Farmers’ Suicides in Bihar
Enquiry teams of CPI (ML) visited Ghakar Milki village and Rajadih village where two farmers Dashrath Bind and Narad Raj had committed suicide. The reports of the two visits are shared below:
After the recent suicide of sharecropper Dashrath Bind at Ghaghar Milki village in Badhara Block due to farming losses, a high level enquiry team from the CPI (ML) visited the spot on 8 April 2018. The team comprised of CC members comrades Manoj Manzil, Raju Yadav, Tarari MLA Com. Sudama Prasad, Badhara Block Secretary Com. Nand Ji and Com. Amit Kumar Bunty.
Speaking on behalf of the enquiry team, Com. Sudama Prasad said that now even in Bhojpur farmers are feeling compelled to commit suicide. This shows that our government is totally dishonest towards the rights of farmers, especially sharecropping farmers. On the morning of 8 April Dashrath Bind hanged himself in the mango orchard belonging to Bhuvaneshwar Singh. He had been farming 2 bighas of land as a sharecropper. He had also taken 2 mango orchards in Ghaghar and one in Devariya by taking a loan of Rs 2 lakhs. But the hailstorm which occurred two days ago ruined the crop and the newly formed mango fruits were totally destroyed. Desperate due to the destruction of his crop and the mounting pressure of debt, he took the extreme step of committing suicide.
The enquiry team said that about 250 poor sharecroppers belonging to the Bind caste are going through a similar situation. Worry is writ large on every face: how shall we repay the loan? They are very well aware that even if some crop loss compensation is given, it will go to the landlords and nothing will come to the sharecropping farmers.
The enquiry team demands that an immediate compensation of Rs 10 lakhs should be paid to the family of Dashrath Bind, and they should get the benefit of a government job and Indira Awas. They also demand that sharecropping farmers should get crop loss compensation and identity cards.
A CPI (ML) enquiry team comprising MLA Com. Sudama Prasad, Kisan Mahasabha Bihar State President Com. Visheshwar Prasad Yadav, Insaf Manch leader from Muzaffarpur Com. Aftab Alam, comrades Hareli Rai, Parshuram Pathak, Suraj Kumar Singh and other leaders visited Rajadih village in Tariyani Block, Shivhar on 16 March 2018 where a farmer Narad Rai, burdened by despair due to absence of grain in his maize crop, committed suicide.
The CPI (ML) enquiry team said that Narad Rai’s suicide is a classic example of the pain of India’s farmers desperately burdened with bank loans and moneylender’s loans. Reports of such incidents had been coming from Maharashtra and other parts of the country, but now they have become a common occurrence in the State of Bihar also. In fact, conditions are fast deteriorating in Bihar, where the sharecropper who works on the land gets no facility of any sort and whatever facilities are available in the name of agriculture are being gobbled up by landlords. Thus the condition of sharecroppers is going from bad to worse from day to day.
Narad Rai, a sharecropper, used to cultivate about 1½ bighas of land a 25 maunds per bigha. He had taken loans from local moneylenders at exorbitant rates of interest to buy seeds and other material. He had purchased maize seeds at Rs 300 per kilo from Suresh Choudhury’s shop. The enquiry team could not ascertain the name of the company which manufactured the seeds, because often the shopkeeper does not give bills. On the one hand the seeds cost Rs 300 per kilo, whereas when the maize crop comes to the market it sells at Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kilo.
As in previous years, this year also the seeds turned out to be fake and no grains appeared in the crop. In deep despair, Narad Rai consumed poison on 13 March and died on 14 March at Muzaffaarpur. His financial condition is extremely poor. He owns only 8 katthas of land. He has 5 sons of whom two are working in private jobs; the remaining three are wage earners in a brick kiln in Punjab. This is the same condition of most sharecroppers in the village.
The enquiry team said that when they entered the village there was an eerie silence. No one was willing to speak about this incident. Narad Rai’s wife lay unconscious, and the team could not speak with her. They came to know later that the husband of the village Mukhiya was pressurizing the farmers to keep silent. The dominant sections are pressurizing the poor to say that a family quarrel was the cause of Narad Rai’s death. No government official in the village has so far come to enquire about the condition of the victim’s family. The local JD (U) MLA Sunita Singh Chauhan has also not come to village to make enquiries. Family members of Narad Rai have received no compensation from the government. Not only that, they have not even received Rs 20,000 due from the Parivarik Labh Yojana (Family Benefit Scheme).
When CPI (ML) MLA Sudma Prasad tried to talk to the DM, SP, CO etc none of them were available to talk to him. The attitude of government officials towards the poor is well known to all; now their attitude towards people’s representatives also stands exposed as extremely insensitive.
Later the members of the enquiry team managed to speak to a few farmers. Sharecroppers (Ramkripal Rai, Kalpesh Thakur, Kanhaiya Ram, Vinesh Choudhury, Sandhya Devi, Sita Devi) told the team that they are all in a similar plight. Last year the entire crop got ruined due to floods. But they have received no compensation till today. On the contrary, landlords have received compensation. The poor in the village have not got rations for the past 6 months. Most of the farmers have ramshackle huts in the name of homes and the condition of the village is extremely worrisome.
The enquiry team has made the following demands: immediate compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Narad Rai’s family; strict action against the companies which are playing with the farmers’ lives; and full and complete loan waivers for all farmers including sharecroppers.
Arson and Vandalism in Agastyamuni, Uttarakhand
The CPI (ML) strongly condemns the recent incident of arson and vandalism in Agastyamuni in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand and demands strict action against the culprits. The manner in which rumours were spread to target a particular community indicates a deep and pre-planned conspiracy. It is clear from the statements given by the DM and SP that the incident was perpetrated through spreading false rumours. Those conspiring to spread the poison of hate and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the hills must be immediately arrested. This entire incident also raises a question mark over the competence of the agencies responsible for maintaining law and order. Did the people from the local intelligence units who look with suspicion even at peaceful literary and cultural programmes, not have information about such a huge conspiracy? If they were not aware of such sensitive and pre-planned attacks, what is the purpose of the existence of the L.I.U.?
The question also begs an answer as to why the police was nowhere visible while the criminals were burning so many shops?
CPI (ML) demands that immediate punitive action should be taken against the L.I.U. who could not give prior warning of the attack and the police officials who turned a blind eye and failed to stop the attacks. The government and administration should also ensure that such attacks are not repeated in future.
We further demand that the innocent people whose shops were burnt should be given proper and adequate compensation and rehabilitation.
Martyrdom Day of Com. Laldhan Mahto Observed
The 15th martyrdom anniversary of martyr Com Laldhan Mahto was observed by the CPI (ML) on 4 April 2018 at Beko in Bagodar Block by organizing a Sankalp Diwas meeting against the communal-fascist Modi Raj. Comrade Laldhan Mahto, a teacher and a CPI(ML) activist was killed in 2002 by the police while leading a bandh against the arbitrary arrest of CPI(ML) leaders who had been raising their voices against the then Chief Minister Babulal Marandi.
The programme started with the garlanding of the life-size statue of Com Laldhan Mahto at GT Road, Ghanghri, and two minutes’ silence to pay tribute, in the presence of hundreds of villagers, intellectuals, women, youth and children including Party District Secretary and PB member Com. Manoj Bhakt, Jhamas General Secretary Com. Parmeshwar Mahto, Kisan leader Com. Puran Mahto and others.
This was followed by a rally which gathered at the Birsa Munda Vidyalaya in Bhandar Tola, Beko where Party leaders, activists, villagers and intellectuals paid floral tribute to the statue of Shaheed Laldhan Mahto.
TMC Terror During Panchayat Elections in West Bengal
CPI (ML) strongly condemns the TMC’s attack on democracy during the Panchayat Elections in West Bengal even as the State Election Commission watched in silence. TMC captured major block offices, unleashed a reign of terror over the opposition parties, candidates and their supporters. They imposed a forced virtual ban on filing of nominations by non TMC candidates. Meanwhile, TMC goons also attacked CPI (ML) Bankura District Secretary, Com. Bablu Banerjee at Indpur block office. CPI (ML)State Committee member Com. Sudhir Murmu was attacked in Hirband block, Com. Sajal De, Hooghly District Committee member was attacked in Dhonekhali block, and Com. Pradyot Mukherjee in Rampurhaat. CPI(ML) Central Committee member Jayatu Deshmuch was also attacked. Police and administration remained mute spectators to this reign of terror while the complaints to the Election Commission were in vain.
The CPI(ML) joined 17 other Left parties in protests in Kolkata against the terror and also addressed a Press Conference with other Left parties in Delhi.
AIPF-PUCL Team Visit Riot Affected Area in Asansol
An investigation team from AIPF and PUCL visited the areas in Asansol which had witnessed violent communal riots in last few days like never before. The team included Com. Mitali and Com. Bolan Gangopadhyaya along with others. The team spoke to the local residents to understand the current situation prevailing in those areas. The Imam of the Nurani Mosque, who lost his son just few days back in the riots, met the delegation and gave a message of peace to spread among all citizens across the society through the visiting team. The report by the team will soon be finalised.
Brutal Lathicharge on Students in Patna
CPI (ML) Bihar State Secretary Kunal strongly condemned the brutal lathi-charge on the student protest at Patna University called by AISA-SFI and other student organizations and said that this is an anti-democratic action. He said in his statement that the Patna University student union election is mired in suspicion, causing natural and rightful anger in the students. Instead of listening to the students’ voice the University administration is trying to forcibly crush it and this is highly condemnable. AISA Bihar State President Com. Mukhtar and AISA-SFI joint Presidential candidate Com. Meetu Kumari were among those seriously injured in the brutal lathi-charge.
Com. Kunal further said that the Patna University Vice Chancellor is acting at the behest of the RSS-BJP and conducting the oath-taking ceremony despite the election being controversial. He stressed that students and democratic and Left forces will continue to oppose the travesty of privatization in the name of ‘autonomy’ and the farcical elections, and said that the CPI (ML) stands solidly with the students in their struggle.
A team of CPI (ML) leaders led by CC member Santosh Sahar visited the PMCH and enquired after the health of the injured students.
‘BJP Bhagao-Bihar Bachao’: CPI(ML)’s Call for Janadhikar Yatra
On 5 April the Bihar State standing committee held a one-day meeting at the Patna Party office where it was decided to organize the ‘BJP Bhagao-Bihar Bachao’ Janadhikar (People’s Rights) Yatra from 23 April to 1 May: The BJP Bhagao-Bihar Bachao Janadhikar Yatra will be taken out from 5 places in the State on starting from 23 April. The first Yatra will commence from Vikramganj in Shahbad zone and will be led by Party General Secretary Com Dipankar Bhattacharya. This Yatra will proceed through Ara and reach Patna on 1 May. The second Yatra will commence from Gaya and reach Patna via Jehanabad and Masaurhi. The third Yatra will start from Biharsharif and proceed to Patna via Hilsa and Fatuha. The fourth Yatra will be taken out from Muzaffarpur and reach Patna via Vaishali. The fifth Yatra will commence from Khagariya-Beguserai. A BJP Bhagao-Bihar Bachao Janadhikar Sammelan (People’s Conference) will be held in Patna on 1 May.
During the week-long Yatras each team will include tens of thousands of farmers, workers, students, youth and others. Some of the main slogans of the Yatra will be ‘Not Riots but the Right to Live’ and ‘Right to Land and Homes’. The yatra will also focus on issues related to students and youth such as education and employment, regular jobs for scheme workers, right to food etc.
CPI (ML) will also organise a Land Rights Sabha in Betiya on 14 April 2018 on the occasion of the conclusion of the Champaran Satyagraha centenary year. Party general Secretary Com Dipankar Bhattacharya will be the main speaker at the Sabha. This will be a programme mainly against the betrayal of the people by the BJP-JD (U) government in the name of the Champaran Satyagraha. Modi and NItish Kumar are playing out the hypocritical drama of Champaran Satyagraha centenary year celebrations with great pomp but on the other hand instead of giving the poor and dalits land, they are being driven out of their lands. The CPI (ML) will observe 10 April, the day on which Modi is to visit Champaran, as Betrayal Day.
Khagariya: Attack on CPI(ML) Leader Arun Das
During the Bharat Bandh on 2 April against the amendments to the SC ST Act 21 bandh supporters were killed in the violence against the bandh. CPI (ML) Khagariya District Secretary Com Arun Das was leading the peaceful protest when he and others were brutally attacked and injured. All Party political organizations and Dalit Adhikar Bachao Sangharsh Samiti jointly took out a protest march to protest against the countrywide violence on the protesters and the attack on Com. Arun Das and others in Khagariya and to demand the arrest of the named accused Anjani Kumar and Akshay Kumar and other accused persons.
The march was followed by a meeting in which the speakers strongly condemned the brutal attacks on Com. Arun Das and Mahadalit Vikas Manch State President Rajesh Sada by the BJP, RSS, JD (U) and Bajrang Dal in a well-planned conspiracy and demanded the immediate arrest of all the attackers. The participants of the protest march assembled at Koshi College from where the march was held. The march proceeded through various roads and culminated in the meeting at Rajendra Chowk. The meeting was presided over by CPI-M leader Com. Sanjay Singh and conducted by former Mukhiya Sujay Yadav.
The protesters also demanded the release of the thousands of Dalits arrested in various BJP-ruled states on April 2, and demanded to know why the fascist and feudal forces attacking the Dalits had not been arrested instead.
Comrade Karu Bind
Comrade Karu Bind (75) passed away on 8 April 2018 in his village Gangabhiga in Karai block in Nalanda district after suffering from a long illness.
Com. Bind became associated with the party’s underground struggles in the early years of the 1980’s. At that time, a fierce battle was bring fought against the Bhoomisena, a private army of the Kurmi feudal in Gangabhigha-Chiksaura Khandha in Karai block. Com. Karu Bind led this struggle and it was in a case related to this struggle that he was awarded life time imprisonment. He continued to have strong ties with the party even when he came out of jail after serving his sentence. He remained a party member throughout his life. He was given a final farewell on the banks of Ganga in Fatuha on the morning of 9 April. The Bihar State committee paid an emotional tribute to the departed leader.
Long Live Comrade Karu Bind!