A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 15, No. 22, 22 – 28 MAY 2012
Bihar's Struggle for Justice, Dignity, Democracy
Nitish Kumar was lionised by the corporate media as the man who was bringing Bihar to the 21st century. The bad old days of crime and caste massacres were past, we were told, and Nitish's ads and hoardings announce that Bihar is witnessing "waves of revolutionary change." But unfolding events are turning Nitish Kumar's slogan of 'development with justice' on its head, and the CM's gospel of 'good governance' is giving way to unfettered police raj.
A full year has passed since the Forbesganj firing on June 3rd 2011, which had exposed the communal hatred and brutality nurtured by the Bihar police against poor minorities of Bhajanpura village in Forbesganj who dared resist the encroachment of their traditional road by a BJP MLC. The judicial probe ordered as a face-saving measure by the Bihar Government has been a non-starter. No enquiry report has come out fixing responsibility for the police killings and atrocities.
While the killers in uniform at Forbesganj go unscathed, the police at Aurangabad have shown their loyalty to diktats from the rulers at Patna, launching an all-out assault on people protesting a political assassination, and singling out former CPI(ML) MLA Comrade Rajaram Singh for an especially vicious beating.
Contrary to Nitish Kumar's claim of crime-free Bihar, there is a renewed spurt in major crimes and especially political killings. Three recent killings have caused tremendous public outrage – that of Surendra Yadav, Dalsinghsarai block secretary of the CPI(M) in Samastipur district, Bhaiyyaram Yadav, CPI(ML)'s Rohtas district secretary and Devendra Singh alias Chhotu Kushwaha, the popular mukhiya of Sonhathu panchayat of Haspura block in Aurangabad district – all of which seem to have been perpetrated at the behest of local JD(U)/BJP MLAs.
It is also no coincidence that Nitish's Bihar stands witness to some of the most shocking and shameful instances of judicial injustice. The Bathani Tola verdict acquitting all the accused for a heinous massacre was perhaps inevitable in a Bihar where the Government does not oppose bail for the massacre mastermind, Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh; disbands the Amir Das Commission probing the political linkages of the Ranveer Sena; and dumps the recommendations of the Land Reforms Commission.
In Nitish's Bihar, the police's refusal to act against the BJP MLA whom Rupam Pathak accused of rape forces her to take desperate measures. But Rupam Pathak gets a life sentence – while her complaint of rape is yet to be investigated!
In the Amausi massacre case, 10 musahars including the popular leader Bodhan Sada have been given a death sentence on the most doubtful of evidence. Nothing can be more telling of skewed justice in Nitish's Bihar than the death sentence for Bodhan Sada, while Bramhmeswar Singh and his band of killers walk free.
The popular response to the Bihar Bandh called by the CPI(ML) on 10 May has clearly shown that the people of Bihar are fighting back. The CPI(ML)'s ongoing Nyaye Andolan (Movement for Justice) is gaining momentum, demanding unconditional release of Comrade Rajaram Singh and other jailed agitationists; action against the DM and SP of Aurangabad; CBI enquiry into the Forbesganj firing and the killings of Surendra Yadav, Bhaiyyaram Yadav and Chhotu Kushwaha; justice for Rupam Pathak and the Amausi convicts including Bodhan Sada; cancellation of Brahmeshwar Singh's bail and justice for the Bathani victims.
Real change in Bihar does not lie in the changing caste complexion of the rulers; nor in the changing political rhetoric of the rulers – whether Lalu Prasad's 'social justice' or Nitish Kumar's 'good governance'. Real change does not lie in the gloss of globalisation and corporatisation added to the semi-feudal political economy of Bihar resulting in spectacular statistical growth on paper. The people of Bihar are showing that justice, dignity and democracy are not class-neutral words, and are certainly not monopolies of the rich and the powerful. And that real change lies in the tenacity and courage and determination with which people fight back for their justice, their dignity and their democracy.
Left Parties' Convention in Bihar
Against Rising Injustice, Crime, and Repression
On 14th May, five Left parties – the CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), Forward Bloc, and SUCI(C) – held a joint Convention in Patna against the rising instances of injustice, crime and state repression.
The Convention was addressed by CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Ramji Rai; State Secretary Kunal; Central Committee member Comrade Rameshwar Prasad; CPI(M) State Secretary Comrade Vijaykant Thakur; State Secretariat member Arun Mishra; CPI State Secretary Comrade Badrinayaran Lal; State Secretariat members Jitendranath, Arjun Prasad Singh, Gaznafar Nawab; Comrade Vakeel Thakur from Forward Bloc and SUCI(C) State Secretary Comrade Arun Singh.
Apart from these Left leaders, intellectuals including Prof. Naval Kishore Choudhury, and Prof. Bharti S Kumar (Head of the History Department at Patna University), also addressed the Convention. Social activist Rupesh and Prof. Santosh Kumar also participated in the Convention.
The presidium comprised CPI(ML) CCM KD Yadav, CPI(M) State Secretariat member Sargandhar Paswan, Vijay Narayan Mishra of CPI, America Mahto of Forward Bloc and Shivlal Prasad of SUCI(C).
The feudal and communal character of the Nitish Government behind the corporatized media-managed facade stands exposed, the Left leaders felt, even as they planned for united Left initiatives and agitations. The Convention called for joint dharnas and demonstrations of all Left parties at district HQs on 15 June.
The political resolutions were placed by CPI(ML)'s Bihar State Committee member Abhyuday. CPI(M)'s Ajay Kumar Singh thanked the gathering for a successful Convention. CPI(ML)'s PB member Comrade Amar, CCMs Meena Tiwari and Saroj Chaubey, and other leaders including Santosh Sahar, Shashi Yadav, Satyanarayan Prasad, Sudhir Kumar and others were also present at the Convention.
Highlighting the instances of gross injustice in Nitish's rule and calling the bluff of Nitish's slogan of 'Nyaye ke saath Vikas' (Justice with Development), the CPI(ML) held an intensive Nyaye Yatra (Journey for Justice) in Bihar.
In Shahabad, the Nyaye Yatra began by garlanding the memorial to the Bathani Tola martyrs. It was flagged off by CPI(ML)'s Standing Committee member and former MLA Comrade Arun Singh.
This contingent covered the Bhojpur-Rohtas-Bhabhua-Buxar districts, holding street-corner meetings, foot-marches and intensive mass contact, highlighting the injustice done to the Bathani Tola victims by the acquittal of Ranveer Sena killers and the bail for Brahmeshwar Singh, and the murder of Bhaiyyaram Yadav. This leg of the Yatra was led by State Committee member Sudama Prasad Singh, Rohtas Secretary Jawahar Singh, former MLA Chandradeep Singh, Comrade Qayamuddin and other leaders.
The Nyaye Yatra in the Magadh zone was led by Standing Committee member and Arwal District Secretary Mahanand, Aurangabad District Secretary Anwar Husain, Gaya District Secretary Niranjan Kumar, AIPWA leader Rita Barnwal, RYA leader Ravindra Yadav, AIALA leader Upendra Paswan and others. The Yatra began by paying homage at the memorial to the martyrs of Laxmanpur Bathe and was flagged off by PB member Comrade Ramjatan Sharma. This leg of the Yatra covered Kaler, Arwal, Kurtha, and Obra, Hasanpura, Pachrukhiya in Aurangabad and Gaya-Jehanabad, highlighting the Aurangabad police assault on protestors and arrest of 29 including Comrade Rajaram Singh.
The Nyaye Yatra in Siwan began by paying homage to Comrade Chandrashekhar, and was led by RYA State President Amarjit Kushwaha, Suman Singh Kushwaha, Sujeet Subhani and other youth leaders. Highlighting the fact that Shahabuddin is yet to be punished for Chandrashekhar's murder, the Yatra covered Siwan, Jagdishpur, Maharajganj, Husainganj, Aandar, Darauli, Guthni, Mairwa, Nautan and other places in Siwan, as well as Chhapra, Gopalganj, Champaran.
The Nyaye Yatra in Purnea began by paying homage to Comrade Ajit Sarkar's memorial and covered Rupaspur, Chandwa, Araria, Supaul and other districts, led by CCM Comrade Saroj Choubey, and Purnea District Secretary Pankaj Singh, and highlighting the issues of justice for Rupam Pathak, as well as the question of land reform and land grab.
In Patna the Nyaye Yatra covered Fatuha, Danyanva, Khusrupur, Nalanda, Masaurhi, Paliganj, Dulhinbazar, Vikram, Naubatpur, and Bihta. Leaders of this contingent included AIKM leaders Umesh Singh, Gopal Singh Gopi, and Vidyanand Bihari.
The various contingents of the Nyaye Yatra converged at Patna on 21 May and deposed their experiences at a Public Hearing (Jan Sunwai) at the capital, Patna.
Public Hearing for
Justice and Democracy
Several thousands of people, including working people, rural poor, intellectuals and writers participated in the Jan Sunwai (mentioned above) at Patna. Participants deposed on their experiences of struggles for justice in the Bathani Tola case, the Rupam Pathak case, Aurangabad police lathicharge, and several political killings.
Bathani massacre survivor Nayeemuddin Ansari deposed at the hearing, recounting his long quest for justice since 1996. He said that the Bihar HC verdict was a rude shock, and that he and other survivors would appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court, since if the judiciary is serious about justice, it cannot let a cold-blooded massacre of 21 innocents go unpunished.
AIKM leader Sudama Prasad noted that all accused had been acquitted not only in the Bathani Tola case but also in the Khagdi-Bigha and Jahir-Bigha massacre cases; and while Dharma Singh, the main accused in the Bathe massacre, had been sentenced to death, he continues to be a contractor protected by the BJP-JD(U). He spoke of the facts in the Amausi case, where 10 musahars including Bodhan Sada have been sentenced to death and 16 to life, without any credible evidence.
CPI(ML)'s Aurangabad district secretary Anwar Husain deposed at length about the facts indicating the involvement of Goh's JD(U) MLA in the murder of Chhotu Mukhiya, and in conspiring with the DM and SP for the police assault on protestors against the murder.
Naval Kishor of Araria deposed about the firing and brutality by police at Forbesganj, where no one has been punished though a year has passed.
AIPWA leader Saroj Choubey shared the experience of taking up Rupam Pathak's struggle for justice. She said Rupam has been denied a chance to defend herself, and her complaints of rape have been deliberately suppressed instead of seriously investigated.
The Jan Sunwai was addressed by CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. Among others who spoke at the Jan Sunwai were CPI(ML) leaders KD Yadav and Arun Singh, CPI leader Vijaynarayan Mishra, CPI(M) State Secretariat Member Sargandhar Paswan, Rupesh of Lok Parishad, America Mehto of Forward Bloc, SUCI(C)'s State Secretary Arun Kumar Singh and Ashok Priyadarshi of Lok Mukti Sangharsh Vahini, Sant Singh, national secretary of the Shoshit Samaj Dal. Other participants included Prem Kumar Mani of the Bihar Parivartan Morcha, Prof. Bharti S. Kumar and Prof. Santosh Kumar, short story writer Ravindra Bharati, educationist Ghalib and others. The 7-member jury comprising Prof MN Karn, Prof NK Chaudhury, Padma Shri recipient Sudha Verghese, Kishori Das (PUCL), Manikant Thakur (BBC), Advocate Yogesh Verma and CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade Ramji Rai, heard the depositions and delivered a verdict indicting the Nitish Government and its administration for protecting political assassins, repressive police officers, and feudal killers. The jury opined that there was need for a CBI enquiry into the Forbesganj firing, Aurangabad incidents, the killings of Bhaiyyaram of Rohtas, Surendra Yadav of Samastipur, and Chhotu mukhiya of Aurangabad, release of Rupam Pathak and a CBI investigation of her complaints of rape. The jury held that the Bihar Government should challenge the bail order for Brahmeshwar Singh and appeal to the SC to correct the biases of police and prosecution in the Bathani Tola case. The jury held that assaults on democracy were on the rise in Bihar, and injustice was taking place in the name of 'justice'. The jury supported the ongoing struggle of people for real justice and democracy.
Protests against Hillary Visit
In Kolkata, AISA and RYA organized a protest demonstration on May 7th against Hillary Clinton's visit. A protest march was held at College Square, where AISA and RYA protested against FDI in retail sector, and against escalating intervention of US imperialism in our country's foreign and internal policies. An effigy of US imperialism was burnt at the end of the programme. On 6th May, CPI(ML) and AICCTU organized a protest march against Hillary's visit at Bakhrahat in South 24 Parganas. AISA and RYA also organized a protest march in Siliguri, where the effigy of US imperialism was burnt.
ACFTU Delegation visits AICCTU HQ
A 6-member delegation of All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) was in Delhi during the first week of May. They paid a visit to the AICCTU central office at Delhi on 4th May. It was a first such exchange by a Chinese trade union delegation with AICCTU.
The delegation, including a woman leader, was led by Mr. Duan Dunhou, Vice-President of the ACFTU and the Secretary of the Secretariat. The AICCTU delegation led by AICCTU National Secretary Rajiv Dimri comprised of AICCTU National Secretaries Kanwaljeet Singh and Santosh Roy, NCM, Ardhendu Roy and Ram Kishan, Secretary General of All India Health Employees and Workers' Confederation. The Chinese delegation was felicitated on their arrival in the office. The foreign delegation also presented AICCTU with gifts.
The meeting lasted for about two hours and discussed a variety of issues concerning trade union movements in India, China and world. The Chinese friends were keen to know the situation of workers in India and the functioning of AICCTU among them. They listened enthusiastically when Rajiv Dimri placed a brief account of areas of work and struggles led by AICCTU in various sectors, the issues being focused by it, and the united national campaigns of different central trade unions. They showed special interest in knowing the plight and struggles of the workers in the unorganized sectors.
During talks the Chinese delegation explained the role of Chinese trade unions and working class in building the Chinese economy and the exclusive rights and preferences the Chinese working class enjoys in all spheres of life. They further said that the credit for non-vulnerability of China to world crisis goes to the Chinese working masses, which are represented at all levels of decision and policy making. The law in China gives workers the right to form trade union including in MNCs and it is worth noting that the Chinese workers are the first in the world to form a union in the international retail chain giant Wal-Mart. They also said that consultation with trade unions is mandatory for foreign investors who invest in china. They laid emphasis on their efforts to organize migrant workers for improving their conditions.
The meeting ended with exchange of warm wishes for the struggles of working class in both the countries and with a promise of maintaining closer relation in the future from both sides.
Solidarity With Nepal's Mass Organisations
The 6th National Conference of the All Nepal Women's Association (ANWA) (affiliated to the CPN-UML) was held at Pokhara from 20-23 March. On ANWA's invitation, an AIPWA delegation comprising AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari and National Executive Member Sarojini Bisht attended the Conference.
The Conference was inaugurated by a massive rally, which was addressed by representatives of several Indian women's organizations including AIPWA.
Addressing the mass meeting on behalf of AIPWA, Com. Meena said that the role of Nepal's women in the struggles for democracy is a source of inspiration for women all over South Asia. Congratulating Nepalese women on winning 33% reservation in representative assemblies as well as several pro-women laws, she said that women in India are still struggling for these rights. She shared the experiences of women in India fighting against entrenched biases in Government, police, and judiciary, especially the way in which the Bihar Government was influencing the process of justice to protect the perpetrators of feudal massacre at Bathani Tola and the rapists of Rupam Pathak. She called for greater solidarity among women's struggles all over South Asia. The rally was also addressed by NFIW leader Amarjit Kaur and AIDWA General Secretary Sudha Sundararaman, as well as women representatives of JD(U) and Samajwadi Party.
The 5th National Congress of Confederation of Nepalese Professionals (CONEP) was held at Kathmandu on May 1st, International Labour Day, and May 2nd. AICCTU Vice President SK Sharma attended and addressed the Congress, extending solidarity greetings with Nepal's working class movement.
RYA's Protest against Assault on Dalits
On 25 April, a Protest Meeting was held by Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) against an incident of 14 March in which dalit people were assaulted and land allocated for them was grabbed. The assault was perpetrated by the gram pradhan of Ramgarh village in Gautam Buddha Nagar (Dadri, Uttar Pradesh) along with his supporters, and several dalit women and men were seriously injured in the incident. The attack was perpetrated as a punishment, after a dalit youth filed a complaint with the police against the illegal grab by the gram pradhan, of panchayat land allocated to dalits. The land was encircled with a 7-foot high wall. A series of initiatives seeking justice have been undertaken by the CPI(ML), including petitions and demonstrations at the SP and DM's offices. Yet the local police and administration have failed to arrest the assailants or demolish the illegal wall. To protest against this blatant bias, local youths organised the Protest Meeting under the banner of RYA, calling for a struggle to 'Defend Land, Demand Dignity'.
The protest meeting faced difficulties because the gram pradhan from the dominant caste pressurised local landowners to deny permission to use their land for the meeting. However, the local youths, organised under RYA, refused to admit defeat and managed to hold the meeting on public land. The site of the protest meeting was decorated with red flags, and there was a large turnout of dalit youths as well as women form Ramgarh as well as neighbouring villages.
The meeting was conducted by Brahm Jatav, RYA activist, whose decision to file an FIR against grab of panchayat land led to the attack on dalit homes in the village. Brahm Jatav recounted how he had also helped file an FIR when a local landowner beat up a dalit youth for refusing to lift the carcass of a buffalo calf on his shoulders.
Two issues were central to the meeting – the failure of police to arrest those responsible for the brutal assault, and the failure of district administration to demolish the 7-foot high illegal wall that encircles the dalit people's land.
Three ex-pradhans of Khap Kheda, Pali, and Ramgarh, affiliated to the BSP, came to speak at the meeting. Their refrain was that the meeting was trying to 'provoke' dalits in the village. They tried to play down the organised caste violence against dalits by terming it to be a 'quarrel within the family' that they offered to sort out. While one such BSP representative was speaking, a dalit youth in the audience got up to ask, "So we shouldn't even put up any protest or resistance when they grab our land and beat us up?" One youth, when he spoke, said that it was true that the SP Government was not acting against perpetrators of violence on dalits. But in Ramgarh's case, he asked, why had the Dadri MLA Satbir Gujjar and the Gautam Buddha Nagar MP Surendra Singh Nagar – both from the BSP – not intervened to ensure action against the assailants and against the grab of dalit land? Brahm Jatav's mother Shakuntala, herself badly injured, and Prakashi, who has a rod in her arm due to a severe injury, spoke of how women are daily being subjected to casteist and sexist abuse by the dominant castes.
The meeting was also addressed by the Pradhan of the neighbouring village of Bhogpur, Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, Delhi State Committee members Mathura Paswan and Aslam, Comrades Upadhyay, Shivji Singh and Chandrabhan Singh from CPI(ML)'s Noida city committee, and Kavita Krishnan, CC member of the CPI(ML).
Rajasthan: Construction Workers' Conference
First District Conference of Rajasthan Construction Workers' Unoin (affiliated to AICCTU) was held successfully at Salumber in Udaipur on 15 May. The Conference began with the hoisting of flag by veteran leader from Udaipur Comrade Gautam Lal Dhawda and remembering the martyrs of communist and working class movement. The Conference was inaugurated by Comrade Srilata, State President of the Union and AIPWA's National President. Due to an illness she made the inaugural address through an audio relay. Comrade Mahendra Chaudhary, CPI(ML) State Secretary, was the chief guest at the conference and other speaker was Comrade Chandra Deo Ola.
A 15 member District Committee was elected from the Conference.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org