A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 14, No. 33, 09 – 15 AUGUST 2011
Issues of Corruption, Price Rise, Land Grab Will Be Decided through People's Movements on the Streets,
Not Congress-BJP Deals in Parliament
Even as street protests against corruption and price rise intensify all over the country, Parliament is witnessing shadow boxing and match-fixing between the BJP-NDA and the ruling Congress-UPA.
On the burning question of price rise, there was much sound and fury by the BJP in Parliament, which claimed to have forced the Congress to hold a debate and voting on the question. But it emerged that behind the farce of 'debate' and 'voting' lay a pre-scripted consensus between BJP and the Government! A tame resolution was then moved by the BJP, which the Congress too supported. This resolution expressed 'concern' over price rise and failed to fix the Government's culpability for price rise.
Defending the 'deal' with the Government on price rise, BJP leaders said that "Consensus, not confrontation, is the soul of Parliamentary democracy." This indicates that on the question of corruption too, the BJP and Congress have a tacit agreement to settle matters within the confines of Parliament. 'Democracy' cannot be shackled in this ruling class formula of parliamentary consensus and compromise. Burning issues of price rise and corruption will be resolved, not through ruling class deals within parliament, but on the streets through people's movements.
Direct evidence is surfacing regarding the PMO's role in the 2G and CWG scams. The CAG report on CWG indicts Congress' Delhi CM Shiela Dixit for massive corruption, while a Vigilance Enquiry has ordered a probe into the Congress' Kerala CM Oomen Chandy's role in the palmolein scam. The Delhi Police tried, laughably, to claim that no politicians had any role in the cash-for-vote scam. The Supreme Court is not buying this argument, and has given the police a deadline within which to complete investigations. All-round scams, accompanied by the Government's toothless Lokpal Bill, are putting the Congress-UPA in the dock over corruption.
The Government's Lokpal Bill does not even put up a credible pretence of seriousness to combat corruption. Not only does it seek to keep the Prime Minister and MPs' conduct in Parliament out of its purview, it has no provisions for Lokayuktas and keeps state government officials out of its ambit. Lower rungs of the bureaucracy, as well as panchayat institutions will not be covered by the sarkari Lokpal. Not even the gram pradhan is covered by the sarkari Lokpal. It has been rightly pointed out that such a Lokpal would not be able to investigate any of the burning scams of our day – be it the scams in NREGA, PDS and rural welfare schemes; Bellary or Adarsh scams; or even the 2G or CWG scams.
Our call for a country-wide jail bharo on the question of corruption, price rise and state repression has evoked encouraging response across the country. The people are angry not only with the central government but various state governments too who are equally complicit in perpetrating loot and repression. Students and youth too have responded enthusiastically to the 100-hour Student-Youth Barricade against Corruption and Corporate Loot, and for Democracy.
After 9 August, we must keep up the momentum and intensify the struggle against corruption and land grab. The Government's proposed land acquisition bill thoroughly undermines the cry of the peasants and tribal communities for protection of cultivable and forest land and only seeks to facilitate and accelerate corporate land-grab while paying lip-service to the agenda of rehabilitation and resettlement. In the wake of August 9, we must therefore step up the countrywide campaign against loot and autocracy with the battlecry: "Make all cultivable and forest land out of bounds for acquisition! Bring all posts and institutions within the purview of the Lokpal!"
AISA, RYA & Student Youth Campaign Against Corruption Began Their 100 Hour Long Barricade at Parliament Against Corruption and Corporate Loot, For Democracy
On 9 August (Quit India Anniversary) CPI(ML) held Jail Bharo and Courted Arrest against Corruption, Price Rise and State Repression in Various States Across The Country
Despite Crackdown, Resisting Arrest - Forcing The Police To Release!
Student-Youth Against Corruption and Corporate Plunder Reclaims Jantar Mantar- Continues100-hour Barricade!
9 Aug, on the very first day of the 100-hour Student Youth Barricade Against Corruption and Corporate Plunder, the police cracked down on the massive gathering of students and youth at Jantar Mantar at 8 pm. When the police arrived and insisted that the protestors would not be allowed to hold a continuous sit-in for 100 hours, we declared that we would not vacate Jantar Mantar and abandon the protest. With the threat of arrests, and continuous intimidation the police tried to break the gathering, but the students formed a huge human chain and not a single protestor left the spot. Even if arrested, we declared that we would continue the 100-hour Barricade inside jail!
The police arrested the entire gathering, including a large number of women students, en masse and held them in Parliament Street police station. The students and youth refused to budge and continued their Barricade inside the police station.
The huge number and the firm determination to continue the barricade even inside the jail, eventually forced the police to release the protestors but warned them that they cannot return to Jantar Mantar to continue the barricade. Protestors rejected these completely unacceptable and draconian attempts by police to break the Barricade, and marched back in full strength to reclaim the Jantar Mantar site. Barricade is continuing uninterrupted for the second day.
At Jantar Mantar on 9 August, around 3500 students from 20 states, including hundreds of students from DU, JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia, presented an inspiring sight on the first day of the 100-hour Barricade against Corruption and Corporate Plunder. From JNU itself, around 300 students participated in the Barricade. The police posted around Jamia Millia Islamia, showing immense high-handedness, prevented Jamia students from boarding the buses, even though the buses were outside the campus area. Eventually the students from Jamia had to come by public transport buses rather than the buses booked for the protest. Three busloads of students poured in from South and North campuses of Delhi University.
The huge gathering, under the banner of AISA and RYA, raised slogans saying 'Pro-corporate policies and privatization are the root of corruption!'; 'Stop corporate plunder of our resources!'; 'Corporate-scripted laws and policies must go!'; 'Reject the sarkari Lokpal Bill, enact a genuine Janlokpal Bill!' and 'Defend our right to democratic protest!'
The huge gathering of students sang rousing songs in different languages, and were joined in their barricade by a variety of democratic citizens and activists. These included Pravin Gawankar of the Jaitapur Anti-Nuke Plant movement; Swami Agnivesh; Ramji Rai, Politburo member of the CPI(ML), AISF Vice-President and many others.
Having achieved a victory in the face of the police's attempts to force them to vacate Jantar Mantar and abandon the 100-hour Barricade, the students and youth will continue their protest at Jantar Mantar. We appeal to all students as well as teachers to join the Barricade site to protest the police's attempts to circumscribe a protest site like Jantar Mantar. Come to the Student-Youth Barricade to reclaim Jantar Mantar and assert our right to protest! Join them against any further police intervention today.
The Student-Youth Barricade Against Corruption has successfully showed that young Indians, while supporting the need for a genuine Lokpal to end the impunity of the corrupt, also feels the need to reverse the pro-corporate policies that are breeding corruption and link the anti-corruption struggle with the broader struggle for a democratic India. It is highlighting the corrupt nexus of politicians and corporations that is plundering the precious resources of our country. Join them at the barricades, strengthen this struggle for a corruption-free, democratic India!
All over the country CPI(ML) activists courted arrest with the slogans "Combat Corruption, Save the Country!" "No to pro-corporate policies!", "Stop price rise!" "End pro imperialist policies!"
BIHAR: Thousands of CPI(ML) activists courted arrest in most districts of Bihar as well as at Patna. In addition to demanding Manmohan Singh's resignation over scams and price rise they also protested the Nitish government's role in BIADA scam and the Forbesganj firing.
At Patna, more than thousand participated in a spirited procession braving rains held from Gandhi Maidan to Kotwali police station. The jail bharo agitation here was led by Party's General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, CC members KD Yadav, Ram Jatan Sharma, Meena Tiwari and Saroj Chaubey.
About 600 participated in Madhubani and 1000 in Darbhanga.
Uttar Pradesh: In UP thousands of CPLI(ML) activists protested in Lucknow against the central government scams and policies promoting corporate plunder, as well as medical scam involving murders of two CMOs, spate of rapes and murders of women, and repressive regime of the Mayawati government in the state. Jail Bharo agitations were held at Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Chandauli, Gazipur, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Devaria, Balia, Pilibhit, Jalaun, Lakhimpur Kheri, Muradabad and Varanasi.
Thousands courted arrest in Lucknow and various districts of the state. At Lucknow the agitation was led by State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav and CC member Krishna Adhikari. The two leaders also demanded immediate resignation of Mayawati. In the eastern region of UP the agitation was held amidst heavy rains.
Uttarakhand: Various agitational programmes including dharna, demonstration, marches, effigy burning and public meeting were held with slogans 'corrupt UPA government quit power", 'bring, PM, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs in parliament under the Lokpal', 'down down anti nationals, bring all the country's money back'.
Jail Bharo was held at Nainital, Almora, Pithorgarh, Chamoli, and Garhwal. In Haldwani hundreds of people held a spirited march and completely blocked the Nainital national highway in front of the SDM court. Large number of women participated in the blockade. The march was led by CPI(ML) in charge of Uttarakhand, Raja Bahuguna, who said that the current UPA government has proved to be the most pro-imperialist and corrupt in the history of India. This government has put the independence and sovereignty itself of the country at peril. An effigy of the UPA government and the government's version of the Lokpal bill were burnt.
West Bengal: 1500 were arrested in Kolkata. Jail Bharo was also held at Siliguri, Bankura, Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and other districts in West Bengal. Four hundred courted arrest in Siliguri with gusto. 14 people were injured in police crackdown and 2 people received serious injuries who were hit on the head. Programme received wide coverage.
Jharkhand: Jail Bharo agitation in six districts of the State with the largest participation at Giridih with 3000 people courting arrest in front of the DC. The entrance to the office of the DC was blocked by the protesters. Here it was led by CC member Manoj Bhakt and Party's representative in State Assembly Binod Singh apart from others. In Ranchi, people came from Ramgarh, Hazaribagh and Bokaro apart from Ranchi district. About 500 Party members marched from Ranchi Railway Station to Albert Ekka Roundabout amidst heavy downpour. Marchers were arrested here and detained at Jaipal Singh Stadium where they held protest meeting.
In Palamu, 2000 people courted arrest led by Anant Pd. Gupta and Ravindra Ram. The Dhanbad programme was led by AICCTU GS Subhendu Sen where 300 participated, at Koderma 400 courted arrest led by Rajkumar Yadav, road blockade by 400 people from Santhal Pargana region led by CPI(ML) State Committee members Geeta Mandal and Sukhdeo Prasad at Dumka.
Karnataka: More than three hundred people, almost half of them women, staged a 'rasta roko' at Gangavati of Koppal district on 9 August under the banners of CPI(ML), AIALA and AICCTU. The protestors demanded dissolution of the Karnataka State Government as the Lokayukta report has not spared any party including ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and the JD(S). They also demanded resignation of Manmohan Singh and P.Chidambaram for their involvement in 2G scam along with other major demands of rice mill workers. Rice mill workers and women took part in large numbers in the agitation. Police refused to arrest the protestors in spite of 'rasta roko' that brought traffic to standstill for more than an hour.
Com. Bharadwaj, SLTM of the party and the state president of AIALA along with comrades Umashankar, Virupaksha, taluk president of AICCTU, Basavan Gowda, taluk secretary and Shanta Kumari of AIPWA also addressed the protestors.
An impressive demonstration in front of Mysore District Commissioner's office was led by C Javaraiah, SLTM and state secretary of AICCTU. Construction workers of HDKote participated in good number. Com. Ayyappa Hugar, CCM of CPI(ML) Red Flag, construction workers union leaders Nanjunda, Mallikarjuna and Basavaraju addressed the demonstrators.
Maharashtra: The Mumbai Thane committee of CPI(ML) held a dharna at the historic Azad Maidan in Mumbai. More than two hundred fifty including BMC's sanitation workers, unorganized sanitation workers and the tribal people of Thane participated. What was significant is tribal people from Boisar, Dahisar and Kurgaon, which is about 100kms from Mumbai started for Mumbai at 7am to participate. Comrade Uday Bhat of Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) also participated and spoke at the Dharna.
A memorandum was also given to Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chauhan on several demands of the safai workers and tribal people. Cultural organization Vidrohi Jalsa affiliated to Republican Panthers sang revolutionary songs which kept the spirits high of the participants.
Tamil Nadu: In Tamilnadu jail bharo was held at 14 centres including Chennai, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Villupuram, Kumbakonam (300 courted arrest) and other parts of Tamilnadu in which around 3000 activists courted arrest. About 200 courted arrest in Puducherry at two centres.
Andhra Pradesh: In East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh people were stopped at local police stations while going to district headquarters.
Orissa: Programmes were held at Bhubaneswar, Rayagada, Kendrapara and Gajapati districts.
Chhattisgarh: 200 participated in a dharna at Raipur.
Rajasthan: Big rally at Jhunjhunu where 150 were arrested.
Assam: Guhawati and various districts in Assam.
Release Comrade Afroz Alam, Withdraw 'Gangster Act' and other false cases
On the face of it, Mayawati's government appears to be at loggerheads with the Congress in UP. But when it comes to the nexus with the land mafia in Pilibhit, the UP police and local Congress leaders have united to falsely frame and torture a young CPI(ML) activist.
Afroz Alam, member of the CPI(ML)'s state standing committee and National Executive member of the All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) and seven other CPI(ML) activists who have been leading a struggle in the workers' settlement of Rahul Nagar for land titles, were called by the police station in Pilibhit on 2 July, on the pretext of talks. They were then arrested and serious false charges were filed against them – including arson (Section 436), and SC/ST Act. They were badly beaten and subjected to brutal torture using 'rollers' on their thighs. Eventually when the matter came to District Sessions Court and the Court questioned the police's conduct, 'Gangster Act' was invoked against Afroz and the others, ensuring that the hearing for that case will now take place in the 'Gangster Court', Bareilly.
Comrade Afroz, 34 years old, from a working class, Leftist family of Rae Bareilly and a left activist from his student days, he has led struggles of agricultural labourers against the eviction of settlements of the rural poor in the name of afforestation and the Tiger Project in Pilibhit. He has organized struggles for redistribution of thousands of acres of land, that had been illegally grabbed by land mafia, among agricultural labourers and poor peasants.
In 2010, he organised a popular struggle against the attempts by land mafia and poachers led by Congress leader B M Singh to evict the residents of Rahul Nagar Mazdoor Basti in Pilibhit, and turn it into a farm house. As a result of the struggle, B M Singh was jailed, but in a vindictive action, the police and administration had jailed Comrade Afroz too. (Details in previous issues of ML Update)
After his release from jail, Comrade Afroz organised a successful hartal (strike) by agricultural labourers under the banner of the All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA) demanding the redistribution of 1850 acres of village community land that had been grabbed by the land mafia in Bhara Pachpeda. As a result of the strike, the administration had been forced to have the land vacated. In the zila panchayat elections, the CPI(ML) candidate won as a result of the political assertion of the agricultural labourers.
On 15 August last year, a dalit youth Rampal was arrested for an inter-caste love affair and beaten to death in custody in Barkheda thana. The CPI(ML) in Comrade Afroz's leadership had spearheaded a struggle that resulted in the guilty police personnel being jailed. In particular, this incident has made the local police most vindictive towards Comrade Afroz and the CPI(ML).
When Mayawati visited the Trans Sharda area, which has a substantial dalit presence, she failed to announce any measures to protect the people from flooding of the Sharda river. Comrade Afroz had launched a struggle to demand the construction of a dam and distribution of land grabbed by the land mafia among those affected by the 'katan.' A hunger strike was to be started on these demands on 15 July. In order to thwart this struggle, revenge themselves for the jailing of police personnel in the Rampal case, and serve the interests of the land mafia, Comrade Afroz and other CPI(ML) activists have been arrested on false charges and tortured.
During the hearing in the District Sessions Court on 3 August, the Court asked the police why Afroz and the others had been tortured, and asked the police to respond within 2 days. Sensing the possibility that the Court might order their release, the police filed 'Gangster Act' on all the 8 CPI(ML) activists the very same evening. Now the Gangster Act case will have to be heard in the 'Gangster Court', Bareilly.
While corporate houses and mafia-criminal forces are grabbing land, minerals and other resources, leading to huge corruption, activists and movements that challenge this loot and defend the rights of the poor, are being arrested, jailed and tortured. Several protests in Pilibhit as well as a dharna in Lucknow have been held to demand the release of Comrade Afroz and other activists. In Pilibhit, the main issue of the Jail Bharo on 9 August will be the demand to release Comrade Afroz and the other CPI(ML) comrades.
We appeal the readers to sign the petition posted at the below mentioned website address to the Chief Justice, Allahabad High Court, acquainting him with the facts and appealing for his intervention to secure the release of Comrade Afroz and the other CPI(ML) activists, and the withdrawal of the fabricated cases against them.
Shiela Dixit Must Resign
CPI(ML)'s Delhi state committee has demanded Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit's resignation owing to her involvement in Commonwealth games scam. The state secretary Sanjay Sharma said that the CM and various government officials of MCD, NDMC and other departments freely and in a planned way participated in the loot of public exchequer. The Games preparation were deliberately delayed and at the last moment citing the 'shortage of time' and 'national prestige'. All the due procedures were suspended and certain companies were favoured with contracts at bids multiples times higher than the actual. Apart from unrestrained loot and handing over of public transport to private companies the poor of the city were forcefully evicted from their dwellings and deprived of their livelihood. The Delhi CM is fully responsible for this utterly shameful scam.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org