A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 16, No. 30, 16 – 22 JULY 2013
Modi-Vani is the Voice of Communal, Corporate-Backed Fascism in India
When asked about the Gujarat massacre of Muslims in 2002, Modi used the analogy of 'kutthe ka baccha' (a phrase that translates as 'puppy' but is also a common term of abuse in Hindi). The ominous implications of the analogy are inescapable. By comparing it with the death of a pup in an accident, Modi is trivialising the 2002 Gujarat massacre and mocking its victims who are seeking justice. He is clearly indicating that in his 'Hindu nation', the cold-blooded killing of Muslims – in communal massacres in which Modi's top Ministers, police officers, and even he himself are implicated, or in staged 'encounters' – will have no more consequences than the 'accidental' death of pups under wheels.
In the interview, Modi has proclaimed that he is a Hindu nationalist; and this, he claims, follows from being a Hindu and a nationalist. This is a complete fallacy. In the history of India's freedom struggle and since, there have been many Hindu who have been Indian nationalists to the core, but have expressly rejected any notion of 'Hindu nation.' The 'Hindu nation' was always a figment of the fascist imagination of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, of which Modi is a proud product.
In the same interview, Modi equated authoritarianism with the qualities of a 'decisive leader'! From advocating 'Hindu nationalism' to justifying authoritarianism, Modispeak is a brazen and arrogant attempt at corporate marketing of fascist imagination. Contrary to BJP's claims, Modi's words are not being twisted out of context; it is he who is seeking to twist India to suit his fascist model marked by genocide, fake encounter killings and unbridled corporate plunder.
On the heels of his 'puppy' analogy, Modi used the 'burqa' metaphor in a speech, saying that the Congress is hiding its failures behind the 'burqa' of secularism. Again, the use of the 'burqa' (rather than the word 'purdah' which is used by Hindus and Muslims alike) metaphor is a very deliberate jibe aimed at the Muslim minority. It is a metaphor calculated to provoke contempt for 'secularism' by equating it with Muslims. Modi's 'sadbhavna' and 'India First' posturing just can't hide the fact that for him, the very thought of 'Muslims' and 'secularism' are associated with 'kutte ka baccha' and 'burqa.' Clearly Modi considers secularism to be a dispensable veil, but India needs it as an essential ingredient for survival and progress. The Congress says it prefers the 'burqa' of secularism to naked communalism. The Congress thus concurs with the BJP that secularism belongs to the realm of form and not essence. For all democratic people, however, secularism must be a non-negotiable aspect of the essence of modern India.
In an earlier phase of BJP's life, Advani was assigned the task of communal fascist hate-speech, while Vajpayee was the 'mukhauta' – the mask of 'governance', or the fig leaf that could allow allies like the JD(U) to justify their support for a BJP-led Government. Even then, the 'mask' was a farce, and both Advani and Vajpayee were simply two sides to the same communal fascist coin. Today, Modi is trying to play both roles: to appease the core Hindutva constituency by brazen boasts of communal violence, fake encounters, and hate-speech, while also posturing as the representative of 'development' and 'governance'.
A leading newspaper has advised Modi to 'improve' his communication and avoid 'gaffes' like his puppy analogy, which the paper admits is 'insensitive' and 'atrocious'. Modi's 'puppy' and 'burqa' remarks are not 'gaffes' – they are the core of his communal fascist temperament and agenda, that no 'development' mask can hide. Modi's corporate well-wishers, as well as the likes of Yashwant Sinha in the BJP, know this all too well – but they still advice that he mask his language and intentions sufficiently enough to pass off for a contender for India's PM, rather than just the 'Hindutva Hriday Samrat' (King of Hindutva Hearts). The likes of Yashwant Sinha – who can perhaps be said to represent the 'Advani' school of thought' – are concerned that Modi is falling into the Congress trap and allowing questions of governance and corruption to be eclipsed by the communalism-secularism debate. But the fact is that secularism and justice cannot be incidental to governance in any democracy. And Modi, just as much as Congress, would like to deflect attention from the questions of corporate plunder that underpin every massive scam that has been promoted by the UPA Government and Congress and BJP states governments alike.
We must resist the attempt by the Congress and BJP alike to turn the Lok Sabha polls into a choice between an outright communal and corporate-backed fascist on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a corrupt, authoritarian regime for whom 'secularism' is simply a cynical, opportunist alibi for all its crimes.
Solidarity with Maruti Workers
A Convention in support of Maruti workers was organized by AICCTU at Coimbatore, marking a year since their incarceration in jail and continuing struggle. N Krishnamurthy, District President of AICCTU, presided over the Convention. NK Natarajan inaugurated the convention. Other speakers included Comrade V R Balasundaram, District President of INTUC, Comrade Arumugam, District General Secretary of CITU, Comrade Sivasamy, District Secretary, Mill Workers' Union affiliated to AITUC, Comrade Subramanian, District President of HMS, Comrade Thiruvengadam, District President of LPF, Comrade Sundaram, President and Comrade Chandran, Treasurer of LMW workers and staff union. Comrade Kumarasamy, National President of AICCTU concluded the convention with his address. Hundreds of workers belonging to various industries attended.
The following resolutions were adopted at the convention signed by all participatory unions.
1) The Convention prevails upon the Haryana Government to take immediate action to get bail for the jailed workers.
2) Government should cancel the unfair labour practice of contract system of employment in Maruti.
3) The Convention unanimously declared its solidarity for the fighting workers of Maruthi.
A protest rally was organized by AICCTU in favour of Maruti Manesar's sacked employees on 11th July in Rally Ground, Chandigarh. Workers associated with various unions affiliated with AICCTU participated from Mansa, Sangrur, Bathinda, Gurdaspur and Chandigarh. Workers of Maruti also participated in large numbers. More than 400 workers from PGI Contract Workers Union, PEC Contract Workers Union, Krantikari Kamkaji Mahila Sangathan, Ordinance Cable Factory Employees Union, Chandigarh Club Employees Union, Punjab Kisan Union, AIPWA participated in the protest. A delegation including Mahaveer Dhiman, Rajpal from Maruti Union and Gurmeet (AICCTU), Sukhdev and Sanjeev went to give demands letter. Demand letter was received by Mr. Kapoor, OSD to CM Haryana, who though assured of arranging a meeting with CM Haryana but was speaking the same language of Maruti Management. Addressing the gathering Com. Kanwaljit said that the victory of Maruti workers will be victory of Indian working class and defeat to neo-liberal policies. A fund of Rs. 50,000/- was also handed over to Maruti workers Union as support from AICCTU. Among others Com. Gurmeet Singh Bakhtpura(AICCTU), Com. Satish(AICCTU), Com. Sanjeev(PGI Union), Com. Sukhdev(PGI Union), Com. Isha(KKMS), Com Gurnam Bhikhi(PKU), Com. Jasbir Kaur Natt(AIPWA) and leaders of Chandigarh Club addressed the rally. Adv Harish from Punjab & Haryana High Court also participated in the rally.
Ambattur Residents Strike for Hospitals, Schools
(report appeared in The Hindu, July 14)
Residents and members of various associations sat on a day-long hunger strike in Ambattur on 13th July, demanding a government hospital and government schools in the locality.
Nearly 250 persons participated in the demonstration organised jointly by All India Students Association, Uzhaipor Urimai Iyakkam and Revolutionary Youth Association. People living in western suburbs between Padi and Tiruvallur either have go to Tiruvallur government hospital or Kilpauk Medical College Hospital for treatment.
There are no government hospitals on the 35 km-stretch between these two localities connected by the accident-prone Chennai Tiruvallur High Road.
R. Mohan, district president of Uzhaipor Urimai Iyakkam, said that the few health posts of Chennai Corporation or the Avadi municipality were not sufficient to meet residents' requirements. Several residents, who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals, travel for over an hour on the CTH Road for medical care in the nearest government hospital. A government general hospital in Ambattur was necessary.
Other long-pending demands included the sanction of more government schools, especially for boys and a government college. He said that Ambattur had only a government girls' higher secondary school. Boys, who cannot afford education in private and government-aided schools, tend to drop out, he added.
At least four government schools were essential for students in Kalyanapuram, Mangalapuram, Kamarajapuram, Indira Nagar and Thiruvalluvar Nagar.
K. Bharathi, national secretary of Revolutionary Youth Association, said that many Chennai Corporation-run schools in Ambattur were either primary or middle schools. The civic body must upgrade some of them to higher secondary schools. The private schools must also display on notice boards information about the admissions made under the Right to Education Act. Residents said they had to travel for over an hour to get access to quality healthcare.
AISA-RYA Spearhead Protest against Changes in Banking Exam Criteria
AISA and RYA have spearheaded countrywide protest against the newly imposed criteria of Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). IBPS, which conducts a common entrance test for recruitment in almost all nationalized banks of India except SBI, has changed its criteria for appearing in Bank P.O./Management Trainee Examination. The new criteria says
• The Candidate must be having degree (Graduation) with 60% (55% for SC/ST/PWD) marks in any discipline from a recognized University or any equivalent qualification recognized as such by the Central Government. Earlier it was a degree (graduation) in any discipline.
• Minimum: 20 years Maximum: 28 years i.e. a candidate must have been born not earlier than 02.07.1985 and not later than 01.07.1993 (both dates inclusive). Earlier the maximum age was 30 years.
This arbitrary move will exclude lakhs of students from the chance to even appear in the exam and elitise the whole process of selection in banks that is the biggest nationalized sector in India. This kind of arbitrary criteria has been brought in such a time when lakhs of student are preparing for this examination from last 3-4 years. Most importantly, IBPS is taking this step oblivious of the fact that it already has a standard entrance examination for recruitment. Banks like SBI have done away with such criteria.
As soon as the changed criteria came to light, AISA and RYA gave a call for countrywide protest on 12-13th July. On 12th July, protesters under the banner of AISA-RYA were lathicharged at Patna. Protests took place at Patna, Ara, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur in Bihar; and Banaras and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. On the 13th, students at Allahabad protested.
On 15th July, a delegation of AISA-RYA met the Under Secretary of Department of Financial Services at the IBPS Headquarters at Mumbai and have given him an ultimatum to take back IBPS's arbitrary decision before the commencement of registration on 22nd July and warned that if this decision was not taken back AISA-RYA will organize nationwide protest and boycott the competitive exams at mass scale.
On 15th July, AISA and RYA assembled at Jantar Mantar and marched towards the department of Financial Services, Jeevan Deep Building on Parliament Street. Students from different localities of cities, who prepare for competitive exams, as well as students from Delhi University, Jawahar Lal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia took part in this protest demonstration.
On 16th July, around 700 students under the banner of AISA-RYA protested at Lucknow. On the same day, vigorous Rail Roko Rasta Roko protests were held at Patna, Ara, Darbhanga, and Bhagalpur.
AISA and RYA have called for a protest in Delhi on 19th July, where protesters will gather at India Gate and march towards the Finance Ministry.
Joshimath Dharna to Save Pack Animals
(Report from The Hindu)
Some mule owners and residents of Uttarakhand's Chamoli district began a fast-unto-death on Sunday evening to press the authorities to rescue over 1,200 mules and horses stranded on the riverside in Govindghat, Chamoli. The protesters, including mule owners, and members of Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), are fasting in front of Joshimath Sub-Divisional Magistrate Anup Kumar Nautiyal's office.
CPI (ML) member Atul Sati, one of those on fast, said: "Around 35 to 40 mules are dying every day due to lack of fodder." The authorities do send fodder for the mules, but it serves only around 400 mules, he said. Some residents held a meeting with Mr. Nautiyal and advised him to build a makeshift bridge to rescue the animals. It was agreed that work on the bridge would start in a day or two.
Representatives of the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation, the National Thermal Power Corporation and the Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd. — the hydropower companies operating in the area - agreed to provide financial and technical assistance for the rescue. But, the chief engineer of the Public Works Department rejected the idea, saying the bridge could not be constructed for another 15 days as the work could start only when the construction materials reached Govindghat. That, according to him, would happen only when the Badrinath highway was unblocked. "We have requested the concerned authorities to give strict orders to the PWD to agree on makeshift trolleys to rescue the mules. The hydropower project authorities also have agreed on rescuing the stranded mules through trolleys. However, this idea of trolleys was rejected by the PWD chief engineer who is adamant on bridge construction," Mr. Nautiyal said. Talks were on and a breakthrough would be made in the coming days, he added.
Dindigul Collectorate Gheraoed by MNREGA Workers
More than 300 workers mostly women gheraoed the collectorate for Government-declared wages of Rs. 148 for the workers and to do away with the practice of measurement system of work done. Women workers told media persons that soil is too hard without rains and it is very difficult to meet measurement guidelines by government. They said Government is paying Rs.40 only when 1 Kg onion is selling at the rate of Rs.40 per Kg.
The Demonstration and Gherao was led by Comrade Manivel, district organiser of AICCTU, Comrade Vallymayil and Janaki and other leading women comrades of the district.
Supreme Court-appointed Panel's Findings on AFSPA in Manipur
(Based on reports in The Hindu and the TOI)
In a severe indictment of the AFSPA and its defence by the Indian Government, a Supreme Court-appointed Judicial Commission has noted that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA has failed to tackle insurgency and is providing a shield of impunity to the armed forces to indulge in gross violation of human rights.
Noting that the use of the AFSPA was being done by making mockery of law, the Commission has noted that there was gross abuse of the Act and encounters being carried out in the North-eastern State were not genuine. "It would appear that the security forces believed a priori that the suspects involved in the encounters had to be eliminated and the forces acted accordingly," the report added.
The Commission, which was headed by former judge Santosh Hegde with former Chief Election Commission J.M. Lyngdoh and retired IPS officer A.K. Singh as its members, was formed by the apex court to investigate alleged cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur. In September last year, the Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families' Association (EEVFAM)) along with Human Rights Alert (HRA) submitted a list of 1,528 cases of killings in Manipur since 1979 before the Supreme Court and demanded investigation into the deaths.
Encounters not genuine: In its 100-page report, the Commission pointed out that the six sample cases of encounters it investigated, it found that they were "not genuine" and that "maximum force" was used to kill people. "Though the Act gives sweeping powers to security forces even to extent of killing a suspect with protection against prosecution, it does not provide any protection to the citizens against its possible misuse…Normally, the greater the power, the greater the restraint and stricter the mechanism to prevent its misuse or abuse. But in case of the AFSPA in Manipur this principle appears to have been reversed," the report added.
In January 2013, the Justice Verma Committee, in its report setting forth measures to curb sexual violence, had also highlighted the misuse of the AFSPA by Army personnel and recommended that "sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must be brought within the purview of the ordinary criminal law."
"We notice that impunity for systematic or isolated sexual violence in the process of Internal Security duties is being legitimised by the AFSPA, which is in force in large parts of our country. It must be recognised that women in conflict areas are entitled to all the security and dignity that is afforded to citizens in any other part of our country," the report said.
Shocked by the report, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranajana Desai said a major portion of the blame lay at the door of the Centre, saying "This is not the best way to integrate (north-eastern) people. It is the best way to alienate them."
They said security forces and police threw caution to the wind while following guidelines in conducting such "operations". They said the security forces have conducted raids and resorted to firing merely on the basis of source information without bothering to cross-check even once the authenticity of the 'source'. The Bench sought responses from the Centre, Manipur government and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the Hegde panel's report within five days.
The court lauded the effort of the three-member inquiry committee for meticulously collecting evidence from complainant, witnesses, security forces and police before concluding that "none of these six incidents qualified as a genuine one".
It said, "What we find distressing is that the elaborate guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, series of guidelines issued by Army headquarters, NHRC and the Manipur government have been confined to the papers. Nothing is followed in practice (by armed forces and police while carrying out the operations)."
The bench said, "The Army authorities have issued a series of dos and don'ts. But, unfortunately none of the guidelines or the dos and don'ts is followed in actual operations. One of the issues before the court is how to ensure the state police and security forces follow the guidelines".
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org