Peoples' Truth Bullettin No 3 in MS Word format is pasted below.
Editor, Peoples' Truth
Spark of Shrine Board Land Issue Ignites a Prairie Fire
The goebbellian lies and falsehood propagated day and night by the establishment media, politicians and even films, that the Kashmir problems was confined to a handful of terrorists and Pakistani infiltrators, has been finally blown to pieces by the recent gigantic upsurge in Kashmir. The cry for Azadi (freedom) reverberated from all corners of the Kashmir valley when nearly a million people came on the streets on at least five occasions. Never before has the entire valley been put under curfew as when the massive clampdown all over Kashmir began in August. The Amarnath Yatra is used by the Hindu fascists backed by the central government to create trouble in Kashmir and provoke the Muslims to drive a deeper wedge between the two communities. It is nothing but part of the traitorous games the Indian rulers have been playing with the Kashmiri people since the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 by Nehru. The chief villain of the present explosion in both the Valley and Jammu is none other than the governor of Kashmir. S.K.Sinha, the notorious Hindutva fascist calmly ignited the flames and was allowed to escape by replacing him on June 24th with a new governor, N.N. Vohra.
The Amarnath Shrine
The Amarnath yatra, a centuries old pilgrimage, was revived in the latter half of the nineteenth century when a Muslim shepherd, named Buta Malik, discovered the shrine and since then the yatra has been going on peacefully. It was only after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 when the saffron brigade gave the call of “chalo Amarnath” asking pilgrims to go in large numbers to the shrine. Nothing much happened but, encouraged by the Hindutva forces and even the government, the number of pilgrims for this traditional yatra of 15 days (culminating on the day of Raksha Bandhan) began to steadily increase. In 1996,when the number of pilgrims crossed the one lakh mark and landslides and avalanches claimed many lives the government constituted the Nitish Sengupta Committee to look into the causes of such incidents and send recommendations. The Nitish Sengupta Committee report that there was need to curtail the number of pilgrims and also suggested a regulatory authority that would monitor the functioning of the pilgrims and ensure facilities.
Based on this report the Government passed the Shrine Board Act in 2001 vesting the Shrine Board with sweeping powers for just a 15-day yatra. The Board was to be headed by the governor of J & K if a Hindu, and if not, any Hindu from the state nominated by the governor. By 2003 S.K.Sinha took over as governor of the state and head of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). In 2004 due to changes in the lunar calendar the yatra was extended by a few weeks. Sinha now decided to make this a regular feature indirect contrast to the Nitish Sengupta Committee recommendations. Though there was opposition Sinha, with the assistance of the Congress extended the yatra to a two months duration. Not only that, the number of yatris began to double each year. And to encourage more yatris as part of their Hindutva agenda the SASB cancelled even the existing minimal registration fee. This resulted in huge risks to the yatris as the route to the Shrine was inhospitable and with no amenities possible except at the base camp. In 2008 there were about 5 lakh yatris, many of whom were being sponsored by business houses. All pilgrimages were not only ever disrupted, but pilgrims were touched by the hospitality shown by the local people.
The local priests opposed the extension of the yatra but Sinha was unrelenting. With the constitution of the Board the local priests and the Malik family lost rights over any decision making over the yatri. It also lost its earlier secular character. Since the discovery of the Shrine the yatra had been a combined affair organized by the priests of Mattan and Dashnami Akhara from Jammu, the local people and the state government. The Malik family got a share of the offerings and the priests were give a warm send off when they left with the holy mace from the Lal Chowk in Shrinagar. The local ponywallahs carried yatris and organized langars. The SASB even began to harass the poneywallahs by forcing them to pay a license fee. The Board used the state funds for the facilities and security of the yatris.
The Mufti PDP government opposed a three-month long yatra,while the Congress backed Sinha. The Centre then forced Mufti to accept. Ever since Sinha took charge the SASB has been mired in controversy. In 2005 it became clear that the environmental impact on huge crowds and a lengthy yatra had led to the melting of the ice lingam and its replacement by an artificial lingam made of ice brought from Delhi. The Amarnath cave derives its spirituality from the naturally formed ice lingam. Deepindra Giri who carries the holy mace to the cave and reaches at the end of the yatra has said there has been no lingam there since the last four years, but only an ice platform.
The seeds of mistrust had already been laid from the ‘Chalo Amarnath’ call of the saffron brigade followed by the setting up of the SASB at a time when the BJP was in power at the centre and their ally, the National Conference, in power in the state. With the entry of Sinha, who already had a notorious record as governor of Assam, and his maniacal obsession with the Amarnath yatra, the people of Kashmir began to see sinister moves when the 800 kanals (100 acres) of forest land was decided to be transferred to the SASB in May 2008. Since 2005 Sinha had been seeking the transfer, but this became possible with the transfer of the Chief Minster to the Congress in Nov 2005. Till March 2008 the PDP resisted the transfer but in May it acquiesced. To allow the governor to continue his nefarious plans the government extended his tenure which was to end on June 2 by over a fortnight.
The transfer of land by the PDP government was opposed by the people of Kashmir for two reasons. The SASB is made up of non-state people, meaning that the people on the Board are not the subjects of J & K. Under article 370, designed to provide some minimum autonomy to the region, non-state subjects cannot own immovable property in the state. This transfer was seen by the people of Kashmir as, and indeed it is, an attack on the autonomy of the region; one more step of compromising what little autonomy article 370 guaranteed. Also, a part of the land is forest land and the transfer is in violation of the 5th Schedule which prohibits the transfer of forest land to private individuals or the use of forest land for any commercial purposes. The rest of the land is owned by villagers as community land used for purposes of grazing by cattle.
In Kashmir outsiders are not allowed to buy land and the people of the state had already agitated the previous year when the government planned to offer vast tract of land in Gulmarg to hoteliers and big companies from outside the state. The final spark was finally ignited by the Chief Executive Officer of the SASB, Arun Kumar, who at a venomous press conference on June 17th said that the land transfer was “permanent”. The provocation was all the more as it was well known that in 2005 his wife, Sonali Kumar, who was the forest commissioner, had given the green signal to transfer 3600 kanals of forest land, which was cancelled by the then PDP CM.
Violent Protests Rock the Valley
Massive protests broke out throughout the valley from June19th itself. On June 27th a complete bandh was observed in the valley to oppose both the land transfer and the killing of two persons in Shrinagar’s Lal Chowk. On the day of the bandh lakh of people took to the streets. Over one lakh came out in Shrinagar alone. Slogans of Azadi rent the air throughout the valley and the police kept a distance fearing people’s anger against them due to earlier firings. This massive upsurge precipitated a political crisis, with elections due within a few months. The PDP pulled out of the government on June 28th, the very day the new governor, Vohra, was sworn in. Faced with this massive outburst of protest, Vohra wrote a letter to the CM canceling the land transfer saying that if the state government can take care of the pilgrims there is no need to go ahead with the transfer.
With the cancellation of the land transfer order the BJP and its storm troopers stepped in and sought to polarize the entire populace of Jammu on this issue. The protests in Jammu were not spontaneous and were initially confined rabble rousing Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, VHP and RSS elements. Minor protests were magnified hundredfold by entire electronic media adding further provocations as portraying the Azadi slogan as pro-Pakistan and anti-Hindu. Jammu which had not succumbed to such provocation in the last two decades got enveloped in the Hindutva hysteria and soon attacks began on Muslims and Gujjars. The Kashmari pundits added to the hysteria. In a systematic mobilization of Hindutva sentiment all were organized into a Sangarsh Samithi(SAYSS). The ruling Congress government turned a blind eye to the hoodlum gangs that wrecked havoc in Jammu and the police were conspicuous by their absence. Over the months till today the agitation was allowed to pick up momentum and now they have successfully been able to fracture the communal harmony of the state polarizing the Hindu-Muslim divide as never before.
But with the start of the economic blockade of the valley by the saffron gangsters from July 28th and the closure of the single road connecting the rest of India to the valley the Kashmiris felt their very existence was being choked out. Fruits began to rot, petrol could not reach, trucks plying their wares to India were brutally attacked and Kashmir was totally cut off. And in this blockade the government was defacto collaborators with the police calmly ignoring any action against the protestors. It was only after 11 days did the government orders the army to open the highway. The anger in the Valley mounted as the season’s pear crop ripened and began to rot, coal ceased to arrive, petrol became scarce, and the cement plants had to shut down. Milk powder, medicines and newsprint began to be hoarded. The Centre acted as a silent spectator.
This resulted in the fruit march to Muzaffarrabad on August 11th in a symbolic bid to sell their wares across the border in the Pakistan part of Kashmir. When a sea of humanity descended on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road led by Hurriyat leaders the security forces began unprovoked indiscriminate firing killed at least six (official figure, actual 30) including top Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz, and injuring over 100. This action inflamed the situation even more and in the next three days lakhs took to the streets defying curfew orders. Never before has the situation taken such a turn. Already by August 15th when the Valley normally boycotts the ‘independence day’ function the official count of those killed in firing was 40.
With each passing day the demonstrations only grew in size whether on Aug.15th or on the Friday March of Idgha. On Aug. 13th protestors hoisted Muslim flags over the ruins of police and CRPF posts. Attacks on Indian forces took place all over Srinagar and outside. They set fire to a police post at Charar-e-Sharief as well as Sheri in North Kashmir. Police posts in Kohun, Klaugan and Nadihal were also attacked. On Aug. 16th protestors marched to Pampora to pay tribute to the Hurriyat leader, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, killed in police firing. On Aug 18th there was a march to the UN office in Srinagar and on Aug.22nd there was the Idgah march in which 3 lakh people participated.
As reported by Arundathi Roy in the Sept 1st issue of Outlook: There have been rallies in the past, but none in recent memory have been so sustained and widespread. ….Day after day, hundreds of thousands of people swarm around places that hold terrible memories for them. They demolish bunkers, break through cordons of concertina wire and stare straight down the barrels of soldiers’ machineguns, saying “We want Freedom”. …. On August 15th the city of Shrinagar shut down completely. The Bakshi Stadium where Governor N.N.Vohra hoisted the flag was empty except for a few officials. Hours later, Lal chowk, the nerve center of the city, was taken over by thousands of people who hoisted the Pakistani flag and wished each other “Happy Slavery Day”. On Aug.16th 3 lakh people marched to Pampore, the village of Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz who was shot down in cold blood 5 days earlier. On Aug.18th, an equal number gathered in Srinagar in the huge TRC (Tourist Reception Centre) grounds close to the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to submit a memorandum asking for three things ----- the end to Indian rule, the deployment of a UN Peacekeeping force and an investigation into two decades of war crimes committed with almost complete impunity by the Indian army and police. On the night of Aug.17th the police sealed the city. Streets were barricaded, thousands of armed police manned barriers. The roads leading to Srinagar were blocked. …… yet, on the morning of the 18th, people began pouring into Srinagar from villages and towns across the valley. Once again barriers were broken and people reclaimed their city.
The Kashmir press and reports place the death toll at a minimum of 50 with 30 people killed by the army on the day of the march to Muzaffarabad itself. The number injured is well over 50. The Indian press has blacked out reports that the Indian Army has been firing, lathi-charging and even tear gassing inside hospitals that housed the wounded protesters. Where already in the valley there is one soldier for every 7 Kashmiris deployment has been even further increased in these days of turmoil. On the question of land itself the Indian Army has occupied forcibly 87,000 kanals of agricultural and residential land, pushing people off their homes and fields.
It was then on Aug 20th that the criminal fascist and National Security Advisor, M.K.Narayanan flew down to take personal charge on Aug 20th. He was accompanied by a team of security chiefs and the IB director general, P.C.Haldar. On August 24th a new round of terror was unleashed on a scale never seen before. Curfew was clamped on the entire Valley; nine districts were handed over to the army and 20 battalions of the CRPF moved into Srinagar. Four persons were killed and over 200 injured on 25th as protestors tried to defy the most stringent curfew ever imposed on the entire 10 districts of the Valley. And this was no ordinary curfew. Local newspapers were banned, journalists beaten up and foreign journalists were rounded up and sent out of Kashmir; cable TV was shut down and internet temporarily disrupted. The SMS facility on mobiles had already been withdrawn. All newspapers were forced to close down their vehicles were seized and employees beaten up and no one was allowed to distribute the paper. While imposing the curfew the CRPF did not spare even journalists, 20 of whom were beaten up.
Jammu’s Communal Carnage
As the government cancelled the order under the pressure of the Kashmiri upsurge, the RSS and saffron hordes cobbled together a wide coalition under the name of the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samithi (SAYSS).
While terror was unleashed in the valley the governor called the Hindutva hordes for negotiations. The contrast could not have been sharper: kill and murder Kashmiris while pampering the fascist saffron brigade. The double standards were there for all to see which would only act to alienate the Kashmiri people even more. It was no wonder that the media was even forced to admit that the Azadi slogan was on the lips of all; from child to the aged. The curfew continued for a full 18 days in the Valley adding to the inconvenience already created by two weeks of economic blockade.
The SAYSS unleashed terror in Jammu while the state forces looked on. The economic blockade of the Kashmir valley led to a severe shortage of essential commodities and fruit growers alone reported losses of Rs.60 crores by the end of July. The huts of poor Muslims (mostly Gujjars, who are the poorest and most exploited in the whole of J & K), were burnt down like in Jordan, Abhor, Poonch, Rajouri and Samba areas of Jammu. A mob of Samithi activists carrying spears and trishuls forced 250 Gujjar families out of their homes in Akhnoor and Bisnah alone. Scores of Muslims have been assaulted and many lynched.
The attitude of the State was crush by brute force the people of the valley while allowing the Jammu Hindutva hordes to run rampage.
The Hindu fascists have tried desperately to divide the people on religious lines and thereby divert the J & K people’s struggle for freedom. They hide the fact that the 10,000 Kashmiri pundits still in the valley and over 50,000 Sikhs support the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris. They do not mention that the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samithi (an organization of Kashmiri pandits still residing in Kashmir) has articulated its opposition to the transfer of land to non-state subjects, condemned the economic blockade, and also pledged support to the “Muzzaffarabad Chalo” call. Mr. Tikoo, chief of the KPSS, has also issued statements condemning the communal agenda of the RSS and other communal bodies as the Panun Kashmir (an organization of Kashmiri Pundits with close links to the RSS). Several Sikh bodies have also opposed the transfer on the grounds that it violates article 370. Sikhs took out a procession in Shrinagar in support of the demand for an independent Kashmir and also supporting the Muzaffarabad March.
No Amount of Force can crush the Kashmiri People’s Right to Self-determination
From the very start the Indian ruling classes have been stabbing the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people in the back. This began right after so-called independence in 1947 and well before the Kashmiri people took to arms. In fact it was this continuous betrayal that finally pushed the people of Kashmir to arms in the late 1980s. It is a history of treachery, duplicity, plunder, rape, murder, and the worst forms repression on a nation seeking freedom and justice.
In 1947 a massive ethnic cleansing of Muslims took place in Jammu; the Muslim population of Jammu was reduced from 61% of the total in 1947 to a mere 38% in 1961. The London Times of August 10 1948 published a report of an Indian Civil Service Official saying: “2, 37,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated –unless they escaped to Pakistan across the border – by all the forces of the Dogra State, headed by the Maharaja in person and aided by Hindus and Sikhs. This happened in October 1947, five days before the first Pathan invasion and nine days before the Maharaja’s accession to India. Hari Singh (the father of Karan Singh) was personally responsible.” Sheikh Abdullah wrote “There was enacted in every village through which Hari Singh passed an orgy of arson and loot and murder of Muslims. In Jammu the killing of Muslims continued unabated for weeks under his very nose”. EPW (Aug 23 2008) reported “There was hardly any family in the region which escaped it. Those events permanently changed the way the Muslims of Jammu would live or think”. With such terror and ethnic cleansing it is indeed surprising that the Muslims of the region took 4 decades before resorting to armed resistance.
It was Nehru who outright sabotaged the December 23 1948 (published on Jan.5th 1949) U.N. Commission’s plebiscite proposal. Hardly had the ink on the proposal dried when Nehru said on Jan.12 1949 that “there is a possibility of the plebiscite not taking place at all”. Ever since, the Indian rulers have aggressively put aside the UN proposal which they themselves had agreed to before the entire international community.
Then came the defacto coup by Nehru and his gang against Sheikh Abdullah in 1953. In 1951 the BJP was formed and its main plank was the integration of Kashmir into India and bringing back of the Hindu Maharaja to head the state. Simultaneously within the Congress itself there were elements like Patel and Ayyanger who had a similar approach. Sheikh Abdullah was a thorough democrat and desired a secular Kashmir. in fact his proposal for a Naya Kashmir (New Kashmir) put forward in 1944 envisaged and independent state even if India was not partitioned. The Draft Constitution with 50 Clauses provided for a constitutional monarch as head of state; a National Assembly with powers in respect of defence and foreign affairs and a separate citizenship. He was much inspired by the USSR and its dealing with the nationality question. The included a Peasant’s Charter, a Worker’s Charter and a Women’s Charter. It was quite natural that such concept of a democratic Kashmir was horrifying to the comprador Indian rulers and their imperialist masters.
On August 9th 1953 Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed from the office of the Prime Minister of J & K and he was put in prison for11 long years. Since then the rulers of Kashmir have been Indian stooges brought to power by all forms of perfidy, double-dealing and rigged elections. This has been accepted publicly even by the Indian rulers themselves. B.K. Nehru, who was governor of J & K from 1992 to 1994, wrote in 1997: “From 1953 to 1975 Chief Ministers if that State had been nominees of Delhi. Their appointment to the post was legitimized by holding of farcical and totally rigged elections in which the Congress Party led by Delhi’s nominee was elected by huge majorities”. Even the Delhi puppet, Mir Qasim, who was CM from 1971 to 75 and supported the 1953 coup, said in 1992 “Whenever New Delhi feels a leader in Kashmir is getting too big for his shoes, it employs Machiavellian methods to cut him to size”.
Such has been the history of Indian control and domination over Kashmir ever since1947. This continued for over three decades when all attempts to peacefully change was brutally crushed under the jackboots of Indian expansionism. When all their efforts failed it was only then that they took to arms and began their struggle for real freedom and liberation. At first the struggle had a secular character and was built around a plan similar to that of Sheikh Abdullah. But it soon got a more Islamic character due to the fuelling of Islamic elements by the US and its stooge Pakistan. At that time with US soviet contention at a peak, particularly after soviet social imperialist aggression and occupation of Afghanistan, it was the US-Pak axis which funded and armed Islamic militants in the sub-continent. The Kashmiri militants, with their backs to the wall, in countering the Indian armed forces, gradually fell into the trap of the US. But till today the Kashmiri people have a great history of democratic and secular struggles.
Anyhow it is for the Kashmiri people alone to decide their own future. No one has the right to dictate how they should live. The massive agitations for Azadi that shook the Valley in July and August once again shows that it is the overwhelming population of Kashmir that desire freedom from the chains that bind them to India; and it is not the handiwork of a handful of militants or the ISI as propagated by the Indian rulers. It is not possible to keep an entire nation down through guns and bullets. The Indian people must fully support the Kashmir peoples struggle for self-determination and freedom.
The CPI (Maoist) is the only Party in the country that has categorically supported the Kashmiri people’s freedom struggle. In a press statement issued in mid August the Party said: The CC, CPI (Maoist), condemns the double-standards displayed by the Central government in dealing with the Hindu chauvinist-led Jammu agitation on the one hand and the justified and legitimate response of the people of Kashmir Valley on the other. We extend all support to the struggle of the people of Kashmir and appeal to the people of India to fight the Hindu fascist forces led by the BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena etc., who have been trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the country by whipping up anti-Muslim frenzy and to create more genocides as in Gujarat. We also appeal to the people to fight against the Central government which had taken up the actual attacks and genocide of Muslims in Kashmir on behalf of the Hindu chauvinist forces just as the Congress government of PVN Rao oversaw the demolition of Babri Masjid by Hindu fascists led by Advanis, Vajpayees, Narendra Modis, Togadias, Ashok Singhals etc in 1992.
We appeal to all democratic, secular, peace-loving forces and the vast masses of oppressed people to fight the conspiracy of the government to drown the national liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people in rivers of blood. In the past two decades more than 80,000 Kashmiri Muslim youth had been decimated by the mercenary Indian armed forces. But history has incontrovertibly proved that no nation, however small and weak, can be kept enslaved forever by another country, however strong and mighty it may be. The genocides by the Indian state have not broken the aspirations and unity of the people. Lakhs of Kashmiri people are fearlessly coming into the streets to vent their anger against the fascist pro-Hindu Indian state. Let us stand by them and show our solidarity by waging united struggle in other parts of India. With the support of the people of India, people of Kashmir will certainly win their independence from the Indian expansionists.
How Tata Proposed and CPI (M) Disposed with Arms & Falsehoods
If Sept.7th remained witness to a significant accord signed by the CPM’s industries minister, Nirupam Sen, and Mamta Banerjee, in the presence of the Governor; Sept 8th saw the CPM indulge in an absolute volte face, disclaiming the Accord. The Accord was hailed by the media and even the CPM organ Ganashakti for having settled a long-standing problem. But when the very next day Tata said they are not prepared to give up any of the land the CPM chiefs did a summersault and denied any agreement with the agitating peasants. In fact it was the Governor himself, who had acted as mediator, who read out the contents of the Accord to all parties and the media at the Governor’s House.
The Accord clearly stated that: “the Government has taken the decision to respond to the demand of the farmers who have not received compensation, by means of land to be provided to the maximum within the project area and the rest in adjacent areas as early as possible. Towards this a committee will be constituted to ascertain the scope and settle the modalities within a period of one week. During this period the government will urge the vendors (who would set up the ancillary units) not to make any construction”. Hardly had the ink dried on the paper, when the Tata managing director launched the salvo asserting that no land would be returned keeping intact “the integral nature of the mother plant and the ancillary units which is fundamental and not open to change”.
The munificence shown by a government of the corporartes – the free land, the almost free water, the subsidized power, and the yet undisclosed tax holidays for the Tata Motors – inspired and encouraged the Tatas to even throw the Accord into the dustbin with obvious petulance. And the obliging Buddhadev and Nirupam immediately called a press conference and simply lied that no accord was agreed upon. This shows to what extent the CPM government is at the beck-and-call of the Tatas.
Yet the very fact that the CPM was forced to come to the negotiating table shows the intensity of the agitation which lay siege to the Tata plant for over a fortnight. The national highway was blocked for the whole period and only lifted after the accord was signed. The was a movement to also stop the factories, and Tata himself ordered a closure. Though the movement is chiefly led by Mamta, a large number of democrats and revolutionaries have also joined the struggle.
There was some secret agreement between the Buddhadeb government and Tata Motors in early 2006. on May 18th 2006 Ratan Tata announced the launching of Nano. On May 25 2006 a Tata team reached Singur and immediately faced resistance. The Tata motors head had already rejected an alternative site and eyed one of the most fertile multi-cropped land in 5 Mouzars (viz Gopalnagar, Beraberi, Singhaberi, Bajmelia, and Khaserbheri) measuring 997.11 acres of land. On the evening of the first scattered protest by the local peasants, the CPI (M) patriarch, Jyothi Basu, played down the whole episode explaining that some small trouble arose out of misunderstanding that would not have occurred had the local peasant front leader come out of his residence breaking his siesta. The local peasants could not believe the propaganda of the CPM that thousands of jobs will be created. In Singur initially only the absentee landowners favored the CPI (M) bosses with their land. The CPM bosses tried to mount pressure on the peasants through a combination of muscle power, police threats and a massive propaganda blitz. West Bengal then witnessed a massive protest with support from the revolutionary forces bent on breaking the CPM’s muscle and money power in the state. Then came the gory Dec.2 2006 day when the ‘left’ front exposed its ‘democratic’ mask by ordering the armed police to fire on the peasants resisting land acquisition, with rubber bullets and tear gas shells. From an 80 year-old woman to a 5 year old child none was spared. When the men folk fled, the women at their homes were mercilessly beaten, huts were set on fire, and paddy barns were destroyed by the CPI (M) goons and the police forces. While departing the CPI (M) goons held out threats saying “if he land is not given voluntarily you will be turned into corpses”. And after the Dec.2nd mayhem the CPM bosses started a high-level propaganda that some peasants were initially misled and now they are volunteering their lands for the state’s development. The CPM CC member and its peasant front big-wig, the notorious Benoy Konar, thundered in his usual landlord style referring to the Dec.2 incident: “And it is not the duty of the police to draw pictures or to teach in schools or colleges. The Police are but an instrument of coercion. It is decided by the government who is to be put down.” On Dec 2 2006 the CPM government ordered the police to forcibly drive out the peasants from their land and to encircle the proposed Tata Motors project area. From all corners of the state the people from all walks of life raised their voice of protest against the social fascists. The muscle-flexing could only bend some who had to surrender their lands. But the resistance still went on. In a macabre twist of events then brutally raped and killed a rising Bhumi Uchched Birodhi Committee leader, Tapsi Malik. She was just in her teens. When waves of protests rocked the state the CPM bosses announced that Tapasi was killed by her father.
It was falsely propagated that thousands would be absorbed in the Singur car project and the ancillary units. But experts calculated that a maximum of 600 people would be employed in the Tata project and of them would have to be highly skilled with engineering degrees and diplomas. A show of training of some local boys and girls from the dispossessed families began with much fanfare; but the Tata Motors has never officially declared any guarantee of jobs for them and the trainees too revolted against such mockery at some training sites.
The Tata Motors at Singur is not going to produce full cars but will come up as an assembling unit with parts to be brought from elsewhere. It is estimated for every Rs.5 crores one job will be generated. So with the proposed investment of Rs.1,500 crores the number of lobs would be anything between 300 and 600. In fact in the car industry there has been an absolute decline in the number of jobs though the number of vehicles produced has been increasing. Maruti employed 5,770 in 2000, this fell to 4,590 by 2004; Bajaj employed 17,213 in 2000, which fell to 11,531 by 2004. and about ancillary industries none can say anything but it is sure that some tea shops, small time vendors, maid servants, etc will find some employment. The number of people who will be completely uprooted from their livelihood (including share-croppers and agricultural labourers) will be about 20,000 (according to some surveys). Already 120 families have been forced into begging.
On Feb.23 2007 the Kolkota High Court has chided the government on the manner of land acquisition; while the latter has repeatedly issued false statements regarding the number of people and quantum of land given by consent. The CPM booklet on Singur published on Feb.13 2006 said: “land received by consent: 956 acres; required land for the project is 997.11 acres.” In the deposition of the state government before the High Court the figure of land received on consent was much less than that quoted in the booklet. Besides, why did the government sit for negotiations in the current phase of agitation if all that land was received by consent?
The second falsehood that the CPM has been propagating is that it is mono-crop land when in fact it is one of the most fertile lands in the state. The CPM booklet also falsely stated that in Singur there are only “300 unregistered and 170 registered bargardars” (share-croppers). But the number of share croppers is more than 1000 and the number of agricultural labourers are 931 who are now the worst affected.
The vast stretch of Singur land forcibly acquired for the corporate house has resulted in enormous hardships. Not only have thousands lost their livelihoods, many committed suicide, hundreds were framed in false cases for resisting land acquisition, scores of Singur peasants were mercilessly torture, etc. and yet the Singur peasants, after a brief lull under extreme state repression have now risen with their clenched fists demanding return of their land forcibly taken.
Brand Bengal Up For Sale
Media reports that “if the Tatas go, they will take with them almost everything that matters to Brand Bengal. Image and the big bucks. The former does not carry a price tag; the second does: a whopping Rs.80,000 crore in investments.” Frustrated with the continuous Singur siege programme the Tatas turned more adamant and said that no land would be returned and have threatened to withdraw from the state. Industries minister, Nirupam Sen echoed Tata saying “return of land is not feasible, instead the government is drawing up a better compensation and rehabilitation package for all land losers in Singur, offering them a source of livelihood”. So the CPM is hell bent on saving the Tatas and is willing to spend crores to bail them out and buy ‘peace’.
The pull-out threats by Tata brands, Tata Motors, Tata Metaliks and Maithon Power Ltd as also other business houses like Adhunik, Shyam Steel, jay Balaji, Bhushan Steel, Abhijit Group, USIBC president Ron Somers, etc are basically related to people’s struggles against land acquisition in the name of industrialization, infrastructure development, real estate business, setting up sprawling shopping malls, etc. The CPM is now crying itself hoarse that Brand Bengal might lose investment announcements by the corporate to the tune of Rs.1,27,302 crore. The Buddhadev promise to them to get lands acquired for them has faced stiff resistance and the latest revolt of the Singur peasants has dashed their schemes. And the added fact that the CPM lost almost half the village panchayat seats and received a drubbing in the municipal elections have taken the wind out of these fake Marxists and made them panicky as never before.
The battle at Singur continues; but with the intensification of the struggle the real face of all comes to the fore. It is only the revolutionary forces who are opposed to this very (imperialist-sponsored) model of ‘development’ as in it there is no real development for the masses but only for the moneybags and their (CPM-like) hangers-on. The realization of the negative aspect of this form of development is slowly being realized by all the victims. That is why the resistance is growing throughout the country pushing the moneybags and their political agents on to the defensive. Only an intensification of the struggles, including armed resistance to beat back the armed goons let loose and police forces can stem the onslaught of big money power.
Opportunist withdrawal of “Left” from UPA & The Nuclear Deal
Having faced a serious depletion of its support is WB over Nandigram, Singur and other such projects the CPM bosses could not afford further erosion through support of a blatant pro-US deal as the nuclear 123 Agreement. Besides, elections are due and association with the highly discredited Congress (over price rise and other issues) could be an added electoral liability. So, it was not over any principles that the CPM bosses withdrew from the UPA, but due to opportunist politicking. This is clear not only from the fact that till then it had lent tacit support to all US-India agreements, joint military exercises, etc, but also the third front that it is seeking is with as notorious pro-US elements.
Its main ally in the third front, the TDP, was referred earlier by the very CPM itself as a tool of the US imperialists in India, And another chief of the ‘third front’, Mayawati, has a notorious reputation of continuous backing of the communal Hindutva BJP, the opposition to which was the CPM’s main argument for aligning with the Congress. Mayawati infact went so far as to even support the genocidal maniac, Modi. But, for all its anti-communal shouting, the Congress itself officially pursues a soft-Hindutva stand and has notorious Hindutva elements within it.
The earlier Common Approach and Minimum Programme during the formation of the UPA did nothing else but aggressively promote the neo-liberal imperialist agenda. And the ‘Left model’ in West Bengal turned out to be competing with the BJP government in Gujarat in their reckless practice of neo-liberalism. And as for as the UPA’s, so-called anti-communal agenda, the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill. Which was put forward with much fanfare, as a strategy to contain 2002-type Gujarat Pogroms was allowed to gather dust and no voice was later heard to pass the Bill. POTA was repealed but another variant of the same repressive act – the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act – emerged with clear ‘Left’ support. On the economic front all concessions to MNCs, native compradors were weakly accepted with some veneer of toothless protests for public consumption.
Besides, in the very build up to the Indo-US nuclear deal there were numerous steps taken towards cementing an Indo-US alliance during UPA rule. In July 2005, with full support of the CPI (M) led ‘left’ the UPA govt struck the notorious “Defence framework Agreement” for 10 years with the US govt. This was followed by the Bush-Manmohan Joint Declaration which laid the framework for the Nuclear Deal. Without the consent of the CPM, Manmohan could not have gone for the Declaration. During the Bush visit to India in July 2006 — against which the CPM, CPI and all such timid ‘Left’ never thought of organizing tangible protests – the two signed the civilian atomic deal. The deal categorically stated that India was to ensure her civilian atomic fields bringing them under the safeguards of the IAEA. Secondly the fundamental basis of the deal was that India would never experiment an atomic explosion. The anti-national deal not only made way for the fabulous business of the US government by way of exporting its old, rejected technologies and re-processed fuel along with making enormous business opportunities for the US tycoons selling nuclear technologies, this also provided great politico-military leverage to the US masters to bind India to its strategic interests. Also in March 2006 the two countries signed the India-US Agricultural Knowledge Initiative without a whimper from the CPM.
All the present steps by the Monmohan Singh govt. were implicitly and explicitly present in the 2006 deal but the opportunist Left weakly surrendered to enjoy the crumbs scattered around them by the Congress govt. The ‘Left’ was only biding time and pretended to settle delicate issues in the much publicized co-ordination meeting of the UPA. It could only bark publicly and that too with profuse restraint, against the US-India military exercise, India joining hands with the US to vote against Iran, US warships docking at Chennai, etc etc.
Even the anti-communalism of the UPA has been a total hoax. The Centre did little to pursue the killers of Muslims in the 2002 genocide in Gujarat and allowed all the false cases on Muslims to continue. Muslims continue to be harassed throughout the country and after every ‘bomb blast’ thousands are rounded up and harassed. They have done little or nothing to curb the terror of the Bajrang Dal, VHP or the other Hindu fascist organizations. Even Christians have continued to be hounded in Gujarat, Orissa and other parts of the country.
So, in all ways the CPM-led ‘Left’ alliance with the Congress in the UPA was nothing but an opportunist poisonous cocktail. Neither did it have an anti-imperialist tilt, nor anti-communal. In effect it continued with even greater speed than the earlier BJP government of pushing India ever deeper into the clutches of the US monster.
Opportunist Third Front
The CPM, while withdrawing from the CPM, made sure that the government would not be destabilized by ensuring that their long-time friend, Mulayam, would bail out the Congress. Till them, these bitter foes, ganged up to make sure the govt. did not fall and the Indo-US deal could be pushed through at break-neck speed. To formulate this deal there were huge quid-pro quo agreements giving big concessions to Mulayam backers. It is also now well established that the corporate world and US pumped in crores of rupees (it was said each MP was paid Rs 25 crores to vote in favour of the deal) to ensure that the Congress won the trust vote.
The CPM led ‘Left’ bubbles of spurious anti-Americanism burst when it did a topsy-turvy and declared the pro-American and (till then) staunch allies of the BJP, like the BSP, TDP, AGP etc as its new bed-fellows for a ‘Third front’. Mayawati was even named the would-be Prime Minister. Earlier, in April 2008, the CPM-led ‘Left’ Front had ganged up with Mulayam, TDP, Chautala, Farooq Abdulla against the Price Rise and even jointly took out a precession on April 19th. But then in a flip-flop of opportunist politics Mulayam went with the Congress and its opponent in UP, Mayawati joined the so-called Third Front.
But, already this opportunist 10-party conglomeration is in disarray, even before taking off. In the last meeting of the ‘Front’, called for asking the president for a parliamentary session, the leaders of three parties, Om Prakash Chautala, Babulal Marandi and Ajit Singh, did not turn up.
Nuclear Deal: India cringes further to US Dictates
Amidst all these political flip-flops and politicking the Nuclear Deal is being pushed through at break-neck speed, with little or no opposition from all those who supposedly voted against the trust vote in Parliament. It is expected to come into operation by Sept 25 with none of the safeguards Manmohan assured the Parliament. All parties, including the ‘Left’ are silent, at best make nominal routine noises.
The much hyped safeguard Agreement with India which has been ratified by the IAEA Board of Governors on August 1st 2008 makes it abundantly clear that the Indian Civil nuclear facilities will be placed under perpetual IAEA safeguards from the year 2009. This agreement belies the UPA government propaganda that corrective measures will be ensured against disruption of fuel supplies. The Director General of the IAEA made it crystal clear that the safeguards agreement can only be terminated under the standard termination conditions as contained in Articles 29 and 32 of the Agreement, without giving India any special concessions that the PM and Bush assured India would get. Manmohan had lied to the country telling the people that safeguards would be relaxed by the IAEA and there would be a guarantee of fuel supplies. There is nothing in the Agreement guaranteeing uninterrupted fuel supply and there lies the finality of the US Hyde Act, which is minutely followed by the 123 agreement.
Having got the safeguards Agreement passed, the next step required a waiver of the full-scope safeguards provision of the NSG Guidelines. And the USA was to do this job for India. The guidelines for the 45-member NSG has no far prevented transfer of material, reactors and sub-systems directly related to the nuclear fuel cycle to States not party to the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty), without the comprehensive safeguards of the IAEA. Pakistan vociferously objected to an ‘India specific’ Agreement but was made to beat a retreat by US coercion. Finally, the NSG passed the waiver on Sept 6, 2008 with a lot of arm-twisting by the US of countries with objection like New Zealand, Austria, Norway and Ireland China too had many objections. But soon after, Australia refused to sell India nuclear fuel as it say it goes against its govt. laws to sell it to non NPT countries.
Also, in a message to the US Congress on Sept.4, Bush repeated that the assurances “concerning reliable supply of nuclear fuel given to India are only political commitments” and that passage of the nuclear deal by the Congress “does not, however, transform these political commitments into legal binding commitments”. In other words India can be held to ransom by the US cutting off the supply of nuclear fuels, unless it bends to its wishes.
So, in essence, as was first stated by many in our country, through the 123 Agreement India will be further drawn into the US axis and can; be held to ransom if it seeks to assert any independence from the US’s geopolitical strategies throughout the world. All political parties, including ‘Left’ are de facto accomplices in these nefarious deals. It is for the people of this country to rise in opposition to fight for the freedom and independence of our country and against such anti-national deals.
Floods Devastate Bihar due to Criminal Negligence
On August 18th in Kusaha, Nepal a 3 km breach in the embankment on the barrage on the Kosi River led to the worst ever flooding in North Bihar. Eyewitnesses say that the three km breech was expanding at 200 metres a day due to the heavy discharge of water. Till end August the devastation wrecked by the breach was unimaginable. At the official count it was about 100 dead, 25 lakh people across 14 districts affected and 2.5 lakh houses destroyed. Lakhs and lakhs of acres of agricultural land are inundated with all crops destroyed. The worst affected districts are Supaul, Madhepura and Araria. Other affected districts are Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Katihar, West Champaran, Patna, Nalanda, Khagaria, Sheikhpura, Purnea, Saran and Begusarai..
This is a purely man-made calamity caused by the callousness of the Bihar and Nepal governments. In fact this barrage, built in 1950, was declared unsafe as long back as 20 years. Yet no attempt was made to repair it either by Nepal or India. The desilting of the river near the Kushaha barrage is an annual operation carried out by engineers from Bihar and Nepal ahead of the monsoon. But this year it was delayed as the political parties in Nepal were more interested in politicking rather than being concerned about the welfare of the people. Alliance formation to win numbers in the Assembly was their major pre-occupation. The Bihar government too neglected the issue inspite of knowing the damage it could wreck. Their representatives in the Terrai could not care to do even the routine desilting undertaken each year. When the desilting finally got under way in the first week of August, it was already too late.
But the devastation caused is nothing compared to the horrors the people now face due to the lack of relief by the BJP-backed Nitish Kumar government. It took the Prime Minister 10 days to do the routine aerial survey and then announce relief measures. But for these 10 crucial days there was little relief. And what little did come was cornered by politicians and their henchmen.
Thousands are starving with little potable water on the high embankments and national highways. Not a day goes by without squabbles for the meager food supplies. They are forced to live in the open under alternating rain and scorching sunshine. Land, the main source of livelihood for the small and marginal farmers continue to be under water. The landless peasants are even worse off.
The cause for such acute suffering is nothing but the criminal negligence of the politicians on both sides of the border. While the Indian expansionists are greedy to tap the vast water and hydro-electric resources of Nepal they could not care to repair a barrage which was known for the last 20 years to be in a dangerous state. Their concern is not for the people but big business houses that seek huge profits from the sale of power. The culprits responsible for this gigantic tragedy should be tried and held accountable for all the deaths and damage done to lakhs of people.
Attack of Hindutva Fascists in Orissa is not only Communal; it is Casteist
To divide the people of Orissa and make them fight and kill each other would be the ideal tool of big business which is facing massive agitations against their gigantic mining projects in the state. The BJD/BJP government is directly involved in bringing in these big-ticket investments and fueling the flames of communal violence. The Hindutva storm-troopers are their instrument. The latter never take up these issues opposing big business and the resulting loss of livelihood of the poor; on the contrary they are used as a tool by these same moneybags to divert people’s attention and fight each other.
The recent violence in Orissa not only is anti-Christian it has strong casteist connotations as the bulk of the Christians belong to a dalit community, the Panos. Upper caste and Brahminical hatred cannot tolerate the dalits coming forward, economically or socially, whether through Christianity or any other means. Embedded in the level of brutality of the Swami’s attacks are the deep-rooted anti-dalit sentiments of the upper-castes and a section of tribals who have come under the sanskritisation influence of the RSS. Charges of Christians being beef eaters are irrelevant as earlier dalits too ate beef. In Gujarat too the saffron gangsters used Hinduised tribals to attack Christian tribals.
On Aug 23rd the notorious Swami Saraswati was gunned down in his ashram by alleged Maoists. Prior to this there had been nine attempts on his life. This RSS chief has been working amongst tribals for 45 years converting them from their animistic religion to aggressive Hindutva. The killing of the 81 year-old swami was used to ignite the carnage that followed. The Orissa government allowed Saraswati’s funeral procession to pass across 150 kms in Kandahal without any reason. VHP General Secretary, Togadia, attended the funeral. Here he stated that a Christian sect had killed SS. This was enough to provoke murderous assaults on Christians. Hundreds of Christian homes were set ablaze, a few pastors were murdered and warnings were issued to them to return home as Hindu, or never. On Aug.25th hordes of Hindu fascists began attacking Christian homes and places of worship in Kandahal. The attacks were mainly at night under the cover of darkness. Over 50 people have already been killed, hundreds of huts burnt down, women gang-raped, and thousands have fled to the forests or live in relief camps. 600 churches have been destroyed in Orissa over the years. In the present carnage over 20 were destroyed.
Swami Saraswati (SS) has himself led attacks on Christians, as in Brahmanigon in Kandahal that left 10 dead and hundreds missing. A sustained hate campaign was built up to justify the attacks on Christians labeling them as “conversion terrorists”.
Kandal district was formed in 1994 and is one of the most backward with totally inaccessible terrain, full of hills and with not a single industry. The Kandha tribe constitute about half the population while the dalit Panos about 25%. The Christian missionaries have been working in this region for the last 300 years and their main base is among the Panos. The Christians comprise about 25% of the population Kandahal compared to an all-Orissa figure of just 2.5%.
SS operated from two ashrams in the district. He was a member of the VHP’s Kendriya Margadakshak Mandal, a powerful decision-making body. In 1969 he began his ashram at Chakapada and in 1988 opened his second ashram at Jalespata,150 kms away (where he was killed). Last December, during Christmas he provoked a similar carnage. But the history of such attacks goes back many years. In 1998 in Gajapati district they entered a local jail and burnt two Christians to death; then went on a rampage destroying 92 houses and a church. In 1999 they killed Graham Staines and his two children. And since then attacks have gone on with a regular consistency; and the SS has been one of the main architects. After coming to power in Orissa they have systematically used the state machinery to build up their vast network of Hindu fascist gangs.
A new factor in these entire equations is the rise of the Maoist forces who have been organizing the tribals and other poor for a dignified life and against these gigantic mining projects. While the Maoists seek to unite the people (against the oppressors) the saffron brigade seeks to divide them. Already the people of Kalinganagar have successfully beat back one mining project and the huge POSCO plant coming up in the Jagatsinghpur area is facing stiff resistance. The fascist hordes are also being used by the state as vigilante groups against the Maoists. But there cowards and lumpens prefer to attack defenseless Christian women and children. The people and Maoists will no doubt teach these people a lesson.
Caucasus: A New Flashpoint of inter-imperialist Contradictions
Georgia’s military adventure against the breakaway region of South Ossetia in early August defacto brought the US and Russia into direct armed confrontation……. the first time since the end of the cold war between the US and erstwhile Soviet Union. US secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was in Georgia in July, and within one month, on August 7th, the invasion began. She was again in Georgia on August 15 three days after the clashes ended. About 1,000 US troops took parting large-scale military exercises with the Georgian military just earlier to the attack, in the area from where Georgia began its offensive to gain control of South Ossetia.
The aggression was well timed to take the Russians off-guard, when the Russian President, Medvedev, was on summer vacation; the Prime Minister, Putin, was in Beijing to attend the Olympics; and when the Parliament was in recess. The attack was ruthless and targeted the entire civilian population. The Georgian assault on South Ossetia began with a blanket barrage fire of multiple-launch missiles, which razed to the ground the capital, Tskhinvali, and other Ossetian townships and villages, killing at least 2,000 people, including 20 Russian peacekeepers, and causing the exodus of more than half the regions 70,000 population to neighbouring Russia.
But Russia was quick to retaliate. Within 24 hours Russian tanks rolled into South Osssetia decimating Georgian forces, while Russian warplanes flattened all major military facilities in Georgia. The US and Georgia miscalculated and the adventure turned into a catastrophe for Georgia. The five-day war resulted in driving out of Georgian forces in Ossetia and Abkhazia and the smashing of its war machine which had been systematically built up by the US and trained by Israel. It was for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union that Russia has used military force outside its borders. Not only that, in spite of US threats and war-mongering postures the Russian parliament and President went ahead recognized the independence of the two breakaway regions of Ossetia and Abkhazia. It is clear that a newly assertive Russian imperialist is in no mood to compromise its interests to the US, particularly in its own backyard. The French-brokered ceasefire was basically face-saving for the West as the Russians had already achieved what it had set out to do.
Like nearby Abkhazia, South Ossetia had fought a bitter war with Georgia in the early 1990s when Tbilisi tried in vain to crush the two regions bid for independence. Since then, Georgia had no control over the two regions, which overwhelmingly voted in referendums for independence. Saakshvili’s plan was gain the territories and drive out the ethnically different Ossetian and Abkhaz people.
Georgia: America’s Trojan horse in Central Asia
When President Mikhail Saakashvili launched his attack he was confident that his elite US-trained commandos would easily smash the Ossetian liberation forces and the 600 Russian peacekeepers and blow up the Roki tunnel the only lifeline linking South Ossetia with Russia. The US nurtured Georgian leader, brought to power in a US-engineered ‘Rose Revolution’ five years ago was sure of western support. After all it was the US and other NATO countries that have armed Georgia to the teeth, providing it with hundreds of tanks, armoured vehicles, warships and helicopters, gunboats and anti-aircraft weapons; while US, Turkish and Israeli instructors have trained thousands of Georgian troops. Bush had declared Georgia a ‘strategic partner’ in the Caucasus and Georgian troops were sent to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The US has been putting much pressure on Europe to grant Georgia membership into NATO. At NATO’s Summit meeting in April, despite desperate attempts the US was not able to get Europe to agree to Georgia membership. Georgia is an important tool in the US’s geo-political ambitions in Central Asia. Georgia’s NATO membership will ensure that the US arc of encirclement of Russia gets strengthened. The NATO ties will facilitate deployment of the US’s missile defence system in Georgia. The anti-ballistic missile system is a crucial component of the US strategy to neutralize the strategic capability of Russia (and China) and establish it nuclear superiority.
Intensifying Inter-imperialist Contradictions
The crisis in the Caucasus was building up ever since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence of Serbia in February. This was aggressively precipitated by the US in spite of vehement opposition from Russia. The entities that were born out of the Yugoslav state are being systematically inducted into Nato; the US has set up military bases in Romania and Bulgaria and has become for the first time a ‘Black Sea Power’; NATO conducted its first-ever military exercise in the Black Sea with Ukraine; NATO membership of Georgia (and Ukraine) are on the table. As of August 45 countries, including France, Germany and the UK, have been persuaded by the US to accord recognition to Kosovo. Georgia is crucial to US energy interests and the ‘Rose Revolution’ was stage on the eve of the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which undercut Russian role in the Caspian oil.
The geo-politics of oil lies at the core of the conflict in the Caucasus. The US suffered a series of major reverses in the past two year period in the ‘great game’ over Caspian energy. Moscow’s success in getting Turkmenistan to commit its entire gas production to Russian oil giant Gazprom, for export was a stunning blow to the US energy diplomacy. Moscow has now made a similar demand to Azerbaijan and the US failed to get Kazakhstan to jettison its close ties with Russia, especially the arrangement to route its oil exports primarily through Russian pipelines. Similarly the progress of Russia’s South Stream project, aimed at transporting energy to the Balkan and South European countries and the failure of the US-sponsored Nabucco gas pipeline project are setbacks to Washington.
Besides, till today Europe gets 40% of its energy needs from Russia. Washington cannot accept this situation which could affect the US-Europe alliance which has earlier seen cracks. Besides, with such dependence on Russia, Europe cannot afford as aggressive a posture against Russia as the US would like.
After the war Russia took forward its diplomatic initiative by calling a meeting the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) which, to a large extent (not fully) rallied behind Russia. Iran fully backed Russia and the latter has agreed to go ahead with the Bushehr atomic power station which they said was likely to become operational by early 2006.
Russia is no longer the same as at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Huge petro-dollar income from the export of oil and gas due to the sky-rocketing prices, have filled is coffers. At the peak the earlier oil boom in the end 1970s the Soviet Union (which had twice the population of present day Russia) earned $ 30 billion from hydrocarbons; this year the figure is expected to be $ 300 billion. The mind-boggling oil revenues have taken Russia from being a $200-billion economy ten years back to be a $1.4 trillion economy today. By the end of this year it will become the sixth largest economy in the world, overtaking France. By July 2008 Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become the biggest oil producer in the world. The fragility of the economy though is its overdependence on oil and gas. More than 60% of the federal budget revenue comes from oil and gas taxes. Over two-thirds of the value of exports is earned from the products of extractive industries which generate a quarter of the nation’s GDP. A crash in international prices would send the economy into a tail-spin. Also inequalities continue to be acute with Russia have the largest number of billionaires (110), second only to the USA and over 20% of the population living below the poverty line. In addition, inflation last month touched a five-year peak at 15%.
Both Russia and NATO are engaged in the biggest build-up of naval and air forces since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Five US strike groups have been sent to the Mediterranean and Gulf regions, while Moscow has sent an aircraft carrier task force to the eastern Mediterranean and deployed its Black Sea Fleet. With the growing crisis in the western economies the scramble for markets and energy sources is bound to intensify. Russia having maid enormous gains by the huge hike in oil and gas prices has been able to stabilize its economy and resort to a new assertion. The grounds for intensified contention will only grow. The aggressive posturing after the war by both the US and Russia is an indication of what is to follow.
Advance of Peoples War in Central India
When the Maoists of India put forth their new democratic programme for the reorganization of the socio-economic fabric of the country on a genuine democratic basis the rulers have launched a terror campaign in order to prevent such a transformation. Organized around the central task of building people’s power on a democratic basis from the village/mohalla level upwards, the ruling classes, who shout ‘democracy’ from the roof-tops, ruthlessly smash all assertions of peoples’ power. For them democracy means the right of feudal elements to dominate the countryside and moneybags to rob the people and resources of the country. But should the Maoists meekly cringe before the fanatical rulers and robber-barons and give up their attempts to empower the people or should they fight back? That is the moot question before all who desire change in the country and building up of a just and equitable order.
The Maoists have decided that unlike the parliamentary ‘revolutionaries’ there is no alternative but to fight back and teach these fascists the only language they understand …… counter-violence!! But to fight the modern forces of terror, trained and nursed by big-boss America, requires weaponry. So there was the brilliantly executed Nayagarh raid on Feb. 15th in Orissa that gave them over 300 sophisticated weapons and a huge cache of ammunition. This was followed by the June 29 Chitrakonda ambush wiping out 38 of most elite anti-insurgency forces in the country…… the AP Greyhounds; and followed yet again in the mid-July mine blast of a supposedly mine-proof vehicle killing 23 CRPF in an area not far from the Chitrakonda ambush in Malkangiri area of Orissa.
The AP Greyhounds which was constituted in 1989 has grown to become the most sophisticated anti-insurgency force in the country. They, together with the AP SIB (Andhra Pradesh Special Intelligence Bureau), are notorious for their ruthlessness, their murderous killer training, their brutality in torture, and their high level of sophistication. All this has been achieved through intensive counter-insurgency training with the help of the most infamous Israeli Mossad and US experts. In these nearly two decades of its existence the Greyhounds have grown substantially with two sub-headquarters, a regional training centre and as many as 40 assault units. In these two decades they have faced hardly any losses and were praised even by the Prime Minister as the model force to wipe out the naxalites. They have not only been efficient in killing large number of naxalites in AP, but have also been involved in training anti-insurgency forces not only all over the country but also in Nepal. They had built up a reputation of invincibility, which has now been blown to pieces.
According to press reports the AP Greyhounds were returning to AP after conducting a joint operation with Orissa police in Malkangiri region of the state. As they were crossing the Balimela Dam’s reservoir in a boat (just a few minutes drive from Chitrakonda) they came under heavy fire. Many on the deck were killed while the rest panicked and ran to one side which led to the capsize of the boat. A few swam to safety while most met a watery grave. It took the authorities over a fortnight to retrieve the boat and the dead bodies trapped within.
The CRPF were returning from an operation against Maoists around village MV 79, village of Bangladeshi settlers (after the 1971 war). They were ambushed at a culvert on their way back to the Motu police station.
In This Connection The Spokesperson Of The CPI (Maoist) Issued A Statement On July 1st Stating “Our Party and PLGA will never indulge in violence on the people who are our very life and breath and in whose cause thousands of our comrades had laid down their lives most selflessly. We resort to revolutionary counter-violence only to stop the brutal state terrorist violence on the struggling masses and the revolutionaries who lead them. Some are mistakenly interpreting our attacks against the greyhounds, police forces and informers as a deviation from the goal of fighting for people's demands. Our revolutionary violence is only meant to advance the struggle of the people for achieving their basic socio-economic demands, to liberate them from all types of exploitation and to lead a life of dignity and self-respect. And the undemocratic, lawless, anti-social fascist forces like the APSIB and Greyhounds have become the biggest hurdle to the people's struggles by acting as cold-blooded murderers. They had murdered great leaders of the Indian revolution like comrades Shyam, Mahesh, Murali, Vadkapur Chandramouli, Sande Rajamouli, Padmakka, Sathyam, Koumudi, Radhakka, Madhav, Matta Ravi Kumar, Pamula Venkatesh, Raghavulu and countless comrades. Of late, they had unleashed a brutal campaign of terror on the adivasis of Andhra-Orissa border region, raped 11 adivasi women in Vakapalli and murdered comrades Komma, Sudheer, Ranadheer, Santosh, Jhansi and others. They have been conducting joint operations with their counterparts in Orissa and Chattisgarh and terrorizing the adivasis in all the three states. These reactionary repressive forces, along with their counterparts in other states, act as paid henchmen for Jindals, Tatas, Essar-Ruias, Mittals and the imperialist sharks who are itching to loot the abundant mineral and natural wealth of the forested regions stretching from the borders of West Bengal to North Andhra. And it is this immediate goal that drives them to continuous brutal campaigns against the Maoists who resist the loot of the marauders. Hence we appeal to all sections of the people to understand the justness of our revolutionary counter-violence and call upon them to extend support to the selfless efforts of the Maoist revolutionaries. We warn the Greyhounds that if they venture into neighbouring Orissa and Chattisgarh again to conduct joint terror campaigns the same fate awaits them. Our PLGA forces too will carry out joint counter-campaigns and deal effective blows to these khaki-clad terrorists.”
Today the AP greyhounds and AP SIB have gone far beyond the borders of their state (which is their official jurisdiction) creating terror all over the country. This is done with the full support of the Centre. The AP SIB has been secretly abducting top revolutionaries from any corner of the country, brutally torturing them and then killing them in fake encounters. The body is then thrown in their home district (or elsewhere) with the story of ‘killed in encounter’ being dished out. They have built up a sophisticated and wide network of informers and coverts through which they operate going into the minutest details of their target. They comprise the most ruthless killers, torturers and derive a perverted pleasure from the pain they inflict on others. They are maniacs who grow arrogant as they believe their safety is guaranteed due their working secretly. Both the AP SIB and Greyhounds work in tandem.
But their so-called safety is illusory as in a real people’s war, with the full involvement of the people themselves in the war; they cannot hide and escape from their wrath. This has been proved in Dandakaranya where the people enmass are participants in the war effort to eradicate the brutal government forces and their Salwa Judum henchmen. Chitragonda is just an example of what a genuine people’s war can achieve. The Greyhounds too have now got what they long deserved. Their arrogance has been punctured and panic stricken they have shifted their training camp from eastern region of AP to the relatively more ‘secure’ north Telengana.
The people of Malkangiri have a great history of struggle. Far back in 1879, the Koya rebels led by Tomma Dora rose in revolt against the authorities to protest slave labour and forcible extraction of supplies for the government. The rebels captured the Motu police station, and even killed a military detachment sent from Hyderabad to put down the uprising. In 1920-24 adivasi unrest lent momentum to an uprising led by Alluri Sitarama Raju. And in 1942 Laxman Naiko led a massive movement for justice that is still in popular memory. Today they are rising once again under the leadership of the Maoists.
Maharashtra Govt. Terror against Adivasis
The Maharashtra Government has been using the C-60 commando force for the continuous attacks on adivasi villages in Gadchirolli and Bhandara districts. In late June there was attack in Dhanora tehsil where a DVC member was killed and an ordinary villager was picked up by the C-60 forces and shot dead in cold blood.
A little earlier in the first week of June these same forces unleashed terror on Kausami village also in Dhanora tehsil. On information provided by two informers, Santaram Bodil and Samaru, about 400 C-60 forces stealthily surrounded the village after midnight and launched their attack on the entire village from 4 am. They went on a rampage and did not leave a single person. All were badly beaten including the old, sick, women and children. All their property was looted and the rest destroyed. Food grains, cattle, and even their axes and ploughs were robbed. Many were grievously injured. But they focused their main venom at the 45 year old woman President of the RPC (Revolutionary People’s Committee), Mainabai Netam. She was brutally beaten and gang-raped by the C-60 animal-like hordes. She died after this attack and the police dismissed it as death due to sickness. They have arrested 58 persons who are now languishing in the jails of Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Amravati.
In 2002 these same forces had launched a similar attack on this village and a neighbouring village, both of which have strong organizations of the peasantry. The village is near the border with Chattisgarh and on the main road from Kodgul to Murmuru. Four persons arrested from neighbouring village in 2002 have now been given a life sentence. Similar attacks are going on all over the district. Thousands of adivasi villagers are languishing in the jails of Vidarbha.
These brutal attacks by the Mahrashtra government are part of the overall policies of the central government against the revolutionary forces of the country. In these attacks no law is followed and the brutality of the ‘elite’ forces is like that of the Hitlerite hordes. There needs to be countrywide and international condemnation against such brutality in what is propagated as the most modern state.
PRIVILAGED TO BE CORRUPT- THE STATE OF THE INDIAN JUDICIARY
That the judicial wing of the Indian state is as corrupt as the other wings of the state is no secrete to the common citizens. Millions of victims of this – both, those who purchased justice and those who could not afford it- testify this fact. Spates of new recent revelations are bringing out this truth more tellingly than ever before. A leading lawyer of the Supreme Court was quoted by the media as saying “Chief justice of India Bharucha has said that about 20 percent of the judges in the High courts were corrupt. I would think that is a gross underestimate. I would put it at double the number, at about 40 percent, in the lower courts, double of that, about 80 percent. In the Supreme Court, may be about 20 percent. We cannot say that every Judge in the Supreme Court is clean.” Mark these words as these were spoken not by novice but an eminent lawyer of India, practicing in the Apex Court for decades. But the malady about which he spoke is much deeper than what he thought. The recent cases of corruption in the judiciary, that came out just by chance, amply justify the above observation.
The most important and the biggest one of all such cases is the looting of the Provident Fund deposits of class 3 and class 4 employees in Ghaziabad, a town located in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Ashutosh Asthna and Anokhe Lal, the two main accused in that case gave statements under Section 164 of the Penal Code that tens of crores of rupees were siphoned off from the Provident Fund Accounts in Ghaziabad Treasury for years and they also gave out a list of 34 judges who are involved in this loot – one of them a serving judge of the Supreme Court, some are judges of High courts and others are at the lower rungs of the judiciary. Apparently, the accused paid sums up to one lakh at a time to the judges, paid for the construction of houses in a few cases, gifted some judges cell phones and air-conditioners and even paid for their family shopping. Furniture was shipped to the Kolkata home of the sitting Supreme Court judge’s son.
The second case involves two judges of Punjab High Court, who both have the same first name, Nirmal, one is Nirmaljeet Kaur and the other is Nirmal Yadav. On August 13, 2008, a clerk of the Additional Advocate General of Haryana, Sanjeev Bansal delivered Rs. 15 lakh in cash at the residence of Justice Nirmaljeet Kour. The judge filed a police complaint and Bansal was arrested. The media reports say that the money was meant for Justice Nirmal Yadav and was delivered wrongly, due to confusion of names. The media quoted Mr. Bansal as confessing that he was a regular conduit between big businessmen and several judges of the High court and the Supreme Court. Another head line grabbing case of corruption on a massive scale involving the judiciary surfaced in Chennai.
With the globalization and liberalization onslaught many MNC Banks and Financial institutions invaded India on big scale either directly or in collaboration with local compradors. There was a huge spurt in the credit card and personal loan business as these banks adopted aggressive marketing methods. Soon disputes related to these loans arose and these Banks instead of taking such disputes to Civil courts as per the law hired goons to recover loan amounts from defaulters using Chicago Mafia type methods. All across India the media started carrying harrowing tale of innocent citizens being harassed by these goons. As the public anger at these brazen acts of gangsterism rose, the banks changed their track and co-opted large number of magistrates along with their long trusted servants, police officers to act as de-facto loan recovery agents for them and harass alleged loan defaulters so as to give it a legal cover. Though such a type of corruption came to light in Chennai and other places in Tamil Nadu, some other facts that came out during the course of media investigation indicate that this phenomenon is an all India one. The revelations made by a 37- year –old widow, Rajni who had to spend 21 days in Chennai’s high-security prison in Puzhal, branded as a criminal, highlights how banks, especially the MNC Banks, are flouting with impunity, the laws of the land and how police and judicial officers are serving as loan recovery agents for them. Rajnis’ husband died suddenly due to some illness in 2006, he was running a man power consultancy agency in Chennai. They had a seven-year- old son. Some time after the death of her husband, Rajni got a statement from a branch of ABN AMRO Bank saying that her deceased husband had an account with the bank with a Rs 16 lakh balance earned through mutual funds. Thanking her husband for his fore sight Rajni completed the legal formalities to claim that amount. The bank took six months to honour her claim and by that time the amount in the account had swollen to Rs 22 lakh. Rajni settled some debts incurred by her husband and was all set for a new life. One month after releasing the amount the bank realized that it committed a blunder. The money apparently was that of another Ravi, who had an account with that bank. Though the blunder was committed by the bank itself, it filed a criminal complaint against Rajni in the police station. The police swung into action immediately and took Rajni to the police station for enquiry. There she pleaded that that if it was not her husband’s money she should have proof of it and that she didn’t have the full amount as of now and the Bank should give her some time. But all her pleas went in to deaf ears. They forced her to write a cheque for the left over money and took away all the communication details. Then again the police and the bank started to harass her for the remaining amount, threatening her, insisting on instant payment. Hounded by the bank and the uniformed goons, she approached the High Court with the help of some relatives. The court granted her anticipatory bail and also advised the bank to give her some time for repayment. Knowing that Rajni got time from the High court, the ABN AMRO Bank approached a civil magistrate. The magistrate duly obliged it and directed the Central Crime Branch to ‘investigate’ the case. Armed with this order cops landed up at her house, marched her to the police station, kept her there for the whole day and produced her before a magistrate in the evening. The magistrate promptly packed her off to the jail. She once again approached the High Court through her lawyer. The judge understood the seriousness of the case. He ordered her immediate release and issued an order to the Registrar, Vigilance to submit to him the list of criminal cases related to credit card and personal loan defaulters. This order opened, virtually a Pandora’s Box. The Registrar discovered a staggering 24,760 cases in which the police and the magistrates colluded to favour the banks. The trick adopted by the banks is to file cases under Section 156 (3) of the Cr PC though loan defaults come under civil sections. The magistrate delivers orders on the back pages of the petition and those courts won’t even have records and details of cases filed under this section. These corrupt magistrates didn’t care a fig for simple things like jurisdiction. The High court judge was constrained to observe in his order: “Some judicial magistrates, in collusion with complaint bankers/ financial institutions are in the habit of entertaining complaints relating to matters purely of civil nature and thereby, in abuse of jurisdiction and power, superabundantly passing orders under section 156(3) Cr PC for investigation such matters by the police for the undue benefit of the financial institutions, and in some instances they are entertaining similar complaints by themselves under section 200 of CrPC.” The judge minces no words in pointing out the corruption angle in his order stating: “Knowing fully well that they are not supposed to refer civil disputes for police investigation, the judicial officers, with ulterior motives to oblige the demand of the bankers, illegally imputed criminal flavour to civil disputes.” According to Rajni’s lawyer, there must be at least two lakh such cases pending in Tamil Nadu alone. Yet another trick employed by the Bankers- corrupt police and judicial officer’s nexus is to file a criminal case in a faraway town or city, get an arrest warrant from the court and then harass the alleged defaulter through police pressure.
Another case of corruption is that of a judge of the Calcutta High court, Soumitra Sen. He was entrusted with about Rs 30 lakh as an arbitrator between two companies, when he was an advocate. He kept the money in his personal account and sat on it for years on, till he became a High Court judge. It was only in 2006 he was ‘judicially’ ordered to return that money. And now as this fact came into public knowledge the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had no go but to recommend to the Prime minister for his impeachment by the Parliament.
It is not that shocking revelations about corruption in the higher echelons of the judiciary are seeing light only recently. Earlier too, the media and the public exposed many such cases. For example, there were revelations that former Justice Shamit Mukherji of the Delhi High Court accepted money from real estate mafia. There were reports of judges being terribly indiscreet in Mysore of Karnataka; of judge in Mumbai of being in cahoots with the mafia. And the country still remembers the shameful story of the Parliament’s failure in impeaching a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ramaswamy, in 1991 that too despite a committee of judges constituted by the Chief Justice of India found him guilty of misappropriation of government funds. There were serious allegations- based on hard facts- against former CJI, justice A.S. Anand and P.C.Sabbarwal and former SC judge, MM Punchi. All these were brushed under the carpet. In Tamil Nadu, justice N.Kannadasan was an additional justice in the High Court for two years. During his tenure, there were repeated charges against him for being liberal in granting bails, particularly in cases related to NDPS (the anti-drug act). At first he was not given an extension, but later he was appointed as an Additional Advocate General. And now he holds the post of President of the Tamil Nadu State Consumer Redressal Commission.
Privileged to be Corrupt
The judiciary’s response when ever such revelations surfaced is to stone wall all attempts to bring about a sort of judicial accountability by punishing the guilty. Moreover the judiciary has been using the draconian, Contempt of Court Provisions to muzzle the media whenever it brings out such cases of corruption. Here are a few examples. A Delhi based magazine, called Wah India, under illusion that freedom of the press exists in the country, tried to expose corruption in the judiciary by carrying out a survey of judges of the Delhi High Court, ranking them in a sort of corruption index. Soon after the publication of that issue police raided its office armed with contempt notice issued by the High Court and seized all its copies. The magazine could not resume publication even after it tendered an apology. A Gujarat based reporter of the popular news channel, Zee News, in a well carried out sting operation persuaded some fixers to persuade a lower court to issue warrants against well known people, including the then President of India. The Supreme Court instead of taking action against the corrupt judicial officer, who issued the warrants, demanded an unconditional apology from that channel stating that such stories undermines faith in the judiciary. Even in the hearing of the above mentioned Provident Fund scam case, the judges of the Supreme Court openly expressed their wrath against the counsel, who demanded punishment for the corrupt judges. Basing on the reactions of various courts on the issue of corruption in the judiciary one can easily draw a conclusion that it is a privilege of the Indian judiciary to be corrupt.
Exploitative System Needs Corrupt Judiciary
It is naive to think that honest and independent judiciary can exist in a class ridden exploitative society. An exploitative system imperatively needs a corrupt judiciary. It is not that that there are no honest and incorruptible individuals among the judiciary. There are indeed hundreds of such, but for each one of such honest ones there are thousand others who are corrupt in one way or the other. In fact, the ruling classes need such few honest judges to show case the integrity and independence of the judiciary and to cover up the corrupt core. However, the ruling classes are more in the need of corrupt ones. They need such ones to cover up their own misdeeds. They need such corrupt judges, for one, to get a legal stamp for all their exploitative and anti-people activities. As the people’s revolts against the unjust social order go on raising the ruling classes wants an apparent legal approval for all of their policies of facisisation of the state machinery, and corrupt judges serve this purpose well, the more corrupt the better for this task. To illustrate this point we once again quote the eminent lawyer. Commenting on the Justice Ramaswamy impeachment fiasco he said “…. The reason was the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. Rabi Ray told me that Rajiv Gandhi rung him up to say that even though the charges in the impeachment motion might be true, he did not want Ramaswamy to be impeached because when he had appointed him as Chief Justice of the Punjab High Court, he had taken an assurance from Ramaswamy that no one in Punjab would be released on bail, whom the government did not want. Rajiv told Rabi Ray that since the assurance had been fulfilled, he did not want the impeachment motion.” (Emphasis added). If one recollects that this happened at a time when Punjab was witnessing a virtual massacre of Sikh youth and thousands were put behind bars with trumped up charges of terrorism one can easily understand the above conclusion.
Our Humble Appeal
To all Progressive, Democratic, Patriotic Thinkers and Educationists, Supporters and Lovers of Proliferation of Literacy and knowledge
Dear comrades, friends and well wishers,
You would be aware that our Party is working for upliftment of the downtrodden masses and for a new democratic society. A society free from exploitation, hunger and poverty; for a just and democratic order. We seek a self-reliant economy free from the chains of imperialist stranglehold. Though we are yet a small force we represent the bulk of the India population who will gain from this new democratic transformation. Those who will gain are the vast masses of the workers, peasants, middle classes and even a section of the national bourgeoisie (the entrepreneurs, small and medium business, retailers, traders who are being wiped out by the penetration of the MNCs and big comprador houses). The enemies of this transformation are the miniscule section of the population ----- the feudal elements and their hangers on and those who act as the agents of the imperialists and big business houses. But it is these elements who wield power in our country and so they are unable to tolerate a movement that seeks such a basic change in the system. That is why they have unleash untold suffering on the masses of Bastar and the surrounding areas by their police actions of rape, murder, torture, jails and outright destruction of crops and villages and entire populace. The immediate gainers of these military-style operations are the mining interests like Tata, Esssar, MNCs and other carpetbaggers who seek to loot the rich mineral wealth of the region.
It is in this background that the CPI (Maoist) and its armed detachments and different people’s organizations have been fighting a life and death struggle against these forces of darkness. And it in this difficult situation that our education department is functioning under the aegis of the new power emerging in the region. The Janatana Sarkar or the New Peoples Power as part of its development and welfare programme ----- which includes agriculture and animal husbandry development, forest protection, health and hygiene, etc -------- has initiated this Education Department for the all-round development of this extremely backward masses; who have been kept in this state of illiteracy and backwardness for centuries by the various ruling elite of the country including colonialists.
Our Department has three basic tasks which are aimed at raising the knowledge levels of the populace and introducing a scientific temper, free from the hundreds of superstitious beliefs that hinder their growth and development. The first is to bring literacy and modern knowledge to the entire ranks of the Party and the PLGA fighters. The second is to do the same amongst the vast masses of people living in the villages by setting up schools, with whatever limed resources at our disposal which are under the direct control of Janathana Sarkar. The third is political education through political schools to introduce an understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the Party programme and the aims, method and path of India’s New Democratic Revolution. As part of this educational process the Cultural wing, Chaitanya Natya Manch (CNM), is conducting a wide campaign of spreading knowledge and democratic values through varied cultural idioms. It is for the fulfillment of these tasks that we have set schools and devised elementary courses with visual aids all in their mother tongue, Gondi.
But the government and its para-military and police forces cannot bear to see this new assertion of people’s power. So they have launched the brutal Salwa Judum using adivasis as cannon fodder to kill adivasis, together with the military-style operations of the para-military forces. These forces have destroyed what limited education existed by occupying all the schools in the region and turning them into police camps. And what limited education continues is in an atmosphere of terror with the gun-totting forces breathing down their necks. In the name of building schools they are setting up fortified police camps and when the masses destroy them, they claim that Naxalites are opposing education. The schools set up by the Janthana Sarkar party in the villages are being systematically attacked and burnt down and the teachers and children threatened and even killed. The power-that-be are horrified by the enlightenment of the masses; they seek to perpetuate the prevailing darkness and backwardness.
The Party, its armed detachment, different people’s organizations and the vast masses are fighting valiantly against these forces of darkness to liberate the masses from age-old bondage and slavery and our education department is part of this new awakening. Our task is to further educate the people even amidst this ongoing civil war and we are undertaking this task to the best of our ability.
But it is here that we need your help and assistance and therefore request you to contribute in whatever way to this new awakening taking place like a beckon from the woods in one of the most backward regions of the country. Here the bulk of the Party members and even leadership come from the oppressed masses that lack extensive knowledge and technical know-how. We APPEAL to you to lend a helping hand in whatever way possible. This could be in the form of visiting our areas and helping in running the schools; it can be in the form of developing and sending visual teaching aids; it can be in the form of providing text books, dictionaries, notebooks, pens and pencils, maps and cloths of children and even mere cash assistance for running the schools; it can be in the form of lending simple technical know-how to further develop a growing economy like running and repairing mini rice mills, generators, pump-sets and oil mills and installation of mini hydro-electrical plants, etc; it can be in the form of medicines and medical assistance to train a batch of barefoot doctors to treat basic ailments and also those wounded in the civil war; and it can be in any other form that you wish to help.
Comrades and friends,
How much longer can we bare to see the enormous suffering of the masses which has reached such proportions which has pushed over one-and-a-half lakh peasants to suicide; lakhs more to premature deaths due to illness, hunger and poverty; that keeps the bulk of our children wallowing in malnutrition; that is destroying all employment opportunities for our youth by adopting the imperialist-dictated model of ‘development’ ------ In short how much longer can we tolerate our country becoming a hell for the vast masses. We therefore once again APPEAL to you to lend a hand in this small sphere of education that can play its part in the liberation of the poverty stricken masses of our country. We call upon all well-wishers to take the initiative and lend such assistance in this sphere of literacy and education to the newly awakening tribals of Bastar. We do hope you will come forward and assist in whatever small way possible.
We conclude here with great hope on you.
2 August 2008
Interview with Com. Janaki (Anuradha) from the March 2001 issue of Poru Mahila, the organ of Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan, DK.
People’s War has shattered the hesitations of the women of Dandakaranya!
(In this issue of Poru Mahila we are introducing to our readers Com. Janaki who had been working in the urban movement and had come to Dandakaranya to observe the adivasi peasant movement and to participate in it. Com. Janaki had led the guerilla squads directly as a divisional committee member of South Bastar from 1997 to 2000. Poru Mahila chatted with her on her experiences in the urban movement and in the adivasi peasant movement. We are here presenting the main features of that conversation – Editor, Poru Mahila. People’s Truth is reproducing that interview in the light of her martyrdom).
Po. Ma: Com. Janaki, would you please first explain to us the oppression faced by urban women?
Com. J: Though all women in India are under feudal, capitalist, imperialist and patriarchal oppression, it is seen in various forms in different areas, the urban and the rural areas. The working class and middle class women in urban areas have some specific problems.
Firstly, if we look at the problems inside the family, even in urban areas women are oppressed by the feudal culture. Though the oppression of this culture may be less severe, still the majority of the young girls and women do not get the right in their families to take important decisions regarding their lives. The unmarried girls are under pressure to marry men from the same caste and same religion according to the decisions of the family. If a girl decides to marry a man of her choice from another caste or religion she will be subjected to a lot of pressure. She would have to face severe opposition from the family. Even if a woman wants to work outside home she will have to take the permission of her father, brother or husband. People of some castes and religions (for e.g. the Muslims and Kshatriyas) do not like their woman to do jobs. So it becomes inevitable for women to fight even for economic independence. In addition, since capitalist values have spread widely man-woman relations have also become commercialized and women are facing severe problems. The dowry and other items which have to be given to the grooms’ family before and after marriage has become a big problem for the parents who have given birth to girls. Added to that, it has become common to all communities to harass women for dowry both physically and mentally. When the wife’s life can be measured in money and gold killing her for their sake is not far behind. This terrible situation can be found in many households in the urban areas now-a-days. Especially since the past 25-30 years, maybe India is the only country in the world, where the new crime of burning brides for dowry has come into vogue.
One thing we have to observe is that a part of women belonging to the working class and the middle classes do not get an opportunity to go out and take up jobs. All their time is spent in house work and working for the family. As a result they depend on others for their living. Socially they depend on their husbands. That’s why they don’t try to do anything independently. There are so many restrictions on them to venture out or step outside the threshold. And if we look at the women who take care of their children’s studies it is almost like a machine. All her work revolves round her husband, the children’s studies and sending them to tuitions.
The conditions of the working class in urban areas are pitiable. The main reason is the severity of the problem of not having a place to stay. So the poor are forced to set up house illegally in open places. Many of them build a hut on the sides of the roads, railway tracks and sewers (even on top of sewers). In narrow lanes and the sides of the roads hundreds of families are living by building shacks. There is not even an inch of space to build a bathroom or a place which can be called a verandah. As the towns expand slums keep increasing on the sides of roads, on rocky places and on the small hills inside the town. They do not have toilets or water facilities. Crowded people, polluted environment, and lack of basic amenities – women do their work facing all these problems. Fighting for water is a common sight. In bastis like these goodaism and their harassment is another problem they face. But above all the biggest problem is the demolition of these bastis by the municipal and government authorities on the allegation that they are illegal. Usually it comes upon the women to oppose these demolitions. Because when officers come in the daytime with the police and bull dozers it is usually the women and children who are at home. The urban system in a backward country like India does not recognize the right to have a household as a basic right.
Women in urban areas have many opportunities to step out of home and work. They get jobs in factories, offices, schools, hospitals and shops. But in many jobs they are not paid equally with men. Or the salaries are so low that they cannot run a household with that. Many working class women work in the construction industry under the contractors. Many women work as maids. All these works come under the unorganized sector. These do not have any job guarantee or a guarantee for salary. On top of it they have to face harassment from the contractors and the men under whom they work. This takes place in many forms. Not only the working class women but even educated middle class women are facing such harassment. Women are harassed sexually with such pressurizing tactics as threatening to oust them, not giving them work, transferring them, writing bad remarks in their records etc. Very few women are able to share such things with others.
Now-a-days in big cities electronic industries of the imperialists have come up on a large scale. Girls are employed in many of them. But the problems of more labour, less salaries and a ban on organizing are present in these industries. So they have to fight even for the basic right of forming unions.
In the past some industries like beedi making and agarbatti making were thriving in households. Now even many new companies are giving most of the work to do at home. The poor housewives are taking up these jobs thinking they can earn a bit while being at home. There is lot of exploitation in this work. Even if they work all day long with the help of their family members it is difficult for them to earn even 20 rupees. The labour power of poor women is paid very less. They are being exploited a lot is what I want to say.
Lastly, another point is the influence of imperialist culture is very great on the urban women. They are not only influenced by consumerism but are also victims of it. This is increasing day by day. Instead of human values they are giving more importance to beauty and beauty products. As a result there is an environment of insecurity due to atrocities and harassments in the urban areas. The young women are facing a feeling of insecurity to step out of the house. In an urban life women are suffering from many such problems. But there are very few organizations which fight against them at present.
Po.Ma: Tell us about the various trends in the women’s movement.
Com.J: Around 1980s there was a spontaneous outburst of women’s movements in many parts of the country, especially in the cities. This movement was an indication of the increasing democratic consciousness and anti patriarchal consciousness among the women. After the Naxalbari movement dealt a severe blow to the semi feudal, semi colonial system in India, there was an outburst of working class and student movements and there was the Emergency and the social, economic and political crises of the ruling classes – the women’s movements sprung out of this background. Internationally also there was the influence of the student and women’s movements. Mostly the student, middle class and professional women participated actively in these movements. Out of these spontaneous democratic movements many small and big women’s organizations also took birth. But in the past 20 years there have been many changes in the women’s movement, their political character and in these organizations. Later the women’s liberation movement, dependent on the urban middle class women, split into various political and ideological streams. In the nationality movements, especially in the Kashmiri struggle for their self determination the active participation of women has increased considerably. Women are playing a prominent role in exposing the inhuman atrocities of the police and army. Under the leadership of the Maoist Party the revolutionary women’s movement has developed well in the rural areas especially in Dandakaranya ,Jharkhand and North Telengana. Even the BJP and RSS have recognized the strength of women and are paying attention to spreading decadent social values and vicious politics among them.
Many women who had spontaneously participated in movements against dowry deaths, sati and harassments, drawing the attention of the nation towards such problems, had withdrawn from the movement in later years. But many out of them have gained a name for themselves as researchers and ideologues on women’s issues both in India and abroad. Many of them founded voluntary organizations (NGOs). They are getting funds from international agencies for women studies and emancipation of women. But they have a feminist viewpoint and a feminist ideology. Now they have become propagandists for feminism, saying that patriarchy is the main problem for women, and that we have to fight only against patriarchy. But patriarchy has its roots in class society. In all societies it is perpetuated by the exploiting classes, i.e. feudalism, capitalism and imperialism. So fighting patriarchy means fighting against these exploiting classes. But the feminists are against recognizing this. They believe women’s conditions in this society can be changed by politically lobbying with the governments and by propaganda alone. In reality this feminist stream today is representing the class outlook and the class interests of the bourgeois and upper middle class women in the country.
The women organizations of revisionist parties like CPI, CPM and Liberation are working actively in some cities. They run movements on social and political issues of women. Along with issues of women’s oppression they even take up processions and do dharnas on problems like price rise etc. They are different from the feminist stream, because they don’t give importance only to struggles against patriarchy. But they are also completely reformist organizations. Because of their revisionist politics they are not linking the women’s liberation with revolution and are working with the belief that by changing governments they will be able to improve their conditions inside this existing social framework itself. For e.g. for the past 2, 3 years they have concentrated all their activities on gaining the right of 33 percent reservation for women in the parliament. Actually the common people have lost confidence on the corrupt parliamentary system long back. It has also been proven that whoever gets elected to the parliament will always serve the exploiting ruling classes and not work for the rights of women or those of poor people.
There are some organizations in the urban areas which are working actively basing themselves on Marxist analysis, seeing the roots for the exploitation and oppression of women in the class society and recognizing the link between women’s liberation and social revolution. Since a decade they have been working among the working class, students and employees among women. They are not only taking up movements against women’s oppression and other problems but also doing extensive propaganda among women about their rights and about the exploitation and oppression perpetuated on them.
It is an alarming phenomenon for the democratic and revolutionary women’s movements that the Hindutva forces are also working among women. They are reinstating age old feudal values in the name of opposing western culture. In the name of Hindu traditions and Bharat Mata they are diverting the growing consciousness of women. Not only that, they are carrying out vicious propaganda against religious minorities among them. They are even giving them military training in the name of Nari Shakthi.
In brief, the women’s movement is divided into various ideological streams all over the country. We have to study them and build up a strong women’s movement by fighting against the wrong ideological trends in them.
Po.Ma: How much do the outside people know about the revolutionary women’s movement? What is its impact?
Com.J: The adivasi women’s movement emerging in the Dandakaranya since the last decade has a lot of prominence in the history of contemporary women’s movement in India. The vigor and initiative of Kashmir women is more than in other parts of the country. Thousands of women are coming into the streets opposing the cruel repression of the army and all kinds of atrocities. After the political activeness of Kashmiri women it is the Dandakaranya adivasi peasant women who are playing an active role socially and politically. They are organized on a wide scale in large number of villages. They are opposing the age old patriarchal traditions inside the Gond adivasi society. They are participating in the armed struggle against the exploiting government and its army and in political campaigns. This is a big victory of the Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan.
But it is very sad that very little is available outside about the extent of the KAMS and about its activities. The CPI (ML) (People’s War) members and sympathizers in other states know little about it. The party put in some efforts for this. The paper written for the Patna seminar (it was published in Telugu and Hindi), the book on women martyrs and some stories and short stories helped in propagating it. But information about this revolutionary women’s movement is not going out regularly. Even your magazine ‘Poru Mahila’ is seen outside very rarely. It is necessary to plan its distribution outside the movement areas also.
Nevertheless whatever little information they maybe getting but those belonging to democratic and revolutionary organizations are very much enthused about it. They are getting influenced by the determination and courage displayed by adivasi women. Widespread propaganda about KAMS and its activities is much needed. Through that we can give a fitting reply to the government’s negative propaganda about the approach of revolutionary parties towards the women’s question.
Po.Ma: Tell us about your experience in DK.
Com. J: Before coming to DK I read articles and reports about the women’s movement here. But I did not have an assessment that it was so widespread. That’s why I was very happy to see the size of this movement. I must tell you something. In the lessons taught about tribal societies in the colleges they say that the Gondi society is very liberal. But after observing the Muria, Madia and Dorla people from close quarters I understood how patriarchal the tribal society was too. I understood how important it is to study the problem of women’s oppression deeply. Though the participation of adivasi peasant women in the production process is widespread, patriarchy has curbed much of their basic rights.
While writing about the women’s movement during the war for new democratic society in China Jack Beldon, the American writer and journalist had written, ‘The Chinese Communist Party has got the key to the victory of the revolution. They have won over the most oppressed section of the Chinese society’. When I saw the women’s movement in DK it were these words of Beldon which came to my mind. In fact, after the Chinese Revolution it was the revolutionary movement in DK that has proven that where there is a people’s war, where there is armed struggle against the feudal, comprador, imperialist system for the victory of New Democratic Revolution, the working class women participate actively on a large scale for the emancipation of the whole society as well as for their own emancipation. People’s War had shattered the hesitations of the women. It doubled their strength. It showed the path for the liberation of women. There is a link between the semi feudal semi colonial society and women’s oppression. It has been proven once again by this victory of the DK party that the Marxist principle that we can carry forward the fight against patriarchy only along with the fight to end this system is correct.
Wherever the party is working systematically, we can see that the participation of women is more in all political activities and movements. In 1998 due to the severe famine conditions in South Bastar many women had migrated to Andhra Pradesh for daily wage work. There were KAMS range committee members too among them. But when we asked them to come for March 8 meetings, in one place 700 and in another 450 had attended. Before that in rallies against famine conditions thousands of them had participated. When I was there, women got recruited into the PGA on a large scale. In some places the recruitment of young women was more than the young men. The thing which influenced me the most was that the wives of married comrades who were already in the squads are also getting recruited. Many of them had given away even their little children to their relatives and are becoming guerilla warriors in the ongoing great People’s War for changing this society. And, I have seen many women comrades who stood steadfast with the People’s War without looking back even though within a few months their husbands had died in police encounter or in some other accident. By breaking away from the traditional, dreary, narrow confines of the family they like this new life more, though it is full of dangers. In that manner their life and their existence is becoming meaningful. I have seen many comrades taking training and taking up new responsibilities.
Building up KAMS units in every village, election of their committees, election of Range Committees in range conferences, sending the unit members to villages for propaganda campaigns, participation in bandhs and other protest activities, giving them military training – all these are victories of this movement. But what I have observed in my experience is that since the Area Committee members are engaged without respite in various kinds of responsibilities and due to some routine work style KAMS work is being neglected. We have to think of new methods to involve the elderly women in the villages. Women and their children are facing a number of health problems. By increasing their understanding in these matters and by paying special attention to their welfare we can increase their zest. We have to increase their participation in the village level meetings. Many people call the KAMS as an organization of young women. Widening their narrow knowledge of society is another challenge in front of us.
Likewise there is a need to give special social and political training to women members in the squads and platoons. We have to plan to give them continuous education in scientific knowledge regarding health problems. Though there are discussions on these topics due to lack of time and due to getting immersed in various works they get postponed. We can get rid of their inferiority by giving them scientific knowledge and imbibing wide social thinking among them.
Po.Ma: What is your message to the women working in squads and in KAMS in DK?
Com.J: Our adivasi women comrades in DK are building a new history today. Though it is a most backward area of the country it is in the first place in the ongoing women’s movement in the country. They are answering the guns of the police in a fitting manner by fighting equally with the men comrades in the armed struggle to free this country from the vicious clutches of imperialism, feudalism and comprador bourgeoisie. In the villages they are standing up for their rights by facing the threats and pressures of village elders. They are weakening patriarchy in Gondi adivasi culture.
Though they are opposing such big enemies and forces, the shyness and sense of subordination whose remnants are still present, are also their big enemies which are obstructing their development. Inferiority complex comes out of these. Its roots are very deep. What I want to tell my KAMS colleagues is that they should increase their self confidence. They have to fight against the enemy inside them. In the coming days KAMS will be facing many big challenges. The state repression is already there. Apart from that, the government will try to keep the adivasi society and culture in backwardness with the help of village elders and through adivasi leaders. It will become necessary for the KAMS to face them politically. Likewise the KAMS should keep itself ready to put forward its understanding regarding true liberation of women by intervention in the women’s movement which is going on in the form of various streams in the country. To face all these challenges our women comrades should attain political and ideological maturity and have self confidence.
(Translated by Nallamma. All emphasis in the original interview)
Dimensions of Food crisis: India & Worldwide
The massive food crisis is spreading starvation, particularly in the third world countries, threatening nearly one billion people. The food prices have skyrocketed worldwide by over 80% in the past 3 years and the situation in respect of rice in Asian countries is alarming. To understand the food crisis we have to understand the long-term and short-term food crisis. It is not the fact that all the people on this globe were free from any food crisis so long and as if the present massive food crisis is only a sudden, temporary problem. The inter-relationship between the continuous food deprivation of tens of crores of food starved, partially or significantly, and the world-wide onslaught of non-availability of foods on a scale never seen in the recent past is to be properly understood keeping in mind this perspective. Generally speaking, the chronic non-availability of adequate food for sheer existence is a persisting problem in the world, mainly in the third world countries. This is a socio-economic structural question of international capitalism. According to the United Nations data out of 600 crore of world population 300 crore people are now hungry. And outside this broad counting, crores of people have been affected by diseases caused by malnutrition. Many thousand children (18,000 according to UN data) die of malnutrition each and every day in this world of extreme inequality and exploitation.
So, more than half of the world population is deprived of food security, a burden of the world capitalist system, imperialist exploitation, semi-feudalism and continuing backward production relations. It is not the fact that people’s general deprivation of food is for the lack of supply of food as the current food production in the world can still feed the people. According to the Agricultural Department of the US, since 2006, 3 crore 50 lakh US people have been in the grip of food insecurity. One crore 20 lakh adult Americans are deprived of a balanced diet and about 70 lakh cannot get two square meals a day in the USA. Ironically it is not the problem of lack of food supply but the lack of enough effective demand due to financial stress and strain that causes such food insecurity in the USA that allows going waste thousands of tones of crops. Actually speaking, the depleted global stocks, diversion of areas under food grains to bio-fuels, destruction of agricultural land in the third world for infrastructure and industrial purpose, massive speculation in food stuffs, etc. and the consequent rise in the world food prices have come to the fore as a crucially important question of the day. From a simple economic sense price stability requires that either the demand or supply function be elastic. In the short run, thee has been no major shift in such a condition yet the world food crisis has assumed threatening proportions.
If a study of only wheat prices in the global market is considered for about the past 50 years, it is found that in the 1960s the global prices of wheat maintained some apparent stability but went for a toss with huge price rises in 1972-74 leading to crisis. The price rise for wheat slightly declined in 1998-2005 and then the steady rise in prices continued reaching a flash point, together with a depletion of stocks in the major countries in the world. There is a reduction in cereal production by around 16% in the USA and the European Union in recent years and by about 33% percent reduction in Australia. According to FAO wheat production in Australia has come down drastically by 52% in the year 2007.
We have to identify the basic reasons for this long-term food insecurity, which are: (1) Food is considered as profitable business. (2) Food distribution is structurally unequal. (3) Agricultural sector is getting more and more neglected. (4) Corporate entries in agriculture for agri-business. (5) Under globalization markets tellingly respond to only a small section of rich or newly rich people. (6) Industrial and bio-engineered agriculture that systematically replace peasants supplying food for the poor. (7) Agro-exporting, a structural imperative of the states in the third world. (8) Absence of land reforms and a fusion of a feudo-capitalist ‘development’ programme in the third world. (9) Diktats of the IMF/ World Bank to follow the ‘imperial project’ focusing basically on securing resources to sustain US hegemony and global consumption of a minority class.
The FAO, formed by the UNO after the famines of the 1940s, in its second session in 1946 declared that a reorientation of world agriculture and of world trade was required “in which food will be treated as an essential of life rather than primarily as merchandise.” It was the time of the vigorous Soviet Union and red revolution. For the US, circumstances forced it to follow a Fordist-Keynesian compromise formula for agrarian reforms, agro-industrialization, etc, simultaneously, the US sought world domination through the so-called aid programme and in 1954 it instituted the PL 480 in 1954 in food aid programme needed at once to outsmart the Soviet Union in the Cold War situation and to recycle food surpluses from its domestic commodity stabilization programme as concessional food surpluses to select countries like India. Political intervention through PL 480 is too well known to repeat here. The food prices stability collapsed after the US détente with the Soviet Union in 1972-73 cleared surplus grain stocks for the first time in the post-war period, tripling prices of grains and oil seeds in the world food crisis of 1974. The US changed its mercantilist cum imperialist practices with a dual policy of ‘humanitarian’ food ‘aid’ through grants instead of consessional sales and the simultaneous institutionalization of unequal food trade relations via the Uruguay Round of GATT to stabilize a US-EU competition of market outlets for their domestic food surpluses generated by petro-farming. Thus the food security call was equated with the operation of the food markets that culminated in the ‘development’ programme in 1980, much hyped as ‘participated in the world market’ or in other words imperialist globalization programme.
The IMF/WB prodding for the Structural Adjustment Programme led the third world states to open their markets and resources to the imperialists. The present crisis of food is a sequel to this programme by which the corporate solution to the food problem was imposed by way of agro-exporting, increasing export of fruits, stress on bio-engineering vegetables, seafood, large scale entry of MNCs as input suppliers and destruction and taking away of paddy fields etc. The 1995 WTO agreement on Agriculture prescribed export-oriented agriculture without tariff protection and subsidies to producers “through a smooth functioning of the world market.” The result: the agricultural commodity prices fell 30 percent forcing corporatisation of agriculture, food dumping and displacement of peasants and increasing landlessness. The 3-day (3rd to 5th, June 8) “High-Level Conference on Food Security” organized by the FAO in Rome ended with a promise of a “second green revolution” in developing countries banking on genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds, profitable for MNCs and landlords and disaster for small and medium peasants. Thus, right to profit was forcefully justified over the right to food.
It is in order here, to mention here that the Indian governments, be it the Congress led or BJP led or the CPI (M) propped Congress governments – all faithfully endorsed the structural adjustment programme. The CPI (M) led Left Front in West Bengal has already brought forward a new land policy to enable corporate houses to fleece the peasantry.
The private corporates still control much of the procurement, ware housing, marketing and contract farming. The US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative that has put Monsanto and Wal-Mart representatives as its board members is pursuing in full swing to convert Indian agriculture into a foreign and native corporates’ agribusiness sector by altering the agricultural research system and patent regime with an enormous stranglehold of the MNCs in the agricultural markets for inputs.
The rising food prices have triggered food riots in many African and Caribbean’s countries. Somalia and Haiti are the principal victims of such food riots. Mass demonstration in Kenya against price rises of foods led to lathi charge on demonstrators on 31 May. Ironic it is that Kenya is projected as a ‘vibrant economy’ in Africa. From March to May, 2008 the inflation rate has zoomed from 21.8% to 26.6% while the half of the world population is reeling under acute food shortage and inflation, the MNCs in agro-business and speculation come out to be gainers of windfall profits. According to the world socialist website, Arther Daniels Midlands, an MNC in agro-business, reaped exorbitant profits and its CEO has admitted that the instability in the international market made it possible to reap such huge profit. All MNCs in agri-business look upon this ideal moment as a period of super profits.
The UN secretary General Mr.Ban Ki –Moon told the world leaders at the June summit organized by the UNO “nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially the man-made,” thus linking bio-fuel production and high food prices. The Director General of UN’s Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), that hosted the summit on 3 June 2008, Mr Jacques Diouf of Senegal, said that wealthy nations had been spending billions of dollars on farm subsidies, wasteful and excess consumption of food, and on arms. Even the World Bank and such other agencies estimate that rocketing food prices could push as many as hundreds million more people into acute hunger. About 850 million are already going without the bare minimum for existence. The cost of major food commodities has doubled over the last couple of years, with rice, corn and wheat at record high. The OECD in its statement on 3 June’08 in Paris said that average world food prices will retreat from the current peak but will still be up 50% higher in the coming decade than in the previous ten years. The US and Brazil are the World’s biggest producers of ethanol from sugarcane. The US is channeling a quarter of its maize crop into ethanol production by 2022 and the European Union plans to get 10% of its auto-fuel from bio-energy by 2020. This is a danger that is engulfing the world’s crores of poor as bio-fuel production is replacing food. Surging food prices have already triggered riots in 37 food starved countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to the World Development Report 2008 three out of every four people in developing countries live in rural areas, 2.1 billion live on less than $2 a day and 880 million on less than $1 a day and that most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. It is the poor people, mostly dependent on agriculture, who are most vulnerable to climate change. The incidence of regular crop failures and livestock deaths has already resulted in enormous economic losses undermining food security in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Global warming and increase in green house gas emissions, deforestation for urbanization, and misuse of natural resources are the major causes for climatic change and it is directly impacting agriculture. One must not forget that since the 1990s food production in developing countries has tripled, more than keeping up with population growth.
The crucial question related to food, soil, the great divide between the poor, the role of MNCs, etc. are never taken up by them. The Managing Director-General of Asian Development Bank Mr. Rajat M. Nag said in Singapore on 2 April that “we just have to accept that the era of cheap oil [for fuel] is [also] over. “While in Australia, etc. the vagaries of nature have played a considerable role in driving the crisis of food, for the 3rd world countries, it is the structure of land relations, lack of adequate investment in agriculture, inadequate irrigation, dependence on chemical fertilizers, HYV seed, pesticide, basically controlled by MNCs which are jacking up prices at a rapid scale, increasingly diminishing productivity of soil, shifting of cultivation from meeting demand of the native people to export oriented production, destruction of agricultural land for urbanization and industrial purposes, etc.” For India and such other countries the current food crisis is not sudden but has been building up for more than a decade since the implementation of globalization as dictated by the World Bank, WTO, etc. In a country like India the soaring food prices have directly impacted the crores of poor and the working people whose income is not inflation indexed. Here the food consumption of the nearly 80% people is below the necessary level for sheer existences and so the further reduction forced by inflation spirals will cause more debilitating illness and chronic hunger. The exposure to import compensation from highly subsidized agriculture in the West, the introduction of genetically modified seeds, contract farming, removal of domestic protection of inputs, total neglect of agriculture, lack of institutional credit and most of all the semi-feudal land structure have brought disaster to the lives of Indian peasants.
Causes, consequences of the present crisis and India
For the current food crisis we have to delve into problem which is not an overnight phenomenon. When the US and other European countries were absorbed even in 2006-07 in resolving the problem of filling their gas tanks the common people of the 3rd world countries were struggling to fill their stomachs as astronomical rise in food prices had already struck them. Even the FAO Director Jackques Diouf has admitted that the crisis has been building up “over the past 20 years” due to “inappropriate policies.” The startling fact is that the slowdown in the growth of agricultural produce, particularly of food grains – which had fallen below the population growth rate over the past two decades in every poor third world country like India - is the direct fallout of neo-liberal reforms under the imperialist globalization prescription. The world cereal production, per head of population according to the FAO data, has come down from 355 kg in 1980 to 343 kg in 2000. The globalization masters have always forced a cut back in governmental expenditure, resulting in decline in investment rates and slow down in such poor countries. In India while the tertiary sector has swollen, agriculture has rapidly retarded, which supports nearly 70% of the population. The protagonists of growth – the growth that elevates the standard of living of a small percentage of the population - are least bothered about the role of land and agriculture directly invaded by such growth-related activities like urbanization, high-ways, infrastructural development, SEZs etc.
India had to toe the US dictat and go for the Green Revolution and without resorting to land reforms India took up a dangerous journey in the ‘developmental’ path via technological up gradation. The consequences have been perpetual degradation. The first wave that set in motion the Green Revolution was bankrolled by the Rockfeller Foundation, World Bank and Western imperialist states. It was a time when the support to Indian agriculture was viewed as a strategic necessity both as a hegemonic project to counter the Soviet influence, Chinese success in the socialist transformation through revolutionary transformation and the growing trends towards the Red Revolution in the third world. Now the geo-political interest has assumed different dimension with US policy to checkmate the growing, Russian and Chinese influence as big capitalist powers along with the need to crush the Iran resistance, North Korean, Iranian recalcitrance, etc. Now these days the sumptuous yields though the Green Revolution are gone destroying the environment and soil fertility. The chronic dependence on the MNCs for inputs like fertilizer, HYV seeds etc. have already left its devastating effect on the water level and micro-organisms. What Joseph R. Biden of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee proudly said on 29 April 2006 that in the 1960s “the US helped bring the Green Revolution in India” and “that was good for India and that was also good for American business.” We too find the gigantic scale of profits made by the American business and bitterly realize what ‘good’ American imperialism has done for the Indian agriculture. The Green Revolution failed to consistently drive up grain production. Instead between 1990 and 2007 the food grain production decelerated to 1.2 percent, lower than the annual average population growth of 1.9 per cent. as shown by the government data. Punjab Haryana and Western UP, the much hyped heartland of green revolution, are in a state of ecological distress. Economically, indebt ness is growing alarmingly among farmers, ecologically; this region has been mining its soil and ground water resources. As a consequence, in the rice-wheat areas, the water table is going down by 2 to 2.5 feet annually. Thus the green revolution has brought doom to the economy and ecology, and despite the alarming results of technology-induced-change approach practiced under mainly the U.S. dictates in the 1960s Manmohan Singh once again tried to thrust the same policy on the country in a meeting of the National Development Council held on 29 May 2007 with the sermon for “overcoming technology fatigue”, obviously in support of the second green revolution.
India’s domestic production of food grains has remained almost stagnant between 2003-04 and 2007-2008. It is estimated that in the current financial year India’s food grain production could fall by 20 million tones from the targeted 220 million tones. Secondly, while the total food grains production increased by only 4.1 million tones between 2003-04 and 2006-07, there has been a fall of 0.7 million tones of pulses during the same period. The per capita availability of cereals has gone down from 458.7 grams per day in 2002-03 to 390.9 grams in 2005-06. Similarly, per capita per day availability of pulses has reduced from 35.4 grams to 31.5 grams. The total food grain per capita available per day during the period is 491.1 gram and 422.4 grams, respectively [Economic Survey, Govt. of India 2007-08]. The same source says that the per capita net availability of pulses was 62.2 grams per day in 1962 has come down to half i.e. 31.5 grams per day in 2005. However, the Economic Survey does not clear the fact that per capita counting does not reflect the deprivation of crores due the extreme inequality hindering actual access to food grains. India’s annual rate of growth in agricultural production has now reduced from 3.8 per cent in 2006-07 to 2.6 per cent in 2007-08 owing to criminal neglect of agriculture following the neo-liberal model. The food grain production between 1990-91 and 2006-07 has recorded an annual growth of 1.2 percent. This provides a grim trend for the future, but this does not mean that with the available food stocks and production India cannot provide adequate food to all.
In spite of enough buffer stocks and food production (however reducing) large populations of tribals do never have enough food and nutrition. The major source of sustenance of these people are traditional grain (small millets and other cereals), legume and oilseed crops. When the food question comes up, their perennial poverty, food and nutritional questions are kept under wraps. The recent stepped-up mining operations, continuous deforestation and utter neglect have pushed them to the brink of existence.
When the Indian masses are hard hit by the spiraling food prices US imperialism has already bound India through “US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative” (AKI signed on 18 July 2005 for another round of plunder of the peasants and the soil. About the AKI, during the US President, Bush’s visit to India, the prime minister of India told Indian parliament in March 2006 “we are hopeful that the knowledge initiative on Agriculture will become the harbinger of a second green revolution in our country.” The declared aim of such agreement is to accelerate the pace of imposing ‘Transgenetic crops’ i.e. genetically modified crops ‘food-processing and marketing’ [that is for greater penetration of Monsanto, Wal-Mart etc.] by revision of existing curriculum of agricultural universities and developing market oriented agricultural scientists. The US-India agricultural pact for the so-called Second Green Revolution shall surely further destroy Indian agricultural fields and peasants and help the US based corporations like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer Crop science, Dupont, Dow and BASF Plant Science control the entire plundering process. And of course the food crops targeted to be produced will be export-oriented with greater stress on diversity. The neo-liberal agenda is also meant for fulfilling the food demands of a small percentage of people with rising income “for more and better fruits and vegetables, dairy and poultry products, processed food products and meats,” as envisioned by the US Ambassador in India, David C Mulford, in April 2004. Thus this food crisis under the vice-like US grip over Indian agriculture will further aggravate, and nature will be ravaged extensively.
Food security does not mean mere storing of food grains or enhanced food production. From a class point of it means easy accessibility of food and nutrients to each and every household, it means removal of constraints to availability of adequate dietary intake of every individual breaking gender discrimination, it definitely means adequate purchasing power and employment and obviously the destruction of the evil nexus between the imperialist agencies, MNCs, speculators, dishonest political scums, hoarders, moneylenders and particularly the rich land owners.
With the signing of the treaty under GATT in 1994, the second phase or more devastating Green Revolution took off with much fanfare. Now the MNCs and Indian big business house-controlled seed corporations do mainly brisk business in seeds and even the National Seed Corporation buy and sell seeds from those corporate agri-business houses. It is mainly the MNCs like Cargill, Monsanto, etc. which now have captured 75% of the seed market in India. Even the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) in its recommendations since 2004 have followed the World Bank IMF dictates on land, water, credit, insurance, technology and market. About the seed, it has expressed itself with gratification that since “Globalization and competitiveness are facts of life” farmers has to switch over to Genetically Modified Seeds by replacing conventional and even HYV seeds. The suicides of thousands of farmers after Monsanto marketed GM seeds, is well known now.
Aspects of the World Food Crisis
The world has witnessed a rise in food prices on a scale rarely seen in the post World War two periods. Let us now see some of the facets of this crisis to understand its causes and remedies.
The Rise in prices of Foods in the USA
Before the current crisis hunger always gripped the poor in every country. And it must be made clear that even with the existing food production and stores in the World all the people can be fed and food insecurity can never be solely related to the lack of food in the world despite deceleration in the food production. The chronic hunger, as per the UN estimate, always has been part of the existence of about 1 billion people in the world and the people who suffer from food insecurity are closer to 3 billion. Even in the US, food insecurity is a problem. According to the US Department of Agriculture, in 2006 over 35 million people in the USA lived in food insecurity. In about 5 million families, children died due to not getting enough food at some point of time in a year. Actually like in India (obviously here the problem is far graver) in the US too it is not supply of food but “effective demand” that causes this insecurity.
In the stunning food crisis, according to the US agricultural department food prices will rise by 5% this year and up to 2012 the prices of foods will be increasing averagely by $ 5.25. According to New York Times, January 9, 2008, the prices of the sixty agricultural commodities traded on the world market increased 37% last year and it was 14% in 2006. In the USA the sale of rice is now rationed. Big retail market operators like Wal-Mart have decided not to sell 4 bags of rice to a single customer. The price of rice has increased by about 68% in early 2008. In some shops in the US it is just double. This is obviously a long term food insecurity and the present capitalism that needs globalization cannot solve this problem in the near future.
No Respite for the poor
The broad conclusion drawn and presented on 29 May 08’ in Paris by the Agricultural Outlook, jointly prepared by the Organization for Economic, Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN is that in the food importing 3rd World Countries food prices are not likely to come down even in the near future. It is clearly said in the document that prices in the agricultural markets covering cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meat and dairy products over the span of 2008 to 2017 are only to soar higher and higher: beef and pork prices might be some 20 percent higher, some 30 percent for raw and white sugar, 40 to 60 percent for wheat, maize and skim milk powder, more than 60 percent higher for butter and oilseeds and over 80 percent higher for vegetable oils. Despite record wheat and coarse grain crops in 2007-08 and a sustained moderate rise in production thereafter, grain markets are likely to remain tight in the period up to 2017, OECD said. The prolific demand for maize arising from the rapidly expanding ethanol segment in the US has profoundly hit the coarse-grain market since roughly 40 percent of the US’s maize crop would be destined for energy production by 2017, it noted. [Business Line, May 30, 2008]
Bush speak on the Food Crisis and the Telling Reality
At first it was Ms Condoleezza Rice and then it was the US president Bush himself who have passed the buck for the current food crisis on the Indian and Chinese people. The US imperialism, European Union and even some economists like Amarta Sen of India have targeted the supposed improvement in the diets of the Indian and Chinese people. They deliberately keep mum over massive shifts towards bio-fuel in the West, speculation by the Western speculative capital, the plunder of the soil, etc. are the main reasons behind the global food crisis. US imperialism and Western states take it for granted that the prosperity in the Western countries must be accepted at the cost of impoverishment, malnutrition, chronic hunger in the third world’s countries. Facts belie the claim of Rice, Bush, etc. According to US Department of Agriculture, the per capita consumption of grain in the USA is 1046 Kg where as it is 174 Kg in India. The per capita consumption of poultry is 45.4 Kg in the US while it is 16.2 Kg in European Union and in contrast it is only 1.9 Kg in India.
In India the price-rise for essential food items has already pushed millions of poor to the brink. Obviously under the US sponsored and led globalization programme that India has been toeing there has built up a great divide between poverty-stricken India of vast masses and the ‘Shining India’ of a small percentage. And the Arjun Sengupta led committee formed by the central government has recently exposed the darkest side, that currently 78 percent of Indians live on less than Rs. 20 a day. Between 1997 and 2005, as per official data, 1,36,324 farmers committed suicide and the number has enormously risen since then. The per capita cereal consumption has scaled down from 468 gms in 1990-91 to 412 gms in 2005-06. All sources of protein have also come down for the vast masses in this period. It is a brazen lie to preach that consumption increase by countries like India has been at the root of the present crisis.
Astronomical profits of MNCs From Food Crisis
When the world food crisis is thrusting millions of people to starvation the giant MNCs are enjoying soaring earnings. The agri-business biggies, global grain traders, seed suppliers and fertilizer and pesticide manufactures find such food crisis as a great boon for reaping astronomical profits. The agricultural activities have been so geared across the globe, the third world countries in particular, as to grow their profits further in the coming days. The prices of wheat, corn and rice have spiraled over the past year driving the world’s poor millions to hunger, who spend 80 percent of their income on food. The biggest gainers in this period of hunger-crisis have been those who trade in grains. The World Bank now says that 100 million more people are facing acute crisis but the World Bank, IMF, MNCs, etc. are the main culprits in the current crisis. The cruel irony of imperialist globalization is that the world’s food companies are now reaping record profits. Cargill, the US-based MNC which not only produces, stores and supplies food grains globally, but sells dairy and meat products, processed food products, even salt and organic goods. It had $ 88 billion sales and over $ 2.34 billion profits in 2007, up 52% over the previous year. In April 2008, Cargill announced that its profits from commodity trading for the first quarter of 2008 were up 86% over the same period in 2007. Another US grain trading giant trading giant is Archer Daniels Midlands, which raked in over $ 2.1 billion profits in 2007, a whopping increase of 65% over 2006. Through, its huge grain elevator network, it buys, sells, stores, cleans, transports and resells oilseeds, corn, wheat, oats and barley. It also produces processed food items including cocoa and malt. What is noteworthy is the operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16 fold from $ 21 million to $ 341 million. The giant MNC Monsanto reported in April 2008 that its net income for the three months up to end February’08 had more than doubled over the same period in 2006-07. The startling net profit thus increased from $ 543 m (pounds sterling 275 m) to $ 1.12 bn. Its profit increased from $ 1.44 bn. to $ 2.22 bn. Bunge Limited is also an MNC involved in buying, storing and selling grain and oilseeds, apart from selling fertilizer, animal feed and processed food. With over $ 37 billion sales world wide, its profit jumped by nearly 50% in 2007. Windfall profits also came to Hong Kong based Noble Group having grabbed a profit of 97% in 2007 year to year. Mosaic Company, one of the world’s largest fertilizer companies, saw its income for the three months ending 28 February 2008 rise more than 12 fold, from $ 42.2 m. to $ 520.8 m. on the back of a shortage of fertilizer. The prices of some kinds of fertilizer have more than tripled over the past year. Syngenta, a European firm, in the agri-business has declared its net profits of over $ 1.1 billion in 2007, up by 75% over the previous year. In 2005, out of 216 countries in the world, 217 had to import wheat and 170 had to import rice along with fertilizers and various corns from international market, according to FAO. And the current food crisis will inevitably remain a boon for agri-business.
OECD said in May’08 that the emerging bio-diesel production would escalate the consumption of domestically produced palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia and soybean oil in Brazil at the expense of exports of vegetables oil or oil seeds originating from those countries. World ethanol production is likely to increase rapidly to reach some 125 billion litres in 2017, twice the quantity produced in 2007. World ethanol prices are likely to exceed $ 55 per hectoliter in 2009, as crude oil prices rise. The production of bio-fuel is forcing 200 crore people in the world to remain hungry. FAO, the UN organization for food and agriculture, even two years back preached it that bio-fuel would decrease hunger and poverty. In 2006 FAO said that thousands of peasants were showing inclination to produce bio-fuel. In the name of cleaner environment in the past 2 years the US itself concentrated on bio-fuel by translating 6 crore of tonne of food, which could feed the average food demand of 25 crore people. There is no proof that bio-fuel is environment friendly. Production of bio-fuel is expanding and consuming the fertility of lands. It is in order to mention here that despite earmarking lands for bio-fuel production the US stubbornly persists in huge subsidies. The US House of Representatives in mid May 2008 passed a mammoth $ 200 billion farm Bill, which includes huge subsidies for farmers. There are even complaints against the US on bio-fuel subsidization and dumping bio-fuels as one of the main reasons of the high world food price. The charge has been made by the European Commission in the middle of June. The US subsidies include federal exercise and income tax credits as well as federal programme of grants to finance increased production capacity, besides the plethora of subsidy programmes at the State level. There are complaints are against dumping bio-diesel on the EU market by the US with the imports from the US having increased from 7,000 tonnes in 2005 to about one million tones in 2007. In India itself, according to state of World’s Mother and Save Children, at least 60 percent children of the poorest families do not get minimum food and other bare necessities, and below 5 year age children die here three times more than the international average. The complex industrial technological complex producing relentlessly vehicles like motor cars, airplanes, etc. at this stage of capitalism will not only destroy the environment, agricultural lands, forest, etc. for the production of bio-fuels but also civilization itself.
There is a phalanx of traders making millions through just betting on prices. Agflation (inflation caused by a rise in agricultural commodity prices) and its causes are now a serious question in the world since its role in the escalation of prices of food commodities is a grim fact. According to GRAIN, an NGO, speculative investment in commodities has zoomed from about $ 5 billion in 2000 to $ 175 billion in 2007. And now the total trade in global commodity markets is $ 513 trillion. The international speculative players include Louis Dreyfus of France, a private agricultural commodities firm with annual sales exceeding $ 22 billion. This firm does not disclose its profits. The Chicago Board of Trade, the world’s largest commodity exchange, provides an indication of the dimension of the speculative futures market by trading volumes. Its April 2008 update, CBOT reported that during January and April 2008 644, 741 contracts were traded on an average every day, an increase of 17% over the last year. The average notional value for a day’s trading was about $ 2.8 billion for wheat, $ 8.9 billion for corn and $ 11.2 billion for soybean. The sub-prime crisis in the US and other western economics has triggered the massive outflow of finance from the stock and property markets and the huge non-productive funds made in roads into the commodity markets here speculative business in foods. It is in order to add here that such speculative activities in the commodity markets have also directly pushed the prices up in oil and food.
Even the US - the champion of free markets - is now stunned with the volatile agricultural prices. Internationally the US speculators can impact hugely for the plenty of highly subsidized foods in the US, and close to 70 percent of its major farm crops are intended for overseas markets. The Commodity Future Trading Committee of the USA has been stirred to intervene in the volatile agriculture markets for the large participation of various speculative instruments like hedge funds, even the American Farm Bureau Federation chief has recently complained of a lack of convergence between futures processes and cash market prices, triggering the current price rise in agricultural commodities. Big speculators do have no genuine interest in the underlying commodities, but profit from anticipating price changes. In India, Abhijit Sen committee formed to study the impact of futures trading on wholesale and retail prices has evaded crucial questions even recognizing that futures markets must work in tandem with the physical or spot markets.
Despite the huge impact of the speculative business on the prices of food stuffs the Indian Government allows futures trading in essential commodities. Forward Trading in agricultural goods along with permission to big corporate entities, foreign and native, to buy food grains directly from the farmers and without any ceiling on the amount so bought and stock piled, has been facilitated by the dangerous option to protect their stockpiling by entering into futures contracts at high prices. This Futures Trade is also encouraging large scale hoarding with the entry of big corporate houses in the grains trade. For the present food crises commodity futures do have a considerable role and needs immediate banning. It is a sheer propaganda of the corporate houses and various governments that it is nothing but the lack of supply and shortage in production alone has led to such a crisis.
In India inflation rate has already officially crossed double digit. But the actual rise on the retail market is many times more. The RBI has simply failed to check inflation. It is necessary to force the government and people themselves should fight for de-hoarding the huge stocks with MNCs and Indian corporate houses. The PDS (Public Distribution System) must be universalized at least for supplying 14 essential commodities. Already the poor PDS has collapsed since long, jeopardizing the lives of the poor. Between 2001 and 2004 large stocks of grains were exported depriving the poor at prices below PDS rates. The PDS has also given birth to massive corruption and in West Bengal people en masse exploded. It was found that not more than 23% of the Fair Price shops earned a return of 12% on capital, which increases the tendency towards diversion of food grains. The entry of the corporate houses, native and foreign, in rural India for the active supply line for huge retail business has come as a big burden on the peasants and small retailers. In India, big companies have been allowed to hoard up to 50 thousand tonnes of food grains and banks have given credit to those hoarders when toiling peasants and other poor people simply face starvation with escalating food prices. With the elections in view the UPA government has increased higher minimum support prices (MSP) for wheat and procured 21 million tonnes against the buffer norm of 15 million tonnes. However, the procured wheat in Haryana is kept in the open to be actually ruined by rain, and lack of storing facilities will destroy much of the wheat procured when millions remain unfed. Indian government places a slew of ostensible measures to contain inflation but never tries to create more purchasing power, job securities and totally ban speculation and export of foods. Already 600 SEZs have been given the nod, which will swallow thousands of hectares of agricultural land. The situation demands immediate halt to bio-fuel production taking away food stuff, land reforms and stopping the entry of FDI in agriculture. It is time we developed a strong movement against the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. causing irretrievable damaged to the fertility of the soil. Once again it should be iterated that despite shortage in food production people starve because of inability to purchase.
If the market is supposed to be the principle instrument, bourgeoisie economists will argue, the spiraling food prices will better the livelihoods of peasants in particular. Such arguments premised on market based economics are only partially correct as it considers the question of moneyed landholders. The vast masses of poor and marginal peasants who mainly produce for consumption remain outside such market based principles but it is they who bear the brunt of escalating prices of inputs. Besides, the bulk of the rise in food prices benefit goes to the trades and not the producers.
Corporate houses are acquiring thousands of acres of land in India and other countries. The Tatas and other corporate houses in India have already acquired vast stretches of lands. In Brazil, a Texas based corporate house, Global An Industries, has acquired 34,000 acres of land for corporate farming. A New Zealand based organization has taken over one lakh acres land in Uruguay for dairy business. With US equity firms at the top many other farms are increasingly taking over many hundreds of square kilometers of land in Latin America and other third world countries for agri-business. This spells danger for food security. For capitalist farming in the Nabal land of the Amazon, a 1,250 square mile area has been deforested.
Between 1970 and 1990 more than 12 lakh hectares of land mass in the world has turned in to desert. The top soil of the earth has been destroyed to the extent of 5 lakh tones. All this must be stopped. All dangerous steps to use food for producing bio-fuels need to be fought against by all. But the basic question is of chronic food non-availability for the world’s poor and the destruction of fertile land, forests, and environment. As such, the whole imperialist global chains, semi-feudal and backward land relations and all such deadweights are to be removed and destroyed by people’s revolutionary struggle in the world if at all the food scarcity is to be permanently solved.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)
Re-imposition of ban on SIMI is reiteration of UPA government’s intention to continue its brutal war on Muslims!
Secular and democratic forces of India! Let us unite to fight back the assaults by the reactionary ruling classes on the fundamental rights of the people!!
When the special tribunal headed by Justice Geeta Mittal announced that there were no sufficient grounds for re-imposing ban on the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the ruling classes of India, particularly the Hindu fascist forces, received a severe jolt. They immediately moved the Supreme Court, which, as a loyal servant of the exploiting classes and inherent bias towards the Muslims, like every government institution in our country, ordered a stay on the Tribunal’s decision. The irresponsibility of the judiciary is seen from the fact that the petitioner on behalf of SIMI was not even intimated about the Tribunal’s order. One would not, of course, have expected anything less from the pro-Hindu, anti-Muslim fascist rulers of India. Whether they are in the guise of the BJP or Congress or any other parliamentary party, (the ban on SIMI was first imposed by the BJP government in 2001 and later continued by the Congress government) or in the form of the legislative, judiciary, executive, the police and other security forces, the bias against the Muslim community is crystal-clear. That is why, in the past several decades, not a single Hindu chauvinist organization was banned (barring the Emergency period when all democratic and revolutionary organizations too were banned) and not a single Hindu terrorist has been awarded any punishment, no matter if he had burnt alive scores of Muslims, dalits, adivasis and women. Mass murderers of the Muslims like Narendra Modi of the BJP or butchers of Sikhs like HKL Bhagath of the Congress were even adorned with titles of honour. Vajapayees and Advanis, who should have been hanged for their crimes of inflaming communal passions leading to the demolition of Babri Masjid and causing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale in the country. The real terrorists, whether communal-fascist, or state-sponsored, roam scot-free while national liberation fighters, revolutionaries and Muslim youth are killed every day by the state and state-sponsored gangs. They are even denied the right to association, right to speech and movement. Such is the real face of democracy in our country.
It is, in fact, the Parliament that has the greatest number of the top terrorists, gangsters, criminals and scamsters of our country. These criminal gangsters are in leading positions in every parliamentary party and they enter the Parliament and Assemblies, and this has now become a granted thing. There are scamsters who occupy the highest seats of power despite swindling hundreds of crores of people’s heard-earned money through kickbacks and commissions. These traitors have no compunction in selling the motherland to the videshi masters for a few crumbs. Yet all these anti-national, anti-people continue to hold the lifelines of the country, posing a grave threat to the security of the country. The BJP, whose hands are stained with the blood of thousands of Muslim people, and whose bestiality and sadism was displayed in full colours during the Gujarat genocide, has been shamelessly clamouring loudly for imposing ban on every Muslim organization and re-introducing POTA for harassing the Muslim community without any hindrance. Rabidly anti-Muslim Narendra Modi’s government in Gujarat had incarcerated thousands of Muslim youth in prisons and eliminated hundreds in the name of encounters. Today it is trying to enact a drama by arresting some SIMI activists and trying to implicate them in Bangalore, Ahmedabad bomb blasts. It has been “unearthing” every day bombs planted by its own men in Surat and elsewhere in order to defame the Muslims and to justify its genocide of Muslims. Every charge made by the Hindu fascists and the Indian state against Muslims will turn to be false if proper investigation is conducted. The blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad themselves could be the handiwork of the Hindu communal forces in the two BJP-rule states in order to whip up communal tension, justify their brutal assaults on the fundamental rights of the people and genocide of Muslims, and gain seats in the coming elections with inspiration derived from Modi’s Gujarat.
The CPI (Maoist) calls upon the people not to get diverted by the malicious propaganda made by the ruling classes and their media which portrays all the militant struggles waged by the oppressed masses and oppressed nationalities as terrorist violence. The struggling people resort to revolutionary violence as a response to the white terror/state terror unleashed by the big landlord big bourgeois ruling classes and their armed forces in order to put down their legitimate struggles. It is the ploy of the imperialists and their running dogs all over the world in their ‘war against terrorism’ to utilize the killing of innocent people to ruthlessly crush the people’s struggles under the ‘sacred’ banner of “war on terror”. It is these gangsters who are the real culprits causing death of millions of people not only through direct aggression over the sovereign states, killing millions of children, women and aged through economic sanctions but also through their policies of Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization. The CC calls upon the workers, peasants, women, youths, and all other oppressed people to fight unitedly against the growing assaults by the rulers on the fundamental rights of the people, against the draconian policies imposed by the imperialists and the Indian ruling classes in the name of ‘war on terror’. Our slogan should be to wage a united “war on state terror”.
Lift the ban on SIMI, CPI (Maoist) and other organizations!
Punish the criminals who had unleashed attacks and committed atrocities on Muslims and other religious minorities!
Condemn the continuing illegal detention of Com. Pramod Misra (Janardhanji)!
Build a countrywide mass movement to secure the release of comrade Pramod Misra unconditionally!!
Com. Pramod Misra alias Janardhanji alias Madanji alias Ban Bihariji, a member of the Political Bureau of CPI (Maoist) was arrested by the Intelligence Bureau and Jharkhand Special Task force in the early hours of 11th May from a Party supporter’s house in Dhanbad city and is kept in illegal police custody even after 72 hours in gross violation of all constitutional provisions. Com. Sudhir (29), elder son of Com. Janardhan, was also arrested five days ago and detained illegally.
Com. Pramod Misra, (54) is one of the senior most comrades of our party who has been serving the revolutionary movement in India for over three decades. As one of the architects of the armed agrarian revolutionary struggle in Bihar he became a popular and beloved leader of the masses as well as the party ranks and a night-mare to the ruling classes and their mercenary security forces. At the time of his illegal arrest he was serving as the secretary of the Northern Regional Bureau of CPI (Maoist).
The arrest of com Janardhanji is part of the ongoing brutal all-round country-wide offensive unleashed by the reactionary ruling classes of India, with the active assistance and advice of the imperialists, against CPI (Maoist) and the people’s war under its leadership. All the reactionary ruling class parties, whether it is the Congress or the BJP, are united in this brutal military offensive. They have been desperately trying to contain the revolutionary movement which is spreading like wild-fire in vast areas of the countryside shaking the very foundations of the decadent, rotten feudal order. The state and central intelligence agencies and the anti-Naxal Special Forces have been targeting the central and state leaderships of our Party in a vain bid to suppress the ongoing people’s war led by our Party. They had stepped up their coordinated attacks particularly after the successful completion of the Unity Congress-9th Congress of our Party. The immediate step up in the enemy offensive is driven by the desire of the imperialists, comprador big business houses like Tatas, Mittals, Ruias, Jindals etc to loot the mineral wealth of the vast region stretching from Bihar to North Andhra where the Maoists exercise virtual control.
The police, para-military, the intelligence agencies and other repressive wings of the Indian state are notorious for their extra-judicial killings of revolutionaries and other social activists. The Jharkhand Special Task Force is particularly notorious for its cruel torture and elimination of revolutionary leaders and political activists of our Party. In December 2006, they assisted the APSIB in arresting comrades Chandramouli (BK) and Karuna in Tatanagar railway station and brutally torturing and murdering them. They had murdered seven Maoist revolutionaries in Dumaria in East Singhbhum in February this year by giving all assistance to the counter revolutionary Nagarik Suraksha Samity. Last month, they murdered eight comrades in Garhwa district. Given such a notorious record of lawlessness, there is every possibility that Com. Janardhanji could be killed in one of the “encounters” for which these cold-blooded murderers had won notoriety. Madhu Koda government has least respect for the country’s laws and the Indian Constitution.
CC, CPI (Maoist) demands the immediate and unconditional release of comrade Janrdhanji and comrade Sudheer and a judicial enquiry into his illegal detention beyond the 24 hours stipulated by law. We warn the Central government led by the imperialist stooge Manmohan Singh and the Jharkhand government of serious consequences if any harm is done to the life of Com. Pramod Misra. It is the central and state governments that will be solely responsible for retaliatory measures by our Party and our PLGA in the event of any harm caused to the life of comrade Pramod Misra.
Our party appeals to all democratic organizations, individuals and various sections of people to condemn the illegal detention of Janardhanji by the Jharkhand police and to build a mass movement to save the life of our beloved leader and to secure his release immediately and unconditionally. Our CC appeals to Party ranks to mobilize the vast masses to protest against the arrest of our beloved leader Com Janardhanji and use all means possible to secure his release.
May 14 2008
CPI (Maoist) Condemns the Brutal Murder of Com. Tutul By Bangladesh RAB
It was with great shock and deep sorrow that we heard the news of the brutal and savage murder of our beloved comrade Mizanur Rahman Tutul, General Secretary of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)Lal Pataka and a founding member of CCOMPOSA. He was killed in a fake encounter (termed ‘killed in crossfire’ in Bangladesh) in late July 2008 by the notorious Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of Bangladesh.
The Central Committee of the CPI(Maoist), the PLGA and the entire rank-and file of the Party conveys its revolutionary condolence in this hour of serious loss to the CC and entire ranks of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka of Bangladesh. As a fraternal party and co-member of the CCOMPOSA the loss to the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka is like a loss to our Party. We are fully with them in this hour of serious loss, particularly as it has come soon after the loss of their main ideological leader and guide, Com Kamrul Islam (Master).
Comrade Tutul was a leading figure in the Maoist movement of Bangladesh. In 1997, along with comrade Kamrul Islam (Master) he founded the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka. Comrade Kamrul was martyred in 2006, murdered while in the custody of the RAB.
Comrade Tutul played a leading role in initiating a thorough summation of the rich history and experiences of the Party and of the Maoist movement in Bangladesh. He was keen on unifying the genuine Maoist forces of that country into a single party. He was an active participant in CCOMPOSA and had close relations with the CPI (Maoist). We shared experiences and sought to learn from each others practice. His death, coming in the wake of the loss of comrade Kamrul, is a heavy blow for the Party.
The martyrdom of comrade Tutul has deprived the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka and the Maoist movement of Bangladesh of one of its most able leaders. Yet, we are confident that the movement will get over the loss and advance the New Democratic Revolution in Bangladesh which is reeling under acute poverty and fascist army rule.
We once again assure the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka that we are with it in this hour of crisis and repeat our sincere condolence to the ranks of the Party and the family and relatives of Com Tutul.
Central Committee, CPI(Maoist)
August 17 2008
“Allah did not listen to my Fariad” : Interview with Dr. Tutul’s Mother, Navera Khatun
(Interview given by Tutul’s Mother to a special correspondent of a Bengali Magazine from UK)
UK Bengali Mag: How are you?
Navera Khatun: Iam old. I am suffering from various ailments. Never did I imagine such a shock at this old age. i lack the power of speech to talk about the death of my son. instead of my death he died prematurely. I used to cry to Allah, take me at least a day before taking my son. But Allah did not listen to my Fariad.
BM: From the media reports we came to know that Dr. Majnaur Rahman Tutul was arrested from Uttara on the night of July 25th by the RAB. Once again we got to know from the media itself about his death on July 27th. The RAB-police continued to deny the news of his arrest. What was the actual fact?
NK: He was not picked up from Uttara in Dhaka, but arrested from Mirpur. I have come to know that my son was arrested from a house at No.8 Road, D Block, Section 6 in Mirpur. He was not arrested on the night of July 25th) but in the morning of the same day. On the following morning (ie.26th) the police came to our house. The police enquired about his father’s actual identity. I suspected something amiss. Later it was the police who informed me about the arrest. Then I went to the Jhinaidah DC office along with my relatives and near ones to submit a memorandum. I also called a press conference at the Jhinaidah press club. Then the RAB/police suppressed the fact of his arrest. Perhaps they thought that keeping the fact of arrest under wraps he could be easily murdered. As happened elsewhere, here too, they would present the story of ‘cross-fire’. But it was found that many were talking about him, protesting against his arrest before his killing without trial. The authorities immediately took recourse to denying his arrest. However before the protests spread he was murdered.
BM: You had gone to the District Magistrate with a memorandum to stall the killing of Dr. Tutul after his arrest. You requested to present your son in court under the existing law. But the district magistrate refused to accept your memorandum. Why did he not accept it?
NK: We went to the District Magistrate’s house on the evening of July 26th. But his PA declined to accept the memorandum. The PA asked us to submit the memorandum the following morning at 9 am after the office opened. Though we made repeated requests he did not accept the memorandum. It was not necessary to submit the memorandum the following day. It was pre-planned not to accept the memorandum. The very fact of refusing to accept the memorandum makes it clear that the plan to murder my son was hatched before hand.
BM: Even after engineering the large scale bomb explosions JMB-Harkathul Jehad, Banglabhai/Abdur Rahman were brought for judicial trial. But your son was deprived of that opportunity. What is your reaction?
NK: If a person is convicted by the state’s judiciary only then he might receive punishment. It seems to me that JNB was a drama. Such dramas are enacted by foreigners. There are some people who take part in such dramas unwittingly. I do never support such extra judicial killings. Still I must say that the government attitude towards the JMB is biased.
One more thing to add. There might be a debate over the correct or incorrect path of the armed left-wing communist movement, but it will be a travesty of truth if any question is raised about their honesty.
BM: How do you look at extra-judicial killings?
NK: those who are resorting to it are committing betrayal against the country. Each and every person should have the right to justice. If it is not the fact how can we claim to be civilized? Those who organize extra-judicial killings should be tried – they are traitors to the country.
BM: Say something about your son.
NK: He was very naughty in early childhood. But he was meritorious too. When he moved to high school he grew calm and quiet. He became inclined to communist politics while studying at Rajsahi Medical College. He wanted to get thoroughly involved in politics even before completing his medical course. His father said to him “I have spent a lot of money on you, at you pass out from the medical college. After passing his medical exam one day Tutul appeared before his father and said, “take this certificate of medical degree”. After this his father insisted on his joining a service. For only one month Tutul was in government service. After this he got thoroughly involved in politics. I am the mother of a son and daughter. My daughter has completed her masters. She got married while a student in Rajsahi University. And Tutul secured his MBBS degree from Rajsahi Medical College. We had this expectation that he would be an established doctor. We will have a happy family. But once he joined communist politics he discontinued his service and simultaneously sold out most of our land in order to serve the poor. Now I stay alone. There is a room in the market; I receive some money as rent from it. In the field there lies some land, the produce from it comes to me. Tutul married Luci, a distant relative’s daughter hailing from Phoolata, Rajsahi. After marriage for a few years Luci remained involved in Party activities. They got a son who was named Pitul. Luci disengaged herself from Party activities in order to rear her child. Later she secured for herself a job in a non-government organization. After about a period of 12years of married life they separated. Last year Pitul passed the HSc.
Tutul used to talk of a classless society. I responded saying that the rich would not part with their properties. You will turn into their enemy. The government too will stay on the side of the rich. They wont allow you to live. After killing Shahid (Mofakhkar Chowdhury) in ‘cross-fire’ the police came to inform us that Tutul was killed. That was a wrong news. Later when I got his contact I told him that they have killed shahid, now they will trace you out. They will not allow you to survive. I am selling land to give you money, you go to a foreign land. Listening to me Tutul kept silent and chuckled.
BM: Would you go to the existing judicial system for fighting a legal battle against the killing?
NK: At this age of mine it is pretty difficult to move from here to there. I don’t possess that physical strength. Had my son been alive I would still move for him. I have tried till the last. If a case is filed at Jhilaidah court I can risk moving. But going to Dhaka is very difficult. However, I welcome any international organization if it comes here for a trial against this killing.
BM: In Patrika it appeared that Dr. Tutul’s organization unleashes torture on the people and leads to indiscriminate killings. What do you have to say about it?
NK: In Patrika reports were manufactured about Lal Pataka. Patrika did not obviously publish their Party’s views. Tutul got engaged in doing good for the people around. None could say that he could do anything bad taking a look at his face; at his appearance. How can a man be bad who left a job and medical profession, forsaking his own happiness, in order to serve the poor?
BM: What is the opinion of the local people about Dr. Tutul?
NK: Better ask the locals about their opinion on Tutul. A chador of darkness has enveloped the area at his death – this much I can say.
Com Mizanur Rahman Tutul, General Secretary of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)Lal Pataka, a great loss not only to the Revolution in Bangla Desh but entire South Asia
Com Mizanur Rahman Tutul was picked up by the RAB(Rapid Action Batallion) on July 25th early morning from a house in Mirpur. On July 26th police from Kot Chandpur went to the house of his mother and informed about the arrest. Though her mother is 80 years of age she, along with her relatives and 200 people went to Jhilaidah to submit a memorandum. The memorandum stated that he was not a terrorist and had a reputation in the area of being a very nice person and a very kind doctor. The memorandum appealed that he should not be killed in a fake ‘cross-fire’ and he be produced before a court of law. But the District Magistrate refused to take the memorandum or heed the appeal. Frustrated with this lack of response his mother, Nevera Khatun, called press conference at the Jhilaidah press club to save Tutul’s life. Yet the cry of the mother could not melt the heart of the fascist state. Com.Tutul was murdered at Naogaon in a so-called cross-fire in the wee hours of July 27 2008.
Com Mizanur Rahman Tutul hailed from a well-off family but he sold most of his land to help others. He was an extremely meritorious student and came amongst the first ten in exams at both the secondary and higher secondary levels. He was then admitted to the Rajsahi Medical College. Here he continued his meritorious career and got his MBBS degree. But while in college he came in touch with Maoist politics and the Purba Bangla Communist Party (M-L). Very soon he graduated to become a popular organizer and theoretical leader of this Maoist stream that stood for armed struggle.
His father is no more, but his 80 year old mother is still alive. His only sister, Nurjahan Baby, got married long ago. Tutul was married to a girl from Damodar village in Khulna sub-district. They have son named Pitul who is studying HSc in Dhaka. His wife,Lucy Khanam, was once an activist but later she dropped out and the two got separated.
Com Mizanur Rahman Tutul soon developed from the ranks and at the time of his martyrdom he was general secretary of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)Lal Pataka. He was a most dedicated and brilliant communist. He along with com. Kamrul Master fought against the various wrong trends in the Bangladesh Maoist movement. But while doing so they also worked fervently for their unity.
The authorities feared him so much that even though his arrest had been exposed the notorious RAB killed him in cold blood. The RAB, a most notorious and ruthless formation, was formed during the Jamat-BNP dispensation. It has murdered 511 people in 419 incidents. Of these 284 persons have been killed in so-called cross-fire. Besides these, 21 persons were killed in police custody, with the RAB claiming that they died of heart attack.
Before this killing the previous secretary of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)Lal Pataka, Com Mafakhkar Chowdhary, was also killed in a ‘cross-fire’ in Dec. 2004. Waves of condemnation swept Bangladesh after this killing. As a result the 4-party alliance government temporarily refrained from killing senior leaders in this manner. But once again in 2006 they brutally killed the main ideologue and leader of this Party, Com Kamrul Master.
Soon after the murder of Com. Tutul a press conference was held by prominent citizens on July 30th at the Reporter’s Unity Lounge in Dhaka condemning the extra-judicial killing of the leader of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)Lal Pataka. The speakers clearly condemned the killing of Dr. Tutul by the RAB and categorically stated that it was nothing but a cold-blooded murder. A written statement was read out by the secretary of the National Liberation Council (Jatiya Mukti Council) Faizul Hakim Lala. Among the important persons present at the press conference were: the convener of the Jatiya Gana Front, Tipu Biswas, political writer Badaruddin Umar, convener of the Biplabi Eikya Front, Mosrefa Mishu, president of the Biplabi Workers Party, Saiful Haque; convener of the Naya Gantantrik Gana Morcha, Sibli Kaium; poet, Abu Bakr Siddiqui, convener of the National Committee for saving oil/gas/minerals/electricity/ports, engineer Sheikh Sahidullah; along with leaders of various left and democratic student organizations.
Referring to Tutul’s killing Badaruddin Umar said: “It is murder; a clean murder. He swore by a political philosophy and considered it correct on the question of seizure of power. He could have been sent for legal trial if his work went against the country and its people” Umar added “not a single leader or cadre of the communalist JMB was killed in a ‘cross-fire’. If even after serial bombings and murdering people throughout the country Sayak Rahman (Banglabhai) was sent for trial, why was Tutul no sent to court. It is now the left progressive anti-imperialist forces who are targeted and killed. Revolutionaries are being killed at the instance of the US. The country is now under Emergency, people are forced to keep silent. What is needed now is a social resistance.”
The convener of the Jatiya Gana Front, Tipu Biswas, said: “This blood cannot go in vain. We shall organize a country-wide movement against ‘cross-fire’.” The poet, Abu Baqr Siddiqui said: “The State is violating the laws of its own making. To oppose ‘cross-fire’ is duty of all good-meaning citizens”. All those present at the press conference demanded the immediate winding up of the RAB.
The students of Dhaka university organized a procession condemning the murder of Dr. Tutul. Seven anti-mperialist organizations have given a call to hold processions and rallies against the killing.
The Ganatantrik Bam Morcha organized a meeting at its office on July 29th against the killing of Dr. Tutul. It was presided over by its coordinator, Mosrefa Mishu. The resolution passed by the meeting stated that in the name of countering terrorism this government has so far killed 197 people, passing them off as deaths either by ‘cross-fire’ or in gun battle or in encounters. The meeting demanded immediate stopping of such fascist-style killings, bypassing court trials. Among the dignitaries present at the meeting were the convener of the Basad, comrade Khalekujjaman, Tipu Biswas, of Jatiya Gana Front, Saiful haque of the Bangladesh Worker’s Party, Advocate AbdulSalamof the Ganatantrik Majdoor Party, Julhas Babu of the Gana Sanhati Andolan, Babu Biswas of the Shramajibi Mukti Andolan, Rejaur Rashid Khan of Basad, Badrul Alamof CPB(M-L)and many others.