A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18, No. 14, 31 MARCH – 06 APRIL 2015
Suppression of Dissent: The AAP Mantra of Governance
Apart from the actual act of dropping these leaders – they were of course in a minority while Kejriwal commands the overwhelming majority on every level of the party – what has been particularly shocking is the manner in which it has been done. The substantive issues raised by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were never really addressed. In the National Council meeting, people were asked to sign a resolution dropping the dissenting leaders before the meeting started, the dissenting leaders and their supporters were humiliated and manhandled, allegedly by bouncers. The internal Lokpal of the party, Admiral Ramdas, who had been closely involved with the AAP since its inception, was also asked to stay away from the meeting and subsequently he too came to know from the media about his removal and the appointment of a new Lokpal panel.
While almost the entire legislative wing of the AAP has sided with Arvind Kejriwal, and some MLAs reportedly led the attacks on the dissenters, notable exceptions were Dharamveer Gandhi, AAP MP from Patiala and Pankaj Pushkar, AAP MLA from Timarpur, Delhi, who stood by Yadav and Bhushan and condemned the 'murder of inner-party democracy' in AAP in no uncertain terms. For Yadav and Bhushan the issues pertain to the violation of AAP's own 'founding principles' – flawed choice of candidates in Delhi, the violation of ethical norms in matters of fund-raising and election management campaign and lack of transparency and inner-party democracy in decision-making. Some of the complaints were also taken up by the Lokpal and in a couple of cases the party also had to change candidates.
There were also questions concerning the political-tactical course of the party and its expansion – Kejriwal apparently did not agree to the ambitious scale of AAP's Lok Sabha contests and Bhushan and Yadav did not agree to Kejriwal's reported attempt, in the wake of the AAP's failure to win any of the 7 Lok Sabha seats from Delhi, to avoid immediate elections and form a government with Congress support. According to the Kejriwal camp, Yadav and Bhushan wanted the party to lose in Delhi. Kejriwal himself accused the dissenters, Bhushan in particular, of 'betrayal of trust' and wanted the party to choose between him and the dissenters, thereby ruling out any process of political engagement or reconciliation. And the purge was finally sealed amidst the kind of rancour and ugliness that has put paid to AAP's tall claims of 'alternative politics'.
While Bhushan blames Kejriwal for his 'dictatorial tendencies' and the latter accuses the former of 'breach of trust', the rift should also be seen in the context of the political evolution and consolidation of AAP as a ruling party in Delhi. Yogendra Yadav who had come to be seen as a key ideologue of AAP, had described AAP as a post-ideological formation beyond the Left-Right ideological-political binary, which he said had become obsolete. Kejriwal too had described the party in more or less similar terms, as a 'solution provider' which was free to choose and combine aspects from both the Right and the Left. In spite of this abundant ideological ambiguity and flexibility, Kejriwal must have found the pro-socialist positions of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan difficult to accommodate and given the huge mandate in Delhi, he must have sensed this moment politically opportune to strike hard at the dissenting duo.
Just as the ouster and marginalisation of Subhas Bose and other leftists and socialists had exposed the myth of the so-called umbrella character of the pre-Independence Congress, the AAP, the fabled political home for social movements, also seems to have chosen to banish dissenting voices and oust leaders with socialistic leanings in a bid to consolidate itself as a mean between the Congress and the BJP. In a telling conjuncture, the ruthless suppression of dissent within AAP coincided with a shameful police assault on workers protesting at the Delhi Secretariat, demanding that the Chief Minister keep his promises to Delhi's working class.
For socialists, social movement activists and citizens looking for a clean democratic and egalitarian politics, it is clearly a moment of reckoning and stock-taking. Activists like Medha Patkar and a host of others had embraced the AAP in the run-up to the last Lok Sabha elections, and significantly enough, Medha has now expressed her disillusionment and disapproval by resigning from the primary membership of AAP. With AAP evolving as yet another party of governance without the pretension of 'alternative politics', the time for dialogue and cooperation between the Left and disillusioned AAP activists has surely arrived.
All India People's Forum (AIPF) Holds Protest against Hashimpura Acquittal
No One Killed 42 People? 28 Year Wait -And Yet No Justice
Delhi: Protest demonstration was held on 25 March against the acquittal of all the accused police personnel in the Hashimpura custodial massacre case of 1987. This demonstration at Jantar Mantar, was called by the All India People's Forum (AIPF) and a range of concerned citizens and organisations participated in it.
The acquittal of the perpetrators of the cold-blooded killing of 42 Muslims, after a futile 28 year wait for justice, speaks volumes about the sorry state of India's criminal justice systems, and the lack of commitment of its political class and police machinery to basic secular, democratic values and norms.
28 years ago, personnel of the 41st battalion of the Provincial Armed Constabulary had entered Mohalla Hashimpura, forcibly evicted close to 50 Muslim male residents at gunpoint, and loaded them onto a truck. Most of these were young Muslim men, and all were working class, doing weaving or loom work to survive. In cold blood, the PAC shot most of the men and dumped them in the Upper Ganga canal in Ghaziabad. The remaining men were then shot and dumped in the Hindon canal in Makanpur. Five of the men, left for dead, survived.
The protestors said that Hashimpura acquittal is yet another miscarriage of justice in a case of targeted communal custodial massacre. The protestors pointed out: that (1) there is no mystery about the perpetrators, (2) why was no Government or investigative agency interested in checking the PAC log book to identify the guilty, (3) the acquittal is the result of systematic delay, destruction and withholding of evidence by the State machinery and Governments headed by a range of parties including so-called 'secular' parties. Hashimpura took place under the aegis of Congress Governments at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, (4) could the PAC have abducted and killed 42 men without a green signal from its political bosses? (5) why did subsequent Governments of UP, headed by the SP or BSP never act against the accused PAC men, instead of promoting them?
AIPF protest declared- (1) We, the common citizens of India, stand with the men and women of Hashimpura, demanding justice as our right, (2) We demand that this shameful injustice towards the victims of communal custodial massacre in Hashimpura must be undone without delay.
Representatives of various organisations who spoke at the protest included Kavita Krishnan of AIPWA, ND Pancholi of PUCL, Navaid Hamid, Roma of NTUI, Leena Dabiru of CERI, Santosh Rai of AICCTU, Chintu Kumari of JNUSU and Swapan Mukherjee of CPI(ML).
Uttar Pradesh: At the call of AIPF, CPI(ML) also held protest demonstrations at various district headquarters in UP. The protests in Ghaziupr, Mau, Lakhimpur Kheri, Jalaun, Moradabad and Sonbhadra were held on 26 March and in Banaras on 27 March. A memorandum was also submitted to the UP chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to order a fresh and a time bound probe in order to ensure justice for the victims.
Land Struggle-Labour Struggle Campaign Launched under AIPF Banner
A 100-day long, land rights-labour rights campaign from 23 March to 30 June was launched under the banner of the All India People's Front (AIPF) to mark the 84th martyrdom anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo, who fought unto death against imperialism and feudalism. Under this national programme, meetings, rallies and protests were organized across the Country.
In Jharkhand protests were held in Giridih, Ranchi, Koderma, Ramgarh, and Dhanbad. A people's meeting was held in Giridih, a discussion session in Ranchi, public meetings in Koderma and Dhanbad, and a workers' and activists' meet in Ramgarh were held. Speakers who included Com. Vinod Singh, Pooran Mahto, Prof. Balbhadra, Manoj Bhakt, MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Bhuneshwar Kewat, Bhuneshwar Bediya, and other intellectuals, and trade union leaders pointed out that the corporate are carrying on a sustained attack on farmers and workers through the Modi government. On the one hand people's rights are being looted, and on the other hand people are being divided through communal passions, but the AIPF would intensify contact with the people to make them aware of these evil designs. Recalling late Com. Mahendra Singh, the "Bhagat Singh of Jharkhand", they emphasized the role of the common people in upholding democracy.
Marches, meetings, and symposia were held in different parts of Uttar Pradesh including capital Lucknow, Ghazipur, Ballia, Chakiya, Mughalserai and Chahniya in Chandauli, Robertsganj and Dala in Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Bhadoli, Lakheempur Kheeri, Sitapur, Pilibhit, Allahabad, Phoolpur, Banaras, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Mhow, Maharajganj, Gonda, Ambedkarnagar, Deoria, Jalaun, Banda, Moradabad and Faizabad. Speakers paid tribute to the martyrs and condemned the corporate-fascist attacks on the poor, farmers and workers, the land grab ordinance and proposed bill, cuts in food security and MNREGA, health, education, and other anti-poor measures. Various organizations under the AIPF including CPI-ML came out on the streets to demand people's rights. AISA activists held a public meeting to pay tributes to Bhagat Singh and other martyrs.
Rallies and meetings were organized across the State of Bihar including capital Patna, Masaudhi, Bihata, Naubatpur and other places, attended by large numbers of the public including women and youth, and addressed by Shyamnandan Singh, PS Maharaj, KD Yadav, Prof. Bharati S Kumar, Umesh Singh,Naveen, and others. They pointed out that the Modi government has cheated the people, especially the youth, and is giving all benefits to the corporate and snatching the rights of the poor, farmers, and workers. They emphasized the dangers of privatization in health and education, and contractual labour in place of employment with security and dignity.
A public meeting was organized at Bhilai in Chhattisgarh attended by workers in large numbers and addressed by Brijendra Tiwari, Vasuki Prasad 'Unmat', Muktanand Sahu, Ashok Miri, JP Nair and other CPI-ML, AICCTU and AIPWA leaders. Issues like the attack on farmers through the land grab bill, pro-corporate anti-worker amendments in labour laws, cuts in MNREGA and food security, privatization of health, education, and insurance sectors were raised.
Public meetings were held at Narela, Wazirpur and Noida in Delhi under the AIPF banner. The campaign in Delhi included Awas Adhikar (right to housing) too since more than half of Capital's population is homeless. In an urban setup it means that they are deprived to the extent that they don't even have any proof of bonafide residence along with many other deprivations resulting in limited rights of citizenship for all practicality in the city. A play by 'Sangwari' was staged and appreciated. Prabhat Kumar and other speakers spoke against the loot of farmers' and workers' rights and added another issue relevant to Delhi, the right to housing.
Militant Demo of Bangalore Sanitation and Water Supply Workers
AICCTU workers of BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board) who had gathered at the Labour Commissioner's office on 20 March, demanding initiation of proceedings on the cases under Sec. 25(2)(v)(a) of CLARA for equal wages for equal work, were forced to gatecrash and occupy lawns of the Commissioner's office as the Commissioner was not available for discussion to issue notices for enquiry.
The peaceful demonstrators who had gone there to find out the dates for enquiry and file hundreds of fresh cases turned militant because of irresponsible attitude of the Commissioner who was not available to answer the demonstrators. Their only question was why the investigation process was not yet initiated even though it has been over a year since the case was filed? Nobody in labor department is willing to take responsibility to implement this particular section of CLARA on equal wages.
Hundreds of workers marched straight inside the lawns of labour department looking for any official to solve their issue. The Lawns of the State Labour Department turned into a venue of protest. Finally, Additional Labour Commissioner assured that notices will be issued within a week. Demonstrators warned that the department will be stormed by thousands of workers if the assurance was not fulfilled.
Protest in Gaya against Anti-Encroachment Drive
Thousands of poor people have settled since decades on east and west banks of Falgu river which runs through Gaya town. This area has government facilities like road, water, community hall and school, and the Gaya municipal corporation collects holding tax from the residents. But for the last 20-25 days the administration has been razing this area with bulldozers. This has angered the people who are protesting in various ways, but the demolition is continuing without arrangements for alternative accommodation or rehabilitation. The DM has published in newspapers that the pollution of Falgu river and need for beautification of Gaya town are the reasons for this demolition. But the district administration is fully responsible for the squalor and pollution, as all the sewer lines of Gaya empty themselves in this river. Some so-called civic and social organizations on the pay-rolls of rich industrialists are spreading stories of the residents' being responsible for the pollution, at the behest of their paymasters. The district administration is carrying out this demolition citing the honorable High Court.
On 12 March, over 1000 urban poor and small businesses, whose houses are being bulldozed, protested in front of the DM. A memorandum was submitted to the DM through the ADM. Prior to the protest demonstration a rally was taken out from Azad Park led by Party district Secretary Niranjan Kumar, AIPWA district Secretary Rita Varnwal, Manpur block Secretary Sudama Ram, Mohd. Azim, Mohd. Alam, and others.
CPI(ML) General Secretary's address to the 22nd Party Congress of CPI
I feel really happy and honoured to have been invited here to greet the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of India. On behalf of the entire membership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) I convey our warm wishes to all of you for the success of this Congress and for great victories in your future struggles. I would also specialy congratulate Puducherry comrades for hosting the Congress in this historic centre of working class movement and bringing alive the great legacy of Comrade V Subbiah.
As I stand here to greet you I am also keenly aware of the great losses you have suffered in the run-up to this Congress, most notably the pain of losing Comrade Govind Pansare to the bullets of the coward assassin. We bow our heads in fond remembrance of our great martyrs and departed leaders and resolve to carry forward their unfinished mission.
Let me also take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to other communist and progressive organisations present here and also to express our profound solidarity with the international communist and progressive movement and all the ongoing struggles for freedom, peace, justice and equality in different parts of the world.
Comrades, your Congress is being held against a very challenging political backdrop. The Lok Sabha elections held last summer have changed the electoral-political landscape in a big way. The implications of the BJP winning a majority and forming a government on its own terms have been unfolding quite rapidly over the last ten months. The dream of achchhe din peddled by Modi in speech after speech in his poll campaign have given way to the nightmare of a concerted assault on the country and the people, on our resources and rights, unleashed simultaneously by big corporate interests on the one hand and the rabid communal hate mongers of the Sangh brigade on the other. And there can be no mistaking the fact that it is the Modi government which is facilitating and sponsoring both these dimensions.
The talk of the communal campaign being a mischievous aside by some fringe elements is pure fiction. Just as corporate interests would like to make the most of Modi's majority with an accelerated and intensified drive for privatization and liberalization, the RSS and the Sangh brigade would also like to make as much hay as possible while the sun shines. Both these aspects are thus built into the present conjuncture and far from the presumed dichotomy of corporate-driven development versus communalism, the Modi government epitomises the aggressive convergence of the two.
There is of course also a silver lining in the present situation. The alertness and determination with which the people have begun to fight back is quite reassuring and inspiring. We saw it against the Sangh brigade's campaign of communal hate, vandalism and violence; we saw it against the government's ordinances, especially against the land-grab design; and sure enough, we also saw it in the electoral arena - in the by-elections, in the elections to the Jharkhand Assembly, and most spectacularly, in the Delhi Assembly elections. The awakened democratic opinion has also succeeded in wresting some encouraging judicial victories defying the adamant and arrogant attitude of the government. Yesterday's Supreme Court verdict striking down Sec 66A of IT Act is a reassuring case in point. The government must nowbe be pushed backto withdraw every other draconian law - from UAPA to AFSPA - and every case of corporate appeasement at the cost of the basic rights and interests of the people.
It is in the midst of this growing popular discontent and determined mass protest and agitation that we communists will have to discharge our responsibilities as the most consistent contingent of people's resistance to the corporate-communal offensive. Admittedly, the Left presence in the parliamentary arena has suffered some major erosion in recent elections in almost all states. But we must never forget that the primary source and expression of the strength of the Left lies in the depth of people's struggles and in the unwavering commitment to the cause of revolutionary social transformation and if we nurture and strengthen this primary identity of the Left movement, we will surely succeed in overcoming our present weaknesses.
Even as we confront the corporate-communal offensive spearheaded by the Modi government, we realise that the rise of the BJP reflects a major political churning and a growing vacuum resulting from the people's anger against most established parties of the ruling classes - the Congress as well as the increasingly discredited regional parties. The most credible and reassuring answer to the rise of the BJP will therefore have to come from a resurgent Left ready to learn from its own mistakes and restore the primacy of people's movement as the unshakable foundation of Left politics.
We hope the 22nd Congress of the CPI will uphold this direction and strengthen Left unity to realise the dream of the Left ranks and the fighting people of India. All for the unity, assertion and resurgence of the Left movement!
Wish you a very successful 22nd Congress. Inquilab zindabad!
Dr. Daya Varma, veteran Communist and professor emeritus of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, passed away at his home in St. John's on 22 March. He was 86. Born in a UP village in 1929, Daya became a Marxist in his student days and remained steadfast in his ideological commitment while abhorring dogma and critiquing the lapses of applied socialism in Russia and China.
After obtaining MBBS and MD degrees from King George Medical College in Lucknow, he went to Canada for research and received his PhD in Pharmacology from McGill University in 1961.Thereafter he chose teaching as his profession and became the head of the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in McGill University. He continued to teach even after his retirement and was honoured as Professor Emeritus in 2009.
Daya Varma's career in teaching and research remained intimately connected with his communist outlook and activist spirit. He got involved in the working people's struggle in Canada and founded Indian People's Association in North America which worked as a bridge with the communist movement in India and South Asia. In the later years of his life he was closely involved with several organisations and initiatives involving the South Asian community in Canada and in the broader international arena.
After the Emergency he was deeply impressed by the rise of the CPI(ML) and its growing wide-ranging democratic initiatives centring around the revolutionary peasant movement in Bihar, and by early 1980s he started looking after the international department of the CPI(ML). Between 1982 to 2002 he attended every Congress of the CPI(ML). As an academic as well as activist, he was closely involved in the campaign for justice for the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster. He was a relentless and resolute fighter against the Sangh brigade's politics of communal mobilisation and a staunch advocate of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan and unity among Left forces in India.
Comrade Daya Varma has left behind a powerful legacy of combining the pursuit of scientific education, research and training with committed involvement in the revolutionary movement on the ground and motivating the Indian diaspora in favour of the revolutionary democratic movement in India on one hand and the global resistance against imperialism on the other. CPI(ML) Central Committee salutes the memory and legacy of Comrade Daya Varma and conveys the deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org