Official Website of Communist Party of India, Marxist - Leninist (ML) Redstar - Statements

The Supreme Court has ordered the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribal and other forest-dwelling households from forestlands across 16 states after the government failed to defend a law protecting their rights. The final country-wide numbers of forced evictions are likely to rise substantially as other states are forced to comply with the court orders. The court’s orders came in a case filed by wildlife groups questioning the validity of the Forest Rights Act. The petitioners had also demanded that all those whose claims over traditional forestlands are rejected under the law should be evicted by state governments as a consequence.

The Union government failed to present its lawyers in defence of the law on February 13, leading a three-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee to pass orders giving states till July 27 to evict tribals whose claims had been rejected and submit a report on it to the Supreme Court. The written order was released on February 20. The court said that the state governments would “ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.” The next date of hearing is set for July 27 – the effective date by when states would have to evict tribals to comply with the court orders.

The total number of rejected claims from 16 states that have reported rejection rates so far to the apex court add up to 1,127,446 tribal and other forest-dwelling households shows an analysis of the court order. Several other states that have not provided details to court have been asked to do so. Once they follow suit these numbers are likely to swell.

The Forest Rights Act, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to tribals and other forest-dwellers against laid down criteria. The Act, passed in 2006, has seen opposition from within ranks of forest officials as well as some wildlife groups and naturalists. This, combined with the fact that at the ground level it is the forest bureaucracy that has to administer the law has made the implementation difficult and tardy.

Tribal groups contend that their claims have been rejected systematically in some states and need to be reviewed. In several states there have been reports on administrations going particularly slow on even accepting community-level claims. Petitioner Bangalore-based Wildlife First, believe the law is against the Constitution and it has led to deforestation. They say that even if the law now remains in place, rejection of claims should lead to automatic eviction of tribal families by the state authorities.

Tribal groups have argued that the rejections in many cases are faulty, need to undergo review under new regulations that the tribal affairs ministry brought in mid-way to reform the process, the law does not lead to automatic evictions and in some cases the claimants are anyway not in possession of lands they had sought as their ancestral forests.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government is squarely responsible for being a ‘silent spectator’ in the case and that the absence of central government lawyers betrayed the government’s intention to drive out lakhs of tribals and poor farmers from forests. At first, the court hearing and oral observations of the judges had left an ambiguous note about whether the court had ordered evictions or merely a report on the status of evictions from states. The written order on February 20 left no doubt. The Union government is yet to react to the order. If the central government fails to take immediate action, mass-scale country-wide evictions at this scale never been seen before would take place.

The last time country-wide evictions took place was in 2002-2004, during Vajpayee government’s period, again triggered by a Supreme Court order, which led to many cases of violence, deaths and protests in the central Indian tribal forested areas and uprooting of around 300,000 households.

CPI(ML) Red Star calls on all progressive democratic forees to immediately take necessary steps to mobilize the affected sections of people and resist any evictions.

KN Ramachandran,

GS, CPI(ML) Red Star

An Open Letter to Pinaray Vijayam, Chief Minister of Kerala Demanding Immediate Action on the Appeal of the Nuns

Dear Chief Minister

The rape survivor and the other five nuns who supported her in the case against Franco are facing an imminent threat of being separated and sent away from Kerala by their congregation, the Missionaries of Jesus. Ever since they have participated in the agitation held at Vanchi square in Ernakulam that led to the arrest of Franco, they were individually targeted and harassed within the convent by the church authorities. Now that the case is pursued strongly by the state, the Congregation has strengthened its pressure tactics against the nuns in an obvious attempt to weaken the case by influencing and interfering in their evidence. The four nuns who are supporting the rape survivor, who are also key witnesses   in the  case against Bishop Franco have been asked to join different convents in Punjab, Jharkand Bihar and Kannur. Another nun/witness who had stood with them is asked by the church to appear before the authorities in Jalandhar where at present Franco is housed by 26th of this month and explain her actions. All five of them are key witnesses to the case.

This act of commanding the nun for personal appearance amounts to direct intervention of church authorities in weakening their case, and throttling their voice from the public sphere. It is to be remembered that Franco has been given bail on condition that he can’t enter Kerala except to report to an investigating officer. It is apparent that the Congregation is ensuring that the key witnesses are moved out of the jurisdiction of Kerala police, but at the same time accessible to Franco and company. It needs to be emphasized here that Sr. Regina, the Mother Superior, who has directed the sister for personal appearance at Jalandhar is a strong supporter of Bishop Franco, and had voluntarily deposed before the police in defence of Franco, and she did the same, even more explicitly, in print and visual media.  Also it is evident that Sr. Regina denied opportunity to Sr. Neena Rose to appear for her Post Graduate studies’ final examination. Apart from this, Sr. Anupama was compelled by Franco to write an apology in November 2017, and Sr. Regina was instrumental in making this happen.

It needs to be noted with high amount of suspicion that since Sr. Regina is directly involved in commanding a witness to go to Jalandhar, where Franco reportedly resides, the highest offices of power in the church are being misused for the illegal protection of Franco. In this context, it is to be noted that a main witness in this case Fr. Kuriakose Kattuthara died under suspicious circumstances in Jalandhar after Franco was released on bail. Fr. Kattuthara’s relatives have raised this issue and they reasonably suspect this as a well-planned murder. We strongly believe that by enforcing the transfer order issued to the nuns supporting the survivor/witnesses the congregation of Missionaries of Jesus is in fact purporting   to help the accused Franco to come in contact with the nuns / witnesses in a bid to influence their evidence. In effect, the congregation authorities is liable for criminal obstruction of justice. Also, the effort to scatter the nuns should also  be read as an attempt to destabilise the solidarity that they have built around the church and in the public. 

Further, in the Witness Protection Scheme 2018  approved by the Supreme Court of India , the section ‘Types of Protection Measures’ envisages that the authorities should ensure that “witness and accused do not come face to face during investigation or trial”. The principle underlying the Witness Protection Scheme is to see that the accused and his supporters never threaten or intimidate the witness or endanger their lives or use any kind of force or influence over them. Hence it is binding on the congregation of Missionaries of Jesus to extend protection and support to the rape survivor and nuns (witnesses) who rallied around her. Moreover, the state is also bound to ensure their safety and ensure safeguards guaranteed under law.

It is now a well known fact that the accused Franco enjoys immense clout among his congregation members, priests, nuns and laity alike, inside and outside Kerala. We strongly fear that any move to get the nuns who are key witnesses in the case out of their convent where police protection is already ensured will be disastrous and is likely to annul their evidence.  Under these circumstances, we urge the government to ensure that their lives and safety are not endangered by enforcing the transfer order. We, the undersigned strongly condemn the patent misuse of the highest offices of the Catholic Church to defend the powerful accused and attack and punish the sisters who are on a mission to bring justice to the rape survivor. We also call upon the Government to listen to the concerns of the sisters, and initiate immediate action to forestall the move to remove them, in any way, from their present convent where the Government is already giving protection, till the trial is completed.

We the undersigned request immediate and effective interventions of your office to ensure constitutional and legal protection to all the sister involved in the struggle for justice.

Women Against State Repression and Sexual Violence (WSS), Priya Pillai , Social Environmental Activist, New Delhi, Kavitha Krishnan, All India Progressive Womens Association (AIPWA), Dr. PJ James, PB Member, CPI(ML) Red Star, MK Dasan, Kerala State Secretary, CPI (ML) Red Star, Sharmisths Choudhury, General Secretary, All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization – AIRWO, Pramila, President, AIRWO and hundreds of women activists, political activists and intellectuals. n

On March 8, 1917, women went on strike in the then Russian capital of St Petersburg, demanding Bread and Peace. At that time Tsarist Russia was in the middle of the bloody First World War, with millions of soldiers perishing at the Front for a war that brought nothing but misery and devastation to millions more. As the day advanced, tens of thousands of women took to the streets with a spontaneity ans militancy that shook the rulers of Russia. The women's struggle spread like wildfire and soon men joined the ranks of women. The mass upheaval that followed led to the abdication of the Tsar a few days later and paved the way for the Russian Revolution later that year. The Russian Revolution of 1917, as we know, not only ended the war for Russia but also gave women rights unparalleled in history.

Today, a century and two years later, the rulers of  India have thrust on us a warlike situation. The ruling Sangh Parivar-BJP combine has whipped up a frenzy of national chauvinism and jingoism. In order to divert public attention from our basic needs, from the exploitation of the masses, the government has resorted to rabid warmongering and is intent on splitting society along communal lines.

On this International Workingwomen's Day, let us unite in our demand for Peace and Rights. Women have always been the worst victims of any war. In all militarised parts of our country, from J&K to the Northeast to Chhattisgarh, women are subjected not only to unimaginable atrocities by the armed forces but are also deprived of the most basic rights. We want an end to this situation, we certainly do not want it to be scaled-up across the country.

India has the dubious distinction of being the country that is the most unsafe for women. The sorry state of women in our country, the violence and degradation that they are unexceptionally subject to, the added exploitation of Dalit women and women belonging to minority communities -- are of too great a magnitude to be chronicled.

As we fight for equality, as we fight for our inalienable rights to a life of dignity and liberty, what we do not need is a war. Nor do we need the war hysteria that puts paid to all democratic struggles.

Let us recall the role of our Russian sisters on 8th March a hundred and two years ago, and loudly clearly raise the demand for Peace. Let our unity drive out the warmongerers forever.

With revolutionary greetings,
Sharmistha Choudhury
General Secretary, AIRWO

The Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha (ABM) upholds the genuine demands raised by various Adivasi organizations and whole-heartedly supports the Bharat Bandh called by them on March 5.

In spite of the temporary stay issued by Supreme Court against the forcible eviction of Adivasis from their habitat, there is every possibility that it can be overturned. What is required is an appropriate law to protect the habitat and livelihood of the tribal people in accordance with the Forest Right Act. The double-speak of the Modi regime in this regard needs to be exposed.

In this context, the ABM calls upon all progressive democratic forces to join hands with the struggling adivasi organizations and make the March 5th Bharat Bandh a success.

                    

Bhojlal Netam

President

Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha

 

New Delhi

March 4, 2019

Red Salute to Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram

 

Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram who was Central Committee member of CPI (ML) Red Star (formerly CPI – ML Red Flag) from 2003 to 2005 and who had step down from the committee due to illness from that time, passed away on 28th February 2019. He joined the party in 1985 and from that time onward as Secretary of the State organizing committee played major role in building the party in Tamil Nadu. He was active in CPI (M) led Trade Union movement and when the Naxalbari Uprising took place, he joined CPI (ML) from its early days and brought out Needa Payanam (Long March) which played a role in attracting many young comrades to the Marxist – Leninist Movement. Due to illness, he was inactive for almost 13 years. The Central Committee of CPI (ML) Red Star which was in cession remembered him on 1st March 2019 morning and State Committee comrades including State Secretary Com Kuchelar went to his house in Chengalpet and paid respect to his memory.

 

K N Ramachanran

General Secretary

CPI (ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

3rd March 2019

Red Salute to Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram

 

Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram who was Central Committee member of CPI (ML) Red Star (formerly CPI – ML Red Flag) from 2003 to 2005 and who had step down from the committee due to illness from that time, passed away on 28th February 2019. He joined the party in 1985 and from that time onward as Secretary of the State organizing committee played major role in building the party in Tamil Nadu. He was active in CPI (M) led Trade Union movement and when the Naxalbari Uprising took place, he joined CPI (ML) from its early days and brought out Needa Payanam (Long March) which played a role in attracting many young comrades to the Marxist – Leninist Movement. Due to illness, he was inactive for almost 13 years. The Central Committee of CPI (ML) Red Star which was in cession remembered him on 1st March 2019 morning and State Committee comrades including State Secretary Com Kuchelar went to his house in Chengalpet and paid respect to his memory.

 

K N Ramachanran

General Secretary

CPI (ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

3rd March 2019

Call by CPI(ML) Red Star:
STAND UP FOR PEACE, STRUGGLE AGAINST WARMONGERING, OBSERVE 15th MARCH As ANTI- WAR DAY.

With Pakistan handing over IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in a gesture of peace, there seems to be, for the time being at least, perceptible de-escalation of tensions between the two countries. However, the jingoistic fervour, ceaselessly whipped up by Modi and his government, as also irresponsible and pro-Modi media, has not quite abated. Meanwhile, further state atrocities in Kashmir, in the name of 'combating terrorism', have worsened matters.

It is obvious that on the eve of the general elections, the Modi government, which has failed to deliver on all its promises and led the country to doom, is desperate to win back popular support by fanning the flames of national chauvinism.

Under Modi, unemployment has reached record levels, economic growth has actually shown a decline, our resources are steadily being sold to big corporates for a song, workers and peasants are facing unprecedented devastation, there is an all-out attack on democratic rights, the saffronisation of public institutions has reached absurd proportions, society is being deliberately split along caste and communal lines, and women, Dalits and minority communities are facing systemic violation of the inalienable rights of life and liberty.

Thus the frenetic warmongering and rabid jingoism resorted to by the Modi government barely a month before elections is a vile attempt to cover up its total failure in office, the murky scams discrediting the government in no small measure and the socio-economic disaster it has plunged the country into.

When Modi and the Sangh Parivar are hysterically shouting that the country is in safe hands, we assert: No, the country is not in safe hands,

The entire series of events, from the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy to the retaliatory IAF air strikes, is shrouded in mystery. It is apprehended that as elections approach and uncomfortable facts related to both come up, the Modi government may resort to further warmongering to divert public attention from its gigantic failures.

The need of the hour is to categorically and unequivocally stand for peace and call for rapid and absolute de-escalation. It is clear that citizens of both countries want peace, not war. The way in which Pakistani civil society raised the demand for the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan is a clear indication of the mood of the people of our neighbouring nation.

CPI (ML) Red Star calls upon all democratic and peace-loving citizens to –
• Demand political and peaceful solution to the Kashmir question;
• Demand an end to state atrocities in Kashmir;
• Demand that there should be no tampering with Article 370 or Article 35a;
• Call upon the Modi government and all opposition parties to stop warmongering;
• Call upon the Modi government to refrain from all acts of external aggression and indeed from any action that may provoke war; and
• Unite for peace, and against war.

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary,
CPI(ML) Red Star.

New Delhi

3rd March 2019

The Polit Bureau of the CPI (ML) Red Star in Session makes the following statement on 27th February, 2019.

Stand up for peace, struggle against warmongering.

No, the country is not in safe hands. The frenetic warmongering and rabid jingoism resorted to by the Modi government on the eve of national elections is a vile attempt to cover up its total failure in office, the murky scams, the socio-economic disaster it has plunged the country into, only proves the veracity of the old adage, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.’

While facts remain elusive, corporate media, diligently fed by the Modi government’s PR machinery, are whipping up a frenzy of war hysteria with strident cries of revenge. The IAF air strike, which purportedly destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror bases, and supposedly killed hundreds of ‘terrorists’ is, at best, an unconscionable act of external aggression, which should be condemned. The entire exercise is shrouded in mystery with government or military spokespersons yet to come up with a formal statement on the number of casualties.

Following the air strike, which the government has rather euphemistically termed as an ‘anti- terror’ ‘non military’, ‘pre-emptive’  operation,  tensions between India and Pakistan have expectedly escalated, with reports of heavy firing along the Line of Control and casualties on both sides. Whether this will snowball into a full-fledged war or remain confined to dimensions that will fan the flames of national chauvinism without exploding into war, remains to be seen. However, the need of the hour is not, like the social chauvinist CPM, to eulogise our military actions but to categorically and unequivocally call for peace.

CPI (ML) Red Star calls upon all democratic and peace-loving citizens to –

  • demand a political and peaceful solution to the Kashmir question
  • call upon the Modi government and all opposition parties to stop warmongering
  • call upon the Modi government to refrain from all acts of external aggression and indeed from any action that may provoke war, and
  • unite for peace, and  against war.

  

KN Ramachandran, General Secretary,

CPI(ML) Red Star

 

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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.