ಗುರುವಾರ, ಜೂನ್ 26, 2014
ಬುಧವಾರ, ಜೂನ್ 18, 2014
Meanwhile, the Intelligence Bureau has come out with a blueprint to stream-roll struggles to pave the way for big projects, defying environmental and safety regulations and people's rights over land, forests and water. In a report submitted to the PM, the IB has accused a range of people's movements of being 'foreign-funded NGOs that stall development projects'. This report repeats some of the canards spread by the previous UPA-II Government against the anti-nuclear struggle at Koodankulam, while also lifting words and ideas unchanged from a 2006 speech by Modi.
The strategy is to brand people's movements raising environmental and livelihood concerns as 'anti-national', just as the Sangh Parivar has always branded those raising concerns for civil liberties and rights as 'anti-national'. The Manmohan Government, together with BJP-led state Governments, had already been united in waging a war on adivasi people on the pretext of combating Maoism, with the real goal of paving the way for corporate plunder. The same strategy is now getting a boost and an expansion under Modi.
The Modi Government isn't alone in seeking to brand people's movement activists as a threat to the nation's security and development. Reports prepared at the behest of the defence establishments of the imperialist US and UK have similarly sought to brand all activists with 'anti-capitalist' or anti-inequality and anti-imperialist agendas, as well as poor, immigrant and minority communities, as potentially 'extremist'.
The script of the Modi Government's brand of governance is before us. The promise of "good times" will come true for big corporations, and the hardships imposed on the poor will be justified in the name of "larger interests of the nation" – and all those who resist the plunder of the country's resources or the robbing of people's land and livelihoods will be branded as "foreign-funded anti-nationals." And make no mistake, the same big corporations, domestic or foreign, have been among the biggest funders of the most extravagant 'Modi for PM' election campaign that India has just witnessed.
People's movements will not be silenced by such intimidation though. They will continue to expose the Government's policies promoting corporate plunder and yawning inequality, and serving imperialism, as the real 'anti-national' agenda. And the best way to serve the country will be to defend its natural resources and environmental fabric and the rights and livelihood of its people.
The sweeping victory of the BJP and NDA in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections poses a new challenge to all justice-loving democracy-loving people of India. Even as the new regime starts unveiling its agenda, pronouncements made by various leaders of the new dispensation and cases of hate crime, political terror and police highhandedness being reported from various corners of the country point to a testing time for democracy and communal harmony. Fresh attacks on people's livelihood in various forms like cuts in transfers to the poor, upward revision in gas prices and FDI limits etc. and selective silence of the new prime minister on a whole range of shocking events mark ominous early portents.
The new government has come to power promising to usher in 'good days', but Modi's Gujarat track record rests on unfettered corporate domination, state-patronised communal violence, systematic misuse of the state apparatus and wholesale violation of constitutional norms and rights and an unmistakably authoritarian mode of governance that stifles dissent in every form and engineers large-scale assaults on people's rights and liberties.
While championing popular aspirations for basic rights, improved living and good governance, every defender of democracy will have to be vigilant and battle-ready to combat any attempt to replicate and amplify the inherently anti-democratic features of the much-trumpeted Gujarat model on an all-India scale.
The BJP's unprecedented countrywide electoral ascendance has come not just at the cost of the Congress but also large sections of the non-Congress non-BJP spectrum including the Left. Evidently the big message of these elections for the Left and all other sections of progressive democratic forces is an urgent need for expansion and rejuvenation of the fighting base and capacity of the people's movement and for wider cooperation and united action.
The CPI(ML) Central Committee hereby makes an ardent appeal to all fellow defenders of democracy to come together against every assault on democracy, pluralism and people's livelihood and fight hard for the realisation of people's aspirations and rights and solemnly reiterates the party's commitment to explore and expand all possible avenues of cooperation and contribute to the development and strengthening of the people's movement by all means.
Venezuela's revolution has our solidarity still!
(Socialists in Asia-Pacific pledge support for Venezuela's socialist revolution, a year after Chavez's death, in a resolution adopted at the 10th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance in Sydney)
March 5 marked one year since the death of Venezuelan president and revolutionary Hugo Chavez. An outspoken fighter for the oppressed in Venezuela and Latin America, the loss of Chavez is still felt keenly by socialists and anti-imperialists globally.
But the Bolivarian revolution that Chavez led is a mass movement of millions of people that lives on in the barrios and workplaces in Venezuela. This process, led by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, is facing fresh attacks by right-wing forces backed by the United States.
The recent violent protests by a minority that has repeatedly been defeated at the ballot box has caused widespread destruction and terror. Along with at least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries, public buildings and government-run, pro-poor social missions have been attacked by opposition protesters, at the estimated cost of up to 10 million bolivars.
The international media has presented this fascist violence as a peaceful democracy struggle that has been repressed by a dictatorial Maduro government. This turns reality on its head.
The forces behind the protests were the same as those that carried out the coup against Chavez in 2002, destroying democracy and killing dozens of people before being defeated by a genuine mass democratic uprising.
We know this is part of ongoing efforts by the US-backed right-wing to destabilise the elected government and undermine the Bolivarian revolution. The right-wing's campaign has included an "economic war" involving sabotage, hoarding and speculation by capitalists.
We know the rich elite in Venezuela and internationally will never forgive the Bolivarian movement for attacking the political and economic interests of capitalists in otrder to advance those of the majority. No matter how many times the pro-imperialist forces are defeated, they will continue to try to destroy the revolution's gains.
In a global era of austerity and war, the gains of the Bolivarian revolution are an inspiration for ordinary people everywhere – increasing living standards and democratic rights of the poor majority, and spearheading Latin American integration as an alternative to imperialist domination and exploitation.
On the anniversary of Chavez's death and in the face of fresh lies and attacks on the revolution he led, we reiterate our support for Venezuelan democracy and the Bolivarian movement's attempt to create "socialism for the 21st century".
End United States' interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela!
No sanctions against Venezuelan citizens!
June 17, 2014
We, the undersigned parties and organisations in the Asia region, condemn the moves by the United States government to impose sanctions on Venezuelan citizens it deems to have "abused human rights".
The US House of Representatives' May 28 vote for such sanctions is a violation of the right of all nations to sovereignty and self-determination.
The bill is not motivated by a desire to end supposed human rights abuses in Venezuela. Rather, it seeks to support the openly stated aims of Venezuela's right-wing opposition to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro. This is revealed by the bill's authorisation of millions of dollars of increased funding to opposition organisations in Venezuela – the same groups responsible for a wave of violence within Venezuela this year that has left at least 40 dead and hundreds injured.
The US bill ignores the opposition to sanctions expressed by Latin America's main regional bodies, including the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
It also dismisses the 73% of Venezuelans polled on May 10-12 who oppose US sanctions, as well as the calls by Venezuela's president and government for peace and dialogue.
We strongly endorse the May 27 statement of the 188 countries of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations that condemns the proposed sanctions as a violation of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country. We agree with UNASUR's May 22 statement approving the peace process initiated by the Venezuelan government and declaring US meddling an obstacle to national dialogue.
In the interests of international peace and justice, we call on the US Senate and President Barrack Obama to respect the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and reject this bill.
Further, we call on our own governments to express their clear opposition to the proposed sanctions, and to use all channels available to pressure the US government to end its interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
Since 1995 the advent of summer every year has brought the ravages of the disease called encephalitis in Bihar, claiming the lives of hundreds of children. This year also encephalitis started its scourge in April and will continue till just before the heavy rains arrive. In spite of being well aware of this fact, our governments are not taking the situation seriously. As a result, this year also more than 89 children have so far succumbed to encephalitis. Most of these children were also suffering from malnutrition. The government has done nothing to provide a permanent solution to the problem. Moreover, immediate relief operations are also very slow and hampered by negligence. There is a dire lack of facilities in hospitals, and primary health centres are decrepit, due to which children's lives are unable to be saved.
The above facts have been brought to light by the CPI(ML) in its investigation report after inspecting the SKMCH and Kejriwal hospitals at Muzaffarpur. The investigation team included former MP and AIALA National President Rameshwar Prasad, CPI(ML) CC member Com. Meena Tiwari, State committee member Com. Kamlesh Sharma, Muzaffarpur district Secretary Com. Krishna Mohan, AIALA district Secretary Shatrughan Sahni, and Office Secretary Sakal Thakur.
The investigation team said that instead of showing seriousness towards saving the children from the disease, the Centre and State governments are indulging in mere tokenism and posturing. The CM of Bihar, along with other Ministers, bureaucrats, and Central ministers have toured the area. Big declarations and tall promises have been made but the snail's pace of the response still remains the same.
Until last year JD(U)-BJP were in government in Bihar. The Health Department was with the BJP. It is the failure of the Health Department which had been in power for 8 years that it could not find effective ways to stop the deaths due to this disease. Constructive suggestions: to get rid of contributory factors like malnutrition, to break the cycle of transmission (usually through pig and mosquito), to have proper preparation to treat the early patients, as well as to form a team of specialists, conduct research, and find effective means of treatment for this disease which is an annual scourge – were brushed aside. This has resulted in the loss of several children's lives this year also.
Apart from Muzaffarpur, Beguserai, Sitamarhi, Shivhar, and eastern Champaran areas are also in the grip of this disease. More than 250 children have so far been admitted to the SKMCH and Kejriwal hospitals in Muzaffarpur, out of whom 89 have died. 132 children were admitted to the government hospital, out of whom 40 died, 43 are in ICU, 14 are in the wards, and only 35 have been able to return home.
The CPI(ML) investigation team said that they understood from their talks with the doctors that if first aid is rendered within 4 to 6 hours after the onset of the disease, the child's life can be saved. But the district level primary health centres, and Block level health centres are all in decrepit condition. As a result, by the time the children are brought to the main hospital, their condition becomes very serious and it is difficult to save them. The two district hospitals also lack facilities. Patients at Kejriwal hospital have to go outside for CT scan and treatment for respiratory ailments, as these are not available in the hospital.
The team said that the government boasts of achievements but has failed to provide facilities like adequate treatment for children and raising the number of mobile vans, which is why this disease is now fast assuming the form of an epidemic.
It is a result of the insensitivity and wrong health policy of the Central and State governments, BJP and JD(U) that today the children are unable to be saved from encephalitis. The team said that the government should make arrangements for Block level medical treatment on a war footing, mobile vans, CT scans, etc. They demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs for the families of the children whose lives have be claimed by encephalitis.
Mahadalits' Protest Against Land Grab in Patna
Tired of repeated and futile pleas to free 10 katthas of mahadalits' shmasan (burial) ground in Siddharthnagar coming under Airport thana of capital city Patna, the mahadalits and poor of Jagdev Path, Ashiyananagar, and neighbouring mohallas expressed their strong anger against the district administration and State government by blockading Bailey Road on 16th June.
Thousands of mahadalit and poor families living around the western part of Patna's Bailey Road in Jagdev Path, Ashiyananagar, Konhara, Rukanpura and Mahua Bagh have been burying their dead in the burial ground located at Siddharthnagar (Murlichak). But a company of builders, namely Mssrs. Jainiwas Constructions have started enclosing this land with the intention of capturing it. This is a total of 24 katthas of land out of which a portion of 14 katthas has already been captured by land thieves.
The builder company and its so-called partner Amit Kumar Poddar had tried to capture this ground about 3 years ago on 5 April 2011 and had shot dead Buti Devi, a mahadalit woman who was opposing them. Several others were injured during that protest including Maliya Devi, Surti Devi, and Ramji Manjhi.
After the incident the then DM had announced that the family of deceased Buti Devi would be paid a compensation of Rs 2 lakhs, the culprits guilty of firing and murder would be arrested, the disputd land would be ensured to remain in the custody of the mahadalits and would be fenced in at government cost, and a community hall and toilet would be constructed in the name of Buti Devi in the mahadalit tola at Jagdev Path. The police had even arrested builder Rajiv Kumar and two of his associates Rajesh Kumar and Kumar Gaurav. In addition, Airport thana in charge Mithilesh Jaiswal, SI Ramnarayan Thakur, and 3 home guards were suspended.
After lying low for 3 years, recently Mssrs. Jainiwas Constructions again resumed the work of putting up boundary walls on this land. The mahadalit community organization Shahri Garib Morcha (Front of Urban Poor) and CPI(ML) have in the past few days submitted written applications to Patna DM, Police SP, as well as to CM Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi requesting removal of the builders' capture of the shmasan ground. However, seeing that the State government and administration have not taken any steps, the people today took recourse to blockading the road.
From 9 in the morning on 16th June, hundreds of men and women from mahadalit and poor mohallas in Jagdev Path, Ashiyananagar, Konhara, Rukanpura etc., gathered near the Jagdev Smarak at bailey Road. The 80 ft. broad road was blocked in several places and from several directions with bamboo poles. Tyres were also burnt in several places. The blocking of traffic started near the Ashiyana turning. Blockades were also put up at more than 3 places on the Jagdev Path-Phulwari Road. Traffic also came to a standstill between Jagdev Path crossroads and Saguna turning and no vehicles were plying including auto rickshaws and buses.
The protestors demanded the removal of the builders' capture of the shmasan ground and also demanded that the announcements made by the DM after the incident 3 years ago should be implemented. They carried placards demanding compensation of 3 lakhs, land and housing to Buti Devi' family, and a community hall in her name. They also demanded cleaning up of mahadalit bastis, water, toilets, drainage, pucca streets, and anganwadi centres and schools for mahadalit children.
The road jam was carried out under the banner of Shahri Garib Morcha, led by mahadalit community local leaders along with CPI(ML) leader Murtaza Ali and Shahri Garib Morcha city convener Ashok Kumar, and others.
The local residents were fully aware of the injustice to the mahadalits and poor in this matter, and so they gave their full support to the road jam. Groups of local residents were seen at various places requesting vehicle drivers to turn back. The road block continued unobstructed for over 5 hours.
Arriving at the spot, Patna Sadar SDO Pankaj Dikshit, local CO ad area DSP spoke to the protestors, took stock of the construction site, and put an immediate stop to the construction work. They assured the mahadalit community leaders and Shahri Garib Morcha leaders spearheading the protest that the procedure of burying their dead on the disputed land would continue as before.
The officers assured the protestors that they would convey their demands to the Chief Minister Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi who would soon be meeting the protestors and listening to their complaints.
ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಜೂನ್ 13, 2014
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17 No. 24 10 - 16 JUN 2014
Bhagana-Badaun-Pune: India Shocked and Shamed, Modi Keeps Mum
A young Muslim IT professional was beaten to death on a Pune street by a Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) mob wielding hockey sticks and stones. In a case of premeditated communal hate crime, an innocent Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh was targetted for markers of his Muslim identity – beard, skull cap and Pathani suit – as he was on his way back from offering evening prayers at a mosque. Post killing, members of the HRS gang exchanged a gleeful message on their mobile phones that read 'pahili wicket padli' (the first wicket has fallen). Have the saffron senas of the Sangh Parivar interpreted the BJP/NDA victory in Lok Sabha elections as a license to attack and kill people at will?
Prior to Shaikh's murder, and after it, workers of several Hindutva outfits including the HRS, Shiv Sena and the BJP rioted in Pune for several days over some derogatory morphed photographs of Shivaji and ex-Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackerey that were posted by unknown person(s) on Facebook. Buses were burnt, public property and private vehicles damaged, shops shut down and the minority community attacked. Mosques, madrassas, graveyards and Muslim shops and homes were vandalized by mobs on a rampage. The then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's sinister invocation of the so-called action-reaction theory to justify the Gujarat killings of 2002 had a second coming as Anil Shirole, the BJP MP from Pune, justified the violence as 'natural repercussions' that were bound to follow in the wake of the alleged humiliation of Hindutva icons like Shivaji and Thackerey.
The manner in which the Pune violence and killing were incited in the run up to the Assembly elections in Maharashtra has uncanny parallels with the instigation of communal tension in Bangalore (affecting the migrant workforce of the North-East) and Muzaffarnagar. In both cases, fake videos/text messages circulated by 'unknown' persons were used to spread rumours loaded with communal rhetoric, leading to community exodus in the former case and riots in the latter. Harvests of communal polarisation were sought to be reaped in the ensuing elections.
The Maharashtra Police has registered close to two hundred rioting cases and arrested over seven hundred miscreants belonging to various radical Hindu outfits; but questions remain whether those guilty of riots and Mohsin's killing will be punished. The state police's communal bias in the past is well-documented by the Justice Madon and Justice Srikrishna commissions of inquiry. Justice has eluded the victims of '92-'93 Mumbai riots, when most of the accused evaded punishment because witnesses to their crimes, who had earlier given graphic details of riots and lynching of innocents, had later turned hostile in court.
The Pune killing and riots again bring to the fore the role of outfits like the HRS and their regular activities of spreading communal venom and terror. Dhananjay Desai, the HRS chief, had multiple cases registered against him. He had been interrogated in connection with the killing of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. His communal hate speeches and writings are all over the internet, defying police 'notices of restraint'. If the morphed Facebook photos were offensive, Desai's activities were crimes under the IPC. Yet, action was not taken against him or his outfit for provoking enmity on religious grounds.
The BJP has predictably sought to distance itself from terror acts by the HRS. In a long tradition of denial dating from Nathuram Godses of yesteryears to the Brahmeswar Singhs, Pragya Singh Thakurs, Pramod Muthaliks and Dhananjan Desais of today, the BJP has always sought to deny its links with saffron flag-wielding, unrecognized 'first cousins' of the Sangh Parivar. But what has come as an early shocker for many who had believed that they had found a vocal and outspoken leader in Narendra Modi is the highly suggestive and deafening silence of the Prime Minister over the Pune killing as also the brutal rapes and murders of the Badaun sisters and the forcible eviction of the Bhagana rape survivors and protestors in Delhi even as he waxes eloquent on sundry subjects.
As the myth of 'clean chits' and the reincarnation of 'Modi 2.0' continue to do their rounds on television and print media, one can recall a highly-publicized, seen-as-reconciliatory election speech where Modi said that he wanted to see the Muslim youth with 'the Quran in one hand and a laptop in the other'. As Shaikh's lynching showed, Muslim youth are being targeted on both pretexts. It's increasingly the educated and computer-savvy Muslim youth who are being framed and hunted as terrorists by the state or lynched by thugs in globalised urban enclaves like Pune.
In the wake of Verdict 2014, there is palpable fear and angst among Muslim youth in the country. As thousands of riot victims wait endlessly for justice, thousands of detainees and undertrials languish and face torture in jails on flimsy/unsubstantiated terror charges, as vicious communal rhetoric begins to shape mainstream political and media discourse with constant mischievous references to 'minority appeasement', 'votebank politics', 'love jihad', 'pink revolution', 'illegal Bangladeshi immigrants' and 'Pakistani terrorists', the Muslim community is in the throes of a threatening and uncertain future. Refuting this mischievous propaganda and vicious attacks, India must reassure the Muslim youth of its fullest right to live and love, to work and worship in their own country. The insecurity of Muslim youth must become a key concern of today's democratic youth movement.
New Government's Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting With Central Trade Unions
The Finance Minister of the newly elected BJP-led NDA government held its First pre-Budget consultation meeting with representatives of central trade unions on 6th June 2014 at North Block, New Delhi. The meeting was held in connection with the forthcoming Union Budget 2014-15.
In this meeting a joint memorandum signed by 11 central trade unions was submitted with Finance Minister which consisted of their collective demands and views regarding the Budget. The representatives of following 11 CTUs took part in the meeting: BMS, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AICCTU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, UTUC and LPF.
On behalf of AICCTU, Santosh Roy, national secretary participated in the meeting.
While speaking on the various aspects of the memorandum, he stressed upon specific demands like 'equal pay for equal work and regularization' of contract workers and highlighted the privatization of DTC and issues of contract workers employed here apart from uncontrolled privatization of various essential services; giving the status of worker to honorarium workers including social security; and widening the coverage of EPF. He warned the new govt. that it was the peoples' anger and movements against UPA government's policies of price rise, corruption and destruction of livelihood and lives that had given it mandate, and so it is hoped that it stops pursing the same policies, instead of pursuing the same policies more vigorously in the name of solving the ongoing economic crisis as has been clearly indicated in new government's last few days' governance.
The joint memorandum in its 'Proposals' for the forthcoming union budget put forward the demands of working people which, among others, are as follows:
Take effective measures to arrest the spiraling price rise and to contain inflation, Ban speculative forward trading in commodities, Universalize and strengthen the Public Distribution System, Ensure proper check on hoarding, Rationalize, with a view to reduce the burden on people, the tax/duty/cess on petroleum products; Massive public investment in the infrastructure in order to stimulate the economy for job creation, The plan & non-plan expenditure should be increased in the budget to stimulate jobs creation and guarantee consistent income to people; Minimum wage should not be less than Rs.15,000/- p.m. and linked to Consumer Price Index; FDI should not be allowed in crucial sectors like defence production, telecommunications, Railways, financial sector, retail trade, education, health and media; PSUs should be strengthened and expanded. Disinvestment of shares of profit making public sector units should be stopped forthwith. Budgetary support should be given for revival of potentially viable Sick CPSUs; The ban on recruitment in Govt. deptts., PSUs and autonomous institutions (including recent Finance Ministry's instruction to abolish those posts not filled for one year) should be lifted as recommended by 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference, Condition of surrender of posts in govt. departments and PSUs should be scrapped and new posts be created keeping in view the new work and increased workload; Proper allocation of funds be also made for interim relief and 7th Pay Commission; Under MGNREGA employment for minimum period of 200 days with guaranteed statutory wage be provided, as unanimously recommended by 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference; The massive workforce engaged in ICDS, Mid-day meal scheme, Vidya volunteers, Guest Teachers, Siksha Mitra, the workers engaged in the Accredited Social Health Activities (ASHA) and other schemes be regularized, No to privatization of centrally funded schemes, Universalization of ICDS be done as per Supreme Court directions by making adequate budgetary allocations; Steps be taken for removal of all restrictive provisions based on poverty line in respect of eligibility coverage of the schemes under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 and allocation of adequate resources for the National Fund for Unorganised Workers to provide for Social Security to all unorganized workers including the contract/casual and migrant workers in line with the recommendations of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and also the 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference; Remunerative Prices should be ensured for the agricultural produce and Govt. investment, public investment in agriculture sector must be substantially augmented as a proportion of GDP and total budgetary expenditure. It should also be ensured that benefits of the increase reach the small, marginal and medium cultivators only; Budgetary provision should be made for providing essential services including housing, public transport, sanitation, water, schools, crèche health care etc. to workers in the new emerging industrial areas, Working women's hostels should be set up where there is a concentration of women workers; Requisite budgetary support for addressing crisis in traditional sectors like Jute, Textiles, Plantation, Handloom, Carpet and Coir etc.; Budgetary provision for elementary education should be increased, particularly in the context of the implementation of the 'Right to Education'; Income Tax exemption ceiling for the salaried persons should be raised to Rs.5 lakh per annum and fringe benefits like housing, medical and educational facilities and running allowances should be exempted from the income tax net in totality; Provision of minimum pension of Rs.3000/- p.m., Govt. and Employers contribution be increased to allow sustainability of Employees Pension Scheme and New Pension Scheme be withdrawn and newly recruited employees of central and state govts. on or after 1.1.2004 be covered under Old Pension Scheme, Threshold limit of 20 employees in EPF Scheme be brought down to 10 as recommended by CBT-EPF, Pension benefits under EPS unilaterally withdrawn by the Govt. should be restored; Demand for Dearness Allowance merger by Central Govt. and PSUs employees be accepted and adequate allocation of fund for this be made in the budget; All interests and social security of the domestic workers to be statutorily protected on the lines of the ILO Convention on domestic workers; The Cess Management of the construction workers is the responsibility of the Finance Ministry under the Act and the several irregularities found in collection of cess be rectified as well as their proper utilization must be ensured.
In regard to 'Resource Mobilization', the memorandum emphasized that; a progressive taxation system should be put in place to ensure taxing the rich and the affluent sections, Increase taxes on luxury goods and reduce indirect taxes on essential commodities; Concrete steps must be taken to recover huge accumulated unpaid tax arrears which has already crossed more than Rs.5 lakh crore on direct and corporate tax account alone; Effective measures should be taken to unearth huge accumulation of black money in the economy including the huge unaccounted money in tax heavens abroad and within the country; Concrete measures be expedited for recovering the NPAs of the banking system from the willfully defaulting corporate and business houses; The rate of wealth tax, corporate tax, gift tax etc. to be expanded and enhanced; ITES, outsourcing sector, Educational Institutions and Health Services etc. run on commercial basis should be brought under Service Tax net.
The memorandum reiterated '10 point Charter' backed by several collective nationwide programmes including several successful general strikes and expressed its expectation that this Govt. will take initiative to discuss these issues with the Central Trade Unions in order to find a solution.
The memorandum also expressed its opposition to the so called Banking Reforms and the New Manufacturing Policy.
Lastly, the memorandum called on the govt. to arrange a post-budget meeting with trade unions also as it holds such meetings with the Corporate Associations/Employers Federations.
Statewide Protest by AIALA in Bihar
AIALA units all over Bihar held protests at block offices for non-distribution of rations, cancellation of BPL cards and non-implementation of Food Security measures in spite of repeated announcements by the state government.
The Bihar government is yet to implement the food security act passed by the Parliament, though Nitish govt. had announced to start this by February last. The existing system of PDS is allowed to collapse gradually as ration cards are being cancelled in huge numbers without any explanation and food-grains are not distributed by ration outlets.
The new Food Security Act effectively excludes large numbers of vulnerable sections of poor, AIALA has demanded guaranteed food security by including every needy household under the purview of this Act.
The lack of transparency in various pro-poor governmental schemes, corruption, Nitish govt.'s betrayal from its own promise of giving 3 decimal land to landless and Land Reforms were also raised in these protests.
Reports from Jharkhand
Dhanbad: Coal Mines Workers Union (CMWU) gheraoed officials of Sudamadih Shaft Mines on June 1 in protest of Coal India Ltd. (CIL) decision for closure of the mine. Situated in Jharia coal belt of Dhanbad district, the management has deliberately removed water pump from the mine so that water will be filled and the mine will automatically be closed. The workers led by CMWU leader Nakuldev Singh held out a militant protest. As a result management abandoned the eviction process and fled from the spot, leaving crores of implements inside the mine including electricity transformers etc.
Ramgarh: A month-long campaign against privatisation of electricity was conducted in district Ramgarh from 23 April to 23 May. The campaign targeted a franchisee company which the government has entrusted for electricity supply in the rural belt of the district. A large number of peasants were mobilised against this privatisation drive forcing the said company to leave. This campaign was concluded in a big mass meeting which was addressed by CPIML leader Bhubaneshwar Bedia. The Revolutionary Youth Organisation (RYA) has now announced a regional level protest on this issue.
RYA also organised an agitation against fare hike by local tracker owners which resulted in Rs. 3 curtailment in the fare from Ramgarh town to Ghutua, which was announced earlier to be at Rs. ten.
Koderma: A protest dharna was organised in Koderma district headquarters on 7 June to highlight problems in water and electricity supply and black-marketing of PDS foodgrains.
Ranchi: Owing to governmental policies leading to unabated exploitation of forests, people of Panch Pargana region are facing attacks of elephants which is being overlooked or undermined by the officials and politicians leading to further escalation of the problem. On 4 June, a party supporter Ravilochan Munda was killed by an elephant while another CPIML cadre Gaur Singh Munda was injured. Angered people gathered in an spontaneous protest and blocked the highway. Only then the officials came to listen to the grievances of the people, where they also announced compensation money for the family of the deceased, people continues to wary of assurances given on the spot. Incidents of elephant attacks also happened in Humta and Gitildih panchayats where many houses of rural folk were raged to the ground. A protest meeting was organised in Humta where people 'arrested' forest officials for four hours till they got assurance for some concrete measures including a special forest dept. team to be engaged in diverting the elephants.
In Chandandih of Silli block people protested against the inaction of administration and police over a worker's death on duty, a road blockade was held and two local politicians who tried to broker a deal with the employer were even beaten up by the public. Ultimately local administration came in action and the blockade was lifted.
Khunti: Jharkhand Construction Workers Union organised a protest rally in Khunti and submitted a 10-point charter to the district labour office. The rally held on this occasion was addressed by Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, Secretary of the Union, Laldhari Manjhi, Gopal Mahto, Poonam Oraon and many other workers.
Struggle for Land in Kanyakumari
On June 2, CPIML's determined and united struggle for the homeless came to fruition, when hundreds of activists came to streets to celebrate the victory of persistent struggle over reclaiming land illegally occupied by land mafia and political bigwigs. The activists unanimously declared that now it is people's land and the task of distributing the land to homeless will be taken up. Addressing the demonstrators CPIML Tamilnadu State Secretary Balasundaram said, at a time when corporates and saffron forces are celebrating the victory of BJP and Modi, we the poor and down-trodden celebrating the victory of our sustained struggle for land. A Govt. with resound mandate might have ascended but only the united and determined struggle of the people has given respite to the people.
This 48.50 acres agricultural land was given to the hang-men (Arachaar) by the erstwhile Trivancore Samasthanam. Although the Nagercoil Sub court ruled that the Arachaar land belongs to TN govt., for the past 22 years no steps were taken up to acquire the land. Land mafia with the connivance of the officials encroached illegally, and to the extent that a plot was registered even in the name of CM Jayalalithaa too! On December 28, a housing patta and house right conference was organized in Nagarcoil. More than 1200 houseless poor attended the conference. Comrades Anthonymuthu, Marystella, Chandramohan and Susila besides several prominent personalities participated in the conference. Comrade Balasundaram inaugurated the conference. The conference decided that the Arachaar land must be reclaimed and distributed among the homeless.
Series of agitations was organized by the party involving several thousand through our mass organisations. On January 18, dharnas were held in eighteen centres. On January 26 a road blockade agitation was held in Nagercoil near the Arachaar land cite at Parvathipuram. This also attracted the support of several CPI(M) supporters. Due to the pressure mounted, the District Collector assured that the demand will be looked into, but case was registered on leaders and general public including Balasundaram, State Secretary of the Party. On Feb 3 a road-block agitation was announced in front of the Collectorate. Police indiscriminately arrested agitators including children. It drew wider condemnation. Then on March 15 more than 1200 women stormed the Arachaar land. The district administration once was forced to give an assurance to the agitators. The issue of this land was also raised in the election Campaign of CPIML. In the midst of the election campaign AIPWA activists staged an agitation right in the Arachaar land, while police brutally attacked the activists and slapped cases on them. Meanwhile on behalf of the party a case was filed in the High Court (Madurai Bench) on the question of this Arachaar land. And a case was registered on the police for their indiscriminate actions against our activists. This has restrained police to some extent.
In the course of the sustained agitations AIPWA district conference was held in the district in which 800 participated. This conference was inaugurated by Comrade Bhuveneswari, CCM of the party. AICCTU also organised its district conference in which around 650 unorganised women and men workers participated. AICCTU State Vice-President G. Ramesh attended the conference as observer. These conferences gave a fillip to the ongoing struggle for land.
Due to our sustained agitations it became an important issue in the district. State and district administration forced to take some steps. The agitational efforts drew support from various quarters. Both the struggles and legal steps forced the administration. On May 26 the district Collector acquired the illegally occupied land worth of several hundred crores and sealed illegal structures erected. The collector also announced that Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board will build houses for the houseless. Though the administration has announced housing scheme in 11 acres, how the remaining 37 acres will be utilized is not clear. Moreover, without considering more than 3000 petitions submitted to the collector, he announced that 900 people, who were not part of the agitations, will be provided houses in the scheme!
Retrieval of the total extent of land, arrest and prosecution of the culprits and officials who connived with land-mafia, distribution of the land to the houseless as per the govt.'s promise, retrieving the illegally occupied lands throughout the district which is estimated around 5000 acres, and that the state govt. in its upcoming July session must declare to acquire all illegally occupied lands and fulfill AIADMK promise of house-sites are the issues on which this struggle will be taken up into the next phase.
Workers Protest Hindustan Motors Management's Arbitrary 'Suspension of Work' in West Bengal
The management of the Hindustan Motors Ltd. (Hindmotor) plant in Uttarpara, that produced the iconic Ambassador car, hung up a 'suspension of work' notice on the factory gates in the dawn of 24th May, without any prior intimation to 2400 workers who were driven out of jobs. A CPI(ML) delegation met with the workers the next day. It was learnt that the workers had not been paid salaries for the past 6 months and that the biggest Trade Union, the INTTUC, led by the ruling Trinamool Congress leader Dola Sen had been sitting idle even on such gross violation of workers's rights like non-payment of salaries! The delegation met with the sole struggling union, the non-party independent Sangrami Sramik Karmachari Union (SSKU) leadership who alleged that the SSKU rank and file have been under intimidation, threats and harassment to prevent a genuine workers' resistance gather steam at the Hindmotor plant. The Hindmotor-Konnagar local party committee, AICCTU and the Construction Workers' Union affiliated to AICCTU brought out a joint workers' rally in the area in solidarity with Hindmotor workers. The rally demanded scrapping of the arbitrary suspension notice, immediate payment of workers' salary dues and State government taking up the responsibility of lives and livelihoods of the Hindmotor workers. A joint convention of central Trade Unions and federations was held on 3rd June focusing on the ominous scenario of sick and closed factories, with Hindmotor joining a long line of prominent predecessors like Dunlop, Duckback, Jessop, numerous jute mills, textile mills, engineering units and tens of thousands of factories fast disappearing from the industrial landscape of the state. The flawed industrial policy (ironically under the hype of 'industrialization'), labour policy and the Labour and Industrial ministries were put in the dock, and demands raised for the way forward.
Left Parties and Groups Call for Defending Secularism and Democracy
Leaders of the CPI(ML) Liberation, CPI(ML) Red Star, Party of Democratic Secularism, Communist Party of Bharat, and other groups like the Bhasha O Chetana Samiti, DSF (JNU) came together with expelled leaders from the CPI(M) – Rezzak Mollah and Prasenjit Bose, ex-CPI(M) MLA Sumanta Heera and other speakers in a joint meeting held at Esplanade on 1st June. CPI(ML) State Secretary Partha Ghosh represented the Party at the meeting, which underlined immediacies in the political scenario of West Bengal following a TMC/BJP victory at the state/center respectively. What is being projected in the media as a benign-sounding 'post-poll violence' in West Bengal is in reality gross political violence unleashed on a ruthless scale by the ruling Trinamool Congress on grassroots workers and local leaders of the political opposition, emboldened by the 'brute force majority' in numbers attained by the TMC in the hustings. Added to the TMC's heinous assaults on the rural poor in particular, leading to several deaths, is the danger of communal polarization coming out of the woodwork. The BJP's vicious hate speeches during the elections, harping on sieving 'illegal infiltrators' (read Muslim migrants) from 'genuine asylum-seekers' (read Hindu migrants) from Bangladesh and its subsequent poll-gains in the form of an increased vote share has emboldened saffron forces on the prowl. The BJP central team's televised visit to their party supporters under TMC attack at Sandeshkhali was also given a communal colour, mischievously painting it less as a political assault and more as a religious assault of Muslims on lower caste Hindus! Given the context where the poor working people of Bengal are now withstanding a two-pronged attack by authoritarian, corrupt, intolerant and fascist communal forces and the near-total paralysis/surrender of the CPI(M) leadership to stand up to resist the naked assaults, the meeting called for all the left, democratic forces in the state to unite in struggles to reassert the working people's agenda and to defend the values of secularism and democracy at all costs.