A CPI(ML) Weekly News Bulletin
Vol. 4; No.1; 2-1-2001
In this issue :
The transition from Y2K to Y2K1 has been quite turbulent in Nepal. The end of December witnessed stormy protests on the streets of Kathmandu over alleged anti-Nepal remarks made by Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan. Given the delicate political balance in Nepal, the protests have quite understandably snowballed into a major political challenge for the weak and perennially faction-ridden Nepali Congress government. Simultaneously, the events have also cast a long and dark shadow on the deteriorating Nepal-India relations.
Hrithik has since denied having made any comment slighting Nepal and its people. As the dust settles down on the current controversy, which it probably will after some time, his films may again be back in currency in Nepal. It will however be height of naivete to treat the return of Hrithik films to the theatres and video parlours of Kathmandu as a sign of improvement or restoration of normalcy in the situation. It also serves no purpose other than further vitiating the atmosphere and compounding the problem to dismiss the whole episode as yet another handiwork of anti-India vested interests or as an irresponsible act of competitive nationalist populism by shortsighted Nepalese politicians.
There are surely chauvinistic fringes in the political landscape of Nepal as there are in most countries and quite conspicuously in India as well. The people and democratic forces of Nepal will surely be able to isolate them and the task of democratic opinion in India is precisely to create an atmosphere, which is conducive for strengthening progressive democratic forces in Nepal and developing friendly relations between India and Nepal. And this can only be done by according due respect to Nepal's sovereignty and national aspirations and opposing every trend of regional hegemonism, every act or attitude of big brotherly arrogance or interference on the part of the Indian state and ruling establishment. Hrithik may or may not have made any anti-Nepal remark, but as long as the air in Nepal remains heavy with widespread popular resentment against, or at any rate, apprehension about Indian intentions, such episodes can only be likely to recur.
We must also remember that anti-India sentiment in Nepal does not thrive merely on the relative imbalance in size or strength between India and Nepal or on the role of Indian capital in Nepal, but most importantly on the political attitude of India's rulers to the legitimate aspirations of the Nepalese people for their independent national identity and for democracy and development in Nepal. Indeed, is it not striking that relations between the world's only Hindu state, Nepal, and India have been deteriorating since the rise of Hindutva forces in India? For those who would like to explain the acrimony between India and Pakistan in terms of Pakistan's Islamic character and military-dominated political order, Nepal indeed presents a strange paradox. Of late, the Indian foreign policy establishment has begun to treat Nepal as an ISI territory and Indo-Nepal relations have become a clear hostage to the overflowing cup of antagonism between India and Pakistan. But nothing can be more self-defeating for Indian foreign policy than antagonising Nepal by demonising it as a pawn in the hands of Pakistan. There can be no justifying the anti-Nepal tirade of the Indian state as a legitimate expression or defence of India's security concerns, for Indian interests cannot be defended on the basis of diplomatic bankruptcy or an arrogant foreign policy which only deepens India's isolation from all her immediate neighbours.
Moreover, the fig leaf of security concerns can hardly hide the naked expansionist attitude of the saffron brigade. While some of these saffron outfits are attributing the 'trouble' in Nepal to the country's transition from monarchy and partyless rule to a fledgling parliamentary democracy, the government cries against growing ISI penetration in the Left movement in Nepal. And now a most veteran and authentic saffron ideologue like KR Malkani tells us that the 'problem' of Nepal could have been resolved long back had Nehru agreed to the Nepal monarch's proposal for annexation of Nepal by India in the 1950s!
We must save Indo-Nepal relations from this stupid saffron arrogance and ISI fixation. The road to Indo-Nepal friendship can only be built by burying forever the regional hegemonic ambitions of Indian rulers. It can only be paved with an honest respect for Nepal's quest for an independent national identity and its growing engagement with parliamentary democratic politics.
Party strongly condemned the killing of Com. Birsing Timung, member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council (KAADC), by notorious UPDS killers on 1 January at Parkhowa village in Karbi Anglong district of Assam. According to the newspaper reports, two villages Erdangingti and Laksotokbi under Party's influence were also attacked by this criminal gang and several houses were set ablaze there. In another incident on 1 January, the UPDS goons killed 3 woodcutters belonging to Muslim community in Howraghat area of Karbi Anglong.
Noting that just three days back on 28 December the killer UPDS gang had mowed down 8 persons of Bihari origin in Karbi Anglong, the Party strongly condemned the Assam government for its callousness in dealing with UPDS. It is also to be noted that in early December an extremist gang had killed another member of KAADC Mr. J. Basumatary in Diphu town. It has now become clear that the killer gangs have the single aim of eliminating CPI(ML)-ASDC in order to sabotage the autonomous state movement, and the UPDS is working in close coordination not only with Congress but also with BJP and the renegade Holiram-Jotson clique with an intention to unseat the ASDC majority Autonomous Council administration in Karbi Anglong. When Assam government has utterly failed to ensure safety to citizens in Karbi Anglong, is it not proper now to supply arms to the victims so that they can themselves save their lives? Moreover, is it not proper to hand over at least law and order subject to the Autonomous Council itself so that they can save the lives of their people in a better way?
UP State Committee had decided to observe the second death anniversary of Com. VM by holding three-day cadre study camps in the districts of concentrated work and organising various programmes including seminars and conventions. A syllabus was decided for the cadre study camps in which some selected articles by Com. VM and from writings of Lenin were included. In the camp held at Chandauli 42 cadres participated where papers were presented on three subjects. Main emphasis was on party's tactical line with respect to peasant movement vis a vis CPI(M)'s line.
In Ghazipur, a seminar was also organised apart from holding the camp. Such camps were also held in Ballia, Allahabad, Kanpur, Sonebhadra and Mau. In Lucknow a seminar was held on 18 December on the topic "Challenge of communal fascism and thought of Vinod Mihsra". It was presided over by senior journalist Akhilesh Mishra. Seminars were also held in Lakhimpur Kheri and at Puranpur of Pilibhit a cadre meeting was held to observe pledge-taking day.
Tanjore-Nagai-Tiruvaru District Committee organised pledge-taking meeting on 18 December at Mayiladudurai. Party cadres and selected activists of wage struggle that has been launched in recent months participated in the meeting. Com.T.K.S. Janarthanan, State Committee member presided over the meeting. Participants included 55 women. District Committee member Com. T. Kannaiyan read out the resolution paying homage to Com. VM. State Secretary Com. Balasundram gave party cards to the new full members and introduced them to the pledge taking meeting. He said that organising peasants in the party and strengthening peasant struggle is the fittest homage to the departed leader. Com. Samiyammal, member of Agricultural Workers' Union Organising Committee, who came forward to join the Party, read out the pledge. With rousing slogans the meeting came to an end.
In Kovai, a meeting was organised on 18 December. The meeting was addressed by Com. N.K. Natarajan, State Committee member and Com. Thenmpzi of AIPWA.
AT Thiruvallur, a meeting was organised by Party's Thiruvallur District Committee in which Com. Annadurai, State Committee member addressed the gathering.
In Chennai, the Pledge-taking Day meeting was organised in Ambattur. Party members and a large number of workers participated in the meeting. Com. Kumarasamy addressed the meeting.
In Madurai, a meeting of Party caders was held to observe the Pledge-taking Day. Com. Mathivanan, State Committee member called upon the cadres to build a vibrant united revolutionary left Party under the unified leadership of the State Committee. This is the way to fulfill the dreams of Com.VM in Tamil Nadu.
Sivagangai-Pudukkotai District Committee organised a meeting in Pudukkotai, in which selected activists participated. Com. Kasi Viduthalai Kumaran State Committee member presided over the meeting. Com. Pandiyan State Committee member explained how our party line was evolved fighting against the left and right deviations and laid atmost importance to fight out the trend of left deviation prevailing in the district Party organisation.
A seminar on "Liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation and the role of Left" was held in Gwalior of Madhya Pradesh on 31 December. Party CC member Com. BB Pandey was the main speaker. He dealt on various facets of globalisation and the movements of protest against it by workers, peasants and students. He appealed to all communists, socialists and other forces leading issue-based movements to come together on a single platform to conduct a protracted struggle against globalisation outside the corridors of Parliament. Other speakers included Secretary of Gwalior District Committee of CPI Com. Rajesh Sharma, trade union leaders Com. Ashok Khan and Com. BI Joardar. The seminar was presided over by Com. Gurudatt Sharma.
Implementing the call of Party Central Committee, Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha (BPKS) and Bihar Pradesh Khet Mazdoor Sabha (BPKMS) jointly has launched the first phase of Lutera Bhagao, Krishi Bachao campaign on 26 Dec. which will run up to 9 Jan., 2001. A cadre training camp was held on 26 Dec. in which 100 activists working on the peasant front participated. State Party Secy. Com. Ramjatan Sharma dealt upon the present agrarian crisis, CC member Com. Pawan Sharma dealt upon Party's agrarian policy and Com. Rajaram Singh, convenor of BPKS dealt on initiatives to be taken. Liberation article on peasant problems was also distributed.
The action programme of burning the effigy of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and beating the effigy of Agricultural Minister Nitish Kumar under was implemented in thousands of villages all over Bihar. The BPKS and BPKMS had launched this agitation on the demand of opening foodgrain purchasing centres by FCI, NAFED and BISCOUMAN, the state food corportation, at block level and implementing "food for work" programme in right earnest. During this programme, police arrested Party leaders and cadres from the State headquarters. In Bihta village of Bhojpur district, Ranvir Sena had opposed the burning of the effigies, but the programme was made successful despite their resistance.
Padyatra would be undertaken from 3 to 9 January in all the blocks of the state. In the course of this campaign, anti-peasant policies of the government will be exposed and our agrarian policies would be explained to the people.
Left parties including CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), RSP, Forward Bloc, SUCI and MCPI leaders have in their joint statement expressed concern over the fact that peasants have not been able to recovered even the minimum support price (MSP) of maize, sugarcane and wheat, apart from other cereals. While the MSP of paddy is Rs.510-570 per quintal, it is being sold by peasants to the middleman at the rate of Rs.300 per quintal. The centre is not providing money to the FCI to purchase foodgrains. The state and central governments are blaming each other for this situation, but no one is concerned about the peasants. Therefore, the Left parties have decided to call Bihar Bandh on 17 January, 2001.
Observing Party's national call "Lootera Bhagao Desh Bachao"on the eve of the New Year, effigy of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was burnt at several places in Delhi. Torchlight processions were brought out and mass meetings were held along with burning of the effigy. All over Delhi around 1500 Party cadres and sympathisers participated in these programmes.
In Vishwas Nagar Com. Swapan Mukherjee, Party CCM and GS of AICCTU, Com. Rajendra Pratholi, Delhi State Committee Secy., Com. Shashi Bhushan of RYA and Com. Ram Abhilash took out the march and addressed the agitators. In Mandawali, Party cadres and sympathisers led by Com. Sunita, Party State Committee member, Com. Ravindra Sharma and Samundra Paswan took out the march from Mother Dairy crossing. In Noida, Party CCM and GS of AIPWA Com. Kumudini Pati, Central Secretariat member Com. Ranjit Abhigyan, SCM and Delhi AICCTU Secy. Com. Ranjan Ganguli led the rally and address the meeting at sector 10. Similarly SCM Com. BKS Gautam led the agitators of Patparganj area at Kalyanpuri, SCM Com. Jeeta Kaur at Azadpur, SCM Com. Rajiv Dimri, Santosh Rai and Shankaran at Kalkaji Depot., Com. Rajpal Singh at Nazafgarh, Com. Surendra Panchal and Satbeer Shramik at Narela and Com. Satya Prakash Bauddha at Sultanpuri.
In Kanpur, Party comrades responding to the call for national agitation burnt the effigy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Six comrades were arrested under prohibitory orders, but later they were released. In Ghazipur district, the effigy of Prime Minister was burnt at Zamania and also in some villages of Karanda sub-division. In Pilibhit town, protestors led by Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya, Party's Polit Bureau member, Com. Krishna Adhikari, CC member, Com. Diwakar, State Committee member, Com. Kishan Lal and Com. Alauddin Shashtri burnt the effigy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to observe the national call.
The Party expressed strong resentment over the incident of unprovoked police firing at Ranchi on 28 December, that took place on the people who had come out in a spontaneous protest against the death of a girl child crushed by a police van. Those who were killed belonged to the minority community. In fact the DSP US Jha had openly asked Hindus in the crowd to leave the place before he ordered firing on the remaining mass, which he presumed as solely Muslims. The Party demanded stern action against the guilty police officials responsible for the firing as well as the driver of the police van and also adequate compensation to the bereaved families.
As it happened, the DSP too sustained injuries as a result of people's retaliation and ultimately he died. The government had imposed curfew following the police firing, and it was natural that the curfew would be gradually lifted from area after area. But Sangh Parivar elements in conspiracy with the saffron government are trying to prolong the curfew and instigate communal riot against the minority community. And the governor, Prabhat Kumar is himself a person accused for Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The Party has serious apprensions that a communal riot is in the offing in Ranchi in which the government is going to play the role of an abetter. Therefore CPI(ML) has appealed to the President of India to check the Jharkhand government from abetting the communal riot and asked the secular forces and people to remain alert and foil any attempt on the part of Sangh Parivar and the government to fuel the surcharged communal atmosphere. The people of Jharkhand must defeat the conspiracy of communal fascists by maintaning communal harmony at any cost.
On 15 December, AIPWA unit of Kanpur organised a demonstration and burnt the effigy of P&T Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, in support of the P&T workers' strike. The demonstration was led by Com. Saraswati.
CPI(ML) Mithilanchal Region (North-Central part of Bihar comprising Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Vaishali, Samastipur, Begusarai etc. districts) organised a "Railway Chakka Jam" agitation on 30 December under the movement for development of Mithilanchal. The agitation was centred on the demands of finding out and implementing a permanent solution to the problem of flood, opening up new mills, introducing new railway lines and ensuring proper functioning of the old railway and road routes in Mithilanchal. During the "Chakka Jam" all the main rail routes were blocked and militant masses in their hundreds gathered at important railway stations to set up barricades. Thus rail and road traffic was completely paralyzed in this region and it was only in the evening that the railway and road traffic could resume to normalcy. More than two thousand agitators were arrested by police while they were implementing the Chakka Jam. In Sitamarhi, the agitators faced brutal lathipcharge in whihc dozens including three women activists sustained injuries. This movement has greatly enhanced the prestige of CPI(ML) as a fighting force truely concerned about development of the region while at the same time taking up the real problems of the poor and downtrodden. Thus the campaign has considerably strengthened the political assertion of our Party in Mithilanchal.
The second national conference of RYA, held in Varanasi on 23-24 Dec. 2000, has elected a 91-member National Council and a 21-member Executive Council, which in its turn elected Mithilesh Kumar Yadav as President, Lal Bahadur Singh as General Secretary, Md. Salim and Jayatu Deshmukh as Vice Presidents, and Viduthalai Kumaran, Ravindra Goswami and Kamlesh Sharma as secretaries. Com. Rajaram Singh, ex-president of RYA will now onwards work on Party's peasant front. The conference passed a 10-point political resolution and proclaimed to observe 11 January 2001 as 'Employment Day' throughout the country.
Com. Tapas Ranjan Saha of Left and Democratic Teachers' Front (LDTF), the teachers' organisation in Delhi University, comfortably won the election for the post of member of Academic Council. He has been elected to the post for the second successive time. The LDTF also supported the CPI(M)'s candidate for DU Executive Council who won the election defeating BJP and Congress candidates.
LPP Victories in Local Body Elections
A group of 12 Labour Party Pakistan comrades has bagged local bodies seats in Larkana of Sindh. LPP fielded 50 candidates from only two provinces, Punjab and Sindh. Results of 10 comrades is yet to be announced. This is the first major victory in the electoral field for LPP. In Larkana, the leaders of Watan Dost Mazdoor Federation had joined LPP during the last three years. WDMF was the main force behind these victories. WDMF brings together most of the unions in the city under its umberrala. Local Bodies Elections were held on 31 December in 18 districts of four provinces as the first of the four phases. Rest will be held during the next six months. These elections are in fact a military government project to stablize its basis politically, therefore, it was decided to participate in the elections to foil the strategy of military government.
Workers' conference against NAFTA
The "Fifth convention in defense of the nation, against deregulation and privatizations, and for the repeal of NAFTA" was held on Nov. 18, 2000 in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas) in Mexico, which issued an "Appeal for a Tri-National (Mexico, Canada, United States) Workers' Conference" for the same puropse, proposing to hold a it in Mexico City in April 2001 as a stepping stone to build the International Workers' Conference against deregulation and for labor rights for all. The international conference will be held in Germany in February 2002 at the initiative of the International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International (ILC), the Continuations Committee of the Open World Conference (OWC), and a number of German trade unions. January 1, 2001, marks the seventh anniversary of the signing of NAFTA by the governments of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
The disastrous results of NAFTA are there for all to see that jobs have drastically declined and wages fallen steeply not only in Mexico but also in the US and Canada. The govts of Mexico and the US have promoted delocalizations of businesses, that is, the transfer of the productive facilities of these giant corporations to Mexico or even to Southeast of the US where there is more flexibility of the workforce, lower wages and a far lower rate of unionization. Another result of NAFTA is the dramatic increase in migration from Mexico to the United States by adults and youth aspiring for jobs and better wages. NAFTA is the over-arching plan that imposes privatization of public services and enterprises as well as the deregulation of finance and labor legislation. To conclude, NAFTA has only benefited the large corporations, primarily the US MNCs.