AIALA State Conference in UP

Uttar Pradesh Khet Mazdoor Sabha held its state conference on Sep 14 at Lakhimpur-Kheri, with a resolve to strengthen the agrarian labourers' struggle against anti-people alliance led by Samajwadi Party in UP and the Centre's WTO-dictated agrarian policies. The Conference took serious note of the increasing starvation deaths and suicides by poor peasants and demanded red cards to all agricultural workers, guarantee of minimum wage and employment, waiver of all loans, implementation of food for work scheme, and legal rights of rural poor over land, ponds and forests.

The Conference, attended by nearly 300 delegates, was inaugurated by UP State Secretary of CPI(ML) Akhilendra Pratap Singh, while AIALA's Vice-President Swadesh Bhattacharya addressed it as the main speaker. The venue of the Conference, Naseeruddin Mauzi Nagar and Rajnarayan Mishra Hall, was named after two prominent freedom fighters from the Lakhimpur region who were hanged by colonial rulers during the freedom struggle.

The open session of the Conference took place in the form of a massive ‘Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Rally', at Naseeruddin Mauzi ground, which was attended by thousands of agrarian workers and poor peasants from Lakhimpur and adjoining districts of Pilibhit and Sitapur. The huge participation in the rally turned the town red for many hours and sent a clear message of unity and strength of agrarian workers against the state's repressive policies and feudal exploitation.

Our comrades in Lakhimpur have been braving the brunt of the repression by land mafia and police. Recently many of them were falsely booked under the Gangster Act when they were leading an agrarian labourers' movement for land against the land-mafia which is in an open nexus with the police and the administration. Protests against several cases of intimidation and violence by the land mafia, were brutally assaulted by armed goons.

Comrade Akhilendra, addressing the rally, said that at a time when rural poor are facing starvation deaths and peasants, unable to pay their debts, are forced to commit suicides, governments are not fulfilling even the minimum demands of the affected people. Instead they are only protecting the interests of WTO and Indian ruling classes. They are resorting to every kind of repression to suppress the people's voices. In UP, severely affected by drought, democracy has been held hostage in the dreaded Raja Bhaiya's palace while people's movements and political activists have to face the Gangster Act and other black laws.

National Vice-President of AIALA, Krishna Adhikari strongly criticized the Mulayam govt.'s patronage of mafias which are capturing lands of the poor and the dalits, and attacking their democratic protests, saying it exposed the reality behind the Govt.'s ‘socialist'mask.

The rally was also addressed by the Lakhimpur District Secretary of CPI(ML) Ramdaras, AIALA State Secretary Sriram Chaudhary, AICCTU State Secretary Dinkar Kapur, RYA leader Afroz Alam, CPI District Secretary Baleshwar Yadav, and many others. Senior citizen and journalist from Lakhimpur Upendra Gandhi delivered the welcome speech while the proceedings of the rally were conducted by AIALA National Councillor Kranti Kumar Singh.

The delegate session, held in Rajnarayan Mishra Hall, was addressed by Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya where he said that in the present crisis of capitalism the ruling classes are unable to provide any relief to the masses and hence every movement by struggling poor is being suppressed with the use of armed forces and the black laws. This situation is similar to that of the sixties, when agrarian crisis led to widespread people's movements and which, later in seventies, also led to the ouster of autocratic Indira regime. The present crisis has already led to the ouster of the BJP-led NDA govt. a few months back, although the Congress-led UPA still continues to follow same economic policies and its fate will not be very different.

The Conference elected a twenty-nine member state committee, which in turn elected a 17 member State Executive and eleven office bearers with Krishna Adhikari as President and Shriram Chaudhary as Secretary.

The Conference resolved to demand that the CM be held responsible and local officials be booked for murder et even a single case of starvation death, that the whole of UP be declared drought- affected, and the hundred days employment guarantee scheme and food for work scheme be immediately implemented. It demanded distribution of red cards to all agricultural labourers, implementation of minimum wages Act and legalisation of traditional rights of rural poor over forests, land and ponds, etc. It also demanded immediate withdrawal of Gangster Act and other cases against CPI (ML) and AIALA leaders, immediate release of jailed activists, and redistribution of lands illegally occupied by land mafia in Lakhimpur-Pilibhit region to agricultural workers.