The Dream of Jharkhand versus the
Design of Sangh Parivar
The newly installed Jharkhand government completed its first
two months in office on January 15. Of course, there can be
no questioning the formal majority of the NDA government headed
by Babulal Marandi. But there is hardly another parallel of
a government having alienated so vast sections of the society
within a span of just two months. The gulf between the aspirations
of the Jharkhand movement and the Jharkhandi people and the
design of the Sangh Parivar is daily widening. Going by the
proverb 'the morning shows the day', the future indeed looks
full of challenges for this 28th state of India.
The assault on a church in Bokaro steel city followed by
a heinous attack on a Christian missionary school and rape
of a woman employee in Kurpania in Bokaro district - within
weeks of the swearing in of the new government - were of a
piece with the anti-Christian crusade being spearheaded by
the Sangh Parivar all over the country. Thousands of students
and young people came out on the streets of Ranchi to condemn
this attack and demand justice, but the government turned
a deaf ear. Then on December 28, the occasion of the first
Eid of the new Millennium, we had this incident of unprovoked
police firing on a predominantly Muslim crowd protesting against
the death of a four-year-old girl. The events leading to the
unfortunate death of a DSP who was alleged to have been stoned
by the mob are still shrouded in mystery. Yet defying the
curfew, rabid communal elements were allowed to politicise
and communalise the DSP's death and innocent Muslim citizens
are since being subjected to a systematic campaign of harassment.
Indiscriminate arrests, extortion and blackmail, add up to
a typical story of a harassed and helpless community living
in the shadow of police terror.
On the economic front, the burning agenda before Jharkhand
is creation of employment, elimination of the mafia and finding
a solution to the long-standing tragedy of large-scale displacement,
the havoc caused to the poor in the name of industrialisation
and development. But instead of making any gesture to suggest
even an acknowledgement of these issues, the government is
busy appeasing the chambers of commerce and the mafia, and
threatening the people with more devastating designs of displacement.
It is quite revealing that the government has thretaened to
resume work on the widely opposed Koel-Karo project. Jharkhand
has a great concentration of public sector units in coal and
steel sectors. The fact that the same political coalition
now holds power both at the centre and in the state renders
the public sector in Jharkhand all the more vulnerable to
the neo-liberal assault of privatisation and closure.
There are also other factors worrying the people of Jharkhand,
especially the adivasis. The ongoing official bid to tamper
with the Fifth Schedule has raised serious questions regarding
the future of tribal rights on land. The non-inclusion of
the adivasi religion 'sarna' in the census questionnaire and
a possible exclusion of large numbers of migrant Jharkhandi
workers from the census operations are also causing widespread
The good news from Jharkhand is that the people are not prepared
to take all this lying down. Signs of a new phase of popular
mobilisation and movement have already begun to surface. The
Nav Nirman Rally held by the CPI(ML) in Ranchi on November
30 was the biggest in its history. The call for Jharkhand
bandh on December 6 to press for recall of Governor Prabhat
Kumar, an Ayodhya accused, was greeted with an overwhelming
response in all corners of the state. The radical Left and
other disillusioned focres of the Jharkhand movement have
begun to come closer. This has the potential of generating
a formidable combination which in turn can serve as a great
bulwark for secularism and democracy, for a determined defence
of the needs and aspirations of the adivasis and the working
class. The dream of Jharkhand can only be realised by defeating
the evil saffron design that seeks to convert this new state
into a playground for communal fascism and predatory capitalism.
Party CC Resolves
to Isolate Congress, Corrupt Regional Forces from Third Front
Party Central Committee met on 12-14 January 2001 at Ranchi
in Jharkhand. It reiterated our basic position regarding the
ongoing exercises in third front formation: (i) Clear and
categorical opposition to both BJP and the Congress, (ii)
a minimum democratic programme with due emphasis on economic
issues, and (iii) exclusion of corrupt and discredited regional
forces and primacy of movemental forces with clean and credible
The CC noted that "after a decade of neo-liberal economic
reforms, contradictions at various levels of society are sharpening
beyond normally manageable levels... Faced with intensifying
socio-economic crisis and growing political challenges of
governance, the BJP and other outfits of the Sangh Parivar
are once again trying to rake up the Ayodhya issue and switch
over to a pitch of stridency and aggression comparable to
the first round of Ayodhya mobilisation in the late 1980s
and early 1990s."
CC noted that "the economics and politics of globalisation
have entered a new phase of uncertainties... the most stunning
expression of this uncertainty could be seen in the US Presidential
election." It took note of "a reversal of America's much-celebrated
economic boom", in which "American economy - not only the
so-called new economy but also the old economy of industrial
manufacturing has begun to slow down."
The ceasefire announced by the NDA government during the
month of Ramzan has not succeeded in generating any real hope
of a political breakthrough in Kashmir. The whole move, in
fact, has been perceived more as a tactical ploy to divide
the Kashmiri organisations than a real attempt to restore
normalcy and find a political solution to the Kashmir question.
At best it can be termed half hearted response. We demand
that the government put forth the formula on the basis of
which it proposes to hold talks with Pakistan. Also noting
that the "Indo-Nepal relations have touched a new low", the
CC noted that the situation has been further vitiated by blatantly
expansionist remarks made by Sangh Parivar ideologues.
Discussing various facets of agrarian unrest in the country
that has once again begun to assume explosive proportions,
CC noted that "While neo-liberal economic reforms have eroded
the very basis of public investment in agriculture, WTO-dictated
globalisation has exposed the Indian farmer to the clutches
of giant agribusiness firms and highly subsidised cheap imports,
thereby further exacerbating the inherent crisis of the landlord
path of capitalist development of Indian agriculture." On
our part, we have to "intervene in this crisis on behalf of
the agricultural proletariat and the rural poor from the standpoint
of the revolutionary peasant path of capitalist development."
"We have to link the question of procurement to the broader
issue of public distribution because the new policy essentially
seeks to dismantle the public distribution system and replace
the earlier procurement-cum-distribution arrangement by completely
privatised foodgrains trade."
Pursuing the agenda of organising agricultural labourers
as well as restructuring and rejuvenating peasant associations,
the CC resolved to form a national coordination among our
agricultural labour organisations very soon. National level
peasant coordination committee will be formed in a conference
to be held at Faizabad of UP on 2-3 March, 2001. These would
facilitate interaction with other peasant/agricultural labour
organisations as well as in intervening in the crisis.
In the current phase of sustained activism of working class
movement, CC noted that "most of these struggles and strike
actions", unlike the conventional patterns and parameters
of trade union movement, "are addressing questions linked
to government policies and the very survival of the working
class. The old lines of demarcation between trade union struggles
and political movements are getting blurred." In order to
impart a conscious political thrust and direction to the trade
union struggles and other spontaneous actions of the working
class, CC resolved to carry on efforts of building a solidarity
forum and launch a working class journal.
CC noted that the initiative for a national conference against
globalisation has been received quite well, which is "a necessary
exercise to study various forces in action and develop our
understanding and response regarding the broad spectrum of
ongoing popular struggles against globalisation."
form the fields of struggle...
CPI(ML) Held Historic "Save Democracy"
Rally in Jharkhand
More than 15,000 people participated in "Save Democracy"
rally held at Dhanwar of Giridih district in Jharkhand on
11 January in protest against increasing onslaughts on minorities,
backwards and weaker sections of society, against government
repression on opposition and patronage to corrupt and feudal
elements. Addressing the rally Party General Secretary Com.
Dipankar Bhattacharya asserted that Party will resolutely
fight all saffron attempts to finish off democracy and secularism
in the country. Jharkhand is a state where Sikhs, Christians,
Muslims and Hindus, dalits and backwards have lived with tribal
people for centuries and established a strong communal amity
and fraternity through a prolonged struggle for independence
and identity of Jharkhand. Condemning the police firing on
Eid day he demanded judicial enquiry into the whole incident
and recall of Prabhat Kumar, Governor of Jharkhand who is
a co-accused in Babri Masjid demolition case. Com. Suvendu
Sen, Secretary of Jharkhand State Committee, Com. Mahendra
Singh, CC member and Party MLA in Jharkhand, Com. Rajkumar
Yadav, Secretary of Giridih District Committee, Puran Mahato,
District convenor of Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisaan Samiti, Parmeshwar
Mahato, member of Jharkhand State Committee and Loknath Paswan,
Secretary of Bagodar Block Committee also spoke at the occasion.
The meeting was presided over by Com. Vijay Singh.
"Save the Peasantry"
Rally in West Bengal
While CPI(M) and Trinamul are busy in rehersing for the forthcoming
bloody electoral battle for Legislative Assembly in West Bengal,
in which peasants are being reduced to cannon fodder, Party
held a "Save the Peasantry" rally at Rani Rasmoni Road in
Calcutta on 9 January. Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar
Bhattacharya was the main speaker. Other speakers included
Com. Kartik Pal, Secy. of State Committee, Com. Ajit Das and
Biman Biswas, secretaries of North Dinajpur and Nadia respectively.
The meeting was presided over by Com. Shankar Mitra, CC member.
Addressing the rally Com. Dipankar said that "Save the peasantry"
call is the call of the working people throughout the country.
Even after 53 years of independence and 23 years of left rule,
the conspiracy to kill people goes on. The current NDA govt.
is inviting MNCs to agriculture and asking local peasants
to grow grapes. Now we have turned a foodgrain importing country
whereas we used to export it earlier. Remunerative prices
are not available to peasants so they are committing suicide.
This is happening despite green revolution. The struggle of
saving peasantry is the struggle for country's independence.
In the course of preparatory mobilisation to 9 January "Save
Peasantry" rally called by CPI(ML) rally at Calcutta, people
rallied before ADM office, Balurghat of South Dinajpur district
on 29 December. The speakers included Com. Ajit Das, State
Committee member, Com. Subhas Das, Distt. Secy. and others.
Similar mass meetings were held at Tungidighi of North Dinajpur
district, mainly organised by comrades joining our party coming
out of CPI(M) and addressed by Com. Basudev Bose, State Committee
member, Com. Ajit Das, Distt. Secy., Com. Ramdas Mandal, Manik
Datta and Laxmi Saha; at Itahar on 31 December, addressed
by Com. Ajit Das, Manik Datta and Ganesh Chhetri, and at Goalpukur
on 2 January, Chopra on 3 January and Islampur on 5 January,
all addressed by Com. Ramdas Mandal.
Preparations for 17
January Bihar Bandh
In the course of preparations of Bihar bandh called on 17
January to protest the govt. anti-peasant, anti-agriculture
policies, widespread propaganda was conducted in Patna and
elsewhere. Torchlight processions were taken out at district
headquarters. Peasants armed with ploughshare will block the
roads with their bullock carts and tractors. In this course,
joint dharna by 8 left parties including CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M),
MCPI, SUCI, Marxist Coordination Committee(MCC), RSP and Forward
Bloc was held at district headquarters on 12 January.
Two Touts Punished
In Bhawanipur bazaar of Dhamdaha subdivision of Purnea district
in Bihar, two touts Taleshwar Murmu and Lakhan Hansda were
paraded with shaven head and face blackened along with the
effigy of BDO. These touts had cheated people in the name
of Indira Awas Yojna. Party warned the BDO to mend his ways
otherwise he will be punished in the same manner.
Dharna at Durgawati
As the height of Durgawati dam is being raised by 3 feet,
demands were raised to construct 6-ft. culvert on the barrage
and embankments on both sides up to Telari to check the overflow
of water and facilitate transportation. More than 300 people
sit in a dharna at Sakri daily since 5 January on these demands
under the banner of Area Development Struggle Committee that
covers Kudra, Rampur and Bhagwanpur blocks. The dharna is
led by local Party and peasant leader Com. Gopal Singh.
PWG-Ranvir Sena Attacks
PWG attacked Mushahr tola of Supahali village in Masaurhi
block on 28 December and beat women, broke houses as well
as handpumps. When the aggrieved women reached police station
to register their complain they were asked to leave CPI(ML).
Com. Saharuddin Miya was attacked by Ranvir Sena goons while
he was returning from dharna at Naubatpur block. He is serious
in Patna and is being treated.
Power Workers' Conference
The Fourth bi-annual conference of Assam State Power Workers'
Union (ASPWU) was held in Guwahati on 5-6 January, 2001. A
massive rally was brought out on 5 January in which about
3,000 power workers of the state participated. The rally was
flagged off by Upen Talukdar, a veteran TU leader. It marched
through the heart of the city shouting slogans 'Save Electricity
Board - Save Assam', 'Withdraw Electricity Bill - 2001', 'Stop
mass killings and secret killings' in the state.
An open session was held after the rally, addressed by Com.
Sudhiruddin Rana, working president of All-India Federation
of Power Workers, Chakradhar Prasad Singh, Gen. Secy. of U.P.
Power Workers Federation, Com. Rubul Sharma, CC member and
State Secretary of CPI(ML), Com. Prasun Chatterjee, State
Vice President of AICCTU, Bimal Nandi of UTUC(LS). Conference
in its resolutions decided to launch vigorous struggles against
policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation
as well as against implementation of Electricity Bill, 2000.
Conference also demanded that the government must recognise
ASPWU as it is the biggest union of power workers in Assam.
The conference elected an executive body of 69 members with
Tolan Bhorali as president, Nagen Bora as working president
and Aja Rajkonwar as General Secretary.
Cachar Distt. Conference
First Cachar District Conference of CPI(ML) was held at Silchar
town on 6-7 January, 2001. The open session was presided over
by Com. Asim Nath and addressed by Distt. Party Secy. Com.
Sripad Dhar, Com. Subhas Sen, and others. On 7 January delegates
discussed the fall out of saffron policies of globalisation
imposed by the central govt. as well as problems faced by
the rural poor in the district and decided to build the party
for giving leadership over the mass movement, particularly
peasant movement. Conference elected a 9-member district committee
with Com. Sripad Dhar as Secy.
Fifth bi-annual conference of All Tiwa Students Union (ATSU)
was held at Kathiatoli of Nagaon district in Assam. It was
attended by 500 delegates. The open session was addressed
by Pronab Jyoti Mosrong, President of ATSU, Balaram Senapati,
President of Tiwa Sahitya Sabha, Aditya Khaklari, Gen. Secy.
of All Assam Tribal Sangha and others.
Conference agreed that United People's Front (UPF), though
not an independent political party, will act as a coordinating
body of Karbi (plain) and Tiwa organisations. Conference also
resolved to launch struggle for implementation of the 6th
Schedule of the Constitution in Tiwa areas, dissolution of
the adhoc autonomous council, holding tri-partite talks and
free and fair elections. Conference also demanded to decalre
the Tiwas living in Karbi Anglong and Meghalaya as Sceduled
Tribes. Conference elected a 17-member Central Executive with
Pronab Jyoti Mosrong and Santanui Amsi as its President and
Gen. Secy. respectively. During the debate regarding tribal
movement, a section of the delegates who advocated hobnobbing
with the ruling parties for achieving the autonomous council
staged a walkout from the conference.
South Orissa Bandh
In Kashipur of Rayagada distt. of Orissa 3 adivasis were
killed on 16 Dec. 2000 in a police firing during an agitation
against displacement of adivasis from their land that was
given by the Govt. to Larsen and Toubro for building a plant.
Party and Lok Sangram Manch gave a call for South Orissa Bandh
on 28 December which was complete success in Behrampur, Koraput
and Rayagada districts. Traffic on Berhampur-Koraput road
was completely collapsed. Bandh was total in Gunupur and Parlakhimundi
towns as well as in Mukundpur and Padampur blocks.
Workers Protest Illicit Liquor Sale
Women agricultural workers of Mannippallam in Mayiladuthurai
block of Tanjore district took to the streets and blocked
the traffic for 6 hours, protesting the illicit arrack sale.
In order to give organised shape to the women workers' protest,.
CPI(ML) decided to have a protest programme and announced
the decision, which evoked good response. In an attempt to
counterbalance our move the district SP issued a press statement
stating meaasures supposedly taken to curb the menace. Countering
this, Party on behalf of agrarian workers issued a statement
how rampant the menace was that in Sirkazhi taluk alone liquor
business was around Rs.23 crore a year, and even political
party functionaries leaders were holding liquor shops. The
coverage drew massive response and around 400 people, out
of which 250 were women, protested in front of Tehsildar office
for two hours. Protest demonstration was held jointly by Tamizhaga
Vivasaya Thozhilar Sangam (Tamil Agrarian Workers Union) and
AIPWA. The tehsildar assured the protestors that in one week
time the illicit arrack will be removed.
Agrarian Labour Conference
After the successful wage struggle of women workers, the
first district conference of "Tamil Agrarian Workers' Union"
was held at Tanjore on 7 January. Out of 75 delegates participating
in the conference, 34 were women. Experience of wage struggle
and plans to strengthen grassroots organisation were discussed.
The conference elected a district committee of which Com TKS
Janardhan is President and Com. Mallika Vice President, T
Kannaiyan Secy. and Azhagmmal and Bharati Dasan Joint Secretaries.
The conference demanded representation of women workers and
inclusion of Tamil Agri. Workers Union in the State Agricultural
Workers' Welfare Board, recently constituted by the State
govt. and enacting a separate Act for agricultural workers'
welfare in the present session of Assembly. Observing it as
a campaign, thousands of postcards will be dispatched to the
Assembly speaker demanding introduction of this Act.
Seminar Against Globalisation
Bangalore Party organisation held a well-attended "Seminar
against globalisation" on 7 January 2001 at Institute of Agricultural
Technologists, Bangalore. Among the speakers, Prof. Babu Mathew
spoke on 'Impact of globalisation on working class', KS Puttannaiah
of KRRS on 'Globalisation and farmers' issues', Prof. Gangadharmurthy
on 'Impact of globalisation on dalits', Prof. LN Gopalkrishna,
a social activist, on 'A creative response to globalisation',
and Com. Shankar, Party Central Committee member, on 'Globalisation
and political responses". The welcome address was given by
Com. Govindaraj, State Secy. and vote of thanks by Com. Ranjani.
The seminar was moderated by Com. Subramani.
Com. Ramchandra Yadav, veteran communist and AICCTU leader,
died on 13 January 2001 after prolonged illness in Patna.
He was over 75 years of age. He had played a significant role
in organising town poor and unorganised labourers in Patna.
We condole his death and share the grief with his family members
[ML Update] [Liberation]
Years of Naxalbari]