot dead by CRPF while celebrating a seed sowing festival. In June last year, 17 people were killed in another CRPF firing on an adivasi festival. The security officers were not booked for murder, and the SC/ST Act was not invoked. Senior police officers accused of sexual torture and rape of adivasi women in custody have received gallantry awards from the President of India. These atrocities were never ever described by India’s or Chhattisgarh’s rulers as ‘attacks on democracy’.

It must also be stressed emphatically that the CPI (Maoist)’s militaristic actions, isolated from democratic movements and political assertion, are counterproductive in developing any mass resistance to the Government’s policies of corporate plunder, Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt. It is also on record that the Maoists have at times acted as mercenaries for ruling class parties, murdering CPI(ML) activists in Paliganj (Bihar) at RJD’s behest and CPI(ML)’s Jharkhand MLA Mahendra Singh at the behest of the nexus of the BJP leadership, a corrupt police officer and coal mafia.

The Governments of Chhattisgarh and the Centre have already begun to use the latest Maoist attack as a pretext to propose Army deployment and even of Air Force strikes and ‘drone attacks’. The Governments cannot be allowed to dress up such an unconscionable war on the adivasi people as a ‘war on Maoists’. Instead, there must be an immediate scrapping of Operation Green Hunt, withdrawal of former SPOs from the Chhattisgarh police force, and criminal action initiated against all those, including police personnel and Salwa Judum cadre, who stand accused of rape and killing.

The developments in Chhattisgarh make it abundantly clear that the quest for a military solution to the Maoist or any other insurgency is antithetical to the very notion of democracy and rule of law. Pressure must be brought to bear upon concerned governments and other wings of the state to shun this counterproductive quest for a non-existent military solution and pave the way for a democratic political solution. The Maoists too must realize that a few stunning and sensational military actions are no substitute for the basic and indispensable task of waging a protracted political battle to secure and defend people’s rights.

Land Struggle and Police Brutalities in Purnea

A
nother incident of brutal repression on landless peasants and agrarian workers in Purnea district of Bihar, has again exposed the reality behind Nitish Kumar’s ‘sushashan’ and his continuing nexus with the feudal goons strengthening at the grassroots. This was a land dispute which Nitish Govt. tried to solve in favour of the landlord who was in illegal possession of common land which was earmarked as ceiling surplus.

Purnea and adjoining districts in Bihar are still known for the existence of hundreds of ‘States’ and ‘Estates’ which in other parts of the Country in now a thing of the distant past! Ironically these ‘states’ still command thousands of acres of land even after decades of the land ceiling Acts came into existence.

This particular incident occurred in one Molchand Estate, in Dhamdaha block of Bishanpur-Balua panchayat, where a middleman Jayanendra Mandal was killed by the enraged poor adivasi villagers. This was the outcome of a series of events started after the Bihar High Court cancelled status of 22 acres of ceiling surplus land which had been under the occupation of adivasis, and then the District administration sent force to evict the poor villagers and harvest their standing crops of banana and corn in 2012.

Jayanendra had earlier extorted lakhs of rupees from the villagers with the promise to transfer of land in their names, but then embezzled 17 acres of land himself with their money. He had promised to sell 17 acres of land of Molchand Estate to poor villagers. His wife is two-time Mukhiya of the village and he himself is a known broker of the said Estate (which belongs to one Kumar Sukhchand Singh). He collected money from the adivasis in the range of 5-50 thousand rupees totalling more than 8 lakhs, but the land was transferred in his name betraying poor villagers. Later, in 2012 angry villagers collectively harvested banana crops from the same 17 acres land in protest of the betrayal and administrative apathy they received.

Immediately after the incident, CPI(ML) state committee sent an investigation team to Purnea comprising of Nawal Kishore, Gopal Ravidas, Md. Islamuddin, and Jamuna Murmu.

In the year 2009-10, 70 adivasis were allotted Indira Awas. Out of total money sanctioned for homes for the poor, Jayanendra kept with him around 24.5 lakh rupees with the promise of supplying bricks for the homes in exchange, which he did not comply and poor adivasis money was looted this way.

Later in 2012, he tried to capture a piece of 5 acres of land which was under the possession of adivasis for generations, this is registered as govermental land on papers. Adivasis as well as CPI(ML) tried to resolve this issue through mutual discussions, but Jayanendra defied every such attempt.

On 23 May last, Jayanendra tried to dig sand from same 5 acres land plot for his brick-kiln which was peacefully protested by the adivasis. But he, along with dozens of armed goons, again reached the spot and intimidated villagers and opened fire on them. Enraged villager resisted the attempt ultimately leading the goons to flee away from the spot, while Jayanendra was caught by them. They beat him up and then burnt him alive.

Only then the police and administration swung into action! No one was spared from police brutality. The administration which did nothing to stop Jayanendra’s atrocities going on for years, was now adamant to teach poor people a lesson for their crime of daring to rise up against atrocities. Police mainly targeted women and children who had nothing to do with the incident. One pregnant woman, Gita Devi, was brutally beaten up leading to the violent termination of her pregnancy. After rampaging the whole village police has arrested 40 people, mainly women. Even women with breast feeding infants and children as little as three years old were beaten and tortured by the police. With the 40 arrested women, there are 14 children- 7 children in the age group of 2 months to 1 year; and 7 children in the age group of 2-7 years- with them in jail.

The said adivasi tola is now almost empty as all the remaining people have fled from the village to escape police brutalities.

This incident glaringly exhibited how Nitish Govt. provides ‘Nyay’ (justice) and ‘sushashan’ (governance) to people in Bihar. The government and administration never heeded to the complaints of adivasis and never acted against Jayanendra’s atrocities in time – amply proves prevailing administrative inaction and its nexus with the feudals and their goons.

CPI(ML) has protested this atrocity and organised a Statewide protest day on May 29. AIALA leader Satyadev Ram and Gopal Ravidas led people in Purnea on this day. The Bihar unit of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) has called for block and district level protests from June 1 to June 5. This will start from Purnea on June 1, where large number of women will gather against police brutality on women and children and prevailing anti-people nexus which is the back-bone of Nitish Govt. at the grassroots.

Joint TU Protest Demonstration Demands Release of NOIDA Workers

Two hundred workers in NOIDA continue to languish in jail, having been arrested on fabricated charges during the all India Strike called jointly by Central Trade Unions on February 20-21st 2013. The Central TUs that had called the Strike, held a joint demonstration at the Greater NOIDA District Magistrate’s office on 20th May. Hundreds of workers from NOIDA and Delhi participated in the demonstration, and submitted a memorandum to the DM demanding withdrawal of the fabricated charges and release of the arrested workers.

The demonstration was addressed by CITU General Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Tapan Sen, AICCTU National Secretary Santosh Roy, AITUC National Secretary D L Sachdeva, NOIDA AICCTU leader Shivji Singh, RYA National VP Aslam Khan, and several other TU activists. AICCTU State President VKS Gautam was also present, as were leaders from various sectoral Unions affiliated to AICCTU, including DTC transport workers, construction workers, street vendors, and domestic workers.

On the same day, 20th May, several organizations jointly protested at Haryana Bhawan in Delhi against the arrest of Maruti workers who were peacefully demonstrating at Kaithal in Haryana. More than a hundred sacked Maruti workers holding a sit-in at Kaithal were arrested by the Haryana Police on the night of May 18th, a few hours before their scheduled demonstration the next day in which many local villagers were to come out in support. 96 villagers who supported the Maruti workers have cases lodged against them, including blatantly fabricated cases of attempt to murder. AISA and RYA activists participated in the demonstration at Haryana Bhawan.

Closed Mohini Mills: Workers’ Convention

On 17 May, 2013 a workers convention was organised by AICCTU & Mazdoor Baachao Manch at Samaj Sadan Hall, Kamarhatti, Belghoria, 24 Parganas (North) on the issue of immediate disbursal of PF dues, gratuity & pension to all the workers of Mohini Mills, a Central Govt. Undertaking under NTC and of all other closed industries.

A workers rally was organised from Belghoria Railway Station to the Convention Hall with a significant number of women workers participating. More than 300 workers took part in this rally. It is to be noted that Mohini Mills was a unit of National Textile Corporation. The Central Govt. Undertook the management on 23 Oct. 1981, but denotofied it on 21 June, 1988. Since then the Mill is lying closed and the workers have not yet received their PF dues and other retirement benefits.

Though the State Govt. Of West Bengal acquired the land of Mohini Mills in the year 2004, no initiative has been taken to disburse the legitimate dues of the workers. The PF dept. has mentioned that at the time of closure, total PF fund accumulated was 85,73,494.61.

The Convention was addressed by Naba Dutta of Nagarik Manch, Amal Sen, AIUTUC leader, Kalachand Das, worker of Mohini Mill, Debashis Pal, Civil Liberty activist, Atanu Chakravarty, General Secretary, BCMF & Basudev Bose, General Secretary, AICCTU, West Bengal. The convention resolved to (a) File mass FIR against the corrupt members and Secretary of Board of Trustees. (b) To organise rally & handing over deputation before the Minister of Industry, West Bengal, and pressurize for immediate disbursal of all the retirement dues. (c) To pressurize the municipal Corporation of Kamarhatti for immediate renovation of workers quarter of Mohini Mills. Nabendu Dasgupta, President of BCMF reported on the initiatives taken on behalf of the organisation and Shibshankar Guha Roy presided.

Cinema of Resistance starts its Journey in WB with Film Screening in a closed Jute Mill

At the invitation of Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Manch, the Kolkata Chapter of the Cinema of Resistance campaign made its debut with an evening film screening on 25th May from 6 to 8 pm in the Gouripur Jute Mill area in Naihati, an industrial town located about 40 Kms from Kolkata.

For independent filmmakers Purba and Kasturi, it was an occasion to screen the trailer of their film-in-progress, made in solidarity with the struggling workers of the closed Gouripur Jute Mill. When the 150 year-old mill was liquidated in 1997, 5000 workers lost their jobs. The mill had its own power plant, water treatment plant, jetty and post office. The policies of the government and millowners gradually drove a profitable mill into sickness, and eventually shut it for good. Now the workers are fighting a long battle to wrest their outstanding PF, pension and gratuity dues under the leadership of Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Manch.

Subrata Sengupta, leader of the Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Manch welcomed the Cinema of Resistance caravan into West Bengal. Sanjay Joshi, National Convener of The Group, Jan Sanskriti Manch, started off with a discussion on new cinema and its association with peoples’ movements. Then a worker, Comrade Gayatri Das sang a song of resistance, to flag off the screening.

For the children in the audience, Rajesh Chakrabarty’s animation songs from Hip Hip Hurray were screened. Following that was K P Sasi’s short film Gaon Chorab Nahi, Anand Patwardhan’s film Occupation: Millworker, Biju Toppo and Meghnath’s film Gari Lohardaga Mail, trailer of Kasturi and Purba’s ongoing film Gouripur Diary, and Norman Mclaren’s short film Neighbors. 300 people, mostly workers, were present at the cinema hall constructed with bamboo poles and open on two sides, by the comrades of Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Andolan. The audience not only enjoyed the new cinema but also contributed to the making of the ongoing film, with their many suggestions and positive discussions.

CPI(ML) Observes "Dhikkar Dibas"

in Condemnation of Betrayal, Repression and Corruption of the Mamata Govt

on its Two-year Anniversary in West Bengal

The Trinamool Congress led government in West Bengal has completed two years in office. From 5th to 21st May, the ruling dispensation spent Rs.3 crores and 10 lakhs on celebrating the occasion. At a time when West Bengal is reeling under financial bankruptcy and a scam of unprecedented magnitude, such extravagant waste of public money is an attempt to coat a layer of gloss on misgovernance, financial corruption and breakdown of democracy in the state.

In this tenure, the farmers of Singur are yet to get their land back. The culprits of Nandigram massacre or the rapists of Tapasi Malik remain unpunished. The government not just backtracked on its pre-poll promise of releasing all political prisoners and stopping operation Greenhunt in Lalgarh, rather military and police repression has escalated – the cold-blooded encounter-death of Maoist leader Kishenji, instances of rapes and crackdowns in the area, and an increased number of political prisoners expose the real face of the Mamata government. There has been escalation in the number of farmer suicides which the chief minister continues to deny. The Govt as well as the TMC have staunchly and consistently pitted themselves against workers’ movements and assertion. In the most recent Jute mill strike and all-india working class strike of 20-21 February, the government and the party unitedly took a militant stand to break the strikes. The consistent attacks on the functioning of democratic institutions like the Panchayat and steps to curb student-youth movements have been glaring. The murder of student activist Sudipto Gupta and the ensuing concerted assault on all political opposition has shown the intolerance of the government to any democratic dissent. The Saradha scam, latest and most massive in a series of instances of financial misappropriation by the TMC government, has torn to shreds even the so-called ‘honest’ image assumed by the Trinamool supremo herself. Millions of poor people have been victimised, cheated of their lifelong savings in collusion with the ministers.

Against this backdrop, the CPI(ML) called for observing "Dhikkar Dibas" (Day of Condemnation) on the TMC’s two-year anniversary. A ten-point peoples’ chargesheet implicating the Trinamool Government on issues of betrayal, repression and corruption was published and widely distributed among the masses. The state-wide campaign, organized on and around 18th May, was concentrated in block and panchayat levels in all the major districts of the Party’s work. In some districts the campaign made inroads into newer areas and panchayats. The campaign will continue till 4th June, when a massive state-wide civil disobedience and ‘Jail Bharo’ would be observed.

Jagjit Singh Layalpuri

Jagjit Singh Layalpuri, 96, veteran communist and a lifelong crusader for left unity passed away in Ludhiana in Punjab on the night of 27 May at 11 p.m. He was a renowned communist and freedom fighter who dedicated his life to the struggle for the people’s emancipation. He was among the few in Punjab who initiated the formation of CPI(M) in Punjab from 1964 onwards. Later he was the first to raise his voice against CPI(M)’s capitulationist policies and tactics within the party, which eventually led to his expulsion from CPI(M). He continued to strive for a broader unity among the left forces throughout his life. His contribution to the peasant movement in Punjab will always be remembered. He remained a good friend and well wisher of CPI(ML) and its movement, and never hesitated to help our Party on various occasions. CPI(ML) pays him warm tributes and will always cherish his memory.

Red Salute to Comrade Jagjit Singh Layalpuri!

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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