05 May 2016

A Manifesto for May Day 2016 : Resist India, Resist!

It has been two years since Narendra Modi became India’s Prime Minister unleashing a trajectory of governance that is proving to be nothing short of a political calamity for our society and polity. Never before has India seen a government so callous and indifferent to the plight of the people. Even as large parts of the country are reeling under severe drought and famine-like conditions, and dozens of farmers continue to be driven daily to suicides under a crushing burden of debt and insecurity, the government nonchalantly congratulates itself for promising to double farm income by 2022. The CM of Maharashtra, the worst drought-affected state, is least concerned about this alarming agrarian distress, he is busy issuing deportation threats to whoever does not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and his cabinet colleague makes her tour of drought-affected areas memorable by taking selfies on her smartphone! The PM is of course busy touring foreign lands, addressing election rallies, occasionally taking time off to deliver his radio gospels or appreciate his own wax statue in a Madame Tussauds museum. It is a government which came to power with only 31% of the polled vote, but almost from day one it has been in a state of permanent war with large sections of the citizenry including many who had voted it to power. Its land acquisition ordinance has been rejected by all,...

Read More

Bant Singh Refuses Delhi Government Award

Revolutionary balladeer and icon of Dalit resistance, Bant Singh, turned down a state award offered to him by the AAP’s Delhi Government. The Delhi Government had invited him to accept the award and a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar. Comrade Bant politely refused the award, saying that he did not accept Government awards on principle. A CPI(ML) activist, Comrade Bant Singh’s limbs were chopped off for his defiance to the dominant castes, but he continues to sing and fight. Speaking to a reporter of the Tribune, Aparna Banerjee, at the Utho Mere Desh program in Jallandhar on Ambedkar Jayanti, Bant Singh said, “I can stay hungry for two days, but I can’t accept money from political parties. I don’t need their money…. I believe all this is being done to gain some publicity ahead of elections. Only a government which stays true to the ideology of Bhagat Singh shall talk for the rights of the common man (aam aadmi).” He added, “Modi had said good days would come, but see how tough is the going for farmers and labourers these days.” On the Congress, he said, “Sonia (Gandhi) also once said that she wanted to meet me. I thought she would come with 60 cameras. Congress men severed my limbs and I thought that the party...

Read More

AIPF National Convention in Delhi

The All India People’s Forum (AIPF) held a national convention on the theme “Deepening socio-economic crisis: Way forward for peoples struggles to defend country and democracy“ on 18th April 2016 at the Constitution Club in Delhi. The AIPF, since its inception a year ago, has been at the forefront of voicing the entire range of peoples’ concerns across many states. The convention was attended by activists from various peoples struggles, including Dr. Binayak Sen, Sunilam (Samajwadi Samagam), Prof. Jagmohan Singh, John Dayal, Himanshu Kumar, Isha Khandelwal (Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group), Roma Mallick (All India Forum of Forest Working People), Dr. Manzoor Alam, Shahid Kamal, Anil Chamadia, Anand Swaroop Verma, Vidyabhushan Rawat, ND Pancholi, Ambarish Rai, Dipankar Bhattacharya (CPI-ML), Bhimrao Bansode (Lal Nishan Party – Leninist), Mangat Ram Pasla (CPM Punjab), as well as student leaders from JNU, FTII and elsewhere. Addressing the convention, Sunilam, convenor of the Samajwadi Samagam, talked about the massive ongoing repression on the farmers’ movement in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, in the midst of a huge agrarian and economic crisis. Sunilam himself had been jailed before for leading farmer’s protests. John Dayal spoke of the persecution of minorities, “Islamophobia has become state policy under the Modi government”, he said. Speaking of the ongoing assault on democracy in Chhattisgarh and especially in Bastar, Himanshu Kumar highlighted the fact that the present state of repression has a...

Read More

Obituary : Dipankar Mukherjee

Comrade Dipankar Mukherjee, an ardent supporter of the Naxalbari Movement since its inception passed away on 12th April 2016 in a hospital at Dankuni, Hooghly, West Bengal at the age of 63. Although he was not a member of any communist party, he was very closely associated with the Left and revolutionary movement of Bengal . He had been associated with the Indian Peoples’ Front and was a contributor for Loksamachar, the WB State IPF organ. Attracted to the Naxalbari movement as a student of physics honours from Vidyasagar College in the early 1970s, he remained a lifelong supporter of the CPI(ML) movement. He joined the Indian Post &Telephones (which later became BSNL) and retired in the year 2013. He was deeply interested in the revolutionary street theatre movement. His father Dilip Mukherjee was an active member of Anusheelan Samiti during the Independence Movement, during which he was trained in the traditional martial arts of ‘lathikhela’ (bamboo stick combat). He is survived by his two sisters and many friends. His good natured comradeship and friendship will be sorely missed. Red salute to...

Read More

CPI(ML) in Assembly Elections 2016

TAMIL NADU Madhavaram ———— S. Janakiraman Ulundoorpettai ——– M. Venkatesan Kumarapalayam ——— A. Govindaraj Kolachal ————– S. M. Anthonimuthu Ambattur ————- K. Palanivel Mettupalayam ——— P. Natarajan Gondampalayam ——– M. S. Velmurugan Sriperambudur ——– V. Rajesh Gadharvakottai ——- Vanita Vedasandur ———– P. Jayanthi PUDUCHERY Mangalam ————- P. Murugan Neravi TR Pattinam — A. S. Singaravelu Embalam ————- R. Elammal KERALA Kunnathunad (SC)——- Manoj...

Read More

AIPWA Protest Against Rape-Accused RJD MLA

The All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) held a militant march to the Governor’s house (Rajbhavan) in Patna on 21st April, demanding that rape-accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav be charge-sheeted and stripped of his membership in the Bihar Assembly. The protesting women marched from the Gardanibagh Gate Library to the Governor’s mansion, then made a turn towards the State Assembly where they managed to enter the premises before tangling with security guards. AIPWA State President Saroj Chaubey, Secretary Shashi Yadav and National GS Meena Tiwari as well as other state-level leaders led the march, accusing the government of trying to protect the RJD leader. They sought a speedy trial to bring the alleged rapist to justice. Raj Ballabh Yadav was identified by a 15-year old girl in Nalanda district as having raped her. He had gone underground and surrendered before the police only after protests by AIPWA and other women’s groups. But the police had dragged its feet on filing a charge-sheet, and meanwhile media carried news of him holding a lavish party inside the prison. Following the AIPWA March, the chargesheet against Raj Ballabh Yadav has been filed. AIPWA has vowed to continue to struggle till he is convicted and...

Read More

CPI (ML) Leader Garo Paswan Murdered

Serial Killing of CPI(ML) Leaders Continues In Beguserai On the night of 15 April 65 year old senior CPI (ML) leader Com. Rameshwar Paswan known as Garo Paswan was killed in Chakaewasa village, Cheriya Bariyapur in Beguserai district, by feudal criminals under the protection of JDU and RJD. Comrade Garo Paswan was from the Mahadalit community, and had been leading struggles of Dalits to secure possession of lands allotted to them. Just a few days earlier in the same district, two young Party leaders Mahesh Ram and Rampravesh Ram were brutally killed by criminals protected by the BJP in Maksudanpur of Baliya block. In both the murders, land was the basic issue. Com. Rameshwar Paswan (Garo Paswan) was murdered at night while he was asleep. After visiting the spot, Party leader Chandradev Verma said that Com. Paswan was sleeping on a bench under a neem tree. At around 1 o’clock in the night, 3 persons on motorcycles started driving around the tola and then shot 5 bullets at Com. Paswan. The 9 mm bullet killed Com. Paswan on the spot. In protest against this brutal murder, a dharna was organized in front of the Beguserai DM on 20 April and Protest Day was observed across the entire State. In this village, around 106 acres of land owned by Savitri Devi (which was declared as ceiling land) was distributed among...

Read More

Communal Conspiracies in Bihar and Jharkhand

(Parvez reports from Bihar and Manoj Bhakta from Jharkhand) Nitish Kumar talks big about a ‘Sangh-free India’, but his attitude towards the BJP and the Sangh Parivar’s communal agenda is one of opportunism. On the one hand, as Nitish Kumar was extending a cordial welcome to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Bihar BJP State President Mangal Pandey at the Patna Ram Navami procession on the occasion of Ram Navami, at that very time the Bajrang Dal was boldly fomenting communal violence in several areas of Siwan and Gopalganj. The government’s efforts to monitor and control the violence wreaked by the Bajrang Dal were as good as nil. On the occasion of a Ram Navami procession on 15 April in Phulwariya (Siwan Sadar) Muslim houses were set afire by the RSS and Bajrang Dal, and a woman Jameela Khatoon was beaten up. An enquiry team of the CPI (ML) comprising District Secretary Naeemuddin Ansari, AIPWA leader Sohila Gupta, and CPI (ML) leader Devendra Ram visited the spot. The team found that there is a burial ground in the village with a Kali temple next to it which had been the cause of dispute even earlier. During the Ram Navami procession, a Mahaveeri flag was planted inside the burial ground; the Muslim community opposed this and removed the flag. After this, the Muslim bastis were attacked. The houses of the...

Read More

Farmers Resist Land Grab for Freight Corridor

[The UPA Government had prepared plans for a massive expansion of the transport sector; which are now being repackaged by the Modi Government. Anticipating a quantum increase in the freight-carrying requirements of the Indian Railways in the coming years, two dedicated freight corridors – eastern and western – were launched by the Ministry of Railways in 2005. The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), with a route length of 1856 km, consists of two distinct segments: an electrified double-track segment of 1409 km between Dankuni in West Bengal and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh and an electrified single-track segment of 447 km between Ludhiana (Dhandarikalan)- Khurja-Dadri in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor covers a distance of 1504 km of double line electric track from JNPT (Jawahar Lal Nehru port trust) near Mumbai to Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) via Vadodara-Ahmedabad-Palanpur-Phulera-Rewari. Three different models for funding the EDFC are being used. The EDFC has got a loan worth about 19,000 crores from the World Bank for the Ludhiana-Mughalsarai sector in three phases. The Mughalsarai-Sonnagar section will receive equity of Rs. 3679 crores from the Ministry of Railways while the Sonnagar-Dankuni section will have a Private Public Partnership (PPP) model of funding. The entire Western Corridor is being funded through loan from JICA (Japan International Co-operation Agency). Japan has given a soft loan of INR 38,000 crore...

Read More

The Left in 2016: Tough Challenges And Great Opportunities (Part IV)

In our far-from-comprehensive survey of recent developments in the international left-democratic movement we have already visited Venezuela, Greece, Britain and the US. In this concluding part we briefly discuss Portugal, Spain and Scotland and then try to draw pertinent lessons from the experiences covered in the four parts. Left Government in Portugal: Testing Times Ahead The October 2015 elections in Portugal brought to an end the rule of the right-wing Portugal Ahead (PA), which is an alliance of the Social Democratic Party and the Popular Party. The PA got only 107 seats in the 230-seat parliament, whereas the left parties (the Socialist Party (SP), the Left Bloc, and the Democratic Unity Coalition comprising Communist Party and the Green Alliance) together won 122 seats. This was clearly a mandate in favour of the Left and against the Right. But President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, a former leader of the Social Democrats, allowed PA leader and former Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho to form a government, which was soon voted down by the left parties. Still the biased President refused to ask Antonio Costa, leader of the second largest party — the Socialist Party — to form a government with the support of other left parties unless the left alliance submitted a written pledge that it would not leave NATO and faithfully observe eurozone financial rules. It took widespread protests and the...

Read More

Arise My Country – For an India of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar’s Dreams

Rohith Vemula was branded an “anti-national”, “extremist” and “casteist”. He was hounded to his death by a relentless ABVP-RSS-BJP campaign vilifying his ideas and his politics. Soon after, it was the turn of JNU students to bear the brunt of sedition charges, violence and vilification. However, much to the discomfiture of this hate campaign’s Sanghi stormtroopers, leaders from JNU have fanned the entire country in the past month, taking their message to people in villages, towns and cities. AISA and RYA launched the ‘Utho Mere Desh’ campaign at a meeting organised at the Press Club in New Delhi on 22 March. The speakers at this meeting – CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, scientist and poet Gauhar Raza, Karamsheel Bharti, President Dalit Lekhak Sangh, journalist at Hardnews Amit Sengupta, social activist Vidyabhushan Rawat, Ram Karan Nirmal (Ex-Student of BBAU Lucknow, who protested against Modi during their convocation), and former JNUSU office bearers Ashutosh and Anant – talked about the need to take the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar to the people at a time when these legacies are facing unprecedented assaults of the Modi government and the ABVP-RSS-BJP combine. Along with resisting the fascist assaults on university campuses, AISA and RYA built a creative counter-offensive to the Sanghi narrative. Between 23 March (Bhagat Singh’s Martyrdom Anniversary) to 14 April (Dr. Ambedkar’s Birth Anniversary), AISA and RYA activists organised and participated...

Read More

Bankruptcy Code Bill: Bailing Out Capitalists, Selling Out Workers

It has been said that Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell. The very fact that the proposed Bankruptcy Code hit the headlines at around the same time as did corporate loan waivers in form of NPAs (Non Performing Assets) by public sector banks has raised the eyebrows of many. The Bankruptcy Code is a reform aimed at facilitating speedy settlement of bankruptcies so as to ensure maximum recoveries from impaired assets; but in this garb, it also seeks to tilt the balance of negotiations in such settlements towards stakeholders who represents capitalist interests and away from workers’ interests. Increasing NPAs The rise in NPAs has much to do with the slowdown of the Indian economy in the wake of persisting global economic crisis. The Indian Express reported that “… Even as the government has been trying to shore up public sector banks through equity capital and other measures, bad loans written off by them between 2004 and 2015 amount to more than Rs 2.11 lakh crore. More than half such loans (Rs 1,14,182 crore) have been waived off between 2013 and 2015”. In continuation the repost says, “In other words, while bad loans of public-sector banks grew at a rate of 4 per cent between 2004 and 2012, in financial years 2013 to 2015, they rose at almost 60 per cent. The bad debts written off in...

Read More

An Early May Day In Bengaluru: Those Who Make in India, Revolt in India

Clifton D’Rozario on the garment workers’ uprising in Bengaluru This year, May Day came early to Bengaluru and the nearby towns of Maddur, Ramanagara, Nelamangala and Srirangapatna, and was celebrated with inspiring militancy over two days, 18th and 19th April. Some 3.5 lakh garment industry workers, almost entirely women, struck work, blocked roads demanding the Central Government to roll back its decision on restrictions of PF withdrawals. Slogans of “Modi ge dikkara” (Modi, Down! Down!) reverberated through the air as these women, ignoring the scorching heat, took up the challenge thrown by the Modi government hell-bent on weakening all labour law protections of the workers. The women garment workers in all garment units in Bengaluru struck work for two full days and took the streets blocking the main roads leading out of Bengaluru. Similarly the garment workers in all nearby towns too struck work and blocked the main highways and protested demanding the withdrawal of the PF amendments. The cities came to a standstill. The police and the administration were clueless about the protests until it erupted, and were even more clueless on how to deal with it, given that the protestors were almost all young, courageous and militant garment women workers. On the second day, the police resorted to mindless violence against the women, brutally lathi charging them, and firing teargas and even rounds of police firing. Hundreds...

Read More

Neglect Turns Drought into a Man-made Disaster

A severe drought has nearly half of India in its grip – and the drought is no bolt from the blue, but has affected various parts of the country for three long years. Yet, there has been a drought of media coverage and political will as well. Last year nine states were declared officially as drought affected. Yet, in spite of this official acknowledgement, nothing was done by governments to contain or minimise the adverse impacts on human lives and livestock. The framework and guidelines on drought management in the National Disaster Management Act 2005, and the technical knowhow for anticipating and managing drought situations in India exist – yet governments lack the political will to implement them. Two thirds of net sown area in India – about 140 million hectares – is classified as ‘drought prone’; and half of this is classified as ‘severe,’ where drought is chronic. This year, ten states have declared themselves drought hit. A PIL being heard in Supreme Court filed by the Swaraj Abhiyan states that twelve states are under severe duress: Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh. The government has now accepted that 254 districts out of 676 total are drought-hit, affecting 33 crore people. This amounts to 25% of India’s population and 40% of the land mass. The actual number of...

Read More

Stop Massacre of Civilians in Kashmir

Less than ten days after the PDP-BJP Government assumed power in Kashmir, Kashmir has witnessed a fresh bout of killings of civilian protesters by Army bullets. Five civilians have been killed, and several have suffered injuries that may cripple them for life. Once more, Kashmir has been plunged into the cycle of killings, protests, more killings, accompanied by curfews and internet bans. The episode was triggered when civilians came on the streets of Handwara to protest the alleged molestation of a minor girl by Army personnel. The Army responded by firing on and killing three civilians. When people came on the streets in other parts of northern Kashmir to protest the killings, the Army again responded by killing more civilians. The handling of the complaint of alleged molestation by the J&K Police has been rife with shocking violations of laws and norms. By law, the police should have promptly registered an FIR and recorded the girl’s statement before a magistrate. Instead, the police instead illegally recorded and released a video of the girl that denied molestation by the Army and revealed the identity of the girl, thus compromising her privacy and safety. The girl’s statement before the magistrate (denying molestation by the Army) has been recorded only after the police held the girl, her father and aunt in illegal custody for several days. While such a statement might have...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2