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.