ML Update | No. 33 | 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 33 | 11 – 17 AUG 2015

Bhagalpur Riots Revisited :
A Quarter Century of Deception and Injustice

On the concluding day of the last session of the Bihar Assembly before the forthcoming elections, the Nitish Kumar government tabled the report of Justice NN Singh commission on the 1989-90 Bhagalpur riots. The government had received the report in February, but it evidently waited till the final day of the Assembly to prevent any discussion in Assembly over the report and over the continuing apathy and inaction of successive governments in ensuring justice and rehabilitation for the hapless riot-affected families.

The Justice NN Singh commission was set up in February 2006 soon after Nitish Kumar had come to power with the support of BJP. The terms of reference of the commission included inquiry into ‘the conduct and performance of the investigating and prosecuting agencies of cases arising out of Bhagalpur Riot 1989-90’ and suggestion of relief and rehabilitation measures for the riot survivors. The commission was required to submit its report within six months of its first sitting. As it happened, the commission submitted an interim report on 28 August 2007 and the full report only in February 2015.

Twenty years before the NN Singh commission submitted its report we had the report of the first commission on Bhagalpur riots set up under the chairmanship of Justice Ramanandan Prasad in December 1989 and reconstituted in September 1993. The first report had effectively absolved the district administration of all culpability, blaming only the ‘inexperience’ of the then DM Arun Jha and SP KS Dwivedi. The second commission has taken the same line, saying "I refrain from making any comment on the conduct" of the DM and SP, even as it compares the Bhagalpur riot to the November 1984 anti-Sikh riot in terms of "their enormity, extent, barbarism, devastation and loss of life and property." Indeed, the only new point made by the second commission is recommendation of compensation to Bhagalpur victims on the lines of the 2006 package announced by the UPA government for 1984 riot victims.

The reports of the two commissions not only refuse to fix administrative responsibilities for the riots that claimed hundreds of lives and ruined thousands of families, they are also shockingly oblivious of the specific context of the vicious and aggressive communal mobilisation by the Sangh Parivar which resulted in a veritable communal bloodbath that began in Bhagalpur and went on through the demolition of Babri Masjid till the post-demolition riots in Surat and Mumbai. The commissions go back to the history of Partition to explain the context of the riots, and effectively accuse Muslim organisations and leaders of virtually ‘inviting’ the riots, but give a clean chit to the BJP despite noting the involvement of members of VHP and RSS. The 1995 commission report even sanctifies the Sangh Parivar’s scheme of ‘division of labour’: "the political wing cannot be blamed for any misdeed of the social wing,"

Bhagalpur was the most decisive turning point that triggered the downfall of the Congress in Bihar and catapulted Lalu Prasad to the seat of power. Both VP Singh in Delhi and Lalu Prasad in Patna then enjoyed the support of the BJP, and Lalu Prasad never showed any urgency to expedite the cause of justice for the riot survivors of Bhagalpur or even to expose the BJP and Sangh brigade’s sinister role in the massacres of Muslims in Bhagalpur. Kameswar Yadav, one of the key accused of Bhagalpur riots who contested the 1990 Assembly elections on Hindu Mahasabha ticket from Nathnagar in Bhagalpur district, went on to receive the political patronage of Lalu Prasad in later years. Arun Jha and KS Dwivedi, the then DM and SP of Bhagalpur who are held centrally responsible by many in Bhagalpur for the scale of violence and killings, went on to secure promotions and plum postings. When Nitish Kumar came to power with a changed social equation, his government reopened the case against Kameswar Yadav only to reward another key accused of Bhagalpur riots, Ratan Mandal, with the position of the chairperson of the Bihar Extreme Backward Castes Commission.

The survivors of Bhagalpur have also been subjected to tremendous hardship on the economic front. Systematic ruin, and not rehabilitation, has been the bitter real life experience for most of them. Under distress and duress, thousands of Muslim families from more than two hundred villages/mohallas have had to sell their houses and plots of land at nominal rates, leading to enforced displacement and ghettoization. Effective rehabilitation in all these cases must include compensation at current market rate. Many in Bhagalpur who got some initial financial assistance to resume their business and other occupational activities were later charged with non-repayment of ‘loans’ and even sent to prison. The enhanced compensation and monthly pension recommended by Justice NN Singh commission in its 2007 interim report remain just another promise on paper for most riot survivors in Bhagalpur.

Several senior journalists and officials in the know of the actual scale and events of Bhagalpur riots have all along maintained that had the government acted immediately on the basis of the findings reported by Ajit Dutt, DIG of Bhagalpur (rural), the guilty could have been punished and survivors rehabiltated without much delay. The commissions have not only delayed justice by consuming crucial time but also ended up understating the scale of killings and devastation – it is popularly believed in Bhagalpur that more than 2,000 people had perished in the massacres as opposed to the figures of 900 Muslims and 100 Hindus put out in the 1995 commission report – and cushioning the guilty.

Of the twenty five years that have elapsed since Bhagalpur, the first fifteen saw Lalu Prasad at the helm of Bihar with his slogan of social justice and secularism, while the last ten have been the Nitish era of ‘good governance’ and ‘development with justice’. For the victims of Bhagalpur, the entire period has been a period of protracted betrayal and injustice. And the feelings of the Bhagalpur survivors are shared equally by victims of injustice elsewhere in Bihar, most notably the oppressed rural poor in today’s south Bihar who suffered dozens of massacres by the infamous Ranveer Sena. In the latter case, the culprits have all been acquitted by the High Court and the commission which was asked to probe the political patronage behind Ranveer Sena was disbanded by Nitish Kumar before it could submit its report. This was around the same time Nitish Kumar set up the Justice NN Singh commission on Bhagalpur!

Evidently, the battle for justice can win victory by defeating not just the perpetrators of riots and massacres but also the forces that deceive, delay and deny justice in the name of delivering it.

CPI(ML) Condemns Brutal Killing of Blogger Niloy Neel in Bangladesh

CPI(ML) strongly condemns the brutal murder of Niloy Neel, a 40 year old secular blogger in Bangladesh. He was hacked to death in his apartment in Dhaka on 7 August. Niloy Neel was known to raise voice against Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh and in defence of the rights of women and minorities. He is the fourth secular and an atheist blogger to be killed this year in Bangladesh, following brutal killings of Avijit Roy in February, Washiqur Rahman in March and Ananta Bijoy Das in May. The spate of attacks on secularists in Bangladesh who have consistently raised voice against religious fundamentalism reflects the failure of the current Bangladesh government to rein in the fundamentalist forces. These groups have been issuing open threats to anyone who is seen as a rational anti-fundamentalist voice and brazenly carrying out the threats. There is an urgent need that the government of Bangladesh takes strong action against such forces and sends out a strong message to them.

The increasing number of attacks on those speaking out against religious fundamentalism in the sub continent and across the world calls for a strong unity against any form of religious fundamentalism across religions and countries.

CPI (ML) extends solidarity to grieving family and friends of Niloy Neel and salutes his courage for standing up for democratic and secular values in Bangladesh.

CPI(ML) & AIPWA hold Statewide Protests against Oppression and Rape of Dalits in Bihar

The organized and open attacks on Dalits and women in Shiromani Tola of Parbatta block in Khagariya district in Bihar on 27 July 2015 have exposed the Nitish government’s hollow claims of bringing about a “Naya Bihar”. It has also exposed the true face of the power hungry BJP. On that day, an organized gang of about 250 people from the dominant Bhumihar community attacked the Dalit Tola openly, but the government, eager to appease the upper caste feudal forces, did not think it fit even to bring out a statement on this heinous attack.

Earlier, a bandh in Parbatta on 1 August and a dharna in Khagariya on 3 August were organized, in which state Party leaders. The police resorted to brutal lathi charge during the Parbatta bandh and arrested 4 Party leaders. A fact-finding team from the CPI (ML) visited Shiromani tola on the day of the bandh. The team included former MP from the Party Com. Rameshwar Prasad, AIPWA Gen Secrteray Com. Meena Tiwari, State committee members comrades Nawal, Rinku, AISA State President, Com. Rinki, AIPWA leader Com. Renu and Party district convenor Com. Arun Kumar Das.

The report prepared by the enquiry revealed that the background of the incident was the love which had sprung up between Prince Kumar Sharma, a boy from the tanti caste in Shiromani tola of Nayagaon and a girl from the Bhumihar caste in the same village. The couple had eloped in March but later returned under pressure. The girl’s family got her married in Beguserai after 2 or 3 months but the girl went away from her in-laws’ place. A case was registered in Beguserai thana against Prince and other boys of the tanti caste, and 2 were arrested. On 26 July the girl came to Beguserai thana in defence of the boys. The girl’s family got this news and the son of the village mukhiya and the sarpanch, along with some women of the tanti caste, came to Beguserai thana and tried to put pressure on the boy and girl, but the girl refused to return with them.

On 27 July the feudal forces called a meeting near the Durga sthan after which they, about 250 in number, launched an attack on Shiromani tola with cries of “Jai Maa Durga”. The attackers beat and threw children around. They crossed all limits with the women, particularly young women. They dragged, beat, and crushed them, and assaulted their private parts. A pregnant woman was so severely beaten that she started bleeding and is still in hospital. Despite all this, MLA RN Singh tells the victims to forget what has happened and return to the tola, as the fault was theirs. The BJP also holds the tanti caste guilty. Clearly, this attack was perpetrated to maintain social dominance and to tell the boys from the mahafalit caste that they should not dare to love or marry girls from upper castes.

After the incident, the police arrived at the village but a fresh attack was launched in the presence of the police. Even journalists were beaten up. Homes were looted and those who had escaped in the earlier attack were beaten up this time. Certificates were torn, jewellery looted, and mobiles snatched. A total of 3 attacks were made in all.

The victim families are currently taking shelter in a private school in neighbouring Goriyari village. The administration has sent nothing but some poor quality rice and wheat for their sustenance. 25 women and 15 men have been seriously injured in the attacks. The role of the local JD (U) leaders, the mukhiya’s son, and the sarpanch and the BJP leaders has exposed the continuing power of feudal forces in Bihar and the anti-Dalit face of the Nitish government.

Protest marches were taken out on 4 August in different districts of the State. The effigy of CM Nitish Kumar was burnt at several places.

A “Nyay March” was also taken out in Patna on 4 August. The march started from Station Golamber and reached Kargil Chowk where it culminated in a public meeting. Addressing the meeting, the speakers said that in spite of the tall claims of the Nitish government touting justice with development, empowerment of mahadalits, and encouragement for inter-caste marriages, there is absolutely no safety or security for couples who marry out of their caste as well as for the mahadalits. The speakers put forward the following demands: government jobs and social security for the affected boy and girl, evaluation of the loot during the incident and 5 lakhs compensation and rehabilitation of each victim, and immediate arrest, speedy trial and punishment for the guilty. They also demanded the release of the Party leaders arrested during the Parbatta bandh.

AIPF Protest for Tribal Rights in Chennai

Following the protest demonstration for tribal rights held on Hul Diwas on 30 June at Villupuram, AIPF-Tamil Nadu organized one day hunger strike at the Tamil Nadu state headquarters in Chennai on 7 August demanding Tamil Nadu government’s immediate intervention for the release of more than 2000 Tamil tribals languishing in Andhra Pradesh jails on false cases. Even though the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes advised that the AP Government must release the innocents including Tamil tribal who have been languishing in the Andhra jails since 2010, so far it has not been implemented. To avoid the migration of Tamil tribal workers in search of jobs to Andhra- Tirupati forests, that has become a killing field, AIPF demanded the speedy implementation of NCST’s 24 April recommendations, ensuring the land rights & livelihood of Tamil tribal people and implementation of Forest Rights Act-2006 in Tamil Nadu.

More than 200 participated in the programme including 150 people from the tribal communities,-majority of whom were women. Close relatives of the jailed workers travelled all the way from far off, hilly and ill connected villages from Villupuram, Salem, Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai districts to join the one day hunger strike of AIPF.

Com. Jawahar, state President, AICCTU, presided over the program while CPI (ML) Chennai district secretary, Com. Shekar inaugurated the programme. Main speakers were included Com. S. Kumarasami, PB member-CPI (ML), Dr. Suresh, Gen. Secretary, PUCL, Com. A. Marx, campaign committee member, AIPF, Sujatha Modi, National Secretary. NTUI, R. Sampath, Vice President, WPTUC, Lawyer. Muthusami, T.N. Scheduled Tribe Malayalee Peravai, Com. Venkatesan State Gen. Secretary, AIARLA, Com. Gajendran RYA State committe member, Com. Arivalagan, AIPF, Athiyaman of Democratic Lawyers Association. Com. Balasundaram, State secretary CPI (ML) gave the concluding speech. Three tribal women speakers narrated their pathetic conditions of life in the hills as the breadwinners of the family were locked in Andhra jails. As a mark of solidarity, Unorganized Workers Confederation leaders, comrades Jayalskshmi and Chandrika also participated. Many speakers appreciated AIPF’s initiative on this grave issue that other political parties had failed to address. They also extended their solidarity.

Education Parliament Held in Delhi

Students and teachers gathered on 5 August 2015 in hundreds from all over the country at the Education Parliament hosted by the JNU Students’ Union, to make the parliamentarians hear their voice of protest against commercialisation and saffronization of education by the Modi Government.

The JNUSU President Ashutosh Kumar, welcoming close over 1000 participants, said that Parliament is in session and is not addressing our concerns about the Modi Government’s assaults on quality and autonomy of institutions and democratic rights on campuses. He highlighted the issues of saffron and substandard appointments at FTII, NCERT, ICHR, ICCR, DU and various Universities, the humiliation of noted intellectuals and scientists such as Amartya Sen and heads of IITs and IIMs, the attempt to ban the Ambedkar-Periyar group, the assault on protesting students at Pondicherry University, and violent attacks by ABVP to curb freedom of expression on many campuses from Lucknow to Delhi to Pune and Hyderabad.

Addressing the Education Parliament, the DUTA President Nandita Narain said that the CBCS is being imposed in spite of the opposition by students and teachers. This proves that CBCS has nothing to do with providing ‘choices’, and everything to do with opening up space for private profit by restructuring and destroying the quality of public-funded universities. JNUTA President Sachidanand Sinha said that we have five months in hands to resist surrender to WTO, and we must all pool our strength and unite to resist the binding commitments to the WTO.

Vikash, a student of Magadh University, said, “Authorities threaten us if we talk about politics, and tell us that as students our task is only to study. We ask, how do we study, where are the teachers to teach us? Mukhtar from Patna University said that only 30 percent faculty posts are filled in Patna University. Nachi Muttu, President of the FTII Students’ Union spoke about the ongoing agitation at FTII, saying that the support from all sides gives them hope and strength. Shahzeb Ahmad Aashu, Secretary, AMUSU spoke about the denial of democratic rights at the AMU. Vitthal from Savitri Bai Phule Pune University said that the Govt is slashing scholarships for SC/ST students and self-financed courses and education loans are the order of the day in Maharashtra.

Students from Allahabad Univ, Andhra Univ, Assam Univ(Diphu Campus), Adikavi Nannaya Univ, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University (Muzaffarpur), Bhagalpur Univ, BHU, Bundelkhand Univ (Jhansi), Calcutta Univ, Devangere Univ, Diphu Govt College, Dr. Bhimrao Ambendkar Univ(Agra), Delhi Univ, Eastern Karbi Anglong College, FTII, J P Univ(Chhapra), Jadavpur Univ, Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU, Kannada Univ, Lalit Narayan Mithila Univ (Darbhanga), Lucknow Univ, Magadh Univ, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Mumbai Univ, Osmania Univ, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Univ(Gorakhpur), Patna Univ, Punjab Univ, Ram Manohar Lohiya Awadh Univ, Ruhelkhand Univ(Bareily), Thong Nokbe College, Uttar Pradesh Pravidik Univ, Veer Kunwar Singh Univ (Ara), West Bengal State Univ shared their experiences.

Among the teachers and educationists who spoke about the massive policy attacks on education by the present Government were Prof. Anil Sadgopal, AIFRTE, Prof. Roop Rekha Verma, former VC, Lucknow University, Prof. Harbans Mukhia, noted historian, Prof. Satish Deshpande, DU, Prof. Anup Dhar, AUD, Prof. Vinod Singh, President, LUTA, Prof. Prasenjit Biswas, NEHUTA, Prof. Manoj Pandey, LUACTA, Prof. M.S. Bhatt, Jamia TA, Prof. Mustafa Zaidi, Secretary, AMUTA, Prof. Saraswat, President. IGNOU TA, Prof. Shiv Mohan, Gen. Secretary, AUTA.

Rain pouring down towards the end of the programme could not put a dampener on the enthusiasm, with participants raising slogans under a tent for a full hour. The Education Parliament also adopted resolutions to intensify the struggle against WTO dictated educational policies, imposition of CBCS, attempts to centralize higher education and dilute the autonomy of educational institutes under the garb of the Central University Act and Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), attempts to saffronize education by way of tampering with content of education and through partisan appointments in various institutes and also against all attempts to curb campus democracy by encouraging the culture of bans and suspensions and through implementation of provisions such as the Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations. The Education Parliament also resolved to support ongoing student agitations in Pondicherry University, FTII, as well as several other campuses.

Convention on CM Martyrdom Day

A party cadre convention was organized at Mughalserai in Chandauli (Uttar Pradesh) on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Party Founder Secretary Com. Charu Mazumdar. Before the start of the convention, senior Party leader Com. Satyanarayan Singh raised the Party flag at the Party district office. The cadre convention commenced with a 2 minute silence. District committee members Com. Ramesh Rai and Com. Shrawan Maurya presented the roadmap for the national workshop and the approach paper, respectively. This was followed by a discussion in which 31 people participated. The proceedings of the cadre convention were conducted by a 3 member presiding board consisting of Com. Anil Paswan, Com. Satyanarayan Singh, and Com. Anita.

Cadre Workshop in Andhra Pradesh

State level Workshop of Andhra Pradesh was held at Vissannapeta Mandal of Krishna District on 1 and 2 August 2015. Comrades from various districts participated in the workshop. Workshop discussed various issues and also made a plan for immediate tasks as per the Lucknow workshop guidelines. The workshop helped develop clarity on the political situation at the national and the state level among the comrades who felt enthused after the conference. The workshop concluded with resolve to fight the BJP and TDP duo at the Centre and State level.

Dharna against Atrocities on Mahadalit Widow

Local land mafia and criminals committed atrocities against a mahadalit (musahar) widow, Tileshwari Devi in village Anion, Mansingpur Panchayat, Fatuha block of Patna district, for the purpose of capturing her house and lands. The culprits set fire in her home, looted it, and beat her up. A CPI(ML) enquiry team led by Umesh Singh enquired into the incident that occurred on 4 July 2015.

The team found that Tileshwari Devi’s family was residing in the said place since 1945 and this land (9 dismil residential and 57 dismil agricultural land) has been in her father-in-law Janki Manjhi’s name since 1972. The revenue receipt for this land is currently being made out in the name of Tileshwari Devi. The Deputy Mukhiya Yogendra Ram made false papers in order to capture this land and on the night of 15 May 2015, they set fire to the premises, looted the property and beat her up, causing injuries. When the Gaurichak police station failed to register a complaint, Tileshwari Devi went to the Janta Darbar of the Senior Superintendent of Police and registered an FIR there. However, the station has not so far arrested the culprits. Since then the accused have been oppressing Tileshwari Devi and her family members and trying to drive them away from the place.

The CPI (ML) Fatuha block committee organized a dharna at the Fatuha block office on 11 July 2015 on the issue of justice for Tileshwari Devi, in which hundreds of poor and mahadalits participated. At the end of the mahadharna a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister was submitted through the BDO, demanding arrangements for full safety and security of the life, property and lands of Tileshwari Devi and her family members; immediate arrest of Deputy Mukhiya of Mansingpur Panchayat, Yogendra Ram and other culprits; and an investigation into the nexus between the Gaurichak thana police and the land mafia and criminals. The mahadharna was presided over by Com. Shailendra Yadav. Tileshwari Devi was also present along with her family members.

Temple Stampede in Deoghar Exposes Inhuman VIP Culture

CPI(ML) expresses deep condolence over the death of 10 people in the stampede that took place in Deoghar and expresses its sympathies and solidarity with the grieving families. This incident has exposed the inhuman apathy of the state government and the administration towards the devotees coming from different places. On the pretext of special arrangements for the worship by the VIPs, the common devotees are made to stand in long queues for several hours and they are allowed to enter the temple only after the VIP pujas are over. The preparations made by the state have no place for the basic facilities for those standing in long queues. This situation increases the possibilities for such incidents. In 2013, a similar stampede had taken place during a satsang in Deoghar itself in which nearly a dozen people had lost their lives. CPI(ML) demands that besides providing compensation to the families of the victims, the state government also makes provisions for basic facilities for the common people and put an immediate stop to the VIP worship.

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