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.
Significantly, only a couple of days earlier, the state power minister, while answering questions raised by opposition MLAs in the Assembly, had claimed that the power-grid project had been stalled not due to any resistance by the villagers but because of the intervention of a handful of outsiders with malafide intentions. Opposition MLAs like Sujan Chakroborty of the CPM and Abdul Mannan of the Congress had, however, protested against the absurdity of this statement by pointing out that it was villagers who had been martyred in the course of the movement, villagers who had been arrested and villagers who were still facing numerous criminal charges. So it was obvious that the anti power-grid movement is a mass movement of the affected people and not a trumped-up show put up by a handful of outsiders.
Two days later, the thousands of villagers thronging the programme, participating in it with full vigour and repeatedly raising the demand for the withdrawal of the power-grid project from the densely populated, fertile multi-crop lands of Bhangor, proved to be a slap on the face of the power minister who had claimed that the villagers did not oppose the power-grid project.
The three-day programme was inaugurated by a recorded message by Comrade Pradip Singh Thakur, Polit Bureau member of CPI(ML) Red Star, who is barred from entering Bhangar as part of his bail condition. Over the three days, speakers included Abhash Munshi of MKP, CPI(ML) Liberation Central Committee member Kartik Pal, CPM leader and former MP Shamik Lahiri, RSP leader and former MP Manoj Bhattacharya, PDS leaders Anuradha Deb and Samir Putatunda, CPI(ML) Red Star West Bengal state committee leaders Gautam Chaudhuri and Murari Chatterjee; Dhiraj Sengupta from Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, Arunava Ganguly from Akranto Amra, Dipali Bhattacharya from Save Democracy, scientist Dr. Nisha Biswas, senior advocate and former mayor of Kolkata Bikashranjan Bhattacharya, advocate and former state women’s commission member Bharati Mutsuddi, poet Mandakranta Sen and many others.
Speakers on behalf of the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee included spokesperson Alik Chakraborty, Kalu Sheikh, Shukur Ali, Sk Ajim, Kismat Ali and others. The speeches were interspersed with vibrant musical performances by a host of cultural groups. A documentary on the Bhangor movement, directed by Mitali Biswas, was also screened.
With this demonstration, the villagers of Bhangor have proved once again that police camps and state terror notwithstanding, Trinamool threats and coercion notwithstanding, malicious propaganda by the state govt. notwithstanding, the people will not allow the illegal Power Grid Project to come up on their land.
PLUNDER of nature which is inseparable from the mainstream development paradigm has reached the level of a global environmental catastrophe today. Industrial revolution and the colonization process in the mad pursuit of installing factories, plantations, mines and other constructions without any concern for vulnerable and sensitive environment had already done irreparable damages to global environment. It got a further momentum in the postwar neocolonial period when rapid technological advances provided new avenues to corporate capital for intensified exploitation of world people and nature leading to the contradiction between capital and nature as one of the major trends under neo-liberal corporatization. Its outcome has been an unprecedented pressure on the ecology of the earth. Internationalization of production and global market expansion led by monopoly finance capital leading to change in the life styles and growth in the conspicuous consumption and wastage of energy by the superrich financial elite have directly contributed to ecological damages everywhere. Today, this damage is exemplified through unpredictable climate change, loss of biodiversity, desertification, melting of the glaciers, ocean acidification, fresh drinking water scarcity, global warming, chemical pollution, deforestation, conversion of food agriculture to bio-fuels, alarming extinction of species, and above all the threat of radioactive contamination from nuclear industry. The repercussions of these transformations on climatic patterns have resulted in loss of livelihood, food shortages, massive displacement and migration of people, all leading to the worsening of already existing poverty, unemployment, hunger, oppression and inequalities. Meanwhile, in response to people’s ever-growing ecological consciousness and consequent worldwide environmental struggles and emergence of worldwide movements against environmental destruction, ecology has come to the centre-stage of policy decisions today.
It is common knowledge that the hindrance to a harmonious co-evolution of nature and human society is the insatiable and uncontrollable profit motive of corporate barons who control the reins of political power in one way or another. The development orientation based on the so called GDP as a yardstick for economic progress led by bureaucratic and technocratic decision-making apparatus in gross disregard of the concrete realities of societies is the stumbling block that stands in the way of building up an egalitarian social order. The so called development which today is inseparably linked up with capital’s plunder of nature is not only posited as universal but also used as an ideological weapon against progressive and democratic forces who struggle for an alternative pro-people, pro-nature and pro-women paradigm of development. To expose and defeat this depoliticizing offensive on the part of all vested interests is also one of the major tasks of those who are committed to traverse the tortuous path of evolving a people oriented perspective of social progress that is both democratic and in harmony with nature.
Mere talk of ‘sustainable development’ while keeping silence on the unsustainable resource appropriation and its use by a few connected with the higher echelons of power both at national and international levels is nothing but populism. For instance, the same imperialist centres which are ardent proponents of neoliberal accumulation and free market ideology that work behind ecological devastation today also seem to have no qualms to be protagonists of ‘sustainable development.’ As a result, the various international agreements and protocols signed by them have become meaningless. The consistent US violation of even “legally binding” international environmental regulations and mandated reductions in green house gas emissions is just an example. In this context, mere lamenting at the consequences of environmental catastrophe without going in to the root cause of it is irrelevant. Concerned people cannot be silent on the way in which scientific and technological gains are utilized for the interests of MNCs and corporate houses and other elite classes at the expense of the vast majority of working and oppressed people. Therefore, the struggle for a sustainable development free from environmental degradation is the integral component of the struggle for building up an egalitarian, democratic and humane social order.
With this orientation, ecopolitiks.org itself envisages as a platform for pooling, mutual exchange and dissemination of all relevant information and knowledge pertaining to ecology and development in sharp focus. Let it be an inspiring source for all those concerned with and striving for a genuine people’s development paradigm.
COM. RAMACHANDRA SINGH, OUR CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER, PASSES AWAY
IT is very sad news for our whole party and friends, our Central Committee member comrade Ramachandra Singh who was active in party activities till 1st February night, passed away by 6 am on 2nd morning due to heart attack at his son’s house at Lucknow. His body was taken to his village, Bangarmau, Unnao, where it was cremated in the presence of leading party comrades from UP, party friends and relatives.
Com. Ramachandra Singh joined the communist revolutionary movement, inspired by the Naxalbari Uprising during his college days and consistently continued as a part of it. As an active cadre of the revolutionary movement, he participated in many struggles and was imprisoned for 13 years. After release from jail, he continued his activities in the peasant movement and joined the CPI(ML) Red Star in 2009. He was elected to the CC in 2011 Bhubaneswar Congress and re-elected in the 2015 Tenth Congress at Lucknow. In spite of a serious accident which seriously disabling his free movements, he was active still his last day in party activities. He has written a book explaining the history of the Naxalbari movement in UP.
The Party CC expresses its deep sorrow at his demise, which is a very big loss to the communist movement. The CC extends its heartfelt condolences to his family and his large number of friends. Red salute to our beloved comrade Ramachandra Singh.
The UP state committee of the party is organizing a memorial meeting at Lucknow on 7th March evening to remember comrades’ contributions to the revolutionary movement for the last five decades.