*Resist the Saffron Politics of Intolerance and Intimidation*
The attack on Prashant Bhushan by men claiming to belong to the 'Sri Ram
Sene' and 'Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena' is the latest instance of saffron
thuggery. The Supreme Court advocate and activist was assaulted by attackers
who barged into his chambers at the Supreme Court. He was targeted because
he had, at an interaction with the press two weeks ago at Varanasi,
recommended withdrawal of the AFSPA and army presence from Kashmir, and, if
the Kashmir issue still remained unresolved, a referendum to allow
self-determination for the people of Kashmir.
Such physical assaults on intellectuals, activists and artists who express
views that are contrary to the reactionary worldview of Hindutva are a
hallmark of communal fascism in India. They bring to mind the fascist
brigades in Mussolini's Italy who would target intellectual voices of
dissent. From women who wear jeans or visit pubs and artists of Muslim
origin to historians who document truths that are inconvenient to Hindutva's
mythology and individuals who challenge the jingoistic discourse on Kashmir
– all become targets for organized violence by these self-styled custodians
of morality and patriotism.
It is all the more deplorable that the attackers choose to cloak their brand
of intolerance and violence with the name and legacy of Bhagat Singh. In
doing so they attack the very memory of Bhagat Singh – whose life and death
was dedicated to the reasoned revolutionary politics inspired by Marxism and
Leninism; who was not only committed to fighting for Indian freedom but also
for international working class unity; and who was not only an atheist but a
lifelong opponent of communal hate-mongering. The young Bhagat Singh was
moved to join the freedom struggle after visiting Jallianwala Bagh – the
site of brutal colonial repression. Can anyone genuinely inspired by Bhagat
Singh today fail to denounce the thousands of mass graves in Kashmir which
contain the victims of custodial killings by security forces?
The Shiv Sena – itself known for similar acts of vandalism and violent
intimidation – has hailed those who attacked Prashant Bhushan. The BJP and
RSS have tried to distance themselves from the attackers. But it is quite
undeniable that the attackers have had close links with the BJP and Sangh.
Advani has been unable to deny an old file photograph in which he is seen
closely clasping the hands of Tejinder Bagga, one of the perpetrators of the
attack on Prashant Bhushan. Actually, the attackers have the same relation
with the Sangh Parivar that Pragnya Singh Thakur (the Malegaon blast
accused), Dara Singh (killer of Graham Staines) and Nathuram Godse (Gandhi's
assassin) did. They are very much products of the same ideology and
political culture of the Sangh-BJP, and the latter is only too happy to make
political use of such foot-soldiers of their fascist politics until their
actions become an outright political liability.
Congress spokesperson Digvijay Singh has displayed the Congress'
characteristic willingness to embrace the right-wing jingoistic posture and
slogans when it is convenient. Digvijay claimed to denounce the attack on
Prashant Bhushan, but he himself mounted an ideological edition of the
physical attack by asking Anna if it was "proper" for him to associate
closely with Bhushan given his views on "basic issues of the country's unity
and integrity." Till yesterday Digvijay had been accusing Anna of being
RSS-backed – and now, the same Digvijay has no qualms about attacking Anna
from the same RSS-brand of jingoist ideology, that inspired Prashant
Bhushan's attackers, and that seeks to silence any discussion of state
repression and self-determination in Kashmir by branding it a threat to
'unity and integrity.' In opportunistically joining the Ram Sene-Shiv Sena
chorus against Prashant Bhushan, Digvijay and the Congress have, once again,
emboldened the forces of chauvinism and communal fascism.
The episode has also posed a challenge to 'Team Anna' from the perspective
of democracy. Anna's supporters too were beaten up in court by supporters of
Prashant Bhushan's attackers. Anna and his team did condemn the attack, but
distanced themselves from Bhushan's remarks on Kashmir. Their dismay and
discomfort with Prashant Bhushan's views on Kashmir – and therefore with his
political views beyond the narrowly defined corruption issue – was palpable.
When Anna Hazare was jailed, a wide spectrum of democratic forces protested
the arrest as an assault on democracy. When Prashant Bhushan was attacked,
too, many protested – but the Anna 'Team' itself conspicuously failed to
organize any demonstration of protest.
Saffron terrorists, perpetrators of communal violence and organized acts of
vandalism and intimidation are emboldened by a long history of being let off
lightly. We must demand that the attackers be put behind bars and such
groups that perpetrate organized violence be proscribed. The forces
committed to secularism and democracy must strive to expose and resist the
fascist forces who masquerade as 'patriotic' and 'nationalist'. The
ideological brethren of Savarkar (who betrayed the freedom struggle and
begged pardon of the British rulers) and Godse (who assassinated Gandhi)
cannot be allowed to lay claim to the legacy of Bhagat Singh.
*Solidarity with the Maruti Workers*
CPI(ML) leaders, leaders from All India Central Council of Trade Unions
(AICCTU) and student activists and leaders of AISA in Delhi have been
regularly visiting the striking Maruti workers in Gurgaon, Haryana. On 15th
October a team comprising CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar
Bhattacharya, Party's Haryana incharge Comrade Prem Singh Gehlawat, Delhi
State Secretary Comrade Sanjay Sharma, AICCTU's Delhi GS Comrade VKS Gautam
and a students' team led by AISA General Secretary Ravi Rai visited the
striking Maruti workers at Manesar in Haryana. On 17th, again a team of
student activists of AISA visited them to express solidarity.
*Comrade Dipankar's Address to the Striking Maruti Workers*
The struggle of workers of Maruti Suzuki has not only changed the identity
of Manesar Industrial Area, but also sent a message to the whole country.
The company owners felt that they could repress the workers according to
their whims, and that workers would have no liberty to fight. The
'goonda-raj' that was being thrust on the workers has been challenged by the
Maruti workers and the workers all over the country are glad that the fight
that has begun at Maruti will end the repressive regime of capitalists and
looters everywhere in the Country.
The workers had a very simple demand of having a union of their own choice,
which is their right. This is a right of the workers all over the world.
This law came into existence in India in 1926 - even though the country was
then not free and still under the British Rule. Every worker has the right
to form a union, whatever industry/sector s/he is employed in. But workers
are being denied this right in free India!
This struggle has sent out the message to all the company owners and
managements in the country that the workers have the right to form unions
which managements will have to recognise, and that the workers will defend
and achieve this right. The issue of right to union is linked with the issue
of freedom, Constitution and democracy, and is a fundamental issue of the
workers' struggle in the country.
When the SEZ Act was passed no party in the Parliament opposed it, but when
the Act was being imposed, the peasants and farmers have opposed it
everywhere. No matter what laws get passed in the Parliament and what the
governments say, the workers, peasants and the people must have the final
Threats are being given that the factory will be shifted to Gujarat if the
struggle is not ended. They want to silence people's struggles by branding
the struggles as a threat to 'investment.' This is not a situation in the
Maruti Factory alone, or even of Manesar alone, the situation will have to
be changed all over Haryana and the country. Earlier people commented that
workers' struggles are limited to Bengal, Maharashtra; Shankar Guha Niyogi
did it in Bhilai. They said there cannot be a workers' struggle in Haryana,
red flags will not be allowed here, but the workers here have shown that if
their problems are not addressed then the red flag will flutter everywhere
in Haryana and a new situation will come to prevail. And when such a
situation will come to prevail everywhere in the country, no owners and
managements will have the guts to try to frighten the workers with the
threat of shifting the factory to other states.
The Maruti struggle will definitely change the prevailing circumstances and
strengthen the workers, their identity will be strengthened and the morale
of the capitalists will surely go down.
Some say that change is happening everywhere. Earlier they used to say that
after the collapse of the Soviet Union only the rule of capitalists will
prevail. However, at the capitalist headquarter, i.e. in the US itself, the
workers and the youth are out on the streets opposing their government. They
are protesting the bailouts and immunity given to the capitalists.
The Maruti struggle has created history. We will definitely try to mobilize
more workers, students and common people in support of your struggle. These
days the media does not speak in support of the workers, only the
capitalists have a voice there. It advises the Maruti workers to have
patience, that they should maintain discipline. We are only demanding that
the Union be registered and the management should talk to the workers'
union. If a simple demand of a union cannot be accepted then what remains of
democracy in the country. Will this country be only for the capitalists?
Will only their goons and the govts that work for them continue to run the
country? Definitely a wider debate will rage on this issue in the country.
All those who are fighting against corruption, inflation, loot and pro-rich
regime will surely join in in this struggle.
Our Party has always fought for the rights of the poor and working class.
This is a huge modern factory, but inside it, you workers are being treated
in the most backward and exploitative way, where the rights that workers won
centuries ago are being overturned and denied. A battle is raging in the
country against such repression and exploitation, and for democracy, and the
Manesar workers are definitely at the forefront of that battle. I offer the
red salute to you on behalf of my Party and the nation-wide workers'
organizations and we will make efforts to spread your struggle all over the
country. No matter what pressures the govt brings upon, you will definitely
win this struggle as all democracy loving people , struggling people and all
working class organizations in the country are standing with you.
*Condemn Police Firing in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh*
The CPI(ML) strongly condemned the recent police firing in Darrang, Assam,
which took the lives of four jute farmers demonstrating against denial of
remunerative prices. The increasingly repressive face of the Congress
Government of Assam has come to the fore in the incidents of firing on
protestors in Guwahati some months ago, and the recent firing at Darrang.
The CPI(ML) also condemned the brutal STF and CRPF action against young
students celebrating Durga Puja in Roing, Arunachal Pradesh. The unprovoked
and brutal firing has seriously injured nine students including a girl.
Shockingly the security personnel even tried to fire in the air and storm
the hospital premises where the injured were admitted, till students'
protests finally turned them back. This act of repression is an attempt to
intimidate the local population that has been protesting against the Dibang
Dam. The public hearing for the dam is due on October 31. The repressive
measures are being unleashed to instill fear and prevent people from
expressing their opposition to the Dam. The Congress Government of Arunachal
Pradesh is defending the heinous act of firing on young students celebrating
a festival by branding anti-dam protestors as 'Maoists.'
The police and security personnel responsible for the heinous firing at
Assam and Arunachal Pradesh must be punished swiftly and severely.
Protesting the killing of 4 peasants, CPI(ML) organized protest programmes
at different places in Assam. The Assam Police killed four peasants and
injured many when it opened fire on hundreds of peasants on 10th October at
Bechimari under Dolgaon Police Station of the north Assam district. While
condemning the brutal killing, CPI(ML) held protest programmes at Tinsukia
and Chabua on 12th Oct, Jorhat on 11th Oct, Nagaon 12th Oct, Behali 11th
Oct and Barpeta 11th Oct. District Committees and local committees of the
Party burned effigies of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and demanded a high
level enquiry into the incident. The Assam State Committee and Hills Party
Committee jointly submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Assam on 13th
October that demanded an investigation into the Bechimari incident
immediately and to publish the report within a week; and also demanded Rs.10
lakhs to every victim's family and Rs.3 lakhs for every injured peasant. It
also demanded to stop repressing the peasants, to fix and declare minimum
support price before harvesting and to purchase agricultural produce
directly, provide subsidy on manure, seeds, pesticides and distribute them
through fare price system.
*March to Raj Bhawan on Autonomous State and Corruption Issues*
CPI(ML) Hills party committee (HPC) organised a march to Rajbhawan on 13th
October on the issue of Autonomous State and rampant corruption in Karbi
Anglong Autonomous Council. More than 200 marched from Latasil field near
Guwahati High Court and sat on dharna at Raj Bhawan. A team led by Party's
PB member Com. Rubul Sarma and HPC Secretary Selawar Bey, Ravi Kr. Phangcho,
Mahen Bey, Laison Inleng met the Governor and submitted a memorandum on
threse demands: (i) creation of an autonomous state under article 244(A),
(ii) investigate corruption in the Congress run Karbi Anglong Autonomous
Council and Dima Hasao districts, and (iii) removal of clause 8 of BLT
accord of 2003. It may be worth mentioning that Bodos are recognized as ST
in plains all over Assam, but BLT accord under this clause recognized them
as ST hills in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts. Indigenous hill
tribes are opposed to this clause and it is feared that if the clause is not
scrapped it would lead to social tension between various ethnic groups.
*Protest Held Against Attack on Prashant Bhushan *
Hundreds Protest Against Saffron Brigade's Politics of Intolerance and
Intimidation, Burn Effigy of Sri Ram Sene
Hundreds of students, university teachers, intellectuals, cultural activists
and people's movement activists gathered at Jantar Mantar on 14th October to
protest against the attack on noted activist and senior advocate Prashant
Bhushan by goons belonging to the Sri Ram Sene and other saffron outfits.
The protest was organised by the All India Students' Association (AISA).
The protestors raised slogans against the assaults on freedom of expression
and demanding arrest and stern action against the perpetrators of the attack
on Mr. Bhushan. The protestors also raised slogans against police failure to
act against the perpetrators of the attack on Mr. Bhushan's supporters
inside Court premises in full view of the police.
The protest meeting was addressed by a range of democratic activists. The
meeting was conducted by Ravi Rai, General Secretary of AISA. The meeting
was addressed by N D Pancholi of PUCL, NK Bhattacharya of Janhastakshep,
Arvind Gaur of Asmita, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of
CPI(ML) Liberation, filmmaker Ajay Bharadwaj, Manipuri activist Seram Rojesh
(CPDM), Rakesh Kumar of Socialist Front, Sandeep Singh, National President
of AISA, Ram Krishna Reddy (Delhi Telangana Joint Action Committee), Mahtab
Alam, Ameek Jami of AIYF among many others.
*Similar protests were also held by AISA at many places in the Country
including Banaras, Patna, Arrah, Kolkata and Chandigarh.*
*Demonstration against Mamta Govt in Kolkata*
Party's Kolkata District Committee organized a militant protest
demonstration in Kolkata on 18th October against the highhanded gesture made
by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her visit to the
troubled Jangalmahal, belying all the poll promises made by her before the
assembly elections held early this year. Her party and she herself had
promised that the Joint Forces operative in Jangalmahal would be withdrawn,
all the political prisoners would be freed and UAPA would be given a go by.
So her visit to the place evoked lot of expectation among the poor tribal
people inhabiting that place, who have been reeling under acute state terror
prevailing in that area because of the repressive attitude of the Joint
Forces. She has totally gone back on her promises and instead, issued open
threat of fiercer action in the name of containing the Maoists. To make
matters worse, a tribal woman named Shibani Singh was brutally raped by the
Joint Forces personnel, while they entered her house in search of her
absconding husband. She had to be hospitalized and the police refused to
register an FIR.
Assembling at Subodh Mullick Square, the demonstrators led by District
Secretary Kalyan Goswami took out a colourful and militant procession to
Esplanade, where the Jangalmahal policy of the Mamata Government was burnt.
We demanded withdrawal of the Joint Forces, all the political prisoners be
unconditionally released, UAPA Act be revoked and exemplary punishment be
meted out to the rapists of Shibani Singh immediately. The demonstration,
the first of its kind since Mamata government took over office, evoked
positive response from the masses.
*From Tahrir Square to Times Square: Protests Erupt in Over 1500 Cities
Tens of Thousands Flooded the Streets of Global Financial Centers, Capital
Cities and Small Towns on 15th Oct.
After triumphing in a standoff with the authorities over the continued
protest of Wall Street at Liberty Square in Manhattan's financial district,
the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread worldwide today with
demonstrations in over 1,500 cities globally and over 100 US cities from
coast to coast as of 15th October. In New York, thousands marched in various
protests by trade unions, students, environmentalists, and community groups.
As occupiers flocked to Washington Square Park, two dozen participants were
arrested at a nearby Citibank while attempting to withdraw their accounts
from the global banking giant.
"I am occupying Wall Street because it is my future, my generations' future,
that is at stake," said Linnea Palmer Paton, 23, a student at New York
University. "Inspired by the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo,
tonight we are coming together in Times Square to show the world that the
power of the people is an unstoppable force of global change. Today, we are
fighting back against the dictators of our country - the Wall Street banks -
and we are winning."
While the spotlight is on New York, "occupy" actions are also happening all
across the Midwestern and the Southern United States, from Ashland, Kentucky
to Dallas, Texas to Ketchum, Idaho. "People are suffering here in Iowa.
Family farmers are struggling, students face mounting debt and fewer good
jobs, and household incomes are plummeting," said Judy Lonning a 69-year-old
retired public school teacher. "We're not willing to keep suffering for Wall
Street's sins. People here are waking up and realizing that we can't just go
to the ballot box. We're building a movement to make our leaders listen."
Protests filled streets of financial districts from Berlin, to Athens,
Auckland to Mumbai, Tokyo to Seoul. In the UK over 3,000 people attempted to
occupy the London Stock Exchange. "The financial system benefits a handful
of banks at the expense of everyday people," said Spyro Van Leemnen, a
27-year old public relations agent in London and a core member of the
demonstrators. "The same people who are responsible for the recession are
getting away with massive bonuses. This is fundamentally unfair and
In South Africa, about 80 people gathered at the Johannesburg Securities
Exchange, and protests continued despite police efforts to declare the
gathering illegal. In Taiwan, organizers drew several hundred demonstrators,
who mostly sat quietly outside the Taipei World Financial Center, known as
600 people have begun an occupation of Confederation Park in Ottawa, Canada
today to join the global day of action (15 October). "I am here today to
stand with Indigenous Peoples around the world who are resisting this
corrupt global banking system that puts profits before human rights," said
Ben Powless, Mohawk citizen and indigenous youth leader. "Native Peoples are
the 99%, and we've been resisting the 1% since 1492. We're marching today
for self-determination and dignity against a system that has robbed our
lands, poisoned our waters, and oppressed our people for generations. Today
we join with those in New York and around the world to say, No More!"
In Australia, about 800 people gathered in Sydney's central business
district, carrying cardboard banners and chanting "Human need, not corporate
greed." Protesters will camp indefinitely "to organize, discuss and build a
movement for a different world, not run by the super-rich 1%," according to
a statement on the Occupy Sydney website.
The rapid spread of the protests is a grassroots response to the
overwhelming inequalities perpetuated by the global financial system and
transnational banks. The organizers said that the Occupation of Liberty
Square in Manhattan will continue indefinitely.
Occupy Wall Street is a people powered movement that began on September 17,
2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan's Financial District, and has spread to
over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities
globally. #OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks
and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of
Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest
recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in
Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, Greece, Italy and the UK, and aims to expose how the
richest 1% of people who are writing the rules of the global economy are
imposing an agenda of neoliberalism and economic inequality that is
foreclosing our future.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation
from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh
Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail:
mlupdate@cpim..., website: www.cpiml.org