04 April 2016

Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism, Defeat Modi’s Attempt to Appropriate Ambedkar

Close to two years in power, the BJP now realises it pretty well that it cannot fight another election on the pretentious plank of development or repatriation of black money. Last November we saw them fight the elections to Bihar Assembly on the issue of beef ban. The decisive defeat in Bihar of course means the BJP now needs a new item on its poll menu other than beef. So with elections scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few weeks, we find the BJP designing a new test of nationalism – those who chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai are super nationalists and those who don’t are liable to be branded anti-national and perhaps also charged with sedition. A Muslim MLA in Maharashtra Assembly has already been suspended for failing this test, with the Congress and NCP both colluding with the BJP and Shiv Sena in enforcing the suspension. We now also know that Urdu writers have been asked by the MHRD to give a prior undertaking that their writings do not have anything against the government or the nation. So the government has effectively declared itself equivalent to the nation. Opposition to the government has virtually been dubbed seditious. And as the Congress President had equated Indira Gandhi to India during the infamous Emergency, former BJP President and senior minister in Modi...

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Obituary

Comrade Chinta Singh ! Comrade Chinta Singh, a veteran of several struggles in Palamu in Jharkhand, passed away on 12 March. For the past 5-6 years, she had been suffering from goiter. She was born on 25 August 1964 in the Manatu block of Palamu in Jharkhand, an area known for feudal oppression. She joined CPI(ML) in 1986 and led several movements against feudal forces in the area. She played an important role in organizing the poor, and especially women, in the Palamu block. In the 1990s, she led a massive and successful movement of Dalit-adivasi workers against the local forest officials, demanding more wages for workers employed in the tendu leaf industry. She organized workers of the Hindalco Siding company to demand their rights, and led a movement against state repression in Latehar. Comrade Chinta emerged as a voice of resistance against feudal oppression and state repression, leading movements against a gang rape in Tarwadih in 1986 and against the draconian TADA law in 1992. In 1995, she was also the CPI(ML) candidate from the Assembly constituency. In 2005, she fought the zila parishad elections from Tarahsi. From 1992 to 2003, she held several responsible positions in AIPWA as well as the Party at the district, state and Central levels. In all these struggles and responsibilities, she received support from her husband, Comrade Gupteshwar Singh, who is a...

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CPI(ML) in Assembly Elections 2016

Assam 6 Left parties – the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) Liberation, RSP, Forward Bloc and RCPI have formed a united Left platform. The CPI(ML)’s candidates are as follows: 1. Chabua – Debnath Majhi 2. Tingkhong – Meera Tanti 3. Duliajan – Sunil Tanti 4. Behali – Bibek Das 5. Gahpur – Halan Purti 6. Batadraba – Arup Mahanta 7. Tiok – Jiten Tanti 8. Mariani – Biren Tanti In Karbi Anglong, the CPI(ML) is supporting four candidates representing the Autonomous State Movement – 1. Diphu – Jayanta Rongpi 2. Howraghat – Chomang Kro 3. Bokajan – Jagat Sing Ingti 4. Baithalangso – Holiram Terang West Bengal The CPI(ML) Liberation and the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) are in an alliance, with the CPI(ML) contesting 35 seats and the CPRM three. In addition the CPI(ML) Liberation also has a broad understanding with the SUCI, with mutual friendly contests on just a few seats. On seats where none of these parties has fielded candidates, the CPI(ML) has called upon voters to reject the BJP, TMC and Congress. The CPI(ML)’s candidates for the West Bengal 2016 elections are as follows: 1. Moynaguri – Rupeswar Roy 2. Fansidewa – Lalu Orao 3. Kaliaganj – Jagdish Rajvar 4. Tapan – Ram Kisku 5. Gajol – Subhas Singh 6. Baishnabnagar – Ibrahim Sekh 7. Khargram – Sadhan Marjit 8. Kandi – Manirul Islam 9. Kaliganj...

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CPI(ML) State Conference in Uttarakhand

The 2nd Uttarakhand State conference of the CPI(ML) was held on 19-20 March 2016 in Srinagar (Garhwal). The conference venue was named in memory of Com. Nagendra Saklani who was martyred in the decisive struggle against the Tehri monarchy on 11 January 1948, and the conference city was named after Com. Chandra Singh Garhwali who was the hero of the Peshawar Rebellion on 23 April 1930. The conference began with flag hoisting by Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi and 2 minutes’ silence as tribute to the martyrs. Inaugurating the open session of the conference, CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that not only in India but across the world from Latin America to England to America, calls are reverberating for a new socialism, a better world, and a better society. Within one year the true character of the Modi government has been exposed. It is the responsibility of the Left to positively use this new situation of struggle which has emerged in the country and in the world. He said that the attack on JNU in the name of nationalism, based on fabricated and doctored videos, has failed miserably in the face of the spirited struggle by students. The nation, the country is its people, workers, farmers, students, youth, dalits, adivasis, and women. By attacking these sections those who claim to be nationalistic are proving their nationalism to be...

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10th Tamil Nadu State Conference of CPI(ML)

CPI(ML)’s 10th Tamilnadu State Conference was held on 27th and 28th February at Sengundram, in Thiruvallur district. The conference hall was named after Comrade TKS Janardhanan and Comrade Ammaiappan. The conference began with young woman comrade and AISA leader Com. Seetha hoisting the Party Flag, after wihich all leaders and delegates paid floral tribute to the Martyrs. A seven-member presidium led by Com. Chandramohan conducted the proceedings. Com. Ramesh, State Committee Member presented the condolence resolution and Com. Janakiraman, Thiruvallur district secretary welcomed the delegates. Com. Swapan Mukherjee, central observer, inaugurated the conference. He appealed to the delegates to prepare for bigger struggles against the onslaught of fascist, communal, pro-corporate BJP government at the centre and also against the autocratic Jayalalitha government at the state. Political resolutions and work report were presented by outgoing state secretary Com. Balasundaran. About 250 delegates and 50 observers from 23 districts attended the conference. The exhibition on the topic “Class struggle continues…” was inaugurated by Com. Swapan. After deliberations Com. Balasundaram summed up the discussions on the report and it was unanimously accepted by the house. Com. Balasubramanian, Party secretary of Puducherry UT and Com. John Erimeli, Secretary of Kerala State greeted the conference. The conference also elected a 35-member state committee which in turn elected Com. Kumarasamy as its Secretary. Com AS Kumar submitted financial report of the Party which was also...

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Pricol Workers’ Struggle Goes On

Pricol workers – and workers all over the country in solidarity with them – are struggling to free the eight Pricol comrades who have been convicted and sentenced to double life imprisonment in a vicious verdict calculated to discipline and intimidate unions. Meanwhile, in an audacious move, the Pricol management is attempting to ‘advice’ workers to dissociate from the AICCTU-led union and return to the fold of the management! A letter from the Pricol management was displayed on the factory notice board. This letter elaborately analyzed the monetary losses supposedly suffered by workers after they formed their AICCTU-affiliated union and compared it with their peaceful past before they formed this union. It urged the workers to leave the union and come back to the comfort zone that was provided and will be provided by the management. The management generally gives a copy of any communication put up on the notice board for the union. But this time the management refused to give a copy for the union. The management had given such a letter earlier when the union was not recognized by the management and when there was intense workers’ struggle for recognition of their union. This was in 2008 when the management put up a communication on the notice board saying it was prepared to pay the settlement benefit from July 2008 if the workers leave the union....

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Tough Challenges And Great Opportunities (Part III)

Over to the other side of the Atlantic, where all eyes are fixed on the US presidential race. Our focus, however, will not be on the race as such, but on a related development: the vigorous left-democratic mobilisation around the candidacy of Bernie Sanders,a hitherto unknown figure who is giving the heavyweight Hillary Clinton an unexpectedly tough fight in the contest for Democratic Party (DP) nomination. The rise of a Maverick Comrades Surya and Tamarai have sent us this backgrounder: “Bernie Sanders is currently serving as a United States Senator from the state of Vermont. As a young activist, he was a member of the Young People’s Socialist League and the Congress for Racial Equality. He participated in the civil rights movement as a student organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1981, he won the position of Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, as an independent, and subsequently won reelection three times, defeating both Democratic and Republican candidates even when they joined hands to defeat him. During his tenure as mayor, Burlington developed “sister city” relationships with Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua in 1984, during the Sandinista Revolution, and Yaroslavl, USSR in 1989, much to the chagrin of the Regan administration. In 1990, he was elected to the US House of Representatives for Vermont, once again running as an independent. However, this marked beginning of his long association with the Democratic...

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Educate, Agitate, Organise For Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

As we enter upon the year of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, his worst apprehensions regarding Indian society and polity seem to be coming true as never before. “If Hindu Raj does become a fact” — he wrote in Pakistan or Partition of India (1945) “it will no doubt be the greatest calamity for this country. It is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.” Ambedkar had the foresight to spot the danger of Hindu Rashtra on the distant skyline some 70 years ago; today that danger is at our gates, in the shape of the Modi Raj, essentially a corporate-communal fascist rule. Modi is fond of using Ambedkar as an alibi for every assault by his Government and his party on the Constitution drafted by Ambedkar. With his Government in the dock for the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, the Ambedkarite Marxist student activist branded anti-national by Modi’s Ministers, the Prime Minister is trying hard to redefine Ambedkar’s legacy to suit the BJP’s agenda. Laying the foundation stone for an Ambedkar Memorial at Delhi, Modi said that Ambedkar called for labour reform as well as industrialization. In fact, Ambedkar staunchly opposed every reform that the colonial regime introduced to discipline and enslave labour, and today Modi’s Government is...

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Cry My Beloved Country

The temple of Mother India is full, Landlord, usurer, capitalist, rich trader, All are crowded inside with the cruel butcher, Only the poor patriot in khaddar is outside. – Baba Nagarjun, ‘Sach Na Bolna’ (Don’t Speak The Truth) In his poem written soon after independence, Baba Nagarjun imagined the temple of Mother India as full of the hypocrites – the looters, plunderers and oppressors – while those patriots in khadi, the ones who speak of food, jobs, rights, will all surely be called communists and clapped in jail cells. In India today, the BJP and Sangh Parivar have equated nationalism with bullying and beating, with the force-feeding of Hindutva. Or rather, they are cloaking their usual bullying and violence in the robes of ‘nationalism’, to disguise it. And they are inverting the very meaning of nationalism: those who help corporations and MNCs loot and plunder India are calling themselves ‘nationalist’, while the activists who defend the country’s land, forests, rivers, the rights of its people, and its democracy, are branded as ‘anti-national’ and seditious and put in jail. They are hell-bent on snatching away the political freedom to debate, dissent, to question: be it for the people of Kashmir, the North East or any Indian citizen. Remember, the Sangh Parivar and votaries of Hindutva have absolutely no right to lay claim to nationalism – they betrayed the freedom struggle...

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After Dadri, Lynchings of Two Muslims At Latehar

(Fact finding report team comprising ML State Secretary Janardan Prasad, MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Palamu district Secretary RN Singh, Ramvilas Singh, Sarfaraz Alam, AIPF Campaign Committee member Yugal Pal, Ravindra Ram, Anil Anshuman, Dhiraj Kumar, and members of the Ranchi Anjuman Islamia.) On 18 March Majloom Ansari (32) of Nawada village (Latehar district) and Imtiaz Ansari (12), of Arhara village started at 3.30 am from Nawada village to the Latehar haat bazaar with 8 bullocks for sale. After 10 km they reached Jhabar village where members of the ‘Gauraksha Samiti’ (cow protection outfit associated with the RSS) caught both of them, tied their hands and mouth, and beat them up brutally. Both were killed and strung up from a tree. At around 6 am, Majloom’s trader friends tried to search the two but they were chased away by the killers when they were on way to Jhabar village. Around 7.30 am Majloom’s younger brother somehow reached the spot where two local journalists had reached before them. The police reached only at around 8 am. The victims’ families were unaware of the ghastly killings till that moment; police and the local journalists had come there on intimation from some other source. Had someone from among the perpetrators informed the Press in order to create a sensation? The victims’ family members opposed the police when they tried to take away the dead...

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Why Is The Grand Alliance Government in Bihar Letting Feudal, Communal and Criminal Forces Run Amok?

The Grand Alliance Government won the Bihar elections riding a powerful anti-BJP wave, because the people of Bihar were determined to teach the feudal-communal BJP a lesson. However, as in its previous avatar, the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance Government is once again tacitly colluding with the feudal and communal forces. In a series of grave incidents of organised violence by these forces, the Government has looked the other way and failed to act either to prevent or to punish the perpetrators. In an emerging pattern, Dalits claiming land that rightfully belongs to them are being attacked, and activists leading such struggles are being killed. Dalit Basti Burnt In Kajhiya In Akbarpur Criminals under BJP protection burnt down a dalit basti in Kajhiya in Akbarpur block of Nawada district. Even after such a big incident local BJP MLA Anil Singh did not visit the spot. A CPI(ML) team comprising CC member and former MP Rameshwar Prasad, Legislative Party leader Mahboob Alam, and Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad found that the police picketing by the administration has served not to protect the dalits from attack but to prevent them from rebuilding their basti there. The FIR has been deliberately weakened and the police investigation states that the fire was ‘accidental’, which claim our investigative team has found to be blatantly false. A rumour is being floated that the poor people there deliberately...

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Suicide of a Refugee : Plight of Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu

On 6th March this year, a 45 year-old Sri Lankan Tamil refugee Raveendran climbed up to the high-tension electric tower in the Uchapatti refugee camp of Madurai, and electrocuted himself by touching the wire, falling fifty feet. Before he committed suicide, witnesses who tried to dissuade him, said that he shouted that he was sacrificing his life to free the refugees from oppression. The final straw for Ranveendran, which made him take his life, was the fact that the retired Revenue Inspector taking the roll call in the camp, refused to mark his 14 year-old son Pradeepan as ‘present’; Pradeepan is a haemophiliac and was in hospital. Being marked absent can lead to removal from the rolls – with dangerous consequences for refugees. Removal from the roll is nothing but the death of a living person in a foreign country and there is a chance of being branded as a Tamil Tiger. Raveendran had been a skilled fisherman from Triconamalai of Sri Lanka and had reached India 20 years ago. He lived in the Uchapatti camp with his wife and children. Pradeepan, his haemophiliac son, needs injections costing around Rs 12,000 every week. Raveendran had to travel all the way to coasts and earn a living to manage the medical expenses of his son. As a result he often failed to attend Roll Calls as he was away earning...

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What Is The Government Hiding?

(Author is a Research Consultant with the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace. This is a slightly updated version of an article that appeared in Scroll.in) On March 11, news came out that there has been a leak at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Gujarat. A press statement put out by the plant operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, on that day stated that Unit-1 of the station had to be shut down after the primary heat transport system had sprung a leak. The operator reassured that there was no release of radiation and workers were safe. Since then though, there has been no update – neither from the Nuclear Power Corporation nor from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, which monitors nuclear safety in India. As of writing, it has been three days since the accident. Blanket of Secrecy It’s not easy to get the picture with incomplete information. We know that on-site emergency was declared in Kakrapar late evening on March 11 although the accident happened, or started, around 9 am. But we don’t know if the emergency has been lifted and if the situation has returned to normal. BC Patni, district magistrate of Tapi, said he has no information if the on-site emergency is still in place. Although the reactor is in Surat district administratively, the nearby habitations fall mostly in Tapi district. Patni said...

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Put An End to Caste Consolidation on the Basis of Dalit Oppression

“The accelerated and all-round penetration of capital, including in agriculture, takes place not so much by eradicating as by utilising the stubborn remnants of feudalism in production relations and value systems, thereby reproducing them in new forms. Such survivals not only ensure the availability of cheap labour power and raw materials for both Indian big capital and imperialism, but also provide a structural foundation for the persistence of various obscurantist and parochial ideas as well as systematic casteist and feudal-patriarchal oppression, often in most barbaric forms. In short, feudal survivals in league with growing corporate control over the country’s economic lifelines and institutions of parliamentary democracy retard and distort the development of productive forces and act as the biggest stumbling block to a thorough democratisation of Indian society and polity” From the General Programme adopted by 9th Congress of CPIML (Liberation) held in 2013. A suicide theory was in need when Ilavarasan’s body (a dalit who married a Vanniar girl) was found on the railway tracks. Though there is an official version about the cause of his death, very few buy this story. Gokulraj’s headless body was found again on the tracks. Initially rumour of suicide was spread and later occurrence of murder was established by due enquiry process. Now in Sankar’s muder, it is one more step further for the dominant caste thugs in Tamilnadu. Sankar, an engineering...

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Corporate Plunder From Public Sector Banks

The Modi Government has made it clear that while it will help corporations loot and scoot from India, it will brand activists defending the rights of India’s poor as ‘anti-nationals’. The Modi Government prevented the environmental activist Priya Pillai from flying out of India, branding her ‘anti-national’ for seeking to discuss concerns about MNC plunder of adivasis’ land and destruction of the environment. But the same Government has just facilitated the super-rich Vijay Mallya in fleeing Indian shores to avoid paying his massive debts to public sector banks and evade criminal charges of money laundering. The police issued ‘lookout notices’ to Ms Pillai and to two JNU students facing ‘sedition’ charges. But the CBI under Modi ‘modified’ the original lookout notice seeking Mallya’s detention at the country’s exit points, instead seeking only ‘information’. For the Modi Government, then, dissenting students can be treated as dangerous criminals and arrested, but corporate scamsters are given a free hand to plunder the country and then go scot free to evade justice. Mallya’s company Kingfisher called itself ‘The King of Good Times’ – and indeed Modi’s promised acche din has materialized for the likes of Mallya and Ambani alone. Another notable contrast is between how different categories of loan defaulters – depending on whether they are poor farmers or corporate cronies of the Government – are treated in the country. Farmers who take...

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