Fact-finding team into Birbhum Gangrape
At Labhpur in Birbhum in West Bengal, on 21 January night, a 20-year old adivasi woman was gang-raped by 13man reportedly after a village ‘salishi sabha’ (akin to khap panchayat),
decided to punish her for her relationship with a man from different community (a Muslim.)
A fact-finding team of AIPWA, AISA and district party members including CPI(ML) district
Secretary Subodh Ruj and State Committee members Moloy Tewary and Indrani Dutta visited Labhpur on 26 January. The team felt that the villagers are under pressure of local power politics. The AIPWA leaders Indrani and Chandrasmita met the rape survivor and her mother at Seuri Hospital. The victim’s mother said that they sought justice against the 13 accused.
An effigy of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was burnt, in a protest organised by AIPWA and CPIML on 27 January. Among others party State Secretary Partha Ghosh and AIPWA State Secretary Chaitali Sen took part in this program.
Assam Bandh Against Chauldhua Massacre
On 29 January, 100 gunmen from Arunachal Pradesh opened fire on people in Chauldhua of the Bihali forest area in Sonitpur district. 11 were killed, 14 badly injured, and 6 are still missing, feared dead. Jawans of the Indian Reserve Battalion of Arunachal Pradesh were present during the massacre.
Those killed were poor labourers, who had built makeshift camps on the land, and had continuously been at the receiving end of threats and even firing from land mafias of Arunchal Pradesh. The Assam Government failed to respond to any appeals to ensure protection for the people nor to resolve the border land dispute.
CPIML held an Assam Bandh in protest on January 31st, and protests are continuing demanding arrest of the perpetrators of the massacre, compensation for the victims and injured, protection for border villages by the Assam Government, and resolution of the dispute over forest land on the Assam-Arunachal border.
Jan Vikalp Rally in Jharkhand Against Communal Forces
On 6 Feb the Jharkhand CPI-ML Ramgarh-Hazaribagh District Committee organized a Jan Vikalp rally at Prakhand Maidan in Ramgarh to protest against corporate fascism, loot and corruption, and for development, employment, and prosperity. The rally was flagged off from Mines Rescue Bhavan, Nai Sarai and was attended by the poor, workers, farmers, and women from remote villages in large numbers. The rally marched on foot for 3 km on NH 33 shouting slogans of “Kheti, khanij aur rojgar, Ladkar lenge har adhikar”, “Kare ghotala aur jansamhar, Woh hai PM ka davedar”, and “Mahangayi aur bhrashtachar, Congress Bhajapa dono jimmewar” to the accompaniment of drum beats, and reached Prakhand Maidan, where the meeting was presided over by District committee member Com. Sohrai Kisku and conducted by Raigarh District Secretary Com. Bhuneshwar Bediya.
A day before the rally, there had been an attempt by communal forces to incite riots and reap electoral benefits. Ramgarh had been converted into a police camp and the whole town was under section 144. Fascist forces, police and administration tried to put a spoke in the wheel of the CPI-ML rally but the people defied section 144 and made the rally a huge success, after which the situation in Ramgarh returned to normal. The rally was led by District Committee Secretary Bhuneshwar Bediya, JKMS member Devkinandan Bediya, AICCTU leader Baijnath Mistry, District member Sarju Munda, RYA leader Amal Ghosal, journalist Javed Islam, and other leaders. The march was also addressed by Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Bagodar MLA Com. Vinod Singh, State Secretary Com. Janardan Prasad, and CC member Anant Prasad Gupta.
Addressing the meeting, Com. Dipankar congratulated the gathering for their presence which had defeated the forces trying to spread communal passions in Jharkhand, and said that today the people have emphatically told communal forces all over India, through the Jan Vikalp rally, that they will never be allowed to succeed. Riots were engineered in Muzaffarnagar only for electoral gains; we must remain alert. Narendra Modi had recently come to Jharkhand and sneered at the State’s poverty, saying, “Give BJP a chance, we will bring prosperity to Jharkhand. “ He had conveniently forgotten that the first government in Jharkhand was a BJP government and they ruled for 9 years but could not bring any prosperity to the State. On 7 Feb, Rahul Gandhi would be coming to Jharkhand to do a road show. At many places hoardings are to be seen boasting, “We have implemented the Land Acquisition Bill.” But this Land Acquisition Bill is not for the farmers, it is for the big and powerful corporate families! If not, why was there firing on the farmers in Keredarai?
On Hemant Soren’s watch as CM, the Keredarai firing took place; under Babulal Marandi’s watch the Doranda firing had taken place. Com. Dipankar stressed that we need to change the policies, we must reverse the pro-rich policies. The country needs new policies in place of the old policies which only encourage price rise and corruption, and benefit corporate families.
Com. Dipankar pointed out that the mood of the nation was changing. The Congress says there has been development; metros are running in Delhi. Earlier, votes were sought on this development plank but this time water, electricity, and regularising contract workers became the issues. It is on these issues that a new Party came to power. The 2014 election will be for the protection of coal and mineral wealth, for saving Jal-Jangal-Jameen (water, forest, land) from the present loot. In rural Gujarat, people earning Rs. 10.80 are not being counted as “poor”, and the man who is thus playing with the lives of the poor is now projecting himself as PM candidate. That is why we have given the call—“Badlo neeti badlo raj, Sansad mein janta ki awaz” and “Daam bandho kaam do, Kaam ka pura daam do”.
Com. Dipankar said that the corporate houses all over India have united on the issue of Narendra Modi for PM. Earlier it used to be Tata-Birla but now Jindals, Mittals, Ambanis and other corporate houses have established their control over Jal-Jangal-Jameen. Having reaped benefits from Manmohan Singh they now want further benefits from Narendra Modi. The struggle against displacement cannot be suppressed; the united forces of labourers, farmers, and the working classes across the country will give a fitting reply to the capitalists. No doubt, we will not get a ready-made alternative on a platter. An alternative cannot be formed by the discredited leaders and exposed Parties of Bihar, UP and Jharkhand. The alternative will have to be formed by the youth, tribals, working class, and all justice-loving people of the country.
“Revolutionary Communists and Committed Socialists Should Unite for Change”
CPI-ML General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya was the chief guest on 3 February 2014, the second day of the Shaheed Jagdev Prasad Rashtriya Mela organized at Kinjar (Kurtha, Bihar) by the Shoshit Samaj Dal (SSD). On his arrival at Kinjar Com. Dipankar was enthusiastically welcomed by thousands of people waiting at Nagla Mod, with slogans. They were joined by hundreds of others and the procession moved forward to Kurtha bearing red flags.
Com. Dipankar went first to the memorial to poet-revolutionary Virendra Vidrohi where he garlanded the statue. With him were CC member and Khemas National President Rameshwar Prasad, Kisan Mahasabha National Secretary Com. Ramadhar Singh, Arwal District Secretary Mahanand, State Committee member Com. Jitendra Yadav, Upendra Paswan, Ravindra Yadav, Mahendra Prasad and other senior leaders of the District.
From there the gathering proceeded to the Kurtha mela. In the central bazaar the statue of martyr Shyam Behari ‘Benipuri’ (martyred during the 1942 movement) was garlanded. At Kurtha block complex, Com. Dipankar garlanded the life size statue of martyr Jagdev Babu and read his engraved views and demands.
On 5 September 1974 the SSD had organized programmes in several blocks of the District to protest against the tyranny of Indira. After addressing the protest meet at Karpi block, Jagdev Babu joined the programme at Kurtha. As he was addressing the gathering, the police fired on him, injuring him as well as a student Laxman Chowdhuri. The police took Jagdev Babu into their custody and instead of being treated he was tortured. As a result, both he and Laxman died. Thus Jagdev Babu and Laxman Chowdhury were martyred in their fight for democracy against tyranny.
Presiding over the meeting, SSD National President Prof. Jairam Prasad welcomed Com. Dipankar, Com. Rameshwar Prasad, Com. Ramadhar Singh, and Mahanand on to the dais. Addressing the huge gathering, Com. Dipankar said that the decade of the 1970s saw many movements for change all around. Jagdev Babu sacrificed his life during the agitation for democracy against unbridled misrule. At that very time the spark of the Naxalbari agitation in Bhojpur against feudalism and tyranny was spreading like wildfire. He said that today the very definition of social justice is being changed. Placing a particular person in the CM’s seat is being shown as a symbol of social justice. Whereas Jagdev Babu’s demand was that there should be guarantee of water in every field, the landless should get one acre of land, dalits, minorities and weaker sections should be accorded dignity and respect, for without this social justice is not possible.
He pointed out that communist and socialist forces of struggle have their own history in Bihar. Both these forces have always fought for change. Today the need of the hour is for these forces to unite once more. The best and most positive way to remember Jagdev Babu would be to work to fulfil his dreams.
On this occasion Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that Kurtha is the land of revolutionaries. Com. Manju, who sacrificed her life for the struggle against feudal forces, also belonged to this region. He said that in order to bring about a positive change, committed leaders dedicated to the people must be elected to Parliament. The mela was inaugurated by Bharatiya Momin Front National Vice President Dr. Mahboob Alam Ansari. At the close of the programme Com. Dipankar visited the home of martyr Virendra Vidrohi and met and spoke with his family members.