A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18 | No. 01 | 30 DEC 2014 - 5 JAN 2015
Modi's 'Good Governance'
Authoritarian Pro-Corporate and Communal Offensive
In an ominous sign for India's democracy, the Modi Government is displaying contempt for all democratic structures and bodies, to ram through its pro-corporate policies and its 'Hindu Rashtra' at one and the same time.
On the one hand, the RSS and its outfits, backed by prominent MPs of the ruling BJP, are intimidating the minorities with the 'Ghar Wapsi' campaign. The HRD Ministry, and then the Prime Minister himself, systematically undermined Christmas by declaring that it would not be a holiday. Instead, Christmas Day was hijacked and turned into a sarkari celebration of the birthday of BJP leader Vajpayee and Hindutva ideologue Madan Mohan Malviya. There are moves afoot to make statues and temples for Godse, even as a BJP MP declared Godse to be a patriot. BJP leaders including a Cabinet Minister, and Ramdev, Modi's most prominent Godman campaigner, issued warnings and threats against the film PK, even as RSS outfits vandalized movie halls. The systematic RSS infiltration of educational institutions is happening at a fast pace.
There is no room any more for the illusion that Modi himself is 'distanced' from the communal campaigns of a 'saffron fringe.' With Modi at the helm, the so-called 'fringe' is now in the driving seat and is pursuing its aggressive agenda of 'Hindu Rashtra' minus any brakes. The Hindu Rashtra agenda of intimidating minorities and dissenting voices is very much part of Modi's 'governance' package.
Meanwhile, the Modi Government is bypassing Parliament and taking the 'Ordinance' route to push through all kinds of controversial pro-corporate decisions minus any debate or discussion. The Opposition is kept engaged in fire-fighting the Hindutva muscle-flexing, while the Coal Ordinance, Insurance Ordinance and now Land Acquisition (Amendment) Ordinance are passed without a minute's debate.
The Coal Ordinance has opened up unbridled commercial coal mining for private players, who can now mine coal and sell it in the open market. The Insurance Ordinance will be a boon for beleaguered US insurance companies, which were responsible in great measure for the 2008 economic crisis, and which can now enter and exploit India's insurance market and jeopardize India's economy.
The Land Acquisition Act 2013 was passed by the UPA Government following massive agitations by farmers against land grab all over the country. Now, the Modi Government's Ordinance is undermining key provisions of the Act, to remove the protections to farmers and facilitate land grab for corporates. For a Government to overturn and undermine a law that was enacted in Parliament, by an Ordinance, is a brazenly authoritarian move. Ordinances are meant to be for very sparing use in urgent situations. What was the urgency to pass ordinances now in these crucial sectors? Clearly, an undeclared Emergency is in place, where democratic processes are being subverted to appease corporates' urgent demand for unbridled plunder.
The Government that is feeling urgency to facilitate corporate grab of farmers' land, feels no urgency to curb the rising spiral of farmers' suicides all over the country. Instead, a BJP MP in Maharashtra has declared, 'Let the farmers die, if they cannot afford farming.'
Further, the Modi government ordered a cut of nearly 20 percent in its 2014-15 healthcare budget. India's public spending on health is already among the lowest in the world, and Modi has now slashed it even further. This means that key disease control initiatives will lose funding – leaving India's poor people more vulnerable to killer diseases.
Modi's trademark Governance model is also displayed in its blatant manipulation of the CBI to protect the BJP President Amit Shah – who was accused in the heinous triple murder of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati. In an unprecedented move, a CBI court has decreed that Shah has been exempted from facing a trial in these murders! For a lower court to summarily declare that an accused is innocent, even before evidence is examined carefully in a trial, is a travesty of the justice system. And the CBI itself presented a weak case, and has yet to challenge the ruling – making it clear that they are in on the game of saving Shah.
The New Year is going to be a challenging one for all Left and progressive forces and people's movements. Onwards to a New Year of determined, united, people's resistance against the communal and corporate offensive that is threatening to overwhelm India's democracy!
AIKM statement on Modi Government's ordinance
The All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) strongly condemns the recent decision by the Modi government's Cabinet to approve an Ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act 2013. It is to be noted that the 2013 law, which the current Ordinance seeks to amend, was itself the result of farmers' agitations and a widespread recognition that farmers and peasants across the country have been bearing the brunt of forcible land acquisition, corporate land grab, displacement and state repression. The 2013 law on land acquisition provided for some rights to landholders, by bringing rehabilitation and compensation into the ambit of land acquisition and by somewhat expanding the scope of peoples' and landholders' consent before land acquisition is permitted. The recent amendments in this law put in place by the Modi government's Ordinance are a direct assault on any democratic content within the 2013 law.
The Ordinance seeks to do away with two crucial features of the 2013 Act – which had mandated conducting Social Impact Assessments (SIAs) before land acquisition in certain cases, and which also mandated consent of a certain percentage of project affected people. The Ordinance, in removing and diluting these clauses, is clearly delivering yet another death blow to farmers' rights and democratic decision-making. The Modi government is trying to justify these crucial dilutions by claiming that the Ordinance will not affect the 'compensation' package available to landowners. The fact of the matter is that not just the 'legal' landowners, but several others depend on land for their livelihood. When the consent clause is diluted or done away with for PPP and Private projects in certain sectors, this not just makes land acquisition almost a fait accompli in a most undemocratic fashion, it moreover affects several people dependent on the local economy who are not even eligible for compensation since they do not own the land acquired.
The Ordinance also reportedly removes the 2013 law's provisions for retrospective application of the land acquisition act, which could provide some relief to farmers who had been displaced without being adequately compensated, or whose land were not utilised after acquisition. Removing the provision for retrospective application in effect leaves several crores of people displaced by various projects without any recourse for justice.
Moreover, the Modi government's choice of taking the undemocratic Ordinance route, and bypassing discussions and deliberations in the Parliament is highly condemnable. Such authoritarian moves of bypassing democratic decision-making structures – clearly dictated by the needs and greed of the corporate sector – are deeply dangerous to participative democracy. Clearly, through this Ordinance, the Modi government has chosen to facilitate corporate land grab of farmers' land, through hook or crook. It has no intention whatsoever of addressing the urgent needs of farmers, even as farmers continue to commit suicide every single day all over the country, as a result of the government's economic policies. AIKM has called for nationwide protests on Jan.2, 2015 to oppose this Ordinance on land acquisition, and to press for farmers' rights in face of the pervasive forced land acquisition and displacement.
Sankalp Diwas observed on 16th anniversary of Com. Vinod Mishra
18 December, the 16th anniversary of Com. Vinod Mishra, was observed as Sankalp Diwas in different parts of the country. In Delhi, a cadre convention was organized at the CPI(ML) headquarters Charu Bhavan. Com. Sanjay Sharma presented a report on the Party's work in Delhi. The duties and campaigns discussed by the Central Committee in its 28 July meeting were reviewed.
In Haryana, a symposium was organized at Asand to observe Sankalp Diwas. It was conducted by Com. Prem Singh. In Bihar, Sankalp sabhas were held across the State and it was resolved to strengthen the Party by fighting against pro-corporate feudal, communal forces. At the Party office in Patna, a Sankalp sabha was organized. Sankalp Diwas was also observed in different parts of Patna city, in Digha, Ashiyana, Malsalami, City chowk, Gulzarbagh, Kankarbagh and Chitkohra. Com. VM's anniversary was observed in Beur jail under the leadership of Sudama Paswan. The Sankalp sabha in Fatuha was in the form of a workers' convention in Fatuha, where the need to increase Party membership and to strengthen the Party at the booth level was stressed. 27 new members took Party membership at the convention.
Memorial meetings were organized at various places in Darbhanga district and public meetings were held at Alinagar and Viraul. Arrest and speedy trial of the guilty in the Baleshwar Paswan murder case was demanded and a call was made to work for the success of the 22 December bandh against the contract and honorarium system of employment.
In Uttar Pradesh, programmes and general body meetings of cadres were held in the capital Lucknow, as well as in several districts of the state. Party classes as well as public meetings were also held in some places.
AISA Statement on Resignation of IIT-Delhi Director
Another Instance of Modi Govt Intimidating Academics and Infiltrating Institutions!
Resist this Dangerous Trend of Subverting the Autonomy of Academic Institutions for Partisan Ends!
Subverting every educational institution and education itself is one of the pet agenda of the RSS brigade wherever and whenever they are in power. We have seen it during the last NDA regime and the present Modi regime is continuing with the trend with far greater arrogance and belligerence.
In the latest incident, IIT-Delhi director Prof. Shevgaonkar resigned on 26 Dec, with still two years to complete his tenure.
While Prof. Shevgaonkar, so far, has not spoken out and cited any reason for his resignation, there are enough indications, provided by the BJP and govt sources, to draw conclusions from. On the one hand, the HRD Ministry denied widespread media reports that Shevgaonkar resigned under the alleged MHRD pressure to accede to two demands--to provide the IIT ground for a cricket academy and to pay nearly Rs 70 lakh to former IIT-D faculty and now BJP leader Subramaniwan Swamy as his "salary dues" between 1972 and 1991. On the other hand, the BJP spokespersons, Swamy and the ministry have gone on an overdrive to allege that IIT director must have resigned on being questioned for signing an MoU to set up an extension campus of IIT-Delhi at Mauritius keeping the Ministry in the dark.
A Tell-All Contrast
Protests against MHRD's 'Good Governance' day diktats
AISA as well as the AISA-led JNU Students' Union protested against the MHRD's diktats to observe 25 December as 'Good Governance' day. Even during winter vacations in the University, several students participated in the protest organized by JNUSU, AISA and other student organisations outside the Convention Centre in JNU, where the JNU administration was holding programmes on 'good governance'. Addressing the protest, JNUSU President Ashutosh said that the students, teachers and karamcharis of JNU will not compromise the academic autonomy of the University to suit the partisan political interests of the ruling party. JNUSU General Secretary Chintu also pointed out that the decision to forcibly impose good governance day on educational institutions comes as part and parcel of the communal package to try and scrap 25 December as a holiday and to threaten and intimidate Christians and other minority communities.
The JNUSU also organised an exhibition named "Glimpses of Good Governance", consisting of photos and cartoons showing the reality of 'good governance' by the BJP government – on the farce of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, demolition of slums, attacks on minorities, price rise etc. Later, JNUSU, JNU Teachers' Association and JNU Staff Association jointly held a convention which was also attended by DUTA president Nandita Narain, several other teachers and office bearers of the JNU Staff Association. A resolution was unitedly issued at the convention, critiquing the imposition of Good Governance Day program on academic institutions.
Campaign against slum demolition in Delhi
This winter, in the biting cold, yet again there were attempts to demolish slums in Delhi – but the attempts at demolition in Wazirpur were stalled by the timely intervention and struggles by CPI(ML) and other democratic forces. Early in the morning on 16 December, the Delhi Police came with bulldozers to the Wazirpur area and started demolishing slums, destroying homes, and physically throwing people (including old residents and children) out of their homes. The Northern Railway, which ordered the demolition, did not even give the mandatory notice to the slum dwellers before starting the demolition.
As CPI(ML) activists received news of this demolition, AISA and AICCTU comrades went to the Northern Railways office. Meanwhile, the bulldozers were physically stopped by CPI(ML) activists and slum dwellers in Wazirpur. A case was also filed in the Delhi High Court against further demolition of the slum. Despite the fact that the demolition had been physically stalled on 16 December, there were indications that the Police would come once again on 20 December to enforce the demolition. Therefore, CPI(ML) called for a protest at the Wazirpur slum on 20 December, to collectively oppose any demolition drive. The unity of the slum dwellers and the consistent struggles of CPI(ML) in the area ensured that the Delhi High Court finally puts a stay order on the demolition, thus staying any immediate displacement of the slum dwellers.
Agitations for farmers' rights in Vaishali
After the complete failure of crops due to spurious seeds and kits provided by "Shri Vidhi" for paddy cultivation, the AIKM has been spearheading farmers' struggles for compensation and justice in Vaishali. 200 farmers staged an angry demonstration in front of the District Magistrate's office on 20 November, demanding a compensation of Rs. 50,000 per acre. They also demanded that legal cases be filed against the suppliers of the fraudulent seeds and also against the district agricultural officers who procured them. After the agitation, the DM assured the farmers that they would be paid compensation and appropriate action would be taken.
On the same day, a rally was also held under the Kisan Mahasabha banner against the false electricity bills handed out to thousands of consumers and the bribes taken in the name of correcting the bills. The electricity department officials promised the farmers that camps for receiving applications regarding the false bills would be held on Nov 21, 22, and 23 and the bills would be corrected within a month. Following this agitation, the camps were held on the said dates.
Joint Left Workers' Protests in Tamil Nadu
In the wake of 1 November call of 6 Left parties, the Left in Tamil Nadu organized several campaigns and protests. On 5 December, State secretaries D. Pandian, G. Ramakirshnan, Balasundaram, Rengasamy of CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) and SUCI(C) respectively jointly declared the commencement of the campaign in a well-attended Press Conference held in Chennai. On 8 December, the opening day of the campaign, a protest demonstration was held in Chennai, near Valluvar Kottam.
On 9 December, an impressive roadside Dharna was held in Maduarai. Madurai City Secretary of CPI(M) presided over the program. CPI and CPI(M) legislators comrades Gunasegaran and Annadurai and the CPI(ML) state secretary were the main speakers. On 14 December, a convention took place in Villupuram. District leaders of the CPI(M), SUCI and CPI, as well as Com. A S Kumar, Party state committee member and district secretary M. Venkatesan participated in the convention.
In Salem, a well-attended mass meeting was organized, where leaders of various Left parties participated. In Dindigul, one of the oldest centres of the Left in Tamil Nadu, a protest demonstration was held on 15 December. In Pudukkottai district, joint street corner meetings and motor cycle jathas were held in 5 blocks. Joint fund collection also took place in Kandarvakkottai. Street corner meetings, dharnas, and distribution of pamphlets took place in the Cuddalore, Namakkal, Erode, Virudhunagar, Tiruvallore Chennai, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Kanchipuram and Nagappattinam districts.
Against carnage of Adivasis in Assam
After the brutal massacre of nearly 70 adivasis from Assam's vulnerable tea garden tribes, including small children and babies, by the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbjit) faction, CPI(ML) has been consistently intervening to demand that the State Government and Central Government take responsibility to provide immediate relief, and subsequent rehabilitation and safety to the adivasis of Assam; also that they take steps to ensure a political solution to pending territorial and ethnic conflicts and insurgencies.
CPI(ML) has been pointing out that the policies of successive governments in Assam and the Centre – including the present Modi government – is essentially to pit vulnerable sections against each other, rather than addressing long-standing conflicts and grievances. Assam has witnessed political parties making opportunist deals with a variety of militant groups, and using 'ceasefire' groups to unleash violence time and again. The NDFB (S) had indulged in massacre of Muslim minorities earlier in 2014 during the Lok Sabha polls. At that time, the BJP sought to benefit electorally from the massacre unleashed on Muslims by the NDFB (S). In Assam, right from the day of the massacre, CPI(ML) has been holding protests against the massacre and intervening to ensure immediate relief and rehabilitation. In Delhi, the AISA-led JNUSU called for a protest at Jantar Mantar against the massacre.