CPIML Liberation Karnataka

CPIML Liberation Karnataka

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 7, 2016

ML Update | No. 15 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No.15 | 5-11 April 2016


Kolkata Calamity:

Time to Question The 'Flyover Model' of Urban Development


On the 1st of April, a flyover that had been under construction for several years in Kolkata, collapsed in a crowded commercial area, trapping pedestrians and vehicles under concrete and metal. This deadly calamity killed 26 and severely injuring nearly a 100 people.

The flyover collapse highlighted India's chronic lack of preparedness for calamities, with rescue cranes arriving hours after the collapse, and ordinary citizens attempting in vain to help those trapped and slowly dying under the debris.  

On the eve of West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee predictably washed her hands off responsibility for the whole incident and blamed the previous Left Front Government.

It is true that the LF Government had awarded the contract for the construction of the Vivekananda flyover to the Hyderabad-based IVRCL in 2007. Since then, however, the company came on the Railway Ministry's watch-list for non-performance, and was blacklisted twice by different government departments in Jharkhand, and faced questions in Andhra Pradesh as well. Why did Mamata Banerjee's own Government not monitor the flyover construction more closely, given the company's dubious track record?

The flyover was being constructed under the central government's JNNURM/ Amrut project. It had missed its original deadline of August 2010, but the CM Mamata Banerjee announced last November that its new deadline was February 2016, ostensibly so that she could boast of its completion before the Assembly elections. While the Government placed a political burden of haste on the project, why could it not monitor the project for compliance with all required safety norms? Why were pedestrians and traffic allowed on the narrow, congested roads while the construction was underway? Was the long-delayed structure checked regularly for design and structural flaws as well as for poor maintenance? Why were the complaints of local residents that the flyover came dangerously close to their own homes, not taken seriously?

The IVRCL has called the collapse an "act of God" – thereby washing their own hands too off any responsibility and accountability for criminal negligence. And given the track record of impunity enjoyed by private companies – Uphaar cinema and Carbide-Dow in Bhopal are glaring instances - that have played God with the lives of people, IVRCL also has reason to feel confident. 'Private-Public-Partnership' after all has come to mean public patronage for private profit and plunder. With the Government acting to minimize the accountability of the private partners and to slacken on compliance of labour and safety norms, the private companies have no incentive to invest in safety or to abide by norms.    

The BJP too is trying to make political capital on the collapse, using it to argue that West Bengal needs the BJP 'model of development.' That fact, however, is that the collapse of the flyover highlights the fatal 'design flaw' in the ruling class development model itself, especially the PPP model. NCRB data shows that in the past five years, seven people were killed every day in structure collapses in India. Collapse of structures like flyovers resulted 47.3% of such deaths, while collapse of residential buildings accounted for 37.3% of such deaths. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat have the worst record, reporting more than 150 deaths each year. The famed 'Gujarat model' of the BJP is no exception to the general trend; one may recall the collapse of the under-construction flyover in Surat in June 2014.

In West Bengal, too, there have been such collapses in the past, too. An under-construction flyover collapsed in Ultadanga in 2013; the casualties were fewer only because the collapse took place before dawn when the area was deserted. The victims of the 2011 AMRI Hospital fire in Kolkata still await justice.

In the wake of every engineering or medical disaster, anti-reservationist propaganda blames the so-called 'privileging' of caste over merit. Such propaganda is fond of arguing that reservations in the private sector would jeopardize 'quality' and lead to lack of safety. In fact, the systematic impunity for private companies who only recognize the imperative of corporate greed over any safety norms, is the single biggest reason for the epidemic of avoidable calamities like structure collapses, urban fires, and medical calamities.

The flyover syndrome (along with the bullet train) itself is a metaphor of the elitist model of development which prioritises the interests of the affluent at the cost of the needs and interests of ordinary citizens. The experience of cities the world over, as well as India's own experience go to show that flyovers are not necessarily the best solutions to the problems of traffic congestion in most Indian cities, yet the many variants of Smart City schemes prioritise flyovers over public transport and pedestrian safety.

Take the example of Chennai, which witnessed a flyover construction boom in the last decade or so. Studies have shown that while each flyover cost around 5 times a normal road, and the total cost of flyovers could have instead been spent on 7,000 public transport buses or more than 2,000 km of dedicated cycle lanes or an extensive bus rapid transit system, flyovers have not really solved the problem of traffic congestion. The reason is obvious: flyovers act as an incentive to buy more cars. In fact, it was the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) that pushed for construction of flyovers – precisely in the hope that these would boost automobile sales. Governments that allow transport policy to be shaped by automobile manufacturers are ignoring the well-established fact that a smoothly functioning public transport system that encourages people to choose public transport over cars, is the only lasting solution to traffic congestion as well as dangerous levels of pollution.      

Cities the world over are showing a drop in automobile use and a marked preference for public transport. The truly 'smart' cities are the ones that prioritise the needs of the poorest citizens; that invest in public transport and ensure that roads and public spaces are friendly to pedestrians and the poor. The 'flyover' is a metaphor for a model of urban development that bypasses and flies right over the mass of people whose lives and whose needs – for housing, transport, sanitation, basic services – are rendered invisible. This model of development is what the Uruguayan writer, the late Eduardo Galeano, described as 'A bridge with no river/A tall façade with no building/     A sprinkler on a plastic lawn/An escalator to nowhere/ A highway to the places the highway destroyed…'

It is imperative that we take lessons from the collapse of the flyover in Kolkata, and ensure that it is the last of such accidents that have become routine in our country. The owners of the company responsible for the construction must not only face criminal charges and a timebound trial, but must be made to pay for the costs of rescue and rehabilitation. The role of the concerned Ministers and political leaders must also be investigated so that they also can face appropriate action. And, while ending the culture of impunity of private companies at public cost, there must also be a reappraisal and overhaul of the 'Smart City' model of urban planning, so that the needs and interests of the poor and ordinary citizens is prioritized over the needs and interests of the private profiteers and the rich and privileged. 

Call of April 22:

Strengthen the Student-Youth Upsurge!
Build a Bulwark of People's Resistance!!
Save Democracy, Save India!!!

This April 22 we will observe the 47th anniversary of the foundation of CPI(ML), and May 25 will mark the commencement of the 50th year of the historic Naxalbari uprising which presaged the emergence of the CPI(ML) as the new rallying centre for a whole new generation of communist revolutionaries in India. As we remember the glorious past our feet are firmly placed on the fighting ground of the present and our vision is focused on the challenges and great potential that are knocking on our doors.

With Narendra Modi at the head of India's first BJP-majority government at the Centre, it is amply clear that the Sangh brigade is busy systematically unleashing the whole gamut of its corporate-worshipping communal fascist agenda. From the natural and human resources of the country to the institutional structure of the state, from the realm of history, culture and knowledge to the constitutional domain of liberties and rights of the people and secular and democratic foundation of the republic – the Sangh brigade has launched a concerted attack in every sphere, using the state power to the hilt to suppress and incriminate dissent, brazenly plant its hand-picked people in key positions in various institutions and protect its thugs and goons with utter impunity.

While confronting this offensive of the Sangh brigade we must of course focus on the brighter side of the picture – on the reassuring signs of unity, determination and courage with which the people are resisting, successfully exposing, challenging, and even beating back the corporate-communal offensive at times. In 2015 the government had to withdraw the land acquisition ordinance in the face of stiff opposition from peasant organisations and most opposition parties. In this year's budget, the government had to roll back the proposed taxation on withdrawals from workers' provident funds. And the protests that were initiated last year by prominent writers, historians, scientists and cultural personalities in the wake of the killings of Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Mohammad Akhlaq have now found its complement in a powerful student-youth upsurge.

This student upsurge or India's growing youth spring has a great potential to challenge and thwart the fascist offensive of the corporate-communal order.  It is an upsurge of a protracted nature, glimpses of which we have been seeing intermittently for the last few years. We saw it erupt in Delhi against the horrific rape and murder of a young girl, and go on to resonate across the country with the call for freedom for India's women from the shackles of patriarchy. We saw it erupt in Hyderabad in the wake of the tragic end of young dreamer and researcher Rohith Vemula and strike a chord across the country against the continuing shame of social discrimination and the growing danger of saffron regimentation in India's educational institutions. And then we saw it erupt again in Delhi following the police crackdown and saffron witch-hunt in JNU and grow into a loud cry for 'azaadi' and democracy in today's India.

What we are witnessing is an assertion of the awakened youth that refuses to be sedated after a change of government. After the rise of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP in Delhi on a popular anti-corruption plank in early 2014, many had thought the upsurge had found its new political destination. In May 2014, many more claimed that Modi had emerged as the most decisive answer for young India's quest for change. But the renewed post-Modi assertion of students has made it clear that far from being quenched, the thirst for change among India's young is only growing and they have all the courage and strength and ability to confront the diktats and machinations of the forces in power.  It is a quest for change which inherits the legacy of both Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and if we look at the desperate attacks by RSS-BJP-ABVP goons on activists and academics whether in Delhi or Allahabad, Gwalior or Muzaffarpur, it becomes quite clear how mortally afraid the Sangh brigade is of this legacy and this quest.

And it is not difficult to see why they are so afraid of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and the prospect of the two legacies coming ever closer in action. The BJP is keenly aware that it has no roots in the glorious history of India's freedom movement. The best known figure from its ideological family during the freedom struggle days was Savarkar who eventually became notorious for his mercy petitions to the British rulers and his advocacy of Hindu Rashtra. The founder leaders of RSS drew their inspiration from Mussolini and Hitler and when the colonial rulers finally had to leave the country amidst the bloodbath of Partition, the RSS-Hindu Mahasabha contribution was the assassination of Gandhi, which invited a ban on the organisation imposed by none other than Sardar Patel, the Congress leader who Advani and Modi have been so keen to appropriate. In contrast to this history of shame and disgrace, the radical youth of India continues to draw their inspiration from the sacrifice and vision of Bhagat Singh, his legacy of uncompromising battle against imperialism and total commitment to the cause of the emancipation of the people from all kinds of slavery and bondage.

Like Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar too is an anathema to the RSS because he strikes at the very Manuvadi foundation of the RSS vision of Hindu Rashtra and challenges the RSS dream of resurrecting the caste system with his clarion call for annihilation of castes and the constitutional proclamation of liberty, equality and fraternity as the basis of the Indian republic. In recent years while maligning secularism as minority appeasement and invoking Hindu majoritarianism to transcend the caste divide, the BJP has been trying to hard to hide its casteist core and project a pro-dalit OBC-friendly image of the party, marketing Narendra Modi as India's first EBC Prime Minister. Ambedkar not only tears asunder this carefully constructed camouflage but also inspires the building of bridges of solidarity to unite a whole range of struggles for justice. This is why a desperate Sangh brigade forced the IIT Madras authorities to disband the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, restoring it only after countrywide protests, and accused Rohith Vemula and his comrades in Hyderabad central university of indulging in casteist and anti-national activities when they questioned the communal carnage in Muzaffarnagar.

The ongoing student-youth awakening will have to confront the political machinations, ideological diktats and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment not only in university campuses but also in the larger battlefield of the society and state and unite with the fighting people on different fronts. This was the mission of Bhagat Singh during the freedom struggle; this was the call of Charu Mazumdar to the revolutionary students in the 1960s and 1970s which united the historic student upsurge of that period with the uprising of the rural poor; this is the spirit of Ambedkar's message 'educate, agitate, organise'. Let us carry forward this mission by infusing the ongoing 'youth spring' with the revolutionary spirit of the 'spring thunder' of Naxalbari and defeat the fascist threat to march towards a new India of fuller freedom and deeper democracy.

-          Central Committee, CPI(ML)

AISA-RYA's national campaign- 'Utho mere desh' reaches various parts of the country

On 23 March 2016, the martyrdom day of Com. Bhagat Singh, AISA and RYA launched the campaign 'Utho Mere Desh: Naye Bharat Ke Waastey, Bhagat Singh Ke Raaste' in New Delhi. As a part of this campaign, conventions and other events were organised this week in several parts of the country.

AISA Convention on "Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism" in Madurai.

AISA unit of Madurai Kamaraj University organized a convention on 25th of March on 'Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism'. It was presided over by Com. Pandiarajan of AISA. The list of speakers included Prof. Vivekanandan, Vice President of AIFUCTO, Mr. Murali Ex. Principal of Madurai college and also state campaign committee member of AIPF, Com. Kumarasamy, state secretary of CPI(ML), Com Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President of JNUSU and  Com. Sucheda De, National President of AISA. The convention was attended by Left and progressive students and Youths of Madurai and neighboring districts.

Com. Shehla spoke at length on the issue of branding students fighting for democracy as anti-nationals by the ruling establishment.  She said that the ruling BJP government wanted to cover its inability to overcome economic crisis by using intimidation as a tool to silence fighting students. They had resorted to manipulation of video clippings and opened fake twitter accounts to foister cases against students of JNU. Sangh parivar wanted to narrow down India into a single identity. However, even as they claimed to stand for uniformity, why did they want the society to remain divided into varnas and castes? She said that nationalism meant encouraging love for the people of the nation and not manufacturing hatred. We, students stand for the unity, rights and dignity of the people.

Com. Sucheta De said that it was because of the democratic and egalitarian space created by the left politics in JNU that there were no barriers to student activism. The students had strived to follow Dr. Ambedkar's call for annihilation of caste. She added that the student community should stand for democracy and for annihilation of caste. They must also stand to defend in solidarity with Pricol workers in their fight for their rights. The students must steadfastly oppose the WTO dictates in education. She said this anti-people, communal and fascist Government will be charge-sheeted in the peoples' court and declared guilty.

Com Kumarasamy, accused the BJP of trying to equate nation with the Modi government. He condemned the killings of dalits by castiest forces in the case of inter caste marriages and called for a vibrant democratic movement for annihilation of castes.

A booklet on the struggles of AISA was also released on the occasion and convention demanded the repeal of British era sedition law.

Rallies and seminars in Jharkhand

On 23 March 2016 big rallies were taken out in Topa and Ghutua of Ramgarh district in Jharkhand, organized by AISA, RYA, and CPI(ML) activists. The marches were taken out from Railway Colony and Ghutua Bazaar respectively. Folders were distributed at the rallies and a seminar was held at Ghutua. These rallies marked the beginning of the widespread campaign to be conducted under the banners of AISA and RYA between 23 March and 14 April 2016. Subsequently, once again on 28 March another march was taken out from Railway Colony, Topa, with greater mobilization, led by CPI(ML) leaders comrades Ashok Gupta, Ram Singh Marandi, and others. In Jhumri Tilaiya of Koderma district, students and youth from various regions were mobilized and the AISA district committee was formed. On 23 March a Student-Youth convention was organized by the newly constituted AISA district committee under the banners of AISA and RYA, addressed by CPI(ML) district Secretary Mohan Datta and Koderma district committee members. It was resolved at the convention to conduct the 'Utho Mere Desh Naye Bharat ke Vaaste Bhagat Singh Ambedkar ke Raaste' widely through all the regions in the district.

Ex JNUSU President comrade Ashutosh, Vice President Anant and AISA leader Niraj also participated in several public meetings. In several instances the state administration tried to create problems by cancelling permissions last minutes. In Deoghar, the state police watched silently as ABVP goons threw stones and engaged in violence against AISA and RYA activists. Com. Ashutosh was also hurt but comrades continued with the programme. Speaking later, Ashutosh said that from Delhi, to Hyderabad to Bihar and Jharkhand, everytime Babasaheb Ambedkar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh's names are mentioned, the sangh brigade gets agitated. They do not realise that they cannot kill ideas. We will rise from the ashes, each time they try to put us down.

Convention in Karnal (Haryana)

A convention on the theme of the campaign was also organised in Karnal on 3 April. Omprasad, National Secretary of RYA and AISA activist Geeta, spoke during the convention. Prem Singh Gahlawat, Haryana state incharge of CPI(ML) was also present in the convention.

In the coming days AISA and RYA activists will continue spreading the campaign in different parts of the country. The campaign will continue till 14 April 2016, birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar.

AIPWA, CPI(ML) protest forced evacuation of nurses and their families from the nurses' hostel in DMCH

A new nurses hostel was recently constructed in Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and the union of DMCH (affiliated to AICCTU) had led the struggle to ensure its allotment. However, soon after the superintendent declared it illegal and started machinations to have it vacant. Continuing the series of such attempts, the superintendent recently forced several nurses and their families to vacate the hostel and move to streets terming their residing in hostel as encroachment. He cited 'high court' to forcibly push them out. No concern was shown for ensuring an alternative accommodation for them. AIPWA and CPI(ML) intervened on behalf of the nurses and forced the administration to reach an agreement.

District Conferences of CPI(ML) held in several districts of Bihar

District conferences of the CPI(ML) were held in districts across Bihar in the month of March. The conferences were occasions for discussing the current political and social situation in the country as well as in Bihar, paying tributes to martyred comrades, intellectuals and students including Com. Pansare, Dhabolkar, Kalburgi, Rohith Vemula, and others, discussing, amending, and passing the previous year's reports, and electing new committees.

The 10th district conference of Eastern Champaran district was held on 5-6 March 2016. Inaugurating the convention CCW member and AIARLA National President Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that the pro-corporate, communal and fascist forces in power today are attacking farmers, workers, as well as intellectuals and students; MNREGA funds are being cut and farmers' produce is not being adequately purchased; economic and trade union rights are being snatched away from workers; fabricated cases of sedition are being slapped on students. He called upon all these forces to unite and raise their voices in opposition from a united platform. Joint Editor of Samkaleen Lokyudh Pradeep Jha and other leaders also addressed the convention.

The 10th district conference of Siwan was on 23-24 February. CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, State Secretary Com. Kunal and other leaders addressed the open session of the conference held near the statue of martyred former JNUSU President and CPI(ML) leader Com. Chandrashekhar. Com. Dipankar said that today the Central government is attacking the same JNU which gave us a peerless leader like Com. Chandrashekhar. He stressed that the government will never succeed in its unholy attempt to snatch the freedom of expression from people and demanded that the cases of sedition against JNU students should be withdrawn immediately. He pointed out that the mahagathbandhan government is also doing injustice to political activists, and gave the example of the false cases against comrades Satyadev Ram and Amarjeet Kushwaha. Violence against women and crime are on the rise in the state, but the government is doing nothing about it.

The 4th and 10th district conferences were held in Arwal and Aurangabad on 5-6 March and 4-5 March respectively. Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya and Com. Rajaram Singh, were the main speakers and they spoke of the dark times (burre din) today for students, youth, intellectuals, farmers, workers, and the common people, but said that the bright side is that the people are fighting back and putting up spirited struggles against injustice and oppression.

The 8th district conference was held in Muzaffarpur on 6-7 March. Addressing the inaugural session AIPWA National President Com. Meena Tiwari said that the Modi government is attacking all democratic systems and the basic rights of the common people. Education, culture, history, and even science is being saffronized. The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the arrests and fabricated sedition charges against JNU students are part of the Sanghi agenda. She stressed the need for a strong and united fight under 'Save democracy, save the country' against this all-round attempt to murder democracy.

The 9th district conference of Gaya was held on 6-7 March. Inaugurating the delegates' session Com. Ram Jatan Sharma said that the Modi government is anti-farmer and anti-worker. Acting on the directions of the Sangh, it is attacking HCU, JNU and other campuses and trying to destroy all democratic institutions and crush democratic movements.

The 6th district conference of Beguserai was held on 7 March. Comrades Rajaram Singh, Naveen Kumar, Divakar, CPI leader Com. Anil Anjan, CPI(M) leader Com. Ravindra Singh and others addressed the conference. The speakers stressed the need for strengthening Left unity in order to fight effectively against the anti-people policies of the governments both at the Centre and in the State. The 10th district conferences of Jehanabad and Kaimur were held on 12-13 March and 8 March respectively. The 8th district conference of Gopalganj was held on 15-16 March. The speakers condemned the failure of the State government to act against the Sanghi violence at the CPI(ML) meeting in Muzaffarpur and said that the Party would not be crushed by such violence but work with renewed vigour to expose the governments at the Centre and the State.

ML Update | No. 14 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 14 | 29 MAR - 4 APR 2016

Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism, 

Defeat Modi's Attempt to Appropriate Ambedkar

Close 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.

 Condemn the Heinous Lahore Terror Attack 

The CPI(ML) condemns the suicide bomb blast in a crowded Lahore park claimed the lives of some 72 people, mostly women and children, and injured more than a 100. The attack was carried out by Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, to target Christian minorities on the occasion of Easter. The park was full of families celebrating the Easter holiday. Those killed include both Christians and Muslims.

The attack, deliberately targeting little children, is a heinous crime against humanity.

The attack has underlined the vulnerability of Pakistan's religious minorities. The attack coincides with protests against the execution of Mumtaz Qadri and in support of the blasphemy law that criminalises religious minorities in Pakistan. Qadri had assassinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for defending a Christian woman against the blasphemy law.

Significantly, Pakistan's Christian community is largely Dalit, facing an unspoken caste discrimination as well as religious discrimination. Pakistan's religious minorities are vulnerable just as the religious and ethnic minorities of most South Asian countries including India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are vulnerable.

It is source of hope that Pakistani people have risen up in revulsion and outrage against the Lahore attack, and are flooding hospitals to donate blood and offer all kinds of help.


Cameron-Modi Bhai Bhai 

British PM David Cameron has taken a leaf from Indian PM Modi's book, by indulging in Islamophobic and racial profiling for votes.

In the London Mayoral polls, Cameron has distributed a letter to Hindus, especially Gujarati Hindus, and Punjabi Sikhs, asking them to vote for the Tory candidate, suggesting that voting the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan would be wrong at a time when "we need to be keeping our streets safe from terrorist attacks".

In the letter captioned "The Gujarati community makes London great", Cameron writes: "Closer ties between the UK and India have been a priority for me as prime minister. I was pleased to join Zac (Zac Goldsmith, the Tory Mayoral candidate) and thousands of British Gujaratis in welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the UK last year."

Remember, the bonhomie between the Sanghis and Tories in the UK in their shared attempt to deny caste discrimination and propagate Islamophobia, goes back a long way. In the Parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party candidate in Harrow East, a constituency with a large Indian community, campaigned specifically on a promise to 'work with the Dharmic community' (sic) to overturn legislation outlawing caste discrimination which was recently passed in Britain after a campaign by Dalit organisations. Leaflets issued by a Sangh Parivar group urged their supporters to vote Conservative to overturn the anti-caste legislation!

But some voters have exposed and snubbed Cameron's latest attempt. Retired biochemist Barbara Patel wrote back to Cameron, calling him out for his "facile and inaccurate attempt at racial profiling". She wrote: "You have made a number of assumptions based on my surname (Patel = Gujarat and Gujarat = Hindu) and have attempted to use these ethnically based assumptions to 'scare' me into voting for your candidate, Zac Goldsmith....I am not from Gujarat. I am not a Hindu, my husband's family are lapsed Muslims. Above all, I have never been, nor ever would be, a Tory voter." She added that "the most distasteful aspect" of Cameron's letter was his "attempting to cause division between the London Hindu Indian community and its Muslim community, shame on you".

 Farmers' Convention for Loan Waiver in Punjab

All India Kisan Mahasabha and its Punjab affiliate Punjab Kisan Union organised a 'Loan Waiver Convention' in which thousands of peasants participated. Peasants came all Malwa region districts of Punjab including Mansa, Bathinda, Barnala, Sangrur, Faridkot to the convention which was held in Mansa.

The convention expressed deep concern over the escalating incidents of suicides of farmers due to anti-farmer policies of Akali Dal led NDA govt. of Punjab and demanded appropriate measures to stop farmers' suicides. Thousands of farmers unanimously raised their voices in favour of immediate waiver of all loans, including governmental as well as those acquired from private usurers. They felt urgent need for amending legislations related to loans which are highly biased in favour of money lenders and resolved to struggle for the enactment of a new Loan Waiver Act that can protect crisis ridden peasants.

The Farmers' Convention also passed resolutions demanding an Employment Guarantee Act for unemployed youth and for reversal of the neoliberal agrarian policy regime in order to make agriculture profitable. They also shared their concern regarding growing crop losses due to increasing number of stray abandoned cattle and asked from the Punjab administration to stop this menace.

The convention was addressed by the popular peasant leader of Punjab and National President of AIKM Ruldu Singh, AIKM Gen. Sec. and ex-MLA of Bihar Rajaram Singh, Vice President Prem Singh Gahalawat, Mazdoor Mukti Morcha leader Bhagwant Singh Samaon, AIPWA's Jasbir Kaur and many others. The proceedings were conducted by Punjab Kisan Union's Secretary Gurnam Singh. This convention was a culmination of an intensive campaign which was carried out in hundreds of villages. Many thousands of loan waiver applications were filled in by farmers of this region during this campaign. The filled in application forms were handed over to the state government through a Tehsildar sent by the authorities for this purpose. He took away a couple of very big cartons containing loan waiver applications and promised to hand them over to the state government.

Comrade Rajaram Singh, General Secretary of AIKM, said that the lives and livelihood of farmers have been further devastated after the Modi Govt. came to power which is quite evident by the increased number of suicides in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bundelkhand of UP. But the government is unwilling to take any pro-farmer measures. On the contrary the Modi government continues to pursue anti-peasant policies in order to satiate the unending corporate hunger for farmers' profits as well as their lands. The Modi Government cannot succeed in deviating nation's attention from deteriorating plight of farmers by its communal divisive politics. The irony is the government is waiving loans and taxes for corporate sector but not for farmers. Comrade Rajaram Singh strongly condemned the recent attacks on students in JNU and HCU and terming it as an attempt to strangle democracy. He said that united movements of farmers, workers and student-youth to counter the growing attacks on democracy are the need of the day.

Imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand Murder of Democracy

CPI(ML) Calls for Dissolution of Assembly and Fresh Elections

The CPI(ML) Uttarakhand State Committee has termed the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand when there was still one day remaining for the Harish Rawat government to prove its majority on the floor of the House, a murder of democracy and called for the immediate dissolution of the Assembly and holding of fresh elections.

The Assembly should be dissolved without delay and fresh elections held, since the failure to do so is itself an encouragement to horse trading. The Modi government had tried a similar ploy in Arunachal Pradesh. The CPI(ML) has appealed to the people of the state to strongly oppose the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand.

On 28 March Party workers led by Lalit Matiyali and Vimla Rauthan burnt the effigy of the Modi government and held a protest meeting in Bindukhatta (Nainital district) against the murder of democracy in the State.

CPI(ML) district units in Uttarakhand have sent memoranda to the President on 29 March demanding end of President's rule in Uttarakhand, dissolution of the Assembly in order to stop horse trading of State legislators, and fresh elections without delay.


Third CPI(ML) Puducherry State Conference

The Third   Puducherry UT Conference of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was held on 20th and 21st Mar 2016.  The conference/venue Villianur, a semi urban town was named in memory of Com. T.K.S. Janarthanan, former vice president of AIARLA.  The Conference hall was named in memory of Com. Ammaiappan, former District Secretary of CPI(ML) Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu state.

The conference began with an impressive and colourful "Save India,  Save democracy and Save working people of Puducherry" rally on 20th. Puducherry town committee secretary Com. S. Purushothaman inaugurated the rally. Hundreds of activists marched through the main thoroughfare of the Villianur. The rally preceded by the flag hoisting and floral tributes to the martyrs. The flag was hoisted by Com. Maliga, Puducherry district committee member. The public meeting was addressed by Com. Balasundaram, central committee member and central observer for the conference, and Com S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary CPI(ML) .

On 21st Mar, the delegates session was inaugurated  by Com. Balasundaram. Com. S. Mothilal gave the welcome address.  Com. Balasundaram stressed the importance of the Central Committee's 18th December 2015 call and called for the all out initiatives towards the forthcoming Assembly 2016 elections.

S. Balasubramanian, the outgoing State secretary placed the draft report on behalf of the outgoing state committee.  Delegates present gave their opinions and suggestions over  the draft which was adopted by the conference. The conference elected unanimously a 9-member state committee with S. Balasubramanian as its Secretary. The other members of the State Committee are G.Palani, P.Murugan, S.Mothilal, AS Singaravelu, A. Saroja, S. Purushothaman, R. Azagappan and M.Maliga. M. Venkatesan and G. Danavel, party's District Secretaries in Villupuram and Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu also attended the conference as guests and took part in the rally.

CPI(ML) is contesting independently four seats in the Assembly elections in Puducherry. The Conference passed an 11-points resolution for action as well as chalked out a plan for the "Rise My Country - Save India, Save Democracy"  campaign from Mar 23rd – Bhagat Singh' martyrdom day to Apr 14th Baba Saheb Ambedkar's 125th birth Anniversary.    

AISA RYA Launches National Campaign- Utho Mere Desh- 

Naye Bharat Ke Wastey, Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Ke Rastey

From 23rd March to 14th April

The All India Students' Association (AISA) and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) have launched a campaign Utho Mere Desh: Naye Bharat Ke Waastey, Bhagat Singh Ke Raaste from March 23rd (Bhagat Singh's Martyrdom Anniversary) to April 14th (Dr. Ambedkar's Birth Anniversary). The inaugural program of the campaign was held at the Press Club at Delhi. The panel discussion cum press conference was addressed by Gen. Secy. CPI(ML) Dipankar Bhattacharya, scientist and poet Gauhar Raza, President Dalit Lekhak Sangh, Karamsheel Bharti, journalist at Hardnews Amit Sengupta, social activist Vidyabhushan Rawat, Ram Karan Nirmal (Ex-Student of BBAU Lucknow, who protested against Modi during their convocation), Ashutosh, Ex-JNUSU President and Anant Ex-JNUSU Vice-President. Om Prasad, Gen. Sec. RYA, moderated the discussion.

On 23rd March programs were held across the country to commemorate the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and start of National Campaign. Comrades in Patna, Bhojpur, Giridih, Guntur, Ahmedabad and other centres organized programs. In Punjab, left student and youth organizations from across the state gathered at Hussainiwala, where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated. Anant former JNUSU Vice President from AISA also participated in the program. In Bhubaneswar, a convention was organized on 23rd March by AISA-RYA launching the campaign, Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU and Om Prasad, Gen. Secretary RYA were the main speakers at the convention.

In Bihar as part of the National Campaign a joint AISA RYA 'Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar Sangharsh Yatra' has been launched. The yatra will reach out to the people of Bihar, especially young people and expose the Modi Govt's attempts to dismantle the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and crush all voices of dissent. On 31st March on the martyrdom day of Com. Chandrasekhar a Student Youth Assembly will be held in Patna, where comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, and Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President JNUSU will be the main speakers.

On 25th March a seminar was organized in Madurai to mark the launch of the campaign. In the seminar Shehla Rashid and Sucheta De, President, AISA were speakers. A booklet on the JNU issue was also released and pamphlets on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar were also distributed. On 27th March AISA RYA organized a seminar in Chandigarh titled 'Relevance of Bhagat Singh's ideology. The speakers in the program were Rama Naga, Vishwadeepak, Journalist, who resigned from Zee News over its coverage on the JNU issue and Om Prasad, Gen. Sec. RYA. The seminar was preceded by a painting, essay writing and debate competition on Bhagat Singh and his ideas. In Koderma convention was held on 27th March which was addressed by AISA and RYA leaders.

Against The Crackdown in Hyderabad Central University

On 22 March, Appa Rao Podile resumed charge as the Vice Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (HCU) after being forced to proceed on "long leave" in January for his role in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. It is condemnable that Appa Rao Podile has been reinstated in spite of the fact that he is currently facing a judicial enquiry as well as serious charges under the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act.

The reinstatement of Appa Rao Podile justifiably led to massive protests in HCU at the VC lodge in the campus. As has now become the pattern, the ABVP-RSS along with the University administration and the Police together launched a brutal and well-planned crackdown on the protestors. Hundreds of students and even teachers were brutally lathi charged, abused, dragged, and detained by the police. The police threatened the students with fake encounters, threatened women students with rape, and branded Muslim students as 'terrorists'.

27 students and 2 faculty members were arrested and sent to jail. The campus was turned into a prison, hostel messes as well as the supply of drinking water, power supply and internet facilities were shut down for two whole days. Two students were cooking food in a community kitchen when the police suddenly swamped upon them and brutally beat up one student, Uday Bhanu, who was critically injured and had be hospitalised in ICU.

The CPIML extends all support and solidarity to the ongoing movement demanding dropping of all charges against students and faculty of HCU, immediate removal and arrest of HCU VC Appa Rao Podile and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatraya under Prevention Of Atrocities against SC/ST act, withdrawal of police from the campus, action against police for the targeted violence, detentions, misinformation about the detained people and physical assault of women students and faculty, enacting of the Rohith Act against caste discrimination on campuses and resignation of HRD Minister.


Comrade Mahendra Sahni

Comrade Mahendra Sahni passed away on 23 March 2016 in Purnea. He was only 58. An ex-army man, he joined the communist movement during peasant struggles for land and livelihood led by CPI(M) leader comrade Ajit Sarkar who was later murdered in Purnea. He joined CPI(M) in 1990s, and later became a member of CPI(ML) in 2002 and began his life as a full time political activist. He will be remembered by his fellow comrades for his indomitable spirit, courage, dynamism and for taking timely political initiatives.

He could not recover completely after a heart surgery in January which ultimately led to his demise after a cardiac arrest.

He actively distributed party organs Liberation and Samkaleen Lokyuddh and himself was an avid reader of party literature. He is survived by his wife, who is an activist in Nurses' association, and a son and daughter.

We pay our tributes to the departed comrade and reiterate our pledge to carry forward the movement for which he remained devoted till his last breadth.

Red Salute to comrade Mahendra Sahni !