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. 

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