10 October 2013

On Cover : Rally for Justice on Anniversary of Batla House Killings

On the fifth anniversary of the Batla House ‘encounter,’ RYA and AISA held a rally at Batla House. Recently the Delhi sessions court awarded life imprisonment to Shehzad, holding him guilty of the murder of the police officer Mohan Chand Sharma, based on extremely questionable grounds. The questions that remain unanswered were raised again amongst people of Batla House, who are well aware of the trumped up nature of the charges, as was apparent from an impressive participation by the locals. Activists from RYA and AISA spoke about the culture of minority witch-hunting and fake encounters that have become an integral part of policy of Governments headed by Congress, BJP and other parties like Samajwadi Party. Whether it is the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan or the incarceration without evidence of Khalid Mujahid in UP, the politics of trying to frame the entire Muslim community as potential terrorists can be seen across the country. And this politics draws strength from India’s communalism and US-inspired Islamophobia. The rally saw enthusiastic participation from students of Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU, as well as Delhi University. Recently elected office bearers of JNUSU from AISA also addressed the rally, pledging support for the intensification of struggle against the communal policies of both the Congress and the BJP. JNUSU President Akbar sketched the theatre of communal pogroms that stretch from Assam to Western UP. Hamidur...

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On Cover : Protest in London Against British MP’s Invitation to Modi

British MP Barry Gardiner was confronted by over 100 vocal and angry protestors outside his MP’s surgery in Brent in North London on 9 September, demanding that he withdraw his invitation to Narendra Modi. A large number of South Asian organisations, including Sikh and Muslim groups; human rights campaigns; and trade union organisations including Brent Trades Council, demanded that Gardiner withdraws his open invitation to Narendra Modi the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’, and that he should never invite him again. Protestors dressed as Gardiner and Modi cavorted together with Modi brandishing MOUs and sheaves of dollars and were then drenched with fake blood by demonstrators. Slogans of ‘Barry Gardiner, Shame, Shame! Inviting Modi, Not in Our Name’ and ‘Barry, Barry don’t lie – Modi’s Guilty of Genocide’ resounded as protestors braved heavy rain to express the extent of opposition to the invitation. South Asia Solidarity Group, who organized the protest explained that ‘in the face of so much opposition to the invitation to Modi, Barry Gardiner has now released a statement saying that Modi is unable to come in the next few weeks. But we are continuing our campaign demanding that the invitation is officially withdrawn and not repeated. Modi has already tried to make political capital in India from this invitation, and we need to send a clear message that he is not welcome here.’ Modi’s past visits to...

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Keep Up The People’s Vigil On Us War Mongers

Following an apparently off-hand remark by US Secretary of State John Kerry during a press conference that US military action could be avoided if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad surrendered its chemical weapons, the Syria scenario has witnessed a sudden twist. Both Moscow and Damascus promptly accepted Kerry’s offer, which was evidently beyond Washington’s calculations. Its first reaction, therefore, was to preserve Washington’s pretext for war on Syria. A senior US official told media that Kerry’s comments represented a “major goof” and “clearly went off-script”. A State Department spokeswoman stressed that Kerry had only been speaking “rhetorically.” She dismissed the response of Russia and Syria as a “stalling tactic” that had to be treated with “deep scepticism,” and went on to say that it was “even more important that Congress votes to authorize the President to use military action against Syrian regime targets.” But the administration quickly changed tack. Given the overwhelming popular opposition to the war at home and abroad, the near-universal welcome accorded to the Moscow-Damascus response, Washington veered round to the position that flatly rejecting the Russian-Syrian acceptance of Kerry’s “non-proposal” would draw flak from all quarters. And that a smarter option would be to accept it as a positive development secured through the threat of military aggression. That was exactly what President Obama did. He told the media he preferred resolving the chemical weapons...

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OBITUARY

Comrade Ahmadi Comrade Ahmadi, a popular leader in Uttar Pradesh, breathed her last in a hospital in Varanasi after she took poison. She was district committee member of party’s Mirzapur committee and district President of AIPWA. Born in a middle class Muslim family, she lived her life with exemplary courage amidst innumerable difficulties and intolerable tragedies. Just after the birth of her child, she was divorced by her husband. Her father later gave her a two-room house and very small piece of land to live. But after the death of her father, brothers started quarelling with her, while few people started occupying the little piece of land. She bravely fought for her rights and during this struggle she came to know Party and joined it. The protests organised by the Party ultimately made the land grabbers retreat, and her brother too stopped harassing her. In this process she crossed the boundaries of the home, and became a dedicated activist of party. But she had to continuously face accusations and opposition from various corners, and sadly, tragedies never parted from her life. Her younger brother was very close to her. He was murdered but this death was reported as an accident. After some time, when she was going to attend a rally in Lucknow, her son was died of a snake bite at Chunar railway station. Comrade Ahamadi had no...

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UPDATE

The frightening aftermath of the devastation caused in June 2013 in the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand is far from normalising. Most of the roads could not be opened. The BRO, whose responsibility is to maintain the NH roads going to the borders of the State, has failed in resuming normal traffic on the NHs. The Vijay Bahuguna-led Congress Govt of the State is desperately trying for an acceptable image of itself by flooding people with constant advertisements in popular media. The CPI(ML) through several agitations constantly tried to expose the truth on the issues of providing relief to and rehabilitation of the victims, be it Dharchula or Munsyari in Pithoragarh, or whether it was Joshimath in Chamoli district. Simultaneously, the Party is also sustaining a process of dialogue and debate on the reasons behind the severity of calamities and on the possible ways to tackle them. As a part of this effort a discussion/seminar was organised by the CPI(ML) on 1 September 2013 at Srinagar in Garhwal. The seminar was titled “Lessons and Challenges from the Devastation.” Addressing the gathering as the main speaker, Party CCM Comrade Raja Bahuguna said that Uttarakhand has been made to bear such a gigantic brunt of nature’s rage because successive governments arrogantly refused to heed the warning bells being rung for long by scientists, political-social activists, and common people of the State. Debunking...

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UPDATES

Demanding Justice For Martyr Gangaram Kaul Subhas Sen The struggle for justice for Comrade Gangaram Kaul continues. At the demonstration in Tinsukia on 12th June, a resolution had been passed that if the Assam Government failed to initiate a CBI enquiry as declared in the Assembly by the 15th August, then the residence of the main accused, Congress MLA Raju Sahu would be gheraoed. Since the Assam Government failed to declare a CBI enquiry, Raju Sahu’s residence was gheraoed by over 1000 people on 15 September. Similar demonstrations and meetings were also held at Dibrugarh town, Tingkhong, Jorhat, Nagaon, Bishwanath Chariali, Chandrapur and Guwahati. On 15th September, 2013 a militant procession starting from the Durgabari Hall, Tinsukia and proceeded towards Raju Sahu’s residence. On the way, the procession had to first confront police barricades. The protesters pulled down the first 3 barricades, but there was a prolonged tussle with the police in front of the Tinsukia Civil Hospital for half an hour, almost 200 metres away from Sahu’s residence. Subhas Sen, Arup Mahanta and Ananta Hazarika got minor injuries in this tussle. A protest meeting was held at the spot where we were stopped, addressed by Subhas Sen, Arup Mahanta, Ananta Hazarika, Jiten Tanti, Brojen Konwar, Sokhila Munda and others. An effigy of Raju Sahu was also burnt there. Some 50 Congress goons approached the demonstration with bricks and...

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Revisiting History # The Komagata Maru: Flag Carrier of the Ghadr Movement

The last issue of Liberation carried a report on a Ghadr centenary celebration that contained a broad overview of the historic movement and its current relevance. In this issue we zoom in on the battle of Komagata Maru, which culminated in a massacre at Budge Budge near Calcutta on 29th September, 2014. On the same day this year, the Party in cooperation with the AILC will initiate a year-long celebration, with a convention in Budge Budge, to spread the message of the heroic struggle and supreme sacrifice of Indians abroad the ship. In our next issue we shall bring you a report of that convention. – Ed. The immigration of Punjabi peasants, artisans and workers – with a sprinkling of students and intellectuals – into Canada began in the first decade of the 20th century. In less than a decade, the racist Canadian government grew wary of their economic advancement and political activism. In early 1914 it passed a government order to bar the entry of any individual who did not reach the country via direct journey from India and did not have a ticket bought in his/her country of origin and at least $200 (the average wage in Canada at the time was just $.10 a day!). These conditions made Indians’ entry into Canada virtually impossible because no shipping company plied direct ships from India to Canada. The...

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Delhi University’s Common Students Make Their Presence Felt

The results of Delhi University Students’ Elections held on 13th September 2013 surprised everybody. The ABVP’s victory on the posts of President, Vice President and Joint Secretary were not a big surprise since ABVP had won all posts but the President’s last year, and earlier too, DUSU has remained with either the NSUI or the ABVP. It was the votes polled by AISA candidates which marked a real departure from the trends of previous years. Whereas last year AISA presidential candidates got approximately 3000 votes, this year Anjali, the presidential candidate got 8229 votes. Similarly votes on all the other posts have increased tremendously. Ankit Pandey, who contested for the post of Vice President got 6437 votes, Charul Negi got 5702 votes on the post of secretary and on the post of Joint Secretary Muhammad Khan Siddiqui polled 6621 votes. This indicates that nearly some 6000 students of DU voted for the entire AISA panel consistently. AISA, then, is widely recognized to be the biggest gainer in the 2013 DUSU elections. AISA’s active, year-around engagement with students and their issues, mobilizing them in its initiatives and movements have left a distinct impression on the DU students’ community. In the last few months, even the mainstream media’s coverage of DU has been less about eating joints, fests and fashion but much more about vibrant social and political activities with mass...

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JNUSU 2013: Decisive Mandate for the Revolutionary Student Movement

AISA has swept the JNUSU elections 2013, winning all the four office-bearer posts and a clear majority of councilors in the JNUSU council. Comrade Akbar Chawdhary was elected as the JNUSU president with 1977 votes, defeating the DSF candidate Ishan Anand who got 660 votes by a huge margin of 1317 votes. Comrade Anubhuti Agnes Bara has been elected as the Vice-president of JNUSU with 1966 votes, defeating Zeeshan Ali from DSF by a margin of 1052 votes. Comrade Sandeep Saurav (who is also the general secretary of AISA’s JNU unit) was elected as the general secretary of JNUSU defeating NSUI’s candidate Caroline Maninee. Sandeep, who polled 1657 votes defeated Caroline by a whopping margin of 953 votes, and the DSF candidate was pushed to the third position on the General Secretary post. Comrade Sarfaraz Hamid was elected as the Joint Secretary with 1705 votes, defeating the DSF candidate Sonam Goyal by a margin of 59 votes. Fourteen AISA comrades were elected as councilors of different schools. AISA won all five councilor posts in the School of Language Literature and Cultural Studies. In School of Social Sciences and School of International Studies AISA has won four out of five councilor posts in each of these schools. In School of Arts and Aesthetics as well, AISA has won the single councilor post. AISA played a significant role in the movement...

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Message of Student Elections in Delhi Campuses: Rebuff for Myths of ‘Modi Magic’ and ‘Rahul Role-Model’

On September 13, student elections were held simultaneously in JNU and DU – two premier centres of higher education in the national capital. JNU has once again voted in a big way for AISA, and equally significantly, students of Delhi University also extended huge support to the AISA panel, enabling it to emerge as a powerful contender against the ABVP and NSUI in the traditionally bipolar DU campus. This is the best ever showing for AISA in both the campuses and it clearly shows a growing aspiration among students for a powerful and progressive student movement. Refuting the media hype surrounding the so-called ‘role models’ and ‘youth icons’ of the Indian ruling elite, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, thousands of students have reposed their faith in AISA, the student platform of the revolutionary Left movement. Two decades ago AISA had announced its arrival in campuses across the Hindi belt as a new beacon of hope for progressive students when the BJP was trying to drown the country in a communal bloodbath and bourgeois ideologues the world over were gloating over the collapse of the Soviet Union. Generations of AISA activists braved administrative hostility and even mafia violence to keep the flag high and fight for the unfulfilled dreams of their beloved martyr Comrade Chandrashekhar. Today when the country is reeling under a deep economic crisis, the legitimacy of the...

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Niyamgiri Shows the Way: Let Gram Sabhas Decide on Other Projects in Odisha

In a series of 12 historic Gramsabhas, the people of 12 villages falling under Rayagada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha gave a decisive mandate to kick out the alumina multinational Vedanta-Sterlite. Vedanta had plans to acquire land to mine bauxite and set up its refineries which would have caused the displacement of people belonging to the 12 villages and also grabbing of their land by Vedanta. The Gramsabhas were held under the direction of the Supreme Court which ordered the holding of Gramsabhas to ascertain whether the people of the area wanted Vedanta to start mining on their lands. The Odisha government on the other hand left no stone unturned to try and get the people to deliver a mandate in favor of Vedanta, but failed comprehensively to do so. In fact victory of the people of the Niyamgiri area forms an important chapter in the recent history of movements against corporate land grab and corporate takeover of natural resources. Ever since Niyamgiri’s historic gram sabhas, the Congress has been trying to claim credit for defending adivasis’ interests. Rahul Gandhi, we are told by the Congress, has lived up to his promise of being a ‘soldier for Odisha’s adivasis’. The truth is that the UPA Government is doing absolutely nothing to ensure that villages beyond these 12, are able to exercise their legally mandated right to hold gram sabhas...

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Mining Mafia, State Terror, Communal Forces Rule the Roost in Uttar Pradesh

Recent developments in UP have underlined that the Samajwadi Party’s Government is giving a free rein to mining mafia and communal forces, even as it unleashes repression on protesters. These recent developments include the attack on a CPI(ML) leader by mining mafia near Lucknow, the killing of another comrade in firing by forest rangers in Lakhimpur Kheri, the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and the refusal of the Government to implement the Nimesh Commission recommendations to identify and punish the police officers who framed Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid (the latter was killed in custody). Senior leader and member of the CPI(ML) State Standing Committee of UP Ramesh Senger was grievously injured when mining mafia attacked him at the Bakshi ka Talab Teshil, barely 30 km from the state capital Lucknow on 24th August while he was returning with few other comrades from a mass contact campaign in a neighbouring village. He suffered multiple fractures in his leg and hands. Others injured in the attack include AICCTU leaders Surendra Prasad, Keshav Mishra and Santosh Kushwaha. Of late the party had started its political work in this region adjacent to the state capital. On 10th August, a mass meeting was held to raise the burning issues of the rural poor of the region including illegal land grab of GS land, atrocities on Dalits and the rampant illegal mud mining going on...

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Swabhiman Rally In Sasaram

On 15 August (Independence Day) a brutal assault was unleashed on the mahadalits and poor of Baddi village in Shivsagar block of Rohtas district by feudal forces who, citing 1857 freedom fighter Nishant Singh, claimed that the benefits of independence should be solely theirs and not be shared by mahadalits or landless poor. The latter, according to the feudal forces, deserve only oppression and should not aspire to dignity and the fruits of independence. The Party has organized a series of protest movements against such attempts to taint the legacy of the dedicated anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle for independence which had taken place all over the country and especially in Shahabad, on the question of Baddi. In this series a Swabhiman yatra was taken out in the Shahabad area, which included interaction with villagers, evening meetings, and nukkad sabhas in market places and chattis. Establishing a lively dialogue with the people, discussions took place on the rising morale of feudal-communal forces during Nitish government, the betrayal of mahadalits and the question of their respect and dignity. At several places the campaign team had to face threats from the feudal forces, despite which mahadalits and the poor from many villages joined the yatra in large numbers. The yatra started as padyatras from Katira hostel in Ara (which had been attacked by Ranveer Sena after Brahmeshwar Singh’s killing), Bathani Tola, Daudnagar...

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Rape Culture Rears Its Ugly Head Again

In the wake of the gangrape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai, there have once again been encouraging protests by people, expressing anger against sexual violence faced by women. Women have refused to allow fear to rule their lives, and have demanded that the Government take responsibility to safeguard women’s freedom. While the courage of the rape survivor and determination of Mumbai’s and India’s women not to give up their struggle for unqualified freedom without fear are inspiring, the recent times have also seen an ugly display of rape culture, especially in the political response to rape. Staring us in the face is a naked display of double standards in the treatment of rape, depending on the power and clout of the accused. In the case of the Delhi and Mumbai rapes, the accused, based on identification by the survivor, were arrested and charged with rape. But godman Asaram charged by a minor girl with sexual assault in the custody of his ashram in Jodhpur, is yet to be arrested, 10 days after the complaint! BJP leaders are openly defending him and his supporters are intimidating the complainant. And the Congress Government of Rajasthan and its police are shamelessly delaying his arrest, on the pretext of ‘investigation’. By failing to arrest him, are they not allowing him to use his clout to intimidate witnesses? Are they not demoralising the...

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No Short Cuts in the Struggle Against Rape

The death sentence to the four accused in the December 16 rape and murder case was predictable. Nirbhaya’s family, and many others, feel an understandable sense of anger vindicated. This moment, however, isn’t a moment for unseemly celebration. It should be one for quiet reflection. A moment to remember Nirbhaya, and the many thousands like her whose hope for justice is still remote. Whatever we feel at this moment, we cannot take comfort from any illusion that hanging 4 rapists will ‘deter’ rape. In the same court that this verdict was delivered, 20 out of 23 rape cases resulted in acquittals. With such low conviction rates, rapists will still feel pretty secure. Surety of punishment in every case of violence against women, not severity of punishment in a handful of cases, would be a real deterrent. What comes in the way of convictions in rape cases? There has been much praise for the high standard of investigation and prosecution in this case. We do indeed need an expansion of forensic examination facilities, and an equally dedicated investigation and prosecution in every criminal case. But one question does arise: in the absence of forensic evidence, in the absence of a witness apart from the survivor, in the absence of gruesome injury, is justice impossible in cases of rape? For the vast majority of women who are raped, rape leaves negligible...

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