On The Verdict In The TP Chandrasekharan Murder Case
ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 31, 2014
On The Verdict In The TP Chandrasekharan Murder Case
ಗುರುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 23, 2014
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17 No. 04 22-28 JAN 2014
Reform the Police!
Make Police Accountable to Democratic Rights!
Reclaim the Republic!!
On the eve of the 65th Republic Day, Delhi witnessed a dharna by the AAP ministers and MLAs in Delhi. As the dharna entered its second day, Kejriwal said there would be no 'middle-of-the-road' solution and it would go on indefinitely and even confront the official show of Republic Day parade with lakhs of people on the roads of Delhi. But as the day passed into the evening, the dharna was called off following a face-saving declaration by the Lt Governor of Delhi to send two SHOs on leave.
The dharna gave rise to animated debates in the electronic media. There were voices from the ruling elite describing the dharna as anarchy and as negation of governance while Kejriwal defended the dharna as democracy. Past examples were remembered when elected governments went on agitations against the Central government or on larger political questions. Elected governments are perfectly within their rights to launch agitations in the interest of democracy and the people. The issue is the agenda of the struggle and the purpose it serves for the people the government is supposed to represent and serve.
Kejriwal raised the specific demand of action against three SHOs. A Danish woman tourist was robbed and gang-raped near Connaught Place in the early evening on 14 January. Neha Yadav was set on fire by her in-laws for alleged non-payment of dowry on 13 January in Sagarpur in south-west Delhi. Kejriwal wanted action against the concerned SHOs of Paharganj and Sagarpur. The third instance involves Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and the SHO of Malviya Nagar PS. In this case the role of the minister has come in for serious public criticism and instead of responding to that criticism, senior AAP leaders ridiculed protesters, defended Bharti and demanded action against the Malviya Nagar SHO for not obeying Bharti's orders.
Now if there are specific reports of drug rackets or organised prostitution in the area, police must intervene and act according to legal provisions. But evidence indicates that Bharti was not seeking action against specific individuals, but rather, indiscriminate and illegal raids on an entire community of African nationals. The local people may have serious grievances against the police and AAP leaders are justified in taking up the cases on behalf of the local people, but the minister cannot lead a midnight raid with his supporters, making racist comments and instigating supporters to violate the bodily integrity, dignity and rights of African women on the basis of suspicion and allegation of being involved in 'drug and sex rackets'.
Drug and organised prostitution rackets may be serious issues in the area but concerns about organised racist politics and violence in the area ought to be equally a matter of concern for an elected representative, whose interventions must then be in accordance with the principles of human rights, justice and gender sensitivity. People accusing Somnath Bharti of displaying racist attitudes and violating the provisions of law and human rights have serious reasons for raising their point and AAP leaders and spokespersons have only exposed their intolerance for democratic criticism and opposition by ridiculing protesters as pimps and defenders of 'drug and sex rackets'.
It is ironic that while AAP ministers sat on dharna against the Union Home Ministry, the AAP government dropped the very idea of holding a Janata Darbar after thousands turned up in the first and only Janata Darbar to articulate their grievances. Contract teachers have been on dharna outside Delhi Secretariat for days together even as Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues sat on dharna near Rail Bhavan. Just as the Delhi government is within its rights to demand greater powers for itself, it is also duty-bound to fulfil its electoral commitments to the people of Delhi. It is well within Kejriwal's powers to make contract workers – at least those employed in Delhi Government institutions – permanent, and he must not lose an instant in doing so. But disturbingly enough some contract teachers were reportedly beaten up at the AAP dharna site.
Kejriwal described the Lt Governnor's decision to send two SHOs on leave as a partial but important victory for the people of Delhi. How exactly this dharna would contribute to the larger question of urgent police reforms in the country or the agenda of securing full statehood for Delhi is not at all clear. What is clear is that AAP wanted to turn the issue of action against Bharti into a stand-off with the Union Home Ministry and use the Delhi dharna as a launching pad for its Lok Sabha election campaign.
Rather than championing the demand for the police's autonomy from partisan political control, Kejriwal's dharna merely demanded a change of political command for the Delhi Police. By insisting on transfer of an SHO who failed to do the illegal and irresponsible bidding of a Minister who was stoking passions against African nationals, isn't the Delhi Government in fact perpetuating the habits of other Governments which have routinely exercised partisan political control over the police?
Rather than the AAP's notion of mohalla-based social control over the police (the dangers of which have been demonstrated in the Khirkee episode), what is needed is to ensure the Police's strict adherence to democratic rights, and alertness to and sensitisation against caste, gender, communal, racial and other biases that are embedded in 'common' sense. In matters involving the rights of minorities and sections of people vulnerable to bias and prejudice, the police must uphold the laws and Constitutional norms strictly, rather than act at the bidding of Ministers or mob sentiment.
In Delhi and across India, people are victims of police high-handedness, corruption and repression in their daily lives. Democratisation of policing – defined not as obedience to majority sentiment but as obedience to the Constitutionally mandated norms of sensitivity and rights of all people including minorities - is a key component of the overall programme of democratisation of the Indian society and polity.
This Republic Day let us insist on the urgent agenda of implementing democratic police reforms in the country to make policing people-friendly and bring it in strict consonance with the law of the land, provisions of the Constitution, and democratic rights. Reform the Police! Make Police Accountable to Democratic Rights!! Reclaim the Republic!!!
"My friend told me, don't go outside, they are beating up African women. I was planning to go out, but I stayed in and locked my door. They banged on our door, I was terrifie
"The RWA in Khirkee has been activated in the past year, not over concerns of sanitation, water etc, but on an overtly racist plank, profiling and targeting the local African community. There have been multiple instances of violence against African women, and even African kids faced discrimination at school. The police used to be insensitive to the complaints of the Africans. But after we wrote letters to the police and spoke to them, the police's attitude has become more sensitive and principled. The SHO there has, in fact, acted responsibly when he received racist complaints about how Africans' 'food stinks' or how 'women dress in short skirts.' The complaints of so-called 'drug and sex rackets' need to be seen in the context of this organised racist targeting. We ask the Government if the SHO and local police should act as an obedient arm of racist sentiment? If the SHO is transferred, after our patient efforts have actually made him respond sensitively and responsibly, it will send a message to the police that they should not defend the rights of the minorities or foreign nationals." – Aastha Chauhan, an artist who has long experience of working among the African community in Khirkee
These were some of the voices from Khirkee village that were heard at a sit-in against racism, at Jantar Mantar on 19th January, that had been organised by the JNU Students' Union, AISA, AIPWA, RYA, and several other concerned individuals and activists. At the sit-in, the protestors gave a standing ovation to African drummers and hip-hop performers from Khirkee (who performed Hindi songs!).
Speaking at the sit-in, Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of AIPWA, said "According to news reports, the Minister, Somnath Bharti, asked locals to draw up a list of African nationals' residences - 'jahan aise log rehte hain/where such people live', vowing to raid and search each of these homes. He also told media, "I have received a lot of complaints from women in this locality against foreign nationals, yeh hum aur aap jaise nahin hain (They are not like you or me)." She said, "Mr Kejriwal says his Minister and his Government are not racist: we are here to tell him that Mr. Bharti's words and actions are copybook racism. To encourage a mob to catch hold of African women and eunuchs because he says they are sex-workers, is both racist and sexist, and downright unconstitutional. The Government and the AAP party should remove Mr Bharti from his post as Law Minister."
Other protestors said, "Will the Delhi CM only accept the version of local AAP members and the Minister as 'the voice of the people'? Or is he willing to listen to the dissenting voices from Khirkee village itself, who have been battling racism in very hostile circumstances? Will it recognise that voices that counter racism, communalism, casteism or gender discrimination, or who stand up for the rights of sex workers or hijras, may not be popular, but are more democratic; that 'majority' and 'democracy' aren't one and the same? Will he automatically assume that Ugandan women must be liars, or will he take their FIR seriously and take action against Mr Bharti based on their FIR? This is a basic test for the democratic character of any Government."
Protestors pointed out that the racist build-up and the efforts to counter it, preceded the formation of the AAP Government, and said that the Government should resist the temptation to turn the Khirkee incident into a political contest between the Delhi Government and the Home Ministry over the Delhi Police.
Protestors raised slogans against the CM's remark that 'drug and sex rackets led to 'rape tendencies', and held placards saying, "Violence against African women makes Indian women shamed, not safer!"
Shuddhabrata Sengupta, artist and writer with the Raqs media Collective, said that history would remember Razia Sultan of the 13th century for her broadmindedness, in a way that it would never remember Somnath Bharti. Africans in India had a history spanning 900 years. Madhu Prasad of the All India Forum for Right to Education reminded people that the freedom struggles of India and Africa inspired each other. Activists who have worked for the rights of gay and transgender people – researcher Ena Goel, Akshay, and Aditya Bandopadhyay, spoke about the difference between people' participative democracy and majoritarianism, and said that AAP would have to demonstrate that it understood the difference. Akshay, who has worked in Uganda, said that the Indian community in Kampala has faced racial discrimination since the time of Idi Amin.
Protestors recalled that there have been growing instances of xenophobia, racism and violence against Africans in Punjab, Goa and other parts of the country too. People from the North East states also experience racist prejudice and violence regularly in Delhi and elsewhere. They urgently called to counter the spread of the racist virus in the capital city.
The meeting was also addressed by Sucheta De and Shakeel Anjum of AISA and Aslam Khan of RYA. It was conducted by Abhiruchi, the GSCASH representative of JNU. JNUSU President Akbar and Vice President Anubhuti Agnes Bara were among the organisers of the protest.
Jan Vikalp Sabha Held in Bagodar on Comrade Mahendra Singh's Martyrdom Day
CPI (ML) organized a huge Jansankalp Rally in Bagodar on 16 January 2014, the 9th anniversary of Com. Mahendra Singh's martyrdom. Addressing the sea of people gathered on this occasion, CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that 2014 would be the elections to reverse the present policies. He stressed that policies which have no place for the poor, the farmers, women and youth, need to be overturned. We need to convert the coming elections into a fight for people's rights against corporate machinery. This election will not be about Modi or Rahul but about the people. As the elections near, the dilemmas of the Congress and the BJP are also increasing.
Remarking on Modi's silence at the BJP rally in Jharkhand, he pointed out that Modi has not even apologized for the abject conditions in Jharkhand today. Modi's silence is untenable; the BJP must take responsibility for the ruin of Jharkhand, because it is they who were the first, and the longest, rulers of the State. Appealing for alertness against BJP's communal manipulations, he said that Modi has engineered the riots in Muzaffarnagar in UP through Amit Shah, the chief villain of the Gujarat riots. He said that the BJP wanted to spread communal tension from Patna to Ranchi under cover of the Patna bomb blasts, but the people of Bihar, through the Khabardar Rally, defeated this unholy purpose. BJP stands similarly exposed in Jharkhand too, and the people of Jharkhand and Bihar will give a fitting reply to such machinations by the BJP. The conspiracy to push the minorities into the slot of secondary citizen will also be shattered.
Remembering Com. Mahendra Singh, the Party General Secretary said that anyone wishing to see how much synergy is generated by martyrdom has only to come here, to Bagodar. Com. Dipankar stressed that the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Com. Mahendra Singh would put paid to fascist plots and corporate loot. He pointed out that Modi said, at Baba Ramdev's camp, that tax would be abolished. The truth is that taxes will be abolished by Modi for those who have become billionaires through corporate loot!
Com. Dipankar welcomed the victory of the Aam Admi Party in Delhi but criticized CM Arvind Kejriwal's decision to stop holding Janta Durbars. He said that the public should not fear anyone and promises made to the people should be fulfilled.
The General Secretary said that today two kinds of models are being talked about in Kodarma. One model was Com. Mahendra Singh, who gave his all for fighting for the people's struggles; the other is Babulal Marandi who, far from fighting for the people on the ground, does not even raise a question in Parliament. He said that the legacy of Com. Mahendra Singh is the fight for "Insaan, Insaaf aur Inqalab", and this is the CPI (ML)'s fight. Announcing the Jansahyog-Jandavedari (People's Cooperation-People's Rights) Abhiyan, he said that between 27 January and 10 February the plan is to meet 5 lakh voters, acquaint them with the Party's thinking, take their cooperation in the form of Rs 5 to Rs 10, and then turn the people's cooperation into people's rights.
Red flags were flying all around the Janvikalp Sabha held at the culmination of the 2 month-long Jansankalp Abhiyan organized in Jharkhand from 15 November. On the occasion of the 10th Martyrdom Day of Com. Mahendra Singh, the huge participation of thousands of women from Kodarma Lok Sabha constituency was clearly visible. Many young people are breaking away from Parties like AJSU, JVM, and BJP.
Earlier, a garlanding function was held in Com. Mahendra Singh's native village of Khambhra, after which floral tributes were paid to his statue at the Com. Mahendra Singh Bhavan in Bagodar. The Janvikalp Sabha was addressed by Bagodar MLA and Party CC member Vinod Singh, State Committee member Rajkumar Yadav, Rajesh Yadav, Satyanarayan Das, Sitaram Singh, Jayanti Chowdhuri, Rameshwar Chowdhuri, Pawan Mahto, Reena Gupta, Kodarma citizens Ramdhan Yadav, Basudev Yadav and others. The meeting was presided over by Parmeshwar Mahto and conducted by Mustaqeem Ansari. Politburo member DP Bakshi, Janardan Prasad, Manoj Bhakt, CC member Anant Prasad Gupta, former CC member Bahadur Oraon, Marxist Coordination Committee legislator Arup Chatterjee, State Committee member Puran Mahto, Usman Ansari, Kaushalya Das, Shyam Dev Yadav, Prem Prakash and others were present at the meeting.
Dalits Attacked in Rajasthan Village
On 14 January (Sankranti) persons from the domineering Rajput caste attacked dalits, burnt their houses and killed three people. This village has 14 dalit families who were attacked by Rajputs from neighbouring villages. CPI (ML) intervened in this brutal incident and registered protest against the incident along with the villagers. Party CC member Com. Mahendra Chowdhury and Srilatha Swaminathan from the AIPWA termed the attack a BJP-Congress conspiracy and said that both these Parties are engineering attacks on the poor, dalits, and minorities in order to deflect public attention from the real issues in the ace of the coming Lok Sabha elections. They pointed out that this has been the history of the Congress and the BJP in Rajasthan State, and stressed that the CPI (ML) would strongly oppose any such attempts to vitiate the atmosphere in the State. Party leaders demanded that the guilty in this incident be arrested without delay, and that they should be punished after being duly tried for murder charges. CPI (ML) demands that the State government provides adequate security to ensure that such attacks are not perpetrated on the weaker sections of society.
Labour Leader Comrade Daulat Ram No More
UP State Vice President of CITU and noted labour leader of Kanpur Com. Daulat Ram passed away on 1 January. Com. Daulat Ram took part in the Kanpur textile workers' agitation when he was 14, during which movement his first arrest took place. He lived in Urai, having completed his High School in Kanpur and his Intermediate in Jhansi.
Com. Daulat Ram worked in close association with Com. Ram Asare, another well-known labour leader of his time. He became a member of the CPM in 1967 and was the Party's office-bearer for several years. He contested the Assembly elections 4 times and secured 5000 to 20,000 votes.
Thousands of workers, trade unionists, and women joined the funeral procession on 2 January. His life was dedicated to the welfare of the working class.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org
ಗುರುವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 16, 2014
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17, No. 03, 15 – 21 JANUARY 2014
The Awakened Aspirations of the People of Delhi Must Be Honoured
As thousands of people thronged the first Janta Durbar called by the new Delhi Government, the situation soon became chaotic, and the Chief Minister eventually had to beat a retreat. The BJP and Congress were quick to brand the whole exercise as 'anarchy', and the AAP's former fellow travelers like Kiran Bedi (now backing the BJP), sermonised them on how one should not seek to govern from rooftops. The media too, largely, delivered a verdict that the thronging people had 'spoiled' the Government's debut. It seems that these fairly predictable criticisms weighed in with the CM, who has announced that the Janta Durbars will no longer be held: grievances will be entertained only through online, postal or phone avenues, and the CM has promised to make area-wise personal visits to parts of the city.
To brand the outpouring of people at the Janta Durbar as 'anarchy' that can have no place in governance is to dishonour the aspirations of the people of Delhi. People on the streets seeking accountability from elected representatives are a must to keep Governments on their toes. The victory of the AAP in such a short time reflected the fact that the dam of people's patience with undemocratic and anti-people governments had burst. Instead of counselling patience to the people now, their insistent pressure on the Government must be welcomed and strengthened.
From all accounts, a large component of the thousands who thronged the Janta Durbar were Delhi's contract workers, expecting the Government to deliver on its promise to regularisation of contract labourers. What needs to be stressed here is that regularisation of contract workers isn't some populist slogan or promise that has its origins in the AAP manifesto – it is a legal obligation of any Government, and it is a demand with which workers and their unions have been agitating for years.
The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act requires that workers employed in any work of a perennial nature be regularised, and that contract workers who perform the same or similar kind of work as the workers directly employed by the principal employer are entitled to same wage rates, holidays , hours of work and other conditions of service as the latter. Most importantly, in case the contractor defaults in this obligation, it is the principal employer who bears the liability to ensure payment of wages and other benefits. And in the case of the Delhi Metro, MTNL, DTC, BSES, ASHA workers, teachers, hospital staff, sanitation and security workers, construction workers and so on, the principal employer – and principal violator of the law on contract labour and minimum wages – is the Government itself.
In fact, the denial of wages and other rights amounts to one of biggest and most systematic instances of corruption. Take the case of the Delhi Metro workers. Contractor companies are accused of denying minimum wages and allotting fake PF and health insurance accounts to siphon off upto a fourth of the share of workers' dues. Despite complaints indicating that several crores of rupees are thus being looted from needy workers' pockets to those of the contract companies, the latter are yet to be blacklisted. The same story is repeated in all other Government sectors. Moreover, in factories too, the Government and Labour Department have turned a blind eye to the violations of the contract labour and minimum wage laws by the factory owners, and in Delhi, time and again, elected representatives have weighed in on behalf of the rampantly illegal acts of the owners, against the legal rights of the workers. The victory of AAP in Delhi is due in very large part to the hope on part of many thousands of workers, that this Government will keep its promise, enforce the law, and end this daylight robbery. Will the AAP Government do what the workers of Delhi demand? The AAP Government has announced its decision to scrap FDI in multibrand retail in Delhi - will it likewise lose no time in enforcing the labour laws, regularising contract workers and enforcing minimum wages? That is the question uppermost in the minds of Delhi's workers, whose courageous struggles have put the promise for regularisation on the AAP's agenda in the first place.
The Government has reduced power tariffs by subsidising the discoms, even before the outcome of the audit it has ordered. If the charges against discoms - of tampering with meters and padding costs to overcharge people – are found to be true by the audit, surely it would make sense to reverse the privatisation of power? In the case of both power and water, most of Delhi's poor suffer above all from lack of access to piped water and metered electricity supply. Ending the lopsided pattern of distribution that favours the rich, it is crucial to ensure access of water and power for all.
On other fronts too, aspirations are high and the Delhi Government's response awaited. For now, the Delhi Government's sole policy initiative in response to last year's anti-rape agitation has been that of a 'commando force' of common citizens trained by ex-army personnel. What will be the brief of such a force, and how will its accountability to the values of women's freedom be guaranteed, is far from clear. In Madhya Pradesh, the Nirbhaya Patrol of policewomen has quickly degenerated into a moral policing force, cracking down on consensual couples in public spaces; Delhi's 'commando force' runs the same danger. Moreover, a commando force cannot do much in the vast majority of cases of violence against women which take place in the household. The need is for the focus to shift to public spending on rape crisis centres and safe shelters for women, as well as more courts and judges to ensure speedier trials. The Government has also promised to crack down on auto rickshaw drivers who refuse passengers and introduction of a fleet of women auto rickshaw drivers. The fact is that auto rickshaws can only serve a very small, relatively well-off segment of the population. The emphasis must be on an adequate fleet of DTC buses, to ensure safe transport 24/7 for all, especially for women.
The pressure of right wing and establishment forces on the AAP and its Delhi Government is quite apparent. It is for the workers, women, and common people of Delhi to exert pressure in the other direction and ensure that the Government remains true to its promises.
CPI(ML) Releases List of 20 LS Seats in Bihar
'Jansamvad Yatra' Mass Contact Drive On
CPI(ML) has announced its intention to contest 20 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. These 20 seats are: Ara, Karakat, Jehanabad, Pataliputra, Siwan, Katihar, Nalanda, Buxar, Darbhanga, Samstipur, Muzaffarpur, Valmikinagar, Jhanjharpur, Gaya, Sasaram, Ujiyarpur, Jamui, Purnea, Araria and Gopalganj.
In preparation for the polls, CPI(ML) has launched an intensive Jansamvad Yatra in Bihar from 10-25 January, addressing the issues of people's anger against non-delivery of basic services, inflated electricity bills, lack of employment and unbridled promotion of liquor by the Government; followed by sustained mass agitation in February on the demands of assured food, electricity and employment. In the course of the Jan Samvad Yatra, 1000 mass-dialogue (Jan Samvad) programmes will be held. This campaign is already underway, receiving an enthusiastic response. In February, Jandavedari (People's Assertion) rallies will be held in 14 districts: Samastipur (8 February), Muzaffarpur (9 February), Narkatiyaganj (10 February), Gopalganj (11 February), Siwan (12 February), Darbhanga (13 February), Purnea (14 February), Bikramganj (15 February), Daudnagar (16 February), Bhojpur (17 February), Nalanda (18 February), Paliganj (19 February), Jehenabad (20 February), and Buxar (21 February).
CPI(ML) Team Visits Muzaffarnagar Relief Camps
A CPI(ML) team led by the Party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya visited relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts on 8 January 2014. The team also included Party Politburo members Swapan Mukherjee and Kavita Krishnan, Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, and Vice-President of AIKM Prem Singh Gehlawat. The team was also accompanied by activists of the All India Students' Association (AISA), Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) and the JNU Students' Union President Akbar Chawdhary.
In a statement issued following the visit, the CPI(ML) General Secretary said, "The UP State Government of the Samajwadi Party that has completely abdicated from its responsibility to prevent communal violence, and to ensure relief, rehabilitation and justice for the survivors. So far, the Central government has remained a silent spectator to the shocking aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar violence. Under Article 355 of the Indian Constitution, the Centre has the power to intervene in such situations and instruct the state government to discharge its constitutionally mandated responsibility. But as on many previous occasions, the Centre has once again failed to intervene and guarantee relief, rehabilitation and justice for the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar. The Supreme Court had asked the State Government to ensure facilities in the relief camps; instead it is busy trying to close down the relief camps. This blatant violation of even the Supreme Court's order is further ground for the Centre's immediate intervention."
The main observations of the team are:
The scope of the communal violence is far greater than what the Government of UP admits. The number of those missing since the violence erupted is at least double the number to which the UP Government admits, and the death toll is likely to more than a 100. Moreover, the violence affected not only Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts but also Baghpat district, and people from these three districts have fled due to communal violence and communal terror.
A large number of those displaced and rendered homeless by the communal violence are yet to be recognised as victims by the State Government. Even in the 9 villages identified by the Government as riot-affected, some 1500 ration-card holders who are currently displaced, are being denied compensation and recognition as riot victims. Moreover, residents of adjoining villages, who fled in terror as they saw armed mobs attack their neighbouring village, are also not being recognised as victims of communal violence, though their homes and property too were destroyed by the communal mobs. For instead, while Lisad village is recognised as riot-affected, the villagers who fled adjoining Hasanpur, that has the same Pradhan as Lisad, are not being recognised as bona fide victims of the riots! Those who have fled following communal violence in Baghpat too, are not being recognised as riot victims. To sum up, the victims of communal terror as well as communal violence, are equally deserving of compensation, relief and rehabilitation.
The residents of the camp are mostly labourers. Having lost their livelihood as well as their homes, they are destitute now. The riot-displaced people are understandably reluctant or afraid to return to their villages even as relief camps are being bulldozed and they are being re-evicted. Whatever land and other property they had in their villages are being systematically grabbed in what can only be described as a campaign of communal cleansing. Most shockingly, it is the state government which is endorsing this campaign with its seal of official approval. Riot survivors who have received compensation from the government have had to give written undertakings promising never to return to their villages or claim any compensation for the loss or damage of property suffered.
And now with police stories of attempted LeT recruitments from among Muzaffarnagar riot survivors claiming media attention, the agenda of relief and rehabilitation is getting further sidelined. The people in the riot camps were extremely angry and aggrieved at the leaking of such police stories, which they fear are further vitiating the communalised atmosphere in the region.
Students' Protests Continue in Madurai University
On 6th January, on the reopening day of MKU after IDC, AISA staged a protest in Madurai, demanding removal of VC. The protest highlighted the plight of universities in the liberalization era. It demanded:
• Appointment of all VCs should be scrutinized
• A white paper on the non-payment of fellowship in all TN Universities
• Enquiry on the appointment faculties in all the universities
• Implementation of GO 92 (Government paying fees on behalf of Dalit students studying post metric courses in Private Institutions)
On the same day, SFI gheraoed Collectorates of 4 southern districts.
On, 6th, Monday, AISA leaders organized struggle within the campus mobilizing students. The MKU authorities motivated non teaching staff to stage counter protest. Students were blocked on the roads leading to administration office by police and non-teaching staff. Comrades Arun and Pandiyan were called for discussion by the Syndicate members, however authorities were not ready to consider demands.
On 8th MKU students climbed atop Nagamali hills and staged protest for two days.
On 10th students met the collector and submitted a petition and the university was closed for Pongal Holidays. On the same day, SFI gheraoed Governor's office in Chennai.
Now AISA is planning to organize a joint protest of all students' organizations on 20th January, on the day of reopening of University after holidays.
Reports from Tamilnadu
On 10th January, when the government is preparing to open a new wine shop at Varatharajapuram of Chennai where CPI(ML) is present among urban poor, Local committee of the party intervened to stall it by mobilizing people. When the Government authorities insisted on opening it, Comrade Jeeva, secretary of the local committee sat in front of the wine shop on fast. More than 200 residents assembled at the spot in support. Deputy Commissioner of police and other government officials persuaded Comrade Jeeva to withdraw the fast. Representatives from DMK and PMK voluntarily came down at greeted the struggle. Since the wine shop has not been opened on that day, the Fast was called off and Party and people are determined to stall it. Immediately The signature campaign among residents are started and there is a mass demonstration planned on 17th January. Meanwhile Party is also approaching Chennai High court to get a stay.
On the 18th day of the strike by Asian Paint workers, RYA organised a public meeting in solidarity with striking workers on 6.1.2014.ComradeRajavguru of RYA presided over. More than 500 workers of Sriperumputhur area assembled. Comrade Kumarasamy, National president of AICCTU addressed the gathering. Comrades Rajavel from Hyandai, Iraniappan SCM, Palanivel, State Secretary of AICCTU and Sekar, Secretary of Chennai city committee also spoke. Comrade Gopalakrishnan of Asian Paints recited a poem describing the sufferings of workers in this industrial belt. Working class vanguards from 15 factories attended the meeting. The meeting resolved to continue the struggle and also decided to take up the issues of thousands of contract and apprentice workers.
Resisting Forced Sale of Kidney and Ovum, and Surrogate Motherhood
The case of Sakunthala, a 27- year old adivasi woman in Salem district of TN, highlights how difficult it is to speak of 'choice' in matters like surrogate motherhood, ovum sale, and so on, in patriarchal society and in a rampantly commercialized context.
Sakunthala and her friend, CPI(ML) activist Selvi, were attacked with a knife by Sakunthala's husband Navaraj at Komarapalayam in Salem (a centre for illegal organ racket). Shakunthala told the police in her statement that she was forced by Navaraj to donate her kidney in 2006 in a Coimbatore hospital, for which he got Rs 1 lakh. He also forced her to be a surrogate mother. And he and her mother-in-law forced her to donate her fertile eggs 18 times in various hospitals in Tamilnadu and Kerala. The money earned wasn't saved in Shakunthala's or her daughter's name. She took shelter at her friend Selvi's place in a bid to escape her abusive husband, but he tracked her there and attacked them both. Both are now recovering. Selvi brought up the matter with the Komarapalayam branch of the CPI(ML) and the party's efforts ensured that the FIR has been lodged and Navaraj arrested.
On the Occasion of South Korean President's India Visit
Citizens' Protest at Environment Ministry against Clearance to POSCO
Veerappa Moily, the new Minister of Environment and Forest (MOEF), audaciously cleared POSCO's Steel Project, violating all norms, just before the arrival of the President of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye's visit to India.
The Environment Ministry, in a dishonest sleight of hand, is turning an integrated project into convenient compartments and giving clearances separately to each one of them in a gradual manner to deceive the public. As the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) says, "You can't separate mines from the plant and the plant from the port. You can't also ignore the fact that certain matters are still tried in National Green Tribunal."
The people in Dhinkia, Patna, Govindpur and Nuagaon villages have taken a resolve to intensify our struggle at any cost and to ensure that POSCO is ousted from Odisha's soil. To protest against the coalition of two hostile governments (in the state and at the centre) on POSCO issue and to protest against atrocities launched on our democratically protesting population PPSS is organizing a massive Dharna in Dhinkia on January 15, 2014. A similar protest will also be organized in the capital city of Bhubaneswar. Solidarity groups have also decided to launch similar protest in other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Chennai etc. In solidarity, the JNUSU, Delhi Solidarity Group, AISA and others organized a Citizens' Protest at the Environment Ministry.
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: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org