Thursday, March 26, 2015

ML Update | 18 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 13, 24 – 30 MARCH 2015

Hashimpura Acquittal: Shameful Injustice

e acquittal of all the accused police personnel in the Hashimpura custodial massacre case of 1987 is a comment on the callous and communal rot that pervades India's politics and police machinery and the utter failure of its criminal justice systems.

28 years ago, personnel of the 41st battalion of the Provincial Armed Constabulary had entered Mohalla Hashimpura, forcibly evicted close to 50 Muslim male residents at gunpoint, and loaded them onto a truck. Then, in cold blood, they shot most of the men and dumped them in the Upper Ganga canal in Ghaziabad. The remaining men were then shot and dumped in the Hindon canal in Makanpur. Five of the men, left for dead, survived.

This was not a mysterious murder in which the assailants were unknown and unnamed. There was no doubt at all that the 41st Battalion of the PAC had committed the crime. Yet, 28 years after the massacre, a Delhi court has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to convict anyone. How is it possible? Would there not be PAC records showing exactly who was deployed in that battalion? Would interrogation not reveal who gave the orders to shoot and dump the bodies?

It is obvious that the acquittal has been made possible by systematic destruction and withholding of evidence by the State machinery. Asked to investigate their own brethren, the police erased evidence, delayed, and protected 'their own.' The CB-CID investigation – one that should have taken days, given the existence of records of the 41st PAC Battalion – took seven years. The report was submitted in 1994, naming 60 PAC men. But, after yet another delay of two years, only 19 of those men were charge-sheeted (three of these have died in the last 28 years). The case was transferred to Delhi in 2002 following an appeal by the survivors and victim-families. The Government of the day then delayed the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors, and eventually appointed an inexperienced SPP. 19 of the PAC men were finally charged with homicide only in 2006.

All this has paved the way for the acquittal in what should have been an open-and-shut case in which the identity of the perpetrators is no secret or mystery.

Hashimpura also raises serious questions about commonly perceived notions of 'secular' politics. In 1987, the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress Government was in power at the Centre, and had opened the communal floodgates in UP by unlocking the Babri Masjid. Uttar Pradesh too was ruled by the Congress. Meerut, Maliana, and Hashimpura in UP were witness to communal killings in which the State was not a spectator – instead, the police, PAC and Army were themselves participants in the communal killings. Is it conceivable that the PAC abducted and killed 42 men without a go-ahead from its bosses in the political establishment and police force? What was the chain of command that ordered Hashimpura to take place and assured the perpetrators of impunity?

And the responsibility does not rest only with the Congress. Subsequent Uttar Pradesh Governments of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, as well as the BJP, all colluded in the burial of justice. The 'secularism' of the Congress, SP or BSP (or, in Bihar's case, the RJD and JDU that also presided over the Ranveer Sena massacres and the denial of justice) is entirely self-serving and hypocritical.

Governments led by Congress, Samajwadi Party or BSP did not even order departmental action against the accused PAC personnel, instead many of them enjoyed promotions. None showed the political will to prosecute the accused with speed and seriousness.

The impunity enjoyed by killers in uniform who perpetrate custodial murders, and perpetrators of communal and caste massacres continues, from Delhi 1984 to Hashimpura, to Bathani-Bathe, to Gujarat 2002 to the spate of custodial killings in Modi-ruled Gujarat including those of Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jahan.

Can India be considered a working democracy if its police force can abduct and kill 42 men and dump them in a canal, and go scot-free?

Every common citizen of India should stand by the men and women of Hashimpura. The appalling injustice of the acquittal of the Hashimpura killers must be undone without delay.

Countrywide Satyagraha by Central Trade Unions against Attack on Workers' Rights

All the 11 central trade unions organized a countrywide Satyagraha on 26 February 2015 to protest against the attacks on workers' rights by the government and corporate houses.

In Tamil Nadu joint protests by all the trade unions were held at the Chennai railway station, Tanjore, Namakkal, Erode, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Periyanakanpalayam and Singanallur in Coimbatore. Large numbers of workers from almost all fields of work participated in the protests during which leaders from AICCTU, CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC, INTUC, BMS, LPF, and other central trade unions addressed the meetings.

In Bengaluru a joint council of central trade unions organized a dharna in which a large numbers of workers participated demanding 15000 minimum wages, revoking of anti-worker and pro-corporate amendments in the Labour Law, scrapping the contractual labour system, equal pay for equal work, and curbing skyrocketing prices. AICCTU, CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC, TUCC and other union leaders addressed the meeting. The protesting workers were arrested and released later.

Strong protests were held in Bihar in response to the call by central trade unions and a 10-point charter of demands against the anti-worker and pro-corporate amendments to the Labour law. In Patna hundreds of union activists including AICCTU leaders courted arrest in front of the DM's office. AICCTU and other union leaders addressing the meeting exposed the ugly truth of "Make in India", pointing out that it facilitated cheap labour and high profit for corporate houses. They also condemned the policy of ending permanent jobs and replacing them with contractual labour. They opposed increased FDI in defence, coal, banking, insurance and other crucial sectors.

A protest rally of joint trade unions was also taken out in Bhagalpur in which hundreds of workers including women workers participated. The rally started at the Bhagalpur station and ended in a satyagraha at the Collectorate. AICCTU and other leaders addressing the meeting pointed out that the Modi government was moving ahead even more forcefully on the pro-corporate path of the UPA government. They called upon workers to unite and strengthen their struggle against these policies.

AIPWA Gheraos Jharkhand Assembly

Thousands of women organized under the banner of AIPWA in Jharkhand held a gherao of the Jharkhand Assembly on 2 February 2015 with a forceful protest including a "gate jam" at Birsa chowk. Addressing the protest meeting AIPWA national president Meena Tiwari said that PM Modi who talks about "Beti Bachao" has cheated women by drastically cutting funds allocated to reform schemes for women such as mid-day meal, health mission, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and other programmes affecting women. She demanded that the State government compensate for the Centre's negligence and guarantee women's empowerment.

She further pointed towards the continued State Government-criminal nexus which was proved by the fact that no actions were being taken against rapists in the State. She said that it was shameful that police officials were shielding the criminals in the Chitarpur incident. Speaking at the meeting, AIPWA leader Geeta Mandal said that the rape and murder of an adivasi woman by policemen in Ranchi was an indication of the growing audacity of criminals in the BJP regime. She warned that if punishment to the rapist policemen is delayed, the women of Jharkhand would not let the government rest in peace. AIPWA state secretary Sarojini Bisht said that the government must give guarantee of permanent employment and honorarium to women workers. She also demanded equal pay for equal work.

Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav cautioned the government that if they did not ensure safety and dignity of women in Jharkhand, they would be taken to task inside the Assembly as well. Other speakers included Garhwa district councilor Sushma Mehta, Giridih district councilors Jayanti Choudhary and Poonam Mahto, Bitiya Manjhi and Panko Devi from Dumka, Shobha Devi and Bimla Devi from Bokaro, Lakhimani Munda from Bundu, Savita Singh, Rehana Khatoon, Guni Oraon, Singi Xalxo, Shanti Sen, Aiti Tirkey and others.

The main demands of the women are: (1) Arrest and speedy trial of Chitarpur (Ramgarh) rapists, (2) proper training and guarantee of government employment for the surviving victim of the Chitarpur incident, (3) 5 lakhs compensation for the family of the dead victim and also for the survivor on becoming a major; judicial enquiry into the illegal coal business of accused Dileep Sao and his relations with his political patrons, (4) proclamation of honorarium for women workers as government employees, (5) pension, medical and other leave facilities for women workers, (6) regularization of lady doctors in health centres and appointment of lady doctors in sub-centres, (7) provision for adequate teaching in Kasturba Vidyalaya, (8) adequate health and education for girls living in the Deogarh remand home, (9) scrapping mandatory BPL requirement for pension for elderly and single women, (10) making local station in- charge and district police superintendent accountable for cases of rape, (11) immediate arrest of policeman Dileep Toppo for the rape and murder of minor Phulmanti of Hatma (Ranchi).

Struggle against Land Acquisition in Tripura

On the question of land acquisition due to construction of Railway line from Agartala to Sabroom, there are 65 families of Khilpara GP & Jamjuri GP who were evicted and shifted from their households. They were given inadequate and insufficient money for rebuilding their houses as per Land Acquisition Act – 1894 in the year 2010. The 65 affected families were organized by AIALA & CPI(ML) under Khilpara GP & Jamjuri GP and a struggle was built demanding that IAY houses with toilet, free drinking water and electricity connection facilities be provided to each of the affected families on priority basis. Mass deputation, dharna were organized during the last 6 months in front of the offices of the collector as well as the Minister of Rural Development of Tripura. Dharnas were also organised in front of the Block office and Gram Panchayet Office for taking resolution in favour of the demands of the affected families. Following the relentless pursuit of the matter, the DM and Collector of Gomati District sanctioned 28 IAY houses to the affected families according to the BPL and adhoc BPL category.

On 16.03.2015 once again we raised the demand that the IAY house with toilets be provided to all the 65 families.. The Rural Development Minister of our state in a deputation on 18.03.2015 also expressed agreement with our demand. He assured that in the year 2015-'16 the state government will send a list of affected families as special category to the central government and then the APL families who are affected will also get this facilities. The partial achievement of this struggle was reflected in the response seen during the AIALA membership campaign. AIALA will continue to raise the demand for all the affected families the state. Demand has also been raised for allotment of homestead land to be each of the affected land less family.

Kisan Mahasabha Leads March to Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha

The fight for revenue village status for Bindukhatta has been going on since the 70s under the banner of the red flag. In the initial stages the demand for making Bindukhatta a revenue village had been raised only by the CPI(ML) for a long time. In light of the sustained campaign for villagehood by the CPI(ML) and the Kisan Sabha and in the context of their renewed protests after a mockery was made of people's aspirations by giving Bindukhatta a status of municipality, the Congress and the henchmen of the local MLA declared a Jansampark Abhiyan in favour of the municipality status for Bindukhatta. But this campaign fizzled out on the 3rd or 4th day itself because of the people's opposition to it. Meanwhile, the Congress government underhandedly issued a full ordinance making Bindukhatta a municipality. On 17 March 2015 hundreds of Bindukhatta residents holding aloft red flags and led by the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha mobilised themselves to Dehradun to protest against the hush-hush manner in which the government was trying to make Bindukhatta into a municipality. When this huge rally festooned with red flags and banners marched from Dehradun railway station to the Assembly, the city of Dehradun did not remain unaffected. The degree of outrage at Bindukhatta being made into a municipality can be gauged by the fact that several elderly men and women, with difficulty to walk, travelled all night in general compartments to reach Dehradun and then marched on foot for a distance of over 5 km. A short distance from the Vidhan Sabha, when the police stopped the march by erecting barricades, the protesters started a jansabha (public meeting) on the road.

Addressing the meeting Kisan Mahasabha Uttarakhand State President Com. Purushottam Sharma said that the people of Bindukhatta want ownership rights over their land, which will be possible only if it gets revenue village status. If it is made into a municipality, it will become impossible for Bindukhatta residents to ever get ownership rights to their land. He pointed out that the ruling Congress is hatching a conspiracy to deprive the people of Bindukhatta of their ownership rights, and the BJP with its deafening silence on this matter is supporting the Congress.

Well-known Uttarakhand peasant leader and frontline leader of the Bindukhatta struggle Com.Bahadur Singh Jangi and CPI(ML) State standing committee member and Nainital district Secretary Com. Kailash Pandey also addressed the jansabha.

Later, a delegation from the Kisan Mahasabha met the Chief Minister Harish Rawat and conveyed the people's anger and opposition to the forcible conversion of Bindukhatta into a municipality. The Chief Minister assured the delegation that if the people are opposed to it, the government would not be stubborn and would consider the matter once again.

23 March: Bhagat Singh Martyrdom Day Observed

More than 1200 young workers took out a rally in Sriperumbudur to reclaim the anti – imperialist, anti-communal legacy of Bhagat Singh, Rajaguru and Sukhdev on their martyrdom day. The rally was held on the concluding day of RYA Tamilnadu State Conference. Com.Ravi Rai, National General Secretary of RYA flagged off the rally.

The rally also marked the launching of 100 Day Campaign for Land and Labour Rights from March 23 to June 30. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI ML spoke among the young workers. He called for the young workers to rise against the attempts of the obscurantist forces to lay rules for the private lives of people in the country. He stressed the need for greater unity for greater struggles against the attempts of the corporate-communal forces which are trying to appropriate the legacy of Bhagat Singh to sell the country to the corporates. Launching the 100 Days Campaign of AIPF in the rally, he said, there is new hope as left forces, socialist forces, leaders of people's struggles, democratic and progressive individuals have joined hands to take on the corporate-communal offensive.

AIPF campaign committee members S P Udayakumar, A Marx, Mangayarselvan also spoke in the rally. They all said that this is the opportune moment for a forum like AIPF to fight against the corporate-communal offensive. AIPF national council members and CPIML TN State Secretary Com. Balasundaram also participated.

Comrade S Kumarasami, PBM of the Party, gave the concluding speech. Comrade Rajaguru, newly elected State President, RYA, presided over the meeting. Comrade Bharathi, National Secretary, RYA and Comrade Rajesh, State Secretary, RYA also spoke in the rally.

Agitation in Nirsa after Worker's Death

On 1 March 2015 (Sunday) JCB operator Manoranjan Pradhan was killed in a fatal accident while working in the Dahibadi-Kalyanchak OCP (open mines)area no. 12 under the Sadbhav company outsourced by the Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. (BCCL). Sunday being the weekly holiday, Pradhan was still asked to work in the OCP mines (over 3 km in diameter) as there were very few workers around him, when his machine started sinking in the mine, he could not save himself despite full efforts. His co-workers took his body to the Sadbhav office in Lakadih where hundreds of workers led by the Coal Mines Workers' Union (affiliated to AICCTU) stopped all transport work and gheraoed the office. The striking workers demanded that as the accident was a result of greed for more production and neglect of safety, the family of the dead worker should be given full payment until retirement (amounting to 50 lakhs), and benefits of pension and life cover scheme. Rounds of talks went on between the management and CMWU. The workers demanded 10 lakhs immediate payment but the management agreed only to 5 lakhs and 20,000 for the last rites. The next day all work was stopped at the OCP and talks resumed between the management and CMWU at the end of which the following decisions were taken: 1) Immediate payment of 5 lakhs as death compensation, 2) Job for the dependent with immediate effect and 6 months' leave with full pay to be paid to the parents of the victim at their home, 3) Additional 350,000 to be paid through the Colliery JCC forum to the family, 4) Implementation of the Production with Safety policy, 5) 50,000 from Sadbhav company for the last rites, 6) Family of victim to get benefits of monthly pension and future payments by insurance company.

The agitation was led by Upendra Singh, Krishna Singh, Nagendra Kumar, Manoranjan Mallik, Jamal Miyan of CMWU, JCC member Nagen Mahto, and others.

Victory for Students Movement in Bhojpur

The Chandi students' hostel in Ara, Bhojpur has 40 rooms housing 200 mahadalit students, one hand pump and one toilet in the name of conveniences, and is so dilapidated that it was declared unfit for living in 1990 by government engineers. Poor and mahadalit students of Shahabad had no option but to live in these dangerous and unhygienic conditions in order to pursue studies.

Till date neither the State governments of RJD, JD(U)-BJP, nor the central UPA or NDA governments have done anything except make false promises of improving the hostel.

The students under the leadership of AISA brought the matter of reconstruction of the hostel to the district administration's attention through gheraos, dharnas, and meetings at jan darbars, but to no avail. On 17 February 50 students sat on an indefinite hunger strike outside the DM's office. They were joined by 200 other students. The administration and the self-styled dalit leaders neither bothered to talk to the students nor arrange any medical monitoring of their deteriorating health. Incensed by this insensitivity and indifference the students came out on the streets against the administration on the 5th day of the hunger strike. Hundreds of students made a human chain and blocked the road to the DM's office. Under pressure by the students' agitation the DM called the student representatives for talks. The delegation included former MP and CPI(ML) leader Com. Rameshwar Prasad, RYA State President Raju Yadav, and CPI(ML) city Secretary Dilraj Pritam. During the talks the DM formed a committee consisting of the SDO, CO, DWO, and Raju Yadav to identify land for the construction of the hostel. The striking students broke their fast after this assurance by the DM. Addressing the students, Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that students must unite to struggle against the conspiracy of the government to deprive poor and dalit students of education. The partial success of this agitation has inclined the student community toward AISA and also generated support from people of the area for the cause of the students.

Weaver's Strike in Gaya

The handloom and power loom workers of Manpur, known as the Manchester of Gaya district, went on a total strike on 10-11 January demanding wage rise and other facilities. It is noteworthy that thousands of workers in this area are made to work for 12-13 hours per day. In spite of this the owners keep putting more work pressure on the workers. Where earlier a worker was required to operate 2-3 machines, the number has now gone up to 3-4 machines, and yet the wage rate remains the same. A worker The 10% bonus that workers used to receive earlier in the peak season, has been stopped for the last ten years citing enhanced expenditure and decreasing profits due to less demand for textiles. The truth is that the negligent attitude and policies of governments towards the cottage industry are the chief obstacles to its growth. Corruption is rampant and owners and brokers eat up all the profits which should go to the weavers. There are no provisions for toilets, safe drinking water, health care, child care or any form of social security. Large numbers of workers fall prey to TB, asthma and other diseases and accidents are also very common.

The weavers of Manpur do not have a strong union. A strike was called under pressure from the workers, but no notice about it was sent to either owners or administration. Trade union activists from the CPI did take some initiative but they could not create any pressure. On 14 January a general meeting of all Party members of Manpur was held and it was decided to take initiatives for the workers. On 20 January AICCTU State President Com. Shyamlal Prasad and Bihar State Construction Workers' Union and Party leaders from Manpur organized a public meeting for the weavers. On 21 January a rally of 500 workers and supporters from the public was taken out through the Patwa toli. Thrown into a panic by the anger expressed by the rally, the owners invited Party leaders for talks the next day. As a result the owners promised to reinstate all workers along with 5% increase in wages for all workers and cooperation with the union in registration of workers. They also signed on a written demand-letter after the talks.

Welcoming this initiative by the Party, the workers proposed the formation of a union under the leadership of CPI(ML), after which the Party has formed the Bunkar Mazdoor Union, Manpur. Membership for this union is in process and workers have been appealed for their cooperation in the AICCTU national conference.

BBMP and BWSSB Workers' Demo in Bangalore

AICCTU workers of BBMP (Bangalore Municipal Corporation) and BWSSB (Water Supply and Sewerage Board) who had gathered at the Labour Commissioner's office on 20 Mar. 2015, demanding initiation of proceedings on the cases under Sec. 25(2)(v)(a) of CLARA for equal wages for equal work, were forced to gatecrash and occupy lawns of the Commissioner's office as the Commissioner was not available for discussion to issue notices for enquiry.

The peaceful demonstrators who came only to know the dates of enquiry and file hundreds of fresh cases turned militant because of irresponsible attitude of the Commissioner who was not available to answer the demonstrators. The only question was why the proceedings were not initiated even after one year of filing cases? Nobody in labor department is willing to take responsibility to implement this particular section of CLARA on equal wages.

Hundreds of workers marched straight inside the lawns of labour department looking for any official to solve their issue. The Lawns of the State Labour Department turned into a venue of protest. Finally, Additional Labour Commissioner assured that notices will be issued within a week.

Demonstrators warned that the department will be stormed by thousands of workers if the assurance was not fulfilled.

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, March 18, 2015

ML Update | No. 12 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 12 | 17 - 23 MAR 2015

Long Live the Anti-Colonial, Anti-Communal Legacy of 

Bhagat Singh-Sukhdev-Rajguru!

Defend Land and Labour Rights !

Fight for People's Right to Health, Nutrition and Education!

Join 100 Day Bhoomi-Adhikar Shram Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan, 
23 March - 30 June

Modi's Corporate-Communal Assault with 
A Resolute Campaign for Land and Labour Rights

Defying widespread opposition and peasant demonstrations across the country, the Modi government has gone ahead to table the land acquisition bill in the Lok Sabha. Given the numerical balance in the Lok Sabha, the bill has also been passed. For the sake of pretence, the government did propose a few amendments claiming to accommodate the key concerns of agitated peasants, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The government is still very much adamant on grabbing fertile land without consent, without doing any social and environmental impact assessment, without bothering about the wider loss of livelihood resulting from every such acquisition and refusing to return land once acquired even if it remains idle and never used for the stated purpose of acquisition.

The autocratic and arrogant attitude of the Modi government has only added to the seething anger among peasants, adivasis and every justice-loving citizen of the country and the protests have intensified. Hundreds of activists assembled in Delhi in a conference on 14-15 March and resolved to come together under the banner of All India People's Forum to resist the corporate-communal offensive being spearheaded by the Modi government. This was followed by a resolute assembly of the people – a People's Parliament – armed with resolutions adopted at thousands of Gram Sabhas across the country rejecting the Land Grab Bill and the Modi government's move to curtail and subvert the provisions of Food Security and Employment Guarantee Acts. And the Jan Sansad resolved to conduct a 100-day-long Bhumi Adhikar-Shram Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan (campaign of struggle for land and labour rights) from 23 March (martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru) to 30 June (Hul Diwas – anniversary of the anti-colonial adivasi Hul resistance movement of 1855).

This is perhaps the first time that democratic forces from such diverse progressive traditions and practices – communists, socialists as well as issue-based social movements – have come together to work in a common platform, a platform which brings together not only communist parties and various other Left and socialist groups and a whole spectrum of mass organisations and campaigns but also individual activists and conscientious citizens without any specific organisational affiliation who are engaged in various fields of creative activities and democratic protests. This convergence reflects and reinforces the growing realisation that the current juncture calls for a concerted and determined counter-offensive by all committed democratic forces to reclaim our resources, our rights and our republic from the forces of corporate greed, plunder and subversion.

We are passing through a period of massive socio-economic changes and churning. The policies and laws are being rewritten in this country in the explicit interest of big private corporate players and the common people who constitute the vast majority of real producers, workers and consumers in this country are being systematically marginalised and deprived of their rightful share. To be sure, there is no dearth of protests and struggles amidst growing popular anger, and the need of the hour is to orientate it towards a pro-people progressive shift in the political arena. The 'Modi wave' which had catapulted the BJP to power in the last Lok Sabha election is clearly on the wane and the time has come to confront the government and the Sangh brigade with the surging tides of people's resistance.

The spirit of unity and resolve of concerted and determined struggle that resonated through the AIPF conference and the Jan Sansad must now be carried forward to every nook and corner.  The message must reach every defender of democracy, every seeker of change, every fighter for justice.

Land-Food-Livelihood – Resist Corporate Loot!

Call of Every Village, Every Town – 
Company Raj Down, Down!

Founding Conference of the All India People's Forum (AIPF) 

Movement Groups Come Together 
For People's Rights, 
Against Corporate-Communal Offensive

A range of concerned citizens, mass organizations, social movements, trade unions and political parties  have come together to form the All India People's Forum (AIPF) to take on the offensive of communal and pro-corporate policies.

The Founding Conference of the AIPF began today at Ambedkar Bhawan in Delhi. The Welcome Session of the Conference began with a rousing AIPF theme song by Jan Sanskriti Manch, Jharkhand. This was followed by a tribute the martyrs and departed fighters, (including the Nandigram peasants who were martyred on 14th March 2007), Comrade Govind Pansare, and Comrade Shah Chand. A draft Vision Statement, as well as a draft Action Charter for the AIPF were presented at this session.

Welcoming the participants, Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML), spoke of the all-out offensive – by both the Congress-UPA and the BJP-NDA - on people's land, livelihood, right to food, as well as on democratic rights, and the campaign to divide people by communal hatred and violence. To take on this offensive, and to assert people's rights to land, livelihood, education and healthcare, justice, peace, dignity and freedom, he said, it was important for people to unite and fight together. Together, they would carry forward the fight for a free, equal and just society, free of sectarian violence, repression and discrimination. He said, 'This is an open convention and we will keep organizing such programs in the future along with new forces and build the widest possible unity."

The welcome session was also addressed by Vijay Pratap on behalf of the Samajwadi Samagam, who stressed the need for socialist and communist streams as well as all democratic movements to come together to infuse new life into progressive politics. Addressing the welcome session, Gautam Mody of the NTUI said that the AIPF platform was significant in that it unites both progressive political parties as well as non-party organisations. Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary of CPIM Punjab said that mutual respect for differences was important as we unite for a united resistance to neoliberal and communal policies. Addressing the participants, Binayak Sen explained why he felt the need for AIPF. He said that activists submitted a blueprint of a people's health programme to the Planning Commission, but the whole plan was relegated to the dustbin by the then Planning Commission chairperson Montek Ahluwalia. He said there was an urgent need for a powerful people's health movement that would urgently address the critical levels of malnutrition and hunger in the country.        

On the dais were Swapan Mukherjee, AICCTU, Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, Dayamani Barla, Manju Mohan (Samajwadi Samagam), RP Pakhrin (CPRM), Prasenjit Bose, Rohit of Left Collective, Uday Bhatt, Lal Nishan Party Leninist, advocate Md Shoaib of Rihai Manch, Lt. General (Retd) USP Sinha, Tahira Hasan, Pratima Engheepi, veteran Kannada writer Vitappa Gorentli, Comrade Simpson from Tamil Nadu's Odukapattor Viduthalai Munnani, Faisal Anurag from Jharkhand; Dr. Satinath Choudhury and others.

In the afternoon, activists from all over the country discussed plans for campaigns on a range of issues. Journalist Pankaj Srivastava recited his satirical poem on Modi and communal-corporate politics.

A session on 'Asserting Right to Land, Livelihood and Food Security: Resisting Land Loot, Food Loot' was conducted by Rajaram Singh, Secretary of the All India Kisan Mahasabha. The session was addressed by Reetika Khera who spoke about the curtailments in the Food Security Act; Jean Dreze who spoke about the series of insidious ways in which the MNREGA was being diluted. Roma Malik of AIUFWP, Prasenjit Bose; Faisal Anurag as well as anti displacement activists from Jharkhand and Odisha discussed strategies of resisting the draconian Modi Government's Land Acquisition Bill.

A session on Right to Health and Education was conducted by Radhika Menon. Participating in this session, Vikas Gupta of the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) gave an inspiring presentation on the discriminatory and multi-layered education system in India and the struggle to replace this with a free common education system in which all would have access to good quality education. Health activist Binayak Sen spoke of the chronic hunger and malnutrition that stalks large tracts of rural India. Leena Menghaney from the Campaign for Affordable Cancer Medicines spoke of the Modi Government's moves to appease US drug corporations, in the process risking the health of millions of patients in India and across the world by delaying access to low-cost generic drugs. Dr Debashis Dutta spoke of the experiences of the People's Health Forum of West Bengal. Student activists of the AISA Sucheta and Ishan of the DSF also spoke of the struggles against privatization and saffronisation of higher education, and for campus democracy.

In a session on Justice and Dignity of Women, Dalits and Adivasis, noted lawyer and activist Usha Ramanathan said that the Forest Rights Act did not confer rights on forest people, it just affirmed rights that the adivasis already had under the Constitution. In that sense, the Act was an apology from the Indian State to the adivasis. But the Act posed a great challenge to the state and to the corporations who could no longer take forest land for granted. Before the Act, the adivasis lived in fear of the forest authorities; after the Act, it was the State that felt afraid of adivasis' assertion of their rights. This is why the State has been reluctant to implement the Act in earnest, and there are moves afoot now to dilute or negate this Act.    

This session was conducted by Kiran Shaheen, and addressed by Rajni Tilak of the Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan, journalist Neha Dixit, , Kiran Shaheen of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Dr Satinath Choudhury; Alka Kujur from Jharkhand; and Meena Tiwari, General Secretary, AIPWA.  

On the second day of the AIPF founding conference, the morning session started with activist and writer Achin Vanaik dismantling the myths about nuclear energy and explaining why all people's movements must resist the move to force dangerous and expensive nuclear energy onto India when so many countries in the world are giving it up.  

The next session highlighted the communal challenge that the country is facing especially at a time when the Government is openly colluding and collaborating with the Sangh Parivar to further the agenda of hate and divide people on communal lines. The session was addressed by activists and film makers who have consistently stood up to and documented communal violence. These included Nakul Sawhney, Dr. Irfan Engineer from Mumbai, A. Marx from Tamil Nadu, Rehana from riot-hit Muzaffarnagar, Kiran Shaheen who was among the earliest to intervene in the communal violence in Delhi's Trilokpuri; Vidya Dinker who spoke about the moral policing and communal hate campaigns of the Sangh Parivar in Mangalore; KL Ashok of the Karnataka Kaumi Sauhardra Vedike; Sharfuddin Shaikh of the SDPI; and Praveen of Western UP's Naujawan Bharat Sabha. ID Khajuria, leader of the Internationalist Democratic Party (IDP) from Jammu and Kashmir and Afzal Anis of the United Milli Forum, Jharkhand greeted the Conference.

This was followed by a discussion of the various attacks on democratic rights that are happening in the country either with direct or tacit support of the state.  The session was conducted by civil libertarian N.D. Pancholi, and participants included Comrade Simpson, Md Iftiqar Alam of Insaaf Manch (Bihar) and Nadeem Khan of Insaaf Manch (Jharkhand), Md Shoaib of Rihai Manch, (UP), Karnail Singh of the IDP; and Chittaranjan Singh of PUCL. The activists discussed the way in which Muslim youth have been illegally arrested across the country in false cases and have been imprisoned without a shred of evidence, and the use of draconian laws as well as draconian provisions in criminal laws to harass and intimidate innocent people and activists. Comrade Simpson from Tamil Nadu highlighted the way in which author Perumal Murugan has been hounded by the Hindu Right.

The session in the afternoon saw a number of activists from across the country speaking about the loot of natural resources by the corporates and the assault on workers' rights in the name of Make in India Campaign. The session was conducted by Rajiv Dimri of AICCTU, and addressed by Prof. Atul Sood from JNU, noted journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Uday Bhatt of LNP(L), Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Vitappa Gorentli, anti-POSCO PPSS activist Prakash Jena, trade union leader Upendra Singh, and others who spoke of the bending of existing rules and regulations so that corporates smoothly takeover natural resources and violate the rights of workers.

In the final session of the conference the foundation statement of the AIPF was unanimously adopted by the founding conference and a Panel of Advisors, Campaign Committee and All India Council was formed with activists and organisations from all over the country. Raju Bora of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti of Assam addressed Conference in the last session.

The 44-member Panel of Advisors includes Kuldeep Nayyar, Vijay Pratap, Lt General USP Sinha, Xavier Dias, Anand Teltumbde, Anand Patwardhan, Jean Dreze, Achin Vanaik, Vrinda Grover, John Dayal, Manoranjan Mohanty, Bharti S Kumar, and others.

The 57-member Campaign Committee includes SP Udayakumar, Sunilam, Irfan Engineer, Binayak Sen, Manas Jena, Purushottam Roy Burman, Dayamani Barla, Vinod Singh, Manju Mohan, Roma, Kiran Shaheen, Rohit, Amar Singh Amar, ND Pancholi, Mangat Ram Pasla, Vijay Kulkarni, Gobind Chettri, Sudha Bharadwaj, Kumar Sundaram and others. The 120-member All India Council has activists from all over the country.

Following the Conference, a massive Jan Sansad (People's Parliament) was held on 16th March at Jantar Mantar under the banner of the All India People's Forum (AIPF), against the loot of land, livelihood, and food by the Modi Government.

The Jan Sansad was addressed by leaders of peasant and adivasi movements and Left and socialist leaders. The Jan Sansad was conducted by Rajaram Singh, General Secretary, All India Kisan Mahasabha, and Member, Campaign Committee, AIPF, and attended and addressed by a range of activists and leaders of parties and people's movements.  

Veteran columnist and civil libertarian Kuldeep Nayyar told the gathered people, "Your land is your own, no one can take it from you by force, defend your land with all your might." Many activists of peasants' movements and struggles against corporate land grab addressed the gathering, including  AIPF All India Council member POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti leader Prakash Jena; Raju Bora, leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti of Assam and AIPF Advisor; AIPF Campaign Committee members Sunilam, ex-MLA and leader of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti; and Dayamani Barla of Jharkhand. In an inspiring speech, Dayamani Barla asserted the rights of people to land, forests, water and political power as well. Sunilam said that people's movements would triumph over the corporate-funded political forces, since the movements refused to be terrorized by bullets and jails.  

AIPF Campaign Committee member Roma Malik, GS of the All India Union of Forest Working People, in her rousing address, spoke of women's enormous role in all the ongoing people's movements, and stressed the need for united struggles of peasants, adivasis, and workers.

Addressing the Jan Sansad, Kiran Shaheen said that the AIPF marked a new beginning of united struggles that would usher in a new dawn. She stressed the question of right to water as a fundamental right, as essential as the right to food.

Addressing by Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation pointed out that the Modi Government had promised 'acche din' for the people, but had delivered 'acche din' only for the corporations and the rich. Social sector spending had been slashed and the Land Acquisition Bill introduced to facilitate the grab of peasant land. Land, livelihood and food security were under attack. And moves were afoot to drastically curtail Food Security Act and MNREGA. He said that massive people's movements had taught a lesson to arrogant Governments of the Congress as well as regional parties. He called for a new independence movement to oust the Modi Government's Company Raj. He said that the AIPF was born out of the urge of people's movements for greater united resistance to the ongoing corporate and communal offensives.

Rameshwar Prasad, ex-MP and President of the All India Association of Agricultural Labourers (AIALA) spoke of the rights of landless labourers and agricultural workers, whose livelihood is lost when land is grabbed.  

AIPF leaders announced their intention to observe 23rd March, the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, as Bhoomi Adhikar Diwas (Land Rights Day) followed by a 100-day mass campaign on Land Rights and Labour Rights (Bhoomi Adhikar-Shram Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan). As part of this campaign, the rights of people to health, nutrition, water and education will also be raised along with the right to land, livelihood and workers' rights.

People's health activist and civil libertarian Binayak Sen was also present on the dais. Bhimrao Bansode, General Secretary of the Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) called for people's resistance to the communal and corporate offensive.  

The Jan Sansad was also addressed by AIPF Campaign Committee members Mohd Salim, AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari; Rajendra Bauke of Lal Nishan Party (Leninist); PC Tiwari of the Uttarakhand Parivartan Party.

Also present were AIPF Advisor Lt General USP Sinha; Chittaranjan Singh of PUCL; Dhirendra Jha, General Secretary AIALA; ex-Colonel Laxmeshwar Mishra; and AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan.

 The speakers at the Jan Sansad pointed out that the Modi Government had promised 'acche din' for the people, but had delivered 'acche din' only for the corporations and the rich. Social sector spending had been slashed and the Land Acquisition Bill introduced to facilitate the grab of peasant land. Land, livelihood and food security were under attack. And moves were afoot to drastically curtail Food Security Act and MNREGA. Speakers said that massive people's movements had taught a lesson to arrogant Governments before including the UPA Government, and the Modi Government's Company Raj too would be taught a lesson by the people.

       A delegation of AIPF leaders and prominent citizens from the Jan Sansad submitted the 1000s of gram sabha resolutions to the President of India, seeking his immediate intervention to protect land, livelihood and food security. The resolutions demanded scrapping of the Land Acquisition Bill, as well as scrapping of moves to dilute and curtail the MNREGA and Food Security Act.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ML Update | No.11 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 11, 10 – 16 MARCH 2015

The Message of International Women's Day 2015

nternational Women's Day is a celebration of more than a century of women's mass movements demanding equality and freedom.

It is important to remember that it was socialist revolutionary women who began observing International Women's Day to commemorate the historic strikes by women workers in the United States of America, demanding an 8-hour working day and the right to vote. Those working class women and revolutionary socialists struggled for women's freedom – and for a revolution that would free not only women but the world's people from oppressive shackles.

This is a history that the market and most of our ruling politicians would like us to forget, as they seek to appropriate IWD and empty it of its true historical and contemporary significance.

Many politicians would like us to observe IWD as a day to express gratitude to women for their 'selfless service', and praise women for their 'achievements'. And in the same way, various companies that commercialize IWD would like us to observe IWD as a day to buy gifts for women to express gratitude and praise.

This 'praise' and 'gratitude', ironically, is like a paternalistic "good conduct" prize to women for performing the roles prescribed by patriarchy. While in fact, IWD commemorates women's rejection of those patriarchal roles and the struggle to overthrow patriarchal structures!

Reflecting this patriarchal approach, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a message on IWD saying, "I salute the indomitable courage and stellar achievements of women." In this message, he mentioned the ''Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' (Save and Educate Daughters) scheme and the Sukanya Samruddhi scheme (to "support the marriage and education of young women"). These schemes also reinforce the notion that girls and young women must be 'saved' because they are "good daughters", not because they are equal human beings. 'Sukanya' literally means 'good daughter'. And why should 'marriage' be tagged with 'education' as a goal for women, when there are certainly no schemes for the marriage of men; is it not a tacit appeasement of the dowry system?

Modi's message does not mention that his Government's first full Budget recently slashed the funds for the ICDS scheme by a whopping 51%. This scheme is meant to combat malnutrition and healthcare in children and gender discrimination against girls, and is run by anganwadi workers. How can the PM 'save daughters' by slashing the budget for this scheme? By slashing the budget for this scheme, India's abysmal performance on child nutrition and girl children's rights will take a further beating, and anganwadi workers will continue to be underpaid and exploited.

Moreover, Modi is silent on the fate of the rape survivors of Muzaffarnagar, who were raped at the behest of leaders of Modi's party, as part of the communal violence that helped secure BJP a huge mandate in the Parliamentary elections. The accused men continue to enjoy impunity thanks to the protection of the ruling party, and the quest for justice is being actively obstructed.

The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Women's Day message also reinforced patriarchal stereotypes. He said, "When I used to fight against the corrupt system, my wife ran the house and my mother supported me", and asked Delhi men to admire "how easily and honestly women carry out their responsibilities and relationships without expressing the slightest protest … They go about their jobs while taking care of their families." He asked men to refrain from street harassment because "Men who do not respect women outside can never respect women in their household."

Patriarchy expects women to "run the house" for men who lead political struggles; to do household work as their 'responsibility' alone; and do waged "jobs" as well as "take care of families", all "without expressing the slightest protest". The history of the women's movement is a history of women rejecting this division of labour and assignment of roles. It is the history of women expressing vocal, vigorous protest against being asked to bear the burden of housework alone; against exploitation at work and in the home; and against being expected to "run homes" for men who have prominent public roles. It is the history of women leading struggles and social and political movements. Kejriwal's message shows that he has chosen not to credit this history of protest, but has praised women for 'suffering and bearing burdens in silence' – something that patriarchy has always done.

Moreover, why should men be asked to refrain from violence against women, as a show of respect to women in their homes? In effect, this amounts to asking men to keep all women safe, in gratitude for the services women perform for men inside homes. In fact, men are violent and coercive to women inside homes precisely because they feel entitled to women's household services. This fact is clearly indicated by a study based on the based on the India Human Development Survey 2004-05, which found that justifications for wife-beating and domestic violence in India ranged from 'going out alone without permission' (about 39 per cent), followed by 'neglect of household duties' (about 35 per cent), 'badly cooked meals' (about 29.50 per cent), and dowry-related (about 29 per cent).

The BBC film India's Daughter also reinforces the idea of the obedient and well-behaved Indian daughter, who seeks her parents' 'permission' to go out with a male friend. It claims to show the "mindset of the rapist", but it locates the abhorrent anti-women ideas only in the rapist and his lawyers. It fails to show how the custodians of the system, including police officers and politicians and godmen, display the same mindsets. It also profiles poor underprivileged men in India as rapists, failing to show that rape is a much larger problem, occurring across classes both in India and in the world.

Close to IWD, the horrific lynching of a rape-accused man in Dimapur by a mob of thousands is a chilling reminder of how the issue of rape and 'women's safety' is often turned into a patriarchal display of violence rather than a quest for justice for women.

In this case, the accused is from the minority Muslim community, and was wrongly profiled as an 'outsider', an 'illegal Bangladeshi immigrant', whereas in fact he was from Assam. But even if he had been Bangladeshi, the fact is that the lynching would still be an instance of xenophobic, patriarchal violence.

The incident highlights how xenophobia and communal hatred against 'illegal Bangladeshis' is being whipped up in the eastern parts of India and also elsewhere in India.

But the Dimapur incident also raises the question of why mobs never 'avenge' rapes committed by men of their own community? Such mob violence is orchestrated and unleashed only when a man from an 'Other' community is accused of raping "our women," that is when the rape is seen as an attack on the community's 'honour'. Women are seen as property and repositories of community honour, and men accused of violating that property and that 'honour' are attacked. This is no different from khap panchayats killing men for having married women from another caste.

In Dimapur, and in the political pogrom unleashed by the BJP in Muzaffarnagar, and in the mob attack on African men in Rajiv Chowk in Delhi, the same patriarchal sentiment was operating. In Khirki, it was African women who were painted by an AAP Minister as the threat to the safety of 'our women.'

Justice for women can never be brought about by unleashing mob violence to 'avenge' them, and it can never be achieved on the basis of asking men to "respect all women like 'their' women." Instead, all men must be asked to learn to respect the autonomy and freedom of all women, including those in their families. And the patriarchal structures of class, caste, gender, race, from the homes to the workplaces, must be challenged. That is the message of International Women's Day!

JOIN Founding Conference of the All India People's Forum (AIPF), 14-15 March, 2015

Ambedkar Bhawan, Delhi

ear Friends, ten months ago Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India promising to reduce prices, check corruption, bring back black money and usher in good times for the country. 2014 is over and we are now in 2015. Do we see the Modi government moving towards fulfilment of those wonderful poll promises? The answer is a big NO.

Oil prices are going down globally, but we don't really feel it in India. Even if petrol and diesel prices have been reduced a bit, fares and transportation charges and prices of every essential commodity continue to go up. There is no sign of black money being recovered and BJP President Amit Shah has now said the talk of every family getting Rs 15 lakh through repatriation of black money was just empty poll rhetoric. In contrast, we see that I billion dollar loan from jan-dhan of our public bank is being doled out to favoured corporates like Adani !

While the government is not implementing the poll promises made to the common people, it is working overtime to pass on favours to big companies of Indian and foreign origin. Ordinance has been issued to expedite land grab in corporate interest. Coal and other mines are being opened up for commercial private mining. Foreign investment is being favoured in every sector of the economy. And during US President Obama's recent visit to India, Modi has virtually freed US companies supplying nuclear reactors to India from any liability, compensation and legal action, in the case of any accident. To pander to the greed of US drug companies, the Modi Government is systematically undermining India's patent policy; which will stall domestic production of several life-saving drugs and escalate their prices for common people in India and across the world. 

The Planning Commission has been wound up and funds allocated for welfare programmes are being squeezed systematically. In the latest budget, the government has slashed expenditure on welfare and social spending, the worst hit being the health, women and child welfare, and education sectors. A drastic reduction in food security coverage from 75% to 40% is planned. In the name of the 'Make in India' campaign, the government is inviting foreign capital to come and exploit India's labour cheaply while labour laws are being systematically subverted to deny Indian workers any legal safeguard against wage-theft, unsafe workplaces and oppressive working conditions.

Commercialisation and saffronization of education are being given a fresh push. Public-funded education is being weakened through huge budget cuts, autonomy of education institutions are being trampled upon, and obscurantism and communal poison are being promoted both through syllabus changes and appointments.

And accompanying this economic attack on the common people is the mischievous communal agenda of the Sangh Parivar which has the backing of the Modi government. Every small local dispute is being blown up or sheer rumours are being spread to whip up communal frenzy and target the Muslim community. The RSS chief has declared India a Hindu Rashtra, BJP MPs, ministers and so-called sadhus and sadhvis are asking Hindu women to produce four children and more, churches are being vandalised right in the national capital and the Modi government remains a silent spectator.

The time has surely come to rise in powerful protest against these mischievous anti-people anti-democratic moves of the Modi government. And to be sure the protests have very much begun. In sector after sector workers and employees are opposing the government's policies, peasants are up in arms against the land-grab order and the rural poor are insisting on their right to employment guarantee and food security. And now in the elections to Delhi Assembly, the people of Delhi have given a resounding rebuff to the BJP and an emphatic mandate to the AAP to fulfil its promises to the poor and working people and deprived areas of Delhi.

To resist the Modi government's assault on the common people and the communal and divisive agenda of the Sangh Parivar and strengthen the Indian people's battle for comprehensive democracy, dignity and justice, a whole range of democratic organisations and individuals have decided to come together and launch a national platform called the All India People's Forum. The founding conference of the AIPF is being held in Delhi at Ambedkar Bhawan on 14-15 March and this will be followed by a massive Jan Sansad at Parliament Street on 16 March to call upon the government to withdraw the land-grab ordinance and other anti-people measures, fulfil its electoral promises of reducing prices, eliminating corruption and bringing back black money and firmly stop the communal and divisive forces.

We appeal to all of you to participate in the AIPF founding conference and the Jan Sansad, contributing with your support, your ideas and suggestions for sustained campaigns.

International Women's Day Celebrated

On the occasion of the International Women's Day on 8 March, AIPWA organised protests and rallies in various states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and other parts of the country. In Delhi, AIPWA and several women's organisations held a massive joint march from the Rajiv Chowk metro station to Jantar Mantar. Thousands of working class women from different parts of Delhi as well as students participated in this march, which culminated in a public meeting and dharna at Jantar Mantar. Representatives from various women's organisations addressed the meeting – highlighting the Modi government's assaults on women's rights, autonomy and freedom for women. Several speakers pointed out that the Modi government, which came to power on the slogan of 'Bahut ho gaya naari pe vaar, abki baar Modi sarkar', was now systematically cutting down on budgets and the Central government's spending on women. The number of the proposed and much needed rape crisis centres had been reduced from 660 to a mere 36. At the same time, Hindutva groups were mounting an even more aggressive assault on women's autonomy and freedom of choice. Addressing the dharna, Comrade AIPWA national joint secretary Kavita Krishnan talked of how the Kiss of Love protests by young men and women across the country had emerged as a challenge to the patriarchal moral police brigade of the ABVP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Mahasabha. She also pointed out how the Modi government's much-touted 'Make in India' campaign was a huge assault on the rights of women workers. Not just are women workers bearing the brunt of pathetic working conditions and an exploitative work atmosphere, they are also having to deal with feudal and patriarchal control over their lives by industrial managements. She also pointed out that women's 'protection' was now being aggressively used as an excuse by communal fascist forces to unleash a dangerous campaign of threats and intimidation as well as violence and hate-mongering against Muslims – the love-jihad and the VHP's 'Beti Bachao, Bahu Bachao' campaign in UP being a case in point. AIPWA also held joint protests and programmes with other women's groups in Lucknow, Kanpur, Patna, Bhilai and elsewhere.

Students' March to Parliament Against Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, proposed Central Universities Act and CBCS

For the past two months, leaders of the AISA-led JNUSU have been visiting campuses across the country to campaign against the undemocratic Lyngdoh Committee recommendations (LCR), and various anti-student legislations being mooted by the Modi government's Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD). Responding to JNUSU's call, hundreds of students from JNU, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Patna University, Veer Kunwar Singh University (Ara), Allahabad University, Tilka Majhi Bhagalpur University, Jadavpur University, Punjab University, Central University of Haryana and Trishur College Kerala participated in a United Students' 'March to Parliament' on 3 March 2015 against the LCR and the MHRD's proposed Central University Act.

Through the 'common' Central University Act, the MHRD is trying to force all central universities to follow a 'common' admission, a 'common' syllabus and 'transferrable' faculty. This will kill the autonomy of central Universities like DU and JNU, kill their uniqueness, kill their respective areas of strength in teaching and research. Through this Act, the saffron brigade wants to achieve its long term ideological agenda of saffronisation of higher education. In the name of 'common' syllabus and course structure, this Act will enable the RSS 'think-tanks' of 'Dinanath Batra variety' to impose their whims on all Universities including JNU, DU etc. By 'centralising all recruitments', the Central Government will have a free hand to dictate faculty appointments of its choice. And the provision to 'faculty-transfer' will act as a weapon to keep the upright faculty members who 'do not fall in line' under permanent threat.

We have seen that in recent years, students have repeatedly been treated as guinea pigs for ill-motivated experiments: the forced impositions of 'Semester system', then 'FYUP' and now a so-called CBCS (Credit Based Choice System). Like the FYUP, the CBCS is also a combination of silly and shallow Foundation, Core and Elective papers. This will dilute the academic quality of Honours courses and over-burden students and teachers with useless courses, when colleges lack both permanent teachers and enough infrastructure. On the one hand, the Lyngdoh recommendations are being used to scuttle campus democracy and effective participation of students in the decision-making process. On the other hand, the Government is trying to thrust anti-student policies on Universities such as the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) and the Central Universities Act.

The students were therefore marching to Parliament to demand an immediate repeal against the undemocratic Lyngdoh committee recommendations which govern student union elections, and to defend campus democracy, academic autonomy and democratic rights of students in higher education. The protest march to Parliament was met with a crackdown by the Delhi Police. Protesting students were lathi charged, several students including women students were manhandled by the Police, and some students including JNUSU office bearers were detained in the Parliament Street police station.

Campaign in Gaya against police complicity in murder

CPI(ML) has been running a campaign against police repression in Gaya district, after the dead body of 35-year Laldev Yadav was found in a jeep parked within the premises of the Tikari police station in Gaya. A week back, Laldev Yadav's wife had been injured after getting hit by a vehicle belonging to Mukesh Sharma from the neighbouring village. It had then been decided that Mukesh Sharma would pay for the treatment of Laldev Yadav's wife. However, instead of keeping to this promise, Mukesh Sharma molested Laldev Yadav's wife on the afternoon of the same day. After Laldev Yadav's wife filed a complaint with the police, on 27 January 2015 both Mukesh Sharma and Laldev Yadav were called to the police station. However, Laldev Yadav did not reach home that night and next morning his dead body was found in the premises of the police station. These suspicious circumstances clearly pointed to the complicity of the police and the local administration.

Under the leadership of CPI(ML), a road jam of the Gaya-Tikari road was organised to demand that the police personnel, including the police station in-charge, be held accountable for this murder. The protestors demanded that the station in-charge be arrested and 10 lakh compensation as well as a job be provided to the relatives of the deceased. A Tikari bandh was also called and successfully organised on 30 January 2015 to press for these demands.

Protest in Gopalganj against feudal-communal forces

CPI(ML) held a one-day protest in Gopalganj on 18 January 2015, against attacks on women by the Hindu Yuva Vahini and other feudal-communal forces. On 19 December last year, members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini had assaulted women in the Musahari bazaar area of the Vijayipur block of Gopalganj. Moreover, these very same feudal-communal forces had attacked several youths including Raju Ram, Vyas Yadav, Ramashankar Gupta and others. CPI(ML) organised this one-day protest against these incidents and the growing assertion of feudal-communal-fascist forces in Bihar.

Addressing the protest, state vice president of the All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) and CPI(ML) state committee member Amarnath Yadav pointed out that ever since the Modi government assumed power, feudal-communal forces affiliated to the RSS are feeling all the more emboldened in launching assaults on women, dalits and Muslims. He also pointed out that forces such as RJD-JD(U) have only provided amply grounds for the growth of communal-feudal forces in Bihar. The protest was also addressed by CPI(ML) leaders Jitendra Paswan, Lal Bahadur Singh, Subhash Patel, Ramnaresh Ram, Ramesh Baitha, Rajesh Yadav and others. The protest was presided over by Sriram Kushwaha.

Red Salute to Comrade Man Singh Pal!

Comrade Man Singh Pal, CPI(ML) Uttarakhand's state committee member and popular leader of the Bindukhatta movement, passed away on 9 March 2015 in Delhi. Born in 1960, Comrade Man Singh came to Bindukhatta in 1979 and had been actively involved with the land struggles there ever since. Since then, he has been known as one of the leading voices in the people's movement in Bindukhatta, participating and leading several struggles. He led struggles for ration cards, construction of schools, hospitals and roads and provision of electricity. In 1985, he was also jailed twice for participating and leading struggles against corruption. In 1988, he was jailed for 33 days for his leading role in the massive movement against the state repression in Mahtosh Modh in Gadarpur block. In 1990, he started a movement for establishing a people's higher secondary school. He faced a 15-year long trial by the forest department for his role in fighting for land rights for the poor. In 1994, he sat on an indefinite hunger strike against the management of the Century Paper Mill, demanding employment of youth in the area. In 2004, he was involved in the milk movement, and recently was involved in the protests against the rape and murder of an 8-year old girl in Lalkuan. Since 2004, he had been involved in struggles related to land and declaration of revenue villages in Bindukhatta.

He assumed various onerous responsibilities both in IPF, and later in the CPI(ML). He had thrice been the area secretary of CPI(ML)'s Bindukhatta unit. He had also been a member of the Uttarakhand state leading team before CPI(ML)'s state conference. After the state conference in 2013, he had been a member of the state committee. In 2012, he had also been CPI(ML)'s candidate for the Lalkuan assembly seat. He was known, loved and respected for his generous nature and close connect with people. Despite his own economic difficulties, he often set aside his problems to help others. A condolence meeting was held in his memory in the CPI(ML) office on 9 March 2015.


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, March 4, 2015

ML Update | No.10 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 10, 03 – 09 MARCH 2015

Budget 2015: Bonanza for the Rich, Bitter Austerity Pill for Others

Whichever way one looks at the first full-fledged budget of the Modi government, three features would stand out in bold relief. The budget has certainly handed out a big bonanza to the corporate sector – may not be as big a bonanza as would make the share market jump in joy, but a substantial bonanza nevertheless. That there are sharp cuts in social spending is another fact that stares everybody in the face. MNREGA may have escaped the kind of cut many had apprehended, but the axe has fallen heavily on every other item. But if the budget has added to the disappointment of one section of the people, it is the section which had voted in a big way for the BJP in the last Lok Sabha elections – the burgeoning Indian middle class. It is the middle class that along with the poor and the deprived will bear the burden of the 2015-16 budget – the 1.5% hike in service tax will pinch the middle class in every step of life.

Let us take a closer look at all these three defining features of the budget. In one fell swoop, the government has done away with wealth tax. The government knows that in a country with such sharp inequality as India, the abolition of the wealth tax cannot be defended as a matter of principle. So we are told the wealth tax is not cost effective, the cost of collecting the tax is higher than the amount of tax collected. In other words, the rich in India have mastered million ways not only to amass massive wealth but also to keep it safe from the taxman. If the government admits to this basic failure of 'governance' and wants to use it as a pretext for abolishing the very tax levied on wealth, how on earth does it expect us to take its threats against black money seriously? The 2% surcharge announced on income of above Rs one crore will also suffer on the same count.

The government has of course not stopped with just the abolition of wealth tax. It has also handed out a Rs 200,000 crore tax bonanza over the next four years by promising to lower the corporate tax from 30% to 25%. And this when according to the government's own calculation, the current tax rate of 30% actually works out to an effective tax rate of only 23%! The exemptions dished out to the corporate houses – in tax as well as customs and excise duties – continue to be staggering, during the first year of Modi government (2014-15), they just increased from Rs 5,500 billion in the last year of the UPA government (2013-14) to Rs 5,890 billion. And with no MAT (minimum alternate tax), inheritance tax or wealth tax, an exemption-laced lowered corporate tax is all that the corporate sector will have to face in the coming years. Add to this the proposed changes in the land acquisition law and labour laws, the disinvestment offerings and the government readiness to bear all risk in PPPs, the size of the corporate cake could not really be any bigger!

Contrast this bonanza to the treatment meted out to the consumers – the service tax has now been raised to a whopping 14% and like every other indirect tax, this too affects the people regardless of their income, making it blatantly disproportionate and regressive. During the Delhi elections, Modi talked of his 'luck' that his tenure so far has seen global oil prices crash from $110 per barrel in June 2014 to just about half, $57 per barrel. Far from transferring the benefits to the people, the government has resorted to a steady hike in excise duties on petrol and diesel and now in freight rates in this year's rail budget, mopping up billions of rupees of extra revenue, and if yet government figures show stagnation on the revenue front, it only shows highlights the dire need to increase taxes on the rich, do away with the sundry exemptions and improve the actual collection of taxes. But the government has chosen the opposite way and the result is an unprecedented squeeze in public spending and that too in the most sensitive social sectors concerning the most deprived sections of the population.

Compared to last year's budget, total plan expenditure is estimated to decline by a massive Rs 1.1 lakh crore, an unprecedented squeeze of about 20%. The decision to wind up the Planning Commission and replace it with the strange sounding 'NITI Aayog' was clearly not just a wordplay, the Modi raj has actually embarked on the dangerous journey of cutting back even whatever little money the government it spends on basic services and people's welfare. From Sarva Siksha Abhiyan to higher education, mid-day meal to National Health Mission, SC/ST sub plan to women and children welfare, the axe has fallen on virtually every single social expenditure item. Even the allocation for sanitation and drinking water has been reduced, leaving one to wonder if like 'kala dhan wapsi' (repatriation of black money), 'swachchhata' would also turn out to be just another 'jumla' or 'empty rhetoric' for the BJP. And contrary to the BJP propaganda of 'cooperative federalism', the states do not get any extra resources to make up for the cuts in central expenditure.

Arun Jaitley has advised the middle class to take its own care. What he has not said in so many words is that his government has abandoned the poor. Tax cuts for the rich, spending cuts for the poor and greater cost burden on the working people and middle classes – these are the classic features of a dreadful economic regime that is known as 'austerity' to the whole world. Yes, instead of the promised glimpses of 'achchhe din', Arun Jaitley's budget has delivered the first few pills of austerity to the overwhelming majority of Indian people. In the economic realm, the truth of 'minimum government, maximum governance' has started ringing as 'minimum responsibility of the government, maximum burden on the people'. The time has come for all sections of the people to rise in unison against this disastrous economic direction.

Reduction in Social Sectors in Budgetary Allocations (BE) of 2014-15 and 2015-16 (BE)


2014-15 (BE) Rs. Cr.

2015-16 (BE) Rs. Cr.


Agriculture (including Agri Research)




Drinking Water and sanitation




Health and family Welfare




AIDS Control




Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation




Rural Development




Women and Child Development




(In particular ICDS)




School Education




Higher Education






CPI (ML) Statement on Rail Budget

The 2015-16 Rail Budget of the Modi Government is going to hurt the pockets of the citizens, by the back door.


In spite of the fall in international crude oil prices, the Budget has shown no corresponding fall in rail fares. Instead, hikes in freight rates are going to result in hiked prices that will burden various sections of Indian people.


The Budget has hiked freight rates for urea by a whopping 10 per cent – this will undoubtedly put an immense burden of increased fertilizer prices on farmers.


The across-the-board hike in freight prices of groundnut oil, grains and pulses, LPG and kerosene, as well as cement, coal, and iron and steel will have a cascading effect on prices of essential items of household consumption and will also lead to an overall price rise.


This Budget, like previous budgets, has failed to take the safety measures called for to prevent rail accidents, in spite of the fact that 15,000 people die every year in rail-related accidents and fires. The obvious priority measure to prevent accidents would be to fill in the 3 lakh vacant posts in the railways. But instead, the Rail Budget has proposed 'audio-visual' warnings to road passengers at unmanned crossings. Why should crossings remain unmanned at all? As long as they remain unmanned, is it really imaginable that mere audio-visual warnings will prevent accidents?


In the name of correcting under-investment in the Railways, the Rail Budget has further opened the doors for private profiteering at the cost of the invaluable public asset that is the Railways.

The move to install surveillance (CCTV) cameras in passenger coaches and ladies' compartments is extremely troubling. Instead of making women safer, this will in fact increase the vulnerability of women passengers to voyeurism and snooping as well as misuse of the CCTV footage. The CCTVs are also likely to be used to profile and harass women and children from the poorer sections, vendors, transgenders, and other vulnerable sections of the population, for whom the railways are a lifeline but who are at the mercy of corrupt and insensitive rail authorities.


The Modi Government's Rail Budget has proved once again, that far from the acche din promised, the Government is relentlessly increasing burdens on citizens and offering up public assets for private profit.


Kisan Mahasabha Holds Countrywide Protests against Land Acquisition Ordinance

The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha organized countrywide protest demonstrations against the Land Acquisition ordinance on 23 February 2015. Thousands of farmers took part in these protests held in about 84 districts across states including UP, Bihar, MP, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. The farmers expressed their outrage and submitted memorandums to the President through the district authorities demanding repeal of this ordinance.

The CPI (ML) and Kisan Mahasabha also resolved to mobilize farmers and rural poor and hold special countrywide gram sabhas between 24 February and 14 March2015, to conduct a signature campaign against the Land Ordinane as well as cuts in MNREGA and Food Security bills. A people's parliament will be held on 16 March in New Delhi and the memo with the signatures will be submitted to the President and the Lok Sabha speaker, demanding a stop to the anti people attempts of the Modi government.

In Bihar, protests, nukkad sabhas and demonstrations were organized at Gandhi Maidan, Bhagat Singh chowk in Patna city, Nawada, Shekhpura, Ara, Bhagalpur, Jamui, Beguserai, Siwan, Darbhanga, Western Champaran, Buxar, Hajipur in Vaishali. These were very well attended by farmers, rural poor and women. Speakers including Kisan Mahasabha national secretary Rajaram Singh, Rajendra Patel, Pramod Singh, Mahesh Yadav, Manoj Pandey, Jainath Yadav, Vishveshwar Prasad Yadav, and many other leaders pointed out that the 2013 Land Acquisition bill with provisions for 70-80% consent, 4 times compensation social impact assessment, and rehabilitation, etc., was passed after a long struggle by farmers. The Modi government's 2014 ordinance has thrown out all these provisions in a single blow, increasing food insecurity and displacement, reducing agricultural land, and robbing the farmer of what little relief he had got through the 2013 Bill.

In Uttar Pradesh protests were held in Ghazipur, Balliya Kushinagar,Mhou, Chandauli, Niyamtabad, Saidipur, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Kanpur, Bareilly, Lakhimpur, Moradabad, Mathura, Jalaun, Pilibhit, Puranpur, Deoriya, Padrauna, Gorakhpur, and other places. Farmers and leaders who addressed the protest meetings vowed to fight against this draconian ordinance and called upon farmers to unite against this land loot.

In Madhya Pradesh demonstrations and protest rallies were held in Bhind district. Kisan Mahasabha leaders addressed the meeting and pointed out that the central and state governments were conniving together to loot land from the farmers. Earlier, meetings and padyatras (foot marches) were organized at 20 villages. A memorandum was submitted to the President through the district authorities demanding the repeal of the ordinance.

In Andhra Pradesh protests were held in Eastern Godavari and Krishna districts. Protest meetings were held in Karnal in Haryana. In Rajasthan demonstrations and rallies were organized in Jhunjhunu and Salumber block in Udaipur. Farmers protested against land grab of 7000 hectares by Birlas without farmers' consent, and increase in electricity rates by 18%.

In Punjab protests were held at Faridkot, Kot Kapoora, Mansa, Budhlada, Sangrur, Barnala, Gurdaspur, Bhatinda, Rampura Phool, and other places. Protests and dharnas with the participation of about 1500 farmers were held at Puri in Orissa and also Kalahandi district. A huge protest rally and meeting was held at Haldwani in Nainital district of Uttarakhand.

Farmers and rural poor across the country thus protested against the land grab ordinance and vowed to fight for its repeal.


AICCTU in Joint Demonstration all over Tamil Nadu on 26 February

All 11 central trade unions participated in a joint demonstrations held at Chennai Central railway station . More than 1000 workers took part and Com Jawahar state Honorary President addressed on behalf of AICCTU .Com Sekar and Munusamy were present . In Tiruvellore Joint demo was held at main Bazaar While Com A S Kumar Deputy Gen secretary of AICCTU present, Com Anburaj and Thirunavukkarasu addressed on behalf of AICCTU. Demonstration at Dharmapuri district was addressed by Com Murugan of electricity board union and Com Govindaraj state Gensecretary of Civil supplies corporation union also participated along with workers. In Tanjore, Com Rajan , state secretary , In Karur Com Bal raj, state VP of EB union, In Dindigul, state secretary Com Manivel, In Namakkal Com Subramani district secretary along with Com Govindaraj state secretary, In Erode District Tresurer Com Venkatesan along with Com K R Kumarasamy , In Salem Com Viswanathan of Co-optex union along with comrades Natarajan and Velmurugan , In Madurai, Com Mathivanan, In Tirunelveli State leaders Sankarapandian and Ramesh along with district secretary Com Ganesan and In Kanyakumari, Comrades Mary stella and Suseela took part .Demonstration in Coimbatore district was held at 3 places . In Periyanaickan palayam Com Damodharan state VP addressed .More than 100 workers from AICCTU took part. In Singanallur Com Balamurugan Leader of Shanthi gears union spoke on behalf of AICCTU. In Pollachi, Punch of Civil supplies loadmen participated in a joint demo and Com Durai spoke.Apart from AICCTU Leaders of central trade unions viz CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC,INTUC, BMS and LPF addressed the gathering.Workers from almost all sectors were mobilised by the trade unions .


All CTUs Demonstration in Bangalore

Joint Council of Trade Unions of all central trade unions in Bangalore organized a Dharna Satyagraha on 26 Feb. 2015 as a part of all India call.

Protestors demanded a minimum wage of Rs. 15000, withdrawal of pro-corporate, anti-worker amendments to labour laws, scrapping of contract labor system, same work- same payment, regulation of skyrocketing prices, etc.

Com. Shankar, AICCTU All India Vice President called upon workers to prepare for more militant struggles in the comin days to take on Modi led corporate, communal fascist central government and anti-worker Congress government in Karnataka.VJK Nair, CITU, Ananta Subbarao of AITUC, Radhakrishna of AIUTUC, Shivashankar of TUCC addressed the protestors along with other CTU leaders. 
All workers were symbolically arrested and released on the same spot.
JCTU delegation also met the Governor and submitted a petition to be forwarded to the central government.


AIPWA Strongly Condemns the Move to Install CCTVs in Railway Coaches and Public Places


The AIPWA strongly condemns the Rail Budget announcement of the move to install CCTV cameras in railway coaches and women's coaches in suburban railways. We also oppose the ongoing use of CCTV cameras in Delhi Metro as well as the move to install such cameras in public streets and public transport in various parts of the country.


The Budget Speech says that CCTVs will be installed 'without compromising privacy'. How is that possible?

Already, there is evidence that CCTVs serious compromise women's safety rather than promote it.

In the Delhi metro, for instance, CCTV footage of women and couples have been leaked as pornography on the internet. This incident should serve as a warning bell as to how vulnerable CCTVs in public spaces can make women.


International studies have shown that there is no evidence that CCTVs or the fear of being watched has reduced crimes. Instead these studies show that the data from surveillance videos are almost invariably misused. This has included systematic misuse by the State to profile and spy on certain sections of the population as well as on activists; and also misuse by individuals monitoring the footage, for personal snooping, stalking, voyeurism as well as leaking onto the internet.

Moreover, on Indian streets and public transport including the railways, it is women, children and transgenders, as well as men from the poorest sections, the homeless and the destitute, who are the most vulnerable to violence, that goes mostly unreported. Instead, this section of people are profiled as the source of danger and subjected to police harassment and violence, in the name of keeping streets and passengers safe. CCTV surveillance will severely increase the insecurity and vulnerability to harassment and violence of this section of people.


CCTVs in public transport and railways are therefore very ill-advised and strongly condemnable.

Instead, what is needed is to improve the sensitivity and accountability of the RPF as well as appointment of trained staff on all trains and stations, available at the press of a button, specifically to offer support and respond promptly and sensitively to women facing harassment and violence.


It should be noted that women's movement groups have never sought CCTV surveillance. This is because we know that women from their homes to the streets, are most vulnerable to surveillance, to a sense that Big Brothers of various kinds are watching them, judging them, controlling them. Moral policing in the name of 'safety' and sexual stalking/snooping are only two different sides of the same coin for women. 


Joint Protest Rally by Khemas and Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha in Kolkata

The State committees of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha and Akhil Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Sangh organized a massive joint protest rally and public meeting on 4 February 2015 in front of Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee's office and submitted a charter of demands to the CM. The anti farmer and anti worker policies of the central as well as state government were exposed through the rally. About 5000 people participated in the rally and the meeting was attended by farmers and workers from different districts. The meeting also saw a good participation from women.

The main issues raised in the rally were: repeal of the Land Acquisition Ordinance, guarantee of 100 days' work through MNREGA with no cuts, strict implementation of the food security bill, stopping cuts in ration distribution through PDS, and to protest against the West Bengal government's Agricultural Market bill which facilitates corporate entry into the agriculture market and bodes destruction for farmers' markets. The meeting was jointly chaired by Kisan Mahasabha State President Annada Bhattacharya, Joint Secretary Suvimal Sengupta, and Khemas state President Sajal Pal and Joint Secretary Babloo Bannerjee. The rally was led by Com. Kartik Pal, Com. Partho Ghosh, Com. Tapan Batvyal and Com. Sajal.

Speakers who addressed the meeting stressed on the anti farmer, anti worker and pro-corporate policies of the Modi government; the series of anti-democratic ordinances, and pointed out the need for subsidies on water, agriculture, fertilizers, and food grains. The speakers also pointed out how the West Bengal government was also pursuing pro-corporate and anti farmer policies as a result of which 100 farmers committed suicide in a single year. A resolution was passed calling for protests at all district headquarters as part of the countrywide protests against the Land Acquisition ordinance on 23 February.


Protest Demonstration for Reinstatement of Contractual Workers Laid off in Chhattisgarh

A protest demonstration was held by Centre of Steel Workers on 24 February 2015 in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh to demand immediate reinstatement of laid off contractual workers and raise other workers' issues. A memorandum was submitted during the demonstration to the CEO, Bhilai Steel Plant and the Executive Director, HSCL, demanding immediate reinstatement of thousands of workers who had been laid off. They also demanded inclusion of a provision in the contracts to ensure that when the contract changed hands, the workers already employed should not be removed. They also demanded strict implementation of labour laws and safety rules, as well as payment of monthly wages by the 10th of each month along with payment slips.

Speakers addressing the meeting said that the "achche din" promised by the Modi government had brought only loss of jobs and employment crisis for thousands of workers. This action by the management has created widespread outrage among the workers. The speakers called upon all contractual workers to put up a united fight against this injustice. The demonstration was led by Brijendra Tiwari and the meeting was addressed by AICCTU leaders Muktanand Sahu, Shiv Kumar Prasad, Vasuki Prasad Unmat, Ashok Miri, JP Nair, and others. The laid off contractual workers numbering 2500 participated in the demonstration. All the workers who have been laid off are directly involved in the production work of the Bhilai Steel Plant.


CPI (ML) condemns the killing of anti-fundamentalist blogger Avijit Roy

CPI (ML) strongly condemns the brutal murder of Bangladesh born American blogger Avijit Roy who was known to speak out against religious fundamentalists. His wife was also brutally injured in the attack. Last year too, another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider had been hacked to death by religious fundamentalists for speaking against extremism in religion in Bangladesh. The growing attacks on anti-fundamentalist and rational voices all over the world, including India, are a serious reminder regarding the need for progressive forces to join hands against fundamentalism. In the protests that immediately erupted in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh denouncing the murder of Avijit Roy and condemning the failure of the state to protect him, concerns regarding upholding of democracy and freedom of expression were also raised. The spontaneity and mass participation in the protests following the murder of Avijit Roy in Dhaka and of Com. Govind Pansare in India, is a sound reminder to the extremist forces that bullets can kill a people but not their ideas and abilities to influence. CPI (ML) extends solidarity to the protestors standing for democratic and secular values in Bangladesh and salutes the courage of Avijit Roy.


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: