ML Update 43 / 2013

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16 No. 43 15 – 21 OCT 2013

Nobody Killed the 58 People
Who Died in Laxmanpur Bathe
on 1 December 1997

Predictably enough, the Patna High Court has acquitted all the 26 persons convicted by the trial court in the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre case. This is the fourth successive instance of wholesale acquittal of convicts by the Patna High Court in cases of massacre of the oppressed rural poor in Bihar. Once again eye witness accounts have been dismissed as being not fully credible and convicts granted acquittal on ‘benefit of doubt’. The judges could not however disprove the fact that 58 people had been killed and post-mortems done, and hence they asked the trial court to calculate the compensation payable to the nearest kin of the victims as per relevant provisions the Motor Vehicles Act on the basis of the minimum wage prevalent in the area at the time of the massacre. They of course did not forget to add that any ex gratia paid after the massacre should be deducted from the amount of compensation!

When the trial court verdicts had been announced in 2010, Nitish Kumar was quick to showcase them as the sure signs of justice for the oppressed poor who had experienced a series of massacres during the reign of Lalu Prasad. Never mind if he had disbanded the Amir Das commission to save the political patrons of the Ranvir Sena from being exposed and punished, at least the perpetrators were being brought to justice. And over a period of 18 months the script has been thoroughly reversed by the High Court. The myth of ‘development with justice’ stands brutally shattered.

The acquittals amount to nothing short of a judicial scam. How on earth can it be possible that the very evidence which the trial courts found sound enough to hand out convictions has become dubious and unreliable in the judicial lens used by the High Court? Are we to believe that trial courts in Bihar do not bother about the nature and quality of evidence? If that is so, then the judiciary has collapsed in Bihar and it is time to reinvent it. And let us not forget that the same High Court has never granted any benefit of doubt to the oppressed poor and their political representatives to annul their convictions, it is only those who have been found guilty of slaughtering the rural poor by the dozen who are being let off through the ‘benefit of doubt’ argument. While the perpetrators of Bathanitola and Bathe walk free, Bodhan Sada and a dozen other people belonging to the Mahadalit Musahar community languish in jail having been falsely implicated and convicted in the Amausi massacre case.

The massacres perpetrated by the Ranveer Sena in Bihar were not isolated events, they were episodes of a bloody war that the Sena waged with complete impunity on the oppressed rural poor in Bihar to crush their fight for freedom, dignity and democracy. The Sena had openly and arrogantly declared that the communist movement had no right to exist in Bihar and that the people must not look beyond the feudal order. Yet the self-styled champions of ‘social justice’ or ‘development with justice’ always made common cause with the Sena. Despite the anti-BJP bravado of the RJD and JDU, the policy of appeasement of Ranveer Sena pursued by both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar made sure that the BJP kept growing in Bihar. And if one ever needed a proof about the organic relationship between the Ranveer Sena and the RSS-BJP, one only needs to remember how BJP leader Giriraj Singh described the Sena supremo after his assassination: he called him the Gandhi of Bihar.

The judicial issues that have been thrown up by the Patna HC acquittals can only be resolved by the Supreme Court. President KR Narayanan had termed the Bathe massacre as a matter of national shame. What has happened now is even more shameful. There is a growing opinion that the apex court must constitute a Special Investigation Team under its own supervision and re-examine all the massacre cases in which the guilty have been let off. But the battle for justice for Bathanitola and Bathe is clearly much bigger than the question of righting a judicial wrong. It is about checking the feudal-communal marauders who have been strengthened by the politics of appeasement and impunity and now feel emboldened by such shameful judicial acquiescence. This is a battle that concerns not just the oppressed poor of Bihar but whoever cares about the future of India, a battle that we must win.

Protests Against Bathe Massacre Acquittal

At Patna, the CPI(ML) staged a protest march from the Gandhi Maidan to the Buddha Smriti Park on Thursday in protest against the acquittal of all the 26 people accused of massacring 58 dalits in Laxmanpur-Baathe village in 1997.

"An SIT should be set up by the Supreme Court to investigate the matter if justice has to be done to the carnage victims," said CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya who led the march, christened ‘Aakrosh march’, in the state capital.

Bhattacharya said President Pranab Mukherjee ought to meet the massacre victims during his visit to Bihar later this month. "We would move the apex court against the Patna high court verdict," Bhattacharya said.

Terming the chief minister Nitish Kumar’s claims that his government was for ‘development with justice’ as a farce, Bhattacharya said Kumar would have to answer about his tall promises to deliver justice to the victims of massacres at Baathe and other places. Several members of the civil society, including N K Choudhary, Bharti S Kumar, Santosh Kumar and P N P Lal, also participated in the protest march.

As the protestors began the march demanding the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the carnage, traffic was disrupted at several places in the city. Protests were also held in district HQ towns. Protesters also disrupted traffic on the Patna-Aurangabad NH 98 and the Gaya-Patna road at Jehanabad on Thursday.

In Delhi, the CPI(ML) held a protest demonstration against the acquittal. The protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar, raising slogans against the ‘massacre of justice’ and the Nitish Kumar Government for its betrayal of the promise of justice for victims of the dalit massacres. Protesters burnt the effigy of Nitish Kumar and a copy of the Bihar HC verdict too.

Addressing the protest demonstration, CPI(ML) State Secretary Sanjay Sharma asked, “On December 1, 1997, a feudal landlords’ private army the Ranveer Sena massacred 58 Dalits, including 27 women and 10 children, in Laxmanpur Bathe in Arwal, Bihar. Does the HC want us to believe that ‘noone killed these 58 people’? Does the HC hold that the dalit eyewitnesses can’t be believed? Or do the lives of dalits have no judicial value?”

AISA’s National President Sandeep Singh said that in repeated cases, the Bihar HC had overturned lower court convictions in the Bathani Tola, Nagari and Bathe massacre cases. In the Bathani case, the HC declared any true witnesses of the massacre could only be dead. But in the Bathe case, the court held that the eyewitnesses were genuine, yet chose to disbelieve their identification of the killers on the technicality that the actual names were added to the FIR a few days after the massacre. The HC, like in the Bathani case, has again held in the Bathe case that the IO and the prosecution have been biased and have weakened the case. But this bias can only be corrected by placing faith in the eyewitnesses who testified at risk to their lives. The HC has insulted the survivors by letting loose the killers – once again putting the eyewitnesses at risk.

Human rights activist Mahtab Alam deplored the Patna High Court verdict and said that struggle for justice must go on.

Aslam Khan, Vice President, Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) said that Dalit landless poor who assserted themselves politically by supporting the CPI(ML) were massacred by Ranveer Sena in Laloo’s Bihar, and now justice is being repeatedly massacred in Nitish’s Bihar, exposing the cruel truth behind his claims of ‘justice for mahadalits.’

AISA Delhi President Sunny Kumar said that the first thing that Nitish Kumar did on assuming power was to abandon the Amir Das Commission set up to probe the political links with the Ranveer Sena, because it was well known that BJP and JDU leaders formed the bulk of political support for the Sena, while some RJD and Congress leaders too were known to support the Sena.

JNUSU General Secretary Sandip Saurabh reminded that when Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar was killed recently, the Ranveers unleashed violence on dalit hostel students in Ara – even as Nitish’s police took a leaf from Modi’s book and let them ‘vent their rage’.

Santosh Roy, CPI(ML) State Committee member, said that Rahul Gandhi speaks of Dalits moving ahead powered by ‘Jupiter’s velocity’ – but he’s silent on the Bathe verdict. Meanwhile Congress, earlier partner of Laloo who presided over the massacres, now cosies up to Nitish Kumar, who presides over the massacre of justice! And on Independence Day this year, the Baddi dalit atrocity took place in Bihar, reminding everyone that Bathani and Bathe are not horrors of the past, but terrors of today in Nitish-ruled Bihar.

Many concerned citizens and AISA activists also demonstrated at Bihar Bhavan on the same day.

On Cyclone Phailin and Its Aftermath

Cyclone Phailin has affected the homes, property, and livelihood of large numbers of people, while also taking some lives in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The experience of the cyclone this time showed how relatively better preparedness can contain the loss of lives in natural calamities. However, there can be no room for complacency and the self-congratulatory tones of the State and Central Governments are insulting to those affected by the calamity. The Central Government and the Governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh need to ensure full compensation and rehabilitation to all affected persons, ensuring homes and means of survival at the earliest. Meanwhile, efforts need to be made on a war footing to prevent the spread of diseases and epidemics. CPI(ML) Odisha and Andhra Pradesh units are engaged in relief work, and the party calls upon its units all over the country to extend every possible assistance.

Meanwhile the cyclone has also left an impact on Bihar, where the possibility of floods in the Kosi river loom large. The CPI(ML) demands that the Bihar Government take timely measures to control the flooding and to protect and evacuate those in the danger zone.

On Temple Stampede

CPI(ML) extends condolences to the over 100 families who have lost loved ones in the stampede in the temple in Madhya Pradesh. The fact that the stampede was sparked off by a police lathicharge, and that the police flung children into the river, is a shocking instance of high-handedness and cruelty. There seems to be no effort at all to learn from past tragedies, and stampedes in religious places seem to have become a regular feature in the country. The police and administrative personnel responsible for the tragedy must be identified and punished.

For Fee Reimbursement for Dalit Students

Tamilnadu’s Jayalalitha Government is boasting that it has enacted GO92 for reimbursement of full education fees of dalit students studying in self financed educational institutions. But it has not been implemented anywhere in TN. As part of the ongoing struggles for implementation, a well attended public meeting by Dalit youths and students were held at Kandarvakottai, constituency of scheduled caste welfare minister on 5.10.2013. The meeting was presided over by Pudukottai district organiser of RYA, Com Govindaraj and the main speakers are Com Bharathi, National secretary of RYA, Com Seetha, state secretary of AISA, Com Rameshwar Prasad, state General secretary of AISA, Com Athiyaman on behalf of Democratic advocates association. District secretary of CPI(ML) Com Asaithambi and SCM Com Valathan also spoke.

Speakers came down heavily on the non-implementations of Jaya Governments own GO and asks SC welfare minister to function in the interest of SC welfare instead of an mouth piece of the Government.

Party mass education camps on Working Class Movement

About 40 powerloom workers participated in a class organised at Pallipalayam of Namakkal district.on 05.10.2013.Com Govindaraj, SCM explained on the various aspects of the document and workers enthusiastically participated in the discussions.

At another camp held at Kumarapalayam, apart from powerloom workers, Loadmen working in civil supplies corporation from Tirupur also participated numbering a total of 55 workers. Com M.Govindaraj, SCM Com K.Govindaraj, state secretary of civil supplies corporation union explained on the aspects of the CPI(ML)’s resolution on working class movement adopted at the 9th Party Congress. Com N K Natarajan , SCM co-ordinated the discussion.

Despite framing of false cases on district committee members by police, Party initiatives on people’s issues continues.

Irritated by the continuous initiatives of CPI(ML) on peoples issues exposing district administration and police, false cases were booked on Com Venkatesan, district secretary and SCM of party, Comrades Kaliamurthy, Suseela and Palani, all district committee members.

More than 300 people attended in the Demonstrations condemning police action at Ulundurpet which was addressed by Com Balasundaram, state secretary of CPI(ML), Com Chandramohan, SCM, Com Thenmozhi, state president of AIPWA among other district leaders.

An education camp On 6.10.2013 on working class movement resolution was addressed by Com Balasundaram, steate secretary of the party.

On October 7, District level cadres of AIPWA met under the leadership of Com Thenmozhi and decided to convene district conference on November 7 th with a Rally.

Newly constructed over bridge at Ulundurpet in Vilupuram district has not been opened for quite a long time and Party announced through Pamphlets distributed among people that It will be opened by Party. Alerted district administration invited party for talks.

500 activists join CPI (ML)Liberation in Odisha

ON 9th October, on the occasion of the 15th memorial day of Comrade Nagbhusan Patnaik, 500 Left cadres left CPI and joined CPI (ML)Liberation. At a large rally in Kakatpur block of Puri district, 500 CPI cadres including leaders like Comrades Akhaya Swain, Bipin Jena and Sanjeev Swain joined the party. The Rally was attended by Vinod Singh, CPI(ML) MLA in the Jharkhand assembly and CC member, Comrade Khitish Biswal, Secretary of the party in Odisha, Comrade Yudhisthar Mohapatra, CC member, Comrade Radhakant Sethi, state committee member and Comrade Ashok Pradhan, state committee member.

Speakers at the rally, while castigating the Naveen Patnaik Government’s anti-poor, pro-corporate policies, were critical of the CPI’s approach of sacrificing the interests of people’s movements at the altar of seeking a few seats through alliance with the ruling BJD.

Students Lathi-charged in UP Towns

A number of students in Ghazipur were brutally lathi-charged by the police on 9 November for demanding State University status to the Ghazipur PG College. Students are continuing a movement on this demand for many days. AISA leader in Ghazipur Alok Rohit and RYA leader Manoj Kumar were injured along with many other local student activists in this attack. UP unit of AISA has expressed solidarity with students’ demand for the university status and has condemned the repression let loose by SP govt. whose much hyped electoral promises of providing employment and good education to the youth have already been proved hollow.

While in Allahabad, Akhilesh govt.’s betrayal with the promise of providing employment was seen in lathi-charge on TET pass candidates who demanded filling of vacancies in various government departments. UP AISA President Sudhanshu Bajpai said that state’s boastful ‘youth’ CM will have to receive proper lessons from the youth in the state, whom he considers mere vote bank and continues to betray from promises while using repressive tactics on democratic and just movements.

Commemorating the Centenary of Ghadar movement

Despite showers and inclement weather, hundreds of people assembled and marched from Budge Budge Railway station towards the old Budge Budge station, where stands the memorial of the martyrs of Komagatamaru on 29 September, 2013. 99 years ago, the British police fired and killed 20 and arrested 202 passengers when the ship Komagatamaru anchored near Ganges beside the old Budge Budge Railway station. The British Govt. termed this incident as Budge Budge riot, while it is better described as ‘Jallian wallah bag of Bengal’. It is to be mentioned that in protest against the racial policies of the Dominion Govt. of Canada, Rabindra Nath Tagore refused the official invitation of Canada to visit that country.

The rally was organised under the banner, ‘Committee for Commemorating the Centenary of the Ghadar Movement & Remembering the Martyrs of Komagatamaru’, which comprised of eminent intellectuals (Nabarun Bhattacharya, an eminent poet is the co-convenor of this committee), educationists, journalists, political personalities, leaders of different mass organisations and a section of left forces. A similar committee was formed at Budge Budge level and people from different walks of life participated. Intensive campaign was organised in and around Budge Budge area, leaflets & pamplets carrying the real story of this bygone era and its contemporary significance were circulated in large numbers. As this was the first initiative of the citizens, under active support of CPI(ML), wide response and active support came from different sections, particularly among the Sikh community

The rally was led by Binayak Sen, Sabyasachi Deb(poet), Salil Biswas(educationist),Chandrasekhar(journalist),Kartick Pal and Partha Ghosh, PBMs, Kalyan Goswami, ccm, Nitish Roy(Ganasanskriti Parisad), Amit Dasgupta(co convenor).The rally was graced with the presence of two RONPAs(walking on two long wooden shaft fixed on both the legs),which became the centre of attraction. On reaching the memorial, garlands and flowers were offered by the personalities mentioned above and one minute silence was observed in the memory of the martyrs.

After this programme, a seminar was held at Budge Budge Girls High School and was inaugurated by an inspiring song from Agneebina, har nara lalkar banega (every slogan will be a ringing challenge). Sri Ganesh Ghosh, EX Chairman of Budge Budge Municipality initiated the discussion and narrated many unheard chapters of that ghastly carnage. He is the first person who meticulously gathered all the relevant documents & published a detailed historical account of this pogrom. Other speakers were Partha Ghosh, Binayak Sen, Sabyasachi Deb,Salil Biswas and Chandrasekhar. A memoir was published on this occasion and a poster exhibition, depicting the incident of Komagatamaru in vivid details was an attraction. The seminar hall was overwhelmingly packed and inspiring speeches of the speakers roused the audience.

It is worth mentioning that Govt. of India, at last, succumbed before the popular demand to rename the Budge Budge station. From 1st October 2013, it has been renamed as Komagatamaru Budge Budge station. After a protracted battle, recognition of this movement, albeit in this form has been won.

AIPWA State Conference in Tripura

The second Tripura State Conference of All India Progressive Women’s Association was held in Kailashahar, from 1-2 October. The town was well decorated with AIPWA flags, posters and festoons on the occasion. The conference started with a rally which was addressed by Pratima Engheepi, central observer for the conference. She stressed on rapid increase of atrocities on women and continuation of AFSPA in Tripura which is being ruled by a left party. The rally was also addressed by AIPWA Sate Secretary Pritikana.

The conference was attended by 92 delegates and 12 observers. CPIML State Secretary Partha Karmakar and CC member Mrinmoy Chakraborty addressed the conference. The conference elected Rehana Begam as State President and Pritikana Chakraborty as State Secretary with 21-member state committee. The Conference concluded with the adoption of resolution which addressed various issues concerning women.

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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