Saturday, June 27, 2015

ML Update | No.26,| 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 26, 23 ­– 29 JUNE 2015

Resist BJP's Agenda of Yoking Yoga to Communal Politics

The long-standing global appeal of yoga as an easy and affordable choice for staying fit and healthy has now been recognised by the UN with the declaration of June 21 as the International Yoga Day. The interest and participation witnessed on the occasion of the first IYD in India and beyond reflected this popularity.

But for the Modi government and RSS-BJP leadership, yoga has turned into yet another weapon of political propaganda, cultural homogenization and communal targeting, apart from promoting the interests of a select few who have made fortunes by commercializing yoga. It is therefore imperative to make a clear distinction between yoga as an Indian heritage as well as a modern-day fitness choice and the Sangh-BJP politics of yoga.

As part of Indian heritage and tradition, it is important to recognise the plural origin and development of yoga with multiple schools and exponents contributing to its popularisation. Most yoga positions and postures are inspired by natural phenomena and the animal world and have no overt religious connotation or symbolism. Yet by trying to make it compulsory in schools and blaming Muslims for non-adherence (BJP leader Ram Madhav, for example, questioned the absence of Vice President Hamid Ansari in IYD celebrations in Delhi before withdrawing his communally motivated tweet), the BJP is bent on using yoga as an item of cultural regimentation and communal polarisation.

In his IYD message, Modi cautioned against commodification of yoga. Yet, the BJP scheme of yoga promotion revolves primarily around Baba Ramdev who has built up a massive business empire by selling yoga and a growing array of products with dubious claims of curing diseases and reinforcing sexist attitudes and superstitious beliefs. Of the 600-odd camps where IYD was observed under official patronage, a good many were outsourced to centres run by Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar. Instead of promoting yoga as a free personal choice and private experience, the Modi government has turned yoga into a state-sponsored televised public spectacle.

Let us now consider the issue in the context of public health. Contrast the Modi government's all-out promotion of yoga to the growing neglect of public health infrastructure and services, and it becomes clear that for the BJP the yoga campaign is not really part of any public health agenda. For all its health benefits yoga is no panacea for India's acute public health crisis. And a government which is busy slashing its health budget and social welfare spending, and is systematically abdicating the state's responsibility of providing universal healthcare, cannot absolve itself of its guilt by just patronizing yoga promotion events and subsidising dubious yoga commerce. Indeed, Bhopal gas disaster survivors used the IYD occasion to tell the world how the government has shut down yoga centres meant for them. Like the much-touted 'swachhata abhiyan', the yoga campaign too promises to be another grand televised exercise in tokenism.

The IYD celebrations came close on the heels of the surfacing of the first major scam of the Modi government. The government which came to power promising repatriation of black money and corruption-free governance now stands deeply implicated in patronizing the kingpin of IPL scam defying the law of the land. The mass resentment generated by the land grab ordinance, escalating prices, and cases of complicity in corruption is not going to be swept aside by the IYD hype.

We are approaching the 40th anniversary of the infamous Emergency. The agenda of cultural regimentation in the wake of IYD is one of symptoms of Modi's authoritarian, 'Supreme Leader' style of governance that presents the undeclared but very real threat of Emergency in India today. We must resolve to resist this undeclared Emergency and defend our diversity and freedom with all our might.

Government Concedes Demands after an Effective Strike by Bihar State Karyapalak Sahayak Sangh

The recently formed Bihar State Karyapalak Sahayak Sangh (Bihar State Peons and Assistants Union) staged an effective state wide strike from 8 June to 11 June with a 7 point demand charter including regularization of service, increase in honorarium (from 9,000 to 20,000), and maintaining seniority of those who are removed after a project is finished so that they may be re-employed. The BSKSS, associated with the Mahasangh (Gope group) and AICCTU, had on 26 May submitted their demands to the Chief Secretary, General Administration, who had called them for talks on 5 June and also asked upper Project Director, Bihar Administrative Reforms Mission Society to be present. However, on 27 May the upper Project Director issued directives for honorarium raise which was very discriminatory (from 9,000 to 10,500 for karyapalak sahayaks, from 30,000 to 40,000 for IT managers, from 10,000 to 17,000 for IT assistants). The talk to be held on 5 June was also mysteriously cancelled. The Sangh submitted a letter of protest on 29 May.

Outraged, the BSKSS gave notice of the strike on 5 June and a 4 day strike was successfully carried out. On the first day itself, the administration started putting pressure for ending the strike. On the second day Chief Secretary Amir Subhani issued a directive notice ordering appointment of new karyapalak sahayaks and sacking of the striking sahayaks. On 10 June, copies of this directive were burnt in protest in 35 district HQs of Bihar. On the same day a fresh notice was issued repeating the 9 June directive with an added note, "As the number of applications received for Bihar Lok Seva Adhikar in 32 dstricts is zero, the process of removing the striking sahayaks from service should be started immediately".

However, the administration had to finally bow down in the face of the effectiveness of the strike and on 11 June Amir Subhani called a delegation (which included Rambali Yadav, Ranvijay Kumar, Ashish Kumar, and Mohd. Belal) for talks, during which Shri Subhani gave positive assurance on all the 7 demands of the striking sahayaks. He promised to raise the issue of regularization strongly in the committee constituted to look into the regularization of sahayaks. Agreeing that the honorarium rise was unfair to sahayaks, he promised to rectify and increase it within a month. He also promised that the validity of the seniority panel would be increased from 1 year to 3 or 5 years. In case of theft or damage to the computer system (which belongs personally to the sahayak), the honorarium would be maintained, and pending honorariums in various departments would also be paid without delay. After the talks, the strike was conditionally called off with the caveat that if the promised assurances were not fulfilled within the stipulated time limit, a stronger strike would be organized. A letter to this effect was submitted to the department on 12 June.

Sahayaks from 33 out of 38 districts participated in the strike, and were joined later by 2 more districts. Work came to a standstill in about 500 out of 523 blocks. Dharnas were held simultaneously during the strike by sahayaks in various districts. In Patna the dharna was held in front of the Collectorate.

Eight Day Hunger Strike in Ara by CPI(ML) Leaders

Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha State Secretary, Com. Sudama Prasad and RYA President Com. Raju Yadav sat on an 8 day hunger strike in front of the Ara Collectorate from 6 June to 13 June to demand – (i) payment to farmers for paddy purchase, (ii) crop damage compensation to farmers and sharecroppers, (iii) arrangement for water in canals, (iv) quick completion of the Dedhua project, (v) to end cuts in ration, kerosene, MNREGA, and Indira Awas, (vi) to give 5 decimal residential land to all poor, (vii) revoke the Land Grab ordinance, (viii) take back all false cases on CPI(ML) leaders, and (ix) to regularize contractual and honorarium workers and teachers. The district authorities paid no heed to and did not even bother to meet the protesters, who then did a chakka jam on 10 June and called for a bandh on 12 June.

On 13 June the leaders broke their fast and accepted juice from CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya and State Secretary Com. Kunal. Addressing the meeting on the occasion, Com. Dipankar said that the 8 day hunger strike held up the mirror to the anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the central as well as Bihar governments. He pointed out that farmers, workers, shikshakarmis, anganwadi workers, and others are being cheated of their rights. Instead of rule of the people, these governments have brought in Company Raj. Farmers' suicides have spilled over from Maharashtra and Punjab into the entire country. The livelihoods of workers, youth, and small shopkeepers are in jeopardy. The jan-dhan accounts are only another means to cheat the people. Com. Dipankar said that Nitish's opposition to the Land ordinance is not credible because he himself is guilty of grabbing land through BIADA, and liquor factories that are being run on bhoodaan land in Patna. He said that Bhojpur, true to its revolutionary traditions would fight to overturn these governments and their anti-people and anti-poor policies.

The meeting was also addressed by AIARLA National President Com. Rameshwar Prasad, Kisan Mahasabha National General Secretary Com. Rajaram Singh, Com. Sudama Prasad, Com. Raju Yadav, AISA State Secretary Com. Ajit Kushwaha, Kisan Mahasabha Bhojpur district Secretary Com. Chandradeep Singh, and Com. Sudhir Suman. A 12 point political resolution was read out and a mass protest against the Land ordinance was announced for 26 June. A resolution was also passed against the insensitive behavior of the Bhojpur DM which did not befit a public servant.

News was received that after this agitation, the Bihar State Co-operative Bank sent Rs 370 crores to the central co-operative banks of all districts for payment of paddy purchase to the farmers. Com. Sudama Prasad and Com. Chandradeep Singh said that this was a victory for the protesters. They asserted that the financially burdened farmers of Bhojpur would not commit suicide but would fight to keep their land, their agriculture, and their dignity.

AIPF fact finding team visits Palamu to Investigate Cases of State-police Repression and Social Oppression

The team comprising of ex-MLA from CPI(ML), Vinod Singh, Ananta Prasada Gupta, Dayamani Barla, Jugal Pal and Anil Anshuman, investigated the incidents of – murder of civil rights activist Prahlad Sao by the coal mafia in Chandwa of Latehar district, killing of 12 people by the police in a fake encounter in Bakoriya (Satbarwa) of Manika, molestation of a minor girl by a CRPF jawan in Betla, and burning of dalit-adivasi homes in Anharidhodha (Chainpur) of Palamu district.

(i)      Murder of Civil Rights Activist Prahlad Sao

On 15 May, Prahlad Sao, well known activist and Jan Kalyan Samiti President was murdered. Till date the killers have not been caught. The AIPF team reached Tori on 17 June, and came to know many facts about the deadly business of mining and mafia in the region. For the last 7 or 8 months hundreds of trucks have been bringing illegally mined coal to platform 3 of Tori railway station from where it was sent by train route to Reliance, Amrapali, Dhanuka, BK, Hindalco and other companies. Local people informed the team that this illegal business received the protection and patronage of police and administration. Prahlad Sao's family told the AIPF team that they used to get phone calls from IAS and IPS officers in Ranchi telling them to make their father stop the agitation. Some days ago, coal trader Dhanuka had come and said they could take as much money as they liked, but should stop obstructing the coal loading. The AIPF team has demanded CBI enquiry into the whole matter and stressed that the more important issue is not who fired the revolver but who is behind the firing.

(ii)     Bakoriya (Satbarwa) Encounter Case

Twelve people were killed by the police in the name of Maoist encounter on the night of 8 June. Local people and media personnel told the AIPF team that this was a strange encounter where only people from one side were killed. The police did not suffer even a scratch. The dead received bullets on their chests. The police have said that four of the dead were Maoists, but are silent on the rest. The dead include four minor boys. The team visited the home of the victims and talked to their families and local villagers. While all of them gave statements in a mechanical way as if they were under pressure to speak as instructed, the general talk in the area was that the killings had been carried out by a criminal outfit JJMP which enjoys police patronage, and the police was taking vicarious "credit" for this fake encounter.

(iii)    Betla Molestation Case

10 May, when a minor girl from Akhra village came to a primary school hand pump in Betla to draw water, one jawan from the Betla national park CRPF camp caught her and took her into a school room. He was accompanied by another jawan. A woman who was passing by raised an alarm to collect the villagers. The angry villagers went into the camp and demanded that both culprits be produced. But the camp officials denied the whole matter and said it was a false accusation. CPI(ML) leaders Birju Ram and Kanhai Singh reached the spot and, along with the angry people, demanded the immediate arrest of the molesters, and blocked the Barwadih main road. When the enquiry team reached the spot, the victim, her family, and hundreds of villagers gave full details of the incident. Eye witness Jeera Devi and many other women described the misbehaviour of the CRPF jawans.

(iv)    Andharidhodha Case

On 18 June the AIPF team reached Andharidhodha village in Chainpur block of Palamu district where strongmen with political patronage had recently burnt down dalit-adivasi homes. CPI(ML) and Jharkhand Vanadhikar Manch, Chainpur, called a public meeting in village Navadih. A dalit-adivasi victim of the brutal arson incident described to the team how, at the instance of the Forest Department, armed strongmen (from the dominant Yadav community) from nearby village Jhalar came and abused them, beat them up, broke and destroyed all the things in their houses, and then doused the homes with kerosene and set fire to them, ordering the dalit-adivasis to leave the place.

Following the enquiries, a press conference was held in Daltonganj where AIPF leaders condemned the incidents at Chandwa, Bakoriya, Betla, and Andharidhodha and raised demands pertaining to investigation of these incidents, arrest of the culprits and punishment for the guilty. The team informed that a mahapanchayat would be held on 9 August in front of the Governor of Jharkhand at Ranchi to press the above demands.

School Building Construction Starts after Agitation

The school grounds in Agiaon (Bhojpur) had been under the control of dominant forces for many years, whereas 400 students had to study in merely 2 rooms of the school. This affected the working of the school badly and teaching came to a near standstill. The government was seen to be playing with and destroying the future of the children.

The people of the village had raised the issue with the block and district authorities. On 27 September 2014 they held a dharna at the block HQs. Beginning from 16 January this year, the school was kept under lock-out for 3 months. Despite everything, the dominant forces retained capture of the grounds, and construction of the school building could not be started.

Finally the people of the village, under the leadership of CPI(ML) and RYA, carried on a sustained struggle, cut down the trees and broke down the wall put up by these forces, and freed the school grounds. After this, the police administration, at the behest of the current MLA, former MLA, and his powerful brother, slapped false cases on 15 young men of the village. Instead of acting against the land grabbing dominant forces, the police continuously harassed RYA leader Manoj Manzil and other youth. When the 50-strong police came to arrest them, they had to face the wrath of the villagers and had to go back empty-handed. Protesting against this police action, hundreds of villagers including school children, students, youth and women took part in a gherao. Senior district officials assured them that the false cases would be taken back and construction of the school building would be started soon, after which the gherao was withdrawn. Addressing the gherao, Party leaders said that Nitish Kumar is destroying the future of the children, workers, and farmers of the village, but the CPI(ML) would not tolerate this and would launch widespread agitations for ensuring proper education for rural children.

Thus the government and the administration had to bow down in the face of strong agitation and the construction of the school building has finally started. The success of this agitation has enthused the people of the entire area and their faith in the CPI(ML)'s commitment to fight for people's rights has increased.

Historic Bandh in Kaler Block (Arwal) for Electricity as Thousands Take to the Streets

Of the 5 blocks in Arwal district, Kaler is the only one which does not have electricity even in its Headquarters. In spite of several agitations, the people have so far received nothing but assurances from the administration. Several initiatives have been taken by the Bijli Lao Sangharsh Samiti which includes many Party leaders. Responding to the concerns of the villagers who have been raising the question of electricity, the CPI(ML) Arwal district committee held a meeting on 20 May 2015 and announced a bandh in Kaler block on 26 May. After a sustained campaign, the people gave a positive response to the bandh call. On 26 May people came out on the streets from 7 am. Most shopkeepers closed shop and gathered on NH 98, blocking the road. Soon people took to the streets in Validad, Parasi, Belasar and Amir Bigaha also. The bandh took on historic proportions, paralyzing the entire district. The bandh continued till late evening and meetings were organized at various places. Leaders addressing the meetings pointed out the step-motherly treatment meted out to Kaler by the Nitish government. The block headquarter was shut down and the BDO was obliged to come out on to the streets.

Finally, the electricity department officials and SDO assured the people that work on electrification would start within one week, after which the bandh was called off. The bandh had a visible effect, as a truckload of poles was unloaded very soon in Kaler, and a junior engineer conducted a survey in Validad for electrification. It is noteworthy that agitations by the CPI(ML) have been instrumental in bringing transformers and electricity to dozens of villages in Arwal. The people have been enthused by the initiatives taken by the Party for electrification.

Effective Agitation for Electricity in Giridih

As part of a series of agitations launched by the CPI(ML) against irregular electricity supply in Rajdhanwar block of Giridih district, a decisive "Ghera Dalo Dera Dalo" agitation was held on 21-22 May, led by Party MLA Rajkumar Yadav.

Hundreds of people under the leadership of Com. Rajkumar Yadav and Com. Rameshwar Choudhury marched from the block headquarters to the electricity office in Barjo and started the Ghera Dalo Dera Dalo. A huge gathering of people from Rajdhanwar, Gaava and Teesri blocks joined the agitation under the leadership of Kishori Agarwal, Nagehwar Yadav and Jainarayan Yadav. Posters at the venue declared that if the demands were not met by 22 May, the CPI(ML) MLA would sit on an indefinite hunger strike from 23 May.

Work at the electricity was brought to a standstill from 21 May, with the people at large participating actively in the bandh. The demands included changing of transformers in Rajdhanwar, and connecting the Rajdhanwar Vidhansabha line to the Giridih 33 KV line instead of to the Kodarma line which was full of faults and could not give a regular supply. Getting no positive response from the administration, the CPI(ML) MLA started his indefinite hunger strike on 23 May as announced. This news spread like wildfire and people from far and near started gathering at the venue, and even collected Rs 10,000 for the program. The response of the people shook the administration and they had perforce to take note of the agitation. On 24 May, about 4,000-5,000 people were gathered at the site of the strike. The administration hurriedly started talks at the hunger strike site itself, in which the electricity department General Manager, supervising engineer of DVC, Kherimahua civil SDO, Rajdhanwar BDO-CO, and Jharkhand State Electricity Board supervising engineer also participated. At the conclusion of the talks the administration bowed down and agreed to all the main demands of the people.

An Eight Day Strike Called by ASHA Workers Union in Bihar From 21-28 June

The ASHA workers union in Bihar (Gope group) has called for a strike from 21 to 28 June with support from CPI(ML) and AIPWA. The working conditions for ASHA workers in Bihar are in a terrible state. The workers do not receive monthly wages, are not provided with even basic toilet facilities in health centres where they work and there is not even changing room for their needs. Several doctors and other health centre staff mistreat them on a regular basis. They are paid a paltry sum of Rs. 75 per day for providing polio and other vaccinations. One month prior to the strike, the ASHA workers had submitted their demands to the government and to their department but there was no response. Instead of responding to the demands of ASHA workers, the government has instead chosen to resort to threatening and oppression. However, the ASHA workers remain undeterred in their spirit to carry on their struggle for their rights.


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:, website:

Friday, June 19, 2015

ML Update | No. 25 | 16-22 JUN 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.  18 | No. 25 | 16-22 JUN 2015 

Crony Capitalist Nexus Between Lalit Modi and Modi Government, BJP 

The UPA Government lost credibility and earned people's anger for the series of scams stemming from its crony capitalist nexus with corporations. Within a year of the Modi Government, it has become apparent that the Modi Government and BJP are deeply mired in the same crony capitalist nexus. The mutually beneficial relationship between Gautam Adani and Narendra Modi has always indicated this. And now further evidence is available in the form of revelations that BJP leaders and Modi Government Ministers have worked to help IPL scamster Lalit Modi evade the law in India.  

It was the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in her earlier term, who had helped Lalit Modi get a foothold in the BCCI via the Rajasthan Cricket Association. She had done so by passing an ordinance that tweaked the rules to deny voting rights to powerful rival members, and by supporting Modi's candidature in spite of his criminal conviction in a US court for drug possession, kidnapping and assault. The RCA coup paved the way for Lalit Modi's journey to become BCCI Vice President and then IPL Chief.

After being implicated in multiple charges of corruption in the IPL scam, Lalit Modi fled to the UK. In 2011, the Enforcement Directorate got his passport revoked and issued a blue-corner notice against him, requiring foreign law enforcement agencies to detain and deport him back to India to face questioning and trial. In 2014, the Delhi High Court restored Modi's passport citing that the ED had presented inadequate materials to justify revocation of the passport. Significantly, the ED under the Modi Government's Finance Ministry, and the MEA, did not challenge the Delhi HC order.    

It now emerges that Sushma Swaraj, when she held the Constitutional post of leader of the Opposition in Parliament, sought his help to secure admission for her nephew in a UK University. Her husband and daughter are Lalit Modi's lawyers. As Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj intervened to help Modi secure travel documents to allow him to leave the UK for Portugal. Swaraj now claims this was a 'humanitarian' gesture that allowed Modi to be with his wife for cancer treatment in a Portugal hospital. If that was the case, why did she not stipulate a specific period for which travel permission be granted? Why did she make no effort to get Modi to return to India to face justice? Lalit Modi is now holidaying in Montenegro, brazenly mocking the Indian investigative and legal process. Sushma Swaraj's 'humanitarian' relationship with scamster Lalit Modi is similar to her 'blessings' to the scam-tainted Bellary brothers in the past.

It also emerges that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, when she was leader of the Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly in 2011, gave testimony backing Lalit Modi's bid to get a permit to stay in the UK. She did so "on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authority." The testimony explicitly relies on Raje's weight as a leader of Opposition, a leader of the BJP and a member of a prominent political family with links in both Congress and BJP. This means that Raje used her clout in a Constitutional post to assist a fugitive from Indian law – carefully seeking to hide this assistance from Indian authorities. Raje's Rajasthan Government also signed an MoU with the Portugal hospital where Lalit Modi's wife was treated, a couple of months after her surgery.

The manner in which BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje and the Modi Government helped a scam-tainted person evade Indian law and live freely in foreign countries, mocks the BJP's, RSS' and Narendra Modi's claims of probity and patriotism.        

Corruption does not simply involve an exchange of bribes or money. The deep, mutually beneficial links between political leaders, parties and Governments, and corporations are the very essence of cronyism and corruption. The lack of enthusiasm of the Enforcement Directorate under the Modi Government for pursuing cases of corruption against Adani, Ambani or Lalit Modi; the decision to bail out Mukesh Ambani's loss-making Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Limited by rescheduling its repayment of loans to public sector banks from 2019-20 to 2030-31; and the ED's recent decision to drop a Rs 1000 crore case of money laundering against Baba Ramdev, are instances of the Government's special favours to corporations that have close relationships with the Government and with BJP leaders.      

Narendra Modi has recently claimed that the country was 'scam India' until he took over the reigns as Prime Minister. Why is Narendra Modi silent now on the manner in which the MEA and Finance Ministry as well as a prominent leader of his party have all helped the scam-accused Lalit Modi evade the Indian legal system?

Dangerous Jingoism in the Wake of the Myanmar Operation

The jingoistic rhetoric and posturing by the Modi Government as well as sections of the media in the wake of the Indian Army's recent Myanmar operation is extremely irresponsible and harmful to India's interests as well as to peace in the Soth Asian neighbourhood.

The ambush that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers in Manipur is condemnable. It also underlines the failure of the Government at making headway with a political resolution to conflicts in the North East. The mysterious Myanmar operation clouded in jingoistic frenzy is no answer to the many conflicts in the region, and can in fact worsen the situation considerably.

The aggressive boasts made in the wake of the operation have damaged India's relationship with Myanmar and the much-vaunted 'Look East' policy. Myanmar has denied that it was a cross-border attack at all. Insurgent groups have denied heavy losses on their side. It is unclear if what, if anything, has been gained by the action. But doubtless, the Government's chest-thumping over the action has damaged peace in the region.  

The manner in which spokespersons of the ruling party and sections of the media have used the action to bandy about threats of a 'hot pursuit' policy in the territory of Pakistan and China, is of extreme concern.      

Defence Minister Manohar Parriker for instance has said that respect for the Army is waning because India has not fought a war in decades, and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has similarly observed that India has not fought a 'serious' war in decades, since Kargil was a mere one-sided skirmish. These remarks expose the fact that BJP leaders want to impose wars and Army 'actions' on India and its neighbours, for political gains, with no concern for the grievous human costs. India and Pakistan are both armed with nuclear weapons – such irresponsible war-mongering threatens the people of both countries with mutual destruction.  

It must be remembered that the key to resolving conflicts in the North East and Kashmir lie in dialogue towards a political resolution. Towards this end, the first and most urgent requirement is to heed the calls of the citizens of these regions for scrapping of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and ensuring accountability and justice for all crimes against citizens by armed forces.

Akhilesh Yadav Government Must Answer for Murderous Attacks on UP Journalists

A Shahjahanpur-based journalist Jagendra Singh who had exposed a scam involving Uttar Pradesh's Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Ram Murti Verma, was set on fire and burnt alive by policemen during a 'raid' on his house. He has succumbed to his injuries, after implicating the Samajwadi Party Government Minister in his dying declaration.

In Pilibhit, another journalist who had exposed dubious land deals was tied to a motorcycle and dragged.

These horrific incidents point to the free rein enjoyed by criminals under patronage of the Akhilesh Yadav Government and ruling Samajwadi Party.

The CPI(ML) condemns these incidents and demands independent judicial probes to establish the nexus between police, corrupt and criminal forces, and Minister and SP leaders behind these attacks, and to punish the guilty.

CPI (ML)'s ongoing struggle in Bhojpur for farmers

 Since 6 June, CPI (ML) leaders Comrade Sudama Prasad and Comrade Raju Yadav had been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding immediate payment to farmers from whom paddy had been procured but the payment had been delayed by nearly two months and also payment of compensation to farmers and sharecroppers whose crops had suffered due to hailstorms and untimely rains a few weeks ago. Days after the indefinite hunger strike had started, the government officials had failed to even meet the hunger strikers. In solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike and CPI (ML) called for a Bhojpur Bandh and Chakka Jaam on 12 June 2015. Several Nukkad Sabhas were held in days leading to the Bandh to mobilize the masses and increase the pressure on the officials to respond to the demands of the farmers. On 12 June, thousands of people responded to the CPI (ML)'s call and for hours buses and rails were stopped during Chakka Jaam. Protest marches were also organized in Ara, in which people from Ara and other areas of Bhojpur too participated in large numbers.

Protest demonstration in Delhi over appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Chairperson

The recent appointments of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman, Anagha Ghaisas and Shailesh Gupta as Governing Council members of FTII have been made not on the basis  of creative contributions in the field but solely on the basis of their loyalty to the RSS-BJP brigade. The students of FTII have been engaged in a determined protest against the appointment of Gajendra Singh as Chairman of FTII. AISA and JNUSU earlier in the week released statements congratulating the students for their spirited protests and expressed solidarity with the students. JNUSU president and AISA leader Com. Ashutosh Kumar has also left for Pune to join the agitating students in an expression of solidarity.

On 16 June 2015, Students, Flimmakers, Alumuni of FTII, Students of FTII and student organisation participated in a protest at the I&B Ministry at Shastri Bhavan. The protest was in solidarity with the on going students strike at FTII and the Saffron appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council of FTII. Nakul Sawney, Filmmaker, Sanjeev Sood Sec of the Northern Region of the Alumni Association of FTII, Kishlay ex- Gen Sec of FTIISA, President of NSDSU Naresh, JNUSU VP Anant, Student Organisations like PACHHAS and Naujawan Bharat Sabha participated in the protest.

A delegation met the PS of Arun Jaitley and submitted a memorandum to him which stated that the current Chairman Appointee doesn't hold the necessary credentials needed to hold a post of such immense responsibilities an. There are wide ranging speculations of the appointments in FTII (the Chairman and other newly appointed governing council members) being political and to make the situation worse, Mr Gajendra Chauhan is a known face of the ruling party. His association with BJP and his selection bypassing well known stalwarts, has created an atmosphere of mistrust and anger among the student-teacher-film maker fraternity.

Speaking at the protest Sucheta De, National President of AISA said, 'We are time and again seeing that appointments to the heads of institution are being made as a reward for being loyal to the ruling party rather than actually fulfilling the criterion required for the said post. This is the case for institutions like ICHR, ICCR, Censor Board etc. The students of FTII have shown that this won't be allowed and we have to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Nakul Shawney filmmaker said, 'The FTII has produced filmmakers who have shunned corporate funding and made films by collecting money from the public, it is this idea that the Government wants to kill but we shall not allow it to happen. Kishlay, Ex Gen Secretary of the FTIISA and Sanjeev Sood, Secretary of the Alumni Association of FTII, Northern Region, representatives from PACHHAs and Naujawan Bharat Sabha also spoke at the protest.

AIPF Dharna in to demand basic rights for Bhagalpur 1989 riots victims 

The Bhagalpur unit of AIPF called for a dharna on 10 June 2015 to carry forward the struggle of Bhagalpur riots victims for their rights. Nearly 26 years after the Bhagalpur riots, the riots victims and those displaced are yet to be given complete compensation. The dharna was organized to raise the demands which included (i) complete compensation for the displaced, injured and those who lost their family members, (ii) housing provision under the Indira Awaas, (iii) inclusion of names in the BPL list, and other basic rights. The dharna was organized in front of the Amarpur block head-office in Banka district.

Left Parties Joint Activists' Conference in Madhya Pradesh

CPI-ML, CPI, CPI (M), and SUCI (C) organized a State level joint activists' conference on 24 May at Neelam Park in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) to oppose the Land Acquisition ordinance, to demand compensation to farmers for crop damage due to unseasonal rains, and to discuss other burning issues. About 1500 activists from different districts of the State participated in the conference. CPI-ML activists from 3 districts in Chambal participated in good numbers.

The conference was organized at the initiative of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha national Vice President, Madhya Pradesh co-ordinator and CPI (ML) State in-charge Com. Devendra Kumar Chouhan. He emphasized the need for mobilizing Left activists against the anti-people policies of the Central and State BJP governments. CPI (ML) leader Com. Mohd. Khan Bharaiya, CPI (M) leader and former MP Com. Subhashini Ali, CPI (M) State leader Com. Badal Saroj, CPI National Secretary Com. Amarjeet Kaur, Com. Shailendra Kumar Shaili and other Left leaders also addressed the conference. It was decided that dharnas and protests will be organized in various districts and blocks in the month of June against the Land Ordinance and other burning issues of the people. The leaders pointed out that the Central and State governments have failed on all fronts, therefore a pervasive and united Left movement must be carried out against the anti-people policies.

Left Farmers' Organizations Hold Joint Protest in Bihar

Protest marches, dharnas, and meetings were held on 25 May in front of DM's offices in different district of Bihar in response to the call from Kisan Sabha (Kedar Bhavan), Kisan Sabha  (Jamal Road), Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha, Akhil Baratiya Kisan Gramin va Khet Mazdoor Sabha, All India Risak Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, Bihar Prantiya Khetihar Mazdoor Union, All India Kisan Federation, Bihar Rajya Khet Mazdoor Union, Akhil Bharatiya Agragami Kisan Sabha, Pragatisheel Kisan Sangh, Akhil Bharatiya Janvadi Kisan Sabha, Pragatisheel Khet Mazdoor Union, All India Khet Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, and other Left farmers' organizations. The demands of the protesting farmers included- (i) revoking of the Land Grab ordinance, (ii) speedy payment for all farmers including sharecroppers after paddy purchase, (iii) curbing corruption, (iv) speedy compensation for all farmers including sharecroppers for crop loss due to unseasonal rains and ending scams related to compensation, (v) Rs 10 lakh compensation to farmers who committed suicide due to anti-farmer policies of the Centre as well as State, (vi) waiving of bank/moneylenders' loans, (vii) making farming a productive occupation, (viii) guarantee of wheat crop sale by opening purchase centres, (ix) modernizing all canals including Son canal, (x) 20 hours electricity for villages, among several other demands.

In Patna the protest march started from Gandhi Maidan. The protest march was followed by a meeting addressed by National President of Akhil Bharatiya Gramin va Khet Mazdoor Sabha Rameshwar Prasad, Patna district Kisan Mahasabha Secretary Umesh Singh, Kisan Sabha State joint Secretary Rajendra Patel, and other leaders. Com. Rameshwar Prasad pointed out that the large scale migration from rural areas was due to the wrong policies of the government. He said that rural workers are facing starvation due to the Modi government's cuts in MNREGA. In the absence of the Collector, a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Collector.

The protest in front of the Buxar Collectorate was led by Kisan Sabha State Vice President Alakh Narayan Chaudhury, while State Secretary Sudama Prasad led the protest in Ara. The protests in Rohtas district HQ at Sasaram were led by Kisan Mahasabha National Secretary Arun Singh, district Secretary Jawahar Singh, and other leaders from Left farmers' and workers' organizations.

The protests at Aurangabad, Kaimur, Jehanabad, and Jamui were led by peasant leaders Babban Singh, Ramadhar Singh, Manoj Pandey, and Shambhusharan Singh. Farmers associated with organizations of CPI, SUCI (Communist) and CPI (ML)  participated in the dharna at Arwal, led by Ram Kumar Sinha and Rajeshwari Yadav. About 500 people participated in the protests at Nalanda, l
ed by Munni Lal Yadav, Pal Bihari Lal, and other leaders. About 3000 people protested at Purnea led by Avinash Paswan and others. At Beguserai, a joint convention was organized in the town hall, led by Ramapati Yadav and Parwez Alam. Protests in Darbhanga were led by Sivan Yadav, Praveen Yadav and others. About 600 people participated in the protest march in Muzaffarpur with significant participation by SUCI (C), led by Jitendra Yadav, Parshram Pathak, Bindeshwari Sah and others.

About 600 farmers participated in the protests at Western Champaran, led by Virendra Gupta, Suni Rao and others. A big protest march was taken out in Hajipur, led by Visheshwar Prasad Yadav, while Jainath Yadav led the joint protests in Siwan. A huge dharna of 1500 people was held in Samastipur. The protest in Gopalganj was led by Kisan Mahasabha leader Lal Bahadur Singh and others.

This is the first time that small and big Left farmers and khet mazdoor organizations have come together on such a large scale to raise burning issues of farmers, sending a positive message to left forces and raising possibilities of future joint programmes by khet mazdoor organizations.

Jharkhand State Non-Gazetted Workers' Mahasangh Holds 5th State Conference

The 5th State conference of the Jharkhand State non-gazetted workers' mahasangh was held on 23-24 May 2015 at Com. Sadhusharan Ram Manch of the Van Sabhagaar (Subodh Narayan Choube Sabhagaar) in Doranda (Ranchi). After flag hoisting by State President Sushila Tigga and tributes to martyrs, proceedings began under Chairpersons Comrades BD Das, Sushila Tigga and Singheshwar Ji and a 3 member steering committee of Comrades Ajit Prasad, Chandrashekhar Singh and Gopal Sharan ingh.

Leader of Bihar workers' movement Com. Rambali Yadav and Jharkhand AICCTU General Secretary Com. Shubhendu Sen were present as special guests. Com. Somar Oraon welcomed the gathering by remembering former AICCTU national President and father of Bihar workers' movement Com. Yogeshwar Gope. Inaugurating the conference, AICCTU national Vice President Com. Swapan Mukherjee said that Yogeshwar Gope, Subodh Narayan Choube and Sadhusharan Ram are shining examples of development of class consciousness in the workers' movement. These leaders developed the revolutionary tradition in workers' struggles. In addition to unifying the workers' movement, they also joined it to the revolutionary trade union tradition of AICCTU and strengthened the communist party foundation in the workers' movement. True tribute to these departed leaders can be paid only when the above three points are fully incorporated into the workers' movement.

Com. Swapan Mukherjee further said that "Make in India" means corporate raj, and maximum profit and cheap labour for the corporate houses. All legal and constitutional principles with regard to workers' rights are going to be scrapped through the amendments to the labour laws. Wage differences are at their peak in the organized sector. Now even pension funds and EPF are being put into the share market. Workers on contract, honorarium, and incentive payment are also government employees but they are not permanent. This is the reason the mahasangh needs to organize contractual, honorarium, and incentive workers and fight for their minimum wages and regularization of appointment. The mahasangh can become a mass base organization for struggle, and can play a big role in changing society and regime by uniting with the country's workers' movement.

The conference was also addressed by West Bengal leader Com. Anjani Bishwas, Bengal secretariat leader Com. Shriman Guhaji, Bihar Non-gazetted Workers' Mahasangh (Gope group) General Secretary Com. Premchand Sinha, Jharkhand AICCTU State Secretary Com. Bhuwaneshwar Kewat, and Com. Sukhdev Prasad. The reports by Mahasangh General Secretary Com. Subal Thakur and State Secretary Com. Sushila Tigga were presented and were unanimously passed after detailed discussion. Next, a 27 member State committee was elected. Com. Sushila Tigga, Com. Subal Kishor Thakur, and Com. Brajesh Kumar Singh were elected President, General Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Com. Singheshwar Singh and Com. Tarini Prasad Kamat were elected honorary President and chief patron respectively.

It was resolved at the conference that 10 chosen districts would be developed as strongholds of workers' movements and activists would have to take serious initiatives for this. The first priority of the mahasangh would be to mobilize the huge base of incentive, honorarium, and contractual workers.

AIPF and CPI (ML)'s Dharna for making Usri river pollution free

Usri river is the main river of Giridih. The increasing pollution in the river has been a major concern among the residents. Demanding steps to make the river pollution and dirt free, a dharna was organized in Giridih under the leadership of AIPF National Council member, Rajesh Sinha and CPI (ML) leader Deepak Lal on 13 June 2015. The one day dharna was organized to put pressure on the apathetical municipality officials towards the deteriorating state of the river.

Com. Ashok Pandey

Com. Ashok Pandey, from Bigah village in Nalanda district passed away on 14 May 2015 following a snake bite while he was sleeping. He was 52. Com. Ashok had come in contact with the party in 1989. He led several revolutionary paeasant struggles of the rural poor. He was a member of AIARLA district committee of Nalanda district and a member of the party's leading team of Kateersarai.

Red Salute to Comrade Ashok Pandey.

Com. Mohammed Nizam

Com. Nizam passed away on 1 June 2015 following a heart failure. He was 42. Com. Nizam hailed from Chapri village of Mandu block in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand. He became associated with RYA in 1998 and received the party membership in 2000. Associating with the local party committee of Kanjgi, he initiated the struggle in Chapri against the coal mining and displacement by CCL. A condolence meeting was organized in Chapri village to pay tribute to Com. Nizam.

Red Salute to Comrade Nizam.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ML Update No. 24 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 24 | 9-15 JUN 2015

 Modi's Misogyny is Not A Slip of the Tongue

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced international outrage and criticism when he remarked about Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, that "Despite being a woman, she has declared zero tolerance for terrorism." This remark is rightly being criticized for its blatant sexism. The remark is especially patronizing and demeaning, coming from a Prime Minister of one country about his counterpart in a neighbouring country. What is important to understand is that this was no casual slip of the tongue – it goes to the heart of the political philosophy of Modi and his party.

The remark implies that it is unusual or surprising for a woman to be a strong leader of her country. The BJP is trying to defend the indefensible by suggesting that Modi only praised Hasina for overcoming the hurdles that patriarchy poses for women. To this, they also insinuate that the remark is justified because Bangladesh, by virtue of being a Muslim-majority country, is particularly oppressive to women. So they are compounding gender stereotypes with communal stereotypes.

The fact is that women in Bangladesh are not worse off compared to India. In the UN Gender Inequality Index, Bangladesh is ranked 12 places ahead of India, performing better on sex ratio, female infant mortality, female literacy, female labour force participation, and lowered fertility rates. In Bangladesh, as in India, work conditions in globalised factories are especially exploitative for women labourers. And in both countries, communal politics targets the freedoms of women, minorities and dissenting voices.

Modi's remark was not a critique of patriarchy. He did not say 'despite facing gender discrimination.' Nor did he say that women political leaders proved patriarchal stereotypes to be wrong. Instead, he invoked the patriarchal stereotype that strength and courage do not normally go with 'being a woman.'  

Another patriarchal aspect of Modi's remark has received little attention. Modi's idea of a 'zero tolerance' approach to terrorism is a patriarchal one. He means that concerns for human rights and civil liberties in the 'war against terror' must be mocked as effeminate, and torture and summary execution of terror suspects are the required macho, muscular attitude to tackling terrorism.

An instance of this approach came not long after Modi's 'despite being a woman' gaffe. The Modi Government has just denied permission to prosecute the Intelligence Bureau officers implicated in the fake encounter of Ishrat Jehan. Ishrat Jehan was a teenage girl killed by the Gujarat police when Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister. She was branded in death as a terrorist killed in an 'encounter', and her killing was one of the instances invoked by Modi to showcase his own 'zero tolerance' approach to terror. Another of many such instances was the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh (also branded posthumously as a 'terrorist'). In an election meeting in 2007, Modi justified this custodial killing openly, asking the crowd 'What should be done with the likes of Sohrabuddin', and eliciting the response, 'Kill him'. The fact is that in order to claim Sohrabuddin was a terrorist, two witnesses to his killing – his wife Kauser Bi and another eyewitness Tulsiram Prajapati – were also killed in police custody. Modi's 'zero tolerance for terror' has actually meant tolerance and state patronage for politically motivated custodial killings of innocent civilians, including women like Ishrat Jehan and Kauser Bi.

Those who respond to Modi's remark by reminding him of 'tough,' draconian and jingoistic leaders like Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher are also playing into the same patriarchal notion of political leadership. In 2005, VHP leader Giriraj Kishor, for instance, had praised Indira Gandhi by saying, "She divided Pakistan into two. She was the only man in her cabinet. She acted like a He-Man." Both Modi's praise for Hasine and Giriraj Kishor's praise for Indira Gandhi display the same sexism, that believes political leaders must be 'He-Men', and that a woman is a good leader only if she is 'manly'.                               

This is hardly the first time Modi has made a sexist remark. In his election campaign, he repeatedly referred to his own 'He-Man' like qualities, claiming that he had a '56-inch chest'. This metaphor, too, equates leadership with 'toughness', and courage with manliness.

His taunts to political opponents also have displayed crude sexism (such as when he referred to Rahul Gandhi as the 'hybrid calf of a Jersey Cow' and to Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor as '50 crore girlfriend'). As Prime Minister also, he has displayed casual sexism when, in a speech promoting branding and packaging for small industries, he said, "If a farmer sells mango, he gets a little money. If he makes pickles, he makes more money. And if that pickle is packed in a nice bottle, he gets much more. If he puts the bottle in the hands of a girl for advertisement, he will get still more money."

Even worse, Modi used the state's police and intelligence machinery as Gujarat Chief Minister, to conduct illegal surveillance on a young woman. His party has not denied the illegality of the surveillance; they have only defended the stalking on the grounds that the it was done to 'protect' the young woman – a claim that is not borne out by the transcripts of phone calls between the police and the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah.

Modi's sexism is of course no exception; Indian politics across parties is rife with examples of blatant misogyny. But it cannot be ignored that Modi's own misogyny reflects the ideology of the RSS, to which he owes his political and ideological grooming. The RSS is a militarized, majoritarian political outfit which has no women members. While the RSS name means 'National Volunteer Corps,' its 'women's wing' is called 'Women Servants of the Nation.' The contrast between the male 'Swayamsevak' (volunteer), and the female 'Sevika' (servant) is telling.

The RSS today, emboldened by Modi in power, has intensified its campaign to impose dress and moral codes on women in the name of 'Indian culture', especially its offensive against love marriages and inter-caste, inter-community marriages. The Prime Minister maintains a silence this aggressive campaign against women's autonomy.

Modi's misogynist remark about the Bangladeshi Prime Minister is not a stray one that can be taken lightly. It is a symptom of the sexism that is dictating policies towards women in the Modi Government. What offers hope is that such sexism and misogyny are being met with vigorous resistance by women and common people in India.   

Booklet on "Debates on Religious Conversions" Released

Chennai city committee of CPI (ML) organised a programme to release a booklet on "Debates on religious conversions", published by  Theepori – organ of CPI(ML) in Tamil on 23 May 2015 in Chennai .The meeting was presided by Com. Sekar, secretary, Chennai district committee. Speakers on the occasion included among others- CPI (ML) Politburo Members, Com. S. Kumarasamy and  Com. G. Ramakrishnan,  state secretary of CPI (M), Com. Veerapandian, state Deputy secretary of CPI, Com A. Marx, Campaign committee member of AIPF, Com Janakiraman, Thiruvellore district secretary of CPI(ML). Workers of industries such as MRF, Asian paints, Diamond engineering and others also took part. The booklet release was attended by nearly 200 people, mostly youth.

The booklet release programme was also held at Coimbatore, presided by Com. Balasubramanian, district secretary of the party. Com. Balasundaram, state secretary CPI(ML), Com .Ramamurthy, district secretary CPI (M) Com. K. N. Selvaraj,  district secretary CPI, Novelist Murugavel and city secretary of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Com. Sajith  were the main speakers at  the meeting.  Com. Damodharan, state committee member CPI (ML) greeted the audience. The Book release was attended by workers of Pricol, Shanthi Gears and other industries.

Tirunelveli District committee of CPI (ML) also organised a programme to the booklet at Hotel Sakunthala. The meeting was presided over by Com. G. Ramesh, Member editorial board, Theepori. District secretary of CPI, Com. Kasi Viswanathan, District secretary of CPI (M) Com. K. G. Baskaran, Com. Narum Poonathan of Progressive Writers and Artists Association, state committee members of CPI (ML) Com. K. G. Desikan and Com. Sankarapandian and the district secretary of CPI (ML) spoke on the occasion. All left party leaders who participated in the meeting welcomed the initiative and expressed that the unity of left and democratic forces to combat communal fascist forces is the need of the hour. Cadres of CPI (ML) and democratic sections of the city attended the meeting.

CPI(ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha's Hunger Strike in Bhojpur

CPI (ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha have been leading an indefinite hunger strike in Bhojpur district since 6 June. Com.  Sudama Prasad and Com. Raju Yadav have been sitting on the indefinite strike. The hunger strike has been organised to raise the basic issues of the farmers in the region. Some of the key issues being raised have been mentioned below.

A few days back the state government procured food grains from some farmers but even two months since the purchase, the payments have not been made. According to the state's own policy, the payment must be made within 24 hours of the purchase. This delay in payment is therefore in violation of state's own policy.

Again, a few days earlier, following massive hail storms and untimely rainfall which had caused severe damage to various crops, both the central and the state governments had announced that compensations would be paid to the affected farmers. However, none of these pronouncements have yet been implemented on ground. Nowhere have the farmers been paid the promised compensation.

The government has further made no efforts to procure grains and other rabi crops from the farmers as a result of which they are forced to sell the same to middlemen at very low prices. The weather department has already cautioned regarding the delay in monsoons and the possibility of the rainfall being less than normal. Despite this, the state government has so far made no effort to ensure water provisions to the farmers. Though Prime Minsiter Modi had made abundant promises during the election campaign regarding providing irrigation facilities to the farmers, but today, far from having lived up to his promise, his ministers have been found to make irresponsible and unfortunate statements even on a matter as serious as farmers' suicides. The state government too has been silent on all these issues. Worse, it has started a targeting of CPI (ML) leaders just prior to the elections by framing them on false charges, to try and silence any opposition to their misdeeds.

The particular demands that are being raised by the protestors are:

1. Pay compensation to all farmers and share croppers who have been affected by the hailstorms and untimely rains.

2. Provide water till the lower most base of main canal and other canals and start all the closed state run tubewells.

3. Revoke the pro-corporate and anti-farmers land acquisition ordinance.

4. Take back all the false cases that have imposed on ML leaders.

5. Stop all the cuts in ration and kerosene provisions and Indira Awaas scheme. Provide 5 dismil land to all the poor.

6. All the contractual para teachers, ASHA workers, mid day meal workers, aanganwadi workers and all such others who are paid honorarium should be regularised and their wages should be decided. 

The governments have left no stone unturned to assault the livelihood of farmers. All governments since independence have had the same attitude towards agriculture leading to the crisis situation today. However, as the indefinite hunger strike to raise these issues enters the fifth day, no administrative official had bothered to meet the agitators and inquire what their concerns were. This reflects the attitude of the government towards the farmers. On the fourth day of the strike, i.e. on 9 June, several nukkad sabhaas were organized in Bhojpur district to mobilize masses to unite in order to strengthen the ongoing struggle. A call for 'Chakaa Jaam' has been given all over Bhojpur on 10 June, in light of continued apathy of the state government towards farmers' issues and the refusal to pay heed to the ongoing movement.

CPI (ML) statement on the revocation of de-recognition of Amebdkar-Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras & refusal of MHRD to act on the complaint received against Pondicherry University officials

CPI (ML) welcomes the re-recognition of Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle by IIT Madras administration and congratulates the students of APSC who refused to bow down in front of the autocratic dictates of the institute. The re-recognition is a victory of students of APSC, IIT Madras and all the progressive organizations and individuals who took to the streets to ensure that such steps that were aimed at curbing dissent and freedom of expression and also towards imposing upper caste hegemony, were resolutely fought defeated.

However, it is unfortunate that despite being forced to take back its oppressive dictates, both the IITM administration and the MHRD have not yet offered an apology for acting on the basis of anonymous complaints while giving no chance to the concerned group to present its case. Both IITM and MHRD owed an apology to the students of APSC.

It is extremely shameful that MHRD that immediately shot off a letter to IIT, Madras on receiving an anonymous complaint about the activities of APSC, for over a year has been sitting over a complaint of a student of Pondicherry University who was illegally detained and tortured and forced to strip by the institutional authorities over false charges. The student in his complaint had named the Director of Academic Staff College, a faculty of department of International Business, two security officials and the Vice Chancellor of the University. While there is ample evidence backing the student's complaint and exposing the ruthlessness of the concerned authorities, the MHRD has not thought it worthy to act on this complaint and question any of the university officials who were involved in the harassment of the student. Such double standards in acting on complaints reveals the agenda of the ruling government which is to curb all critique of the government while having no problems with actual hatred being spread against students coming from socio-economically disadvantaged homes by university authorities.

CPI (ML) condemns this shocking abuse of authority by Pondicherry University administration and demands that MHRD act on the complaint immediately. Besides suitable action against the culprits, the institute must tender him an apology and compensate him for the trauma he has been forced to undergo.

Gherao IIT-Madras against Ban on APSC

Cadres of AISA, RYA, AICCTU and CPI (ML) jointly Gheroed the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras  campus at Chennai on 3 June, 2015 against the ban on the activities of Ambedkar- Periyar study circle inside the campus based on the anonymous complaint. More than 100 activists , both men and women assembled and raised slogans against the Modi government's intolerance to alternate ideas. They also criticized the Jayalalitha government for its silence over the issue. The programme was led by Com. Bharathi, National secretary of RYA. Other leaders who participated included Com. Seetha , state secretary of AISA, Comrades Rajaguru and Dhanavel , state President and Secretary respectively of RYA, Com Munusamy and Mohan, state leaders of AICCTU. Com. Kumarasamy, PB member of CPI (ML) participating in the gherao also addressed the protestors launching a scathing attack on the pro-Corporate and communal Modi government and the state's Jayalalitha government for their silence over the matter. There was a scuffle between police and activists during Gherao in which all the cadres were arrested by the police. However, the participants remain undeterred in their protest against the anti-democratic step and the silence of those in power.

Meet on Freedom of Expression in Solidarity with Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IITM

AISA, Madurai organized a meet on Freedom of expression to express solidarity with the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IITM and to their repression. Comrade Mathivanan, District Secretary, CPI (ML) gave an insightful prelude for the discussion with his introduction on Ambedakar, Periyar and Bhagat Singh and the extremely crucial role they played in Indian politics. He stressed on the need for upholding the politics they stood for and to forge ahead with their legacy in the contemporary context. Comrade and academician Rabeek Raja participated in the event and facilitated the discussion among the students. The urge to counter the saffron emergency and curb down the moves of infiltrating Indian education system to ensure the existence of Brahminism was reflected sharply among the comrades and participants.

In the course of the discussions and debates, comrades came out with two resolutions. The first resolution was to initiate Ambedkar-Periyar-Bhagat Singh Study Circle based in Madurai city. The second resolution was to strengthen the AIPF more actively. The forum expressed its conscious interest in making the motto of APBSC effective in practice and not to limit the same to forums of discussion. Comrades Hari and Tamil will act as the organizers of APBSC, Madurai. Comrade Arun coordinated the event and Comrade Pandiyarajan concluded the session with AISA's perspective on the Freedom of expression and solidarity with the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IITM.

AISA's 'Reject CBCS and Save Universities' Campaign Gains Momentum

Momentum is being built up all over the country against imposition of the disastrous Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) programme. As a part of this campaign AISA activists have been initiating interventions in several universities.

Last week an eight member delegation of AISA met Prof. Pradeep Bhargava, member of academic council member, Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Jhusi, Allahabad and also a part of the 5 member Parliamentary committee for implementing CBCS. They updated him on the disastrous effects of the CBCS.   A member of the representative team and a Political Science research scholar Ankit Pathak said that in case of Allahabad University, the university was already facing a shortage of nearly 523 teachers as a result of which it was becoming difficult to manage the regular semesters and fulfil the basic requirements of the students. A programme like syllabus, on the other hand requires a large strength of teachers and provisions of basic infrastructural necessities. A member of the national council of AISA, Saurabh Yadav, said that CBCS was a step towards destroying the higher education system. He also added the other upcoming acts like Central University Act (CUA) and Rashtroya uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) (National Higher Education Mission) were also assaults on the autonomy of the higher education institutes. Another member of the AISA national council, Shakti Rajvar pointed out that this entire set of changes were being forced on by WTO-GATS on countries like India under the pressure of the World Corporate Powers. A heated debate took place between the AISA delegation and Prof. Bhargava. The AISA delegation insisted that CBCS be immediately revoked and students and teachers be informed about these upcoming proposals and the opinions of students and teachers of various departments of the university be sought. The members added that in light of the massive movement across the country against the proposed onslaughts on higher education, the specific concerns of students of AU be also taken up and addressed. Later the delegation invited the students to participate in the 'Reject CBCS, Save Universities Campaign.

Meanwhile the 'Reject CBCS' campaigns are being organized in campuses across the country and AISA activists have been regularly meeting students, distributing leaflets and organising them against the ongoing onslaughts on education.

Elections in Turkey: Mandate against authoritarian, majoritarian dictatorship

In the recently held elections in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan lost majority in the Turkish parliament for the first time in 13 years since 2002. In an election which saw a massive 86% turnout, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 258 seats in the 550-seat parliament. Though the AKP is the single largest party in the Parliament, it lacks the numbers to form the next government on its own. The AKP moreover suffered a 10% decline in its vote share.

This mandate assumes significance for several reasons; the people of Turkey have voted for more inclusion and against the AKP's policies of divide-and-rule. The left-leaning People's Democratic Party (HDP) has won 79 seats, and around 12% of the vote. This mandate ensures a significant presence in the Turkish parliament for left forces and to the Kurdish minority of Turkey.

AKP, which has been seen as espousing a dangerous divide-and-rule policy in order to rally its religious-conservative base, was challenged by the HDP's campaign. The AKP and Erdogan had plans to rewrite the Turkish constitution to establish Erdogan as the executive-President. HDP, on the other hand, ran on a platform defending the rights of ethnic minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The HDP moreover formed an electoral coalition with the Kurdish minority in Turkey's south-east and progressive forces in Istanbul and elsewhere. The election results will therefore give the Kurds – who, with 20% of Turkey's population, are the country's biggest minority – true representation in parliament. In 1980, the military-dictated constitution of Turkey had decreed a 10% threshold of vote share in the elections before a party could enter the Parliament. This clause has over the years often restricted the representation of minorities in the Parliament. The HDP has surpassed the 10% threshold and entered the parliament.

Significantly, 40 percent of the HDP's newly elected MPs are women, while women hold only 17 per cent of the total seats in the country's Parliament. Along with Kurdish rights and the rights of women and the LGBT community, the HDP also raised the issues of minimum wages and anti-corruption. 

This mandate is also being seen as a culmination of the Gezi Park protests which rocked Turkey in 2013. During the protests, which spread to large parts of the country, several issues were raised, including defending Turkey's secularism and defending freedom of expression.