Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ML Update | No. 18 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 18 | 26 April- 02 May 2016

A Manifesto for May Day 2016

Resist India, Resist!

IT HAS BEEN TWO YEARS since Narendra Modi became India's Prime Minister unleashing a trajectory of governance that is proving to be nothing short of a political calamity for our society and polity. Never before has India seen a government so callous and indifferent to the plight of the people. Even as large parts of the country are reeling under severe drought and famine-like conditions, and dozens of farmers continue to be driven daily to suicides under a crushing burden of debt and insecurity, the government nonchalantly congratulates itself for promising to double farm income by 2022. The CM of Maharashtra, the worst drought-affected state, is least concerned about this alarming agrarian distress, he is busy issuing deportation threats to whoever does not chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and his cabinet colleague makes her tour of drought-affected areas memorable by taking selfies on her smartphone! The PM is of course busy touring foreign lands, addressing election rallies, occasionally taking time off to deliver his radio gospels or appreciate his own wax statue in a Madame Tussauds museum.

It is a government which came to power with only 31% of the polled vote, but almost from day one it has been in a state of permanent war with large sections of the citizenry including many who had voted it to power. Its land acquisition ordinance has been rejected by all, but it continues to promote large-scale diversion and acquisition of agricultural land in flagrant violation of the mandates of the 2013 Act for compensation and rehabilitation.

To push its 'Make in India' agenda it is desperately trying to subvert every law and institution of the land - labour rights, environmental safeguards, natural resources, the entire framework of democracy are all being mortgaged to lure foreign investment. Dissenting students in premier educational institutions are being branded 'casteist' and 'anti-national' and subjected to systematic political persecution. RSS cadres have been planted in influential positions across the institutional spectrum and in key Constitutional posts, and President's Rule is being imposed to destabilize elected non-BJP governments while in BJP-ruled states governance has become a metaphor for state-sponsored anarchy, terror and relentless communal polarisation.

Accompanying this war on the people and their constitutional rights and liberties, is the Sangh brigade's sinister invasion of history. Modi came to power with the slogan of 'Congress-mukt Bharat' - in the guise of this slogan he not only spearheaded a campaign to oust the discredited Manmohan Singh dispensation at the Centre and other tainted Congress-led regimes in the states, but also sought to produce a narrative that would trash the Congress teleologically and construct a non-existent past for the BJP. Patel was the first Congress leader to be hijacked in the process, and during his first year in power Modi also tried his level best to appropriate Gandhi through his much hyped 'Swachh Bharat' campaign. With the declassification of Netaji files and the celebration of Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary, now the Sangh-BJP establishment is out to claim the legacies of Subhas Bose and Ambedkar. Sangh ideologues would like us to believe that Ambedkar's call for 'annihilation of castes' was meant to unify Hindus as a community, the RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser' describing Ambedkar as a 'great unifier'. No wonder Rohith Vemula and his comrades have been dubbed 'anti-national' and activists and intellectuals spreading the ideas of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar have been attacked virulently by Sanghi goons.

The Sanghi campaign of war on democracy has of course come up against powerful resistance on different levels. Peasants fought hard to reject the land acquisition ordinance. Workers have successfully stalled the proposed labour law reforms. Prompt opposition against the proposal to levy taxes on withdrawals from PF forced the government to drop the idea and now militant workers' protests, especially by women workers from the garments industry in Bengaluru, have pushed the government on the back foot in its bid to restrict withdrawals from PF. The wave of returning of awards by eminent writers, artists, scientists and other intellectuals in the wake of the killings of Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Muhammad Ikhlaq added a new dimension to popular assertion against religious bigotry, communal violence and the culture of political patronage and impunity granted to the goons of the Sangh brigade. And following the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the subsequent witch-hunt and police crackdown in JNU, the protests grew into a veritable student-youth upsurge. The mass disenchantment and anger against the Modi raj have resonated in elections and now we also have a strong judicial indictment in the form of the Uttarakhand HC verdict setting aside the promulgation of President's Rule in the state.

The 2016 May Day calls upon the working people of India to strengthen this ongoing battle for democracy with all their might. The working class shall not only thwart the Modi government's bid to curb labour rights and steal workers' hard earned savings and pensions, the spirit of the May Day will inspire the working class to join hands with every other section of the fighting people and build a broad platform of resistance on the common agenda of democracy. At a time when the Sangh brigade is desperately trying to divide and mislead the people and use them as cannon fodder for their fascist campaign and pseudo-nationalist agenda, it is imperative for the working class to assert as the strongest bulwark of people's unity and communal harmony and staunchest champion of people's democracy, of the anti-imperialist anti-corporate interests of the Indian people. Resist India, Resist!


CPI(ML) Legislative Party in Bihar Assembly

The CPI(ML) Legislative party in the Bihar Assembly consisting of 3 members led by Com. Mahboob Alam proved itself to be the true opposition in the State by raising issues related to farmers, workers and the poor in the Budget session of 2016. During zero hour Com. Mahboob Alam raised the issues of the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the false cases of sedition against JNU students and proposed a censure motion against the attempts by the BJP and the Sangh to create an atmosphere of hate and pseudo-nationalism in the country. However, the Nitish government did not see fit even to consider such a motion. Com. Alam also raised the demand for the release of Comrades Satyadev Ram, Amarjeet Kushwaha, Manoj Manzil and other activists in jail on false charges, and identification of and punishment for the killers of Rajendra Mahto, Sanjay Chaurasiya, Rampravesh Das and Mahesh Das.

Com. Sudama Prasad raised the issue of cooked up statistics by the government to show false figures of development. He asked why no new factories have been opened and why old factories are lying closed. He pointed out that the only new industries are beer factories whereas the government is at the same time talking of total prohibition. He stressed the miserable conditions of farmers and said that their crops are not being purchased adequately and paddy purchase payments are still in arrears. He raised the question of sharecroppers' welfare and rights also and demanded that the defunct irrigation canals should be made functional. He questioned the corruption in PDS ad raised issues of housing for the poor. He pointed out that the Nitish government has failed to keep its promise of unemployment allowance. The government talks of reservation for women but the truth is that job opportunities are rapidly dwindling. Even the few appointments that are being made are on contractual or honorarium basis. The Party legislators pointed out that the Nitish government is running on the same anti-farmer, anti-worker, anti-poor and pro-corporate policies that the BJP is implementing at the Centre.

The CPI (ML) legislators took part in the discussion on the appropriation bills in most of the departments. They also raised about 205 people's interest issues of importance to Bihar through questions, zero hour, calling attention, adjournment and other motions. They raised the matter of the Sanghi attack on the 'Main JNU Bol Raha Hun' programme on 13 March, condemning the attitude of the administration and government and demanding arrest of the conspirator BJP leader and removal of the City Commissioner.

On 28 March, during the post Holi session the legislators demanded discussion on the murders of ML leaders in Begusarai on 21 March; when the government refused to have a discussion they protested in the well of the Assembly and then walked out.


Sankalp Sabha in Begusarai

The CPI (ML) held a Sankalp Sabha on 12 April 2016 at the Chamadiya maidan in Baliya subdivision of Begusarai to pay tributes to Com. Mahesh Ram and Com. Rampravesh Ram. Attended by a large number of people, the Sankalp Sabha was addressed by CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya who said that the martyrdom of Com. Mahesh Ram and Com. Rmpravsh would not go in vain; the people would give a befitting reply. In recent days, attacks on students, youth, intellectuals, and cultural activists have greatly increased, with dalits being the focal targets of these attacks. While at Hyderabad Central University, oppression by the administrative and political system forced dalit scholar Rohith Vemula  to commit suicide, Com. Mahesh Ram and Rampravesh Ram who were engaged with feudal forces on land struggles in the villages of Begusarai have been murdered by the feudal in connivance with the administration and police.

Com. Dipankar further said that Mahesh Ram and Rohith Vemula are today's Bhagat Singhs in the present context, who were trying to highlight the dream of building a new India. There is not much difference between Modi and Nitish; feudal forces are raising their heads under the rule of both and are unleashing calculated and well-planned attacks on dalits in order to crush the voices of dissent. After such murders, the silence and insensitivity of the police and administration are an indication that these incidents have been carried out with the connivance of the State government. This attitude of the Nitish government is an insult to the people's mandate he got in the elections. This government has betrayed the poor and the marginalized. This is the reason that in spite of requesting protection from the administration, they were brutally murdered by the feudal forces.

Com. Dipankar said that this double murder has exposed the hypocrisy of the self-professed 'love' for dalits claimed by the Bihar government. Therefore, a high level enquiry must be held to invsetigate these murders and the culprits should be arrested and punished without delay. Today the need is for dalits, poor, intellectuals, cultural activists, farmers, workers, students and youth to speak out against the government as well as communal-feudal forces; only then will we be able to walk on the road shown by Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to build a new India. He announced that a memorial would be built for the two martyrs at Maksudanpur Diyara village.

Addressing the meeting, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sabha National General Secretary, Com. Rajaram Singh said that the law and order system in Bihar has become subservient to criminals. These double murders are a clear example of this; the people would surely give a fitting reply to this. Party MLA Com. Sudama Prasad said that we have raised the issue of the murder of these young dalit leaders in the Assembly, and have demanded action against the Baliya DSP. The CPI(ML) has always fought the battles of the poor, dalits, and oppressed. Protest marches have been held across Bihar against these murders. The Party called for a Begusarai 'bandh' and made the bandh successful, driving away feudal goons who tried to deter the bandh. He further said that if the police, administration and government do not render justice, the people will give them suitable punishment. A murder charge should also be filed against the Baliya DSP in this case, as he is hand-in-glove with the culprits. He should have been immediately suspended, but the government took no action.


47th Foundation Day of CPI(ML) Observed 

The 47th foundation day of the party was celebrated all over the country. A meeting was held at Charu Bhawan in Delhi where the bust of Comrade Charu Mazumdar was garlanded, and the Central Committee's Party Foundation Day message was read and discussed. Similar meetings were held at Patna and Bihar, UP, W Bengal, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and various places in East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.    


Rise Up against the Proxy War on Students by the Modi Regime

(Excerpt from Statement by AISA leader and JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid on Punishments of JNU Students, announcing plans for a fast-unto-death by students.)

JNUSU rejects the report of the enquiry committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to look into the 9th of February incident. JNUSU also rejects its reports and any punishment handed out by it. The JNUSU and JNUTA had repeatedly asked the administration to democratise the enquiry committee, but this was not done.  Now, when the holidays are here, the VC has made public the punishments, after one and a half months of submission of the HLEC (High Level Enquiry Committee) report.

The punishments are nothing but a proxy war waged against the students by the Modi govt through its puppets installed in the JNU administration. Modi govt cannot answer our difficult questions, and is, therefore, resorting to these tactics. They want to create a chilling effect and discourage students from speaking up against Modi government's failures.

The Proctorial committee was dissolved arbitrarily and replaced by a "high level" committee, headed by Prof. Bhatnagar who is a known anti-reservationist. He continues to be the authority responsible for raising funds for the rabid student group, "Youth for Equality".

No woman, no SC/ST/OBC/minority teacher, no one from the Social Sciences was included in the committee, whereas the defendants all hail from poor and marginalised backgrounds, include women and are mostly from the Social Sciences!

The CVO, Chief Vigilance Officer, is the final appellate authority of the University, but he himself is part of the HLEC. Prof Suman Dhar, who happens to be the CVO, is a member of the Committee. Hence, we cannot even appeal against this decision!

Due to all this, the students refused to participate in the enquiry process. Based on one-sided depositions of ABVP members, the enquiry committee has come up with massive fines, rustication, draconian out-of-bounds orders and what not? This shows how scared the government is of dissenting voices.

The HLEC has randomly punished people. One of the students, Anirban, has been punished with rustication and out-of-bounds orders for five years! Around 14 students have been fined for Rs. 20,000 each and threatened to pay the fine by 13th of May or face hostel eviction. Former JNUSU President, Ashutosh Kumar has been evicted from hostel for one year and fined with Rs. 20,000. Such punishments are unheard of, and reek of extreme vendetta against student activists. This is clearly a war bugle sounded by the Central government.

Nowhere do the punishment orders mention the exact crime committed by the students. All the orders cite a statute that reads, "Any other action deemed inappropriate by the Vice-Chancellor." This cannot be the yardstick to measure the legality of any event. The administration, in these orders, repeatedly says that "taking part in a march", "raising slogans" is unbecoming of a JNU student. This is ridiculous and unacceptable. In order to punish anyone, a three-step link has to be established by any enquiry committee:

a) Establish the exact action for which punishment is being handed out.

b) Justify how that particular action violates a certain University statute.

c) Justify how a certain violation attracts a certain amount of punishment.

The committee hasn't bothered to do any of this, and has arbitrarily punished students for holding political opinions that they may not like.

The HLEC had submitted its report one and a half months back to the VC. However, the VC has waited till the onset of holidays to make the punishments public, showing how scared the VC is of students' protests. But we want to remind the new VC here that, many struggles have been fought by the student community during the time of exams and vacations. The struggle to implement Mandal-II (OBC reservation in higher educaiton) saw a 34-day hunger strike in JNU during holidays. In the summer of 2014, under the Dera Dalo movement, students and workers together occupied the Ad Block for 14 days in blazing heat, to demand hostels and workers' rights. The 16th December movement and the Occupy UGC movement went on despite holiday, biting cold and water cannons.

Why has the VC not held an Academic Council meeting which is supposed to happen every semester? Every year, there are two AC meetings- one in October and one in April. This is a huge failure on part of the VC, who is so afraid to face the students and the teachers that he cancelled the AC meeting scheduled on the 19th of April and hasn't reconvened it. The reality is, that without consulting the students and teachers, sweeping changes in admission policy have been brought about by the new administration. It is shocking that, without discussing the issues of reduction of deprivation points for women and BA applicants, and introduction cluster system in BA entrance exam, these changes were brought into the prospectus. Also, bypassing the High Court order to provide relaxation to OBC applicants at two stages, the administration has decided to grant the relaxation at only one level. Not only will we oppose the punishments, we will also raise these issues through our hunger strike.

The Modi government cannot deal with the issues we raise, cannot answer our questions regarding organised scams, communal hate mongering and economic failure. They cannot answer our questions on non-NET fellowship and Rohith Vemula, on minority institutions, on police action on students, on Bastar, on Kashmir, on Gajendra Chauhan. Rather than countering us politically, rather than working on developmental and economic issues, the Modi govt has directed all of its energy into crushing opposition. However, not only will JNUSU continue to fight against these fines and punishments, we will continue to expose the government. Not only will we oppose the rustications, we will also raise difficult questions. Students, teachers, farmers' organisations, women's groups, bank employees' Unions and IT employees' Unions across the country have assured support to us. People from all walks of life are supporting JNU students against this targeting. We will launch a countrywide campaign to expose this government's anti-student, anti-Dalit character.


AIPWA Protest Against Rape-Accused RJD MLA

The All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) held a militant march to the Governor's house (Rajbhavan) in Patna on 21st April, demanding that rape-accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav be charge-sheeted and stripped of his membership in the Bihar Assembly.

The protesting women marched from the Gardanibagh Gate Library to the Governor's mansion, then made a turn towards the State Assembly where they managed to enter the premises before tangling with security guards.

AIPWA State President Saroj Chaubey, Secretary Shashi Yadav and National GS Meena Tiwari as well as other state-level leaders led the march, accusing the government of trying to protect the RJD leader. They sought a speedy trial to bring the alleged rapist to justice.

Raj Ballabh Yadav was identified by a 15-year old girl in Nalanda district as having raped her. He had gone underground and surrendered before the police only after protests by AIPWA and other women's groups. But the police had dragged its feet on filing a charge-sheet, and meanwhile media carried news of him holding a lavish party inside the prison.

Following the AIPWA March, the chargesheet against Raj Ballabh Yadav has been filed. AIPWA has vowed to continue to struggle till he is convicted and punished.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

ML Update | No. 17 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 17  |19 - 25 APR 2016

Stop Massacre of Civilians in Kashmir 

Less than ten days after the PDP-BJP Government assumed power in Kashmir, Kashmir has witnessed a fresh bout of killings of civilian protesters by Army bullets. Five civilians have been killed, and several have suffered injuries that may cripple them for life. Once more, Kashmir has been plunged into the cycle of killings, protests, more killings, accompanied by curfews and internet bans.

The episode was triggered when civilians came on the streets of Handwara to protest the alleged molestation of a minor girl by Army personnel. The Army responded by firing on and killing three civilians. When people came on the streets in other parts of northern Kashmir to protest the killings, the Army again responded by killing more civilians.  

The handling of the complaint of alleged molestation by the J&K Police has been rife with shocking violations of laws and norms. By law, the police should have promptly registered an FIR and recorded the girl's statement before a magistrate. Instead, the police instead illegally recorded and released a video of the girl that denied molestation by the Army and revealed the identity of the girl, thus compromising her privacy and safety. The girl's statement before the magistrate (denying molestation by the Army) has been recorded only after the police held the girl, her father and aunt in illegal custody for several days. While such a statement might have carried credibility and calmed tempers had it been recorded on the very first day, it can no longer do so now, because the J&K Police itself has fatally compromised the credibility of the process and sent the unmistakable message that it cared more to protect the Army's reputation than to ensure well-being and justice for a Kashmiri teenage girl. And whatever the facts about the alleged molestation, there can be no excuse for the killings of civilian protesters.     

The Handwara episode has once again underlined how the heavy military deployment in civilian areas of Kashmir promotes a callous disregard for the value of Kashmiri lives and the right of Kashmiris to protest. Time and again, we see how civilian protests and stone pelting by young people in Kashmir are invariably met with bullets aimed to kill, while similar protests in other states are generally handled with more restraint, with police action intended at dispersing rather than killing protesters.  

The Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has made some token expressions of anguish and has appealed to the Union Defence Minister to rein in the Army and prevent civilian killings. But the very ineffectualness of these gestures expose the opportunism of the PDP, and the yawning gap between Kashmir's main political parties and the agony of Kashmir's people.

The BJP Government at the Centre and its increased footprint in the Valley is undoubtedly intensifying the alienation of Kashmiri people. The attempts by vested interests including Central Ministers to create polarization and hatred by fanning up hyper-jingoist frenzy in NIT Srinagar are a case in point. The calculated attacks on Kashmiri students in various campuses all over India, and the use of sedition laws to suppress protests against the execution of Afzal Guru, are all sending the message to Kashmiris that their voices will be gagged and criminalised.     

The Congress and National Conference have condemned the current round of killings. P Chidambaram, who was Home Minister in the UPA Government has preached against a militarized approach to Kashmir and has even called for a repeal of the AFSPA. But when he himself was Home Minister, he and his Government presided over a spree of killings of civilian protesters in Kashmir in 2010, and the cover-up of the Shopian rape and murder in 2009. 

The glaring contrast in the ways the BJP in power deals with protests and agitations in Kashmir and other states can only further alienate and anger the common people of Kashmir. In Haryana Jats were allowed to go on a veritable rampage in the name of reservations and the Khattar government came to a political settlement. In Gujarat, militant protests by the powerful Patel lobby do not lead to an unleashing of state terror. But protests in Kashmir, on any issue whatsoever, are always sought to be silenced and crushed militarily. The largely biased coverage of the killings by the Indian media, painting protesting Kashmiri civilians as violent and the Army brutality as a display of nationalism, adds further to Kashmir's agony and alienation.

The rhetoric of 'development' and 'governance' is no substitute for a political solution to the central issue of Kashmiri self-determination and questions of denial of justice in Kashmir. The first precondition for meaningful political dialogue must be the withdrawal of Army from civilian areas in Kashmir; the scrapping of draconian laws like the AFSPA and PSA; a credible process of truth and justice in the various instances of fake encounters, disappearances, mass graves, and sexual assaults in Kashmir; and the freedom of political expression and protest for the Kashmiri people, both in the Valley and in the rest of India. 


AIPF Organises National Convention in Delhi

The All India People's Forum (AIPF) held a national convention on the theme "Deepening socio-economic crisis: Way forward for peoples struggles to defend country and democracy" on 18 April 2016 at the Constitution Club in Delhi. This national convention was held in the backdrop of a deepening agrarian and economic crisis, unemployment, growing fascist assaults and brutal crackdown on democratic movements in campuses across the country. The AIPF, since its inception a year ago, has been at the forefront of voicing the entire range of peoples' concerns across many states. The convention was attended by activists from various peoples struggles, including Dr. Binayak Sen, Sunilam (Samajwadi Samagam), Prof. Jagmohan Singh, John Dayal, Himanshu Kumar, Isha Khandelwal (Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group), Roma Mallick (All India Forum of Forest Working People), Dr. Manzoor Alam, Shahid Kamal, Anil Chamadia, Anand Swaroop Verma, Vidyabhushan Rawat, ND Pancholi, Ambarish Rai, Dipankar Bhattacharya (CPI-ML), Bhimrao Bansode (Lal Nishan Party – Leninist), Mangat Ram Pasla (CPM Punjab), as well as student leaders from JNU, FTII and elsewhere.

Addressing the convention, Sunilam, convenor of the Samajwadi Samagam, talked about the massive ongoing repression on the farmers' movement in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Sunilam himself had been jailed before for leading farmer's protests. In the midst of a huge agrarian and economic crisis, farmers' are also bearing the brunt of brutal repression, he mentioned. John Dayal spoke of the persecution of minorities, "Islamophobia has become state policy under the Modi government", he said.

Speaking of the ongoing assault on democracy in Chhattisgarh and especially in Bastar, Himanshu Kumar highlighted the fact that the present state of repression has a history, and traces back beyond the present BJP-Modi regime. One would have to think beyond the Congress-BJP binary, he pointed out. Isha Khandelwal, of the Jadgalpur Legal Aid Group, also spoke eloquently and in detail about the ongoing repression of all democratic voices in Bastar: "When we went to meet the Inspector General of Police Kalluri, he told us that they needed to take land away from people to give it to corporations. Clearly, what is underway is a cleansing operation, where people are being thrown out", she said.

Roma Mallick of the All India Union of the Forest Working People spoke of the land grab and police repression in Uttar Pradesh, when forest people try to defend their legal rights. Dr. Binayak Sen said that he himself had got bail on sedition charges from the Supreme Court, and he was proud and happy that young students today are battling the sedition law and state repression on all dissenting voices He also talked of rampant malnutrition, poverty and deaths, and the various government's complete disinterest in addressing this horrific situation.

Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary of the CPI(ML), talked about the importance of not just resistance, but also of the need to launch a counter offensive: "It is a time of both crisis as well as potential, and students are to be congratulated because they have taken on the task of launching a counter offensive by carrying forward the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar", he said. Bhimrao Bansode, secretary of the Lal Nishan Party – Leninist, mentioned that the Congress governments could not protect activists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Prof. Kalburgi and neither have they booked their killers and ensure justice. The RSS-BJP is trying desperately to appropriate Ambedkar, but they will never succeed because of their inherent differences between the RSS' worldview and Ambedkar vision, he said. Mangat Ram Pasla, general secretary of CPM (Punjab) said that in Punjab and all over the country, farmers are suffering from drought and an unprecedented agrarian crisis, while the Modi government is busy protecting the likes of Vijay Mallya.

The conference was also attended by Manzoor Alam of the Milli Council, Rajeev Yadav from the Rihai manch in Uttar Pradesh, Shahid Kamal from the Rashtra Seva Dal, ND Pancholi, Vijay Pratap of the Samajwadi Samagam, Anand Swaroop Varma, journalist Anil Chamadia and others.

Student leaders who have been battling sedition charges and a brutal crackdown by the ABVP-RSS-BJP were felicitated by the convention. JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was felicitated by Dr. Binayak Sen. Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, former JNUSU office bearers Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakesh Narayan, current JNUSU general secretary Rama Naga, and GSCASH representative Aishwarya Adhikari, as well Rakesh Shukla from the FTII were felicitated.  

The following resolutions were passed by the Convention:

The Convention:

1)       Demands an urgent intervention to resolve the drought crisis, agrarian crisis and farmers' distress including writing off of farmers' debts and a special package for drought-affected farmers; expansion of MNREGA and Food Security Act in the drought affected regions; and rolling back of interest rate reduction on small savings.            

2)       Demands an immediate end to the military repression and firing on civilians in the Kashmir Valley and repeal of the AFSPA.

3)       Demands disbanding of all private militia in Bastar and stern action against police officers complicit in attacks on and eviction of activists and journalists in Bastar. 

4)       Demands punishment of Ministers and other authorities responsible for the crackdown on campuses, victimisation of student activists and the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. 

5)       Demands enactment of a 'Rohith Act' to protect Dalit students from discrimination on campuses; restoration of UGC scholarships and funds that have been slashed and roll-back of fee hikes in IITs and higher-education institutions.

6)       Demands stern action to recover all dues to public sector banks from Vijay Mallya, Mukesh Ambani, and blacklisting of all wilful corporate loan defaulters.    

7)       Demands scrapping of the Sedition Law and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).  

8)       Pays tribute to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar on the occasion of his 125th Birth Anniversary Year, and calls upon people to uphold his mission to annihilate caste, and achieve a truly egalitarian and democratic India. 

9)       Calls for a united people's resistance against the countrywide campaign of communal bullying and violence unleashed by the Sangh Parivar on a range of pretexts ranging from beef to Bharat Mata slogans.

10)     Calls for powerful, united struggles to defend the democratic rights of workers, peasants, women, Dalits, Muslims, Christians, adivasis and all citizens and resist the corporate-communal-fascist offensive. 


Beating of a Muslim Youth on Pretext of Possessing Beef in Ranchi

In an incident which took place on 27 March in Chanho near Ranchi, a Muslim youth travelling in a tempo was so brutally beaten by the police on suspicion that he was in possession of beef that he had to be hospitalized in a serious condition. When he was searched, no beef was found on him. People who held a road block to protest against this incident were also threatened.

When CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, who was in Jharkhand at the time, came to know of the incident he went to Chanho and also met the youth in hospital. He called for a struggle to ensure justice for the young man. He said that the BJP government is inflicting a reign of terror on the entire country in a planned and calculated manner, which is why people belonging to minority communities are living in the shadow of fear under the Raghuvar government in Jharkhand. He added that the Balumath incident is, if anything, even more brutal than the Dadri incident, and the real murderers are being protected. It is under this agenda of the Sangh that frenzy and passions are being incited under the guise of nationalism.


National Trade Unions' Convention in Delhi

General Strike on 2 September 2016 Announced

A national convention of workers was held on 30 March 2016, at the Mavlankar Hall in New Delhi, under the joint banners of the country's central trade unions. The convention issued a declaration calling for a countrywide general strike on 2 September 2016 to strengthen the agitation against the government's neglect of workers' demands and the growing attacks on workers' rights. It is noteworthy that last year on this same date the working class of the country had held a countrywide strike to protest against the Modi government.

The central trade unions which participated in the convention were AICCTU, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, UTUC, and LPF. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) did not participate in this convention. Independent national federations and organizations from various sectors such as banking, insurance, defence, railways as well as Central/State workers participated in the convention. The convention was addressed by AICCTU National Secretary Santosh Roy, AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta, CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen, HMS General Secretary Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, UTUC leader Abani Roy, INTUC General Secretary Sanjeeva Reddy, AIUTUC General Secretary Shankar Saha and other union leaders.

Addressing the convention, Com. Santosh Roy said that the present government brings to mind the slavery practiced by the British government. The Modi government is attacking and oppressing workers and farmers from all directions. However, the working class will put up a historic fight in the same way that it played an important role in the freedom struggle. He further said that the truth of the current situation is revealed by the way in which the judiciary has passed anti-worker sentences in the Pricol, Maruti and Honda cases on the one hand and remains silent on the people who loot the country's resources and spread communal hatred and violence, on the other hand. He called upon workers, farmers, students, dalits, adivasis, women, and all struggling sections to come together in rock-solid unity and make the strike on 2 September a huge success.


CPI(ML) Campaign In Tamilnadu For Upcoming Assembly Elections

On Dr. Ambedkar's birth anniversary, the concluding day of the "Save nation, Save Democracy" campaign, public meetings introducing CPI(ML) candidates in the upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu were held in 10 constituencies. In a well-attended public meeting organized by workers of Pricol, Shanthi Gears and other industries at Perianaickanpalayam in Coimbatore, CPI(ML) candidates Com. Velmurugan (standing from Goundampalayam) and Com. Natraj (standing from the Mettupalayam constituency) were introduced by Com. Kumarasamy, CPI(ML) politburo member. In the Ambattur constituency, CPI(ML) candidate Com. Palanivel, a worker with the Murugappa group of companies and state secretary of AICCTU, was introduced by Com. A S Kumar, CPI(ML) State Committee Member. Chennai district secretary Com. Sekar addressed the meeting, and both organized as well as unorganized sector workers participated.

Com. Janakiraman, who is the state General secretary of AIARLA and the CPI(ML) candidate from the Madhavaram constituency in Tiruvellore district, was introduced by CPI(ML) state committee member Com. Jawahar. Com. Venkatesan, state secretary of AIARLA, is contesting from Ulundurpet, and he was introduced by central committee member Com. Balasundaram. Rural poor, and mostly women, attended the meeting where his candidacy was announced. In Sriprumpudur, which is an SC seat and the automobile hub of Tamil Nadu, a worker with Asian Paints Com. Rajesh is the CPI(ML) candidate. RYA national secretary Com. Bharathi addressed the meeting, and workers from many industries assembled in the meeting. Kumarapalayam in Namakkal District is a powerloom centre and Com. Govindaraj, leader of powerloom workers and CPI(ML) State Committee Member is contesting. Com. Chandramohan introduced him In a public meeting.

Com. Vanitha, a women worker of MNREGA, has been fielded from Gandarvakottai is an SC seat in Pudukottai district. Com.Jayanthi is contesting from Vedachandur in Dindigul district, and she was introduced by Com. N K Natarajan. Com. Antony muthu is the CPI(ML) candidate from Colachel in Kanyakumari district, and he was introduced by state committee member Com. Sankarapandian.


Jan Sammelan in Gorakhpur

The Gorakhpur units of CPI (ML) and AIARLA jointly organized a Jan Sammelan 'Naye Bharat ke Vaaste, Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar ke Raaste' on 3 April 2016 at Ambedkar Park in Langdi Gulriha village under the Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar Sandesh Yatra campaign. Speakers addressing the function called for an enhanced struggle to realize the India of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar's dreams.

Inaugurating the conference, National Secretary of Jan Sanskriti Manch Manoj Kumar Singh said that today the RSS and BJP are claiming to teach 'nationalism' to the inheritors of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar, whereas the truth is that the RSS had nothing to do with the freedom struggle and never struggled for the rights and issues of dalits, workers, farmers and women in independent India. He pointed out that RSS-BJP had done nothing except to cause divisiveness among the people of the country and strengthen the caste system. Describing the freedom struggle in detail, he said that Bhagat Singh and Baba Saheb had nurtured a vision of ending inequality at every level in the country and establishing a society free from oppression, and spent their entire lives working for the fulfillment of this vision. Today it is up to us to take their struggle forward and achieve the India of their dreams.

Former President of Gorakhpur Journalists' Press Club Ashok Choudhury spoke about the prevailing conditions in education, health, agriculture and labour and said that a conspiracy is on today to deprive the country's poor youth of education. Apart from education, budgetary cuts are also being made in health and other social security projects, resulting in dire distress for the poor. He cautioned the people about the RSS-BJP's attempt to co-opt the country's icons as their own.

Advocate Shyam Milan spoke of the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and said that the youth of the country would not let Rohith's martyrdom go in vain and would give a befitting reply to the Modi government which supports Brahminism. CPI(ML) district Secretary Rajesh Sahani spoke in detail about the aim of this campaign by the Party, and said that the Modi government in its 2 years in power had attacked farmers, workers, intellectuals and youth, and now it has launched a murderous attack on freedom, in the name of 'nationalism'. Even programmes organized on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar are being attacked because they are afraid of the ideas and thoughts of these two icons. These attacks are being strongly protested and we must strengthen these protests further. Presiding over the meeting, Com. Shriram spoke about the attacks on dalits in and around Gorakhpur and called upon dalits and the poor to join the CPI (ML)'s struggle against these attacks. The conference was also addressed by Com. Ajay Bharti, Ramanand, Manorama, Vinod Paswan, and others. AIARLA district Secretary Vinod Bharadwaj conducted the proceedings.


State-Wide Protests In Jharkhand Against Threats To CPI(ML) MLA

On the evening of 31 March, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav received a threat on his mobile from an extremist group PLFI that if he does not pay up Rs 20 lakhs within one week he will be killed just as Mahendra Singh was killed.

CPI(ML) said this was a political conspiracy, and announced a state-wide protest on 2 April. This is not a simple case of threat for extortion by an extremist group, but a conspiracy by the same forces which carried out the political conspiracy to murder Com. Mahendra Singh in order to stop the growing influence of the CPI (ML) in Giridih district as well as in the entire State. The politician involved in the conspiracy to kill Com. Mahendra Singh is the present BJP State President Ravindra Rai, who is from Raj Dhanwar and whom Com. Rajkumar had given a tough fight in the last Lok Sabha election. It is noteworthy that in the recently concluded Panchayat elections, CPI(ML) representatives won in good numbers, enhancing the political profile of the Party. On the other hand, growing disenchantment of the people poses a tough challenge to Ravindra Rai's being re-elected in the Koderma Parliamentary constituency.

The Party held a state-wide protest on 2 April to demand a high level enquiry into this matter and arrest of the true culprits. Ranchi CPI(ML) State Secretary Janardan Prasad led the joint protest march by AISA, AIPF and CPI(ML) from the Party office to the Albert Ekka chowk where an effigy of the government was burnt.

Addressing the protest meeting Com. Janardan Prasad said that democratic rights and the true representatives of the people are not safe under the Raghuvar government. Com. Mahendra Singh was killed in a political conspiracy during the rule of the BJP's Arjun Munda government. Now under the Raghuvar government, Com. Rajkumar is being threatened. The people of Jharkhand will give a befitting reply to this. The protest programme was attended by AISA members as well as CPI(ML), Jan Sanskriti Manch and AIPWA members. Protests were also held in Godda, Devghar and Dhanbad.


Protest In Delhi Against Fresh Spate Of Feudal-Casteist Murders In Bihar

AISA organized a protest demonstration and effigy burning of the Bihar government in Delhi's JNU on 17 April 2016 against the fresh spate of feudal murders in Bihar. In the past month, three dalit CPI(ML) activists – comrades Mahesh Ram, Rampravesh Ram and Garo Paswan – have been brutally murdered by feudal forces in Begusarai. Clearly, they were punished for their 'crime' of leading battles of the poor for land, rights and dignity.

The protest was addressed by JNUSU general secretary and AISA leader Rama Naga, former JNUSU general secretary Chintu (who herself is from Bhojpur and has witnessed CPI(ML)'s struggles against feudal privilege, oppression and violence there), DSF leader Pratim Ghoshal, activist Umar Khalid and others. Comrade Rama Naga spoke of how the poor and the Dalits are fighting the might of the state, and the might of the entrenched feudal powers with their ideological power and the strength of organized struggles of the masses. "Feudal oppression and killings in Bihar have always existed. What has changed since the 1980s is the brave fight back by the poor", said Umar Khalid. The protest was also attended by representatives from the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association, Democratic Students' Federation (DSF), Students' Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Students' Union.   

Thursday, April 14, 2016

ML Update | No. 16 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 16 | 12-18 April 2016

Defend Dr Ambedkar's Legacy From RSS Attack and Appropriation

On the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, the country is witness to fresh movements inspired by his egalitarian and emancipator vision. The country is also witness to a two-pronged offensive by the communal fascist forces – that are attacking activists inspired by Ambedkar on the one hand, and seeking to appropriate Ambedkar on the other. The most stark example of this is the fact that the RSS and BJP hounded the Ambedkarite activist Rohith Vemula to his death by branding him anti-national; while RSS journals Organiser and Panchjanya hail Ambedkar as the 'Ultimate Unifier' and 'Craftsman of Samrasta (Harmony),' and the Modi Government plans to celebrate Ambedkar's birth anniversary as 'Samajik Samrasta Diwas' (Social Harmony Day). 

Delta Meghwal, a young Dalit woman student in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, was recently raped and murdered by a teacher in her college who used to demand that she clean his room. Her dead body was then transported in a garbage van. The very silence of PM Modi on this atrocity, even as he talks of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' (Save and Educate Daughters), speaks very loudly about his hypocritical claims of 'fulfilling Ambedkar's vision'.  

For the RSS and BJP, 'Samajik/Samrasta/Social Harmony' is a code for the existing caste hierarchy; and any anti-caste assertion by the oppressed castes, is branded as a challenge to the 'harmonious' coexistence of the castes. This point is illustrated by the fact that the Modi Government Minister Bandaru Dattatraya branded the activities of the Ambedkar Students' Association and Rohith Vemula, as 'casteist'. For the BJP, the persecution of Dalit students in campuses and schools is not 'casteist', but organizing and agitating against such persecution is 'casteist.'

The RSS student outfit ABVP brands it 'casteist' for students to walk in Ambedkar's footsteps and burn the Manusmriti. Meanwhile, Modi seeks to appropriate and 'harmonise' Ambedkar with Sangh ideology, by terming Ambedkar a 'modern Manu'!  

For the RSS and BJP, leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi, Ram Vilas Paswan or Udit Raj are examples of 'Samajik Samrasta' – because they are willing to maintain 'harmony' with the BJP that funded the Ranveer Sena and has the blood of Dalits on its hands. But for the BJP-backed Ranveer Sena, the Dalits who asserted their social, economic and political rights and challenged feudal hegemony must be killed for "breaking the social fabric of caste harmony." Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh had defended the massacres of Dalits with the words, "Violence for the restoration of peace and harmony is not a sin." The 'Samajik Samrasta' of the RSS and BJP is nothing but the subservience and subjugation of the oppressed castes. Ambedkar called for the annihilation of castes – not for harmonious continuation of caste hierarchy.    

Dr Ambedkar was clear that the taboo on eating beef was of Brahminical origin and that "There is no community which is really an Untouchable community which has not something to do with the dead cow. Some eat her flesh, some remove the skin, some manufacture articles out of her skin and bones." Why are the RSS magazines and BJP leaders silent on Dr Ambedkar's historical analysis of the beef ban?

Also significant is the fact that the RSS and BJP try to appropriate Ambedkar as a 'Hindu nationalist' – a 'unifier' of Hindus across caste boundaries. The Organiser's write-up on Ambedkar this year suggests that Ambedkar made his famous 'castes are anti-national' statement because he felt castes prevented Hindus from uniting as a nation. This is a travesty of Ambedkar's thought. The RSS conveniently omits to quote a crucial sentence from Ambedkar's Annihilation of Castes, "A caste has no feeling that it is affiliated to other castes except when there is a Hindu-Muslim riot." The RSS and BJP idea of 'unity' of castes is precisely a violent unity against the Muslim citizens. The same RSS and BJP backs feudal forces that kill Dalit men who marry non-Dalit women or are accused of killing cows, will appeal to Dalits to unite with non-Dalit castes against inter-faith marriages of Hindu women with Muslim men!

The fact is that Dr Ambedkar was crystal clear in his rejection of the Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation) espoused by the RSS and BJP: "If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt be the greatest calamity for this country. It is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost." (Pakistan or Partition of India, 1945)  It is obvious that the RSS and BJP brand Rohith and his comrades as 'anti-national' for their anti-communal activism, their solidarity with Muslims and their rejection of 'Hindu Raj'. 'Samajik Samrasta' demands that Dalits accept 'Hindu Raj' meekly. 

If the RSS magazines strive to poison Dalits against unity with Muslims, they also display their discomfort with the emerging unity of Ambedkarites and Marxists, branding such unity as 'heinous.' Such statements by the RSS are in fact confirm that the communal fascists are rattled by the inspiring unity of progressive forces uniting to resist the attempts to impose 'Hindu Raj' on the campuses and the country.  

For every section of India's fighting people, Dr Ambedkar's writings are an inspiration and a resource. Workers defending labour laws remember Ambedkar as a robust defender of the right to strike and form independent unions. All  those who defend caste-based reservations or special laws protecting the rights of workers and women against the allegation of 'inequality' take strength from Ambedkar's insight that "Equality is not necessarily equity. In order that it may produce equity in society, in order that it may produce justice in society, different people have to be treated unequally." Civil libertarians and al citizens demanding justice in fake encounters and police/army firings recall Dr Ambedkar's assertion that "so far as the law is concerned, there is no difference between an ordinary citizen and a police officer or a military officer," and that freedom for India must not mean the freedom of Indian policemen or soldiers to shoot Indian citizens with impunity. Defenders of the rights of LGBT people, of the rights of citizens to express rationalist ideas, and of women's freedoms all draw strength from Dr Ambedkar's emphasis on the need to cultivate "constitutional morality" as opposed to the dominant social notions of morality. Ambedkar's insights into the fundamental contradiction of capitalism with democracy, and his advocacy of state-ownership and redistribution of all agricultural land, along with his call for the annihilation of caste, are a marker of his radical socio-economic vision.   

At this juncture, when the fundamental principles of the Constitution drafted by Dr Ambedkar, as well as his broader socio-economic vision are under attack as never before, the unity of fighting forces to defend Ambedkar's vision of a truly democratic and egalitarian India would indeed be the best tribute to that great visionary. 

PRICOL Struggle continues

Pricol workers—and workers across the country in solidarity with them—are struggling to free the 8 Pricol comrades who have been sentenced to double life imprisonment through a well-calculated conspiratorial judgement in order to control and threaten workers' unions. Meanwhile the Pricol management, in a despicable move, is trying to 'advise' the workers to break relations with AICCTU and return to the control of the management.

The management has put up a letter on the factory notice-board giving details of the great 'losses' suffered by workers since they joined the union affiliated to AICCTU and comparing this to the 'peaceful' times in the past before the formation of this union. The letter appealed to the workers to leave this union and return to the 'comfortable' times offered by the management. The management refused to provide a copy of the letter on the notice-board to the union as has been the previous practice.Earlier also in 2008 the management had issued a similar letter, when the union had not got recognition and the workers were agitating for recognition of their union.

Meanwhile, in another shameful move, the management fired a contractual worker who had contributed to the flood relief fund being collected by Pricol workers. The management has also issued a show-cause notice to another permanent worker on the pretext of some other excuse.

Between 2009-10 and 2013-14 Pricol workers used to get 35.34%annual bonus. During the period of their concerted struggle (from 2007 to 2009) they received no bonus at all. In 2014-15, they got only 8.33% bonus; this amounts to an average loss of about Rs 25,000 for every worker. The management cited losses in the factory as the reason for this reduced bonus. (However, Pricol workers have researched the internet and found that according to documents submitted by the management the profit for this period was Rs 23.27 crores). The management has made a unilateral cut in bonus and has not respected the provisions of the long-standing agreement between the management and the Pricol Workers' Union, the only organization relentlessly confronting the management and which has repeatedly proved its majority in the union election process. When the union opposed this, the management deposited the reduced amount in the workers' accounts; this is what it generally does when it is preparing to go into some major confrontation with the workers. This happened when the workers were participating in the hearing of the murder case and were anxiously awaiting the verdict on their falsely implicated leaders. The management thought they could take advantage of the situation as the workers would not be able to launch any significant agitation at this time, however the workers continue to protest against this.

Relentlessly carrying forward their struggles, the workers had organized a programme on 13 March 2016 to mark the beginning of the 10th year of their struggle in which Party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya participated and gave an impetus to their confidence and resolve. More than 1200 workers and their families gathered at the programme and resolved that they would leave no stone unturned to strive for the release of their comrades. They were confident of doing so because their leaders had not gone to jail for charges of corruption as in the case of Jayalalithaa and Kanimozhi and Raja; on the contrary, they had gone to jail like VO Chidambaram whom the British had sentenced to double life imprisonment for fighting for the rights of workers. Coincidentally, the Pricol worker-leaders are also lodged in the same jail where the British had incarcerated VO Chidambaram.

The response of the workers who participated in this protest does not augur well for the management. One worker, an AIADMK supporter, said that his wife had attended such a gathering for the first time and was now insisting that she would vote only for a CPI (ML) candidate because that is the only Party fighting for a better life for workers. He further said that if, after attending just one meeting she is persuading me to change my political thinking, what would be the effect if she started attending such programmes regularly? 

Some workers said that they normally meet only in protests and agitations; such a 'family gathering' had been organized for the first time after 10 October 2010. That programme in 2010 had also played an important role in breaking the siege by the police and the state after the first phase of state repression. Some other workers said that they often eat together inside the factory but those meals were mechanical and under pressure, whereas the spontaneous togetherness and exchanging of ideas and sharing of meals in the present programme was very inspiring and motivating. The workers were in favour of organizing such programmes more often.

For the Pricol workers, their struggle is almost like a celebration. The management might attack them; the state might attack them; even the court verdict can be an attack on them. But they will fight, and they will win, and each time they will emerge stronger and more united than ever. Now they are preparing for bigger political struggles. They are fighting elections from 2 Assembly constituencies in Coimbatore. Their slogan is, "Workers' vote for a worker!" Can there be a better answer to the state and the management from the Pricol workers!

Gorakhpur Party District Convention

The 3rd district convention of the CPI (ML) was held in Gorakhpur on 20 March 2016 at the Commissioner Court Bar Association hall. Senior leader Com. Hari Prasad hoisted the Party flag, following which a minute's silence was observed to pay tribute to departed comrades.  The outgoing district Secretary Com. Rajesh Sahani presented the annual report on which the delegates expressed their views. He said that Gorakhpur district continues to remain a stronghold of communal forces. He pointed out that there was a deep dissatisfaction among the people with the working of the SP government; in the current situation the CPI (ML) has become the focus of hope for the marginalized and oppressed sections of the society. We must strengthen and expand the Party and sharpen the struggle on issues relating to Gorakhpur.

Convention observer and CCW member Com. Sudhakar Pathak said that the Modi government has totally failed to keep its promises to the people and is bent on murdering democracy. Democratic institutions are being attacked. Students and intellectuals questioning the government's anti-people policies are being attacked and being sent to jail under the sedition Act which is a relic from the British Raj; at the same time Vijay Mallya is allowed to flee the country after embezzling 9,000crors of the country's hard-earned money. He called on Party workers to strengthen people's struggles. The convention announced a dedicated struggle against the Central and State governments' anti-farmer, anti-worker, anti-poor, anti-women, and anti-youth policies. The convention passed a 17-point resolution relating to encephalitis, AIIMS, crop loss compensation, sugar mill closures, weavers' distress, forest people's rights, river pollution, failure of MNREGA and PDS, rising crime rate, non-payment of Dalit and OBC fellowships in Gorakhpur University, and other issues. The convention strongly condemned the assault by the Modi government and RSS on HCU, JNU, and other institutes for higher education, and resolved to strengthen the struggle against these assaults.

The convention elected a new 17 member district committee which unanimously re-elected Com. Rajesh Sahani as district Secretary.


Scrap  124-A  Sedition act : AIPF convention at Chennai

Tamil Nadu state AIPF organized a convention on 3rd April 2016 at Chennai demanding repeal of Section 124-A sedition act, Enactment of Rohith Act to end discrimination in institutions and a law to protect couples of inter caste marriages from caste killings. Main speakers in the convention were Ms.Vasanthidevi, Ex.Vice chancellor of Manonmaniam Sundaranar university, Com. Gnani, a well-known journalist and dramatist , Prof.A. Marx, National campaign committee member of AIPF, Com. Kumarasamy, National president of AICCTU, Com. Shehla Rashid, Vice president of JNUSU.

Com. Shehla said that student community of this country are challenging those enjoying power with the power of ideas on the streets. She appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu to put pressure on the political parties in the time of assembly elections for repeal of sedition act, enactment of Rohith Act and to bring an act to protect couples of inter caste marriages."

Ms. Vasanthi Devi explained the provisions of the draconian sedition act which has also been misused against people and activists fighting for the closure of Liquor shops in Tamil Nadu. She stressed on the need to repeal it.   She also ridiculed the posting of Mr. Appa Rao again as Vice chancellor of HCU. Overwhelmed by Com Shehla's speech, she described her as a red star in the blue sky.

Com .Gnani, in his address narrated his  experience of the court battle which led to the scrapping of draconian  Drama censor act 1954 of Tamil Nadu. He also emphasized on the need for a student and democratic movement in the present juncture of Tamil Nadu. Prof A.Marx, dealt in length on the political right of the citizens and criticized the policies of Government on the functioning of universities.

Com Kumarasamy said that, "When the colonial era sedition act has already been repealed in England, the state of origin of the act, it is high time that the Indian government should scrap it". He also recalled the role of Ambedkar in the struggle for the rights of workers and reiterated the legacy of his " educate, organize and agitate" that needs to be followed by Trade union and democratic movement of the country."

Com. Arivalagan of Dalit study circle concluded the convention with vote of thanks. Constituents of AIPF Puducherry also attended the convention.

'Utho Mere Desh' campaign continues: Reports from Bihar and Jharkhand


AISA-RYA activists have been taking out the Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar sangarsh yatra in several towns and villages of Bihar, raising the slogans of 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Educate, Agitate and Organize'. The response of the people has been tremendous. RYA Bihar President Com. Raju Yadav, AISA National Jt. Sec. Com. Ajit Kushwaha and AISA leader and ex JNUSU Gen Sec. Com. Chintu have led several of these yatras which will culminate in Ara on 14 April.

In Patna, a student-youth Assembly was organized under the AISA-RYA campaign 'Uttho Mere Desh'on 31 March to mark the martyrdom anniversary of Com. Chandrashekhar. The chief speakers on the occasion were- CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, JNUSU Vice President Com. Shehla Rashid, JSM General Secretary Com. Pranay Krishna, PB member Com. Dhirendra Jha, Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Com. Rajaram Singh, and others. The programme was attended in huge numbers by students, youth, activists, and intellectuals.

Addressing the assembly, Com. Dipankar said that the youth spring for which Chandrashekhar sacrificed himself is in bloom again. He said that the students and youth will not rest till they defeat the unholy fascist-communal forces, and this can be done only by following the road shown by Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar. He pointed out that for the first time the slogans of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar are intermingling across the country and only on the basis of this unity we can defeat the pseudo-nationalism of the Sangh and bring in the true progressive nationalism of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar. He stressed that we must take this struggle forward and take it beyond campuses into every corner of the country.

JNUSU VP Shehla Rashid said that PM Modi has become afraid of students because they are asking pertinent questions about the promises he had made to the country. Having no answer, he has launched an attack on campuses across the country. The government was afraid of Rohith Vemula because he was talking not only for dalit interests but raising questions of democracy. She said that today when farmers are forced to commit suicide, dalits are oppressed and massacred, women are subjected to violence and rape, the government and Sangh are trying to whitewash all the issues by raising the nationalism bogey and forcing the chanting of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. She pointed out that it is futile and hypocritical to chant this slogan when we cannot give justice to Rohith's mother, Irom Sharmila, Soni Sori, and countless such oppressed people. She said the RSS is trying to create a divide between students and the army, but people will understand that we oppose not the army but war and the government which makes our jawans cannon-fodder.

Com. Pranay Krishna, remembering Chandrashekhar, said that Chandu is the symbol of student-power which has always given a fitting reply to murderous communal-fascist forces. Com. Dhirendra Jha said that JNU had shown the anti-fascist, anti-communal road to the country during the Babri destruction days and continues to do so today. Com. Rajaram Singh said that JNU is an institution that unites, not breaks, India, and the people will not allow its reputation to be tarnished.


In the first week of April, AISA and CPI(ML) leaders leading the Utho Mere Desh campaign were attacked in Jharkhand. CPI (ML) MLA, Com. Rajkumar Yadav and AISA leader and ex JNUSU president, Com. Ashutosh, were two of the several activists attacked. On 2 April, protests were organized in several parts of Jharkhand including Ranchi, Deogarh and Koderma. In Ranchi, a protest march was led by CPI (ML) state secretary Com. Janardhan and the march culminated in Albert Ekka Chowk where the effigy of the state government was burnt. CPI(ML), AISA and RYA activists challenged the Raghubar Das government that none of the state launched attacks against forces of struggles will scare the campaign from being taken forward. They further resolved to ensure maximum mobilization on 14 April, birthday of Dr. Ambedkar, in all districts of Jharkhand.



6 Left Parties—CPI, CPM, CPI (ML) Liberation, RSP, Forward Bloc and RCPI--have together formed a Joint Left Front in Assam.

The following are the names of the CPI (ML) candidates:

Chhabua                       Debnath Manjhi

Tingkhong                   Meera Tanti

Duliyajan                      Sunil Tanti

Bihali                             Bibek Das

Gohpur                         Halan Tanti

Batadraba                     Arup Mohanta

Tiyok                             Jiten Tanti

Mariyani                        Biren Tanti

The CPI (ML) is supporting 4 candidates representing the Autonomous State Movement in Karbi Anglong:

Diphu                            Dr Jayant Rongpi

Howrahghat                  Chomang Cro

Bokajan                         Jagat Sing Ingti

Baithalangso                Holiram Terang


The CPI(ML) Liberation has formed collaboration with the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM). The CPI(ML) is fielding candidates for 35 seats and the CPRM for 3 seats. Apart from this the CPI(ML) has also formed an understanding with SUCI and is in friendly contest on a few seats. On seats where none of these Parties is fielding candidates, the CPI(ML) has called for the people to reject the BJP, Congress, and TMC.

Mainagudi                     Rupeshwar Roy

Phansideva                  Lalu Oraon

Kaliyaganj                     Jagdish Rajwar

Tapan                            Ram Kisku

Gajol                             Subhash Singh

Vaishnavnagar             Ibrahim Sheikh

Khargram                      Sadhan Marjit

Kandi                             Manirul Islam

Kaliganj                         Altaf Hussain

Nakashipada                Shishir Basak

Chapda                         Dhananjay Ganguly

Krishnanagar North     Amal Tarafdar

Navdveep                     Parikshit Pal

Krishnanagar South     Ancharul Haq

Bangaon South            Pranballabh Pathak

Ashok Nagar                Jayshree Das

Naihati                          Sarit Chakraborty

Kamarhati                     Archana Ghatak

Bashirhat South           Debabrat Biswas

Satgachchiya               Dilip Pal

Bajbaj                            Kajol Datta

Baghnan                       Dilip De

Uttarpada                      Swapan Mazumdar

Balagarh                       Gautam Mandal

Pandua                          Niranjan Bag

Saptagram                           Sajal Adhikari

Dhaniyakhali                       Sajal De

Chhatna                               Ramnibas Baske

Ranibandh                          Sudhir Murmu

Onda                             Baidnath Cheena

Kalna                             Piyush Sahana

Bardhaman North        Tarun Majhi

Purbasthali South        Ziaul Sheikh

Purbasthali North         Ansarul Aman Mandal

Haasan                          Manik Pal

The CPRM candidates are as follows:

Darjeeling                    Gobind Chhetri

Kurseong                     Arun Ghatani

Kalimpong                    Kishore Pradhan


Madhavaram                 S. Janakiraman

Ulundoorpettai             M. Venkatesan

Kumarapalayam          A. Govindaraj

Kolachal                        S. M. Anthonimuthu

Ambattur                        K. Palanivel

Mettupalayam               P. Natarajan

Gondampalayam         M. S. Velmurugan

Sriperambudur              V. Rajesh

Gadharvakottai                   Vanita

Vedasandur                  P. Jainath


Mangalam                     P. Murugan

Neravi TR Pattinam      A. S. Singaravelu

Embalam                      R. Elammal


Kunnathunad (SC)       Manoj Madhavan