ML Update | No. 47 | 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 47, 17 ­– 23 NOVEMBER 2015

Modi Government’s Foreign Policy:

Appeasement of Imperialists and Global Capital,

Arrogance Towards South Asian Neighbours

T
he crushing defeat of the BJP in Bihar was a decisive mandate against feudal-communal arrogance and the Modi Government’s pro-corporate ‘development’ that had meant nothing but land grab and steep prices of essential food items.

The Modi Government, in the wake of this historic verdict, has responded by trying to reassure corporates that the Government’s determination to ram through unpopular policies will continue, immune to democratic opinion. Regulations for FDI have been eased in 15 sectors including single brand retail, banking, construction, media, airlines, defence, banking, plantations and media, as a move to appease foreign capital before the Prime Minister embarked on another spate of foreign tours to London, G-20, Malaysia and Singapore. Corporate taxes have been reduced and rail fares hiked, even as food prices continue to soar.

But the questions and protests of India’s citizens continued to pursue Prime Minister Modi even in London. He was greeted by massive protests, including those by women’s groups, human rights groups, Dalit groups as well as various community organizations. The British media, too, did not spare Modi on his human rights record and attacks on minorities’ rights, though he failed to answer a direct question about the protests.

Significantly, his visit was also marked by protests by Nepalis against an unconscionable India-backed blockade of the land-locked, quake-hit country. While the question of Madhesi representation and citizenship is indeed a genuine democratic one that the republic of Nepal will have to address, India’s big-brotherly arrogance and meddling is rightly resented by Nepal.

The Modi Government’s foreign policy failure when it comes to Nepal and the South Asian neighbourhood is in marked contrast to its appeasement of the US, UK and other imperialist powers. Addressing the extravaganza of Indian diaspora at Wembley, Modi chose to remain totally silent on the legacy of India’s resistance to British colonialism. Meanwhile the BJP back home in India was whipping up communal hatred and violence against the legacy of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Mysore ruler who was killed while resisting the East India Company!

Instead, Modi went to the extent of stating that India enjoyed a unique relationship with Britain that was much closer than that with any of India’s own neighbours! This statement exposes the skewed character of the Modi Government’s foreign policy priorities.

In his Wembley speech, in the name of hailing India’s legacy of tolerance, Modi pandered to Islamophobic prejudice by suggesting that the Sufi tendency was the only peaceful tendency in Islam which otherwise was the source of global terrorism. In the wake of the terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris, Modi called on the “international community” to “give a definition to terrorism” in order to put an end to the spurious distinction between “good and bad terrorism.” This is ironic, given the fact that Modi himself in India has been projecting terrorism by Hindutva groups as “good terrorism.” A public prosecutor has gone on record to accuse Modi’s own Government of pressurizing her to weaken the cases against Hindutva elements accused in terrorism cases. Modi and his own Government and camp followers openly seek to brand all Muslims and voices of dissent and democratic protests as potential “terrorists” while defending acts of terrorist blasts, assassinations and lynchings by Hindu majoritarian outfits.

Questioned about attacks on India’s diversity and minorities’ rights in London, Modi chose to take refuge behind the legacy of Buddha, Gandhi and the Indian Constitution. To Indians, though, this answer is supremely unconvincing because even as he hailed Gandhi in London, his camp followers including even MPs of his party have been venerating Gandhi’s killer Godse, making bigoted statements mocking the Constitutional rights of and justifying organized violence against Dalits and minorities, and branding dissent as “anti-national” disloyalty.

The bitter Bihar lesson has done nothing to dent the arrogance of the BJP and the Modi Government and their hostility to dissent and democracy. On a visit to America to address a gathering of Indian diaspora, the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh declared that India’s leading writers, scientists and intellectuals were “paid” by vested interests to protest “intolerance.”

The attempts to paint all citizens critical of the Modi Government’s communal and pro-corporate policies as ‘paid’ or ‘Pakistani’ will fail as miserably as it did in Bihar. The Modi Government will be punished by the people for its betrayal of India’s anti-colonial legacy, its appeasement of imperialist forces and arrogance towards neighbours, and its blatant espousal of corporate interests at the cost of those of India’s peasants, workers and common people.

Condemn the Terrorist Attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Nigeria

The CPI(ML) condemns the heinous and unconscionable spate of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Yola in Nigeria. The ISIS attack in Beirut (Lebanon) claimed 50 civilian lives while a series of ISIS attacks on various public places in Paris killed 128 people. A suicide bombing in a Baghdad funeral killed 17 people. On 17 November an explosion at a busy market in Yola, a north-eastern city of Nigeria killed 32 people with 80 more injured. It is yet unclear as to who is behind the explosion, but in the past Boko Haram pledging allegiance to ISIS has claimed the killings of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring regions of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, targeting mostly public places.

Alarmingly, the Paris attacks have been followed by several racist and Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Arabs in France and other parts of Europe, with the Czech President Zeman even attending an anti-Muslim rally.

The terrorist attacks in Paris are being used to stoke further prejudice against Syrian refugees. It has rightly been reminded that the refugees are in fact fleeing the very same barbaric ISIS that has attacked Paris and Beirut.

The racism and Islamophobia, the rhetoric about ‘pitiless war’ and the plans to intensify airstrikes by European powers and USA in Syria that will inevitably claim scores of civilian lives will only provide more fodder for the ISIS.

The resistance to the ISIS today cannot be built without sober reflection about the role of imperialist war and occupation or Iraq and meddling in West Asia that has created the Frankenstein that is the ISIS today.

Indian people must stand firm in solidarity with people all over the world in rejecting and resisting all forms of terrorism, and refusing to fall into the trap of racism, communalism and Islamophobia.

On Tamil Nadu Floods

The CPI(ML) expresses deep concern over the rainstorms and floods ravaging Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai city and several coastal districts of the state. More than a 100 lives have been lost needlessly in the absence of shelter and suitable prevention, protection and relief.

The party calls upon the Governments of Tamil Nadu and the Centre to immediately provide relief, food, medical care, other forms of humanitarian assistance as well as rehabilitation measures to the affected people of Tamil Nadu.

The party demands that Tamil Nadu be declared a national calamity-hit state; that the State Government demand at least Rs 10000 crore as funds from the Centre; and that MNREGA be expanded on a large scale in the flood affected rural districts. The party has demanded that the State Government shed its apathy and callous attitude and display a sense of urgency towards relief and rehabilitation work.

The party extends condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones in this disaster.

Protests in the UK Against Modi Visit

The ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome protests in London at Downing Street and Parliament Square, organized by the Awaaz Network of which South Asia Solidarity Group is a constituent organisation, were attended by thousands of people. They included members of women’s organisations, left South Asian groups, Dalit, Sikh and Kashmiri groups and as well as a Nepali contingent. Slogans such as ‘Modi, Modi you can’t hide- you committed genocide’ and ‘Modi, Modi, RSS, Nazi Fascism No Less’ and ‘David Cameron – Shame, Shame – inviting Modi – Not in Our Name’ pursued Modi as he moved from Downing Street to Parliament Square. As he hypocritically laid flowers at the Gandhi statue, even as his amp followers prepares to celebrate the death anniversary Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse, the crowd which lined the square roared ‘shame on you’!

Speakers at a rally facing the square vowed to continue to stand in solidarity with those opposing Modi and the Sangh Parivar in India. Among other speakers, Amrit Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group spoke about the horrific escalation of violence against minorities, Dalits and women which has been orchestrated by the Hindu Right and supported by the Modi government – that people were being lynched with impunity just for what they eat or whom they love. She said ‘We stand in solidarity with those fighting Hindutva fascism in India, with the workers facing the sweeping away of labour laws, and we stand with the people of Bihar who have decisively rejected Modi’s hate politics. Modi’s visit to Britain is about selling off India to the new versions of the colonial East India Company.‘ Mentioning the fact that India is the biggest client of Israel’s arms industry, she said that the arms India buys will be used against Indian citizens. Satpal Muman of Castewatch UK spoke of the horrific tally of killings of Dalits since the new government had come to power and highlighted the way Hindutva organizations in the UK have systematically tried to block the implementation of the anti-caste discrimination in the UK. Rahila Gupta of Southall Black Sisters spoke about how gender violence and attempts to control women had intensified under Modi. Sangeeta a student active in the ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome campaign, highlighted the way in which Hindu Right groups in the UK were dividing the South Asian diaspora in UK, including the younger generation, and was feeding into Islamophobia, and how these groups had imported the myth of ‘love jihad’ into Britain. Banners reminded people of Modi’s culpability for the Gujarat genocide 2002 and placards remembered individual victims of Modi in Gujarat, including Ishrat Jehan, Ehsan Jafri and Kauser Bi. Nepali protesters demanded that Modi ‘back off!’ and lift the devastating blockade of Nepal.

The night before the #ModiNotWelcome protest at Downing Street and Parliament Square, we had received threatening phone calls warning us that ‘15,000’ Modi supporters would converge there and there would be disturbances. But in fact only a small group of 50 showed up and stood opposite the tail end of the demonstration from where they hurled invective -demonstrating their much touted ‘tolerance’.

The protesters vowed to continue their campaign both against Modi’s visit and against the Hindutva forces in the UK, as well as standing in solidarity with those who are confronting and resisting Hindutva’s corporate fascism in India.

Statement Issued by Left Parties

Six Left Parties – CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML)-Liberation, RSP, Forward Bloc and SUCI – met on November 10 at Ajoy Bhavan, New Delhi.

The meeting was attended by Comrades – Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, S Ramachandran Pillai from the CPI(M), S Sudhakar Reddy, A.B. Bardhan and D Raja from the CPI, Dipankar Bhattacharya & Swapan Mukherjee from the CPI(ML)-Liberation, G Devarajan from the AIFB, Abani Roy from the RSP and Krishna Chakraborthy & Pran Sharma from the SUCI(C).

The meeting issued the following statement:

The Left Parties will launch a nationwide campaign against the communal hate offensive spearheaded by the RSS and patronized by this BJP led government, from 1st to 6th December, 2015 through various forms of protest.

The Left Parties congratulate the people of Bihar and hail the BJP’s humiliating defeat. The United Left bloc campaign was well received by the people of Bihar and has won three seats.

The Left Parties salute the litterateurs, scientists, historians, film personalities and intellectuals who have bravely risen against the growing communal hate and polarization unleashed by the RSS /BJP. The Left Parties condemn the campaign of vilification against them.

Left Parties Demonstration in Uttarakhand to Make Gairsain Permanent State Capital

Hundreds of left activists reached Gairsain on 5th November to participate in the protest call given by three left parties CPI-ML, CPI-M and CPI in Gairsain, Uttarakhand. As left activists poured in from all over the state, to demand making Gairsain the permanent capital of the state and against the anti-people policies of the Govt, the town was filled with red flags and banners. This was the first time since the formation of Uttarakhand as a separate state that the three left parties had mobilized at this level.

The program was organized to assert the demand for declaring Gairsain as the permanent Capital of the state as well as to expose the betrayal of people’s aspirations by organizing a sham of a Assembly session in Gairsain which resulted in huge waste of public money as it completely failed to show any intention to declare Gairsain the permanent Capital of Uttarakhand. It also failed in redressing the genuine demands of the people be it the huge crisis in agriculture in the state, slapping of false cases against workers in SIDCOL, and privatization of health facilities in the state.

People from all over the state gathered at the Ramlila Ground and enthusiastically marched through the streets of Gairsain, the rally culminated in a mass public meeting at the Ramlila Grounds of Gairsain.

Addressing the meeting CPI(ML) Uttarahand State Secretary Comrade Rajendra Pratholi said, ‘In policies there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP, both make policies which suits corporates like Ambani-Adani. Govt owned land is being sold to corporates at ridiculously low prices in the whole of Uttarakhand. At the behest of Modi Harish Rawat is gifting away 250 Acres of land to Adani on a platter. The govt is welcoming companies such as Coca Cola which have a history of depleting ground water, destroying environment and even toppling democratically elected governments all over the world. On the other hand the Govt is failing to address any of the genuine grievances and aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand.

CPI-M State Secretary, Comrade Rajendra Singh in addressing the meeting said that holding the assembly in Gairsain without committing to make it a permanent Capital of the State is a betrayal of the aspirations and demands of the people. CPI State Secretary Comrade Anand Singh Rana highlighted the situation of unemployment in the state on the face of rising prices of essential commodities, he pointed out that even retired soldiers are forced to work as contract workers in the state.

CPI(ML) State Committee members Purushottam Sharma and Indresh Maikhuri also spoke at the meeting. The Chairperson of Karnprayag Municipality, Subhash Garaula, CPI National Council member Comrade Samar Bhandari were also among the speakers at the Mass meeting.

The meeting was conducted by Vinod Joshi, Joint Secretary of CPI Chamoli District Committee.

Birsa Munda Birth Anniversary Celebrated on 15 November

On 15 November, Shaheed Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary was celebrated by CPI(ML) at several places across the Country. At Palghar in Boisar district in Maharashtra 250 people, men and women participated in a mass meeting remembering the legacy of Birsa’s revolutionary tradition and applying it to current context when even the basic and millenniums old livelihood, cultural and human rights of indigenous and tribal people is being attacked for benefitting the powerful, the rich and the corrupt sections of the Indian society. The meeting revolved around the issue of “Jal-Jungle-Jamin ke Loot Ke Khilaf”, and “Adivasi Sanskriti Ko Phir Se Sthapit Karne Ke Liye” (against the loot of water, forests, land; and to reestablish the tribal culture).

At tribal populated Kusdi in West Panki district, the anniversary was celebrated. Several people attended a meeting. Inside the Hazaribagh Central Jail also the anniversary was celebrated. Here the CPI(ML) comrades started holding this anniversary event since last year after renovating a dilapidated and ignored Statue of Birsa. In Dhanbad, CPI(ML) and AIPF held a demonstration with candle lights to pay tributes to the people killed in terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere recently, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shaheed Birsa Munda. At Deoli in Govindpur also a meeting commemorating the anniversary was held attended by Comrades Subal Das and Subhendu Sen.

Everywhere the meetings began with garlanding the Statue or a portrait of Birsa Munda. Birsa Munda (1875-1900) is one of the most important leaders of anti-colonial Independence movement who led massive resistance of the indigenous people against British colonial policies that was not only alienating the tribals from their land and millenniums old livelihood sources, but were also bringing in settlers that would start exploiting the tribal population by transforming the tribal agrarian system into feudal estates. Eventually, in many places the tribal owners of land became agrarian labourers, being exploited in various ways. This process also caused a weakening of tribal culture. It was in this context that the young Birsa united various sections of the tribal population to resist the offensive of British colonialism.

CPI(ML)’s Initiative to Bring Back the Indian Workers Stuck in Malaysia

Several workers who are inhabitants of villages under Bagodar in Jharkhand have been stuck in Malaysia and the Malaysian authorities are creating roadblocks for their return, even denying the workers food and shelter for wanting to return to their Country.

Party leader and ex-Legislator in Jharkhand Assembly, Comrade Vinod Singh has met the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jharkhand – Rajeev Gauba and NN Pandey respectively, in order to expedite the process for their return. It is to be noted that they were apprised of the case earlier, despite that new roadblock in their return are being created. The two high ranking officials assured our Party leader of urgent action.

On 10 November the parents and family members of the troubled workers had met Comrade Vinod to urge him to ensure their return. It is noteworthy that seven other workers have returned in the recent past due to the efforts of CPI(ML) and Comrade Vinod. In October, around Dussehra festival, this issue had got highlighted after which the Jharkhnad CM Raghuvar Das and Bagodar MLA Nagendra Mahto had stated about ensuring the workers’ return. Since then a month has elapsed but nothing much has happened. Moreover, in this one month the workers have rather been threatened by the Malaysian authorities and coerced to stay back. After this the workers telephoned their family back in Bagodar, all of whom who then met Comrade Vinod to seek action. The Party has assured the families of all possible efforts to bring their children and family members back.

A lot of unsuspecting and vulnerable Indian workers are trafficked to Malaysia by human traffickers with the lure of good paying and better jobs. Upon their arrival in Malaysia they are faced more often than not with horrible working conditions bordering on slavery. Many of them face abuse and are beaten up. When complained about this by activists in Malaysia, the Malaysian police rescues them from one abusive employer and dumps them into some other similar abusive factory. When the workers try to run away from extremely inhuman conditions they quite often lose their work permit and are at risk of becoming further enslaved. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not taken adequate steps to ensure to prevent trafficking and to ensure that Malaysian Government make adequate and stricter regulations to regulate and monitor the working conditions of the Indian migrants working in Malaysian factories or rubber plantations.

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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