Friday, 29 November 2013

ML Update 48-49 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16               No. 48-49                                                                                           26 NOV-2 DEC 2013

Tehelka Rape Case:

Test for 'Free Fair Fearless' Justice

What the former editor-in-chief of the English magazine Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, stands accused of is the misuse of his status to rape and sexually molest a young employee twice. Tejpal allegedly violated her bodily integrity in a lift which he manipulated so that it would remain moving. He did so in spite of her clear objections, expressed by word and gesture. And he told her that her cooperation with his assaults were 'the best way to keep her job'. Moreover, the next day, he once again used his authority as her boss to make her enter a lift once more, in order to molest her once more. His acts of violence, and his subsequent text messages to her, reek of his arrogant sense of unbridled power and entitlement.

The journalist informed three of her colleagues immediately after the first assault, and from that moment till her eventual deposition before the police and magistrate, her statement remained unwavering and singular in describing the assault and seeking justice for it. In contrast, Tejpal's own stance has run an entire gamut of dishonest postures aimed at escaping the consequences of his crimes.

His initial stance was one of both intimidation and denial: when he referred to his actions in text messages as 'drunken banter', and when he lashed out at his victim for having informed his daughter of the assaults. Once the woman filed a formal complaint, he resorted to a self-serving and dishonest 'apology', admitting to a 'sexual liaison' with her twice in spite of her 'clear reluctance,' however avoiding any admission of sexual assault and claiming it was a 'misjudgement'. At this point, he announced that he was taking a 6-month paid sabbatical to 'lacerate' himself in 'atonement' for his actions. And once the Goa police took suo motu notice of the complaint and filed a criminal case, Tejpal now came out in full victim-blaming mode. He branded the complainant a liar, claimed there had been a single 'incredibly fleeting consensual sexual encounter,' and has been spreading insinuations that the woman's complaint is politically motivated! At the same time, he has deployed a close family member to attempt to influence and pressurise the complainant's mother – a clear case of criminal intimidation. Tejpal's changing postures and his choosing to resort to the familiar and sordid ploys of victim-blaming are ample to indicate his guilt.

The conduct of the Tehelka management, represented by Shoma Choudhury has been one of blatant cover-up and complicity with Tejpal's ploys of victim-blaming. On receiving the complaint, Shoma Choudhury did not accede to the complainant's demand for a public acknowledgement of the sexual assault and the setting up of a legally mandated committee against workplace sexual harassment, neither did she inform the police of the complaint, as she was legally required to do. Instead, she accepted Tejpal's dishonest and misleading apology, and his offer of a 6-month 'penance,' referring in her memo to the employees that this was necessitated by an 'unfortunate incident' rather than a sexual assault! Subsequently, when the issue was leaked to the media, she tried dishonestly to claim that the 'complainant was satisfied,' that the incident was an 'internal matter', and that the media should not act 'more aggrieved than the victim'. Subsequently, she appeared on TV channels dropping hints that there was Tejpal's 'version' to be considered, and that the incident 'might have been consensual.' This response was not only a travesty of the law and of the complainant's own demand for justice, it was a blatantly hypocritical contrast with Tehelka's progressive and pro-women posture. Currently, like most rape-accused, Tejpal with help from the Tehelka management is busy spreading rumours about the supposedly questionable 'character' of the complainant.            

The whole episode is a reminder of the extremely unequal gender relations that mark every workplace, and the virtual absence of a safe space for women's complaints of sexual violence to be raised, maintaining the privacy of the complainant and providing support in the pursuit of justice. The Supreme Court guidelines in the Vishakha judgement had mandated the setting up of complaints committees against sexual harassment at all workplaces, but these guidelines are violated widely. Even the Supreme Court itself has held itself to be immune to its own guidelines. Faced with a law intern who wrote about being sexually harassed by a Supreme Court judge, the Supreme Court itself set up a panel of judges to enquire into the matter, rather than the legally mandated Vishakha committee with at least one representative from outside the workplace. Committees against sexual harassment are necessary to ensure that not a single instance of sexual harassment goes unpunished. They are equally necessary as a deterrent to sexual harassment and violence against women, helping to ensure a workplace atmosphere that is democratic and free of sexism. The law against Sexual Harassment, recently enacted, is yet to come into force because its rules are yet to be notified. 

In covering the Tehelka case involving a prominent figure among their own fraternity, the media has not covered itself with glory. Graphic details of the woman's private complaint have been leaked and reproduced in print, and the rape was even re-enacted on news channels – all on the flimsy pretext of exposing the seriousness of the crime and ensuring justice for it. When the graphic details of rape are 're-created' for the purpose of sensation, rape becomes recreation, and such coverage actually violates the woman all over again.            

The political narrative around the Tehelka case also threatens to overshadow justice. Tejpal has attempted to suggest that the rape complaint against him, taken up by the police in BJP-ruled Goa is politically motivated. This is identical to Asaram's claim that the rape complaint against him was politically motivated because the complaint was filed in Congress-ruled Delhi! BJP leaders have given public statements and press conferences on the Tejpal issue: one wonders why they have not done so in the cases of rape by Asaram and his son (who is still absconding); or in the case of the Muzaffarnagar rape cases, where named accused are yet to be arrested? In the case of the 'Stalk-gate' case in which the Gujarat Chief Minister is implicated in using the ATS to illegally snoop on a woman's private life, the Gujarat Government, after long silence, has now announced an in-house enquiry! Why does the Gujarat Government not file a criminal case of violation of the Telegraph Act, and initiate an impartial judicial enquiry to bring out the truth? The conduct of the Congress and BJP when their own leaders have been accused of violence against women, leaves them with no moral standing to speak on the Tehelka case.

The spark of hope in the Tehelka case lies with the courage of the journalist who made the complaint, and several of her colleagues within Tehelka who have spoken out in support of her, at risk to their careers. This case should inspire all people to struggle for the implementation of sexual harassment complaints committees in all workplaces – media houses, schools and colleges, Courts, police and Army, hospitals, as well as local committees for unorganised sector workers.  

CPI(ML) demands steps against communal tensions in Bihar 

A deputation from CPI-ML including Bihar State secretary Kunal, Polit bureau member Dhirendra Jha, Central Committee member Com. KD Yadav, Inqalabi Muslim Conference State convenor Anwar Hussain and State committee member Kamlesh Sharma, called on the Bihar Home Secretary on 13 November 2013 to apprise him of the conspiracy to inflame communal passions in Bihar and demanded immediate and proper steps to end this dangerous atmosphere. The deputation demanded that 1.) Immediate steps should be taken to put an end to the BJP conspiracy to inflame communal passions and create a fear-charged atmosphere in Bihar, and directions to this effect should be sent forthwith to the District administrations, 2.) Undemocratic and arbitrary hounding and arrest of minorities without sufficient proof, in the name of  conducting enquiries should be stopped immediately, and youths arrested without proof should be released immediately, 3.) Recommendations of the Human Rights Commission be implemented in the Aurangabad firing case, the false cases against Com. Rajaram Singh, Com. Satyadev Ram and Amarjeet Yadav be withdrawn, and the erring police officials be punished, and 4.) Concrete steps be taken to stop the rising graph of political murders in the State, and the killers of Com. Ramdev Yadav in Bhagalpur be immediately arrested.

Dharna by Coal Mines Workers' Union

A one-day dharna-demonstration was organized in front of the Coal Chairman's office at Darbhanga House, Ranchi on 23 October 2013 under the banner of the Coal Mines Workers' Union (CMW) affiliated to AICCTU. Around 500 workers and displaced villagers participated in the protest, led by AICCTU General Secretary Com. Shubhendu Sen, CMW Working President Com. Baijnath Mistry, CMW Central Committee member Com. Jagannath Oraon and Baleshwar Gope. Earlier, a team of activists led by Jagannath Oraon held meetings with workers from collieries in Pindra, Ara, Sarubeda of Kuju and Argada areas to discuss their problems, and also interacted with the residents of workers' colonies. The team also held meetings with villagers displaced due to the collieries and mobilized a campaign to demand for their rehabilitation and employment.

Through the demonstration, the leaders pointed out that huge scams were taking place in the coal industry and on the other hand, citing crisis in coal production, coal blocks are being allotted to big and powerful companies. Through outsourcing, there is a conspiracy to retrench the workers and new methods are continually being adopted to oppress the workers. They called upon the people to get mobilized under the banner of AICCTU and CMW and fight against these anti-worker policies and methods.

A 10 point memorandum was submitted to the Coal Chairman, with the following demands:

1.     Speedy reopening of the closed collieries in the Kuju area.

2.     Employment in lieu of land for the villagers-raiyyats.

3.     Payment of wages fixed as per the agreement between the CIL and the workers' representatives to workers engaged in outsourcing work in Pindra, Thopa and Hesagada.

4.     Speedy rehabilitation of the displaced raiyyats.

5.     Proper use of CSR funds.

6.     Employment for women workers.


Comrade Dilip Mondol

Veteran revolutionary leader Comrade Dilip Mondol (Probodh Bardhan) breathed his last at around 8 am today on 22 November 2013 at Sangamahal village (Shyampur-B colliary), Nirsa area of Dhanbad district. He was around 70. He was a member of the Jharkhand State Committee of the party.

After passing his junior engineer training Comrade Probodh Bardhan had joined Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in West Bengal as a supervisor. He spent his early childhood and got his primary education in Comillah, now in Bangladesh. Thereafter his father shifted to Behala, Kolkata, where he continued with his education. It was in Chittaranjan that he came into contact with Naxalbari movement. A very popular leader among co-workers, he led workers' militant movements within the CLW before he became underground and left his service in 1972 and started working as a whole timer among coal workers in Kumardhubi area of Dhanbad.

To integrate with coalworkers he himself joined a coalmine as worker and soon assumed leadership of trade union activities. It was then he took the name of Dilip Mondol as a cover and started residing in Sangamahal village of Nirsa area. However, this cover was to become his real identity and the family he lived with became his real family for the rest of life.

He undertook fractional work within Bihar Colliery Kamgar Union led by AK Roy and soon became a very popular leader, in fact one of its top leaders. After 1973, when the Party got disintegrated, he lost contact but never went back and still continued to work among coalworkers on his own. In 1978 he renewed his contact with the Party and took an active role in building Party organization from scratch in Dhanbad district. Since then he has served in different responsibilities in Jharkhand and became a member of its State Committee and Standing Committee.

Comrade Dilip was a hardworking revolutionary full of initiative who considered no difficulty as insurmountable. He strictly followed the principle of plain living and high thinking and was a model of self-sacrifice. He integrated himself fully with the masses he was working among and adopted their language and style of living so closely that he became one among them.

A revolutionary of the first Naxalbari generation, Comrade Dilip was always prepared to go anywhere to assume any responsibility entrusted by the Party, even if it was to build an organization from a scratch. He was sent to Santhal Pargana region and there he started developing the Party organization. He was instrumental in the Party's expansion in the Dumka and Jamtara districts and the Santhal Pargana region as a whole. He gave energetic and inspiring leadership in struggles of sharecroppers and resistance to corporate landgrab.

It was there that he, along with a promising young leader Babudhan Kisku, contracted the fatal disease of cerebral malaria before the 8th Congress of CPI(ML). While Comrade Babudhan could not survive, Comrade Dilip could not recover fully from the attack and his health deteriorated day by day. Later he developed Parkinson's Disease that made him nearly immobile and he had to stay at his home in Sangamahal. He attended the Charu Bhawan inauguration ceremony held in Delhi and recently the 9th Congress of our Party braving his illness. But at last he suffered a stroke and died of heart failure.

Comrade Dilip's untimely demise is a great loss of the Party and with his departure the Party lost one more valuable and longstanding asset of the first Naxalbari generation.

The sad news of Comrade Dilip's demise has sent a wave of grief among comrades throughout the Party. His example will continue to inspire comrades to accept every challenge and build the communist movement in the most tough of conditions.  

Comrade Mahesh

Born in a poor peasant family, Bechu Ram (popularly known in the party and among the people as Comrade Mahesh) was extremely hard-working and committed activist strongly grounded in working class consciousness.

During the Emergency, Comrade Mahesh came into contact with revolutionary comrades, and he became a party member in 1978-79. He played an important role in organising agricultural labourers and peasants and leading many struggles in Lakhimpur Kheri and Pilibhit districts of Uttar Pradesh. He also worked in Deoria district for a time, and had been a member of the UP State Committee, and former secretary of the Pilibhit District Committee. 

Jailed for long periods in the course of struggles, he organised prisoners in jail as well, raising their issues and pressurising the jail administration to comply with their just demands. A cheerful and enthusiastic comrade, Comrade Mahesh's good cheer never dimmed even during the long periods of incarceration in jail. He remained fearless in extremely unfavourable situations. Ever ready to work anywhere that the party required him to, he had been ready to begin working in Sultanpur district recently, but his poor health did not permit him to do so.   

He suffered his first heart attack on 2004. Comrades took pains to ensure timely treatment and he recovered. But the disease retained hold of him nevertheless. In spite of his illness, he remained active and committed. Recently, doctors installed a pacemaker in his heart and he triumphed for a while over the disease.

On November 3, he fell extremely ill and was rushed to AIIMS in Delhi and admitted there. In spite of the doctors' best efforts, he passed away on November 18th at 11.50 pm. His loss is a huge blow to the entire party.

A memorial meeting for him was held on November 20th at which party PB member Ramji Rai, State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav, Central Committee member Krishna Adhikari, senior leader Allauddin Shastri, advocate Kishanlal, Comrades Raja Bahuguna (CCM), Bahadur Singh Jangi KK Bora from Uttarakhand, Lakhimpur Kheri district committee members Jawahar, Ramdular Bharti and other comrades paid him tribute. His mortal remains were cremated at Rahul Nagar (Pilibhit). Comrade Mahesh's commitment, his courage, and unshakeable faith in the party and the people are an example for us all. Long live Comrade Mahesh!

Omprakash Valmiki

Noted Hindi litterateur, revolutionary thinker and author of world-famous autobiography Joothan, Omprakash Valmiki is no more. His untimely demise is an irreparable loss to Indian literature committed to democratic values and social change. Born on 30 June 1950 in Barla of Muzaffarnagar district in U.P., he had been fighting cancer for the past few years and was to have undergone a kidney surgery, but the operation could not be done as his immune system had become too weak. After treatment in Delhi, he was brought to Max hospital in Dehradun where he passed away on 17 November. Apart from Joothan, his other notable works are Salaam, Ghuspaithiye, Ab Aur Nahin, Safayi Devta, Dalit Sahitya ka Saundaryashastra, Dalit Sahitya: Anubhav, Sangharsh Evam Yatharth, Sadiyon ka Santaap, and Bas Bahut Ho Chuka.

Literary, cultural, and socio-political movements against oppression and inequality have lost a true comrade in Shri Valmiki. Hindi literature as well as the literature of other Indian languages cannot be called truly progressive and people-oriented without the realistic and heartrending portrayal of dalit life which came into Hindi literature through his writings. His literary and critical works hold permanent significance not only for Hindi literature but for all Indian literature. Always struggling against Brahminism, feudalism, capitalism and gender bias, he made an important contribution towards making Indian literature democratic and pro-people.

Valmikiji threw light on the necessity, strengths and contradictions of dalit literature. Fighting discrimination and oppression against human beings on the basis of caste, feudalism and capitalism, he was ever concerned with unifying the weak, dalit and marginalized sections of society. His autobiography Joothan has a poignant scene where the boy Omprakash enters, dusty and blood-spattered, with a bundle of animal skins on his head, when his mother weeps and his sister-in-law cries out in anguish, "Don't make him do this! We will remain hungry…but don't drag him into this filth!" At the end of the autobiography he writes, "I have come out of that filth, but there are myriads still forced to live that despicable life." All his works are concerned with freedom for those forced to live in inhuman socio-economic conditions and the 'dalit aesthetics' he demanded is also concerned with ensuring human dignity for the marginalized. We reiterate our commitment towards his dreams and struggles for the empowerment of the dalits and the marginalized sections, and pays tribute to him with his own words:

We of this generation have engraved struggle on

Our breast,

No flood of tears shall course down

Our cheeks,

But the spark of revolt shall light up

Our eyes,

Rising smoke from burning hutments shall give strength to

Our clenched fists

To shape our own history anew.

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:

Friday, 15 November 2013

ML Update 47 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16            No. 47                           12-18 NOV 2013

Opinions, Opinion Polls, and Democracy


The Election Commission's move of seeking political parties' opinions on banning pre-election opinion polls has sparked off a heated debate. On the one hand, the Congress has called for an outright ban on such polls, while the BJP, which in 2004 had favoured such a ban, has now decried the Congress' call for a ban as an attack on press freedom and freedom of expression. Most media organisations too have dubbed any restrictions on opinion polls as an attack on freedom of expression.


The positions of Congress and BJP at different times on opinion polls have been opportunist, coloured by whether the opinion polls tend to favour them or not in the forthcoming months. How can we go beyond the terms of the debate fixed by opportunistic ruling class parties and corporate-funded media, and arrive at a reasonable and democratic opinion on opinion polls?


One argument being made in favour of unrestricted opinion polls is that opinions by laypersons, editorials and media commentators, pollsters and politicians float around in any case. If one calls for restrictions on opinion polls today, it might go to the extent of restricting the free expression of opinions tomorrow. A related argument is that scientific opinion polls are preferable to lay rumours and 'expert comments' that do not enjoy the backing of data or scientific analysis.


What these arguments ignore is that opinion polls are not simply mirrors reflecting opinions. They are tools that seek to shape, influence, and organise political opinions. An editorial in a newspaper, or a comment by a TV anchor or 'expert' is simply that – an opinion of a particular media institution or individual, with no claims to reflecting popular will. But an opinion poll lays claim to representing people's opinion, and that is what sets it apart, qualitatively, from mere 'opinions'. An editorial is a self-avowedly subjective opinion – whereas an opinion poll claims to be an objective, even scientific, representation of, or guide to, popular opinion. In any elections, laypersons or media outfits may express opinions projecting poll outcomes and may attempt to persuade others to accept these opinions. But these subjective attempts at persuasion are likely to be viewed by voters very differently from the 'objective' polls presented authoritatively by media houses and various other bodies.


Any opinion poll claiming to objectively predict the outcome of elections (as opposed to simply expressing a subjective opinion about the outcome) do, then, have a potentially distorting effect on voting behaviour. In the backdrop of widely prevalent 'paid news,' the possibility of opinion polls being used to misinform and manipulate voters is immense, given the fact that it is corporate-funded media houses which generally conduct these surveys and polls. There is simply no denying that such surveys conducted and propagated by corporate-funded media houses have a far greater potential to distort voting behaviour than mere opinions of media-persons, laypersons or political figures. The voter is well equipped and experienced to assess the predictions of the local 'expert' at the tea stall or street corner or even the poll 'pundit' on the TV news. An 'opinion poll' that projects itself as the opinion of the people, claiming to be gathered through scientific methods, is far more capable of insidious influence and far more difficult for the layperson to challenge.     


Currently, most opinion polls in India fail the test of transparency. Opinion polls that fail to disclose their sampling frame, size and social profile of the sample, techniques used, wording and sequence of questions asked, details of organisations conducting and sponsoring the poll, and fail to make their raw data available for scrutiny and challenge, nevertheless propagate their findings as 'objective.' However, even if the highest standards of transparency are met, the fact remains that the ordinary voter lacks the methodological tools to assess sample size, profile, etc to test the objectivity of various opinion polls. The ordinary voter will therefore be under pressure to accept the findings of such polls without really subjecting them to analysis.


No doubt, voters have proven opinion polls wrong time and again – exposing the lack of objectivity and even the possible political bias of those who conducted the opinion poll. But this cannot be an argument to allow opinion polls to continue unregulated.


Calls for a blanket ban on opinion polls, as well as calls for unregulated opinion polls, must be rejected. With the announcement of the election schedule, the model Code of Conduct comes into force, which imposes several restrictions (such as bans on the announcement of any new schemes by the ruling party) aimed at keeping out undue distortions of voting behaviour. During this period when the Code of Conduct is in force, media houses, parties, and other bodies should be restrained from publishing opinion polls or claiming to base their analysis on opinion polls. Any opinion polls conducted and published before this period must be subjected by the Election Commission to reasonable restrictions including mandatory disclosures to ensure transparency, and availability of raw data for scrutiny.


AIPWA Protests Inaction of Odisha Govt Against Sexual Harassment


Battling for life for five days, Itishree Pradhan, a school teacher who was set ablaze for refusing to withdraw a complaint of sexual harassment case against a school inspector in Tikiri school of Rayagada district, Odisha, died on 1st November 2013.


Itishree who hailed from Delang in Puri district and joined as Sikshya Sahayak at the Tikiri school, had lodged a complaint with the police in July 2013 but there was no response. Later, Itishree appealed to the state women's commission, the DG, the collector and the SP of Rayagada, but  nobody took any action. Though an investigation report was submitted to the Collector, no action was taken against school inspector Netrananda Dandasena.


On October 27th a person entered her hostel and asked her to withdraw the complaint, and when she refused, he set her fire. The same night Itishree was shifted to Rayagada and due to 99% burns injury she was shifted to Vizag. On 1st November she died.


BJD chief and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 10 lakhs  to Itishree's family and ordered a crime branch probe into the incident, assuring that the case would be tried in a fast track court. AIPWA has demanded Rs 25 lakhs compensation, jobs for her family members, dismissal of the Collector, SP, and women's commission head, as well as immediate dismissal and criminal prosecution of school inspector Netrananda Dandasena. These demands were raised by AIPWA secretary Sabita Baraj in a protest meeting held on Bhubaneswar on 2nd November. Another protest meeting was held at Delang, under the banner of the CPI (ML) Liberation local committee, led by Comrade Ashok Pradhan, state committee member. A protest march was held in Bhubaneswar, led by Comrades Shantilata Bharati, Sanjukta Biswal and Mandakini Sethi of AIPWA. A massive protest march was also held in Rayagada on 8th November.


NOIDA Workers' Convention for Justice and Rights


AICCTU organized a Convention for Justice and Rights on 10th November 2013

for the falsely implicated and incarcerated workers from NOIDA, who were put in jail following the historic all trade union strike held on 21st and 22nd February 2013. The Convention took place 


Apart from arresting workers protesting in the strike, the Noida administration and UP government also picked up workers from the AICCTU office in Sector 10, from their homes, or some just going about their work. About 200 workers were arrested, implicated in false cases and thrown into jails for months. 117 workers were slapped with false cases of the order of attempt to murder and robbery. Every worker who has managed to get released from jail has had to spend to the tune of two lakh rupees. Ironically the administration has not been able to produce a single shred of evidence, including the alleged video clipping in possession, through which workers were apparently identified.


The inspiring Convention was held outside the AICCTU's Sector-10 office, which had been the site of the police terror, and where the police had tried to continue intimidation for months. Defying the intimidation, the workers have renovated the office.


The Convention was conducted by Comrade Shivji. Workers and activists released from jail including the AICCTU organiser and CPI(ML) state committee member Comrade Shyam Kishor, Comrade Hare Ram Yadav, and others addressed the Convention, as well as CPI(ML) State Committee member Aslam Khan, AICCTU National Secretary Rajiv Dimri, AICCTU State President VKS Gautam, and other AICCTU leaders and activists. 


A Struggle Committee of the NOIDA workers was formed – the Noida Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti - which will spearhead the movement for getting justice for the incarcerated workers in particular, and raising labour rights issues generally.


The resolutions passed by the Convention are:

1) This convention condemns the baseless arrest of all the workers that were arrested following the strike on the 21st and 22nd Feb, 2013. It demands the dropping of all charges and the paying of compensation to the affected workers.

2) It demands the implementation of minimum wages, as mandated by the government, and labour laws in Gautam Budh Nagar.

3) It condemns the communal conflagration in Muzaffarnagar and calls for standing against the communal polarization engaged in by the BJP and SP. It demands that strict punishment be awarded to those responsible for unleashing violence, and that the victims be rehabilitated.

4)  This convention calls for participation in the March to Parliament, as called by the central trade unions, on 12th December, 2013.

5) This convention resolves to bring all the workers in Gautam Budh Nagar together. It resolves to initiate a movement in the district for worker's rights under the banner of AICCTU. 


Uttarakhand State Level Party School Organized In Almora


The Party organized a State level school in Almora city on 26-27 October. The documents passed in the 9th Party Congress were studied at this school and discussions were held on 4 subjects—the national and international situation, the CPI(ML)'s basic documents, the report on Party organization, and the Resolution on Women's Msovement.


The school commenced by paying tribute to late Com. Madhav Nath Goswami of Bindukhattha, long time party member from Udham Singh Nagar late Com. Nandan Bhandari and to all the Comrades whom we have lost in recent times. Following this, Almora District secretary Com. Anand Negi welcomed the gathering and Com. Pankaj Inqalabi presented Faiz Ahmad Faiz's "Nissar Main Teri Galiyon Pe…"


The inaugural session of the Party school was addressed by Central Committee member Com. Raja Bahuguna. The classes on the national and international situation, women's movement, basic documents, and report on Party organization were conducted by Com. Indresh Maikhuri, Com. K.K.Bora, Com. Kailash Pandey and Com. Purushottam Sharma respectively.  These were followed by lively discussions. Concluding the discussion session, State secretary Com. Rajendra Pratholi said that the current situation demands that all comrades, branches and committees make a deep study of the documents passed in the 9th Party Convention so that the Party ideology and direction can be properly disseminated among the people. Besides this, all comrades should also regularly read the Party publications. He further said that the committees should start study circles for the newly inducted State committee members on 4 designated subjects—1. The Origin and Development of Human Society, 2. History of the Freedom Movement, 3.  About the present political parties in India, 4. A Brief History of the Communist Movement.


Calamity-Affected Protest on the Eve of Uttarakhand State Formation Day


Five months have gone by since the terrible disaster in Uttarakhand but the Congress government in the State has neither yet been able to provide relief to the victims, nor rehabilitate the people and villages who were rendered homeless by the disaster. The attention of the Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and his government is focused only on media management and restarting of Puja in Badrinath, Kedarnath and Hemkund to indicate that things have returned to normal. The reality is that road access in several places has not yet been re-established and several bridges washed away during the disaster have not yet been restored.


On 8 November, the eve of State foundation day (9 November), CPI(ML)s organized a State-wide Protest Day to protest against the negligence of the State government towards the relief and rehabilitation of the disaster victims. In all working areas of the Party, dharnas and demonstrations were held demanding that the State government immediately solve the problems of the victims and formulate and implement a people-oriented policy for their rehabilitation. The rehabilitation policy recently announced by the government talks of constructing pre-fabricated houses in 1000sq.ft, with those not wishing to avail themselves of these houses being given Rs. 4 lakhs instead, and those who wish to build their houses in land which is not marked out by the government being given Rs. 5 lakhs for the purpose.


Leading the protest demonstration in Udham Singh Nagar district headquarters (Rudrapur), State Secretary Com. Rajendra Pratholi demanded that the disaster affected victims be given "land for land and home for home". He stressed that the policy of pre-fabricated housing was nothing but a ploy to ensure profiteering for builders, contractors, politicians and bureaucrats. Com. Pratholi charged the government with complete failure to bring back normalcy to the affected areas. He pointed out that the State government has put only 300 villages on the rehabilitation list, whereas the actual number is around 1000 villages. State committee members Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi, Com. Lalit Matiyali, Student Union Vice President Kavita Verma, Ruby Bharadwaj, workers of Khurpiya farm, and Gujjar leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha also joined the protests in Rudrapur.


The State government has received hundreds of crores of rupees from national and international sources as aid for the disaster affected victims but there is complete lack of transparency as to how this money is being spent. Through the State wide protests the CPI(ML) has demanded that the State government put the details of these funds and their expenditure in the public domain. In a memorandum to the CM the Party said that there are 1000 acres of ceiling land farms in the terai region of the State which should be used for the collective rehabilitation of the affected villages rather than being given over to SIDCUL (State Industrial Development Corporation) or other institutions. At the same time, the families of the workers who had been working for decades on these farm lands should also be made part of the rehabilitation policy. The Party also demanded that the cultivators whose fruits and vegetables perished due to roads and transport not being re-established should be compensated for their loss.


The State government and local administration is doing everything possible to crush the movement of the disaster victims in one of the greatly affected areas, Pithoragarh, under the leadership of CPI(ML) and Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha. Recently, during the CM's visit to Dharchula, Party District secretary Com. Jagat Martoliya was arrested and kept in custody for 3 days for no reason. Munasyari SDM has banned a demonstration which was to have taken place under the leadership of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha on November 15. Condemning this repressive behavior of the administration, the Party demands punishment for the Munasyari SDM for his politically motivated action. Despite the repressive attitude of the government and the administration the disaster affected people joined the CPI(ML) protests in Dharchula of Pithoragarh district in large numbers. Pithoragarh District secretary Com. Jagat Martoliya, Dharchula Branch secretary Com. Kishan Singh Kunwar, Party leaders Har Singh Kunwar, Manoj Chunara, Padam Singh Gandi, Hira Devi, Vimla Dariyal, Mohan Singh Bisht, Soban Singh, Bhajan Singh, Parvati Devi, Narayan Singh, Jagat Ram, Pushpa, Hema, Gunja Devi, Madan Singh Bisht were active in the protests. The dharna organized by the Party in Lalkuan of Nainital district was led by Central Committee member Com. Raja Bahuguna, Nainital District secretary Com. Kailash Pandey, Govind Jeena, Pankaj Inqalabi, Ratan Singh and others.  Memoranda were submitted to the CM at Deghat in Almora district under the leadership of State standing committee member Com. Purushottam Sharma, and in  Bhikayasain district under the leadership of State committee member Com. Anand Singh Negi. Memoranda were also submitted in Joshimath (Garhwal) under the leadership of Garhwal committee member Com. Atul Satee. In Srinagar (Garhwal) committee member Com.K. P. Chandola, social activist Yogendra Kandpal, Vaibhav Kulashree, Kuldip Sailani   (AISA) and others submitted memoranda to the Chief Minister. 


Bhagalpur Bandh Against Murder of CPI(ML) Leader  


CPI(ML) leader Comrade Ramdev Yadav was shot dead on 11 November by assailants in Bihar's Bhagalpur district. The armed assailants barged into Comrade Ramdev's house and shot him dead while he was asleep. His home is close to the University police station. Comrade Ramdev, aged 60, was the CPI(ML)'s town committee member and veteran AICCTU leader (Vice President of the district's AICCTU unit).


In protest against this heinous murder of Comrade Ramdev Yadav, the CPI(ML) called a Bhagalpur bandh. Reports tell us that several schools, as well as streets and markets, remained closed in response to this bandh call. Comrade Ramdev was known to have taken up a range of struggles of the oppressed and downtrodden, and to have exposed instances of corruption and high-handedness of the local administration. Like Comrade Bhaiyyaram Yadav of Rohtas, Comrade Ramdev Yadav too has been targeted and eliminated at the behest of the powerful and corrupt.    


Red Salute to Comrade Ramdev Yadav !



Dr. Arun


Dr. Arun, 57, a member of the CPI(ML) who was a practicing doctor in Delhi, suddenly passed away in a private nursing home. He was being treated there for fever and pain, and it seems that a severe brain haemorrhage failed to be detected till it was too late. He was diabetic and also suffering from hypertension.


Dr. Arun was associated with the party since the 1980s. He always remained closely concerned with the Party's work in Delhi. He was always eager to extend all sorts of medical help to comrades.


He got his medical degree from BHU. He used to go from Delhi to his native village in Gaya district for at least a fortnight in a year to offer free medical aid to his fellow villagers. Since he was a gynaecologist, this free medical aid was invaluable to rural women, since there is a complete absence of skilled gynaecological care in rural Bihar and India.  


The entire party is grieved by Dr. Arun's untimely demise and expresses deep condolences to his bereaved wife and son.

Long Live Dr. Arun!


ML Update 46 / 2013

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  16        No. 46                                                                   5-11 NOV 2013


CPI(ML)'s Khabardar Rally

Reasserts Bihar's Fighting Resolve

Defying Modi's 'Hunkaar' and

Conspiratorial Blasts

The last week of October was a week of rallies for Patna. On October 25, the CPI held a 'Janakrosh' (People's Anger) rally, which witnessed arguably the biggest gathering by the party in last ten years or so. The rally clearly reflected the mood of the Left ranks and common people in Bihar – determination to resist the growing fascist threat and anger against the non-performing and anti-poor Nitish Kumar government of Bihar.


Two days later, it was the BJP's turn to stage its 'Hunkaar' (roar) show. The rally turned out to be the BJP's biggest ever in Bihar, and certainly bigger than the kind of crowd that came to Modi's recent rallies in Delhi, UP or MP. Even as the rally began, a series of blasts took place around the rally ground, and blasts were all the BJP would be talking about later. But quite surprisingly the rally went on like business as usual with Modi churning out a mythical history of Bihar, full of bloomers for anybody familiar with the rich history and heritage of the state.


Nitish Kumar was quick to take on Modi on the issue of his 'historical bloomers' in the JD(U)'s 'chintan shivir' (brainstorming session) at Rajgir, but his government left Patna in a state of post-blast panic and uncertainty.  The state government could not sanitise the Gandhi Maidan, the venue for all big rallies in Patna and the scheduled site for the CPI(ML)'s 30 October rally, even fifty hours after the blasts. The blasts also overshadowed the entire media and Bihar seemed to have been plunged into terror and panic. Postponement of the CPI(ML) rally seemed almost like a foregone conclusion.


But the rural poor of Bihar and the CPI(ML) network spread across the state once again rose to the occasion and displayed tremendous tenacity and fearless resolve to make the rally an astounding success. Just consider the facts. Around 7 PM on 29 October, the district administration of Patna formally intimated that Gandhi Maidan was unsafe and the allotment stood cancelled. Till then the work of stage construction and decoration was going on at Gandhi Maidan. Overnight, a stage was erected on the new site – on the road near the R-block crossing, and the rallyists who kept pouring in all through the day and night of October 29 spent the night on the road under the open sky. The veil of panic and speculation disappeared as the spirit of hope and determination took over.


To the city of Patna which has been witness to many great gatherings at various turning points of history, the Khabardar rally presented an unprecedented sight of a red wave splashing on the city roads. The stretch from R-block crossing which has a statue of the iconic 1857 hero Veer Kunwar Singh to the Income Tax roundabout, housing a statue of JP, the great inspirational leader of 1974, became a veritable human sea. Old-timers recalled the last time when the area had witnessed such a major assembly: on 4 November 1974 when a procession led by JP was lathicharged injuring JP himself along with many more processionists.


For those who thought that Modi's 'Hunkaar' was the ultimate roar of an aggressive saffron sweep in Bihar, the Khabardar rally has sent out a strong message of resolute resistance. While remaining alert to foil the saffron design to whip up communal frenzy in Bihar, the rally has called for a massive mobilisation of the justice-loving people of Bihar to secure justice for the massacre survivors of Bathanitola, Bathe and Miyanpur. Millions of signatures will be collected across the state and will be brought to Delhi for submission to the President on 18 December, the 15th death anniversary of Comrade Vinod Mishra.


Incidentally, on the same day an anti-communal convention was held in Delhi where the CPI(M) and its LF partners shared a platform with ten non-Congress non-BJP regional parties. The organisers and participants sought to deny the impression that the gathering was an exercise in forging a third front, claiming that the purpose was just to promote a broad-based mobilisation against communalism. But a quick look at the forces that were deliberately excluded from the ambit of the convention exposes the hollowness of the grand anti-communal claim. Apart from the CPI(ML), the most committed and militant defender of secularism, the excluded parties also included the RJD and LJP both of which have far stronger anti-communal credentials than the JD(U) which must be held squarely responsible for enabling the BJP to accumulate strength in Bihar, not just through power-sharing but by allowing feudal-communal forces to go on the offensive.


As elections come closer and the BJP becomes increasingly desperate to whip up a fascist frenzy, the task for the democratic movement in the country is clearly laid out. Fascism thrives on the illusive yearning for a 'magic solution' to our pressing problems, but the challenge of resisting and defeating the fascist threat cannot be fulfilled through any 'counter magic', electoral or otherwise. It calls for bold, organised and sustained mobilisation and assertion of the people for a democratic solution, and the Khabardar rally has shown us the kind of strength, determination and courage that the oppressed poor can contribute to this battle under revolutionary communist leadership.


'Feudal, Communal Forces Beware'
– A Rally That Defied All Odds


"Only CPI(ML) could have had the guts and the ability to successfully hold such a massive Rally in spite of constant talk of bomb threats. Only CPI(ML)'s mass base is such that would defy the atmosphere of fear and turn up steadfastly in such numbers." This was the unanimous opinion of journalists and other observers in Patna on 30 October. The real "hunkar" (roar) of people's power was manifested in this Rally of 1 lakh of Bihar's poorest people, who flocked to Patna on their own will power, determination, and commitment, without the massive backing of money power that Modi's rally three days previously displayed.


The Rally was held on the historic Bir Chand Patel Path – marked by R Block with Kunwar Singh's statue at one end, and IT Golambar with a statue of JP in 1974 at the other end – the very spot where JP was lathi charged during a massive agitation in 1974. 


An observer commented on Facebook: "The word Khabardar means 'beware' in Urdu. The masses issued a warning to feudal-communal-fascist forces who doubled up as facilitators of corporate loot, by raising the slogan of 'Samanti - sampradayik - fasivadi - looteri taakton khabardar! Bihar ki janata hai taiyar!' The rally, earlier scheduled for the Gandhi Maidan, was disallowed at the last moment by Bihar police who were inept enough not to be able to clean up Gandhi Maidan even after three days of the bomb blasts. Undeterred by the rescheduling which caused extra hardship for the masses who had been camping in the city for over a day, Birchand Patel Path, the main thoroughfare of Patna was occupied by the toiling masses. Reportedly, the BJP had spent crores for its 'Hunkar' rally, hiring 11 trains and thousands of buses, and spending on cash and food for their assembly. But the Khabardar Rally was completely different in flavour. This correspondent spoke to a group of villagers from Siwan, who had travelled all the way from their village on a bus, carrying their own food, tarpaulins (to sit on), and collectively pooling in their bus fares, for which they had to spend Rs. 150 each. The resulting difference in the mood and slogans could not be more stark."


The Khabardar Rally was a resounding challenge to the corporate-backed communal forces, who are desperate to project Modi as the PM of the country, and to foment communal frenzy to pave their way to power.  


The Rally began by paying tribute to martyred comrades with two minutes' silence. Cultural group Hirawal rendered a revolutionary song in memory of the martyrs. Bihar State Secretary Comrade Kunal welcomed the gathering. The Rally was presided over by Central Committee member Comrade KD Yadav, and conducted by Comrade Anwar Hussain, State President of the Inquilabi Muslim Conference.   


Addressing the Rally, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the 2014 elections must be about policies, not faces and leaders – it must be about reversing the policies of corporate plunder, corruption, price rise, unemployment, communal violence and minority witch-hunt. He said "In the Laxmanpur Bathe, Bathani Tola, Miyanpur, Nagari Bazaar massacres of the 1990s, lower courts gave convictions in 2010. But the High Court acquitted the accused. So have the perpetrators of the massacres come from another planet? The victims are being massacred all over again by this massacre of justice," adding that the CPI(ML) would collect lakhs of signatures on a petition for justice by Human Rights Day (December 10), and then proceed to Delhi with the signatures on December 18th.


He said the climate in Bihar was being vitiated by communal and feudal forces and in the country at large. BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's survival depended on such an atmosphere. "They want to grab power by carrying out riots, but they will not be able to turn Bihar into Gujarat... innocent Muslim youths are being targeted and jailed after blasts. A few days later, everyone forgets about them. There is no charge sheet or further action and they keep languishing in jail." He asked why Nitish Kumar was silent on such cases involving Darbhanga's youth, and demanded a white paper from the Bihar Government on all such pending cases involving Bihar's youth implicated in terror cases. "If you lack the evidence to file a chargesheet, set them free immediately," he said.


Commenting on an anti-communal Convention being organised on the same day in Delhi, he said, "We are told this is an anti communal effort and not an electoral alliance. But why is CPI(ML) not invited? The Rashtriya Janata Dal, [although we have our differences with them], has not been invited to it. Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan, [who had resigned from the NDA's Union Cabinet after the Gujarat riots], has not been invited. But Mr. Kumar, who was together with the BJP for 17 years, is being made the poster boy of secularism."


He said people were talking as though corruption ended with Lalu Prasad's imprisonment, forgetting the involvement of prominent leaders from other parties in the fodder scam and other scams, such as Nitish Kumar and Shivanand Tiwari from the JDU. He added, "What about the 2G, coal and a whole lot of other scams where lakhs of crores are involved? The perpetrators should be brought to book, even if it is the Prime Minister."


Taking on Mr. Kumar's development plank, he said, "In Bihar, there is just talk, of giving power, water, roads and education. For 20 years, votes have been taken in the name of Dalits, Mahadalits, Muslims, Pasmanda Muslims, but the government functions for the feudal and communal forces."


He appealed to all Left parties to unite in Bihar, stressing that only such a principled Left unity could really save Bihar from communal and feudal forces, and ensure pro-people development for Bihar's common people.


Addressing the Rally, Politburo member Kavita Krishnan said that the Sangh's 'Hunkar' (roar) wasn't heard for the first time on 27 October. The women and children of Bathe and Bathani in 1996-97 and of Gujarat in 2002 had heard that blood-thirsty roar before. And when freedom fighters were giving up lives resisting the British and Dr Ambedkar was writing the Constitution of Independent India with a vision of freedom and equality for all, Modi's mentors in the RSS were advocating the anti-women, anti-Dalit Manusmriti as the country's Constitution. But who can fight these forces today? How can Nitish Kumar, who remained a silent partner in the Gujarat 2002 genocide, and has Ranveer Sena men like Sunil Pande among his MLAs, claim to fight the communal forces? Wasn't Ranveer Sena backed by the RSS? It's the landless women of Bihar, who snatched dignity and rights from the jaws of the feudal forces and Ranveer Sena, who know how to resist Modi's fascist roar. It's the students who defeated ABVP in North India's campuses at the height of the Mandir and anti-Mandal wave, who know how to answer the Sangh's 'hunkar'. It's Bhagat Singh's red flag alone that can fight the fascists boldly in every arena."


CPI(ML) Central Committee member Mohd Salim said that the communal fascist Modi was being projected by the forces of corporate plunder. Resisting such corporate-communal fascism called for a robust resistance to pro-corporate economic policies, US-sponsored Islamophobia, and communal violence. Both he and Politburo member Dhirendra Jha spoke of the witch-hunt of Muslim youth across the country and in Bihar in particular.


AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari said that the BJP along with khap panchayats, in the name of protecting women, wages war on women's freedom as well as unleashes communal violence on minorities. And the same BJP's talk of 'protecting women' stood exposed when they shamelessly defended the rape-accused Asaram. She saluted the determination of the large number of women at the rally, who had remained standing for hours, since the packed road did not admit for place to sit. 


The JNUSU President Akbar Choudhury and Vice President Anubhuti Agnes Bara addressed the Rally, speaking of students' powerful protest against Modi's Delhi visit, and the anti-communal mandate of students in JNU and strong anti-communal vote in Delhi University.


CPI(ML) Central Committee member and Kisan Mahasabha leader Rajaram Singh said, "BJP's stances on policy issues are indistinguishable from those of the Congress." He reminded people that when Modi was at the BJP's National Executive Meeting in Goa, he had commented derisively on the ban on mining in Goa, saying this showed the Congress Govt's failure. Comrade Rajaram said, "Modi should be reminded that mining in Goa was banned because it was illegal, as it was in Karnataka, which cost the BJP the Government there! It's people's protests that resist such illegal plunder, and they will resist it whether Modi does it or Manmohan."


Others who addressed the Rally included AISA General Secretary Abhyuday, RYA President Amarjit Kushwaha, CPI(ML) CC member and former MP Rameshwar Prasad, CC member and former MLA Mahbub Alam, and AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari.    


The Khabardar Rally ended with a call for a continued campaign – the Jagte Raho Jan Abhiyan (Remain Awake/Alert People's Campaign) to keep Bihar alert against any attempts to whip up any communal tensions or feudal violence on any pretext.  


The day when Patna was occupied

- Dwaipayan

Patna wore a different look on the day of Khabardar Rally. From early in the morning one could see streams of people walking down Station Road, in groups of varying sizes. Red flags held aloft, processions walked under the Mithapur overbridge, past the GPO Golambar, down Hardinge Road. The adjacent Hardinge Park was one of the sites where people who came from far-flung districts of Bihar had camped overnight in the open. With rows of trucks, buses, tractors, camps and vendors Hardinge Road wore the look of a carnival. Taking a sharp right-turn into Beer Chand Patel Path at the intersection, one could see a sea of red flags and people who had taken over the 1.5 Km long stretch from R block to the IT roundabout.


Beer Chand Patel Path hasn't seen a mass political rally in a long time. Lining this historical road are the offices of all the major political parties represented in the Bihar assembly. The road also had important government offices and the MLA club. All these offices remained effectively shut as 1 lakh of the poorest of Bihar occupied the road and all the adjacent lanes and neighbourhoods. A friend who had climbed atop the terrace of the 8-storeyed AG office said it was impossible to see the ends even from there. Many participants could hardly see the dais from where they were seated. But, "their enthusiasm in the sweltering sun had to be seen to be believed. With heads covered to shield the sun, and red flags in their hands, they responded in one voice to the slogans of 'Lal Salaam' from the dais." Though Gandhi Maidan was made unavailable, but the occupied streets of Patna turned the heart of the city into Gandhi Maidan for half-a-day.

One could immediately make out the large presence of women. Hindustan observed "Aadhi aabaadi ki poori bhagidari" (full participation of half the population, i.e women): "In the midst of bomb blasts in the capital, women flocked in large numbers to the Khabardar Rally from far flung districts." When asked if they weren't scared of the blasts, Mitri Devi and Devti Devi of Jehanabad replied, "Dar lagte hal ta Rally me aiti hali?" (If we were scared would we have come to the Rally?)


Little children – boys and girls - came with their parents. Some young boys and youth sported red headbands with the Party's name written on them. A middle-aged woman mukhiya from Siwan was leading her folks, alongside a male comrade, the mukhiya of the adjacent village. She said that an estimated 20,000 people were expected to arrive from Siwan alone. They had chipped in their meagre resources to book buses to Patna. A passerby enquired about what the rally was about. Pat came the reply, 'Modi ka jabab dene ko Patiya ka rally' (It's our Party's rally to give a fitting reply to Modi). What was most significant is that the people had come with their families and children defying bomb-scares, rumours of more blasts and braving the trouble and confusion created by Bihar Police's last-minute shifting of the rally venue from the earlier slated Gandhi Maidan. The Dainik Jagaran on 30 October and Hindustan on 31 October spoke to Khabardar Rally participants, asking them, "Aren't you scared of the bomb blasts?" The answers were inspiring. The rural poor, landless, many from oppressed castes, and many women, said, "Bombs and guns can't scare us. If we get scared and don't come, how can our party function? How can we fight for our rights?" The sheer resolve and resilience set the mood for the day.


After the rally got over, Beer Chand Patel Path was gradually taken over by the usual traffic. Red flags over their shoulders, people were returning to their villages, carrying their lofty red ant dream. With a steely pledge never to let Bihar turn into a Gujarat. Never to let another Laxmanpur-Bathe on the soils of Bihar ever again. As the rally song summed it up: 'Gareeb ke gaddar, suno samantan ke yaar! Khabardar khabardar! Gujarat na ha, houve ee Bihar!' (Betrayers of the poor, friends of feudalism! Beware, beware! This ain't Gujarat, this is Bihar)

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: