CPI(ML) HOME Vol.11, No.41 07 OCT- 13 OCT 2008

The Weekly News Bulletin of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)(Liberation)
U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi 110092. Tel: (91)11-22521067. Fax(91)11-22518248


In this Issue

The Economics and Politics of the Singur Pullout:
There Must Be No Free Exit for the Tatas

A  key point in the corporate discourse on the ongoing economic reforms in India has been the clamour for what big capital calls an ‘exit policy’. Ratan Tata has just revealed what big corporates mean by this phrase. Paraphrasing Caesar, Tata’s exit from Singur could be described as a straightforward case of “I came, I destroyed, I left”.
Till recently we were told that Singur was the ultimate answer to Ratan Tata’s search for a suitable site for his dream project of producing a ‘people’s car’. Now he tells us that conditions are no longer conducive, that the Tata group cannot operate in police protection. If Ratan Tata has an ‘ethical objection’ to police intervention, he should have abandoned his project at the very beginning of the process of land acquisition. The whole process has all along been soaked in coercion and violence including brutal doses of police atrocities.
Perhaps the Tatas could not stomach the fact that the people of Singur should show the guts to challenge the combined might of the Tata empire and the state, and go on raising awkward demands regarding return of their land and payment of adequate compensation for the losses borne not only by landowners but also sharecroppers and agricultural labourers and other self-employed toilers who depended on the Singur land for their living? They might have found it even more offensive that the West Bengal government might be forced into contemplating a negotiated settlement over the issue of land and compensation. After all, the touchy Tatas went to court to stop people from knowing the terms of the agreement they had signed with the Government of West Bengal and the West Bengal Industrial development Corporation (WBIDC), and the High Court dutifully obliged them by suspending the much-trumpeted ‘right to information’ in due deference to the wishes of the corporate emperor.
So either the Tatas are too touchy to do business in conditions that do not totally conform to their ‘tastes’, or more plausibly, the pullout decision must have been prompted by high level political considerations involving the powers that be in New Delhi as well as Kolkata. By all accounts, the pullout is nothing but a cynical corporate political game being played out at the expense of ordinary people and peasants of Singur. While analysts may continue to investigate the real reasons underlying the Tatas’ pullout plan, we must also deal with the more burning post-pullout questions like the fate of those who lost their land and livelihood in the bargain, the future of the site in Singur, and the lessons that we must learn from the entire episode.
Nano or no Nano, the people of Singur have already suffered heavily. Many have lost their land; many more have lost their livelihood. So the question of compensation will still have to be resolved by making adequate provision not only for the land-losers but also for all affected share-croppers, registered as well as unregistered, and labourers, agricultural as well as other self-employed ones. More importantly, the Tatas cannot be allowed to leave behind 1,000 acres of ‘scorched earth’ in Singur’s fertile green belt. In two years the Tatas have transformed 1,000 acres of multi-cropped arable land into corporate wasteland and they must now be forced to bear the entire cost for reclamation of the same. There can be no free exit for the corporate land-grabbers – they must be made to pay the full price for both acquisition as well as reclamation of the Singur land.
For the CPI(M) establishment in West Bengal, the exit of the Tatas from Singur is a loss that merits state mourning. And while bidding a tearful adieu to the Tatas, it seems desperate to teach the ‘audacious’ and ‘recalcitrant’ people of Singur a lesson or two on the lines of Nandigram. Any such move must be squarely resisted. Instead of raising accusing fingers at the protesting people and tilting at so-called ‘anti-industry’ windmills, the CPI(M) will now have to answer for this pathetic denouement to their much hyped-up ‘industrialisation’ blitzkrieg.  They had painted the walls of Bengal red with the simplistic slogan “Krishi amader bhitti, shilpa amader bhabisyat” (agriculture is our foundation, industry our future). The state-sponsored corporate wasteland of Singur provides a stunning refutation of this simplistic formula: the ‘foundation’ lies shattered while the ‘future’ has melted into thin air even before people could experience its shape or size, or sound or smell. 
All the appeasement of the Tatas has fallen through and now the West Bengal government will have to clean up the table as well as foot all the unpaid bills! The CAG has already found the WBIDC guilty of incurring “excess expenditure of Rs. 2.99 crore towards payment of avoidable interest of Rs. 1.44 crore and delayed ‘consent awards’ of Rs. 1.55 crore” and dishing out subsidy worth “Rs. 76.11 crore to Tata Motors Limited on leasing of 645.67 acres of land at Singur for ninety years”. Nano is of course not the first ‘corporate disaster’ of its kind. Bhopal 1984 continues to haunt us with the sordid story of how corporates like Union Carbide-Dow not only walk away from the environmental and humanitarian horrors they cause; but are even welcomed back with no questions asked by governments eager to appease them. Significantly, it was Tata which palled up with Dow to facilitate the latter’s comeback bid. Then in the mid-1990s we had Enron. The US told us that the US electricity giant Enron was the answer to our energy crisis and the Congress and the BJP and the governments of India and Maharashtra vied with each other to accommodate all the absurd demands of Enron including an unprecedented provision for a hefty 16% counter-guarantee. Now Enron has simply vanished into the blue in both India and the US and we are left with all the damages. Singur has once again taught us that corporate appeasement is the surest recipe not for industrialisation but for an unpardonable plunder of our natural and human resources.



PB Circular

(The Party Politburo met in Patna on 25-26 September, 2008. The meeting began after paying tributes to Kaushalya Devi. PB deliberations and decisions are summarised below.)
1.     The PB took stock of the massive financial crisis in the US and its implications. The crisis, which is still unfolding, has rightly been compared to the Great Depression of 1929. The Bush Administration has officially acknowledged the crisis and described it as a major threat to the US economy. US imperialism is desperately trying to contain this crisis with heavy doses of state intervention. The crisis has clearly punctured the balloon of American triumphalism and delivered a big blow to the whole economic discourse of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. Given India’s rapidly increasing integration with the US-led global economic order, the US financial crisis is bound to have some impact on India and will particularly affect the so-called high-growth sectors like banking and insurance, IT and real estate. This provides us with new challenges and opportunities for broadening and intensifying the popular resistance to the economic policies and their disastrous outcome.
2.     We must also remain alert against growing attempts by US imperialism to wriggle out of the current crisis by stepping up its politico-military intervention across the world. Countries like Venezuela and Bolivia have already experienced renewed coup attempts; the US-led war in Afghanistan has spilled over into Pakistan and the US and NATO are backing Georgia to the hilt, trying to develop it as a key base against Russia and also for a possible attack on Iran. Of course, China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation have come to the support of Russia and the US will not find it easy to execute its design to encircle Russia and expand its unilateral influence inside Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Terrorist incidents are taking place quite frequently both in Pakistan and India and given the pro-US foreign policy stance of the rulers in the sub-continent the US is all set to deepen its intervention in the region. While sharpening our resistance to the Indo-US nuke deal and strategic partnership, we must promptly and vigorously oppose every instance or aspect of US intervention in South Asia.
3.     Frequent bomb-blasts are rocking different urban and especially metropolitan centres in India. We strongly condemn every such incident and remain fully committed to do whatever we can to maintain peace and harmony in the face of such gruesome incidents and terrible loss of lives. To cover up their comprehensive failure to check terrorism, the ruling classes and their parties, especially the BJP and the Congress, have started competing between themselves in spreading panic and terror, targeting the Muslim community, especially the Muslim youth, as ‘terrorists’ and making a clamour for a ‘hard state’ and ‘tough laws’ in the name of taming terrorism. Such systematic persecution and denial of democracy only breeds and reinforces terrorism and we must boldly resist every attempt to demonise Islam and paint Muslims as terrorists and every assault on democracy through either draconian laws or sheer state-sponsored lawlessness.
4.     The BJP is busy taking full advantage of the present situation and the discriminatory and repressive policies of the Congress-led UPA government to aggressively advance its communal fascist agenda and intensify its campaign of communal violence against minority communities. It has exploited the Amarnath yatra issue to vitiate the atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir and simultaneously it has mounted a systematic campaign against Christians in state after state. The connivance of the Congress and the state only emboldens the BJP and the Sangh brigade, and from Orissa to Karnataka, everywhere the BJP is misusing the state to promote its sectarian, divisive, anti-democratic agenda. It must be understood that the attacks on Christians in the name of stopping conversion is not just an attack on religious freedom, but it is also another form of the social oppression and persecution experienced by dalits and adivasis cutting across the religious divide. We must stand firmly by the minority communities, especially Muslims and Christians, at this hour of state-sponsored assault and deep insecurity and hold high the banner of harmony, secularism and democracy with all the strength at our command. We must organise protests, promote team visits to the affected areas, organise seminars/convention, etc. in this respect.

5.         The PB appreciated the attempts made by the entire Party and different mass organisations to cope with the challenge of the catastrophic Kosi floods in Bihar and stressed the need for similar attempts in other flood-affected or disaster-hit areas in Orissa, Assam and UP. Organising the flood-affected people in struggles for relief and rehabilitation remains a key political task for the Party in all such areas. The state in India has never been known to be sensitive or efficient in managing disasters, but with its increasing preoccupation with privatisation and downsizing, the state has now become promoter and perpetrator of disasters, and hence we must channelize our rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts towards a popular confrontation with the state on the core issues associated with every disaster. Flood and relief has virtually occupied the centre-stage of Bihar’s politics, both state and central governments – current as well as earlier regimes – are on the dock. We must make full use of the situation to intensify our political offensive further.top


CPI(ML)’s Nation-wide Protest Against Sangh Attacks on Christians

On October 3, CPI(ML) held nation-wide protests demanding prosecution of Chief Ministers of Orissa and Karnataka for allowing saffron mobs to indulge in an anti-Christian pogrom; demanding a ban on the Sangh outfits guilty of communal violence and protesting against the UPA Government’s refusal to take stern action against the communal killers. A memorandum to the President of India was submitted from all over the country. The memorandum, raising all the above issues and demands, also noted that the Sangh’s accusations of ‘forced conversion’ was actually serving to cover up their own acts of forcing adivasis and Christians to convert to Hinduism. Conversion from Hinduism has largely been an act of rebellion by the oppressed castes against the caste-ridden Hindu fold, noted the memo, and “the current wave of violence is therefore also an attempt to terrorise the Dalits and other oppressed social groups for their rebellion – and is therefore a continuation of social oppression in another form.” The acts of humiliation of Christians that have come to light – raping, parading naked, and forcing to eat excreta as ‘purification’ ritual – are all reminiscent of the atrocities against Dalits.        
In Delhi, activists of CPI(ML) gathered at Parliament Street and burnt an effigy of Navin Patnaik and Yeddyurappa, and submitted a memorandum to the President. Party State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, students activists from Jamia Millia Islamia, cultural activists, as well as leaders of AIPWA and AICCTU participated.   
In Orissa, the party had held state-wide protests on 30 October, in which 2000 activists at Gunupur, 1500 at Gudali, 600 at Rayagada, as well as at other places like Koraput, had marched in protest against the unrestrained spree of communal violence against Christians, rapes and sexual assaults of nuns and women in Christian institutions, and overwhelming evidence of forced conversion (literally under threat of homelessness and death) to Hinduism. On October 3, party activists held a protest procession at Bhubaneswar. On October 6, five parties (CPI(ML) Liberation, CPI(ML) ND, CPI(ML) (Kanu Sanyal), SUCI, and Samajwadi Jan Parishad announced that they would hold a joint bandh on 13 October in the affected region of Kandhamal, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati and Ganjam, as well as solidarity actions in other parts of the state. Holding that the ruling BJD as well as Congress which is in power at the Centre too have blood on their hands because of their hands-off approach towards the Sangh Parivar mobs, the CPI(ML) declined to join a joint protest announced by CPI-CPI(M) with BJD and Congress in the state.
In Karnataka, another major centre of the ongoing communal violence, protest demonstrations were held in various places in the state, and the memorandum to the President was sent through the tahsildars in the taluks.
More than hundred people protested in front of taluk office at Harapanahalli. The demo evoked much expectation in the town as a church nearer to Harapanahalli was also attacked sometime back. Our comrades were the ones who helped in getting bail for the Christian priests, on whom false cases had been foisted in addition to the attack on their church.
The demo at Gangavati was also impressive and demonstrators shouted slogans against BJP that is coming out with its true colours after assuming power in the state.
The demo at HD Kote near Mysore protestors included construction labourers and AICCTU activists. The Memorandum was sent via District Collector at Mysore also.
In Jharkhand, hundreds of people marched in the capital of Ranchi. The March against Communalism, in the Sainik Bazaar campus, was led by CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar, CCMs Comrades Bahadur Oraon and Rajaram, human rights activist Father Stenswamy, CPI(ML) State Secretary Janardan Prasad, AICCTU State Vice President Shubhendu Sen, State party Spokesperson J P Minz, AIPWA State Secretary Sunita, JSM State Secretary Anil Anshuman and many others. The March culminated in a mass meeting at Albert Ekka Chowk, addressed by the above leaders.
Protest processions, effigy burning, dharnas and mass meetings were also held at Garhwa, Giridih district HQ, Bagodar, Birni, Ramgarh, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Mandar (Ranchi), Lohardagga, Hazaribagh, Gumla, Manika (Latehar), Daltonganj, and Jamshedpur.  
In Bihar, protest demonstrations were held in Patna as well as all over the State. 
In W Bengal, a street corner meeting under the banner of the Kolkata District Committee was held at Esplanade, addressed by State Secretary Partho Ghosh and activists of the District Committee like Malay Tiwari, Mukul Kumar, and Basudev Bose.
In Assam, protest demonstrations were held and memoranda submitted at Guwahati, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Sonitpur, and at Diphu and Hamren in Karbi Anglong.
In UP, activists demonstrated at the Lucknow Assembly, as well as in Gazipur, Sonebhadra, Ambedkarnagar, Rai Bareli, Jalaun, Lakhimpur Kheri, Chandauli and Mirzapur. In addition to protesting inaction against the perpetrators of anti-Christian violence, they also condemned the Indo-US Nuke Deal which had been voted in by the American Senate the previous day.
In Chhattisgarh, around a 100 people, including contract workers, steel plant workers, joined by representatives of Churches, held a protest demonstration at J P Chowk in Bhilai, and a public meeting was also held at Raipur.
In Tamilnadu, protests took place at Trichi, Madurai, Chennai, Cuddalore and Villupuram on October 3 and at Kanyakumari on October 4.
At Uttarakhand, stret corner meetings were organised and effigies of communalism were burnt in Munshiari and Pithoragarh. In Haldwani a memorandum to the President was sent through the SDM.       

In Rajasthan (Jhunjhunu), 800 agricultural labourers held a protest rally at the District HQ, raising their voice against the communal forces and the BJP Government of Rajasthan, and also exposing lapses in implementation of NREGA, BPL cards etc... The demonstrators also condemned the Vasundhara Raje Govt for its criminal negligence leading to the deadly stampede at a temple at Jodhpur.top


AIPWA Statement on Nun’s Rape in Orissa

AIPWA holds that the heinous act of the rape and naked parading of a nun by Sangh Parivar brigades is only the tip of the iceberg of the communal violence in Kandhamal. Reportedly, at least one other women worker at a Christian orphanage has been burnt alive (possible also raped, according to eyewitnesses) by the Sangh Parivar goons.
The Orissa Government has shown criminal inaction, whereby it delayed taking note of the medical report confirming rape for over a month. The State Govt had now, belatedly, ordered a probe by the Crime Branch – which hardly inspired confidence given the blatant anti-minority bias being displayed by the state’s police apparatus. While the fabric of our democracy and secularism is being openly ripped off like Draupadi’s robes, the Dhritarashtras – the entire spectrum of ruling class political parties, Central and State governments and state apparatus – remain spectators or participants.

AIPWA has demanded a CBI probe into the rape of the nun in Orissa, and will hold protests all over the country in the coming week.top


AISA-RYA Dharna at Azamgarh against Communal Witch-hunt

Student and youth activists of RYA, AISA and PUHR held a protest dharna on October 4 at the District Collector’s office at Azamgarh, against the witch-hunt of Muslim youth and students in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’. RYA National President Mohd. Salim, AISA State President Ramayan Ram, RYA State President Balmukund Dhuria and National Secretary Om Prakash Singh, PUHR’s district convenor Basant Kumar, CPI(ML)’s Gazipur leader Dr. Salauddin, former MLA Alam Nabi and CPI(ML)’s Azamgarh in-charge Jaiprakash Narain spoke, saying that the Nuke Deal brokered by the UPA Government with the world’s biggest terrorist USA had just come close to completion. Terrorism itself was synonymous not with Azamgarh but with America and agents of US imperialism. A judicial enquiry into the Jamia Nagar encounter was also demanded. Many intellectuals from Azamgarh also joined the dharna.top


Trade Unions Protest Graziano Crackdown

On 3 October 2008, AICCTU & AIUTUC activists staged a protest march at Sansad Marg against the wholesale arrests of and crackdown on workers of the Graziano factory and depiction of the marginalised workers as criminals and killers. The protest was led by Santosh Roy, National Secretary, AICCTU, Harish Tyagi, State Secretary AIUTUC and AICCTU leaders VKS Gautam, Ardhendu Roy, Roopnarayan, Sarvraj and others.

A delegation also submitted a memorandum with the Labour Minister, Sri Oscar Fernandes.


CPI(ML) Statement On Assam Clashes

In a statement issued on October 6, CPI(ML) Politburo member and Assam State Secretary Rubul Sarma condemned the clashes between Bodos and Muslims which had claimed at least 50 lives and had forced a lakh of people to flee to refugee camps, and called for peace. He said that the Tarun Gogoi Government, in its tenure, had presided over no less than five such ethnic clashes before this one. This present round of violence is yet another indicator of the total failure of the Gogoi Government whose policies of divide and rule and failure to address the pending political issues of the myriad ‘ceasefire’ militant groups in Assam, had resulted in a never-ending spiral of violence. Two months back, too, violence had taken place in the same region, yet no preventive or corrective measures had been taken.

Comrade Rubul Sarma also condemned attempts by vested interests to portray the violence as ‘Hindu-Muslim clashes,’ or as a clash of Bodos versus ‘Bangladeshis.’ Such portrayals, he said, mischievously perpetuate the politics of divide and rule. He demanded that a responsible probe be ordered to look into the actual causes of the violence.


Manmohan’s Lies Exposed by the Final Form of the Nuke Deal 

Pokhran II’s Code Name had inappropriately claimed that the apostle of peace, the Buddha was smiling at the testing of a nuclear bomb. The US Senate, ironically, passed the 123 Agreement on October 2 – M K Gandhi’s birth anniversary and international non-violence day.  Subsequently, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited India but the final inking of the Deal has been delayed by some hiccups. Once the Deal comes into effect, its deadly implications (already in evidence) will unfold even more rapidly. We must intensify our resistance to the entire spectrum of the Indo-US strategic stranglehold.top


Farmers’ Rage at Fertiliser Shortage in AP

Farmers in AP have time and again erupted in anger against the state government’s failure to provide them with fertilisers. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhra Reddy and Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy repeatedly denied the shortage; but in early September, the state’s agriculture officials admitted it. In a video conference conducted by the Agriculture Minister, they said that the State, as a whole, received 1.04 lakh tonnes of DAP during the month, whereas the requirement was 1.25 lakh tonnes. The scarcity was of the order of 20,000 tonnes in August. The Minister had, however, assured farmers that the supply would be streamlined in ten days and expressed confidence that there would be no problem in supply by September 20. A hollow, assurance, as it turned out.
On 3 October, farmers in the state, desperate as standing crops are being damaged for lack of fertiliser, attacked fertiliser shops and took away stocks, even as the State Government continues to deny the agrarian crisis.

Around 5,000 farmers, who have been doing the rounds of the Coromandel outlet for the last four days, were informed that there was no stock. CPI(M) MLA Tammineni Veerabhadram and Telugu Desam leaders tried to pacify the farmers but were curtly told not to interfere. The irate farmers thrashed officials and took away 1,200 bags of complex fertilisers and pesticide boxes. Police whipped out their lathis to bring the situation under control but that only served to make matters worse as the farmers did not take it lying down. Though the police sought to use tear gas and open fire, they decided against it due to the sheer numbers of the farmers. The farmers also staged a rasta roko at Wyra bringing traffic on the Bhadrachalam-Hyderabad highway to a standstill up to a distance of 5 km on either side. The farmers also took away fertilisers from another government godown in Naidupet.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22518248, e-mail: mlupdate@cpiml.org, website: www.cpiml.org
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