Highlights of CPI(ML) Protest Fortnight Against Price Rise  

The CPI(ML)’s fortnight-long all-India campaign against price rise, beginning on 15 April, culminated on May Day with spirited protests all over the country.
‘Bandho mahangi, roko daam’ (arrest inflation, check prices): that was the slogan throughout the campaign in Bihar. On 21 April the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) jointly held a protest march in Patna shouting ‘UPA-NDA bhai-bhai, Janlewa mahangai lai’ (UPA and NDA are brothers in bringing inflation), and burnt the effigy of PM Manmohan Singh at the ITO roundabout. The Patna city committee of CPI(ML) took out protest marches in various localities of the city on 26 April. All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) also organised protest march in Patna on 23 April. Most of the women were carrying empty containers and cans, empty gas cylinders and vessels shouting “Dilli-Patna ka kaisa khel – assi rupaye sarson tel” (about how Delhi and Patna have conspired to make mustard oil Rs. 80 a kg). 
On 28 April, various District committees held dharnas and protest demonstrations at their District Headquarters. On the same day in Patna a big dharna was held at Shahid Bhagat Singh crossing near Gandhi Maidan, in which hundreds of CPI(ML) members and leaders from different villages and towns participated. May Day marked the culmination of the entire series of protests. 
In Gujarat, the Valsad District Leading Team of CPI(ML) held a 3-hour long dharna at the District Collectorate on 18 April against price rise. About 100 Party members and people from different talukas of the District participated. The protest exposed the hollowness of Narendra Modi’s anti-inflation campaign and held both the Gujarat and Central Governments responsible for the massive escalation of prices. At Ahmedabad, a dharna was held at the ITO circle on 19 April by CPI(ML) and RYA in which mostly youth numbering around 100 were present.
At Ahmedabad, on May Day, a dharna was organised in front of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly by the CPI(ML) District Leading Team of Sabarkantha and AICCTU. About 700-800 men and women travelled more than 150 kms to participate in the dharna. Apart from PWD and forest workers, a good number of employees working in mid day meal scheme were present. At the end of the dharna a delegation met the Gujarat Governor and handed over a memorandum.
A dharna against price rise was organised at the tehsil headquarter of Kherbrahma in Sabarkantha District of Gujarat on May 15. This was the first Party programme of CPI(ML) in this Tehsil. This whole block is primarily populated by tribal people, and is one of the most backward areas of Gujarat. This region is facing drought and as a result, price rise is having the most adverse effect in this region.
At Andhra Pradesh, on 16th April, a Mandal-level dharna against price rise was held at Anantpuram, Pratipadu, Yelleshwaram, Visaninpeta and other places. On 30th April, a dharna was held against escalating inflation at the collectorate in Kakinada, Yelluru and Vijaywada. On May Day, flags were hoisted at Vijaywada, Vishakhapattinam, Yelleshwaram, Kakinada and Anantpuram.
CPI(ML) activists in Haryana held a protest march against price rise in Gurgaon and burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after assembling at the Mahavir Chowk. The effigy of PM was burnt at other places also in Haryana and Gurgaon.
May Day rallies, meetings, protests were held in Udaipur, Ajmer, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur and Pratapgarh. In Udaipur a rally of 250 workers of the unorganised sector took out a rally, held a meeting outside the collectorate and presented a memorandum to the Collector. In Ajmer the CPI(ML) rally forced its way into the Collectorate and held a mass meeting. A memorandum was not only given to the Collector but lengthy discussions were held with him. In Jaipur a public meeting of construction workers was held at Sodala Chhogti. In Jhunjhunu a memorandum was handed over to the collector by a party delegation, while a public meeting was held in Buhana Tehsil. In Jodhpur the Party joined the May Day Rally taken out by over a thousand workers of MCPI's trade union front. In the newly formed tribal district of Pratapgarh a memorandum was given to the collector by a party delegation.
May Day 2008 was observed in Puducherry as an anti-price rise protest in a massive rally and public meeting. Large number of workers from factories, industrial estate, unorganized workers in all walks of work, urban poor, youth and women participated in the rally. The rally started from the statue of Singaravelu who had organised the very first May Day programme in India, and ended with a public meeting near Com. Jeevanandham statue, who had been a veteran communist leader.
At Tinsukia (Assam), around 4000 workers, mostly tea garden workers, observed May Day under the banner of the CPI(ML).
On May Day, the local unit of Sangrami Shramik Union in Sachindra Chandra Tea Estate in North Bengal opened its new office and the annual convention of the workers was organised on the same day. The Convention, held in a lively atmosphere saw many workers actively participating in the discussions. Cultural programme was also held on this occasion. A 25-member committee was elected by the convention which decided to expand the organisation in other tea gardens as well. The convention was presided over by the CPI(ML) CC member and the Acting President of tea garden workers union, Comrade Abhijit Majumdar.

Landless Labourers Seize Land in Mansa

The agricultural workers in Dalel Singh Wala village led by Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and CPI(ML) seized four acres of panchayat land which they decided to redistribute among the landless for building their dwellings. The seizure programme was organised on the 39th Foundation Day of the Party (April 22). The villagers are guarding the land against any attacks by the feudal forces or the administration. Earlier the administration had promised to allot land to the landless workers but it turned out to be a false promise as usual. Bhagwant Singh Samao, Secretary of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha led the agitation. Before the land-seizure the landless labourers paid tributes to Com. Dharam Singh Fakkar, one of the founder members of Mujara Movement (movement to ensure land to landless).

CPI(ML)’s 9th Uttar Pradesh State Conference Held

The 9th Uttar Pradesh State Conference of the CPI(ML) was held successfully on 28-30 April at Comrade Vinod Mishra Nagar (Mirzapur) focusing on the issues of price rise, unemployment, police repression, communalism and corruption in National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The Conference concluded with the resolve to intensify struggles on these issues, advance political assertion of the poor and strengthen the Party.
Three hundred and twelve (312) delegates from 36 districts of the State were present in the Conference. Leaders present at the Conference were CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Politburo member Swadesh Bhattacharya, Politburo member and UP incharge Ramji Rai, outgoing State Secretary Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Bihar’s State Secretary and PB member Nand Kishore Prasad, CC member and central observer Kunal and editorial member of Liberation Lalbahadur Singh. The Conference venue and the main entrance was named Com. Ajanta Lohit Hall and Com. Jeeta Kaur Gate respectively. The delegates, observers and guests were received and welcomed by human rights activist and teacher Sharad Mehrotra from Mirzapur.
The 3-day State Conference was inaugurated by CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar who called upon the delegates and Party members to take propaganda, agitations and organisation as a unified task to develop CPI(ML) as the popular and strong Left Party of the Hindi belt, especially in UP. He called for taking bold and fearless political initiatives.
Outgoing State Secretary Com. Akhilendra presented the political-organisational report at the beginning of the Delegate Session, which noted the all-out assault by the Mayawati Government on the people: in the form of hunger and drought, draconian laws, state terror and communal witch-hunt, privatisation and intensified attacks on dalits. It has proved no better than the erstwhile Samajwadi Party Government on the question of law and order, pro-corporate policies and land grab. The document noted BJP’s attempts at a revival based on a communal plank, and Congress’ attempts to breathe new life in its organisation with a focus on Kisan loan waiver, NREGS and Dalit oppression; though neither party is getting much visible success. The document called for powerful initiatives on part of CPI(ML) against the anti-people policies, especially grabbing of agricultural land by Corporates and excluding the poor from benefits of NREGS and BPL. 
About 80 delegates presented their views on Draft documents in the Conference. After two days of debates and deliberations the political-organisational report was passed with a few suggestions and amendments. A five member presidium comprised by Comrades Krishna Adhikari, Yashwant Singh, Ishwari Prasad, Lal Sahab and Dr. Salauddin conducted the proceedings. The Conference gave the call “Jansangharshon ki karo tayiyari, Garibon ki badhao dawedari” (prepare for the people’s struggles, advance the assertions of the poor). In the end a 33 member new State Committee was elected and Comrade Sudhakar Yadav was elected State Secretary unanimously.

“Create Autonomous State or Jail Us”
Massive Jail Bharo Programme Observed At Diphu

On 17 May, 1986 the peoples of K A and NC Hills, the twin districts of Assam, vowed to intensify the movement for creation of an autonomous council covering the region, by implementing the article 244 A of the Constitution. After a 22-year- long mass movement led by CPI(ML), the basic demand was denied by the successive Congress- and BJP-led Governments.
In the backdrop of the Central Government’s discussion of proposals to create new states like Telengana, Vidarbha and Bundelkhand by amending the constitution, and also in the wake of the revival of the Gorkhaland movement for effective autonomy, the Hills Party Committee (HPC) had taken the decision to intensify the mass campaign for autonomous statehood. The campaign started from 22 April 2008 - the 39th Foundation Day of CPI(ML) - and culminated on 17 May 2008, which is the starting day of the autonomous state movement. The campaign began with a ten days mass contact programme where all HPC leaders including leaders of the fraternal organizations camped in the villages and conducted various meeting with all sections of the society, and observed May Day in those areas.
In the second phase they again met people with the slogan “Diphu chalo – Jail Bharo” on 17 May, declaring, “Immediately create autonomous state or jail us”, “Give hundred days work under NREGA for every family” and “Withdraw anti-people land policy of KAAC”. This campaign generated enthusiasm and a warm response among people.
On 17 May a massive crowd of more than six thousand drawn from every nook and corner of the hill region, representing all communities, made Diphu, the head quarter of K A, reverberate with slogans of the above demands. 
The District administration at the behest of one of the most controversial cabinet ministers Mr. Himanta Biswa Sharma, who was camping at Diphu to foil the CPI(ML) Jail Bhoro programme, tried its best to disturb the programme by clamping 144 Cr. PC and other suppressive measures. But the strong determination and indomitable spirit of people especially that of rural poor who reached Diphu on foot and on bicycles even from remotest corner ensured the unprecedented success of the programme where several thousand participated.
A massive and spirited procession began from the ASDC (P) office through the main market, overwhelmingly decorated with red flags. The procession was stopped near the statue of Rongpharpe Rongbe where the District Administration declared the procession illegal and arrested the crowd and took them to the KASA stadium which was designated as a temporary Jail.
Later, the leaders including Dr. Jayanta Rongpi, Central Committee member CPI(ML), Rubul Sarma, Politburo member CPI(ML), Rabi Kr. Phangcho, President KANKIS, Jivon Bey General Secretary KSA, Bharat Ranghang, President, AISA KA, Aroti Terangpi, President AIPWA, Kajek Tokbipi, President KNCA, Dipak Ram RYA leader, and L N Subba, President Nepali Suraksha Parishad addressed the crowd in the KASA stadium field.
Leader vowed to intensify the movement for the above three demands, declaring a series of protests in the days to come. Dr. Rongpi demanded an explanation from Congress as to why it could not materialize the autonomous state aspiration of the hill people in spite of having its own Government at Delhi, Dispur and Diphu. He also exposed BJP’s die-hard anti- autonomy stand whereby the party advocates smaller states in other part of the country except the north east. It is notable that the ASDC renegades who are now very close to the BJP could mobilize merely 20 people at their office on 17 May which is also the Foundation Day for them. The Jail Bharo programme has once again resolved that not only the red flag is the banner of peoples’ struggle, it is also the banner of unity and victory.                                
Bhagat Singh's Statue Unveiled in Jehanabad

On May 10, the anniversary of the Great War of 1857, Shaheed-e Azam Bhagat Singh's statue was unveiled by Com. Dipankar in the premises of Party district office in Jehanabad. Afterwards, Comrade Ram Jatan Sharma, PB Member, inaugurated the Shaheed Bhavan; while the Martyrs’ Column with names of comrades killed in struggles in Jehanabad was unveiled by Comrade Dipankar. In memory of martyrs, flag hoisting was performed by old Party activist Com. Ram Krit Mochi. The Martyrs column contains 444 names.
People assembled in very large numbers and came not only with flags-festoons and banners, but even with drums and other musical instruments. Thus the programme turned into a huge people’s festival. Around two thousand people participated from Jehanabad city alone.
Before commencement of the mass meeting, families of martyrs were felicitated. Comrades Nand Kishore Prasad, Secretary Bihar State Committee, Kunal, CC Member, Raja Ram Singh, President, All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Pawan Sharma, State President AIALA, Kamlesh Sharma and Mahanand, State Committee Members also addressing the masses on this occasion. The meeting was presided over by Com. Ramadhar Singh.

Spate of Killings in North Cachar Hills

The CPI(ML) submitted a memorandum to the President of India, Union Home Minister, North East Affairs Minister, as well as Assam CM and Governor, on the subject of the spate of killings of railway employees and other workers by a militant group in N C Hills district of Assam. A protest demo was held in Delhi at Parliament Street on 23 May by AICCTU and AISA. The text of the memorandum is reproduced below:

You must be aware of the uninterrupted killings of railway employees and other workers and innocent people over the last one week in North Cachhar Hills District of Assam. Between May 11 and 15, no less than fourteen railway employees including an engine driver were killed by armed militants of DHD in the 185-km Lumding-Badarpur section of Lumding Division of North-East Frontier Railway. At least another ten workers and employees remain critically injured. The militants have also gunned down at least ten truck drivers, helpers and porters. On the Lumding-Badarpur stretch, 29 stations have been sealed, and 1569 railway employees and their families evacuated, affecting communications and transport not only in Assam but also in neighbouring states.   
Life in the hill districts of Assam – NC Hills and Karbi Anglong – has consequently become extremely insecure with the state failing to provide any sense of security and protection to the common people of the region. Compounding this failure of the state is its complete inaction and continuing refusal to find a political solution to the long-standing grievances and demands of the hill people.
For the last two decades the people of Karbi Anglong and NC Hills have been waging a peaceful democratic movement demanding the creation of an Autonomous State comprising these two hill districts as promised under Article 244A of the Constitution of India. By not honouring this solemn constitutional commitment and ignoring the just democratic voice of the hill people, the state has only laid the basis for the rise of armed militant groups in the region. The situation has been further complicated by the dilatory policy of signing cease-fire accords with these groups without engaging them in any meaningful political dialogue and the cynical electoral use of these groups to serve the interests of the ruling party. We therefore call upon the Governments of India and Assam to take urgent steps to restore peace in the region. While strictly implementing the cease-fire accords the state must immediately start political dialogue with the militant organisations and implement Article 244A without any further delay.

IIMS Karnataka: D D Kosambi Memorial Seminar at Bangalore

Karnataka chapter of Indian Institute of Marxist studies (IIMS), organised a Seminar on 20 April 2008 at St. Joseph’s College auditorium in Bangalore in memory of D D Kosambi, in his birth Centenary and also on the relevance of Maxim Gorky’s novel, Mother in its 100th year of publication. Prof. G Ramakrishna, a well known Left theoretician having allegiance to CPI and the Editor of Hosathu, a Left cultural magazine in Karnataka delivered a lecture on ‘Contemporary Relevance of Kosambi and his works while Prof. B M Puttaiah of Hampi University on the contemporary relevance of Gorky’s novel, ‘Mother’. V Shankar, CCM of CPI(ML) delivered a lecture on ‘The Changing Patterns of Working Class Resistance in the Era of Globalization’.  The Seminar was presided over by Comrade Divakar while Dr. V Lakshminarayana made introductory remarks and Mona Das, Ex-President of JNUSU welcomed the gathering.