Thursday, September 27, 2012

ML Update 40 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  15             No. 40                                                                    25 SEP- 1 OCT 2012

PM's Address:

A Fraud on the Nation

The UPA-II Government unleashed a slew of offensives on common people recently. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 'Address to the Nation' adds insult to this severe injury by peddling barefaced lies. 

The PM claims that the hikes in fuel prices and cuts in cooking gas subsidy and burdens are measures the Government has reluctantly been forced to take in order to 'reverse the slowdown in growth' caused by the global economic crisis. He appeals to the aam aadmi to make sacrifices and bear burdens cheerfully, in order to ensure 'rapid growth' that can generate jobs, and revenues for education, health care, housing and rural employment.    

In the first place, the very claim of 'growth' translating into benefits for people is a lie. In the selfsame period when India boasted a 9% growth rate, India has the shame of the world's worst indicators of health and nutrition of women and children. During India's 'high-growth' period, the aam aadmi has seen education and health care becoming farther beyond reach thanks to relentless privatisation. The employment rate in agriculture has dropped to minus 1.60%, and the agricultural crisis and debt trap resulting from cuts in subsidies has claimed an ever-spiralling number of farmers' suicides.

The second lie is that the steep global oil prices are forcing an increase in domestic oil prices; that the subsidy on petroleum products has increased steeply in order to 'protect' Indian people from the impact of global prices; and that India's oil companies are suffering huge 'losses'. The truth is that there are no net subsidies in the petroleum sector, and the oil companies are in fact recording huge profits and generating massive revenue for the Government. In March 2012, international crude oil prices fell by more than 20 percent – yet petrol prices in India were hiked by Rs 7.54 in May. Nor is it true that petrol and diesel prices in India are 'low' compared to other countries – even before the hikes, the price of petrol in India was Rs 63.70/litre, while it was Rs 41.93/litre in Pakistan and Rs 45.53/litre in Bangladesh. By deregulating oil prices, the Government has in fact divested itself of any responsibility to protect the Indian people from arbitrary price hikes  - and is instead justifying this massive additional burden on the aam aadmi on spurious pretexts.       

Manmohan Singh informs us that "Money does not grow on trees," and that he has acted only to pre-empt a fiscal deficit crisis (an unsustainable increase in government expenditure vis-a-vis government income). India's fiscal deficit in 2011-2012 was to the tune of 6.9 % of the GDP, which amounts to around Rs 5.22 lakh crores. In that year, the 'revenues foregone' to corporations and the super-rich amounted to Rs 5.28 lakh crore. Therefore, the hue and cry over 'fiscal deficit' which Manmohan blames on subsidies for the poor, is totally misplaced and fraudulent. If only Manmohan Singh would stop providing 'money on trees' by way of massive tax waivers to the big corporations, India would have no fiscal deficit.

Manmohan Singh justifies the diesel hike by claiming that diesel is used mostly by "big cars and SUVs owned by the rich and by factories and businesses," and asks, "Should government run large fiscal deficits to subsidise them?" As demonstrated above, the Government is in fact running fiscal deficits to subsidise none but the corporations and the rich! And the Prime Minister is deliberately silent on the fact the hike in diesel prices will result in increased transportation costs, which will inevitably have a cascading effect on food prices.   

The Prime Minister claims that there is no cause to fear loss of livelihood due to FDI in retail. His argument is that corporate retail has coexisted in India's cities without causing any detriment to small retailers. This only proves that corporate retail on its own has nothing to help it out-compete small retailers. That is precisely why FDI in retail is being sought – to provide the backing of huge amounts of money to squeeze out small retailers through predatory pricing and purchasing monopolies. The example of a host of countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Indonesia, have shown FDI in retail dealing a severe blow to small retailers.  

Again, the example of several countries – including Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, Vietnam - shows that prices of fruit and vegetables in corporate retail outlets have tended to be considerably higher than in traditional markets.

The PM's claims that FDI in retail will 'benefit our farmers' are also bogus. Small marginal farmers in most countries have been excluded from access to the corporate retail supply chain. There is no evidence of consistently higher prices for producers thanks to contract farming and corporate retail – if anything, the opposite. In fact, farmers end up at the mercy of the global corporate retail giants, often experiencing delayed payments, arbitrary quality standards, and pressure to reduce prices in order to compete to attract corporate retail buyers. 

The PM tells us the entry of MNC retail giants will "create millions of good quality new jobs." He should try telling that to the employees of Wal-Mart in its home country, the US! Even as the Indian PM spoke, Wal-Mart employees in Los Angeles were agitating with the slogan 'Wal-Mart=Poverty,' accusing the retail giant of making profits out of exploitative work conditions and wages. In New York, the local people have agitated to keep Wal-Mart out, declaring that it destroys livelihood.

Manmohan Singh tells us that the 'bold steps' taken in 1991 created jobs, but his claims are badly belied by the facts. At a time when India boasted a 9% growth rate, employment grew at a negligible rate of just 0.22%. So, globalised 'growth' has in fact been jobless growth. By invoking 1991, Manmohan Singh is in fact proving that now, as then, he and his Government are implementing policies dictated by imperialist interests rather than those of India's people. 

A government that so blatantly lies to the country must meet with a fitting rebuff! We must expose the Government's falsehoods and intensify the agitation calling for the immediate resignation of the corrupt and fraudulent UPA Government.     

Bharat Bandh

On September 20, CPI(ML) units all over the country implemented the Bharat Bandh call in protest against the hike in diesel prices, the slashing of cooking gas subsidy, and FDI in retail and civil aviation.

In Delhi-NCR, CPI(ML) activists held marches and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister at Narela, NOIDA and at Yamuna Vihar.

The party held marches through the city of Patna and other centres in Bihar, blockading roads at many places. In Darbhanga, CP(ML) activists blockaded rail tracks, detaining the Ganga Sagar Express for hours. In Jharkhand also, protest marches and road blockades were held at several places.

In Tamil Nadu, rail roko, road roko protests were held by the party at Salem, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, and  Kanyakumari. In some other palaces including Tiruppananthal of Tanjore, district-level demonstrations were held. Campaigns in support of our bandh call took place at several palaces. In Salem, shop owners and traders closed down shutters in response to our call. In Tirunelveli our party mass organization leaders including AIPWA state president Thenmozhi were chased by police and rounded up in order to thwart their plans to picket the rail lines.

In Puducheri, more than 100 workers and party activists blockaded a busy road. Hindustan Petroleum Gas Delivery workers participated in the program with their uniforms. One Human Rights and Consumer Protection organization too joined our road roako program. In Karaikal, a demonstration was held in support of the Bandh.

In Uttar Pradesh, demonstrations and road blockades in support of the Bandh were held at 6 places in Ghazipur including the district headquarters; 4 places in Jalaun; 3 centres each in Devaria and Bhadohi; and two centres each in Chandauli, Mirzapur, and Gorakhpur. Demonstrations were also held at Balia, Maharajganj, Sonebhadra, Kanpur, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Khiri, Sitapur, Gonda, Ambedkarnagar and Kushinagar.  AISA held a march and protest meeting on the premises of Allahabad University in support of the Bandh.

In Uttarakhand, CPI(ML) activists ensured the closure of the market on Car Road, Bindukhatta, in Nainital district, and burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister. A protest meeting was held that was addressed by many CPI(ML) leaders. Youth activists also marched to Lalkuan Bazaar calling upon traders to shut shops.

At Pithoragarh town, CPI(ML) activists held a march from Ramlila Maidan throughout the town, raising slogans in support of the Bandh. A demonstration and affigy burning were held at Dharchula in Pithoragarh district.

Protest processions were held at Bhikyasain (Almora) and Gochar (Rudraprayag) and Joshimath.

IN Karnataka, CPIML and AICCTU activists burnt the effigy of Manmohan Singh at Gangavati and Harapanahalli. Workers organised a bike rally on the day of Bandh to enforce the strike At HD Kote of Mysore district too, CPIML-AIALA activists organised a demo on the Bandh day. In Odisha, party activists held a rally from Nagbhushan Bhawan. They were arrested by police at the Assembly.

In Gujarat, CPI(ML) and RYA activists demonstrated in support of the Bandh in Ahmedabad, burning posters of the Prime Minister and holding a march from Azad Chowk till the statue of Bhagat Singh. En route, they got traders to shut shop in Amraiwadi Bazaar. 

Protest procession and effigy burning of the PM was held at Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, by CPI(ML) and AICCTU workers.

Demo in Bangalore for Maruti Workers' Struggle

AICCTU organised an impressive protest in support of struggling workers of Maruti on 22 Aug. 2012 at a major junction in the city of Bangalore. The protestors raised slogans against state repression on workers' struggles and demanded immediate release of all Maruti workers languishing in jail. The protestors also demanded withdrawal of Rapid Action Force, heavy police force and bouncers from the vicinity of the company.

Com. Somu, district president presided over the demo while Appanna, state secretary, Narayanaswamy, state Vice-President, Puttegowda, district secretary, and Mani addressed the gathering.

CPIML team visits Koodankulam

In the aftermath of brutal crackdown on the peaceful protesters of Idinthakarai, Koodankulam, CPIML, AICCTU, and AIPWA leaders visited these villages. Despite Sec 144 clamped on the entire area (due to which former Kerala CM and veteran CPIM leader VS Achuthanandan was not allowed to visit Koodankulam), the CPIML team managed to visit the affected area.

Koodankulam looks like a war torn territory. This Panchayat has 3500 households. Only a very few men could be seen. As the Koodankulam men and women came to the street protesting the repression on their fellow villagers, the police force unleashed a large scale attack on this village throughout the day on September 11.  All the women told the team that the police subjected them to severe repression.

The state police along with RAF, PMP lobbed anti-riot shells on the houses. Doors and windows been broken. Every house been attacked. Women were subjected to humiliation with obscene words, and were subjected to sexual assaults in the name of 'search.'

More than 60 men, most of them from the Hindu Nadar community, were taken into custody. Even minor school boys were indiscriminately arrested and sent to Juvenile Justice Board house. The neighboring Vairavikinaru leading to Idinthakarai too looked like a deserted village. The Tsunami settlement (from where residents, especially women, had participated in very large numbers in the agitation of the past several months), was subjected to severe, vengeful repression. Of 450 houses only 5 or 6 house were opened. The police took control of this settlement and are now using it as rest houses.

On the sea shore, the site where the siege program was held on September 10th, the police repression has no parallel! The K-Plant is more than 800 meters away from the protest site. There would be no danger for the plant from the thousands of women with children and men of entire Idinthakarai who had sat in peaceful protest.

Thousands of police with firearms stood like a wall encircling the protesters. Without any provocation people were beaten up with canes. Anti-riot shells were fired at the crowd, causing severe injuries on lips and cheeks. The people were encircled and had nowhere to escape except the roaring Bay of Bengal. They were chased towards the sea. The coast guard plane also joined the terror campaign, flying low over the heads of the people and terrifying the people. One youth died due of shock. Some were lying down; most of the people ran helter and skelter.

Through out the night arrested people remained in the open in the chilling sea breeze. The children and aged who couldn't withstand the breeze were trembling.

In an attempt to provoke a communal flare-up, the police urinated in the Church and disfigured the Mada Idol. But the protestors displayed great restraint and refused to rise to the bait.

Only after electronic media's telecast did the whole terror campaign subside somewhat.

These areas remain cut of from the mainland. Bus services are suspended. People have not been supplied with essentials, and remain deprived of their livelihood (fishing).

The team interacted extensively with the people. The people continue with their firm resolve to continue the struggle. They expressed their anger towards Jayaalalitha for her betrayal.

The team held a press meet demanding closure of the nuclear plant, complete withdraw of police force, withdrawal of false cases slapped including 124A and other criminal cases, suspension and action against the District SP, South Zone DIG and District Collector, instituting an enquiry commission with a sitting high court Judge and  intervention of NHRC and NCW in the human rights violations and violence on women by the police force.

The party State Committee called for state wide protest on October 1st. Condemning the police raj of the AIADMK government, the campaign will be 'against anti-people development; against murder of democracy'. On that day, an Anti-Nuke power plant march is also planned from Tirunelveli to Koodankulam (Idinthakarai).

The team comprised of State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram, T Sankarpandian, Tirunelveli district secretary and State General Secretary of AICCTU, Thenmozhi, State president of AIPWA,

G.Ramesh, Editorial Board member of Theepori, Anthonimuthu, District secretary of Kanyakumari and several district committee members of the party.

AISA victory in Pithoragarh SU Polls

Comrade Hemant Khati of AISA was elected as President in the Student University polls in the Lakshman Singh Mahar Government PG College, Pithoragarh, affiliated to Kumaon University. He polled 797 votes, defeating the ABVP candidate by 67 votes. On the post of Secretary, the AISA candidate Neeraj Bisht polled 560 votes, finishing at 3rd place. 

AISA has achieved a win in Pithoragarh after a gap of 12 years. The defeat against ABVP is especially significant given that the ABVP got patronage from the Government and administration, which overlooked fraudulent practices by the ABVP candidates such as distributing gifts, sweets etc.

AISA's campaign focussed against corruption and corporate plunder, privatisation of education, rampant unemployment and scams in Uttarakhand, rights of women students, and other democratic issues. 

TN AIALA calls for gherao of BDOs on November 7th

Following the successful collectorate gherao at Thanjavur by AIALA on September 17th, the State Council meeting of AIALA held on September 22nd in Gadilem of Villupuram district, decided to gherao the Block Development offices on November 7th, demanding  round the year jobs and house sites for all.

As Tamil Nadu could not get water from Karnataka and the southwest monsoon too failed, the Cauvery delta region is facing an acute crisis. Agriculture labourers and poor peasants are the worst affected.  If the North-east monsoon belies the hopes, the entire TN will have to face the worst drought this year. Except empty rhetoric, the AIADMK  government is doing nothing to tackle the situation. Employment of agricultural labourers and rural poor is severely endangered.

In order to protest the government inaction, and demanding round the year job, extending NREGA scheme to Town Panchayats, free food essentials and kerosene etc, AIALA will gherao the Block Development Offices.

The Council also decided to hold the next AIALA state conference on September 2-3 of 2013. Statues of Coms Chandrakumar, Chandrasekar and Subbu would be unveiled on 2nd September 2013, Martyrdom day of Comrades Chandrakumar and Chandrasekar. On 3rd September 2013, the 5th state conference will be held. 

The meeting also decided to participate in the October 1 protest day in solidarity with Koodankulam struggle, called by the state CPIML.

The council contributed the first installment (Rs 4000) of CPI(ML)'s 9th Party Congress fund.

Comrades TKS Janardhanan, State President, Valathan and Santhi, presided over the Council meeting. Apart from office bearers including Janakiraman (State Gen. Sec), Com Balasundaram All-India Vice President of AIALA also participated in the Council.

Arrest of CPI(ML) Activist in Odisha

On 17th September, Comrade Zaga Hika, who had contested as an MLA candidate from the CPI(ML) in 2009 from Patangi, polling 5000 votes, was arrested by Koraput police who have branded him as a 'Maoist.' Comrade Zaga Hika's son Rabindra Hika has also been arrested on fabricated charges of being a 'Maoist.'

On 31st August, Comrade Zaga Hika had led 800 comrades in gheraoing the Koraput collectorate and courting arrest as part of CPI(ML)'s all-India Jail Bharo call.

The BSF attacked and destroyed the CPI(ML) party office at Laxmipur on 16th September, tearing the party flag. On 17th September, Comrade Zaga Hika and Comrade Birendra Minieka, districts secretary of Koraput, went to the Laxmipur police station to file an FIR against the BSF for vandalising the CPI(ML) office, but instead of accepting the complaint, the police arrested Comrade Zaga Hika and charged him with being a 'Maoist'!

Comrade Zaga has spent the last two years in jail as an undertrial in a case of protest againt a liquor shop.

CPI(ML) plans a huge protest meeting at Koraput on 26th Sept against the arrest. The arrest of popular Left mass leaders from the adivasi community by branding them as 'Maoists' is part of the Government's 'Operation Green Hunt' strategy.

Left Parties' Dharna in Uttarakhand

CPI, CPI(M) and CPI(ML) jointly held a Dharna at Dehradun to protest against the anti-people policies of the Vijay Bahuguna Government on 10 September.

The Dharna began by a rendering by Jan Sanskriti Manch's Madan Mohan Chamoli, of a rousing Garhwali song by Comrade Dhan Singh Rana. This was followed by a Pankaj Vidrohi's rendering of a Gorakh Pandey song. 

The Dharna protested the Bahuguna Government's utter callousness towards the people affected by natural disasters in the State in the past 6 months. When the CM visited the disaster-affected people, he got angry when questioned by people, and returned after advicing them to sing 'bhajans' (prayer songs). The Left parties demanded immediate compensation and rehabilitation for the disaster-affected people of the State.  

The Left parties noted that the huge explosions caused by the 3 projects being built on the Asiganga had aggravated the natural disasters, and demanded that the builders of these projects be prosecuted for the deaths of people. The Left parties demanded mechanisms for identification and protection of migrant labourers hurt in the disasters. The Left parties held that the decision of the Government to hold by-elections to the Tehri Loksabha seat on 10 October when people of Uttarkashi and Tehri are yet to recover from the disaster is a cruel joke.

The Left parties protested the corporate plunder of 'jal jangal zameen' (water, forests, and land) in the State, in the name of 'development' projects. They alleged that the CM Vijay Bahuguna is supporting disastrous hydro-electric projects because of his corporate links, especially with the India Bulls company.  

The Left parties demanded that the Government accede to the popular demand to declare Gairsain as the capital of Uttarakhand. They also demanded measures to generate secure and dignified employment so as to stem the flood of migration from the state.

The Dharna demanded land rights for the residents of khattas, forests and for vangujars, and the rights of khattas and forest villages to form panchayats.

The Dharna also supported reservations for SCs/STs  in promotions, and demanded implementation of labour laws in factories.  They protested the rampant privatisation being carried out in the name of PPP projects.

The Dharna was presided by CPI(M) State Secretary Vijay Rawat, CPI's National Council member Samar Bhandari, and CPI(ML) Standing Committee member Raja Bahuguna.

The Dharna was addressed by Comrades Bacchiram Kauns, Gangadhar Nautiyal, Virendra Bhandari, Surendra Singh Sajwana, Indu Naudiyal, and Shiv Prasad Devli of CPI(M); CPI State Sectetary Anand Singh Rana and comrades Ashok Kanwal, Mahipal Bisht, Jeet Singh, and Ashok Sharma of CPI, and Comrades Purushotam Sharma, KK Bora, Man Singh Pal, Atul Sati and Malti Haldar of CPI(ML).  Kamla Pant, central convenor of Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, and Basant Khani of Uttarakhand Lok Vahini, Trepan Singh Chauhan of Chetna Andolan, and Sameer Ratudi of Himalay Bachao Andolan  also addressed the Dharna.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

ML Update 38 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 38, 11 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2012


Manmohan Singh Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai


US daily, the Washington Post, recently commented on India's PM Manmohan Singh, observing, "The image of the scrupulously honourable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government," and describing Manmohan as "a man whose aloofness from the rough-and-tumble of Indian politics has been transformed from an asset into a liability."

The article as such said very little that was new. In fact, its main thrust was based on quotes by Indian observers, as appeared in a 2011 issue of the Caravan magazine. Historian Ramachandra Guha described Manmohan Singh as 'a tragic figure,' fatally handicapped by "timidity, complacency and intellectual dishonesty; while Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to the PM, commented that the PM had been transformed into a figure of ridicule. The article also described popular jokes in India that poke fun at Manmohan Singh's well-known penchant for silence on a variety of pressing political occasions.

What was interesting was the reaction of the Indian Government to this article. Stung by the article, the PMO leapt to the PM's defence, demanding an apology from the Washington Post and the author of the article! This overreaction, if anything, showed Manmohan Singh in a more ridiculous light than ever.

What made the PMO so sensitive to an article in a daily paper? Why did the head of a State try, in vain, to gag the views of a journalist of another country, and try to extract an apology from him? Above all, the question arises – why was Manmohan Singh so sensitive to this particular article, when similar observations about his role appear regularly in the Indian press?

Clearly, Manmohan Singh is especially sensitive to criticism from any US quarters including the US Press. He finds it unbearable to be termed an 'underachiever' by Time Magazine or a 'tragic figure' by Washington Post, whereas the same criticism in the Indian press does not bother him. Manmohan Singh's sensitivity to American criticism is the natural fallout of his excessive concern to get praise and pat on the back from the US. To understand why Manmohan Singh is so upset, we must first understand how, for very long, US approval has been his overriding guiding principle in policy-making.

And his sensitivity to US opinion should be contrasted with his complete insensitivity to Indian public opinion! Manmohan Singh has always been proud of the fact that he takes decisions without being swayed by considerations of political fallout. So, his Government stubbornly insists on fixing poverty lines at starvation levels (Rs 23 in rural areas and Rs 28 in urban areas), unmoved by the fact that Indians find this preposterous. Likewise, his government goes on opening up sector after sector of Indian economy and social sectors for foreign capital to keep the American masters happy even as the whole country calls for an urgent halt to this disastrous course of indiscriminate FDI invasion. And when it comes to deciding India's foreign policy and domestic governance, his government has repeatedly made it clear that in its view national interests do not count, it is American interest which is of paramount importance.

Throughout his career as PM, Manmohan Singh has never hesitated to voice open – even fawning – praise of colonialism and imperialism that the Indian people would find offensive. In 2005, Manmohan Singh declared at Oxford that the British Raj was a model of "good governance." In 2008, he bade an emotional goodbye to the world's most hated US President – George Bush – by publicly declaring "deep love" for Bush, and expressing deep gratitude for "your affection, your friendship." In 2009, at a time when the US economy was in deep recession, and US economic and political hegemony were at an all time low, Manmohan Singh's loyalty remained rock-solid. He went out of his way to assert that the US economy would "bounce back", that "there is no substitute for the dollar," and that "we have not entered an era of irreversible shift in economic strength of the United States."

So, Manmohan Singh's angry reaction to the Washington Post's opinion comes from a sense of wounded loyalty that went unrewarded. He openly supported the US establishment when its credibility was at an all time low, and feels let down that US public opinion now is not reciprocating, when his own credibility is in tatters and he is the target of public ridicule and anger among the Indian people.

State Cadre Convention in Bihar Resolves to Make November 9 Parivartan Rally in Patna a Roaring Success


After the meeting of the Bihar State Committee of the Party held in Mairwa, Siwan from 2-4 September, a state-level cadre meeting was held in Patna on September 6 to mobilise the entire Party for the forthcoming 'Parivartan Rally' on November 9. The Party in Bihar is waging a relentless struggle against the growing failure and betrayal of the Nitish Kumar regime. Crime in Bihar is once again on the increase, corruption has crossed all limits and feudal-communal forces are flexing their muscles everywhere with the backing of the state government. Nearly one thousand Party cadres including members of district- and block-level committees and secretaries of local committees and Party branches attended the convention.

The Nitish Kumar government seeks to meet the popular outcry for justice with increased repressive measures on the one hand and by posing itself as the champion of Bihar vis-a-vis the Centre. The entire state government is currently busy with a so-called 'Adhikar yatra' which will culminate in 'Adhikar rally' on 4 November. Against this backdrop, the Parivartan rally has assumed additional significance, as it will highlight the strength and resolve of the fighting people of Bihar vis-a-vis the pompous show of power of a pretentious regime.

Addressing the state convention, Comrade Dipankar emphasised that the battle for justice for Bihar cannot be separated from the battle for justice for the people within Bihar. Nitish Kumar has already betrayed the people on the latter score, his slogan of 'development with justice' having turned into 'loot with injustice'. Now he is out to betray the people on the issue of justice for Bihar, reducing the issue of special category status for Bihar into a bargaining chip with the Centre and the Congress. He waxes eloquent against the likes of Narendra Modi and the Thackerays, but his ideological-political intimacy with communal and divisive forces is demonstrated unmistakably in his long-standing alliance with the BJP and the NDA.

Comrade Dipankar pointed out that Nitish Kumar's anti-corruption rhetoric had also proved to be utterly hollow and opportunistic. He demands cancellation of coal blocks, but defends the equally scandalous allocation of BIADA land in Bihar. He upholds CAG reports concerning the central government, but rubbishes the same CAG reports regarding the glaring lapses and huge scams perpetrated by his own government in Bihar. Comrade Dipankar called upon the convention to give a fitting rebuff to Nitish Kumar's pro-feudal politics by making the November 9 Parivartan Rally a roaring success.

The convention chalked out elaborate plans for the next two months to spread the message of the rally across the state and mobilise all members and structures of the Party in an intensive preparatory work. Village level meetings and padyatras will be held in all our areas of work. Block- and district-level review meetings will be held from mid-September to mid-October. Mass organisations will also work systematically to mobilise for the rally. Kisan Mahasabha has convened a 'Bhumi Adhikar Sammelan' (land rights conference) in Patna on 21 September. RYA is holding its state conference at Samastipur on 30 September. AIPWA will organise a 'mahila adalat' (women's court) in Patna on 2 October while Inquilabi Muslim Conference has convened an assembly in Patna to discuss the growing injustice and insecurity that Muslims are having to battle against in today's Bihar.

Convention Held in Solidarity With Maruti Workers

The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and All India Students' Association (AISA) held a Convention on September 7th at the Indian Social Institute, Delhi, in solidarity with Maruti workers. The Convention- 'Intensified Assault on the Working Class: Challenges Before Democracy', was attended by workers from the Delhi-NCR area, students, as well as concerned citizens and activists.

Several Maruti workers addressed the Convention, describing the exploitative conditions of work at the Manesar plant, in which they were given just 7 minutes to have tea and use the toilet, where pay was cut for every leave taken, and where the bulk of workers are employed on contract and paid less than permanent workers for the same work, in violation of labour laws. They described the incident of 18th July, pointing out that the Maruti management had introduced bouncers into the factory in order to intimidate the negotiating union leaders. They alleged that the violence was unleashed by the bouncers, who were responsible for the fire in which a manager lost his life due to asphyxiation.

The workers asked, "We are being described as criminals and killers. But can we ask – was it not illegal and provocative of the management to suspend an innocent worker and then introduce bouncers in the factory?" Comrade Matthew, former President of the Maruti's Plant I Union who was terminated after the struggle in 2000-2001, also described the repression faced by workers at that time.

Rakhi Sehgal of the NTUI painstakingly recounted the many unanswered questions and inconvenient facts regarding the 18th July incident that contradict the 'official' version. There is ample evidence to suggest that bouncers in workers' uniforms were introduced into the factory by the management in connivance with the police. She highlighted the fact that the investigation was being conducted by police officials who themselves are under a cloud regarding their role on 18th July. She said that the workers of the Maruti factory firmly believed that the 18th July incident was a conspiracy to finish off the Union. A significant majority of the Maruti Manesar plant's workers are from southern Haryana, from a belt where they receive some support and backing from their agriculture-based families, and are therefore more difficult to intimidate or suppress. Therefore, it is likely that the management wanted an excuse to replace them, once and for all, with more pliant migrant labour.

Speaking at the Convention, S Kumarasami, the All-India President of AICCTU, and also the President of the union of the Pricol Automobile workers of Coimbatore, described the struggle of the Pricol workers from 2007 onwards, and the incident of 2009 in which an HR manager was killed. He said that in a situation where workers are having to work in a state of virtual 'rigorous imprisonment,' deprived of legal rights, basic democracy, and an atmosphere of intimidation, where unionisation and peaceful struggles are suppressed, and managements seem to enjoy impunity in the eyes of Government, it was all too natural for conflict to erupt. Such incidents were bound to increase as long as industrial democracy is suppressed. He said that the Pricol workers sustained their Union and their struggle in the face of repression, by forging strong links with the struggles of local people.

Describing the situation in Manesar now, Comrade Kumarasami said 'industrial terrorism is being unleashed on the working class,' with ex-army personnel and police being deployed right on the factory floor. Just as corporate plunder was being encouraged, as shown in the coal, 2G and mining scams, capital backed by the State is also focusing on maximum extraction of profit by maximizing exploitation of workers. The result, he said, was '21st century technology and 19th century labour conditions.' He called for the Trade Union movement to reach out to the vast army of contract and apprentice labourers and for the working class to forge links with the struggles of contract workers as well as non-factory workers and common people. He highlighted the demand for the TU Act 1926 to be amended to make it mandatory to give recognition to the majority union in each factory as chosen by workers by secret ballot.

Labour historian Prabhu Mahapatra, Atul Sood, professor of economics from JNU, Senior advocate N D Pancholi of the PUCL, Ranjana Padhi, feminist activist addressed the convention. The Convention was also addressed by the Maruti workers' lawyer Rajendra Pathak, and Santosh Rai, President of the Delhi State unit of AICCTU.

Among those who joined the Convention in solidarity with Maruti workers were Jawed Naqvi, columnist, Arundhati Roy, writer, Sanjay Kak, filmmaker, Madhuresh (NAPM), Prof. Vijay Singh, activist Gopal Krishna, Sandeep Singh, President of AISA, Sanjay Sharma, Delhi State Secretary of CPI(ML), Prabhat Kumar, CCM of CPI(ML), and several teachers of DU, students of Jamia Millia Islamia and other universities in Delhi. A member of the New Delhi Bureau of the party organ of the Communist Party of Japan also interacted with the Maruti workers and covered the Convention for his paper.

The Convention adopted a series of resolutions: appealing to all democratic organisations and citizens for support for the Maruti workers' struggle; demanding- immediate withdrawal of police and paramilitary from industrial areas in Gurgaon-Manesar; release and reinstatement of all the workers; an independent judicial enquiry into the 18th July incident; that the Haryana Govt and Central Government be held responsible for upholding labour laws and industrial democracy and penalizing companies that violate these laws; ending exploitation of contract labour; and amendment of the TU Act 1926 to make registration of the majority Union mandatory.

Letter from CPI(ML) GS to Tamilnadu CM Regarding Koodankulam

New Delhi, September 8, 2012

We are very concerned to read in the news (The Hindu, September 7,2012) that the people of Idinthakarai and adjoining areas, under the banner of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), who have been raising questions about the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant through a peaceful mass movement against the commissioning of the plant, have decided to lay siege to the plant on September 9th.

We understand that ever since the Madras High Court gave the final nod to load enriched uranium in the KKNPP, the people have been attempting to dialogue with the State and Central Governments, but to no avail. It is in this critical juncture that they are resorting to such a drastic step.

We are deeply concerned about the consequences and appeal to you to stop commissioning of the plant, and intervene at this stage. The people of the area, receiving no convincing answers to their extremely genuine concerns about safety, have been agitating peacefully for very long. They have braved baseless sedition charges and a slew of cases. They are raising a matter of great public interest, not only for the present generation but for future generations. Yet they have been accused of being anti-national.

Now, the matter has reached a critical stage, with the protesting people, all common rural and coastal poor, deciding to lay siege to the plant. As a democratically elected leader, accountable to the people of Tamilnadu, we hope that you will at least now respond sensitively to the anguish and desperation of the people. We appeal to you not to use police force on peaceful protestors, who are fighting for their fundamental right to a safe life.

It is never too late to stop a disaster. We appeal to you to heed the wise and timely calls of the people of Idinthakarai, who seek to avert a Fukushima on Indian soil, and stop the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

Combat the Divisive Communal Politics of BJP-Shiv Sena-MNS

Reject the Political Opportunism of Nitish Kr and his Ilk

Following Raj Thackeray's venomous tirade against 'Bihari infiltrators' in Mumbai, his cousin and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has now come up with the demand for introduction of permits for Bihari workers in Maharashtra. The competitive display of chauvinism by the Thackeray cousins has once again exposed the communal and divisive politics of outfits like the Shiv Sena and MNS in Maharashtra. While MNS does not have any formal affiliation to either NDA or UPA, the Shiv Sena is a long-standing ally of the BJP and a founding constituent of the NDA. The Shiv Sena variety of regional chauvinism is a perfect ideological partner of the BJP's politics of national chauvinism. The only difference is while the Shiv Sena whips up communal frenzy in regional garb, the BJP does it in the name of nationalism.

When violence broke out in Kokrajhar in the month of July, the BJP was quick to blame it on 'infiltration from Bangladesh'. A sinister sms campaign and rumour mongering saw thousands of workers and students from Assam and the North-East rush back home from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai lending further grist to the BJP propaganda against terrorism and infiltration. Following Muslim protests in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena/MNS ire has now turned once again against Bihari workers, and especially Bihari Muslim youth in Maharashtra. Meanwhile we had reports from BJP-ruled Karnataka of ABVP goons pulling out migrant workers from Bihar and Odisha from trains and beating them up, all in the name of teaching 'illegal immigrants from Bangladesh' a good lesson.

The chain of events from Kokrajhar to Bangalore and now Mumbai has made it abundantly clear that divisive violence in one corner of the country will quickly spread to another corner, and campaign against one community will quickly turn against another. The fear that haunts Bengali-speaking Muslims is inseparable and indistinguishable from the insecurity faced by Bihari workers. It is the BJP which fuels this fear nationally and Nitish Kumar waxes eloquent about Bihari identity under the BJP's ideological umbrella while migrant workers and youth from Bihar are harassed and persecuted in Mumbai by the JDU's partners from the same BJP-led coalition.

While strongly refuting and resisting the divisive politics of the Shiv Sena/MNS and the BJP, we must also sharpen our struggle against the political opportunism of Nitish Kumar which is emboldening the Senas in Maharashtra and the BJP right within Bihar.

Sivakasi Blast- Punish the Culprits, Rehabilitate the Victims!

A seven member fact finding team of CPI(ML) and AICCTU visited Sivakasi in Virudhnagar district of Tamil Nadu on 7th September where more than 50 workers have already died and several are critical.

The team found that blatant violations of safety norms and regulations are the reason for recurring incidents at Sivakasi fire crackers every now and then. What is shocking is that only a few days prior to this horrific incident the factory was ordered to be closed for its violations. Even then the factory was in full operation with the strength of more than 480 workers, most of them women, children and a considerable number of migrant workers from West Bengal. The owners of the fireworks and Govt officials in collusion were running this death factory in total disregard of all norms and regulations.

In no way this could be termed as an accident. It is a clear case of deliberate crime. The officials are manufacturing a story that only 12 of the dead were the workers inside the factory, others were the passer-by who were hit by flying rubbles due to explosion. Sensing the intensity and extent of damage, the team raises the doubt about explosives being stockpiled for quarrying purposes also inside the premises.

In the face of such a tragic incident neither the labour minister nor the local minister have made even a visit so for. Even though much publicity was made about the impending visit of the CM, it is intriguing that she failed to turn up! When this was pointed out by the team the refrain of the public was, "the owner is an influential AIADMK bully".

The fact finding team in its report published to the press demanded immediate arrest of absconding owner, resignation of the labour minister owning responsibility to such ghastly incident, arresting concerned labour and revenue officials and suspension of district collector, compensation of Rs.20 lakh to the family of every victim, 50 thousand to the injured, rehabilitation of the families with govt jobs, strict enforcement of the Inter State Migrant Labor Act 1979, transparent, scientific safety norms and regulations in hazardous industries like fire cracker industry, making accountable the owner and factory and labour officers for such incidents etc. A Judicial enquiry must be instituted immediately to inquire into the many questions that have arisen.

The team was led by Comrade T Sankarapandian, CPI(ML) State Committee member and State GS of AICCTU. The members included Comrades Ponraj, Dist Party organizer of Tuticorin –Virudunagar, Mathikannan, Avudaiappan, AIALA dist organizer, Chellasamy, Murugan and Shanmugaperumal.

State-wide Protests

TN State unit of AICCTU immediately called for a state-wide protest on 8th September 2012 on the demands raised after the fact finding team visit along with the demand to closure of units which violate rules and arrange for a public audit on work place accidents.

Demonstration held at Chennai was led by Comrade Palanivel, State Secretary of AICCTU. Demonstration at Kumarapalayam of Namakkal district was led by Comrade Pugalendhi, Dist Secretary of AICCTU. A demonstration was held at Kandarvakottai by AICCTU of Pudukottai unit addressed among others by com P.Asaithambi, district secretary of CPI (ML). Posters were released on these demands by Salem, Tirunelveli and Coimbatore units of AICCTU.



Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail:, website:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fwd: ML Update 37 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  15            No. 37                                                                      4 - 10 SEP 2012

Naroda Patiya Verdict:

Nemesis for Narendra Modi


When impunity has become the norm for political leaders who perpetrate communal and feudal massacres in our country, the verdict of the Special Court in Gujarat stands out as a rare and welcome one. BJP MLA and former Minister in the Modi cabinet, Maya Kodnani, notorious Sangh Parivar leader Babu Bajrangi and 30 others have been convicted for their role in the gruesome massacre of 97 Muslims at Naroda Patiya – one of the worst sites of the 2002 Gujarat genocide.

The verdict observed that the massacre was "brutal, inhuman and shameful," especially the slaughter of women, aged persons, and children including a 20-day-old infant.

The verdict demolishes the Gujarat Government's claim that the violence was a spontaneous 'reaction' to the Godhra train carnage. The verdict finds, "This was a pre-planned conspiracy and it cannot be mitigated just by saying that it was a reaction of Godhra train burning incident."

Most significant is the conviction of Kodnani, whom the verdict describes as a 'kingpin' of the Naroda Patiya massacre. Kodnani has been sentenced to a 28-year imprisonment term. Kodnani, a doctor and an MLA, was known to be a close aide of Chief Minister Modi. Witnesses testified to her role in distributing weapons and instigating and leading the mob that especially targeted women and children. As though mocking the charges against her, Narendra Modi had inducted her into his Cabinet in 2007 and made her Minister for Women and Child Development! The Gujarat police, and even the Supreme Court-appointed SIT had avoided arresting the powerfully placed Kodnani for long. She was eventually charge-sheeted and arrested by the SIT in 2009, and only then was she dropped from the Cabinet. Kodnani's conviction gives the lie to Narendra Modi's claims that his Government had no role in the riots. It is quite obvious that a ruling party leader of Kodnani's standing could have led the violence only with the blessings of the Chief Minister.

In the sting operation conducted by Tehelka, Babu Bajrangi had boasted on camera of having led the massacre. He had stated that after the massacre he had reported to the Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah. The verdict sentences Bajrangi to imprisonment 'till death.' The conviction of Bajrangi and Kodnani holds out a ray of hope that, in spite of the attempts by the police and SIT to cover up Modi's role, Modi too will not escape justice.

With Gujarat elections due this year, and with Modi being projected as the BJP candidate for PM in 2014, the Naroda Patiya verdict comes as a reality check. Modi's attempts to project himself as a champion of growth and development rather than communal violence, too, have come a cropper. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, even as Modi boasted of Gujarat's high growth rate, he was confronted with evidence of Gujarat's dismal showing on health and nutrition, which is below the national average and worse even than some of the poorer states. Modi glibly tried to trivialise malnutrition by dubbing it a 'middle class phenomenon', blaming it on Gujarat's predominantly vegetarian diet. Most appallingly, Modi blamed the poor health and nutrition indices of women in the state on 'figure-conscious girls,' who avoid nutrition for fear of getting fat. Such theories have made Modi a laughing stock, and have exposed the grim socio-economic reality that underlies the claims of 'Gujarat Gaurav' (Gujarat pride). 

Try as he may, Narendra Modi and the BJP cannot shrug off the taint of communal genocide – that the Naroda Patiya verdict has forcefully underlined.

Meanwhile, the 'other Modi' – Bihar's Deputy CM Sushil Modi of the BJP has suggested that the Bihar CM Nitish Kumar would make a good PM candidate for the NDA. Nitish Kumar, who has been projecting himself as a 'secular' alternative to Narendra Modi, has recently spoken against the illegal arrest of a Bihari Muslim migrant in Mumbai, and against Raj Thackeray's threats to brand all Bihari migrants as 'infiltrators'. But Nitish Kumar's rhetorical flourishes against Narendra Modi's communalism and the MNS' anti-migrant terror sound rather hollow when he continues to enjoy a cosy partnership with the BJP in Bihar. After all, ABVP goons in BJP-ruled Karnataka are doing exactly what MNS has threatened to do in Maharashtra – they have recently attacked nearly 100 migrant labourers, branding them Bangladeshi infiltrators.

The BJP, and its NDA allies, have been left red-faced by the Naroda Patiya verdict. The verdict has established the inescapable fact that a BJP-ruled Government and its top leaders presided over one of the worst communal pogroms in India's history. BJP's hands are blood-stained, and those who hold those hands, too, cannot escape the taint.       

Jail Bharo Call

Lakhs of People Court Arrest

Demanding Resignation of UPA Govt. over Coal Gate Scam

Protesting Corruption, Price Rise, Social Oppression, State Repression

Lakhs of people responded enthusiastically to the call of the CPI(ML) and All India Left Coordination (AILC) and courted arrest all over the country on 31st August, as part of an all-India 'Jail Bharo' protest, demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister who has been caught red-handed in the Coalgate scam, and of the entire scam-ridden UPA Government. They protested the privatization policies that promote corporate plunder of natural resources and public assets, unrelenting price rise, crackdown on the right to dissent and protest, and growing social oppression on dalits, women and minorities. Protests were held at 173 centres, and a total of 1, 35,000 people all over the country, under the banner of CPI(ML), CPM Punjab, Lal Nishan Party (Leninist), CPRM, and Left Coordination Committee (Kerala), were taken into custody in the course of the Jail Bharo protest. 

In the national capital Delhi, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya led the protestors in courting arrest, along with CPI(ML) Politburo member Swadesh Bhattacharya, Central Committee members Prabhat Kumar, Kavita Krishnan, and Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma. Scores of protestors marched to Parliament Street, blocked a street crossing, and broke police barricades before being taken into custody.

In Bihar, a total of 50,000 courted arrest across the state, in protest actions that were held at around 30 centres. At many places, the temporary jails arranged by administration proved too small to accommodate the overflowing protestors.

In the state capital, Patna, 4000 activists marched from Gandhi Maidan to the city's most crowded Dak Bangla crossroads, which they blockaded for two hours, holding a mass meeting addressed by party leaders before being taken into custody. One contingent of protestors was detailed at Gardanibag Stadium while another was detained at Kotwali Police Station. Several Politburo and Central Committee members of CPI(ML) as well as mass organization leaders were among those arrested.

4000 activists courted arrest at Arwal, holding a massive public meeting against UPA-NDA corruption, after being detained on the premises of the Block Headquarters. In the course of the campaign towards 31st August, meetings were held at 200 villages in Arwal district, and torchlight processions were held on 30 August in all these villages. 

3500 activists were arrested in Bhojpur district, breaking the gates of the Collectorate and holding a mass meeting inside the Collectorate premises for two hours. 5500 people marched all over the town in Jehanabad before courting arrest. On 27 August, there had been a militant protest at the Jehanabad Collectorate and Bandh in Makhdumpur against feudal forces who had blinded a girl from an extremely backward community and burnt down her house. The impact of this protest could be seen on 31st August, where a large number of women and villagers from the dalit and extremely backward communities joined the Jail Bharo march.

4000 people in Siwan marched from the Bus Stand to JP Chowk where they blockaded the crossing for hours, and held a mass meeting before being taken into custody.   

5000 peasants and adivasis, who have been active in the recent struggles against eviction of sikmi sharecroppers, courted arrest in Purnea. More than 2000 each courted arrest in Darbhanga, Madhubani, Gaya, and Nalanda, while between 1000-1500 people courted arrest at Vaishali, Rohtas, Gopalganj, Buxar, Muzaffarpur, and Samastipur.

Jail Bharo protests were also held at Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Chhapra, Kaimur, Nawada, Shekhpura, Lakhisarai, Jamui, Araria, West and East Champaran, and Sitamarhi.  

In Jharkhand, 30,000 people courted arrest in protect actions held at 18 centres all over the State. In Giridih district, in the run-up to the Jail Bharo protest, there had been successful mobilization and protests against the new BPL list from which large numbers of the poor were excluded. These protests had forced the administration to distribute rations based on the previous list. Inspired by the success in these protests, more than 10,000 people courted arrest on 31st August. The campus of the District Collector was packed with protestors, and eventually the administration had to declare the Flag-hoisting grounds to be the camp jail and detain people there. Leading the protestors were CPIP(ML) MLA Vinod Singh and District Secretary and Central Committee member Manoj Bhakta.   

In Garhwa district, impressive protests were held both at Nagar Untari as well as Garhwa town, focusing mainly on the police repression unleashed in the area against party leaders and activists in recent times. The demand for the release of local activists arrested on false charges of aiding Maoists, and of senior leader Tahir Ansari who has recently been arrested, were the main demands of the Jail Bharo protest here, in addition to demanding scrapping of coal block allocations and resignation of the UPA Government in the Coalgate scam. In Nagar Untari, 5000 protestors marched to the Block HQs, defying the police's attempts to intimidate and demoralize them by arresting Tahir Ansari. 1500 protestors marched in Garhwa town and courted arrest at the District Collector's office. Protestors also courted arrest at Palamu main crossroad as well as Latehar.     

At the state capital Ranchi, protestors gheraoed the Assembly, which began its session on the same day. More than 1000 protestors marched from the Rachi railway station to the Assembly, protesting in particular against the land grab and eviction of adivasis as Nagri as well as on the central demands and slogans. They were stopped and detained at Birsa Chowk, where they held a massive public meeting. 

Scores of protestors courted arrest in Gumla and Lohardaga districts in South Chhotanagpur, Devghar, Dumka and Jamtada in Santhalparganas, as well as Koderma, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh, Bokaro, Dhanbad, and Jamshedpur.  

In Uttar Pradesh, more than 7000 people courted arrest in protest actions at around 19 centres. At Varanasi, the protestors who had marched to the District Collector's office to court arrest, were lathicharged by the police. However the protestors refused to disperse, and eventually the police had to arrest them. Protestors, including activists from Gonda, Kanpur, and Ambedkarnagar districts courted arrest at the State capital, Lucknow.  

Protestors courted arrest at Ghazipur, Chandauli, Sonebhadra (at district HQ at Robertsganj as well as Tehsil HQ at Duddhi), Mirzapur, Devaria, Balia, Bhadohi, Sitapur, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Khiri, Jalaun, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Azamgarh, Maharajganj, and Mau. 

In Punjab, the CPI(ML) and CPM Punjab jointly organized state wide protests where 15000 people courted arrest at 17 centres spread over 15 districts, including the state capital Chandigarh. The number of women nearly equalled men at most places, and outnumbered men at some.  2500 workers were arrested at Mansa and Pathankot, detained for a few hours and later released at far off places. More than 1000 protestors each also courted arrest at Gurdaspur, Barnala, Sangrur, and Jalandhar. CPM Punjab Secretary Mangat Ram Pasla led the protestors in courting arrest at Jalandhar. At Gurdaspur, Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal was visiting the city, due to which the police cracked down with greater force on the protestors. At the State capital, Chandigarh, protestors assembled at the City Centre Plaza to defy Sec. 144, and held a dharna raising slogans for over an hour. The police and administration retreated after a brief confrontation.

At Mumbai, 8000 protestors from all over the Maharashtra, mobilized by Lal Nishan Party (Leninist), CPI(ML), Maharashtra Sarva Shramik Mahasangh, Kachra Vahatuk Sangh, and other unions together, hekd a 12-km- long March from Currey Road to Azad Maidan. The protestors included workers, peasants, adivasi people, and anganwadi women workers, and 80% of the marchers were women. Workersfrom Dahanu (in Thane district), adivasis and workers from Palghar taluka, and workers from Pune, Srirampur, Jalna and other districts were present in large numbers. The protest march passed Byculla and JJ Flyover to reach Azad Maidan, where a mass meeting was held. The main leaders of this protest were LNP(L) General Secretary Bhimrao Bansode, CPI(ML)'s Mumbai-Thane Committee Secretary Shyam Gohil, Comrade Uday Bhatt, Dhiraj Rathod, and others. Protestors under the banner of CPI(ML) also courted arrest at Nagpur.  

 In West Bengal, AILC partners CPI(ML) and CPRM participated in the Jail Bharo campaign and protests. Around 10,000 people all over the State courted arrest at 18 centres.

In the extended jute mill belt in North 24 Parganas, 2000 workers stormed into the SDO office in Barackpore. Agricultural workers also courted arrest in Basirhat and Barasat. In Nadia, 1200 protesters entered the DM building in Krishnanagar, and were lathicharged by the police, leaving four comrades were wounded. In Bardhaman, CPI(ML) Politburo member Kartick Pal led 1000 protestors in courting arrest after marching into the DM building-court compound. In Bankura, demonstrators broke barricades into the district headquarters, and were arrested following a scuffle with the police. The presence of tribal people, agricultural workers and farmers was conspicuous among these protestors. Jail Bharo was also observed in Murshidabad district, after a protest meeting at the district headquarter Berhampore.

In Hooghly, a rally of 1000 agricultural labourers, sharecroppers, farmers and workers marched from the Chinsura railway station and circled the town for an hour-and-half, before offering civil disobedience at the DM bulding and courting arrest.

In Kolkata city, a decorated rally marched from College Square to Esplanade, and the agitators, including State Secretary Partha Ghosh, courted arrest after storming police barricades.

In Darjeeling, over 350 protesters courted arrest after demonstrations at the Siliguri SDO office in Hill Cart Road. Among those who led the protest were CPI(ML) leaders Basudev Bose and Abhijit Mazumdar as well as CPRM leaders Gobind Chhetri, Arun Ghatani, and Kishor Pradhan. Protestors also courted arrest in Jalpaiguri town, Alipurduar, Balurghat of South Dinajpur, Raigunj of North Dinajpur, Howrah, South 24 Parganas, Malda and Birbhum.

On 25 August, a DCPM rally led by Comrade Alak Nandy at Banton (West Midnapore) was attacked by TMC goons, and a mass meeting was held on 30 August to protest the attack. During the campaigning for Jail Bharo, TMC goons in Bardhaman assaulted CPI(ML) District Secretary Salil Dutta on 29th August. The statewide Jail Bharo protests on 31st August demanded arrest and punishment for the perpetrators of this political attack, and an end to the culture of political violence in the State. Apart from the demands against corporate loot and Coalgate scam, the protests in West Bengal also focussed on the assault on democracy and rising violence on women in the state. Protestors demanded scrapping of Operation Green Hunt and UAPA, release of political prisoners, siphoning off of NREGA funds for the CM's tour of districts on the eve of Panchayat polls, and rampant ground-level corruption.   

In Assam, the Jail Bharo programme, in addition to the central slogans, also demanded an end to the ethnic violence and communal campaign in the State. Protestors courted arrest at the state capital, Guwahati, as well as Nagaon, Jorhat, Bargang, Rajgarh (Dibrugarh), and Tinsukia. In Barpeta, Jail Bharo could not be held because of curfew, and so a delegation led by Com. Dulal Sarkar and Naren Borah handed over a memorandum to the DC, Barpeta, addressed to the Chief Minister of Assam.

In Diphu, Karbi Anglong, a protest procession from the CPI(ML) office to the DC office was arrested en route, and the protestors detained at a temporary jail, where they held a protest meeting, addressed by CPI(ML) PB member Rubul Sarma, as well as Karbi Anglong Secretary Com. Rabi Kr. Phangcho, KNCA leader Com. Pratima Inghipi, KSA leader Com. Laisen Ingleng and others. The protest meeting passed resolutions demanding dismissal of the Tarun Gogoi Government for failure to control the ethnic clashes in the BTAD area, to intensify the movement against the deprivation and betrayal of the Govt. on Autonomous Statehood, and demanding CBI enquiry into the cases of rampant corruption of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council.

In Tamilnadu, an intensive campaign preceded the Jail Bharo protest, with cadre meetings, workers' GBMs, and over a 100 padayatras were held all over the State, mainly in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruvallore, Kanyakumari, Salem, Tirunelveli and Namakkal. Jail Bharo protests were held at 19 centres in 16 districts, and 60% of the participants were women. A significant number of migrant workers participated in the protest at the state capital, Chennai.

In Andhra Pradesh, protestors courted arrest at East Godavari district HQ (Kakinada) followed by an impressive rally. Activists courted arrest at Prathipadu, Krishna District divisional HQ at Nuziveedu, Roluganta and Narsipatnam in Visakha district; Ananthpur, where an impressive rally was held; and Velugodu and Nandikotkuru mandal offices in Kurnool. 

In Odisha, protestors courted arrest at Koraput, Puri, Dasmantpur, Bhadrak, Rayagada, Keonjhar, Gajapati as well as the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. At Koraput, the police, on the pretext of curbing Maoism, disallowed protestors from holding a rally, arresting them at the Railway Station itself. All over the state, the protestors demanded resignation of PM Manmohan Singh as well as Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik for their role in the Coal scam, and an end to Operation Green Hunt's war on adivasis.   

In Karnataka, 1000 protestors courted arrest at Gangavati. Impressive protests were also held at Bangalore, Mysore, and Davangere. The attack by communal forces on migrant workers travelling to the State on the night of 30th August was one of the major issues in the protest at Bangalore.

Jail Bharo protests were held at Jhunjhunu, Udaipur, Pratapgarh, and Salumber in Rajasthan.

At Chhattisgarh, protestors at Supela including CPI(ML) and Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha leaders were jailed at Durg Central Jail before being released. Dharnas were held at Raipur and Bilaspur, where participants courted arrest.

In Uttarakhand, Jail Bharo protests were held at Pithoragarh, Lalkuan, Bhikyasain (Almora), Rudrapur, as well as Srinagar, Gauchar and Joshimath in Garhwal district.   

In Tripura, an impressive protest procession led by the CPI(ML) State Secretary Mrinmoy Chakraborty marched at Kailashahar, (Unakoti District), towards the SDM office. Thye first police barricade was broken and activists were arrested after a scuffle at the second barricade.  

Protestors were also arrested at Udaipur, Dharmanagar, Belonia, and at Karbook Sub-Division in the Autonomous District area in Tripura. 

Jail Bharo was also observed at Puducherry, and at Port Blair (Andamans).

Workers' Convention in WB

On 11th August, a workers' convention was held at Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas in West Bengal demanding reopening closed industries, revival of sick industries and reclaiming workers' dues all over the state, and in particular in the Budge Budge industrial belt.  The convention was part of a continuous campaign launched by AICCTU, following the hugely successful 16th May workers' convention held in Naihati earlier this year. Factory workers, jute mill workers, organized unions like the Bata workers' union, construction workers, women workers, as well as artists-writers-doctors from the civil society assembled at the packed Public Library hall in Budge Budge. Comrades Kishore Sarkar and Nabendu Dasgupta of AICCTU addressed the assembly and comrade Atanu Chakrabarty conducted the convention.

Issues like the plight of workers of closed factories, claiming workers' dues (like PF dues) running into crores of rupees, oppression of unorganized sector workers like construction workers, demand for housing for factory and mill workers etc. were reiterated in the convention proposal and the anti-worker response of the administration and labour ministry towards workers' problems was condemned.

Representatives of other trade unions like UTUC, CITU, AITUC, National Union for Jute Workers, construction workers' union from the Bata Riverside Project also addressed the convention. The need for a broad and united trade union movement to reinstate workers' rights and demands was agreed upon by all. In keeping with this spirit, AICCTU had undertaken a sustained campaign in preparation of the convention which included involving the civil society to petition for workers' demands, campaigning in extensive areas, arranging several group meetings with workers, deputations to the New Central Jute Mill authorities, demonstrations at the BDO level with specific demands of construction workers - thereby stirring up the Budge Budge industrial belt with issues of workers' demands and health of industries becoming the center of discussions. A 'Mazdoor Bachao Manch' has been constituted to bring different trade union workers and workers' sympathizers under a common umbrella. The response and enthusiasm so far looks promising to strive for a relentless struggle on workers' rights.

AIPWA Convention in Guwahati

The Assam unit of AIPWA organized a state level convention at Press Club, Guwahati on 25th August on the topic of 'Increasing violence on women and role of society'. The Convention was addressed by leaders of different women's organizations including the Assam unit of AIDWA, NFIW, KNCA, All Tiwa Women Association, Niryatan Virodhi Oikya Mancha, Nari Mukti Sangram Samiti, Bihattar Noonmati Nari Niryatan Virodhi Oikya Manch, Women Studies Research Centre (Gauhati University), North East Network, Purva Bharati Trust, Asom Lekhika Santha, Mahila Karmachari Santha, Sadou Asom Janasanskritik Parishad, Natun Sahitya Parishad, Datal Para Cultural Women Organisation, ASHA Santha, Anganwadi Santha and a group of women students from Cotton College took part in the convention.

The Convention was conducted by AIPWA state leader Anju Barkatoky and two appointed speakers Arupa Baruah, writer and journalist and Dr. Akhil Ranjan Dutta, progressive writer and Associate Professor, Guwahati University, delivered their speeches on the topic. Sri Mukul Kalita, a local journalist, who came to the help of the victim of 9th July G S Road molestation, described his experience as an eye witness. Leaders of the said women organizations placed their views and suggestions on the subject matter of the convention.

The convention unanimously resolved to unite all struggling women organisations and develop a united movement against cases of violence on women.

An approach paper from Assam State Committee of AIPWA was presented by AIPWA leader Junu Bora and state secretary Mrinali Devi spoke about the aims of the convention. AIPWA leader Raju Baruah, state president Bhadrawati Gogoi, state member Kanaklata Dutta were present in the convention. The convention was well organized and enthusiastic and more than 150 women attended the convention.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail:, website:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

ML Update 36 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  15               No. 36                                                                                                                28 AUG - 3 SEP 2012


Cry of August 2012:

Corporate Rulers, Quit India!

Manmohan Singh Must Go!

Three months ago Manmohan Singh had made a categorical public statement promising to give up his public career and accept any punishment given by the country if he were to be found responsible for any act of corruption. His moment of truth came on August 17 when the CAG report on the coal block allotment scam was tabled in Parliament. But far from offering to resign, Mr Singh, who is projected by the Congress as the epitome of honesty and integrity, is now bent upon rubbishing the CAG and its findings. Confronted with the 2G scam, Manmohan Singh had sought to blame it on the intricacies of coalition politics. Now when his own culpability has been exposed in the Coalgate, he seeks to explain it away in the name of compulsions of federalism and constitutional procedures.


The coal scam is far more shocking and sinister than even the 2G scam. In June 2004 the Coal Ministry suggested that coal blocks be allocated through a transparent process of competitive bidding. It should also be noted that 2004 witnessed a quantum jump internationally in coal prices. Up to July 2003, coal prices were in the range of $25-30 a tonne, but with a sudden surge in global demand, China being the biggest contributor, coal prices soon soared to $60 and then zoomed to $180 by July 2008, before seemingly settling down in the range of $100-105 a tonne. But while the Coal Ministry suggested the auction route, it was the PMO which came up with a note highlighting the possible drawbacks of competitive bidding.


The government then raised the plea that switching over to the practice of competitive bidding required an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. Yet by 2006 the Law Ministry made it clear that the government could introduce competitive bidding without resorting to any amendment in the MMDR Act. The government ignored the Law Ministry clearance and went ahead with its move to amend the MMDR Act promising to stall allocations pending the enactment of the amendment. Yet while the government showed no urgency in getting the amendments enacted, notified and enforced, allocations went on in with alacrity. Of the 208 blocks allocated between 1993 (when the policy of allocating coal blocks to private parties for purposes of captive mining and not commercial sale was adopted) and 2010, 85% allocations happened after 2006 and 63 allocations took place when Manmohan Singh was directly in charge of the Coal Ministry.


Manmohan Singh has questioned the CAG's evaluation of loss to the national exchequer on several counts. He argues that only such blocks have been allocated to private players where mining is most difficult and expensive and under the amended MMDR Act, 26% of profits made by these companies would anyway have to be spent by them for local development. The economist PM's corporate lawyer colleague who has now again been shifted to the Finance Ministry goes even so far as to question the very notion of loss when not an ounce of coal has been mined from the allocated blocks. Manmohan Singh chooses to forget that the amended MMDR Act is yet to come into force and would not retrospectively cover the period audited by the CAG. Chidambaram ignores the basic fact that the amount which could have accrued to the national exchequer if coal blocks were auctioned is not directly related to the actual volume and value of post-auction mining.


In fact, the Manmohan-Chidmabaram defence raises more questions while answering none. If production has not yet begun in the allocated blocks, why has these allocations not been cancelled so far? The very argument invoked for the dubious allocations made through the shady mechanism of a so-called screening committee pending the MMDR amendment and introduction of open, competitive bidding is that the allocations could not have waited. Delay in allocation would have affected GDP growth and generation of energy so crucial to the people and the economy. But if it was really so urgent why has no production begun even after years of allocation. If anything, the acquisition of mining rights has added to the economic muscle of the companies favoured, prominent among them are big players like Reliance, Tata, Mittal and Jindal, while contributing nothing to GDP and the national exchequer.


If the CAG has erred in estimating, it has clearly underestimated the whole scam. The draft report estimate of 10.65 lakh crores has already been reduced drastically by keeping public sector companies out of purview. The CAG's final estimate of loss is pegged at Rs 1,85,591 crore in the allotment of 57 mines to private parties between 2006 and 2009. But going by the experience of auction of six mines in Madhya Pradesh by the Madhya Pradesh State Mining Corporation (MPSMC) in November 2008, the CAG estimate is grossly conservative. The MPSMC auction – all the six mines auctioned have been underground, more expensive than the open-cast mines of Coal India Limited – has yielded 2.3-7.1 times the average amount the CAG has used in its report. In other words, the Coalgate is far bigger a scam than what it has been finally made to look like. The best way of finding the most appropriate estimate of the coal scam will be to cancel the allocations and auction them through fresh competitive bidding.


Manmohan Singh is invoking federalism and constitutionalism to explain away the coal scam and his personal culpability and complicity in the whole thing. If the government stayed away from allocating coal blocks through competitive bidding simply because a few states did not agree to the idea, why does it not give up the idea of inviting FDI in multi-brand retail which is being objected to by many state governments? If the screening committee mechanism is so sacrosanct in Manmohan Singh's notion of constitutional democracy why does his government refuse to show due respect to a constitutionally empowered and mandated body like the CAG?


Along with the Coalgate report, two other CAG reports, no less worthy of public attention, were also tabled in Parliament on August 17. One of these reports estimates a net largesse of Rs 29,033 crore gifted by the government to Anil Ambani's Reliance Power in an Ultra Mega Power Project while the other report exposes how the Civil Aviation Ministry has handed over the international airport in Delhi on a platter to the GMR group, leasing out tens of acres of land for commercial exploitation at a paltry annual rate of Rs 100 per acre and allowing it to earn a projected revenue of Rs 88,337 crore over a lease period of sixty years on the basis of an equity contribution of sheer Rs 2,450 crore.


The CAG reports corroborate with great details not only the mega corruption that is thriving as a direct outcome of the ongoing pro-corporate pro-imperialist policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, but also the systematic subversion of the constitutional basis of Indian democracy. The democratic paradigm of government of the people, for the people and by the people has been reduced to government of the corporates, for the corporates, by the corporates. Crony capitalism subverts popular democracy and constitutional procedures at every step with the help of its kitchen cabinet. The demand for resignation of Manmohan Singh must therefore be raised as an integral part of the bigger battle for reorientation of India's policies and rejection of the growing nexus between big business and power politics.


AIALA Initiatives in West Bengal

Responding to the state-wide call for protest demonstrations at Panchayats by the West Bengal state council of All India Agricultural Labourer's Association (AIALA), protests were launched in several districts of the state. AIALA members and activists identified critical areas affecting farmers and agricultural labourers, where the Trinamool Congress-Indian National Congress-led government has miserably failed the people. Burning issues like deliberate and systemic erosion of democracy of the Panchayats and the plummeting of democratic milieu in the state in general,  failure to issue BPL cards for poor families, fiasco over returning snatched  land to Singur farmers,  guaranteeing minimum wages for agricultural labourers (currently fixed by the govt. at Rs 171 rupees), ensuring 250 days of work at Rs. 250 daily wage under the NREGA scheme, ending corruption, and fair pricing for fertilizers were at the forefront of the AIALA demonstrations. The failure of the government to check farmer suicides also came under scathing attack.


The state AIALA leadership and the district leadership mobilized in at least 11 Panchayats in Bardhaman, 4 in Murshidabad, 3 in Birbhum, 3 in North Dinajpur, 4 in Darjeeling, 1 in North 24 Parganas, 1 in Bankura, 10 in Nadia and 9 in Hooghly districts in the form of mass demonstrations, and sent deputations to the respective Panchayats with their demands. More demonstrations are scheduled to be held in Bankura district and other parts of the state in the remainder of this month. AIALA is geared up for massive participation of farmers and agricultural labourers in the countrywide civil disobedience and mass arrest on 31st August.


Protests Against Growing Gender Violence in W Bengal 

That West Bengal has earned the ignominious distinction of topping the list of states recording highest number of crimes against women in the country in 2011, comes as little surprise to the local people, who read newspapers full of such ghastly reports each day. As per the National Crime Records Bureau figures, West Bengal accounted for nearly 12.7 per cent of total crime against women (in India) by reporting 29,133 cases, of which 2,363 instances of rape had been registered in 2011. This alarming trend is showing no signs of decline in 2012.


On 27th August, a woman was gang-raped in the Madartala area under Jadavpur P.S. when she went out to buy medicines for her ailing child. The woman is currently battling with trauma in the hospital. AIPWA activists went to the area on the same day, met with relatives and neighbours of the victim, and sent a deputation to the officer-in-charge of Jadavpur P.S. demanding immediate arrest and charge-sheeting of the criminals involved.


Earlier, on 14th August, Kolkata district committees of AIPWA and CPI(ML) held a joint demonstration at Charu Market P.S. and submitted a memorandum to the officer-in-charge after a woman alleged gang-rape near Chetla Bridge on 11th August. It was later revealed that the poor working woman was pressurized by one faction of the Trinamool Congress to allege rape 'falsely' in order to score a point over another faction. On the one hand the TMC-administration comprising of Mamata Banerjee and her ministers have been on the defensive, implicitly sheltering criminals and rapists by crying 'conspiracy against her regime' and playing the old game of blaming the victims. On the other hand, TMC is showing its true colours by forcing a poor woman to bring 'false rape charges' as a pawn in their factional infightings. The growing trends of lumpenization and anarchy in the political milieu post-'paribartan' is fuelling growing violence on women. 


AICCTU's All-India Protest Against Sacking of Maruti Workers 

As reported last week, AICCTU called for an all-India protest against the sacking of the Maruti workers, deployment of armed forces in the factory, and visit of the Maruti-Suzuki chief, on 22 August. In Delhi, a demonstration was held at Haryana Bhavan, where the effigy of Haryana CM Hooda and the Suzuki Motors Chairman Osamu Suzuki was burnt. AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee participated in this protest. 


Demonstration were held all over Tamilnadu in support of the Maruti workers. In Coimbatore, a demonstration was held at Periyanaickapalayam in which more than 200 workers participated. Comrades Krishnamoorthy, state secretary of AICCTU, N K Natarajan, state President of AICCTU, Balasubramanian, state committee member of CPI(ML) and Chandran of LMW Workers' Union participated. 


In Chennai, a demonstration was held at Thiruvottiyur, a centre of big industries. The demonstration was led by Com. Sekar of Solidarity Forum, and addressed by Com. Sivaprakasam, Deputy GS of MRF union, Com. Palani, GS of Carborundum Universal union, Com. Athi Tamilan of Royal Enfield and Comrades Bhuvana, Jawahar and A S Kumar from AICCTU. Workers and leaders of TI–Diamond Chain and On Load Gears (Ambattur) participated.


The Sirkazhi Municipality Conservancy Workers' union held a protest, attended by 75 workers including 25 women members. It was addressed by Com Prabakaran, President of the union and Com. Ilangovan, State committee member. Protests in Tiruchi and Tiruverumbur on 24th August were addressed by Com S Kumarasamy, All-India President of AICCTU. In the latter protest, contract labours of Ordnance factory, workers of Xomox Sanmar Ltd, and Pudukkottai district committee members of CPI(ML) participated.


In Tirunelveli, a protest on 24th August was led by District President of AICCTU, Com. Thenmozhi, Com. Ramesh, State VP of AICCTU and Com. Ganesan, district secretary.


A massive demonstration was held on 22nd August at Puducherry town in support of the struggling Maruti Suzuki workers. The demonstration also pressed for the immediate reinstatement of 112 women workers who were dismissed at a stroke in VINBROS & Co, Puducherry, and opeining all closed factories and mills in the UT of Puducherry.


The demonstration was led by Com. S Motilal, State Secretary AICCTU in front of the Labour Commissioner's Office. Com. S Balasubramanian, National Secretary AICCTU, Com. P. Sankaran, Vice-President AICCTU and P. Murugan, (AICWF) led the demonstration, in which hundreds of workers including a large number of women workers, participated.


On 22nd August, AICCTU West Bengal organised a protest meeting in front of the Eastern Zonal Office of Maruti-Suzuki at Camac Street at Kolkata. A memorandum was submitted to the senior manager. Atanu Chakravarty, Meena Pal, and NN Banerjee were members of the delegation. Comrades Dibakar Bhattacharaya, Kishore Sarkar and Atanu addressed the meeting. 


Protest programs were held at 3 separate spots in Patna. A procession of workers led by the AICCTU General Secretary RN Thakur and State Secretary Ranvijay Kumar marched from R Block crossing to the ITO crossing, where the effigy of the Suzuki Motors Chairman was burnt. General Secretary of the Bihar Non-Gazetted Employees Federation (Gope faction), Rambali Prasad as well as Shivpujanprasad participated.


At Phulwaisharif block HQs, the AICCTU-affiliated Nalanda Biscuit Company Ltd Workers' Union held a procession and burnt an effigy. In another demonstration at Phulwarisharif, workers of the Sudha Dairy, and Patna district private vehicle drivers' and employees' union, demonstrated. At Bhagalpur, too, a protest demonstration and effigy burning took place in the midst of heavy rain, led by AICCTU State President SK Shamra and District Secretary Mukesh Mukt.        


Protest programmes were held all over Jharkhand. In Ranchi, a protest procession marched to Albert Ekka Chowk and burnt an effigy there. Organised and unorganised sector workers held a protest march at Jarangdih in Bermo Koylanchal (Bokaro). Another protest march was held at Bokaro's Naya Mod. 200 workers of Mugma Area (ECL) of Dhanbad district held a motorcycle procession led by CMWU leaders. A protest march and effigy burning was also held at Dhanbad towm's Randhir Varma Chowk, and at Argadda in Ramgarh district. Protest meetings were held at Jainagar and Chandwara in Koderma district.     


A protest meeting was held at Maroda Gate of the Bhilai Steel Plant on 22nd August, which was addressed by leaders of AICCTU, CPI(ML) and Chhatisgarh Mukti Morcha. On 17th August, a Convention was organised by AICCTU in Bhilai, in solidarity with Maruti workers and asserting the demand for implementation of labour laws.    


Demonstration of Electricity Board Employees in TN

Dr. Ambedkar Employees and Engineers Union affiliated with AICCTU held a day-long demonstration against privatisation, TU recognition through secret ballot, for filling up 53,000 vacancies, reservation in promotion, regularising contracting labour, wage agreement without work load (as the employees are already under heavy work load), and the post of mazdoor to be changed to 'field assistant'. Over 1000 employees and engineers participated in the demonstration.


Com. S Kumarasami, AICCTU National President, Com. Subramanyam, AICCTU State Secretary and GS of the union, Com. Ramachandran, President of the Union, addressed the gathering. The demonstration was led by Com. Chandramohan, AICCTU State vice-president.


Convention Demands Justice for Paramakudi and Bathani Tola

A convention was organized in Madurai on August 18 2012, under the banner 'Citizens for Justice for Paramakudi and Bathani Tola. The convention began by paying homage to the victims of caste atrocities and feudal and state-sponsored massacres.


Several grass root activists shared their experiences of atrocities and their struggles. Presiding over the convention, Comrade Simpson, a member of the Citizens for Justice for Bathani Tola, and State Organizer of the Liberation Front of the Oppressed, emphasized how the dispossession of Dalits from land and resources is central to all atrocities, and hence land struggle is paramount to Dalit empowerment. He spoke of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Paramakudi firing in which 6 people from the oppressed community were brutally killed. 


Com. Subramanyam, State Secretary of AICCTU (and General Secretary, Dr. Ambetakar Paniyalar and Porialars Sangam) said that that Ambedkarism and Marxism were the right weapons for Dalit liberation. He lamented the sub-caste identity which is inimical to the unity of Dalits' struggle.


Com. P.Chandir Bose, GS, Thiyagi Immanuel Sekaran Peravai, who led the gathering on which the police firing at Paramakudi took place last year, welcomed the move to unite with like-minded struggling forces.


CPIML CCM Kavita Krishnan termed the Patna High Court verdict on Bathani Tola a judicial massacre, and spoke of the feudal-communal politics of the Ranveer Sena. 


Dalit writer Ilam Parithi also addressed the gathering. In his concluding remarks, Com. Balasundaram, State Secretary of the CPIML questioned the impunity for perpetrators of massacres like Venmani, Thamiraparani , Bathani and now Paramakudi. He called upon the left , democratic and progressive forces to observe September 11, the anniversary of the Paramakudi firing, in TN as a day to commemorate the struggles at Paramakudi and Bathani Tola. The gathering endorsed the call.


A large number of CPI(ML) activists, Dalit activists and well wishers attended the convention, including a large section of rural and urban poor women. Several resolutions were passed in the convention. Comrade Mathivanan, District Secretary of CPIML's Madurai unit welcomed the gathering and Comrade G Ramesh, SCM of CPI(ML), presented vote of thanks.


Struggle Against Privatisation of Mumbai Municipality Schools

On 23rd August, thousands of Municipality schoolteachers, students, and the latter's parents, demonstrated at 24 administrative offices of the Mumbai Municipality to protest the move to privatise municipality schools. The protest demonstration was organised by the Republican Party of India led by Prakash Ambedkar, and joined by the Municipal Kamgar Karamchari Purogami Union, CPI(ML)'s Mumbai unit, CPI, Sarva Shramik Sanghatana, Republican Panthers and other organisations. The protest was organised against the move of the Shiv Sena-BJP-ruled Mumbai Municipality to privatise schooling.


CPI(ML) leader Shyam Gohil, Municipal Kamgar Karamchari Purogami Union GS Dhiraj Rathod, Republican Panthers leader Shyam Sonar, and RPI leaders Siddharth Kadam, Prateek Kamble and Tambe addressed many of the demonstrations. A five-member team of Siddharth Kadam, Prateek Kamble, Tambe, Shyam Gohil and Shyam Sonar visited many of the protest sites to lead the protestors.


The protestors demanded a stop to the move to introduce PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) in the schools; regularisation of teachers and non-teaching staff; free schooling for all students till Std. X; a ban on allowing any corporate house, private company, NGO or foreign institution to use the school grounds or classrooms; and recruitment of one clerk per 150 students and one main teacher per 100 students in every school.  


Seminars on Hydel-Power projects in Uttarakhand

Ever since the Vijay Bahuguna Government came to power in Uttarakhand, a lobby of fanatic supporters of hydel-power projects has come up, that has even violently attacked those questioning or protesting these projects, branding the latter as enemies of the hill-state. On the other hand, opponents of the projects have tended to be of a religious variety, for whom the main issue has been the pollution of the sacred rivers and submersion of temples. In this competing discourse between fanatic pro-project forces and religious anti-project voices, the voices of people affected by the projects due to eviction, destruction of livelihood, as well as of land and environment, have not been heard. In this backdrop, a series of Seminars have been organised by the All India Kisan Mahasabha, on the theme 'Hydel-Power projects in Uttarakhand and the Question of Pro-People Development'.


A two-day seminar on this theme was held at Joshimath on 28-29 July. This seminar was addressed by the AIKM's State President Purushottam Sharma, senior journalist Harish Chandola, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch convenor Kamala Pant; and Chetna Andolan leader Trepan Chauhan. The seminar began with a people's song presented by Dhan Singh Rana, and was conducted by Comrade Atul Sati of CPI(ML), leader of people's movements against eviction in Joshimath. A paper on the theme of the seminar was presented by AIKM State VP Indresh Maikhuri. Participants in the seminar included several leaders of traders, students, women of Joshimath, as well as several project-affected people.


A similar convention was held at Srinagar on 22 August. Since 22 August marked the second death anniversary of well known people's poet Girish Tiwari 'Girda', the second session of the seminar was dedicated to his memory.  


The Srinagar seminar began with the presentation of a Garhwali song penned by Com. Dhan Singh Rana who is from a remote Joshimath village. The song, presented by Jan Sanskriti Manch national councillor Madan Mohan Chamoli, speaks of how Uttarakhand's people have been betrayed by their own leaders, and called for people to rise up and join the communist movement.


The theme paper was presented by social activist Yogendra Kandpal, and addressed by Purushottam Sharma, Uttarakhand Lok Vahini President Shamsher Singh Bisht; CPI(M) state committee member Gangadhar Nautiyal; Nainital Samachar editor Rajivlochan Sah; Garhwal University Geology researcher Sr. SP Sati; Kamla Pant; Trepan Chauhan; Atul Sati; Ganesh Singh 'Garib'; Uma Bhatt; B Shankar Thapliyal; Garhwal University Teachers' Union Secretary Dr. Mahavir Singh Negi; Susheela Bhandari and several other activists and journalists. A highlight of the seminar was when popular singer Narendra Singh Negi sang his composition on the devastation of Uttarakhand's nature and people in the name of 'development'. 


The second session on 'Girda' was conducted by cultural activist Dr. DR Purohit. NS Negi sang a well-known composition by Girda. Many activists, writers, composers and cultural personalities shared memories of Girda and his commitment to people's struggles.  

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail:, website: