Vol. 20, No. 14

OBITUARY : Com. Ashok Swain

Com Ashok Swain joined CPI(ML) in 2012, before which he was with the CPI. He belonged to Patpur village in Puri district. He was the Secretary of AIYF Puri unit in 1986-87 and became a member of Puri district council of CPI in 2000. He was also a state council member of CPI. A militant fighter for the rights of the poor in Puri and Kakatpur areas, with his demise, the party has a lost a comrade who had dedicated his life fighting for the poor. The Odisha CPI(ML) state committee held a condolence meeting for comrade Swain. He is survived by his wife and one son and a daughter. Our sincere tributes to Com. Ashok Swain...

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AIPF Seminar in Mysore

AIPF Karnataka organized a Seminar on “UP elections-2017 & its Implications” on March 20 at Mysore. Prof Muzaffar Assadi, from University of Mysore, said that the UP elections were fought by BJP for benefitting the corporates by strengthening the forces of communalism and caste politics. However, such designs did not succeed in Punjab which exhibits that the Modi phenomenon is only transitory. Dr V. Lakshminarayana, Convener of AIPF in Karnataka emphasised the need for an alliance of people to combat the Hindutva fascism. Mr Abdul Kaleem of SDPI also addressed in the Seminar. Sri P. Mallesh, the veteran Gandhian presided the seminar and urged the democratic forces to oppose communal fascism’s onslaught on various sections of society. Dr E Rati Rao introduced the theme of the seminar while Javariah conducted the...

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Film Screening by AIPF in Tamil Nadu

All India People’s Forum (AIPF) on 19 March screened Kakkoos, (Toilet) a powerful Tamil documentary film on manual scavenging in Tamil Nadu, directed by Divya. The screening took place in Chennai at the Madras Reporters Guild. Though the film was released on 26 February 2017, and immediately received much acclaim and positive reviews as a courageous film, the TN police and Government, disturbed by the theme and content of the film, have stopped the screening of the film in Coimbatore, Madurai and Kanyakumari claiming it poses a threat to law and order. Organizations and groups attempting to screen the film were questioned and in some cases even threatened. The AIPF screening was organized to protest against and highlight such draconian attempts to curb free speech and prevent the dirty secret of manual scavenging from being revealed. Divya, the film’s director and editor, is a CPI(ML) activist from Madurai. She and her team covered many towns and cities in Tamil Nadu on foot to be able to locate manual scavengers – whose work is usually done ‘out of sight.’ The sights and scenes the film covers – men and women cleaning overflowing toilets, toilets clogged with sanitary napkins: cleaning human faeces with their bare hands – are difficult to watch and must have been extremely difficult to film. But it forces the viewer to face facts about the sheer crime...

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Against Ash Pond Pollution in Koderma

Protests against construction of the Banjhodih Thermal Power Plant’s Ash Pond are on by the people of the 32 affected villages in Koderma district. The people’s demand is that the ash pond should either be constructed at a distance of 600m from the village to protect the crops and people from dust and other pollution or the village itself should be shifted to a distance of 600m with 100% compensation. But the DVC has rejected this demand and started the construction. The people from the affected 32 villages have started protests immediately. The digging the ash pond is taking place on more than 1800 acres of land covering 32 villages of which 90% is cultivable. This will displace a minimum of 2000 farmers and more than 3000 landless families settled on gairmajrua government land. A total of over 7000 families are in imminent danger of displacement of which the DVC has a list of only 1579 displaced families till now. The history of Jharkhand testifies that once displaced, the person or family not only never gets the land back but is also never resettled. More than 400 displaced people from Koriyama, the village most affected, started the protests with a 3 day dharna on 11 February 2017 which got widespread people’s support in spite heavy deployment of police and attempts by the administration to obstruct the protests. Former MLA...

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Protest on Anniversary of Com. Gangaram Kol’s Martyrdom

On the fourth anniversary of Com. Gangaram Kol’s martyrdom, CPI(ML) and Asom Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangh organised a massive protest at Guwahati on 25th March which was the culmination of a campaign against inactiveness of CBI in enquiring the case and failure of BJP Govt in arresting the killers of comrade Gangaram. Thousands of people participated in this protest meeting through which a memorandum was sent to the Chief Minister of Assam demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. The memo asked the government to fulfill it’s promise of arresting the culprits and to make the progress of the CBI inquiry public. The protest was addressed by CPI(ML) Assam Secretary Rubul Sarma, Bibek Das, President of Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangh, Pankaj Das, Jiten Tanti, GS of Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangh, CPI(ML) Central Committee member Subhas Sen, Arup Mahant of Gramin Shramik Santha, Subhrajyoti Bardhan of AIARLA and many...

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6th AIPWA Jharkhand State Conference

AIPWA held its 6th Jharkhand State conference on 18 March 2017 in the Srilata Swaminathan Hall (Town Hall) at Chinta Singh Nagar (Giridih) with slogans resonating against the anti-women policies of the Modi and Raghuvar governments. Inaugurating the conference AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari said that the footfalls of the imminent challenges facing the women’s movement can be heard in the recent UP election results. The massive mandate to the BJP will not only escalate Hindutva and casteist-communal violence and vitiate society and politics with divisive hatred, but also strengthen patriarchy and escalate anti-women hatred and violence on a large scale. The recent statement by the Cabinet Minister Maneka Gandhi that a law would be enacted to confine women within the four walls of the home is an attack on the women’s movement, just as Modi talks of working for the poor but actually works for the rich. Adivasi girls from Jharkhand go to big cities where they become victims of trafficking; girls from Assam are being taken out of the state in the name of education but their parents lose all contact with their daughters; there is an ongoing project in RSS ashrams to make girls ‘courageous’ but when a woman journalist published an investigative story on this project she received death threats. All this is happening while Modi touts his ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ slogan. While AIPWA...

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Protests Over Bhangar Land Acquisition Continues

In the 50th year of Naxalbari Uprising, West Bengal is now witnessing a peasant movement at the rural areas of Bhangar near Kolkata. The peasants are up in struggle against the forceful acquisition of thirteen acres of fertile agricultural land for a power grid project of 400KV. The students of different colleges and universities too have played a praiseworthy role in this struggle. A team of AISA led by Ranajoy Sengupta and Nabakumar Biswas visited Bhangar recently to meet the struggling people. They also met the bereaved families of the Mafijul and Alamgir, the two young men who were killed by the police. They also met the fighting men who were seriously injured during the torture unleashed by the police and the TMC goons. The AISA comrades were inspired by the fighting spirit of the Bhangar people and pledged to propagate its message all over the State. On March 20, CPI(ML) activists protested in front of the South 24 Parganas District police office against the police onslaught unleashed upon the Bhangar peasants. Two youths had been killed by the police accompanied by the ruling TMC goons and several persons including elderly women had been severely injured. Many were arrested including some civil liberty organizers and supporters of the movement. Some of them were charged with the draconian UAPA act and many other non-bailable sections. A memorandum was submitted to...

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CPI(ML) Condemns Racist Mob Attack on Students from African Nations in Greater Noida

The CPIML condemns the racist mob attack on students from Nigeria and other African nations in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh on 27 March 2017. The attack followed racist rumours accusing Nigerians of ‘cannibalism’ following the disappearance of Indian students. Eventually the Indian student was found suffering from a drug overdose of which he later died. Under pressure from a violent mob the Uttar Pradesh police lodged an FIR against five Nigerian students. But the police, acknowledging that there was no evidence at all that the death was a murder or that Nigerians had anything to do with the death, did not arrest the five Nigerian students. In spite of this the racist campaign continued and culminated in a brutal prolonged mob attack on African students at Ansal Plaza and Pari Chowk in Greater Noida. Racist attacks against students and people from African nations, as well as Black people from other countries, are very common. The CPI(ML) demands that the perpetrators of the racist attack be identified and punished, and the Government of Uttar Pradesh and Central Government immediately take steps to ensure protection of African students in NOIDA. The CPIML demands that the Prime Minister as well as Chief Ministers of all states issue a condemnation of all racist attacks and appeal against racist abuse and attacks. Governments at Centre and State must also fund campaigns to educate the...

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CPI(ML) Condemns the Heinous Killing of Farook

The CPIML condemns the heinous killing of Farook, a rationalist and atheist, by Muslim fundamentalists in Coimbatore. This killing comes as the latest in the spate of attacks and murders of rationalists in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. In India, Hindutva fundamentalist forces killed rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Prof Kalburgi and Comrade Govind Pansare just as Islamic fundamentalists killed Farook. Global imperialist and racist Islamophobia, Hindutva communalism and Islamic fundamentalism feed into each other. In a democracy every person must be free to embrace or advocate any belief, whether it is a religious faith or a belief in rationalism or...

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Anonymity of political funding has been digitalized in digital India with “Electoral Bonds”

With intention to window-dress this apparent pro-corporate decision the limit of anonymous cash donations to political parties has been reduced from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 by amending Income-Tax Act by Finance Bill, 2017. This lowering of the limit, without putting a cap on the total amount of anonymous cash donations is meaningless and is just political gimmick to push the propaganda of cashless/less cash without any gains in terms of transparency and rooting out of black money from political funding. The parties can now simply claim they got multiple donations of Rs 2,000 instead of a lump sum by just making more anonymous receipts. A senior officer with the CAG office, quoted in The Telegraph, 23 March 2015, sums up the situation best: “This means, for example, that an infrastructure firm could theoretically pay up to 50 percent of its net profits to a single party as donation without anyone getting wiser as to which party has been paid… this throws open the possibility that an order to build a highway or a railway bridge could be given to a firm and that firm could pay the donation to the party in power which placed the order with it…The beauty is that if this happens, it will be legitimate and no questions can be asked by any ethics committee of Parliament or by any CAG audit.” It is...

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Condemn Doing Away of Transparency for Corporate Funding of Political Parties Through Finance Bill, 2017

The counting process of banned notes deposited during demonetization seems to be an endless exercise with the RBI still refusing to spell out the numbers but not so with corporate funding of political parties where companies now do not need to count how much share of profits they are giving as political donations with the passage of Finance Bill, 2017 and with removal of existing cap of 7.5 percent of average profits of last three years on Companies for funding of political parties. And to cap it, the amendments in the Companies Act have the effect that the Companies are now not even required to disclose the name of political parties to whom the funding was provided. All this obviously in name of strengthening framework of Corporate Governance, curbing corruption and bringing transparency in the funding of political parties! The cap removed was intended for the purpose that companies shouldn’t be reduced to fronts or channels for merely political funding. The protection is no more with us. In a related development Finance Act, 2017 has introduced the concept of “Electoral Bonds”. Though the bank will capture the identity of the person when Electoral Bonds are bought but it is not revealed to the public at large and there is no requirement for political parties to disclose the name either as these bonds are planned to be bearers bonds and...

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Anti-Romeo Squads Are An Attack On Women’s Safety

A cursory reading of the state-wise data released last year by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will reveal that not only does Uttar Pradesh lead national crime statistics in most categories of crime, but that its disposal rates are inversely proportional to given crime rates. This is revealing for the incidence of crime, the framing of charges, and rates of conviction, thus telling us something about the rates of crime as they occur in society, the nature of policing, and the effectiveness of the judiciary in the state. In fact, the state is now appropriately led by Yogi Adityanath, who has no less than 18 charges against him, including criminal intimidation, defiling of places of worship, possession of arms and rioting, and even attempt to murder. This dire data is relevant in the context of the deployment of large sections of the police force in the state for combating something that is not a crime, not a law and order issue, but, really just young people spending time with each other. This is being done in the name of curbing sexual harassment. It might be noted that Uttar Pradesh ranks high in several of the sub-categorisations of crimes against women, and highest, it might be mentioned, in the instance of custodial rape. And these are registered cases that appear in national and state records. As promised by Yogi...

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