Monday, 31 December 2012

ML Update 53 / Dec 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16            No. 01                                                                     25-31 DEC 2012

Saluting the Power of Protest

in the Indian State's 'Rape Capital'

If the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year old paramedical student in a moving Delhi bus on the night of 16 December had shocked the entire country, the unprecedented protests that have erupted since then, most prominently in Delhi itself, have come as a most encouraging sign of a growing democratic awakening and assertion in the country. The year 2012 could not possibly end on a more rousing note. Never before did Delhi, or for that matter any other Indian metropolis, see a protest of this magnitude and intensity on an issue of gender violence. The protests have been remarkable for the scale and range of popular participation - mostly spontaneous but also unmistakably aided and encouraged by the spirited participation of organised progressive groups of students, women and workers - as well as for the bold display of courage and determination in the face of water cannons, tear-gas shells, repeated raining of lathis, and above all, the monumental apathy and arrogance of the rulers.


The protests were necessary for the most deeply felt collective anger that was voiced so powerfully and creatively. More than the demands raised or ideas mooted to combat the ugly patriarchal evil of rape, the very fact that thousands came out to protest and demand justice was itself the biggest deterrent that can ever be thought of against sexual violence. The ideas voiced were no less urgent – the calls for fast-track courts to ensure speedy trial of rape cases and delivery of justice, or a special session of Parliament to discuss and fight the shame of sexual violence faced by Indian women in their domestic domain as well as public realm, are all immensely important.


The protests have clearly been a huge boost to the confidence of the people and certainly a great inspiration for every kind of progressive political imagination. Many fetters on free assembly of people that had been systematically enforced over the last two decades of neo-liberal governance were broken in just two days of spirited and courageous mass protests on December 22-23. November 25, 1992 was the last occasion when the Boat Club lawns had witnessed a massive public protest – it was the first powerful and united rally of Left-led trade unions against the assault of the policies of liberalisation and privatisation – before a ban was announced declaring that area out of bounds for people's protests. After two decades of insulation from public assembly, the Raj Path – the road that runs from the India Gate to the Rashtrapati Bhawan – regained its lost glory by emerging as the key battleground for justice and democracy.


Faced with a mass protest of this magnitude, the least that any responsive elected government must do is to reach out to the protestors, listen to their voice and provide a responsible answer. But on December 22-23, the whole world saw how miserably the much-touted largest democracy of the world lacked this basic spirit of democratic governance. Neither the leaders of the government nor the leaders of the ruling party had the decency or courage to come and face the protesting people. The Delhi Chief Minister, the only woman chief minister in the country to have been re-elected three times in a row, tells a TV interviewer that she lacked the courage to even see the victim who was battling for her life. The Prime Minister belatedly delivers a most unconvincing televised address that fails to answer the fundamental issues or inspire any confidence in the people.


And the Home Minister drops chilling hints of more repression to come in a most casual manner in a TV interview, questioning the protestors' right and defending the government's indefensible attitude. According to the Home Minister, the protestors had no reason or right to continue with the protests when 'Soniaji' had already met a delegation! What monumental audacity and shameless sycophancy on the part of the person who is supposedly in charge of the home affairs of the country! Sonia Gandhi's meeting with the so-called 'delegation' remains entirely shrouded in mystery – the thousands of people protesting in the face of water cannons in a chilly December afternoon had no idea about the credentials of the delegation and whatever transpired in its secret meeting with the Congress president. How on earth could the Home Minister expect the protests to end simply because a chosen few had the privilege of meeting the Congress chief!


When asked why no responsible senior functionary of the government met the protestors, the Home Minister had the cheek to say that no government could afford to set such a dangerous precedent. And then he adduced the most chilling logic – 'if we go and talk to these people today, tomorrow when hundred adivasis are killed in Maharashtra or Chhattisgarh, we will be expected to go there'! Here is the most candid confession from the horse's mouth of how brutal repression of the poor and marginalised is treated as a taken-for-granted fact of everyday life by the state, and any form of accountability for state atrocities in such contexts is dismissed as ridiculous, even as every single mass protest is increasingly viewed by the government through the dangerous lens of Operation Greenhunt.


Some commentators have asked why issues of sexual violence in rural India or anywhere beyond Delhi where rape is used as a weapon of feudal oppression, communal violence or state repression do not get the kind of 'middle class' attention that this particular case has attracted. Well, there is always the proverbial last straw on the camel's back or the last nail in a coffin. It is wrong to presume that the people outraged by this specific incident have all been blind to other cases of sexual violence. Mass protests in the capital of India have already come a long way from the candle-light vigils triggered by the murder of Jessica Lal to the street battles with the police on the issue of brutal gang-rape of an unknown 23-year-old student. It will be the height of intellectual arrogance and sheer snobbery and sterile political pedantry to dismiss or devalue the protests as concerns of an isolated urban middle class and try and pit them against issues of caste oppression, communal violence or state repression.


The need of the hour is not to pit one case of sexual violence against another, but to see and show the hidden links and work for an unstoppable and comprehensive democratic awakening. The rulers are already revealing the links – we must grasp them and storm all bastions of oppression and win every battle for democracy. The protests of December 2012 have already provided a great spark that the cause of genuine freedom and democracy needs at this hour of all-round crisis and concerted state-corporate, feudal-communal and patriarchal assault on the dignity, livelihood and democratic rights of large sections of the Indian people.


Assembly Elections in Gujarat and Himachal:

Another Modi Victory in Gujarat Even as the BJP Loses Himachal


The year 2012 had begun with Assembly elections in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Goa and Manipur. The year now comes to an end following elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Governments have been changed in four of these seven states – UP has gone back from the BSP to the SP, Uttaranchal and now Himachal have been wrested by the Congress from the BJP while Goa has witnessed an independent BJP-led government for the first time. In the three other states, the ruling parties have successfully retained power, expectedly so in Manipur and Gujarat, and quite unpredictably in Punjab.

From the point of view of the rivalry between the Congress and the BJP, most crucial among these seven states were the elections in Uttar Pradesh in Gujarat. UP was of course not expected to be won by either of these two all-India parties of the ruling classes – the only point of interest was to find out if and how much the two parties could regain their lost ground. The result however revealed that both parties had actually lost more ground, being relegated further to the political margins. The multipolar political scene of UP had turned considerably bipolar, with the SP and BSP knocking out the Congress and the BJP from what a decade ago used to be four-corner contest in the state. If in 2007, the BSP had won with record number of seats in the Assembly, in 2012, it was the SP's turn to steal the show.

A BJP victory in Gujarat was of course a foregone conclusion, and the state has sprung no basic surprise in that respect. In the two previous exit polls in 2002 and 2007, the psephological pundits had tended to underestimate the strength of Narendra Modi and this time around, most of them had quite generously predicted a sweeping victory for Modi, with projections ranging from 120 to even 140. Gujarat has corrected that excessive exuberance of the pro-Modi camp, subtracting two seats from his erstwhile kitty of 117 seats while granting two seats more to the Congress, raising its tally from 59 to 61. Instrumental in this was the emergence of the Gujarat Parivartan Party under the leadership of former CM Keshubhai Patel. The GPP, which managed to win only three seats, was perhaps effective enough to damage the BJP's prospects in a dozen or so seats.  BJP dissidents organised under the Himachal Lokhit Party also played a role in ensuring the BJP's defeat in Himachal Pradesh.

Modi's dangerous mix of aggressive communalism, unabashed Gujarati pride and unbridled corporate-driven economics, delivered in the inimitable Modispeak, the heady rabble-rousing rhetoric that has acquired a distinct identity, was always considered a sure winner in the given socio-economic and political balance of Gujarat where pockets of rural destitution and urban poverty are sought to be obliterated from the public vision by the dazzling display of corporate wealth, and the disturbing memories and facts of the 2002 genocide and the subsequent brutal reality of a series of staged encounter killings lie buried in the dark depths of official oblivion and conspiratorial silence.

Many political analysts believe this model can be replicated nationally and the Modi caravan is now all set to march from Ahmedabad to Delhi. But this is precisely where the Himachal results should inject a necessary sense of sobriety. The Congress managed to wrest Himachal Pradesh even as it lies badly discredited on account of mega corruption and a grave economic crisis resulting from its blatantly pro-corporate, anti-people policies. The popular anger against the corrupt and non-performing BJP government in Himachal proved more powerful and potent than the general disenchantment with the Congress. And Narendra Modi's campaigning did little to improve the BJP's prospect in Himachal. The idea that Modi can revive an otherwise stagnant or even declining BJP on an all-India scale certainly did not come good in Himachal Pradesh.

Die-hard Modi admirers have already begun to dream of Modi occupying the Prime Ministerial bungalow at 7 Race Course Road (Mukesh Ambani has recalled his father Dhirubhai having once described Modi as a 'lambi race ka ghoda', a horse capable of running and winning a long race). Modi himself is acutely aware of the Modi-as-PM campaign and does not really hide his Prime Ministerial ambition. Significantly enough, he delivered his victory speech in Hindi, attributing his victory not only to the six crore Gujaratis (even though the BJP's vote share has never touched even 50% in spite of the well-entrenched bipolarity in Gujarat's electoral politics), but describing it as a vindication for all Indians who wanted to prosper. He also tendered an arrogant 'apology' of sorts, seeking the people's blessing to save him from any 'inadvertent mistake', and saying in the same breath that the people can never be wrong (read, any crime can be committed in the name of the people).

The corporate world too greatly relishes the prospect and countries like Britain and the US that had shunned Modi since 2002 have already been indicating their readiness to welcome him back. Some of the NDA allies like JD(U) may of course find it difficult to accept Modi as PM, but the loss of a partner in some state may always be offset by the return of some other estranged ally elsewhere. Many however believe that the BJP itself is perhaps less ready than its partners to project or accept Modi at the centre of its national scheme of things.

But at the end of the day, the shame and calamity of having a Narendra Modi at the helm of the Indian state can only be stopped by the people of India. The more the struggle against corporate plunder intensifies in 2013, and the more the people of India come out on the streets to secure their democratic rights, the more difficult will it be for the BJP to return to power and Modi to realise his dangerous dream.  

AISA, AIPWA, RYA, AICCTU Join the Upsurge Against Sexual Violence

In Delhi AISA, AIPWA, and RYA were at the forefront of the protests against sexual violence – with the rallying cry "When not a corner of the city is safe for women, it is time to turn every corner into a site of protest!"

The JNUSU organized protests and chakka jam (road blockade) at Vasant Vihar thana (close to the site of the rape). AISA, AIPWA and RYA braved water cannons at Sheila Dixit's house. Massive protests called by JNUSU and AISA have been held at India Gate – with student protestors marching to the Home Ministry defying all security arrangements one night, and holding a sit-in till the Home Minister met a delegation. JNUSU as well as AISA-RYA called for a vigil at Safdarjung Hospital, which was spontaneously joined by women lab technicians and doctors from the Hospital itself.

Activists of the DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) Unity Centre (affiliated to AICCTU) distributed a leaflet in support of the struggle for women's rights, and pointing out that the Delhi rape case underlined the need for a comprehensive network of DTC buses in the city instead of anarchic and privatized, insecure transport allowed by the Delhi Government.

Protest demonstrations and meetings were held at various areas of Delhi, organised by the party. At one such meeting at a slum cluster in Wazirpur, where many women spontaneously joined the party's demonstration, one comrade was greeted with much appreciation and applause when he said, "Candle marches are all very well, but women should have sandals in their hands!"

All over the country, AISA, AIPWA, and RYA have held protests. In Allahabad, 1000 women students joined a March organized by AISA and the Women's Cell of Allahabad University. At Patna, a massive demonstration took place in which large numbers of women students, nurses, and others joined. Enthusiastic district-level protests were held all over Bihar and Jharkhand. Powerful protests were held at Banaras, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati and Jorhat and as we go to press, the protests continue.

Mass Hunger Strikes in Jharkhand

On the 12th anniversary of the formation of Jharkhand state, the CPI(ML) conducted a fortnight long campaign against corporate loot of minerals, Coal Block Scam, forcible land grabs, issues of para-teachers, and rights of panchayats and corruption. This campaign was concluded at all district headquarters on 15 November. On this day thousands of people led by CPI(ML) MLA Vinod Singh, took part in a mass hunger strike at Giridih district headquarter. Similar mass hungers strikes were also held in all other places. In dumka, hunger strikers were led by Ramchandra Manjhi and Bitiya Manjhi, while Gita Mandal and Sahdeo Yadav led hundreds of people in Deoghar. Large number of people took part in Dhanbad, Bokaro, Ramgarh, Palamou, etc. In Ranchi, strikers paid tribute to Martyr Birsa Munda before starting the hunger strike. This was attended by large sections of urban poor, women construction workers, as well as many intellectuals of the city. Speakers here condemned the ongoing loot, repression and betrayals by the governments. Bahadur Oraon said that the political establishment has misused Martyr Birsa Oraon's name only to crush the aspirations and dreams of very same people for whom he laid down his life. CPI(ML) Jharkhand State Secretary Janardan Prasad said that the last twelve years of the Jharkhand state have proved to be a shameful era of loot and corruption in the history of the state. He blamed all political parties and their leaders who themselves are involved in this loot of Jharkhandi people's resources.

Towards 9th Party Congress

Cadre Conventions in Jharkhand

The preparations for the forthcoming 9th Party Congress of CPI(ML) are on in full swing in the host state Jharkhand. The Congress is scheduled to be held on April 2-6, 2013 in Ranchi. Party cadres and members are enthusiastically taking part at every level in ongoing campaign, propaganda and mass collections. Recently cadre conventions were held in six zones which were attended by all leading cadres of the state. These conventions were addressed by senior party leaders including party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. A Convention of Santhal Pargana zone was held in Godda on 8 December which was addressed by Com. Dipankar and Jharkhand State Secretary Janardan Prasad. A group of new activists also joined the party on this occasion, who earlier had left JMM. Activists of Giridih and Koderma region organised a convention in Giridih. Nearly 600 participated here. This was led and addressed by Vinod Singh and other state leaders. The activists resolved to make every effort for the Party's Congress and to make the forthcoming rally to be held in January in Bagodar on the occasion of martyrdom anniversary of Comrade Mahendra Singh a great success. Party CC's call for the VM Memorial Day was read out and discussed in the convention. The participants reported about the preparations and achievements in this regard. It was resolved to further intensify the campaign and take it to every home of every village in our areas with launching of 'Vikalp Jathhas' (people's contingents for alternative) at village level. Comrade DP Bukshi, Politburo member was also present in this convention.

A convention was held in Ramgarh on 10 December for the Hazaribagh zone which resolved to conduct a three-day campaign before 18 December. The convention held in Ranchi was attended by cadres from Ranchi, Gumla, Lohardagga and Jamshedpur region. A convention of Bokaro and Dhanbad was held on 12 December in Bokaro. This was attended by good number of comrades from working class. They resolved to make the forthcoming general strike on 20-21 February 2013 a great success. A plan was chalked out for intensive propaganda against loot of minerals and land by corporates and FDI. This was addressed by Comrades Dipankar, Janardan and DP Bakshi and presided and conducted by Deodeep Singh Diwakar and Subhendu Sen.

A Convention was held on VM Memorial Day, 18 December, in Daltanganj which was attended by comrades from Palamou region. Block Secretaries presented their reports regarding the Congress preparations. This was presided by party district secretaries of Palamou, Latehar and Garhwa. Some comrades shared their experiences of conducting Vikalpa Jathhas in their areas and told about the massive mass support they received in the campaign. It was decided to accomplish the collection of party members' contribution towards 9th Congress before 15 January. It was also decided to hold memorial rallies on 16 January in all towns of the region. All conventions were addressed by Comrade Dipankar. The Conventions concluded with a very enthusiastic note and comrades resolved to make 9th Congress and ongoing political campaign a great success by banking on people's support and involvement.

VM Memorial Day Commemorated

The 14th Anniversary of the sad demise of Comrade VM was observed in all the states as 'Pledge Day' where whole party pledged to make the forthcoming Party's 9th Congress a great success and take it forward to make the dream, as envisioned by Comrade Vinod Mishra, for the communist revolution in India a reality.

Memorial meetings were held in all centres in Uttar Pradesh where Comrade VM's contributions in the communist movement were recalled by the speakers.

In Odisha the 14th anniversary of Com. VM was observed at Nagbhusan Bhaban on 18th dec as Sankalp Diwas. Central committee member com Arindam Sen addressed this meeting and called for strengthening the party to fulfil the dreams of VM and to make success the party's 9th Congress through a massive grassroot level campaign in his inspiring speech. He emphasized on the fact that the Nation is going in the hands of corporatocracy instead of democracy, and at this juncture our Party should fight to save the nation from the hands of corporates. Comrade Kshitish Biswal, State Secretary of Odisha, Yudhisthir Mohapatra, Radhakant Sethi and Satyabadi Behera also addressed the meet and called for a massive campaign up to the villages and to achieve all round expansion of the Party before the forthcoming Congress.

In Uttarakhand the Pledge Day was observed in many districts and tributes paid to the memory of Comrade VM. A GBM was held in Bindukhatta in Nainital district where Party's State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi called for making 9th Congress a great success and asked every member of the party to intensify the efforts towards study of the proposed documents, new membership recruitments, and the mass campaign in this direction. He recalled how the Party sailed through massive state repression and various hardships since 70s to the present day and attained a distinguished place in the communist movement under Comrade VM's leadership. He also explained the importance of All India General Strike to be held on 20-21 February called by trade unions in the wake of all the ruling class parties going openly to serve the interests of big corporates in India as well as of foreign countries at the cost of the Indian people. Memorial meetings were also held in Pithoragarh, Bhikiasain, Shrinagar and Gauchar.

The Pledge Day was observed all over in Bihar with good participation and enthusiasm. In Patna district a week long campaign was organised among all the members of party on the call of the Central Committee. This was taken to the branch-level where party's political campaign, 9th Congress preparations, and all organisational requirements were discussed in detail.

In Delhi, a Cadre meet was organised on 18 December at Charu Bhawan where floral tributes were paid to Comrade VM and CC's call and 9th Congress preparations were discussed in one session and discussions on the proposed Party Programme were held in the next session. Comrades Prabhat Kumar and Kavita Krishnan spoke on the occasion. It was resolved to carry the CC's Call and 9th Congress preparations at every branch and ensure the involvement of every party member in the campaign.

Pledge Day was commemorated in different centres of Rajasthan. In Udaipur, good number of party members attended the memorial meet. They pledged to work hard towards the 9th Congress of Party and make it a great success. Many new members were also recruited on this occasion.

Similar programmes were also held in all other states and resolutions were taken to make the 9th Party Congress a great success.

AICCTU's Jail Bharo

At the call All India Trade Union Coordination Committee for satyagraha on 18-19th in preparation for general strike on Feb 20-21 2013, a Jail Bharo was organised on 19 Dec. by CITU,AITUC,AIUTUC, in front of odisha Assembly where around 500 activist courted arrest. Com Mahendra Parida, Secretary of Odisha AICCTU,Janaki Rao, Seema Sethi of Rajdhani Rickshaw Coolie Union, Dilip Samal of Safai Karmachari Union, Bharat Ghadei of East Coast Railway Union, led the AICCTU comrades during the arrest. The activists gave slogans to stop price rise, registration of unions within 45 days and against corporate corruption and loot.

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: 22518248, e-mail:, website:


Thursday, 20 December 2012

ML Update 52 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 15, No. 52, 18 – 24 DECEMBER 2012

Bihar Rises against Nitish Kumar's Liquor-Promotion Drive

Deaths caused by spurious liquor have emerged as the latest form of massacre in Bihar. The victims almost invariably belong to the toiling rural and urban poor, who are otherwise sought to be wooed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as 'Mahadalits'. Understandably enough, the continuing spate of liquor deaths has triggered a tremendous uproar in Bihar and on 15 December the state observed a day's bandh at the call of the CPI(ML) demanding a ban on liquor. This is probably the first time since the 1974 movement that the struggle against the liquor mafia has emerged high on the political agenda of the people's movement in the state.

The liquor deaths are no sudden aberration nor are they being caused only by 'illicit' liquor. The unfortunate people who died in Gaya the other day had all bought their drink of death from liquor shops with proper official licence. Death came in liquor sachets bearing the official imprint of Nitish Kumar's 'good governance'. On latest official count Bihar was found having a huge network of 5,624 licensed liquor shops. Almost every panchayat in Bihar today has a licensed liquor shop and it is an open secret that for every licensed liquor shop there are at least two unlicensed ones. Contrary to the government's claims, the expansion of the licensed network has not eclipsed or replaced the illicit network; rather the two have grown in tandem with the legal serving as a front for the illegal.

This rapid expansion of the network of liquor shops is central to Nitish Kumar's economics and politics of 'good governance'. The government proudly points to the growing revenue – from a paltry Rs 329 crore in 2005-06 the revenue accrual from liquor has gone up to Rs 2,045 crore in 2011-12. If revenue has recorded a six-fold increase in six years, one can easily imagine how huge must have been the jump in the profit earned by the liquor lobby. Any independent investigation will reveal a massive excise scam thriving behind the curtain. We all remember how Nitish Kumar had summarily sacked his excise minister Jamshed Ashraf in February 2010 for seeking a probe into a Rs 500 crore scam in his department.

Even as Bihar mourns the deaths of the hundreds of hapless liquor victims, Nitish Kumar had the temerity to suggest that his fancy populist schemes like distribution of school uniform or cycles among girl students could only be funded by the revenue flowing in from the growing production and sale of liquor. Could it not be argued equally emphatically that the revenue from liquor was being used to fund his government's self-congratulatory advertisements and his wasteful yatras aimed at self-promotion?

It is well known in Bihar that the liquor mafia has emerged as a principal prop of the new regime. In fact, the feudal-kulak kingpins of the infamous kidnapping industry of yesteryear have now turned in a big way to real estate, construction contracts and liquor trade. Nitish Kumar's vision of 'development' is of course not confined to the home-grown liquor mafia; liquor barons like Vijay Mallya are also spreading their tentacles in Bihar. If Nitish Kumar can have his way, the sugar mills of Bihar will all give way to alcohol and bio-fuel. Yet faced with a popular outrage, Nitish Kumar is now waxing eloquent against the liquor mafia, and in a most glaring display of hypocrisy his government observed November 26, the day Nitish Kumar was sworn in for his second term, as a 'prohibition day'!

The systematic spread of liquor remains a key factor behind the alarming increase in violence against women and the renewed spurt in crimes and social oppression. Girls in Bihar have been right in affirming that if cycles are to be funded by liquor-driven revenue then they would rather prefer to do without such cycles. Bihar cannot afford to bear the social cost of Nitish Kumar's liquor-promotion drive, a fact realised most acutely by the women of Bihar who are fighting in the forefront of the anti-liquor campaign. The youth must now join hands with the women to challenge the liquor mafia and the government that disburses death in liquor sachets. The anti-liquor movement in Bihar has already thrown up role models like Comrade Bhaiyaram Yadav, the young secretary of CPI(ML)'s Rohtas district committee, who was killed earlier this year for taking on the liquor mafia and rising in defence of the dignity of women. The combined might of Bihar's fighting youth and women can surely trounce the liquor mafia and their political patrons.

Successful Bihar Bandh on CPI(ML)'s Call

Bihar Bandh on 15th December against the massacre of mahadalits by liquor and demanding complete ban on liquor in Bihar, and against widespread scam in MNREGA was highly successful in terms of bandh effectiveness and mass participation in the bandh. Politically too the move resonated with the desires of common people in every district of Bihar, Gaya and Bhojpur especially witnessed intensive participation. The CPI(M), CPI and SUCI extended moral support to the bandh.

CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya courted arrest in Patna during the bandh along with several other Party leaders that included Comrades Kunal, KD Yadav, Ram Jatan Sharma, Meena Tiwari, Sashi Yadav, Rameshwar Prasad, Dhirendra Jha, and Amar among others.

Roads and rail traffic was blockaded by the CPI(ML) members and bandh supporters throughout the State. Since early morning the Party cadres took to the streets at Arrah, Jahanabad, Darbhanga, Arwal, Siwan, Buxar, Purnia, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Madhubani, calling out for observing bandh and ensuring markets remained bandh. At Forbesganj, CPI(ML) cadres and bandh supporters sat on the railway track at the town's railway station and stopped movement of trains for hours. Prior to the sit in a rally marched through the town. At Leheriasarai in Darbhanga, trains were stopped. NH 57 in Muzaffarpur remained cut off for vehicular movement for hours, Muzaffarpur-Sheohar road was blockaded at Meenapur, NH–105 in Madhubani, NH–31 in Nalanda, and Fatuha–Gaya road at Hilsa, NH¬30 and Arrah-Sasaram road at Arrah, NH¬–98 between Arwal and Kaler, road linking UP and Bihar at JP chowk in Siwan and at Guthni, NH–31 at Begusarai and Patna–Arrah main highway were blockaded for hours.

Rail movement and railway tracks were blockaded at several places including Buxar, Arrah, Darbhanga, Nawada and Forbesganj.

Shri Hind Kesri Yadav participated in the bandh in Muzaffarpur; Shri Devendra Yadav in Madhubani, and Shri Ramdev in Munger. The LJP's women wing held a separate protest while the RJD deferred its protest march to 17th December. In the bandh the militant participation of significant number of women and youth is a quite encouraging sign for building a sustained militant agitation against liquor production and sale in Bihar.

Delhi CM Sheila Dixit Must Take Responsibility for

the Horrific Gang Rape in a Delhi Bus and Resign

Delhi Police Commissioner Must Resign

(Press statement by AISA, AIPWA, RYA on 19 December, Delhi)

Students from Delhi University, JNU, and Jamia Millia Islamia, women from Delhi's slum clusters, workers, and citizens from many walks of life are protesting today at the Delhi CM Sheila Dixit's residence, demanding her resignation over the horrific gang rape of a young woman in a Delhi bus. The protest has been organized by the All India Students' Association (AISA), All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA).

We hold the Delhi CM Sheila Dixit responsible for the insecurity of women in Delhi. In the case of the gang rape in a bus, it is shocking that a private bus, unaccountable to any norms or regulations, has been free to ply Delhi's streets. The state of affairs is such that this bus, manned by a bunch of heinous rapists, has been doubling as a school bus in the capital city!

Further, when a journalist Sowmya was murdered some years back, the CM Sheila Dixit had responded by calling her 'rash and reckless' for being out late at night. The Delhi police chief in a press conference some months ago, had declared that the police could not be expected to provide protection if women insisted on venturing out alone at 2 am. Senior police officers in the Delhi-NCR region, in a sting operation by Tehelka magazine, had declared that rape complaints were as a rule fake, and that women who dressed 'provocatively' should expect to be raped.

The culture of blaming women for 'provoking' sexual violence by being out late at night or wearing 'provocative' clothing is a shameful attempt to justify violence on women. Those in public positions of government, police or judiciary who blame women for sexual violence must resign. We demand the resignation of the Delhi CM and the Delhi Police Commissioner.

We demand that the rapists in the bus gang-rape case be booked for rape as well as attempt to murder, since their assault has left the victim's life in danger. This case also underlines the need for changes in the laws on rape. Under the present law, rape by insertion of an object is not recognized as rape. We demand that a comprehensive law on sexual assault be enacted without delay, in consultation with women's movement organizations.

We condemn the statement of BJP MP Sushma Swaraj in Parliament, that even if the rape victim survives, she would be a 'living corpse' for the rest of her life. This culture of telling women that 'there is no life after rape,' and shaming rape victims, must be condemned in the strongest terms. We must ensure that rape survivors live the fullest possible life with their head held high – and the first condition of this is that they get justice, that the perpetrators spend the rest of their life in jail.

In the Delhi bus gang rape case, the woman victim and her male friend had boarded a bus. When a bunch of men on the bus began sexual harassment, making lewd remarks about the man and the woman, the latter resisted fiercely and boldly. The men then decided to 'teach her a lesson' –raping and brutalizing her in the moving bus and dumping her along with her friend on the street.

What we need to recognize is that the widespread and growing rapes in Delhi are, in fact, motivated by the patriarchal urge to 'teach women a lesson' for seeking equality and dignity and for asserting their freedom. The problem is that the political parties, police and judiciary are not defending and asserting women's freedom. Even when they talk of 'protecting' women, they do so by advising women to dress and move 'carefully,' thereby justifying the rapes by implying it is natural for men to rape women who defy patriarchal norms.

We are appalled by the fact that the Delhi Police's ad campaign against violence on women features no women – rather, it features a male actor, urging men to 'Be a man' and 'Protect women'! Instead of such campaigns that reinforce patriarchy, we demand that institutions including governments, police and judiciary be accountable to defending and safeguarding women's unqualified freedom and right to live without fear of violence, in the home or the street; day or night; irrespective of what they wear or do.

AISA students of JNU participated in large numbers in protests called by the JNUSU at the Vasant Vihar police station on 17 December and blockaded the road (chakka jam) near the Vasant Vihar PS in Munirka for 3 hours on 18 December to protest against the rape.

Reports from WB

Struggle against Land Grab in Solidarity with Singur and Loba Rejuvenated

"The struggling farmers of Singur achieved what 552 MPs could not - they turned the colonial-era (1894) Land Acquisition Act into a piece of scrap paper", said Tapan Batabyal, CPI(ML) State Committee member and veteran activist of the Singur movement, addressing a peasant gathering at Singur. "The CPI(ML) resolutely stands by Singur's long-drawn struggle and should the farmers decide to take over their land, the revolutionary left will march alongside", announced State Secretary Partha Ghosh in Singur on 12th December.

It's been six years since the Singur movement erupted and marked an exemplary struggle against land grab in contemporary Indian politics. Even after such a long wait, the farmers are yet to get their land back. Trinamool Congress, which came to power riding on the Singur-Nandigram wave, stands exposed with its mask of commitment to Singur farmers torn to shreds. The CPI(M) is back at its old game of using the farmers' resentment against the TMC regime to argue in favour of the Tatas. Under these circumstances the CPI(ML) organized a rally to reiterate its resolve to continue the land struggle with renewed zeal and pledged commitment to the demands of the farmers, bargadars and agricultural labourers of Singur. Hundreds rallied with the Party's march from Kamarkundu railway station to Bajemelia. Slogans were raised demanding- (1) return of acquired land to all farmers, irrespective of whether they were initially 'willing' or 'unwilling' to part with their land, (2) Exacting compensation from the Tatas as penalty for destroying farmland in the name of industrialization, (3) payment of a one-time compensation of Rs. 7 lakhs to all affected farmers, bargadars and agricultural labourers sans discrimination based on political 'colour', (4) hands-off policy ensuring political freedom of activists and mass movement workers.

CPI(ML) leaders present at the rally paid tributes at the memorials of martyrs Rajkumar Bhul and Tapasi Malik, and relived the experiences and lessons of the Singur movement in their addresses. They accused the TMC government of doublespeak, corruption and irresponsible handling leading to the current legal imbroglio and pointed out that corrupt and sectarian faces of the likes of Becharam Manna of Singur or Anubrata Mondal of Loba - have and will continue to be rejected by the masses. Politburo member comrade Kartick Pal announced that the CPI(ML) will contest the upcoming Panchayat elections in Singur and Haripal.

CITU Jute Workers join AICCTU en masse

Nearly 1000 workers of Jagaddal Jute Industries (in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal), formerly owing allegiance to the CITU, joined the Bengal Chatkal Mazdoor Forum (BCMF) affiliated to the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) on the 16th of December 2012. Among them are 5 party members of the CPI(M).

Since 2006, certain radical sections within the CITU, such as these, have been sparking debates in the inner circles. They criticized CITU's anti-worker, pro-management role within the factory in general and in the jute industry workers' struggle in particular. They formed a 'Teesri Morcha' which captured the imagination of the workers of the Jagaddal Mill. When they fought the PF trustee election under this banner, they even won 5 seats. After this decisive victory, the official CITU leadership settled with these forces and managed to retain them within the CITU union. But the basic debates, revolving around the anti-strike position of CITU during the industry-wide strike in 2008, along with CITU's growing pro-corporate role in West Bengal, were never resolved. As a result these sections of workers waited for an opportune moment to form a new fighting union and made contacts with local AICCTU leaders.

In 2012, the PF trustee election was held again. Two dissident CITU leaders (who joined AICCTU) won among 6 candidates, and are presently functioning as PF trustee members. After the CPI(M) and Left Front Govt was ousted from power in West Bengal they decided to join AICCTU and CPI(ML) and started bilateral discussions. It was decided that the formal announcement of joining AICCTU would be made at a workers' convention.

Accordingly, on the 16th of December, workers assembled in front of the newly built AICCTU office. Ram Sevak Thakur, a retired worker, hoisted the flag and inaugurated the union office. Basudev Bose (GS, AICCTU), Atanu Chakravarty (GS, BCMF), Nabendu Dasgupta (President, BCMF), Narayan Dey and Shambhu Bandopadhyay (AICCTU leaders), Omprakash Rajbhar (Secretary, BCMF - JJI unit) and others were present. A minute's silence was observed in memory of the worker martyrs, following which the convention was held at the Shams Urdu Primary School premises. The proceedings were marked by overwhelming participation and enthusiasm of fighting jute workers of the factory.

Com. Omprakash Rajbhar addressed the convention and placed a charter of demands. He criticized the Central Govt's decision to dilute the mandatory Packaging Act allowing the synthetic lobby - a move that would tell upon the Jute economy. Comrade Omprakash informed the workers that the management had asked him and other leaders to refrain from joining a "naxalite" TU in lieu of which he had been offered the Secretary post of INTUC in the factory! The management had even threatened them with dire consequences if the warning went unheeded.

Other leaders who addressed the convention were Nabendu Dasgupta, Atanu Chakravarty, Mazahar Khan, Basudev Bose and Sh. Alam (organizing secretary of the newly formed union), who presided over the conference. The convention resolved to place the Charter of Demands before the management en masse. Following the convention a workers' rally was organized.

State Transport Workers March to West Bengal State Assembly

Several thousand transport workers working in state-run CTC, NBSTC, CSTC and WBSTC jointly rallied on 11th of December under Trade Union banners affiliated to AICCTU, CITU, AITUC, INTUC and HMS. The workers' procession, decorated with placards and red flags, marched from Nonapukur tram depot towards the State Assembly. When stopped by the police midway, a protest meeting was held at Esplanade. The following demands were raised from the rally - 1) The policy of firing workers under the garb of VRS must be scrapped; 2) Land, buses and bus-routes belonging to the state transport corporations must not be handed over to private owners; 3) All arrears in salary, D.A., bonus, increment, gratuity and pension must be paid without further delay; 4) Following death of a worker, a family member must be offered a job; and 5) For all workers who have committed suicide under financial duress, a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs and a job to a family member must be offered.

AICCTU Participation in ILO Meeting on Sexual Harassment

Comrade Bhuvaneshwari, National Secretary of AICCTU attended tripartite committee meeting organised by ILO on sexual harassment of women workers at Bangalore on October 29-30.The purpose of the meeting is to ensure stopping harassment of women at work places. Meeting was attended by central trade unions represented by AICCTU, AITUC, CITU, UTUC, AIUTUC, INTUC, HMS, BMS, and NFITU and labour department officials representing Tamilnadu, Delhi, Haryana, Assam and Maharashtra, Assocham representing Employers.

Com. Bhuvana presented a paper on behalf of AICCTU which dealt with changing composition of women work force, i.e. diminishing organised sector and rise in women's employment in the unorganised sector without any safeguards and social security measures. Supreme Court directive on Visaka case is with respect to organised sector whose number is comparatively lesser. The women workforce mainly comprises of the unorganized workers whose working conditions are already vulnerable. Patriarchal excesses are well entrenched in their employment conditions. She also narrated the initiatives taken by AICCTU.

AICCTU has been campaigning for long on the following issues: mass enumeration of women workers, implementation of Visaka directives, meaningful social security for women workers, and equal wages for equal work. We demand that a committee on the lines of Sachar Committee must be formed to investigate into such aspects within a specific time frame. AICCTU paper presented concludes that the Bill on sexual harassment presented in the Lok Sabha has loopholes, yet the Trade union movement instead of dismissing it has to fight for its enrichment.

Comrade Sankar Mitra

Comrade Sankar Mitra, veteran communist and CPI(ML) leader passed away due to a massive heart attack on 18 December 2012. He was 73.

Born in January 1940, he had been in the Central Committee of the Party. Between the 4th and the 5th Party Congress he was also in the Politburo. He was involved in the panel on History of The Communist Movement in India. He was incharge of the Delhi Unit in late 80's and  of Tamilnadu in early 90's before returning to Bengal. He was also the Chairman of Central Control Commission from 5th to 7th Congress of the Party.

Comrade Sankar Mitra suffered long years in Jail in the 70's. He was a leader of the LIC Employees before becoming a professional revolutionary. Committed and simple, he paid attention to Marxist basics and socio-cultural study and investigation.

During the 18 December (coinciding with Comrade VM's death anniversary) programme all over the Country, when the news reached of the death of Comrade Mitra, the organising committees instantly observed silence to pay tributes to our beloved Comrade Mitra.

Red Salute to Comrade Sankar Mitra

(Please see January issue of Liberation for a detailed obituary).


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:


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

ML Update 51 / 2012

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  15            No. 51                                                                     11-17 DEC 2012

FDI in Retail:

Entering India through a US-inspired Concocted Majority in Parliament

The debate and vote in Parliament on FDI in retail concluded with a dubious victory for the Government, reminiscent of the Nuke Deal vote. While the debate made it clear that the majority opinion in the house was against the policy of introducing FDI in multi-brand retail, opportunism at the time of voting carried the day.

The arguments peddled by the Government in favour of FDI in retail are entirely unconvincing and false. The claim that FDI in retail will benefit farmers and consumers has proven to be false country after country. Just last week, a leading American newspaper reported that American onion farmers are suffering at the hands of Walmart which is selling onions at nine times the purchase price. Walmart and other chain stores also dictated arbitrary size standards as a result of which huge amounts of crops that failed to meet those standards were left to rot.

Globally, MNC retail giants are not known to have ensured higher prices for producers or lower prices for consumers – if anything, the opposite. Far from 'eliminating middlemen' as the UPA Government claims, the MNC retail giants will in fact emerge as foreign middlemen, immensely more powerful than any domestic producer – whether farmers or manufacturers – and will therefore be able to play with prices and eventually enjoy a veritable monopoly.

Another shocking pro-FDI argument is that FDI in retail is necessary to usher in superior technology – specifically, cold chains to prevent wastage. Why should foreign investment be needed for something as basic as cold storage? As we have seen above, preventing wastage is hardly a concern for the MNC retail giants. Not only is produce that fails to meet arbitrary size standards rejected and left to waste, the global food industry controlled by the MNC retailers is known to waste almost half the food it procures.

Even as the debate was underway in Indian Parliament, it was known that an enquiry is underway in the US into allegations of bribery by Walmart in several countries including Mexico, India, China and Brazil. There are indications that Walmart and its subsidiaries paid bribes in order to expand its network of stores in those countries. Further, the Enforcement Directorate in India is probing an allegation that Walmart secretly and illegally invested 100 million dollars in its wholesale partner Bharti Enterprises, way back in 2010 when foreign players were barred from entry into India's retail business.

At the same time, Walmart itself has disclosed that it spent Rs 125 crore since 2008 on lobbying US senators on various issues, including "enhanced market access for investment in India." How exactly was the money spent on 'lobbying' for entry into India? Who are the alleged recipients of bribes by Walmart in India, according to the ongoing enquiry? These unanswered questions indicate that the process by which the FDI in retail policy has been adopted is murky.

It is ironic that the Indian Government is bulldozing the FDI in retail policy pushed aggressively by the US at a time when the retail giants are facing protests in the US for putting small stores out of business and underpaying employees. US President Obama, just recently, has taken his daughters for Christmas shopping to a small bookstore, to be seen promoting a scheme called 'Small Business Saturday' intended to support small 'mom-and-pop' stores.   

In the Lok Sabha, the SP and BSP chose to walk out of the house after having opposed the FDI in retail policy, thereby ensuring safe passage for the policy. In the Rajya Sabha, the BSP voted for FDI in retail, ensuring a comfortable victory for the Government. Several MPs strategically stayed away from Parliament on the day of the vote, in order to facilitate the Government while avoiding being seen voting in favour of FDI in retail. In the Lok Sabha, the absentees included JMM chief Shibu Soren as well as JVM chief Babulal Marandi, while JMM MP Kameshwar Baitha voted in favour of FDI in retail! In the Rajya Sabha, the sole JMM MP walked out of the house at the time of voting.

The claim by the SP and BSP that they did not vote against FDI in retail so as not to benefit the communal BJP is laughable; the BSP is known to have shared power with the BJP in UP, while the SP is known to have done business with Kalyan Singh, the man who as Chief Minister of UP from the BJP, had presided over the demolition of the Babri Masjid.    

The FDI vote outcome is a travesty of the will of the people. It reflects nothing but an opportunistically concocted majority, cobbled together through behind-the-scene deals and under American pressure. It is appalling but altogether unsurprising that the UPA Government now seeks to discredit popular protests against FDI in retail by deeming such protests to be 'defiance of Parliament and of the law of the land.' It is the vote in Parliament which has mocked the spirit of democracy and political ethics. And it is the people of India, who by resisting tooth and nail the suicidal policy of FDI in retail, the policy that threatens the livelihood and interests of millions, will uphold the true spirit of democracy.

40 Years of Martyrdom of
Comrades Jagdish Master and Ramayan Ram

Inauguration of Martyrs' Memorial at Ekwari


December 10th, 2012, was the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of Comrades Jagdish Master and Ramayan Ram. They were martyred at Bihiya in Bhojpur district on 10 December 1972.

Jagdish Master was born in 1935, 10th December, at Ekwari village under Sahar block where feudal oppression and violence dominated everyday life. The non-landed class, poor peasants and the minorities did not have any freedom, not allowed to improve their living conditions, not even to conduct their daily personal affairs in their own way. Growing up in such a suffocating social environment, Master Jagdish was witness to social discrimination and repression towards dalits, poor and lower castes, routine humiliation and undignified conduct of feudal class towards women. Battling such a social setup and overcoming severe odds Master Jagdish was successful in education and getting a socially honoured profession of a teacher, in Bihar then. He was employed as a science teacher in Arrah's Jain School. He was loved by his pupils. However, he could not be satisfied with his position, he was constantly troubled at heart due to the incidents of repression and exploitation of poor and toiling class. In Arrah town, he organised the dalits to defend their dignity and rights. Initially, he along with other revolutionary activists, held a large rally in Arrah for demanding "Harijan-istan". Soon, the Naxalbari revolt happened and they were attracted to it, also realising that this was the way to transform a feudal society into democratic one. He deliberately travelled without ticket to get arrested and meet naxal leaders in jail.

In the 1967 Assembly elections he chose to be the electoral agent for Comrade Ram Naresh Ram, a daring task in itself. He was attacked brutally when he opposed bogus voting against his candidate. Since then he quit his job as teacher and became a full time activist. The struggles that he waged along with Comrades Ram Naresh Ram and Rameshwar Ahir from here on, attracted the attention of the world. People's poet Baba Nagarjun hailed these as heroes of oppressed people of Bhojpur as Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. He succeeded in driving out fear from the hearts of poor and toiling people as the poor of Bhojpur stopped being afraid of the feudal forces.

In a tribute befitting such a hero, the memorial for Master Jagdish and Ramayan Ram was unveiled on 10th December 2012 at Bihiya. People had tried constructing a memorial earlier too but the police were successful in forestalling the move. The land for the memorial, which is now highly priced, was given by Dinesh Musahar. The memorial stands at the very place where they were martyred. 40 years back, when Master Jagdish and Ramayan Ram were returning after ending the life of a cruel and repressive land lord Thana Singh (who used to assault women, play with the lives of poor and controlled the police and administration), the agents of feudal forces raised hue and cry accusing them to be dacoits and thieves and following an attack from the adjacent hamlet of Musahars, they died. They did not use their firearms, which could have saved them, as it was against Party's rule to open fire on poor and toiling people. Ramayan Ram asked Jagdish Master to scoot, but he would not leave his comrade behind.

Later when the Musahar community learnt who died at their hands they slumped into deep grief. On the 40th martyrdom anniversary, Dinesh Musahar and rest of the community had a sense of pride that the memorial of the people's heroes stood on land donated by them. At the time of martyrdom Comrade Jagdish was CPI(ML)'s State Committee member. The memorial was inaugurated by Party's Politburo member and veteran communist Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya. He said that since his martyrdom many governments came to power in Bihar all in the name of the poor. But all have pushed the poor further towards hunger and death. To those whom Nitish Kumar termed mahadalits and lured them with the promise of land, were serviced with poisonous alcohol, land being a hollow promise. The number of deaths of poor is on the rise in Arrah due to alcohol that according to Nitish will bring him excise tax. The people who are dying are poor people for whom Master Jagdish sacrificed his life, and towards whom the rulers are ruthless to date. People who want change therefore must walk the path taken by Master Jagdish. His life has also inspired work of art by pro-people intellectuals. Mahashweta Devi's "Master Saab" and Madhukar Singh's "Arjun Jinda Hai" centres around his struggles and life.

The red flag at the smarak (memorial) at Ekwari Village was hoisted by Dinesh Musahar. A public meeting was held at Arrah town bus stand next to where the Smriti Bhavan's foundation stone was laid. It was addressed by senior Party leaders including Comrade Swadesh.

Punish The Perpetrators of Fake Encounters and Fabricated Cases  

The NHRC has informed the Supreme Court that in the past 5 years, no less than 191 fake encounters have taken place in the country. This disclosure came in the course of a hearing in the SC over a petition to appoint a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the 1500 alleged fake encounters in Manipur in the past three decades. Another petition seeking withdrawal of AFSPA in Maniour is also under hearing.

Needless to say, the NHRC's estimate is a conservative one, since it only counts those killings that the NHRC considers to be fake. The Batla House killings of 2008, for instance, were not considered fake by the NHRC in spite of its many suspicious aspects.

The NHRC also commented on the non-cooperation of state governments in probes into such killings, and on the failure to comply with recommendations for compensation in case an 'encounter' is found to be fake. For instance, in the case of the rape and killing of Thangjan Manorama Chanu in Manipur in 2004, the NHRC recommended payment of Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victims's kin, but the Defence Ministry is yet to comply.   

Shocked by the revelations, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai asked, "Is there a war going on within?" The SC noted that "There is more than meets the eye" in the 'encounters' in Manipur, and recommended the setting up of an SIT to probe the cases, although the Central Government and the NHRC opposed this.  Commenting on the fact that a 12-year-old boy was killed as a 'militant' in one such 'encounter', the SC bench asked, "How can a 12-year old boy be a terrorist?"  

What is shocking is that in this 'war,' the state machinery enjoys a virtual licence to kill. There is a culture of impunity, whereby the men in uniform who perpetrate fake encounters and fabricate cases against innocents are very rarely brought to book. 

It is not fake encounters alone, but fake cases, fabricated to frame innocents, too, which are on the rise. Recently, the Delhi HC acquitted two young Kashmiri men who had been sentenced to death by the sessions court in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blasts case. The High Court pointed to the "highly defective" police investigation, and the "grave prosecution lapses" that raised "a question mark on the nature and truthfulness of the evidence produced." The HC concluded that the case fell below the "minimum proof required in a criminal trial." How, then, did evidence that fell below the threshold of 'minimum proof' result in the maximum sentence for two young boys, also costing them 16 years in jail for a crime they did not commit?

The HC noted that "It has been repeatedly cautioned by the Supreme Court that while dealing with a case of grave nature - like the present one, there is always a danger that conjectures and suspicion may take the place of legal truth." It held that "In matters of liberty, the weakness of the State surely cannot be an excuse for lowering time tested standards, especially in serious crimes, where the accused stand to forfeit their life, or at best, the most part of it."  

The brother of one of these youths was also acquitted two years earlier in the same case, having spent 14 years in jail. Appallingly, it is reported that the two recently acquitted Kashmiri youths face re-arrest in another blast case.

An investigative report by a journalist of a leading English daily recently exposed that instances of blatant fabrication of cases against alleged members of 'SIMI,' said to be a banned terrorist outfit. What was clear from his report is that these were not cases of 'lapses' or honest 'mistakes.' They were cases of deliberate fabrication, no less. In 6 different cases spanning 5 cities and 2 years, the Madhya Pradesh police had produced the same copy of a magazine as 'evidence,' claiming in every case to have seized this supposedly banned magazine from the accused. Clearly, in every case, the same copy of the magazine had been planted on the accused after the arrest! Others had been arrested and spent long periods in jail in Maharashtra and MP on evidence as flimsy as newspapers, Urdu poetry and a children's magazine. In other cases, Muslims had been arrested under the UAPA on charges of terrorism – for the crime of 'shouting slogans.' In none of the cases have the police personnel faced punishment for their obvious fabrication of cases.

The Lok Sabha has recently passed amendments to the UAPA that make it even more draconian that it already it. Draconian laws like UAPA are being used as instruments to arrest and intimidate minorities, adivasis, the poor, as well as political dissenters. The Binayak Sen case, with its obvious fabrications and falsehoods, had shocked people's conscience. It's time it was recognised that such outright fabrications, arrests and custodial torture and killings are the norm rather than the exception. 

What is needed is a tribunal to probe all cases of terror suspects, and to ensure public acknowledgement and apology as well as compensation and rehabilitation for the victims of fabricated arrests and families of fake encounter victims. But above all, what is needed is severe punishment for the personnel (in police or armed forces) who perpetrate extra-judicial killings and fabricate cases, and repeal of all draconian laws.    

Protests Against Liquor Deaths in Bihar

The Bihar Government's policy of promoting the sale of liquor for revenue is taking a deadly toll in the state. Between 7th and 9th December, around 35 people (possibly more) were killed after drinking poisonous liquor in Ara. Since then, there have been similar deaths in Gaya and Patna too. The CPI(ML) and AIPWA have responded with spirited protests demanding arrest and prosecution on murder charges of those responsible for the deaths; compensation for the victims' families; and an immediate stop to the Government's policy of promoting the sale of liquor.

On 8th December, the CPI(ML) called for an Ara bandh. On 9th, the AIPWA held a protest demonstration in Patna. On the same day, CPI(ML) PB member Swadesh Bhattacharya met the victims' families in Ara, while on the 10th December, Bihar state secretary Comrade Kunal visited Ara and met the victims' families.

The AIPWA held protest marches in Siwan and Gaya on 10 December. And on 11 December, the AIPWA led a militant protest by women at the DM's office at Ara. Women, led by AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari and Ara leaders Comrades Indu and Shobha Mandal, spiritedly resisted the police and entered the DM's office premises, raising slogans and addressing protestors on the mike, although the use of mikes is banned there. The DM had been claiming that there was no provision for compensation of victims of hooch deaths, and only BPL beneficiaries could be compensated. Under pressure from the women's protests, the DM was forced to add the names of 5 non-BPL victims to the list of those entitled to compensation.

Recently, a veteran socialist leader Hind Kesri Yadav had been brutally beaten up by liquor mafia in full presence of the police, on the DM office premises, when he led a protest against illegal hooch sale in Muzaffarpur. The CM has shamefully gone to the extent of saying that funds for empowering girls can be generated only by revenue from liquor sales! Women in Bihar are protesting against the fact that liquor vends are coming up in every village, and addiction that is being promoted by the Government, is resulting in intensified domestic violence for women and distress for the families.

The party has called for a Bihar Bandh on the issue on 15 December.

Tea Workers' demonstration at Guwahati

Asom Sangrami Chah Sramik Sangha (ASCSS) affiliated to AICCTU, staged a satyagraha  at Guwahati on 3 December 2012 demanding immediate solution of some burning problems of tea workers of the state. Tea companies of the state violating Bonus Act, 1965, have been depriving tea workers from their due bonus. It is compulsory to add the ration as their income while fixating the bonus. But this procedure is not followed and hence tea workers do not get their due bonus. After a series of protests, Labour Commissioner of Assam had served a notice to the tea companies in July 2012, but, ironically, the same was withdrawn later. ASCSS demands proper implementation of Bonus Act, 1965, to stop violation of Labour laws in tea gardens, to punish the responsible officials, and to stop collection of high electricity charges from the workers residing in garden quarters. Hundreds of tea workers from various districts of the state took out an impressive protest procession upto the Deputy Commissioner's office and sent a memorandum to the Governor of Assam seeking his prompt intervention on their demands. Leaders of AICCTU and CPI(ML) participated in the procession. ASCSS warned the Govt. of intensifying the movement.

Protests on 20th Anniversary of Babri Masjid Demolition to Demand an Effective Law Against Communal Violence

The CPI(ML) held a dharna on 6 December 2012 New Delhi to mark the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The dharna demanded punishment for the guilty of the Babri demolition; and demanded that Parliament enact a law to prevent and punish the perpetrators and political masterminds of communal violence.

Addressing the dharna, Kavita Krishnan, Central Committee member of the Party, said that 20 years after the Babri Masjid demolition, Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and other BJP leaders are yet to be prosecuted for the Babri Masjid demolition. Similarly, the Srikrishna Commission indicted Bal Thackeray for the communal pogrom of Bombay 1992-93, yet Thackeray went scot-free. After his death recently, he was given a state funeral, as Government and media tried to whitewash Thackeray's role in instigating communal hatred and violence. This December, elections to the Gujarat Assembly are due to take place, and Narendra Modi, mastermind of the communal pogrom of Gujarat 2002, is once again aiming to be Chief Minister. The political masterminds of the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 were never brought to justice.

In almost all instances of communal violence against minorities, the police has colluded with the perpetrators, acted as an extension of the communal mob, and betrayed their duty towards protecting the vulnerable minorities. When the UPA-I Government came to power, they promised to pass a law against Communal Violence. However, the UPA-I and UPA-II have failed to draft and enact a law that will truly prove capable to protecting minorities from communal violence. The Government has succumbed to pressure from communal forces led by the BJP, who are virulently opposed to such a law.

The activists said that the UPA Govt and Parliament must draft and pass a law that will hold governments, police and administrative machinery accountable to preventing communal and targeted violence, will provide for justice to the victims and survivors of communal and targeted violence, and will have provisions for justice for the victims of sexual violence that takes place as part of communal and targeted violence.The speakers condemned the deliberate incidents of fabricated cases against innocent Muslims and demanded punishment for the police officials. Recently, a Delhi High Court found that two Kashmiri youth, jailed for 16 years as terrorists, had been falsely convicted and were innocent.

The dharna was also addressed by Prabhat Kumar, Sanjay Sharma, VKS Gautam, Santosh Roy, Anmol, Ravi Rai, Ums Gupta of LDTF, Aslam Khan, and many others. Girija Pathak conducted the programme

A protest dharna on same day was also held at Gohana district headquarters in Haryana. The activists led by Party's Haryana Incharge Prem Singh Gahlawat  demanded an effective anti-communal violence Act that can set precedent for rioters and their political conspirators. Such an Act must fix accountability of police and administration as well as responsible politicians in incidents of communal violence. The dharna was also addressed by Jagjiwan Ram, Jay Narayan Singh, Gulab Bhagat and Dipak Dahiya.

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: 22518248, e-mail:, website: