Saturday, October 31, 2015

ML Update | No. 44 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 44 | 27 OCT - 2 NOV 2015

Students Occupy UGC To Protest Cutbacks in Fellowships

In a historic action, students of various Universities occupied the premises of the University Grants Commission in protest against the UGC's move to scrap all non-NET fellowships for research scholars. The protests continue even after the students were evicted from the UGC premises and severely caned by police, several students were severely injured while dozens were taken to police custody. The Modi Government, rather than speak to protesting students, have instead chosen to rain batons on defenceless students.

Ironically, it was a Committee appointed to address the students' demand to increase the paltry fellowship in keeping with steep inflation rising costs of higher education and living which announced the scrapping of the fellowship, effectively excluding the vast majority of scholars from pursuing research.

The massive wave of protests – intensifying in Delhi and spreading now to Universities all over the country and supported by teachers' unions and intellectuals – by students comes in the wake of other significant protests by students and intellectuals. First, there was the successful resistance by the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT Madras against an attempt at muzzling dissent, followed by the ongoing FTII students' protests against attempts to impose a saffronized and ill-qualified management. Then, there has been an upsurge of dissent and protest by writers and intellectuals against the Government's patronage for forces involved in intimidation and murders of minorities and dissenting voices. The Occupy UGC protests are another powerful chapter in these growing voices of protest against the Modi Government's destructive attitude towards creative arts, research and institutions of education.

The move to scrap the fellowships and restrict fellowships only to those scholars who clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) was correctly diagnosed by students as a move tailored to fit the Modi Government's plans to accept the WTO grouping of higher education under GATS as a "tradable service". The UPA Government had already made an "offer" to this effect in 2005 and in the WTO Ministerial talks due in December, the Modi Government plans to seal this "offer" and accept "binding commitments" to make India's higher education a tradable service. It is well known that if India indeed accepts these "binding commitments" under WTO-GATS, the Indian Government would be "bound" to cut subsidies in public-funded higher education, since such subsidies would be seen by WTO as a violation of its "commitments" to provide a "non-discriminatory" "level playing field" for domestic and international traders in education. Scrapping or restricting the non-NET fellowships in higher education is a move very much in keeping with the plans to comply with the WTO-GATS "binding commitments."

The students of Delhi University, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Ambedkar  University have shown remarkable resilience and farsightedness, braving both cane-charges and detention by the police and abusive violence by the RSS-BJP student wing ABVP.

The attempts by the ABVP and the Modi Government's HRD Ministry to spread disinformation and break students' unity have also been recognised and rejected.

The HRD Ministry tried to diffuse the protests by "assuring" that the fellowships would not be scrapped. But the students rightly recognised that the statement implied only that students already receiving fellowships would continue to do so - but in future, students would only get fellowships based on 'merit' or 'economic' criteria. Moreover the HRD Ministry made this 'assurance' by a tweet, without any discussion with protesting students. Rather they did so only after talks with ABVP leaders - as though the whole issue could be settled within the cozy confines of the 'Sangh family.'

Rejecting such 'assurances', the Occupy UGC movement continues to fight for the rights of existing as well as future research scholars and higher education itself. Students have joined the protests at the UGC from Aligarh Muslim University, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Punjab University Chandigarh and MD University Rohtak. Also protests are being organized in various Universities of the country like Central University Gujarat, Allahabad University, NEHU Shillong, University of Hyderabad, EFLU Hyderabad and Aligarh Muslim University and in Kolkata. Students from across the country are also planning to come to Delhi and join the Occupy UGC Protests .

The protesting students in India can take heart and inspiration from the spirited countrywide shutdown of universities achieved by the ongoing struggles of South African students against fee hikes and privatisation/outsourcing of University services. The resonances between the struggles of Indian and South African students against policies of privatisation is a significant counterpoint to the dominant State-led narrative on the ongoing third India-Africa Summit in Delhi.

More power to the students whose protests are striving to defend not only their rights but the inclusive and democratic character of higher education and the country's autonomy.

 CPI(ML) Protests Burning Alive of Dalit Children and Increasing Anti-Dalit Violence in Haryana

On 20 October 2015, two dalit children, one aged three years and the other all of nine months, were burnt alive when as some upper caste Rajputs set their home on fire. Their parents too suffered injuries and the mother was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. Soon after this horrific incident, on 22 October 2015, the CPI (ML) Team comprising of CPI (ML) Haryana in charge, Com. Prem Singh, CPI (ML) activist Aslam Khan, National Secretary of RYA, Com. Omprasad, AICCTU activist Com. Abhishek and journalist Raziv Raaz, visited the Sunped Village where this gruesome incident had occurred. The team met the villagers and family members of Jitendra, the father of the two children who were burnt alive, and spoke at length with them. The team is of the opinion that the Haryana Government. must take responsibility for this barbaric attack as Jitendra's Family was under Police Protection when the attack happened. The team will release a detailed report very soon.

CPI (ML) also held a protest outside Haryana Bhawan on 24 October 2015. The protestors not only expressed anger over the burning alive of the two children and the failure of the government to protect them, despite the awareness that the life of the family was in threat, but also over increasing atrocities against Dalits in Haryana. Soon after this gruesome incidence of violence against Dalits that had taken place on 20 October, On 23 October 2015, yet another incident of violence against Dalits was reported. A 15-year-old Dalit boy, who had been charged with theft of a pigeon, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Haryana's Gohana town today. The boy of the family alleged torture by the police, however, even before the post-mortem report was out, the Haryana Chief Minister went on record backing police claims that the boy had committed suicide. CPI (ML) leaders addressing the protestors pointed out how such incidents of violence against Dalits had been increasing in Haryana. They also pointed out that not only had the BJP government in Haryana failed to protect the Dalits in the state, the statements being issued by the Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and ministers like V.K. Singh had further exposed BJP's real intentions.

The protestors demanded that the Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh be sacked for his insensitive and shocking remarks comparing deceased Dalit children to dogs and the burning alive of humans to pelting stones at dogs.

Activists from AICCTU and AISA also joined the protest.


A Massive Student Movement to Withdraw Non-NET Fellowships Spread Countrywide Despite Continuing Repression

In a meeting held on 7 October 2015 with enhancement of non NET fellowship as one of the agendas, the University Grants Commission (UGC) shockingly decided to completely withdraw the UGC non-NET Rs 5000/8000 fellowships. As soon as the news about this anti-student decision came to public, the National leadership of AISA condemned the move and called for a massive protest. In a press statement released by AISA, Com. Ashutosh, Delhi State Secretray, AISA said, "If this fellowship is discontinued, it will be impossible for a vast majority of the country's students to engage in research and knowledge creation". The statement also pointed out that – "The recent decision by UGC is another step in BJP-led central government's series of moves to cut budgetary allocation in education and restructure higher education to make it inaccessible and destroy its quality. This must also be seen in the context of the impending negotiations of the GoI with WTO to commit Indian higher education as a tradable service in the upcoming Xth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi this December".

 In Jawaharlal Nehru University, the JNUSU immediately gave a call for a protest at UGC office on 21 October afternoon to demand an immediate withdrawal of this decision. On 21 October, students from JNU, JMI, DU and AUD gathered in huge numbers outside the UGC office to register their protest however the UGC chairperson refused to meet the students. Instead, the protesting students were beaten and several of them were injured. Delhi AISA leader and former JNUSU Vice President Com. Anant Prakash Narayan and DU AISA activist Yashaswini were among those who sustained severe injuries. JNUSU office bearers from AISF and AISA submitted their demands to the UGC officials demanding- revocation of the withdrawal of the non NET fellowship, enhancement of the current fellowship amounts of Rs. 5000 for M.Phil and Rs. 8000 for PhD and extension of non NET fellowship to all state and Central Universities. By evening when the UGC chairperson continued to deny meeting the student delegation, the students from across universities began an #OccupyUGC movement and decided to not leave the premised till the decision was withdrawn.

It is to be noted that JNUSU office bearer from ABVP was not a part of the JNUSU delegation that submitted the memorandum. Instead the ABVP tried its best to demobilise the student community first by claiming that their demands had been met by the MHRD in an exclusive meeting between the minister of MHRD and the ABVP activists, and when the agitating students refused to end the OccupyUGC movement till an official circular to this effect was released by the MHRD and the UGC, the ABVP goons reached the UGC office at night to threaten the common students. However, the students continued to occupy the UGC office on two successive nights, singing protest songs and painting slogans against sale of education in the UGC premises.

On 23 Morning, after having been subjected to ABVP lumpensim the entire night, as the students were waiting for more students to join them, scared by the student might, the Delhi Police detained the protesting students who had been up all night in UGC office and took them, not to the nearest station, but Bhalsava police station on the outskirts of Delhi. However, much to the disappointment of UGC authorities and Central Government, the news of detention only encouraged more and more students in Delhi and outside to join the movement. As students gathered to block the ITO, a brutal lathi charge of students followed.

In the last couple of days, protests against UGC have been held in North-Eastern Hill University (Shillong), Aligarh Muslim University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad Central University and many others. Students have carried protest marches in Wardha, Mumbai and elsewhere. AISA activists organised protest in Allahabad and also an effigy burning Minister of MHRD, Smriti Irani.

Beginning on 26 October, a joint call for ReOccupyUGC was issued and this time students from across the country have joined. While students from universities like Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Punjab University, Aligarh Muslim University, MD University, Rohtak have arrived in Delhi to join the OccupyUGC call, several others have been holding protest demonstrations in their own universities and cities.

Once again, just prior to the ReOccupyUGC call, the MHRD and the ABVP tried to confuse the student community and demobilise them by issuing confusing circulars. However their farce was again seen through by the student community. Soon after the MHRD circular was released, AISA immediately released a press statement pointing out the several flaws and problems in the circular. Terming the MHRD circular as fraud, it was pointed out how the MHRD was trying to introduce economic and merit criteria in the award of fellowships, which as per students' demand must extended to all researchers. Rejecting the attempts to restrict the scope of the fellowship, the movement continues and the students have vowed to strengthen it till their demands are met. Since 26 October, the students in much more numbers have once again occupied the UGC office and the slogans that had since then be wiped out have been repainted.

On 27 October, the protesting students were lathi charged yet again and several had to be rushed to G.B. Pant hospital. Several students have been detained and taken to police station even as several hundred more continued to join.

The message of this historic student movement, where for the very first time in history of India have the students occupied the office of the most important educational body in the country, is clear- Education is Not for Sale!! CPI (ML) salutes the revolutionary zeal of the students and expresses solidarity with the movement.

Democratic Advocates' Association's day long fast demanding Democracy in Judiciary

Recently, 14 advocates who had been protesting to demand that Tamil be made an official language of High court of Madras were  suspended from practicing by the Bar council of India. In another case, contempt proceedings were initiated against Madurai Bar association President and Secretary for criticising judgements and leading protests aimed at exposing corruption in Judiciary. In light of these events, the Democratic Advocates Association organised a day long fast in Chennai demanding democracy in Judiciary and pressing for the following specific demands- (i) to revoke suspension orders of advocates, (ii) declaring Tamil as official language in High court of Madras in the interest of common people and (iii) for filling up of vacant posts of Judges in High court. The protest event was presided over by Com. Bharathi, state organiser of DAA. Com A. S. Kumar, state committee member CPI (ML ) inaugurated the event. More than hundred advocates participated from various parts of Tamil Nadu. The protest was also attended by Advocate Senthamil Selvan who had been recently released from prison in the struggle for Tamil as official language of High court. Com Vidya Sagar and Com. Jawahar on behalf of AIPF, Com Seetha of AISA, Com. Rajaguru of RYA, Advocate Gini Immanuel , Vice President of Madras High court Advocates' Association, Comrades Sivakumar and Pradhaban of AILU , Advocate Athiyaman along with DAA activists  and also scores of advocates from other left and democratic streams took part.


CPI(ML) March in Gurdaspur District in View of Increasing Tensions in Punjab

In view of the increasing tensions in Punjab and the rising communal tensions, a march was organised by the CPI (ML) in Gurudaspur district appealing that for calm and restoration of peace. The several hundreds who joined the march also condemned the increasing atrocities against Dalits in Haryana and condemned the state and central government ministers who instead of taking initiatives for peace, had only been fanning communal and casteist sentiments and adding to the existing tensions. Com. Gurmeet Singh Bakhutpur addressed the march.

 Demonstration against the Death of Two Workers by Asphyxiation

Two contract labours of Madurai Corporation died due to asphyxiation when forced to enter into underground drainage. They had not been provided with any protective equipment by the contractor and corporation officials. The Workers' right movement affiliated to AICCTU unit of Coimbatore organised a demonstration before the taluk office demanding the arrest of Contractor and Corporation officers, and also a compensation of Rs.25 lac for the families of the victims. The protestors also demanded-  (i) Government employment (other than scavenging work) be provided to one of the family members of deceased, (ii) strict implementation of 'The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavenging and their Rehabilitation Act 2013'   and (iii) 3 cent House site pattas within corporation limits. Com S. Kumarasamy, Politburo Member of CPI(ML), state committee members Comrades N. K. Natarajan and Venkatachalam, District secretary of CPI(ML) Com. Balasubramanian, AICCTU District General Secretary Com. Damodharan addressed the protestors. Hundreds of workers including sanitary workers of Coimbatore corporation took part. They have also decided to observe strike on 26th October on the same demands.

 United Left Protest in Haryana against Hike in Electricity Tariffs

CPI (ML), CPI (M), CPI and SUCI (C) held a joint protest at Shakti Bhawan, Panchkula, Haryana against the hike in electricity tariff. Thousands of people joined the protest. The changes in the slab system, increase in rate of electricity and the increased surcharge in the fuel rates had been effected in April 2015 as a result of which there has been a considerable increase in the electricity bills of people. Despite some changes in slab system made by the Electricity Regulatory Commission, there is no respite for those consuming under 500 units of electricity as they would get a relief of a mere 50 to 70 rupees. As a result of this there is a considerable anger among the rural and urban poor, workers, peasants, small shopkeepers and small artisans.

The leaders pointed out that since 1997, when the electricity board was broken down to five corporations, the situation had only got worsened. A memorandum consisting of the following demands was also submitted which included the demands to- (i) Withdraw the increase in the electricity rates and fuel surcharge and reinstate the old slab system; (ii) Cancel the arrears of the new rates effected from April; (iii) Revoke the decision to give 23 sub divisions on contract; (iv) revoke the condition to not give tubewell connections to farmers with land only upto 2 acres; (iv) review the decision to form corporations in order to put an end to the process of privatisation and contractualization; (v) reduce administrative expenditures and put an end to massive corruption in the corporations; (vi) stop the theft of electricity in big industries and commercial enterprises; among others.

Com. Prem Singh Gehlawat, Com. Kanwaljeet, Com. Mahendra Chopra were among those who participated.

 AIPF Demonstration in Puducherry

In view of the unabated activities by some communal groups leading to insults, attacks and horrible murders of progressive intellectuals, Dalits and minorities, on 23rd October 2015 at Puducherry, AIPF held a massive demonstration near Periyar Square, against silencing of progressive thoughts, hate campaign, intolerance, killings and imposition of food code. The protest demonstration was led by Prof. M. L. Thangappa, the Advisory panel member of AIPF. Com. S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary (CPIML), Com. Liqat Ali, AIPF advisory panel member, and R. Murugnandham, K. Mohanasundaram, National council members, S. Thamilmani, Friends of Earth movement also participated in the demonstration and addressed the protestors.

Com. S. Balasubramanian strongly condemned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over these continued attacks and demanded stern action against the culprits. He also demanded withdrawal of beef ban in some states which had created undue advantage for Hindu communal forces. A large number of activists, workers took part in the demonstration.


CPI(ML) Salutes the Historic #FeeMustFall Movement in Africa

CPI (ML) salutes the historic #FeeMustFall movement that has been launched by students in South Africa against the 10-15 percent fee hike that will be come to effect in 2016. Expressing their anger towards attempt to exclude a large section of students from the ambit of education, students have managed to mobilize thousands of students from across different province in the country through a social media campaign to turn out on the streets and resist fee hike. From Europe to North America to Asia and elsewhere, the students are now coming out on streets and protesting the universal sale of education. In times when WTO is compelling countries to convert higher education into a tradable service good, the students across countries are coming out in protest.

CPI(ML) expresses solidarity with #FeeMustFall movement in Africa, #OccupyUGC movement in India and all such student movements across the globe against privatization and marketization of education.


TKS Janarthanan

Comrade TKS Janarthanan, CPI(ML) State Committee member and Vice President of All India Agricultural and Rural Labour Association (AIARLA) passed away around 10.35 pm on 27 October 2015. We express our condolences and pledge to carry forward on the path where he had been our comrade in arms since 1970s.

Red Salute to Comrade TKS Janardhanan !

Thursday, October 22, 2015

ML Update | No. 43 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 43 | 20 -26 OCT 2015

Serial Re-Enactment Of The Dadri Lynching By The Sangh Parivar

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, breaking his silence very late, claimed that the lynching of a Muslim man over 'cow slaughter/beef-eating' rumours was a mere 'social tragedy' with no political motive, for which the Central Government and the ruling BJP bore no responsibility. The Minority Affairs Minister in his Cabinet said Dadri belonged to "the past" and India needed to " look to the future."  

Since then, a series of lynchings and attempted lynchings of Muslims in various parts of India, is a chilling reminder that far from being an isolated 'tragedy' that is 'past,' communal mob lynchings of Muslims is becoming a grim part of India's present. A young man, Noman was killed by a mob in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, over an allegation that he was driving a truck that smuggled cows for slaughter. Another young truck driver, Zahid, in Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) was burnt to death by a mob – on the pretext that he was transporting cows for slaughter. There have been attempted mob violence over 'beef', 'cow slaughter' and 'cow smuggling' at Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Hubbali (Karnataka).  

Leaving no doubt whatsoever about which forces are planning and carrying out such organized mob violence, the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya has defended the Dadri lynching by repeating the lie that "Mohammad Akhlaq was killed in Dadri because he killed a cow." Not only that, the Panchjanya has brazenly rationalized mob murders by saying that "Vedas mandate killing of those who slaughter cows."

The Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has also declared that Muslims "can live in India but must give up eating beef." BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj has called for public hanging of those who eat beef and support the eating of beef. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has announced a countrywide 'cow protection' campaign that promises to 'rescue' cows from 'smugglers.'

The timing of this vicious campaign is quite deliberate. Assembly elections are on in Bihar, and the BJP is desperate to create a Hindu-Muslim polarization over 'cow slaughter' and 'beef', hoping in particular to prise away Yadav support from the RJD. Prime Minister Modi himself led the charge, making repeated speeches asking Yadavs to consider if they, the worshippers of the cow, wished to vote for those who defended the eating of beef. The non-BJP ruling parties in Bihar too had begun to falter and fall into the BJP trap, getting defensive on the question of beef. It is ironic that while the BJP and Modi himself are so openly using lynch-mob politics to forge a Hindu vote-bank in Bihar and the rest of India, PM Modi has dismissed all concerns about the hate-crimes against Muslims as 'pseudo-secularism' and 'vote bank politics.'  The so-called 'reprimand' by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP chief Amit Shah to the hate-mongering BJP leaders is an unconvincing eyewash, especially since the said leaders are openly unreprentant, the lynchings continue unabated, and the BJP remains as wedded as ever to communal politics over 'beef' and 'cow.'  

It is India's writers, artists and intellectuals who have spearheaded a remarkable tide of resistance. At present count 315 writers, performing artists and others have expressed protest – by returning awards, stepping down from posts, writing essays and open letters, or otherwise speaking out, to condemn mob lynchings and murders of writers and India's minorities.

Common people too are speaking out, and resistance can be seen all over the country in various forms. In Bihar itself, a national daily found that across rural-urban and caste-community divides, young voters are declaring "This is a democracy: we have the freedom to eat what we like," and voicing opposition to communal polarization and violence.

The Modi Government's attempt to shrug off responsibility for the lynchings of Akhlaq, Noman and Zahid, and to jeer at and question the credentials of the protesting writers, artists and intellectuals is only exposing the Government's arrogance and high-handedness.

India is a country of diverse cultural traditions and dissenting voices. The serial lynchings of Muslims and murders of writers and rationalists accompanied by explicit and implicit encouragement and patronage from the Narendra Modi Government make it clear that a war is being waged both on diversity and on dissent. The courage and conscience displayed by India's common citizens and writers and artists show the way ahead. India's Culture Minister derided the protests, saying 'Let writers stop writing.' But threats, insults and even bullets have not silenced the pens of India's writers, nor the voices of India's citizens who are defending pluralism and democratic values.

Jan Adhikar Yatra in Jharkhand

Against Anti-People Policies of the State and Central Governments

Sky-rocketing prices of onions and dal, back-breaking cost of living, the drought-famine crisis—and the people are supposed to be enjoying the pleasures of "achhe din"! Through the alleged "sabka sath, sabka vikas" (development for all) the governments at the Centre and State are implementing policies to deprive the poor and fill the coffers of big corporate houses and companies and give them free license to loot. For the rest of the people, what remains is "Mann ki Baat", announcements, assurances, and rhetoric. The situation is going from bad to worse, and hard fought people's welfare laws and schemes are being sought to be weakened or removed. The AIPF, through a Jharkhand  Jan Adhikar Yatra (People's Rights Drive)from 1 October to 10 October,  appealed to the people to fight against this conspiracy and to raise voices in unison  in order to defend people's rights.

The AIPF and several other people's organizations jointly conducted the Jharkhand Jan Adhikar Yatra and studied and analyzed the ground situation by visiting different villages in North Chhota Nagpur, Palamu, South Chhota Nagpur and Kolhan. They called for the people in the villages to agitate in a united struggle for their rights. During this Yatra, leaders from the AIPF and other people's organizations organized village level meetings, nukkad meetings, and night meetings which were attended in good numbers by adivasis, women, youth, and people from different sections of rural society.

In Chhotanagpur zone, the Yatra began from Bagodar on 1 October with a huge gathering of people. After paying tribute at the Birsa Munda Samadhi in Ranchi, the Yatra in South Chhotanagpur zone was flagged off with the resounding of drums played by the Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch, led by AIPF leaders Dayamani Barla, Anil Anshuman, Nadeem Khan, Xavier Kujur, film maker Meghnath, Aloka and prominent persons from people's organizations.

In Palamu zone, the Yatra started from Tihri (Badgad Bhandariya) on the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border, led by noted economist Jean Dreze, Ravindra Bhuian, and leaders from people's organizations. The Jan Yatra proceeded through hundreds of villages in remote hills, dense forests, as well as plains in various districts and blocks, and culminated in a public meeting at Raj Bhavan on 11 October.

The Jan Adhikar meeting began with people's songs sung by Jan Sanskriti Manch. Throwing light on the aims and objectives of the Jan Ahikar Yatra, AIPF national advisory committee member Jean Dreze said that the issue of struggle for people's rights should be an issue of daily struggle for us. He pointed out that all rights regarding land, food, forests, education, employment and information are rights which have been won after hard fought battles. The present central government is bent on ending these rights; therefore we must struggle to save them. The Jan Adhikar Yatra has succeeded in making the people alert and conscious. In the days to come, we shall fight together and win.

Com. Vinod Singh said that this Yatra is a symbol of the struggle of the oppressed and marginalized people of Jharkhand. The rights regarding food, forests, MNREGA that the government has so far given the people are not favours granted by the government. During this Yatra we saw how the government machinery is openly flouting all laws, causing much anger among the people of the villages. The overwhelming support given to the Yatra shows the resolve of the people. The meeting was also addressed by Dayamani Barla, human rights activist Fr. Stane Swami, Afzal Anees of the United Milli Forum, Jhamas President Devki Nandan Bediya, and representatives from different people's organizations. Conducting the programme, Anil Anshuman of JASAM said that this Yatra is the beginning of our fight for our rights and that there are many battles that lie ahead. James Herenz (NREGA Watch) and Subhadra Devi lent active cooperation in conducting the programme. Giving the valedictory speech, AIPF advisor and senior journalist Faisal Anurag stressed the need for a struggle based on a pervasive unity.

The Jan Adhikar Yatra raised and discussed the following issues: the government's assault on land rights and employment guarantee; false cases and imprisonment of thousands of innocent people; food security bill, social security pension, and forest rights guarantee.  The AIPF, Campaign for Right to Food, Adivasi-Mulvasi Raksha Manch, Bagaicha, Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Ekta Parishad, Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Jangal Bachao Andolan, NREGA Watch, United Milki Forum, Jharkhand Jan Sangathan Morcha and other people's organizations participated in the Yatra. A resolution was passed to start a statewide agitation on the issues raised in the Yatra.

Kisan Mahasabha March in Uttarakhand

Against Acquittal of Rape-Murder Accused

On 10 July 2012, an 8 year old minor Dalit girl Sanjana, hailing from Tiwarinagar village in Bindukhatta, Uttarakhand, was found raped and murdered. The accused was arrested after several days had passed and much pressure was built by way of protests by the party. The lower court found the accused in the murder case guilty and passed a death sentence on them. But on 8 October 2015 the High Court acquitted them for want of proper prosecution by the government. In protest, the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha burnt the effigy of the Stat government in Bindukhatta on 9 October and demanded an answer by the government to the people for their failure to provide proper prosecution. Addressing the protesters, Kisan Mahasabha State President Com. Purushottam Sharma said that the Congress government in the State and the local MLA and Labour Minister Harish Durgapal are responsible for this. The government was deliberately negligent in the case through the government lawyer and ensured the acquittal of the accused. He said that this government is a government of criminals and mafia. The MLA is misusing power to provide protection to all the criminals in the area. He demanded that the State government should without delay file an appeal in the Supreme Court. Kisan Mahasabha team under the leadership of Com. Sharma also met the family of Sanjana and assured them that they would continue the fight for justice for Sanjana.

On the 10 October, the Kisan Mahasabha took out a march against the State government from Lalkuan, led by Com. Purushottam Sharma, district President Bahadur Singh Jangi, Bindukhatta President Basanti Bisht, and CPI (ML) district Secretary Kailash Pandey. The march started at Shaheed Smarak, went through Lalkuan bazaar, and culminated in a protest meeting at the Railway station. Addressing the meeting, Com. Purushottam held the State government and the local MLA responsible for shielding the guilty, and also questioned the suspicious role played by the government lawyer in the case, demanding an enquiry into his role and the authenticity of his degree. He said that the negligence shown by the lawyer, considered close to the Chief Minister, smacks of pressure from above. He stressed that it is the responsibility of the State government to ensure punishment to the guilty in this case, and the agitation would continue until justice is done to Sanjana.

The CPI (ML) has resolved to observe 12 October as Protest Day throughout the State to protest against the suspicious role of the State government and the Labour Minister Harish Durgapal in getting the guilty persons acquitted from the High Court. On 12 October the various units of the Party in the State will hold protests, marches, dharnas and effigy burnings.

Dharna by JHAMAS in Ramgarh Coal Sector

Jharkhand Mazdoor Sabha (Jhamas) organized a one-day dharna on 18 September 2015 in front of the Barka-Sayal area's Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) GM's office situated in the Ramgarh coal sector.  The dharna was organized to demand- (i) appropriate compensation for the raiyyat displaced, (ii) employment in lieu of land acquisition, (iii) employment for unemployed youth, (iv) starting a local cell, among various other demands. Hundreds of people including displaced families from within a range of 25 km of the Barka-Sayal area, local women, men and youth participated in the dharna.

Speakers who addressed the dharna said that coal mining is being done through outsourcing in Balkudra colliery. Bhurkunda which comes under the GM, Barka-Sayal, and the villagers' lands have been taken for this purpose. However, the villagers have not got appropriate compensation and they have also not been rehabilitated. With the connivance of brokers and the coal mafia, the CCL management is getting the coal mining done by any means, fair or foul. Even a local cell is not being opened in this project for the local unemployed people. As a result, the local people and the affected families are forced to work as contractual labour. They are not paid the minimum wages as fixed by the government. Employment can be given on a large scale and migration of youth to other states can be prevented by starting a local cell.  But the CCL management shows no interest in starting a cell. The rural unemployed are angered at this attitude of the management and by staging this dharna they have warned the management that if the displaced villagers are denied employment they will be forced to fight for their rights.

On the other hand, the CCL are bound by CSR rules to develop rural areas coming within a range of 25 km of Barka-Sayal. They must make arrangements for roads, electricity, clean drinking water, schools, toilets, irrigation, medical facilities, and professional training for unemployed youth. However, there is lack of transparency in this and CCL is misusing funds allocated for this purpose. The company is creating very few vacant posts in the name of giving professional training. Recently they brought out only 25 vacancies for mining engineering training which makes for an extremely small number. Thus the project affected people are being cheated. People have been displaced in large numbers in 14 districts of CCL. If CCL does not solve the issue of their employment and livelihood, a chakka jam will be done in front of the CCL in days to come.A delegation from Jhamas also met the personnel officers of Barka-Sayal area and submitted a 7 point memorandum to them.

Protests against Declaration of Municipality Rather Than A Revenue Village

On 14 October, a large number of rural protesters under the banner of Nainital unit of All India Kisan Mahasabha faced repression by police and goons backed by local Congress MLA and Labour Minister in Bindukhatta. This was a protest against forcible implementation of state government's decision of making Bindukhatta a Municipality instead of a revenue village. Local people are opposing this move by the Congress government of Uttarakhand, a move that will mean an indirect handover of thousands of acres of local peasants' lands to the land mafia operatives. These lands had been acquired by the Bindukhatta peasants after a protracted and long land struggle spanning two decades during the 1980s and 1990s – and now the peasants' control over the same lands is in danger of being weakened. People of Bindukhatta were not given their due status of a revenue village for which they are struggling since three decades, now the 'municipality' status will force them to an unnecessary tax regime, but their greater worry is that their lands will not remain safe. They reiterate their demand for a 'revenue village' while opposing the forcible making of a municipality. Their fight to save their lands and democracy is facing stiff attacks by various vested interests which are backed by the local MLA and land mafia lobby.

A "road block" protest was organised on 14 October to stop the inauguration of the municipality office. Ironically, the place chosen for this office is the local community hall which was constructed by the people through their collective efforts and resources, without any governmental support, and symbolises their collective resolve and unity evolved through long struggles and comradeship. The determined people of Bindukhatta protested vigorously and the Minister's convoy could not move even for an inch for half an hour till the police lathi-charged the protesters. Even then, the Minister's convoy had to divert its route. The police, frustrated at not being able to quell the protest, have arrested 18 of the protesters and framed various false charges on leaders.

It was land seizure movement led by CPI(ML) during the 1980s and 1990s that rehabilitated Bindukhatta after a long and protracted land struggle which has acquired a place in the history of democratic struggles of Uttarakhand. Thousands of poor landless who came from almost every district of the state showed how redistribution of land can save thousands of families from penury as well as forced migration to other states in search of livelihood. Their hard toil on lands and their collective resolve that through their shramdaan (voluntary labour) created roads, dozens of schools, community halls, and play grounds amidst state repression and without any help from any agency, has transformed Bindukhatta into a relatively prosperous area which now has its own share in the region's economy, in spite of the fact that they are still deprived of a revenue village status and entitlements on their lands. The decision of making it a municipality is now being seen as a clever ploy to turn back their social and economic achievements.

CPI(ML) Uttarakhand Secretary Rajendra Pratholi has condemned the police repression on the protesting people and said that this peaceful resistance is for saving lands and reiterating demand for entitlements. He said that people's opinion must be taken by the government before making any decision which affect their lives. He condemned attack on women protesters by Congress supporter goons and demanded stern punishment for them. Kisan Mahasabha State President Purushottam Sharma alleged that local MLA and Labour Minister Harish Durgapal is misusing power by trying to forcibly capturing the Rajiv Nagar people's community hall for the municipality office. He told that a memorandum of protest has been sent to the DM by the people of Rajiv Nagar and Car Road which has a population of 6,000. On 13 October a petition had been filed in the High Court Chief Justice's bench asking for a stop to the process of capturing the people's community hall and forcibly opening a municipality office by the administration. The petition states that other than this single community hall for a population of 6,000, there is no other public place available for community programmes, cultural programmes, marriages and other functions. The Bindukhatta community health centre also functions in this community hall, and two polling booths are also put up here during Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Comrade Purushottam further said that it is necessary for Bindukhatta to not be made a municipality in order for farmers to secure ownership rights to agricultural land. The farmers will lose their lands if Bindukhatta becomes a municipality.

CPI(ML), AIKM and AIPWA organised a protest on October 19 against this repression.  A large number of people including activists of Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers Union participated. A memorandum was sent to the CM through this protest. Comrade Raja Bahuguna addressing the protesters criticised Congress and BJP both for betraying from the promise of revenue village and for increasing mafiadom under Harish Rawat's CM tenure. Protesters demanded immediate and unconditional withdrawal of cases framed and pledged to continue the struggle till the demands are met. They also termed the so called inauguration of the municipality a mockery as this was done amidst repression, beating of local people including women, and in presence of those who were outsiders brought there only to fill the vacant seats.

For Employment and Ration

"Khanapuri band karo, ration ka prabandh karo" (stop superficial excuses, make arrangements for ration), "Declare Jharkhand drought-affected", "Begin relief work, waive farmers' loans", "Pay arrears of agricultural insurance"- these were some of the slogans accompanying the CPI (ML) protest on 9 October at the Chanho block HQ in Ranchi.

Addressing the meeting, district Secretary Com. Bhuwaneshwar Kewat said that the entire Jharkhand is in the grip of drought but the government is sunk in oblivion. In the name of assessment and evaluation, the government is not going beyond cosmetic superficialities. The farmers and rural people are desperate with imminent famine looming large. If relief work is not started immediately, Jharkhand will become another Vidarbha in the country. He added that people did not want announcements and promises; they wanted employment and ration. CPI (ML) leader Jagannath Oraon said that there is a yawning gap between the promises and delivery of the government. They talk of the poor but work for the rich corporate houses. We, the people of Jharkhand, will not give anyone the license to loot the resources, land, forests, and minerals of Jharkhand.

After the meeting a 13 point charter of demands was submitted to the Deputy Magistrate stating the above demands as well as demanding strict implementation of MNREGA, conducting a survey to bring all poor families under BPL and making arrangements for 50 kg ration-kerosene and oil, dal and sugar.

Prisoners' Mass Protest and Hunger Strike in Hazaribagh Jail

Prisoners in Hazaribagh jail serving life sentences protested by sitting on indefinite fast from 6 October against Jharkhand government's inability to implement Supreme Court's directives regarding constitution of a review Board to review the release of prisoners who have served up to twenty years of prison term as per the law. Nearly 150 other inmates in Hazaribagh jail also sat on a day's fast on 8 October in solidarity with justice seeking fellow inmates. It was also demanded from the state government to follow regulations regarding shifting of life sentence serving people to open jails after seven years. The indefinite fast was concluded on 16 October.

Terming this a grave human rights violation being done by Jharkhand government, the CPI(ML) and All India People's Forum held a march in Ranchi on 17 October in support of prisoners demands.


Comrade Bhim Paswan

Com. Ram Karan Paswan (Bhim Paswan), 55 years, passed away in the morning of 12 October 2015 at PMCH. He remained a dedicated soldier of the Party till his last breath. Com. Bhim had been in the forefront of several protest struggles in many blocks of Patna district. He was ill with a liver ailment for the past one year, and was treated at different hospitals. At one point there seemed to be some improvement in his condition, but on 11 October his condition deteriorated and he was immediately admitted in Emergency where he breathed his last.

The outpouring of people in his funeral procession on 12 October proved his popularity among the masses. The funeral procession started from his ancestral village, wended through Dulhin Bazar, and reached the banks of River Punpun in Ichipur where he was cremated after the people bade their final farewell.

Com. Bhim's association with the Party started in 1985. He was born in a landless family in Baliyari Math of Vikram block. He stood like a rock with the Party through its ups and downs, and worked ceaselessly in the area as an excellent organizer.

Red Salute to Com. Bhim Paswan!

Comrade Sachchidanand Singh

Com. Sachchidanand Singh from Gamharbad village, Jaynagar block, Kodarma district, Jharkhand, joined the CPI-ML in the latter half of 1990. He was a dedicated and hard-working Comrade from the very beginning. He was the CPI-ML branch Secretary in Gamharbad, and was ever active in the interests of the people and the Party. Com. Sachchidanand passed away on 23 September after a serious illness. A condolence meet in his memory was held at his village Gamharbad on 4 October. The Jaynagar block Party base as well as many local people gathered to pay tributes to Com. Sachchidanand.

Red Salute to Com. Sachchidanand Singh!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

ML Update | No. 42 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 42 | 13 -19 OCT 2015

Writers And Artists Speak Truth To Power In India

Writers and artists in India are making a powerful statement against the Modi Government's patronage of assaults on dissent and pluralism, by returning prestigious awards and resigning from posts in cultural institutions. These gestures of protest come in the wake of the horrific lynching to death of a Muslim man in Dadri on the allegation that he ate beef, and the murders of noted Kannada writer Prof MM Kalburgi, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and communist Govind Pansare. They are protesting against the fact that India's ruling Government and party are stoking hate to create an India where a person can be killed for what they eat, write, speak or believe.  

Hindi writer Uday Prakash was among the first to return his Sahitya Akademi award, followed by Nayantara Sehgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, and Rahman Abbas. Since then, the spate of protests by writers and artists continues unabated. Kerala writer Sara Joseph; Hindi poets Manglesh Dabral and Rajesh Joshi; four Punjabi writers – Gurbachan Singh Bhullar, Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Atamjit Singh, Waryam Sandhu; Kashmiri writer and poet Ghulam Nabi Khayal; noted Gujarat-based literary critic Professor Ganesh Devy; six Kannada writers – Veeranna Madiwalar, T. Satish Javare Gowda, Sangamesh Menasinakai, Hanumanth Haligeri, Shridevi V Aloor and Chidanand Sali and Aman Sethi, winner of a 'Yuva Puraskar' award for young writers, are among those who returned Sahitya Akademi awards, while dancer Maya Krishna Rao returned her Sangeet Natak Akademi award. Writer Shashi Deshpande, poet K Satchidanandan, Kannada writer Aravind Malagatti have quit Sahitya Akademi posts in protest. Carnatic singer TM Krishna has written an open letter to the Prime Minister calling the bluff of his non-response to the Dadri lynching. Novelist Salman Rushdie has expressed support for India's writers and expressed concern about the future of freedom of expression in India.  

The writers and artists are protesting not only against the lynchings and murders by Hindu-majoritarian outfits emboldened by the Modi Government; they are also protesting against the explicit rationalization, even celebration and stoking of such acts by Ministers of the Modi Government and elected representatives of the ruling BJP, and the tacit, implicit support of the Prime Minister himself for such acts of violence and the accompanying hate-speech. They are also protesting against the fact that the 'autonomous' cultural Akademis are silent on the killing of writers and the attacks on pluralism led by the Culture Minister of the Modi Government.  

The Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma commended the Dadri lynch mob for not having raped the victim's daughter) and described the lynching as an 'accident', and had earlier called for 'cleansing' of cultural and educational institutions of 'foreign influence' (read dissent and plurality). Responding to the writers' protests, he taunted them, saying 'Let them stop writing, then we will see.' In a blatant espousal of impunity and injustice that has now become the hallmark for the Modi Government, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah has said that Dadri is now past and India needs to look to the future.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has remained totally silent on the serial murders of rationalists and writers, even in the wake of evidence that the suspected killers are from Hindu-majoritarian groups that Modi himself has approved of and endorsed. On the Dadri lynching, the Prime Minister remained silent for long. And when he eventually spoke at an election rally, he refrained from any mention, let alone outright, unequivocal condemnation of the lynching. What was needed from any democratic leader was a simple, forthright affirmation of the right of every Indian to eat, speak, write or believe without fear of being killed for it. What was needed was a clear condemnation of his camp followers who sought to rationalize the lynchings and murders. Instead, Modi merely said that Hindus and Muslims should decide whether they wished to fight themselves or fight poverty. He appealed to people not to listen to hate-speech – but significantly refused to ask his own Ministers and BJP MPs and MLAs to refrain from uttering hate-speech! And in other election speeches in Bihar, Modi himself used 'beef' as an excuse to stoke divisive politics. His words were quickly echoed by Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi, who said Bihar's voters must "choose between beef-eaters and those who would ban beef." The very politics that killed Akhlaque in Dadri, is being used by the PM and the BJP in the hope of garnering votes in Bihar.

Modi Minister and BJP leader from Bihar Giriraj Singh has gone even further in venomous and sexist hate-speech; saying that the difference between mutton and beef is like that between a wife and a sister. The BJP seems unaware that such statements reveal that to them, women are like meat – items for consumption.

What must be stressed is that the 'beef ban' and 'meat ban' agenda of the BJP is merely a pretext, a cynical alibi for anti-Muslim hatred. It has emerged that BJP MLA Sangeet Som who made vicious provocative speeches on beef and meat in Dadri, is himself an owner of a company that exports meat and buffalo meat!

At a time when the Modi Government and BJP-RSS leaders are openly trying to turn India into a Hindu Nation with no room for plurality and dissent, it is heartening to see the courage of the writers and artists speaking truth to power. More strength to their pen and their voices!  

Left Initiatives in Midst of Communal Tensions in Ranchi

The Sangh Parivar has once again been trying to disrupt the communal harmony in Ranchi. On 25 September 2015, during a brief period of power cut at night between 9.30 pm to 10 pm, an incident involving throwing of prohibited meat pieces in two temples located in Shivpuri area took place. An uproar followed once the power was restored at 10.30 pm. While it remains unknown as to who threw the meat pieces and who informed the rest about this occurrence, at about 11 pm a massive mobilization of Hindu groups took place to block the roads. According to the sources, however, the pieces of prohibited meat that had been found had been pasted with light colour clothing on animal skin.

Within no time, the gathered group set on fire an egg-selling shop and a hut like club belonging to people from minority sections. They started demanded a ban on sale of prohibited meat in Manitola. People belonging to both Hindu and Muslim religions reside on the Patthar road in Manitola. Soon the communal tension escalated to a level that deafening silence and turning off lights began to mark Muslim mohallas. VHP and Bajrang dal goons begin to incite people by provocative speeches even as the state administration continued to watch in silence.

Incidents of communal violence begin to take place in presence of police forces which had gathered to watch in silence. On 26 September, a popular news daily in Ranchi carried a provocative story that further accelerated the communal tension in Ranchi. On 26 September itself, goons belonging to RSS and VHP tried to further vitiate the atmosphere.

On the same day, on the initiative of CPI (ML) state secretary, Com. Janardan Prasad an urgent meeting of left forces including CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML), MCC, Forward Block, besides others, was called. Following the decision taken during the meeting, immediately a team of left leaders met the district authorities and demanded arrest of the goons who had been trying to create communal tensions in the state.

On 27 September 2015, a massive peace march was carried out in Ranchi under a united left banner. A fact finding team comprising of representatives from the left parties was also sent to Doranda. Another meeting of left parties took place on 28 September and from 29 September to 1 October 2015, pamphlets appealing for peace were distributed. A team also met the Governor to hand over a memorandum.

On 2 October 2015, on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, another massive peace march was organized by the left parties. The initiatives taken by the left played a crucial role in foiling the attempts of Sangh Parivar to engineer major communal violence in Jharkhand and influence the Bihar elections through such attempts at communal polarizations.

NHPC Contract Workers' Struggle in Uttarakhand

On 15 September, a contract worker, working in National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) met with an accident while returning from work and died. He was also a member of the NHPC contract workers' union (affiliated to AICCTU). Since the accident had taken place while returning from work, the union decided that the NHPC pay compensation to the deceased worker's family and his dependent also be given a job. It was further decided that each Union member should deposit one day's salary with the Union towards financial aid for the family.
On 21 September, however, it came to light that the Union President, Com. Uday Singh had been removed from work. The workers at Power House spontaneously left their duties and by the afternoon workers in the project's residential colony, dam site and at the project headquarters had also left their duties. On 22 September a decision was taken to go on an indefinite strike till the reinstatement of the Union President and compensation paid to the family of the deceased worker.  The strike went on for six days during which the NHPC management did not call the workers for talks but tried to break the strike in connivance with officials from permanent workers' unions BMC and INTUC.  Contract workers were denied NHPC bus services. NHPC cut the water and electricity connections in the Nigalpani housing colony and put the blame on the contract workers. The management also gave a complaint against the union officers in the Dharchula kotwali. At night attacks were made upon union members living in the colony and their tin sheds were stoned, after which a complaint was immediately registered with the police the following day. However, soon the momentum of the struggle and support received from various places forced the NHPC management to enter into dialogue with the contract workers' union, district AICCTU leaders, trade union coordination committee members, CPI (ML) district leaders and others. The pressure built finally resulted in the management of NHPC agreeing to reinstate Union President Uday Singh and to take all necessary steps to assure compensation to the family of the deceased. 
On fulfillment of their demands, the contract workers gathered at the Dharchula headquarters and after a gap of 1½ years the Dharchula tehsil was once again covered with red flags.
Parties Continue Protests in Uttar Pradesh against Dadri Incident
On 28 September, Mohd. Akhlaq, a 50 year old resident of Bisahada village in Dadri was dragged out of his home and lynched to death, and his son critically injured, on a conspiratorially-manipulated allegation that he and his family had stored and eaten beef. Soon after the incident, CPI (ML) sent its fact finding team and released the report and a strong condemnation of the incident. Thereafter, several protests have been collectively held by the left forces against the increase in spate of communal lynchings, hate mongering and communal violence in Uttar Pradesh.

CPI (ML), CPI (M), and CPI jointly held dharnas and demonstrations on 5 October 2015 at various district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh to protest against the murder of Mohd. Akhlaq in Dadri (Greater Noida). In the capital city of Lucknow, the three parties staged a dharna at GPO Park in Hazratganj.  CPI (ML) activists took out a march up in Gazipur. In Allahabad, CPI (ML) and CPI (M) took out a march, held a meeting at the Collectorate and submitted a memorandum to the District Magistrate. The three parties also jointly burnt PM Narendra Modi's effigy at Mau. SUCI (C) joined the three parties at Moradabad in a protest at the District Sessions Court. Protests were also held at Mathura, Jalaun and several other districts and memorandums were sent through the DMs.

It may be noted that most of the accused arrested so far in the Dadri incident are sons and relations of local BJP leaders. The BJP is defending the accused to the hilt, and is ceaselessly engaged in spreading poison against the minorities. Akhilesh Yadav government has once again failed to provide security to the minorities in the state.

Joint protests have also been held in various other parts of the country including Delhi.

Fourth State Conference of Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Sabha (JHAMAS)

On the occasion of Com. Ibnul Hassan Basru's Memorial Day the Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Sabha (JHAMAS) organized its 4th State conference on 29 September 2015 at the Com. Arun Pandey auditorium in Mirzaganj (Ibnul Hasan Basru Nagar) in Jamua block of Giridih district.

Prior to the conference thousands of rural workers led by CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Comrades Janardan Prasad, Manoj Bhakt, former MLA Vinod Singh, sitting Dhanwar MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Parmeshwar Mahto, Usman Ansari, and others took out a 5 km march from Jamua chowk, culminating at the conference venue.

The opening session of the conference started with songs presented by cultural teams from Bengal and Jharkhand. Inaugurating the conference, Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that Ibnul Hassan Basru had dedicated his whole life to carrying forward the struggles of the rural workers of Jamua and nearby areas, and he always emphasized the need to strengthen the CPI (ML) for the freedom of rural workers. Referring to the current scenario, he added that the BJP government is working in the interests of capitalists and big multinational companies, and prices are skyrocketing in this regime. The common people were not being benefited in any way. He called for a concerted struggle and emphasized the need to build the rural workers into a force to reckon with.

Com. Rajkumar Yadav and Com. Vinod Singh highlighted the anti-people policies of the BJP governments in the state and at the centre which included rampant loot of resources, huge cuts in food security, price rise, cuts in MNREGA, weakening of CNT and SPT acts, policies facilitating land grab of the poor and increased state oppression. Jharkhand State Secretary, Com. Janardan Prasad said that the rural poor under the banner of Jhamas would play a decisive role in the forthcoming panchayat elections and in fighting for the political claims of the rural poor.

The delegate session was conducted by a board chaired by eight members and attended by 300 delegates. Currently Jhamas is active in 14 districts where 1 lakh family memberships were targeted, out of which 41,000 memberships have so far been achieved. At the conclusion of the conference a 70 member State Council and 21 member National Executive were constituted with Com. Parmeshwar Mahto as General Secretary and Com. Devki Nandan Bediya as President.

The following responsibilities were undertaken by the Conference: 1. To fight against forcible land acquisition- to oppose any tampering with SPT-CNT Act and ensure implementation of 5th schedule; to fight for distribution of ceiling, gairmajrua, unutilized government land, agricultural, and housing land among the poor; 2. To ensure passing of food security bill and guarantee of 50 kg grains, 5 liters kerosene, and other necessities at affordable prices for the poor; to oppose scams in ration-kerosene distribution; 3. To demand housing; house construction funds in proportion to rising prices and housing for all the poor who do not come in the BPL list; 4. To fight for 200 days' work under MNREGA; fixing minimum wage at Rs 300; ensure weekly payments, and fight attempts to link this with Adhar card 5. Guarantee of free health and education through health centres in every village; appointment of doctors in each health centre; to fight for improvement in quality of primary education; 6. Guarantee of clean drinking water, roads, and other basic amenities in every tola; 7. To fight for social security pension for the aged and helpless even without BPL.

The conference resolved to take up the struggle for these issues by developing them as the focus of the struggle of the rural poor.

Public Hearing organized by AIPWA in Kolkata

The incidents of sexual violence have increased in the past few years and most of the accused continue to roam free. Far from showing a resolve to address the increase in sexual violence, the government has more often been found to engage with blatant victim blaming. Time and again, the people of Bengal have been made to witness threats of sexual violence by those in power. It in this context that AIPWA organized a public hearing against violence on women and for demanding justice on 29 September in Dharmatala Y-channel . The survivors of Kadambagachi [near Barasat, N24parganas], Jagacha [Howrah], Hoogly, Bidhan Sarani[Kolkata]and from several other places of Bengal took part in the public hearing.  The face of women's movement like Mousumi and Toompa from Kamduni, Pramila Ray from Sutia(sister of the slain school teacher Barun Biswas') and Aminul's family members were also present in the hearing. The women's movement activists like Soma Marik and Ratnaboli Ray, advocates like Rangta Munshi, Chandranath Banerjee, Ajanta Sarkar, Sharmila Dey, Nisha Biswas, and Dr Debasish Dutta were present as judges. AIPWA general secretary was also present during the hearing. The survivors shared their pain and agony and the form of violence they faced. They also described the problems they faced while lodging complaint in the police stations and while trying to get proper treatment in hospitals.

Rama Karmakar from Hoogly shared how during the court procedures when she clearly said that she had been raped by her brother-in-law, the public prosecutor advised her to compromise. Expressing her anguish she asked as to when will the courts focus on delivering justice rather than suggesting survivors to compromise.

Parboti, from N24parganas informed that though her daughter was killed by her in-laws, the culprits got bail. The women of Kadambagachi vividly described how she was tortured, her dress was torn apart making and how the culprits tried to insert bamboo stick into her vagina till she got senseless. All these were done by her in-laws in full public view on a road. Shockingly, the hospital denied her medical examination and also misguided her that if she does these medical tests she would face physical problems.

The director of transgender organizations 'Kolkata Rishta' , Dr Santosh Giri mentioned that not only women , transgender people also face sexual violence, however no discussion takes place on the subject and there are no demands for justice. Aditi, an organizer with Anjali [organization working for the rights of people having mental problems] said that nobody thinks about the people with mental problems. She pointed out that several of them were subjected to torture in government hospitals and even sexually harassed. Swati Chatterjee who deals with the acid attack cases said that if hospitals seriously follow medico-legal directives, the way to achieve justice would be smoother but most of the hospitals are not aware of the directives. The girl student of Bidhan Sarani Rape Case confirmed that the hospital did not follow health directives while doing her examination.

The representatives from domestic workers, mid-day meal workers, ASHA workers and construction workers also shared that sexual harassment often took place at their workplaces and they were regularly deprived of their proper wages .The stage of the public hearing became a stage of protest.

Toompa and Mousumi of Kamduni movement raised their voice of protest while saying that they were marked as Maoists as they protested against the rape cases and added the WB CM Mamta Banerjee had failed to keep her promise that she had made in front of the villagers.

The activists also strongly condemned the recent incident in Bakura Khayerberi Gram Panchayat where a class 12 student was killed in a salisi sabha [kangaroo court ] organized by Trinamool Congress for having an affair.    

Towards the end of the hearing and protest, state AIPWA secretary Com. Chaitali Sen assured that this demand for justice would be turned into a powerful movement and to ensure swift action, a gherao of CM's office would be called.          

Victory for tea workers in North Bengal

The tea garden workers in North Bengal had been fighting for their bonus since a prolonged period. Several rounds of talks were held between the trade union leaders, including members of the Terai Sangrami Cha Shramik Union (Affiliated to AICCTU). After nearly five rounds of fierce debates between the trade union leaders and the tea garden owners, on 7 October 2015, the owners were forced to agree on paying twenty percent bonus to the tea workers. This is an important victory for the workers' towards getting an increased bonus packet calculating the increased daily wages since 1 April 2014. Com. Basudeb Basu represented the Terai Sangrami Cha Shramik union at the last bipartite talk that was held at Bengal Chamber of Commerce, in Kolkata on 7 October.

Comrade Nagbhushan Memorial Day

The 18th Nagbhushan Memorial Day was commemorated on 9th October as "Smruti Divas" at Nagbhushan Bhawan in Bhubaneshwar. Many left leaders and intellectuals of different streams spoke on "Necessity of left unity in the present political juncture" on this occasion. Prominent among them were Kshitish Biswal, Radha Kanta Sethi and Ashok Pradhan from CPI(ML), CPI state secretary Dibakar Nayak, CPI(M) state secretariat member Dushmant Das, SUCI(C) leader Raghunath Das and Forward Bloc State convener Purna Padhi, Prof. Birendra Naik, senior journalist Rabi Das, Samadrusti editor Sudhir Pattanaik and many others. Com. Yudhisthir Mohapatra chaired the programme. Comrades paid tribute to the great revolutionary.

At Gunupur, Comrades Phanibhushan Pattanaik, Tirupati Gomango, James Sabar, Anasim Sabar and many others led a procession from Union office in memory of comrade Nagbhushan Patnaik and garlanded his statue. This was followed by a mass meeting.


Com. Virendra Kumar Singh

CPI(ML) Supaul district committee member and Khet Mazdoor Sabha district President Com. Virendra Kumar Singh passed away due to a heart attack at 2 AM on 12 July 2015. On hearing the news of his death a pall of gloom descended on district party workers and well-wishers in his village Rajeshwari. Com. Virendra had plunged into student politics while he was a student at Patna Law College. He was arrested during the emergency and after his release in 1977, he became a member of the CPI(M) dedicating himself to people's struggles. Fighting against the personality-based and bureaucratic tendencies in the CPI(M), he finally left the party in 1994 and became a member of the CPI(ML), taking active part in the people's struggles initiated by the party.

Workers in large numbers took part in his funeral procession and the condolence meeting chaired by Com. Achhe Lal Mehta.

Red Salute to Com. Virendra Kumar Singh!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

ML Update | No. 41 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18 | No. 41 | 6 12 OCT 2015

Dadri Lynching

Modi Government and BJP Are Promoting 

A Murderous Politics of Hate      

The murder of a Muslim man by a communal lynch mob on the pretext that he had 'eaten beef' should be an urgent wake-up call for the country to recognize and reject the dangerous divisive politics being systematically fostered by the ruling party and Central Government.      

In Bisahda village of Dadri district in Western Uttar Pradesh, close to Delhi, a mob forced its way into Akhlaque's home, molested his wife and daughter, beat his mother, dragged Akhlaque and his son Danish away, and beat them up with stones, bricks and a sewing machine. Akhlaque was killed, while Danish is still struggling to survive after two brain surgeries. The pretext being offered by Sangh Parivar and BJP leaders for this ghastly murder has been that the mob believed, thanks to an announcement from a temple, that Akhlaque had 'stolen and killed a cow' or 'eaten beef' and thereby inflamed Hindu sentiments.  

Facts however point to a larger conspiracy and an organized communal mobilization, with 'beef' and 'cow' being a mere pretext to kill Muslims and incite communal violence. The 'Samadhan Sena,' one of the many saffron armies of the hydra-headed Sangh Parivar, has been spreading communal venom in the area for a long time.  

The deafening silence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the spate of statements by Modi Government Ministers, BJP MPs and MLAs and RSS leaders rationalizing the lynching, all make it clear that the lynching was part and parcel of the BJP's politics of hate-mongering.

VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi has warned that all those eating beef will meet the same fate as Akhlaque; local BJP leaders have demanded that a case of cow slaughter be registered against the survivors of the lynching; Modi's Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma has called the lynching a mere 'accident' for which no one should be punished; BJP MP and former editor of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser Tarun Vijay wrote a piece playing down the Dadri lynching. Mahesh Sharma, even more outrageously, praised the lynch mob for its restraint in 'not lifting a finger against the 17 year old daughter' of Akhlaque! It is clear that the Culture Minister, who seeks to 'cleanse' India's culture of 'pollution', needs to cleanse his own mind of crass rape culture.      

Modi himself is the fountainhead of the provocative hate-speech around 'cow slaughter.' In his election speeches during the Parliamentary elections, he repeatedly stoked emotions against eaters of beef and meat, referring to the killing of animals as 'murder' (hatya) and calling the meat industry 'Pink Revolution.'

India is a vast country, where people have very diverse diets and food cultures. To impose Brahminical Hindu taboos on beef or meat on the rest of the population – through ever-proliferating food bans in various states - smacks of totalitarianism. It needs to be recognized, however, that 'beef' is one pretext among many others, for inciting murderous communal violence against minorities and casteist violence against Dalits.  

The Dadri episode and its aftermath also makes a mockery of the 'secular' claims of the Samajwadi Party and its Government in Uttar Pradesh. The UP police not only failed to prevent the lynching. It began its investigation by sending the meat in Akhlaque's fridge for forensic examination, to check whether or not it was beef, thereby turning the victim into the accused. BJP MLA Sangeet Som, accused of stoking the Muzaffarnagar riots with inflammatory speeches accusing Muslim youth of 'love jehad', has made violent provocative speeches in Bisahda village, threatening violence if the arrested members of the lynch mob are not released. Why was Sangeet Som, with a known history of provocative speech-making and riot-mongering, allowed by the UP Government and Police to violate Section 144 and make provocative speeches in the wake of a communal mob lynching? Clearly the SP Government of UP has learned no lessons from Muzaffarnagar, and is doing nothing to protect vulnerable minorities and curb communal forces.

What is most ominous of all is that Dadri is no isolated incident, but part of a disturbing and dangerous pattern. Just days before the Dadri lynching, a Muslim man was lynched to death in Kanpur on the strength of a rumour that he was a 'Pakistani terrorist.' In August this year, three young Muslim men were lynched to death by a mob in the same Dadri district on the pretext that they were 'stealing cows.' Last year in August, in Delhi's Najafgarh bordering Western UP, a Dalit man was lynched to death on the pretext that he was found skinning a cow. The excuse proffered by the local BJP Councillor on that occasion that the mob has mistaken him for a Muslim who had stolen a cow! There have been many recent incidents in various parts of India where Muslim youth have been stripped, beaten or lynched to death on the allegation that they have befriended/loved/married/'raped' Hindu women. In the past couple of weeks, Sangh Parivar elements fomented communal tensions in Ranchi and Banaras. In the latest Cobrapost sting operation, leaders of Sangh outfits confessed on camera how they use false cases of 'love jehad' to foment communal tensions, how they indulge in 'Hindutva terrorism,' and how they "are sad when they fail to kill a Muslim and hold celebrations the day they succeed."  

And can we forget that in 2002, five Dalits were killed in Jhajjar in Haryana on the pretext that they had killed a cow. The VHP leader Giriraj Kishore had then answered the question 'Is a Dalit's life worth less than that of a cow?' with the words "The scriptures say that the life of a cow is priceless."  

Such lynch mobs are not spontaneous 'reactions to rumours' – they represent a planned, systematic injection of communal poison into the very fabric of Indian society. And the purpose of this poison is to promote the politics of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar that make no secret of their aim to transform India from a secular country into a Hindu Nation. The Prime Minister himself, while on foreign tours, openly mocks at India's secularism and secular values.

The Prime Minister who calls the eating of beef and non-vegetarian food 'murder', needs to tell us if he considers the lynching to death of a human being, murder? His calculated silence on the Dadri lynching and his inability even to issue a simple condemnation of the murder, is screaming out to the whole world his approval for and promotion of the politics of divisiveness, hate-mongering and communal violence.  

Citizen's Protest against the Dadri and Kanpur Communal Lynchmob Killings!

On 28 September, hardly an hour from India's capital Delhi, a 50 year old Muslim man Mohd. Akhlaq was killed by a lynch mob and his 22 year old son brutally injured after the local temple announced that his family has eaten beef.  The son was admitted to the hospital in state of coma. Less than a week ago another Muslim man was beaten to death by a lynch mob based on rumors that he is a 'Pakistani Terrorist'.

Outraged by the brutal killings, the continued silence of the Prime Minister and the shameful attempts of the BJP leaders to justify the violence, more than 500 protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar on 2 October 2015 and registered a massive protest against the lynch mob killing of Muslims in Dadri and Kanpur. Several organisations such as AISA, AICCTU, AIPF, CPI (ML), KYS, NSI and PUDR along with noted activists like Kiran Saheen, Kumar Sundaram participated in the united protest.

Addressing the protestors, Com. Rama Naga, JNUSU general secretary and AISA leader asked, "Thousands gathered to attack a Muslim family, killing an old man, brutally injuring his son, unleashing violence on the women members of the family. Did so many attackers gather only on the basis of a rumor? Organised hate mongering against Muslims either in the name of Beti-bachao or Gow Mata, from Muzzafarnagar to Dadri is going on. Don't we know who the mastermind is? Don't we know that the RSS and BJP machinery have been systematically manufacturing hate and violence through mahapanchayats, whatsapp messages, youtube videos?"

Gautam Navlakha from PUDR pointed out that "Even after the killing and violence, BJP leaders are spreading further hatred against Muslims. Mahapanchyats are being convened, hate-speeches are being delivered by well known BJP leaders. Manufacturing of riot is going unabated. How much blood of minorities is needed to get the security act on punishing hate-mongers?",

On behalf of AIPF, Com. Girija Pathak said, "The PM says in America Ahimsa Parama Dharma, while violence is being organised on minorities in India. His party leaders and ministers continue to spread venom. He must speak up." Kiran Saheen, while addressing the protest, said- "Why has meat of animal been sent to forensic lab after the killing of human beings? Rather than acting on the well known leaders who are further spreading hatred and communal tension, why is the security busy in feeding into communal division based on food preference?"

The protesters demanded punishment of those engaged in the lynch mob killing and those who made the announcement from the temple about beef being eaten. Protesters also demanded that action must be taken against the well known leaders who are continuing to spread communal hatred and justifying the killings.

Earlier, on 1 October 2015, a fact-finding team that included CPI (ML) leaders Com. Girija Pathak, Com. Aslam and National Secretary of RYA, Com. Omprasad visited Bisada village to meet the family of Late Mohd. Akhlaq's and other villagers. After talking to the family of  Mohd. Akhlaq and other villagers it came became clear that the murder of Mohd. Akhlaq was a planned communal attack using the pretext of the ongoing hate campaign being run by the Sangh Parivar and BJP around beef eating and cow slaughter. A detailed report has been prepared by the fact finding team.

Campaign in Punjab For Land Rights and Employment

In rural Punjab, there are several acres of common land meant for the purpose of animal grazing that has been illegally occupied by kulaks. In 2009, CPI (ML) fought for the housing rights of Dalits and rural poor on this land and occupied some parts of the land for the purpose. The movement was met by severe repression and crackdown. Unfazed by the repression, the movement was continued and in 2009, thirty percent of this land was legally granted for the purpose of housing of the rural poor and Dalits. However, the proper implementation of the same has not been ensured till date. Additionally, reduced wages in MNREGA and massive corruption in implementation of the scheme have also added to the misery of the rural poor in the state. In light of the deteriorating situation in rural Punjab, CPI (ML) and All India Agricultural and Rural Labourers' Association (AIARLA) undertook a month long campaign in several districts of Punjab on the issue of land rights and employment.

The month long campaign involving district level mobilization by CPI (ML) and AIARLA leaders and activists culminated in the form of massive rallies that were organized on the issue of land rights and proper implementation of MNREGA in Bhatinda, Mansa, Barnala, Sangrur, Gurudaspur and Amritsar. The campaign was met with encouraging response from the people. Thousands of farmers and youths participated in these rallies.

DTC Contract Workers' March to Delhi Secretariat

In February 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Delhi riding high on expectations of common people. Among several of its promises, a key promise was to end the saga of contractualization and ensure regularization of workers in various sectors. Unfortunately, seven months since coming to office, the AAP government has not taken any initiatives towards the fulfillment of this key election time promise.

Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) too has continued with process of recruiting young workers through the process of contractualisation. On 30 September 2015, several young contract workers working in DTC mobilized under the AICCTU banner marched to Delhi Secretariat demanding that they be made regular and their wages be fixed accordingly. The DTC workers have also been raising concerns regarding the pension provisions and the massive corruption that takes place during wage payment and other provisions. Additionally, the workers also expressed anger with the Kejriwal led AAP government that far from addressing their concerns has instead chosen to crackdown on their right to protest and strike. In May 2015, when the DTC workers had gone on strike demanding compensation for the family of a driver who had been beaten to death in a road rage incident, the Delhi Government had responded by imposing Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the agitating staff.

The workers demanded that the Delhi Government explain its betrayal of election time promises and take concrete initiatives to meet their grievances.

Kisan Mahasabha for Vaishali as Drought-Stricken District

More than 100 farmers sat on a dharna outside the Bidupur block office in Vaishali district, Bihar on 11 September 2015 under the Kisan Mahasabha banner with the following demands- (i) to declare Vaishali district drought-stricken; (ii) to give free ration-kerosene to farmers until the next crop; (iii) to waive agricultural loans up to Rs 1 lakh; (iv) to give farmers and sharecroppers interest-free loans for farming the next crop; (v) to associate MNREGA with agriculture and to give MNREGA workers 200 days' work in farmers' fields at Rs 300 per day; (vi) to restart all State hand pumps and  to repair derelict canals and release water into them; (vii) to electrify farmers' private hand pumps and give free electricity for irrigation; (viii) to set up camps in villages and insure the crops of all non-loan farmers including sharecroppers on the basis of physical verification; and (ix) to give farmers including sharecroppers immediate diesel subsidy. A memorandum with these demands was submitted to the Block Development Officer. It may be noted that up to September this district had recorded only 435 mm rainfall as against the normal average of 790 mm which amounts to a deficit of 45%.

Earlier, on 6 August more than 400 farmers had protested in front of the District headquarters with the same demands and had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Collector. Again, on 1 September, jointly with other Left farmers' organizations, 'Farmers' Demand Day' was observed and a memorandum was submitted to the Prime Minister through the Collector, with 11 demands that included- (i) declaration of Vaisahali as a drought-stricken district, (ii) laws to be made to protect agricultural land, and (iii) a pension of Rs 3,000 per month for farmers and sharecroppers. These programmes, led by State President Com. Vishveshwar Prasad Yadav, were addressed by Kisan Mahasabha district President Com. Pradeep Rai, Secretary Com. Arvind Kumar Choudhury, Joint Secretary Com. Suman Kumar, Com. Harinarayan Singh, Com. Ramyatna Rai, and other peasant leaders.

11-Day Jan Adhikar Yatra in Jharkhand

An 11 Day Jan Adhikar Yatra (People's rights rally) called by various people's fronts and movements including All India People's Forum (AIPF), Bharat Gyaan-Vigyaan Samiti, Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand unit of Jan Sanskriti Manch, NREGA watch, Jungle Bachao Andolan, Bharat Jan Andolan, Gram Swaraj Abhiyaani and several others, begin in from Bagodar, in Giridih district on 1 October 2015. The 11 day yatra has been called to highlight the consistent attack on people's rights by the BJP led state and central governments. The various issues that will be raised during the course of the Jan Adhikar Yatra include- implementation of Food Security Act, rolling back of cuts in MNREGA, ensuring provisions of social security pension, proper implementation of Forest Rights' Act, protesting against assaults on people's rights and movements and also against the unbridled loot of forests, land and resources. The Yatra started in the form of a massive people's rally and covering a lot of areas transformed into a public meeting near Bagodar Bus stop. The public meeting was chaired by Com. Sandeep Jaiswal, member of the national executive of the RYA. Addressing the public meeting as one of the chief speakers, Com. Vinod Singh, CPI (ML) leader and ex-MLA from Bagodar pointed out how the assaults on common people's rights had been increased under the chief ministership of Raghuvar Das. Concerted efforts were being made to instigate communal tensions in several parts of the country including Jharkhand.

The Jan Adhikar Yatra will cover various villages in forest areas and hilly terrains of Jharkhand and will culminate in Ranchi on 11 October in form of a massive public meeting where roadmap for strengthening people's movements will be chalked out.

Fact Finding Team from AICCTU Visits Protesting Manesar Workers

On 26 September 2015, brutal lathi-charge and crackdown was unleashed on the protesting Maruti workers in Manesar. In early hours of 26 September, nearly 2000 casual workers had sat on a strike at the factory gate protesting against the anti-worker attitude of the Maruti administration. The management of the Maruti Factory in Manesar had been regularly deploying fraudulent ways to take work from the casual workers. The management had been taking work from them on the assurance that they would be made regular after a period of six months, but several of these workers had finished several such six month periods without being made regular. The workers expectedly were feeling cheated the management. The workers had also been unhappy and angry about the failure of the government to ensure 'equal wages for equal work' under the labour laws.

An AICCTU fact finding team that included Delhi AICCTU President, Com. V.K.S. Gautam and members of the JNU unit of All India Kaamgaar Union, Com. Lillu and Com. Satyawaan, visited the Maruti plant in Manesar on 27 September 2015.

During the interaction with the fact finding team, the workers shared that the management once again proved its anti-workers attitude when all the causal workers were kept out of the provisions of the wage agreement that took place prior to the 26 September strike. It must be noted that these casual workers, who are being made to work using fraudulent means and false promises, constitute a major part of the production process that contributes to the increasing profits of the Maruti.

There are 5-6 casual workers and 2 apprentices per every two permanent worker in the Maruti factory. By using various terminologies such as permanent, casual, apprentice, contractual worker, etc., workers are being recruited and subjected to severe exploitation. The workers also continue to be angered and pained by the refusal of the Maruti management to take back nearly 2300 workers who were illegally thrown out in August 2012.

During the interactions with the fact finding team, the workers shared that on the morning of 26 September, the Maruti management called for bouncers from nearby areas and instructed them to assault the peacefully striking workers. Several strikers were brutally injured. Most of the casual workers who were ruthlessly beaten were 17-20 year old youths. Haryana police which on earlier occasions has also demonstrated its loyalty to the factory owners by always siding with them, continued to display the same attitude as soon after its arrival it immediately arrested two comrades- Jeetendra and Khushiram, while failing to protect from them from being beaten up. Worse, the arrested workers were again severely beaten up by the police in custody. In the lathi-charge unleashed by the police also several workers were gravely injured.

It is not new for the Haryana government to stand in solidarity with the capitalists who have frequently made mockery of labour laws. The actions of police controlled by the BJP government in Haryana are no different from the actions of the police during the rule of the Congress government. It is clear that be it Congress or BJP, both are only too eager to act as agents of the capital and will not refrain from oppressing the working class. Earlier, on 2 September 2015, during the All India Workers' Strike, thousands of workers of Maruti Factory had participated in the strike proving that no amount of oppression can deter them from fighting for their rights. During the fact finding team's visit, Com. Gautam pledged AICCTU's solidarity with the workers of the Maruti factory and assured them that in coming days AICCTU will stand with them and fight along with them in order to intensify the movement. 

Cultural Activists' Convention in Ara on 'Left Alternative in Bihar'

Continuing with their initiatives to mobilize the cultural activists and intellectuals in support of the Left Alternative in Bihar, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, and Jan Sanskriti Manch organized a convention on 'Agenda 2015: Left Alternative in Bihar' on 20 September 2015 in the Red Cross auditorium, Ara, in which cultural activists and intellectuals declared their support for CPI (ML) candidates in all the Bhojpur district seats and Left candidates in the entire Shahabad area. A similar convention had earlier been organized in Patna on 13 September 2015.

Speakers from Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Jan Sanskriti Manch, Hirawal, Insaaf Manch, Bihar State Primary Teachers' Association (Gope group) and All India Students Association stressed on the need to unite against  forces instigating communal passion, strengthening feudal oppression, and acting on the instructions of pro-corporate forces.

Poet Sunil Shrivastava said that capitalism only creates a false glitter, but actually spreads a web of trickery and cheating. The corporate also throws political alternatives in front of us, and it is because of the choice being limited to these alternatives that the character of governments remains unchanged, no matter who wins. It is necessary to strengthen the forces engaged in building a correct and viable alternative for the people.

Story writer Anant Kumar Singh, speaking on the recent circular issued by the Maharashtra BJP government, said that now they are threatening to charge those with sedition who criticize MLAs or MPs or Ministers. Why should the people elect such persons? He said that with the coming of the Left alternative, the people will not be faced with the dilemma of choosing between the devil and the deep sea. He also sent out the message of support sent by novelist Sheen Hayat. Expressing concern over the election-time polarization in favour of casteist-feudal forces, Prof. Tungnath Choudhury said that this time a new synergy will be generated through Left unity.

Ashutosh Kumar Pandey read the 3 point resolution of the convention – (i) to support the Left alternative; (ii) to support the FTII students' agitation (a poster marking the completion of 100 days of the agitation was signed by cultural activists, students, and intellectuals; (iii). to strengthen the protest against the attack on progressive, intellectual and rationalist thinkers by the RSS and its satellite organizations.