Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ML Update 27 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16             No. 27                                                                     25 JUN- 1 JUL 2013

Uttarakhand's Himalayan Tragedy:

Natural Disaster of Man-Made Origin

The unusually high rainfall and flash floods devastating the Uttarakhand region have cost lives that are yet to be fully counted. Thousands of local people, pilgrims and tourists still await rescue even as the heroic rescue efforts by Armed forces, and relief efforts by local people who are putting aside their own adversity to help others in distress, continue. As we go to press, one rescue helicopter has crashed, tragically killing several people including 8 armed forces personnel. 

At the same time, India's ruling class politics has cut a sorry figure, with a sordid drama of one-upmanship. The macho boasts made by Narendra Modi's spin doctors of 'rescuing 15000 Gujaratis' are not only unsubstantiated, they stand in stark contrast to the modesty of those on the ground who are truly risking lives to save people, without unseemly boasts of body-counts. They are also a shameful display of regionalism at a time when people's concerns for the disaster-affected are overcoming boundaries of states and nations. The helicopter trips by various political 'VIPs' and photo ops by Congress and UPA leaders 'flagging off' relief trucks are no less unseemly and shameful.   

The inescapable fact of the matter is that both the BJP and the Congress that have ruled Uttarakhand and the Centre are implicated in this disaster. To call it a 'natural' disaster is only a half-truth. The unfolding tragedy of Himalayan proportions has been caused by decades of criminal policies of plundering hills and rivers in the name of 'development'.

Environmentalists and people of Uttarakhand have pointed out time and again that the Himalayas are young mountains, prone to high intensity rainfall events, cloud bursts, flash floods, and landslides. The rivers in the region are silt-laden and capable of great destruction. Yet the model of 'development' imposed on the State – riding rough-shod over the struggles of the local people – has been one of hundreds of hydro-electric projects, big dams, illegal sand mining in river beds, deforestation, unregulated tourism, indiscriminate real estate activity and urbanisation on mountainsides and river-beds in the absence of any zoning laws, and indiscriminate blasting of mountains for roadways. All this has happened without any assessment of the carrying capacity of the region's delicate environment. And all this brutal ravaging has rendered 'nature' less able to cope with cloudbursts and rainfall.

Those who have raised environmental concerns have been derided and branded as 'anti-development.' Resistance to environmental regulations has been guided, not by the purported concern for local people's development, but by the powerful public and private sector hydel power and real estate contractors whose interests are threatened by regulations. One glaring fact is the failure to issue a timely warning against the disaster, and the delay in beginning effective rescue operations. In spite of disaster after disaster, India is yet to invest in proper mechanisms to predict disasters and cope with disasters.

The Uttarakhand CM has pooh-poohed the criticisms linking the disaster with the development policy of the State, claiming that all projects commissioned by his predecessor governments as well as in his tenure, enjoyed the approval of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The CM's claims are belied by the facts. A CAG report has pointed out that Uttarakhand's disaster management authority formed in 2007 did not hold even a single meeting till date, and had warned that the 53 hydel power projects proposed on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers would damage the mountains, dry up the riverbeds, and increase chances of flash floods. The CAG report was flouted – and there are now around 680 dams in various stages of commissioning, construction, or planning in Uttarakhand. The CM has claimed that the dams have actually helped to control the floods – but this claim is yet to be substantiated. Instead, there are reports from some areas – such as Srinagar town and Rudraprayag – that release of water from hydropower projects, along with the illegally dumped muck in the river beds resulting in diversion of the river course, contributed to the force of the disaster.

Moreover, the State Government stubbornly refused to learn lessons from past disasters. Just last year, when Uttarkashi witnessed devastation due to flash floods, the State's Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre report had recommended legislation to "strictly regulate developmental initiatives in close vicinity of streams and rivers." Needless to say, no steps have been taken in this direction. Similarly, following landslides in Rudraprayag last year, the State's DMMC had recommended a ban on the use of explosives in the fragile Himalayan terrain for infrastructure developmental works. In spite of this, the use of explosives is rampant. Reports from the ground by CPI(ML) activists indicate that even now, in the midst of the disaster, the Border Roads Organisation is using explosives to clear the roads blocked by landslides. The possibility of the extreme climate events being linked to climate change is also strong – and calls for urgent investigation and corrective action.  

While media attention and that of the ruling political class has focused almost exclusively on the pilgrims and tourists, the plight of the people of Uttarakhand has been criminally neglected. Many of the local people working as guides or running shops in the affected areas, agricultural workers, as well as those eking out a living gathering rare herbs and fungi, are yet to be rescued. The numbers of such people missing or killed is yet to be estimated. Their homes and sources of livelihood – cars, transport animals, shops etc – have been washed away. While those pilgrims being rescued are starting to see an end to their ordeal, the local people's struggle for survival and rehabilitation is just to begin.     

Relief and rehabilitation will of course be a priority for people's movements at this juncture. At the same time, it is equally urgent to struggle to ensure a reversal of the policies that lead to such tragedies in the first place. The State and Central Governments must immediately halt the construction of ongoing hydel power projects and declare a moratorium on new ones, until a comprehensive review of the existing projects and of projected environmental impacts is carried out by an impartial agency. Similarly the use of explosives in construction projects must be stopped, and laws enacted and implemented to regulate constructions in ecologically sensitive areas. The local people must be consulted and their approval taken before initiating any new development project. The only true homage we can pay to the countless people who lost their lives in this tragedy can be to ensure that such a tragedy is never repeated again, and that the right lessons are taken from it.  


Contribute Generously to Support the Flood Devastated People in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is suffering a calamity of Himalayan proportions, with heavy rains and cloudbursts causing devastating floods. Thousands of lives are likely to have been lost, and thousands remain stranded, deprived of homes, loved ones, and means of livelihood. CPI(ML) shares the grief of the bereaved families.
Activists of CPI(ML) on the ground, especially in the worst-affected Garhwal and Pithoragarh regions, are organising rescue and relief operations, working closely with rescue teams.
We are launching a nationwide campaign for flood relief in Uttarakhand. We appeal to you to make your contributions by cheque/draft in favour of "CPIML". Please indicate that the donation is for "Uttarakhand Flood Relief".
Please send your donations to:
U-90, Shakarpur Delhi 110 092, India

The tragedy in Uttarakhand today is more man-made than natural, linked directly with the corporate-driven, anti-people model of 'development' undertaken in the State, involving indiscriminate deforestation, big dams in ecologically sensitive areas, plunder of natural resources and rampant absence or violation of environment protection laws. The consequences today are being borne by the poorest people in Uttarakhand. In the days to come, CPI(ML) will also seek your support and cooperation in the struggle to ensure that Uttarakhand's poor receive the compensation and rehabilitation measures that they need, and that immediate steps are taken to reverse the disastrous course of environmental devastation in the name of development.

Contact numbers of comrades organising relief work in Uttarakhand:
Jagat Martoliya: 09411308833
Indresh Maikhuri: 09412120571

CPI(ML)'s Uttarakhand State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi can also be contacted at 09456188623 for more details.


Left Parties to Hold Bihar Bandh Against Bagaha Firing

New Delhi, 25 June 2013

In a heinous instance of police barbarity, police firing on peaceful protesters in Bagaha (West Champaran district of Bihar) and killed 6. Those killed were from the scheduled tribes, and had been protesting against the suspected killing of a missing young man from their village.

State repression, unleashing bullets and batons on protesters, especially on those from oppressed communities and minorities, has become the order of the day for the Nitish Government. In 2011, police firing and brutality at Forbesganj killed 4 people from the poor minority community. In 2012, police firing on protesting students at Madhubani claimed one life. And in 2012, the police brutally beat up peaceful protesters at Aurangabad, who were protesting against the murder of a popular panchayat mukhiya. The Bihar police also brutally lathicharged a teachers' protest in Patna, inviting censure from the Supreme Court. The Bagaha firing is the latest in this long line of police atrocities.

The CPI(ML) demands arrest and prosecution of the guilty police officials, suspension of the DM and the SP, and compensation of Rs 10 lakh for each victim's family. The CPI(ML) along with other Left parties CPI, CPI(M) and Forward Bloc has called for a Bihar Bandh against the firing on 27 June.

The BJP's call for a bandh against the firing smacks of hypocrisy. Till the other day, BJP was a loyal part of the same Government, and never raised its voice against any of the firings and brutality that took place. In fact, the Forbesganj firing took place at the instance of the local BJP MLC, who unleashed the police to protest his own corrupt bid at grabbing public land. The BJP's opportunistic claim of resisting state repression must be thoroughly exposed. 

- Prabhat Kumar,

For CPI(ML) Central Committee     

The Stage Is Set for the Lok Sabha Elections

The stage is almost set for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and battle lines are nearly drawn. Major parties of the ruling classes – whether 'national' parties like the Congress and the BJP or the host of regional parties wielding power in various states – are giving finishing touches to their battle plans. The contours of potential pre- or post-poll coalitions have also begun suggesting themselves amidst ongoing political realignments. Several possibilities that were being speculated for quite some time have started taking shape, setting off a chain of rapid political developments.

The only point that now remains to be settled is the schedule - whether elections are to be held ahead of schedule along with the next round of Assembly elections due later this year or we have to wait till early next year when the present Lok Sabha completes its five-year term. Considering the current pace of political developments, it is entirely possible that the Congress may go for elections ahead of the scheduled time.

The BJP has made up its mind to have Modi as its mascot for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The BJP leadership must have anticipated the consequences that followed, like the revolt of Advani and the exit of the JD(U) from the NDA, but the fact that the party still fell for the Modi gamble clearly shows the party's desperation. Almost all poll surveys have been pointing to the fact that while the Congress is surely losing ground, the BJP is not gaining in proportion. It now remains to be seen whether the Sangh Parivar's desperate gamble to play the Modi tune to improve the party's poll prospect pays off or proves counterproductive. Advani and his supporters are openly apprehensive that the BJP's decision to act in haste in pressing the Modi button may only leave the party with the destiny of repenting at leisure.

As far as the Congress is concerned, the only way the party can really hope to gain or salvage anything is by cornering or isolating the BJP or damaging its prospects. In states where there are multi-corner contests or where the Congress has to contend primarily with non-BJP parties, the Congress has little chances of improving its position. So far, the Congress has been successful in dethroning the BJP in as many as four states, directly in Uttarakhand and Karnataka and indirectly in Jharkhand and Bihar. Unlike the BJP, the Congress also has developed the skill of doing business with mutually opposed parties in several states – like the SP and BSP in UP, and now the RJD and JD(U) in Bihar, or for that matter, the TMC and CPI(M) in West Bengal.

Between the Congress and the BJP, or a possible UPA-III and NDA-III if you will, hangs the prospect of the mythical 'third front'. The two traditional pillars of a third front – a sizable non-Congress non-BJP party of the Janata Dal variety and a numerically significant Left bloc – have weakened over the years. While the Janata Dal has been splintered into as many as four parties, the Left bloc has lost in numbers. Moreover, having failed miserably in its 2009 attempt to cobble a 'third front', the CPI(M) has now become wary of making another experiment. The new noise of a 'federal front' comprising a disparate group of ruling regional parties like the TMC in West Bengal, JD(U) in Bihar and BJD in Odisha is more 'sound and fury' with little substance. Of course, with the chances of an NDA-III or a UPA-III looking rather slim at the moment, the rise of a somewhat different post-poll coalition arrangement cannot be ruled out.

With the possibilities of multipolar contests in many states and the Congress, BJP and many ruling regional parties all suffering from serious crisis of credibility, the coming Lok Sabha elections promise to be much more competitive than most of our bourgeois ideologues would like. Of course, the BJP and the Congress would try their level best in the coming days to reduce the election to a pro- and anti-Modi contest. The revolutionary Left must counter this game-plan of the ruling classes with vigorous preparations for a well-organised election campaign that must assert the growing strength of people's struggles as the most reliable bulwark of resistance against corporate fascism. The determination to roll back the plundering pro-corporate policies and secure greater rights for the deprived and oppressed people must be the defining spirit of Left intervention in the coming electoral battle.

Protests Continue on the Streets of Tinsukia

Since the assassination of Com. Gangaram Koul, on 25th March 2013, not a single day has passed without protests in the Tinsukia district and Assam, demanding the arrest of the accused, all of whom are Congress leaders, the prime accused among them being Mr. Raju Sahu - one of the Parliamentary Secretaries and an MLA from Chabua Legislative Assembly Constituency and also a member of the faction within the Congress that is opposed to the Chief Minister of Assam.

On 12th June 2000 protesters took part in a street march in Tinsukia, and slogans of 'Arrest Raju Sahu immediately, Tarun Gogoi down down, oust Tarun Gogoi to save democracy, to save Assam, down with Gogoi's killers' raj and mafiadom' reverberated.

The march, which started from the Durgabari Hall, Tinsukia was led by Com. Subhas Sen, Rubul Sharma, Vivek Das, Arup Mahanta, Shubhrajyoti Bardhan, Balindra Saikia, Haripada Sarkar, Shikha Das, Gangaram Koul's life-partner Shakeela Munda, Subhas Singh, Pawan Majhi, Gobin Proja, Sunil Tanti, Govinda Namashudra, Chandan Handique,(Brihattar Asamiya Juba Manch) and others. The march became a road-blockade that lasted for more than an hour at Tinsukia, the busiest spot of the town. The protesters, braving the scorching heat, demanded that the D.C. come to the spot of the road blockade to accept the memorandum addressed to the Governor of Assam. At this spot the effigy of Raju Sahu was burnt. Then the marchers pushed in though the main gate of the Circle Office (S.D.C.) who accepted the memorandum. Inside the complex of the Circle Office, a protest meeting was held which was addressed by Comrades Subhas Sen and party State Secretary Bibek Das. The processionists then again marched back to the Durgabari Hall where a mass meeting was held which was presided over by Com. Harendra Nath Borthakur – the veteran CPI (ML )member and the President of the Sodou Asom Janasangskritik Parishad.

A Souvenir named "Uttaran" (Transformation) in memory of Com. Koul was released by noted intellectualual and economist Dr. Jyoti Prasad Chatiha, and party Polit Bureau member Rubul Sharma, State Secretary Bibek Das, Shakeela Munda, Raju Bhumij, Gobin Proja, Bojen Konwar and others addressed the gathering. Com. Balindra Saikia Sang a popular song composed by Com. Bibek Das depicting the arduous life of tea workers and a Jhumair song was also sung by Shri Suman Tanti. The leaders gave a call to the gathering to come in large numbers to join CPI (ML) to take Com. Koul's struggles forward. A resolution was passed in the house asking the Govt. to arrest Raju Sahu by the 15th of August (Independence Day) 2013 or the people will have the right to gherao Raju Sahu when and where he will be available after that date, and administer a fitting punishment.

Black Day Observed Against POSCO

On 22nd June, a Protest Day was held by four Left parties, the CPI(ML)Liberation, CPI ML), CPI(ML)ND and SUCI (C) throughout Odisha, demanding to scrap the POSCO project and withdrawal of all police cases against the anti-POSCO farmers.

The protest day was observed at Bhubaneswar, Angul, Berhampur, Rayagada , Kendrapara, Bhadrak and at the POSCO project sites at Patna and Govindpur areas. This is the first time the protest was organized as a black day in different places.

A big rally of about 500 protesters started from Bhubaneswar railway station to Odisha Vidhan Sabha Marg, raising slogans against corporate land grab and police atrocities, and against the Naveen Patnaik and Manmohan Singh Governments. 

The meeting was addressed by Comrade Radhakanta Sethi, State Committee member of the CPI(ML) Liberation and the meeting was presided by Comrade Yudhistir Mohapatra, CCM of CPI(ML) Liberation, Comrade Sivram of CPI(ML) and Comrade Santosh Rath of SUCI spoke, declaring that the Naveen Government was acting as MNC agent in the state. All speakers congratulated the anti-POSCO movement on completing 8 years of heroic struggle.

Rally and Convention in Srikakulam

On the morning of 17th June, a dharna was held by the CPI(ML) before Revenue Divisional office at Palakonda in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh and a memorandum given on the burning issues of land, PDS, support prices and opposing the 'elephant zone.' An impressive rally was held in the town. In the afternoon a Convention was held on the theme of "Corporate destruction of people's lives and tasks of the revolutionary left". P Bhaskar, member of Vutharandhra (northern Andhra comprising Visakha, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts) regional leading team presided over the meeting and chief guest N Murthy and central leaders M Malleswara Rao, B Bangar Rao, State leaders B Vasudeva Rao, Sanyasi Rao, district leaders M Rama Rao, Dushyanth, Raju, Naidu and local advocate Chandramouliswara Rao addressed the Convention. Around 250 people attended the Convention, mostly youth from the old struggle area. The JSM unit of Boddapadu inspired people with their cultural performances.

Palakonda, a divisional headquarter of Srikakulam district was an important centre of Srikakulam struggle. Preceding the Convention, a good campaign was undertaken in four mandals in Vijayanagaram district and eight mandals of Srikakulam. 8000 leaflets were widely distributed and 500 posters put up. A mass fund campaign was conducted in mandal towns of Palakonda, Parvathipuram, and Veeraghattam.

Adivasis in Gujarat Protest Against Corporates and Land Mafia Protected by Modi Govt

On 19th June, the CPI(ML)'s Valsad unit in Gujarat held a demonstration at the DM's office in which a large number of poor adivasi workers and peasants demanded their rights to forests, land and proper wages. In spite of heavy rains for the past 10 days, the participation in the Rally was impressive, with people from far-off hilly and forest areas like Kaprada, Dharampur, and Umbergaon. The rally began from Valsad station, with scores of adivasi men and women raising red flags and slogans against plunder of land and rights by corporations and land mafia protected by the Gujarat Government.

The rally was led by the party's Valsad in-charge Lakshman Bhai Varia, and among the leaders who participated were PB member Prabhat Kumar, Gujarat's state in-charge Ranjan Ganguly, RYA National Secretary Amit Patanvaria, adivasi youth leader and the party's Kaprada unit's secretary Kamlesh Bhai, Comrade Mohan Bhai of Bhilad, Comrade Santu Bhai, Comrade Mohan Bhai Dubhada of Sarigam Industrial Area, and Comrade Jayanti Ben.

A 7-member delegation met the DM at the end of the Rally and submitted a memorandum with the following issues:

Land mafia in collusion with the Government machinery is grabbing the traditional land of the adivasis by force or deceit. The police is not filing the complaints of adivasis in this regard, falsely claiming the matter to be a civil rather than criminal one. Police harassment of adivasis is rampant in the area. GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation) is colluding with land mafia to falsely obtain NOCs for company owners from panchayats and gram sabhas. Adivasi villages in coastal areas are being cleared out to make way for ports.

Valsad district, especially the Kaprada taluka, has vast forest areas. Under the Forest Rights Act 2005 the adivasis cultivating this land have the right to the land. Yet they are being evicted by the Forest Department in collusion with the land mafia, by using ploys such as fencing off land in the name of plantation nursery, demarcation line etc and handing it over to land mafias to 'develop logistic centres'. According to a survey conducted by party comrades recently, 234 adivasi families are cultivating 987 acres of land in Kaprada taluka, and have been doing so for generations, yet they have no papers to prove their ownership.

Vapi, Sarigam and Unbergaon GIDCs in the Umbergaon taluka are the hub of massive chemical industries. Violating all pollution control laws, these industries are polluting the fields, rivers, ponds and soil in the adivasis' villages. The Government turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to any complaints.

Those who raise the above issues, especially CPI(ML) activists are booked under false cases or attacked physically by land mafia forces. In the last Assembly polls, party leader Lakshman Bhai Varia's name was deleted from the voter list.   

Party leaders who addressed the demonstration said that the plight of adivasis in Valsad illustrated the true face of Modi's claims of 'development', which was nothing but open plunder by corporate and powerful vested interests, and repression of forces of resistance. Copies of the memo were sent to the Governor of Gujarat and the Central Ministers for Social Welfare and Home Affairs. 

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:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

ML Update 26 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16             No. 26                                                                           18-24 JUN 2013


The JD(U)-BJP Split: 

 Opportunities and Challenges for the Left in Bihar

The JD(U)-BJP alliance has finally come to an end. According to Nitish Kumar, the alliance was no longer tenable and the time had come when it had to be 'sacrificed' for the sake of 'principle'. What triggered this sudden pang of 'principle' was the elevation of Modi as the chief of the BJP's poll campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections and the tame surrender of Advani.

If it is a matter of 'principle' now for Nitish Kumar, clearly he has a thoroughly opportunist yardstick to measure it. Nitish Kumar has no problem with the BJP. He has shared power with it at the Centre and then in Bihar since 2005. He has no problem with Narendra Modi either. He had never said anything when Narendra Modi's government orchestrated the Gujarat genocide in 2002. It now turns out that while inaugurating a railway project in Gujarat in 2003, Nitish Kumar as union railway minister had even foreseen a greater role for 'Narendrabhai' in the service of the nation. Even in 2009 Nitish Kumar had no problem flashing the victory sign together with Narendra Modi in an NDA meeting in Punjab.

His problem started when some Bihari businessman with business interests in Gujarat sponsored an advertisement in newspapers in Bihar flashing that photograph of bonhomie between the two chief ministers. Nitish Kumar did not want Modi to spoil his show in Bihar. He had kept Modi away from any kind of electioneering in Bihar. But now that the BJP has chosen Modi as its poll mascot, a prelude to or an equivalent of his formal projection as the party's prime ministerial candidate, Nitish Kumar could not possibly keep him out of the Bihar scheme of things any longer. So he decided to call off the alliance now, making it into a matter of 'principle'.

Clearly Nitish Kumar's assessment is that while initially he needed the BJP to gain and consolidate power in Bihar, he could now afford to come out of the BJP's embrace and seek some other alliance. While striking deals with the Congress over 'special category status' for Bihar, he also seems ready to contribute to the chorus for a 'federal front' by reaching out to his counterparts in Odisha and West Bengal. On June 12, while a JD(U) emissary was present at the Naveen Patnaik show in Delhi demanding 'special status' for Odisha, another JD(U) leader came to Kolkata to have a talk with Mamata Banerjee. 

There is also a pressing need for Nitish Kumar to seek a new context for himself in Bihar. He is aware that the social and political coalition that catapulted him to power was born under extraordinary circumstances and cannot be sustained for any indefinite length of time. In 2005 February he emerged as a key player but without a clear mandate. In November 2005 he got a mandate to usher in 'regime change' in a chaotic and stagnant Bihar. In 2010 he played on the danger of a possible return of Lalu Prasad, but what fetched him a bigger mandate was Bihar's aspiration for development.

But now in 2013 when the dream of development has visibly begun to turn sour, and social oppression, police repression and the highhandedness of a corrupt bureaucracy have become the hallmarks of his government, Nitish Kumar evidently needs to shift the goalpost. Hence his sudden rediscovery of the secular principle! And unlike VP Singh who had to sacrifice his government at the Centre by parting ways with the BJP, Nitish Kumar has the comfort of playing the 'secular' card without risking the safety of his government as his own party is just a few short of the majority mark!

How should the Left respond to this split in the ruling alliance in Bihar? The fact that the ruling alliance has split under the weight of its own unsustainable opportunism is certainly welcome and the Left must use this welcome turn of events to intensify the ongoing struggles on the host of people's issues and sharpen and strengthen its own intervention in the increasingly competitive political situation of Bihar.

It must be understood that the Left in Bihar has not come together only to oppose the impact of central policies on Bihar – the joint actions of the Left in Bihar have primarily been directed against the policies and measures of the Bihar government, against the latter's comprehensive failure and betrayal in keeping its poll promises and fulfilling the demands of the people. The people of Bihar will not shed tears over the loss of trust between the BJP and JD(U), but there is no way the people can condone the betrayal by the Nitish Kumar government of the interests of the toiling masses of Bihar and of the very aspiration for 'development with justice'.

At every turn of event and on every issue of importance, the Nitish Kumar government has proved to be a handmaiden of the feudal forces and if the BJP has succeeded in almost doubling its strength in Bihar Assembly, it is very much a result of Nitish Kumar's politics of appeasement of feudal-communal forces in Bihar. This historical reality cannot be erased by the belated and opportunist split on the question of elevation of Narendra Modi as the chief of the BJP's election campaign committee. With the BJP pushed into the opposition space, opposition politics will become much more competitive in Bihar and the Left will have to assert its agenda by intervening in this competition with all its strength. It must be understood that this is an important part of the Left's battle against the BJP in this new phase in Bihar.

The Odisha model where a section of the Left ran into the embrace of Naveen Patnaik the moment he severed ties with the BJP must serve as a negative reference point for the Left in Bihar. The Odisha model may have helped the CPI win a Lok Sabha seat with the blessing of the ruling party but today Odisha is a hotbed of corporate plunder and the people are forced to fight hard against the government that the CPI continues to support. In Bihar, the CPI has already declared the support of its lone MLA for the June 19 vote of confidence sought by Nitish Kumar, of course adding that this stand should not be construed as an expression of general support for the government. The future of understanding and cooperation between the CPI and CPI(ML) will depend on the course the CPI takes vis-a-vis the JD(U) and the Nitish Kumar government.

The Left ranks in Bihar need not learn only from Odisha. The CPI has its own experience in Bihar to learn from. The early 1970s were a period of great advance for the CPI in Bihar but the Emergency era blunder of partnership with Indira Gandhi stunted its growth and discredited its politics. After years of determined anti-feudal struggle, when the Congress was ousted from power, the CPI once again repeated the blunder by getting into an uncritical alliance with Lalu Prasad. By the time the party leadership woke up to the danger of this perilous partnership, it was too late and the CPI could never regain the strength, credibility and initiative it once enjoyed in Bihar.

Now that Nitish Kumar has been forced to end the extraordinary and unsustainable alliance in Bihar, the political situation in the state has surely opened up. The revolutionary Left must take the fullest advantage of the new situation to rejuvenate the resistance of the working people, sharpen the struggle on every question of democracy, justice and development and forcefully intervene in the developing ideological-political churning in the society in Bihar.

Nitish Kumar had reduced whatever ideology he had inherited from the 1974 movement to a pursuit of power marked by utter political opportunism and total appeasement of feudal forces. Today when the Congress faces its deepest crisis of credibility, ironically enough, both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, the two self-styled legatees of the 1974 movement are busy in a competitive bid to court the thoroughly discredited Congress. The revolutionary Left must take the lead to unify the Left and other democratic forces in Bihar in a determined and powerful bid to emerge as a pole not only against the Congress and the BJP but also in contrast to the corrupt and opportunist political culture symbolised by the JD(U) and the RJD.

CPI(ML) Statement on BJP-JD(U) Break Up

Patna, 16 June 2013

The CPI(ML) had for long demanded that the JD(U) part ways with the communal fascist BJP, and in this context, the party welcomes the break-up of the JD(U) with the BJP. At the same time, we must point out that the alliance between the JD(U) and the BJP was formed on the basis of opportunism, and has now broken up on the basis of opportunism. 

Nitish Kumar and his party have been responsible for giving strength and legitimacy to BJP and Narendra Modi for 17 years, with Nitish Kumar remaining a Minister in the NDA Government even in the immediate aftermath of the Gujarat massacre masterminded by Modi in 2002. It is very apparent that the break-up is not inspired by a genuine concern for secularism and democracy, but out of Nitish Kumar's opportunist political calculations.

In Bihar, too, Nitish Kumar's Government has adopted much of the BJP's feudal-communal agenda and bias whether on the question of justice for dalits and minorities or land reform. The police firing and atrocities on minorities at Forbesganj and the Government's role in allowing the supporters of Ranveer Sena's Brahmeshwar Singh to 'vent their anger' on dalit students and common people after his killing are prominent instances of Nitish Kumar following in Narendra Modi's footsteps.

While welcoming the break-up of the JD(U)-BJP alliance, we will not let Nitish Kumar shift the agenda in Bihar, and will hold his Government responsible for all its betrayals and failures on the question of land reform, justice, corruption and people's rights. 

Having finally pulled out of the long and opportunist alliance with the BJP, Nitish Kumar is hobnobbing in an equally opportunist way with authoritarian and corrupt forces like Congress and TMC. Nitish Kumar is now competing with Laloo Prasad to appease the Congress.

Narendra Modi has come to represent the agenda of communal as well as corporate fascism. This agenda can be resisted only by a people's movement and a politics firmly committed to defending democracy against the corporate stranglehold and state repression. Nitish Kumar's Government in Bihar, and the Congress Government at the Centre and in various states, have proved to be a miserable failure on this count.

The CPI(ML) will oppose the BJP's Bihar Bandh called on 18 June, calling for people of Bihar to firmly reject and resist the feudal-communal politics and corporate-communal agenda of the BJP and the JDU alike.

- Kunal


CPI(ML) Bihar State Committee

Statewide Protests Held in Jharkhand

On June 11 CPI(ML) organised demonstrations and protests throughout Jharkhand demanding immediate dissolution of the Jharkhand Assembly and fresh elections.  In the capital Ranchi protests were held at Albert Ekka Chowk.  Braving the incessant monsoon rains, about a hundred protesters stood their ground and remained firm in their demands, addressed the people and raised slogans. Addressing the rally Central Committee member and MLA Vinod Singh said that the Congress can never be in a position to form a government in Jharkhand on its own strength and yet it cannot give up the desire for power and therefore it uses all underhand means to grab power. President's Rule is an excuse hiding behind which the Congress is ruling in Jharkhand. The Congress is serving its own ends by keeping the Assembly suspended for such a long period and by keeping the JMM and the RJD under pressure. Com. Vinod stressed that the people of Jharkhand had become wise to the deceit of the Congress and is not prepared to suffer Congress rule any longer. If the Assembly is not dissolved and fresh elections held immediately, the people of Jharkhand will intensify their struggle on the streets. State secretary Janardan Prasad, CC member Anant Prasad Gupta, State Standing Committee member Parmeshwar Mahto, State Committee member Sukhdev Munda, AIPWA leaders Guni Oraon and Sarojini Bisht, youth leader Bhishma Mahto and others participated in the rally. 

In Garhwa district protesters demonstrated in front of the district Collectorate under the leadership of State committee members Mohan Dutta, Kalicharan Mehta, and Sushma Mehta. At the Palamu district headquarters a protest was held where the speakers also also condemned the incident where shops of minorities were burnt down in Chhatarpur while the administration tried to evade the issue by refusing to enter into talks but the CPI-ML leaders stood their ground and the Deputy Commissioner finally spoke to them and assured them that the matter would be conveyed to the proper authorities and all efforts would be made to find a positive solution to the problems. This protest was led by District secretary R. N. Singh, Ravindra Ram and all others. 

In Giridih, protesters participated in the demonstration in front of the district deputy commissioner led by District Secretary Manoj Bhakt, State Committee members Rajkumar Yadav, Rajesh Yadav, Usman Ansari and other leaders. A protest in Kodarma was led by State Committee members Prem Prakash and Shyamdev Yadav.  In Dhanbad, protesters gathered at Randhir Verma Chowk. In Bokaro protesters rallied in front of District deputy commissioner's office led by District Secretary Devdeep Singh Diwakar, State Committee members Janardan Harijan, J. N. Singh, Baleshwar Yadav and other leaders.

In Ramgarh, protesters led by district secretary Bhuneshwar Bediya and state committee member Devkinandan Bediya raised the issue of forcible capture of land by Jindal. In Hazaribagh state committee member Baijnath Mistry, AICCTU leader Pachchu Rana led the protesters against the illegal  capture of thousands of acres of land by Reliance, NTPC and several other companies in the name of coal mining and power plants in the district. In Godda, demonstrators protested against the grabbing of Adivasi land by Jindal and declared that if action was not taken against Jindal and other corporate looting the people, the district headquarters would be gheraoed on July 15. The protest was led by Arun Sahay, Motilal and others.  In Deogarh demonstrators sat in protest against the incidents of violence against women.  It may be noted that even a month after the rape and murder of two minor girls in Deogarh, no arrests have so far been made. This protest was led by district secretary Gita Mandal and Sahdev Yadav.  Protesters put forward their demands in Kundohit sector of Jamtara district. In Tata, people participated in the protest and raised their demands, led by state committee member and former MLA Bahadur Oraon, state committee member Om Prakash Singh and district secretary S. K. Rai.  Protests were also organized in Dumka and Lohardaga and an effigy of the Central government was burnt in Gumla.

AISA-RYA Protest Violation of Sovereignty and Right to Privacy and Internet Freedom

After whistleblower Edward Snowden's courageous leak citizens world over are enraged with the criminal audacity of the surveillance programmes run by US which violate the minimum democratic rights of free individuals. It's a shame that such colonization of free spaces and sovereignty is done in the name of preventing terrorism and providing security. Obama's US believes itself to be the self proclaimed dispenser of global security. Every common individual is being treated as a potential terrorist automatically warranting US surveillance and any dissent, like that of Edward Snowden, deserves extreme punishment. This huge organised terror reign under the pretext of fighting disparate terrorist attacks cannot be accepted.

It is shocking how Indian state has responded so meekly after it is exposed that its big brother has ranked her among top five mistrustful and spied nations. The response of other nations which boasts of defending democracy and sovereignty globally has been muted as well.

Addressing the protest held on 15 June at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, Sunny Kumar, AISA state secretary said, the sham of America's imperialist interference and war-mongering in the name of defending the rights and democratic aspirations of people around the globe is now exposed to the people of US and world over as it got exposed to Edward Snowden. US must realise that that last decade has been the decade of youth movements asserting their democratic rights in many countries including their own. Right to Internet freedom and privacy is something which citizens endear globally and unless US shuts down its surveillance programme it is risking a global mass movement against itself which even its partner and puppet governments would not be able to stem. Aslam Khan, RYA leader said, we have repeatedly warned that tremendous data collection UID scheme involves foreign companies like US biometric technology companies, L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company and Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd for de-duplication. Both these companies admittedly work with US intelligence agencies and US Homeland Security respectively as privatized gatekeepers of national security. The details are available on their websites. It is the Indian Government policies which is making its citizens susceptible to surveillance.  

AISA and RYA demand that Indian Government spearhead the global democratic community in pressurising the US to stop all such surveillance programmes and till then snap all sorts of ties with US. Also the US should handover its criminal CIA agent David Headly to India and also ensures that no harm is being done secretly or openly to Edward Snowden.

Forest Dwellers Demonstrate to Demand Panchayat Elections in Forest Villages (Khattas).

All India Kisan Mahasabha has been waging struggle on the basic civil rights of forest dwellers (Khattavasis) in Uttarakhand for last many years achieving some victories. But the atrocities and nefarious designs to displace them by administration continue. Continuing their struggle the Kisan Mahasabha held demonstration before district magistrate in Nainital on 10 June 2013 demanding holding of Panchayat election in Khattas.

A mass meeting was held on the occasion which began with the recitation of Gorakh Pandey's poem by com. Pankaj Inqalabi, and addressed among others by Bahadur Singh Jangi, Nainital District President of Kisan Mahsabha and Kailash Pandey, district secretary of CPI(ML).

The speakers lambasted the Congress government and the previous BJP government for ignoring these forest dwellers and denying them their basic rights like electricity, family registers, medical facilities, schools and panchayats. They charged the forest department of repeatedly harassing them and attacking their livelihood in violation of earlier agreement reached with Nainital district administration. They also criticised the central and state governments of conspiring to displace them from their forest lands under the garb of environment and eco-sensitive zone and demanded holding of panchayat elections in Khattas (forest areas where they live) to ensure basic rights and their development and called for waging a powerful movement for achieving their demands.

The other speakers were Kamala Kunjwal, ASHA workers' leader and Lalit Matiyali, Gulam Navi, Gopal Dutt and Hayat Ram. After holding the mass meeting in Tallital, a procession was taken out to the DM office where the leaders of Kisan Mahasabha submitted a memorandum demanding holding of Panchayat elections in Khattas, to stop creating eco-sensitive zones, to stop atrocities on Khattavasis and to register murder charges against accused in the murder of Sangita Malda. The demonstrators in solidarity with workers of SIDCUL, Uddham Singh Nagar also demanded unconditional release of all arrested workers of Tata-Asal plant and withdrawal of all cases against them.

Demonstration against Murder of Anti-liquor Activist in Uttarakhand

Sangita Malda was murdered on 29 May 2013. She was spearheading a movement against liquor smugglers in Uttarakhand – the land of anti-liquor movement with the slogan of "Nasha Nahin, Rozgar Do". She was an ASHA worker in Mandalsera village of district Bageshwar. On 20th May, she led a protest demonstration of women at SDM office, Bageshwar demanding action against liquor smugglers in the village. Then on 24 May she submitted a memorandum with DM in which she gave the names of liquor smugglers and demanded protection for her and other women comrades. But the district administration ignored her demands. As a result of the callous and apathetic attitude of district administration, on 29th May she was murdered in her house by liquor mafia when she was alone. After murdering her, the culprits tried to convert the murder into a suicide scene by forcing pesticide into her mouth, and their agents went on to propagate that she has committed suicide owing to financial fraud done by her with women group and lodged a case of suicide. But these concocted charges were refuted by the treasurer of women group Ramuli Devi who informed that the entire fund is safely lying in bank.

Demanding punishment to the murderers of the martyred Sangita, who bravely fought against liquor mafia and for the dignity of women, hundreds of women, members of ASHA union, anganwadi workers and villagers under the leadership of CPI (ML) and AICCTU staged a militant demonstration on 4 June at DM office. They demanded lodging of murder cases against the accused, immediate arresting of the fourth accused, punishment to administrative officers and policemen who did not take any action despite repeated submission of memorandum and information, prohibition of legal and illegal sale of liquor in the entire district, arrest of all liquor smugglers and compensation and job to the dependent of the deceased. The militant demonstration forced the DM and SP to come out of office to face the demonstrators and to give clarification to every demand raised. They had to confess in front of the demonstrators that the police ignored the facts and were also conceded to the demands raised in the demonstration and declared that the case of murder will be registered after the enquiry into this incident by high officials. The district administration was given an ultimatum of 10 days with a warning of Chakka Jam if the demands are not met. 

AIALA Conference in Puducherry

Save Puducherry- Karaikal rural workers! Save Peasants, agriculture and lands!! Such were slogans of the special Conference organised by rural workers affiliated to AIALA on 13 June at Kaikalampakkam, Puducherry. Large numbers of rural workers especially woman workers participated with much enthusiasm. Workers from Karaikal region took part in good numbers.

The conference was presided by R.V Lenin, Puducherry district leader of AIALA and P. Murugan, co-organiser of AIALA. P. Sankaran made the welcome address. Dhirendra Jha, CPI(ML) Politburo member and All India General Secretary of AIALA, Balasundaram, CPI(ML) Tamil Nadu State Secretary; So. Balasubramanian, CPI(ML) in-charge of Puducherry; S. Mothilal,  State Secretary AICCTU, Puducherry and A.S Singarevelu, Secretary  CPI(ML), Karaikal, addressed the Conference. The participants took part in lively deliberations.

While addressing the Conference Com. Dhirender Jha said "Workers are neither getting 100 days of work nor are they getting notified wages of MNRGES in Puducherry. Under the pressures of industrialists and kulak lobbies, Central and State governments are conspiring to kill MNRGES. It is being done through fixing less wages than market rates and non-implementation of MNRGES provisions in totality".

The following resolutions were passed in the Conference and sent to the ANR Congress government in Puducherry State and Central UPA government at the centre.

I)        Concrete steps should be taken to save agriculture, rural workers and lands.

II)       Free supply of 70 kg rice, and sufficient quantities of oil, pulses and other essential items should be made compulsorily to all families.

III)      Implementation of MNRGES with full swing without deduction of notified wages of Rs 148/- per day to a worker.

IV)      Waiver of all debts to marginal, small and medium farmers.

V)       Pension of Rs 3000/- to all rural workers; and

VI)           Cauvery Delta farmers should be saved, and appropriate relief measures should be undertaken for farmers and agricultural workers.

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:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

ML Update 25 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16                          No. 25                                                                                                                                                                & nbsp;                                                                                                        11-17 JUN 2013


The Anointment of Modi and 

Yet another Resignation Drama by Advani

Mr. Advani has done it again. In the evening of his life, the sulking leader once again resigned from all his posts in the party only to withdraw it the next day at the instance of the RSS. His resignation had come just after the BJP national executive committee in its meeting held in Goa, which Advani had skipped, anointed Narendra Modi the mascot of the party's forthcoming Lok Sabha poll campaign. Ironically, eleven years ago it was in another BJP executive meeting in Goa where Narendra Modi had managed to save his skin in the wake of the Gujarat genocide and it was none other than LK Advani who had vigorously defended Modi even as the whole country wanted his government dismissed.

This was the third time in last ten years that Advani resigned and then withdrew his resignation, but this time the withdrawal came very swiftly making it clear that Advani had acted in haste and realised that he stood thoroughly isolated in the saffron family. In his resignation letter Advani had level serious allegations against the entire crop of current BJP leadership. He had said that the party had deviated entirely from the legacy of its founders like Shyamaprasad Mookherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Nanaji Deshmukh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leaders who apparently only thought about the country and the people. The present batch of leaders, Advani alleged, was driven only by personal agendas.

Well, Advani knows it very well that these leaders may have laid the foundation of the BJP and its predecessor Bhartiya Jan Sangh, but it was Advani and Modi who raised the party to its current levels of electoral success – Advani on the national level and Modi in Gujarat. And this success has come not by thinking about the country and the people, but by aggressively pursuing the divisive politics of communalism and unleashing bloodbath, by demolishing the Babri Masjid and orchestrating a veritable genocide in Gujarat.

Now that Advani has withdrawn his resignation as advised by the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat his hypocritical resignation letter will become a forgotten piece of paper. The blog he had written on the day Modi was being anointed in Goa invoking the mythological Mahabharata metaphor of Bhisma Pitamaha sermonising the Pandavas from his bed of arrows will also be lost in the euphoric 'NaMo-NaMo' chants of the pro-Modi brigade.

Ironically, in his blog Advani had mentioned a story he had heard in his Karachi schooldays, about Hitler telling Mussolini that the two would have to pay a heavy price after death for all the sins they had committed. Is it a veiled confessional warning for his erstwhile disciple Modi that both of them would have to foot a huge bill in hell? Well, Mussolini and Hitler did not have to wait for the afterlife to pay their bills, both of them met with fitting ends in April 1945. The popular slogan 'Jo Hitler ki chal chalega, vo Hitler ki maut marega' captures the sense of relief and justice the world felt when a thoroughly frustrated and defeated Hitler killed himself just two days after Mussolini was assassinated.

With Advani meekly withdrawing his resignation, those in the NDA and in the Congress camp who had thought they could fight Modi by training their guns on Advani's shoulders will have to rethink their strategy. If Nitish Kumar is serious about his opposition to Modi, the time to take a final call has certainly arrived. Of course, formally speaking, the BJP is yet to declare Modi its prime ministerial candidate and the JD(U) has said it will wait till the end of the year for a formal declaration. But with the Advani coup foiled so swiftly, the road ahead for Modi has now become fairly clear within the BJP.

In terms of electoral politics beyond Gujarat, Modi is still an untested and unknown factor. We only know that despite his presence the BJP could not avert defeat earlier in Himachal Pradesh and most recently the ignominious rout in Karnataka. The other bit known about Modi is that the Congress too sees him as the best bet for itself – the only factor the party could hope to benefit from in its thoroughly discredited and declining current state is a grand anti-Modi polarisation. Yet the Modi brigade within the BJP and the vocal upwardly mobile middle class support base he seems to enjoy especially in North India are euphoric about the rise of Modi and virtually believe that Modi has already become the Prime Minister! Advani could perhaps be the best person to awaken them to the difference between an aspiring and an actual PM.

Regardless of the electoral future of the BJP/NDA under Modi, it is a fact that Modi has emerged as the most authentic and aggressive face of rightwing politics in India. He enjoys the backing of the RSS and the Sangh Parivar, but more importantly he is an organic product of the economics and politics of a neo-liberal policy regime. Advani may be nostalgic about the foundational moorings of the BJP, but there can be no denying the fact that Modi has emerged as the leader of the party that Advani and all other BJS/BJP stalwarts built through the years. India will have to grapple with the rise of this rabid rightwing and the answer to this looming corporate-fascist threat must come from a popular resurgence of the Left and other democratic forces.

West Bengal Seethes in Protests 

over Brutal Rape and Murder of College Student in Barasat

A 20-year old student was gangraped and brutally murdered in Barasat in West Bengal, when she was returning home from college last week. It has since come to be known that the accused were habitual offenders and their regular crimes against women in the area, including harassment, stalking and threatening, were widely known and had been reported to the police by the local people in general, and the victim's father in particular. It has also been alleged by the local people that the chief accused who led the pack of goons is a Trinamool Congress foot-soldier. Hence the police's sitting on the earlier complaints does not come as a surprise. Like numerous recent instances, it exposes once again the openly operative criminal-police nexus and political patronage enjoyed by rapists and molesters, that has earned the town of Barasat in the North 24-Parganas district an ignominious place on the gender violence map in the country.

When food minister Jyotipriya Mullick turned up in the aftermath, he was driven away by the wrath of the people. Mr. Mullick displayed the audacity to keep mum on the continued Police inaction and abysmal failure of the law and order machinery but had the temerity to offer a job to the victim's brother as 'compensation'! This further enraged the masses who identified and shamed this as an attempt of a pre-Panchayat election gimmick and the victim's brother scornfully rejected the 'offer'. One recalls how Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, the current Trinamool MP from Barasat, had angered the people by denying and dismissing an earlier instance of gangrape of a woman as a 'deal gone wrong between a sex-worker and her clients'. The ruling party MLA from Barasat, one Mr. Chiranjit Chakraborty, on the other hand, had advised women to dress with modesty to avoid being attacked. Such overt justifications of gender violence, defense of criminals and denials of crimes against women by the ruling political class coupled with inaction of the police has thus ensured that rape culture prevails and thrives in Barasat. And most often it is the working class and lower middle class people who face the ugliest attacks, like it was in this particular case, where the victim was the first-generation college-goer in a working class family struggling to make ends meet.

People have erupted in response. AIPWA and AISA led a protest rally and demonstration in College Street on June 11, condemning the incident and rising gender violence in the state. An AIPWA team met with the victim's family in Barasat. Rallies, protest meetings, and street corner meetings were held at Barasat, Chinsura, Shibdaspur, and rural and urban areas of different districts, and more protest meetings are continuing as we go to press. Several women's groups and citizens' groups have submitted memoranda and petitions registering their condemnation and demanding immediate redressal of the scenario. The Barasat Police Station has been gheraoed and roads blockaded in spontaneous protests. A PIL has been filed at the Calcutta High Court demanding a special probe.

It is clear that if the ruling dispensation keeps ignoring people's seething anger on the streets, a mass uprising on the question of gender violence is imminent in Bengal.

Widespread Political Vendetta 

in the run-up to the Panchayat Poll in West Bengal

As the first phase of submitting nominations for contesting in the Panchayat elections rolls to a close, instances of political vendetta against left and democratic opposition by the Trinamool Congress are on an alarming rise. CPI(ML) is also bearing the brunt of this unprincipled assault on its democratic rights. In Karanda in the district of Burdwan, three CPI(ML) candidates were forced to withdraw their nominations. One of them, a member of the family of a martyr of the bloody Karanda massacre, was threatened with 'a repeat of the Karanda violence'. The village of Karanda was where six agricultural laborers, all CPI-ML activists who dared to challenge the then CPI(M)'s corrupt hegemony in the local Panchayat, were hacked to death in 1993, in one of the most heinous carnage in the state's history. This only shows what sort of 'Parivartan' has happened in rural Bengal. At Bhatar and Kalna, both in Burdwan, two other CPI(ML) candidates were forced to withdraw from contesting elections. In the neighbouring district of Hooghly, two candidates from Belmuri and one candidate from Bandel were also similarly attacked and forced to withdraw their candidature.The Trinamool Congress is thus baring tooth and claw in desperate silencing of its political opponents as it cannot afford to contest elections in a democratic milieu.

Against Custodial Death of Muslim Youth

CPI(ML) held a protest dharna in front of UP Assembly on 31 May against custodial death of Khalid Mujahid, a muslim youth who was arrested in the name of terrorism and later was released by the court but died while on way back from the court. It was demanded to punish the guilty officials who are responsible for his death on 18 May. The demand to release all innocent muslim youth kept in various jails in UP was also raised through this dharna. While speedy justice must be met, fast track courts should be constituted in this regard. The RD Nimesh Commission's report, which was constituted to inquire into the causes of Khalid's death, also be made public. Demands of a timely enquiry by the CBI, to stop repetitions of such incidents, and to ensure security of other muslim youths lodged in jails was also raised. A memorandum was sent to the Governor of UP with these demands.

The speakers in the dharna criticised SP Govt. in UP which is actually in nexus with communal forces in the garb of secularism only to ensure its vote share. This govt. has been exposed again by the incident of Khalid's death, but even before that, acquittal of Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit and a number of communal riots in different towns in the state has made it amply clear that this govt. is not interested in protecting the minorities and fighting against communal forces. The dharna was presided over by AIPWA leader Tahira Hasan, while CPI(ML)'s Ramesh Singh Sengar was the main speaker.

Workers Convention of Closed Mohini Mills

On 17 May, 2013 a workers' convention was organised by AICCTU & Mazdoor Baachao Manch at Samaj Sadan Hall, Kamarhatti, Belghoria, 24 Parganas (North) on the issue of immediate disbursal of PF dues, gratuity & pension to all the workers of Mohini Mills, a Central Govt. Undertaking, under NTC and of all other closed industries.

A workers' rally was organised where a significant number of women workers participated, which started from Belghoria Railway Station upto the Convention Hall. More than 300 workers took part in this rally. It is to be noted that Mohini Mills was an unit of National Textile Corporation. The Central Govt. undertook the management on 23 Oct. 1981, but denotified it on 21 June, 1988. Since then the Mill is lying closed and the workers have not yet received them PF dues and other retirement benefits.

Though the State Govt. Of West Bengal acquired the land of Mohini Mills in the year 2004, no initiative has been taken to disburse the legitimate dues of the workers. The PF dept. has mentioned that at the time of closure, total PF fund accumulated was 85,73,494.61. The Convention was addressed by Naba Dutta of Nagarik Manch, Amal Sen, AIUTUC leader, Kalachand Das, worker of Mohini Mill, Debashis Pal, Civil Liberty activist, Atanu Chakravarty, General Secretary, BCMF & Basudev Bose, General Secretary, AICCTU, West Bengal. The convention resolved to (a) File mass FIR against the corrupt members and Secretary of Board of Trustees. (b) To organise rally & handing over deputation before the Minister of Industry, West Bengal, and pressurize for immediate disbursal of all the retiral dues. (c) To pressurize the municipal Corporation of Kamarhatti for immediate renovation of workers quarter of Mohini Mills. Nabendu Dasgupta, President of BCMF reported on the initiatives taken on behalf of the organisation and Shibshankar Guha Roy presided over the entire proceedings.

Chakka Jam of MNREGA Workers in Bihar

From the scrapping of the Amir Das Commission and acquittal of massacre-accused, dumping of the recommendations of the Land Reforms Commission, and failure to distribute 3 decimals of homestead land to the landless poor, Bihar's Nitish Government has had a long track record of broken promises. The latest in this series of assaults on the poor is the Bihar Government's withdrawal of the state-level allocation of Rs 30 to the Central Government allocation of Rs 138 as the wage for MNREGA, as a result of which the wage of Rs 168 announced by the Bihar Government was reduced to Rs 138. On May 7th, 2013, MNREGA workers and rural poor under the banner of AIALA held a massive demonstration in Patna to demand an answer from the Chief Minister.

MNREGA workers and AIALA declared a state-wide hartal (strike) and chakka jam to be held on June 8th. In response, Nitish Kumar sent a proposal to his Cabinet of MNREGA wages at Rs 162, which is still below the minimum wage.

On June 8th, more than 50000 MNREGA workers in 35 districts at more than 250 places struck work and hit the streets, blockading roads and railways. Several senior officials, MLAs and Ministers remained stuck for hours as a result, including the DGP at Fatuha (Patna), the SP at Jehanabad, the Land Reforms Minister Ramai Ram at Musahari in Muzaffarpur, BJP MLA from Pipra Dilip Verma at Gaunaha (West Champaran). Thousands were arrested at Patna, Gopalganj and several other districts. The DGP who was caught for hours in the blockade at Fatuha made it a prestige issue, and ordered a raid if a village the same night, arresting and jailing 5 MNREGA workers on charges of extortion and other cooked up charges. Efforts are on by the police to identify and arrest workers and leaders on the basis of video footage.

The participation of thousands of MNREGA workers in the protests is an indicator of the anger of the poor against the Nitish Government's betrayals of promises.             

Block-level Protests in Uttar Pradesh

Last week of May witnessed block level protests demanding food security, ensuring BPL cards to all poor, universal PDS, 50 Kg foodgrain to every poor family at the Rs. 2 per Kg, works in MNREGA and payment of pending wages in this scheme, and against atrocities against dalits and women in Uttar Pradesh. CPI(ML) called for these protests all over the state. Protests were held on 27 May in Navanagar and Maniar of Balia district; Niyamatabad, Sadar and Dhanapur blocks in Chandauli; Jamania, Sadar, Karanda, Manihari and Jakhania blocks in Gazipur; Surianwa in Bhadohi; Kalpi and Jalaun blocks; Puranpur and Marauri blocks in Pilibhit; Kalyanpur in Kanpur; Bakshi Ka Talab tehsil in Lucknow; Nichlaul in Maharajganj; A protest was also held in Mau city in front of Municipality offices on these demands. Similar protests were organised in Uruva and Bansgaon blocks in Gorakhpur distrist on 28 and 29 May, while on 23 May these were held in Palia and Nighasan tehsils in Lakhimpur-Kheri and on 24 May in Hargaon and Mahauli of Sitapur district.

AISA Demands Proper Implementation of

Post-Metric Scholarship for SC-ST Students of Tamilnadu

On 9th July AISA's Madurai unit organized a meeting at Subramaniyapuram, Madurai, on the post-metric scholarship scheme. Prof. R. Murali (Principal, Madura College) delivered a key note address on the scheme and other benefits declared by Government. However, the participants, most of them were from dalit community, repeatedly deposed that nothing is available to them, and asked where all the money is going.

The meet was presided over by Com. Arun, District organizer, AISA. Later a group discussion was conducted by Comrades Arvind and Hari (AISA) on the implementation of GO 92 (SC& ST Department) of 2012. The GO declares that any SC student applying for any course in a private institution or self-financed course of any institution need not pay any non-refundable fee. The amount will be paid by the Government. Earlier in 2012, the TN Government issued a GO No 6 of the same department which was intended to pay back the amount already paid by the SC students. However, the participants are not aware of any scheme and said that none of them got their fees reimbursed as per GO No 6. Nevertheless, all the institutions are asking for money as if there is no GO of this sort and even the principle of free application for SC students is not honoured.

During the discussion a body was formed to organize Dalit students studying in self financed/ institutions and courses. The meeting resolved:

         The Tamil Nadu government should take adequate steps to popularize the Post-Metric Scholarship scheme and issue orders to the private, self-financing and government-aided colleges to strictly implement the Government Order and issue warning that failure to abide by it should result in invocation of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

         The Collector should establish monitoring committees to see that the act was implemented by the colleges. Madurai Kamaraj University should set an example by fully implementing the scheme in its constituent colleges, affiliated institutions and in its self-financed courses.

         The Adi Dravidar Welfare Department and Finance Department should disburse the funds to the respective institutions during the start of the academic year itself.

         Further AISA decided to meet the Collector and VC of MKU to press the issue and to organize struggles to expose the 'eye wash' programs of State Government for students. 

Com Pandia Rajan AISA, MKU thanked Prof Murali and local youth for successful program.

Justice Convention by Maruti Workers

Continuing with their determined struggle, which includes 57-day long dharna in Kaithal, hundreds of workers of Maruti industry under the banner of their union MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION (MSWU), their families and other organizations held a Nyay (Justice) convention on 11 June 2013 in Kaithal, Haryana and a march to DC office against the repression and for restoration of democratic rights. They demanded release of workers and other people lodged in Kaithal jail on 18-19 May, permission to hold continuous sit-in at DC office, release of 147 workers in Gurgaon Jail and  reinstatement of terminated workers.

A team of four leaders of AICCTU from Delhi – Rajiv Dimri, Santosh Roy, Ranjan Ganguly and Rajesh Kumar- participated in this convention to express solidarity with the struggling Maruti workers.

Addressing the convention and rally on behalf of AICCTU, Santosh Roy, national secretary, hailed the heroic and determined struggle of Maruti workers and called upon them to also take this struggle to Chandigarh, the capital of Haryana and pledged full support to them in holding protest in Chandigarh. The convention was addressed among others by leaders of CITU, MSWU and Jan Sangrash Manch. 

Protesting Attacks on Workers in SIDCUL, Pantnagar

A contract worker died on May 30 while operating heavy machines in Automotive Stamping and Assemblies Limited (ASAL), a subsidiary/vendor company of TATA in SIDCUL industrial area of Pantnagar in Uttarakhand. It is illegal to use contract/casual workers in heavy and regular nature of works. Moreover, most of the workers are not statutorily 'workers' in that company, like many other industries, they are mere 'Trainees' who are not considered as workmen, and not given the wages as required, nor they have any job security or any kind of workers' rights. After massive protests by workers for compensation and to abolish such 'trainee' system, company management had to declare compensation and arrived at a settlement to halt work till the problems of workers are amicably resolved. Since it is TATA's vendor company there has to be an impact on latter's production too, and this ultimately led to the reopening of factory with all workers shunted out and new contract workers employed, without any notice and any legal procedure. This was done under pressure from not only TATA, but also Uttarakhand government. On June 6, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna himself assured a delegation of TATA group that he will ensure the said company reopens irrespective of the facts that workers demands are justified. On same night it was opened under heavy police presence, after arresting many workers who were present on the site. More arrests were made in the morning. Around 98 workers have been sent to jail, including AICCTU's District President Anand Singh Adhikary.

There is widespread resentment against this repression and highhandedness of Uttarakhand govt. which is only obeying TATA's orders. AICCTU held out protest next day on June 7 at District Magistrate office where workers from many factories in SIDCUL took part and demanded to arrest ASAL's management, release of all arrested workers, to stop 'trainee' treachery, and to constitute tripartite committees to resolve disputes. An effigy of DM was also burnt in protest.

Again on 8 June, a big protest demonstration was organised in Rudrapur city which was attended by hundreds of workers of SIDCUL, and any effigy of Chief Minister was burnt. While struggle is on, workers are organising themselves across factory lines, towards a broader unity.


Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
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