Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ML Update 23 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 23, 28 MAY – 03 JUNE 2013

The Worst Attacks on Democracy Are Conducted by Its Supposed Custodians

PA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has described the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, which claimed the lives of several Congress leaders including Salwa Judum leader Mahendra Karma, as an 'attack on democracy.'

The Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi, as leaders of the Congress party, must be asked if Mahendra Karma and Salwa Judum, declared 'unconstitutional' by the Supreme Court, represented 'democracy'? The Salwa Judum SPOs stand accused of burning entire villages, raping women, and killing countless people. Yet Mahendra Karma and his extra-constitutional terrorist outfit got the backing not only of BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh but of the Union Home Ministry and the Congress party. Was this democracy?

The Salwa Judum, flouting the Supreme Court ordering it to be disbanded, continues to be operational under a variety of pretexts, with the tacit support of the Central Government. In Chhattisgarh, then, the worst and most flagrant attacks on democracy are being launched by its supposed custodians, the State and Central Governments and the security forces.

While one cannot condone the killing of innocent or abducted people, the Maoist attack on May 25 surely cannot be seen in isolation from the political context of Chhattisgarh where the State has given up even the pretence of upholding Constitutional norms or democratic rights. Just a week before the Maoist attack on the Congress convoy, 8 adivasis including 3 children aged 10-15, were shot dead by CRPF while celebrating a seed sowing festival. In June last year, 17 people were killed in another CRPF firing on an adivasi festival. The security officers were not booked for murder, and the SC/ST Act was not invoked. Senior police officers accused of sexual torture and rape of adivasi women in custody have received gallantry awards from the President of India. These atrocities were never ever described by India's or Chhattisgarh's rulers as 'attacks on democracy'.

It must also be stressed emphatically that the CPI (Maoist)'s militaristic actions, isolated from democratic movements and political assertion, are counterproductive in developing any mass resistance to the Government's policies of corporate plunder, Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt. It is also on record that the Maoists have at times acted as mercenaries for ruling class parties, murdering CPI(ML) activists in Paliganj (Bihar) at RJD's behest and CPI(ML)'s Jharkhand MLA Mahendra Singh at the behest of the nexus of the BJP leadership, a corrupt police officer and coal mafia.

The Governments of Chhattisgarh and the Centre have already begun to use the latest Maoist attack as a pretext to propose Army deployment and even of Air Force strikes and 'drone attacks'. The Governments cannot be allowed to dress up such an unconscionable war on the adivasi people as a 'war on Maoists'. Instead, there must be an immediate scrapping of Operation Green Hunt, withdrawal of former SPOs from the Chhattisgarh police force, and criminal action initiated against all those, including police personnel and Salwa Judum cadre, who stand accused of rape and killing.

The developments in Chhattisgarh make it abundantly clear that the quest for a military solution to the Maoist or any other insurgency is antithetical to the very notion of democracy and rule of law. Pressure must be brought to bear upon concerned governments and other wings of the state to shun this counterproductive quest for a non-existent military solution and pave the way for a democratic political solution. The Maoists too must realize that a few stunning and sensational military actions are no substitute for the basic and indispensable task of waging a protracted political battle to secure and defend people's rights.

Land Struggle and Police Brutalities in Purnea

nother incident of brutal repression on landless peasants and agrarian workers in Purnea district of Bihar, has again exposed the reality behind Nitish Kumar's 'sushashan' and his continuing nexus with the feudal goons strengthening at the grassroots. This was a land dispute which Nitish Govt. tried to solve in favour of the landlord who was in illegal possession of common land which was earmarked as ceiling surplus.

Purnea and adjoining districts in Bihar are still known for the existence of hundreds of 'States' and 'Estates' which in other parts of the Country in now a thing of the distant past! Ironically these 'states' still command thousands of acres of land even after decades of the land ceiling Acts came into existence.

This particular incident occurred in one Molchand Estate, in Dhamdaha block of Bishanpur-Balua panchayat, where a middleman Jayanendra Mandal was killed by the enraged poor adivasi villagers. This was the outcome of a series of events started after the Bihar High Court cancelled status of 22 acres of ceiling surplus land which had been under the occupation of adivasis, and then the District administration sent force to evict the poor villagers and harvest their standing crops of banana and corn in 2012.

Jayanendra had earlier extorted lakhs of rupees from the villagers with the promise to transfer of land in their names, but then embezzled 17 acres of land himself with their money. He had promised to sell 17 acres of land of Molchand Estate to poor villagers. His wife is two-time Mukhiya of the village and he himself is a known broker of the said Estate (which belongs to one Kumar Sukhchand Singh). He collected money from the adivasis in the range of 5-50 thousand rupees totalling more than 8 lakhs, but the land was transferred in his name betraying poor villagers. Later, in 2012 angry villagers collectively harvested banana crops from the same 17 acres land in protest of the betrayal and administrative apathy they received.

Immediately after the incident, CPI(ML) state committee sent an investigation team to Purnea comprising of Nawal Kishore, Gopal Ravidas, Md. Islamuddin, and Jamuna Murmu.

In the year 2009-10, 70 adivasis were allotted Indira Awas. Out of total money sanctioned for homes for the poor, Jayanendra kept with him around 24.5 lakh rupees with the promise of supplying bricks for the homes in exchange, which he did not comply and poor adivasis money was looted this way.

Later in 2012, he tried to capture a piece of 5 acres of land which was under the possession of adivasis for generations, this is registered as govermental land on papers. Adivasis as well as CPI(ML) tried to resolve this issue through mutual discussions, but Jayanendra defied every such attempt.

On 23 May last, Jayanendra tried to dig sand from same 5 acres land plot for his brick-kiln which was peacefully protested by the adivasis. But he, along with dozens of armed goons, again reached the spot and intimidated villagers and opened fire on them. Enraged villager resisted the attempt ultimately leading the goons to flee away from the spot, while Jayanendra was caught by them. They beat him up and then burnt him alive.

Only then the police and administration swung into action! No one was spared from police brutality. The administration which did nothing to stop Jayanendra's atrocities going on for years, was now adamant to teach poor people a lesson for their crime of daring to rise up against atrocities. Police mainly targeted women and children who had nothing to do with the incident. One pregnant woman, Gita Devi, was brutally beaten up leading to the violent termination of her pregnancy. After rampaging the whole village police has arrested 40 people, mainly women. Even women with breast feeding infants and children as little as three years old were beaten and tortured by the police. With the 40 arrested women, there are 14 children- 7 children in the age group of 2 months to 1 year; and 7 children in the age group of 2-7 years- with them in jail.

The said adivasi tola is now almost empty as all the remaining people have fled from the village to escape police brutalities.

This incident glaringly exhibited how Nitish Govt. provides 'Nyay' (justice) and 'sushashan' (governance) to people in Bihar. The government and administration never heeded to the complaints of adivasis and never acted against Jayanendra's atrocities in time – amply proves prevailing administrative inaction and its nexus with the feudals and their goons.

CPI(ML) has protested this atrocity and organised a Statewide protest day on May 29. AIALA leader Satyadev Ram and Gopal Ravidas led people in Purnea on this day. The Bihar unit of All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) has called for block and district level protests from June 1 to June 5. This will start from Purnea on June 1, where large number of women will gather against police brutality on women and children and prevailing anti-people nexus which is the back-bone of Nitish Govt. at the grassroots.

Joint TU Protest Demonstration Demands Release of NOIDA Workers

Two hundred workers in NOIDA continue to languish in jail, having been arrested on fabricated charges during the all India Strike called jointly by Central Trade Unions on February 20-21st 2013. The Central TUs that had called the Strike, held a joint demonstration at the Greater NOIDA District Magistrate's office on 20th May. Hundreds of workers from NOIDA and Delhi participated in the demonstration, and submitted a memorandum to the DM demanding withdrawal of the fabricated charges and release of the arrested workers.

The demonstration was addressed by CITU General Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Tapan Sen, AICCTU National Secretary Santosh Roy, AITUC National Secretary D L Sachdeva, NOIDA AICCTU leader Shivji Singh, RYA National VP Aslam Khan, and several other TU activists. AICCTU State President VKS Gautam was also present, as were leaders from various sectoral Unions affiliated to AICCTU, including DTC transport workers, construction workers, street vendors, and domestic workers.

On the same day, 20th May, several organizations jointly protested at Haryana Bhawan in Delhi against the arrest of Maruti workers who were peacefully demonstrating at Kaithal in Haryana. More than a hundred sacked Maruti workers holding a sit-in at Kaithal were arrested by the Haryana Police on the night of May 18th, a few hours before their scheduled demonstration the next day in which many local villagers were to come out in support. 96 villagers who supported the Maruti workers have cases lodged against them, including blatantly fabricated cases of attempt to murder. AISA and RYA activists participated in the demonstration at Haryana Bhawan.

Closed Mohini Mills: Workers' Convention

On 17 May, 2013 a workers convention was organised by AICCTU & Mazdoor Baachao Manch at Samaj Sadan Hall, Kamarhatti, Belghoria, 24 Parganas (North) on the issue of immediate disbursal of PF dues, gratuity & pension to all the workers of Mohini Mills, a Central Govt. Undertaking under NTC and of all other closed industries.

A workers rally was organised from Belghoria Railway Station to the Convention Hall with a significant number of women workers participating. More than 300 workers took part in this rally. It is to be noted that Mohini Mills was a unit of National Textile Corporation. The Central Govt. Undertook the management on 23 Oct. 1981, but denotofied it on 21 June, 1988. Since then the Mill is lying closed and the workers have not yet received their PF dues and other retirement benefits.

Though the State Govt. Of West Bengal acquired the land of Mohini Mills in the year 2004, no initiative has been taken to disburse the legitimate dues of the workers. The PF dept. has mentioned that at the time of closure, total PF fund accumulated was 85,73,494.61.

The Convention was addressed by Naba Dutta of Nagarik Manch, Amal Sen, AIUTUC leader, Kalachand Das, worker of Mohini Mill, Debashis Pal, Civil Liberty activist, Atanu Chakravarty, General Secretary, BCMF & Basudev Bose, General Secretary, AICCTU, West Bengal. The convention resolved to (a) File mass FIR against the corrupt members and Secretary of Board of Trustees. (b) To organise rally & handing over deputation before the Minister of Industry, West Bengal, and pressurize for immediate disbursal of all the retirement dues. (c) To pressurize the municipal Corporation of Kamarhatti for immediate renovation of workers quarter of Mohini Mills. Nabendu Dasgupta, President of BCMF reported on the initiatives taken on behalf of the organisation and Shibshankar Guha Roy presided.

Cinema of Resistance starts its Journey in WB with Film Screening in a closed Jute Mill

At the invitation of Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Manch, the Kolkata Chapter of the Cinema of Resistance campaign made its debut with an evening film screening on 25th May from 6 to 8 pm in the Gouripur Jute Mill area in Naihati, an industrial town located about 40 Kms from Kolkata.

For independent filmmakers Purba and Kasturi, it was an occasion to screen the trailer of their film-in-progress, made in solidarity with the struggling workers of the closed Gouripur Jute Mill. When the 150 year-old mill was liquidated in 1997, 5000 workers lost their jobs. The mill had its own power plant, water treatment plant, jetty and post office. The policies of the government and millowners gradually drove a profitable mill into sickness, and eventually shut it for good. Now the workers are fighting a long battle to wrest their outstanding PF, pension and gratuity dues under the leadership of Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Manch.

Subrata Sengupta, leader of the Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Manch welcomed the Cinema of Resistance caravan into West Bengal. Sanjay Joshi, National Convener of The Group, Jan Sanskriti Manch, started off with a discussion on new cinema and its association with peoples' movements. Then a worker, Comrade Gayatri Das sang a song of resistance, to flag off the screening.

For the children in the audience, Rajesh Chakrabarty's animation songs from Hip Hip Hurray were screened. Following that was K P Sasi's short film Gaon Chorab Nahi, Anand Patwardhan's film Occupation: Millworker, Biju Toppo and Meghnath's film Gari Lohardaga Mail, trailer of Kasturi and Purba's ongoing film Gouripur Diary, and Norman Mclaren's short film Neighbors. 300 people, mostly workers, were present at the cinema hall constructed with bamboo poles and open on two sides, by the comrades of Gouripur Mazdoor Bachao Andolan. The audience not only enjoyed the new cinema but also contributed to the making of the ongoing film, with their many suggestions and positive discussions.

CPI(ML) Observes "Dhikkar Dibas" 

in Condemnation of Betrayal, Repression and Corruption of the Mamata Govt 

on its Two-year Anniversary in West Bengal

The Trinamool Congress led government in West Bengal has completed two years in office. From 5th to 21st May, the ruling dispensation spent Rs.3 crores and 10 lakhs on celebrating the occasion. At a time when West Bengal is reeling under financial bankruptcy and a scam of unprecedented magnitude, such extravagant waste of public money is an attempt to coat a layer of gloss on misgovernance, financial corruption and breakdown of democracy in the state.

In this tenure, the farmers of Singur are yet to get their land back. The culprits of Nandigram massacre or the rapists of Tapasi Malik remain unpunished. The government not just backtracked on its pre-poll promise of releasing all political prisoners and stopping operation Greenhunt in Lalgarh, rather military and police repression has escalated - the cold-blooded encounter-death of Maoist leader Kishenji, instances of rapes and crackdowns in the area, and an increased number of political prisoners expose the real face of the Mamata government. There has been escalation in the number of farmer suicides which the chief minister continues to deny. The Govt as well as the TMC have staunchly and consistently pitted themselves against workers' movements and assertion. In the most recent Jute mill strike and all-india working class strike of 20-21 February, the government and the party unitedly took a militant stand to break the strikes. The consistent attacks on the functioning of democratic institutions like the Panchayat and steps to curb student-youth movements have been glaring. The murder of student activist Sudipto Gupta and the ensuing concerted assault on all political opposition has shown the intolerance of the government to any democratic dissent. The Saradha scam, latest and most massive in a series of instances of financial misappropriation by the TMC government, has torn to shreds even the so-called 'honest' image assumed by the Trinamool supremo herself. Millions of poor people have been victimised, cheated of their lifelong savings in collusion with the ministers.

Against this backdrop, the CPI(ML) called for observing "Dhikkar Dibas" (Day of Condemnation) on the TMC's two-year anniversary. A ten-point peoples' chargesheet implicating the Trinamool Government on issues of betrayal, repression and corruption was published and widely distributed among the masses. The state-wide campaign, organized on and around 18th May, was concentrated in block and panchayat levels in all the major districts of the Party's work. In some districts the campaign made inroads into newer areas and panchayats. The campaign will continue till 4th June, when a massive state-wide civil disobedience and 'Jail Bharo' would be observed.

Jagjit Singh Layalpuri

Jagjit Singh Layalpuri, 96, veteran communist and a lifelong crusader for left unity passed away in Ludhiana in Punjab on the night of 27 May at 11 p.m. He was a renowned communist and freedom fighter who dedicated his life to the struggle for the people's emancipation. He was among the few in Punjab who initiated the formation of CPI(M) in Punjab from 1964 onwards. Later he was the first to raise his voice against CPI(M)'s capitulationist policies and tactics within the party, which eventually led to his expulsion from CPI(M). He continued to strive for a broader unity among the left forces throughout his life. His contribution to the peasant movement in Punjab will always be remembered. He remained a good friend and well wisher of CPI(ML) and its movement, and never hesitated to help our Party on various occasions. CPI(ML) pays him warm tributes and will always cherish his memory.

Red Salute to Comrade Jagjit Singh Layalpuri!

 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:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

ML Update 22 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 22, 21 – 27 MAY 2013

Resist the TMC's Authoritarian Bid to Appropriate Panchayat Power

The TMC government of West Bengal and the State Election Commission are embroiled in a protracted legal battle over the ensuing panchayat elections in the state. On the face of it, the battle may well seem to be over the issue of supremacy of the state government and the state election commission over their respective jurisdictions or domains, but we must see it in the evolving political context of West Bengal and the hostile and contemptuous attitude of the TMC government to various institutions of democracy.

The panchayats were the first to reveal the direction of 'paribartan' or change of guard in West Bengal when in the wake of Singur and Nandigram, the TMC managed to wrest control of almost half the village panchayats in 2008. The 'paribartan' wave could be felt even more strongly in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and by the time the Assembly elections were held in 2011, the results were a foregone conclusion for all but the politically blind. But now this is 2013, and the panchayat elections will mark the first major test for the new regime.

The TMC has now been in power for two years and by all indications disillusionment has already started setting in among large sections of the society in West Bengal. Like most other states in India today, West Bengal is also in the grip of a deepening economic crisis, and the state government has hardly done anything to provide any relief to the people. On the contrary, there has been a renewed campaign to deprive people of whatever access and right they had to land and tenancy. The incidence of peasant suicides has also grown in West Bengal and the government is only busy in denying these suicides. On top of it, the rural population has been hit hard by the chit fund scam and there can be no denying the complicity of the TMC, as of the CPI(M) in the past, in the phenomenal rise of this dubious web of swindling.

The only plea of the state government now is that it has been in power for only two years, which is too short a time span especially viewed against the 34-year-long tenure of the CPI(M) and Left Front. Well, the CPI(M) never won a 34-year-long mandate, it won seven successive elections that allowed it to rule for such a long period. And in a good majority of West Bengal panchayats, the TMC has already ruled for five years and has proved itself one up on corrupt and degenerated CPI(M) panchayat-lords. This is why the TMC regime is wary of the people venting their anger through free and fair panchayat polls. As has already happened with elections in student unions, factory unions and provident fund trustee boards, the TMC is desperate to secure control of panchayats through unbridled muscle-flexing and terror tactics.

In flagrant violation of the rules and established norms of panchayat elections, the government twice unilaterally announced election dates thereby clearly seeking to arrogate to itself powers that belong to the state election commission. It wanted to have a single-day poll schedule in utter disregard of the sane advice of conducting elections in a three-phase schedule. Anybody familiar with the ground reality of West Bengal will hardly question the commission's insistence on adequate deployment of security forces.

In fact, there are reasons to apprehend that in many places opposition candidates will be forcibly prevented from filing their nomination papers. The commission must make sure that the entire process of election right from nomination and campaigning to casting and counting of votes and declaration of results is free from administrative bias and political terror and violence.

Despite being the main opposition party, the CPI(M) is not in a position to offer any credible opposition or resistance to the TMC's politics of terror and violation of democratic norms. Much of what the TMC is doing today is sheer imitation of the CPI(M)-style politics of control and domination. The people of West Bengal have not forgotten the lynching of six agricultural labourers in Karanda village of Bardhaman district in the May 1993 panchayat elections – the only 'crime' of these agricultural labourers was that they had dared to revolt against the feudal-kulak domination in the CPI(M). The victims of Karanda massacre are still awaiting justice from the Supreme Court after the guilty were all acquitted by the High Court much the same way as the guilty are currently being acquitted in Bihar. And Karanda has been no aberration – the people of Kerala have seen similar CPI(M)-led violence in Onchiyam and many other places.

The TMC must not however be allowed to get away with its politics of terror and subversion of democratic procedures and institutions. The way Mamata Banerjee and her government are treating the election commission is symptomatic of the regime's arrogant attitude and its desperate design to monopolise power on every level in the state. The fighting peasantry and the democratic intelligentsia of West Bengal must once again come together. If they had joined hands in the wake of Singur and Nandigram to vote the arrogant CPI(M) regime out of power, they must come together now to resist the TMC's authoritarian dispensation and assert the voice of grassroots democracy.

45th Session of Indian Labour Conference

AICCTU raises the voice of protest before PM On the Issues of Arrest and jailing of workers of Noida, Maruti (Manesar) and Brutal assassination of Gangaram Koul

he 45th Session of Indian Labour Conference (the highest tripartite forum, also called Labour Parliament) held on 17 – 18 May, 2013 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi- the first one after the successful 2-days all India General Strike called by central trade unions- was unprecedented in a way that it witnessed protest, not seen in recent times, when the delegation of AICCTU (All India Central Council of Trade Unions) led by Subhas Sen, National Secretary as well as Assam State Secretary of AICCTU (also a delegate to the conference) raised the banner of protest in the inaugural session in the presence of Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh (also a Rajya Sabha member from Assam), demanding answer from him regarding the indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of workers and TU activists in Noida industrial area during the all India General Strike on 20-21 February 2013 who continue to languish in jail, languishing Maruti, Manesar workers in jail for last one year and brutal killing of Gangaram Koul, a popular leader of Tea Tribe in Assam and of AICCTU. Subhas Sen and other members of AICCTU delegation raised the issues when the Union Labour Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge rose to welcome the PM. The Minister's efforts to stop the AICCTU leader to raise the voice of protest went in vain, as he continued to speak till he had made his point. This protest was reflected in the Media also with a wide coverage in print and electronic media including national and state media and particularly in the media of north-east.

The other members of AICCTU delegation (as advisors) were Rajiv Dimri, Santosh Roy and VKS Gautam, the National Secretaries.

Subhas Sen in his speech in the post-inaugural session, while raising the issues of escalated attacks on working class and downtrodden and the throttling of industrial democracy, characterized the central and various state governments as "caged parrots" of Corporates. Exposing the duality of the Central Govt, he said that while the inaugural address of the PM took care to give space to the February Strike and issues raised by it, but during the same strike hundreds of workers and TU activists were indiscriminately arrested and offices of trade unions were raided in Noida and the Central Govt remained mute spectator to this incident, and even in this session did not care to address this particular issue. While raising the issue of brutal assassination of Gangaram Koul, he questioned the Labour Minister of Assam (incidentally, he was also a member of presidium of this session) as to why the main conspirator of this killing, Raju Sahu, the ruling party MLA from Chabua and other accused were not yet arrested, why despite the order of CBI enquiry into this case by your government the CBI has not received any communication in this regard. He also raised the issue of non-implementation of Bonus in Assam.

Ending his speech, he expressed his resentment on the speech of PM for not announcing any measures for improving the working and living conditions of scheme (honorarium) workers like ASHA, Angavadi, Mid-day meal etc. who are lakhs in number and predominately women workers.

The issues of Noida and Maruti, Manesar found echo too in the speeches of delegates of other central trade unions.

The 45th session of ILC had four agenda-items for deliberation. Some of the notable recommendations/conclusions of this session were: Scheme (honorarium) workers like ASHA, Angavadi, Mid-day meal etc. "should be first recognized as 'workers' and not volunteers or honorary workers", "they should be paid minimum wages" and "should get all social security benefits like pension, gratuity, maternity benefits etc." On the issue of Assured Pension with Indexation to all workers, the session recommended that "EPS '95 should, as a first step, provide a minimum assured pension of Rs. 1000/- per month", "the pensionary benefits available to the beneficiaries should be responsive to price rise", "the new pension scheme (NPS) should be suitably modified also to provide for assured pension to its members" etc.

In Akhilesh-Ruled UP Minority Youth Dies in Custody While Varun Gandhi Goes Free

Khalid Mujahid, a so-called "accused" in the 2007 serial blasts in UP died on Saturday 18 May in police custody, yet another shameful injustice to a victim of Muslim witch-hunt. Khalid, a resident of Mariahu in Jaunpur and a Madarsa teacher, was arrested by the special task force of the UP police in December 2007 following serial blasts in UP and immediately and declared, without any evidence, to be an 'operative of the Harkatul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI)'. Since then, he had been languishing in jail for the last 6 years. Following sustained protests against false framing, a commission was formed to probe the matter. The report submitted in 2012 found discrepancies in the "official" police case against Khalid. On the basis of the report, the UP govt. was forced to file an application in the court to withdraw the case against Khalid. However, the court turned down the application. According to activists, the UP Government put up a weak application, and now Khalid has died under mysterious circumstances, raising serious questions of cover up and conspiracy.

It is indeed yet another copybook instance of killing and suspicious death in Police custody of so called "terror accused" against whom the police never managed to provide any evidence. One has not forgotten, how just last year 8 June, Mohd. Qateel Siddiqi of Darbhanga, arrested since Nov 2011, on charges of 'involvement' in several blast cases, was strangled to death by two gangsters, Sharad Mohol and Alok Bhalerao, inside Yerawada jail in Pune. Let us note, Maharashtra ATS had failed to file a chargesheet against Qateel in the 7 months from November 2011 till June 2012. In the Adarsh scam, accused got bail because the CBI failed to file a chargesheet within the stipulated 6-month period. If the same norms had applied, Qateel should have been free, given the failure of authorities to assemble any proof against him. Yet, he remained in jail, and the ATS kept claiming he was a 'key Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative.' From Maharashtra to Hyderabad, Gujarat to Darbhanga, the horrific saga continues unabated– framing innocent youth without a shred of evidence, torturing them for years together behind bars, and finally killing them off in custody or in fake "encounters". These shocking cases- from Malegaon to Hyderabad, Bangalore to Azamgarh and Darbhanga- underline the vulnerability of Muslim youth routinely arrested on terror charges.

The cases also expose the duplicity and hypocrisy of the SP and Congress who never tire of swearing by 'secularism'. During the UP elections, we have seen cynical competition between the SP and the Congress to woo support of the beleaguered Muslim community. Yet, in practice, whether it is the Congress-ruled Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh or the SP ruled UP, they are competing with the BJP in the false framing and custodial attacks on Muslim 'terror accused'.

Contrast this witch-hunt with how the SP Government in UP manufactured a "clean chit" for Varun Gandhi in the public hate-speech case! Varun Gandhi made the worst of anti-Muslim, venomous, hate-mongering speeches in Pilibhit before the previous Lok Sabha elections. The hate speeches were delivered in large open public meetings and the entire country saw and heard them through TV channels. But, suddenly, when the matter came up in the court, Samajwadi Party's UP administration could not produce any video footage of the incident and several witnesses turned hostile! The recent sting operation by a magazine - aired by a TV channel - exposed how the UP state machinery and an SP leader happily colluded with the BJP to manufacture the 'clean chit' for Varun Gandhi. What a remarkable tango of the communal fascists and those who gather votes in the name of "secularism"!

It is high time that this twin trend of communal politics - of state patronage to communal forces and hate-mongerers on the one hand and unabated state-sponsored witch-hunt of minorities on the other, this time enacted in UP, is exposed and resisted. We must struggle to ensure that all those responsible for framing Khalid Mujahid and for his custodial death are brought to book. Moreover, the case against Varun Gandhi's hate speech should be reopened, and all those responsible for scuttling the case against him – especially the Public Prosecutor and the officials in the UP government – should be punished for the shameful subversion of the judicial process.

Protest in Patna against Acquittal of the Killers of Ajit Sarkar

Acquittal of Accused in Political Murders and Massacres of Poor - a Mockery of Justice

CPI(ML) activists and citizens of Patna held a protest march on 19th May in Patna against the acquittal of the killers of Comrade Ajit Sarkar, a popular leftist leader of Purnea. The protest accused the Centre's Manmohan Singh Govt and the State's Nitish Govt as well as the police and CBI guilty of shielding those accused and involved in massacres and murders of political activists.

The march started from Patna Radio Station and culminated in a public meeting upon reaching at the Patna Railway Junction. People in march were carrying placards with Ajit Sarkar's photo, demanding retrial, as in the case of Gujarat, of all those cases in which the accused in massacres and killings of political activists had been acquitted.

Well known economist Prof. Naval Kishore Choudhry, CPI(ML)'s Politburo member and AIALA's General Secretary Comrade Dhirendra Jha, Party's town secretary Santosh Sahar, journalist Pushpraj, AIPWA leader Anita SInha, advocate Javed Ahmad, Party leader Murtaza Ali and ward councillor Tota Choudhary among others led the march.

Hailing Comrade Ajit Sarkar as a well known and popular leftist leader of Bihar, Comrade Dhirendra Jha said that he had represented Purnia Assembly Constituency continuously from 1980 till the time he was murdered in 1998 by the criminal-politician nexus. It is extremely shameful that Pappu Yadav, Rajan Tiwari and Anil Yadav have been acquitted by the Patna High Court accused in the murder of a popular leader. This acquittal is all the more serious as the HC says that the CBI could not furnish sufficient evidence against the accused. The HC has already in the past brought this that the Bihar police has not furnished sufficient evidence against the massacre accused. These incidents create an impression that acquitting those involved in massacres and political murders has become a characteristic feature of the Central and State govts.

Other speakers said that after acquitting the criminals of Bathanitola, Narayanpur, Nagri and Khagri Bigha massacres and now the acquittal of the murderers of Ajit Sarkar, a new basis has been laid for feudal violence and criminalisation of politics in Bihar. But the people of Bihar will not tolerate this injustice and in the coming days there will be bigger mobilisations to thwart this design.

Puducherry Protests

Jananayaga Kattumana Thozhilalar Sangam, (AICWF) and Rural Workers Movement (AIALA) jointly organised a road-blockade on 9th May in front of Dy. Collector's office at Puducherry. The protestors demanded: (1) implementation of MNREGS without delay and interruption in Puducherry and Karaikal districts, and wages to labourers for lay-off days, (2) immediate and free allocation of constructed houses to dalit families, which were built long back and rents for house plots to all BPL families in rural areas, (3) monthly pension of Rs 3000 to all construction workers, (4) immediate withdrawal of Aadhar/UID and DPT which has been made mandatory to avail old age pension, widow pension and LPG subsidy, etc.

Protestors took out a rally led by Comrades RV Lenin, District organizer (AIALA) and P Murugan (AICWF). Comrade S Balasubramanian, National President of AICWF, addressed the rally. The protesters courted arrest and were released later. A massive propaganda was also done in the rural areas of Puducherry to highlight the demands of the agricultural and construction workers.

Freedom Fighter and CPI(ML) Leader Comrade Brij Bihari Lal Passes Away

CPI(ML) Central Committee Expresses Deep Sorrow

omrade Brij Bihari Lal, a Freedom fighter and an ex-member of CPI(ML)'s Central Control Commission, died in Pilibhit on 11th May 2013 at the age of 92. Fighting several conditions including cancer, he breathed his last at the King George Medical University's Gandhi Hospital in Lucknow. At the time of death members of his family and CPI(ML) leaders and activists were present at the hospital.

Comrade Brij Bihari Lal was born on 14 June 1921 in Itauria village under Puranpur Tehsil in Pilibhit district. He was jailed thrice after participating in the Quit India movement of 1942. After the Country won Freedom and he was subsequently released from the jail, he joined the Communist movement. Populary known as Mahashay ji, he was among the founders of the Communist Party in Pilibhit.  He took CPI(ML) membership early in 1980's. Later he became a member of the Party's Central Control Commission. He struggled all his life for betterment of toilers and poor and for revolutionary change and remained a Party member till the very end of his life.

His struggle with death was a long one and just a few days back while on hospital bed he tried to entertain others with these lines:

"92 varsh kiye hain puray, hum ab bhi jiye jaate hain

Ae maut, tujhe hum baar-baar challenge kiye jaate hain!"

(have completed 92, still I go on; O' death I'm challenging you on and on")

CPI(ML)'s Central Committee expressing deep sorrow at this loss to the Communist movement, held his contributions for the Communist movement and the Party in high esteem. The CC statement said that he was deeply loved and respected in the Party. The CC shares the grief of his family members and his close comrades and pledges to fulfil his unfinished tasks.

The cremation was held on 12th May in his home-town of Puranpur in which a large number of leaders and activists of the Party including State Secretary Comrade Sudhakar Yadav, CCM Comrade Krishna Yadav were present. The State Administration separately presented a 'Guard of Honour'. A large number of people assembled at the cremation also bid adieu to the to the departed leader.

Long Live The Legacy of Comrade BB Lal !

Adieu Dear Comrade !




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:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

ML Update 21 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16                          No. 21                                                                                                                             14-20 MAY 2013

The Game Is Up for Team Manmohan -

It's the PM who Must Go Now!

Recent revelations have once again confirmed the extent to which the UPA Government is mired in corruption and cover-ups, from a series of Ministers right up to the Prime Minister.  

The UPA Government, which had brazenly denied the coal scam in which the PM was directly implicated, has now been caught red-handed trying to 'fix' the probe into the scam by 'editing' the CBI's status report submitted to the apex court. Now, the Supreme Court has delivered a scathing indictment of the role of the Government and the CBI, calling the CBI a "caged parrot speaking in master's voice", and finding that the "heart of the report had been tampered with".

The CBI's own affidavit testifies to the fact that the Government lied to the Court when it assured that the report had not been amended.  Not only the Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, but the Joint Secretaries of the PMO and the Coal Ministry (the very same institutions directly being probed for their role in the coal scam!) perused the CBI's status report and dictated strategic deletions and amendments. Eventually the Government, which had defiantly refused to sack the Law Minister, was forced to get the Law Minister to belatedly resign as a last-ditch attempt at damage control. But if Ashwani Kumar had to lose his job as Law Minister, why should not Manmohan Singh lose his job as Prime Minister, since the PMO too was equally implicated in the same offence of influencing the CBI report?   

Another instance of blatant corruption directly implicating the UPA Government came to light with the CBI's arrest of the nephew of the Union Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, on charges of taking a Rs 90 lakh bribe from a member of the Railway Board, allegedly to secure a new post within the Railway Board. In the Rail Scam as well, the UPA Government first tried to brazen it out, until eventually forced to go for the belated resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal.

The Railway Board is a very powerful body, directly answerable to the Rail Minister. The open support of JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav for Pawan Bansal, and the silence, if not open defence of the tainted minister, of various former Rail Ministers across parties (including Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Laloo Yadav), is clearly because the cash-for-posts scam is a long-entrenched practice that goes back a long way. A thorough probe that investigates the tenures of former Rail Ministers as well is called for to expose the extent of the scam.

The Congress party is trying to hide behind the Karnataka results, claiming that Karnataka proves that Congress' electoral fortunes will not be affected by the spate of scams and cover-ups. The opposite is true. Karnataka proves that the people are waiting to punish governments for corruption: in Karnataka, the BJP paid the price of defeat for its Government which presided over the worst corporate plunder and loot of land and minerals. Karnataka exposes the BJP's bluff of being a 'clean' alternative to the corrupt Congress, and it is also a stern reminder that the corrupt UPA Government will undoubtedly be taught a lesson by the people, as the BJP was taught a lesson in Karnataka.

The PM cannot hide behind the resignations of Ashwani Kumar and Bansal. As the PM who presided over the Coal Ministry at the time of the Coal Scam, and is directly implicated in the PMO's manipulation of the CBI's status report, and is moreover leading the pack of a series of corrupt Ministers, Manmohan Singh must quit! With one tainted minister after another being exposed and forced to make an ignominious exit, the game is up for Team Manmohan. The captain must now quit and let the people express their mandate.

For the people of the country, it is completely unacceptable that the CBI remain a parrot of the Government, in a cage where the ruling party holds the key. But it is also equally important to assert that the country can no longer afford a Government which is the parrot of corporations, and which keeps the people shackled by neoliberal policies and repressive measures. Ridding the country of pro-corporate policies and guaranteeing the rights of the people with pro-people policies and institutional arrangements is the urgent need of the hour. 

CPI(ML) Welcomes Pakistan Elections

The CPI(ML) welcomes the historic Pakistan elections, in which for the very first time in the history of that country, a transition has taken place through democratic elections from an elected civilian government to another. The people of Pakistan must be congratulated for defying all odds to assert their democratic rights.

Apart from the return of Nawaz Sharif, another significant development in these elections has been the emergence of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by Imran Khan as a significant Opposition force which has emerged victorious in Peshawar. The latter's success in Peshawar can be attributed in large part to his promises to resist the American drone attacks that have claimed numerous civilian lives there in the name of fighting terrorism.

The CPI(ML) wishes the people of Pakistan well in their struggle to overcome the many challenges that face them, calls for strengthening the unity of the people of Pakistan and India against imperialism, war-mongering and fundamentalism, and calls upon the Indian Government to seriously pursue dialogue and friendly relations with Pakistan.  

Bihar Human Rights Commission Indicts State Government for Police Brutality

On 2 May 2012, CPI(ML) Central Committee member and former MLA Comrade Rajaram Singh and other activists leading the struggle against the murder of a young panchayat mukhiya (head) Chhotu Kushwaha in Aurangabad district of Bihar were brutally beaten up by the police in the course of a peaceful demonstration. Rajaram Singh in particular was singled out for sustained public beating by senior cops, following which he was jailed. Two women activists - Usha Sharan, District Convenor of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch and ex-mukhiya Kiran Yadvendu were also badly beaten up. Shocking photographic images testified to this brutality.

The Bihar Human Rights Commission investigated allegations of custodial violence, and has recently concluded that the allegations are true, and has directed the State Government to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Rajaram Singh and Rs 50,000 to two other activists.

For the Bihar Government under Nitish Kumar, police brutality has become the norm: Forbesganj firing on minorities, Madhubani firing on students, brutal lathicharge on teachers which the Supreme Court also noted, and the Aurangabad brutality are just some of the worst instances. After the Supreme Court's scathing observations on the lathicharge on teachers, the Bihar Human Rights Commission's observations are yet another glaring indictment of the repressive State Government. The State Government must lose no time in complying with the directive and paying the compensation, and must sack the DM and SP of the district who presided over this brutality which took place in their presence.        

Excerpts of the Bihar Human Rights Commission's observations and conclusions are below:

"The Commission is satisfied on seeing the visuals that Raja Ram Singh was mercilessly beaten by the police. There is nothing on the record to indicate that he committed any act of vandalism, destruction of property etc. or that he incited the people to engage in such acts. Raja Ram Singh is a former two-time member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly (MLA), member of the Central Committee of the CPI (ML) and National General Secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha. As a public figure and an activist, he had every right to

participate in the protest meeting which had been organized to highlight the police inaction.

Similarly, applicant Usha Sharan is the District Convenor of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch and applicant Kiran Yadvendu is an ex-Mukhiya, and as public figure they had right to participate in the protest meeting. They were also allegedly physically beaten by the police in the occurrence even though were simply bye-standers. It may be relevant to mention here that they met the Chairperson of the Commission and showed their injuries on their bodies in presence of the then Secretary of the Commission Smt. Vandana Kini while presenting complaints on 9.5.2012. The Commission found clear marks of injury on different parts of their body. Photographs showing marks of injury have been annexed and they are part of the record. There are no specific visuals showing them being assaulted by the police but the Commission is inclined to think that they too sustained injuries as a result of the beatings by the police in the same occurrence. As in the case of Raja Ram Singh, there is nothing to indicate that they either committed any acts of vandalism etc. themselves or incited others to commit such acts. The police action viz. beatings, therefore was uncalled for and unjustified.

In the facts and circumstances, the Commission is satisfied that all the three victims suffered violation of human rights at the hands of the police and are entitled to compensation.

In the facts and circumstances, the Commission is of the view that the compensation of rupees one lakh in the case of Raja Ram Singh and rupees fifty thousand each in the cases of Usha Sharan and Kiran Yadvendu would be just and adequate.

The Commission accordingly directs the State Government through Secretary, Department of Home, to pay compensation of rupees one lakh to Shri Raja Ram Singh and rupees fifty thousand each to Smt. Usha Sharan and Smt. Kiran Yadvendu within six weeks. Put up on 28.6.2013 awaiting compliance report."

AISA-RYA Agitate for PM's Resignation 

On 12 April, AISA and RYA held agitations at several centres in the country to declare that belated resignations of two Ministers is too little, too late – the PM responsible for the coal scam cover up and manipulation of CBI must quit! Students from DU, JNU, and Jamia Millia Islamia, and youth from various localities in Delhi, held a vigil at Jantar Mantar, where protestors raised slogans saying, "CBI is PM's Parrot, and PM is Corporates' Parrot', 'Corrupt, Cover-Up PM Must Resign' and 'Free CBI from Govt Cage, Free Govt and Country from Corporate Cage.'  

The day-long vigil was addressed by AISA National President Sandeep Singh, RYA National General Secretary Ravi Rai, RYA leader Aslam Khan, JNUSU Joint Secretary Piyush Raj, AISA leader Sunny Kumar, Akbar, Prerna, Anubhuti, Farhan and several others, as well as CPI(ML) leaders Girija Pathak, and Polit Bureau member Kavita Krishnan. 

The protestors said, "The CBI's own affidavit shows that the Law Ministry as well as representatives of the Coal Ministry and PMO were among the 'masters' who coached the 'CBI Parrot'. Today, if Ashwani Kumar must lose his job as Law Minister, why should not Manmohan Singh lose his job as Prime Minister?" They declared, "We neither need cage nor parrot! We need a CBI that is structurally free of political manipulation and control, and a Govt free of corporate control – without any delay!" Protestors noted that the Rail Scam was yet another instance of business-politics nexus in corruption, of which Bansal and Vadra were prime examples, but so is Nitin Gadkari of the BJP.    

Protestors' demands were as follows:  

         The PM stands directly implicated in the coal scam, as well as in the cover-up of the scam though manipulating the CBI's status report – we demand that the PM must resign.

         The PM has been shielding corrupt Ministers to the hilt – acting to remove Ministers only when there is absolutely no option left. The PM leading a pack of corrupt Ministers must resign!

         A thorough probe must be conducted into the rail scam, encompassing the tenures of past Rail Ministers as well.

         The CBI must be made completely and genuinely autonomous – rather than a puppet in the hands of the ruling Government

         From Bansal to Vadra to Gadkari and Ajit Pawar – there is an endless list of political leaders implicated in peddling their business/corporate interests. This corrupt business-politics nexus facilitating corporate plunder of our precious resources is at the heart of corruption. We demand a reversal of the policies promoting corporate plunder.

         We demand release of the anti-POSCO leader Abhaya Sahoo and a stop to the POSCO project, which is a glaring instance of corporate plunder and corruption

Protests were also held at Patna, Jehanabad, Arwal, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Saharsa in Bihar, Bokaro, Giridih, Ramgarh in Jharkhand, Ambedkarnagar, Faizabad and other centres in UP, as well as Bhind in Madhya Pradesh.

Seminar in Patna Against Modi's Corporate Fascist Agenda

On 23 April, a seminar was held in Patna on Narendra Modi's Corporate Fascism and the Democratic Agenda of Resistance. The seminar was organised by AISA, RYA, JSM and Inquilabi Muslim Conference. The speakers included Prof. Naval Kishor Choudhury, Arshad Ajmal, Nivedita Jha and other journalists and intellectuals and the main speaker was CPI(ML) GS Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya.

Speaking on the occasion Comrade Dipankar emphasised that Modi's communal fascism of 2002 now stands before us in a new and enhanced form, as a corporate-backed fascist project. Narendra Modi's agenda today is very much part of the corporate offensive on people's land, livelihood and democracy today. The Congress Govt too is of course competing with Modi to be the champion of this offensive, but with the Congress standing badly discredited by scams and open repression, the corporates have sought to fashion a new darling in Modi and his model of repressive governance. Resisting communalism in India today called for more than speaking against BJP and RSS: it calls for rejecting and resisting the Indian State's growing corporate fascist character. It also calls for resisting the agenda of witch-hunt of minorities, aggressively peddled by the ruling class across parties, which makes communalism in India today an inseparable part of the imperialist agenda of Islamophobia in the name of 'war on terror.'  

He called the bluff of Nitish Kumar's anti-Modi posturing, pointing out that Nitish had backed Modi to the hilt and remained a Minister in the BJP-NDA regime at the Centre when the Gujarat genocide of 2002 was actually taking place, and now Nitish's Govt had facilitated the growth of Modi's party, the BJP, in Bihar. Nitish's surrender to feudal-communal forces had led to the renewed assertion of these forces in Bihar.     

Protest Against Child Sexual Violence in Ranchi and Delhi

An incident of abduction, rape and murder of a little girl came to light in Doranda, Jharkhand on 24 April. A fact-finding team of Ranchi AIPWA, comprising District Secretary Sarojini Bisht, President Singi Khalko, VP Shanti Sen and District Committee member Neela Munda, visited Doranda on 26 April. The child's family is of the Darji (tailor) mohalla, an area of Ranchi where most of the residents are poor Muslims. The entire community had been turned into a virtual police camp. Neighbours and family members informed the team that the little girl had returned from school on the 24th and was playing outside the house. Her mother noticed her disappearance a couple of hours later and the search began. Scores of people reached the police station in the evening; police registered a case but did not search in the area or keep watch at night. As a result the abductors/rapists got rid of the street lights and threw the child's body in an under-construction house at around 3 in the night in the area itself. People informed the police at 5 am, but police turned up only at 8 am. The post-mortem revealed a brutal rape.  

Ranchi observed a bandh on 27 April against this heinous crime and criminal apathy of the police. AIPWA participated with full strength in the bandh, demanding arrest of the rapists, FIRs to be registered against the police officers responsible for criminal delay in searching for the child, and other demands to ensure the safety of women and children. AIPWA held a protest mass meeting at Albert Ekka chowk and then marched ahead from there. Participants in the protest included AIPWA State President Guni Oraon, Ranchi AIPWA leaders Nikhat Parveen, Sabeena Parveen, Gadi Khatun, Soni Tiraiyya of the Prerna team, Soni Kacchap, Meena Lakda and CPI(ML) leaders Bhuneshwar Kewat, Sudama Khalko, and JSM Convenor Anil Anshuman.    



Progressive Scholar and Reformer Ashgar Ali Engineer Passes Away

Renowned progressive scholar and reformer Ashgar Ali Engineer passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He was 74.

Born in Salumbar, Rajasthan, in a Dawoodi Bohra Amil (priest) family March 10, 1939, Engineer received early training in Islamic scholarship. A civil engineer, he worked in the Brihan Mumbai Corporation (BMC) before voluntarily retiring and plunging into the movement for social reform within his community.

Disturbed by the growth of communal forces, he dedicated his life to the pursuit of communal harmony. He was at the forefront of the struggle to resist communal violence in Mumbai and ensure friendship and harmony between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

He was also a staunch advocate of women's equality and rights. On some occasions he even faced violence from fundamentalists within his own community. He was a prolific writer, wielding his pen on the subject of the rights of women and against communalism and fundamentalism.

His death is a huge loss to the progressive and secular movement, which will always draw strength and inspiration from his legacy and his writings.  

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: 22518248, e-mail:, website:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fwd: ML Update Vol. 16, No. 20

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 16, No. 20

 Sarabjit and Sanaullah:

Paying the Cost of Communal Jingoism  and War-mongering  

The brutal attack by co-prisoners on an Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in a Lahore jail, resulting in his eventual death, is a heinous instance of extra-judicial killing and violation of human rights on part of the Pakistani State. The fact that co-prisoners were able to launch this murderous assault on a high-profile death-row prisoner indicates collusion on part of the jail authorities and government in Pakistan. Early this year, another Indian prisoner Chamel Singh had been lynched to death by fellow prisoners in the same jail. In spite of this, no steps were taken by the Pakistan Government and the jail authorities to ensure security for Indian prisoners, especially for Sarabjit Singh, who was especially vulnerable because he was an Indian convicted of a terrorist crime in Pakistan.  A credible probe must be instituted at the earliest, to identify and punish the killers and conspirators responsible for the murderous assault on Sarabjit Singh.

Compounding the horror of the lynching of Sarabjit Singh was the retaliatory lynching of a Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay by Indian fellow-prisoners in a Jammu jail, rendering him brain-dead. The incidents of lynching have underlined the vulnerability of Indian and Pakistani prisoners in jails in both countries, and the costs of the dangerous game of competitive communal jingoism played in both countries. The attempts to whip up anti-Pakistan jingoism and war-mongering in the wake of the lynching of Sarabjit Singh must be firmly resisted in India.     

The shocking indifference of the Indian government to the known threats to Sarabjit's life is also deeply condemnable and shameful. In spite of the killing of Chamel Singh earlier this year, the Indian Government was apathetic towards pursuing the matter of rights and safety of Indian prisoners in Pakistan's jails with the Pakistan Government. The Indian Government's failure to take precautions to protect Pakistani prisoners inside Indian jails following Sarabjit's death, led to the shameful assault on Sanaullah.    

Sarabjit and Sanaullah, like other Indian and Pakistani prisoners and terror-accused/convicted prisoners in jails in both countries, are victims of the lethal mix of communalism and jingoism that drives state policy in the subcontinent. In a climate where hangings and custodial killings are driven by political/electoral calculations in both Pakistan and India, justice and humanity are the casualty. Immediate measures must be urgently taken to ensure the safety of Indian and Pakistani prisoners, as well as all terror-related under-trials and convicts in jails in both countries. A large number of fishermen including several juveniles constitute the bulk of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails and vice versa. All efforts must be made to secure the release of such fishermen and other innocent prisoners who may have inadvertently crossed the border, with the minimum delay.

The unconscionable crimes committed against Sarabjit and Sanaullah must also serve as a grim reminder of the abysmal state of human rights within prisons in both countries. In India, we must remember that under-trials and convicts from the minority community in terror-related cases have very often been subjected to assaults in court premises, custodial torture by police, as well as lynching inside jails. We should remember the case of Quateel Siddiqui, blast accused from Darbhanga, killed by prisoners in Yerawada jail Pune 8 June 2012. In a mirror image of the lynching of Sarabjit in Pakistan, assaults on terror-related under-trials in court premises and jails in India are justified in the name of blind 'nationalist' sentiment. It must be stressed that there is nothing patriotic about such assaults; rather, such assaults are a shame for the country and its claims to being a democracy.

The culture of extra judicial killings of prisoners, be it in Pakistan, or India, is abhorrent and must stop. Democratic and progressive forces in both countries are rightly rejecting and resisting communalism and jingoism and demanding just and humanitarian treatment for prisoners in jails in both countries.       

UPA Government in the Dock Again

Once more, the UPA Government is shown to be mired in scam after scam. The latest instance of corruption is the CBI's arrest of the nephew of the Union Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, on charges of taking a Rs 90 lakh bribe from a member of the Railway Board, allegedly to secure a new post within the Railway Board. The Railway Board is a very powerful body, directly answerable to the Rail Minister. This is not an isolated instance of bribery: rather it is an indicator of yet another instance of the murky nexus between business and politics, since the Rail Minister and his family have manifold business interests that have flourished in tandem with his tenure as a Union Minister. The entire scam calls for a thorough investigation, and there can be no excuse for the UPA Government's defence of the Rail Minister.

The UPA Government's deep involvement in corruption is again indicated by the undeniable evidence of blatant meddling by the Government in the CBI's probe into a coal scam charge against the Government, specifically, the amendments in the CBI's status report on coal block allocations. The CBI's affidavit to the Supreme Court has contradicted the Government's claim (made by the Additional Solicitor General to the Supreme Court) that the status report was not shared with anyone. The CBI affidavit states on record that several crucial amendments and deletions were made in the report, at the behest of the Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, representatives of the Coal Ministry and the PMO. The amendments and deletions are all clearly intended to protect the image of the Government.  

The UPA Government's shameless defence of Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar is unacceptable. These Ministers must resign immediately. The Prime Minister too cannot shrug off responsibility for the blatant interference in the CBI's status report. With every passing day, the UPA Government is proving its corrupt and anti-people character, and is surviving only due to the fact that the main Opposition, BJP, is itself dogged by corruption scandals.          

Sajjan Kumar Acquittal:

Massacre of Justice

The acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar by a sessions court in the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre case is a shocking miscarriage of justice. The acquittal flies in the face of the CBI's own allegation of a 'terrible conspiracy' between Sajjan Kumar and the police, and the evidence of eyewitnesses who have testified to Sajjan Kumar having incited mobs to attack Sikhs.

The evidence of these eyewitnesses has resulted in the conviction of five others, but their credibility has been discounted when it came to Sajjan Kumar.  

The anti-Sikh pogrom in India's capital city in 1984, following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was a state-sponsored massacre in which the highest echelons of Congress leadership – including Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, HKL Bhagat, and Kamal Nath - were implicated. Shamefully, none of them has been punished, in spite of the evidence against them.

The acquittal of Sajjan Kumar is a judicial massacre to compound the massacre of 1984. The anger of the 1984 survivors and witnesses has unleashed a fresh wave of struggles for justice. However, parties like the BJP and the Akali Dal that are trying to cash in on the 1984 issue need to be reminded that BJP which is in the dock for the Gujarat 2002 massacre and its allies including the Akali Dal have no moral right to speak of justice for 1984.

The democratic forces will continue the struggle for justice for 1984, 2002 and every single communal pogrom.   

AICCTU-affiliated ECREU Polls 10% Votes in Railway Union Elections in ECR, Finishes on Top in Samastipur Division

In the recently concluded union elections in the railways, AICCTU-affiliated ECREU (East Central Rail Employees' Union) finished fourth in the East Central Zone. The union polled nearly 10% of total polled votes (nearly 6,000 out of total polled votes of about 61,000) in the zone. The ECREU emerged on top in the Samastipur division, securing more than 2500 votes out of about 8,500 polled votes. It also polled respectable votes in Dhanbad and Sonepur divisions, but the performance was poor in Danapur and Mughalsarai divisions. The ECREU was the only Left union in the fray in ECR zone. In two other zones (Eastern and North-Eastern zones), AICCTU-affiliated unions could not contest the elections because they did not fulfil the condition of a minimum post-registration period of two years. The election results have indicated the potential of independent Left-led unions in the railways. Incidentally, TMC-led unions have fared poorly in the two West Bengal based zones – Eastern Railway and S-E Railway.

Protest March at Delhi demanding Release of KKM activists

More than a hundred cultural activists, painters, litterateurs, filmmakers, theatre artists, singers, journalists, students and intellectuals took out a Protest March from Sriram Centre-Mandi House to Maharashtra Sadan demanding the immediate release of 'Kabir Kala Manch' activists and withdrawal of all false cases and fabricated charges levied against them. The Protest March was called by the theatre group 'Sangwari', web journal 'Sangathan' and a film group 'The Group', all affiliated to 'Jan Sanskriti Manch' as well as 'All India Students' Association' (AISA). The protest march reached Maharashtra Sadan where a mass meeting was held. A 5 member delegation comprising the renowned painter Ashok Bhowmick, film-maker Sanjay Kak, poet Neelabh, literary critic Ashutosh Kumar and Dr. Uma Gupta from Delhi University met the Resident Commissioner of Maharashtra government and handed over a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra demanding unconditional and immediate release of Sheetal Sathe , Sachin Mali (artists belonging to Kabir kala Manch) and Sudhir Dhawale, editor of a Marathi journal (all arrested on Bogus charges).

Demands also included withdrawal of false cases against them and strict action against police officers involved in framing the concerned cultural activists. The memorandum also stated that the practice of silencing intellectuals and cultural activists by the state government, dubbing them as 'terrorists' or 'Maoists' and framing them under draconian laws on trumped up charges must stop at once and the livelihood and social security of their family members must be ensured. The cultural activists and student protestors declared that a petition to Chief Justice of India shall be submitted with signatures from all over the country asking the apex court to intervene in the matter and to prevail upon the governments who are engaged in blatant violation of the fundamental 'right to expression'. After handing over the Memorandum to the Resident Commissioner film-maker Sanjay Kak addressed the protestors and said that the government had better not be under the illusion that curbing the right to expression would silence the artists. Just a day ago only the people of Pune and Maharashtra knew about Kabir kala Manch, but today their voices are reaching across the entire country. He asserted that the repressive measures of the state will not scare cultural activists and that they will continue to fight for the freedom of expression. This fight will involve more and more people.

As is well known, repression has continued unabated on cultural activists of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) over the past two years in the state of Maharashtra. The members of KKM who were arrested in May, 2011 on charges of being 'Maoists' under UAPA got bail recently. However, almost immediately following that two other artists of KKM- Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali were arrested on April 2, 2013 on the same charges. Both have denied all charges against them and said that they are followers of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Bhagat Singh.

The protest March started with a recital of the song 'Bhagat Singh tum zinda ho' by artists from 'Paltan'. This song, sung in the voice of Sheetal Sathe, has gained a lot of popularity. During the march which culminated in a mass protest meeting at Maharashtra Sadan, artists from 'Asmita', 'Sangwari' and IPTA expressed their protest through revolutionary songs. Protestors marched with placards and raised slogans all through the kilometer long stretch in scorching summer heat, till the police stopped them at Maharashtra Sadan, where they started a protest mass meeting. Addressing the meeting, noted Hindi-Urdu writer, Noor Zaheer said that governments alienated from the masses are unleashing repression on artists who are standing in solidarity with the peoples' struggles. Poet Neelabh said that repression is unleashed on all sections of the toiling people and that we must protest against it at each and every instance. Rekha Awashthi from 'Janwadi Lekhak Sangh' expressed support for the protest. Ashok Bhowmick from 'Jan Sanskriti Manch' said that the current situation in the country calls for a bigger role of writers, artists and intellectuals in favour of the fighting masses and that would entail continuous confrontation with the oppressive system. National Secretary of 'All India Progressive Women's Association' Kavita Krishnan said that Maharashtra government never stops the voices of those ministers who ridicule the miseries of the people every now and then but finds it necessary to silence the voice of Sheetal Sathe. People love the voices of KKM artists, but anti-people state machinery considers such voices dangerous. Therefore, it is all the more important to raise such voices even more loudly. Sandeep Singh, National Secretary of AISA and theatre artist Lokesh Jain also addressed the meeting. Prof. Chaman Lal & Parnal Chirmuley from JNU, Radhika Menon from D.U., theatre personality Arvind Gaud, literary critics Gopal Pradhan & Vaibhav Singh, film maker Ajay Bhardwaj, cultural activists Raviprakash from 'Sangathan', Asit Das from 'Sanhati', Kapil Sharma from 'Sangwari', Sanjay Joshi from 'The Group', journalits Anjani & Shivdas were among those who joined the protest march and mass meeting. Awadhesh, Sanjay Joshi and Sudhir Suman convened the entire proceedings.  

                                   May Day 2013

The May Day 2013 was celebrated by All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) with the pledge of taking forward the spirit generated in the 20-21 February unprecedented all India general strike and continue the fight for the reversal of neoliberal policies in the country.

Below are some of the reports of May Day celebrations across the country.

The 28th May Day this year was observed in Assam as a day opposing the heinous murder of comrade Gangaram Koul in Borgong, Sonitpur, Guwahati, Jorhat Silchar, Nagoan, Dibrugarh and other places. In Tinsukia, braving a  heavy downpour, about 1000 workers from tea gardens took part enthusiastically in the procession covering about 4 kilometres and passing through the main thoroughfare of the town shouting slogans demanding the arrest the killers of Com. Gangaram Koul, time bound CBI probe to be completed in 6 months, against price rice and rampant corruption, increase of the tea workers' daily wage to Rs. 200, calculate bonus on the total sum of daily wage plus subsidised cost of ration and fuel as per clause 22(2) of the Bonus Act, 1965.

In Tamil Nadu, May Day was celebrated with flag hoisting in 150 centers with a participation of more than 2000 workers. In Coimbatore, it was a dream come true for Pricol workers when they hoisted their union flag in the factory gate in the morning with hundreds of workers raising slogans for workers' unity. Comrade S.Kumarasami hoisted the flag and in the evening a public meeting was held in which 700 workers from Pricol, Shanthi Gears, Lakshmi Motor Works (LMW) participated. AICCTU in TN has taken up a solidarity campaign for Maruti workers which includes a solidarity fund for the Maruti workers. AICCTU has released 6000 pamphlets with the 'Letter From Jail' of Maruti workers and called for the workers of TN to rise in solidarity for them. 'Letter From Jail' is also published in Orumaipadu (Tamil Solidarity) which has a circulation of 5000 copies. Co-optex Employees Union also participated. A solidarity fund was collected to help Maruti workers. In the May Day a public meeting held in Coimbatore Rs.24000 was collected from among the participants.

In Punjab, May Day was celebrated in Punjab at Batala, Chandigarh, Mansa, Himmatpura (Moga) and Tapa (Barnala). In Batala, a march of nearly 700 workers was taken out in main market of Batala, in the leadership of Com Gurmeet Bakhtpura, Com Sukhdev, and Com Guljar. In the march, brick-kiln workers, who are on strike for their demands, participated in large numbers. In Chandigarh, a program was organized by AICCTU and CPI(ML). Revolutionary songs and a play on women's rights by a theatre team of Chandigarh were also performed.

In Odisha, May Day was observed at Nagbhushan Bhavan in Bhubaneswar where 150 workers from different unions came together. A public meeting was conducted at Nagbhushan Bhavan where Comrade Khitish Biswal, secretary of CPI (ML) Liberation and AICCTU state secretary Mahendra Parida addressed the gathering. May Day was also observed in Sambalpur where 2000 construction workers participated in a big rally.

In Delhi-NCR, Central TUs held a procession jointly from Ramlila Grounds, and workers observed May Day in several areas. AICCTU held May Day processions and public meetings at Wazirpur and at NOIDA. At NOIDA, May Day 2013 had a special significance, since it was held in the wake of the wholesale arrest of workers and TU activists, defying the attempts of police to intimidate the workers. A leaflet against state repression, calling for May Day, had been widely distributed in the area in the preceding days. AICCTU and CPIML activists from NOIDA and Delhi held a march from the AICCTU office. In spite of the forbidding presence of the armed police, a public meeting was held following the march, which was addressed by many CPI(ML) and AICCTU leaders.

In Jharkhand, flags were hoisted in the entire coal belt and mass meetings took place against the ongoing loot and scams and privatization of coal industry. In Bokaro Steel Plant, the flag was hoisted and a public meeting was held. Rallies of unorganized workers and women workers working on an honorarium in various government schemes were held throughout the state including the capital Ranchi. 

In Bihar, May Day rallies, demonstrations and flag hoisting progammes were held in most of the districts including Patna with the participation of thousands of unorganized workers. In Patna a joint rally was held.

In UP and Uttarakhand all affiliated unions in different districts with participation of unorganized workers held progammes. AICCTU-affiliated unions held a procession in Allahabad and submitted a memorandum to the Collector. In Uttarakhand, joint rally of workers was held in Rudrapur, an Auto Hub. In most of the districts including Haldwani and Pithoragarh joint programmes were held.

At Gujarat, a rally was held by AICCTU in Himmat Nagar with participation of hundreds of unorganized workers. In Mumbai, a joint mass meeting of trade unions was held at Azad Maidan. In Bhilai a workers' meeting was held in Bhilai Steel Plant and also a meeting of municipal contract sanitation workers.

Solidarity For Maruti Workers

TN AICCTU has taken up a solidarity campaign for Maruti workers which includes a solidarity fund for the Maruti workers. AICCTU has released 6000 pamphlets with the 'Letter From Jail' of Maruti workers and called for the workers of TN to rise in solidarity for them. 'Letter From Jail' is also published in Orumaipadu (Tamil Solidarity) which has a circulation of 5000 copies.

Cooptex Employees Union which organized its 49th GB distributed the pamphlets and read out the letter among the 300 delegates. The delegates contributed a fund of Rs.8000 immediately.

In the May Day public meeting held in Coimbatore Rs.24000 was collected from among the participants.

In the May Day public meeting held in Chennai a signature campaign was launched.

TN AICCTU delegation will meet the jailed Maruti workers and visit their union office and hand over the solidarity fund in the first week of June.

AIALA Holds Militant Procession to Bihar CM Demanding Land Rights and Wages 

AIALA held a massive procession and mass meeting in Patna, in which thousands of agricultural labourers and sharecroppers expressed their anger at the Nitish Government's betrayal of its promises to the poor.

The protestors marched to the CM's home, protesting the cuts in MNREGA wages, and the broken promises of 3 dismil homestead land, 1 acre of land for the landless, and sharecroppers' legal rights. The March was led by AIALA National President Rameshwar Prasad, AIALA National General Secretary Dhirendra Jha, AIALA State Secretary Virendra Gupta, and former MLA Satyadev Ram. The massive gathering was addressed by AIALA leaders as well as CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya.

Comrade Dipankar said that Nitish had made a show of raising the issue of special state status for Bihar in March in Delhi; and in April, had himself meted out 'special' treatment to Bihar by cutting back on his Government's contribution of Rs 30 to the MNREGA wage, which are the lowest in Bihar. In Bihar, the Government talks much of empowering 'mahadalits' – but the reality is that more than 1 crore MNREGA workers  - mostly from the most oppressed castes –  get only 10 days work on average instead of the promised 100, and moreover are not paid the proper wages for this work!

In Bihar, land is being looted by landlords, corporates and families of political leaders from the ruling combine, and the poor are evicted from this land. The Government is evading the sharecroppers' demand for identity card and registration, in order to appease the landlords' lobby. Mocking the slogan of justice, the Ranveer Sena men guilty of massacring the dalit landless poor, are being acquitted in case after case.   

Comrade Dipankar called upon Bihar's poor to teach Nitish a lesson in the elections for his betrayal of his 

promises of justice. In the past 8 years, he said, the Government elected with the votes of the poor worked in service of the feudal and criminal forces. He called for a determined movement to free Bihar from the clutches of these forces, and exhorted people to show black flags to Nitish in every yatra.