Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ML Update 6/ 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 6, 29 JAN – 04 FEB 2013


Who is Afraid of Justice Verma Committee Recommendations?

The Justice Verma Committee Report marks a milestone in the struggle for women's rights in India. The Report is a powerful vindication of the central demands of the ongoing movement against sexual violence, and is also an equally powerful challenge to the Government and the political establishment.

In many ways, the JVC Report has given body and substance to what the protesters on the street were saying. The JVC has done what the Government should, in fact, have done: engaged seriously with activists working in the field as well as survivors of sexual violence, and, in a commendably timely manner, came up with recommendations that reflect their concerns and are truly path-breaking. The protesters raised the slogans of 'Women want freedom'; the JVC Report is built on the premise that women's autonomy in all spheres, including sexual autonomy, must be safeguarded by the State. This recognition marks a truly radical break with the prevailing dominant view on women and sexual violence.

The women protesters on the street raised the slogan 'My dress is not a Yes'; the JVC Report, in the context of the rape law, radically redefines 'consent' by a woman as nothing short of an unequivocal 'yes' by word or gesture. Protesters had expressed outrage against those who termed rape survivors as 'zinda laash' (walking corpses); the JVC Report clearly states that the State, as well as society, has the duty to dislodge sexual violence from the 'shame-honour' paradigm and locate it instead as a crime against women's bodily integrity and dignity.

The best instance of the JVC Report's recognition of women's unqualified autonomy as a person in her own right, is their recommendation that marital rape be included in the purview of the rape law. Marking the first ever break with the colonial legacy as well as traditional patriarchal understanding of a husband's 'conjugal right' over his wife, the JVC Report stresses that a married woman has every right to refuse sexual access to her husband.

The JVC Report has identified the multiple barriers – in policing, medico-legal systems, judiciary, laws, as well as social support systems - that make justice inaccessible for victims of sexual violence. It uncompromisingly holds the state responsible for failure to protect women, recommending punitive measures for police personnel who fail to register FIRs and otherwise violate a well-defined protocol for registering and investigating complaints of sexual violence.

The JVC expands the definition of sexual violence to include a range of crimes such as stalking, stripping/disrobing, voyeurism (watching or filming women in their private moments without their knowledge), acid-throwing, sexual harassment, penetrative sexual assault that includes penetration by parts of a man's body as well as by objects manipulated by him and gang rapes. While recommending harsher punishments for these crimes, based on the degree of harm/hurt caused, the JVC Report recommends ridding the existing laws of the patriarchal language of 'insulting/outraging modesty,' and instead adopting a thoroughly modern vocabulary that describes the crime rather than the character of the victim.

The JVC recommends an overhaul of the medico-legal tests for rape survivors. It rightly recommends that the misogynist and demeaning 'two-finger test' and other medical tests that focus on the past sexual history of the victim, be scrapped. The JVC holds that medical evidence can at best be supportive, and cannot be proof of a woman's consent or otherwise. It also recommends a protocol for medical investigation and care for rape survivors, and for setting up properly equipped Rape Crisis Centres that can offer such services in a timely manner.

Recognising that sexual violence is part and parcel of the larger web of violence against women, and can be resisted only by strengthening women's autonomy, the JVC Report has come down heavily on crimes committed in the custody of the family against self-choice marriages. From the same perspective of sexual autonomy, the JVC Report has also discussed and mapped out the Constitutional rights of sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people) to freedom from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and also from sexual violence.

The JVC Report is path-breaking in its recommendation that in the case of members of the Armed Forces accused of sexual violence, no sanction for prosecution need be sought, and such accused be tried in a civil court of law. The JVC also recommends amending the AFSPA to this effect. Justice Verma, in an interview, has correctly justified this recommendation by pointing out that no one can be allowed to claim that sexual violence was done in the course of discharging one's duty! The JVC also recommends review of the AFSPA, in the light of the fact that it has helped create an environment where sexual violence by armed forces has become common in conflict areas. It also recommends setting up of Special Commissioners to monitor the situation of women's safety from sexual violence in all conflict areas.

The JVC also recommends the principle of command responsibility: i.e. that police and army officers be held responsible for custodial sexual violence that take place under their command, and punished with rigorous imprisonment between 7-10 years.

The JVC Report recognises that rape is an expression of power rather than a 'crime of passion'. And it specifically recognises that sexual assaults on women and children by the State or by private persons in situation of communal or caste violence "deserve to be treated as aggravated sexual offence in law." It also discusses the question of targeted sexual violence against SC/ST women at length. However, in its specific legislative recommendations, it has omitted to include these categories of sexual violence in the category of aggravated sexual assault. This omission, which goes against the spirit of the JVC Report, must be corrected in the actual process of drafting legislation.

The JVC report discusses at length the patriarchal attitudes and hostility to women's rights that continues to permeate the court procedures, and makes several recommendations on recording of evidence, cross-examination, and sentencing, that can make the judicial process gender-just. The JVC also recommends a substantial increase in the number of judges and courts, to ensure speedy justice.

The 'Bill of Rights' for women charted out by the JVC – and the body of measures recommended by it to make those rights a reality - is a veritable manifesto for the ongoing movement against sexual violence.

The palpable discomfort of the Central Government as well as of Opposition parties like the BJP with the JVC Report is telling. The UPA Government, for which the JVC was a mere protest management exercise, is now avoiding the eye of the Report submitted by the JVC. The JVC Report has been removed from the Home Ministry's website! And even the BJP and most other ruling class Opposition parties, have maintained silence on the JVC Report. This is not surprising: the Report hits at the foundations of patriarchy, and the parties which are the pillars of that patriarchy, are understandably discomfited.

It is the ongoing movement which we have to thank for the JVC Report. This movement, which began with empathy for the young fighter whose life was brutally snuffed out, widened the lens and took on the entire patriarchal establishment – challenging misogyny and gender bias and demanding an end to impunity of all perpetrators of sexual violence. Instead of rendering the victims of sexual violence in the contexts of caste and communal violence and state repression invisible, the movement sparked by the Delhi gang-rape has focussed the light on those dark areas in the life of our democracy. In keeping with this spirit, the young protestors observed 'Republic Day' in its true spirit: by asserting the liberty and equality of women and all people as citizens, and by declaring the people as the true custodians of the Republic.

The movement has sounded its call – the UPA Government must implement the Justice Verma report – or quit! If the Government and the ruling class political establishment hope to consign the JVC Report to cold storage like countless reports before it, it will have a hard time doing so in the face of a determined people's movement.

 'Freedom Parade' to Reclaim the Republic

On Republic Day this year, thousands marched in Delhi in a 'Freedom Parade' to assert women's freedom and people's freedom. The Freedom Parade, taking place not long after the Republic Day parade ended, was held under the banner of the 'Freedom Without Fear' campaign, launched to take forward the ongoing movement against sexual violence. Around 2000 protestors, including students and teachers from Delhi University, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, women's groups and citizens from different parts of the city, marched in the procession from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar to 'Reclaim the Republic'.

In the weeks preceding Republic Day, young protesters against sexual violence had been branded as 'dented and painted' and as a 'mob'. That is why they marched to assert that the Republic comprises of the 'public', whose role is not just to be spectators; to realise the true spirit and the potential of the constitution, you need an active, protesting, dissenting 'public'.

The Freedom Parade carried placards and banners with the names of 40 victims of rape and sexual violence, including Neelofar Jan, Aasiya Jan, Tanima Gani, Bilqis Bano, Mathura Bai, Bhanwari Devi, Meena Xalxo, Lakshmi Orang, Soni Sori, Surekha Bhotmange, Priyanka Bhotmange, Thangjam Manorama, Tapasi Malik, Rumi Konwar, Putala Bora, Lakhi Gogoi, Anola, Subsunka, Niru Gogoi, Meena Gogoi, Jamuna Gogoi, Punya Gogoi, Bhanimai Dutta, Raju Borua, Nilima Boro, Foudoro Boro, Undibala Roy, Tabinda Gani, Mubeena Akhtar, Srinivas Ramachandra Siras (the gay professor of AMU who committed suicide), Madhumita, Chandini and Kokila (transgender victims of rape), Christy Jayanthi Malar and Rukmani (lesbian couple who committed suicide in Chennai after victimisation and harassment). They also held placards with names of places associated with sexual violence: Delhi, Naroda Patiya, Shopian, Kunan Poshpora, Sarguja, Singur, Hisar, Rohtak, Bamon Kampur, Guwahati, Khairlanji. Interspersed with these, they also held placards remembering the 'unknown citizen.' Kashmiri students held placards telling the details of the Shopian and Kunan Poshpora rapes.

Throughout the colourful parade, people raised rousing slogans demanding implementation of the Justice Verma Committee Report. Among the slogans raised were 'Jang ke hathiyar nahin, Inquilab ke auzar chahiye' (We want – Not weapons of war but instruments of revolution); Bekhauf Azaadi mang rahe hain, aaj chahiye, abhi chahiye (We demand freedom without fear – today, right now); slogans rejecting 'Bhagwat's goons; Maulana's diktats; politicians' rhetoric; and state repression; 'Anjaan nagrik jaag uthi hai, badal raha sansar hai/Duniya bhar mein mang rahi hai, Azaadi ka tyohaar hai' (The unknown citizen has awakened, the world is changing/in the whole world, there's the festival of freedom). When the parade reached Janpath, there were slogans of 'Rajpath (the rulers' road) may be yours, Janpath (people's path) is ours.' Through placards, people asked, "Will Govt Implement JVC Recommendations? Will the Govt Spend On Making Women Safer, With more judges and courts; rape crisis centres; safe houses for women and children; forensic examination facilities; and safe public transport? Or Will the Govt's Next Budget As Usual Gift Crores to Corporates?"

When the parade reached Jantar Mantar, a massive public meeting was held. Sucheta De, former JNUSU President and AISA leader, conducted the proceedings. Addressing the gathering, Kavita Krishnan, secretary All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) talked about the stories of the various people named in the placards the protestors were carrying. She said that the Government was afraid of the Justice Verma Commission report: and this is a sure sign that the Report is a victory for the movement. She called upon people to stop fearing the freedom of others. Hailing the slogan of 'naari mukti sabki mukti zindabad' (women's freedom, everyone's freedom Long Live), she said that the subordination of women was intimately linked to the subordination of others. Men cannot be free as long as women are held in fear and unfreedom. None of us should fear the right of women, the dalits, adivasis, the religious minorities, the people of Kashmir and the North East, and the sexual minorities, to seek freedom from discrimination, indignity, and violence, because in their freedom lies the freedom of us all.

Advocate Madhu Mehra also addressed the gathering, warning that the Government was trying to reduce the Justice Verma report to a protest management exercise. Several women's organisations, citizens' groups, student and youth organisations, including Saheli and Jagori, AISA, RYA, NAPM and the New Socialist Initiative also participated.

The protestors condemned the President of India for awarding a gallantry award to yet another rapist in uniform: SP Kalluri, accused of raping an adivasi woman in custody in Chhattisgarh. Young girls presented 'Mardangi Maryada medals' and Laxmanrekha Medals' to people who have been making atrocious, sexist, misogynist, victim-blaming statements, and who have been accused of rape. These medals were presented to photographs of Abhijeet Mukherjee, Mohan Bhagwat, Asaram Bapu, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Abu Azmi, Ankit Garg and Botsa Satyanarayana.

The protestors demanded the immediate implementation of Justice Verma Commission report, and demanded that the government and various political parties break their silence on the report.

On 24 January, a massive rally for women's freedom and dignity was held in Patna, organised mainly by AIPWA along with AISA and RYA. Around 3000 women from rural areas of Bihar blockaded the road at Kargil Chowk, and held a mass meeting, where they demanded the implementation of the Justice Verma Committee Report, and condemned the UPA Government and Bihar's NDA Government for protecting the forces unleashing violence against women.

On 25 January, a mass meeting called by AIPWA was held at Nagbhushan Bhawan, Bhubaneshwar. The meeting was addressed by AIPWA and CPI(ML) leaders.

On 25 January, AISA and AIPWA held a march in Varanasi, against sexual violence, and specifically protesting sexual harassment against women students of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) (see report below).

On 26 January, AISA and AIPWA held a women's freedom parade at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand parallel with the official parade in Delhi. Demanding 'Freedom Without Fear and Without Conditions,' the parade with around 150 participants began from Ramlila Maidan and marched through various streets before reaching Gandhi Chowk. The mass meeting held there was addressed by AISA leader Kamini Pokhriyal, Chanchal Bora and Manisha, AIPWA's Sheela Punetha, Pushpa Martoliya and others.

Protest at London Against Sexual Violence on Republic Day

Over 80 people gathered on Republic Day at the Indian High Commission in London to express their solidarity with the women's movement in India which poured onto the streets after the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old woman student on a bus in Delhi. Protesters voiced their outrage at the scale of state violence and rape faced by women in India.

The slogans demanded justice for Soni Sori, an indigenous woman sexually assaulted by the Indian police where her torturer was given a police medal for gallantry on India's Republic Day a year ago. There was also a call for justice for Aasiya Jan and Nilofer Jan, two Kashmiri women raped and murdered by the Central Reserve Police force in 2009. The placards demanded implementation of Justice Verma Commission's recommendation of immediately removing immunity from prosecution for sexual crimes - the army, paramilitaries and the police. They also stated that 'the SP of Dantewada Ankit Garg, responsible for the sexual torture of Soni Sori, must be stripped of the presidential gallantry award and punished', along with SRP Kalluri another Chhattisgarh police officer responsible for rape and torture who was honoured this Republic Day.

A number of groups came together - South Asia Solidarity Group, the Justice for Soni Sori group, the Indian Workers Association and Imkaan calling for an end to state violence and rape. Slogans included 'Indian president – stop honouring rape', 'who raped Nilofer Jehan – Indian military and Indian state', 'who raped Soni Sori – Indian police and India state'. Their voices of protest joined by Newham Asian Women's project, Southall Black Sisters, Older Feminist Network, Iranian and Afghanistan Women's group and others were heard by a number of passers-by who stopped to read the placards and listen to the slogans. There were many new faces not usually seen at these kinds of public events. Two young women with a placard saying 'don't tell us not to go out - tell your sons not to rape' had taken the slogan from the protests in India 'Don't teach me what to wear – teach your sons not to rape', and made it their own.

Writer and actor Meera Syal addressed the gathering and stated 'India claims to be a new superpower but look at the way it treats women. More important than being the best in IT is changing the way women are treated'. There were calls for keeping up the pressure and organising more events for protesting sexual violence against women which is taking place in India and Britain.

 Rapists of Minor in Chandauli Arrested After People's Protest

On 16 January 2013 in Dhanapur Thana area of Siyahwal village in Chandauli district the 14-year old minor daughter of Com. Rampyare Saini was raped in broad daylight by goons of the same village. The culprits were under the full protection of the police as well as the administration. In this situation, a people's movement was launched under the joint banner of CPI-ML, RYA and AIPWA and finally the culprits were arrested. The entire incident highlighted the role of the police, administration and doctors, their insensitivity towards the minor victim, their faithlessness towards their own profession and their efforts to protect the culprits.

The SO of Dhanapur dilly-dallied in the matter of registering an FIR in this rape case. On 18 January the victim told the fact-finding team from AIPWA (including District secretary Anita Kumari and State joint secretary Kusum Verma) that the doctor examining her called her "characterless" and said that she had not been raped.

CPI(ML), RYA and AIPWA mobilized the poor people of Dhanapur village and organized a series of protests against this particular rape as well as against the rising incidents of crime against women in UP and governmental protection to the culprits, thus unmasking the 'pro-women' image of the 'young CM' of the State.

The protests commenced on 17 January with demands for arrests of the rapists, at Chandauli district HQ, Tehsil HQ, Chakiya and Navgarh. This was followed by a meeting and gherao of Dhanapur Thana on 18 January. The meeting was addressed by Kisan Sabha State general secretary Com. Ishwari Prasad, Com Shashikant Kushwaha and Anil Paswan of CPI-ML, Shravan Maurya of RYA, Anita Kumari and Kusum Verma of AIPWA. Under pressure from the people's movement, the police were forced to arrest one of the two culprits. On 19 January the representatives of CPI-ML, RYA and AIPWA along with the mother of the victim sat on an indefinite hunger strike at the Chandauli Kutchari HQ demanding the arrest of the absconding culprit and action against the Dhanapur SO as well as the doctor who mentally tortured the victim under pretext of a medical examination. On 21 January the State AIPWA leadership addressed a Press conference at the Kutchari and on 22 January a serial hunger strike and meeting was organized at the same venue. The meeting was addressed by State secretary Com Sudhakar Yadav, Editor of Samkaleen Janmat Sunil Yadav and others. The movement received widespread support from the people of Chandauli. AIPWA district secretary along with 11 representatives from CPI-ML and RYA again sat on a hunger strike.

Finally the administration had to bow down to the growing pressure of the protest and accept all the demands of the movement. The absconding culprit was arrested on 24 January and the DM passed orders for action against the doctor and the SO. This movement has energized the people of Chandauli to fight against the injustices of the powers that be and has inspired the emergence of a new people's movement.

Struggle against Sexual Harassment in BHU

Ironically, at a time when there is a nationwide movement against sexual violence and gender bias, the Administration remains a mute spectator to sexual crimes against women students within the campus of BHU, a reputed Central University.

The latest case in point is the incident of molestation on January 24 when some women students passing near the Birla Hostel were subjected to molestation and abuse by a group of boys belonging to that hostel. The girls complained to the Proctorial Board but shockingly the culprits abused and threatened the girls in the very presence of the Chief Proctor. The authorities cross-questioned the girls as if they were the culprits and not the victims. Even after the intervention of some teachers the culprits, said to be close to a Minister in the State government, went scot-free although the victim women have lodged a complaint naming the culprits. Incensed by this injustice, around 100-125 students gherao-ed the Vice-Chancellor and after about 4 hours of protest the VC assured the students that a Women's Cell would be constituted and the guilty would be punished.

The question is, when will these promises be fulfilled? It is shocking that in spite of Supreme Court's Visakha directives, a premier institute like BHU does not have a Women's Cell till now. In spite of the assurances, no action has been taken against the culprits till date. The women students of BHU face many obstacles in their struggle for the right to study in an atmosphere of freedom without fear. In the name of security, what they get is instructions to be back in their hostels by 7 PM! BHU is not only a reputed national institution, it is also a Central University. Therefore, if the University does not act to punish the culprits due to local pressures, it is the duty of the Central government and the HRD ministry to intervene and ensure proper action against the culprits.

On 29 January, the women students met the SSP of Varanasi to demand action against the culprits, but he responded by asking, "Why did the women students have to walk on that particular road? Why are women becoming political leaders? No sexual harassment has occurred." He also threatened action against a Hindi daily that has been reporting on the incident and its aftermath.



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:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

ML Update 3-4 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 3 & 4, 15 -21 JANUARY 2013


Towards the 63rd Republic Day:

People's Aspirations versus Rulers' Design

Indicted by the whole world as the key mastermind of the 2002 Gujarat genocide, Narendra Modi had turned to the barons of big business to bail him out. Just as crisis-ridden corporations look to the state for economic bail-out packages, here was Modi seeking a political rescue package from global capital. Thus was born the mega marketing show of 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit' – the biennial jamboree to showcase state-corporate bonhomie in Modi's Gujarat. This year, VGGIS completed its sixth edition. With Modi's third successive and emphatic post-genocide victory in the immediate background, the latest edition of VGGIS surpassed all the previous ones in terms of corporate promises of economic investment in Gujarat and political investment in Modi as the next potential Prime Minister.

The 6th VGGIS is reported to have delivered as many as 16,719 business proposals, promising an incredible Rs 40 lakh crore of investment for Gujarat. Critics have been quick to point out that the promise is too big to turn true, that hardly 15% of the investment promised in the first four VGGIS shows had been realised till date. Aware of the reality on the investment front, Modi downplayed the investment angle in his address, delivered again in Hindi like his recent post-victory address, and tried to posit VGGIS not just as a platform for the branding of Gujarat, but for marketing of India as an investment destination. When the delegates from the 121 visiting countries go back they would say we had been to India, to Bharat, said Modi, his sights now firmly trained on the throne in Delhi.

The marketing of the myth of vibrant Gujarat has been central to Modi's aggressive discourse of Gujarati pride. A brochure distributed among the participating delegates by the Industrial Extension Bureau, one of the government organisations hosting the summit, listed 50 golden facts about Gujarat. Some of these 'golden facts' clearly reveal the historical and class roots of Modi's Gujarat model – that out of 562 princely states in India before independence, 366 were in Gujarat; that over 25% of Indian population in North America is Gujarati, and that 10 of the 25 richest Indians are of Gujarati origin.

Of course, no official factsheet would acknowledge the terrible record of Modi rule in terms of human rights and human development – the ravages of the 2002 genocide, the series of staged encounter killings, the all-pervasive malnutrition in Gujarat's children (69.7% of children below the age of five are anaemic and 44.6% malnourished), the extensive pockets of starvation alongside enclaves of consumerist ostentation and opulence (India ranks 66 among 88 countries listed in the Global Hunger Index and Gujarat is among the 5 worst performers among the 28 Indian states).

What Modi has done in Gujarat is in many ways what the Thackerays would have loved to do in Maharashtra. The Thackerays had risen to prominence in the 1960s and 70s as thugs serving the big business in Maharashtra by breaking the trade union movement in Mumbai, and then jumped on to the Hindutva bandwagon since the Ayodhya campaign in the late 1980s. But despite the horrific Mumbai riots of 1992-93, a precursor to the Gujarat genocide a decade later, the writ of the Shiv Sena never really ran beyond Mumbai and adjoining pockets of urban Maharashtra. By contrast Modi has successfully converted his post-genocide domination into an all-embracing authoritarianism running across the whole of Gujarat. And under Modi's stewardship, corporate barons have got a free hand in Gujarat to pursue the whole gamut of their agenda from land-grab to union-free industrialisation. This is the key to the 'vibrant Gujarat' of corporate-fascist dreams, and the Ambanis and Tatas and the Goenkas and Birlas would now love to replicate this model on an all-India scale.

Reacting to the corporate adulation for Modi, the Congress has advised corporate India to shed its fascination for Modi's rabid right-wing charm, warning it of the disaster that had befallen Germany under Hitler's Nazi rule. It is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. The floodgates of corporate plunder have been opened in India by the neo-liberal policies pushed most relentlessly by none other than the Congress. And today Congress rule in the country has become an apology for a most corrupt and ever-expanding business-politics nexus, leaving the entire country aflame in the fire of corporate greed. Interestingly, the Congress answer to Modi's 'vibrant Gujarat' is Maharashtra and Karnataka – the two states that apparently attract more FDI than Gujarat. Karnataka is the only state in South India to have already been bagged by the BJP, and Maharashtra under Congress-NCP rule is not particularly known for any vibrant democratic environment.

The Congress-BJP collusion is however not limited to a competitive feeding of corporate greed. Whether it comes to fanning the fire of anti-Pakistan jingoism or spearheading the witch-hunt against Muslims and adivasis, the Congress and BJP have always been competitive partners. Once again, the Congress is pursuing the same line of wooing FDI and fanning up a jingoistic frenzy against Pakistan in the hope of containing the BJP, the reported murder of two Indian jawans allegedly by Pak troops in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir marking the latest flashpoint in Indo-Pak relations.

Addressing the media on the Army Day, the Army chief has issued a veritable war threat to Pakistan, saying India reserved the right to retaliate at a time and place of its own choosing. The Army Chief must be aware that in real life the logic of war does not respect any pre-designed script. A war with Pakistan bringing in its wake greater American intervention in the entire region including India is the last thing that India needs at the present hour of deepening economic crisis. Instead of flirting with war, the governments of both India and Pakistan must be compelled to abide by the 2003 cease-fire agreement.

2012 had ended on a high note of popular upsurge calling for freedom and justice that left the ruling classes jittery. The shrill corporate clamour for a strong state emanating from the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, and the language of war being mouthed by the Army and its political bosses are both desperate signs of the ruling classes seeking to regain their initiative and stopping the people. Meanwhile, as a prelude to the forthcoming budget session, the Railway Minister has already announced a steep hike in passenger fares with the oil ministry too giving signals to follow suit with an across-the-board hike in fuel prices. As we approach the 63rd Republic Day, it is important to beat back this ominous design of the ruling classes and carry forward the spirit of the mass upsurge of 2012.

Protests in Uttarakhand Against Delhi gang-rape

The Uttarakhand people expressed deep anger and sorrow on hearing the news of the martyrdom of Delhi gang-rape victim on December 29, 2012. A convention which was planned in Pithoragarh on the issue of women freedom and sexual violence in wake of Delhi gang-rape was cancelled as news poured in early morning of Dec 29, 2012 of martyrdom of gang-rape victim and instead a rally was organized against Union government. The protest rally saw participation of hundreds of people with increased participation from girl students. The slogans 'Ensure Women's Freedom without Fear', 'Conviction Rate in rape cases is only 26 percent, Union Govt Must Reply' and others were raised. The rally was later addressed by CPI(ML) leader Comrade Jagat Martoliya, AISA's Hemant Khati and leaders of AIPWA.

In Pantnagar, on the evening of December 29 and 30, a poster exhibition and rally on the same issue was organized in University under the leadership of AISA Comrade Rubi Bhardhwaj. A two minute silence was observed in the rally to pay tribute to the Delhi gang-rape braveheart. Addressing the rally the speakers stressed that this struggle for women's freedom should be sustained. They observed that this fight is not of one woman alone but of half the population which is demanding freedom and equality.

CPI(ML) Protests Rape of Adivasi Girls in Chhattisgarh

CPI-ML, AIPWA and AICCTU staged a protest at the Durg Collectorate against the heinous and systematic rape committed on minor Adivasi girls for the past two years at the Govt Adivasi Girls Hostel at Jhaliyamali village, Narharpur Block, Kanker District. After the protest demonstration, a memorandum was submitted to the Governor of Chhattisgarh through the Additional Collector, Durg.

The memorandum demanded strict punishment for the guilty, proper medical treatment and compensation for the victim girls whose age range from 5 to 13 years, high level enquiry into the case, strict action against the responsible officials, strict laws to deal with violence against women, all rape offenders in the State to be given punishment, guarantee for equality and freedom without fear for women. In addition, they also demanded the immediate release of Soni Sori who was gang raped and stones and rocks shoved into her private parts in the Dantewada jail in Bastar two years ago and punishment for the guilty police officials in Soni Sori case, and withdrawal of the rape-accused SP Ankit Garg's gallantry award.

The protest rally was addressed by Brijendra Tiwari, Shyamlal Sahu, Jaiprakash Nair and others. The speakers stressed that the government, administration and police were totally ineffective and lacked the will to control crimes against women. The Narharpur incident had come to light in August last year but was suppressed by government officials as well as people's representatives. The protestors expressed concern regarding the safety of girls in many other such Adivasi Girls Hostels in the State, fearing that the Narharpur case might be only the tip of the iceberg. The Raman Singh government has proved totally ineffective in guarding the rights, freedom and safety of women, dalits, adivasis and weaker sections. The speakers sharply criticized the anti-people policies of the BJP government in the State, and at the same time pointed out that the Congress had also failed in the role of a responsible Opposition. The anti-women statements of leaders from political parties across the board, Sangh Parivar and so-called spiritual gurus were roundly criticized.

Candle Light Vigil in Bangalore

AIPWA and AICCTU jointly organized a candle light vigil on January 6 against the Delhi gang rape and the increasing incidence of rape in Bangalore.

Many workers participated in the protest with their family – introducing a new precedent in the protest culture of unions. AICCTU has always been the pioneer in involving workers' families in a protest that is not at all linked to their wages or bonus. Some workers even said that this is the first ever such initiative in Karnataka where families are involved in a democratic struggle fighting patriarchal/male chauvinistic mindset of workers in general. Interestingly, union notice boards in many companies in Bangalore declared a fight against male chauvinism, for women's equality. Women and men together responded warmly to the call of candle light vigil and participated in the protest in good numbers.

Comrade Shankar, CCM, called upon women to march on streets for a stringent law and special session of parliament against the harassment of women. He also said that Delhi incident is not just about punishment of rapists in a particular incident but about huge mass awakening on the issue and about the women's freedom without fear. He also called upon people to fight against the BJP and its government's patriarchal measures in Karnataka.

Comrade Ranjani condemned the moral policing brigade's systematic attacks on women to curtail their freedom and criticized the BJP Government for promoting such hooligans and failing in its responsibility to protect women. She stated that the Karnataka's Sec 354 of CrPC degrades the rape victims by allowing a maximum punishment of two years of imprisonment for rapists and demanded for a uniform, stringent law against rape with rigorous punishment. Gandhimathi, State Convenor of AIPWA, said that increasing incidents of rape in the city is leading to further restrictions on girl students, including in institutions like National Law School, and that such measures, in the name of safety, go against the very spirit of women's freedom. Sumita Mukherji condemned Mohan Bhagawat, Kailash Vijayvargeeya and the likes for their misogynist remarks on the Delhi incident. Appanna, AICCTU State Secretary, said that we should stop questioning women regarding their dress, behaviour, company, timings as a first step to stop blaming women for safety issues, and despise the feudal ideas of men as protectors and hold the state as responsible for the safety of every citizen. Putte Gowda, AICCTU District Secretary, said that Laxman Rekhas are pretexts for protecting the rapists and that such restrictions should be violated to reclaim all spaces and times for women. Comrade Somu, AICCTU District President, Narayan Swamy, AICCTU District VP, Vijayalakshmi, CGHSEU leader, Bharathi and others spoke. Syed Sajjad Ahmed brought a poster-covered car against violence on women to the protest.

Earlier, too there had been many initiatives against the gang-rape. AISA students went around HDKote town, Mysore district, enforced strike in many colleges on 24 December 2012 against the gruesome Delhi gangrape and the subsequent crackdown on peaceful protestors by the police in Delhi. Hundreds of students led by Javaraiah (CPIML), Shivkumar (RYA) and Javara (AISA) marched on the streets carrying AISA banner and staged Rasta Roko in front of the HD Kote taluk office of Mysore district.

On January 1, 2013, AIPWA, AISA and RYA activists held a protest demonstration in Gangavati on the Delhi Rape Issue and the increasing rape incidents in Karnataka. The protestors demanded the resignation of Karnataka CM Jagadish Shettar, Delhi CM Sheila Dixit and PM Man Mohan Singh for failing to take any action. Comrade Bharadwaj condemned the sheer apathy and unwillingness of the Koppal district administration in registering the case in Hatty rape, where a 16 year old girl was gangraped by four men and the panchayat fined Rs 30,000 each on the accused. The victim committed suicide. Despite several protests by AIPWA, AISA, RYA demanding COD enquiry into the case, the police and the administration in connivance with the perpetrators of the crime buried the issue. He said it is a matter of shame for the entire nation that from Panchayats to Parliament this attitude of protecting rapists and denying justice to the victims is rampant. Virupakshappa, Basavangouda, Gangamma, Saraswatamma, Raghavendra Basapatna, Paramesha Basapatna, Arun Rashid Basapatna, Mallesh Basapatna, Kumar and others participated in the protest.

A condolence meeting was held by AISA activists in Davangere on 29 December. Activists raised slogans against Sheila Dixit and Manmohan Singh and pledged to take forward the struggle of the Delhi gangprape victim. Prakash and Manjunatha, national council members of AISA took the lead in mobilizing students.

AIPWA-AISA Protest against Rape in Odisha

On January 9, a protest was held by AIPWA and AISA in Odisha's Rayagada district against the gang-rape of a 13-year-old girl, who attempted to commit suicide in terror after her 3 rapists threatened to kill her, and was badly burnt in the suicide attempt.

The demonstration demanded that the Government bear all expenses for the treatment of the survivor of rape and burns, and take her to Delhi for treatment. They also demanded stringent punishment for the rapists and Rs 5 lakh compensation to the survivor.

Around 300 people participated in the protest led by AIPWA State Committee member Padmini Gomango. CPI(ML) district secretary Tirupati Gomango, AISA leader Pralay Behera, AIALA leader Sharad Tripathi and several others leading activists also participated in the protest. The demonstrators marched up till the district Headquarters and submitted a memo to the Governor via the DM.

Joint Convention against FDI in Retail

A State level joint convention against FDI in retail was held at Guru Tegh Bahadur Bhavan, Raipur, on December 30, 2012 by CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), CMM (Janaklal Thakur), LSP, JD(U) and Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch. Brijendra Tiwari represented the Party on the Presidium. Central Committee member Rajaram addressed the convention on behalf of the Party. The convention was also addressed by Probodh Panda of CPI, Nilotpal Basu of CPI(M) and others. The keynote address was delivered by MK Nandi, State Secretary, CPI(M). The convention gave a call for the successful conduct of the general strike of all central trade unions on February 20 and 21, 2013.

CPI(ML) delegation Visits Nepal

A CPI(ML) delegation recently concluded a three day visit to Nepal. The visit was planned in order to invite the Communist parties of Nepal to the 9th party congress of CPI(ML) which is scheduled in April month of this year and also to get firsthand account of the prevailing political situation in Nepal in the period of transition. The delegation on the three day visit met and exchanged views with all the three communist parties, intellectuals, student-youth activists, women leaders and also with political leaders of tarai region of Nepal.

The delegation visited the office of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) where they had a detailed discussion of prevailing political situation in Nepal with Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel and other leaders of the party. The delegation also had individual and collective level meetings with CPN(UML)'s senior leader and ex-PM of Nepal Comrade Madhav Kumar Nepal and Comrade K P Sharma Oli, in-charge of foreign affairs.

The delegation also had discussions in office of Maoist Party led by Comrade Prachanda with the Polit bureau member Comrade Ram Karki along with other comrades of Maoist party. The delegation also communicated an invitation to the CPI(ML)'s Congress with the Kiran group which separated from Prachanda led Maoist party recently.

Once again Nepal in passing through difficult times. The achievements of people's movements and people's war seem in danger in this protracted transition period. In this situation, right wing forces have become active again. They have started a movement on the pretext that symbols of Kingship and 'Hindu' religion are the very foundation of Nepal as a nation. The delegation witnessed rallies of this right-wing mobilisation at several places in Nepal. Posters and hoardings against this right-wing movement were also visible at several places. It can be only hoped that Communists will rise to the occasion in this difficult times to give new direction to Nepal nation and to safeguard the achievements of the people's movements and revolutions.

AICWF Protest Day

Contractualization of labour as a neo-liberal ploy is increasingly evident in all sectors of the economy but is most visible in construction sector. The plight of crores of casual labourers engaged in construction sector in most horrendous working conditions at miserable salary and without any social security whatsoever, is in sharp contrast to multitude increase in profits of companies and contractors engaged in real estate, infrastructure and other related sector in last decade or so. With intention to raise the voice of casual labour and organize them around a set of specific demands to intensify their struggle, AICWF observed January 8, 2013 as 'day of demand'. Protest Marches, dharnas and sit ins were organized throughout the country with thousands of workers enthusiastically participating in them to register their demand in front of Union and State governments in forceful way, who are apathetic and insensitive to their plight. Along with the most important demand of putting an end to system of Contract labour, the other important demands raised on the occasion were-

(1) Raise minimum wages to Rs 500/day and provide Rs 3000 p.m. pension, (2) Construct residential colonies for construction workers, (3) In absence of adequate information in case of death of contract labour, provide Rs 3 lakh compensation to the heirs of deceased from State exchequer, (4) Renew Registration of construction workers for free in five years instead of one years as at present, (5) Union government should make nationwide rules which guarantees equal benefit to construction workers of all states, (6) Inter-State residential laws should be strictly implemented and National Commission on lines of SC/ST commission should be formed for immigrant labour, (7) Bring all construction labour under BPL list, (8) Implement Unorganized Workers (Social Security) Regulations, 2008 in all States, (9) Put an end to gender discrimination with women construction workers and strictly implement the principle of 'Equal Pay for Equal Work', (10) Register all Labour Unions within 45 days, (11) Increase the limits of benefits determined for Construction Workers, (12)Bring all construction workers under PF/ESI rules.

The program amidst other places in the country were also organized in Salambur tehsil in Udaipur and Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan and in several district headquarters of Jharkhand. Addressing the rally in Salambur, Chandradev Ola, Udaipur District Secretary of CPI (ML), said that the government is increasingly siding with capitalists and ignoring the interests of the toiling workers who creates wealth in society. The struggle against this injustice can only be successful if the workers are willing to organize themselves to pressurize the government of the day to concede to their just demands.


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:

Friday, January 11, 2013

ML Update 02 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16                          No. 02                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1-7 JAN 2013


Towards a Decisive Victory 

in the Historic Battle for Women's Rights

The 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim finally succumbed to her injuries on 29 December morning after battling on bravely for 13 days. The unknown young woman will go down in history as one of India's most memorable martyrs for the cause of justice and freedom for India's women – freedom without the fear of violence and fetters of patriarchal domination.

If the government had thought that by transferring the 23-year-old victim of gang-rape to Singapore it would succeed in defusing the people's anger and diluting their action and resolve, it could not have been more mistaken. The news of the courageous fighter finally succumbing to her injuries in a Singapore hospital triggered a renewed countrywide wave of collective anger and mass mourning.

The government that betrayed shameful insensitivity to the brutal incident and the agitation that erupted in its wake is now desperate to score political points. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, who never showed the courage and sensitivity to reach out to the protesters, were at the airport to receive the victim's body. The funeral was held in the shadow of high level state security away from the reach of the public. And the Delhi government has now come out with the announcement of a compensation of Rs 15 lakh and a job for a family member of the victim. 

But the scar inflicted by the brutal gang-rape can surely not be healed with token gestures or pious platitudes. Rape is the most violent and sordid expression of a deep-seated prejudice and structural discrimination against women that defines mainstream society and culture in India today. That a Congress MP, who also happens to be the son of the incumbent President of India, could make such a vicious comment about women participating in the ongoing anti-rape agitation and then get away with an empty apology with the party refusing to take any action against him, comes as a shocking pointer to the misogynist mindset of the ruling elite. And the Indian state, the judiciary included, has little will to combat this mindset – on the contrary, more often than not, it behaves as a custodian of this mindset. No wonder then that India has such a high incidence of custodial rapes.

It should be remembered that the two key milestones of the anti-rape agitation in the last three decades were both related to custodial rape. The well-known Mathura rape case which galvanised women's organisations in the first frontal battle on the issue of rape was a shocking instance of a custodial rape condoned by the apex court. In fact it was the acquittal of the accused constables by the Supreme Court overturning the High Court verdict that triggered the first powerful wave of anti-rape protests in the country in 1979 and led to some stringent provisions in the anti-rape law by 1983.

The second powerful wave came in July 2004 in the wake of the rape and killing of Thangjam Manorama by the Assam Rifles regiment of the Indian Army. The women of Manipur drew the attention of the whole world with their bold protest, and this, together with the historic hunger strike of Irom Sharmila Chanu, has placed the call for the repeal of the draconian AFSPA firmly on the agenda of the democratic movement of the country. Indeed, the democratic movement has been increasingly aware of the fact that state and state-sponsored violence, from Kashmir to Gujarat to Chhattisgarh and beyond, has unfailingly been marked by the targeting of women for horrific sexual violence.

The ongoing agitation which has already galvanised the people on such an encouragingly big scale marks the third major milestone in the epic battle against violence against women in India. It is important to grasp and stress the linkages of the current phase with the previous phases in the history of the women's movement because the government is bent upon reducing it to a passing event to be buried under the bureaucratic framework of investigative committees and token legislative changes. Changes in rape laws and other laws dealing with women's rights, and more importantly with the mechanism of implementation and the justice delivery system, are of urgent importance and the government must be forced to adopt an inclusive and transparent democratic process in proper consultation with women's organisations to bring about much-needed and much-awaited changes in this direction. The issue of change in rape laws can certainly not be left at the mercy of a Parliament which has been busy holding back for the last two decades a legislation for one-third reservation for women in legislative bodies.

But the impetus generated by the December upsurge in Delhi and across the country cannot and must not be allowed to be lost in a battle exclusively concerned with legal provisions for justice to rape victims. For the first time in modern India, the issue of patriarchal violence against women has occupied the centre stage of the democratic movement with great force. In 2013, we must carry forward this great momentum towards a decisive defeat of all the patriarchal ideas and forces which fetter women's freedom and violates their dignity and democratic rights. Victory to the power of the protesting people that has begun to make its presence felt on the streets of India! 

Make 2013 a Year For Freedom from Violence Against Women, For Women's Equality and Rights

On 29 December, following the death of the Delhi gang rape victim, thousands shared the pain and grief of the passing of that brave fighter... And strengthened their resolve to resist sexual violence and defend women's freedom and equality.

At Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, a very large number of people gathered in silence in the morning. After several hours, as the gathering grew in size, Asmita theatre group, RYA and AISA activists began singing songs of freedom. Chants for women's freedom and against moral policing and violence also began as the day progressed, enthusiastically taken up by young women and men too.

Women's groups that had marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar also formed a human chain and joined the gathering, after holding an impressive mass meeting at Jantar Mantar.

In the evening, a huge, silent procession marched with candles on to the Parliament Street and back. At the forefront of the throng were a huge number of young women. Tears could be seen in many of their eyes. The sea of candles and the solemn, saddened faces was a moving sight - and a silent rebuke to those in power who see these protesters as a security threat needing policing by RAF and armed gunmen...

At noon on the same day, the JNU students and teachers led by the JNUSU held a massive silent procession from JNU past Ber Sarai to the same Munirka bus stop where the brave girl and her friend had boarded the fateful bus. On the way they were joined by large numbers of common people, especially women, and at the bus stop they held a short public meeting.

On the evening of 30th December, AISA, RYA, AIPWA along with the New Socialist Initiative held a Walk for Freedom march throughout Delhi University, which was joined by more than a 1000 students chanting 'Hum kya chahte - azaadi' (What do we want? Freedom), highlighting women's freedom to be born, to be safe on buses and metros, to go to school and college, to study, work and speak their mind, to dress and choose partners as they wish, to be free of patriarchy and of khap diktats, to be free of the fear of sexual violence.

On 31t December, AISA and RYA along with Asmita theatre group, held a 'Reclaim Connaught Place' march, joined by hundreds of people. The police disallowed the march, so protesters marched to Jantar Mantar, chanting slogans and singing songs. At Jantar Mantar, a huge gathering adopted a pledge for the year 2013, the text of which is as follows:

Struggle to Make 2013 a Year

For Freedom from
Violence Against Women

For Women's Equality and Rights

On the very eve of the New Year of 2013, the life of a young woman was brutally cut short. This young woman with her dreams of education, of a job, of love and happiness, lives on in all of us. Her courage and dignity inspire us to resist the terrible discrimination, bias, and violence that eats into the heart of our society, and to demand justice and freedom for every woman. It takes courage to confront the government, the police and other institutions and demand accountability. It perhaps takes even greater courage to face and fight the daily discrimination and shackles that are imposed on women in our own homes and communities. We hope that we will find that courage in the spirit of that nameless young woman who lives on in our hearts."

"We pledge to make 2013 a year of resistance to gender oppression, discrimination, and violence. We pledge to support women's struggle in the home, in the community, on the streets, at the workplace and in public spaces for equality and rights. We pledge to speak out against gender bias and violence wherever we see it."

On the night of the 31st, more than thousand people responded to a call given by the JNUSU and JNUTA, and marched in a 'Reclaim the Night' procession from JNU past the Munirka bus stop to a public park where a cultural gathering was held.   

Delhi Unit of Jan Sanskriti Manch organised a meeting on 28 December 'Against the Culture of Rapes: Oppression of Women and the Role of the State and the Society' in Delhi at Indian Women's Press Corp. 

On the same day Hundreds of women and men assembled near Tammukkam  Grounds in Madurai, Tamilnadu, and took a pledge to continue the struggle of women against patriarchy and paid condolence to the Delhi gang Rape victim and rape victims of Tamilnadu. They in a raised voice warned leaders of political parties and religious institutions who are bent upon making rules to be followed by Tamil women. Later, they marched towards Madurai Collecotrate with their Charter of demands.

AISA and AIPWA organized a convention against violence on women on 24th December, 2012 in Murshidabad, West Bengal. Convention emphasized the necessity of united struggle of women, students and youth against this violence. The program was conducted by Aritra Goswami of AISA. A painting exhibition by Anupam Roy on gender violence was also held on the occasion. Observing the Dhikkar Diwas, called by the CPI(ML) West Bengal state committee, hundreds of women and students-youths with posters, banners and red flags marched in the town.

Protest in Guwahati: In protest of sad demise of the victim of Delhi gang rape, AIPWA brought out a protest procession in Guwahati on 29 December, jointly with 16 women and cultural organizations. Women and men from different walks of life participated in the protest and demanded punishment for the perpetrators, enactment of a strong law against rape, to prosecute the case in a fast-track court, to ensure security of women everywhere. AIPWA, AIDWA and Nirjyatan Birodhi Aikya Manch (NBAM), Asom Lekhika Santha, Nari Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam provencialised Bank Employees' Union (Women Cell), Asom Mahila Samata Society and cultural organization like Jana Sanskritik parishad (JSP), Asom Gana Sanmilan etc. Took part in the protest. The procession concluded in a mass meeting where AIPWA leader Junu Borah, Sumitra Hazarika (NBAM), Arati Dewan (AIDWA), Menaka Devi (Bank employee), Loknath Goswami (JSP), Dr. Dilip Borah (Prof. Gauhati University) etc. addressed the gathering.

Odisha State units of AIPWA and AISA protested against Delhi gang rape on 26th december, 2012 in front of the State Assembly in Bhabaneshwar. People from nearby districts of Puri, Khurda, Kendrapada and Bhubaneswar came to attend the rally. They criticised the failure of both State and Central government on security of women in the society and demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits, fast-track trial of the rape cases and justice to the rape victims.

On 24 December a RYA-AIPWA-

AISA protest march condemning the Delhi gang rape started from Subodh Mallick Square in Kolkata and culminated in a street corner meeting at Esplanade. It was well decorated and full of enthusiasm. The meeting was addressed by comrades Chaitali Sen of AIPWA and Ranjay Sen Gupta of AISA.

Ripples of Anti-Rape Protest in

Karnataka: AISA members went around HDKote town, enforced strike in many colleges on 24 Dec. 2012 against the gruesome Delhi gangrape and the subsequent crackdown on peaceful protestors by the police in Delhi. Hundreds of students led by Javaraiah (CPIML), Shivkumar (RYA) and Javara (AISA) marched on the streets and staged Rasta Roko in front of the HD Kote taluk office of Mysore district.

Students led by Prasad, Manju, Shasi and Prakash marched to the DC office at Davanagere and submitted a memorandum against the police repression on peaceful protestors in Delhi. Some of the Ministers present in the DC office came personally to receive the memorandum and engaged in debate with agitators.

Uttarakhand: Protests were held in many towns of the state on 19 December. AISA held a protest demonstration in Rudrapur against the Delhi gangrape. Activists shouted slogans in front of Uttarakhand minister Indira Hridayesh who was delivering speech in the annual function of Govt. PG College along with the local BJP MLA. Both of them did not even mention the heinous rape crime which has shaken the conscience of the country. When women activists of AISA went over the dais to ask why the minister prefer not to speak on the gandrape, they were to face police force. One women constable went even to the extent of misbehaving with AISA leader Dipika Bharti by saying that 'why the protest when she herself was not raped at least'. This led to more protest by students and scuffle with the police. Later, the college administration issued 'no entry' notice to AISA leaders Lalit Matiyali and Dipika Bharti. This incident led to another protest against college administration on 21 December. AISA activists held a protest and mass meeting on 22 December too in the main market of the town where an effigy was also burnt. AISA in Rudrapur again called for a citywide protest on 24 December on this issue. 

In Pithoragarh, AISA leader and Students' Union President Hemant Khati led a protest demonstration againt Delhi gangrape on 20 December and burnt an effigy of UPA Govt. Another protest was held on 25 December which was attended by hundreds of students and other people. Protesters declared an all out war against patriarchal and anti-women attitudes of government and in society. They demanded more sensitive laws for women. This was also addressed by AIPWA leader Mina Bisht and RYA's Sushil Khatri.

AIPWA organised a dharna in Haldwani on 25 December and also raised cases of gender oppression, rape-murder in Uttarakhand. They condemned the state governement for their failure to nab the culprits on many rape cases occured in the region and blamed complicity of politicians in those cases. It was demanded to institute CBI inquiry into the rape cases occured in Haldwani in past years including ones of Sanjana and Priti who both were raped and murdered but the administration failed to take any successful action. A memorandum was submitted to the SDM on this issue.

Jute Workers Demonstrate

The workers of Nuddea jute mills (24 parganas north) organized dharna and demonstration in front of the mill gate from 12-14 Dec demanding to run the factory in all the three shifts and to engage all the workers still out of employment. It also demanded immediate disbursal of PF and the all the dues to the retired workers forthwith, to deposit ESI contributions timely and ensure medical benefit etc. This mill was closed for several years and was reopened on 13 Aug 2012 after a tripartite agreement was signed with BCMF(AICCTU) and other 9 TUs. After reopening the mill, the management violated the agreement and BCMF protested against all such anti worker steps. On 31st Oct , the management colluded with other unions  and an anti-worker bipartite agreement was signed, keeping BCMF in the dark. All this aggravated the situation and the workers were highly agitated. BCMF took up the real issues of the workers and decided to organize dharna in front of the mill gate. On 12 Dec, the notice of diluting mandatory jute packaging order was burnt where hundreds of workers participated. On 14 Dec nearly 500 workers gathered, organized a militant rally and submitted a memorandum to the management. The  participation of women from workers families was quite significant. AICCTU leaders Basudev Bose, Atanu Chakravarty, Nabendu Dasgupta, Shambhu Bandopadhay, Narayan Dey, Md. Jahim & Cpiml leaders Subroto Sengupta ,Sunita were present and addressed the workers.

Towards All India General Strike on 
20-21 February

Various programmes were held on 19-20 December in all the states by AICCTU and its affiliated Trade Unions in the wake of All India General Strike call of the joint platform of trade union centres. 

A Convention was organised in Ranchi on 9 December jointly by central trade union organisations which was attended by hundreds of workers representatives. Comrade Suvendu Sen of AICCTU called for all out efforts to make the all India strike a great success. He said that corporate-politics nexus has intensified attacks on workers' rights and livelihoods and this must be resisted. This strike should give and opportunity to the working class of forcing the rulers to revert the regressive economic policies.  It was decided in the convention to hold workers conventions in six centres and mass meetings at 100 places in the state before the general strike. On 18 December thousands of workers held gherao of Jharkhand Raj Bhawan and chakka jam on their demands as was decided by the All India Convention of Workers in Talkatora Stadium in Delhi held on 4 September. 

AICCTU's performance in Joint Council of Trade Unions (JCTU) Jail Bharo in Karnataka on 19 Dec. 2012 was very impressive. AICCTU in Bangalore participated in good numbers and was relatively a bigger contingent in total participation. The rally marched to the PF Commissioner's office and the office was gheraoed. Leaders of all trade unions addressed the protestors in front of the PF office. Shankar, AICCTU Vice President, called upon workers to make 20-21 Feb. 2013 all-India strike a grand success. He also came down heavily on the UPA government at the centre and the BJP government at the state for their anti-workers policies. He also pointed out the increasing imperialist penetration in the internal affairs of the country. He condemned the World Development Report (WDR) 2013 that lamented on the stringency of labour laws to be responsible for increased informalisation and contractorisation. The WDR 2013 actually suggested India to unleash labour reforms in correspondence with labour market conditions and in order to give a free hand to multinationals and corporates to 'hire and fire' workers. In fact, WDR was so obvious in stating that the labour arena is one area which is not influenced by the neoliberal reform agenda for the past 20 years. Indian Labour Minister had to respond to the World Bank saying that the country is ready for 'necessary' reforms in labour front also. He called upon all trade unions and Left political forces and parties to join the struggle against any anti-worker reforms in the country. Bangalore convention was also addressed by CITU state secretary Prasanna Kumar, AITUC state GS Anantha Subbarao, TUCC president Shivshankar, AIUTUC leader Prakash among others. Hundreds of workers courted arrest at the end of the demonstration and were later released.

AICCTU organised Jail Bharao in the district headquarters of Koppal. Hundreds of workers staged arrest after the gherao of a central government office in Koppal. CITU organized separate programme at Gangavati in the same district. In Tumkur, AICCTU joined the all trade union protest in front of Tumkur BSNL office and courted arrest. In Mangalore, workers of RMC Readymix (India) Pvt. Ltd and Bharat Petroleum, participated in the joint demonstration. After a spirited sloganeering and a brief meeting with workers, including a sizeable number of women workers of CITU, the protestors courted arrest. In Mysore too, AICCTU joined the all trade union demonstration on the same day where workers from Lafarge A&C Pvt Ltd, joined the demonstration.

In Uttarakhand, AICCTU units held protests programmes on 19 December in Radrapur, Kashipur, Jaspur, Bajpur in Udham Singh Nagar District, in Okhalkanda and Nainital, Champawat, Tanakpur, Baheshwar, Pithoragarh, Bhikiasain and Almora. Industrial workers and large number of ASHA and Anganwadi Health workers took part in these programmes.


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: 22518248, e-mail:, website: