Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ML Update 44 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  15               No. 44                                                                                                                         23-29 OCT 2012

The Sleight of the Congress Hand

and the BJP's Deafening Silence

Congress ka haath, aam aadmi ke saath, thus went the catch-line of the Congress campaign in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Everybody however knows that the hand of the Congress has been busy doing anything but giving some succour to the common man, now mockingly rechristened as 'mango people' by the country's most well-connected son-in-law. For the common man, all that Manmohan Singh has is the warning "money does not grow on trees". Yet, Manmohan Singh knows very well that it just takes a casual sleight of the Congress hand to conjure money out of virtually anything. The scams from 2G and CWG to Coalgate have been a testimony to the great magical qualities of the Congress hand. And if we needed to learn more about the diverse magical qualities of the hand, we now have enough revelations on the Vadra-DLF-Congress triangle.

When Robert Vadra had got married to Priyanka Gandhi in 1997, he was known to have a modest family business, dealing essentially in brass handicrafts. In recent years he began diversifying into a whole spectrum of ventures ranging from hospitality to realty and IT, with wonderful names like "Sky Light", "Blue Breeze", "Real Earth", going on a massive property-and-land acquisition spree. In the last four years alone he has bought at least 31 properties and hundreds of acres of land, all in and around Delhi and in areas of tourist/commercial interest like Bikaner in Rajasthan. From just Rs. 7.95 crore in 2008, the declared value of Vadra's fixed assets and investments jumped to Rs 60.53 crore in 2010, and the current market valuation will only be several times higher. Asked about the possibility of Robert Vadra making a political debut in Uttar Pradesh, a beaming Priyanka Gandhi told the press in February 2011 that her successful businessman husband would not like to change his occupation.

What Priyanka Gandhi did not say, and is now anyway known to the whole country thanks to Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, is that the 'success' of Robert Vadra's business lies precisely in his political connection. If Vadra can get a huge overdraft from a nationalised bank, if a real estate giant like DLF gives him an unsecured loan of Rs 50 crore, it's all because he is Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law and Sonia Gandhi is the UPA chairperson. The Congress attempt to defend Vadra as just 'a private individual' and the Vadra-DLF deal as a transparent transaction between two private entities has already fallen flat. If Mr. Vadra was just a private individual, why did the Congress find it necessary to try and defend him? If the deal was really transparent, why did the Hooda government have to transfer Ashok Khemka, the upright IAS officer who ordered a probe into the Vadra-DLF deal?

The gains that DLF made are obvious. Why should DLF, which borrows money from the market, give interest-free loan to Vadra (on which he has apparently earned some 2.5 crore as interest!) and sell prime DLF properties at throwaway prices? After decades of steady growth and a spectacular boom in the era of liberalisation, DLF had hit a rough patch by 2008 and there are reports that DLF may well be heading the Kingfisher way. An alliance with Vadra helped DLF lay its hands on land that it might have otherwise found difficult to acquire in the post-Singur period of heightened resistance to defend agricultural land. Vadra with his Z-plus security is not frisked like ordinary 'mango people' at Indian airports, he gets similar VVIP treatment in all Congress-ruled states where standard rules and regulations are routinely waived to satisfy the greedy whims of this 'successful businessman' who has set his eyes on everything from 'Sky Light' to 'Real Earth'.

The Vadra-DLF deal and the subsequent Salman Khurshid episode have further damaged an already heavily dented Congress. But the BJP too finds itself faced with any number of questions. One is not talking here of Kejriwal's findings regarding Nitin Gadkari showing how the Congress-NCP government favoured him violating all rules and norms. The revelations have of course forced the voluble Gadkari coin a new euphemism to introduce himself – he now calls himself a 'social entrepreneur'. It is the BJP's deafening silence over the Vadra-DLF deal which actually speaks volumes for the party's anti-corruption credentials. The Vadra-DLF deals were first reported by the Economic Times in March 2011. At that time Sushma Swaraj had said that Arun Jaitley has asked to examine the papers. Didn't Jaitley manage to gather in the last eighteen months as much Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal have now exposed?

Evidently, the entire BJP, the Sonia Maino-bashing Narendra Modi included, preferred to keep silent and let it pass. Why? Is it because Vadra is 'Indian' enough compared to Sonia Gandhi's Italian origin? The reason for the BJP's deliberate silence perhaps has nothing to do with Vadra, it has everything to do with DLF, the 'private entity' at the other end of the deal. The BJP cannot afford to question India's biggest real estate giant. DLF doesn't operate only in Congress-ruled states, it has interests in BJP-rules states as well, Gujarat included. And it is DLF's stocks which have fallen after the revelations, Vadra does not yet have that kind of stocks, and the value of the stocks of the Congress will be known when the people vote for the next Lok Sabha. Indicators are of course already there, Uttarakhand CM's son lost the Tehri by-poll, and Pranab Mukherjee's son won the Jangipur by-poll by a wafer-thin margin.

The BJP is going by the dictum which says people living in glass houses cannot afford to throw stones at others. The BJP has its own share of Vadras, Ranjan Bhattacharya (Vajpayee's foster son-in-law) has not been forgotten (only the other day his name came up in the Radia tapes), and many have already established some sort of equivalence between Vadra and Gadkari himself. But the problem with the BJP is much deeper than that. The BJP is willing to fight against the Congress, but it will not risk antagonising or damaging any big business house in the process. This is why the BJP can fight – one is not talking of the BJP's moral right, only of its political will or ability – the old Bofors-type corruption cases, but it cannot fight against corruption that thrives on business-politics nexus. The BJP needs and represents this nexus as much as the Congress does.

The challenge today is not just to cleanse politics, as Kejriwal seems to suggest, but also to control big business, and end the economics and politics of corporate plunder and business-politics nexus. The battle this time has to be fought on till the ruling political dispensation and policy regime are both overturned.

W Bengal AICCTU Rally

Defying inclement weather, thousands of workers marched through the busy thoroughfare of Kolkata with red flags, festoons and banners at the call of AICCTU's 'March to Writers Building' on 12 October, with rousing slogans. The two rallies, which started from Howrah and Sealdah station culminated at Rani Rashmoni Road, Esplanade, where a mass meeting was held. Workers from different sectors, jute, construction, brick kiln, transport, bidi, hawkers, rickshaw pullers, ASHA and mid-day meal women workers actively participated in this rally. But, above all, thousands of workers, along with their family members from closed mills of Gouripur jute mills, Mohini mills added a new feature to this gathering. Women workers, especially from ASHA, mid-day meal and construction were also present in large numbers.

Under the present regime of TMC government, attack on democratic rights and lumpenisation has become the order of the day. AICCTU formulated a charter of demand on industrial and labour issues and a full-fledged programme for the working class of the state. AICCTU undertook a political campaign on the question of reopening the numerous closed industries, revival of sick industries, disbursal of PF, pension and gratuity to the workers of the closed mills, and demanding financial and social security of these workers. Workers' conventions were held at different districts along with agitations at PF and labour offices.

Before the mass meeting, a 4 member delegation team of AICCTU state leadership met the state Industry and Commerce Minister, Partha

Chatterjee at Writers' Building and handed over the charter of demands. The delegation team included Atanu Chakravarty, President, Basudev Basu, General Secretary of the AICCTU State Committee, Nabendu Dasgupta, President of BCMF and Dibakar Bhattacharya, Secretary. The delegation team had a detailed discussion with the Minister, who assured that the issues raised would be considered and corrupt PF trustee board members booked.

The mass meeting began with inspiring songs from the Agneebina cultural team of Naihaty. Basudev Bose explained the demands placed before the Government and the outcome of the mentioned meet. The mass meeting

was addressed by Subhendu Sen, National Secretary, AICCTU, Partho

Ghosh, Secretary, CPIML W Bengal, Meena Pal, VP, AICCTU and Dibakar Bhattacharya. Atanu Chakravarty presided over the meeting. The entire gathering ended with a firm resolve to carry forward the struggle to a higher phase.

Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of WFTU

The Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 6th and 7th October 2012. The meeting was attended by representatives of 16 affiliates of WFTU from 7 countries, namely India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The theme of the meeting was "Neo-liberal Globalization and Role of Trade Unions". On behalf of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Rajiv Dimri, National Secretary attended the meeting and presented the paper on the theme. The meeting began with Inaugural Session, which was attended by the activists of host trade unions, apart from representatives of above mentioned trade unions.

After two days deliberations, the meeting adopted some resolutions and "Colombo Declaration".

The Resolutions include: full support to the call given by all 11 Central Trade Unions of India for a 2-day National General Strike on 20th and 21st February 2013; grief and outrage over the killing of workers in recent fire accidents in factories in Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan and at Sivakasi in India, and demand for the guilty employers to be brought to the book and strict enforcement of safety and other labour laws in the subcontinent; condemnation of the police firing at Marikana mine, South Africa, demand for the guilty to be brought to books and adequate compensation to the families, and immediate release of all arrested workers, withdrawal of false charges against them of killing these 34 workers; deep concern over blatant violation of trade union rights in Malaysia and union busting by Maybank Bhd, the leading government linked bank in Malaysia, and demand for reinstatement of the two office bearers of National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) arbitrarily dismissed by Bank for exercising their trade union rights; and solidarity to the ongoing struggle in Sri Lanka on Public Sector Education demanding of the government to honour its commitments to enhance funding for education to at least 6% of GDP and protecting and enhancing free Education.

The Colombo Declaration resolved to unite the working class under WFTU affiliates and friendly organizations in Asia Pacific Region to intensify struggle on a 12-point charter of demands decided by the meeting and observe the following days to strengthen unity amongst working class to achieve the above goals: 8th March as International Women day and against violence on women; 1st May as International Workers' Day; 12th June as Child Labour Day; 3rd October  as International Action Day as decided by WFTU centre; and 18th December as International day to protect the rights of migrant workers.

The meeting also decided to hold workshops and seminars on burning issues of migrant workers of this region, on women's rights and the role of working women in the Trade Union Movement, and on issues of Garment workers and plantation workers in the region. 

Condemn Conviction of
Dr. Sunilam

The conviction of and life sentence for peasants' struggle leader Dr. Sunilam, founder-president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS) is the latest shameful and glaring instance of injustice and targeting of people's struggles.

Dr. Sunilam has been convicted in a case related to the Multai Police Massacre, where police fired at and killed 24 protesting peasants at Multai, Madhya Pradesh in 1997. The peasants' crime had been that they demanded compensation for crops devastated by storms, and waiver of farm loans. The then Congress Government headed by Digvijay Singh, instead of meeting these just demands, chose to unleash terror and bloodshed which brought the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to mind. Ironically, the police personnel who massacred protesting peasants are yet to be charged, prosecuted, and punished – while the peasants' leader is being persecuted and sentenced to prison after 14 years!

The CPI(ML) demands the release of Dr. Sunilam, withdrawal of all the false cases against him, his acquittal in the Multai case, and prosecution of those responsible for the police firing and massacre of peasants in Multai 1997.

Another recent instance of targeting of a people's movement activist has been the arrest of Jharkhand activist Dayamani Barla in a 2006 case. Barla has been a prominent figure in anti-land-grab struggles, and the arrest is clearly intended to demoralize and intimidate those struggles. The CPI(ML) demands withdrawal of all the cases against Dayamani Barla. 

AIPWA Team Visits Haryana  

A team of leaders and activists of AIPWA and AISA visited Haryana on 12-13 October, to investigate the alarming spate of rape cases in the state. The team comprised of AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan, JNU Students' Union Councillor Anubhuti Bara, and AISA activists from Delhi University, Prerna and Saurabh Naruka. The team was accompanied by Comrade Prem Singh Gehlawat, in-charge of the CPI(ML) for Haryana.   

Haryana has witnessed a spate of rapes and gang-rapes, many of them targeting women from Dalit and backward communities. There have been 17 such instances in the past one month.

The response of the Government of Haryana, the ruling party, and the main Opposition party, has been shockingly patriarchal and insensitive. Phool Chand Mulana, Chief of Haryana's ruling party, the Congress, declared that the rapes are a conspiracy against the Government. Haryana DGP R S Dalal said parents need to keep an eye on the activities of their children. And Congress spokesperson Dharmveer Goyat said that 90% of rape cases are consensual. Meanwhile, the khap panchayats suggested child marriage would prevent rape – a sentiment echied by former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala. In the name of preventing rape, the khaps and their political patrons are actually pushing child marriage to prevent women from exercising their own choice in marriage – something they otherwise achieve by honour crimes and killings.  

The team visited Banwasa (Gohana), Sacchakheda (Narwana), and Dabra (Hisar) where dalit women had been gang-raped. They visited the affected women and their families, and enquired on the action being taken by the police and other authorities.

The systematic gender and caste oppression– and the failure of the Government to defend the rights of dalits and women, are major factors in the rise in the instances of rapes and dalit atrocities in in Haryana as well as in the rest of the country.   

Protesting Against NCW's Inaction on Custodial Rape

On 10 October, women's groups and progressive forces held a militant protest at the office of the National Commission for Women at Delhi, protesting inaction in the case of custodial sexual violence and humiliation of adivasi schoolteacher Soni Sori in Chhattisgarh jails.

A full year had passed since women's groups brought the matter to the NCW's notice, but in spite of repeated appeals and reminders, the NCW took no action at all, and did not even visit Soni when she was in hospital in Delhi.

Saheli, AIPWA, NFIW, several other women's groups, AISA, as well as a large number of CPI(ML) activists participated in the protest. Representatives of NCW revealed that they had actually closed the case a few days before the protest, without even bothering to inform the petitioners! The protestors agitated until the NCW was forced to reopen the case. Subsequently, the NCW has agreed to send a fact-finding team along with representatives of women's groups to investigate the conditions of women prisoners in jails of Dantewada, Raipur, and Durg, where Soni and many others accused of being Maoists are incarcerated.       

Brick Kiln Workers' Protest

Hundreds of brick kiln laborers, under banner of Lal Jhanda Bhatha Mazdoor Union (Affiliated AICCTU) and Bhatta Mazdoor Union, marched to Chandigarh from all over Punjab to protest against Supreme Court decision of implementing Mining Act. Protesting laborers said that this decision of Supreme Court will destroy the Brick Kiln industry and has pushed the lakhs of workers to the verge of starvation. They demanded from Punjab Govt. to immediate call a special session of Vidhan Sabha and should reject this decision to save laborers and industry. And also should immediately release compensation to laborers families who have being unemployed from last four months.

The laborers reached Chandigarh on the protest called by the joint co-ordination committee formed by leaders of both organizations. Addressing the gathering, CPI (ML) Liberation State leader Com Gurmeet Singh Bakhtpura, Lal Jhanda Bhatha Mazdoor Union(AICCTU) Punjab's State President Harbhagwan Bhikhi, State Secretary Gurpreet Singh Rudeke, Bhatha Mazdoor  Union's President Gulzar Singh and Sect. Bashir Gill and AICCTU's National Set. Kanwaljit jointly said that the Supreme Court has given the judgment on basis of decision given by Mining Ministry in 2000. This judgment can be implemented for mining of Oil, Coal and minerals but implementing it on Brick Kiln industry and in areas like Punjab is just pushing the poor laborers to further starvation. They said this decision of court has affected nearly 3.5 lakhs Bhatha laborers, 12 lakhs Construction workers and hundreds of small bhatha owners. Also this has led the manifold rise prices of basic construction material and black marketing. They further alleged the hands of corporate behind this decision to monopolize their business of construction.

They gave state government time of one week to reject Supreme Court's decision otherwise they will sharpen their struggle. They also gave call to all labor unions and Brick Kiln Owners Associations to raise a united voice against this decision.

Protest ended after the demand letter was taken by a OSD of Punjab CM.

Dharna by contract workers
at Delhi

On 11 October, hundreds of contract workers from many states of the country under the banner of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) held a day- long Dharna (sit-in) at Jantar-Mantar, and declared all-out efforts to participate in the 20-21 February 2013 all- India General Strike and observe a "Demand Day" of contract workers on 7th November throughout the country.

They raised their demands including equal pay for same and similar work for contract/temporary workers, an amendment to Section 10 of the CLARA to make contract labour permanent whenever contract labour is abolished in any employment, regularization of contract workers engaged in permanent/perennial jobs, fixing of national minimum wage as Rs. 15,000/- per month for all contract workers along with all unorganized workers and Pension as Rs. 7,500/- per month linked with VDA, including them under PDS and BPL, etc. A 5-member delegation from this Dharna submitted a memorandum with a 15-point charter of demands with Labour Secretary, Govt. of India.

The main speaker at the Dharna was the General Secretary of AICCTU, Swapan Mukherjee who said that Contract labour system is being perpetuated in a systematic manner for attracting MNCs and guaranteeing super profits for corporates. The Dharna was also addressed by AICCTU leaders, namely Santosh Roy, Secretary, Delhi; VKS Gautum, President, Delhi; Kanwaljeet Singh, President, Chandigarh; Jaiprakash Nair, President, Chattisgarh; K.K. Bora, Secretary, Uttarakhand; Ramkishan, Secretary General, All India Health Employees and Workers' Confederation and leaders from U.P. and Assam, apart from the leaders of contract workers' unions from these states. Addressing the Dharna the speakers lambasted the central govt. for non implementation of and making the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970 redundant which was enacted to root out the various abuses in the Contract labour system. Even the tripartite agreements and labour court decisions involving contract labour are not implemented, the striking examples of which are, one the premier institution of country, PGI, Chandigarh, and another Maruti- Suzuki, an auto MNC company.

Further, there are certain loopholes in the Contract Labour Act and the Employers are trying to make use of them. So, we demand that the Govt. of India must pass suitable amendments to plug these loop holes and strengthen the rights of contract workers particularly the right to get permanent.

The participants resolved to further intensify struggles on their issues and to make 20-21 February 2013 all- India General Strike a great success.

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:

ML Update No.43 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 43, 16 – 22 OCTOBER 2012


Successful Bihar Bandh:

Assertion of People's Protest

against Police Firing and Nitish Govt.'s High-Handedness

Bihar observed a daylong bandh on October 15 for the second time in five months to protest against the growing spate of police atrocities. The bandh on May 10 called by CPI(ML) and supported by several other opposition parties was called in the wake of the May 2 police barbarity in Aurangabad. The October 15 bandh, called jointly by CPI(ML), CPI and CPI(M) and supported by the RJD and LJP, was prompted by the October 12-13 police firing in Madhubani district leading to the killing of two students – Nishant Jha and Ravindra Yadav – with several other students lying in hospital with grievous bullet injury, having been fired at by the police at above-the-waist levels.

Madhubani was of course no isolated incident. On October 11, thousands of people, including a large number of girl students, were brutally beaten up by the police at Paraiya in Gaya. The protesters were demanding police action against the lumpen goons who had gang-raped a girl student, yet instead of arresting the rapists, the police rained lathis and tear gas shells on the protesters. One of the protesters, Durgi Majhi, who was hit on the head with a rifle butt is now lying in PMCH in a critical state. Another scene of police brutality was enacted at Ara where dalit students observing an indefinite fast were whisked away by the police in a pre-dawn swoop on 14 October and beaten up brutally inside the police station. Incidentally, Nitish Kumar was scheduled to visit Ara on 14 October in course of his Adhikar Yatra.

The Madhubani incidents had a long build-up. Prashant Jha, and Preeti Chaudhary, both Class X students, had eloped since 7 September as the girl's family was fiercely opposed to their relationship. The girl's family is well-heeled and well-connected, and they promptly managed to have some of the boy's relatives put in jail and threatened to have the boy bumped off. When the matter was brought to Nitish Kumar's attention at the time of his Adhikar Yatra visit to the district, he did nothing to get the issue resolved. Against this backdrop when a beheaded body was discovered on October 3, Prashant's mother thought it was her son's body and demanded it be handed over to the family. The police refused and the mother accompanied by several women soon sat in an indefinite dharna.

On October 12, students joined in and called Madhubani bandh, but the police retaliated by attacking the women in the dharna. Veteran CPI leader and ex MLA Ram Naresh Pandey, and Prof CM Jha, President of the District unit of Jan Sanskriti Manch, who were there to express solidarity with women were also badly beaten up by the police. This triggered public outrage across the district and the trigger-happy police and para-military forces went berserk, killing at least two and injuring scores of people. Forced on the backfoot, for the first time Nitish Kumar admitted an 'administrative lapse', transferred the DM and SP of Madhubani, the IG of Darbhanga Range and the girl's father who is the District Education Officer, and announced a judicial probe.

Surprisingly, on 15 October afternoon Prashant and Preeti were spotted near Mehrauli in Delhi, and as the information reached the Delhi Police and the Bihar DGP, the two were asked to surrender. Sections of the media have since started painting the bandh as a false move that only reflected utter desperation on the part of the opposition in Bihar to destabilise the Nitish Kumar government. Nitish Kumar, who has been arrogantly dismissing the protests of the people during his Adhikar Yatra as acts of political conspiracy hatched by the opposition, sees this as a new opportunity to deride the people and their protests.

To dub the October 15 Bihar Bandh a false move simple because the teenage couple surrendered in Delhi and the boy who was presumed dead by his own mother was found alive, would be a travesty of truth and an utter misreading of the situation in Bihar. Even if the bandh is seen only in the very limited and specific context of Prashant and Preeti, the fact remains that the future of the teenage lovers remains as uncertain and insecure as ever. Given the backdrop of the honour killings going on across the country, most prominently in states adjoining Delhi, and the shocking case of the Rizwanur murder in Kolkata, it is important to guard against lapsing into any kind of complacence, and instead remain ever alert to ensure that Prashant and Preeti are allowed to determine and shape their own future without any external pressure or fear. The Bihar government or Bihar police had absolutely no role in spotting them in Delhi, and cannot therefore claim any credit whatsoever for the dramatic discovery of the two teenagers the same afternoon when people were protesting in Bihar. If anything, the two teenagers may have been influenced by the developments in Madhubani and elsewhere in Bihar in deciding to surrender.

More importantly, the October 15 Bihar Bandh was by no means limited to the issue of Prashant and Preeti, it was above all against the increasingly autocratic character and conduct of the Nitish Kumar government. If bureaucratic highhandedness and all-pervasive corruption were the hallmarks of Nitish Kumar's first term in power, growing police repression and unmitigated arrogance of the Chief Minister himself have emerged as the defining features of the ongoing second term. The protests witnessed in his recent meetings and the growing popular participation in struggles for justice and change carry two clear messages for whoever cares to read them: (i) Bihar is not enamoured of Nitish Kumar's 'special category status' campaign for the state, it sees this as nothing but a political ploy by a ruler who has belied the hopes and denied the rights of the people in every sphere; (ii) just as India in 1977 had rebuffed the Congress claim of "Indira is India, and India is Indira", Bihar too is in no mood to accept Nitish Kumar's megalomaniac illusion "Nitish Kumar is Bihar, Bihar is Nitish Kumar".

Nitish Kumar had begun with the rhetoric of development and in recent years his government was making astounding claims of recording the highest and fastest development rate in India. Why then this sudden turnaround and the new-found realisation that Bihar can develop only by attaining the special category status? One look at the existing special category states would tell anybody that special status is no recipe for development or democracy – almost all the special category states in the North-East are notorious for the loot of funds meant for various development schemes, brutal customary suppression of human rights and the resultant maze of ethnic violence. Nitish Kumar would like to use the special category status demand to divert public attention from every failure and betrayal of his government and to justify any pre- or post-poll alliance-hopping in the coming days.

Nitish Kumar's new-found politics of special category state – he never supported this demand when the CPI(ML) raised it at the time of Bihar's bifurcation, or in the elections of 2005 or 2010 – amounts to nothing short of a confession of failure of his much-publicised politics and economics of development. His bluff of using the issue of special category status for Bihar as a supra-party agenda representing the whole of Bihar has already been exposed quite mercilessly in the course of his Adhikar Yatra. Faced with mass protests and various sections of the people demanding their own 'adhikar' (rights), he now calls it a JD(U) affair restricted only to JD(U) activists! The Chief Minister of Bihar, certified as 'prime ministerial material' by his deputy, has actually shown himself to be nothing more than an arrogant and unscrupulous JD(U) leader who talks about 'Bihari asmita' (pride in Bihar) only as long as he does not have to face any inconvenient question. He has perhaps become so fond of seeing his own smiling portrait in the ubiquitous newspaper ads and hoardings that he forgets to smile in real life and asks his party men of the Ranvir Yadav variety to teach the people a befitting lesson!

Nitish Kumar would do well to remember that Indira Gandhi's Emergency-era legal censorship had not worked; the team of her sycophants and loyalists could not save her from the wrath of the people in the epochal 1977 election. Can Nitish Kumar's advertisement-inspired control over the media in Bihar fare any better?

After October 15 Bihar Bandh, the countdown has now begun for the next showdown in November. On November 4, Nitish Kumar will have his 'Adhikar Rally' at Patna's Gandhi Maidan, a show for which the entire state government had been preparing rather obsessively for the last three or four months. The reply from the fighting people of Bihar will come on November 9 when the CPI(ML) will hold the Parivartan Rally at the same historic site. While Nitish Kumar seeks to invoke Bihari pride by getting more grants from the Centre (as of now the state government cannot account for Rs 25,000 crore of funds it has withdrawn from the treasury, what the scale will be after Bihar gets special category status is anybody's guess), the CPI(ML) represents the fighting legacy of Bihar wedded to the dream of 'a New Bihar in a New India', combining the battle against oppression and injustice within Bihar with the larger national task of defending democracy and transforming the conditions of the people and the complexion of the country.

Incidentally, after a long period of silence and passivity, Lalu Prasad has also hit the street with the slogan of Parivaratan. But his talk of 'Parivartan' is only a dream to 'restore' his rule in Bihar. Even as the whole country fights against corruption, corporate loot, invasion of FDI and assault on democracy, Lalu Prasad stands most loyally by the discredited Congress party and UPA government. When the people of Bihar talk of 'parivartan' (change), they fight for an alternative. In the 1970s Bihar showed the way to end the stranglehold of Emergency. In 1989 in the wake of Bofors scam and Bhagalpur riots, Bihar played a leading role in the quest for a national political alternative. It was this search which saw the rise of the Janata Dal as a major entity, and it was the same quest that also saw the IPF/CPI(ML) emerge as a powerful force in the Left movement.

Two decades later, the Janata Dal today stands divided in multiple factions. The two streams in Bihar have abandoned their non-Congress, non-BJP plank, the RJD has become an appendage to the Congress, while the JD(U) has become one of the most trusted partners of the BJP. But the country once again looks for a national political alternative; it seeks not only a change of guard at the Centre but a change of policy direction for the country. Bihar cannot be kept away from this national quest; on the contrary the people of Bihar can only be a big source of strength and energy for this national battle. The CPI(ML) remains committed to provide the people of Bihar with a most credible and consistent medium to intensify the battle against corruption and for parivartan (transformation), nationally as well as in Bihar. The contrast between the two rallies of 4 and 9 November – the rally of the arrogance of repressive power versus the rally of the determination of the fighting people – will be an important pointer to know which way the wind is blowing.

Tribute to Comrade Nagbhusan on his 14th Anniversary

The 14th death anniversary of Comrade Nagbhusan Patnaik was commemorated at Nagbhusan Bhavan on 9th October with a special discussion on 'present political situation and Left unity'. Leaders from various Left parties shared the dais.

Comrade Khitish Biswal, State Secretary of CPI(ML) remembered Comrade NB's dream of Left unity said, today, when the attacks on people in the form of steepest price rise, land grab, siphoning of PDS meant for poor, killing of adivasis and those opposing land grab, mega scams etc. have intensified manifold, it is responsibility of all the Left parties to unite in struggle for resisting and thwarting the enemies of the people.

Addressing the convention, Comrades Naryan Reddy from CPI, Sivram from CPI(ML), Sadasiv Das of SUCI(C), Sarat Das of CPI(M), veteran journalist Ravi Das and Prasant Pattanaik also endorsed the united action of left in Odisha. Comrade Sivram said that all Left parties should chalk out a common programme to fight against worsening political situation in Odisha.

Police Brutality in Arrah on the eve of CM's Visit

Hunger Striking Dalit Students Arrested, CPI(ML) Office Attacked, and Party Leaders Arrested by Police

On the eve of Nitish Kumar's 'adhikar yatra' reaching Arrah, the police created an emergency like situation arresting one hundred students of Ambedkar hostel on 14th October who were on an indefinite hunger strike demanding arrest of JD(U)-BJP goons accused of attacking Katira Hostel, they were taken to undisclosed location, their belongings were snatched. All this was enacted by the Arrah administration to make sure Nitish Kumar does not has to face embarrassing situations he's been now accustomed to in various districts where his yatras went. However, when his Arrah sojourn was cancelled, the police and officials vented all their frustrations on the arrested students and other comrades held in the Town Thana by abusing and beating them badly. Twelve comrades had to be hospitalised. The DSP himself was leading the assaults.

On 15 October, when the agitated students were returning after participating in the bandh called by the Left parties and entire opposition in Bihar, the police started thrashing up some dalit students. The victims ran to the nearby CPI(ML) district office for shelter, where the police hounded them. A posse of police personnels led by Dist. Sgt. Nandkishore Singh forced their way inside the office and barbarically assaulted the students. Some were taken away and their whereabouts is not yet known.

Arrested Party activists and leaders include Comrades Surendra Ram (rural incharge), Sujit Kumar and Abhishek Kumar (students) and Comrade Shahabuddin.

CPI(ML) Delegation's Meet with Mamta Banerjee

In the backdrop of growing authoritarianism and bad governance by the ruling TMC Govt in West Bengal, a 6-member team, led by CPI(ML) State Secretary Partha Ghosh, met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently, as a deputation on behalf of the common people.

Issues raised were completion of unfinished land reforms in West Bengal, democratization of the Panchayat system, and remunerative pricing for the farmers. The deputation submitted that presently small peasants, bargadars and pattadars are getting evicted from their land by feudal forces in rural Bengal, and demanded that the government take stern and effective action to stop this. They also demanded that evictees of Singur be given Rs.7 lakh, and a monthly stipend of Rs.7000 until they get their land back. Trashing all the false cases still pending against activists who took part in the Singur and Nandigram movements were also demanded. Regarding the issue of a horde of attacks on women after the TMC came to power, the deputation demanded that a fast track court be set up to expedite the legal process to punish the culprits. Trying to throttle each and every dissenting voice has been the most disturbing trend over the past several months. From jailing a university teacher for e-mailing a harmless cartoon, to a full-blown attack on workers' right to strike, or clamping false charges on activists for taking part in anti-eviction protests in Nonadanga, things have gone from bad to worse. The CPI(ML) delegation condemned such attacks on democracy, and demanded that democratic rights of the people be guaranteed and respected.

The Chief Minister attempted to ignore, deny facts and also tried to dodge the demands citing either paucity of funds or blaming the previous regime. When asked why the investigation commission for probing the Kashipur-Baranagar genocide has not even convened a single meeting, the flimsiest of excuses like the unavailability of a room was produced! It was evident that the self-proclaimed leader of ma-mati-manush is losing touch of the ground. The deputation reminded the Chief Minister that the people would be watching her actions in the coming days and if their demands were not fulfilled, they would lose no time in taking to the streets.

[As this report goes to press, a 15 year-old school girl is the latest victim of rape in the state. She was attacked on her way back to school - on the very same day that Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the press for regularly publishing news on rapes - something she deems as 'rare incidents' and examples of 'negative propaganda' by the media to paint her regime black.]

AIPWA's State-level Women's Court and 6th Bihar State Conference

All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) organised a 'Mahila Adalat' (women's court) on 2nd October at Patna on the issue of increasing oppression and sexual violence against women. Thousands of women from villages and panchayats participated in this Adalat. Women from Samastipur, Darbhanga, Siwan, Patna, Hazipur, Patna rural, etc. narrated their stories of suffering violence.

Comrades Meena Tiwari (AIPWA's General Secretary), Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA's National Secretary) and Sucheta De among others addressed the Women's Court. Women leaders of Left parties in Bihar also spoke. The verdict of the Jury, announced by Prof. Bharti S.K. is that there has been tremendous increase in crime and sexual violence against women. The officials- SP, DGP and even Nitish Kumar – despite knowing about the incidents, did not act to bring justice, rather most senior officials have colluded with the perpetrators to prevent justice. Agitations by women has been able to force them to take action at some places, which calls for intensified all-out agitation and Nitish Kumar must be gheraoed.

Same evening the delegate session of AIPWA's 6th State Conference began at Anjuman Islamia Hall. Jamila Bano from Arwal hoisted the flag. The Conference underlined important tasks for AIPWA in the coming days- challenges and tasks in building an extensive women's movement and spreading AIPWA in every district. 275 delegates from 26 districts of Bihar attended the Conference. 91-member State Council and 23-member State Executive were elected, with Comrades Saroj Choubey and Shashi Yadav as President and Secretary respectively.

The Conference called for mobilising huge number of women in the 'Parivartan Rally' to be held on 9 November 2012 at Patna. Several resolutions were passed by the Conference.

AIPWA's 6th UP State Conference

AIPWA organised a State-level rally to mark the beginning of 6th Uttar Pradesh State Conference against the rising violence against women and to protest the anti-women policies of the Central and State govts. The rallyists – led by AIPWA General Secretary Comrade Meena Tiwari and raising the slogan "we'll not tolerate discrimination, violence and humiliation, we'll fight to take our right to freedom, employment and dignity" - marched from the Varanasi Cant. Railway Station to the Conference venue- Nagar Nigam Hall at Sigra. More than 500 women from 16 districts took part in the rally.

The inaugural session was addressed by Comrade Meena Tiwari, Prof. Shahina Rizvi, Jagriti Rahi from Vision Organisation, Dr. Madhu Kushwaha and Chitranjan Singh from PUCL. More than 500 women delegates attended the Conference. A 41-member State Council and 15 member State Executive were elected from the Conference. Comrade Tahira Hasan and Comrade Geeta Pandey were elected President and Secretary respectively.

Conference concluded with passing of 11 point resolution, including demands for formation of special courts for women and reconstituting the State Women Commission.

AIKM's Statewide Protest in Uttarakhand

A statewide protest was organised on 8 October at the call of Uttarakhand State Committee of All India Kisan Mahasabha to highlight and demand urgent action on the burning issues of the peasants in the State. A 7-point demand charter was sent to the CM through dharnas and protests in several districts including Bhikiyasaind (Almora), Haldwani (Nainital), Udham Singh Nagar and Dehradoon.

Tea Workers' Movement in Assam

Tea workers' struggle demanding 20 percent bonus and Rs. 200/- in daily wage is on in Assam under the banner of Asom Sangrami Chah Sramik Sangha (ASCSS) affiliated to the AICCTU. Violating all labour laws and norms, tea companies have been exploiting tea workers who get only Rs.100 a day. On 10th October, protest demonstrations were held in different districts including Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sonitpur, Jorhat and Nagaon on their demands.

 Congress(I) Goons Attack Public Meeting

Sadou Asom Gramin Sramik Santha (SAGSS), as is AIALA known in the State of Assam, has been conducting campaigns against corruption in different schemes of panchayats and blocks in Assam. During the course the organisation activists and campaigners faced attacks from Congress Party goons. In Nagaon district, on 13th October, a group of local leaders of Congress(I) attacked a public meeting of SAGSS, tried to divert corruption issue and other burning problems of local people. It is a serious attack on democratic process and by such kind of acts ruling Cong(I) is trying to subvert grass root democracy. CPI(ML) and SAGSS vehemently condemns these acts and call upon the people to fight out this attack and subversion.


Comrade Murugaian, Party's District Committee member of Pudukottai District and AICCTU SWC member passed away on 14 October due to a massive heart attack. He was 57. He had attended the District Committee meeting of the Party on 12-13 October, after the meeting he went to Tanjore and booked tickets for the Construction Workers' Federation Conference that is to be held in November. On 14th morning he complained of chest pain and was taken to the Tanjore hospital where he died of heart attack.

He was in the CPI(M) and joined our Party in 2001. Party held a condolence meeting in Minnathur, his native village, where local youth, who are yet to become Party members, attended the meeting in large numbers and said that will they take up the work left unfinished by Com. Murugaian.


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, October 10, 2012

ML Update 42 / 2012

ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.  15    No. 42    9-15 OCT 2012
In lieu of Editorial

The Battle of Koodankulam is a Battle for Democracy, Truth, and Reason

Dipankar Bhattacharya 

(On October 1, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya made a solidarity visit to the Koodankulam struggle site, along with a team of CPI(ML) leaders including Politburo member S Kumaraswamy, Tamil Nadu State Secretary Balasundaram, G Ramesh (State Committee member and Tirunelveli advocate working in support of the Koodankulam struggle) and Chandran from Coimbatore. Police arrested the team to prevent it from reaching the struggle site. Below is an account of the experience by Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya.) 
On 30 September, 2012, when Left activists from Delhi and neighbouring states had assembled in Delhi's Mavalankar Auditorium to discuss the Left and democratic agenda to intervene in the deepening national crisis, they had one long-distance participant. In a video message, SP Udayakumar of People's Movement against Nuclear Energy appealed to the Left to stand by the fighting people of Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu who are being persecuted by the Indian state for daring to oppose the Koodankulam nuclear plant. The convention resolved to observe a fortnight-long countrywide campaign from October 1 to 15 in support of the just demand and struggle of the people of Koodankulam. As part of the campaign, a team of CPI(ML) central leaders was to visit Idinthakarai where local people have been courageously continuing their struggle for more than last 400 days defying state repression.
When a journalist from Asianet asked me if I thought we would be allowed to go there I got the first inkling of what might be in store for us the next day. We had been to Dhinkia and other villages of Jagatsinghpur several times to express solidarity with the people of Odisha fighting against the proposed occupation of their land by Posco. Even as thousands of people were prevented from leaving their villages, activists from outside never had a problem visiting the villages and meeting the local people. I had earlier thought Jayalalitha was also following in the footsteps of Naveen Patnaik and implementing the Odisha model in Tamil Nadu. But on reaching the Tuticorin airport on the morning of October 1, I could realise she had moved ahead of her new found alliance partner. She wants to cordon off Idinthakarai from the rest of the country and physically isolate the brave fighters against the Koodankulam nuclear plant from their innumerable friends and supporters elsewhere in Tamil Nadu and beyond.
We had initially planned to go to Tirunelveli and join our local comrades in a solidarity meeting and then proceed towards Idinthakarai. Soon we got the information that there was heavy police deployment in Tirunelveli to stop comrades from marching to Idinthakarai. We quickly changed plan and headed straight towards Idinthakarai. We managed to get fairly close to the site in a vehicle that had no party flag and could not be recognised from outside as one carrying CPI(ML) leaders. But once we reached Radhapuram we ran into a police barricade, the officials giving us an option of retreating 'freely' or facing arrest. We were told a few days ago, Comrade VS Achuthanandan was also likewise sent back from Kerala-TN border. We argued with the police against this paranoia and denial of basic democratic right of free movement of free citizens in their own country, but to no avail. We were arrested by the police. Soon news came that comrades in Tirunelveli had also been arrested as were comrades coming from Kanyakumari district.
We wanted to go to Idinthakarai to salute our brave sisters and brothers who have been holding high the banner of truth and reason in the face of the organised repression and lies unleashed by the Indian state. The Supreme Court recognises safety as a key issue, but obviously does not think that the affected people should have the most crucial say in this matter. The brave and fighting people of Koodankulam deserve all our support and solidarity as they have alerted the whole world against the utterly irrational and autocratic move of the powers that be in inviting a potential disaster. The world heard of Chernobyl and Fukushima after disasters struck, but Jaitapur and Koodankulam are in a different league where the whole world knows about these places for the brave struggle of the people against the ominous nuclear obsession of the rulers. The people of Koodankulam and Jaitapur are fighting not just to save their own land and lives, but for the safety of generations to come. Tamil Nadu has already suffered the enormous tragedy of a devastating tsunami; must the people be condemned now to live forever in the shadow of the fear of a nuclear tsunami?
Developed countries across the world are increasingly moving away from nuclear energy, yet the Indian ruling elite are dumping the most expensive and outdated 20th century technology in the 21st century when the world is increasingly resorting to safer, cheaper, and cleaner energy options. Ironically enough from the police custody at Radhapuram we could see wind mills all around us, indicating the growing viability of wind power as an energy option.
It is ironical that governments which are systematically sacrificing all our vital national interests at the altar of FDI and humiliating deals with imperialist powers, are trying to malign and muffle the voice of truth and justice in Koodankulam by dubbing the movement as being 'instigated by foreign agencies'. And in the process the government has already begun treating Koodankulam as foreign territory where the interests of nuclear powers prevail over the basic rights of the Indian people.
We could not physically meet our comrades in Koodankulam, but the police could not stop us from having a telephonic conversation with Comrade Udayakumar, just as the voice of the people of Koodankulam could not be stopped from reaching the September 30 convention in the national capital. These little freedoms of course mean a lot at a time when our bigger rights are at stake. Comrade Udayakumar assured us that the morale of the Koodankulam struggle remained undiminished and the people were planning to lay siege to the TN Assembly on October 29 when the state government has convened a special session to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of the foundation of the State Assembly. We assured him of our unflinching support on behalf of CPI(ML) and all other fighting Left and democratic forces in the country.
The battle of Koodankulam is a battle for democracy. It is a battle as much for public safety as truth and reason. We must all join it and fight on till victory is achieved.

Protest in Delhi in Solidarity With People's Struggle Against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation CPI(ML) organised a Solidarity Protest on 10 October in Delhi in support of thousands of people of Idinthakarai and other villages in coastal areas of Tamilnadu who are waging a struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, braving severe repression unleashed by the Central and State Governments.This solidarity protest was organised in keeping with the call issued from the AILC Convention on 30 September. 
A mass Dharna was organised at Jantar Mantar which was attended by activists and people from various walks of life. Speakers at the dharna said that the questions at Koodankulam is not just of 'allaying fears' of people. Nor is it an academic question of the merits and demerits of nuclear power, or the differences between nuclear plants set up before and after the Indo-US Nuke Deal. The key question is one of democracy: Will people's democratic protests be heard in India, or will they be suppressed by brute force? Do Indian citizens have a right to the truth and facts, or will our Governments get away with lying to us? Above all, can there be any 'national interest' that jeopardizes the lives of millions of people, while clearly benefiting foreign nuclear companies?     
Protestors raised slogans and displayed placards saying 'No Fukushima on Indian Soil! Scrap Koodankulam Nuke Plant!'
The Dharna demanded that FIRs slapped on some 55,000 protestors and charges of 'sedition' slapped on 8000 protestors be withdrawn; all arrested leaders and activists at Koodankulam be released, Govt. should stop intimidating and repressing common people and activists, and above all, Govt. must immediately scrap Koodankulam Nuclear Project.
Others who spoke at the protest includes Koodankulam activist Malti, CPI(ML) leaders Kavita Krishnan and Girija Pathak, AICCTU National Councilor KK Bora, CPI(ML) Delhi State Committee members Santosh Roy, VKS Gautam, Ramabhilash and Aslam Khan, and Martand, AISA leader from JNU.

Resist FDI in Pension and Insurance

After hikes in fuel prices and FDI in multi-brand retail, the UPA Government has now decided to raise the cap for FDI in the insurance sector from the 26 % to 49 %, and to allow 49 % FDI in pension funds.
These measures seek to render the hard-earned savings and pension funds of India's public sector employees insecure by opening them up for exploitation by the market forces and MNCs. Global insurance firms, especially US firms, are hard hit by the economic crisis and poor investment climate, and the UPA Government's move to open up India's insurance sector is essentially a bailout package for those firms.    
The CPI(ML) strongly condemns these neoliberal policies being imposed by the UPA Government in spite of the long-standing opposition of Indian people. The CPI(ML) calls for country-wide protests against these anti-people measures.

Sweatheart Deals Between Vadra and DLF, and Various Congress Governments and DLF Must Be Investigated

Substantial evidence has been brought to light that indicates an unholy nexus between the real estate firm DLF, the businessman Robert Vadra, and various Congress Governments. The favours done by DLF to Vadra, and by various State Governments to DLF, raise several questions, none of which have been satisfactorily answered. The way in which senior Ministers including the Finance Minister and Law Minister have leapt to the defence of Vadra's business practices is also highly suspicious. The Government cannot refuse to investigate the highly questionable deals, involving land and real estate, which have come to light.
The CPI(ML) demands an impartial and thoroughgoing probe into all aspects of the relationship between Vadra, DLF, and various state governments.   

Flag Hoisting at LPG Plant, BPCL Mangalore

AICCTU hoisted the flag on 29 Sep. in front of the LPG plant of Bharat Petrolem Corporation Ltd (BPCL) in Mangalore. Shankar, Vice-President of AICCTU in Karnataka came down heavily on the contract system that is in vogue in a government-owned company. He called upon all workers to maintain utmost unity to win the battle for decent wages, abolition of contract system in perennial nature of work and also for the dignity of labour. All contract workers in the plant have joined the union and are determined to march on struggles to win over the demands. He also appealed to the union of company employees to extend all possible help to contract workers to win the demands. 
Com. Chandru, BPCL unit president presided over the occasion while Sathish and Appanna also addressed the gathering. 

Trade Union Class at Mangalore

AICCTU organized a class at Mangalore on 30 Sep. 2012 on Marxism and working class. Prof. Lakshminarayana from Mysore explained the fundamentals of Marxism including dialectical and historical materialism in a very lucid manner. All workers were quite young and new to Marxism and related ideas and they evinced greater interest in understanding the philosophy and its relevance to their life. Comrades Shankar, CCM, Appanna, State Secretary of AICCTU and Venugopalan, SLTM of Kerala also spoke on the occasion. Com. Sathish, president of AICCTU, Mangalore presided over the programme while Chandru of Bharat Petroleum LPG Plant welcomed the gathering.

Party recruitment camp at Banglaore

CPI(ML), Bangalore organized a party recruitment camp on 2 Oct. 2012 that was attended by around 85 workers. Prof. Lakshminarayana, delivered a lecture on 'why workers need a communist party' focusing mainly on Marxist fundamentals including an outline on political economy. Gopal spoke on the 'History of CPI(ML)'. Com. Simpson, leader of the 'Liberation Front of the Downtrodden' from Tamil Nadu greeted the initiative with an introduction to communist party. Shankar, CCM spoke on immediate issues and also the issues involved in party building in Bangalore. Com. Puttegowda, district secretary of AICCTU presided over the occasion. Many workers were inspired by the workshop and they collected the party membership form.


Comrade Anil Kumar

Comrade Anil Kumar breathed his last in the night of 29 September at the age of 70 in Lucknow. He was deputed at Party's state office in Lucknow. He hailed from a working class background and used to work in a printing press. When in '93 party asked  him to help in party office work, he happily agreed and left his job. He was known for his commitment towards Marxism, and also for his hard and disciplined work-style. He always strived to accomplish every task and responsibility assgned to him. In a process he perfectly adopted himself for party's office work and even learnt to operate computer.
Many party leaders and supporters paid him tributes at Lalkuan Party office in Lucknow.
Red Salute to Comrade Anil Kumar!

Monday, October 8, 2012

ML Update 41 / 2012

ML Update

    A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
    Vol.  15                          No. 41                                                                                                                                  2-8 OCT 2012

Nitish Kumar's Yatra

    Crackdown on Adhikar (Rights),
Display of Ahankar (Arrogance)
    Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's launched the 'Adhikar Yatra,' claiming to champion Bihar's right to special status. But throughout the route of his journey, Nitish's convoy was met with protesting people demanding their rights – and these protests have been met with arrogance, bullying, and outright repression. The 'Adhikar' Yatra has become an all-out crackdown on the rights of the people of Bihar, and a naked display of high-handedness and arrogance on part of the Chief Minister and JD(U) leaders.

The lowest point of this Yatra has undoubtedly been at Khagaria, where JD(U) leader Ranvir Yadav, husband of the local JD(U) MLA Poonam Yadav, fired from a police carbine in order to terrorise protesting villagers and  contractualised school teachers. At the Khagaria collector's office, a gathering of protestors led by the RJD had sought to meet the CM with a demand for the Khagaria district to be given 'special status' and assistance. Instead the police lathicharged the gathering, after which the infuriated gathering erupted in protest. Meanwhile, the contract teachers were on a peaceful dharna near the dais of the CM's public meeting. Women from mahadalit families who have been sentenced to death in the Amousi case were also gathered in protest, demanding freedom for Bodhan Sada and others. Ranvir Yadav set out for the collector's office from the public meeting dais with his henchmen. They first thrashed the contract teachers and other protestors near the dais, and when they met some protesting villagers en route, Ranvir Yadav picked up a carbine from the police, brandished it, and fired on the protestors. 

    What was worse was, that when the CM addressed the public meeting, he began by praising Poonam Yadav and Ranvir Yadav warmly for making it possible for him to reach the dais, and reprimanded the protestors! No case was filed against Ranvir Yadav in spite of the videotaped evidence of him brandishing a police carbine. Instead, cases were slapped wholesale on hundreds of protestors.
It should be remembered that Ranvir Yadav has served a jail term after being convicted in the 1985 Lakshmipur-Taufir Diara carnage in which nine people were killed. 
Even before Khagaria, the CM's convoy was met with protests by contact teachers (shiksha mitra) at every single place on its route. The appointment of contract teachers was a crucial factor in facilitating Nitish Kumar's victory in the last Assembly polls. But the contract teachers are a severely exploited lot – their salary is a pittance of Rs 6000, a fraction of that of the permanent teachers, for the same work. The immediate trigger for their protest is that they have not been paid even this meagre salary for months on end! These protesting teachers have faced repression at every juncture. At Darbhanga and Motihari, cases under the draconian 'Crime Control Act (CCA)' were slapped on them.  The CM had, in his public meetings, branded these teachers as 'instigated' by the opposition – and it seems that such pronouncements emboldened his camp followers and the police to outright assault on the protestors at Khagaria.  

After Khagaria, there have been wholesale preventive arrests preceding the arrival of the CM's convoy! At Araria, several CPI(ML) activists and teachers' leaders were among those arrested; but this could not prevent the people from expressing their protest, defying police repression. At Madhepura and Saharsa, the story was the same – preventive arrests of potential protestors, and police terror. The CM's 'public' meetings are now held in closed halls, where the public is screened carefully and only Nitish's supporters allowed entry!  

    It is ironic that when the CPI(ML) had first raised the just demand for Special Status for Bihar at the time of the state's bifurcation in 2000, holding a march to Parliament in Delhi before the NDA Government, Nitish Kumar, who was then a Central Minister in the same NDA Government, did nothing to support that demand!  
The Nitish Kumar Government showed its true colours already in its free hand to the Ranvir Sena which indulged in violence and intimidation after the killing of Brahmeshwar Singh. Now again, by praising and defending the criminal Ranvir Yadav and punishing the protestors, Nitish Kumar and his NDA Government have proved that they can never defend or champion the 'adhikar' of the people of Bihar. It is the protesting and struggling people of Bihar who alone can champion the struggle for their own rights, defying repression. And it is to give voice to the people's aspirations and struggles for social and political transformation that the CPI(ML) has called for the Parivartan Rally (Rally for Transformation) in Bihar on November 9, 2012.       

Towards Unity and Resurgence of

Left-Democratic Forces Through People's Resistance  



The All India Left Coordination held a day-long Convention on the National Crisis and Left and Democratic Agenda on 30th September at Mavalankar Hall in the national capital. The Convention was addressed by leaders of a range of Left parties and democratic movements, as well concerned citizens.

The Convention called for a united struggle of Left and democratic forces for the ouster of the UPA Government, holding it responsible for a series of mega scams involving top Ministers and even the PM, for facilitating corporate plunder, and for unleashing an offensive on the survival and livelihood of common people.

A 7-member presidium comprising Comrades Swapan Mukherjee, Harkanwal Singh, Vijay Kulkarni, Gobind Chhetri, Smitha, Rajaram, and Kavita Krishnan conducted the Convention.  

The Convention began by adopting a resolution of condolence for RMP leader Comrade TP Chandrasekharan, who was Secretary of the Left Coordination Committee (LCC), Kerala, which is one of the founding constituents of the AILC. Comrade Chandrasekharan was brutally hacked to death on 4 May. The resolution demanded a CBI enquiry to identify the killers and political conspirators behind Comrade TPC's heinous murder. The resolution also expressed condolences for the two fisher-people martyred in the agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear plant: Antony Samy and Sahayam Francis.

Comrade Swapan Mukherjee welcomed the participants and guests at the Convention. Kavita Krishnan placed the 12-point Resolution before the house. Bhimrao Bansod, Secretary, LNP(L), Maharashtra, spoke in support of the resolutions, elaborating on them.    

The AILC had invited leaders of all the Left Front parties to address the Convention. Addressing the Convention, D Raja on behalf of the CPI welcomed the AILC's initiative and expressed his party's commitment to Left unity. He said that the Left parties in a parliamentary democracy needed to give thought to building a political alternative to the Congress-BJP polarity. People of India, he said, had time and again rebuffed the attempts to keep India's politics within bipolar confines. The Left's role, he said, should be to generate confidence in the regional forces to stand by a non-Congress, non-BJP platform. He said that to build unity, the Left should put aside points of difference and work together on issues on which there was agreement. 

Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of the CPI(ML) greeted the gathering on behalf of the AILC. He said that not even the ruling class is able to deny the economic crisis any more. The ruling class, however, seeks to use the crisis as an opportunity: imposing the burden of the crisis on the common people and intensifying the neoliberal offensive in the name of 'resolving' the crisis. However, for the struggling Left and democratic forces too, the crisis should be taken as a revolutionary opportunity.

He recalled that in 1992 November, immediately after the neoliberal offensive was first unleashed, the working class organizations with red flags aloft, had held a massive rally in the national capital. But the Left could not give a consistent political shape to that working class resistance. Soon after, the BJP demolished the Babri Masjid and plunged the country in communal carnage.

This time around, when people's struggles against the neoliberal offensive are again on the rise, the Left must be alert against the communal agenda. The Left must rebuff and resist all versions of BJP-NDA rule, be it the Gujarat model based on naked communal genocide, or the Bihar model based on hollow claims of 'governance' beneath which communal and feudal forces are being emboldened.  

In West Bengal and Kerala, he said, the Left Front governments put themselves in crisis and weakened the Left because they implemented neoliberal policies instead of resisting these policies. Today Mamata Banerjee is trying to occupy the space that the CPIM-led Government abandoned. Some people are saying she has 'hijacked' the agenda of the Left. The agenda of the Left is consistent resistance – and Mamata's posturing will be exposed soon. But the Left ought to introspect on their conduct towards their own issues and their own mass base. Left unity, he said, can come about only by addressing rather than evading these questions about the conduct of the Left. Hailing the anti-nuke struggles in India, he said, "The names of places like Chernobyl and Fukushima became well-known after terrible nuclear disasters occurred there. But Koodankulam and Jaitapur have become known the world over, for their brave agitation to prevent a disaster. The Left should stand firmly by these people's struggles."    

Defence of democracy against the kind of witch-hunt being seen in the name of countering Maoism or terrorism, and opposing draconian laws, he said, must be central to the core agenda of Left politics.

He said that various regional ruling class parties had proved their opportunistic willingness to go with Congress, BJP and on occasion with any 'Third' alternative. These parties did not seem to suffer any confidence deficit. Rather, it is the Left that must find confidence to assert itself independently without compromising on its core agenda. If a resurgence of the Left is being seen worldwide after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is certain that the Left in India can revive itself irrespective of the electoral defeats in West Bengal or Kerala or anywhere else.

Consistent and uncompromising people's resistance, he said, against every ruling class offensive on people's land, livelihood, democratic rights, was the key to forging Left unity and ensuring a resurgence of the Left in cooperation with every other fighting democratic trend. He also appealed to the Maoists to come out of their exclusive emphasis on military action and move on to mass resistance and political assertion. Debabrata Biswas of Forward Bloc and Abani Roy of Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) also spoke, supporting the AILC initiative towards united Left struggles. Speaking on the occasion, Debabrata Biswas reflected on the role of the Left in Parliament, calling for introspection about their failure to put up a fight against the SEZ Act inside Parliament.

K S Hariharan, Secretary, LCC Kerala, said that Comrade TP Chandrasekharan's martyrdom imposes a historic responsibility to build a consistent, democratic, revolutionary Left platform. The Left should unite for this cause, for which Comrade TPC laid down his life.

Gobind Chhetri of CPRM, Darjeeling, described his party's resolve to struggle for Gorkhaland while upholding the red flag and Marxist principles. He described the GTA agreement as a fraud on the Gorkha people and called for the Left to consistently support democratic struggles for separate statehood. He called for the Left to uphold the legacy of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, and struggle for revolutionary transformation.

Leader of the Koodankulam agitation, SP Udayakumar, sent a video message expressing solidarity with the Convention. He questioned the rationale of some Left parties in opposing nuclear plants being set up after the 123 Agreement, but supporting the Koodankulam plant on the grounds that it predated the Nuke Deal. He thanked the AILC for its support and solidarity, and said that the people's movements hoped that a fighting Left, that would defend people's rights and our natural resources and environment, would gain strength.   

Prasenjit Bose, former leader of SFI and CPI(M), exposed the lies peddled by the Manmohan Singh Government to defend price rise and FDI in retail. He said that the Left could not revive and reassert itself by supporting Pranab Mukherjee or standing alongside Mulayam Singh and Nitin Gadkari – it must assert itself in united, independent struggles on a Left agenda.  

Shamsher Singh Bisht, President of Uttarakhand Lok Vahini, said that the plunder of our land, natural resources and environment by greedy corporations and MNCs, must be resisted by uniting the many forces of people's struggle.  

Prof. Nawal Kishore Choudhury, Patna University, said that all the arms of the State, as well as the media and now even Universities, are being hijacked by corporates. He called for united struggles of the Left and other democratic forces to resist corporate control.

Prof. Manjit Singh, Punjab University, Chandigarh, noted that the world over, even in the US and Europe, there was an upswing in people's struggles against pro-corporate policies. But these policies which failed in the countries of their origin are being imposed on India by our own ruling class!     

Dr. Sunilam spoke of peasants' struggles in Multai (MP), where more than a 100 cases have been slapped on him. He spoke about the onslaught of such draconian repression on all democratic protest. He said that while many powerful political parties who claimed the socialist legacy of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia had in fact betrayed it, there were still many struggling streams of socialist forces in the country. He called for Left and socialist streams to join hands in struggle, and hailed the initiative of the AILC in this direction.

Sumit Chakravarty, editor, Mainstream, said that the vacuum of Left movement has given space to communal fascists. He called for recognition of the grievous wrongs of the Left Front in Kerala and Bengal, and for the Left as a whole to learn from this experience. He felt that the AILC could show the way and be a pivot for revolutionary communists.

Prof. Chaman Lal of JNU, who has researched and written widely on Bhagat Singh's legacy, communicated the encouraging news that Shadman Chowk in Lahore, Pakistan, (the site of the erstwhile Lahore jail where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged) has finally been renamed Bhagat Singh Chowk in keeping with the long-standing efforts of Left forces in Pakistan.

Concluding the Convention, Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary, CPM Punjab, said that it was a shame that India had a PM who shamelessly hailed colonial rule, served imperialist forces, and betrayed the Indian people. He said that the AILC had been an effort in the direction of uniting struggling forces of the Left. He said that in the past two years, the AILC had made modest but significant progress. He said that the Left should not compromise on its core principles. While there were serious differences and debates with CPI(M), he said, the AILC is committed to the broadest possible struggling unity with all Left forces, including the CPI(M). He said struggling people everywhere looked with great hope towards the Left to unite on a fighting agenda and provide a consistent political alternative: and the struggling Left must live up to this challenge.      

At the Convention, the AILC adopted a 12-point resolution calling for a struggle for the ouster of the UPA Government, reversal of pro-imperialist, pro-corporate policies, resistance to communal forces, against state repression and draconian laws, and against violence on women and dalits.

The following plan of struggle actions, proposed by the AILC, was adopted by the house at the Convention:

1.        AILC Solidarity Fortnight with struggle against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant, beginning with visit of Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) General Secretary, to Koodankulam on 1 October 2012

2.        Countrywide campaign and mobilisation against FDI in retail, corporate exemption, price rise, cuts in subsidies, and demanding that UPA Government quit power

3.        Punjab Bandh on 5 October (in support of the call by 17 organisations of Punjab)

4.        Parivartan Rally (Rally for Change) in Patna, Bihar, on 9 November

5.        Call to turn 2-day Strike called by Central Trade Unions on February 20-21, 2013, into a countrywide mass political strike

Following the 9 November Bihar Rally, the AILC will hold a meeting at Patna, after which it will declare its next course of action.

Among those who attended the Convention were Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Madhu Bhaduri, Dr. CD Sharma of Gohana, Haryana, and journalists Jawed Naqvi, Anand Pradhan, and Rajesh Joshi. A colourful photo exhibition displayed outside the Mavalankar Hall greeted visitors with images of AILC's journey from 2010 to 2012, spanning AILC's founding convention, its March to Parliament in 2011, various agitational initiatives, and a photographic tribute to Comrade TP Chandrasekharan.        

CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya Detained while Entering Koodankulam

    CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya along with other CPI(ML) leaders was arrested on October 1 at Radhapuram, a few kilometers away from Idinthakarai, the site of the protest against the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant. CPI(ML) Politburo member S Kumaraswamy and Tamil Nadu State Secretary Balasundaram and other CPI(ML) leaders of Tamil Nadu were also arrested along with him.
    At Tirunelveli town the same morning, 100 local CPI(ML) activists were detained by police and prevented from proceeding to Idinthakarai, and 70 activists were detained at Kanyakumari. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya and his team had proceeded directly to Indinthakarai from Tuticorin airport, but were stopped by a huge posse of police, at a short distance from Idinthakarai.
    A Convention organised by the All India Left Coordination (AILC) at Mavalankar Hall, New Delhi on 30th September had given a call for a fortnight-long Solidarity Campaign in support of the anti-nuke agitation at Koodankulam, from October 1-15. The CPI(ML) General Secretary's visit to Koodankulam on October 1 was to kick off the solidarity fortnight. A videotaped message of Koodankulam struggle leader SP Udayakumar was also screened at the AILC Convention.
    Demonstrations were also held all over Tamilnadu against repression on fighting people in Koodankulam. A poster campaign was held immediately in Chennai condemning the arrest of comrades. The CPI(ML) GS and other CPI(ML) leaders were released in the evening.
    AICCTU Public Meeting in Coimbatore
   During the course of their long drawn struggle Pricol workers organized a public meeting on October 2 in Coimbatore to thank the people and workers of Coimbatore who stood by them during their trying times and supporting them continuously. Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, GS, CPIML, who spoke in the 1000-strong meeting recalled the first All India Strike in which workers of the country first warned against the onset of neo-liberal policies and called upon the workers and people of the country to give a blow to the UPA II government which has ruined the lives of people of the country, by making the February Two-days All India Strike a great success. Com.S.Kumarasami, PBM and National President, said that the fighting working class would never bow to suppressive pressures from any quarters and would always rise to the occasion, and said that workers of Tamilnadu will give a fitting reply to the Jayalalitha government by bringing the State to a standstill on February 20-21. Com.Balasundaram, State Secretary, CPIML, congratulated the workers for their relentless struggle. Pricol workers handed over Rs.100,000 to Com. Dipankar and Rs.50,000 to Com N.K.Natarajan, State President towards 9th Congress of the Party. Com. A.S. Kumar, State Dy. GS, AICCTU, Com. Balasubramaniam, Dist.Secretary, CPIML, Coimbatore, Comrades Janakiraman, JayaprakashNarayanan, Coimbatore dist committee members, Comrades Saminathan and Viji, Pricol workers' union office bearers spoke in the meeting and Com. N. Krishnamurthy, State Secretary, AICCTU convened the meeting.

RYA Commemorates Bhagat Singh's Birth Anniversary

    The Delhi-NCR unit of RYA held a walk from the Shaheed Park (site of formation of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, HSRA) to India Gate on September 28, to mark the birth anniversary of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Scores of youth participated in the walk, displaying colourful placards and raising slogans.  
    At India Gate, a public meeting was held, which was addressed by Delhi-NCR unit RYA convenor Aslam Khan, JNUSU Joint Secretary Piyush, other youth activists and CPI(ML) leaders Girija Pathak and Kavita Krishnan. A team of RYA activists sang revolutionary songs on the occasion. 

AIPWA Protest in Uttarakhand

    On 27 September, AIPWA activists gheraoed the Kotwali police station in Lalkuan, Nainital, to protest against the police's failure to arrest those accused of the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl on 10 July. 
    Scores of women clashed with the police at the gate of the police station, and eventually sat in a protest dharna there. The protesting women resolved that they would conduct a widespread signature campaign to demand a CBI enquiry into the case since the police was so obviously biased. They also decided to gherao the local representative of the Uttarakhand Government, Harish Chand Durgapal, to demand that his Government press for a CBI enquiry into the heinous rape and murder.
    The protest meeting was addressed by a large number of AIPWA activists and leaders including AIPWA National Council member Malti Haldar and AIPWA leader Vimla Rauthan.  

AIPWA Condemns Sexist Remark by Union Minister

    (AIPWA Statement issued on October 2, 2012) 

Union Minister for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal who is a Congress MP from Kanpur made a brazenly sexist remark a poetry gathering at a women's college in Kanpur.

    Reacting to news of a cricketing victory, he said, "A new victory is like a new marriage. As time passes the victory will become stale. As time passes the wife becomes stale, she no longer provides the same pleasure."
    This remark is shamefully sexist. Jaiswal's subsequent 'apology' is in fact no apology at all. He has in fact tried to justify his offensive remark by saying it was 'light-hearted satire and humour that is normal in a kavi sammelan ([poetry gathering),' while saying he is sorry 'if he has hurt sentiments of women.' The very fact that Sriprakash Jaiswal thinks it is 'humourous' to refer to wives as though they were commodities to provide pleasure, and which, like commodities, become 'old' and replaceable, is what is absolutely offensive. It is offensive not to 'sentiments of women', but to democratic principles of gender equality.       
    AIPWA demands that the UPA Government immediately strip Jaiswal of his post as Minister. After such a shocking, public insult to the principle of women's equality and dignity, Jaiswal cannot be allowed to remain a public figure representing the Government.

AISA Wins VP in Allahabad University

    AISA candidates fared quite well in Allahabad University Students Union elections. AISA leader Ramayan Ram polled 1244 votes for President and  Shalu Yadav won Vice President post. She polled 2596 votes which was highest among all candidates contesting for all the four posts. The elections were held after a gap of seven years.