A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 13, No. 21, 18 – 24 MAY 2010
Resist Operation Green Hunt, Reject ‘Maoist’ Anarcho-Militarism!
After ambushing 75 CRPF men in early April, Maoists have struck again in Dantewada. On 17 May afternoon, a passenger bus was blown up in a landmine blast that left more than 30 passengers killed and at least another 15 passengers seriously injured, some of them reportedly quite critical. The bus was carrying some 50 odd passengers including some Special Police Officers (recruited by the state in the course of the Salwa Judum campaign), but there were no state police or CRPF personnel. In 2003, the PWG had targeted a bus in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh, for which they had subsequently offered regrets and apologies, but this time around the Maoists have feigned their ignorance about civilians being present in the bus.
In terms of casualties, this is the fourth major Maoist action since February. While two of these actions concerned only the state forces (the attack on the EFR camp in Silda in West Bengal in February and the ambush of CRPF personnel in April), the other two incidents, a massacre in a village in Bihar’s Jamui district and the blowing of the passenger bus in Dantewada, involved large numbers of civilian casualties, including many poor adivasis. Such indiscriminate attacks, divorced from any immediate context of people’s struggle, and the resultant large-scale loss of human lives, are clearly indefensible. Removed from the issues and struggles of the people, such incidents only alienate the broad masses and end up strengthening the very state and its repressive campaign the Maoists claim to be fighting.
The state has indeed been quick to exploit the situation. In an interview to NDTV, Chidambaram called for a ‘larger mandate’ to tackle Maoist insurgency that would possibly involve air-support. He said security forces and concerned chief ministers all had been demanding air-support for anti-Maoist operations. The same channel also cited a survey which indicated considerable ‘popular’ support for army intervention. Chidambaram said the ‘people’ were ready for harder options while it was only the government which was exercising caution and restraint! While some Congress leaders, Digvijay Singh in particular, attribute the Chhattisgarh incidents to the utter failure of the BJP government in the state on the ‘development’ front, the BJP is accusing the Congress of pursuing a soft and half-hearted line.
By all indications, there is a growing ruling class consensus for a more aggressive military campaign even while ruling out the option of direct army deployment in the immediate context. The issue of anti-Maoist strategy however figured quite prominently in the May 17-19 Army commanders’ conference in New Delhi, and the Army is clearly getting ready for a larger and more central role, however indirect. Television channels too have lost no time to project the Dantewada episode as a ‘turning point’ in the ongoing operation. The so-called Digvijay Singh school of ‘democratic’ opinion in the Congress is no dissenting voice giving primacy to development and political solution – it is essentially a contention between two repressive strategies, the BJP’s discredited and defeated Salwa Judum model of Chhattisgarh model versus the Andhra model of the Congress.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has intensified its campaign against human rights activists and civil society organizations that have questioned the theory and practice of Operation Green Hunt. Chidambaram misses no opportunity to threaten dissenting intellectuals with dire consequences under the draconian UAPA. After the latest incident in Dantewada, he immediately demanded an answer from the intellectuals and civil society activists as if they were responsible for the incident! The May 22 issue of Tehelka talks of some IB communiqué listing 57 organisations including prominent civil liberty organizations like PUCL, PUDR and APDR and well-known communist parties like CPI(ML)(Liberation) as ‘front’ organizations for Maoists! With every passing day, Operation Green Hunt is increasingly turning out to be nothing but Operation Witch Hunt!
This witch hunt will certainly have to be resisted, and resisted by insisting on and carrying forward the logic of people’s struggle and democracy. It is true, that peaceful protests are often considered weak and subjected to state repression, as is happening right now in Orissa where the government is trying to crush all opposition to the Tatas in Kalinganagar and POSCO in Jagatsinghpur by unleashing state repression and state-sponsored corporate coercion. But this cannot justify the indiscriminate acts of the Maoists which only alienates the masses and ultimately ends up weakening people’s movements and strengthening the state. The resistance to operation green hunt will therefore have to go hand in hand with the rejection of Maoist anarcho-militarism.
Handout issued by CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya at press conference held in the Party’s Bihar State Office in Patna on 16 May
1. The CPI(ML) strongly condemns the unprovoked firing and arson carried out by the Orissa state police yesterday (15 May, 2010) against a peaceful dharna of farmers and fisherfolks opposed to the proposed POSCO steel project in Jagatsingpur district. Over 100 people have been injured and many shops and houses in Balitutha village, the site of the dharna, have been set on fire by the policemen. It should be noted that hundreds of villagers had been sitting in a peaceful dharna since 26 January 2010 to express their dissent against the proposed plant.
The police assault on the PPSS (Posco Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti) activists is only the latest example of a continuing reign of state terror and corporate coercion in Orissa. In Kalinganagar region too, people opposed to the Tata plant and demanding justice for Kalinganagar massacre victims, are faced with daily doses of police raids, intimidation and assault.
The Orissa unit of CPI(ML) has announced a series of mass protest actions in Orissa. The CPI(ML) appeals to trade unions, peasant and agriculture labour associations and all democracy-loving people to rise in protest against the Orissa government’s repressive campaign.
2. The opportunist NDA government in Jharkhand has pushed the state into the abyss of anarchy. The BJP first talked of withdrawing support and then shamelessly put the proposal on hold to explore the possibility of foisting some BJP leader as the next Chief Minister! The power-hungry politics of the BJP has thus been fully exposed in
Jharkhand. The CPI(ML) has called upon the Jharkhand Governor to take steps for convening an immediate session of the State Assembly. The party will observe “dhikkar saptah” in Jharkhand from 18 to 25 May to mobilize public opinion against the ongoing mockery of democracy in Jharkhand.
3. The CPI(ML) congratulates the poor and middle peasants and small tenants and sharecroppers of Bihar for their overwhelming response to the ongoing movement for land and tenancy reforms. Following the successful March 30 Jan Adhikar Rally in Patna and the May 10 founding conference of All India Kisan Mahasabha, the CPI(ML) Polit Bureau, which met in Patna on 11-12 May, has called for countrywide intensification of the battle for land and tenancy reforms, food and social security and greater employment guarantee and increased wages under MNREGA. In this context, the party welcomes the AIALA’s move for a one-day countrywide rural strike on 7 July and appeals to all mass organizations of the working people to extend full support to this proposed strike.
4. The CPI(ML) welcomes the recent verdicts on Laxmanpur-Bathe and Bathanitola massacres as an elementary victory in the protracted battle for justice. But for the courage shown by the fighting poor in these villages and the sustained involvement of the CPI(ML), the battle for justice could not have been brought to this point. While the masterminds of the Ranvir Sena are yet to be brought to justice, the punishment awarded by the lower court to even a few of the perpetrators of these heinous massacres amounts to a strong indictment of the previous as well as current government. While Lalu Prasad’s government had allowed the Ranvir Sena to kill with impunity, Nitish Kumar disbanded the Amir Das commission to protect the political patrons of this killer gang. The CPI(ML) therefore appeals to the justice-loving people of Bihar to intensify the battle for justice and give a fitting political rebuff to all the forces who have been responsible for perpetrating and patronizing such brutal mass killings.
Protest against Kalinganagar firing and Posco crackdown in Delhi
Scores of CPI(ML) members held a protest demonstration at the Orissa Bhawan in New Delhi on 19 May to protest the highhandedness of police and administration and crackdown on the peaceful protests in Kalinganagar and Jagatsinghpur. A five-member delegation from the protesters handed a memorandum for Orissa’s Governor to the resident commissioner of Orissa at Orissa Bhawan.
The Governor, Orissa.
Subject: Request for urgent intervention to stop police atrocities on peaceful protestors against corporate land grab in Orissa
We gathered today at Orissa Bhavan in the national capital to protest against the recent spate of police firing and atrocities on peaceful protestors in Orissa to facilitate the loot of land and resources by corporations like Tata and POSCO.
Since May 15, there has been a massive armed assault by 25 platoons of the Orissa police, deploying crude bombs, bullets and batons against a dharna that thousands of peaceful villagers have held since January 2009 against forced displacement to make way for the proposed steel plant of South Korean MNC POSCO in Jagatsinghpur district, Orissa. More than 100 people, including women and children, are reportedly injured, five of them seriously. Those (such as the local CPI MP) attempting to visit the area in solidarity with the protestors are being arrested.
Two days before that, Orissa police opened fire on villagers in Kalingangar agitating against proposed displacement to make way for a Tata steel plant. One person was reportedly killed and several injured.
In both Kalinganagar and Jagatsinghpur, the villagers have been carrying out peaceful agitation against their displacement for the last five years. Goons patronized by the government and corporations have been attacking the peaceful agitations - looting houses and burning foodgrain on March 30 in Kalinganagar and throwing crude bombs of kerosene and petrol amongst the protesters on dharna at Jagatsinghpur.
It is strongly condemnable that the Orissa Government’s stock response to any mass agitation is a cold and calculated strategy of outright repression. This was witnessed at Narayanpatna some months back, when tribals agitating for land rights promised by the Government and against atrocities on women during a police raid were fired upon and their leaders shot dead. The police firing at Kalinganagar and Jagatsinghpur are further proof of the same policy. Worse, sections of the local population are being mobilized in gangs patronized by government, ruling parties and corporate houses, in a style reminiscent of Salwa Judum as well as of attacks by the ruling party in Singur and Nandigram, to launch armed attacks on the peaceful protestors.
We wonder if the present spate of attacks is an extension of Operation Green Hunt in Orissa – combining as it does the multiple aims of facilitating corporate land grab, suppression of people’s movements and branding of the latter as ‘terrorist.’
We demand your urgent intervention to put a stop to the state repression and corporate coercion in Orissa.
Stampede in New Delhi Station: Mamata Must Resign
The CPI(ML) deeply condoles the death of two passengers in a stampede in New Delhi railway station on 16 May afternoon. The stampede, caused by a last-minute announcement of change of platform of two Bihar-bound trains, also left scores of passengers injured. In the past too, New Delhi station has witnessed such stampedes. Instead of investigating the reason behind this lapse and taking steps to check its recurrence, the railway ministry is trying to deny the stampede itself, let alone the lapse on the part of the railway administration that triggered it, instead blaming the passengers themselves for the deaths and injuries. It is widely known that the Minister for Railways, Ms Mamata Banerjee, pays little attention to her ministry and remains preoccupied with West Bengal politics. Even after this completely avoidable tragedy she refused to express any regret or listen to any criticism, arrogantly claiming that she was least bothered about whatever may happen in Delhi! The CPI(ML) therefore demands her immediate resignation as railway minister.
“The Crisis of the Left and Prospects of Future” - Seminar by Left Coordination Committee of Kerala
A national seminar on “The Crisis of the Left and Prospects of Future” was organized by the Left Coordination Committee (LCC) of Kerala at Calicut on 14 May 2010. Com. Muralidharan, State Secretary of LCC, chaired the inaugural session and Com. Mangatram Pasla, General Secretary of CPM (Punjab), inaugurated the seminar. Pasla said that the CPI(M) has deviated from 1964 party programme and from its own commitments. He called upon all Left forces to come together to fight CPI(M)’s opportunism. Com. Chandrashekar, State President of LCC, welcomed the gathering and Advocate Kumaran Kutty introduced the topic.
Speaking in the second session, Com. V. Shankar, CCM of CPI(ML), called for revitalization and rejuvenation of the Left movement in the present juncture of major crisis in the social democratic Left camp. He proposed the formation of a platform of alternative Left forces, which would act as a platform of people’s struggles and provide a radical alternative to social-democratic bankruptcy and betrayal. At the present juncture, such a forum could focus on a common agenda that might include burning and basic issues like price rise, land reform and state repression and corporate coercion. He cited the April 27 Bharat Bandh in which CPM(Punjab) led by Com. Pasla and LNP(L) of Maharashtra had joined hands with the CPI(ML)(Libertion).
Com. Alok Mukherjee of CPI(ML) (Janshakti) also spoke in this session and he dealt with some of the major issues confronted by the Left, including caste question and democratic centralism. The session was chaired by Com. Sugathan, state functionary of LCC.
The seminar was also addressed by comrades MM. Somasekharan, one of the prominent and former leaders of the erstwhile CPI(ML) (Red Flag), Dr. KN. Ajoy Kumar, former leader of CPI(ML) (Red Star) led by KN Ramachandran, KC Umesh Babu and KS Hariharan, Editor of Janashakthi, the magazine of LCC.
The seminar was followed by a state level organizational convention of the LCC on the following day. The convention decided to intensify its efforts to form a platform of alternative Left forces in the country and to float its own mass organization of workers and youths. The convention also discussed its strategy for the forthcoming panchayat elections.
The determination to hold on to the Left ground in Kerala against the CPI(M)’s wish of dissident forces getting frittered away reverberated through the entire programme. The Left Coordination Committee comprises of former CPI(M) members and activists in Kerala all of whom have left the party in the recent past. The LCC also intends to bring together all Left forces in the state on a common platform to provide a Left alternative to the CPI(M)-led LDF.
Colourful and militant Processions in Assam
May day celebrations were reported in an earlier issue of this news letter. Here are some updates. AICCTU and its affiliated trade unions observed May Day in different districts of Assam. In Tinsukia an impressive colourful procession of 3000 workers, particularly tea garden, rural, unorganized, contractual, ASHA and power workers was organized under AICCTU led May Day Celebration Committee comprising of different trade unions, and a meeting was held under the President-ship of Comrade Subhas Sen. Jhumur dance and Bihu dance were performed in the procession that added a new dimension to the programme. In Dibrugarh, meetings were held at two places- Lahowal and Tingkhong, where main participants were also tea workers and rural and agrarian workers. In Bihali, Sonitpur district, AICCTU affiliated Assam Sangrami Chah Sramik Sangha (ASCSS) and AIALA organized a massive colourful procession and a mass meeting in New Ketela field (tea garden) and it was presided over by CPI(ML) leader Com. Dharmakanta Haloi and addressed by Com. Bibek Das, Lila Sarma, Lakshi Kurmi etc. and performed Jhumur and Bihu dance and other cultural programmes. In Guwahati May Day meetings were held at Bonda and Guwahati Refinery. Apart from these meetings a joint meeting and a procession of central trade unions including the AICCTU were organized in Guwahati city. In Nagaon, meetings and processions were organised in Nagaon town and Jakhalabandha. In Barpeta district AIALA and CPI(ML) organized a meeting and a procession in Barpeta. In Silchar May Day was observed jointly with different central trade unions. In Jorhat ASCSS and AIALA organized a procession of more than 1000 workers and peasants in Kakajan through NH-37 and held a meeting in Kakajan Kala Krishti Kendra. In Karbi Anglong May Day was observed in Diphu party office, Disobai, Dakmoka, Kheroni, Rongbong way and Hariharjan. CPI(ML), ASDC(P), KANKIS, KSA leaders delivered their speeches in these meetings.
In this year’s May Day programmes, main participants were tea, rural and workers of unorganized sectors, which are worst affected by the pro-corporate policies of the Government. It demands urgent steps to organize and unite these sections of the working class.
Pledge Day in Chhatisgarh
Twentieth shahadat diwas (martyrdom day) of Shaheed Darasram Sahu was observed on 6th May as Sankalp diwas (pledge taking day) at Lal Khadan in Bilaspur. CPI(ML)’s Chhatisgarh Secretary Com. Brijendra Tiwari garlanded the Martyr’s statue and hoisted the flag. Com. Darasram’s wife Sushila Bai presided over the meeting organised in the Party office. Meeting was addressed by CMM’s Bhamudas Vaishnav, Keshav sahu from Raipur, Bilaspur’s Party Secretary Lalan Ram, Bhagwat Pal, Uma Pal, Abhay Narayan Rai and Brijendra Tiwari. Workers from Sipat’s Hind Energy Coal Company also attended the meeting. Post meeting, an 8-member convening body of AICCTU in Bilaspur was also formed. The meeting resolved to intensify the struggle against repressive BJP Govt. in the State and pro-corporate and anti-common man UPA Govt. Meeting also demanded immediate arrest of the kidnappers and assaulters of Comrade AG Quraishi.
CPI(ML) Youth leader Kidnapped in Bihar
Comrade Rupesh Kumar Singh, CPI(ML)’s Bhagalpur District Committee member and Revolutionary Youth Association’s (RYA) Dist. Secretary was kidnapped at noon from Naugachhia Bus Stand on 18 May 2010. Soon 200 Party and RYA members reached the Naugachhia Police Station and have been since continuing to gherao it. Although the police have conducted searches but no clue has yet been uncovered. The gherao of the Thana is on.
JSM Organises Kavita Paath in Delhi
Jan Sanskriti Manch (JSM) organised a poetry recital and seminar on Hindi Poetry at Gandhi Peace Foundation on 16 May in New Delhi. Poet Manglesh Dabral noted that though the reporting and detailing in today’s poetry is more than enough but their tone and tenor is apolitical and that hope cannot be sustained and saved through artificial means.
JSM’s Delhi Secretary Bhasha Singh read out a resolution condemning the threat of arrests issued by Home Minister P Chidambaram to intellectuals and cultural activists for their opposition to Operation Green Hunt and corporate loot. This resolution as well as another one to demand justice for Nirupma Pathak and punishment for her relatives accused of murdering her were passed unanimously by the poets and cultural activists. Many well known poets recited their poetries and it was followed up with lively discussion on “Hindi Kavita – Samkalinta se Aagey”. The proceedings were conducted by Sudhir Suman.
Comrade Brajendranath Pandey and his wife Saroj Pandey were murdered at 2.30 am on 12 May 2010. This tragic incident took place in the course of a family dispute over land. Comrade Pandey was 80. He had participated in the freedom struggle and been jailed during the Emergency. He joined the CPI in 1959 and when the CPI split in 1964 he joined the CPI(M). In 1994 he joined the CPI(ML) and remained a member till the end of his life. He attended the Party Congresses at Varanasi and Patna and was a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Committee of the party. Comrade Pandey always raised his voice against deprivation and feudal oppression in Rewa.
His funeral was attended by Central Committee member Comrade Rajaram and Comrade Surendra Tiwari, who bid farewell to him with the red flag. On 14 May a memorial meeting was held in Kothi Compound, Rewa, where his photograph was garlanded and a minute’s silence observed. A condolence resolution was read out by Chhattisgarh State Secretary Comrade Brijendra Tiwari. Apart from his family members, many local people attended the meeting. The meeting was addressed by Comrade Rajaram, the UP AICCTU State Secretary Anil Varma and Allahabad district Secretary Dr. Kamal as well as CPI(M)’s MP State Secretary Comrade Badal Saroj and many lawyers. The meeting demanded the sternest punishment for the killers. The meeting was presided over by Ajay Khare of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad, and conducted by socialist activist Subhash Srivastava.
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: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org