[From April 22 (Lenin’s birth anniversary and CPI(ML)’s Party Foundation Day) to May Day, people marched on foot all over rural India – their marches culminating on May Day in mass meetings at various state and district centres. This intensive campaign highlighted their rights and demands, exposed the Modi Government’s all-round betrayal, and robustly countered the divisive, communal fascist propaganda. Liberation brings you the highlights of the Padyatra.]
Janadhikar Padyatra In Bihar
The Janadhikar Padyatra calling for people’s rights, a riot-free Bihar, and for saving the Constitution and the country through the ouster of the BJP was flagged off on 25 April 2018 from the historic Polo Maidan in Laheriyaserai, Darbhanga. The Yatra would proceed via Madhopur, Bochahan, Muzaffarpur, Kudhni, Sarai and Hajipur and reach Gandhi Maidan in Patna on 1 May (International Labour Day) for the Jan Adhikar Mahasammelan. CPI (ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Central Committee members Comrades Kunal, Dhirendra Jha, Santosh Sahar, and CPI(ML)’s leaders of Darbhanga participated in the march.
Ravidas Sewa Sangh Secretaries Baliram Ram and Ranjit Ram, Bedari Karvan leaders Nazr-e-Alam and Prof Rahat Ali, AIPF leader Retd Col Laxmeshwar Mishra, Insaf Manch State Vice President Niyaz Ahmed and Mohd Imtiyaz also reached Polo Maidan for the ‘Polo Maidan to Gandhi Maidan’ rally.
Hundreds of activists and leaders from Kisan Mahasabha, AIARLA, AIPWA, AICCTU, AISA, RYA and Rasoiya Sangh participated in the Jan Adhikar Padyatra with spirited slogans and banners and flags.
Flagging off the Yatra at 9 AM in the presence of hundreds of marchers, citizens, intellectuals and journalists, Com Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the BJP and Modi government have put the country and Bihar in dire straits and the people now have no option other than driving out the BJP and saving the country. This government has become synonymous with divisiveness and destruction and is attacking the country and the people on all fronts. The poor are being denied rations in the name of Aadhar, unemployment is at its highest and the PM advises the youth to sell pakodas, farmers across the country are committing suicide, banks are near collapse and Nirav Modi, Mallya and company have fled the country with lakhs of crores of the common people’s money. The people are being forced to stand in long queues to withdraw their own money. Attacks on minorities and dalits are increasing at an alarming rate. Women and children are being raped and BJP leaders are holding rallies in defence of the rapists. The government is spreading communal and casteist poison to divide the people and divert attention from the government’s failure on all fronts. He called upon the people of Bihar to must show the way out of this dark and difficult phase and come out on the streets and unite to drive out the BJP from Bihar and from the country. The robbers who have stolen power through the back door by underhand means must be evicted and a democratic pro-people government established. Comrade Dipankar appealed to peace-loving, Left and progressive forces to join the Janadhikar Yatra and make it a success.
The Janadhikar Padyatra focused on the issues of land reform, housing and agricultural land for the poor, legal rights for sharecroppers, regularization and dignity for scheme workers, and safety and dignity of dalits, women, and Muslims. Among the main issues of the Yatra were also the destruction due to drought and flood in Mithilanchal, the unemployment caused by the closure of Ashok Paper Mill, sugar mills cotton and jute factories, crop loss compensation for maize farmers, and the attacks on language and culture by the RSS-BJP.
In the afternoon the Yatra reached Madhopur and was welcomed at Singhwada, where they were joined by Bhim Army leader Rajesh Kumar and Rasoiya Sangh (mid-day meal workers’ federation) leaders. Former Panchayat Head Ramashish Sao led the villagers in welcoming the Yatra and arranging for their food and accommodation. The public meeting at Madhopur was well attended. Comrade DhirendraJha thanked all the organizations and groups supporting the Yatra and said that their support would give more strength to the fight against this anti-people government and the bid to defeat them in the next Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.
On 26 April the Yatra started from Kevatsa village in Gayaghat Block, Muzaffarpur with meetings held at Kevatsa Chowk, Pirauchha Chowk, Gayaghat and Benibad. The Yatra here was attended by Bagmati Sangharsh Morcha leader Nawal Kishore Singh, Thakur Devendra Kumar, Jagannath Paswan, Ram Iqbal Rai and others, as well as CPI(ML) leaders.
In the afternoon of 26 April the Yatra reached Sharifuddin Bazaar in Muzaffarpur District where it was welcomed by hundreds of people led by CC member Meena Tiwari, District Secretary Krishna Mohan, AIARLA leader Ramnandan Paswan and others. Addressing the meeting held at Sharifuddin the speakers said that the Modi government is bent on looting the country; national banks are on the verge of bankruptcy; instead of talking about people’s issues the RSS-BJP machinery is busy harvesting their crop of communal hatred and riots. The governments at Patna and Delhi remain heedless to the woes of the farmers and their debt-ridden plight. The Yatra proceeded via several areas of Muzaffarpur and reached Bochahan.
Simultaneously on 25 April a Padyatra was also flagged off from Bikramganj that proceeded to Ara. Workers, farmers, students, youth, and women marched in large numbers raising slogans for peace and harmony and against the anti-Constitution, anti-justice Modi government, calling on people to oust the BJP and save India and Bihar. Led by Rohtas District Secretary Comrade Arun Singh and Kaimur District Secretary Comrade Vijay Yadav the Janadhikar Yatra started from Dumraon Mor in Vikramganj.
Another such Jan Adhikar Padyatra was also started from Siwan on 25 April in which hundreds of people participated. A meeting was held at Ambedkar Park addressed by ML leaders Comrades Naeemuddin Ansari, MLA Satyadev Ram, Amarnath Yadav, Sohila Gupta, AIARLA leader from Ballia, Uttar Pradesh Com Shriram Choudhury and others. The meeting was presided over by District Councillor and ML leader Yogendra Yadav. The participants in the march were welcomed at various places by people from the villages with flowers, garlands and refreshment. Members of the Bihar State ASHA Workers Association (rural women health workers) welcomed the Yatra at Shivpur Halt Bazaar and expressed full support and solidarity. Workers, farmers, students, youth and women carried banners and red flags and raised their voice against oppression of dalits.
When the Padyatra reached Hasan Bazaar in Bhojpur they were welcomed by hundreds of enthusiastic people including former MLA Chandradeep Singh, Sita Dev, Virendra Natt, Rajkumar and others.The villagers at Nonar showed great enthusiasm at the arrival of the Yatra and arranged food for the participants. Villagers from Rashauli, Nonar, Bajri, Kachnath and other villages and Tolas joined the Yatra.
Late in the evening they reached Piro where they were welcomed by Comrade Jawahar Lal Singh, MLA Sudama Prasad, Tarari Block Secretry Ramesh Singh, RYA leader Manir Alam, Arun Singh and others. A meeting was hed at Lohiya Chowk in Piro. The speakers pointed out the economic, social and agrarian crises the BJP government has foisted on the country and said that the government is crushing the hard-won democratic rights of the people.
On 26 April the Yatra reached Gadhani via Piro, Charpokhri and Simraon where the Yatris were welcomed and food and refreshment arranged. Nukkad Sabhas (street corner meetings) were organized at Charpokhri and Gadhani. The speakers pointed out how the BJP and RSS have become a danger to democracy and the Constitution and are destroying all institutions including the Judiciary and investigative agencies. They also pointed out the role played by Nitish Kumar in assisting the BJP in their evil designs.
Another Jan Adhikar Padyatra was flagged off from Gaya on 25 April, led by Comrade Rajaram Singh, Niranjan Prasad, Rita Barnwal, and Janardan Prasad Singh by garlanding the statues of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh. On 26 April the Yatra reached Arwal where Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya garlanded the Martyrs’ Memorial at Laxmanpur Bathe where on 1 December 1997 the Ranveer Sena patronized by the RSS-BJP had ruthlessly massacred 59 men, women, children and infants in a brutal carnage. The incident was termed ‘a national shame’ by the then President Narayanan; the lower court convicted and sentenced the killers including the main accused. But a second massacre, this time of justice, was perpetrated in the Nitish regime when the Patna High Court acquitted all the accused who roam free today. The same travesty of justice was carried out in the Bathani, Nagri, Shankarbigha, Narayanpur, Miyanpur and other carnages. This is the same Arwal where people’s beloved leader Shah Chand was falsely incarcerated under TADA and died in jail. Even today Comrade Tribhuvan Singh and other comrades remain in jail despite having completed 14 years in jail.
Addressing the meeting at Bathe Comrade Dipankar said that during the phase of brutal carnages in Bihar like those at Bathe, Bathani and Miyanpur, we had raised the slogan, “Bathe, Bathani, Miyanpur, Nahin Chalega Yeh Dastur”. But the tragedy is that today brutal atrocities are being perpetrated on minorities, dalits, tribals, students, youth and women all across the country. Witnesses are being murdered and killers are being acquitted. Of the few who had been sentenced for the 2002 Gujarat massacre, Maya Kodnani has recently been acquitted by the court. The Gujarat massacre culprits are being acquitted in the same manner in which the Bathe-Bathani-Miyanpur killers were given wholesale acquittals. If a judge is likely to give a fair judgement, he may also be murdered. Today the entire judicial system stands in great danger. They want to replace the Constitution with the Manusmriti. The BJP-RSS wants to impose fascism on the country but the people will not let them succeed, and will defeat these evil forces. A people’s India will be established where every citizen will get justice. We not only have to oust the BJP from power but also expose their hateful, fascist and anti-people politics, and this can only be done when the working people come forward strongly with their issues.
The people of Bihar gave a mandate against the BJP and chose the Mahagatbandhan in the Assembly election. But the BJP has stolen power through the back door and Nitish Kumar is sitting, surrendered, in the lap of the BJP. The poor are being oppressed and the liquor mafia is having a field day. Comrade Dipankar appealed to the people to come forward from every village and city to defeat the politics of hatred and poison and to build a new India.
While returning from Bathe Comrade Dipankar garlanded the statue of Bhagat Singh at Madhuban and the statue of Ambedkar at Arwal. He addressed the Padyatris and citizens at Arwal. The Padyatra was warmly welcomed by a huge gathering at Motha village.
On 27 April the ‘Oust BJP-Save Bihar’ Jan Adhikar Padyatra started from Biharsharif to join the Mahasammelan in Patna on 1 May. Comrade Dipankar welcomed the Yatra which arrived from Bikramganj at Tetariya village in Ara, in the presence of senior Party leaders Comrades Swadesh Bhattacharya, Kunal, Arun Singh, Santosh Sahar, Jawaharlal Singh, Raju Yadav, Manoj Manzil, Sudama Prasad, Chandradeep Singh and others. Speaking at the meeting Comrade Dipankar said that the BJP has no ideology except that of hatred, divisiveness, rioting and destruction; and Nitish Kumar by betraying the people’s mandate has given them full and free license to gather their harvest of hate. The ideology of Marx is required to drive out the BJP as well as expose their politics of social divisiveness and anti-democracy ideology. The CPI (ML) would hold programmes at various villages on 5 May, Marx’s bicentenary.
A huge meeting was organized at 6 PM at Ara Bus Stand which was addressed by Com Dipankar and Com Arun Singh.
On 27 April the Evict BJP-Save Bihar Janadhikar Padyatra from Nawada and Nalanda districts was flagged off from Biharsharif. The Yatra commenced at 3 PM and proceeded via Ranchi Road, Bharav Chauraha and Ramchandrapur t garland the Ambedkar statue at Devisarai Chauraha. Braving the scorching heat, padyatris in large numbers marched enthusiastically. Speakers addressing the Yatra spoke about the distress of farmer and workers, students and youth, and scheme workers such as ASHA, Rasoiya, Anganwadi workers. AIPWA Bihar State Secretary Shashi Yadav said that people have joined the Padyatra to demand their rights and would raise their strong voice against communalism, fascism, unemployment, rising prices, corruption, and other people’s issues at the Janadhikar Mahasammelan in Patna on 1 May.
The Padyatris at Biharsharif were welcomed by Insaf Manch leader Sarfaraz Khan, senior advocates Iqbal Zafar, Mohd Nasir and others. The Yatra was led by Nalanda District Secretary Comrades Surendra Ram,Nawada Com Narendra Kumar Singh, Manmohan, Bholaram, Umesh Paswan, Pal Bihari Lal, Ramdhari Das, Sunil Kumar, AIPWA leader Sudama Devi, Savitri Devi, Sanitation Workers Association leader Chhotu Dom, AISA District Convener Jayant and Nalanda and Nawada District Committee members. From Biharsharif the Yatra left for Parwalpur where they halted for the night and left the next day for Ekgarserai and Hilsa en route to Patna.
The Yatra from Darbhanga had halted for the night at the Bochaha High School complex. They were joined here by the Yatra from Siwan. Residents of village Patiya hosted their breakfast the next morning and also organized a meeting which the Yatris addressed.
The Padyatris were then welcomed at Bakhri Chowk and given refreshments by the villagers. From there the Yatra reached Ahiyarpur village. Bihar State Committee members Shatrughan Sahni, Rambalak Sahni, Ramnandan Paswan, Santosh Sahni and army veteran LB Yadav welcomed the Padyatra. When the Yatra reached the Bhagat Singh statue at Zero Mile, the statue was garlanded by Comrades Dhirendra Jha, Meena Tiwari, Satyadev Ram, Baidyanath Yadav, Abhishek Kumar and others. Addressing the meeting Comrade Meena Tiwari said that the BJP is hell bent on destroying the India of Bhagat Singh’s dreams. Education and employment opportunities are being closed down. The next meeting was at Akhadaghat.
The Yatra proceeded throughout the day and the statues of Khudiram Bose, Prafulla Chaki and Babasaheb Ambedkar were garlanded. Addressing the meeting at Companybagh CPIML MLA from Siwan’s Darauli Comrade Satyadev Ram said that the enthusiastic and encouraging response by dalits, minorities, farmers, workers and the poor have convinced us that democracy is alive in the country and we shall succeed in getting rid of this evil government. Meetings were also organized at Kalyani, Motijheel, Brahmpura and other places. On 28 April Comrade Dipankar would flag off the Yatris on their way to Patna and also address a Press Conference.
The Yatra from Gaya reached Jehanabad on 27 April via Tehta, Sarthua, May Halt and garlanded the statues of Dr Ambedkar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
The Jan Adhikar Padyatras from the different districts would converge at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna on 1 May for a massive Jan Adhikar Mahasammelan.
In spite of the extreme hot weather conditions the participants on all routes exhibited unprecedented enthusiasm. Many of them wearing only thin slippers covered hundreds of kilometers unmindful of sores developed in their feet. Many women carried their children along with the red flag in one hand. Agrarian workers, peasants, women and youth marched hand in hand braving sun, hunger and even scarcity of drinking water. The number of participants kept swelling with each passing day till 1 May when all five contingents of Yatra converged in Gandhi Maidan, Patna into a Jan Adhikar Maha Sammelan (Conference of Peoples’ Rights).
The Jan Adhikar Mahasammelan was attended by large number of people from Patna, along with the participants of the Yatra. In spite of heavy rain they listened to the speakers and pledged to oust BJP from every part of Bihar. They also resolved to observe Karl Marx Bicentenary on May 5 at village level.
Thousands of people continued chanting slogans amidst heavy rain when they entered Gandhi Maidan in the morning of May Day. Bihar state secretary of CPI(ML) Kunal welcomed the participants and congratulated them for the successful Yatra. He also welcomed representatives of left parties and other organisations. The Mahasammelan began with the revolutionary tributes to the May Day Martyrs followed by a presentation of a martyrs’ song and Faiz’s poem ‘Hum mehnatkash jagwalon se’ by cultural team Hirawal.
CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the slogan ‘Oust BJP, Save Bihar’ appropriately reflects prevailing sentiment of the masses in face of atrocious governments run by BJP. Peasants are deprived of their lands and livelihoods in Bihar, while thousands of acres of land is still in possession of feudal elements like erstwhile rulers of Betia. The rate of unemployment has doubled in less than one year, the Red Fort which epitomise freedom of our nation has been sold off to Dalmia who is not an ordinary capitalist but an office bearer of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and an accused of Babri Masjid demolition. The BJP must be ousted to save the country from the politics of hatred and frenzy. The BJP also deserve this treatment in Bihar for capturing power defying the anti-BJP people’s mandate in the state.
He said that left parties decision to abstain from any alliance with Nitish in last Assembly elections has been vindicated by the fact that Nitish has now fully surrendered to the BJP. This also tells us that any effective alliance in Bihar will have Left parties and the red flag at the center and the struggles of workers, peasants, minorities, women, students and youth will be the guiding force behind it. He condemned RSS and BJP for attacking statues of Lenin and telling Marx and Lenin’s ideology as ‘foreign’ while it’s not only Lenin’s but also statues of Ambedkar and Periyar which are being demolished everywhere. It’s not about ideology as foreign or indigenous, actually it’s the very idea of RSS which is against the society and democracy, against the struggles for social transformation and equality, and the ideas of Marx are a quintessential weapon in those struggles. RSS and BJP are trying to replace Bhagat Singh with Savarkar, Godse with Gandhi, Golwalkar with Ambedkar. They hypocritically celebrate victory of Kunwar Singh, a hero of 1857, but at the same time auctions the Red Fort which is the symbol of the freedom movement!
The Mahasammelan was addressed by AIARLA General Secretary Dhirendra Jha, AIPWA leader Mina Tiwary, Kisan Mahasabha leader Rajaram Singh, CPI(M) State Secretary Awadhesh Kumar, AIFB state Secretary TN Azad, SUCI(C) state secretariat member Suryakar Jitendra, RSP leader Mahesh Narayan Singh, CPI(ML) CC member Manoj Manzil, AISA leader Sandip Saurav, and others.
Many of the participants of the Yatra also shared their experiences with the audience. The Yatra were received and welcomed in Patna at different places before they reached Gandhi Maidan. AICCTU and Employees’ Federation (Gope) leaders received them at Hartali Mor in the morning, many cultural activists and intellectuals welcomed them near Radio Station, Patna CPI(ML) city committee organised a reception at Gaay Ghat for the Yatra contingent from Darbhanga, they were also received at Mahendru by Bhim Army members and various dalit students’ organisations. AISA activists organised a reception at Patna University, while at Chiraiyatand hundreds of people welcomed contingents which reached from Gaya and Bihar Sharief.