A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17, No. 01, 01 – 07 JANUARY 2014
CC Call for 2014
All for the Big Battle of 2014!
All for the Victorious Assertion of the People!!
(In lieu of editorial)
had begun on a high note of popular assertion and the momentum continued through the year. The unprecedented upsurge of young India triggered by the December 16 incident of the brutal gang-rape of Nirbhaya in a Delhi bus forced Parliament to pass a stricter and more sensitive legislation against rape and various forms of sexual harassment. As the year draws to a close, we can see women in India throw up a powerful challenge against forces and practices of patriarchal reaction on every front, pulling down powerful men including one notorious self-proclaimed godman, a famous journalist and a retired judge of Supreme Court, from their high pedestals and forcing the laws and institutions of the land to wake up and act on cases of rape and sexual harassment that many men in positions of power, authority and influence considered their unquestionable privilege.
Indeed 2013 has been a year of inspiring resistance against systemic injustice. While the resistance itself sends out a powerful message against the forces of oppression and inspires many hitherto unorganised and uninvolved sections of the people to get involved and organised for change, it has also succeeded in forcing the media, judiciary and even the legislature to respond to the growing power and momentum of popular protests. One of the high points of judicial recognition of popular resistance was when the Supreme Court referred the Vedanta's bauxite mining project at Niyamgiri hills in Odisha to the gramsabhas and all the twelve gramsabhas identified by the state government unanimously rejected the mining project.
Faced with popular protests, the government has had to repeal the infamous colonial era legislation on land acquisition, replacing the 1894 land acquisition act with a new law. While the repeal of the old law testifies to the growing strength of peasant and adivasi anger and resistance against land acquisition, the new law however continues to reject the core demand of the peasantry to save agricultural land. While limiting the role of the state in land acquisition and promising relatively better compensation to land-losers in cases of state-led acquisition, it actually expands the scope of land acquisition and leaves the crisis-ridden peasantry at the mercy of predatory corporate capital which is out to grab as much land as possible on various pretexts.
Similarly, the Lokpal Bill which has now been passed under popular pressure goes only halfway to create a new institutional architecture without addressing the root of the problem – the intricate nexus between big business and state power. Corporate capital which is the biggest beneficiary of all recent scams remains conspicuously exempted from the jurisdiction of the Lokpal which is being projected as a credible and effective bulwark against corruption. There can be no credible cleansing of governance without a paradigm shift in policies – the corporate-centric policies must give way to people-centric policies and governance must become transparent and accountable. That the policies of liberalisation and privatisation are at the root of most of the recent scams was indirectly admitted by Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram when in the context of the CBI probe on coalgate they openly asked the CBI to stay within its limits and not question policies which were a prerogative of the executive.
The popular quest for change has started making its presence felt in the electoral arena too. While the Sangh brigade is desperate to engineer riots and vitiate the atmosphere – Muzaffarnagar being the most alarming case in point – and hijack the public mood for change by projecting an aggressive BJP led by the party's PM aspirant Narendra Modi as the alternative to a thoroughly discredited and near-incapacitated Congress, the growing quest for change beyond the Congress-BJP bracket became stunningly visible in the Assembly elections in Delhi. The fact that a one-year old party could make such a spectacular debut right in the national capital shows, first and foremost, not just the intensity of the people's anger against the ruling party but more importantly the intensity of the people's desire for some positive change, for people-centric policies and people-centric politics.
With all its communication skill, networking strategy and resource mobilisation capacity, AAP could not possibly have created such a powerful undercurrent without touching a basic chord with the working people of Delhi and this it did, not just around the agenda of Lokpal, but by taking up issues like electricity and water, education and health, which helped it make deep inroads among the urban poor and the toiling people of Delhi beyond its initial fund of middle class support and goodwill. As subsequent developments have clearly shown, the ruling elite has no fundamental problem with the idea of a Lokpal (of course the degree of its independence and the extent of its powers may be an issue), but it is distinctly uncomfortable with the idea of supplying cheap electricity, clean water, quality education and healthcare for all, or for that matter, the idea of regularisation of contract workers and enforcement of the principle of equal pay for equal work, issues that have figured prominently in the AAP charter of promises made to the Delhi electorate.
Politically, the emergence and rise of AAP was marked by a strong tinge of anti-Congressism. But ironically, it now finds itself positioned against the BJP with the Congress offering it 'unconditional support' to form the next government in Delhi! It remains to be seen how AAP handles this post-poll phase and its contention with the BJP especially because 31% of AAP supporters had been reported to have a prime ministerial preference for Narendra Modi. But no matter how AAP evolves as a political entity, its emergence has exposed the vulnerability of the status quo while highlighting the need for turning the anti-corruption movement into a positive struggle for securing people's rights and defending the country's resources from corporate plunder.
This is where revolutionary communists will have to boldly intervene and play their due role, drawing on the developing situation and the positive aspirations and energy of the people and carrying the movement forward against all odds. All through 2013, CPI(ML) took a series of impressive initiatives. Beginning with a powerful and energetic intervention in the anti-rape movement and determined and organised participation in the historic February strike of the Indian working class, the party successfully held its 9th Congress in Ranchi where it came out with enriched guideline to orientate and improve its growing multifarious practice. In the student elections in JNU and DU, AISA put up a great performance, winning all posts of JNUSU and emerging as an effective third force in DU. In a way, the student union results were an early reflection of the changing political mood in Delhi with more and more people looking beyond the Congress-BJP (in DUSU elections NSUI-ABVP) bipolarity to welcome a third force.
Following the BJP-JD(U) split in Bihar, the two parties tried their best to polarise the political scene around their new-found contention and hostility. Sustained agitations and initiatives spearheaded by the CPI(ML) have checked this polarisation and laid the basis for a powerful Left assertion countering the BJP's feudal-communal offensive while challenging the non-performing Nitish Kumar government on every front. The tremendous courage demonstrated by party ranks at the October 30 Khabardar Rally in Patna effectively foiled the BJP's sinister game plan to create an environment of terror and frenzy following the blasts during Narendra Modi's October 27 Hunkaar Rally. And the party has also effectively built up a comprehensive movement for justice in opposition to the increasingly repressive rule of the Nitish Kumar government, the serial massacre of justice and acquittal of massacre convicts and the witch-hunt of Muslim youth in the name of anti-terrorist operations. The collection of millions of signatures demanding justice for the massacre survivors and reinstatement of the Amir Das Commission marked a new high in the oppressed poor's protracted battle for justice and democracy in Bihar.
With an utterly discredited Congress fast losing ground, the BJP has unleashed an aggressive campaign to grab power at the Centre. Regional parties do have their pockets of influence but barring a few of them, most have shown a readiness to collaborate with the BJP in the past. It is the Left that has historically offered the most courageous and credible ideological resistance to the communal fascist agenda of the Sangh brigade, but the continuing decline of the CPI(M) in West Bengal and the opportunist tactical line pursued by the CPI(M) and CPI have weakened the Left bloc nationally. CPI(ML) must make its presence felt in this challenging situation with a powerful election campaign. Every gain made by the CPI(ML) in this critical hour will be a powerful rebuff to the BJP's fascist campaign and the pro-corporate policies of the ruling classes. Every forward step of the party will be a vindication of people's struggles and facilitate a resurgence of the Left vis-a-vis the growing offensive of the Sangh brigade. All for the big political battle of 2014; all for the victorious assertion of the people!
Central Committee, CPI(ML)(Liberation)
CPI(ML) Welcomes Formation of AAP Government
Hopes AAP Will Fulfil People's Aspirations for a Reversal of Corrupt, Anti-People Governance
New Delhi, December 28: CPI(ML) welcomes the emergence of AAP as a powerful third force in Delhi and the fact that it brought to the fore a democratic agenda concerning some basic demands and interests of the common people in Delhi. The rise of AAP has revalidated the relevance of agitation-based politics, exposed the political vulnerability of the status-quo, and highlighted the people's quest for an alternative to the parties of the status-quo, the Congress and BJP in particular.
AAP's manifesto includes many of the burning issues of the toiling people of Delhi – and it is Delhi's people who have given AAP its strength. On the eve of formation of the AAP Government, slum evictions have been attempted near Mansarovar Park and Mayur Vihar (stalled by timely protests), and CNG prices have gone up. We hope that in the face of these assaults on the rights of Delhi's poor and common people, the AAP Government will live up to its manifesto and defend people's aspirations for a thorough reversal of corrupt and anti-people governance.
While AAP began by tapping into the popular anger against corruption and the Congress, it attracted not just anti-Congress votes but perhaps primarily erstwhile or traditional pro-Congress votes. Many sections of traditional or core Congress voters – whether in the resettlement colonies or in Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods or among government employees – have voted for AAP, triggering a collapse of the Congress and placing AAP objectively in contention with the BJP. AAP is now running a Government backed by the Congress. In the days to come, how AAP handles this new phase of contention with BJP will be important to observe.
- Sanjay Sharma, Secretary, CPI(ML) Delhi State Committee
December 18th: Comrade VM's 15th Death Anniversary Commemorated
Uttar Pradesh: Tributes were paid to Comrade VM in the State at several places by holding different political programmes. In Lucknow a Party GBM was organised and the meet took stock of the recently held Assembly elections, reviewed Party's activities in the district so far in 2013 and discussed plans for 2014.
In Ghazipur district GBMs were held in five blocks – Sadar, Jamania, Bhadaura, Saidpur, and Jakhania, paying tributes to Comrade VM. GBMs were held in Benaras and Cholapur in which urban and rural area Party comrades respectively were present. GBMs were held at Bhadohi and Suriyawan. A jansabha (people's assembly) was held at Madihan tehsil in Mirzapur in which hundreds of people paid tributes to Comrade VM. A meeting was also held at the district HQ.
In Sonbhadra's Dhiwahi village and Gorakhpur's Uruwa block, Party conferences of the local committee were organised. GBMs and cadre meetings held at Nichlaul tehsil HQ in Maharajganj, Bankatta in Deoria, Allahabad and Kanpur. At Urai, Jalaun's HQ, seminar was held at the Party office while a dharna was held at Kudebhar in Sultanpur. Apart from these place different programmes were held in Gonda, Faizabad and Pilibhit. In Sitapur's five blocks the programmes were held on 23rd December.
Tamilnadu: In Coimbatore, Hundreds of workers participated in a public meeting on Dec18 Organised by Narasimmanaicken Palayam branch of CPI(ML).The meeting was presided over by District Committee member Com. Narayanan. Main speaker was Com. Kumarasamy, Politburo member.
On Dec 19th, Workers of Shanthi gears and members of Workers' Right Movement organised another public meeting at Coimbatore which was presided over by Com. Gopal, President of Shanthi gears and addressed by Com. Kumarasamy. Com Chandran, District president of AICCTU and General secretary of Shanthi gears employees union also spoke on the occasion.
GBMs of local committees and branches were held at Salem, Tanjore-Nagapattinam, Karur, Chennai, Tirunelveli, Vilupuram and Namakkal districts on December 18th.
CPI(ML) Delegation Meets UP's Chief Home Secretary
A 3-member delegation represented by Comrade Ramji Rai, Politburo member, met the Chief Home Secretary Mr. Anil Kr Gupta on 20 December and demanded adequate and just treatment of the riot hit victims living in camps and elsewhere. The delegation also raised other matters. The delegation expressed its anguish at the carelessness and abdication of responsibility by the destrict administration in looking after those who have taken refuge in the relief camps.
Apart from demanding food, health care and all urgent basic materials for battling the cold, the delegation told the Home Secretary that no administrative pressure should be put on those families who do not want to return to their villages, and the compensation to those families be immediately provided that is commensurate to their losses.
Another demand was the withdrawal of all 8 cases by the state against agitationists and Dr. Mohammad Israr Khan, a Professor of Ruhelkhand Univ. and leader of peasants protesting against forcible land acquisition for a bypass in Bareilly. The issue of no action so far in the matter of murderous attempt on Comrade Ramesh Singh Sengar's life by the mining mafia in UP was also raised and urgent action was demanded.
Fund raising campaign for Muzaffarnagar riot victims
Tamilnadu: The Chennai city committee organised fund collection campaign for the Muzaffarnagar communal riot victims, at Triplicane area and collected Rs.5000 on the first day. The Coimbatore District committee also organised a fund raising campaign and Rs.5000 was collected. People from across all religious affiliations donated for the riot victims. In Salem and Pudukottai also Campaigns are going on and Pamphlets are being distributed among masses detailing the conditions of victims in camps and asked to donate liberally to help victims.
Jharkhand: At Ranchi also, a CPI(ML) team went house to house and shop to shop in markets collecting relief fund for those in relief camps. About 500 houses were visited on the first day of relief collection.
Visit to Muzaffarnagar Relief Camps
A team of leaders & activists of CPI(ML), AISA & JNUSU visited Muzaffarnagar relief camps on 28-29 December and distributed relief materials including 1000 blankets. The team visited two camps and two madrassas. The first was a madrassa at Hussainpur which sheltered 15 families from Mohammadpur, 10 from Kheragani & 5 from Bhorkala. At Budhana camp, about 500 people living in deplorable conditions as they didn't even have tents put up for them. They were all huddled in single large tent which was clearly insufficient to in habitat all of them. At the next madrassa, around 300 blankets were distributed. The last visit was to relief camp Jaula camp of around 3000 people. The victims at this camp belong to the worst affected areas of Fugana, Kutba, Lisadh etc. At this camp, small tents have been put up, small enough to force few family members out in the freezing cold. Then we hear insensitive bureaucrats saying (among many other things) "children [in the camps] have died of pneumonia, not of cold. Nobody can die of cold. If people died of cold, nobody would have been alive in Siberia."
This was the first dispatch of the collected relief material. Soon a team would leave for a second round in the first week of January. The team comprised of JNUSU VP Anubhuti, Jt.Secy. Sarfaraj; Abhishek, AISA activist; DU AISA Secretary Harsh, VP Prerna; Jamia AISA Secretary Farhan, Comrades Prashant, Pradeep from Meerut, Alam from Bareily. The team was accompanied by Comrades Prem Singh Gehlawat (Party's Haryana incharge and Aslam of RYA.
CPI(ML)'s Chennai District conference held
12th Chennai district conference of CPI(ML) was held on 22 December at Ambattur. The Venue was named after Comrade Srinivasan. Outgoing committee's district secretary Sekar Presided. Com. Janakiraman was the observer. Out of 125 delegates elected, total of 111 delegates and 32 observers attended the conference. Total of 32 women comrades including those as observers, attended. It began with the resolution on Martyrs' presented by Com Kumaresh. Comrade Kumarasamy addressed the conference after the deliberations by delegates on the draft document. Rs 1,10,000 towards the subscription of Tamil Party organ "Theepori" of 1,100 persons were handed over to Com Manjula, CC member and also the member of editorial board. Conference debated on election results of Delhi, decline of Maoists in Nepal, on preparing for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections and on how to build an active Party organisation among rural poor of Chennai city.
Many resolutions including a demand for 1000 bed government hospital , Arts college and playground for Ambattur area which is now part of Corporation, House site pattas for the urban poor as promised by ruling party during elections, declare minimum wage as Rs.15000 etc. were passed. It has also been decided to reach out to 2 lakh people with a signature campaign in the month of January 2014 and also organise mass rallies at Ambattur and Sriperumpudur during Feb 2014.
CPI(ML), AISA and RYA Hold Protest against Forcible Eviction of Slum Residents in Delhi
The Delhi Administration came to evict the residents of the slum near Mansarovar Park Metro Station. After protesting at the Northern Railway DRM's office the DRM assured that the residents will not be evicted till March and said that immediately 400 blankets will be distributed among the residents. We demand that Northern Railway and MCD take full responsibility of rehabilitation of the residents of the sum.
Mass convention for the Homeless in Kanyakumari district
Expressing their sufferings due to homelessness, unorganized, semi-urban poor women overwhelmingly urged the AIADMK govt for immediate distribution of house sites and houses to them as was promised in the election manifesto. Around 900 people, almost all women assembled for the CPI(ML)'s people's convention held in Nagercoil on 28th December. The convention resolved that if the long pending demand is not met, we will start an indefinite agitation starting January 26th. Several speakers charged the AIADMK govt for refusing people their due right of house site and houses, but shielding the land-grabbers and real estate barons who are looting public lands. Fifty acres prime land worth of 1000 crore been illegally occupied by a Congress ex-MLA with the connivance of corrupt officials. This land was donated by the King of Travancore to the arachhas (a community).
Condemn WB Police's Abduction of Gang Rape Victim's Body in Kolkata
January 1, 2014
The West Bengal police's attempt to abduct the body of the Madhyamgram gang rape victim in Kolkata, and forcibly cremate it without the family's presence, is shameful and shocking. Clearly the police's attempt was to prevent any public protest from building around the cremation. This latest incident reflects the assault on democratic dissent and the deeply misogynistic hostility towards rape survivors, that has marked the Trinamool Congress Government headed by Mamata Banerjee right from the start, in countless incidents.
On New Year's Day last year, the whole country was in the midst of an agitation following the gangrape of Jyoti Singh on December 16th, who also succumbed after a long battle with death. This year, again, another young girl has lost her life after a long and painful struggle. The Madhyamgram victim of gangrape was gangraped again on her way back from filing a police complaint. Later, assailants entered her home and set her on fire - an incident the police tried to paint as an act of self immolation. Finally, on new year's eve, she lost her battle for life.
The West Bengal Govt must resign for its habitual hostility towards rape survivors and for its shameful insult to the rape victim's body.
The CPI(ML) Uttarakhand State Committee has expressed profound grief at the sudden demise of Party member in Nainital, Comrade Mohan Singh. He was only 48. A condolence meet was organised at Haldwani State Office attended by many including State Secretary Comrade Rajendra Pratholi. Comrade Mohan Singh joined communist led peasant movement in UP at a very early age in life. He was from Bahedi and fought in many peasant struggles in Bareilly. At present he was leading the sugarcane growers' movement in Bareilly and also actively helping organise Nainital Film Festivals every year. On 31st December 2013, he met with a fatal accident. The condolence meet described the tragedy as a big loss for the communist and peasant movement. In the evening of 31st December he was to lead a big programme of peasants at Bahedi. His death comes at a time when his need for the people's movement was more.
Red Salute to Comrade Mohan Singh!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org