A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 16 No. 38 10-16 SEP 2013
Reject Communal Violence and Polarisation
For the past few days, we are seeing yet another horrific saga of orchestrated communal violence – this time in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. Even as the state government claims that 'curfew' has been imposed, frenzied and organised mobs are ambushing, assaulting and killing Muslims being the prime target. In the midst of widespread arson and rioting, petrol bombs are being thrown into houses; mobs armed with bombs, guns and knives are attacking villagers; mosques and houses are being torched.
The Muzaffarnagar violence is a chilling reminder of how so-called communal 'riots' are engineered by communal fascist forces for their narrow interests. The chain of events leading to the current spree of violence clearly indicts these forces: An argument breaks out between two young men, and a Muslim youth was knifed to death. Afterwards, two men who were allegedly involved in his murder were killed. These incidents were then cynically used by the likes of the BJP and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU). In a clear move to shamefully milk the issue for their own electoral gains, a fake video was prepared and widely circulated by well-known local BJP leaders. This fake video, which shows two youth being lynched by a large mob, became the tool through which a widespread communal mobilisation was orchestrated, leading to the present violence.
Moreover, even as it was abundantly clear that the BJP, aided and abetted by the local Sanghi network, was openly indulging in a campaign of propagating hate and violence, the local administration allowed a Jat Mahapanchayat to take place. At this mahapanchayat, which blatantly and openly defied 'prohibitory' orders, speech after inflammatory speech was delivered by BJP MLAs such as Hukum Singh, Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som and BKU leaders Naresh Tikait and Rakesh Tikait. These leaders openly incited the audience at the mahapanchayat, and in fact it was only after this that the violence in Muzaffarnagar broke out.
As the 2014 elections draw near, Muzaffarnagar shows us that the BJP has planned to literally walk over corpses in its bid for power. The Muzaffarnagar violence indicates what Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, the BJP and the Sangh have in store for us. Modi's trusted lieutenant Amit Shah has been put in charge of BJP's electoral campaign in Uttar Pradesh. A desperate BJP, having declared the mastermind of the 2002 Gujarat genocide as its Prime Ministerial candidate, is hell-bent on somehow winning the 2014 elections by hook or crook.
In the past too, Advani's rath yatra left in its wake a nationwide trail of blood, and a communally vitiated atmosphere. This time around, with the RSS clearly giving the BJP instructions to once more try the aggressive Hindutva agenda, the Sangh Parivar seems all set to put in place similar divisive, communal, hate-filled campaigns. And for such forces, if a few thousand lives are sacrificed in this process, so be it.
In this whole incident, the role of the Uttar Pradesh government has also been condemnable. To begin with, the attempts at communal polarisation in UP are no secret: anyone familiar with UP knows that for quite some time now, the BJP and various branches of the Sangh Parivar have been aggressively indulging in communal hate campaigns in the state. They have clearly launched a well-planned and orchestrated campaign to spread hate, violence and communal tensions. The Muzaffarnagar incident is therefore no aberration; it is in fact the logical culmination of the Sangh-sponsored ongoing process of communal divide in UP. And yet, the Akhilesh Yadav government did nothing to prevent the spread of communal tensions. In fact, a Jat Mahapanchayat was allowed, defying prohibitory orders, when it was clear that this occasion would be used to stoke communal tensions. Even now, only FIRs have been lodged, but none of the BJP and BKU leaders who shared the fake video have been arrested.
As the 2014 elections draw near, it is extremely important that the progressive and secular forces expose and reject these vicious attempts to spread communal violence. The BJP and its cohorts cannot be allowed to run their electoral campaign over a bed of corpses.
CPI(ML) holds Protest against US Aggression on Syria
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation observed 9 September as a day of protests nationally against imminent war threat on Syria by Obama administration. The Party called upon all left and democratic forces to come out against this imperialist aggression against Syria and force the Indian Government to oppose US designs, instead of succumbing to the strategic subservience to US imperialism, as successive Indian governments have failed to oppose the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. India had also voted twice against Iran in the IAEA and is now seen globally as a key American accomplice in the US-led war campaign. Party called upon to Indian people to come out boldly against war and American intervention and warn the Indian government against extending any kind of support to the US-led war campaign in Syria and elsewhere.
A militant protest against US war aggression was organised in Bhubaneshwar, capital of Odisha. This was addressed by Party's General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and leaders of the Odisha state committee. AICCTU national executive members present in Bhubaneshwar for a meeting also took part in this protests.
The day Obama was trying to convince Ameriacan Senate for aggression on Syria, protests were held throughout Bihar as a part of nationwide day of protest. A citizens' resistance march was organised in Patna which condmned pro-US stance of UPA as well as NDA. This march was led by CPI(ML) Central Committee leader KD Yadav, AIPWA leaders Mina Tiwary, Saroj Chaube, Shashi Yadav, Party State Committee members Kamlesh Sharma, Navin Kumar, ward councillor Tota Chaudhary and others. Literateur Shekhar was also present in the protest.
Protests were also held at ten places in Bhojpur region in which thousands of people took part. Mass meetings were held and effigies burnt at various places.
Protests were held in places like Maner and Bihta in Patna Rural, Jahanabad, Ratni and Hulasganj; Arwal, Kurtha and Karpi; and Daudnagar in Aurangabad. Also in many blocks in West Champaran, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Khagaria, Laheriasarai, Katihar and Bhagalpur.
In Uttar Pradesh, people protested in front of state Assembly as well as at various district headquarters including Kanpur, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Lakhimpur, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Jalaun, Bhadohi, Sonbhadra, Deoria, Mau, Balia, Gonda and many other places. Effigies of Obama were burnt at many places.
In national capital Delhi, party activists and members of Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra, Jan Sanskriti Manch, TUCI and PDFI demonstrated at Jantar Mantar. It was demanded from the government of India to oppose US war efforts at every level. The protesters shouted slogans "Obama, hands off Syria and Iran!" and "Down with US Aggression and Imperialism". The protest was addressed by CPI(ML) Politburo members Swapan Mukherjee, and Prabhat Kumar, Party's Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, AICCTU leader Santosh Roy, RYA leader Aslam Khan. PDFI's Arjun Prasad, Jan Sanskriti Manch's Sudhir Suman, Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra's Nagendra and TUCI's com. Nayak.
Protests were held throughout West Bengal, as part of the national protest day. In Kolkata, a march led by state secretary Partha Ghosh and Polit bureau member Kartick Pal started from Esplanade and concluded in front of the American Information Centre. A brief meeting was addressed by Partha Ghosh braving police barricades. Amidst chanting of slogans condemning US imperialism, an effigy of Barack Obama was burned. The rally declared that if the US government goes ahead with its war plans, more militant and overwhelming protests would surge.
Similar protest demonstrations were held at Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Krishnanagar and Dhubulia of Nadia, Burdwan town and Bankura.
In Puducherry, a protest demonstration against US War plan in Syria and Irran was organised by CPI (ML) District Committee Puducherry and AICCTU State Council. Like-minded parties and organisations like AIFB, RSP, Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), Senthamizhar Iyakkam (SI) participated in the protest. S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary of CPI(ML), said that American Senators must defeat the war appeal in US congress as the rest of the world are not going to tolerate any sort of war or limited military action against Syria and Iran. He also demanded that the govt. of India should firmly stand by Syrian people. G. Palani, District Secretary CPI(ML) presided the demonstration. K. Lenin, State Secretary RSP, U. Muthu, State General Secretary AIFB, S.Veeramani, State President DK, N.M. Tamizhmani, of SI and S. Mothilal, State General Secretary of AICCTU addressed the demonstrators.
In several districts of Tamil nadu, CPIML held protests. In Salem, a joint protest was organized by CPIML, Marxist Party, SUCI and Tamil nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam. CPIML district secretary Mohana sundaram presided over. Natarajan of SUCI, Neelakandan of Marxist Party, Ibrahim of TMMK and Balasundaram, State Secretary of CPI(ML) addressed the protest. The Obama administration is not respecting anti-war sentiments of its own people and preparing for war shows utter disrespect to democracy, said Balsundaram. The Obama administration who is espionaging its own people, speaking democracy in other countries is totally hypocratic. This time the US is finding it difficult pro-war support even among its friendly nations, he further said. India must stand with Syria and Iran, he warned. Satyakrishnan of AISA, Chandra Mohan, State Committee member, and other district leaders of party and mass orgnisations were present along with leaders and activists of Marxist Party, SUCI, TMMK.
In Coimbatore, gate meetings were held in two plants of Pricol. In plant I Balasubramanian, District Secretary of the party addressed the gate meeting. Around 250 workers participated. In plant III N.K. Natarajan, SCM and State President of AICCTU addressed the workers. Around 150 workers participated.
In Mayiladuthurai (Nagappattinam dt), protest was held in front of RDO office. Party activists participated with placards denouncing war and Obama. State Committee leaders Ilangovan, TKS Janardhanan, Rameshwar Prasad led this protest.
In Nagercoil (Kanyakumari) protest was held in front of collectorate which was led by Anthonimuthu. In Kandarvakottai (Pudukkottai dt) a protest demonstration was organised which was led by District Secretary of party Valathan and other party activists.
In Chennai's Ambattur Industrial area a protest was held. State Committee members Sekar and Thenmozhi (State President of AIPWA) addressed the protest. Poster campaigns was also organised in many districts of Tamil Nadu.
In Uttarakhand CPI(ML) activists and cadres burnt an effigy of the US Govt in Lalkuan, Nainital, to condemn America's war-mongering over Syrian crisis. The protesters marched through the town to the Railway Chowk raising slogans against US imperialism and its terrorizing wars. After effigy burning the CPI(ML) leaders addressed the gathering accusing the US of aiding, abetting and spreading terror throughout the world covertly and overtly, to serve its own imperialist interests. The speakers called for more unity among the third world countries to counter US' imperialism. Those leading the protest included comrades Bahadur Singh Jangi, Pankaj Inquilabi, Anand Sijwali, Mubarak Shahs, Rajendra Shah, Lalit Matiyali, Goving Jeena, Pushkar Dubadiya, Ruby Bhardwaj, and Kamlapati Joshi among others.
In Pithoragarh, US imperialism's effigy was burnt at Gandhi Chowk. Addressing the gathering after the effigy burning, CPI(ML) district secretary Comrade Jagat Martoliya demanded that the Nobel prize given for peace to Barack Obama should be taken back for the countless murders he has ordered through drone strikes on Pakistan, war in Afghanistan and now for being bent on attacking Syria. He also demanded from the Indian Govt to take a firm stand against any strike and in support of Syria. Others who spoke included comrades Hira Singh, Raju Joshi, Abid Ansari and Naveen Singh Gheeghan.
In Ghatgarh Bazaar, Syalde, an effigy of the US war-mongers was burnt at Ghatgarh Bazaar of Syalde block in Almora district, following a procession. Afterwards the gathering was addressed by CPI(ML) State Committee member Comrade Purushottam Sharma who said that the rebels, also comprising Al-Qaeda and its various affiliates, are being backed by the USA. It clearly exposes the US' double dealing on terrorism. Others present were comrades Dayal Singh, Surendra Singh, Khimanand Tiwari, Dev Singh, Mathura Ram, Balam Maithani and Kishnanand Pupnoi among others.
Seminar on 'Lessons and Challenges from the Devastation' in Shrinagar
The frighteningly terrible aftermath of the devastation caused in June 2013 in the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand is far from normalising. Most of the roads could not be opened. The BRO, whose responsibility is to maintain the NH roads going to the borders of the State, has failed in resuming normal traffics on the NHs. Vijay Bahuguna-led Congress Govt of the State, that so badly failed in managing the situation, is desperately trying for an acceptable image of itself by bombarding us with constant advertisements in popular media.
The CPI(ML) through several agitations constantly tried to expose the truth on the issues of providing relief to and rehabilitation of the victims, be it Dharchula or Munsyari in Pithoragarh, or whether it was Joshimath in Chamoli district. In the process the Govt's utterly insensitive face was unmasked. Simultaneously, the Party is also sustaining a process of dialogue and debate on the reasons behind the severity of calamities and on the possible ways to tackle them. As a part of this effort a discussion/seminar was organised by the CPI(ML) on 1 September 2013 at Srinagar in Garhwal. The seminar was titled "Lessons and Challenges from the Devastation"
Addressing the gathering as the main speaker, Party CCM Comrade Raja Bahuguna said that Uttarakhand has been made to bear such a gigantic brunt of nature's rage primarily due to a combination of certain factors- egos of different governments and not heeding to the warning bells being rung for long by scientists, political-social activists, and common people of the State. There is a lot of talk happening regarding the reconstruction of Uttarakhand, however, the reconstruction without thoroughly altering the model of development will only wreak more havoc for sure. A people-friendly rebuilding of Uttarakhand is possible only by completely subverting the currently dominant anti-people policies. He said that saffron leaders like Uma Bharti and Swarupanand Saraswati are attempting to deflect people's attention from real issues, objective reasons for the devastation, and Govt's failure by spreading superstitions and dogmas. The NGOs that sustain on big funding from domestic and foreign funding agencies are also big obstacles towards the goal of social transformation. He said that the State Govt and Vijay Bahuguna lack any vision and that the latter is a Chief Minister sponsored by corporate houses, and one who have no concern about the common working people of Uttarakhand. The relief fund is being swindled away and therefore the State Govt must publicise the details of relief funds received and spent.
Geologist Dr. SP Sati of HNB Garhwal University addressing the audience said that the mindless use of explosives in roads construction, hydro-electric projects and unregulated growth, and the dumping of resultant rubble in the rivers amplified the destructiveness of cloud-burst several times over. Citing the data from recent researches on large number of hydro-electric projects in the lap of Himalayas he said that the region is turning into a 'water bomb'. He also added that for the Govts each such destruction is a mere opportunity (for selfish gains).
CPI(ML)'s Garhwal Committee member Comrade Atul Sati citing various scientific opinions on big dams and destruction in Himalayas and the incredible number of deaths in recent deluge said that the hydro-electric projects are chiefly responsible for the scale of devastation. He firmly voiced his opinion for holding the owner companies of these projects responsible and accountable for the destruction and filing of criminal cases against them, along with claiming compensation from them. He announced that on 9 September a maha-panchayat of those villages under Joshimath block will be organised at Joshimath that are awaiting rehabilitation since long time. There are hundreds of villages that have borne the brunt of such a catastrophic event in past decades and are still to be rehabilitated. The State Govt is deliberately lowering the number of affected villages just like the refusal to admit the actual number of deaths or those injured.
The President of Teachers' Federation at Garhwal University, Dr. Mahaveer Singh expressed his appreciation for such a seminar called to discuss and debate the different aspects of such a cataclysmic event. He felt that the disaster multiplied in its ferocity due to collapse of "sarkari tantra" (State)
Subhash Gairola, President of Karnaprayag nagar panchayat, said that the commercial establishments on the encroached land of river banks will continue posing a threat. Many others who have suffered the consequences of catastrophic events also spoke and shared their varied thoughts on possible ways to prevent such scale of disaster and how to effectively organise a relief work. Most of them held the Govt responsible for the massive loss which could have been substantially minimised if not entirely prevented.
The floods in June dumped massive amount of debris in more than 50 houses in Srinagar (Garhwal). This debris was dumped by the GVK company that is overseeing the Srinagar hydro-power project. Manav Singh, ex-President of HNB University students' union and a victim of the disaster said that it is time to initiate struggles too along with this kind of debates and seminars. The local Administration is not able to gather enough courage even to hold the GVK responsible and this business house has the gall to try divisive tactics by offering money and contracts to a group of individuals to win them over after the June disaster.
A concept paper for the seminar was read by CPI(ML)'s Garhwal committee member Ashish Kandpal. The paper contended that the disaster of June 2013 should be called State or system-manufactured rather than calling it natural. Proposing ideas about land for resettlement and rehabilitation the paper said that it is not sufficient to simply relocate people randomly in rural areas, rather their farming, cattle grazing land, water source everything should be part of resettlement. The paper elaborated on possible land sites for relocating the victims of disaster and it also pointed to thousands of acres of land being held illegally by erstwhile landlords, and several thousand acres of farm land whose lease has gotten over are still being held onto by private interests.
The seminar paid tributes to the martyrs of Khatima incident during the Uttarakhand State agitation on 1 September 1994. The retired Principal and CPI(ML)'s Garhwal committee member Comrade KP Chandola presided over the proceedings of seminar. There was enthusiastic participation by a large number of teachers, students and people from and outside of Srinagar.
Seminar on Public Health
A seminar on "Community Participation in Public Health" preceded the 7th State Conference of Forum For People's Health on 1 September at East Calcutta Medical Club, Kolkata. The main speaker was Dr. Binayak Sen and other speakers were Dilip Ghosh, Chaitali Sen and Dr. Siddhartha Gupta. Dr. Debashis Dutt was the moderator. The audience actively participated in the discussions and a significant section of them were ASHA. The role of the government, panchayats and local bodies, elected representatives, ASHA or Community Health Workers and civil society organisations in community participation was extensively discussed. There is ample evidence in India and abroad that community participation is beneficiary in the process, on service delivery and accountability, still there is continued aversion on the part of the government to adopt this process, and this must be denounced. ASHA plays a major role in realising the rights and entitlements of the community, yet they are deprived of their due respect. The speakers voiced against the neglect of ASHA. The seminar concluded that 'Universal Health Coverage coupled with Community Participation' is the primary demand of health movement.
Day of Protests in UP
CPI(ML) activists protested killing of its activist Narottam Singh, 40, by forest guards in Kanp-Tanda village of Lakhimpur Kheri district on 9 September. Memorandum to the President and Governor of UP were sent through the protests through district headquarters.
It was demanded to arrest the forest ranger who fired and killed Narottam Singh, when villagers were opposing forcible eviction from gram-sabha land on September 5. It was also demanded to stop eviction of villagers in the name of 'Project Tiger' with immediate effect. Compensation to the family of deceased and to those injured was demanded.
AIKM Road Blockade in Dharchula
The people affected by the disaster in June 2013 in Gothi bordering Nepal in the State of Uttarakhand blockaded the National Highway for six hours under the banner of All India Kisan Mahasabha on September 5. NH got lined up with hundreds of vehicles due to the blockade. The district officials tried to assure the protesters to lift the blockade but only when they returned and came back with concrete proof of plan of action and showed protesters the documents of amount sanctioned for various relief measures that the protesters liflted their blockade. The affected people also accused the Dharchula administration of having become a puppet of the local MLA.
Led by AIKM district president Comrade Jagat Martoliya hundreds of villagers of Bonn, Dugtu and Kalika under Gothi took out a march before demonstrating at Gothi and subsequently laying the blockade near SSB chowki. The SDM reached within an hour and made several assurances for lifting the blockade. The protesters firmly asked to give a written assurance for every issue they have raised. The SDM had to go back. The protesters only allowed ambulances and vehicles carrying sick people to go. Army and para-military vehicles were also stranded in the jam. Slogans raised demanding SDM to be freed from the slavery of local MLA.
There was heavy police deployment since morning at Gothi. When the administration failed in their hollow assurances the Tehsildar was sent with official documents as proof of impending plans to resolve the demands. One of the main demand is to build a check-dam that will ensure flood control along with assured water for irrigation of the farming in the region. After lifting the blockade Jagat Martoliya congratulated the people for their resolve and said that they will now have to maintain a vigil on the irrigation department to do a high quality work. He also said that the attempts of the Congress Party workers at sabotaging this agitation badly failed in the face of people's determination at Gothi. He also advised the MLA (from Congress) to help the people rather than harassing them.
Comrade Ahamadi, a popular militant leader in Uttar Pradesh, breathed her last in a hospital in Varanasi after she took poison. She was district committee member of party's Mirzapur committee and district President of AIPWA. Born in a middle class Muslim family, she lived her life with examplary courage amidst innumerable difficulties and intolerable tragedies. Just after the birth of her child, she had to face divorce by her husband. Her fater later gave her a two-room house and very small piece of land to live. But after the death of her father, brothers started quarelling with her, while few people started occupying the little piece of land. She bravely fought for her rights and during this struggle she came to know Party and joined. Party took initiative and an impressive protest was organised which ultimately made land grabbers to run away and also brother too stopped harassing her. This process brought her to cross the boundaries of home, and she became a dedicated activist of party. But she had to continuously face accusations and opposition from various corners, and sadly, tragedies never parted from her life.
Her younger brother was very close to her. He was murdered but this death was reported as an accident, adding more to her painful life. After some time, when she was going to attend a rally in Lucknow, her son was died of a snake bite at Chunar railway station.
Comrade Ahamadi had no formal education. She used to earn for herself and her son through very good handicrafts she used to make. After the tragic demise of her son, she denied taking maintenance money from her ex-husband and gradually she transformed her into a whole-time activist. She was always ready to go for the party work at any place and at any time. She was capable of organising people in very odd and difficult situations, whenever needed. She used to collect resources from the people themselves for various programmes. She used to be at the forefront in all the struggle in Mirzapur district. Recently she led a struggle against the killing of a adivasi youth in police custody.
Some time back, her brothers snatched away the piece of land under her occupation after producing a fake Will, and also locked both the rooms under her possession. Comrde Ahamadi sued them in court. And under Party's pressure the locked rooms again came under her possession. But this again led to the escalation of enmity from those brothers.
On 15 August 2013, she was sexually assaulted and beaten up in an auto while returning from some work. She reported to higher officials of the district. Her FIR was not lodged even after repeated protests and requests. She sat on a protest dharna along with three of her women comrades at district headquarters on 22 August. Central Committee member Salim and UP State Committee member Shankar along with many local comrades went to dharna place and talked to the administrative official who came there. It was assured that the FIR will be lodged. The dharna was concluded, but FIR was not lodged instead police started investigating the matter afresh.
This incident left comrade Ahamadi with a deep sense of hurt and wounded. She went into depression. She fought a whole life against every injustice met to her by society, suddenly took poison in the night of 3 September and left us in the wee hours of 4 September in a hospital. Her body was brought to her village in the evening, covered with revolutionary red flag. Hundreds of villagers, Party's Politburo member Ramji Rai, UP State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav, CCM Md. Salim, many leaders of the State Committee and many more comrades accompanied her in her last journey. She was burried with full revolutionary respect and a condolence meeting was held in her village. Mirzapur District Committee has called for a 'Sankalp Sabha' on 14 September in her memory.
The loss of a very promising and militant women leader has rightly caused deep feelings of shock among our ranks in UP. Comrade Ahamadi's struggle for freedom, for a just and humane society must be carried forward. We must dedicate ourselves to accomplish her goal.
We will never forget Comrade Ahamadi !
Red Salute to Comrade Ahamadi, her struggles and her life !!
A long time Comrade in Haryana, Ramkishan, nearly 55, suddenly left us after an illness. He was instrumental in initiating our Party in Haryana and was a member of the State Leading Team. We pay him tributes and condolences to his bereaved family.