Mahendra Singh Martyrdom Anniversary Observed As Jharkhand Bachao Diwas
The Jharkhand Committee of CPI-ML had decided to observe the 8th Martyrdom Anniversary on January 16 as Jharkhand Bachao Diwas throughout the State. The Party organized meetings in Giridih and Kodarma at Bagodar, and Bishungarh in Hazaribagh district. A dharna was organized in Ranchi which was attended by well-known personalities from the city.
At the close of the Sankalp Sabha held in Ranchi, a political resolution was passed strongly condemning the machinations of the Congress to cobble together a government in Jharkhand and calling for immediate dissolution of the Assembly followed by fresh elections. The Party demanded immediate curbs on violence against women in Jharkhand as well as the whole country, and strict and effective laws to ensure this. Strong protest was registered against FDI in retail and the people were called upon to ensure the success of the People’s Convention on February 1 and Bharat Bandh on February 21-22 against the government policy to enslave the country once again through the Walmart companies and to stop the corporate loot at Nagdi and all such other lands. The Sankalp Sabha called on the people to work for the success of the 9th Party Congress which would prove to be a milestone in the building of a revolutionary Left alternative in the country.
At Bagodar, the massive rally was addressed by CPI(ML) GS Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, Jharkhand MLA Vinod Singh. The Sankalp Sabha at Mahendra Singh Bhavan, Ranchi, began at 10 AM with the garlanding of Mahendra Singh’s portrait and observing one minute’s silence as a tribute, followed by the meeting at Albert Ekka Chowk, which was addressed by a range of senior party leaders, cultural activists and leaders of people’s movements.
Sankalp Sabhas were also held in Budmu and Bundu in Ranchi district, and Palkot, Bishunpur and Sisai in Gumla district. A dharna and meetings were organized in Lohardaga as well as Govindpur in Tata, Ramgarh, Gola, Patratu, Bhurkunda of Ramgarh district. A rally was taken out from Deoriya village to Bhurkundu. A meeting was held in Giddi in Hazaribagh district. Sankalp Sabhas were held in Chandankyari, Bermo, Mahuadand, Jenamod and Kasmar in Bokaro district. Meetings were held in Randhir Verma Chowk (Dhanbad), Sindri, Govindpur and Nirsa in Dhanbad district, as well as Dumka and Godda. Meetings at Manika and Barbadih in Latehar district (Palamu range). State committee members addressed a meeting and March in Tarhasi at the Panki Assembly segment in Palamu district. Sankalp Sabhas were held in two villages of Patan-Chhatarpur and Chahmuhan Chowk in Daltonganj town. Meetings and marches were organized in Cheeniya, Meral, Garhwa, Bhavnathpur, Majhiaon and Nagar.
A memorial meeting for Comrade Sankar Mitra was held at Student’s Hall in Kolkata on the 15th of January. The life and struggles of Comrade Mitra, who passed away on the ‘Sankalp Divas’ of 18th December 2012, was remembered and fondly recounted by Party comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya, Swadesh Bhattacharya, Kartick Pal and Kunal. Comrades Dhurjati Prasad Bakshi, Amar, Arindam Sen, Kalyan Goswami, Partha Ghosh, Paresh Banerjee among others paid floral tribute to the beloved veteran leader. Leaders from other left and democratic parties and organizations - Pradip Singha Thakur of CPI (M-L) (New Democracy), Subrata Basu of CPI (M-L), Alok Mukherjee of CPI (M-L) (Janashakti), Santosh Rana of PCC (M-L), Debashish Dutta of CPI, Mridul De of CPI (M), Manoj Bhattacharya of RSP and Dilip Das of Bandimukti Committee also spoke at the meeting, recounting several episodes from comrade Sankar Mitra’s life, particularly his organizational role in the peasant uprising in Gopiballavpur of Midnapore along the lines of Naxalbari around 1969, his role in leading protests against custodial oppression at Midnapore Central Jail in the ‘70s, their shared experiences from comrade Mitra’s jail days, and reiterating the need for the broadest possible left unity to defeat the imperialist and capitalist forces on neoliberal prowl, preying on the toiling masses.
In his address, party General Secretary comrade Dipankar reminded the audience that comrade Sankar Mitra led struggles at a very important juncture of time and space, upholding fine communist traditions through his life and practices and that it was the responsibility of the party to preserve the history of his rich life and lived struggles for posterity. In particular, his political trajectory during the ‘60s and the ‘70s would remain a lesson for all revolutionaries. Comrade Dipankar recounted Comrade Sankar Mitra’s stints in Delhi and Tamil Nadu where he worked tirelessly and with unshakable conviction, building up the party organization from scratch and fulfilled every responsibility bestowed on him by the party. Thus, in remembering Sankar Mitra, we also remember in the same breath countless other comrades who shouldered the enormous responsibility of rebuilding the party and placing it on firmer and stronger foundation. In today’s India, cities and urban spaces are gaining more and more importance with sharp battle lines being drawn, and our strategies and struggles are being adapted according to the changing circumstances. The recent mass uprising in Delhi, which saw students, youth and women take the lead, exemplifies the resonance in India of the urban awakenings across the globe. In these changing times, he said, when the fighting left forces have to take bold and decisive strides, Comrade Mitra’s life as a communist revolutionary would remain as a pole star for us to draw lessons from. Comrade Sankar Mitra, who was known as Sankarda to all, would be greatly missed in the party’s upcoming Congress to be held in Ranchi in April, but he will continue to inspire us in our united and resolute fights, where we will emerge victorious.
The meeting ended with the International sung by a jam-packed audience. Comrade Sankar Mitra’s family members, including his wife and son were present.
Earlier, a memorial meeting was held on 5th January at Rabindra Nilay Hall of Midnapore. Several of Comrade Sankar Mitra’s fellow-fighters and friends of the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as several party members and leaders from other left parties reminisced on his life and times. Bishnu Sengupta, Manab Goswami, Sudarshan Sarkar, Ashwini Sen, Kalyan Das, Chanchal Mandal, Mina Pal, Pradip Banerjee, Sailen Maity, Shukchand Mandal, Jayatu Deshmukh and others addressed the audience. Comrade Mitra’s various roles - as organizer of Life Insurance employees (1962-67), in the anti-automation movement, as convenor of the 12th July Committee, as organizing peasants in Keshpur-Debra amidst great hardship, and in the long struggle during years of imprisonment - were recounted. Several speakers spoke about his simple lifestyle and manners which made him endearing to all.
Comrade J Bharadwaj, State Leading Team Member of CPI(ML), and also the state president of AICCTU (All India Central Council of Trade Unions) has been issued a notice for an enquiry for ‘Externment’ (‘Gadipaaru’ in Kannada) by the Deputy Commissioner (Collector/District Magistrate) of Koppal, Ms.Tulasi Madineni, with an ulterior political motive. There are no criminal cases pending against Com. Bharadwaj. He was acquitted by the court in an explosives case which was falsely framed against him. Other two minor cases were also closed as the ‘B’ reports contradicted FIRs as they were false. He is issued an ‘externment’ enquiry notice not because of any other reason but for organising rallies, protests and agitations in a democratic way with due permission from authorities and also strikes and Bandhs. This action of the DC of Koppal is an attack on democracy and also on the people’s movements that question the violations of law by the government authorities themselves.
This action appears to be a conspiracy of the real estate and corporate land mafia. This is an attempt to silence the voices of people and the dissent in the society. The party also strongly condemned the undemocratic and illegal action of the DC and the harassment meted out to many activists of people’s struggles in the recent times in Karnataka.
Initiatives Against Externment in Karnataka
CPI(ML) organised an impressive rally at Gangavati on 16 Jan. condemning the BJP governemtn in the state and the DC, which was addressed by leaders of many Left organisations. The party leaders also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary on 17th. State level demonstrations were organised in many districts in Karnataka and memorandums were sent to the Governor.
In Davanagere, AISA and CPI(ML) activists led by Prasad, NECM submitted a memorandum to Governor through the DC of Davanagere. Memorandum to Governor was also submitted through Dakshina Kannada district DC at Mangalore by AICCTU leaders led by Sathish and Chandru. Similar Memorandum was submitted at Mysore also by Javaraiah on the same day.
CPI(ML) and AICCTU has been raising voices of poor and the downtrodden in Koppal district of Karnataka. CPI(ML) has organised many struggles on issues related to illegal encroachment and capture of land and house sites owned by the poor people, including dalits and unorganised workers. We also organised many struggles for allotment of housing sites to houseless people in the district. As these struggles of the poor affected the real estate mafia in the district, they are using state machinery and state authorities to espouse their cause.
Koppal has been one of the districts where multinational and corporate companies, including POSCO and MSPL, and real estate mafia eye on land assets in the district in general, and particularly on the lands owned by and allotted to the poor unorganised workers and small farmers. MSPL and POSCO’s attempt to grab thousands of acres of land with the support of Koppal DC could be stalled only by people’s movement and legal actions. The historical Nizam period Ginegere Airport was handed over to the Ultratech, Birla Group. The Koppal DC has been quite active in handing over large tracts of lands to corporate houses and real estate mafia since she assumed charge of Koppal district. The DC is going to the extent of cancelling lands allotted to poor people and grabbing farmers’ lands and handing over them to the real estate mafia.
In Gangavati taluk of Koppal district, CPI(ML) opposed encroachment of government land by real estate mafia in the name of Lord Ayyappa temple. We demanded that the State Endowment Board must take over the temple administration. The land was actually claimed by auto technicians as the allotment was cancelled by the administration and the case is pending before the court. Another piece of land allotted to unorganised workers of auto technicians twenty years back was also cancelled.
The Gadipaaru enquiry notice against Com. Bharadwaj, a proposed candidate of the party in the coming elections, is also politically motivated. Bharadwaj is a committed cadre of the party dedicated to the people’s cause and also a civil rights activist as a part of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
CPI(ML) demanded (i)withdrawal of Gadipaaru enquiry on Comrade Bharadwaj (ii) investigation into land related orders by the DC of Koppal, Ms. Tulasi Madineni since she assumed charge and (iii) transfer of Deputy Commissioner Ms. Tulasi Madineni from Koppal District.
Since the day Com. Bharadwaj was issued the notice, many Left and democratic organisations in the district came forward and condemned it. All vernacular papers came up with stories surrounding questionable land transactions and real estate and corporate land mafia friendly nature of the DC since she assumed charge.
As the public pressure was mounting, the DC postponed the hearing on 10 Jan. to 18 Jan. When comrade Bharadwaj went for the enquiry with advocate on 18th, the DM herself went on a leave without giving any date of adjournment.
The struggle against externment is on.