Tuesday, January 12, 2016

ML Update | Vol. 19 | No. 03 | 12 - 18 JAN 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 03 | 12 - 18 JAN 2016

Lapses in Pathankot Episode Must Be Probed   

The Pathankot epidode has exposed the incoherence and irresponsibility of the Modi Government when it comes to questions of national security as well as the country's foreign policy. The Government's handling of the episode is symptomatic of the over-centralization and lack of responsibility and accountability that has become a hallmark of the Modi model of governance. The episode raises many questions that demand an answer – if any effective lessons are to be learnt by the country.

In spite of prior intelligence inputs, terrorists were able to breach the perimeter of India's largest Air Force base, and the lives of seven Indian personnel were lost. It is glaringly apparent that the security of the Air Force base, and the borders, are severely compromised by the drug trade in the area, in which BSF and Punjab Police personnel seem complicit.

The role of the SP and his companions who were apparently abducted and then let off by the terrorists after their car was hijacked, is under a cloud of suspicion. But it remains that even after this incident was reported, and it was clear that unauthorized persons had access to an official vehicle, the Punjab Police failed to act with any sense of urgency.  

What is highly questionable is that the entire Pathankot operation was headed by the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ajit Doval. To which Ministry is the NSA accountable and answerable? What executive powers does the NSA enjoy, and where are these defined?

With the National Security Advisor in command, the Army troops stationed at Pathankot were barely involved, and the Air Force Base was left in the hands of the Defence Security Corps (DSC, comprising retired military personnel), some Air Force Garud commandos, and the National Security Guard troopers (who are trained and equipped to respond to hostage crises or other specific and focused operations rather than to protect a vast Air Base).

What was unforgiveable was the fact that, based presumably on inputs from the NSA, the Home Minister chose to tweet prematurely announcing the success of the counter-terror operation. The very next morning, firing continued at the Air Base and more lives of Indian security personnel were lost. Shockingly, the Defence Minister chose to dismiss the loss of lives of five DSC men as 'bad luck.' The fact is that the DSC forces should have been evacuated from the area during the operation.

It is likely that the Pathankot attack was aimed at derailing the peace dialogue that has recently resumed between India and Pakistan. The Indian State tends to suspend dialogue in the wake of waves of jingoism that are whipped up after a terrorist attack – and this very fact provides an incentive for terrorist attacks. The Indian Government must not allow talks to be derailed under any circumstances. The Pakistan Government has set up a probe and made some arrests – the probe must be pursued to its logical conclusion, and those responsible for the attack punished. 

It is a matter of concern that the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, instead of introspecting on the lapses in his handling of the Pathankot operation, has gone on to announce, in an interview to a newspaper, that peace talks between India and Pakistan will be suspended until India is satisfied with Pakistan's investigation. How can the National Security Advisor feel emboldened to dabble in diplomacy and speak out of turn on sensitive matters of foreign policy?  

The BJP and Narendra Modi have a track record of shrill jingoism, war-mongering and communalizing of the issue of terrorism, for political purposes. The Pathankot episode has exposed their hypocrisy, and has underlined the fact that those who indulge in communal rhetoric over terrorism and anti-Pakistan jingoism cannot protect the country's interests.

A thorough probe must be ordered into all aspects of the Pathankot episode – identifying and holding accountable all those responsible for compromising security, and for avoidable losses of lives of security personnel. 

Peace between India and Pakistan is the best antidote to terrorism, and peace talks must be a priority for the Indian Government, and must not be derailed under any circumstances.


AIPWA's for Complete Implementation of Liquor Ban in Bihar

When Nitish Kumar first came to power in 2005 with the help of the BJP, his Government implemented the existing liquor policy, doubling the number of liquor licenses issued. As a result, liquor began to be sold in streets, colonies and even ration shops. The liquor shops began to mushroom even in the restricted areas surrounding schools, religious places and residential areas. While the closed sugar mills remain shut, land suited for agriculture was given away to liquor barons like Vijay Mallya to open liquor factories. AIPWA and several other women organisations started campaigns and movements demanding liquor ban. CPI (ML) along with several other left parties has been raising the demand of the complete liquor ban. The liquor is not only engulfing an entire generation of youth, it also aggravating domestic violence against women.

Ten years later, during the 2015 assembly elections, Nitish Kumar declared that if he came to power again he would implement a complete liquor ban. After being re-elected with a complete majority, he declared that a complete liquor ban would be effected from 1 April. However, after the liquor mafia started exerting pressure, the government began talking about a stage-wise ban, with a ban first being effected on illegal and local liquor and only later on foreign liquor.

AIPWA organised a state-wide demonstrations and marches from 28 to 29 December, raising slogans like- "Stop fooling people, implement complete liquor ban", "stop the farce of stage wise liquor ban", "we want employment, not liquor", "stop harassing poor in villages in the name of liquor ban". In several places, the marches were followed by meetings which were addressed AIPWA leaders.


State-wide Protests by AIARLA in Bihar

Against attacks on Dalits,

Demanding Release of CPI(ML) MLA Com. Satyadev Ram and other leaders

On 5 January 2016, AIARLA held protest demonstrations in front of several district and block headquarters across Bihar on the question of increasing attacks on the Dalits and the poor in the state, and also to demand the release of CPI (ML) MLA from Darauli, Com. Satyadev Ram and other leaders. Leading the protests in Dhanarua in Patna district, the General Secretary of AIARLA, Com. Dhirendra Jha addressed the protestors and said that it was clear from the Bihar election mandate that people of Bihar want justice. However, the Nitish government is trying to frame the leaders leading pro-people agitations on various false charges and putting them in jail. We will not tolerate the incarceration of leaders who are popular among the poor and have been known to raise their voice for them. Leaders like Com. Satyadev Ram, National President of RYA, Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha and the state Joint Secretary of RYA, Com. Manoj Manzil have been put in jail on false charges following their crucial role in the Land rights struggle of the poor and they must be released without any delay. He added that post elections, the attacks on the poor and Dalits have increased and the rate of crimes has also increased. Killings of Puttu Manjhi in Hilsa and the beating to death of Dalits in Atari are just few of such instances. The instances of rapes have also risen in Bihar.

AIARLA also demanded from the newly elected state government- (i) to immediately starts MNREGA in drought affected areas, (ii) add all poor in the list of beneficiaries, (iii) provide adequate and regular pension to the needy old, (iv) provide occupancy to the holders of land papers and handed a memorandum including this demands. Memorandums were also submitted in various district offices. The AIARLA leaders warned that if the government did not initiate immediate action towards this direction, then a gherao of MPs and MLAs will be launched in the entire state. They also added that a movement will be launched for the revocation of the condition according to which having a toilet at home was being made a pre-condition to contest in Panchayat elections. From 19-24 January 2016, a series of protests will be held by the poor for their demands at Panchayat offices throughout the state. AIARLA leaders also said that the protest was also against the life imprisonment of eight union leaders who had participated in the movement in the Pricol factory situated in Coimbatore. They expressed their solidarity with the struggling workers and pledged to continue the struggle.

More than ten thousands of rural poor and agricultural labourers participated in the protests held in 23 districts and the 10 blocks within Patna district itself.


CPI (ML) activists protest demanding arrest of notorious tea tycoon G.P. Goenka

The closure and non-functioning of tea gardens owned by notorious tea tycoon G.P. Goenka had claimed nearly 360 lives by the end of 2015. The 16 non-functioning tea gardens were once a source of livelihood for nearly 29,680 permanent workers who worked there and the over one lakh dependents who depended on these workers for their sustenance. Lakhs of people, either working in the tea gardens or dependent on the workers' income have been left starving as they continue to remain deprived of wages, rations, and health care facilities. On 6 January 2015, hundreds of CPI (ML) activists led by Com. Abhijit Mazumdar protested in Siliguri demanding the arrest and confiscation of the properties of the notorious corporate tea tycoon G.P. Goenka. They also courted arrest after a brisk scuffle with a posse of state policemen at Siliguri court. The protesters also demanded promulgation of minimum wages, proper implementation of Food Security Act and entitlement of homestead land to the workers' families etc. In 4 other North Bengal districts namely South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar also National Highways were blocked for 1 hour from 11 a.m. through to 12 p.m. The activists were released later and they will continue the struggle till the demands are met.


Movement of Poor in Begusarai

On 21 December when administrative officials of Begusarai district went to Balia block along with the police force to ensure occupancy for the holders of land papers at Mor Alipur, Masudanpur and Shaahpur, the local goons attacked the poor, in which Bhattu Ram was injured.  The holders of land papers also by way of organised resistance, forced the goons back and forced the officials to do the needful.  The 5 tractors which were on the way to help the holders of land papers plough the land were also stopped on the way and were released after exerting pressure on the administration. The occupancy process was then started. However, despite that occupancy could not be ensured for 134 holders of land papers on 120 acre 68 dismil land. On the second day, when the administration started dilly dallying, the holders of land papers sat on an indefinite dharna in front of the block officials. The protestors were issued threats that cases would be filed against them, however they remained undeterred. CPI (ML)'s district secretary, com. Divakar Kumar, block secretary, Com. Noor Alam, and other local party leaders addressed the dharna and expressed solidarity with the agitators. The people spent the cold night at the site of the protest and when on the following day, the number of protestors increased, the block officials came under pressure and were forced to reach the protest site to talk to the protestors. During the talks, it was demanded that the goons who had obstructed the process of occupancy and beaten up the mahadalits, cases be filed against them and that they be arrested. They also demanded that as per the orders issued in favour of the holders of land papers by the DM court, occupancy be provided to the 134 holders of land papers on 120 acre, 68 dismil land, tractors be provided for ploughing and also that special police force be called to ensure that agricultural activities can be started on the land. The officials assured concrete steps towards this direction. After the talk, Com. Diwakar, AIARLA district president, Com. Rambalak Sahni and party leader Noor Alam ended the dharna. This agitation has had a positive impact on the agricultural labourers and the poor and increased their confidence in the struggles being fought by the party.

On 23 December, a dharna was also held in Manjhaul under the CPI (ML) banner. This dharna was to demand receipt of the occupancy land for the holders of land papers, 3 dismil land for their homes and for the release of jailed leaders, Com. Satyadev Ram, Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha and Com. Manoj Manzil.


Students Protest against AVAP Event on 'Ramjanambhoomi' in Delhi University

AISA along with other student organizations staged a massive protest on the first day of a 'seminar' organised by Arundhati Vashishtha Anusandhan Peeth (AVAP) on the issue of 'Ramjanmbhoomi'. Around 700 students from different organizations joined together in front of the Arts Faculty which was heavily policed and was almost turned to a police cantonment with armed forces covering the way to the seminar hall. The policemen even used force to keep the students intact inside the barricades. It was shameful that barricading and deployment of the armed forces were done not to protect the defenders of secularism and the University's autonomy but rather to protect the hate mongers sitting inside the conference hall seeking to divide the country and provoke violence in the name of 'Ram Mandir'.

AISA condemned the manner in which DU gave permission for this communally provocative 'seminar,' while on many occasions it has refused permission for seminars or discussions organised by student groups. This is an instance of state power being used to impose communal ideas on academic spaces. A large number of students and teachers had demanded the cancellation of the event, pointing out that a University should not play host to communal politics, and also pointing out that the event was not a 'seminar' in any academic sense. 

Sucheta De, National President of AISA said, "this is not only the case with DU but rather we can see a systematic pattern in which the government is destroying the academic institutions. It was couple of months back when we saw that Yogi Adityanath was invited to Allahabad University and then we saw JNU giving invitation to Baba Ramdev for a conference. One may wonder what these non academic people have to do with the academic talks".

"Now with the assembly elections due in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in the coming year, we can sense a clear conspiracy of polarizing the students on communal lines and this is how they have done it in the past. We will, with all our might, resist any attempt by the Sangh Parivar to saffronize educational institutions and communalise the students."



Com. Kaali Prasad

Com. Kaali Prasad, who was better known among people as KP Bhai, took his last breath on 5pm at his home in Pratapgarh. Com. K.P. Bhai, was born on 4 July 1951 in Pratapgarh. He completed his schooling there and then went to Allahabad for his higher education. The radical left wing student organization, PSO, used to organize regular study circles. It is through them that he came to understand Left ideas. After completing his education, in 1976, K. P. Bhai started his job in A.G. office and continuing his political activism, was elected to the workers' union there. He played a crucial role in the forming of unions in several other areas and departments of the city and formed a coordination of workers of U.P. education board, Indian telephone industry, ITI, Cotton mill, Triveni Sheets and others. He was suspended in 1996 for his role in the workers' struggles but he remained undeterred. He also remained in leadership positions of AICCTU after its formation. He used to implement the party policies and remained active with tremendous enthusiasm. Outside the party also he was respected as a left ideologue and a very powerful speaker among various organisations working among the oppressed sections. He retired from his services in 2011 and after that Pratapgarh became the centre of his party activities. Throughout his life he followed left principles and remained active in the struggles of the workers, peasants and oppressed sections. He played a crucial role in the organising Shaheed Mela in Shivgarh Turi and Pratapgarh. 

Red Salute to Com. Kaali Prasad.


Com. Khursheed Ahmad

Com. Khursheed Ahmad, a resident of Sherghaati in Gaya district, passed away on 24 December 2015. He was 50. He was suffering from cancer. He completed his MA in History from Magadh University. In 1991-92, he got associated with the Indian People's Front (IPF) and began to participate in the various democratic struggles being fought for the problems affecting his area and Gaya. After the IPF, he became directly associated with CPI (ML) and also worked in the Inquilabi Muslim Conference front. Throughout his life, he continued to be a party member.

On 3 January 2016, CPI (ML) and Jan Sanskriti Manch, organised a programme in the memory of Com. Khursheed Ahmad in which several social and political activists, leaders and intellectuals of Gaya city participated. They shared their insights into the works of Com. Khursheed. Leaders of Inquilabi Muslim Conference, Com. Wasi Ahmad, Dr. Hamid, District president of JSM, Com. Ahmad Sageer and several others shared their memories of working with Com. Khursheed. A pledge meeting was also organised in his memory.

Red Salute to Com. Khursheed Ahmad !

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