Wednesday, 28 September 2011

ML Update 40 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 40, 27 SEPT – 03 AUG 2011

Planning Commission's Poverty Line:

UPA Government's Insult to the Poor

The UPA Government's callousness towards the common man has exposed itself once again, and quite shockingly at that. Making a mockery of the poor millions in India, a supercilious team of 'experts' sitting in New Delhi's Yojana Bhavan, headed by IMF agent and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has declared that a man or woman should not be considered poor if he or she is in a position to spend Rs 965 per month (around Rs 32 per day) for urban areas and Rs 781 per month (around Rs 26 per day) in rural areas on food, health and education! The Prime Minister being the ex-officio Chairman of the Planning Commission, it is the UPA Government which is directly responsible for this insult to India's poor. 

The Planning Commission (PC) of India stated this poverty line, based on the Tendulkar Committee recommendations, in an affidavit submitted in response to a court order of May 14 this year, when the Supreme Court came down strongly on the current extremely low poverty line and directed the Commission to revise it.

Well, a family cannot live on food, health and education expenses alone. It has to spend, at the barest minimum, also on items like fuels, house rent, clothing and footwear, and transport costs.  So the poverty line prescribed by the PC actually means that if a family spends more than these meagre amounts on all items taken together, it will not be entitled to any benefits from the PDS and other poverty-alleviation programmes. According to the Planning Commission's calculations, just 32% of the population will be considered 'poor.' In other words, more than 70 per cent of the people in a country where some 77 per cent live on less than Rs 20 a day (as the Arjun Sengupta report informed us a few years back) will be excluded! And this in a period of galloping – and largely government-induced – inflation, including hikes in privatized medical and educational expenses!

It is against this silent conspiracy of exclusion amidst tall claims of "inclusive growth" that the people of India are protesting. Don't try to hide the true face of poverty – they warn – and certainly don't try to deprive us of our right to food and a decent living. The popular demand is simple and straightforward: withdraw the false affidavit now; include in BPL category all casual/contract/honorarium-based workers and all jobs covered by The Minimum Wages Act; and gradually move over to universalisation of all social benefits and social security.

In the face of such rational demands and sharp criticism from a host of eminent economists, including some from within the PC and the National Advisory Council, the Commission has fallen back on the hackneyed logic of funds crunch. We don't have enough money, so we tried to serve the most needy, they claim. This is sheer nonsense.  It has been shown time and again that if the government takes serious steps to recover black money hoarded within the country and abroad and to stop systematic loot of taxpayers' money through mega scams and reverses its policy of granting whopping tax-cuts and other privileges to multi-billionaires, there will be no dearth of money for significant expansion of the social security net now, followed by its gradual universalisation. The shortage therefore lies not in funds, but in political will and also in the ability to reckon that investment in nurturing the country's human resources is also a good investment for promoting national economic development.

We will do well to remember that "BPL targeting" – that is, restricting various social benefits to households below the poverty line -- has been known to be a source of deprivation (according to the National Sample Survey, about half of all poor households in rural India didn't have a BPL card in 2004-05) favouritism and corruption. Its partial replacement by near-universalism in some states has yielded encouraging results, and can work better on a national scale. While keeping up popular pressure on the government to lead the country in that direction, we must intensify the immediate battle for automatic inclusion of all deprived classes and strata in the BPL category and for provision of sufficient quantities of food grains and at substantially subsidized rates.

Comrade Sukhu Manjhi Murder Case

Sankalp Sabha in Chhaati village

On 15 September, a sankalp sabha (pledge meeting) was organised in martyred Comrade Sukhu Manjhi's paternal village- Chhaati, to resolve to take the fight to its conclusion for which Comrade Sukhu (as were his three more brothers in the past) was martyred on 30 August 2011 (As reported in ML Update Vol. 14, issue num. 38: Family of Kavindra Singh Yadav, who is a tyrant has so far killed 13 people. Earlier his elder brother used to target people and he paid with his life at the hands of people for his crimes. The younger Kavindra, who is now patronised by the JD(U) is the one who killed Ganauri Manjhi in 1974, Binesar Manjhi in 1975 and Chanesar Manjhi in 1982. Comrade Dinan¬ath Manjhi was martyred at the hands of police in 1985. Comrade Sukhu Manjhi is the fifth martyr from this village). The eldest of the Manjhi brothers, Comrade Jagdish Manjhi, speaking from the dais, made a inspiring resolve – recounting how his four brothers were killed for defending a piece of land one by one only because they wanted to protect their only means of livelihood. He resolved that he will not rest until this fight is won and the killers punished. The meeting place reverberated with slogans of "long live Comrade Sukhu Manjhi".

The meeting demanded handing over of land documents of the said land to the poor people settled on this land. Administrative machinery and officials were stationed nearby the meeting place.

A few days after the ghastly killing, Local JD(U) MLA- Arun Manjhi, approached Comrade Sukhu's family and offered to fund his post-funeral rites. The family and the villagers took it as insult and sent him back. The MLA did not utter anything about punishing the killers and maintaining the controlling authority on the land. Such is the shocking political conduct of JD(U) which tries to save the feudal criminals by offering some dalda (vegetable fat) and sugar for post funeral rituals. Other speakers also lambasted the Nitish Kr. Govt and the local MLA.

An agrarian strike against the killers Kavindra Yadav and Bhola Yadav was also declared from the dais and it was resolved to sow the rabi crops on the land in issue at any cost. A declaration was also made for seizure of crops of both the feudals. CPI(ML)'s Central Committee member Comrade Krishna Deo Yadav was the main speaker who called upon to maintain the control of land come what may and intensify the agitation.

Party's 10th UP State Conference

10th State Conference of CPI(ML) was held successfully between 19-21 September at Comrade Jeeta Kaur Nagar (Gorakhpur) in UP, with the call to combat corruption and intensify the movement to defend land and defend democracy.

On the first day four km long march was held from Gorakhpur Railway Station to Comrade Rambali Pandey Hall (the conference venue) before the Conference began. Memorial gates were erected in memory of the martyrs of Chauri Chaura and the delegates were welcomed by writer Madan Mohan. Comrade Manoj Bhakta (CCM) was the Central Observer.

The Conference was inaugurated by Party's General Secretary. Addressing the open inaugural session Comrade Dipankar termed the loot of development fund as loot of the rights of the poor and said that the Conference is being held in the backdrop of massive assault on people's life and livelihood. The money meant for cases like checking the encephalitis outbreak and treatment of the patients in Gorakhpur was blatantly looted in NRHM scam and two CMOs were murdered. The land acquisition bill that UPA is bringing is more dangerous than the one legislated by British Govt in 1894. About BJP's drama against corruption- Advani's rath yatra and Narendra Modi's 'sadbhavna' fast – he said that these are dangerous signs for the society, because when the communal looters start talking about 'sadbhavna' it can be understood how grave the threat is. On the other hand the US is comparing Modi and Rahul Gandhi in a bid to hand over power to the parties of these two. But the political power must be rescued from them and the people must take it in their own hands. Politics does not mean being in power only, but to sharpen the struggle for people's rights. The inaugural session was also addressed by Politburo member and Party incharge for UP- Comrade Ramji Rai.

Secretary of the outgoing State Committee Comrade Sudhakar Yadav placed a 36 page political-organisational report before the house as soon as the delegate session began. He said that the Mayawati Govt encouraged crimininalisation of politics and the extremely corrupt BSP Govt accumulated wealth by plundering the lands of peasants and handing it to corporates-builders. CMOs murders were an outcome of blatant loot of public health fund. Mayawati Govt violated democracy by imposing undeclared emergency in the State. The mask of sarvajan has faded due to drastic increase in the incidents of rapes, violence and oppression against dalits and women. The militant support that dalits gave to BSP is fast waning and is translating into mass anger. Memories from the experience of Samajwadi Party's criminal-mafia rule is still fresh in people's mind and in such a situation CPI(ML) must accelerate its initiatives. About 375 delegates and observers attending the Conference commented on the draft document and after 2 days of debate-discussion it was passed unanimously with some amendments.

Election was held for electing the new State Committee and a 37 member new committee was elected which in turn reelected Comrade Sudhakar Yadav as the State Secretary. Several resolutions were proposed to the house that were passed unanimously too. One resolution proposed to intensify the struggle for ensuring adequate medical response from the Govt to fight encephalitis and cure patients in the Gorakhpur region. Another resolution was to ensure easy availability of fertilizers to the peasantry on just rates; fertilizer is being hoarded and sold in black market as in Bihar. Resolutions were also made for fighting for relief for the people ravaged by flood and eviction of long settled people on forest land.

Party's 4th Nainital District Conference

CPI(ML)'s 4th Nainital district conference was held on 18 September at Bindukhatta, albeit after a long gap. The open session was addressed by Comeades Rajendra Pratholi, CCM, and Raja Bahuguna, State's Party incharge. These speakers said that Nishank has been replaced by Khanduri as the new CM in order to restore some credibility in the eyes of people after massive and shameful scams by the BJP Govt in Uttarakhand- such as Mahakumbh scam, Sturdia land scam, transfers scandal and several land scams, to name a few. But the cabinet continues with the same corrupt ministers. SP and BSP, the two parties that opposed tooth and nail the formation of Uttarakhand are now trying to form govt in the State.

The Conference passed the draft document presented by Comrade Kailash Pandey after wider discussion on it. Several resolutions were passed by the Conference in the end after it had elected a 13 member District Committee with Comrade Kailash Pandey as the new Secretary.

Fact finding Report on Paramakudi Police Firing and Brutality on Dalits in TN

Following the brutal firing incidents on the Dalits at Paramakudi (Southern Tamilnadu) on Sep 11th, a fact -finding team led by CPI(ML)'s TN State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram and including mass organizations leaders visited Ramnad, Sivagangai and Madurai district on 19-20 September. The team visited all the victims' native villages, hospitals, police stations, SP and Collector offices, firing spot, Paramakudi and Ilayangudi.

11.09.2011 was the 54th death anniversary of Emmanuel Sekaran. He was brutally killed by upper caste goons in 1957 as a revenge for his relentless fight against oppressive social order and for dignity and equality of Dalits. His burial place is in Paramakudi. He is revered and worshiped as Martyr by the Dalits of Southern Tamilnadu. Every year on September 11, Dalit organizations rally in huge number at his cemetery to pay tributes.

The then AIADMK Govt led by Jayalalithaa which has much clout over Devar community, declared Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thever's (the iconic leader of Mukkulathore community Kallar, Maravar and Agamudaiyar) death anniversary as official Govt function. The Dalits and organizations also have been demanding Emmanuel Sekaran's death anniversary to be declared as a Govt function. This demand gained popularity. Even an AIADMK contestant assured in April-May assembly elections that if his party was voted to power their demand will be met.

In this back-drop, with the AIADMK govt back in power, the govt machinery, anti-Dalit police establishment and aggressive Mukkulathore section wielding enormous clout over the govt decided to thwart the Dalit political mobilization this year at any cost.

At Ilayangudi (Sivagangai dist), enroute to Paramakudi, between 1-2 pm, Ilayangudi DSP Ilango of Agramaseri, belonging to Maravar Community, opened fire without any provocation. Hardly 25 youths tried to block the road within 50 to 60 yards from the police station hearing the news of arrest of John Pandian and firing incidents at Parmakudi. A school boy Anand, who was not part of the agitated Dalit youths and coming from the opposite side was hit by the bullets. His right palm was pierced through as he kneed down raising his hands. This is a clear case of indiscriminate firing. Here different cases were foisted on more than two hundred young people including women.

Most heinous is old people aged 60 and above were shot and killed brutally. Ganesan of Pallavanethal village, Panchayat secretary AIADMK, went to Paramakudi to distribute his son's marriage invitations was also killed in the firing when a bullet hit him in the stomach. Vellaichami (65) of Kakkanethal who was to board a bus for Madurai, was killed too but not bullet injuries on his body. Chinnan of the same age and village accompanying Vellaichami sustained injuries but fortunately he was rescued by a woman. Veerambal Panner (about 55), a Dalit Christian was shot on his forehead when he was taking his ill daughter to a hospital. Jeyapal (Amar), aged just 21, was shot at from point-blank range on his fore head. His 18 year old wife Gayathri is about to give birth. Keezhakodumanur Theerpukani, first year diploma student was killed in the firing. Shooting spree went on from 12.30 noon to evening 5.30. The melee started around 11.30 in the morning. The number of agitating Dalit youth was less than 500 while the strength of police force around 4000. Several DIGs. SPs, ASPs and DSPs were present. The police version that the situation went out of control is blatantly false. Vajra van was set on fire by police itself. Collectors of the three districts were not informed or consulted before the firing.

Two men died on 20th Sep while fleeing on seeing the police. One Palani who returned home after cancer treatment was arrested and sent to jail. Family members ran from pillar to post to know whether their wards were in hospitals. Post-mortem was conducted without the presence of the relatives. More than 75 critically injured were denied proper treatment. After High Court intervened some improvement was seen in treatment.

Our findings: This is premeditated high level conspiracy to stop the death anniversary celebrations of Dalit leader Emmanuel Sekaran and curbing of of Dalits' political mobilisation. One Appa Nadu Maravar Sangham despatched an unsigned letter to their community people to assemble to find out ways to stop the Dalit mobilization for which nobody was arrested. On 9 Sept a school boy of Pallappachery - Palanikumar was killed by Mukukkulathore community on the pretext that some denigrating remark was scribbled on the walls of Manickamandalam, a village dominated by Mukkulathore community. The design was that aggrieved Dalits will mobilize and on the pretext of law and order situation the police machinery will stop the Dalit mobilization which failed due to the restraint shown by the Dalit people.

As next step, the top police officials arrested TMMK (Thamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam) leader Jhon Pandian at Thuthukudi, 133km away from Paramakudi on the plea that his entry to Ramanadapuram dist will escalate tensions. He was to visit Paramakudi to observe Emanuel Sekaran's death anniversary. Subsequently he was arrested and denied entry. This is the sole reason for the alleged out of control situation.

 Hearing the news Jhon Pandian's supporters gathered to protest their leader's indiscriminate arrest. Jayalalitha is justifying the firing saying that Dalits were creating communal trouble and taking law into their hand. This strengthens the view that the Jayalalithaa Govt is anti-Dalit and pro-Mukkulathore bias.

We have demanded invoking PCR act against Police higher officials who must suspended immediately. A multi member enquiry commission must be announced. All the false cases against Dalits must be withdrawn. Dalits demand of announcing Emmanuel Sekaran's death anniversary as govt function on par with Devar Jayanthy be fulfilled. Un-conditional release of innocent people. rehabilitation package must be instituted (Upto 25 lac compensation, govt job to a family member, free rations, in case of caste oppression and state violence on Dalits).

Initiatives: On Sep 12th we issued a press statement fixing responsibility on the CM. Throughout the state we conducted poster campaign. We held protest demonstrations from 16th to 18th, at Madurai, Nellai, Kumbakonam, Kanyakumari and Chennai apart from other agitational initiatives.

AIALA Conferences at HPHalli

AIALA organized mass conferences and rallies on a single day at 3 out of 4 hoblis (revenue division comprising 5-7 gram panchayats) in Harapanahalli taluk of Davanagere district in Karnataka on 25 Sept. AIALA activists marched through Arisikere village and reached the conference venue where AIALA and party leaders addressed the gathering. Comrade Parasuram inaugurated the Arisikere hobli conference and resolved to make AIALA the number one organization in the taluk. Hullikatti conference was inaugurated by Maylappa, taluk committee member and the Mathihalli conference was inaugurated by Chowdappa, secretary of AIALA. Hundreds of agricultural labourers participated in the rallies and conferences and decided to follow it up with conferences at panchayat levels.

Comrade Shankar, CCM, came down heavily on the new poverty line of Rs.26 and 32 proposed by the central government. He also condemned the state government's plan to provide money instead of rations to the ration card holders in the state. He called upon agricultural labourers to elevate the level of 'Red Shawl Movement' to political level against the ruling class parties like BJP, Congress and JD(S). Com. Shankar also demanded arrest of the mining mafia and the local MLA Karunakar Reddy and his associates for illegal mining.

Com. Ramappa, state secretary elaborated the achievements of AIALA in taluk that included suspension of 12 village level corrupt officers who pocketed people's money to be disbursed through NREGA. He also complimented AIALA for being with masses and for organizing regular struggles on day to day issues of agricultural workers.

Arrest the Bellary Mining Mafia

Following the release of Loakyukta report on mining, resignation of Yeddyurappa and the subsequent arrest of Janardhan Reddy, former Karnataka minister and mining mafia by the CBI that is investigating the mining scam in Andhra, CPI(ML) organized a state level campaign demanding arrest of all Reddy Brothers and their associates involved in illegal mining.

A demonstration was organized in front of Harapanahalli taluk office on 8 Sep. demanding arrest of Karunakar Reddy, sitting MLA of the same constituency and former minister. Hundreds of proetstors demanded arrest of all accused in illegal mining scam along with government officers named in the Loakyukta report.

CPI(ML) Backed Candidate in Koppal

Assembly Byelections of Koppal constituency in Karnataka held on 26 Sep. witnessed a different candidate fielded by a broad platform of all progressive organizations in the district, including Left parties CPI(ML) (Liberation), CPI and KN Ramachandran group of CPIML. Vittappa Gorentli is the candidate fielded against the BJP, Congress and the JD(S). Unfortunately, CPI(M) remains the only Left party to support the mining scam tainted JD(S) in the elections. All major dalit organizations and Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) have also extended support to Com.Vittappa, a consistent democrat and leader of almost all joint struggles on democratic issue in the district. Com. Bharadwaj, CPI(ML) SLTM and AIALA state president, was also one of the prominent leaders who spearheaded election campaign against the BJP, Congress and JD(S).

AISA Held a Public Meeting against Minority Witch-hunt

with Members and Friends of Victim Families from Malegaon and Azamgarh

AISA organised a large public meeting on September 26th at JNU on the "Politics of Communal Stereotyping and Minority Witch-Hunt: State Media and 'Common Sense'". Friends and family members of the Muslim youth falsely accused in several bomb blast cases also attended the meeting to share their experiences. Apart from Maulana Abdul Quayyum Qasmi (general secretary of the Jamait Ulema-e-Hind) and Jaleel Ahmad Masihullah from Malegaon, and Mohd. Arif Naseem from Azamgarh, noted journalist Ajit Sahi (who has been covering this issue for a long time), and Abu Zafar from Milli Gazzette addressed the meeting.

The student's fact-finding report on minority witch-hunting was also released at the public meeting. In 2008, Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare conclusively brought into the public domain the communal designs of an entire range of Sanghi outfits including Abhinav Bharat and its foot soldiers of hate. In December 2010, Swami Aseemanand voluntarily confessed before a magistrate to the involvement of Hindutva terrorists in the 2006 Malegaon blasts – and yet as many as 9 Muslims from Malegaon continue to languish in jail on these same charges! On 17 March 2011, the CBI blocked the bail application filed by these nine men, on the plea that there was 'no evidence' of their innocence apart from Aseemanand's confession.

On the other hand, even as the involvement of Hindutva terror groups in various bomb blast cases (Malegaon 2006, Mecca Masjid, Samjhauta Express and Ajmer Sharif blasts) has been established, even as Wikileaks cables have exposed how BJP's Hindutva politics gets a 'boost' from terrorist attacks, there is yet to be any comprehensive probe into the extent of the Sangh terror network. It is in this context that AISA held this public meeting.


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:, website:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

ML Update 39 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 39, 20 – 26 SEPTEMBER 2011

Maruti Workers' Movement:

Resisting Exploitation And Defending Democracy

The workers' struggle at the Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant has, once again, exposed the ugly and exploitative underbelly of liberalised 'growth'. The intrepid struggle of young workers there is a glaring reminder that in the celebrated industrial enclaves of the national capital region, profit margins are extracted by abuse of contract labour laws, relentlessly exploitative work conditions – and above all by the brute suppression of the basic democratic right to organise and unionise. It is bringing home the fact that the Government of Haryana is treating the workers' legally mandated right to unionise as disruptive; while it is condoning and even defending the flagrantly illegal lockout by the management!

Since the Maruti workers' strike was defeated in 2000, the management had allowed only a pocket union to function. In the past few years, the automobile industry has chosen to cope with recession by imposing even more exploitative work conditions and even more restricted democracy. This may be the reason why many recent instances of workers' resistance and severe repression have been witnessed in the automobile sector – at Honda in 2005, at Pricol in 2009, at Rico in 2009 followed by the workers' strike in Gurgaon, and at Maruti in 2011.

A majority of the Maruti workers are contract workers, most of them skilled – who are paid less than half the salary for the same work, and denied various benefits. This pattern of cutting costs by employing contract labour (in violation of the labour laws) has increasingly become the norm, not only in the private sector but even in the public sector. At the Maruti Manesar struggle, a remarkable feature is the unity between the permanent and contract workers.

Some months back, the workers at Maruti's Manesar plant had formed an independent union of their own – the MSEU (Maruti Suzuki Employees Union) – to voice their grievances over the severely exploitative work conditions. When the management dismissed and suspended the MSEU leaders in June 2011, the workers went on a strike that lasted 13 days. The strike ended with an understanding that the Haryana Government and Maruti management would recognise the MSEU, take back the dismissed workers, and refrain from further victimisation. Instead, in late August, the MSEU's application for registration was turned down on technical grounds. On the heels of this rejection, the management swung into action. Workers were told that they could enter the factory premises only if they signed a 'good conduct bond' – thereby signing away their right to protest in any form. Scores of workers – all active in the formation of the union - were suspended and dismissed.

Workers refused to sign the 'good conduct bond' and began a dharna. Ever since, the gates of the factory have been encircled by hundreds of policemen behind a barricade. The bond itself is absolutely illegal, and the management's action amounts to an illegal lockout. Yet, the Haryana Government has, throughout, sided with the management against the workers. During negotiations, three top MSEU office bearers were arrested after they refused to relent till all dismissed/suspended workers were taken back. Haryana Labour Minister Shiv Charan Lal Sharma defended the arrest, accusing workers of being 'adamant' in their demand that all dismissed and suspended workers be reinstated. The Haryana Labour Commissioner has actually made the indefensible claim that the 'Good Conduct Bond' is legal, while echoing the MSI management's allegation that the MSEU and the workers' struggle is the handiwork of 'outside' elements. Meanwhile, workers in other Maruti factories in the region, as well as workers in the entire Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt have shown great solidarity with the Maruti workers' struggle.

The young, skilled workers who are at the frontline of the sustained agitation at the Maruti plant are the emerging face of a new chapter of the working class movement in India. Many of them have strong roots in rural Haryana and western UP. Their struggle is a challenge to the two foremost (and illegal) offensives on workers' rights by liberalisation and corporate capital – contractualisation of labour and denial of the right to unionise.

The Maruti workers' movement is not just a trade union struggle. Their struggle for the right to organise, unionise and protest against exploitative conditions is a crucial, and welcome, aspect of the struggle to defend democracy in India today.


AICCTU Leads Walk-Out in Protest against Maruti GM

On 19 September, the first day of the Fifth India-EU Seminar on Employment and Social Policy witnessed a spontaneous protest in solidarity with Maruti workers. The Seminar this year was being held on the theme "Occupational Safety and Health," in the presence of Mrutyunjay Sarangi, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, and a Tripartite European Union Delegation with representatives from workers' organizations, employers' organisations and government officers from various countries. Indian trade unions and representatives of companies were also present.

When Sanjay Khare, the General Manager of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) got up to speak and extol the Maruti model of occupational safety, AICCTU National Secretary Santosh Roy got up to protest. He reminded those present that Maruti workers have been on dharna for several weeks in protest against a blatantly illegal lockout by the MSI management. He declared that if the MSI representative was allowed to speak, AICCTU would walk out in protest. After this, leaders of other central TUs also followed suit – and the MSI representative was forced to step down.


Call for Relief Action For Quake and Flood Victims

CPI(ML) expresses sorrow at the earthquake that hit eastern India and Nepal, wreaking devastation and death. While there have been a dozen deaths in West Bengal and six deaths in Bihar, among the Indian States Sikkim has been worst hit, with the death toll reportedly crossing 90 and likely to rise. The party extends condolences and stands by the families of the victims.

In a situation where people lie buried under debris, time is of the essence in rescue and relief operations. CPI(ML) expresses concern at rescue and relief operations which appear to be inadequate and delayed in the case of Sikkim. More than two days passed after the calamity before rescue teams could reach the worst hit areas of Mangan and Chungthan. Reportedly, food and other essentials are yet to reach all the survivors.  

Meanwhile coastal Odisha too has been facing massive devastation by floods. Coastal districts of Kendrapara and Puri are worst affected. The floods have claimed over 40 lives and the toll continues to rise, while over 20 lakh people have lost their homes.

CPI(ML) calls for relief action all over the country to reach out to those affected by the earthquake in Sikkim and other states, and floods in Odisha.


Left Convention at Kolkata–Towards a fighting Left Alternative in WB

Four Left organizations from West Bengal– CPI(ML)Liberation, Democratic Communist Party (Marxist), Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists and Marxbadi Mancha organised a convention at Kolkata on 15 September on behalf of the All India Left Co-ordination. The convention was held at the historical University Institute Hall in the College Street area and was attended by a very enthusiastic crowd of around thousand people coming from different parts of the state, which also included quite a few disillusioned individuals who once belonged to the Left Front fold. Abdur Rezzak Mollah of CPI(M), who was the Land and Land Revenue Minister under the dethroned LF Govt and who has come out openly and fiercely against the Land policy of the previous LF Govt was also supposed to attend the Convention. But, he had to stay back under pressure from his party bosses. However, he sent a message to the convention agreeing in principle to its objective and supporting the resolutions proposed in the approach paper circulated in advance. The speakers at the convention were–  Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya from CPI(ML)Liberation, Mangatram Pasla from CPM(Punjab), Aloke Nandy from DCP(M), Santosh Rana from PCC-CPI(ML), Jayanta Gupta Bhaya from Marxbadi Mancha, Taramani Rai from CPRM, noted poet and litterateur Nabarun Bhattacharya and renowned economist Subhendu Dasgupta. The meeting was presided over by Comrade Partha Ghosh, Secretary, WB State Committee of CPI(ML)Liberation.

Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya emphasized on the need for building up a strong anti-corruption movement in the country in view of the unprecedented magnitude and frequency of scams coming to the fore in recent past. Reacting to the comments that the ongoing anti-corruption movement seeks to undermine the role of the Parliament and hence democracy, he commented that the demand for independence from the British rule was not raised from the parliament, but by millions of the ordinary people pouring on to the streets and fields. He strongly criticized the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill tabled in the Parliament recently, stating that language of the Bill has been couched in such a manner that it does provide for acquisition of land for private purposes. He demanded scrapping of the Bill in its entirety and instead stressed on the need for passing an Act for protecting the rights of the peasants on their land. He also criticised the recent land use policy framed by the new West Bengal Govt.

Comrade Dipankar disagreed that the Left in India is facing a crisis due to the debacle faced by the Left Front in the latest assembly elections held this year. He said that the extreme anti-people role of the 34 year long rule of the Left Front government brought about its fall. Parliamentary power never determined the crisis of the Left. On the contrary, the present situation holds out immense potential for regeneration of the Left in India in general and West Bengal in particular and the genuine Left must seize this opportunity by all means.

The Convention ended with proposing and subsequently passing 19 resolutions that covered issues of corruption, land, livelihood, security of the people and democracy. Please see the upcoming issue of Liberation (October edition) for details on this Convention.


Nalanda: Bihar Police Brutalises Women Demanding Justice

AIPWA Leaders Vist Nalanda, Met Victims

Statewide Protest Declared on 22 September

Hundreds of women in Nalanda, who assembled at the Noorsarai Police Station waiting to hear from senior police officials (SP and DIG) some words of assurance and action in the case of Noorsarai's Panchayat Secretary Reena Devi who is still untraceable, instead received traumatic blows by Nalanda police who rained lathi blows on them. About 50 women are injured and of the 25 still (16 September) in hospitals, 20 are women.

An All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) led fact finding team comprising AIPWA's General Secretary Meena Tiwari and State Secretary Shashi Yadav visited Nalanda and met the women injured in the police attack and also the family members of Sushma alias Reena Devi. Three CPI(ML) leaders were also part of the team- Surendra Prasad, Anil Patel and Aarti Devi.

The issue relates to the abduction of Sushma alias Reena Devi on the night of 26 August 2011. Her 12 year old son Saurabh is witness to his mother being tongue-tied and then abducted. Reena Devi's husband is a night watchman in the local school Kasturba Vidyalaya. When he returned home in the morning, a horrified Saurabh broke the news to him. Soon, he along with Reena's father and some other relatives reached Noorsarai PS to lodge an FIR. Reena Devi has not been found out till today (16 September). The family has strong apprehensions that she has been killed and her body dumped somewhere. They also said that Reena Devi's husband's younger brother and sister, and the jamadar of Noorsarai PS Ashok Singh are involved in the crime. Panchayat Secretary Reena Devi had a graduate degree and she was popular in the region due to her helpfulness and honesty. She was opposed to the police-criminal nexus in her village and Ashok Singh who patronised the criminals considered her an obstacle for his nefarious activities.

The agitated villagers have been running from pillar to post including CM's janta darbar to secure justice for Reena. It was in this context that they were invited by the police officials at the Police Station (Noorsarai) where DIG and SP of police were also present. The injured women in hospital told the AIPWA team that they along with all others had gone to the PS only on an invitation from the SP and DIG of police where they were questioned one-by-one in presence of these senior officials. After the questioning the women and villagers were standing nearby waiting to hear from the SP and DIG expecting action against criminals involved and Jamadar Ashok Singh. But to the villagers' shock they announced that the police are not involved.

What followed soon was a ruthless assault on the women and villagers by the policemen in front of the SP and DIG. Young or old no one was spared from brutality and the injured women narrated how they were targeted in their inner parts. The policemen also showered obscenely abusive language. The women said that the SP and DIG actually invited them not for any enquiry but to get them beaten up.

The AIPWA team saw that the injured women are still in severe pain and no serious effort is there from the Hospital Administration to care for their wounds. Three women are being made to adjust on beds meant for one patient thereby further increasing their pain as they can't relax. When the team tried to meet the Hospital Superintendent, they were told that he was on leave. All this shows utter insensitivity of the Nitish Kumar's Govt. The attack on women also exposes autocratic Nitish Govt.

AIPWA has demanded immediate action against the SP (Jitendra Rana) and DIG (Vineet Vinayak) and their suspension. Govt cannot escape from its accountability by suspending a few lower level police personnel. Reena's killers must be arrested and Ashok Singh must be suspended.

AIPWA has declared a march from Bihar Sharif to Noorsarai and protest demonstrations at every district headquarter on 22nd September.

Jahanabad: Protest March and CM's Effigy Burnt

Protesting against the barbaric attack on people demanding justice and security at Noorsarai on 14 September, the CPI(ML) held a march at Jahanabad on 15 September. Starting from the District office the protesters burnt an effigy of Bihar Chief Minister when the march reached Arwal more. The march was led by CPI(ML)'s District Secretary Comrade Sriniwas Sharma who said that Nitish's mask of 'sushan' (good governance) is exposed in his home constituency of Nalanda where the police continue to assault its victims, women and children even after they have fallen to ground. Such a treatment of women who were demanding justice for another woman (Reena Devi) exposes the real state of women's security and empowerment under the present Nitish-led NDA Govt. From Forbesganj to Noorsarai, the Govt has so far protected all the senior-rank police officers colluding in the crime.


Resisting the Politics of Fake Encounters,

Framing and Witch-Hunt of Minorities!

All India Students Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Organisation (RYA) held a Public Meeting at Batla House, New Delhi, on the third anniversary of Batla House "Encounter" reiterating the demand for a Judicial Enquiry into the case and against witch-hunt of minorities in India. At the meeting AISA also released a report based on a fact finding visit to Malegaon and Azamgarh undertaken by members of AISA's Delhi Unit. The meeting was attended in large numbers by students of three universities- Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, students and residents of Jamia Nagar, Batla House, Okhla Vihar and the vicinity.

Sandeep Singh, AISA National President addressed the gathering and spoke about his experiences and truths from the fact finding visit. He concluded by saying the clock at the Bhiku Chowk in Malegaon where the bomb blast took place in 2006 has been stopped by the people in Malegaon. He urged the students and community members to take the responsibility of getting that clock ticking towards justice and hope.

Ajit Sahi, senior journalist, also addressed the gathering and termed the "encounter" as cold blooded murder. He also said that no Indian irrespective of her/his religion or faith needs a certificate of citizenship from this corrupt fascist and communal government.

Swapan Mukherjee, CPI(ML) CC member and AICCTU General Secretary, said that the youth and students of this country have to be the torch bearers in working towards a secular, democratic India.


Party's Delhi State Conference

The 9th Delhi State Conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 17 and 18 September 2011 at Comrade Ram Naresh Ram Hall (MP Club, South Avenue, New Delhi). The Conference began with hoisting of the party flag by veteran party leader of Delhi Comrade Mulkraj.   

112 delegates and 11 guests attended the Conference. Comrade Saroj Chaubey was the Central Observer. Secretary of the outgoing State Committee Comrade Sanjay Sharma presented the draft report which was passed unanimously by the house after two days' debate and discussion.

The Conference resolved to intensify the struggle against the policies of privatization, corruption and state repression; to expose the elitist model of urban development and struggle for an alternative policy framework that will address common people's basic needs in an urban society and provide them proper democratic space; to develop mass-resistance on the issues of working people and common masses. The Conference, adopting the draft document, resolved that the party must understand the changing profile of the working class in Delhi, and expand and deepen its political base among different sections of workers that would serve as the core of the party's work in an urban centre.  

This time many delegates were attending a Conference for the first time and around 40 new members from among workers and students also observed the Conference. Party CCMs Comrades Rajendra Pratholi, Prabhat Kumar and Swapan Mukherjee addressed the Conference.

The Conference elected a 27 member new State Committee, re-electing Comrade Sanjay Sharma as State Secretary.


Demonstration against Murder of Dalits in Police Firing in TN

7 dalits were killed in a police firing in Tamilnadu on 11 September when they gathered to proceed to pay homage to a dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran in Paramakudi. John Pandian, a dalit leader, was held when he was on his way to pay homage and his supporters protested the arrest. Police fired at them indiscriminately and 6 fell dead on the spot and one succumbed to the police bullets later. Over 1000 were arrested and Sec.144 was imposed.

Jayalalitha initially defended police action saying firing was done in self defence. After protests against firing all over the state she ordered a judicial enquiry. Party demanded immediate suspension of those police personnel who are responsible for the killings and demanded Rs.10 lakh as compensation to the families of the killed. Party also demanded proper treatment and compensation for the injured.

Party immediately released a poster all over the State condemning the firing and held demonstrations stressing these demands in Chennai, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. A fact-finding team has also gone to the affected areas.


Shaheed Mela in Bhojpur

Like every year, Shaheed Mela in memory of martyred peasants of 1942 movement was organized on 15 September at Lasarhi in Bhojpur. A mass meeting was also held which was addressed by the National President of All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA), Comrade Rameshwar Prasad. He mentioned in his address that their ancestors did not sacrifice their lives so that the capitalists, corrupt and looters can rule the country and foreign corporations can take control of our natural and human resources.

Peasants from Lasarhi and nearby villages had challenged the British rule and sacrificed their life fighting them in 1942. Very few people/historians knew about this great patriotism of the Bhojpur peasantry until one of the hero of Bhojpur's revolutionary peasant movement Comrade Ram Naresh Ram started collecting facts on this after he was elected to the Bihar Assembly in 1980's. He got a memorial built and started a tradition for holding this Shaheed Mela every year.


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:, website:

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

ML Update 38 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 38, 13 – 19 SEPTEMBER 2011

Advani Rides His Rath Again –

Corrupt BJP's Farcical Attempt to Play the Anti-Corruption Card

Lal Krishna Advani has once again decided to trot out the tired horse of a 'rath yatra' – this time, for 'good governance and clean politics.' The UPA Government is implicated in multiple scams, and the country has just witnessed a huge public demonstration of anger against corruption. Advani's latest rath yatra is an obvious attempt to capitalise on the prevailing anti-corruption climate.

However, Advani's anti-corruption chariot stands deeply mired in mud even before his yatra can take off. In quick succession, the BJP has had to replace two Chief Ministers in BJP-ruled states (Karnataka and Uttarakhand) in desperate damage control attempts following corruption scandals.

In Karnataka, the possibility of arrest looms large over former CM Yeddyurappa, who was implicated in the Bellary mining scam by the Lokayukta report. Former Minister in the BJP's State Government, G Janardana Reddy, has already been arrested in an illegal mining case filed by the Andhra Pradesh Government. Although the bulk of the Reddy brothers' illegal mining empire lies in Karnataka, the Karnataka state government is yet to initiate any action against them. Instead, even as the BJP's leadership tried to distance itself from Reddy's mining interests, the Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda has defended Janardana Reddy and the BJP held protests in Karnataka against Reddy's arrest.

In BJP-ruled Uttarakhand, former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was forced to step down, facing the heat from a series of scams, notably the Kumbh Mela scam, illegal sand mining, the disaster relief scam, hydro-electric projects scam and the Sturdia land acquisition scam. Meanwhile the NDA Government of Bihar too is implicated in the BIADA land allotment scam and the Indira Awas scam. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP Government and BJP-RSS leaders are being questioned in the murder of a woman anti-corruption activist. Try as they might, the BJP and Advani cannot shrug off the taint of BJP-NDA Chief Ministers and leaders being involved in some of the most notorious scams of recent times.

In Gujarat, the Modi Government is under a cloud. In the wake of the acquittal of the accused in the former Minister Haren Pandya's murder, Pandya's family has reiterated their allegation that CM Narendra Modi had Pandya killed because the latter had given evidence of Modi's green signal for the 2002 communal pogrom. Several police officers also have given evidence of the role of the Chief Minister and other BJP leaders in the 2002 pogrom and fake encounters. Although the recent Supreme Court order in the Special Leave Petition filed by Zakia Ehsan Jafri disappointingly leaves the case and investigations in the hands of the discredited Trial Court and the SIT respectively, the SC order is not an exoneration of Modi, as the BJP has been claiming. On the contrary, the SC order directs the SIT to chargesheet Narendra Modi and 61 other accused on the basis of Zakia Jafri's petition, and submit the SIT report, report of the Amicus Curiae and affidavits containing evidence to the Trial Court. With the Gujarat genocide and fake encounters coming to national attention again, Advani's rath yatra will only remind people of his Mandir rath yatra of the early 1990s, with its legacy of hate-mongering and communal violence.

It is clear that wherever Advani's 'rath' goes, its slogans of 'clean politics' and 'good governance' will be mocked by the embarrassing instances of rampant corruption, corporate plunder, communal violence and brutal repression in BJP-ruled states of Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh. Advani is timing his rath yatra to coincide with the birth anniversary of Gandhi and JP, hoping to harness their patriotic and democracy-loving image for his own politics. But with the BJP's own credibility on corruption and democracy in tatters, Advani's yatra is instead being widely seen as an attempt to outdo rivals within the BJP's internal leadership tussle, and project himself as the BJP's next prime ministerial candidate.

Advani and the BJP may imagine that they can ride the anti-corruption wave and coast to strength and power. But the tsunami of people's anger against corruption and assaults on democracy cannot be tamely channelled by the BJP. Even as it rocks the boat of the UPA Government at the Centre and the Congress party and governments, it will not spare the BJP and its state governments either.

Worst Floods in Odisha: Partly Man Made

Pro Corporate Hirakud Authorities Create Havoc in Mahanadi Delta Region

Insensitive and Inhuman Orissa Govt. Fails in Providing Relief

Senior CPI(ML) Leaders Camping in the Affected Areas

A massive tragedy, partly made by pro-corporate authorities, has struck 3/4ths of Odisha as 19 out of State's 30 districts are inundated by one of the worst floods in its history. Out of these 19 districts, four districts – Puri, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Nayagarh are worst affected. As per the reports so far 90 blocks, 825 gram-panchayats and 3000 villages have been hit by the floods affecting 23 lakh people with 15 lakh marooned. 15000 thatched houses have been completely devasted and 33 people killed.

Due to high level of flooding water in Mahanadi river about 46 bridges have been damaged and many National Highways and rural roads have been damaged or washed away. Though six days have passed since the flooding began, there is no food and no drinking water being made available by the State Govt to the flood-victims. The Govt. is shirking away from any meaningful and serious relief work by just giving press releases about its (paltry) measures.

The flood is partly man made and if the ministry of water resources had shown commitment to people first, the havoc and the ravage could have been avoided. But the pro-corporate Hirakud authorities chose to serve the interests of the nearby industrialists- Aaditya Birla, Bhushan Steel and Vedanta – to save whose industries the massive amount of water was released from the Hirakud dam. Again, despite a clear and advance warning from the meteorological department about massive downpour in the catchment areas located in Chhattisgarh, the dam authorities did no preparation whatsoever to handle the outcome.

Senior level and other CPI(ML) leaders are camping in the affected areas to co-ordinate relief work. The Party has demanded higher level enquiry into the decision of the Hirakud authorities to release massive discharge from the dam thereby causing the havoc. Party has also demanded serious and adequate relief measures from the state.

At the time of this report many rivers are still flowing above the danger mark including the Mahanadi and Subarnarekha.

Massive Dharna at Parliament by ASHA/Sahiya Workers

Braving heavy downpour in Delhi on 5 Sptember, thousands of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) from different states, especially Jharkhand, Assam (including Karbi Anglong), Bihar, and Uttarakhand held a maha-dharna at Jantar Mantar near Parliament in New Delhi under the banners of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and ASHA/Sahiya, demanding immediate fixation of monthly salary at Rs.11,000 for ASHA/Sahiya workers and granting them status of permanent govt. employees, apart from several other work-related demands were raised.

More than 7 lakh ASHA workers in the Country are struggling for dignified life and wages in different states and they are compelled to slog on commissions while denied even minimum wages and honorariums. 5 September was their first ever national-level protest. (The National Rural Health Mission was introduced in 2005 with a view to making provision for the masses and particularly the women and children to get quality treatment at the door-step. And it was possible only with the help and sincere service of ASHA for they being at the very base of NRHM.)

A six member delegation from the dharna handed over a memorandum to the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad on the same day. The Govt.'s representative said that it was seriously considering ASHA workers' conditions of work.

The main speakers who addressed the dharna were- AICCTU's national General Secretary Comrade Swapan Mukherjee, Beena Devi (Convenor of the All India ASHA/Sahiya Association), Shashi Yadav (Co-convenor), Subhash Sen (Co-convenor and AICCTU's national Secretary), Hemlata Som and Mukul Bhhatacharya (Co-convenors), ASHA leader from Assam Pramila Ingti, leader of Bihar State Non-Gazetted Employees' Federation (Gope) Rameshwar Singh, TP Kamat (Jharkhand State Non-Gazetted EF) and AICCTU's national Secretary Santosh Rai. The dharna was also addressed by ASHA workers' leaders from different regions.

The speakers strongly condemned Centre's and state govts' criminal neglect and disregard for the ASHA workers and said that the very basis of recruitment of ASHA as honorary volunteers makes the future course of their dedicated service totally a source of inhuman exploitation of their labour. These ASHA in lakhs spreading over every nook and corner of the country are forced to toil only on incentives or rewards and do not have any duty hours and have to work for twenty four hours a day in extreme insecurity even in remote villages and hill areas without having any communication. This is nothing but a pretext to underpay and deny them right and astonishingly enough, the list of their responsibilities is always being added to with newer items (such as health surveys) and thus their area of activities is ever broadening. The condition and treatment meted out to these workers tells the truth about the women's empowerment in our Country.

On the one hand, there are tall talks of bringing about revolutionary change in healthcare and on the other, lakhs of basic workers of this Govt. Deptt. who form the foundation of NRHM are subjected to work without any emolument, whereas at the same time other categories of employees belonging to NRHM excepting 'ASHA' get regular salary varying from Rs. 7000/- to Rs. 24000/- per month.

The speakers also said that it was due to these ASHA workers that improvement in health indicators has been achieved - as will be depicted by some of the facts, such as – infant mortality rate reduced from 460 in 1984 to 254 deaths per 100,000 live births in the period of 2004-06. Total Fertility Rate reduced from 5.2 in 1971 to 2.6 in 2008 and Infant Mortality Rate reducing from 129 deaths per 1000 live births in 1971 to 53 in 2008.

The dharna also demanded that resolutions be passed in state assemblies in support of the ASHA workers' demands.

CPI(ML) Demands Higher Level Inquiry in Firing on Dalits in TN

The Madurai District Committee constituted a team headed by Com. Mathivanan to visit the victims of brutal police firing on Dalits at Paramkudi, Tamilnadu. Most of the victims have been admitted in Government Rajaji General Hospital, Madurai. Coms Murugesan, Shanmugam and Divya were the team members.

The team found that the treatment provided is inadequate and the victims are in inhuman conditions. Victims requested the team to do something to ensure better treatment. The District Committee has decided to meet the District Collector and the Dean of the Hospital to draw their attention towards ill treatment provided to the victims.

From the interaction, the team felt that the version of the government is mostly false and police had attacked the Dalits with discriminatory vengeance. The firing is unwarranted, the team felt.

The team has requested the SC to form a higher level fact finding team to investigate the case further. The District Committee has planned to organize a protest on 16th and had brought out poster to condemn the Government.

AICCTU Solidarity With Maruti Workers' Struggle

On 31 August, a nine-member team including AICCTU and CPI(ML) leaders visited Manesar to extend support to the Maruti workers' ongoing struggle. The team included Santosh Roy, Delhi State Secretary, AICCTU, Prem Singh Gehlawat, CPI(ML)'s Haryana In-charge and Vice President, All India Kisan Mahasabha, VKS Gautam, Delhi State President of AICCTU, Mathura Paswan, Vice President of the AICCTU Delhi State Committee, AICCTU activists Comrades Rajesh, Veerpal, Om Prakash Sharma and others.

The team interacted with the Maruti workers who are on dharna outside the gates of the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki, and met Sonu Gujjar, President of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), which is leading the struggle.

On 29 August, the Maruti management had declared that only workers who signed a 'good conduct bond' (which amounted to denying them any right to protest in any form) would be allowed to enter the factory. When workers refused to sign the bond and protested, the management barricaded the factory gates with tin sheets and began an illegal lockout. The management took this offensive soon after the Trade Union Registrar's office in Chandigarh rejected the application for registration of the new Union MSEU on technical grounds. The rejection of the registration of the independent union emboldened the management to launch an all-out offensive on the workers' basic right to protest.

The AICCTU then held a protest demonstration on 1September at Parliament Street where the effigy of Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda and Maruti Management was burnt. The effigy burning was followed by a protest meeting which was addressed by Comrade Santosh Roy and Mathura Paswan of AICCTU and Kavita Krishnan, CCM, CPI(ML). CPI(ML)'s Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma and AICCTU National Secretary Rajiv Dimri also participated in the protest.

After the protest, a memorandum was sent though the Haryana Resident Commissioner to the Haryana CM, demanding that action be initiated against the Maruti management for its unjust labour practices and its illegal lockout.

12 September Rally: On 12th September students and leaders of All India Students' Association (AISA) participated in a joint rally and blockade of Gurgaon called by the workers of MSEU and six students' organisations including the AISA. On 11th September, the MSEU after its joint meeting with representatives from around thirty Unions, reiterated its demand of the right to organise and unionise, to withdraw the charge-sheet, withdraw termination and suspension of 57 workers, and to stand with the just demands of the contract workers for their wage-hike and withdrawal of suspensions and against the company's easy hire-and-fire policy and that till these are met, they will not enter the factory.

Scamsters in Bihar Diverting Fertilizers to Black-market

Road Blockaded in Patna in Protest

The fertilizer meant for the farmers in Bihar is being fraudulently siphoned off by black-marketeers in connivance with government officials and bureaucracy to black-markets.  The connivance of the Govt officials is evident from the fact that so far not even a single godown (where siphoned fertilizer is being hoarded) has been raided despite the fact that these godowns are overflowing with fertilizers about which Nitish Govt. is feigning ignorance and saying it is in short supply.

What happened was that as soon as sowing was over and farmers went to the market for buying fertilizers they were shocked to know that the fertilizer bags which sell for Rs.150/bag were being sold Rs.200 above their price. When the infuriated farmers met the division's agriculture development officer in their respective divisions/blocks they were given nonsense reasons. Even lathis blows were rained on them when they protested at some places. At Masaurhi the attack was so severe that one farmer Arvind Singh s battling for his life at Patna's PMCH. The State Govt is making an excuse that Bihar has been granted only 5.65 lakh tonnes instead of fixed 7.25 lakh tonnes of fertilizer. However, the question is that if the supply from Centre has declined then howcome the black-marketers have their godowns brimming with it.

Since the protest of the peasants/farmers was not united they were easily suppressed. The All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) called for blockading all national and state highways leading to Patna to unite and strengthen the protests. This was responded by farmers at several places and police stood as mere spectators. Hundreds participated in each of these road blockades that lasted for hours and that took place at Fatuha, Masaurhi, Dhanarua, Punpun, Sampatchak, Naubatpur, Dulhin Bazar, Bihta, Maner, Patna city (Jalla crossing) led by AIKM's State President Comrade KD Yadav.

In all thousands of farmers and peasants participated in these blockades and expressed their anger exposing the lies and fraud of the Govt. The agitators were successful in exposing the fact that the Nitish Govt in the garb of another green-revolution and development is actually scripting a cruel chapter that is bound to severely hurt wider peasantry and farming community if left unchallenged.

Despite the fact that the time was very short for preparing this protest campaign (due to which mobilisation could not be organised at some big centres), but the popular support it received (e.g. vehicle drivers stuck in jam at one place supporting the blockade) from the farmers is pointing to the declining currency of Nitish Kumar's fraud. At many places the officials approached the agitators and assured action, including written assurances at some places.

Feudal Attempts at Evicting Poor from their Land is Rising in Bihar

On 30 August 2011, Kavindra Singh and Bhola Yadav, two local oppressors hailing from Chhaati village, shot and killed Comrade Sukhu Manjhi. Bhola Yadav was forcibly holding up two brick-kiln labourers and was trying to extort money from them. Villagers led by Comrade Sukhu Manjhi freed the two labourers from Bhola's stranglehold. The goons associated with these two feudal elements made this incident as an excuse to unite and kill Comrade Sukhu Manjhi. Their real intention was, however, to capture the 6 acre and 86 decimal land controlled by the extremely poor people of Musahar toli and Comrade Sukhu was biggest obstacle in this.

Next morning the enraged villagers blocked the Patna-Dhanarua main highway and raised slogans against anti-mahadalit Nitish Kumar demanding immediate arrest of the killers and proper compensation to the family of Comrade Sukhu. On 1 September protest was observed all over the district and Dhanarua bazaar remained closed. Except Paliganj, Bikra, and Daniyawan, protest marches were organised at 10 blocks headquarters of the district and Chief Minister's effigy was burnt. Highways were blocked at several points and effigies of CM burnt.

Another mahadalit, a young Santosh Manjhi of Bihta's Adli Musahar toli was killed by feudal goons associated with the BJP. Santosh Manjhi used to oppose unacceptable excesses on Musahars by the feudal elements. This issue too was raised in our protests at Bihta. Chhaati is among those villages of Patna which responded to the call of Naxalbari. Prior to that the CPI(M) had influence among the oppressed and poor. During that period itself the said 6acre and 86 decimal land was freed for the use of Musahar people. Family of Kavindra Singh Yadav, who is a tyrant has so far killed 13 people. Earlier his elder brother used to target people and when he paid with his life at the hands of people for his crimes, the younger brother doesn't seem to have learnt any lesson. He is the one who killed Ganauri Manjhi in 1974, Binesar Manjhi in 1975 and Chanesar Manjhi in 1982. Comrade Dinanath Manjhi wa martyred at the hands of police in 1985. Comrade Sukhu Manjhi is the fifth martyr from this village. Other nine people killed by him also include some of his relatives who were killed by him in property dispute.

Currently he is being patronised by leaders of JD(U). However, due to people's anger in Comrade Sukhu Manjhi's case the police has arrested him and some of the killers also have surrendered in court. On 15 September a mass meeting will be held here on this issue and proper documents of the land to Musahar people. The people this time have resolved for decisive battle against feudal crimes and excesses.


Long live Comrade Sukhu Manjhi

55 year old Sukhu Manjhi got involved in CPI(ML) from his childhood years only. He played a heroic role in several anti-feudal struggles in Punpun-Masaurhi-Dhanarua blocks, apart from struggles of his own village. He even got jailed in 1987 but returned to active Party work once released. Currently he was Branch Secretary of Chhati village Party Branch.



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:, website:

Thursday, 8 September 2011

ML Update 37 / 2011

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 37, 06 – 12 SEPTEMBER 2011

Bellary Scam Punctures BJP's Anti-Corruption Claims

Janardana Reddy, a former Minister in the BJP's Karnataka Government and one of the directors of the Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC), has been arrested for involvement in a massive iron-ore mining scam. The arrest has been made in a case filed by the former K Rosiah Government of Andhra Pradesh against the OMC in December 2009. While this arrest is welcome, it is clear that it is touching only the tip of the iceberg of corruption by the infamous mining mafia run by the Bellary brothers.

The Karnataka Lokayukta's report as well as many other studies have documented that the mining scam run by the OMC and the Bellary brothers is conducted on both sides of the Andhra-Karnataka border. In fact, Karnataka's Bellary district is the epicentre of this massive loot of mineral resources. Most of the OMC's illegal mining operations took place in Karnataka. The Bellary mining mafia received the patronage of the Congress Government headed by the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, as well as the BJP Government in Karnataka in which the Bellary brothers themselves were Ministers. Any through probe into the mining scam has to cover not only Andhra Pradesh but Karnataka as well.

The BJP Government of Karnataka is yet to prosecute the former CM Yeddyurappa or the Bellary brothers in spite of the mass of evidence provided by the Lokayukta report. In fact, the BJP organized protests in Karnataka and a bandh in Bellary against Janardana Reddy's arrest. At the same time, the BJP's top leadership is trying to claim 'distance' from the Reddy brothers! It is well known that the Reddy brothers provided money-power and political clout to the BJP in its political machinations in Karnataka. The infamous 'Operation Kamala' where the BJP poached rival parties' MLAs was reportedly powered by Bellary money. The close links of the Bellary brothers with BJP's top leaders is no secret. Now, if the BJP claims that the Reddy brothers' mining operations have nothing to do with the BJP, it must answer why its Karnataka Government is failing to initiate any action against the Reddy brothers in Karnataka?

In the case of the Bellary mining scam, which involved the outright loot of thousands of crores of mineral wealth as well as the destruction of forests, the Reddy brothers enjoyed the patronage of both BJP and Congress leaders. For any probe to be effective, the Reddy brothers, their close partners and associates, as well as their political allies in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka – all need to be investigated for their involvement in corruption.

The BJP has been trying to make capital out of the anti-corruption wave in the country. But the ignominy of Bellary has punctured their anti-corruption posture. They hoped to save face by replacing Yeddyurappa as CM. But the BJP's continued protection to the Reddy brothers who are the kingpins of the Bellary mining scam shows that when it comes to protecting the corrupt and patronizing corporate plunder, the BJP and its state governments are no better than the Congress or the UPA Government. In Bihar, too, the Nitish-led NDA Government has been striking an anti-corruption posture, with promises of an empowered Lokayukta. But there too, the Government's refusal to allow any credible probe of the treasury scam, or of the BIADA land allotment scam which is Bihar's own Adarsh scam, reveals the NDA's own complicity with corruption.

Be it the 2G scam or the Bellary mining scam, it is clear that the worst corruption today is a fallout of the private plunder of natural resources like land and minerals. Such plunder is made possible by the policies of privatization of natural resources, and also by the corrupt nexus of politicians and corporate interests. The Congress and BJP both defend those policies that promote plunder, and they are both equally complicit in the corrupt nexus between political power and corporate plunder. The anti-corruption movement must expose the Congress and BJP's pro-corruption agenda and intensify the demand for a reversal of the policies that breed corporate loot and corruption.

AIKM Protested Tabling of Anti-Farmer Land Acquisition Bill

Burnt Copies of Bill All Over the Country on 7 September

Draft Land Acquisition Bill Is a Mockery of Peasants' Rights

The tabling of the LARR Bill met with countrywide protests and burning of the copies of the Bill by All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM). It demanded that the draft LARR Bill be withdrawn and a fresh draft prepared with the emphasis on protecting agricultural land and farmers' rights, with the widest possible consultations with farmers' organisations, peasants, displaced people and groups fighting land grab and displacement.

AIKM General Secretary Rajaram Singh said that this Bill seeks to replace the notorious Land Acquisition Act, 1894, but in reality it retains all the worst features of the 1894 Act. This new Bill is nothing but a ploy to legalise land grab and declare a war on peasants and agriculture.

Even the original draft Bill seriously compromised farmers' interests. But now the Cabinet has backtracked even further. Cabinet has done away with the restriction on acquisition of irrigated, multi-crop land; it has withdrawn the provision that land would be returned to the original owner if not used in 5 years for the purpose for which it was acquired; it has provided that government will acquire all the land for private companies which seek more than 100 acres of land for 'public purpose.' These provisions show that the UPA Government, far from seeking to protect farmers from land grab, is intent on smoothing the way for land grab to serve private corporate interests.

AIKM's 7 September protest pointed out that food security was a key promise of the Congress and the UPA in the last Lok Sabha elections. Today the notion of food security has been reduced to monthly supply of 35 kg foodgrains to families earning less than Rs. 15 per day in rural areas and less than Rs. 20 in urban areas. If food security has to guarantee the nutritional requirements of 1.2 billion Indians, India needs to produce much more food, and this in turn needs more land for agriculture. There can be no public purpose which is bigger than this. Defending agricultural land from diversion and grab ought to be a priority for us all. Not acquisition, but protection of agricultural and forest land by all means is the cry of democracy.

Students Visit Maruti Workers in Solidarity

On 3 September, a team of some 70 students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia formed a solidarity team to visit the Maruti workers who are on dharna against an illegal lockout at the Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant. The visit had been organised by the All India Students' Association.

When the busload of students reached the site of the strike, the 2000 workers at the dharna site leapt up to greet them, waving scores of red flags and shouting slogans.

The Maruti-Suzuki authorities have transformed the whole factory into an iron curtained ghetto with private security guards and security cameras and video-cameras watching the workers' movement. Two police vans, (vans provided by Maruti) were always at the site and the police officers were seen taking refreshments from the security guards employed by the authorities.

The leader of the workers' independent union (Maruti Suzuki Employees' Union- MSEU), Comrade Sonu Gurjar gave us a brief summary of the struggle, and invited students to address the workers. Sandeep Singh (National President, AISA) addressed the workers. Kavita Krishnan and Prabhat Kumar, central committee members of the CPI(ML) also addressed the workers. Students sang revolutionary songs and the poet Vidrohi recited his poetry.

The present struggle of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) is against the illegal lockout, termination of 11 workers and suspension of 38 workers. Since 29 August, the Maruti management has declared that only those workers who sign a 'Good Conduct Form' (which denies the workers the minimum rights of grievance redressal through protests and strikes) can enter the factory. Near the factory's main gate, a recorded message is played repeatedly, announcing that workers can enter only if they consent to signing the 'Good Conduct form.' Copies of the 29 August notice are pasted outside the walls of the factory. The entire workforce of the Manesar plant has refused to sign away their rights, and have demanded that the 'Good Conduct form' be revoked and the (undeclared) lockout called off.

Groups of workers attend the dharna in 'shifts.' As we waited for the workers of the evening shift to arrive, student activists interacted with groups of workers. They eagerly shared with us details of their working conditions. Talking to them, a clear outline emerged of the inhuman conditions in which the workers of one of the most prosperous industries of the country have to work. We were told that:

• The production capacity of the factory is 1200 cars per day where as the workers are forced to produce 1400-1470 cars per day in the factory, which makes the production conditions stressful and inhuman for the workers.

• All workers have to pass through a 3 year training period during which no labour laws are applicable. At the end of the 3-year period they receive uniforms, and are supposed to be made permanent. Instead, many of them remain frozen as 'trainees' and their permanent appointment is delayed.

• Working period of 8 hours exclude lunch and tea breaks. The workers are provided with a recess of 7 minutes between 2 hours of continuous work. In this limited time the worker has to have refreshments as well as visit the toilet.

• The electronic attendance machine installed by the administration marks a worker absent for half a day and cuts his salary even if he is one minute late and continues to work through that half day.

• There is no provision of casual leave or sick leave and if a worker goes on holiday for 1 day the amount deducted is Rs. 1500, for 2 days it is Rs. 2200, for three days it is Rs. 7000-8000.

• If a worker goes on holiday the amount deducted is 1500 but if he works overtime on a holiday then he will be paid Rs. 250 only.

• There is no proper health facility. Only when a worker is admitted to a hospital for 24 hrs only then the company reimburses 80% of the expenditure. No reimbursements are offered for medical expenditure on family members.

• Conveyance is a major problem, as the buses though apparently provided by the company, charge fare from workers.

• The management stints on safety equipment. Gloves become unusable soon – but they are made to turn the gloves inside out and re-use, resulting in rashes and allergies.

• Against all such inhuman conditions, the workers at the Maruti's Manesar plant sustained a 13-day long strike from 4 June-17 June. The right to form an independent union emerged as the key demand of this strike

• The workers who are inside the plant are brought to the work site in covered trucks and are under continuous surveillance of the police. The Maruti authorities have brought workers from other plants and trying to run the production but production in these unusual conditions are associated with life risks and other hazards. Some workers reported that under similar situations in 2006, six workers who were brought by the authorities from outside died inside the plant in an accident. The death of these workers was completely erased from public notice by surreptitious means by the Maruti authorities.

Towards evening, workers had to shift their dharna tent to across the road, as the management had obtained a court injunction against any protest within 100 metres of the factory. As the evening shift of workers gathered, once again, there was enthusiastic slogan shouting. Kuldeep Janghu, General Secretary of the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (which holds sway in the Gurgaon plant of Maruti-Suzuki), came to address the workers. He reported that he had received a letter proposing talks on 5 September to resolve the dispute. Students again greeted the new batch of workers before leaving in the late evening.

Most of the workers at the Manesar plant are young, educated and skilled. These young men have sustained two major agitations within a span of a few months – in the face of severe odds. The road ahead is certainly not smooth for them, but their spirit is inspiring and contagious. The Congress Government in Haryana as well as at the centre are silent on such flagrant flouting of labour laws.

The UPA Government and main opposition NDA have a consensus in favour of doing away with the labour laws that protect workers' rights. In this backdrop of a countrywide offensive against labour laws, the Maruti Workers' struggle assumes significance far beyond that of a single factory. Their struggle is a defiant sign of workers' refusal to surrender the hard-won rights or to relinquish the bare minimum norms of industrial democracy.

Tamil Nadu: In support of the Maruti Suzuki workers' struggle a dharna is ongoing at Erode (7th September) and demonstrations at Chennai, Coimbatore and Sriperumbudur (7 Sept) and there will be a gate meeting on 8th September by Diamond Chain Workers Union. All this protest is being led by AICCTU.

Demonstration in Patna dist on the Issue of Housing for Poor

Politics of Indira Awaas: permanent programme for cheating the poor

Demonstrations on the issues of housing and flood relief: Nitish's spell is waning

On 27 August demonstrations were held in 11 blocks of Patna district as per statewide plan of All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA) on the question of housing for the poor. In Punpun, Dhanarua, Fatuha, Daniyawan, issues of flood relief and crop compensation were also raised. The programmes saw large mobilization of the rural poor. Except for 2-3 blocks where mobilization was thin, the mobilization was generally thousand or above – Punpun 5000, Dhanarua 3000, Fatuha 3000, Daniyawan 1000, Phulwari 700, Bihta 1000, Paliganj 2000. In Fatuha the demonstrators grabbed the stage and mike setup for distribution of Indira Awaas and held their meeting, whereas in Bihta 800 people courted arrest. The wider and large participation of rural poor in 27th August demonstration held with only 4-5 days of preparation shows that Nitish's spell is waning and now the poor are getting mobilized in struggles against his government.

For the last 2 months "fulfill promises" campaign against Nitish government is underway. The main issues of this campaign are- including names of all 1.5 crore (15 million) families in the BPL list and providing them food grains, 3 decimal homestead land, and providing work under NREGA to all the poor people. Along with the campaign the membership campaign of AIALA is also underway to organize the rural poor. The reports from the overall campaign points to the fact that the poor people are feeling cheated and their anger against government is increasing.

The devastation due to floods has also played its role in large mobilization in many blocks. The government is not taking any concrete steps to seek permanent solution for the flooding. And it shirks away from its responsibility by merely distributing food grains to the flood affected.

However one of the reasons behind 27 August demonstration was also to expose the politics of Indira Awaas. The government had decided that on 27 August it will hold block level camps (where even its MLAs and ministers or senior officers will be present) and distribute in a single go all of the houses under Indira Awaas (around 7,37,486) for the year 2011-12. This was to make political benefit from the routine distribution of Indira Awaas to a few people in every village. The CM and Dy. CM were themselves present at Danapur block. On this day the Union Rural Minister, Mr. Jairam Ramesh was also present in Bihar. Therefore, instead of the decentralized distribution the government held camps this year and distribution through MLAs and Ministers, the government tried to display itself as the government for the poor.

The government has been providing assistance for housing for the poor since 1950 and Indira Awaas Yojana is in force since 1985. But there is hardly any village in the state where all the poor have got a pucca house. Central government has also set a target of transforming kacha houses into pucca by 2017. However this is another eyewash for the poor as decades after decades they have been cheated. Whether the pucca houses for the poor come up or not, agents in every village-tola have surely come up who prevent the poor from getting closer to any revolutionary movement and keep them aligned with the establishment. The government surely has had a success in this. Due to the smaller number of houses being distributed the poor compete amongst themselves which is utilized by the mukhias (village head) of the ruling parties. They even extort large sums from the poor in the form of commission.

The demonstration of 27 August demanded that instead of limited number distribution all the people be given pucca houses in one go.

Each beneficiary is given Rs.45000, with this amount the recipient has to construct a dwelling in 20 sq. metres (215 sq. ft.). Within this amount they also have to construct lavatory as well as smoke free oven. The layout is that there will be a room of 10x12 ft and a verandah of 4ft. How can parents, children and animals along with other family members be housed in this dungeon of a place. Even for a small family 2 rooms and a verandah is surely required. Somehow a family can manage in a 40sq. metre housing in which 2 small (10x10) rooms and a slightly bigger verandah can be constructed. This government scheme clearly reflects the anti-poor and inhuman character of the state. It is another matter that in these times of price-rise, even one room cannot be constructed in Rs.45000. There are also reports of the receiver's committing suicide due to a large portion of this meager amount being pocketed by the agents. In Bhatan Bigaha village of Aurangabad district a poor family comprised of a couple and their three children committed suicide out of fear that they won't be able to construct the house in Rs. 25000/- (20000 pocketed by agent out of 45000) and then they won't be able to return the money to the Govt. There are far too many cases of corruption in this scheme. The AIALA appealed to all the poor people of the state to reject this brutal apathy and unite to fight for decent and livable housing with all basic amenities.

AIALA has demanded a CBI enquiry into the corruption in Indira Awaas Yojana and punishment and immediate termination of the BDO who is responsible for the family of five committing suicide. The protest of 27 August also declared that if the Govt. doesn't distribute 3 decimal land per family then AIALA will soon start land capture campaign in the State.

Tamil Nadu: Fast against Corruption

In the background of anti-corruption protests all over the country, 14 organisations in Coimbatore including workers' unions of LMW and KSB Pumps, Perianaickenpalayam Traders' Association, National Movement against Corruption, Peasants Association and National Advocates Union came under the joint banner of 'People's Joint Forum Against Corruption' led by CPI(ML) and organized one-day fast in Perianaickenpalayam on August 25.

Perianaickenpalayam Traders' Association called for a one-day bandh in the area and all the shops in the area was closed on the day of Fast Protest. Com. S Kumarasami, Politburo member of CPI(ML), addressed the gathering in which over 800 workers and traders and other sections participated.

 Human Chain Demanding Clemency

On 29 August, over 500 workers of Pricol participated in a Human Chain demanding commutation of death sentence for Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. Com.S.Kumarasami, PBM, who addressed the gathering, said that death sentence for the three was pronounced under the draconian TADA without adequate proof and that TN CM Jayalalitha has all the powers to commute the death sentence. He also said that Jayalalitha had to bow before the struggles of people of TN in the issue of Uniform Syllabus and struggles on this issue also is now intensifying and these struggles have to be further intensified till the sentence is commuted.

In the back ground of protests all over TN the TN Assembly passed a resolution on August 30 demanding commutation of death sentence for the three. Protest demonstrations were held on this issue- TIDC workers on 28 August, Solidarity Forum led by Hyundai workers on 5 September, Villupuram comrades on 25 August, AISA and RYA on August 30 in Kanchipuram, in Pudukottai and Kanyakumari on August 30, in Kumarapalayam on 31 August.

On September 5 Pricol workers organized a one-day fast protest in Perianaickenpalayam against the Pricol management demanding early solution on their issues. Com. S Kumarasami also joined the protest. Over 1000 workers observed lunch boycott and visited the fast site.


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:, website: