Jharkhand Bandh by CPI(ML)
Protesting against the cancellation of panchayat elections and demanding that they be held immediately, CPI(ML) called for a Jharkhand bandh on Sept. 7. The militant assertion of the protesters and the masses made this call a success. Through this bandh the Party registered a strong protest against the Munda govt., especially its anti-tribal policies, and conspiratorial designs for fomenting communal tension between tribal and non-tribal people in the state.
In Ranchi , a march led by State Secretary Subhendu Sen and CCMs Raja Ram and Janardan Prasad covered major parts of the capital and culminated in a dharna and mass meeting. It was also addressed, among others, by Dayamani Barla, the leader of Adivasi Adhikar Manch. Later, all protesters were arrested and sent to Jaipal Singh stadium camp.
A thousand strong procession led by CPI(ML) MLA Vinod Singh marched through the streets of Giridih town and appealed to the make the bandh successful. In the heart of the city, a mammoth public meeting was addressed by Vinod Singh and other leaders of the district. Similar marches were also held in other centers of the district like Bagodar, Saria and Raj Dhanwar. In Raj Dhanwar, thousands of youth and rural poor led by Raj Kumar Yadav, Manoj Bhakt, Loknath Paswan and Parmeshwar Mahato came out on the roads in support of bandh. All main roads including GT Road were completely blocked.
In Dhanbad, hundreds of people led by AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee and Sukhdev, held a protest march. Bandh was total in Kumardhubi and Nirsa too. In Pahadigoda, rail track was blocked for more than two hours. The GT Road was also blocked.
Many party activists, led by Sunita, were arrested in Bokaro. The National Highway was blocked in Jainamor by some 500 people and complete bandh was observed in the city. In Dumka, a march was led by Dilip Mandal. There, the situation became tense when those opposed to the bandh attacked the procession of the tribal organisation, though the SP of the city along with the police force was present at the spot. Party strongly protested this act of the goons and the police.
In various centres of Palamu Commissionery, the bandh was a complete success. Hundreds of activists were arrested in Daltonganj and Gharwa. There was unprecedented bandh in the entire coal belt of Hazaribagh. Patna-Ranchi National Highway was completely blocked.
The bandh acquired a special political significance because the tribal people all over the state were disillusioned and enraged due to the vacillatory attitude of the government before the High Court making a mockery of the Pesha Act and finally cancellation of the Panchayat elections.
On same day, various Adivasi organisations too had given a call for the bandh independently. This agitational stance of the CPI(ML) was warmly welcomed by the tribal people and a large number of tribal youth enthusiastically participated in our bandh campaign.
It was one of the most successful bandhs of recent times and Party's initiative succeeded in sending a positive message among sections of tribal organisations regarding CPI(ML)'s struggle and its political line. Interestingly, while the CPI maintained silence, the CPI(M) preferred to approach the Supreme Court. JMM and Congress maintained silence in favour of the BJP’s policy to aggravate rift between tribals and Sadans. In contrast CPI(ML)'s firm position in favour of justice won support from all democratic sections and adivasi masses. Induction of CPI(ML) MLA Vinod Singh into the 'Adivasi Adhikar Morcha', an umbrella organisation of various tribal organisations, is a positive indicator in this respect.
CPI(ML) organised statewide protests on Sep. 21 in Jharkhand to reiterate its demand to hold panchayat elections immediately under the 'PESA Act', to declare the state as drought affected and issue an appropriate relief package, to implement food-for-work scheme in all the districts and to stop corruption and loot in this scheme, and to punish the officials involved in corruption in food for work scheme, etc. Dharnas and other programmes were held in all the important centres and block headquarters in various parts of the state. In capital Ranchi , a dharna was held in front of the Commissioner's office which was led by Sashikant and Satya Prakash. While in Nirsa it was led by AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee. People also participated in large numbers in Giridih, Ramgarh and Bagodar.