The Rally For Rights

Following nearly a week long yatras (marches) across the state of Bihar that started from Begusarai on 11 February, the Adhikar Yatra undertaken by CPI(ML) finally culminated in a massive Adhikar Rally at the Veterinary College grounds in Patna on 19 February 2017. The rally saw a massive gathering of people united in their fight for justice, rights, and freedom from oppression. The rally which began with a musical tribute to the martyrs by the cultural team Hirawal was addressed by activists of various movements, survivors of violence and Left leaders.

On the dais, along with the mothers of Najeeb Ahmad and Dika Kumari, were survivors and family members of organized violence and state repression – including Jamila Khatun, wife of Comrade Shah Chand who died in custody after being falsely implicated and convicted under the draconian TADA, family members of martyrs killed by feudal-criminal forces in Araria, Saharsa, Darbhanga, Beguserai, Siwan, families of the Bathani massacre victims including Naeemuddin Ansari, wife of Com Bhaiyyaram killed by liquor mafia goons in Rohtas, wives of Com Satish Yadav, Budhram Paswan and Sanjay Chourasiya. Mother of Dika Kumari – agricultural labourer Kusumi Devi – said with great dignity and determination, “Dika is everyone’s daughter, and we will together fight injustice.”

RYA leader Comrade Manoj Manzil asked Modi and Nitish to answer what happened to their promises of jobs for youth of India and Bihar. AISA leader Shriprakash Ranjan – who himself had been a student of the Bhojpur Ambedkar school which the Ranveer Sena had attacked – spoke of the condition of schools for Dalits in Bihar. Aftab Alam, victimized by the NIA and now a leading organizer of Insaf Manch that helps win justice for others similarly being framed by the police or anti-terror agancies, also spoke very inspiringly at the rally. Jitendra Yadav, All India Kisan Mahasabha leader spoke about the farmers struggle against land grab by Bagmati dam project. CPI(ML) MLAs Sudama Prasad and Mahboob Alam also spoke at the rally. Comrade Gopal Ravidas, leader of struggles of rural poor and agricultural labourers; Comrade Rambali Prasad – leader of incentive and honorarium based workers; Shashi Yadav and Saroj Chaubey – AIPWA leaders and leaders of mid-day meal and ASHA workers; Nadeem Khan of AIPF and Insaf Manch Jharkhand; SK Sharma, leader of construction workers; AIARLA leaders Comrades Rameshwar Prasad and Dhirendra Jha; AIKM leader Rajaram Singh and AIPWA leader Kavita Krishnan also addressed the rally.

Addressing the rally CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the country is passing through a bizarre phase. Najeeb, who came to JNU to study, disappears. Dika Kumari is raped and murdered in a hostel in Bihar and the Bihar government with its tall claims of social justice remains silent. Adivasi youth Vinod Oraon is killed and Raju Hansda badly injured by police in custody in the name of ‘liquor ban’ while the real culprits, the liquor mafia, continue to thrive. The need of the hour is a united struggle against injustice, and this rally is an initiative to fulfill that need. The country elected the Modi government to power in the hope of “achhe din” and bringing back black money instead the anti-people demonetization has broken the economy and brought dire distress upon the poor. The migrant workers of Bihar have lost their livelihoods and have returned to Bihar but Nitish Kumar, oblivious to their sufferings, sang praises of the demonetization disaster. The state of education in Bihar is abysmal, as exposed by the topper scam and the BSSC scam which are sought to be hushed up through an SIT enquiry as was done in the VYAPAM scam in MP.

Com. Dipankar said that the poor have been stabbed in the back economically as well as politically. Dalits, minorities, farmers, workers and the poor are being brutally oppressed. But the central and state governments are mistaken if they think that the people will remain silent. The CPI(ML) was given a mandate to play the role of a responsible opposition in Bihar and we will fulfill that role by raising these issues in the Assembly and also by organizing the people to fight for their rights.

While addressing the rally, Com. Kunal, Bihar State Secretary said that the Party would hold protests at various District HQs on the issue of a high level enquiry into the BSSC scam and its political protection.

Speaking on the abysmal conditions of Kasturba Schools, Com. Meena Tiwari who conducted the Rally said that the government remains a mute spectator to the appalling conditions that are prevailing in Kasturba Schools, proving that it is insensitive, anti-dalit education and anti-women. Kusumi Devi narrated how after her daughter Dika’s murder the government tried to fob her off with a compensation of 4 lakhs but she was firm that she wants not money but justice for Dika. Najeeb’s mother Fatima Devi spoke of how Najeeb disappeared after being brutally beaten by ABVP goons and expressed the hope that the support and solidarity of the people would help in forcing the Central government to take steps to bring back Najeeb.
The Rally was also attended by many senior CPI(ML) leaders including Politburo members Comrades Swadesh Bhattacharya, DP Buxi, Ramji Rai, Prabhat Choudhury, Kartick Pal, Amar, Nand Kishor Prasad and CCMs Brij Bihari Pandey and Mrinmay.

The Adhikar Rally passed the following resolutions:

      1. Bihar’s migrant working class are worst affected by the Note Ban. People affected by the note ban should be compensated. All farmers’ loans should be waived. Corporate defaulters’ names should be made public. All poor and working class families should get a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each. The Union budget ignored the plight of the workers especially the unorganized sector; the Bihar budget should prioritize these issues and build pressure on the Central government.

2. The Rally expresses full solidarity with the mothers of Rohith Vemula, Najeeb and Dika and also all those who are victims of social injustice and oppression.

3. The rally condemns the oppression and atrocities in the name of the ‘liquor ban’ and demands action on the liquor mafia which is flourishing and has even established a thriving ‘home delivery’ network. Victimization, jailing and police brutality and killing of the poor in the name of the liquor ban is condemned and a high level enquiry into the police killings of Vinod Oraon and custodial violence against Raju Hansda is demanded.

4. The rally demands guarantee of quality education for all poor, dalit and deprived sections, implementation of RTE in private schools, and reinstatement of constitutional rights to dalits and deprived sections by the State government.

5. The rally demands guarantee of purchase of all farmers’ crops, loan waivers and free electricity to all farmers.

6. The government is denying the poor all land reform rights. Instead, land mafia are being encouraged and the poor, instead of being given 5 decimal homestead land as promised, are being evicted forcibly from ceiling, ancestral, parcha and red and green card lands. The government is in cahoots with the land mafia goons in the killings of dalits including Vakil Kunjra, Hira Paswan, Jagmaya Devi, Satyanarayan Yadav, Kamleshwari Rishidev and others. The rally pledges to fight for land rights of the poor and also expresses solidarity with the land rights struggle in other parts of the country, especially Gujarat.

7. The rally demands an immediate rollback of anti-people labour policies and demands regularization and pay for all honorarium and contract workers (such as ASHA, Anganwadi, Rasoiya and others) as per the Choudhury committee recommendations and implementation of the 7th Pay Commission scales for regular teachers.

8. The rally demands the immediate release and withdrawal of false charges on comrades Satyadev Ram, Amarjeet Kushwaha, all TADA prisoners and all those falsely arrested for political agitations.

9. The rally condemns the attempts of the Modi government and the Sangh to spread communal poison and incite riots and the silence of the Nitish government on these issues.

10. The constitutional and democratic values in the country are in grave danger and we are in a state of undeclared emergency. This rally calls for the strengthening of the agitation to “Remove Modi, Save Democracy”. In Bihar the Nitish government is unleashing a ‘police raj’ and injustice and atrocities on the people of the State. This rally calls for the end of such injustice and brutality and for the building of a new political alternative in Bihar.

The rally was addressed by several leaders of the CPI(ML) and affiliated mass organisations, as well as by other Left parties including the CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc, RSP, and SUCI(C). 