Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ML Update | No. 43 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17 | No. 43 | 21 - 27 OCT 2014

The Maharashtra-Haryana Verdict: Implications and Challenges

That Maharashtra and Haryana were ripe for a change of government was clearly a foregone conclusion. Both dispensations were seriously discredited and had lost all legitimacy in general public perception.  Sure of the ouster of the Congress-led governments in both states, the BJP took the risk of going it alone in a bid to maximise its gains. With the BJP now all set to head the state governments in these two states for the first time, the calculated risk, it must be said, has been amply rewarded. But once again the BJP's gains got disproportionately amplified because of the inherent imbalance of the first-past-the-post electoral system – its vote share is still less than 30% in Maharashtra and about 33% in Haryana.

Significantly enough, the BJP's gains came at the cost of not just the Congress but also major regional players like the NCP and MNS in Maharashtra and INLD and Haryana Janhit Congress in Haryana. Despite managing to marginally increase its own tally in the state and effectively decimate the MNS, even the Shiv Sena found itself overshadowed by the BJP in virtually every region of Maharashtra, including the traditional Sena stronghold of Mumbai. The BJP's real gain in Maharashtra lies in its success in reversing the terms of its ties with the Sena – in a revived post-poll alliance, the Sena will now be the junior partner with much less negotiating power vis a vis a BJP which now has a presence twice as big as that of the Sena in the Assembly. The unsolicited and unconditional support offered by the NCP to the BJP has further weakened the Sena's bargaining capacity.

The Maharashtra election campaign had witnessed an interesting propaganda war among the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP and MNS. The Congress sought to attribute the corruption and mess in Maharashtra primarily to the NCP, the BJP too targeted the NCP as the 'Naturally Corrupt Party'. The NCP hit back at the BJP for its authoritarian design, likening Modi to Hitler. The Shiv Sena and MNS, having all along directed the firepower of their 'Maratha pride' against the job-seeking youth and working people from North India, suddenly found themselves pitted against the growing ambition and influence of Gujarati capitalists. Elections over, the NCP has been the first to offer support to the BJP – thereby simultaneously exposing the 'anti-communal' posturing of the NCP and the 'anti-corruption' rhetoric of the BJP. Whichever way the government is now configured in the state, the post-poll realignment will be no less revealing than the pre-poll break-up.

The remarkable success of the BJP in Maharashtra and Haryana elections will reinforce the grip of the Modi-Shah duo over the government and the party and embolden the BJP to attempt more vigorous forays not only in states like Jharkhand and Bihar where the BJP has shared power in the past but also beyond the Hindi belt, whether in West Bengal and Assam or in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where the BJP is yet to secure any major presence. And on the plane of policies and legislations, the government will now surely try to bulldoze every opposition and go the whole hog to enforce its pro-corporate agenda in every sphere. The people too will have to be prepared to confront the BJP-led corporate-communal offensive and defend their livelihood and liberties with all their might.

For long, bourgeois opposition politics in India had evolved and revolved around the axis of anti-Congressism. Following the rise of the BJP as a powerful national contender since the 1990s attempts were made to carve out an anti-Congress anti-BJP opposition space. Now with the BJP emerging as the pre-eminent party of the ruling classes across the country, the opposition logic may well shift to anti-BJPism. But with the Congress still in a state of free fall and regional parties having no ideological-political inhibition to do business with a resurgent BJP, it is not easy for anti-BJPism to evolve as a uniting formula for a fragmented opposition.

In any case, the narrow frames of anti-Congressism or anti-BJPism can never be suitable for the Left's agenda of radical social transformation, comprehensive democracy and alternative politics of the non-ruling non-exploiting classes. The unprecedented rise of the BJP signals an ideological consolidation and resurgence of the rightwing in Indian politics, and the Left must get ready to combat it by re-emerging as the ideological pivot of a bold and broad popular opposition to the BJP's disastrous model of pro-corporate economics, authoritarian governance, majoritarian nationalism and retrograde-patriarchal social agenda.


Towards a Democratic Platform of People's Struggles

 On 11th October 2014, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Yuva Kendra in Delhi, representatives of several organizations and concerned individuals met to discuss the need and possibility of forging a broad democratic platform – both to take on the intensified offensive on people's movements and rights in a united way, and to powerfully assert an alternative vision for India.

The resolution adopted by the meeting and endorsed by the participants is as follows: 

Representatives of a diverse range of organizations as well as individuals met on 11th October in Delhi, to discuss the possibility of various people's movements, democratic organizations and concerned citizens coming together on a common platform to assert people's rights to land, livelihood, education and healthcare, justice, peace, dignity and freedom in the face of the communal-corporate offensive, growing imperialist domination, state repression, social oppression and caste and gender violence and injustice that threatens those rights. We, the undersigned, endorse the concerns and the call issued from that meeting. 

The meeting underlined the urgent need for forces of struggle to unite and coordinate their efforts to defend and expand democracy. 

The country is witnessing and bearing the brunt of the centralized, intensified offensive on part of the Modi Government and the Sangh Parivar on all hard-won rights and ongoing movements. Communal politics is threatening not only the rights and safety of minorities, but every vestige of existing democracy, diversity and harmony.

Draconian laws like AFSPA or UAPA, continued and intensified militaristic offensive against the country's own people, the systematic impunity for perpetrators of custodial violence, and the muzzling of voices of dissent are all symptoms of a growing authoritarianism.  

Caste violence and atrocities against dalits and adivasis continue to be rampant. Violence against women the offensive on women's rights and freedom has acquired even more dangerous proportions, with such violence and such an offensive becoming an integral tool, both of state repression as well as of communal politics.

Imperialism, hand in hand with the country's own rulers and corporate players, is attempting to erode the country's freedom in all matters of foreign and domestic policy.

The fighting forces face the challenge of combating communal politics, defending people's land, livelihood, and liberties, asserting and achieving the rights to equitable and affordable health, education and food as well as dignified employment, and asserting an alternative vision of pro-people development. 

If times seem dark at present, hope continues to burn bright with the powerful, defiant, vibrant people's opposition on the streets. We feel that a broad, united, democratic platform of such struggling forces is the need of the hour. Towards forging such a platform, which may simply be called All India People's Forum in English and Akhil Bhartiya Jan Manch in Hindi, we propose to hold a Conference in Delhi in early 2015. We appeal to all concerned organizations and individuals to actively participate in this endeavour. We shall dream, we shall fight, and we shall win!               

[Signatories: ND Pancholi (Citizens for Democracy and PUCL), John Dayal, Binayak Sen (PUCL/MFC), Anil Sadgopal (AIFRTE), Meher Engineer (AIFRTE), Sumit Chakravarty (Mainstream), Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Anand Patwardhan, Anil Chamadiya, Rajendra Chaudhary (academic and activist, Rohtak), Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA), SP Udayakumar (PMANE), Akhil Gogoi (KMSS), Dipankar Bhattacharya (CPI-ML Liberation), Vijay Pratap (Samajwadi Samagam), Dr Prem Singh (Socialist Party (India)), Mangat Ram Pasla (CPM Punjab), Govind Chhetri (CPRM, Darjeeling), Rohit (Left Collective), KS Hariharan (Revolutionary Marxist Party (Kerala)), Bhimrao Bansode Lal Nishan Party Leninist (Maharashtra)), Ambrish Kumar (Samajwadi Samagam), Rajeev (Rihai Manch, UP), Father T K John, Md Iftiqar Alam and Suraj Kumar Singh (Insaf Manch, Bihar), Purushottam Roybarman (Secretary, Tripura Human Rights Organisation), Dr Laxminarayana (PUCL and Karnataka Kaumu Sauhardra Vedike), Gautam Mody (NTUI), Roma (AIUFWP), Md Salim (Inquilabi Muslim Conference), Anant Prakash Narayan (JNUSU), Om Prasad and Sandeep Saurav (AISA), Swapan Mukherjee (AICCTU), Ramji Rai (Samkaleen Janmat), Pranay Krishna (Jan Sanskriti Manch), Dhirendra Jha (AIALA), Col (Retd) Laxmeshwar Mishra, Radhika Menon (JSM, AIFRTE), Dr. Mongve Rongpi (United Movement for Autonomous State, Karbi Anglong), Sudhir Suman (Samkaleen Janmat), Radhakanta Sethi (AICCTU, Odisha), Rafiq Jabbar Mulla (SDPI), Harminder Singh Ahluwalia (Sikh Youth Forum), Darshana Pathak (Samajwadi Samagam), Kanwaljeet Singh (RYA), Navkiran Natt (Krantikari Kamkaaji Mahila Sangathan, Chandigarh), Phoolchand Dhewa (All India Kisan Mahasabha), Gurnam Singh Daud (Dihati Mazdoor Sabha), KD Yadav (All India Kisan Mahasabha), Om Dutt Singh (Daman Virodhi Morcha, Allahabad), V Shankar (AICCTU), Amar Singh, Arun Maji, Nadeem (Sruti), Sanjay Kanojia (Samajwadi Samagam), Trilok Singh (GIEA-NZ), Amit Srivastav (PUCL Delhi)]


'Nyay march' against Escalating Feudal Violence in Bihar

The hopes which the oppressed and marginalised sections of society had placed in Chief Minister Jitan Ram Majhi (who belongs to the mahadalit community) have been belied by the spate of recent atrocities, most recent incident being the burning alive of 12-year old dalit boy Sai Ram in Mohanpur (Karakat, Rohtas district) for the 'crime' of letting his goat stray into a landlord's field. Led by the CPI(ML), the rural poor and women in Bihar have registered sharp protest against this unholy attempt to crush the dignity of the poor and their aspirations for justice and democracy. These protests include a march in Tikari on 10 October against the Pura incident, Bhojpur bandh on 13 October against the Kurmuri gang rape, Nyay march in the capital Patna on 17 October, and a march in Dumariya on 18 October.  On 18 October, a protest meeting was also organized at Dumariya village, which is the home of the gang rape victim. Moreover, a bandh was also organized in Rohtas against the burning alive of Sai Ram.

CPI-ML leaders as well as CPI-M, SUCI, people's rights movements, and journalists participated in the Nyay march held in Patna on 17 October 2014 and called for a united struggle against feudal violence in Bihar. Thousands of people participated in the march which began from Gandhi Maidan and moved towards the R block crossroads, increasing in strength as it proceeded. It was led by CPI-ML General secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Bihar State secretary Kunal, CCW member Com. Ram Jatan Sharma, former MP Rameshwar Prasad, AIPWA General secretary Meena Tiwari, ABKMS national General secretary Com. Rajaram Singh, AIPWA State President Saroj Choube, JNUSU secretary Com. Chintu and others. CPI-M state secretary and block member Com. Sarvoday Sharma, SUCI state committee member Indradev Rai, journalist Nivedita Shakeel, Ashish from NAPM, social activist Sudha Varghese and others also participated in the march. The meeting organized at R block was presided over by Com. Rajaram and conducted by Com. Kamlesh Sharma. The meeting was addressed by former MLA Rajaram Singh, CPI-M's Com. Sarvoday Sharma, Nivedita Shakeel, JNUSU secretary Chintu,  Kisan Sabha leader Com. Sudama Prasad, Gaya district secretary Com. Niranjan Kumar, former MP Rameshwar Prasad, AIPWA General secretary Meena Tiwari, and others.

Various political resolutions were passed at the Nyay march. The resolutions condemned the growing instances of barbaric feudal atrocities in Bihar and demanded that the Bihar government put an immediate end to violence and oppression by taking stringent action against all those responsible including the DM and SP at Pura and Kurmuri who scuttled the process of justice and refused to act on time to protect the lives and livelihoods of the poor and dalits. The resolutions also demanded the reinstatement of the Amir Das Commission so that the convicts in the carnages and their political protectors get their due punishment. The march raised the demand for resettlement of all poor families displaced by feudal forces (such as in Lahsuna (Masaudhi, Patna), Mauri (Paliganj, Patna), Belaur (Udvantnagar, Bhojpur), Bagahi (Jehanabad), Lohanipur and Bhanwarpokhar in Patna Nagar) as well as resettlement of the urban poor displaced with the support of the Patna High Court in the name of 'beautification'. Even as culprits of several feudal massacres keep getting acquitted, 14 innocent people are serving life imprisonment for the last 13 years under TADA in the Bhadasi (Arwal district) case. The Nyay march demanded that the government release all TADA prisoners without delay.

On 18 October, several people participated in the march from the Ara Party office to Dumariya, protesting against the Kurmuri rape incident. As the march, including hundreds of motorcyclists, proceeded from Ara town, more and more people joined in and the road passing through the district became a sea of red flags. At the Jan Pratirodh sabha (people's protest meeting) in Dumariya, thousands of mahadalits, poor, and women joined in the demand for immediate punishment to the rapists. The meeting was presided over by Com. Kamta Prasad Singh. Prior to the meeting, ML leaders had also met the victims' families.

The CPI-ML General Secretary, addressing the Dumariya people's meeting, saluted the courage of all the rape victims who chose to speak up and fight against their victimisation, a courage which even the Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Majhi who was persecuted recently could not muster for fear of upsetting the apple cart of votes in the election. He pointed out that the so-called 'social justice' parties such as the JD(U) commit injustice, tolerate injustice, and protect feudal-criminals for the sake of votes. He said that the Kurmuri incident had also revealed the true face of all parties in Bihar – while Nitish had been claiming credit for ensuring education and employment for girls in the state, the truth is that young girls have to go rag picking for a livelihood, suffering the hard knocks of life. Carnages were perpetrated in the Lalu regime and the High Court acquitted all the culprits during the Nitish regime, and the Amir Das commission was disbanded thus strengthening feudal forces. Also, the feudal forces had received a major boost with the BJP victory and formation of the Modi government at the Centre and thus they are now attacking mahadalits, poor, women, and minorities without fear. He ended by underlining the need to give a fitting reply to the BJP and the feudal-criminal forces under its patronage.


JNUSU General Secretary Chintu's Visit to Ara

In the aftermath of the Kurmuri gang rapes in Bhojpur, JNUSU general secretary Chintu visited Bhojpur to express solidarity with the ongoing movement in Bihar against feudal and patriarchal violence. On 14 October 2014, Com. Chintu visited three dalit hostels in the Veer Kunwar Sigh university in Ara, meeting the students and sharing their experiences of feudal and caste discrimination and violence, and their struggles for quality education, infrastructure and rights. On 14 October, Com. Chintu joined an AISA team to visit the Dumariya village, where the victims of the recent gang rape live. On 16th October, a seminar on 'communal feudal violence and the role of the youth' was organized at the Veer Kunwar Singh University, where Com. Chintu was the main speaker. She also participated in the Nyay march against the escalating feudal violence in Bihar that was organized on 17 October 2014. 


Workers' protests in Puducherry

On 15th October 2014, the Puducherry State Council of AICCTU held a demonstration in front of the Labour Commissioner's office, demanding that the All India Namathu Rajyam Congress (AINRC) led government in Puducherry take stern action against employers who fail to implement Labour Court/Industrial Tribunal awards. Braving heavy showers, several workers participated in the protest, including many women workers.

Earlier, an extensive 'Poster Campaign' had been conducted throughout the industrial areas of Puducherry, highlighting the demands of the workers. The demonstration at the labour commissioner's office was jointly led by Com. Janarthanan (Secretary, Jananayaga Cycle Parts Thozhilalargal Sangam) and Com. Subramani (Secretary Puducherry  Democratic Brick Makers Union).  The protest demanded that the AINR Congress government arrest, initiate criminal action against and confiscate the assets of all defaulting employers.

Com. S. Balasubramanian (State President AICCTU), Com. S. Mothilal (State Secretary, AICCTU), Com. P. Murugan (Working Committee Member, AICWF) and Com. A. Sakthivelu (Joint Organiser AIALA) addressed the protest. Com. S. Balasubramanian, while pointing out that the AINR Congress government was shielding the employers and not delivering justice to the workers, also demanded that the Modi government immediately regularize all contract workers of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (which is a PSU) as per the directives of the Supreme Court of India.  At the end of the demonstration, a detailed memorandum was submitted to the Labour Commissioner, Puducherry. 


Water Supply and Sewerage Workers of Bangalore on the Warpath

On 15th October, contract workers of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) led by AICCTU held a demonstration in front of the Karnataka Labour Commissioner's office at Bangalore demanding same pay and service conditions for workers engaged in same and similar kind of works. This parity in wages is mandatory under the existing clauses of the Contract Labour Abolition and Regulation Act (CLARA), 1970. The spirited and impressive demonstration, attended by more than 500 demonstrators, was led by Comrade Balan, Karnataka State President and all India Vice President of AICCTU. Comrades Shankar, all India Vice President and Clifton, State Organising Secretary also addressed demonstrators, among others. Sanitation workers of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) also joined the demonstration expressing solidarity. Mr. Jinkalappa, Additional Labour Commissioner came to the demonstration spot, received the case petition and assured immediate action. More than 500 individual cases were also filed on the same day. Many more applications kept pouring in.

Class for workers' leaders in Bangalore

AICCTU organised a class for workers' leaders on 19 October 2014 at Bangalore. Contract workers' leaders from among sanitation workers of Bangalore Municipal Corporation (BBMP), from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), public sector units like Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), National Aeronautics Ltd (NAL), Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) (Bangalore and KGF), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), from corporate companies such as MICO BOSCH, Kennametal WIDIA, Lafarge, RMC Readymix India, from NIMHANS hospital, from Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) under the Karnataka e-governance department and construction and quarry workers from Kolar district participated in the class. Com. Gopal spoke on "Learning Marxism" and Com. Balan, State President of AICCTU, spoke on "The Need for Revolutionary Politics to Workers". Com. Clifton D' Rozario, State Organising Secretary delivered his speech on the importance of a revolutionary theory, practice, sacrifice and organisation. Com. Shankar presided over the sessions. The meeting also reorganised the district committee of AICCTU in Bangalore, and made it more representative and broadbased in character. The meeting also resolved to make the All India Contract Workers Conference, scheduled to be held at Bangalore on 21-22 Dec. 2014, a grand success.


Convention against 'Love Jihad' lies held in Delhi

In the midst of the BJP-RSS-ABVP's communal and patriarchal campaigns opposing live-in relationships and the so-called 'love jihad', AISA held a 'Love Azaad' convention on 17 October 2014 at the Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF) in Delhi, exposing the lies of the love jihad campaign. The convention, which was attended by several students from Delhi University (DU), Jamia Millia Islamia as well as JNU, was addressed by AIPWA secretary Kavita Krishnan. Comrade Kavita pointed out that through the love jihad campaign, all Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Christian relationships are being painted as grand communal conspiracies to 'trap' women. Filmmaker Nakul Sawhney who has travelled extensively in Uttar Pradesh to document the RSS_BJP's 'love jihad' campaign, talked about the manner in which this campaign is being orchestrated in UP. He also showed several film clips documenting how 'women's security' was being used to curtail women's freedom, and to carefully create an anti-minority sentiment in UP. Several common students also spoke at length at the convention about the experiences of inter-Religious/inter caste/inter community/relationships in their own families, villages and cities. 

AISA has started a campaign in all three universities in Delhi – DU, JNU and Jamia – against the myth of 'Love Jihad' that was being propogated by the ABVP and other right wing organizations. In the

course of this campaign, AISA activists distributed pamphlets and campaigned in at least 40 colleges in DU. During the campaign AISA activists exposed the ABVP's campaign against live-in relationships,

which is an absolutely uncalled for intrusion in the personal lives and relationships of adults.



Comrade Ishwarchand

Com. Ishwarchand (Ratan ji ) was born in Mavana village of Dist. Meerut  in Uttar Pradesh. He was active in SFI in his college days. He joined the CPI(M) in the 1960s. He was part of the inner-party struggle against revisionism in the CPI(M), and joined the Naxalbari movementand later the CPI(ML). He remained a Central Committee member and Secretary of the UP State Committee for a long time. When the party was underground, he worked hard and developed the Party organization in different parts of Uttar Pradesh, staying in the houses of landless and developed many cadres.

He organized industrial workers as a trade union leader in Kanpur. In his last days he was staying with his sister in Saharanpur and breathed his last on 2nd September 2014. Long Live Comrade Ratanji!

Freedom Fighter Abbas Ali

Freedom fighter and veteran socialist Abbas Ali passed away on 11 October 2014 in Aligarh. From his early days he was inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Bhagat Singh and joined Naujawan Bharat Sabha, an organization founded by Bhagat Singh and his colleagues. He later became a member of the All India Students Federation. Abbas Ali was a captain in the Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose. Later he joined the Socialist movement and was a close associate of Ram Manohar Lohia. Long Live Abbas Ali!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ML Update | No. 42 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17 | No. 42 | 14 - 20 OCT 2014

'Love Jehad' Myth –

Communal-Patriarchal Hate Story

The centrepiece of the BJP's and Sangh Parivar's vicious 'love-jehad' campaign has just been exposed as a lie. The young woman in Meerut, who was supposedly a victim of 'love jehad', has approached the police with the truth. And the truth is that she was in fact a victim of the patriarchal pressures of family and society and the conspiracy of the communal political forces.

As a Hindu woman who fell in love with, married, and was pregnant by a Muslim man, she faced the ire of her family and community. And this all too familiar situation was exploited by the politics of communal hatred. A love story was twisted into a hate-story to feed the myth of 'love jehad'. Love, elopement, and marriage were distorted to claim rape and forced conversion. And as a result, 10 innocent persons suffered arrest and jail, and the young woman herself has faced immense coercion and intimidation.

We have always maintained that the 'love jehad' campaign by the BJP victimises women as much as it does minorities – and the Meerut case itself is a classic example of this.  In patriarchal societies, consensual love between men and women of different castes, communities or classes is often branded as rape by the woman's parents. A recent study of rape trials in Delhi showed that a whopping 40 per cent of rape complaints in Delhi are actually filed by parents of girls or women who have eloped with a lover. In all these cases, the actual violence faced by the woman had been at the hands of her own family and community, in the name of 'honour'. And of course, the 'honour' killings of lovers who break caste and community barriers continue to abound in India.   

The BJP's and Sangh Parivar's 'love jehad' campaign, in order to fan up suspicion and hatred against the minority community, gives political fire-power to such 'honour' crimes, coercion and curbs on the freedom of women. Several prominent BJP leaders openly talked of 'love jehad'; BJP leaders have issued calls against entry of Muslim men into 'garba' dance halls; the ABVP, the RSS student outfit, has launched a national campaign against 'love jehad', and the RSS' official organs have carried inflammatory cover stories promoting the 'love jehad' myth.

Every person and every woman must have a right to choose who they love, marry or have relationships with. This right is protected by India's Constitution. How can these rights and freedoms of people, and of women be protected if India's ruling party openly endorses and conducts campaigns against these rights? In India today, a woman in love with a man from a different caste or community cannot count on the Government and state machinery to protect her rights. A Muslim or Christian man in love with a Hindu woman, or a Dalit man in love with any woman, cannot count on the Government and state machinery to ensure his right and that of his lover. Instead, the police and political parties often share the prejudices of casteist and communal patriarchy. And now, to make matters much worse, India's ruling party is seeking to expand its political influence by promoting the myth of 'love jehad', thereby promoting communal hatred and also attacking women's freedoms.

In BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh recently, police, under pressure from Sangh Parivar mobs, tried to separate a married couple because the husband is Christian and the wife Hindu. The communal politics of the BJP is making it all the more difficult for women and inter-caste, inter-community couples to defend their rights.  Given this context, it is crucial that amendments be made in the existing Special Marriages' Act, under which inter-religion marriages are currently allowed. As per provisions of the existing legislation, a one-month period is provided during which parents and family members of the consenting couple are informed and can register their opposition to the proposed marriage. It is essential that this one-month window, which surely opens the doors for pressure and coercion to play, should be done away with. Democratic forces all over the country need to give a fitting rebuff to the BJP's and Sangh Parivar's communal-patriarchal campaign, and boldly assert and celebrate the rights of all persons to love and marry according to choice. 


Protests against gang rapes and feudal violence in Kurmuri, Bhojpur

On 8th October 2014, 4 minor girls and 2 women, all ragpickers from the Mahadalit community of Dumaria village, visited a scrap dealer in Kurmuri village of Bhojpur. The scrap dealer, Neelnidhi Singh, a known former Ranveer Sena area commander, held them captive at gunpoint and along with two associates, raped the women. It was only after a protracted and militant protest that the local police and administration was forced to file an FIR against the accused and take action. A CPI(ML) fact-finding team consisting of AIPWA secretary Meena Tiwari, Bihar RYA President Raju Yadav, former Ara MP Rameshwar Prasad, AIPWA state President Saroj Chaubey and AIPWA leaders Indu Singh and Shobha Mandal visited the Dumaria village as well as Ara town on 11 October and met the victims and their family members. According to this fact-finding team, the main accused, Neelnidhi Singh is not just a former Ranveer Sena area commander but is also known to enjoy the support of Ara MP RK Singh (from the BJP) and Tarari MLA Sunil Pandey from the JD(U). As a result, the police officials in Tarari as well as the Ara district administration dilly-dallied in taking any action against him, until CPI(ML) leaders and activists intervened and public pressure was mounted.  Though the incident took place on 8 October, an official complaint was lodged only after 24 hours, and the medical tests of the victims were done only on 10 October 2014. The local administration and police also tried to tamper with the evidence and the witnesses, and therefore, CPI(ML) has been demanding the suspension of the Ara SP and DM, and the removal of the Tarari police station in-charge. The 3 accused have now been arrested.

This incident points to the sense of impunity and boldness that feudal forces and Ranveer Sena elements have been displaying in the wake of a BJP victory at the centre and the patronage/appeasement by JD(U)-BJP and now JD(U) Govt. in Bihar. The Nitish Government's scrapping of the Amir Das Commission that was about to expose the political (mostly BJP and JD-U) links of the Ranveer Sena, and the serial acquittals of massacre-accused Ranveer Sena men have gone far to emboldening such elements. The recent eviction of mahadalits in Gaya and the attack on Dalits on Independence Day at Baddi last year have all been warning signals. And Kurmuri shows starkly how Ranveer Sena men who went scot-free, continue to think they can get away with rape and atrocities against Dalits. If action had been taken against Neelnidhi Singh in previous, pending cases, then he would not have been free to indulge in this latest heinous crime. The need of the hour therefore is to force the reluctant governments at the Centre and in Bihar to restore the Amir Das Commission and to ensure an early tabling of its report.

CPI(ML) has launched a spirited statewide movement in Bihar, demanding justice for the rape survivors of the Kurmuri violence, immediate removal of the in-charge of the Tarari police station, immediate suspension of the local DM and SP, and immediate reinstatement of the Amir Das commission. CPI(ML) called for a Bhojpur bandh and Bihar-wide protests on 13th October 2014 against the gang-rape. On 13 October, around 200 AISA-RYA activists marched in protest on the streets of Ara. The market in Ara town as well as the university premises remained closed. AISA-RYA activists led by Bihar RYA President Raju Yadav, Bihar RYA joint secretary Manoj Manzil and AISA Bihar state secretary Ajit Kushwaha also organized a 'Rail Chakka Jaam' at the Ara railways station, which lasted for some hours and disrupted the Patna-Mughal Sarai railway line. Simultaneously, CPI(ML) activists led by CC member Saroj Chaubey, Dilraj Preetam, Kayamuddin and others staged a road block on NH-30 near the Ara bus stop for hours together. Traffic was also blocked at Fatehpur, Jethwar and Kumhari in Tarari. Massive protest marches were held by CPI(ML) activists at Charpokhri, Piro, Sandesh, Sahar and other parts of Ara. In Jagdishpur, CPI(ML) activists were arrested for protesting. 

Protests against the Kurmuri gang rapes and against the growing feudal violence in the state were organized by CPI(ML) in different parts of Bihar. In Patna city, a protest march beginning from the Patna radio station was led by comrade Santosh Sahar, Bihar state committee members Kamlesh Sharma and Navin Kumar, comrades Ashok Kumar, Pannalal, Naseem and Murtaza Ali, as well as AISA leaders Mukhtar and Sudhir. In Patna rural too, protests were organised in Masaudhi, Naubatpur, Dulhijan Bazaar, Paliganj, Vikram, Bihta, Dhanrua, Phulwari Shareef, Maner and Phatuha. In Jehanabad, more than 500 activists registered a militant protest at the DM office against the Kurmuri gang rapes and the rape and murder of a girl in Ratni, Jehanabad.  The protestors gheraoed the Jehanabad DM office for hours. In Arwal, 500 CPI(ML) activists marched on the streets in protest, and organized a protest meeting within the Arwal block premises. Protests were held in Siwan town, Darauli, Guthni, Aandar and Nautan in Siwan, as well as in Nasriganj, Karakat, Vikramganj and Tilauthu in Rohtas, in Dumrau, Kesath, Sonbarsa and Navanagar areas of Buxar district, and in Darbhanga, Purnea, Betia, Muzzafarpur and Bhagalpur. A 'Nyay march' (march for justice) will be organized by CPI(ML) on 17 October against feudal and patriarchal violence, demanding reinstatement of the Amir Das commission and the release of all TADA detainees.

In solidarity with the ongoing struggle for justice in Bhojpur, the CPI(ML) and AIPWA organized protests in different parts of the country on 13th October 2014. In Delhi, a protest demonstration was held at Bihar Bhawan. The protest at Bihar Bhawan was addressed by CPI(ML) Politburo member Kavita Krishnan, Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, AICCTU leader comrade Mathura Paswan, AISA Delhi President Sunny Kumar, Jan Sanskriti Manch's Ramnaresh Ram and JNUSU General Secretary Chintu. In Tamil Nadu, a demonstration against Bhojpur gang rapes was held in Coimbatore on 14th October at the gate of the Pricol factory. Hundreds of Pricol workers led by their union's general secretary Com. M. Saminathan raised slogans demanding justice against feudal and patriarchal violence by the Ranveer Sena, and demanding the immediate reinstatement of the Amir Das commission and tabling of its report. On the previous day too, on 13th October 2014, the AICCTU had held a protest at the Pricol factory gate demanding end to violence on women, freedom without fear for women, implementation of the Verma Committee recommendations, prevention of honour killings in Tamil Nadu and action against Haryana BJP CM candidate's remarks on dress code for women.

In Uttar Pradesh, the AIPWA organized protests in Devaria, Balia, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lakhimpur Kheeri and Sitapur districts. In Devaria and Sitapur, AIPWA protested at the district headquarters, led by AIPWA state secretary Geeta Pandey and district secretary Sarojini respectively. AIPWA leaders submitted appeals to the President, demanding justice for the gang rape victims in Bhojpur and immediate reinstatement of the Amir Das commission, to the district in-charges at various district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh.


Tikari March against the feudal violence in Pura

As part of the ongoing movement in Pura, Gaya, against the feudal violence, murder of Arjun Manjhi and continuing intimidation of dalit villagers, CPI(ML) held a march in Tikari on 10 October 2014, in which thousands of people from Gaya, Jehanabad, Arwal and Aurangabad participated. Former Ara MP Rameshwar Prasad, former MLA Rajaram Singh, AIPWA secretary Meena Tiwari, AIPWA state President Saroj Chaubey, Arwal district secretary comrade Mahanand, Gaya district secretary comrade Niranjan Kumar, comrade Ramadhar Singh and AIALA leader comrade Gopal Ravidas addressed the protest march.


Campaign in UP against communal hate-mongering

Over the past few months, the communal situation in Uttar Pradesh has gone from bad to worse with the RSS_BJP-VHP doing everything possible to spread communal hate and violence across the state. In the backdrop of this volatile communal atmosphere, the festivals of Dussehra and Bakrid fell close to each other this year (on 3 and 6 October respectively). Prior to these festivals, there was an incident in Sansarpur village of Lakhimpur Kheeri district where communal passions were deliberately stoked. On 29 September, shops owned by poor people belonging to the minority community were looted and their standing paddy crops destroyed in this village, which falls under the Gola tehsil. All this acts, which were justified in the name of 'cow protection', were perpetrated under full protection provided by the state administration and local police. The work of inflaming passions was done by Sangh-BJP members and by the BSP candidate in the last Lok Sabha election. On 30 September the CPI(ML) held a protest dharna in front of Lakhimpur Kheeri headquarters demanding justice for the victims, compensation for their losses, and strong action against those guilty of inciting communal passions and also against the police in Mailani thana who protected the guilty. In view of the communal incidents in Kheeri and other places in the State, and the grave apprehensions regarding communal harmony and safety of minorities in the festive season, the CPI(ML) State unit released a statement in Lucknow on 1 October demanding that the government put in place a specific strategy to maintain communal peace and harmony.

However, given the inept law and order administration of the Akhilesh government, communal forces attempted to incite riots in Kushinagar, Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Faizabad, Gonda, Allahabad and other places, using the occasion of the traditional immersion of Ganesh idols as a cover. Even as the administration and police of the SP government failed to control the riot-mongering, it was only the reasoning, wisdom, and restraint of the common people that averted any serious communal incident. On the eve of the Bakrid festival, on 5 October 2014, CPI(ML) once again released a statement praising the people for discomfiting the evil intentions of communal forces and condemning the attitude of the administration, and asking the government to make strong and alert arrangements for safety, keeping the Bakrid festival in view.


Tamil Nadu AICCTU's 8th State conference held

Tamil Nadu AICCTU's 8th state conference was held on 4-5 Oct 2014 in the garment manufacturing city of Tiruppur. The venue of the conference was named after Comrade Gangaram Kol, martyr of the AICCTU's tea garden workers' movement of Assam. The inaugural session started with flag hoisting by senior woman comrade Kuppa Bai, following which leaders and delegates paid tribute to Comrade Gangaram Kol. The first session started with the convention titled 'Defeat rightward politics and let us march on with leftward path'. Leaders from AITUC, CITU and AIUTUC participated. Comrade A S Kumar, deputy Gen. Secretary gave the introductory speech. This was followed by the presidential address by Comrade N K Natarajan who emphasized that in the current situation when pro-corporate, communal and anti-people elements have usurped power with people's mandate, it is the responsibility of the Left parties to fight back. Comrade Anavaradhan, state president of AIUTUC, vehemently attacked the politics of the ruling BJP/NDA government. Comrade Arumugam, state Vice President of CITU talked of the need for ideological training of workers, along with economic struggles. State General Secretary of AITUC pointed out in his address that earlier various issues connected to the residential area of workers used to be part and parcel of trade union work. Recalling that people used to approach the Union office even for drinking water problems, he stressed the need for trade unions to go back to that style of functioning which is extremely relevant even today.

Launching a scathing attack on the Modi government, Comrade Balan, state President of Karnataka AICCTU also pointed out that at a time when even the High court and Supreme Court were delivering several retrograde judgments against the workers' movement, the need of the hour was to strengthen the struggle to defend the rights of unorganized workers against all kinds of assaults. Stressing on the need for Left unity, Comrade S. Kumarasamy delivered the concluding speech of the inaugural session, stating that AICCTU was ready to join hands with left and democratic forces to strengthen democratic struggles in the present situation.

The delegate session was conducted by a 7-member presidium comprising comrades Palanivel, Jawahar, Raman, Suseela, Kuppa Bai, A Govindaraj and Damodharan. Comrades Ramesh, Desikan and Sekar were part of the Technical team. It was inaugurated by National secretary and central observer of AICCTU Comrade Rajiv Dimri. In his speech Comrade Dimri talked about the adverse implications of Modi's 'Make in India' slogan for the workers of the country and appealed to the delegates to galvanize the whole organization for the forthcoming Jail Bharo agitation planned on 28th October 2014, and also for the National conference to be held in the middle of 2015.

The conference was also addressed by state secretary of PUCL comrade Balamurugan,  state secretary of CPI(ML) comrade Balasundaram, comrade Thenmozhi of AIPWA, All India Vice President of AICCTU comrade Balasubramanian,  comrade Janakiraman of AIALA, as well as and comrade Sathyakrishnan of AISA and comrade Bharathi of RYA.  A total of 340 delegates and observers took part in the conference. After all the deliberations, the outgoing General secretary Comrade Sankarapandian presented the draft report and resolutions which were unanimously adopted. The conference also elected a new General council, an executive committee and office bearers which in turn elected Comrade N K Natarajan as President and Comrade Sankarapandian as General Secretary.


Agitation against fraudulent SHGs in Bihar

About 15 self-help groups (SHGs) have been operating for the past ten years in Pindri panchayat of Bahadurpur block in Darbhanga district. They are registered through NGOs and received funding from the government at the time of the registration. The women in these groups are from the Party base, as this is an area where the Party works intensively. For 6 years these groups had been very active, with active participation by the members. The group held weekly meetings, and members used to avail of loans from the SHGs. The women found these loans simpler to avail of, and moreover more affordable when compared to loans from local moneylenders. Participation of women in this process was on the increase, and they deposited their share in the group account even if they had to borrow money for doing so. In recent years, the government has made a change in the structure and monitoring arrangements of these self-help groups. A state level organization 'Jivika' has been formed, which works as a governmental NGO and through which the self-help groups are sought to be organized and run in a new form. And now, each group has received a bank notice informing them that they should deposit the loan amount, otherwise there would be a legal case registered against them.

Worried by this notice, the women in the groups brought their problem to the Party. They were eager to start an agitation against the SHG coordinators and the bank. A special meeting of the self-help group women was called at Manth Chhaprar. AIPWA state secretary Shashi Yadav, Party block secretary Abhishek Kumar, panchayat chief Jangi Yadav, and other comrades took part in the meeting. 120 women from about 15 groups took part in the meeting. The women have altogether deposited about Rs 88000 in the bank through their monthly savings, and now a debt of Rs 2. 50 lakhs was being shown against them. They had also received notices for repayment of loans. The women said that the group coordinator of the SHGs and the bank manager have connived together to take out loans in the name of the women's group, and have shared the spoils between them.

After enquiring into the matter, the meeting decided on a plan of protracted agitation and also stressed the importance of legal action. The day after the meeting, the bank held a camp in that area, in which the women participated and gheraoed the bank manager. The bank manager assured the women that he would take up the matter with the higher authorities and would not file a certificate case as of now. After that, the women demonstrated in front of the Collectorate on 4 August 2014.  About 250 women participated in the demonstration, demanding scrapping of the fraudulent loans and arrest of the scamster coordinators and bank manager. A memorandum was submitted to the Collector giving a 15-day ultimatum, at the end of which, if expected action is not taken, an indefinite agitation would be launched in front of the Collectorate. A vigilant and organized endeavour is required in this matter as there is a widespread attempt across the state to bring more and more women under the organization 'Jivika'. In this situation, the CPI(ML) and associated organizations especially AIPWA and KHEMAS will take the initiatives to agitate across Bihar against this fraud in the days to come.



Com. Subrata Chakraborty, CPI(ML )District Secretary of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal passed away on 27 September 2014 at the Jalpaiguri district Hospital after sustaining a head injury on 26 September morning. He was only 64 years old and left his wife and only daughter behind.

Com. Subrata Chakraborty joined CPI(ML) in the tumultuous days of 1968 after the peasant upsurge of 1967, remaining underground. In 1971 he got a job with Military Engineering service (MES), but left it after a few months. After 1974, during the party reorganizing days he became a member of Jalpaiguri-Coochbehar regional Committee and worked as an important organizer in Kamakshaguri areas in North Bengal. Later he served the party as the secretary of Jalpaiguri Town Committee and Jalpaiguri Sadar Block Committee respectively. He was elected the District Secretary of Jalpaiguri in 2004 and became a member of West Bengal state Committee in 2007 and continued in both the party posts till death.

His mortal remains was laid in state at the district party office in Jalpaiguri town, where party state committee members, district committee members of jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and district leaders of CPI(M), RSP, SUCI, Samajbadi Janaparishad and CITU  paid homage to his revolutionary past. His last journey was attended by a considerable number of party workers and citizens from other walks of life. Long live the revolutionary legacy of our beloved leader Com. Subrata Chakraborty.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ML UPDATE | 41 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17  No. 41    7 - 13 OCT 2014

 The Agenda Behind Modi's 

'Make in India' and 

'Clean India' Slogans

Central to Modi's mesmerising election rhetoric of 'achchhe din' were two key promises: checking price-rise and eliminating corruption. Post elections, these promises have conspicuously gone missing from Modi's speeches, the two slogans that now dominate and virtually define Modispeak are "make in India" and "clean India".  The two slogans formed the main theme of Modi's 15 August Lal Quila address and also of his first US mission as PM and now thanks to India's 'Modi'fied media the slogans are everywhere.

What do these slogans tell us about Modi's unfolding agenda? It is quite clear that Modi finds it inconvenient to talk about prices now. It is also understandable that having won an election on the so-called 'development' plank, he cannot afford, or does not even need, to focus on the vicious Sanghi agenda of 'love jihad' and 'cow protection'. There are plenty of other leaders in BJP or organisations in the Sangh brigade to do that. So while the foot soldiers of the Sangh brigade and the likes of Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj are busy spreading the communal and jingoistic venom with impunity, Modi waxes eloquent about FDI and cleanliness.

Modi and his men would like us to believe that the 'make in India' mission is modelled on China's experience of using FDI to emerge as a spectacular manufacturing hub. Modi is however keenly aware that given India's bitter historical memories of colonial drain and plunder, and the more recent experiences of MNC-led devastation and arm-twisting (Union Carbide, Enron, Vodaphone, to name only a few), the common people are not too enamoured of the idea of FDI. He is therefore trying to give the whole thing a false 'nationalistic' spin by explaining FDI as "First Develop India". There could not possibly be a more false and fraudulent claim. Development of a country of India's dimensions has to be powered from within and indiscriminate foreign investment can only leave a trail of damage and dependence, not development and public welfare.

Before we start invoking the case of China, we must remember a few facts. By the time China started attracting FDI in manufacturing, it had already laid a solid infrastructure of both social capital and physical infrastructure through decades of post-revolution land reforms and socio-economic reconstruction. It never relied on FDI to come to China and develop the Chinese economy. Much of the FDI in China is made by the non-resident Chinese. And when China sensed trouble in the world market in the wake of the recent global economic crisis, it immediately redirected its attention to expanding the domestic market by effecting significant wage increases. Also China has a much more effective regulatory framework to deal with FDI. Yet as we all know, increasing FDI in China has also added to the country's share of problems whether in terms of damage to environment and public health or social inequality and regional disparity. 

India does not match China on any of these counts. The three D's Modi is dangling before foreign investors (democracy, demography and demand) cannot hide the 4th unstated D which stands for 'desperation' and this desperation can only further reduce India's strength and bargaining power while handling FDI. To attract FDI, Modi government has already succumbed to the pressure of the American pharmaceutical lobby by relaxing price-controls on life-saving drugs and agreeing to American monitoring of India's patent laws. And when Modi offers 'Democracy' as an incentive for FDI, it becomes clear that what he has in mind is just the majority he has won in this election and not the democratic right of the Indian peasant, worker and consumer to defend their rights and resources in the face of corporate aggression. By advocating liberalised labour laws, diluted environmental norms and an aggressive land acquisition approach, Modi has actually made it clear that he is all for regimentation of democracy in India to facilitate indiscriminate deregulated FDI.

Modi's 'clean India' mission is another exercise in obfuscation and trivialisation of a major public concern. While everybody must be encouraged to keep the environs clean and hygienic, clearly the drive for cleanliness in this era of toxic capitalism can neither begin nor end with a few leaders and celebrities wielding the broom for the benefit of the camera. At a time when the whole world is grappling with climate change and environmental safety and protection, the biggest question is how India deals with industrial pollution and corporate-driven degradation of the environment. Improved public hygiene also requires a massive overhaul of our sanitation network and mechanism and the key issues that we face concern as much the state of sanitation workers – the indignity, low wages and abysmal conditions they have to experience even in this 21st century – as the state of the sanitation and waste management infrastructure. For Modi, the 'clean India mission' is not just another mega propaganda spectacle, it is also a desperate attempt to try and appropriate the Gandhian legacy and also legitimise the RSS and its agenda. Modi would like to single out the issue of cleanliness from the Gandhi legacy of anti-colonial mass awakening, economic self-reliance and communal harmony and project himself now as an inheritor of Gandhi just as he has been attempting so far to appropriate the legacy of Sardar Patel. And while Modi hogged the limelight with the cleanliness agenda on Gandhi's birthday, his government quietly engineered a coup on the following day by forcing the Doordarshan to televise the Vijaya Dashami speech of the RSS chief even as Modi took the radio route to address the people on the same day.

No previous NDA government ever dared to let the public broadcaster be openly misused as a propaganda organ of the RSS and no Indian PM has ever addressed the nation on a Hindu festival day. Prime Ministers and Presidents have been addressing the nation year after year on the national occasions of Independence Day and Republic Day. But using the Vijaya Dashmai occasion – which is not just a Hindu religious day, but the foundation day of the RSS – to address the people through AIR and DD, the public broadcaster, is a brazen misuse of power in the service of the RSS and its agenda and vision to make India into a Hindu Rashtra.

When the Modi regime becomes a platform to promote indiscriminate FDI and systematic RSS penetration, the clean India campaign will have to be directed as much against the dirt on the road as against the threats to democracy and secularism.

Campaigns for sanitation workers' rights on 2 October

Even as the Modi government launched a much publicised 'Swacchata Abhiyaan' (cleanliness drive) on 2 October, with the entire media broadcasting stories and visuals of the Prime Minister Modi, Ministers, bureaucrats and celebrities sweeping roads, AICCTU ran campaigns in Delhi stating clearly that no real 'Swacchata Abhiyaan' was possible without ensuring sanitation workers' rights. At the Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra hospital in Narela, AICCTU has been organising a protracted struggle to ensure basic minimum workers' rights for the safai karamcharis employed in the hospital. On 2 October, a hunger strike and protest was organised at the hospital against the forced retrenchment of 22 safai karamcharis who had been working on contract in the hospital and against the systemic violation of sanitation workers' rights. The workers pointed out that even in institutions run by the government, such as government hospitals, exploitation of sanitation workers is rampant. In the Harishchandra hospital, minimum wages are not paid, workers are forced to work for 12 hours every day without being paid any overtime that too without any safety equipment such as gloves. They cannot avail of weekly holidays, and are denied the legally mandated PF and ESI benefits.  Moreover, after opening bank accounts for the sanitation workers, the contractor in charge of the sanitation work in the hospital has illegally confiscated the passbooks and cheque books of the workers and is forcibly getting the workers to sign on blank cheques. The hunger strike on 2 October by the sanitation workers on in Narela raised all these issues, even as the workers organised a cleanliness drive on the roads near the Harishchandra hospital.

In JNU, a 'Pledge for Rights' (Adhikaar Shapat) programme was organized on 2 October, highlighting the Modi government's criminal silence on sanitation workers' rights. Even as the JNU administration organized a cleanliness drive as per the diktats of the Modi government, with brand new brooms being provided to the JNU administration officials, around hundred sanitation workers along with several students and teachers participated in the parallel protest with black bands tied around their arms. They read a pledge which demanded an end to contractual labour and an immediate abolition of the horrific practice of manual scavenging not just in the law but also in actual practice. The pledge also demanded implementation of workers' rights such as wages, bonus and PF which have been systematically denied to sanitation workers across the country.

Initiatives in Bawana 

Against communalisation and riot-mongering  

In the first week of October, as the festival of Id approached, in the Narela and Bawana areas of Delhi, a campaign against cow slaughter by a group calling itself the 'Hindu Krantikari Sena' was used to threaten and intimidate Muslims. In the backdrop of this ongoing campaign of communal hate and riot-mongering in Narela and Bawana, a team comprising CPI(ML) CC member and Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, CC Member Ravi Rai, comrades Surendra Panchal and Amarnath Tiwary, JNUSU Vice President Anant, JNUSU-SSS councillor Rama Naga, AISA activists Om Prasad, Radhika Krishnan and Rahul, as well as comrades Mathura Paswan, Saurabh Naruka and Munna Yadav from AICCTU visited Bawana JJ Colony area and met several families in Bawana and also with local activists and leaders working against the orchestrated communal hate mongering. The following facts were gathered by the team which visited Bawana.

Over the years, there have often been concerted attempts by politically motivated forces to deliberately vilify the atmosphere in Narela and Bawana through communal hate mongering. In 2012 for instance, completely unsubstantiated claims were made that Muslims were illegally 'slaughtering cows' during Id, creating a huge amount of communal tension in the area. This year too, under the banner of the 'Hindu Krantikari Sena', several inflammatory posters were put up in the area claiming that the 'India-Pakistan war' had reached Bawana, and asserting that the Hindu religion was under 'threat' from daily cow slaughter. On 2 October 2014, these communal forces alleged, with no evidence whatsoever, that a truckload of cows had been brought into the JJ colony for slaughter. There are also reports that a compliant regarding cows being brought into JJ colony had been made by calling the Police helpline number '100'. To worsen maters, the Police and local administration refused to reveal the source of the call and of this false 'information' about rampant cow slaughter by Muslims, despite repeated demands by the residents of JJ colony. Subsequent to this rumour, around 200 men – accompanied and escorted by  some members of theDelhi Police – entered the colony and conducted a 'search' of any building they deemed 'suspicious'. This also included one of the local mosques. No cow was found during this search. The search however obviously resulted in huge tensions and a palpable atmosphere of fear amongst Muslims in Bawana and Narela. During the 'search', there were also incidents of violence, intimidation and stone pelting. In all, the whole point of the entire exercise of 'searching' the colony was clearly to spread communal hatred and division and to disturb the peace and amity in the entire region.  

After these incidents of 2 October, the residents of JJ colony demanded proper surveillance and security by the government and the local administration. They demanded that the police closely monitor the situation, and prevent any attempt to plant 'evidence' of cows in the locality to implicate the Muslims and further exacerbate the situation. These demands assumed all the more importance given that on late night of 3 October, there were allegedly attempts by some Hindu men to release cows in the area as 'evidence'. Despite repeated demands, the local police did not take adequate steps to control this volatile situation. They did not reveal the call details, or take any action against the person who falsely complained that a truck load of cows had been brought into the area. On 5 October, the local administration allowed the Hindu Krantikari Sena to conduct a huge meeting and 'Oath Taking' against cow slaughter on the eve of Id, where inflammatory speeches were made.

As a result of the intervention of democratic forces who have expressed their horror at the unfolding communal tensions being orchestrated in Narela and Bawana, some deployment of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) has finally made in the area on 5 October – as per the demand of the residents of the JJ colony. CPI(ML) and other democratic forces who visited Bawana  assured the residents of their complete support in the face of this highly condemnable communal hate mongering. AICCTU leaders in the Narela industrial area established close contact with the residents of JJ colony so that immediate and coordinated resistance can be organized in case of any orchestrated communal flare-up. CPI(ML) demanded from the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, the union Home Ministry as well as the Delhi Police take full responsibility of the safety and security of the residents of Bawana JJ colony by providing adequate 24x7 security and surveillance as per the demands of the local people.  CPI(ML) also demanded that on the day of Id (6 October), responsible authorities should be deputed to remain in the area all the time, in order to ensure that the communal tensions do not escalate and that no untoward incident occurs, and that the Delhi Police should immediately file charges and take action against the person who falsely complained to the Police that cow slaughter was being planned in JJ colony, thus deliberately instigating communal tensions in the entire region of Narela and Bawana. 

On 6 October, as news came in that the RAF deployment had been removed from Bawana, CPI(ML), AISA and AICCTU leaders once again went to Bawana to ensure that that the Delhi Police takes adequate steps so that the situation does not escalate into riots and violence. As a result of the timely intervention of democratic forces, large scale violence was prevented despite the well-orchestrated communal tensions.

Sustained campaign against feudal violence in Ballia, UP

On the intervening night of 19-20 August 2014, a cloth trader Chandrashekhar Verma was brutally killed by dominant forces in Pihraharpur village falling under Nagra thana in Ballia. After the killing, the thousands of people who gathered refused to hand over the dead body to the police until they were given an assurance that immediate action would be taken against the guilty. However, despite the assurance, the police only registered an FIR against 'unknown' persons. Though the BJP MP Ravindra Kushwaha as well as the sitting MLA from the Samajwadi Party and BSP leaders met the police after the murder, none of them demanded action against the culprits.

On 2 September 2014, a meeting was organized in the victim's village at the initiative of CPI-ML, which was attended by more than 500 people. Through the meeting, the administration was given a time limit of 13 days to act against the culprits, failing which CP-ML announced that it would launch an agitation. In spite of the victim's wife Tara Devi giving the name of one person, the police did not think it fit to interrogate that person as he has close ties with leaders in the ruling SP government. When no action was taken, CPI-ML under the leadership of State committee member and Akhil Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Sabha national secretary Com. Shriram Chowdhury, along with the deceased's wife Tara Devi, started an indefinite dharna in Belthara tehsil on September 15, in which over 600 people participated. The dharna continued without break and the number of people participating increased. On 19 September a 5-member delegation of the CPI-ML under the leadership of Party district secretary submitted a memorandum at the SP's office demanding that action be taken against the killers of Chandrashekhar Verma, and cognizance be taken of the ongoing agitation in Belthara tehsil. Seeing the wide reach of the agitation, BSP leader Swamy Prasad Maurya was forced to take cognisance of the protest and subsequently tried to meet the victim's relatives. On the 6th day of the indefinite protest, 2000 people participated in the dharna, including a large number of women. Under pressure from the agitation, COSOG (crime branch) in charge Anil Singh came to the spot and assured the agitators that within 15 days action would be taken and the culprits would be sent to jail. After this assurance the agitation was put on hold. Though the BSP has been trying to get some political mileage from this incident, it has become clear that there is no substantial difference between the BSP and SP when it comes to protecting killers. Meanwhile, as the accused is from the Muslim community, the BJP has been trying to communalise the matter but has failed in doing so. In the days to come, CPI-ML will be carrying forward this movement demanding justice for Chandrashekhar Verma. 

CPI(ML) Uttarakhand State Office 

'Deepak Bose Bhawan' inaugurated

A new CPI(ML) office was inaugurated by party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya in Uttarakhand. The office has been named after Deepak Bose, veteran leader of farmers' struggles in the Tarai and Bindukhatta area. After the inauguration, a public meeting was held which was presided over by CC member Raja Bahuguna and conducted by Nainital district secretary Kailash Pandey. Addressing the public meeting, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya talked of the people's betrayal by the Modi government. For a government that was elected on an agenda of 'acche din' and 'development', and fighting corruption and price rise, it had betrayed all the hopes and aspirations of the common people by know-towing to the corporate agenda on several crucial matters, even as it sought to stoke communal tensions and divisions across the country. The floods last year in Uttarakhand as well as the recent floods in Kashmir and the north-east are in fact the results of the disastrous economic policies being followed by the UPA as well as the current NDA government, pointed out comrade General Secretary. Moreover the Modi government has put in place an undeclared emergency, by brutally clamping down on all dissenting voices.

He also pointed out that the new office in Uttarakhand had been constructed on land acquired during CPI(ML)'s land struggles in the region – a struggle which led to the formation of CPI(ML) in Uttarakhand and which is an ongoing struggle for the party. Today, farmers and peasants across the country are fighting to defend their land against forcible land acquisition and corporate land grab, and this struggle has to be led by revolutionary forces such as the CPI(ML).   The meeting was also addressed by Uttarakhand state secretary Rajendra Pratholi, comrades Purushottam Sharma, Bahadur Singh Jangi, Nishaan Singh, Girija Pathak and KK Bora. Comrades from across Uttarakhand attended the inauguration and public meeting.

Party Workers' Convention in Ramgarh

A one-day Party workers' convention was organized by the CPI(ML) at Badkagaon, in Ramgarh on 14 September 2014, which was attended by about 400 activists. Com. Heera Gope, Bhuneshwar Bediya, Secretary Devanand Gope, Sarju Munda, Naresh Badaik, Qayamuddin Ansari, Pairu Pratap Ram, Jagarnath Oraon, Javed Islam, Devkinandan Bediya, Anant Prasad Gupta, Manoj Bhakt and others were present on the dais. Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya was the main speaker. After tributes to Com. Jayant Ganguly, Naresh Badaik presented the approach paper. The convention was conducted by Com. Qayamuddin Ansari.

Comrades from various blocks and panchayats discussed the state of the Party in Jharkhand and branch committee activities in their areas, as well as how to increase Party membership, disseminate ideology, and have better booth management, and resolved to take forward the work of the Party in a better planned manner for better results in the Assembly elections. Hazaribagh-Ramgarh in-charge Com. Anant Gupta said that the sitting MLA (former agriculture Minister) has formed a criminal organization called 'Tiger', but never bothered about land, seeds, fertilizers or irrigation for farmers, food for the poor, or pensions for the senior citizens. Com. Devkinandan Bediya said that the Modi government is crippling agriculture as well as labour, the two sectors upon which Badkagaon is dependent, by weakening and flouting the labour law and by depriving farmers of their land. Com. Javed Islam cautioned against the communal polarisation of the BJP. PB member Com. Manoj Bhakt stressed on the need to strengthen booth management.

Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the coming Assembly elections have to be fought simultaneously on many fronts. Congress, BJP, and JMM use money power, muscle power, corporate power, and electronic media. We must combat these with the power of the people since people are our strength. Past elections have shown that the Party's vote share is greatest where our booth membership is high, and vice versa. Clearly, we have to strengthen our Party organization before December if we wish to do well in the elections. Three and a half months into the Modi government, it has shown that it will surely betray all the aspirations of the common people of the country. To expose the true face of this govt, we must go to every village with our socio-cultural agenda. The people want change, and the CPI-ML can give them this change if we work with greater energy, activity, and courage.

Finally, the convention resolved to strengthen Party organization, stress on local struggles and people's mobilisation, work for booth level correction of voters' lists, strong and sustained campaigning, fund collection from the people, dissemination of Party literature, panchayat level 'jansunwai', and booth level Party membership.


Veteran comrade Ishwar Chand Tyagi passed away on 2 September 2014 at Nagal in Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh. Comrade Koppanghi Venkatanarayana passed away in the early hours of 18 September 2014. He was 83, and was an ex State Committee Member (SCM) of Avanigadda in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Red salute to these comrades.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ML Update | No. 40 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17 || No. 40 || 30 SEP - 6 OCT 2014


Dalit Atrocities Expose the Hollowness of the 'Social Justice' Claims of Successive Governments in Bihar

The Chief Minister of Bihar, Jeetan Ram Majhi, recently expressed his shock that a temple he had visited in Madhubani had been washed after the visit, presumably to 'purify' it after the polluting presence of the CM who is from the most oppressed Musahar caste. If indeed the temple was washed with such a purpose, it is a highly demeaning atrocity against Dalits, and a case must be filed against the temple authorities under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. Some of the CM's own fellow Ministers have suggested that the CM was misinformed, and perhaps this is why no case has yet been filed against the temple authorities.

Whether the Chief Minister himself was in fact a victim of such an atrocity in this particular case or not, the denial of entry into temples and other humiliating atrocities and organized violence against Dalits continues to be an ugly reality in Bihar. And this raises the unavoidable question – isn't the persistence and virulence of such atrocities against the most oppressed castes and labouring people, a telling comment on the character of the 25 years of rule by Governments headed by RJD and JD(U)?

Even as the Bihar CM waxed eloquent in the London School of Economics about the 'Bihar Model of Development' promoted by the JD(U) Government, hundreds of mahadalits of the Pura village in the CM's own home district Gaya, were forced to flee after the murder of mahadalit Arjun Majhi, to intimidate his brother Vakil Majhi and prevent the latter from filing nominations in the elections for the local Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society [PACS]. The police are yet to arrest most of the named accused in Arjun Majhi's murder, and have also made no move to arrest those who are openly threatening to massacre the mahadalits. What does it say about the JD(U) Government with a mahadalit Chief Minister, when a dalit man's kin can be killed to punish him for wanting to file nominations for an election, and the dalits in the CM's own home district continue to face the very real fear of a massacre? 

The Bihar Chief Minister, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, has yet to visit Pura. He has called upon the villagers to avenge Arjun Majhi's murder by voting to elect Majhi's brother in the PACS poll – oblivious to the fact that Majhi's brother has not been able to file nominations in time due to the intimidation, and the evicted mahadalit villagers live in terror of a massacre if they dare to vote! Why has the Chief Minister taken no steps to ensure the arrest of the perpetrators of feudal violence and intimidation, and the safe return of all the evicted mahadalits? Why have the PACS elections not been postponed to ensure that they take place only when the mahadalits can participate without fear? Why no action against the police and district administration who are failing to protect the mahadalits from violence and intimidation?

The conduct of the Bihar Government over the Pura episode today underlines how Bihar Governments, police and administration, from the Laloo era to the present JD(U) rule, have colluded with the perpetrators of organized violence against the Dalits and oppressed castes. The Laloo-Rabri regimes, and the regimes headed by Nitish Kumar and now Jeetan Ram Majhi, have paid lip service to 'mahadalit uplift', while in reality they have made a series of unholy compromises with the feudal forces on a material as well as a political plane.  

In the 1990s, the police and administration under the Laloo and Rabri Governments, failed to prevent the Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe and other massacres, and then proceeded to scuttle evidence in order to protect the Ranveer Sena perpetrators. Laloo Yadav openly declared his willingness to collude with the Ranveer Sena in order to counter the assertion of the poor and oppressed who rallied around the CPI(ML).   

When the JD(U) allied with the BJP came to power, Nitish Kumar's first act was to disband the Amir Das Commission that was on the point of submitting the findings of its probe into the political mentors of the Ranveer Sena. The motivation was obvious – those political mentors included a large number of top JD(U) and BJP leaders, as well as some prominent RJD and Congress leaders. Nitish Kumar came to power on the promise of land reforms, including homestead land for the landless oppressed castes, and safeguarding the rights of sharecroppers. But, in another blatant act of appeasement of the feudal forces, the Nitish Government refused to implement the recommendations of the Land Reforms Commission it had itself appointed!

The serial acquittals of the Ranveer Sena members convicted for the Bathani Tola, Bathe and other massacres, also exposed how the Laloo-Rabri and Nitish regimes alike had acted to protect the perpetrators and perpetuate the injustice against the dalits and oppressed castes. The Nitish Government further exposed its true character when it allowed the Ranveer Sena supporters to run amok and unleash violence on Dalits and on public property after the killing of the Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh. On Independence Day last year, Dalits in Baddi village in Rohtas were attacked by feudal forces. The Nitish Government refused to order a CBI enquiry into the murders of mukhiya Chhotu Kushwaha and CPI(ML) leader Bhaiyyaram Yadav by feudal forces.    

Prior to the 1990s, the feudal forces openly enjoyed political hegemony in Bihar. For the past 25 years, the RJD and JD(U) regimes have promised 'social justice' and 'uplift' of the oppressed castes and a change in the feudal order. The fact is that, behind the mask of 'social justice', these Governments have openly made common cause and compromises with the feudal forces. The landless, oppressed poor of Bihar however, continue to wage a courageous battle for dignity and justice. The martyrdom of Arjun Majhi will provide a renewed impetus for the downtrodden of Bihar to write their own script of social emancipation. 


Protests in Bihar Against Murder of Arjun Manjhi and Eviction of Mahadalits  

On the eve of the elections to the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society [PACS] in Bihar, Arjun Manjhi, the brother of Vakil Manjhi who wanted to contest for the post of President of the PACS was murdered in Tekari block by dominant feudal forces. Moreover, the land-owners-criminal gang nexus which orchestrated this murder has also been intimidating and threatening members of the musahar caste in the region for this 'crime' of Vakil Manjhi aspiring to contest elections. Following this latest assault on the democratic aspirations of the poor in Bihar, CPI(ML) has spearheaded a state-wide movement against this barbarism, intimidation and feudal violence.  

Immediately after the murder, a CPI-ML team visited the Pura village and the Tekari block, where Arjun Manjhi was murdered. The team noted that after the murder and subsequent intimidation, several mahadalit families of the Pura village had fled from the village fearing their lives. The team visited these families who are currently sheltering along with their children in Tekari.  Gaya district secretary and state committee member Com. Niranjan Kumar, Tikari block secretary Pulendra Kumar, Akhilesh Paswan, Sadavriksh Manjhi, Ramji Ram, and Rohan Yadav met the victims' families.

The enquiry team has stated that this attack on the mahadalit musahar caste by feudal forces in Pura village is a desperate attempt to restrain them from participating in the electoral process. Vakil Manjhi of the musahar caste was standing as a Presidential candidate in the PACS elections. The powerful people of the village could not tolerate the fact that a person of the musahar caste was standing for PACS elections. These feudal forces threatened Vakil Manjhi not to stand for the elections but Vakil refused to budge. Subsequently, on the night of 19 September, they attacked the musahar toli. They could not find Vakil Manjhi but they abducted his brother Arjun Manjhi (s/o late Raghunath Manjhi). At 7 am Arjun's dead body was found. 9 persons have been named as accused in this incident. These people started pressurising the mahadalits to take back the case, but when they refused, the mahadalits were threatened with mass carnage, due to which the entire village has come and camped in the Tekari block. The enquiry team has stated that all the perpetrators are still absconding, and has demanded their immediate arrest.

Meanwhile the CPI-ML gheraoed the Tikari SDO and demanded immediate rehabilitation of the displaced people of the village, a compensation of 10 lakhs plus government employment for the victim's family, as well as postponement of the PACS elections till the mahadalits are able to feel free of intimidation and participate fully with fear in the entire election process. CPI(ML) organized a state-wide protest throughout Bihar on these issues on 28 September. A 'Tikari bandh' was also observed on this date. CPI-ML leaders met and talked with the victim's family members.

Protest demonstrations were organized in Gaya city and its different blocks. In Masauri (Patna rural) thousands of poor burnt the chief minister's effigy in protest against this atrocity on mahadalits. Protest demonstrations were also held at Paliganj, Bihata, Maner, Fatuha, and other places. Protest marches were organized at Arwal, Jehanabad, Samastipur, Nawada, Bhojpur, Siwan, and many other places.


2-day Bihar State-level Party workshop in Muzaffarpur

To take forward the 'Gaon ke Sach, Logon ka Haq' survey

The Bihar State level Party workshop was held at Ram Manohar Lohiya College in Muzaffarpur on 20-21 September. In this important 2-day workshop, the Bihar State committee of the Party decided to launch a people's rights movement under the central slogans of "Badlo gaon, badlo Bihar, haasil karo apne adhikar" and "Loot Jhoot ki chhoot nahi, haq chahiye, bhik nahi" (Change the villages, change Bihar — Achieve your rights", and "No room for lies and loot—We demand rights, not alms" based on the issues that came to the fore through the 2-month long "Gaon ka sach, logon ka haq" (Truth about the villages, people's rights) survey conducted by the Party. Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Politbureau member Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya, Bihar State Secretary Kunal, PB member and UP State secretary Com. Ramji Rai, central and state committee members and about 200 Party activists from Bihar attended the workshop and had in-depth discussions on the experiences during the survey, the people's issues the survey brought to the fore, and the future strategy for agitation.

The proceedings were conducted by a 5-member Presidium consisting of PB member Com. Dhirendra Jha, AIPWA General Secretary Com. Meena Tiwari, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Com. Rajaram Singh, CCW member Com. KD Yadav, and State committee member Com. Niranjan Kumar. In the first session tributes were paid to late and martyred comrades, after which the 28 July Party invocation and the central committee review of the election results were read out. Introducing the main topic for the session, Bihar state secretary Kunal reported that though the survey had aimed to reach out to 5 lakh families across Bihar, till now only 2 lakh families had been surveyed. He pointed out that the survey revealed the real face of governmental schemes in Bihar. Concrete facts, figures and statistics collected through the survey show that whether in the matter of education, health or sharecroppers, the government's boast of 'development' is completely shallow. In the first session, general secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya also detailed the political need of the survey and the intension to establish a strong dialogue and connection of the Party with the people of Bihar through the survey.

Reports from the districts were presented in the second session. Bhojpur district secretary Com. Jawahar Singh as well as RYA State President Raju Yadav and Manoj Manzil presented the results of the survey from Bhojpur. They informed the convention about the peoples' concerns emerging – such as lack of land and homes, access to electricity and toilets and specific concerns of the youth regarding educational facilities in Bhojpur. They also stated that the Party had started working on the demands and issues emerging from the survey, particularly in booths where the Party had performed poorly in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Gheraos and youth sabhas were conducted by the Party, where issues of employment, expectations from the govt, development of Bihar and expectations from the CPI-ML were brought up. In the context of Siwan Com. Indrajit Chourasiya brought up the issue of missing names in the voter lists and migration. Following up on these demands, jansunwai programmes were held at 94 places. RYA national president Amarjeet Kushwaha and Sohila Gupta also narrated their experiences. Presenting the Patna rural survey, Com. Amar said that the survey clearly shows a structural change in the villages as workers in rural areas do not want to work in MNREGA as they get very low wages. Where on the one hand agricultural labour is turning into construction labour, many are also turning to sharecropping. Rambali Yadav presented the report of Maner (urban). He said that shortage of housing land was a big problem in urban areas also, but there is no law for the poor. Gopal Ravidas also shared his experiences of the survey during the workshop.

The Jehanabad survey report pointed out that whereas traditional employment was on the wane, new means of employment are also not being generated. Here too, junsunwais had been conducted in several centres. It was reported that at Arwal, after the survey, jansunwai and people's agitation on various issues had already stared there. Nalanda district secretary Mitranand said that the survey programme has broken the disunity among the people, who are now enthusiastically taking part in this programme. Junsunwais had been organized, and at Kariyana in Silaw block Yadav farmers participated in good numbers under the Party banner protesting against corruption in electricity connections. On the same day that the janpanchayat was held at Berthu in Karai block, the BDO had organized a vikas shivir (development camp). Women in thousands got up from the jansunwai and went and surrounded the vikas shivir. They told the BDO that the government should stop propagating lies and he should come to the janpanchayat and answer the people's questions. Finally the BDO had to come to the janpanchayat to answer the people's questions. The Aurangabad survey showed that the domination of feudal forces over Bihar's development schemes is still very powerful. Reports also came in from Rohtas, Darbhanga and west Champaran. Giving the closing speech for the second session PB member Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya said that clearly the old methods will not work for the new kinds of peoples' issues which are coming up. He added that our inspections have placed new kinds of responsibilities in front of us and we need to work for this systematically and continuously.

The third session was devoted to discussion on the main issues that emerged from the survey. Speaking about the possibilities of agitation on the question of sharecroppers, Com. Sudama Prasad said that a part of agricultural labour is getting converted into sharecroppers, but as there is nothing in writing the fear always plagues the sharecroppers that they can be evicted at any time by the landlord. The time has come to remove this fear from their minds and to strengthen their struggle and their organization. Com. Arun Singh pointed out the need for the kisan sabha agitations to pay special attention to this group. State secretary Kunal spoke about the sharecroppers' agitations in several parts of Bhojpur and Patna rural. He said that in Bahrawa panchayat of Punpun our mukhiya distributed grants of diesel among sharecropper farmers, after which the government was forced to make changes in its earlier rule, according to which the government was giving the grant to the landlords instead of the sharecroppers. In Bhojpur, land owners in Mansar were forced to bow down on the issue of sharecropping. Raising issues like usury, migration, moneylenders' debts etc, Com. Virendra Gupta put forward suggestions regarding migration allowance, connecting MNREGA with farming and animal husbandry, making laws for non-resident workers, etc. Com. Ranvijay, Abhyuday, Naveen Kumar, Markandey Pathak, and Com. Vishveshwar Yadav placed their thoughts on construction workers' problems, building AISA, building youth sabhas, teachers' agitation, and pax elections respectively.

Speaking about women's questions, AIPWA general secretary Meena Tiwari raised the issue of health centres. She said that no health centre in Bihar has availability of lady doctors or proper medicines, due to which the death rate of women during childbirth is very high. There is also a great shortage of workers at sub-centres. On this issue AIPWA state committee organized protests in front of district headquarters. They raised the issue of proper honorarium and dignity of midday meal workers, rights of ASHA workers, freedom, equality, and right to education for girls, opening graduate colleges for women at the block level, immediate closure of liquor shops, and other issues. Saroj Choube, Renu Yadav, Madhuri Gupta, and other women leaders also expressed their views on this topic.

The fourth session was devoted to discussions on increasing Party membership up to 1 lakh, organizing booth level branches, doubling the number of branches, increasing the membersip of Lokyudh, Adhi Zameen, Shramik Solidarity, and Janmat. The valedictory address of the workshop was given by the General Secretary, after which the workshop concluded with the singing of Internationale.


Centenary of Komagata Maru observed

The Komagata Maru centenary falls on 29 September. This year, CPI(ML) held a commemorative programme for the martyrs of Komagata Maru in the Budge Budge Public Library on 24 September, preceded by a march to the Komagata Maru martyrs' memorial near the abandoned old Budge Budge railway station. The current Budge Budge station was renamed Komagata Maru Budge Budge last year. There is however little attempt on the part of the government to popularise the history of Komagata Maru. CPI(ML) had formed a Ghadar-Komagata Maru centenary celebration committee last year in West Bengal with the late Nabarun Bhattacharya as its convenor. The Budge Budge meeting on 24 Sep demanded the inclusion of Komagata Maru in the history syllabus, foundation of a history museum in memory of Komagata Maru martyrs, and introduction of Azaadi Express linking Komagata Maru and Jalianwallahbagh (Budge Budge to Amritsar).


Mangala Apparels Workers' Conference in Delhi

The General Kamgaar Union affiliated to AICCTU organized a convention of the workers employed with the Mangala Apparels India Private Ltd. on 21 September in Azadpur. The convention was inaugurated by AICCTU's Delhi state secretary Santosh Rai. Addressing the convention, he said that the contractual labour regime should come to an end, and all workers' should be paid a minimum of Rs 15,000 per month. He also stressed the need for a militant, strong and collective workers' movement against the new anti-labour regressive legislations being mooted by the Modi regime.

CPI(ML) CC member Comrade Ravi Rai warned against the Modi regime's machinations to break the unity of worker's across the country through strategic campaigns of communal violence and hate mongering. Addressing the convention, AISA national President talked about the need for the workers' movement to bring the concerns of women workers' to the forefront, and to forge strong united battles involving workers of all factories in the SMA industrial estate where the Mangala Apparels company is located. The convention was also addressed by Ajay Kumar Singh, labour leader and worker in the Mangala factory.

Around 350 workers from the Mangala factory participated in the convention. It was decided that among the demands for implementing labour rights, the demands for bonus and tea break would be given priority in the workers' struggles. A 29-member committee was elected to lead the struggles. Comrade Santosh Jha was elected as President, comrade Ajay Kumar Singh was elected as secretary and Comrade Shambhu was elected treasurer. The convention, which was conducted by comrade Mathura Paswan, was also addressed by CPI(ML) Delhi state committee's north west district secretary comrade Surendra Panchal, JNUSU President Ashutosh, AICCTU Wazirpur unit's President comrade Munna Yadav, and comrade Saurabh Naruka. The concluding speech was given by CPI(ML) Delhi state secretary comrade Sanjay Sharma.


JNUSU and JNU Workers protest for workers' rights

The struggle of the contract workers of JNU reached a new milestone when JNUSU and the All India General Kaamgaar Union (affiliated to AICCTU) protested in front of JNU Administration Block and later at the DCP office, Sarita Vihar. Along with continued loot of workers' PF money, the JNU administration had also been backing moral policing, character assassination, intimidation and retrenchment of a woman worker of JNU by a contractor. The administration was subsequently forced to reinstate the woman worker whose services had been retrenched on spurious grounds. 

In addition, a woman contract worker of JNU and her four minor daughters have been facing serial sexual violence by their own relatives. The woman worker has been intimidated and further harassed by the SHO of Sangam Vihar when she went to file complaint. More than 500 contract workers under the banner of AICCTU held a protest demo against this at the DCP office at Sarita Vihar which was joined by JNUSU. Due to the spirited protest, the DCP has committed to ensure that the bail granted to two of the accused who have been threatening the complainant through various channels will be opposed by the police and police security will be provided to the woman worker and her daughters. Moreover, a chargesheet will be filed in one of the cases as soon as possible and proper support will be extended to the rape survivors, including intimation of court procedures.


Anti-Modi protests at the Madison Square Garden

In the midst of the round-the-clock adulatory coverage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to the United States, the print and electronic media in India have conveniently omitted to even mention that Modi was also greeted by a huge contingent of protestors in the Madison Square garden. Even as the media kept reminding us of how Modi had impressed NRIs in the US, several brave protestors held up banners shouting 'Convict Modi, Arrest Modi' and demanding justice for the 2002 genocide in Gujarat. They also demanded justice for the victims of the 1984 Sikh riots. The fact that thousands of people gathered to 'speak truth to power' and demand genuine democracy and justice during Modi's much-hyped visit to the US, is extremely significant and welcome.