Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ML Update 14 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 14, 26 MARCH – 01 APRIL 2013

Shadow of Sexism and Misogyny Over Anti-Rape Bill

The anti-rape legislation that was supposed to be Parliament's tribute to the Delhi December 16 braveheart was passed in India's lower house on 19th March. Far from being a momentous and historic blow to patriarchy, however, the occasion only served to remind us what kind of patriarchal reaction we're up against.

Only 200 out of 545 MPs remained in the house. The top leadership of the Congress party and the UPA coalition stayed away from the house. And the debate in the Lok Sabha – marked by open sexism, misogyny, and misinformation – could not have presented a greater contrast with the sober and painstaking process of learning from activists on the ground as well as international best practices, undertaken by the Justice Verma Committee.

In shameless instances of rape culture, BJP MP Bhola Singh blamed westernization for rape; Shailendra Kumar of the SP blamed revealing clothes worn by film stars for rape; JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav declared that stalking was a form of courtship; SP leader Mulayam Singh said that if better laws against sexual violence were passed, coeducational schools would have to be shut down; and Laloo Yadav displayed homophobia and declared that Parliament should have challenged the Delhi HC verdict decriminalizing homosexuality.

Can we dismiss these sexist voices as deplorable aberrations that we can ignore? Not so, because these are the voices and opinions that managed to influence the Bill: getting the age of consent raised to 18, the first offence of stalking made a bailable and non-cognisable offense; reducing the proposed punishment for acid-throwing; making sure that only women could be victims of rape (rather than all persons as proposed by the women's groups). With even the Law Minister of the country subscribing to the bogey of 'false complaints,' it is hardly surprising that this notion prevailed, leading to dilution of the law against stalking. Acid attacks, murders and rapes are often preceded by stalking; making stalking bailable will mean that when a woman files a complaint against the stalker, he will not be arrested immediately and will remain at large to carry out his threats of acid attacks or murder.

And even in the process of drafting the Bill, it is patriarchal forces that ensured the rejection of Justice Verma's recommendations that the marital rape exemption be deleted, the principle of command responsibility in case of rapes by armed forces or police be recognized, AFSPA amended and reviewed, and molestation no longer described as 'outraging a woman's modesty.'

The situation was such that the struggle, instead of being free to concentrate on expanding protections for women, was forced to fight to keep the legislation from doing damage to existing protections! The ordinance, for instance, had made the accused in the rape law gender neutral, allowing women to be accused by men of rape; it had introduced 'punishment for false complaints' into the sexual assault laws; and raised the age of consent to 18. It is thanks to the vociferous protests and efforts of the ongoing movement that the Bill approved by Cabinet corrected these extremely harmful provisions, but very soon, the age of consent was again raised to 18 in the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha.

The debate over age of consent was a classic case of misleading and mischievous propaganda by patriarchal forces. The age of consent had been 16 for the past 3 decades since 1983. The Government, without any serious consultation or debate, first raised this to 18 in the Prevention of Child Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) a few months back and the ordinance a month ago, overruling the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. It was not only the women's movement that objected to this change: at least two court judgements in the past few months appealed for age of consent to be retained at 16, with judges pleading that they were having to convict young boys for rape, even when the girl declared in court that it was a consensual relationship. And when the women's groups prevailed on the Government to keep age of consent at 16 in the Bill, a huge media storm was manufactured over the supposed 'lowering of the age of consent to 16,' which was deliberately interpreted as 'license for teen sex.' Eventually, this campaign of misinformation and moral policing carried the day, and the age of consent was raised to 18.

So, whatever is positive and progressive in the new legislation was achieved by the movement in spite of the patriarchal forces of the Government and Parliament. These include: jail-time of 6 months to 2 years for police officers who fail to file FIRs (or are otherwise derelict in their duty) in sexual violence cases; prior sanction provision will not extend to police officers, MPs and MLAs accused of rape; and sexual violence during communal or sectarian violence or by a person in uniform will carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; stalking, voyeurism, disrobing and acid-attacks have been codified as crimes. We may recall that not long before December 16th last year, the Home Ministry had rejected most such recommendations made by the women's groups, and the Government's ordinance too had avoided incorporating many of these provisions. It is clear, therefore, that it is only the pressure of the movement that forced an obviously reluctant Government and Parliament to enact some of the long-pending amendments into the rape/sexual violence laws.

The people's movement against sexual violence will continue and grow. We will not rest till we change the offensive laws that legitimize marital rape, protect rapists in Army uniform, criminalise homosexual relationships, and preach feminine 'modesty', allow those charge-sheeted for rape to contest elections, and fail to allow for severe punishment for rapists of dalit women!

23 March: Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdeo's Martyrdom Day

Statewide Protest Day in Bihar against State Govt's Design to Demolish Dr. Nirmal's Statue in DMCH

As part of Statewide protest day, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's effigy was burnt at most district headquarters in Bihar against the vicious intention of demolishing the statue of martyred Dr. Nirmal inside the premises of Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital.

Patna: People marched in procession from Radio Station to Bhagat Singh Chowk and garlanded the Bhagat Singh's Statue. After that the assembled people took a pledge to build a Statewide movement against the attempts to demolish Dr. Nirmal's Statue. (Please see the previous issue, #13, for a brief biography of Dr. Nirmal and his martyrdom)

Apart from Patna, similar protests took place in Bhokpur, Buxar, Arwal, Siwan, Gopalganj, Bhagalpur, Jahanabad, Gaya, Purnia, Patna City among others. Demonstrations and meetings were also held in Patna Rural, Dhanarua, Masaurhi, Punpun, Dulhinbazar, Fatuha, Bihta and Paliganj. In Patna, the protest was led by Town Secretary Comrade Santosh Sahar, RYA's State Secretary Navin Kumar, SCM Kamlesh Sharma, Hirawal's Santosh Jha, apart from several others.

Dr. Nirmal, who sacrificed his life for the cause for which Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo kissed the gallows, is being labeled a criminal by the BJP and those in the Govt in Bihar. On the other hand clearing all doubt about its actual pro-feudal-communal character- quite a lot of the accused in the massacres of dalits, minorities and poor people have walked out of jail and are free now. However, the people of Darbhanga have announced their intentions and took resolve for protecting the statue of Dr. Nirmal even at the cost of their lives. The police that arrived on the DMCH campus to demolish the statue have already been pushed back once forcefully by the people led by progressive doctors at the DMCH. The protest meetings everywhere took resolve to protect the statue of Dr. Nirmal, who sacrificed his life for realizing and keeping alive the dreams of Bhagat Singh, for liberation of millions of oppressed workers, peasants, dalits and minorities, for keeping the Red flag fluttering.

The people also pledged to give a fitting reply to the evil designs of BJP and Nitish Govt. CPI(ML) leaders demanded for sacking of Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, the Health Minister in Nitish Govt, and to unconditionally withdraw all false cases filed against the doctors. A district level demonstration was held in Arrah on these demands.

RYA Commemorated Martyrdom Day as Pledge Day: Inquilabi Naujawan Sabha (RYA) organised youth marches at various places in Delhi to commemorate Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh' martyrdom day on 23 March 2013. Hundreds of youth took pledge to fight for an India free of corruption and corporate loot, for equal education opportunities and dignified employment.

A Sankalp March was held in Narela from Ramdev Chawk to Lampur Morh where more than 300 youth led by RYA National General Secretary Ravi Rai along with Dharmvir Khatri, Bishan Singh, Uma Gupta and AISA activist Anmol took part. They pledged to intensify struggle to carry forward the martyrs' dream of an equitable and democratic India.

Asmita theater group and Sangwari presented revolutionary songs on the occasion while local school children performed a play. CPI(ML) District Secretary Surendra Panchal addressed the mass meeting at conclusion of the march.

A march was also organised by the youth in Wazirpur industrial area which was attended by workers of the area and students from Delhi University. In Viswas Nagar of East Delhi RYA held a march where youth among construction workers took part led by Aslam Khan and Gulab.

Uttarakhand: 23 March, martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo was commemorated in Pithoragarh by paying tributes to the martyrs and underlining the Party's role and the tasks and responsibilities of its members in furthering the political legacy of the martyrs. The meeting took pledge to transform Bhagat Singh's dream of a socialist India into a reality. Students and youth were present at the meeting in good number. Comrade Jagat Martoliya falicitated the proceedings and was the main speaker.

Statewide Demos in UP demanding the Arrest of Raja Bhaiya

CPI(ML) organised Statewide demonstration on 6th march in Uttar Pradesh demanding the immediate arrest of ex-Cabinet Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh (Raja Bhaiya) for allegedly masterminding the killing of Kunda C.O. Zia-ul-Haque. The latter was widely recognized as an honest police officer. He had clamped down on illegal mining under his administered area, had issued the list of crimes (history-sheet) of Raja Bhaiya and was investigating an incident of attack and arson against the minority community in Asthaan village near Kunda. The incident took place last year when Akhilesh Govt was assuming power.

Dalit families Attacked in Dadri Again

Dalit families again faced a brutal attack conspired by upper caste goons in Ramgarh village of Dadri (Gautam Buddha Nagar district), Greater Noida on 24 March. One of the youths still in ICU while many others are severely injured including comrade Bhuvanesh whose fingers have been chopped off. Many have head injuries. Bhuvanesh's brother Tikaram's both legs were amputated in an attack in last July by the same people. This has happened just after ten days when youth held a protest procession in front of DM, GB Nagar to criticise the inaction by the district and UP state administration for earlier attacks. They had also demanded protection for the future. But the SP-led UP Govt. has never shown any interest in protecting the dalit families of this hamlet, while the BSP local leaders play hand in gloves with same SP goons, opposing dalit families for raising their voices for land and dignity!

Ironically attempt to murder charges have been imposed on the dalit victims who themselves are seriously injured when a section of dalits backed by Gujjars (aligned with SP) attacked their houses and they tried to protect themselves and their families. The same pradhan from the Gujjar community who led the attacks on the dalits in March last year, has this time got some of his own supporters and aides among the dalit community to conduct a fresh attack.

The dynamics of these serial attacks is directly linked with the phenomenon of increased oppression of dalit castes with the land acquisition by corporates in this village who have mentored local domineering castes and goons as their henchmen to help in acquisitions.

All the incidents occurred earlier were reported to the UP Govt., NHRC and National Commission of SCs/STs. Sadly nothing substantial happened which could have stopped the serial attacks. This explicitly explains the tacit nexus of caste oppression with land grabbers and the administration.

Now what is intriguing is the fact that now instead of directly leading the attacks, the upper caste goons have been organising goons and co-conspirators from among the dalits who too have stakes in land grabs and acquisitions. One more intriguing aspect is that for the piece of panchayat land reserved for dalit families and which was grabbed by village pradhan and his henchmen, the administration have instead of taking any criminal action against the grabbers, forwarded the matter to revenue court on the recommendation of the SDM. This is clearly done to delay the matters, hence protect the grabbers, as it takes decades to resolve a dispute in revenue matters! By that time dalit families are rendered defenceless, in order to teach them a lesson for asking for their share of land and justice.

When the government, corporates, land grabbers and caste oppressors all are united against a miniscule population of Ramgarh Chamrawli, we must strive for a much wider unity and struggle by democratic forces to win over justice due to them.

Hundreds of Innocent Workers in NOIDA Continues to Face the Brunt of Attacks by UP Govt. Post-Successful All India General Strike

Comrade Shyamkishore Yadav, AICCTU Delhi State Secretary, was picked up along with sixteen other comrades by the NOIDA police in presence of DM and a posse of many administrative officials in the morning of 21 February, the second day of All India General Strike. He was not even properly aware of the incidents took place a day earlier at phase-2 in Noida as he was busy in organising workers at adjoining areas of Delhi among street vendors and domestic workers. Another 150 workers were also randomly arrested by the police in two days of the successful strike which had expressed working class solidarity and anger against the anti-people policies against the UPA Govt.

All the arrested workers and their leaders took part in peaceful strike or were not present at all on the spot, but they are arrested by UP administration to appease the industrialists lobby in an attempt to demoralise the working class who came to streets spontaneously and resolutely. They are still in jail even after more than a month. Nearly 17 criminal sections of IPC including attempt to murder, 307, have been imposed on them. The judiciary has denied them bail which is their due right, and has in fact allowed a fresh FIR to be admitted in the case, forget about quashing the false cases or taking action against the erring officials. Even High Court was approached and it only issued an order to 'hear' the case in sessions. And when the Sessions court complied with the order, a 'hearing' took place only to defer it to another date and then again to one another date. Later the district court said that the matter will again be heard in an ADJ court. What is so complicated in the eyes of judiciary is beyond anybody's comprehension: in the absence of any credible evidence of the involvement of those arrested, there is no reason why they should be denied bail!

It is crystal clear that hundreds of innocents workers are being victimised by the state at the behest of capitalists lobby which does not want wokers to stand for their due rights or for democratic struggle going on in the country. An emergency-like state is prevailing in Noida and even distribution of pamphlets is considered as crime. Many activists of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta were illegally detained by police for more than 48 hours when distributing pamphlets in support of the arrested workers. AICCTU held out protests in Delhi and Lucknow in and gave a memorandum to the UP Govt. Many Central Trade Union leaders met with district level officials but to no avail and repressive measures continue. While the workers are still fighting for their cause, it has posed greater challenge before the central trade union centres to intervene effectively in order to teach the anti-workers UP administration and corporate lobbies a befitting lesson.

Another Victim of a Witch-hunt?

The revelation that the man arrested by Delhi Police Special Cell as a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist planning a terror strike on Holi, is actually a surrendered Kashmiri militant who entered India along with his wife and child as part of the J&K Government's rehabilitation policy, once again raises serious questions about investigative practices in terrorism cases. This case is the latest in a growing list of instances that suggest that police fabricate arrests and encounters in order to claim awards and project success in counter-terror operations.

Framing former informers or surrendered militants in terror cases is not a new practice for the Delhi Police Special Cell. Not long ago, a CBI investigation revealed that two men claimed by the Special Cell as terrorists, were actually IB informers who had been framed.

Recently, a Kashmiri cricketer was arrested at Bangalore airport on charges of having a bag that had been used to carry explosives – a charge that proved to be completely false.

One of the Special Cell officers involved in the latest case, has been named by the NHRC as responsible for a 2006 fake encounter in Sonia Vihar, Delhi. The report of the magisterial probe ordered into that encounter is yet to be made public. The question is: why is an officer accused by the NHRC of a fake encounter not suspended pending the magisterial enquiry? Why is the magisterial enquiry report not public yet?

There is an attempt to project the issue as one of 'lack of coordination' between the investigative agencies of various States. But the question is not one of poor coordination or inefficiency on part of the police. The whole episode smacks of an attempt to frame an innocent man as a terrorist, in order to claim to have averted a major terror strike. Surrendered militants and informers seem to be helpless and hapless fodder for such acts of framing. Such framing and poor faith with surrendered militants and informers can, obviously, never bring us nearer to cracking real terrorist plots.

Such witch-hunt of innocents, and impunity enjoyed by police and Army officers who conduct fake encounters and fabricated cases, are symptoms of the prevailing climate of gross injustice. Such injustice can only increase the alienation of the Muslim minority and the Kashmiri people.

It is imperative that a time-bound probe establish the truth about the arrest of the surrendered militant, and that prompt punishment follow for all police officers found to have been derelict in their duty and indulged in any fabrication.

On the UN Resolution on Sri Lanka

The US-sponsored resolution passed at the UNHRC in Geneva is a token gesture rather than one intended to ensure truth and justice in the matter of genocide of Tamil people by the Sri Lankan military. Fresh evidence of the extent of this cold blooded massacre – including the custodial killing of the young son of the LTTE chief – have spurred a student movement in Tamil Nadu demanding a credible international investigation into the genocide.

The role of the Indian Government has been unprincipled and shameful. The Indian Government first took pains to ensure the dilution of the resolution – and then, when DMK walked out of the UPA alliance, the Government made a show of conciliating it by attempting to push for somewhat tougher amendments to the resolution.

The DMK and AIADMK are competing to show who is more committed to the cause of justice for the Tamils. But these parties and the TN Government have taken no measures to address the situation of the refugee camps for Tamils inside Tamilnadu itself. These camps are virtual open prisons, devoid of basic facilities and rights, but the apathy and neglect of Tamilnadu's ruling parties and Government could not be more glaring.

CPI(ML) stands in support of the ongoing student movement in Tamilnadu. No credible investigation into the genocide of Tamils, or genuine attempts at truth and reconciliation can be expected from the Sri Lankan regime. A credible, time-bound, and thoroughgoing international investigation to establish the truth and ensure justice against the perpetrators is the prerequisite for any lasting peace, reconciliation, and political solution.


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, March 22, 2013

ML Update 25 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16                          No. 13                                                                                                                             19-25 MAR 2013


Decoding Nitish Kumar's Politics of 'Adhikar'

On March 17 Nitish Kumar held an impressive show of strength in Delhi. While the rally was officially projected as a platform to raise the demand for special category status for Bihar, and by implication for all states that have been victims of persistent socio-economic backwardness, it has come to be seen as a signal of a potential political realignment in the context of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The rally talked of 'adhikar' (rights) but instead of outlining any agenda of struggle for securing it, it only hinted at political deals with the Centre. Nitish Kumar had already voted for the UPA nominee in Presidential election and had praised Chidambaram's budget and he followed up the rally with cordial meetings with the troika of Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram and Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Instead of speculating on the possibilities of political realignment, let us try and decode Nitish Kumar's rhetoric of 'adhikar' which has silently replaced his earlier 2005 keywords of 'nyay' (justice) and 'vikas' (development). In 2010 Nitish Kumar won an emphatic victory in Bihar with the people of Bihar asking him to deliver on his promise of 'nyay ke saath vikas' (development with justice). But as the government faces growing anger in Bihar for its failure and betrayal on this front, Nitish Kumar cleverly wants to shift the agenda to the issue of special category status posing it as the panacea for all that ails Bihar.

Given Bihar's reality of backwardness, the record of neglect shown by successive central governments and the insecurity and discrimination that Bihari workers and students continue to face in different parts of India, the demand for special category status for Bihar definitely has a rational basis and the CPI(ML) was the first organisation to raise this demand forcefully at the time of Bihar's bifurcation in 2000. But while the slogans of 'nyay', 'vikas' and 'adhikar' are all unexceptionable, it is Nitish Kumar's opportunist politics which has turned all these lofty words virtually into their opposites for the overwhelming majority of people of Bihar.

Development in Bihar, for instance, must begin with rapid agricultural development and that necessarily demands land redistribution and tenancy reforms and enhanced public investment in irrigation and agriculture. This is conspicuously absent in Nitish Kumar's paradigm of development, with the agenda of land reforms having been abandoned to appease the feudal forces.

Likewise, justice in Bihar has become completely skewed – the convicts of massacres are being systematically acquitted and criminals rewarded with government contracts and official patronage while the jails of Bihar remain overcrowded with people from the very sections of society that Nitish Kumar seeks to lure with terms like mahadalit, ati-pichhda and pasmanda (dalits among dalits, extremely backward castes and backward Muslims) even as Muslim youth are being routinely harassed and persecuted as terror suspects. The police and bureaucracy have become a law unto themselves and only the other day the Supreme Court had to seek an explanation from the Bihar government for the barbaric police repression on teachers protesting peacefully near the gate of Bihar Assembly.

The rhetoric of 'adhikar' has to be seen against this backdrop of growing denial of democracy within Bihar. In Nitish Kumar's scheme of things, the question of Bihar's 'adhikar' within India has been delinked from the question of the adhikar of the people of Bihar within Bihar. This became abundantly clear when during his Adhikar Yatra in 2012 the police and JD(U) goons came down heavily on contractual teachers demanding job security and wage parity even as the people everywhere confronted Nitish Kumar with their own demands forcing Nitish Kumar to abandon his yatra. Subsequently, the huge turnout at CPI(ML)'s Parivartan Rally in Patna on November 9 marked a fitting popular rebuff to the massive misuse of state machinery and resources for Nitish Kumar's 4 November Adhikar Rally.

It is significant that Nitish Kumar said not a word against corruption and corporate plunder in his 17 March Delhi address. Given the degree of corruption and corporate plunder written into the official strategy of development, any additional funds and tax or duty exemptions that Bihar or for that matter any other backward state may get under special category status, are hardly likely to reach and benefit the people.

The example of Odisha is quite relevant for Bihar – under Naveen Patnaik, Odisha is often praised as a model for the kind of development that Nitish Kumar preaches and promises. In terms of almost every indicator of socio-economic development Odisha however jostles with Bihar for the lowest rank even as the corporate giants and mining mafia make merry. After the separation of Jharkhand, Bihar may have lost the kind of mineral and forest resources that Odisha has, but it has most fertile land and abundant water resources, and a corporate-driven corruption-ridden development trajectory will make Bihar as vulnerable as Odisha.

It is also significant that Nitish Kumar did not assert the fundamental right of every student or worker from Bihar to study and work in any part of India, rather he legitimised the insult and humiliation that Bihari migrants often have to face by arguing that thanks to his government's record of development the word 'Bihari' no longer evokes any sense of shame! The rights of Bihari migrants are fundamental and inalienable and must not be made dependent on the so-called media-manufactured image of Bihar or the rate of growth of the economy in Bihar. Otherwise, special category status will become a handle to stigmatise Bihar just as the beneficiaries of reservation often continue to be stigmatised by the arrogant champions of  'merit', 'excellence' and 'efficiency' who see these qualities as hereditary virtues that must remain an upper caste preserve.

For Nitish Kumar, the rhetoric of 'special category' status is an escape route for brushing aside the bitter reality of loot and injustice; bureaucratic highhandedness and police repression, and appeasement of feudal-communal forces that has become the hallmark of his regime within Bihar. It is a political bailout package with the help of which he seeks to renegotiate his terms with the Congress and the BJP. For the people of Bihar, the battle against regional disparity, Centre's neglect and chauvinistic violence is inseparable from their battle for democracy, development and dignity within Bihar. And most importantly, the battle for Bihar's 'adhikar' is inseparable from Bihar's live and non-negotiable legacy of struggle for emancipation and transformation.

Nitish Kumar says 'special category status' is not a dole but a right but by delinking it from the all-India agenda and perspective of struggle against corruption and corporate plunder, he has already reduced it to just a bargaining chip. On 18 March 1974 the students of Bihar had gheraoed the State Assembly in Patna and launched the great movement of 1974 against corruption and autocracy. Four decades later, on 17-18 March 2013, a self-styled product of the 1974 movement was busy in Delhi striking deals with the powers that be. Bihar will surely not rest till it reaches its destination – New Bihar in New India.

Undeclared Emergency in Punjab

A platform of 17 peasants' and workers' organizations of Punjab had given a call for 'Rail Roko' protests on 6 March demanding a bonus of Rs 100 on MSP for wheat, providing the homestead plots to rural labourers as promised, waiver of pending electricity bills and provision of free motors on fields of small farmers.

On the night of the 5th itself, the police conducted raids and arrested peasants' leaders and activists wholesale. Mass arrests also took place on the 6th where peasants managed to hold protests (such mass arrests took place at Gurdaspur, Jalandhar and other places). Around 2500 peasants are now in jails. A large number of CPI(ML) members and leaders are now in jail, as are those of other Left parties. Arrested CPI(ML) leaders include SCMs Gurmeet Bakhpura, Gulzar Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Ruldu Singh, Gurjant Singh, Gurnam Bhikhi, and Gurpreet Rudeke, as well as party activists Ola Samaon, Gurpreet Kotdunna and AISA activist Harman Himmatpura. 200 CPI(ML) members are in Gurdaspur jail and 150 in Mansa jail. CPM Punjab leaders Comrades Raghvir Singh, Lal Chand, Atmaram, and others are also in jail. An ASI of Punjab Police died in Tarn Taran while raiding houses of leaders and police arrested many farmers on charges of killing the ASI. The police earlier registered the case under IPC section 304 but later amended it to 302, accusing farmers of murder. It was later cleared by the medical report that there was no injury mark on the body and the ASI died of heart attack rather than beating as claimed by police in the FIR. 

 In spite of the severe crackdown, protests have continued defying the repression. CPI(ML) activists have initiated a relay hunger strike in Mansa jail, which is likely to spread to other jails as well. On 18 March, an indefinite dharna has been called by the 17 organizations at DC offices all over Punjab demanding release of all those arrested. Also a call was given to observe the week as protest week. Effigies of Punjab Government were burned daily in various villages and towns in all districts of state. The Government under pressure released the few activists but kept the main leadership lodged illegally in jails. The effigies of Government were burnt in many villages of the four districts of Mansa, Barnala, Sangrur and Batala under leadership of CPIML. It was decided to hold dharnas outside DC offices on 18th march. This time too there was strong police arrangement. All buses were stopped kilometers away from cities to restrict protestors from reaching cities.  Every farmers or laborer looking man was being detained for questioning. The farmers and laborers were arrested in large numbers showing the situation of undeclared emergency in Punjab. Still protests happened at many places. Finally, bowing to pressure the Punjab CM has agreed to meeting leaders of agitating union leaders on 1st April and to release the activists and leaders lodged in jails.

CPI(ML) District Secretary Arrested on False Charges on the Eve of Nandigram Anniversary

As the Panchayat elections come nearer, the TMC government is trying to crush all revolutionary left opposition by hook or by crook. Police harassment, fabricating and reviving false cases against political opponents and creating an overall ambience of terror are just some well-known tactics in their arsenal. As part of this all-out attack, comrade Bipradas Chatterjee, District Secretary of East Midnapore, was picked up from his home by the police of Mahishadal P.S., who arrested and implicated him in a false case dating back to the Nandigram episode six years back. 

On the 4th of January 2007, more than two months before the fateful mass-killing at Nandigram took place, comrade Bipradas Chatterjee along with five other comrades from a CPI(M-L) investigating team were arrested and slapped with false charges. As was the order of the day during the Left Front rule. Mamata Banerjee, who managed to amass political fortunes and riding on the massive public discontent post-Nandigram, even came to power, had made election promises of withdrawing all false cases slapped by the erstwhile LF government on political activists and common people of Singur and Nandigram. But just like the perfect somersault on the 'promise' of releasing political prisoners, her government has lied on this count too. Not only that, her government is using those very same fabricated cases for the very same purpose of silencing political opposition. The ghosts of Nandigram are surely going to haunt more governments than one would have thought, in the days to come.

In protest of comrade Bipradas Chatterjee's arrest, CPI(M-L) Liberation called for a protest march on the 11th of March. The rally, led by leaders from the Central Committee, State Committee and District Committees, started from College Square and ended at Esplanade, where State Secretary comrade Partha Ghosh gave a public address. A placard at the rally summed it all up - "Down With Mamata Banerjee - betrayer of Nandigram-Singur movements ".

Progressives and Reactionaries Polarised Over Memorial for Dr. Nirmal in Darbhanga

A remarkable mass movement is underway in Darbhanga, Bihar, in which there is a struggle between people's memory and political amnesia, between a progressive vision of a people's Bihar, against a Bihar shackled in the feudal-communal mould.  

It all began when some doctors of Darbhanga Medical College decided to commemorate a remarkable alumnus of their institution –Dr. Nirmal. Nirmal Singh was a bright student, born in a middle class, backward caste peasant family in Bhojpur. He qualified for the Darbhanga Medical College by his high marks is his intermediate school exams – a rare instance where a student from any backward/dalit or oppressed backward could breach the unspoken barrier of entry to medical college.

He took on the suffocating Brahminical-feudal hegemony in the DMC hostel and administration (a feature which persists in many medical colleges in India even today). A popular student, he soon rallied progressive students around him in the fight against caste discrimination, braving several attacks on his life in the process. On one such occasion in February 1973, he was injured, abused even in hospital and jailed on false charges. Spurred by a sharp sense of the inherent injustice of the judicial process towards the oppressed communities and the poor, he returned to Sahar, Bhojpur where the CPI(ML)-led movement against feudal oppression was raging. Eventually, on 29 November 1975, Dr. Nirmal was martyred alongside CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Jauhar (Subrata Dutta) and 125 others following a 72-hour gun battle.      

This glorious legacy of Comrade Nirmal continues to inspire students and professors of Darbhanga Medical College who decided to erect a memorial and dedicate a park to honor his legacy. The Medical College administration had already accepted a proposal for installing a statue and dedicate a park in his name which was duly published in college's Souvenir and various newspapers and magazines. When Medical College administration installed a statue with active cooperation of present students and alumni on 27 Dec. 2012, it was widely welcomed by the democratic and progressive circles in the region. But BJP leaders in the town became restless and local BJP MLA demanded the health minister Ashwini Chaube and CM Nitish Kumar to remove the statue.

This is not new to this college and many statues have been installed at earlier occasions in the campus. One park is dedicated to Dr. Chakradhar Jha, one gate is in the name of two ex-students Mohan Rai and Vimla Rai, the front of the old college building has been reserved for the statue of erstwhile king of Darbhanga! And no one had ever objected to such proposals. But feudal-brahminical regressive forces are trying to obstruct a memorial of a revolutionary who sacrificed his life fighting with such forces. The BJP in ruling alliance of the state is conspiring to remove the statue and BJP Minister of Health in Bihar had announced shamelessly to remove the statue in three days! A week passed since then and no one was able to touch the statue, thanks to thousands of people who came to challenge the power-blind right reactionaries.

Dr. Ajit Kumar Chaudhary who is quite active in this struggle first received a show-cause notice from the college administration and when he led the people opposing the police attempts of removing the statue, was implicated in criminal sections along with Dr. BMP Yadav, employees' leader Yogendra Ram, one hostel employee Ramsagar Ram and 50-60 other people. Police failed to remove the statue. On fifth day, on 17 March, a massive mass meeting was held near the statue. People from across their political-social divides reached there in support. Leaders from different streams supported Dr. Ajit Kumar Chaudhary and garlanded the statue. Representatives of various social-political streams lent their support. Now the ruling parties' camp is apparently divided and confused.

Ex-minister Ashraf Fatmi said that while there is wave of support in favour of installing the martyr's statue, the Bihar govt. is disrespecting people's sentiments and is a real burden for the people.

Dr. Ajit Kumar Chaudhary said that he had started this mission with a very small team, but in face of govt. repression this has transformed into a massive mass movement. People's support is giving enormous strength and now there is no force in the world strong enough to prevent us from successfully accomplishing our task of installing the statue of martyr Dr. Nirmal. CPI(ML) leader and ex-MLA and National General Secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha Rajaram Singh said that Dr. Nirmal carried forward and lived the legacy of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh which is continuing in the martyrdoms of comrades like Mahendra Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Brajesh Mohan Thakur and Bhaiyyaram Yadav and many others even today. Bihar will never tolerate regressive forces which are trying to insult the martyrdom of Dr. Nirmal. He said that Nitish Kumar is now sitting on the lap of feudal-communal forces.

Prominent medico and founder General Secretary of Overseas Doctors Association in Britain Dr. Rajeshwar Prasad Sinha remembered his college days and his martyred friend and greeted students and teachers of the medical college saying this is a great struggle for giving the history its due place. Litterateur and ex-member of Bihar Legislative Council Prem Kumar Mani said that the forces opposing Dr. Nirmal are same who had murdered Gandhi. He added, the movement of which Dr. Nirmal was an integral part and laid his life was a movement which brought revolutionary changes in Bihar's polity and society. Now fundamental issues of Bihari society are being evaded by present chief minister Nitish Kumar who is backing reactionary feudal forces. CPI(ML) leader Arun Kumar said that rulers know it well that the statue of Dr. Nirmal will be an everlasting inspiration for the struggling poor and toiling people of the state hence they are trying to oppose him. But no one can deny that the movement starting from Darbhanga has the potential to give a new direction to the whole of Bihar. Colonel Lakshmeshwar Mishra Retd. also addressed the gathering where he strongly condemned Bihar govt. and said that people's aspirations can never be suppressed by the repressive tactics of the state. Many other speakers including teachers and students of Darbhanga Medical College also addressed the mass meeting and expressed their determination to defeat the reactionary, fascist forces and in favour of the victory of the people.

The resolutions were also passed in presence of thousands of poeple demanding withdrawal of all cases imposed on the activists and doctors of the college, dismissal of Bihar health minister, and that the government must stop defaming the martyr vanguards of the social political movements which brought progressive changes in Bihar and elsewhere.

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:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ML Update 12 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 12, 12 – 18 MARCH 2013

We are All Chavez"

"Chavez did not die, he multiplied!" "We are all Chavez!" "The struggle continues!" – chanted the huge red tide, overflowing with love and commitment, which flooded the streets of Caracas. Fittingly for a man who at times sang and danced on his weekly TV shows, the eight kilometres long funeral procession was full of music. A favourite tune was people's singer Alí Primera's "Those who die for life cannot be called dead/ From this moment on, mourning is prohibited."

Right, where is the time to mourn? The people of Venezuela know they have a protracted war ahead to fight and win, if they are to prove worthy of their dear departed "commandante".

The first of a series of battles is scheduled to be fought on 14 April, when Chavez's chosen successor, Vice President (now acting President) Nicolas Maduro confronts the opposition in presidential election. That by itself may not prove very difficult, but the real challenge will be to defeat the US design of regime change and continue the journey initiated and so far led by the departed President.

The very next day after the passing away of Hugo Chavez, the Wall Street-funded American Enterprise Institute (AEI) sponsored by the likes of the current presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski and his party Justice First issued a "Post-Chávez checklist for US policymakers." It was declared that the US must move quickly to "defend the right of Venezuelans to struggle democratically to reclaim control of their country and its future. …. Any attempt to suppress their self-determination with Chinese cash, Russian arms, Iranian terrorists, or Cuban thuggery" must be sternly met with, it added, and warned that "Syria-style repression will never be tolerated in the Americas."

It is easy to see why the US and its lackeys in Venezuela, not content with the physical absence of Chavez, are so desperate to completely erase his entire legacy from the soil of Latin America.

Not only did Chavez nationalise oil, steel, aluminium and other industries, forcing out foreign MNCs; under his guidance Venezuela in league with Cuba developed a mighty bulwark against Western hegemony -- the Bolivarian Alliance for our Americas or ALBA, which is building an alternative to the US- dominated trade with the aim of regional economic integration, and several other bodies including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States or CELAC, which comprises 33 sovereign countries in the Americas excluding USA and Canada. He maintained close cooperation with Tehran, Washington's number one enemy in the Middle East. He emerged as one of the world's most vocal critics of U.S. foreign policy, strongly condemning US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and opposing Israel's attack on Gaza.

The militant opposition to imperialism went hand in hand – and this was what panicked the Empire even more – with a massive exercise in building a radical alternative. Chavez was probably the most important leader in the past quarter century to have reclaimed and re-popularise the vision of socialism, reinterpreting it as a new collective life in which equality, freedom, and real and deep democracy reign, and in which the common people plays the role of protagonist. His idea was to take existing reality as the point of departure and consciously create conditions for changing it. In the political platform on which he sought re-election last year, Chavez said, "We shouldn't let ourselves be deceived: the social and economic system that still prevails in Venezuela is a capitalist and rentier system" while "socialism has just begun to impose on us its own internal dynamics." And he added, "In order to move towards socialism, we need a people's power capable of disarticulating the oppression, exploitation and domination plots that still exist in the Venezuelan society."

Hugo Chavez fought and died for life – for a decent, humane life on earth. With his words and actions, the great communicator fired the imagination of the masses in his country and continent and the reverberations were felt all over the world. The people of India will always draw inspiration from him and, together with the people of the world, strive to make his magnificent dreams come true. Long live Hugo Chavez!

International Women's Day Protests

On the occasion of International Women's Day this year, protests were held all over the country demanding implementation of the Verma Committee recommendations and especially the enactment of an effective law against rape and sexual violence.

In Delhi, women's groups held a joint rally from Mandi House to Parliament Street, reflecting the spirit of the ongoing movement against rape following the December 16 gangrape. Participant organisations included AIDWA, AIPWA, CWDS, Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, FORCES, Jagori, JWP, NFIW, Nirantar, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangthan, Purogami Mahila Sangthan, Saheli, Swastik Mahila Samiti, and YWCA of Delhi, as well as student groups including AISA and students from various DU colleges, JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia. At Parliament Street, a protest meeting was held, which was addressed by women's movement activists including Sudha Sundararaman of AIDWA and Kavita Krishnan of AIPWA. The programme was conducted by Sehba Farooqui of AIDWA. On the presidium, AIPWA was represented by Sucheta De, one of the leading figures of the Delhi anti-rape protests. Addressing the protestors, Kavita saluted the century of women workers' struggles which were being commemorated on International Women's Day. She hailed the spirit of the women resisting POSCO at Odisha, who on the eve of Women's Day had been severely lathicharged and booked for criminal offences when some of them stripped their clothes off in protest against land grab. She hailed the women of Koodankulam protesting against the nuclear project. She demanded justice for the women of Kashmir and North East and for Soni Sori, subjected to rape by security forces and the police. She commented on the fact that both the Government and the main Opposition party, BJP, were united in the agenda of diluting and subverting the Verma Committee recommendations and introducing anti-women provisions in the rape law. She pointed out that the Government's ordinance as well as the Bill prepared by the Standing Committee headed by BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu had identical provisions, recommending that men be allowed to accuse women of rape; that the age of consent be raised from 16 to 18; retaining the protective shields for public servants and army officers accused of rape; refusal to amend AFSPA or recognise marital rape. Only the relentless pressure from the protests on the street and efforts of the women's movement, had forced the Government to reconsider the move to make the accused in the rape law 'gender neutral' and the move to raise the age of consent. Women are not going around raping or assaulting men, so why should they be accused of sexual assault? She pointed out that raising the age of consent would make young teenage boys branded as rapists even for consensual sexual activity with girls of the same age. She demanded strict provisions for errant police officers to ensure accountability for the police. Reminding of the rapes in Kunan Poshpora, and of Thangjam Manorama and countless others in conflict areas, she demanded repeal of AFSPA. She demanded that the offensive provisions of exemption of marital rape be removed from the rape law, since wives were not sexual property of men. She pointed out that death penalty for rape would in no way make women more secure, since it would only provide rapists with an incentive to kill their victims. She saluted the spirit of the Delhi December 16 braveheart who had lit the torch of struggle that had revitalised the movement against rape and sexual violence in India and across the world, and demanded that the Government and Parliament should respect her memory, not with lip service but with a gender-just law based on the Verma panel recommendations.

In Bihar, protests were held by AIPWA at district HQs all over the state, demanding a law based on JVC recommendations; reversal of the Nitish Govt's alcohol promotion policy, and demanding withdrawal of suicide charges against Irom Sharmila and scrapping of AFSPA. In Patna, a large procession of women from rural and urban Patna marched to the Bihar Assembly and held a protest meeting there. AISA and RYA also held a march from the Magadh Mahila College in which many women and men students participated, demanding 'Freedom without fear'. On the same day, powerful protests were held in Siwan, Buxar, Bhojpur and other districts of Bihar.

In Kolkata, women workers along with women, student and youth activists in large numbers participated in the women's day rally organised by AIPWA state committee, West Bengal. Decorated with posters, placards, flags, and banners and resonating with slogans against gender violence and demands of women workers, the spirited rally started off from College Square and ended near the Sealdah railway station. Women workers from unorganised sectors like beedi-rolling, domestic work, zari work, ASHA and mid-day meal, construction sector participated from five districts. Following the rally a street cultural protest was held at Sealdah.

In Andhra Pradesh, AIPWA held a dharna at Kakinada in front of the collector's office; a protest march in Sathupalli – mandal headquarters of Khammam district; a dharna at Ananthapuram before collector's office; a protest meeting at Vijaywada; and a dharna by mid-day meal workers at Nuziveedu at the Revenue divisional office.

In Uttarakhand, protests were held by AISA and AIPWA at many places demanding freedom without fear and implementation of the Justice Verma recommendations as well as punishment for the police officers responsible for the mass rape of Uttarakhand statehood movement protestors at Muzaffarnagar in 1994. At Pithoragarh, AISA held a seminar at the Municipality Hall, followed by burning a copy of the Government's ordinance in protest against its provisions of gender-neutrality of the accused. The seminar, chaired by women's activist Namrata Bora, was addressed by AIPWA activist Sheela Punetha, AISA's Hemant Khati, CPI(ML) District Secretary Jagat Martoliya, and many others. In Bhikyasain, the ASHA workers' union affiliated to AICCTU and AIPWA held a protest march in the marketplace and held a protest meeting which was addressed among others by CPI(ML) leader Purushottam Sharma. AISA held a seminar at Rudrapur, where students read an article on the subject of sexual violence and capitalism, and AISA activist Ruby Bharadwaj led a discussion on the issue. CPI(ML) leader KK Bora also addressed the gathering and the seminar was conducted by Lalit Matiyali. Journalism students at the Garhwal University at Srinagar held a seminar in which CPI(ML) and AISA activists participated. CPI(ML)'s Indresh Maikhuri and Kuldeep Sailani of AISA addressed the seminar.

In Bohisar (in Dahisar of Mumbai, Maharashtra), 8th March was observed by women of many villages in the Tarapur gram panchayat. Women gathered at the community hall of Dalits and held a meeting there. The meeting was presided by Comrade Leela Dubla of CPI(ML)'s Jambhalpada unit, and was addressed by many CPI(ML) activists. Following the meeting, a women who had shared her experience of domestic violence, was inspired to go to the police station with the comrades and file a complaint against her abusive husband.

In Ranchi, AIPWA held a rally to Albert Ekka Chowk where a protest meeting was held demanding 'Freedom without fear', implementation of Justice Verma recommendations including an effective law against all forms of rape and sexual violence, dignity and proper remuneration of women workers and domestic workers; a policy for women in Jharkhand. The protest meeting began with a rousing women's movement song which said, "A new star shines on the world's map, half the earth and half the sky is ours!" AIPWA State Secretary Sunita, President Gunni Oraon, Ranchi district Vice President Shanti Sen, and JSM's Anil Anshuman addressed the gathering. AIPWA secretary Sarojini Bisht conducted the meeting. JSM's Prerna team convenor and AIPWA leader Soni Tiriya rendered inspiring songs.

In Ruabandha Sector of Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, AIPWA held a meeting on the theme of women's freedom, safety and rights, demanding implementation of the JVC report and demanding release of Soni Sori and punishment of the police officers and Salwa Judum leaders accused of rape.

AIPWA and Mahila Mukti Morcha held a dharna at Ghadi Chowk, Supela in Bhilai, in which contract worker women participated.

Jan Pratirodh Rally in Madhubani

A people's protest rally was held at Madhubani demanding release of all the 135 people arrested in the wake of the October 12-13 police firing. CPI(ML) GS Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, Retd Colonel Lakshmeshwar Mishra, SJD(D) State leader and ex-MLA of Phulparas Ramkumar Yadav, CPI(ML) CCM Dhirendra Jha addressed the rally. The rally was chaired by CPI(ML)'s Madhubani Secretary Jitendra Kumar.

Crackdown on Peasants in Punjab

A platform of 17 peasants' and workers' organizations had given a call for protests at district headquarters on 6 March demanding increase of MSP for wheat. On the night of the 5th itself, the police conducted raids and arrested peasants' leaders and activists wholesale. Mass arrests also took place on the 6th where peasants managed to hold protests (such mass arrests took place at Gurdaspur, Jalandhar and other places). Around 2500 peasants are now in jails. A large number of CPI(ML) members and leaders are now in jail, as are those of other Left parties. Arrested CPI(ML) leaders include SCMs Gurmeet Bakhpura, Gulzar Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Ruldu Singh, Gurjant Singh, Gurnam Bhikhi, and Gurpreet Rudeke, as well as party activists Ola Samaon, Gurpreet Kotdunna and AISA activist Harman Himmatpura. 200 CPI(ML) members are in Gurdaspur jail and 150 in Mansa jail. CPM Punjab leaders Comrades Raghvir Singh, Lal Chand, Atmaram, and others are also in jail.

In spite of the severe crackdown, protests have continued defying the repression. While effigies have been burnt in villages and towns, CPI(ML) activists have initiated a relay hunger strike in Mansa jail, which is likely to spread to other jails as well. On 18 March, an indefinite dharna has been called by the 17 organisations at DC offices all over Punjab demanding release of all those arrested. The Supreme Court has taken note of Punjab police brutality against a woman at Tarn Taran. Such frequent mass arrests to muzzle protests in Punjab is another instance of the highhandedness of the Punjab police and Badal Government.

Statewide Protests in Bihar against Teachers' Repression and Acquittal of Massacre Accused

The CPI(ML) held statewide protests on 6th March in Bihar against the severe crackdown on teachers' protests at Patna, which was termed by the Supreme Court as another Jalianwala Bagh.

Protests and agitations were held at Patna, Arrah, Siwan, Jahanabad, Arwal, Gaya, Darbhanga, Patna rural and Muzaffarpur among some other district head quarters. Effigy of Nitish Kumar–led Bihar Govt was burnt in these protests. At Patna a march was held from JP Chowk to Station roundabout. The protests demanded Nitish Govt's resignation, equal pay for equal work, and demanded from the State Govt to accept the demands of the agitating teachers. The march was led by CPI(ML)'s Central Committee member Comrade KD Yadav, AIALA's General Secretary Comrade Dhirendra Jha, State's Standing Committee member Comrade Santosh Sahar, AIPWA's Comrade Sashi Yadav, AISA leader Abhyuday, RYA's National President Amarjit Kushwaha among others.

At the meeting Comrade Dhirendra Jha declared that "the CPI(ML) will fully support the bandh called by teachers' organisations next day (7 March)." He said that the barbaric manner in which the Nitish Govt went after the teachers who were sitting on hunger strike since 21 February and then again the brutality on teachers' protest demonstration the next day, clearly shows that the Nitish Govt is acutely insensitive to education and educators, and that it has degenerated completely into a police state. Education in Bihar has slumped further and all lies of the Govt stands exposed. One can easily imagine the real condition of education in a State where a teachers' movement is repressed in such a high-handed manner.

Meanwhile, protesting students too have been subjected to more of the same repression by the Bihar police. Effigies of the government were burnt at Patna as well as in other districts. CPI(ML) and AISA-RYA hit the streets of Patna on 7 March in support of the Bihar Bandh called by teachers' organizations and courted arrest. Comrades Santosh Sahar, Abhyuday, RYA's State Secretary Navin, CPI(ML) leaders Murtaza Ali, Ram Kalyan Singh, Subhash, Dharmendra, AISA leaders Markandeya Pathak, Sudhir Kumar, Neetu, Divya Gautam, Jasam's Santosh Jha etc. courted arrest. Several leaders of the Parivantankari Sikshak Sangh were also arrested. At Hilsa also 15 AISA-RYA activists were arrested. The bandh supporters led by AISA-RYA and CPI(ML) leaders blocked the Dak Bunglow Crossing. At Siwan, RYA and AISA jointly held a rally led by Amarjeet Kushwaha and blockaded the roads to effect the bandh.

The Bihar State Primary Teachers' Association (Gope Faction) affiliated with CPI(ML) and Bihar Panchayat and Town Basic Education Association and Newly Appointed Teachers' Association held a march in Patna.

Protests were held all over Bihar against the Bihar HC's acquittal of all convicts in the Nagari massacre case of 1998.

Jadavpur University Seminar on Gender Violence

The All India Students' Association (AISA) and the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) jointly organized a one-day seminar on March 1 on the topic of gender violence and the ongoing countrywide women's movement demanding 'Freedom without Fear'. AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan, Professors Ranjita Biswas, Samantak Das and Saswati Ghosh, Poet Nabarun Bhattacharya and Anganwadi worker Selina Khatun (also the sister of a rape survivor from Jagachha) addressed the 150 odd audience at Jadavpur University's Vivekananda Hall. How the central government's hastily-issued Ordinance - purported to check gender violence - blatantly omits the progressive and radical bits from the Justice Verma Committee (JVC) recommendations and instead brings in additional changes that subvert the basic spirit of JVC recommendations (upholding women's autonomy over their bodies) was discussed at length. Kavita shared her first-hand experience of the massive public protests in Delhi and the ensuing movement with the call of 'Bekhauf Azadi'. Selina shared her continuing harrowing experience at the Jagachha police station trying to get the cops to book the culprit (more than a year after the attack) and fighting reinstatement of the ASI who was earlier suspended for not registering the victim's complaint.

The students' round-table session and the post-seminar interaction session with the audience was lively and raised various issues which are at the forefront of the women's question in India today.


Comrade Thakuri Ram: Comrade Thakuri Ram, born in a landless labouring family  in Bhadaula village under Kaimur district in Bihar, passed away on 22nd February 2013 at the age of 76. From a very early age he started challenging the feudal forces in his village. He became a Party member in 1975 having met the comrades involved in revolutionary struggles in Bhojpur. Since then he continued as active Party member. Even during setbacks and repression he courageously stood firm. Very recently during the two-day Nation-wide strike of 20-21 February 2013, he played an active role in ensuring Bihar Bandh called by the CPI(ML). He participated in the 20th February bandh and was met the last time by other Party comrades. A Sankalp meeting was organised on 7th march to keep alive his memory.

Comrade Markandeya: Comrade Markandeya, who had been a Party member in Khanawn village under Bhabhua block for last 20 years, was always in the forefront in land struggles against zamindars and never missed any Party programme, passed away on 19 February 2013 due to illness at the age of 65.

CPI(ML) shares the grief of his family and comrades. Red salute to Comrade Markandeya.


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: