Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ML UPDATE 43 / 2010

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 13, No. 43, 19 – 25 OCTOBER 2010

The CWG Aftermath: Lessons and Challenges

T

he Commonwealth Games 2010 are finally over. India finished second with 38 gold medals (third in overall medal tally), with Indian women participants contributing nearly 40% of the total medals. This is certainly a high point in the country's performance in international sporting events, revealing the great potential that can be tapped with appropriate policies and care. The corrupt and inept organizers of CWG 2010 are now trying to bask in this glory achieved by Indian sportspersons, hoping that the country will forget and forgive the huge scams and bungling that made everybody aware of the CWG in the first place. We cannot let that happen.

 

The UPA government has announced a high-level probe headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General VK Shungloo into various allegations of irregularities concerning the conduct of the Games. Several investigative agencies including the CBI, Central Vigilance Commission, Enforcement Directorate are supposedly already looking into various aspects of the CWG mega scam. The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, headed by Murli Manohar Joshi of the BJP, is reportedly also ready to table its report regarding the CWG expenses in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament. The report was apparently held back by the BJP till the Games were over, ostensibly to protect 'national pride'.

 

There is a strong public opinion in the country that wants responsibility to be fixed for the mammoth CWG mess. But given the maze of scams and the multiplicity of agencies involved in the whole process of organizing and conducting the Games, it is quite possible that the process of investigation will get lost in the bureaucratic labyrinth and the political game of mutual mudslinging and shadowboxing. Already there are signs that the whole thing is being sought to be reduced to a showdown between a Kalmadi and a Dixit or the CWG Organising Committee versus Delhi Government. The government has decades of experience in delaying and diverting such probes and blunting their edge by finding a scapegoat or two. Moreover, the major political parties are all closely involved in the business of running the sports and games show in the country. Pushing the CWG probe to at least some reasonable level of logical conclusion will therefore call for a high degree of sustained civil society activism.

 

The CWG debate concerns not just misappropriation or wastage of public funds and bureaucratic inrefficiency and bungling, but equally importantly issues related to the sports policy, orientation and priorities of the government. Even after sixty-three years of independence, sports in India remain largely an elitist domain. Yet the bulk of the medals have come from disciplines like wrestling, boxing and weightlifting in which people from rather humble backgrounds have been excelling in event after event. All that is needed is to ensure that more and more people have access to sports facilities from an early age which in turn demands massive decentralization of training facilities and provision of adequate sports scholarships for promising talents. But the government's obsession with sporting extravaganzas like the CWG 2010 comes precisely at the cost of such a sustained and decentralized thrust on the promotion of sports. It would be instructive to contrast the expenditure on the 1982 Asiad and CWG 2010 to the country's cumulative total sports budgets since independence.

 

There are also some striking socio-cultural and socio-economic aspects to the CWG lessons. Many of the medals won by the Indian contingent have been claimed by women participants. And a good number of these women winners are from the Punjab-Haryana belt, notorious for its patriarchal environment and institutionalized discrimination against the female sex, including rampant killing whether in the embryonic stage or in the name of family/caste/clan honour. Then there are tribal women from backward states like Jharkhand who have time and again proved that they can excel in several disciplines like athletics, archery and hockey but are often subjected to the vagaries of migration and deprivation. Improvement in the conditions of women whether in India's economically advanced states or in backward areas can open up great new vistas in the advancement of sports in India.

 

Sections of the media have tended to project CWG 2010 as India's answer to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But surely the run-up to Beijing 2008 was not marked by the kind of murky scams and bureaucratic mess that became synonymous with the Indian preparation for CWG 2010? And China proved that there is more to national pride than spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, world class urban infrastructure and the hassle-free hosting of mega global events – it was China's own sporting performance in the Olympics which put China on top of the world. India did put up a much improved sporting performance, but still has miles to go on every count, and the reason must not be sought only within the sporting arena for it lies first of all in the poor quality of India's social indicators.

 

The 2010 Global Hunger Index released recently by the International Food Policy Research Institute gives us one crucial clue. Among 84 countries ranked on the basis of three leading indicators – prevalence of child malnutrition, rate of child mortality, and the proportion of people who are calorie deficient – India was found to be lagging at the 67th place, way behind the 9th position held by China. Among India's other neighbours only Bangladesh has a worse rank (68th) while Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal are all placed significantly ahead of India at 39th, 52nd and 56th position respectively. In spite of a bigger population, China can still boast of a strong baseline and much better facilities and greater access for its vast human resources, even though the current policy regime of China has clearly led to greater income and regional disparities in the country.

 

If the aftermath of CWG 2010 witnesses a focused public debate on the orientation and priorities of India's sports policy and the wider social environment obtaining in the country, we can at least have the satisfaction of deriving a healthy byproduct from an eminently avoidable and wasteful extravaganza.

 

CPI(ML) Candidate from Sandesh Comrade Rameshwar Prasad Arrested

Former MP and president of All India Agricultural Labour Association, Comrade Rameshwar Prasad, who is the CPI(ML) candidate from Sandesh constituency of Bhojpur in the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls, was arrested on 19 October when he came to file his nominations. To arrest him, a decade-old case pertaining to a protest against police firing which had claimed the lives of four CPI(ML) supporters was invoked. In August 2000, a massive protest demonstration had been held at the Arrah Collectorate against the fake encounter in which CPI(ML) activist Vishwanath Ram was killed. The police opened fire on the demonstrators and four of them - Vishram Pandey, Harey Ram Mushahar and Dharmendra Kumar as well as a 16 year old student Anand Kumar, were killed. While the police firing case against accused police officers is still pending, police had also filed a case against CPI(ML) leaders (No. 237/2000) in the Ara/Nawada Police Station. It is this case that has been unearthed to arrest Comrade Rameshwar Prasad. It should be noted that when Comrade Rameshwar contested the Lok Sabha polls recently this case was not invoked to arrest him. Significantly, the case in question was used as a pretext in 2009 to brand legendary CPI(ML) MLA Ram Naresh Ram as well as Rameshwar Prasad as 'extremists' and seek non-bailable warrants against them. At that time, there was vociferous protest within the Bihar Assembly against this attempt at witch-hunt, and the police was forced to go on the back foot. Now again the same case – in which it was the police who killed unarmed protestors in firing, and clearly the case against CPI(ML) leaders is a retaliatory action by offending police officers – which is being used to harass a CPI(ML) candidate.

 

The CPI(ML) has strongly condemned such political targeting and motivated arrest of a party leader and candidate in the Bihar Assembly polls and has demanded release of Comrade Rameshwar Prasad and withdrawal of the decade-old case against him and other party leaders.

 

Students & Youth Gherao Singur Police Station

While the commemoration programme of fourth martyrdom anniversary of Rajkumar Bhul was underway at Singur, news reached that Police had lathicharged the protestors agitating against pollution caused by the Himadri Chemicals factory in the area and had arrested Bhaskar Dhara, leader of the anti-pollution movement.

 

Condemning the lathicharge and arrest, AISA and RYA organisers immediately gheraoed Singur Police Station. They demanded that Bhaskar Dhara be released and the polluters be taken into police custody. CPI (ML) Liberation leader Sajal Adhikari and State committee leader Tapan Batabyal were also present during the gherao. There is a long tradition of the CPI (ML)'s solidarity with agitating villagers in the anti-pollution movement.

 

The protesting villagers complained that Himadri Chemicals had been dumping waste on the surroundings since a long time, paying no heed even to the directives of the Pollution Control Board. However the Police and Administration failed to take any steps against the factory authorities. Environmental conditions of the areas adjacent to the factory are deteriorating steadily. In the morning of that day, pitch from the factory was being strewn on the road. Angry villagers put up a road-blockade in protest. Police arrived only to lathicharge the protesters. They took along Bhaskar Dhara on the pretext of holding discussions, and eventually arrested him. As the thana gherao gained momentum with local people joining the students' and youth leaders in large numbers, the IC and OCs of Singur and Haripalpur Police Stations shed their initial reluctance to listen to the demands of the gherao. They admitted complaints on the pollution and promised all the necessary action to address the matter. The gherao was then lifted. The CPI (ML) district leadership visited the affected village and discussed at length with the villagers the future strategies of the movement.

 

Workers' Struggles From Around the World: Snapshots

FRANCE

Refinery Workers on Strike

More than 10 percent of French service stations were estimated to be out of fuel after walkouts and blockades at ports, refineries and storage depots halted imports and distribution.

Refinery management threatened workers who refused to return to work with five years in prison. The workers' strike is part of the ongoing upsurge among workers in different sectors all over France against a government plan to raise the retirement age.

 

GREECE

Contract workers blockade ministry entrance

Protesting culture ministry contract employees staged a blockade/sit-in of the entrance to the ministry on 18 October. The contract employees are demanding payment of 22 months in back pay, extension of their close-ended contracts and filling in organic vacancies at the ministry with tenured personnel. They also called on contract workers to take part in the 24-hour strike called by the Association of Greek Archaeologists on Thursday.

 

BELGIUM

Railway strike

On 18 October, rail traffic ground to a halt in Belgium in response to a strike call by the Socialist trade union ACOD in protest against reform in rail freight transport which ACOD claims will cost hundreds of train drivers' jobs.

 

BANGLADESH

Postal workers' strike

At least 24,000 non-permanent Bangladeshi postal department workers walked off the job for 12 days on October 9 over a charter of demands. Bangladesh Postal Extra-Departmental Workers' Union members also struck for 12 days in July over the same issues, affecting mail services at 8,500 rural post offices and over 600 extra-departmental sub-post offices in metro Khulna. The union wants payment of festival, travel and outfit allowances, permanent appointment after five years' service and the basic wage increased to between 3,200 and 4,500 taka a month. The union has threatened to call an indefinite strike on December 6 if its demands are not met.

 

Chittagong port workers strike

Dock Bandar Sramik Karmachari Federation (DBSKF) members at the government-run Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) struck on October 11 and picketed several berths operated by private companies recently contracted by the port authority. The private operators have refused to employ CPA workers.

 

DBCKF members want the six private berth operators' contracts cancelled and the reemployment of thousands of workers retrenched since 2007 when the dock management board was dissolved by the then caretaker government.

 

After port workers took strike action in August over the issue, the CPA agreed to set up a multi-representative committee and reinstated 1,800 workers. Another 2,500 reinstatements have been approved by the committee but the union alleges that the port authority is delaying the reinstatements in line with its plans to privatise the facility

 

CHILE

Mine rescue exposes precarious working conditions

The collapse of the San Jose gold and copper mine that trapped 33 miners for 10 weeks 2,300 feet below ground has focused attention on the safety of operations at Chilean mines. Over the past 30 years, the mining industry, which accounts for 40 percent of Chile's gross domestic product, has profited from the high price of copper, gold and other commodities while keeping costs low by neglecting safety and accelerating the exploitation of its mining workforce.

 

The San Jose mine incident exemplifies what has happened to mine safety in Chile since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Under Pinochet, in the name of regulation and free market capitalism, virtually all safety regulations were dismantled. A key player in that process was current president Sebastian Pinera's older brother, Jose Pinera, minister of labor in 1980. Jose Pinera was tasked with creating a labor code that would not interfere with big business profits. In the name of a more flexible labor code that would stimulate economic growth, he abolished labor rights that had been won through decades of bitter struggle by the Chilean working class. The labor code established in 1980 continues to be the law of the land in Chile today. As a result, fully 50 percent of Chile's working class has no stable employment. At least five of the 33 miners rescued from San Jose fall under this category. The Chilean government has yet to ratify the International Labor Organization's 1995 agreement on mine health and safety. Convention 176 commits mining nations such as Peru, Mexico and Chile to undertake a modicum of health and safety measures and to commit themselves to the elimination of mine deaths by creating a national policy on health and safety, which includes regular inspections as well as provisions to protect miners from retaliation for exposing violations. The latter is a real problem in Chile, where workers are routinely sacked for complaining about their working conditions.

 

Since the turn of the century, some 350 miners have died from mine accidents in Chile, a number that may well be an underestimation. According to Dick Blin, a spokesman for the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), worldwide some 12,000 miners die every year, well above official figures. The under-reporting of mine fatalities is most glaring at small mines, such as the one at San Jose.

 

Never Give an Inch

"On l√Ęche rien," a song by HK & les Saltimbanks (Kadour Haddadi and his band), has been adopted by French workers on strike against the Sarkozy-Woerth plan to raise the retirement age.

(Source: MRZine, 16.10.2010)

 

From the bottom of my urban project

Deep into your countryside

The reality has changed

And the revolt is brewing everywhere

In this world there was no place for us

We didn't look the part

We were not to the manor born

Not on daddy's plastic

The homeless, the unemployed, workers

Farmers, immigrants, the undocumented

They wanted to divide us

And to say they succeeded

As long as it was every man for himself

Their system could prosper

But one day we had to wake up

The heads had to roll

We'll never give an inch

They told us about equality

And like fools we believed them

"Democracy" makes me laugh

If we had had it we would have known it

What's the worth of our votes

Up against the law of the market?

They say "my dear fellow countrymen"

But we're cheated all the same

And what's the worth of human rights

Up against the airbus sale?

The bottom line, there's only one law, in sum:

"Sell yourself more to sell more."

We no longer believe

Their beautiful words

Our leaders are liars

We'll never give an inch

So stupid, so trite,

To speak of peace and brotherhood

When the homeless are dying in the streets

And the undocumented are being driven out

Crumbs are thrown to proles

That's just in the history of the silent

They don't attack millionaire bosses

"Too important for our society"

It's crazy the way they are protected

All our rich and powerful

Not to mention the help they get

For being the friends of the president

Dear comrades, dear "voters"

Dear "citizen-consumers"

The alarm is ringing

It's time

To reset to zero

As long as there's struggle and hope

As long as there's life and battle

As long as we're fighting, we're standing

Here's the key

We're standing, we won't give an inch

The passion for victory runs in our blood

Now you know why we are fighting

Our ideal, more than a dream

Another world, we have no choice

We'll never give an inch

 

 

 

 

 

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate@cpiml.org, website: www.cpiml.org

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ML UPDATE 42 / 2010

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 13, No. 42, 12 – 18 OCTOBER 2010

Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar:

BJP's Sordid Saga of Opportunism

 

In state after state where it is in power or shares power, the BJP stands racked by factional wars and opportunistic strife. The BJP's "party with a difference" claims have been exposed long back by corruption and in-fighting. Even so, the recent dramas enacted in the Karnataka Assembly, the Jharkhand cabinet expansion exercise and resignations of prominent leaders in-charge of Bihar and Punjab point to a new low in the BJP's trajectory.

 

In Karnataka, the Yeddyurappa Government has lurched from crisis to crisis throughout its existence – many of them originating from the stranglehold of mining mafia over Karnatala's politics in general and the BJP Government and party in particular. In the latest instance, the BJP Government faced a challenge to its existence when 16 MLAs (11 belonging to BJP and 5 independents) rebelled. In the ensuing vote of confidence, the Government survived through a controversial voice vote (division of votes was not counted) thanks to the Speaker's questionable move of disqualifying all the 16 MLAs. The Karnataka HC is due to pronounce on whether the anti-defection law invoked by the Speaker applies to the rebel MLAs (especially the independents) or not. It appears that the Congress Government at the Centre will wait for the HC verdict before making any move to invoke President's Rule.

 

The BJP has claimed that the rebel MLAs took inducements from political rivals. From the BJP's side, their MLA Janardan Reddy of mining mafia notoriety played a prominent role in the entire episode. Whatever the outcome of this drama, the fact remains that this time, the tactics of 'Operation Kamala' employed earlier by the BJP itself (of inducing Congress and JD(S) MLAs to switch sides with the role of mining money being an open secret) has boomeranged on the BJP.

 

In Jharkhand, CM Arjun Munda's cabinet expansion exercise was a prolonged tussle between BJP and JMM leaders for plum ministerial berths, especially that of mines and minerals (known to be a 'gold mine' for Jharkhand MLAs and CMs). Even BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi reportedly referred to the entire process as a 'theatre of the absurd.' The Jharkhand BJP's internal battles resulted in another embarrassment for the party: some time ago, BJP's Punjab in-charge Yashwant Sinha tendered his resignation, in protest over the choice of Arjun Munda as Jharkhand CM.

 

Meanwhile, Bihar is witnessing a surge in election-time political opportunism – replete with turncoats, ticket trade, dynasty politics and so on. All major non-Left party offices – the BJP, Congress, JD(U), RJD and LJP – are witnessing angry protests by disillusioned ticket-seekers who now allege huge corruption and nepotism in distribution of tickets. The BJP in Bihar is very much part of this sordid process – two police vans are reportedly posted almost permanently outside the state BJP office, in anticipation of election-time brawls. The matter came to a head when BJP's Bihar in-charge CP Thakur resigned in protest against denial of a seat to his son and being kept in the dark over ticket distribution. He has however subsequently withdrawn his resignation following talks with the BJP's central leadership. A state BJP president resigning in protest against denial of ticket to his son and the central BJP President assuaging him by accepting his charge of being excluded from the decision-making process, both speak volumes for the kind of 'inner-party democracy' prevailing within the party!

 

While the Ayodhya verdict might give an unexpected boost to BJP's confidence, it has been apparent for long that the party's stock political agenda (whipping up communal frenzy and the bogey of terrorism) has been badly exposed and has failed to generate much response. Forced to fall back on a 'development/governance' plank, the BJP has found that plank too to be exposed by open opportunism and corruption in state after state where it enjoys power. We must take this opportunity to strengthen the offensive against the BJP and expose its communal character as well as the rank opportunism that it shares with other parties of the ruling classes.

 

The Human Cost of Wealth Explosion

According to a recent report on global wealth by investment bank Credit Suisse, total wealth in India has tripled over the past decade to $3.5 trillion (this is a general trend in emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region: Indonesia's wealth for example has grown five-fold over the same period) and could further increase to $6.4 trillion by 2015. Given the hardly reassuring state of Indian and world economies, will the forecast come true? More pertinently, assuming it does, will that bring India any nearer the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015?;

 

Such apprehension arises in view of a number of very disturbing facts and trends. The hallowed wealth increase occurred almost exclusively among the uppermost and higher-middle layers of population and much of it in stock market operations, where only around 5% of Indians participate. Not surprisingly, at least 200,000 peasants committed suicide around the same time as India became the nation with the second highest number of dollar billionaires, and the yearly food intake of an average poor family in 2007 turned out to be about 100 kg less than in 1997. In 2007-08 India occupied the132nd place in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) – down from the 122nd place it occupied in the same index in 1992.

 

We have the highest number of malnourished people and malnourished children (43% of India's children under 5 are underweight – that is, with BMI lower than18.5 – the highest in the world) as of 2008. In fact almost simultaneously with the Credit Suisse report, another one by the International Food Policy Research Institute placed our country far behind Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan in terms of people – children in particular – suffering from hunger and undernutrition. With these three countries placed in the 39th, 56th and 52nd positions and China miles ahead with the 9th place in the world, India occupies the 67th position.

 

The Gini coefficient of income inequality (a statistical measure where zero denotes complete equality and one denotes absolute inequality) in India comes to a high 0.535. Inequality of opportunity – which is more important in determining a country's future growth trajectory and which depends mostly on distribution of land as well as access to education, health, stable employment etc – is even more pronounced.

 

The extremely skewed land ownership in our country is well-known, but few people know that India's educational inequality is one of the worst in the world. According to World Bank estimates, the Gini coefficient of the distribution of adult schooling years in the population, a rough measure of educational inequality, was 0.56 in India in 1998/2000, which is not just higher than 0.37 in China and 0.39 in Brazil but even higher than almost all Latin American countries.

 

Now add to these figures the wherewithal of economic growth: large-scale displacement, land grab, resource loot and onslaughts like UAPA and Operation Green Hunt. What you get is the moral of the whole story – in the neoliberal model, growth in GDP and 'national' wealth has to be inversely proportional to real development and democracy. For the aam admi, therefore, the spectacular growth prospects highlighted by the Swiss bank comes as a warning bell, implying more deprivation, more marginalization, more attacks on democratic rights, more cultural and environmental degradation.

 

Surely this cannot go unchallenged. The fight for an alternative path of self-reliant and people-centred development as opposed to the present imperialist-dictated, corporate-driven growth – an alternative that would promote relatively more egalitarian and employment-intensive and less energy-resources-capital intensive path of development – thus assumes a new urgency as we approach the second decade of 21st century.

 

Liberate Jharkhand from Starvation, Loot & Injustice:

AILC Convention Held in Ranchi

 

As part of the Nation-wide campaign by All India Left Coordination (AILC) in keeping with the Delhi Declaration of 11th August 2010, a State-level Convention "Liberate Jharkhand from Starvation, Loot and Injustice" was organised by CPI(ML) at the Gosner Theological Hall in Ranchi. More than six hundred cadres of CPI(ML) and dozens of delegates of CPM(Punjab), Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) from Maharashtra and Left Coordination Committee from Kerala attended the Convention.

 

The Convention was addressed by comrades Mangat Ram Pasla of CPM(Punjab), Bhim Rao Bhonsle from LNP(L), Kumaran Kutty from LCC Kerala and CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. Comrade Dipankar called upon the people of Jharkhand for uniting to thwart BJP's intentions of converting the State in yet another laboratory of communal fascism and launching a robust fight against displacement, eviction, and rendering land barren to build the Jharkhand anew as per the dreams of its martyrs. He further said that the ruling parties have subverted the State into Lootkhand (plunder land) by numerous MoU, lease and illegal mining. Panchayat elections under PESA have been on hold just to ensure that these MoUs are not annulled by elected gram sabhas (village committees) and it is the duty of the true inheritors of the revolutionary legacy of Birsa Munda and Mahendra Singh to transform the panchayats into a platform of struggles for democracy.

 

Comrades Mangat Ram Pasla, BR Bhonsale and Kumaran Kutty, all the speakers, while highlighting a more or less similar situation in their states, said that only a revolutionary Left movement can liberate the people from persistent ills. The Convention was also addressed by CPI(ML) leader and its representative in the State Assembly Com. Vinod Singh, renowned intellectual Shri VP Keshri and senior journalist Shri Faisal Anurag among others. The initiative and formation of AILC was warmly welcomed by the speakers who said that true Left has a serious responsibility of mobilizing and consolidating all the forces of struggle for a revolutionary alternative.

 

The Convention was presided over by Comrade Bahadur Oraon, Central Committee member of CPI(ML). Comrade JP Minz proposed the resolutions on behalf of the Convention which was unanimously passed. Prerna, a part of Jharkhand Jasam presented Cultural performances and hard work from all the comrades in Ranchi ensured the successful organising of the Convention.

 

Worker-Peasant Sankalp Sabha on Com. Basroo's 1st Memorial Day

A large assembly of workers, peasants and common people assembled at Jamua in Giridih on 29th September on the occasion of 1st Memorial Day of Comrade Ibnul Hasan Basroo took pledge to intensify the struggles Com. Basroo was spearheading in the area for democracy and people's progress in Jharkhand. Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, addressing the assembly said that Arjun Munda is infamous for selling off Jharkhand and again the Tata's and Mittal's have contrived to make him the CM for completing the job.  However, they are afraid that Panchayat elections will halt this free reign of loot and so it is not being held. He called upon all the democratic forces to unite to thwart this design and chase away the looters camping in the State.

 

Prior to this, a memorial meeting was held in Mirzaganj (Com. Basroo's village) and from there people marched in rally to Jamua CPI(ML) office to pay tribute to their beloved leader. Also present were CPI(ML) PB member Comrade DP Bakshi, State Secretary Com. Janardan Prasad, SCMs Com. AP Gupta, Rajkumar Yadav, Parmeshwar Mehta and Rajesh Kr. Yadav and CPI(ML) Dist. Secretary  Manoj Bhakt among others. Comrade Usman Ansari conducted the proceedings of the programme.

 

Demo Demanding Resignation of BJP Government

HD Kote unit of CPI(ML) in Mysore district in Karnataka organized a demonstration on 8 October demanding resignation of Yeddyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka in view of ugliest number games being played by them. The demonstrators resolved to carry forward the struggle for resignation of the BJP government for its anti-people policies. Com. C. Javaraiah, SLT member of CPI(ML) led the demonstration and condemned the BJP for resorting to the murder of democracy.

 

Coimbatore: Pricol Workers' Family Festival

Pricol workers, who are through a tough journey in their fight for democratic rights and dignity, organised a Family Festival on 10th October. Over 6000 participated in the festival and this number was initially beyond any expectations and preparations.

 

This was an attempt to impart a larger social dimension to their struggle. In the Festival they made a clear statement: "Come what may. We will not deviate from the path of struggle. We will add new tasks to our journey. Our journey will gain new strength and vigour."

 

Pricol comrades began their preparations for this festival after September 7. A sports event was organized as part of the Festival on 26.06.10 in Vivekanada Vidyalaya school ground in which 700 wards of Pricol workers participated in various games. On that day itself there were over 400 workers in the ground along with their children. Later, in the first week of October, quiz program for the workers' families, indoor games, oratory competition and essay competition were held.

 

Along with these a "Field Investigation" competition for workers' teams was held. 10 teams conducted surveys in various wards in Perianaickenpalayam. All those comrades were given one year "Theepori" subscription as a gift. Over 250 workers were involved in the hall arrangement the previous day.

 

All this culminated in a grand gathering on 10th October. From 9 a.m. workers along with their families started arriving at the venue. Around 11 a.m. the ground was full and comrades who came after that had to sit in a hall where a closed circuit TV screen was put to see the program.

 

A photo exhibition 'Instances that turned into history' was organized as a part of the Festival where photos depicting their struggles since they formed a fighting union were exhibited. Com. Swapan Mukherjee, GS, AICCTU inaugurated the program, Com. Balasundaram, State Secretary of the Party hoisted the flag and Com. Thenmozhi, State President, AIPWA, opened the photo exhibition. Mr. Ramesh, advocate who is dealing with the criminal cases of Pricol workers spoke in the Festival.

 

A cultural performance in the form of dance depicted workers struggle and there were requests from the audience for an encore. Prizes were distributed to all children who participated in various competitions. This itself took over 2 hours. A play on No Trade Union Zone was also held.

 

Comrade S Kumarasami said that only Pricol workers can beat the records created by them and they have proved it once again. He also said that Pricol workers have demonstrated clearly that they are strong in their struggle for democratic rights and they will never waver from the path of struggle. He called upon the workers to make the voice of the fighting workers resonate in the State Assembly by making a powerful intervention in the forth coming Assembly election.

 

12th Smriti Diwas of Comrade Nagbhusan & Land Struggles in Orissa

On 9th October, the occasion of 12th memorial day for Comrade Nagbhusan Patnaik (NBP) a memorial meeting titled Land Struggles Movement in Orissa was held at Nagbhusan Bhawan in Bhubaneswar. Comrade Khitish Biswal elaborated on the role of NBP in Orissa's land struggle movement and its relevance in present days and called upon all to fight against the corporate loot in Orissa which will be true tribute to a revolutionary like NBP. Com. Diwakar Naik of CPI said that NBP was the Left leader in India who tried for communist unification and saluted NBP's contribution towards Left unification and also said it is going to reflect in upcoming Bihar election.

 

Senior journalist Rabi Das emphasized on more literature on life of NBP to be published to inspire the youth of this country to join the Left movement.

 

The meeting was also addressed by Prof Nilamani Sahu, comrades Radhakanta Sethi, Tirupati Gomango, Mahendra Parida and Ashok Pradhna among others.

 

KSA candidates Win DGC Election

Post of Vice President and Gen. Secy. of Diphu Govt. College (DGC) Students' Union were won by Karbi Students' Association (KSA), an affiliate of All India Students' Association (AISA). Clearly it is an outcome of continuous student movement led by KSA-AISA. In Karbi Anglong Students' Union elections were usually determined by different types of power tactics with arms and money power represented by NSUI and UPDS outfits. This time too DGC election was declared to be held without photo identity card, so that usual strong arm tactics can be repeated. KSA's strong opposition and movement against this the authorities were compelled to defer the election, which was finally held on 9th October. Apart from fighting against privatization and commercialization of education and mal-practices of anti-student outfits, KSA has been leading a student movement on 10 point demands.

 

KSA candidate Thomson Rongpi (621 votes) won Gen Secy defeating his nearest rival an independent candidate backed by NCP leaders. NSUI came 3rd, and PAPA (Peoples' Alliance for Peace Agreement, an open organization of cease-fire UPDS) backed KSA. VP candidate Lunce Timung of KSA won (864 votes) defeating PAPA backed KSA candidate (720) and NSUI was again 3rd (523).

 

AISA Rally and Convention at Kottur, Bellary

AISA organized an impressive rally of nearly three hundred students at Kottur in Bellary district of Karnataka on 9 October on the issues of hostel facilities, fee hike and better infrastructure. More than 50 girl students took part in the march to press for their demands. With this successful rally, AISA has made a beginning in Bellary district. Most of the students were quite new to such protests and the Left student organization. The rally was organized after making repeated representations to the state and the local MLA demanding government hostels in Kottur, where more than 20000 students are studying in various colleges.

 

A successful convention was held as a culmination of the rally that passed resolutions demanding government hostels to all students from surrounding rural areas and regularization of food and other facilities being offered in government sponsored mess. Com. Rajan Pandey, AISA Headquarters In-charge , lambasted the central and state governments' anti-student reforms and progressively decreasing public spending on education that lead to lack of hostel and other necessary facilities for students' growth.

 

AISA Convention at Jagalur, Davanagere

AISA organized a students' convention at Jagalur in Davanagere district of Karnataka against the anti-student policies of central and state governments. Hundreds of students attended the convention with an overwhelming participation of girl students. The convention marked the increasing stability and growth of AISA in the district.

 

Com. Rajan Pandey, Headquarters In-charge, called upon students to rise in struggles against farcical reforms in education and commercialization and for a scientific, pro-people education. He exposed the fallacy of education reforms that are against the broad majority of poor students. Com. Prasad, NEC, declared a protest in front of Davanagere University on 14 October against the abrupt change in syllabus in the run-up to exams.

 

Com. Hanumanthappa, one of the state conveners, played a key role in organizing the convention. Taluk president Nagbushan, Davanagere president Manju and Parashuram of AIALA addressed the convention.

 

Kisan leader Murdered in Mansa-CPI(ML) leads the struggle for Justice

On 11th October a kisan leader was murdered and two other were injured when a armed gang led by a money lender and revenue officer opened fire at them. The incident happened at village Biroke that falls under tehsil Budhlada of Mansa dist. Pirthi Singh aged 38 who lost his life was an active leader of Bharti Kisan Union (dakonda group) and was resident of village Chak alisher. He was also the older brother of our party comrade Lakhwinder Lakhi who himself is the district leader of All India Kisan Mahasabha.

 

The incident happened when some revenue officials went to village Biroke for attaching the 10 canal land of a farmer Bhola Singh. This was the only piece of land that he owned. He was under the debt of about Rs.1.5 lakh of a moneylender for some time. To protest the move farmers started gathering at village Biroke. Sensing the mood the revenue officials left the scene. Farmers relaxed their vigil and some of them left the place. Only few farmers and leaders were left there. After a few hours the money lender, his associates, and armed goons with revenue officer (tehsildar) Subhash Singh reached the site again and opened fire killing Pirthi Singh and injuring two others.

 

At the time of this report, the body of slain leader was lying at civil hospital in Mansa. Various farmer organizations have joined hands to fight for justice and farmer rights. It has been reported that the gang involved in this incident is close to the ruling Akali Dal and is patronized by ex-MLA of Mansa, Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh. CPI(ML) has demanded that all culprits should be immediately booked and arrested including the revenue officer, Rs.10 lakh compensation for the family of slain leader, strict action should be taken against policemen for their negligence due to which this incident occurred, private money lending should be banned and registration should be made necessary for financial business and all court cases regarding the debt of farmers due to moneylenders (in some cases farmers r forced to sign blank promotes) should be withdrawn and abolished immediately.

 

WB: BCMF's 5th State Conference

The 5th State Conference of Bengal Chatkal Mazdoor Forum (BCMF), the state level union of Jute Workers of West Bengal and affiliated to AICCTU, was successfully held on 2nd October 2010 at Comrade Monoranjan Naskar Nagar (Budge Budge, South 24 Parganas) and Com. Sekh Asraf Manch (Public Library). 235 delegates attended the Conference and the overwhelming presence of the fighting jute workers marked the significance of the Conference.

 

Conference started after Com. Gunodhar Mondal, a veteran jute worker hoisted the red-flag and a minute's silence was observed in memory of the martyrs. Com. Basudev Bose, General Secretary of WB AICCTU, greeted the delegates and noted their important role during the 7th September strike. Com. Atanu Chakravarty, General Secretary of BCMF placed the draft document on which delegates from different jute mills put forward their views. The conference discussed at length the plight of jute workers, the areas of Violation of Tripartite agreement by the employees, the role of Central and State Govts and the tasks confronting the workers. It is to be noted that after 61 days of industry-wide strike, a tripartite agreement was signed between the employers and central trade unions active in the jute mills on 12 February 2010, but BCMF along with five other Trade Unions denied to sign the agreement due to the anti worker clause of aligning/associating production-productivity with wages, and fixing the minimum wage of jute workers at Rs. 157 were inserted in the above mentioned agreement. But after protracted strike, the workers were able to achieve some significant gains on the question of DA in particular and so BCMF decided to consolidate those gains while opposing the anti-worker aspects simultaneously.

 

Comrade Atanu pointed to the Central Govt's Expert Committee report in which it categorically pointed out that all the jute mills of West Bengal earned substantial profit, yet downsized their workforce, all the while augmenting production. But the employers are portraying this industry as sick, exploiting all the anti-workers clauses of the SICA, violating the PF, ESI and Gratuity Act with impunity. Our union will formulate demands for the workers and interfere actively in the BIFR hearing independently, demarcating with other unions if need be.

 

Some delegates from jute mills, where BCMF was not present, viz. Kanoria, Ganges, Budge Budge, EMCO also participated. The conference resolved to organise mass demonstration in the month of December before the Labour Secretariat, and to fight for the PF-pension claims of Gouripore Jute Mills, to organise all the unregistered workers sans PF-ESI and so on. The conference was presided over by a 9-member workers presidium, and elected a 45 member State Council, 23 member State Executive and 13 member Office Bearer team. Com. Nabendu Dasgupta and Com. Atanu Chakravarty were reelected as President and General Secretary respectively. The conference atmosphere was highly spirited and revolutionary.

 

 

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate@cpiml.org, website: www.cpiml.org

 

Fwd: ML UPDATE 41 / 2010

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 13, No. 41, 05 – 11 OCTOBER 2010

The Ayodhya Verdict: A Blow to the Spirit of Modern India

On the eve of the Allahabad High Court verdict on Ayodhya, we had said the verdict would be a "test case for India's secularism, democracy and justice." Now, following a close look at the shocking verdict, we must say it has failed this test on every count. 30 September, 2010 will now be bracketed with 6 December, 1992. Eighteen years after the dastardly physical demolition of the Babri Masjid, we have now seen its judicial demolition, a verdict that flies in the face of the basic principles of justice and rule of law, and challenges the fundamental spirit of a secular, democratic modern India.

 

The High Court was supposed to decide on the title suit regarding the disputed site. It is well known that the BJP and its Sangh siblings were all along wary of the court deciding on this case on the plea that the whole issue concerned "faith" and there could be no adjudication over "faith". It was clear to them that they had no legal basis for their claim and hence they chose the way of cheating the country. They assured everybody that the law of the land would be honoured, and then betrayed their own words to demolish the mosque through a communal-fascistic mobilisation in broad daylight.

 

Today, the Sangh is jubilant that the High Court has turned "faith" into law. All the three judges have accepted the fact that the idols of Ram, Sita and Bharat were smuggled in from outside on the intervening night of 22-23 December, 1949. Yet the judges have ruled by 2-1 majority that the "disputed structure" was not a mosque because it was apparently constructed by demolishing a Hindu religious structure and hence according to the tenets of Islam, it could not have the sanctity of a mosque! The other judge has of course differed on both counts – but the majority view prevailed.

 

The verdict is based heavily on two factors – the so-called 'archaeological evidence' marshalled by the ASI in its 2003 report that there was a Hindu temple on the site before the mosque was built, and the 'faith' held by many Hindus that the disputed area is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The ASI report has been widely questioned and rejected by a whole range of historians and archaeologists, and can at best be treated as a piece of speculative conjecture based on dubious evidence and questionable interpretation. The other aspect, 'faith', is just that – faith, which can by no means be treated as an evidence to decide a title suit.

 

By treating Ram as a juristic entity (albeit a minor) represented by his self-appointed 'guardian' in a title suit, the Allahabad High Court has set up a dangerous precedent of mixing blind faith and prejudice, masquerading as religion, with jurisprudence. It should be noted that the youngest litigant in this case, Ram Lalla Virajman, which has been awarded one-third of the disputed site including the all important central dome, claimed by the Sangh brigade as the exact birthplace of Lord Ram, was set up in 1989 by none other than a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, Shri Deoki Nandan Agarwal, who played a key role in making a 'legal' case out of the Mandir campaign of the Sangh brigade.

 

Having conceded the Ramjanambhoomi claim on thoroughly questionable grounds, the judges sought to give the whole thing the appearance of a reconciliatory measure whereby the disputed land would be apportioned into three equal parts with one part going to the waqf board. Reconciliation can only be attempted and achieved on the basis of truth and justice. In this case, both truth (at least recorded historical truth) and justice have been sacrificed at the altar of this phoney reconciliation formula and hence it is a compound travesty of all three. Can there ever be a dignified compromise by compromising truth and justice?

 

After Gujarat genocide, the BJP had been steadily losing ground in most parts of the country. Ever since its debacle in the 2009 Lok Sabha election – its second successive defeat in five years, the party seemed virtually clueless as to how to arrest its continuing state of demoralisation and desperation. Now the Allahabad High Court verdict has breathed some fresh life into the demoralised and desperate saffron camp. Advani has already described the verdict as heralding a new chapter in the country's history of national integration. In all likelihood, an emboldened BJP will now try and reopen the whole gamut of its 'suspended agenda' and refuel its Hindutva campaign.

 

The judicial trajectory of the case will now reach the Supreme Court. It remains to be seen if and how far the Supreme Court can salvage the spirit of law and justice and heal the post-Ayodhya wound on the body polity and the composite culture of the country that has only been rendered deeper and more acute by the Allahabad High Court verdict. Every effort must be made to make sure that the glorious tradition of India's composite culture and the secular democratic vision of modern India prevail over the Sangh brigade's conspiracy to redefine India on retrograde majoritarian lines. If the possibility of an out-of-court settlement has to be explored even at this stage, it must not be at the cost of the basic principle of reason and justice.

 

India must and shall move on, and precisely for this purpose the forces of unreason and obscurantism need to be pushed back. There can be no compromise with the crude champions of the 'might is right' argument who are desperate to silence the voices of reason and progress by all means.

 

Joint Convention of the All India Left Coordiantion at Kolkata

 

 

After the launching of the All India Left Coordination at New Delhi in August this year, its first joint convention was held at Kolkata on 5th October at the Moulali Yuba Kendra. The theme was- "Decline of the opportunist Left–Rise of the fighting Left". The auditorium was packed beyond its capacity and the convention generated quite a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm among the struggling left masses and the broader democratic circle of the State. Some notable among them were renowned poet and litterateur Nabarun Bhattacharya, Samir Putatunda of PDS and Aloke Nandy of Democratic Communist Party (Marxist). Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPI(ML), Comrade Kumaran Kutty of Left Coordination Committee (LCC), Kerala, Comrade Bhimrao Bansod, Secretary of Lal Nishan Party (Leninist), Maharastra and Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla, General Secretary of CPM (Punjab) were the main speakers at the Convention. The convention was presided over by Comrade Abhijit Majumder, Central Committee Member of CPI(ML), Liberation.

 

In his address Com. Dipankar explained the background of the formation of the All India Left Coordination and the purpose of holding the convention at Kolkata in the backdrop of decline of the ruling Left in West Bengal. He narrated the situation arising out of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case and how the verdict recognized the disputed site as the birth place of Lord Rama simply on the basis of so called popular 'faith' and thereby gave its stamp of approval to the ghastly act of demolition of Babri Masjid in December, 1992. He said, while poor of the country are starving, 60 million tonnes of food grains are perishing in the go-downs of the FCI. He pointed out that even the Supreme Court also had to direct the central government to give away those food grains to the poor free of cost, but unfortunately, the Prime Minister on the plea that it was a policy related matter of the government challenged the said verdict. He stated that the government does not have any concern for the poor, but could afford to spend Rs.70,000 crore for organizing the pompous Commonwealth Games, which is nothing but a remnant of the country's colonial legacy. He emphasized that, the parliamentary Left of the country has abdicated its responsibility to organize the toiling masses on these issues. On the contrary, it has been advocating the very same liberal and globalization policies of the ruling classes. So much so, that it has unleashed severe repression on the peasants, workers and other toiling masses in the interest of the corporate business, as has happened in Singur, Nandigram and Jangalmahal. Since the opportunist Left has fully succumbed to the interests of the ruling classes, he stressed on the need for unity of genuine and struggling Left forces so as to resurrect the fighting tradition of the Left in the country. He described All India Left Coordination as a move in that direction. He recognized the existence of a large number of struggling and thoughtful left forces within the traditional left parties and called upon them to join hands with this initiative for rejuvenation of the left movement in the country.

 

Speaking at the occasion, Kumaran Kutty of LCC, Kerala, described the title of the convention as quite apt and underlined its importance. He said the vacuum created by the ruling Left in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura because of their anti-people policies and role, is being captured by the extreme reactionary forces. He described how the ruling CPM in Kerala is adopting itself to the policies of globalization and getting extremely corrupt and degenerated in the process. He said, there is no scope for inner party struggle within CPM and whoever differs with the leadership are sidelined or expelled. He narrated the deplorable condition of public health and mass education in Kerala under the Left rule and rampant privatization and commercialization in these fields under Government patronage. Land reforms have failed in Kerala and land mafias are ruling supreme. He asserted that disaffected left forces within and without CPM are getting united to forge coordinated struggle against the corrupt CPM leadership, which will have some positive impact on the ensuing Panchayat elections.

 

Strongly welcoming the formation of the All India Left Coordination, Bhimrao Bansod of LNPL described the history of their party and their long association with left movement in Maharastra. He stressed that opportunist Left have to give way to fighting Left and to realize the same, all the fighting left forces have to come together. He stated that the present initiative of the four left organizations in forming the coordination may look small, but it has the potential of developing into a big tide in the days to come. He also emphasized the need to wage unrelenting struggle against the opportunist Left to develop a huge and fighting Left.

 

Samir Putatunda of PDS started with the question of democracy in socialism and urged the constituents of the coordination to be flexible in order to make the unity as broad based as possible and to embrace as much genuine left forces as possible. Poet Nabarun Bhattacharya acknowledged the high importance of this convention and termed the ruling left parties as corporate parties. He remembered the rich tradition of literary personalities joining the left movement, which, he felt, is not the case now. Pointing to the intellectuals who have aligned themselves with the right reaction today, he called them purchasable commodities. He asserted his unflinching commitment to the left movement at any cost and underlined the need for the present coordination. Aloke Nandy of DCPM, which is operative in Danton of West Midnapore, expressed his full support to the initiatives and joint declaration finalized by the coordination. He narrated how they with their small organization have been fighting against the tyrannies of the CPM. He stated that they lost at least 3 of their comrades in CPM sponsored terror attack and hundreds have been arrested. There has been attack on his life also. Defying CPM terror, they have been growing and mobilizing thousands of people. In the process, CPM is getting weakened and DCPM is emerging stronger.

 

Due to disruption in train services, Com. Mangat Ram Pasla could not make it to the convention despite best efforts. By the time he reached the venue, the convention was over. Summing up the discussions, Dipankar said that a wave of change is coming in West Bengal, but that change is being perceived by many in a distorted manner. He said, the real vehicle of this change is the peasants and the rural poor. That was amply demonstrated in Singur, Nandigram and Jangalmahal. According to him, fall of CPM from power in West Bengal is now a foregone conclusion and no effort will be needed to remove it. Contradicting those who say that, let the CPM go first, then we would think of reviving the Left again, he asserted that the task of reviving and rejuvenating the fighting Left has to be started now itself, so that its fruit can be reaped in future. He said that the orientation on which the unity and coordination of the fighting Left is to be developed should be to hasten the decline of the opportunist Left and work for the rise of the fighting Left.

 

Bihar Assembly Elections 2010:

CPI(ML)'s Appeal and Commitment to the Bihar Electorate

New Road to New Bihar

(Excerpts from CPI(ML)'s Bihar Election Manifesto)

D

ear Electors,

Before you cast your valuable vote in the coming elections for Bihar Assembly, the CPI(ML) appeals to you to spare a thought on the following points. We know you are encircled by any number of issues in your everyday battle for existence. Yet another year of drought and crop-failure, yet another breach in yet another river, rising prices, elusive jobs, growing assault on food security and livelihood – life is certainly quite hard. What makes it even harder is the utter lack of basic facilities – whether electricity or irrigation, education or healthcare, transportation or housing. There is no paucity of high-sounding schemes – but in all probability your name is missing from the BPL list and hence the schemes do not have any meaning for you. Most probably you have to run around and bribe your way to secure any small benefit that should be yours as a matter of right.

 

All these problems you have to face are only a reflection of the kind of governments we have and the kind of policies that are in force. And this is where your vote counts. With your vote you can say NO to the government and its policies that ruin your lives, and you can also say YES to the changes you would like to see. Make your vote talk for you, make your vote pave the way for changes that have sometimes been promised but never delivered and often deliberately stopped by the rulers. The CPI(ML) seeks your votes only to intensify the battle for your rights, only to ensure and expedite the changes that you need.

 

Bihar has so far been ruled primarily by three political forces – the Congress has ruled Bihar for the first 40 years, the JD/RJD for the next 15 years (with the Congress as a partner during the latter half) and the JD(U)-BJP for the last five years. All these forces are making a claim on your votes without taking any responsibility for creating this mess in your lives. We therefore appeal to you to ask them a few uncomfortable questions and demand answers before you decide on your vote.

 

The CPI(ML): New Road for New Bihar

Over the last sixty years, Bihar has seen forty years of Congress rule and twenty years of rule by forces tracing their roots in the 1974 movement and swearing by the slogan of social justice. The social equation of political power in Bihar has certainly changed from the Congress era to the post-Congress phase of RJD or JDU rule. But there has hardly been any change either in the priorities and policies of the rulers or in the economic conditions in which the overwhelming majority of people are compelled to live. Beyond tinkering with the surface appearance, the rulers have refused to risk any change in the basic underlying reality. Both inside Bihar and on the national level, there has been a consensus among the rulers over treating and exploiting Bihar as the source of cheap labour permanently deprived of social dignity and development opportunity.

 

Today all these three camps of erstwhile and current rulers of Bihar are trying to strengthen themselves by engineering mutual defections, and the ease with which leaders are overnight changing sides also points to the essential commonness of the three camps. Corruption has certainly emerged as a major leveller for the three sets of rulers, but what stands out as the most decisive common thread of all three despite obvious differences in caste composition is the continued feudal domination, the refusal of all these governments to implement even a modest agenda of land reforms. Once again we can see feudal forces cutting across political divisions desperately trying to kill the agenda of land reforms and tenancy rights and the three camps forging a conspiratorial consensus to appease the feudal forces.

 

The CPI(ML) has always stood in opposition to these ruling camps and their politics of suppressing the people and denying them their democratic due in terms of dignity and development. For the last twenty years, CPI(ML) legislators have worked consistently inside the Bihar Assembly as the most fearless, consistent and committed voice of democracy, justice, dignity and people-oriented development. During the last Assembly session of Nitish Kumar's term, four of our MLAs along with many other Opposition MLAs were manhandled and suspended from the Assembly for demanding the Chief Minister's resignation and CBI probe into the treasury fraud. It is a matter of pride and satisfaction for us that our MLAs have upheld the trust reposed by the electorate to resist every instance of corruption and autocracy, loot and deceit on the part of the powers that be.

 

Bihar knows it very well that if the oppressed poor have succeeded in achieving a degree of recognition and rights by pushing back the forces of feudal-kulak violence, it is primarily because of the fighting unity of the toiling masses and CPI(ML) represents the most glorious and credible banner of that popular assertion. From basic social dignity to fundamental right to vote – nothing has been achieved without heroic struggle and supreme sacrifices and the CPI(ML) has its firm roots in this history and tradition of revolutionary awakening of the most oppressed people. Today, whatever relief the rural poor have secured despite the state-sponsored muddle in BPL, PDS and MNREGA, is attributable not to any magnanimity of our rulers or generosity of the system, but primarily to the people's own awareness and activism, and the CPI(ML) has always championed this awareness and activism defying heavy repression and a wrathful administration.

 

Indeed, but for the CPI(ML)'s sustained intervention in the Assembly and outside, the recommendations of the Land reform Commission would never have been made public. The issue of land reforms and tenancy rights is central to any real agenda of development in Bihar which remains predominantly rural and agrarian. One cannot think of a growth trajectory for Bihar bypassing the agrarian base. And agriculture in Bihar cannot develop without recognizing the rights of the people who are most intimately involved in the work of cultivation.

 

There can be absolutely no ground for depriving Bihar's millions of oral tenants from the benefits of agricultural credit, crop insurance, and diesel and seed subsidies simply because they do not happen to own the land they cultivate. In fact but for the involvement of the tenants/sharecroppers much of Bihar's cultivable land would remain fallow. To develop agriculture, the state must therefore take urgent measures to empower and assist the tenants/sharecroppers along with landowning peasants and landless agricultural labourers.

 

Four-lane roads and luxury cars, high-rise apartments and glittery malls cannot be the metaphor or index of Bihar's development – more than any other Indian state, the story of development in Bihar has to begin in the villages and with the predominantly agrarian rural poor. And the agenda of land reforms and tenancy rights constitutes the crucial key-link in this context.

 

Today, the political forces in Bihar are divided essentially into two camps – the feudal and pro-feudal camp that is making a desperate and conspiratorial attempt to stop land reforms, and the CPI(ML)-led camp of Left and progressive forces waging a determined battle for land reforms and agricultural development, for employment-generating growth and dignity of labour, for people's rights and social progress. The CPI(ML) appeals to you to vote for CPI(ML) candidates and for other Left candidates where there are no CPI(ML) candidates and support and advance the agenda of land reforms and social transformation with all your might.

 

It is a welcome sign that Left forces in Bihar are now showing an increasing inclination for united struggles. Rejecting the ruinous course of alliances with the rulers, Left ranks are getting united to reclaim the fighting legacy of the Left. To strengthen the politics of change and justice, Bihar needs a powerful unity of Left and democratic forces. The communist movement apart, Bihar has also had a long tradition of socialist trends nurtured by stalwarts like JP and Karpoori Thakur. In their own ways, all of them had supported the cause of land reforms. But today those claiming to inherit their legacy are shying away from any notion of social change and justice for the working people.

 

We appeal to all sincere socialists and democratic activists of diverse trends to come together and join hands with the CPI(ML) and the Left as a whole to take Bihar forward towards land reforms and genuine welfare of the people and defeat the forces of corruption, nepotism, communalism, feudal reaction and autocracy. Let us reject the beaten track of conservative caste politics and move along the bold course of change. Let us take the New Road to a New Bihar.

 

Martyrdom Anniversary of Shankar Guha Niyogi

All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and the Chhatisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) observed the 20th martyrdom anniversary of Shankar Guha Niyogi as Sankalp Diwas on 28 September (taking pledge) in Bhilai. Garlanding of Niyogi's Statue, cultural performances, rallies and public meetings were held in Bhilai on this day. A memorandum sent to the Railway Minister demanded renaming the Bhilai Power House Railway Station as Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi Nagar and building memorial column for the seventeen martyred workers. The mass meeting was addressed by AICCTU's national GS Comrade Swapan Mukherjee, CPI(ML)'s CCM Comrade Rajaram, CMM's President and AICCTU's national VP Comrade Bhimrao Bagde among many others. AICCTU General Secretary said that the current governments lend their ears to domestic and foreign contractors while the working class leaders are murdered to check the workers' struggles. The speakers also iterated demand for reinvestigation of the Niyogi murder case as the real plotters and killers are still at large. A delegation of AICCTU met the senior management officials of BSP on 29 September to demand 20 percent bonus for the workers before the Dussehra.

 

Students and Youth March to Singur for Peasants' Rights on the Martyrdom day of Rajkumar Bhul

 In solidarity with the struggling masses of Singur, members of the All India Students' Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth' Association (RYA) marched to Singur on the 4th martyrdom anniversary of Rajkumar Bhul. Starting from Kamarkundu railway station, a spirited procession of over a hundred students reached Ujjwal Sangha Club. A Shahid Bedi (martyrs' memorial) was erected in front of the club with the participation of the local youth. Apurba Ghosh hoisted the RYA flag and those present paid floral tributes to the martyrs. Reiterating the yet unfulfilled demands of their organisations for (1) restoration of the right to life and livelihood of affected farmers, agricultural labourers and sharecroppers, (2) withdrawal of fabricated cases against the Singur movement activists and (3) exemplary punishment to the killers of Rajkumar Bhul and Tapasi Malik; the students and youth campaigned extensively in the region, appealing to people to join the CPI(ML) Liberation-led protest demonstration to be held at the Chinsura "Ghorir Mor"on 8th October on the very same demands.

 

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate@cpiml.org, website: www.cpiml.org