Wednesday, November 2, 2016

ML Update | No. 45 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.19 | No. 45 | 1-7 NOV 2016

Save India from the 'Gujarat Model' - 
Say a Firm and Loud NO to 'Encounter Raj'

In Gujarat, Narendra Modi had consolidated his rule first by giving a free hand to the Sangh brigade to carry out the infamous Gujarat genocide and then by manipulating the state machinery to engineer a string of extra-judicial killings. And to legitimize this total subversion of the tenets of rule of law he used to invoke the tested and trusted rhetoric of aggressive provincial chauvinism (Gujarat Gaurav) and anti-Pakistan jingoism (his election speeches often used to target Miyan Musharraf). Halfway through his first term Modi seems to be repeating the same trusted tactic on a countrywide scale. The Gujarat model is now truly being sought to be replicated aggressively across the country.

Let us take the case of the Bhopal encounter. On 31st October we all woke up to the news of a daring jailbreak by 8 undertrial prisoners belonging to the SIMI from the high security Bhopal central jail. We were told that the prisoners had made good their escape by slitting the throat of constable Ramashankar Yadav. Within a few hours television channels broke the news of all those eight undertrials having been killed by the MP Police in an 'encounter'. While for large sections of the media the encounter became a cause for celebration of a 'quick and smart retribution' by the police forces, it soon became clear that the versions put out by different responsible sources were simply not adding up to any coherent narrative, the holes were just too many, and too glaring and gaping at that.

The MP jail minister accepts her responsibility for lapses in jail security and says CCTVs were not working which means there would be no footage to back the jail escape narrative. The home minister has gone on record that the undertrials were unarmed, a fact which is clearly substantiated by the various video clippings of the encounter that have surfaced so far. The IG however claims that the undertrials had sharp weapons with which they attacked the police. The sarpanch of the local panchayat where the encounter took place said the undertrials only pelted stones at the police. Even otherwise, the presumptions of eight undertrials breaking the jail with the help of sheer plastic spoons and wooden keys and then leisurely embarking on a collective trip to acquire fresh clothes and climb up a hillock from where they would be visible to all have the makings of a crude Bollywood thriller that thrives on the credulity of a lazy and captive audience.

The fact that the Vyapam-tainted Shivraj Singh Chauhan establishment of Madhya Pradesh did not even bother to put out a slightly more coherent and credible narrative of the entire episode shows the level of brazenness of the rulers in the Modi era. They know they can always rely on the services of a pliant and complicit media and the aggressive rhetoric of hyper-nationalism of the thuggish Sangh's brigade to adamantly insist on their otherwise loophole-ridden story. Already two central ministers have jumped in to justify the encounter. Union Minister of State in the PMO, Mr. Jitendra Singh has called the Bhopal encounter a morale-booster for the nation. And Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Kiren Rijiju has asked Indians to stop the habit of doubting and questioning the authorities and instead trust the police version of the story.

Bhopal is however no aberration, it only defines the new 'normal' in matters of 'law and order', it is the Modi model of 'minimum government, maximum governance' at work. Just a week before Bhopal we had Malkangiri where a squad from the 'greyhound' force of Andhra Pradesh stormed a Maoist conclave in an Odisha jungle to kill reportedly three-dozen-odd Maoist leaders and activists and local villagers (nearly half of those killed being Adivasis). If the Maoists were all armed and the killings happened as a result of a genuine armed encounter, the police would have also had to sustain major casualties, the report of which is conspicuously missing from the Malkangiri narrative. The NHRC and the Supreme Court have laid down clear judicial and administrative guidelines to deal with encounters claimed by the state, but in the cases of both Bhopal and Malkangiri, the powers that be are contemptuously ignoring the NHRC/Supreme Court mandate. Encounters aside, we can also see an alarming rise in the incidence of killing of unarmed people in unprovoked police firing, not only in 'disturbed' border states of Kashmir and the North-East, but also in a state like Jharkhand where at least seven peasants, workers and students have been killed in three incidents - Gola, Barkagaon and Khunti - in less than last two months.

Following the much discussed post-Uri 'surgical strike', banners were seen across poll-bound Uttar Pradesh lauding the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister and issuing a brazen warning: 'We will kill you and kill you for sure but with our gun, our bullet, at our time of convenience but at your place.' It now clearly turns out that the 'you in your place' need not be some unknown people in unknown locations beyond our borders, but could be any of us Indians in any of our places if the rulers so desired. If we raise any question we will be charged with insulting the army or lowering the morale of the police. There has never been a clearer trend of politicisation of the army and militarisation of politics, and but for the period leading up to and during the infamous Emergency, India as a country has never appeared closer to the chilling reality of a police state.

It took India a determined popular resistance to rescue parliamentary democracy from the eclipse of Emergency and win back a modicum of press freedom and civil liberties. Today Modi and Bhagwat and their men want us to give up this 'habit of democracy' and accept a police state and all-pervasive fascist thuggery as the new normal and celebrate it as 'national glory' in the era of 'Achchhe Din.' Democratic India cannot accept this autocratic order. The challenge of waging a determined defence of democracy has to be upheld here and now. Even as we mourn the loss of lives suffered by the Army or paramilitary or police forces, we must insist unfailingly on truth and justice. The truth of Bhopal and Malkangiri must be brought to the fore through Supreme Court monitored judicial investigation. Justice cannot be allowed to be hijacked by the police and the media cannot be reduced to the Public Relations agency of the government or propaganda instrument for the RSS agenda.

Probe Malkangiri Killings

The CPI(ML) expresses concern over the killing of 39 people in Malkangiri (reportedly 28 Maoists and 11 adivasi villagers) on October 24. There are many disquieting questions about this alleged encounter. A Greyhound commando who lost his life in this episode reportedly died of drowning, and another is injured, but there are no other major casualties on the side of the paramilitary forces. This raises questions about the genuineness of the encounter. 

The Supreme Court has issued detailed guidelines on encounter killings, mandating mandatory registration of FIRs and investigation by an independent agency in every case of encounter death. FIR must be registered in the Malkangiri killings and there must be a time-bound Court-monitored judicial probe. 

The Court has ordered that missing Maoist leaders including Akkiraju Haragopal (RK) be presumed to be in illegal police custody and produced in Court without delay. These orders must be carried out immediately.

Protest in Bhubaneswar to Condemn Encounter of Maoists by AP and Odisha Police

A mass protest was called in Bhubaneswar to condemn the encounters of 28 maoists by Andhra Pradesh and Odisha police in Malkangiri in Odisha.  The protest was joined by CPI(ML) (Liberation), CPI-ML (Red Star), CPI-ML (New Democracy), CPI, AIPF, Insaf and other organisations and democratic sections. The protestors demanded a judicial investigation of the killings. Com. Radhakant Sethi, Com. Mahendra Parida from CPI(ML), Amiya Panda from AIPF, Com. Sivaram from Red Flag and Com. Asis Kanoongo from CPI were some of the participants who addressed the protests. The speakers cautioned the central government and the state governments in AP and Odisha to stop the Greenhunt.

CPI(ML)'s Andhra Pradesh unit too condemned the killings, terming them brutal fake encounter. They demanded judicial investigation of the same and questioned the refusal of the Odisha government to conduct post-mortem of those killed.

Protest at Jantar Mantar against Bhopal Killings

Eight undertrial young Muslim men, alleged to have 'broken jail and escaped', were killed in Bhopal by MP police on 31 October 2016. Shocking videos of the killings have come to the fore since the killings, which clearly show that the slain youth had no weapons with them and shows the police men repeatedly fired at the semi- conscious injured bodies lying on the ground to guarantee that they are dead. At pains to explain the killings, several contradictory statements have been issued by the Bhopal Police IG and MP State Home Minister. Protesting against these killings, several protesters gathered today at Jantar Mantar on 1 November demanding Supreme Court monitored investigation on the entire episode of Bhopal encounter. AISA and other organisations like BASO, Disha and ANHAD and students from JNU, DU, Jamia and AUD joined the protest. Protesters Raised Demand of SC Monitored Investigation in the Entire Episode of Bhopal Killings.

Addressing the protestors, Ashutosh Kumar, Delhi AISA State Secretary said, "We don't believe the police version on the episode. The police persons who are seen to be firing at the lying bodies of the youth must be immediately suspended. A Supreme Court monitored investigation should be initiated on the entire incident including the murder of the police constable". Sucheta De, National President, AISA said, "You kill Muslim youths and call them terrorist. From Gujarat to MP, the same model is being followed. Why are the undertrial youths being called terrorists? Why didn't the MP police want the judicial process to end? Why were the eight men killed like this?".

Protestors carried placards that termed the Bhopal encounter as the replay of the 'Gujarat Model of Encounters'. 

Order SC-Monitored Judicial Enquiry Into Bhopal 'Encounter'

- AIPF Statement

All India People's Forum demands a judicial probe monitored by the Supreme Court into the killing of 8 undertrials near Bhopal by Madhya Pradesh police. Video footage of the incident that has emerged strongly suggests that the 'encounter' was staged. The footage shows unarmed men waving their bare hands; it shows no firearms on or near the bodies of the 8 men; it shows police shooting at men lying on the ground inert and prone. The initial statements of the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister admitted that the 8 men were armed with nothing but sharpened spoons, the ATS IG present at the spot also initially confirmed that the undertrials had no long-range weapons, while the police later claimed that the 8 men had firearms and had fired at the police. These mutually contradictory statements also add to conviction that the killing was a fake encounter. 

AIPF also demands an enquiry into the alleged escape of the 8 undertrials from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail after killing a policeman.

The 8 men were allegedly members of SIMI – a banned organization – charged with various terror crimes. They were yet to be convicted, however. The Supreme Court has held that mere membership of a banned organization is no crime. We have seen time and again how citizens charged with terror crimes have been proven innocent and acquitted, with Courts commenting on the police foisting false cases on innocent citizens.

These 8 men cannot be declared 'terrorists' without being established in the court of law. If these 8 men were indeed 'terrorists' as is being alleged, then their crimes should have been proven in Court so that they could be duly punished. Extra-judicial killings are an assault on judicial process and a mockery of the Constitution - a replay of the Gujarat model of 'encounters' in Madhya Pradesh.   

AIPF demands an impartial, time-bound judicial probe monitored by the Supreme Court, to investigate the facts of the alleged jail break, killing of the police constable as well as the killing of the 8 undertrials. AIPF also demands that the relevant footage of the CCTV cameras of Bhopal Central Jail as well as footage of the 'encounter' be made public. 

The AIPF also expresses concern about the pattern of massacres and extra judicial killings all over the country, in blatant violation of judicial guidelines and Constitutional values. Another recent cause for concern is the alleged 'encounter' in which 39 people - 11 adivasis and 28 Maoists - were killed by paramilitary forces on the Odisha/Andhra border in Malkangiri on 24 October. In keeping with Supreme Court guidelines, an FIR must be registered in this case, an impartial judicial probe conducted and all persons taken into custody produced in Court without delay, as ordered by the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court.

signed by -

Sunilam , Samajwadi Samagam

Kavita Krishnan, CPI(ML)

ND Pancholi

John Dayal

Dr. Binayak Sen

SP Udayakumar, PMANE

A Marx, Tamil Nadu

Uday Bhatt, Lal Nishan Party (Leninwadi)

Mangat Ram Pasla, RMP

Master Raghubir Singh, RMP

Gurnam Singh Daud, RMP

Bhim Rao Bansod, Lal Nishan Party (Leninwadi)

Gautam Mody, NTUI

Rajiv Dimri, AICCTU

Kumar Sundaram, CNDP 

Ambarish Rai

Radhika Menon

Roma Malik, AIUFWP

Panchanan Senapati, Amiya Panda, Manav Jena, Odisha     

PC Tewari, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party

Indresh Maikhuri, Uttarakhand   

BL Netam, Chhattisgarh

M Shoaib, Rihai Manch, UP 

Dr Sandeep Pandey

Arundhati Dhuru

Ram Krishna, Nagrik Parishad

Dr Krishnaavatar, UP 

Mohd Salim, UP   

Tahira Hasan, UP

Vinod Singh, Jharkhand

Dayamani Barla, Jharkhand

Dr Faisal Anurag, Jharkhand 

Meher Engineer, Bengal

Prof Tushar Chakraborty, Bengal

Prof Salil Biswas, Bengal

Advocate Ajoy Dutta, Bengal,

Amlan Bhattacharya, Bengal

Sabyasachi Deb, Bengal,

Abhijit Mazumdar, Bengal

Dr Debashis Dutt, Bengal   

Chandramohan, Tamil Nadu

Vidyasagar, Tamil Nadu 

Prof. Murali, State Gen.sec. PUCL, Tamil Nadu

Simpson, State Convenor, Liberation Front of Oppressed, Tamil Nadu

Arivalagan, Dalit Research Centre, Tamil Nadu

CPI (ML) Condemns Acquittal of the Main Accused in Bathe Massacre

CPI(ML)'s Bihar State Secretary Com. Kunal and former Party MP and AIARLA National President Rameshwar Prasad have stated that the judicial system is adopting double standards when it comes to giving justice to dalits, the poor, and the weaker sections of society. Feudal-communal and hate-mongering destructive forces who had perpetrated massacres of the poor have become fearless after getting "certificates" of acquittal from the courts. On the other hand, people from dalit, poor and weaker sections are being convicted and sentenced.

They said that such double standards of the judiciary are also apparent in the Senari massacre case where people from the poor and deprived sections have been sentenced.

Recently the main accused in the Bathe massacre Dharma Singh was honourably acquitted by the court. But in the same Jehanabad (now Arwal) district, 14 agitating CPI(ML) activists were incarcerated in jail under TADA. Several of them have since died in jail. In spite of their terms of sentence being complete the government is not releasing them. The CPI(ML) leaders further said that recently the Patna High Court has granted bail to the epitome of crime and terror Shahabuddin, rapist RJD MLA Rajvallabh Yadav, and Rocky Yadav, chief accused in the murder of a Gaya school student Aditya Sachdeva. On the other hand, the bail applications of CPI(ML) MLA Satyadev Ram and RYA National President Amarjeet Kushwaha who are in jail on false and fabricated charges have been rejected time and again. What attitude is this of the judiciary towards the poor people and struggling activists?

Com. Kunal also said that false cases had been slapped on Com. Satyadev Ram and Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha during the land struggle in 2013 at Chilmarwa village in Guthni block (Siwan district) at the behest of the then Darauli BJP MLA Ramayan Manjhi.

Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that the silence of the BJP on the acquittal of Dharma Singh and MLC Tunna Pandey raises many questions. He asked the BJP why it is silent on the crimes of a mass murderer like Dharma Singh. He further said that actually it is the BJP which has been at the forefront of giving political patronage to the Ranveer Sena. Their leaders have not only been giving patronage to the Ranveer Sena, they have also aided the massacre of the poor and dalits through supply of money and arms. The recent Cobra sting operation has exposed the political connections between BJP leaders and the Ranveer Sena chiefs. Several senior BJP leaders including Sushil Modi have time and again helped the Ranveer chiefs. He said that the people of Bihar have seen through these tricks and well recognized true feudal-communal and fascist face of the BJP.

Kisan Mahasabha Observes Protest Day against Barkagaon Massacre

On the night of 30 September police attacked farmers protesting against land grab and fired on them while they were asleep, killing four and injuring many more. Farmers do not want to give up their land but the Modi government at the Centre and the Raghuvar Das government in Jharkhand want to force them to do so through bullet power. The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha observed a countrywide Protest Day on 24 October against this massacre by the police. While state-wide bandh was observed in Jharkhand along with rallies, marches, protest meetings and effigy burnings, widespread protests were also held in different parts of the country. Thousands of farmers protested and expressed their outrage and unity by participating in marches, meetings and effigy burnings of Modi and Raghuvar Das. Slogans were raised demanding Modi to answer for the Barkagaon killings and asking for resignation of Raghuvar Das who was responsible for the killings. The protestors also demanded an ending of forcible land grab from farmers; relief, rehabilitation, and compensation as per the Land Acquisition Bill 2013; denouncing Company Raj and demanding restoration of democratic rights.

Huge protests were held across Bihar led by Kisan Sabha and CPI(ML) leaders. Protest rallies, marches, effigy burnings and meetings were held at Daudnagar in Aurangabad district, Fatuha, Sampatchak, Punpun, Dhanrua, Dulhinbazaar, Naubatpur in Patna district. Protests were also held in Bihata. The Kisan Sabha organized a dharna in Siwan in front of the Collectorate. Rallies and meetings were held in Jehanabad, Nawada, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Purnea, Rohtas, Vaishali, Nalanda, Beguserai, Jamui and other places, which were addressed by many speakers including former MLA Com. Amarnath Yadav, Com. Halkari Devi and Com. Jagdish Paswan. The speakers stressed that the Barkagaon attack and killings are indicative of the brutality of the police and the complicity of the central and state governments. The Modi government had brought in the Land Acquisition ordinance four times but had to back down in the face of strong protests by farmers. Now the government is running away from paying the farmers relief, compensation and rehabilitation as per the 2013 Land Ordinance Act. The Modi government is strangling democracy and attempting to inflict Company Raj on the country. The speakers called for the resignation of CM Raghuvar Das holding him responsible for the massacre.

In Rajasthan, Kisan Sabha leaders including National executive member Com. Ramchandra Kulhari, Com. Phoolchand Dheva, and others led a protest in Jhunjhunu district and submitted a memorandum to the President through the DM demanding sacking of the Jharkhand government which was responsible for the murder of the farmers.

Protests were also held and memorandums sent to the PM through the district authorities in Bhind (Madhya Pradesh), Bhuvaneshwar (Odisha) and other places.

AIARLA Conference in Tamil Nadu for Land and Housing Rights

The All India Agricultural Rural Labour Association (AIARLA) organized a State level convention in Tamil Nadu on 12 September 2016 at Com. Subbu Hall in Villupuram. Com. Subbu was a popular kisan leader who was killed in 1994 by feudal goons in Tirunelveli district, the same district where Com. Mariappan was recently killed by casteist-communal forces. The convention started with tributes paid to Com. Swapan Mukherjee after which two minutes' silence was observed in memory of Com. Swapan, Com. Mariappan and all other martyrs and departed leaders.

About 300 rural workers from different districts in the State participated in the convention which was presided over by AIARLA Deputy General Secretary Com. M. Venkatesan. The convention was addressed by AIARLA General Secretary Com. Janakiraman, AIPF National Council member Com. R Vidyasagar, AIARLA National Vice President Com. Balasundaram, and CPI(ML) State Secretary Com. S Kumaraswamy. The speakers recollected the contribution of Com. Swapan Mukherjee to the cause of the revolutionary struggles of workers and rural poor. Com. Kumaraswamy spoke of the political significance of the agitation for homestead land and housing in the struggle of rural workers.

The convention resolved to carry forward the campaign demanding homestead land and housing as one of the main demands of the rural workers. As a first step, the convention decided to join with AICCTU in conducting a signature campaign to get 10 lakh signatures for this demand, along with other pro-people demands. The convention strongly condemned the Modi government for creating a flagrant situation in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the Cauvery water-sharing dispute, and demanded that this dispute be speedily resolved.

The convention was followed by a meeting of the AIARLA state council. The procedures of the council meeting were conducted by Comrades Ilangovan, Susheela, Rajangam, Bharati, and Sigamani. Com. Janakiraman presented an overview of the discussion. The council meeting unanimously elected Com. Balasundaram as President of the AIARLA Tamil Nadu State unit, a post which had fallen vacant due to the demise of former President Com. TKS Janardanan. In his concluding address Com. Balasundaram called on AIARLA activists to strengthen the efforts to further develop the energetic struggles of the rural poor.

RYA Protest against Misbehaviour and Casteist Abuses against a Journalist

RYA called for a protest march and nukkad sabha in Birni block in Bagodar to protest against the misbehaviour and casteist abuses meted out to Dainik Hindustan journalist Shekhar Suman. The BDO of the Birni block of Bagodar had misbehaved with Shekhar Suman and hurled casteist abuses at him. The protestors demanded the arrest of the BDO. Writer's association and AISA too joined the protests and the strength of their struggle forced the Birni police to register a case against the BDO Inder Kumar. However, the police also registered a case against Shekhar Suman on the plea of the BDO. In light of the recent events, RYA and AISA have resolved to intensify the struggle for the arrest of the BDO and also to ensure that the fabricated case against the journalist who himself was subjected to humiliation is withdrawn.


Comrade Jagnarayan

Com. Jagnarayan's demise came as a sudden blow to comrades in Delhi who admired his dedication, energy and warmth in fulfilling various party responsibilities. Recovering from a recent bout of chikungunya, he had left Delhi on vacation a few days ago to visit his family in Bhojpur where he suffered some unexpected medical complications leading to septicemia and passed away in a Patna hospital on 1 November 2016. Comrade Jagnarayan's association in Delhi spans more than 25 years when he and his comrades working in a security company IPSS came to visit the party office after the CPI(ML) and IPF held a historic rally at boat club in 1990. They wanted to start party's work in their area and since then he was consistently active in Delhi organisation. He was founder member and office bearer of one of the oldest trade unions in Delhi, the IPSS Security Union which happens to be one of the first unions in the security guards sector. The party branch which IPSS comrades founded through area level activism at Rama Road Jhuggi is one of oldest branches in Delhi and most consistent one owing to the pivotal role played by comrade Jagnarayan.

Comrade Jagnarayan was the one to be seen at the forefront in times of crisis and need. And he was always one of the first to volunteer for all kinds of odd jobs from managing big mobilisations and rallies to arranging for various meetings and programmes held in Delhi or attending comrades admitted in hospitals. There may not be a single all India mobilisation held in Delhi for the last two decades without his presence at New Delhi Railway station as a volunteer. He was a most reliable comrade who used to work day and night and never left the station till the last rallyist had boarded the train.

Comrade Jagnarayan along with other IPSS union executive members were illegally suspended from jobs few months back and their President summarily terminated by the management emboldened by the policies and onslaught of Modi government. He was resolutely at the forefront against this victimisation and attack on their Union.

Before coming to Delhi for work, he was active in the party in his village in Bhojpur. Those struggles which he witnessed and took part in his youth were the source of inspiration for Comrade Jagnarayan. We lost him when he was only in his mid-50s.

Comrade Jagnarayan was cremated at Bans Ghat in Patna where party's Bihar State Secretary Kunal, Central Control Commission member Ramjatan Sharma, Rajaram, Santosh Sahar, Umesh Singh, other comrades and his family members bid him farewell. 

Red salute to comrade Jagnarayan !

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