Journalist Gauri Lankesh:

Latest Bold Voice Against Sangh Assassinated

In an assassination that has shocked people all over the country, journalist Gauri Lankesh has been shot dead at her home in Bengaluru by unidentified men on a bike. Gauri Lankesh was a bold and intrepid independent journalist who wrote tirelessly against communal fascists in India. The manner of her death appears to be similar to the assassinations of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, in which the Abhinav Bharat, a saffron terrorist outfit, had been implicated. The fact that the killers of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi are yet to be punished is a comment on the impunity which these terrorists enjoy.

The rise of the BJP and the Modi regime has emboldened the forces of Sanghi terror in the country. They indulge in widespread threats of violence – and assassinations – to silence voices of dissent. Gauri Lankesh was one voice, who in spite of being convicted in a criminal defamation case by a BJP leader, had refused to be intimidated or silenced.
We demand justice for Gauri Lankesh. The anger against her assassination will only strengthen the determination of democratic forces in India to keep the flame of dissent alive and shining bright.

NEET Killed Anitha

The suicide of Anitha, a bright Dalit woman student of Tamil Nadu, has underlined the deeply unjust and biased NEET (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test) medical entrance test. Anitha had been one of the petitioners from Tamil Nadu in the Supreme Court against NEET. The petitioners had pointed out that while NEET is being introduced in the name of bringing uniformity to the medical entrance test countrywide, the question papers in various Indian languages were more difficult than the ones in English. In other words, not only was there no uniformity, the NEET discriminated against candidates writing in Indian languages.

Students like Anitha – from desperately poor and oppressed households in Tamil Nadu – dreamed of being able to get a chance to study medicine, based on their good performance in school board exams. But the NEET tended to favour those with a CBSE schooling.

Both the Tamil Nadu Government and the Central Government have Anitha’s blood on their hands. The Tamil Nadu Government after posturing against NEET eventually settled for just one year’s exemption from NEET and accepted NEET in principle. It failed to push the Central Government to keep its promise to support the exemption of Tamil Nadu from NEET, in the Supreme Court. The Centre did a U-turn which led to a Supreme Court ruling imposing NEET. Anitha, who had performed extremely well in school exams, did poorly in the NEET exam and, her dream of becoming a doctor shattered, committed suicide.

The Vyapam scam had brought to light the dirty underbelly of medical exam scams in the country. The vicious corruption as well as deep seated bias in medical entrance exams plays havoc with the dreams of India’s younger generation, especially those from the most oppressed and deprived backgrounds.

Riverbed Sand Workers Protest against Ban

The Nitish government has banned the clearance of sand from ghats giving the breeding of fish in Bihar by the Green Tribunal as the reason for the ban. No alternative arrangements have been made for the lakhs of construction and sand workers who have lost their livelihoods because of this. The Bihar State Construction Workers Union affiliated to AICCTU held protest marches, meetings and effigy burnings against this on 21 August 2017 at many places in Patna district. Raising slogans, the march at Kankarbagh culminated in a meeting at the Tempo Stand. The protesters made the following demands: unemployment period allowance for construction and sand workers; status of construction worker for sand workers and their registration as such; total ban on the use of machines for sand clearance.

Speakers addressing the meeting said that the Nitish government is ignoring the issue of construction and sand workers’ livelihoods and the grave crisis which their families are now facing. They called for acceleration in the struggle for the issue of construction and sand workers’ livelihoods. Hundreds of construction workers held protests at Fatuha, Masaurhi, Naubatpur, Dhanrua, Paliganj, Phulwari, and Bihata, The Bihata Chauraha was blocked for hours and Nitish Kumar’s effigy was burnt at a protest rally with demands for reinstating sand clearance, unemployment allowance, and ban on use of machines for sand clearance.

Release Chandigarh AISA President Comrade Vijay Kumar

AISA’s Chandigarh unit President, Com. Vijay Kumar was arrested on August 31 from Government College- Sector-11 and IPC sections 107/151 were filed against him for no reason. Though these sections are bailable however, bail was not granted to com. Vijay. The AISA unit of Chandigarh has termed this arrest as illegal. The arrest of Com. Vijay is timed to influence the elections in Punjab University which are scheduled on September 7. Com. Vijay has been in the forefront of student struggles on issues of students for the last three years. It is clear the administrations do not want students who appear to be threats to their anti-student machinations. CPI(ML) Chandigarh secretary, Com. Kanwaljeet has termed this arrest as illegal and said that this has been challenged in Punjab-Haryana High Court.