Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ML Update | No. 31 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 31 | 26 July – 1 August 2016

Beheading of a CPI(ML) Activist in Tami Nadu: Resist Atrocities by Casteist-Communal Outfits 

Even as the whole country protested the stripping and thrashing of Dalit youth in Gujarat by a 'cow protection' gang, the casteist-communal forces perpetrated yet another shocking caste atrocity, this time in Tamil Nadu. A young comrade of the CPI(ML), Mariappan, from the oppressed Vannar (washerman) caste, was beheaded by members of the Hindu Munnani for having challenged casteist norms. 

Comrade Mariappan had filed a complaint against Hindu Munnani members in 2013, for having attacked people of the Vannar community in a bid to prevent them from using the public corporation road for a funeral procession. On July 20, when he had gone to attend a Court hearing in the same case, the Hindu Munnani members threatened to behead him. The same day he disappeared, and his decapitated body and severed head were found the next day.

Local dominant caste leaders had also been incensed by the CPI(ML)'s fielding candidates from the oppressed caste in the ward elections, thereby flouting an unspoken 'ban' on such candidates. All four accused in Mariappan's beheading have now been arrested. 

As has been witnessed elsewhere in the country as well, people from Dalit and oppressed castes are routinely denied the right to vote or contest elections – and their assertion of this right, of what Ambedkar called the principle of 'one man, one vote' and 'one man, one value', is seen as a social and political challenge to dominant caste 'honour' and clout.

The dominant caste and Hindu Munnai wished to 'warn' the oppressed Vannar community of the consequences of asserting their civil and political rights – hence the barbaric beheading of Comrade Mariappan, a young activist from that community. 

The barbaric decapitation reeks of casteism. The incident is reminiscent of the manner in which CPI(ML)'s Comrade Bant Singh's limbs were chopped off in Punjab because his daughter demanded justice against rapists.

Even as the Dalits' protests in Gujarat have brought the barbaric casteist-communal 'cow protection' outfits into focus, the killing of Mariappan reminds us that this nexus between casteism and communal Hindutva is country-wide.

In Tamil Nadu, perpetrators of caste and communal atrocities have been enjoying a free reign with Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister. There have been a series of killings of young Dalit men who married non-Dalit women, as well as attacks on Dalit villages as reprisals for such marriages. In March this year, a Dalit youth and his wife were hacked by swords on a public road, leading to the death of the young man. Various caste outfits as well as the PMK political party have publicly justified such killings and instigated hatred against Dalits and oppressed castes. Yet, the ruling AIADMK as well as the main Opposition DMK remain silent on such atrocities. The Sangh Parivar and outfits like the Hindu Munnani have often made common cause with such casteist outfits – a prominent instance being the violent mob censorship of the writer Perumal Murugan, whose right to write was recently upheld by the Madras High Court. The series of barbaric attacks perpetrated by a nexus of Hindutva groups and casteist groups underline, again and again, the essentially Brahminical character of Hindutva. 

It is time to launch a countrywide offensive against violent casteist, communal and patriarchal outfits – including the 'Cow Protection' groups, Hindu Munnani as well as various casteist formations. Such outfits cannot be allowed to get away with their barbaric attacks on democratic values, and the ruling political formations at Centre and State must stop their tacit patronage of such outfits. Annihilate caste, resist atrocities by casteist-communal outfits! 

Team Visits Victims of Gujarat Anti-Dalit Atrocity

Modi rule has unleashed repression and atrocities on dalits, adivasis, women and Muslims. The latest such episode has been the incident of brutal stripping and thrashing of dalit youths in Gujarat, and the incidents of Chikmagaluru (Karnataka) where cow-vigilantes beat up Dalits and Tirunelveli (Tamilnadu) with casteist and Hindutva elements beheaded a CPI(ML) comrade.

The 11 July incident of Mota Samadhiyala village of Una town in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat was a case of atrocity against dalits on the pretext of 'cow protection'. In this village with a population of 3000, there are just 26-27 dalit households, most of them surviving on agricultural labour which generally earns them Rs. 100-150 per day in the seasons when their labour is required by the land holders. There are a few educated youth from among dalit families too. Only one family now continues with the traditional work of skinning of the dead animals. This family used to earn Rs. 150-200 for the skinning of a dead cow. It was members of this family that were the victims of the atrocity.

The Incident:

7 members of the family of Balubhai Veerabhai Sarvaiya were severely brutalised and publicly beaten up by the members of so-called Gau Rakshak Dal (Cow Protection Gang) on 11 July. These Dalit young men had been called by a farmer to dispose of the remains of two dead cows that had been probably been mauled to death by a lion.

Nearly 35-40 people who were led by Najabhai Danabhai Beria of a nearby village accused them "Tum jinda gaay ko katate ho, tumhe nahin chhorenge" (you slaughter live cows, we won't spare you), stripped them and beat them up with pipes for 3-4 hours. The entire beating was video-taped by the assailants and uploaded online as a 'warning' – standard practice of the Gau Raksha Dals. The incident was reported to the Una police within five minutes of the beginning of the beating, but the police took no action and let the brutality continue.

After beating them for nearly four hours the perpetrators of 'Gau Rakshak Dal' who are associated with the RSS and Shiv Sena according to the villagers, forcibly took all the victims towards Una town. As they passed the village boundary there was a police team who shook hands with the perpetrators in a congratulatory way. Mota Samadhiyala village is 17-18 kilometers from Una, but the police team took 3-4 hours to reach Una only to shake hands with the 'Gau Rakshaks'.

The victims were taken to Una at a place just in front of the police station where they were tied to a Xylo car which dragged them for a fairly long distance along the road. Their beatings continued even in front of the police station. At the police station, the police detained the victims for several hours, and made no attempt to detain the assailants. Eventually when an FIR was lodged, the police named only 6 of the 35-40 perpetrators.

The visit of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel angered the dalit villagers of Mota Samadhiyala especially, because the CM and her team sat on chairs specially hired for them, while the dalit villagers sat on the floor at a distance! She had announced for Rs. 4 lakh compensation for each victim; by 24 July 7 persons got a payment of Rs. 1 lakh each instead of the whole amount, as if the government was doing a favour to the dalit victims.

Balubhai Veerabhai Sarvaiya has a head injury by the iron pipes used in the attack. Vasrambhai, Rameshbhai, Ashokbhai and Vaijalbhai have now been admitted in a hospital in Rajkot which is 200 km from Mota Samadhiyala.

After the wave of revolt and resistance by the Dalits of Gujarat – who threw cow carcasses in Government offices and said 'Let the Cow Protectors take care of their 'mother'' - only 17 persons out of 35-40 perpetrators have been arrested. A whole police thana witnessed the atrocity – but only three policemen have been suspended. Moreover, out of 17 arrested, charges have been filed against only 6 persons under Sections 307, 395, 324, 323, 504, Gujarat Police Act, 135 IPC and Section 3 (2)(5) of SC/ST Atrocities Act.

Notable among the protests in Gujarat was the Dhikkar Rally (Condemnation Rally) in Prime Minister Modi's home district which condemned Modi for his silence on anti-Dalit atrocities. All over Gujarat, Muslim people and groups have joined the Dalit protests against cow-vigilantism and casteist atrocities.  

All these protests and rallies demanded an immediate ban on cow vigilantism and organisations like Gau Rakshak Dals. People are also demanding the resignation of the  Anandiben government of Gujarat whose rhetoric of 'development' has become synonymous with the repression of dalit, adivasis, women and all oppressed sections.

A team comprised of CPI(ML) Politburo member Prabhat Kumar, All India Rural and Agricultural Labour Association (AIRLA) national President and ex-Member of Parliament Rameshwar Prasad, AIPF's Tushar Parmar, National Secretary of Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) Amit Patanwadia and Abhishek Parmar of Black Panther visited Mota Samadhiyala village on 24 July and met the victims and their families.

The team has demanded that the Gujarat government (1) ban 'Gau Rakshak Dals' and similar organisations throughout the state; (2) All the police personnel and officers of Gir-Somnath District involved in the incident must immediately be suspended and be charged under SC/ST Atrocities Act. (3 identify and arrest all the attackers based on the video footage and ensure a fast track trial (4) proper compensation, best medical treatment, and full security to all the victims and their families.

This team also joined a protest demonstration in Chandkhera in Ahmedabad organised by various dalit organisations where people signed on a 56-yards long cloth (mocking the Modi's tall talk of 56" chest).

Sankalp Sabha On 20th Anniversary of Bathani Tola Carnage

On 11 July 1996 the feudal-communal Ranveer Sena brutally massacred women and children of Bathani Tola. The CPI (ML) organized a Sankalp Sabha in Bathani Tola on the 20th anniversary of the carnage. AIARLA district Secretary Com. Kamta Prasad Singh, Comrades Madan Singh, Ramkishore Rai, Ramesh Singh, Ram Dutt Ram, Ramanand Thakur, Naeemuddin Ansari and others offered floral tribute to the martyrs and reiterated their resolve to continue the struggle for justice.

AISA Protests in Chandigarh

AISA and the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sttudents' Union (SBSU) commenced the dharna protests for their demands on the opening day of the College situated in Sector-11, Chandigarh. In spite of the Sector-11 College being the most expensive college in Chandigarh, it does not provide adequate water in the hostels, and library facilities are highly inadequate. Only 3 computer systems are in working condition; the college does not have wi-fi despite it being shown in the prospectus. The students' have been struggling to ensure that these demands are met. On the day of the dharna, when the College Principal came to the dharna venue and started moving out the protesting students, the student leaders resisted and insisted that first their demands be addressed. However, the Principal tried to snatch the posters from their hands, called the police and gave orders for the students to be arrested. The college unit of ABVP is opposing the students' demands. Anisha Negi, Joint President of AISA and SBSU said that the students' organizations which are opposing struggles for facilities for students fight elections on the strength of money and muscle power but betray the interests of students. The students will surely give a fitting reply to this. AISA National Executive member Vijay Kumar said that the dictatorial behavior of the Principal will not be tolerated and the struggle will continue.

Tribute to Comrade Jeeta Kaur

The CPI (ML) organized a "Jagriti" convention in Mansa, Punjab on 23 June 2016, the 9th death anniversary of Com. Jeeta Kaur. Com. Jeeta, a prominent CPI (ML) and AIPWA leader, lost her life to cancer at the untimely age of 48 on 23 June 2007. The convention was presided over by Comrades Iqbal Kaur Udasi, Chhoti Kaur, Beant Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Kuldeep Kaur, Paramjeet Kaur and Amarjeet. Speakers at the convention recalled Com. Jeeta's life dedicated to people's struggles and social change and discussed the "role of women in people's struggles". 

The convention was also addressed by comrades Balwinder Kaur, Jasbir Kaur, Bhagwant Singh Samaon, Gurmeet Singh, Nikka Singh, Gurjant Singh, Punjab Kisan Union President Raldu Singh, and Rajvindr Singh Rana. People's singers presented revolutionary songs. The convention passed a resolution condemning the Badal government's atrocities, arrests, and false cases on dalits, workers, farmers and unemployed people who are fighting in various districts on issues of debt waiver, employment generation, and one-third share of panchayati land on residential plots, and stressed the need for a united political struggle on these issues.

Protest Demo at Kanpur Income Tax Office

Protests were staged at the Income Tax Office on 30 June 2016 by Karmachari Mahasangh Uttar Pradesh (W) Circle, Kanpur, in response to the call by the Rashtriya Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti and the Central Gazetted Officers' Association to protest against the implementation of the anti-officer and anti-worker recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission without any amendments. It is to be noted that not only workers but officers in government bodies also come under the scope of wage revision and they are also unhappy with the recommendations of the Pay Commission. 

Block Level Protests in Darbhanga against Forced Evications of Mahadalits

265 families of the mahadalit community have been living in Kataya Musahari of Biraul panchayat (Darbhanga district) for the past 45 years. At present there are 25 Indira Awas houses, 12 hand pumps and 45 toilets in this Tola. This land used to be in the name of the Ram Janaki temple whose sewait Rambahadur Gupta is now no more. The poor-mahadalits have about 30 bighas of the temple land. In the new survey this land has been entered in the name of Sri Sri 108 Ram Janaki Mahadev. The grandson of Rambahadur Gupta's brother Shyam Bahadur Gupta has staked a false claim to this land. These feudal forces used money and muscle power to pressurize the Biraul block officials to displace the poor-mahadalits and give them possession. The matter went up to the High Court but the mahadalits, being unorganized, could not put up their case effectively. The HC ruled in favour of the feudal forces, proving the extent to which our courts are anti-poor.

On 9 July the administration resorted to force and started forcible eviction of the mahadalits, during which Jagmaya Devi was killed and 4 people were injured. However, the insensitive block officials maintained that Jagmaya Devi was not killed by police oppression but died of an illness. The administration did not even conduct a post-mortem on Jagmaya Devi. 

The CPI(ML) Darbhanga district committee has planned to file an appeal in the High Court in this matter. Protests were held at all block HQs on 17 July 2016 demanding proper compensation and government job for Jagmaya Devi's kin, a high level enquiry into the attack by the administration on the Tola, land parchas for all poor-mahadalits, along with other demands. The effigy of the Biraul SDO was burnt at the protest which led by district Secretary Com. Baidnath Yadav.

Initiatives in Jharkhand

The CPI (ML) Giridih district committee held an Akrosh rally at the Sariya block HQ on 5 July 2016, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Com. Arun Pandey who was killed on this day last year in the Koiridih jungles of Bagodar district. Of the 10 accused, only one has been arrested so far. In protest against the negligence of the police, the Sariya block SDPO office was gheraoed on 5 July 2016. Thousands of people participated in the gherao, led by former MLA Vinod Singh and demanded the arrest of all the accused.  Arun Pandey was a senior Party leader who had played a significant role in mobilizing the people of the Sariya-Koiridih area in favour of the CPI (ML). 

A Sankalp Sabha was organized on 4 July at Bundu Chowk, Ranchi district, on the 26th martyrdom anniversary of Com. Parmshwar Singh Munda, that resolved to fight corporate land grab and the anti-adivasi and anti-democratic domicile policy.

Khorimahya block HQ was gheraoed under the leadership of MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav on 1 July. The gherao lasted till 2 July and reports are that 22,000 ration cards in Rajdhanwar and 16,000 ration cards in Jamua were made as a result of the gherao. Food grain distribution was also speeded up in Rajdhanwar, Ganwa, Tisri and Jamua as a result of the pressure thus built.

Midday meal workers held dharnas in Godda and Dhanbad under the banner of the Jharkhand Pradesh Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sanyojika Adhyaksh Sangh to protest against the privatization of midday meal workers and laying off of Assistant Sanyojikas. AICCTU and Rasoiya Sangh protested strongly on 3 and 5 July forcing a stay on the reconstitution of the Vidyalaya management committee (the first step in privatization). If the reconstitution plan is not revoked before 10 July, a dharna will be staged in front of the Collectorate.

Large scale protests were held in Markaccho block of Koderma district on 2 July against the police firing on a CPI(ML) protest there on 22 January 2003, that killed 3 comrades under the false charge that they were 'militants.' After strong protests led by the late Com. Mahendra Singh, the Babulal Marandi government had been forced to release all the falsely arrested comrades, and take back all the false cases. However, now after 13 years Koderma district Party workers are being threatened with arrest in connection with the same case. The 2 July protest was also to protest against this conspiracy and demanded that the findings of the enquiry report on the Markacho police firing incident be published and witch hunt of innocent activists be stopped immediately.

Citizen's Protest Vigil in Delhi against atrocities on Dalits and Muslims in the name of 'Cow Protection'

A citizens protest vigil was called in Delhi at Jantar Mantar on 23 July against the atrocities on Dalits and Muslims in by cow protection vigilante groups in the name of cow protection. The vigilante groups that have sprung up all over the country enjoy the patronage of the ruling establishment. The protest was joined by CPI(ML), AISA, AICCTU, AIPWA and RYA along with prominent activists like Bezwada Wilson, Nandita Narain, N D Pancholi and others. Protesters demanded a ban on all 'cow protection' vigilante groups. They also demanded immediate action against the vigilante groups who attacked Dalits in Una, Gujarat and also against their political patrons. Several speakers spoke about the urgent need to strike at the root of casteism and Brahminism. Holding placards and banners expressing solidarity with the ongoing Dalit movement in Gujarat, the protestors demanded prohibition of all forms of manual scavenging and hazardous and demeaning work along with immediate rehabilitation of all the Dalits engaged in such work. The vigil was addressed by like Bezwada Wilson, Nandita Narain, N D Pancholi, Bhasha Singh, Com. Ramayana Ram, RYA National Secretary Com. Om Prasad and JNUSU VP Shehla Rashid. The cultural group Sangwari also presented songs expressing solidarity with the ongoing movement against oppression of the Dalits and the minorities. 

ASHA Workers' Protest In Haldwani

Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers' Union affiliated to AICCTU held a vociferous protest in Haldwani as part of a state-wide programme and burnt the effigy of the Central government. The ASHA workers are paid a monthly honorarium in 9 States in the country, but in Uttarakhand they do not get any monthly wages or honorarium. The Central government must implement an equal policy for ASHA workers across the country. Uttarakhand ASHA workers under the leadership of the ASHA Health Workers' Union have been boycotting work since 11 July 2016 but the government has so far been deaf to their demands. Additionally, the ASHA workers in Uttarakhand have been burdened with a large number of tasks and duties such as reduction in mother-infant mortality rate, pulse polio campaign, family welfare, malaria survey, ORS distribution, keeping vigilance on violence against women, Mukhyamantri Health Insurance Scheme, disaster training etc. The following demands were made during the protest:

1.       ASHA workers should be given the status of "worker" and all ASHA workers across the country should be paid an equal minimum wage of Rs 18000 per month as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. Till such time as this is done, they should be paid minimum wages as per the recommendations of the 45th Labour Conference.

2.       ASHA workers should be regularized and given the status of State government employees.

3.       The fund cuts made by the Central government in the budget for the National Health Mission should be revoked.

During the protest, the police tried to forcibly stop the ASHA workers from burning the effigy and tried to remove them from the road in front of the Women's Hospital, causing a sharp confrontation between the City Magistrate and police and the workers. After the effigy burning and rally in front of the Women's Hospital, the police registered a case against Com. Kailash Pandey and 11 ASHA workers for blocking the Highway. On the same day, the BJP had also staged a rally and effigy burning, during which there was a blockage for about 25 minutes in front of the Deputy Collector's office; whereas, the effigy burning by the ASHA workers took place in front of the Women's Hospital, and the blockage lasted for a much shorter period. However, in the eyes of the police and the administration the ASHA workers' protest and blockage was sufficient grounds for registering a case; no case was registered in connection with the BJP's rally, effigy burning and road block.  Apart from Haldwani, the ASHA workers also held strong protests and burnt the effigy of the Central government at Nainital, Garampani, Ramnagar, Bajpur, Ranikhet, Didihat, Pithoragarh, Gangolihat, Champawat, Bageshwar, Lohaghat, Pati, Tanakpur, and other places.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

ML Update | No. 30 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 30 | 19- 25 July 2016

No More Una Or Dadri Style Atrocities 

Ban Casteist And Communal 'Cow Protection' Mobs 

 For the past several years, 'cow-protection' vigilantism has been the pretext for casteist and communal violence. Akhlaque was killed in Dadri by such a mob; two Muslim cattle herders were lynched and hung from trees in Jharkhand by such mobs. Such mobs, acting closely with RSS outfits, have routinely stripped, paraded and thrashed their victims in the presence of police, and uploaded videos of the violence online. But they have done so once too often in Una in Gujarat's Somnath District.

The job of skinning and tanning cow leather and disposing of cow carcasses is assigned by the oppressive caste system to Dalits, who face untouchability for doing this work that is considered 'dirty.' On July 11th, a Shiv Sena 'cow protection' mob caught hold of four Dalit men who had been called by a farmer to dispose of a dead cow. Accusing the Dalits of being 'cow leather smugglers,' the cow-vigilantes brutally stripped and thrashed them for four hours, and released a video of the atrocity as a 'warning' to 'cow smugglers.' The Gujarat police, far from intervening to prevent the violence and arrest the perpetrators, detained the victims and questioned them. This is reminiscent of the shocking manner in which a UP Court has ordered that a FIR of 'cow slaughter' be registered against the family of the Dadri lynch-mob victim Akhlaque.

The Dalits of Gujarat have erupted in protest against the atrocity. They have adopted an innovative means of protest: they are dumping cow carcasses at Government offices, saying that Dalits refuse to dispose of cow carcasses any more. They have declared that those of the RSS, Shiv Sena and other 'cow protection' outfits who claim the cow to be their mother, can in future take on the responsibility of conducting the 'last rites' of their 'mother'. This form of protest has most effectively exposed the sheer hypocrisy of the casteist and communal 'cow protection' groups that refer to cows as their 'mother', but consider the 'mother's' carcass to be too 'polluting' to be handled by anyone except Dalits.    

Some 16 Dalits of Gujarat have attempted suicide in the wake of the atrocity, reflecting the sense of outrage and humiliation felt by Dalits in the State. The Gujarat Government, in an attempt to contain the protest, has suspended some of the concerned police personnel. But suspension is far from adequate: all the perpetrators, identified on the basis of the videos, must be arrested and the responsible police personnel arrested and prosecuted for their complicity in an atrocity against Dalits.

A study titled "Understanding Untouchability: A Comprehensive Study of Practices and Conditions in 1,589 villages", conducted in Gujarat by the Navsarjan Trust between 2007-2010, had found evidence of widespread untouchability, tacitly approved and encouraged by the Government, in 98% of the villages. And Gujarat is unlikely to be an exception – untouchability and anti-Dalit atrocities are common all over rural and urban India.

What needs to be emphasized is the fact that casteist anti-Dalit discrimination and violence is joined at the hip to communal discrimination and violence. Strategies used to stoke hatred and violence against Muslims today, have long been used against Dalits. Both Dalits and Muslims are the targets of organized violence in the name of 'cow protection'; Dalits, like Muslims, do not share the taboo on consumption of beef imposed by caste Hindus. Dalit communities face violence when Dalit men marry 'caste Hindu' women; Muslim communities face violence when Muslim men marry Hindu women. In other words, 'cow protection', as well as inter-caste and inter-faith marriage are common pretexts for casteist and communal politics as well as mob violence. Modi himself, during the Parliamentary and Assembly election campaign speeches in Bihar, repeatedly used the 'cow protection' motif in a vain attempt to stoke communal hatred and consolidate caste and religious vote-banks in Bihar.  

Today, the BJP and Sangh Parivar are caught in a wedge. They are the champions of the 'cow protection' politics and the casteist and communal violence that go with it. At the same time, they seek to woo Dalits to identify with communal, anti-Muslim politics. Their 'ghar wapsi' (homecoming) campaign is essentially a campaign to ask Dalits to embrace their subordinate position in the Hindu casteist status quo, without complaint. They also seek to appropriate Ambedkar, minus his radical anti-caste and anti-communal democratic politics. But time and again, actions and words of the BJP, Sangh and Hindutva leaders and groups reveal them to the Dalits to be 'wolves in sheep's clothing.'

When Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister, he referred in a book titled 'Karmayog' to manual scavenging as a 'spiritual activity' done voluntarily by Dalits to serve society. After facing huge protests, he has since changed his tune. But his original remarks throw light on the Sangh's own ideology that disguises and glorifies anti-Dalit atrocities as part of a desirable social order.   

 Even as the Dalits of Gujarat – Narendra Modi's supposedly 'model' home state – are up in arms against a shamelessly casteist administration and Government, Mumbai has witnessed a massive rally of Dalit and Left groups against the BJP Government's shocking demolition of Ambedkar's historic office at Dadar.

The Dalits' protests in Gujarat must resonate across the country. Democratic groups all over India must unite to demand a ban on cow protection vigilantist outfits that indulge in, promote or glorify mob violence in the name of 'cow protection.'   


Bihar Bandh

Against Political Patronage of Toppers' Scam

The Bihar bandh called by the CPI(ML) Bihar State committee for 12 July on the following issues—high level judicial enquiry into the political patronage of the toppers' scam; inclusion of educationists in the committee; implementation of common school system; revoking of SC-ST scholarship cuts; revoking of stay on provisions for reservation in government job promotions; revoking of non-aided education policy; confiscation of the scamsters' properties; and review of matric and inter exam results—was very effective across the State. Train services, roads, schools, colleges, banks, shops, block offices etc. remained closed for several hours at various places. Congratulating the people of Bihar on the success of the bandh, the Bihar state unit of CPI (ML) shared that the widespread participation of people from all walks of life is an indication that education is a priority on the people's agenda and they will not tolerate a corrupt and anti-people education policy. The bandh got full support from students, intellectuals, dalits, non-aided teachers and others.

In Patna a march in support of the bandh led by State Secretary Com. Kunal was taken out from Gandhi Maidan to Dak Bangla chowk where hundreds including senior leaders of the Party were arrested. Speakers at the meeting castigated Nitish for destroying the education system in the State and ruining the future of Bihar's young, making a mockery of his promise to bring social justice. Merely a criminal enquiry into the toppers' scam will not do; the political patronage must also be probed, as there are clear links between Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad, Giriraj Singh (BJP) and main scam accused education mafia leader Bacchca Singh. They added that the two-faced and non-aided policy has replaced affordable government education with profiteering private schools and has ruined Bihar's education.

The leaders also pointed that cuts in SC-ST scholarships and stay on reservations SC- ST reservations in government job promotions are ironically contrary to the promise of "social justice". The purpose is clearly to stop the weaker sections from advancing in society. Holding all 3 parties—JDU, RJD, and BJP—responsible, the speakers demanded a judicial enquiry into the political patronage of the scam and also rejected the current education policy which deepened social inequalities.

School children participated in large numbers in the rallies at Jehanabad and Arwal. The students said that the government schools are in dire condition with extreme shortage of teachers, resulting in those who could afford it to go for private schools. The poor are left in the pathetic government schools.

The working of banks and blocks in Buxar and Kesath were affected by the bandh and non-aided teachers came out in large numbers at Motihari. CPI (ML), RYA, AISA activists and bandh supporters stopped trains across the State for varying lengths of time which included Sampark Kranti, Sealdah Sapt Kranti, Vaishali, Jamalpur-Gaya Passenger, Patna-Sasaram Fast Passenger, 565 Uo Local, Ranchi-Patna Janshatabdi, Patna-Ara Passenger, Shramjeevi, Bhagalpur-Dana Express, and Janshatabdi Express in Masaurhi.

Roads and National Highways were also blocked at various parts of the State: GT Road, NH 57, NH 30, NH 98, NH 83, NH 28, Muzaffarpur-Shivhar Road, Dumraon-Vikramgarh Road, Buxar-Dinara Road, JP Chowk and Gopalganj crossing in Siwan. The bandh was also effective and widely participated in Motihari, Eastern Champaran, Saran, Buxar, Sasaram, Vikramganj, Kaimur, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur, Madhepura, Supoul, and Saharsa. In Ara different groups marched at block HQs across the district. Koilvar bridge and Ara bus stand were blocked for hours by the bandh supporters led by MLA Com. Sudama Prasad and other leaders. About 60 supporters were arrested in Jagdishpur.

Road and rail traffic were obstructed and effective marches were also taken out in Navada, Aurangabad, Nalanda, Jamui, Shekhpura, Katihar and Arariya.


Protests in Solidarity With Kashmir  

Citizens and several progressive, democratic and left individuals and organisations have held protests in different parts of the country against the brutal assault by police, paramilitaries and armed forces in the Kashmir valley that have left over 40 dead, and several blinded and severely injured. These sections have come together in large numbers to condemn the violence unleashed by the state.

Delhi: On 13 July, several hundred including right civil rights activists, students, youth, artists, women's organizations, left organisations and individuals, and several others gathered at Jantar Mantar for a silent protest march and protest meeting. Wearing black bands and holding banners and placards that carried names of those who had been killed during the protests, the protestors demanded an immediate end to these brutalities. Addressing the protest meeting, activist Shabnam Hashmi emphasized on the urgent need to end the 'climate of impunity' in Kashmir that allowed the state to become a murderer. She also pointed out the contrast in the way in which the violent, armed mobs were dealt in Harayana and Gujarat and the way the unarmed protestors were dealt with in Kashmir. Com. Kavita Krishnan, PB member of CPI (ML) spoke about the need to immediately repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the urgent necessity to initiate dialogue without preconditions with all sections of society in Jammu and Kashmir. She also stressed the need for all Indian citizens to come out and say that the Indian state cannot continue to butcher the people of Kashmir in their name. AISA leader and JNUSU VP, Com. Shehla Rashid also spoke about how the continued violence unleashed by the state and the humiliation meted out to the Kashmiris had led to young generations of Kashmiris feeling alienated. She stressed on the urgent need to demilitarize Kashmir.

Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu: On 17 July, CPI(ML) and AICCTU jointly organized a demonstration in Tirunelveli, demanding justice for Kashmiri people. Demonstrators held placards that read- "No to Bullets and Pellets and YES to political resolution of Kashmir issue"; "No peace without Justice", and "AFSPA should go".  Com. Kumarasamy, while addressing the protestors said that even as the Modi government says that Kashmir is a part of India, the people of Kashmir cannot be seen as enemies. The grievances of the Kashmiris demanded a political solution and not the army.

Patna: In Patna too, a protest of citizens led by CPI (ML) demanded an end to state violence in Kashmir. The protestors strongly condemned the barbaric killings of innocent citizens in Kashmir. The police responded to the protestors with the use of force  

Kolkata: Hundreds of protestors participated in a rally in Kolkata on 15 July to protest the ongoing killings in Kashmir by the Indian State. In Kolkata too the protestors carried placards with the names of civilians recently killed in Kashmir inscribed on it. Protestors raised slogans demanding withdrawal of AFSPA, PSA and the presence of the armed forces in Kashmir. Protestors expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir and demanded that the Kashmiri demand for self-determination be addressed politically, not by repression.  

Towards September 2nd All India Strike

The Tamil Nadu state council of AICCTU met at Tirunelveli on 17 July to chart out a plan for successful 'All India Strike' on September 2. A four-member Presidium consisting of Comrades N. K. Natarajan, A. S. Kumar, Bhuvana and Sankarapandian conducted the proceedings. Leaders representing various sectors such as Civil supplies corporation, electricity board, Co-optex, construction, power loom, defence, conservancy workers and also workers from organized and unorganized private sector industries put forth their demands and shared details pertaining to preparations for the strike. The council also decided to approach Industry-wise independent unions to call them for their participation. A massive signature campaign on the demands and fund mobilization campaign were also planned. It was also decided to organize two workshops at Chennai and Coimbatore to equip workers comprehensively during August. Com A.S. Kumar took the mantle as state President which was ratified by the council. Com. Kumarasamy, All India President of AICCTU addressed the council covering all aspects of International and National situation and the role of the working class in the present juncture. The Council meet ended with a firm resolve to make the September 2 strike successful. 


AIARLA Protest for Tribal Land Rights in Vishakhapatnam

Chatarjipuram is a small habitation in M.K. Patanam revenue village of Rolugunta Mandal in Vishakhapatnam district. 'Gadaba' are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) living there who cultivate nearly 25 acres' dry land since a long time.  The tribal cultivators name was recorded in the old village revenue records.

After Mr. Chandrababu Naidu's TDP government came to power in the state of Andhra Pradesh, he started digitalization of village revenue records and opened the flood gate to the land mafia. Using the digitization drive to their advantage and with active cooperation from present Revenue Divisional officer and the Tehsildar, the land mafia were able to remove the names of the tribals and incorporated the names of the non-tribal non-cultivators as cultivators in computerized land records.

'Losingi' is another PVTG village on situated on a hilltop in Rolungunta Mandal, where 'Kondh' tribe resides. However, some non-tribal belonging to 'Sarabavaram' a village in the plains, bribed the revenue officers and were able to get the pattas (titles) of the government land on which crops are being grown by the Kondh tribe farmers, assigned to their names. The non-tribal using these titles are getting huge loans from national banks along with funds for 'land development program' under MGNREGS. The tribal people of Losingi submitted complaints for cancellation of these pattas to the Tehsildar, RDO and the Collector, but no action was taken. Several tribal villages like 'Pedapeta', 'Konthalam' and others village are facing similar land problems. On 11 July, AIARLA organized the tribal communities and conducted a rally in the Divisional headquarter of Narsipatanam from RTC complex to the RDO office. AIARLA demanded an in-depth enquiry by Project Officer of Integrated Tribal Development Agency of Paderu and it also demanded action against the Tehsildar of Rolugunta who changed the revenue records to favor the non-tribal non-cultivators. Nearly a hundred tribals and Dalits participated in the rally. Com Janardhan and Com. Chanti lead the rally which was addressed by Com. Bugatha Bangaru Rao, Central Committee Member of CPI (ML).


Demonstration against Nuclear Plant by AIPF and PMANE at Tirunelveli

Even as the unit 1 of the Koodankulam Nuclear plant is in doldrums, the Indian government has declared the successful establishment of unit 2. AIPF and Peoples' Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMNAE) organized a Demonstration on 16 July at Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, demanding complete closure of all nuclear plants. Demonstrators demanded a white paper on Nuclear deals. They also demanded that the government say 'No' to further Nuclear parks. Government's claim of production of electricity from unit 1 itself was ridiculed by the demonstrators. Com. Ramesh, National Council member of AIPF presided over the demonstration. The demonstration was addressed by Com. Kumarasamy, state secretary of CPI(ML) and Com. S.P. Udayakumar, Convenor of PMANE and also the National campaign committee member of AIPF. The protest demonstration was also attended by Com. Kalai Kannan of Aadhi Tamilar Katchi, Mr.Abdul Jabbar of Tamil Nadu Peoples' Democratic party, Com. Sankara Pandian, state General secretary of AICCTU, Com. Desikan,  state campaign committee member of AIPF, Com. Ganesan of AICCTU and Com. Sundarrajan of RYA.


AIPWA March in Ramgarh on Hul Diwas

The Ramgarh district unit of AIPWA rook out a rally on 30 June (Hul Diwas) against the atrocities by the Raghuvar Das government on women, especially dalit and adivasi women. Women participating in the rally raised their voice against the government on the following issues: rape and murder of Chandmuni Soren and Priya Murmu of Ramgarh district; failure to arrest killers of B.Ed student Sonali Murmu; police atrocities on a young girl at Manika thana; and the police lathi charge on women protesters against land-grabbing by NTPC at Badkagaon in Hazaribagh district. They said that the government had failed to protect the safety and dignity of women in the State. Hundreds of women marched 3 km on foot from the Party office raising slogans for women's safety, dignity, work, and pay. The march was followed by the district conference at Tulsi Devi Dharmashala which began by paying tributes to Sidu, Kanhu, Chand, Bhairav, Phulo, Jhano, Rijhni Devi, Balkahiya Devi and other martyrs.

In his inaugural address, Ramgarh district secretary Com. Bhuneshwar Bediya said that women must unite and come forward to fight for their rights against molestation, rape, murder, and police atrocity, and they must decisively establish their identity. Presiding over the conference, Com. Nita Bediya said that the governments at the centre and the State have given the call for "Beti Bachao-Beti-Padhao", but the greatest oppression of women is taking place here. Many "Betis" are forced to migrate from Jharkhand in search of livelihood. They are being physically and economically exploited by brokers, but the government shows no interest in stopping this. Com. Karuna Kumari, leader from Badkagaon block said that women are fighting against land grab by NTPC despite being lathi-charged by the police. She stressed that women must unite and fight to protect their dignity, water, forest, and land. Many other women also expressed their views. At the conclusion, a 25 member AIPWA district committee was constituted with comrades Sarita Devi and Nita Bediya being elected President and Secretary respectively.


ASHA Health Workers Protest 

Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers' Union, affiliated to AICCTU, has strongly condemned the government's act of distributing "ASHA Nirodh" at several places during the Diarrhoea and Family Planning Fortnight, and has termed it extremely insulting to ASHA workers and to all women. On 15 July, the ASHA workers' union burnt the effigy of the Health Minister at many places across the State including in Pithoragarh district headquarters.

Com. Vimal Philip of the CPI (ML) said that on the one hand the government is not willing to give the ASHA workers even a monthly honorarium in spite of extracting all manner of work from them and continues to exploit them thoroughly, against which the workers are protesting by boycotting the Diarrhoea and Family Planning Fortnight. The government by naming the condoms "ASHA Nirodh" will be exposing the ASHA workers to sexist remarks and taunts. 

Union District President Com. Indra Deupa said that punitive action should be taken against the Minister, officials, manufacturing company, and programme director involved in this insulting project. If action is not taken, other women's organizations and unions will also be mobilized on this issue of respect and dignity for women. She said that the if the government does not apologize without delay and revoke the condoms, the union will confront the government on this issue and the ruling party MLAs will be gheraoed at all places.


Forcible Land Grab and Police Atrocities in Jharkhand

An inquiry team comprising human rights activist Fr Stan Swamy, anti-displacement activist Arvind Avinash, Prashant Rahi, and Anil Anshuman from the AIPF visited different villages in the main region of the Pakri-Barwadih Coal Project in Barkagaon block in Hazaribagh district on 18 June to inquire into the atrocities unleashed by the police and administration on villagers who were protesting against the forcible land grab by NTPC under their Karnapura (Pakri-Barwadih) project. They met villagers who were victims of the police oppression and spoke in detail to them. They also spoke to activists from people's organizations fighting against the land grab and displacement of the villagers, on whom false cases have been slapped. The findings of the team have been presented in brief below:

Villagers from Sonbarsa, Sinduari, Churchu, and Dadikala said that the villagers of this area had been continuously protesting against the illegal means adopted by NTPC management for the coal project. Despite this, when the coal mining contract was given to private companies and work was first started at Chirudih Talia Tand, the neighbouring farmers (raiyyats) started an indefinite peaceful dharna from 31 March at the mining venue. On 16 May when the companies started using bulldozers, the farmers intensified their stir. On 17 May, when hundreds of farmers were participating in the dharna. Barkagaon thana in-charge Ramdayal Munda came with some policemen and asked the farmers why they had lathis if their protest was peaceful. Hearing this, the farmers put aside their lathis. Then suddenly without warning hundreds of policemen attacked them with lathis, injuring many.

After the above attack, according to 300 to 400 eyewitnesses, armed policemen attacked many nearby villages also, beating up the old, young, women, children, and anyone they could get hold of. Houses were broken into and in the absence of male members, women were obscenely abused and beaten. Household goods were destroyed. Several people were left with cracked heads and broken limbs. Even pregnant women were not spared. Wherever the inquiry team went, they could see visible proof of the police brutality.

Mukesh, an inter student from Sonbarsa village, said even the British would not have inflicted brutalities as inflicted by these policemen. 60-year-old Bhuvaneshwar Sao shared that he was beaten up so brutally that he had to get admitted in Ranchi for 5 days. Sudama Kumar, a class five student was beaten so badly that he got fever and still walks with a limp. Several children shared the brutalities they were subjected to. Similar reports came from Dadikala and Sinduari. Villagers across villages shared that for several days after the attack they were fearful and could not sleep for the police had threatened further violence unless they cleared out. The villagers told the team that the government says that this land is fallow and wants to take it away on that excuse; but in reality it is very fertile and yields good vegetable and paddy crops.

The administration has slapped false cases on activists who raise their voices for the farmers' rights and land including Com. Mithilesh Dangi, Rajeev Ranjan, Mohd Ansari and others, who are still in the Hazaribagh Central Jail. Their hearing is being done not through physical presence but through video conferencing. Cases have been registered against 31 named persons and hundreds of unnamed persons under sections such as stone-pelting, snatching rifles from policemen, and obstructing government work. 3 members of the family of Baija Rana, struggling for their 40-acre multi-crop land are in jail. Clearly, the situation in Jharkhand is even worse than during the Emergency in 1975 as this time fascist rule is being imposed for the benefit of corporate companies. The reality is that the BJP government wishes to make Jharkhand a heaven for corporate companies and a graveyard for democracy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ML Update | No. 29 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 29 | 12- 18 July 2016


Stop Repression on 
Kashmir's People

Kashmir has been plunged into yet another cycle of massive civilian protests met with brutal state repression that claimed 32 lives till now and severely injured many more. The crisis has been precipitated this time by the killing of a young militant, Burhan Wani. Wani had been a popular figure in Kashmir, adept in addressing youth on social media. Vast numbers of Kashmiri people gathered to mourn at his funeral. Mourners and protesters alike are being subjected to repression by paramilitary forces on Kashmir's streets, in a repeat of the events of 2010, when 112 civilian protesters were killed in a period of four months.

There are many unanswered questions about Burhan Wani's killing. The Supreme Court's recent order, reiterating that every encounter must be subjected to criminal investigation and prosecution, whether the person killed is a militant or a civilian, ought to be respected and followed here. But Burhan Wani's killing also raises other questions about the Indian State's policy vis a vis Kashmir. In 2010, on the heels of the spate of killings of civilian protesters, Wani and his brother and friends were subjected to a casual, brutal beating by security forces. Such humiliations are part of the daily experience of most Kashmiris, as a result of the military and paramilitary deployment in civilian areas. Months after the beating, the 16 year-old Wani left home to join a separatist outfit and emerge as a well-known face of the Kashmiri insurgency. In Kashmir, youth who do not take up arms and engage only in street protests, are routinely killed or maimed by security forces. By choking off all spaces for peaceful resistance and delegitimising even seminars and slogans that reflect Kashmiri sentiments, by routinely cracking down on internet services, and subjecting youth to brutal, arbitrary beating even when they are not protesting, the Indian establishment itself is creating the soil in which militancy takes root. Moreover, Wani was not charged with participating in any specific instance of terrorism, and is on record assuring that Amarnath pilgrims would not be attacked and appealing to Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley. There could have been many ways of engaging youth like him – and separatist organisations like his – in talks about Kashmir's political future rather than killing them. 

What the Central Government and the BJP-PDP Government in J&K are unable to reckon with is the scale of the spontaneous civilian mourning and protests that have broken out following Wani's killing. Attempts to blame the protests on instigation by Pakistan, and justify the killing of Wani as well as the repression on civilians as a war on terror, only point to the colossal political failure of the Governments to engage respectfully with the voices and aspirations of Kashmiri people. Kashmir is primarily a political issue calling for a political solution that is in keeping with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, their self-respect and dignity.

The Sangh Parivar and BJP have for long vitiated the discourse on Kashmir by demanding abrogation of Article 370. But even the Congress and the UPA, that stood by Article 370, had much the same militarised policy towards Kashmir. Both Congress and BJP-led governments at the Centre have insisted on tame state governments in J&K, have branded every instance of Kashmiri mass resistance and protests as 'instigated by Pakistan', and unleashed brutal repression on such protests. The NCP leader Omar Abdullah has been blaming Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for her failure to stop the killings of civilians – forgetting perhaps that he himself presided over a spate of such killings in 2010 when he was Chief Minister. The fact that the NCP and PDP utterly fail to command any credibility, trust and respect among Kashmir's people is brought home by the fact that the Chief Minister, Ministers and elected MLAs are yet to feel confident enough even to meet the injured in hospital and the families of the victims!

The coverage of the crisis in Kashmir by influential sections of the Indian media is a recipe for further alienation of the Kashmiri people. Any calls for restraint, for sympathy with Kashmir's grief and rage, for Supreme Court-mandated enquiries into encounter killings, are equated with 'support for terrorism' or 'support for Pakistan.' The question of the killings of civilian protesters and use of pellet guns to blind scores of protesters is either rendered virtually invisible. The political issues are obscured and Kashmir is seen entirely through the prism of 'Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.'

Indian leaders talk now and then of 'winning the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people'. PV Narasimha Rao had promised that 'the sky is the limit' in talks with separatist groups on Kashmir. Vajpayee had, in response to a question about whether talks with separatist groups would take place 'within the scope of the Indian Constitution', had countered that they would take place 'within the scope of humanity.'  But such promises seem to have remained in the domain of phrase-mongering. The average Kashmiri finds that far from the 'sky' being the limit, political self-expression of Kashmiris on the question of self-determination is pushed underground. Rather than talks 'within the scope of humanity', the template for dealing with Kashmiri resentments, mournings and protests remains within the grim and inhuman scope of pellets and bullets. It is of course, asserted that 'Kashmir is an integral part of India', but the Kashmiri people are subjected to brutalisation and humiliation on a scale and intensity that few other parts of India have experienced. Above all, the Indian establishment as well as most political parties and the media, fail to display even the most basic respect for Kashmiri sentiments and aspirations.  

It is urgent for the democratic-minded Indian citizens to open their hearts and minds to the voices of Kashmiri people, and to tell Indian Governments at the Centre and State that the brutal military handling of Kashmiri resistance must stop. To create a conducive climate where a genuine dialogue on solutions for Kashmir can be discussed where Kashmiri people can freely express themselves and be heard with respect, it is a must for the AFSPA to be withdrawn, and or all encounters and alleged rapes by security forces to be subjected to credible and timely investigations. The right of Kashmiris to a political solution in keeping with their wishes and sense of autonomy and dignity, must be articulated strongly not just in Kashmir but in every corner of India.         

Indefinite Dharna in Zamania, Ghazipur

An indefinite dharna is in progress since 10 May at Zamania tehsil in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh on the issues pertaining to: removal of rich ineligible people and inclusion of poor working people in the food security list; distribution of wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg; regularization of kabja by dalits and vanvasis  on village, government and banjar lands and their registration in tehsil records; housing pattas to all landless poor; assured work under MNREGA or allowance in lieu of it; availability of medicines in government hospitals; and resolution of land disputes. The SDM initially refused permission for dharna on the account of elections in Jangipur assemble and some villages in Zamania tehsil. However, with protestors refusing to end dharna, the administration was forced to enter into negotiations, a week after the dharna was started.  Representatives of the CPI(ML) and AIARLA were also included in the meeting, where they were assured that their demands would be fulfilled in one week's time. Under the 'Uttho Mere Desh' campaign too village sabhas were held in various villages in the Zamania Assembly constituency on these issues. 

However, despite assurances, the actions of the officials have been on the contrary. As eligible people from different villages whose names were not earlier included in the food security list started filling in and submitting their forms and more and more people started participating in the dharna, the concerned SDM arranged for his transfer and left the place on a day the protestors had called for a lockout in the tehsil office. Meanwhile in Tiyari village, people from the Kushwaha community had been given pattas for some housing land on which dominant caste people had taken illegal kabja. The patta holders started their construction work on the land but the police repeatedly obstructed the process. In another instance, the tehsil police and administration, acting on behalf of a feudally powerful person, tried to destroy a vanvasi basti and establish kabja dakhal on that land. They were forced to turn back in the face of the agitation, however this did not stop the administration from attempting to implement their nefarious plans again. The block and municipal officials refused to verify and forward the food security list amendment forms which had been filled in from 28 villages. The continued anti-poor actions of the administration have led to the movement getting intensified. On 21 June the poor villagers marched in large numbers with lathis, sickles and other tools from the thana chowk to Pandey chowk and staged a chakka jam in front of the tehsil HQ. The BDO and SDM were forced to accept the memorandum. On 22 June a meeting of all the panchayat officials and the BDO took place during which the SDM pulled up the officials for negligence in work and directed them to meet all the demands within one week. However, given the past actions of the administration, the protestors have continued the two month long dharna to keep up the pressure.

Against Police Atrocities in Ranchi

On 8 July, Rupesh Sanwaasi, a minor hailing from Bundu, a town in Ranchi district, died in police custody after being subjected to third degree torture by the police. On 10 July, a protest march was called by Ranchi district unit of CPI (ML) to protest against this custodial death and also the increasing police rule of Raghuvar government.  The march started from Mahendra Singh Bhawan and culminated in Albert Ekka Chowk with the burning of Chief Minister's effigy.  The party demanded that the Bundu DSP who had got his bodyguard to take Rupesh into custody be arrested along with others who were present with him during the torturing and they be booked for murder. Despite the recent order issued by the state High Court, the minor was killed in custody. CM Raghuvar must apologize and ensure compensation and job for the family of Rupesh. Given the increasing spate of custodial torture of minors in the state, the government must fix the responsibility of the concerned police officers and take action against them.  The protest march was led by Ranchi district secretary, Com. Bhuvaneswar Kewat and state committee member, Com. Janardan Harijan. The leaders declared that if the government does not heed to the demands immediately, a justice march would be taken out in Rahe and Bundu on 21 July and the issue will also be raised strongly in the state assembly.

Fact Finding Report on the Devastation Caused by Cloudburst in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand

Huge damage has been caused by the cloudburst in the ghat region on 1 July and the rising river waters. 5 people were killed, 2 are missing, and a dozen shops and buildings were either badly damaged or washed away in the river. The ghat is 43 km from the headquarters of Chamoli district. While the single narrow road from Nandprayag to the ghat was never in good condition, it has now become particularly filled with holes and stones following the disaster.

The access road to Jakhni, a village of 150 families on the other side has been totally destroyed. The Nandakini is still flooded. Debris-filled shops and buildings half-hanging in the river and half washed away tell the tale of the destruction. The rivers in spate and the homes with their backyards practically opening on to the river clearly indicate that rising water, rain or cloudbursts can again pose a grave danger. Though the CM Harish Rawat, Congress MLA and leader of opposition have visited the ghat, there is no visible improvement in the conditions. The wilting vegetables in the ghat bazaar are indicative of the enormous shortage of food, vegetables, and essential goods in the coming days if the road is not opened soon. Medical services have been badly affected by the lack of road access. There is a primary health centre in the ghat with an allopathic doctor, an ayurvedic doctor and a pharmacist but this is not adequate as several patients need to be referred to Dehradun for treatment.

The administrative machinery is moves at an extremely slow pace which even a disaster of such impact has failed to change. On 4 July, Garhwal Commissioner issued a statement that it would take 20 days to complete the road. A couple of days later Chamoli stated that it would take 7 days. The PWD does not appear bothered as the political leaders travel by helicopter and not road. 

After the 2013 disaster, embankments had to be built as the ghat had been eroded by the flooding rivers. The irrigation department started building embankments, but on the side where there was no habitation. When the people agitated, they were assured that embankments on the inhabited side would be built within 15 days. Even after 6 months the embankmets were not built. Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha leader and ghat resident Mohan Singh has filed a petition in the Chamoli police station demanding a case to be registered under section 188 against the supervising engineer and junior engineer of the irrigation department. Com. Bhoopal Singh Rawat informed that the Chamoli DM had twice directed the supervising engineer of the irrigation department to construct the embankment but still it was not done. The Uttarakhand government as always appears unfazed by disasters and unwilling to adopt any measures to prevent them in future.

Hul Diwas Observed in Jharkhand

The tradition of celebrating Hul Diwas on 30 June began in 1855. It was on this date 161 years ago that the Hul revolution led by Sido, Kanho and Chand Bhairvav began in Bhognadih village of Dumka. The movement which was initially against exploitative money lenders later turned into a revolution against the British rule following brutal police oppression. However, even 161 years later, the descendants of the Hul revolutionaries have not been able to obtain their complete rights.

This year on Hul Diwas, Ulgulan march was taken out in Dumka city under the leadership of CPI (ML) MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav, Comrades Rameshwar Soren, Subhash Mandal, Babulal Rai and others to protest against the attempts of the state government to rob the rural and urban poor of Jharkhand of their lands under the pretext of 'wrong settlement' and raise the demands for – (i) ensuring the legality of the land held by rural and urban poor (ii) demarcation and distribution of Gair Majarua land and land exceeding ceiling among the landless poor and for the purpose of providing necessary services like education and health;  (iii) revoking the recently announced domicile policy; (iv) making no changes in SPT CNT Act and implementing it strictly; (v)  ensuring food security . A memorandum on the aforementioned demands was also handed over to the district officials.

In Nagarutari in Garhwa district, a march of nearly one thousand people was taken out from Bhavnathpur Mod that culminated into a huge public meeting in Gosainbagh Maidan. The leaders addressing the meeting said that in several places ration had not been given since two to three months and several deprived families were yet to get ration cards. Far from addressing these concerns, the state government was instead conspiring to snatch whatever little land they had under the pretext of 'double settlement'. The government had failed to provide any relief to the people of this region that has been under severe drought conditions since past few years. On the occasion of Hul Diwas, a pledge was taken to renew a massive people's movements on the aforementioned issues. Marches and protest events were also organized in Jamtara city, Deori block in Giridih district, Dhanbad, Lohardaga  and Hazaribagh .

In Julu Park in Hazaribagh, a one day youth convention was organized by AISA-RYA on 'Hul Diwas- Yesterday and Today'. The convention was addressed by DU AISA leader, Com. Niraj Kumar, ex CPI (ML) MLA Com. Vinod Singh, state AISA convenor com. Akhilesh Raj and State RYA secretary Com. Amal Ghosh. The leaders emphasized the need for understanding the relevance of Hul Diwas in today's context.  The student movements were spreading across the country and it is now the time for students and youth of Jharkhand to carry forward the legacy of Hul Diwas and strengthen the ongoing movement.

Statewide Protests in Bihar Under the 'Save Education- Provide Employment' Campaign

A three day protest programme from 26 to 28 June, was organized in Bihar under the joint banner of CPI (ML), AISA and RYA as a part of the 'Save Education- Provide Employment' campaign. On 27 June, a protest march was called in Patna. The march started from Patna University and culminated in a public meeting Bhagat Singh Chowk located in Gandhi maidan. The march was led by RYA state secretary Com. Naveen Kumar.  In Darbhanga, a student-youth convention on 'Change Education, Provide Employment' was organized in which the CPI (ML) PB member Com. Dhirendra Jha was the chief speaker. Com. Dhirendra Jha said that the Topper Scam that took place in the state was Bihar's version of Vyapam. He demanded that Nitish Kumar apologise to the people for destroying education in the state. A convention was also organized in Nawada, in which Com. Manmohan Kumar participated as the chief speaker. Several youth along with 6 teachers participated in the convention.

On 26 June, the Emergency Day, marches were taken out in Jehanabad city and Modanganj. On 27-28 June, Nukkad Sabhas were held in 20 places in the Jehanabad district in which nearly 2,500 people participated. In the meetings held in Bandhuganj Bazaar and Nawaabganj Bazaar, some parents openly expressed their anger against the government. In the meeting held in Hulaasganj bazaar, whatever is happening in the area of education came out clearly through this scam. A campaign vehicle was also taken which was led by state CPI (ML) committee member Com. Rambali Yadav. In Bhojpur, AISA activists took out a march from CPI (ML) office to Golamber station. A protest march was also taken out in Gaya.

Jugaad Drivers Demonstration in Bhagalpur 

The jugaad (locally manufactured transport vehicles) driver's union (AICCTU) organized a demonstration under its banner on 15 June, the day the CM was to come to Bhagalpur demanding- removal of ban on Jugaad vehicles, legal approval for the jugaad vehicles and bringing the jugaad drivers under the purview of Unorganized Workers' Social Security Act. On the day of the demonstration, the Jugaad vehicle drivers started gathering at the Bhagalpur station since morning. The procession left the station premises at around 11 am, carrying red flags, banners, placards stating their demands and raising slogans the government and the state administration. As the Procession was about to reach Ghuran -Peer, the police stopped them from proceeding further. There were sharp confrontations between the protestors and the administration. Eventually, the administration had to bow down in front of the unrelenting spirit of the protestors and allow them to reach the Commissioner's office. AICCTU State Secretary Com. Mukesh Mukt, who was leading the demonstration, also addressed the protestors. He said that under the misinformation being spread by the advocates of the capital, the attack on the livelihood of the poor only exposes the class character of the ruling establishment. We are not ready to die hungry. We will fight at every stage to defend our lives and livelihoods. He warned the administration that if they tried to take any administrative decision to stop the Jugaad vehicles, Bhagalpur would be brought to a standstill. Under no circumstances will the ban on Jugaad vehicles be allowed. Expressing solidarity with the drivers, district CPI (ML) and AIARLA leaders also participated in the demonstration.

6th National Congress of Confederation of Nepalese Professionals

The 6th National Congress of Confederation of Nepalese Professionals (CONEP) was held from 17-19 June 2016 in Nepal Academy Hall, Kamaladi, Kathmandu. The congress began on 17 June with a colourful procession which was led CONEP leaders along with invited international guests. On behalf of AICCTU, the procession was led by AICCTU National Vice President, com. S. K. Sharma. Inaugurating the 6th National Congress, the Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli called the workers to play a significant role in the economic development of the country. In Nepal, the reactionary forces were trying to join the capitalist and the feudal remnants to push the country back. There was a need for the working class to consistently struggle against this and to defeat these forces along with the imperialist capital and meet the challenges of economic development. Though the Constitution has been passed, the real challenge is to ensure its implementation.

Nine trade unions from seven countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia and Egypt participated in the Congress. The World Federation of Trade Unions was represented by Com. Dev Ranjan Chakravarti. 800 representatives from 26 unions across 75 districts participated in the Congress which was chaired by Com. Vishwanath Pakurel. CONEP is primarily a federation of unions of workers working in the intellectual domain- such as teahcers' unions, public service workers union, auditors union etc. CONEP had played an important role in the struggle against monarchy and thereafter in the struggle for establishing democracy and Constitution. During the Congress most of the speakers including the General Secretary criticized the role played by the Modi government during the passing of the Constitution and the subsequent economic blockade.

AICCTU National VP, Com. S. K. Sharma on behalf of AICCTU conveyed the best wishes for the Congress and also congratulated the people of Nepal for passing a secular, democratic Constitution and rejecting the attempts of the Modi government to try make Nepal a Hindu nation. He added that nearly 80% population of the world has been adversely affected by attack unleashed by neo liberal policies. In India too the Modi government has intensified the attack on workers, students, youth and democracy. 15 crore workers of the country were gearing for a massive strike on 2 September against the pro-corporate, communal, fascist and anti-workers' policies of the government. He concluded by saying that the working class of India has always shared friendly relations with people of Nepal, especially the workers. We are together with you in your struggles. We will unitedly fight against neo liberalism and imperialism. We will fight and we will win.  Long live unity of the workers of India and Nepal, workers of the world unite.