CPIML Liberation Karnataka

CPIML Liberation Karnataka

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಜೂನ್ 7, 2016

ML Update | No. 24 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 24 | 7-13 June 2016


Gulberg Society Massacre: Justice Compromised

The Gulberg Society verdict of an Ahmedabad special court, that has convicted 24 and acquitted 36, and dismissed the conspiracy charges "for lack of evidence", cannot satisfy the quest for justice. The Gulberg Society massacre was one of the worst incidents in a pogrom that was unleashed following the Godhra carnage on February 27 2002. The verdict has convicted some leading Vishwa Hindu Parishad figures but has acquitted an accused BJP Councillor as well as police inspector KK Erda.

On February 28, 2002, 69 people including former MP Ahsaan Jafri were killed at Gulberg Society by a mob, and many went missing who were later presumed dead. Survivors accused the police and administration of collusion in the massacre. The SIT appointed by the Supreme Court in 2008 to probe the riot cases, failed to ask crucial questions that would have nailed the deliberate dereliction of duty by the police, administration and Government headed by Narendra Modi.

There are many reasons why the dismissal of conspiracy charges must be challenged in higher courts. First, the landmark verdict in the case of the Naroda Patiya massacre that took place just 4 kilometres away from Gulberg Society, established that the key convicts Babu Bajrangi and Minister Maya Kodnani were kingpins of a conspiracy. Call records show that Bajrangi and the VHP leader Atul Vaidya convicted in the Gulberg case were in close touch with each other; they also show that several key persons from the Chief Minister's office were in the same area as the Gulberg Society on February 27, a day before the massacre. Call records also belie the claim of Ahmedabad's Police Commissioner and other key police officers that they were unaware of the massacre that took place at Gulberg Society.

These call records establish that top police officers had visited the Gulberg Society, were aware that a huge restive mob preparing for violence, and yet, left the place without calling additional troops to control the mob. Witnesses have testified to the fact that Ahsaan Jafri made hundreds of calls for help, to the police as well as to top politicians including India's then Home Minister LK Advani and the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi – but received no help. The Government and police studiously looked the other way and allowed the mob to rape women, lynch Ahsaan Jafri to death and kill 69 people.

The most damning piece of the evidence of the state's collusion in the 2002 pogrom is the conduct of the then CM Modi who is now the Prime Minister. On February 28 2002, Modi made a televised address via Doordarshan in the evening, after the horrific massacres at Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society had ended – but mentioned only the Godhra carnage, remaining silent on these massacres. He claimed to the SIT that he was informed of these massacres only late that night. If senior police officers failed to keep themselves and the CM informed of massacres lasting several hours in broad daylight in the capital city, why were these officers not punished? Why were they, instead, promoted?

The very next day, 1 March 2002, Modi spoke to a television channel and rationalized the Gulberg massacre and in fact, all the riots, as a 'chain of action and reaction.' Modi claimed that Jafri's action of firing at the mob provoked the 'reaction' of the massacre. The question is, had the police and Government responded to Jafri's frantic calls, would he have been left to defend the Gulberg Society from a murderous mob, with nothing but his own gun? The police chargesheet in the Gulberg case had also initially made the same claim that the violence happened because Jafri fired on the mob. Rahul Sharma, the police officer who pointed out that this chargesheet was not consistent with the FIR, was transferred and has faced harassment and victimisaton ever since.

Even today, the Central Government headed by Modi continues to use its power to harass and victimize crusaders for justice like Teesta Setalvad (whose efforts are in large measure responsible for the Naroda Patiya verdict and the partial justice in the Gulberg case) and Indira Jaising who have taken on Modi and his lieutenant Amit Shah.  

The recently published book Gujarat Files by journalist Rana Ayyub, detailing conversations with top police officers recorded by her during sting operations, also confirms the complicity of the state in the 2002 pogrom. These conversations record Ashok Narayan, Home Secretary at the time of the pogrom, stating that Modi would issue verbal orders to his favoured and trusted police officers to support the VHP in the rioting, and that Modi did so for 'Hindu votes.' They also record PC Pande, the Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police at the time of the pogrom, justifying the communal violence as Hindu revenge for previous riots in history where he claimed the Muslims had had the upper hand.

Be it the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom patronized by the Congress or the 2002 pogrom by the Gujarat Government headed by Modi, enquiry commissions and courts have failed the victims and survivors. The political kingpins have escaped unscathed; crucial evidence has been ignored; and at best, some pawns have been punished.

The kingpins of the 2002 pogrom are in power at the Centre today and are trying to scuttle justice. But the courageous survivors including Zakia Jafri, and other fighters for justice will not give up. Their struggle is a rallying point for all democratic forces in India.      

Attack on Mazdoor Mukti Morcha Leader 
Bhagwant Samaon in Punjab

On the morning of 2 June, the Sarpanch of Bodawal village in Mansa, Punjab, belonging to the ruling Akali Dal accompanied by his goons brutally attacked the Punjab State President of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha (MMM) and Dalit leader, Bhagwant Samaon while he was holding a meeting of agricultural dalit workers in the village. It was while he was holding the meeting that Bodawal sarpanch Surat Singh arrived with his son and other goons and attacked Com. Bhagwant with hovels, resulting in severe head injuries. A female MNREGA worker and MMM activist was also injured in the attack when she tried to resist the attackers in order to protect comrade Bhagawnt.

Com. Bhagwant had been mobilising and organising the labourers in the Bodawal Village against the failure of the Akali Dal government to meet any of the long standing demands of the agrarian workers which included- giving possession of five-marla plots, debt waiver and also to compensate them for the loss of labour due to whitefly attacks.

The recent spate of incidents in Punjab have already shown how the police is a mute spectator in Punjab, completely failing to protect the citizens. While the police have failed to arrest the sarpanch, it is sparing no efforts to try and show that it was Com. Bhagwant who tried to instigate the workers against the government. It is extremely shameful that the local sarpanch and police are acting as musclemen of the ruling Akali Dal. While the state government has no response to the distraught condition of the labourers, it has now become intolerant to the extent that any effort to organise a protest against its anti-poor policies is met by a brutal oppression. Criminalisation and oppression of voices of struggle and dissent have become rampant under the state and Central governments. To protest against the attack on com. Bhagwant and demand the arrest of the attackers a joint protest 'Lalkaar Rally' has been called by the MMM and Punjab Kisan Union.

CPI(ML) Statement on Racist Violence

The CC noted with concern the recent incident of racist violence in Delhi in which a student from Congo was beaten to death. This is the latest in a series of such incidents in recent years – including the stripping of a Tanzanian woman in Bangalore by a mob; the murderous assault in Jalandhar on a student from Burundi that led to his coma and eventual death; the racist campaign by a Minister in Goa against Nigerian nationals; the racist raid on African women by a Delhi Government Minister in Khirki extension in Delhi; and the mob attack on three African men at Rajiv Chowk metro station in Delhi. It is condemnable that external affairs Ministers Sushma Swaraj and VK Singh have responded to the concerns expressed by representatives of High Commissions of African countries by denying the existence of racism in India and blaming the media. Central and State Governments must take up urgent measures to recognise and resist the widespread anti-Black racism in India.    

Protest Against Failure to Arrest the Attackers of Com. KK Bora

A workers' protest meeting was held in Ambedkar Park, Rudrapur, Uttarakhand on 6 May 2016, sixteen days after Vice President of AICCTU unit of Uttarakhand, Com. K. K. Bora was brutally attacked. The protestors expressed anger over the fact that even sixteen days after the attack, the attackers had not been arrested.

The meeting was addressed by National Vice President of AICCTU, Raja Bahuguna, CPI(ML) Uttarakhand State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party General Secretary Prabhat Dhyani, Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha leader Com. Avtar Singh and several other leaders including Com. K. K. Bora.  Representatives from several organisations and progressive individuals joined the protest against the failure of authorities to arrest the attackers. The protest meeting was chaired by state AICCTU President Nishan Singh and it was convened by District AICCTU leader Dinesh Tiwari. A resolution was unanimously passed during the protest meeting that if the attackers were not immediately arrested, a gherao of Kumaon's Commissioner would be done.

All India Kisan Mahasabha's Dharna in Haldwani

Hundreds of farmers staged a Mahadharna under the banner of the All India Kisan Mahasabha in Haldwani and sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister with the demands of the farmers of Bhabhar region and residents of forest villages (Khatta). This farmers dharna was a culmination of a Kisan Sangharsh Yatras taken out from 16 May to 24 May in all the khattas of Terai and villages of Bhabar. Group talks and discussions were held with farmers and other villagers at various places, and efforts were made to understand their problems.

The AIKM demanded construction of banks on both sides of the Gola river and construction of a by-pass road and flyover on Lalkuan railway crossing along with the demands of loan waiver, crop loss compensation, sugar cane arrears payment to farmers, and arrest of the criminals who perpetrated the condemnable attack on AICCTU leader KK Bora.

The Mahadharna held on the anniversary of the completion of 50 years after the Naxalbari farmers' agitation. AIKM State President Purushottam Sharma said that both the Modi government at the Centre and the Congress' Harish Rawat government in the State are neglecting the rights of farmers and farmers are being forced to migrate from Uttarakhand on a large scale. Farmers face ruin today due to drought and debt but the State and Central governments,  instead of arranging relief for them, are busy providing relief to capitalists and rich businessmen to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees.

Com. Sharma alleged that Uttarakhand govt. has made Bindukhatta into a municipality for the benefit of the land mafia and has indulged in political vendetta by slapping dozens of false cases under grave charges on farmers and their leaders engaged in democratic protest. This government has stopped the van gurjars who live inside forest village settlements, from sowing their crops with a view to create communal divide among the khatta residents. The issue of rehabilitation of van gurjars and other khatta residents has also been kept hanging in balance. He said that the Harish Rawat government as well as previous governments held back on the construction of the Jamrani dam under pressure from the mining mafia. The people in the entire State of Uttarakhand are demanding just this one dam, but construction of the Jamrani dam which would provide irrigation and drinking water to Haldwani and Bhabar is not in this government's priority.

CPI(ML) CC member and AICCTU leader Raja Bahuguna said that the recent episode of horse-trading for MLAs in crores of rupees by the BJP and the Congress is a matter of shame for Uttarakhand. On the one hand the Harish Rawat government asks for the people's support but on the other hand it is bent on oppression of workers and farmers. The attack on AICCTU leader KK Bora by criminals with government protection, and the attack by goondas on the democratically protesting farmers of Bindukhatta are two living examples of this.

Kisan Mahasabha district President Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi demanded the immediate removal of stone crushers from the residential areas of Bhabar, pointing out that under pressure from the crusher lobby the State government has not done so even after directives from the High Court.

 Addressing the Mahadharna, CPI(ML) district Secretary Kailash Pandey said that the Rawat government, by making changes in land use of hill lands after purchase and  by not doing legally mandated raids on factories by Labour Inspectors, has made its anti-worker character clear. The Mahadharna was also addressed by kisan leaders and many guest speakers from other organisations who expressed their solidarity with the struggle. The proceedings were conducted by Kisan Mahasabha State executive member Vimla Rauthan and district Secretary Rajendra Shah.

After the meeting, a 21-point charter of demands was submitted to the Chief Minister through the City Magistrate regarding issues related to the farmers of the Khattas and Bhabar. These demands included: revoking of Bindukhatta as a municipality, right to sow crops for forest gurjars and rehabilitation of all khattas, construction of Jamrani dam, removal of stone crushers from residential areas, banks on both sides of the Gola river, by-pass road, making Lalkuan a municipality, Lalkuan railway crossing flyover, drought relief and loan waiver for farmers, ownership rights for poor farmers in Bindukhatta and Bagjhala, payment of grants for toilets under the Swachch Bharat Mission for all khattas and non-revenue villages and areas.

State Conference of AIPWA in Uttar Pradesh

The 7th AIPWA UP State Conference was held in Lucknow at the Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall (Ameenabad). The Conference began by paying tributes to the martyrs of women's struggles. Com. Geeta Das, Naxalbari struggle leader and President of AIPWA at the time of its inception in 1994, and national committee member Com. Ahmadi Begum were especially remembered for their lifelong dedication to AIPWA.

Inaugurating the Conference, AIPWA National General Secretary Meena Tiwari said that women in different States are uniting and spontaneously fighting for their rights. AIPWA has played an important role in carrying forward these struggles. Exposing the Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar who pats himself on the back for total prohibition in the State, she pointed out that in the early phase Nitish had doubled the liquor contracts, whereas AIPWA had been struggling for prohibition in Bihar for the last 10 years and the entire credit should go to the working women of the State. These women have long been demanding health centres for women in every area with appointed gynecologists, but the government has ignored this demand.

Addressing the Conference, AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan said that the policies of the Modi government at the Centre and the Akhilesh government in UP are both anti-women. This is well exemplified by the role played by the SP and the BJP in the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013. She pointed out BJP President's statement both during the riots and during his campaign for Modi that 'riots are done to protect the honour of mothers and daughters'. She said that the Modi government talks of 'Beti Padhao Beti Bachao' but it is under their rule that the greatest violence is being perpetrated on women of all ages, from tiny children to elderly women; women are not getting due wages for their labour; the right to food Bill is not being implemented wherein every pregnant woman should get Rs 6000 per month. These governments attribute a shallow logic to ASHA-Anganwadi and midday meal workers not being paid adequate wages, the logic offered being that as these women work free of cost in their homes, they can also do 'service' for a small honorarium. Com. Kavita said that the more the government tries to imprison women in the name of culture, tradition, and safety, the more women are raising their voices and coming out on the streets with slogans demanding 'freedom'.

CPI(ML) Politburo member and the Chief editor of Samkaleen Janmat, Com. Ramji Rai said that brave women like Jhalkaribai, Laxmibai, and Begum Hazratmahal came out fighting against British imperialism; similarly, today's women must come out fighting against patriarchy, caste and gender discrimination.

The proceedings of the inaugural session were conducted by Tahira Hassan. The cultural team of 'Chorus' led by Samta Rai presented people's songs.

In the delegates' session, activities of AIPWA over the past 3 years and the current organizational and political situation were discussed. Different aspects of strengthening the women's movement in the State were also discussed. More than a dozen delegates put forward their thoughts in the session and a 9-point resolution was passed. A 33-member Council and 19-member State executive were elected who then elected Com. Kusum Verma as State Secretary and Com. Krishna Adhikari as State President.

Protest March Against Murder of Journalist

The CPI(ML) organized protest marches in Siwan, Begusarai and Katihar against the murder of journalist Rajdev Ranjan of the newspaper 'Hindustan' in Siwan. Former CPI(ML) MLA and popular leader Com. Amarnath Yadav and Siwan district Secretary Com. Naeemuddin Ansari met the bereaved family of Rajdev Ranjan and extended condolences on behalf of the party. The leaders condemned the extremely shameful of the journalist and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members and staff of 'Hindustan'. They stated that once again the confidence of criminals in Bihar is sky high; it is a matter of great shame that journalists are now being targeted and killed. Some days ago CPI(ML) leader Com. Chaurasiya was murdered in Siwan and his killers are still at large. They also pointed out that the law and order system in Bihar is going from bad to worse. Instead of handing out platitudes in this matter, the government should take stern measures to control crime.

Protest Against Branding of Students as Terrorists

AISA activists held a one-day dharna in Patna in protest against persecution of student leaders and common students in Patna University on the lines of the witch-hunt in JNU. Addressing the dharna at the University gate, AISA national executive member,  Akash Kashyap said that while the students of the Arts and Crafts College have been victimized by the College administration, AISA State Joint Secretary Tariq Anwar and 3 other student leaders have been charged with involvement in terrorist activities by Patna University. Clearly, Patna University and the Bihar government are treading on the same path as the Modi government at the centre. Addressing the dharna, RYA leader Com. Ramji Yadav said that Patna University accusing students of terrorist activity was totally ridiculous, as the truth is that the students and student leaders have been agitating for the past so many days for their legitimate rights. This action against them is totally undemocratic. RYA leader Com. Manish Kumar Singh added that both the Central government as well as the Bihar State government are both anti-student; while one is persecuting the students on false charges of sedition, the other is persecuting them on false charges of terrorism. He further said that if the Patna University does not revoke its tyrannical action, a strong agitation would be launched in the coming days. It was also announced at the meeting that the second phase of the 'Uttho Mere Desh' campaign would be carried out by AISA and RYA from 10 May to 9 August 2016 in order to expose the fascist campaign of the BJP to the common students.


11TH Gorakhpur Film Festival in Memory of Rohith Vemula

A 2 day film festival organized by Gorakhpur Film Society and Jan Sanskriti Manch started in Gorakhpur on 14 May. This film festival has been held for the past 11 years without corporate funding and has established a progressive tradition and lent a new inspiration to film screening across the country.

Inaugurating the festival, poet-thinker Prof. Laltu said that it is a matter of great strength that all thinking people are fighting in unison in these dark times. President of the organizing committee and senior writer Madan Mohan said that we must fight together to save democracy and freedom of expression. A souvenir of the film festival was released on the occasion. The session was conducted by festival convener, Chandrabhushan Ankur. Senior journalist, Ashok Chowdhary read out a resolution condemning the murders of journalists Rajdev Ranjan and Akhilesh Pratap Singh.

The next part of the festival saw presentations of musical videos: Sambhaji Bhagat's 'Yeh Hitler ke Sathi' in solidarity with FTII students, 'Chal Chaliye' by Majma group remembering Kabir and other poets in this era of intolerance, and Hirawal's song in remembrance of Rohith Vemula.

The next presentation was the screening of Chaitanya Tamhane's 'Court' which powerfully takes apart the justice system of our country and shows that the poor have no place in this system.  It was followed by screening of 'I am Nageshwara Rao Star' made by students of HCU which deals with the discrimination against Dalit students in institutes of higher education. This film has greater significance as it was at HCU that dalit student Rohith was institutionally murdered. The next film was Rahul Roy's 'Factory' which focused on the Maruti workers' fight for justice against the oppression unleashed by company management as well as government. After the screening, the director Rahul Roy had a long discussion with the.

The second Prof. Ramakrishna Mani Tripathi memorial lecture was delivered by eminent poet and revolutionary thinker Prof. Laltu. Delivering his lecture on 'Nationalism', Prof. Laltoo said that though nearly one fourth people of this country are illiterate, more than half the people spend their lives in abject poverty, the systems for education and health care are in shambles, and despite all this nearly one fourth of the country's wealth is spent on maintaining the oppressive structures and the oppressor class. All this happens in the name of nationalism. However, today, Dalit-Left-Minority-Women are coming together and their unity is evident in the struggle against oppression and loot of the resources. The Sangh Parivar, on its side is doing its utmost to break this unity as exemplified in JNU. Today we must choose from two options: ether to go with this aggressive oppressive nationalism or to forge a multi-cultural, multi-lingual nationalism where not geographical boundaries but the all-round development of people would define love for one's country. He said that 'We fight and protest against hatred for the love of humanity'.

The second day of the festival saw films discussing the struggles of Niyamgiri, Odisha and Kashmir. The film 'Referendum' directed by Tarun Mishra is a tale of the struggles of tribals in Niyamgiri. Dongriya who fought the battle to defend their forests and were successful in sending back a ruthless company like the Vedanta. The film 'Khoon Diy Baarav' (Blood leaves its Trail) directed by Iffat Fatima sheds light on the situation in Kashmir. Sharing the woes of those missing since last ten years in Kashmir, this film provides a voice to the deep seated sadness and anger among the Kashmiri people. A children's film 'Kanche aur Postcard' showed the indifference of our society to children's issues. In this era of prohibitions on our freedom of eating and drinking, 'Caste on the Menu Card', a meaningful film made by Ananya Gaur and others, received much appreciation from the audience. Pushpa Rawat's 'Mod' presented a realistic image of lower middle class youth. The audience interacted with both Tarun Mishra and Pushpa Rawat after the screening of their movies.

The final programme on the second day was presented by Dr Aziz Ahmed who opened the door to the world of Sahir Ludhiyanvi through anecdotes, songs, and pictures. Youth singer Aamir also kept the audience enthralled with his songs during the breaks. In the end, the convener of the Gorakhpur film society, Manoj Kumar, expressed gratitude towards all. He shared that Cinema of Resistance film festival has now also started in Maharajaganj and Devariya. This year, the festival will also be organized in Mau and Kushinagar. Besides this, the Gorakhpur film society will now strive to organize regular screenings in different parts of the city.


Tribute to Muhammad Ali

The boxing legend, symbol of Black pride and inspirational anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-war icon Muhammad Ali passed away on 4 June 2016 at the age of 74.

Born Cassius Clay, he took the name Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam.

He will be remembered as one of the 'greatest' in the world of boxing. But above all, he will be loved and remembered all over the world for his bold stand, at the height of his sporting success, against racism, imperialism and war. He was stripped of his title and sentenced to jail for refusing to fight in Vietnam as an American soldier. He expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and his opposition to Zionism and US imperialism. He was known as much for his punches in the boxing ring as for his anti-racist punches which he delivered to the racist and imperialist establishment in the USA. Asked by the media why he refused to fight in Vietnam, he retorted, 'I ain't got no quarrel with them VietCong – no VietCong ever called me nigger.'

In tribute to The Champ, we reproduce an excerpt from his statement explaining his refusal to fight in Vietnam – a statement which will always inspire as an expression of anti-racist internationalism and of anti-imperialist solidarity:

"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.

But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…"

ML Update | No. 23 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 19, No. 23, 31 MAY ­– 06 JUNE 2016

Two Years of Modi Government:

Mirage of 'Development', 'Change' in the Direction of Communal Fascism

Narendra Modi was propelled to power after an elaborate media-crafted image-building exercise that claimed a larger-than-life image for Modi and his magic wand of 'development'. After two years in power, the Modi Government is having to resort to the same tactics of corporate-funded eyewash and propaganda in order to cover up the reality of its dismal failure to deliver on its tall promises, and the menacing moves in the direction of a Hindu Rashtra.

In his 2014 election campaign Modi had promised an end to inflation. The reality is that inflation continues to soar and prices of essentials like pulses (dal) went up by more than 30 per cent. Modi promised two crore jobs every year. In fact, India has seen the lowest job growth since 2009, and there has been a decline of 20,000 jobs across 8 labour intensive sectors. Central Government spending on MNREGA has also fallen, and even MNREGA payments were made only after Supreme Court intervention. With the Government slashing University Grants Commission funds by 55%, the UGC has announced a new policy that amounts to massive cuts in university teaching jobs and increased burdens on existing teaching staff. This will not only affect the job prospects of young scholars, it will adversely affect the quality of higher education in the country.

Farmers suicides continue unabated. While the Modi Government does nothing to alleviate the agrarian crisis, farmers' distress and severe drought conditions, his Ministers and BJP leaders vie with each other to make statements that insult and humiliate farmers. Forest Rights laws have been systematically undermined to facilitate corporate grab of tribals' land.

The BJP President admitted that Modi's promise of bringing back black money to the country was a 'jumla' (empty phrase-mongering). In truth, the Modi Government can be described as 'government of jumlas.' The 'Jan Dhan Yojana,' launched with much fanfare, is a non-starter, with 27% zero balance accounts and 33% duplicate accounts. 'Make in India' has failed to attract much investment; but it has been a ploy to dismantle and weaken labour and environment laws and depress wages in the name of 'ease of doing business.'

All the Modi Government is able to plead in its defence is that it is as yet untainted by big-ticket corruption. But its Ministers are implicated in helping the scamster Lalit Modi as well as the bank defaulter Vijay Mallya flee the country. Its Government has deferred bank loan repayments for one of the worst defaulters, Gautam Adani, known to be close to the Prime Minister.

The Gujarat Model itself – Modi's biggest election plank in 2014 – has unravelled and proved to be a story of jobless growth and dangerous work conditions. The Gujarat Government was recently reprimanded by the Supreme Court and directed to pay compensation to families of tribal migrant workers who died due to silicosis. Authorities recently admitted that the Gujarat Government under Modi "did nothing" for construction workers' welfare, compensating only 7 out of 731 workplace deaths.

The Modi Government slogan 'Desh Badal Raha Hai' (The Country Is Changing) is rather like the Vajpayee Government's 'India Shining' slogan that was seen by voters in 2004 as a mockery of the abject conditions of their life. But in certain sinister ways, India is indeed changing. Under Modi, the country has changed to the extent that people are being killed on allegations of having 'eaten beef' or 'killed cows'; University-going women are being called 'shameless' by ruling party leaders, and being beaten and molested by ABVP men from Jadavpur to Banaras; autonomy and democracy in Universities and higher education institutions across the country are under an assault by the Central Government; inter-faith marriages are described as 'love jehad' and attacked by Hndutva groups; the Government has distinguished itself by offering justifications for communal and caste atrocities ranging from the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula to the Dadri lynching to Dalit children being burnt alive. Hindutva groups accused of terrorism are being acquitted; these groups have indulged in murders of rationalists; and are openly holding armed 'training camps' that systematically prepare for communal violence. Syllabi in schools are being changed in tune with Hindutva ideology – that seeks to impart both irrationality and bigotry to young children.

Under Modi, India is indeed being taken down the road of corporate-communal fascism. In his speech at his two-year extravaganza, Modi described this dangerous direction of 'change' as 'Vikas-vaad' (developmentalism) and dubbed resistance to it as 'Virodh-vaad' (opposition-ism or nay-saying). By branding the resistance to his pro-corporate and pro-communal policies as 'Virodh-vaad', Modi has let slip how threatened he feels by people's movements. His attempt to pass a law to facilitate corporate land grab was defeated by peasants' resistance; his policy of fund cuts and meddling in Universities has been met with determined and inspiring struggles by students and teachers; workers protests all over the country (most recently by garment workers in Bengaluru) are fighting back against anti-worker moves by the Government. The Modi Government's self-congratulatory propaganda cannot silence the determined dissent and resistance by the people of the country.


Crackdown on BHU Students' Struggle For 24/7 Access to Library

The universities are supposed to be places of higher learning, but in Banaras Hindu University (BHU), students are having to take on an extremely insensitive and brutal administration to fight for the very right to study and access library facilities. Students in BHU have been fighting for the right to study 24/7 in the BHU Library. By curtailing the hours for which the library is accessible to the students, the university has engaged in a direct assault on their right to study. The students even launched a long hunger strike to ensure that their demand is met. The university authorities – as has become the norm in the Modi regime – have chosen to respond by brute oppression. The protesting students have been ruthlessly assaulted and several of them rusticated. ABVP goons too were witnessed brutally beating up protesting students including female students. Though the hunger strike was subsequently lifted due to tremendous pressure exerted by the university administration by way of getting striking students arrested and the failing health of students, the movement continues.

Expressing solidarity with the struggling students of BHU, AISA national president, Com. Sucheta De, AISA leader Com. Shweta Raj, and AISA leader and ex JNUSU Vice President, Com. Anant Prakash also visited the BHU campus to provide support to the movement. Comrade Sarita, a senior leader of AISA from Banaras, also visited BHU. The AISA leaders participated in a protest where the circular notifying the rustication was burnt. They also appealed to the students, youth and progressive individuals throughout the country to rally behind students of BHU and send postcards to the VC of BHU in support of the students' demands. AISA activists in Patna also staged a 'rail roko' protest to express solidarity with students of BHU, demanding revocation of rustication and fulfilment of their demands pertaining to library access. The leaders addressing the protestors said that while the Prime Minister talked of 'Mann ki Baat' (speaking his mind), he had shown complete disdain when it came to the 'Mann ki Baat' of students and youth who are being beaten up, rusticated or jailed for demanding their right to education and employment.

The coming together of students across universities should send clear message to the university authorities that instead of using university premises to organise propaganda sessions by members and sympathisers of the Sangh Brigade, they better respond to the real issues confronting the students.


Firing on Protesting Students of Patna University

The students of Art and Crafts College of Patna University have been protesting against misuse of college infrastructure and the autocratic ways of the college principal. These protesting and hunger striking students including several AISA activists were fired upon by the Patna University Administration recently.

Since some time the electricity from the college premises was being diverted, disturbing the academic life of the students. When the students confronted the contractor, he mercilessly beat up the students and when the students approached the principal to complain about the incident, the principal rusticated 8 students on no grounds at all. Since then the students of the college have been in a long drawn struggle demanding revocation of rustication of students, suspension of the autocratic college principal and improvement of campus infrastructure. The students also went on a hunger strike. On the 12th day of the hunger strike, far from engaging with the genuine demands of the students, the college and university administration responded by having the security guards open fire at the striking and protesting students.

Even as the CM Nitish Kumar has on a few occasions criticised the Modi government for its attack on students, when it comes to colleges and universities in Bihar, he has refused to comment and take action on the Patna University authorities who are assaulting students on his watch.

On 25 May, the AISA called for a massive demonstration in which the effigy of CM Nitish Kumar and the PU VC were burnt. On 27 May, AISA activists in Begusarai organised a huge protest and jammed the NH-31 protesting the firing on protesting and hunger striking students by PU administration. They demanded resignation of the dictatorial VC of the Patna University and also the Principal of the Art college, along with action on the guard who opened fire. Addressing the protestors, AISA leader Com. Naveen Kumar said that by ordering fire on students who were only exercising their right to protest to register their demands, the PU VC has once again demonstrated his dictatorial ways. On 28 May protests were also called by AISA in Bhojpur in solidarity with students of Arts and Crafts college and students of BHU and showing to the governments yet again that the student movements against anti-student policies and the solidarities between them will only strengthen in days to come.


Naxalbari Day Observed

The District Committee of Kolkata CPIML observed Naxalbari Day and the 49th Anniversary of Naxalbari on 25th May. The event was held at College Street, adjacent to Presidency College which became the symbol and centre of revolutionary students' movement during the stormy decades of 70s. In spite of bad weather, veteran communist revolutionaries and party comrades along with students participated in the programme. Comrade Partha Ghosh, Secretary of West Bengal State Committee, and Jayatu Deshmukh, member of State Standing committee addressed the gathering, talking of the crucial role of the Naxalbari peasant uprising as a watershed in the Indian Left movement. The Naxalbari uprising took forward the heroic traditions of the revolutionary peasant movements of pre-independence India, and was also a decisive shift from the revisionist and opportunist currents in the Indian Left movement, giving birth to the CPI(ML).

Comrade Nimai Ghosh, a very close associate of Com. Saroj Dutta and first publisher of Liberation was also present and addressed the meeting. Comrade Krishna Banerjee, a veteran comrade who faced brutal police torture during that period, and Madhumoy Pal, a renowned intellectual also addressed the meeting. Comrade Nitish Roy sang revolutionary songs and Comrade Dibakar Bhattacharya presided over the meeting.

Naxalbari Day was also observed at Jagampeta town of East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Hundreds of people gathered at Travellers Building on the hot summer day, and marched towards Srinivas Hall where the meeting was held. Comrade Yenugupati Arjunarao, District President of AIARLA, presided over the public meeting. Comrade N Murthy, State Secretary of CPI(ML) gave the key note address, discussing the importance of the Naxalabari peasant uprising in Indian history. Comrade Bangar Raju, Central Committee member also spoken about the land struggles in and around the district of East Godavari. Comrade Harinad, District Party Secretary and Comrade R. Simhachalam, President of Andhra Pradesh Girijana Sangam participated in the rally and public meeting.


Protest Against Murder of Dalit Woman in Andhra Pradesh

A Dalit woman Kokundu Simhachalam, of Pedda Sankaralapudi village of Prathipadu Mandal of East Godavari district in AP was killed by upper caste people. When Dalits demanded arrest of the accused, the police detained some Dalit villagers at the police station. The CPI(ML) Liberation Prathipadu area committee leaders went to the village and secured the release of the Dalit villagers. Along with villagers and local Dalit organisations, the CPI(ML) organised a protest demonstration at the police station on 28th May. Protesters started a sit-in dharna in front of the Prathipadu police station demanding arrest of the killers of the Dalit woman. Comrades Manukonda Lachababu, Yenugupati Arjunavarao, Dapa Lakshmi of CPI(ML) Liberation, Kaparapu Rajeswararao from Srujana, and Aam Admi Party local leader Adhikari participated in the dharna.


Protests Continue Against Attack on Uttarakhand Labour Leader

AICCTU had announced an indefinite relay dharna by workers from 26 May at Haldwani if the attackers of labour leader and AICCTU State General Secretary KK Bora were not arrested by 25 May. As announced, the dharna began on 26 May at Budh Park, Haldwani.

Addressing the dharna AICCTU National Vice President Raja Bahuguna said that the statement made at a Press conference in Nainital by DGP Uttarakhand that he was not aware of the assault on KK Bora is absolutely false. The truth is that the whole episode was brought to his notice on the very day of the incident. On the other hand, DM Rudrapur has sent a notice to labour leaders yesterday charging them with breach of peace!

Former National Vice President of the State Bank Staff Association NC Khulbe also addressed the dharna. Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers Union State President Kamla Kunjwal said that ASHA workers would work wearing black bands until the arrest of KK Bora's attackers. Bank union leader KN Sharma said that attacking leaders who raise their voice for workers' rights is an attack on democracy. Kisan Mahasabha district President Bahadur Singh Jangi said that farmers would also stand in solidarity with the workers and put pressure on the administration for arrest of the culprits.

On 28 May, an effigy of the Chief Minister was burnt in protest, on the third day of the dharna. Addressing the dharna AICCTU leader Kailash Pandey pointed out that the Chief Minister and Labour Minister are shielding the attackers; otherwise, how could it be possible for the chief accused to be seen roaming freely in the Collectorate complex? RML Union President Mahesh Tiwari said that SIDCUL has become most notorious in matters of flouting labour laws.

The dharna was also addressed by ASHA Union Okhalkanda block President Shanti Sharma, Mohanlal Arya, Pankaj Inqalabi, Jagdish Mishra of MINDA Union, Navin Chandra Khulbe of the Bank Union, Amar Singh Bohra, Vipin Bora, Champa Maheshwari of the MK Auto union, Navin Kandpal, Shankar Lal, Kailash Chandra, Rakesh Chandra, Narayan Singh Matiyali of the BSNL union, Lalit Matiyali, Kamal Joshi, Maya Tiwari of the CPI (ML) and others.

It was unanimously resolved at the dharna that the dharna in Haldwani which was going on from 29 May would join the dharna at the Rudrapur DM office.

Protests against the attack on KK Bora were also held at the gate of both plants of the Pricol factory in Coimbatore on 27 May, and poster and leaflet campaigns also took place in other districts of Tamil Nadu.


Statement by AISA Against UGC Gazette Notification May 2016

(Excerpt from a statement by AISA)

The recent UGC gazette notification – UGC Regulations (3rd Amendment), 2016 – is actually a blueprint for massive JOB CUTS and outright DOWNGRADING of public-funded Higher Education and University system. This amendment in the UGC regulations of 2010, has serious and negative implications for both teaching community (both Permanent and Ad-Hoc) and students. The amendment, notified on 10 May 2016, has:

(a) drastically increased the teaching hours for Assistant Professors from 16 Hours to 24 Hours Per Week and from 14 hours to 22 hours per week for Associate Professors,

(b) devalued the tutorial classes for Humanities and Social Sciences, which until now, was an important feature of class room learning and a great boon to students from deprived backgrounds,

(c) For Science courses, from now on a 2 hour of practical class will count as just 1 hour of lecture classes.

Job Cut for Ad Hoc Teachers and Young Scholars: For the permanent faculty this will clearly mean a 50% increase in work load; and automatically for the current Ad-Hoc faculty, it will simply mean a severe decline in job prospects. More than 70% ad hoc faculties can lose their jobs in the next session. Currently there are almost 4000 vacant posts in Delhi University alone, filled mainly by research scholars. The anti-student, anti-teacher and overall anti-education stance of this present government is clearly reflected in this move, as instead of filling the already vacant positions in DU, they are cutting down the number of teaching posts.

Down Grading of Teaching Quality : The severe increase in working hours for teaching community will also have drastic consequences for student community. Firstly, it will lead to worsening of the teacher-student ratio as the number of teachers will come down. Secondly, because of increment in workload, the QUALITY OF TEACHING WILL BE AFFECTED NEGATIVELY, as teachers will be forced to teach more courses in a limited time period. Lastly these changes will have extremely negative impact on students, especially for those coming from deprived socio-economic background (who might need special attention) as the prospect of engagement between teacher and student will decline because of increased workload.

Elimination of Reservation Backlog: This decision is also reflective of the anti-reservation mindset of the BJP government, as most of the current vacancies belong to the reserved category not filled for years. Immediate filling of the backlog has been a long standing demand of AISA and many other organisations. But, instead of filling the backlog, the UGC and MHRD are conspiring to abolish the teaching posts all-together!

The UGC Notification is a direct consequence of the massive 55% fund-cuts for the UGC in the Union Budget of 2016-17 (from Rs 9315.45 cr. in 2015-16 to Rs. 4286.94 cr. in 2016-17). The UGC gazette is merely the 'software' required to implement the agenda of killing public funding in higher education and pushing for privatization.

The UGC Gazette Notification (May 2016) is also in the line MHRD's undeclared war on Universities which include:

•Drastic fund cut of UGC and Universities

•Intervention in courses and syllabus to saffronize and undermine the autonomy of Universities

•Direct targeting and police action on opposing teachers and students like FTII, HCU, JNU, BHU etc.

Just last year, the UGC under the diktats of MHRD tried to cut down the Non-Net fellowship for research scholars. This was met with severe student-teacher resistance. Once again, let us be prepared to resist this anti-education move by the Modi Government in every manner until the Government withdraws the UGC notification in toto and fills the huge backlog and increases the budget for education.


Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate@cpiml.org, website: www.cpiml.org

ML Update | No. 22 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  19 | No. 22 | 24 - 30 MAY 2016


The May 2016 Verdict and Lessons for the Left

After suffering a series of electoral debacles all through 2015, the BJP has again made big gains in the recent round of Assembly elections. The party has come to power for the first time in Assam, thereby greatly bolstering its political presence and prospects in the North-East, apart from opening its account in the Assemblies of West Bengal and Kerala, backed by impressive double digit vote share in both the states. Two years into power, when the Modi government finds itself being rapidly discredited on every major front, the Assam victory will provide a much needed shot in the BJP's arm.

The Congress has suffered a comprehensive defeat in both Assam and Kerala. While Kerala has evolved a well established pattern of alternating governments, and the LDF victory conforms to that established pattern, it is the loss in Assam, where the party has been in power for the last fifteen years, which must hurt the Congress really badly. Till recently, the BJP was not in a position to contemplate an immediate ascent to power in Assam even though with its Hindutva politics the BJP always had the potential to manipulate the sensitive 'foreign national' issue to its advantage. It was the split in the Congress in Assam with Tarun Gogoi's once close lieutenant Himanta Biswa Sarma joining the BJP with several MLAs, and the AGP-BJP alliance, which brightened the prospects of the BJP in Assam.

The BJP grabbed this opportunity with both hands, reaching out to the Bodos and a couple of smaller tribes, while the Congress went to this crucial electoral battle isolated and discredited. The end result has been this sweeping victory of the BJP-led alliance which has now placed the BJP in an advantageous position to strengthen its presence in the entire North-Eastern region. The co-option of Assamese regionalism within the RSS-BJP framework of Hindutva is fraught with disturbing political implications. The RSS will now have a free hand to use the delicate and diverse ethno-religious composition of Assam and the North-East for its dangerous divisive agenda.

With the Congress dislodged from power in two more states – it now rules only in Karnataka in the south and in the Himalayan states of Himachal, Uttarakhand in the North and Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram in the North-East – the BJP has surely strengthened its position as the currently dominant all-India party of the Indian ruling classes. The Assam and Kerala blows have deepened the crisis of leadership and direction within the Congress and as it prepares for the next crucial round of elections in Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand, it will have a difficult time keeping its own house in order and contending with the growing pressure of regional parties in the anti-BJP camp.

The Congress and BJP apart, regional parties and the CPI(M)-led Left Front had a lot of stake in these elections. In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK won a decisive victory despite growing disillusionment with her authoritarian and arrogant style of governance, the deepening agrarian and industrial crisis in the state and the huge administrative failure in managing the recent floods in Chennai and coastal Tamil Nadu. The DMK-Congress alliance improved its performance but was nowhere near dislodging the AIADMK from power.

In Tamil Nadu, the CPI(M) and CPI had begun with the idea of a programme-based alternative, floating a People's Welfare Front  with parties like VCK and Vaiko's MDMK which had been with the BJP till recently. But as elections drew nearer, they entered into electoral collaboration with even more discredited forces like the DMDK led by actor Vijaykanth and the breakaway Congress group led by GK Vasan. In the process, the Left and even the PWF were relegated to the background and the whole thing became a vehicle for the projection of Vijaykanth as a Chief Minister aspirant. The move flopped spectacularly with Vijaykanth himself finishing a distant third and his party's vote share declining to less than 3 per cent.

For the CPI(M), the big battles were in Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala the party managed to galvanise its otherwise faction-ridden organisation in a powerful oppositional role vis-a-vis the scam-tainted Congress government and scripted a decisive victory riding on a powerful campaign led by the charismatic nonagenarian 'rebel' CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan. What queered the pitch further for the Congress was the phenomenal rise in the BJP bloc's vote share to an unprecedented 15 per cent (together with its ally, the  Bharat Dharma Jan Sena (BDJS) which polled 3.9% votes) much of which came eventually at the cost of the Congress despite Yechury's allegations of a tacit RSS-Congress understanding.

The RSS has long been quite active and organised in Kerala. In Kannur district in north Kerala, RSS and CPI(M) clashes and even gruesome killings have been recurring quite frequently in recent years. But this is the first time the BJP managed to translate its growing presence into an actual victory. But rather than this one seat, one should look at the growing BJP vote share, its influence among the hugely neglected tribal population in the state (Modi's Somalia analogy which many in Kerala considered an 'insult' was actually made in the context of the deprivation of tribal areas in the state) and the rise of BJP allies like the BDJS. Traditionally bipolar Kerala politics now surely has a significant third force in the form of the BJP.

More than Kerala, it was West Bengal which marked the biggest battlefield for the CPI(M) and it has been trounced completely in the battle of Bengal. The result clearly shows that the CPI(M) has made little recovery in rural Bengal, once the strongest bastion of the Left Front and the desperate bid to regain power by cobbling an opportunist alliance with the Congress has proved to be a humiliating disaster. The CPI(M) and the Left Front have been reduced to its lowest ever tally of 32 seats, nearly half of its 2011 tally while the Congress, bolstered by votes transferred by the CPI(M), has emerged as the second biggest party with 44 seats! If the 2011 defeat marked a grievous injury to the CPI(M) after its 34 years of uninterrupted stint in power, the debacle this time has added lethal insult to that injury.

Unable to justify the alliance in terms of the political line adopted by the party at its Visakhapatnam Congress in April 2015, CPI(M) leaders described the Bengal alliance as mere seat adjustment as desired by the people! Nothing could be farther from the political truth known to everyone in West Bengal. The distinction between an alliance and adjustment is not a matter of mere formal nomenclature nor is it determined by the fact whether CPI(M) PB or CC members from outside the state shared platform with Congress leaders or not. The combination was projected as a 'people's alliance', the campaign was conducted jointly all over the state and Surjyakanta Mishra, CPI(M) State Secretary and PBM was projected as the would-be chief minister of the alliance government. Surely, this political readiness to share power – and that too dictated not by any so-called post-poll 'compulsion' but deliberate pre-poll design – matters much more than the diplomatic script of stage-sharing during the election campaign.

It was well known that the Congress vote is concentrated in a few districts and spread very thin in the rest of the state. While the CPI(M) transferred its vote to the Congress – in fact, the Congress campaign in many constituencies ran on the strength and steam provided by the organised Left cadre – traditional Congress voters in most constituencies with Left candidates went over to the TMC or even preferred to vote NOTA, not to mention the 'friendly contests' where the Congress put up its own candidates against the Left. Going by electoral arithmetic, the Congress-Left alliance was expected to sweep in North Bengal, but the results show that of the 76 seats in the North Bengal districts of Alipurduar, Coohbehar, Darjeeling, North and South Dinajpur, Malda and the adjoining central Bengal district of Murshidabad, the TMC has bagged 32 seats, just marginally behind the 38 seats won by the alliance. But within the alliance, it is the Congress which has got the lion's share of 28 seats with the Left getting only 10 seats. Indeed, going by the Assembly segment-based figures of the 2014 elections, the Congress had led in 29 seats, but with CPI(M) support its tally has now gone up to 44 whereas the LF tally continues to stagnate at 32, almost the same level as in 2014.

In the wake of the 2011 defeat, the CPI(M) had talked about undertaking some rectification campaign in West Bengal, but we never saw any serious self-criticism on the party's major blunders that alienated it from large sections of the rural poor and the peasantry as well as the progressive intelligentsia. During the election campaign the CPI(M) harped on the bankrupt theme of Singur-style industrialisation, undertaking a padyatra from Singur to Salboni, two cruel symbols of land acquisition that yielded no industriy or employment while robbing thousands of people of their land and livelihood and in Singur itself, the CPI(M) candidate launched his campaign riding a yellow Nano car, the model that even the Tatas are now discarding as a flawed idea!

Indeed, the only 'rectification' witnessed in practice was this alliance with the Congress, hailed as a 'brilliant, courageous and pragmatic reinvention' of the Left by the influential Ananda Bazar Group which advocated and engineered the alliance and virtually served as the organ of the alliance all through the protracted election campaign. It remains to be seen how the CPI(M) now evaluates its Bengal disaster which has been rendered incredibly profound by the party's stubborn refusal to learn from its mistakes and the opportunist centrist formulations that invited and presided over this disaster.

Far from broadening and reinvigorating the model of Left unity on the lines of the united Left bloc in Bihar, the CPI(M) virtually abandoned its own old model of Left unity in West Bengal and courted the Congress as a reliable 'democratic' ally. Instead of building on the encouraging experience of Bihar, the CPI(M) went in for the grand alliance that it perhaps 'missed' in Bihar, seeking to use West Bengal as a laboratory to replicate the grand alliance experiment. But while the Bihar grand alliance succeeded as an anti-BJP coalition, the West Bengal grand alliance was pitted primarily against the TMC. The unmistakably clear outcome of the disastrous experiment is here for all to see – the TMC has gained as have the Congress and the BJP, and the Left has emerged as the net loser having funded the entire experiment at its own political cost.

As an energised BJP celebrates its Assam victory as its best gift on the second anniversary of the Modi government and the TMC resumes its second term of authoritarian populism in West Bengal, the Left must draw its lessons and strengthen its united and independent political role as the most consistent and credible platform of people's struggles to resist the policies of corporate plunder and the politics of communal fascism. 


RYA's Uttar Pradesh State Conference

The 5th Uttar Pradesh State Conference of Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) was held in Lucknow on 19th March. The Conference started off with a Student-Youth March from Charbagh Station to the venue of the Conference, Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall. The March saw enthusiastic participation of around 500 youth from 20 districts in the state. The city echoed with the slogan of azaadi which has become the clarion call of the student youth movement across the country echoed throughout the city. The slogans demanded azaadi from unemployment, from the RSS, from Modi, from communal-fascism and freedom from all forms of oppression. The participants with the red flag in their hands were equally scathing on the misrule of the Samajwadi Party Govt. in the state, asking tough questions to the 'youth' Chief Minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav who came to power by promising to put an end to unemployment and providing unemployment allowance to the unemployed youth of the state. The anger against the betrayal of the SP govt. was clearly visible in the march.

Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall, the venue of the Conference was filled to the last seat. The session started by the release of the AISA-RYA booklet 'Utho Mere Desh'. The main speakers of the Open Session of the Conference were by JNUSU VP Com. Shehla Rashid, Prof. Rajesh Mishra from Lucknow University and CPI ML PB Member and UP State Secretary Com. Ramji Rai. All the speakers were unanimous in their opinion that the impressive participation of the youth in the conference was a sign of the times that the youth of the state have decided that in the absence of any real opposition in the state it was the student and youth who have to become the real opposition.

Com. Shehla said both the BJP and the SP have started their campaign for the UP elections due in 2017. While the BJP continues its communal campaign of orchestrating riots, the latest being Azamgarh the SP is happy to sit back enjoy the political dividends of the riots. Prof. Rajesh Mishra appealed to the participants of the Conference to take the fire of the student youth movement in the country to each and every district of Uttar Pradesh. Com. Ramji Rai in his speech emphasized the need to expose the betrayal and complete absence of the RSS in the freedom struggle at a time when the students and youth have adopted azaadi as their slogan. He also said that the need of the hour was to take the ideas of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh among the youth and build a country of their dreams a country free from all forms of oppression. Com. Tahira Hassan from AIPWA, Com. Ishwari Prasad from AIKS, Com. Rajesh Sahani from AIARLA, Com. Antas from AISA also congratulated the participants and RYA for ensuring a successful conference. Com. Altaf Hussain the State Secretary of AIYF also addressed the conference and expressed solidarity and congratulations. Com. Rakesh Singh State Convenor conducted the session.

After a discussion on the draft document Com. Ramayan Ram, Central Observer for the Conference and RYA Bihar State Secretary Com. Naveen and RYA National Genera Secretary Com. Om Prasad addressed the participants. The Conference elected a 33 member Council and 19 Member Executive. Com. Atiq Ahmad was elected as State President and Com. Rakesh Singh as State Secretary.

The conference ended by passing a resolution demanding the immediate release of RYA National President Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha and CPI ML from Darauli, Bihar Com. Satyadeo Ram who have been imprisoned on false charges during the course of leading struggles of the rural poor in Siwan.   


Attack on Labour Leader in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand police tried to abduct AICCTU's Uttarakhand General Secretary KK Bora from the Labour Office premises on 19 May, but were prevented from doing so by workers' resistance. The next day, there was a murderous attack on KK Bora by management-sponsored goons.

Harish Rawat, the CM of Uttarakhand, is celebrating the 'victory of democracy' in the State, after the Courts defeated an attempted coup by the BJP. But when it comes to industrial democracy, is Congress-ruled Uttarakhand any different from BJP-ruled states? Where is democracy if a labour leader can be nearly killed on a public street in broad daylight – and the police try to arrest, not the would-be murderers or their sponsors, but the labour leader himself?           

MINDA is a factory producing switch gear, in the Pantnagar SIDCUL industrial area in Rudrapur. Workers formed a Union here, and three workers were thrown out of their jobs for their role in the Union. To protest this illegal act, workers of MINDA held a candle-light march in Haldwani that ended at Ambedkar Chowk. Haldwani is at a considerable distance from the SIDCUL. But when workers came to the factory the next morning ,they found a notice by the MINDA management at the gate, naming 18 workers as being debarred from entering the factory premises for participating in the candle-light march! 

We must remember that according to the Labour Code of Industrial Relations Bill 2015 that the Modi Government is trying to enact, 'outsiders' cannot be members of Unions. This will mean that in a place like SIDCUL, not only will labour leaders like KK Bora be debarred from leading Unions, workers who unionise will be turned into 'outsiders' by being dismissed!

Workers challenged this action in the Labour Office, and on 19 May, a tripartite discussion was fixed between the MINDA workers and management at the Labour Office. KK Bora was present from AICCTU. But the MINDA management did not turn up. Instead, the Rudrapur police turned up and tried to forcibly arrest/abduct K K Bora. When asked to show a warrant or summons, the police, lacking these legal documents, instead resorted to using brute force. In the face of strong opposition from the MINDA workers, the police were unable to arrest (kidnap?) Comrade K K Bora and had to return empty-handed.

This attempt to arrest a labour leader during tripartite talks reveals the connivance between the MINDA management and the Uttarakhand Government and police. KK Bora is a well-respected labour leader and is well-known for his struggles for workers' rights. Such behavior by the police against him raises several questions. The State Government and Labour Minister have constantly sided with industrialists and factory owners, and SIDCUL has turned into a veritable graveyard for labour laws. Young men and women are being made to work for amounts far below the minimum wages, unionising is punished with dismissal, and attempts are being made to muzzle voices which speak out against this. 

The very next day, KK Bora was attacked by MINDA factory goons. He was traveling in a tempo; the goons approached in a white Scorpio car which was without any number plate, stopped the tempo, made the passengers alight, and beat up Comrade KK Bora. Some of the passengers spoke up for him, and they were beaten up too - a minor girl has also been injured in the process. The attack was definitely murderous – the assailants hit him with big sticks. Comrade KK Bora very courageously protected his head and took most of the attack on his arms and body, and this is why he could save his own life. A crowd that collected at the spot also caused the assailants to flee eventually.

On 23 March, protests were held all over Uttarakhand against this murderous attack on KK Bora.

At Haldwani where AICCTU along with various unions and organizations held a dharna at Ambedkar Park demanding the immediate arrest of the assailants, action against the police personnel who tried to forcibly arrest KK Bora at the ALC office on 19 May, fulfilment of workers' demands in MINDA as well as all other companies, and proper implementation of labour laws in SIDCUL. The dharna was addressed by AICCTU National Vice President Raja Bahuguna who said that if the workers' demands are not met by 26 May, an indefinite dharna will be held at Budh Park from 26 May onwards. Bank union leader KN Sharma, Janwadi Lokmanch leader RC Tripathi, CPI(ML) State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi, RML Union President Mahesh Tiwari also addressed the dharna.

Contract Workers' Union State Vice President Urbadatt Mishra, Deputy Secretary Lalitesh Prasad, MINDA Mazdoor Union VP Rajendra Nagarkoti, General Secretary Sundar Singh, Century Pulp and Paper Mills Union leader Kishan Baghri, HC advocate Durga Singh Mehta, All India Kisan Mahasabha State President Purushottam Sharma, District President Bahadur Singh Jangi, AICCTU leader Kailash Pandey, Naven Kandpal, Shankar Lal, Ashish, Raman, Jagat Singh, Vimla Rauthan, Meena Mehta, Pushkar Dubadiya, Amar Singh Bora and others were present on the occasion. The proceedings were conducted by Lalit Matiyali.

 At Dharchula, the AICCTU-affiliated NHPC Contract Workers' Union staged protests at Nigalpani, Tapovan, Elagaad and Chhirkila and burnt effigies of the State government and MINDA Industries (Battery) management.

AICCTU leaders Kishan Singh, NHPC Contract Workers' Union President Uday Singh Dhami, Secretary Vinod Kumar, and Vice President Anup Kumar, Harish Dhami, and other leaders, along with hundreds of contract workers participated in the protests.

At Pithoragarh, a memorandum was sent to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the DG Police demanding action against the assailants and conniving police officers was submitted by the CPI(ML). Protests were also held at Ramnagar, Nainital, and SIDCUL Rudrapur.

One day earlier in Srinagar, Garhwal, Left parties, AISA, and workers' organizations burnt the effigies of the MINDA management as well as the State government and the Rudrapur police. A meeting was held at the Gola Park after the effigy burning during which the speakers demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

Protests were also held in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh and Dhanbad, Jharkhand. A protest demonstration was held at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, and a memorandum was submitted to the Resident Commissioner demanding the immediate arrest of the culprits.

The Congress Govt and police of Uttarakhand need to answer - why aren't violent, murderous goons of industry managements being arrested, why is the police trying to arrest labour leaders instead - that too during tripartite talks?