Former CPI(M) Leaders and Activists Join CPI(ML) in Punjab

Comrade Tarsem Jodha, a former CPI(M) leader and MLA in Punjab and a popular leader of the unorganised workers in Ludhiana and adjacent districts of Punjab, has joined the CPI(ML) along with several of his former CPI(M) colleagues including Comrades Ramswarup Kalsian, Prakash Singh, Chhinder Singh and Hukamraj Singh and several other organisers and activists of the trade union and peasant movement. A few years ago Comrade Jodha had quit the CPI(M) along with many other State Committee members fighting against the growing parliamentary opportunism of the CPI(M) and the updating of the CPI(M)'s 1964 programme in this direction. Since then he has been in close touch with our Party and had attended the Party's Seventh Congress in Patna as a fraternal observer.

The declaration was made in a well-attended convention held in Ludhiana on 10th August as part of the CPI(ML)'s August 6-18 Jan Adhikar Abhiyan. Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya and Swapan Mukherjee were present at this convention along with several leaders of the Party's Punjab unit including Comrades Rajvinder Rana, Jita Kaur, Bhagwant Singh and peasant leader Ruldu Singh. Comrade Dipankar welcomed Comrade Jodha and all other comrades into the Party and expressed the hope that this unity would pave the way for a much-awaited revival of the communist movement in Punjab .

Comrade Akhilendra Arrested with Farmers and Other Leaders at Dadri

On August 17, as thousands of farmers defied prohibitory orders to march against the acquisition of land by the Reliance Power Project at Dadri, the Mulayam Government of UP launched an unprecedented clampdown on all protests. On their way to Dadri, near Ghaziabad , CPI(ML) PB Member and UP State Secretary Comrade Akhilendra Pratap Singh and nearly 100 CPI(ML) activists were arrested. Former Prime Minister VP Singh, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan and several others were also arrested and prevented from holding the protest against displacement and forced acquisition from farmers at the Dadri site.

– Arun

Convention against anti-farmer policy of the LF Government

A joint convention was held at the Student's Hall in Kolkata on 18th August against the state govt.'s anti-farmer policy. The convention was called by CPI(M-L) Liberation, CPI(M-L) ND & Kanu Sanyal's faction of CPI(M-L). The convention was addressed by Kartick Pal, State Secretary, CPI(M-L) Liberation; Pradip Singh Thakur, State Secretary, CPI(M-L) ND; Subrata Basu, State Secretary CPI(M-L) Kanu Sanyal faction; Sukhendu Bhattacharya, Workers Party leader; Ajoy Mukherjee, Krishak Committee leader; and Sajal Adhikary SCM and incharge of CPI(M-L) Liberation's Singur movement.

The speakers unequivocally denounced the state govt.'s anti peasant policy and govt.'s submission to the imperialist forces operating in the state at the cost of peasants' interest.

Protest demonstration of AIPWA at Singur against state govt.'s anti farmer policy

AIPWA had launched a mass awakening programme and protest demonstration on

17 August at Singur, Hooghly District against the state govt.'s anti farmer policy. The protest demonstration was led by Meena Pal, SCM CPI(M-L) Liberation, Chaitali Sen, SCM CPI(M-L) Liberation & AIPWA state secretary and Sova Banerjee, district secretary Hooghly AIPWA.

Rayagada Land Struggle

Com. Yasoda, a tribal woman activist and close relative of one of our main organisers was killed in an attack by the landlord goondas in the garb of "witch hunting" and her husband was arrested in a seriously injured condition in a murder case as one of attackers was injured and later expired during mass resistance in defence. Ironically, the FIR lodged by the husband of Com. Yasoda was ignored by the police though one copy of it was sent to the SP. Rather, Com. Tirupati Gomango, District Secretary of the Party and one of the main architects of the land struggle, was booked under Section 302 of the Cr.P.C. Meanwhile, under continuous pressure, the police was forced to arrest the main conspirator landlord, Manmath Rao, as an eyewash and in spite of being named in the FIR he was not booked under any serious sections like 302 or 307. Even he was not kept inside the jail and from the gates of the jail he was sent to the hospital through manipulation. Obviously, within two days he got bail and continued his counter-revolutionary campaign. But our bail move for leaders like Comrades Meghnad and Tripathy along with other activists was rejected in the lower court. Our investigations have confirmed that instead of sporadic and isolated offensive, the recent attack in Bissam Cuttack is very much a part of the deep conspiracy engineered by the nexus of the powerful landlords lobby–Vedanta Aluminium Co. (having a game-plan of evicting thousands of tribal villagers in adjacent lands)–police and leaders of BJD-Congress-BJP. Huge amount of money is also involved to purchase the police and the administration. Their present phase of tactics is to continue the terror through arresting our village-level activists and sympathisers at regular intervals, increasing police patrolling in areas of our influence and deploying the CRPF to facilitate the landlords to cultivate the lands which are in our possession. At present, forty of our activists, including 3 district committee members, are in jail. On the other hand, the enemies are wooing a section of our mass base by creating a division through attempts like offering help to family members of our arrested activists for bail or raising the slogan of "village peace" and settling land conflicts by adopting a so-called ‘give-and-take' policy, etc. On our part, we are emphasising on deepening our ties with the masses and mobilising and preparing them to face the main challenge. During the August campaign, basing on propaganda among the masses, we organised militant demonstrations in 3 blocks. On 24 August, a fact-finding team of left leaders and democratic forces would visit Bissam Cuttack and meet the administration. Our strategy is to intensify the exposure campaign, continue protests linking with state-level political intervention and going for a big show of strength.

– D P Buxi

AICCTU's Protest over Gangtikuli Coal Mine Accident

ON 8th AUGUST, a rally mainly comprising coal workers and the rural poor blocked the Panchet, DVC HQ for 5 hours and compelled the DVC authority to suspend releasing of water to aid the rescue work of trapped coal workers in the Gangtikuli mines. The accident had occurred at the Gantikuli coal mine on 1st of August. On 2nd August, AICCTU organised the people of Khairkiary and adjoining areas and gheraoed the local police station and compelled the administration to lodge FIR against those coal mafias who were involved in this coal mine accident. The agitation at Panchet was led by the AICCTU General Secretary, Com. Swapan Mukherji and others, including Comrades Manoranjan Mullick, Devdas Mahato, Jagdish Sharma, Jitam Pandey, Pradeep Bauri, and coal sector leader, Com. Upendra Singh. Com. Swapan Mukherji demanded the immediate release of 5 lakh rupees as compensation for the trapped workers with compensatory job for dependents and stringent action against the Purulia SP for dillydallying with the rescue work.

AICCTU strongly demands that the workers' cooperatives undertake coal mining as a subsidiary organization of Coal India . This demand actually curbs the rule of the coal mafias and ensures the livelihood and security of the rural poor involved in hazardous mining in closed/abandoned mines of the region.

In the Asansol-Purulia belt of West Bengal , there is a nexus between the coal mafias, police and a section of the ruling party and it is this alliance that is responsible in introducing total contractualization of labour in the coal mining sector. Here, even the right to form trade unions is not sanctioned. The mining contract of the captive mines under the Power Ministry of the West Bengal govt. has been given to a notorious coal mafia don of the region called Upadhyay who runs IMTA.

4th state conference of AICCTU, U.P. held in Unnao

The 4th state conference of AICCTU, U.P., was held on 30 July, 2006 at Unnao. The conference hall was dedicated to Com. R.N. Upadhaya, former AICCTU vice-president. The flag hoisting was done by the veteran TU leader Com. Anant Ram Vajpayee. The conference was inaugurated by CPI(ML) PB Member and State Secretary Com. Akhilendra Pratap Singh. AICCTU General Secretary Com Swapan Mukherjee was the chief guest. The conference was attended by 84 representatives from 12 districts covering various sectors like power, construction, transport, leather, powerlooms and handlooms, etc. The conference elected a 31-member state council with Com. Dinkar Kapoor as State Secretary and Com. Hari Singh as State President.

– Rajiv Dimri