04 April 2015

Land Rights, Labour Rights Campaign

“Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites. They may be purely British Capitalist or mixed British and Indian or even purely Indian. They may be carrying on their insidious exploitation through mixed or even on purely Indian bureaucratic apparatus. All these things make no difference.” – Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh in his last petition to the Punjab Governor, demanding that he and his comrades be shot dead as war prisoners rather than hanged as petty criminals. Today, the legacy of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru is an inspiration in the struggles to defend our land, our resources, our rights, from plunder by Indian and foreign corporations in collusion with Indian rulers. Peasants and adivasis feel everyday that the Company Raj is back. Workers’ rights – both in terms of labour laws as well as the rights of the mehnatkash (toilers) to health, nutrition, education and other essentials for a decent life – are under attack from rulers’ policies of placating Indian and global capital. Today, those who walk in Bhagat Singh’s footsteps – the people resisting land grab and fighting for people’s rights, are being branded as ‘anti-national’ by the Government, jailed and even killed! Not only that, in an attempt to divide people, the Sangh...

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TRIBUTE : Pash

(Revolutionary Naxalite poet of Punjab, Avtar Singh Sandhu ‘Pash’, was killed on 23 March 1988 by Khalistani terrorists. In tribute to his memory, here are some excerpts from his poems.) From ‘Their Insecurity’ (Apni Asuraksha Se) If ‘National Security’ means that a life without conscience is the price for living, And anything that is not a blind ‘yes’ to its dictates is considered obscene, And the mind learns to prostrate before adversity, Then we are all endangered by ‘National Security’. From ‘Most Dangerous of All’ Being looted of one’s labour is not the worst thing. Nor is police torture. Even betrayal out of greed And arrest without warning Are not the most terrible. To be frightened into silence is bad But not really dangerous. To be drowned in the noise of corruption Even when one knows one is right is no doubt bad. Reading in the feeble light of a glow worm Going through life with a frown are also no doubt bad. But they are not the worst. Most harmful to oneself is to reduce life to passivity To lack intensity of desire To bear everything To become a creature of routine. Most dangerous of all is the death of our dreams. (All translations are from ‘Pash: Man and Poet’, by Tejwant Singh Gill, in Manushi. Manushi either adapted Gill’s original translations or re-translated the Pash poetry in...

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TRIBUTE : Saroj Dutta

(On 13 March 2015, the birth centenary of revolutionary poet and martyred CPI(ML) leader Saroj Dutt concluded. In tribute, we carry a translation of one of his best known poems.) Anguish of a Revolutionary Poet My poems will never narrate my story, My lament will not echo in any a casual line, My poetry does not trade woes of the feeble, Nor is it lewd fetish of the impotent mind. Isn’t a narcissist’s decree of universal love, Or ‘timid offerings’ of the frail at power’s shrine. Towards a people’s sky, those that pull The fire-chariot of humankind are comrades of mine. I can’t be traced in my poem; there my limits Blend into infinity of the myriad – With flood-waters from without I have unbounded The stagnant swamp sluggished by poison-mud. My pain will not linger like a spirit in the graveyard, I am a reckless droplet, ocean’s fervour in my heart. — Translation:...

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TRIBUTE : Vinod Mehta

Vinod Mehta, journalist and founder editor-in-chief of the Out- look magazine, passed away on 8 March 2015 at the age of 73. He will be remembered for having published investigative pieces and articles on subjects that most other publications would have considered untouchable and taboo. Reporters and authors who have worked with him point out that he stood by the articles he published, and gave freedom to them to express their opinions without forcing them to modify their writing in order to make articles more ‘acceptable’ to the powers-that-be. Vinod Mehta published several of Arundhati Roy’s essays – articles which have ruthlessly shone a highly critical light on existing state policy on many issues, including the hanging of Afzal Guru and India’s nuclear tests. Under Vinod Mehta’s editorship, Outlook published the Radia tapes, exposing the dangerous nexus between politicians, journalists and corporations. Many of the media ‘community’ were angered that Mehta exposed high-ups in his own community. The Radia tapes expose highlighted the manner in which corporate bodies influence decision-making by politicians with the help of journalists and lobbyists. At a time when the corporate media increasingly appears to be unwilling to perform even the basic and fundamental duties of journalism – well-researched, factual and unbiased reporting – and at a time when reportage often resembles press releases issued by the public relations offices of the government or corporate...

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OBITUARY : Red Salute to Comrade Man Singh Pal

Comrade Man Singh Pal, CPI(ML) Uttarakhand’s state committee member and popular leader of the Bindukhatta movement, passed away on 9 March 2015 in Delhi. Born in 1960, Comrade Man Singh came to Bindukhatta in 1979 and had been actively involved with the land struggles there ever since. Since then, he has been known as one of the leading voices in the people’s movement in Bindukhatta, participating and leading several struggles. He led struggles for ration cards, construction of schools, hospitals and roads, and provision of electricity. In 1985, he was also jailed twice for participating and leading struggles against corruption. In 1988, he was jailed for 33 days for his leading role in the massive movement against the state repression in Mahtosh Modh in Gadarpur block. In 1990, he started a movement for establishing a people’s higher secondary school. He faced a 15-year long trial by the forest department for his role in fighting for land rights for the poor. In 1994, he sat on an indefinite hunger strike against the management of the Century Paper Mill, demanding employment of youth in the area. In 2004, he was involved in the milk movement, and recently was involved in the protests against the rape and murder of an 8-year old girl in Lalkuan and also faced trial for participating and leading protests against pollution in Ghodanala region. Since 2004, he...

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Protest in Gopalganj against feudal-communal forces

CPI(ML) held a one-day protest in Gopalganj on 18 January 2015, against attacks on women by the Hindu Yuva Vahini and other feudal- communal forces. On 19 December last year, members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini had assaulted women in the Musahari bazaar area of the Vijayipur block of Gopalganj. Moreover, these very same feudal-communal forces had attacked several youths including Raju Ram, Vyas Yadav, Ramashankar Gupta and others. CPI(ML) organised this one-day protest against these incidents and the growing assertion of feudal-communal-fascist forces in Bihar. Addressing the protest, state vice president of the All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) and CPI(ML) state committee member Amarnath Yadav pointed out that ever since the Modi government assumed power, feudal- communal forces affiliated to the RSS are feeling all the more emboldened in launching assaults on women, dalits and Muslims. He also pointed out that forces such as RJD-JD(U) have only provided amply grounds for the growth of communal-feudal forces in Bihar. The protest was also addressed by CPI(ML) leaders Jitendra Paswan, Lal Bahadur Singh, Subhash Patel, Ramnaresh Ram, Ramesh Baitha, Rajesh Yadav and others. The protest was presided over by Sriram...

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Campaign in Gaya against police complicity in murder

CPI(ML) has been running a campaign against police repression in Gaya district, after the dead body of 35-year Laldev Yadav was found in a jeep parked within the premises of the Tikari police station in Gaya. A week back, Laldev Yadav’s wife had been injured after getting hit by a vehicle belonging to Mukesh Sharma from the neighbouring village. It had then been decided that Mukesh Sharma would pay for the treatment of Laldev Yadav’s wife. However, instead of keeping to this promise, Mukesh Sharma molested Laldev Yadav’s wife on the afternoon of the same day. After Laldev Yadav’s wife filed a complaint with the police, on 27 January 2015 both Mukesh Sharma and Laldev Yadav were called to the police station. However, Laldev Yadav did not reach home that night and next morning his dead body was found in the premises of the police station. These suspicious circumstances clearly pointed to the complicity of the police and the local administration. Under the leadership of CPI(ML), a road jam of the Gaya-Tikari road was organised to demand that the police personnel, including the police station in-charge, be held accountable for this murder. The protestors demanded that the station in-charge be arrested and 10 lakh compensation as well as a job be provided to the relatives of the deceased. A Tikari bandh was also called and successfully organised on 30...

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Kisan Mahasabha Holds Countrywide Protests against Land Acquisition Ordinance

The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha organized countrywide protest demonstrations against the Land Acquisition ordinance on 23 February 2015. Thousands of farmers took part in these protests held in about 84 districts across states including UP, Bihar, MP, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. The farmers expressed their outrage and submitted memorandums to the President through the district authorities demanding repeal of this ordinance. The CPI (ML) and Kisan Mahasabha also resolved to mobilize farmers and rural poor and hold special countrywide gram sabhas between 24 February and 14 March2015, to conduct a signature campaign against the Land Ordinane as well as cuts in MNREGA and Food Security bills. A people’s parliament will be held on 16 March in New Delhi and the memo with the signatures will be submitted to the President and the Lok Sabha speaker, demanding a stop to the anti people attempts of the Modi government. In Bihar, protests, nukkad sabhas and demonstrations were organized at Gandhi Maidan, Bhagat Singh chowk in Patna city, Nawada, Shekhpura, Ara, Bhagalpur, Jamui, Beguserai, Siwan, Darbhanga, Western Champaran, Buxar, Hajipur in Vaishali. These were very well attended by farmers, rural poor and women. Speakers including Kisan Mahasabha national secretary Rajaram Singh, Rajendra Patel, Pramod Singh, Mahesh Yadav, Manoj Pandey, Jainath Yadav, Vishveshwar Prasad Yadav, and many other leaders pointed out that the 2013 Land Acquisition bill with provisions...

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Update : Kisan Mahasabha’s Vidhan Sabha March for Bindukhatta

The fight for revenue village status for Bindukhatta has been going on since the 70s under the banner of the red flag. In the initial stages the demand for making Bindukhatta a revenue village had been raised only by the CPI-ML for a long time. Gradually, seeing the popularity of this demand among the local people, all political parties started making this promise regularly before each election. But this promise ended up unfulfilled like all other electoral promises of the BJP and the Congress. In spite of coming to power by turns in Uttarakhand, neither the BJP nor the Congress took the trouble even to pass a proposal for making Bindukhatta a revenue village. As if this neglect was not enough, the Harish Rawat led Congress government passed an interim ordinance making Bindukhatta a municipality on 19 December 2014. Incensed by this step which was the complete reversal of their demand, the people of Bindukhatta led by the Kisan Mahasabha started a movement against it. Initially panchayats were organized at the local level. On 28 January the kisan mahapanchayat at the Bindukhatta tehsil HQ at Lalkuan led by the Kisan Mahasabha, in which thousands participated, sent out a clear message that this anti-people move by the Congress government and the local MLA and Uttarakhand Minister Harish Chandra Durgpal is going to prove costly for the govt. The Mahapanchayat declared...

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Updates : Bhagat Singh Martyrdom Day Observed

More than 1200 young workers took out a rally in Sriperumbudur to reclaim the anti-imperialist, anti-communal legacy of Bhagat Singh, Rajaguru and Sukhdev on their martyrdom day. The rally was held on the concluding day of RYA Tamilnadu State Conference. Com.Ravi Rai, National General Secretary of RYA flagged off the rally. The rally also marked the launching of 100 Day Campaign for Land and Labour Rights from March 23 to June 30. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI ML spoke among the young workers. He called for the young workers to rise against the attempts of the obscurantist forces to lay rules for the private lives of people in the country. He stressed the need for greater unity for greater struggles against the attempts of the corporate-communal forces which are trying to appropriate the legacy of Bhagat Singh to sell the country to the corporates. Launching the 100 Days Campaign of AIPF in the rally, he said, there is new hope as left forces, socialist forces, leaders of people’s struggles, democratic and progressive individuals have joined hands to take on the corporate-communal offensive. AIPF campaign committee members S P Udayakumar, A Marx, Mangayarselvan also spoke in the rally. They all said that this is the opportune moment for a forum like AIPF to fight against the corporate-communal offensive. AIPF national council member and CPIML TN State Secretary Com.Balasundaram also...

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Special Feature : Memorandum Submitted to President of India after Jan Sansad

Memorandum To Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Honourable President, Union of India Subject: Gram Sabha Resolutions against moves to distort and curtail the Land Acquisition, MNREGA and Food Security laws Sir, A massive People’s Parliament has been held today in the national capital, Delhi, against the ‘Loot of Land, Livelihood and Food’. This Jan Sansad was the culmination of a campaign whereby gram sabhas have been held in thousands of villages across the country, to discuss the proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act, Food Security Act and MNREGA, copies of which are being submitted along with this memorandum. We urge you to heed this voice of the villagers of this country, and their concerns about their rights to land, livelihood and food. The resolutions (translated below in English) unanimously reject the Land Acquisition Ordinance (now Bill) or any of the proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act 2013. They also reject the proposed distortion or curtailment of the Food Security Act and MNREGA. Resolution No 1: As a result of long struggle, the 1894 Land Acquisition Act was amended and the new Land Acquisition Act 2013 was enacted, which made people’s consent and assessment of impact of land acquisition on society and food security, a pre- condition for acquisition. But the Central Government headed by Modi, with its Land Acquisition Ordinance, is hell bent on distorting the law in order...

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Special Feature : AIPF Basic Structure and Norms

All India People’s Forum is united platform of democratic organizations and individuals committed to the fullest realization of democratic rights, wellbeing and dignified and harmonious coexistence of the Indian people cutting across sectarian divides. The AIPF is guided by its basic objectives as enunciated in its foundation statement and action charter as adopted and updated periodically in the light of the developing situation. The AIPF will have a broad-based national council which will meet annually and convene biennial conferences and periodic consultations/workshops to adopt policies and discuss and develop appropriate courses of action. The implementation of the Forum’s plans and response of the Forum to various issues will be guided by an all India Campaign Committee. The Campaign Committee will be assisted on a regular basis by a compact Secretarial Team which will also be responsible for propagating and publicizing the Forum’s activities, positions and relevant information by various means. There will also be an advisory panel to guide and advise the Forum on various subjects. The Forum will also have dedicated cells to deal with specific issues and subjects. Similar structures will also be developed in various states, UTs and autonomous regions. The decisions of the Forum will be adopted through collective consultations and deliberations and preferably by consensus. If consensus cannot be evolved on any subject, the decision will rest with the All India Campaign Committee. The...

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Special Feature : The AIPF Charter of Struggle

Guarantee of Land, Food, Livelihood • No to Corporate land grab and land acquisition without prior consent; social and environmental impact assessment and fair compensation and rehabilitation for land- and livelihood-losers; protection of fertile, forest and coastal land. • Ensure Minimum Support Prices for farmers and subsidised irrigation, power, fertilisers and easy and cheap credit to reenergise agriculture and end farmers’ distress and farmers’ suicides • Stop retrograde changes in Food Security law, scrap APL/BPL and universalise food security; no to slashing of budget for ICDS • Stop moves to dismantle MNREGA and other welfare schemes • Curb price rise in all essential commodities Affordable, Quality, Equitable Education • Ensure universal right to equitable, good quality education and introduction of a common school system; resist commercialisation and privatisation of schooling as well as higher education; ensure that each and every student in India has access to higher education, without being excluded by high fees and shortage of seats; resist saffronization of education and promote secular and scientific education; protect autonomy of educational institutions, as well as campus democracy and students’ right to hold regular union elections in every campus, in keeping with norms democratically decided by the student bodies themselves and not through undemocratic Lyngdoh Committee-style recommendations. Affordable, Quality Healthcare and Housing • Ensure universal right to accessible healthcare of the highest quality, and eradication of chronic hunger; save...

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Special Feature : All India People’s Forum Foundation Statement

We concerned citizens and members of mass organizations, social movements, trade unions and political parties from various progressive traditions have come together in the All India People’s Forum (AIPF) to assert people’s rights to land, livelihood, education and healthcare, just and equitable development, justice, peace, dignity and freedom in the face of the heightened communal-corporate offensive, growing imperialist domination, state repression, social oppression and caste and gender violence and injustice that threatens those rights; and carry forward the struggles taking place across India for a free, equal and just society, where citizens are guaranteed basic rights, dignity and equal opportunities to fulfil their aspirations without the fear of sectarian violence, repression and discrimination. Despite the promises made in our Constitution, the Indian state has consistently failed to deliver justice to the people, as can be seen in the appalling levels of poverty and inequality persisting after six decades of independence, even as the overwhelming majority of people remain subjected to systemic exploitation and oppression, exclusion and neglect. The shame of a resource-rich populous country like India being home to the world’s biggest contingent of poor and deprived people must be ended once and for all, and India must come to be known as a country advancing on the strength of the well-being of its people, guaranteeing food, health, housing, education, employment and decent livelihood for all. The last quarter...

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Special Feature : Unity For People’s Rights, Against Corporate-Communal Offensive

Arrange of concerned citizens, mass organizations, social movements, trade unions and political parties have come together to form the All India People’s Forum (AIPF) to take on the offensive of communal and pro-corporate policies. The Founding Conference of the AIPF began today at Ambedkar Bhawan in Delhi. The Welcome Session of the Conference began with a rousing AIPF theme song by Jan Sanskriti Manch, Jharkhand. This was followed by a tribute the martyrs and departed fighters, (including the Nandigram peasants who were martyred on 14th March 2007), Comrade Govind Pansare, and Comrade Shah Chand. A draft Vision Statement, as well as a draft Action Charter for the AIPF were presented at this session. Welcoming the participants, Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML), spoke of the all-out offensive – by both the Congress-UPA and the BJP-NDA – on people’s land, livelihood, right to food, as well as on democratic rights, and the campaign to divide people by communal hatred and violence. To take on this offensive, and to assert people’s rights to land, livelihood, education and healthcare, justice, peace, dignity and freedom, he said, it was important for people to unite and fight together. Together, they would carry forward the fight for a free, equal and just society, free of sectarian violence, repression and discrimination. He said, ‘This is an open convention and we will keep organizing such programs in the...

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