Gujarat Earthquake: Lessons and Posers
How many lives have been claimed by the killer
quake in Gujarat? How many children have been orphaned? How
many people have been rendered disabled? And how many have
been left homeless and jobless? Figures and estimates seemed
to have lost all meaning in the immediate aftermath of the
colossal tragedy. But as the enormity of the tragedy gradually
sinks in, the country will have to find answers to all the
embarrassing and disconcerting questions the quake has left
in its trail.
Bhuj and surrounding areas were of course
known to constitute one of the most quake-prone regions of
the country. But while the young science of seismology can
tell us a lot about the quake-prone areas, it cannot as yet
predict the moment and theatre of the next quake. Nobody will
therefore argue that the tragedy in Gujarat was entirely avoidable.
The world is yet to see any successful case of anticipatory
evacuation of people from a quake-hit region. But if we look
at the pattern of rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations
in Gujarat we cannot miss to see the unpardonable mess the
rulers have landed us in. Instead of minimising the imapact
of a natural calamity, we always end up amplifying it many
times over. Gujarat has been no exception.
The brutal fact is that we still do not have
anything like a disaster management policy. Our rulers have
not bothered to learn anything from the repeated disasters
the country has had to face in recent years. No lesson has
been learnt from either the quake in Latur in Maharashtra
or the more recent supercyclone in Orissa. We claim to be
an adult republic aspiring for the status of a nuclear weapons
state. The World Bank and IMF are also fond of characterising
India as a budding economic giant in Asia. But the quake in
Gujarat has exposed the real state of affairs. The sordid
capitalist anarchy thriving in the absence of any kind of
urban planning, the utter inefficiency of a thoroughly bureaucratised
administration, the absolute insensitivity of the state especially
towards the poor and ordinary citizen - all these maladies
of modern India have been so abundantly evident in Gujarat.
We have seen it all. How rescue and relief
operations have been thrown out of gear to make arrangements
for VVIP visits. How precious moments have been lost and expert
rescue teams and medical missions have been subjected to bureaucratic
hurdles and harassment. How the government has been trying
to cash in on the tragedy to subject the country into an emotional
and economic blackmail of accepting a 'harsh budget' and disastrous
We have also seen inspiring signs of patriotism,
people's solidarity and regional friendship. We have seen
the treasure of human warmth and fellow-feeling among the
most deprived and exploited sections of our society. We have
seen planeloads of blankets and other relief materials arrive
from Pakistan. We have seen 'secessionist' JKLF leaders donate
blood for the quake victims. As Gujarat buries and burns its
dead, let us not forget the tremors. Let us not forget the
questions we have inherited from the victims of Bhuj and Anjar.
Let us not wait for another calamity.
form the fields of struggle...
Sabha in Gaya
A massive Sankalp Sabha (Pledge-taking meeting)
took place at Azad Park in Gaya on 4 February to protest Manpur
firing in which two Party comrades were killed. Addessing
the meeting Party Gen. Secy. Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya asserted
that "police bullets could never suppress the voice of democracy".
The meeting was also addressed by State Party Secy. Com. Ramjatan
Sharma, Convenor of BPKS Com. Rajaram Singh, RYA president
Mithilesh Yadav and Com. Arvind and Niranjan of Gaya District
Committee. Before the meeting Com. Dipankar went to Suraj
Pokhra village to meet the bereaved families and also to the
hospital to meet the injured persons. The speakers demanded
punishment to the DM, DSP and BDO, officials guilty of opening
fire and killing two persons.
Memory of Martyrs
Com. Nagendra Kushwaha, member of Party's Mariwa Block Committee,
Comrades Ashwini Kushwaha (25), Hosil Ram (23), Ashok Yadav
(28), Parashuram Ram (24), Kamlesh Sharma (25), Shankar Ram
(23) and Batti Karmkar (28), all Party activists, were killed
on 2 February by Satish Pandey-Suresh Chaudhry gang in Siwan.
Com. Jaipal Singh Yadav, Party and RYA activist was killed
by PWG criminals on 3 February at Dulhin Bazar in Patna. While
condoling the death of these martyrs, Party shares the feeling
with local comrades as well as bereaved families and vows
to avenge their killing and fulfil their unfinished task.
Team to Bhuj
CPI(ML) has sent a central relief team led
by Com. Ranjan Ganguli to the quake affected district of Bhuj
on 31 January. The team comprised of around 20 AISA activists
from Delhi University and JNU. In Bhuj they joined the Red
Cross team in their relief operation.
As a mark of deep sympathy toward quake victims
and in response to the CC call, Bihar State Committee suspended
the state level Khet Mazdoor Sabha convention earlier slated
to be held on 12 February and initiated a campaign for collecting
relief from 29 Jan. to 4 Feb. In almost all districts of the
state Party ranks enthusiastically took part in the campaign
and Party leaders including Com. Ramjatan Sharma, State Secy.
and CC member KD Yadav personally took part in collection
of relief that has till now crossed Rs.50,000. The money will
be handed over to Red Cross Society.
In U.P., CPI(ML), Jan Sanskriti Manch, AISA
and RYA conducted a relief campaign in Lucknow, Varanasi and
Allahabad and collected Rs.11,000 in the first phase. The
money is being deposited with Red Cross relief fund. Party
units and mass organisations have taken up Party's call to
stand by Gujarat quake victims quite enthusitically. Intellectuals
and cultural activists also participated in the Party campaign
in Lucknow on 1 Feb.
In Mansa district of Punjab, a joint appeal
was brought out by AIPWA, RYA and Youth Action Front asking
people to contribute for quake-relief.
In Delhi, campaign teams have collected more
than Rs. 10,000 by now.
SHO Bows Down
UP Police is notoriously known for its violation
of human rights, and now Rajnath Singh is there to boost their
morale. Therefore, when the local Party unit of Kiratpur in
Bijnor district of UP declared to stage a demonstration against
the SHO who did not enter complaints without a bribe, and
the statement got published in the newspaper, the SHO called
the district CPI(ML) Incharge Com. Shamshad Hussain on 24
January and threatened to kill him. Party and RYA made an
issue of this threatening by taking it to the people. Ultimately
the SHO had to publicly apologise for issuing the threat
Against Killing of A Jute Worker
Workers of Baranagar Jute Mill in North 24
Paraganas burst with anger when a managemant staff killed
a worker with his personal revolver as the casual workers
were demanding job. This is the first time that a management
staff is found carrying revolver in the factory and using
it to suppress the workers' movement. In spontaneous retaliation
two of the management staff were killed by the workers on
the spot. State Govt. and the leadership of official central
unions, including the Left-led unions, expressed their anxiety
over the fact that a management staff was killed by workers,
but they did not emphasise the fact that first a worker was
killed without provocation. AICCTU in its press release severely
condemned the killing of the worker and blamed the state govt.
for its connivance with the jute owners, without which the
owners would not have been so offensive as to loot the industry
and kill the workers at will.
AICCTU sent an investigation team to Baranagar
Jute Mill and organised a demonostration before the office
of Labour Commissioner in Calcutta.
by AIPWA and AISA against Rape
Protesting against the incident of rape of
a Rajasthani woman at Kumbha Nagar in Allahabad and demanding
arrest of criminals, AIPWA and AISA staged a dharna before
the residence of Commissioner at Allahabad on 3 February and
submitted a memorandum thorugh ADM (city). The dharna was
addressed by Chittaranjan Singh, state convenor of the newly
formed People's Union for Human Rights (PUHR), Ranjana Kakkar,
ex-president of Allahabad University Teachers Association,
Reader Kalpana Dwivedi, Lecturer Suryanarayan, Party State
Committee member Com. Pranay Krishna, Dr. Nisha Srivastava,
Dr. Rajul Mathur, Dr. Anita Gopesh, ex-President of Allahabad
University Students Union KK Roy, Shahnaaj of Mahila Samakhya,
Anshu Malviya, Allahabad Party District Secy. Com. Radheshayam
Yadav, Arvind Kumar and Om Prakash of AISA and others. It
was conducted by Ajit Singh Yadav, state secretary of AISA.
Ekta Manch Founded in Patna
The foundation conference of Mazdoor Ekta
Manch took place at United P&T Recreation Club Hall in Patna
on 28 January. Around 170 worker activists participated as
delegates representing railways, P&T, telecom, bank and insurance
and govt. employees. Trade union leaders from Bhagalpur, Munger,
Gaya, Arrah, Begusarai and Dhanbad had also come to attend
it. The day-long conference was inaugurated by veteran trade
unionist Com. RAP Singh, ex-General Secretary of All-India
Postal Employees Union, Class-III, who exposed in details
various evil impacts of economic reform programme on government
departments. A 17-member committee of Manch was elected. Md.
Yusuf, president of Bihar Circle of Federation of National
Telecom Organisations was elected its convenor.
Against Privatisation and Downsizing in Calcutta
"Workers Solidarity Forum", a Calcutta-based
organisation was formed in a convention against privatisation
and downsizing on 24 January held at CTC auditorium. The convention
was attended by the workers and employees from organised sectors
like bank, rail, defence, power, GIC, govt. employees, etc.
An approach paper was placed by Com. Debojoyti Mazumdar of
bank sector and Com. Sujit Ghosh described the objective and
need of this convention. Speakers from different sectors supported
the ideas expressed in approach paper. The "Forum" was formed
as a loose body with 21 workers and employees with Com. N.N.
Banerjee, one of senior the T.U. leaders of S.E.Rly, as convenor
and five more workers and employees as co-convenors.
The newly formed "Forum" will not be a trade
union or its alternative. It decided to launch an ideological
campaign against globalisation and liberalisation. It will
also organise solidarity movement against every attack of
capital. Important T.U. leaders like Com. Golak Ghosh of defence
accounts, Com. Shankarshan Roychoudhury of bank, Com Chintamony
Sau of State Govt. employees were also present in the convention.
Protest Day Observed Against Massacre in Siwan
Eight party activists including Com. Nagendra
Kushwaha were killed in Jagdishpur village of Nautan PS in
Siwan district of Bihar on 2 February, when Satish Pandey-Suresh
Chaudhry gang attacked the dalit tola where a meeting of agrarian
labourers was in progress. The attackers set several houses
on fire, kidnapped a boy named Gautam from the venue of the
meeting and murdered another villager.
Immediately after receiving the news Com.
Akhilesh, Secy. of Siwan District Committee and Com. Satyadev
Ram, MLA reached the spot. Com. Nand Kishor Prasad, PB member,
Com. Ramjatan Sharma, State Secy., Com. Vimalesh, State Secretariat
member too reached there. They accused DM and SP of Siwan
for shielding the criminals and demanded their suspension
and said that this was an attempt to terrorise CPI(ML) supporter
poor and toiling people right before the Panchayat elections
in the state and demanded resignation from the chief minister
on moral ground.
Against the massacre, Protest Day was observed
throughout Bihar on 3 February. Complete Bandh was observed
in Siwan. A protest march led by Com. KD Yadav, CC member
was taken out in Patna. Similar marches were taken out in
A massive protest meeting will be held at
Mairwa in Siwan on 7 Febrary, which will be addressed by Party
General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya.
While returning from such a protest meeting
at Dulhin Bazar, Com. Jaipal Singh Yadav, Party and RYA activist,
was killed by PWG criminals. A street corner meeting was organised
at Dulhin Bazar on 3 Feb. in protest against this killing.
Meet in Delhi
A meeting of National Platform of Mass Organisations
was held in Delhi on 5 February in which Com. Swapan Mukherjee,
Kumudini Pati and Ardhendu participated. The meeting passed
resolutions expressing shock on Gujarat earthquake and Bagdigi
coalmine mishap and condemning Torpa firing incident. It also
criticised 2% tax proposal by the PM. It decided to hold a
national convention against saffron onslaughts through reform
policies on 19 February in Delhi.
Jharkhand Bandh on 5 Feb.
Babulal Marandi is trying to fulfil Advani's
dream of 'hard state' by making the newly formed Jharkhand
a trigger-happy 'police state'. This was evident by the unprovoked
police firing at Tapkara under Torpa block of Ranchi district
on 2 Feb. that took at least 10 innocent tribal people's lives.
This govt began its journey with brutal lathicharge
on tribal students protesting against growing saffron attacks
on Christians, then firng on Eid day in Ranchi town taking
toll of four Muslim youth, followed by calculated police repression
on minorities. Then police killed a poor dhobi, Jayram Rajak
in Bokaro Steel City on 22 Jan. Only because of the workers
resistance led by CPI(ML) the administration could not dispose
off the dead body and had to suspend three police officials
and institute cases under Sec.304 IPC against them.
Tapkara has been hotbed of Koel-Karo movement
waged by local tribal people for the last 30 years against
the proposed hydel project that would result in largescale
displacement of population. As Marandi govt. showed eagerness
to implement the project, the movement gained a new momentum.
After Torpa block the entire area was barricaded by the tribal
people to resist the possible penetration of project officials.
Without entering into any discussion with the leaders of the
movement, the police launched a campaign to break the barricade
and the activists who dared to protest received brutal beating.
The next day thousands of tribal people got mobilised to gherao
the local police outpost to protest police atrocity. Instead
of going for a dialogue, police suddenly opened fire.
On 3 February, a CPI(ML) investigation team
led by Com. Mahendra Singh, MLA and Subhendu Sen, Jharkhand
Party Secy. rushed to the spot and found that the police firing
was completely unprovoked, policemen had themselves set fire
to their vehicles after the carnage to justify their act.
The number of victims may be more. Criminal negligence of
people's interests and total absence of any mechanism of reconcilliation
through dialogue are basic reasons behind the incident.
Basing on these findings, Party in cooperation
with JMM, CPI and Forward Bloc, issued a call for Jharkhand
Bandh on 5 Feb., demanding resignation of Babualal Marandi
from chief ministership and institution of judicial enquiry,
punishment to erring police officials and compensation to
victims. The Bandh drew spontaneous response from every section
of people. Success of another bandh within just two and a
half months is indicator of fast erosion of credibility of
Babulal Marandi's saffron rule. The Party will spare no means
to turn the forthcoming Ramgarh by-election into his Waterloo!
in Berlin Honour Memory of Communist Heroes
Some 100,000 people walked to the memorial
in Friedrichsfelde Cemetery in Berlin on Jan. 15 to pay respects
to two martyred communist leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl
The two were murdered by the German Free
Korps on Jan. 15, 1919, just days after the communist party
they founded took responsibility for the Berlin workers' abortive
attempt to seize power earlier that January.
The two revolutionaries are famous and beloved
for their courageous opposition to Germany's role in World
War I. At a time when the majority of the Social Democratic
Party leadership was betraying their promises to fight against
their country's role in that murderous war, Liebknecht was
the only member of the party in the German Bundestag (Parliament)
to vote against war credits.
Luxemburg was the only woman at the time
who was a top ideological leader of a major party, and had
influence in the struggles within the worldwide communist
The Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstration takes
place each year, gathering pro-revolutionary forces from all
over Germany into Berlin. Earlier when the German Democratic
Republic existed, the govt. supported and encouraged the demonstration.
But now, when there is single, imperialist-ruled Germany,
the demonstration is a measure of the mood of the left and
the potential for struggle. This year, around 10,000 came
under a coalition of left, revolutionary working-class and
anarchist forces, including Turkish and Kurdish revolutionary
organizations. The other 90,000 people, most of them from
the former GDR, were called out by the Party for Democratic
Socialism, the only pro-socialist party in the German Bundestag.
Message by CPB
We are deeply shocked on receiving the tragic
news of innumerable deaths and injury and devastation due
to the earthquake in Gujarat and other places in India. We
express our deep condolences to you and through you to the
bereaved families. We ardently hope that your Party around
with the Indian people will unitedly overcome the aftermath
of this natural catastrophe.
Manzurul Ahsan Khan, President
Mujahidul Islam Selim, General Secretary
Central Committee, Communist Party of Bangladesh
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