Thursday, July 28, 2011

ML Update 31 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 31, 26 JULY – 01 AUGUST 2011

The Corrupt Must Pay for their Crimes –

Yeddyurappa, Manmohan, Chidambaram Must Quit!

The prevailing mood of determined refusal to acquiesce in or condone corruption in high places is making it more difficult for the corrupt to enjoy impunity. Be it Yeddyurappa in Karnataka, Manmohan Singh at the Centre or even Nitish in Bihar, all are feeling the heat after being implicated in scams.

The anti-corruption movement got one of its first victories when it forced the Maharashtra CM's head to roll for the Adarsh scam. The fact that Ministers and leaders of the ruling party and coalition at the Centre – Raja, Kanimozhi, Kalmadi – are in jail for scams is also an achievement of people's anti-corruption spirit.

Now, following indications that the Karnataka Lokayukta has indicted the Chief Minister in a huge illegal mining scam, CM Yeddyurappa is increasingly becoming a hot potato for the BJP. As we go to press, reports suggest that the BJP will ask Yeddyurappa to quit if the report, to be submitted to the Government soon, names him as guilty. As of now, Yeddyurappa is still brazening it out. But if indeed he is forced to quit, it will be yet another key victory for the anti-corruption movement.

In Bihar, the BIADA scam might well prove to be Bihar's Adarsh scam. Just as a whole range of political leaders had got flats illegally allotted to their relatives in the Adarsh scam, the BIADA in Bihar has allotted land to a large number of close relatives of leaders in the ruling BJP-NDA coalition. The Forbesganj firing was bad enough as an act of police brutality against protestors. What makes it worse is that the firing had taken place at the behest of the Forbesganj BJP MLC whose son was one of the beneficiaries of BIADA's munificence. Not content with illegal allotment of land, the MLC and his son had additionally encroached upon a public road, leading to the spontaneous people's protest which met with brutality and firing.

The Nitish Government's defence is that the allotment of land without issuing tenders was not illegal, and was in fact just an incentive for industrialisation in Bihar. But the question then arises, how come so many of the beneficiaries of these 'incentives' were close relatives of top leaders in the BJP-JD(U) ruling coalition and government?! In fact, Nitish's 'development' claims have proved to rest on the old familiar foundations of nepotism and corruption! The Bihar Government, which till recently basked in the unquestioning adulation of the corporate media, is now shooting the messenger and threatening media freedom. In a shameful display of high-handedness, the Chief Secretary of Bihar blamed the IBN-7 (the news channel that first broke the BIADA scam story) for irresponsible reporting and recommended legal action against such journalism!

If BJP-NDA Governments in Karnataka and Bihar are being exposed for their corruption and high-handedness, the Congress-UPA Government at the Centre is sinking still further into the 2G scam quagmire. A defiant A Raja has declared that each of his actions were very much part of the official policy of the UPA Government. He has categorically stated that the Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were privy to the decision to approve the sale of equity on part of beneficiaries of 2G spectrum allocation, and has challenged them to deny it. He has asked why the PM did not convene a GoM had he felt that spectrum allocation was in contravention of the law.

Following Raja's revelations, the UPA's top leaders including PM and HM, have nowhere to run. Their fig leaf of a defence, till now, was that the scam was a purely DMK affair, and the PM's only fault was that he was constrained by some 'coalition compulsions.' Now, that flimsy defence has been ripped apart by Raja's statements. The present telecom Minister Kapil Sibal's brazen blustering – once again denying any scam involved in the sale of equity by 2G beneficiaries and claiming that the words of an 'accused' did not merit attention – cannot save the skin of the PM and the HM.

With such direct evidence of the PM's and HM's complicity in the 2G scam, there can be no possible excuse for allowing them to continue in office. The tainted Prime Minister and Home Minister must go. Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram must resign!

 Fascist Terrorism in Norway:

Mirror Image of Saffron Fascism

In one of the most terrible acts of terrorism in recent times, 93 people were killed in a bomb blast and cold-blooded shooting in Norway. Most of the people killed in the shooting were young delegates at a Labour Party camp.

In a display of knee-jerk Islamophobic prejudice, the terror attack was first branded by most of the media as perpetrated by a 'Muslim group.' It has turned out, however, that the terrorist is in fact a young right-wing fanatic, who dressed up as a policeman and perpetrated the attack.

The terrorist claimed that the massacre was a statement against 'multiculturalism' in Europe – a euphemism for hatred against immigrants, especially those of Muslim origin.

It must be recognised that the terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, is not a lone madman. He is a product of the prevailing political climate of Europe, in which racism and Islamophobia are on the rise. It is significant that an Italian Parliamentarian, Mario Borghezio, from Italy's Northern League party which is a junior partner in the Berlusconi Government of Italy, has said that "Some of the ideas he (the terrorist) expressed are good — barring the violence — some of them are great."

This new face of terror in Europe is, in many ways, the mirror image of Hindutva terror in India. In fact, the Norway terrorist's 1518-page 'Manifesto' - '2080: A European declaration of independence' – spends 102 pages expressing admiration for Hindutva. Just like the Sangh Parivar rants against 'Mullahs and Marxists', Breivik's manifesto rants against 'cultural Marxists and Muslims.' The manifesto applauds Hindu groups who "do not tolerate the current injustice and often riot and attack Muslims when things get out of control." It recommends that the Hindutva followers opt for military training and organisation.

Breivik's manifesto names the websites of the BJP, RSS, the National Volunteers' Organisation, ABVP and VHP as resources, and promises military support "to the nationalists in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India."

The Norway horror is a warning that right-wing ideologies of racist/communal hate-mongering can produce terrorist killers. The gap between the 'respectable' European parties which propagate anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim views, and between a terrorist Breivik, is very narrow. It is the former which create a fertile ground, and sows the seeds for terrorists like Breivik.

In our own country, the BJP and RSS try to distance themselves from the Abhinav Bharat variety of saffron terrorists. But in fact it is the BJP and RSS are organically linked to the saffron terrorists! The BJP-RSS also share the same ideological mind-space - of Islamophobia and anti-Left hatred – as the Norway terrorist. It is urgent that such ideologies be exposed and resisted all over the world.

Ruling Party MLA Gheraoed in Mumbai

Mr. Amin Patel, a Congress MLA from Mumba Devi Assembly Constituency in Mumbai was gheraoed (encircled) by more than 150 members of Municipal Kamgar-Karmachari Purogami Union (MKKPU) at 11 a.m. on 18 July. This gherao was result of long pending issues of people residing in Valpakhadi MNP basti near Sandhurst Station.

Mumbai Mahanagar Palika has 57 such bastis (colonies) across Mumbai where the sanitation and sewage handling workers reside. In the Valpakhadi basti there are six buildings that together house 450 families. These buildings are in bad shape and we hear not so infrequently of building collapses in Mumbai. The workers and the Union had on 16th May given an application to the Municipal Commissioner for renovation of the two buildings out of six. The Chief Engineer of Mahanagar Palika who has charge of housing units of sanitation workers, refused to undertake any renovation work, irresponsibly saying that it is dangerous to renovate those buildings. The basti people, General Secretary and Vice-President of the Union met him on 11 July to solve the issue but he spoke rudely and shocked them by saying that they will have to move to Mankhurd and vacate the buildings. He also said that the local MP and MLA have also given their consent for removing the basti people from there.

Upon hearing this the infuriated basti people and Union office bearers went right then to meet the local MP Milind Deora and found that he had left for Delhi to take oath for Ministership. His PA called up the MLA Amin Patel and he gave them an appointment for the next day. When these workers reached there on 12 July he never turned up as he too had left for Delhi to attend Deora's ceremony. The angry workers decided to hold a mass meeting on 17th July to expose the dirty plan being hatched by these legislators against the hard working sanitation workers.

The meeting on 17 July was very successful and it was led and addressed by comrades Dayabhai Solanki, Anil Solanki, Dheeraj Rathod and Shyam Gohil. The speakers exposed the whole thing and called upon the workers and residents to come out whole-heartedly to save their homes, space and whatever little convenience they have in the city.

On 18 July the workers confronted the MLA with what they had heard from the Chief Engineer and gheraoed him. It has resulted in an assurance from him who has said he will get the buildings repaired from his MLA funds. The basti people have warned him against any effort to evict them from their basti and there is now a collective resolve among them to fight against any injustice.

ASHA Workers' Rally in Dehradun

On 18 July 2011, a remarkable sight greeted people on the streets of the Uttarakhand capital, Dehradun. In pouring rain, there was a huge overflowing stream of women, raising slogans with red flags in their hands. These women were ASHA workers, of the AICCTU-affiliated Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers' Union, who were demanding their rights from the State Government.

From steep mountain terrain to the plains, ASHA (rural health) workers have to be ready to provide care and assistance to pregnant women and ensure safe deliveries at all times of day and night. They are the main force in implementing a host of crucial tasks including vaccinations and pre- and post-natal care. Yet they are supremely neglected and exploited in the state. Far from receiving a salary, these women workers get a mere 'honorarium' which is less than even the minimum wage!

Their situation in Uttarakhand is even worse than in other states. This is a state where the Government makes tall claims of being the first to implement the 6th Pay Commission for employees; but here, the honorarium received by an ASHA worker for each institutional delivery has been slashed from the already meager Rs 600 to a mere Rs 350. In urban areas they get just Rs 200. To make these women slog at all irregular hours for such a pitiful pittance is nothing but unpaid labour. And it is a shame that it is the Government which is exploiting this unpaid labour from women who are the backbone of the rural health programme!

It is worth recalling that the present CM, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank,' when he was Health Minister in 2008, had announced that ASHA workers would receive a monthly salary. His promise lies forgotten once he has been promoted to CM.

AICCTU has been organizing ASHA workers in the state. Beginning in Pithoragarh, this process has now expanded to Almora, Nainital and other districts of Uttarakhand. A workshop was held in Pithoragarh to orient the struggle ideologically, politically and on policy issues. On 7 June, demonstrations were held at all district and block HQs. And on 18 July, the women workers from all over the hills reached Dehradun to protest at the CM's office and confront him for his hollow promises. When police stopped the procession from proceeding towards the CM office, the women sat on dharna at the State Secretariat which houses the CM's office. A mass meeting was held there, which blocked the road in front of the Secretariat for four hours.

The mass meeting was addressed by AICCTU National Secretary Rajiv Dimri, who spoke of how the UPA Government at the Centre and the BJP Government in the state were united in their agenda of exploiting workers and violating labour rights. Hemlata Soun, State Convener of the ASHA Health Workers' Union, said that the treatment of ASHA workers exposed the state government's discrimination towards women workers, and mocked their tall claims of women's empowerment. She said that the Uttarakhand Government spoke of Antyoday Vikas Yatra and Vision 2020 on the one hand, but ASHA workers did not earn even Rs 10 per day. No party inside the state assembly had shown any concern for the ASHA workers, in fact they silently colluded with the exploitation.

The meeting was also addressed by Janaki Gurrani, Almora Dist., President of the Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers' Union, Ranikhet Secretary Gita Sajwan, Bageshwar leader Ganga Arya, Champawat district President Saraswati Punetha, Tanakpur President Mina Kashyap, Nainital President Kamala Kunjwal, Mamta Dhanu of Udhamsinghnagar, Agnes of Khatima, and others.

AIKM State President Purushottam Sharma, State Secretary Jagat Martoliya, Almora AIKM Convener Anand Negi, AICCTU leader Kailash Pande, and AISA State President Malati Haldar also addressed the meeting and expressed solidarity. The meeting was presided by AICCTU State President Nishan Singh, and conducted by AICCTU State Secretary K K Bora.

After the meeting, a memorandum was sent through the City Magistrate to the CM demanding that ASHA workers be recognized as government employees; be given Rs 6000 per month as salary in keeping with labour laws and SC directive; 20 days leave per year be guaranteed; the cut in honorarium be withdrawn and ASHA workers be given Rs 1000 per delivery; ASHA rest rooms be built in every hospital; ASHA workers be allowed to avail free healthcare like state government employees and be given special health cards; and the government give ASHA workers accident insurance cover of Rs 20 lakh.

AIALA's State-level Workshop in TN

The Kodarma National Executive Committee of All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA) had planned to hold state-level workshops to prepare for the 4th National Conference of AIALA. As per the decision, a State-level workshop of AIALA was organized at Myladuthurai in Nagappattinam district on 4th July.

Apart from the State Council members, selected activists from new districts were invited to the workshop. In all, 52 cadres and activists including 9 women comrades from 11 districts participated in the workshop. An approach paper was circulated posing several key problems faced by the organization by AIALA's National General Secratary Com. Dhirendra Jha. Around 18 participants expressed their views, experiences and their initiatives.

On the question of lack of functioning of Panchayat level structures, participants opined that a conscious and concerted attempt by our organizers is wanting. Opinions came up that State leaders must visit the districts and provide guidance. On the question of continuous agitations and movements most of the participants stated that our attempts were sporadic and politically not sharp. Our attempts could not be directed against the nexus at panchayat level and so we couldn't solidify our primary success and gains. Several activists who got active through our initiatives could not be developed due to lack of conscious efforts. The membership campaign does not follow-up with further course. Participants cited these as some of the reasons why we got poor votes.

They said that more agitations, more issues and more benefits to the workers will bring more members to and more influence of the organization. Participants narrated their experiences of taking up various issues such as wages, house-patta, NREGA and other welfare benefits. One participant explained that in Tanjore district, the official wage of Rs.119 has been successfully implemented. Nowhere in the state has this wage been implemented. This was possible by the workers initiative and agitation which was led by the AIALA activists and cadres.

Summing up the deliberations Com. Dhirendra Jha said that panchayat practice is the key to AIALA practice. Conscious and concerted attempts at panchayat level, ensuring concrete and sustained results are the only answers to the problems faced by AIALA in Tamilnadu. Towards this, senior leaders of the organization have key responsibilities. They should take up the challenge and must develop model for work in panchayats. Referring to more agitations, issues and more benefits to rural workers, he said that while we should do all these for a beginning, what is more important is making the worker more conscious. He called upon the councillors to actively work to ensure massive participation of rural poor in the August 9 Jail bharo/road blockade agitation called by CPI(ML) against corruption, price-rise and state repression.

Following the workshop, State Council, among other things discussed plans to enroll more than 75 thousand new members apart from the existing 52 thousand members, before the National Conference.

Com. Rameshwar Prasad, National President of AIALA handed over financial assistance to 23 girl and boy students from the Tsunami affected areas. (This is the 2nd year when AIALA has extended educational assistance from its corpus to tsunami affected children).

Com. Balasundaram, state secretary of the party also addressed the workshop. Greeting the council, Com. Rameshwar Prasad told the house that AIALA must ensure that no poor is left out from the fresh list as the BPL survey is currently going on at panchayat level. The council meeting was presided over by Com. TKS Janardhnan, State President of AIALA. Com. Janakiraman, State General Secretary made introductory remarks of the workshop.

AISA-RYA Rally in TN for Immediate Implementation of Common Syllabus

All India Students' Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) jointly held a State-level rally on July 23 in Chennai demanding immediate implementation of HC judgment on common syllabus and not to appeal further to SC on the issue. The SC has earlier ruled that status quo for class I and class VI is to continue, i.e. implementation of common syllabus and directed the HC to decide on the issue of implementation of common syllabus for classes II to V and VII to X.

Over 400 students and youth from Chennai, Tiruvallore, Kanchipuram, Coimbatore, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri, Cuddalore, Tanjore, Pudukottai districts participated in the rally which was led by Com. K Bharathi, AISA, State President. The rally was flagged off by Com. AS Kumar, SCM of the Party. AISA State leaders comrades Venkatachalam, Malarvizhi, Rameshwar Prasad, Dhanavel, Rajashankar, Gopal and Seetha addressed the gathering.

The participants criticised the Jayalalitha government which strongly stands by the private school managements and which has created a state of confusion in the school education. They demanded Education is the right of students and providing education is the duty of the government. After the rally a seven-member team of AISA–RYA met the Chief Secretary of TN and presented a memorandum on the 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:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ML Update 30 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 30, 19 – 25 JULY 2011

The Gorkhaland Accord –

A New Turn in the Politics of the Hills and North Bengal

Even as Telangana continues to burn, the UPA government claims to have found a solution to the Gorkhaland agitation with the signing of a tripartite agreement involving the central government, Government of West Bengal and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The agreement was formalized at a public ceremony in the hills on 18 July, marking the replacement of the existing Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council by a more powerful Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. The formation of the GTA has triggered measured jubilation in the hills of Darjeeling while Siliguri and Dooars region of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts have been marked by repeated bandhs called by various organizations opposed to the existing agreement or jittery about the possibility of inclusion of additional areas within the territory of Gorkhaland.

The GTA will have 50 members – 45 elected and 5 nominated – as opposed to the 42-member DGHC which used to have only 28 elected members and as many as 14 nominated members. Apart from substantially increasing the number of elected members, the agreement also confers considerably enhanced powers on the GTA – 59 departments including school and college education as opposed to the DGHC jurisdiction which covered only 19 departments. This of course means the GTA will have much more funds at its disposal and will also enjoy powers to sanction a larger pool of posts and recruit a bigger contingent of employees. Additionally, the inclusion of the term Gorkhaland in the name of the new administrative arrangement too goes some way to honour the sentiment of the movement. The contentious issue of territorial jurisdiction has however been referred to a committee.

It may however take quite some time for the new arrangement to come into force. The existing DGHC Act will have to be repealed and a new GTA Act will have to be passed. The creation of 45 constituencies will also require fresh delimitation, and the Morcha quite understandably would not like this to happen till the issue of territorial jurisdiction is resolved in a satisfactory manner. At the time of formation of DGHC in the late 1980s, there was an understanding that apart from the three hill segments of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, several other adjoining areas with sizable Nepali-speaking population would be brought under the DGHC's jurisdiction. But that never happened then and now it will surely be much more difficult given the emergence of several identity-based organizations and movements in Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar and the plain areas of Darjeeling.

The reasons behind the rapid formalization of the GTA deal are not difficult to understand. Within the hills the GJM is obviously keen to consolidate its position. The GJM leader Bimal Gurung was once a lieutenant of the GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh, but over the last few years the GJM has successfully marginalized the GNLF. Rival Gorkha leader Madan Tamang, President of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League was also brutally killed allegedly by GJM activists on 21 May, 2011. With little contentivon within the hills, the GJM swept the recent Assembly elections in the hills winning not only the three hill segments but also the adjoining seat of Kalchini. Mamata Banerjee too wanted a quick deal to score yet another point for her new government. And to top it all, the beleaguered UPA government battling a powerful Telangana agitation in Andhra Pradesh, wanted to use Gorkhaland as a counterpoint. It is another matter that Telangana is unlikely to be pacified with an autonomy offer of the GTA type, and once the Centre concedes Telangana, it will be difficult to stop the Gorkhaland movement from escalating once again.

It is ironical that communists were the first to raise the Gorkhaland demand way back in the 1940s, but when the movement gathered momentum in the 1980s, the CPI(M)-led government sought to crush it by force. In the process, the CPI(M) also stoked the fires of Bengali chauvinism, virtually forcing the hill wing of the party to rebel and regroup as a separate communist organization called CPRM (Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists). The failure of the CPI(M) to meet the democratic aspirations of the Gorkha people and a section of CPI(M) leadership's opportunist indulgence in chauvinistic political discourse to stall the Gorkhaland demand has thoroughly discredited the CPI(M) in the hills and made it easier for Mamata Banerjee to strike a deal with GJM even as she continues to rule out any potential division of Bengal as a state.

With the emergence of the GTA and the transformation of the GJM as the new ruling party in the hills, politics in the hills will surely enter a new phase. The CPI(ML) will extend every assistance to the CPRM and other progressive forces in the hills to carry forward the democratic movement in the region in the changed circumstances. The people of Darjeeling had been disillusioned with the GNLF and the DGHC – it now remains to be seen how far the GTA arrangement can fulfill the democratic aspirations of the Gorkha people and other communities living in the hills. Meanwhile, all statehood and autonomy agitations in the country will surely draw inspiration from the GTA accord to press for the fulfillment of the pending statehood and autonomy demands. 

Land Scam Calls Nitish Kumar's 'Anti-Corruption' Bluff

 Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has been making appearances with Anna Hazare and promising a Lokayukta in the state, in order to boost his 'anti-corruption' image. After being elected CM, one of his foremost promises was to act against the corrupt. But allegations of a Yeddyurappa-style land scandal have called his bluff.

Earlier too, the Nitish Government had been implicated in corruption by the CAG revelations of a treasury scam. The Nitish Government blocked a CBI enquiry into that scam.

Now, the CM and his Government stand implicated of allotting Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) plots to sons, daughters and close relatives of ministers, MPs and MLAs of the ruling NDA alliance, at throwaway prices, circumventing the procedure of inviting tenders.

The Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority, a government body, allots land for industrial units as per rules and tenders. The BIADA website shows that Bihar Human Resources Development Minister P K Shahi's daughter Urvashi Shahi has been allotted 87,120 sq ft, while JD-U MLA Jagdish Sharma's son Rahul Sharma has been allotted 15,500 sq ft. Similarly, Rehmat Fatima, daughter of Social Welfare Minister Perveen Amanullah and senior Indian Administrative Service officer Afzal Amanullah has also been allotted 87,120 sq ft.

BJP MLAs' sons and daughters have also been allotted BIADA land. Among the beneficiaries from BJP is former MLA Awdhesh Narayan Singh's son, who has been allotted 2,17,800 sq ft. Another BJP member of legislative council Ashok Agarwal's son Saurabh was also allotted large BIADA plots. All these allotments were made without inviting tenders.

It must be remembered that the Forbesganj police atrocity and firing happened when villagers protested when BJP legislative councillor, Ashok Aggarwal, following allotment of land by BIADA for his son's private factory, tried to encroach on a public road with the collusion of BIADA and other authorities. Not only is the Nitish Government using political power to gift away government land to their own leaders and their kin, they are unleashing brutal repression on people who expose illegalities and resist land grab.

 Under pressure, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said that Bihar Chief Secretary will conduct an inquiry on the issue. But such a probe cannot carry much credibility.

The CPI(ML) held a protest dharna in Patna on 19 July against the Forbesganj firing, demanding arrest and prosecution of the BJP MLC, Araria DM and SP and police personnel involved in the killing and atrocities. The CPI(ML) held the government's judicial enquiry to be a sham, and also demanded an enquiry into the emerging land-allotment scam, which was also at the root of the Forbesganj firing. Slogans were raised – 'Land to the favoured and bullets for the poor – Nitish Govt must answer for this!'

The dharna was addressed by former MLA and AIKM General Secretary Rajaram Singh, AIPWA National Vice President Saroj Chaubey, AIKM Bihar President K D Yadav, former MLA and CPI(ML) State standing committee member Arun Singh, AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari, and many other CPI(ML) activists. The dharna was conducted by Murtaza Ali and presided over by former MLA Mahbub Alam.

Land Grab Near Varanasi

The Supreme Court, which upheld the Allahabad HC's stand that the land acquisition in Sahberi (Greater NOIDA) was illegal, said that the state was the "biggest land grabber." It held that the UP Govt., launching a "sinister campaign," had taken advantage of the "colonial law" on land acquisition to grab prime agricultural land from farmers, paying the latter a "pittance," and giving the land to builders and real estate businesses for multiplexes, malls, and posh residential complexes. When the advocate representing one of the builders said the residential complexes were for the "needy," the Supreme Court Bench retorted, "Do you think judges live in fools' paradise? You are building hotels, malls, commercial complexes, townships where common men have no access. Does it come under the perception of public purpose for which the land has been acquired?"

Greater NOIDA is just one among the scores of places in UP where land is being grabbed for the poor in favour of the rich. Popular protests against land acquisition have broken out in several places near Varanasi. The AIKM and CPIML) visited each of these places and extended active and consistent participation and support. Below is a brief outline of the major issues in these struggles, based on facts narrated by protesting farmers to the AIKM and CPI(ML) members.

Transport Nagar: 214 acres of land belonging to about 1292 farmers in Bairwan village under Rohania Police Station is to be acquired by the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) for a transport hub on the Golden Quadrangle at Varanasi, on the Allahabad-Kolkata route. Farmers have been resisting this move on their costly land for the last 16 years. According to the VDA, about 350 farmers have given formal consent to sell their land for this purpose. But villagers say this figure is close to 100. And in order to acquire land from even this small number of farmers, the authorities used contractors and anti-social elements. On 5 July 2011, the VDA secretary visited the dharna where farmers had been agitating against the acquisition. He was detained there by the angry farmers. The DM ordered a brutal lathicharge, and about 5 leaders of the agitation were arrested and sent to jail.

Sewage Treatment Plant (STP): In Sathwa village near Sarnath, acquisition of about 108 acres of fertile farming land is underway for an STP for the multi-crore sewage disposal programme in Varanasi. After notices were served under Section 4 and 6, the farmers sat on a fast under the leadership of a local woman leader, Yashoda Patel. The DM visited the sit-in and told the farmers to sell their land. He told the agitating farmers that even the road to their village would have once been agricultural land. The farmers replied, "We use the road, but we do not need the STP. Moreover, it will be a source of disease for humans and plants."

The fast and sit-in continued for 59 days and finally the people won a temporary victory when the administration was forced to give in writing that the land would not be acquired and formal request for cancellation of Section 4 and 6 was sent by the District Administration to the State Government.

Garbage Dumping Ground (GDG): 75 bighas of farm land have been illegally acquired by the district administration in Karsana village, on the Varanasi-Mizrapur border. Section 4 and 6 were notified in 2007. The DM of Varanasi told the villagers that a handsome compensation of Rs. 32,000 per bissa (20 bissas make one bigha) would be paid to the affected farmers, while the farmers were demanding Rs 60,000.

In the beginning of 2010, some Pattedars were intimidated by local agents to sell their land. 9 Pattedars were paid cheques at the rate of Rs 4000 per bissa. This infuriated the farmers, and they refused to sign on the land mutation papers. Even the remaining 60 farmers have refused to hand over their land. As a result, all the 75 bighas of land are still officially in the name of the farmers. Yet, the administration moved ahead and perforce had a boundary wall built. A farmer threw himself in front of the JCB machine but was beaten up.

The pits and compost sheds are being made by a private company called A-to-Z, which has been given the contract by the Nagar Nigam for collection and dumping of garbage in Varanasi. The farmers have started a sit-in in the village from 29 June 2011 onwards. On 9 July the SDM reached the dharna with a large police contingent and assured the villagers that their land would not be taken without their consent.

Interestingly, the Environment Department has given its clearance for the project in spite of the fact that the river Ganga is only about half a kilometer from the GDG, and there are villages just 200 m from the site.

The protest against the GDG continues. On 17 July, around a dozen BHU teachers visited the dharna to meet the protesting farmers. The team of teachers was met with police making intimidatory gestures and raised lathis. If BHU teachers face such naked intimidation, one can imagine what the farmers are facing here.

Lotus Park: In Baraipur village near Sarnath, 85 bighas of land were to be acquired for building a Lotus Park. This low-lying waterlogged land had been allotted on an annual basis to 112 farmers. Without any prior information, their pattas were cancelled and the land transferred to the Nagar Nigam, Varanasi. One day the JCB machine reached the site but was met with resistance from the villagers. The work has stopped temporarily.

Protest Against Com. Tirupati Gamango's Arrest in Odisha

Comrade Tirupati Gamango, CPI(ML) Liberation Odisha state committee member, was arrested by a special squad of Odisha police for addressing a mass meeting in Kashipur block of Rayagada district. Comrade Tirupati had raised the issue of police atrocities and harassment of common tribal people in the name of anti-Maoist operations in the district. The Odisha police said this amounted to "supporting Maoist activities and demoralising the police force," and arrested him.

On 18 July, a state-level protest was held at Bhubaneshwar todemand the immediate release of Com. Tirupati Gamango. The protest was led by state committee member Com. Yudhistir Mohapatra, AICCTU State Secretary Com. Mahendra Parida, and AIALA State Secretary Com. Satyabadi Behera.

The march culminated in a public meeting in front of the Odisha Assembly. CPI(ML) leaders at the meeting said the arrest was a part of the witch-hunt of political activists and crackdown on democratic activities in the name of anti-Maoist operations. Ordinary tribal people are being branded as Maoist and arrested or killed in encounters, and democratic political activists were being targeted as well. The CPI(ML) said that if Com. Tirupati were not released, a state-wide agitation would be launched for his release.

AIALA , AICCTU, AIKM Leaders Visit Anti-POSCO Struggle

A team of AIALA, AICCTU AND AIKM leaders visited the site of the anti-POSCO struggle on 6 July to extend their solidarity. The team comprised Com. Rameshwar Prasad, National President, AIALA, Com. Dhirendra Jha, General Secretary, AIALA, Com. Khitish Biswal, Odisha Secretary, CPI (ML) Liberation, and Comrades Satyabadi Behera (AIALA Odisha Secretary) and Mahendra Parida (AICCTU Odisha Secretary).

The leaders visited Govindpur and Nuagaon villages where villagers are on a dharna resisting land grab. They joined the dharna led by women at Nuagaon and then joined the 'human barricades' at Govindpur.

Comrade Abhaya Sahoo, leader of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) welcomed the representatives of the mass organizations. Children participating in the dharna sang revolutionary songs and raised slogans against POSCO.

Com. Rameshwar addressed the protestors, extending solidarity on behalf of the AIALA to the brave struggle which was holding out against the joint moves by the BJD Government of Odisha and the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre to allow MNCs like POSCO to plunder the resources and grab the land and livelihood of the people.

Comrades Dhirendra Jha, Khitish Biswal, Satyabadi Behera and Mahendra Parida and Ashok Parida addressed the protestors.

Repression in Tripura

On 10-11 July, students and common people in Agartala, the capital of Tripura, have been subjected to severe police repression in the wake of an agitation against a new admission system in Tripura Medical College which undermines the state's reservation policy. Tripura Police and Tripura State Rifles beat up common people, pedestrians, journalists and photo journalists. On 11 July police firing claimed the life of a young boy Papai Saha.

Whereas the Tripura state reservation policy with provisions for Tripura-domicile students is supposed to apply in 85 seats barring the 15 central government seats, the Tripura Medical College introduced a new policy whereby the state policy will apply only in 55 seats out of 85, and the central government policy will prevail in the remaining 30 seats.

Excepting the ruling CPI(M)'s student wing SFI, all student organisations including AISA opposed this policy. The Tripura Medical College also hiked fees exorbitantly.

On 10 July, the date of the Entrance Examination of the Medical College, the Congress called a protest rally against this admission test. The Government declared 144 CRPC in the area. When the Congress procession approached the examination centres, the police, without any provocation, started a lathi charge, injuring many. Pedestrians, journalists, students who were passing by, and auto passengers were all severely assaulted by the police. 12 journalists and photo journalists were seriously injured.

On 11 July, the Congress called another protest procession. When it reached the Agartala Police station, someone threw stones at the Police station. The police then started another lathi charge, and the trigger-happy TSR men began firing indiscriminately. Six persons sustained bullet injuries, and hundreds of the general public were injured. One Papai Saha, a passer-by, was shot in the head and died on the spot.

After the incidence all over the State were virtually under the capricious torture and tyranny let loose by the CPM Govt. Police and the T.S.R. personal.

The CPIM State Secretary, in a press meet, did not apologise for the incident; rather he used abusive language against the journalists.

CPI(ML) held protest meetings at several places protesting the police firing, defying the police which tried to prevent the meetings. The party demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident as well as exemplary punishment for the police personnel responsible for the incident.

The party will organized a convention against the Tripura Government's authoritarian and repressive behaviour in Tripura on 28 July.

Gujarat Resistance

The CPI(ML) has been campaigning against intimidation and an attack by the MLA Raman Patkar from Umargam taluka in Valsad district of Gujarat. This attack took place on the villagers of Ghoriparha and Gadikparha villages on 13 June 2011, in which around 15 adivasi and dalit villagers including CPI(ML) leader Kapila Ben were seriously injured.

Even a month after the incident, the police failed to lodge any FIR against the perpetrators and the injured are yet to receive proper medical attention.

For the past three years, CPI(ML) has been organising adivasi peasants here against attempts by land mafia to grab their lands. On 15 July, a demonstration was held demanding an FIR against the perpetrators of the attack including the BJP MLA and arrest of the land mafia who have grabbed adivasis' lands. 300 adivasis including 80 women participated in the demonstration in spite of heavy rain. The demonstration took place at the DM's office and a memorandum of demands was presented to the DM and DSP.

The demonstration was led by Central Committee member Comrade Prabhat Kumar, State in-charge Ranjan Ganguly, Valsad district secretary Laxman Vadia and RYA leader Amit Patanwaria.

A similar memorandum had been sent to the Home Minister of the Central Government, and a delegation also met the Gujarat Governor.

On 9 August, in response to the national call of the party, a big dharna against corruption and price rise will be held at the Umargam taluka.

Condemn the Serial Bomb Blasts in Mumbai

In a statement issued from New Delhi, the CPI(ML) strongly condemned the serial blasts in Mumbai that have claimed the lives of 21 people and critically injured hundreds. The CPI(ML) termed such terrorist attacks dastardly and inhuman, and demanded that all efforts be made to bring the perpetrators to book.

The CPI(ML) extended heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in this time of grief. Pointing out that those injured and the families of those killed in previous blasts received inadequate compensation and rehabilitation, and struggled even to meet medical expenses, the party demanded that the government ensure adequate compensation, medical care, and a life of dignity for all those affected by the blasts.

The party demanded a judicial enquiry into the custodial death of a man under police interrogation. In several cases in the past including the Batla House, Malegaon and Mecca Masjid cases, serious violations of human rights have taken place. Those incarcerated in jail have later been found to be innocent, and encounters have taken place under suspicious circumstances. Such violations of human rights and witch-hunt of minorities are not only unacceptable, they are also damaging to any credible investigation and effort to bring the real perpetrators to book. The party demanded that the highest standards of justice and human rights be maintained in the investigations into the blasts.


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, July 14, 2011

ML Update 29 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 29, 12 – 18 JULY 2011

SC Verdicts on Salwa Judum, Land Grab and Black Money:

Far-Reaching Implications for Democracy

Some recent Supreme Court verdicts on the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh, on land acquisition in Greater Noida (UP) and on black money must be welcomed for their far-reaching implications for democracy.

The two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Reddy and Nijjar strongly indicts the governments of Chhattisgarh and the Centre for patronising the unconstitutional 'Salwa Judum,' rejecting the premise that private militia was justified in the name of counter-insurgency.

The judgement comments on the "yawning gap" between the claims of "constitutional democracy," and the "reality of the situation in Chhattisgarh," where the State of Chhattisgarh "claims that it has a constitutional sanction to perpetrate, indefinitely, a regime of gross violation of human rights." It questions the Chhattisgarh Government's claim that "anyone who questions the conditions of inhumanity that are rampant in many parts of that state ought to necessarily be treated as Maoists, or their sympathizers, and yet in the same breath also claim that it needs the constitutional sanction, under our Constitution, to perpetrate its policies of ruthless violence against the people of Chhattisgarh..."

The verdict finds no credibility in the State Government's claim that the 'SPOs' were being given police training and that they were given arms only for use in self-defence. Noting the superficial quality of the 'training' and the lack of education of the SPOs, the verdict held that these tribal youths' Constitutional right to equal protection (Article 14) and right to life (Article 21) were being violated.

In response to the State Government's claim that by appointing them as SPOs, it was actually providing the tribal youth with jobs and a future, the verdict said it "cannot comprehend how involving ill-equipped, barely literate youngsters in counter-insurgency activities, wherein their lives are placed in danger, could be conceived under the rubric of livelihood."

Noting that "recent history is littered with examples of the dangers of armed vigilante groups that operate under the veneer of State patronage or support," the judgement also expressed "deepest dismay" at the Union of India's policy towards the Salwa Judum. Rejecting the Centre's protestations that their responsibility ended with payment of the SPOs' honorarium, the verdict observed, "it is the financial assistance being given by the Union that is enabling the State of Chhattisgarh to appoint barely literate tribal youth as SPOs." It further noted that in this policy "jointly devised by the Union and the States," the young tribals have "literally become cannon fodder in the killing fields" of Chhattisgarh.

The Bench ordered that the State Government and Union Government immediately put a stop to using and funding SPOs in any form; recall of firearms issued to SPOs; protection of the lives of the ex-SPOs; a stop to the Chhattisgarh Government's practice or arming private vigilante groups; FIRs and investigation into all the crimes of Salwa Judum/Koya Commando; and a CBI investigation into the acts of violence in three Dantewada villages and the violence against the team led by Swami Agnivesh in March 2011. The CBI was instructed to submit its first status report within six weeks.

In addition to a painstakingly argued verdict demolishing the rationale of state-sponsored private militia, the verdict also offers its own insights on the roots of the conflict in Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country. It locates the root of the conflict in the State's "amoral political economy" which holds that "obsession with economic growth is our only path, and that the costs borne by the poor and the deprived, disproportionately, are necessary costs." Elaborating on this theme, the verdict says, "On the one hand the State subsidises the private sector, giving it tax break after tax break, while simultaneously citing lack of revenues as the primary reason for not fulfilling its obligations to provide adequate cover to the poor through social welfare measures. On the other hand, the State seeks to arm the youngsters amongst the poor with guns to combat the anger, and unrest, amongst the poor."

The BJP and sections of the media have sought to undermine the verdict by branding its critique of neoliberal economic policy and its literary flourishes as "ideological." But whether or not the Governments of Chhattisgarh and the Centre choose to be guided by these opinions of the Bench, they will find it difficult to refute or defy the substantive part of the verdict. This substantive part and its clear and hard-hitting orders, will have far-reaching consequences on the practice of arming private militia in the name of counter-insurgency, which has been widespread not only in Chhattisgarh but in the N East and other parts of the country. It is a powerful vindication of the voices of democracy which have questioned the Salwa Judum's constitutionality, and been branded as 'Maoists' in return.

Predictably, the UPA Government and Chhattisgarh Government have spoken of seeking a review of the verdict on the grounds that it would 'hamper anti-Maoist operations.' This is a shameless and stubborn admission on part of the BJP's Chhattisgarh Government and Congress Government at the Centre, that the 'anti-Maoist operations' rest on outright unconstitutional and inhuman means. These Governments must immediately comply with the SC order, disband the Salwa Judum and punish the crimes perpetrated by these private militia. They must also take the verdict as the basis for initiating talks with Maoists and restoring peace in Bastar and other conflict areas.

In another significant verdict, another Supreme Court Bench upheld an Allahabad High Court verdict quashing land acquisition by the UP Government in Shahberi village of Greater Noida. The Bench held the use of emergency provisions to acquire land to be illegal and unjustified, pointing out that 60 percent of the already acquired land had not been utilised by the state. It dismissed the petitions by Greater Noida Authority (GNA) and several private builders against the Allahabad HC verdict and fined the GNA Rs.10 lakh. It also questioned the change in land rules from industrial to residential purposes. In light of widespread land grab from farmers for the real estate business in the garb of 'industrial use' and 'public purpose,' the SC verdict is a shot in the arm for ongoing peasant protests.

The Reddy-Nijjar SC Bench has also intervened on the significant question of black money. Although it has, in the wake of vociferous protest by the Central Government, reserved its verdict on the question of appointing a SIT to track black money, the Justices have questioned the political will of the Government to tackle the problem.

Pointing out the serious dimensions of the problem, and its "serious repercussions for the country," Justice Reddy questioned the Government counsel's claim that a committee had already been appointed to track black money. He asked, "The case against Hasan Ali Khan was registered in 2007 and you conduct the custodial interrogation in 2011. What is going on in this country, what is the speed of your investigation, you started the probe only after persistent queries from this court." He also mooted the idea of a retired SC judge to monitor the functioning of the committee, but the Government opposed this as well.

At a time when all arms of the State are deeply compromised in unconstitutional and unconscionable corporate plunder, repression and corruption, the above Supreme Court verdicts represent judicial attempts to restore a measure of balance and credibility in the system. These verdicts are welcome and their orders must be strictly implemented by the concerned Governments.

Nitish Kumar Confronted by Protesting AISA Members in Delhi

Cancel Bail to Brahmeshwar: Nitish Government Must Stop Protecting Massacre Masterminds

AISA activists held a spirited protest confronting Bihar CM Nitish Kumar when he was visiting Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on 13 July 2011. AISA members raised slogans demanding that the bail given to Ranvir Sena's mastermind Brahmeshwar Singh be cancelled forthwith and ensure exemplary punishment for the 'Butcher of Bathe and Bathani.

The release of Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh on bail is the result of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA Government's deliberate tactics of emboldening feudal forces. Last year, several of the accused in the Laxmanpur Bathe and Bathani Tola massacres of agrarian poor by the Ranvir Sena, were given death and life sentences by a Bihar court. But the main accused, Brahmeshwar Singh, did not even stand trial in these cases, because the Bihar Government and police informed the court that he was an 'absconder'- in spite of the fact that he had been ensconsed in Ara jail since 2002! In fact, in the 8 years that Brahmeshwar had been in Bihar's jail, successive governments – both of RJD and NDA – had failed even to name him in FIRs in these massacre cases! At that time, the Special Public Prosecutor had observed about Brahmeshwar's status as a non-FIR accused.

Subsequently, Brahmeshwar has been remanded in the Bathani Tola case, which is pending against him. If he is out on bail, he will undoubtedly use his freedom to intimidate and even eliminate witnesses as he has done in the past.

The Nitish Government, as soon as it assumed power, disbanded the Amir Das commission that was investigating political linkages with the banned Ranvir Sena. The Nitish Government is systematically weakening cases against, and facilitating the release of masterminds of feudal massacres of dalit agrarian poor – even as champions of peaceful mass movements of the poor like Shah Chand mukhiya and other comrades in Jehanabad are convicted under the draconian TADA and continue to languish in jail.

Kolkata Protest – Fascist Raman Singh Go-Back

On 10th July, members of the All India Students' Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) jointly organized a protest demonstration in Kolkata in front of the venue (Kolkata University Institute Hall) where BJP's Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Raman Singh and its leader LK Advani had come to address a seminar. In the seminar, Raman Singh was to deliberate on his experiences of "Combating Naxalism and Salwa Judum" in Chhattisgarh.

AISA and RYA activists and members shouted slogans there demanding immediate end to Salwa Judum, stop facilitating corporate plunder in Chhattisgarh, repeal CSPSA, stop assaults on adivasis and stop operation green hunt. The protest march started from College Square and culminated in front of the seminar hall. There an effigy too of Raman Singh was burnt. The protest was led by AISA leaders Ranajay, Jul and RYA leader Dipankar.

Sibal Must Step Down and Face Charges

No longer can the Congress wash its hands of corruption in the telecom sector by pinning the blame on coalition partners alone. If two former Telecom Ministers – A Raja and Maran – have had to step down and are facing investigations into corrupt practices, now it emerges that the present incumbent, Kapil Sibal, too is tainted.

In yet another questionable favour to a corporate house, Sibal reduced the penalty from Rs 650 crore (Rs 50 crore per circle for 13 circles) to Rs 5 crore against Anil Ambani-headed RCom for violation of the terms and conditions of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) agreement and UASL agreement (i.e switching-off/closure of services to subscribers from USOF sites without notice).

This unauthorised and dubious waiver of a hefty fine must be investigated, and pending that, Sibal too must step down as Telecom Minister.

CC Meeting and a Convention at Mysore

Following successful conclusion of the central committee meeting from 30 June to 2 July 2011, held for the first time in Karnataka, a well-attended, colourful convention was organized on 3 July at Mysore. "For a Left Alternative; Against Corruption, Price Rise and State Repression" formed the theme of the convention and was presided over by the party GS Com. Dipankar and was inaugurated by V Shankar, CCM. Com. E Ramappa, State Secretary of CPI(ML) conducted the proceedings. Special guest was comrade Hariharan, Convenor of Left Coordination Committee, Kerala, who was accompanied by Venugopalan, Kerala State Leading Team member of (CPIML). Prof. Lakshminarayana was the other guest from Mysore. J Bharadwaj, SLTM of Karnataka and Rati Rao, VP of AIPWA also addressed the gathering along with Appanna, Somu, Narayanaswamy from Bangalore and Prakash from Davangere. C Javaraiah, district secretary of the Party welcomed the gathering and Gaddappa thanked the people and guests for their cooperation for the success of the convention.

The convention was preceded by a colourful rally of workers, clad in red, from railway station to the hall marching through the important streets of Mysore. All workers were wearing red T-shirt with AICCTU and hammer and sickle logo and each one of them was also carrying a flag. Hundreds of workers with red T-shirt looking like Red Volunteers were the star attraction in the convention and also in Mysore. In view of the CC meeting, major junctions in entire Mysore were decorated with red buntings and party flags. Media covered the entire event on an everyday basis.

Comrade Dipankar began his speech by congratulating the Karnataka comrades for making excellent arrangements for the smooth conduct of the 3-day long central committee meeting at Mysore. He came down heavily on the UPA government for the unprecedented and worst-ever corruption scandals in the history of post-independence India. He also made a distinction between the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare that is focusing on Jan Lok Pal while the movement led by CPIML is carrying forward the movement beyond the confines of legislations. He also criticized the Baba Ramdev's political motives behind the issue of black money while condemning the police repression. He said that the people worst affected due to corruption and scams are the vast majority of poor, including workers, agricultural labourers and poor peasants. He called upon the people to raise the level of anti-corruption movement to the level of a political battle against corruption and for democracy.

Com. Shankar, CCM, exposed the fallacy of anti-corruption rhetoric by Yeddyurappa and the BJP while the BJP-led state government is actually favouring and promoting corporate loot and corruption. He condemned the BJP government for earmarking thousands of acres of land in each district for the corporate houses. As an instance, he cited the cases of the district Haveri and Gadag being earmarked for POSCO while Bellary being divided between Mittals and Reddys.

Com. Hariharan hoped that Mysore convention would begin a new chapter in the history of Left movement in Karnataka. He also said that anti-corruption movement led by communists alone can put an end to the viciousness of corruption and nothing else.

Chhattisgarh Diary

On 1st July, 19th anniversary of the martyrdom of 17 worker comrades a rally and meeting was held in Bhilai by CMM. The rally started from Chhawani Chowk and culminated in a meeting at Niyogi Chowk. Prior to the rally martyrs portraits were garlanded at the place near Bhilai Power House Railway Station where they were martyred. As is known 17 workers were murdered by the Bhilai Power House police on 1st July 1992. More than 500 workers participated in the rally.

The main demands of the rally were proper implementation of labour laws, action against corrupt ministers and officials, reinvestigation of the murder of Shankar Guha Niyogi and renaming the Bhilai Power House Station as Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi station. A memorandum to this effect was sent to the President of India and Railway Minister through the DM of Durg.

Workers participating in the rally came from Raipur, Bilaspur, Rajnand gaon and Durg districts. The rally and meeting was addressed by Mahendra Parida (AICCTU Secretary, Orissa).

On 2nd July a seminar on the theme Lessons of Paris Commune and Vanguard  Role of the proletariat in today's Imperialist Age was organized at Chattisgarh Headquarters, Sector 7 Bhilai. The discussion was facilitated by Sudha Bhardwaj of CMM.

AICCTU organized a conference of contract workers on 6th July at Banbred in Durg district. Comrade Sapan Mukherji was the main speaker. He said that in Raman Singh government laws are being violated rampantly no matter whether it is Bastar or Bhilai. Mafias and corporates are dominating the State. Acts meant for contract workers are not being implemented and called upon all to take up organized initiatives to end the terror of contractors, and organize the contract workers of Steel Plant and wider campaign among rural poor.

MARCH IN PATNA to hold Nitish accountable

Contrary to what Nitish Kumar had promised – free food grains to 1.5 crore BPL families, 10 decimal homestead land to landless families, and legal status to the dwellers of jhopar-pattis – poor people of Bihar are witnessing eviction by demolition of jhopar-pattis in the name of development and non-inclusion of names in BPL list. CPI(ML) held a protest march in Patna on 6 July on a 10 point demand including the above issues . The march broke the police cordon and forced their way to the chamber of the SDM.

Stop the Repression of Socialist and Pro-Democracy Activists in Malaysia

CPI(ML) condemns the arrest and detention without trial of 30 activists of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), including Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, a federal member of parliament.

This crackdown is part of an ongoing repressive campaign by Barisan Nasional government headed by Najib Razak against those campaigning for democratic reforms. Civil society groups under the banner of Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih, meaning "clean") had been mobilising for a pro-democracy, anti-corruption rally demanding electoral reforms.

The PSM activists have been arrested on the draconian pretext that they were "waging war against the king" and "attempting to revive communism." One of the grounds for arrest is that they wear T-shirts with the images of "communist leaders" (such as Che Guevara) on them.

The activists were first detained for seven days, and then re-arrested under the "Emergency Ordinance," this time on the ground that they had been distributing leaflets for the Bersih rally on July 9, which the Government had declared illegal.

Some years back in 2007, the first Bersih rally had been attended by thousands and had been met with severe repression. This time, the Government is justifying the ban on the rally by claiming that it could provoke an attack by right-wing Malay-chauvinist 'Perkasa movement.'

The CPI(ML) has written to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Malaysian embassy in India, demanding the release of the PSM activists.

Speech by AICCTU Representative in the 100th ILC at Geneva

(This speech was delivered by the AICCTU representative Rajiv Dimri in the Plenary session of "committee for social protection" (social security) in the 100th session of International Labour Conference (1-17 June 2011, Geneva) on behalf of Workers' Committee. This session was held in the Assembly Hall of the UN Building on 17 June. The speech was made in the context that this session had adopted a Report on Social Protection and this apart, finalized a "Recommendation" on "Social Protection Floor" (SPF), which will be placed in the Conference next year for adoption.

Respected Chair and delegates,

I would take this opportunity to thank each and everyone for his or her contribution in the preparation and adoption of this comprehensive and sound report on Social Protection. But, the job is half finished. All should endeavour to finish this job....

The last 30 years or so have witnessed massive informalization of work and rise in the informal sector particularly in the developing nations including India and the countries of sub-continent, with situation becoming worse as a result of new economic policies, which emerged during this same period.

We have a huge population of informal workers ranging from contract & outsourcing labour in private sector including MNCs and public and government sectors to construction, agricultural and domestic workers who work and live in miserable conditions with no/or minimal social security and trade union rights. In India 94% of working people belong to informal sector, and according to a commission of India called "Dr. Arjun Sengupta Commission" 77% of total Indian population i.e. 860 million people earn less than half a dollar a day. This whole situation may not be very different in most of the developing nations. The recent global financial crisis by making working people jobless has only increased their woes.

So, the prevailing scenario urgently calls for the recognition of social security by the governments as a human right, as a social and economic necessity so as to provide comprehensive income security, health and medical care to all along with old age pension, and very importantly to eradicate the evil system of child labour.

To make this great objective achievable the governments particularly of the countries with huge population of informal workers must take the responsibility of providing social security on their shoulders. Many governments including the Indian government have taken steps and formulated schemes for social security, but they are still of piecemeal nature. The Indian government has also developed a certain level of social security mechanism, which includes some schemes and Acts called "National Rural Employment Guarantee Act" (NREGA) and "Social Security for Unorganized Workers' Act". But still, a lot is to be done to strengthen this. A big section of informal workers continue to remain outside the scope of these schemes as the scope of these schemes has been limited to the criteria of "below poverty line"; the provision of giving work under NREGA is limited to only 100 days a year; there is no employment guarantee for urban workers; the implementation of Social Security Act is very weak and the Act itself is not supported by an adequate national social security fund.

So, In view of the above situation, the governments, after having made some progress in developing a social security mechanism, should take lead in supporting the ILO Recommendation on SPF in 2012 and move forward to develop a comprehensive and universal social protection (security) structure in their countries with the active involvement of trade unions. Let a new history be created.


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:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ML Update 28 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 28, 05 – 11 JULY 2011

UPA Government:

Shirking Responsibility for Price Rise, Jobless Growth and Corruption

With the UPA Government besieged by corruption, fuel price hike and repression, the Prime Minister engaged in a Press Meet aimed at damage control last week, interacting with editors. The editors, who had been hand-picked with care, spared him any hard-hitting questions. But even so, it was clear that the PM and his Government were seeking to evade any responsibility for the burning problems that their government has foisted on the country.

On the question of corruption, the Prime Minister chose to shoot the messenger – criticising the role of the media and the CAG rather than that of his own Ministers who are mired in scams. In implying that the CAG has no right to brief the media and examine policy issues, the PM is simply trying to muzzle the institution that has brought to light some of the worst scams in India's history. He trivialized the scams by suggesting that rather than being conscious acts of corruption, they were simply a case of the government having to take decisions in an "uncertain" environment in absence of all the facts.

Such disingenuous excuses cannot carry any credibility. After all, the PM was fully aware of the allegations against P V Thomas when he appointed the latter as CVC. In the 2G scam, too, the actions of Maran and Raja were no mere errors of judgment; they were violations of regulations, to benefit certain corporate interests. In the latest scam, the DGH (Director General of Hydrocarbons) and the Oil Ministry's failure to monitor and verify the capital costs claimed by Reliance was not due to any lack of facts at their disposal. The government's questionable pricing policy on oil and gas was also deliberately tailored to benefit private companies, the RIL in particular.

In the revelations of scams and the demands for effective anti-corruption institutions, the PM invoked the bogey of a return to the 'license-permit-quota raj' where 'everybody is policing everybody else.' This, he claimed, would deter government and bureaucrats from 'taking decisions in the national interest when all facts are not known' and thereby endanger the 'gains of liberalisation which we must cherish.' So, according to the PM, vigilance exercised by anti-corruption institutions like CAG or by anti-corruption activists, amounts to undue 'policing'; and liberalization requires that the government be free to 'take decisions' (i.e., flout rules and regulations) in 'national interest' (i.e., corporate interest) without having to face any scrutiny. The PM implied that those making corruption an issue were creating 'an atmosphere of cynicism' which would discourage 'growth impulses' and 'entrepreneurial impulses'.

Reading between the lines of these statements, it is clear that the PM is saying that corruption and scams should be played down in order to appease corporate interests (which he equates with 'growth' and 'entrepreneurship') and stall any rethinking on the 'mantra' of liberalization – even if all the evidence points to the fact that it is those very same policies of liberalization and corporate appeasement which are at the root of the worst scams in the first place.

In a series of instances (major ones being POSCO and Lavasa), the UPA Government has given environmental clearances in the face of explicit evidence of violations of forest and environmental laws. Accepting that the Environment Ministry had taken many such decisions under direct pressure from the PM, Manmohan Singh justified it by claiming that Gandhiji had said 'poverty is the biggest polluter,' and environmental laws needed to be balanced with the needs of growth, that would end poverty.

To justify gross violations of environmental and forest laws in the name of Gandhian concern for the poor reeks of an audacious and dishonest disregard for the truth. In the first place, it is doubtful if Gandhi ever said the words that Manmohan Singh attributes to him (though similar sentiments have been voiced during the climate change debates by US Presidents like George Bush Sr, in an attempt to shift blame for pollution on poor countries like India). Far from generating jobs and alleviating poverty, projects like POSCO threaten to destroy the livelihood and survival of the poor.

The PM's claims of liberalized 'growth' leading to more jobs and poverty alleviation are belied by recent NSSO data, which show a drop in employment rate from 42 % in 2004-05 to 39.2 % in 2009-10 – i.e., in the UPA Government's first tenure. In its first tenure, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) generated a mere 400,000 jobs a year. The NSSO data does show a drop in the narrowly defined unemployment rate from 2.3 % to 2 % in the same period, but this fails to take into account the high degree (51%) of self-employment, much of which is disguised unemployment.

Jobless growth has been accompanied by soaring prices. Again, the PM in his Press Meet predictably blamed inflation on 'global' factors over which the government had no control. For long, the UPA Government has insulted the poor by blaming inflation on the so-called 'increased purchasing power of the people.' Now, Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has added insult to injury by claiming that the hike in fuel prices will be helpful in curbing inflation as it would soak up excess liquidity and 'suck money away from the system'!

The UPA Government is squarely responsible for inflicting an unprecedented scale of corruption, inflation, jobless growth and repression on the country. The common people and youth of the country will certainly put Manmohan Singh and his government in the dock for this betrayal.

CPI(ML) CC Meeting Held in Mysore

For the first time in the history of the CPI(ML), a meeting of the Central Committee was held in Mysore. The Karnataka unit of the Party made excellent arrangements for the meeting held from 30 June to July 3 which was followed by a mass political convention addressed among others by Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, CC incharge for Karnataka Com. V Shankar, Karnataka Party Secretary Com. Ramappa, AIPWA Vice-President Com. Rati Rao, and Prof. Laxminarayana. Comrade KS Hariharan of LCC, Kerala also addressed the convention as a special guest. The convention was attended by more than 400 comrades comprising an impressive contingent of workers from Bangalore, women from rural areas of Mysore and many young comrades from the Koppal-Gangavathy region.

Earlier, the CC meeting began on June 30 after paying homage to former Karnataka Secretary Com. J Shankaran and other comrades who passed away since the last meeting of the CC held in Odisha in February. The CC called upon the entire Party to intensify the ongoing campaign against corruption and rising prices and the UPA government's undeclared Emergency. The campaign will culminate in jail bharo/rasta roko agitation on August 9 in state capitals and district headquarters as well as a student-youth mahadharna in Delhi. The CC also took note of various legislative/policy initiatives of the UPA government and clarified the Party's position on these subjects.

1.      Food Security: The reality of the UPA Government's much-touted claims of providing 'food security' has been exposed by the Planning Commission position on poverty line and the ongoing BPL census as well as by the latest NAC draft of the Food Security Bill.

According to the Planning Commission, a person consuming Rs 20 per day in urban areas and Rs 15 per day in rural areas is not poor. Such a definition of poverty is an insult to the poor. The ongoing BPL census is also designed to exclude a large section of the poor. The draft Food Bill cannot guarantee food security because it accepts the central government's exclusionary methodology of identifying 'BPL'; and its proposed entitlements for BPL and APL are highly inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of people.

Studies such as the Arjun Sengupta Committee report have suggested that 77% of India's people consume less than Rs 20 a day. In the light of this, the CPI(ML) demands that the Food Security Bill should automatically include this struggling majority of India's people, excluding only the obviously rich from the purview of the PDS. All unorganized sector workers; agricultural labourers; contract workers; workers in ill-paid and insecure jobs (such as ASHA-anganwadi, para teachers etc); as well as all SC/STs who do not meet the criteria for the obviously rich should be included in the BPL category. 50 kg of food grains at Rs 2 per kg should be provided as monthly rations for all such households, and other essential nutritional requirements like dal, cooking oil, vegetables and milk should also be included in PDS rations.

2.      Land Acquisition: Land grab has emerged as a major issue across the country, from Jagatsinghpur to Jaitapur, Singur to Bhatta Parsaul to Guwahati. The UPA Govt.'s Land Acquisition Amendment and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill is quite inadequate in protecting the interests of poor farmers and tribals. The Government is trying to protect the state from the adverse political fallout of land grab, but continues to facilitate land acquisition for private/corporate purposes. The CPI(ML) demands a complete stop to forced acquisition and legal provisions for protection of agricultural land; along with improved and enhanced price and compensation for small landowners and landless labourers where consensual acquisition for public purpose is unavoidable.

3.      Lokpal Bill: The government draft of the Lokpal Bill is toothless since it aims to keep out the PM, MPs as well as higher judiciary out of its purview. Worse, it is heavily tilted against those fighting corruption, since its tough punitive provisions against 'false complaints' can only serve to discourage and intimidate anti-corruption activists. The PM, MPs, Ministers and higher judiciary must certainly be under the purview of the Lokpal Bill, and instead of draconian measures against 'false complaints,' there should be measures to protect anti-corruption activists at the grassroots.

The UPA Government, in its offensive against the anti-corruption movement, is declaring that street protests, hunger fasts, and citizens' activism poses a threat to democracy. The CPI(ML) holds that democracy cannot be restricted to the confines of parliament alone; citizens have every right to push parliament to adopt laws and policies of their choice, through all means of democratic struggle and mass mobilization. The Government's attempts to delegitimize protest and justify repression must be exposed as an attempt to enforce an undeclared Emergency. The true threat to democracy lies in these repressive moves of the Government – and the people's movement against corruption needs to expand its scope to defend the range of democratic freedoms.

4.      UID (Aadhar) Project: It is unacceptable that the UID (Aadhar) project is being implemented without any debate or enactment in Parliament, let alone any wider, informed debate in society. The UID Project is beset with serious concerns regarding privacy issues; it is apprehended that personal data secured in the name of UID may be misused for commercial/surveillance purposes. Also, making social welfare schemes contingent on UID is dangerous because many who fail to get UIDs may be excluded from the schemes and deprived of their rights. The viability of biometric identification in a country like ours is questionable. Highly dubious US MNCs with a failed track record of providing biometric security systems have been entrusted with the UID Project. Pending a transparent debate on these issues – in the public and in Parliament – the UID Project must be stalled.

5.      Communal Violence Bill: An effective law against Communal Violence was the need of the hour, in the lights of the long record of communal riots and state-sponsored pogroms in India. But the draft CV Bill's definition of 'communal violence' is needlessly narrow, stipulating that such violence must "destroy the secular fabric of the nation" if it is to come under the purview of the law. It also needlessly invokes the President's Rule law. The Bill therefore calls for suitable amendment before it is enacted.

6.      Women's Reservation: Once again the UPA Government is preparing for the empty ritual of attempts to evolve a 'consensus' on the Women's Bill, as a pretext for failing to introduce it for voting in Parliament. The CPI(ML) demands that the Bill to reserve 33% seats for women in Assemblies and Parliament be introduced without further delay, and without truncation in the monsoon session of Parliament.

7.      NMIZ Policy: The Central Govt.'s proposal of an 'NMIZ (National Manufacturing Industrial Zone) Policy' of manufacturing zones where labour laws would effectively be suspended is a new and even worse version than the discredited SEZs. The working class movement must reject and resist the NMIZ policy.

8.      Seed Bill: The proposed Seed Bill, recently cleared by the UPA's Cabinet, is a blueprint for robbing farmers of their traditional sovereignty over seeds and shackling farmers and Indian agriculture to the MNC seed monopolies. The Bill aims to pave the way for unreliable and unsafe hybrid and 'GM' seed varieties being researched and marketed by MNC seed companies without regard for concerns regarding bio-safety and safety for human consumption. The Bill also has no adequate provisions for compensation of farmers or liability for seed companies in case of seed failure or poor quality seeds. The peasant movement will resist the existing Seed Bill which is an assault on farmers' rights, and will struggle for safeguards against commercial and MNC interests seeking to control the seed market, and guarantee of farmers' rights to affordable and high quality seeds.

Delhi Symposium:

Combating Corruption Today

Who is Undermining Democracy-

People's Movement or the Govt

The Student-youth Campaign Against Corruption initiated by All India Students'Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) organised a symposium at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Delhi on July 5th 2011. This symposium was held in the backdrop of a spate of scams and at a time when the beleaguered UPA has launched an all-out offensive against every voice protesting against this regime of corruption and corporate loot. Protests are being termed as dangerous 'street coercion' by Congress spokespersons, and civil society intervention is being portrayed as a threat to democracy and the sovereignty of the Parliament.

Noted journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Seema Mustafa, Anand Pradhan and Ajit Sahi addressed the symposium as well as teachers and intellectuals including Prof. Arun Kumar, Dr. Maninder Thakur and Prof. Manager Pandey (all three JNU faculty members). Students from JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University also spoke at the symposium.

On behalf of the Student-youth Campaign Against Corruption, Sandeep Singh (AISA's National President) addressed the gathering and pointed out that corruption today is spawned and encouraged by the economic policies of neo-liberalisation. Prof. Arun Kumar talked about the economy of black money, and said that the generation of black money was no aberration, it is systemic and systematic. He pointed out that black money accounts for a whopping 50% of India's GDP. He also asserted that the nexus of business men, bureaucrats and politicians have made laws to enable this massive drain of wealth and it is precisely this nexus which is preventing any action being taken to stop this loot.

Noted Senior Journalist and currently resident editor of The Sunday Guardian,  Seema Mustafa said that the Congress today is intimidating civil society, attacking activists physically or verbally and trying to hold up the Lokpal Bill or dilute it so as to make it completely ineffective. Every dissenting voice, whether that of an activist, or the CAG, is being attacked and academic spaces of dissent are being reduced. She also pointed out that media coverage of the scams has very carefully protected corporate houses – while the Kalmadis and Rajas are attacked the Tatas and the Ambanis are being protected.

Dr. Maninder Thakur asserted that the struggle against corruption should be linked to the struggle for socialism. Ajit Sahi of Tehelka pointed out that institutionalised corruption is rampant in media houses and the journalists are not supposed to report real news – if they do, the management will simply sack them. Today, several journalists are not even aware that their right to report freely is protected by the Working Journalists Act and the Industrial Disputes Act. And on the other hand, there are attempts to dispense off and dilute these protective legislations. As a result, there are no unions in newspapers, reporters are removed every day and we read only paid news.

Noted senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta also pointed out how the nexus between business men, politicians and bureaucrats is deliberately being encouraged in India, and how policies are encouraging corruption. Anand Pradhan (IIMC Faculty member) also pointed out that corruption is institutionalised today in our economic policies. The Congress is saying that RSS is behind every anti-corruption protest, however the fact of the matter is that the Congress and the UPA is benefitting the BJP-RSS-NDA through its regime of corruption. Anand Pradhan also pointed out that imperialist powers like the US and corporate houses as well as groups like the CII and Assocham were essentially directing and writing our economic policies. He said that it is precisely these forces that were undermining the parliament, not civil society.

Prof. Manager Pandey said that Manmohan Singh had indeed learnt governance from the British, and the existing system of corporate loot is an indication of this. He said that the fact that resources belonging collectively to the entire nation are being handed out by the government to a handful of corporations is the biggest corruption.

Sucheta De (GS, AISA's JNU unit). Sunny Kumar (GS, AISA's DU unit) and Aslam from RYA related experiences of campaigning against corruption and corporate loot in Delhi. They underlined the need to connect the fight against corruption to the fight against inequality, poverty and unemployment and the struggle for social change and social justice. At the end of the symposium, Sandipan, Delhi State President of AISA, thanked all those present and appealed to everyone to take forward the ongoing campaign in the days to come.

Human Chain in Chennai against New Fee Structure: AISA held a protest in the form of human chain on 2nd July in Chennai demanding withdrawal of the new fee structure recommended by Raviraja Panidian Commitee. Chennai and Tiruvallore district students participated in this human chain. It was led by comrades Bharathi and Malarvizhi, State President and Secretary respectively of AISA. Over 200 students, youth and workers formed the human chain. Com. AS Kumar, SCM, spoke among the protesters.

Dharna in Pilibhit against the Arrest of CPI(ML) Leader

Uttar Pradesh State Committee of the CPI(ML) has strongly condemned the arrest and jailing of its State Committee's Standing member and National Executive Committee member of the All India Kisan Mahasabha Comrade Afroz Alam. In a strongly worded letter to the State's Home Secretary the Party has protested the arrest and physical assault on him inside the jail. Party has demanded his immediate and unconditional release, high level enquiry of the whole incident, punishing the real conspirators and strict action against the guilty policemen. Expressing deep ire at the blatant harassment and pressing for the above demands to be responded to urgently the Party held a dharna in Pilibhit on 4 July.

As reported in detail in earlier issues (Vol.14, #13, 31 May-06 June, and other issues) of ML Update about the aggressive efforts for landgrab in Pilibhit district by one Congress leader BM Singh aided by the administration and police. Comrade Afroz, along with other Party and AIALA and AIKM leaders has been leading the movement to foil the attempt to grab village and forest land. In May this year CPI(ML) had asked why the forest rights act was not being implemented in the district and that CPI(ML) accepted the 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.

On 2nd July the Congress Party supporters brought persons unknown to the locality and tried to illegally capture land. Police did not act even after receiving a complaint. Meanwhile, the Congress supporters got one hut consigned to flames to frame CPI(ML) leaders Comrades Afroz and Prahlad (another Party activist). The police, which remained unmoved till now hurriedly pressed several cases against these two and many other Party leaders. A concerted effort is being made by the Mayawati administration to frame them under more false cases and eventually press gangster act. The Party will intensify agitation to foil these attempts.

Uttarakhand Reports

On 26 June, the Bindukhatta area in Nainital district held its Party Conference which was addressed by CPI(ML)'s State incharge Comrade Raja Bahuguna. He said that the Party will gain strength when the lower/area level committees become stronger. For strengthening the Party in Bindukhatta it is important for Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) to take regular initiatives. The struggle that has been initiated by the Kisan Mahasabha for bringing the panchayati rights to the khattavasis and vanvasis must be carried to its conclusion. The Congress and BJP govts have always cheated the forest dwellers and gurjars. The Conference fixed various targets and responsibilities and in the end resolutions were passed. Many other Party and mass organisation leaders also addressed the Conference. Comrade Man Singh Pal was elected secretary.

26 June Protest in Uttarakhand: As part of the nationwide protests on the 37th anniversary of Emergency, different Party units of the State held programmes to protest the undeclared emergency, state repression, corporate loot, massive corruption and yet another hike in diesel-kerosene-LPG prices. An effigy of UPA Govt was burnt at Bhagat Singh Chauk and nukkad sabha was organised in Bindukhatta led by Comrade Raja Bahuguna. The meeting also condemned and protested the attack on AISA President Sandeep Singh in Ranchi by the Congress goons.

In Srinagar in Garhwal, the meeting was organised at Gola Park led by Comrade Indresh Maikhuri. In Pithoragarh the protest meeting was held at Gandhi Chauk led by comrades Jagat Martoliya and Govind Kaphalia. Many other leaders of the Party also addressed these meetings and there were hundreds in audience at both the places.


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: