Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ML Update | No. 39 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 39 | 20 - 26 SEP 2016

The Lives of Muslims, Dalits, Kashmiris and Even Soldiers Are Cheap in Modi Rule   

'Cow protection mobs' continue to remain absolutely confident of impunity thanks to patronage from the ruling regime in India, even after the Una uprising and the outrage over the Dadri lynching. The latest atrocities in the name of 'protecting cows' include the horrific murder and gangrape in Mewat and the brutal killing of Mohammed Ayyub in Ahmedabad.

Mewat is a region of Haryana where Muslims have a significant presence. In the run-up to Eid, the BJP Government of Haryana launched a series of 'raids' on eateries to check biryani for illegal use of beef. This move was a measure calculated to harass and intimidate the Muslim community on the occasion of their festival, and to create a climate of hatred and violence against Muslims. In the midst of this toxic climate, a gang forced its way into a farmhouse in Mewat and indulged in a brutal assault against a Muslim family. A couple was thrashed to death; another couple assaulted, and a 20-year-old woman and a 14-year old girl gangraped as a warning against 'eating beef.' The two gangrape survivors said that they were asked if they ate beef; and told that the rape was to make sure they stopped eating beef. The assailants were in no hurry; they indulged in prolonged violence, robbed the household and left.

The response of the Haryana Government has left no one in any doubt about why the 'cow-protection' mobs feel such a sense of impunity. The Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar has declared that the murder and gangrape, and the beef-testing raids in Mewat are "trivial issues" compared to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the State! It was Khattar who, after the lynching of Akhlaque at Dadri, had said, "Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef" because "the cow is an article of faith here." The Haryana police initially did not even book the accused for murder, and have tried to deny any link of the attack to 'cow protection' mobs. We may recall how the Haryana Government tried to trivialize and deny the anti-Dalit atrocity in Faridabad where two Dalit children were burnt alive, and how Union Minister VK Singh compared the children to 'dogs.'

It is apparent that the Haryana police has time to raid hotels, and test/taste biryani samples for 'beef', all to 'protect cows' – but protecting the rights of Muslim citizens and Muslim women from murder and rape is a 'trivial issue.'

Meanwhile in Gujarat, a young man Mohammed Ayub was beaten to death by a mob that accused him of 'transporting calves' in his car. His companion Sameer Sheikh survived the attack – but news reports suggest that the Gujarat police is denying Sheikh's allegations of assault by a 'cow protection' mob, and is instead treating Sheikh as a suspect in a 'cow smuggling' case filed by those accused of killing Ayyub! Dalits and Muslims who came together to protest the killing – continuing the protests that followed the stripping and thrashing of Dalit youth at Una by a 'cow-protection' mob – are being detained by the police.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the assaults in Mewat and his own home ground of Ahmedabad is again, deafening. Modi had commented obliquely on Una, albeit belatedly, due to fear of alienating Dalit voters prior to UP polls. The distinction Modi then made between genuine and fake 'cow protectors' and his calls to State Governments to keep dossiers of cow-protection' groups sound especially hollow in the face of the brazen daylight murder of Ayyub and the brutal murders and gangrapes in Mewat.     

Modi's birthday celebrations in Gujarat were marked by the arrest of activists. In Gujarat itself, leader of the Una Dalit uprising Jignesh Mevani was taken into preventive custody to keep Modi's birthday 'free of incident!' And before that, well-known Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez was first prevented from flying to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council, and then arrested and jails for 'breach of peace.' Bastar-based journalist Prabhat Singh known for exposing atrocities against adivasis by the notorious Bastar police and CRPF has gone into hiding, fearing abduction and even murder by the police and anti-Maoist vigilante outfits. He had been booked a few months ago in a criminal case on the pretext of a WhastApp message.

Arrests of activists and witch-hunt of journalists only underlines how fearful the Modi Government and State Governments in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and BJP-PDP ruled J&K are of the truth. By preventing a Kashmiri activist from approaching the UNHRC, the Indian Government has ironically proved to the international community that it has something to hide and is gagging activists. Bastar is being 'cleansed' of independent journalists and activists so that a 'war without witnesses' may be unleashed on the adivasis there. And the PM with the '56-inch chest' is so fearful that an activist may disrupt his birthday celebrations that he has the activist arrested!

The Modi Government that brands every dissenter as 'anti-national' and a 'Pakistani agent' has been left red-faced after a heinous terrorist attack on a military base in Uri killed 17 sleeping soldiers. Not only are the lives of Dalits, Muslims, Kashmiris cheap in Modi's India, even the lives of soldiers whose heroism is invoked to justify every assault on democratic rights and dissent are treated as cheap by this Government. This Government must not be allowed to hide its all-round failures or justify the ongoing assaults on democracy under cover of war-mongering and hate-mongering in the wake of the Uri attack.   

CPI (ML) Statement on Terrorist Attack on Uri Army Camp

Government Must Shun Jingoist Rhetoric and Ensure Actual Security for Army and Strategic Bases

The CPI (ML) condemns the terrorist attack at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that has claimed the lives of 17 Indian soldiers, and extends condolences to the families of the soldiers who have been killed.

The attacks at Pathankot and Uri underline that the Modi Government's rhetoric on national security is in contrast to its failure to secure even the bases and camps of security forces. It has chosen to deploy armed forces to deal with civilian protests in Jammu and Kashmir, while leaving army camps vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The Indian Government should not use the Uri attack to cover up its own inadequacies and failures to address and resolve the Kashmir situation in a democratic way and to secure military bases from terrorist attacks. Uri attack should not be used as another pretext for violence on Kashmiri civilians.

Instead of war-mongering rhetoric and attempts to justify the repression unleashed on Kashmiri people, what is urgently needed is securing army bases from infiltrators and terrorist attacks without undermining the efforts for democratic dialogue with all sections of Kashmiri people, towards a political solution of the Kashmir dispute.

A Historic Victory in the Struggle at Bindukhatta 

A determined and a protracted movement led by CPI (ML) to register an intense protest against the decision to make Bindukhatta in Nainital district in Uttarakhand) into a municipality, resulted in a historic victory as the state government was forced to take back its decision. The revocation of the decision to make Bindukhatta a municipality is a victory of the farmers' struggle. On this occasion, a victory procession was taken out in Haldwani and a meeting organised on the Car Road.

Addressing the meeting, CPI (ML) leader and Uttarakhand state president of Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha, Comrade Puroshottam Sharma termed the revocation of Bindukhatta Muncipality as a victory of the struggle of farmers of this place and called them to stay prepared for larger struggles ahead. He demanded that the state Chief Minister and Labour Minister take back the cases filed against activists and also offer apology to the women and people of Bindukhatta for the oppression and indecency unleashed on the struggling women of Bindukhatta on 14 October. He also expressed gratitude to the struggling farmers of Bindukhatta and also to the journalists, intellectuals and all other well-wishers who supported this struggle.  He also remembered the contributions of the departed party leader late Com. Mansingh Pal. Com. Sharma added that this victory was not yet complete and that we needed to continue to the struggle for taking back of cases and for declaring a Bindukhatta a revenue village. He reiterated the demands for a fly over on the Lalkuan crossing, an embankment on Gaula and a bypass. The meeting was also addressed by the senior party leader Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi and district secretary, Com. Kailash Pandey. Post the meeting, the agitators celebrated by distributing sweets. It was followed by a massive victory procession of people on scooters, motorcycles and cars in the villages of Bindukhatta.

On the strength of the long land struggle waged in the forest land on which Bindukhatta is settled, the poor farmers residing there have for 35 long years been demanding that Bindukhatta be made a revenue village. From the period of the land struggles, these struggles have been led by CPI (ML) and the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha. However, ignoring the demands of the farmers, on 18 December 2014, an interim notification was passed converting Bindukhatta into a municipality, and since 20 December 2014, CPI (ML) and Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha have been mobilising the people of Bindukhatta in the movement initiated against this decision. The struggle on the demand for a revenue village continues.

'Jan Daavedaari Rally' in Giridih

On 8 September, a 'Jan Daavedaari Rally' (Rally for people's claim) was called by CPI (ML) in Giridih against pro-corporate rule of the BJP government that is based on lies and loot. The rally saw an outpour of people flooding to participate in the rally. The rally witnessed spirited sloganeering from the people who raised the slogans of - "Zameen, Rozgaar, ration ke liye hallabol"  (raise voices for land, employment and ration), "Hooliganism in the name of Bharat Mata will not be tolerated", "Stop hooliganism in the name of cow protection", "Those who are friends of Ambani and Adani are the traitors of the nation", "Go away saffron government, we will fight for our rights",  among others. Thousands of people holding colourful banners and placards flooded the streets of Giridih as they marched in Giridih town raising slogans. The rally was led by district secretary Com. Manoj Bhakt, CPI (ML) MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav, former MLA Com. Vinod Singh and other leaders. After taking a round of the entire city, the rally culminated in the form of a public meeting in Circus Maidan. The meeting was presided by Com. Usman Ansari. Addressing the meeting, Com. Rajkumar Yadav said that the Raghuvar government had allowed the corporates to loot the land, forests and minerals according to their whims and fancies and this has led to a threat looming on the very existence of Jharkhand. In order to ensure this, the anti-Jharkhand domicile policy has already been introduced. Dilutions have been made in the CNT-SPT acts to make them ineffective. Further, on the pretext of putting an end to wrongful settlement, a plan to snatch the raiyat tribal land and the gair-majrua land on which mainly Dalits and tribals are residing, is being implemented. Com. Rajkumar further cautioned that in order to ensure the continual of corporate loot and to divert the attention from basic issues, the assaults on Dalits, tribals and Muslims were increasing. Just as Dalits were attacked in Una, in Jharkhand, Muslim youths were attacked and killed in Latehar and Hazaribagh. Promising tribal youth like Rupesh are being killed in police lock ups or are being termed terrorists and being killed in fake encounters. Com. Vinod Singh also criticised forces like JVM-Babulal, JMM, AJSU who have been playing power brokers and forming alliances with companies to increase the assaults on the displaced from r=Ramgarh, Hazaribagh to entire Jharkhand. They are working as B-teams of the BJP. At the end of the meeting, district secretary Com. Manoj Bhakt declared that on 15 September, massive block level mobilizations will be undertaken on the issue of land and ration. 

Tea Workers' Rally

24 tea unions in North Bengal organized a massive rally under the banner of 'Joint Forum' on 24 August 2016. The key demands raised included – i) to reopen the tea gardens that have been lying closed; ii) 20% bonus; and iii) appropriate implementation of the NFSA recommendations. The rally culminated into a gherao of the office of the Joint Labour Commissioner and a submission of memorandum. Several tea workers participated in this rally in the leadership of AICCTU's Darjeeling unit.

Protests in Giridih

On 15 September, CPI (ML) and Jharkhand Mazdoor Sabha organized protest meetings and dharnas in Bagodar, Sariya, Birni, Rajdhanwar, Tisri, Jamua and other blocks in Giridih to intensify the people's movement against the Raghuvar Das government and to increase the pressure on the government. The key issues on which the programmes were organized were - i) to protest against the forced land grab from farmers in the interest of corporates and the loot of natural resources, ii) to ensure regular and adequate ration for the poor, iii) to ensure that gairmajrua land is handed over to the poor and there is no effort to deny the same under the pretext of ending wrongful settlement, iv) to ensure regular employment under MNREGA, and v) to bring all widows under the ambit of the state widows' pension scheme. Slogans demanding house and land for all dalit families and ration for all poor families echoed in various blocks.

Protests against Arrest of Jignesh Mevani, Khurram Parvez and Prabhat Singh

On 17 September, minutes before PM Modi arrived in Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani was picked by the Gujarat Police. Though he was released later as a result of the spontaneous protests that erupted soon after, he was placed under house arrest and his movement curtailed. A day earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir police arrested Khurram Parvez, a leading human rights activist from his home in Srinagar. This happened a day after he was prevented from boarding a plane to the Geneva to attend the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). In Chhattisgarh, journalist Prabhat Singh who has been actively reporting stories of state violence from Bastar and dared to question IG Kalluri on a fake encounter was found missing. On 16 September he had shared on whatsapp that he feared being kidnapped and silenced by the police on 'government's cue'.

Condemning the arrests of the Jignesh Mevani, leader of the Una movement, Khurram Parvez, a human rights activist from Kashmir and the continued persecution of Prabhat Singh, a journalist from Chhattisgarh who has been reporting on the atrocities being unleashed on the tribals in Bastar, a national protest day was called by AISA and RYA on 19 September. While on one hand the atrocities on Dalits, tribals and the minorities are increasing at an unprecedented rate, the BJP government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the voices of those speaking for the oppressed are silenced. In Delhi, a protest was called at Jantar Mantar where students, youth and concerned citizens from progressive sections gathered and demanded an end to 'regime of caste oppression and state atrocities' in all parts of the country including Una, Kashmir and Bastar. AISA-RYA also mobilized students and youth in Kolkata, Rajdhanwar, Bagodar, Sariya and several other places. The protestors demanded immediate release of Jignesh and Khurram and an end to the persecution and witch-hunt Prabhat Singh is being subjected to. They demanded that his whereabouts be declared and his security be guaranteed. AISA and RYA leaders addressing the protests pointed out that while on hand Modi in his usual rhetoric was heard urging cow vigilante groups to shoot him instead of shooting Dalits, on the other hand, his government was actively working to silence all voices speaking for Dalits' rights to land and dignity. Similarly, while the BJP-PDP government in J&K on one hand tried to sermonise on 'Kashmiriyat', on the other hand they had gone all out in brutalising people and in crushing down all voices that spoke against the oppression of Kashmiri people. They said that all the oppressed sections must come together to fight against this casteist, communal, pro-corporate fascist government.

Protests in Delhi and Bihar against Bail to Shahabuddin

A protest outside Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi was called by the AISA on 15 September to protest against the bail granted to RJD leader Shahabuddin. Accused in several cases of murder, he was also responsible for the killing CPI (ML) activist and ex JNUSU president Com. Chandrashekhar in 1997.  However, before the protestors could reach Bihar Bhawan, they were detained. As the protestors kept gathering, the police continued to detain them and take them to different police stations. The police tried to convince the activists to shift the venue of protest to Jantar Mantar, however the protestors refused saying that the Bihar state government must be held accountable for its failure to keep Shahabuddin in jail and also for providing him continued political patronage as was visible during the day of his release. The protestors carried placards demanding his arrest. Several placards carried the poem of Faiz Ahmad Faiz- "The sleeves of each assassin are spotless. No sign of blood: no trace of red, not on the edge of the knife, none on the point of the sword." Delhi state secretary of AISA, Com. Ashutosh said that while criminals involved in murders and riots were being granted bail, activists protesting against this were being sent to jail. He added that more such protests will be organised in days to come to ensure justice for com. Chandu.

CPI (ML) also called for protest in Siwan on 13 September, birthplace of Com. Chandu and also the place where he was assassinated. The protest was against bail for Shahabuddin, acquittal of Bathani-Bathe convicts and also demanding release of CPI  (ML) leaders Satyadeo Ram and Amarjit Kushwaha, who have been framed on false charged for fighting for the rights of rural poor and Dalits in Bihar. On the same day, CPI (ML) also held a memorial meeting for Ghulam Haider' s baby daughter Juhi and his elderly father and a young relative who were killed in Rajpur village, in Andar, 20 years ago to punish him for being a CPIML activist. The protestors pointed out how the perpetrators of violence against the oppressed continued to enjoy political patronage under both the past and present state governments in Bihar.

AIARLA Demands House Sites And Homes As A Legal Right

The state level convention of AIARLA demanded house sites and homes for every rural poor family as a basic legal right. The convention was held in Villupuram on Septamber 12 at Comrade Subbu Hall (after a noted peasant leader who had been killed by hired goons in 1994 at Tirunelveli, where Comrade Mariyappan was killed recently induced by castiest and communal forces). The convention was also held as a state level condolence meeting of Com Swapen Mukherjee. The convention was preceded by a silent procession with Com Swapan's portrait reached the convention hall where floral tributes paid to the portrait of Com Swapan kept in front of the hall. The convention stood in two minutes silence as mark of respect to the martyred and departed leaders and activists including Comrades Swapan and Mariyappan. Around 300 rural workers from several districts participated.  Com M. Venkatesan, Dy GS of AIARLA presided over the convention.

Com Jankiraman, GS of AIARLA, Com R. Vidyasagar, NCM of AIPF, Com Balasundaram, All India Vice-President of AIARLA and Com S. Kumarasamy, State Secretary of CPIML spoke in the convention. Speakers remembered Com Swapan's service and contributions to the revolutionary struggles and movement of the working class and rural poor. Com Kumarasami explained the political significance of the house site and house movement for the movement of rural workers. 

The convention resolved to spearhead the campaign for house site and homes as one of the key demands of the rural poor. As a first step the convention decided to launch a massive 10 lakh signature campaign together with AICCTU on this key demand along with other people's demands of the day.

The convention strongly condemned the Modi Govt for the incendiary situation both in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and demanded a speedy resolution of the Cauvery waters issue. 

Followed by the convention AIARLA's state council meeting was held. The council meeting was conducted by a presidium of Comrades Ilangovan, Susila, Rajangam, Bharati and Sigamani. Comrade Janakiraman summed up the discussions. The council meeting unanimously selected Com Balasundaram to be the President of the state AIARLA that had fallen vacant due to the death of the late President Comrade TKS Janarthanan. Comrade Balasundaram in his concluding remarks called for AIARLA to intensify efforts to take up spirited struggles of rural workers.

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