ML Update | No.16 | 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 16, 14 ­– 20 APRIL 2015

Custodial Killing by Police in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

​L​
ast week, there have been two instances of custodial killings by the police of two different states. Both instances raise serious questions about the weak state of democracy, where fake ‘encounters’ become the norm for the police.

In Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, near Tirupati, the Andhra Pradesh police killed 20 tribal people whom they claimed were ‘smugglers’. The killings happened deep in the Seshachalam forest, with 11 being killed at Pacchinodu Banda and 9 near Etagunta.

In Telangana, five Muslim youth were killed by the police on their way to court for a trial, even as they were handcuffed and in police custody.

In the Chittoor case, the police claimed that all killed were ‘red sandalwood smugglers’ who were found chopping red sandalwood trees, and that the police fired in ‘self-defence’ when they were pelted with stones and sickles. Facts that have emerged, establish this to be a falsehood. An eyewitness has stated that 7 of the 20 killed were picked up from a bus by the police a day before the ‘encounter’. All evidence suggests that the 20 men were picked up at random from other spots, and then killed in cold blood, in the custody of the police.

Moreover, if stones and sickles were pelted in a life-threatening attack on police, how come no policemen were injured? If the firing took place in the dead of darkness, how come all the victims have bullet injuries accurately in the chest, head and face? It is also difficult to believe that the identical incident took place twice, in two different spots, on the same night.

The police is trying to silence questions about the massacre by claiming that those killed were ‘smugglers’. The fact is that the police do not touch the well-connected top smugglers, that include the brothers of the current Chief Minister and a previous CM respectively. Money from red sandalwood smuggling flows smoothly in elections in the region, with the open collusion of police and politicians. It is the poor tribal wood cutters from Tamil Nadu who are periodically arrested and killed by police in the name of a ‘crackdown on smuggling’. In the past year, apart from the recent massacre, 20 tribals were killed by police, and more than 2000, arrested and framed in false cases with no evidence, lie in jails in Chittoor and Cudappa.

The TDP-BJP Government is defending the massacre brazenly. The spree of arrests of tribal people continues unabated, and the Government has also slapped draconian cases against human rights activists who went in a fact-finding team to the massacre site.

The Nalgonda killing by the Telangana police is another instance in which the police’s ‘self-defence’ story appears entirely incredible. The five youth were being taken to Court, where there was a high chance that they would be acquitted of the acts of terrorism of which they were accused. Photographs and videos show that their hands were handcuffed to the seats of the police vehicle, and guns seems to have been planted in their hands. These photographs tell a tale of open, shameless murder by the police.

The question is, why the delay in booking the concerned policemen in cases of murder? The NHRC guidelines clearly spell out that in every case of alleged ‘encounter’, cases of murder must be filed against the policemen, and it is in the Court that the police must establish that they killed in self-defence. Why is this procedure not being followed? Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana killer policemen must face arrests and prosecution without further delay.

Further, the Andhra Pradesh Government must declare a moratorium on the further arrests of adivasi wood cutters, and must unconditionally release all those who are already in jail. To curb smuggling, the nexus of police, politicians and smuggling mafia must be probed and exposed. The top men in the smuggling mafia need to be arrested without further delay; and a time-bound probe set up to identify and punish the political patrons of these smugglers.

Police reform is indeed needed – but such reform must first and foremost mean an end to the culture of impunity, and stern accountability and action against police men who violate civil liberties and constitutionally guaranteed rights.

AIPF and Several Others Protest Cold Blooded Murders by AP and Telangana Police

New Delhi: A protest demonstration was held Andhra-Telangana Bhawan in New Delhi on 11 April to protest the brutal killings of 20 labourers in Tirupati by Andhra Pradesh police and of 5 Muslim undertrials in Nalgonda by Telangana Police. All India People’s Forum (AIPF), PUCL, Janhastakshep, Co-ordination Committee on Minorities, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, AISA, PDSU, JNUSU, Democratic People’s Lawyers’ Association, Majlis-e-Mushawarat and others jointly participated in the demonstration. The protestors strongly condemned the brutal killings terming them cold-blooded murders and demanded that the guilty be punished. They submitted a memorandum to the Governors of both the states in which immediate arrest and prosecution of the policemen involved was demanded. The memorandum also included the demand for compensation and a public apology to the families of the victims by the respective state governments.

Tamil Nadu: On 10th April a demonstration was organized by TN Scheduled Tribe Peravai led by V.Murukesan in Harur, in front of the Taluk Office, condemning the killing of Tribal workers in AP, in which more than 300 people participated.

Comrade A. Chandra Mohan, AIPF (campaign committee member) delivered key note address. Kubendran, state President of the Peravi and other leaders of various organizations addressed the gathering. All speakers condemned Chandra Babu Naidu for his state terrorism and fake encounters. They asked why the PM Modi keeps silence over the grave human right violation. They charged that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr O. Panneerselvam was not aware of the tribal issue of the state. They further demanded that AP STF police personnel, who killed the Tribal at close range and also the top officials of Police including Mr. M Kantha Rao (RSASTF DIG) and Forest Ranger Mr. Sriramulu be arrested and that the Mr. O Panneerselvam should meet Andhra Pradesh CM Mr. Chandrababu Naidu to negotiate release of more than 5000 tribal of TN, languishing in Nellore and Cudappa Jails.

Further, they asked for TN Government’s speedy action to retrieve the alienated Tribal land, Guaranteeing of employment to the ST Youths, utilization of ST sub plan funds, special Socio economic package to backward Dharmapuri, Thriuvannamalai Districts.

Protests in Karbi Anglong Over the Rape of Three Women, Including a Teenager by Army Jawans

On 6 April 2015, a 13 year old teenage girl was picked up and raped by an eight-member patrol team of Army jawans posted at Dokmoka. When the girl’s mother and another female relative rushed to the site in order to rescue her, they too were raped. Many other women apart from these three were molested and injured. AIPWA Vice President Comrade Pratima Engheepi met the survivors when they were brought to Diphu for treatment. On 9 April, AIPWA and its sister organisation Karbi Nimso Chinthur Asong (KNCA) organised a massive protest in Diphu. Thousands of women joined the rally demanding a high-level inquiry into the rape of three women by Army jawans. The women, under the banner of the Karbi Nimso Chinthur Asong (Karbi Progressive Women’s Association), later gheraoed the office of Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner Mukul Gogoi and submitted a memorandum. Addressing the demonstration, KNCA leader Seema Ranghangpi said –"We want a high-level inquiry of the incident and adequate compensation for the victims. The administration should punish the culprits according to the law”.

Shockingly, the police lathicharged the protestors demanding inquiry and justice for the rape survivors and two students were injured in the police firing during the protests. A 24-hour long Karbi Anglong bandh was also called on April 11 by several organisations led by Karbi Nimso Chingthur Asamg (KNCA), to protest against the administration’s failure to arrest the accused even two days after submission of the FIR. KNCA general secretary Kajek Tokbipi stated they would continue the protests and added – "We have asked the administration to arrest the accused at the earliest. Unfortunately, the administration has done nothing so far. Security personnel cannot rape our women in the name of counter-insurgency operations."

The KNCA activists along with other protestors also strongly demanded the scrapping of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Joint Mass Demonstration held in Bhubaneswar Demanding Scrapping of Land Acquisition Ordinance-2015

Under the united call of ‘Campaign Against Land Acquisition’, Odisha (Jameen Adhigrahan Birodhi Abhijyaan, Odisha), a massive protest demonstration was held in Bhubaneswar against the Land Acquisition Ordinance brought by the BJP led NDA government. This pro corporate ordinance is an assault on the farmers and the poor in the country and is in line with the anti-people policies being introduced by this government. The call was jointly given by peasants unions of CPI, CPI (M), CPI(ML)Liberation, CPI(ML)Red Star, CPI(ML)-New Democracy, Chasi Mulia Sangha and others. Thousands of people from across the state participated in the protest demonstrations. The participants included farmers, agricultural labourers, dalits, adivasis, slum dwellers, and activists from various democratic organizations and anti displacement movements.

Protests in Bengal against Ranaghat rape

Ever since the establishment of the RSS-driven government at the centre, there has been communal hate mongering and an endless series of attacks on the minorities. There have been many rape cases in West Bengal and the Trinamool government has shown a negligent and sexist attitude in all the cases. It is in this context that we must look at and condemn the recent attack on a convent school in Nadiya and the gang rape of the 70 year old nun Mother Superior. Whether the Ranaghat rape is a case of communal violence or some other form of malevolence, the West Bengal government has been shamefully incapable of preventing it or punishing the guilty.

On the night of 14 March some heinous criminals broke into the convent, looted costly items, vandalized Christ’s image, and raped the senior-most nun. It is a moot question why they chose the most senior nun and not any of the others. Clearly the criminals had a grudge, either personal or political, against that church. According to the other sisters, this nun had told the criminals to tell her what they wanted and not to harm any of the others. That she did not plead for mercy and faced the attackers bravely angered them and they not only raped her but also injured her in several places.

Even 3 days after the incident there was no progress in arresting or punishing the criminals. 3 days later when the CM Mamata Banerjee went to visit the site, students and guardians stopped her convoy and refused to let her move further, demanding why no arrests have been made so far. Mamata Banerje threatened the people and after 45 minutes the police lathi-charged and dispersed the crowd. Cases have also been registered against some of the protesters.

VHP General Secretary Surendra Jain attempted to use the Ranaghat rape incident to spread hatred and inflame communal passions. He said, “Attacking nuns is the Christian culture; we do not do such things.” After the attack on a church in Haryana, the CM of that State put the blame for the attack on the ‘conversions’ carried out by the church! Narendra Modi is silent on such statements by his cronies and colleagues.

CPI(ML) and AIPWA held 3 day (17-19 March) protests and rallies in different parts of West Bengal against the extremely insensitive attitude of the administration and the vengeful behavior of the Chief Minister. A rally was taken out in Hind-Cone Nagar of Hooghly. Rallies, street meetings, and road blocks were conducted at Ashok Nagar and Kharda (North 24 Parganas), Bajbaj and Choriyal (South 24 Parganas), Siliguri in Darjeling district, while posters protesting the Ranaghat rape were put up in Kolkata and other places.

On 19 March an impressive joint rally was organized by 15 organizations including AIPWA, Maitri, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Manch, Darbar Mahila Samanvay Samiti, Shramjeevi Mahila Sangathan and other women’s groups. The march started at College Square in Kolkata and proceeded to Dharamtalla. Around 2000 women participated, raising their voice against sexual violence and demanding punishment for the guilty in the Ranaghat rape incident. At Dharamtalla a huge human chain was constructed and cultural programmes and street plays were staged.

Report from the Ongoing Movement in Bindukhatta

As per their earlier declaration, thousands of farmers under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha gheraoed the LalKuan tehsil in Nainital district of Uttarakhand on 1 April 2015. The farmers, angered by the indifference shown by the State government to the series of farmers’ agitations for the past three and a half months against making Bindukhatta into a municipality, started assembling at the Lalkuan tehsil from early morning with red flags and banners. They gheraoed the tehsil gate and expressed their extreme anger against CM Harish Rawat and Labour Minister Harish Durgpal. When the tehsil road was full to overflowing, the agitators climbed onto the roofs of the nearby residential complexes under construction. The participation of women and youth in the agitation was noteworthy.

In spite of the widespread people’s opposition, the State government passed the Bindukhatta municipality ordinance on 25 Feb 2015 in a hush-hush manner with a small notification to the effect in the newspapers after 15 days. Hundreds of Bindukhatta farmers protested in front of the Vidhan Sabha on 17 March and the CM Harish Rawat assured the farmers that their wish would be taken into consideration. But on 19 March the government appointed SDO Haldwani Bhabar as administrator of Bindukhatta municipality and Lalkuan Tehsildar as executive officer. The Kisan Mahasabha announced a ghera dalo-dera dalo and hunger strike against this decision. 26 people sat on a collective hunger strike, out of which 5 people continued the hunger strike further. A torchlight rally was taken out by 400 youth on 29 March. The tehsil ghearao programme was held on 1 April, and the formation of the municipality was also challenged in the High Court. The HC directed the State government to reply within 3 weeks how the municipality was formed without hearing the people’s objections. The tehsil gherao was led by Purushottam Sharma, Bahadur Singh Jangi, Rajendra Pratholi, Kailash Pandey, Bhuwan Joshi, Vimla Rothan and other kisan leaders.

The High Court has given 3 weeks’ time to the government to reply as to why Bindukhatta was made a municipality without proper hearing of people’s objections, the farmers would put their agitation on hold for 3 weeks. If, after that period, the municipality was not revoked, the agitation would be intensified and thousands of farmers would gherao the Labour Minister’s house.

The speakers exposed the claims of BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari who blamed the Congress at the centre for sending back the Bindukhatta revenue village proposal, by pointing out that during Koshiyari’s time as CM it was the Vajpayee government which was at the centre. The truth is that no government—neither BJP nor Congress—has sent the required proposal to the centre. The BJP leadership and Leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt have not opposed the Congres on this issue because they are hand in glove with the land mafia and in favour of the Bindukhatta municipality. Finally party leaders made the people on a 8 day hunger strike (Mangal Singh Koshiyari, Kunwar Singh Chouhan, Sher Singh Koranga) and on a 5 day hunger strike (Vipin Singh Bora) break their fast with fruit juice.

The party and kisan leaders expressed appreciation on behalf of the farmers of Bindukhatta to the public, parties, organizations, and media for their support to this cause. While the farmers are enthused by the HC directive of asking the state government to reply within 3 week, the morale of Harish Durgpal and his cronies has fallen. Congress activists gave vent to their frustration by burning the effigy of Com Purushottam Sharma. Other parties including AAP, Shiv Sena etc. have opposed the municipality, but their opposition is merely symbolic.

Victory of the Left Student Groups in the Recently Concluded GSCASH Elections in JNU

The elections for the post of students’ representatives to the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) in Jawaharlal Nehru University were held on 10 April 2015. In an election that saw nearly 3,015 students casting their votes, Geeta Kumari, AISA activist, finished first with 1,148 votes. Aishwarya Adhikari of the Democratic Students’ Front finished second with 927 votes. The election saw an active misogynist campaign by two candidates backed by the ABVP who in their pamphlets described rape as the ‘violation of chastity’ of women, argued that ‘sangharsh’ (struggles) in feminism be replaced by ‘samanvay’ (coordination) and appealed to the voters to vote for a ‘Communist mukt GSCASH’. The ABVP candidates finished 4th and 6th respectively in a contest between 7 candidates reflecting a clear rejection of the patriarchal understanding and approach to Sexual Harassment and the resolve among JNU students to keep the GSCASH ‘mukt’ (free) of communal elements! The ‘GSCASH for All’ slogan raised by Com. Geeta that sought to expand the working of GSCASH beyond the binaries of male and female and also reach out to the campus workers, found a widespread support among the students.

Launch of RYA in Karaikal, Puducherry

Formation meeting of Revolutionary youth association was held on 11.04.2014 at French Residency, Kariakal. Com. KM Ramesh convened the meeting. More than 30 youth and students actively participated in the meeting. Com. Paranthaman delivered the welcome address. Meeting started with paying homage to 20 worker who werr brutally killed by the Andra Pradesh Police, Com. Ammaiyppan, SCM Tamilnadu and the known Tamil writer Jayakanthan who passed away recently. Com. Azhagappan conducted the meeting. Com. S. Balasubramanian, Puducherry state Sec. CPI(ML) and Com. Michael, Tamil Nadu state Sec. RYA addressed the meeting.

While speaking Com. S. Balasubramanian said that the NR Congress Govt. led by N. Rangasamy had ignored all its electoral promises and betrayed the youths of Puducherry. He also explained how the government had gone back on its promise of Rs. 2000/- relief to unemployed youths of the state and not providing them any relief. He referred to the relevance and compatibility of martyred leader Bhagat Singh’s fight against colonialism, imperialism, and loot by Indian bourgeois even today. He urged the youth to continue their fight against oppressions in any form and for their rights. He also emphasized that youth are the future of the world and the future is the Peoples’ democratic revolution.

Meeting elected following comrades as functionaries,

President Com. AS Kumar, Vice Presidents – Com. R. Agilan, & KS. Senthil Kumar. Secretary Com. MK Ramesh, Deputy Secretaries Com. S. Parnthaman & S. Selvam, Treasurer Com. G. Kumar and Executive Members com. N. Sivamoorthy and S. Sathish

The following resolutions were passed in the meeting: (1) Government should provide the relief of Rs. 2000/- to all unemployed youths in the state immediately, (2) In Karaikal Town buses should be operated regularly. Overcharging by share auto owners should be stopped immediately, (3) Karaikal Government general hospital should be maintained with sufficient doctors, staffs and necessary medicines, (4) Regulate private institution fee. Appoint sufficient teachers before schools and colleges reopen, (5) Scrap the monthly DPT plan of Rs. 300/-money for free rice, Provide Free Rice regularly, (6) Restart the shelved MNREGES programme immediately.

Construction Workers’ Protest in Devaria

In the Devaria district of Uttar Pradesh, a nexus between corrupt officials of the labour department and the private agents has been leading to massive corruption, loot of the public exchequer and blatant violation of workers’ rights. The construction workers’ union in Devaria has been protesting against this ongoing corruption and the complicity of one of the officials in the labour department who has amassed crores of rupees. Despite repeated protests, the investigation against this official has never been pursued seriously. When the construction workers’ union tried to get registration of the workers done, and when they demanded implementation of the workers’ legally mandated rights, private agents who work with the tacit support of the labour department tried to stop this process of collective bargaining by the workers themselves. The workers’ union therefore decided to organise a panchayat in front of the local district magistrate’s (DM) office to press for their demands such as issual of job cards, registration of all workers and payment of legally mandated wages. Around 2000 workers participated in this panchayat and submitted a memorandum of their demands to the DM. Under pressure from the workers, the local administration accepted the regiatration requests for around 2500 workers. This protest was led by AICCTU leaders comrades Premlata Pandey, Ramkishore, Geeta Pandey and others.

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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