Thursday, September 27, 2012

ML Update 40 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  15             No. 40                                                                    25 SEP- 1 OCT 2012

PM's Address:

A Fraud on the Nation

The UPA-II Government unleashed a slew of offensives on common people recently. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 'Address to the Nation' adds insult to this severe injury by peddling barefaced lies. 

The PM claims that the hikes in fuel prices and cuts in cooking gas subsidy and burdens are measures the Government has reluctantly been forced to take in order to 'reverse the slowdown in growth' caused by the global economic crisis. He appeals to the aam aadmi to make sacrifices and bear burdens cheerfully, in order to ensure 'rapid growth' that can generate jobs, and revenues for education, health care, housing and rural employment.    

In the first place, the very claim of 'growth' translating into benefits for people is a lie. In the selfsame period when India boasted a 9% growth rate, India has the shame of the world's worst indicators of health and nutrition of women and children. During India's 'high-growth' period, the aam aadmi has seen education and health care becoming farther beyond reach thanks to relentless privatisation. The employment rate in agriculture has dropped to minus 1.60%, and the agricultural crisis and debt trap resulting from cuts in subsidies has claimed an ever-spiralling number of farmers' suicides.

The second lie is that the steep global oil prices are forcing an increase in domestic oil prices; that the subsidy on petroleum products has increased steeply in order to 'protect' Indian people from the impact of global prices; and that India's oil companies are suffering huge 'losses'. The truth is that there are no net subsidies in the petroleum sector, and the oil companies are in fact recording huge profits and generating massive revenue for the Government. In March 2012, international crude oil prices fell by more than 20 percent – yet petrol prices in India were hiked by Rs 7.54 in May. Nor is it true that petrol and diesel prices in India are 'low' compared to other countries – even before the hikes, the price of petrol in India was Rs 63.70/litre, while it was Rs 41.93/litre in Pakistan and Rs 45.53/litre in Bangladesh. By deregulating oil prices, the Government has in fact divested itself of any responsibility to protect the Indian people from arbitrary price hikes  - and is instead justifying this massive additional burden on the aam aadmi on spurious pretexts.       

Manmohan Singh informs us that "Money does not grow on trees," and that he has acted only to pre-empt a fiscal deficit crisis (an unsustainable increase in government expenditure vis-a-vis government income). India's fiscal deficit in 2011-2012 was to the tune of 6.9 % of the GDP, which amounts to around Rs 5.22 lakh crores. In that year, the 'revenues foregone' to corporations and the super-rich amounted to Rs 5.28 lakh crore. Therefore, the hue and cry over 'fiscal deficit' which Manmohan blames on subsidies for the poor, is totally misplaced and fraudulent. If only Manmohan Singh would stop providing 'money on trees' by way of massive tax waivers to the big corporations, India would have no fiscal deficit.

Manmohan Singh justifies the diesel hike by claiming that diesel is used mostly by "big cars and SUVs owned by the rich and by factories and businesses," and asks, "Should government run large fiscal deficits to subsidise them?" As demonstrated above, the Government is in fact running fiscal deficits to subsidise none but the corporations and the rich! And the Prime Minister is deliberately silent on the fact the hike in diesel prices will result in increased transportation costs, which will inevitably have a cascading effect on food prices.   

The Prime Minister claims that there is no cause to fear loss of livelihood due to FDI in retail. His argument is that corporate retail has coexisted in India's cities without causing any detriment to small retailers. This only proves that corporate retail on its own has nothing to help it out-compete small retailers. That is precisely why FDI in retail is being sought – to provide the backing of huge amounts of money to squeeze out small retailers through predatory pricing and purchasing monopolies. The example of a host of countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Indonesia, have shown FDI in retail dealing a severe blow to small retailers.  

Again, the example of several countries – including Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, Vietnam - shows that prices of fruit and vegetables in corporate retail outlets have tended to be considerably higher than in traditional markets.

The PM's claims that FDI in retail will 'benefit our farmers' are also bogus. Small marginal farmers in most countries have been excluded from access to the corporate retail supply chain. There is no evidence of consistently higher prices for producers thanks to contract farming and corporate retail – if anything, the opposite. In fact, farmers end up at the mercy of the global corporate retail giants, often experiencing delayed payments, arbitrary quality standards, and pressure to reduce prices in order to compete to attract corporate retail buyers. 

The PM tells us the entry of MNC retail giants will "create millions of good quality new jobs." He should try telling that to the employees of Wal-Mart in its home country, the US! Even as the Indian PM spoke, Wal-Mart employees in Los Angeles were agitating with the slogan 'Wal-Mart=Poverty,' accusing the retail giant of making profits out of exploitative work conditions and wages. In New York, the local people have agitated to keep Wal-Mart out, declaring that it destroys livelihood.

Manmohan Singh tells us that the 'bold steps' taken in 1991 created jobs, but his claims are badly belied by the facts. At a time when India boasted a 9% growth rate, employment grew at a negligible rate of just 0.22%. So, globalised 'growth' has in fact been jobless growth. By invoking 1991, Manmohan Singh is in fact proving that now, as then, he and his Government are implementing policies dictated by imperialist interests rather than those of India's people. 

A government that so blatantly lies to the country must meet with a fitting rebuff! We must expose the Government's falsehoods and intensify the agitation calling for the immediate resignation of the corrupt and fraudulent UPA Government.     

Bharat Bandh

On September 20, CPI(ML) units all over the country implemented the Bharat Bandh call in protest against the hike in diesel prices, the slashing of cooking gas subsidy, and FDI in retail and civil aviation.

In Delhi-NCR, CPI(ML) activists held marches and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister at Narela, NOIDA and at Yamuna Vihar.

The party held marches through the city of Patna and other centres in Bihar, blockading roads at many places. In Darbhanga, CP(ML) activists blockaded rail tracks, detaining the Ganga Sagar Express for hours. In Jharkhand also, protest marches and road blockades were held at several places.

In Tamil Nadu, rail roko, road roko protests were held by the party at Salem, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, and  Kanyakumari. In some other palaces including Tiruppananthal of Tanjore, district-level demonstrations were held. Campaigns in support of our bandh call took place at several palaces. In Salem, shop owners and traders closed down shutters in response to our call. In Tirunelveli our party mass organization leaders including AIPWA state president Thenmozhi were chased by police and rounded up in order to thwart their plans to picket the rail lines.

In Puducheri, more than 100 workers and party activists blockaded a busy road. Hindustan Petroleum Gas Delivery workers participated in the program with their uniforms. One Human Rights and Consumer Protection organization too joined our road roako program. In Karaikal, a demonstration was held in support of the Bandh.

In Uttar Pradesh, demonstrations and road blockades in support of the Bandh were held at 6 places in Ghazipur including the district headquarters; 4 places in Jalaun; 3 centres each in Devaria and Bhadohi; and two centres each in Chandauli, Mirzapur, and Gorakhpur. Demonstrations were also held at Balia, Maharajganj, Sonebhadra, Kanpur, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Khiri, Sitapur, Gonda, Ambedkarnagar and Kushinagar.  AISA held a march and protest meeting on the premises of Allahabad University in support of the Bandh.

In Uttarakhand, CPI(ML) activists ensured the closure of the market on Car Road, Bindukhatta, in Nainital district, and burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister. A protest meeting was held that was addressed by many CPI(ML) leaders. Youth activists also marched to Lalkuan Bazaar calling upon traders to shut shops.

At Pithoragarh town, CPI(ML) activists held a march from Ramlila Maidan throughout the town, raising slogans in support of the Bandh. A demonstration and affigy burning were held at Dharchula in Pithoragarh district.

Protest processions were held at Bhikyasain (Almora) and Gochar (Rudraprayag) and Joshimath.

IN Karnataka, CPIML and AICCTU activists burnt the effigy of Manmohan Singh at Gangavati and Harapanahalli. Workers organised a bike rally on the day of Bandh to enforce the strike At HD Kote of Mysore district too, CPIML-AIALA activists organised a demo on the Bandh day. In Odisha, party activists held a rally from Nagbhushan Bhawan. They were arrested by police at the Assembly.

In Gujarat, CPI(ML) and RYA activists demonstrated in support of the Bandh in Ahmedabad, burning posters of the Prime Minister and holding a march from Azad Chowk till the statue of Bhagat Singh. En route, they got traders to shut shop in Amraiwadi Bazaar. 

Protest procession and effigy burning of the PM was held at Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, by CPI(ML) and AICCTU workers.

Demo in Bangalore for Maruti Workers' Struggle

AICCTU organised an impressive protest in support of struggling workers of Maruti on 22 Aug. 2012 at a major junction in the city of Bangalore. The protestors raised slogans against state repression on workers' struggles and demanded immediate release of all Maruti workers languishing in jail. The protestors also demanded withdrawal of Rapid Action Force, heavy police force and bouncers from the vicinity of the company.

Com. Somu, district president presided over the demo while Appanna, state secretary, Narayanaswamy, state Vice-President, Puttegowda, district secretary, and Mani addressed the gathering.

CPIML team visits Koodankulam

In the aftermath of brutal crackdown on the peaceful protesters of Idinthakarai, Koodankulam, CPIML, AICCTU, and AIPWA leaders visited these villages. Despite Sec 144 clamped on the entire area (due to which former Kerala CM and veteran CPIM leader VS Achuthanandan was not allowed to visit Koodankulam), the CPIML team managed to visit the affected area.

Koodankulam looks like a war torn territory. This Panchayat has 3500 households. Only a very few men could be seen. As the Koodankulam men and women came to the street protesting the repression on their fellow villagers, the police force unleashed a large scale attack on this village throughout the day on September 11.  All the women told the team that the police subjected them to severe repression.

The state police along with RAF, PMP lobbed anti-riot shells on the houses. Doors and windows been broken. Every house been attacked. Women were subjected to humiliation with obscene words, and were subjected to sexual assaults in the name of 'search.'

More than 60 men, most of them from the Hindu Nadar community, were taken into custody. Even minor school boys were indiscriminately arrested and sent to Juvenile Justice Board house. The neighboring Vairavikinaru leading to Idinthakarai too looked like a deserted village. The Tsunami settlement (from where residents, especially women, had participated in very large numbers in the agitation of the past several months), was subjected to severe, vengeful repression. Of 450 houses only 5 or 6 house were opened. The police took control of this settlement and are now using it as rest houses.

On the sea shore, the site where the siege program was held on September 10th, the police repression has no parallel! The K-Plant is more than 800 meters away from the protest site. There would be no danger for the plant from the thousands of women with children and men of entire Idinthakarai who had sat in peaceful protest.

Thousands of police with firearms stood like a wall encircling the protesters. Without any provocation people were beaten up with canes. Anti-riot shells were fired at the crowd, causing severe injuries on lips and cheeks. The people were encircled and had nowhere to escape except the roaring Bay of Bengal. They were chased towards the sea. The coast guard plane also joined the terror campaign, flying low over the heads of the people and terrifying the people. One youth died due of shock. Some were lying down; most of the people ran helter and skelter.

Through out the night arrested people remained in the open in the chilling sea breeze. The children and aged who couldn't withstand the breeze were trembling.

In an attempt to provoke a communal flare-up, the police urinated in the Church and disfigured the Mada Idol. But the protestors displayed great restraint and refused to rise to the bait.

Only after electronic media's telecast did the whole terror campaign subside somewhat.

These areas remain cut of from the mainland. Bus services are suspended. People have not been supplied with essentials, and remain deprived of their livelihood (fishing).

The team interacted extensively with the people. The people continue with their firm resolve to continue the struggle. They expressed their anger towards Jayaalalitha for her betrayal.

The team held a press meet demanding closure of the nuclear plant, complete withdraw of police force, withdrawal of false cases slapped including 124A and other criminal cases, suspension and action against the District SP, South Zone DIG and District Collector, instituting an enquiry commission with a sitting high court Judge and  intervention of NHRC and NCW in the human rights violations and violence on women by the police force.

The party State Committee called for state wide protest on October 1st. Condemning the police raj of the AIADMK government, the campaign will be 'against anti-people development; against murder of democracy'. On that day, an Anti-Nuke power plant march is also planned from Tirunelveli to Koodankulam (Idinthakarai).

The team comprised of State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram, T Sankarpandian, Tirunelveli district secretary and State General Secretary of AICCTU, Thenmozhi, State president of AIPWA,

G.Ramesh, Editorial Board member of Theepori, Anthonimuthu, District secretary of Kanyakumari and several district committee members of the party.

AISA victory in Pithoragarh SU Polls

Comrade Hemant Khati of AISA was elected as President in the Student University polls in the Lakshman Singh Mahar Government PG College, Pithoragarh, affiliated to Kumaon University. He polled 797 votes, defeating the ABVP candidate by 67 votes. On the post of Secretary, the AISA candidate Neeraj Bisht polled 560 votes, finishing at 3rd place. 

AISA has achieved a win in Pithoragarh after a gap of 12 years. The defeat against ABVP is especially significant given that the ABVP got patronage from the Government and administration, which overlooked fraudulent practices by the ABVP candidates such as distributing gifts, sweets etc.

AISA's campaign focussed against corruption and corporate plunder, privatisation of education, rampant unemployment and scams in Uttarakhand, rights of women students, and other democratic issues. 

TN AIALA calls for gherao of BDOs on November 7th

Following the successful collectorate gherao at Thanjavur by AIALA on September 17th, the State Council meeting of AIALA held on September 22nd in Gadilem of Villupuram district, decided to gherao the Block Development offices on November 7th, demanding  round the year jobs and house sites for all.

As Tamil Nadu could not get water from Karnataka and the southwest monsoon too failed, the Cauvery delta region is facing an acute crisis. Agriculture labourers and poor peasants are the worst affected.  If the North-east monsoon belies the hopes, the entire TN will have to face the worst drought this year. Except empty rhetoric, the AIADMK  government is doing nothing to tackle the situation. Employment of agricultural labourers and rural poor is severely endangered.

In order to protest the government inaction, and demanding round the year job, extending NREGA scheme to Town Panchayats, free food essentials and kerosene etc, AIALA will gherao the Block Development Offices.

The Council also decided to hold the next AIALA state conference on September 2-3 of 2013. Statues of Coms Chandrakumar, Chandrasekar and Subbu would be unveiled on 2nd September 2013, Martyrdom day of Comrades Chandrakumar and Chandrasekar. On 3rd September 2013, the 5th state conference will be held. 

The meeting also decided to participate in the October 1 protest day in solidarity with Koodankulam struggle, called by the state CPIML.

The council contributed the first installment (Rs 4000) of CPI(ML)'s 9th Party Congress fund.

Comrades TKS Janardhanan, State President, Valathan and Santhi, presided over the Council meeting. Apart from office bearers including Janakiraman (State Gen. Sec), Com Balasundaram All-India Vice President of AIALA also participated in the Council.

Arrest of CPI(ML) Activist in Odisha

On 17th September, Comrade Zaga Hika, who had contested as an MLA candidate from the CPI(ML) in 2009 from Patangi, polling 5000 votes, was arrested by Koraput police who have branded him as a 'Maoist.' Comrade Zaga Hika's son Rabindra Hika has also been arrested on fabricated charges of being a 'Maoist.'

On 31st August, Comrade Zaga Hika had led 800 comrades in gheraoing the Koraput collectorate and courting arrest as part of CPI(ML)'s all-India Jail Bharo call.

The BSF attacked and destroyed the CPI(ML) party office at Laxmipur on 16th September, tearing the party flag. On 17th September, Comrade Zaga Hika and Comrade Birendra Minieka, districts secretary of Koraput, went to the Laxmipur police station to file an FIR against the BSF for vandalising the CPI(ML) office, but instead of accepting the complaint, the police arrested Comrade Zaga Hika and charged him with being a 'Maoist'!

Comrade Zaga has spent the last two years in jail as an undertrial in a case of protest againt a liquor shop.

CPI(ML) plans a huge protest meeting at Koraput on 26th Sept against the arrest. The arrest of popular Left mass leaders from the adivasi community by branding them as 'Maoists' is part of the Government's 'Operation Green Hunt' strategy.

Left Parties' Dharna in Uttarakhand

CPI, CPI(M) and CPI(ML) jointly held a Dharna at Dehradun to protest against the anti-people policies of the Vijay Bahuguna Government on 10 September.

The Dharna began by a rendering by Jan Sanskriti Manch's Madan Mohan Chamoli, of a rousing Garhwali song by Comrade Dhan Singh Rana. This was followed by a Pankaj Vidrohi's rendering of a Gorakh Pandey song. 

The Dharna protested the Bahuguna Government's utter callousness towards the people affected by natural disasters in the State in the past 6 months. When the CM visited the disaster-affected people, he got angry when questioned by people, and returned after advicing them to sing 'bhajans' (prayer songs). The Left parties demanded immediate compensation and rehabilitation for the disaster-affected people of the State.  

The Left parties noted that the huge explosions caused by the 3 projects being built on the Asiganga had aggravated the natural disasters, and demanded that the builders of these projects be prosecuted for the deaths of people. The Left parties demanded mechanisms for identification and protection of migrant labourers hurt in the disasters. The Left parties held that the decision of the Government to hold by-elections to the Tehri Loksabha seat on 10 October when people of Uttarkashi and Tehri are yet to recover from the disaster is a cruel joke.

The Left parties protested the corporate plunder of 'jal jangal zameen' (water, forests, and land) in the State, in the name of 'development' projects. They alleged that the CM Vijay Bahuguna is supporting disastrous hydro-electric projects because of his corporate links, especially with the India Bulls company.  

The Left parties demanded that the Government accede to the popular demand to declare Gairsain as the capital of Uttarakhand. They also demanded measures to generate secure and dignified employment so as to stem the flood of migration from the state.

The Dharna demanded land rights for the residents of khattas, forests and for vangujars, and the rights of khattas and forest villages to form panchayats.

The Dharna also supported reservations for SCs/STs  in promotions, and demanded implementation of labour laws in factories.  They protested the rampant privatisation being carried out in the name of PPP projects.

The Dharna was presided by CPI(M) State Secretary Vijay Rawat, CPI's National Council member Samar Bhandari, and CPI(ML) Standing Committee member Raja Bahuguna.

The Dharna was addressed by Comrades Bacchiram Kauns, Gangadhar Nautiyal, Virendra Bhandari, Surendra Singh Sajwana, Indu Naudiyal, and Shiv Prasad Devli of CPI(M); CPI State Sectetary Anand Singh Rana and comrades Ashok Kanwal, Mahipal Bisht, Jeet Singh, and Ashok Sharma of CPI, and Comrades Purushotam Sharma, KK Bora, Man Singh Pal, Atul Sati and Malti Haldar of CPI(ML).  Kamla Pant, central convenor of Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, and Basant Khani of Uttarakhand Lok Vahini, Trepan Singh Chauhan of Chetna Andolan, and Sameer Ratudi of Himalay Bachao Andolan  also addressed the Dharna.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ML Update 39 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 39, 18 – 24 SEPTEMBER 2012


UPA-II's Pro-Corporate, Anti-people Offensive

Exposed by one CAG report after another and challenged increasingly by popular agitations across the country, the UPA government has now begun to behave as a veritable autocratic regime. At one go it has now announced all the drastic measures it had been contemplating for a long time but had to put on hold in the face of massive opposition of the people. Price of diesel has been hiked by Rs 5 a litre, subsidy for LPG cylinders has been halved, sectors like multi-brand retail, civil aviation and broadcasting service have been opened up for foreign investment and shares of several profit-making public sector units have been offered for sale.

The big business houses and the corporate media that have been blaming the government for what they called 'policy paralysis' are visibly pleased with the announcement of all these 'big-bang reforms'. The glee is evident even in their choice of words, with one industrialist describing the measures as a jump from 'famine' to 'feast'. In an obviously choreographed display of 'exuberance', the share market has started moving up, reflecting the 'soothed sentiment' of a disgruntled market. The Obamas and Clintons who had been explicitly complaining about FDI 'restrictions' in India and lobbying for notorious US retail giants like Wal-Mart, are obviously happy with these measures, all the more so as Obama is facing elections in a few weeks.

Manmohan Singh has said he would like to go down fighting. The man who had promised to quit if found corrupt now invokes martyrdom in the interest of global capital and his American bosses. Pro-Congress voices in the media compare the FDI announcement to the Indo-US nuclear deal and hope that the PM's gamble will work once again as it did in 2008 when he managed to save his government winning a dubious confidence vote even as the Left bloc withdrew support. The Congress also hopes that preoccupied with the 'FDI in retail' debate, the country will forget the scams. Home Minister Shinde has claimed that Coalgate will fade away from public memory as the infamous Bofors bribery scam of the Rajiv era.

To brush up Shinde's memory, it was the Bofors bribery case which had proved the undoing of the Rajiv regime and despite systematic attempts of successive central governments to shield the guilty, the people of India have neither forgotten nor forgiven the bribe-takers of Bofors. The image of the Congress as the principal party of wheeler-dealers bent upon bartering away the country's resources has since been deeply engraved in the national mind and the spate of recent scams has only reinforced that image. The only saving grace for the Congress has been the spread of corruption among other ruling parties, notably the BJP and the majority of regional parties, making corruption a common hallmark of neoliberal rule in India.

Neoliberalism has also redefined private/corporate interest as public/national interest. The land acquisition bill now pending in Parliament openly invokes the 'public purpose' objective to justify land acquisition for private profit. The opening up of civil aviation to foreign capital is a desperate attempt to bail out the crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airlines of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The fraudulent logic of neoliberalism is coming unstuck in every sector. First, key economic sectors were opened up to Indian corporates in the name of fostering competition and efficiency and when many Indian companies are biting the dust, the government brings in FDI to bail them out and in the process allowing foreign companies to appropriate bigger chunks of India's domestic market.

All this is being done in the name of promoting growth, but the growth miracle has already given way to a steady decline in industrial output. Even when the economy grew at a good rate, the growth never translated into creation of jobs or reduction of poverty. The 'India story' peddled by the corporate media as a spectacular rise of India as an 'economic power' is a big lie which seeks to gloss over India's massive poverty and unemployment and high inflation that constantly erodes the purchasing power of the working people and even large sections of the middle classes.

The scam-tainted government must be stopped from inflicting relentless blows on the people and bartering away the country's resources. The UPA government has betrayed the mandate it had got in the name of improving the conditions of the 'aam aadmi' and must now be compelled to remit office. The people are clearly in no mood to wait till 2014 to bring about change, and the whole country is turning into a battleground. Revolutionary communists must encourage the people to fight hard and fight for not just a change of guard but a change in key policies, for a reversal of the pro-corporate pro-imperialist policies that have proved disastrous for the people and for the economy.


CPI(ML) Calls for Bharat Bandh on 20 September

The CPI(ML) called for a Bharat Bandh on 20 September against the price hike, FDI in retail and mega scams, demanding a roll back of anti-people decisions and resignation of the UPA Government.


National Convention of Workers Calls for 2-Day General Strike

A National Convention of Workers was held on 4th September, 2012 at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. More than 3000 worker representatives from all over India and from all sectors participated in the convention. The national convention was organized by 11 central trade unions, namely AICCTU, AITUC, HMS, CITU, BMS, INTUC, AIUTUC, TUCC, UTUC, LPF and SEWA and Independent Federations of Workers and Employees.

On behalf of AICCTU, General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee addressed the convention and Santosh Roy, National Secretary was in the presidium. The Convention decided to further intensify the joint struggles that were being carried out for last three years and called for the following action programme:

State/district/sector level Joint Conventions during September, October and November 2012

Satyagraha/Jail Bharo/Court Arrest on 18-19 December 2012 in all the states throughout the Country

March to Parliament on 20th December 2012 (mobilization by unions from the states adjoining Delhi)

Countrywide Two Days General Strike on 20th and 21st February 2013

The National Convention called upon the working people of the country and their unions/federations irrespective of affiliations to respond in a massive way to the action programme to press for the vital demands embracing all sections of the toiling class.

CPI(ML) Statement on Price Hike

New Delhi, 14 Sep. 2012.

The CPI(ML) condemns the steep hike in the price of diesel and the move to limit subsidised cooking gas cylinders to six per family per year. The limiting of cooking gas cylinders will mean that families will be forced to buy cooking fuel at market rates, imposing a severe burden on their already constrained circumstances. The hike in diesel prices will inevitably result in a hike in transport costs which, in turn, will impact on food prices.

The UPA Government's claim that the hikes are justified in the light of losses suffered by oil companies is a shameless falsehood, since all the oil and gas companies have recorded substantial net profits.

The CPI(ML) calls upon its units to hold protests all over the country to demand a roll back of the unconscionable hike in the price of diesel and limits on cooking gas cylinders, which will impose an unbearable burden on the common man and woman.

CPI(ML) Central Committee

Countrywide protests against Price Hike and Anti-People Measures

In response to the call by Party's Central Committee, CPI(ML) units all over the country staged protests against the unprecedented hike in diesel prices, curtailment of cooking gas subsidy, FDI in retail and civil aviation, and disinvestment.

At Delhi on 15th September, CPI(ML) units held protests and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister at Narela, Wazirpur, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Mandavli, and Shahdara. The AICCTU joined a protest at Jantar Mantar jointly organized by Left Trade Unions.

In the protest at Puducherry on 17th September, workers of Hindustan Petroleum LPG distribution agencies affiliated to AICCTU took part in large in numbers in their uniform.

In Odisha, 200 activists marched to the Secretariat in the state capital of Bhubaneswar.

The AIPWA also held protests all over the country, independently and together with other mass organisations, in response to a central call.

Resolutions Adopted by CPI(ML) CC Meeting, Bathinda, 10-12 September

On Koodankulam Crackdown

CPI(ML) called for protest against the brutal crackdown against thousands protesting the loading of fuel at the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant. The party condemned the Central Government and the TN Government for insisting on installing the nuclear plant in spite of the democratic protests of the people which have not been addressed. The party demanded that the VVER reactors be closed down immediately, and that the inhuman crackdown on protestors be stopped instantly.

Solidarity With Jal Satyagraha in MP

The CPI(ML) expressed solidarity with the 'Jal Satyagraha' (water satyagraha) in Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, where villagers protesting against raising of the height of the Omkareshwar Dam stood in neck-deep water for 17 days. The protest eventually forced the Government to lower the level of the dam. The party also extended solidarity to the Jal Satyagraha in Harda demanding lowering of the level of the Indira Sagar Dam, where protestors have faced a police crackdown. The CPI(ML) holds that forced eviction of peasants or submersion of their lands in the name of development projects is an assault on democracy.

On Sedition Law

The CPI(ML) condemned in strongest terms the arrest of the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on sedition charges. Increasingly, dissenting voices are being witch-hunted, and the sedition law is being invoked against scores of protestors at Koodankulam, against activists like Binayak Sen and Seema Azad, and against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The CPI(ML) demands repeal of the sedition law and release of all those imprisoned under this draconian and shameful law.

On Reservation in Promotions

The CPI(ML) demanded the early passage of the Bill to amend the Constitution to clear hurdles in the way of reservation to SCs and STs in government job promotions. The principle of reservation for SCs and STs in promotions is already enshrined in the Constitution and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The proposed Constitutional amendments are necessary to protect and uphold that right, in view of certain questionable and flawed premises and stipulations laid down by a particular Supreme Court verdict.

The representation of SCs and STs in higher echelons of government posts is abysmal. This shameful state of affairs, pointing unmistakeably to deep-seated discrimination, calls for urgent correction. The proposed Constitutional amendments must be adopted without delay so as to remove the hurdles in the way of implementing the long-existing provision for reservation in promotions for SCs and STs. The question of extending reservation in promotions to OBCs must be examined and taken up separately.

In Solidarity With Koodankulam Struggle

On 12th September, a protest was held at 5 pm at Dadar Station in Mumbai, in solidarity with the anti-nuke protestors at Koodankulam and against the repression they are facing.

The protest was participated by CPI(ML), LNP(L), CPI, CPI(M), Konkan Bhachao Samiti, Dharmrajya Paksha, and other groups and activists. The protest was addressed among others by CPI(ML)'s Mumbai-Thane Secretary Comrade Shyam Gohil, LNP(L)'s Comrade Uday Bhat, civil liberties activist Binayak Sen.

The All India Left Coordination (AILC) issued a press release in support of the demands of the Kodankulam struggle. The CPI(ML) Central Committee also issued a statement, and a CPI(ML) team led by the Tamil Nadu State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram visited the struggle site in solidarity. The South Asia Solidarity group (SASG) and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) issued a joint statement from London in support of the Koodankulam anti-nuke struggle.

Fire in Pakistan Garment Factory

The fire in a garment factory in Pakistan in which nearly 300 workers were killed is cause for deep shock and outrage. Reports suggest that the exit gates of the factory were closed by the management in the name of preventing theft, thereby cutting off escape routes for the factory's workers. This fire, together with the fire at the crackers factory at Sivakasi in India, underline how the conditions of labour laws in factories in the Indian sub-continent are nearly as callous and exploitative as they were at the time of the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911 in New York.

The CPI(ML) extends solidarity to the families of deceased and injured workers and to the labour movement in Pakistan that is struggling for the rights of the working class in that country.

NATO Strike Kills 9 Afghan Women

The CPI(ML) condemns in strongest terms the latest barbarity of the US-led NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan, in which nine Afghan women between 18-25 years old, were killed in an air strike in the early hours of 16th September in Laghman Province's Alingar district, near the Afghan capital, Kabul. The women were out collecting firewood when the NATO forces struck. Several women and children, some as young as 10 years old, are also reportedly severely injured in the attack.

This massacre is the latest in a long series of civilian casualties which have occurred as part of the 'drone warfare' tactics promoted by the Obama administration. Such civilian massacres have marked the prolonged imperialist occupation and war in Afghanistan.

The CPI(ML) demands sternest punishment for those responsibility for the massacre, which must be recognised as a war crime, and an end to the imperialist occupation and war in Afghanistan and surrounding regions.

Islamophobic Hate Video from the US

The CPI(ML) condemns the islamophobic video originating from the US, that has sparked off outrage and violent protests across the globe. In one incident, the US Ambassador to Libya and other US embassy staffers in Benghazi were killed.

The US' official stand that the venomous anti-Muslim hate speech classifies as 'free speech' is quite ironic, coming from the country that has imprisoned the young whistleblower US soldier Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking a video of a cold-blooded massacre by US soldiers in Iraq to Wikileaks!

Puducherry Protests

On 11th September 2012, the CPI(ML) unit of Karaikal held a protest demonstration demanding justice to the victims of Thavalakuppam (a village in Puducherry), Paramakudi and Bathani Tola. In Thavalakuppam, Adivasi people including pregnant women and innocent children were lathi charged indiscriminately, wounding several, by police seeking to disperse picketing volunteers on East Coast Road. 50 Adivasis were arrested and later let on bail. The protestors were demanding to free Adivasi bonded labourers who were kept captive in Tamilnadu. The ruling AINR Congress government led by N Rangasamy proved intolerant to this just demand. The demonstration was held on the first death anniversary of victims in Paramakudi Police firing in Tamilnadu.

A large number of Migrant workers from Bihar and UP participated in the demonstration apart from the local Party workers. The demonstration was led by local Committee Secretary of CPI(ML) Com. A S Singaravelu, Com. S Balasubramanian, State Secretary, CPI(ML), addressed the demonstrators and the general public. On the same day a sudden joint protest was organised against police firing and the death of fisherman John at Koodankulam in Tamilnadu.

At Puducherry the protest was organised by various democratic organisations. The CPI(ML) protesters were led by Com. S Motilal, SCM, Puducherry. All were detained and later released.

On 13th September, AICCTU organised a protest hunger fast in front of the State Assembly of Puducherry demanding reinstatement of 112 women workers who worked for more than 10 years in VINBROS & Co an IMFL manufacturing unit at Puducherry. The Union Jananayaga Madhubana Thozhilalar Sangam (AICCTU) demanded ESI and EPF facilities to the workers. The management of VINBROS & Co employed the workers in the guise of contract labour system and terminated them all. Com. S Motilal State Secretary AICCTU led the fast. Central Trade Union Leaders from AITUC, CITU, TUCC, AIUTUC, LPF, ATP addressed the fasting workers.

A delegation led by Com. P Sankaran, Vice-President AICCTU met the Chief Minister on the same day from the struggle site, and demanded the latter's immediate intervention for the reinstatement of entire dismissed workers. The Chief Minister gave an assurance to the team.

Protest Meet in Kerala Against Moral Policing

'Sthreekkoottayma,' a platform of women, organized a protest meet in the heart of Ernakulam city on 8th September, focussing on the urgent need to reflect on and to resist recurring episodes of moral policing in Kerala.

The meet was inaugurated by K Ajitha and presided by Jolly Chirayath, and participants were welcomed by V C Jenny. A discussion on 'Moral Policing and pro-Women Politics' followed in which Ranjini Krishnan presented the topic. Shahina K K, Nalini Jameela, Advocate P M Athira spoke on various aspects of the detailed presentation. The speakers, particularly endorsed the view that moral policing in Kerala is virtually encouraged rather than being seriously opposed by the male dominated social, political and legal establishment. Taking part in the discussion Comrade K M Venugopalan of CPI(ML)'s Kerala State Leading Team remarked that recent crimes of moral policing have encompassed perpetrators of a range of political persuasions from far right to centre to Left.

Nevertheless, organized crimes in the name of morality are basically promoted and perpetuated by anti-people forces of the neoliberal-feudal alignment, which eventually try to suppress each expression of equality between sexes and independent assertion of women. Apart from sharing of experiences of few victims of moral police, strategies for building of peoples' solidarity against the renegade institution of moral police also were briefly discussed.

A resolution was also passed which demanded withdrawal of a false case clamped by the police on two women activists and over fifteen 'identifiable persons' including two men under Section 353 IPC, following a protest march organized on July 22 against moral policing by Sthreekkoottayma. The case was actually the result of vindictive act on behalf of two local police officers whose obscene comments on the women marchers had been challenged by the latter only to get them clamped with a non-bailable case. "The Lightning Testimonies", a film directed by Amar Kanwar (2007) was also exhibited. This film reflects upon a history of conflict in the Indian subcontinent through experiences of sexual violence.

AISA Wins Majority in JNUSU, Polls Third in DUSU

The JNUSU and DUSU elections were held on the same day – September 14 – and the results have been encouraging for the Left forces.

In JNU, it was an overwhelming mandate for the Left. AISA once again won a majority in the Union, with 3 out of 4 office-bearer posts and 12 councillor posts. The SFI-JNU candidate won the President post, while the other three posts of Vice President, General Secretary and Joint Secretary were won by the AISA candidates.

Piyush Raj, AISA's joint secretary candidate polled 1566 votes and defeated Ruchira Sen who polled 1427 votes by a margin of 139 votes. AISA's general secretary candidate Shakeel Anjum won by a margin of 980 votes – he polled 1719 votes, while the SFI JNU-AISF candidate on that post polled 739 votes. AISA's Vice Presidential candidate Minakshi Buragohain won by a margin of 920 votes, polling 1816 votes against the SFI JNU-AISF candidate. On the post of President, SFI-JNU's Lenin polled 1446 votes and defeated AISA's Omprasad who polled 1233 votes. In addition, AISA has won the convenorship of the five schools (International Studies; Social Sciences; Language, Literature and Culture Studies; Arts and Aesthetics; and Law and Governance) – and a total of 12 councillors from AISA have been elected.

This mandate is a defeat of the right-wing forces – whose only agenda is to spread communal hatred and to defend neo-liberal policies leading to corruption and corporate loot. Like the mandates of 2007 and 2012 February, the mandate this time is once again a mandate against CPI(M)'s revisionism, its abject surrender to neo-liberalism and its dubious positions on state repression, Operation Green Hunt, AFSPA and SEZs. The SFI-JNU's victory on the post of President has come in the wake of its endorsement of AISA's long-standing critique of the CPI(M) on the above questions.

AISA has welcomed the mandate and thanked the student community, and has reiterated its commitment to building united JNUSU struggles to take forward the previous JNUSU's initiatives for social inclusion, students' rights and facilities, campus democracy and democratisation of academics.

In DUSU, the NSUI won all seats while ABVP polled second. But a significant section of DU students this year spoke out quite clearly regarding their hopes for a radical Left, democratic student politics, represented by AISA. AISA polled 3rd on 3 DUSU posts and 4th on the post of President, consistently polling above 3000 votes on all 4 posts.

AISA's Presidential candidate, Nikita Sinha, a student of MSc Statistics in Ramjas College, polled 3000 votes. Kumar Ankit, a student of MA Buddhist Studies, polled 3600 votes on the post of VP. Nishant Kumar, a student of BSc Physical Sciences in Hansraj College, polled 4700 votes on the GS post. And Adiya Bikram Pande, a BA English Honours student of Satyawati College, polled 3700 votes on the Joint Secretary post.

AISA's significant and consistent good showing in the DUSU polls comes in the wake of a sustained campaign since last year against corruption and corporate plunder, against privatisation of education, and struggles against sexual harassment, against curtailment in student rights and campus democracy.



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:

Monday, September 10, 2012

ML Update 38 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 38, 11 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2012


Manmohan Singh Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai


US daily, the Washington Post, recently commented on India's PM Manmohan Singh, observing, "The image of the scrupulously honourable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government," and describing Manmohan as "a man whose aloofness from the rough-and-tumble of Indian politics has been transformed from an asset into a liability."

The article as such said very little that was new. In fact, its main thrust was based on quotes by Indian observers, as appeared in a 2011 issue of the Caravan magazine. Historian Ramachandra Guha described Manmohan Singh as 'a tragic figure,' fatally handicapped by "timidity, complacency and intellectual dishonesty; while Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to the PM, commented that the PM had been transformed into a figure of ridicule. The article also described popular jokes in India that poke fun at Manmohan Singh's well-known penchant for silence on a variety of pressing political occasions.

What was interesting was the reaction of the Indian Government to this article. Stung by the article, the PMO leapt to the PM's defence, demanding an apology from the Washington Post and the author of the article! This overreaction, if anything, showed Manmohan Singh in a more ridiculous light than ever.

What made the PMO so sensitive to an article in a daily paper? Why did the head of a State try, in vain, to gag the views of a journalist of another country, and try to extract an apology from him? Above all, the question arises – why was Manmohan Singh so sensitive to this particular article, when similar observations about his role appear regularly in the Indian press?

Clearly, Manmohan Singh is especially sensitive to criticism from any US quarters including the US Press. He finds it unbearable to be termed an 'underachiever' by Time Magazine or a 'tragic figure' by Washington Post, whereas the same criticism in the Indian press does not bother him. Manmohan Singh's sensitivity to American criticism is the natural fallout of his excessive concern to get praise and pat on the back from the US. To understand why Manmohan Singh is so upset, we must first understand how, for very long, US approval has been his overriding guiding principle in policy-making.

And his sensitivity to US opinion should be contrasted with his complete insensitivity to Indian public opinion! Manmohan Singh has always been proud of the fact that he takes decisions without being swayed by considerations of political fallout. So, his Government stubbornly insists on fixing poverty lines at starvation levels (Rs 23 in rural areas and Rs 28 in urban areas), unmoved by the fact that Indians find this preposterous. Likewise, his government goes on opening up sector after sector of Indian economy and social sectors for foreign capital to keep the American masters happy even as the whole country calls for an urgent halt to this disastrous course of indiscriminate FDI invasion. And when it comes to deciding India's foreign policy and domestic governance, his government has repeatedly made it clear that in its view national interests do not count, it is American interest which is of paramount importance.

Throughout his career as PM, Manmohan Singh has never hesitated to voice open – even fawning – praise of colonialism and imperialism that the Indian people would find offensive. In 2005, Manmohan Singh declared at Oxford that the British Raj was a model of "good governance." In 2008, he bade an emotional goodbye to the world's most hated US President – George Bush – by publicly declaring "deep love" for Bush, and expressing deep gratitude for "your affection, your friendship." In 2009, at a time when the US economy was in deep recession, and US economic and political hegemony were at an all time low, Manmohan Singh's loyalty remained rock-solid. He went out of his way to assert that the US economy would "bounce back", that "there is no substitute for the dollar," and that "we have not entered an era of irreversible shift in economic strength of the United States."

So, Manmohan Singh's angry reaction to the Washington Post's opinion comes from a sense of wounded loyalty that went unrewarded. He openly supported the US establishment when its credibility was at an all time low, and feels let down that US public opinion now is not reciprocating, when his own credibility is in tatters and he is the target of public ridicule and anger among the Indian people.

State Cadre Convention in Bihar Resolves to Make November 9 Parivartan Rally in Patna a Roaring Success


After the meeting of the Bihar State Committee of the Party held in Mairwa, Siwan from 2-4 September, a state-level cadre meeting was held in Patna on September 6 to mobilise the entire Party for the forthcoming 'Parivartan Rally' on November 9. The Party in Bihar is waging a relentless struggle against the growing failure and betrayal of the Nitish Kumar regime. Crime in Bihar is once again on the increase, corruption has crossed all limits and feudal-communal forces are flexing their muscles everywhere with the backing of the state government. Nearly one thousand Party cadres including members of district- and block-level committees and secretaries of local committees and Party branches attended the convention.

The Nitish Kumar government seeks to meet the popular outcry for justice with increased repressive measures on the one hand and by posing itself as the champion of Bihar vis-a-vis the Centre. The entire state government is currently busy with a so-called 'Adhikar yatra' which will culminate in 'Adhikar rally' on 4 November. Against this backdrop, the Parivartan rally has assumed additional significance, as it will highlight the strength and resolve of the fighting people of Bihar vis-a-vis the pompous show of power of a pretentious regime.

Addressing the state convention, Comrade Dipankar emphasised that the battle for justice for Bihar cannot be separated from the battle for justice for the people within Bihar. Nitish Kumar has already betrayed the people on the latter score, his slogan of 'development with justice' having turned into 'loot with injustice'. Now he is out to betray the people on the issue of justice for Bihar, reducing the issue of special category status for Bihar into a bargaining chip with the Centre and the Congress. He waxes eloquent against the likes of Narendra Modi and the Thackerays, but his ideological-political intimacy with communal and divisive forces is demonstrated unmistakably in his long-standing alliance with the BJP and the NDA.

Comrade Dipankar pointed out that Nitish Kumar's anti-corruption rhetoric had also proved to be utterly hollow and opportunistic. He demands cancellation of coal blocks, but defends the equally scandalous allocation of BIADA land in Bihar. He upholds CAG reports concerning the central government, but rubbishes the same CAG reports regarding the glaring lapses and huge scams perpetrated by his own government in Bihar. Comrade Dipankar called upon the convention to give a fitting rebuff to Nitish Kumar's pro-feudal politics by making the November 9 Parivartan Rally a roaring success.

The convention chalked out elaborate plans for the next two months to spread the message of the rally across the state and mobilise all members and structures of the Party in an intensive preparatory work. Village level meetings and padyatras will be held in all our areas of work. Block- and district-level review meetings will be held from mid-September to mid-October. Mass organisations will also work systematically to mobilise for the rally. Kisan Mahasabha has convened a 'Bhumi Adhikar Sammelan' (land rights conference) in Patna on 21 September. RYA is holding its state conference at Samastipur on 30 September. AIPWA will organise a 'mahila adalat' (women's court) in Patna on 2 October while Inquilabi Muslim Conference has convened an assembly in Patna to discuss the growing injustice and insecurity that Muslims are having to battle against in today's Bihar.

Convention Held in Solidarity With Maruti Workers

The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and All India Students' Association (AISA) held a Convention on September 7th at the Indian Social Institute, Delhi, in solidarity with Maruti workers. The Convention- 'Intensified Assault on the Working Class: Challenges Before Democracy', was attended by workers from the Delhi-NCR area, students, as well as concerned citizens and activists.

Several Maruti workers addressed the Convention, describing the exploitative conditions of work at the Manesar plant, in which they were given just 7 minutes to have tea and use the toilet, where pay was cut for every leave taken, and where the bulk of workers are employed on contract and paid less than permanent workers for the same work, in violation of labour laws. They described the incident of 18th July, pointing out that the Maruti management had introduced bouncers into the factory in order to intimidate the negotiating union leaders. They alleged that the violence was unleashed by the bouncers, who were responsible for the fire in which a manager lost his life due to asphyxiation.

The workers asked, "We are being described as criminals and killers. But can we ask – was it not illegal and provocative of the management to suspend an innocent worker and then introduce bouncers in the factory?" Comrade Matthew, former President of the Maruti's Plant I Union who was terminated after the struggle in 2000-2001, also described the repression faced by workers at that time.

Rakhi Sehgal of the NTUI painstakingly recounted the many unanswered questions and inconvenient facts regarding the 18th July incident that contradict the 'official' version. There is ample evidence to suggest that bouncers in workers' uniforms were introduced into the factory by the management in connivance with the police. She highlighted the fact that the investigation was being conducted by police officials who themselves are under a cloud regarding their role on 18th July. She said that the workers of the Maruti factory firmly believed that the 18th July incident was a conspiracy to finish off the Union. A significant majority of the Maruti Manesar plant's workers are from southern Haryana, from a belt where they receive some support and backing from their agriculture-based families, and are therefore more difficult to intimidate or suppress. Therefore, it is likely that the management wanted an excuse to replace them, once and for all, with more pliant migrant labour.

Speaking at the Convention, S Kumarasami, the All-India President of AICCTU, and also the President of the union of the Pricol Automobile workers of Coimbatore, described the struggle of the Pricol workers from 2007 onwards, and the incident of 2009 in which an HR manager was killed. He said that in a situation where workers are having to work in a state of virtual 'rigorous imprisonment,' deprived of legal rights, basic democracy, and an atmosphere of intimidation, where unionisation and peaceful struggles are suppressed, and managements seem to enjoy impunity in the eyes of Government, it was all too natural for conflict to erupt. Such incidents were bound to increase as long as industrial democracy is suppressed. He said that the Pricol workers sustained their Union and their struggle in the face of repression, by forging strong links with the struggles of local people.

Describing the situation in Manesar now, Comrade Kumarasami said 'industrial terrorism is being unleashed on the working class,' with ex-army personnel and police being deployed right on the factory floor. Just as corporate plunder was being encouraged, as shown in the coal, 2G and mining scams, capital backed by the State is also focusing on maximum extraction of profit by maximizing exploitation of workers. The result, he said, was '21st century technology and 19th century labour conditions.' He called for the Trade Union movement to reach out to the vast army of contract and apprentice labourers and for the working class to forge links with the struggles of contract workers as well as non-factory workers and common people. He highlighted the demand for the TU Act 1926 to be amended to make it mandatory to give recognition to the majority union in each factory as chosen by workers by secret ballot.

Labour historian Prabhu Mahapatra, Atul Sood, professor of economics from JNU, Senior advocate N D Pancholi of the PUCL, Ranjana Padhi, feminist activist addressed the convention. The Convention was also addressed by the Maruti workers' lawyer Rajendra Pathak, and Santosh Rai, President of the Delhi State unit of AICCTU.

Among those who joined the Convention in solidarity with Maruti workers were Jawed Naqvi, columnist, Arundhati Roy, writer, Sanjay Kak, filmmaker, Madhuresh (NAPM), Prof. Vijay Singh, activist Gopal Krishna, Sandeep Singh, President of AISA, Sanjay Sharma, Delhi State Secretary of CPI(ML), Prabhat Kumar, CCM of CPI(ML), and several teachers of DU, students of Jamia Millia Islamia and other universities in Delhi. A member of the New Delhi Bureau of the party organ of the Communist Party of Japan also interacted with the Maruti workers and covered the Convention for his paper.

The Convention adopted a series of resolutions: appealing to all democratic organisations and citizens for support for the Maruti workers' struggle; demanding- immediate withdrawal of police and paramilitary from industrial areas in Gurgaon-Manesar; release and reinstatement of all the workers; an independent judicial enquiry into the 18th July incident; that the Haryana Govt and Central Government be held responsible for upholding labour laws and industrial democracy and penalizing companies that violate these laws; ending exploitation of contract labour; and amendment of the TU Act 1926 to make registration of the majority Union mandatory.

Letter from CPI(ML) GS to Tamilnadu CM Regarding Koodankulam

New Delhi, September 8, 2012

We are very concerned to read in the news (The Hindu, September 7,2012) that the people of Idinthakarai and adjoining areas, under the banner of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), who have been raising questions about the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant through a peaceful mass movement against the commissioning of the plant, have decided to lay siege to the plant on September 9th.

We understand that ever since the Madras High Court gave the final nod to load enriched uranium in the KKNPP, the people have been attempting to dialogue with the State and Central Governments, but to no avail. It is in this critical juncture that they are resorting to such a drastic step.

We are deeply concerned about the consequences and appeal to you to stop commissioning of the plant, and intervene at this stage. The people of the area, receiving no convincing answers to their extremely genuine concerns about safety, have been agitating peacefully for very long. They have braved baseless sedition charges and a slew of cases. They are raising a matter of great public interest, not only for the present generation but for future generations. Yet they have been accused of being anti-national.

Now, the matter has reached a critical stage, with the protesting people, all common rural and coastal poor, deciding to lay siege to the plant. As a democratically elected leader, accountable to the people of Tamilnadu, we hope that you will at least now respond sensitively to the anguish and desperation of the people. We appeal to you not to use police force on peaceful protestors, who are fighting for their fundamental right to a safe life.

It is never too late to stop a disaster. We appeal to you to heed the wise and timely calls of the people of Idinthakarai, who seek to avert a Fukushima on Indian soil, and stop the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

Combat the Divisive Communal Politics of BJP-Shiv Sena-MNS

Reject the Political Opportunism of Nitish Kr and his Ilk

Following Raj Thackeray's venomous tirade against 'Bihari infiltrators' in Mumbai, his cousin and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has now come up with the demand for introduction of permits for Bihari workers in Maharashtra. The competitive display of chauvinism by the Thackeray cousins has once again exposed the communal and divisive politics of outfits like the Shiv Sena and MNS in Maharashtra. While MNS does not have any formal affiliation to either NDA or UPA, the Shiv Sena is a long-standing ally of the BJP and a founding constituent of the NDA. The Shiv Sena variety of regional chauvinism is a perfect ideological partner of the BJP's politics of national chauvinism. The only difference is while the Shiv Sena whips up communal frenzy in regional garb, the BJP does it in the name of nationalism.

When violence broke out in Kokrajhar in the month of July, the BJP was quick to blame it on 'infiltration from Bangladesh'. A sinister sms campaign and rumour mongering saw thousands of workers and students from Assam and the North-East rush back home from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai lending further grist to the BJP propaganda against terrorism and infiltration. Following Muslim protests in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena/MNS ire has now turned once again against Bihari workers, and especially Bihari Muslim youth in Maharashtra. Meanwhile we had reports from BJP-ruled Karnataka of ABVP goons pulling out migrant workers from Bihar and Odisha from trains and beating them up, all in the name of teaching 'illegal immigrants from Bangladesh' a good lesson.

The chain of events from Kokrajhar to Bangalore and now Mumbai has made it abundantly clear that divisive violence in one corner of the country will quickly spread to another corner, and campaign against one community will quickly turn against another. The fear that haunts Bengali-speaking Muslims is inseparable and indistinguishable from the insecurity faced by Bihari workers. It is the BJP which fuels this fear nationally and Nitish Kumar waxes eloquent about Bihari identity under the BJP's ideological umbrella while migrant workers and youth from Bihar are harassed and persecuted in Mumbai by the JDU's partners from the same BJP-led coalition.

While strongly refuting and resisting the divisive politics of the Shiv Sena/MNS and the BJP, we must also sharpen our struggle against the political opportunism of Nitish Kumar which is emboldening the Senas in Maharashtra and the BJP right within Bihar.

Sivakasi Blast- Punish the Culprits, Rehabilitate the Victims!

A seven member fact finding team of CPI(ML) and AICCTU visited Sivakasi in Virudhnagar district of Tamil Nadu on 7th September where more than 50 workers have already died and several are critical.

The team found that blatant violations of safety norms and regulations are the reason for recurring incidents at Sivakasi fire crackers every now and then. What is shocking is that only a few days prior to this horrific incident the factory was ordered to be closed for its violations. Even then the factory was in full operation with the strength of more than 480 workers, most of them women, children and a considerable number of migrant workers from West Bengal. The owners of the fireworks and Govt officials in collusion were running this death factory in total disregard of all norms and regulations.

In no way this could be termed as an accident. It is a clear case of deliberate crime. The officials are manufacturing a story that only 12 of the dead were the workers inside the factory, others were the passer-by who were hit by flying rubbles due to explosion. Sensing the intensity and extent of damage, the team raises the doubt about explosives being stockpiled for quarrying purposes also inside the premises.

In the face of such a tragic incident neither the labour minister nor the local minister have made even a visit so for. Even though much publicity was made about the impending visit of the CM, it is intriguing that she failed to turn up! When this was pointed out by the team the refrain of the public was, "the owner is an influential AIADMK bully".

The fact finding team in its report published to the press demanded immediate arrest of absconding owner, resignation of the labour minister owning responsibility to such ghastly incident, arresting concerned labour and revenue officials and suspension of district collector, compensation of Rs.20 lakh to the family of every victim, 50 thousand to the injured, rehabilitation of the families with govt jobs, strict enforcement of the Inter State Migrant Labor Act 1979, transparent, scientific safety norms and regulations in hazardous industries like fire cracker industry, making accountable the owner and factory and labour officers for such incidents etc. A Judicial enquiry must be instituted immediately to inquire into the many questions that have arisen.

The team was led by Comrade T Sankarapandian, CPI(ML) State Committee member and State GS of AICCTU. The members included Comrades Ponraj, Dist Party organizer of Tuticorin –Virudunagar, Mathikannan, Avudaiappan, AIALA dist organizer, Chellasamy, Murugan and Shanmugaperumal.

State-wide Protests

TN State unit of AICCTU immediately called for a state-wide protest on 8th September 2012 on the demands raised after the fact finding team visit along with the demand to closure of units which violate rules and arrange for a public audit on work place accidents.

Demonstration held at Chennai was led by Comrade Palanivel, State Secretary of AICCTU. Demonstration at Kumarapalayam of Namakkal district was led by Comrade Pugalendhi, Dist Secretary of AICCTU. A demonstration was held at Kandarvakottai by AICCTU of Pudukottai unit addressed among others by com P.Asaithambi, district secretary of CPI (ML). Posters were released on these demands by Salem, Tirunelveli and Coimbatore units of AICCTU.



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: