ML Update | No.29 | 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 29, 14 ­– 20 JULY 2015

Murderous Trail of Vyapam and Asaram Cases

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oth the Vyapam recruitment and admissions scam in Madhya Pradesh, and the rape cases against the ‘godman’ Asaram, have been marked by systematic murderous attacks on witnesses. Deliberate cold-blooded elimination of suspects on this scale could not be possible without powerful political backing and collusion of the state machinery.

50 people associated with the Vyapam scam, including beneficiaries of the scam who were witnesses; a medical college dean who was providing evidence to the investigating team; and a TV journalist working on an exposé of the scam-related deaths, have died in mysterious and suspicious circumstances.

The police as well as the STF that had been set up to probe the Vyapam scam ignored the first autopsy report on 19-year-old Namrata Damor, a medical student and alleged beneficiary who had been found dead on a railway track. That report had stated that she was strangled to death and had not ruled out rape. The police and STF had relied instead on a subsequent report by a Government-controlled Medico-Legal Institute that had said Damor’s death was an accident. The TV journalist Akshay Singh died mysteriously, soon after he interviewed Damor’s parents. ‘Road accidents’ are a leading cause of the convenient deaths of many of the witnesses. One witness died in custody inside jail.

This spate of convenient deaths in suspicious circumstances and the role of the police and STF in ignoring facts, points to a cover-up on a grand scale. The purpose of such a massive, murderous cover-up cannot be to save the small fry – the young boys and girls who benefited from the exam/admission and recruitment scams. It points inexorably to the involvement of extremely powerful, influential people. One Cabinet Minister in the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh Government has been arrested. The Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Ram Naresh Yadav, has been named in a Vyapam FIR, while his son, a beneficiary, is among those who ended up dead. Significantly, the Central Government has remained silent and turned a blind eye to the fact of a Governor being implicated in a massive scam.

The BJP Chief of Madhya Pradesh has declared brazenly that the BJP “has no regrets for Vyapam.” It is clear that a scam and cover-up on this scale are unimaginable without the involvement of the very top levels of the State Government, Chief Minister and BJP leadership. Further, one of the accused has also named former RSS Chief KS Sudershan and other senior RSS leaders for their role in the Vyapam scam. The elaborate, mafia-style murderous cover-up is aimed at keeping BJP and RSS bigwigs out of the ambit of the probe.

Will the Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe stem the spate of murders and nail the masterminds of the scam and killings? The CBI, certainly, inspires little confidence. The ‘caged parrot’ of Congress-UPA days, has in the Modi regime worked openly to let Amit Shah off the hook in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case (which also involved the murder of key eyewitnesses Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati). It is now being used to witch-hunt human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad. It remains to be seen if SC-monitoring will succeed in ensuring that truth and justice prevail in the Vyapam case.

In the Asaram case also, nine witnesses in all have been subjected to murderous attacks, three of which succeeded in killing key witnesses. Asaram faces a charge of sexual assault against a minor girl, a daughter of a devotee in his Jodhpur ashram. On the heels of this case, two other women in Surat filed cases alleging that Asaram and his son had sexually assaulted and exploited them.

Soon after Asaram’s arrest, top BJP leaders including Uma Bharati had rushed to defend Asaram. Leadings lights of the Sangh Parivar including Ashok Singhal and Pravin Togadia as well as BJP leader Subramanian Swamy have publicly continued to defend Asaram, claiming he is the victim of an anti-Hindutva conspiracy. Can the serial murders and attacks on witnesses in the Asaram cases be happening without political collusion?

If the Vyapam and Asaram cases are being hollowed out from within by the mafia-style execution of accused persons, the Special Prosecutor Rohini Salian has revealed how the NIA is going soft on terror cases masterminded by Hindutva outfits. The Ajmer and Modasa bomb blast cases have collapsed with witnesses turning hostile, and the Malegaon case is fast heading the same way. Meanwhile, the Modi Government’s priorities are clear. The Prime Minister is silent on the Vyapam and Asaram murders. But the Government is pursuing a vendetta against human rights defenders like Setalvad, sending no less that 16 CBI officials to raid her home in a fabricated FCRA violations case!

The democratic forces in India must fight for justice to prevail to nail the scamsters and killers in the Vyapam scam; the rape-accused Asaram and those responsible for the murder of witnesses; and in the various Hindutva-sponsored terror cases.

AISA-RYA Holds Nationwide Protests Demanding Probe in Vyapam Scam and the Resignation of MP CM

AISA and RYA held protests across the country on 8-9 July 2015 demanding a Supreme Court monitored probe into the murderous Vyapam Scam that has seen death of nearly 48 people who had in some way been related to the scam, either as accused, or as witnesses or even as those assisting the investigation processes. The protestors also demanded the resignation of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan in whose tenure the scam had surfaced and the series of deaths of people associated with the scam taken place. In Patna, AISA-RYA activists took out a march from the radio-station to the DakBunglow and burnt the effigy of the Prime Minster who had failed to take any pro-active step to ensure that the guilty are brought to book. In Delhi, AISA held protest against Vyapam scam, Vyapam killings and Lalit gate at Jantar Mantar. AISA leaders addressing the protest pointed out that the Modi government had not only failed to act against the accused, but had instead gone out of the way in its efforts to shield them. The protestors demanded resignation of Shivraj Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj. Protests and effigy burning also took place in several other states.

Two Day AIPF State Conference in Odisha

The first state level conference of All India People’s Forum (AIPF) was held in Bhubaneswar on 11-12 July 2015. The conference was attended several leaders and representatives from various people’s movements and struggles in Odisha. In the inaugural session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary, Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya addressed the participants and spoke at length about the need to broaden and strengthen the AIPF initiatives. He said, ever since the BJP government was formed at the centre, almost every promise made to the people of this country at the time of elections has been broken, be it BJP’s promise to bring back black money, reduce inflation or put an end to the series of scams. The recent exposes pertaining to what is termed as Lalit Gate and the mass murders to prevent the truth of Vyapam Scam from coming out, had exposed the hollowness of BJP’s anti-corruption stance. Elaborating on the various anti-people policies of the current government at the behest of the corporate, he stressed on the need to wage a united struggle against them. Invoking the inspiring legacy of people’s movements in Odisha that had regularly taken on the might of the corporates and also defeated them on several occasions, he emphasized on the need to strengthen AIPF as a united platform for struggles.

Several sessions focused on the burning issues of the day. In the first discussion session on day one, the focus was on the issues pertaining to land, livelihood, and food security. Participants pointed out the hypocrisy of the BJD government in Odisha, which while claiming to be opposed to the Land Acquisition Ordinance of the BJP government, was itself pushing forward anti-poor land related policies in Odisha. The anti-land grab prohibition ordinance of the BJD was not aimed at protecting the land and livelihood of the poor or the farmers, but instead it was aimed at snatching back the gains of various pro-poor land struggles and land reforms. The second session focused on ‘caste, gender based and communal violence and the rights of sexual minorities’. The speakers in the session included AIPWA national secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan, transgender activist Menaka, activists Amiya Pandab, Romita Kundu and others. The post lunch sessions on day I saw discussions on ‘health, education and housing rights’ and ‘labour law reforms’.

On day two, the pre lunch sessions saw activists from various people’s movements and fronts including such as POSCO Virodhi Sangram Samiti, Chilika Matsyjivi Sangh, AIARLA, Koraput Adivasi Ekata Sangathan, and others share their experiences and talk on ‘State repression, draconian laws and the need to defend democratic rights of people’. Member of the Jharkhand chapter of AIPF, Dayamani Barla, highlighted the increased oppression of people’s movements by the current state and central governments and the need for the movements to build solidarity with each other and give befitting response to the anti-people governments. In the last discussion session of the conference, CPI(ML) central committee member, Com. Yudhistir Mohapatra and human rights activist Manas Jena raised concerns pertaining to electoral reforms and the proportionate representation system. In the concluding session of the conference, resolutions pertaining to the need to strengthen pro-people’s struggles, fight against state oppression and victimization of activists and condemning the Modi and Naveen Patnaik governments’ anti people policies were tabled and passed. Members were also selected to AIPF state campaign committee, state council members and the convening group from among the several fronts, groups and rights’ activists who participated. The next state level conference of the AIPF will be held in Jharkhand on 9 August 2015.

Joint Left Protests in Bihar, Call for Bihar Bandh on July 21

A successful programme of protest demonstrations at block headquarters across the State was carried out by the CPI(ML) and other Left parties in Bihar from 23 June to 30 June to raise burning issues of the people. Strong protests at Patna rural, Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Arwal, Siwan, Darbhanga, Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada, Western Champaran and other places which were attended by the common public clearly brought out the anger of the people against the treachery of the Central as well as State governments.

On 30 June leaders from CPI(ML), CPI, CPI-M, SUCI, and other left parties led protests at Sandesh, Sahar, Udwantnagar, Piro, Tarari, Bihiya, Shahpur, and Gadhani. At Phulwari Sharif, the protesters marched through the main roads, held a meeting at the BDO office which was addressed by leaders from the various left parties and submitted a memorandum to the BDO. Party leaders led the agitation at Paliganj. CPI(ML) and CPI leaders led protests at Masaurhi, Dhanarua, Naubatpur, Bihta, Fatuha, and other places. Joint left protests were also held at Guthni, Mairwa, Badhariya and Pachrukhi blocks in Siwan, Ratni, Makhdumpur, Ghoshi, Modanganj and Kako in Jehanabad, as well as all four blocks in Arwal, and Rohtas.

The following demands were made through the protests:

1. Immediate revoking of the anti-farmer, pro-corporate Land Acquisition ordinance.

2. Bihar government must totally stop acquisition of agricultural land, give full compensation for acquired land, and immediately return land that has been acquired through Biyada or has been lying unused.

3. Implementation of the Bandopadhyaya Commission recommendations, possession for parcha holders to hathbandi, bhoodan, shikmi and all such lands, fulfillment of the promise to give 5 dismil vaas land to the poor and dalits, and arrangements for permanent residential land for the urban poor also.

4. An end to the continuing farmer suicides in Bihar, immediate waiver of all debts of farmers, and provisions of government jobs and 10 lakhs compensation for family members of deceased farmers.

5. Interest-free loans for farmers with less than 10 acres, an annual 1.5 times increase of minimum support price as recommended by the Swaminathan commission, and fulfillment of the BJP’s promise to fix MSP at 1.5 times the cost price for farmers.

6. Immediate payment of paddy purchase arrears to farmers, opening of wheat purchase centres, fixing of MSP for maize and all other crops, ending the sway of middlemen at purchase centres, and a CBI enquiry into the paddy purchase scam.

7. Registration and all government facilities under KCC for sharecroppers, an end to the corruption in crop loss compensation and immediate payment of compensation to affected farmers. Changes must be made in crop insurance policy that is pro-insurance company and anti-farmer crop according to which the compensation should be given only if 80% crops in a block are destroyed; instead, compensation must be paid even if a single farmer’s crop is destroyed. Government jobs must be given to the families of those killed in cyclones or earthquakes, 10 lakhs compensation, with rehabilitation of affected farmers and poor.

8. Repair of all defunct hand pumps, timely supply of water in canals, adequate electricity supply for agricultural purposes, and a permanent solution for tackling floods and drought.

9. Central and State governments should control price rise, take back cuts in food security, MNREGA and all other welfare and poverty alleviating programmes, register the names of all poor under BPL and provide them ration cards, provide 50 kg rice at Rs 2 per kg to all poor without discrimination between APL and BPL, and put an immediate stop to the system of cash transfer in lieu of rice.

10. Central and State governments must take back the policy of contractual and honorarium employment, implement a policy of equal pay for equal work, regularize anganwadi workers, midday meal workers, shikshakarmis, ASHA workers, home guards, nursing and other contractual and honorarim workers, and pay them salary instead of honorarium, and also provide them with all other government facilities and terms and conditions.

11. An end to the growing atrocities against women, dalits, minorities, and other weaker sections. Attempts by the BJP to disrupt communal harmony and saffronize educational and research institutions, history and culture must be put an end to.

12. Curbing of the increased morale of feudal-criminal forces and reinstatement of the Amirdas Commission so that criminals and their protectors can be punished.

13. Acquittal of the protesters pronounced guilty by the court in the Sitamarhi incident and strict action against the administration which fired bullets. There should be an immediate end to the increasing violence and false cases against people’s leaders.

Protest Day Observed on Second Anniversary of Uttarakhand Disaster

A protest was held under the joint banners of CPI(ML) and Kisan Mahasabha on 16 June at Lalkuan town in Nainital district. Addressing the protest meeting, CPI(ML) Nainital district Secretary Com. Kailash Pandey said that even after 2 years of the disaster while there had still been no arrangements for rehabilitation of the victims, many scams related to disaster relief had coming to light. Kisan Mahasabha State councilor Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi said that whenever any scam is exposed in Uttarakhand, the Congress and BJP start indulging in blame games. 122 scams have taken place in Uttarakhand from 2000 till date but no FIR has been registered against even a single culprit. Even today lakhs of people living in the hills of Uttarakhand are living in fear of disaster. Not a single family has been rehabilitated. The meeting, conducted by Com. Rajendra Shah, was also addressed by Comrades Bhuwan Joshi, Laxman Suyal, Basanti Bisht, Gopal Gadiya, Lalit Matiyali, Vimla Rauthan, Pushkar Singh Panda and others.

It was demanded through the meeting that the disaster relief scams be probed by the CBI, all affected villages be rehabilitated, all farmers be compensated for crop loss due to unseasonal rains, and embankments be constructed on the river Gola to prevent disasters in Bindukhatta and nearby regions.

In Srinagar, AIPF observed Protest Day by burning the effigy of the State government. Addressing the meeting at Gola Park, CPI(ML) State committee member Com. Indresh Maikhuri said that the disaster relief scams have exposed the ugly face of the State government and bureaucracy. He said that a case should be lodged against the then CM Vijay Bahuguna, there should be a CBI enquiry and the scamsters should be put behind bars. In Joshimath also the effigy of the state government was burnt. A CBI enquiry into the scams was also demanded.

CPI(ML) Convention in Bhilai on ‘Footfall of Emergency’

A convention was organized in Bhilai on 10 July 2015 on ‘Footfall of emergency’ by CPI(ML). The chief speaker at the convention was CPI(ML) politburo member, Com. Kavita Krishnan. The convention was moderated by Com. Brijendra Tiwari. In her speech, Com. Kavita said that in 1975, said that the Modi Government had imposed an undeclared emergency on the country and called upon every citizen to resist it. The approach paper was read out by Com. J. P. Nayar. Com. CR Bakshi of CPI, Vakil Bharti of CPI-M, Com SP Dey of CITU, Com. Kaladas and Com. Surendra of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, and other left leaders also spoke on the occasion.

Activists’ Conference at Patna

The CPI(ML) Eastern Patna regional activists’ conference was held in Fatuha on 30 June 2015. It was attended by 200 Party members including 65 women activists. The focus of the conference was on fulfilling the call for 28 July, doing grassroots mobilization for fulfilling the resolution made at the Lucknow workshop, and on training party members to make the organization active and strong to suit the present circumstances.

The conference was chaired and conducted by Fatuha block Secretary Com. Shailendra Yadav and Sampatchak-Patna joint block committee Secretary Com. Satyanand Kumar. Addressing the conference, Patna district Secretary Com. Amar said that today an undeclared emergency has been imposed in the entire country. After discussing the national scenario, he said that in Bihar even as Nitish Kumar talks about a green revolution for agricultural development, he could not even get a single hand pump repaired out of the 1030 that have been defunct for the last 10 years. The modernization of the Son, Gandak and Kosi canals have also not been done. Even after paddy purchase the farmers have not received payment. A scam to the tune of Rs 3,400 crores has taken place in paddy purchase. The farmers of Bihar are being forced to commit suicide due to the twin burdens of poverty and debt. A strong agitation against this must be carried out and for doing this the need of the hour is to build a strong and organized Party. Therefore, the party branches must be organized and able to take independent initiatives. Patna district Eastern region in-charge Com. Umesh Singh stressed the need for development and spread of the Party in Fatuha. Patna district Legislative Council candidate Com. Gopal Ravidas also addressed the conference. It was resolved to double the party membership by the time of the next party conference and to organize the Party under branches.

Protest in Arwal on Demands of Rural Poor

A strong protest was organized in Arwal on 25 June in front of the Collector on the issues of electricity, ration-kerosene, payment of paddy price arrears to farmers, 5 dismil residential land for the poor, vasgeet parchas, pucca housing, and old age pensions. About 4,000 people participated in the protest. Addressing the protest meeting, party district Secretary Com. Mahanand Prasad said that other than 3 or 4 villages in Kaler block there was no electricity anywhere in the region. Even the block headquarters are swathed in darkness. There is no electricity in several panchayats of Karpi block. It is a matter of shame that in spite of repeated announcements by the government and administration, these villages are still bereft of electricity.

Arrears of paddy payment are also not being paid. Even now there is no water in several canals including Saidpur, Amra and Rajwaha, and this is a big obstacle to agriculture. There are no arrangements for adequate water in the canals. Tubewells in the Karpi-Kurtha region are lying defunct but the administration remains totally oblivious. The same conditions prevail in case of the ration-kerosene and vaas-avaas land for the poor. Construction works for roads, drains and streets are also lying ignored. The protesters demanded immediate action on these demands. State committee members comrades Jitendra Yadav, Shah Shad, Vijay Kumar, Ravindra Yadav, Nandkishor Kumar and others participated in the protest.

Rally in Chhattisgarh to remember the 17 workers killed by police firing in 1991

A rally was organized by Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) on 1 July 2015 in the memory of 17 workers who were brutally killed in police firing in 1991. Prior to the rally and public meeting, the photos of the workers were garlanded in Bhilai Power House Railway station. The public meeting following the rally was addressed by leaders from CMM, CPI(ML) and AICCTU. The leaders speaking on the occasion pointed out how the promise of ‘acche din’ was turning out to be a nightmare for the working class. A memorandum was also submitted to the SDM, Durg, demanding that labour courts be set up in all the 27 districts and that the labour courts be brought under the high court. A memorandum addressed to the President was also submitted demanding a re-investigation into the killing of Shankar Guha Niyogi.

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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