Thursday, February 26, 2015

ML Update | No.09 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 09, 24 FEB – 02 MARCH 2015

The Exit of Jitan Ram Manjhi and 

the Agenda of Assertion of the Oppressed People in Bihar Politics

fter nine months of professed 'renunciation' of office, Nitish Kumar has secured his 're-anointment' as the Chief Minister of Bihar. The much awaited showdown between Nitish Kumar and Jitan Ram Manjhi eventually fizzled out rather tamely, as Manjhi tendered his resignation just a little before the scheduled floor test in the Assembly. The support extended by the BJP remained an unused cheque, with its future validity remaining an open question. Nitish Kumar has time till the middle of March to prove his majority.

Kumar now says his decision to resign and hand over power to Jitan Ram Manjhi in the wake of the rout of the JD(U) in the Lok Sabha election of 2014 was an 'emotional' one. Being the calculating and pragmatic politician that he is, Nitish Kumar is not really known for taking 'emotional' decisions. Indeed, the decision to install Jitan Ram Manjhi as the stopgap Chief Minister of Bihar was anything but an 'emotional' gesture. It was a shrewd political move aimed at killing several birds with one stone.

By making Jitan Ram Manjhi the Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar had insulated both his party and government from the immediate impact of the huge defeat suffered in the Lok Sabha elections. He projected himself as a leader who was ready to shoulder responsibility for the defeat. And most significantly, he wanted to convey the message that he was serious about the mahadalit discourse initiated by his government, hoping to claim every credit for 'sacrificing' his own seat of power for a leader coming from the most oppressed and marginalised Musahar caste.

But as Jitan Ram Manjhi began to test Nitish Kumar's calculations with the steady assertion of his new found authority and unmistakable emergence from Kumar's shadow, Nitish Kumar began to panic. The BJP, the party that habitually patronised and defended every massacre of mahadalits in Bihar, discovered great political merit in the symbolism of Jitan Ram Manjhi and got ready to outplay Nitish Kumar in the game he had started with the Manjhi card. But more than anything else, it was perhaps the Delhi election outcome which limited the BJP's options and made sure that the Bihar political drama ended in a rather anti-climactic denouement.

Jitan Ram Manjhi has been a politician of the old Congress school who later switched over to the Janata Dal. He comes from the Gaya-Jahanabad belt of Bihar which witnessed heinous massacres of the rural poor all through the 1980s and 1990s. Manjhi never really spoke out for the dignity, rights and survival of the oppressed people in this turbulent period. Following the political tradition of Jagjivan Ram and Ram Vilas Paswan, and unlike someone like Karpoori Thakur, he never really sympathised with the oppressed poor's battle for social dignity and emancipation.

As Chief Minister, he had the chance to address the basic agenda of the oppressed people. A CPI(ML) delegation met him and asked him to reopen the massacre cases in which the culprits have all been acquitted by the High Court, reinstitute the Amir Das commission whose disbanding had emboldened the Ranvir Sena to resume its campaign of anti-dalit, anti-women violence and initiate measures to implement the recommendations of the Land Reforms Commission. Manjhi did not show any concern for these basic questions of justice, on the contrary he began to hobnob with the BJP, the biggest patron of social injustice and oppression.

Will Manjhi now seek reconciliation with Nitish Kumar to return to the Janata Parivar or will he float a new party and toe the Ram Vilas Paswan line to jump on to the BJP bandwagon? The early indications are he is keeping his options open. Let us leave these speculations to Manjhi who alone can determine his own future political course. What is most important is to reassert the agenda of people's rights, justice and dignity in this new political juncture. Nitish Kumar must be held accountable for betraying the trust the people had reposed in him over his promises of development and good governance.

Towards the very end of its tenure, the Manjhi government took several decisions addressing some of the long-standing demands of Bihar's most deprived and neglected sections of workers and employees. Pressure must be mounted on Nitish Kumar to respect and implement all those decisions. Recent developments have made it abundantly clear that whether it is the Janata Dal or the BJP, both are interested in using Manjhi only as a pawn and the real concerns of Manjhi's community figure nowhere in their scheme of things. The communist banner of class struggle must be held high at this juncture as the real vehicle for the political assertion of the oppressed people.

Red Salute to Comrade Govind Pansare!

Why Are Killers of Pansare and Dabholkar Free?

eteran CPI leader Comrade Govind Pansare, shot at on 16th February, passed away on 20th February. Two armed men had at him and his wife in front of their house in Kolhapur district when they were returning from their morning walk. His wife Comrade Uma also survived a bullet injury.

Like Narendra Dabholkar, his friend and associate, Comrade Pansare too was a pioneer of the rationalist movement in Maharashtra. Dabholkar too was shot dead on his morning walk in August 2013, following threats by Hindutva terrorist groups. His killers are yet to be caught. Following Dabholkar's murder, Comrade Pansare had stepped up pressure on the government for the passage of the Anti-Superstition Bill.

Who killed Comrade Pansare and why? To understand that, one would have to know his work.

In 1984, Comrade Pansare wrote a popular book called Shivaji Kon Hota (Who was Shivaji) on Chhatrapati Shivaji where he challenged the communal misuse of Shivaji by the saffron brigade. The book has been translated into many languages. The books says, "If there are any buyers for their hatred for Islam they should sell it on their own merit. They should not sell their commodity in Shivaji's name. They should not sell that commodity under the brand of Shivaji. At the same time, the Muslims should not equate Shivaji with his image created by these so-called Shivabhaktas. They should look at history; they should appreciate his attitude to Islam religion. Then only they should make their opinion."

This is how Dhaval Kulkarni summarises the Shivaji who emerges from the book, "Shivaji respected all religions, abolished serfdom, framed pro-farmer policies by doing away with arbitrary powers of local satraps (like Deshmukhs) to collect land revenue, took on established interests, and appointed Dalits and backward classes to prominent positions. In contrast with the modern version of the predatory state, Shivaji also warned his soldiers against 'touching a vegetable stalk in the farms of the ryots (farmers)."

The Hindutva outfits were incensed by him because he ripped apart their hijacking of the historical figure of Shivaji for their anti-Muslim agenda.

Comrade Pansare helped organise and support the movements of a range of workers, especially in the unorganised sector. He was a vocal opponent of the Modi Government and the Fadnavis Government, and scathing in his criticism of the Sangh-BJP's two-pronged strategy of appropriating Gandhi's legacy and celebrating Gandhi's killer Godse.

Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan observed, "In the week leading to his murder, Pansareji had spoken out against the forces that glorify Nathuram Godse and had also spoken about the need to re-investigate ATS chief Hemant Karkare's death in light of the fact that Hindutva had targeted Karkare for his indictment of saffron terror and had the most to gain by his death." Recently, he had been leading an anti-toll tax agitation in Kolhapur.

Hindutva outfits like the Sanatan Sanstha (implicated in Dabholkar's murder as well as in blasts in Thane and Goa), had filed a defamation suit against Pansare, who had accused these organisations of fomenting terrorism. Pansare had even received a letter threatening 'Tumcha Dabholkar Karu' ("We'll do a Dabholkar to you").

Modi has assured now that hatred and violence will not be tolerated. But he is yet to say a word against the killing of Comrade Pansare. And he is yet to take any steps to rein in the organisations like the Sanatan Sanstha, which openly incite hatred against activists like Dabholkar and Pansare.

Apart from Dabholkar and Pansare, RTI Satish Shetty is also among the activists who have been killed in the past few years in Maharashtra. Shetty was murdered in Pune for exposing land grab, and the CBI investigation in the murder has made no headway.

Protests were organised on 16th February by left democratic forces all over Maharashtra, including, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Shrirampur. CPIML (Liberation) activists joined the protests in Mumbai and Pune. In both the places, the protests were organised by around 400 people each, despite the last minute call. In Mumbai, a public agitation was held in which CPIML, Lal Nishan Party, Republican Panther, Bigul Majdoor Dasta and AAP participated. In other places, CPI, CPM and Lal Nishan Party attended the protests in major numbers. The CPI(ML) demanded a judicial inquiry on this matter by a sitting Supreme Court judge.

Delhi Police detained a large number of students from various universities and Left groups as they gathered to protest Comrade Pansare's murder.

Land Grab and the Lie of 'Employment, Development'

The Modi Government's Land Acquisition Ordinance nullifies the need for consent and social impact assessment for land acquisition for industrial corridors, security, rural infrastructure, housing and related infrastructure, and social infrastructure including projects under government and PPP models. This effectively opens the flood gate for land grab without consent by any public/private entity under any pretext!

The condition under Section 101 of the 2013 law, which requires that land not used for 5 years be returned to the owner, has been altered thus: "The time limit which has been set for a project or 5 years, whichever is later". This opens the doors for real estate mafia to acquire land, sit on it, and then sell it when the land prices have shot up.

To justify the urgency of this Land Grab Ordinance, the Modi Government has claimed that land acquisition for industry and infrastructure is necessary to generate jobs and promote development.

The CAG Performance Audit Report on Special Economic Zones exposes the fact that land grab under the 'public purpose' clause has resulted in massive diversion of land for commercial real estate purposes, and that the claims of generating jobs and development have been a big lie. The Land Grab Ordinance is only setting the stage for more scams on the lines of the SEZ Scam, that will loot land and impoverish peasants to fill corporate real estate coffers.

CAG Report Exposes SEZ Scam : The SEZ Act 2005 (as well as SEZ Acts in states such as Odisha and West Bengal, enacted prior to the 2005 national act) all claimed to be a panacea for 'development'. People's movements resisting land grab for SEZs (at Raigad, Kalinganagar, Nandigram and Jagatsinghpur, and other places) have been met with firing and repression, and been branded as 'enemies' of development and employment-generation. The colonial 1894 Land Acquisition Act facilitated such land grab, deeming that farmers' consent was not needed as long as land was acquired for 'public purpose'.

 The CAG Report lays bare the truth – that the people's movements were right and the pro-corporate Governments were liars.

The Report observes:

"Though the objective of the SEZ is employment generation, investment, exports and economic growth, however, the trends of the national databases on economic growth of the country, trade, infrastructure, investment, employment etc do not indicate any significant impact of the functioning of the SEZs on the economic growth.

"Out of 45635.63 ha of land notified in the country for SEZ purposes, operations commenced in only 28488.49 ha (62.42 %) of land. In addition, we noted a trend wherein developers approached the government for allotment/purchase of vast areas of land in the name of SEZ. However, only a fraction of the land so acquired was notified for SEZ and later denotification was also resorted to within a few years to benefit from price appreciation. In terms of area of land, out of 39245.56 ha of land notified in the six States, 5402.22 ha (14%) of land was denotified and diverted for commercial purposes in several cases. Many tracts of these lands were acquired invoking the 'public purpose' clause. Thus land acquired was not serving the objectives of the SEZ Act."

To summarize:

•Vast areas of land were acquired for 'public purpose' SEZs. But most of the land remained unused and were later diverted for commercial real estate purposes. This is a scam of massive proportions, and concerned Chief Ministers and the then Prime Minister ought to be criminally prosecuted for this scam.

•The CAG report also notes the environmental violations of the coastal Adani SEZ in Gujarat, in which both the then Modi-led State Government and the UPA Government were complicit, and which fisherpeople's and farmers' groups in Gujarat had exposed.

•The Land Grab Ordinance now again aims to do exactly what the SEZ scam achieved – grab land without peasants' consent in the name of 'public purpose', and divert that land for real estate profits. This is why the five-year time limit for using acquired land is also being scrapped.

•SEZs fail to generate economic growth, jobs, infrastructure, investment. Those were just lies to justify robbing peasants of land and India of its food security. The same lies are being peddled in favour of the Land Grab Ordinance now.

•The CAG report also tries to calculate the massive amount spent on SEZs in terms of sops, tax exemptions, and so on (Rs 1.76 lakh crore, according to 83rd Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce

•on Functioning of SEZs, June 2007) but recognizes that tax sops are actually even more massive since they were 'hidden' and disguised.

•In fact SEZs robbed India's poor peasants and adivasis of land, livelihood and jobs on a massive scale. The CAG report indicates the incalculable cost borne by the nation, of this massive loot of jobs, fertile fields, environment villages, lives and food security.

On 23rd February, on the call of the All India Kisan Mahasabha, gram sabhas all over the country met to pass resolutions demanding scrapping of the Land Grab Ordinance and an end to the moves to curtail MNREGA and Food Security coverage. These resolutions will be submitted to the President of India and Lok Sabha Speaker following the Jan Sansad in Delhi by people's movements on 16th March, following the launch of the All India People's Forum.

"Demand Fortnight" Observed by Kissan Mahasabha

The Bihar state council of the Akhil Bharatiya Kissan Mahasabha organized protest demonstrations in front of the block headquarters across Bihar between 27 January to 12 February 2015 to demand that the paddy be purchased from sharecroppers and small and medium farmers at Rs 1660 per quintal without having to show the papers of land ownership. Other major demands included- registration, identity cards and kisan credit cards and agricultural loans to all sharecroppers and lease holding farmers, subsidized seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, fixing of farming rates as the level of the government, loan waivers (government as well as moneylenders'), diesel subsidy, crop damage compensation in case of floods or famine, guarantee of a fixed period of farming without fear of eviction, and roll back of the land grab ordinance. Thousands of farmers and sharecroppers joined the protests.

Protests and meetings were held at Daudnagar (Aurangabad) with strong participation by small and medium farmers demanding elimination of middlemen, compensation for loss of potato crop, and parchas for land occupied on the banks of river Sone. At Arwal and Karpi farmers protested along with 3 and 7 tractors of paddy respectively. Similarly at Kurtha block hundreds of farmers protested along with their paddy. Protests were also held at Chakai block in Jamui district. At Beguserai Khemas, Kisan Mahasabha and CPI(ML) jointly protested in front of the Collectorate and put forward the farmers' demands. On 30 Jan various Left organizations took out a joint protest march in Beguserai. Protests and dharnas were organized at Darauli block in Siwan district, Bairiya block in Western Champaran and Darbhanga district.

"Paddy purchase fortnight" was observed in Patna district in the form of kisan dharnas in front of block headquarters. A 10 point memorandum was submitted through the BDOs to the Chief Minister. Farmers were mobilized through leaflets and village meetings. These programmes were organized at Naubatpur, Dulhin Bazar, Punpun, Bikram, Sampatchak, Paliganj, Dhanrua, Masauri, Fatuha, Bihata, and Maner.

A three day kisan jagaran yatra (farmers' awareness journey) was taken out in Hajipur, proceeding through Hajipur, Bidupur, Rajapakar, Desri, Sahdei Bujurg, Jandaha, Mahnar and Patepur blocks and encompassing 48 nukkad/village meetings. On 30 Jan 400 farmers and sharecroppers with their paddy protested at the Hajipur block HQ. A total of 2500 quintal paddy was purchased by the administration on this day. Hundreds of farmers protested in Nalanda district on 12 Feb.

The Kisan Mahasabha demanded purchase of paddy up to April 15 and elimination of middlemen. About 500 farmers staged a road block in Dumrao block in Buxar district on 28 Feb. Protests and meetings were organized in Rajpur block on 2 Feb. Between 4 Feb and 11 Feb protests were organized at Nawagarh, Chougai, Kesath, where the speakers pointed out the anti farmer policies of the govt which were responsible for the farmers' woes.

In Bhojpur, the administration of 9 blocks, namely Jagdishpur, Piro, Tarari, Sahar, Charpokhri, Sandesh, Agiaon, Gadhani and Udwantnagar, had to bow down before the protesting farmers who had come with their paddy, and purchase the paddy at 1660 per quintal. The dhan kharido movement began at Jagdishpur where farmers brought paddy loaded on 37 tractors in a procession from Naykatola crossing to the block headquarters. On 2 Feb around 2000 quintals of paddy was brought to Charpokhri block. On 4 Feb about 225 tractors of paddy were brought to Agiaon block. In Agiaon and Gadhani the farmers stopped all work for 4 days through road blocks and dharnas. In Sahar block sharecropping farmer Mohd. Nasir Hussain sat on an indefinite hunger strike along with his 88 quintals of paddy as the purchase centre in-charge refused to purchase his paddy. On 14 Feb the Kisan Mahasabha organized a huge meeting in support of Mohd. Nasir Hussain. On 15 Feb the BDO gave the assurance of meeting his demands and he ended his hunger strike.

The dhan kharido andolan has created awareness in the sharecroppers and farmers who are now expressing their anger against the government, middlemen, and administration.

Struggle against Gang Rape and Murder of Adivasi Girl in Jharkhand continues

On 15 December 2014, two tribal girls employed as cleaning workers in a hotel were gangraped by the employer in the hotel premises in Ramgarh district. One of the girls died due to the injuries caused during the brutal sexual assault. Soon after the incident was brought to light by the fact finding team comprising of CPI(ML) and RYA activists, CPI(ML) and AIPWA have been engaged in a sustained struggle to help the victims obtain justice even as most Jharkhand parties continue remaine silent on this matter. AIPWA National General Secretary Meena Tiwari along with a 15 member AIPWA team visited the village on 4 February, met and spoke with the rape victim and her parents, the parents of the dead victim, as well as other villagers. The team attempted to meet the Jharkhand Chief Minister, chairperson of the Women's Commission, and Minister for Women and Child Development, but none gave the team an appointment. On 6 February AIPWA and RYA staged a dharna at the Ramgarh block headquarters. Addressing the dharna Meena Tiwari said that the poor people and adivasis would give a prompt and fitting reply to the BJP Government. Through the dharna a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister was submitted to the SDO, demanding among other things- speedy trial, immediate arrest of the two rapists and investigation of the role of the station in charge in trying to shield the guilty, action against the doctor who wrote a false medical report on the death of the victim and compensation for the victims. On 12 February, the Foundation Day of AIPWA, women in large numbers protested in Deogarh, Kodarma, Rajdhanwar, Garhwa, Dumka, Gomiya, and Ranchi, after which the charter of demand was sent to the Chief Minister. It has been decided that if these demands are not met, a protest will be held in front of the CM on 2 March.

Obituary : Prof. Tulsi Ram

Professor Tulsi Ram's untimely demise at the age of 65 years took place on 13 February at Rockland Hospital in Faridabad. Till his last breath he continued his fight against the politics, ideology and culture of communal – religious violence, superstition and social and economic inequalities.

Tulsi Ram joined the left movement by associating with AISF and CPI during his days in Banaras Hindu University. Later he joined JNU and after his finishing his PhD in International Politics, got appointment as a faculty in the same university. Besides engaging in research in Marxism, International Politics, in particular the international politics during the period of Soviet Union, he also studied Buddhist perspectives and Ambedkarism, assimilating his understandings of them in his larger understanding of politics.

Besides being very well grounded in Ambedkarite thought, he remained a Marxist till his last breath. He never resorted to rhetoric or non-constructive criticism of the work culture of Communist parties on the issue of caste. Instead, he used the platforms available to him to present his nuanced understanding and analysis of the caste question. He wanted to resolve this question by engaging in criticism and introspection from within the Marxist organizational structure.

Today, when the Dalit movement is undergoing a great crisis and a deep process of introspection and inner struggle is underway, Prof. Tulsi Ram's absence will be keenly felt. He used to say that one of the most dangerous trends for Dalit movement was the Dalits becoming casteist, and about the politics of BSP he used to say that BSP is making Dalits casteist.

Prof. Tulsi Ram played a significant role in the promotion and development of Dalit literature. His also played a crucial role as the President of Dalit Writers' Association. He explained Dalit literature as the literature of liberation of the entire humankind. As a left activist he remained anti-imperial till the very end. 'CIA- Rajnaitik Vidhwans ka Amriki Hathiyar' (CIA- American tool of Political Demolition), 'The History of Communist Movement in Iran', 'Ideology in Soviet-Iran Relations', and 'Angola ka Mukti Sangharsh' (Freedom Struggle of Angola) are some his prominent works. Prof. Tulsi Ram also edited the magazine 'Ashvaghosh'. In 2012 he was part of the Citizens for Justice for Bathani Tola platform. His demise is an irreparable damage to the culture of rational and dialectical materialist intellectual traditions and the Left-Dalit movements in India.


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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ML Update | 08 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 08, 17 – 23 FEBRUARY 2015

Challenge Islamophobic and Racist Violence in the US and India


The murder of three young Muslims in the US, followed by the brutal violence by US police on an aged Indian man, Sureshbhai Patel, have once again shone the spotlight on deeply entrenched Islamophobia and racism in the USA.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a Muslim man Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha were gunned down in their home by a white neighbor. The killer had been reportedly been expressing prejudice and hatred for the hijab worn by Yusor Abu-Salha, and had picked fights before with the Muslim family.

In a familiar pattern, the US police are trying to portray the killings as the consequence of a 'parking dispute' rather than an Islamophobic hate crime. This is reminiscent of the Delhi Police chief trying to portray targeted vandalization and desecration of churches in India's national capital as a 'robbery', comparable to 'robberies' of temples.

The US media also largely ignored and trivialized the murders, thereby reflecting their own unwillingness to recognize and challenge Islamophobia. But local people, including neighbours, co-workers, and fellow students of the three victims, came out in large numbers to protest the hate crime. On social media also, outrage over the killings spilt over with the 'Muslim Lives Matter' hashtag, striking a chord with ongoing protests against racist murders that had used the 'Black Lives Matter' hashtag.

Soon after, in Alabama, police officers slammed an old Indian man on the ground, breaking his neck and partially paralyzing him. Sureshbhai Patel was visiting his son's family to help take care of his baby grandson. Seeing Sureshbhai on a walk in the neighbourhood, a neighbor reported to the police that a "skinny black guy" was wandering about, leading him to fear about his wife's safety. Sureshbhai communicated to the police that he was from India and could not speak English. But the senior police officer threw Sunilbhai on the ground, grievously injuring him.

Initially the Alabama police put out a press release justifying the police brutality and blaming Sureshbhai for disobeying the police. But following diplomatic intervention by India, the police officer has been sacked and arrested.

It would be a mistake to assume that the police behaviour against Sureshbhai Patel was an aberration. The attack on Sureshbhai is part of a pattern of similar incidents involving police high-handedness and killings of Black and Latina people in the US. In fact, the senior police officer who attacked Sureshbhai was giving the younger trainee officer a lesson in routine racist high-handedness and brutality. Aware that his actions and words were being recorded, he kept up a commentary falsely implying that Sureshbhai was being non-cooperative and violent. And in incident after incident of killings of Black and Latina men, the US police have literally got away with murder. They would have got away in Sureshbhai's case too, were it not for the diplomatic issues involved.

Indian civil liberties activists in the US have pointed out that it is not enough to respond to the attack on Sureshbhai by 'educating' US police officers to distinguish Indian Hindus from Blacks, or from Araband South Asian Muslims. Instead, the effort must be to forge solidarity between Black and Arab communities as well as South Asians of all faiths, to resist the fresh surge in racism and Islamophobia in the US.

At the same time, our outrage over the prejudice and violence meted out to Sureshbhai Patel in the US, must also serve to make us introspect about xenophobia and anti-Black racism in India. When Black people are subjected to mob violence in India, the politicians and police here, too, tend to blame such violence on 'criminal activities' by 'foreign nationals' rather than on racist prejudice. When people from North Eastern states are attacked in Indian cities, the police try to claim that the incidents are random rather than racist. Violence against Muslim economic migrants and refugees alike tends to be justified, celebrated and promoted as action against 'Bangladeshi infiltrators'.

Communal hatred and violence, at the hands of Hindu majoritarian groups as well as by police, against religious minorities in India has been systematic and state-sponsored. The BJP continues to systematically use anti-minority hatred and violence to expand its presence across India. Following President Obama's remarks on the need to curb religious intolerance and by the scathing call by New York Times for Modi to break his silence, the Indian Prime Minister has finally declared his Government's commitment to uphold religious freedom of all Indians. But these vague statements are mere lip service, given that no action has been taken against members of Modi's own Cabinet and his team of MPs who have been at the forefront of the hate-mongering. Further, his words ring hollow in the face of the systematic persecution of activists who have been striving to pursue cases of communal violence in which Modi himself is implicated, and the systematic impunity to the BJP President and police officers who staged fake encounters of Muslim men and women in Gujarat on Modi's own watch.

The Chapel Hill murders and the assault on Sureshbhai Patel have reminded us all that Islamophobic, racist and xenophobic prejudice and violence are no less a problem in the US than in India. The way forward is for movements against communalism, Islamophobia and racism in India, the US, UK and other countries to join hands with each other in closer solidarity and united struggle.


Mid Day Meal Workers Struggles in Bihar

In the workshop organized by the party in Muzaffarpur on 21-22 September 2014, it was decided to intensify and speedup the process of uniting the mid-day meal workers in Bihar. Since of the 1, 86,000 mid day meal workers, nearly 1, 25,000 of them are women, it was further decided that it would be most appropriate to bring them together under the banner of AIPWA under the leadership of AIPWA leaders. In keeping with this decision, efforts were initially started to bring together the women mid day meal workers in four blocks of Patna district- Fatuha, Dulhin Bazar, Punpun and Paliganj. Their main demands are- 1) As per the resolution no. 2401/20.7.07 passed by the General Administration Department of Bihar, pay an honorarium of 15,000/- per month, on a regular basis (at present they are paid merely 1000/- per month); 2) All the cooks should be given the status of government employee and thereafter they should be provided the facilities due to a fourth class employee; 3) All the cooks should be given an identity card and a uniform; 4) All the cooks be provided with the benefits of ESI and EPF; 5) all the cooks should be included in the accident and health insurance policies; 6) Female cooks should be provided with the facility to avail maternity leave, emergency leave and special leave; 7) the pending honorarium of all the cooks should be immediately paid; 8) The honorarium due to all the employees be deposited in their account; 9) The cooks should not be made to job that are not a part of their job profile, such as cleaning school premises, cleaning toilets, washing utensils, etc.; 10) All the mid day meal workers should be treated with dignity and should not be threatened with expulsion threats.

Focusing on the above mentioned demands, demonstrations were held in Dulhin Bazaar on 28 January, in Paliganj on 29 January and in Punpun on 4 February. Prior to the demonstration in Punpun, a convention was also held on 1 February in which 45 mid day meal workers were also present. Nearly 150 mid day meal workers participated in the demonstration in Dulhin Bazar, 100 in Paliganj and about 200 in Punpun. The state AIPWA President, Com. Saroj Dubey was present in all the demonstrations and after each demonstrations, the charter of demands was presented to the block officers.

On 1st February, 2015, a unit of State Midday Meal Workers' Association was also established in a convention held in Fatuha in which nearly 225 mid day meal workers participated. They shared their difficulties and problems. The convention ended with the formation of 23 member committee and by a passing a resolution to ensure the success of the programmes undertaken for 12 February and 24 March 2015, in continuation of the early initiatives.

On 12 February 2015, thousands of midday meal workers under the banners of State School Midday Meal Workers' Association and AIPWA staged demonstrations in different districts in front of the district officials. In the state capital, Patna, the protest demonstrations were led by state AIPWA President Com. Saroj Chaubey, state AIPWA Jt. Secretary Com. Anita Sinha, Patna AIPWA Vice President cum Sinhi Panchayat head, Com. Asha Devi along with several other state and district level AIPWA leaders. In Bhojpur district, the protests demonstrations were led by AIPWA General Secretary Com. Meena Tiwari and in Nawada, they were led by the Com. Shashi Yadav, AIPWA Secretary. In Gaya, the protest demonstrations were led by Comrade Reeta Baranwaal and in Siwan, Comrades Sohila Gupta, Malti Ram, Kumanti Ram led the protests along with other leaders.

In the protest demonstrations held in Patna, the speakers pointed out how in Bihar, the mid day meal workers were being paid only Rs. 33/- day for only ten months in a year, despite working for nearly 8 to 8 ½ hours every day. This was in clear violation of resolution no. 2401/20.7.2007 of the Bihar government's Common Administrative Department according to which the workers were to be paid an honorarium of Rs.15,000/month. In protest demonstrations in different states, the workers pointed out how even the current wages were paid after considerable delays and not deposited in their accounts. The charter of demands of the mid day workers were submitted to the district officials of the different districts.

First State Convention of the Insaaf Manch in Bihar 


The 'Insaaf Manch' (Platform for Justice) was formed an year ago in Muzaffarpur to raise the voices of minorities, dalits and women. In one of its major initiatives, the Insaaf Manch had organized successful movements against witch hunting of minority youth who were falsely implicated by NIA in terror cases. In some of the cases relating to the Patna bomb blasts, the NIA had been forced to release boys whom it had initially picked up and tortured, and in one case, mass protests by villagers themselves had prevented NIA from being able to abduct and torture a young man.

The Insaaf Manch has also made significant interventions in the cases involving mass killings of Dalits. The Insaaf Manch held its founding Bihar State convention on 15 February 2015The convention was held at the Gate Public Library in Patna. CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, President of the UP unit of Rihar Manch, Mohd. Shoaib Inqualabi, Convenor of the Inquilabi Muslim Conference, Com. Salim, and others participated in the conference.

Addressing the convention, Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that it is not the ruling class but the common masses who will set the political agenda of the country. The slogan of 'sabka saath-sabka vikas' (support of all- development for all) has been proved to be a lie. The issues of the common masses included- home, food, employment, land, peace and harmony and these were the agenda for people's struggles. After coming to power with a clear majority, BJP has speeded up the economic policies introduced in the 90's, is running the government mainly by way of ordinances and instead of fulfilling the promises it made to people, it has started working for the benefit of a handful of rich corporations and imperialist interests. Meanwhile the RSS has started showing its true colours and its cadre is enjoying complete support from the central government. The BJP government had not only compromised the sovereignty of the country by signing the nuclear deal but had also endangered the life of the citizens. However, the Delhi elections had shown that people were not pleased with the policies of the BJP government. He also spoke about how the youth from minority communities were being targeted in the name of fighting terrorism. The Insaaf Manch, he said, had proved to be a platform reflecting the concerns of democratic citizens for the young boys and men who are picked up and tortured by security agencies to falsely accuse them of terrorism.

Referring to the current political situation in Bihar, Com. Dipankar pointed out that while on one hand, Nitish Kumar who had initially made Jitan Ram Manjhi the CM of Bihar was now bent on having him removed. On the other hand, BJP which had over the years provided political patronage to those responsible for the numerous mass killings of Dalits and had compared Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Mukhiya to Gandhi, was now trying to prove itself as a well wisher of the Mahadalits by supporting Jitan Ram Manjhi. The attitude of both the JD (U) and the BJP towards Mahadalits is evident from their own actions.

Com. Salim, the national convenor of the Inquilabi Muslim Conference, in his speech said that in times when the fascist forces were trying to run their dictatorship in the country and the secularism and democracy were under threat, the struggles fought by the Insaaf Manch in Bihar were indeed laudable. He cautioned that the attempts of the BJP to destroy the secular fabric of the country and compromise it's sovereignty for the benefit of handful of individuals and the US, will be strongly resisted and defeated.

Prof. Jameel Saheb, Anwar Hussain, Islamuddin, Neyaz Ahmad, Shahid Muzaffarpuri, Manoj Manzil and several other leaders also addressed the convention. In their speeches, they all pointed out that the minority communities had now understood how the ruling parties assumed silence on the question of justice be it in the case of witch hunting of Muslim youth in the name of terrorism or on the issue of justice to the victims of mass killings of Dalits in Laxmanpur Bathe and Bathani Tola. They spoke about the hope of justice that the Insaaf Manch had been able to inspire among the minorities and the Dalits through their various initiatives and interventions.

Towards the closing of the convention, a 57 member state level committee was formed with Mohd. Iftekhaar Aalam as the President and Suraj Kumar Singh as the Secretary. 

Workshop for women workers in Uttar Pradesh

A workshop for women workers was jointly organized by AIPWA and AICCTU in Kanpur on 25 January 2015. The women workers who participated in the conference included women working in factories, nursing homes and laundries in Kanpur and also the mid day meal workers in the state primary schools. Addressing the participants, state Jt. Secretary of AIPWA Com. Kusum Verma said that in the present times when the current government was planning to introduce several anti-workers' policies and laws, it was important that the workers working in different areas unite to resist and defeat such moves. She added that women workers had to put with double oppression. From home to work, they had to face insecurity and discrimination. She pointed out that provisions like day care facilities at work places for children of working women, double wages for overtime and secure transportation service for women working in night shifts were integral parts of labour laws and that AIPWA and AICCTU would unite working women to assertively raise these demands and ensure equal wages and dignified working conditions for women. Addressing the workshop, the district president of AIPWA, Com. Shivani Verma said that under the present system, working women have to play a dual role in societal development. One hand they have to take up the responsibility of raising their children and on the other hand participate in the production process. However given the patriarchal structures, they have to face oppression on both fronts. During the workshop, the honorary President of AIPWA, Com. Vidya Rajwar that there were provisions for providing free education to the children of working women and for providing them with cycles for the purpose of commutation under the 'U.P. Buildings and other construction workers welfare ordinance' and these could be availed only by mobilizing and uniting with organization's struggles.

Construction Workers' Protest in Lucknow

On 22 December 2015, nearly 300 construction workers demonstrated outside the office of Deputy Labour Commissioner under the banner of the AICCTU affiliated Construction Workers' Union, to protest against the obstacles being posed in the registration and delivery of benefits to the workers and in support of their basic rights. Secretary of the Construction Workers Union, Nomi Laal, other leaders of construction workers- Kaamta Prasad, Bhanumati, Keshav Mishra, Geeta ji, District in charge of CPI (ML) Com. Ramesh Singh Sengar, leader of Railway Workers' Union, Com. Magan ji and Scooter India Workers' Union Aarbi Singh addressed the protest demonstration. The leaders pointed out the big scale rigging that was taking place and also that for long they had they been demanding that the opinions of the registered workers' unions be taken into account. However no heed was being paid to these demands. Our union has been demanding that basic provisions such as night shelters at labour sites, toilets, tin shades for resting purpose and safe drinking water facilities be provided to the construction workers. However, neither has any action been taken so far by the concerned authorities, nor have they even bothered to provide any updates regarding the progress on the aforementioned demands. Several speakers also raised the demands of providing identity cards and ration cards to all the workers who had come from the outside states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh or even from districts in UP outside Lucknow. They also demanded that the names of these workers, who had given their sweat and blood for the development of Lucknow, be added in the BPL list and they should be given places to stay. The speakers also pointed out that while certain provisions did exist for the registered workers such as provision of Rs.1,00,000/- for building house for workers who have land, it was unlikely for a construction worker to have land in Lucknow. During the protests, list of demands were submitted to the concerned authorities which included- 1) Camps be organized on construction sites on specified dates and time for the registration of construction workers; 2) Provisions such as toilets, tin shades for taking rest and drinking water facility, be made available on construction sites; 3) All construction workers be issued red ration cards and their names be included in the BPL list; 4) Colonies should be established for providing housing facilities to construction workers; 5) There should be effective mechanisms to ensure that wages usurped by the building owners or builders be paid to the workers; 6) There should effective mechanisms to ensure that the provisions and benefits guaranteed to the workers through various laws are made available to them.

Protest against Hindu Mahasabha's threats on valentines day

The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha had issued threats prior to 14 February that couples seen holding hands or displaying any other form of affection publicly on the Valentine's Day would be forcibly married off. The Hindu Mahasabha had further warned of conducting ghar waapsi in case of inter-religious couples. Responding to such anti constitutional diktats that reflect utter disdain towards individuals' freedom to choose and express, several progressive organizations including AISA and JNUSU, called for a protest outside the Hindu Mahasabha office in Delhi on 14 February 2015. In a creative form of protest, the students and youth had come with garlands and musical instruments daring the Hindu Mahasabha cadre to carry out their threats of marrying them. The protestors included couples belonging to different religions, castes and sexual identities. They raised slogans on the lines of "Fall in love, not in line"; "No Man shall be discriminated for wearing a sari and no woman shall be violated for a short skirt"; "In love, our consent is all that matters, we neither fear your threats, nor your fetters"! However, the Delhi police instead of protecting the rights of common citizens and taking actions against those who had issued threats chose to cordon off the area outside the Mahasabha office and detain the protestors who were only asserting their right to choice and expression. While the political patronage accorded to the threat issuing cadres of saffron brigade was clearly evident, the students and youth demonstrated that they were not the ones to bow done in face of such right wing threats.

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, February 12, 2015

ML Update | No. 07 | FEB 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 07 | 10 - 16 FEB 2015

Delhi Gives Modi His First Big Jolt
Just nine months after the BJP's sweeping Lok Sabha victory under Modi's stewardship, Delhi has handed out the BJP a crushing defeat in the elections to the Delhi Assembly. In May 2014, the BJP had bagged all the 7 LS seats in Delhi with a lead in 60 of the 70 Assembly segments. In February 2015, the outcome stands spectacularly reversed with the BJP reduced to just three seats and the AAP securing way above half of the polled vote and an astounding seat tally exceeding even the 95% mark.

The Delhi verdict stands out for its unprecedented intensity and sharp clarity. To be sure, the verdict must be seen primarily in the specific context of Delhi where the AAP had struck a popular chord with its brief stint of 49 days before Arvind Kejriwal had dramatically resigned. This time round, Delhi has voted overwhelmingly to give AAP the strongest possible mandate and the fullest opportunity to translate its promises into reality. The urban poor and every deprived neighbourhood of Delhi voted overwhelmingly for the AAP as did large sections of Delhi's middle class voters.

The BJP must have sensed it coming and so it pressed all it had into service. Modi led the campaign from the front with all the might of his government; Amit Shah applied all his vote-gathering acumen while the RSS brought its fabled organizational network into play. But this was one election in which almost every move of the BJP backfired and contributed to this spectacular electoral rout of the party. And having made it into a huge prestige battle for the Modi government and personally for the Modi cult, there is no way the BJP can now trivialize the defeat and attribute it to some local factors.

Two unmistakable messages emanating from the Delhi elections will keep resonating beyond the borders of Delhi in the coming days. The assertion of the urban poor and working people and young people of Delhi is a reassuring phenomenon in the ongoing battle against corporate plunder and mass deprivation and denial of rights. Instead of talking about migration of voters from this or that party to AAP, one must recognize and respect this decisive assertion of the people. The second feature that stands out is a distinct rebuff against the communal agenda unleashed by the BJP and the growing authoritarian overtones of the Modi regime.

There is also a deeper message about the AAP model of politics. The BJP had sought to discredit and target the AAP as a party which advocated and practiced anarchy. The emphatic victory of the AAP clearly shows that the people of Delhi did not think so. The people were clearly upset and angry with the ill-advised resignation of Arvind Kejriwal, but the AAP attempt at charting a new course combining governance and agitation and shedding trappings of 'VIP culture of the political establishment' has the backing of the people as long as the AAP stays true to its basic promises.

The political evolution of the AAP will continue to evoke interest and attention beyond Delhi. Buoyed by its tremendous initial success in its debut elections to the Delhi Assembly in December 2013, the AAP had tried to spread its net far and wide in the 2014 LS elections with Kejriwal himself taking on Modi in Varanasi. Kejriwal came back apologizing for his resignation and the AAP adopted almost an exclusively Delhi-centric approach, concentrating all its resources and energy in Delhi. It now remains to be seen how the AAP combines its role as the ruling party in Delhi and its attempt at expanding its political presence and role on the national plane.

The post-poll analysis of the Delhi vote makes it abundantly clear that the biggest proportion of AAP votes came from Delhi's urban poor and deprived areas and from dalits and Muslims who traditionally voted for the Congress. Some observers and activists naturally feel tempted to see the rise of the AAP as a sign of 'class war', but it must be remembered that AAP describes its own politics as 'class politics without class struggle' and the economic vision outlined by Kejriwal fully endorses the free market thrust of neo-liberalism while disapproving of the corruption it invariably engenders.

Regardless of how the AAP evolves as a political formation, the Delhi verdict will definitely inspire the people across the country in their ongoing battle against the corporate-communal offensive spearheaded by the Narendra Modi regime. If all the 2014 elections had gone the BJP way, 2015 has begun on a different note. It is now time for the voices of resistance and change to resonate louder and clearer across the length and breadth of India.

All India Conference of Contract Workers in Bangalore

All India Conference of Contract Workers, organized by AICCTU, was held in Bangalore on 1-2 February 2015. More than 5000 contract workers from across the country participated in the conference. On the first day of the conference, workers marched from Freedom Park to Banappa Park in a massive rally organized in support of their demands. The rally saw huge participation of thousands of contract workers that included contract sanitation workers of Bangalore Municipal Corporation (BBMP), contract workers of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), workers from the NIMHANS Hospital, workers employed in public sector undertakings such as HAL, BHEL and BEML, workers from the Bangalore Race Course and MICO-BOSCH, workers in the Ready Mix industries such as RMC, Prism Cements, RDC Concrete, Lafarge and Kennametal WIDIA. Contract workers from Koppal, Davanagere, Mysore and Kolar also joined the rally. Delegates from across the country came to attend the Conference, and took part in the rally.

The rally was followed by a public meeting which was presided over by All India Vice President of AICCTU Com. Shankar. AICCTU general secretary Com. Swapan Mukherjee delivered the inaugural speech. The meeting was addressed by Karnataka State President of the AICCTU Comrade Balan, Bihar State President of AICCTU Comrade Rambhali, Karnataka State Secretary of the CPI(ML) Comrade Bharadwaj, AICCTU State Organising Secretary Clifton D' Rozario, Deepa Pathak from Uttarakhand among others. At the meeting, speakers condemned the increased contractualisation of labour in both the private sector, the public sector and in the government itself. They came down heavily on the Modi government for its pro-corporate and anti-labour policies and its proposed amendments in labour laws. The Modi government's move to amend the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act in a way that will exclude most establishments from the ambit of the laws came under sharp criticism from the delegates. The delegates also spoke of how the Congress and the BJP are no different on this issue and how the Karnataka state Government, in spite of claiming itself to be an opposition party led government, was pursuing anti-labour policies.

An open session on 'Contract Labour , Law and Politics' was held in the evening of 1 Feb, where the Keynote Address was delivered by Com. Rajiv Dimri, All India Secretary of AICCTU. The session was also addressed by leaders of other Left trade unions including CITU, AIUTUC and TUCC. All the speakers called for a broader Left coalition to take on the challenge of increasing contractualisation of the workforce.

All India Contract and Other Workers Federation was launched during the course of the conference to guide and lead the struggles of contract workers across the country.

Com. Balan, from Karnataka was elected as the All India President while Com. Rambhali from Bihar was elected as the All India General Secretary. A resolve was undertaken to march to the Parliament to press for the demands of contract workers. The conference ended with a call for a strong, militant and powerful struggles of contract workers to resist the joint onslaught of the government, industry and the judiciary on the workers of India.

CPI(ML) in the Delhi Elections

In the recently held assembly elections in Delhi, CPI(ML) fielded Com. Surendra Panchal, a veteran activist of the communist workers' movement, from the Narela assembly seat; Com. Ajay Kumar Singh, a trade union activist, who had recently lost his job while fighting for the workers in SMA industrial area, from the Wazirpur assembly segment; and Com. Mala Devi, active among women working as domestic help, from Kondli assembly segment. In all these three assembly segments, CPI(ML) had been running an intense campaign amongst the working class and employees. The campaign included several processions, rallies and street corner meetings. Sangwari,  a cultural group, held several street plays in support of party candidates in all the three assembly areas. These plays highlighted and critiqued the anti-people policies of the Modi government, while strongly raising the demand for an urgent change in the government as well as policies in order to guarantee rights to the common people and especially the working class in Delhi.

7 left parties – CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), Forward Block, RSP, SUCI(C) and Socialist Party(India) – brought out a united appeal urging the people to vote and support the candidates of these parties on the 14 seats contested by them. In order to prevent BJP or Congress from coming to power, the CPI(ML) also issued an appeal requesting people to support AAP candidates in remaining seats, while remaining critical of AAP on several issues.

CPI(ML)'s Statement on 
Detainment of South Gujarat Tribal Activist Jayram Gambit under PASA

CPI (ML) strongly condemns the detainment of South Gujarat tribal activist Jayram Gambit under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA) following the campaign led by him and his associates against the attempts to hand over tribal lands to non tribals largely for mining purposes. In past several years, Gujarat has witnessed severe assaults on the rights and livelihoods of the tribals and increasing instances of land grab by the state for the profit of corporate houses. Additionally, the use of draconian laws like PASA on activists fighting for the oppressed and marginalized, have become a mainstay of the BJP governments in state and the centre. CPI (ML) demands immediate release of Jayram Gambit and an investigation into his unconstitutional detainment. CPI (ML) also extends its support to all the progressive sections fighting against the anti-people policies of the BJP led governments in state and at the centre.

Seminars in UP Against BJP-corporate Control over Media and 
in Defense of Freedom of Expression

In the wake of several assaults on freedom of expression and dissent, and the ouster of journalist Pankaj Srivastava for complaining against biased media coverage, AISA organised seminars in Lucknow University and Allahabad University on freedom of expression and the current state of the electronic media respectively. On 2 February, a seminar was organised in the Students' Union building of Lucknow University on 'Freedom of Expression and the Present Day Context', in which Dr. Pankaj Srivastava, senior journalist and former associate editor with IBN-7, was invited as the main speaker. Addressing the seminar, Pankaj Srivastava pointed out that a handful of corporates are controlling the entire media and all the natural resources and hence they are fearful of peoples' movements and any expression of dissent. In such times, only that amount of 'freedom of expression' is allowed space which does not harm the interests of these corporates and the governments nurtured by them, and therefore the voices of all who try to highlight peoples' resistances are being silenced. He said that the cameras of the media persons remain focused only a select few, and reports on farmers' suicides, displacement of tribals and genocides of dalits never become the breaking news. AISA state president, Sudhanshu Bajpai said that even as some in India raised slogans of 'freedom of expression' post the Paris attacks, when it comes allowing similar tolerance for freedom of expression in India, it is allowed only if it does not pose a threat to the agenda of the ruling establishment and the affluent sections. UP state AIPWA president Tahira Hasan added that the corporate houses were not merely looting our natural resources, but also our freedom of expression, our human rights and our democracy. She emphasized the need to strengthen the people's movements against such onslaughts and said that campus premises could be strongholds of such movements.

The other seminar on the 'current state of electronic media' was organised in the students' union building of the Allahabad University, in which once again Pankaj Srivastava was one of the main speakers. Pankaj Srivastava shared his experience of protesting to the IBN-7 management against the channel's biased coverage on the eve of Delhi assembly elections, for which he has was sacked. He said that not only the was the channel propagating the BJPs communal agenda, it had categorically refused to carry news on farmers' suicide and on the acquittal of all the accused of the Dalit massacre in Shankar Bigha (Bihar) by the Jehanabad district court. Addressing the seminar, Prof. Lalbahadur Verma stressed on the need to find alternatives to the practices of monopolization in media. Sunil Yadav, former editor of Samkaleen Janmat cautioned that the Central government was using the media as a medium for its own campaigns as was evident during the recent Obama visit, where the entire media kept highlighting the irrelevant and non-serious aspects of the Obama visit while maintaining a silence on the dangerous Indo-nuclear deal. Journalist Ranvijay Satyaketu pointed towards the use of media by the government in creating a false illusion of development, while no actual development was actually happening. The seminar was moderated by Comrade Ramayan Ram.

Road Block in Gopalganj to free a primary school land

For a long time, the construction work of Pakhopali primary school in Bhore block of Gopalganj district had been stalled by some local goons and anti-social elements working in collusion with the local administration. The students were forced to sit in the open and study. The CPI (ML) took the initiative to organise demonstrations in front of the block office, and issued an ultimatum that the construction work be started within 15 days. However, bribed by the goons with huge amounts, the officials once again refused to take any action. In light of the continued inaction by the authorities, on 13 January 2015, the road from Bhore to Mirganj was blocked. Initially, the officials refused to either remove the road block or meet the protestors, but by the evening when vehicles had lined up for 2 kilometres on either side of the jam, the authorities were forced to declare that the construction would begin from the following the day. After obtaining the report from JEE, the construction work has since been started.

Protest Demonstrations by Workers in Bhilai

The AICCTU-affiliated Union Centre of Steel Workers organised a protest demonstration on 23 Janaury 2015, outside the service department of the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) to highlight the residential problems such as seepage, sewerage, sanitation and maintenance. The protest demonstration was addressed by local AICCTU and CPI (ML) leaders, following which a delegation went to meet the general manager of the of the City Service Department of the Bhilai Steel Plant to hand over the list of demands. However, the General Manager refused to meet the protestors. The protestors continued to raise slogans against the head of the department and submitted their list of demands to the Deputy General Manager.

While addressing the protestors, the speakers pointed out how the BSP management had failed to provide proper accommodation facilities to its workers. Of the 35,000 quarters in the township, nearly 25,000 have been allotted to BSP staff and other people. Of these quarters, while a few have been demolished after being termed damaged; the remaining have been either illegally occupied or with the collusion of the officials are in the possession of the close associates of the officials. This has caused BSP a loss of several lakhs, despite which BSP management has failed to act and the workers continue to be forced to live in unhygienic dwellings. The protestors demanded that if crores could be spent on modernization and expansion of management services, why a similar amount could not be spent on proper accommodation for the workers. Issues of contractual workers such as non-payment of minimum wages, non-issuance of salary slips and provisions of ESI were also raised.

Citizens Protest against Vandalism of Churches in Delhi

Following a spate of incidents of vandalism in Churches in Delhi, a citizen's protest was called to demand action against those responsible for the acts of vandalism. Kavita Krishnan, PB member of CPI(ML) along with several AISA leaders and office bearers of AISA led JNUSU also joined the protest. The protestors were to march peacefully to the office of the Home Minister Rajnath Singh. However, the Delhi police which so far had failed to prevent these repeated acts of vandalism and even act against those responsible was suddenly seen to be actively assaulting the protestors. The police began to beat up peaceful protestors and tried to prevent them from marching to the Home Ministers' office. The sudden action of the police against the protestors which chosen to remain mute spectator to acts of vandalism is highly condemnable and this reflects a clearly partisan attitude. CPI(ML) strongly condemns the high handedness of Delhi Police and its brutal victimization of the protestors. The growing instances of targeting of the minorities in Delhi and the unabated issuing of statements aimed at communal hate mongering by BJP leaders and Hindutva groups supported by the BJP must be strongly opposed and resisted. CPI(ML) demands a probe into the police brutalities on the protestors and the growing attacks on Delhi Churches.

Resist the appropriation of Gandhi by his killers

Mahatama Gandhi's assassination on 30 Jan 1948 merits to be the first terrorist act and political murder of independent India. Ironically, while the image of Gandhi is being used as mascot of the government's Clean India camapign (a crafty ploy that is intended to capitalise on the public stature of Gandhi), these efforts are accompanied by resurgent moves to legitimise Gandhiji's assassin by building Godse temples with calibrated indulgence by those in power. During last many decades most Hindu nationalists have kept the appreciation of their hero, Nathuram Godse under wraps. With the new dispensation coming to power (Modi Sarkar, May, 2014), it seems these acts are being silently appreciated by those in power. This inference is logical as none in the positions of power have either reprimanded or opposed these Godse acolytes. The latest in the series of acts-statements by this Godse appreciation club is the bhumi pujan by Hindu Mahasabha for Godse temple in Meerut (Dec 25 2014). There are several demands from the Hindu Mahasabha offices to install his statues and they have requested land from the Centre to erect a statue of Godse in the national capital. In light of these developments, on 30th January 2015, a public meeting and a film screening was organised by AISA led JNUSU to bring out the many underplayed suppressed aspects and facts about the assassaination of Gandhi. The programme was attended by Rajesh Ramachandran, noted Journalist and Researcher, R. Prasad, noted cartoonist and activists of several other left student groups.

Comrade Rajarshi Dasgupta

The Other Name Of Commitment

After a long battle with cancer, Comrade Rajarshi Dasgupta—popularly known as Pushanda to his comrades—breathed his last at a private hospital in north Calcutta on 7th February, 2015, at 8.05am.  With his condition deteriorating he was hospitalized on 24th January.

Born on 16th August, 1950 to Sephali Dasgupta and Sashanka Bhushan Dasgupta, a freedom fighter, he was a tireless fighter. His entire life was dedicated to the advancement of the cause of the revolutionary struggle, for the transformation of the society. He passed the higher secondary examination from the Hindu School at Calcutta and was admitted in the St. Xaviers College for graduation. But his association with revolutionary politics drew the ire of the college authorities and he was rusticated. Later he got admission in the Ashutosh College, Calcutta from where he obtained his graduate degree. His service life began with the land revenue department under the West Bengal government. He subsequently joined the central government as an income tax officer and retired in 2010 as a joint commissioner. During his service he developed intimate bonds with colleagues and employees of all strata, and became a companion and leader of their struggles. He was co-convenor of  the Council of Action of Income Tax. At the all-India level he served as the secretary of the Income Tax Gazetted Officers' Federaton. Alongside his service life, Com. Rajarshi Dasgupta was integrally associated with revolutionary politics and a committed worker of CPI(ML) Liberation. He contributed regularly to the state organ of the party Ajker Deshabrati and also occasionally to the central organ Liberation under the pen-name Sukanta Mondal. His socio-economic analysis won him great compliments. His writings inspired as well as enriched the party workers.

A dedicated organizer of the working class movement, he served on the state committee of the West Bengal unit of the party, and was also a member of the working class department and the Calcutta District Committee. His commitment to the party was so complete that even while battling the cancer, he took it upon himself the task of joining the ninth party congress held at Ranchi in April, 2013. And even in his failing health, a few days before he took leave of us, he, taking great pains, duly made his final contribution, a write-up on the privatization of the state sector, to the special issue of the state organ to be published shortly. In his multifarious activities he was an active member of an organization devoted to the treatment and help of the people suffering from cancer, the terminal disease that took his life. And according to his will, his body was donated to the Calcutta Medical College for the benefit of medical research.

Com. Rajarshi Dasgupta was steadfast in his communist ideals and never compromised with his beliefs. His honesty, humanitarian concerns, duties to his family and other near ones and the party were exemplary. Always amiable and warm-hearted, no one could ever think of harbouring any bitterness against him. His is a great loss to us. The Central Committee and the West Bengal State Committee express deep condolence to the family and friends of the departed comrade.

Red salute to Comrade Rajarshi Dasgupta!