A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
| Vol. 19 | No. 13 | 22-28 MAR 2016 |
Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism, Defeat Modi's Attempt to Appropriate Ambedkar
Close to two years in power, the BJP now realises it pretty well that it cannot fight another election on the pretentious plank of development or repatriation of black money. Last November we saw them fight the elections to Bihar Assembly on the issue of beef ban. The decisive defeat in Bihar of course means the BJP now needs a new item on its poll menu other than beef. So with elections scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few weeks, we find the BJP designing a new test of nationalism – those who chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai are super nationalists and those who don't are liable to be branded anti-national and perhaps also charged with sedition. A Muslim MLA in Maharashtra Assembly has already been suspended for failing this test, with the Congress and NCP both colluding with the BJP and Shiv Sena in enforcing the suspension. We now also know that Urdu writers have been asked by the MHRD to give a prior undertaking that their writings do not have anything against the government or the nation.
So the government has effectively declared itself equivalent to the nation. Opposition to the government has virtually been dubbed seditious. And as the Congress President had equated Indira Gandhi to India during the infamous Emergency, former BJP President and senior minister in Modi cabinet, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has described Modi as God's gift to India. Another minister, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs in Modi cabinet, believes that the rise of Modi as India's Prime Minister was predicted by the French seer Nostradamus in 1555 and Modi will continue to rule till 2026, with the people's initial 'hatred' for him turning into great admiration and love! Whatever the people may think of the Modi government's performance in the first two years, the government believes it is here to stay, and if the people do not want it, a government which believes it has been mandated by God and fate will no doubt go to the extent of 'electing the people' – the immortal imagery penned by Brecht in his poem to describe every Hitler in our history.
The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula early this year in Hyderabad had come as a rude jolt to the whole country, exposing the sordid reality of social discrimination and saffron regimentation in India's universities and other institutions of higher education. The subsequent police crackdown and witch-hunt in JNU has made it very clear that the government is out to stifle dissent and subvert and destroy every institution that has a record of promoting critical thinking. The students and teachers arrested on sedition charges are now out on bail, and the united protests of JNU students and teachers and the massive solidarity expressed by informed citizens across the country and also internationally have thwarted the government's design to discredit and shut down JNU. Yet the government sticks to its script, MHRD minister Smriti Irani dished out malicious lies from the floor of Parliament, BJP leaders are constantly spewing venom against students, intellectuals and JNU and goons of the Sangh brigade are physically attacking public display of solidarity with JNU and even lectures by noted exponents on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar.
In a stunning mockery of history, the Sangh Parivar now seeks to present itself as the biggest champion of Indian nationalism, all its assaults on the Indian people and their democratic rights are now accompanied by loud chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. BJP leaders would now like us to believe that this is the slogan Bhagat Singh had on his lips while embracing the gallows. The whole world knows that 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Down With Imperialism' were Bhagat Singh's last message to India and the world, but facts have little meaning in the Sangh's scheme of things where myths and lies constitute the whole narrative. It must be pointed out that while Bharat Mata Ki Jai was a popular slogan during the freedom movement, the images of Mother India evoked by most of our poets and writers and freedom fighters were not the image of a militant goddess with a saffron flag in her hands that the RSS would like to impose on us. People do have a special attachment to the language and land of their birth – the terms 'mother tongue' and 'motherland' being used widely across the world – the Sangh's notion of a Bharat Mata baying for blood and bullets stands in glaring contrast to the common Indian's notion of a mother who cares and nurtures and showers equal love on all her children.
History also tells us that when there were talks of making Bankim Chandra's 'Vande Mataram' the anthem for the Congress and India, Rabindranath Tagore had explicitly advised the then Congress President Subhas Chandra Bose against this idea. Vande Mataram is appropriate for literature, but with its explicit invocation of Durga, a Hindu goddess, it is inappropriate for Indian Parliament where people from different religions will assemble – this was the clear opinion of Tagore, and accordingly only the first part of the poem praising the natural beauty of India is today known and sung as 'Vande Mataram'. The freedom movement has given rise to many slogans and invocations about India, and people in different parts of the country use different expressions for their motherland in their own mother tongues, and the Sangh-BJP establishment has no business imposing the RSS images and slogans of Bharat Mata on the Indian people. An organisation which had no role in India's freedom movement except praising and helping the British colonial rulers and invoking Mussolini and Hitler as their ideals, which worships Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Gandhi, as their hero, and which today in power is busy bartering away the country's resources and helping the likes of Vijay Mallya to flee from the country after looting the banks, has no right to give lessons on nationalism.
It is also instructive to note that Ambedkar, another icon Modi and his men are desperate to appropriate, had held caste as the biggest obstacle to nation-building, calling for annihilation of castes, and held the constitution with its secular democratic proclamations as the foundation of the Indian republic. The RSS wanted Manusmriti to be the basis for India's constitution and Ambedkar consigned this charter of human slavery to fire, but today Modi describes Ambedkar as India's modern Manu and seeks to perpetuate the oppressive caste order in his name. Ambedkar was a staunch champion of the liberties and rights of citizens and was a sworn enemy of the notion of a police state and repressive rule, but today Modi is bent upon reducing India precisely to a police state riding roughshod on the democratic rights promised and protected by the Constitution. Ambedkar had joined hands with communists to reject so-called labour laws that denied freedom to workers and sought to treat them as slaves, but today Modi invokes Ambedkar to justify his 'Make in India' labour code that seeks to sacrifice the rights of Indian workers at the altar of global capital and its Indian affiliates.
The people of India will never allow Modi to appropriate Ambedkar and make a mockery of the secular democratic constitutional foundation of the Indian republic laid down by Ambedkar on the strength of the Indian freedom movement and various allied streams of social awakening and struggles for emancipation. We will continue to draw inspiration from Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and use their legacies as weapons of struggle to stop the corporate plunder promoted by the Modi government and defeat the divisive agenda, disinformation campaign and communal-fascist aggression of the Sangh brigade. And the forthcoming Assembly elections will give yet another roaring rebuff to the dangerous design and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment.
Ghastly Murders of CPI(ML) Activists in Begusarai
Two CPI(ML) activists Comrade Mahesh Ram(25), member of Party's Begusarai block committee and Comrade Rampravesh Ram (27) were killed by the men of BJP supported feudal criminal Surendra Singh in Baliya block of Begusarai district at 6 pm on 21 March 2016. Both leaders were ambushed when they were returning from Baliya bazaar to their village Maksudanpur.
Both these comrades were leading an ongoing struggle for the landless in the village. 134 dalit-poor families of their village were allotted land pattas on 120 acres of land in 1980-81, but were kept deprived of their lands since then. After a protracted struggle as well as a long legal effort the district administration and the High Court both gave a verdict in favour of the landless patta holders. The feudal goons perpetrated an attack on landless families when they went to take possession of their lands in November 2015 resulting in many injured. The police present at the spot remained a mute spectator. This attempt too was repulsed valiantly by the united villagers and all the patta holders were able to sow seeds on their lands. Few month ago patta holders harvested their crops under party's leadership and mass mobilisation in their support.
The Nitish Government's tacit support and refusal to rein in feudal criminals has boosted the morale of anti-poor forces which ultimately resulted in this cowardly killing of two activists who were much-loved by the villagers. Not long ago Comrade Rajendra Mahto in Bhojpur and Comrade Sanjay Chaurasiya in Siwan were brutally murdered. But the government which claims 'Development with Justice' has failed miserably to arrest and punish the killers in all these incidents.
On the morning of 22 March ML legislator Sudama Prasad, AIARLA leader Gopal Ravidas, and Kisan Sabha leader Umesh Singh visited Begusarai and the site of the crime and met with the families of the martyred comrades.
Dalit Basti Burnt in Nawada in Bihar
Criminals under BJP protection burnt down a dalit basti in Kajhiya in Akbarpur block of Nawada district. Even after such a big incident local BJP MLA Anil Singh did not visit the spot.
A CPI(ML) team comprising CC member and former MP Rameshwar Prasad, Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad found that the police picketing by the administration has served not to protect the dalits from attack but to prevent them from rebuilding their basti there.
The FIR has been deliberately weakened and the police investigation states that the fire was 'accidental', which claim our investigative team has found to be blatantly false. A rumour is being floated that the poor people there deliberately torched their own huts!
The CPI(ML) team found that poor Dalits were living in huts made on 1 acre and 62 dismil of Bihar government gair mazarua land. The site has a total of 9 acres of government land. This land is quite valuable as it is bounded by roads on 3 sides. For this reason feudal dominant caste forces have had their eye on this land for some time.
In the past also, huts of the poor had been burnt with a view to terrorizing them and driving them out. Work is under way to set up a private college at that site. The constructors of the college also have their eye on this gair mazarua land.
The administration has placed the number of burnt huts at only 35, whereas the actual number is 60. People are living under the open sky; not even temporary living arrangements have been made for them. Neither food nor plastic for shelters has been made available to them.
The villagers had written several times to the zonal authorities for issue of parchas but in spite of the Government's much touted 'dakhal-dehani' scheme (that promised to give papers and secure possession of land for the landless), attempts to evict the poor from their land are in full swing.
Nitish Kumar and RJD leaders lose no changes to make speeches against the BJP – but they do not walk the talk when it comes to protecting the poor from the feudal and communal forces on the ground.
Citizen's Delegation Gives Memorandum to Chief Minister of Bihar With 5 Lakh Signatures
A memorandum on the questions of justice signed by 5 lakh people through a signature campaign initiated by the CPI(ML) in January 2015 was submitted to the Chief Minister on 17 March. The demand have been made through the memorandum that the decisive mandate given by the people of Bihar in favour of democracy, secularism, and justice should be respected and necessary steps in some prominent instances be taken.
The memorandum demanded a guarantee that the Ranvir Sena leaders acquitted by the Patna High Court in the Bathani, Bathe and Miyanpur carnages will be given strict punishment and these matters will be monitored properly in the Supreme Court. The Cobra Post sting operation has made a stunning expose about the Ranvir Sena in these massacres of dalits, women, and children. Taking cognizance of this expose, all the Ranvir Sena chiefs involved in the massacres as well as the politicians and officials who aided them should be arrested and punished.
It was also demanded that newly elected Darauli MLA and AIARLA State President Satyadev Ram, RYA National President Amarjeet Kushwaha, and popular youth leader from Bhojpur district Manoj Manzil who are in jail on fabricated charges against them, as well as other political prisoners should be released without delay.
It has also been demanded that the 10 TADA prisoners still in jail even after expiry of their life imprisonment term should be immediately released (14 CPI (ML) leader-activists were slapped with life sentences in false cases against them under the draconian TADA law, of whom 4 including the popular Mukhiya Shah Chand died in prison due to lack of adequate medical treatment).
The memorandum demanded implementation of the schemes for comprehensive rehabilitation and compensation for the Bhagalpur victims and guarantee of justice for the victims through just punishment for the guilty.
During talks with the Chief Minister, the issue of revoking the false charges against Rajaram Singh in the Aurangabad incident was also raised. A letter from the Human Rights Commission was also handed over to the Chief Minister which exonerated the Aurangabad protesters and imposed a fine on the administration which it held guilty for the incident.
The delegation which met the CM included former NIT teacher Prof. Santosh Kumar, physician Dr PNP Pal, former MP Rameshwar Prasad, former MLA and AIARLA General Secretary Rajaram Singh, CPI (ML) Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad.
The delegation also raised the matter of growing incidences of crime, especially violence against dalits and women. They told the CM that the incident of 60 huts of poor dalits being burnt in Kajhiya (Nawada) by BJP- The delegation also raised the issue of the RSS attack on the 'Main JNU Bol Raha Hun' programme in Muzaffarpur.
After Dadri, Lynchings of Two Muslims at Latehar in Jharkhand
(Fact finding report team comprising ML State Secretary Janardan Prasad, MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Palamu district Secretary RN Singh, Ramvilas Singh, Sarfaraz Alam, AIPF Campaign Committee member Yugal Pal, Ravindra Ram, Anil Anshuman, Dhiraj Kumar, and members of the Ranchi Anjuman Islamia.)
On 18 March Majloom Ansari (32) of Nawada village (Latehar district) and Imtiaz Ansari (12), of Arhara village started at 3.30 am from Nawada village to the Latehar haat bazaar with 8 bullocks for sale. After 10 km they reached Jhabar village where members of the 'Gauraksha Samiti' (cow protection outfit associated with the RSS) caught both of them, tied their hands and mouth, and beat them up brutally. Both were killed and strung up from a tree.
At around 6 am, Majloom's trader friends tried to search the two but they were chased away by the killers when they were on way to Jhabar village. Around 7.30 am Majloom's younger brother somehow reached the spot where two local journalists had reached before them. The police reached only at around 8 am. The victims' families were unaware of the ghastly killings till that moment; police and the local journalists had come there on intimation from some other source. Had someone from among the perpetrators informed the Press in order to create a sensation?
The victims' family members opposed the police when they tried to take away the dead bodies from the spot. Majloom's younger brother searched his pocket and found only Rs 250 whereas according to him Majloom had started from home with Rs 5000-7000. The SIM of their mobiles had been broken and thrown at the spot, and there was no trace of both mobiles.
At around 10 am people brought the dead bodies near the thana and blocked the road with demands for arrest of the murderers and compensation for the victims' families. The people blockaded the road till afternoon. The villagers agreed to take the dead bodies with them after talks with the Latehar district SP Birthare who had reached to the spot. When they were preparing to take the bodies with them, police led by Chandwa thana incharge Ratan Kumar Singh suddenly started a brutal lathi charge which not only left many injured but also created a stampede. The police also fired many rounds of bullets on the already frightened villagers.
Later the Chandwa thana incharge pulled at the beard of the deceased Majloom's grieving elder brother, shouting that Muslims would be taught a lesson.
This incident is no spontaneous 'anger at cow slaughter.' The team found no communal enmity between Hindus and Muslims of the village – rather, the Hindus have resolved not to celebrate Holi but instead to hold a peace march to protest the killings.
It was a handful of Gauraksha Samiti men who cold-bloodedly committed the lynching early in the morning when the villagers were not even awake. This incident is the result of a well-planned conspiracy. BJP leaders talk of politicization by other parties but in truth it is they who are creating communal polarization for political gains.
Both the victims come from extremely poor families. They earned their livelihood by selling bullocks for agricultural work or milch cows at bazaars. Majloom's family was entirely dependent on him, while Imtiyaz, at the tender age of 12, was the support for his entire family, since his father is crippled and his elder brother mentally challenged.
A national-level 'cow propagandist' Acharya Gopal Mani Ji Maharaj is said to be behind the assault; his supporters are known to paint slogans on walls instigating people to hang those who eat beef. The local BJP MP from Chatra is known to have attended public meetings addressed by this hate-monger. BJP leaders at known to attend events of the 'cow vigilantes' in Ranchi also.
After the formation of the BJP government in Jharkhand various outfits linked with the BJP have perpetrated over a dozen incidents of communal violence. Many communal incidents have taken place in Balumath (Latehar) earlier. About a year ago, in the Murapa region of Balumath, a Muslim youth married a girl from a Baniya family because of which all the Muslims of that area were boycotted. For several months Muslims were not allowed to travel on public transport vehicles. Men from the Gauraksha Samiti have on many occasions beaten up Muslims in Jhabar where these killings took place. These incidents were intended to keep the Muslims in a state of constant fear.
This latest incident of terror is neither a common criminal incident nor is it a result of sudden social anger as the ruling BJP is now trying to portray. This is a result of a well-thought out conspiracy and long term planning.
The CPI(ML) has demanded a high level judicial inquiry into the incident particularly of the people who are behind the said Gauraksha Samiti, criminal action against Chandwa thana incharge who played a role in inflaming communal tension and abusing the Muslim community, compensation to the families of Majloom and Imtiyaz and employment for their dependents.
Jharkhand Mid-day Meal Workers Confront Vidhan Sabha Once Again
Mid-day meal workers in Jharkhand organised under the banner of Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sanyojika Adhyaksh Sangh affiliated to AICCTU protested by thousands in front of the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha and submitted a 21 point charter of demands to the Chief Minister.
Association leaders from different districts as well as Central President Ajit Prajapati, Treasurer Anita Devi, Bihar State Vidyalaya Rasoiya Association President Saroj Chaube, ML legislator Rajkumar Yadav, AICCTU leader Shubhendu Sen and other leaders addressed the meeting. The proceedings were conducted by Premnath Vishwakarma.
Com. Saroj Choube said that we must organize ourselves against the anti-education and anti-labour policies of the Centre and State governments; we also have to fight against the growing attacks on people's democratic rights in the country. She laid stress on asserting for the women's empowerment and freedom in social and political spheres. Com. Rajkumar Yadav strongly attacked the Raghuvar government's anti-people policies and promised to once again raise the issue of injustice being done to midday meal workers in the Assembly.
AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen said that according to the 7th Pay Commission recommendations government employees should get a minimum wage of Rs 21,000 per month, whereas the government is not even implementing the wage of Rs 15,000 monthly honorarium it had already announced for the midday meal workers.
Protest against Adani's Land Grab
CPI(ML) organised state wide protests in Jharkhand on 14 March 2016 against signing of an MOU with the Adani group for the adivasis' lands in Godda district at throwaway prices. A march was taken out in Ranchi where an effigy of Jharkhand CM was burnt at Albert Ekka chowk. Adivasis' lands are being grabbed for the corporate houses; this has cunningly and misleadingly been named a 'land bank'. Sudama Khalkho, Enamul Haq, Rajdev Mahto, Nirmal Tirkey, Santosh Kumar, Shanti Sen, Elisabba Ekka, Eti Tirkey, Nazia Khatun and others addressed the meeting. A protest and effigy burning programme was also held at Dhanbad. Protests were held in Baliyapu-Jhariya, Ramgarh, Jhumri Tilaiya in Kodarma district, Bagodar, sariya, Rajdhanwar, Jamua, Giridih, Kundheet in Jamatada district, Lohardaga, Garhwa, and many other places. Protesters demanded to stop the land loot by corporates though MoUs, which has further been facilitated by the Mumbai Start-up programme, and cancelling all such MOUs.
Darbhanga District Conference of CPI(ML)
10th Darbhanga District Conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 13-14 March. The conference was inaugurated by the leader of the CPI(ML) legislature group in Bihar Mahboob Alam. He said that democracy and democratic institutions are under attack and the Ganga-Jamni culture and social fabric of the country are being destroyed. The government is protecting looters and absconding capitalists and at the same time it is muzzling freedom of ideas. Strengthening the Left movement against capitalist attack and the ideological attack by RSS is the need of the hour.
He further said that the Nitish government has betrayed the people's mandate. Attacks on dalits and poor are rife and there is rampant loot in people's rights and welfare projects. In the Assembly the government is insensitive to issues of workers and farmers. Most of the State's rice mills are closed; paddy is not being purchased; and the government has shied away from its promise to pay bonus. Workers and farmers must unite and fight to protect their rights and save democracy and secularism in the country.
Presenting the work-report at the conference the outgoing Secretary Baidyanath Yadav stressed the need to convert the Party's impact into concrete organizational strength. 235 elected delegates from all 18 blocks of the district participated in the conference.
Bhojpur district Secretary and State standing committee member Jawahar Singh attended the conference as State observer. He said that CPI(ML) is emerging as the centre of Left struggles and it is only by fighting all ruling class parties that marginalized social forces can forge their independent political identities.
Addressing the organizational session PB member and Mithilanchal in-charge Dhirendra Jha said that the manner in which the Modi government is giving open protection to looting, corporate, capitalist machinery in the country will further erode the rights of workers, farmers, students, youth, and geographically backward regions. There is a clear attempt to divert attention from the agenda of socio-economic development through the politics of hate and destruction, in order to save the Modi government which is failing on every parameter of people's expectations. He said that the way in which a democratic-intellectual programme in Mujaffarpur was allowed to be attacked by Sanghi goons shows that the administration of the Nitish govt is also heading towards appeasing the communal forces. The govt should act promptly against such saffronized officials sitting in the administration. He stressed that democracy would be strengthened only by the rejuvenation of the Left movement in Mithilanchal. He said that Ashok Paper Mill had become the centre for looting money from government banks which was being used for other purposes. He stressed on the need for sharpening people's struggles on the issues of opening Ashok Paper Mill as well as all other sugar, rice, jute, and other mills, opening a Central University in Mithilanchal, and finding a permanent solution for floods and droughts for agricultural development.
CPI(ML) State Conference in Uttarakhand
The 2nd Uttarakhand State conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 19-20 March 2016 in Srinagar (Garhwal). The conference venue was named in memory of Com. Nagendra Saklani who was martyred in the decisive struggle against the Tehri monarchy on 11 January 1948, and the conference city was named after Com. Chandra Singh Garhwali who was the hero of the Peshawar Rebellion on 23 April 1930.
The conference began with flag hoisting by Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi and 2 minutes' silence as tribute to the martyrs.
Inaugurating the open session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that not only in India but across the world from Latin America to England to America, calls are reverberating for a new socialism, a better world, and a better society. Within one year the true character of the Modi government has been exposed. It is the responsibility of the Left to positively use this new situation of struggle which has emerged in the country and in the world. He said that the attack on JNU in the name of nationalism, based on fabricated and doctored videos, has failed miserably in the face of the spirited struggle by students. The nation, the country is its people, workers, farmers, students, youth, dalits, adivasis, and women. By attacking these sections those who claim to be nationalistic are proving their nationalism to be false. Com. Dipankar further said that Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar are our true heroes whose vision was to make the country for the oppressed, the poor and dalits. Ambedkar's dream of annihilating caste is not possible without changing the existing system. The attack by the Sangh on Rohith Vemula on the grounds that Rohith was speaking not only of dalit issues but of other issues exposes the mindset of the RSS; they want to keep the dalits within a boundary. To prescribe limits for everyone and pressurize them into staying within those limits: this is what fascism is.
Commenting on the political situation in Uttarakhand, Com. Dipankar said that States like Uttarakhand have become places of loot. It is essential to make policies keeping in mind the special geographical conditions of Uttarakhand. Instead, as in Jharkhand, BJP and Congress leaders are engaged only in vying for the post of Chief Minister.
CPM State Secretary Rajendra Singh Negi addressed the inaugural session and said that the need of the hour is to establish the politics of people's struggles in the State, for which Left parties should unite and mobilize all pro-people forces.
CPI(ML) CC member Raja Bahuguna said that the current political upheaval in Uttarakhand is nothing but a fight for a share in the loot of the State's resources. He said that the land, mining, and liquor mafia have become institutionalized. He pointed out that 15 years of BJP-Congress rule has entirely destroyed the vision and objectives with which the State was created.
CPI State Secretary Anand Singh Rana also sent a message of solidarity with the CPI (ML) conference. ML Garhwal Secretary Atul Satee gave the welcome speech. Ganesh Singh Garib, who inspired the Chakbandi agitation, said that it is not possible to save Uttarakhand without saving agricultural and lands in the hills. The conference was also addressed by Com. Girija Pathak and Com. Shrikant from Delhi.
A 15 member State committee was elected by the conference and Com. Rajendra Pratholi re-elected State Secretary.
Com. Ramchandra Yadav