Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 16, No. 3 & 4, 15 -21 JANUARY 2013
Towards the 63rd Republic Day:
People's Aspirations versus Rulers' Design
Indicted by the whole world as the key mastermind of the 2002 Gujarat genocide, Narendra Modi had turned to the barons of big business to bail him out. Just as crisis-ridden corporations look to the state for economic bail-out packages, here was Modi seeking a political rescue package from global capital. Thus was born the mega marketing show of 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit' – the biennial jamboree to showcase state-corporate bonhomie in Modi's Gujarat. This year, VGGIS completed its sixth edition. With Modi's third successive and emphatic post-genocide victory in the immediate background, the latest edition of VGGIS surpassed all the previous ones in terms of corporate promises of economic investment in Gujarat and political investment in Modi as the next potential Prime Minister.
The 6th VGGIS is reported to have delivered as many as 16,719 business proposals, promising an incredible Rs 40 lakh crore of investment for Gujarat. Critics have been quick to point out that the promise is too big to turn true, that hardly 15% of the investment promised in the first four VGGIS shows had been realised till date. Aware of the reality on the investment front, Modi downplayed the investment angle in his address, delivered again in Hindi like his recent post-victory address, and tried to posit VGGIS not just as a platform for the branding of Gujarat, but for marketing of India as an investment destination. When the delegates from the 121 visiting countries go back they would say we had been to India, to Bharat, said Modi, his sights now firmly trained on the throne in Delhi.
The marketing of the myth of vibrant Gujarat has been central to Modi's aggressive discourse of Gujarati pride. A brochure distributed among the participating delegates by the Industrial Extension Bureau, one of the government organisations hosting the summit, listed 50 golden facts about Gujarat. Some of these 'golden facts' clearly reveal the historical and class roots of Modi's Gujarat model – that out of 562 princely states in India before independence, 366 were in Gujarat; that over 25% of Indian population in North America is Gujarati, and that 10 of the 25 richest Indians are of Gujarati origin.
Of course, no official factsheet would acknowledge the terrible record of Modi rule in terms of human rights and human development – the ravages of the 2002 genocide, the series of staged encounter killings, the all-pervasive malnutrition in Gujarat's children (69.7% of children below the age of five are anaemic and 44.6% malnourished), the extensive pockets of starvation alongside enclaves of consumerist ostentation and opulence (India ranks 66 among 88 countries listed in the Global Hunger Index and Gujarat is among the 5 worst performers among the 28 Indian states).
What Modi has done in Gujarat is in many ways what the Thackerays would have loved to do in Maharashtra. The Thackerays had risen to prominence in the 1960s and 70s as thugs serving the big business in Maharashtra by breaking the trade union movement in Mumbai, and then jumped on to the Hindutva bandwagon since the Ayodhya campaign in the late 1980s. But despite the horrific Mumbai riots of 1992-93, a precursor to the Gujarat genocide a decade later, the writ of the Shiv Sena never really ran beyond Mumbai and adjoining pockets of urban Maharashtra. By contrast Modi has successfully converted his post-genocide domination into an all-embracing authoritarianism running across the whole of Gujarat. And under Modi's stewardship, corporate barons have got a free hand in Gujarat to pursue the whole gamut of their agenda from land-grab to union-free industrialisation. This is the key to the 'vibrant Gujarat' of corporate-fascist dreams, and the Ambanis and Tatas and the Goenkas and Birlas would now love to replicate this model on an all-India scale.
Reacting to the corporate adulation for Modi, the Congress has advised corporate India to shed its fascination for Modi's rabid right-wing charm, warning it of the disaster that had befallen Germany under Hitler's Nazi rule. It is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. The floodgates of corporate plunder have been opened in India by the neo-liberal policies pushed most relentlessly by none other than the Congress. And today Congress rule in the country has become an apology for a most corrupt and ever-expanding business-politics nexus, leaving the entire country aflame in the fire of corporate greed. Interestingly, the Congress answer to Modi's 'vibrant Gujarat' is Maharashtra and Karnataka – the two states that apparently attract more FDI than Gujarat. Karnataka is the only state in South India to have already been bagged by the BJP, and Maharashtra under Congress-NCP rule is not particularly known for any vibrant democratic environment.
The Congress-BJP collusion is however not limited to a competitive feeding of corporate greed. Whether it comes to fanning the fire of anti-Pakistan jingoism or spearheading the witch-hunt against Muslims and adivasis, the Congress and BJP have always been competitive partners. Once again, the Congress is pursuing the same line of wooing FDI and fanning up a jingoistic frenzy against Pakistan in the hope of containing the BJP, the reported murder of two Indian jawans allegedly by Pak troops in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir marking the latest flashpoint in Indo-Pak relations.
Addressing the media on the Army Day, the Army chief has issued a veritable war threat to Pakistan, saying India reserved the right to retaliate at a time and place of its own choosing. The Army Chief must be aware that in real life the logic of war does not respect any pre-designed script. A war with Pakistan bringing in its wake greater American intervention in the entire region including India is the last thing that India needs at the present hour of deepening economic crisis. Instead of flirting with war, the governments of both India and Pakistan must be compelled to abide by the 2003 cease-fire agreement.
2012 had ended on a high note of popular upsurge calling for freedom and justice that left the ruling classes jittery. The shrill corporate clamour for a strong state emanating from the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, and the language of war being mouthed by the Army and its political bosses are both desperate signs of the ruling classes seeking to regain their initiative and stopping the people. Meanwhile, as a prelude to the forthcoming budget session, the Railway Minister has already announced a steep hike in passenger fares with the oil ministry too giving signals to follow suit with an across-the-board hike in fuel prices. As we approach the 63rd Republic Day, it is important to beat back this ominous design of the ruling classes and carry forward the spirit of the mass upsurge of 2012.
Protests in Uttarakhand Against Delhi gang-rape
The Uttarakhand people expressed deep anger and sorrow on hearing the news of the martyrdom of Delhi gang-rape victim on December 29, 2012. A convention which was planned in Pithoragarh on the issue of women freedom and sexual violence in wake of Delhi gang-rape was cancelled as news poured in early morning of Dec 29, 2012 of martyrdom of gang-rape victim and instead a rally was organized against Union government. The protest rally saw participation of hundreds of people with increased participation from girl students. The slogans 'Ensure Women's Freedom without Fear', 'Conviction Rate in rape cases is only 26 percent, Union Govt Must Reply' and others were raised. The rally was later addressed by CPI(ML) leader Comrade Jagat Martoliya, AISA's Hemant Khati and leaders of AIPWA.
In Pantnagar, on the evening of December 29 and 30, a poster exhibition and rally on the same issue was organized in University under the leadership of AISA Comrade Rubi Bhardhwaj. A two minute silence was observed in the rally to pay tribute to the Delhi gang-rape braveheart. Addressing the rally the speakers stressed that this struggle for women's freedom should be sustained. They observed that this fight is not of one woman alone but of half the population which is demanding freedom and equality.
CPI(ML) Protests Rape of Adivasi Girls in Chhattisgarh
CPI-ML, AIPWA and AICCTU staged a protest at the Durg Collectorate against the heinous and systematic rape committed on minor Adivasi girls for the past two years at the Govt Adivasi Girls Hostel at Jhaliyamali village, Narharpur Block, Kanker District. After the protest demonstration, a memorandum was submitted to the Governor of Chhattisgarh through the Additional Collector, Durg.
The memorandum demanded strict punishment for the guilty, proper medical treatment and compensation for the victim girls whose age range from 5 to 13 years, high level enquiry into the case, strict action against the responsible officials, strict laws to deal with violence against women, all rape offenders in the State to be given punishment, guarantee for equality and freedom without fear for women. In addition, they also demanded the immediate release of Soni Sori who was gang raped and stones and rocks shoved into her private parts in the Dantewada jail in Bastar two years ago and punishment for the guilty police officials in Soni Sori case, and withdrawal of the rape-accused SP Ankit Garg's gallantry award.
The protest rally was addressed by Brijendra Tiwari, Shyamlal Sahu, Jaiprakash Nair and others. The speakers stressed that the government, administration and police were totally ineffective and lacked the will to control crimes against women. The Narharpur incident had come to light in August last year but was suppressed by government officials as well as people's representatives. The protestors expressed concern regarding the safety of girls in many other such Adivasi Girls Hostels in the State, fearing that the Narharpur case might be only the tip of the iceberg. The Raman Singh government has proved totally ineffective in guarding the rights, freedom and safety of women, dalits, adivasis and weaker sections. The speakers sharply criticized the anti-people policies of the BJP government in the State, and at the same time pointed out that the Congress had also failed in the role of a responsible Opposition. The anti-women statements of leaders from political parties across the board, Sangh Parivar and so-called spiritual gurus were roundly criticized.
Candle Light Vigil in Bangalore
AIPWA and AICCTU jointly organized a candle light vigil on January 6 against the Delhi gang rape and the increasing incidence of rape in Bangalore.
Many workers participated in the protest with their family – introducing a new precedent in the protest culture of unions. AICCTU has always been the pioneer in involving workers' families in a protest that is not at all linked to their wages or bonus. Some workers even said that this is the first ever such initiative in Karnataka where families are involved in a democratic struggle fighting patriarchal/male chauvinistic mindset of workers in general. Interestingly, union notice boards in many companies in Bangalore declared a fight against male chauvinism, for women's equality. Women and men together responded warmly to the call of candle light vigil and participated in the protest in good numbers.
Comrade Shankar, CCM, called upon women to march on streets for a stringent law and special session of parliament against the harassment of women. He also said that Delhi incident is not just about punishment of rapists in a particular incident but about huge mass awakening on the issue and about the women's freedom without fear. He also called upon people to fight against the BJP and its government's patriarchal measures in Karnataka.
Comrade Ranjani condemned the moral policing brigade's systematic attacks on women to curtail their freedom and criticized the BJP Government for promoting such hooligans and failing in its responsibility to protect women. She stated that the Karnataka's Sec 354 of CrPC degrades the rape victims by allowing a maximum punishment of two years of imprisonment for rapists and demanded for a uniform, stringent law against rape with rigorous punishment. Gandhimathi, State Convenor of AIPWA, said that increasing incidents of rape in the city is leading to further restrictions on girl students, including in institutions like National Law School, and that such measures, in the name of safety, go against the very spirit of women's freedom. Sumita Mukherji condemned Mohan Bhagawat, Kailash Vijayvargeeya and the likes for their misogynist remarks on the Delhi incident. Appanna, AICCTU State Secretary, said that we should stop questioning women regarding their dress, behaviour, company, timings as a first step to stop blaming women for safety issues, and despise the feudal ideas of men as protectors and hold the state as responsible for the safety of every citizen. Putte Gowda, AICCTU District Secretary, said that Laxman Rekhas are pretexts for protecting the rapists and that such restrictions should be violated to reclaim all spaces and times for women. Comrade Somu, AICCTU District President, Narayan Swamy, AICCTU District VP, Vijayalakshmi, CGHSEU leader, Bharathi and others spoke. Syed Sajjad Ahmed brought a poster-covered car against violence on women to the protest.
Earlier, too there had been many initiatives against the gang-rape. AISA students went around HDKote town, Mysore district, enforced strike in many colleges on 24 December 2012 against the gruesome Delhi gangrape and the subsequent crackdown on peaceful protestors by the police in Delhi. Hundreds of students led by Javaraiah (CPIML), Shivkumar (RYA) and Javara (AISA) marched on the streets carrying AISA banner and staged Rasta Roko in front of the HD Kote taluk office of Mysore district.
On January 1, 2013, AIPWA, AISA and RYA activists held a protest demonstration in Gangavati on the Delhi Rape Issue and the increasing rape incidents in Karnataka. The protestors demanded the resignation of Karnataka CM Jagadish Shettar, Delhi CM Sheila Dixit and PM Man Mohan Singh for failing to take any action. Comrade Bharadwaj condemned the sheer apathy and unwillingness of the Koppal district administration in registering the case in Hatty rape, where a 16 year old girl was gangraped by four men and the panchayat fined Rs 30,000 each on the accused. The victim committed suicide. Despite several protests by AIPWA, AISA, RYA demanding COD enquiry into the case, the police and the administration in connivance with the perpetrators of the crime buried the issue. He said it is a matter of shame for the entire nation that from Panchayats to Parliament this attitude of protecting rapists and denying justice to the victims is rampant. Virupakshappa, Basavangouda, Gangamma, Saraswatamma, Raghavendra Basapatna, Paramesha Basapatna, Arun Rashid Basapatna, Mallesh Basapatna, Kumar and others participated in the protest.
A condolence meeting was held by AISA activists in Davangere on 29 December. Activists raised slogans against Sheila Dixit and Manmohan Singh and pledged to take forward the struggle of the Delhi gangprape victim. Prakash and Manjunatha, national council members of AISA took the lead in mobilizing students.
AIPWA-AISA Protest against Rape in Odisha
On January 9, a protest was held by AIPWA and AISA in Odisha's Rayagada district against the gang-rape of a 13-year-old girl, who attempted to commit suicide in terror after her 3 rapists threatened to kill her, and was badly burnt in the suicide attempt.
The demonstration demanded that the Government bear all expenses for the treatment of the survivor of rape and burns, and take her to Delhi for treatment. They also demanded stringent punishment for the rapists and Rs 5 lakh compensation to the survivor.
Around 300 people participated in the protest led by AIPWA State Committee member Padmini Gomango. CPI(ML) district secretary Tirupati Gomango, AISA leader Pralay Behera, AIALA leader Sharad Tripathi and several others leading activists also participated in the protest. The demonstrators marched up till the district Headquarters and submitted a memo to the Governor via the DM.
Joint Convention against FDI in Retail
A State level joint convention against FDI in retail was held at Guru Tegh Bahadur Bhavan, Raipur, on December 30, 2012 by CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), CMM (Janaklal Thakur), LSP, JD(U) and Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch. Brijendra Tiwari represented the Party on the Presidium. Central Committee member Rajaram addressed the convention on behalf of the Party. The convention was also addressed by Probodh Panda of CPI, Nilotpal Basu of CPI(M) and others. The keynote address was delivered by MK Nandi, State Secretary, CPI(M). The convention gave a call for the successful conduct of the general strike of all central trade unions on February 20 and 21, 2013.
CPI(ML) delegation Visits Nepal
A CPI(ML) delegation recently concluded a three day visit to Nepal. The visit was planned in order to invite the Communist parties of Nepal to the 9th party congress of CPI(ML) which is scheduled in April month of this year and also to get firsthand account of the prevailing political situation in Nepal in the period of transition. The delegation on the three day visit met and exchanged views with all the three communist parties, intellectuals, student-youth activists, women leaders and also with political leaders of tarai region of Nepal.
The delegation visited the office of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) where they had a detailed discussion of prevailing political situation in Nepal with Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel and other leaders of the party. The delegation also had individual and collective level meetings with CPN(UML)'s senior leader and ex-PM of Nepal Comrade Madhav Kumar Nepal and Comrade K P Sharma Oli, in-charge of foreign affairs.
The delegation also had discussions in office of Maoist Party led by Comrade Prachanda with the Polit bureau member Comrade Ram Karki along with other comrades of Maoist party. The delegation also communicated an invitation to the CPI(ML)'s Congress with the Kiran group which separated from Prachanda led Maoist party recently.
Once again Nepal in passing through difficult times. The achievements of people's movements and people's war seem in danger in this protracted transition period. In this situation, right wing forces have become active again. They have started a movement on the pretext that symbols of Kingship and 'Hindu' religion are the very foundation of Nepal as a nation. The delegation witnessed rallies of this right-wing mobilisation at several places in Nepal. Posters and hoardings against this right-wing movement were also visible at several places. It can be only hoped that Communists will rise to the occasion in this difficult times to give new direction to Nepal nation and to safeguard the achievements of the people's movements and revolutions.
AICWF Protest Day
Contractualization of labour as a neo-liberal ploy is increasingly evident in all sectors of the economy but is most visible in construction sector. The plight of crores of casual labourers engaged in construction sector in most horrendous working conditions at miserable salary and without any social security whatsoever, is in sharp contrast to multitude increase in profits of companies and contractors engaged in real estate, infrastructure and other related sector in last decade or so. With intention to raise the voice of casual labour and organize them around a set of specific demands to intensify their struggle, AICWF observed January 8, 2013 as 'day of demand'. Protest Marches, dharnas and sit ins were organized throughout the country with thousands of workers enthusiastically participating in them to register their demand in front of Union and State governments in forceful way, who are apathetic and insensitive to their plight. Along with the most important demand of putting an end to system of Contract labour, the other important demands raised on the occasion were-
(1) Raise minimum wages to Rs 500/day and provide Rs 3000 p.m. pension, (2) Construct residential colonies for construction workers, (3) In absence of adequate information in case of death of contract labour, provide Rs 3 lakh compensation to the heirs of deceased from State exchequer, (4) Renew Registration of construction workers for free in five years instead of one years as at present, (5) Union government should make nationwide rules which guarantees equal benefit to construction workers of all states, (6) Inter-State residential laws should be strictly implemented and National Commission on lines of SC/ST commission should be formed for immigrant labour, (7) Bring all construction labour under BPL list, (8) Implement Unorganized Workers (Social Security) Regulations, 2008 in all States, (9) Put an end to gender discrimination with women construction workers and strictly implement the principle of 'Equal Pay for Equal Work', (10) Register all Labour Unions within 45 days, (11) Increase the limits of benefits determined for Construction Workers, (12)Bring all construction workers under PF/ESI rules.
The program amidst other places in the country were also organized in Salambur tehsil in Udaipur and Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan and in several district headquarters of Jharkhand. Addressing the rally in Salambur, Chandradev Ola, Udaipur District Secretary of CPI (ML), said that the government is increasingly siding with capitalists and ignoring the interests of the toiling workers who creates wealth in society. The struggle against this injustice can only be successful if the workers are willing to organize themselves to pressurize the government of the day to concede to their just demands.
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: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org
Friday, January 11, 2013
Towards a Decisive Victory
in the Historic Battle for Women's Rights
The 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim finally succumbed to her injuries on 29 December morning after battling on bravely for 13 days. The unknown young woman will go down in history as one of India's most memorable martyrs for the cause of justice and freedom for India's women – freedom without the fear of violence and fetters of patriarchal domination.
If the government had thought that by transferring the 23-year-old victim of gang-rape to Singapore it would succeed in defusing the people's anger and diluting their action and resolve, it could not have been more mistaken. The news of the courageous fighter finally succumbing to her injuries in a Singapore hospital triggered a renewed countrywide wave of collective anger and mass mourning.
The government that betrayed shameful insensitivity to the brutal incident and the agitation that erupted in its wake is now desperate to score political points. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, who never showed the courage and sensitivity to reach out to the protesters, were at the airport to receive the victim's body. The funeral was held in the shadow of high level state security away from the reach of the public. And the Delhi government has now come out with the announcement of a compensation of Rs 15 lakh and a job for a family member of the victim.
But the scar inflicted by the brutal gang-rape can surely not be healed with token gestures or pious platitudes. Rape is the most violent and sordid expression of a deep-seated prejudice and structural discrimination against women that defines mainstream society and culture in India today. That a Congress MP, who also happens to be the son of the incumbent President of India, could make such a vicious comment about women participating in the ongoing anti-rape agitation and then get away with an empty apology with the party refusing to take any action against him, comes as a shocking pointer to the misogynist mindset of the ruling elite. And the Indian state, the judiciary included, has little will to combat this mindset – on the contrary, more often than not, it behaves as a custodian of this mindset. No wonder then that India has such a high incidence of custodial rapes.
It should be remembered that the two key milestones of the anti-rape agitation in the last three decades were both related to custodial rape. The well-known Mathura rape case which galvanised women's organisations in the first frontal battle on the issue of rape was a shocking instance of a custodial rape condoned by the apex court. In fact it was the acquittal of the accused constables by the Supreme Court overturning the High Court verdict that triggered the first powerful wave of anti-rape protests in the country in 1979 and led to some stringent provisions in the anti-rape law by 1983.
The second powerful wave came in July 2004 in the wake of the rape and killing of Thangjam Manorama by the Assam Rifles regiment of the Indian Army. The women of Manipur drew the attention of the whole world with their bold protest, and this, together with the historic hunger strike of Irom Sharmila Chanu, has placed the call for the repeal of the draconian AFSPA firmly on the agenda of the democratic movement of the country. Indeed, the democratic movement has been increasingly aware of the fact that state and state-sponsored violence, from Kashmir to Gujarat to Chhattisgarh and beyond, has unfailingly been marked by the targeting of women for horrific sexual violence.
The ongoing agitation which has already galvanised the people on such an encouragingly big scale marks the third major milestone in the epic battle against violence against women in India. It is important to grasp and stress the linkages of the current phase with the previous phases in the history of the women's movement because the government is bent upon reducing it to a passing event to be buried under the bureaucratic framework of investigative committees and token legislative changes. Changes in rape laws and other laws dealing with women's rights, and more importantly with the mechanism of implementation and the justice delivery system, are of urgent importance and the government must be forced to adopt an inclusive and transparent democratic process in proper consultation with women's organisations to bring about much-needed and much-awaited changes in this direction. The issue of change in rape laws can certainly not be left at the mercy of a Parliament which has been busy holding back for the last two decades a legislation for one-third reservation for women in legislative bodies.
But the impetus generated by the December upsurge in Delhi and across the country cannot and must not be allowed to be lost in a battle exclusively concerned with legal provisions for justice to rape victims. For the first time in modern India, the issue of patriarchal violence against women has occupied the centre stage of the democratic movement with great force. In 2013, we must carry forward this great momentum towards a decisive defeat of all the patriarchal ideas and forces which fetter women's freedom and violates their dignity and democratic rights. Victory to the power of the protesting people that has begun to make its presence felt on the streets of India!
Make 2013 a Year For Freedom from Violence Against Women, For Women's Equality and Rights
On 29 December, following the death of the Delhi gang rape victim, thousands shared the pain and grief of the passing of that brave fighter... And strengthened their resolve to resist sexual violence and defend women's freedom and equality.
At Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, a very large number of people gathered in silence in the morning. After several hours, as the gathering grew in size, Asmita theatre group, RYA and AISA activists began singing songs of freedom. Chants for women's freedom and against moral policing and violence also began as the day progressed, enthusiastically taken up by young women and men too.
Women's groups that had marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar also formed a human chain and joined the gathering, after holding an impressive mass meeting at Jantar Mantar.
In the evening, a huge, silent procession marched with candles on to the Parliament Street and back. At the forefront of the throng were a huge number of young women. Tears could be seen in many of their eyes. The sea of candles and the solemn, saddened faces was a moving sight - and a silent rebuke to those in power who see these protesters as a security threat needing policing by RAF and armed gunmen...
At noon on the same day, the JNU students and teachers led by the JNUSU held a massive silent procession from JNU past Ber Sarai to the same Munirka bus stop where the brave girl and her friend had boarded the fateful bus. On the way they were joined by large numbers of common people, especially women, and at the bus stop they held a short public meeting.
On the evening of 30th December, AISA, RYA, AIPWA along with the New Socialist Initiative held a Walk for Freedom march throughout Delhi University, which was joined by more than a 1000 students chanting 'Hum kya chahte - azaadi' (What do we want? Freedom), highlighting women's freedom to be born, to be safe on buses and metros, to go to school and college, to study, work and speak their mind, to dress and choose partners as they wish, to be free of patriarchy and of khap diktats, to be free of the fear of sexual violence.
On 31t December, AISA and RYA along with Asmita theatre group, held a 'Reclaim Connaught Place' march, joined by hundreds of people. The police disallowed the march, so protesters marched to Jantar Mantar, chanting slogans and singing songs. At Jantar Mantar, a huge gathering adopted a pledge for the year 2013, the text of which is as follows:
Struggle to Make 2013 a Year
For Freedom from
Violence Against Women
For Women's Equality and Rights
On the very eve of the New Year of 2013, the life of a young woman was brutally cut short. This young woman with her dreams of education, of a job, of love and happiness, lives on in all of us. Her courage and dignity inspire us to resist the terrible discrimination, bias, and violence that eats into the heart of our society, and to demand justice and freedom for every woman. It takes courage to confront the government, the police and other institutions and demand accountability. It perhaps takes even greater courage to face and fight the daily discrimination and shackles that are imposed on women in our own homes and communities. We hope that we will find that courage in the spirit of that nameless young woman who lives on in our hearts."
"We pledge to make 2013 a year of resistance to gender oppression, discrimination, and violence. We pledge to support women's struggle in the home, in the community, on the streets, at the workplace and in public spaces for equality and rights. We pledge to speak out against gender bias and violence wherever we see it."
On the night of the 31st, more than thousand people responded to a call given by the JNUSU and JNUTA, and marched in a 'Reclaim the Night' procession from JNU past the Munirka bus stop to a public park where a cultural gathering was held.
Delhi Unit of Jan Sanskriti Manch organised a meeting on 28 December 'Against the Culture of Rapes: Oppression of Women and the Role of the State and the Society' in Delhi at Indian Women's Press Corp.
On the same day Hundreds of women and men assembled near Tammukkam Grounds in Madurai, Tamilnadu, and took a pledge to continue the struggle of women against patriarchy and paid condolence to the Delhi gang Rape victim and rape victims of Tamilnadu. They in a raised voice warned leaders of political parties and religious institutions who are bent upon making rules to be followed by Tamil women. Later, they marched towards Madurai Collecotrate with their Charter of demands.
AISA and AIPWA organized a convention against violence on women on 24th December, 2012 in Murshidabad, West Bengal. Convention emphasized the necessity of united struggle of women, students and youth against this violence. The program was conducted by Aritra Goswami of AISA. A painting exhibition by Anupam Roy on gender violence was also held on the occasion. Observing the Dhikkar Diwas, called by the CPI(ML) West Bengal state committee, hundreds of women and students-youths with posters, banners and red flags marched in the town.
Protest in Guwahati: In protest of sad demise of the victim of Delhi gang rape, AIPWA brought out a protest procession in Guwahati on 29 December, jointly with 16 women and cultural organizations. Women and men from different walks of life participated in the protest and demanded punishment for the perpetrators, enactment of a strong law against rape, to prosecute the case in a fast-track court, to ensure security of women everywhere. AIPWA, AIDWA and Nirjyatan Birodhi Aikya Manch (NBAM), Asom Lekhika Santha, Nari Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam provencialised Bank Employees' Union (Women Cell), Asom Mahila Samata Society and cultural organization like Jana Sanskritik parishad (JSP), Asom Gana Sanmilan etc. Took part in the protest. The procession concluded in a mass meeting where AIPWA leader Junu Borah, Sumitra Hazarika (NBAM), Arati Dewan (AIDWA), Menaka Devi (Bank employee), Loknath Goswami (JSP), Dr. Dilip Borah (Prof. Gauhati University) etc. addressed the gathering.
Odisha State units of AIPWA and AISA protested against Delhi gang rape on 26th december, 2012 in front of the State Assembly in Bhabaneshwar. People from nearby districts of Puri, Khurda, Kendrapada and Bhubaneswar came to attend the rally. They criticised the failure of both State and Central government on security of women in the society and demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits, fast-track trial of the rape cases and justice to the rape victims.
On 24 December a RYA-AIPWA-
AISA protest march condemning the Delhi gang rape started from Subodh Mallick Square in Kolkata and culminated in a street corner meeting at Esplanade. It was well decorated and full of enthusiasm. The meeting was addressed by comrades Chaitali Sen of AIPWA and Ranjay Sen Gupta of AISA.
Ripples of Anti-Rape Protest in
Karnataka: AISA members went around HDKote town, enforced strike in many colleges on 24 Dec. 2012 against the gruesome Delhi gangrape and the subsequent crackdown on peaceful protestors by the police in Delhi. Hundreds of students led by Javaraiah (CPIML), Shivkumar (RYA) and Javara (AISA) marched on the streets and staged Rasta Roko in front of the HD Kote taluk office of Mysore district.
Students led by Prasad, Manju, Shasi and Prakash marched to the DC office at Davanagere and submitted a memorandum against the police repression on peaceful protestors in Delhi. Some of the Ministers present in the DC office came personally to receive the memorandum and engaged in debate with agitators.
Uttarakhand: Protests were held in many towns of the state on 19 December. AISA held a protest demonstration in Rudrapur against the Delhi gangrape. Activists shouted slogans in front of Uttarakhand minister Indira Hridayesh who was delivering speech in the annual function of Govt. PG College along with the local BJP MLA. Both of them did not even mention the heinous rape crime which has shaken the conscience of the country. When women activists of AISA went over the dais to ask why the minister prefer not to speak on the gandrape, they were to face police force. One women constable went even to the extent of misbehaving with AISA leader Dipika Bharti by saying that 'why the protest when she herself was not raped at least'. This led to more protest by students and scuffle with the police. Later, the college administration issued 'no entry' notice to AISA leaders Lalit Matiyali and Dipika Bharti. This incident led to another protest against college administration on 21 December. AISA activists held a protest and mass meeting on 22 December too in the main market of the town where an effigy was also burnt. AISA in Rudrapur again called for a citywide protest on 24 December on this issue.
In Pithoragarh, AISA leader and Students' Union President Hemant Khati led a protest demonstration againt Delhi gangrape on 20 December and burnt an effigy of UPA Govt. Another protest was held on 25 December which was attended by hundreds of students and other people. Protesters declared an all out war against patriarchal and anti-women attitudes of government and in society. They demanded more sensitive laws for women. This was also addressed by AIPWA leader Mina Bisht and RYA's Sushil Khatri.
AIPWA organised a dharna in Haldwani on 25 December and also raised cases of gender oppression, rape-murder in Uttarakhand. They condemned the state governement for their failure to nab the culprits on many rape cases occured in the region and blamed complicity of politicians in those cases. It was demanded to institute CBI inquiry into the rape cases occured in Haldwani in past years including ones of Sanjana and Priti who both were raped and murdered but the administration failed to take any successful action. A memorandum was submitted to the SDM on this issue.
Jute Workers Demonstrate
The workers of Nuddea jute mills (24 parganas north) organized dharna and demonstration in front of the mill gate from 12-14 Dec demanding to run the factory in all the three shifts and to engage all the workers still out of employment. It also demanded immediate disbursal of PF and the all the dues to the retired workers forthwith, to deposit ESI contributions timely and ensure medical benefit etc. This mill was closed for several years and was reopened on 13 Aug 2012 after a tripartite agreement was signed with BCMF(AICCTU) and other 9 TUs. After reopening the mill, the management violated the agreement and BCMF protested against all such anti worker steps. On 31st Oct , the management colluded with other unions and an anti-worker bipartite agreement was signed, keeping BCMF in the dark. All this aggravated the situation and the workers were highly agitated. BCMF took up the real issues of the workers and decided to organize dharna in front of the mill gate. On 12 Dec, the notice of diluting mandatory jute packaging order was burnt where hundreds of workers participated. On 14 Dec nearly 500 workers gathered, organized a militant rally and submitted a memorandum to the management. The participation of women from workers families was quite significant. AICCTU leaders Basudev Bose, Atanu Chakravarty, Nabendu Dasgupta, Shambhu Bandopadhay, Narayan Dey, Md. Jahim & Cpiml leaders Subroto Sengupta ,Sunita were present and addressed the workers.
Various programmes were held on 19-20 December in all the states by AICCTU and its affiliated Trade Unions in the wake of All India General Strike call of the joint platform of trade union centres.
A Convention was organised in Ranchi on 9 December jointly by central trade union organisations which was attended by hundreds of workers representatives. Comrade Suvendu Sen of AICCTU called for all out efforts to make the all India strike a great success. He said that corporate-politics nexus has intensified attacks on workers' rights and livelihoods and this must be resisted. This strike should give and opportunity to the working class of forcing the rulers to revert the regressive economic policies. It was decided in the convention to hold workers conventions in six centres and mass meetings at 100 places in the state before the general strike. On 18 December thousands of workers held gherao of Jharkhand Raj Bhawan and chakka jam on their demands as was decided by the All India Convention of Workers in Talkatora Stadium in Delhi held on 4 September.
AICCTU's performance in Joint Council of Trade Unions (JCTU) Jail Bharo in Karnataka on 19 Dec. 2012 was very impressive. AICCTU in Bangalore participated in good numbers and was relatively a bigger contingent in total participation. The rally marched to the PF Commissioner's office and the office was gheraoed. Leaders of all trade unions addressed the protestors in front of the PF office. Shankar, AICCTU Vice President, called upon workers to make 20-21 Feb. 2013 all-India strike a grand success. He also came down heavily on the UPA government at the centre and the BJP government at the state for their anti-workers policies. He also pointed out the increasing imperialist penetration in the internal affairs of the country. He condemned the World Development Report (WDR) 2013 that lamented on the stringency of labour laws to be responsible for increased informalisation and contractorisation. The WDR 2013 actually suggested India to unleash labour reforms in correspondence with labour market conditions and in order to give a free hand to multinationals and corporates to 'hire and fire' workers. In fact, WDR was so obvious in stating that the labour arena is one area which is not influenced by the neoliberal reform agenda for the past 20 years. Indian Labour Minister had to respond to the World Bank saying that the country is ready for 'necessary' reforms in labour front also. He called upon all trade unions and Left political forces and parties to join the struggle against any anti-worker reforms in the country. Bangalore convention was also addressed by CITU state secretary Prasanna Kumar, AITUC state GS Anantha Subbarao, TUCC president Shivshankar, AIUTUC leader Prakash among others. Hundreds of workers courted arrest at the end of the demonstration and were later released.
AICCTU organised Jail Bharao in the district headquarters of Koppal. Hundreds of workers staged arrest after the gherao of a central government office in Koppal. CITU organized separate programme at Gangavati in the same district. In Tumkur, AICCTU joined the all trade union protest in front of Tumkur BSNL office and courted arrest. In Mangalore, workers of RMC Readymix (India) Pvt. Ltd and Bharat Petroleum, participated in the joint demonstration. After a spirited sloganeering and a brief meeting with workers, including a sizeable number of women workers of CITU, the protestors courted arrest. In Mysore too, AICCTU joined the all trade union demonstration on the same day where workers from Lafarge A&C Pvt Ltd, joined the demonstration.
In Uttarakhand, AICCTU units held protests programmes on 19 December in Radrapur, Kashipur, Jaspur, Bajpur in Udham Singh Nagar District, in Okhalkanda and Nainital, Champawat, Tanakpur, Baheshwar, Pithoragarh, Bhikiasain and Almora. Industrial workers and large number of ASHA and Anganwadi Health workers took part in these programmes.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
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