Thursday, 26 June 2014

ML Update | No. 26 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17 | No. 26 | 24 - 30 JUN 2014

In Lieu of Editorial

AILC Statement

Protest the Massive Railway Fare Hike

New Delhi, 21 June 2014

The All India Left Coordination (AILC) strongly condemns the massive hike in railway fares by the BJP Government.

The hike, to the extent of 14.2 per cent in all classes and 6.5 per cent in the freight charges, will place a huge additional burden on ordinary people, who are already battling price rise. Commuters and monthly season ticket (MST) holders are the hardest hit by the fare hike, with MST fares being almost trebled in some routes and more than doubled in almost all routes. The increase in freight rates will undoubtedly result in a further escalation of prices of essential commodities that are transported by rail. The 'achhe din' (good times) rhetoric has turned very quickly into 'bure din' reality for hard-hit common passengers and working people who commute everyday for a living. This decision of the Modi Government to hike fares by the backdoor, ahead of the rail budget, is in continuation of the UPA Government's policy of delinking the Rail budget from fare fixation.

Narendra Modi's high-powered election campaign that swept him to power, had promised that "Modi Sarkar" would mean an end to the "blows of inflation" (mehengai ki mar). Ironically, in 2012, Modi who was projecting himself as the would-be PM, had written a scathing letter to then PM Manmohan Singh, protesting the UPA-II decision to hike freight fares ahead of the rail budget! Modi had then pointed out how such a hike would escalate the costs of food grains and fertilizers, as well as the cost of coal and power generation. Modi has then asked Manmohan Singh, "Was the Central Government waiting for the results of the elections to five State Assemblies to impose an anti-people and anti-farmer policy?" Today, the people of India might well ask Modi if he was waiting to become PM, in order to drop the mask of "acche din" (good times) and impose the "hard times" of anti-people and anti-farmer policies?

The Modi Government today is disclaiming responsibility for the decision to hike rail fares, claiming it was a pending decision of the UPA Government. The 'Modi Sarkar' is showing that, far from delivering any relief from the UPA regime of price rise and plunder, it is merely going to continue and intensify that anti-people regime.      

The All India Left Coordination (AILC) demands immediate rollback of the price hike, and calls on people to hold vigorous protests between 23-25 June against the increase in rail fares all over the country. 

-This statement and call are issued by the All India Left Coordination (AILC) that is now in session in Mumbai and is being attended by leaders of four of the constituent parties

Dipankar Bhattacharya,

General Secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation

KS Hariharan, Revolutionary Marxist party (RMP), Kerala,

Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary, CPM Punjab,

Bhimrao Bansod, LNPI(L) Maharashtra 

Bury Rajasthan's Anti-labour Amendments in the Sands of Thar

- Bhuvana


'With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple….'

- Marx, quoting from T J Dunning, in Genesis of Industrial Capital


The BJP government in Rajasthan is emerging as BJP's laboratory for its intended onslaught on labour. The Rajasthan cabinet has cleared some major anti-labour amendments in the labour laws such as Industrial Disputes Act, Contract Labour Act and Factories Act. These amendments will come into force once they are passed in the State Assembly and then get Presidential assent. 

The amendments seek to further facilitate the already existing hire and fire process by raising the minimum limit of employed workers for an industrial establishment to need permission from the government for retrenchment, from 100 workers to 300. An industrial dispute has to be raised within 3 years. Only a trade union with a membership 30% of total workforce can register, contract labour legislation will apply in an establishment only where the number of such workers is 50 (earlier it was 20) and Factories Act will apply to an establishment which uses electricity and employs 20 workers and which does not use electricity and employs 40 workers (earlier it was 10 and 20 respectively).

These amendments are sought to be done in the name of 'creating 15 lakh jobs per year' in the state. The chief secretary of Rajasthan government says the existing labour laws are anti-employment and without these amendments it is not possible to generate employment. Let us examine this claim more closely.   

As per the ASI 2011-2012, the report published in March 2014, the total number of factory workers, and thus protected by the existing labour laws, in the country is 1,34,29,956. They are distributed in 1,75,710 factories. TN has the highest number of factory workers with 19,40,819 workers in 26,654 factories, which is closely followed by Maharashtra 18,80,606 in 22,615 factories and distantly followed by Gujarat by a difference of around 5 lakhs (13,83,773 in 17,529 factories). Rajasthan has 4,74,883 workers in 7,622 factories. In none of these states, the average number of workers in a factory exceeds 100.

Of the total 1,75,710 factories 1,25,301 factories employ less than 50 workers which is 71.31%. Factories employing 200 or more workers constitute just 8.94% of the total factories. Factories employing 5,000 or more workers constitute a meagre 0.21% of the total factories. 1,60,009 factories employ less than 200 workers. The number of factories with 200 – 499 workers is 9,094. In Rajasthan, where amendments to labour laws are proposed, the number of factories employing workers less than 200 is 7,102. There are 343 factories with 200-499 workers. Even if an average of 150 from this is added to the factories employing lesser number workers it will be 7,252. The remaining number of factories in Rajasthan is then just 370. Of the 1,34,29,956 factory workers in the country 36,10,056 workers are employed through contractors. In Rajasthan these corresponding numbers are 4,74,883 and 1,33,080.

These numbers fly in the face of Rajasthan government's claim of creating 15 lakhs jobs a year.

Creating jobs should essentially mean creating a livelihood for the whole life of the worker and his family. It is not creating a temporary, insecure green patch for a while. Employment generation has got to do with the lives of the workers and not just numbers. The number of 'jobs being increased' by the proposed amendments means just throwing the existing workers away and recruiting new workers in their place! Even if this is done, Rajasthan cannot see 15 lakhs jobs a year. The announcement about amendments is not accompanied by any statement regarding setting up new industries in the state, private or public, which can bring jobs as claimed. In the existing conditions, if the amendments get clearance, workers of 7,252 factories in Rajasthan can be thrown out by their employers without seeking any permission from the government.

The first round of struggles of Maruti workers was for registration of their new union. The Haryana government refused to register their union, and workers could succeed in this only after persistent struggle. Now BJP government in Rajasthan is legalizing such refusal by amending that 30% workforce should be members of the union to make it eligible to register. This essentially takes away the right of collective bargaining of the workers.

What about the rights of workers of some 370 factories in Rajasthan which are employing more than 300 workers? The latently turbulent industrial scene in TN can explain why they too are not protected by labour laws. AIADMK and DMK rulers usually claim they have made TN numero uno in terms of attracting foreign and domestic investment. ASI figures correspond positively to this claim too. But Nokia, which has enjoyed tax reliefs and other related investor benefits of an amount equal to that it invested, has closed shops in TN after the Microsoft take over. Microsoft did not take over the 9,600 permanent, contract and trainee workers employed by Nokia. They are in the age group of 25-28. The contract employing 3,000 workers was terminated in January 2014. 750 trainees had to take the compensation Rs.2.5 lakh offered. 5,000 permanent workers have opted for the VRS offered by Nokia. The amount ranges from Rs.6.2 lakhs to Rs.3 Lakhs based on the years of service.

It is being argued that this amount is hefty in the general standards of VRS offered these days. With Rs.6.2 lakh they cannot invest in another Nokia company! This will vanish in a few months' time in feeding the families of the workers. All of them have joined the army of unemployed and have started looking for a livelihood. This virus of VRS for young workers below 30 years old is now spreading to the factories which are supplying spare parts for Nokia such as Foxconn and BYD (Build Your Dream). 600 BYD workers were arrested for blocking the road on June 21. They are not demanding employment. They are forced to demand a better compensation package at least on par with Nokia workers. BYD employs 1,000 workers and Foxconn has another 1,700 permanent workers, 3,600 contract workers, and close to 1,500 trainees. Hyundai and its subsidiaries in Sriperumbudur sent out 5,000 trainees, who were filled with dreams of going in a Hyundai car after being regularized, three years ago. They are yet to get a decent job.

Thus all these numbers, 9,600, 1,000, 5,000, 6,000 have not done anything to protect employment created, which were claimed as success stories by AIADMK and DMK. These numbers once added at the time of setting up the factories will remain ever in the statistics and get counted as 'jobs created'. This side of industrial situation seldom attracts attention of mainstream media and the affected workers are washed away in the floods of next round of talks about investment and job creation. While Jayalalitha at the age of 66 and Modi at the age of 63 will continue to be government employees and Karunanidhi at the age of 90 will make another bid to become Chief Minister, workers at the age of less than 30 will go on VRS!

If the Rajasthan model is photocopied (as suggested by neoliberal ideologues like Manish Sabherwal) to create '29 centers of job creation in the country', we will have 29 centers of slave generation in the country. We will have permanently temporary workers, permanent trainees and permanent contract workers who will be constantly under the pressures to produce more and receive depressingly less, forced to compete among themselves to grab any job for a temporary oasis of survival in a sea of despair.

To quote T. J. Dunning again, "Capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt." While the 'Mazdoor No.1' has a posh, sprawling, security-decked government house, office, hefty salary laced with attractive allowances, special but free air travel, different helps for different tasks including simple ones such as holding his cell phone, giving him a sip of water every now and then and so on and so forth, the nth Mazdoor of this country of 121 crores will be denied the dignity of being human, of even having the right to visit the toilet as often as s/he needs.

The TN government passed an amendment to the Industrial Establishment Standing Orders Act which has the scope of limiting the number of trainees in an industrial establishment in 2008 during the DMK regime. The amendment was unanimously passed by the TN Assembly. But it has not got the mandatory Presidential assent to take effect. Around 4 lakh powerloom workers in TN have raised the demand of announcing their workplace as factories under Section 85(1) of Factories Act. This will bring them the rights of a factory worker. Workers of Pricol and Hyundai are in the forefront in raising the demand to amend Trade Union Act for recognition of TU with majority of workers. These demands are alive as they are related to the day-to-day lives of the workers.

The BJP's Election Manifesto had promoted the concept of 'Industry Family', in which "industry owners and labours bond as a family." Inside a 'family', there can be no room for Unions and workers' struggles and entitlements; and the BJP Manifesto had, likewise, promised to "bring together all stakeholders to review our Labour laws". But the Rajasthan Government's amendments to Labour laws have not even been through a nominal tripartite process. In the tradition of the good old feudal-patriarchal family, the 'mai-baap sarkar' has snatched away the rights of workers to promote the profits of industrialists.

Any amendment made to labour laws will have to widen the contours of industrial democracy in the country and improve the working and living conditions of the workers. The number of workers in this country is far larger than the number of industrialists in the country. The new government at the center and government in Rajasthan will have to bury the anti-labour amendments in the sands of Thar else the workers of this country will take the lead in doing it.

(With inputs from Comrade Desikan)

Jute Workers' Plight – And Resistance

- Atanu Chakravarty

The jute industry is in the news nationally – with sensational headlines about a CEO being killed. Unfortunately, the lives of the jute workers and other workers get scant attention unless in the wake of such tragic and unfortunate incidents. Let us take a look at the facts and background of this particular incident.

On 15th June, a workers' agitation took place at North Brook Jute Mill, which is located at Bhadreswar, Hoogly District. The management took a unilateral decision to run the mill 3 days a week. In this mill, all the labour laws are violated (which is a common phenomenon in all the jute mills of West Bengal) with impunity. The legal dues of statutory leaves were paid in 4-5 instalments, and workers were thrown out of employment at the drop of a hat. All sort of undignified, undemocratic, feudal and exploitative work conditions are prevalent in the mills. The workers were seething with anger and discontent, and the decision to reduce the working days was the last straw. The actual circumstances of the unfortunate death of the CEO are not clear. But as a consequence, work was suspended in the factory, and there have been indiscriminate arrests of local TU leaders and police terror unleashed on ordinary workers – following the same pattern as has been seen at Maruti and Pricol. TMC leaders denied their presence in the mills but the fact remains that the Board of PF Trustees is controlled by  a fraction of TMC union.    

Even as the Chief Minister points accusing fingers upon the 'BJP-CPIM nexus', the 'owner' of the Mill, Prakash Churaria blamed 'some miscreants from outside' and said workers  were not all involved in this incident. Sanjay Kajaria, ex-Chairman of Indian Jute Mills Association(IJMA) squarely blamed both the  state & Central Governments for the present  crisis in the jute mills.

New Central Jute Mill (NCJM), is actually the only factory in the state which is run by a 'workers' co-operative', located at Budge Budge, south 24 Parganas. In this sham co-operative, the workers and state government have 52 & 42 percent share respectively (some others have the rest), and the Managing Director is appointed by the Industrial Reconstruction Dept of the state government. Interestingly, the present 'owner' of North Brook controls the day to day affairs of the NCJM management. After colluding with Ashoke Deb, the local MLA of Trinamool Congress and some Trade Union leaders of the mill, Prakash Churaria forcefully 'took over' the affairs of the company. The management, in league with some TU leaders of the mill decided to sell the machines & replace it with the 'new' ones, under the pretext of modernisation. The AICCTU-led Bengal Chatkal Mazdoor Forum (BCMF), a fraction of CITU and one more union, opposed this move. BCMF organised a massive deputation against this decision in one of its units (Albion).

The news of this agitation spread fast and the workers of another unit (Lothian) struck work, and gheraoed the management. In a shrewd move, the management tried to divert the workers' ire towards the TU leaders and named a few leaders alleging that they 'compelled' him to sell the machines. The next day the workers gave a befitting reply to those leaders, the agitation continued, and all the management staff fled. To foil the management's attempt to declare suspension of work, the workers virtually took over the mill, peacefully stayed inside their workplace, defying all the threat of the bouncers. 

After active intervention of AICCTU state leadership, the SDO of south 24 parganas convened an urgent meeting with all the stakeholders of the mills on the following day. In the meeting, the management was forced to withdraw their notice and was ordered to pay the due wages by 17th June. The management stopped purchasing raw materials and daily maintenance of the machines was ignored. The workers became apprehensive and when wages were not disbursed on the said date, by 10am, thousands of workers blocked the adjacent railway line and GT Road. Despite huge police bandobast, the blockade continued. The top brass of district police forced the management to put up a notice regarding wage payment. After it was displayed, the blockade was withdrawn at midnight. Wages were disbursed the following day.

On 19th June , nearly 1000 workers took out a militant rally from the mill premises  and marched through the locality under the leadership of AICCTU & Shramik Suraksha Manch.

The workers of this mill are the lowest paid and the industry-wise wage structure has not been implemented despite repeated assurances, job security of even permanent workers is a myth in this mill after the present management took over, the statutory dues of the retired workers are not paid. The Secretary of BCMF's union was refused work for leading the agitation a month before. Only after the Labour Directorate intervened, the management was forced to back track.

The workers of the Finishing Department of Victoria jute mill of Bhadreswar, Hooghly, ceased work when the management refused to give scheduled jobs to 10 workers of that department.

Auckland Jute and Waverly jute mills of north 24 Parganas declared suspension of work w.e.f 17th and 18thJune respectively,  after the workers'  agitation. The workers  of  Auckland jute were demanding reimbursement of their deducted wages on the day of LS election.

Why have things come to such a pass?

This century-old labour intensive industry employs more than 2.5 lakh workers directly in the mills. These are now owned & controlled not by the industrialists, but by the raw jute suppliers, promoters and intermediaries who have found a happy hunting ground in all these jute mills. The wages of the jute industry are governed by industry-wise tripartite agreements, which the present owners want to dismantle. The jute owners are trying to introduce daily wages, sans fringe benefits. Gradually, unregistered, casual-contract-voucher workers have outnumbered the permanent work-force and the ultimate goal of these owners is to transform the composite mills into smaller units .The present owners are only interested to extract huge profits within the shortest possible period without reinvestment. The textile ministry in their report has mentioned that the annual turnover of jute industry is more than 10,000 crores, but data reveals that, between 2007-2011, the industry spent Rs 274 cr, a paltry 2.7 % of the annual turnover, on modernisation and technological upgradation. All the statutory laws (PF, ESIC, Gratuity) are violated. The Factory Act is not followed and the workers are forced to work under suffocating, highly uncivilized, medieval working condition. The staggering amount of PF default , as on 31.03.2013 is a telling example. Let's cite a few examples:

NORTH BROOK JUTE               125.43LACS


KANORIA JUTE                         1097.78 LACS

VICTORIA JUTE                        1155.51 LACS

NUDDEA JUTE                                     3419.03 LACS

MEGHNA JUTE ( Arjun Singh, TMC MLA from Bhatpara assembly segment is a de-facto owner of this mill) 308.24 lacs  (Labour in West Bengal, 2012-13)

Under the Jute Packaging Mandatory Act,1987 (JPMA),the industry enjoys a sheltered market and JCI purchases the jute bags meant for packaging food grains. Of late, the National Fibre Policy, 2011 has already recommended on phasing out protection, sheltered market and subsidy to jute sector through JPMA, 1987. Widespread use of synthetic bags have told upon this sector. The Central Govt has cut down the previous guaranteed order of jute bags, resulting in a market crunch.

The Mamata Government introduced the Industrial Policy in 2013 which is termed as Industrial and Investment Policy, 2013. The thrust of this policy was to revive Jute and Tea industry, but no meaningful steps have been taken yet to stem the rot. In the above-mentioned policy, the State Government declared its commitment towards a 'No Bandh' regime, and the policy statement says "there has been a significant decline in number of mandays lost due to strike in the state. Mandays lost drastically reduced in from 65,80,000 in FY 2010-11 to 5,200 to FY 2012-13''. But, on the contrary, mandays lost  due to lockout in the FY 2012-13 was 99.97% (according to Labour In West Bengal, the annual report  of the labour department)! The shameless pro-employer industrial policy has helped the management to unleash an unprecedented attack upon the workers & employees of the State.

All the operating Trade Unions of the Jute mills submitted a fresh charter of demand (COD) after expiry of the previous one on January 30, 2013. Till date, the State Government has miserably failed to settle the COD, which has led to widespread discontent among the jute workers in general. Without delving deep into the problem, the State Government is describing the situation as a breakdown of law and order within the jute industry.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

ML Update | No. 25 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17 | No. 25 | 17 - 23 JUN 2014

'Good Times' Poll Rhetoric Makes Way for 'Hard Times' Post-Poll Reality 

Wooing votes in elections, Modi promised "good times". Once in power, he has not taken long to change his tune. In a recent speech, he warned that "hard times" lay ahead since he would have to take "tough economic decisions" in the "larger interest of the nation", even if it cost him popular support. Inevitably, the "tough decisions" are those that will impose fresh burdens on India's poor, rather than curtail the privileges and profits of corporations.

With Modi in the PM seat, the Gujarat Chief Minister only had to express her wish to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam by 17 metres, for the Narmada Control Authority to grant it. The same day, the Gujarat CM did 'puja' to initiate the fresh construction. This, despite the fact that the project is yet to comply with a range of obligations mandated by the Supreme Court – including full rehabilitation for those already affected, clearance by the Grievance Redressal Authority in MP and Maharashtra, and safeguard measures such as command area development and catchment area treatment. People's movements have risen up in protest against the decision, pointing out that 2.5 lakh people would find their land and livelihood deluged.

Meanwhile, the Intelligence Bureau has come out with a blueprint to stream-roll struggles to pave the way for big projects, defying environmental and safety regulations and people's rights over land, forests and water. In a report submitted to the PM, the IB has accused a range of people's movements of being 'foreign-funded NGOs that stall development projects'. This report repeats some of the canards spread by the previous UPA-II Government against the anti-nuclear struggle at Koodankulam, while also lifting words and ideas unchanged from a 2006 speech by Modi.

The strategy is to brand people's movements raising environmental and livelihood concerns as 'anti-national', just as the Sangh Parivar has always branded those raising concerns for civil liberties and rights as 'anti-national'. The Manmohan Government, together with BJP-led state Governments, had already been united in waging a war on adivasi people on the pretext of combating Maoism, with the real goal of paving the way for corporate plunder. The same strategy is now getting a boost and an expansion under Modi.   

The Modi Government isn't alone in seeking to brand people's movement activists as a threat to the nation's security and development. Reports prepared at the behest of the defence establishments of the imperialist US and UK have similarly sought to brand all activists with 'anti-capitalist' or anti-inequality and anti-imperialist agendas, as well as poor, immigrant and minority communities, as potentially 'extremist'.    

The script of the Modi Government's brand of governance is before us. The promise of "good times" will come true for big corporations, and the hardships imposed on the poor will be justified in the name of "larger interests of the nation" – and all those who resist the plunder of the country's resources or the robbing of people's land and livelihoods will be branded as "foreign-funded anti-nationals." And make no mistake, the same big corporations, domestic or foreign, have been among the biggest funders of the most extravagant 'Modi for PM' election campaign that India has just witnessed.

People's movements will not be silenced by such intimidation though. They will continue to expose the Government's policies promoting corporate plunder and yawning inequality, and serving imperialism, as the real 'anti-national' agenda. And the best way to serve the country will be to defend its natural resources and environmental fabric and the rights and livelihood of its people.

Resolution on Unity in Action in Defence of Democracy, Pluralism and People's Livelihood and Rights

(adopted by the CPI(ML) Central Committee in its meeting held in Delhi on 25-27 May 2014)

The sweeping victory of the BJP and NDA in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections poses a new challenge to all justice-loving democracy-loving people of India. Even as the new regime starts unveiling its agenda, pronouncements made by various leaders of the new dispensation and cases of hate crime, political terror and police highhandedness being reported from various corners of the country point to a testing time for democracy and communal harmony. Fresh attacks on people's livelihood in various forms like cuts in transfers to the poor, upward revision in gas prices and FDI limits etc. and selective silence of the new prime minister on a whole range of shocking events mark ominous early portents.

The new government has come to power promising to usher in 'good days', but Modi's Gujarat track record rests on unfettered corporate domination, state-patronised communal violence, systematic misuse of the state apparatus and wholesale violation of constitutional norms and rights and an unmistakably authoritarian mode of governance that stifles dissent in every form and engineers large-scale assaults on people's rights and liberties.

While championing popular aspirations for basic rights, improved living and good governance, every defender of democracy will have to be vigilant and battle-ready to combat any attempt to replicate and amplify the inherently anti-democratic features of the much-trumpeted Gujarat model on an all-India scale.

The BJP's unprecedented countrywide electoral ascendance has come not just at the cost of the Congress but also large sections of the non-Congress non-BJP spectrum including the Left. Evidently the big message of these elections for the Left and all other sections of progressive democratic forces is an urgent need for expansion and rejuvenation of the fighting base and capacity of the people's movement and for wider cooperation and united action.

The CPI(ML) Central Committee hereby makes an ardent appeal to all fellow defenders of democracy to come together against every assault on democracy, pluralism and people's livelihood and fight hard for the realisation of people's aspirations and rights and solemnly reiterates the party's commitment to explore and expand all possible avenues of cooperation and contribute to the development and strengthening of the people's movement by all means.

Venezuela's revolution has our solidarity still!

(Socialists in Asia-Pacific pledge support for Venezuela's socialist revolution, a year after Chavez's death, in a resolution adopted at the 10th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance in Sydney)

March 5 marked one year since the death of Venezuelan president and revolutionary Hugo Chavez. An outspoken fighter for the oppressed in Venezuela and Latin America, the loss of Chavez is still felt keenly by socialists and anti-imperialists globally.

But the Bolivarian revolution that Chavez led is a mass movement of millions of people that lives on in the barrios and workplaces in Venezuela. This process, led by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, is facing fresh attacks by right-wing forces backed by the United States.

The recent violent protests by a minority that has repeatedly been defeated at the ballot box has caused widespread destruction and terror. Along with at least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries, public buildings and government-run, pro-poor social missions have been attacked by opposition protesters, at the estimated cost of up to 10 million bolivars.

The international media has presented this fascist violence as a peaceful democracy struggle that has been repressed by a dictatorial Maduro government. This turns reality on its head.

The forces behind the protests were the same as those that carried out the coup against Chavez in 2002, destroying democracy and killing dozens of people before being defeated by a genuine mass democratic uprising.

We know this is part of ongoing efforts by the US-backed right-wing to destabilise the elected government and undermine the Bolivarian revolution. The right-wing's campaign has included an "economic war" involving sabotage, hoarding and speculation by capitalists.

We know the rich elite in Venezuela and internationally will never forgive the Bolivarian movement for attacking the political and economic interests of capitalists in otrder to advance those of the majority. No matter how many times the pro-imperialist forces are defeated, they will continue to try to destroy the revolution's gains.

In a global era of austerity and war, the gains of the Bolivarian revolution are an inspiration for ordinary people everywhere – increasing living standards and democratic rights of the poor majority, and spearheading Latin American integration as an alternative to imperialist domination and exploitation.

On the anniversary of Chavez's death and in the face of fresh lies and attacks on the revolution he led, we reiterate our support for Venezuelan democracy and the Bolivarian movement's attempt to create "socialism for the 21st century".


Socialist Alliance (Australia); Awami Workers Party (Pakistan); Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia); Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation; Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses - Philippines)


Joint Regional Statement Against US Meddling in Venezuela

End United States' interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela!

No sanctions against Venezuelan citizens!

June 17, 2014

We, the undersigned parties and organisations in the Asia region, condemn the moves by the United States government to impose sanctions on Venezuelan citizens it deems to have "abused human rights".

The US House of Representatives' May 28 vote for such sanctions is a violation of the right of all nations to sovereignty and self-determination.

The bill is not motivated by a desire to end supposed human rights abuses in Venezuela. Rather, it seeks to support the openly stated aims of Venezuela's right-wing opposition to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro. This is revealed by the bill's authorisation of millions of dollars of increased funding to opposition organisations in Venezuela – the same groups responsible for a wave of violence within Venezuela this year that has left at least 40 dead and hundreds injured.

The US bill ignores the opposition to sanctions expressed by Latin America's main regional bodies, including the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

It also dismisses the 73% of Venezuelans polled on May 10-12 who oppose US sanctions, as well as the calls by Venezuela's president and government for peace and dialogue.

We strongly endorse the May 27 statement of the 188 countries of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations that condemns the proposed sanctions as a violation of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country. We agree with UNASUR's May 22 statement approving the peace process initiated by the Venezuelan government and declaring US meddling an obstacle to national dialogue.

In the interests of international peace and justice, we call on the US Senate and President Barrack Obama to respect the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and reject this bill.

Further, we call on our own governments to express their clear opposition to the proposed sanctions, and to use all channels available to pressure the US government to end its interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela.

Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)

Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM – Philippines)

Awami  Workers Party (Pakistan)

Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation

Socialist Alliance (Australia)

Nepal Venezuela Solidarity Network 

CPI(ML)Team Visits Muzaffarpur Hospitals To Investigate Encephalitis Epidemic

Since 1995 the advent of summer every year has brought the ravages of the disease called encephalitis in Bihar, claiming the lives of hundreds of children. This year also encephalitis started its scourge in April and will continue till just before the heavy rains arrive. In spite of being well aware of this fact, our governments are not taking the situation seriously. As a result, this year also more than 89 children have so far succumbed to encephalitis. Most of these children were also suffering from malnutrition. The government has done nothing to provide a permanent solution to the problem. Moreover, immediate relief operations are also very slow and hampered by negligence. There is a dire lack of facilities in hospitals, and primary health centres are decrepit, due to which children's lives are unable to be saved.

The above facts have been brought to light by the CPI(ML) in its investigation report after inspecting the SKMCH and Kejriwal hospitals at Muzaffarpur. The investigation team included former MP and AIALA National President Rameshwar Prasad, CPI(ML) CC member Com. Meena Tiwari, State committee member Com. Kamlesh Sharma, Muzaffarpur district Secretary Com. Krishna Mohan, AIALA district Secretary Shatrughan Sahni, and Office Secretary Sakal Thakur.

The investigation team said that instead of showing seriousness towards saving the children from the disease, the Centre and State governments are indulging in mere tokenism and posturing. The CM of Bihar, along with other Ministers, bureaucrats, and Central ministers have toured the area. Big declarations and tall promises have been made but the snail's pace of the response still remains the same.

Until last year JD(U)-BJP were in government in Bihar. The Health Department was with the BJP. It is the failure of the Health Department which had been in power for 8 years that it could not find effective ways to stop the deaths due to this disease. Constructive suggestions: to get rid of contributory factors like malnutrition, to break the cycle of transmission (usually through pig and mosquito), to have proper preparation to treat the early patients, as well as to form a team of specialists, conduct research, and find effective means of treatment for this disease which is an annual scourge – were brushed aside. This has resulted in the loss of several children's lives this year also. 

Apart from Muzaffarpur, Beguserai, Sitamarhi, Shivhar, and eastern Champaran areas are also in the grip of this disease. More than 250 children have so far been admitted to the SKMCH and Kejriwal hospitals in Muzaffarpur, out of whom 89 have died. 132 children were admitted to the government hospital, out of whom 40 died, 43 are in ICU, 14 are in the wards, and only 35 have been able to return home.

The CPI(ML) investigation team said that they understood from their talks with the doctors that if first aid is rendered within 4 to 6 hours after the onset of the disease, the child's life can be saved. But the district level primary health centres, and Block level health centres are all in decrepit condition. As a result, by the time the children are brought to the main hospital, their condition becomes very serious and it is difficult to save them. The two district hospitals also lack facilities. Patients at Kejriwal hospital have to go outside for CT scan and treatment for respiratory ailments, as these are not available in the hospital.

The team said that the government boasts of achievements but has failed to provide facilities like adequate treatment for children and raising the number of mobile vans, which is why this disease is now fast assuming the form of an epidemic.

It is a result of the insensitivity and wrong health policy of the Central and State governments, BJP and JD(U) that today the children are unable to be saved from encephalitis. The team said that the government should make arrangements for Block level medical treatment on a war footing, mobile vans, CT scans, etc. They demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs for the families of the children whose lives have be claimed by encephalitis.

Mahadalits' Protest Against Land Grab in Patna

Tired of repeated and futile pleas to free 10 katthas of mahadalits' shmasan (burial) ground in Siddharthnagar  coming under Airport thana of capital city Patna, the mahadalits and poor of Jagdev Path, Ashiyananagar, and neighbouring mohallas expressed their strong anger against the district administration and State government by blockading Bailey Road on 16th June.

Thousands of mahadalit and poor families living around the western part of Patna's Bailey Road in Jagdev Path, Ashiyananagar, Konhara, Rukanpura and Mahua Bagh have been burying their dead in the burial ground located at Siddharthnagar (Murlichak). But a company of builders, namely Mssrs. Jainiwas Constructions have started enclosing this land with the intention of capturing it. This is a total of 24 katthas of land out of which a portion of 14 katthas has already been captured by land thieves.

The builder company and its so-called partner Amit Kumar Poddar had tried to capture this ground about 3 years ago on 5 April 2011 and had shot dead Buti Devi, a mahadalit woman who was opposing them. Several others were injured during that protest including Maliya Devi, Surti Devi, and Ramji Manjhi.

After the incident the then DM had announced that the family of deceased Buti Devi would be paid a compensation of Rs 2 lakhs, the culprits guilty of firing and murder would be arrested, the disputd land would be ensured to remain in the custody of the mahadalits and would be fenced in at government cost, and a community hall and toilet would be constructed in the name of Buti Devi in the mahadalit tola at Jagdev Path. The police had even arrested builder Rajiv Kumar and two of his associates Rajesh Kumar and Kumar Gaurav. In addition, Airport thana in charge Mithilesh Jaiswal, SI Ramnarayan Thakur, and 3 home guards were suspended.

After lying low for 3 years, recently Mssrs. Jainiwas Constructions again resumed the work of putting up boundary walls on this land. The mahadalit community organization Shahri Garib Morcha (Front of Urban Poor) and CPI(ML) have in the past few days submitted written applications to Patna DM, Police SP, as well as to CM Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi requesting removal of the builders' capture of the shmasan ground. However, seeing that the State government and administration have not taken any steps, the people today took recourse to blockading the road.

From 9 in the morning on 16th June, hundreds of men and women from mahadalit and poor mohallas in Jagdev Path, Ashiyananagar, Konhara, Rukanpura etc., gathered near the Jagdev Smarak at bailey Road. The 80 ft. broad road was blocked in several places and from several directions with bamboo poles. Tyres were also burnt in several places. The blocking of traffic started near the Ashiyana turning. Blockades were also put up at more than 3 places on the Jagdev Path-Phulwari Road. Traffic also came to a standstill between Jagdev Path crossroads and Saguna turning and no vehicles were plying including auto rickshaws and buses.

The protestors demanded the removal of the builders' capture of the shmasan ground and also demanded that the announcements made by the DM after the incident 3 years ago should be implemented. They carried placards demanding compensation of 3 lakhs, land and housing to Buti Devi' family, and a community hall in her name. They also demanded cleaning up of mahadalit bastis, water, toilets, drainage, pucca streets, and anganwadi centres and schools for mahadalit children.

The road jam was carried out under the banner of Shahri Garib Morcha, led by mahadalit community local leaders along with CPI(ML) leader Murtaza Ali and Shahri Garib Morcha city convener Ashok Kumar, and others.

The local residents were fully aware of the injustice to the mahadalits and poor in this matter, and so they gave their full support to the road jam. Groups of local residents were seen at various places requesting vehicle drivers to turn back. The road block continued unobstructed for over 5 hours.

Arriving at the spot, Patna Sadar SDO Pankaj Dikshit, local CO ad area DSP spoke to the protestors, took stock of the construction site, and put an immediate stop to the construction work. They assured the mahadalit community leaders and Shahri Garib Morcha leaders spearheading the protest that the procedure of burying their dead on the disputed land would continue as before.

The officers assured the protestors that they would convey their demands to the Chief Minister Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi who would soon be meeting the protestors and listening to their complaints.

Friday, 13 June 2014

ML Update | No. 24 | 2014

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  17               No. 24                          10 - 16 JUN 2014


Bhagana-Badaun-Pune: India Shocked and Shamed, Modi Keeps Mum

A young Muslim IT professional was beaten to death on a Pune street by a Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) mob wielding hockey sticks and stones. In a case of premeditated communal hate crime, an innocent Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh was targetted for markers of his Muslim identity – beard, skull cap and Pathani suit – as he was on his way back from offering evening prayers at a mosque. Post killing, members of the HRS gang exchanged a gleeful message on their mobile phones that read 'pahili wicket padli' (the first wicket has fallen). Have the saffron senas of the Sangh Parivar interpreted the BJP/NDA victory in Lok Sabha elections as a license to attack and kill people at will?

Prior to Shaikh's murder, and after it, workers of several Hindutva outfits including the HRS, Shiv Sena and the BJP rioted in Pune for several days over some derogatory morphed photographs of Shivaji and ex-Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackerey that were posted by unknown person(s) on Facebook. Buses were burnt, public property and private vehicles damaged, shops shut down and the minority community attacked. Mosques, madrassas, graveyards and Muslim shops and homes were vandalized by mobs on a rampage. The then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's sinister invocation of the so-called action-reaction theory to justify the Gujarat killings of 2002 had a second coming as Anil Shirole, the BJP MP from Pune, justified the violence as 'natural repercussions' that were bound to follow in the wake of the alleged humiliation of Hindutva icons like Shivaji and Thackerey.

The manner in which the Pune violence and killing were incited in the run up to the Assembly elections in Maharashtra has uncanny parallels with the instigation of communal tension in Bangalore (affecting the migrant workforce of the North-East) and Muzaffarnagar. In both cases, fake videos/text messages circulated by 'unknown' persons were used to spread rumours loaded with communal rhetoric, leading to community exodus in the former case and riots in the latter. Harvests of communal polarisation were sought to be reaped in the ensuing elections.

The Maharashtra Police has registered close to two hundred rioting cases and arrested over seven hundred miscreants belonging to various radical Hindu outfits; but questions remain whether those guilty of riots and Mohsin's killing will be punished. The state police's communal bias in the past is well-documented by the Justice Madon and Justice Srikrishna commissions of inquiry. Justice has eluded the victims of '92-'93 Mumbai riots, when most of the accused evaded punishment because witnesses to their crimes, who had earlier given graphic details of riots and lynching of innocents, had later turned hostile in court.

The Pune killing and riots again bring to the fore the role of outfits like the HRS and their regular activities of spreading communal venom and terror. Dhananjay Desai, the HRS chief, had multiple cases registered against him. He had been interrogated in connection with the killing of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. His communal hate speeches and writings are all over the internet, defying police 'notices of restraint'. If the morphed Facebook photos were offensive, Desai's activities were crimes under the IPC. Yet, action was not taken against him or his outfit for provoking enmity on religious grounds.

The BJP has predictably sought to distance itself from terror acts by the HRS. In a long tradition of denial dating from Nathuram Godses of yesteryears to the Brahmeswar Singhs, Pragya Singh Thakurs, Pramod Muthaliks and Dhananjan Desais of today, the BJP has always sought to deny its links with saffron flag-wielding, unrecognized 'first cousins' of the Sangh Parivar. But what has come as an early shocker for many who had believed that they had found a vocal and outspoken leader in Narendra Modi is the highly suggestive and deafening silence of the Prime Minister over the Pune killing as also the brutal rapes and murders of the Badaun sisters and the forcible eviction of the Bhagana rape survivors and protestors in Delhi even as he waxes eloquent on sundry subjects.

As the myth of 'clean chits' and the reincarnation of 'Modi 2.0' continue to do their rounds on television and print media, one can recall a highly-publicized, seen-as-reconciliatory election speech where Modi said that he wanted to see the Muslim youth with 'the Quran in one hand and a laptop in the other'. As Shaikh's lynching showed, Muslim youth are being targeted on both pretexts. It's increasingly the educated and computer-savvy Muslim youth who are being framed and hunted as terrorists by the state or lynched by thugs in globalised urban enclaves like Pune.

In the wake of Verdict 2014, there is palpable fear and angst among Muslim youth in the country. As thousands of riot victims wait endlessly for justice, thousands of detainees and undertrials languish and face torture in jails on flimsy/unsubstantiated terror charges, as vicious communal rhetoric begins to shape mainstream political and media discourse with constant mischievous references to 'minority appeasement', 'votebank politics', 'love jihad', 'pink revolution', 'illegal Bangladeshi immigrants' and 'Pakistani terrorists', the Muslim community is in the throes of a threatening and uncertain future. Refuting this mischievous propaganda and vicious attacks, India must reassure the Muslim youth of its fullest right to live and love, to work and worship in their own country. The insecurity of Muslim youth must become a key concern of today's democratic youth movement.

New Government's Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting With Central Trade Unions

The Finance Minister of the newly elected BJP-led NDA government held its First pre-Budget consultation meeting with representatives of central trade unions on 6th June 2014 at North Block, New Delhi. The meeting was held in connection with the forthcoming Union Budget 2014-15.

In this meeting a joint memorandum signed by 11 central trade unions was submitted with Finance Minister which consisted of their collective demands and views regarding the Budget. The representatives of following 11 CTUs took part in the meeting:  BMS, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AICCTU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, UTUC and LPF.            

On behalf of AICCTU, Santosh Roy, national secretary participated in the meeting.

While speaking on the various aspects of the memorandum, he stressed upon specific demands like 'equal pay for equal work and regularization' of contract workers and highlighted the privatization of DTC and issues of contract workers employed here apart from uncontrolled privatization of various essential services; giving the status of worker to honorarium workers including social security; and widening the coverage of EPF. He warned the new govt. that it was the peoples' anger and movements against UPA government's policies of price rise, corruption and destruction of livelihood and lives that had given it mandate, and so it is hoped that it stops pursing the same policies, instead of pursuing the same policies more vigorously in the name of solving the ongoing economic crisis as has been clearly indicated in new government's last few days' governance.

The joint memorandum in its 'Proposals' for the forthcoming union budget put forward the demands of working people which, among others, are as follows:

Take effective measures to arrest the spiraling price rise and to contain inflation, Ban speculative forward trading in commodities, Universalize and strengthen the Public Distribution System, Ensure proper check on hoarding, Rationalize, with a view to reduce the burden on people, the tax/duty/cess on petroleum products; Massive public investment in the infrastructure in order to stimulate the economy for job creation, The plan & non-plan expenditure should be increased in the budget to stimulate jobs creation and guarantee consistent income to people; Minimum wage should not be less than Rs.15,000/- p.m. and linked to Consumer Price Index; FDI should not be allowed in crucial sectors like defence production, telecommunications, Railways, financial sector, retail trade, education, health and media; PSUs should be strengthened and expanded. Disinvestment of shares of profit making public sector units should be stopped forthwith. Budgetary support should be given for revival of potentially viable Sick CPSUs; The ban on recruitment in Govt. deptts., PSUs and autonomous institutions (including recent Finance Ministry's instruction to abolish those posts not filled for one year) should be lifted as recommended by 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference, Condition of surrender of posts in govt. departments and PSUs should be scrapped and new posts be created keeping in view the new work and increased workload; Proper allocation of funds be also made for interim relief and 7th Pay Commission; Under MGNREGA employment for minimum period of 200 days with guaranteed statutory wage be provided, as unanimously recommended by 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference; The massive workforce engaged in ICDS, Mid-day meal scheme, Vidya volunteers, Guest Teachers, Siksha Mitra, the workers engaged in the Accredited Social Health Activities (ASHA) and other schemes be regularized, No to privatization of centrally funded schemes, Universalization of ICDS be done as per Supreme Court directions by making adequate budgetary allocations; Steps be taken for removal of all restrictive provisions based on poverty line in respect of eligibility coverage of the schemes under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 and allocation of adequate resources for the National Fund for Unorganised Workers to provide for Social Security to all unorganized workers including the contract/casual and migrant workers in line with the recommendations of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and also the 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference; Remunerative Prices should be ensured for the agricultural produce and Govt. investment, public investment in agriculture sector must be substantially augmented as a proportion of GDP and total budgetary expenditure. It should also be ensured that benefits of the increase reach the small, marginal and medium cultivators only; Budgetary provision should be made for providing essential services including housing, public transport, sanitation, water, schools, crèche health care etc. to workers in the new emerging industrial areas, Working women's hostels should be set up where there is a concentration of women workers; Requisite budgetary support for addressing crisis in traditional sectors like Jute, Textiles, Plantation, Handloom, Carpet and Coir etc.; Budgetary provision for elementary education should be increased, particularly in the context of the implementation of the 'Right to Education'; Income Tax exemption ceiling for the salaried persons should be raised to Rs.5 lakh per annum and fringe benefits like housing, medical and educational facilities and running allowances should be exempted from the income tax net in totality; Provision of minimum pension of Rs.3000/- p.m., Govt. and Employers contribution be increased to allow sustainability of Employees Pension Scheme and New Pension Scheme be withdrawn and newly recruited employees of central and state govts. on or after 1.1.2004 be covered under Old Pension Scheme, Threshold limit of 20 employees in EPF Scheme be brought down to 10 as recommended by CBT-EPF, Pension benefits under EPS unilaterally withdrawn by the Govt. should be restored; Demand for Dearness Allowance merger by Central Govt. and PSUs employees be accepted and adequate allocation of fund for this be made in the budget; All interests and social security of the domestic workers to be statutorily protected on the lines of the ILO Convention on domestic workers; The Cess Management of the construction workers is the responsibility of the Finance Ministry under the Act and the several irregularities found in collection of cess be rectified as well as their proper utilization must be ensured.

In regard to 'Resource Mobilization', the memorandum emphasized that; a progressive taxation system should be put in place to ensure taxing the rich and the affluent sections, Increase taxes on luxury goods and reduce indirect taxes on essential commodities; Concrete steps must be taken to recover huge accumulated unpaid tax arrears which has already crossed more than Rs.5 lakh crore on direct and corporate tax account alone; Effective measures should be taken to unearth huge accumulation of black money in the economy including the huge unaccounted money in tax heavens abroad and within the country; Concrete measures be expedited for recovering the NPAs of the banking system from the willfully defaulting corporate and business houses; The rate of wealth tax, corporate tax, gift tax etc. to be expanded and enhanced; ITES, outsourcing sector, Educational Institutions and Health Services etc. run on commercial basis should be brought under Service Tax net.

The memorandum reiterated '10 point Charter' backed by several collective nationwide programmes including several successful general strikes and expressed its expectation that this Govt. will take initiative to discuss these issues with the Central Trade Unions in order to find a solution.

The memorandum also expressed its opposition to the so called Banking Reforms and the New Manufacturing Policy.

Lastly, the memorandum called on the govt. to arrange a post-budget meeting with trade unions also as it holds such meetings with the Corporate Associations/Employers Federations.

Statewide Protest by AIALA in Bihar

AIALA units all over Bihar held protests at block offices for non-distribution of rations, cancellation of BPL cards and non-implementation of Food Security measures in spite of repeated announcements by the state government.

The Bihar government is yet to implement the food security act passed by the Parliament, though Nitish govt. had announced to start this by February last. The existing system of PDS is allowed to collapse gradually as ration cards are being cancelled in huge numbers without any explanation and food-grains are not distributed by ration outlets.

The new Food Security Act effectively excludes large numbers  of vulnerable sections of poor, AIALA has demanded guaranteed food security by including every needy household under the purview of this Act.

The lack of transparency in various pro-poor governmental schemes, corruption, Nitish govt.'s betrayal from its own promise of giving 3 decimal land to landless and Land Reforms were also raised in these protests.

Reports from Jharkhand

Dhanbad: Coal Mines Workers Union (CMWU) gheraoed officials of Sudamadih Shaft Mines on June 1 in protest of Coal India Ltd. (CIL) decision for closure of the mine. Situated in Jharia coal belt of Dhanbad district, the management has deliberately removed water pump from the mine so that water will be filled and the mine will automatically be closed. The workers led by CMWU leader Nakuldev Singh held out a militant protest. As a result management abandoned the eviction process and fled from the spot, leaving crores of implements inside the mine including electricity transformers etc.

Ramgarh: A month-long campaign against privatisation of electricity was conducted in district Ramgarh from 23 April to 23 May. The campaign targeted a franchisee company which the government has entrusted for electricity supply in the rural belt of the district. A large number of peasants were mobilised against this privatisation drive forcing the said company to leave. This campaign was concluded in a big mass meeting which was addressed by CPIML leader Bhubaneshwar Bedia. The Revolutionary Youth Organisation (RYA) has now announced a regional level protest on this issue.

RYA also organised an agitation against fare hike by local tracker owners which resulted in Rs. 3 curtailment in the fare from Ramgarh town to Ghutua, which was announced earlier to be at Rs. ten.

Koderma: A protest dharna was organised in Koderma district headquarters on 7 June to highlight problems in water and electricity supply and black-marketing of PDS foodgrains.

Ranchi: Owing to governmental policies leading to unabated exploitation of forests, people of Panch Pargana region are facing attacks of elephants which is being overlooked or undermined by the officials and politicians leading to further escalation of the problem. On 4 June, a party supporter Ravilochan Munda was killed by an elephant while another CPIML cadre Gaur Singh Munda was injured. Angered people gathered in an spontaneous protest and blocked the highway. Only then the officials came to listen to the grievances of the people, where they also announced compensation money for the family of the deceased, people continues to wary of assurances given on the spot. Incidents of elephant attacks also happened in Humta and Gitildih panchayats where many houses of rural folk were raged to the ground. A protest meeting was organised in Humta where people 'arrested' forest officials for four hours till they got assurance for some concrete measures including a special forest dept. team to be engaged in diverting the elephants.

In Chandandih of Silli block people protested against the inaction of administration and police over a worker's death on duty, a road blockade was held and two local politicians who tried to broker a deal with the employer were even beaten up by the public. Ultimately local administration came in action and the blockade was lifted.

Khunti: Jharkhand Construction Workers Union organised a protest rally in Khunti and submitted a 10-point charter to the district labour office. The rally held on this occasion was addressed by Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, Secretary of the Union, Laldhari Manjhi, Gopal Mahto, Poonam Oraon and many other workers.

Struggle for Land in Kanyakumari

On June 2, CPIML's determined and united struggle for the homeless came to fruition, when hundreds of activists came to streets to celebrate the victory of persistent struggle over reclaiming land illegally occupied by land mafia and political bigwigs. The activists unanimously declared that now it is people's land and the task of distributing the land to homeless will be taken up. Addressing the demonstrators CPIML Tamilnadu State Secretary Balasundaram said, at a time when corporates and saffron forces are celebrating the victory of BJP and Modi, we the poor and down-trodden celebrating the victory of our sustained struggle for land. A Govt. with resound mandate might have ascended but only the united and determined struggle of the people has given respite to the people.

This 48.50 acres agricultural land was given to the hang-men (Arachaar) by the erstwhile Trivancore Samasthanam. Although the Nagercoil Sub court ruled that the Arachaar land belongs to TN govt., for the past 22 years no steps were taken up to acquire the land. Land mafia with the connivance of the officials encroached illegally, and to the extent that a plot was registered even in the name of CM Jayalalithaa too! On December 28, a housing patta and house right conference was organized in Nagarcoil. More than 1200 houseless poor attended the conference. Comrades Anthonymuthu, Marystella, Chandramohan and Susila besides several prominent personalities participated in the conference. Comrade Balasundaram inaugurated the conference. The conference decided that the Arachaar land must be reclaimed and distributed among the homeless.

Series of agitations was organized by the party involving several thousand through our mass organisations. On January 18, dharnas were held in eighteen centres. On January 26 a road blockade agitation was held in Nagercoil near the Arachaar land cite at Parvathipuram. This also attracted the support of several CPI(M) supporters. Due to the pressure mounted, the District Collector assured that the demand will be looked into, but case was registered on leaders and general public including Balasundaram, State Secretary of the Party. On Feb 3 a road-block agitation was announced in front of the Collectorate. Police indiscriminately arrested agitators including children. It drew wider condemnation. Then on March 15 more than 1200 women stormed the Arachaar land. The district administration once was forced to give an assurance to the agitators. The issue of this land was also raised in the election Campaign of CPIML. In the midst of the election campaign AIPWA activists staged an agitation right in the Arachaar land, while police brutally attacked the activists and slapped cases on them. Meanwhile on behalf of the party a case was filed in the High Court (Madurai Bench) on the question of this Arachaar land. And a case was registered on the police for their indiscriminate actions against our activists. This has restrained police to some extent.

In the course of the sustained agitations AIPWA district conference was held in the district in which 800 participated. This conference was inaugurated by Comrade Bhuveneswari, CCM of the party. AICCTU also organised its district conference in which around 650 unorganised women and men workers participated. AICCTU State Vice-President G. Ramesh attended the conference as observer. These conferences gave a fillip to the ongoing struggle for land.

Due to our sustained agitations it became an important issue in the district. State and district administration forced to take some steps. The agitational efforts drew support from various quarters. Both the struggles and legal steps forced the administration. On May 26 the district Collector acquired the illegally occupied land worth of several hundred crores and sealed illegal structures erected. The collector also announced that Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board will build houses for the houseless. Though the administration has announced housing scheme in 11 acres, how the remaining 37 acres will be utilized is not clear. Moreover, without considering more than 3000 petitions submitted to the collector, he announced that 900 people, who were not part of the agitations, will be provided houses in the scheme!

Retrieval of the total extent of land, arrest and prosecution of the culprits and officials who connived with land-mafia, distribution of the land to the houseless as per the govt.'s promise, retrieving the illegally occupied lands throughout the district which is estimated around 5000 acres, and that the state govt. in its upcoming July session must declare to acquire all illegally occupied lands and fulfill AIADMK promise of house-sites are the issues on which this struggle will be taken up into the next phase.

Workers Protest Hindustan Motors Management's Arbitrary 'Suspension of Work' in West Bengal

The management of the Hindustan Motors Ltd. (Hindmotor) plant in Uttarpara, that produced the iconic Ambassador car, hung up a 'suspension of work' notice on the factory gates in the dawn of 24th May, without any prior intimation to 2400 workers who were driven out of jobs. A CPI(ML) delegation met with the workers the next day. It was learnt that the workers had not been paid salaries for the past 6 months and that the biggest Trade Union, the INTTUC, led by the ruling Trinamool Congress leader Dola Sen had been sitting idle even on such gross violation of workers's rights like non-payment of salaries! The delegation met with the sole struggling union, the non-party independent Sangrami Sramik Karmachari Union (SSKU) leadership who alleged that the SSKU rank and file have been under intimidation, threats and harassment to prevent a genuine workers' resistance gather steam at the Hindmotor plant. The Hindmotor-Konnagar local party committee, AICCTU and the Construction Workers' Union affiliated to AICCTU brought out a joint workers' rally in the area in solidarity with Hindmotor workers. The rally demanded scrapping of the arbitrary suspension notice, immediate payment of workers' salary dues and State government taking up the responsibility of lives and livelihoods of the Hindmotor workers. A joint convention of central Trade Unions and federations was held on 3rd June focusing on the ominous scenario of sick and closed factories, with Hindmotor joining a long line of prominent predecessors like Dunlop, Duckback, Jessop, numerous jute mills, textile mills, engineering units and tens of thousands of factories fast disappearing from the industrial landscape of the state. The flawed industrial policy (ironically under the hype of 'industrialization'), labour policy and the Labour and Industrial ministries were put in the dock, and demands raised for the way forward.

Left Parties and Groups Call for Defending Secularism and Democracy

Leaders of the CPI(ML) Liberation, CPI(ML) Red Star, Party of Democratic Secularism, Communist Party of Bharat, and other groups like the Bhasha O Chetana Samiti, DSF (JNU) came together with expelled leaders from the CPI(M) – Rezzak Mollah and Prasenjit Bose, ex-CPI(M) MLA Sumanta Heera and other speakers in a joint meeting held at Esplanade on 1st June. CPI(ML) State Secretary Partha Ghosh represented the Party at the meeting, which underlined immediacies in the political scenario of West Bengal following a TMC/BJP victory at the state/center respectively. What is being projected in the media as a benign-sounding 'post-poll violence' in West Bengal is in reality gross political violence unleashed on a ruthless scale by the ruling Trinamool Congress on grassroots workers and local leaders of the political opposition, emboldened by the 'brute force majority' in numbers attained by the TMC in the hustings. Added to the TMC's heinous assaults on the rural poor in particular, leading to several deaths, is the danger of communal polarization coming out of the woodwork. The BJP's vicious hate speeches during the elections, harping on sieving 'illegal infiltrators' (read Muslim migrants) from 'genuine asylum-seekers' (read Hindu migrants) from Bangladesh and its subsequent poll-gains in the form of an increased vote share has emboldened saffron forces on the prowl. The BJP central team's televised visit to their party supporters under TMC attack at Sandeshkhali was also given a communal colour, mischievously painting it less as a political assault and more as a religious assault of Muslims on lower caste Hindus! Given the context where the poor working people of Bengal are now withstanding a two-pronged attack by authoritarian, corrupt, intolerant and fascist communal forces and the near-total paralysis/surrender of the CPI(M) leadership to stand up to resist the naked assaults, the meeting called for all the left, democratic forces in the state to unite in struggles to reassert the working people's agenda and to defend the values of secularism and democracy at all costs.

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: