Official Website of Communist Party of India, Marxist - Leninist (ML) Redstar - News & Reports

Kerala: Peasant March to Raj Bhavan

THE Kerala unit of the All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha (AIKKS) organized a peasant march to Raj Bhavan (the governor’s residence) on May 28, 2015 protesting against the draconian Land Acquisition Bill framed by the Modi government. As the police blocked the march in front of the Raj Bhavan, the protesters staged a dharna along the road. Com M K Dasan, Secretary, Kerala State Committee, CPI(ML) Red Star, inaugurated the march, while Com MP Kunhikanaran, Secretary, Kerala unit of AIKKS, presided over the dharna proceedings. It was addressed by comrades PN Provint, Rajesh Appat, Sunny Ambat, MK Krishnankutty, ND Venu, Nisha Appat, Ajayan and others. The peasant march led by AIKKS was conducted as part of the ongoing

Obituary: Comrade M Mani

COMRADE M. Mani, who hailed from Trichi town, south of Tamil Nadu, passed away on 6th May, 2015, at 4 am at the age of 69, leaving behind his wife, daughter and son. During the last few months he had been suffering from illness and had to undergo continuous treatment. He was an inspiration to younger comrades.

Comrade Mani migrated to Chennai four decades ago. He started his career as an auto-driver and later started becoming active in the auto drivers' union in Chennai. In 2004, opposing the bureaucratic CITU leadership, he founded a militant labour union. Revolting against the revisionist CPI(M), in 2008, he joined the CPI(ML) and became Chennai district committee member and later its secretary.

Once the news of his demise reached T. Nagar and MGR Nagar, the main areas of his activity, besides Perambur where he was living in a hired house, Party and TUCI comrades arrived at his house along with Tamil Nadu state secretary Com Doraiswamy and remained with his family till the evening. On 7th morning, party general secretary Com K.N. Ramachandran, who was in Chennai for a party programme, went to Com Mani's house along with Com Doraiswamy to extend condolences to his family.
ANGELA HARISH SONTAKKE is a 45 year old political under trial prisoner facing charges of being a Maoist party member who has been incarcerated since April 2011 in Byculla Jail at Mumbai. Eight out of her 11 co-accused have been released on bail. Angela herself has been acquitted in 15 of the 16 additional cases foisted on her and has been granted bail in the 16th case. She has been denied bail in Sessions Case No. 655 of 2011 under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (a law akin to the draconian TADA & POTA) A highly educated lady, she has a double M.A. and has taught in various schools and colleges in Maharashtra.

On 1st April male jail staff arrived at Barrack No. 3, women's barrack (where Angela was lodged) with cables. When the inmates made enquiries, they were informed that CCTV cameras were going to be installed inside their barracks. Angela and the other inmates protested that this would be a clear invasion of their privacy since women inmates change their clothes, apply medicines (as skin infections are rampant in the overcrowded condition of the jail) and in the height of summer without any fans, women use minimum clothes while sleeping in the barracks. They wanted to see the notice allowing CCTVs inside the barracks.

The Jail Superintendent went to Barrack No. 3 in the evening and next day morning, and said that he was in no mood to hold discussions with the inmates, and accused Angela of instigating other inmates. He threatened to: (i) put her in 24 hour isolation and (ii) to put a case on her for not allowing jail officials to perform their duties. Angela and the other inmates explained that they have no objection to CCTV cameras at the entrance of the barracks, corridors, court yard, at the gate, steps and offices, but that they cannot be installed inside the barracks. On 2nd April 2015, after bandhi, at around 6.30 p.m. about 10-12 jail staff came to Barrack No. 3 and took Angela away saying that she was being kept in a "separate" cell – obviously as punishment for opposing the CCTV installation. Angela protested by starting a hunger strike that evening itself. The circular issued by Meera Borwankar, I.G., Prisons, where it is stated that CCTV cameras ought to be installed at: (i) main gate; (ii) judicial office; (iii) High Security Cells; & (iv) mulaqat rooms. The Circular does not state that cameras should be installed inside the barracks.

Again there was no round taken by the jail staff the next day, i.e., 5th April 2015, as it was a Sunday. Angela was on continued hunger strike. On Monday 6th April 2015, when bandi was opened, (i.e., the jail inmates are allowed to come out from the barrack into the jail courtyard), all other inmates were told not to talk to Angela. Angela submitted her letter to a prison officer -that she was on a hunger strike and demanded that (i) the CCTV cameras not be installed inside the barracks; and (ii) that she be returned to the barracks. It took determined stand of the women prisoners and five days of hunger strike by Angela to compel the jail authorities to accept the question of women's privacy and not to implement the cameras inside the barracks. The CPDR and democratic right activists extended support to the struggle.

Since Angela continued her hunger strike for the 5th day, and her weight had come down to 57 kgs, the Superintendent came to meet her on 7th April 2015, and told her that she was always obstructing measures he was trying to implement. She pointed out that she did not oppose measures which were in the interest of women inmates, and pointed out that the CCTV cameras inside the barracks were in violation of women inmates' right to privacy. He finally gave an assurance that he would consider. She was removed from the isolation cell by evening. Based on this, and the assurance given to her, Angela withdrew her hunger strike on that evening

DK Revives Campaign against Thali

TERMING the "thali" or "mangal sutra" or "marital tie", traditionally worn around the neck by married Hindu women as long as their spouses are alive, a symbol of slavery or oppression, 21 married women discarded it at a function organised by Dravidar Kazhagam at Chennai on the 124th birth anniversary of B.R.Ambedkar. The event got over even before a division bench of the Madras High Court issued a stay order on the function. The DK announced the "thali" removal programme after protests by Hindu Munnani against television channel Puthiya Thalaimurai over its proposed programme on women wearing "thali".

The Tamil TV channel later cancelled the programme but two tiffin box bombs of low intensity were thrown at the channel's office. Several Hindu organisations sponsored by RSS opposed the DK's "thali" removal programme.

However, the beef-eating ceremony arranged by the DK had to be cancelled after the stay order of the court was communicated to its leaders. Though Justice D. Hariparanthaman of TN High Court, on 13th April, quashed a ban order imposed by the Chennai police on both the events, this was overturned by a special sitting of the Division Bench consisting of Justice Satish K. Agnihotri and Justice K. Venugopal at the former's residence.
A DELEGATION of the representatives of various secular political parties and organisations met the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to draw his attention to the fast deteriorating communal situation in the state. The delegation handed over a memorandum listing the incidents of communal violence which took place in various towns of the state. The memorandum in particular mentions the cases of arson and looting of shops owned by Muslims. Such incidents took place in Rahatgarh of Sagar district, Jawad of Neemach district, Alirajpur, Khargone. In Rahatgarh alone about 70 shops were first looted and then set on fire. The communal hooligans did not spare thelas' of poor families. The memorandum also demanded action against those who attacked Christians at Jabalpur. L.S. Herdenia, convener of Rashtriya Secular Manch. informed the Chief Minister that the local police is refusing to record such FIRs which mention the names of culprits who are invariably related to extremist Hindu organisations. Despite efforts made by the Manch not a single individual involved in these incidents have been arrested. The delegation pointed out that it is the bounden duty of administration to ensure that injustice is not done to any section of the society
POSCO, the controversial South Korean multinational company (MNC), is reported to have decided to pack off from its $12 billion steel complex in Odisha, as a result of powerful protests by local people who have taken strong exception to iron ore mining by the company in the Khandadhar region. A US-based news site, reporting on the development, has called it "a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hopes to convince companies to make in India." The site, bloomberg.com, said, South Korea's biggest steelmaker company Posco's Odisha project was the nation's "biggest foreign investment", yet it has "failed to take off since 2005 because of opposition from local farmers and the failure to secure iron ore mining leases." It claims, the withdrawal has happened despite the fact that "the steelmaker was able to overcome local resistance and get the state mafias to acquire about 2,700 acres (1,093 hectares) of land for the first phase."

"Securing supplies of iron ore, a key steelmaking raw material, has proved tougher", the site said, quoting Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head of fundamental research at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd to say that "Posco has waited for a very long period and probably they thought it was time to take a final decision on their future course." The development has taken place following the South Korean company's decision to shut its engineering and construction unit in Gurgaon. Before that, in 2013, it scrapped a plan to build a steel plant in Karnataka because of land and mining delays. In2013, Arcelor- Mittal, the world's biggest producer of the alloy, pulled out of its steelmaking.
MORE THAN 20 potato farmers have already committed suicide in the state this season and the number is feared to go up further. Whereas it is customary for farmers to desire a good harvest, in West Bengal it is a good harvest that has proved to be a curse to the farmers, thanks to the government's policies which have resulted in farmers not getting a price for their potatoes. After the latest incident of farmer suicide in Rangta village in Garbeta block of West Midnapur district, party state committee members Comrade ShibuGiri and Comrade Tarun Manna visited the spot for an investigation. It was revealed that the deceased farmer had taken 30 bighas of land on lease, at the rate of Rs 1000 per acre, for sowing potatoes. He had borrowed both from a local usurer as well as the Punjab National Bank a total sum of five and a half lakh rupees to meet expenses towards seeds, fertilisers and associated costs. However, despite an excellent harvest, he could not sell his crop and he took his life to escape from the debt. It was a clear case of suicide by a desperate farmer entangled in indebtedness but the shameless state government has put it down to 'family problems'. The West Bengal State Committee has condemned the state government's attempt to hush up the real cause of farmers' suicides by resorting to deception and called for a state-wide agitation on the following demands: 1) The state government must immediately buy potatoes from farmers at a rate of Rs 800 per quintal, 2) Bank loans of affected peasants must be waived and fresh loans arranged for them to cover the losses, 3) Families of farmers who have committed suicide must be given proper compensation by the government. West Bengal: Party launches protest against suicide of potato farmers.
THE LATEST incidents in AP and Telegana show that in these states the heinous culture of fake encounter killings by the police force continues unabated. The mass killing of five alleged SIMI men in Telangana on April on the plea that they had been trying to escape from custody has already been proved to be an unprovoked and cold-blooded murder of under-trials. According to the police, the incident occurred on a busy highway in the middle of the morning when the prisoners were being taken from Warangal jail to a Hyderabad court. According to IGP Warangal, Naveen Chand, the police convoy of three vehicles made an unscheduled halt at the request of under-trial prisoner, Vikaruddin Ahmed. With his handcuffs off, Vikaruddin allegedly snatched an AK 56 rifle from Reserve Sub-Inspector, Uday Bhaskar and the remaining four prisoners, Mohd. Zakir, Mohd. Hanif, SayedAmjad, and Izhar Khan pounced on two other policemen. In retaliation, the other policemen, 17 in all, shot all five dead inside the van. However, photographs of the slain men showing that they were handcuffed to the car seat when shot have already come up on the media giving the lie to the police statement of 'attempted escape' and 'attack on policemen'. This murder is another example of the growing communalization and fascisization of the state.

On the same day, 20 labourers – mostly adivasis from Tamil Nadu – were gunned down by the police in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district. The police claimed that the slain men were smugglers of red sanders — a rare wood with huge demand in the international market – and that the police had opened fire after coming under attack by the smugglers in Seshachalam forest in two places within a radius of one kilometre. This police story too has been proved to be nothing but a sinister lie, and the 20 workers were actually barbarously killed by the police not in self-defence and certainly not on the spot but after being taken into custody and being brutally beaten up on the previous day. An eye witness has asserted that 7 of the 20 killed were picked up by the AP police from a running bus on the AP-Tamil Nadu border. Landless tribals from Tamil Nadu are lured by smugglers into cutting trees. The labourers are not aware of the risks they have to face and are made to believe that cutting trees is a petty crime Thus there are numerous cases of this type in the AP-Tami Nadu border areas, where hundreds of poor adivasi-dalit workers are compelled to cut wood in forests by a powerful mafia engaged in a multi-crore business and enjoying political support. When caught by the police they are subjected to rigorous imprisonment and sometimes even killed. More than two thousand are now perishing in jails. Instead of taking action against the king-pins, the police are engaged in killing and torturing these hapless labourers.

The AP, Telengana and Tamil Nadu committees of CPI(ML) Red Star have severely condemned these killings and demanded stringent action against those responsible for the genocide. The CPI(ML) Red Star calls on all democratic forces to come out against these mass killings in the name of fake encounters

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.