Two companies of anti-riot Rapid Action Force (RAF) and three companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) were deployed in the city in view of the growing protests and bandh called by Mevani. His detention evoked strong reactions from protesters. Vankar’s wife, Indu, refused to accept her husband’s body till Mevani was released by the police. By 8 pm, Mevani was released by the police as hundreds of Dalit protesters gathered outside the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital where Vankar’s body is kept in a mortuary following the post-mortem examination. Com D.K. Rathod, secretary of CPI(ML) Red Star organizing committee and other comrades arrested from Gandhi Nagar and other parts of the state were also released. Meanwhile the movement for land will be continued.
Since the authorities gave written assurance that the land to the dalit families in the district shall be distributed soon, the family and friends agreed to bury the body of Bhanu. But the resentment is growing and it will burst out again very soon.
Even after coming to power of present LDF Government in Kerala, atrocities including murder and rapes on Adivasi people are continuing unabated in those areas where they mainly live. The ‘Moral Policing’ itself is part of taming the Adivasi youth to the dictates of encroachers and land mafia who are hand in glove with ruling LDF, as well as UDF and BJP fronts in Kerala. The ABM has called on the LDF Government in Kerala led by Pinarayi Vijayan who himself handles the police department to take resolute action against murderers of Madhu and take appropriate measures required for the protection of the land and livelihood of the Adivasi.
AIKKS STATE PRESIDENT ON INDEFINITE FAST DEMANDING JUSTICE TO ADIVASIS
Severely condemning the killing of Adivasi youth Madhu by the representatives of land mafia and vested interests com. Sukumaran, state president of the AIKKS has started an indefinite fast at Attappadi demanding a comprehensive enquiry about the killing of Madhu, expose the role of police and forest department in this killing, Appoint a Commission led by a serving Judge to enquire the encroaching on Adivasi land and misappropriation of Adivasi welfare funds, and Provide basic facilities for Adivasi families. Comrades of CPI(ML) Red Star as well as delegations of class/mass organizations are organizing marches in support to the
Following Resolutions were passed in the Conference: 1) Against land acquisition and displacement, 2) Conservation of water, land, forest and environment, 3) To implement forest rights act 4) To struggle in favour of Barnavapara sanctuary struggle and struggling people of Bhangar, West Bengal, 5) Against false cases and exploitation of women, 6) Against killing and suppression of innocent tribals in the name of so-called Maoism and to release all the jailed tribals unconditionally, 7) To repeal CAMPA Act, 8) To struggle against the Land Revenve Amendment Act and other such laws which snatch the lands of tribals, 9) To follow the laws of PESA, 5th and 6th Schedule and SPTA Acts, 10) To arrest the murderers of intellectuals like Gouri Lankesh, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar etc. and to save democratic values, 11) Against all forms of superstitions and fanaticism, 12) Against Bullet train, Vaadvan Port, Express Highway, Economic Corridor and against all corporate policies, 13) To struggle for equality and better life style, and 14) On Present National condition.
The All India Coordination Committee will lead struggles to fulfill these demands. 125 delegates from 9 states participated in this Conference. The expenditure in organizing the Conference was nearly 1 Lakh Rupees. The Conference concluded with lowering of the ABM flag amidst revolutionary songs and militant slogans. It was followed by a meeting of the newly elected committee. An assessment of the Conference and future planning was done in the meeting. The next committee meeting will be held at Palghar Maharashtra in the last week of March.
A Dalit convention organised under the banner of Dalit Bhoo Avakasha Samara Munnani on Sunday triggered tension with the police arresting many protesters. They were later released on bail. However, Dalit Bhoo Avakasha Samara Samiti has now decided to take the protest to the capital by beginning an indefinite strike before the Secretariat.
ISSUE DOWN THE LANE
1979: NSS applies for title deed, to occupy the common village land.
1981: Receives deed during the period of LDF Government
Jan 27, 2017: RDO demarcates the land
Feb 7, 2017: NSS starts construction of compound wall
April 14, 2017: The compound wall brought down by protestors
One-year protest going on. District Collector has declared status quo stating no further construction is to be made
21 Jan 2018: Dalit protest escalates with the issue spreading through Facebook and other social media. Protestors and media persons arrested from the site.
February 3: District Collector maintains that status quo should be followed
February 4: Dalit convention at Choondy Junction.
HISTORY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN TISS AND WORRYING TRENDS
THE history of social justice in TISS admission was a struggle like in other higher educational institutes in India with significant number of Dalit Bahujan Adivasi students entering the campus after the Mandal Commission recommendations being enforced in the year 2006 and pressure from various quarters. Social work education had been a domain of the privileged castes and class, only till recently.
The case of TISS is unique as the fee ranges about 70-80,000 per semester, which is incomparable to the other Central Universities like JNU, HCU, EFLU etc. Although the Institute tries to defend the high fee by putting it alongside IITs and IIMs, the elite character and the anti-reservation character of these ‘elite’ institutes is well known. Moreover, any comparison can be made only between like institutions, and IITs and IIMs are far distinct from TISS in terms of the kind of courses they offer and the vision that they entail.
Over the past 5-6 years, there has been a constant betrayal of any measure of social justice which the institute has been claiming to have. Firstly, the fee was hiked from 2013-14 to almost double the amount in 2016-17, with a 45% increase in the intervening years of 2015 and 2016. The high fees of TISS, can by no way match the meagre GoI PMS amount that the government disburses. TISS, in a measure of positive social justice, provided fee exemption in most heads for SC, ST and OBC students who are eligible for the GoI-PMS scholarship. But, this facility was withdrawn for the OBC students from the 2015 batch and finally in 2017, institute went ahead to withdraw the same for SC and ST students as well. This resulted in almost impossible situation for students because they were asked to pay the full fees upfront.
These actions will result in complete absence of students from oppressed communities to participate in higher education in TISS, as the financial aid and GoI-PMS cannot match the fees. Also, with the introduction of Direct Bank Transfer of scholarship, the institute has washed its hands off any responsibility of providing fee exemption arguing that the scholarship is an individual transaction between the student and the government.
The situation for OBC students in Maharashtra is an example that reservation is not enough for retention in institutes that charge high fees like TISS. Scholarship and fee exemptions for the students is equally necessary. With the implementation of Mandal Recommendation (Stage 2), and access to fee exception and the GoI scholarship, there was increase in the number of students in higher education till the year 2014-15. But within an year, these figures reduced drastically with denial of fee exemption for students from OBC category: for Maharashtra in particular number of students decreased from 65 to only 20 (16 MA and 4 MPhil/PhD scholars) while overall it decreased from 97 to 47. With the recent decision to roll back the fee exemption for SC and ST students, there is likely to be a continuity of this trend.
DECREASING ALLOCATION OF GOI PMS AND FUND CUTS IN TISS
THE part played by the central government in this saga of depriving eligible students to quality higher education also needs to be condemned in equal measure. India’s overall budgetary allocation to education has been just between 3.5-4 percent of total expenditure in past many years, which is the lowest as compared to countries like Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa. Further, the government is taking measures to privatise education, resulting in increase in cost of education, and at the same time reducing funds allocated towards policies of affirmative action. The less allocated budget to education and scholarships in particular, has given free hand to the government to increase cost recovery through student fees and student loans both in state and central institutions.
Even this year, the allocation to the University Grants Commission (UGC) has been reduced to Rs 4,722.7 crores from a revised estimate of Rs 4,922.7 crores. The total grants to Central Universities has also been reduced to Rs 6,445.2 crores , significantly lower than the revised estimate of Rs 7,261.4 crores in 2017-2018. On the other hand, few select ‘premier’ institutions are given disproportionate funding resulting in a chatur-varna (four fold caste system) of higher education, with the state and central university getting worst treatment. For TISS, the central government has cut significant amount of funds in the Non-Planned budget category over the past 3-4 years, which has made the matters worse. Additionally, the allocation to the Post Matric Scholarship to any of the states has not matched the requirement. To illustrate through an example, as per Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment last annual report, the allocated funds for GoI-PMS scholarship for SCs, who are 16% of our country’s population, is a mere Rs. 61 crores. The allocation to Ministry of Minority Affair (MoMA) for scholarships have also come down.
In conclusion, we alumni stand with the agitating students, especially Dalit Bahujan Adivasi Minority students, who are fighting for their rightful and constitutionally guaranteed right to education. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the series of decisions of the TISS administration curtailing the access to higher education to the historically oppressed communities. As a centrally funded university, its duty does not end with giving admission as per constitutional provision, but is equally responsible for e retention of students. No student shall be denied admission in the university on the basis of his financial condition, nor shall they be forced to leave the university for economic reasons. Further, we condemn the governmental apathy and withdrawal of support mechanism for students to complete higher education including the lack of funds for scholarships.
The TISS Administration gives fee exemption to SC, ST and OBC students who are eligible for GoI-PMS
Extension of Financial aid mechanism for more students. We condemn the decision of the administration to provide the aid without consideration to social background of students.
Government of India should increase allocation to centrally and state funded universities and the PMS provisions so that no student is denied the right to higher education.
AIRSO EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY WITH TISS STUDENTS STRUGGLE
A team of AIRSO students went to TISS, Mumbai and expressed solidarity with the struggling TISS students. Com. Akshay, general secretary of the AIRSO has called on all progressive forces to support this struggle.
The delegates discussed and adopted the Political Organizational Report and Political resolution presented by com Sankar Das for the outgoing committee. The Conference elected the new All India Council which elected a six member central secretariat with comrades Vikas as president, Raju as general secretary and Rahul as treasurer. The Political Resolution adopted by the Conference calls for building RYFI as a broad based struggling youth platform capable of fighting growing danger of corporate fascism and to create a casteless, secular, democratic new India.
A Seminar on Present Challenge of Intensifying Corporate Fascicisation was held on 25th afternoon addressed by leading democrats and leaders of Party and class/mass organizations. The Conference concluded with the call to observe 23rd March, Martyrs Day, with the slogans: March Forward Along Bhagat Singh’s Path, and Strengthen Youth Power to Defeat Corporate Fascism.
IN a daring initiative, representatives of the struggling left and democratic parties and peoples’ movements at the culmination of a series of meetings and consultations at Bengaluru decided to form the Janandolana Mahamaitri (Struggling People’s Grand Alliance) as a Mass Political Platform against neo-liberalism and communal fascism to fight the forthcoming elections to the Karnataka state assembly. In a nutshell, the Common Minimum Program of the Mahamaitri, adopted after several rounds of discussion envisages to participate in the coming assembly elections fighting neo-liberalism and communal fascism led by Hindutva BJP. The Mahamaitri which has emerged through unity talks among the struggling left, democratic and secular forces shall also expose the Congress, JDS and other parties who pursue the same neoliberal policies and communal, caste appeasement. It shall strengthen the unity of the struggling people’s movements throughout the state leading towards the democratization in all spheres and for building up of a people’s development paradigm in. More precisely, the program of Mahamaitri is based on two tasks: (1). Build up strong peoples’ movements against corporate communal fascism in all its manifestations; and (2). Develop people’s political alternative against the ruling system.
Constituents of Mahamaitri: CPI (ML) Red Star, Swaraj Abhiyan, SUCI (C) and Welfare Party along with following democratic organizations: 1.Janasangram Parishad, 2. Hyderabad-Karnataka Janandolana Samiti, 3. Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha, 4. Gramina Krishi Koolikara Sangha, 5. Karnataka Dalitha Sangarsh Samiti (Bheemvada), 6. Karnataka Dalith Sangarsh Samiti, 7. Karnataka Janasakthi, 8. Slum Kreeya Vedike, 9. Karnataka Chhalawadi Mahasabha, 10. Madiga Reservation Horata Samiti, 11. Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, 12. Dalith Bahujana Chaluvali, 13. Karnataka Rajya Kattada Karmika Kendra Sangha, 14. KarnatakaJagruth Raith Sangha, 15. Bharathiya Dalith Sangarsh Samiti, 16. Karnataka Raitha Sangha, 17. Revolutionary Youth Federation of India, 18. Trade Union Centre of India, 19, Revolutionary Cultural Forum, 20. Hyderabad Karnataka Vikala Chathana sangha, 21. Karnataka Beedi Vyapariyal Sangha, etc. Altogether 29 people’s organizations are part of the Mahamaitri.
Out of 224 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka, the Mahamaitri has decided to contest in 25 where it has mass base. Out of these 25, the CPI(ML) Red Star will contest in Madikeri, Mudageri, Koppal, Sundur and Lingasugur. In continuation of this initiative, the Raichur District Convention of Mahamaitri was held on February 9, 2018 in which more than 1000 activists and leaders of various organizations associated with the Mahamaitri had attended. The Convention declared R Manasayya, CPI (ML) Red Star Polit Bureau Member and leader of TUCI as the Mahamaitri candidate for Lingasugur and Dr. VA Maliputil as candidates for Raichur Rural constituencies.