Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fwd: ML UPDATE 9 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 09, 22 – 28 FEBRUARY 2011

Confessions of a CEO Prime Minister

Ahead of the budget session of Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a televised meeting with some select editors of television channels. The Prime Minister had a simple explanation for all the problems facing the country: 'compulsions of coalition politics'. And he had a simple suggestion: the media should not pay too much attention to the scams and other problems for it affects the 'self-confidence of the people' and the 'international image of the country'! The economist PM brushed aside the whole issue of the 2G scam by likening the spectrum loot to the subsidy on food, fuel and fertilizer! And he also did not forget to remind his listeners that his government would complete its term for it still had a lot of unfinished business.

In May 2009 the UPA had returned to power promising food security for the hungry and 'inclusive growth' for all those who have never been invited to the celebrations of economic growth. But while food security and inclusive growth still remain cruel jokes, under UPA-II, the country has had no respite from soaring prices and mega scams. The government knows it has forfeited whatever confidence the electorate may have reposed in it and it therefore asks the media not to weaken the 'self-confidence' of the people by focusing too much on the scams! And if the PM's press meet was any indication, the media is only too willing to play ball. There was hardly anything asked on the issue of illicit outflow of Indian wealth abroad, estimated at Rs 240 crore every single day. Nor was any clarification sought from the PM on the issue of appointing a tainted official as the CVC!
The PM had the audacity to compare the loss to the national exchequer caused by the spectrum loot to the subsidies meant for the poor. Even if one ignores the crucial distinction between the beneficiaries in the two cases – the 2G spectrum loot only bolstered corporate coffers while the subsidies are meant to help the poor survive the onslaught of the market – how can the PM compare a budgeted subsidy to a loss caused by the non-auction of a key resource? If it is the government's policy to allot spectrum on 'first come, first serve' basis and not through auction why did not the government declare that? Why did the government then go in for auction in the case of 3G spectrum, claiming credit for the revenue it yielded? Why did Manmohan Singh write to the Telecom Minister Raja in November 2007 suggesting auction of 2G spectrum if he thought it should be made available to telecom companies at subsidized rates?
The Al Jazeera correspondent of course drew the PM's attention to the ongoing developments in the Arab world and asked if he thought such mass upsurges could also happen in India. True to his politics, Manmohan Singh expressed concern over what was happening in the Arab world before reluctantly extending his good wishes to the people of Egypt if they wanted to move towards democratization! He was however sure that there was no 'danger' of Egypt being replicated in India, for India is a 'functional democracy' where the people "already have a right to change governments". And he seemed to be sure that the Indian people would not exercise that right against his government! "Of all the decisions that I take, 7 out of 10 turn out to be correct. The shareholders of a normal corporation will say a job well done", said Singh.
So here we have Singh's essential vision of democracy and his role as Prime Minister: he is the CEO of a 'normal corporation'! Manmohan Singh and his ilk can only see politics through the corporate prism – where the government is just a service provider to those who can afford to buy that service. Not even a 'sleeping shareholder', the notion of a citizen has actually been reduced to that of a fee-paying customer and those who cannot afford to pay simply do not count! But India is not a 'normal corporation' – it is a country of more than a billion people 77% of whom live on a daily income of less than Rs. 20 while Rs. 240 crore daily migrate illegally to the safer shores of foreign banks. Manmohan Singh is a crisis manager whose way of crisis management only deepens the crisis. In 1991 he initiated the new economic policies in the name of solving the country's balance of payments crisis. Twenty years later, there is crisis on every front, but Manmohan Singh and his ilk are doing brisk business.
The people will have to accept the challenge thrown up by Manmohan Singh. Beyond a mere change of government, the Indian people will have to rise for a change in the disastrous policies. The entire policy establishment of liberalization, privatization and globalization and its trademark products – economic crisis, megabuck scams and state-corporate assault on democracy – will have to be dismantled. In Manmohan Singh's vocabulary, his normal corporation will have to be sent out of business. And if it needs a replication of Egypt in India, the people of India will have to rise to the occasion and foot the bill for a real change.


AISA Organises "People's Parliament on Education"

Delhi: Students, Teachers, Educationists Reject UPA's

Pro-Corporate, Pro-Privatization Bills on Education!

"People's Charter on Education" Released,
Demanding Universal, State-funded Education,
Increased Budgetary Allocation for Education,
Withdrawal of PPP Models
and Offers Made by UPA to Bring Education Under the WTO/GATS Regime!!


On the first day of the budget session of Parliament (February 21st), AISA held a "People's Parliament on Education", along with the All India Forum for Right to Education. Several noted educationists and teachers participated at this People's Parliament including Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Ramesh Patnaik, Dr. Soumen Chattopadhaya (JNU), Dr. Maninder Thakur (JNU), Prof. Minati Panda (JNU), Dr. VN Sharma, Dr. Ramesh Sarin (Satyawati College, DU) and Dr. Vikas Gupta (DU). The People's Parliament was also addressed by Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML). Hundreds of students from the universities in Delhi, Allahabad University, BHU (Varanasi), AMU (Aligarh) and Lucknow University attended this Parliament and many of them also addressed the session.

This People's Parliament was organized in the backdrop of the UPA's attempts to further commercialise and privatise education. In the budget session that began today, the UPA proposes to table to a slew of anti-student and pro-corporate Bills. Several of the participants at the People's Parliament discussed the repercussions of the proposed legislations, which will not just usher in a regime of corporate-driven education, but will also scuttle reservations and social inclusion in institutions of higher learning.
"These proposed legislations will mean unregulated, exorbitant fee hikes, commercialization of campus spaces and facilities like health care, halls, canteens and auditoriums, extraction of "user charges" even for basic facilities like water and electricity and a fundamental shift in focus of educational curriculum towards market-oriented courses", said Ravi Rai, national general secretary of AISA. "Moreover, apart from converting institutions of higher learning into exclusive enclaves of the rich, social inclusion will further be scuttled since reservations will NOT be mandatory in the higher education institutions being envisaged by the proposed Bills," added Ravi.
The proposed legislations will also herald in a regime of immunity for private players from the law of the land. Several clauses allow the government to "exempt" educational institutions from provisions of the Bills; students will no longer be able to approach district level courts or the High Courts for justice in case of violations of the law.
After a detailed discussion of the proposed legislations, the People's Parliament rejected them. Also, the People's Parliament adopted an alternative People's Charter on Education. The main points in the people's charter included:
n Curbing of privatization and commercialization: the charter demanded that the offers made by the UPA to bring education under the WTO/GATS regime. Also, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model should be completely done away with: all state funding should be invested in state-owned institutions, and not routed through PPP projects. Fee structures of existing educational institutions should be strictly monitored, and they should not be allowed to charge exorbitant fees arbitrarily. Active steps should be taken to prevent new private players from entering the education sector. Policy initiatives aimed at commercializing campus spaces and facilities should be reversed immediately.

n Regulation of higher education institutions: The government should put an end to the mushrooming of unrecognized colleges and universities, and should tackle the lack of proper infrastructure, lack of qualified faculty, poor conditions of work, scuttling of legally mandated reservations, and increasing contractualisation in the education sector.

n Budget allocation for education: The budget allocation of education should be increased to at least 10% of Union budget, and this money should not be routed through PPP projects. It should be used to create state-funded and residential educational institutions where all basic facilities are heavily funded.

n Social inclusion in educational institutions: In order to ensure more social inclusion, a progressive admission policy (which incorporates deprivation points for students from backward areas and also for women) should be universally put in place. Also, SC/SC/OBC/PH reservations should be made universally mandatory. Madarsa certificates should be recognized and existing financial assistance schemes should be enhanced. Educational institutions should encourage students from multi-lingual backgrounds and accessibility to physically challenged students should be increased.

n Inclusion of women in education institutions: Apart from financial assistance to women students, special cells to look into issues of sexual harassment should be instituted in all colleges and universities, and moral policing of women through dress codes and restrictions of the movement of women should not be allowed.

n Campus democracy: Greater democratic participation of students in decision-making processes should be ensured, and democratization of campuses should be encouraged through a culture of debate and discussion.


Parallel Students Assembly at Davanagere, Karnataka

As a part of AISA's all-India campaign against anti-student, anti-education bills to be introduced in the parliament, Davanagere unit of AISA organized a Parallel Students Assembly on 21 February. Thousands of signatures demanding scrapping of bills were also collected from students from many colleges. The assembly passed resolutions demanding withdrawal of anti-student measures that include introducting various bills in the parliament. The parallel assembly also condemned Yeddyurappa led BJP government for rampant corruption and scams and demanded withdrawal of government permission being accorded to the formation of various private universities in the state.
Com. Javaraiah, SLT member of CPI(ML) inaugurated the convention and Com. Rati Rao, VP of AIPWA delivered key note address. KA Oblesh, lecturer at AVK College, Virupakshappa, lecturer from RL Law College were also main speakers along with AISA state leaders Hanumanthappa and Kumar. Prasad, NEC member and Manju, NCM presided over the programme while newly elected Taluk president Rekha, Secretary Manoj, Joint secretaries Prashant and Sanjeev, district conveners Prakash and Ganesh also addressed the students. Sushma, taluk Vice-President welcomed the gathering while Santosh, HPHalli taluk president sang revolutionary songs.


CPIML-AIALA demand Special Assembly session to decide on Land Reforms Commission

On February 14 state-wide demonstrations were held by CPI(ML) and All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA) in Tamilnadu demanding special session of State Assembly to decide on Land Reforms Commission in the State.
Karunanidhi Govt has utterly failed in its election promise of distributing two acre agricultural land to every landless family and instead passing the same to MNCs and big corporates by thousands of acres. In 2006 election manifesto, the DMK promised to retrieve 55 lakh acres of Govt land which were handed over previously by AIADMK's Jayalalithaa Government (in 2003) to the corporate houses and distribute the same to the landless families in the state.
Report of the Ministry of Rural Development on land reforms has also noted this in its findings submitted to the Govt of India. But the present corruption ridden DMK government has utterly failed to honour its poll promise. Similarly about 20 lakh acres of Panchama land distributed to Dalits in the state during the colonial period were encroached by the land grabbers and even by the government institutions. Apart from seven lakhs of wet and dry lands held by Temples, Mutts and religious trusts, scores of private universities, colleges and for-profit corporate hospitals have got several hundreds of agricultural land under Land Reforms Act exemption clause.
More than 30,000 acres of agricultural land has been given to big industrial houses, operating in SEZs. TNCs like Hyundai and Nokia have cornered huge tracts of agricultural lands at throw away prices. Thanks to these reckless policies of the successive AIADMK and DMK governments agriculture is ridden with crisis. Agricultural labourers and small and marginal peasants are bearing the massive brunt of this development. Migration has become acute in TN with both in and out migration taking place in millions. Unabated price rise has compounded the woes of the poor. In this appalling situation CPIML-AIALA demanded to urgently address the land question in the state.
Owing to the decades long demand for retrieval of panchama lands and as election eve gimmick to impress the dalit electorate DMK Govt appointed a committee to go into the issue of Panchama land. In this back drop CPIML-AIALA demanded that the same Marudamuthu committee must be appointed as high-power full-fledged Land Reforms Commission as was recommended by the MRD Committee report on Land Reforms.
Employment question of the rural poor is in severe crisis. A deep and powerful resentment is seething in the country side on this issue. The implementation of the NREGA is ridden with corruption. The DMK in its 2009 Parliamentry election manifesto promised increasing 100 days under NREGA to 150 days but nowhere in the State even 100 days of employment is guaranteed. The Congress which is supporting the DMK Govt. had promised Rs.150/-day in wages. None of the promises has seen the light of the day. In this State-wide protest programme CPIML-AIALA demanded guaranteeing 200 days of employment, Rs.200/- as wage per day, and extension of the scheme to town panchayats too.
To highlight these demands CPIML-AIALA organized state wide demonstrations on 14th February. In Chennai agricultural labourers' assembly was held. More than 300 hundred agricultural labourers and industrial workers assembled in the gathering. Chennai City Committee Secretary Com. Sekar conducted the programme. Com. Janakiraman, State General Secretary of AIALA, CPI(ML)'s Polit Bureau member Com. Kumarasamy addressed the assembly. The rural-urban workers' assembly demanded to immediately convene a special session of State Legislature to decide on Land Reforms Commission.
In Ulundurpet, more than 300 rural workers, most of them women, took out a colorful procession and gathered in front of Taluk office where Villupuram dist. secretary and AIALA's Dy. GS Com. Venkatesan and CPI(ML) State Committee member Ammaiyappan addressed the protesters.
Demonstrations were also held in Kumbakonam, Kandarvakkottai, Karambakudi, Kunrandarkoil of Pudukkottai district, Avathipalayam in Namakkal dist., Nellai, Madurai and Kanyakumari. Com. Ilangovan, proposed candidate for Tiruvidai Marudur constituency, Janardhanan, State president of AIALA, Kannaian, addressed the demonstrators in Kumbakonam. Com. Asaithambi, proposed candidate for Kandarvakkottai, Dy. GS of AIALA Valathan, SCM Desikan, addressed the Pudukkoattai gatherings. Venkadachalam, proposed candidate of Kumarapalayam constituency, AISA leader Govindaraj, CPI(ML) District Secretary of Namakkal addressed the protesters in Namakkal dist. Thenmozhi, proposed candidate of Nellai constituency, Sankarapandian, State Vice-president of AICCTU addressed the Nellai demonstration. In Kanyakumari and Kolachal, similar demonstration was held. Com. Anthony Muthu, the proposed candidate of Kolachal constituency and other dist. leaders addressed the protest. In Madurai, the proposed candidate of Sholavandan constituency Com. Murugesan conducted the meeting at protest and addressed by State Secretary of CPI(ML) Com. Balasundaram who demanded immediate convocation of State Legislature to fulfil the basic demands of rural poor. He also called upon the toiling people to rally in the ongoing 'oust corrupt, treacherous Congress-DMK UPA Govt.' campaign. He also stressed that the toiling people must defeat the anti-people and corrupt DMK-Congress alliance and reject the opportunistic AIADMK led alliance. Village level women activists narrated their experiences of struggles on the question of welfare measures of DMK Govt. Almost on every count they implicated the Karunanidhi Govt. as responsible for the pathetic condition of various measures meant for rural poor.


People's Campaign Calls to Kick-out the Killer Vedanta and Save Selvarayan Hills

A people's convention in Salem resolved to kick-out killer Vedanta from the Selvarayan Hills in Salem Dist. which is rich in bio-diversity and mineral resources. For the past 40 years the bauxite mining activities in the 700 acres of land by Vedanta in and around the hills has done irreparable damage to the biodiversity. Apart from destroying the flora and fauna and rare kind of species, the very existence of the Malayali tribal people numbering about 50000 is under serious threat. Though only 400 acres of land was leased in agreement Vedanta is illegally mining another 300 acres of land. Due to reckless mining more than 10,000 acres of agricultural land in the surrounding areas has been affected where agriculture has failed. Thousands of tribal youth had to migrate for employment. Young tribal girls are forced to work in spinning mills of Coimbatore on wages below minimum requirement for livelihood.
Around 50 villages out of the total 67 villages have been affected. Flouting all the rules and regulations with the connivance of top Govt. officials Vedanta amassed wealth to the tune of Rs.3000 crores from mining activities here. Apart from evading the village taxes, 300 cores to the State Govt and 151 cores due to the State Electricity Board has been evaded.
A fact finding team comprising of political activists, from different organisations, journalists and environmentalists toured the hills, met with people and also geologists of Vedanta on 12 December, 2010. Through RTI, materials were collected from different departments and institutions.
Pastors of the Church there (who had fought against Vedanta – MALCO) also came in support of the initiative and shared information and documents with the team. A comprehensive report prepared by the team was released to the press on 23-01-2011. The Tamil version of the report was released for the public on 13-02-2011.
A Convention was held in which tribal activists, tribal leaders of TN (Malayali) Peravai, professors, scholars, junior scientists, students, workers, political activists from CPI, CPIM, CPI(ML) and other ML stream, Periyar Diravidar Kazhagam, literary activists, and journalists attended the Convention. The report was released by Balamurugan, PUCL state leader and novelist.
Apart from many activists representing different organisations, Comrade Balasundaram, State Secretay of CPI(ML) also addressed the Convention calling upon the activists and people to intensify people's movement to kick-out the Killer Vedanta to save the Selverayan hills.


'Oust DMK-UPA' Campaign Launched in Tamil Nadu

On 13 February, 'oust the corrupt and unreliable DMK-Congress UPA' campaign was launched. Comrades Chandramohan, CPI(ML)'s State Committee member, Mohanasundaram, Salem Dist. Secretary, Ayyandhurai, AICCTU, Natarajan, District leader of Construction Workers Union, Viji of Manuda Viduthalai Panpattu Kazhagam and others spoke. State secretary Com. Balasundarm called upon the people to defeat DMK-Congress alliance, reject opportunistic AIADMK alliance and to support and strengthen the CPI(ML). This was the first program in the State launching 'oust UPA' campaign.


Seminar against Privatization of Health Serveices

Medical Workers Union Affiliated to All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) organised a seminar against privatization of health services and a workshop on the condition of health employees working at private medical facilities and centres at Nirala Auditorium in Allahabad University on 6th February. The Seminar was inaugurated by Comrade Kumudini Pati who made a comparison between the utterly cruel policies of privatization of health and medical facilities on the one hand and Rs.20/day as only means for survival for 840 million Indians on the other hand. On top of this, people's doctor Binayak Sen who has been struggling for providing health care to poor tribal people are being implicated on false charges and jailed. She called upon the people for building massive opposition to these developments.
Comrade Ramkishan, General Secretary of All India Health Employees Federation was the main speaker at the seminar. Veteran write Neelkant, Comrades RP Kaithal, KK Pandey, Harshankar Tiwari, Subroto Bannerjee and Anil Verma also spoke apart from several other representatives of various left and democratic trade unions. In the end a ten point resolution was passed.


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, February 16, 2011

ML UPDATE 8 / 2011

ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.  14 No. 07  15 - 21 FEB 2011
Mubarak Goes:
When Decades Happen in Weeks
There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen. Lenin said this nearly a hundred years ago during the turbulent days of Russian revolution. The last few weeks have once again vindicated this Leninist insight when the people of Tunisia and Egypt succeeded in ending decades of autocratic rule through weeks of massive street protests. It took the brave people of Tunisia just four weeks to not only end the 23-year-old autocratic rule of their notorious US-backed ruler, Ben Ali, but also inspire upsurges across the Arab world to put several other Ben Alis on notice. One of them, Hosni Mubarak, the octogenarian strongman of Egypt, the biggest political and military partner of the US in the region, has already had to step down in the face of sustained mass pressure. Protests are also on in countries like Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Sudan, and the rulers have already announced some measures to pacify the protesters and meet some of their demands.
The return of mass upsurges on the Arab street has revealed tremendous potential and struck a chord of global resonance. True, the upsurges had the local rulers as the immediate target and the US-Israel axis was hardly even mentioned. But the fact remains that Egypt has been the lynchpin of the US-Israel strategic axis in the Arab world. Even when Obama tried to 'reach out' to the Muslim world, he chose Cairo as the stage for delivering his address. Any mass upsurge for democracy in Egypt therefore has the unmistakable potential to destabilize the US-Israel strategy and pose new challenges for the US policymakers. Washington's response to the Egyptian developments has been carefully calibrated – it was only when it became crystal clear that Mubarak had no other option but to step down immediately that the US went for a military-monitored transition. It now remains to be seen how the awakened people of Egypt respond to the challenges of transition in the coming days.
It is well known that while the US loves to topple regimes in the name of democracy, it is always afraid of democracy straying beyond the dotted lines of the Empire. Will the Egyptian urge for democracy be satisfied with the mere ouster of Mubarak, the hated and tired dictatorial face, or will it insist on more changes in the set-up that Mubarak had built over the years and in the policy trajectory he followed both internally and externally? With the opening up of the democratic space in Egypt and the larger Arab world, diverse trends in Egyptian society, history and culture will now have a chance to reassert themselves and we will have to wait and see if the once dominant trend of secular Arab nationalism can again emerge as the leading current.
While keeping a close watch on the unfolding developments, one must wholeheartedly welcome what has already been achieved by these popular uprisings. Together with popular victories in Latin America, militant student protests and workers' struggles in Europe and the continuing people's resistance in many parts of Asia, the Arab uprising marks a major rejection of neoliberal policies of privatization and corporate plunder. "Bread, freedom and dignity" was the central slogan of Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution" (Jasmine is Tunisia's national flower) and in Egypt too the upsurge is clearly rooted in popular anger against rising prices, growing unemployment and the spectacular accumulation of private wealth at the expense of public resources and rights. The thoroughly modern, secular and popular character of the uprising has also demolished the mischievous imperialist propaganda that demonises Islam and depicts life and politics in almost all Muslim-majority countries as being dogmatic and medieval.
Tunisia and Egypt have not only furnished inspiring examples of popular upsurges in the present phase of global financial and economic crisis, in many ways they have also shown us what people's upsurges can be like in the twenty-first century. The electronic speed with which the protests spread and the people assembled using every new technological medium – from television and mobile phones to the internet – gave us a glimpse of how revolutionary advances in information and communication technology can be made to serve the cause of a fighting people. The uprising also showed how a modern state with all its repressive apparatus can be effectively immobilized by a united and aroused people. It was truly a people's uprising when the people reigned supreme and seemingly all-powerful rulers had to give in.
Given the historical reality and objective conditions in the Arab street where years of dictatorial rule had pushed back the organized political parties and the trade union movement, the uprising could only have a party-less and leaderless character. It will be wrong to universalize this as the emerging era of civil society and idolize it as the politics of the multitude. Indeed, now that the pro-US Egyptian Army, bureaucracy and elitist leaders are back at calling the shots, the people of Egypt will increasingly realize the need for sustained and organized political intervention to realize their dream of a meaningful democratic transition. 
In many ways Egypt's evolution in the latter half of twentieth century has been similar to that of India. A close ally of India during the heady days of Non-Aligned Movement, and a big votary of state-led industrialization and public welfare in early Nasser years, since 1980s Egypt has fallen headlong into the trap of neoliberal economics and pro-American geopolitics much the same way as India has. Will the rising tides of the Nile today be followed by a similar upsurge in the land of Ganga and Kaveri, Brahmaputra and Narmada? AILC to Launch Month-long Countrywide Campaign against Price-rise, Unemployment, Corruption and State Repression
"March to Parliament"
on 14 March 2011
to Call upon the UPA Government to Quit Office
for Pushing the Country into a Deep Crisis
Two decades of liberalization, privatization and globalization policies have landed the country in a deepening all-round crisis. Relentlessly rising prices are pauperizing the common people while mega scams and growing black money are robbing the national exchequer. Instead of controlling prices and punishing the corrupt, the UPA government is bent upon protecting the guilty and harassing honest and upright people.
Against this backdrop, the All India Left Coordination comprising CPI(ML)(Liberation), CPM(Punjab), Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) of Maharashtra and Left Coordination Committee of Kerala have called for a month-long countrywide mass campaign from 14 February to 14 March against the thoroughly corrupt and repressive UPA government and the disastrous policies that are promoting relentless rise in prices of all essential commodities, massive unemployment and rampant corruption. Whoever questions the government's callous and corrupt rule and pro-corporate and anti-people policies is liable to be subjected to all kinds of repressive measures.
In the course of the campaign the constituents of the AILC will reach out to all sections of the working people to mount public pressure for immediate reversal of the disastrous policies. The campaign will culminate in a "march to Parliament" on 14 March calling upon the UPA government to quit office for its act of promoting price-rise and corruption, unleashing state repression and inflicting an all-pervasive crisis on the country and the people.
The AILC solicits the support and participation of all democratic and progressive Indians in this national campaign and the "March to parliament" on 14 March, 2011.
CPI(ML)(Liberation)            CPM,                      LNP(L),                  LCC,
                                                Punjab                   Maharashtra         Kerala

13th Death Anniversary of Com. Anil Baruah observed
CPI(ML), AICCTU, AIPWA and Sadou Asom Janasanskritik Parishad jointly observed the 13th death anniversary of Comrade Anil Baruah at Guwahati Press Club on 11 February, the day on which ULFA gunned down the CPI(ML) leader and Lok Sabha candidate in 1998 when he was delivering his speech at an election meeting at Naharani, near Naharkatia of Dibrugarh district, Assam.
On this occasion, a meeting was organised in the Guwahati press club on the topic "Insurgency in Assam and the Peace Question". The meeting was conducted by AICCTU Assam state secretary Viren Kalita and addressed by renown journalist, writer Jatindra Kr. Bargohain, columnist and writer and president of "Niryatan Birodhi Eikya Manch" Dr. Anima Guha, CPI(ML) PB member and state secretary Rubul Sarma, General Secretary of All Assam Janasanskritik Parishad Loknath Goswami, ASCSS state secretary Vibek Das, Arup Mahanta, secretary AIALA, Assam, trade union leader Dhiraj Das. Many trade union leaders of central TUs and leaders of oil, bank and other sectoral trade unions, leaders of cultural organisations including IPTA, journalists and writers attended the meeting.
The meeting was held at a time when ULFA leaders excluding a small fraction under Paresh Baruah had been arrested and subsequently started dialogue with Union Government, and a team of ULFA leaders led by Chairman Aravinda Rajkhowa were in Delhi for talks.
Dr. Anima Guha stressed that the peace process cannot be serious unless the basic problems of the people such as food, health, education, shelter are not resolved. Jatindra Kr. Bargohain, while opposing terrorism, stressed the need to resist state terrorism. 
Party's PB member and State Secretary Comrade Rubul Sarma in his speech pointed out that while terrorism was no solution (as ULFA had realized), surrender to the state could not provide a way out either. The meeting unanimously resolved that no insurgency can be resolved without constitutional guarantee of the rights of local people on water resources, mineral resources such as oil, coal, forest resources, tea, withdrawal of pro-corporate policies, solving problems of tribal autonomy and scheduling of agitating ethnic groups. Comrade Rubul Sarma said that the party is leading a movement against corruption, corporate loot and price rise and called upon all left and democratic forces to come forward to strengthen this movement.
The meeting opposed the state policy of division in the name of pro-talk and anti-talk. The meeting called upon all democratic and patriotic people of the state to unite against individual terrorism and state terrorism. The meeting also demanded withdrawal of all black acts including AFSPA, UAPA, an end to fake encounters and arrest and killing of innocent people, stopping indiscriminate imposition of 144 on democratic movement and arrest of all ruling party leaders and workers linked with terrorist outfits.
Condemn Denial of Bail to Binayak
The CPI(ML) deplores the denial of the bail to Binayak Sen by the Chhattisgarh High Court. Bail has been denied in spite of the overwhelming evidence that he has been unjustly convicted, suggesting that political considerations have weighed with the high court. The entire democratic opinion in India and the world will expect the Supreme Court not only to award bail but also reverse the unjust verdict and ensure justice for Binayak Sen and the other co-accused in the case, Pijush Guha and Narayan Sanyal.               
Working Women Celebrate IWD Centenary
Combining the IWD centenary celebrations with struggles at the grassroots, the Hoogli district unit of AIPWA organised a protest demonstration-cum-deputation at the DM office in Chuchura on 21 January. Majority of participants were "ASHA" (Accredited Social Health Activists) and mid-day meal cooks, who submitted two separate deputations with their specific demands. Agrarian workers, including adivasis, also took part. The gathering was addressed by the working women themselves as well as AIPWA West Bengal state secretary Chaitali Sen, Hoogli district secretary Shipra Chatterjee and other leaders who spoke on the significance of the IWD at the present juncture. A song-and-dance performance by adivasi women added vibrant colours to the programme.
Investigate ISRO Scam and Punish the Guilty
In the UPA-II's tenure, one mega scam is speedily being superseded by even larger scams. After the 1.76 lakh crore 2G Spectrum Scam, we now have revelations of a scam of Rs. 2 lakh crore in the Indian Space Research Organisation's deal to give away S-band Spectrum to a private company. The ISRO, which falls under the Department of Space which is directly accountable to the Prime Minister, secretly made a deal to launch two satellites and give away 70 MHz of high-value S-band for commercial exploitation to a private company, Devas Multimedia Private Limited, at a throwaway price. There is evidence of a cover-up for the past six years, and of active moves to block investigations by the CAG.
The latest scam, like the scams in mining, telecom and land, once again follows the pattern of making available precious natural resources and public assets for private profit. The UPA Government is once again trying to underplay the scale of the scam and shrug off its responsibility. We demand a thoroughgoing and impartial probe into the ISRO scam and punishment for the guilty.
Seminar on Corruption at Jalandhar
The Deshbhakt Yadgar foundation of Jalandhar, set up to uphold the legacy of the Gadar Party martyrs and other martyrs of the freedom struggle and revolutionary movement of Punjab and run by a trust comprising the entire range of left groups in Punjab, held a seminar at Deshbhakt Yadgar Hall on 'The Indian State and the Cancer of Corruption', at which the main speaker was Supreme Court advocate and anti-corruption campaigner Prashant Bhushan. 
Delivering his lecture, Prashant Bhushan stressed that corruption should not be narrowly defined as 'bribe-taking.' Rather, corruption was when those holding public office acted in a biased manner to favour vested interests rather than public interest. In India, the worst form of corruption, he said, was the corporate loot of land, minerals, water, spectrum and other natural resources. The source of this loot was the policy of privatization of natural resources and public sector assets. He called for a mass movement across the country to overturn the policy of privatization and democratize decision making in matters of public policy right down to the grassroots.       
The seminar was also addressed by CPI(ML) CCM and Editor, Liberation, Kavita Krishnan. Organisers of the Seminar were office-bearers of the Deshbhakt Yadgar trust including Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary of the CPIM Punjab.    
Gherao in Koraput over MGNREGA Irregularities 
On February 10, over 2,000 activists of CPI (ML) Liberation gheraoed the block office of Dasmantpur, Korapur, Odisha, demanding a probe into irregularities in the execution of many developmental projects including the central employment scheme MGNREGA.
The agitators took out a rally at the block headquarters before submitting a memorandum to the BDO. Leading the rally, party State Committee member Tirupati Gamang pointed out that MNREGA job cards are being withheld but machines are being used in the projects undertaken by the MGNREGA, and in the absence of a sub-dealer for kerosene at Dasmantpur, people are forced to purchase kerosene at Rs 25 a litre in open market.
The memorandum included the demands of issue of job cards under MGNREGA, strict implementation of forest-right act, establishment of a fire station, and provision of street lights at Dasmantpur and 200 days of work in a year and Rs 200 wage a day under the MGNREGA.
Public Meeting at DU against 'Honour' Crimes   
AISA and AIPWA held a public meeting at the Arts Faculty, Delhi University titled 'Crimes of Honour or National Shame?'
The seminar, attended by a large number of students, was addressed by many women's movement activists, journalists and historians. Historian Uma Chakravarty pointed out that the structure of class, caste and gender laid the foundation for patriarchal controls that were at the root of the crimes that were wrongly called 'honour' crimes. She said that a less patriarchal term for such crimes could be 'custodial crimes' – which occur when individuals are in the (illegal) custody of caste, community etc. She also pointed out that even the very relationships of couples who have defied caste diktats to marry are not free from patriarchal controls – citing the instance of the husband who demands that his wife oblige him by avoiding wearing jeans.
Mrinal Vallari, sub-editor of Jansatta drew upon her experience as a journalist to speak of the many kinds of killings and crimes being falsely attributed to 'honour.' Challenging those who claimed that 'same gotra' marriages were incestuous and genetically harmful, she asked why, if such people were so worried about genes, did they oppose inter-caste and inter-community marriages? AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan commented on how both Congress and
BJP were tacitly or openly defending the perpetrators of such crimes, and called for laws against crimes committed in the name of 'honour,' 'culture' or 'tradition.'          
PhD scholar and freelance journalist Gayatri Arya spoke of her experience of reporting on girls of Muzaffarnagar, UP, who are defying bans on wearing jeans. Alpana Mishra, writer and Associate professor in the Hindi Department of DU spoke about the ideological underpinnings of such crimes. 
Well-known Hindi poet Anamika read out powerful poems against 'honour' crimes, and poet Vidrohi also recited inspiring poetry.  
The meeting was conducted by Uma Gupta, AIPWA National Executive member and Assistant Professor, IP College. 
Forest Dwellers Rally under AIKS Banner in Haldwani
On 2 February, villagers from the khattas (forest settlements) and forest dwellers of a large number of villages came together for a spirited rally at Haldwani. This 'Unity Rally' was held to demand that Bindukhatta be declared a revenue village; the scattered khattas be united and brought under the ambit of the Forest Rights Act 2006; extortion and exploitation of van gujars (forest dwellers) be stopped; a stop to pollution by paper mills and a guarantee of jobs for locals in these mills; Rs 10 lakh compensation for the families of those killed by tigers in the Corbett Park and effective measures to protect the people from the wildlife; and various rights and amenities for milk producers. Khattas are the settlements created within forests for cattle grazers by the Forest Department, and their residents are called 'van gujars', mostly from the Muslim community. In spite of being residents of the settlements for decades and coming under the FRA 2006, they are deprived of any citizens' rights.
Thousands of villagers from around 30 villages attended the rally which was addressed by AIKS National Secretary Purushottam Sharma, CPI(ML)'s Uttarakhand In-charge Raja Bahuguna, and AIKS Haldwani district president Bahadur Singh Jangi and Vice President Man Singh Pal among others.               
Cadre Conference of the Delhi Street Vendors' Association
On 31 January the Delhi Rehdi-Khokha Patri Mahasangh (street vendors' association) held a cadre conference opposite the Samachar Apartments at Mayur Vihar-I. The conference raised the question of livelihood of the street vendors which was being jeopardized by eviction in the service of corporate retailers. In the backdrop of corruption and price rise, the street vendors demanded the right to pursue their livelihood on the streets of the capital city. Secretary of the Mahasangh Comrade Ramsevak Rai presided over the conference, which was addressed by CPI(ML) CCM and State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, AICCTU State President VKS Gautam, Secretary Shyam Kishore Yadav, Vice President Mathura Paswan, AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan, and activists of the General Kamgar Union and Janvadi Rickshaw Chalak Sangh.
Protest at Varanasi against Violence on Women
On 7 February, AIPWA held a demonstration and dharna at Varanasi to protest the growing incidence of violence on women in UP. Around 200 working women from Varanasi, Gazipur and Bhadohi participated in the protest, citing the string of incidents in the state – the Banda gang rape involving a BSP MLA; the rape of a young girl at Kanpur; custodial molestation of a woman at the Varanasi Cantt. Police station; murderous assault on a dalit girl when she resisted gang rape at Fatehpur; the self-immolation of a school principal at Jaunpur alleging sexual harassment; as well as other incidents of gang rape at Mau, Lucknow, Allahabad – and the role of the police and administration in all these cases, which was one of protesting the perpetrators.
AIPWA demanded that police officers found to be obstructing justice in such cases be penalized and special fast-track courts set up for speedy justice in matters relating to violence on women. More powers be given to the State Women's Commission, which should work more closely with grassroots women's groups. Complaints cells to look into allegations of sexual harassment be set up in accordance with Supreme Court directives in all government and private sector workplaces, and the Bill against Sexual Harassment be speedily passed after having brought all working women in organized and unorganized sector under its ambit. AIPWA activists Saroj, Vimla, Shanti, Subhavati, Kusum Verma and Sarita Patel as well as other social activists of the city participated in the dharna.
Earlier, AIPWA also held many programmes in Varanasi to commemorate 100 years of International Women's Day, including poster-exhibitions on the theme of the origins of IWD and the history of the women's movement, exhibitions of posters with original poetry by students; and a discussion on 'The Young Generation and Modernity' in which Dr. Binda Paranjpe, Dr. Madhu Kushwaha, Dr. Muniza Rafique Khan, Dr. Shahina Rizvi, Dr. Chandrakala Tripathi, Dr. Shraddha Singh, as well as AISA activists Shikha, Akriti, Shruti, Vishal, Renu and many others expressed their views. AIPWA Joint-Secretary Kusum Verma conducted the discussion.
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:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ML UPDATE 7/ 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 07, 08 – 14 FEBRUARY 2011

From the Nile to Nepal:

New Upheavals, New Prospects, New Challenges

After the student and youth explosions in Europe, the theatre of powerful protest movements has shifted back to the Third World – to the Arab world to be more specific. An uprising in Tunisia has already led to the overthrow of the country's 23-years long dictatorship of President Ben Ali. A so-called transitional government was formed, but the movement for democracy has continued, demanding a totally new government without the relics of the dictatorship. Other countries like Yemen, Algeria, Jordan and Egypt have witnessed massive and militant agitations often in the face of brutal repression leading to the death of more than 300 agitators.

The protests are so powerful because they are propelled by the most genuine demands of all sections of the people – the working and the middle classes including journalists, lawyers, teachers and most prominently students and the youth, not excluding those from an elite background. The issues are those with which we are most familiar here in India: price rise, unemployment, state tyranny and terror, food scarcity, corruption. In Egypt, strategically the most important country in the region, workers and others had been waging a series of militant strikes and demonstrations since December 2006.
Notwithstanding the overwhelmingly popular character of the ongoing "Nile Revolution", the upsurge is also clearly marked by some serious limitations and weaknesses. In Egypt the US has sufficient clout among the anti-Mubarak forces to influence the direction and outcome of the movement. The foreign power which operates behind the scenes thus remains shielded from the agitation: the US embassy in Cairo is not among its targets. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Freedom House (FH), both having ties with the CIA, have long been active among civil society associations some of which are now in the forefront of the agitation in Egypt and other Arab countries. Under the auspices of the FH, opponents of President Mubarak visited the US and were received by Condoleezza Rice in May 2008 and by Hillary Clinton a year later. The friendly neutrality of an army, which is believed to be basically pro-US, towards the agitating opposition and President Barack Obama's enthusiasm for a more rapid "transition" are also quite meaningful.
It therefore remains to be seen whether the struggle in Egypt stops at some sort of manipulated "democratisation" – some kind of liberalisation and reshuffle within the ruling elite – or goes beyond that. Meanwhile, the tottering dictatorships are granting various kinds of concessions to quell people's anger. Jordan's King Abdullah has dismissed his government and Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised that a 19-year-old state of emergency will be lifted "in the very near future." Following talks between Egypt's newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman and a motley opposition, the government has decided to raise the salaries of government employees by 15 per cent and promised progress within a month toward free elections. It also pledged to free political prisoners, end media restraints and lift the emergency law, which gives security forces far-reaching powers to detain people perceived as threats to the state, when "conditions allow". However, all this has failed to stop thousands from demonstrating and calling for the immediate removal of Hosni Mubarak and occupation of Cairo's Tahir Square has entered the third week.
In another interesting and welcome development nearer home, Nepal now has a Communist-led government. After as many as sixteen rounds of parliamentary voting failed to elect a Prime Minister, the Maoists withdrew from the race and extended support to UML candidate Jhalanath Khanal. The latter then defeated his nearest rival from Nepali Congress by a huge margin. Significantly, the deal was struck when the president of Nepal was conferring with Indian leaders in New Delhi and Manmohan Singh became the first foreign head to congratulate the newly elected Prime Minister. To be sure, the new government is faced with a backlog of very challenging tasks – like managing the economic crisis, drafting the new Constitution, implementing the peace agreement through reconstitution of the Nepalese army, to name only a few. Yet it is important that the deadlock has ended and the end has come through the cooperation of the two leading communist forces in Nepal. Let us hope that this cooperation continues and is able to carry Nepal forward along the path of republican and democratic transition.
CPI(ML) Central Committee Concludes 3-Day Meeting in Odisha, Calls for National Campaign against the UPA for its Utter Failure to Control prices and Curb Corruption, Extends Full Support to Land Struggles in Rayagada-Koraput-Kalahandi and

People's Resistance to Posco and Vedanta Projects

As a mark of solidarity with the ongoing just democratic struggles in Odisha, especially the courageous struggle of Chilika fisherpeople, the resistance against Posco, Vedanta and Tata projects and the land struggle in Rayagada-Koraput-Kalahandi region, the Central Committee of the CPI(ML) held its first session in 2011 at Barkul near Balugaon in Khurda district from 3 to 5 February.
The CPI(ML) apex body strongly rejected the UPA government's decision to give the go-ahead signal to the Posco project in spite of the adverse reports submitted by all expert committees. The project will have huge negative impact on the local natural and human resources and fulfil corporate greed at the expense of the land, livelihood and rights of the local people. A central team of CPI(ML) leaders comprising General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, state secretary and veteran communist leader Khitish Biswal and peasant leader Rajaram Singh will visit the site of anti-Posco resistance on 7 February. It is significant that the Congress, BJD and BJP are all united in defence of Posco while only the CPI(ML) and other Left organisations are standing by the just resistance of the affected people.
The Central Committee also resolved to launch a nationwide mass campaign against the thoroughly corrupt and repressive UPA government at the Centre. The government has landed the country in a deepening all-round crisis. Relentlessly rising prices are pauperizing the common people while mega scams and growing black money are robbing the national exchequer. Instead of controlling prices and punishing the corrupt, the government is bent upon protecting the guilty and harassing honest and upright people like Dr. Binayak Sen by slapping false charges and unleashing state repression. The CPI(ML) meeting called for immediate unconditional release of all human rights activists and leaders of people's struggles and scrapping of all black laws.
As part of this national campaign, the party will organize a series of programmes independently and also jointly with other organizations. On 21 February a student parliament will be organized in Delhi and on 23 February all left-led central trade unions will organize a massive workers' rally in Delhi. On 14 March activists of the CPI(ML) and other constituents of the All India Left Coordination will march to Parliament to demand resignation of the UPA government for its utter failure to control prices of essential commodities and curb corruption. The party's student-youth wings will organise an anti-corruption campaign from 23 to 31 March.
The meeting also discussed major political developments in the international arena. It expressed support for the growing popular upheavals in Egypt and other Arab world countries for democracy and change and student protests in Europe against unemployment and welfare cuts. The Central Committee condemned the killing of Indian fisher-people by the Sri Lankan armed forces and the humiliation and harassment of Indian students in the US and called upon the government of India to protect the lives and dignity of Indians seeking education and employment abroad. The Central Committee welcomed the election of CPN(UML) leader JN Khanal as the new Prime Minister of Nepal and hoped that the end of the nearly yearlong deadlock would now help and expedite the process of constitution making and republican transition in Nepal.
(Dipankar Bhattacharya)

General Secretary, CPI(ML)

(Khitish Biswal)

Secretary, Odisha State Committee

CPI(ML) in Solidarity with the anti-Posco Resistance Struggle in Odisha
Following the CPI(ML) Central Committee meeting held at Balugan in Odisha from 3 to 5 February, a CPI(ML) team comprising General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Odisha State Secretary Khitish Biswal, General Secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha Rajaram Singh and Odisha state AICCTU leader Mahendra Parida visited Dhinkia panchayat in Erasama block of Jagatsinghpur district, the main centre of the people's resistance to the proposed Posco project on 7 February, 2011. The delegation met several leaders of the Posco resistance struggle including Akshay Das, Prakash Jena (member of Erasama block panchayat samiti) and woman activist Monorama Khatua and several others and addressed an impromptu meeting of villagers at Dhinkia.
The villagers of Dhinkia were visibly angry with the UPA government for giving the go-ahead signal to the Posco project in spite of adverse recommendations by several expert committees and the continuing struggle of the local people for the last five years. But they also expressed their determination to resist the Posco project in one straightforward slogan: "Maribo kintu daribo na, bhita-maati chhadibo na" (we are not afraid to die, but we will not abandon our hearth and home). The Posco project entails acquisition of 4,000 acres of coastal/forest land that has been home for several hundred years to as many as 8 villages in three panchayats. At least 20,000 people face eviction and loss of livelihood – the area is known for its good crop of paddy, cashew, coconut and high quality betel leaves that are much in demand outside of Odisha. The project also involves the construction of a new captive port for POSCO (with devastating consequences for the coastal ecosystem including nesting sites for the threatened Olive Ridley turtles) in spite of the availability of the nearby Paradip port.
Activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) also described how the state administration was trying to break the morale of the fighting people. An undeclared embargo has been imposed on the area with some 2000 people facing arrest on leaving the village. Routine panchayat work has come to almost a standstill and people are being denied basic benefits like ration or old age pension. Elected panchayat representatives are being harassed by the block administration for supporting the resistance struggle. Even the post master of Dhinkia post office has been suspended for his alleged sympathy for the movement. In the face of this economic blockade and repressive threats, the morale of the people of Dhinkia and other adjoining villages like Gobindapur, Nuagaon etc. still runs high and the PPSS is determined to fight till the end.
The CPI(ML) Odisha unit has been in close touch with the anti-Posco resistance movement since its inception and this was the second visit to the struggle site by a central team of Party leaders. Reiterating the party's full support to the struggle and saluting the courage and determination of the local people, Comrade Dipankar described the resistance struggle as not merely a struggle against forcible land acquisition but as a battle for freedom from corporate rule. He said the fighting people of Dhinkia had set an inspiring example and enjoyed the support of democratic forces from all over the country. Comrades Khitish Biswal, Rajaram Singh and Mahendra Parida also addressed the meeting along with leaders of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).
Crimes against Dalit Women in Mayawati's Sarvajan Raj
On 9 February 2011, the Uttar Pradesh unit of AIPWA held a dharna at the state capital of Lucknow against the steep rise in gruesome crimes against women, especially women from oppressed communities in the state, with the police and government protecting the perpetrators (many of them top leaders and MLAs of the ruling BSP) in several of the cases. In particular the dharna protested against the latest instance in which assailants chopped off the body parts of a young dalit girl in Fatehpur when she resisted their attempt to gang rape her.
The dharna was held at Jyotiba Phule Park in Lucknow. Addressing the dharna AIPWA National Vice President Tahira Hasan said that heinous acts against women in some or the other part of the State has become almost a daily feature. State's police are more proactive in sending the victims themselves to jail and issuing 'clean chits' to perpetrators rather than nabbing them. The police is shying away from netting the accused who are associated with the ruling party – be it the Banda case where a BSP MLA was involved, or the gangrape of a minor student in Allahabad or Itawa's Sonam rape case. As a result, the rapists, especially feudal forces who rape women from oppressed communities, are getting emboldened.
At Jaunpur late in January, a school teacher immolated herself after failing to secure justice against the director of her institute who sexually exploited her. A school girl at Firozabad immolated herself after being gang raped by two youths. Recently, a group of CPI(ML) leaders visited Chinhat (Lucknow) and met the family and villagers of a dalit rape and murder victim. The dalit girl was gangraped on 25 January and her dead body was found in the fields. Initially, the police tried to ignore the evidences found from the site and rubbish the incident. Even the doctor performing the autopsy colluded with the perpetrators and gave a fictitious report. It was only the mounting people's pressure that resulted in re-postmortem of the victims's body two days later and gangrape was confirmed.
In another recent instance, a 17-year-old dalit girl Vandana immolated herself in UP when police acted to protect an upper caste men who had kidnapped and raped her. The accused were arrested only after enormous popular protests and outrage at the case. Another 18-year-old Dalit girl Kavita Bharti of Unnao was raped and killed in the ICU of the Chandini Nursing Home, Kanpur where she had been admitted after an accident. In this case as well, policemen acted to protect the perpetrators and deny the rape.
Addressing the dharna, AIPWA State President Vidya Rajwar said in Mayawati's latest tenure, no less than five BSP MLAs had been implicated in crimes against women; in most cases the BSP failed to expel the leader or ensure justice for the victim. In a state ruled by a 'dalit ki beti,' Mayawati, why are the daughters of the poor and oppressed so vulnerable?
In effect, Mayawati's sarvajan raj has meant that the feudal and patriarchal forces, embedded and pampered within the Government and ruling party itself, have been emboldened, and justice and security for women, especially from oppressed communities, remains a far cry. AIPWA in UP plans to intensify the state-wide protests against the rising spiral of violence against women.
Fact Finding in the case of Suspected Child Sacrifice in TN Village
A fact finding team of PUCL, AIPWA and AISA visited the village Katchaikatti in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu on 26 January to investigate the brutal murder of a four and a half year old girl child Rajalakshmi. It is to be noted that the child (Rajalakshmi), daughter of a dalit couple Mr. Thottan and Annakili, had disappeared on 1st Jauary 2011, and her body was found the following day in a strange condition- without any blood in the body and no signs of blood at the site where body was found.
The team was constituted on people's request and led by PUCL after the police could not make any headway even in 25 days. The team included PUCL's Vice President Dr. R Murali (and Professor of Philosophy in Madurai College), Prof. Mohan Kalyana Sundaram, former Principal, Saraswathi Narayan College, Madurai, Usha, State General Secretary, All India Progressive Women's Association, Divya , All India Students' Association, Prof. R.Govindarajan, Dept. of Chemistry, Madurai College, Prof. Periyasamy Raja, Dept. of Tamil, VHNSN College, Virudhunagar, Mr. Hameed, media activist, Marupakkam and Mr.Balaraman, Research Scholar,Vadipatti.
The team, upon return from fact finding held a press conference and released its detailed findings which got wide coverage in the media owing to the high public resentment and importance of the incident.
The throat of the child was slit and a portion of flesh smeared off near its right eye. The body was first spotted by one Panchu in that village in close proximity to a well while the entire village beyond the caste lines were searching for the child and were draining out the well for 4 hours by a motor pump. The fact finding team had found that the blood of the child was completely drained and even a drop of blood could not be extracted from the body. The murder was committed in a fashion similar to sacrificing a goat or chicken for its blood and was executed on Amavasya (new moon) which is considered auspicious day for black magic.
Now that the child is suspected to have been sacrificed, the entire Dalit hamlet is scared as to whose child will be next. The team members have therefore demanded that the State administration should ensure the safety of the children there which will relieve the stress to some extent. Usha, State general secretary of AIPWA, and member of the fact finding committee, said that the interrogations carried out by the police tried to intimidate the people and indulged in excesses when people planned to initiate a movement for justice. Police had interrogated a woman from Kutladampatti who was said to have involved in some superstitious practices and she clarified that there was a man who was practising some sort of magic in that area and the man was missing since the report of the murder.
Students from JNU, Jamia and DU Protest at Egypt Embassy Against Hosni Mubarak Regime's Crackdown on Democratic Protests!
Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University protested at the Egypt Embassy on 2nd February against the dictatorial Hosni Mubarak regime's brutal crackdown on democratic protests in Egypt. AISA leaders also addresses a meeting there showing solidarity with the brave people of Egypt. The demonstration was led by AISA General Secretary Ravi Rai and Sucheta De, student leader from JNU.
AISA's Dharna in Lucknow for Arrest of the Rapists
The UP unit of AISA held a dharna at Shaheed Smarak in Lucknow on 29 January to protest and demand for immediate arrest of the rapists of a girl student from Allahabad. AISA has demanded an enquiry into the role of Minister for Higher Education in the BSP Govt. Rakesh Dhar Tripathi and the arrest of his nephew and all the accused in the incident and strict action against the police officials involved in harassing and pressurising the girl at women's cell for changing her statement. The dharna was led by AISA leaders Sarita Patel and Ramayan Ram. AISA members and activists from Lucknow, Allahabad and Benaras participated in the Dharna.
CPI(ML)'s State-level Cadre Convention in Chhattisgarh
CPI(ML) held its State-level Cadre Convention at Comrade Rajendra Bairagi Hall in Bangoli of Raipur on 28 January. The Convention was inaugurated with a rally in Bangoli village. The rally demanded immediate release of Vinayak Sen, repeal of Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and curb on price-rise, loot, corruption and state repression. Com. Rajaram inaugurated the Convention.  We will carry more reports of the Convention in the next issue.


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:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

ML UPDATE 6 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 06, 01 – 07 FEBRUARY 2011

Republic Day 2011:

Join the Battle against the Corrupt and Repressive Rulers

The 62nd Republic Day has passed with the usual official pomp and show. But citizens of the Republic today are confronted by the grim contrast between the official show and the reality of today's India.

The parade of military might, for instance, was overshadowed by the sordid details of involvement of army top brass in land scams in Maharashtra (cynically conducted in the name of families of soldiers killed at Kargil) and implicated in the Sangh terror network.

The Republic Day parade showcased India's adivasis in colourful tableaux of 'folk culture' – what a contrast to the real lives of adivasis in a desperate struggle to defend their livelihood against corporate land grab! On the heels of Republic Day, the Ministry of Environment and Forests cleared the notorious POSCO project in Odisha – in spite of the fact that three separate committees – the Saxena Committee, the POSCO Enquiry Committee and the Forest Advisory Committee – set up at the behest of the Ministry itself have testified to rampant and deliberate violations of the Forest Rights Act by the project.

The various 'conditionalities' which accompany the Ministry's clearance of the POSCO project are nothing but a flimsy piece of fiction to hide the fact that in India today, corporations are a law unto themselves, with a licence to loot in brazen violation of laws to protect the environment and people's rights. The POSCO and Odisha Government are being given a green signal by the UPA Government on their 'assurances' to comply with environment and forest rights laws that they have already violated and lied about.

In much the same way, the UPA Government is proposing to deal with the issue of black money (described by the Supreme Court as open plunder) by introducing a scheme of 'voluntary disclosure.' Since independence successive governments have introduced similar 'voluntary disclosure' schemes no less than six times – and each time it has proved to be nothing but amnesty to tax offenders who are looting the country on an unimaginable scale. India's rulers are clearly committed to ensuring that the richest creamy layer – both corporations and individuals – has the freedom to commit crimes with impunity.

Once again the annual Republic Day Padma awards ceremony witnessed the practice of political awards – most notably for Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Brajesh Mishra (former National Security Adviser in the NDA period, who was subsequently estranged from the BJP and strongly backed the UPA Government on the Nuke Deal). While the civilian awards are distributed on such political grounds, the real heroes – like honest Additional District Collector of Malegaon Yeshwant Sonawane – are killed by mafia. Sonawane is only the latest in a long line of honest public servants (including Manjunath and Satyendra Dubey) or activists and political leaders like Mahendra Singh or Lalit Mehta who are killed because they pose a threat to the powerful nexus of interests looting our resources like coal, oil or PDS. The massive protest at Sonawane's killing by Maharashtra's state government employees is a welcome development. Shamefully, though, neoliberal ideologues have taken Sonawane's killing as an occasion to blame fuel adulteration on kerosene subsidies to the poor!

If honest officials are being allowed to die at the hands of criminal mafias with political clout, tainted officials who facilitate large-scale corruption (most notably, the CVC PJ Thomas, implicated in the palmolein as well as 2G scandals) are being defended by the Government. The Government's attempt in the Supreme Court to plead unawareness of the corruption shadow on the CVC's appointment only confirms the UPA Government's agenda of defending the tainted at all costs.

The Republic of India was brought into being by the adoption of the Constitution which gave the Indian people their charter of fundamental rights. Today, the rulers have turned the Constitution into an ordinary piece of paper while reducing the Republic Day to an annual celebration of India's military might and trappings of power. The right to life of the Indian people, the cornerstone of our fundamental rights, is today overshadowed by the grim reality of farmers' suicides, starvation deaths and 'honour' killings. The freedom of speech invites charges of 'sedition' or 'contempt of court' and comes with the price of life imprisonment while the freedom of assembly invites indiscriminate police repression including state-sponsored massacres.

For the people of India, the message of Republic Day 2011 is therefore loud and clear. When scamsters are masquerading as rulers and are trampling upon all the constitutional rights and liberties of the people, the people of India will have to summon all their strength to resist and oust these rulers and reclaim the Republic. In the face of the murder of Sonawane and imprisonment of Binayak Sen, the time has come for every defender of democracy to join the battle and take on the corrupt and repressive rulers.

Rulers Are Pushing the Country Deeper into Crisis,

Communists Must Lead the People out of this Crisis

(Comrade Dipankar's address at the AILC Convention held in Kozhikode, Kerala on 22 January)


When we had assembled in Delhi to launch this All India Left Coordination, it was four days before the Independence Day of 2010. Today when we meet here in Kozhikode, it is incidentally again four days before another important National Day, the Republic Day of 2011. Between Independence Day of 2010 and Republic Day of 2011, which way has the country moved? Almost everybody would agree the country has moved deeper into crisis.

It is a crisis which we can see everywhere, it is a crisis which we can feel everywhere. It pinches us every time we go to the market to buy the necessities of life. Sometime back, a newspaper reported that onions and petrol and beer are selling at the same price in our country. Since then onion and petrol prices seem to be involved in a relentless race. If onion prices race ahead during the day, yet another hike in oil prices takes effect from midnight.

If prices are loudly announcing the economic crisis from the market to the household, the fields and factories, the peasants and workers, are also reeling under the same crisis. If every new day brings news of more peasant suicides from Vidarbha or Telangana, there is also no respite from starvation deaths in rural poor households in incredible India's invisible villages. In cities, factories and offices are being shut down, and workers thrown out of jobs. Food security and employment guarantee have proved to be no more than empty words, cruel jokes inflicted on the needy people by our corrupt and greedy rulers.

The crisis is economic, it is also absolutely political. The state is waging war on the people and their livelihood. It is afraid of the people and their protests, it is afraid of the intellectuals and their dissent. It kills the people when they resist SEZs and corporate plunder. It slaps sedition charges on doctors and writers; it accuses courageous lawyers raring to raise a finger against judicial malpractices of committing 'contempt of court'.

Look at the scams stacked in the cupboard of virtually every ministry in almost every government, whether at the centre or in the states. Scams today are great levellers – there is perhaps no institution which can claim to be free from scam stains. When the Central Vigilance Commissioner appointed by the Central government has to face trial on corruption charges, we can easily imagine how deep and wide the rot has spread.

It is not just the governments and ministers and bureaucrats, top Army officers are also found to be involved in huge land scams. After the 'Adarsh' scam, the Army seems a little worried about its image and a senior Army official has now been awarded some symbolic punishment by the Army itself. But if the Army were to go into every accusation beyond selective and cosmetic court-martials, it would have perhaps no other option but to overhaul itself completely. Judges are facing impeachment motions and serious corruption charges – someone who only the other day retired as the Chief Justice of India is today haunted by charges of nepotism and misuse of power.

The Army and the judiciary apart, we now also know what many influential media personalities are really doing. They are not just giving us information or trying to shape our opinions, they are also working in tandem with corporate lobbies to make sure that big corporations have the full benefit of pliant ministers and friendly policies. The 2G scam and the Radia tapes have now clearly revealed an intricate organic nexus between big corporations, influential media houses, important ministers, big bureaucrats and ruling parties.

The crisis can also be seen clearly in the social sphere. Oppression of dalits is on the rise right in so-called economically advanced regions like Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, and UP. In BSP-ruled UP, a dalit girl is raped and then imprisoned while the MLA accused of raping her, an upper-caste MLA who won on a BSP ticket continues to enjoy the party's patronage. In Nitish Kumar's Bihar, a woman teacher who had been a victim of continuing sexual harassment by a BJP MLA, had been left with no other option but the drastic measure of stabbing the MLA to death. And is anyone keeping count of the number of women and young couples daring to marry according to their own wishes who are being killed by their own families or caste panchayats in the name of protecting the 'honour' of the family or village or caste?

The crisis then clearly is all-pervasive. It is multi-layered and structural, it is a crisis rooted in the failure and treachery of India's rulers. It is a crisis of credibility and legitimacy of India's ruling classes. What must be the communist response to this crisis? When the livelihood of the people is at stake, when the shadow of corruption looms large over every sphere of national and public life, when democracy is under growing assault, it is the historic responsibility of communists to unite and lead the people under the banner of people's welfare, honesty and democracy.

The launching of the AILC in August 2010 was a product of this communist urge and sense of responsibility. Through diverse initiatives like conventions and protest campaigns we have spread the message of the AILC to the fighting Left ranks across the country. In contrast to the opportunist Left's policy of "all for a share of bourgeois state power" we have upheld the fighting Left banner "all for communist assertion, all for people's struggles".

The arrival of AILC has signalled a new possibility in the Indian Left movement. It has not only brought together Left forces from diverse historical backgrounds, it is also helping all of us to understand each other better and in the process it is strengthening the process of realignment of Left forces and radicalization of the Left movement. Till recently we knew little about your struggle against the CPI(M)'s opportunism and corruption in Kerala, you too perhaps had little idea about the CPI(ML) – yet today we are marching shoulder to shoulder in common struggles.

In different states we are faced with different historical conditions, different social and political trends. The conditions in West Bengal and Kerala where we face virtually the same ruling class policies and same attacks on dissent and democracy perpetrated by Left-led governments are clearly more complex than states where we are directly pitted against NDA or UPA rule. Yet while resisting these government's anti-people moves and fighting against the CPI(M)'s growing degeneration and authoritarian attitude, we are determined to hold high the independent and fighting banner of the Left, because that alone is the real challenge and the real need of the hour for the communist movement.

We all know how well-known erstwhile CPI(M) leaders like MV Raghavan and KR Gauri failed to retain their communist identity and got subsumed in the UDF. Learning from their miserable experience, today's fighting communists at the grassroots in Kerala have every prospect to succeed in charting a new road of advance and we in CPI(ML) and AILC wish you every success in this direction.

From Delhi in August 2010 to Kozhikode in January 2011, we have surely come some way. But there is a much longer and challenging way ahead of us. We have now resolved to undertake a countrywide mass campaign against the all-pervasive crisis being inflicted by the UPA government, especially focussing on the burning issues of price rise, unemployment, corruption and state repression. Apart from organizing protest actions in different districts and states, we will also march from different states to Delhi and on 11 March we will all be demonstrating outside Parliament in the national capital.

We also have important Assembly elections coming up in key states, including Kerala and West Bengal where the opportunist Left too will have to face the wrath of the people and pay the price for their authoritarian arrogance and anti-people steps. The coming days are bound to witness turbulent moments in national politics. These are decisive hours for the Left movement and the AILC will have to move ahead through this political turbulence, bringing together fighting forces of the Left in all corners of the country, and reinvigorating and radicalizing the Left identity in the midst of powerful people's struggles.

AILC's Convention in Coimbatore

On January 25 an open convention was held in Coimbatore at Shivananda Colony calling upon the workers to 'Rise up; Save the Country; Save the People; Let the Workers Constitute themselves as Nation and Capture Power'. The well-attended and well-decorated meeting was organised primarily by the party comrades of Pricol. Apart from CPI(ML) General Secretary, comrades S Kumarasami and S Balasundaram, PBM and State Secretary of CPI(ML) respectively, Hariharan of LCC, Kerala and Uday Bhatt of LNP(L) from Maharashtra addressed the meeting.

Com. Hariharan narrated LCC's efforts to build an alternative left space in the bi-polar politics of Kerala and expressed his trust that AILC will attract more and more fighting forces in the coming days. Com. Uday Bhatt spoke about the glorious struggles of the then Bombay textile workers emphasising their political role in electing Dr. Dutta Samant though they suffered losses in their TU struggle. He also highlighted the victory of the workers in snatching a part of the land which is now being sold by the mill owners.

CPI(ML) General Secretary called upon the workers in TN for their political assertion to hold aloft the red fighting banner in the coming assembly elections. The meeting generated enthusiasm for a fighting left politics.

Convention in Sriperumbudur

CPI(ML) held an open convention on January 30 in Sriperumbudur, which is called by the ruling classes as Detroit of India. Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, GS, CPIML, released a booklet 'The Taint of Corruption Can Not be Washed Away' brought out by the State unit of All India Students' Association (AISA). Comrades Dipankar, S Kumarasamy and S Balasundaram addressed the meeting.

Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that if there is unity among Congress and DMK in corruption and repression, there will also be unity among the working people of the country against such anti-people measures of the governments in Delhi and Chennai. He said while TNCs in Sriperumbudur such as Nokia, Hyundai and Samsung are making super-profits, Sriperumbudur's common man does not get anything out of this growth. He called upon the workers and the common people of Sriperumbudur to fight unitedly against corruption and repression and not to go back to DMK or AIADMK but move forward with the red flag of honesty, justice and progress in the coming elections.

'Indian Nation & the Left'

Convention in Puducherry

A state level convention was organized by CPI(ML) on 29th January 2011 at Puducherry. The convention was conducted by the State Secretary Com. S Balasubramanian. The main speaker at the convention was Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya. Other guest speakers were Com. K. Lenin, RSP's Central Committee member and Com. U Muthu, AIFB's State Secretary. Others who spoke in the convention were Com. P Sankaran, State Organizer of All India Agricultural Labourer's Association (AIALA), Com. S Motilal, State Secretary AICCTU, Com. G Palani and E Jayabal, both State Committee members of CPI(ML) and Com. K Selvam, Puducherry Town Committee Secretary. Apart from party members and leaders of mass organizations a large number of left sympathizers participated in the convention. A wide propaganda was done for the Convention through wall writings and flex banners.

Working Women Celebrate IWD Centenary

Combining the International Women's Day centenary celebrations with struggles at the grassroots, the Hoogli district unit of All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) organised a protest demonstration-cum-deputation at the DM office in Chuchura on 21 January. Majority of participants were "ASHA" (Accredited Social Health Activists) and mid-day meal cooks, who submitted two separate deputations with their specific demands. Agrarian workers, including adivasis, also took part. The gathering was addressed by the working women themselves as well as AIPWA West Bengal state secretary Chaitali Sen, Hoogli district secretary Shipra Chatterjee and other leaders who spoke on the significance of the IWD at the present juncture. A song-and-dance performance by adivasi women added vibrant colours to the programme.

Open Convention at Jadavpur University

On 14th January, an open convention was organized by AISA in Jadavpur University demanding unconditional release of Dr. Binayak Sen and annulment of IPC 124a Sedition Act. The convention was addressed by poet Nabarun Bhattachariya, Sabyasachi Deb, Prof. Samantak Das, Prof. Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, Prof. Kunal Chattopadhyay, Dr. Debashis Mukherjee of Forum for Peoples Health and student representatives from other organizations such as FETSU GS Palash Ghosh, Arka Bhaduri from AIDSO, Chandan Biswas from USDF and AISA State Secretary Malay Tiwari addressed the convention.

Workers' Struggle is Victorious in Punjab

The Punjab Engineering College (PEC) mess workers union (affiliated to AICCTU) called off their 53 day long strike after the management fulfilled its demands and signed a written agreement with the union. The workers were sitting on a dharna outside the PEC, sec 12 in Chandigarh since 3 December 2010. Main demands were the implementation of the 8 hrs working day, job to the widow of a deceased worker Khushal on compassionate grounds, stopping of the illegal deduction in the name of meals, repair of barracks etc.

Initially the management chose not to respond to or negotiate with the workers and instead threatened to terminate them. The Chandigarh administration turned a blind eye towards these agitating workers and instead clamped sec. 144 in the PEC campus to pressurize to take back their strike without getting the demands fulfilled. But the workers braved extreme cold in December and January and continued their agitation. During this many other unions of Chandigarh, namely Ekta Contract Workers Union, GMSH-16 (AICCTU), PGI Contract Workers Union (AICCTU), Contract Workers Joint Committee of GMCH-32 also extended support to the agitation and threatened to join the strike if the administration did not accept the demands.

The workers held a victory rally in the PEC campus on 25 January. The rally was addressed by Kanwaljeet, AICCTU's Chandigarh unit President, Satish Kumar (Secretary, PEC Mess Workers Union), Achar Singh (president), Ashwani Kumar, Sonu Kumar- President Ekta Contract Workers Union GMSH-16, Sukhdev and Devraj of PGI Contract Workers Union, Anil Kumar, Pammi, Khan, Kamal of RYA and Hasmeet Singh GS of RYA Punjab. Speakers congratulated the workers for victory braving all odds.

Farmers' Suicides: AIKM fact finding team visits MP

A two member fact finding team comprising senior leaders of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM)- Comrades Prem Singh Gehlawat and Devendra Singh Chauhan, both National vice presidents of AIKM, visited Bhopal between 23-30 January to find out the real causes behind a spurt in farmer suicides.

The two-member team spoke to many farmers in Bhopal district and found that the farmers have been suffering the brunt of fake seeds, unavailability of water for irrigation of fields, no electricity, no support price for their crops and complete absence of subsidies for farming, essentially a fallout of the UPA's adherence to the same economic policies which took its toll in the form of farmers loosing all hope and ending their lives in AP, Maharashtra, Punjab and many other states. Recent frosts only served as last nail in the already exhausted families of farmers.

The team addressed a well-attended press conference in Bhopal on 29 January and demanded Rs.20 lakh as compensation to each family where farmers have committed suicide, loan to all farmers without interest and waive all existing loans of troubled farmers. The team also met Madhya Pradesh Governor and apprised him of the facts with a memorandum and asked him to initiate action against the Shivraj Singh Chauhan led State Government whose anti-farmer policies have cost so many lives.


Tunisia, Egypt; Is the Arab world moving towards independence?

(We reproduce below a slightly abridged version of a piece by Yamin Zakaria that appeared on

For the first time in recent history, the Arab masses in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and elsewhere have turned their anger towards the decadent regimes, rather than the US; they are not burning the US flags but government buildings. The regime changes may signify gaining real independence and breaking free from the last shackles of the post-colonial model, which was setup after the First World War. The masses are seeking to liberate their country from these self-serving regimes; indeed, liberation always comes from within.

If the demonstrations were taking place in the streets of Tehran, instead of Egypt or Tunisia, there would have been a prompt and unanimous response from the Western governments, demanding a regime change; instead, the US has suggested further `democratic' reforms to quell the demonstrations. This sort of response only adds further resentment, as it suggests that Mubarak's regime has some level of democratic credentials. According to the `election' results, for the last three decades Mubarak has been winning with a substantial majority, so where are his supporters now. Everyone knows the Egyptian elections are farcical, especially when you muzzle the opposition.

The Western governments are pressing on the Mubarak regime to respect the rights of the people to express their views, and to lift censorship placed on the mobile and internet, communications. The central point about democracy is not just about the right of the masses to express their opinions, but such opinions should be implemented by the government as their representatives. In the case of Egypt, they are demonstrating for a representative government, and the removal of the current dictatorship.

There is great reluctance to label Mubarak as a dictator by the US and other Western governments, primarily because he has done tremendous amount of work in stabilising the region in favour of Israel, and keeping Hamas and the Islamic movements inside Egypt, at bay. In the build up to Iraq war and after, the US was desperately looking for a mass uprising similar to Egypt, but it never materialised. However, Iraq was allegedly worth invading to remove a relatively popular dictator (not the mythical WMDs), whilst the current unpopular dictators of Egypt, Saudi and the other Gulf States are worth giving support; that is the reward for being subservient to American interests. All this serves as a reminder that national interests and not principles of democracy dictate the US foreign policy in the region.

Even if Mubarak manages to remain in power, the regime is unlikely to continue after his demise. The likelihood of a possible power vacuum emerging has naturally raised discussion on the types of government that is likely to succeed. There are two main candidates: Islamic orientated government headed by the Muslim Brotherhood or a pro-western secular regime. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel prize-winning former UN official, has gained some attention, however, at this stage, it looks unlikely that he commands enough support to take power or form a stable government. As for the possibility of a pro-Islamic regime emerging, the Islamophobes and the Zionist dominated press are already busy scare mongering with speculation of violence escalating, as a Islamic government is likely to give greater assistance to the Palestinians. On the contrary, a strong Egypt and Iran could provide stability by acting as a counter weight to the rabid Israel, by putting it on a leash.


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: