ಭಾನುವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 29, 2015
ಬುಧವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 25, 2015
A series of terror attacks by the ISIS – killing 128 people in Ankara, bringing down a Russian passenger aircraft, killing 43 in a Beirut suicide bombing and 18 in an attack on a funeral in Baghdad, and the shock-and-awe style massacre of 130 people enjoying a Paris evening – have shaken the entire world. On the heels of these attacks has come the hostage crisis followed by killing of over 20 people in a Mali hotel by an outfit said to have al-Qaeda links.
If the ISIS shares a vicious ideology of hatred and genocide with many others across the world, its scale of operations and its penchant for graphic displays of spectacular violence certainly set it apart. The ISIS attempts to justify attacks on innocent civilians in France as retaliation to French air strikes in Syria, or more generally to justify its whole existence as an answer to wars by the US and Western powers in the Middle East must be squarely rejected. Nothing can possibly justify such heinous massacres of innocents.
At the same time, there can be no evading the grim questions posed by history. The ISIS (and earlier, the al-Qaeda) are not, as some would have us believe, cultural by-products of Islam as a religion. Instead, these terrorist outfits are very much political products of a historical process for which the Western powers are squarely responsible. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted as much in a recent interview, when he conceded that had he and Bush not waged war on Iraq in 2003 on false pretexts and toppled the Saddam Husain regime, the ISIS would probably not exist. Similarly, the role of the US in funding and arming Saudi-backed militants in Afghanistan in creating what eventually became the Taliban and the al-Qaeda is widely recognized. Even today, the US and Western powers continue to back and legitimize the regime in Saudi Arabia, that is not only highly regressive and repressive to its own citizens but also instrumental in the survival of terrorist outfits in the region.
Western powers have meddled in the Middle East – either to bolster up repressive regimes and crush protests, to sponsor regime-change, or to wage wars, bomb civilians and back occupations – to suit their own geopolitical interests and pursuit of oil. Such meddling and even opportunist sponsoring of terrorism has helped destroy or weaken democratic institutions and affected the balance of powers in the region, and has undoubtedly helped the terrorist outfits take root, fill vacuums, exploit disaffections and resentments and grasp power.
To recognize these facts is not to justify the ISIS or the al-Qaeda or accept and endorse the terrorists' own rationale of retaliation. Rather, acknowledging these facts can shape our response to the present situation and prevent a repeat of the mistakes of the past. US, French or Russian policy of bombing Syria, in turn claiming lives of beleaguered Syrian civilians, or of offering military backing to either Syrian rebels or the repressive Bashar-al Assad regime, has proved disastrous – and the response to the Paris attack simply cannot be more of the same. It is to draw attention away from this reality that Western leaders ranging from Obama to Hollande to Putin peddle the rhetoric of 'pitiless war' and identify terrorism with Muslims.
Obama, for instance, said that while Muslims worldwide might not condone the ISIS, they are 'not as willing to challenge some of the extremist thoughts or rationales for why Muslims feel oppressed.' Such a statement is calculated to brand any critique of systematic Islamophobia as a rationalization of 'extremism.' The truth of course is that Islamophobia and wars affecting vast masses of civilians in the Middle East, especially since 9/11, as well as legacies and continuing policies of colonialism and racism (in France for instance) are very real and grave concerns. The ISIS or Taliban or al-Qaeda do not seek to deter or resist Islamophobia or racism, rather they thrive on it. But by seeking to associate any expression of those concerns with rationalization of terrorism, the US President seeks to get a license to continue those disastrous policies.
The Paris attacks have, for instance, provided a pretext to US and European politicians and governments to justify the sealing of borders against Syrian refugees. This is of course outrageous, given that the refugees are fleeing the horrors of the ISIS back home! The intensified racist and Islamophobic rhetoric and the declaration of a prolonged Emergency and ban on protests in France are reminiscent of the US response post 9/11 – and the consequences are likely to be as counter-productive and disastrous.
India's foreign policy too has been, for the past decade and a half, embedded in 'War on Terror' serving Western strategic interests. With the Modi Government, the Islamophobia that seeks to tar all Muslims with the brush of terrorism while condoning and encouraging Sanghi terrorism has intensified alarmingly. Modi's appeal, in the wake of the Paris attacks, to urge the international community to 'give a definition of terrorism' and reject spurious distinctions between 'good' and 'bad' terrorism, is in glaring contrast to his own Government's policy of weakening bomb blast cases in which Sangh elements are implicated. It is imperative for India's own interests that we condemn all forms of terrorism and slaughter of innocents, and remain alert to reject any attempt to fan up communal hatred on the pretext of the IS attacks.
The Turkish bombing of a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border is another ominous reminder that the war on Syria is not going to stay confined to Syria. It is already escalating and spilling over into Europe – and presenting a threat to peace in the whole world. There is an urgent need for de-escalation and for an unsparing review of the policies pursued by the US, France and Russia in Syria and the Middle East.
The ray of hope lies in the growing voice of popular protest that combines the condemnation of terrorism with rejection of Islamophobia, racism, suspension of democracy at home and war in the Middle East. In France for instance, it is heartening that some 15,000 people marched in Toulouse in defiance of the Emergency. The marchers responded to efforts of France's largest public sector education union among other groups, and raised slogans of 'Their wars, our death!', 'For freedom and peace, against the barbarity of coalitions', and 'Against the state of emergency, let's intensify our fight'! In the US too, many have spoken up in protest against the attempt of Republican leaders to call for profiling and 'registration' of US Muslims or allowing entry only to Christian refugees while denying asylum to Muslim ones.
The peace-loving people of the world must unite to resist the ideologies of hatred, terrorism of all hues.
In its 70th anniversary year, WFTU held the World Congress of Working Women in Cyprus on 2015, November 1 – 2. The congress was hosted by PanCyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) of Cyprus, a federation of 8 trade unions of the country.
73 delegates from 45 unions in 28 countries participated in the congress. From India 7 delegates of AICCTU, AITUC, CITU and AIBEA participated.
Delegates from Vietnam, which gave a fitting rebuff for imperialist aggression, Greece, which resisted anti-austerity measures of imperialist economy, Pakistan and Nepal, the neighbors, Venezuela and Chile, which are inspiring anti-imperialist struggles, Palestine and Syria, which are ravaged by imperialist wars, Panama, Somalia and Congo, where people are fighting against imperialist loot of natural resources, shared their view on onslaught of neo-liberal policies, on the exploitation and inhuman working conditions women workers are facing every day, the urgent need to organize them in trade unions to rise up against the capitalist onslaught and raise their demands, the need to bring the issue of unpaid labour of women at home to the fore and the need to strengthen left trade unions to protect the interests of women workers.
On November 1, a rally and public meeting was held on the beach. The message of the congress reached the people of Cyprus who were gathered in the beach-side restaurants in large numbers. The meeting began and concluded with performances of a cultural team which rendered songs in the beginning and traditional dances toward the end.
The session continued on November 2 with delegates from various countries delving into the issues of women workers in their countries and called for a resolute struggle against neo-liberal policies.
Along with passing resolutions on many issues of protecting the rights of workers in general and women workers in particular, the congress called for reunification of Cyprus which was divided by Turkish aggression, immediate withdrawal of imperialist military troops from Palestine and Syria and called for an end to imperialist war.
The congress decided to observe March 8 every year on behalf of WFTU from 2016 and bring focus on various women workers' issues. On March 8 2016 WFTU will raise the issue of ensuring maternity benefits for women workers. It was also decided to form a women secretariat for WFTU in the forthcoming conference of WFTU which will be held in South Africa and to bring out a publication with the papers presented by the delegates in the congress.
The delegates then visited PEO office in Larnaca. PEO runs a museum in this office which portrays the conditions of workers of Cyprus before trade unions were formed, the history of struggle of Cyprus working class, important milestones in the history of PEO including significant collective agreements reached by PEO. The museum also has a collection of tools used by workers during different periods on display. The delegates then visited a hospital in a nearby building which is run by PEO. Members of PEO and their family members are entitled for treatment in these hospitals. PEO has entered into an agreement with a panel of doctors throughout the country for attending patients in PEO hospitals. Fund for running the hospital is raised by a contribution from the management and the workers through a collective agreement.
The delegates then visited Nicosia, capital of Cyprus where they were taken to the 'green line'. This is the area in Nicosia which demarcates North Cyprus which is occupied by the Turkish forces and is under the rule of Turkish Cypriots from the South Cyprus which is ruled by Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots have built a monument of the devastating conditions of war in their part of the city and have also displayed the aerial view of Nicosia showing the broken city. Cypriot delegates said their main demand is reunification of the country into a united Cyprus.
Bahadur Oraon, Jharkhand movement veteran, Former Jharkhand MLA from Chakradharpur, and former CPI(ML) CC member, has returned the award he had received from the Speaker on the occasion of the 15th foundation day of the Jharkhand assembly. He returned the award on the spot itself, following up with a note of protest saying that he felt ashamed to receive an award as an MLA, when the Assembly had failed "to protect tribal rights in a state that was carved out of Bihar for protection of tribal identity." Tribal land continued to be plundered in violation of the CNT and SPT Acts, he said. Bahadurji has on previous occasions refused awards from the hands of Lalu Prasad and Madhu Koda also. His gesture this time has resonated with the protests of concerned citizens all over the country who have returned awards to protest against acts of discrimination and violence against vulnerable sections of India's society.
The BJP and Modi Government functionaries have been seeking to allege that the return of awards by intellectuals was a political ploy aimed at influencing Bihar elections, and that these protests have dried up since the Bihar results. But the vigorous protests and voices of dissent continue to go strong.
Noted Odisha poet and writer Jayanta Mahapatra is the latest to return his Padma Shri in protest against the growing climate of bigotry in the country. Film star Aamir Khan's patriotism is being questioned because he shared the intensely personal insecurity and disquiet his wife felt for their child. The basis for this insecurity is apparent to all: it flows not only from the cold-blooded murders of minorities and dissenting voices, but from the unstoppable spate of bigoted comments from Ministers, MPs, MLAs and even Governors justifying such murders. BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargeeya has suggested that Aamir Khan's remarks on intolerance are a ploy to cover up black money. BJP MP Adityanath has made yet another remark associating Muslims with overpopulation, saying that it would help reduce the country's population if Aamir Khan were to leave India. Such nakedly bigoted statements only confirm the concerns expressed by so many Indian citizens about the growing climate of intolerance.
It is strange that Aamir Khan should be branded ant-national because his wife expresses fear for the safety of their child and wonders momentarily if they should move to some other country; but BJP MPs, Chief Ministers and Governors appointed by the Central Government are not branded anti-national for asking anyone who questions the Government or eats beef to "go to Pakistan." It must also be pointed out that that the Prime Minister indulges in extravagant displays of Indian patriotism among NRI audiences in Silicon Valley and Wembley in the US and UK – clearly he does not consider those Indians who chose to live outside India to be anti-national. In fact, the BJP hails all its supporters – be they living in India or settled abroad – as "patriotic", while it brands all its critics whether in India or broad, as "anti-national." BJP equates itself to India, and when concerned citizens say that the BJP is intolerant and bigoted, the BJP accuses them of shaming India by branding the country as intolerant!
It is ironic that as the Government prepares to celebrate the anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of India on the coming 26th November, the Governor of Assam PB Acharya has repeatedly declared that "India is for Hindus, no Bangladeshi will be allowed to register in Assam" and "Muslims can go to Pakistan or Afghanistan." His remarks are the exact mirror image of some of the bigoted US leaders who are recommending that the US accept Christian refugees from Syria but refuse Muslim ones. Even his "clarification" exposes the fact that he considers Hindus living anywhere to be Indian – but that he considers Muslims – even those living in India – to be "free to go to Pakistan"! The Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy is also notorious for regular flow of bigoted tweets decrying secularism.
It is the dissenting voices that are moved by true concern and love for the country, while the BJP has from Babri to Dadri, from Bihar elections to Assam, from the Prime Minister to its foot-soldiers, shown its willingness to divide and polarize the country and poison peace and harmony to get a chance to rule.
In Dr Ambedkar's centenary year and on the occasion of the anniversary of the Indian Constitution, it will not do for the Prime Minister and the Government to merely use the Constitution as a fig leaf behind which to hide their continuous promotion of bigotry. India's citizens must reclaim and reassert the true spirit of the Constitution – a spirit that Dr Ambedkar embodied, a spirit that does not lie in branding dissent as disloyalty, but in fact lies in boldly speaking up for the country's diversity and the rights, freedom and dignity of the minorities, oppressed castes, women and all human beings.
Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet and artist, has been sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia on charges of blasphemy and atheism. He was arrested by members of Saudi Arabia's Committee on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. He faces the prospect of execution, possibly by beheading.
Such laws and courts in Saudi Arabia that allow people to be arrested by morality police and sentenced to death and punishments like flogging and executions for the views are barbaric and inhumane.
CPI(ML) condemns the regressive regime in Saudi Arabia, and demands the release of poets and writers like Ashraf Fayadh and Raef Badawi and a stop to the practice of draconian and barbaric sentences for such dissenting voices.
The students of Allahabad University including Richa, the first woman President of Allahabad University Union, and various progressive and Left student organisations, are to be congratulated for taking a principled stand to oppose the University's move to allow the vicious hatemonger, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath to inaugurate the Students' Union Office Hall. Adityanath and his organisation are notorious for vicious hate-speech targeting minorities and democratic values, and for his role in many episodes of organized communal violence. The Students' Union office bearers from the ABVP unilaterally took a decision to invite Adityanath, riding roughshod over the dissenting opinions of common students of the University as well as the Union President herself.
The students' success in ensuring that Adityanath stayed out of Allahabad University is reminiscent of the students' movement led by AISA in 1992, which braved severe repression to keep VHP leader Ashok Singhal out of the same University campus, at the peak of the toxic 'Mandir' and anti-Mandal agitations in which the RSS and VHP had a big hand.
Shakuntala Prasad (affectionately called Munni ji), passed away on 24 November 2015 at the age of 60. Raised in Jamshedpur, she had become a CPI(ML) member and activist. She had been Patna town AIPWA President as well as a member of the AIPWA Bihar State Committee. Her first husband had passed away. She had then married the late Comrade Ashok, former editor of Lokyuddh. She is survived by her son Santosh from her first marriage, with whom she had been living in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, where she passed away after a protracted illness.
Red salute to Comrade Shakuntala!
ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 20, 2015
ಬುಧವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 18, 2015
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18, No. 47, 17 – 23 NOVEMBER 2015
Modi Government's Foreign Policy:
Appeasement of Imperialists and Global Capital,
Arrogance Towards South Asian Neighbours
he crushing defeat of the BJP in Bihar was a decisive mandate against feudal-communal arrogance and the Modi Government's pro-corporate 'development' that had meant nothing but land grab and steep prices of essential food items.
The Modi Government, in the wake of this historic verdict, has responded by trying to reassure corporates that the Government's determination to ram through unpopular policies will continue, immune to democratic opinion. Regulations for FDI have been eased in 15 sectors including single brand retail, banking, construction, media, airlines, defence, banking, plantations and media, as a move to appease foreign capital before the Prime Minister embarked on another spate of foreign tours to London, G-20, Malaysia and Singapore. Corporate taxes have been reduced and rail fares hiked, even as food prices continue to soar.
But the questions and protests of India's citizens continued to pursue Prime Minister Modi even in London. He was greeted by massive protests, including those by women's groups, human rights groups, Dalit groups as well as various community organizations. The British media, too, did not spare Modi on his human rights record and attacks on minorities' rights, though he failed to answer a direct question about the protests.
Significantly, his visit was also marked by protests by Nepalis against an unconscionable India-backed blockade of the land-locked, quake-hit country. While the question of Madhesi representation and citizenship is indeed a genuine democratic one that the republic of Nepal will have to address, India's big-brotherly arrogance and meddling is rightly resented by Nepal.
The Modi Government's foreign policy failure when it comes to Nepal and the South Asian neighbourhood is in marked contrast to its appeasement of the US, UK and other imperialist powers. Addressing the extravaganza of Indian diaspora at Wembley, Modi chose to remain totally silent on the legacy of India's resistance to British colonialism. Meanwhile the BJP back home in India was whipping up communal hatred and violence against the legacy of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Mysore ruler who was killed while resisting the East India Company!
Instead, Modi went to the extent of stating that India enjoyed a unique relationship with Britain that was much closer than that with any of India's own neighbours! This statement exposes the skewed character of the Modi Government's foreign policy priorities.
In his Wembley speech, in the name of hailing India's legacy of tolerance, Modi pandered to Islamophobic prejudice by suggesting that the Sufi tendency was the only peaceful tendency in Islam which otherwise was the source of global terrorism. In the wake of the terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris, Modi called on the "international community" to "give a definition to terrorism" in order to put an end to the spurious distinction between "good and bad terrorism." This is ironic, given the fact that Modi himself in India has been projecting terrorism by Hindutva groups as "good terrorism." A public prosecutor has gone on record to accuse Modi's own Government of pressurizing her to weaken the cases against Hindutva elements accused in terrorism cases. Modi and his own Government and camp followers openly seek to brand all Muslims and voices of dissent and democratic protests as potential "terrorists" while defending acts of terrorist blasts, assassinations and lynchings by Hindu majoritarian outfits.
Questioned about attacks on India's diversity and minorities' rights in London, Modi chose to take refuge behind the legacy of Buddha, Gandhi and the Indian Constitution. To Indians, though, this answer is supremely unconvincing because even as he hailed Gandhi in London, his camp followers including even MPs of his party have been venerating Gandhi's killer Godse, making bigoted statements mocking the Constitutional rights of and justifying organized violence against Dalits and minorities, and branding dissent as "anti-national" disloyalty.
The bitter Bihar lesson has done nothing to dent the arrogance of the BJP and the Modi Government and their hostility to dissent and democracy. On a visit to America to address a gathering of Indian diaspora, the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh declared that India's leading writers, scientists and intellectuals were "paid" by vested interests to protest "intolerance."
The attempts to paint all citizens critical of the Modi Government's communal and pro-corporate policies as 'paid' or 'Pakistani' will fail as miserably as it did in Bihar. The Modi Government will be punished by the people for its betrayal of India's anti-colonial legacy, its appeasement of imperialist forces and arrogance towards neighbours, and its blatant espousal of corporate interests at the cost of those of India's peasants, workers and common people.
Condemn the Terrorist Attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and NigeriaThe CPI(ML) condemns the heinous and unconscionable spate of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Yola in Nigeria. The ISIS attack in Beirut (Lebanon) claimed 50 civilian lives while a series of ISIS attacks on various public places in Paris killed 128 people. A suicide bombing in a Baghdad funeral killed 17 people. On 17 November an explosion at a busy market in Yola, a north-eastern city of Nigeria killed 32 people with 80 more injured. It is yet unclear as to who is behind the explosion, but in the past Boko Haram pledging allegiance to ISIS has claimed the killings of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring regions of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, targeting mostly public places.
Alarmingly, the Paris attacks have been followed by several racist and Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Arabs in France and other parts of Europe, with the Czech President Zeman even attending an anti-Muslim rally.
The terrorist attacks in Paris are being used to stoke further prejudice against Syrian refugees. It has rightly been reminded that the refugees are in fact fleeing the very same barbaric ISIS that has attacked Paris and Beirut.
The racism and Islamophobia, the rhetoric about 'pitiless war' and the plans to intensify airstrikes by European powers and USA in Syria that will inevitably claim scores of civilian lives will only provide more fodder for the ISIS.
The resistance to the ISIS today cannot be built without sober reflection about the role of imperialist war and occupation or Iraq and meddling in West Asia that has created the Frankenstein that is the ISIS today.
Indian people must stand firm in solidarity with people all over the world in rejecting and resisting all forms of terrorism, and refusing to fall into the trap of racism, communalism and Islamophobia.
On Tamil Nadu Floods
Party leader and ex-Legislator in Jharkhand Assembly, Comrade Vinod Singh has met the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jharkhand – Rajeev Gauba and NN Pandey respectively, in order to expedite the process for their return. It is to be noted that they were apprised of the case earlier, despite that new roadblock in their return are being created. The two high ranking officials assured our Party leader of urgent action.
On 10 November the parents and family members of the troubled workers had met Comrade Vinod to urge him to ensure their return. It is noteworthy that seven other workers have returned in the recent past due to the efforts of CPI(ML) and Comrade Vinod. In October, around Dussehra festival, this issue had got highlighted after which the Jharkhnad CM Raghuvar Das and Bagodar MLA Nagendra Mahto had stated about ensuring the workers' return. Since then a month has elapsed but nothing much has happened. Moreover, in this one month the workers have rather been threatened by the Malaysian authorities and coerced to stay back. After this the workers telephoned their family back in Bagodar, all of whom who then met Comrade Vinod to seek action. The Party has assured the families of all possible efforts to bring their children and family members back.
A lot of unsuspecting and vulnerable Indian workers are trafficked to Malaysia by human traffickers with the lure of good paying and better jobs. Upon their arrival in Malaysia they are faced more often than not with horrible working conditions bordering on slavery. Many of them face abuse and are beaten up. When complained about this by activists in Malaysia, the Malaysian police rescues them from one abusive employer and dumps them into some other similar abusive factory. When the workers try to run away from extremely inhuman conditions they quite often lose their work permit and are at risk of becoming further enslaved. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not taken adequate steps to ensure to prevent trafficking and to ensure that Malaysian Government make adequate and stricter regulations to regulate and monitor the working conditions of the Indian migrants working in Malaysian factories or rubber plantations.
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
ಗುರುವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 12, 2015
ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 10, 2015
The direction of the Bihar outcome was not at all difficult to see. Any political observer keeping his or her ears open could easily hear the distinctly audible whispers that eventually grew into a roaring rejection of the BJP as the marathon poll campaign drew to a close. Yet the way exit polls failed to read the writing on the wall, and the way respectable TV channels continued to report pro-NDA trends till minutes before actual results started coming in, point to nothing short of a scary censorship syndrome. Unlike the Emergency era media censorship four decades ago, this one is perhaps more corporate-driven and even 'voluntary', but that does not diminish the danger. Has indicating or reporting the truth now become too risky an undertaking inviting accusations of indulging in some 'anti-national' and 'anti-state' activity?
The JDU-RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar had an arithmetic advantage to begin with. Even in the height of the Modi wave of 2014, the combined vote shares of the three parties would have given the alliance a comfortable majority of 145 seats. The new factors that could have dented this arithmetic advantage were revolts by Jitan Ram Manjhi and Pappu Yadav and the entry of the SP or AIMIM. The mainstream media hyped up these factors like anything, projecting a non-existent SP-NCP-Pappu Yadav coalition as the 'third front' for Bihar, while systematically ignoring the Left bloc, the only policy-based alternative platform with a recorded history of not only powerful struggles but also consistent electoral strength. As it turned out, the 'third front' broke down midway through the elections, the AIMIM could not make any inroad, while the BJP's allies collapsed spectacularly, failing even to match the modest CPI(ML) tally of three seats.
What has really surprised the general political observer is the stunning scale of the victory of the Nitish-Lalu-Congress alliance. What transformed the assumed 2014 arithmetic of 145 seats into an actual 2015 statistic of 178 seats is the real political story of the Bihar elections. Admirers of Nitish Kumar are keen to explain it as a pro-incumbency vote, as a vindication of Nitish Kumar's record of 'development and good governance', but this explanation is more wishful than objective. The Nitish-Lalu alliance drew its strength primarily from the negative campaign and arrogant divisive politics of the BJP. The Modi-Shah campaign reeked of absolute political arrogance and unmitigated communal venom. While the Mohan Bhagwat and VK Singh 'mann ki baat' on reservations and dalits, and the desperate obsession with Pakistan and cows and beef, ripped apart the deceptive 'development' facade and laid bare the ugly feudal-communal face of the Sangh-BJP persona, the fact that two Gujaratis were storming Bihar with this feudal-communal campaign, gave a strong resonance to the Nitish campaign theme of 'swabhiman' or 'Bihari self-respect'. And the smart and innovative Nitish-Lalu campaign drove this message home with clear focus and great energy.
The CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M) contested these elections as a united and independent bloc of six Left parties. While the outcome of three seats marks only a modest improvement of the 2010 ebb of only one Left member in the Assembly, the combined Left vote share of close to 4% coupled with a seat tally of three in the Assembly, marks out the Left as the only credible and potential third force in an otherwise bipolar Bihar. Defending the Left base built through decades of struggles and translating the Left's undisputed credibility and goodwill in terms of honest pro-people politics into votes is no easy challenge in a wave election and the CPI(ML) had to dig deep into its core strength to win its three seats in the midst of this electoral storm. The solid support of the rural poor, spirited and dynamic role of the youth and increased participation of peasants and women gave the CPI(ML) campaign its basic strength and energy. What makes this modest victory truly memorable is the extremely unequal nature of the electoral battle and the inhospitable media environment. In Bhojpur CPI(ML) activist Satish Yadav was killed just on the eve of the elections and three of CPI(ML)'s most prospective candidates – agricultural labour leader Comrade Satyadeo Ram, who has won from Darauli in Siwan and youth leaders Amarjeet Kushwaha and Manoj Manzil who finished close third from Zeradei (Siwan) and Agiaon (Bhojpur) respectively – were arrested on fabricated charges at the time of filing their nomination.
The Bihar elections were fought in an unmistakably national context and the verdict will clearly have a major national resonance and ramification. Apart from signifying obvious encouragement for opposition politics within the parliamentary arena, and a major setback to the BJP's dreams of securing a greater Rajya Sabha presence, the verdict will clearly inspire the whole range of ongoing democratic protests and people's struggles in the country. As for Bihar, Lalu Prasad has termed the new phase as Mandal-II while Nitish Kumar continues to harp on his familiar planks of 'good governance' and 'development with justice'. While holding the new regime accountable to its promises, the CPI(ML) and the Left in Bihar will have to champion the alternative direction and priorities articulated in the joint Left appeal with a clear focus on employment, agriculture, education, health, opportunities and rights for youth and women, and basic democratic rights and justice for all, especially for the vulnerable sections of the Bihari society. It is a major political juncture for Bihar and India, and revolutionary communists will have to advance in bold steps with full clarity of purpose and courage of conviction.
In spite of these enormous odds, the CPI(ML) managed to emerge victorious because of the enormous trust gained as a result of struggles, movements and sacrifices.
Satyadev Ram (Darauli, Siwan), who defeated the BJP candidate by a margin of 10,000 votes, contested from jail. He and the CPI(ML) candidate from Ziradei, Siwan - Amarjit Kushwaha are both in jail thanks to false cases slapped on them in 2013 during a struggle by Dalit landless labourers to occupy land that was rightfully theirs. BJP-backed landlords led by the local BJP MLA had fired on the Dalits. Comrades Satyadev Ram and Amarjit Kushwaha had gone there later to intervene and ask the administration to arrest the BJP-backed goons and allot land to the Dalits. Instead of punishing the BJP MLA and his goons, the administration in Nitish-ruled Bihar foisted murder cases on both the comrades and arrested them! Comrade Amarjit also polled third after giving a close fight to BJP and JDU both – and by electing Comrade Satyadev Ram in Darauli, the people of Siwan paid tribute to the countless martyred comrades including former JNUSU President Comrade Chandrashekhar who resisted the RJD's mafia leader Shahabuddin and who have braved jail and bullets to defend the rights and dignity of the Dalit landless poor.
Comrade Sudama, who defeated the NDA candidate in a photo finish by a margin of 296 votes, has been at the forefront of anti-feudal resistance of poor and oppressed caste peasants in Bhojpur, continuing the glorious legacy of the late Comrade Ram Naresh Ram who used to be the iconic leader and unbeaten MLA of the party from this region.
Ironically, at Tarari, all the other candidates – be they from MGB, LJP or Samajwadi Party – had connections with the Ranveer Sena.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Modi ally Ram Vilas Paswan had fielded Geeta Pandey, the wife of Ranveer Sena man Sunil Pandey, who had been the sitting MLA from Tarari, elected from the JDU!
The Mahagatbandhan had fielded Akhilesh Prasad Singh – former RJD MP and Union Minister who now contested on a Congress ticket. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, at the funeral of Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh had had referred to the architect of the massacres of Dalit labouring poor as "a towering personality the likes of whom are born once in 100-200 years…His stature remains higher than any MP or MLA." And the Samajwadi Party had fielded none other than the son of Brahmeshwar Singh, Indubhushan Singh, who now leads the organization that is the front of the Ranveer Sena.
This state of affairs in Tarari is a reminder of how hollow the talk of 'social justice,' 'socialism' and 'Dalit pride' are when it comes to opportunist ruling class parties. In the soil watered by the blood of Bathani Tola's poor, Laloo's Government that boasts of having stopped Advani's riot-Rath, allowed the BJP-RSS' Ranveer-Rath to rampage for over a decade, massacring with impunity. The JDU and Nitish Kumar then helped BJP share the seat of power in Bihar for the first time ever – and in order to do so, buried the Amir Das Commission and truth and justice about the Ranveer Sena massacres. And in 2015, defying history and insulting the victims, all the other rival formations fielded Ranveer-linked candidates!
But Tarari upheld the legacy of Bathani Tola's fighters. Remember, Bathani Tola was where Muslims fighting for Karbala land, chased by the Ranveers, took shelter in the homes of the oppressed castes. This bond of unity across communal lines was forged by the CPIML. The Ranveer Sena could not kill that legacy – and in 2015, Tarari once again rebuffed the communal-feudal Ranveer-linked candidates and elected Comrade Sudama from the CPI(ML).
Comrade Mahboob Alam, was once more elected from the Balrampur seat in Katihar district, defeating the BJP candidate by a margin of nearly 23000 votes. The CPIML has been elected thrice before from the Barsoi/Balrampur seat.
Comrade Mahboob Alam has faced countless false cases against him – all for having taken up the struggles of poor Dalits, adivasis and Muslims in the area, against powerful landlords. But he has earned the unflinching love and trust of the poor in this extremely backward region – they all know they can count on none but Comrade Mahboob and CPI(ML) in the face of every instance of harassment, injustice and violence.
The CPI(ML) struggles here are living instances of staunch secularism on the ground – a secularism crafted not by opportunistic unity of leaders for power, but the solidarities of the powerless against the powerful.
At the call of the state committee of CPI(ML) against Hindutva communalism and castiest forces, state wide demonstrations were held on November 2, 2015 all over Tamilnadu. Demonstrators demanded to protect the life, liberty and dignity of Muslims, Dalits and women, and stringent punishment to Hindutva communal and casteist forces.
The protesters also condemned the arrest of Comrade Kovan, folk singer of People's Art and Literature Association on a sedition charge for having composed and sung a song criticising the Chief Minister for failure to implement prohibition of alcohol.
While Comrade Kumarasamy, PBM, attended the demonstration at the Demonstration in Chennai, State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram attended the demonstration at Vilupuram along with Comrade Balasubramanian , Puducherry state secretary. Demonstrations were also held at Sriperumputhur, Salem, Coimbatore, Kandarvakottai, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Myiladuthurai, and Karur. Constituents of AIPF also took part in many places.
The management of Pricol announced 8.33% Bonus unilaterally to workers without even talking to the recognised AICCTU union. Even last year it has dispersed the bonus of 35.34%. Angered by the move of the management hundreds of workers went on a day long fast at Periyanaikan Palayam on 4.11.2015. Workers working inside the factory also refused to take food on that day. Each and every worker has also sent a memorandum to the management demanding bonus of 35.34% as given by the management last year. AICCTU National President Comrade Kumarasamy addressed the workers at the fasting venue. A Gate Meeting was also held by workers paying tributes to the departed state President of AIARLA Comrade TKS Janardhanan.
The students' occupation of the UGC demanding restoration and enhancement of the Non-Net Fellowships continues even as the fire of students' enthusiasm fails to be dampened by the colder weather.
On 3 November, former UGC member Prof. Yogendra Yadav along with activists from Swaraj Abhiyan, and Prof. Chaman Lal joined the OccupyUGC movement and spent the night with the students. Journalists like Dilip C Mandal and academics like Prof Mary John took Open Classes at the barricades nearly every day.
On 4 November, students held a solidarity rally at Jamia Millia Islamia in support of #OccupyUGC movement. They also organized a protest in DU Arts Faculty and raised slogans against scrapping of non- net fellowship, the WTO and the BJP government.
On 5 November, students, teachers and activists from various Universities in the NCR region held a massive #OccupyUGC March to the MHRD. The sheer strength of students, teachers and activists who had gathered outside MHRD, forced the minister to come out and address the protesters. The students demanded a complete scrapping of the review committee which has been formed by the UGC to "look into" the distribution of Non-Net Fellowship from the next academic session. The Minister refused to make any commitment to students and stood by the press release which was released by MHRD after first round of demonstrations under Ocuppy UGC movement.
The students too refused to budge from their demanded and resolved to continue their movement until and unless higher education becomes a right of every citizen of India.
Preparations are on to ensure that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted with massive protests on his impending visit to the UK. In the run up to a huge Day of Protest on 12 November, several groups held a 'Reclaim Diwali' celebration on 6th November, with music and a feast including vegetarian and non-vegetarian and beef items. This Reclaim Diwali event was organised by the South Asia Solidarity Group, Dalit Solidarity Network, South Asian Women's Creative Collective London, and Freedom Without Fear Platform as part of the Modi Not Welcome campaign.
On 8th November, the Modi Not Welcome Campaign projected the words "Modi not welcome" onto the Houses of Parliament building. The projection showed Modi wielding a sword in front of "an OM sign that is tragically being transferred to a Nazi swastika."
The Modi Not Welcome protests are being organised by Awaaz Network, South Asia Solidarity Group, Sikh Federation UK, Southall Black Sisters, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, Indian Muslim Federation, Indian Workers Association, Muslim Parliament, and Voice of Dalit International.
After facing a rout in the Bihar elections and a wave of dissent and protest from writers and intellectuals in India, Modi is all set to face massive protests in the UK as well.
ಶನಿವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 7, 2015
ಗುರುವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 5, 2015
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18, No. 45, 03 – 09 NOVEMBER 2015
Accusations of 'Ideological Intolerance' and 'Ideological Terrorism'
Modi Government's Offensive On Dissenting Voices
After a brutal lathi charge afflicted on protesting students on 27 October, where several common students and student activists including several from AISA, the students have remained undeterred. Not only have they refused to end the movement, they have courageously continued to occupy the UGC and turn into a site of day and night protest. In the last week, several eminent scholars and teachers have gathered at ITO to express solidarity with the students. Members of JNUTA, DUTA, AUTA, faculty members from Jamia, IIT, former members of UGC like Prof. Yogendra Yadav, have regularly been joining the protesting students in an expression of solidarity. Several teachers like Prof. Janaki Nair, Dr. Naveen Gaur, Prof. Hargopal have been conducting open classes at the barricades on topics ranging from 'Feminism and the Democratisation of Higher Education' to 'Science Research in Times of Fund Cuts. The open classes are being accompanied by regular performances by various cultural groups like Sangwari, Swar, Janrang and others. Movie screenings have also been organised at the site of protest. The arrival of winters has failed to dampen the zeal of students, as lighting fire on the streets near ITO, they continue to OccupyUGC.
On 23 October 2015, the All India Kisan Mahasabha burnt the effigy of the state Congress government at Car Road in Bindukhatta to protest against the government's move to hand over 350 naali land in Dwarson (Almora) to the corporate and against the repression and crackdown unleashed on the protestors.
Addressing the protestors after the effigy burning, the area secretary of CPI (ML), Com. Lalit Matiyali said that during the time of the previous BJP government led by Khanduri, this 350 naali of barren land not owned by anyone, was recovered after ceiling. However, the control over the land was kept in the hands of the state government. At that time the CPI (ML) had demanded that the authority to manage and distribute this land recovered after ceiling from Dwarson and other areas be handed over to the Gram Panchayats, else the state government would hand it over to the land mafias and the corporate. Today when the Congress government has handed this land to the Jindals, the concerns of the CPI (ML) have been proved right. The Congress and the BJP have been conspiring to sell the entire land of the state to the corporate at throw away prices. He also added that despite massive protests by the people, it was extremely shameful that the Chief Minister still decided to go for the inaugural function of Jindal Group's International School.
Com. Matiyali appealed to all the democratic forces to raise their voice against such anti-people policies of the state government. Com. Gopal Singh, district committee member of the All India Kissan Mahasabha said that the state government is only keen to protect the interests of the land mafia and the corporate, when it also had the option of giving this land to those who had been affected by the calamities. He added that the crackdown on the protestors and their arrest by the state police only exposes how the state government has turned dictatorial. The dictatorship of the Congress government had also come to light during the lathi charge unleashed on protestors who had earlier gathered to protest against the inauguration of Bindukhatta municipality and it had been proved once again.
AIARLA district conference of Viluppuram district of Tamil Nadu was held at Ulundurpet town in a Hall named after Com. Ammaiappan. A four Member presidium comprising of Comrades Kaliyamurthy, Babu, Dakchinamurthy and Kannammal conducted the proceedings. Com. Venkatesan, state Deputy General secretary of AIARLA and Com. Balasundaram, state secretary of CPI (ML) addressed the delegates. Several resolutions were passed in the conference, which included among others, the demands to- (i) disperse the arrears of MGNREGA wages, (ii) withdraw the cases booked against the workers protesting for this demand, (iii) evict occupiers from Panjami land and redistribute it to Dalits, (iv) stop the loot of natural resources, (v) Implementation of Forest act in Kalvarayan hill areas, (vi) take steps to release tribal prisoners languishing in Andhra jails, (vii) establish rural based industries, (viii) provide house site pattas and houses to the rural poor, (ix) provide potable water , and (x) establishing primary health centres and schools with increased teacher strength, proper kitchen etc.
CPI (ML) Dharna in Support
In support of the hunger strike started by the inmates of the J.P. central jail in Hazaribagh district, CPI (ML) and AIPF staged a dharna in front of the deputy district magistrate on 17 October 2015. The protest event was conducted by Sudhir Yadav and several AIPF and CPI (ML) leaders addressed the participants. The leaders handed over a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through the dharna and demanded that the inmates' demands be met and the hunger strike be brought to an end.
The leaders who addressed the dharna shared that 56 inmates who had completely their sentence in the Jai Prakash Central Jail, had sat on a nine day, demanding that they be released now. In their support, nearly 650 other convicts who were still serving their sentence too had come forward. Several women inmates along with their children to had joined the hunger strike in solidarity. The hunger strike started on 6 October and continued till 15 October, during which health of several hunger strikers got deteriorated. With several hundred inmates joining the strike in solidarity, the work of the jail had come to a standstill. Printing press, powerloom, handloom, agriculture, kitchen, tailoring and several other works involving participation of the inmates remained shut. This added to the difficulties of the jail administration. The inmates demanded to know why those who had completed their sentences were not being released. Was the government waiting for their death?
CPI (ML) leaders pointed that at the time of sentencing the date on which the sentence would be over was fixed. There was no legal provision for keeping inmates locked up after their sentence was over. The fact that despite there being no such provision, inmates were languishing in jails exposed the weakness in the legal system. At present, nearly 6000 innocent poor tribals were languishing in jails of Jharkhand but the state government had no concern for them. The AIPF has been running a continuing campaign against such negligence by the state. CPI (ML) leaders demanded that besides immediate release of inmates who had completed their sentence, the jail manual be implemented properly and completely and also that there be quick execution of cases involving innocent under trials.
On 17 October, CPI (ML) and AIPF also organised a march in Ranchi from party office (Com. Mahendra Singh Bhawan) to Alberta Ekka Chowk, followed by a sabha. The combined pressure built by the movements inside and outside the jail forced Chief Minister Raghuvar Das to visit the jail and get the inmates to break their fast by assuring them that their demand would be met.
AIPF organised a protest convention against the reign of terror of the RSS-BJP combine on 29 October at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi. The speakers included Manglesh Dabral, Asgar Wajahat, Prof. Shamsul Islam, Cultural activist Kapil Sharma, AIPF leader Com. Girija Pathak and CPI (ML) activist, Com. Aslam Khan, among others. The cultural group Sangwari also sang songs of protest during the convention.
While addressing the audience, the speakers focussed on how the atmosphere of hate and fear was being created by the RSS-BJP and their associated groups. The current times have seen the attacks unleashed by the reactionary forces become more organized and brutal. From the genocide in Muzzafarnagar just prior to General Elections in 2014 to the cold blooded murders of Com. Govind Pansare and Prof. M.M. Kalburgi and the continued attacks on minorities and dalits taking place throughout the country, are clear indicators of this well thought out majoritarian ploy to instill fear in the minds of minorities and Dalits by spreading hatred. The social political fallout of the growing failure of the Modi government in fulfilling its election time promises to people is being sought to be covered up by stoking the communal card and spreading the politics of fear, hatred and violence. In response to this onslaught, people have been protesting throughout the country and for the first time since independence, India has seen so many writers, intellectuals, academics, scientists and artists return their awards and give up their posts to announce very clearly their principled opposition to the present onslaughts. The speakers also expressed their solidarity with all those who had taken a stand to voice their protest against such onslaughts by returning their awards.
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