Friday, May 27, 2016

ML Update | No. 22 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 22 | 24 - 30 MAY 2016


The May 2016 Verdict and Lessons for the Left

After suffering a series of electoral debacles all through 2015, the BJP has again made big gains in the recent round of Assembly elections. The party has come to power for the first time in Assam, thereby greatly bolstering its political presence and prospects in the North-East, apart from opening its account in the Assemblies of West Bengal and Kerala, backed by impressive double digit vote share in both the states. Two years into power, when the Modi government finds itself being rapidly discredited on every major front, the Assam victory will provide a much needed shot in the BJP's arm.

The Congress has suffered a comprehensive defeat in both Assam and Kerala. While Kerala has evolved a well established pattern of alternating governments, and the LDF victory conforms to that established pattern, it is the loss in Assam, where the party has been in power for the last fifteen years, which must hurt the Congress really badly. Till recently, the BJP was not in a position to contemplate an immediate ascent to power in Assam even though with its Hindutva politics the BJP always had the potential to manipulate the sensitive 'foreign national' issue to its advantage. It was the split in the Congress in Assam with Tarun Gogoi's once close lieutenant Himanta Biswa Sarma joining the BJP with several MLAs, and the AGP-BJP alliance, which brightened the prospects of the BJP in Assam.

The BJP grabbed this opportunity with both hands, reaching out to the Bodos and a couple of smaller tribes, while the Congress went to this crucial electoral battle isolated and discredited. The end result has been this sweeping victory of the BJP-led alliance which has now placed the BJP in an advantageous position to strengthen its presence in the entire North-Eastern region. The co-option of Assamese regionalism within the RSS-BJP framework of Hindutva is fraught with disturbing political implications. The RSS will now have a free hand to use the delicate and diverse ethno-religious composition of Assam and the North-East for its dangerous divisive agenda.

With the Congress dislodged from power in two more states – it now rules only in Karnataka in the south and in the Himalayan states of Himachal, Uttarakhand in the North and Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram in the North-East – the BJP has surely strengthened its position as the currently dominant all-India party of the Indian ruling classes. The Assam and Kerala blows have deepened the crisis of leadership and direction within the Congress and as it prepares for the next crucial round of elections in Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand, it will have a difficult time keeping its own house in order and contending with the growing pressure of regional parties in the anti-BJP camp.

The Congress and BJP apart, regional parties and the CPI(M)-led Left Front had a lot of stake in these elections. In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK won a decisive victory despite growing disillusionment with her authoritarian and arrogant style of governance, the deepening agrarian and industrial crisis in the state and the huge administrative failure in managing the recent floods in Chennai and coastal Tamil Nadu. The DMK-Congress alliance improved its performance but was nowhere near dislodging the AIADMK from power.

In Tamil Nadu, the CPI(M) and CPI had begun with the idea of a programme-based alternative, floating a People's Welfare Front  with parties like VCK and Vaiko's MDMK which had been with the BJP till recently. But as elections drew nearer, they entered into electoral collaboration with even more discredited forces like the DMDK led by actor Vijaykanth and the breakaway Congress group led by GK Vasan. In the process, the Left and even the PWF were relegated to the background and the whole thing became a vehicle for the projection of Vijaykanth as a Chief Minister aspirant. The move flopped spectacularly with Vijaykanth himself finishing a distant third and his party's vote share declining to less than 3 per cent.

For the CPI(M), the big battles were in Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala the party managed to galvanise its otherwise faction-ridden organisation in a powerful oppositional role vis-a-vis the scam-tainted Congress government and scripted a decisive victory riding on a powerful campaign led by the charismatic nonagenarian 'rebel' CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan. What queered the pitch further for the Congress was the phenomenal rise in the BJP bloc's vote share to an unprecedented 15 per cent (together with its ally, the  Bharat Dharma Jan Sena (BDJS) which polled 3.9% votes) much of which came eventually at the cost of the Congress despite Yechury's allegations of a tacit RSS-Congress understanding.

The RSS has long been quite active and organised in Kerala. In Kannur district in north Kerala, RSS and CPI(M) clashes and even gruesome killings have been recurring quite frequently in recent years. But this is the first time the BJP managed to translate its growing presence into an actual victory. But rather than this one seat, one should look at the growing BJP vote share, its influence among the hugely neglected tribal population in the state (Modi's Somalia analogy which many in Kerala considered an 'insult' was actually made in the context of the deprivation of tribal areas in the state) and the rise of BJP allies like the BDJS. Traditionally bipolar Kerala politics now surely has a significant third force in the form of the BJP.

More than Kerala, it was West Bengal which marked the biggest battlefield for the CPI(M) and it has been trounced completely in the battle of Bengal. The result clearly shows that the CPI(M) has made little recovery in rural Bengal, once the strongest bastion of the Left Front and the desperate bid to regain power by cobbling an opportunist alliance with the Congress has proved to be a humiliating disaster. The CPI(M) and the Left Front have been reduced to its lowest ever tally of 32 seats, nearly half of its 2011 tally while the Congress, bolstered by votes transferred by the CPI(M), has emerged as the second biggest party with 44 seats! If the 2011 defeat marked a grievous injury to the CPI(M) after its 34 years of uninterrupted stint in power, the debacle this time has added lethal insult to that injury.

Unable to justify the alliance in terms of the political line adopted by the party at its Visakhapatnam Congress in April 2015, CPI(M) leaders described the Bengal alliance as mere seat adjustment as desired by the people! Nothing could be farther from the political truth known to everyone in West Bengal. The distinction between an alliance and adjustment is not a matter of mere formal nomenclature nor is it determined by the fact whether CPI(M) PB or CC members from outside the state shared platform with Congress leaders or not. The combination was projected as a 'people's alliance', the campaign was conducted jointly all over the state and Surjyakanta Mishra, CPI(M) State Secretary and PBM was projected as the would-be chief minister of the alliance government. Surely, this political readiness to share power – and that too dictated not by any so-called post-poll 'compulsion' but deliberate pre-poll design – matters much more than the diplomatic script of stage-sharing during the election campaign.

It was well known that the Congress vote is concentrated in a few districts and spread very thin in the rest of the state. While the CPI(M) transferred its vote to the Congress – in fact, the Congress campaign in many constituencies ran on the strength and steam provided by the organised Left cadre – traditional Congress voters in most constituencies with Left candidates went over to the TMC or even preferred to vote NOTA, not to mention the 'friendly contests' where the Congress put up its own candidates against the Left. Going by electoral arithmetic, the Congress-Left alliance was expected to sweep in North Bengal, but the results show that of the 76 seats in the North Bengal districts of Alipurduar, Coohbehar, Darjeeling, North and South Dinajpur, Malda and the adjoining central Bengal district of Murshidabad, the TMC has bagged 32 seats, just marginally behind the 38 seats won by the alliance. But within the alliance, it is the Congress which has got the lion's share of 28 seats with the Left getting only 10 seats. Indeed, going by the Assembly segment-based figures of the 2014 elections, the Congress had led in 29 seats, but with CPI(M) support its tally has now gone up to 44 whereas the LF tally continues to stagnate at 32, almost the same level as in 2014.

In the wake of the 2011 defeat, the CPI(M) had talked about undertaking some rectification campaign in West Bengal, but we never saw any serious self-criticism on the party's major blunders that alienated it from large sections of the rural poor and the peasantry as well as the progressive intelligentsia. During the election campaign the CPI(M) harped on the bankrupt theme of Singur-style industrialisation, undertaking a padyatra from Singur to Salboni, two cruel symbols of land acquisition that yielded no industriy or employment while robbing thousands of people of their land and livelihood and in Singur itself, the CPI(M) candidate launched his campaign riding a yellow Nano car, the model that even the Tatas are now discarding as a flawed idea!

Indeed, the only 'rectification' witnessed in practice was this alliance with the Congress, hailed as a 'brilliant, courageous and pragmatic reinvention' of the Left by the influential Ananda Bazar Group which advocated and engineered the alliance and virtually served as the organ of the alliance all through the protracted election campaign. It remains to be seen how the CPI(M) now evaluates its Bengal disaster which has been rendered incredibly profound by the party's stubborn refusal to learn from its mistakes and the opportunist centrist formulations that invited and presided over this disaster.

Far from broadening and reinvigorating the model of Left unity on the lines of the united Left bloc in Bihar, the CPI(M) virtually abandoned its own old model of Left unity in West Bengal and courted the Congress as a reliable 'democratic' ally. Instead of building on the encouraging experience of Bihar, the CPI(M) went in for the grand alliance that it perhaps 'missed' in Bihar, seeking to use West Bengal as a laboratory to replicate the grand alliance experiment. But while the Bihar grand alliance succeeded as an anti-BJP coalition, the West Bengal grand alliance was pitted primarily against the TMC. The unmistakably clear outcome of the disastrous experiment is here for all to see – the TMC has gained as have the Congress and the BJP, and the Left has emerged as the net loser having funded the entire experiment at its own political cost.

As an energised BJP celebrates its Assam victory as its best gift on the second anniversary of the Modi government and the TMC resumes its second term of authoritarian populism in West Bengal, the Left must draw its lessons and strengthen its united and independent political role as the most consistent and credible platform of people's struggles to resist the policies of corporate plunder and the politics of communal fascism. 


RYA's Uttar Pradesh State Conference

The 5th Uttar Pradesh State Conference of Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) was held in Lucknow on 19th March. The Conference started off with a Student-Youth March from Charbagh Station to the venue of the Conference, Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall. The March saw enthusiastic participation of around 500 youth from 20 districts in the state. The city echoed with the slogan of azaadi which has become the clarion call of the student youth movement across the country echoed throughout the city. The slogans demanded azaadi from unemployment, from the RSS, from Modi, from communal-fascism and freedom from all forms of oppression. The participants with the red flag in their hands were equally scathing on the misrule of the Samajwadi Party Govt. in the state, asking tough questions to the 'youth' Chief Minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav who came to power by promising to put an end to unemployment and providing unemployment allowance to the unemployed youth of the state. The anger against the betrayal of the SP govt. was clearly visible in the march.

Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall, the venue of the Conference was filled to the last seat. The session started by the release of the AISA-RYA booklet 'Utho Mere Desh'. The main speakers of the Open Session of the Conference were by JNUSU VP Com. Shehla Rashid, Prof. Rajesh Mishra from Lucknow University and CPI ML PB Member and UP State Secretary Com. Ramji Rai. All the speakers were unanimous in their opinion that the impressive participation of the youth in the conference was a sign of the times that the youth of the state have decided that in the absence of any real opposition in the state it was the student and youth who have to become the real opposition.

Com. Shehla said both the BJP and the SP have started their campaign for the UP elections due in 2017. While the BJP continues its communal campaign of orchestrating riots, the latest being Azamgarh the SP is happy to sit back enjoy the political dividends of the riots. Prof. Rajesh Mishra appealed to the participants of the Conference to take the fire of the student youth movement in the country to each and every district of Uttar Pradesh. Com. Ramji Rai in his speech emphasized the need to expose the betrayal and complete absence of the RSS in the freedom struggle at a time when the students and youth have adopted azaadi as their slogan. He also said that the need of the hour was to take the ideas of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh among the youth and build a country of their dreams a country free from all forms of oppression. Com. Tahira Hassan from AIPWA, Com. Ishwari Prasad from AIKS, Com. Rajesh Sahani from AIARLA, Com. Antas from AISA also congratulated the participants and RYA for ensuring a successful conference. Com. Altaf Hussain the State Secretary of AIYF also addressed the conference and expressed solidarity and congratulations. Com. Rakesh Singh State Convenor conducted the session.

After a discussion on the draft document Com. Ramayan Ram, Central Observer for the Conference and RYA Bihar State Secretary Com. Naveen and RYA National Genera Secretary Com. Om Prasad addressed the participants. The Conference elected a 33 member Council and 19 Member Executive. Com. Atiq Ahmad was elected as State President and Com. Rakesh Singh as State Secretary.

The conference ended by passing a resolution demanding the immediate release of RYA National President Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha and CPI ML from Darauli, Bihar Com. Satyadeo Ram who have been imprisoned on false charges during the course of leading struggles of the rural poor in Siwan.   


Attack on Labour Leader in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand police tried to abduct AICCTU's Uttarakhand General Secretary KK Bora from the Labour Office premises on 19 May, but were prevented from doing so by workers' resistance. The next day, there was a murderous attack on KK Bora by management-sponsored goons.

Harish Rawat, the CM of Uttarakhand, is celebrating the 'victory of democracy' in the State, after the Courts defeated an attempted coup by the BJP. But when it comes to industrial democracy, is Congress-ruled Uttarakhand any different from BJP-ruled states? Where is democracy if a labour leader can be nearly killed on a public street in broad daylight – and the police try to arrest, not the would-be murderers or their sponsors, but the labour leader himself?           

MINDA is a factory producing switch gear, in the Pantnagar SIDCUL industrial area in Rudrapur. Workers formed a Union here, and three workers were thrown out of their jobs for their role in the Union. To protest this illegal act, workers of MINDA held a candle-light march in Haldwani that ended at Ambedkar Chowk. Haldwani is at a considerable distance from the SIDCUL. But when workers came to the factory the next morning ,they found a notice by the MINDA management at the gate, naming 18 workers as being debarred from entering the factory premises for participating in the candle-light march! 

We must remember that according to the Labour Code of Industrial Relations Bill 2015 that the Modi Government is trying to enact, 'outsiders' cannot be members of Unions. This will mean that in a place like SIDCUL, not only will labour leaders like KK Bora be debarred from leading Unions, workers who unionise will be turned into 'outsiders' by being dismissed!

Workers challenged this action in the Labour Office, and on 19 May, a tripartite discussion was fixed between the MINDA workers and management at the Labour Office. KK Bora was present from AICCTU. But the MINDA management did not turn up. Instead, the Rudrapur police turned up and tried to forcibly arrest/abduct K K Bora. When asked to show a warrant or summons, the police, lacking these legal documents, instead resorted to using brute force. In the face of strong opposition from the MINDA workers, the police were unable to arrest (kidnap?) Comrade K K Bora and had to return empty-handed.

This attempt to arrest a labour leader during tripartite talks reveals the connivance between the MINDA management and the Uttarakhand Government and police. KK Bora is a well-respected labour leader and is well-known for his struggles for workers' rights. Such behavior by the police against him raises several questions. The State Government and Labour Minister have constantly sided with industrialists and factory owners, and SIDCUL has turned into a veritable graveyard for labour laws. Young men and women are being made to work for amounts far below the minimum wages, unionising is punished with dismissal, and attempts are being made to muzzle voices which speak out against this. 

The very next day, KK Bora was attacked by MINDA factory goons. He was traveling in a tempo; the goons approached in a white Scorpio car which was without any number plate, stopped the tempo, made the passengers alight, and beat up Comrade KK Bora. Some of the passengers spoke up for him, and they were beaten up too - a minor girl has also been injured in the process. The attack was definitely murderous – the assailants hit him with big sticks. Comrade KK Bora very courageously protected his head and took most of the attack on his arms and body, and this is why he could save his own life. A crowd that collected at the spot also caused the assailants to flee eventually.

On 23 March, protests were held all over Uttarakhand against this murderous attack on KK Bora.

At Haldwani where AICCTU along with various unions and organizations held a dharna at Ambedkar Park demanding the immediate arrest of the assailants, action against the police personnel who tried to forcibly arrest KK Bora at the ALC office on 19 May, fulfilment of workers' demands in MINDA as well as all other companies, and proper implementation of labour laws in SIDCUL. The dharna was addressed by AICCTU National Vice President Raja Bahuguna who said that if the workers' demands are not met by 26 May, an indefinite dharna will be held at Budh Park from 26 May onwards. Bank union leader KN Sharma, Janwadi Lokmanch leader RC Tripathi, CPI(ML) State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi, RML Union President Mahesh Tiwari also addressed the dharna.

Contract Workers' Union State Vice President Urbadatt Mishra, Deputy Secretary Lalitesh Prasad, MINDA Mazdoor Union VP Rajendra Nagarkoti, General Secretary Sundar Singh, Century Pulp and Paper Mills Union leader Kishan Baghri, HC advocate Durga Singh Mehta, All India Kisan Mahasabha State President Purushottam Sharma, District President Bahadur Singh Jangi, AICCTU leader Kailash Pandey, Naven Kandpal, Shankar Lal, Ashish, Raman, Jagat Singh, Vimla Rauthan, Meena Mehta, Pushkar Dubadiya, Amar Singh Bora and others were present on the occasion. The proceedings were conducted by Lalit Matiyali.

 At Dharchula, the AICCTU-affiliated NHPC Contract Workers' Union staged protests at Nigalpani, Tapovan, Elagaad and Chhirkila and burnt effigies of the State government and MINDA Industries (Battery) management.

AICCTU leaders Kishan Singh, NHPC Contract Workers' Union President Uday Singh Dhami, Secretary Vinod Kumar, and Vice President Anup Kumar, Harish Dhami, and other leaders, along with hundreds of contract workers participated in the protests.

At Pithoragarh, a memorandum was sent to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the DG Police demanding action against the assailants and conniving police officers was submitted by the CPI(ML). Protests were also held at Ramnagar, Nainital, and SIDCUL Rudrapur.

One day earlier in Srinagar, Garhwal, Left parties, AISA, and workers' organizations burnt the effigies of the MINDA management as well as the State government and the Rudrapur police. A meeting was held at the Gola Park after the effigy burning during which the speakers demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

Protests were also held in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh and Dhanbad, Jharkhand. A protest demonstration was held at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, and a memorandum was submitted to the Resident Commissioner demanding the immediate arrest of the culprits.

The Congress Govt and police of Uttarakhand need to answer - why aren't violent, murderous goons of industry managements being arrested, why is the police trying to arrest labour leaders instead - that too during tripartite talks? 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

ML Update | No. 21 | 2016

ML Update

CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 21| 17 – 23 May 2016

Acche Din for Sanghi Terror-Accused? 

Ever since the Modi Government came to power, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is working systematically to protect terror-accused who are ideologically affiliated to the Sangh Parivar. Last year, Rohini Salian, Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon 2006 and 2008 blasts cases, went on record to say that she was being pressured to go 'soft' on the accused. Now, the NIA has moved to drop charges against a key accused in the Malegaon 2008 blasts case, Pragya Singh Thakur (Sadhvi Pragya). Pragya Singh, a former ABVP leader, is known to be a close associate of the RSS and BJP. While continuing to prosecute Lieutenant Colonel Purohit, the NIA has withdrawn MCOCA charges and is invoking only UAPA.

The withdrawal of MCOCA charges makes custodial confessions inadmissible in Court, and therefore many confessional statements obtained in the Malegaon 2008 blasts case have now become useless. By allowing custodial confessions, the draconian MCOCA actually legitimises and encourages custodial torture. In fact, it would be welcome if the NIA were to review every terror case, withdraw MCOCA entirely, and only pursue those terror cases which do not rely on custodial confessions.

In the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, eight Muslim men, held on the basis of custodial confessions obtained under torture, were recently acquitted by a sessions court. These men had remained in jail even after investigations by both ATS and NIA had decisively pointed in the direction of a Hindutva hand behind the blasts. The NIA had admitted that no evidence linked these men to the blasts and recommended their discharge – but the same NIA did a U-turn at the very last minute and recommended against their discharge. This underlines the partisan character of the NIA that is unwilling to release Muslim men whom it knows to be innocent even as it going out of its way to free terror-accused from the Hindutva political camp.

There is convincing evidence beyond custodial confessions against Sadhvi Pragya and other accused persons from the Hindutva camp. It was the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare (killed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks) who, in 2008 had identified the Hindutva terror network and begun connecting the dots between the Modasa blasts, the Malegaon 2006 and 2008 blasts and several other blasts. Karkare saw through the efforts of the Hindutva terrorists to divert blame onto groups like SIMI, and began uncovering the Sanghi terror network. His work was cut short by his death during the 26/11 attacks – a death about which there are still many unanswered questions. 

In 2010, Swami Aseemanand of the RSS, arrested in the Samjhauta blasts case, made voluntary judicial confession before magistrates, exposing the role of Hindutva and Sanghi terrorists in the Mecca Masjid, Malegaon 2006 and 2008, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express blasts. These confessions were not extracted in police custody, and therefore would have been very powerful evidence in Court. Aseemanand subsequently retracted his confessions – but in interviews to the media, has repeatedly asserted the role of Hindutva terror outfits in those blasts. He has even declared that RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat gave his blessings to these terror plans, but asked Aseemanand and others not to "link it to the Sangh." Mohan Bhagwat himself admitted while addressing a meeting of the RSS at Surat (Gujarat) on January 10, 2011 that "of the majority of the people whom the government has accused (in various blast cases), a few had left voluntarily and a few were told by the Sangh that this extremism will not work so you go away." Why did the ATS and NIA fail to investigate the role of Bhagwat and the RSS in the blasts?

Pragya Singh's bike had been used to bomb Malegaon in 2008. The NIA is now arguing that Pragya Singh had not been using the bike, and it was Ramesh Kalsangra who had used the bike to bomb Malegaon. But the ATS chargesheet in the Malegaon 2008 case had shown transcripts of an intercepted phone call in which Sadhvi Pragya asked Ramesh Kalsangra "Why did so few people die? Why didn't you park [the bike] in a crowded area?" Surely such a phone conversation is credible evidence? Why, then, is the NIA exonerating Pragya Singh? The case of Pragya Singh can be contrasted with that of Rubina Memon in the 1993 bomb blasts case. The car used to transport bombs was registered in Rubina's name, and she is now serving out a life sentence based on this tenuous connection with the blasts, even though she argue that she was unaware of the use to which her car was put. But in the case of Pragya Singh, the investigative agency itself is withdrawing charges even though her own words in an intercepted call indicate her full knowledge and involvement in the blasts.       

The NIA is also now claiming that the RDX used in the bombs were not sourced by Lieutenant Colonel Purohit. But the NIA still admits that the RDX is military grade explosive. Why is the NIA not asking how it was procured if Purohit did not procure it? The chargesheet in this case also claims that Purohit held a terror training camp under the guise of an 'Art of Living' event. Why has the NIA failed to investigate how the Art of Living organisation could be used as a cover for terrorist training?            

In the past year, Rohini Salian was removed by the NIA as Prosecutor in the 2006 Malegaon blasts; a number of witnesses turned hostile in the Ajmer blasts case, one of whom was made a Minister in the Jharkhand Government; the NIA closed the Modasa bomb case (which was similar in many respects to the Malegaon bomb case); the NIA overturned its decision to discharge the innocent Muslims in the Malegaon 2006 case; and now the NIA has withdrawn charges against Pragya Singh and weakened the case against Lt. Col Purohit in the Malegaon 2008 case. All these are ominous signs of political interference to protect terror-accused who are close to the Modi Government and the Sangh Parivar.  

In the Malegaon terror cases, there is in fact considerable evidence apart from custodial confessions. The NIA cannot be allowed to get away with selective exoneration of terror-accused who enjoy political patronage. The country deserves a thorough, impartial investigation and prosecution to unearth and destroy the entire Sanghi terror network.   


Jharkhand Bandh Against Anti-Adivasi Amendments to Domicile Policy

The CPI(ML) had called for a Jharkhand bandh on 14 May to protest against the domicile policy declared by the BJP government, communal frenzy, and amendments to the CNT and SPT Acts that protect the rights of tribals to land. The JMM had already called for a bandh on 14 May.

The BJP State government in Jharkhand used every possible repressive tactic in vain to stop people from participating in bandh, and large scale arrests were made on the bandh day as well as on the eve of the bandh. But nothing could stop the people from expressing their anger against the policies of the Raghubar Das govt. and the bandh was a huge success.

On 14 May in Giridih district more than 10,000 people came out on the streets in support of the bandh, held road blocks and marched in bazaars, chattis and villages in Bagodar, Birni, Rajdhanwar, Sariya, Khorimahua, Gawa, Teesri, Jamua, Deori, Gand, Bengawad, Dumri, Giridih Sadar, and other blocks. According to newspaper reports, 2,000 people courted arrest. The people's support for the bandh was so overwhelming that there was a dearth of police buses for the arrests. The sea of people surged voluntarily and needed no prompting. The bandh was led by district Secretary Manoj Bhakt, Rajkumar Yadav, Vinod Singh, and several other activists. The entire district was shut down.

Similarly, in Koderma district people marched in support of the bandh in Jhanda Chowk Jhumri Tilaiya and Domchanch. In Ramgarh district two groups of bandh supporters led by Bhuvaneshar Bediya and Hira Gope, marched through the entire town from 6 AM to 10 AM after which they were arrested. Loading of coal at CCL in Ramgarh district came to a complete standstill. At many places coal production was stopped for hours. At Hesalang a road block was held thrice at the same place after clashes with the police. In Hazaribagh district thousands of people came out in support of the bandh at 9 blocks—Chalkusa, Dadhi, Barkattha, Badkagaon, Bishnugarh, Ichak, Barhi, Hazaribagh and Sadar. The bandh was total in the district, in spite of the fact that in the night of 13 May itself, 5 leading activists were arrested and 200 more activists were arrested in the morning of 14 May when they came out on the streets to campaign for the bandh.

In Ranchi city hundreds of people led by State Secretary Janardan Prasad and Ranchi district Secretary Bhuneshwar Kewat were arrested by the police on the main avenue of the town. In Bundu the NH 33 was blocked by people and about 80 people courted arrest. In Tamad, a huge group of people led by Sukhdev Munda came out on to the streets and were arrested. In Rahe, about 60 people led by Santosh Munda and Dileep came out in support of the bandh and were arrested.

In Dhanbad district, 80 CPI(ML) activists blocked Nirsa Chowk where JMM and other parties also arrived later, and all were arrested. At Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad city 150 CPI(ML) activists were arrested while campaigning for the bandh. Similarly, in Sindri and Baghmar activists were arrested.

In the Bermo coal belt of Bokaro district, ML activists campaigned vigorously for the bandh. Eight activists were arrested in Gomiya. In Gumla district 169 activists jammed the main road going to Palkot. The police kept obstructing peaceful bandh supporters the whole day, attacking them four times, and eventually arrested all the activists. Eight activists were arrested in Lohardagga.

In Kundheet block of Jamatada district, 100 activists were arrested when they came out in support of the bandh. People came out in support of the bandh in Nala block. Activists led by Geeta Mandal and Sahdev Yadav marched through the town in support of the bandh, blocked traffic at Tower Chowk, they too were arrested later. In Garhwa, hundreds of people were arrested near the block headquarters. In Utari, a big group of Left activists led by the CPI, including CPIML activists was arrested while campaigning for the bandh. Dozens of activists were arrested in Jamshedpur and Shikari Pada in Dumka district.

Activists from the CPI, CPIM, and JMM were also on the streets making the bandh a success. This was an unprecedented bandh in which lakhs of people participated, making evident the growing outrage against the pro-corporate, communal and fascist policies of the government. In the days to come the people of Jharkhand will come out in a decisive battle and all-pervasive opposition against the BJP government, in defence of their jan-jangal-jameen (water, forests, and land) and their mineral resources.


ASHA Union's Statewide Protests in Uttarakhand

ASHA workers held protests in many tehsil and block headquarters of Haldwani, Nainital, Pithoragarh and other districts across Uttarakhand on 12 May demanding fulfillment of their long-pending demands.

Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers' Union affiliated to AICCTU staged a strong demonstration, holding a rally in Haldwani from the women's hospital to the SDM court. Addressing the rally, ASHA Association State Secretary, Com. Kailash Pandey said that ASHA workers were appointed to reduce the mortality rate in infants and mothers. However, they are being made to do other tasks also, and they have already raised objections to this. He said that tasks related to the pulse polio campaign, family welfare, malaria survey, ORS distribution, watching over violence against women, Chief Minister health insurance programme, disaster management training and other jobs have been imposed on them. Despite this, till date they have not been made workers of the health department and they are not being paid a monthly salary. Till now ASHA workers were being paid a pittance of Rs 5000 per month, and even that has been stopped now.

ASHA Health Workers' Union also held a protest in Nainital to demand government employee status for ASHA workers, along with raising other demands. The state president of the union, Com. Kamla Kunjwal led the ASHA workers in a rally which culminated in a meeting near the Gandhi statue at Tallital. Com.Kamla Kunjwal said that the health department is constantly over-burdening the ASHA workers with work, whereas questions of honorarium and other benefits are always evaded. She strongly demanded payment of Rs. 5000 as incentive amount, and ending the role of NGOs in training.

In Bageshwar, ASHA workers demonstrated in front of the tehsil headquarters and submitted a memorandum to the Governor through the administration. The memorandum demanded payment of annual incentive, guarantee of minimum wages, ending of NGOs' role in the health department, and other demands.

In Pithoragarh, ASHA Health Workers' Union held a protest in front of the district headquarters. Rallies were taken out from various blocks in the district and a memorandum with their demands was submitted to the district administration. At the Pithoragarh district headquarters ASHA workers from Bin and Munakot blocks led by block President Com. Urmila Saun took out a rally from the Ramlila maidan which culminated in a meeting at the Collectorate. Addressing the workers, Com. Govind Kafaliya of AICCTU demanded that all training should be given directly by the health department and the role of NGOs should be ended. He also demanded that the Diwali bonus which had been announced by the State government twice on separate occasions should be paid into the ASHA workers' accounts.

In Didihat, ASHA workers took out a rally and submitted a memorandum, led by union district Secretary Com. Indra Deupa and block President Com. Pinky Kalauni. Speaking on the occasion, Indra Deupa said that in several States like West Bengal, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, the State governments have started paying ASHA workers minimum wages as per the State norms; she demanded a guarantee from the Uttarakhand government that they too would pay minimum wages as per State norms.

In Dharchula, ASHA workers led by State President Com. Nanda Gand held a protest and submitted a memorandum of demands. In Gangolihat and Berinag, protest rallies were organized under the leadership of comrades Uma Mehra, Uma Bafla and Daya Karki, and memorandums were submitted.

The statewide protest saw enthusiastic participation from ASHA workers forcing the media too to take notice of their long standing demands. 


AISA Forces Tripura University Administration to Revoke Anti-Student Moves

After IIT-Madras, UoH, JNU, this time it was the turn of Tripura University to target to students from deprived and disadvantageous contexts and push them towards exclusion from higher education. A shocking decision was recently taken by the administration of Tripura University, a Central University, whereby, it was notified in the prospectus that every Indian candidate would have to deposit 780 rupees for entrance examination. The notification did not exclude students from ST, SC and PWD categories who until now were granted entrance fee concessions. The university decided to do away with measures that would encourage students from these contexts to apply in the university.

Strongly condemning this move, the Tripura unit of AISA mobilized students and on 12 May, organized a massive rally. Several students joined the rally and protested against this anti-constitutional move. A memorandum was submitted to the Joint Register, Nodal Officer for SC/ST/OBC/PWD & Minorities of Tripura University and as a result of the pressure exerted by the protests, they were forced to agree with the demand to revoke the move.


Tribals in East Godavari Defeat Land Grab Move

Tribals in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh registered a crucial victory against land grab. They were supported in the struggle by CPI(ML) as they waged a determined battle against land grabbers. In the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, a cooperative society was registered at Kakinada town (also the district headquarters) to establish a slaughter house at D Paidipala village of Rowthulapudi Mandal, a village inhabited by tribal people. Though records showed it to be registered as a cooperative, it was an open secret in the district that a central minister was behind this venture.

Some time back, the people of D Paidipala village were shocked when they heard that some official had visited the village and that they were going to give clearance for a slaughter house. The land proposed for slaughter house is very near the village, which through inhabited by tribals, has not been notified as a schedule tribal village under the Constitution (Schedule 5).

The Jaldam Panchayat under which this village comes, conducted an emergency meeting and passed a resolution opposing the slaughter house so close to the village. The District Collector sent a notice to the Gram panchayat questioning the resolution. The villagers found that the co-operative had already been granted all the necessary permissions like land conversion (from agriculture to non-agriculture use), industrial permission, and environmental clearance to establish the slaughter house – without consulting the village panchayat. 

Using the Right to Information act, CPI (ML) sought documents including basic revenue records of the particular land for which the permission had been granted for industry - land conversion files from the Revenue Divisional office at Peddapuram, environmental clearance and other related documents from the AP Pollution Control Board, and the land registration certificates from the sub-registrar's office. Within one month, the party was able to get all the necessary documents pertaining to the slaughter house. Careful study of these documents revealed several truths about how the local officers flouted established procedures and laws to give clearances to the slaughter house company.

The land records of the village showed that this land was government land and not private land. It was also revealed that the land had long ago been assigned by the government to the local tribal poor as D-form-pattas (homestead land). As per the state's Act 9/77, lands thus assigned should not be transferred to third parties. At the same time the owners of the company continued to claim that they had purchased these lands which only signified a violation of act 9/77.

The local revenue officer tampered with the village records when they sent true copies to the RDO, Peddapuram for land conversion from agriculture to non-agriculture use and also in case of permissions from other departments. Fraudulently, the status of government land assigned to tribal poor for houses was changed into private land to get permission for industry. Comrade Bugatha Bangaru Raju, Central Committee Member of the party met the Tehsildar and submitted a petition for action against the land grab. He also met RDO, Peddapuram and submitted a petition for action against the officers who tampered with the records and requested to cancel the land conversion certificate issued to the company.

The party mobilized the people of the Jaldam Panchayat and several mass protests and rallies were held. The tribals participated in these rallies in huge numbers and with tremendous determination. On 13 April, a fact finding team visited the site and spoke with adivasis of Jaldam and D Paidipala. As a result of the pressure built by the struggle, the local Tehsildar was forced to agree in writing and confirm that the land records had been tampered with by their staff and the land in question was government land and not private land. He sent a report to the RDO for action and copies of the same were given to the party leaders. This was a significant victory for the villagers. 


Court Stays JNU Punishments, Students End Hunger Strike

The students lifted their heroic hunger strike after the Court stayed all punishments and directed the JNU VC to respond to the appeals.   

The JNU VC had, quite literally, been running away from facing the demands by JNU students and teachers that he review and revoke the punishments recommended by the 'High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC)'. In spite of 52 Academic Council members passing a resolution to this effect, the JNU VC fled the Academic Council meeting rather than implement the resolution. Thus, he became the first Vice Chancellor of a Central University to jog away from an Academic Council meeting. In spite of a 16-day hunger strike by students peacefully appealing that he revoke the HLEC punishments, he refused to respond.  

What the High Court order of 13 May 2016 does is to firmly tell the JNU VC to face the students' appeals rather than run away.  

The JNU VC had been trying to hide behind the fig-leaf of the HLEC process and punishments being 'subjudice', claiming that the University cannot revoke the punishments since the matter is in Court. This is what the 'Urgent Appeal' by the JNU Administration on Day 12 of the hunger strike claimed. The High Court order clearly indicates that the JNU VC's claim was a lie. The High Court orders the VC to hear and respond to the appeals made by students – and stays all punishments until the appeals are heard. Not only that, the Court order states that in case the VC rejects the students' appeals, he cannot implement the punishments for two weeks after the rejection; students can approach the Court for relief in those two weeks. 

After the Court order, the hunger strike was ended on its 16th day. Comrade Chintu Kumari and Anant Kumar of AISA had remained on fast for 16 whole days, while the JNUSU General Secretary Rama Naga had withdrawn from the hunger strike on the 15th day after his medical condition severely deteriorated. Teachers and students celebrated the end of the hunger strike and the stay on the punishments, and the hunger strikers accepted juice from the parents and sisters of Chintu Kumari and Umar Khalid. The parents and sisters also addressed the gathering, with Comrade Chintu's father Comrade Ramlakhan Ram speaking about the struggle for rights and dignity of oppressed people in Bhojpur, where Chintu was born. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

ML Update | No. 20 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 20 | 10 - 16 MAY 2016

159th Anniversary of the 1857 Uprising:

Reclaiming India from Corporate-Communal Clutches

Corruption is back as the big talking point in Indian politics. But interestingly enough, the charges this time around are not being levelled by the opposition against the powers that be. On the contrary, it is the government of the day which is seeking to capitalise on a scrapped defence deal against the principal opposition party.

The controversial VVIP chopper contract was awarded to the UK-based AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian parent company Finmeccanica, in 2010 and the first lot of three of the dozen helicopters ordered arrived in 2012. But charges of bribery soon came up in Italian courts and in February 2013 Italian police arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi on charges of paying bribe worth Rs 362 crore to Indian middlemen to secure the Rs 3,500 odd crore (560 million euro) contract. The UPA government, already reeling under charges of several major scams, cancelled the contract and ordered a CBI probe into the scam.

Now, on the basis of reported disclosures emanating from Italy, the BJP is seeking to make the chopper scam the biggest issue for parliamentary debate when it has little to show by way of progress of investigations by Indian agencies. The BJP would like us to believe as though we were still in 2013 with the UPA in power and the BJP in opposition! The discussion on the AgustaWestland scam has in fact raised disturbing questions not just for the Congress, but also for the BJP and about the Congress-BJP continuum and convergence on issues of corruption and cover-up. The former chief of the Air Force Mr. SP Tyagi, one of the key accused, has also been closely associated with the BJP think-tank Vivekananda Foundation. The decision to lower the flying altitude of the helicopter is now being attributed to Brajesh Mishra during the Vajpayee era.

Instead of ensuring an expeditious and transparent resolution of the scam through a time-bound probe monitored by the Supreme Court, the BJP is flogging the AgustaWestland horse to divert the people's attention from the glaring failures of the government on the economic front and the ongoing assault on democracy in the country. When millions of farmers are reeling under severe drought and people are dying for a drop of water, when the central government has been judicially indicted for misusing the Constitution to ride roughshod on the spirit of federalism and democracy, when students across the country are fighting against the ongoing saffron witch-hunt and Sanghi hijacking of institutions, the BJP talks only about AgustaWestland or Modi's degrees, which according to the AAP is the biggest issue facing the country at the moment!

Ironically, while Parliament debates the chopper scam or Modi's degrees, the mother of all scams is being perpetrated in the banking sector of India. We all saw how Vijay Mallya was allowed to fly away to London after robbing more than a dozen Indian banks of a staggering Rs. 9000 crore. A bigger scam is the amount being routinely written off by the banks themselves. Dr. Kamalesh Chandra Chakrabarty, a former Deputy Governor of RBI and former chairman of Bank of Baroda and Pun jab National Bank has termed it the "biggest scandal of the century". According to him as much as Rs 3.5 lakh crore have been written off in the past 15 years through so-called 'technical write-offs', Rs 1.14 lakh crore in just last three years between 2013 and 2015. The write-offs include the revealing case of one Siddhi Vinayak Logistics Limited which made logistical arrangements for Narendra Modi's 3D campaign in the 2014 LS elections.

Despite explicit instruction of the Supreme Court, the RBI is yet to make public the list of wilful corporate defaulters, but we know the names of the big borrowers of India's corporate world. The Hindu has recently published details of outstanding bank loans held by top corporate houses. The top twelve borrowers comprise Mukesh Ambani (Rs 1,87,070 crore),  Anil Ambani (Rs 1,24,956 crore), Ruia Brothers of Essar Group (Rs 1,01,461 crore), Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Group (Rs 1,03,340 crore), Gautam Adani (Rs 96,031 crore), Cyrus Mistry of Tata Steel (RS 80,701 crore), Manoj Gaur of Jaypee Group (Rs 75,163 crore), Sajjan Jindal (Rs 58,171 crore), LM Rao of Lanco Group (Rs 47,102 crore), GM Rao of GMR Group (Rs 47,976 crore), VN Dhoot of Videocon Group (Rs 45,400 crore) and GVK Reddy of GVK Group (Rs 33,933 crore). Just add up the amounts, and we can see how India's top corporates are making merry atop a debt mountain of more than Rs 10 lakh crore!

Add to this the arrears and exemptions – the CAG says over 96% of the Rs 7 lakh crore outstanding direct tax dues are difficult to recover while central excise revenue exemptions in 2014-15 reached a whopping Rs. 1.85 lakh crore – and the picture of India's crony capitalism, i.e., public-funded corporate festival, becomes truly alarming. It has been pointed out in media reports that the Adani group's debt equals the total debt of India's farmers. And what makes this equivalence truly morbid is that while more than 3 lakh farmers have been crushed by this debt burden, Adani's debt has grown joyfully alongside the political fortunes of his friend Mr Narendra Damodardas Modi whose flight to power was completed in a private Adani jet. And the latter is now about to complete his first two years in office.

While confronting the vicious communal politics of the Sangh brigade we must never lose sight of this crony corporate essence of the Modi dispensation. On the 159th anniversary of the great 1857 uprising, we must invoke the spirit of ownership of the country that the young ideologue of the uprising, Azimullah Khan, had invoked in his beautiful song of harmony and freedom: 'Hum hain iske malik, Hindustan hamara' (we are the owners of this land, this India is ours) to save and reclaim India from the clutches of the corporate-communal destroyers.

Indefinite Hunger Strike in JNU, Country-wide Solidarity 

The indefinite hunger strike started by students of JNU demanding withdrawal of the unjust and vindictive rustications and fines has entered its third week. As the health of the striking students continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate, the JNU administration far from being concerned about the health and academics of the students, has displayed brazen insensitivity but continuously threatening the striking the students.

The JNU Administration has served show cause notices to students who screened the documentary on Muzaffarnagar communal violence 'Muzaffarnagar Baqi Hai' several months back. In protest, students responded by screening the movie once again at the JNU Freedom Square and daring the administration to issue notices to the entire campus.

On the 7th day of the hunger strike, the JNU administration issued a notice accusing the hunger strike of being 'unlawful' and unconstitutional. A day later, the JNU administration once again warned students against using the public address equipment. It may be noted that the JNU administration realised the disturbance caused by the microphones only after the ABVP students, who for days had been trying their best to obstruct solidarity programmes organised by JNUSU by playing loud music on speakers, had decided to call off their farcical strike. Even as JNU alumni announced their intention to join on a relay hunger strike for a day, the JNU registrar warned the students against inviting 'outsiders' to the campus. However, in a befitting response to such intimidating tactics of the administration, hundreds of JNU alumni and non JNUites who have stood in solidarity with struggling students of JNU assembled at Ganga Dhaba on 7th May, formed a massive human chain and marched till Freedom square where the indefinite hunger strike was going on.

Addressing the students, Com. Anant (AISA leader and ex JNUSU VP), who had returned after being admitted to AIIMS for chest pain on the 11th day of the hunger strike, said that this administration cannot break their resolve. Com. Rama, current JNUSU GS, also on the 11th day of his hunger strike said that this government thrived on creating binaries like nationals- anti-nationals, insiders-outsiders, but anyone who is with the oppressing masses of this country is an insider in JNU. The real outsiders are those, who ignoring the demands of JNU students are instead taking orders from Nagpur.

Though, the deteriorating health conditions may have forced a few students to discontinue the struggle, they nonetheless continue to remain in struggle and strengthen it.

Over the days, the striking students have received support from several quarters. JNU teachers' association has been consistent in its support for the students and have also joined the relay strike, with teachers taking turns to sit on relay hunger strike with the students. JNU alumni and several other cultural, political and social activists have joined the students at the Freedom Square to express their solidarity and also perform cultural programmes. On 8th May, when mother's day was being celebrated, several mothers and grandmothers decided to join the striking students on a relay hunger strike, under the banner – 'Mothers with JNU'. Delhi University teachers' Association too has expressed solidarity with striking students and their representatives met the students at freedom square in JNU.

The support and solidarity for JNU students has poured in from all parts of the country. Protests opposing the punishment meted out to JNU students have been staged in Tenali (Andhra Pradesh), Gohana (Sonepat, Haryana), Jadavpur University, Allahabad University, and several other universities. In several universities, student and youth have sat on solidarity hunger strikes. In Jharkhand, AISA activists burnt the copies of HLEC at Albert Ekka Chowk. RYA and AISA activists also sat on solidarity hunger strikes in Dhanbad and Giridih. In Giridih, they were joined in their one day solidarity hunger strike by ex MLA and CPI (ML) leader, Com. Vinod Singh.

In Bihar, AISA activists joined solidarity hunger strikes in Begusarai and Patna. AISA and RYA activists together with AISF, SFI, AIDSO, and other groups also organised a rail roko (blockade of railways) in Patna, Bhojpur, Darbhanga, Nawada, Samastipur, Gopalganj, and other areas in solidarity with JNU students. CPI (ML) General Secretary, Com. Dipankar also met the striking hunger striking students in JNU and expressed his solidarity. Addressing the students, he said that the struggle of JNU had students had created a stir in the entire country. The country is witnessing a new youth upsurge. If there was an Arab Spring, then a new youth spring had also emerged from the Freedom Square here and this spring was determined to reach its destination. Far from conspiring to break the country, the students of JNU through their struggles had worked to unite the people of this country. He said he felt recharged after meeting the determined students.

Villagers of Comrade Chintu Kumari's village Kaulodhri in Bhojpur, Bihar held a dharna in support of the hunger striking JNU students at the Collector's office and sent a memorandum to the President through the Collector.    

At present, Com. Rama Naga, Com. Shweta Raj, Com. Chintu, Com. Anant, Com. Pankhuri, Com. Fayaz, Com. Sarboni, Com. Anand, Com. Birendra, Com. Suresh are entering the third week of their indefinite hunger strike, even as more comrades join to strengthen the struggle.

CPI(ML) Liberation Kerala Committee Statement on Jishamol  Murder

As 10 days have passed since the gruesome murder after rape on last April 28 of a dalit student Jishamol who lived with her mother in a one room shanty house built on 2 cents wasteland in Vattolippara of Perumbavoor under the jurisdiction of Kuruppampady Police Station , reports coming in clearly indicate that concerted efforts were made on the part of the police and a section of residents in the neighbourhood to hide the real nature of the crime .The police were trying to mislead the public by portraying the murder as though it was caused under totally mysterious circumstances or by accident.

Going through many recent reports on crimes in the state, one can easily find out that whereas incidents involving sexual offences against women are alarmingly on the rise on the one side, practice of discrimination against poor and particularly social oppression against dalits is getting institutionalized to an alarming extent, on the other.

There were as many as thirty wounds inflicted on the body of Jisha, according to the report of post mortem, which again was done not under the supervision of a police surgeon but by a medico undergoing PG course in Allepy Medical College . Further, there were also indications that after the rape followed by murder even the dead body had been violated in worst manner. In spite of all these, the police were reportedly not just in a hurry to dispense with the body by giving it back to the relatives of Jisha but they also gave an NOC to the Municipal authority for taking the body for cremation. Why did the police act with such haste if it were not for destroying crucial evidences like forensic evidence and all?

In the case of Jisha, there seem to be factors common with what we find in earlier cases of rape and murder as well. Much like in Saumya rape and murder (in Kerala) and that in Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) case, the ugly face of patriarchal attitude to all women, reducing them to inferior creatures never to be allowed to have any will or choice of one's own, has been unabashedly on display in Jisha's murder as well. The unspeakably violence and horrendous nature of the rape and murder in question is sought to be kept as selectively hidden from, and partly open to the public view. In combination with the hegemonic structure of caste, it is employed with a purpose, often to show one's 'real place' and to 'teach lessons' to a non-compliant woman or dalit . Perhaps this explains the whole thing as to why most spokespersons of right wing –caste-gender structures rather approvingly keep silence or raise totally inopportune and ridiculous questions of dress, morals and modesty even in the context of gruesome rapes and killings.

Another set of actors who deliberately tried to mislead people to the assumption that this murder is mysterious and entirely clueless are sections in the mass media who routinely take instructions from the police and publish stories accordingly, on a day to day basis. One such report in a prominent Malayalam daily that appeared on the very next day Jisha was murdered had the caption meaning 'Young Woman's Body Found Dead Outside Home and under Mysterious Circumstances "

However, later it was known that Jisha's body was seen murdered not outside, but inside the house. Further, It took few more days to be known that police had actually received complaints on at least two earlier instances from Rajeswari, mother of Jisha that certain persons were persistently harassing her daughter and threatening them both. Now, it is anybody's guess how such complaints by a poor dalit woman staying in a shanty house on a piece of wasteland would have been treated by the police .

While crimes against women and dalits go toward the path of near institutionalization thanks to a callous administration on the one side, people's democratic expressions of dissent and protests are steadily gathering momentum on the other. Any democratically elected government should have the minimum courtesy to try to understand the real message and purport of these protests. CPI(ML) Liberation Kerala State Committee has said in a statement that rather than trying to suppress the truth about most heinous rape and murder of a dalit woman, and suppressing democratic expression of people's dissent, the UDF government should immediately take action against the erring police officers and replace them with designated Special Investigation Team comprising officers with exemplary track record.

Further, the government should take most urgent steps to rehabilitate Jisha's surviving mother who, with the loss of her only daughter, is totally broken and bereft of all material and emotional support.

CPI(ML) Calls for Jharkhand Bandh on 14th to Oppose the Pro-Corporate CNT Amendments

The CPIML has been agitating against 'domicile policy' and amendments to the CNT Act by the Raghuvar Das government of Jharkhand. This policy which is nothing but pro-corporate erosion of laws enacted to protect adivasis' rights over land, flies in the face of the very foundation of Jharkhand as a State, which was set up to protect the rights of the adivasis of Jharkhand. To oppose this policy, the Party has called for a Jharkhand bandh on 14 May during which the Party will come out on the streets in Ranchi city as well as different areas of the district. In preparation for this, nukkad sabhas and wall-writings are being done in various places.

Along with the campaign against these pro-corporate amendments to pro-tribal laws in the name of 'domicile policy', a campaign will also be undertaken from 9 May to 10 August among the people, particularly students and youth, against imperialism and spreading of communal frenzy.

26th Martyrdom Day Of Shaheed Daras Ram Sahu Observed

The CPI (ML) observed the 26th anniversary of the martyrdom of Daras Ram Sahu with a memorial meeting at Lal Khadan, Bilaspur on 6 May 2016. The meeting began with garlanding of Com. Daras Ram's statue and one minute's silence as a tribute to the martyr.

On this day in 1990 Com. Daras Ram was killed by criminals under the landlord-spinning mill owner-local politician nexus. Com. Daras Ram was the village sarpanch and President of the Spinning Mill Mazdoor Union and was fighting against the land grab of government land by the landlord. He was shot dead at about 11 PM on that night.

Daras Ram Sahu's wife, children, and family members were present at the meeting, which was addressed by Brijendra Tiwari, Bishat Kurre, Lallan Ram, and Dhanesh Verma. The speakers said that the need of the hour in the present dark times is a strong unity between workers, peasants, students, and youth to struggle against the anti-people policies of the Modi government as well as the Raman government. The meeting expressed solidarity with the struggle and hunger strike by the JNU students and condemned the unjust action against the students by the Central government and the JNU administration.

A resolution was passed at the meeting to fulfill the dreams and aims of Com. Daras Ram Sahu.