Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ML UPDATE 31 / 2010

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 13, No. 31, 27 JULY – 02 AUGUST 2010

Corruption and Authoritarianism: Hallmarks of Nitish-Modi Regime

In parliamentary parlance, MLAs or MPs belonging to the government side are often described as comprising the 'treasury benches'. The treasury is obviously quite central to the notion of any government. Highlighting the centrality of the treasury to Nitish Kumar's theory and practice of 'good governance' in poll-bound Bihar is a staggering Rs. 11,412 crore treasury fraud. Successive annual reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) have been pointing to the growing discrepancy in amounts withdrawn from the Bihar treasury and accounts submitted by the Bihar government. Matters came to a head when on July 15 the Patna High Court ordered a CBI probe into this growing hole in Bihar's annual accounts.

The discrepancy detected by the CAG goes back to the year beginning on April 1, 2002 and runs through two successive regimes and the intermediate period of President's Rule to March 31, 2008. While the withdrawals thus began during the last years of Rabri Devi's reign as Chief Minister, the fraudulent withdrawals have grown dramatically in recent years and most of the withdrawals have happened under rural development and employment heads like Indira Awas, MNREGA, mid-day meals etc. Nitish Kumar never tires of telling the people of Bihar how he has 'reversed' the negative trends of the Lalu-Rabri era, but the treasury fraud, more than 11 times as big as the infamous fodder scam, serves as a stark reminder of the cruel continuity between Lalu Prasad's widely condemned misrule and Nitish Kumar's much-trumpeted reign of 'good governance'.

The NDA government of Bihar promptly went back to the High Court describing the CBI probe as a judicial infringement on the rights of the legislature. The High Court, while reserving its verdict on this petition has meanwhile stayed the CBI probe till its next order. But the same government revealed its true attitude to the rights of the legislature when as many as 67 opposition MLAs were suspended and women legislators manhandled in the name of enforcing 'order' in the Assembly. Ironically, while the High Court stayed the CBI probe, the government tabled the 2008-09 CAG report on the last day of the monsoon session in an opposition-free Assembly which exposed many more cases of fraudulent withdrawal.

During the fodder scam Bihar had heard stories of how bulls were supposedly transported on scooters. The latest CAG report reveals a similar storyline of foodgrains weighing more than 3,000 quintals which were meant for Kosi flood victims having been reportedly transported by scooters, motorcycles, jeeps and even non-existent vehicles! In maternity benefit schemes, there are withdrawals attributing five childbirths to the same mother over a period of two months! The government admits that there has been 'delay' in submitting accounts and to set it right the government has now ordered senior district and departmental officials to furnish all pending vouchers within a week! Indeed on July 24, the government told the High Court that bills worth nearly Rs. 5,000 crore had already been submitted! If these bills are now probed, we will surely get to hear many more incredible stories of monetary miracles by the Nitish-Modi duo.

The CAG reports clearly corroborate the public perception and experience of growing bureaucratic domination and 'developmental corruption' under the present government. In fact, the people themselves have unearthed many local-level scams related to MNREGA, PDS, housing and many other rural development schemes. We are also aware of the excise scam indicated by the erstwhile excise minister who was shown the doors for daring to write to the CM asking for a probe into the excise evaded by the growing army of liquor vendors. The CBI or any investigative agency will really have to cast its net pretty wide to get a proper assessment of the actual incidence of frauds in Nitish Kumar's paradigm of development and good governance.

If megabuck corruption is back in a big way, can criminalization – the notorious political cousin of corruption during the later years of RJD rule – be far away? The JD(U) and BJP have of course always been known for patronizing their own set of criminal-politicians. The Sunil Pandeys and Dhumal Singhs have been known to be an integral part of the JD(U) camp. And now with elections round the corner, Nitish Kumar is cosying up to a whole set of notorious mafia dons who had once been central to 'governance' under the RJD. Former central minister and RJD leader Mohammad Taslimuddin, a 'powerful' name in Kishanganj region in Bihar-Bengal border, has recently joined the JD(U). The other day Nitish Kumar visited the ancestral house of Anand Mohan in Panchgachia village in Saharsa district. Reports have it that Anand Mohan's wife Lovely Anand, a former MP, has been offered a senior party post in the JD(U). It is also believed that moves are afoot to induct Hina Sahab, wife of Siwan's notorious former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, into the JD(U) fold.

Both Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi are products of the historic student-youth movement of 1974 which was directed primarily against corruption and authoritarianism. Today the very combination of corruption and authoritarianism has become the hallmark of the Nitish-Modi regime. Faced with charges of corruption, Nitish Kumar initially sought to dismiss corruption as a grassroot-level problem and now that report after CAG report indicts almost every department of his government for fraudulent withdrawals he is trying to pass it off merely as an issue of 'adjustment of accounts'! The High Court may have 'reserved' its judgment, but the ball is now in the court of the people and the people will surely not brook corruption and authoritarianism in the name of 'development' and 'good governance'!

Time to Encounter Modi's 'Fake Terrorist' Racket


mit Shah, who was Gujarat's Minister of State for Home Affairs as well as Law and Justice, has been charge-sheeted by the CBI for involvement in the fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. The evidence points to an organised racket by the Modi-led BJP Government of Gujarat to stage fake encounters of 'Muslim terrorists' in order to boost the Modi's image as an anti-terrorist hero.

Let us recall the facts. In 2005, the Gujarat police claimed to have killed a Lashkar-e-Taiyyeba terrorist Sohrabuddin Sheikh who had plotted to assassinate Narendra Modi. Sohrabuddin's brother doggedly pursued the truth – and eventually the chilling details emerged. An investigation by the Gujarat CID revealed that Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi along with close aide Tulsiram Prajapati had been picked up from an AP state transport bus by police personnel of Gujarat, Rajasthan as well as Andhra Pradesh, and taken to Gujarat. There Sohrabuddin had been killed in cold blood and declared a terrorist. The CID investigation found that Kauser Bi too had been killed and her body burnt because she was an eyewitness to Sohrabuddin's abduction and murder. In 2006, when the CID enquiry into Sohrabuddin's death began gaining ground, Tulsiram Prajapati too was shot dead by the Gujarat police. The latter claimed that Prajapati had escaped from jail and was shot in an encounter; but the CID established the encounter to be fake. The Gujarat CID had recommended a CBI enquiry. Since the Gujarat CID was clearly under compulsion and unable to pursue the case, the Supreme Court had handed the case over to the CBI. The CBI enquiry eventually led to the arrest of Gujarat top cops including the notorious DIG Vanzara. CBI's evidence further indicates the direct involvement of Amit Shah and his close aides in threatening as well as 'coaching' witnesses in the case.

The CBI charge-sheet indicates that Sohrabuddin was a small-time criminal who had been used as a pawn in an extortion racket (covering many states) run by senior police officers as well as top functionaries in the Gujarat Government like Amit Shah. When his utility was at end and powerful business interests put out a contract to get Sohrabuddin eliminated, the Gujarat police sought to kill two birds with one stone. Not only would they kill Sohrabuddin to suit various business interests; they would brand him as an 'Islamic terrorist' who was plotting to kill Modi and thereby make political capital out of Sohrabuddin's assassination.

Nor was Sohrabuddin Sheikh the only victim of such staged encounters in Gujarat. Vanzara's team had boasted of 'encountering' at least 10 'terrorists' since 2002 – and every time they claimed that the 'terrorists' were plotting to kill Modi or Pravin Togadia or some other top BJP leader. These include the 'encounter' of college student Ishrat Jehan and Javed – which have been found by a magisterial enquiry to be fake. This series of staged encounters indicates that the killings were not random acts by rogue policemen – rather they were organized to serve the political agenda of whipping up a bogey of 'Muslim terrorists' while boosting the BJP's image of being 'tough on terrorism.'

The BJP has responded to Amit Shah's arrest, predictably, by accusing the Centre of misusing the CBI and claiming that Shah's arrest is to appease 'vote-bank politics.' Further, it has demanded a 'national policy on encounter killings' – in other words, demanding a ban on any probes into encounter killings on the grounds that they will demoralize the police and 'deter police from killing terrorists.' The BJP should answer: was the murder of Sohrabuddin, Ishrat and others not a ploy to create a communal 'vote-bank'? The BJP should also take note of the fact that it was the Gujarat CID and not the CBI that first pointed the needle of suspicion towards Amit Shah. The Gujarat CID report had revealed that Shah had illegally demanded lists of witnesses yet to be probed by the CID, so that the list could be provided to accused police officers to enable them to 'take measures in their defense.' It was the Gujarat CID report that had pointed to "the collusion of [the] State government in the form of Shri Amit Shah, MOS for Home," and the possible "involvement of [the] State government in a major crime," and which had recommended a CBI enquiry in the first place. The CBI has only followed the leads and evidence provided by the Gujarat CID.

A national policy on encounter killings already exists: the NHRC has clearly laid down that each such killing must be impartially probed and an FIR of murder registered in each such case. But this policy is observed only in the breach. The Congress and the UPA Government should rather be asked: if a CBI enquiry in the Sohrabuddin case is revealing so many truths, why has the Central Government refused a CBI enquiry into the Batla House 'encounter'? Also, the question should be raised as to why the CBI has failed to follow up the probe into the role of Andhra Police personnel who provided the Gujarat police with all sorts of illegal services to help them abduct Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi. Is it because such an enquiry would indicate the involvement of the police of Congress-ruled AP in the fake encounter?

The Modi Government's project of manufacturing 'fake terrorists' who were killed in staged encounters is an extension of its project of communal hate-mongering and genocide. The democratic and secular movement in this country cannot rest till Modi and his men be brought to book for their crimes of communal pogroms and fake encounters.

Singur March

The history of the Singur movement is well-known. The fundamental issues now are return of the lands taken away forcibly, reclaiming the lands turned waste by the Tatas and establishing the rights of recorded and unrecorded share-croppers. The people of Singur are in no mood to allow these demands to be swept under the carpet of distribution of a few stalls or the proposed railway coach factory. The people knew our party's position independent from both the LF and Trinamul Congress (TMC). Being aggrieved at TMC's betrayal of these issues, the people began keeping themselves aloof from the TMC rallies and mass meetings and a section of them approached us to raise the issues at the state level. This constituted the backdrop of our 15th July Singur March, which started as a procession and culminated in a mass meeting.

The meeting was presided over by Comrade Tapan Batabyal, State Committee member of CPI(ML). Addressing the gathering Comrade Subimal Sengupta – Secretary of the West Bengal Peasant Association – said that the TMC had declared that lands would be returned to the peasants. But after the parliamentary elections they are keeping mum over the issue. The TMC is talking about change in the seat of power in West Bengal, but the panchayats led by the TMC have failed to play any role in changing the conditions of the poor people in the area.

Com. Prabir Halder, Secretary of the District Committee of CPI (ML), told the masses that the movement in Singur has developed on a solid peasant base. The Left Front Government had unleashed repression and taken away lands. But the people of Singur did not pardon them and they will have to exit from the seat of power in West Bengal. The TMC too has betrayed Singur, by shifting the movement to Kolkata. But the people of Singur are eager to build the movement anew. And the CPI(ML) will surely try to build up this movement.

In the midst of the mass meeting, in which about thousand people had gathered, some youths came and spoke about their demands. They said that there is so much talk about development – but when the agrarian crisis has assumed such a huge proportion, why could the panchayat samitis (which are under TMC control) not take any initiative to clean the river Kana and put it to use for irrigation purposes? This could be done through the NREGA work, they asserted.

Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) State Secretary Comrade Partha Ghosh said that the ruling class parties fear and wish to suppress the peasant movement – in this respect, there is not much of a difference between the CPI(M) and the TMC. He further said that very recently a TMC leader visited Singur and he could sense that the people of Singur were getting aggrieved. Comrade Partha Ghosh told the masses that wherever the TMC controls the panchyats and the zila parishads, there is rampant corruption, party politicking and arrogance. He called upon the people of Singur to build movements once again and on a stronger premise.

CPI(ML) Politbureau member Comrade Kartick Pal observed that as the days of CPI(M)'s exit from power are approaching, the CPI(M) leaders are saying in the assembly that no more land will be taken away from the peasants. And the TMC on the other hand is indulging in empty populism. He further said that it is imperative to realise the essential class character of the TMC and build up movements on the issues on which the people of Singur are aggrieved.

Punjab: Flooded Fields, Callous Government

In the wake of severe floods in Punjab, a CPI(ML) team visited the affected areas. One team comprising the Party's Punjab Secretary Rajwinder Rana, State Secretary of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha Punjab, Bhagwant Singh Samao, President of Punjab Kisan Union Sukhcharan Singh Danevalia and Vice Presidents Ruldu Singh and Meet Singh visited affected villages of Mansa while another team lead by RYA Punjab General Secretary Hasmeet Singh, Cashier Ajaypal Natt, Chandigarh unit head Sawinder Singh, Rajinder Hodla and Amrit Pal Singh visited affected villages of Sangrur district.

While the fields of Punjab are flooded and its farmers and labourers in great distress, Scotch whisky rather than flood waters figure higher on the priorities of the Government and the ruling class parties. Even as Punjab fights the flood, 8 of its MLAs from the ruling Akali Dal and the BJP including the Assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon and one MLA from the opposition Congress made a visit to Scotland to study whisky manufacturing processes there!

Punjab has nearly 12700 villages, of which more than 1200 are under flood water. In other words 10% of Punjab is flooded. Many leaders of SAD, BJP and Congress are making aerial and road visits to some affected villages, merely as a media photo-op. The Government has shown criminal laxity in safeguarding embankments and rushing relief to the flood-affected.

People said there is no arrangement for any vehicle to transport animals and valuables of poor farmers and labourers to safe places. Neither has the relief work for providing food, clean drinking water, animal fodder, medicine etc. being carried out in the affected villages. The MLAs and MPs are just visiting the main road and bridges where media is waiting and then after having themselves photographed they return. Such visits are in turn adding to the misery of affected people as the Government officials working in villages have to leave their work to welcome the VIPs. People also alleged that the administration and police department is biased as they are only saving villages of ruling party leaders and the rest are left to manage on their own. People also reported major corruption and bias in providing relief to the poor as there is no record being kept of all the relief being provided.

The CPI(ML) team demanded that the Punjab Government should immediately pay `20,000 per acre to farmers as compensation for destroyed crops and `10,000 to every labourer's family. Numbers of boats provided are very inadequate and hence more boats should be floated and help in form of tents, foodstuff, water, medicines etc. should immediately be sent to the people gathered at higher safe places. Medical camps should be opened in all the affected villages and free health-care should be provided to all so as to check any break out of an epidemic. Also the government should conduct a survey of loss of pumps, cattle and other assets and relief of `50,000 should be provided to poorer families whose houses have been damaged in floods.

AIPWA Fact-finding into Struggle against Land Grab

A water reservoir is due for construction by the Department of Water Resources of Jharkhand, on the Raisa river at Gitildih village of Humta Panchayat under Bundu block of Ranchi district. The reservoir incorporates a large dam, spillway, outlets, two canals and other structures. According to the information received from Bundu's Divisional Irrigation Officer, the sanctioned amount for the project is Rs. 52,26,80,700. This project requires 11, 16, 000 square metres or 112 hectare of land is to be acquired, of which 75.60 hectares of land will fall in the submergence area. The people of Humta, Gitildih, Hesada, Kajibiru and other villages of the Humta panchayat are furious at such a project that will dislocate them en masse. They apprehend a brutal and forcible eviction from their land – as has been the norm for land acquisition all over Jharkhand.

A four member fact-finding team of activists of All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) comprising Singi Khalkho, Shanti Sen, Sarojini and Soni Tiria visited the project site. The main findings of the team are outlined below.

No attempt was made to generate a general or any consensus among the villagers before starting work on the project. The work has been forcibly started without prior payment of the compensation thereby violating the Rehabilitation and Resettlement policy. The Department of Water Resources is getting the work done through local strong man Phanibhusan Singh Munda (also the Gram Pradhan of Humta). CPI(ML) leader in the region Comrade Rameshwar Munda who has been leading protest against the project was assaulted by Phanibhusan Singh and his hit-man Buti Singh Munda. An FIR was lodged against this incident but police is yet to take any action.

About 1500 poor tribals will be displaced and lose about 150 acre of rayati land. The amount of compensation fixed per acre by the Department of Water Resources is far below the market rate. This project is a serious threat to environment also as it will cause direct deforestation in about three hundred acres of land of which 23 acre is 'khutkatti' jungle. The deforestation will seriously affect the livelihood of many tribal families who are dependent on the forests. Initially more than 300 trees have been felled. The tribals have not yet been compensated for the trees as promised by the Government officials.

Besides, the project is not even practical. According to the Irrigation officer the reservoir will irrigate 7800 acres of land; how can this justify the destruction of hundreds of acres of cultivable land and hundreds of acres of forests for the project?

The team was told by local people that the Maoists are supporting the project in return for a 'levy,' and that they have threatened the villagers opposing the project.

The AIPWA team found that the villagers have been agitating against this project since long. In February the villagers held a protest demonstration and did not let the 'shilanyas' (laying of foundation stone) take place. When the officials came for "bhoomi pujan" on 4 March the protestors forced them to go back. On 6 July they again chased away the officials and contractors who had come to initiate the project. The villagers are suspicious that any time forces can be deployed against them, in order to forcibly start the project construction work. To prevent smuggling in of machines on the site at nights, the women of the village are sleeping under the open sky to maintain a vigil.

Goons and musclemen have been hired to quell the protests. The villagers are quite clear that this project harbours fewer benefits and greater disasters for them. Therefore, AIPWA has demanded that the project be scrapped in the interests of people's lives and livelihood.

Party's Education Camp in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand unit of the Party organised a two day long (24-25 July) education camp for comrades of Nainital and Udhamsingh Nagar. Apart from the secretaries of Party branches and area committees the leading comrades from mass organisations attended the camp. In total, 22 comrades including two women from the two districts attended the education camp that focused on following topics – How did our Party Evolve, Party Programme, Communist Party and Mass Organisations and fourth was Marxist Philosophy. Comrades Purshottam Sharma, KK Bora and Girija Pathak were the teachers and facilitators for the camp.

The students and teachers in the end stressed the need for constant and rigorous study combined with research and comprehending the revolutionary essence of Marxism if the revolutionary communists are to challenge the currently intensifying predatory onslaught on people by the recession hit capitalist system. Still greater stress was put on the urgent need to educate each Party member in every branch and area committees and assist them in equipping themselves with the Marxist tools for comprehending the developments and apply their skills to build a democratic and socialist India.

Madurai: Rural Workers Strike and After

Rural workers strike of 7 July was a success in Madurai. On 7th July more than 350 rural workers most of them women assembled in front of the BDO office at Vadipatti. Strike was total in two Panchayats and more than thousand workers struck work as per an estimate. While preparations were on we faced sever resistance from the local Panchayats and DMK, the ruling party. The police denied permission for propaganda and gathering. In several Panchayats where workers gathered to catch transport to reach the BDO office for demonstration were threatened by the DMK members and prevented from reaching their destination.

Next day work was denied at Kutladampatti to those who participated in strike, and in few other Panchayats they faced threat of no work coming their way. It was decided to visit a work site along with AIALA to verify our charges of irregularities in rural job guarantee programmes like MNREGA.

Dozens of women workers from two panchayats of Kutaladampatti and Karuppatti gathered on 20th July at the BDO office and entered her chamber demanding job cards. One Panchayat has since then given job cards and work and in the other Panchayat fight is on. Due to our struggle almost all the Panchayats in the block had to release job cards.

On 21st July the APO visited Kutaladampatti Kanmoy (Lake) along with us and met the workers. He found most of the charges made by us were true (no work shelters, un-democratic/feudal approach of the Panchayats, not providing job cards, non issuance of duplicate cards, denial of cards to migrating workers and so on) In our presence an official warning was issued to Panchayats against the irregularities. These initiatives have bolstered people's faith in our Organisation. It was decided to launch a political campaign in the district against the DMK's anti-poor actions on the ground along with launching AIALA's membership cmapaign.


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:, website:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fwd: ML UPDATE 30 / 2010

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 13, No. 30, 20 – 26 JULY 2010

Sompeta: Shame on Brutal Bloodshed,
Hail the Peasants' Resistance and Victory!

Once again, we have been witness to an unequal battle – thousands of women and men, defending their land and livelihood against corporate land grab armed with nothing but sticks and chilli powder facing a thousands-strong police platoon armed with batons and guns. Sompeta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh is the latest to enact this heroic scene of resistance – seen earlier at Kalinganagar, Singur, Nandigram, Dadri, Jagatsinghpur and many other places. Four fishermen were killed in the police firing while over 60, including many women, were reportedly severely injured in the brutal lathicharge.

At Sompeta, rural poor, mainly fisher-people were protesting the setting up of a thermal power plant by NCC Power Projects Limited (NCCPPL), a subsidiary of a real estate company, the Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC). The power plant had been granted Environmental Clearance in spite of the fact that it would have destroyed the fragile ecosystem of the Beela wetlands in the area, thereby also devastating the livelihoods of the fisher-people.
Just a week ago, the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, had visited Sompeta and assured villagers that their concerns would be examined sympathetically. The power plant's environmental clearance had been challenged, and the decision of the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) was awaited. The plant was yet to get clearance from the State Pollution Control Board. Yet, in spite of the fact that so many issues were pending, why did the Congress State Government not only allow the NCC to go ahead with its plans to erect a boundary wall, but even back up the company with a police force of 2000? In full view of the police, the NCC had further amassed private goons in the guise of 'construction workers', and these goons joined the police in beating up the protesting villagers.
On the day that the boundary wall of the thermal plant was to be constructed, people of 24 affected villages gathered to protest. The police (and NCC's private goons) chased and rained baton blows and eventually bullets on the protestors who offered a brave resistance. Later in the day, the police continued their terror spree, raiding villages and thrashing villagers. The police even attacked a hospital run by a well-known local environmentalist, beating him up as well as villagers being treated at the hospital.
At the cost of their lives however, the villagers of Sompeta did win a victory. The National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA), following the firing, quashed the environment clearance which had previously been granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the NCC. Acting on appeals by environmental activists and concerned citizens against the clearance, the NEAA had sent a team in June itself, which had submitted a report. The report categorically found that the clearance was based on false information by the MoEF's appraisal committee; the latter had indulged in "concealment of information" regarding the ecological importance of the wetlands area proposed for the power plant. The NEAA has further ordered that "no new power project be approved in the State of Andhra Pradesh till a survey of all wetlands is completed".
It is telling however that it took a militant protest by thousands of villagers and the death of four in police firing to force the NEAA to act on the report submitted by its own team! Also, it must be asked, who will take responsibility for the clearance granted by MoEF which smacked blatantly of bias in favour of the private company in flagrant violation of all environmental norms?
In Andhra Pradesh, successive Congress Governments have unleashed repression – at Mudigonda, Gangavaram and now Sompeta – on the rural poor when they protest against land grab or demand their right to homestead land. Meanwhile the same Governments have turned a blind eye to corporate land grab and illegal mining by private corporations like Satyam-Maytas or NCC in blatant violation of the laws of the land. Alongside the issue of the Sompeta firing, allegations of large scale illegal mining against the son-in-law of former Chief Minister YSR Reddy are also rocking Andhra Pradesh. In neighbouring Karnataka, too, the BJP Government has given a clean chit to its two mining mafia MLAs, the Bellary brothers, despite overwhelming evidence of their being implicated in illegal mining.
Clearly, across the political spectrum, the ruling class is committed to ensuring full freedom to private corporations to loot and scoot, even at the cost of the livelihood and lives of our country's people. It is only the determined and heroic resistance struggles of the people in the face of the most brutal repression that offers any challenge to corporate loot and land grab – and any hope of saving the country's land, livelihood, environment and resources.
Punish the Perpetrators of Treasury Fraud in Bihar
In an unprecedented move on July 15, Patna High Court ordered a CBI probe into the issue of unaccounted withdrawals by the Bihar government. Successive CAG reports had pointed out a growing discrepancy between amounts withdrawn and accounts submitted, but the government of Bihar never paid any heed and by March 31, 2008 the amount of unaccounted withdrawals had reached a staggering Rs. 11,412 crore. While the withdrawals began during the last years of Rabri Devi's reign as Chief Minister, the fraudulent withdrawals have grown in bulk in recent years and most of the withdrawals have happened under rural development and employment heads like Indira Awas, MNREGA, mid-day meals etc.
The NDA government of Bihar has sought a stay on the CBI probe on the plea that the CAG report in question was yet to be processed by the Public Accounts Committee of Bihar Assembly and hence the HC order would amount to judicial intrusion into legislative autonomy. Meanwhile, opposition MLAs demanding an answer from the government on the scam have been assaulted inside the Assembly by MLAs from the treasury benches even as the BJP and the JD(U) seek to trivialize the enormous irregularity as a mere problem of 'adjusting accounts'.
The HC order corroborates the public perception and experience of growing bureaucratic domination and 'developmental corruption' under the present government. While welcoming the HC's order, CPI(ML) has called for enhancing the scope of CBI inquiry to include PDS- and excise-related irregularities, immediate resignation of the scam-tainted government and punitive action against the accused ministers and officials.
 Campaign in Industrial Zone in Jharkhand for AIALA Strike

A week long campaign from 1-7 July was took place in the industrial zone of three districts of Dhanbad, Bokaro and Ramgarh in Jharkhand organised by Central Coal Mines Workers' Union (CMWU), Jharkhand General Workers' Union, All India Central Council of Trade Union's (AICCTU) and the CPI(ML) on the issues raised by rural workers for 7 July strike as well as on the issues threatening the industrial workers of this coal belt. The week long campaign was to make industrial workers aware about the 7 July strike call by rural and agricultural workers and oppose the proposed ten percent disinvestment in the coal sector along with issues of petroleum price hike and price rise.

During this week, various joint meetings and gatherings of coal workers and rural workers were held in the BCCL-12 area, Mugma, Govindpur etc. in Dhanbad between 1-5 July. These meetings were addressed by Comrades Suvendu Sen and Dist. Secretary Nagendra Kumar apart from others. Panchayat level conventions were held at several places in Ramgarh district– Ara, Sandi, Orla, Chumba and Gungri under Mandu block addressed by comrades Bhubaneswar Bedia and Mohan Datta apart from many other comrades; Bartua, Tirri, Hehal, Paki and Jogo panchayats in Patratu block addressed by Comrades Qayamuddin Ansari apart from many other comrades; and Comrades Baijnath Mistry and Saryu Bedia addressed conventions in two panchayats of Ramgarh and Gola block. At Kathara coal mine area of Central Coalfields Limited in Bokaro district wider campaign was taken among the organised coal workers and one thousand leaflets were distributed. Campaign also took place among the rural workers of Bermo, Gomia and Chandan Kiyari. Finally, on 5 July a workers' convention was organised at Kathara in which apart from many workers, various local leaders and HMS union leaders also participated. The speakers appealed to the CMWU to conduct more campaigns on still bigger scale. Comrades Sukhdeo Prasad, Baleshwar Gope and DK Mistry addressed this convention apart from many others. Apart from discussing the sell-out of vast resources of the country to the corporates and five lakh crore subsidy to them in addition where as only 40 thousand crores for rural workers, the convention appealed to the coal workers for coming out in full support of the 7 July strike called by AIALA. Other organisational protest programmes were also chalked out for July-August against the disinvestment of coal sector.
Apart from the above mentioned initiatives many more reports are there of cycle rallies, marches, solidarity meetings etc. in almost every panchayats and attended by 1000 and 1500 rural and industrial workers respectively in Ramgarh district. Dharnas were also held at some block headquarters such as Chandan Kiyari and Bermo in Bokaro district. In these dharnas dozens of women and men from many villages participated, in one of them 50 from one village alone. A long march covering several miles was held from Petarwar to Jaridih participated mostly by the local workers, rural as well as urban and led by Comrade Parmeshwar Mahato.
People's Anger Explodes against Feudal Tyranny
An 8th standard girl of Rajpur village in Siwan's Raghunathpur block was sexually harassed by a boy from Rajput caste while on her way to school on 5 June. The girl complained to teachers but to no avail. The girl's parents and paternal uncle (who are from Yadav caste) went to the boys house to complain upon learning of the incident from their daughter. Instead of reprimanding the boy and apologising to the girl and her parents, the feudal minded family of the harasser boy severely assaulted the three of girl's family inside their house as a result of which the father Mr. Pundev Yadav lost his life at Patna's PMCH hospital on 6 June. The news of death and preceding injustice to the family evoked widespread anger in the region. The CPI(ML) decided to hold the cremation in front of the perpetrators' house. Thousands of people (despite busy season of weddings) armed with traditional weapons like lathi's etc. from several nearby villages marched to Rajpur raising slogans against the feudal-goons-police nexus. The enemies of people had run away by then seeing the growing anger. The senior police officials including the DSP present at the protest gathering requested CPI(ML) leaders for a week's time for taking action. Initially the Party was in no mood to relent to the request as couple of such incidents have taken place recently in which the police took bribes to let off the criminals. However, the DSP made repeated appeals and so it was decided to give them the time. He promised that if the accused are not apprehended in 10 days' time their belongings will be attached. Of the 9 accused two were given a chase before being grabbed and property of two were attached. Now, all except one have been arrested and sent to jail.
Successful People's Struggle against Feudal Excesses in Patna
Tineri village in Masaurhi block of Patna district has been a kind of centre of feudal excesses. Every kind of crime and barbarity has been faced by the poor of this village perpetrated by the upper castes that support the BJP-JD(U) combine. Earlier the poor could not even caste their votes and Maoists along with RJD and LJP had made inroads among the poor who were not united. Gradually CPI(ML) gained greater acceptance among the poor and they even got their first chance to exercise their right to vote in the last election held in Bihar. Ever since then the feudals of the village have started harassing and threatening the poor on pretexts made out of trivial incidents like someone's cattle or goats accidentally entering in their fields. One day on similar pretext Gulab Manjhi was being kidnapped and taken away by the feudal goons for probably being eliminated when the poor got an air of it and got promptly organised and beat away the goons and Gulab Manjhi was thus saved. On 26 June hundreds of villagers took out a protest march for pressurising the police to lodge an FIR and it was a success. July 7 was decided as the date for holding a large meeting cum gathering for further protest action. The feudal terrified by the militant assertion of the poor put all sorts of pressure on local administration and even sent appeals to Nitish Kumar to prevent the meeting of July 7 and they also announce that they will not let it take place. The Mukhiya (head of village) called on local Party cadres and tried to intimidate them and asked them to refrain from holding the 7 July protest. A Peace Committee was also initiated by the Sub-Divisional administration to reconcile the feudals and the aggrieved villagers. However, the Party decided not to entertain the pleas of the feudals and there was also the issue of long standing history of feudal excesses and people's long suppressed anger against the terrible injustices. The feudals demands were rejected and a large protest meeting was held on 7th July. Erstwhile supporters of Maoists also participated in the meeting and this has enthused the poor. This was Party's first ever meeting in this village and preparations are afoot for bigger struggles for justice.
Withdraw All India Bar Exam! AISA Protest at Davanagere
Davanagere unit of AISA in Karnataka organized a protest in front of DC Office on 19 July against the recently introduced All India Bar Exam (AIBE), equivalent to CET, for law students to practice law after enrolment. In the name of enhancing the quality of law profession, Bar Council of India (BCI) has introduced one more exam illegally through backdoor method of passing a resolution in BCI. Law students passing out of colleges from 2009-2010 onwards are not allowed to practice in courts after enrolment. They should write AIBE and only after that they will be allowed to practice, if found eligible.
AISA termed the BCI resolution as illegal and against the Advocates Act, 1961. It claimed that the right to practice is inherent in enrolment and any condition to bar practice, pre or post – enrolment, is against the law. Supreme Court has already made it clear that no condition can be imposed for enrolment.
AISA said that if the BCI feels that the universities are not competent authorities or university exams are not sufficient to ensure quality, they can very well coordinate with the university exam system. Instead, punishing students with one more exam is unjustified. AISA also demanded that entrant – advocates should be provided with proper infrastructure, legal books and journals along with a stipend of Rs.10000/pm if at all the BCI and the government are really interested in ensuring quality. AISA also demanded reversal of policy of privatization and commercialization of legal education and emergence of legal education mafia to be primarily responsible for any deterioration in law education. Protestors demanded immediate scrapping of AIBE as their major demand.
DM Prasad, NEC, AISA led the rally while Parameshwar, District President presided the demonstration. Comrades Raghavendra, NCM, Manjunath, District Secretary and Kumar, DCM addressed the gathering. A memorandum was also submitted to the BCI through the District Collector.
Party Study Camp at HPHalli, Karnataka
A Study Camp was organized at Harapanahalli on 10-11 July in order to provide new orientation to the cadres at a particular juncture of party's growth in Davanagere – Bellary district. Professor VN.Lakshminarayana spoke on the Basics of Marxism, political parties and their class nature. Com.Shankar, CCM, said that the party has succeeded in mobilizing mass of people on their own issues while the developing a team of cadres and developing appropriate party structures to provide leadership to the growing mass resentment is the real challenge and the need of the hour. He also outlined the need for a conscious ideological struggle against the deviations in election participation and against the BJP's and mining mafia's consistent attempt to ideologically corrupt masses in the region with money power. Com. E.Ramappa, state secretary, traced the growth of our party in recent years and emphasized on the need to develop a work culture of assuming responsibilities and leadership by the second level cadres in order to attain next phase of growth. State Convener of IIMS spoke on the state's political situation and the need for a left response against the communal onslaught. VP of AIPWA spoke on the need for taking up women issues as an integral part of the agricultural labour movement.
Similarly, another study class was held at HDKote, Mysore on 3rd July where majority were women cadres. Com.C.Javaraiah presided the function and the same teachers spoke on different subjects.
Puducherry Reports
On 26th June a massive protest demonstration was held at Puducherry town at the news of severe price hike in petroleum products. The demonstration was led by Com. S Motilal- Town Secretary of CPI(ML). Large number of LPG cylinder distribution workers from AICCTU participated demanding roll back of Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene and LPG prices. A silent street play was also performed amidst the protest which attracted the people.
Comrade Balasundaram, CCM, Com. S Balasubrmanian, State Secretary CPI(ML), Puducherry, State Committee members of Puducherry P Ravikumar and P Sankaran addressed the demonstrators condemning anti-people politics of UPA Government and the inaction of state governments.
July 7 rural workers strike in the union territory of Puducherry: Rural Workers Movement of Puducherry organised panchayat level public meetings at three panchayats in the Puducherry region and an effective public campaign by Karaikal unit of Rural Workers Movement during the last week of June for the first ever all-India rural workers' strike. A state level press meet was organised on 25th June. Campaign demands were also highlighted through numerous posters for rural workers strike.
On 7th July A Taluk level demonstration was held in front of Deputy Collector's office at Villianur, Puducherry. Workers unions affiliated to AICCTU struck work and participated in the demonstration. Rural workers, constructions workers of three panchayats in Puducherry region struck work. The demonstration was led by Com. P Sankaran, organiser Rural Workers Movement Com. MA Akbar, General Secretary, Democratic Construction Workers Union (AICWF), Puducherry State Secretary of AICCTU Com. S. Motilal, President Movement for Protection of Homeless Com. CS Sagayaraj addressed the demonstrators, condemning the State Congress Govt. apathy towards decline of agriculture and falling standards of agrarian labourers in the Union Territory of Puducherry. This was the largest attended demonstration in the recent past. On the same evening a big demonstration was held near bust stand at Karaikal in Puducherry where agriculture is the major occupation for livelihood. The demonstration was led by Com. K Ganesan, District organiser of AIALA, E Jayabal, Town Secretary CPI(ML) and Com. AS Dhandapani Rural Secretary CPI(ML).
National Convention of Workers call for an All India General Strike
A National Convention of Workers was held on15th July, 2010 at Mavlankar Hall, New Delhi. It was addressed by leaders of AICCTU, AITUC, HMS, CITU, INTUC, AIUTUC, TUCC and UTUC. BMS, which was a part of the ongoing joint trade union action from the very beginning, did not participate in the convention and has withdrawn from the strike call.
On behalf of AICCTU, General Secretary, Swapan Mukherjee addressed the convention and NM Thomas, vice president was in the presidium. The Convention has called for an All India General Strike in these words - The Convention…resolves to call for an All India General Strike on 7th September, 2010. The Convention calls upon the entire working people of the country, irrespective of affiliations to make the all in united call for countrywide general strike a total success. If the Govt. does not concede the demands the trade unions will intensify the struggle further and prepare for a March to Parliament.
The Poor Struggle…
"India's abysmal track record at ensuring basic levels of nutrition is the greatest contributor to its poverty as measured by the MPI. …
"The new data also shows that even in states generally perceived as prosperous such as Haryana, Gujarat and Karnataka, more than 40% of the population is poor by the new composite measure…
"Nutritional deprivation is overwhelmingly the largest factor in overall poverty, unsurprising given that half of all children in India are under-nourished according to the National Family Health Survey III (2005-06). Close to 40% of those who are defined as poor are also nutritionally deprived. In fact, the contribution of nutrition to the overall MPI is even greater in urban than rural India.
"A comparison of the state of Madhya Pradesh and the sub-Saharan nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which have close to the same population and a similar MPI (0.389 and 0.393 respectively), shows that nutritional deprivation, arguably the most fundamental part of poverty, in MP far exceeds that in the DRC…. 
"Multi-dimensional poverty is highest (81.4% poor) among Scheduled Tribes within India's Hindu population, followed by Scheduled Castes (65.8%), Other Backward Class (58.3%) and finally the general population (33.3%).
"… Based on the MPI, Bihar has by far the most poor of any state in the country, with 81.4% of its population defined as poor, which is close to 12% more than the next worst state of Uttar Pradesh.
"As per the Planning Commission's figures, 41.4% of Bihar and 32.8% of UP is poor. … Almost 60% of north-east India and close to 50% of Jammu & Kashmir are poor as per the MPI, while the Planning Commission figures are around 16% and 5% respectively…."
-         From '55% of India's population poor', Rukmini Srinivasan, TNN, July 15)
...While the Rich Prosper
"Last year may have been a cruel year for much of the country with double-digit food inflation, but India's high net worth individuals (HNWIs) prospered — just over 120,000 in number, or 0.01% of the population, their combined worth is close to one-third of India's Gross National Income (GNI).
"HNWIs, in this context, are defined as those having investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables. According to the 2009 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, brought out by financial services firms Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, at the peak of the recession in 2008, India had 84,000 HNWIs with a combined net worth of $310 billion. ...
"According to the firms' 2010 World Wealth Report, India now has 126,700 HNWIs, an increase of more than 50% over the 2008 number. While the figure for combined net worth is not available, it seems safe to assume that as a class not only have India's super-rich recouped their 2008 losses, they have even made gains over their pre-crisis (2007) positions. In 2007, 123,000 HNWIs were worth a combined $437 million.
"Meanwhile, in 2009 alone, an estimated 13.6 million more people in India became poor or remained in poverty than would have been the case had the 2008 growth rates continued, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Also, an estimated 33.6 million more people in India became poor or remained in poverty over 2008 and 2009 than would have been poor had the pre-crisis (2004-7) growth rates been maintained over these two years...."
-         From 'Rich getting richer', Rukmini Shrinivasan, TNN, June 25


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:, website: