Bandh to protest Firing on Tea Workers in Sonitpur

The CPI(ML)-led Asom Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangh (ASCSS) called a 12-hour Sonitpur District Bandh on 27 Sept. protest against police firing at Monabari Tea Garden leading to the killing of one worker and injury to many others. The bandh evoked good response from all sections of the society and was total. Many tea gardens were closed in Sonitpur district. As a result of these protests, the Govt. was forced to declare a one-man enquiry committee to probe the incident.


All India Convention of State Government Employees

An All India Convention of State Government Employees was held in Patna on 24 Sept. on 'Privatisation, Downsizing, Attacks on Trade Union Rights and Our tasks'. This was attended by state government employees' representatives from West Bengal , Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab , Uttaranchal and Bihar . Representatives from Maharashtra , Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu could not attend the convention due to some unavoidable reasons and they sent their salutations. The convention was chaired by veteran employees' leader in Bihar Yogeshwar Gope. Comrade Gope is a founder member of the All India Government Employees' Federation which was once led by Sukomal Sen. An appach paper was presented by Rambali Prasad, General Secretary of Bihar State Non-gazetted Employees' Association (Gope wing), which analysed in detail the shortcomings of the anti-people new economic policies of the Indian ruling classes and the ongoing employees' movement in various states. It expressed the immediate need for an all-India federation of state government employees that can unify the movement and give appropriate orientation as needed in our times and proposed for the constitution of the same. The chief guest of the convention was Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPI(ML), who hailed this proposal terming it a 'timely initiative' against the economic reform policies of Indian elite rulers. He also called upon the employees' organisations to unite with the ongoing struggles of common people, particularly of poor peasants, students and youth, against these policies and give it a much-needed wider dimension. Almost all the delegates narrated more or less similar experiences in their respective states and agreed with the proposal of an All India Federation of Employees. A 'National Campaign Committee of Struggling State Employees' was constituted as the first step to initiate this process. This committee will hold its first meeting in Punjab in early December. All the participants were requested to identify and organise like-minded forces in their states and neighbouring regions. Comrade Rambali Prasad from Bihar and Comrade Singheshwar Singh from Jharkhand were appointed conveners of this committee. The Convention was also addressed by AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee. Comrade Ram Narayan Ram presented a vote of thanks.

Pre-election Terror Campaign in CPI(ML) Bases in Bihar

Just preceding the Bihar Assembly elections, the terror tactics by the nexus of police, administration and ruling parties' politicians on CPI(ML) supporters and activists intensified and spread to newer areas. The local administration in Sikta of West Champaran started spreading terror among the poor electorate by launching raids in tolas of the poor and conducting arrests of CPI(ML) activists and leaders in order to send a clear message that it was not wise to support CPI(ML) candidates. Local leaders of the Party have been arrested in many villages of Sikta and Mainatand areas and many houses have been ordered to be confiscated. Awadh Mahato of Shakraula, Ramjit Mahato of Chutianwa and Hemachal Mahato of Rampurva have been arrested and their properties confiscated. Properties of Abhilal Ravidas and Upendra Ram of Basta have also been confiscated. Three CPI(ML) supporters in Behra have been arrested. Bhukhal Manjhi of Ekdati has also been arrested and house of Raghuram is confiscated. All this is being done at the behest of local MLA Dileep Verma in direct connivance with the administration to forcibly keep poor peasants and rural labourers away from the election process and to seize their votes. The Election Commission's order of arresting those with non-bailable warrants has totally failed to prevent the criminals and mafia from contesting elections, it has become one more weapon in the hands of criminal-administration-politician nexus to oppress and suppress the assertion of the poor and dalits, especially under the CPI(ML)'s banner as almost all the CPI(ML) leaders and activists have been framed under false charges in various cases during various mass struggles.


Rajarappa Mine Accident: An Investigation Report

The number of abandoned coalmines in Jharkhand is increasing day by day. While increased mechanisation has rendered a large work force unemployed, the coal mafia is using 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 a business of more than Rs. 100 crore in Hazaribagh district alone. The corrupt politician-coal mafia-police-bureaucracy nexus is the backbone of this business which is responsible for the loss of hundreds of lives every year. An investigation team comprising CPI(ML) and AICCTU leaders visited the Rajarappa mine accident site, where more than thirty miners were killed in a mine collapse on Sept. 29. This was the first team to acquire a firsthand account of the events that led to such a grave calamity. The team found that:

CPI(ML) and AICCTU have demanded a CBI inquiry into this accident, removal of both the above ministers from the Jharkhand Cabinet, seizure of the property of Rijunath Chaudhary 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, and registration of cases under charge of homicide against Rijunath Chaudhary, Project PO and GM of CCL and removal of the DC and the SP of Hazaribagh. The government policies have forced lakhs of unemployed workers and the poor to be victims of this illegal mining nexus leading to hundreds of deaths every year. Such type of mining is also creating a parallel economy and the black money being generated this way is also strengthening criminalization of politics in Jharkhand. It is important to make the respective DC and SP accountable for such accidents and they must be suspended in case of recurrence of such accidents. And much more important is to create avenues for alternate employment opportunities as well as to re-start provision for manual loading and unloading methods instead of using machines and reopening of all closed sale centres. The investigation team included AICCTU State Secretary Tarun Sarkar, Secretary Jagannath Uraon, CMWU leader Bhaiyalal Besra, CPI(ML) District Secretary Devkinandan Bedia, and District Committee members Bhubaneshwar Bedia and Heera Gope.

Protest against Forest Mafia and Killings by the Wild Elephants

Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (JMKS) held a protest with hundreds of suffering tribals and peasants, many of whom have lost their loved ones in attacks by wild elephants while massive losses have been caused to their crops. The protest, held at the Forest Office in Khairchater in Jharkhand, was an organised reaction against the nexus of mafia and forest officials, although the latter tried to foil this display of public anger by mobilising more than a hundred musclemen, but failed in their attempt after seeing the militant mood of the people. Protesters were demanding measures to put a halt on increasing attacks by wild elephants on the villages, compensation to the families of those killed in these attacks and also to those whose crops and property have been destroyed. They also demanded crop insurance and training of village youth to tackle the menace of elephants, but the most important of the demands was to stop repression by forest officials and exploitation by mafia. The elephant menace has reached unprecedented levels in the areas adjoining forests in districts like Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Ranchi and Santhal Pargana. In the last two months, more than two dozen villagers have lost their lives. While people keep up a vigil by keeping awake in the night, forest officials have taken no action so far although the nexus of forest officers and forest mafia continues to exploit the forests and terrorise the villagers. Many innocents have been framed under false cases and, recently, 18 women were sent to jail by the officials in the name of protecting forests. The militancy of this protest forced the Chief Forest Officer to announce compensation to the victims, but much is needed to curb the hold of the forest mafia on the forests so that common villagers can live a peaceful life and proper conservation of valuable forests may be achieved.


Statewide Protests in Uttaranchal

The CPI(ML) Uttanchal state unit held statewide protests on Oct. 2 against the recent court verdict which declared 'not-guilty' the real perpetrators of the one of the most ghastly crimes against the agitators of Uttarakhand movement, the Rampur Tiraha firing and mass rape case. This incident shook the conscience of every citizen of the state and attracted nationwide condemnation. Protests were held at Nainital, Haldwani, Joshimath, Shrinagar, Rudrapur, Dehradoon and other cities to demand immediate arrest of Anant Kumar Singh, IAS and resignation of the state Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari. The state government deliberately did not produce evidence in the court that led to the acquittal of the then DM of Rampur. Moreover, the state also denied a CBI inquiry into this matter, which has become a sentimental issue for the common citizens in the state.

Convention in Uttaranchal:

Five years of Uttaranchal state and challenges ahead

Continuous neglect of Uttaranchal after Independence and step-brotherly treatment in developmental matters led to the intensification of Uttaranchal movement in this region that ultimately forced the ruling classes to constitute the new state. But, after five years of its formation, people in the state see a continuation of the same policies that were adopted earlier and the only change visible is firmer grip of corrupt politicians and increased mafiaisation of the polity. Therefore, it is now the prime responsibility of the left and democratic forces in the state to forge a wider and stronger people’s unity against the corrupt politician-mafia-criminal nexus. This was the theme of the convention organised by the CPI(ML) on 5 October in Shrinagar of Garhwal on the occasion of the completion of five years of the new state. It is more pertinent to move ahead in the direction of developing intense struggles by raising people’s basic issues and forging broader democratic alliance against the betrayal of the people’s aspirations.

Addressing the convention as the main speaker, Uttaranchal CPI(ML) incharge Raja Bahuguna said that Uttaranchal movement was primarily a demand for a hill state keeping in view the specific developmental requirements in light of specific geographical considerations. But the formation of the new state was accomplished after violating the basic concept of a hill-state by including Hardwar district in the new state, which was never considered a part of this region. This was done only to appease the rich farmers’ lobby and to guarantee that their illegal hold over lakhs of acres of fertile land in the Terai would not be challenged. Such an arrangement has also affected the demographic composition of the state, he said.

While the present ND Tiwari government has provided ministerial status to persons exceeding the number of total elected MLAs, thus wasting public money, the condition of women and youth – who were the back-bone of the Uttarakhand movement – has not improved a bit during the last five years of the new state. Speakers in the convention reminded of the decreasing size of the total arable land and near absence of land reforms in the state.

Senior journalist Madan Mohan Chamoli said that the issue of development was still a big challenge in this state, thanks to the dominating nexus of mafia and corrupt politicians and anti-people policies of the successive governments. The out-migration of capital and man-power had increased during last few years and faulty planning and weakening of institutions had led to more control of private capital over public funding. Leader of Uttaranchal Mahila Manch Vimala Kotiyal, Khushahal Mani Barthwal of Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, RP Bahuguna of CPI, Indresh Maikhury of AISA, Atul Sati, Naresh Rana, and many others spoke in Convention, which was conducted by AISA State Council Member Malti Haldar. Party’s Garhwal Incharge Kailash Pandey delivered the vote of thanks.


Mulayam Government's Manipulation of Caste for Vote-Bank Politics

The 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 raised a controversy. Though the move has partially fulfilled a long-pending demand, questions are being raised about the actual intentions of the UP Govt. as many sections, particularly from among tribals, are still neglected. Some other most backward castes like Biyar and tribes like Banvasi (Musahar), Dhangar, Dharkar, and Korwa also deserved the same treatment but they were left out 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 votebank politics with the Congress party. If 'Social Justice' was the norm then all deserving castes should have been taken into account before making a decision. Mere inclusion of some castes in SC or ST list may satisfy the requirements of votebank politics but the present UP govt. totally lacks the strong will and political determination needed to really uplift certain socially deprived and oppressed sections. Earlier, a decision of transforming the status of more than one and a half dozen dalit castes, who were in the SC list, into STs only deprived them of their very basic right - right to contest panchayat elections, because of administrative apathy. The CPI(ML) had protested this discrimination by calling for an election boycott in Sonbhadra, one of the most affected districts, which received 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 lagging far behind on the scale of development. The UP unit of CPI(ML) has raised this issue and demanded for inclusion of all the deserving castes into SC and ST categories, 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. The Party also called upon all dalits, backwards, and tribal people to strengthen their unity and rally behind the forces fighting for the complete transformation of the society against the anti-people votebank politics of the ruling classes.