A CPI(ML)Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17 No. 5 29 JAN - 4 FEB 2014
The Republic Has Blood on Its Hands
The President of India, in his address on the eve of Republic Day warned that security and armed forces,backed by the steel of popular support, have proved that they can crush an enemy within, and that mavericks who question the integrity of our armed services should find no place in public life. Perhaps for the first time in India's history, the designated custodian of the Constitution virtually issued an open call to "supporters" of armed forces to evict critics of the Army's impunity, from public life. And on the heels of Republic Day, the Army gave itself a clean-chit in the infamous Pathribal fake encounter case, which the CBI had found to be a cold-blooded killing of Kashmiri villagers. The Republic has blood on its hands, but the public has been warned to remain silent.
The Army's acquittal of its officers charge-sheeted by the CBI for the cold-blooded fake encounter of five innocent men in Pathribal (Jammu and Kashmir), is a shameful case of the killers exonerating themselves. The Army officers, protected by AFSPA from prosecution in a civilian court, have been acquitted by a court martial. The Pathribal episode drives home the fact that the ordinary Kashmiri in India is entirely unprotected by any semblance of civil liberties or any hope of justice, and is at the mercy of the Army that enjoys the license to murder. Itis a message to the common Kashmiris that the flimsy fig leaf of India's democracy, rule of law, and judicial process, are not meant to offer them even nominal cover. The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of the Indian State, which dons a respectable garb in other places, lies unveiled in Kashmir, where it goes naked.
On March 25, 2000, a contingent ofthe Rashtriya Rifles and the J&K Police's Special Operations Group claimed to have killed 5 LeT militants in a hut in Pathribal village, in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir. LK Advani, then Home Minister, endorsed the Army's claim that these five men were "foreign militants" who had perpetrated the heinous Chattisingpora massacre of Sikhs days before, on the eve of the then US President Bill Clinton's visit to India. The 5 bodies, badly burnt, were buried without any post mortem examination.
Meanwhile, five men Zahoor Dalal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Mohammed Malik, Juma Khan and Juma Khan - had gone missing since March 24 from various Anantnag villages, and frantic villagers demanded the exhumation and identification of the bodies at Pathribal. On April 3, CRPF firing on a demonstration at Brakpora demanding exhumation killed nine including a son of one of the missing men Juma Khan. Eventually, the bodies were exhumed and identified by families as those of the missing villagers. The DNA matching turned up negative, but in March 2002, it was established that the blood samples had been tampered with. Fresh blood samples were collected, and tests proved beyond doubt that the 5 men killed were none other than the missing villagers. It was evident that the security forces had simply picked up 5 villagers at random including 2 men of the same name from different villages and murdered them in cold blood, passing them off as "foreign militants".
The CBI enquiry ordered by the State Government confirmed that the 'encounter' was indeed deliberate murder, and in 2006, filed a charge-sheet against Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt. Col.Brijendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar IKhan of 7th Rashtriya Rifles.
But the trial never took place, because the Army claimed that under the AFSPA, prior sanction of the Central Government was required for prosecution of the accused soldiers. The Defence Ministry and the Central Government did not grant sanction, in spite of theCBI's categorical finding. The CBI argued that prior sanction under AFSPA was not required in this case, since it was intended only for protection of personnel acting in the line of duty, not for deliberate abduction and murderof innocents. This argument, upheld by the High Court in 2007, was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2012.
The Supreme Court allowed the Army the choice of civil court proceedings (contingent on Central Government sanction) and a Court Martial according to the Army's own regulations. TheArmy, which in 2006 had rejected either option, chose the Court Martial route this time. And now, the inevitable has happened - the Army has flown in the face of damning evidence, and has protected its own. 'Integrity' of the armed forces has proved to be synonymous with shameless impunity. And yet, President Pranab Mukherjee declares that this truth must not even be spoken of!
The Pathribal massacre is by no means an aberration. Pathribal has shown the way for the ongoing Court Martial in the Macchil (Kupwara) killings of 3 villagers in 2010. In 2011, the J&K SHRC confirmed the existence of at least 2156 unidentified bodies lying in mass graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Handwara districts. The actual number of such mass graves is far higher - up till 7000. Yet, DNA profiling of the bodies in the mass graves has not taken place. The Government is delaying and subverting such a probe, fearing no doubt that the findings might establish, as exhumations at Pathribal and Macchil did, that many or most of the bodies are those of 'disappeared' persons killed in custody of security forces.
The barest minimum requirement of democracy must be that the AFSPA be scrapped, and Army officers accused of murder and rape must enjoy no shield of protection. We must demand that the Centre lose no time in ensuring that the Pathribal killers in uniform face trial and justice in a civil court.
The Republic has blood on its hands. There are fascist foot-soldiers aplenty to do as the President of the Republic suggests, and police the public space and intimidate the voices demanding accountability, truth, or justice. The Indian political establishment, with few exceptions, lacks any will to break the enforced silence. But the 'public' can and must reclaim the Republic. Democratic forces will defy the threats whether issued from the Presidential palace or the saffron thugs, and will speak out against murder perpetrated and protected in the name of the Republic!
On The Verdict In The TP Chandrasekharan Murder Case
The court verdict in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case delivers a major blow to the cult of assassinating political rivals, practiced by the CPI(M) in Kerala.
The court has found the CPI(M) functionaries K.C. Ramachandran (member of the Kunnummakkara local committee), Manojan aka Trouser Manojan, (branch secretary of Kadanganpoyil) and P.K. Kunhanandan (member of the Panur area committee) guilty, along with members of the killer gang led by Kodi Suni. The indictment of its functionaries from Kozhikode and Kannur districts for the murder establishes the involvement of the CPI(M) in the conspiracy behind the murder.
TPChandrasekharan was eliminated by the CPI(M) because he raised his voice against the corruption and rightwing deviation of its leadership. The conspiracy for his murder was hatched after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, in which Chandrasekharan contested as the RMP candidate in the Vadakara constituency, receiving significant votes. Scared by his growing popularity, the CPI(M)planned and executed the murder on May 4, 2012.
RMP appreciates the role of the investigators and the prosecutors in the case, who had to work under tremendous pressure. Broad sections of the media, civilsociety and Leader of Opposition Comrade V.S. Achuthanandan also stood by the cause of justice. Many ordinary members of the CPI(M) have also helped in bringing out the truth behind the murder.
However, the RMP feels that the full extent of the conspiracy has not been revealed through the trial, which requires further investigation into the role played by the CPI(M) leadership. The CPI(M) leadership has tried to deliberately mislead the public by initially suggesting the hand of other persons and forces behind the murder. Subsequently the CPI(M) leadership announced an internal inquiry and said that if its party members are found involved, action will be initiated against them. That internal enquiry also turned out to be sham exercise.
The CPI(M) in Kerala has collected and spent huge sums of money to protect the accused and pressurize the witnesses in the case; 52 witnesses turned hostile in the course of the trial. Through its influence within the state machinery it ensured that the accused were provided special facilities within the jail. These actions expose its involvement in the crime.
The RMP demands a CBI enquiry into the case to look into the full extent of the conspiracy behind the murder. The RMP will further pursue the case through legal and political means to bring all those responsible for the murder of TPChandrasekharan to book.
N Venu and KK Rema
on behalf of
RMP State Committee
Akrosh March by Students in Patna
AISA and RYA organized an Akrosh March and gherao-ed the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to protest on the issues of non-fulfilment of promises, pro-corporate communal forces, dignified employment, unemployment allowance, effective youth policy, affordable quality education, and affordable electricity, on 22 January2014.
RYA and AISA went back to the 30,000 youth who had earlier signed a petition demanding an effective Youth Policy and mobilized them along with those demanding electricity, as well as TET-STET passed candidates and they agitated for their demands under a joint banner.
The 22January protest was a corollary to the ongoing Jansamwad Yatra in Bihar and anger was expressed by students and youth on education, employment, health, electricity and other issues.
TET-STET Passed Candidates Association demanded jobs for the successful candidates without delay, and permanent and dignified employment for youth. On the eve of 22 January the government agreed to set up a camp and hand out the due appointment letters. The agitation to demand a student-teacher ratio of 30:1will continue.
The All India Railway Vendors and Hawkers Association said that through the efforts of RYA, the 40 year od practice of commission has been ended in Patna-Gaya rail sector and they have been freed from the vicious cycle of abuse and oppression by GRP and RPF. Further agitation will continue for legal status, id cards and security for vendors and hawkers.
The Rasoiya Parivar Kalyan Sangh and midday meal workers are demanding a minimum honorarium of Rs. 10,000, along with Class IV Government employee status and transparency in selection process. The All India Sports Players Association and judo and karate martial arts players have demanded a place in the youth policy and jobs as teachers in schools and colleges.
The RYA demanded 24 hour affordable electricity in every village household, repair of faulty transformers, poles and wires, and protested at electricity offices in Nalanda, Siwan, Jehanabad, Samastipur, Patna, Champaran, Darbhanga, Bhojpur,Gopalganj, Arwal and other places. They also demanded that false and incorrect electricity bills should be withdrawn.
A march was organized Gandhi Maidan in Patna to agitate for all the above demands, led by Amarjit Kushwaha, Raju Yadav, Naveen Kumar, Rinki, Ajit Kushwaha, Abhyuday, Kesar Nehal, Sudhir, Divya Gautam, Dhiraj, Markandeya Pathak, Anil Rai, Kunal, Jyoti and others. A 4 member delegation met the Bihar Home Secretary and submitted a 17 point petition of demands. Addressing the meeting, Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya appealed to students and youth to put education, employment, electricity, health and other peoples’ issues on the election agenda and exhorted them to throw out worthless governments and electpro=people governments. He said that due to the people’s agitation, governments had been forced to back down to a certain extent from their pro-corporate and anti-people policies. He criticized the Kejriwal government’s proposal to reserve 90% seats in Delhi University as being a conspiracy to break student unity. He called upon the youth to put pressure on the Nitish government to fulfil his promise to guarantee 24 hour electricity supply and to give 100units free to the poor, to give dignified employment and to ensure unemployment allowance. He stressed that fair wages should be paid to railway hawkers, vendors, midday meal workers and Asha - Anganwadi workers.
The following demands were made at the Akrosh Sabha:
1. ReleaseState Joint Secretary Manoj Manzil immediately.
2. Withdrawfalse case against AISA State President Rinki.
3. Regularizeall contractual workers.
4. WithdrawPrivate University Act and implement equal education in schools.
5. Implement30:1 student teacher ratio and appoint TET-STET passed candidates immediately.
6. Guarantee24 hour electricity in every village household.
7. Provideâ€œ50 Unit Maaf, 100 Unit Halfâ€ electricity. With draw false bills.
8. Fillvacant teachers-workers posts without delay.
9. Stoppolice repression on student-youth protests. Release all jailed studentswithout delay.
10. Withdrawall false cases against student-youth leaders.
11. Holdstudent union elections without delay in all Universities.
12. EstablishAligarh Muslim University branch without delay.
13. Stopinterference with reservation rules in Bihar PSC.
14. Stopthe business of loot in the name of Vocational Courses.
15. ProvideID cards, legal status, and security to railway vendors.
16. Announceminimum honorarium of Rs 1000 and Class IV employee status for midday mealworkers.
17. Stopthe state-sponsored promotion of liquor
Tribute to Pete Seeger
(Based on tributes in The Guardian and Daily Mail)
Pete Seeger dies aged 94
Singer-song writer inspired folk revival in the US and was blacklisted during McCarthy era for his leftwing views and lyrics
Tributes have poured in honouring American troubadour, folk music singer and activist Pete Seeger, who has died in New York aged 94. Musicians, fans, campaigners and activists paid tribute to the singer of Where Have All The Flowers Gone and Turn, Turn, Turn, honouring his dedication to fighting for environmental and anti-capitalist issues.
Seeger was a key figure in the folk protest movement through the 1950s and 60s and protested against wars from Vietnam to Iraq; even in his 90s he could be seen marching with Occupy Wall Street protesters. Be wary of great leaders, he said two days after a 2011 Manhattan Occupy march. Hope that there are many, many small leaders.
The banjo player was known as an affable protester and remained a proud socialist and left-wing campaigner throughout his life. Once a card-carrying Communist, he came under fire in the McCarthy era of the 50s. Summoned to give evidence about his political leanings and contacts to the the House of Representatives' Un-American Activities committee in 1955, Seeger refused to testify. He denied his views made him disloyal to his country. Asked repeatedly if he had sung for Communists, he retorted: I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American.
This led, in 1957, to an indictment for contempt of Congress, a prison sentence (later overturned) and a travel ban. In America's cold war blacklisting and red-baiting years, Seeger was unable to perform in many venues, was excluded from college campuses and kept off television for many years. All the while, though, he kept writing and singing.
Seeger was born in New York City in 1919. He came from artistic stock his mother, Constance, was a violinist and his father, Charles, a musicologist, who worked as a consultant to the Resettlement Administration, which gave artists work during the Depression.
Seeger dropped out of Harvard and toured with Woody Guthrie in the 1940s, forming the group the Weavers in 1948.
Seeger’s evergreen songs include Where Have All The Flowers Gone, inspired by a Ukrainian poem concerning the futility of men losing their lives in war; and Turn! Turn! Turn! If I Had A Hammer was a freedom song chanted by U.S. civil rights marchers; the radical anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has chosen it as their official song.
And though he didn’t write it, Seeger was probably the artist most responsible for popularising the protest song We Shall Overcome, anthem of the Sixties African-American civil rights movement and staple hymn of solidarity of every student or eco-warrior sit-in that has ever graced the planet.
His hit version of Little Boxes was an early satire of suburbia (the title being a reference to middle-class homes) and suburban values.
Although Seeger clearly made an exception in his anti-militarism for the fight against Hitler, he returned to his anti-war stance during the Cold War and Vietnam War, and emblazoned his banjo with the motto This Machine Surrounds Hate And Forces It To Surrender.
He became critical of the Soviet Union, and insisted he was only a communist with a small â€˜câ€™. Over the years, he championed almost as many causes as he had songs, from aiding small farmers and Native American tribes to opposing oil fracking and the big banks.
The British singer Billy Bragg said: Peter Seeger towered over the folk scene like a mighty redwood for 75 years. His songs will be sung wherever people struggle for their rights.
Comrade Byomkesh Banerjee
Comrade Byomkesh Banerjee (born 18 December, 1944) a member of the Party’s Chuchura Local Committee and Vice President of the Hooghly District Committee (West Bengal) of AICCTU breathed his last in a Kolkata hospital inthe early hours of 18th January. He was suffering from bronchopneumonia.
Comrade Banerjee joined the communist movement as a student of Hooghly Mahasin college and became a cadre of CPI (ML) from the very inception. Later he became an engineer. Under his inspiration all his brothers, sisters and other family members grew into committed party activists or supporters. He worked among workers in the nearby industrial areas. In the 1980s he became the president of the Hooghly district committee of the IPF. In the 1990s he worked as a member of the Party’s Hooghly district committee and contested the assembly elections from the Chuchra constituency. To the very last he remained active in all types of party activities and earned everybody’s love and respect for his simplicity, humane qualities, personal integrity and commitment to the cause of revolution. Red salute to comrade Byomkesh-da.
Comrade Prabhulal Paswan
Veteran communist leader Comrade Prabhulal Paswan (Kishunjee) passed away in Lucknow PGI hospital on 24 December 2013 following a severe brain stroke. Comrade Prabhulal was born in a village in Bhojpur district of Bihar on 10January 1937. After finishing graduation he had joined the Bihar State Electricity Board as an employee. The spark of Naxalbari inspired him to quit his job and plunge into the revolutionary politics of CPI(ML). After years of work in Bihar, he took up the responsibility of leading the underground Party organisation in UP, and played a key role in expanding the Party network in UP including in areas currently under Uttarakhand. In the 1980s he also served as a member of the Party Central Committee. After the Party came overground in December 1992, he returned to Bihar and was fielded as Party candidate from the Sasaram Lok Sabha constituency in 1996. Following some differences with the Party organisation he had formally left the Party in the late 1990s but remained a well-wisher of the Party till the very end. Comrade Prabhulal’s dedication to the people and to the revolutionary spirit and vision of the communist movement will continue to inspire new generations of communist activists. CPI(ML) Central Committee pays homage to Comrade Prabhulal Paswan.
ML Update, Weekly Organ of CPI(ML) Liberation, CHARU BHAWAN, U-90 Shakarpur, NEW DELHI- 110092, INDIA