A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 19, No. 11, 08 – 14 MARCH 2016
Victory to the Fighting Students of JNU!
Victory to Young India's Dream of Freedom and Equality!
ith the release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on an interim bail, his return to the campus amidst a rousing reception and his equally rousing and widely televised address to the JNU community, we have now entered a challenging new phase in the ongoing student movement.
On the face of it, the bail granted to Kanhaiya Kumar marks an initial victory for JNU students and the wider sections of the democratic opinion in the country in the face of a police crackdown instigated by absurd charges of sedition on students and teachers, and the open and concerted thuggery of the Sangh brigade in court premises and on peaceful protests and assemblies. But the unwarranted remarks made in the High Court order pitting students against soldiers, describing dissent in terms of infection and gangrene and prescribing treatment ranging from antibiotics to amputation clearly tell us more about the dominant ideological environment than principles of constitutional law and justice.
With the judiciary speaking in such vicious terms, the RSS goon brigade naturally feels emboldened to carry on with its open display of terror and thuggery. A BJP youth leader in UP has offered a Rs 5 lakh bounty for whoever chops off Kanhaiya's tongue while another has put up posters right in the heart of Lutyen's Delhi announcing a bigger reward for bumping him off. And according to the Delhi police directed by the Union Home Ministry, this open death threat is only a matter of 'defacement of property' just as Bassi had earlier trivialised the assault in Patiala House premises as an incident of 'jostling'.
Against these odds, it is inspiring to see the undiminished resolve of the JNU community to carry on the battle for justice. Unconditional acquittal of all the arrested students, withdrawal of sedition charges on all students and restoration of full rights of all the eight students who have been debarred from academic activities in JNU are the three core demands of students and teachers. The chief proctor of the university has resigned in protest against the bureaucratic high-handedness of the authorities and injustice meted out to the students, and the teachers' association has called for removal of the registrar who has been instrumental in plotting and spearheading the ongoing assault on campus democracy in JNU.
Thanks to the bold resistance of the JNU community and the widespread solidarity it evoked across the country, the BJP smear campaign and witch-hunt against JNU students has been thoroughly exposed. Yet, far from accepting defeat and mending its ways, the Sangh-BJP camp is claiming victory in the 'ideological war' over JNU! With elections already declared in five states, BJP leaders have launched a vicious and vitriolic countrywide campaign against the alleged anti-nationalism of the Left. Having won the first round of the JNU battle against the saffron witch-hunt, the Left must now accept this larger challenge and combat the BJP's communal-fascist pseudo-nationalist campaign with the spirit of progressive democratic patriotism and the unity of people's struggles for social transformation and greater rights.
The JNU struggle has emerged as a rallying point for students and intelligentsia across the country. The slogan of 'Azaadi' or freedom raised so passionately by JNU students has struck a chord with a whole range of ongoing struggles for rights and justice. The Modi government is pursuing an aggressive agenda of subjecting the resources of the country to predatory corporate plunder. It wants unrestricted corporate control over land and water, forests and minerals, labour power and bank finance. The universities and other institutions of learning and research are now being sought to be subordinated to this design, and the culture of debate and dissent is being systematically subverted to promote RSS-dictated intellectual enslavement and ideological regimentation. The call of freedom is today resonating against this stifling atmosphere of fear and corporate-communal aggression.
The convergence of the struggles for justice for Rohith Vemula and rights of JNU students has been a source of great strength for both these struggles. Along with the demand for scrapping of the sedition law a key demand of the present struggle is enactment of a new legislation named after Rohith to stop social discrimination in educational institutions. Beyond the immediate demands of the struggles, the ongoing churning has also highlighted the need for, and potential of, reinvoking the ideas and messages of Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Ambedkar as the defining spirit of the agenda of patriotism, social justice and democracy.
Against every RSS attempt to define Indian nationalism on the basis of Hindu majoritarianism and corporate subjugation, Bhagat Singh will continue to inspire today's youth to fight for a united people's India, free from exploitation and oppression. Against every RSS attempt to appropriate Ambedkar as the 'modern Manu' and resurrect Manuwadi domination subverting the constitutional values of liberty, equality and fraternity, Ambedkar will continue to guide our forward march towards 'annihilation of castes' and attainment of real equality, justice and freedom by defeating the forces and structures of social discrimination, injustice and oppression. In the coming weeks, as we remember Bhagat Singh on his 85th martyrdom anniversary and celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar's birth, let us arm ourselves with the ideas and inspiration of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to give a resounding rebuff to the pseudo-nationalist offensive of the Sangh-BJP brigade.
10th Tamil Nadu State Conference of CPI(ML)
CPI(ML)'s 10th Tamilnadu State Conference was held on 27th and 28th February at Sengundram, in Thiruvallur district. The conference hall was named after Comrade TKS Janardhanan and Comrade Ammaiappan. The conference began with young woman comrade and AISA leader Com. Seetha hoisting the Party Flag, after wihich all leaders and delegates paid floral tribute to the Martyrs. A seven-member presidium led by Com. Chandramohan conducted the proceedings. Com. Ramesh, State Committee Member presented the condolence resolution and Com. Janakiraman, Thiruvallur district secretary welcomed the delegates. Com. Swapan Mukherjee, central observer, inaugurated the conference. He appealed to the delegates to prepare for bigger struggles against the onslaught of fascist, communal, pro-corporate BJP government at the centre and also against the autocratic Jayalalitha government at the state. Political resolutions and work report were presented by outgoing state secretary Com. Balasundaran. About 250 delegates and 50 observers from 23 districts attended the conference. The exhibition on the topic "Class struggle continues…" was inaugurated by Com. Swapan. After deliberations Com. Balasundaram summed up the discussions on the report and it was unanimously accepted by the house. Com. Balasubramanian, Party secretary of Puducherry UT and Com. John Erimeli, Secretary of Kerala State greeted the conference.
The conference also elected a 35-member state committee which in turn elected Com. Kumarasamy as its Secretary. Com AS Kumar submitted financial report of the Party which was also accepted. Newly elected Secretary in his concluding address gave a call for bigger movements to "Save democracy and Save the nation". He said that recently lakhs of Tamil Nadu Government employees are up in arms against the neo liberal policies and we were the first to support them. The ground is ripe for the revolutionary party to develop mass movements beyond electoral calculations. Resolutions expressing solidarity with 'free Pricol 8' movement and demanding -release of JNU student leaders, an end to atrocities on dalits, scrapping nuclear and methane projects etc. were passed. Workers of Chennai contributed Rs.1 lakh and state AIARLA contributed Rs.15000 to the Pricol movement and handed it to the presidium. The Conference resolved to make 10th anniversary of the Pricol movement on March 13 a success, in which Com. Dipankar will also participate, and also resolved to carry forward the central committee call of 'Save the nation, Save Democracy, Save the Constitution' campaign from March 23 – Bhagat Singh's Matrydom day to April 14 – Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary.
AICCTU holds 5th Jharkhand State Conference in Bokaro
AICCTU held its 5th Jharkhand State Conference in the Bokaro, at the Community Hall on 9 February 2016. The Conference was inaugurated by PB member and AICCTU VP Com. DP Bakshi, after which 2 minutes' silence was observed as a tribute to and in memory of all the martyred comrades.
A workers' convention was held in place of the open session, in which the unfair double life imprisonment sentence for the Pricol 8 was condemned and their release was demanded without delay. The convention was presided over by AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen and addressed by several workers' leaders. Addressing the convention, AICCTU General Secretary Com. Rajiv Dimri said that the government and the judiciary are hand in glove in promoting and forcing corporate Company Raj upon the toiling poor and the working class. He gave the examples of the Pricol 8 and the workers of Maruti and Graziano who have been punished unjustly for asserting the workers' right to form and join a union of their choice. He said that the time is ripe for a decisive workers' agitation in India on the lines of the May Day agitation of 1886 in Chicago.
Speakers at the delegate session stressed on taking on the governments at the Centre and in Jharkhand to fight the anti-worker amendments to the Labour Law, increasing the AICCTU membership, organizing contract and honorarium workers like ASHA and Anganwadi workers and construction workers, and standing in solidarity with farmers and movements demanding justice for Rohith Vemula and the ongoing movement in JNU.
After Jharkhand Secretary Shubhendu Sen presented the report it was discussed and decided that AICCTU should form new unions in Jharhand, especially in Ranchi, and should intervene in more workers' struggles which are not in affiliation with AICCTU; AICCTU should launch a big struggle in the matter of workers being laid off in Jamshedpur on the excuse of medical examination; AICCTU district committees should work on the agenda for opposing privatization and transfer of coal blocks. After discussion the report was passed unanimously.
Addressing the Conference, Com. DP Bakshi said that the union must be strengthened and more contract workers, honorarium workers, construction workers, brick-kiln workers, as well as organized sector workers must be brought under the ambit of AICCTU. He pointed out that in earlier days though the membership was less, the movement was stronger; today the struggle has been weakened because of the Welfare Board. He said that we must look beyond the narrow objective of organizing the workers for making them members of the government Welfare Board. The Conference concluded with the election of a 47 member State Council and a 15 member State Executive. Central observer Com. RN Thakur gave the concluding address in which he said that the true achievement of the Pricol 8 is not merely that they showed exemplary courage in their struggle and went to jail, but also that they organized rural and industrial workers around them and set an example which we must follow.
Ranchi: Left Parties March to Raj Bhawan
Curb Saffron Terror
Left Parties marched to Raj Bhawan on 25 February to demand withdrawal of false cases on JNU students and their immediate release, and to protest against the attack on Constitutional rights and the conspiracy to destroy the democratic system in the country. Hundreds of activists from CPI(ML), CPI(M), CPI, MCC, SUCI and other Left Parties joined the march. Starting from Shaheed Chowk the protest march made its way through Main Road and Kacheri Chowk to reach Raj Bhawan where it culminated in a meeting. The march was led by CPI(ML) State Secretary Com. Janardan Prasad, MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav, District Secretary Com. Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, CPM State Secretary Com. Gopikant Bakshi, Com. KD Singh, MCC leader Com. Mithilesh Singh and SUCI leader Com. Siddheshwar Singh.
Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav said that the Modi government is creating an atmosphere of hatred and frenzy in the country through pseudo-nationalism in order to hide its all-round failure on all fronts. The history of the BJP-Sangh Parivar in the struggle for the country's freedom and integrity has been that of acting as informers and agents of the British and betraying the country. The Left fought bravely in the freedom struggle and that is why Shaheed Bhagat Singh walked the Marxist road. Those who honour murderers like Godse have no right to hand out certificates of patriotism to people.
MCC MLA Arup Singh said that the real agenda of the BJP is to capture control of JNU which is a centre of Left progressive thought. All the accused students have been framed in fabricated cases and; they are all innocent and will be proved innocent. The BJP will have to pay the price for tearing the democratic fabric of the country and ruining the future of innocent students.
AIPF Meeting in Solidarity with Hyderabad Central University, JNU & JU
"Have you ever seen an anti-national? If not, look at me, I am an anti-national" -- with this sentence, Dr. Binayak Sen started his speech at Bharat Sabha Hall on 27th Febaruary, in a protest meeting of AIPF, West Bengal, and in solidarity with "Hyderabad-JNU-Jadavpur". Dr. Binayak Sen exposed the evil design of Chattisgarh Govt. and reminded that after the court declared life imprisonment for him in 2010, the Chattisgarh govt. appealed that he should be hanged to death, because- "I am an anti-national! In a 147 page judgement, High Court of Raipur denied my bail petition. Finally, Supreme Court granted my bail." Dr. Sen also mentioned that "anti-state and anti-national are not synonymous. Anti-national charges are aimed at stifling the voices of protest against those who are challenging the anti-people policies of the State." He rather proposed to promulgate the "anti-people law" against the anti-people policy makers of the state.
In this well attended protest meet, National AISA President, Com. Sucheta De said that in the division created between those in favour or against JNU, the struggling people all over the country are with JNU. She also mentioned that JNU had consistently exposed the corporate-fascist policies of Modi govt. Modi government has failed to develop JNU as an 'elite brand', and has established an anti-thesis of the ruling classes. In the wake of rising people's resistance, Modi Govt had to eventually backtrack on Land Acquisition Bill after promulgating it through ordinance route four times. She mentioned that Rohith Vemula not only raised Dalit issues, but also questioned capital punishment and protested against social oppression. JNU stood firmly in support of Hyderabad and therefore had become an eye sore for the Sangh Parivar.
Other speakers were Subhonil Chowdhury, alumni of JNU and Research Scholar of Institute of Development Studies, social activists Bolan Gangopaddhyay, Advocate of Calcutta High Court, Subroto Mukherjee, Secretary of APDR, Ranjit Sur, Sudhanya Pal, Students of Jadavpur University and Manas Gosh, Professor in JU.
The meeting was presided over by Dr. Debasish Dutta, Meher Engineer, Amlan Bhattacharya of PUCL, AB Chowdhury and Kalyan Sen. A resolution demanding immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, repeal of Sedition Act and withdrawal of all false cases was passed in this protest meeting.
Countrywide Protests against Sangh, Modi Govt, on Rohith and JNU Issue Continue
The countrywide protests against the Sangh-Modi government on the Rohith-JNU issue are spreading and getting stronger.
The Uttar Pradesh unit of the CPI(ML) observed a state-wide protest week from 14 to 20 February after which on 22 February dharnas and hunger strikes were held at District Headquarters in Varanasi and the entire Poorvanchal on the occasion of Modi's Varanasi visit. From 23 to 25 February 6 Left parties had called for a countrywide protest, in response to which CPI(ML) and other Left parties organized protests, rallies, marches, and effigy burnings.
During the protest week- protest meetings, marches, and meetings were held in Sitapur, Faizabad, Mathura, Chandauli, Ghazipur, and Muradabad. CPI(ML) and AISA held a protest at BHU gate in Varanasi which was disrupted by ABVP and Sanghi goons. The administration arrested ML and AISA activists and released them at the Police Lines where they resumed their protest march. Protest meetings and marches were also held at Sukrut (Sonbhadra), Urai (Jalon), Mirzapur, Azamgarh, Bhadohi, Deoriya, and Gorakhpur. At Pilibhit AIARLA held dharnas at Puranpur and Marori block headquarters.
In Lucknow, the CPI(ML), CPM, CPI, SUCI, along with people's organizations and intellectuals took out a march on 25 February which culminated in a meeting at the Gandhi statue chaired by former VC of Lucknow University Prof. Rooprekha Verma and addressed by Dr Girish, Subhashini Ali, Ramesh Singh Sengar and other distinguished speakers from PUCL, AIDWA, AIPWA, AISA, Women's Federation, IPTA and JASAM. The speakers said that the Sangh Parivar, which made no contribution to the country's freedom struggle, is now giving the country lessons in nationalism. It is essential that we give a fitting reply to their pseudo-nationalism and their attack on democratic rights including the right to dissent and freedom of expression. Earlier, on 13 February these Parties and people's organizations had held a joint protest at the Ambedkar statue at Hazratganj Chowk which the saffron brigade had unsuccessfully tried to disrupt.
As part of the united Left protest call, a joint protest was organized in front of the Allahabad court where some lawyers resorted to violence and attacked and beat up the protesters, injuring several people including women. Clearly, these lawyers were Sanghis who used the black coats as a cover for vandalism and lumpenism on the same lines as the condemnable incident at the Patiala House court. It was only after repeated insistence that the police registered a complaint in this matter.
On 25 February protest marches and meetings were also held in Sonbhadra, Baliya, Ghazipur, Lakhimpur Kheeri, Pilibhit, Kanpur, Faizabad, Azamgarh, Gonda, Muradabad, Mathura, and Mughalsarai.
In Rajassthan, protests were held jointly by CPI(ML), CPM, CPI and the Loktantrik Adhikar Evam Sadbhavana Manch in front of the Udaipur Collectorate on 25 February against the Modi government's relentless attacks on citizen's democratic rights. The protesters demanded justice for Rohith Vemula and the unconditional release of the JNU students arrested on false charges of sedition. Speakers addressing the protest meeting said that Universities like JNU and HCU are being targeted for opposing the anti-student policies and saffronization and privatization of education by the Modi government; only recently these Universities had played a major role in the nationwide protests against the ending of non-NET fellowships and in the Occupy UGC and WTO Go Back agitations. They pointed out the hypocrisy and opportunism of the Modi government which calls the JNU students anti-national for organizing an Afzal Guru event, but is desperate to form a government in Kashmir with the PDP which openly calls Afzal Guru a martyr. At the conclusion of the meeting a delegation met the Collector and submitted a memorandum.
In Bhojpur district, Bihar, 45 prisoners in the Ara jail went on a 2-day collective hunger strike to demand justice for Rohith Vemula and release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya and other students and withdrawal of all the fabricated sedition charges. On the first day hundreds of inmates who are ML supporters marched inside the Ara jail and held a meeting at the Bhagat Singh statue. The speakers at the meeting said that all justice-loving people are with the JNU students who have been falsely implicated in sedition charges. They demanded justice for Rohith Vemula and the removal of Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya as well as the VC of HCU. On the second day the prisoners continued their protest and boycotted court appearances. The condition of Pramod Kahar, on hunger strike, worsened and he was hospitalized. The speakers stressed that students and youth would continue their protests until their demands were met. Manoj Manzil, Anjay Mehta, Suresh Lal, Pappu Paswan, Budhan Choudhury, Arun Singh, Satendra Rawani, Satyadev Ram, Ramesh Paswan, Raju Choudhury, Sonadhari Yadav, and others took part in the hunger strike.
18th District Conference of Nirman Mazdoor Union Held in Lucknow
The Nirman Mazdoor Union affiliated to AICCTU held its 18th District Conference on 22 February in the B-Block Common Hall at Darulshafa, Lucknow. Inaugurating the Conference, AICCTU State President Hari Singh said that all-round assault on the working class has escalated after the Modi government came to power. Through amendments in the Labour laws, the government is attempting to push the working class into a new slavery and to break their will power by slapping false cases and jailing them. 8 workers of Pricol in Tamil Nadu have been sentenced with double life imprisonment. He called upon workers to give a befitting reply to this injustice by responding to the call of major trade unions for a countrywide strike on 10 March and making it a resounding success. The Conference was also addressed by CPI(ML) District in-charge Com. Ramesh Singh Sengar, AIPWA State President Com. Tahira Hassan, Jan Sanskriti Manch State President Com. Kaushal Kishore and others. Com. Surendra Prasad of the outgoing Union Committee presented the annual working Report which was passed after discussion. Finally, a 15 member Executive was elected with Com. Rajpal as President and Com. Surendra Prasad as Secretary. Hundreds of construction workers participated in the Conference.
Left Parties Hold People's Convention in Bhopal
A people's convention was organized by all the Left and communist parties in Madhya Pradesh at Bhopal on 3 March to highlight the ever growing attacks on the fundamental rights of the people of MP. The Convention was addressed by CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Prabhat Kumar.