A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17, No. 02, 08 – 14 JANUARY 2014
The Battle for Relief, Rehabilitation and Justice
for the Riot Victims of Muzaffarnagar
The story of Muzaffarnagar continues to become more and more shameful and horrific with every passing day. If ever there was a riot engineered with the most sordid electoral calculation, it was the orchestrated communal violence that shook Muzaffarnagar through September and October 2013. The district which till recently had no antecedent of communal violence fell to the vicious design of the Sangh brigade after Amit Shah, Narendra Modi's trusted lieutenant from Gujarat was entrusted with the charge of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. The SP government failed miserably in checking the riot, but no one could realise that the government's failure in stopping the violence would only prove to be a precursor to a prolonged chapter of complete abdication of its responsibilities. Today the SP government stands thoroughly complicit in the crimes being perpetrated against the riot survivors of Muzaffarnagar.
With tens of thousands of people displaced from the riot-torn villages just before the onset of winter, the government should have taken the lead in carrying out relief work on a war footing, but relief operations were left to the initiative of various community organisations. And when sections of the media started reporting on the plight of the riot victims in relief camps, especially the most shocking cold-wave deaths of infants and children, the government began shutting down the camps. Mulayam Singh even went on to say that the people in relief camps were not riot victims but activists of opposition parties. His brother described the relief camps as a conspiracy to grab forest lands. As the mercury dipped and the number of deaths kept increasing, the principal secretary of the UP government told us that people could not possibly die of cold – how else do people survive in Siberia, he asked – even as the father and son duo were immersed in New Year festivities.
The riot-displaced people are understandably reluctant or afraid to return to their villages even as relief camps are being bulldozed and they are being re-evicted. Whatever land and other property they had in their villages is being systematically grabbed in what can only be described as a campaign of communal cleansing. Most shockingly, it is the state government which is endorsing this campaign with its seal of official approval. Riot survivors who have received compensation from the government have had to give written undertakings promising never to return to their villages or claim any compensation for the loss or damage of property suffered. And now with police stories of attempted LeT recruitments from among Muzaffarnagar riot survivors claiming media attention, the agenda of relief and rehabilitation is getting further sidelined.
Starved of relief and rehabilitation and living precariously in the shadow of fear, will the riot survivors of Muzaffarnagar ever get justice? Will the guilty ever be prosecuted and punished? Hundreds of people travelled all the way from Muzaffarnagar to Jantar Mantar on 16 December to seek justice. A public hearing took place in Lucknow on 6 January. More than 6000 people are named in 500-odd FIRs, yet only some 200 have been arrested, and many have already been released on bail. BJP MLAs Sangeet Some and Suresh Rana, two of the key accused, were felicitated at Narendra Modi's Agra rally. The shocking rape cases reported by riot survivors are yet to see any judicial progress. Ironically enough, while the Muzaffarnagar violence once again underscored the need for effective legislative measures against communal violence, the UPA government failed to bring the long-promised communal violence bill, even in its most diluted form, in the winter session of Parliament.
So far, the Central government has remained a silent spectator to the shocking aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar violence. Under Article 355 of the Indian Constitution, the Centre has the power to intervene in such situations and instruct the state government to discharge its constitutionally mandated responsibility. But as on many previous occasions, the Centre has once again failed to intervene and guarantee relief, rehabilitation and justice for the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar.
A major implication of the Muzaffarnagar violence is a disturbing communal division within the peasantry. The Bharatiya Kisan Union led by the late Mahendra Singh Tikait has become acutely communal and this means a major political blow for the agricultural population in western UP who had already been reeling under a deep agrarian crisis and growing pressure of corporate land-grabbers. Already the sugar barons have taken full advantage of this situation ensuring that the cane growers got a raw deal.
As well as extending all-out support to the battle for relief, rehabilitation and justice for the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar, revolutionary communists must also work to rebuild the unity of the peasantry and the working people and intensify peasant resistance to the growing state-corporate assault on agriculture.
Nationwide Protests on 2nd January 2014 against Closure of Muzaffarnagar Relief Camps; for Ensuring Proper Relief and Rehabilitation for the Riot Victims
Arrest of all Perpetrators to Pave the Way for Safe Return of Survivors
Party Demands from the President to Ensure effective intervention under Article 355 of the Indian Constitution
New Delhi: Large number of people – from CPI(ML) activists to workers, youths, students, women and several others – sat on a dharna at Jantar Mantar protesting against the Uttar Pradesh Govt's extremely insensitive action of bulldozing of the relief camps meant for riot survivors of Muzaffarnagar thus forcefully evicting them. The Party sent a demand letter to the President of India asking him to issue an advisory directing the Central Govt under Article 355 to intervene for ensuring relief, rehabilitation and justice to the riot victims.
The dharna emphatically raised the demand that the UP Govt's attempts to shut down the relief camps be prevented and every riot-hit family be guaranteed security, relief materials and proper rehabilitation. Acting on Article 355, all those named in hundreds of FIRs for rioting, raping and killing be immediately arrested and a SC guided SIT be instituted to look into all the reported cases of Muzaffarnagar riots. Dharna also demanded for the passage of Communal Violence Bill in the upcoming session of the Parliament.
Students from all the universities of Delhi participated in this dharna in significant numbers. Organisation of the Ex-AMU students in Delhi-NCR also participated in this dharna. CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Swapan Mukherjee, RYA leader Aslam Khan, AISA leaders Shweta, Farhan, JNUSU President Akbar Chaudhary, JNUSU Jt.Secy. Sarfaraj Ahmed, AMU Old Boys' Association Delhi-NCR President Irshad Ahmad, GS Muddassir Hayat andtreasurer Shamsad Khan among others spoke at the dharna. The protest dharna was conducted by Comrade Ravi Rai, RYA General Secretary.
Uttar Pradesh: Dharna and demonstrations were held at Lucknow and Robertsganj. Party activists from Sitapur, Faizabad, and Ambedkarnagar participated in the Lucknow dharna. Public meeting was held at Chandauli in Mughalsarai after a procession. At Mirzapur a demonstration was held. In Ghazipur a march was taken out before the dharna. In Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, and Deoria processions were held before culminating into protest meetings. Dharna was held at district HQs of Mau, Ballia, Bhadohi, Jalaun, and Muradabad. In Lakhimpur-Khiri, dharna was held at two centres, district HQ and Palia tehsil. Programmes were held at several other places.
The protest dharnas sent a demand letter addressed to the President of India through the District Magistrate or Collector. In Mathura too a party delegation handed over a demand letter to the DM.
The demand letters to the President mentioned that the SP Govt in Uttar Pradesh has failed in preventing the riots and upholding its duty towards the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Therefore the Centre should intervene under Article 355 and prevent the closure of the relief camps apart from other measures. Party's State and district leaders led the protests.
Tamilnadu: In TN, protests have followed fund raising for the riot victims. Protests were held in Chennai, led by Comrade Munuswamy and main speaker was Party's Politburo member Comrade Kumaraswamy. RYA leader Comrade Bharathi also addressed the protest.
At Mayiladuthurai several party members, people and Muslim organisations participated in the protest. Comrade TKS Janardhanan conducted the programme. Here the protest was also addressed by district secretary of CPI Comrade Srinivasan, Mr. Jubair, dist president of TMMK, dist secretary of MMK Mr. Muzafuddin, Mr. Jafar Ali on behalf of Tauheed Jamath apart from CPI(ML) leaders including Comrade Ilangovan.
At Pudukottai a demonstration was held led by Comrade Kalai Selvan and CPI(ML) district secretary Comrade Asai Thambi. Demonstrations were held in Rasipuram led by Comrade Velmurugan and participated by TMMK leaders Raja and Bakhruddin; and Kumarapalyam in Namakkal district was led by Comrade K Govindaraj and KR Kumaraswamy; Vilupuram Collectorate- addressed by Comrade Venkatesan, district secretary of CPI(ML); at Karanodai in Thiruvellore district – addressed by Comrade Janakiraman, DS, apart from AISA leaders.
Demonstration was also held at Coimbatore led by Comrade Balasubraminian, district secretary, and RYA and AICCTU leaders also spoke at the protest.
Uttarakhand: At Srinagar in Grhwal, CPI(ML) and AISA activists burnt an effigy of the Samajwadi Party Govt of Uttar Pradesh. Here the protest was addressed by party leader Comrade Indresh Maikhuri. He accused the SP and BJP of colluding in Muzaffarnagar riots. The protest vehemently condemned the SP for its utter insensitiveness towards the riot victims.
At Rudrapur, CPI(ML) leaders and AISA activists led by district secretary Comrade KK Bora and AISA leaders Lalit Matiyali, Kavita Verma among others handed over a demand letter for President to the DM. At Haldwani too the demand letter to be sent to the President was presented to the SDM by Nainital district secretary Comrade Kailash Pandey and Party leader BS Jangi. In Bhikiyasaind the letter was given to the SDM by Comrade Anand Negi.
2 January 2014
Union of India
Subject: Ensure effective intervention under Article 355 of the Indian Constitution, to stop closure of relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, ensure relief and rehabilitation for all survivors, and arrest of all perpetrators to pave the way for safe return of survivors
The new year dawns with horror stories from Muzaffarnagar's relief camps that are an affront to democracy. Thousands of people, who have watched their loved ones killed in cold blood, and who have been raped, and lost their homes and means of survival, languish in the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar. The Uttar Pradesh Government seems to have abdicated its duty to ensure relief, rehabilitation and justice for the survivors, and arrest of those accused of communal violence and rape. Instead the UP Government is bent on forcibly closing the relief camps, evicting the survivors and preventing their safe return to their villages. Relief camps at Loi and Bhora are already faced with bulldozers, with the riot survivors given ultimatums to leave within a few hours. Children have died of cold and lack of medicines. Women who have been raped see no prospect of justice: even in cases where FIRs have been filed and perpetrators named, no arrests have followed.
In such circumstances, it is far from enough for political leaders from the ruling party at the Centre to make visits and score political points. What is needed is effective intervention to correct this travesty of justice and democracy.
We appeal to your office to act without any moment of delay, to ensure that steps are taken under Article 355 that allows the Central Government to intervene if a State Government fails to defend its Constitutional obligations.
The CPI(ML) is holding protests all over the country today, observing a National Protest Day.
1) That an advisory be issued under Article 355 to the UP Government immediately to prevent closure of relief camps and ensure adequate relief and rehabilitation measures for all survivors, to be monitored by the President's office
2) Steps be taken under Article 355 to ensure arrest and prosecution of all named accused in riot and rape FIRs
3) An SC-monitored SIT be sought to investigate the communal violence cases
4) Enacting of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparation) Bill in the next session of Parliament
Sir, these measures brook no delay. The Central Government's inaction and apathy in 2002 came under fire as much as the Gujarat State Government's role. In the case of Muzaffarnagar, undoubtedly the communal Sangh forces are responsible for the communal violence. But the UP State Government's role is criminally reprehensible. The Central Government's role here is crucial, and your office must intervene to ensure that the Central Government acts to defend the Constitution.
Secretary, Delhi State Committee
WB Govt's New Lows after Madhyamgram Repeated Gangrape and Murder
The Madhyamgram double gangrape and murder of the 16 year old girl, abduction of the victim's body and attempts by police to forcibly cremate it has brought out once again the deeply misogynistic hostility towards victims of sexual assault and a ruthless oppression of all voices of dissent that has come to define the two-and-a-half year old TMC rule in West Bengal. The fact that a survivor of gang-rape was gang raped again while returning after lodging a complaint with the police and was later burnt to death reflects how extremely insecure and vulnerable the women have become under the Mamta Banerjee-led TMC rule. Not only did the state police fail to provide her with any security following her complaint, far from accepting its failure, it first tried to paint her brutal murder as an act of suicide and then shamefully hijacked the body and tried to cremate it without her family's consent. When the aggrieved parents appealed for justice, the police reportedly told them to 'go back to Bihar', from where they originally belong.
The incident and the utter apathy of the administration has shocked the people of WB. On New Year's Day, the victim's father, who is a member of CITU, took part in a funeral procession organized by CITU and joined by representatives of all other central trade unions. On the same day, AISA along with other progressive students' organizations took out a protest march from College Square condemning police' role and administrative apathy. The March blocked the busy Esplanade crossing for some time. Several other protest marches and demonstrations were organized on the same day by concerned citizens, human rights groups and cultural organizations. An AIPWA delegation met the Women's Commission on 3rd January. Comrades Meena Tiwari, Chaitali Sen and others from the delegation visited the girl's parents. A street-corner meeting was held on the following day in front of Moulali Dargah. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Kavita Krishnan and Meena Tiwari among others. A candlelight march followed where local people and passers-by joined spontaneosly. Same day, AISA and AIPWA jointly protested in front of the Banga Bhavan in Delhi.
A protest meeting was held at Madhyamgram 4-point crossing on 5th January. Kavita Krishnan, Meena Tiwari, Partha Ghosh and others addressed the gathering. CPI(ML) called for observing an all-India Protest Day on 6th January. The day was observed in memory of the Madhyamgram victim and all other victims of gender violence, with local-level rallies and street-corner meetings in most of the districts. Students in Jadavpur University held a march condemning the whole incident and Govt's role, on the 7th.
CPI(ML) has called for a massive protest rally from College Square to Dharmatala on the 9th of January. The following demands will be reiterated in the rally:
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee must apologize publicly and answer for the Kolkata Police's role in abduction and attempted cremation of the victim's body. The Kolkata Police Commissioner must be sacked for the Police's role. The Commissioner of Bidhan Nagar Commissionarate must be sacked immediately for failing twice to provide safety to the victim and trying to masquerade murder as self-immolation by keeping the victim's dying declaration secret for a week. A fast-track court must be set in motion to ensure swift and exemplary punishment to the culprits of double rape, murder and those responsible for repeatedly threatening the victim and her family. Administration must provide adequate compensation and security to the grieving parents so that they can live their lives in safety and with dignity.
On Bangladesh Polls
The recently held elections in Bangladesh in which the Awami League swept, inspire little confidence and credibility. With 27 parties including the main opposition party and Left parties boycotting elections, widespread poll violence and deaths in police firing, and extremely low voter turnout, the ruling party could win unopposed. We stand by the people of Bangladesh in their quest for peace, an end to violence and fear, and genuine democracy.
Statement on ethnic violence in Karbi Anglong
The clashes between militant groups KPLD and NSCN (IM) in Karbi Anglong have claimed the lives of common people and left them homeless. In the North East and Assam in particular, such clashes are often the fallout of the Congress Governments' policy of denying the demands of local people for autonomy and democracy, and patronage to various militant outfits. We demand that Karbi Anglong be granted autonomous statehood under Article 244 A of the Constitution, and long pending border disputes be resolved democratically through dialogue. All the displaced must be rehabilitated speedily, and all affected suitably compensated.
5th Pudukottai District Conference of CPI(ML)
5th District conference of CPI(ML) was held at Venmani Martyrs Hall, Karambakudi on 31.12.2013. A 7 member presidium conducted the proceedings. Com TKS Janarthanan was the State Committee observer. Outgoing istrict secretary Comrade Asaithambi presented the draft document. It is noteworthy that the Party membership in the district has crossed 1000 this time. 135 delegates and 41 observers attended and endorsed the draft document after deliberations. Conference's focus was on consolidating the branches, Mobilisation of 2000 members for the February rally on people's issues, and preparation for the forthcoming Lok Shaba elections. Comrade S Kumarasamy, Politburomember addressed the conference. Resolutions passed in the conference include an appeal to the Central and State Governments to take immediate steps to protect migrant workers of this district working in Singapore, Compensation to the slain worker Kumarvelu of this district who was killed in a road accident at Singapore which sparked violence and subsequent arrest of workers of Indian origin, demand to implement MGNREGA with Government announced rates of wages and extending it to Town panchayat and also to the lands of small and marginal farmers, to declare the district as drought hit and waive all loans of farmers etc. The Conference elected a 31 member District Committee. This committee in turn re-elected Com Asaithambi as its secretary.
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: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org