Third Odisha Party Conference at Bhubaneswar

The Third Odisha Party Conference was held at Nagbhushan Bhavan, Bhubaneswar, on 2-3 April 2011. The Conference began on 2 April with the hoisting of the red flag outside the Conference Hall by Party Politburo member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya. Tributes were then paid to the martyrs' memorial and two minutes silence observed for departed comrades.
A six-member presidium was formed to conduct the proceedings. The Conference was inaugurated by Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, who in his inaugural address outlined the challenges before the Odisha party. Odisha was one of the major centres of corporate loot of land and resources that was the defining feature of corruption in the liberalised economy, he said. People's resistance against corporate loot was facing severe state repression that the Government was attempting to legitimise in the name of combating Maoists. This corporate plunder and war on the people is directly targeting the livelihood and survival of the adivasis and poorest people in the state. The CPI(ML) faced the challenge to build a powerful people's movement against this all out plunder and repression - and Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya called on the Odisha party to rise to the occasion.
Comrade Khitish Biswal, outgoing State Secretary, placed a work report document for discussion in the house. Over the course of the two days, around 130 delegates from many districts of Odisha participated in the Conference, many of whom enthusiastically participated in the discussion on the document. On the second day, Comrade Khitish Biswal responded to the issues raised in the deliberations, and the house unanimously adopted the draft document. Politburo member Comrade D P Buxi addressed the Conference, calling upon the delegates to build people's struggles and a party organisation fitted to respond to the situation.
The house then elected a 25-member State Committee with Comrade Khitish Biswal re-elected as Secretary. CC member Comrade Kavita Krishnan, who was the Central Observer for the Conference, gave the concluding speech.

AICCTU Recognized in Pricol

The Pricol management after meeting Comrade S Kumarasamy announced pending DA due as a good-will gesture on 2 February this year. In this background a GBM held on 13 February aroused great expectations among workers. At the GBM, workers felt that talks with the management became possible only because of the unrelenting struggle of workers in spite of severe repression.
It was decided in the GBM that two functioning unions, KMPETU and KMPTTS would be amalgamated to form a single union named Coimbatore Dist. Pricol Workers’ United Union, affiliated to AICCTU. It was also decided to take up the campaign in Mettupalayam on a people’s charter on development and better living conditions. It also resolved to contest Mettupalayam assembly elections to assert the working class struggles in the political arena. The GBM resolved to campaign for Comrade Jankiraman, workers’ leader from Pricol who was the CPI(ML) candidate. Election for the new office bearers of amalgamated union will be held soon.

Sand Labourers Protest

For the second time in 6 months, the sand labourers from different sand mining districts of Bihar, who are subjected to intense exploitation and are being threatened by loss of employment to sand extraction machines, held a militant demonstration in front of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha on 28 March. The angry workers even smashed the gate at R-Block meant to prevent them from advancing. AICCTU’s National Secretary Comrade RN Thakur addressed the massive assembly of sand workers as the main speaker. The rally also raised the issue of severe environmental degradation due to excessive sand extraction due to extraction by machines. Despite the villages and people resisting the ecological catastrophe being made by the sand businesses and mafias there has been no serious action by the Nitish Government and rivers are fast losing their richness, thus adversely affecting many villages.

Political Prisoners in Ara Jail Install Bhagat Singh Statue 

Those following in Bhagat Singh’s footsteps have been jailed and even sentenced to death often in independent India. Bhagat Singh's writings have been held to be seditious quite recently, and those selling them have been arrested. Bhagat Singh and his comrades, while in jail, had struggled long and hard for the rights of political prisoners, resisting the inhuman conditions in colonial jails. It is natural for political prisoners jailed for their revolutionary activism, to remember Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh bust in Ara Jail 
CPI(ML) activists and other left movement activists lodged in Ara Jail have successfully fought and won their democratic rights as political prisoners on several occasions against inhuman and repressive conditions inside the Jail. This time around, the prisoners associated with CPI(ML) movement created a new milestone when they commissioned a statue of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and had it installed inside the Jail premises. Vineet, a sculptor from Varanasi, undertook the sculpting of the statue, and was paid for it by funds collected by the prisoners themselves. Inscribed on the base of the statue is Bhagat Singh’s famous definition of revolution, made during his trial: "By revolution we mean a fundamental transformation of the present social-order based on exploitation!” The jailer too was present during the event.
Former district committee member of CPI(ML), Comrade Sanjay Yadav cut the ribbon and Comrade Satish unveiled the Statue. Comrade Ramji Rai, CPI(ML) Politburo member was present as chief guest. Commenting on the event later, he observed, “It is a historic moment not only for Ara and Bhojpur district but for the entire country. We have heard about building temples and mosques inside jails, but this is perhaps the first occasion when Bhagat Singh's statue has been installed in a jail. People’s poet Baba Nagarjun had said of Bhojpur long back that Bhagat Singh has been re-incarnated in Bhojpur. The prisoners, in spite of all the difficulties of a jailed life, have shown how right Baba Nagarjun was.”

Anti-Corruption Protests All Over Bihar 

Intensifying its campaign against corruption in Nitish rule the CPI(ML) organised massive dharnas at all the district headquarters including the state capital Patna on 15 April to demand a CBI enquiry into rampant treasury loot that is continuing over the years, and strict punishment to the ministers and officials involved in this loot.
CPI(ML) leaders addressing the Dharna led by Comrade Umesh Singh at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Statue (Gandhi Maidan) in Patna said that the CAG report has once again exposed the issue of non-submission of accounts by Nitish Govt for an expenditure to the tune of 11,854.08 crores and which must be investigated by the CBI.
Addressing the dharna, CPI(ML) Central Committee member Comrade KD Yadav, Shashi Yadav (AIPWA’s Bihar Secretary), Kamlesh Sharma (RYA General Secretary) and Tota Chaudhary (Ward Councillor) said that the massive plunder of the funds meant for welfare schemes in Bihar is also one of the reason of the growing number of poor in the State.

Dharnas were held at Jahanabad led by Politburo member Comrade Ram Jatan Sharma; at the District Magistrate’s office in Ara led by Comrade Rameshwar Prasad (AIALA President); at Darbhanga led by AIALA Genral Secretary Comrade Dhirendra Jha who said that during Nitish rule even feudal oppression has risen and life and dignity of dalits, EBCs and women have become endangered. Thousands of agricultural labourers, peasants, students, youth and women participated in the dharnas held at Sasaram, Bhabhua, Buxar, Siwan, Bettiah, Motihari, Gopalganj, Aurangabad, Gaya, Arwal, Biharsharif, Nawada, Purnia, Chhapra, Begusarai, Samastipur and Muzaffarpur among other places. The protesters pledged to root out corruption from Bihar and launch decisive battle against it from panchayats to Patna.

Attack on Oppressed Castes in Darbhanga

A fact-finding team of CPI(ML) has released a detailed report of its investigation into loot and arson at Harchanda village of Darbhanga district. The team comprised Comrades Baidyanath Yadav (CPIML State Committee member), Shivan Yadav (Darbhanga district committee member and AIALA Convenor), Jagdish Ram and Vishnudev Paswan among others.
The team said that loot and arson were perpetrated by the henchmen of a dominant caste candidate because the poor of that village had refused to vote for him in the upcoming panchayat election. On 13 April there was a verbal spat between the villagers and Rajiv Kr. Chaudhary, son of the Mukhiya. On 14 April, Rajiv misbehaved with Muslim women and burnt their baskets when they were collecting leaves in a mango orchard at Panchom.
This was followed up with a bigger assault on Harchanda village led by Rajiv Chaudhary along with more than 200 armed men who burnt 24 houses and looted 54. Among the victims are various extremely backward caste people like Sonar, Tatma, Teli, Koiri, Kumhar and others. The looted amount is to the tune of one crore rupees. From Rajendra Shah’s house alone a bicycle, two motorcycles, 70g gold and 35 thousand in cash was looted.
The team also said that the attack was perpetrated on the day of Ambedkar Jayanti and his statue at Harchanda chowk vandalised. Bhuiyan caste people also bore the brunt of this attack. The same criminals of Panchom village had also attacked Kajiyana Chaupal Tola under Jalwar panchayat three months back and led by same Rajiv Chaudhary. Prior to this Mushahars of Basuham in Benipur block have also been attacked.
The team said that attacks by dominant caste candidates owing allegiance to the ruling parties have increased on Dalits, EBCs and poor and Nitish Kumar’s NDA Government has completely failed in providing security to these communities and people. They also said that the Nitish Government has emboldened feudal interests, especially criminal elements in them. The Party has demanded immediate arrests of those involved in loot and arson and has appealed to the people of Bihar to intensify the struggle against the rising assaults on dalits, EBCs and poor.

Firing on Musahar Settlement in Patna

On 5 April 2011, goons of building company Amit Constructions owing allegiance to the ruling JD(U), in the presence of police personnel from four different police stations shot indiscriminately at a settlement of the mahadalit Musahar community located at Jagdev Path (Siddhartha Nagar, Patna). The firing was with the intention to evict the residents and grab the land. One woman Butti Devi (25 years) was killed in this firing and five others were injured.
Under the very nose of a Chief Minister who claims great concern for Mahadalits, a builder from his very own party fires indiscriminately at Mahadalits in the presence of police from 4 stations. This indicates the sense of impunity and confidence in grabbing land and assaulting vulnerable communities that criminal elements have come to feel in Nitish’s rule. 
With police being mute spectators rather than coming to their aid, the Mushahars resisted this brazen aggression on their own and burnt the builder’s vehicle. After this, Bailey Road was blockaded for two consecutive days by the people.
On 6 April, CPI(ML) Patna city committee members Comrades Navin Kumar, Murtaza Ali and Dharmendra Kumar visited the settlement and spoke to the victims’ families and other people from the Mahadalit community. On three quarters of an acre of land (24 Katthas) the Mushahar families have been living since for the past century, using it as cemetery, lavatory as well as dwelling place. Now, the descendants of old zamindars are trying to evict them through the builders and have succeeded in encircling 60 percent of this land. In their bid to snatch the remaining land (10 Katthas), this firing was perpetrated.
Other such Mahadalit settlements (more than a dozen) in Patna too have faced or are facing such a fate. It is obvious that these people have no papers for the land and builders have a predatory eye on these properties. Others who have already been evicted in similar incidents are spending life on streets and footpaths. They don’t have any security or amenities, not even that of drinking water. In such a situation they become easy prey for exploiters.
On 7 April, the Shahari Garib Morcha (a platform for the poor of the city) held a protest march led by its convener Comrade Ashok Kumar, burnt an effigy of CM Nitish Kumar, and demanded imposition of Section 302 on the criminal builders. This protest was followed by another similar protest on 8 April. On 9 April a militant march was held against the firing and land grab. The protesters have demanded that proper land documents be given to the poor and Mahadalits of Siddhartha Nagar and all basic amenities be provided in these settlements.

AISA Protests Suicides of Research Scientists at NII

The recent suicide of a 27-year old dalit Ph.D. scholar, Linesh Mohan Gawle, at the National Institute of Immunology (NII) opened up a can of worms of institutionalized discrimination, victimization and harassment at premier science institutes. It has emerged that Gawle’s suicide is the third such tragic case in a row in the recent past.
On 18 April, AISA initiated a protest demonstration at the NII, which was joined by students and faculty members of JNU and Indian Institute of Mass Communications (IIMC) as well as representatives of other student groups AIBSF, AISA, DSU, SFR and UDSF. They demanded an immediate enquiry into the factors leading to the suicide of Gawle and other NII students in the past year.
To begin with, the NII administration refused to allow the students to hold a condolence meeting within the NII campus. Several students of NII then assembled at the gates (clearly on the instructions of the administration and some NII faculty members) and tried to persuade the protestors that Linesh had committed suicide due to ‘personal’ reasons, and not due to any institutional pressures or discrimination. The protestors persisted in holding the condolence and protest meeting at the NII gates, and after that, a delegation consisting of representatives of various organizations went to meet students, teachers, and officials of the NII administration.
The delegation put forward the primary demand that an independent enquiry should be instituted into the various allegations of inhuman working conditions, discrimination and harassment. The NII administration refused point blank to institute any enquiry, and continued to deny any institutionalized harassment or discrimination in NII.
Much as the NII administration and faculty members are trying to hide it, it is clear that there are deep and systemic problems being faced by students – whether it is the inhuman work pressure, dictatorial attitude of the institution’s administration or the entrenched discriminatory attitude of some faculty members.
It is also clear that there is immense pressure from the administration on the students not to complain, and not to raise their voices even on basic genuine democratic concerns. There is every chance that the students who did not turn up in vocal support of the administration on the day of the protest will be targeted, pressurized and victimized.  
The NII is affiliated with the School of Life Sciences, JNU, and students there acutely feel the contrast between the freedom of expression and democratic student-teacher relations enjoyed by JNU students, with the authoritarian culture in the NII. At NII, public shaming of students who fall short of standards that keep getting more demanding, is common. Students from reserved categories, even if they perform well, face discrimination in addition to the other pressures and humiliations. Gawle was a bright student, who scored 98 percent marks in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) test; yet he was pushed over the edge to take his life.
The tragedy of Gawle’s death underlines the need to democratize science institutions, private institutions and all such educational centres where students are subjected to intense stress and denied their democratic voice. AISA, which has long demanded democratization of campuses, has mobilized science scholars and students to highlight the conditions in science institutions.      

Anti-Liquor Movement in Pithoragarh

In Pithoragarh on 1 April, more than 400 women under the banner of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) held a militant demonstration demanding closing of shops selling liquor. Nothing could come in the way of angry women that day as they consigned the property of liquor businesses to flames. The police has filed charges against AIKM leader Surendra Singh Brijwal (Block President) after this protest demonstration. He was arrested at midnight on 7 April but got bail the following day. After his release hundreds of women once again held a demonstration on the same day vowing to continue their struggle. The administration’s sense of desperation was palpable as more support from the local people poured in the form of numerous monetary donations for the movement when the demonstrators held a meeting on 8 April after the AIKM leader’s release.
On the other hand, leaders of the BJP, Congress and Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) openly sided with the liquor shops and demanded arrest of Comrade Brijwal. The angry women in large numbers burnt effigies of these leaders at a prominent spot in Munsyari town. The people of Munsyari, meanwhile, have decided to publicly felicitate Comrade Brijwal on 20 April.

Party Initiatives in Uttar Pradesh 

A young man aged 30 years, Ved Prakash Pandey, burnt himself to death at the Gonda District Magistrate’s residence on 27 March. The CPI(ML) team that visited the village found that the youth’s father who is a farmer had been arrested for failure to repay a loan of Rs. 2.5 lakh, taken to buy a tractor. Disturbed at the arrest of his father and insensitiveness of District officials the youth had been knocking on every Government official’s door including the SDM, requesting them to release his father. He had also arranged one instalment of the loan and even assured those officials that he would arrange the remaining amount in due course. He even warned them that he would take his own life if his father was not released.
Expressing grief at the tragic death caused by criminal callousness, CPI(ML)’s Uttar Pradesh State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav said that the Mayawati Government is so intent on recovering loans that it is not caring for the lives of innocent farmers and their families. If the district administration had shown the least reasonableness, Ved Prakash could have been alive. The Mayawati Government’s anti-peasant policies are squarely responsible for the arrest of a farmer and the death of his young son.
The incident at Gonda points to an emerging reality that this Government can give all sorts of support to scamsters, corrupt officials and ministers and mafias, but not to debt-trapped farmers. The month of February and March has been especially harsh on such farmers. The administration released the father in panic hearing of the death of his son. CPI(ML) has demanded fixing of responsibility for this death and strict action against culprits, adequate compensation to the family members of the deceased and general amnesty for all small and medium scale farmers trapped in debt. The Gonda party unit too has written to the Divisional Commissioner and demanded justice.
Another CPI(ML) team visited Ambedkar Nagar’s Tilaktanda village in Jahangirganj PS led by Comrade Rambharos, the party’s district in-charge. Here, a 15 year girl student Pratigya who was studying in Std IX was kidnapped on 21 March, sexually assaulted for three days and burnt to death by the rapists. Members of the team met the parents of the deceased girl. They were told that when the parents recovered their daughter on 24 March from a pond in the village, she was still alive and by the time they rushed with her to a nearby hospital she had become severely critical and lost her life shortly after. She narrated the ghastly crime to her mother before she died. She named the villagers involved in assaulting and burning her. On the same night the father of the victim reported this in the police station but the police did not write an FIR. Only when much pressure was put by people, the police registered a complaint.
There has been a steep rise in such incidents of crime against women and young girls in Mayawati’s rule. Rapists seem to have shed all fear. In Badayun, one BSP MLA, declared wanted by the Court for assaulting another girl student, is absconding according to police records, though he goes about addressing public meetings. Party has demanded immediate arrest of such criminals and urgent action against all the accused.

CPI(ML)'s Appeal to Voters in Bihar Panchayat Polls

Make Panchayats a Platform for Struggle against Corruption and People’s Problems!
Establish People’s participation and Vigilance in Selecting and Executing Developmental Schemes!

Dear voters,
The whole country is reeling from the scourge of widespread corruption. Politicians, bureaucrats, army generals, judges and the media world – all are involved in scams amounting to thousands of billions. Twelve thousand crore rupees withdrawn from the treasury in Bihar has not been accounted for. A CBI enquiry was deferred when the Government promised to submit accounts of expenditure of this huge sum in the High Court. People of the State too gave a second chance to the Nitish Government, but according to the latest report of the CAG this amount has further grown to Rs 16,000 crores.
We demand a CBI enquiry into the treasury scam and appeal to you to intensify the struggle against corruption in panchayats.
There have been many boasts about development in Bihar, however neither the Central not the State Government has shown any consideration for the poor people of Bihar. The Centre had talked about enacting a food security act and Nitish had said that whether the Centre provides grains or not his Government would provide grains to 1.5 crore BPL families on its own. Grains are a distant dream for the poor as the Nitish Govt is delaying even the work of preparing BPL lists. Massive corruption is the order of the day in PDS, and rations and kerosene too have been snatched from the poor.
The Nitish Government is evading any discussion of land reforms and the rights of the share-croppers. It has relegated the question of share-croppers' rights to a study committee which has not submitted any report till now. The promise of house pattas to the poor has also proved to be a lie and now they are even being evicted from whatever meagre housing they have. We have all witnessed how a builder belonging to the ruling party destroyed a mahadalit colony in Patna, even killing a woman resident in broad daylight. We demand that the Government provide land and housing to the landless and rights to the sharecroppers.
Reeling under deluge and droughts, Bihar today is crying out for water and electricity. In the year gone by, the poor were denied drought-relief and diesel subsidy was denied to the share-croppers. This year too, the rabi crop has been impacted by scarcity of water. There is growing scarcity even of drinking water. The State Government is raising the usual bogey of Centre-State politics to shrug off responsibility even for water and electricity. What, then, is the State Government good for?
The Nitish Government made much fanfare about women’s empowerment and distribution of bicycles to girl students. However, women are feeling ever more vulnerable in the State. The sordid crime perpetrated over a long period of time on Purnea’s Rupam Pathak by a BJP MLA Rajkumar Kesari and his accomplices is a shameful fact. Statistics from the National Crime Record Bureau tell us that crimes including sexual assaults on women and minor girls are on the rise and the census data tells us that the number of women in Bihar is declining and Bihar too is going the Gujarat way.
Unemployment and migration is increasing under Nitish rule. Failing agriculture and NREGA is giving rise to hunger deaths and joblessness in villages. Workers are not getting work due to deployment of big machinery in sand extraction and road construction. The Government is handing over precious resources like rivers, canals, forests, hills and sand at throwaway prices to the contractor-mafia nexus. This is causing huge loss of public wealth as well as Government’s revenue and a massive scam is surfacing. We demand that the Government guarantee jobs to rural workers and stop snatching jobs through use of big machines.
Friends, under Nitish rule the panchayats too have become a means to loot and fill one’s own coffers. We had demanded that panchayat elections be held on political banners. This would have caused political parties to take responsibility for what took place in panchayats and this would have checked corruption. But Nitish Kumar who wants panchayati corruption to flourish unlimited did not accept this.

We must combine the struggle against corruption in panchayats with the nation-wide and state-wide anti-corruption struggle, only then the battle against corruption can be effective. We want people’s participation in choosing as well as implementing development schemes of the panchayats. Therefore, we have decided to support only those candidates who are active in the struggles for people’s issues in panchayats and in the anti-corruption struggle. Come, stand by us in our struggle to stop the loot in panchayats and transform them into a platform for people’s struggles!

Initiatives in Gujarat

As part of the nationwide campaign against corruption, price rise and state repression, campaigns and programmes were held in districts Valsad, Himmat Nagar & Ahmedabad from 15 February to 31 March.
On 31 March a huge demonstration took place at the Valsad District Collector’s office. Hundreds of rural adivasi people from several of the talukas of the district, including more than 500 women participated in the demonstration. The adivasi people from Umargaon, Bhilad, Karambele, Sanjan, reached the Valsad District HQ by rail. The rallyists carrying red flags and banners marched through the main streets of Valsad town and shouting slogans reached the Collector’s office.
A memorandum was handed over to the District Collector by a delegation of CPI(ML) leaders. The memorandum demanded strengthening of PDS and curbing corrupt practices in it as well as in NREGA, fully implementing the Forest Rights Act, stopping all forceful acquisition of tribal land in the name of industrialization by the GIDC, checking the proliferation of land mafias who are tricking the tribals into giving their lands by forging documents and getting signatures from illiterate tribals, and constitution of a special investigative team (SIT) to investigate these fraud cases and nab the land mafias.
The rally culminated in a mass meeting inside the campus of the Collector’s office. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Prabhat Kumar (CC Member), Ranjan Ganguly (Party In-charge, Gujarat), Amit (RYA leader) and Laxman Warli apart from many others. The meeting was also addressed by CPI(ML) leaders from Mumbai, Comrades SN Gohil and Dheeraj Rathore.


In the article ‘Remembering Dr Kotnis in his Birth Centenary Year’ in Liberation April 2011, Dr. Kotnis’ birth year is wrongly cited as October 2010 instead of 1910. The mistake is regretted.

Mass meetings were also held at several places Himmatnagar (Sabarkantha district) including Khairbrahma, Dantral, Peepalsari, Kheroj, Meghraj and Vijaynagar. Apart from central demands, several local issues were also part of the campaign such as stopping eviction of adivasi and backward caste people from forest land and making provisions for drinking water and other basic necessities. Several party members from this District led by Comrade Dashrath Singhali had also participated in the All India Left Coordination march in Delhi on 14 March.

On 25 March a rally and a militant demonstration was held at Himmat Nagar District Collectorate. About 250 women and men from different talukas participated in this demonstration. Here also the rallyists marched through the main streets of the town before reaching the Collectorate. Mass meeting was addressed by Comrade Ranjan Ganguly, Dashrath Singhali and others. Later a memorandum was handed over to the Collector.