AIALA Gears up for 3rd National Conference

About 100 cadres assembled in Banaras on the 8 July for a Poorvanchal (Eastern UP) level cadre convention of AIALA. The cadre convention was held to gear up the organization for the forthcoming third national conference of AIALA, proposed to be held in Ballia in November this year. Addressing the gathering as the guest speaker, Com.Dhirendra Jha, National General Secretary of AIALA underlined the need of a powerful class assertion of the agrarian workers against the pro-imperialist foreign policy of the UPA government manifested in the Nuke Deal and also against the soaring prices, which were hurting the poor the most. He said that UP provided an excellent opportunity for AIALA to grow and all the cadres should seize the opportunity of the forthcoming national conference to expand. He said that the forthcoming conference of AIALA is aimed at furthering the movement of agricultural labourers and rural poor against the betrayal of the UPA Govt. In developing the movement of rural poor on the issues of employment, food, homestead land rights apart from traditional issues of land, wage and dignity, the AIALA should come forward to strengthen the people’s resistance against the continuing attack of the pro-rich pro-corporate policies of ruling establishment of all hues.
The convention was also addressed by party State Secretary Sudhaker Yadav and Ramji Rai, PB member, Krishna Adhikari, State President of AIALA, and Sriram Choudhary, State General Secretary amongst others.
The speakers also pointed out that the AIALA in UP has developed a series of struggles on NREGA, PDS scam as well as for the land rights of the adivasis and rural poor, and now there is a need resolve to redouble our membership and to strengthen the organisation up to panchayat levels as well as to go for expansion into newer areas.
Some political resolutions were also adopted like (a) achieving a target of 3 lakh membership before the conference (b) raising the demand for 200 days of work and Rs. 200/- as wage under NREGA.
The Convention gave a clarion call to make the 20th August all India general strike a big success, raising the demands of rural poor, 50 Kg food-grains and 5 litres of Kerosene per month to all poor families at Rs. 2 per kg/litre per month through the PDS. It was also decided to make the ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign of the CPI(ML) a powerful mass campaign.
The convention ended, paying observing 2 minutes silence in memory of the martyr comrade Ram Baksh Singh of Sitapur, UP who was killed by feudal goons three years ago.

Tamil Nadu State AIALA Conference

The 2nd State Conference of AIALA in Tamil Nadu was held at Villupuram on 7 August ’08. 203 delegates, including 54 women, took part in the Conference. The conference was held after achieving a membership of 45,000 which was 31,000 during the last conference. This conference resolved to take up the task of the making 1,50,000 members before the 3rd National Conference. 23 Panchayat conferences and 51 GBs were also organised before the state conference which were participated by thousands of AIALA activists in different parts of the state.
The Conference was inaugurated by CPI(ML) Politburo member Comrade S Kumarsami. CC member Comrade V Shankar and TN Party State Secretary Balasundaram also addressed the conference. The conference elected a 47-member state council with Comrades Gunashekharan and Jankiraman as President and Secretary respectively of the state unit. AIALA National Secretary Com. Malleshwar Rao was the central observer for the Conference. The conference resolved to intensify the movement for NREGA and house-site pattas in the state.

Gherao of BJP MLA at HP Halli

Mr.Karunakar Reddy, BJP MLA from Harapanahalli had to face the wrath of the people of his constituency led by Comrade E. Ramappa, State Secretary of CPI(ML).Gherao of BJP MP at HP Hall Perhaps, this is the first ever Gherao by the people of his own constituency that the MLA had to confront who is otherwise considered to be a strongman of the BJP.
In fact, hundreds of people mobilized under the banner of CPI(ML) and AIALA were protesting corruption in high places with regard to implementation of NREGA in the district on 30 July at Harappanahalli. They were demanding job cards, job for those who already secured cards and above all, disbursement of wages to those who had worked under NREGA. They also protested against price rise as a part of the week-long all-India campaign in July. The officials delayed payment of wages under NREGA for quite long. The agitated people, hearing the news that the MLA was around, decided to gherao him fixing the onus of responsibility on him for delivering justice to the people. As the people led by CPI(ML) started gheraoing the MLA, other anganwadi workers too, who were protesting for their own demands, joined them in huge numbers. The MLA who was taken aback by the surprise demonstrations and gherao had no other option but to concede the demands of the people. The subsequent meeting was addressed by comrades O.Kotresh, SCM, Parasuram of AIALA and E.Ramappa.

153rd Anniversary of Hul and the Legacy of Resistance Growing Stronger in Jharkhand

June 30, 2008, marked the 153rd Anniversary of the historic anti-colonial and anti-landlordism Santal struggle started by Siddu and Kanhu in Jharkhand. CPI(ML) organised protests and launched struggles invoking the legacy of that great liberation movement of tribal and poor in Jharkhand and the memory of thousands of brave Santal martyrs.
On June 29, a protest programme on the issue of land control was underway in village Obra of Garhwa Dist., when the henchmen of local MLA Girinath Singh – who is from RJD and controls huge tracts of land – attacked the CPI(ML) leaders and the people participating in the programme. 13 people including 4 comrades of CPI(ML) –Comrades Kalicharan Mehta, Chhotan Singh, Sushma Mehta and Kishore Kumar – were injured and are undergoing medical treatment.
Though the programme being held was planned well in advance and the local administration had full information of it, despite this the administration failed to stop the MLA’s goons from attacking the programme.
A big rally comprising of some 3000 people from different parts of Dumka Dist. was held in Dumka on June 30 against rising prices, loot and massive corruption in NREGS and on the question of democracy. CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar and the Party’s Bagodar MLA Vinod Singh led the rally.
At Jobla the Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch organised an all-night Hul-jatra on June 30 on the theme culture of resistance against imperialist assaults, in which more than 5000 participated. Comrade Bahadur Oraon, CC member of CPI(ML) was the main speaker at the event. CCM Comrade Rajaram inaugurated the programme.

Demo at Gangavati Against Price Rise

On the same day, protestors led by Comrade Bharadwaj, SCM of CPI(ML), marched on to the taluk office at Gangavati opposing price rise and anti-nation nuclear deal and demanding Rs.200 as minimum wage and 200 days of employment in a year. The demonstration was organized as a part of the all-India campaign under the banner of AIALA and CPI(ML). Comrades Bharadwaj, Uma Shankar and Surya Prakash addressed the gathering, while Mallikarjuna sang revolutionary songs.

Panchayat level Protest on NREGA

It was a completely unusual scene for Chikka Panakal Panchayat office in Gangavati taluk which was otherwise calm and serene. In spite of having prior information, panchayat officials were taken aback seeing unexpectedly large number of people numbering more than 250 picketing the office on various issues related to implementation of NREGA. The people gathered in large numbers under the banner of AIALA and CPIML in spite of attempts by various power groups of various parties to sabotage the mobilization. In fact, other parties and local power brokers did not want a revolutionary force to emerge at panchayat level to challenge them. But, the demo on 11 July was successful and the panchayat officials have promised to fulfill the demands of the people. The demo was addressed by Comrades Bharadwaj, SCM, Uma Shankar, Taluk Secretary of CPI(ML), Mallikarjuna of AIALA and Lingan Gowda Patil, the local organizer.

AIALA Initiatives in Bihar

The AIALA Bihar Unit called for militant protests at all District HQs on 15 July on the issue of payment of dues and unemployment allowance in case jobs were not provided. As part of the statewide protest programme, AIALA demonstrators marched through Darbhanga town, entered Vikas Bhavan, the office of the DDC, who is also the NREGA District Coordinator, and gheraoed the DDC’s car, raising slogans.
Leaders of CPI(ML) and AIALA addressed a mass meeting there, and said that tens of thousands of job-card-holders had applied for work through struggles led by AIALA, and AIALA had a record of these. But the financial year of 2007-08 had ended in March, yet not a single day’s work had been provided to most of them. Yet, they have not been paid any unemployment allowance. Those workers who got work under NREGA have not got their due wages for more than a year in many cases. NREGA workers even caught tractors being used in violation of the NREG norms – but no action was taken against them.
A delegation of CPI(ML)-AIALA leaders met with the DDC and presented a 11-point charter of demands. An ultimatum was given to the District Administration that a ‘Krishi Hartal’ (Agricultural Strike) would be held on July 23.
At Samastipur, a large number of agricultural labourers led by AIALA and CPI(ML) leaders held a demonstration at the DM’s office, and a delegation met the DM to submit a memorandum. At Madhubani, protestors held a dharna at the District HQ. Protest programmes were also held at district HQs at Ara, Jehanabad, Arwal, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Bhagalpur, Aurangabad, Siwan, Gopalganj, and West Champaran.

Seminar in Kolkata on the Gorkhaland Movement

On 9 July, a Seminar was organized by the Indian Institute of Marxist Studies (IIMS Kolkata chapter) and All India Students’ Association on the Gorkhaland issue. At the Vivekanda Hall of Jadavpur University, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (which split from the CPIM over Gorkhaland and is a significant Left trend in the Darjeeling Hills), Comrades R.B.Rai (former MP), Taramani Rai, the Youth and Students in-charge, Gobin Chetri and C.K. Shreshta, the working President of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh and others put forth their perspectives on the Gorkhaland movement.
Dr. Anindya Sen, the working secretary of IIMS Kolkata chapter, inaugurated the seminar; Prof. Kunal Chattopadhyay of JU introduced the agenda with an exposition on the Marxist approach towards the question of right to self determination for nationalities. Comrade CK Sreshtha put forward the various aspects of the historical development of the Gorkha issue, stressing that the issue is one of the identity and dignity of 1.2 million of Gorkha people and diaspora living in the various parts of India, who face discrimination and deprivation today. 
Various other speakers from Kolkata intelligentsia addressed the Seminar. Partha Ghosh, CCM, CPI(ML), Basudev Bose of AICCTU, and student activists also spoke, demanding that the hill people's demands be addressed through dialogue and all ways of resolving it be explored - from expanded autonomy to separate statehood.

AISA National Workshop at Hazaribagh

AISA held its annual National Workshop from June 30-July 2 at Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. On June 30 the workshop began with a convention held at St. Columba College titled “Tradition of Resistance Against Imperialism and the Role of Students and Youth” at which CPI(ML) politburo  member Comrade Ramji Rai was the main speaker; other speakers were former AISA National General Secretary (and AISA in-charge from the CPI(ML) CC) Dhirendra Jha, JNUSU President Sandeep Singh, RYA State President of Jharkhand Rajkumar Yadav, AISA National President Indresh Maikhuri, Prof. Shambhu Badal and others. 
144 students from 10 states including Delhi, UP, Bihar, Punjab, W Bengal, Uttarakhand, Assam, Karbi Anglong, and Maharashtra participated in the workshop. In the delegate session on June 30, CPI(ML) Politburo member Ramjatan Sharma presented a paper on the ‘Various Streams in the Indian Communist Movement.’ On July 1, CPI(ML) CCM and former AISA National President V Shankar presented a paper on Current Policies of Privatisation of Education. In the final session, AISA activists from various centres shared their experiences, and Dhirendra Jha addressed the students on the various political and organisational questions of the student movement.
In the National Council meeting held on the last day, AISA declared an All-India Student Strike to coincide with the August 20 General Strike called by the Trade Unions. This Student Strike would be preceded by a campaign on campuses from 9 August to 20 August against the policies of privatisation.
At the conclusion of the meeting, students held a Protest March in Hazaribag against the Indo-US Nuke Deal.

CPI(ML) Protests Forceful Land Acquisition Near Lucknow

Heavy and menacing police deployment was used to forcibly evict 250 peasants/farmers from 120 hectares of their land for a sewage treatment plant (STP)AIPWA in Jharkhand protest in Chinhat, Lucknow. The standing crops were bulldozed and lands forcefully captured, and peasants who dared to protest were simply chased away. This incident has infuriated deeply the villagers of half a dozen villages in the area - Hasemau, Lolai, Bharwara, Kakkas, Chandiana, Lonapur, Bhaisora etc.
The villagers whose lands have been snatched are not against the STP, which would play a role in curbing the pollution caused by dumping of sewage in the Gomti river, but a joke is being played on them in the name of compensation for land. The prevailing market rate of the land is 40 lakhs rupees per bighas whereas the administration is adamant on offering only 4-5 lakhs: a pittance. They said that their families will be ruined if their land is taken away. So far only 3-4 absentee farmers have accepted the compensation: the rest have decided not to take compensation unless its basis is rational.
The UP State committee of CPI(ML) has condemned the move and demanded that acquisition be stopped immediately until the peasants who own the land are taken into full confidence and consultation.

CPI(ML)’s 8th Delhi State Conference 

The 8th Delhi State Conference of the CPI(ML) was held successfully on 19-20 July at Narela, a sub-city of Delhi where a large section of Delhi’s industry has been relocated and which therefore houses a large number of workers. The Conference venue was named after martyred JNUSU President Comrade Chandrashekhar (who was also a former Delhi State Committee member) and a rally followed by a mass meeting was held on 19 July morning as the open session of the Conference. The rally was addressed by Comrades Swapan Mukherji, Srilata Swaminathan (central observer for the Conference) and outgoing Delhi State Secretary Rajendra Pratholi – all CC members of the Party. After this the Red flag was hoisted by Com. Roopnarayan and silence was observed in memory of the martyrs. Later, the Delegate session was inaugurated by Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya’s opening address who asked the Delhi State Party to implement the calls and guidelines of the 8th Party Congress.
Nearly a hundred elected delegates attended the Conference, and 54 delegates took part in the debate and discussion on the proposed political-organisational report. The debates were mainly focused on organizing the millions of unorganized sector and daily-wage workers into their respective unions and to establish them as a potent political force to rejuvenate the left movement and expand the party in the national capital of Delhi.
On the second day the State Conference was addressed by Party’s General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya who called upon the Party in Delhi to participate in the ongoing intense campaign against the nuke deal and other threats to India’s sovereignty and democracy.
The Conference elected a 19-member State Committee and Comrade Sanjay Sharma was elected the new State Secretary of Delhi. Outgoing State Secretary Comrade Rajendra Pratholi, who had been in that role for 16 years and will now become in-charge of Uttarakhand, was given a warm farewell.

Road Blockade Against Water-logging

In the wake of heavy rains, streets are water-logged in Darbhanga town; there are deep, open holes hidden by the water, and recently a young motorcyclist even died due to a fall into one such hole. In angry protest, people hit the streets. The CPI(ML) Town Committee held a week-long protest programme against the callousness of the Administration. On 20 July, torch-light processions were held at various places, and a ‘Chakka Jaam’ (Road Blockade) was held at many main roads in the town on 22 July. At the Blockade at Darbhanga Tower, residents and small shopkeepers joined the protest in good number. RYA-AISA led the blockade at Commercial Road, and blockades were also held at Bela Mod and Karpuri Chowk. At the end of the blockade, the party announced a gherao of the Nagar Nigam office on this issue on 25 July.