ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 3; No.8; 27-2-2000


Karbi Anglong Bandh Against UPDS Conspiracy
Anti-Adventurism Day Observed in Assam

Shady Withdrawal of Towards Freedom
Against Saffron Fascism
The Other Italian Connection
Around the World
Asian Women Abroad Condemn Attack on Water


From Ballot to Budget:
Let's Prepare for the Struggle Ahead

As we pen these lines, campaigning for Y2K's first electoral showdown has just ended. By the time this issue of ML Update reaches you, the results would probably be out in all the four states that went to the polls and the scene of action will have shifted to Parliament where the NDA government is all set to present its much-threatened budget of harsh measures. Trade unions and other mass and class organisations of the working people have also begun to prepare for the ensuing budget session. The harsh measures must be rolled back through stiff resistance.

In terms of electoral outcome, the BJP and its allies will probably experience their first ever passage to power in both Bihar and Orissa while for the Congress it still remains a protracted battle for revival. By all indications, the RJD is on its way out of power even though its eventual showing is expected to be better than the lowest it had touched in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls.

In spite of its expected victories in Orissa and Bihar, it is certainly not going to be smooth sailing for the NDA. Cracks have already started surfacing in the much-trumpeted "solid" alliance of the saffron coalition. While several NDA candidates refused to retire in favour of the authorised nominees, the Shiv Sena also threw its hat in the ring to add to the comic potential of the saffron circus in Bihar. All the helicopters and filmstars hired by the NDA could not mask its mafia face in Bihar and Advani had just no answer to the grilling queries of presspersons about the criminal "credentials" of many an NDA candidate.

Given the conflicting internal pulls and pressures, the future for the NDA coalition in Bihar looks all but smooth and bright. And undoubtedly, a shaky coalition government in Bihar will also keep the government in the Centre permanently on tenterhooks. Ably assisted by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar will probably spell the undoing of Vajpayee's third term. The NDA is fully aware of the impending political instability and hence the big hurry to review and rewrite the Constitution and push through the so-called second generation of economic reforms. The pro-American character of the BJP-led government is also getting increasingly exposed as Vajpayee prepares to offer his prayers to "Lord" Clinton.

On our part, our party has once again waged a heroic battle in the Bihar elections. The terms of this battle continue to be loaded against us as we face a uniformly hostile administration and state terror in addition to the host of private armies and mafia gangs. But braving all odds, our Party has continued to expand its influence and break new grounds and this election is going to be no exception. Even as we await the counting of votes and declaration of final results, which itself is a phase full of challenges in Bihar, the Party has clearly gained in terms of its regional spread and wider social acceptability and political influence. With the CPI(M) standing isolated and its tailism thoroughly exposed, the developments in Bihar are bound to have its echoes all over the Left circles in the country. Let us get ready to consolidate the gains in Bihar with matching mass political initiatives during the ensuing budget session of Parliament. Let us devote all our energy to build up a country-wide Left resistance against the saffron offensive.

Karbi Anglong Bandh Against UPDS Conspiracy

ASDC/CPI(ML), KSA and KNCA organised a completely successful 24-hour bandh on 14 February in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hill districts of Assam to protest against the nexus of KPF-KNV and Cong(I) which is trying to denigrate the image of CPI(ML) and other organisations associated with it. The press communique issued by the organisers of bandh says that "Complete 3 months have passed since the people condemned KPF, KNV and their platform organisation, the United People's Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), for the incident of gang rape of Arjina Terangpi committed on 13 Nov. 1999 at Poisa Ingti village of Panjan under Bokajan Subdivision, and now this sudden attempt by KNV-KPF to implicate CPI(ML) cadres and movement leaders in the rape case is really intriguing. The victim had herself come down to Guwahati on 19 Nov. and appeared before the presspersons, and the next day a case was lodged before the Human Rights Commission against KPF-KNV.

The communique also says that "today nobody in the Hills are even prepared to recognise KPF-KNV (UPDS) as 'militants'. For the masses, they have got only one identity and that is of a rapist. It is ironic that the same rapist organisations now are trying to blame CPI(ML) cadres for this incident and even mentioned CPI(ML) MP as 'the brain behind'. This is the sinister design behind the UPDS call of 61 hours bandh. After getting politically denigrated as a B-team of Cong(I), now the amoral and inhuman character of KPF-KNV has also become naked to the hill people. We are determined to crush the conspiracy hatched by these rapist organisations. The bandh is the first step of this protracted struggle.

Anti-Adventurism Day Observed in Assam

CPI(ML) observed 11 February, the day of martyrdom of Com. Anil Kumar Baruah as Hathakarita Birodhi Diwas (anti-adventurism day) all over Assam. On this occasion a seminar was organised at Tinsukia by Party's Tinsukia District Committee. Before the seminar, "Anil Baruah Memorial Bhawan", district office of the Party, was inaugurated by Rubul Sarmah, and Shahid Tarpan was inaugurated by Smt. Dulu Baruah, wife of the departed leader. A procession was brought out from there to the Sahitya Sabha Bhawan, venue of the seminar. Com. Rubul Sarmah was the main speaker in the seminar on "Revolutionary mass movement is the only way to resolve the current problems". Other speakers were Barun Ghosh from CPI, Brij Pradhan of Asom State Chah Sramik Sangha, Loknath Goswami of Sadau Asom Jan Sanskritik Parishad and Jyoti Prasad Das. The seminar was conducted by Com. Sukomal Bhuian.

On the same day, another seminar was organised at Tinsukia College by "Preparatory Committee of Anil Baruah Death Anniversary" on "Cultural Fascism and Tasks before Democratic Artists and Organisations". Com. Loknath Goswami, Gen. Secy. of SAJSP was the main speaker. A collection of songs composed by Com. Anil Baruah was released by Gagan Sonwal, former president of SAJSP.

In Guwahati, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Karimganj, similar seminars and meetings were held.

In Diphu Party office, the day was observed by KAPC through a day-long programme including flag hoisting, Shahid Tarpan, and a mass meeting. The meeting was presided over by Com. Hemsing Tisso, Secy. of KAPC and leaders of ASDC, AISA, KSA, KNCA, AIPWA and KCS including Com. Holiram Terang, Longsing Tokbi, Rabindra Rongpi, Rongdoi Terangpi addressed it. The speakers laid stress on following the ideology and principles that Com. Baruah carried throughout his life. While highlighting the growing threat from the nexus of extremists and Congress(I) and the communal forces in the district, they urged upon the people to come forward to resist the extremist and communal forces.

Bihar Assembly Elections : A Few Snippets

Siwan police raided the house of Com. Ramesh Singh Kushwaha, Party Central Committee member and a popular leader in Siwan, at Baraso village in Mairwa P.S. of Siwan district on 11 February, when the poll campaign in Siwan was in the full swing. Besides looting the belongings of his house, the police arrested three persons. It shows how police is being utilised by RJD to ruin the poll prospects of CPI(ML).

Goons in favour of BJP-Samata attacked a CPI(ML) propaganda team moving in a vehicle in Sarai Ranjan constituency in Samastipur injuring 7 party activists. They also looted house of a Party sympathiser.

Goons belonging to the Samata Party candidate Satish Pandey's gang attack a CPI(ML) propaganda team at Andar in Darauli constituency of Siwan. Com. Amarnath Yadav, a sitting MLA, is the CPI(ML) candidate here.

Goons belonging to Ramvilas Singh, ex-minister of RJD Govt. and a candidate from Obra constituency in Aurangabad, attacked a CPI(ML) supporter dalit-dominated village in Daudnagar P.S. Three comrades were seriously injured in the firing during the attack.

There are reports that in 4 polling stations under Manika constituency in Palamu, the presiding officer and his poll party never turned up. Nevertheless the formalities were completed. Despite drawing attention of the authorities by CPI(ML) as well as some prominent dailies, no repoll was ordered. The matter was taken to the CEC for investigation, with no response.

On Booth No. 24 of Masaurhi constituency in Patna district, CPI(ML) supporter voters repelled an attack by Samata Party booth looters. Also a clash took place at Booth no.280 of the same constituency with RJD supporter anti-social elements.

Satish Pandey gang fired on the queue at Booth No. 274 at Bhagwanpur Parahia village under Darauli constituency in Siwan district at noon of 17 February poll. Sitaram Chauhan (50) and Girija Devi (40), both supporters of CPI(ML), died and three others injured. Samata-BJP marching fast on the footsteps of Md. Shahabuddin in Siwan!

In Narhi under Sahar constituency, Ranvir Sena gang fired upon Booth Nos. 155 and 156. One of our members, Com. Chhathan Ram, was seriously injured. Police party is reported to have an exchange of fire with the gang. However, for the Bhojpur district administrative authorities, "it is not a poll-related violence!"

Goons belonging to Samata Party threatened to perpetrate mass killing and arson to dalits of Atarsan village in Rasulpur P.S. in Manjhi constituency of Saran district for voting in favour of CPI(ML). Party has demanded arrest of goons and lodged protest against the goon-police nexus.

Congress-supporters attacked and injured Com. Ainul Haq, polling agent of CPI(ML) at Charugama village booth in Barbigha constituency in Shekhpura district. Although a written report has been lodged, police has taken no step yet.

After the polls on 17 Feb., Congress goons attacked with bombs CPI(ML) supporters' houses in Gambhirpur village of Mairwa constituency in Siwan district, seriously injuring two party activists. Condition of an activist Com. Videshi Ram is reported to be critical.

Criminal Pradhan Ousted

In Hijal gram panchayat of Kandi, Murshidabad, a notorious criminal named Sayem Sheikh was ousted from the post of Pradhan in a no-confidence motion brought jointly by CPI(ML) and CPI panchyat members. An enraged Sayem kidnapped four of our comrades including one female panchayat member. In the face of a militant demonstration, police was forced to arrest Sayem and another criminal. The kidnapped comrades had not been rescued by the time this report was written. Our party has given an ultimatum to the police officials for immediate rescue of the comrades.

7th WB Conference of CITU

Com. Sudarshan Bose and Atanu Chakraborty attended the fraternal delegate session of 7th WB State Conference of CITU held at Haldia. Com. Sudarshan Bose called for a united workers' movement against the policy of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation pursued by BJP Govt. and appealed for a greater mobilisation in the militant march to Parliament on March 9.

CPI(ML) Protests Police Firing in Chandauli

Protesting against police firing, CPI(ML) staged a procession on 14 February at Chandauli district headquarters in which over 300 people participated. Police had fired at Tiwaripur village on 4 February of Naugarh P.S. of the district, in which two persons were killed. The villagers were protesting against illegal extortion by police.

Party Protests Balia Firing

In protest against police firing in Balia, CPI(ML) brought out a rally on 16 February at Sikandarpur in Balia district in which more than 200 people participated. Just two days ago, on 14 February the Party has called Maniar bandh on the same issue.

On the same issue the Party staged a dharna in front of Vidhan Sabha at Lucknow on 19 February, in which the Party demanded resignation of the Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta.

Protest on the Issue of Water

W.B. Gana Sanskriti Parishad and RYA jointly organised a protest at Calcutta on Feb. 7 against Sangh Parivar's attack on the shooting of the film Water. Prominent among the participants were film director Shatarupa Sannyal, poet Tarun Sannyal, film artist Nirmallya Banerjee, leader of cultural front of CPI(M) Indranath Banerjee and Ajijul Haque. Speakers flayed Central and UP State Governments for siding with Sangh Parivar hooligans and trampling underfoot the freedom of expression in art and literature. The protest meeting was presided over by Com. Arijit Mitra.

Another protest meeting was organised by W.B. Gana Sanskriti Parishad and other left cultural organisations at Calcutta on 12th February. It was participated by renowned intellectuals such as Amitava Dasgupta, Bibhas Chakraborty, Usha Ganguly, Indranath Banerjee, Arijit Mitra and others.

Dharna in Bhilai

A front comprising CPI(ML), CPI, BSP, LSP, NLD, AICCTU, HMS, AITUC, staged a dharna on 11 February to protest against exclusion of Bhilai Township from municipal corporations. The front has been forged with an anti-Congress anti-BJP orientation.

Public Religious Buildings and Places Bill, 2000

On January 5, 2000, U.P. Vidhan Sabha passed a U.P. Regulation of Public Religious Buildings and Places Bill, 2000. According to the All-India Muslim forum, Lucknow, "perhaps none of the legislative measures since independence has made such a ruthless onslaught on the religious rights of minorities, especially Muslims, as the Bill in question." The Forum further says that "Under this controversial Bill, the definition of 'building' now includes a 'tent or other like portable or temporary structure (section 2(a)(iii)' and the definition of 'place' means any open place not covered by or included in a building. It means that even in the open place or under a tent, Muslims now cannot start the practice of offering 'Namaz' or imparting 'religious instructions' to their children without first seeking the permission under section 4 from the concerned District Magistrate who can refuse it for a variety of reasons stipulated under section 5. Under section 6, the D.M. has got the power to get the structure, erected in contravention of this Bill, demolished and under section 10, the violation of the provisions of this Bill has been made punishable with imprisonment that may extend to one year or with fine that may extend to five thousand rupees or both. Under section 12(l) every offence under this Act has been made cognizable."

Seminar on Second Generation Reforms

Left & Democratic Teachers Federation in Delhi University and AISA jointly organised a seminar on "Second Generation Reforms and People's Response" at Tagore Hall, Delhi University on 16 February. Trade unionist K. Ashok Rao, academician Jaya Mehta, journalist A.N. Das, Com. Swapan Mukherjee, Gen. Secy. of AICCTU and Com. BB Pandey spoke at the occasion. The seminar was conducted by Com. Vinod Khurana.

Victory in MP Panchayats

CPI(ML) candidates in Mura Panchayat in Raipur district and Mahamad Panchayat in Bilaspur district have won the elections. However, our candidate in janapad came third.


Shady Withdrawal of Towards Freedom

The typescripts of Towards Freedom (two volumes) sponsored jointly by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and the National Archives of India and edited by Professors K.N. Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar have been withdrawn by the ICHR from Oxford University Press where they were being processed for publication. However, the authors were not intimated about this by the ICHR, they came to know it only when the OUP informed them out of professional commitment. Shamelessly lying that the typescripts were directly given to the OUP without its knowledge, the ICHR under HRD guidance has withdrawn the typescript for 'perusal' without assigning any reason. The committee that is to conduct the review consists of two retired bureaucrats and a former archaeologist-administrator. One of them resigned after the first meeting in disgust so he was replaced by a historian specialising in ancient Indian history. Thus the committee has no one professionally competent to review a work of documentary history. The editors had agreed to the join the project only under the general editorship of Prof. S. Gopal. So the appointment of this committee external to the discipline of history is an infringement of the academic rights and freedom of the editors and alters the terms under which the project was conceived and executed. There is a general suspicion in the Hindutva camp that these volumes, being documentary histories, might contain incontrovertible evidence about the collaboration of Hindu communal forces with colonialism. And that is likely to damage forever the possible projection of the RSS leaders as freedom fighters. Discrediting the authors of these volumes and preventing their publication is rooted in this political logic.

What is happening to Towards Freedom is not an isolated instance. It is part of a larger design of the Sangh Parivar to transform India into a Hindu nation. The withdrawal of these volumes has to be located in this larger context. (Based on KN Panikkar's article in The Hindustan Times, 20 Feb. 2000-Ed.)

Against Saffron Fascism

The Other Italian Connection

"The aversion of the Hindutva forces to those of Italian origin is fairly apparent. Or is it? One needs to thank Italian academic Marzia Casolari, for telling us otherwise. Casolari, in a brilliant research paper "Hindutva's Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s: Archival Evidence" (Economic and Political Weekly, January 22) has provided evidence of fascist influence on the organisations and leaders of Hindu nationalism. These influences, she demonstrates, were the result of direct contact between Hindu nationalists and members of the Italian fascist state. ...

"Among other things, Casolari's research shows that B.S. Moonje, a Hindu nationalist leader, who was a friend and mentor of Hedgewar and in whose house Hedgewar was brought up, met Mussolini and 'played a crucial role in moulding the RSS along Italian (fascist) lines.' ...

"Casolari records that Hedgewar and Moonje organised meetings to discuss Mussolini, fascism and its relevance to militarising Hindus." "The agenda of today's Hindutva leaders is ultimately not very different from Moonje's or V.D. Savarkar's, who used to end all his speeches with the cry, "Hinduise all politics and militarise Hinduism". ...

"Fascism politicises criminals and criminalises politics. Nowhere is this more evident than in the RSS family of organisations. The growth of VHP, the Bajrang Dal, the Hindu Jagran and Jagriti Manch and the various Sanskriti Raksha Samitis (Committees to protect culture) which sprang up almost on order are a proof of this. ...

"However, there is one significant difference between the Hindutva forces of today and those of the 1930s and 1940s -- and that is today they are in a symbiotic relationship with the state. The history of fascism shows that it is not beyond using democratic means to achieve its goal -- that of destroying democracy itself. That the Hindutva forces are unable to mould the state in their image results in the kind of frustration which leads them to take two steps forward and one step back -- as demonstrated in the tactical backtracking on government servants joining the RSS, for example, or in the attempt to revive the agenda for reviewing the Constitution outside the four walls of Parliament."

Around the World

Asian Women Abroad Condemn Attack on Water

"As an umbrella group representing all the major Asian women's organisations in Britain and hundreds of individuals, we condemn the Indian government's failure to protect Deepa Mehta and others working with her on the film Water from the violence and intimidation of VHP and RSS-backed organisations. As Asian women in Britain we face not only racism but domestic violence, dowry-related attacks, and forced marriages in the Hindu communities in this country, and therefore we find the stand of the Sangh Parivar organisations particularly galling and contradictory. Why should this oppression which we and our foremothers have faced be considered to be both enshrined as a part of 'Indian culture' as well as kept a secret. And what are the moral values of those who condone Sati and gang rapes. As for shame, it is this violent suppression of the freedom of expression which brings shame on India abroad.

"We condemn the UP government and particularly the Chief Minister of UP who has neither prevented these attacks from taking place nor even condemned them although the film script was passed for filming by the highest government authorities. This is a frightening reflection of the rise of fascist forces which are acting not only against women but against the democratic rights of everyone in India. We would like to express our solidarity with Deepa Mehta and others involved with the filming of Water."

(The statement is signed by Kiran Patel on behalf of Asian Women Unite, a platform comprising 12 organisations)

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