A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 15, No. 20, 08 – 14 MAY 2012
Resist Rising Injustice, Crime and Repression
in Nitish's Bihar
The latest instance is the severe repression on CPI(ML) Central Committee member and former MLA Comrade Rajaram Singh and other activists leading the struggle against the murder of a young panchayat mukhiya (head) in Aurangabad district of Bihar. On 29 March, 32-year-old Chhotu Kushwaha, an RJD-supported panchayat mukhiya, was murdered. The facts indicate that the murder was executed by a criminal gang led by ex-Ranveer Sena leader Sushil Pandey (also an accused in the Laxmanpur Bathe massacre), who is known to be close to the JD(U) MLA from the Goh constituency, Ranvijay Sharma, who also has criminal antecedents and is behind bars.
What is even more notable is that the local police and administration are directly implicated in the murder. The young mukhiya had been raising his voice against the grab of gairmazarua land (common land meant for redistribution among landless) by powerful landowners, one of whom is related to the local BDO. The mukhiya was murdered when returning from a visit to the BDO's office, from where he had left, accompanied by a police constable.
The CPI(ML) had played a leading role in the resistance to the murder. A struggle front against the murder, of which the CPI(ML) is a leading constituent, is demanding a CBI enquiry into the murder, in which so many powerful people including the MLA, BDO and SHO, are implicated. Under the banner of the joint struggle front, a massive demonstration took place on 2 May at the Aurangabad DM's office. The police launched a brutal lathi-charge on the protestors, singling out former MLA Comrade Rajaram Singh for the severest assault. In the presence of the SP, Comrade Rajaram Singh was severely beaten, on the street as well as twice inside custody. 29 protestors including Comrade Rajaram Singh have been jailed.
The murders of Chhotu mukhiya and CPI(ML)'s Rohtas secretary Comrade Bhaiyaram Yadav by JD(U) backed feudal-criminal forces are part of a larger pattern. In Aurangabad itself, the Sushil Pandey gang and JD(U)-backed criminals are implicated in a series of murders of elected representatives and common people from the dalit-backward communities. The Nitish Government had already shown its true colours when it disbanded the Amir Das Commission, shelved the recommendations of the land reform commission, and allowed Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh to get bail: and the acquittal of the accused in the Bathani Tola massacre followed as a natural consequence. Meanwhile, while Brahmeshwar Singh and his team of killers are free, Bodhan Sada and nine others from the musahar community (rechristened 'mahadalit' by Nitish) stand sentenced to death on the weakest of evidence, in the Amausi massacre case. Earlier, in the Forbesganj police firing, the Bihar police under Nitish Kumar had shown its class and communal hatred for the poor and minorities who dare to resist powerful and corrupt land grabbers.
In this backdrop, the CPI(ML) has called for a Bihar bandh on 10 May, demanding justice for Bathani Tola and Forbesganj, Bhaiyaram Yadav, Chhotu mukhiya, and Bodhan Sada, and protesting the repression against protestors including Comrade Rajaram Singh.
Popular resistance will continue to grow, upholding the urge for and commitment to justice and democracy – and resisting the regime of repression and injustice!
Heinous Assassination of Comrade Chandrashekharan:
CPI(M) Has Questions to Answer
Comrade TP Chandrashekharan had been a state-level SFI leader and former CPI(M) Area Secretary of Onchiyum, one of the historic birthplaces of the Left movement in Kerala. He left the CPI(M) in 2008, and in order to uphold and defend the fighting Left movement, joined other likeminded comrades in forming the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP). The Left Coordination Committee (LCC) was then formed along with RMP and other Left groups that had broken away from the CPI(M). The LCC Kerala is one of the founding constituents of the All India Left Coordination (AILC) that also includes the CPI(ML), CPM Punjab, Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) of Maharashtra, and Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM).
Comrade Chandrashekharan was hacked to death with sharp instruments, and his face so badly disfigured that only his body could be identified. Assailants threw bombs to keep people away from the spot. The horrific brutality of the killing was greeted with widespread outrage and condemnation in Kerala and outside.
There are many reasons why the Kerala CPI(M) is implicated in the murder. Foremost is the fact that ever since the formation of the RMP and LCC Kerala, their cadres have been at the receiving end of physical attacks by the CPI(M). And on February 19, not long before the CPI(M)'s Kozhikode Party Congress, a bike rally by LCC comrades preparing for the RMP's Onchiyam area conference was attacked by CPI(M) cadres, followed by attacks on LCC offices. On the same day, CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had given a speech at a CPI(M) public meeting, warning that 'heads would roll.' On February 21, hired goons attacked the home of one LCC comrade and severely injured him with a sword. Comrade Chandrashekharan being hacked to death by hired goons is clearly no isolated instance – it follows a series of physical assaults and threats against the RMP by the CPI(M), including attacks of a very similar nature – i.e. sword attacks by hired goons.
Among the large number of public figures who paid final homage to Comrade Chandrashekharan at Kozhikode and Vadakara, were the Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and CPI(M)'s veteran leader Comrade VS Achutanandan. The latter paid glowing tributes to Comrade Chandrashekharan, calling him a brave communist. Former CPI(M) MLA and SFI leader Simon Britto also paid tributes to the martyred comrade. But the official CPI(M) leadership in Kerala, while disowning and condemning the killing, exposed its disrespect for Comrade Chandrashekharan even in death. The CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said that VS' remarks hailing Comrade Chandrashekharan's communist character were his personal opinion, which the CPI(M) would not care to endorse!
An all-party Kerala bandh called by a range of Left organisations (excepting the CPI(M)), and also by the ruling UDF, to protest the murder received a warm response. The CPI(M) has claimed that the murder was orchestrated to falsely implicate the CPI(M) in the murder in order to benefit the UDF on the eve of the by-poll in the Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency that is due in early June. But this claim appears far-fetched, given the recent history of similar attacks by CPI(M) on the RMP cadres, and the official CPI(M) leadership's pointed distancing from any gesture of respect for the martyred comrade.
The CPI(M) is no stranger to the culture of political violence – and it is the CPI(M) which, above all, must answer for the heinous and unforgiveable murder of Comrade TP Chandrashekharan. The CPI(ML) demands a speedy enquiry to identify and punish not just the actual killers, but the political conspirators who hired them. Red Salute to Comrade TP Chandrashekharan!
Protests Follow Brutal Lathicharge
and Arrest of Comrade Rajaram Singh
The RJD-supported mukhiya of Sonhattu panchayat in Haspura block of Aurangabad district in Bihar, Chhotu Kushwaha was shot dead on 29 March. He had been opposing the grab of gairmazarua land meant for the landless poor, and as a result of his efforts, the land was to be officially measured on 30 March. 38 decimals of gairmazarua land had been grabbed by Bindeshwari Sharma and Narayan Sharma, and the latter is related to the Haspura BDO. On 29 March, Chhotu mukhiya was called to Haspura by the BDO. On his return journey by bike, he was initially accompanied by a police constable, who however alighted from the bike on the way, and the murder happened soon after. The suspected killers are of the Sushil Pandey gang, close to the criminal JD(U) MLA Ranvijay Sharma who is in jail. Since the MLA, SP, SHO, and BDO are all implicated in the murder, we have demanded a CBI enquiry into the killing.
On 2nd April, a Haspura bandh was observed on CPI(ML)'s call. The Mukhiya Sangh supported the call, and the protest meeting on the day of the bandh was addressed by former CPI(ML) MLA Comrade Rajaram Singh, and former RJD MP Kanti Singh. A huge gathering attended a Sankalp Sabha on 5 April, at which the Chhotu Mukhiya Hatya Virodhi Sangharsh Morcha (struggle front against the murder) was formed, and it was announced that if Sushil Pandey was not arrested within a month, a massive protest march would be held on 2 May.
The DM's permission had been especially sought and taken for the 2 May procession. Yet, the police launched a brutal lathi-charge, attacking not just the protestors but even common bystanders. Rajaram Singh, who is the main leader in the struggle, was especially targeted for the most severe beating, which took place in the presence of the SP. Even inside the police station, Comrade Rajaram Singh was beaten twice. Chhotu mukhiya's wife was also beaten up and arrested, but later released. But 29 protestors, most of them CPI(ML) supporters as well as Comrade Rajaram Singh, have been jailed.
On 2 May itself, CPI(ML) protests against the brutal repression took place at Daudnagar, Arwal, Kurtha and Jehanabad. A state-wide protest day and an Aurangabad bandh called by CPI(ML) was observed on 4 May. On 5, 6 and 7 May, a 3-day dharna was held by the CPI(ML) at Patna. State Secretary Comrade Kunal visited Comrade Rajaram Singh in jail. A Bihar Bandh has been called by the party on 10 May, 'Against Rising Injustice, Crime and Police repression, for Justice and Democracy', highlighting the questions of the Bathani Tola verdict, murders of Comrade Bhaiyaram and Chhotu mukhiya, the death sentence for Bodhan Sada, and the Forbesganj firing.
'Save Land Rights' Rally
Against Subversion of CNT Act in Jharkhand
In Jharkhand, the BJP Government has for long been making moves to dilute the CNT Act, one of the crucial and historic pieces of legislation to protect tribal land rights that was won by tribal struggles. The CNT Act and other land rights legislations are a hurdle in the path of corporate plunder of land, minerals, and forests.
But since diluting the CNT Act outright is not easy, the Government has tried to subvert the Act by underhand means. In Ramgarh district, the Bedia tribe is one of the main beneficiaries of the CNT Act. In order to deny the Bedias the benefits of the CNT, and therefore to free their land for corporate land grab, the Government recently changed the status of Bedias from Scheduled Tribes (ST) to Other Backward Classes (OBC). The move paves the way for land grab by the corporates, mainly the Jindal corporation, which has widespread mining and other interests in the region. Since then, the affected people have launched a struggle to protest the move. On 8 May, a Bhoomi Raksha Adhikar (Save Land Rights) Rally was held by CPI(ML) in Bhurkunda, in Patratu block of Ramgarh district, in which more than 3000 local people participated. The rally was addressed by CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) MLA Comrade Vinod Singh, as well as local CPI(ML) activists and struggle leaders Comrades Devaki Nandan Bedia and Neeta Bedia, and Party's State Committee member Chandranath Bhai Patel. District Secretary Mohan Dutta as well as Politburo member DP Buxi, and State Secretary Comrade Janardan were also present.
Condemn US Secretary of State's Meddling
in India's Policies and Internal Politics
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to West Bengal is fraught with dangerous political implications for India's sovereignty. Clinton spoke of West Bengal's crucial place in the 'Silk Route' of economic and trade relations, and is said to have made forays on several policy matters including sharing of Teesta waters between Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Diplomatic relations are between countries, and the trend of representatives of foreign states dealing directly with State Governments to discuss policy matters, violates this basic parameter of international relations. In particular, the US Secretary of State's statement advising India against the oil pipeline with Iran encroaches on India's sovereignty and is highly objectionable. Statements attributed to her that apparently welcomed the change of political power in Bengal, treads on the internal political territory of the country, and are condemnable.
The Wikileaks cables had revealed the dealings of US representatives with the CPI(M)'s West Bengal Government and its Chief Minister, and the latter's friendly overtures to US capital, as well as imperialist political representatives. However, this is the first time a US Secretary of State has made a visit of this kind expressly to meet a Chief Minister. The latter has expressed gleeful 'pride' in getting an approving American pat on the back.
The US is clearly seeking to play politics in India, and exploit the new regime in West Bengal to further its economic and geopolitical interests in the region. These attempts, and the cosy complicity of the West Bengal Chief Minister, are highly condemnable and deserving of sharp protest.
May Day 2012
Some May Day events were reported in the previous issue. Here we carry the rest.
DELHI: Thousands of workers participated in a joint May Day rally from Ramlila Maidan to Chandni Chowk in the evening, where it culminated in a meeting. Comrade Santosh Rai addressed the massive meeting on behalf of the AICCTU. The rally was led by AICCTU, AITUC, CITU, HMS, AIUTUC, TUCC, UTUC, Workers' Unity Committee apart from federations from Railway, Bank and Insurance. AICCTU-affiliated union in Lala Ram Swaroop TB Hospital observed May Day where Sangwari rendered revolutionary songs and Comrades Ram Kishan and Kavita addressed a meeting. The Union Office was also inaugurated. A rally was held in Wazirpur led by Comrade Mathura Paswan. MTNL Employees Unity Union also observed May Day.
CHHATTISGARH: Rally and meeting was held at Ghadi Chowk and Supela in Bhilai. A meeting was held at Maroda Gate of Bhilai Steel Plant in the evening. A rally was held at Rajnandgaon that started from Railway Station and culminated in a meeting at Imam Chowk. May Day was also observed at Bilaspur and Raipur.
PUDUCHERRY: Party and AICCTU flags were hoisted in almost all Party branches and wherever we have trade union work. At CPI(ML) State Office in Puducherry Comrade S Balasubramanian, State Secretary, hoisted the Flag. All State Committee members (SCMs) were present. All India Central Council of Trade Union' (AICCTU's) Flag was hoisted by Comrade S Motilal, State Secretary of AICCTU.
In the evening AICCTU organised a special May Day Convention at Puducherry. The convention was on "The Issues and Demands of Interstate Migrant Workers in Puducherry". Speakers in the convention were Comrades S. Balasubramanian, Puducherry's Party State Secretary and Comrade Hirapaswan, a CPI(ML) leader from Bihar among others.
The following resolutions were passed by the convention: (1) immediate notification of Inter-State Migrant Workers' Act 1979 (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) and its rules, (2) Abolition of Contract labour system in Puducherry through government's notification, (3) All labour welfare laws should be extended strictly to all interstate migrant workers in Puducherry UT, (4) Minimum Floor Level wages should be Rs. 11,000/- irrespective of trade or industry; among some other resolutions.
A large number of interstate migrant workers and their spouses were present in the convention along with local workers. An interactive session was also held during the convention. Many migrant workers including women spoke about their challenging existence and difficulties at workplaces.
KARNATAKA: May Day rallies and hoisting flags visibly marked the growth of AICCTU in each passing year. We began with a single union in readymix concrete industry in Bangalore and now spread across various sections of workers and various districts of Karnataka. May Day programmes were held in Bangalore, Koppal, Davanagere, parts of Bellary and Mysore. New expansion this year is Mangalore.
In Bangalore alone, we hoisted flags at more than 17 places spread across the length and breadth of the city. Bangalore unit of AICCTU organised a colourful and impressive rally on May Day. Workers of corporate and MNCs participated in the rally in good numbers. High pitched slogans against the UPA government at the centre and the BJP government at the state made a difference in a scenario of apolitical or limited political slogans raised by other trade unions.
CPI(ML) State Secretary Comrade Ramappa called upon the workers to join political mainstream to challenge the powers that be. He called upon workers to join the political struggle to unseat the anti-worker BJP from state power. Comrade Shankar, VP of AICCTU reemphasised the need to launch major struggles once again demanding 8-hour workday and abolition of contract labour system. He called upon workers to join the struggle beyond four walls of the factories.
In Gangavati of Koppal district, AICCTU organised an impressive rally led by Comrade Bharadwaj, State President of AICCTU. The rally focussed on the issue of keeping attendance registers and minimum wages to rice mill workers. The rallyists also resolved to carry forward the struggle until the demands are fulfilled. District administration and labour departments were given an ultimatum of 15 May to ensure attendance registers in all rice mills. Various cross sections of workers including tractor and taxi drivers, auto technicians, brick kiln and construction workers, vendors and domestic workers participated in the rally. AICCTU workers of Mangalore marched on the streets after hoisting their first May Day flag.
TAMILNADU: In Chennai, a total of 700 workers and cadres participated in various May Day programmes. In Ambattur area comrades hoisted flags at gates of 15 different factories and 15 residential areas where Party or TU branches exist. CPI(ML) Flags were hoisted at 10 centres. In Tiruvellore district, All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA) flag hoisted at 6 places and AICCTU flag hoisted at 15 centres.
In Kanjipuram, flag hoisting at 10 places, mostly construction workers' localities. At many places veteran comrades and especially women comrades hoisted the flag. In the evening a public meeting was held that was addressed by Comrade Janakiraman, State GS of AIALA and Comrade Palanivel, State Secretary of AICCTU among others. A good number of migrant workers participated in the meeting.
In Tanjore, union flags hoisted at 16 centres where union branches are functioning. In Dindigul, AICCTU flag hoisted at 6 places. In Tiruchi, contract workers of Ordnance Factory took out a rally and hoisted AICCTU flag led by Comrade Desikan, State Secretary. In Karur, AICCTU flag was hoisted at Velayudhampalayam, residential area of tailors working for export garments. In Pudukottai district, AIALA flags were hoisted at 27 centres by 3 teams of Party and AIALA cadres. In Tirunelveli, CPI(ML) and AICCTU flags were hoisted at 22 places. A cycle rally of 50 cadres criss-crossed Tirunelveli town, Pettai and Mukkodal covering the 22 centres which includes beedi union branches, load-workers union and auto drivers union.
In Salem, hundreds of workers took part at various centres of AICCTU flag hoisting. Co-optex employees union observed May Day. In Coimbatore more than 100 cadres drove motor bikes observing May Day by hoisting flags at 20 centres. In Namakkal district flag hoisting and union boards were put up at 10 centres. In Villupuram district, AIALA flags were hoisted at 5 places. In Dindivanam, Load-workers working in civil supplies corporation observed May Day by hoisting their union flag. Newly formed construction labour union also hoisted their flag. In Dharmapuri, a convention was organized by State Electricity Board Union and AICCTU state office bearers Comrade Jawahar and Chandramohan addressed the gathering. More than 100 employees participated.
ODISHA: May Day was celebrated in Bhubaneswar, Rayagada, Puri, Kendrapara, Rourkela, Khurdha, Gajapati. The East-coast Railway Sweepers' Union, Motorboat Workers Union, Construction Workers Union, Rickshaw-Cooli Workers Union, Garage Workers Union and Steel Workers Union among others participated in different places.
JHARKHAND: 400 construction workers and non-gazetted employees participated in the May Day march in Ranchi. Flags were hoisted and sankalp sabhas held at different places in Dhanbad's coal-belt. Flag hoisting and march held at Chas and Bokaro. Public meeting was held in evening and street-corner meetings were held on two consecutive days prior to May Day. Marches were held in Bermo and Chandankiyari.
A large number of construction workers participated in the march and public meeting at Ramgarh town. Unorganised workers participated in a meeting at Argadda in Ramgarh district. Flag hoisted at Ara and Giddi 'C' collieries and a joint seminar organised at Giddi by AICCTU, CPI and MCC. Workers from Banjhedih power plant in Koderma held a dharna and later marched to Jhanda Chowk where they held a meeting. March culminating in a meeting took place in Devghar, Naunihaat and Shikaripada in Dumka district, at Bagodar in Giridih district, and Bengabad. May Day was also observed at Gawan, Rajdhanwar, Jamshedpur and Jamtada.
BIHAR: Flag hoisting and marches, rallies were observed on May Day throughout the State. Flag was hoisted at Nalanda Biscuit Factory, at the gates of Patna Dairy and Bankosh Company in Patliputra Industrial Area, hundreds of AICCTU cadres assembled at the office in the afternoon for hoisting the flag. Here, a meeting was held. From the State office of AICCTU a rally was taken out that marched through Industries Association and merged with joint Central Trade Union rallies. The rally was addressed by Comrade RN Thakur, State GS of AICCTU, on behalf of the AICCTU.
A large number of construction workers marched in Jehanabad and two places in Bhojpur where meetings were also held. In Gaya, the May Day celebration began very early at 4 a.m. and comrades covered 35 km with red flags on 25 motorbikes. Meeting was held at Govt. Press. Construction workers hoisted flag and held a meeting in Manpur. May Day was also observed in Bhagalpur with more than 500 workers participation, and AICCTU march throughout the town, Vaishali, Leheriaserai, Darbhanga, Nalanda, Bihar Sharif and Saran (Chhapra).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org