A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 14, No. 23, 31 MAY – 06 JUNE 2011
BJP's Complicity in Corruption and Corporate Plunder
Even as the BJP's Karnataka Government completed three years, and the Centre once again rejected the Karnataka Governor's recommendation for imposition of Central rule in the state, a new act in BJP's Karnataka drama is unfolding once more. The BJP's topmost leadership is in the middle of a public spat over which of them is responsible for patronising the powerful Karnataka Ministers and notorious mining mafia: the 'Bellary brothers'.
Sushma Swaraj, widely known to be very close to the Bellary brothers, sought to distance herself from them by claiming that their appointment to the Karnataka cabinet was a result of 'political compulsions' of BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa. Swaraj said that it was on the request of these leaders that she had gone to speak to the Bellary brothers, in a bid to save the BJP's first government in south India. Subsequently, BJP President Nitin Gadkari has tried to control damage by asserting that the decisions on Karnataka's cabinet were taken "unanimously."
While BJP leaders wrangle over who was responsible for the Bellary brothers' appointment, the inescapable fact is that the BJP as a whole and even the RSS stand deeply mired in one of the country's worst instances of corruption, crony capitalism and corporate loot. Every year, the Bellary brothers strip the earth of precious iron ore resources and export it to secure enormous profits. On the strength of this wealth, they command the loyalty of over a score of MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly.
The Bellary brothers have time and again demonstrated their power – before which even the BJP national leadership and Karnataka CM appear helpless. Their mining loot provided the critical cash that powered 'Operation Lotus' (where the BJP poached MLAs from rival parties in 2009). CM Yeddyurappa, himself besieged by allegations of land scams and fighting for survival in the wake of the SC ruling against disqualification of the rebel MLAs, has defended 'Operation Lotus' even as he assured that this time, the BJP had no need to take recourse to another Operation Lotus in order to survive.
Recently, the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) set up by the Supreme Court submitted a report indicting the Reddy brothers for illegal mining in Forest Areas and recommending cancellation of their mining licenses. The BJP Government of Karnataka is yet to show any signs of complying with this ruling. Karnataka's Lokayukta Santosh Hegde too is expected to submit his report on illegal mining in Bellary by August this year.
The UPA Government, that has just completed two years, is under the shadow of massive scams, with two of its Ministers in jail. The 2G scam itself was an instance of massive crony capitalism and corporate plunder of natural resources. But with its own top leadership compromised in the Bellary mining scandal, the chief Opposition party, the BJP, is in no position to offer any principled or committed challenge to the UPA on the question of corruption or corporate plunder. With the Congress and the BJP both standing exposed as complicit in corruption and corporate loot the time is ripe for all genuine Left and democratic forces to take the lead and intensify the campaign for a corruption-free, democratic India.
CPIML Condemns the Detention and Denial of Entry of Civil Liberty Activist in Kashmir
CPIML condemns the detention and denial of entry of civil liberty activists in Kashmir. Mr. Gautam Navlakha, a well known civil liberties activist from Delhi, and Editorial Consultant, Economic and Political Weekly, was stopped at Srinagar airport on his arrival from New Delhi, on May 28, 2011, and asked to go back. Officials invoked Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and sent him back from Srinagar airport.
Mr. Navlakha's denial of entry denies all claims of normalcy that the State government has been claiming. It reflects a cover up of serious human rights violation within the state that the government is shying away from. Preventing a civil libertian from even undertaking a personal trip to the valley denies the all-is-normal- pretension that the army wants to show with pictures of tourists playing in the snow.
It has been reported by journalists from Kashmir that even routine movement in the valley has got restricted for the Kashmiri people and all streets have been isolated , even peaceful protests are severely clamped down. Given the brutal violence on people by state forces in the summer of 2008, 2009, and 2010 in Kashmir, it is worrying that in the summer of 2011, Kashmiris are being prevented from interacting with human rights defenders, who may bear witness to atrocities and speak for peace and justice.
The Union government's complicity is endorsed by Farooq Abdullah's endorsement of the detention. It is a grim reminder of the violations faced by Kashmiri people on a daily basis.
Convention Against Corruption at Narela
The Delhi State Committee of the CPI(ML) held a convention on 29 May at Narela on the 'Struggle against Corruption and Questions of Democracy and Livelihood', as part of an ongoing campaign against corruption and corporate plunder.
The Convention was preceded by intensive mass campaign by students and youth, in which anti-corruption volunteers were recruited and copies of the party's publication on corruption sold. The Convention was well-attended and many local citizens, activists, students and youth participated with their enthusiastic ideas and suggestions.
The Convention was conducted by Surendra Panchal, district secretary of the CPI(ML). Young students recently recruited as volunteers in the 'Young India Against Corruption, Young India for Democracy' campaign spoke up and shared their thoughts. One of them said, "If a door gets termite-ridden, it isn't possible simply to kill the termites, you have to replace the door. In the same way, the crusade against corruption calls for an overhaul of the whole system and the whole package of anti-people policies." This student also shared his own experience of paying donations to get college admission, and spoke of how privatization of education would increase corruption manifold.
AISA leaders Om Prasad from JNU, and Amit Kumar from DU as well as RYA activist Aslam Khan addressed the Convention, sharing their experiences of the mass campaign.
Delhi University lecturer Tapas Ranjan Saha addressed the debate over whether it was futile to struggle for a Lokpal Bill. He pointed out that many laws including labour laws are won through people's struggles; and even if these laws are not implemented by the Government, these laws are weapons in the hands of people. Similarly the Lokpal Bill might not eliminate corruption, but it would certainly be one of the weapons in the hands of people battling corruption. At the same time, there is also an urgent need to recognize the linkages between corporate plunder, corruption and state terror. He spoke about the way in which the rulers were changing the laws of the land to suit corporate and imperialist interests, citing the instances of the UID Bill, various higher education Bills, the SEZ Act and NMIZ proposal.
CPI(ML) CC Member Kavita Krishnan said that the recent Assembly elections had proved that people were determined to vote out the corrupt and repressive governments. The Radia tapes and Wikileaks had revealed how corporate and imperialist interests directly influenced decisions taken by Government and Parliament. Even the main Opposition party was in the pockets of corporate agents. Corruption was not just about bribe-taking, it had grown exponentially with privatization policies. Ending corruption calls for an end to these policies of privatization that open up national resources and assets for corporate loot. She also called for the campaign to demand an end to draconian, colonial-era laws like sedition and AFSPA.
The Convention was presided over by CPI(ML) PB member Swadesh Bhattacharya. It was attended by CPI(ML) State Secretary Sanjay Sharma as well as many Delhi state committee members including Satyavir Shramik. The Convention was also attended by retired Principal Satyavrat Arya, Ved Mamurpur, a teacher, Arun Kumar, Paramjit Singh and local students Ravikant, Baliram, Anjali and Amit Bose.
Now Farmers Rise against Mayawati Govt in Chandauli after Bhatta-Parsaul
Bhatta-Parsaul type of situation is prevailing at the other end of Uttar Pradesh – at Katesar village of Niyamtabad block in Chandauli district. The peasants of this village are on dharna since 24 May to save their land. The Govt of UP is acquiring 200 hectares of land here to make 'New Kashi' and a cultural centre. Varanasi Development Authority has been entrusted to do this. Section 4 and Section 6 notice has already been issued to acquire 121 hectares of fertile land belonging to farmers in the first phase.
The farmers of Katesar are up in arms against the land acquisition as the land in question is the main source of their livelihood. The land is close to river Ganga and fertile in which they grow vegetables etc. that brings them their income. They have said that they will not part with their land at any cost and in any case the official compensation they will receive is not at all enough to buy land elsewhere. They also alleged that the Govt. has already finalised transactions with a construction company in which the Govt will make profit by selling the land to the company at a higher rate. They are fearing that the Govt will forcefully acquire their land at throwaway prices and they will be left with no other means of livelihood.
The brutal suppression of farmers at Bhatta-Parsaul by the Mayawati Govt in UP reminded us of Singur and Nandigram. Now the Govt of UP is virtually looting agricultural land of poor and middle level farmers at gun point – to be given away to private companies. Katesar is mainly inhabited by poor and small-land holding farmers. Almost whole village will disappear if this acquisition becomes a reality; affecting more than one thousand people. Section 6 notice will mean their eviction. The peasants had started their protest dharna on 25 April 2011 and after verbal assurance by district officials to stop acquisition had withdrawn their protest on 7th May. But in the meantime the administration restarted their acquisition drive. Infuriated at this the peasants too restarted their dharna near the Grand Trunk Road close to village from 24 May under the banner of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti. Their main demand is cancellation of the Section 4 notice that relates to land acquisition, and a written assurance be given against the acquisition.
CPI(ML) has declared its support for the farmers agitation and it took out a 15 km long motorcycle rally on 30th May from Mughalsarai to Katesar where the rally carrying red flags and Party banners merged with the dharna. CPI(ML) leaders also addressed the dharna. Prior to this CPI(ML) and All India Kisan Mahasabha leaders had visited the Katesar village to meet the farmers and find out the objective situation.
With no official response coming for the dharna the farmers had encircled the SDM and CO of police for three hours when they visited the dharna spot on 28th May. Later, somehow they managed to escape. Seeing the militant mood of the farmers the administration got into some active mode. Other parties too apart from the CPI(ML) declared their support for the agitation. It is not easy for the administration to repeat Bhatta-Parsaul kind of brutality in Katesar and so it has initiated a dialogue with the farmers. However, nothing fruitful has come out of these talks. The DM gave in writing that the land will not be acquired by force but the farmers are not going to be fooled unless the Section 4 & 6 notice is withdrawn. They also warned that if the demands are not met they will burn Mayawati Govt's affigy on 31st May and also set themselves ablaze on 1st June. The fear of losing their land and hopelessness from this Govt is so acute that they even readied a funeral pyre nearby.
The CPI(ML) demanded from the State Govt to scrap the plan for land acquisition and warned the Mayawati Govt from repeating Bhatta-Parsaul here. The Chandauli district Party unit said that it will defend the farmers in the event of repressive actions. The Party also declared that any repressive action will be strongly opposed.
Finally, bowing before the farmers' agitation the Chandauli DM sent his recommendation on 30th May to State Govt for withdrawal of Section 4 & 6 notices. SDM came with a copy of DM's recommendation letter to dharna spot on 31st May morning and asked for a month's time. Postponing their further agitation the farmers have declared that if the demands are not met in the month's time the agitation will resume.
Congress Leader Resorting to Criminal Acts to Capture Land of Poor in Pilibhit
If the BSP Govt of UP is using police force to force out farmers from their land, a Congress leader BM Singh in Pilibhit is using goons to capture land of Mazdoor Basti by trying to evict them by force. The administration seems to be hand in glove with the land mafia as it has banned the entry of AIALA district VP Nagina Ram in Pilibhit dist. and a dalit youth Ramdin was also beaten up- this also exposes further the anti-dalit nature of Mayawati Govt.
Comrade Nagina Ram, popular leader of agrarian labourers in trans-Sharda area, has filed a case in Allahabad High Court on behalf of the habitants of the Mazdoor Basti at Rahul Nagar, appealing that the habitants (who are mainly dalits) be given rights on the Basti land. He has been leading the poor of the Basti against the attempts of Congress-BSP to evict the poor and grab the land. For this reason he was attacked and his son received a serious head-injury for which he had to be in hospital at Lucknow for two months. However, the criminals had to beat a retreat in face of resistance by the workers. The police filed a false case (307) against Com. Nagina Ram even though he was not there. After this incident a PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) camp has been set up in the village and the villagers are being routinely harassed. Nagina Ram has been leading the opposition to this too and now there are at least cases filed by the administration against him.
In the dalit dominated trans-Sharda area BSP is often being challenged by CPI(ML). The BSP leaders and administration officials are involved in anti-dalit atrocities, a recent example of which is severe assault on a dalit youth Ramdin who had gone to the block office with his complaint. This was done by BSP's ex-Dist. President Dinesh Bharti (in the presence and with the help of Block officials) who was also a declared candidate for by-elections from Puranpur constituency. CPI(ML) and AIALA leaders who were holding a public meeting nearby rushed to the spot upon hearing of the assault on Ramdin and found that he was almost lifeless. Only a firm and angry protest could ensure proper treatment for the youth and filing of FIR though the names of actual accused Dinesh Bharti and DDO (Dist. Development Officer) has not yet been included in the FIR. The administration however, has again slapped false cases against our comrades Jitendra and Sayeed Khan along with 25 unnamed. AIALA has protested against blatant violation of law by the dist. officials and demanded immediate FIR against BSP leader Dinesh Bharti.
PILIBHIT: In yet another incident land belonging to peasants of Balpur Patti village on Pilibhit-Bareilly highway has been fraudulently looted by the land mafias. A private company from Ferozepur in Pujab lured the farmers with the promise of jobs and even compensation for land if the farmers of Balpur Patti gave their land for setting up a factory. The farmers were cheated in this and it came out that the local officials as well as the police are hand in glove with the land mafia. Two main agents of the land mafia were found murdered and the police is accusing the farmers and an attempt is there to create a communal issue of Sikhs versus locals. It is to be noted that a report had been registered by the city magistrate when farmers led by Comrade Alluddin Shastri met him. In the report the fraudsters (company's manager Surendra Singh Dhir and property dealer Anandpal Singh, who were later found murdered) were named and asked by the farmers to be arrested. Had the police acted on the report and arrested them the incident would have possibly not taken place. The Party has demanded that action be taken against the Kotwal of Pilibhit who is actually responsible for this. A widespread campaign was undertaken to expose BSP Govt's efforts to protect the land mafias. A demonstration was organised in Pilibhit on 13 May in which farmers and poor villagers from many villages participated.
MAHARAJGANJ: Close to Nepal border in Maharajganj district's Sulnipur village (under Nichnaul tehsil) the local dabangs in collusion with the dist. administration attacked the hutments of toiling poor on 11 May 2011 with an intention to evict them and grab the land. However, the poor people, mainly women and children at the time of attack, resisted the onslaught with tremendous bravery and foiled all attempts of police officials and District's Deputy Magistrate. Enraged with this the police set on fire the entire hutments in which whatever limited belongings the poor have was turned into ashes including their clothes, utensils, furniture etc. When the CPI(ML) and AIALA leaders Ali Ahmad, Hari Prasad and Guddu Biswas were protesting this barbarism they were arrested and taken to police station where they were severely assaulted.
Hundreds of CPI(ML) members and activists held a protest demonstration on 13 May at the Nichnaul tehsil office. When the DM refused to release the three comrades on bail a hunger fast was started from 16 May. Ten people including 8 women from the affected families went on hunger strike. Bhitaura block's Party incharge Com. Rampravesh and RYA leader Amjad along with few others joined the fast unto death on 18 May. The administration only swung into action when the condition of four people sitting on hunger strike worsened in the evening of 18 May. Panicked administration immediately released CPI(ML) leader Ali Ahmad. On 19 May the Dist. Magistrate and Additional SP gave assurances for paying compensation for the damaged huts, and action against the dabangs and police and administrative officials colluding with the land mafias. After this the fast unto death was withdrawn. In the meantime the poor also remade their huts. It was only due to brave resistance by the poor and unyielding agitation by CPI(ML) that forced the administration to bow down. It has struck a encouraging note among the fighting poor.
CPI(ML) Rally in Dhariawad
CPI(ML)'s newly formed Dhariawad Sub-division Committee in tribal-populated Pratapgarh district in south Rajasthan held its first Party Rally on 23rd May. More than 200 tribal men and women participated with much enthusiasm and marched in Dhariwad Sadar, which is mainly non-tribal populated administrative town, raising slogans. The rally mainly demanded end to corruption, end to anti-tribal, anti-people policies of the govts, proper implementation of NREGA, correcting the BPL list according to the ground realities, providing pattas for the forest land to tribal people and end to unbridled exploitation of tribal areas. The rally was addressed by Rajasthan's Party Secretary Comrade Mahendra Chaudhary, tribal leader Gautamlal Meena and Jafar Muhammad among others.
Dharna in Bhilai against loot in PF of Contract Workers
CPI(ML) and AICCTU organised a dharna in Bhilai on 26 May to protest the continued loot of PF and wages of contract workers of Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai Municipal Council and Kumhari Municipality, CBI enquiry and massive corruption. A memorandum to the SP-CBI and the Chief Minister was given through the DM of Durg. A loot to the tune of crores of rupees has been committed from the workers' PF and wages fund. When the workers are opposing this they are being threatened and fired. Labour laws are blatantly violated and on Management's behest the contractors indulge in humiliating the workers.
Leaflets were distributed and workers' meetings were held to make the dharna successful. Com. Brijendra Tiwari, Chhattisgarh Party Secretary, conducted the dharna.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org