ML Update | No. 18 | 2016

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19 | No. 18 | 26 April- 02 May 2016

A Manifesto for May Day 2016

Resist India, Resist!

IT HAS BEEN TWO YEARS since Narendra Modi became India’s Prime Minister unleashing a trajectory of governance that is proving to be nothing short of a political calamity for our society and polity. Never before has India seen a government so callous and indifferent to the plight of the people. Even as large parts of the country are reeling under severe drought and famine-like conditions, and dozens of farmers continue to be driven daily to suicides under a crushing burden of debt and insecurity, the government nonchalantly congratulates itself for promising to double farm income by 2022. The CM of Maharashtra, the worst drought-affected state, is least concerned about this alarming agrarian distress, he is busy issuing deportation threats to whoever does not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and his cabinet colleague makes her tour of drought-affected areas memorable by taking selfies on her smartphone! The PM is of course busy touring foreign lands, addressing election rallies, occasionally taking time off to deliver his radio gospels or appreciate his own wax statue in a Madame Tussauds museum.

It is a government which came to power with only 31% of the polled vote, but almost from day one it has been in a state of permanent war with large sections of the citizenry including many who had voted it to power. Its land acquisition ordinance has been rejected by all, but it continues to promote large-scale diversion and acquisition of agricultural land in flagrant violation of the mandates of the 2013 Act for compensation and rehabilitation.

To push its ‘Make in India’ agenda it is desperately trying to subvert every law and institution of the land – labour rights, environmental safeguards, natural resources, the entire framework of democracy are all being mortgaged to lure foreign investment. Dissenting students in premier educational institutions are being branded ‘casteist’ and ‘anti-national’ and subjected to systematic political persecution. RSS cadres have been planted in influential positions across the institutional spectrum and in key Constitutional posts, and President’s Rule is being imposed to destabilize elected non-BJP governments while in BJP-ruled states governance has become a metaphor for state-sponsored anarchy, terror and relentless communal polarisation.

Accompanying this war on the people and their constitutional rights and liberties, is the Sangh brigade’s sinister invasion of history. Modi came to power with the slogan of ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ – in the guise of this slogan he not only spearheaded a campaign to oust the discredited Manmohan Singh dispensation at the Centre and other tainted Congress-led regimes in the states, but also sought to produce a narrative that would trash the Congress teleologically and construct a non-existent past for the BJP. Patel was the first Congress leader to be hijacked in the process, and during his first year in power Modi also tried his level best to appropriate Gandhi through his much hyped ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. With the declassification of Netaji files and the celebration of Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary, now the Sangh-BJP establishment is out to claim the legacies of Subhas Bose and Ambedkar. Sangh ideologues would like us to believe that Ambedkar’s call for ‘annihilation of castes’ was meant to unify Hindus as a community, the RSS mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ describing Ambedkar as a ‘great unifier’. No wonder Rohith Vemula and his comrades have been dubbed ‘anti-national’ and activists and intellectuals spreading the ideas of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar have been attacked virulently by Sanghi goons.

The Sanghi campaign of war on democracy has of course come up against powerful resistance on different levels. Peasants fought hard to reject the land acquisition ordinance. Workers have successfully stalled the proposed labour law reforms. Prompt opposition against the proposal to levy taxes on withdrawals from PF forced the government to drop the idea and now militant workers’ protests, especially by women workers from the garments industry in Bengaluru, have pushed the government on the back foot in its bid to restrict withdrawals from PF. The wave of returning of awards by eminent writers, artists, scientists and other intellectuals in the wake of the killings of Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Muhammad Ikhlaq added a new dimension to popular assertion against religious bigotry, communal violence and the culture of political patronage and impunity granted to the goons of the Sangh brigade. And following the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the subsequent witch-hunt and police crackdown in JNU, the protests grew into a veritable student-youth upsurge. The mass disenchantment and anger against the Modi raj have resonated in elections and now we also have a strong judicial indictment in the form of the Uttarakhand HC verdict setting aside the promulgation of President’s Rule in the state.

The 2016 May Day calls upon the working people of India to strengthen this ongoing battle for democracy with all their might. The working class shall not only thwart the Modi government’s bid to curb labour rights and steal workers’ hard earned savings and pensions, the spirit of the May Day will inspire the working class to join hands with every other section of the fighting people and build a broad platform of resistance on the common agenda of democracy. At a time when the Sangh brigade is desperately trying to divide and mislead the people and use them as cannon fodder for their fascist campaign and pseudo-nationalist agenda, it is imperative for the working class to assert as the strongest bulwark of people’s unity and communal harmony and staunchest champion of people’s democracy, of the anti-imperialist anti-corporate interests of the Indian people. Resist India, Resist!

CPI(ML) Legislative Party in Bihar Assembly

The CPI(ML) Legislative party in the Bihar Assembly consisting of 3 members led by Com. Mahboob Alam proved itself to be the true opposition in the State by raising issues related to farmers, workers and the poor in the Budget session of 2016. During zero hour Com. Mahboob Alam raised the issues of the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the false cases of sedition against JNU students and proposed a censure motion against the attempts by the BJP and the Sangh to create an atmosphere of hate and pseudo-nationalism in the country. However, the Nitish government did not see fit even to consider such a motion. Com. Alam also raised the demand for the release of Comrades Satyadev Ram, Amarjeet Kushwaha, Manoj Manzil and other activists in jail on false charges, and identification of and punishment for the killers of Rajendra Mahto, Sanjay Chaurasiya, Rampravesh Das and Mahesh Das.

Com. Sudama Prasad raised the issue of cooked up statistics by the government to show false figures of development. He asked why no new factories have been opened and why old factories are lying closed. He pointed out that the only new industries are beer factories whereas the government is at the same time talking of total prohibition. He stressed the miserable conditions of farmers and said that their crops are not being purchased adequately and paddy purchase payments are still in arrears. He raised the question of sharecroppers’ welfare and rights also and demanded that the defunct irrigation canals should be made functional. He questioned the corruption in PDS ad raised issues of housing for the poor. He pointed out that the Nitish government has failed to keep its promise of unemployment allowance. The government talks of reservation for women but the truth is that job opportunities are rapidly dwindling. Even the few appointments that are being made are on contractual or honorarium basis. The Party legislators pointed out that the Nitish government is running on the same anti-farmer, anti-worker, anti-poor and pro-corporate policies that the BJP is implementing at the Centre.

The CPI (ML) legislators took part in the discussion on the appropriation bills in most of the departments. They also raised about 205 people’s interest issues of importance to Bihar through questions, zero hour, calling attention, adjournment and other motions. They raised the matter of the Sanghi attack on the ‘Main JNU Bol Raha Hun’ programme on 13 March, condemning the attitude of the administration and government and demanding arrest of the conspirator BJP leader and removal of the City Commissioner.

On 28 March, during the post Holi session the legislators demanded discussion on the murders of ML leaders in Begusarai on 21 March; when the government refused to have a discussion they protested in the well of the Assembly and then walked out.

Sankalp Sabha in Begusarai

The CPI (ML) held a Sankalp Sabha on 12 April 2016 at the Chamadiya maidan in Baliya subdivision of Begusarai to pay tributes to Com. Mahesh Ram and Com. Rampravesh Ram. Attended by a large number of people, the Sankalp Sabha was addressed by CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya who said that the martyrdom of Com. Mahesh Ram and Com. Rmpravsh would not go in vain; the people would give a befitting reply. In recent days, attacks on students, youth, intellectuals, and cultural activists have greatly increased, with dalits being the focal targets of these attacks. While at Hyderabad Central University, oppression by the administrative and political system forced dalit scholar Rohith Vemula to commit suicide, Com. Mahesh Ram and Rampravesh Ram who were engaged with feudal forces on land struggles in the villages of Begusarai have been murdered by the feudal in connivance with the administration and police.

Com. Dipankar further said that Mahesh Ram and Rohith Vemula are today’s Bhagat Singhs in the present context, who were trying to highlight the dream of building a new India. There is not much difference between Modi and Nitish; feudal forces are raising their heads under the rule of both and are unleashing calculated and well-planned attacks on dalits in order to crush the voices of dissent. After such murders, the silence and insensitivity of the police and administration are an indication that these incidents have been carried out with the connivance of the State government. This attitude of the Nitish government is an insult to the people’s mandate he got in the elections. This government has betrayed the poor and the marginalized. This is the reason that in spite of requesting protection from the administration, they were brutally murdered by the feudal forces.

Com. Dipankar said that this double murder has exposed the hypocrisy of the self-professed ‘love’ for dalits claimed by the Bihar government. Therefore, a high level enquiry must be held to invsetigate these murders and the culprits should be arrested and punished without delay. Today the need is for dalits, poor, intellectuals, cultural activists, farmers, workers, students and youth to speak out against the government as well as communal-feudal forces; only then will we be able to walk on the road shown by Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to build a new India. He announced that a memorial would be built for the two martyrs at Maksudanpur Diyara village.

Addressing the meeting, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sabha National General Secretary, Com. Rajaram Singh said that the law and order system in Bihar has become subservient to criminals. These double murders are a clear example of this; the people would surely give a fitting reply to this. Party MLA Com. Sudama Prasad said that we have raised the issue of the murder of these young dalit leaders in the Assembly, and have demanded action against the Baliya DSP. The CPI(ML) has always fought the battles of the poor, dalits, and oppressed. Protest marches have been held across Bihar against these murders. The Party called for a Begusarai ‘bandh’ and made the bandh successful, driving away feudal goons who tried to deter the bandh. He further said that if the police, administration and government do not render justice, the people will give them suitable punishment. A murder charge should also be filed against the Baliya DSP in this case, as he is hand-in-glove with the culprits. He should have been immediately suspended, but the government took no action.

47th Foundation Day of CPI(ML) Observed

The 47th foundation day of the party was celebrated all over the country. A meeting was held at Charu Bhawan in Delhi where the bust of Comrade Charu Mazumdar was garlanded, and the Central Committee’s Party Foundation Day message was read and discussed. Similar meetings were held at Patna and Bihar, UP, W Bengal, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and various places in East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.

Rise Up against the Proxy War on Students by the Modi Regime

(Excerpt from Statement by AISA leader and JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid on Punishments of JNU Students, announcing plans for a fast-unto-death by students.)

JNUSU rejects the report of the enquiry committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to look into the 9th of February incident. JNUSU also rejects its reports and any punishment handed out by it. The JNUSU and JNUTA had repeatedly asked the administration to democratise the enquiry committee, but this was not done. Now, when the holidays are here, the VC has made public the punishments, after one and a half months of submission of the HLEC (High Level Enquiry Committee) report.

The punishments are nothing but a proxy war waged against the students by the Modi govt through its puppets installed in the JNU administration. Modi govt cannot answer our difficult questions, and is, therefore, resorting to these tactics. They want to create a chilling effect and discourage students from speaking up against Modi government’s failures.

The Proctorial committee was dissolved arbitrarily and replaced by a “high level” committee, headed by Prof. Bhatnagar who is a known anti-reservationist. He continues to be the authority responsible for raising funds for the rabid student group, “Youth for Equality”.

No woman, no SC/ST/OBC/minority teacher, no one from the Social Sciences was included in the committee, whereas the defendants all hail from poor and marginalised backgrounds, include women and are mostly from the Social Sciences!

The CVO, Chief Vigilance Officer, is the final appellate authority of the University, but he himself is part of the HLEC. Prof Suman Dhar, who happens to be the CVO, is a member of the Committee. Hence, we cannot even appeal against this decision!

Due to all this, the students refused to participate in the enquiry process. Based on one-sided depositions of ABVP members, the enquiry committee has come up with massive fines, rustication, draconian out-of-bounds orders and what not? This shows how scared the government is of dissenting voices.

The HLEC has randomly punished people. One of the students, Anirban, has been punished with rustication and out-of-bounds orders for five years! Around 14 students have been fined for Rs. 20,000 each and threatened to pay the fine by 13th of May or face hostel eviction. Former JNUSU President, Ashutosh Kumar has been evicted from hostel for one year and fined with Rs. 20,000. Such punishments are unheard of, and reek of extreme vendetta against student activists. This is clearly a war bugle sounded by the Central government.

Nowhere do the punishment orders mention the exact crime committed by the students. All the orders cite a statute that reads, “Any other action deemed inappropriate by the Vice-Chancellor.” This cannot be the yardstick to measure the legality of any event. The administration, in these orders, repeatedly says that “taking part in a march”, “raising slogans” is unbecoming of a JNU student. This is ridiculous and unacceptable. In order to punish anyone, a three-step link has to be established by any enquiry committee:

a) Establish the exact action for which punishment is being handed out.

b) Justify how that particular action violates a certain University statute.

c) Justify how a certain violation attracts a certain amount of punishment.

The committee hasn’t bothered to do any of this, and has arbitrarily punished students for holding political opinions that they may not like.

The HLEC had submitted its report one and a half months back to the VC. However, the VC has waited till the onset of holidays to make the punishments public, showing how scared the VC is of students’ protests. But we want to remind the new VC here that, many struggles have been fought by the student community during the time of exams and vacations. The struggle to implement Mandal-II (OBC reservation in higher educaiton) saw a 34-day hunger strike in JNU during holidays. In the summer of 2014, under the Dera Dalo movement, students and workers together occupied the Ad Block for 14 days in blazing heat, to demand hostels and workers’ rights. The 16th December movement and the Occupy UGC movement went on despite holiday, biting cold and water cannons.

Why has the VC not held an Academic Council meeting which is supposed to happen every semester? Every year, there are two AC meetings- one in October and one in April. This is a huge failure on part of the VC, who is so afraid to face the students and the teachers that he cancelled the AC meeting scheduled on the 19th of April and hasn’t reconvened it. The reality is, that without consulting the students and teachers, sweeping changes in admission policy have been brought about by the new administration. It is shocking that, without discussing the issues of reduction of deprivation points for women and BA applicants, and introduction cluster system in BA entrance exam, these changes were brought into the prospectus. Also, bypassing the High Court order to provide relaxation to OBC applicants at two stages, the administration has decided to grant the relaxation at only one level. Not only will we oppose the punishments, we will also raise these issues through our hunger strike.

The Modi government cannot deal with the issues we raise, cannot answer our questions regarding organised scams, communal hate mongering and economic failure. They cannot answer our questions on non-NET fellowship and Rohith Vemula, on minority institutions, on police action on students, on Bastar, on Kashmir, on Gajendra Chauhan. Rather than countering us politically, rather than working on developmental and economic issues, the Modi govt has directed all of its energy into crushing opposition. However, not only will JNUSU continue to fight against these fines and punishments, we will continue to expose the government. Not only will we oppose the rustications, we will also raise difficult questions. Students, teachers, farmers’ organisations, women’s groups, bank employees’ Unions and IT employees’ Unions across the country have assured support to us. People from all walks of life are supporting JNU students against this targeting. We will launch a countrywide campaign to expose this government’s anti-student, anti-Dalit character.

AIPWA Protest Against Rape-Accused RJD MLA

The All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) held a militant march to the Governor’s house (Rajbhavan) in Patna on 21st April, demanding that rape-accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav be charge-sheeted and stripped of his membership in the Bihar Assembly.

The protesting women marched from the Gardanibagh Gate Library to the Governor’s mansion, then made a turn towards the State Assembly where they managed to enter the premises before tangling with security guards.

AIPWA State President Saroj Chaubey, Secretary Shashi Yadav and National GS Meena Tiwari as well as other state-level leaders led the march, accusing the government of trying to protect the RJD leader. They sought a speedy trial to bring the alleged rapist to justice.

Raj Ballabh Yadav was identified by a 15-year old girl in Nalanda district as having raped her. He had gone underground and surrendered before the police only after protests by AIPWA and other women’s groups. But the police had dragged its feet on filing a charge-sheet, and meanwhile media carried news of him holding a lavish party inside the prison.

Following the AIPWA March, the chargesheet against Raj Ballabh Yadav has been filed. AIPWA has vowed to continue to struggle till he is convicted and punished.

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