Thursday, June 16, 2011

ML Update 25/2011

ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.  14                          No. 25                                                                                                                           14 - 20 June 2011

 

UPA Government Illegally Favours Oil Companies:

Yet Another Mega Scam

A draft report of the CAG has exposed yet another "nexus" between the Government and private corporations, in which the UPA Government's Oil Ministry and Director-General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) manipulated rules to favour private oil companies like Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), Britisg Gas (BG) and Cairn India. The CAG has revealed how the Oil Ministry and DGH allowed RIL to gain "undue benefit" by claiming capital expenditure costs inflated to the tune of 117% in the Krishna Godavari Basin. A joint venture of Reliance, BG and ONGC in the Panna-Mukta-Tapti oil fields, has also been accused for similarly inflating development costs at the cost of the Government exchequer. The Oil Ministry therefore facilitated these private companies in robbing the public exchequer to the tune of crores of rupees.

The CAG reveals how RIL bought diesel for its oil-field development activities at a higher price from from its own affiliate Reliance Petro Marketing (RPML), by falsely showing RPML to be the lowest bidder instead of the state-run Indian Oil Corporation. The CAG report also shows how companies like Cairns India were allowed to violate rules by exploring additional areas beyond the block stipulated in its contract in Barmer, Rajasthan. The CAG report also found that the government used a "backdoor method" to allow private operators to conduct oil exploration beyond the period stipulated in the contract.

Nor can the UPA Government claim ignorance of these serious cases of corruption in the oil sector. A former Revenue Secretary, (Mr. E.A.S. Sarma) has, in the wake of the CAG revelations, reminded Manmohan Singh that he repeatedly alerted the PMO to the irregularities in auditing capital costs, pricing and so on in the case of the RIL in the KG Basin and Cairn in Barmer. He has said that the PM turned a "blind eye" to these warnings, giving him the impression that that "the various government agencies including the PMO are apparently trying to hide the facts from the people of this country to benefit the oil companies."


Not only did the private oil companies rob the public exchequer; the inflated costs claimed by them also resulted in an inflated price of gas for customers – especially imposing a further burden on the crisis-ridden farmers who are important consumers of fertilizer and power. 


This latest scam has once again underlined that government complicity in corporate loot of natural resources lies at the heart of corruption in today's liberalized economy. The UPA Government seems all set to deny the evidence of the oil scam – as they once tried to deny the 2G spectrum scam. The Congress has been raising questions about "leakage" of the CAG report to the public. But an awakened public will not allow this scam to be swept under the carpet, and will certainly insist on the concerned government and DGH officials as well as private players being brought to book.  


If corporate plunder is a major concern, the people's struggles at Jagatsinghpur (Odisha) and Gurgaon (Haryana) underline that the policy of corporate appeasement takes a huge toll on democracy too. In spite of the evidence of corruption and multiple instances of violation of laws, and running rough shod over the villagers' rejection of the project expressed democratically through the gram sabha mandates, the UPA Government granted clearance to the POSCO project, and the Odisha Government is pushing ahead with forcible land acquisition, unleashing armed police platoons against the villagers who have formed human barricades to defend their land and crops.


Gurgaon in Congress-ruled Haryana has long been the Mecca of corporate capital, thanks to the free hand to corporations to flout laws and suppress all industrial democracy with fleets of private 'security guards' aided by a pliable police force in their service. The strike of workers at the Maruti factory in Manesar (Gurgaon) has struck at the roots of this 'corporatocracy,' with workers agitating for their legally mandated right to form a union of their own choice. While the factory owners and company managements have long been united all over the country in suppressing this basic component of industrial democracy, workers all over the country are now coming together to support their worker comrades in the Maruti factory. As we go to press, the announcement of a 2-hour 'tools down' strike by 65 unions in Gurgaon, and the clear indications of support from workers in Greater Noida and automobile workers across the country has finally brought the Haryana Government to the negotiating table.


If the CAG revelations of the oil scam remind us that the anti-corruption movement must tackle the question of the Government's policy of enabling corporate loot, the people's struggles against POSCO and for workers' democratic rights at Gurgaon are a reminder that corporate corruption is inseparably linked to the question of democracy. We must do all we can to link the anti-corruption movement with the ongoing movements of peasants, adivasis and workers that are confronting state repression and defending democracy. 


Joint Left Dharna Against Corruption, Price Rise and Authoritarianism

 

A massive dharna was organised on June 15 at Jantar Mantar (Parliament Street) by over thirty Left political parties including CPI(ML), CPI and CPIM, as well as mass organisations of student, youth, women and workers as well as other and democratic groups and concerned citizens. Through this joint dharna, the Left parties held the central government responsible for rising prices and rampant corruption, and for the assaults on democracy. In particular they challenged the Government's attempts to put Parliament Street out of bounds of protestors.


Kavita Krishnan addressed the dharna on behalf of the CPI(ML). The dharna was conducted by Amarjit Kaur (CPI) and Vijender Sharma (CPI-M) and other speakers included Atul Kumar Anjaan (CPI), as well as representatives of RSP, AIFB, (SUCI-C), Teesra Swadhinta Andolan, PDFI, WPI, CPI-ML-ND), Yuva Bharat, and other groups. A cultural group of the Student-Youth Against Corruption also presented rousing songs on the occasion.


The speakers held that the Lokpal Bill can be just one of the many steps required for a meaningful and effective response to corruption that is eating into the vitals of India, and demanded measures that would strike at corporate plunder which was at the root of corruption. They said that a government desperate to suppress people's outrage and anger against corruption and price rise was resorting to authoritarian tactics to deny civil society and the people of India the right to express their democratic protest. The dharna expressed solidarity with the ongoing agitations against POSCO and the nuke plant at Jaitapur, and also with the Maruti workers' strike.  


Teachers such as Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Subodh Malakar of JNU, Nandita Narain of DU, senior journalists such as Seema Mustafa, and human rights lawyer and anti-corruption activist Prashant Bhushan were among the many concerned citizens who participated in the dharna.  


Struggle Against Rape and Murder of Young Girl in UP 

 

The horrific rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl inside a police station at Nighasan in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh has once again highlighted the Mayawati's government's criminal complicity in violence on women in the state. 


On 10 June, the 14-year old girl Sonam, a daughter of a Muslim watchman, had, along with her five-year-old brother, been looking for a buffalo that had strayed into the police compound. The girl's brother testified that he had been held at gunpoint while policemen dragged his sister into an adjacent room in the police station. Subsequently, he saw the police drag his sister's body by the dupatta wrapped around her neck, and hang the body from a tree.


The girl's mother later found the body hanging from the tree, and raised the alarm. First, the police tried to dump the body in the girl's home, claiming that it had been recovered from the police station. Later, in a desperate bid to destroy evidence, they even cut down the tree in the police station compound from which the body had been hanging.


The first post mortem attempted to imply that the girl had committed suicide by hanging herself. Growing people's protest and outrage in UP and across the country forced the Mayawati Government to order a CB-CID enquiry and a second post mortem, which admitted murder by strangulation, but denied any evidence of rape. Initially the Government tried to safe the situation by suspending the entire police station staff of 11, but people demanded to know how come they were charged merely with negligence rather than with rape and murder. Later an FIR was filed against the SHO and two constables – but again, this was on charges of 'tampering with evidence' and not that of rape and murder. Only after the second post mortem report were these three booked on charges of murder.             


CPI(ML) district and state units have been active in raising the matter right from the very night that it came to light. The day after (11 June), the party mobilized local people in a chakka jam (road blockade) along with the victim's body, demanding a CPI enquiry into the case, arrest of the accused police officials on charges of rape and murder and compensation of Rs 25 lakh for the victim's family. A dharna was held on 12 June, and on 13 June, the party held a huge protest procession culminating in a dharna. As the procession marched through the local marketplace, shopkeepers downed shutters in spontaneous support. While parties like Congress and SP had also made much hue and cry in an attempt to capitalize on the issue, the CPI(ML) dharna stood out as the only one which was well attended by local people who are the mainstay of the struggle for justice. On 14 June, a team led by the CPI(ML)'s UP State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav and AIPWA State President Vidya Rajwar visited Nighasan.

On 15 June, the CPI(ML) began a hunger strike opposite the Nighasan thana, demanding a third post mortem conducted by doctors from AIIMS, alleging that doctors appointed by the UP Government were trying to cover up evidence of rape. CPI(ML) CCM and national leader of the AIALA Krishna Adhikari, as well as member of the party's State Standing Committee Comrade Kranti are on hunger fast. They said that while the UP Government was now admitting murder (after shameful attempts by the police to suppress and tamper with evidence), it was failing to explain why police officials felt the need to murder a young girl passing by the police station! Clearly the murder and the tampering of evidence were motivated by the need to cover up the rape. The CPI(ML) is demanding a CBI enquiry. It is also demanding that the former district SP, who has been transferred for his complicity in the cover up, be booked for tampering with evidence.                 


On the first day of the CPI(ML) hunger strike, hundreds of local people spontaneously participated. When Tarannum, the victim's mother, addressed the public meeting, revealing that the police had attempted to buy her silence, there was pin-drop silence in the huge gathering, and many eyes were moist. Police tried to break up the gathering by force and intimidation, but the sheer huge support of local people prevented them from being successful.    


As we go to press, the hunger strike and dharna are ongoing and the mood is filled with determination to secure justice for Sonam.  


In Solidarity with Anti-POSCO Movement  

 

As the Odisha Government went ahead with its plan of forced land grab for the POSCO project, women, children, elders, youth and men of the Dhinkia, Govindpur and other villages of Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha state, in an exemplary display of resistance, lay day after day in the scorching sun face to face with nearly 30 police platoons. Protesting women were beaten up when they tried to prevent police platoons from destroying betel vines. Jagatsinghpur was on the brink of being turned into another Kalinganagar. The movement has now gained a small respite with the Odisha Government putting the land acquisition plans on hold for some days.


The CPI(ML) has held state-wide protest actions such rasta-rokos (road blockades) and processions at many places in the state including the state capital, Bhubaneswar. A team comprising CPI(ML)'s Odisha State Committee member Yudhishthira Mahapatra, AISA National President Sandeep Singh, as well as Comrade Bansidhar Parida of our party, Comrade Balachandra Sarangi of CPI-ML (ND) and Comrade Vishnu Das of SUCI visited the protest site. These three parties in Odisha have announced that if the Government resumes forced land acquisition, they will immediately call for a state-wide bandh.       


In Delhi, student groups and various citizens' groups held a protest at the Odisha Bhavan on 13 June, in support of the "human barricades" by villagers against the impending police crackdown and land grab for the POSCO project. The protest was addressed by Sanjay Sharma, State Secretary of the CPI(ML), Ravi Rai, General Secretary of AISA, as well as activists of Delhi Platform, NAPM, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW), PSU, JTSA among others. Holding that the Odisha government, with the active support of the UPA, is planning a carnage and bloodbath in Jagatsinghpur, they demanded that the illegal POSCO project and all attempts at forcible land acquisition for it should be scrapped immediately, and the police deployment be withdrawn. 


On 14 June, when the Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik visited Delhi, a delegation comprising representatives of PUCL, PUDR, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, NFFPFW,AISA and POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity submitted a memorandum to him underlining the various illegalities involved in the POSCO project and condemning the brutal attempts by the state to terrorise the people who resist such an illegal and immoral project and defend their land and livelihood as well as the country's environment and natural resources. 


Protest Against Police Atrocity at Forbesganj

 

On 13 June, coinciding with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's Delhi visit, various human rights and groups and student organizations held a protest demonstration at Bihar Bhavan against the horrific police atrocity at in Forbesganj in Araria district of Bihar on June 3 in which four people (all of them of the minority community) were killed.   


Protesting groups included AISA, Committee for Justice for Forbesganj Victims, JTSA, NAPM and others. They declared that the police firing, and the naked brutality displayed in the video footage of the incident, exposed the Nitish Government's true face. Behind the 'pro-people' and 'good governance' fa├žade, the Government is full of the most barbaric repressiveness towards people's movements and towards minorities.


The peacefully protesting villagers from Rampur and Bhajanpur villages of Forbesganj block had been protesting against blockade of a road connecting these two villages by the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) to facilitate construction of a private factory owned by BJP MLC Ashok Agarwal. The police opened fire on the protestors, chased them to their homes, forced entry into these homes and killed people. Four people were shot at point blank range and killed, including two women and an infant. Police also triumphantly trampled the dead bodies, uttering abuses.


Protestors demanded a judicial inquiry, immediate arrests of the police officers led by the SP who conducted the firing, BJP Councillor Ashok Agarwal and his goons (charging them under IPC 302), and cancelling the lease of the 28 acres land, as well as compensation for the families of the deceased as well as those injured.


Meanwhile the Council of Indian Muslims (CIM) UK wrote an open letter to the Bihar CM from Britain, protesting the incident. In the letter, they said:


"We are sure, by now you will have seen the gruesome pictures of the victims of the "brave" police of Bihar that did not even spare a pregnant woman and an infant…


"Mr Chief Minister, this will be hard to believe that by now you have not watched the footage of a "victorious" and jubilant member of your police force swearing at and and jumping on the face and chest of a fallen man hit by bullets and who later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. In the clip his colleagues may be heard saying, "ho gaya, ho gaya, badla liya ja chuka" (It's all done. Revenge has been taken) that tells a lot about the mindset of those entrusted with the sacred duty of keeping and maintaining law and order in the state.


"We are sure that you will be aware that these innocent Muslims, six of whom were shot dead and nine were injured, were hunted like animals and included a pregnant woman and an infant child.


"What was the crime of these wretched souls except that they had dared stop a wealthy industrialist who, with the connivance of the administration, was permanently blocking the road that these poor labourers had been using for years for their daily business?"


The letter observed that "the old jagirdars have been replaced by the new business magnates and industrialists who are being cooperated and facilitated by the central and state governments in harassing the poor masses and depriving them of their basic human rights." It demanded action against the perpetrators, compensation for the victims, and also demanded that the road in contention be declared out of bounds for the industrialist and reserved for the poor.  


Mahila Panchayat at Lucknow

 

Women from all over Uttar Pradesh gathered at the state capital Lucknow in a 'Mahila Panchayat' on 13 June to put the CM Mayawati and her Government in the dock for the spate of atrocities against women in which ruling party Ministers and MLAs as well as police were directly implicated. The Mahila Panchayat was convened by the AIPWA's Uttar Pradesh unit. 


Women – mostly labouring women – from several districts of UP participated in the Panchayat. A jury comprising AIALA leader Krishna Adhikari, AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA's UP State Secretary Premlata Pandey and State President Vidya Rajwar heard testimonies of women who have survived gender violence or resisted violence faced by others in their family.


Kiran Rawat, a dalit woman of Unnao broke down when she spoke of her 18-year-old daughter Kavita Bharti Rawat, who lost her life after being raped by hospital staff when she was in ICU in a Kanpur hospital following a fall in September last year. "The Kanpur police has been threatening and harassing us to withdraw the case, and because of this pressure our younger daughter too has committed suicide. We are distraught. But we will keep fighting till we get justice for our daughters – or till we ourselves die." Kavita's father Subedar Rawat too attended the women's panchayat. There were few dry eyes left in the hall as Kiran spoke.


Dhandei, a dalit woman from Pilibhit, spoke of her struggle for justice after being gang-raped by forest officials. "The drunken forest officials dragged me off and raped me, and threatened to kill my husband if I complained. Later, when I did dare to complain, they got my husband jailed and even now they keep threatening to jail me too and kill us both."


Parvati, another dalit woman from Pilibhit, spoke about her 21-year-old son Rampal who was killed in police custody for the crime of falling in love with a woman of a different caste. "The police picked up my son and told us that he would be released only after we paid a bribe of Rs. 20,000. My husband somehow put together Rs 6000, but was told to leave. The next morning we were told that our son had left. But I heard him crying and found him semi-conscious. My son died after remaining in coma for a month. An FIR was filed by us but the policemen who took my son's life are yet to be arrested. We have moved court with the help of CPI(ML), and are awaiting justice. I want my son's killers to spend a lifetime in jail."                  


Others who gave testimony included Jharna Mandal whose husband was killed for resisting corruption and illegal liquor trade; Rajrani of Jalaun whose daughter Javitri was abducted and killed by BSP MLA Chhote Singh; Vimla Devi of Pilibhit whose son was killed in an 'honour' crime; and Tirsa Devi of Ghazipur whose daughter Poonam was killed for dowry and who is being pressurized by her daughter's in-laws and the corrupt police to withdraw the case. AIPWA activist Geeta Pande of Devaria spoke of the struggle of mid-day meal cooks for jobs and due wages, and of AIPWA's successful struggle to ensure the arrest of those responsible for a gruesome honour killing of three girls. Maya and Arti, AIPWA activists from Lakhimpur spoke about ongoing AIPWA's struggle for justice in the rape and murder of a minor girl in a police station. AIPWA activists Saroj from Ghazipur and Ahmadi from Mirzapur also shared experiences of struggles.


The jury members also addressed the panchayat at the end, and hailed the courage of the women who gave testimony. On behalf of the entire panchayat, the jury members delivered the verdict. The Mayawati government, they said, was squarely responsible for the atrocities and crimes against women, because in case after case the perpetrators were protected. Police and feudal forced are emboldened to commit terrible crimes against women because they see how a whole series of Ministers and MLAs of the ruling BSP themselves are doing the same and being defended by their party and the government. Mayawati's government has betrayed its promises to the women, especially the dalit women of UP – and does not have the moral right to continue in power for a minute longer. The women of UP are expressing their anger and fighting for justice in the face of all odds – and they demand that Mayawati quit.                      


CPI(ML) State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav also expressed solidarity with the aims of the women gathered in the panchayat. Ghazala Anwar of Bazm-e-urdu recited a poem in support of women's struggles. Arundhati Dhuru of NAPM also spoke to express solidarity. Some other women's groups of Lucknow - Hamsafar, Aali, and Sahyog – also attended the panchayat.


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ML Update 24 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 24, 07 – 13 JUNE 2011

Resist the UPA Government's Undeclared Emergency

In its attempt to defend its brutal crackdown on a peaceful protest in the national capital, on the heels of its lavish official welcome and secret back-room dealings with Baba Ramdev, the UPA Government finds itself increasingly exposed, discredited and desperate.

Union Minister Kapil Sibal, defending the police action at Ramlila Grounds that has critically injured some protestors including women, declared that the police action was "a lesson to everybody." Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari has written an article describing street protests as a threat to democracy. The scene is set for a re-enactment of the Emergency – with the Congress-UPA Government unleashing a crackdown on people's resistance to corporate plunder and corruption after branding it as a threat to democracy. In the national capital, Section 144 has been imposed on public spaces of democratic protest like Parliament Street.

The UPA's brazen attempts to deny any corruption in the 2G and CWG scams have failed miserably; two UPA MPs and one Minister are already behind bars. One scam-tainted former Chief Minister has been inducted into the central cabinet and as the 2G probe progresses, some more heads are likely to roll. Unable to continue with its act of shielding the corrupt, the UPA Government is now resorting to all out repression in a desperate bid to contain the people's outrage against corruption that is spilling out on the streets.

The Congress is trying to justify the violent eviction of Baba Ramdev and his supporters from Ramlila Maidan by invoking the RSS-BJP backing for his agitation. The RSS nexus with Ramdev and his own ideological closeness to the Sangh are self-evident. But haven't the Congress' actions, far from having any anti-communal content, actually boosted the legitimacy of Ramdev and the assertion of communal forces?

First, the Congress cultivated Ramdev as a useful counterweight to Anna Hazare and the Lokpal campaign. Ramdev obligingly backed the UPA Government's position that the PM ought to be kept out of the purview of the Lokpal legislation. Top Ministers and even the Cabinet Secretary of the UPA Government greeted Ramdev at the airport. The subsequent revelation that Ramdev met Ministers at a hotel and signed a pre-done deal even before his fast had begun reflects poorly on the integrity of not only Ramdev but also the UPA Government.

In the span of a few hours the Government changed tack, and the violent police action was launched to evict Ramdev and his sleeping supporters. On the very first day of his fast, Ramdev was on the defensive on the question of his deal with the Government. The presence of notorious Babri demolition accused Sadhvi Rithambara on his platform had drawn censure from many, leading other anti-corruption campaigners like Anna Hazare to keep a distance. But the police action conferred credibility once again on a discredited Ramdev by cloaking him in a halo of martyrdom.

Predictably the BJP, till recently beleaguered by bickering of its leaders over the Bellary mining mafia, is trying to revive and reinvent itself as a crusader against corruption and repression. But to the people at large, the BJP's own dismal track record on corruption and repression is difficult to forgive or forget. In states ruled by the BJP, not only has communal violence been orchestrated; every manner of dissent or people's protest against corruption and corporate plunder is subjected to the severest repression, even as BJP leaders and governments stand implicated in notorious scams.

The repression unleashed by the Congress-led UPA Government underlines its refusal to address the burning question of corruption in the country. Even the process of drafting an effective Lokpal bill in cooperation with civil society activists is now sought to be undermined and sabotaged by the Government. The anti-corruption movement must resist repression in every form and align itself with the struggles for democratic transformation in India. Only then can it defeat the UPA Government's efforts to defend corruption and unleash repression, and expose the BJP's false claims of championing democracy and resisting corruption.

Nationwide Call to Protest on 26 June, Anniversary of the Emergency

Combat Corruption, Resist Repression! Save Democracy, Save India!

The CPI(ML) extends support to the one-day fast being held at Rajghat on 8 June 2011 by civil society activists and anti-corruption campaigners in protest against the repressive agenda of the UPA Government.

With brutal crackdowns on peaceful protests, intensifying repression and police firing on people's movements resisting corporate plunder and forced eviction from land, draconian laws and increasing assaults on civil liberties, and bans on democratic protest including even in the national capital, corrupt regimes both at the Centre and most states have launched an all-out assault on democracy.

On 26 June this year, the anniversary of the imposition of the infamous Emergency, the CPI(ML) will hold protest marches and demonstrations at block, district and state levels as well as in the national capital to protest the undeclared Emergency being witnessed today and resolving to intensify the struggle to combat corruption, resist repression and defend democracy.

(Kavita Krishnan)

for Central Committee, CPI(ML)(Liberation)

Fact Finding in Farbisganj Police Firing

A CPI(ML) fact finding team comprising of CC member and Bihar State Committee Member, Comrades KD Yadav and Rajaram Singh (the two are also national vice president and general secretary respectively of All India Kisan Mahasabha), alongwith Araria District Party incharge, Naval Kishore and block secretary of Forbesganj, Genalal Mahato visited Bhajanpur village in Forbesganj and met with the villagers and family members of the deceased Mustafa Ansari, Mukhtar Ansari, Sajmin Khatoon and 8-month old child Naushad.

The team learned from the villagers that the road from Bhajanpur to Raniganj is 60 years old and at various points in time the zilla parishad, gram panchayat, mukhiya and others have conducted the repairing work. Keeping the path till here in mind NH 57 has constructed a subway also. But in course of BIADA acquiring land and construction of private factory by BJP legislative councillor, Ashok Aggarwal, on 28 acres of land, a conspiracy was hatched by them to block and close this road. This road connecting Bhajanpur to Raniganj, connects Bhajanpur village mainly inhabited by minority community (1000 families), to Karbala, Idgah, hospital and local bazaar. So the demand of the villagers to maintain this road is fully justified.

On 2nd June a wall was constructed on one end of the road, on the directions of BJP MLC Ashok Agarwal and on other end a deep digging was done for laying foundation. On 3 June the villagers held a strong protest against this and demolished the boundary wall. The police from 6 stations was already present there and perpetrated most heinous firing, firing hundreds of rounds of bullets and even after Mustafa and Sajmeen were shot above their waist the police flung on to them and trampled their felled but still alive bodies with their boots. This incident exposes the true face of anti-rural, anti-minority character and barbaric face of Nitish Kumar's Govt. Pregnant Sajmeen Khatoon was returning after feeding her husband Farooq Ansari who is a construction worker at this factory. Mustafa was returning from his shop with 8000 rupees and mobile and he was still alive after being shot but police trampled his chest and bled him to death. 8 month old Naushad was killed on the NH in police firing and his mother is injured and admitted at PMCH. 18 year old Mukhtar used to labour outside and was returning to the village.

Within 6 months this is the second incident of barbarism against minorities in Nitish Govt. On 22 Dec 2010 when the villagers of Bamraha under Kursakanta were protesting against an incident of rape, the jawans of BSF murdered four people of minority community. These incidents expose the truth about good-governance in Nitish government.

The CPI(ML) has demanded immediate arrests of the police officers led by the SP who conducted the firing, BJP Councillor Ashok Aggarwal and his goons, charging them under IPC 302, cancelling the lease of the 28 acres land, maintain the said road as it was, compensation of rupees 10 lakhs to the family of the deceased, 3 lakhs rupees as compensation to those injured and judicial inquiry of the whole incident. All those injured in firing have been shot above their waist, more than 100 families of the 1000 are BPL families.

Cadre Meet in Coimbatore

A Party cadre meet was organised on 2nd June in Coimbatore to discuss election performance and the next course of action. over 65 comrades participated in the meeting and they came out with ideas for preparing for the forthcoming local bodies elections in TN. they have also planned a fast protest demanding implementation of uniform syllabus and controlling the private schools extracting exorbitant fees (AISA held a demonstration on 3rd June at Chennai in which 150 students, parents and teachers participated). Com.S.Kumarasami, PBM and Com.Natarajan, SCM, attended the meeting.

Movement Intensifies against the Eviction of Peasants in Pilibhit

Hundreds of thousands of peasants/ farmers were already ravaged by displacement due to floods in Lakhimpur Khiri in Pilibhit district of UP. Now State's Mayawati Govt and Centre's UPA Govt are bent upon evicting/displacing scores of villages, which have been inhabited for hundreds of years, in the name of village land belonging to forest department.

The present generation of farmers and their fore fathers have invested immense toil to make this land fit for tilling and cultivable and they have been sustaining themselves through this land. In 1959, one raja Oyal Yuvraj Dutt wrote a letter to the then administration of his intention to will this land to forest department. It is to be noted that after the 1950 passing of the anti-zamindari act, the raja had no legal standing on this land. The farmers have been fighting for their right to till the land since 1959. They even went to Allahabad High Court and asserted their right on the land since they have been settled on the land for generations. However the court DFO passed an order for eviction and even allowed the administration to use force.

On 21 May 2011 the forest department threw leaflets in the villages asking the peasants to vacate in 10 days. But violating its own 10 day time-period, it conducted a mike campaign on 24 May declaring 24 hours as the deadline to vacate the land.

CPI(ML) has very old roots in this region and it has been leading peasants' struggles since 1980s. CPI(ML)'s State Committee member and District Secretary, Com. Ramdaras also hails from here. The party has been leading the struggle under the banner of Landless Peasant Cultivators Welfare Committee. After the forest department's 24 hours deadline on 24 May, next day a meeting of the peasants was organized and it was recognized that Mayawati govt is trying to repeat Bhatta-Parsol in this region. On 20 May a protest meeting was held which was addressed by CC member Com Krishna Adhikari, State standing Committee member and AIKM leader Com. Afroz Alam and Com. Ramdaras. They asked why the forest rights act was not being implemented in the district and that CPI(ML) accepts this challenge from the state that wants to evict and displace lakhs of farmers. The peasants are ready to die but not give up their land. They also said that assault on livelihoods and State's war on peasants to evict them from their rightful land in UP will be Mayawati's Waterloo.

The forest department again declared on 29 May that it will forcibly evict the people on 1st June. The peasants also started preparations to defend themselves. When the forest department reached the village on 1 June it faced organized resistance from 2000 peasants. The police and the forest department had to retreat in face of stiff resistance led by Com. Ranjit, Master Shrinath, Tapeshwari, etc. An encouraging environment has been generated by this victory of the peasants. The peasants have also started an indefinite dharna from 3 June at Mudabujurg to intensify their agitation. The movement is being fought under the banner of All India Kisan Mahasabha, led by CPI(ML).

Press Conference in Delhi to Highlight Repression and Plunder at POSCO

A Press Conference was held at Delhi on June 8 to draw urgent attention to escalating repression on villagers resisting the POSCO project in Odisha, and to underline the rampantly corrupt and illegal nature of the corporate plunder of natural resources represented by the project.

Those who addressed the Press Conference included Sudhakar Reddy, Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Committee of the CPI, Kavita Krishnan, Central Committee member of the CPI(ML) Liberation, Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group (Bangalore), Shankar Gopalakrishnan of the Campaign for Survival and Dignity, Mamata Dash of the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers. Madhuresh of the National Alliance of People's Movements also participated.

At the Conference, a copy of the recent study on the POSCO project by the ESG (Bangalore) titled "Tearing through the Water Landscape: Evaluating the environmental and social consequences of POSCO project in Odisha, India" was released.

Organisers of the Press Conference included the All India Students' Association (AISA), Environment Support Group (ESG) Bangalore, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA).

Below is the statement released at the Press Conference:

Nation's conscience must be awakened to anti-POSCO struggle

Tackling corruption must begin by scrapping the scandalous POSCO project

The brutal police action unleashed by the UPA Government on Baba Ramdev's fasting camp in Delhi has shocked the nation's conscience; even the Hon'ble Supreme Court has taken suo moto cognisance of the blatant disregard for fundamental rights, and questioned the Government raison de d'etre to so quell dissent. Most mainstream political parties have jostled with each other to gain attention in condemning the incident; and this has by far been the only issue covered and debated non-stop by the electronic and print media for some days now.

However, little or nothing is being said or done about a far more serious situation that is developing in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha, where villagers of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, Patana, etc., are resolutely and peacefully opposing the forcible acquisition of their private and forest lands by the Odisha Government for the benefit of South Korean steel major POSCO. Over the past few days, at least 26 platoons of riot police (over 1,000 police personnel) have been deployed to ruthlessly beat down women, children, the aged, and men who have kept a day/night vigil and not allowed any State functionary, police or company official to enter these villages; thus continuing a phenomenal act of peaceful resistance to POSCO venture, sustained for six years now under the leadership of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithi.

Brutal police tactics, criminal intimidation and illegal methods are being employed here to wrest from these peacefully protesting villagers 4000 acres of extraordinarily fertile agricultural and forest land to establish the single largest industrial foreign investment conceived in recent times. The project involves the establishment of a mega steel plant (12 MTPA), backed by a massive coal-fired thermal power plant (400 MW expandable to 1,100 MW), and a major captive port for handling the world's largest cargo ships (Capesize, usually more than a quarter km. in length).  The project involves further land acquisition for a captive iron ore mine requiring 6,100 acres of predominantly forest land in Khandadhar Hills of Sundergarh district and at least 2,000 acres more for a massive gated township to house POSCO employees. In addition, there would be dedicated water, road and rail linkages that will further exacerbate the displacement and environmental destruction caused by the project.

POSCO: A scandal far bigger than 2G scam

It is high time the nation's conscience is affected by what the project affected communities are suffering under the hands of the Navin Patnaik regime in Odisha. It is time to appreciate the fact that the POSCO project is perhaps the most shocking example of corrupt practices legitimised by State support. This is because the project is nothing short of a legalised loot of our natural resources – iron ore in this case. In an unprecedented deal, Indian and Odisha Governments have supported POSCO's demands to mine 600 million tonnes of the finest iron in India on a 30-year lease. Of this, 30% can be exported for processing in POSCO's Korean plants and thus endorsing profiteering abroad! With current fine iron ore rates crossing Rs. 8,000/tonne, it is simple arithmetic to note that POSCO can recover its capital investment of Rs. 52,000 crores in less than eight years, an unthinkable proposition in any industrial venture! Truly, the POSCO venture is a scandal far worse than those involving 2G and Commonwealth Games.

In fact, A. Raja, principal accused in the 2G scam, may have facilitated POSCO's entry when as Indian Environment Minister in 2007 he accorded the first major statutory clearance by approving the captive port component, one day before he transited to the Telecom Ministry. This was done without any review and also in response to severe pressure from then Union Finance Minister Chidambaram. Various key environmental and forest clearances quickly followed, all by subverting laws and breaking down the massive industrial/mining venture into little parts to hide their true environmental, social and economic consequences.

Three years later when Jairam Ramesh, the sitting Environment Minister, ordered a comprehensive review of these clearances by setting up two independent investigations, both committees confirmed that the clearances had been secured by fraud and subterfuge, and strongly recommended withdrawal of these illegal approvals. The appropriate action that the Minister should have taken was to cancel these fraudulent clearances and initiate criminal action against all involved in the POSCO decisions. Such action would have been true evidence of the oft-made claim by the UPA Government that it is serious about tackling corruption.

Instead, Jairam Ramesh claimed he was working towards "cooperative federalism" and on the basis of his "faith and trust" in the Odisha Government approved the project's environment and CRZ clearances on 31 January 2011 and subsequently the forest clearance on 2nd May. This was despite absolute evidence that the Forest Rights Act had been fundamentally violated by deliberately overlooking Gram Sabha resolutions (convened by the constitutionally empowered Panchayats in the project affected villages) that clearly rejected the project. Ramesh, thus, became a party to the fraud in environmental decision-making and also directly responsible for the dangerous situation that is developing in the POSCO affected villages today.

We fear that the exigent State police action that is now underway in these villages may result in another Kalinganagar or Nandigram type of situation. The scant attention paid by mainstream political parties, the media and the public is only strengthening the Navin Patnaik Government to disregard Constitution norms and act ruthlessly to secure lands for the advantage of POSCO.

In an effort to prevent such a carnage from taking place, various eminent people in the country have intervened and appealed to the Prime Minister of India to "immediately ask the Odisha government to halt this illegal attack, to withdraw all clearances given in violation of law, and to take an impartial position in the court cases filed by the people. Failure to stop this attack will show that the UPA government's much vaunted concern over issues of displacement, forest rights and "inclusive growth" is simply an eyewash." A copy of this appeal is enclosed.

While endorsing these demands, we additionally urge that:  (1) The Odisha Government must immediately withdraw its police operations and forcible acquisition of land for POSCO. (2) The Central Bureau of Investigation must immediately expand the scope of its ongoing investigations against A Raja by reviewing his role in the POSCO clearances, and that of all those who have been involved in illegally promoting this scandalous project, possibly including then Finance Minister and presently Home Minister, Chidambaram. (3) The scandalous POSCO project must be scrapped as its benefits will be accrued mainly by major American financiers (including Warren Buffet) who are major stockholders of this South Korean company.

 CPI(ML)'s Candidates in Bihar Panchayat Elections- final tally

We have won 17 Zilla Parishad seats, 109 Block Development Council seats, 93 Mukhiyas and 82 Sarpanchs.

 

 

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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

ML Update 23 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 23, 31 MAY – 06 JUNE 2011

Karnataka Farce:

BJP's Complicity in Corruption and Corporate Plunder

Even as the BJP's Karnataka Government completed three years, and the Centre once again rejected the Karnataka Governor's recommendation for imposition of Central rule in the state, a new act in BJP's Karnataka drama is unfolding once more. The BJP's topmost leadership is in the middle of a public spat over which of them is responsible for patronising the powerful Karnataka Ministers and notorious mining mafia: the 'Bellary brothers'.

Sushma Swaraj, widely known to be very close to the Bellary brothers, sought to distance herself from them by claiming that their appointment to the Karnataka cabinet was a result of 'political compulsions' of BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa. Swaraj said that it was on the request of these leaders that she had gone to speak to the Bellary brothers, in a bid to save the BJP's first government in south India. Subsequently, BJP President Nitin Gadkari has tried to control damage by asserting that the decisions on Karnataka's cabinet were taken "unanimously."

While BJP leaders wrangle over who was responsible for the Bellary brothers' appointment, the inescapable fact is that the BJP as a whole and even the RSS stand deeply mired in one of the country's worst instances of corruption, crony capitalism and corporate loot. Every year, the Bellary brothers strip the earth of precious iron ore resources and export it to secure enormous profits. On the strength of this wealth, they command the loyalty of over a score of MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly.

The Bellary brothers have time and again demonstrated their power – before which even the BJP national leadership and Karnataka CM appear helpless. Their mining loot provided the critical cash that powered 'Operation Lotus' (where the BJP poached MLAs from rival parties in 2009). CM Yeddyurappa, himself besieged by allegations of land scams and fighting for survival in the wake of the SC ruling against disqualification of the rebel MLAs, has defended 'Operation Lotus' even as he assured that this time, the BJP had no need to take recourse to another Operation Lotus in order to survive.

Recently, the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) set up by the Supreme Court submitted a report indicting the Reddy brothers for illegal mining in Forest Areas and recommending cancellation of their mining licenses. The BJP Government of Karnataka is yet to show any signs of complying with this ruling. Karnataka's Lokayukta Santosh Hegde too is expected to submit his report on illegal mining in Bellary by August this year.

The UPA Government, that has just completed two years, is under the shadow of massive scams, with two of its Ministers in jail. The 2G scam itself was an instance of massive crony capitalism and corporate plunder of natural resources. But with its own top leadership compromised in the Bellary mining scandal, the chief Opposition party, the BJP, is in no position to offer any principled or committed challenge to the UPA on the question of corruption or corporate plunder. With the Congress and the BJP both standing exposed as complicit in corruption and corporate loot the time is ripe for all genuine Left and democratic forces to take the lead and intensify the campaign for a corruption-free, democratic India.

CPIML Condemns the Detention and Denial of Entry of Civil Liberty Activist in Kashmir

CPIML condemns the detention and denial of entry of civil liberty activists in Kashmir. Mr. Gautam Navlakha, a well known civil liberties activist from Delhi, and Editorial Consultant, Economic and Political Weekly, was stopped at Srinagar airport on his arrival from New Delhi, on May 28, 2011, and asked to go back. Officials invoked Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and sent him back from Srinagar airport.

Mr. Navlakha's denial of entry denies all claims of normalcy that the State government has been claiming. It reflects a cover up of serious human rights violation within the state that the government is shying away from. Preventing a civil libertian from even undertaking a personal trip to the valley denies the all-is-normal- pretension that the army wants to show with pictures of tourists playing in the snow.

It has been reported by journalists from Kashmir that even routine movement in the valley has got restricted for the Kashmiri people and all streets have been isolated , even peaceful protests are severely clamped down. Given the brutal violence on people by state forces in the summer of 2008, 2009, and 2010 in Kashmir, it is worrying that in the summer of 2011, Kashmiris are being prevented from interacting with human rights defenders, who may bear witness to atrocities and speak for peace and justice.

The Union government's complicity is endorsed by Farooq Abdullah's endorsement of the detention. It is a grim reminder of the violations faced by Kashmiri people on a daily basis.

Convention Against Corruption at Narela

The Delhi State Committee of the CPI(ML) held a convention on 29 May at Narela on the 'Struggle against Corruption and Questions of Democracy and Livelihood', as part of an ongoing campaign against corruption and corporate plunder.

The Convention was preceded by intensive mass campaign by students and youth, in which anti-corruption volunteers were recruited and copies of the party's publication on corruption sold. The Convention was well-attended and many local citizens, activists, students and youth participated with their enthusiastic ideas and suggestions.

The Convention was conducted by Surendra Panchal, district secretary of the CPI(ML). Young students recently recruited as volunteers in the 'Young India Against Corruption, Young India for Democracy' campaign spoke up and shared their thoughts. One of them said, "If a door gets termite-ridden, it isn't possible simply to kill the termites, you have to replace the door. In the same way, the crusade against corruption calls for an overhaul of the whole system and the whole package of anti-people policies." This student also shared his own experience of paying donations to get college admission, and spoke of how privatization of education would increase corruption manifold.

AISA leaders Om Prasad from JNU, and Amit Kumar from DU as well as RYA activist Aslam Khan addressed the Convention, sharing their experiences of the mass campaign.

Delhi University lecturer Tapas Ranjan Saha addressed the debate over whether it was futile to struggle for a Lokpal Bill. He pointed out that many laws including labour laws are won through people's struggles; and even if these laws are not implemented by the Government, these laws are weapons in the hands of people. Similarly the Lokpal Bill might not eliminate corruption, but it would certainly be one of the weapons in the hands of people battling corruption. At the same time, there is also an urgent need to recognize the linkages between corporate plunder, corruption and state terror. He spoke about the way in which the rulers were changing the laws of the land to suit corporate and imperialist interests, citing the instances of the UID Bill, various higher education Bills, the SEZ Act and NMIZ proposal.

CPI(ML) CC Member Kavita Krishnan said that the recent Assembly elections had proved that people were determined to vote out the corrupt and repressive governments. The Radia tapes and Wikileaks had revealed how corporate and imperialist interests directly influenced decisions taken by Government and Parliament. Even the main Opposition party was in the pockets of corporate agents. Corruption was not just about bribe-taking, it had grown exponentially with privatization policies. Ending corruption calls for an end to these policies of privatization that open up national resources and assets for corporate loot. She also called for the campaign to demand an end to draconian, colonial-era laws like sedition and AFSPA.

The Convention was presided over by CPI(ML) PB member Swadesh Bhattacharya. It was attended by CPI(ML) State Secretary Sanjay Sharma as well as many Delhi state committee members including Satyavir Shramik. The Convention was also attended by retired Principal Satyavrat Arya, Ved Mamurpur, a teacher, Arun Kumar, Paramjit Singh and local students Ravikant, Baliram, Anjali and Amit Bose.

Now Farmers Rise against Mayawati Govt in Chandauli after Bhatta-Parsaul

Bhatta-Parsaul type of situation is prevailing at the other end of Uttar Pradesh – at Katesar village of Niyamtabad block in Chandauli district. The peasants of this village are on dharna since 24 May to save their land. The Govt of UP is acquiring 200 hectares of land here to make 'New Kashi' and a cultural centre. Varanasi Development Authority has been entrusted to do this. Section 4 and Section 6 notice has already been issued to acquire 121 hectares of fertile land belonging to farmers in the first phase.

The farmers of Katesar are up in arms against the land acquisition as the land in question is the main source of their livelihood. The land is close to river Ganga and fertile in which they grow vegetables etc. that brings them their income. They have said that they will not part with their land at any cost and in any case the official compensation they will receive is not at all enough to buy land elsewhere. They also alleged that the Govt. has already finalised transactions with a construction company in which the Govt will make profit by selling the land to the company at a higher rate. They are fearing that the Govt will forcefully acquire their land at throwaway prices and they will be left with no other means of livelihood.

The brutal suppression of farmers at Bhatta-Parsaul by the Mayawati Govt in UP reminded us of Singur and Nandigram. Now the Govt of UP is virtually looting agricultural land of poor and middle level farmers at gun point – to be given away to private companies. Katesar is mainly inhabited by poor and small-land holding farmers. Almost whole village will disappear if this acquisition becomes a reality; affecting more than one thousand people. Section 6 notice will mean their eviction. The peasants had started their protest dharna on 25 April 2011 and after verbal assurance by district officials to stop acquisition had withdrawn their protest on 7th May. But in the meantime the administration restarted their acquisition drive. Infuriated at this the peasants too restarted their dharna near the Grand Trunk Road close to village from 24 May under the banner of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti. Their main demand is cancellation of the Section 4 notice that relates to land acquisition, and a written assurance be given against the acquisition.

CPI(ML) has declared its support for the farmers agitation and it took out a 15 km long motorcycle rally on 30th May from Mughalsarai to Katesar where the rally carrying red flags and Party banners merged with the dharna. CPI(ML) leaders also addressed the dharna. Prior to this CPI(ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha leaders had visited the Katesar village to meet the farmers and find out the objective situation.

With no official response coming for the dharna the farmers had encircled the SDM and CO of police for three hours when they visited the dharna spot on 28th May. Later, somehow they managed to escape. Seeing the militant mood of the farmers the administration got into some active mode. Other parties too apart from the CPI(ML) declared their support for the agitation. It is not easy for the administration to repeat Bhatta-Parsaul kind of brutality in Katesar and so it has initiated a dialogue with the farmers. However, nothing fruitful has come out of these talks. The DM gave in writing that the land will not be acquired by force but the farmers are not going to be fooled unless the Section 4 & 6 notice is withdrawn. They also warned that if the demands are not met they will burn Mayawati Govt's affigy on 31st May and also set themselves ablaze on 1st June. The fear of losing their land and hopelessness from this Govt is so acute that they even readied a funeral pyre nearby.

The CPI(ML) demanded from the State Govt to scrap the plan for land acquisition and warned the Mayawati Govt from repeating Bhatta-Parsaul here. The Chandauli district Party unit said that it will defend the farmers in the event of repressive actions. The Party also declared that any repressive action will be strongly opposed.

Finally, bowing before the farmers' agitation the Chandauli DM sent his recommendation on 30th May to State Govt for withdrawal of Section 4 & 6 notices. SDM came with a copy of DM's recommendation letter to dharna spot on 31st May morning and asked for a month's time. Postponing their further agitation the farmers have declared that if the demands are not met in the month's time the agitation will resume.

Congress Leader Resorting to Criminal Acts to Capture Land of Poor in Pilibhit

If the BSP Govt of UP is using police force to force out farmers from their land, a Congress leader BM Singh in Pilibhit is using goons to capture land of Mazdoor Basti by trying to evict them by force. The administration seems to be hand in glove with the land mafia as it has banned the entry of AIALA district VP Nagina Ram in Pilibhit dist. and a dalit youth Ramdin was also beaten up- this also exposes further the anti-dalit nature of Mayawati Govt.

Comrade Nagina Ram, popular leader of agrarian labourers in trans-Sharda area, has filed a case in Allahabad High Court on behalf of the habitants of the Mazdoor Basti at Rahul Nagar, appealing that the habitants (who are mainly dalits) be given rights on the Basti land. He has been leading the poor of the Basti against the attempts of Congress-BSP to evict the poor and grab the land. For this reason he was attacked and his son received a serious head-injury for which he had to be in hospital at Lucknow for two months. However, the criminals had to beat a retreat in face of resistance by the workers. The police filed a false case (307) against Com. Nagina Ram even though he was not there. After this incident a PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) camp has been set up in the village and the villagers are being routinely harassed. Nagina Ram has been leading the opposition to this too and now there are at least cases filed by the administration against him.

In the dalit dominated trans-Sharda area BSP is often being challenged by CPI(ML). The BSP leaders and administration officials are involved in anti-dalit atrocities, a recent example of which is severe assault on a dalit youth Ramdin who had gone to the block office with his complaint. This was done by BSP's ex-Dist. President Dinesh Bharti (in the presence and with the help of Block officials) who was also a declared candidate for by-elections from Puranpur constituency. CPI(ML) and AIALA leaders who were holding a public meeting nearby rushed to the spot upon hearing of the assault on Ramdin and found that he was almost lifeless. Only a firm and angry protest could ensure proper treatment for the youth and filing of FIR though the names of actual accused Dinesh Bharti and DDO (Dist. Development Officer) has not yet been included in the FIR. The administration however, has again slapped false cases against our comrades Jitendra and Sayeed Khan along with 25 unnamed. AIALA has protested against blatant violation of law by the dist. officials and demanded immediate FIR against BSP leader Dinesh Bharti.

PILIBHIT: In yet another incident land belonging to peasants of Balpur Patti village on Pilibhit-Bareilly highway has been fraudulently looted by the land mafias. A private company from Ferozepur in Pujab lured the farmers with the promise of jobs and even compensation for land if the farmers of Balpur Patti gave their land for setting up a factory. The farmers were cheated in this and it came out that the local officials as well as the police are hand in glove with the land mafia. Two main agents of the land mafia were found murdered and the police is accusing the farmers and an attempt is there to create a communal issue of Sikhs versus locals. It is to be noted that a report had been registered by the city magistrate when farmers led by Comrade Alluddin Shastri met him. In the report the fraudsters (company's manager Surendra Singh Dhir and property dealer Anandpal Singh, who were later found murdered) were named and asked by the farmers to be arrested. Had the police acted on the report and arrested them the incident would have possibly not taken place. The Party has demanded that action be taken against the Kotwal of Pilibhit who is actually responsible for this. A widespread campaign was undertaken to expose BSP Govt's efforts to protect the land mafias. A demonstration was organised in Pilibhit on 13 May in which farmers and poor villagers from many villages participated.

MAHARAJGANJ: Close to Nepal border in Maharajganj district's Sulnipur village (under Nichnaul tehsil) the local dabangs in collusion with the dist. administration attacked the hutments of toiling poor on 11 May 2011 with an intention to evict them and grab the land. However, the poor people, mainly women and children at the time of attack, resisted the onslaught with tremendous bravery and foiled all attempts of police officials and District's Deputy Magistrate. Enraged with this the police set on fire the entire hutments in which whatever limited belongings the poor have was turned into ashes including their clothes, utensils, furniture etc. When the CPI(ML) and AIALA leaders Ali Ahmad, Hari Prasad and Guddu Biswas were protesting this barbarism they were arrested and taken to police station where they were severely assaulted.

Hundreds of CPI(ML) members and activists held a protest demonstration on 13 May at the Nichnaul tehsil office. When the DM refused to release the three comrades on bail a hunger fast was started from 16 May. Ten people including 8 women from the affected families went on hunger strike. Bhitaura block's Party incharge Com. Rampravesh and RYA leader Amjad along with few others joined the fast unto death on 18 May. The administration only swung into action when the condition of four people sitting on hunger strike worsened in the evening of 18 May. Panicked administration immediately released CPI(ML) leader Ali Ahmad. On 19 May the Dist. Magistrate and Additional SP gave assurances for paying compensation for the damaged huts, and action against the dabangs and police and administrative officials colluding with the land mafias. After this the fast unto death was withdrawn. In the meantime the poor also remade their huts. It was only due to brave resistance by the poor and unyielding agitation by CPI(ML) that forced the administration to bow down. It has struck a encouraging note among the fighting poor.

CPI(ML) Rally in Dhariawad

CPI(ML)'s newly formed Dhariawad Sub-division Committee in tribal-populated Pratapgarh district in south Rajasthan held its first Party Rally on 23rd May. More than 200 tribal men and women participated with much enthusiasm and marched in Dhariwad Sadar, which is mainly non-tribal populated administrative town, raising slogans. The rally mainly demanded end to corruption, end to anti-tribal, anti-people policies of the govts, proper implementation of NREGA, correcting the BPL list according to the ground realities, providing pattas for the forest land to tribal people and end to unbridled exploitation of tribal areas. The rally was addressed by Rajasthan's Party Secretary Comrade Mahendra Chaudhary, tribal leader Gautamlal Meena and Jafar Muhammad  among others.

Dharna in Bhilai against loot in PF of Contract Workers

CPI(ML) and AICCTU organised a dharna in Bhilai on 26 May to protest the continued loot of PF and wages of contract workers of Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai Municipal Council and Kumhari Municipality, CBI enquiry and massive corruption. A memorandum to the SP-CBI and the Chief Minister was given through the DM of Durg. A loot to the tune of crores of rupees has been committed from the workers' PF and wages fund. When the workers are opposing this they are being threatened and fired. Labour laws are blatantly violated and on Management's behest the contractors indulge in humiliating the workers.

Leaflets were distributed and workers' meetings were held to make the dharna successful. Com. Brijendra Tiwari, Chhattisgarh Party Secretary, conducted the dharna.

 

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