A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 16, No. 23, 28 MAY – 03 JUNE 2013
Democratise BCCI and all other Sports Bodies
The BCCI president happens to be the Managing Director of India Cements Limited which in turn owns the Chennai Super Kings. Apart from the most obvious charge of conflict of interest, the specific allegation in the betting-cum-fixing scam is more immediate. The spot-fixing allegations and arrests pointed to the involvement of Maiyappan, BCCI president Srinivasan's son-in-law and a key functionary of the CSK, in high-value betting in the IPL. A probe has been ordered by the BCCI into the betting-cum-fixing scam. Every test of probity, transparency and accountability would demand immediate resignation of the BCCI chief. Yet Srinivasan had his way and but for a lone dissenting voice nobody really dared call for his resignation in the BCCI meeting. This clearly shows how deep the rot runs.
The cancer of corruption afflicting Indian cricket is attributable to the same corporate-politics nexus that is responsible for the web of scams that has become the hallmark of neoliberal governance. It is the inherent nature of capitalism to commercialise every productive and creative activity and sports are no exception. Ever since the arrival of the era of televised cricket, the so-called 'gentleman's game' has been taken over by the brute forces of capital and commerce. And in the IPL, the game of cricket has virtually been buried under the collective impact of commerce, glamour and entertainment. And once betting gets associated with the game, fixing is bound to follow. Indeed, the IPL-style T20 tournament seems thoroughly designed for the betting syndicate and its counterpart, the fixing mafia. After six editions of this sordid spectacle, sports-lovers have rightly begun to ask if the country really needs a commercial extravaganza like this masquerading as a sporting tournament.
Cricket is the biggest money-spinning sport in India and BCCI is the world's richest cricket board. Yet it is a private society and it does not have to make its balance-sheets public. It is insulated from the RTI Act and till recently it used to enjoy tax exemptions as the government gave it the benefits of a 'charitable' organisation. But since the launch of IPL – rightly rechristened by many as the Indian Paisa League or Indian Profiteering League for its overwhelmingly commercial character – the government has been compelled to withdraw the 'charitable' tag and taxes are being levied on the BCCI since 2006. But within six years, BCCI has turned into one of India's biggest tax defaulters with billions of rupees of accumulated tax dues. The BCCI is also refusing to pay the 12.36% service tax that it is required to pay in accordance with the latest budget.
The real issue therefore is not just the resignation of Mr. Srinivasan but a thorough overhaul of the entire structure and functioning of BCCI to make it function like a transparent, accountable and democratic body and not as a shady private club of a few capitalists and politicians. The overhauling of BCCI should set the tone for a larger process of streamlining and democratisation of other sporting associations. Sports bodies should be run exclusively by retired sportspeople, professional sports administrators and persons of impeccable integrity and politicians and corporate bosses should be barred from having anything to do with the business of running sports organisations and deciding the future of Indian sports.
CPI(ML) Stand on CIC Ruling about Applicability of RTI for Recognised Political Parties
With regard to the CIC ruling bringing recognised national parties within the domain of RTI, the CPI(ML) Central Committee is of the considered view that there should be adequate transparency about the way activities of political parties are funded. But internal deliberations and decisions made by political parties belong to the domain of inner-party democracy and RTI cannot be used as an instrument to curb it. The norms of transparency and accountability applicable to governments that are elected by the people cannot exactly be applied to political parties which are constituted by members abiding by the programmes and objectives of the parties. Within the limits of distinction between governments and parties, the CPI(ML) is all for greater transparency about the funding and functioning of political parties.
Civil Disobedience in Kolkata against TMC Terror and Authoritarian Rule
Kolkata District Committee of CPI(ML) organised a successful civil disobedience programme on June 4 in protest against the ban imposed by the State Government against holding demonstrations and civil disobedience programmes in Kolkata. The programme also highlighted the two other demands the Party has been campaigning for: (i) arrest all those involved in the Saradha-TMC nexus in masterminding chit fund scam and confiscation of all assets of Saradha group to compensate the depositors, and (ii) action against TMC goons who have unleashed a reign of terror in rural Bengal to ensure free, fair and peaceful panchayat polls. Defying heavy police encirclement nearly 150 comrades assembled at Subodh Mullick Square. When the assembly of slogan-shouting rallyists began to march in a procession breaking three successive police cordons, the police resorted to severe lathicharge injuring Comrade Basudev Bose and four other comrades and detaining all comrades at Lalbajar police lock-up. One woman rallyist Comrade Swapna Haldar fainted during lathicharge and had to be hospitalised. All comrades were released later in the evening.
Convention in TN on Ambedkar
On May 26th, Marxist study circle, Salem (Tamil Nadu), held a convention on Ambedkar and his contributions. More than 60 activists and vanguards from various streams of Left parties including CPI, CPI(M), ML groups and CPI(Maoist) participated in the convention. A good number of dalit activists and a few dalit intellectuals also participated.
Comrade M.P. Sadasivam hailed the role of Ambedkar in guaranteeing reservation for sections and castes of Indian society historically excluded from education and dignified employment, particularly for SC/ST and OBC. Recalling the Mandal recommendations implementation by the V.P. Singh Govt he said that the necessary foundation was laid by B.R. Ambedkar. AISF State leader Comrade Manikandan spoke on the economic thoughts of Ambedkar. He elaborated on Ambedkar's views on land nationalization, big industries and on state socialism. Dr. Alagappan explained the role and debates proposed and conducted by Dr. Ambedkar during the time of constitution making, and subsequent bills and first amendment to the constitution.
Com. Simpson, State organizer of Oppressed Liberation Front, dealt with land question. He elaborated Ambedkar's views on small land holdings, co-operative farming and land nationalization. In his speech he recollected and recounted the land struggles in Bihar led by CPI(ML) Liberation. He appreciated the theoretical breakthrough of Comrade VM on caste question, his critical appraisal of Dr. Ambedkar and his policy propositions on several counts. He also appealed to all the Left parties and dalit organizations to come forward to wage land struggles unitedly.
Com. P. Subramanian, State Secretary of AICCTU and GS of TNEB workers and employees union spoke on Ambedkar's contribution on social justice. Several participants from among the audience raised variety of questions. Com. Chandramohan, SCM and CCM of CPI(ML) traced the socio-economic conditions of British india, colonialism, Brahminical feudalism and political climate of Ambedkar's contention with Gandhi and Congress party. He critically acclaimed saying Ambedkar was a radical personality clashed with Gandhian economy and Swaraj. He had opted for socialist measures and industrialization. Some how congress had co-opted Ambedkar in constitution making but never gave him a chance to implement the radical measure he envisaged. Ultimately Ambedkar had been cheated by Congress and its leadership.
Martyrs' Day Observed in Bihar on the Occasion of Ghorhuan Day
Programmes were organised on 3rd June at Ghorhuan in Patna district to commemorate the legacy of revolutionaries who sacrificed their life leading peasants' struggle against landlord-police nexus during Congress rule on the eve of Emergency in 1975. A booklet in Hindi titled "samajik parivartan ke sangharsh mein shahadat kee virasat" (Legacy of Martyrdom in the Struggle for Social Transformation) was released on the occasion of the 38th anniversary (3rd June) of that historic event. Prior to the booklet release, red flag was hoisted and unfurled at the Martyrs' column. CPI(ML) Politburo member cum District Secretary Comrade Amar and All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA's) National President Comrade Rameshwar Prasad were present who later also addressed a public meeting being organised there.
Fifteen comrades including CPI(ML) leader Nagendra, and Birad Manjhi, a fighter for social change, sacrificed their lives in a heroic battle that went on for 14 hours at Ghorhuan on 3rd June 1975 against the feudal-police nexus. A road intersection (Bihta-Sarmera road) at Purainia in Punpun was remade as Comrade Birad Manjhi Chauk and it inauguration held on the same day. Red flag was hoisted by Comrade Rameshwar Prasad and inauguration done by Comrade Amar. Other processions and programmes commemorating the anniversary were also held.
At the public meetings held at both the places, Comrade Amar, recalling the struggles of the martyrs said that the poor people have been completely cheated by the Nitish Govt in its 7-year rule. Neither did they get the promised 3-decimal homestead land nor a dignified treatment at the hands of this Govt. They are not even getting minimum wages under MNREGA. The Govt is cutting Rs.30 from their statutory minimum wage of Rs.168. Nitish Govt is working mostly in the interests of the rich and powerful and the demand for special status for Bihar is also meant to benefit that section and not the poor.
The Martyrs' Column was built in 2010 and was inaugurated by Party's General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya. Since then martyrs' day is commemorated on every 3rd June in each block of the district. The Party leaders visit the family members of each martyred comrade for getting to know the situation in their family and provide whatever possible help could be provided. Meetings are organised at several places in the district.
CPI(ML) Leaders in Bihar Conducting Nyaya Yatra
On 2nd June, two teams comprising of Party leaders set-out from Patna to tour the regions where dalits, tribals, women and minorities have been subjected to repression and injustice during the Nitish Govt's rule. It is to be noted that the repression and injustice against these sections are on the rise under the present Govt of Bihar.
One team comprising Party's Politburo member Comrade Dhirendra Jha, Araria's District Secretary Comrade Naval Kishore and Party leader from Purnia Comrade Islamuddin toured Bhajanpura village in Forbesganj on 2nd June. The day was also the anniversary of most cruel and blatant murders that the police perpetrated on four innocent villagers, all of whom were from Muslim community. The Govt has already refused a CBI enquiry of this police action. No police officer guilty for the four murders has been punished, rather they have been rewarded with promotion. The police are regularly repressing and harassing the villagers as a result of which most men have left the village.
Thousands of villagers participated in the programme on 2nd June and resolved to participate in nyaya sammelan (justice conference), to unmask the Nitish Govt's apathy for the minorities, at Patna on 20 June.
The second team left from Arrah. Comrades Rajaram (State Standing Committee member), Sudama Prasad, Sudhir Suman of Jasam and RYA's Qyamuddin are in the team. The team first addressed a press conference in Arrah after which they reached Nagri village. As is known, all the accused in the Nagri massacre have been acquitted by the Patna High Court recently. A meeting was held at Nagri with all the villagers. The team was scheduled to visit Arwal and Bathe next day.
Indefinite Hunger Strike in Madhubani
In Madhubani an indefinite hunger strike was launched on 3 June at the DM's office demanding immediate unconditional release of Comrade Dhruvnarayan Karn and others arrested in the wake of the student revolt and police firing in October 2012. Family members of the arrested comrades, including large numbers of women have joined the fast. Hundreds of women are joining in the fast (day-long) in support of those who are on indefinite hunger strike. The 53 arrested activists are also on hunger strike in the jail. It is the third day of the hunger strike when we go to press.
The plight of the hunger strikers outside and inside the jail in this scorching heat has not been sufficient to affect a decision by the insensitive Govt and Administration. Rather the District SP is threatening the agitators through press statements that the agitation is illegal, that under the new rules no movement can take-off without the Administration's permission. While the CPI(ML) is strongly backing the movement, the CPI and the CPI(M) have maintained silence so far. A team of CPI(ML) leaders including the Politburo member Comrade Dhirendra Jha, AIPWA leader Shashi Yadav, Colonel Lakshmeswar Mishra and AIALA leader Dileep Singh visited the hunger strikers and conveyed Party's solidarity. The Administration did not allow microphone to be used neither let any male members of the Party to address the meeting at the site of hunger strike. Comrade Shashi Yadav, also a Central Committee member of CPI(ML) however, addressed a meeting there and claimed that this movement for justice will surely be victorious, and together we will end the rule of injustice and police excesses. She said that Nitish Kumar wants to convert Bihar into a police state and Madhubani's Supdt of Police is out with all guns blazing to destroy whatever justice and democratic values are being upheld. CPI(ML) has appealed to all people to intensify the united movement for justice and democracy.
Even children have been arrested and are being held in Juvenile homes. Pinki Singh (member of Madhubani dist council), Kiran Karn, Yasmin Khatun, Neelam Shah, Sudha Chaudhary, Asha Pradhan, Nishu Jha and others on indefinite hunger strike, while in Jail 53 are on hunger strike led by CPI(ML) leader Dhruva Narayan Karna and youth leader of CPI Anil Singh.
Booklet Release by AIKM
The Uttarakhand State unit of All India Kisan Mahasabha released a booklet titled krishi kee upechha se badhta palayan (Rising Migration due to Neglect of Agriculture) at Dehradun on 15th May. Releasing the booklet at a press meet the State President of AIKM, Comrade Purushottam Sharma said that Uttarakhand is a tipping point of a serious land crisis. More than 65 % of the State's habitants are dependent on agriculture and related activities while the land left for cultivation in the State is now only 8 to 9 %. He accused all the governments that ruled the State subsequent to its formation for the massive migration of the hill people due to continuing neglect and apathy shown to agriculture. He stressed on the urgent need for a larger peasant movement in the State against the anti-agricultural policies of the Govt.
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