AIPWA’s 6th UP State Conference
IPWA organised a State-level rally to mark the beginning of 6th Uttar Pradesh State Conference against the rising violence against women and to protest the anti-women policies of the Central and State governments. The rallyists led by AIPWA General Secretary Comrade Meena Tiwari marched from the Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station to the Conference venue - Nagar Nigam Hall at Sigra. More than 500 women from 16 districts took part in the rally.
The inaugural session was addressed by Comrade Meena Tiwari, Prof. Shahina Rizvi, Jagriti Rahi from Vision Organisation, Dr. Madhu Kushwaha and Chittaranjan Singh from PUCL. More than 500 women delegates attended the Conference. A 41-member State Council and 15 member State Executive were elected from the Conference. Comrade Tahira Hasan and Comrade Geeta Pandey were elected President and Secretary respectively.
Conference concluded with passing of 11-point resolution, including demands for formation of special courts for women and reconstituting the State Women Commission.
All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) organised a ‘Mahila Adalat’ (women’s court) on 2nd October at Patna on the issue of increasing oppression and sexual violence against women. Thousands of women from villages and panchayats participated in this Adalat.
The Adalat was inaugurated by AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari. A chargesheet against the Government was presented by AIPWA’s Bihar Secretary Shashi Yadav, and the Adalat was conducted by Bihar AIPWA President Saroj Chaubey.
Women survivors of sexual assaults and police repression, their family members, and AIPWA activists including Pratima Kumari from Siwan, Usha Devi from Darbhanga, Anita Sinha, AIPWA leader from Patna town, Madhuri Gupta, Patna rural, Sadhana Suman, AIPWA leader from Vaishali, and AISA leader Rinki Raj from Bhagalpur gave testimonies.
A jury comprising AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan, former JNUSU President Sucheta De, Prof. Bharti S Kumar, Meera Dutta, and advocate Anjana Bhagat delivered a verdict held the Bihar Government criminally responsible for encouraging violence on women and protecting the perpetrators. Apart from the jury members, women leaders of Left parties in Bihar also spoke.
On the same evening, the delegate session of AIPWA’s 6th State Conference began at Anjuman Islamia Hall. Jamila Bano from Arwal hoisted the AZIPWA flag. The Conference underlined important tasks for AIPWA in the coming days- challenges and tasks in building an extensive women’s movement and spreading AIPWA in every district. 275 delegates from 26 districts of Bihar attended the Conference. 91-member State Council and 23-member State Executive were elected, with Comrades Saroj Choubey and Shashi Yadav as President and Secretary respectively. At the conference, many delegates rendered songs on the women’s movement that they themselves had composed.
The Conference called for mobilising huge number of women in the ‘Parivartan Rally’ to be held on 9 November 2012 at Patna. Several resolutions were passed by the Conference.
Defying inclement weather, thousands of workers marched through the busy thoroughfare of Kolkata with red flags, festoons and banners at the call of AICCTU’s ‘March to Writers Building’ on 12 October, with rousing slogans. The two rallies, which started from Howrah and Sealdah station culminated at Rani Rashmoni Road, Esplanade, where a mass meeting was held. Workers from different sectors, jute, construction, brick kiln, transport, bidi, hawkers, rickshaw pullers, ASHA and mid-day meal women workers actively participated in this rally. But, above all, thousands of workers, along with their family members from closed mills of Gouripur jute mills, Mohini mills added a new feature to this gathering. Women workers, especially from ASHA, mid-day meal and construction were also present in large numbers.
Under the present regime of TMC government, attack on democratic rights and lumpenisation has become the order of the day. AICCTU formulated a charter of demand on industrial and labour issues and a full-fledged programme for the working class of the state. AICCTU undertook a political campaign on the question of reopening the numerous closed industries, revival of sick industries, disbursal of PF, pension and gratuity to the workers of the closed mills, and demanding financial and social security of these workers. Workers’ conventions were held at different districts along with agitations at PF and labour offices.
Before the mass meeting, a 4 member delegation team of AICCTU state leadership met the state Industry and Commerce Minister, Partha Chatterjee at Writers’ Building and handed over the charter of demands. The delegation team included Atanu Chakravarty, President, Basudev Basu, General Secretary of the AICCTU State Committee, Nabendu Dasgupta, President of BCMF and Dibakar Bhattacharya, Secretary. The delegation team had a detailed discussion with the Minister, who assured that the issues raised would be considered and corrupt PF trustee board members booked.
The mass meeting began with inspiring songs from the Agneebina cultural team of Naihaty. Basudev Bose explained the demands placed before the Government and the outcome of the mentioned meet. The mass meeting was addressed by Subhendu Sen, National Secretary, AICCTU, Partho Ghosh, Secretary, CPIML W Bengal, Meena Pal, VP, AICCTU and Dibakar Bhattacharya. Atanu Chakravarty presided over the meeting. The entire gathering ended with a firm resolve to carry forward the struggle to a higher phase.
In the backdrop of growing authoritarianism and bad governance by the ruling TMC Govt in West Bengal, a 6-member delegation, led by CPI(ML) State Secretary Partha Ghosh, met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently, and expressed strong opposition to the all-round deterioration in the situation and growing assaults on the democratic rights of the common people under TMC rule.
The issues highlighted primarily concerned the agrarian situation, attacks on women and attacks on democracy. The delegation called for completion of unfinished land reforms in West Bengal, democratization of the Panchayat system, remunerative pricing for the farmers, and stern action against any attempt to evict small peasants, bargadars and pattadars from their land. They also demanded that evictees of Singur be given Rs.7 lakh, and a monthly allowance of Rs.7000 until they get their land back.
The delegation demanded release of all political prisoners and scrapping of all the false cases still pending against activists who took part in the Singur and Nandigram movements. Regarding the issue of a host of attacks on women after the TMC came to power, the deputation demanded that a fast track court be set up to expedite the legal process to punish the culprits.
Trying to throttle each and every dissenting voice has been the most disturbing trend over the past several months. From jailing a university teacher for e-mailing a harmless cartoon, to a full-blown attack on workers’ right to strike, or clamping false charges on activists for taking part in anti-eviction protests in Nonadanga, things have gone from bad to worse. The CPI(ML) delegation condemned such attacks on democracy, and demanded that democratic rights of the people be guaranteed and respected.
The Chief Minister’s stock response to most issues was either to blame the previous regime or cite paucity of funds. When asked why the investigation commission for probing the Kashipur-Baranagar genocide has not even convened a single meeting, the flimsiest of excuses like the unavailability of a room was produced! The delegation told the Chief Minister that the people who fought for parivartan (change) would not accept this mockery and betrayal of the people’s mandate and that attacks on livelihood, dignity and democracy of the people, if not immediately halted by the government, would be met with fitting resistance by the people.
[As this report goes to press, a 15 year-old school girl was attacked on her way back to school, and another teenage girl has been gang-raped and set on fire. All this, even as CM Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the press for regularly publishing news on rapes - something she deems as ‘rare incidents’ and examples of ‘negative propaganda’ by the media to paint her regime black. And she had again echoed the highly objectionable piece of patriarchal prejudice, blaming rapes on loosening of parental control on intermingling of boys and girls.]
Comrade Hemant Khati of AISA was elected as President in the Student University polls in the Lakshman Singh Mahar Government PG College, Pithoragarh, affiliated to Kumaon University. He polled 797 votes, defeating the ABVP candidate by 67 votes. On the post of Secretary, the AISA candidate Neeraj Bisht polled 560 votes, finishing at 3rd place.
AISA has achieved a win in Pithoragarh after a gap of 12 years. The defeat against ABVP is especially significant given that the ABVP got patronage from the Government and administration, which overlooked fraudulent practices by the ABVP candidates such as distributing gifts, sweets etc.
AISA’s campaign focussed against corruption and corporate plunder, privatisation of education, rampant unemployment and scams in Uttarakhand, rights of women students, and other democratic issues.
In the Allahabad University Students Union elections, AISA candidate Shalu Yadav won the Vice President post, polling 2596 votes – the highest among all candidates on any of the four posts. The elections were held after a gap of seven years. AISA leader Ramayan Ram polled 1244 votes on the post of President.
In Samson Ingti College of Hamren sub-division of Karbi Anglong, KSA-AISA won the post of General Secretary and Joint Secretary, as well as the posts of Girls’ common room secretary, music secretary, and cultural secretary. Independents have won the other posts.