A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 16, No. 17, 16 – 22 APRIL 2013
Expose the Charade of Nitish Kumar's 'Anti-Modi' Posturing
Nitish Kumar conveniently claims that Vajpayee was a genuinely secular and inclusive leader, who upbraided Modi for failing to uphold Rajdharma in 2002. Can the country forget, though, that Vajpayee himself, following the Sangh-scripted Rajdharma, looked benignly on when the minorities of Gujarat were being massacred? Nitish Kumar, who remained hand-in-glove with the BJP, cannot shed the taint of the innocent blood spilt by the Modi Government in 2002. Claims of the NDA Government upholding 'Rajdharma' are nothing but a fig-leaf that fails to hide Vajpayee's and Nitish's shameless collusion in the Gujarat massacre.
For well over a decade, Nitish Kumar has been a staunch ally of the BJP, while Modi has been one of the most prominent icons of the same BJP. Nitish himself has appeared on public platforms in great camaraderie with Modi. Why, then, is Nitish shy of acknowledging the bond with Modi in Bihar? In Bihar, Nitish feels compelled to project an artificial divide between the BJP-NDA and Modi, to avoid being bracketed with communal forces. And therefore Nitish peddles the fiction that 'BJP is secular but Modi is communal.' Ironically, Nitish in his latest speech, implied that Advani would be more acceptable than Modi as an NDA candidate for PM! Advani's own record – he continues to be a key accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case – is conveniently forgotten by Nitish.
Nitish's anti-Modi posturing cannot wish away the fact that Nitish's Government has calculatedly allowed the feudal and communal forces and their most aggressive representative, the BJP, the most fertile grounds to flourish. When Nitish came to power, one of his first actions was to wind up the Amir Das Commission that was probing the links of BJP-JDU leaders to the Ranveer Sena, architect of several feudal-communal massacres in Bihar. In Forbesganj, a virulently communalised police force, patronised by BJP leaders, unleashed brutal atrocities and firing on poor Muslims resisting land grab.
Nitish's top police personnel looked on after the killing of Brahmeshwar Singh as Ranveer Sena supporters unleashed violence on Dalit students and indulged in arson and looting in Ara and Patna. Bihar's DGP justified the police inaction, stating that had Ranveer Sena supporters not been allowed to vent their anger, the violence might have spread across the State! In allowing Ranveer Sena violence a free run, was Nitish Kumar not following in the footsteps of Modi's model of genocidal governance that Gujarat experienced in 2002?
Nitish Kumar backtracked on the question of land reforms in Bihar: again, proving his loyalty to the feudal forces who are the mainstay of the BJP-JDU mass base. Darbhanga has emerged as the new centre of minority witch-hunt in the country: with the Bihar CM silent on the arrest and torture of minority youth from the State on flimsy and fabricated charges of terror. In Nitish's Bihar, BJP's communal assertion has grown by leaps and bounds, unfettered by the Nitish Governmment.
Pro-Nitish ideologues have attempted to manufacture a difference between Nitish's and Modi's models of governance. In reality, there is much that both models have in common: both are darlings of the corporate world, both represent an aggressive feudal-communal and anti-poor agenda in the guise of 'development' and the 'asmita' (identity/pride) of the State they rule. Nitish attempted to mask his essential commitment to the feudal-communal forces with his 'mahadalit' and ' ati-pichhda' (extremely backward castes) posturing; today, ironically, Modi is also tacitly projecting his 'EBC' identity as a foil for his communal brand image.
In Bihar, it is the CPI(ML) which has boldly resisted the growing BJP assertion and taken the communal-feudal agenda head on. Be it the assault on minorities at Forbesganj or Dalit students at Ara, the witch-hunt of minorities at Darbhanga or the question of land reforms, parties like the RJD and LJP have been marked by abject surrender and pandering to communal-feudal sentiment, while the CPI(ML) has been at the forefront of resistance. At this juncture, the Left's task must be to expose Nitish Kumar's hollowness of 'secular' posturing and Modi's 'development' mask alike, and spearhead a genuine resistance to communalism and pro-corporate policies.
If and when Nitish Kumar and the BJP will actually part ways is a matter of speculation. If they do, it will be due to pragmatic political calculations on the part of Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar is aware that real life has utterly exposed the bitter truth of his promised 'development with justice' – his rule has now become notorious for 'injustice with loot'. He is therefore desperately seeking a new plank to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Bihar – 'special category state' and 'Narendra Modi' are the new escape routes he is seeking to evade accountability on the promises of development and justice. We must not allow Nitish Kumar this 'emergency exit' and hold him accountable for all his acts of opportunism and betrayal.
TMC Terror in West Bengal
At Presidency, TMC cadre armed with weapons not only ransacked the college and beat up students and teachers, they also threatened women students with rape. Mamata Banerjee is yet to take responsibility for the violence by her party's cadre. Instead, a TMC student wing leader has registered a case against one student and one former student of Presidency.
The West Bengal Governor too has displayed blatantly partisan behaviour. He failed to chide the State Government either for the custodial killing of Sudipto Gupta or for the attack on Presidency University. While personally apologising for the Presidency violence, he took it upon himself to assure students of the CM's anguish. However, the Governor expressed disproportionate condemnation at a protest by CPI(M) cadre in Delhi during Mamata Banerjee's visit to the Planning Commission, in which the West Bengal Finance Minister was heckled and manhandled by some of the protestors who were demanding justice for Sudipto and were angry at the CM's remark dismissing the custodial killing as a 'petty matter'.
The Governor chose to declare this incident to be an 'unprecedented' and 'premeditated' attack on elected representatives, and a 'blot on India's democratic values'. There is no evidence that the incident was premeditated. On the contrary, it seems that the CM and her Ministers chose to defy the advice of the police to enter the Planning Commission by car through an alternative gate; and instead alighted from the car to deliberately confront the protestors. While the incident involving Finance Minister Amit Mitra was avoidable and unfortunate, the footage shows that it is mainly unarmed women workers who confronted Mitra. The Governor's claim that the protestors were armed does not appear to be borne out by facts.
The question then arises: why does the Governor see a threat to democracy in the anger of grieving protestors, but fail to see custodial killings of student activists and assaults on educational institutions and offices of rival parties as a 'blot on democratic values'?
The entire spectrum of democratic and Left voices is now at the receiving end of all-out attacks by the ruling TMC in West Bengal. However, West Bengal cannot forget that the CPI(M) too is complicit in the political culture of eliminating rival activists. Abdul Halim, a young activist and former SFI leader who had left the CPI(M) in Burdwan district to join CPI(ML), was brutally attacked and eventually killed by CPI(M) cadre in the 1990s. During the Singur agitation a young woman activist Tapasi Malik was raped and killed, again by CPI(M) cadre. Violence on campuses by SFI against rival student groups was rampant during CPI(M) rule.
The struggle in WB now, therefore, is not a struggle for restoration of a past order of things, but a struggle to get rid of the entrenched culture of political violence and assaults on democracy. CPI(ML) and its mass organisations have arisen in defence of democracy in West Bengal, and are at the forefront of the protests, alongside progressive intellectuals, students, and activists.
The Call of April 22, 2013
Carry Forward the Achievements of the 9th Congress
On the eve of the Congress we lost Comrade Gangaram Kol, General Secretary of our tea garden workers' union in Assam and a popular and resolute leader of the people and the Party. Powerful protests organised by the Party and supported widely by the people and various opposition forces forced the Assam Govt to order a CBI probe into the murder. Comrades of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts stayed back to carry on the agitation. While the Congress was on, news came from Karbi Anglong of the passing of Comrade Monsing Bongrung, President of the KANKIS in Langsomepi Block, and the house paid him homage. And on 3rd April evening we lost one of our delegates from Siwan district of Bihar. Comrade Ghugli Prasad, member of Siwan District Committee of the Party and popular leader of the rural poor in the district, succumbed to cardiac arrest and the entire Congress bade him a solemn farewell as the comrades of Siwan had to leave the Congress midway to organise the funeral of their beloved comrade. The grief caused by the loss of these comrades strengthened the resolve of the Congress and the Party.
The 9th Congress paid glowing tributes to all our martyrs and departed leaders and reiterated its resolve to fight for the release of all Party leaders and members who are imprisoned in various jails of Bihar and Jharkhand. Comrades Shah Chand, BN Singh, and Pradip Vishwakarma who are currently lodged in jails in Bihar and Jharkhand, sent inspiring messages to the Congress. The Congress brought to the fore the rich experiences of ongoing struggles led by our comrades on a variety of issues and in newer areas. The spirited participation of large number of young delegates – for many of whom this was the first opportunity to attend a Party Congress – indicated the potential of a new generation of revolutionary activists. Likewise, the participation of women delegates in the Congress deliberations left a noteworthy impact. The presence and participation of veteran comrades who defied age and health factors left an inspiring imprint.
The presence of leading comrades from various AILC constituents marked the growing understanding and cooperation within AILC even as the inaugural session stressed the need for a new model of broad-based and fighting unity of the Left and development of closer ties of cooperation between the Left and various adivasi streams in Jharkhand in anti-corporate anti-displacement struggles. The presence of fraternal delegations from Nepal, Bangladesh and Australia and messages of greetings received from Venezuela, France, US, Philippines and Sri Lanka struggle brought home the renewed appeal of socialist imagination in the era of deepening crisis of global capitalism.
The Congress has called upon the entire Party to take the lead in building and spearheading popular struggles over various democratic demands of the people and give a fitting rebuff to the growing corporate-fascist clamour in the country to make Narendra Modi India's next PM and rob the people of all their resources and rights. The fact that Modi has been allowed to get away with the Gujarat genocide and emerge as a corporate darling by riding roughshod on the aspirations and rights of the people of Gujarat despite a decade of UPA rule at the Centre makes it amply clear that the UPA is no answer to Modi. Nor can Nitish Kumar claim to provide an alternative having been hand in glove with Modi's party since the inception of NDA. It is height of opportunism to claim to fight Modi while sharing power with his party in Bihar and serving the communal and feudal agenda embodied by the BJP. While targeting the NDA and UPA we will also boldly expose the opportunism and betrayal of regional parties in power. The Left movement must vigorously oppose the TMC in West Bengal, JD(U) in Bihar, SP in UP, BJD in Odisha and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.
We must understand that Modi has not dropped from the sky, he has grown precisely on the economic and political soil cultivated by our ruling classes; he is the most aggressive face of the pro-corporate anti-people policies imposed on us by NDA-UPA coalitions at the behest of US imperialism. Modi can therefore never be weakened or defeated without a rollback of the present policies that fatten corporate coffers while depriving and dispossessing the people. The present juncture therefore calls upon us to carry forward the battle against corruption and corporate plunder and for democracy and people's rights over national resources. CPI(ML) must increase its strength and expand its role and initiative at this juncture to emerge as the most powerful voice of popular assertion, at the helm of a whole range of class and mass struggles of various sections of the Indian people.
The Party will have to face major electoral battles in the coming months. Beginning with the Assembly elections in Karnataka and panchayat elections in West Bengal and Punjab, the forthcoming electoral battles will include elections to several State Assemblies as well as the Lok Sabha. The Party must seize this opportunity to boldly raise the voice of the people and strengthen the people's movement by all means. Undeterred by the electoral reverses suffered in 2009 and 2010, the Party exhibited its growing strength and determination through powerful mobilisation in political struggles. And now the 9th Congress has demonstrated the growing organisational capacity and political maturity of the Party. Every member and every branch of the Party contributed to the success of the 9th Congress. The increased strength and resolve of the Party must now lead to an improved performance in electoral battles too.
Armed with the achievements of the 9th Party Congress, we must now once again mobilise the entire Party and the revolutionary masses, strengthen and streamline the Party organisation on every level and intensify the movement on every front.
Red Salute to all our Great Martyrs and Departed Leaders!
Let us Give our Best for Bigger Victories in the Coming Battles!
Central Committee, CPI(ML), 22 April 2013
Commute DS Bhullar's Death Sentence
Abolish Death Penalty
The Supreme Court verdict rejecting the plea for commutation of death sentence for DS Bhullar is most unfortunate. The case against DS Bhullar rested almost wholly on custodial confession. In 2002, when the majority bench of the SC upheld the death penalty for him, Justice Shah in his minority judgement had actually argued for acquittal, on the grounds that custodial confession was inadmissible as evidence. In a case where even guilt is in such doubt, there can be no justification for the death penalty.
In the past the Supreme Court has held that long delay in carrying out the sentence could be grounds for commutation of the sentence of death into life imprisonment. However, the Supreme Court this time has held otherwise. In doing so, the apex court, instead of judging the matter on the grounds of principles of justice, has instead invoked the growth of terrorism "in recent years." How can a matter of principle be subject to change on the grounds of subjective opinions and assertions of judges?
The SC has also chosen to make comments against human rights activists, accusing them of raising "the bogey of human rights." In the case of Bhullar, it was a judge of the Supreme Court, not a human rights activist, who had called even his conviction into doubt on the grounds of insufficient evidence! If the Supreme Court considers 'human rights' as a 'bogey', which institution is there to check the state from riding roughshod on human rights?
Last year, 14 retired judges wrote to the President of India, admitting that the Supreme Court had wrongly awarded the death sentence to 13 people. It is unacceptable in a democracy to risk such grave miscarriage of justice. Moreover, it is overwhelmingly those from marginalised sections of society who face the death penalty: offenders from privileged sections are rarely subjected to such punishment.
In the interests of justice, CPI(ML) demands that DS Bhullar's sentence should be commuted. In the light of the inconsistency and bias in awarding of death sentence and grave errors in this regard admitted by retired judges of the Supreme Court, CPI(ML) supports the growing demand that India abolish the death penalty or at least honour the UN resolution to uphold a moratorium on death penalty with a view to its eventual abolition.
Excerpts from PUCL Statement on SC Verdict
on Bhullar's Mercy Petition
The recent judgment of the Supreme Court rejecting the mercy petition of Devender Singh Bhullar is shocking. The Court has remarked that human rights activists have failed in their persistent attempt to persuade the Central Govt. to abolish death penalty because "In recent years the crime scenario has changed all over the world" and that " monster of terrorism has spread its tentacles in most of the countries". The Court relied in this context on the case of 'Kartar Singh Vs. State of Punjab (1994) 3 Sec 569' which upheld the validity of 'TADA'. However, unfortunately the Court failed to appreciate that in spite of Court's approval of TADA, the Central Government had to withdraw it soon after because this law had turned out to be unjust and counter-productive. And Bhullar was convicted under this unjust and lawless law!
The remarks of the Court that "It is paradoxical that the people who do not show any mercy or compassion for others plead for mercy" and that "many others join the band wagon to espouse the cause of terrorists involved in gruesome killings and mass murder of innocent civilians and raise the bogey of human rights" are very disturbing. Filing petition U/s 72 of the Constitution by a death convict for reprieve/mercy is a constitutional right which is available to all and there is nothing paradoxical in availing a constitutional right.
So far as the remark about the 'bogey of human rights' is concerned' one of the reasons for the demand of the human rights activists for abolition of death penalty is about possibility of error in judicial pronouncements. The five judges bench of the Supreme court itself, in the matter of 'Kehar Singh Vs. U.O.I : AIR 1989 SC 653' has quoted: "The administration of justice by the Courts is not necessarily always wise". Therefore in such an uncertain situation involving the issue of life and death of a person, the punishment of 'death penalty 'is considered totally undesirable. Such generalized remarks by the Court casting aspersions on the human rights activists are totally uncalled for and unwarranted. The human rights movement in the country has rendered great service to the nation and it is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has passed such remarks against it. It is hoped that the Court will review its judgment giving relief to Bhullar and expunge the un-necessary remarks regarding human-rights activists.
ND Pancholi, President, PUCL
Welcome Nicolas Maduro's Victory in Venezuela
CPI(ML) welcomes the victory of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela's Presidential polls. In the challenging times ahead, we are hopeful and confident that the Venezuelan people will successfully defend and safeguard Hugo Chavez's legacy of the Bolivarian Revolution and defeat all attempts by imperialist forces to destabilise it.
Odisha BDO Makes a Sexist Remark Against Women Protestors, Police Out to Arrest AIPWA Activist For Raising Voice of Protest
On 8th April, AIPWA's Odisha Secretary Sabita Baraj along with 60 women activists of Rajkanika block, went to the local block office to protest regarding several local issues on the 'grievance day' declared by the local administration and Government. When they reached the Block office they found the gate closed, forcing them to wait outside in the severe heat. After two hours, the Block gate was opened by a peon and all the activist asked the BDO (block development officer) why the gate was closed on 'grievance day'? The BDO told them, "Being women how can you dare to ask this question?" The women strongly protested this sexist comment by the BDO, and Comrade Sabita filed an FIR against the BDO. After four hours the BDO filed cases against all the women activists. But the police took no action against the BDO, and instead attempted to arrest Sabita Baraj and the other women activists based on the delayed FIR filed by the BDO. On 11th April, 300 women activists of AIPWA held a protest meeting which was addressed by AIPWA activists as well as CPI(ML) state committee member Bidhan Das. The police continues to conduct raids on the homes of CPI(ML) and AIPWA activists, searching for Sabita Baraj.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org