ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 28, 2016
ಶನಿವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 26, 2016
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
| Vol. 19 | No. 13 | 22-28 MAR 2016 |
Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism,
Defeat Modi's Attempt to Appropriate AmbedkarClose to two years in power, the BJP now realises it pretty well that it cannot fight another election on the pretentious plank of development or repatriation of black money. Last November we saw them fight the elections to Bihar Assembly on the issue of beef ban. The decisive defeat in Bihar of course means the BJP now needs a new item on its poll menu other than beef. So with elections scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few weeks, we find the BJP designing a new test of nationalism – those who chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai are super nationalists and those who don't are liable to be branded anti-national and perhaps also charged with sedition. A Muslim MLA in Maharashtra Assembly has already been suspended for failing this test, with the Congress and NCP both colluding with the BJP and Shiv Sena in enforcing the suspension. We now also know that Urdu writers have been asked by the MHRD to give a prior undertaking that their writings do not have anything against the government or the nation.
So the government has effectively declared itself equivalent to the nation. Opposition to the government has virtually been dubbed seditious. And as the Congress President had equated Indira Gandhi to India during the infamous Emergency, former BJP President and senior minister in Modi cabinet, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has described Modi as God's gift to India. Another minister, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs in Modi cabinet, believes that the rise of Modi as India's Prime Minister was predicted by the French seer Nostradamus in 1555 and Modi will continue to rule till 2026, with the people's initial 'hatred' for him turning into great admiration and love! Whatever the people may think of the Modi government's performance in the first two years, the government believes it is here to stay, and if the people do not want it, a government which believes it has been mandated by God and fate will no doubt go to the extent of 'electing the people' – the immortal imagery penned by Brecht in his poem to describe every Hitler in our history.
The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula early this year in Hyderabad had come as a rude jolt to the whole country, exposing the sordid reality of social discrimination and saffron regimentation in India's universities and other institutions of higher education. The subsequent police crackdown and witch-hunt in JNU has made it very clear that the government is out to stifle dissent and subvert and destroy every institution that has a record of promoting critical thinking. The students and teachers arrested on sedition charges are now out on bail, and the united protests of JNU students and teachers and the massive solidarity expressed by informed citizens across the country and also internationally have thwarted the government's design to discredit and shut down JNU. Yet the government sticks to its script, MHRD minister Smriti Irani dished out malicious lies from the floor of Parliament, BJP leaders are constantly spewing venom against students, intellectuals and JNU and goons of the Sangh brigade are physically attacking public display of solidarity with JNU and even lectures by noted exponents on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar.
In a stunning mockery of history, the Sangh Parivar now seeks to present itself as the biggest champion of Indian nationalism, all its assaults on the Indian people and their democratic rights are now accompanied by loud chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. BJP leaders would now like us to believe that this is the slogan Bhagat Singh had on his lips while embracing the gallows. The whole world knows that 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Down With Imperialism' were Bhagat Singh's last message to India and the world, but facts have little meaning in the Sangh's scheme of things where myths and lies constitute the whole narrative. It must be pointed out that while Bharat Mata Ki Jai was a popular slogan during the freedom movement, the images of Mother India evoked by most of our poets and writers and freedom fighters were not the image of a militant goddess with a saffron flag in her hands that the RSS would like to impose on us. People do have a special attachment to the language and land of their birth – the terms 'mother tongue' and 'motherland' being used widely across the world – the Sangh's notion of a Bharat Mata baying for blood and bullets stands in glaring contrast to the common Indian's notion of a mother who cares and nurtures and showers equal love on all her children.
History also tells us that when there were talks of making Bankim Chandra's 'Vande Mataram' the anthem for the Congress and India, Rabindranath Tagore had explicitly advised the then Congress President Subhas Chandra Bose against this idea. Vande Mataram is appropriate for literature, but with its explicit invocation of Durga, a Hindu goddess, it is inappropriate for Indian Parliament where people from different religions will assemble – this was the clear opinion of Tagore, and accordingly only the first part of the poem praising the natural beauty of India is today known and sung as 'Vande Mataram'. The freedom movement has given rise to many slogans and invocations about India, and people in different parts of the country use different expressions for their motherland in their own mother tongues, and the Sangh-BJP establishment has no business imposing the RSS images and slogans of Bharat Mata on the Indian people. An organisation which had no role in India's freedom movement except praising and helping the British colonial rulers and invoking Mussolini and Hitler as their ideals, which worships Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Gandhi, as their hero, and which today in power is busy bartering away the country's resources and helping the likes of Vijay Mallya to flee from the country after looting the banks, has no right to give lessons on nationalism.
It is also instructive to note that Ambedkar, another icon Modi and his men are desperate to appropriate, had held caste as the biggest obstacle to nation-building, calling for annihilation of castes, and held the constitution with its secular democratic proclamations as the foundation of the Indian republic. The RSS wanted Manusmriti to be the basis for India's constitution and Ambedkar consigned this charter of human slavery to fire, but today Modi describes Ambedkar as India's modern Manu and seeks to perpetuate the oppressive caste order in his name. Ambedkar was a staunch champion of the liberties and rights of citizens and was a sworn enemy of the notion of a police state and repressive rule, but today Modi is bent upon reducing India precisely to a police state riding roughshod on the democratic rights promised and protected by the Constitution. Ambedkar had joined hands with communists to reject so-called labour laws that denied freedom to workers and sought to treat them as slaves, but today Modi invokes Ambedkar to justify his 'Make in India' labour code that seeks to sacrifice the rights of Indian workers at the altar of global capital and its Indian affiliates.
The people of India will never allow Modi to appropriate Ambedkar and make a mockery of the secular democratic constitutional foundation of the Indian republic laid down by Ambedkar on the strength of the Indian freedom movement and various allied streams of social awakening and struggles for emancipation. We will continue to draw inspiration from Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and use their legacies as weapons of struggle to stop the corporate plunder promoted by the Modi government and defeat the divisive agenda, disinformation campaign and communal-fascist aggression of the Sangh brigade. And the forthcoming Assembly elections will give yet another roaring rebuff to the dangerous design and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment.
Two CPI(ML) activists Comrade Mahesh Ram(25), member of Party's Begusarai block committee and Comrade Rampravesh Ram (27) were killed by the men of BJP supported feudal criminal Surendra Singh in Baliya block of Begusarai district at 6 pm on 21 March 2016. Both leaders were ambushed when they were returning from Baliya bazaar to their village Maksudanpur.
Both these comrades were leading an ongoing struggle for the landless in the village. 134 dalit-poor families of their village were allotted land pattas on 120 acres of land in 1980-81, but were kept deprived of their lands since then. After a protracted struggle as well as a long legal effort the district administration and the High Court both gave a verdict in favour of the landless patta holders. The feudal goons perpetrated an attack on landless families when they went to take possession of their lands in November 2015 resulting in many injured. The police present at the spot remained a mute spectator. This attempt too was repulsed valiantly by the united villagers and all the patta holders were able to sow seeds on their lands. Few month ago patta holders harvested their crops under party's leadership and mass mobilisation in their support.
The Nitish Government's tacit support and refusal to rein in feudal criminals has boosted the morale of anti-poor forces which ultimately resulted in this cowardly killing of two activists who were much-loved by the villagers. Not long ago Comrade Rajendra Mahto in Bhojpur and Comrade Sanjay Chaurasiya in Siwan were brutally murdered. But the government which claims 'Development with Justice' has failed miserably to arrest and punish the killers in all these incidents.
On the morning of 22 March ML legislator Sudama Prasad, AIARLA leader Gopal Ravidas, and Kisan Sabha leader Umesh Singh visited Begusarai and the site of the crime and met with the families of the martyred comrades.
Criminals under BJP protection burnt down a dalit basti in Kajhiya in Akbarpur block of Nawada district. Even after such a big incident local BJP MLA Anil Singh did not visit the spot.
A CPI(ML) team comprising CC member and former MP Rameshwar Prasad, Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad found that the police picketing by the administration has served not to protect the dalits from attack but to prevent them from rebuilding their basti there.
The FIR has been deliberately weakened and the police investigation states that the fire was 'accidental', which claim our investigative team has found to be blatantly false. A rumour is being floated that the poor people there deliberately torched their own huts!
The CPI(ML) team found that poor Dalits were living in huts made on 1 acre and 62 dismil of Bihar government gair mazarua land. The site has a total of 9 acres of government land. This land is quite valuable as it is bounded by roads on 3 sides. For this reason feudal dominant caste forces have had their eye on this land for some time.
In the past also, huts of the poor had been burnt with a view to terrorizing them and driving them out. Work is under way to set up a private college at that site. The constructors of the college also have their eye on this gair mazarua land.
The administration has placed the number of burnt huts at only 35, whereas the actual number is 60. People are living under the open sky; not even temporary living arrangements have been made for them. Neither food nor plastic for shelters has been made available to them.
The villagers had written several times to the zonal authorities for issue of parchas but in spite of the Government's much touted 'dakhal-dehani' scheme (that promised to give papers and secure possession of land for the landless), attempts to evict the poor from their land are in full swing.
Nitish Kumar and RJD leaders lose no changes to make speeches against the BJP – but they do not walk the talk when it comes to protecting the poor from the feudal and communal forces on the ground.
A memorandum on the questions of justice signed by 5 lakh people through a signature campaign initiated by the CPI(ML) in January 2015 was submitted to the Chief Minister on 17 March. The demand have been made through the memorandum that the decisive mandate given by the people of Bihar in favour of democracy, secularism, and justice should be respected and necessary steps in some prominent instances be taken.
The memorandum demanded a guarantee that the Ranvir Sena leaders acquitted by the Patna High Court in the Bathani, Bathe and Miyanpur carnages will be given strict punishment and these matters will be monitored properly in the Supreme Court. The Cobra Post sting operation has made a stunning expose about the Ranvir Sena in these massacres of dalits, women, and children. Taking cognizance of this expose, all the Ranvir Sena chiefs involved in the massacres as well as the politicians and officials who aided them should be arrested and punished.
It was also demanded that newly elected Darauli MLA and AIARLA State President Satyadev Ram, RYA National President Amarjeet Kushwaha, and popular youth leader from Bhojpur district Manoj Manzil who are in jail on fabricated charges against them, as well as other political prisoners should be released without delay.
It has also been demanded that the 10 TADA prisoners still in jail even after expiry of their life imprisonment term should be immediately released (14 CPI (ML) leader-activists were slapped with life sentences in false cases against them under the draconian TADA law, of whom 4 including the popular Mukhiya Shah Chand died in prison due to lack of adequate medical treatment).
The memorandum demanded implementation of the schemes for comprehensive rehabilitation and compensation for the Bhagalpur victims and guarantee of justice for the victims through just punishment for the guilty.
During talks with the Chief Minister, the issue of revoking the false charges against Rajaram Singh in the Aurangabad incident was also raised. A letter from the Human Rights Commission was also handed over to the Chief Minister which exonerated the Aurangabad protesters and imposed a fine on the administration which it held guilty for the incident.
The delegation which met the CM included former NIT teacher Prof. Santosh Kumar, physician Dr PNP Pal, former MP Rameshwar Prasad, former MLA and AIARLA General Secretary Rajaram Singh, CPI (ML) Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad.
The delegation also raised the matter of growing incidences of crime, especially violence against dalits and women. They told the CM that the incident of 60 huts of poor dalits being burnt in Kajhiya (Nawada) by BJP- The delegation also raised the issue of the RSS attack on the 'Main JNU Bol Raha Hun' programme in Muzaffarpur.
On 18 March Majloom Ansari (32) of Nawada village (Latehar district) and Imtiaz Ansari (12), of Arhara village started at 3.30 am from Nawada village to the Latehar haat bazaar with 8 bullocks for sale. After 10 km they reached Jhabar village where members of the 'Gauraksha Samiti' (cow protection outfit associated with the RSS) caught both of them, tied their hands and mouth, and beat them up brutally. Both were killed and strung up from a tree.
At around 6 am, Majloom's trader friends tried to search the two but they were chased away by the killers when they were on way to Jhabar village. Around 7.30 am Majloom's younger brother somehow reached the spot where two local journalists had reached before them. The police reached only at around 8 am. The victims' families were unaware of the ghastly killings till that moment; police and the local journalists had come there on intimation from some other source. Had someone from among the perpetrators informed the Press in order to create a sensation?
The victims' family members opposed the police when they tried to take away the dead bodies from the spot. Majloom's younger brother searched his pocket and found only Rs 250 whereas according to him Majloom had started from home with Rs 5000-7000. The SIM of their mobiles had been broken and thrown at the spot, and there was no trace of both mobiles.
At around 10 am people brought the dead bodies near the thana and blocked the road with demands for arrest of the murderers and compensation for the victims' families. The people blockaded the road till afternoon. The villagers agreed to take the dead bodies with them after talks with the Latehar district SP Birthare who had reached to the spot. When they were preparing to take the bodies with them, police led by Chandwa thana incharge Ratan Kumar Singh suddenly started a brutal lathi charge which not only left many injured but also created a stampede. The police also fired many rounds of bullets on the already frightened villagers.
Later the Chandwa thana incharge pulled at the beard of the deceased Majloom's grieving elder brother, shouting that Muslims would be taught a lesson.
This incident is no spontaneous 'anger at cow slaughter.' The team found no communal enmity between Hindus and Muslims of the village – rather, the Hindus have resolved not to celebrate Holi but instead to hold a peace march to protest the killings.
It was a handful of Gauraksha Samiti men who cold-bloodedly committed the lynching early in the morning when the villagers were not even awake. This incident is the result of a well-planned conspiracy. BJP leaders talk of politicization by other parties but in truth it is they who are creating communal polarization for political gains.
Both the victims come from extremely poor families. They earned their livelihood by selling bullocks for agricultural work or milch cows at bazaars. Majloom's family was entirely dependent on him, while Imtiyaz, at the tender age of 12, was the support for his entire family, since his father is crippled and his elder brother mentally challenged.
A national-level 'cow propagandist' Acharya Gopal Mani Ji Maharaj is said to be behind the assault; his supporters are known to paint slogans on walls instigating people to hang those who eat beef. The local BJP MP from Chatra is known to have attended public meetings addressed by this hate-monger. BJP leaders at known to attend events of the 'cow vigilantes' in Ranchi also.
After the formation of the BJP government in Jharkhand various outfits linked with the BJP have perpetrated over a dozen incidents of communal violence. Many communal incidents have taken place in Balumath (Latehar) earlier. About a year ago, in the Murapa region of Balumath, a Muslim youth married a girl from a Baniya family because of which all the Muslims of that area were boycotted. For several months Muslims were not allowed to travel on public transport vehicles. Men from the Gauraksha Samiti have on many occasions beaten up Muslims in Jhabar where these killings took place. These incidents were intended to keep the Muslims in a state of constant fear.
This latest incident of terror is neither a common criminal incident nor is it a result of sudden social anger as the ruling BJP is now trying to portray. This is a result of a well-thought out conspiracy and long term planning.
The CPI(ML) has demanded a high level judicial inquiry into the incident particularly of the people who are behind the said Gauraksha Samiti, criminal action against Chandwa thana incharge who played a role in inflaming communal tension and abusing the Muslim community, compensation to the families of Majloom and Imtiyaz and employment for their dependents.
Mid-day meal workers in Jharkhand organised under the banner of Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sanyojika Adhyaksh Sangh affiliated to AICCTU protested by thousands in front of the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha and submitted a 21 point charter of demands to the Chief Minister.
Association leaders from different districts as well as Central President Ajit Prajapati, Treasurer Anita Devi, Bihar State Vidyalaya Rasoiya Association President Saroj Chaube, ML legislator Rajkumar Yadav, AICCTU leader Shubhendu Sen and other leaders addressed the meeting. The proceedings were conducted by Premnath Vishwakarma.
Com. Saroj Choube said that we must organize ourselves against the anti-education and anti-labour policies of the Centre and State governments; we also have to fight against the growing attacks on people's democratic rights in the country. She laid stress on asserting for the women's empowerment and freedom in social and political spheres. Com. Rajkumar Yadav strongly attacked the Raghuvar government's anti-people policies and promised to once again raise the issue of injustice being done to midday meal workers in the Assembly.
AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen said that according to the 7th Pay Commission recommendations government employees should get a minimum wage of Rs 21,000 per month, whereas the government is not even implementing the wage of Rs 15,000 monthly honorarium it had already announced for the midday meal workers.
CPI(ML) organised state wide protests in Jharkhand on 14 March 2016 against signing of an MOU with the Adani group for the adivasis' lands in Godda district at throwaway prices. A march was taken out in Ranchi where an effigy of Jharkhand CM was burnt at Albert Ekka chowk. Adivasis' lands are being grabbed for the corporate houses; this has cunningly and misleadingly been named a 'land bank'. Sudama Khalkho, Enamul Haq, Rajdev Mahto, Nirmal Tirkey, Santosh Kumar, Shanti Sen, Elisabba Ekka, Eti Tirkey, Nazia Khatun and others addressed the meeting. A protest and effigy burning programme was also held at Dhanbad. Protests were held in Baliyapu-Jhariya, Ramgarh, Jhumri Tilaiya in Kodarma district, Bagodar, sariya, Rajdhanwar, Jamua, Giridih, Kundheet in Jamatada district, Lohardaga, Garhwa, and many other places. Protesters demanded to stop the land loot by corporates though MoUs, which has further been facilitated by the Mumbai Start-up programme, and cancelling all such MOUs.
10th Darbhanga District Conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 13-14 March. The conference was inaugurated by the leader of the CPI(ML) legislature group in Bihar Mahboob Alam. He said that democracy and democratic institutions are under attack and the Ganga-Jamni culture and social fabric of the country are being destroyed. The government is protecting looters and absconding capitalists and at the same time it is muzzling freedom of ideas. Strengthening the Left movement against capitalist attack and the ideological attack by RSS is the need of the hour.
He further said that the Nitish government has betrayed the people's mandate. Attacks on dalits and poor are rife and there is rampant loot in people's rights and welfare projects. In the Assembly the government is insensitive to issues of workers and farmers. Most of the State's rice mills are closed; paddy is not being purchased; and the government has shied away from its promise to pay bonus. Workers and farmers must unite and fight to protect their rights and save democracy and secularism in the country.
Presenting the work-report at the conference the outgoing Secretary Baidyanath Yadav stressed the need to convert the Party's impact into concrete organizational strength. 235 elected delegates from all 18 blocks of the district participated in the conference.
Bhojpur district Secretary and State standing committee member Jawahar Singh attended the conference as State observer. He said that CPI(ML) is emerging as the centre of Left struggles and it is only by fighting all ruling class parties that marginalized social forces can forge their independent political identities.
Addressing the organizational session PB member and Mithilanchal in-charge Dhirendra Jha said that the manner in which the Modi government is giving open protection to looting, corporate, capitalist machinery in the country will further erode the rights of workers, farmers, students, youth, and geographically backward regions. There is a clear attempt to divert attention from the agenda of socio-economic development through the politics of hate and destruction, in order to save the Modi government which is failing on every parameter of people's expectations. He said that the way in which a democratic-intellectual programme in Mujaffarpur was allowed to be attacked by Sanghi goons shows that the administration of the Nitish govt is also heading towards appeasing the communal forces. The govt should act promptly against such saffronized officials sitting in the administration. He stressed that democracy would be strengthened only by the rejuvenation of the Left movement in Mithilanchal. He said that Ashok Paper Mill had become the centre for looting money from government banks which was being used for other purposes. He stressed on the need for sharpening people's struggles on the issues of opening Ashok Paper Mill as well as all other sugar, rice, jute, and other mills, opening a Central University in Mithilanchal, and finding a permanent solution for floods and droughts for agricultural development.
The 2nd Uttarakhand State conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 19-20 March 2016 in Srinagar (Garhwal). The conference venue was named in memory of Com. Nagendra Saklani who was martyred in the decisive struggle against the Tehri monarchy on 11 January 1948, and the conference city was named after Com. Chandra Singh Garhwali who was the hero of the Peshawar Rebellion on 23 April 1930.
The conference began with flag hoisting by Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi and 2 minutes' silence as tribute to the martyrs.
Inaugurating the open session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that not only in India but across the world from Latin America to England to America, calls are reverberating for a new socialism, a better world, and a better society. Within one year the true character of the Modi government has been exposed. It is the responsibility of the Left to positively use this new situation of struggle which has emerged in the country and in the world. He said that the attack on JNU in the name of nationalism, based on fabricated and doctored videos, has failed miserably in the face of the spirited struggle by students. The nation, the country is its people, workers, farmers, students, youth, dalits, adivasis, and women. By attacking these sections those who claim to be nationalistic are proving their nationalism to be false. Com. Dipankar further said that Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar are our true heroes whose vision was to make the country for the oppressed, the poor and dalits. Ambedkar's dream of annihilating caste is not possible without changing the existing system. The attack by the Sangh on Rohith Vemula on the grounds that Rohith was speaking not only of dalit issues but of other issues exposes the mindset of the RSS; they want to keep the dalits within a boundary. To prescribe limits for everyone and pressurize them into staying within those limits: this is what fascism is.
Commenting on the political situation in Uttarakhand, Com. Dipankar said that States like Uttarakhand have become places of loot. It is essential to make policies keeping in mind the special geographical conditions of Uttarakhand. Instead, as in Jharkhand, BJP and Congress leaders are engaged only in vying for the post of Chief Minister.
CPM State Secretary Rajendra Singh Negi addressed the inaugural session and said that the need of the hour is to establish the politics of people's struggles in the State, for which Left parties should unite and mobilize all pro-people forces.
CPI(ML) CC member Raja Bahuguna said that the current political upheaval in Uttarakhand is nothing but a fight for a share in the loot of the State's resources. He said that the land, mining, and liquor mafia have become institutionalized. He pointed out that 15 years of BJP-Congress rule has entirely destroyed the vision and objectives with which the State was created.
CPI State Secretary Anand Singh Rana also sent a message of solidarity with the CPI (ML) conference. ML Garhwal Secretary Atul Satee gave the welcome speech. Ganesh Singh Garib, who inspired the Chakbandi agitation, said that it is not possible to save Uttarakhand without saving agricultural and lands in the hills. The conference was also addressed by Com. Girija Pathak and Com. Shrikant from Delhi.
A 15 member State committee was elected by the conference and Com. Rajendra Pratholi re-elected State Secretary.
Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha Darbhanga district Vice President and Satighara (Bahadurpur block) branch Secretary Ramchandra Yadav passed away after a heart attack on 14 January. He was about 64 years old. A loyal and upright comrade, he was active even on the day of his death in the agitation for paddy procurement in front of SFC in Darbhanga. Under pressure from the agitation which had started on 7 January, the District administration had taken up the entire paddy for purchase on 14 January. After the agitation Com. Ramchandra suffered a heart attack before he reached home. He died before the villagers and family members could comprehend what was happening. On his way home he had stopped for about 2 hours in a neighbouring village where he discussed the victory of the struggle and the need to further strengthen the peasant movement. His demise is an irreparable loss for the Party and the movement in Darbhanga district. The Party expresses heartfelt condolences on his death. Red Salute to Com. Ramchandra Yadav!
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
| Vol. 19 | No. 12 | 15 – 21 MARCH 2016 |
Corporate Plunder From Public Sector Banks
A Scam Even Worse Than The 2G Scam
The Modi Government prevented the environmental activist Priya Pillai from flying out of India, branding her 'anti-national' for seeking to discuss concerns about MNC plunder of adivasis' land and destruction of the environment.
But the same Government has just facilitated the super-rich Vijay Mallya in fleeing Indian shores to avoid paying his massive debts to public sector banks and evade criminal charges of money laundering.
The police issued 'lookout notices' to Ms Pillai and to two JNU students facing 'sedition' charges. But the CBI under Modi 'modified' the original lookout notice seeking Mallya's detention at the country's exit points, instead seeking only 'information'. For the Modi Government, then, dissenting students can be treated as dangerous criminals and arrested, but corporate scamsters are given a free hand to plunder the country and then go scot free to evade justice. Mallya's company Kingfisher called itself 'The King of Good Times' – and indeed Modi's promised acche din has materialized for the likes of Mallya and Ambani alone.
Another notable contrast is between how different categories of loan defaulters – depending on whether they are poor farmers or corporate cronies of the Government - are treated in the country. Farmers who take loans of modest amounts and fail to repay them are hounded and humiliated by the police and loan recovery agents – resulting the suicide of some 15000 farmers every year. But Mallya, who owes public sector banks upwards of Rs 9000 crore, is allowed to flaunt his lavish lifestyle of yachts, parties and private islands, and simply quit Indian soil rather than life itself.
Both the UPA and NDA Governments promoted cronyism, forcing the public sector banks to bear the burden of the unpaid debts of the Mallyas, Ambanis and other corporations. In 2010, when Mallya's Kingfisher airlines was heading for a crash, the UPA Government facilitated a safe landing, with a debt-restructuring agreement. Mallya handed over goodwill and trademarks of the Kingfisher brand to the public sector banks as security in the event of non-payment of dues – but today, the brand value of Kingfisher has plummeted and the banks are unable to find buyers! In 2015, the Modi Government facilitated a debt restructuring agreement for Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Gas, allowing it to repay its massive loans to public sector banks by 2031 instead of 2019!
These corporate bailouts combined with a larger economic slowdown, have precipitated a banking crisis in India, with Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of banks surging to 17 per cent in the past couple of years. A report of the Credit Suisse titled 'House of Debt', has listed the 10 most indebted corporate houses in India - Lanco Group, Jaypee Group, GMR Group, Videocon Group, GVK Group, Essar Group, Adani Group, Reliance ADA Group, JSW Group and Vedanta Group – pointing out that the bulk of these unpaid debts are owed to public sector banks.
These unpaid loans point to a scam even larger than the 2G scam. Rs 1.14 lakh crore – amounting to 40% of corporate bad loans – have been written off during the last three years (2013-15). According to the India Ratings Report, a further Rs 52,227 crore is expected to be written off in the financial year 2016 – taking the total up to 1.66 lakh crore. This does not count the huge loans which have been 'restructured' to delay repayment periods or slash interest costs. RBI governor Raghuram Rajan pointed out that "this money would have allowed 1.5 million of the poorest children to get a full degree from the top private universities in the country, all expenses paid." Imagine, then, how many degrees from public universities this amount could have funded? Yet, the BJP machinery brands subsidies to JNU, where a substantial percentage of students are from socially, economically and regionally deprived backgrounds, as a 'waste of public funds', while presiding over an open plunder of public funds by crony capitalists!
The phenomenon of crony capitalism extends also and especially to crony 'godman' businesses – where godmen close to Governments, like Asaram, Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar are allowed to flout laws with impunity. Recently the Modi and Kejriwal Governments have together allowed the godman Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living organizations to organize a massive extravaganza on the banks of the Yamuna, irreversibly destroying the fragile riverine ecology and grabbing land forcibly from Dalit peasants. Sadly, even the National Green Tribunal and the courts, while noting the illegality and the damage, disciplined and restrained themselves rather than the offenders. Instead of putting a stop to the Ravishankar extravaganza, the NGT merely imposed a fine to 'compensate' for the damage – of which Ravishankar arrogantly refused to pay a paisa.
Why are the public sector banks not declaring the names of serial offenders in terms of unpaid loans – and the pending unpaid amounts? The country deserves to know the amount stolen from the public banks and the names of plunderers – and the Government must be made to answer for this loot. Crony capitalists and crony godmen cannot be allowed to practice the 'Art of Cheating' and the 'Art of Looting and Leaving' India.
International Women's Day:
Addressing the meeting, comrade MeenaTiwari said that communal forces are playing the politics of frenzy and destruction in the country today. From Hyderabad Central University to JNU, Lucknow and Allahabad University, they are not just murdering democracy but also smothering students' voices by slapping false cases of sedition on them. She further said that the women's reservation Bill has been pending for the last 20 years but they do not consider this important or a priority. Incidents of violence against women are moreover on the rise under the JD(U)-RJD-Congress government in Bihar which has come into power with a large majority; MLAs of the ruling Parties are implicated in rapes but they have not even been arrested. The government which had promised total prohibition is now talking of prohibition in phases; they are also going back on their word by now saying it will be done first in villages and then in cities. Various speakers pointed outthat honorarium workers have not been given the status of government employees. Their right to fight panchayat elections has been taken away. Their votes were garnered in the elections by increasing their honorarium by a mere 25%. The proceedings of the meeting were conducted by Comrade Anita Sinha. It was declared at the meeting that AIPWA and Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh would jointly organize a protest at the Chief Minister's office on 18 March 2016 to press for the above demands.
On Women's Day, an all-women's cultural team, Chorus, was inaugurated. This all-women's team was an initiative of the revolutionary poet Maheshwar, and has been revived now. Comrade Samta Rai will be the convenor of the Chorus team. Chorus staged Premchand's Manovritti and also presented various songs. Theatre artist Maya Krishna Rao also presented a version of her legendary performance 'Walk'.
After the people's convention, the delegates' session started at 6 PM and was conducted by a committee comprising of comrades Rambali Prasad, Anita Sinha, Satyanarayan Prasad, Mohan and Anwar Hussain. The session was inaugurated by Politburo member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya. Outgoing District Secretary Comrade Amar presented the written working report, and reviewed the struggles and movements which had been undertaken. He highlighted the Party's experiences during this period as well as the future responsibilities facing the Party. This was followed by a discussion on the report. The delegates gave concrete suggestions on several issues, including the Party's role in panchayats, developing a concrete working system for educating and training new members, strengthening Party branches and other lower structures, maintainingthe Party's control over use of economic resources, ensuring adequate guidance from the Party organization to people's organizations and other issues. Comrade Amar welcomed the delegates' suggestions and said that they would be incorporated in the report as required, after which the report was unanimously passed.
Addressing the delegates' session, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya highlighted the need to develop a system for strengthening branches and local structures to make them active and able to shoulder new responsibilities and achieve new targets. He also stressed on the need to strengthen the role of people's mass organizations. In the final session, the rural and urban sectors of Patna district were integrated and a 53 member Patna district committee was elected under the watch of observer Comrade RN Thakur. The Conference concluded with the district committee members electing Comrade Amar as Secretary.A total of 221 delegates attended the Conference.
In response to the call by the Bihar Rajya Anubandh-Mandeya-Niyojit Sewakarmi Sanyukt Morcha, about 1000 contractual-honorarium workers belonging to 17 unions (affiliated as well as not affiliated to the Morcha) staged a massive protest on 1 March 2016 in Gardanibagh, Patna, on the following issues: protesting the Nitish government's policy of repeated extending the tenure of the high level committee and procrastinatingon the crucial issue of regularization of contractual and temporary workers; demanding regularization of contract-honorarium workers; and demanding passing of the Bill related to service security until the age of 60 and 'equal pay for equal work' in the current session of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Apart from these demands, the Mahadharna also announced a 3-day protest from 10 to 12 March to demand removal of anomalies in payment and fixation of honorarium. It was announced that during this period all contract-honorarium workers would work wearing black bands.
The Mahadharna was addressed by Comrade Rambali Prasad, State President Pradeep Kumar Pappu, honorary President Ranvijay Kumar, Bihar Shiksha Pariyojna Parishad Employees' Union General Secretary Shivshankar Prasad, Karyapalak Sahayak Sewa Sangh Ashish Kumar, AIDS Niyantran Karmachari Sangh General Secretary Dayashnkar Prasad, Sankhyiki Swayamsewak Sangh President Manjay Kumar Chandravanshi, Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya Union President Vidyavati, ASHA Union President Shashi Yadav, Rasoiya Sangh President Saroj Choube, Samvida Ameen Sangh President Ravishankar, Midday Meal Karmachari Sangh leader Dinesh Prasad Singh, Shikshak evem Visheshagya Sangh President Rakesh Kumar, Jeevika Karmachari Welfare Association State President Pradeep Kumar Singh, Shiksha Abhiyan Karmachari Sangh General Secretary Shashi Kumar, Anuj Kumar of Sakshar Bharat, TET-STET Shikshak Sangh President Markandeya Pathak, ITI Sangh President Chandrashekhar Verma, Samaveshi Shiksha Sangh spokesperson Santosh Kumar, and Kastura Gandhi Vidyalaya Sangh President Atul Bansal.
The speakers at the dharna questioned the intensions of the Nitish Kumar government on the question of regularizing the lakhs of contract-honorarium workers in Bihar. They alleged that the workers who were already deprived of their rights are now being also deprived of the right to fight elections; it was pointed out that this is unconstitutional.
In Muzaffarpur in Bihar, a citizens' forum Muzaffarpur Nagrik Manch organised a 'JNU Speaks' (Main JNU Bol Raha Hun) program on 13 March, inviting several JNU teachers, students and alumni. They had booked the Municipal Corporation hall. At the last minute, the Bihar Administration cancelled the permission citing objections from one Pandit Chandra Kishor Parashar who runs a Cow Protection Committee (Gau Raksha Samiti - this is a vigilante, violent outfit of the kind that killed a man in Dadri on the pretext that he ate beef). The organisers then continued the program on a stage outside the hall. Around 20 ABVP goons flung huge rocks at more than 200 people gathered peacefully for the program, injuring several. The gathering included a large number of women.
The police did not arrest the assailants, and instead made an attempt to arrest the organisers, but could not do so because hundreds courted arrest along with the organisers.
Participants included Dr.Subodh Malakar, JNU Professor and Comrade Kanhaiya's guide, ex-JNUSU President and Delhi AISA Secretary Ashutosh, Prabir Purkayastha, Science Activist who as a JNU student was jailed during Emergency, Dr.Ish Mishra of Hindu College, JNU alumni QaiserShamim, former JNUSU President Jagdeeshwar, ex-JNUSU Joint Secretary Kavita Krishnan and several others.
The gathering then held a protest march on the streets of Muzaffarpur where all was peaceful, and then culminated the 'JNU Speaks' event in the garden outside the CPI(ML) Office.
The whole episode raised several issues. First, the episode once again showed how the ABVP and RSS is systematically launching dangerous physical attacks of a murderous nature on public events that are critical of the Government and the RSS worldview. Lacking ideas, they launch rocks, batons and in Gwalior, even bullets, at speakers and intellectuals who do not share their ideas. It is such violent fascist attacks that constitute a clear and present danger to India and democracy. Second, the Grand Alliance Government headed by Nitish Kumar - with its newfound bonhomie with Modi - kneeled to the Sangh and cancelled permission at the diktats of the Gau Raksha goon. The cancellation of the program deliberately exposed the participants to the violent attacks of a handful of ABVP assailants, whom the police did nothing to disperse or arrest. Why is it that the Nitish Government seems helpless or lacks the will to prevent Dalits' huts being burnt down by feudal attackers in Nawada, nor able to walk its talk on supporting JNU and defending democracy from Sangh attacks? Third, the people of Muzaffarpur showed that unlike the JD(U)-RJD administration, they would not kneel to the Sangh's hooliganism. Hundreds of people from Muzaffarpur including scores of women refused to disperse or run away - and stayed till the very end, saying that JNU was the one place where students from poor homes could study and emerge as leaders of society.
Speaking at the event Ashutosh reminded the gathering that Chandrashekhar, the JNUSU President martyred at Siwan, had been the one to lead a struggle against fee hikes in 1995 and for affirmative action in admissions - due to which JNU fees remain low enough for students from poor and deprived backgrounds to enter JNU and thrive. Ashutosh demanded the release of JNU students Umar and Anirban and DU Professor Geelani, justice for Rohith Vemula, and withdrawal of all punishment for JNU students by a biased enquiry committee. Prof.Malakar pointed out that a substantial section of JNU students were SC/ST, OBC students and women, and this was taken as an affront by the RSS. Dr. Ish Mishra spoke of his days as a student in JNU in the 1970s, when JNU students fought to keep DTC bus rates low - for the people of Delhi. Prabir Purkayastha remembered the days of Emergency and said that JNU student activists were being arrested now in 2016 from the campus as they were during the Emergency. Qaiser Shamim and Jagdeeshwar spoke of the attack on JNU in the context of the concerted attacks on the Constitution and democracy under Modi's rule. Kavita Krishnan pointed out that Modi was hunting JNU students for slogans, while allowing Mallya and other corporates to loot India and scoot. She said that the whole country drew hope and inspiration from the resistance of HCU and JNU students, and hoped that an even more powerful movement would be seen in days to come, to defend the path of BR Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh. Organisers of the JNU Speaks event included the Convener of the Muzaffarpur Nagrik Manch and JNU alumnus Vijay Shankar Choudhury, Shahid Kamal of AIPF, Prof Awadhesh Kumar of RVBM Mahila College, Prof Harish Chandra Satyarthi, Social Science Head of BR Ambedkar University, Dr Nand Kishor Nandan of LS College, Prof DP Rai retired professor of of RVBM College, Suraj Singh Convener Insaf Manch, AAP leader Anand Patel, as well as CPI, CPIM, CPIML, CPIML-ND, Insaf Manch, Gram Sabha and Mohalla Sabha.
Pricol workers held a meeting on 13 March 13 to celebrate the commencement of the 10th year of their struggle for workers' rights and dignity. The whole area around the venue was decorated with red flags which announced that the efforts of the State, the industrial lobby in Coimbatore and the management to crush the Pricol workers' movement can never succeed. The programme commenced with a spirited performance of folk music and dance by the Kovai Cultural Team.
Comrade Mallika, one amongst the 29 workers who were slapped with false cases and acquitted on 3 December, hoisted the red flag. The workers then paid homage to those who laid their lives for the cause of workers' rights and transformation of society. Comrade Saminathan, General Secretary of the Kovai Maavatta Pricol Workers Otrumai Sangam, presided over the meeting. Advocates K.M. Ramesh, Lakshmananarayanan and Bharathi who fought Pricol workers' cases at various stages were honoured by Comrades Gurusami, Krishnamurthy and Janakiraman, leaders of Pricol workers' movement.
Com. Dipankar released AICCTU's Working Class Charter for the 2016 Elections and AICCTU state office bearers Comrades S. Jawahar, N.K. Natarajan, A.S. Kumar, T. Sankarapandian and Bhuvaneswari received the copies. Comrade Dipankar said that the Pricol workers' struggle began as a workers' struggle, developed into a struggle of their families and then as a struggle of the working class as a whole. He came down heavily on the BJP government at the Center and Sanghi forces for their concerted attempts to push their corporate, communal and casteist agenda. He referred to the various electoral fronts that are emerging in Tamil Nadu on the eve of elections and said these ruling class political parties can form many fronts but the actual front is the battlefront which fights for the rights of workers' and people.
Comrade S. Kumarasami said that Pricol workers are in jail as they fought for the rights of the workers, they are in the same jail where the freedom fighter and working class leader V.O. Chidambaram was lodged for fighting for workers. Comrade Dipankar introduced the candidates of two constituencies in Coimbatore. Comrade P. Natarajan, area committee secretary of the Party and President of KMPTOS is contesting the assembly elections from Mettupalayam constituency and Comrade Velmurugan, former councillor in Coimbatore Corporation in Goundampalayam constituency. The meeting concluded with militant slogans of the workers who vowed to do all that they can to bring their comrades in jail back. Earlier, Comrade Dipankar inaugurated a library opened in the memory of Comrade TKS Janarthanan.
"Have you ever seen an anti-national? If not, look at me, I am an anti-national": Dr.BinayakSen thus began his speech at the Bharat Sabha Hall in Kolkata on 27 Febaruary, in a protest meeting organised by AIPF West Bengal in solidarity with student protests in Hyderabad, JNU and Jadavpur. Dr.Binayak Sen exposed the designs of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh and highlighted the fact that even after the High Court in Chhattisgarh had announced a sentence life imprisonment on his case, the Chhattisgarh government had appealed that he should be hanged to death becausehe was an "anti-national"! After a long legal battle, Dr. Binayak Sen was released by the Supreme Court. At the AIPF meeting, he made the crucial distinction between being anti-State and anti-national – a distinction which the RSS-BJP is aggressively undermining. He also pointed out that charges of "sedition" are aimed at stifling the voices of protest against the anti-people policies of the government. He called for the promulgation of a law against "anti-people"activities, to be used against all those who propagateanti-people policies.
Addressing this well-attended protest meeting AISA President Sucheta De said that struggling people all over the country are with JNU. She also mentioned that JNU has consistently exposed the corporate-fascist policies of the Modi government. And so, JNU was an eye sore for the Sangh Parivar and to be "punished" for consistently daring to oppose the RSS-BJP. Other speakers included Subhonil Chowdhury, alumni of JNU and Research Scholar of Institute of Development Studies, social activist Bolan Gangopadhyay, Advocate of Calcutta High Court Subroto Mukherjee, Secretary of APDR Rajnit Sur, Student of Jadavpur University (JU) Sudhanya Pal and Professor of JU Manas Ghosh.The meeting was presided over by Dr. Debasish Dutta, Meher Enginear, Amlan Bhattacharya of PUCL, AB Chowdhury and Kalyan Sen, A resolution demanding immediate release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, repeal of Sedition Act, and withdrawal of all cases on JNU students was passed in this protest meeting.
Comrade Chinta Singh, a veteran of several struggles in Palamu in Jharkhand, passed away on 12 March. For the past 5-6 years, she had been suffering from goiter. She was born on 25 August 1964 in the Manatu block of Palamu in Jharkhand, an area known for feudal oppression. She joined CPI(ML) in 1986 and led several movements against feudal forces in the area. She played an important role in organizing the poor, and especially women, in the Palamu block. In the 1990s, she led a massive and successful movement of Dalit-adivasi workers against the local forest officials, demanding more wages for workers employed in the tendu leaf industry. She organized workers of the Hindalco Siding company to demand their rights, and led a movement against state repression in Latehar. Comrade Chinta emerged as a voice of resistance against feudal oppression and state repression, leading movements against a gang rape in Tarwadih in 1986 and against the draconian TADA law in 1992. In 1995, she was also the CPI(ML) candidate from the Assembly constituency. In 2005, she fought the zila parishad elections from Tarahsi. From 1992 to 2003, she held several responsible positions in AIPWA as well as the Party at the district, state and Central levels. In all these struggles and responsibilities, she received support from her husband, Comrade Gupteshwar Singh, who is a government teacher. CPI(ML) salutes the legacy of our beloved comrade Chinta!
ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 8, 2016
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 19, No. 11, 08 – 14 MARCH 2016
Victory to the Fighting Students of JNU!
Victory to Young India's Dream of Freedom and Equality!
On the face of it, the bail granted to Kanhaiya Kumar marks an initial victory for JNU students and the wider sections of the democratic opinion in the country in the face of a police crackdown instigated by absurd charges of sedition on students and teachers, and the open and concerted thuggery of the Sangh brigade in court premises and on peaceful protests and assemblies. But the unwarranted remarks made in the High Court order pitting students against soldiers, describing dissent in terms of infection and gangrene and prescribing treatment ranging from antibiotics to amputation clearly tell us more about the dominant ideological environment than principles of constitutional law and justice.
With the judiciary speaking in such vicious terms, the RSS goon brigade naturally feels emboldened to carry on with its open display of terror and thuggery. A BJP youth leader in UP has offered a Rs 5 lakh bounty for whoever chops off Kanhaiya's tongue while another has put up posters right in the heart of Lutyen's Delhi announcing a bigger reward for bumping him off. And according to the Delhi police directed by the Union Home Ministry, this open death threat is only a matter of 'defacement of property' just as Bassi had earlier trivialised the assault in Patiala House premises as an incident of 'jostling'.
Against these odds, it is inspiring to see the undiminished resolve of the JNU community to carry on the battle for justice. Unconditional acquittal of all the arrested students, withdrawal of sedition charges on all students and restoration of full rights of all the eight students who have been debarred from academic activities in JNU are the three core demands of students and teachers. The chief proctor of the university has resigned in protest against the bureaucratic high-handedness of the authorities and injustice meted out to the students, and the teachers' association has called for removal of the registrar who has been instrumental in plotting and spearheading the ongoing assault on campus democracy in JNU.
Thanks to the bold resistance of the JNU community and the widespread solidarity it evoked across the country, the BJP smear campaign and witch-hunt against JNU students has been thoroughly exposed. Yet, far from accepting defeat and mending its ways, the Sangh-BJP camp is claiming victory in the 'ideological war' over JNU! With elections already declared in five states, BJP leaders have launched a vicious and vitriolic countrywide campaign against the alleged anti-nationalism of the Left. Having won the first round of the JNU battle against the saffron witch-hunt, the Left must now accept this larger challenge and combat the BJP's communal-fascist pseudo-nationalist campaign with the spirit of progressive democratic patriotism and the unity of people's struggles for social transformation and greater rights.
The JNU struggle has emerged as a rallying point for students and intelligentsia across the country. The slogan of 'Azaadi' or freedom raised so passionately by JNU students has struck a chord with a whole range of ongoing struggles for rights and justice. The Modi government is pursuing an aggressive agenda of subjecting the resources of the country to predatory corporate plunder. It wants unrestricted corporate control over land and water, forests and minerals, labour power and bank finance. The universities and other institutions of learning and research are now being sought to be subordinated to this design, and the culture of debate and dissent is being systematically subverted to promote RSS-dictated intellectual enslavement and ideological regimentation. The call of freedom is today resonating against this stifling atmosphere of fear and corporate-communal aggression.
The convergence of the struggles for justice for Rohith Vemula and rights of JNU students has been a source of great strength for both these struggles. Along with the demand for scrapping of the sedition law a key demand of the present struggle is enactment of a new legislation named after Rohith to stop social discrimination in educational institutions. Beyond the immediate demands of the struggles, the ongoing churning has also highlighted the need for, and potential of, reinvoking the ideas and messages of Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Ambedkar as the defining spirit of the agenda of patriotism, social justice and democracy.
Against every RSS attempt to define Indian nationalism on the basis of Hindu majoritarianism and corporate subjugation, Bhagat Singh will continue to inspire today's youth to fight for a united people's India, free from exploitation and oppression. Against every RSS attempt to appropriate Ambedkar as the 'modern Manu' and resurrect Manuwadi domination subverting the constitutional values of liberty, equality and fraternity, Ambedkar will continue to guide our forward march towards 'annihilation of castes' and attainment of real equality, justice and freedom by defeating the forces and structures of social discrimination, injustice and oppression. In the coming weeks, as we remember Bhagat Singh on his 85th martyrdom anniversary and celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar's birth, let us arm ourselves with the ideas and inspiration of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to give a resounding rebuff to the pseudo-nationalist offensive of the Sangh-BJP brigade.
CPI(ML)'s 10th Tamilnadu State Conference was held on 27th and 28th February at Sengundram, in Thiruvallur district. The conference hall was named after Comrade TKS Janardhanan and Comrade Ammaiappan. The conference began with young woman comrade and AISA leader Com. Seetha hoisting the Party Flag, after wihich all leaders and delegates paid floral tribute to the Martyrs. A seven-member presidium led by Com. Chandramohan conducted the proceedings. Com. Ramesh, State Committee Member presented the condolence resolution and Com. Janakiraman, Thiruvallur district secretary welcomed the delegates. Com. Swapan Mukherjee, central observer, inaugurated the conference. He appealed to the delegates to prepare for bigger struggles against the onslaught of fascist, communal, pro-corporate BJP government at the centre and also against the autocratic Jayalalitha government at the state. Political resolutions and work report were presented by outgoing state secretary Com. Balasundaran. About 250 delegates and 50 observers from 23 districts attended the conference. The exhibition on the topic "Class struggle continues…" was inaugurated by Com. Swapan. After deliberations Com. Balasundaram summed up the discussions on the report and it was unanimously accepted by the house. Com. Balasubramanian, Party secretary of Puducherry UT and Com. John Erimeli, Secretary of Kerala State greeted the conference.
The conference also elected a 35-member state committee which in turn elected Com. Kumarasamy as its Secretary. Com AS Kumar submitted financial report of the Party which was also accepted. Newly elected Secretary in his concluding address gave a call for bigger movements to "Save democracy and Save the nation". He said that recently lakhs of Tamil Nadu Government employees are up in arms against the neo liberal policies and we were the first to support them. The ground is ripe for the revolutionary party to develop mass movements beyond electoral calculations. Resolutions expressing solidarity with 'free Pricol 8' movement and demanding -release of JNU student leaders, an end to atrocities on dalits, scrapping nuclear and methane projects etc. were passed. Workers of Chennai contributed Rs.1 lakh and state AIARLA contributed Rs.15000 to the Pricol movement and handed it to the presidium. The Conference resolved to make 10th anniversary of the Pricol movement on March 13 a success, in which Com. Dipankar will also participate, and also resolved to carry forward the central committee call of 'Save the nation, Save Democracy, Save the Constitution' campaign from March 23 – Bhagat Singh's Matrydom day to April 14 – Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary.
AICCTU held its 5th Jharkhand State Conference in the Bokaro, at the Community Hall on 9 February 2016. The Conference was inaugurated by PB member and AICCTU VP Com. DP Bakshi, after which 2 minutes' silence was observed as a tribute to and in memory of all the martyred comrades.
A workers' convention was held in place of the open session, in which the unfair double life imprisonment sentence for the Pricol 8 was condemned and their release was demanded without delay. The convention was presided over by AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen and addressed by several workers' leaders. Addressing the convention, AICCTU General Secretary Com. Rajiv Dimri said that the government and the judiciary are hand in glove in promoting and forcing corporate Company Raj upon the toiling poor and the working class. He gave the examples of the Pricol 8 and the workers of Maruti and Graziano who have been punished unjustly for asserting the workers' right to form and join a union of their choice. He said that the time is ripe for a decisive workers' agitation in India on the lines of the May Day agitation of 1886 in Chicago.
Speakers at the delegate session stressed on taking on the governments at the Centre and in Jharkhand to fight the anti-worker amendments to the Labour Law, increasing the AICCTU membership, organizing contract and honorarium workers like ASHA and Anganwadi workers and construction workers, and standing in solidarity with farmers and movements demanding justice for Rohith Vemula and the ongoing movement in JNU.
After Jharkhand Secretary Shubhendu Sen presented the report it was discussed and decided that AICCTU should form new unions in Jharhand, especially in Ranchi, and should intervene in more workers' struggles which are not in affiliation with AICCTU; AICCTU should launch a big struggle in the matter of workers being laid off in Jamshedpur on the excuse of medical examination; AICCTU district committees should work on the agenda for opposing privatization and transfer of coal blocks. After discussion the report was passed unanimously.
Addressing the Conference, Com. DP Bakshi said that the union must be strengthened and more contract workers, honorarium workers, construction workers, brick-kiln workers, as well as organized sector workers must be brought under the ambit of AICCTU. He pointed out that in earlier days though the membership was less, the movement was stronger; today the struggle has been weakened because of the Welfare Board. He said that we must look beyond the narrow objective of organizing the workers for making them members of the government Welfare Board. The Conference concluded with the election of a 47 member State Council and a 15 member State Executive. Central observer Com. RN Thakur gave the concluding address in which he said that the true achievement of the Pricol 8 is not merely that they showed exemplary courage in their struggle and went to jail, but also that they organized rural and industrial workers around them and set an example which we must follow.
Addressing the meeting, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav said that the Modi government is creating an atmosphere of hatred and frenzy in the country through pseudo-nationalism in order to hide its all-round failure on all fronts. The history of the BJP-Sangh Parivar in the struggle for the country's freedom and integrity has been that of acting as informers and agents of the British and betraying the country. The Left fought bravely in the freedom struggle and that is why Shaheed Bhagat Singh walked the Marxist road. Those who honour murderers like Godse have no right to hand out certificates of patriotism to people.
MCC MLA Arup Singh said that the real agenda of the BJP is to capture control of JNU which is a centre of Left progressive thought. All the accused students have been framed in fabricated cases and; they are all innocent and will be proved innocent. The BJP will have to pay the price for tearing the democratic fabric of the country and ruining the future of innocent students.
"Have you ever seen an anti-national? If not, look at me, I am an anti-national" -- with this sentence, Dr. Binayak Sen started his speech at Bharat Sabha Hall on 27th Febaruary, in a protest meeting of AIPF, West Bengal, and in solidarity with "Hyderabad-JNU-Jadavpur". Dr. Binayak Sen exposed the evil design of Chattisgarh Govt. and reminded that after the court declared life imprisonment for him in 2010, the Chattisgarh govt. appealed that he should be hanged to death, because- "I am an anti-national! In a 147 page judgement, High Court of Raipur denied my bail petition. Finally, Supreme Court granted my bail." Dr. Sen also mentioned that "anti-state and anti-national are not synonymous. Anti-national charges are aimed at stifling the voices of protest against those who are challenging the anti-people policies of the State." He rather proposed to promulgate the "anti-people law" against the anti-people policy makers of the state.
In this well attended protest meet, National AISA President, Com. Sucheta De said that in the division created between those in favour or against JNU, the struggling people all over the country are with JNU. She also mentioned that JNU had consistently exposed the corporate-fascist policies of Modi govt. Modi government has failed to develop JNU as an 'elite brand', and has established an anti-thesis of the ruling classes. In the wake of rising people's resistance, Modi Govt had to eventually backtrack on Land Acquisition Bill after promulgating it through ordinance route four times. She mentioned that Rohith Vemula not only raised Dalit issues, but also questioned capital punishment and protested against social oppression. JNU stood firmly in support of Hyderabad and therefore had become an eye sore for the Sangh Parivar.
Other speakers were Subhonil Chowdhury, alumni of JNU and Research Scholar of Institute of Development Studies, social activists Bolan Gangopaddhyay, Advocate of Calcutta High Court, Subroto Mukherjee, Secretary of APDR, Ranjit Sur, Sudhanya Pal, Students of Jadavpur University and Manas Gosh, Professor in JU.
The meeting was presided over by Dr. Debasish Dutta, Meher Engineer, Amlan Bhattacharya of PUCL, AB Chowdhury and Kalyan Sen. A resolution demanding immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, repeal of Sedition Act and withdrawal of all false cases was passed in this protest meeting.
The Uttar Pradesh unit of the CPI(ML) observed a state-wide protest week from 14 to 20 February after which on 22 February dharnas and hunger strikes were held at District Headquarters in Varanasi and the entire Poorvanchal on the occasion of Modi's Varanasi visit. From 23 to 25 February 6 Left parties had called for a countrywide protest, in response to which CPI(ML) and other Left parties organized protests, rallies, marches, and effigy burnings.
During the protest week- protest meetings, marches, and meetings were held in Sitapur, Faizabad, Mathura, Chandauli, Ghazipur, and Muradabad. CPI(ML) and AISA held a protest at BHU gate in Varanasi which was disrupted by ABVP and Sanghi goons. The administration arrested ML and AISA activists and released them at the Police Lines where they resumed their protest march. Protest meetings and marches were also held at Sukrut (Sonbhadra), Urai (Jalon), Mirzapur, Azamgarh, Bhadohi, Deoriya, and Gorakhpur. At Pilibhit AIARLA held dharnas at Puranpur and Marori block headquarters.
In Lucknow, the CPI(ML), CPM, CPI, SUCI, along with people's organizations and intellectuals took out a march on 25 February which culminated in a meeting at the Gandhi statue chaired by former VC of Lucknow University Prof. Rooprekha Verma and addressed by Dr Girish, Subhashini Ali, Ramesh Singh Sengar and other distinguished speakers from PUCL, AIDWA, AIPWA, AISA, Women's Federation, IPTA and JASAM. The speakers said that the Sangh Parivar, which made no contribution to the country's freedom struggle, is now giving the country lessons in nationalism. It is essential that we give a fitting reply to their pseudo-nationalism and their attack on democratic rights including the right to dissent and freedom of expression. Earlier, on 13 February these Parties and people's organizations had held a joint protest at the Ambedkar statue at Hazratganj Chowk which the saffron brigade had unsuccessfully tried to disrupt.
As part of the united Left protest call, a joint protest was organized in front of the Allahabad court where some lawyers resorted to violence and attacked and beat up the protesters, injuring several people including women. Clearly, these lawyers were Sanghis who used the black coats as a cover for vandalism and lumpenism on the same lines as the condemnable incident at the Patiala House court. It was only after repeated insistence that the police registered a complaint in this matter.
On 25 February protest marches and meetings were also held in Sonbhadra, Baliya, Ghazipur, Lakhimpur Kheeri, Pilibhit, Kanpur, Faizabad, Azamgarh, Gonda, Muradabad, Mathura, and Mughalsarai.
In Rajassthan, protests were held jointly by CPI(ML), CPM, CPI and the Loktantrik Adhikar Evam Sadbhavana Manch in front of the Udaipur Collectorate on 25 February against the Modi government's relentless attacks on citizen's democratic rights. The protesters demanded justice for Rohith Vemula and the unconditional release of the JNU students arrested on false charges of sedition. Speakers addressing the protest meeting said that Universities like JNU and HCU are being targeted for opposing the anti-student policies and saffronization and privatization of education by the Modi government; only recently these Universities had played a major role in the nationwide protests against the ending of non-NET fellowships and in the Occupy UGC and WTO Go Back agitations. They pointed out the hypocrisy and opportunism of the Modi government which calls the JNU students anti-national for organizing an Afzal Guru event, but is desperate to form a government in Kashmir with the PDP which openly calls Afzal Guru a martyr. At the conclusion of the meeting a delegation met the Collector and submitted a memorandum.
In Bhojpur district, Bihar, 45 prisoners in the Ara jail went on a 2-day collective hunger strike to demand justice for Rohith Vemula and release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya and other students and withdrawal of all the fabricated sedition charges. On the first day hundreds of inmates who are ML supporters marched inside the Ara jail and held a meeting at the Bhagat Singh statue. The speakers at the meeting said that all justice-loving people are with the JNU students who have been falsely implicated in sedition charges. They demanded justice for Rohith Vemula and the removal of Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya as well as the VC of HCU. On the second day the prisoners continued their protest and boycotted court appearances. The condition of Pramod Kahar, on hunger strike, worsened and he was hospitalized. The speakers stressed that students and youth would continue their protests until their demands were met. Manoj Manzil, Anjay Mehta, Suresh Lal, Pappu Paswan, Budhan Choudhury, Arun Singh, Satendra Rawani, Satyadev Ram, Ramesh Paswan, Raju Choudhury, Sonadhari Yadav, and others took part in the hunger strike.
The Nirman Mazdoor Union affiliated to AICCTU held its 18th District Conference on 22 February in the B-Block Common Hall at Darulshafa, Lucknow. Inaugurating the Conference, AICCTU State President Hari Singh said that all-round assault on the working class has escalated after the Modi government came to power. Through amendments in the Labour laws, the government is attempting to push the working class into a new slavery and to break their will power by slapping false cases and jailing them. 8 workers of Pricol in Tamil Nadu have been sentenced with double life imprisonment. He called upon workers to give a befitting reply to this injustice by responding to the call of major trade unions for a countrywide strike on 10 March and making it a resounding success. The Conference was also addressed by CPI(ML) District in-charge Com. Ramesh Singh Sengar, AIPWA State President Com. Tahira Hassan, Jan Sanskriti Manch State President Com. Kaushal Kishore and others. Com. Surendra Prasad of the outgoing Union Committee presented the annual working Report which was passed after discussion. Finally, a 15 member Executive was elected with Com. Rajpal as President and Com. Surendra Prasad as Secretary. Hundreds of construction workers participated in the Conference.
A people's convention was organized by all the Left and communist parties in Madhya Pradesh at Bhopal on 3 March to highlight the ever growing attacks on the fundamental rights of the people of MP. The Convention was addressed by CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Prabhat Kumar.
ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 1, 2016
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.19 | No. 10 | 1-8 March 2016
Rise against the Brazen Lies, Repressive Rule and Anti-people Budgets of the Modi Government
The first week of the Budget Session of Parliament has once again revealed the deep disdain the current ruling dispensation has for the people and their concerns, needs and rights. The session began amidst countrywide protests against the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the subsequent police crackdown in JNU, the arrests and interrogation of JNU students on charges of 'sedition' and the concerted RSS-BJP assault on JNU students, teachers and other citizens defending JNU and democracy. But we could trust the Modi government to keep conspicuously silent about all this and the President's inaugural address to the joint session of Parliament has done precisely that.
The arrogance of the government found its most loud melodramatic expression in the speech of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Already in the dock on the Rohith Vemula issue, Smriti Irani could only weave a web of brazen lies in a vain attempt to project herself as a victim of a conspiracy, her lies being quickly nailed by Rohith's mother Radhika Vemula and the doctor who first checked Rohith soon after his death. In a brazen attempt to divert attention from her role in the Hyderabad episode, she started reading out from alleged leaflets circulated in JNU on the mythology of Durga and Mahishasur, trying to project JNU students not only as 'anti-national' but also as anti-Hindu. It did not matter to her that in India's pluralist tradition Mahishasur is also seen as a martyr in many regions and by many groups, especially among adivasis and dalits and her own party MP from Delhi, Udit Raj has been associated with the Mahishasur celebration in JNU.
While the government continued with its paranoid demonization of JNU and declared a virtual war on the JNU community, the Home Minister even trying to discover a Pakistan connection and terrorist links with the JNU incident, in BJP-ruled Haryana the Jat reservation agitation was allowed to go berserk, indulging in indiscriminate acts of arson and even horrific crimes like gang rapes. The government which swooped down on JNU students with astonishing alacrity, remained a mute spectator even as Haryana was ravaged and RSS goons attacked Kanhaiya Kumar and journalists, teachers and activists right in the premises of the Patiala House court. And the Prime Minister only amplified this paranoia by invoking the bogey of destabilisation which has been notoriously used in the past to clamp down Emergency and inflict a blanket suspension of constitutional liberties and rights.
Ever since coming to power with the grand rhetoric of 'achchhe din', the Modi government either claims to be a victim of the past or continues to conjure visions of a rosy future even as the present is overshadowed by a growing all-round crisis. The pattern has been evident once again in this year's railway and general budgets. The government shamelessly claimed credit for not raising fares in the railway budget even as it announced several pre-budget increases in fare, drastically raised the cancellation fee and abolished the fare concession hitherto available to children in the 5-11 age group. And let us not forget that this huge burden has been thrust on passengers amidst a significant drop in global oil prices. The railway ministry remains mired in its elitist obsession with 'bullet trains' and other high-speed train services while ignoring the questions of improving basic amenities for ordinary passengers, ensuring railway safety and expanding railway routes and train services in backward and remote regions.
The general budget presented by Arun Jaitley provided yet another statement of the government's failure and betrayal on the economic front. Having painted the Indian economy in rosy colours in last year's economic survey – the economy was said to have reached a 'sweet spot' where double-digit growth was just round the corner – the government now has to deal with the reality of a falling growth rate and acute crisis in the two crucial sectors of agriculture and banking. In his budget speech, Jaitley blamed 'an unsupportive global environment, adverse weather conditions and obstructive political atmosphere' for the economic decline. BJP propagandists are describing this year's budget as being 'farmer-friendly', but the fact is all that farmers have got in this budget is a vague promise of doubling agricultural income by 2022 and a moderately increased allocation for irrigation without any immediate relief to face the impact of widespread drought, crop failure, credit crunch, unremunerative prices and unresponsive procurement mechanism. If anything, the budget has added a huge insult to India's deeply injured farmers.
The budget said nothing about the non-implementation of the Food Security Act even three years after enactment and made false claims about making the highest allocation for MNREGA even as it fell way short of the 2011-12 level in terms of real prices. The government is now deafeningly silent on its 2014 election claim of repatriation of black money; instead it announced yet another amnesty scheme for people with unaccounted income and wealth. The habitual tax thieves and loan defaulters got a big nod with the announcement of the corporate-friendly dispute resolution mechanism which will effectively abolish all corporate liability for unpaid taxes in lieu of some token payment. Having pushed public sector banks into a huge crisis by forcing them to extend massive loans to corporate houses and then write off the accumulated dues, the government is now pushing for increasing privatisation of the banking sector as has been made apparent by the decision to lower the government's stakes in IDBI from the current level of more than 80 percent to less than 51 percent.
The tax policy in India is among the most regressive in the world with a low tax-to-GDP ratio coupled with a huge reliance on indirect taxes hitting the common people. By further increasing the burden of service tax while leaving corporate taxes unchanged, this year's budget has only reinforced the regressive nature of India's revenue structure. The government has pocketed the lion's share of the gains accruing from the drop in oil prices by increasing duties and now with added across-the-board cess on the purchase of almost all goods and services, the government has passed on the entire burden of its economic failures and the impunity enjoyed by the super rich for its routine violation of almost every law of the land on the shoulders of the poor and the middle classes. It is this vast majority of the people who fund the budget (by paying taxes and duties and also responding to the government's appeal to give up subsidies), yet it is they who bear all the burden and remain permanently at the receiving end.
The budget session began with powerful protests outside Parliament by students and peasants and adivasis. With the government refusing to address the immediate needs and demands of the people, the protests must now get louder against the callous and repressive Modi regime.
Arun Jaitley doesn't Address the Burning Issues Facing The Common People and The Indian Economy
The budget presented today by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley does not address the burning issues facing the common people and the Indian economy, while blaming "an unsupportive global environment, adverse weather conditions and an obstructive political atmosphere" for the growing economic hardship.
The budget does not even mention the Food Security Act which is yet to be implemented in full. The only reference to public distribution system is made in the form of proposed 'automation' of three lakh fair price shops. While promising an increased emphasis on irrigation, the government has done little to address the credit crunch and procurement crisis which lie at the heart of the deepening agrarian crisis that continues to drive thousands of Indian farmers to suicide in every month.
The vague promise of setting up a funding agency for higher education with a meagre corpus of Rs 1,000 crore does in no way address, let alone answer, the crisis on the higher education front where students from middle class and poor backgrounds are being systematically priced out. There is no major initiative on the health sector either – the government seems to be only interested in leaving poor patients at the mercy of an increasingly expensive and ever expanding PPP mode.
While as many as 75 lakh middle class households responded to the government's appeal to give up LPG subsidy, the super-rich continue to violate tax laws and default on repayment of bank loans. Yet, the government has extended no benefit to the middle class while continuing to pamper the rich with greater exemptions, tax amnesties and even incentives to violate the laws of the land. The regressive character of India's taxation policy has been further reinforced in this year's budget with the government going for added cess and surcharges on goods and services, leaving corporate tax rates unchanged and announcing only a minor increase of 3% surcharge on annual personal income of more than Rs one crore.
The huge jump in the allocation of the road transportation sector from Rs 28679 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 69,422 in 2015-16 (revised estimate) to 1,03,386 crore in this year's budget clearly shows the government is bearing a growing burden of road construction projects while the private players in PPP mode are walking away with all the benefits.
Indian banking sector is reeling under the burden of huge corporate defaults and the Rs 25,000 crore allocated for recapitalisation of banks will hardly provide any cushion to the public sector banks. The announcement of lowering of government stake in IDBI from more than 80% at present to less than 51% clearly indicates that the government is only interested in using the banking sector crisis as a pretext for privatisation.
CPI(ML) appeals to all to press the government to provide for immediate full implementation of the Food security Act, expansion of MNREGA, availability of greater quantities of easier and cheaper credit for farmers and for people engaged in various livelihood-related projects and small enterprises and increased allocation on health and education fronts.
Protests continue to be being held across the country to show solidarity with JNU and to oppose the crackdown by the government on the University and the oppression unleashed upon students.
West Bengal and Tripura: In Kolkata the CPI-ML took out a rally on 18 February to stand with JNU students and to condemn the oppression and witch hunt being unleashed upon the campus. In Tripura University the students held a protest demonstration to express solidarity with JNU. In Kolkata AISA also organized a rally and demanded a stop to the witch hunt of JNU students. During a protest held at Jadavpur University, ABVP goons attacked the protesting students and trampled upon posters bearing pictures of Rohith Vemula. This was strongly protested by the students.
Bihar: Protests in support of JNU were held across Bihar. In Patna, a spirited protest was organized in front of the State BJP office during which BJP activist resorted to stone throwing, resulting in injuries to several students and one journalist. The police did nothing to control the violent BJP workers and instead lathi-charged the students. The dharna demanded the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar and others, ending the witch hunt of JNU students, and revoking of all false cases of sedition.
On 19 February a 'rail roko' demonstration was held at Rajendra Nagar railway station in Patna during which many trains were stopped. AISA, AISF and other student organizations took part in this protest. On 20 February a human chain was organized from Patna University gate to Darbhanga House, in which about 150 students from various student organizations as well as intellectuals participated shouting slogans of 'Save JNU' and 'Justice for Rohith Vemula'. On 23 February a protest meeting was organized at Patna University in which leaders and activists from CPI-ML, AISA, RYA, Patna University Professors, and various people's organizations participated and Hirawal presented songs.
Protests were also held in Purnea, Bhagalpur, Supoul, and Muzaffarpur.
Jharkhand: In Giridih on 16 February and in Raj Dhanwar and Bagodar on 19 February rallies were taken out under the banner of AISA, RYA and AISF. In Bermo, Bokaro district, a rally was taken out on 16 February where ABVP goons attacked the protesters; an FIR in this matter has been registered at the local thana. Again on 20 February another huge protest rally was taken out to stand with JNU.
AISA and RYA took out a protest march in Ranchi on 12 February. On 17 Febraury the Vidhan Sabha was gheraoed under the banners of AISA, SFI, AISF, RYA, AIYF, and AIDSO, after which a protest meeting was held at Firayalal Chowk. On 18 February a collection of poems 'Pratirodh ke Paksh' was released at Ranchi University during which the Sanghi assault on JNU was condemned. A citizen's march was organized by AIPF, JSM and other cultural organizations.
Maharashtra: In Pune AISA along with Phule Ambedkar Kriti Samiti called for a bandh in Pune University on 12 February; campaigns were conducted in the week leading up to the bandh to call for participation. About 80% University departments remained closed on the day of the bandh and some examinations had to be postponed. A protest meeting was held at the University main building in which the speakers condemned the role of the government, police and administration in JNU as well as the Rohith Vemula case.
A protest was held in Nagpur on 13 February in which CPI-ML, CPI-M, CPI, SUCI, Bolshevik Party and BRP Bahujan Mahasangh participated. A huge protest was held in front of Mumbai University on 15 February in which AISA, SFI, AISF, DYFI, Samta Vidyarthi Aghadi and other organizations participated.
Chhattisgarh: A joint Left protest was held in front of the Durg Collectorate under the banner 'Save JNU, Save Democracy'. Speakers addressing the protest meeting condemned the crackdown on JNU and a memorandum was submitted to the President through the SDM demanding immediate release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya, revoking of sedition charges on all 8 accused students, ending the witch hunt on JNU students, constituting a high level enquiry and punishing the guilty.
Uttar Pradesh: The CPI-ML organized a rally in Gorakhpur in which hundreds of youth, women, and intellectuals participated, starting from the district party office and culminating in a protest meeting at the Town Hall in front of the Gandhi statue. The speakers condemned the anti-people and anti-student actions of the government. They protested the Gorakhpur University VC's becoming a signatory to the BJP's signature campaign and demanded that the UP Governor take action against him as he was acting like an agent of the BJP.
Rajasthan: On 18 Feb in Udaipur, Left activists Saurabh Naruka and Rahul Rot along with 4 other activists went to distribute pamphlets in the Science College where about 30-40 ABVP activists attacked them. They were badly beaten up with wooden stools by the ABVP goons and threatened with death threats. Com. Saurabh Naruka received grave injuries on the hands and shoulders and Com. Rahul Rot's motor cycle was also broken.
The injured Left activists went to the Bhoopalpura thana where their complaint was accepted but till 7 pm no FIR was registered. Due to political pressure, without an FIR, no medical examination of the injured could be done. Later a delegation of Left parties went to the thana, met the thana in-charge and demanded that an FIR should be registered without delay and action should be taken against the guilty.
AICCTU organized a convention on 'Assault on Workers' Rights and Our Responsibility' at the BMG Hall in Bhilai. AICCTU is conducting a countrywide campaign for the release of the 8 Pricol workers unjustly sentenced to double life imprisonment. The AICCTU convention was organized as part of this campaign and reiterated the demand for the release of the Pricol 8 while expressing total solidarity with them.
Through the Convention AICCTU called upon the people to participate in maximum numbers in the All India Virodh Diwas to be observed on 10 March by all Central Trade Unions. This Virodh Diwas is to demand a 12 point charter of demands including- Rs 18000 per month wages, taking back anti-worker amendments to the Labour Law, to oppose privatization and disinvestment, to demand equal pay for equal work for contract workers, and others.
The Convention also demanded the immediate release of the JNUSU President, condemned the witch hunt and persecution of students and demanded that the sedition charges against students be withdrawn.
The CPI-ML Lohardaga Block Committee (Jharkhand) gheraoed the Sadar Block for 2 hours on 16 February demanding that government declarations should be implemented without delay and the services of honorarium workers should be made permanent. The protestors also expressed solidarity with JNU. The gherao was led by Party district in-charge Com. Mahesh Kumar Singh. Many activists including Hazari Oraon, Bal Govind Bhagat, Biga Sahu, Manu Thakur, and others participated in the protest. The BDO and CO held talks with a delegation from the Party and gave them a firm assurance that these problems would be resolved.
Protest programmes were organized under the joint banner of CPI-ML and Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Sabha at the block offices in Mandu, Patratu, Ramgarh and Gola blocks of Ramgarh district (Jharkhand). Hundreds of people took part in the dharnas at each block office. Speakers addressing the dharnas said that the BJP government in Jharkhand is showing much haste to implement the pro-corporate policies enacted by the Central government and has launched an attack on democracy. The State government has ignored the demand that all poor should be included in the BPL list and should get 50 kg food grains and 5 litres of kerosene; the government has made ration cards for only 20% of the poor and kept out a major portion of the population of poor from the list. Ration card holders have been promised 5 kg rice per person but only 4 kg is being given. 100 days' work for rural workers through MNREGA and payment of minimum wages are being flouted brazenly; corruption is rampant in the issue of dakhal-kharij of lands, caste, residential and income certificates. The protesters shouted slogans on all these issues.
The protests also strongly condemned the arrest of JNUSU President and the witch hunt and suspension of 8 JNU students. The speakers said that this action is part of a calculated drive by the Modi government to crush campus democracy and students' movements. Only recently Rohith Vemula was branded as an anti-national and made the victim of political repression; now in the same way JNU students are being made victims of a planned witch hunt. HCU and JNU are being targeted for opposing the policies of the government and the RSS. The meeting vociferously made the following demands: (1) All poor should get ration cards and 50 kg rice and 5 litres kerosene per person should be issued; (2) Arrested JNU students should be released and false charges against them should be taken back; (3) The 8 Pricol workers should be released; (4) Ramgarh should be freed of pollution from sponge factories and other polluting factories; (5) rural raiyyats who have been displaced due to land acquisition for CCL, Rail, Tata Coal, Patratu Thermal, Jindal Steel, Sponge Factories, India Forbes, Glass Factories and other industries should be given rehabilitation, employment, and long due proper compensation.
AICCTU organized a symposium of ideas on 21 February at Leela Park, Swarup Nagar, Kanpur and demanded that the unjust sentence of double life imprisonment on the 8 Pricol workers should be revoked and they should be released. Several workers' organizations participated in the symposium which was presided over by Com. Hari Singh and the proceedings were conducted by Com. S.A.M. Zaidi. The speakers condemned the anti-worker policies of the Central and State governments and called upon workers to organize themselves and put up a united fight to oppose these policies.
Thousands of Anganwadi workers marched to Parliament in Delhi on 15 February with the slogan 'Save ICDS'. Coming from all corners of the country, these women protested against the huge cuts in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) budget by the Modi government and the proposal to hand over this project to private corporate companies. They vociferously demanded the strengthening of this project which is for the future generations of Indian youth, and regularization and wage increase for the women working in this project.
About 27 lakh Anganwadi workers across the country are part of the ICDS project. Around 10 crore children and women are benefited by this project. This is a project meant for alleviating malnutrition in children and pregnant women, giving them proper and timely health care, creating a good pre-school environment for children in the village/tola itself, and creating awareness towards cleanliness in homes and families. Unfortunately, at the current juncture, this project itself has become a victim of serious malnutrition! In the last budget the Modi government made huge cuts in fund allotment to this project and thus weakened it, adversely affecting its quality. A conspiracy is on for large scale closure of Anganwadi centres. Anganwadi workers are not getting timely payment of even their meager honorarium. There has also been no increase in their honorarium since 2011.
The Anganwadi workers' movement is being led by the joint front of the Anganwadi karmachari Federation formed by the initiative of 6 Central trade unions. The protesting women gathered at Jantar Mantar from where the rally comprising of thousands of Anganwadi workers marched towards Parliament. A huge public meeting was organized on Parliament Street, addressed by Com. Shashi Yadav of AICCTU, Dr BB Vijayalaxmi and Com. Amarjeet Kaur of AITUC, Com. SR Sindhu of CITU, Comrades Champa and MA Patil of HMS, and Dharmveer and Lata Yadav of INTUC. The meeting was also addressed by AICCTU leader Com. Uma Netam, CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member Com. D Raja, and CITU leader Com. Tapas Sen.
The meeting gave a call for protests across the country and effigy burning of PM Modi. The meeting also condemned the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. At the conclusion of the meeting a 6member delegation met the Finance Minister and submitted a 4 point charter of demands. The demands were as follows: Rs 36,000 crores should be allocated for ICDS in the coming budget so that the Anganwadi system can be improved and more nutritious food can be provided to women and children; under no circumstances should this project be privatized; Anganwadi sevikas and sahayikas should be declared Class 3 and Class 4 workers respectively; they should get 18,000 as wages apart from other facilities. It was also demanded that 2 other women-centred projects (ASHA and Midday Meal Project) should be given increased funds in the Budget and workers in these projects should get increased honorarium.
The delegation which held talks with the Finance Minister consisted of Comrades D Raja, Tapas Sen, Rajiv Dimri, Shashi Yadav, SR Sindhu, BB Vijayalaxmi, Kamlesh Mahal, and MA Patil.