Third Conference of Jhamas
Following the Jan Sunwai on 1 December, the Third Conference of Jharkhand Gramin Mazdoor Samiti (Jhamas) began at Comrade Ashok Kumar auditorium. The dais was named Comrade Rajeshwar Das Manch. The Conference continued till the next day in which around 600 delegates participated.
The Conference was inaugurated by its central observer and AIALA’s National Secretary Satyadev Ram. CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar addressed the delegates in the Conference and called for Jhamas to play an important role in the expansion of the Party and intensification of the movement. For this, he said, we have to weave a web of organizational network down-to panchayat and village level along with developing a militant movement on the ground. He reminded that movements and struggles are the pivot on which our identity rests. It is crucial that the members of Jhamas are organized in active organizational structures and equipped with political consciousness. Describing the global economic recession centred in the US, he said that the bubble of economic growth has burst. The pro-rich, anti-poor and pro-speculators policies of the ruling classes destroying the modern productive forces across the world are responsible for this recessionary phase. This has demolished many of their castles built in air. The capital that ought to be invested in production for providing employment to 85 percent people was set aside for stock markets and speculative activities for the unproductive and gambling activities of the 15 percent of population. Therefore a resolute struggle for round the year employment and adequate wage is important for bringing the economy on track and this type of global recessionary cycle can only be prevented through workers control over production process. Therefore the workers and poor people have to create the pressure for employment and wage. They have to understand that it is their toil and money which is running and maintaining the entire affairs of the economy, country and society. Therefore they must say that they be handed over their money and means of production. But these governments are doing the exact opposite – snatching everything from the poor and doling out to the rich, influential and powerful. Only a powerful struggle of the working people will ensure actual economic prosperity and stop imperialist domination.
Comrade Janardan Prasad, outgoing General Secretary of the Jharkhand Grameen Mazdoor Sabha (JGMS) presented the work report on which many delegates from different regions took part in debate and discussion. The Conference was conducted by a presidium comprising Comrades Parmeshwar Mahato, Akhtar Ansari, Hira Gope, Sukhdev Munda, Usman Ansari and Kanhai Singh. The Conference was also addressed among others by Comrades Subhendu Sen – AICCTU Jharkhand General Secretary, Rajaram – CCM, Nepal Vishwakarma – State Secretary of RYA and Xavier Kujur – State Jt.Secretary of Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch. The work report was unanimously passed. A 79-member central council and 17-member executive council and panel of vice presidents was elected. Comrade Anant Prasad Gupta was elected President and Comrade Parmeshwar Mahato as General Secretary. The name Jharkhand Grameen Mazdoor Sabha was unanimously adopted replacing the earlier name Jharkhand Mazdoor Samiti. The artists from Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch presented arousing cultural programmes and revolutionary songs. q
Calling Nitish’s Bluff in Bihar
(Even as the Nitish Government issued ads and held ostentatious programmes celebrating its third anniversary, CPI(ML) took a series of initiatives to call its bluff. A report.)
Shaheed Mela in Bhagalpur
23 November is the martyrdom anniversary of Comrades Maheshwar Bhagat and Uday Bhagat, two party activists of Bhagalpur district who had been killed in 1990. On this occasion a 2-day Shaheed Mela was held in the Kadva Diyara area of Bhagalpur, in memory of many revolutionary activists who have been martyred in this region: including Comrade Mahendra Pandit and Viveka in 1973; Ganpat Mandal in 1981; Ganga Mandal in the land struggle of 1983 as well as Maheshwar and Uday Bhagat in 1990.
The Mela began with CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar hoisting the party flag and unveiling the newly erected Martyrs’ Memorial. Family members of the martyrs were honoured and presented with shawls as a mark of respect. Thousands of people of the Naugachiya subdivision attended the mass meeting at the Mela. Comrade Prabhat Kumar, CCM and Central Office Secretary, who had worked closely alongside most of the martyred comrades, addressed the mass meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Comrade Dipankar said Nitish had promised to usher in a great change from the regime of his predecessor Laloo Yadav. As it is, though, it is apparent that the four leaders of Bihar who rode to power on the wave of a student movement: Nitish, Modi, Laloo and Ram Vilas – all stand discredited. And the final straw was when they failed to walk their own talk on the question of defending the students and job-seeking youth and migrant labour facing regional chauvinistic violence in Bihar. That is why students and youth in Bihar, as well as the rural poor, are up in arms against the Nitish Government as well as the entire UPA-NDA spectrum of leaders. It is these radical forces of change – who have struggled and even given up their lives for the struggle - that hold out hope for the realization of the dream of a new Bihar, not Nitish’s corporatized governance. He called to give a revolutionary Left orientation to these spontaneous struggles that can be seen all over Bihar.
Comrade Dipankar went on to say that Bhagalpur is not just synonymous with communal riots, crime and instances of barbaric police repression – rather Bhagalpur is also known for being a vibrant centre of the Left movement – beginning with the CPI and continuing under the banner of CPI(ML) today – and a site of peasant movement and the struggles of poor students and youth. In recent days too, Bhagalpur witnessed peasant struggles as well as students’ movement which was led by AISA.
The meeting was also attended and addressed by Bhagalpur District Secretary and SCM S K Sharma, Comrades Pradeep Jha, Katihar District Secretary Rambali Yadav, AIALA District Secretary Bindeshwari Mandal and AISA State President Rinku. On the second day of the Shaheed Mela – 24 November – a seminar was organized on ‘Naugachia’s Development and CPI(ML)’s Role’, inaugurated by Pradeep Jha and presided by Bindeshwari Mandal, in which many prominent local individuals and intellectuals participated. On both days of the Shaheed Mela, Hirawal presented plays and revolutionary songs.
Mazdoor Kisan Adhikar Rally at Samastipur
At Samastipur on December 3, thousands of rural workers and peasants gathered in a Mazdoor Kisan Adhikar Rally on the eve of the third District Conference of AIALA. As the main speaker at the Rally, Comrade Dipankar said that Nitish Kumar came to power with the slogan of ‘good governance’ (sushasan) and ‘development,’ (vikas). He had issued a self-congratulatory Report Card on completion of three years of his Government. However, on every count, people from various segments of Bihar’s society have issued an unequivocal Failure Card to the Nitish Government.
Nitish has organized a grand international meet of corporate houses some time back – yet he does not have a single instance of industry to show for three years of rule! Dozens of industries in Bihar, especially in North Bihar: jute, paper and sugar mills remain closed, and no attempt has been made to revive them.
Electricity is essential to development – yet much of Bihar remains plunged in darkness. When the residents of Kahalgaon (near Bhagalpur) had demanded that they too should get the benefit of electricity since the NTPC power plant was in their town, they had faced police firing. Nitish had declared 2008 as ‘Kisan Varsh’ (Peasants’ Year): but, as we approach 2009, peasants all over Bihar are desperate for fertilizers and seeds at the rates fixed by the Government – and have been met with lathicharges in many places.
As for education and employment, the Nitish Government set up a Commission to implement the Common School System, but the recommendations of the Commission have been shelved. This means that on the one hand, school education continues to remain divided on class lines, with good education being out of reach for the poor; and on the other, contract teachers are condemned to insecure and ill-paid jobs, and if they protest, they face brutal lathicharges.
The Badyopadhyay Land Reforms Commission on Land Reforms has submitted its recommendations – and these too have been put in cold storage, and on the question of justice, too, the Amir Das Commission, which was on the brink of indicting the political forces which backed the Ranveer Sena, was disbanded by the Nitish Government.
The Rally was also addressed by Comrade Shirendra Jha, General Secretary, AIALA, and other leaders.
Kosi Flood Victims Betrayed
A Janhunkar (People’s Battle-cry) rally was held on 24 November 2008 in Purnea in which thousands of victims of flood and agricultural labourers participated. The rally was addressed among others by CPI(ML) GS Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya and Comrade Madhavi Sarkar presided over the meeting. Addressing the gathering he said that Chief Minister himself has been an engineer and he does not need telling how to secure the embankments. The Chief Minister first declared that the floods were a mega national calamity (pralay); then he tried to make political capital with his much-touted ‘mega-shivirs’ (government relief camps) – but these have turned into a mega joke when ‘mega’ camps at Purnia, Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura and Araria were provided only with ‘mini’ relief, and since then the Nitish Government has dismantled the camps and evicted the people with no provision of food or shelter.
Addressing the people Central Committee member Com. Prabhat Kumar pulled the attention on Nitish Government’s total failure in implementing any recommendation of the Bandhopadhya Commission on land reforms, Purnea being a major centre of land controversies. The speakers demanded that providing employment under NREGA round the year for people of flood affected regions be made mandatory at the rate of Rs.200/day.
This mass meeting was witness to many activists and cadres of BSP, JD(U) and JMM joining the CPI(ML). Com. Rupa Besra who came from Jharkhand and other Party leaders including District Secretary Pankaj Singh and Com. Islamuddin also addressed the assembly.
Prior to the meeting a motor-bike rally of youth in the leadership of Amit Sarkar, son of martyred communist leader Comrade Ajit Sarkar, was taken out and this procession reached RN Shah chowk and garlanded the statue of Ajit Sarkar.
Muraligunj, one of the blocks most badly ravaged by the floods, is still cutoff from District headquarters and rail and road links. A big demonstration was held here by CPI(ML) on 26 November 2008. The mass meeting was held at Block HQ. The Party demanded that rations, kerosene for one year and ten thousand rupees as cash be paid to each family, fertilizers and seeds be distributed free of cost and embankments be repaired as soon as possible.
At Madhepura, a huge dharna of flood victims was held on 5 December 2008 on the above mentioned demands. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Vidyanand Vikal of AIALA, Pankaj Singh and Bharat Bhushan. The irregularities and corrupt practice in distributing compensation among flood victims was one of the issues of the dharna.
At Araria, a protest march and mass meeting was held at the Raniganj block headquarters of Araria district on 29 November, to protest against the murderous assault on and abduction of the party District In-charge Satyanarayan Yadav. Comrades in this district had done exemplary work among the flood victims and are even now in the struggle against the corruption and callousness of block officials. Most shocking is the fact that in this district – one of the most backward in Bihar, and worst affected by the floods – job-card holders have got the least work, and NREG funds are being looted by contractors and officials. Comrade Satyanarayan was abducted and assaulted because CPI(ML) comrades had been highlighting this loot. He was released by the abductors only after protest and intervention by our party comrades.
The mass meeting was addressed by CCM Prabhat Kumar, AIALA National General Secretary Dhirendra Jha, Pankaj Singh, Islamuddin and Satyanarayan Yadav. At this meeting, many CPI comrades joined CPI(ML).
At Supaul, on December 4, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar addressed thousands of flood victims in a mass meeting – the first-ever such meeting being organized by the party in Supaul town. The meeting was also addressed by Pankaj Singh, Arvind, and others.