One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
The hundred-and-odd days’ drama is over. The Left Front is back to the UPA-Left Coordination Committee (CoC). Of course, during this period too there was no dearth of coordination ‘by other means’, so to say, with Left leaders frequently meeting the UPA chairperson and important ministers over luncheons and other occasions, even as the government went its own new-liberal way. Deliberate procrastination over the women’s reservation bill, hikes in administered prices, endless concessions to big capital, condoning the perpetrators of the Gurgaon atrocities, abject appeasement of imperialist powers... there was no letup in onslaughts on people’s livelihoods and democratic aspirations and on our national interests. So much so, that the Left- led trade unions found it urgently necessary to call a countrywide industrial strike and Manmohan’s shameless surrender to Washington on the Iran issue came in for angry condemnation from all left and democratic forces.
Overlooking all this, overlooking the increasingly obvious need for a more vigorous showdown against the Manmohan government, the LF was quick to accept the UPA chairperson’s invitation and rejoin the CoC. And on what terms? Merely on an assurance that the previous decision for offloading 10% shares of BHEL has been “put in abeyance”. No, not abandoned, just put on hold for the time being. Nor was there any promise that other Navaratna shares would not be touched. These two conditions, which the left had been insisting on during all these days, were not met, as RSP leader Abani Roy pointed out to the press. In the circumstances, whereas “the decision to boycott was taken collectively”, said Roy, “the decision to resume was a majority decision.”
What motivated the Congress in reinviting the LF to the CoC? A Business Standard report titled Financial reforms may take off with Left’s return ( October 14, 2005 ) gives us an intimate ruling class perspective. The government urgently needs the Left’s support, the correspondent argues, to several proposals like amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, the passage of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, voluntary consolidation by nationalised banks (a move opposed by the Left on the grounds that it will result in a loss of jobs) and so on. In other words, the Congress high command conceded a postponement of the BHEL offloading in anticipation of more fundamental gains. And keeping in mind the ease with which it had earlier bought the Lefts support to the patents bill in return for smaller concessions like maintaining status quo ante on the EPF interest rate controversy, one can hardly blame the Congress for excessive optimism.
To what extent the Congress will achieve its objectives will be known only in the months to come. So far as the toiling millions are concerned, well, if the earlier decision of boycott was a welcome step in the right direction on the part of the Left, the recent backtracking comes as a big disappointment – an uncalled for and untimely compromise. It is uncalled for, because the pressure group politics the official Left wishes to play could well be taken care of from without the CoC too, while a permanent withdrawal (there was any number of valid grounds for that: Gurgaon, Iran, and the whole thrust of economic and foreign policies generally) would send proper signals to the left mass base and facilitate a transition to a more wholehearted struggle in the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary arenas. To be sure, that is exactly what the situation demands — not just in view of the Keral-Bengal-Tripura elections, but more fundamentally in the people’s interests, in the interests of a massive movement against a government that is increasingly adopting pro-rich, pro-privileged, pro-imperialist policies. And the increased entropy in the Sangh Parivar, which has incapacitated the BJP to fully exploit the isolation of the UPA, makes the present moment particularly suitable for mounting an all out offensive against the Congress-led government.
Such an offensive is the concrete need of the hour. Those who fail to address it because they lack the offensive outlook, the self-confidence and confidence in the masses needed for that, those who are in the habit of taking one occasional advanced step only to retreat even more thoroughly into the comfortable framework of “mutual dependence”(as Jyoti Basu correctly described his party’s long-term relation with the Congress / UPA), CMP and CoC, will soon find themselves overtaken by the march of history. Trickery and deception will not work for ever, and life will assert itself — as Lenin used to say.
Government must act immediately to save innocent lives in Karbi Anglong in Assam
Divided-and-rule policy and dilatory tactics adopted by
Congress governments in Delhi and Dispur are responsible for current violence.
Armed militant outfits operating in tandem with the state.
Protest demonstration in Delhi on 20 October.
CPI(ML) has strongly condemned the escalating violence in the hills of Assam which has already taken a heavy toll of innocent Karbi lives. The Party demands from the centre an immediate action to save the lives. CPI(ML) will hold a protest demonstration in Delhi on 20 October to press for its demand for a political solution of the problem and the reversal of dangerous government policy in the name of the cease-fire agreement which is only destabilising the region and jeopardizing the very existence of the people and their glorious social and cultural fabric.
CPI(ML) has sent memoranda to the honourable President and the Prime Minister with the following demands:
1. Govt. must act immediately to stop the killings and save innocent Karbi lives.
2. Urgent steps must be taken to review and revamp the ceasefire mechanism and hasten the process of a political solution.
3. Camps designated for the DHD must immediately be shifted from Karbi Anglong and all the affected and terrorised people must be rehabilitated on war-footing.
The Karbi and Dimasa communities living predominantly in the districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills in Assam have a long history of peaceful intermingling and shared existence. It is only during the last three years that social peace in the region has been vitiated by armed militant outfits like the DHD and UPDS operating in tandem with the state.
The ongoing killings in Karbi Anglong reflect a total failure of the government’s policy regarding this region. Instead of offering a political solution to the people’s long-standing aspiration for an autonomous state as promised under Article 244A of the Indian Constitution, the central and state governments, both of which are currently led by the Congress, have only adopted a divided-and-rule policy and dilatory tactics. In the absence of any serious and sincere political initiative on the part of the governments in Delhi and Dispur, the cease-fire arrangement has completely broken down leading to the current spate of clashes between the DHD and UPDS and large-scale killings and human suffering.
All through the 1990s, the hill districts of Assam remained a unique zone of peace where people belong to the Karbi, Dimasa and a host of other communities fought unitedly and democratically to secure their constitutional claim for an Autonomous State under Article 244A. Successive central and state governments however only turned a deaf year to this peaceful, democratic and just demand of the people, thereby encouraging armed insurgency in the region. And now in the name of ceasefire arrangement, the government policy is only destabilising the region and jeopardizing the very existence of the people and their glorious social and cultural fabric. The UPA government at the Centre and the Congress government in Assam must immediately reverse this dangerous policy and stop playing with the lives of the innocent tribal people of Karbi Anglong and NC Hills.
CPI(ML) Demands Judicial Inquiry of Mau Riots
Statewide protests against the role of Samajwadi Party in protecting rioters of RSS and BJP
CPI(ML) observed statewide protest day on Oct. 16 against the communal riots in Mau of UP and demanded a judicial inquiry and punishment to the rioters. The Party primarily held RSS and BJP responsible for the riots, it also condemned role of ruling Samajwadi Party and the administration in protecting the rioters. Stringent action against DM and SP of Mau and guarantee of safety and protection to property and lives of the members of minority community was also demanded by the Party.
A dharna was held in Lucknow where a memorandum was sent to the Governor of UP demanding a judicial inquiry into the role of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP, Hindu Yuva Vahini formed by the MP of Gorakhpur as well as the role of police administration and the ruling SP. Even after four days of unprecedented violence the Mulayam administration has failed to contain the rioters, while there are reports that the police has reportedly helped the rioters at some place. There are fears of spreading this communal tension in other parts of the state if it was not stopped immediately. A dharna was also held in Varanasi .
RSS and BJP had created a very tense atmosphere in Mau many days in advance when the riots broke out in the morning of Oct. 14, but the administration remained criminally negligent. This has exposed the fallacy of Mulayam's anti-communal face besides giving a chance to the weakening BJP in the state. There are report that a section of ruling SP came in tacit support of rioting BJP leaders in Mau. Mau is the second biggest centre of world famous Banarasi Saree industry, and, besides venomising the society on the whole, these riots will certainly impact the lives of thousands of poor weavers employed in this industry.
CPI(ML)’s Election Campaign in Bihar – First Phase
The vigorous election campaign by CPI(ML) in Bihar is evoking a good response from the people. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya – accompanied by Comrade KD Yadav – launched his election campaign on 4 October 2005 from Gaya , where he visited Gaya Jail and met Shah Chand and other comrades incarcerated there serving life sentence under TADA. The same day they addressed mass meetings at Barachatti and Belaganj. At both places, high enthusiasm of our ranks and youth was witnessed. On 5 Oct they addressed a mass meeting at Pakri Barawan of Warisaliganj constituency in Nawadah district. It was a big gathering where women participated in good numbers.
On 7 Oct, they addressed mass meetings at Dehri, Karakat and Bikramganj. On 8 Oct, they addressed large election meetings at Jagdishpur and Koransarai of Dumraon constituency, where Com. Saroj Chaube, the candidate, also participated. On 9 Oct, they addressed mass meetings at Ghoshi, Jahanabad and Masaurhi. The gathering at Masaurhi was quite large and outsiders participated in it in good number. Even among a section of upper caste (Rajputs) sympathy in favour of Maley was visible. On 10 October they addressed two rallies of Arwal constituency at Arwal Bazaar and Kaler, and both were large mass meetings. Mobilisation of minorities in our favour was visible and our own downtrodden base showed enthusiasm.
On 13 Oct., they addressed a meeting at Barahara and four meetings in Sandesh constituency – Sandesh, Pauna, Belaur and Piyania. The gathering at Sandesh was quite large. Here the candidate, Com. Rameshwar Prasad is in jail. On 14 they addressed election meetings at Obra and Daudnagar of Obra constituency and later an election meeting at Paliganj. On 15 they went to address two particularly large mass meetings Sahar and Khutaha Bazaar, both lying in Sahar constituency. In these meetings, our candidate from Sahar, Comrade Ram Naresh Ram and Com. Ramji Rai also addressed the gathering. The meeting at Khutaha Bazaar was particularly significant and an upsurge in favour of Maley was discernible in the whole Sahar constituency. On 16, the last day of the first round of election propaganda campaign for the first phase, they addressed election meetings at Piro and Arrah where the candidate, Comrade Sudama Prasad is purposely detained to deny him chances.
Comrade Akhilendra Pratap Singh visited and addressed election meetings in assembly constituencies Bhabhua, Mohania, Arrah, Sandesh, Sahar, Piro, Bikramganj, Arwal, Paliganj and Obra. Peasants belonging to upper castes also participated in the meetings presided over by SC local leaders. This is because the upper caste feudal dominance represented by Ranvir Sena has collapsed in this area. A section of upper caste kisans has definitely come over to Maley fold because they say that Maley is fighting for peasants' cause.
Severe discontent against RJD is visible, but on the other hand, there is no enthusiasm in favour of JD(U) either. There are two new things. One, Maley’s influence has expanded to some enlightened sections of the people. Two, Maley has also carved out some space among pasmanda (backward) Muslims. Particularly in Arwal this trend is quite visible. There is no appeal for Ram Vilas Paswan’s slogan of Muslim chief minister. People take it as an election stunt. Secularism of Laloo brand, in which a duplicate of Laden accompanies Laloo, is being taken as a derogatory symbol. People say that RJD is making a mockery of Muslims by doing this.
Comrade Kumudini Pati took part in the release of election propaganda cassette and video CD on 6 October prepared by the Hirawal team of Jan Sanskriti Manch. She also attended mass rallies at Dihri, Karakat, Bikramganj, Dumraon, Ghoshi, Masaurhi, Jahanabad. Kurtha, Phulwari Sharief and Naubatpur Bazaar. Comrades Vinod Singh and Sunita from Jharkhand, Md. Salim from UP and Lal Bahadur Singh from Delhi were other prominent campaigners from outside Bihar .
In Dumraon and Masaurhi, where Saroj Chaube and Shashi Yadav are candidates, women come out in support in large numbers. Also in Phulwari Sharief (where our candidate Vidyanand Vikal is inside the jail) and Kurtha (where Upendra Paswan is the Maley candidate), women came out in good numbers. In Kurtha, people from middle classes, particularly youth from middle and upper castes, also small shop-keepers, came to attend the meeting and tried to contact us. In Kurtha, there is a strong sentiment in the memory of martyr comrade Manju Devi. When floral tributes were being paid to Manju Devi’s statue at Karpi Bazaar during the election campaign, more than a thousand people gathered there.
Election propaganda speeches of Comrades Ramjatan Sharma and Meena Tiwari were broadcast on TV
Former DGP DP Ojha Campaigns for CPI(ML)
Former DGP of Bihar DP Ojha has come forward to campaign for CPI(ML) in the Bihar elections. DP Ojha was present during the release of CPI(ML) Election Manifesto. On that occasion he said: “Only Maley is the party that is fighting against criminalisation, so it is the only party which can stop criminalisation. This is the reason I have agreed to join CPI(ML) election propaganda. Although I am not a member of CPI (ML), I will continue to address people in favour of CPI (ML) throughout the election”.
DP Ojha was DGP during 2003-04, when the RJD-Congress Govt. was ruling Bihar . In his drive against criminals he tried to act against Shahabuddin but Laloo Yadav did not permit him. Rabri Devi transferred him to some sideline DGP post which was actually a demotion.
Mulayam Singh's mockery of 'social justice'
Mulayam Singh government has once again proved that it is not the ‘social justice’ but petty political considerations that define its priorities. Its recent decision to include fourteen most backward castes into the list of scheduled castes and Kol tribe into the scheduled tribes list has, though, partially fulfilled a long pending demand, the questions are being raised about the actual intentions of the UP Govt. as many sections, particularly from among tribals, are still left unattended. Some other most backward castes like Biyar and tribes like Banvasi (Musahar), Dhangar, Dharkar, and Korwa also deserved equally, but they were left because it would not in any way serve Mulayam Singh’s political interests. This hurriedly taken decision is seen as an act of competition in vote bank politics with the Congress party. If ‘Social Justice’ was the norm then all deserving castes would have been taken into account before making any final conclusion.
Present UP govt. totally lacks the will and political determination needed to really uplift a certain socially deprived and oppressed section. Earlier, a decision of transforming the status of more than one and a half dozen dalit castes, who were in SC list, into ST only deprived them of their very basic right – right to contest panchayat elections because of administrative apathy. CPI(ML) had protested this discrimination by calling upon an election boycott in Sonbhadra, one of the most affected districts, which received an unprecedented response.
Grave injustice is done to those most backwards and tribal people who were deliberately excluded from the list. It is equally pertinent that mere manipulation in Schedules without any concrete economic package will not give any relief to the most oppressed and deprived sections left far behind on developmental scale. UP unit of CPI(ML) has raised this issue and demanded for inclusion of all the deserving castes into SC and ST, declaration of an economic package for them and, with larger section of the population inducted into the Schedules, an increase in the quantum of their reservation quota. Party also calls upon all dalits, backwards, and tribal people to strengthen their unity behind the forces fighting for the total transformation of the society against the anti-people vote bank politics of the ruling classes.
R E P O R T S
CPI(ML)'s 5 th Jorhat District Conference
CPI(ML)'s 5 th Jorhat District Conference was held on 2-3 October at Kakajan Kristi Kendra under Teok LAC. The two-day conference began with flag hosting by Party State committee member Rajib Kumar Dutta and paying of floral tributes by the delegates at the martyrs column. Activists of Janasanskritik Parisad presented revolutionary Songs.The open session was addressed by CPI State Council member Khagen Phukan, CPI(ML) State Committee member and observer to the Conference Arup Kr. Mahanta, AIPWA State Secretary Kanaklata Dutta, ASCSS leader Deven Bhumese, AICCTU leader Dilip Bora and RYA's Nomal Chowra. The open session was presided over by Com. Rameswar Kall. The Conference strongly condemned killings of Tea workers by Police in Monabari Tea Estate in Sonitpur. The conference adopted several Resolutions and chalked out a comprehensive plan of action for strengthening of the party organisation. The conference elected a nine-member District Committee with Rajib Kumar Dutta as its Secretary.
Rajarappa Mine Accident: An Investigation Report
While increased mechanisation of mines has rendered a large work force unemployed, coal mafia is taking this as an opportunity by employing these workers for illegal mining in abandoned and highly unsafe mines. According to an estimate, this flourishing illegal mining sector amounts to the business of more than 100 crores in Hazaribagh district alone. Corrupt politician-coal mafia-police-bureaucracy nexus is the back-bone of this business which is responsible for the loss of hundreds of lives every year. A CPI(ML) and AICCTU investigation team to the Rajarappa mine accident site, where more than thirty miners were killed in a mine collapse on Sept. 29, was the first one to acquire a firsthand account of the events that led to such a grave tragedy. The team found that:(1) At the time when this accident took place at around 6.30 (AM or PM?), machines of the CCL were engaged illegally in removing rocks and sand right at the upper floor of the accident site. (2) The transportation of illegally mined coal is also done on the same route from where coal of the CCL is transported. (3) After the accident one prominent coal mafia of the region, Rijunath Chaudhary, who is the father of a Minister in Jharkhand, Chandra Prakash Chaudhary, was intimidating villagers and removing dead bodies from the spot. (4) Actual number of those killed is very difficult to assess as no record is maintained in illegal mines, it is still apprehended that few bodies may still be buried inside the collapsed mine. (5) Facts also indicated the direct involvement of Jhankhand Home Minister Sudesh Mahato, Land Revenue Minister Chandra Prakash Chaudhary, Project Officer of CCL, Security Officers of CCL, and local police including the DSP in this illegal mining nexus.
CPI(ML) and AICCTU have demanded for the CBI inquiry in the causes of this accident, removal of both the above ministers from the Jharkhand Cabinet, Seizure of the property of Rijunath Caudhary and his Minister son, employment in CCL to the family members of the deceased and a compensation of Rs. five lakhs to each affected family, to register cases under charge of homicide against Rijunath Chaudhary, Project PO and GM of CCL on a prima facie basis and removal of DC and SP of Hazaribagh. The investigation team included AICCTU State Secretary Tarun Sarkar, Jagannath Uraon, Bhaiyalal Besra, Devkinandan Bedia, Bhubaneshwar Bedia and Heera Gope.
Khushroopur Cracker Factory Blasts Exposes Nexus of Criminals and Ruling Parties' Politicians
CPI(ML) has strongly condemned the Khushroopur cracker factory blasts near Patna and demanded strong punishment to the network of criminals, officials and politicians responsible for the manufacture of bombs and other explosives in the name of crackers in these factories. An investigation team of CPI(ML) comprising of Party Central Committee members Rajaram and Saroj Chaube and RYA General Secretary Kamlesh Sharma has demanded an inquiry into the incident of blast that claimed more than 36 lives in a factory in Khushroopur after visiting the spot of the incident.
The team disclosed that out of those killed in this heart rending accident more than two dozen were children between the age of 10 and 12 years belonging to the families of neighbouring dalit basti. These children were employed in the name of making incense sticks, but were really thrown into making explosives at very nominal wages. More troublesome fact is that this factory, and many others, were running at only 30 kilometers distance from capital Patna apperantly under the knowledge of higher officials but no action was ever taken despite many such accidents in the past. Local people had protested against these illegal factories many times in the past.
This incident actually exposes a much bigger network of state sponsored crime in connivance with corrupt politicians and criminals as the former openly sponsor criminal gangs in Bihar for terrorising people and capturing booths as well as organise killings and massacres of those who dare to stand up for the struggles to build a democratic society.