Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ML Update | No.17 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 17, 21 ­– 27 APRIL 2015

Expose BJP's Attempts to Appropriate Ambedkar

he Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech at a BJP rally in Bihar on Ambedkar Jayanti, has made a bid to recast Babasaheb Ambedkar to fit the Sangh Parivar's agenda. The PM said that Ambedkar represented a combination of 'Samata (equality) and Mamata (motherly love), which brought about Samrasta (so
cial harmony)'; and that Ambedkar worked to 'integrate, not divide society'. He further said that it pained him to hear Ambedkar called a "Dalit leader", when in fact he was a "leader of humanity." He also implied that Ambedkar was a victim of "political untouchability"; and that he, Modi, too had been forced to battle "political untouchability."

The Prime Minister's remarks come in the wake of a concerted campaign by the RSS and BJP to appropriate Ambedkar. The Organiser and Panchjanya carried articles about Ambedkar, claiming that Ambedkar was against Muslims, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is marking Ambedkar's 124th birth anniversary year with district-level 'Samarasata Yagyas' to encourage "assimilation of dalits with the rest of the society."

The Sangh Parivar and BJP are, in their attempt to appropriate Ambedkar and woo Dalits, turning Ambedkar's legacy on its head. Their fulsome praise of Ambedkar, is actually a great insult to his life's work. Take their claim that Ambedkar worked to 'integrate society', that he was a leader of 'humanity', not 'Dalits'; and that he should be remembered by holding Hindu rites to assimilate Dalits into the 'rest of society'. In fact, these statements hide the fact that Indian and Hindu society was and is deeply divided on caste lines, with the Dalits at the receiving end of severe, systematic discrimination and violence. Dalits are already 'integrated' in this society – as the down-trodden, bottom-most rung of this edifice of hierarchy and discrimination. Ambedkar worked all his life for Dalits to make a decisive break with this society, to refuse to be 'integrated' with a society that holds them to be untouchable. His greatness and his humanism lies precisely in his status as an emancipator of Dalits, as a leader of Dalit resistance. It does not belittle Ambedkar to call him a leader of Dalits; in fact, it belittles his legacy to erase his role as a leader of Dalit agitations, and instead to re-brand him as an icon of 'assimilation' into the very society and politics he rejected!

In the very Nagpur that is the seat of Sangh Parivar power, Ambedkar publicly led Dalits in converting to Buddhism, declaring, "Though, I was born a Hindu, I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu." For Ambedkar, conversion was an act of rebellion of Dalits against the Hindu caste stranglehold. In contrast, the Sangh Parivar's 'Samrasta Yagna' is basically another edition of its 'gharwapsi' campaign, that seeks to outlaw conversion, and instead pressurizes Dalits to return to the Hindu fold. The Sangh Parivar should at least have the shame not to conduct these 'yagnas' of 'Samrasta' and 'gharwapsi' in Ambedkar's name!

The RSS and BJP work towards a Hindu Rashtra – a Hindu nation. Ambedkar explicitly rejected the politics of 'Hindu nation.' In his essays on 'Pakistan or Partition of India', he wrote, "If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt be the greatest calamity for this country. It is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. It is incompatible with democracy. It must be stopped at any cost." In 1951, on the eve of independent India's first-ever general election, the manifesto of Ambedkar's Scheduled Castes Federation (SCF) ruled out "alliance with any reactionary party such as Hindu Mahasabha and Jan Sangh as communal parties." (cited in Ambedkar & the BJP, A G Noorani, Frontline, February 21, 2014).

Desperate to sow the seeds of anti-Muslim hatred in Dalits, the RSS is propagating that Ambedkar distrusted Muslims. The fact is that Ambedkar advocated unity between the Muslims and oppressed castes. In the same essay on 'Pakistan and Partition of India', he writes, "There are many lower orders in the Hindu society whose economic, political and social needs are the same as those of the majority of the Muslims and they could be far more ready to make a common cause with the Muslim than they would with high caste Hindus who have denied and deprived them of ordinary human rights for centuries….Is it not true that under the Montagu-Chemsford Reforms, in most Indian provinces the Muslims, Non-Brahmins and Depressed classes united together and worked the reforms as members of one team from 1920 to 1937? Herein lies the most fruitful method of communal harmony among Hindus and Muslims and of destroying the danger of Hindu Raj".

A Minister in the Modi Government has called for a ban on the slaughter of cows and buffaloes; the Prime Minister himself makes speeches insinuating that the slaughter of cows is a dastardly 'Pink Revolution'; and the BJP Government of Maharashtra has banned beef. Can the RSS and BJP, then, digest Ambedkar's views on beef-eating? Ambedkar, after all, wrote well-researched articles explaining how beef-eating was common among Vedic Hindus; and analyses how in later times, those castes that ate beef were rendered untouchable. He specifically linked the beef taboo with Brahminism.

There is also a mischievous attempt to divorce Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, from Ambedkar, the leader of Dalit resistance and defiance. In keeping with his egalitarian principles and struggles, Ambedkar drafted a Constitution that would safeguard the rights and liberties of women, Dalits, minorities, and all citizens.

Ambedkar had resigned in frustration over the Hindu Code Bill, when Hindutva leaders along with conservative elements within the Congress had vociferously attacked the Bill's attempts to reform Hindu personal laws and ensure equality for women. BJP's hero Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of BJP's predecessor, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, had said the Bill would "shatter the magnificent structure of Hindu culture." In his resignation letter, Ambedkar declared, "To leave inequality between class and class, between sex and sex, which is the soul of Hindu Society untouched and to go on passing legislation relating to economic problems is to make a farce of our Constitution and to build a palace on a dung heap. This is the significance I attached to the Hindu Code."

Today, as the Sangh Parivar, as well as the State machinery all over India tramples over the Constitutional rights and liberties of women, minorities and Dalits, imposing dress and diet codes and attacking conversion, it is Ambedkar's legacy as an agitator that is relevant to the struggles to defend and expand people's freedoms.

Last but not least, how can one forget the BJP's and RSS' acts of violence against Dalits? Modi himself described manual scavenging as a 'spiritual activity bestowed by the Gods', rather than as an atrocity against Dalits. The Ranveer Sena, that shared the RSS ideology and politics in many respects, conducted a series of massacres of Dalits in Bihar in the 1990s. Modi Cabinet Minister Giriraj Singh had described the Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh, as 'Bihar's Gandhi.'

The attempts by Modi, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar to appropriate Ambedkar smack of sheer dishonesty and opportunism. Ambedkar stands tallest among the leaders of his generation, as a visionary who refused to compromise with inequality and discrimination, and squarely rejected the politics of Hindutva ideologues and vacillating Congressmen too. Ambedkar's legacy is an inspiration and a resource for all fighters for an egalitarian India. And that legacy will always remain a thorn in the side of hate-filled politics of Hindutva, that Ambedkar described the greatest danger of all for India.

Red Salute to Comrade Ammaiappan

CPI(ML)'s Tamilnadu State Committee member Comrade Ammaippan passed away after a prolonged illness on 09.04.2015. He was 54 years old.

Comrade Ammaiappan played a key role in rejuvenating the party in Cuddalore district. This erstwhile centre of militant struggles was stagnant in spite of the party's best efforts. But Comrade Ammaiappan helped develop an entirely new team of young cadres from the Virudhachalam and Kamapuram area, developing work on the RYA front as well as among agricultural labourers, students, workers and women.

Comrade Ammaippan became the District Secretary of the party. He organized a massive rural workers' rally on December 31, 2008. He was also elected to state committee in the Pudukottai conference of the party.

He led struggles for the implementation of MNREGA in Karkudal Panchayat, which was the first to implement it in this district. He also fought for 100% increase in wages successfully. He also took initiatives in cyclone relief work.

On one occasion Comrade Ammaippan along with Com Ramar went to visit the spot where an inter-caste married couple were burnt alive, and he was surrounded and threatened by casteist elements. Also when the police in a nexus with the AIADMK tried to wipe out the party in Kattumannarkoil area, he valiantly resisted it, braving threats by lumpen elements right inside the police station.

Even after he underwent major surgery in 2012, in spite of his deteriorating health, he participated in the joint left parties demonstration during December 8-14, 2014 and also the Left parties' protest against Obama's India visit on December 24, 2014. As long as his health permitted he remained active in the AIALA membership campaign during January 2015.

He acquired great respect not only from party supporters but also from other Left and democratic forces. He was very dedicated to building a united party organization.

The AIALA Conference of Tamil Nadu was to be held in May 15th under his eladership. Now that he is no more, carrying forward his work will be a fitting tribute to him. The CPI(ML) as well as his family members will mourn and miss Comrade Ammaiappan deeply. But his work will give us strength and inspiration.

Countrywide Kisan Mahasabha Padyatra against Land Ordinance

(Under AIPF National Struggles Campaign)

As per the decision of the national executive, the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha held padyatras from 6 April to 12 April in different States against the 2015 Land Ordinance. During this period village meetings were organized at 275 places attended by thousands of farmers who expressed outrage against the Modi government's tyrannical bid to grab land without farmers' consent. Many of the farmers said that this was the first time they were getting detailed information about the Land Ordinance.

In Bihar, marches, protests and meetings were held in several villages in Aurangabad, Vaishali, Bhojpur, Kaimur, Muzaffarpur and Beguserai districts. Padyatras and sampark meetings were also organized at 100 villages in 7 blocks of Jehanabad, Arwal, Jamui, Lakhiserai and Rohtas districts. During the meetings, protests and the marches, the farmers and leaders said that the ordinance would further jeopardize food security, and raised the issues of compensation to farmers for crop loss, permanent purchase centres for paddy and wheat, and Rs 2000 MSP for wheat.

In Odisha, a huge protest demonstration was held in Bhubhaneshwar by farmer organizations associated with CPI, CPM, CPI-ML (Liberation), CPI-ML (Red Star), CPI-ML (New Democracy), Chasi Muliya Sangh and others, in which thousands of farmers, dalits, adivasis, and jhuggi dwellers participated. Impressive protests were also held in Puri; a farmers' convention was organized at Kalahandi. In Madhya Pradesh padyatras were held in Bhind, Chambal, as well as neighbouring Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. Impressive protests were held in Darjeeling, Bardhman, and North 24 Parganas in West Bengal, and Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan.

In Punjab padyatras and gramin sabhas were organized in 117 villages in Mansa, Sangrur, Barnala, Bhatinda, Faridkot and Gurdaspur districts. A farmer's convention was organized by the party in Anjana tehsil of Amritsar. Padyatras were also organized in East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh and Sonepat in Haryana. In Uttar Pradesh padyatras, marches and meetings were organized in Lucknow, Barelley, Azamgarh, Pilibhit, Jalaun, Ghazipur, Chandroli, Mirzapur, Sitapur, and Lakhimpur districts.

Leaders addressing the meetings and marches across the states, stressed on the pro-corporate, capitalist and anti-farmer character of the ordinance. They called upon the people to fight this open license to land loot and pointed out that AIPF provides a joint platform for a untied struggle against this draconian ordinance. A meeting of the national council of the Kisan Mahasabha will be held on 17-18 May in Bhagalpur, Bihar which will be attended by 100 farmer leaders from various States.

Condemn Police Repression on Adivasis' Movement against Kanhar Dam in Sonbhadra, UP

CPI(ML) strongly condemns the police firing and lathi charge on the adivasis protesting against the Kanhar Dam in Sonebhadra on the mornings of 14th and 18th April. It is extremely unfortunate that when it comes to forcible land grab and contempt for Forest Rights Acts, the Samajwadi Party (now a part of the Janata Parivar) has shown itself to be no different from the Modi government at the centre. CPI(ML) also strongly condemns the treatment of the political and social activists who had gone as part of fact finding team by the police. The state administration made all attempts to ensure that the activists were not allowed to meet the victims and mobs with police patronage were sent to threaten the activists. CPI(ML) stands in solidarity with the protesting adivasis fighting to safeguard their rights and resources.

Protest Against Army Rape of Three Women in Karbi Anglong

Women's and students' groups held a protest at Assam Bhawan on 18 April 2015 against the rape of three women in Karbi Anglong, Assam, by Army personnel on 6 April 2015. The protest was joined by All India Students' Association (AISA), All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), Student Youth Council (SYC), North East Forum for International Solidarity, Pooberun and Manipur Students' Association of Delhi (MSAD).

Mongve Rongpi of the Student Youth Council (who had also been to the site and met the victims) said that the Army's latest claim that the 'the rapist jawan' had committed suicide inside the Army camp was ill founded as three women were gang raped by at least eight men. There was no single 'rapist.' The protesters demanded investigation and prosecution of the entire regiment and its commanding officer. AIPWA national secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan said that although protests have been ongoing in Karbi Anglong ever since the rapes, none of the jawans have been arrested. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act - AFSPA – is offering the Army a shield of impunity, and a licence to rape and murder. She also added that the Assam government cannot wash its hands off its responsibility and it must immediately seek permission to prosecute the rape-accused Army personnel, and file an FIR.

Several protestors pointed out that the Justice Verma Committee had recommended that the continuance of AFSPA in the law books be reviewed and that the requirement of central government sanction for prosecution of armed forces personnel should be specifically excluded when a sexual offence is alleged. The protestors submitted a memorandum to the Home Ministry demanding that the Home Ministry withdraw AFSPA – which provides a shield of immunity to army personnel, that the Central government must immediately allow the Assam police to file a rape FIR against the accused Army personnel in Karbi Anglong and that the Central government must ensure that the Army is not allowed to influence the justice process and intimidate witnesses.

20th State Conference of Mahasangh
(Gope Group)

The 3 day 20th State conference of the Bihar Non-Gazetted Workers' Mahasangh took place in Patna on 10-12 April 2015. General Secreatary Com. Rambali Yadav welcomed the gathering and the conference was inaugurated by AICCTU General Secretary Com. Swapan Mukherjee. Addressing the conference Com. Swapan said that the hard-fought rights of workers are now being snatched back as- the number of regular workers is being drastically reduced; contractual-honorarium workers are being given no rights; and the pension and gratuity of regular workers are being drastically cut. In this situation it is incumbent upon the inheritors of Yogeshwar Gope's legacy to fight for the rights of the workers by launching a massive agitation. He appealed for making the AICCTU national conference on 4 May in Patna a grand success. RN Thakur gave the inaugural address, Rambali Prasad read the annual report and Kanti Kmar Singh presented the fiscal report. Both reports and related suggestions were discussed, after which they were unanimously passed. Resolutions were passed for protests on long-delayed State workers' issues, "Ekjutta March" on 16 April in solidarity with contractual-honorarium teachers, the AICCTU national conference in Patna on 4-6 May and the "Mazdoor Kisan Adhikar Rally" on 4 May. A 3 member election commission oversaw the election of office bearers for the next session. The conference concluded with the release of the Mahasangh organ "Mehnatkash Awaam".

AICCTU's 1st Uttarakhand Conference

AICCTU held its first Uttarakhand State conference on 12 April in Haldwani. Addressing the conference Com. Rajendra Pratholi said that Modi's "achche din" is a synonym for full freedom for corporate loot. He added that on the one hand corporate houses were being facilitated and on the other, farmers and workers were being driven to desperation. This is the time for the farmer and working class to bring about revolution. Com. Anil Verma stressed on the need for close unity between farmers and workers to fight the anti-poor policies of the Modi government, as "Extract full work and pay cheapest wages" had become the policy of the government and the capitalist class. Com. Raja Bahuguna pointed out that a second Company raj was being ushered in, and a communal atmosphere was being fostered in order to thwart the unity of farmers and workers. The inaugural session of the conference was addressed by Purushottam Sharma, NC Khulbe, Anil Kumar and others. The organizational session began with the reading of documents which discussed the political scenario in the country, challenges before the working class, and the role and responsibility of AICCTU. Following this, a 23 member State council and a 9 member committee was elected. Com. Nishan Singh was elected the State President, Com. KK Bora as the State Secretary, and Com.KP Chandola, Com. Deepa Pandey and Com. Kamla Kunjwal were elected as State Vice Presidents. Com. Raja Bahuguna, Com. Kailash Pandey and Com. Pankaj Tiwari were elected committee members. The council also has 3 women members apart from the 2 Vice Presidents: Com. Shama Parveen, Com. Rita Kashyap, and Com. Indira Deupa. The committee passed a resolution demanding minimum wages of 20,000; end of contractual system; declaration of Asha and Anganbadi and midday meal workers as State government employees; repeal of amendments weakening the labour laws, and other pro-worker demands.

Vidhansabha Gherao by Jharkhand Midday Meal Workers' Association

Under the banner of the Jharkhand State School Midday Meal Workers Association, midday meal women workers and conveners gheraoed the Jharkhand Assembly with a 30 point demand charter on 27 March 2015. Thousands of women workers across Jharkhand blocked the Assembly gates for hours causing traffic between Birsa Chowk and Dhruva to come to a standstill. They warned the State government that if it continued to exploit the workers, they would launch a massive agitation. Demanding regularization of the midday meal workers, they said that this is a strong link in the chain of the fight against privatization and liberalization. Addressing the meeting the Midday Meal Workers Association President said it is a matter of shame that half the population goes hungry in the regime of the Raghubar government which claims to stand for good governance. It is a matter of injustice and inhumanity that midday meal works get a mere pittance of Rs 833 per month; they require not the status of honorarium workers but the full rights which are due to all workers.

Addressing the meeting AICCTU State General Secretary Com. Shubhendu Sen said that employment and minimum wages are fundamental rights and workers will not let any government to snatch these hard won rights. The chief demands of the midday meal workers association are: minimum wages of Rs 200 for all workers, life insurance benefits, two uniforms per year, 4 bath and washing soaps per month, service regularization, and other rights.

Another Victory for Contract Workers Union in PGIMER, affiliated to AICCTU

After more than a decade old struggle for abolition of contract labour system at the PGI which had been started in 1996 and had been continuing since, the Central Government has finally issued a Gazette Notification to prohibit contract labour at PGIMER, Chandigarh. More than 2000 workers will be directly benefitted by this move. PGI Contract Workers Union that is affiliated to AICCTU had been working relentlessly on the issues of abolition of contract labour and of workers' wages.

First District Conference of AISA- Madurai

On 18th April AISA Madurai Unit conducted its first District Conference in Madurai. The event took place MUTA Hall rechristened as Comrade Chandrashekar Hall. Comrades Prof. Vijayakumar (Save MKU) Com Balsubramanian (Madurai Kamaraj University Faculty Association- MUFA) and a well known artist Com Ravikumar (MUFA) addressed the conference. The conference was conducted by Com. Sathyakrishnan (State Vice President of AISA), and Com. Michel (State Vice President greeted the efforts of AISA Madurai Unit. The Conference elected a 15 member District Committee with Com Pandiyarajan as the new district president and Com. Arun as the secretary. The Conference decided to launch movement against privatization Corporation School of Madurai and campaign against appointments of worthless 'Political' VCs.


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, April 16, 2015

ML Update | No.16 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 16, 14 ­– 20 APRIL 2015

Custodial Killing by Police in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

ast week, there have been two instances of custodial killings by the police of two different states. Both instances raise serious questions about the weak state of democracy, where fake 'encounters' become the norm for the police.

In Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, near Tirupati, the Andhra Pradesh police killed 20 tribal people whom they claimed were 'smugglers'. The killings happened deep in the Seshachalam forest, with 11 being killed at Pacchinodu Banda and 9 near Etagunta.

In Telangana, five Muslim youth were killed by the police on their way to court for a trial, even as they were handcuffed and in police custody.

In the Chittoor case, the police claimed that all killed were 'red sandalwood smugglers' who were found chopping red sandalwood trees, and that the police fired in 'self-defence' when they were pelted with stones and sickles. Facts that have emerged, establish this to be a falsehood. An eyewitness has stated that 7 of the 20 killed were picked up from a bus by the police a day before the 'encounter'. All evidence suggests that the 20 men were picked up at random from other spots, and then killed in cold blood, in the custody of the police.

Moreover, if stones and sickles were pelted in a life-threatening attack on police, how come no policemen were injured? If the firing took place in the dead of darkness, how come all the victims have bullet injuries accurately in the chest, head and face? It is also difficult to believe that the identical incident took place twice, in two different spots, on the same night.

The police is trying to silence questions about the massacre by claiming that those killed were 'smugglers'. The fact is that the police do not touch the well-connected top smugglers, that include the brothers of the current Chief Minister and a previous CM respectively. Money from red sandalwood smuggling flows smoothly in elections in the region, with the open collusion of police and politicians. It is the poor tribal wood cutters from Tamil Nadu who are periodically arrested and killed by police in the name of a 'crackdown on smuggling'. In the past year, apart from the recent massacre, 20 tribals were killed by police, and more than 2000, arrested and framed in false cases with no evidence, lie in jails in Chittoor and Cudappa.

The TDP-BJP Government is defending the massacre brazenly. The spree of arrests of tribal people continues unabated, and the Government has also slapped draconian cases against human rights activists who went in a fact-finding team to the massacre site.

The Nalgonda killing by the Telangana police is another instance in which the police's 'self-defence' story appears entirely incredible. The five youth were being taken to Court, where there was a high chance that they would be acquitted of the acts of terrorism of which they were accused. Photographs and videos show that their hands were handcuffed to the seats of the police vehicle, and guns seems to have been planted in their hands. These photographs tell a tale of open, shameless murder by the police.

The question is, why the delay in booking the concerned policemen in cases of murder? The NHRC guidelines clearly spell out that in every case of alleged 'encounter', cases of murder must be filed against the policemen, and it is in the Court that the police must establish that they killed in self-defence. Why is this procedure not being followed? Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana killer policemen must face arrests and prosecution without further delay.

Further, the Andhra Pradesh Government must declare a moratorium on the further arrests of adivasi wood cutters, and must unconditionally release all those who are already in jail. To curb smuggling, the nexus of police, politicians and smuggling mafia must be probed and exposed. The top men in the smuggling mafia need to be arrested without further delay; and a time-bound probe set up to identify and punish the political patrons of these smugglers.

Police reform is indeed needed – but such reform must first and foremost mean an end to the culture of impunity, and stern accountability and action against police men who violate civil liberties and constitutionally guaranteed rights.

AIPF and Several Others Protest Cold Blooded Murders by AP and Telangana Police

New Delhi: A protest demonstration was held Andhra-Telangana Bhawan in New Delhi on 11 April to protest the brutal killings of 20 labourers in Tirupati by Andhra Pradesh police and of 5 Muslim undertrials in Nalgonda by Telangana Police. All India People's Forum (AIPF), PUCL, Janhastakshep, Co-ordination Committee on Minorities, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, AISA, PDSU, JNUSU, Democratic People's Lawyers' Association, Majlis-e-Mushawarat and others jointly participated in the demonstration. The protestors strongly condemned the brutal killings terming them cold-blooded murders and demanded that the guilty be punished. They submitted a memorandum to the Governors of both the states in which immediate arrest and prosecution of the policemen involved was demanded. The memorandum also included the demand for compensation and a public apology to the families of the victims by the respective state governments.

Tamil Nadu: On 10th April a demonstration was organized by TN Scheduled Tribe Peravai led by V.Murukesan in Harur, in front of the Taluk Office, condemning the killing of Tribal workers in AP, in which more than 300 people participated.

Comrade A. Chandra Mohan, AIPF (campaign committee member) delivered key note address. Kubendran, state President of the Peravi and other leaders of various organizations addressed the gathering. All speakers condemned Chandra Babu Naidu for his state terrorism and fake encounters. They asked why the PM Modi keeps silence over the grave human right violation. They charged that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr O. Panneerselvam was not aware of the tribal issue of the state. They further demanded that AP STF police personnel, who killed the Tribal at close range and also the top officials of Police including Mr. M Kantha Rao (RSASTF DIG) and Forest Ranger Mr. Sriramulu be arrested and that the Mr. O Panneerselvam should meet Andhra Pradesh CM Mr. Chandrababu Naidu to negotiate release of more than 5000 tribal of TN, languishing in Nellore and Cudappa Jails.

Further, they asked for TN Government's speedy action to retrieve the alienated Tribal land, Guaranteeing of employment to the ST Youths, utilization of ST sub plan funds, special Socio economic package to backward Dharmapuri, Thriuvannamalai Districts.

Protests in Karbi Anglong Over the Rape of Three Women, Including a Teenager by Army Jawans

On 6 April 2015, a 13 year old teenage girl was picked up and raped by an eight-member patrol team of Army jawans posted at Dokmoka. When the girl's mother and another female relative rushed to the site in order to rescue her, they too were raped. Many other women apart from these three were molested and injured. AIPWA Vice President Comrade Pratima Engheepi met the survivors when they were brought to Diphu for treatment. On 9 April, AIPWA and its sister organisation Karbi Nimso Chinthur Asong (KNCA) organised a massive protest in Diphu. Thousands of women joined the rally demanding a high-level inquiry into the rape of three women by Army jawans. The women, under the banner of the Karbi Nimso Chinthur Asong (Karbi Progressive Women's Association), later gheraoed the office of Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner Mukul Gogoi and submitted a memorandum. Addressing the demonstration, KNCA leader Seema Ranghangpi said –"We want a high-level inquiry of the incident and adequate compensation for the victims. The administration should punish the culprits according to the law".

Shockingly, the police lathicharged the protestors demanding inquiry and justice for the rape survivors and two students were injured in the police firing during the protests. A 24-hour long Karbi Anglong bandh was also called on April 11 by several organisations led by Karbi Nimso Chingthur Asamg (KNCA), to protest against the administration's failure to arrest the accused even two days after submission of the FIR. KNCA general secretary Kajek Tokbipi stated they would continue the protests and added - "We have asked the administration to arrest the accused at the earliest. Unfortunately, the administration has done nothing so far. Security personnel cannot rape our women in the name of counter-insurgency operations."

The KNCA activists along with other protestors also strongly demanded the scrapping of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Joint Mass Demonstration held in Bhubaneswar Demanding Scrapping of Land Acquisition Ordinance-2015

Under the united call of 'Campaign Against Land Acquisition', Odisha (Jameen Adhigrahan Birodhi Abhijyaan, Odisha), a massive protest demonstration was held in Bhubaneswar against the Land Acquisition Ordinance brought by the BJP led NDA government. This pro corporate ordinance is an assault on the farmers and the poor in the country and is in line with the anti-people policies being introduced by this government. The call was jointly given by peasants unions of CPI, CPI (M), CPI(ML)Liberation, CPI(ML)Red Star, CPI(ML)-New Democracy, Chasi Mulia Sangha and others. Thousands of people from across the state participated in the protest demonstrations. The participants included farmers, agricultural labourers, dalits, adivasis, slum dwellers, and activists from various democratic organizations and anti displacement movements.

Protests in Bengal against Ranaghat rape

Ever since the establishment of the RSS-driven government at the centre, there has been communal hate mongering and an endless series of attacks on the minorities. There have been many rape cases in West Bengal and the Trinamool government has shown a negligent and sexist attitude in all the cases. It is in this context that we must look at and condemn the recent attack on a convent school in Nadiya and the gang rape of the 70 year old nun Mother Superior. Whether the Ranaghat rape is a case of communal violence or some other form of malevolence, the West Bengal government has been shamefully incapable of preventing it or punishing the guilty.

On the night of 14 March some heinous criminals broke into the convent, looted costly items, vandalized Christ's image, and raped the senior-most nun. It is a moot question why they chose the most senior nun and not any of the others. Clearly the criminals had a grudge, either personal or political, against that church. According to the other sisters, this nun had told the criminals to tell her what they wanted and not to harm any of the others. That she did not plead for mercy and faced the attackers bravely angered them and they not only raped her but also injured her in several places.

Even 3 days after the incident there was no progress in arresting or punishing the criminals. 3 days later when the CM Mamata Banerjee went to visit the site, students and guardians stopped her convoy and refused to let her move further, demanding why no arrests have been made so far. Mamata Banerje threatened the people and after 45 minutes the police lathi-charged and dispersed the crowd. Cases have also been registered against some of the protesters.

VHP General Secretary Surendra Jain attempted to use the Ranaghat rape incident to spread hatred and inflame communal passions. He said, "Attacking nuns is the Christian culture; we do not do such things." After the attack on a church in Haryana, the CM of that State put the blame for the attack on the 'conversions' carried out by the church! Narendra Modi is silent on such statements by his cronies and colleagues.

CPI(ML) and AIPWA held 3 day (17-19 March) protests and rallies in different parts of West Bengal against the extremely insensitive attitude of the administration and the vengeful behavior of the Chief Minister. A rally was taken out in Hind-Cone Nagar of Hooghly. Rallies, street meetings, and road blocks were conducted at Ashok Nagar and Kharda (North 24 Parganas), Bajbaj and Choriyal (South 24 Parganas), Siliguri in Darjeling district, while posters protesting the Ranaghat rape were put up in Kolkata and other places.

On 19 March an impressive joint rally was organized by 15 organizations including AIPWA, Maitri, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Manch, Darbar Mahila Samanvay Samiti, Shramjeevi Mahila Sangathan and other women's groups. The march started at College Square in Kolkata and proceeded to Dharamtalla. Around 2000 women participated, raising their voice against sexual violence and demanding punishment for the guilty in the Ranaghat rape incident. At Dharamtalla a huge human chain was constructed and cultural programmes and street plays were staged.

Report from the Ongoing Movement in Bindukhatta

As per their earlier declaration, thousands of farmers under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha gheraoed the LalKuan tehsil in Nainital district of Uttarakhand on 1 April 2015. The farmers, angered by the indifference shown by the State government to the series of farmers' agitations for the past three and a half months against making Bindukhatta into a municipality, started assembling at the Lalkuan tehsil from early morning with red flags and banners. They gheraoed the tehsil gate and expressed their extreme anger against CM Harish Rawat and Labour Minister Harish Durgpal. When the tehsil road was full to overflowing, the agitators climbed onto the roofs of the nearby residential complexes under construction. The participation of women and youth in the agitation was noteworthy.

In spite of the widespread people's opposition, the State government passed the Bindukhatta municipality ordinance on 25 Feb 2015 in a hush-hush manner with a small notification to the effect in the newspapers after 15 days. Hundreds of Bindukhatta farmers protested in front of the Vidhan Sabha on 17 March and the CM Harish Rawat assured the farmers that their wish would be taken into consideration. But on 19 March the government appointed SDO Haldwani Bhabar as administrator of Bindukhatta municipality and Lalkuan Tehsildar as executive officer. The Kisan Mahasabha announced a ghera dalo-dera dalo and hunger strike against this decision. 26 people sat on a collective hunger strike, out of which 5 people continued the hunger strike further. A torchlight rally was taken out by 400 youth on 29 March. The tehsil ghearao programme was held on 1 April, and the formation of the municipality was also challenged in the High Court. The HC directed the State government to reply within 3 weeks how the municipality was formed without hearing the people's objections. The tehsil gherao was led by Purushottam Sharma, Bahadur Singh Jangi, Rajendra Pratholi, Kailash Pandey, Bhuwan Joshi, Vimla Rothan and other kisan leaders.

The High Court has given 3 weeks' time to the government to reply as to why Bindukhatta was made a municipality without proper hearing of people's objections, the farmers would put their agitation on hold for 3 weeks. If, after that period, the municipality was not revoked, the agitation would be intensified and thousands of farmers would gherao the Labour Minister's house.

The speakers exposed the claims of BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari who blamed the Congress at the centre for sending back the Bindukhatta revenue village proposal, by pointing out that during Koshiyari's time as CM it was the Vajpayee government which was at the centre. The truth is that no government—neither BJP nor Congress—has sent the required proposal to the centre. The BJP leadership and Leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt have not opposed the Congres on this issue because they are hand in glove with the land mafia and in favour of the Bindukhatta municipality. Finally party leaders made the people on a 8 day hunger strike (Mangal Singh Koshiyari, Kunwar Singh Chouhan, Sher Singh Koranga) and on a 5 day hunger strike (Vipin Singh Bora) break their fast with fruit juice.

The party and kisan leaders expressed appreciation on behalf of the farmers of Bindukhatta to the public, parties, organizations, and media for their support to this cause. While the farmers are enthused by the HC directive of asking the state government to reply within 3 week, the morale of Harish Durgpal and his cronies has fallen. Congress activists gave vent to their frustration by burning the effigy of Com Purushottam Sharma. Other parties including AAP, Shiv Sena etc. have opposed the municipality, but their opposition is merely symbolic.

Victory of the Left Student Groups in the Recently Concluded GSCASH Elections in JNU

The elections for the post of students' representatives to the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) in Jawaharlal Nehru University were held on 10 April 2015. In an election that saw nearly 3,015 students casting their votes, Geeta Kumari, AISA activist, finished first with 1,148 votes. Aishwarya Adhikari of the Democratic Students' Front finished second with 927 votes. The election saw an active misogynist campaign by two candidates backed by the ABVP who in their pamphlets described rape as the 'violation of chastity' of women, argued that 'sangharsh' (struggles) in feminism be replaced by 'samanvay' (coordination) and appealed to the voters to vote for a 'Communist mukt GSCASH'. The ABVP candidates finished 4th and 6th respectively in a contest between 7 candidates reflecting a clear rejection of the patriarchal understanding and approach to Sexual Harassment and the resolve among JNU students to keep the GSCASH 'mukt' (free) of communal elements! The 'GSCASH for All' slogan raised by Com. Geeta that sought to expand the working of GSCASH beyond the binaries of male and female and also reach out to the campus workers, found a widespread support among the students.

Launch of RYA in Karaikal, Puducherry

Formation meeting of Revolutionary youth association was held on 11.04.2014 at French Residency, Kariakal. Com. KM Ramesh convened the meeting. More than 30 youth and students actively participated in the meeting. Com. Paranthaman delivered the welcome address. Meeting started with paying homage to 20 worker who werr brutally killed by the Andra Pradesh Police, Com. Ammaiyppan, SCM Tamilnadu and the known Tamil writer Jayakanthan who passed away recently. Com. Azhagappan conducted the meeting. Com. S. Balasubramanian, Puducherry state Sec. CPI(ML) and Com. Michael, Tamil Nadu state Sec. RYA addressed the meeting.

While speaking Com. S. Balasubramanian said that the NR Congress Govt. led by N. Rangasamy had ignored all its electoral promises and betrayed the youths of Puducherry. He also explained how the government had gone back on its promise of Rs. 2000/- relief to unemployed youths of the state and not providing them any relief. He referred to the relevance and compatibility of martyred leader Bhagat Singh's fight against colonialism, imperialism, and loot by Indian bourgeois even today. He urged the youth to continue their fight against oppressions in any form and for their rights. He also emphasized that youth are the future of the world and the future is the Peoples' democratic revolution.

Meeting elected following comrades as functionaries,

President Com. AS Kumar, Vice Presidents - Com. R. Agilan, & KS. Senthil Kumar. Secretary Com. MK Ramesh, Deputy Secretaries Com. S. Parnthaman & S. Selvam, Treasurer Com. G. Kumar and Executive Members com. N. Sivamoorthy and S. Sathish

The following resolutions were passed in the meeting: (1) Government should provide the relief of Rs. 2000/- to all unemployed youths in the state immediately, (2) In Karaikal Town buses should be operated regularly. Overcharging by share auto owners should be stopped immediately, (3) Karaikal Government general hospital should be maintained with sufficient doctors, staffs and necessary medicines, (4) Regulate private institution fee. Appoint sufficient teachers before schools and colleges reopen, (5) Scrap the monthly DPT plan of Rs. 300/-money for free rice, Provide Free Rice regularly, (6) Restart the shelved MNREGES programme immediately.

Construction Workers' Protest in Devaria

In the Devaria district of Uttar Pradesh, a nexus between corrupt officials of the labour department and the private agents has been leading to massive corruption, loot of the public exchequer and blatant violation of workers' rights. The construction workers' union in Devaria has been protesting against this ongoing corruption and the complicity of one of the officials in the labour department who has amassed crores of rupees. Despite repeated protests, the investigation against this official has never been pursued seriously. When the construction workers' union tried to get registration of the workers done, and when they demanded implementation of the workers' legally mandated rights, private agents who work with the tacit support of the labour department tried to stop this process of collective bargaining by the workers themselves. The workers' union therefore decided to organise a panchayat in front of the local district magistrate's (DM) office to press for their demands such as issual of job cards, registration of all workers and payment of legally mandated wages. Around 2000 workers participated in this panchayat and submitted a memorandum of their demands to the DM. Under pressure from the workers, the local administration accepted the regiatration requests for around 2500 workers. This protest was led by AICCTU leaders comrades Premlata Pandey, Ramkishore, Geeta Pandey and others.


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, April 9, 2015

ML Update | No.15 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 15, 07 ­– 13 APRIL 2015

BJP National Executive: 

Defensiveness and Desperation Over Land Grab Law

he BJP's National Executive meeting in Bengaluru exposed the party's defensiveness and desperation in the face of the all-round revolt against the Land Acquisition Ordinance and Bill. The Modi Government's amendments to the Land Acquisition law are all aimed at making it easier for corporations to grab land from farmers without consent. All over the country, there have been growing protests against the Land Grab Ordinance and Modi Government's other pro-corporate moves that threaten the land and livelihood of farmers and adivasis.

Modi, in his radio programme Mann ki Baat, had already tried to persuade farmers to support the Land Acquisition Bill. But farmers, distressed by crop loss due to unseasonal rain, hail, and drought, have remained unimpressed.

The fact that India's ruling party, elected to power in a landslide mandate less than a year ago, dedicated almost its entire National Executive meeting to the agenda of persuading people to support the Land Acquisition bill, is significant. The BJP won the election by promising people 'development'. But farmers imagined that 'development' would mean relief for their distress and for the agrarian crisis. They had not bargained for an even speedier and more ruthless push to grab their land to boost corporate greed.

The Prime Minister's jibe at judicial decisions being influenced by fear of 'five-star activists,' also displays the same defensiveness. It seems that Modi is referring to the Supreme Court's relief to Teesta Setalvad in the anticipatory bail matter; to the Supreme Court's recent verdict holding Section 66A to be unconstitutional; and to the Delhi High Court verdict overturning the Government's attempts to prevent anti-land-grab activist Priya Pillai from traveling abroad. By suggesting that the judiciary is unduly 'influenced by' activists who approach Courts to defend constitutional rights and liberties, the Prime Minister is displaying his own scant respect for those rights and liberties, especially the rights of minorities, dissenting voices and movements against land grab.

But what is even more interesting in the Prime Minister's remark is the attempt to discredit activists as being 'five-star' (i.e. elite and privileged). In his Mann ki Baat broadcast on the Land Acquisition Bill also, Modi had asked farmers not be swayed by 'disinformation spread by those who live in air-conditioned rooms'. Such remarks are symptoms of Modi's own defensiveness over his own image as the recipient of lavish gifts like pinstripe suits from businessmen, and chartered flights by corporations like Adani. Modi's Government, that has arranged for an SBI loan of $1 Billion to Adani, and is now going all out to facilitate corporate land grab, is being called the 'Government of the rich' and the 'Company Raj' by people at large. In the wake of such policies, Modi's attempts to brand activists working among the poor, oppressed and underprivileged as 'five-star' can hardly carry much conviction.

Modi has attempted to say that the Land Acquisition Bill will not apply to tribal forest land. But the fact is that the Modi Government is also moving to revise the Indian Forest Act, 1927; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; National Forest Policy,1988; and, the National Wildlife Policy, 2002 in order to ensure 'ease of business' for corporations. It has also passed executive orders to make around 100 changes in regulations to facilitate acquisition of forest land. The various changes being made are all intended to do away with the need for holding public hearings or taking consent from adivasis for acquisition of forest land. In a consultation with the World Bank, the Modi Government has said that it is not 'comfortable' with making it mandatory to seek free, informed and prior consent of tribals displaced by World Bank funded projects. The PMO has also chastised the Tribal Affairs Ministry for upholding the Forest Rights Act and other forest protection laws. The PMO has said that the Tribal Affairs Ministry's denial of clearance to projects that violate these laws, shows a 'lack of commitment.' This amply shows that the Prime Minister's 'commitment' is entirely to corporate interests, with none to spare for laws protecting the Constitutional rights of adivasis and peasants.

 The Land Acquisition Act 2013 was no gift from the UPA Government. It was won thanks to the blood shed by peasants and adivasis in militant struggles against land grab, from the Narmada Valley to Kalinganagar, Koel Karo, Khammam and Nandigram. Governments of every hue had passed the SEZ Act and used the 1894 Act to grab land by force for corporations. People's resistance eventually forced the UPA Government to pass the 2013 Act offering some minimum protections against such land grab. The resistance to the Modi Government's Land Acquisition Ordinance and Bill also, and to its other moves to undermine the need for consent in acquisition of land from adivasis and peasants, also cannot rely on the Opposition parties that have themselves been partners in corporate land grab. People's movements alone will wage and win the battle this time around, too!

AIALA National Conference held in Bhubaneshwar

AIALA's 5th national conference was held in Bhubaneshwar on 3-4 April 2015, and ended with a clarion call to intensify movements against corporate-communal offensives and for the assertion of the rights of the rural people. The conference started with an impressive rally; cultural troupes from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar and their protest songs and dances were a point of attraction in the rally. Participants from different states shared their experiences of the ongoing assault on their land and livelihoods. They condemned the moves of the Modi government to snatch lands from the poor, and to curtail the social security of deprived social groups. They also condemned the inadequate provisions of the current Food Security Act and the cuts in MNREGA.

Addressing the opening session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that concerted and intensified efforts were needed to build a strong resistance against the onslaughts of the Modi government. He strongly pointed that all rights of the toiling peasants and the rural poor are being snatched by this government that had come to power raising the slogan of 'good days'. He called upon all the participants to strengthen the 100 days' campaign started under the banner of the AIPF on 'land rights and labour rights'. He also emphasized the need to use the Gram Sabhas and the Panchayats, and the need to convert them into platforms of struggle by not letting them pass into the hands of brokers of the ruling class and feudal landlords. He added that India in present times was witnessing another era of 'Company Raj' and the need of the hour was another resolute and intense struggle in order to reclaim democracy.

Addressing the conference, CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Ramji Rai said that the 'loot' by the corporate driven government of the day was being facilitated by spreading widespread lies in order to justify the loot. He emphasized that rural poor must come together to not just wage an intense battle to defend their lands against forceful land grab, but also to carry forward the agenda of land reforms and redistribution, that has remained incomplete even after several decades of independence. The conference decided to strengthen the aforementioned 100 days land rights and labour rights campaign of AIPF. Towards this end, AIALA will organize block level demonstrations throughout the country on 16 April 2015. It was also mentioned that the campaign was not restricted to the agricultural labourers but rural poor in general who were forced to find other jobs given the agricultural crisis in rural India.

In this phase of corporate takeover, the conference identified the dire need to develop the rural poor as a conscious political class. The conference focused attention on the growing onslaughts on dalits, tribals, minorities and women. The conference recognized that in several of the resistances being waged in the country today, women have been seen as playing a crucial role. Referring to the massive protest by midday meal workers in Patna, where the majority of participants had been women, the conference emphasized the urgent need to develop the women who were at the forefront of several struggles as cadres and leaders.

Considering the changing scenario of rural India, the name of AIALA was changed and it was renamed as the All India Agricultural and Rural Labour Association (AIARLA). Henceforth, AIARLA will be the common platform of all rural poor and workers of all kinds to assert the rights of the entire rural toiling community.

The conference elected 201 national council members and 61 national executive members. Veteran CPI(ML) leader comrade Kshitish Biswal was elected national honorary President and comrades Rameshwar Prasad and Dhirendra Jha were elected as President and Secretary respectively. The conference saw the participation of more than 800 delegates and observers from 18 States. The membership of AIALA was recorded to be 18 lakh at the time of the conference. The conference was attended by several veteran leaders of the communist movement in Odisha and leaders of workers' and peasants' movements. They were also felicitated by the reception committee.

The conference collectively resolved to increase the membership of the organization, to develop firm organizational structures at the Panchayat and block levels, to work towards more collective, sustained and intense movements, as was the need of the current times and make the question of land, livelihood and rights the central political questions of the day.

AIPWA and Midday Meal Workers' Union Hold Massive Protest in Patna

On 31 March 2015, about 10,000 women protested in front of the office of the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar under the banner of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) and the Bihar State School Midday Meal Workers' Association. Women gathered at the Gandhi Maidan from all parts of Bihar to participate in the protest. A huge rally of midday meal workers from East Champaran, Siwan, Nawada, Jamui, Nalanda, Patna rural, Jehanabad, Arwal, Bhojpur, Gaya, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Chhapra, Vaishali, Madhubani, Patna city and other districts was taken out and groups of midday meal workers joined them all along the way. They submitted a 16-point charter of demands which included declaration of midday meal workers as government employees, Rs 15,000 honorarium, and immediate payment of honorarium arrears.

The workers joined in enthusiastically with the slogans raised by AISA leaders, "Ek hazar mein dam nahin, pandrah hazar se kam nahin". The rally was led by South Asia Solidarity Forum leader Kalpana Wilson, AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari, AIPWA Bihar State President Saroj Choube, AIPWA State Secretary Shashi Yadav, AIPWA Bihar Joint Secretary Anita Sinha, Prof. Bharti S Kumar, Prof. Meera Thakur, Bihar State Non-Gazetted Employees Association General Secretary Rambali Prasad, economist Meera Dutt, AIPWA Siwan Secretary Sohila Gupta, AIPWA Patna rural President Leela Verma, AIPWA Patna rural Secretary Damyanti Sinha, AIPWA Nawada Secretary Gayatri Devi, Rita Varnwal, Indu Devi, Sona Devi, Renu Devi, Savita Devi, Poonam Devi and others from the Bihar State School Midday Meal Workers' Association. The rally reached R Block after a 3 km march.

At R Block the DM met a representative body consisting of Meena Tiwari, Saroj Choube, Shashi Yadav, Sohila Gupta, Savitri Devi, Renu Devi and Anshu Kumari who submitted the charter of 16 demands at the CM's Secretariat. They were given an assurance that a response would be given within 2 days.

The meeting at R Block was presided over by the State Joint Secretary Anita Sinha. Addressing the meeting, the speakers said that the midday meal workers in Bihar are paid only Rs 1,000 per month. Moreover, they are not paid for 2 months in the year. They are subjected to insulting behavior from the school teachers. The speakers further said that the Bihar CM talks of women's empowerment but the midday meal workers have been made to work for a pittance of Rs 1,000 from the year 2007, whereas according to the Resolution Number 2401 20.7.2007 of the general administration department of the Bihar government, midday meal workers should get a total salary of Rs 15,040. But at present the workers are not getting appointment letters, their signature is not taken, and the payment of the honorarium is not done into their accounts. For the same work, midday meal workers in Tamil Nadu get Rs 5500-7500; in Kerala they get Rs 4500-6000, in Puduchery they get Rs 5000-9000, and in Lakshadweep they get Rs 6000. The meeting concluded with the passing of a 7-point resolution. The need of the hour is to channelize these fast mobilizing midday-meal workers into a movement against their economic, social, and mental, and cheap labour exploitation. To channelize and politicize them is a challenge and we must accept this challenge.

Charter of demands submitted to the Chief Minister: Midday meal workers should (1) be paid 15,000 as per the Resolution Number 2401 20.7.2007 of the general administration department of the Bihar government, (2) be declared government employees, (3) be paid honorarium arrears immediately, (4) get appointment letters and their signature taken daily, (5) get 4 cotton saris per year as uniform, (6) get accident insurance and health insurance, (7) not be made to do jobs which are outside their work area—such as sweeping, washing vessels, cleaning toilets etc, (8) have a common room in the schools where they can rest, (9) be treated with dignity and respect, and should not be made to work under the constant threat of losing their jobs, (10) be given social security pension. (11) Monthly honorarium payment should be paid into a "zero account balance" bank account opened for the midday meal worker. (12) Women midday meal workers should get the benefit of maternity leave and other special leave. (13) Arrangements for kitchen shed should be made in schools which do not have kitchen sheds. (14) Adequate arrangements for vessels and fuel should be made in the schools.

On the CJI's Insistence on Judges' Conference on Good Friday

The Chief Justice of India's insistence on holding a conference of Supreme Court Judges on Good Friday this year raises disturbing questions.

Questioned by Justice Kurian Joseph on the scheduling of an important conference on Good Friday, which happens to be one of the most significant days for believing Christians, the CJI HL Dattu rebuked his concerns, and asked for 'institutional' interests to be placed above 'individual' interests. Justice Joseph had pointed out that such Conferences are never held on Diwali or Holi or Eid.

Is respect for religious festivals of the minority community only an 'individual's' interest, or is it a right guaranteed by the Constitution of India, of which the judiciary is the custodian?

Last year, the Modi Government sought to replace the Christmas Day with 'Good Governance Day'. Since then, churches have been attacked and vandalized in several places. Aggressive ghar wapasi (forced re-conversion) programmes are being organized by the Sangh Parivar on the occasions of Christmas and Easter. In such a backdrop, the CJI's insensitive remark may be construed as encouragement of the deliberate alienation of and attacks on minorities.

On Chittoor and Nalgonda Fake Encounters

The CPI(ML) strongly condemns the massacre of 20 tribal men shot dead by the Andhra Pradesh police in Seshachalam forest in Chittoor district.

The police is claiming that those killed were smugglers and that the firing was done in self-defence. But all evidence as yet points to a cold-blooded custodial massacre. Those killed were not red sandalwood smugglers as claimed by the police. They were members of denotified tribes of Tamil Nadu, who are extremely poor and deprived, and who cut wood for survival. Unemployment and land alienation mean that they have few viable livelihood options but to be employed by smugglers to cut red sandalwood trees. The Tamil Nadu Government that is condemning the massacre, is itself responsible for the situation, because in spite of representations from tribal associations, the Government has failed to rehabilitate the tribal labourers to free them from dependence on the smuggling-driven economy. Politicians including MLAs of the ruling AIADMK are known to be involved in supplying cheap adivasi labour to the smugglers.

The smugglers' mafia is extremely powerful politically in both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. While the police does not touch these well-connected dons who run the Red Sanders mafia, hapless poor tribals are arrested and jailed on false pretexts and killed in fake encounters.

This latest massacre is no exception. Last year, too, more than 20 tribals from Tamil Nadu were shot dead in Andhra Pradesh. Inside Tamil Nadu also they are subjected to regular custodial torture and humiliation.

The CPI(ML) also condemns the incident in Nalgonda where Telangana police shot dead 5 suspected SIMI undertrials while transporting them to Court. This too appears to be a case of custodial killing, in which the men were killed while wearing handcuffs.

The CPI(ML) demands that FIRs of murder be lodged against accused police officers in the Chittoor and Nalgonda cases, and a thorough time-bound judicial probe be ordered in each. Compensation must be paid to each of those killed. Steps must be taken immediately to free the 2000 tribals who lie in Chittoor and Cudappa jails and withdraw all cases against them, and to ensure rehabilitation and livelihood for the denotified tribes of Tamil Nadu.

Construction Workers' Protest in Faizabad

On 25 March 2015, the construction workers' union in Faizabad held a massive protest at the labour office. Thousands of workers participated in this protest. Addressing the protest, AICCTU state president comrade Hari Singh said that though the Modi government had come to power promising achchhe din (good days) for workers, the government was systematically working in the interests of corporates, multinationals and the rich. AICCTU state secretary comrade Anil Verma said workers across the country were determined to oppose the curtailment of workers' rights being mooted by the Modi government. Currently, not just the central government but also several state governments are trying to push through the anti-worker policies. State convenor of the Construction Workers' Federation, Comrade Babulal said that the ruling SP government in Uttar Pradesh was also hell-bent on denying workers their rights and instances of exploitation and abuse of workers in the state are continuously increasing.

CPI(ML) Faizabad district in-charge comrade Ateek Ahmed warned the labour department that unless workers' rights were ensured, the workers would give a fitting reply to the labour department and the government. The massive presence of workers at the protest was an indication of the workers' resolve.

The protest was presided over by the President of the Construction Workers' Union, Comrade Gurudayal. Proceedings were conducted by the secretary of the CWU, Comrade Ram Bharos, and CPI(ML) leader Ateek Ahmed delivered the concluding address. The protest was also addressed by RYA leader Umakant Vishwakarma, Rajesh Verma, Afaque Ullah, Sunita Goud, Sandeep Yadav, Vivek Yadav, Navamilal Yadav, Pavan Mishra, Parashuram Nishad and others.

Copies of Land Acquisition Ordinance Burnt in Protest Across the Country

On 6 April 2015, the All India People's Forum organised protests all over the country against the re-promulgation of the Land Acquisition Ordinance. Copies of the Ordinance were burnt in villages, towns and cities across India, with protesters demanding scrapping of the Ordinance and the Land Acquisition Bill. Protesters demanded 'Land Rights, Not Land Grab'.

In Delhi, AIPF joined the Bhoomi Adhikar Sangharsh Andolan at Jantar Mantar, in burning copies of the Ordinance. At block-level AIPF protests organized by the All India Kisan Mahasabha, copies of the Ordinance were burnt at Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu.

On Garissa University Massacre in Kenya

CPI(ML) condemns the horrific attack by Al-Shabaab on students in the Garissa University college in Kenya, which left at least 148 dead. By most accounts, the attackers specifically targeted Christian students – they separated Muslim students from the Christians and massacred the Christians.

Garissa university is located in Kenya's north-east, a region that has long suffered from marginalization, poverty and inequity. Religious, ethnic and socio-economic differences of this region from the rest of Kenya will only be exacerbated by such acts of violence. For genuine and long-lasting peace, all efforts should be made to address the pervading social inequities in the region, and to reject all attempts to stoke ethnic and religious tensions in Kenyan society.

On the ongoing crisis in Yemen

A huge US-backed military offensive is currently underway in Yemen, as Saudi Arabia leads an attack in the name of restoring 'democracy'. The Saudi-led alliance of at least ten countries is currently bombing Yemen and intends to halt the advance of the Iranian-backed Houthi forces and to restore Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Al-Hadi as President. Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had been installed as President after the dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced out of power in 2012 as part of the Arab Spring revolutions. Hadi however went on to crush the people's movement, fuelling a Houthi rebellion. Subsequently, he was ousted by the Houthis. The Houthis are now allied with erstwhile dictator Saleh, who still controls much of the Yemeni military despite being in exile.

The ongoing bombings in the civil war in Yemen have already claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and wounded many more, burying entire families. In its endeavour to take sides with the Hadi forces in Yemen's civil war, Saudi Arabia has found allies and support pouring in from the US, France, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Sudan, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco and Egypt governments. It is indeed ironical that some of the world's worst human rights violators are today waging war in Yemen in the name of defending democracy.

This smokescreen of 'democracy' however hides the real reason behind the ongoing assault on Yemen and the consequent civilian casualties. It is US and Saudi's fear of Iran's growing influence in the Middle East which has sparked off this latest war. Such offensives, even as they cruelly claim civilian lives, only add to the sectarian strife in the Middle East. Progressive forces need to robustly reject all such military offensives launched by imperialist forces with the intention to maintain global hegemony.


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: www.cpiml.or