Wednesday, 28 January 2015

ML Update | No. 05 | 2015


A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 05 | 27 JAN - 2 FEB 2015


Republic Day Pointers Beyond the 'Namobama' Hype

As Prime Minister, he devoted his first Independence Day speech to inviting foreign capital to come and 'make in India'. Now Narendra Damodardas Modi has used the first Republic Day celebration of his government to demonstrate his government's readiness to accommodate US demands and blandish his million-rupee pinstripe suit, tailored in UK, that had his name embroidered all over. It seems Modi is however not the first to set a precedent by wearing such a suit. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ousted President, had apparently already worn his name on his sleeves to deny Modi the opportunity to create a world record. Unfortunately for Modi, narcissism and megalomania are also subject to competition.

Observers of Indo-US relations have noted all the 'right steps' the Modi government has been taking from day one to impress the US. From decontrolled pharmaceutical prices and US-friendly patent norms announced before and during Modi's US trip to increased FDI in insurance, easier land-grab policy and vastly reduced food security cover and all such steps taken or recommended on the eve of Obama's Republic Day visit to India, the Modi government has gone all out to satisfy the Americans. Freeing American suppliers of liabilities in case of any damage inflicted by their reactors on the Indian people has been the latest concession offered during Obama's R-Day visit. Modi and his men now hope that US will now expedite nuclear and military supplies to India.

Modi and his propagandists would like us to believe that foreign policy is more about the 'personal chemistry' among leaders of different countries than about dealing with the global economy and geo-political pulls and pressures. Modi went so far as to say that we need not bother about the text (commas and full stops, in his words) of agreements and joint statements, for the personal chemistry of leaders can obviate or transcend the limits set by such texts. India's experience from the early Nehruvian years of non-alignment through the Indira era of Indo-Soviet friendship to the current phase of strategic subservience to the US, clearly shows that the text and the fine print are of decisive importance in matters pertaining to the foreign policy, no matter whether the policy is conducted with the near-robotic manner of a Manmohan Singh or the melodramatic exuberance of a Narendra Modi.

As the hype over the so-called Modi-Obama 'personal chemistry' dies down, what will really matter are the concessions granted and promised to the US in the nucIear deal and other agreements and the implications in India's neighbourhood of the growing convergence between Washington's Asian design and New Delhi's 'Act East' policy. By making Indian insurance companies subsidise US and other Nuke MNCs in case of an accident, and insulating these suppliers from the risk of being sued by victims of a disaster, the Modi Government has rendered Indian citizens more at risk of such disasters. This is because Nuke Corporations that are confident that burdens of accidents will be borne by the Indian taxpayer, are likely to cut costs on safety provisions in reactors. 

In the sixty-six years of India's republican existence, this was the first time an American President was present as the guest of honour at the Republic Day parade. Ram Madhav, the RSS spokesperson turned BJP General Secretary, says that having watched the military parade dominated by old Russian supplies Obama would now feel an urgency to step up American military imports to India. This is the comprador mindset hiding behind the 'make in India' slogan that redefines 'national dignity' only in terms of US certificates and 'national interest' only through the prism of so-called 'natural' alliance with the US.

As far as the Indian people are concerned, the Republic Day marks, first and foremost, the anniversary of the adoption of India's Constitution. Hence it should be an occasion to assess the country's progress in terms of the rights and liberties of the citizens rather than in terms of the power and achievements of the state. Over the years, successive governments have made it more into a show of the state – marked by a military parade with some civilian adjunct in the form of officially approved glimpses of 'Indian culture and public life' – rather than a celebration of common citizens. With the RSS at the helm, the cultural display in this year's Republic Day parade acquired unmistakable religious overtones, with even a state like Jharkhand represented by temples than its rich history and diverse heritage.

Heightened assault on constitutional rights and liberties of the working people, systematic suppression of dissent and attempted homogenization of India's pluralist cultural legacy pose serious threats to the essence of the secular and democratic republic proclaimed in the Constitution. Defying the hype and fiction of the 'Namobama' chemistry, the time has come for all of us join and win the battle for the essence of the Indian republic defeating the forces of communal division, corporate plunder and comprador capitulation.


Nationwide protests against US President Obama's India Visit

On 24 January 2015, there were nationwide protests against the visit of US President Barack Obama as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade celebrations in New Delhi. In New Delhi, Left parties – CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), SUCI(C), AIFB, RSP and the Communist Ghadar Party of India – jointly held a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar  Mantar. The protestors raised slogans against US imperialism, dilution in the liability clauses in the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, enforced changes in the drug manufacturing regime in India to facilitate corporate greed and sell-out of India's sovereignty, and the protest march culminated in a protest meeting at Jantar Mantar. The meeting was addressed by leaders of all the participant Left Parties, including CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy, CPI(ML) Politburo member Kavita Krishnan and others.

Addressing the protest, comrade Kavita Krishnan detailed the reasons for the protest. Reminding the gathering of the Bhopal gas tragedy and the manner in which both the US and the Indian governments had conspired to allow the Dow Chemicals to escape liability for the massive loss of lives and livelihoods, comrade Kavita pointed out that Obama was coming to India to seal a deal which weaken and dilute the liability of US companies in case of industrial disasters in India. Even prior to this visit of Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry had visited India during the Vibrant Gujarat summit, along with an entourage  of US corporate leaders, in order to push for a more 'business and investment-friendly' atmosphere in India. And this, is nothing but a euphemism for cheap land, water and electricity, tax breaks, sops for corporates and a weakened labour rights' regime.  In fact, farmers protesting against the Vibrant Gujarat meet were arrested, in a sure signal to the US that the Modi government was more than willing to know-tow to US business interests and that no protests against the regime of corporate profiteering would be tolerated. Various speakers at the protest meeting also pointed out that the protest march was being called against US aggression, racist attacks in the US, and US's interfering in India's economic and foreign policy matters to further its own interests. The protest ended with a burning of Barack Obama's  effigy.

Joint protests were also held in various districts of Bihar, in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere. In Patna, a protest dharna was held at the Bhagat Singh Chowk, Gandhi Maidan. The dharna was led by CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, and leaders of CPI, CPI(M), AIFB and SUCI(C).  Joint protest marches and dharnas were also held in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh and Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. In Bhilai, a protest meeting was held at the JP Chowk in Sector 6, which was addressed by CPI(ML) Chhattisgarh state secretary Brijendra Tiwari and comrade JP Nair, CPI leader C.R. Bakshi, CPI(M)'s S.P. Dey, SUCI(C)'s comrade Vishwajeet and others.

In Uttar Pradesh, six Left parties, including CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), SUCI(C) and AIFB held protests at various district headquarters. In the capital Lucknow, a protest was held from Parivartan chowk, via Hazratganj to the GPO. The protestors pointed out the US's horrific track record of imperialist aggression, wars, occupations, human rights' violations and imposed dictatorships across the world. The recent undemocratic Ordinances passed by the NDA to undermine peoples' rights and facilitate corporate profits were also the result of US diktats which the Modi government was more than ready to heed, pointed out the protestors. The protest was led by the district secretaries of various Left parties. The protest in Allahabad was addressed by CPI(ML) UP state secretary Ramji Rai. Protests were also held in Gazipur, Balia, Bhadohi, Chandoli, Kanpur, Mau, Devaria, Gonda, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Lakhimpur Kheri, Pilibhit, Jalaun, Muradabad, Mathura and Sonbhadra.


Historic Strike Against Coal Ordinance

(India's coal mine workers held a historic two-day all-India strike against central government's move of denationalization and privatization of coal industry through the Coal Ordinance. This was the first major resistance put up by organized workers in the last seven months of the Modi Government. This government, which has been launching an all-out attack on the rights of working class through amendments in labour laws and policies of privatization, disinvestment and FDI, was forced to talk to workers' representatives. The government was forced, in a written agreement, to form a committee comprising of coal ministry officials and trade unions to look into the matter of privatization and other issues raised by the strike. AICCTU affiliate, the Coal Mines Workers' Union (CMWU), participated actively in the Strike. AICCTU leader Sukhdev Prasad reports from Dhanbad.)

The countrywide hartal on 6-7 January 2015 by 5 lakh coal workers of CIL and Coal Outsourcing was extremely effective and successful.  After the 1 lakh 86 thousand crore coalgate scam through the coal block allocations came to light, the Supreme Court cancelled 214 allocations. With the exposure of this huge scam the corrupt officials and companies should have been punished but the Modi govt, instead of punishing them, gave these 214 companies compensation for losses and with shameless haste brought an ordinance through which all the coal blocks were re-auctioned and the concerned companies were given free rein to sell coal and the concerned lands were also made over to those companies. 

On 24 Nov 2014 all the 5 unions in the JBCCI called for a hartal. 4 out of these 5 unions postponed their hartal after an assurance from the coal minister, but the coal workers stood up against this decision. As a result the above 4 recognized unions called for a 5 day hartal from 6-10 Jan 2015. CITU and AICCTU, supporting the 5 day strike call, decided on 13 Jan as their hartal day and gave a strike notice to this effect, closing any possibility of the 4 recognized unions taking back their strike call.

When the hartal started on 6 Jan, AICCTU and CMW came out in full force in ECL, BCCL, and CCL, i.e the entire coal belt of Jharkhand. The coal workers joined the strike with a voluntary energy fed by years of anger and injustice. Generally, a hartal sees a bigger strike in the morning shift and average strike in the afternoon shift. Work starts again in the night shift. But this time on 6 Jan there was such total strike in all the 3 shifts that the hartal was prolonged and carried over to 7 Jan. Generally in a one day hartal a few workers report for work, but this time this did not happen. All processes of coal transportation, whether truck loading or wagon loading, were totally closed for 2 days.

Some emergency services of the coal industry had been kept out of the hartal but even in these cases the management had to first get the permission of the striking workers. This was the scenario throughout the entire coal belt of Jharkhand. All attempts to break the hartal by influencing sections of the striking workers through TMC in Bengal, JMM, Dadai group (INTUC), AJASU etc in Jharkhand proved unsuccessful and the workers refused to go to work. Another unique feature of the hartal was the solidarity shown by the local rural people with the coal workers.

The ruling parties as well as the media tried propaganda to break the hartal—claiming that only 4 days' coal was left in the power houses and the entire country would be plunged into darkness due to the hartal. The Congress backed Dadai group in Bermo coal belt, AJASU in Ramgarh coal belt, and JMM in other areas of CCL tried to break the hartal by use of force but the CMW opposed them strongly and kept the hartal unbroken.

An additional achievement of the hartal is that during the negotiations the coal minister was forced to give in writing that CIL would not be privatized. It was also decided during the negotiations that a review committee would be formed to review the terms and conditions of 42 coal block allocations, and this review committee would include trade union representatives.

The striking workers submitted a 10 point list of demands including stopping of privatization of CIL, scrapping the coal block auction ordinance, guarantee of security of jobs of all workers in CIL, and stopping of dissolution of CIL in the name of reorganization.


Rapists of Dalit Girls in Kurmuri Convicted

All 3 rapists of the 6 Dalit teenage girls in Kurmuri village, Bhojpur, Bihar, have been convicted in a remarkably short time, within three months. This verdict is a tribute to the courage of the survivors and the prompt and sustained efforts of the CPI(ML) Liberation and AIPWA.

It may be recalled that the main accused in the case, Neelnidhi Singh is a former Ranveer Sena area commander and known to be close to Ara MP RK Singh (from the BJP) and Tarari MLA Sunil Pandey from the JD(U). As a result, the police officials in Tarari as well as the Ara district administration dilly-dallied in taking any action against him. Right from getting the FIR filed, it was CPI(ML) and AIPWA activists who struggled for justice, every step of the way.


Leftist SYRIZA Registers Emphatic Electoral Win in Greece

The Left has registered an emphatic win in Greece in the recently concluded elections, with the SYRIZA winning 36 per cent of the votes and 149 out of the 300 total seats. The SYRIZA, a coalition originally comprising of a broad array of forces – including democratic socialists, green Left as well as Maoist and Trotskyist groups in Greece – became a unitary party in 2013. In the elections this year, SYRIZA has conclusively defeated the previous center-right New Democracy party, which was reduced to a distant second. Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi, far-right, anti-immigrant came third in the elections after polling 6.3 per cent of the votes.

The election results in Greece are hugely significant, considering that the SYRIZA ran its entire election campaign on an anti-austerity plank. As several political commentators have pointed out, it is the working class of Greece, the poor, the unemployed and the retrenched workers who have powered this victory – thus delivering a huge blow to the EU-IMF dictated austerity measures that have plunged Greece into a chaos of debt and humanitarian crisis. Moreover, this is the first time since the Spanish revolution of 1936 that a Left party has won general elections in Europe.

Over the years, SYRIZA which started mobilizing support against the disastrous liberalization-globalization regime dictated to Greece, has been steadily increasing its support base. It climbed from 4% to 27% in the 2012 elections, when it managed to represent the social dynamics of the massive social movements rocking Greece.  After 2012, when the New Democracy-PASOK coalition government pushed harder on the neoliberal 'restructuring', SYRIZA captured the growing discontent and disillusionment in Greece. As Owen Jones points in the Guardian, it is the middle-aged working class women who have played a major role in this victory. He reports: "Outside the Greek finance ministry are cleaners who used to work there, until 16 months ago – like so many Greeks – they lost their jobs. 'We were just numbers, not human beings,' one tells me. Ever since, they've camped outside, battled riot police, and become iconic figureheads of the struggle against austerity. Plastered around their camp are defiant posters: a clenched fist in a kitchen glove, a cleaner sweeping away Greece's discredited, despised political elite. 'We hope to take back our lives, our jobs,' I'm told. 'After so many years, to be happy again'... Greece is a society that has been progressively dismantled by EU-dictated austerity. Outside one polling station, I speak to Georgia, who works at a hospital clinic manned by volunteers which caters for the impoverished. For unemployed Greeks denied access to the public healthcare system, such clinics are lifelines. Georgia has one clear ambition – that after a year or two of a Syriza-led government, her clinic will no longer be needed and will close. Syriza supporters speak often more as though they are in a disaster zone than competing in an election. Dealing with the "humanitarian crisis" is described as the new government's number one priority."

SYRIZA has won the elections on two specific proposals: (1) a social salvation plan to ameliorate the consequences of the neoliberal onslaught on the lower classes, and (2) a plan to re-negotiate the Greek public debt with the EU and the IMF, in order to make it sustainable. The emphatic win to these proposals is surely a mandate for the massive anti-austerity protests in Greece and Europe. Moreover, this mandate is an inspiration for movements in India and the rest of the world against anti-people, neoliberal policies. After Latin America, now Europe too is challenging the 'There is No Alternative' (TINA) narrative, and is reasserting the Left, defying those who had announced the demise of the Left and victory of capitalism long ago. No wonder then, that the IMF, as well as the powerful elite in Europe, have already stated that the victory of SYRIZA might have a huge 'destabilizing' effect in the whole of Europe.



Rajni Kothari

Veteran political scientist and civil libertarian, Rajni Kothari passed away on 19th January 2015. He was 87. He was among the founders of the People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and later its President. He was also the founder of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, an institute that continues to produce important and original research in the social sciences. He set up the Lokayan as a forum for dialogue between activists and intellectuals.

Rajni Kothari helped draft the manifesto of Jayprakash Narain's Janata Party. However, he became critical of the Janata experiment. In the wake of the anti-Sikh massacre in 1984, he was among the authors of the meticulous and damning fact-finding report by the PUCL and PUDR, titled "Who are the guilty?", that named the guilty Congress leaders. 

He was a close observer and friend of the Indian People's Front; especially of the IPF's rise in the Hindi belt, its opposition to the draconian press bill, and the powerful peasant movement led by the CPI(ML) and IPF in Bihar that also blazed the trail for social justice. After the Bathani Tola massacre in Bihar in 1996, he was part of a committee to pursue justice. Rajni Kothari will be remembered as a path-breaking social scientist and political commentator, who inspired and influenced many political scientists and activists.


Jasodhara Bagchi

Veteran academic and women's movement activist, Prof Jasodhara Bagchi passed away on January 9 at the age of 77. She taught English Literature at Jadavpur University in Kolkata since 1963, till her retirement in 1997. She was a Left activist, close to the CPI(M), and a dedicated activist of the Left women's movement. She helped found the discipline of Women's Studies in Jadavpur University and India. She initiated the publication of the Bengali Women Writers Reprint Series, to safeguard and showcase women's writings that might otherwise be lost. She wrote extensively on women's struggles.

The launch of her latest book, Parijayee Nari O Manabadhikar (Migrating Women and Human Rights), at the Kolkata Book Fairwas stalled by the Mamata Banerjee Government which termed it as "politically controversial", presumably for its Left perspective.

She served as the Chairperson of the West Bengal State Commission for Women from 2001 to 2008. Salute to Jasodhara Bagchi, whose legacy will inspire the Left movement and women's movement in India. 


Mike Marqusee

Mike Marquesee, academic, writer and activist, passed away on 13 January 2015, after a long battle with multiple myeloma. Mike, an American school student of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry had been influenced by Malcolm X and black resistance. He shifted to England in protest against the Vietnam War, and ever since lived primarily in Britain. He raised his voice against various forms of religious fundamentalisms – opposing the diktats against Salman Rushdie, and the communal campaign to destroy to Babri Masjid in India.

In Britain Mike was known for both his writings and his activism – he was the main Press Officer for the Stop The War Coalition that organized the over a million people march in London against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. At a time when Israel racist genocidal assaults on Palestine continued, Mike Marqusee was a refreshing secular, anti-Zionist voice committed to the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people. He contributed a fortnightly column to The Hindu and was a regular columnist for Britain's largest circulation leftwing magazine Red Pepper. Salute to Mike Marqusee!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

പാരീസില്‍ മാദ്ധ്യമ പ്രവര്ത്തകര്‍ക്കുനേരെ നടന്ന കൂട്ടക്കൊലയെ അപലപിക്കുക സി പി ഐ (എം എല്‍ )

പാരീസില്‍ മാദ്ധ്യമ പ്രവര്ത്തകര്‍ക്കുനേരെ നടന്ന കൂട്ടക്കൊലയെ  അപലപിക്കുക
സി പി ഐ (എം എല്‍ )

പാരീസ് ആസ്ഥാനമായുള്ള ചാര്‍ലീ ഹെബ്ഡോ മാസികയുടെ പ്രവര്‍ത്തകരായ കാര്ട്ടൂണിസ്റ്റുകളേയും മറ്റ് പത്രപ്രവര്‍ത്തകരേയും കൂട്ടക്കൊല ചെയ്ത പൈശാചികമായ പ്രവൃത്തിയെ സി പി ഐ (എം എല്‍ ) ലിബറേഷന്‍ ശക്തിയായി അപലപിക്കുന്നു .
ചാര്‍ലീ ഹെബ്ഡോ മാസിക പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച കാര്‍ട്ടൂണുകള്‍ ഇസ്ലാമിനേയും പ്രവാചകന്‍ മുഹമ്മദിനേയും അപകീര്ത്തിപ്പെടുത്തുന്നതായി ആര്ക്കെങ്കിലും തോന്നുന്നുവെങ്കില്‍ അവര്ക്ക് ജനാധിപത്യപരവും സമാധാനപരവുമായ രീതിയില്‍ പ്രതിഷേധിക്കാമായിരുന്നു.പാരീസ് കൂട്ടക്കൊലയുടെ മാതൃകയിലുള്ള ഭീകര പ്രവര്ത്തനങ്ങള്‍ വാസ്തവത്തില്‍ ആഗോളതലത്തില്‍ മുസ്ലിം വിരുദ്ധ പ്രചാരണങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് വളംവെച്ചു കൊടുക്കുകയാണ് ചെയ്യുന്നത് . അധിനിവേശയുദ്ധങ്ങള്‍ക്കും മൂന്നാം മുറയിലുള്ള പോലീസ് പീഡനങ്ങള്‍ക്കും  വേണ്ടിയാണ് ഇസ്ലാമോഫോബിയ (മുസ്ലിം വിരുദ്ധത ) യുടെ പ്രത്യയശാസ്ത്രം ഇന്ന് ഉപയോഗിക്കപ്പെടുന്നത്..
 പ്രത്യേക മത വിശ്വാസപ്രമാണങ്ങള്‍ സ്വീകരിക്കാത്ത  കാര്‍ട്ടൂണിസ്റ്റുകള്‍ക്കും എഴുത്തുകാര്ക്കും സിനിമാ സംവിധായകര്ക്കും കലാരംഗത്ത് പ്രവര്‍ ത്തിക്കുന്നവര്‍ക്കും എതിരേ ഹിംസയും ഉപരോധവും ആവശ്യപ്പെടുന്നവര്‍ക്ക്  ജനാധിപത്യ സമൂഹത്തില്‍ സ്ഥാനമില്ല. ഇസ്ലാമോഫോബിയയുടെ പ്രചാരകരിലൊരാളായ ആന്‍ഡേര്സ് ബ്രെയ്വിക്  നോര്‍വേയില്‍ നടത്തിയ കൂട്ടക്കൊല , സല്മാന്‍ റുഷ്ദിക്കെതിരെ നിലനില്ക്കുന്ന വധഭീഷണി,ഇന്ത്യയിലും ബംഗ്ലാദേശിലും പീഡിപ്പിക്കപ്പെട്ട തസ്ലീമാ നാസ്റീന്‍, പെഷ് വാറില്‍ നടന്ന കൂട്ടക്കൊല, എം എഫ് ഹുസെയിനെ ഇന്ത്യ വിട്ട് മറ്റൊരു രാജ്യത്ത് അഭയം തേടാന്‍ നിര്ബന്ധിതമാക്കും വിധത്തില്‍ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന് നേരേ ഉണ്ടായ പീഡനം,ഹിന്ദുത്വ ഗ്രൂപ്പുകള്‍ ഉയര്ത്തിയ ഭീഷണി നിമിത്തം വെന്റി ഡോണിഗറിന്റെ പ്രസിദ്ധീകൃതമായ ഗ്രന്ഥത്തിന്റെ കോപ്പികള്‍ പ്രസാധകര്‍ തന്നെ അരച്ച് നശിപ്പിച്ചത്, പികെ എന്ന സിനിമയുടെ പ്രദര്‍ശനത്തിനെതിരെ  അടുത്തയിടെ  ഹിന്ദുത്വ സംഘടനകള്‍ തിയ്യെറ്ററുകളില്‍ അഴിച്ചുവിട്ട ആക്രമണം - ഇവയെല്ലാം തന്നെ മതവികാരം മുന്‍ നിര്ത്തിയോ, ദേശപരമായോ  അരങ്ങേറിയ കടുത്ത അസഹിഷ്ണുതയുടെയും സങ്കുചിതത്വത്തിന്റെയും ഉല്‍പ്പന്നമായ ഹിംസാത്മകതയ്ക്ക് ഉദാഹരണങ്ങളാണ് .   
ഫ്രാന്സിലും ജര്മ്മനിയിലും മറ്റ് യൂറോപ്യന്‍ രാജ്യങ്ങളിലും  അടുത്തകാലത്തായി ഇസ്ലാമോഫോബിയയും, മറുനാടുകളില്നിന്നു കുടിയേറിത്താമസക്കാരായ വിദേശ വംശജര്ക്കെതിരായ ആക്രമണോല്സുകമായ  വിദ്വേഷവും വര്ദ്ധിച്ചു വരികയാണ്.
ചാര്‍ലീ ഹെബ്ഡോ ആക്രമണം, കൂടുതല്‍  ഇസ്ലാമോഫോബിയയ്ക്കും വംശീയ വിദ്വേഷങ്ങള്‍ക്കും ഭരണകൂടത്തിന്റെ ഭാഗത്തുനിന്നുള്ള വംശീയ പക്ഷപാതപരമായ ചെയ്തികള്‍ക്കും ഒഴിവുകഴിവായി ഉപയോഗിക്കപ്പെടില്ലെന്ന് നാം ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നു.
 കാര്‍ട്ടൂണിസ്റ്റുകളുടേയും  എഴുത്തുകാരുടേയും കലാപ്രവര്ത്തകരുടേയും ആവിഷ്കാര സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യങ്ങള്‍ പൂര്ണ്ണമായും സംരക്ഷിക്കപ്പെടേണ്ടതുണ്ട് .അതോടൊപ്പം , യൂറോപ്പിലും ലോകത്തിന്റെ ഇതര ഭാഗങ്ങളിലും ഉള്ള മത ന്യൂനപക്ഷങ്ങളുടെയും -വംശീയ ന്യൂനപക്ഷങ്ങളുടെയും അന്തസ്സും അവകാശങ്ങളും സംരക്ഷിക്കപ്പെടണം.
പാരീസ് കൂട്ടക്കൊലയുടെ പശ്ചാത്തലത്തില്‍  ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ സംഘ പരിവാരം ശ്രമിച്ചുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നത് ഇസ്ലാമിനും മുസ്ലിങ്ങള്‍ക്കുമെതിരെ  വിദ്വേഷം കെട്ടഴിച്ചു വിടാന്‍ ആണ്. "വിശ്വാസം സംരക്ഷിക്കുന്നതിന്റെ പേരില്‍"ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ ഏറ്റവുമധികം ഹിംസകള്‍ അരങ്ങേറിയത് സംഘ പരിവാറിന്റെയും ഇതര ഹിന്ദുത്വ സംഘടനകളുടേയും ആഭിമുഖ്യത്തില്‍ ആയിരുന്നുവെന്ന സത്യം നാം മറന്നുകൂടാ . എം കെ ഗാന്ധിയുടെ വധം മുതല്‍ ഗ്രഹാം സ്റ്റീനിനെയും അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ഇളം പ്രായക്കാരായ രണ്ട് കുട്ടികളെയും ചുട്ടുകൊന്നതും ,മുസ്ലിം- ക്രിസ്ത്യന്‍ ന്യൂനപക്ഷങ്ങളെ ലക്ഷ്യമാക്കി നിരവധി ഹിംസകള്‍ നടത്തിയതും വരേയുള്ള കൃത്യങ്ങള്‍ അവയില്‍പ്പെടും.  നോര്‍വേയില്‍ എഴുപതിലധികം ചെറുപ്പക്കാരെ കൂട്ടക്കൊല ചെയ്യാന്‍ ആന്‍ഡേര്സ് ബ്രെയ്വിക്  ന് ഒരു പരിധിവരെ പ്രചോദനം ആയതും   ഇന്ത്യയിലെ സംഘ പരിവാറിന്റെ പ്രത്യയശാസ്ത്രവും ഹിംസാത്മകമായ  പ്രവര്ത്തന ശൈലിയും ആയിരുന്നു .
മതങ്ങളുടെ പേരില്‍ വെറുപ്പും ഹിംസയും വളര്ത്താനുള്ള എല്ലാ വിധ ശ്രമങ്ങള്‍ക്കുമെതിരെ ഇന്ത്യന്‍ ജനത ലോകത്തിലെ ഇതര ജനവിഭാഗങ്ങള്‍ക്കൊപ്പം ഉച്ചത്തില്‍ ശബ്ദം ഉയര്ത്തേണ്ടിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

ഭരണത്തിന്റെ മോഡി മാതൃക :
ഇന്ത്യന്‍ കൃഷിക്കാര്ക്കും അവകാശങ്ങള്ക്ക് വേണ്ടി നിലകൊള്ളുന്നവര്ക്കും നേരെ ഭരണകൂട അടിച്ചമര്‍ത്തല്‍;
വിദേശ കോര്‍പ്പറേഷനുകള്‍ക്ക് നേരെ ഉദാരമായ പ്രീണനനയം.

റ്റൊരു റിപ്പബ്ലിക് ദിനം കൂടി ആസന്നമായിരിക്കേ, ഇന്ത്യന്‍ ജനാധിപത്യ വ്യവസ്ഥയ്ക്കും റിപ്പബ്ലിക്കിനും മേലെ പതിഞ്ഞ കോര്‍പ്പറേറ്റ്  ആധിപത്യത്തിന്റെയും - വര്ഗീയതയുടേയും നിഴലുകള്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ ഇരുണ്ടുവരികയാണ്.  അമേരിക്കന്‍ കോര്പ്പറേഷനുകളുടെയും മറ്റു ബഹുരാഷ്ട്ര കമ്പനികളുടേയും താല്‍ പ്പര്യങ്ങള്‍ സംരക്ഷിക്കാന്‍ വേണ്ടി ഒരു വശത്ത് ഇന്ത്യയിലെ തൊഴിലാളി വര്ഗ്ഗത്തിനും കര്ഷക ജനതയ്ക്കും സാമാന്യ ജനങ്ങള്ക്കും ലഭ്യമായിരുന്ന നിയമപരമായ സംരക്ഷണ വ്യവസ്ഥകളില്‍ തുടര്ച്ചയായി വെള്ളം ചേര്‍ത്തുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന മോഡി സര്ക്കാര്‍ മറു വശത്ത്  പ്രതിഷേധിക്കുന്ന കര്ഷകരേയും ജനകീയ പ്രവര്ത്തകരേയും 'വിദേശ ഏജന്റു' കളായി ചാപ്പ കുത്തി ജെയിലില്‍ അടയ്ക്കുകയും അവരുടെ യാത്രകള്‍ മുടക്കുകയുമാണ് .
ഗുജറാത്തില്‍  "വൈബ്രന്റ്റ് ഗുജറാത്ത് "ഉച്ചകോടിയ്ക്കിടെ, ഭൂമി ഏറ്റെടുക്കല്‍ ഓര്ഡിനന്സിനെതിരെ വ്യാപകമായ കര്ഷക പ്രതിഷേധം നടക്കുകയാണ് ഗുജറാത്തിലെ കര്ഷക ജനവിഭാഗങ്ങളെ കരുതല്‍ ത്തടങ്ങലില്‍ പാര്പ്പിച്ചുകൊണ്ടാണ് സര്ക്കാര്‍ .പ്രതിഷേധങ്ങളെ നേരിട്ടത് . ഗ്രീന്‍ പീസ്‌ സംഘടനയുടെ ഒരു വനിതാ ആക്ടിവിസ്റ്റിനെ നാട്ടിലേക്ക് വിമാനം കയറുന്നതില്‍ നിന്നും ഗുജറാത്ത് ഗവണ്‍ന്മെന്റ് തടഞ്ഞു നിര്‍ത്തി.ഇന്റലിജെന്‍സ് ബ്യൂറോ യുടെ നിര്‍ദ്ദേശമനുസരിച്ച്  ആണ് അത് ചെയ്തതെന്ന് വിശദീകരിക്കുമ്പോഴും ഒരു കാരണവും വ്യക്തമാക്കാന്‍ ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട അധികൃതര്‍ക്ക് സാധിച്ചിരുന്നില്ല .
 എസ്സാര്‍ കോര്‍പറേഷന്‍ വനാവകാശ നിയമം ലംഘിക്കുന്നതിന്  എതിരായുള്ള ജനകീയ പ്രതിഷേധങ്ങളുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെടുത്തിയായിരുന്നു  പ്രസ്തുത ഗ്രീന്‍ പീസ്‌ ആക്റ്റിവിസ്റ്റിന്റെ വിമാനയാത്ര അധികാരികള്‍ മുടക്കിയത് എന്നതാണ് വസ്തുത . എസ്സാര്‍ കോര്‍പറേഷന്‍ ഒരു യു കെ ലിസ്റ്റഡ്‌ കമ്പനിയായതിനാല്‍,  ഇന്ത്യയിലെ വനാവകാശ നിയമം ലംഘിച്ച് ആദിവാസി ജനതയ്ക്ക് ദുരിതങ്ങള്‍ സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്ന കമ്പനിയുടെ പ്രവര്ത്തനം ആ മേഖലയില്‍ നിയന്ത്രിക്കാന്‍  ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് പാര്‍ലമെന്റിലെ  അംഗങ്ങളുടെ മേല്‍ സമ്മര്ദ്ദം ഉണ്ടാക്കുകയായിരുന്നു അവരുടെ യാത്രയുടെ ലക്‌ഷ്യം എന്ന് അധികൃതര്‍ക്ക് സൂചന ലഭിച്ചിരുന്നു.  
'വിദേശത്തുനിന്നും ഫണ്ടുകള്‍ സ്വീകരിക്കുന്ന ചില സര്ക്കാരിതര സംഘടനകള്‍' ഇന്ത്യയുടെ ദേശീയ സാമ്പത്തിക സുരക്ഷിതത്വത്തിന് ഭീഷണി സൃഷ്ടിക്കുകയാണെന്ന് 2014 ജൂണില്‍ കേന്ദ്ര സര്ക്കാരിനു റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട്‌ സമര്പ്പിച്ച അതേ ഐ ബി യാണ് ഗ്രീന്‍ പീസ്‌ ആക്ടിവിസ്ടിന്റെ  ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ യാത്ര മുടക്കാന്‍ രംഗത്ത് വന്നത് എന്നത്  യാദൃശ്ചികമല്ല.
(to be concluded)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

ML Update | No. 03 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 03 | 13-19 JAN 2015

Modi Model of Governance:

Repression on Indian Farmers and Activists, Wooing Foreign Corporations

As India approaches Republic Day, the corporate-communal shadows over the Indian Republic and Indian democracy become darker. The Modi Government, even as it dilutes protections for India's workers, farmers and citizens to woo US corporations and other MNCs, is branding protesting farmers and activists as 'foreign agents' to jail them and prevent them from traveling.

The Vibrant Gujarat jamboree held recently was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry as well as a range of US corporations and other MNCs, along with Indian CEOs like Mukesh Ambani and Kumar Mangalam Birla. Addressing this gathering, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited them to 'Make in India', promising them 'low-cost manufacturing' thanks to 'India's low-cost and high quality manpower'; and highlighted his Government's initiative in ensuring FDI in construction, railways, defence, and insurance as well as labour law reforms.

'Low cost manpower' is nothing but a euphemism for under-paid and over-worked workers, and lax safety norms at the workplace. In India's factories, labour laws – especially those ensuring payment of minimum wages, equal pay for equal work, and the right to form unions – are already being widely violated. Modi's contribution has been to declare that manufacturers can now 'self-certify' their compliance with labour laws – effectively telling them that the Government has shrugged off any responsibility to enforce labour laws. Recent revelations of women being made to clean spit as punishment for being found with a mobile phone on textile factory premises, and 45 women being strip searched in an SEZ to check for sanitary napkins, are just a small indicator of how workers 'Make in India' in conditions of virtual bondage. Deaths on construction sites, in factories, mines and in sanitation work thanks to lax safety regulations, are extremely common. The Bhopal disaster, as well as countless farmers and adivasis killed in police firing on protests against land grab, are a reminder that not only is labour 'low cost', lives in India are also kept 'low cost' in order to attract and appease Indian and foreign corporations. Kerry has stated that what Obama would like to achieve in the course of his Republic Day visit, is to further dilute the Civil Nuclear Liability law, in order to make India foot the bills for any Bhopal- or Fukushima-style disasters by US nuclear corporations on Indian soil.      

Strangely, while foreign corporations are being given a red carpet welcome and carte blanche to grab land, pollute the environment, poison people, violate labour laws and exploit labourers, it is protesting farmers and activists who are being branded as 'threats' to India's development and internal security!

During the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Gujarat's farmers were detained to prevent them from protesting against the land acquisition ordinance. A Greenpeace activist was prevented from boarding a plane – on the pretext that the Intelligence Bureau had recommended a ban on her travel. The Government itself has as yet been unable to provide any reason for a ban on the activist's travel, except some shadowy IB recommendation.

BJP representatives have been defending the ban on the activist's travel, citing her role in protests against violations of the Forest Rights Act by the corporation Essar. Essar being a UK-listed company, the activist was planning to apprise lawmakers in the UK about the company's role in violating Indian laws protecting indigenous people's rights to forests.

The ban on the Greenpeace activist's travel can be traced back to the IB report submitted to the PM on June 2014, that had claimed a threat from 'foreign funded NGOs' to India's national economic security.

The ironic part is that the same Government is promoting foreign funding in every aspect of India's economy – at a considerable cost to India's workers, peasants, and environment. The Chief Economic Advisor to the PM – like the Planning Commission Chief and the PM himself in the previous Government – are associated with the IMF. Thanks to these ideologically motivated persons, India's economic policy is being tailored to suit the interests of global capital rather than the priorities of India's people.

The sheer hypocrisy of the Government is apparent from the fact that even a Modi Cabinet Minister – the Railways Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, heads a foreign-funded environmental NGO. Many global corporations also float NGOs to 'greenwash' their assaults on the world's environment. Clearly, these NGOs escape the IB radar because they tend to toe the Government and corporate line in terms of policies! Only those that are voices of dissent are branded as a 'threat' and face curbs on their freedom of speech, travel, and protest.

It has been rightly pointed out that Modi, when he was Gujarat CM, had signed an MOU with an NGO 'The Climate Group', that is linked with the former UK PM Tony Blair. Modi's book on climate change has a foreword by the head of this same foreign-funded NGO! In 2009, a cabal of senior Indian ministers, bureaucrats, diplomats and corporate CEOs were exposed having secret conversations with MNCs and US Government officials about how to save Dow Chemicals from its liabilities of clean up and compensation in the matter of the Bhopal Gas Disaster. Clearly, Indian Governments allow their own leaders to have secret conversations and deals with foreign corporations and foreign governments to protect MNCs that have the blood of Indian citizens on their hands! Yet they deplane an environmental activist on the pretext that she has no right to brief UK lawmakers about crimes committed by the UK-listed corporation!

As we approach Republic Day, let Indian citizens rise up against the 'company Raj' regime of the Modi Sarkar – and tell Modi and Obama alike that it is their policies that endanger the security of India and the globe!

Condemn the Paris Attacks, Resist Islamophobia and Expose 'Free Speech' Hypocrisy

The massacre of the journalists and cartoonists at the Paris-based magazine Charlie Hebdo is heinous and condemnable. Terrorist actions like the Paris massacre can only become fodder for the global campaign of Islamophobia that is being used to justify wars, occupations, and torture.

Along with the Paris massacre, the Norway massacre by the Islamophobic Anders Breivik; threats against Salman Rushdie; the persecution of Taslima Nasreen in Bangladesh and in India; the Peshawar massacre; the harassment of MF Hussain, forcing him to leave India; the pulping of Wendy Doniger's book under threats from Hindutva groups; the recent vandalisation of theatres showing the film PK, and the hounding of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, forcing him to announce his 'death as an author' – all are instances of violence and terrorism in the name of religious fanaticism and xenophobia. There are countless other instances of Governments (from the USA to Israel to France to India) hounding dissenting political journalists, whistleblowers, writers, filmmakers and so on.  

Violence or demands for bans against cartoonists, writers, filmmakers or artists who are irreverent to one's faith, cannot have any place in a democratic world. Undoubtedly everyone has a right to take offence to or express dissent or protest against writings, art or films. But such opposition should be expressed in words, in art, in films, or in peaceful protest. Threats, actual violence or bans stifle the very spirit of democracy. 

Condemnation of the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo staffers, however, cannot mean condoning the content of their cartoons. It is true that Charlie Hebdo did carry cartoons that sought to 'offend' other religions too, including Christianity. The use of images of the Prophet in defiance of religious prohibitions, in itself, is not what makes the Charlie Hebdo cartoons offensive. The fact is that the bulk of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons since 2001 have been of a coarsely racist, misogynist, Islamophobic variety. Steeply rising Islamophobia the world over took the form of anti-immigrant xenophobic politics and hate-inspired violence in France in those years. In this backdrop, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons caricaturing Muslims for wearing beards and veils, displaying humiliating sexual violence against Muslim men and women, and sexist comments on Muslim women getting welfare benefits, are indistinguishable from garden-variety racism and xenophobia. Contrary to their claim, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons cannot be celebrated as Leftist iconoclasm or atheist irreverence. A former staffer of the magazine, Oliver Cyran, had in an article written before the massacre, scathingly criticized Charlie Hebdo for its racist, Islamophobic turn post 9/11.

The official 'secularism' of the French State also is beset with much the same problems as the Charlie Hebdo magazine. France's ban on the hijab or the display of 'conspicuous' religious symbols (which can be interpreted to mean bindis or turbans also) – which France claims is in the best tradition of French secularism – coincides with the xenophobic slurs and attacks on those same symbols. When wearers of bindis, burqas and turbans are vilified as 'pinheads', 'ragheads' and so on in many European countries and USA, the wearing of those symbols becomes a defence of identity and dignity. To ban those symbols amounts to serving the cause of racism, under the cloak of secularism and feminism! A recent article on Charlie Hebdo in a prominent Indian daily, that claimed the magazine was 'anti religion not anti Islam) commented that increasing immigration and "people of colour from former French colonies moving in as citizens of France" has caused "considerable strain on French identity." But if French 'secular' identity comes under "strain" thanks to diversity and immigration from the countries France itself colonized, then surely there is something deeply flawed about such 'secularism'? Can it be called 'secularism' at all if it cannot accommodate the social, cultural and religious self-expression of the 'Other' who are its former colonial subjects?         

The claim that freedom of expression is absolute – in France in general as well as in the Charlie Hebdo magazine – is false. France and other European countries have laws against anti-Semitic hate-speech. Charlie Hebdo sacked a staffer who was misleadingly accused of anti-Semitism on the grounds that he mocked at a French politician for marrying a Jewish heiress for money. Yet the same magazine saw nothing racist or Islamophobic in content mocking at Muslims or immigrants for their clothes or colour, with crude images of sexual violence. The problem seems to be France's inability to recognize Islamophobia and anti-Arab xenophobia as hate-speech at all. 

It is no coincidence that France is the first country in the world to ban pro-Palestine protests. It is no excuse that some of those protests were violent or anti-Semitic. After all, innumerable instances of Islamophobic violence has not resulted in any bans or curbs on Islamophobic 'self-expression' in France! The French State could and should have acted to prevent and punish any anti-Semitic violence, as also Islamophobic and xenophobic violence. But banning pro-Palestine demonstrations smacks of high hypocrisy on its claims of holding high the standard of 'Liberty' and 'free speech.' In France, sociologist Said Bouamama and rapper Saidou have been put on trial, under pressure from a far-right group, for a book and song they brought out in solidarity with French working class youth, and in protest against racism. In a statement after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Said and Saidou have called out the hypocrisy of the French State and warned against an explosion of racism and Islamophobia against working class immigrants.

The response of most ruling regimes to the Paris Attacks has been marked by hypocrisy and a self-serving agenda of boosting Islamophobia. One article exposing such hypocrisy notes, "The only person in prison for the C.I.A.'s abominable torture regime is John Kiriakou, the whistle-blower. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. Chelsea Manning is serving a thirty-five-year sentence for her role in WikiLeaks." A cartoon on the internet points to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's hypocrisy, with a caption saying "I assassinated 17 journalists, among 2143 other Palestinians in Gaza, only last summer. Today I walked in the first line in the Paris Rally, protesting terrorism and assuring freedom of speech is a basic right."     

The instances of hypocrisy from India also abound. The Sangh Parivar is trying to use the Paris massacre as a pretext to spread hatred against Islam and Muslims. It must be remembered that the Sangh Parivar and other Hindutva groups are the ones responsible for acts of horrific violence in the name of 'defending' their faith. These acts of violence include the assassination of MK Gandhi, the burning alive of Graham Staines and his two little sons, and numerous communal pogroms targeting Muslim and Christian minorities, as well as the organized intimidation against writings of Wendy Doniger, Perumal Murugan, Rohinton Mistry, AK Ramanujam; Anand Patwardhan's films; Facebook posts by Mumbai girls; MF Husain's art, to name just a few. Anders Breivik who massacred many young people in Norway, was inspired in part by the ideology and violent actions of the Sangh Parivar in India. The Modi Government is treating protests against land grab or destruction of forests as a form of 'blasphemy' against pro-corporate development, and has just prevented an activist from flying out of the country on these grounds.

Any attempt to frame the Paris Attacks – as 9/11 was framed – as an attack by Islam on Western values of 'democracy' and 'free speech' and to stoke Islamophobic panic and hatred, must be firmly resisted. Yes, the attacks are a heinous, terrible, unconscionable crime. But this crime cannot be used to shield and justify the crimes against humanity and freedom committed by the very same powers that masquerade as defenders of 'democracy' now. Racism, Islamophobia, communalism, wars and occupation, as well as repressive muzzling of critics of capitalism and imperialism, are real and present dangers to democracy as much as are the ISIS, the Taliban, the Boko Haram and other such outfits.      

Excerpts From Statement by Said and Saidou

Our book and song came about in the middle of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign to impose a racist definition of national identity.

One spontaneous response from young people in working class areas was to write graffiti on the walls saying "Nique la France"—"Fuck France".

This graffiti was political, and showed the youth's opposition. Of course, the mainstream media presented it instead as a danger to the republic.

Our book and song were intended to make sure this youth wasn't left isolated, by bringing the visible support of a sociologist and a musician.

They highlighted the France that we don't and can never love. The France of the counter-revolutionaries that put down the Paris Commune in 1871, Nazi collaborators, police searches, racist crimes, Islamophobia and Zionism.

A far right group attacked us for racism against "white people"—and the court decided to take their complaint seriously.

Apparently the book's tone is unforgivable. It is a call for the mobilisation and self-organisation of people in working class areas.

What's also unforgivable is that we've linked together different fights in one common denunciation of the global system.

In France's crisis-stricken society, the mere expression of revolt is considered dangerous.

Our trial is an attempt to intimidate activists in the hope that they stop expressing the anger that's present in the poorer classes and especially among young people from migrant backgrounds.

Now politicians and the media have captured the emotion that people feel at the Charlie Hebdo attack.

They are sending out a message of fear to justify repressive measures against working class areas that are living through massive impoverishment and racial discrimination.

The debate in the media is already focusing on the need for a French equivalent of the US Patriot Act passed after 9/11.

The calls for national unity are actually an attempt to divide ordinary people according to their religions—or their assumed religions. To do this, the state has to present young Arab and black people as a danger to safety.

In three days 50 Islamophobic acts have taken place in France.

The anger is great among people from migrant backgrounds. But the media hype is drowning it out.

Thousands of school and college students refused to take part in the minute's silence of the "I am Charlie" campaign.

Others put up their own posters, graffiti or tweets such as "I am Palestine" or "I am against Islamophobia".

We need to bring together these forces to refuse national unity and respond to the official campaign.

We want to send a message to working class areas of refusing to be intimidated, cowed or afraid. And it's a call for self-organisation and solidarity against the unprecedented repression that is on its way.

Nationwide protests against Land Acquisition Ordinance

After announcing the closure of the Parliament session two days before schedule, the Modi government, sensing all-pervasive opposition within as well as outside Parliament, issued an ordinance to amend the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, putting an end to the provision for farmers' consent before land acquisition. Immediately after this ordinance was issued, the All India Kisan Mahasabha strongly condemned this undemocratic and anti-farmer step of the Modi government and called for nationwide protests on 2 January 2015 demanding the repeal of this ordinance. Responding to this call, AIKM units across the country organized various protests.

In Uttar Pradesh, protests were held in the capital Lucknow, at Ghazipur district HQ, Jamania, Bhadora, Mhow district HQ, and Bareilly and at Moradabad, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur, Mirzapur, Kanpur, Banaras, Bhadouri, Sitapur, Kushinagar, Azamgarh and Mathura. Public meetings and protest marches were held in Giridih, Bagodar, Deori, and Ramgarh. In Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan), Bhind (Madhya Pradesh), Odisha, and in Durg (Chhattisgarh), memorandums were submitted by CPI(ML) demanding repeal of the ordinance.

In Andhra Pradesh, kisan marches, meetings, and effigy burnings were organized at several places including at the Eastern Godavari HQ Kakinada, in Karnool district, Krishna district, Srikakulam and Palasa, attended by farmers in large numbers. In Bindukhatta (Uttarakhand) farmers took out a protest march and burnt effigies of PM Modi. In West Bengal, protest marches, meetings, and effigy burnings were held at Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Nadiya and Bardhman.

In Punjab, 2 to 7 January 2015 was observed as protest week against the Ordinance, as well as against the Punjab government's "sarkari, gair sarkari, niji sampatti nuksaan rok" Bill. Protest rallies and meetings were held at Mansa, Bhikhi Bazar, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Bhatinda, Ferozpur and Karnal.

In Bihar, protest marches and effigy burnings were held at 9 block HQs in Patna district. During the rally in Patna city, it was announced that 27 Jan to 12 Feb 2015 would be observed as "statewide Kisan fortnight" to protest against the ordinance and to demand purchase of paddy from sharecroppers at purchase centres across the state. Protests were also held in different parts of Bhojpur as well as in Aurangbad, Arwal, Bhagalpur, Jehanabad, Vaishali, Rohtas, Western Champaran, Jamui, Siwan, Samastipur, Nalanda, and Buxar districts.

Convention in Coimbatore in support of Perumal Murugan

CPI(ML) Coimbatore city unit organised a convention on 11 January 2015 in Goundampalayam, Coimbatore, against the attacks on Tamil novelist Perumal Murugan and against the growing dangers of fascism. Speakers at the convention included CPI(ML) Politburo member comrade Kumarasamy, PUCL Tamil Nadu's general secretary comrade Balamurugan (who is also the author of the Tamil novel "Solagar Thotti" describing police atrocities on tribal people), author of the Tamil novel "Milirkal" comrade Murugavel, district executive committee members of CPI and CPI(M) comrades Subramanian and Arumugam, as well as state committee members of CPI(ML) comrades N.K. Natarajan and Chandramohan. The convention strongly condemned the call for a ban on Perumal Murugan's Tamil novel "Madhorubagan" (One Part Woman in English) by communal castiest forces and barons of private educational institutions. Though this book was written way back in 2010, the demand for its ban was raised in 2014 after the BJP came to power. The convention condemned the attitude of the state government, which is choosing to remain a silent spectator even as this fascist assault is being orchestrated.

Issues related to workers' rights in Tamil Nadu were also raised – the convention demanded that the state government protect the rights of the workers in the Foxconn factory in Tamil Nadu, and also take necessary steps to curb the rampant retrenchment in the IT sector. The convention demanded the arrest of the Korean officer of the Huyndai ancillary factory in Tamil Nadu, who violently attacked striking workers. The convention condemned the harassment and arrest of RTI activist and President of the Satta panchayat Siva Ilango based on a dubious complaint filed by the State Information Commission, and demanded the resignation of K.S. Sripathi, the State Information Commissioner.

Students' movement in Jadavpur University forces JU VC to resign

In a massive victory for the student movement the Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University (JU) has had to resign following unrelenting students' protests against the JU administration. The Hokkolorob movement has battled lathi charges and massive repression, as well as threats from the JU administration and from the West Bengal government, to constantly evolve fresh modes of resistance. In November 2014, a Referendum was conducted in JU – where students voted overwhelmingly in favour of the demands raised by the Hokkolorob movement. More than 90 per cent of the students demanded the resignation of the JU VC, the reconstitution of the ICC in order to ensure more democratic participation of students and gender justice, and against surveillance in the name of women's security. Subsequently, when the JU administration refused to respect the democratic mandate of the student community, students boycotted JU's annual Convocation ceremony as a mark of protest.

Given the continuing refusal of the JU administration to listen to students' voices and demands, JU students began an indefinite hunger strike in JU this January. When all means of repression and intimidation failed, the Vice Chancellor of JU finally had to resign. AISA and the JU student community are now preparing for the next round of battle to take forward their demands. They are planning to press very strongly for their demands to restructure the existing ICC in JU in order to democratize it and ensure gender justice. Moreover, the movement is also demanding strong action against one of the JU faculty members in the History department – who has a track record of sexual harassment and molestation complaints against him.

Expulsion of AISA UP State President for Organizing a Seminar Exposing 'Love Jihad' Bogey

In yet another shameful assault on campus democracy, the Lucknow University (LU) administration has expelled comrade Sudhanshu Bajpai, UP state president of AISA, from LU for the 'crime' of organizing a seminar on LU campus on the Love Jihad bogey and for burning the effigy of the UP Chief Minister at a subsequent protest held by AISA. The seminar against 'Love Jihad', which was to be addressed by AIPWA national secretary comrade Kavita Krishnan, was disrupted by ABVP.

LU is a UP state-run university, and even as the SP government in UP tries to claim its secular credentials, it exposes its real face by expelling a student for organizing a campaign against the Love Jihad lies. Even though the LU administration had initially given permission for AISA's seminar against the BJP's Love Jihad campaign, they yielded to ABVP's demands and on the day of the event, they orally claimed they had never given permission. In the days to come, AISA will be organizing sustained protests in UP, Delhi and elsewhere against Comrade Sudhanshu's expulsion.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

ML Update | No. 02 | 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  18 | No. 02 | 06 - 12 JAN 2015

Rajasthan Ordinance on Educational Qualification for Panchayat Candidates: 

Disenfranchising the Poor and Marginalized  

The BJP Government in Rajasthan has, days before panchayat polls in the State, introduced an ordinance mandating minimum educational qualifications for Panchayat candidates. According to the ordinance, a candidate should have passed Class 10 to contest the Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti polls; be Class 8 pass from any school to contest the Sarpanch elections on general seats and have passed Class 5 from a school to become a Sarpanch in the scheduled seats. The BJP Government has chosen to use the 'ordinance route' – bypassing any debate or vote in the Assembly, in spite of the fact that ordinances are meant only for emergency measures. What was the pressing emergency to deprive nearly 80% of the state's citizens from contesting the panchayat polls?

According to the Census 2011, rural literacy levels in Rajasthan are abysmally low – 61% for men and 45% for women. In the 2010 Rajasthan Panchayat polls, more than 70% of elected Panchayat Samiti members and 77% SC Panchayat Samiti representatives; 55% of Zila Parishad members; 61% of the Scheduled Caste and 63% of Scheduled Tribes representatives fail to meet the criteria specified by the ordinance. With this ordinance, the Rajasthan Government is punishing women, SC/ST persons, and the vast majority of rural Rajasthan for the failure of the State to ensure education for all!

The educational criterion imposed by the Ordinance is Class 5 pass for SC/ST reserved seats. But the fact is that STs have held even unreserved panchayat seats in some parts of the State – and may now be debarred by the Ordinance from doing so. Till now, a large number of the 27 panchayats of Shahabad block and 32 panchayats in Kishanganj block of Baran district have been held by Sahariya adivasis, beyond the seats reserved for STs. Now, the ordinance imposing and educational bar have ensured that very few among the Sahariyas will be able to contest.     

The ordinance becomes even more absurd when considered alongside the fact that 23 BJP MLAs and 2 BJP MPs in Rajasthan are below 10th pass, and 20% of the Modi Government's Cabinet Ministers are below 12th Pass. This means that Sarpanches in rural Rajasthan are required to meet educational criteria that MPs and MLAs, who enact laws for the country and the State, are exempt from.

The BJP Government's claim that this is a move to curb corruption is shockingly elitist, implying that those deprived of education are likely to be more corrupt. Local self-governance in rural areas is mandated by the 73rd Constitutional amendment that did not stipulate any minimum educational qualifications. 

The Supreme Court refused to entertain petitions against the ordinance, saying that the Rajasthan High Court was the correct forum to raise the issue. By failing to at least extend the deadline for filing nominations until the High Court can take up the matter, the Supreme Court has been remiss in its duty to protect Constitutional rights of citizens.

Rural Rajasthan and much of rural India are deprived of education. Levels of literacy and education among the Dalits, adivasis and women are especially low in India. The only criteria that need concern us about Panchayat representatives are their incorruptibility and their commitment to leading people's struggles for their rights. These criteria, needless to say, cannot be enforced by Governments but can only be pursued and enforced by the rural people, by demanding transparency and accountability from elected representatives.

The silence of the Modi-led Central Government on the Rajasthan ordinance disenfranchising the poorest and weakest of the rural population is yet another danger signal for India's democracy.    


Press Statement issued by Left Parties on Upcoming Visit of US President Barack Obama

Obama Visit: Observe Protest Day on January 24

The Modi government and the BJP have unleashed the forces of Hindutva which threatens the secular and democratic values of the Indian Republic. It is at such a juncture that the Government has invited President Obama of the United States of America to be the Chief Guest of the Republic Day on January 26.

It is a supreme irony that the day which symbolizes India's independence and sovereignty is being graced by the head of a country which has done the most to assault and destroy the sovereignty of many countries around the world. President Obama himself is responsible for the aggression in Libya and for the rerun of bombing and sending troops back to Iraq. The US is doing everything to destroy Syria as a national entity.

The Left parties protest the visit of President Obama because:

1.        The United States is targeting and destabilizing governments and countries in West Asia by military interventions like in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

2.        The United States is the patron and staunch supporter of Israel which occupies Palestinian land and Arab territories and subjects the Palestinian people to colonial oppression.

3.        The United States has shifted a substantial part of its naval and military resources to Asia as part of the pivot of Asia and is creating new military bases and tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

4.        US intervention in Afghanistan and role in Pakistan have nurtured fundamentalist forces, the disastrous consequences of which serve as a warning to India.

5.        US which wages wars in the name of defending democracy, is facing massive protests at home against racial murders by its police force. Further the terrible record of torture and Islamophobic profiling by the CIA with the approval of the US government has recently exposed the US as amongst the worst violator of human rights and democracy in the world.

The BJP government is pursuing a pro-US foreign policy which is contrary to an independent non-aligned foreign policy. This is being done in the interests of Indian and foreign monopoly capital.

The Left parties strongly protest:

1.        The decision to renew the India-US Defence Framework Agreement for another ten years. This is a pact which will yoke India to American military strategy in Asia.

2.        Seeking to pressurise India to change its foreign policy orientation vis a vis Palestine, Israel and Iran to suit US interests

3.        The relentless pressures exercised by the Obama administration on India to open up the financial sector to US capital, as a result of which the Modi government has promulgated an ordinance to allow 49 per cent FDI in the insurance sector.

4.        The strong pressure of the US to weaken the patents regime in India to benefit the US drug companies, so that they can sell drugs in India at high prices.

5.        America's pressures that India to give up its food security programme by undermining public procurement and the public distribution system.

6.        US pressuring India to weaken laws that protect labour rights and environment, to benefit US corporations.

7.        The Obama-Modi efforts to dilute the civil nuclear liability law to favour US nuclear companies.

The Left parties call for a Protest Day against the visit of President Obama on January 24.

Halt US aggression !

Stop interference in India's domestic matters !

Stop US-India strategic collaboration !


Prakash Karat, General Secretary, CPI(M)

Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary, CPI

Dipankar Bhattacharya General Secretary, CPI(ML)-Liberation

Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C)

Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary, AIFB

 Abani Roy, General Secretary, RSP

Successful Bihar Bandh by Niyojit Sewakarmi Samyukta Morcha

A state-wide bandh was organized on 22 December by the Bihar State Contractual-Honorarium Employees' United Front (Samyukt Morcha) pressing for an 8-point charter of demands, including scrapping of the contractual/honorarium based planning policy, ensuring permanent appointment and equal pay for equal work for all such employees, strict implementation of the Bihar government's resolution No. 2401 dated 18.07.2007, protection of trade union rights, repeal of oppressive actions and prompt appointments to fill vacant teaching and other posts.  Organizations associated with the Samyukt Morcha demonstrated in large numbers in districts, blocks and tehsil HQs across Bihar and ensured that the call for Bihar bandh was a big success.

In the capital Patna, a march from Gandhi maidan was organized by the Samyukt Morcha. It was led by chief patron Rambali Prasad, President Ranvijay Kumar, Gen. Secretary Shiv Shankar Prasad, AICCTU Gen. Secretary RN Thakur, Aasnarayan Singh, Devanand Thakur, Ravishankar Sinha, Binda Prasad, Shyam Prasad Sao, Upendra Prasad, Chhattu Prasad, Shatrughan Sinha, Premchand Sinha and others. Thousands of people participated in the march, including the Special Police Personnel Union, the Midday Meal Workers' Union, the Samvida (contractual) Ameen union, AICCTU and Mahasangh (Gope faction). The protest march proceeded from Gandhi maidan to the Dak Bunglow crossing. Several people who have passed the TET and STET exams also proceeded in a large procession from Gandhi maidan and reached the Dak Bunglow crossing, led by Markandey Thakur. Protestors and participants in the march gheraod the Dak Bunglow crossing. Thousands of protestors were arrested.

CPI(ML) activists came out on the streets throughout Bihar in support of the bandh and obstructed road and rail traffic at several places. About 500 Party activists marched from Gandhi maidan and courted arrest at the Dak Bunglow crossing, led by State secretary comrade Kunal, Politburo member comrade Amar, AIPWA Gen. Secretary Meena Tiwari, AIPWA State President Saroj Choube, comrades Shashi Yadav, Santosh Sahar, Rambali Yadav, Anita Sinha, AISA national secretary Abhyuday and RYA leader Naveen Kumar.

Addressing the protest meeting at the Dak Bunglow crossing, various speakers pointed out that the attitude of the government towards contract/honorarium workers is one of total neglect. These workers frequently come out on the streets to agitate on issues like planning and wages, but the government answers them only in the language of repression, lathis and bullets. This attitude and injustice was strongly condemned. The speakers also pointed out that whether it is the Modi government at the Centre, or the JD(U) government in Bihar, both implement neo-liberal policies and want to run the country on the basis of temporary planning through contract/honorarium where workers get no guarantee of either dignity or social security. Therefore, the policy of contractual planning must be totally reversed and the struggle for the implementation of permanent appointments must be strengthened. On the one hand, peoples' rights are being attacked and reduced, and on the other hand price rise and corruption are increasing. The Modi government has deeply betrayed the people of the country.

Addressing the meeting, AIPWA and AISA leaders said that a substantial number of women today labour as ASHA workers, midday meal workers, anganwadi workers and nurses, but they are not getting even minimum wages to take care of their families. The government has made their lives a veritable hell. The Delhi and Bihar governments sell dreams of employment to the unemployed, but they have no concrete policy for the youth. AISA and AIPWA leaders stressed that workers do not want contractual or honorarium jobs; their demand is for permanent, regular employment with dignity. Until the government can provide this, they should give unemployment allowance. If the government does not accede to these just demands, this agitation should be further escalated. After the meeting, the protesters marched on towards the kotwali and were arrested and kept inside the kotwali thana.

The bandh had a widespread effect in Patna rural district. About 800 Party supporters took to the streets in Paliganj, while 600 were arrested in Arwal and another 125 were arrested in Fatuha. The bandh was very effective in Ara, Sasaram, Buxar, Motihari, western Champaran, Siwan, and Bhagalpur. In Nawada, CPI(ML) and AIPWA participated in large numbers – and 234 women were arrested for participating in the protest. Beguserai and Darbhanga also saw large numbers of protesters out on the streets, as did Samastipur, where 200 activists were arrested. In Vaishali AICCTU, Mahasangh (Gope faction) and CPI(ML) launched a strong agitation to make the bandh a huge success.  Hundreds of workers from the Bihar Shiksha Pariyojana Parishad Employees' Union protested on the Patna-Hajipur National Highway and kept it blocked for about 2 hours. People who have passed the TET and STET exams turned out in large numbers to protest and sat on a dharna in Hajipur. On the eve of the bandh, on 21 December, over 150 contractual workers held a mashal juloos and protest meeting. Protest marches were also taken out at Shekhpura, Madhubani, Saharsa, Supoul, Chhapra, Kaimur, Lakhiserai, Banka, Sitamarhi, and other districts.

AIKM Protest in Uttarakhand

The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) held a protest at Lalkuan tehsil, against the state government's moves to declare Bindukhatta a municipality. The protest demanded that Bindukhatta should be declared a revenue village. The protesters gathered in hundreds and made their way, shouting slogans, through Lalkuan bazaar to the tehsil headquarters, led by Kisan Mahasabha National Secretary comrade Purushottam Sharma, senior AIKM leader Bahadur Singh Jangi, CPI(ML) district secretary Kailash Pandey, Bhuvan Joshi, Anand Sijwali and others. Following the protest, a memorandum of objection, signed by several people, was submitted to the Director, Urban Development (Uttarakhand) through the tehsildar.

Addressing the protest meeting at Car Road, comrade Purushottam Sharma pointed out the various reasons behind the opposition to making Bindukhatta in Nainital district a municipality. Bindukhatta is a fully rural area, and its residents are dependent for their livelihood on rural occupations such as farming, animal husbandry, and associated occupations. Therefore, the appropriate step towards development of Bindukhatta would be to declare it a revenue village. If it is made a municipality, these traditional occupations will not only be badly affected, they actually stand in danger of being completely annihilated. Comrade Sharma pointed out that Bindukhatta is situated entirely in forest land, and the people here have long been demanding its transfer from the forest department to the revenue department. They have also been demanding that residents be given ownership rights of the land. All political parties and all ruling governments had promised to fulfill this demand. But the present government's decision to make it a municipality rather than a revenue village means an effective death of all aspirations of the local residents to get ownership rights to the land. Comrade Sharma stated that the government must answer the peoples' question: why can't the government transfer the forest lands in the name of the poor people instead of handing over land to companies such as Birla, Indian Oil, and sleeper factories as well as to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)? 

Comrade Kailash Pandey pointed out that the interim notification of the government in this regard was not even published in the public domain, thereby not informing the public in time and not giving enough time for the people to register their protest. This proves that there are hidden political and economic ulterior motives behind the declaration of Bindukhatta as a municipality.

Senior leader Bahadur Singh Jangi said that we reiterate our long-standing demand for making Bindukhatta a revenue village and we demand that the proposal of forming the municipality be immediately taken back, so that the local residents can get ownership rights to their land and get all the constitutional rights under the Panchayati Raj law. Hundreds of protesters, including Pushkar Dubadiya, Vimla Raunthan, Nirmala, Basanti Bisht, Gangaram and Kamlapati Joshi were present at the meeting.

Dharna Demanding Relief for Cyclone Victims

On 28 November 2014, Left  parties held a massive  dharna at the Vishakapatnam collectorate,  demanding relief and rehabilitation for the Hududh  cyclone victims in Andhra Pradesh. CPI(ML) state committee member  comrade B. Vasudeva Rao addressed the dharna on behalf of CPI(ML). Party leader comrade M. Ramachandra Raju and Visakha Building  Construction Workers'  Union Leader K. Ramana also participated. The dharna was addressed by leaders of various Left parties.  A detailed memorandum was also submitted to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and to the Inter-ministerial Central team for assessment of  the Hudhud cyclone.

It was demanded that the government should immediately survey, enumerate and register all the effected dwellings. Moreover, housing schemes should also put in place to address the needs of slum dwellers as well as tenant residents who live in rented spaces. It was also demanded that the government should fully compensate the agricultural losses, including losses incurred by tenant farmers. All industrial units – both large factories and public sector units, as well as small units – must be adequately compensated. The fishing industry, which suffered huge losses, should also be compensated, and relief should be provided to fishermen, fish vendors and fishing workers. Moreover, efforts should be made to immediately address the losses suffered in tribal areas due to loss of food crops and plantations. The memorandum of demands was signed by leaders of CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) New Democracy, SUCI(C) and MCPI(U).

Network Professionals in Karnataka Seeking Justice

Network Professionals of Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN), under the e-governance department of the Karnataka state government, and organized under the KSWAN Employees' Union affiliated to AICCTU, organized a protest march in Bangalore on 29 December 2014. Employees from various taluks and districts in Karnataka marched to Bangalore to meet the CEO of the e-govenrnance department, seeking justice.

The government has employed a contractor and a corporate company, United Telecom Limited to handle the services of video conferencing, internet telephony, data transmission, etc., that connect the state administration in various districts with the state administrative headquarters in Bangalore. These workers are maintaining the government's nerve centre of e-communication. However, the company has not even paid notified minimum wages to the workers. The backlog runs into two crores and more, including non-payment of PF dues. When the workers formed their union, affiliated to AICCTU, and sought legitimate demands, the management resorted to witch-hunting and unfair labour practices.

When workers and their leaders met the CEO Mr. Rathan Kelkar in Bangalore, he immediately convened a meeting of the Additional Labour Commissioner Mr. Jinkalappa, Union leaders Comrades Balan, Clifton and Shankar along with representatives of the company, UTL. The union demanded:

1. Regularisation and Absorption of all employees under government services.

2. Continuation of services of all employees in the government irrespective of change in contractor.

3. Clearing the legally due arrears as per government notification, the proceedings of which are pending before the Additional Labour Commissioner.

4. Immediately stopping unfair labour practices, including threat, intimidation and coercion of all employees.

The following decisions were also agreed upon:

1.        Services of workers will not be terminated unilaterally. Workers will not be removed as per the whims and fancies of the management of UTL and due procedures of law, including consideration of seniority and compensation, etc., will be followed upon.

2.        Legally due wage arrears will be cleared at the earliest as a part of labour department proceedings.

3.        The company will continue the services of employees till they continue with the contract and also explore options to accommodate the employees becoming surplus because of closure of Government Business Centers (GBCs) by the state government. All employees will be retained by the company in some form or other through mutual discussions.

4.        The government will positively consider options of engaging the services of all employees, including engaging them under KSWAN II and other government operations.

The union has decided to take up the issue of regularization of all employees under government services and continuation of their services even when the contractor is changed. This issue has to be pursued at appropriate levels, including approaching the Chief Minister of Karnataka, as the closure of GBCs is a decision by the state government.

March in Darbhanga demanding Justice for Baleshwar Paswan

A protest march was held in Darbhanga on 22 December 2014, demanding a speedy trial and action against the murderers of comrade Baleshwar Paswan. Despite widespread protests, all those involved in the murder of comrade Baleshwar Paswan have not yet been brought to book.  The protest march started from the polo grounds and culminated at the IG office in Darbhanga. A charter of demands was submitted at the IG office.

Addressing the protest march, CPI(ML) politburo member Dhirendra Jha called for unity of all progressive and democratic forces to fight political assassinations and feudal violence. In order to counter the growing communal fascist forces and the RSS-BJP combine, CPI(ML) is initiating a national platform of democratic forces while simultaneously strengthening all efforts at a united Left resistance. Comrade Satyadev Ram pointed out that several instances brutal murders, rapes and feudal casteist violence have come to light in Bihar in the past few months – with no action  being taken by the Bihar government. If arrests in the Baleshwar Paswan case do not happen within 15 days, the movement for justice will expand and reach Patna, he declared. The protest meeting was presided over by Ashok Paswan and conducted by comrade Abhishek Kumar. At the end, a 5-point political resolution was passed. 

AIALA protest in Devaria, UP

The All India Agricultural Labourers' Association (AIALA) held a protest in Devaria, UP, on 10 December 2014. After a 500-strong protest march which began from the CPI(ML) office in Devaria town and culminated at the district headquarters, a memorandum of demands against the policies of the Modi government in the Centre and the Akhilesh Yadav government in the state was submitted to the district administration. Moreover, for the time in the Bhagalpur block of the same district, a protest under the AIALA banner was held. Around 400 people participated in this protest which was led by AIALA district coordinator Sriram Kushwaha. A 5-point charter was submitted to the President, via the district administration and a 9-point charter of demands was submitted to the block development officer of Bhagalpur block.

The charter included the following demands: immediate rollback of all efforts to dilute MNREGA and reduce its funding, linking of MNREGA with agriculture, guarantee of year-old employment and payment of a minimum of Rs 300 per day, inclusion of families with monthly income of Rs 10,000 in the BPL list, implementation of Food Security Act in UP and provision of at least 15 kgs of food grains every month, inclusion of right to employment as a fundamental right, payment of pending dues to workers under the MNREGA schemes and end of corruption in the distribution of ration cards.

Midday meal workers' protests in Fatuha, Bihar

On 24 December 2014, AIPWA organized a protest of midday meal workers at the block headquarters of Fatuha in Bihar where several midday workers participated. Several demands of midday meal workers were raised including payment of the mandated Rs 15,000 per month, end to contratualisation in midday schemes, regular and timely disbursal of payments and end to exploitation of women. The protest was addressed by AIPWA stat secretary Saroj Choubey, Fatuha block Party secretary Shailendra Yadav, Deena Sav, Munna Pandit, Chandravati Devi, Sona Devi and others. At the end of the protest, a memorandum detailing these demands was submitted to the Fatuha block development officer.