Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ML Update | No. 48 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 48 | 24 - 30 NOV 2015


Red Salute to
Comrade Jauhar,

Comrade Nirmal and

Comrade Ratan (Rajender Yadav)

on the occasion of their 40th Martyrdom Anniversary!

Comrade Jauhar became CPI(ML) General Secretary after the 1974 reorganisation, and laid the foundation of what grew into a revolutionary peasant upsurge in Bhojpur and adjoining districts of Central Bihar.  He led the party in the difficult phase of setback and, on  November 29th  1975, along with Comrades Nirmal and Ratan, went down fighting the armed might of the Indian State in the heroic battle of Babubandh.

ISIS Attacks and Their Aftermath

A series of terror attacks by the ISIS – killing 128 people in Ankara, bringing down a Russian passenger aircraft, killing 43 in a Beirut suicide bombing and 18 in an attack on a funeral in Baghdad, and the shock-and-awe style massacre of 130 people enjoying a Paris evening – have shaken the entire world. On the heels of these attacks has come the hostage crisis followed by killing of over 20 people in a Mali hotel by an outfit said to have al-Qaeda links.    

If the ISIS shares a vicious ideology of hatred and genocide with many others across the world, its scale of operations and its penchant for graphic displays of spectacular violence certainly set it apart. The ISIS attempts to justify attacks on innocent civilians in France as retaliation to French air strikes in Syria, or more generally to justify its whole existence as an answer to wars by the US and Western powers in the Middle East must be squarely rejected. Nothing can possibly justify such heinous massacres of innocents.

At the same time, there can be no evading the grim questions posed by history. The ISIS (and earlier, the al-Qaeda) are not, as some would have us believe, cultural by-products of Islam as a religion. Instead, these terrorist outfits are very much political products of a historical process for which the Western powers are squarely responsible. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted as much in a recent interview, when he conceded that had he and Bush not waged war on Iraq in 2003 on false pretexts and toppled the Saddam Husain regime, the ISIS would probably not exist. Similarly, the role of the US in funding and arming Saudi-backed militants in Afghanistan in creating what eventually became the Taliban and the al-Qaeda is widely recognized. Even today, the US and Western powers continue to back and legitimize the regime in Saudi Arabia, that is not only highly regressive and repressive to its own citizens but also instrumental in the survival of terrorist outfits in the region.  

Western powers have meddled in the Middle East – either to bolster up repressive regimes and crush protests, to sponsor regime-change, or to wage wars, bomb civilians and back occupations – to suit their own geopolitical interests and pursuit of oil. Such meddling and even opportunist sponsoring of terrorism has helped destroy or weaken democratic institutions and affected the balance of powers in the region, and has undoubtedly helped the terrorist outfits take root, fill vacuums, exploit disaffections and resentments and grasp power.

To recognize these facts is not to justify the ISIS or the al-Qaeda or accept and endorse the terrorists' own rationale of retaliation. Rather, acknowledging these facts can shape our response to the present situation and prevent a repeat of the mistakes of the past. US, French or Russian policy of bombing Syria, in turn claiming lives of beleaguered Syrian civilians, or of offering military backing to either Syrian rebels or the repressive Bashar-al Assad regime, has proved disastrous – and the response to the Paris attack simply cannot be more of the same. It is to draw attention away from this reality that Western leaders ranging from Obama to Hollande to Putin peddle the rhetoric of 'pitiless war' and identify terrorism with Muslims.

Obama, for instance, said that while Muslims worldwide might not condone the ISIS, they are 'not as willing to challenge some of the extremist thoughts or rationales for why Muslims feel oppressed.' Such a statement is calculated to brand any critique of systematic Islamophobia as a rationalization of 'extremism.' The truth of course is that Islamophobia and wars affecting vast masses of civilians in the Middle East, especially since 9/11, as well as legacies and continuing policies of colonialism and racism (in France for instance) are very real and grave concerns. The ISIS or Taliban or al-Qaeda do not seek to deter or resist Islamophobia or racism, rather they thrive on it. But by seeking to associate any expression of those concerns with rationalization of terrorism, the US President seeks to get a license to continue those disastrous policies.      

The Paris attacks have, for instance, provided a pretext to US and European politicians and governments to justify the sealing of borders against Syrian refugees. This is of course outrageous, given that the refugees are fleeing the horrors of the ISIS back home! The intensified racist and Islamophobic rhetoric and the declaration of a prolonged Emergency and ban on protests in France are reminiscent of the US response post 9/11 – and the consequences are likely to be as counter-productive and disastrous.

India's foreign policy too has been, for the past decade and a half, embedded in 'War on Terror' serving Western strategic interests. With the Modi Government, the Islamophobia that seeks to tar all Muslims with the brush of terrorism while condoning and encouraging Sanghi terrorism has intensified alarmingly. Modi's appeal, in the wake of the Paris attacks, to urge the international community to 'give a definition of terrorism' and reject spurious distinctions between 'good' and 'bad' terrorism, is in glaring contrast to his own Government's policy of weakening bomb blast cases in which Sangh elements are implicated. It is imperative for India's own interests that we condemn all forms of terrorism and slaughter of innocents, and remain alert to reject any attempt to fan up communal hatred on the pretext of the IS attacks.    

The Turkish bombing of a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border is another ominous reminder that the war on Syria is not going to stay confined to Syria. It is already escalating and spilling over into Europe – and presenting a threat to peace in the whole world. There is an urgent need for de-escalation and for an unsparing review of the policies pursued by the US, France and Russia in Syria and the Middle East.    

The ray of hope lies in the growing voice of popular protest that combines the condemnation of terrorism with rejection of Islamophobia, racism, suspension of democracy at home and war in the Middle East. In France for instance, it is heartening that some 15,000 people marched in Toulouse in defiance of the Emergency. The marchers responded to efforts of France's largest public sector education union among other groups, and raised slogans of 'Their wars, our death!', 'For freedom and peace, against the barbarity of coalitions', and 'Against the state of emergency, let's intensify our fight'! In the US too, many have spoken up in protest against the attempt of Republican leaders to call for profiling and 'registration' of US Muslims or allowing entry only to Christian refugees while denying asylum to Muslim ones.

The peace-loving people of the world must unite to resist the ideologies of hatred, terrorism of all hues.

World Congress Of Working Women

In its 70th anniversary year, WFTU held the World Congress of Working Women in Cyprus on 2015, November 1 – 2. The congress was hosted by PanCyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) of Cyprus, a federation of 8 trade unions of the country.

73 delegates from 45 unions in 28 countries participated in the congress. From India 7 delegates of AICCTU, AITUC, CITU and AIBEA participated.

Delegates from Vietnam, which gave a fitting rebuff for imperialist aggression, Greece, which resisted anti-austerity measures of imperialist economy, Pakistan and Nepal, the neighbors, Venezuela and Chile, which are inspiring anti-imperialist struggles, Palestine and Syria, which are ravaged by imperialist wars, Panama, Somalia and Congo, where people are fighting against imperialist loot of natural resources, shared their view on onslaught of neo-liberal policies, on the exploitation and inhuman working conditions women workers are facing every day, the urgent need to organize them in trade unions to rise up against the capitalist onslaught and raise their demands, the need to bring the issue of unpaid labour of women at home to the fore and the need to strengthen left trade unions to protect the interests of women workers.

On November 1, a rally and public meeting was held on the beach. The message of the congress reached the people of Cyprus who were gathered in the beach-side restaurants in large numbers. The meeting began and concluded with performances of a cultural team which rendered songs in the beginning and traditional dances toward the end.

The session continued on November 2 with delegates from various countries delving into the issues of women workers in their countries and called for a resolute struggle against neo-liberal policies.

Along with passing resolutions on many issues of protecting the rights of workers in general and women workers in particular, the congress called for reunification of Cyprus which was divided by Turkish aggression, immediate withdrawal of imperialist military troops from Palestine and Syria and called for an end to imperialist war.

The congress decided to observe March 8 every year on behalf of WFTU from 2016 and bring focus on various women workers' issues. On March 8 2016 WFTU will raise the issue of ensuring maternity benefits for women workers. It was also decided to form a women secretariat for WFTU in the forthcoming conference of WFTU which will be held in South Africa and to bring out a publication with the papers presented by the delegates in the congress.

The delegates then visited PEO office in Larnaca. PEO runs a museum in this office which portrays the conditions of workers of Cyprus before trade unions were formed, the history of struggle of Cyprus working class, important milestones in the history of PEO including significant collective agreements reached by PEO. The museum also has a collection of tools used by workers during different periods on display. The delegates then visited a hospital in a nearby building which is run by PEO. Members of PEO and their family members are entitled for treatment in these hospitals. PEO has entered into an agreement with a panel of doctors throughout the country for attending patients in PEO hospitals. Fund for running the hospital is raised by a contribution from the management and the workers through a collective agreement.

The delegates then visited Nicosia, capital of Cyprus where they were taken to the 'green line'. This is the area in Nicosia which demarcates North Cyprus which is occupied by the Turkish forces and is under the rule of Turkish Cypriots from the South Cyprus which is ruled by Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots have built a monument of the devastating conditions of war in their part of the city and have also displayed the aerial view of Nicosia showing the broken city. Cypriot delegates said their main demand is reunification of the country into a united Cyprus.

Kudos to Bahadur Oraon for Returning Award

Bahadur Oraon, Jharkhand movement veteran, Former Jharkhand MLA from Chakradharpur, and former CPI(ML) CC member, has returned the award he had received from the Speaker on the occasion of the 15th foundation day of the Jharkhand assembly. He returned the award on the spot itself, following up with a note of protest saying that he felt ashamed to receive an award as an MLA, when the Assembly had failed "to protect tribal rights in a state that was carved out of Bihar for protection of tribal identity." Tribal land continued to be plundered in violation of the CNT and SPT Acts, he said.  Bahadurji has on previous occasions refused awards from the hands of Lalu Prasad and Madhu Koda also. His gesture this time has resonated with the protests of concerned citizens all over the country who have returned awards to protest against acts of discrimination and violence against vulnerable sections of India's society.  

Condemn Unconstitutional Hate Speech By Governors, BJP MPs

The BJP and Modi Government functionaries have been seeking to allege that the return of awards by intellectuals was a political ploy aimed at influencing Bihar elections, and that these protests have dried up since the Bihar results. But the vigorous protests and voices of dissent continue to go strong.

Noted Odisha poet and writer Jayanta Mahapatra is the latest to return his Padma Shri in protest against the growing climate of bigotry in the country. Film star Aamir Khan's patriotism is being questioned because he shared the intensely personal insecurity and disquiet his wife felt for their child. The basis for this insecurity is apparent to all: it flows not only from the cold-blooded murders of minorities and dissenting voices, but from the unstoppable spate of bigoted comments from Ministers, MPs, MLAs and even Governors justifying such murders. BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargeeya has suggested that Aamir Khan's remarks on intolerance are a ploy to cover up black money. BJP MP Adityanath has made yet another remark associating Muslims with overpopulation, saying that it would help reduce the country's population if Aamir Khan were to leave India. Such nakedly bigoted statements only confirm the concerns expressed by so many Indian citizens about the growing climate of intolerance.    

It is strange that Aamir Khan should be branded ant-national because his wife expresses fear for the safety of their child and wonders momentarily if they should move to some other country; but BJP MPs, Chief Ministers and Governors appointed by the Central Government are not branded anti-national for asking anyone who questions the Government or eats beef to "go to Pakistan." It must also be pointed out that that the Prime Minister indulges in extravagant displays of Indian patriotism among NRI audiences in Silicon Valley and Wembley in the US and UK – clearly he does not consider those Indians who chose to live outside India to be anti-national. In fact, the BJP hails all its supporters – be they living in India or settled abroad – as "patriotic", while it brands all its critics whether in India or broad, as "anti-national." BJP equates itself to India, and when concerned citizens say that the BJP is intolerant and bigoted, the BJP accuses them of shaming India by branding the country as intolerant!                

It is ironic that as the Government prepares to celebrate the anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of India on the coming 26th November, the Governor of Assam PB Acharya has repeatedly declared that "India is for Hindus, no Bangladeshi will be allowed to register in Assam" and "Muslims can go to Pakistan or Afghanistan." His remarks are the exact mirror image of some of the bigoted US leaders who are recommending that the US accept Christian refugees from Syria but refuse Muslim ones. Even his "clarification" exposes the fact that he considers Hindus living anywhere to be Indian – but that he considers Muslims – even those living in India – to be "free to go to Pakistan"! The Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy is also notorious for regular flow of bigoted tweets decrying secularism.

It is the dissenting voices that are moved by true concern and love for the country, while the BJP has from Babri to Dadri, from Bihar elections to Assam, from the Prime Minister to its foot-soldiers, shown its willingness to divide and polarize the country and poison peace and harmony to get a chance to rule.

In Dr Ambedkar's centenary year and on the occasion of the anniversary of the Indian Constitution, it will not do for the Prime Minister and the Government to merely use the Constitution as a fig leaf behind which to hide their continuous promotion of bigotry. India's citizens must reclaim and reassert the true spirit of the Constitution – a spirit that Dr Ambedkar embodied, a spirit that does not lie in branding dissent as disloyalty, but in fact lies in boldly speaking up for the country's diversity and the rights, freedom and dignity of the minorities, oppressed castes, women and all human beings.

Free Palestinian Poet Sentenced to Death in Saudi Arabia

Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet and artist, has been sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia on charges of blasphemy and atheism. He was arrested by members of Saudi Arabia's Committee on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. He faces the prospect of execution, possibly by beheading.

Such laws and courts in Saudi Arabia that allow people to be arrested by morality police and sentenced to death and punishments like flogging and executions for the views are barbaric and inhumane.

CPI(ML) condemns the regressive regime in Saudi Arabia, and demands the release of poets and writers like Ashraf Fayadh and Raef Badawi and a stop to the practice of draconian and barbaric sentences for such dissenting voices.

Salute Allahabad University Students For Keeping Out Hate-Monger Adityanath

The students of Allahabad University including Richa, the first woman President of Allahabad University Union, and various progressive and Left student organisations, are to be congratulated for taking a principled stand to oppose the University's move to allow the vicious hatemonger, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath to inaugurate the Students' Union Office Hall. Adityanath and his organisation are notorious for vicious hate-speech targeting minorities and democratic values, and for his role in many episodes of organized communal violence. The Students' Union office bearers from the ABVP unilaterally took a decision to invite Adityanath, riding roughshod over the dissenting opinions of common students of the University as well as the Union President herself.

The students' success in ensuring that Adityanath stayed out of Allahabad University is reminiscent of the students' movement led by AISA in 1992, which braved severe repression to keep VHP leader Ashok Singhal out of the same University campus, at the peak of the toxic 'Mandir' and anti-Mandal agitations in which the RSS and VHP had a big hand.      


Shakuntala Prasad (affectionately called Munni ji), passed away on 24 November 2015 at the age of 60. Raised in Jamshedpur, she had become a CPI(ML) member and activist. She had been Patna town AIPWA President as well as a member of the AIPWA Bihar State Committee. Her first husband had passed away. She had then married the late Comrade Ashok, former editor of Lokyuddh. She is survived by her son Santosh from her first marriage, with whom she had been living in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, where she passed away after a protracted illness.

Red salute to Comrade Shakuntala!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ML Update | No. 47 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 47, 17 ­– 23 NOVEMBER 2015

Modi Government's Foreign Policy:

Appeasement of Imperialists and Global Capital,

Arrogance Towards South Asian Neighbours

he crushing defeat of the BJP in Bihar was a decisive mandate against feudal-communal arrogance and the Modi Government's pro-corporate 'development' that had meant nothing but land grab and steep prices of essential food items.

The Modi Government, in the wake of this historic verdict, has responded by trying to reassure corporates that the Government's determination to ram through unpopular policies will continue, immune to democratic opinion. Regulations for FDI have been eased in 15 sectors including single brand retail, banking, construction, media, airlines, defence, banking, plantations and media, as a move to appease foreign capital before the Prime Minister embarked on another spate of foreign tours to London, G-20, Malaysia and Singapore. Corporate taxes have been reduced and rail fares hiked, even as food prices continue to soar.

But the questions and protests of India's citizens continued to pursue Prime Minister Modi even in London. He was greeted by massive protests, including those by women's groups, human rights groups, Dalit groups as well as various community organizations. The British media, too, did not spare Modi on his human rights record and attacks on minorities' rights, though he failed to answer a direct question about the protests.

Significantly, his visit was also marked by protests by Nepalis against an unconscionable India-backed blockade of the land-locked, quake-hit country. While the question of Madhesi representation and citizenship is indeed a genuine democratic one that the republic of Nepal will have to address, India's big-brotherly arrogance and meddling is rightly resented by Nepal.

The Modi Government's foreign policy failure when it comes to Nepal and the South Asian neighbourhood is in marked contrast to its appeasement of the US, UK and other imperialist powers. Addressing the extravaganza of Indian diaspora at Wembley, Modi chose to remain totally silent on the legacy of India's resistance to British colonialism. Meanwhile the BJP back home in India was whipping up communal hatred and violence against the legacy of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Mysore ruler who was killed while resisting the East India Company!

Instead, Modi went to the extent of stating that India enjoyed a unique relationship with Britain that was much closer than that with any of India's own neighbours! This statement exposes the skewed character of the Modi Government's foreign policy priorities.

In his Wembley speech, in the name of hailing India's legacy of tolerance, Modi pandered to Islamophobic prejudice by suggesting that the Sufi tendency was the only peaceful tendency in Islam which otherwise was the source of global terrorism. In the wake of the terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris, Modi called on the "international community" to "give a definition to terrorism" in order to put an end to the spurious distinction between "good and bad terrorism." This is ironic, given the fact that Modi himself in India has been projecting terrorism by Hindutva groups as "good terrorism." A public prosecutor has gone on record to accuse Modi's own Government of pressurizing her to weaken the cases against Hindutva elements accused in terrorism cases. Modi and his own Government and camp followers openly seek to brand all Muslims and voices of dissent and democratic protests as potential "terrorists" while defending acts of terrorist blasts, assassinations and lynchings by Hindu majoritarian outfits.

Questioned about attacks on India's diversity and minorities' rights in London, Modi chose to take refuge behind the legacy of Buddha, Gandhi and the Indian Constitution. To Indians, though, this answer is supremely unconvincing because even as he hailed Gandhi in London, his camp followers including even MPs of his party have been venerating Gandhi's killer Godse, making bigoted statements mocking the Constitutional rights of and justifying organized violence against Dalits and minorities, and branding dissent as "anti-national" disloyalty.

The bitter Bihar lesson has done nothing to dent the arrogance of the BJP and the Modi Government and their hostility to dissent and democracy. On a visit to America to address a gathering of Indian diaspora, the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh declared that India's leading writers, scientists and intellectuals were "paid" by vested interests to protest "intolerance."

The attempts to paint all citizens critical of the Modi Government's communal and pro-corporate policies as 'paid' or 'Pakistani' will fail as miserably as it did in Bihar. The Modi Government will be punished by the people for its betrayal of India's anti-colonial legacy, its appeasement of imperialist forces and arrogance towards neighbours, and its blatant espousal of corporate interests at the cost of those of India's peasants, workers and common people.


Condemn the Terrorist Attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Nigeria

The CPI(ML) condemns the heinous and unconscionable spate of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Yola in Nigeria. The ISIS attack in Beirut (Lebanon) claimed 50 civilian lives while a series of ISIS attacks on various public places in Paris killed 128 people. A suicide bombing in a Baghdad funeral killed 17 people. On 17 November an explosion at a busy market in Yola, a north-eastern city of Nigeria killed 32 people with 80 more injured. It is yet unclear as to who is behind the explosion, but in the past Boko Haram pledging allegiance to ISIS has claimed the killings of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring regions of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, targeting mostly public places.

Alarmingly, the Paris attacks have been followed by several racist and Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Arabs in France and other parts of Europe, with the Czech President Zeman even attending an anti-Muslim rally.

The terrorist attacks in Paris are being used to stoke further prejudice against Syrian refugees. It has rightly been reminded that the refugees are in fact fleeing the very same barbaric ISIS that has attacked Paris and Beirut.

The racism and Islamophobia, the rhetoric about 'pitiless war' and the plans to intensify airstrikes by European powers and USA in Syria that will inevitably claim scores of civilian lives will only provide more fodder for the ISIS.

The resistance to the ISIS today cannot be built without sober reflection about the role of imperialist war and occupation or Iraq and meddling in West Asia that has created the Frankenstein that is the ISIS today.

Indian people must stand firm in solidarity with people all over the world in rejecting and resisting all forms of terrorism, and refusing to fall into the trap of racism, communalism and Islamophobia.


On Tamil Nadu Floods

The CPI(ML) expresses deep concern over the rainstorms and floods ravaging Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai city and several coastal districts of the state. More than a 100 lives have been lost needlessly in the absence of shelter and suitable prevention, protection and relief.

The party calls upon the Governments of Tamil Nadu and the Centre to immediately provide relief, food, medical care, other forms of humanitarian assistance as well as rehabilitation measures to the affected people of Tamil Nadu.

The party demands that Tamil Nadu be declared a national calamity-hit state; that the State Government demand at least Rs 10000 crore as funds from the Centre; and that MNREGA be expanded on a large scale in the flood affected rural districts. The party has demanded that the State Government shed its apathy and callous attitude and display a sense of urgency towards relief and rehabilitation work.

The party extends condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones in this disaster.

 Protests in the UK Against Modi Visit

The ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome protests in London at Downing Street and Parliament Square, organized by the Awaaz Network of which South Asia Solidarity Group is a constituent organisation, were attended by thousands of people. They included members of women's organisations, left South Asian groups, Dalit, Sikh and Kashmiri groups and as well as a Nepali contingent. Slogans such as 'Modi, Modi you can't hide- you committed genocide' and 'Modi, Modi, RSS, Nazi Fascism No Less' and 'David Cameron - Shame, Shame - inviting Modi - Not in Our Name' pursued Modi as he moved from Downing Street to Parliament Square. As he hypocritically laid flowers at the Gandhi statue, even as his amp followers prepares to celebrate the death anniversary Gandhi's killer, Nathuram Godse, the crowd which lined the square roared 'shame on you'!

Speakers at a rally facing the square vowed to continue to stand in solidarity with those opposing Modi and the Sangh Parivar in India. Among other speakers, Amrit Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group spoke about the horrific escalation of violence against minorities, Dalits and women which has been orchestrated by the Hindu Right and supported by the Modi government – that people were being lynched with impunity just for what they eat or whom they love. She said 'We stand in solidarity with those fighting Hindutva fascism in India, with the workers facing the sweeping away of labour laws, and we stand with the people of Bihar who have decisively rejected Modi's hate politics. Modi's visit to Britain is about selling off India to the new versions of the colonial East India Company.' Mentioning the fact that India is the biggest client of Israel's arms industry, she said that the arms India buys will be used against Indian citizens. Satpal Muman of Castewatch UK spoke of the horrific tally of killings of Dalits since the new government had come to power and highlighted the way Hindutva organizations in the UK have systematically tried to block the implementation of the anti-caste discrimination in the UK. Rahila Gupta of Southall Black Sisters spoke about how gender violence and attempts to control women had intensified under Modi. Sangeeta a student active in the ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome campaign, highlighted the way in which Hindu Right groups in the UK were dividing the South Asian diaspora in UK, including the younger generation, and was feeding into Islamophobia, and how these groups had imported the myth of 'love jihad' into Britain. Banners reminded people of Modi's culpability for the Gujarat genocide 2002 and placards remembered individual victims of Modi in Gujarat, including Ishrat Jehan, Ehsan Jafri and Kauser Bi. Nepali protesters demanded that Modi 'back off!' and lift the devastating blockade of Nepal.

The night before the #ModiNotWelcome protest at Downing Street and Parliament Square, we had received threatening phone calls warning us that '15,000' Modi supporters would converge there and there would be disturbances. But in fact only a small group of 50 showed up and stood opposite the tail end of the demonstration from where they hurled invective -demonstrating their much touted 'tolerance'.

The protesters vowed to continue their campaign both against Modi's visit and against the Hindutva forces in the UK, as well as standing in solidarity with those who are confronting and resisting Hindutva's corporate fascism in India.

 Statement Issued by Left Parties

Six Left Parties – CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML)-Liberation, RSP, Forward Bloc and SUCI - met on November 10 at Ajoy Bhavan, New Delhi.

The meeting was attended by Comrades – Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, S Ramachandran Pillai from the CPI(M), S Sudhakar Reddy, A.B. Bardhan and D Raja from the CPI, Dipankar Bhattacharya & Swapan Mukherjee from the CPI(ML)-Liberation, G Devarajan from the AIFB, Abani Roy from the RSP and Krishna Chakraborthy & Pran Sharma from the SUCI(C).

The meeting issued the following statement:

The Left Parties will launch a nationwide campaign against the communal hate offensive spearheaded by the RSS and patronized by this BJP led government, from 1st to 6th December, 2015 through various forms of protest.

The Left Parties congratulate the people of Bihar and hail the BJP's humiliating defeat. The United Left bloc campaign was well received by the people of Bihar and has won three seats.

The Left Parties salute the litterateurs, scientists, historians, film personalities and intellectuals who have bravely risen against the growing communal hate and polarization unleashed by the RSS /BJP. The Left Parties condemn the campaign of vilification against them.

 Left Parties Demonstration in Uttarakhand to Make Gairsain Permanent State Capital

Hundreds of left activists reached Gairsain on 5th November to participate in the protest call given by three left parties CPI-ML, CPI-M and CPI in Gairsain, Uttarakhand. As left activists poured in from all over the state, to demand making Gairsain the permanent capital of the state and against the anti-people policies of the Govt, the town was filled with red flags and banners. This was the first time since the formation of Uttarakhand as a separate state that the three left parties had mobilized at this level.

The program was organized to assert the demand for declaring Gairsain as the permanent Capital of the state as well as to expose the betrayal of people's aspirations by organizing a sham of a Assembly session in Gairsain which resulted in huge waste of public money as it completely failed to show any intention to declare Gairsain the permanent Capital of Uttarakhand. It also failed in redressing the genuine demands of the people be it the huge crisis in agriculture in the state, slapping of false cases against workers in SIDCOL, and privatization of health facilities in the state.

People from all over the state gathered at the Ramlila Ground and enthusiastically marched through the streets of Gairsain, the rally culminated in a mass public meeting at the Ramlila Grounds of Gairsain.

Addressing the meeting CPI(ML) Uttarahand State Secretary Comrade Rajendra Pratholi said, 'In policies there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP, both make policies which suits corporates like Ambani-Adani. Govt owned land is being sold to corporates at ridiculously low prices in the whole of Uttarakhand. At the behest of Modi Harish Rawat is gifting away 250 Acres of land to Adani on a platter. The govt is welcoming companies such as Coca Cola which have a history of depleting ground water, destroying environment and even toppling democratically elected governments all over the world. On the other hand the Govt is failing to address any of the genuine grievances and aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand.

CPI-M State Secretary, Comrade Rajendra Singh in addressing the meeting said that holding the assembly in Gairsain without committing to make it a permanent Capital of the State is a betrayal of the aspirations and demands of the people. CPI State Secretary Comrade Anand Singh Rana highlighted the situation of unemployment in the state on the face of rising prices of essential commodities, he pointed out that even retired soldiers are forced to work as contract workers in the state.

CPI(ML) State Committee members Purushottam Sharma and Indresh Maikhuri also spoke at the meeting. The Chairperson of Karnprayag Municipality, Subhash Garaula, CPI National Council member Comrade Samar Bhandari were also among the speakers at the Mass meeting.

The meeting was conducted by Vinod Joshi, Joint Secretary of CPI Chamoli District Committee.

 Birsa Munda Birth Anniversary Celebrated on 15 November

On 15 November, Shaheed Birsa Munda's birth anniversary was celebrated by CPI(ML) at several places across the Country. At Palghar in Boisar district in Maharashtra 250 people, men and women participated in a mass meeting remembering the legacy of Birsa's revolutionary tradition and applying it to current context when even the basic and millenniums old livelihood, cultural and human rights of indigenous and tribal people is being attacked for benefitting the powerful, the rich and the corrupt sections of the Indian society. The meeting revolved around the issue of "Jal-Jungle-Jamin ke Loot Ke Khilaf", and "Adivasi Sanskriti Ko Phir Se Sthapit Karne Ke Liye" (against the loot of water, forests, land; and to reestablish the tribal culture).

At tribal populated Kusdi in West Panki district, the anniversary was celebrated. Several people attended a meeting. Inside the Hazaribagh Central Jail also the anniversary was celebrated. Here the CPI(ML) comrades started holding this anniversary event since last year after renovating a dilapidated and ignored Statue of Birsa. In Dhanbad, CPI(ML) and AIPF held a demonstration with candle lights to pay tributes to the people killed in terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere recently, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shaheed Birsa Munda. At Deoli in Govindpur also a meeting commemorating the anniversary was held attended by Comrades Subal Das and Subhendu Sen.

Everywhere the meetings began with garlanding the Statue or a portrait of Birsa Munda. Birsa Munda (1875-1900) is one of the most important leaders of anti-colonial Independence movement who led massive resistance of the indigenous people against British colonial policies that was not only alienating the tribals from their land and millenniums old livelihood sources, but were also bringing in settlers that would start exploiting the tribal population by transforming the tribal agrarian system into feudal estates. Eventually, in many places the tribal owners of land became agrarian labourers, being exploited in various ways. This process also caused a weakening of tribal culture. It was in this context that the young Birsa united various sections of the tribal population to resist the offensive of British colonialism.

 CPI(ML)'s Initiative to Bring Back the Indian Workers Stuck in Malaysia

Several workers who are inhabitants of villages under Bagodar in Jharkhand have been stuck in Malaysia and the Malaysian authorities are creating roadblocks for their return, even denying the workers food and shelter for wanting to return to their Country.

Party leader and ex-Legislator in Jharkhand Assembly, Comrade Vinod Singh has met the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jharkhand – Rajeev Gauba and NN Pandey respectively, in order to expedite the process for their return. It is to be noted that they were apprised of the case earlier, despite that new roadblock in their return are being created. The two high ranking officials assured our Party leader of urgent action.

On 10 November the parents and family members of the troubled workers had met Comrade Vinod to urge him to ensure their return. It is noteworthy that seven other workers have returned in the recent past due to the efforts of CPI(ML) and Comrade Vinod. In October, around Dussehra festival, this issue had got highlighted after which the Jharkhnad CM Raghuvar Das and Bagodar MLA Nagendra Mahto had stated about ensuring the workers' return. Since then a month has elapsed but nothing much has happened. Moreover, in this one month the workers have rather been threatened by the Malaysian authorities and coerced to stay back. After this the workers telephoned their family back in Bagodar, all of whom who then met Comrade Vinod to seek action. The Party has assured the families of all possible efforts to bring their children and family members back.

A lot of unsuspecting and vulnerable Indian workers are trafficked to Malaysia by human traffickers with the lure of good paying and better jobs. Upon their arrival in Malaysia they are faced more often than not with horrible working conditions bordering on slavery. Many of them face abuse and are beaten up. When complained about this by activists in Malaysia, the Malaysian police rescues them from one abusive employer and dumps them into some other similar abusive factory. When the workers try to run away from extremely inhuman conditions they quite often lose their work permit and are at risk of becoming further enslaved. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not taken adequate steps to ensure to prevent trafficking and to ensure that Malaysian Government make adequate and stricter regulations to regulate and monitor the working conditions of the Indian migrants working in Malaysian factories or rubber plantations.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail:, website:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ML Update | No. 46 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 46 | 10 - 16 NOV 2015

The Essential Bihar Story:

Roaring Rebuff against an Autocratic Communal BJP,
Aggressive Campaigning by a Compact JDU-RJD-Congress Alliance,
Vindication of the Core Strength and Developing Potential of the Left

After sundry exit polls and post-poll surveys did their rounds, we finally know what Bihar has spoken. The Bihar verdict has left the loud and foul mouths of the ruling Sangh-BJP establishment speechless while amplifying the voice of every defender of democracy in an India ruled by an openly RSS-driven government. Contrary to what the Modi-Shah duo had notoriously foretold, the Bihar verdict has ignited celebratory crackers not in Pakistan but all over India. If the Delhi mandate in early 2015 gave the first resounding rebuff to the arrogant autocratic rule of Narendra Modi, Bihar has now unfurled a real banner of revolt. And defying the pressures of a bipolar election and a massive wave in favour of the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance, revolutionary communists have creditably defended their citadels of struggle and sacrifice.

The direction of the Bihar outcome was not at all difficult to see. Any political observer keeping his or her ears open could easily hear the distinctly audible whispers that eventually grew into a roaring rejection of the BJP as the marathon poll campaign drew to a close. Yet the way exit polls failed to read the writing on the wall, and the way respectable TV channels continued to report pro-NDA trends till minutes before actual results started coming in, point to nothing short of a scary censorship syndrome. Unlike the Emergency era media censorship four decades ago, this one is perhaps more corporate-driven and even 'voluntary', but that does not diminish the danger. Has indicating or reporting the truth now become too risky an undertaking inviting accusations of indulging in some 'anti-national' and 'anti-state' activity?

The JDU-RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar had an arithmetic advantage to begin with. Even in the height of the Modi wave of 2014, the combined vote shares of the three parties would have given the alliance a comfortable majority of 145 seats. The new factors that could have dented this arithmetic advantage were revolts by Jitan Ram Manjhi and Pappu Yadav and the entry of the SP or AIMIM.  The mainstream media hyped up these factors like anything, projecting a non-existent SP-NCP-Pappu Yadav coalition as the 'third front' for Bihar, while systematically ignoring the Left bloc, the only policy-based alternative platform with a recorded history of not only powerful struggles but also consistent electoral strength. As it turned out, the 'third front' broke down midway through the elections, the AIMIM could not make any inroad, while the BJP's allies collapsed spectacularly, failing even to match the modest CPI(ML) tally of three seats.

What has really surprised the general political observer is the stunning scale of the victory of the Nitish-Lalu-Congress alliance. What transformed the assumed 2014 arithmetic of 145 seats into an actual 2015 statistic of 178 seats is the real political story of the Bihar elections. Admirers of Nitish Kumar are keen to explain it as a pro-incumbency vote, as a vindication of Nitish Kumar's record of 'development and good governance', but this explanation is more wishful than objective. The Nitish-Lalu alliance drew its strength primarily from the negative campaign and arrogant divisive politics of the BJP. The Modi-Shah campaign reeked of absolute political arrogance and unmitigated communal venom. While the Mohan Bhagwat and VK Singh 'mann ki baat' on reservations and dalits, and the desperate obsession with Pakistan and cows and beef, ripped apart the deceptive 'development' facade and laid bare the ugly feudal-communal face of the Sangh-BJP persona, the fact that two Gujaratis were storming Bihar with this feudal-communal campaign, gave a strong resonance to the Nitish campaign theme of 'swabhiman' or 'Bihari self-respect'. And the smart and innovative Nitish-Lalu campaign drove this message home with clear focus and great energy.

The CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M) contested these elections as a united and independent bloc of six Left parties. While the outcome of three seats marks only a modest improvement of the 2010 ebb of only one Left member in the Assembly, the combined Left vote share of close to 4% coupled with a seat tally of three in the Assembly, marks out the Left as the only credible and potential third force in an otherwise bipolar  Bihar. Defending the Left base built through decades of struggles and translating the Left's undisputed credibility and goodwill in terms of honest pro-people politics into votes is no easy challenge in a wave election and the CPI(ML) had to dig deep into its core strength to win its three seats in the midst of this electoral storm. The solid support of the rural poor, spirited and dynamic role of the youth and increased participation of peasants and women gave the CPI(ML) campaign its basic strength and energy. What makes this modest victory truly memorable is the extremely unequal nature of the electoral battle and the inhospitable media environment. In Bhojpur CPI(ML) activist Satish Yadav was killed just on the eve of the elections and three of CPI(ML)'s most prospective candidates – agricultural labour leader Comrade Satyadeo Ram, who has won from Darauli in Siwan and youth leaders Amarjeet Kushwaha and Manoj Manzil who finished close third from Zeradei (Siwan) and Agiaon (Bhojpur) respectively – were arrested on fabricated charges at the time of filing their nomination.

The Bihar elections were fought in an unmistakably national context and the verdict will clearly have a major national resonance and ramification. Apart from signifying obvious encouragement for opposition politics within the parliamentary arena, and a major setback to the BJP's dreams of securing a greater Rajya Sabha presence, the verdict will clearly inspire the whole range of ongoing democratic protests and people's struggles in the country. As for Bihar, Lalu Prasad has termed the new phase as Mandal-II while Nitish Kumar continues to harp on his familiar planks of 'good governance' and 'development with justice'. While holding the new regime accountable to its promises, the CPI(ML) and the Left in Bihar will have to champion the alternative direction and priorities articulated in the joint Left appeal with a clear focus on employment, agriculture, education, health, opportunities and rights for youth and women, and basic democratic rights and justice for all, especially for the vulnerable sections of the Bihari society. It is a major political juncture for Bihar and India, and revolutionary communists will have to advance in bold steps with full clarity of purpose and courage of conviction.

CPI(ML) Victories:
In the Face of All Odds

The CPI(ML), it must be remembered, had no spin doctors hired at exorbitant expense to run a high-decibel media campaign. It had no huge hoardings, no vans playing videos, and no helicopters, no TV coverage of leaders' election speeches, and only very minimal coverage in the print media. In contrast to the other contenders enjoying state machinery of Delhi or Patna, many CPI(ML) candidates contested from jail, arrested in false cases slapped on them for leading people's struggles. The CPI(ML)'s only medium of election campaign was the people themselves – and this was turned into a strength, not a weakness.

In spite of these enormous odds, the CPI(ML) managed to emerge victorious because of the enormous trust gained as a result of struggles, movements and sacrifices.          

Comrade Satyadev Ram – Jailed for Supporting Dalits' Struggle For Land

Satyadev Ram (Darauli, Siwan), who defeated the BJP candidate by a margin of 10,000 votes, contested from jail. He and the CPI(ML) candidate from Ziradei, Siwan - Amarjit Kushwaha are both in jail thanks to false cases slapped on them in 2013 during a struggle by Dalit landless labourers to occupy land that was rightfully theirs. BJP-backed landlords led by the local BJP MLA had fired on the Dalits. Comrades Satyadev Ram and Amarjit Kushwaha had gone there later to intervene and ask the administration to arrest the BJP-backed goons and allot land to the Dalits. Instead of punishing the BJP MLA and his goons, the administration in Nitish-ruled Bihar foisted murder cases on both the comrades and arrested them! Comrade Amarjit also polled third after giving a close fight to BJP and JDU both – and by electing Comrade Satyadev Ram in Darauli, the people of Siwan paid tribute to the countless martyred comrades including former JNUSU President Comrade Chandrashekhar who resisted the RJD's mafia leader Shahabuddin and who have braved jail and bullets to defend the rights and dignity of the Dalit landless poor.    

Comrade Sudama Prasad- Tarari's Anti-Feudal Assertion 

Comrade Sudama, who defeated the NDA candidate in a photo finish by a margin of 296 votes, has been at the forefront of anti-feudal resistance of poor and oppressed caste peasants in Bhojpur, continuing the glorious legacy of the late Comrade Ram Naresh Ram who used to be the iconic leader and unbeaten MLA of the party from this region.

Ironically, at Tarari, all the other candidates – be they from MGB, LJP or Samajwadi Party – had connections with the Ranveer Sena.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Modi ally Ram Vilas Paswan had fielded Geeta Pandey, the wife of Ranveer Sena man Sunil Pandey, who had been the sitting MLA from Tarari, elected from the JDU!

The Mahagatbandhan had fielded Akhilesh Prasad Singh – former RJD MP and Union Minister who now contested on a Congress ticket. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, at the funeral of Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh had had referred to the architect of the massacres of Dalit labouring poor as "a towering personality the likes of whom are born once in 100-200 years…His stature remains higher than any MP or MLA." And the Samajwadi Party had fielded none other than the son of Brahmeshwar Singh, Indubhushan Singh, who now leads the organization that is the front of the Ranveer Sena.

This state of affairs in Tarari is a reminder of how hollow the talk of 'social justice,' 'socialism' and 'Dalit pride' are when it comes to opportunist ruling class parties. In the soil watered by the blood of Bathani Tola's poor, Laloo's Government that boasts of having stopped Advani's riot-Rath, allowed the BJP-RSS' Ranveer-Rath to rampage for over a decade, massacring with impunity. The JDU and Nitish Kumar then helped BJP share the seat of power in Bihar for the first time ever – and in order to do so, buried the Amir Das Commission and truth and justice about the Ranveer Sena massacres. And in 2015, defying history and insulting the victims, all the other rival formations fielded Ranveer-linked candidates!

But Tarari upheld the legacy of Bathani Tola's fighters. Remember, Bathani Tola was where Muslims fighting for Karbala land, chased by the Ranveers, took shelter in the homes of the oppressed castes. This bond of unity across communal lines was forged by the CPIML. The Ranveer Sena could not kill that legacy – and in 2015, Tarari once again rebuffed the communal-feudal Ranveer-linked candidates and elected Comrade Sudama from the CPI(ML).

Comrade Mahboob Alam– Victory of People's Struggles         

Comrade Mahboob Alam, was once more elected from the Balrampur seat in Katihar district, defeating the BJP candidate by a margin of nearly 23000 votes. The CPIML has been elected thrice before from the Barsoi/Balrampur seat.

Comrade Mahboob Alam has faced countless false cases against him – all for having taken up the struggles of poor Dalits, adivasis and Muslims in the area, against powerful landlords. But he has earned the unflinching love and trust of the poor in this extremely backward region – they all know they can count on none but Comrade Mahboob and CPI(ML) in the face of every instance of harassment, injustice and violence.      

The CPI(ML) struggles here are living instances of staunch secularism on the ground – a secularism crafted not by opportunistic unity of leaders for power, but the solidarities of the powerless against the powerful.

Demonstration in Tamilnadu against Communal and Castiest Forces

At the  call of the state committee of CPI(ML) against Hindutva communalism and castiest forces,  state wide demonstrations were held on November 2, 2015  all over Tamilnadu. Demonstrators demanded to protect the life,  liberty and dignity of Muslims, Dalits and women, and stringent punishment to Hindutva communal and casteist forces.

The protesters also condemned the arrest of Comrade Kovan, folk singer of People's Art and Literature Association on a sedition charge for having composed and sung a song criticising the Chief Minister for failure to implement prohibition of alcohol.

While Comrade Kumarasamy, PBM, attended the demonstration at the Demonstration in  Chennai, State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram attended the demonstration at Vilupuram along with Comrade Balasubramanian , Puducherry state secretary. Demonstrations were also held at Sriperumputhur, Salem, Coimbatore, Kandarvakottai, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Myiladuthurai, and Karur. Constituents of AIPF also took part in many places.

Pricol workers of Coimbatore Fast For Bonus

The management of Pricol announced 8.33% Bonus unilaterally to workers without even talking to the recognised AICCTU union. Even last year it has dispersed the bonus of 35.34%. Angered by the move of the management hundreds  of workers went on a day long fast at Periyanaikan Palayam on 4.11.2015. Workers working inside the factory also refused to take food on that day. Each and every worker has also sent a memorandum to the management demanding bonus of 35.34% as given by the management last year. AICCTU National President Comrade Kumarasamy addressed the workers at the fasting venue. A Gate Meeting was also held by workers paying tributes to the departed state President of AIARLA Comrade TKS Janardhanan.

#OccupyUGC Protests Continue And Swell

The students' occupation of the UGC demanding restoration and enhancement of the Non-Net Fellowships continues even as the fire of students' enthusiasm fails to be dampened by the colder weather.

On 3 November, former UGC member Prof. Yogendra Yadav along with activists from Swaraj Abhiyan, and Prof. Chaman Lal joined the OccupyUGC movement and spent the night with the students. Journalists like Dilip C Mandal and academics like Prof Mary John took Open Classes at the barricades nearly every day.

 On 4 November, students held a solidarity rally at Jamia Millia Islamia in support of #OccupyUGC movement. They also organized a protest in ‪‎DU Arts Faculty and raised slogans against scrapping of non- net fellowship, the WTO and the BJP government.

On 5 November, students, teachers and activists from various Universities in the NCR region held a massive ‪#‎OccupyUGC March to the MHRD. The sheer strength of students, teachers and activists who had gathered outside MHRD, forced the minister to come out and address the protesters. The students demanded a complete scrapping of the review committee which has been formed by the UGC to "look into" the distribution of Non-Net Fellowship from the next academic session. The Minister refused to make any commitment to students and stood by the press release which was released by MHRD after first round of demonstrations under Ocuppy UGC movement.

The students too refused to budge from their demanded and resolved to continue their movement until and unless higher education becomes a right of every citizen of India.

#ModiNotWelcome Protests in the UK

Preparations are on to ensure that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted with massive protests on his impending visit to the UK. In the run up to a huge Day of Protest on 12 November, several groups held a 'Reclaim Diwali' celebration on 6th November, with music and a feast including vegetarian and non-vegetarian and beef items. This Reclaim Diwali event was organised by the South Asia Solidarity Group, Dalit Solidarity Network, South Asian Women's Creative Collective London, and Freedom Without Fear Platform as part of the Modi Not Welcome campaign.  

On 8th November, the Modi Not Welcome Campaign projected the words "Modi not welcome" onto the Houses of Parliament building. The projection showed Modi wielding a sword in front of "an OM sign that is tragically being transferred to a Nazi swastika."

The Modi Not Welcome protests are being organised by Awaaz Network, South Asia Solidarity Group, Sikh Federation UK, Southall Black Sisters, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, Indian Muslim Federation, Indian Workers Association, Muslim Parliament, and Voice of Dalit International.

After facing a rout in the Bihar elections and a wave of dissent and protest from writers and intellectuals in India, Modi is all set to face massive protests in the UK as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ML Update | No. 45 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 45 | 03  - 09 NOVEMBER 2015


Accusations of 'Ideological Intolerance' and 'Ideological Terrorism'

Modi Government's Offensive on Dissenting Voices


he past month has been witness to an unstoppable tide of dissent against intolerance and bigotry patronized by the Modi Government in India. Hundreds of writers, followed by artists, scientists, filmmakers, sociologists, historians and actors have returned awards or otherwise expressed concern at the growing climate of intolerance and violence in the country. In addition, even members of the ruling establishment, including the President of India and the RBI Governor have also expressed similar concerns. The global investment ratings company, Moody's Analytics, also warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his failure to "rein in" the intolerance and sectarian violence promoted by members of his party would harm India "domestic and global credibility."

In the face of this all-out loss of credibility for the Modi Government, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has responded by accusing all the dissenting voices of being "Congress and Left thinkers and activists" who are displaying "ideological intolerance" towards Modi. The Prime Minister, he said, was in fact the biggest victim of this "intolerance." Some days later, the Jharkhand CM from the BJP added that writers returning awards were in fact guilty of "ideological terrorism."

Such a response to dissent, only confirms the accusations of authoritarian arrogance that the Modi Government is facing. Dissent and criticism are crucial for any democracy – and dissent by definition "speaks truth to power." For the party wielding power to claim to be a victim of "intolerance" is laughable. It implies that only possible place the Modi Government envisages for citizens is of cheerleaders. Anyone who does not join the cheering chorus but speaks up in dissent is accused of "intolerance."

Worse, dissenters are accused of being "terrorists" and "Pakistanis." Those who stand up for the right to eat beef or question the killing of Muslims or writers, or criticize Modi in any way are advised by BJP Ministers like Giriraj Singh to "go to Pakistan." The BJP President Amit Shah, in speeches in the Bihar elections, claims that BJP's defeat will be greeted by firecrackers and celebrations in "Pakistan." Such statements slyly use "Pakistan" and "terrorist" as shorthand for Indian Muslims and those who speak up for the rights of Indian Muslims. Citizenship and patriotism are redefined as approval of the BJP and RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra and corporate appeasement, and every citizen who votes against the BJP, or any activist who agitate against land grab laws or other pro-corporate policies, or stand up for civil liberties, freedom of expression and dignity of minorities can be branded as a "terrorist."

These allegations of "intolerance" and "terrorism" are of course an admission of failure by the BJP: failure to turn the tide of public opinion in their favour in spite of holding all the power. But they are also dangerous – because branding dissenters as terrorists is a ploy to justify cracking down on them.

Jaitley's claim that the "national situation is absolutely peaceful...The country is not intolerant," and wave away incidents like the Dadri lynching as an aberration are belied by facts. Dadri-style lynchings of Muslims on the pretext of 'cow slaughter' happening thick and fast, accompanied by open threats of violence and murder by BJP MPs, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states and Sangh Parivar leaders against "those who promote beef or eat beef." One BJP leader in Karnataka has threatened to behead the Chief Minister if he dares to keep his word and eat beef.

The very statements of no less than the Prime Minister in the Bihar elections confirm rather than allay the apprehensions of growing intolerance and Hindu-Muslim polarization. Modi has tried to inject communalism into caste-based reservations, by claiming that he will "stake his life" before he allowed Muslims to benefit from such reservations.

It would befit a Prime Minister to say that he would "stake his life" to make sure that no Muslim man is lynched for his supposed diet, and no Professor or a rationalist is murdered in his home for his views, or Dalit children burned alive. Instead the Prime Minister has staked the life of peace, tolerance and democracy in India, to seek votes in the Bihar elections and to allow the Sangh Parivar to push India towards the goal of a Hindu Nation.

But no matter how much the BJP and Modi may issue threats and abuse dissenters, the growing sense of anger, disillusionment and dissent against the Modi Government is unmistakable. The writers, scientists, and other intellectuals have shown the way – and this wave of protest in defence of democratic values is fast growing stronger. 


Occupy UGC Movement Gains Strength and Spreads across Cities and States


he #OccupyUGC movement begin on 21 October 2015, following the shocking decision taken by a UGC committee (constituted for enhancement of non NET fellowship) to scrap the non NET fellowship being currently provided to researchers pursuing M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Central Universities. In the memorandum submitted to the UGC by JNUSU (including representatives from AISF and AISA), it was demanded that the decision to scrap non NET fellowship be immediately revoked; the scholarship amount be increased from 5000 to 8000 for M.Phil. and from 8000 to 12,000 for Ph.D.; that the fellowship also be extended to research scholars in all State Universities; and that government of India refuse to sign on the WTO agreement in December this year. However, despite several protests and the refusal of the students to leave the UGC premises, the UGC authorities have refused to address the demands of the students. The Union Minister for MHRD too has refused to meet the protesting students (only choosing to speak BJP's own student wing ABVP and instructing it to confuse and demobilise student movement). Further, the committee formed by the MHRD as a result of the pressure exerted by the OccupyUGC movement, far from addressing the demands of the students, aims to further restrict the scope of the fellowships by subjecting them to various merit and income based conditions. The students have outrightly rejected such diversionary tactics of the government to not address the real issue.

After a brutal lathi charge afflicted on protesting students on 27 October, where several common students and student activists including several from AISA, the students have remained undeterred. Not only have they refused to end the movement, they have courageously continued to occupy the UGC and turn into a site of day and night protest. In the last week, several eminent scholars and teachers have gathered at ITO to express solidarity with the students. Members of JNUTA, DUTA, AUTA, faculty members from Jamia, IIT, former members of UGC like Prof. Yogendra Yadav, have regularly been joining the protesting students in an expression of solidarity. Several teachers like Prof. Janaki Nair, Dr. Naveen Gaur, Prof. Hargopal have been conducting open classes at the barricades on topics ranging from 'Feminism and the Democratisation of Higher Education' to 'Science Research in Times of Fund Cuts. The open classes are being accompanied by regular performances by various cultural groups like Sangwari, Swar, Janrang and others. Movie screenings have also been organised at the site of protest. The arrival of winters has failed to dampen the zeal of students, as lighting fire on the streets near ITO, they continue to OccupyUGC.

The last week has not just witness the movement intensify at the UGC office but also the spread of the movement across the country. The movement has spread to colleges and universities across the country like Hyderabad, NEHU Shillong, Sikkim, Gujarat, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Wardha, Allahabad, Pondicherry, Chandigarh, Sagar, Rohtak and elsewhere. Regional offices of the UGC across are being bombarded by students. Over the past two weeks, the OccupyUGC movement has received inspiring solidarity from #FeesMustFall movement of South Africa, FTII and also various other progressive sections. However, as in case of Delhi, the spread of movement in other places too have been met by brutal crackdowns. On 2 November 2015, an occupy UGC call was given by AISA, USDF, PERIODS, RADICAL, SFI, AISF, AISB, PSU and AIDSO. As the protest began, the students were mercilessly beaten up the state police and several students including AISA activists like Com. Abhishek and Com. Ipsita were brutally beaten up. 26 activists were arrested and taken to a police station whose location was not disclosed to them. Unfortunately for the state and central governments keen to sell out education, as was witnessed in Delhi, the state crackdown failed to deter the students who are continuing their protest in even larger numbers.

As the December deadline approaches for signing the WTO agreement which will confirm the status of education as a tradable commodity, the OccupyUGC movement that is gaining strength with every passing day has shown the firm resolve of the student community in India that will not allow access to higher education and opportunity for knowledge creation to be converted into privileges for some and denied to others. CPI (ML) salutes the student movement and expresses solidarity with them.


First AIPF Conference in Tamil Nadu

The All India People's Forum held its first Tamil Nadu State Conference at Tirunelveli on 11.10.2015. The Conference began with a Presidential address by Comrade G Ramesh. In the run up to the Conference, activists of the various AIPF constituent groups campaigned vigorously in various parts of Tamil Nadu. There was enthusiastic participation from working people, and intellectuals and activists from all over Tamil Nadu. A large number of women from the anti-nuclear Koodankulam movement participated.

The Conference was inaugurated by CPI(ML) Politburo member Kavita Krishnan, who spoke about the Modi Government that was at the same time selling out India, and dividing India too. Both the corporates and the RSS are trying to make hay while the Modi sun shines. There were several inspiring instances of anti-corporate and anti-communal resistance. And the AIPF had emerged out of a felt need for uniting various streams of fighting forces.

Vasanthi Devi, former Vice Chancellor of Manonamanian Sundaranar University, said that Hindutva politics was founded on Brahminical patriarchy, and stressed the need to draw on the resources of Ambedkar and Periyar to combat it. S Balamurugan of the PUCL spoke about the challenge of resisting the all-round attack on activists, movements and freedom of speech. Prof. Murali, former Principal of a Madurai College, spoke about the moves to make education a tradable commodity under the WTO, and the moves afoot to discipline and morally police college students in order to produce campuses compliant with the WTO regime.

Leader of the anti-Koodankulam PMANE, Dr SP Udayakumar said that the AIPF Conference was the beginning and not an end in itself. He stressed the need for mutual unity and solidarity. He spoke of the experience of the Koodankulam women activists who had not been silenced or scared by killing, arrest, or sedition charges. He spoke on the dangers of nuclear energy. Com. Deebak of December 3 Movement, a Disability Rights Alliance, spoke very inspiringly about the rights of the disabled and the need for all platforms of people's movements to be sensitive to those rights.

Others who spoke included A Simson, writer Samsudeen Heera, scientist Dr Lal Mohan, omrade KM Sherif of Tamilnadu People's Democratic Party, Comrade Kathiravan of Athi Tamilar Katchi, Comrade Arivalagan of Dalit Research Centre, and Comrade Sujatha Modi of NTUI, Comrade Bharathi of Democratic Advocate's Association, Comrade Thirumalaisami of TTSF, Comrade RR Srinivasan of Kanchanai Film Society, Comrade Mukilan of Makkal Sananayaga Kudiarasu Katchi,Comrade Pandiarajan of AISA, Comrade Abdulrahman of Satta Panjayathu Iyakkam, Comrade Jawahar of AICCTU, Comrade A Chandramohan and Mangaiyarselvan, AIPF NCCM members, and Com Balasundaram Tamil Nadu State Secretary CPI(ML). Comrade S Kumarasamy, PB member of CPI(ML) also attended the Conference. A State-level Council, Campaign Committee and Advisory Committee were elected from the Conference.


Effigy Burning of the State Govt by All India Kisan Mahasabha in Bindukhatta

On 23 October 2015, the All India Kisan Mahasabha burnt the effigy of the state Congress government at Car Road in Bindukhatta to protest against the government's move to hand over 350 naali land in Dwarson (Almora) to the corporate and against the repression and crackdown unleashed on the protestors.

Addressing the protestors after the effigy burning, the area secretary of CPI (ML), Com. Lalit Matiyali said that during the time of the previous BJP government led by Khanduri, this 350 naali of barren land not owned by anyone, was recovered after ceiling. However, the control over the land was kept in the hands of the state government. At that time the CPI (ML) had demanded that the authority to manage and distribute this land recovered after ceiling from Dwarson and other areas be handed over to the Gram Panchayats, else the state government would hand it over to the land mafias and the corporate. Today when the Congress government has handed this land to the Jindals, the concerns of the CPI (ML) have been proved right. The Congress and the BJP have been conspiring to sell the entire land of the state to the corporate at throw away prices. He also added that despite massive protests by the people, it was extremely shameful that the Chief Minister still decided to go for the inaugural function of Jindal Group's International School.

Com. Matiyali appealed to all the democratic forces to raise their voice against such anti-people policies of the state government. Com. Gopal Singh, district committee member of the All India Kissan Mahasabha said that the state government is only keen to protect the interests of the land mafia and the corporate, when it also had the option of giving this land to those who had been affected by the calamities. He added that the crackdown on the protestors and their arrest by the state police only exposes how the state government has turned dictatorial. The dictatorship of the Congress government had also come to light during the lathi charge unleashed on protestors who had earlier gathered to protest against the inauguration of Bindukhatta municipality and it had been proved once again.


AIARLA Viluppuram District Conference Held

AIARLA district conference of Viluppuram district of Tamil Nadu was held at Ulundurpet town in a Hall named after Com. Ammaiappan. A four Member presidium comprising of Comrades Kaliyamurthy, Babu, Dakchinamurthy and Kannammal conducted the proceedings. Com. Venkatesan, state Deputy General secretary of AIARLA and Com. Balasundaram, state secretary of CPI (ML) addressed the delegates. Several resolutions were passed in the conference, which included among others, the demands to- (i) disperse the arrears of MGNREGA wages, (ii) withdraw the cases booked against the workers protesting for this demand, (iii) evict occupiers from Panjami land and redistribute it to Dalits, (iv) stop the loot of natural resources, (v) Implementation of Forest act in Kalvarayan hill areas, (vi) take steps to release tribal prisoners languishing in Andhra jails, (vii) establish rural based industries, (viii) provide house site pattas and houses to the rural poor, (ix) provide potable water , and (x) establishing primary health centres and schools with increased teacher strength, proper kitchen etc.


Hunger Strike by Inmates of J.P. Central Jail Demanding Release;

CPI (ML) Dharna in Support

In support of the hunger strike started by the inmates of the J.P. central jail in Hazaribagh district, CPI (ML) and AIPF staged a dharna in front of the deputy district magistrate on 17 October 2015. The protest event was conducted by Sudhir Yadav and several AIPF and CPI (ML) leaders addressed the participants. The leaders handed over a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through the dharna and demanded that the inmates' demands be met and the hunger strike be brought to an end.

The leaders who addressed the dharna shared that 56 inmates who had completely their sentence in the Jai Prakash Central Jail, had sat on a nine day, demanding that they be released now. In their support, nearly 650 other convicts who were still serving their sentence too had come forward. Several women inmates along with their children to had joined the hunger strike in solidarity. The hunger strike started on 6 October and continued till 15 October, during which health of several hunger strikers got deteriorated. With several hundred inmates joining the strike in solidarity, the work of the jail had come to a standstill. Printing press, powerloom, handloom, agriculture, kitchen, tailoring and several other works involving participation of the inmates remained shut. This added to the difficulties of the jail administration. The inmates demanded to know why those who had completed their sentences were not being released. Was the government waiting for their death?

CPI (ML) leaders pointed that at the time of sentencing the date on which the sentence would be over was fixed. There was no legal provision for keeping inmates locked up after their sentence was over. The fact that despite there being no such provision, inmates were languishing in jails exposed the weakness in the legal system. At present, nearly 6000 innocent poor tribals were languishing in jails of Jharkhand but the state government had no concern for them. The AIPF has been running a continuing campaign against such negligence by the state. CPI (ML) leaders demanded that besides immediate release of inmates who had completed their sentence, the jail manual be implemented properly and completely and also that there be quick execution of cases involving innocent under trials.

On 17 October, CPI (ML) and AIPF also organised a march in Ranchi from party office (Com. Mahendra Singh Bhawan) to Alberta Ekka Chowk, followed by a sabha. The combined pressure built by the movements inside and outside the jail forced Chief Minister Raghuvar Das to visit the jail and get the inmates to break their fast by assuring them that their demand would be met.


AIPF Protest Convention in Delhi on 'Politics of Fear & Hate unleashed by RSS-BJP'

AIPF organised a protest convention against the reign of terror of the RSS-BJP combine on 29 October at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi. The speakers included Manglesh Dabral, Asgar Wajahat, Prof. Shamsul Islam, Cultural activist Kapil Sharma, AIPF leader Com. Girija Pathak and CPI (ML) activist, Com. Aslam Khan, among others. The cultural group Sangwari also sang songs of protest during the convention.

While addressing the audience, the speakers focussed on how the atmosphere of hate and fear was being created by the RSS-BJP and their associated groups. The current times have seen the attacks unleashed by the reactionary forces become more organized and brutal. From the genocide in Muzzafarnagar just prior to General Elections in 2014 to the cold blooded murders of Com. Govind Pansare and Prof. M.M. Kalburgi and the continued attacks on minorities and Dalits taking place throughout the country, are clear indicators of this well thought out majoritarian ploy to instil fear in the minds of minorities and Dalits by spreading hatred. The social political fallout of the growing failure of the Modi government in fulfilling its election time promises to people is being sought to be covered up by stoking the communal card and spreading the politics of fear, hatred and violence. In response to this onslaught, people have been protesting throughout the country and for the first time since independence, India has seen so many writers, intellectuals, academics, scientists and artists return their awards and give up their posts to announce very clearly their principled opposition to the present onslaughts. The speakers also expressed their solidarity with all those who had taken a stand to voice their protest against such onslaughts by returning their awards.