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Thirty Years of Naxalbari

July 2004
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Campaign Reports


The message of July 28, 2004:

Intensify the Movement, Strengthen the Party and Seize the Present Juncture


Vajpayee Fades, Modi Stays, BJP Bides Its Time

T wo months after the BJP suffered an ignominious defeat in an election in which it thought it had been calling all the shots from timing the elections to fixing the electoral agenda, the party is evidently yet to come to terms with the shock. The party’s consecutive victories in 1998 and 1999 had fuelled its hope of getting recognised and legitimised as India’s ‘natural’ party of governance as the Congress was till the 1980s. The party thought that despite Gujarat it could continue to harp on its newly honed discourse of de-ideologised governance and win an election by parading mobile phones, expressways and India’s much-hyped superpower potential! Verdict 2004 has clearly belied these fond hopes.
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  28 July Call

The message of July 28, 2004:

Intensify the Movement, Strengthen the Party and Seize the Present Juncture

July 28, 2004 marks the thirty-second anniversary of the martyrdom of Comrade Charu Majumdar, the great architect of Naxalbari and the founder General Secretary of the CPI(ML). The entire Marxist-Leninist movement in the country observes this day as the Martyr’s Day.
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  Cover Feature

CMP and CPM: A Historic Convergence

T hat the present CMP, like the original CMP of the UF and NDA’s NAG, is a document of deception is obvious. But it is also part of a trend witnessed in many parts of the world (Latin America, parts of Europe and Asia, South Africa) – one that seeks to soften neo-liberal economic reform, to round off its sharp edges, to supplement it with safety nets for the victims – all for the purpose of making it sustainable in the longer run. Moreover, in this case the document reflects the pressures and pulls and the resultant balance of political forces assembled in the ruling coalition (including the Left Front, in a sense). And helps us understand how in a given situation a given “executive committee of the ruling classes” tries to readjust and fine-tune its policies to suit changes in economic and political situations, to address (or pretend to address) some of the pressing public demands, to present its own immediate programme in a form acceptable to the masses. So why not have a closer look at this otherwise barren, useless document?
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CMP On Education

The NDA Government saffronised education, distorting curricula and textbooks and appointing RSS nominees in key posts – all in a bid to inject poison into young minds. The CMP of UPA government in the education section has identified it as the priority area but has so far been slow and unwilling to save this year’s batch of students from having to study these saffronised textbooks.
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Working Class: Promises Betrayed

Within less than one month of its rule, the Congress-led UPA government has, through various steps, declarations and appointments, started sending “positive” messages to those who ‘felt good’ under Vajpayee rule. A section of Left leaders, supporting the government from “outside”, have started feeling like “outsiders”. A left columnist had to write that the central government must send at least some positive message to the poor immediately, by taking some concrete steps.
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Justice Against Genocide: An Agenda For Gujarat

The genocide in Gujarat is a festering woun on Indian democracy and secularism. Justice for the victims is an uphill struggle in the face of the BJP’s continuing reign of terror and intimidation in the State. A group of concerned citizens and organizations from both within and outside Gujarat gathered on 1st June 2004 at Prashant, Ahmedabad to draw up a charter of demands for the Government of India for justice and healing in Gujarat. We reproduce some of the salient demands they made of the UPA Government.

Gujarat Citizens Charter

Gujarat was the crucible of Hindutva politics and continues to be wounded by the genocide and wanton refusal of the state government to ensure justice and healing. Therefore, the test case of the secular resolve of the new UPA government will be its ability to take resolute and often difficult decisions to restore justice and hope to the people of Gujarat
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Human Development Report in West Bengal Raises Questions

On 18 th May 2004 the West Bengal Chief Minister Mr. Buddhadev Bhattacharya released the First State Human Development Report, prepared by the UNDP along with the Union Planning Commission and the State Government. This report is eloquent about the impact of land reform and decentralization, while pointing out various “constraints” on human development. After 26 years of Left-Front rule, what is the Human Development picture in the State? The “successes” and “inadequacies” identified by this Report merit a closer look.
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Death and Despair – Heightening Agrarian Crisis

Farmers’ suicides and starva tion deaths have become a persisting feature of rural poor in the recent past, in India that is supposedly modernizing under the ‘vibrantly globalizing economy’. Suicides and starvation are two sides of the heightening agrarian crisis in India. It is reported that more 15,000 farmers, mostly small and marginal, have committed suicides in last six years
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  Campaign Reports

Salumbar: Tribal Struggles Come Of Age

IN ational Highway No . 8 (NH8) that runs from Delhi to Mumbai and cuts a wide swathe through Rajasthan. This modern superhighway cuts right through the southern tribal areas of this state, including Salumbar. Its total lack of connection with or consideration for the lives of the poor tribals and peasants who live on either side of it, and its ostentation that is almost vulgar symbolised the BJP’s ‘India Shining’ Campaign as well as the violence and insensitivity of India’s development.
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Koraput: Experiences of Election Campaign

T he CPI(ML) contested the Koraput Lok Sabha Seat and the Assembly seats of Gunupur, Bissam Cuttack and Rayagada. This region in Southern Orissa, bordering Andhra Pradesh has been a historic site of the peasant struggle of Srikakulam. More than half of the population in this area is tribals, most of whom are poor and on the brink of starvation. In our efforts to revive the peasant movement, we have concentrated in this area, especially in the Rayagada district.
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After Manju, Now Kunti:
Target of State Terror and Feudal Violence in Jahanabad!

The scene of oppression is again Arwal, the victim a poor dalit labourer named Lallan Paswan. On 28 May, upper caste supporters of the Ranveer Sena brutally beat Lallan to death with an iron rod for having borrowed a bicycle. The killers were not arrested, instead Lallan’s father Sitaram Paswan, was also beaten up severely and his complaint torn into shreds by the local thana in-charge. Villagers who gathered in large numbers to protest the police highhandedness and prevent the police from seizing the body of Lallan, held their ground despite being lathicharged.the next morning, the OC even threatened Kunti Devi, Zila Parishad member of Jehanabad and National leader of AIALA and AIPWA, who had reached the spot, warning her to leave or he would shoot her. By noon a huge police force led by the DSP of Arwal, Vijay Singh, arrived and began firing indiscriminately without any warning, killing a 12 year old schoolboy and injuring several other bystanders including two other children.
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State-Sponsored Terror Against CPI(ML) Activists in Karbi Anglong

Since mid-May , the villages of Karbi Anglong are witnessing a spate of systematic terror. A gang of surrendered militants, armed with sophisticated weapons and styling itself as ‘UPDS-Pro-talk’, has unleashed barbaric assaults on CPI(ML) supporters as ‘punishment’ for violating its dictate of voting either for the ASDC(U) candidate Elwin Teron or for the Congress candidate.
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  Human Rights

Justice for Jahanabad TADA Victims

The war on terror has become a pretext for several governments, who proclaim their democratic status, to justify the imposition of black laws, which violate all notions of human rights known so far. There are reports in the press of the Bush government ambushing ‘Arab looking persons’ and subjecting them to humiliating interrogations using the infamous Patriot Act. In India, the war on terrorism was taken as an opportune time by the NDA government, to bulldoze in the much-opposed POTA through an unprecedented joint session of the parliament.
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Profile of the Arwal 14, sentenced under TADA

Fourteen TADA Victims Appeal in the People’s Court
Hang us or Keep us Chained,
Struggle of the Poor Will Continue!



Dev: Disappointing Fare

B eing the first commercial film to treat some of the issues raised by the Gujarat carnage, and also being directed by Govind Nihalani, a filmmaker known for sensitive representations of communal violence like Tamas, Dev has generated widespread expectations, appreciation and debate. Many sensitive documentaries which have covered the terrain of the state-sponsored pogrom against Muslims show that after Gujarat it is no longer possible to speak about the unbalanced equations between the majority and various minority communities in terms of comparable culpability, and that such a position is at best disingenuous, and at worst, dangerous.
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India’s Intervention and Crisis in Nepal

Just before the Foreign Minister Natwar Singh’s visit to Nepal, the situation in the Himalayan kingdom took a significant turn when the King, after trying Lokendra Bahadur and Surya Bahadur Thapa of the Rashtriya Prajatantrik Party (RPP), invited Sher Bahadur Deuba of the breakaway Nepali Congress (Democratic) to assume premiership and form the government. Deuba is the same person who was sacked by King in October 2002 on the charge of being “incompetent”. This time Deuba has from the very beginning started attempts to form a multi-party government and solve the Maoist problem through peace talks. His efforts seem to bear fruit now as the largest party in Parliament, CPN(UML) has drawn a Common Minimum Programme with his party NC(D) and would very soon decide to join the government. Sadbhavana Party and RPP are also expected to follow suit. CPN(UML) is keen to attain peace with Maoists even by accepting their demand to hold elections to constituent assembly and revise the constitution.
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