The Truth of Garbeta Carnage Must
Defying the chill of January's wintry weather, political
temperature in West Bengal has begun to rise with the beginning
of the new year. Yet another TMC show of strength, yet another
Bangla bandh, yet another NDA 'fact-finding mission', once
again a shrill clamour for imposition of Article 356. At the
heart of the new round of controversy lies the allegation
of a massacre in Chhoto Anguria village of Garbeta block in
terror-stricken Midnapur district of West Bengal. While the
TMC cries foul against the CPI(M)'s politics of terror and
violence, the district and state administration appeared bent
upon dismissing the whole event as a figment of TMC's bankrupt
political imagination. Meanwhile, the PWG has claimed that
the victims belonged to the pro-PWG Mazdur-Kisan Sangram Samiti.
The pattern seems predictably familiar. Violence was a major
component of the TMC's anti-CPI(M) crusade in Midnapur and
the Mamata brigade had managed to inflict heavy blows on the
fabled election machinery of its well-entrenched adversary.
The TMC's victory in Panskura by-election had sent shockwaves
through the CPI(M) organisation in Midnapur. And the response
came in the form of a campaign of counter-violence. In Sushanta
Ghosh, deputy minister for transport, the CPI(M) discovered
a new 'hero' who spearheaded the CPI(M) campaign of 'recovering'
the Midnapur villages. Meanwhile, her irresponsible politicking
over the unprecedented Bengal floods and the overused gimmick
of resignation had begun to eat into Mamata's stocks and it
looked as though the TMC wave, which is largely based on a
growing negative reaction to the omissions and commissions
of the Left Front's nearly quarter century old rule, had begun
Now the Garbeta carnage has only served to refuel the Mamata
offensive in West Bengal. It will however be a mistake to
see the whole thing in the context of a CPI(M) vs TMC tussle
for power. Moreover, West Bengal cannot be indifferent to
the manner in which the two parties conduct this tussle. If
Bengal cannot brook the TMC's bid to upstage the Left Front
government through organised fascist terror or central intervention,
it cannot condone such cold-blooded acts of retailiatory or
pre-emptive violence on the part of the CPI(M) either.
Violence in the West Bengal countryside has been simmering
for quite some time, and even apart from its antagonism with
the TMC, the CPI(M)'s track record in this regard has been
quite dubious. It is now well known that the influential and
powerful sections of the rural rich have entrenched themselves
in the CPI(M) and the panchyat system, and the incidence of
violence to stop any kind of dissent in the countryside has
a strong social or class dimension to it. We have not forgotten
the Karanda massacre in May 1993 when five agricultural labourers
were burnt alive on the panchayat election day for the simple
reason that they had grown disillusioned with the CPI(M) and
had crossed over to the CPI(ML). The Suchpur killing in Birbhum
last year was also a clear case of massacre of agricultural
labourers. And regardless of the number and political affiliation
of the victims in Garbeta, by all accounts it is yet another
case of slaughter of the rural poor.
Let there be an independent judicial enquiry into the Garbeta
carnage. The onus of locating the dead lies squarely with
the administration and so far the role of the administration
has been quite suspect. The CPI(M) and TMC cannot be allowed
to play with the lives of rural poor. And in any case, we
cannot let the truth become a casualty. Let the bitter truth
come out in all its gory detail. The cause of the oppressed,
the cause of people's democracy and social progress, demands
nothing but the full truth.
Party Sends Letter to
President on Jharkhand
Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya sent a
letter on 9 January to the President of India on the grim
situation regarding lack of communal harmony in the newly
created state of Jharkhand. Following are the excerpts from
the letter :
"It has not yet been two months since the newly created state
of Jharkhand came into being. But the new state has already
witnessed a rapid deterioration in the situation in terms
of communal harmony."
Citing the incidents in Bokaro Steel City and of rape and
assault on a Christian missionary school at Kurppania in Bokaro
Thermal, the letter says: "The new chief minister did not
have the sensitivity to visit the place and provide any kind
of succour to the victims. Instead his government started
working overtime to deny the very incident. This cover-up
mission however stands fully exposed now. "
Next citing the incident of police firing on the day of Eid
on 28 December in Ranchi following the crushing of a girl
by a BMP truck, the letter says: "Instead of trying to pacify
the agitated masses, the police opened fire, shooting down
three, injuring several others, and leaving an entire community
and all peace-loving citizens shell-shocked. Even as the administration
smugly defends and dismisses the incident, senior officials
of the police and CRPF are now locked in an open quarrel apportioning
blames for this firing. Following the subsequent expiry of
the DSP of Hatia, Mr. UC Jha, who had played a key role in
communalising the event by calling upon Hindu bystanders to
flee before opening fire, the police have begun to systematically
harass and persecute innocent youth in Muslim-inhabited neighbourhoods
of Ranchi. "
Asserting that all this suggested a systematic pattern of
communalisation, the letter says that "given the delicate
social composition of this new state, this consequences of
such communalisation cannot but be extremely worrying." Demanding
the President's urgent intervention "to correct the course
and send out the message that such communalisation will not
be tolerated" the letter demanded "independent judicial enquiries
to ensure justice and restore people's confidence."
Criticising the appointment of Mr. Prabhat Kumar, an accused
of the Babri Masjid demolition case, as the Governor of the
new state, letter says that "this has only emboldened the
communal forces and all who abuse the law from. All peace-loving
secular-minded people of Jharkhand therefore expressed their
strong disapproval of having an Ayodhya accused as the first
Governor of Jharkhand. On 6 December, 2000, the eighth anniversary
of independent India's darkest day of shame, the whole of
Jharkhand reverberated with resounding cries of "Prabhat Kumar,
Reiterating the demand for removal of Mr. Prabhat Kumar as
Governor of Jharkhand, the letter says that
"The creation of a separate state of Jharkhand has fulfilled
a long-felt demand of the people in this region. The new state
already has more than its share of problems. We will hate
to see a Jharkhand afflicted with the communal cancer. We
hope you will do all you can to save this new state from the
looming communal danger and uphold the banner of secularism
and people's harmony in the mosaic that is Jharkhand."
Bhilai Industrial Area Party Conference
Bhilai Industrial Area Party Conference was held at Khursipar
in Bhilai town of Durg district in Chhattisgarh on 5 January.
Out of 45 delegates invited to attend the conference 35 including
3 women delegated attended the conference. Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya,
PB member was central observer. Com. Rajaram, CCM in charge
of Chhattisgarh was also present. Com. Shambhu Singh presented
the work report on behalf of the outgoing committee in which
a review of Party activities in past two years including participation
in legislative assembly election, role in trade union work,
local democratic issues and the recent "Strengthen the Party"
campaign. The conference decided on the new tasks and elected
an Industrial Area Committee which elected Com. Shambhu Singh
as its secretary.
FDI Conference Against
Eviction of Industries
Forum for Democratic Initiatives, Delhi held a seminar on
"Anti-poor operation in Delhi: An agenda for democratic intervention"
at Gandhi Peace Foundation Hall on 8 January. It was attended
by around hundred people. Com. Rajendra Pratholi, Staate Committee
Secretary of CPI(ML), Dunu Roy of Sanjha Manch, JP Singh of
Forward Bloc, Harish Tyagi of SUCI, Mrigendra of CPI(ML)-New
Democracy, Rajendra Mittal of Samajwadi Jan Parishad and Vidya
Shankar of Loktantrik Samajwadi Party spoke on the occasion
addressing . Rajesh Tyagi presided over the seminar conducted
by Prakash Chaudhury. Convenor Ravindra Sharma offered vote
Almost all speakers felt that the grim situation created
by the high-handedness of the government and the Supreme Court
in favour of the eletes demands coming together on a common
platform to fight the demolition of small scale industries.
They blamed government's subservience to globalisation for
the present tragedy. Com. Pratholi said that it was a political
issue and cannot be dealt at trade union level so all political
forces opposed to globalisation should come together on this
During 'Lootera Bhagao, Krishi Bachao' Campaign in Bihar
Observing Party's national call "Lootera Bhagao Krishi Bachao"(OUST
looters,Save agriculture), Party's Bihar State Committee and
Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha organised Padyatras (marches on
foot) in all the blocks of the state from 3 to 8 January,
which was widely welcomed by the peasants. More than 900 teams
undertook these padyatras in 300 blocks of 30 districts of
the state, in which, apart from leaders and cadres, more than
20,000 peasants also took part.
During the padyatras, small sittings, street corner meetings
etc. were held at squares, schools and baazars in each village.
The padyatras culminated in dharnas at block headquarters
throughout the state on 9 January.
The whole campaign including padyatra and dharna was lauched
to protest the anti-peasant, anti-agriculture attitude of
the central and state governments and press the demand to
open up adequate number of purchasing centres to buy foodgrains
at support price from the peasants and start "food for work"
The padyatra was inaugurated by Com. Ram Jatan Sharma, Secretary
of Bihar State Party Committee and Com. Nand Kishor Prasad,
Polit Bureau member at Champaran on 3 January. Those who took
part in padyatras in various districts include PB member Com.
Ram Naresh Ram, CCmembers Com. Pawan Sharma, KD Yadav, Saroj
Chaube and Arun Kumar, Party and BPKS leaders including Com.
Rameshwar Prasad, General Secretary of Bihar Pradesh Khet
Maazdoor Sabha, Comrades Amarnath Yadav, Satyadev Ram, Nandji
Ram, Akhilesh, Rajendra Patel, Shashi Yadav, Ravishankar Ram,
Meena Tiwari, Dhirendra Jha, Shivpujan Yadav, Satya Narain,
Nand Kumar Nanda, Dinanath Mehta, Shambhunath Mehta, Ram Narain
Mehta and Rajaram Singh, Convenor of Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha.
All the left parties including CPI, CPI(M), Forward Bloc,
SUCI, MCPI, RSP have also resolved to carry on a sustained
militant campaign against the anti-peasant attitude of central
and state governments. Under the joint programme, dharnas
will be held at all district headquarters in the state and
street corner meetings will be held on 15 and 16 January.
It has also been resolved to observe Bihar bandh on 17 January.
As propaganda material for this campaign, Party State Committee
pulished a 2-page folder on the agrarian crisis and distributed
in East Godavari
The 14th round of 'Janambhoomi' programme during which Chandrababu
Naidu govt. offered one lakh LPG connections and rice coupons
to destitutes under 'Annapoorna' scheme was greeted with opposition
protest pointing out that the government has failed in ensuring
minimum support price to farmers. Thus the government action
amounted to first making a beggar out of a farmer and them
offering him alms.
In East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, the government
nicknamed the Janambhoomi programme as "Raitha Janambhoomi
Programme", one especially for peasants. The Left parties
had decided to gherao the ministers and officers and question
them when they hold meetings in the villages. In this course,
while a meeting of the Chief Minister was going on in Cherabrolu
village on 6 January, a militant protest was organised by
theParty. An altercation began between Com. Arjun Rao and
the Chief Minister, in which the Chief Minister was heckled
and openly criticised. Shortly after Com. Arjun Rao was caught
by police and beaten up. As Com. Mariyamma was proceeding
on her way to attend the meeting, she was also arrested. On
the same day another local committee president was arrested.
Com. Kumari was arrested and kept in a lockup. This was followed
by raids on most of the houses of our comrades.
The protest extended to 12 villages and in all two MLAs,
two MPs, one minister and several officers were heckled in
In Kottapadu village of Krishna district, the convoy of the
Chairman of Marketing Committee was stopped and he was gheraoed
by our comrades.
Land Seizure in West
Around 50 peasants in Fadilpur village of Raiganj in North
Dinajpur district of West Bengal launched a militant campaign
on 22 Dec. 2000 to establish their right on 16 bighas of land
for which pattas have been already issued in theri name but
some anti-social elements patronised by CPI(M) had forcibly
ousted the rightful owners from the land and kept it under
their control. Some days back the peasants had cropped paddy
from this land and now it was the time to sow. However, in
this course they were attacked by the anti-social elements.
But they resisted and the attackers after one hour of encounter
ultimately had to flee.
Veteran Tribal Communist
Condoled in W.B.
Tribal leader Com. Dhena Soren,a veteran of many armed battles
and a witness of ups and downs in the radical Left movement,
breathed his last on 23 Dec., 2000 at the age of 75. A condolence
meeting was held in his memory at Barua Narainpur village
of North Dinajpur district of West Bengal, attended by large
number of tribal and other peasant masses. It was presided
by Com. Nagen Das. Com. Sahdev Das and Nirmal Debnath, local
party leaders addressed the gathering.
Mass Opposition to Anti-Poor
Drive in Delhi
In pursuance of "Garib bacahao, Delhi Bachao" (Save the Poor,
Save Delhi) campaign launched by Party's Delhi State Committee,
dharnas, demonstrations and processions are being brought
out throughout Delhi from 5 to 20 January, 2001, representing
militant protest to anti-worker, pro-elite polcies which are
resulting in eviction of small scale industries and driving
out millions out of employment in Delhi. In this course, "Vishwas
Nagar Chalo" call was given by local area committe and a rally
was brought out on 9 January. It was led by Party CC member
Kumudini Pati and State Secretary Com. Rajendra Pratholi along
with other state committee leaders. Also, one day dharna and
mass meeting will be held at Aazadpur Chowk on 20 January
and a dharna at Patparganj on 21 January.
US Economy on the Verge
If the one half percentage cut in the key interest rate rather
than the customary quarter point by US Federal Reserve (Fed)
surprised everybody, a quarter point cut in the secondary
rate on the following day without waiting for the next month
scheduled meeting of Federal Reserve Policy Committee sent
panic waves. This had not taken place in the face of soaring
oil prices, sliding economy and sluggish stock market in the
past several months. It was more dramatic than the Fed response
to Russian debt debacle in the midst of Asian financial turmoil.
A financial crisis that Clinton described as the worst for
50 years. Moreover, it was the first half percentage cut in
the key rate since 1992 following the early '90s recession.
The fading of euphoria following Fed's cut in a single day
indicated to the chronic disease of the US economy which was
more fundamental. On 4 January, old economy stocks lost 33.34%
points while the new economy stocks shed 49.86% of the 324
points it had gained on the previous day. General Motors added
to the gloom by announcing 20,000 lay-off at 8 plants amidst
growing auto crisis.
What was the real cause behind the Federal cuts? The survey
published a day before showed that the manufacturing fell
much more sharply to the lowest since April '91. Service sector
activity, which has so far offset the contraction in the manufacturing,
slid to the lowest. Nasdaq, which deals with technology stocks,
was down 55% comparing with last year. In the financial sector
credit markets are drying up, market for initial public offering
has more or less closed, past loans of banks have begun to
turn bad loans. Monthly estimate of lay off among top US corporations
tripled in one month (Nov. to Dec.) from 44,152 to 1,13,713
in De Canter. Nearly 5 lakh jobs have been wiped out over
the last 6 months. Consumer confidence fell to its lowest,
retail sales are much weaker, inventories building up and
economy is suffering with over-production and under consumption.
All these evidence show that US is in the mode of falling
into a sharp downturn, it is at the threshold of recession.
Indian export to US will likely to decline, particularly its
software export, exclusively to US. However, with the abolition
of quantitative restrictions US overproduction will get an
outlet at the expense of our national economy. If Bush administration
persists on his proposed US$ 1300 bn. tax cut over the next
decade as a prescription to the faltering US economy, RBI
may be compelled to fall in line with Fed to cater the MNCs,
unlike the time of East Asian crisis, because day by day the
Vajpayee govt. is bringing the Indian economy more in convergence
to US, which suits the latter.
From Com. Vinod Mishra's
The Changing International Climate
The year 1998 had been one more tumultous year in this era
of great uncertainties. Amidst reigning chaos, however, one
may discern, through a deeper probe, certain subterranean
trends that are most likely to erupt in major upheavals with
the turn of the century.
Till yesterday the apologists of globalisation boasted that
the 'golden age' of capitalism has come to stay and that they
had answers to all the problems of the world economy. But
1998 changed all this. With the collapse of the Asian Tiger
economies and the crisis fast spreading to Latin America,
the panic button has been pressed. Now the shadow of a worldwide
recession are looming large and the policy makers at the IMF
and the World Bank, unsure of themselves, are not coming forth
with the usual prescriptions with any degree of confidence.
Clueless about the cause and, therefore, of the solutions,
global managers are hinting at various alternative options
including the increased role of the state in economic planning.
Till the other day this was anathema to the rabid proponents
As a consequence of these debacles to the project of globalisation,
the ideological and political climate of the world is changing
once again. ...
Two Tactics of the
Left in Present National Situation
The collapse of the UF and moreover, the failure to grow
and worse still, the erosion of the base of CPI and CPI(M)
in some states, have raised serious questions within them
on tactics towards bourgeois opposition. Again there is a
strong resentment on joining hands with the Congress. Sentiments
of the overwhelming majority of the left ranks as expressed
in their party congresses, were for the Left to unite and
act independently. The slogan of left confederation, therefore,
reflects the aspirations of the left ranks as well as that
of the broad masses of the working people.
Take Agrarian Struggles
as the Key Link
On the pretext of a crisis of Indian agriculture, owing to
the increasing pressures from the WTO regime, social democrats
are urging the rural poor to give up their struggle and rally
behind the rich farmers. With similar arguments the anarchists
too have floated a common platform with the rich farmers'
organisations. This is a classic example of two extremes meeting
at a common point.
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