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COW VIGILANTISM : RSSBJP ATTACKS ON
MUSLIMS AND DALITS
RSS cow vigilante groups are unleashing mayhem across the country.
Their acts are not only criminal and heinous but they publicize their acts
with impunity. They know that they are backed by the powers that be and
the state machinery moves to protect these groups, or one may say that
this vigilantism is state sponsored.
On July 11, in village Mota Samadhiyala near Una in Gujarat, the RSS
hoodlums beat up dalits for skinning a dead cow and posted this video. In
Haryana these hoodlums had forced two alleged ‘beef smugglers’ to eat
cow dung. In Karnataka, RSS’s Bajrang Dal activists have attacked dalits
for a similar reason. Two Muslim women were beaten by RSS activists at
a Railway Station in MP for half an hour on the suspicion of carrying beef.
These incidents are neither isolated nor spontaneous. There is a systematic
campaign unleashed by the RSS-BJP vigilante groups across the country
particularly in the states ruled by the BJP. A number of such groups are
functioning and coordinating their activities with local police. In Haryana,
along the border with UP, a large number of such groups man the nakas on
the roads. They beat up, even kill on the excuse of cows being taken
across the border for sale. The police act as their cohorts, frame cases
against the assaulted people. The vigilante beat up people in the presence
of police or along with them before the police locking up the assaulted.
These vigilante groups have not replaced the local police but have become
part and parcel of this force for these actions. A number of such incidents
are occurring in Yamunanagar Jagadhari belt where Muslims from Saharanpur
district are targeted. In fact in Haryana, vigilante groups have sprung up
along the border with other states- in Panipat bordering Shamli district of
UP, in Kurukshetra bordering Patiala district of Punjab and in Ambala
bordering Nahan district of Himachal Pradesh. A report in The Statesman
has given graphic details of the activities of these groups and of their
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working in collusion with the police. These groups target the routes which
have been traditionally utilized for the transport of cattle. They put up
barricades and seize the vehicles. Police is called to frame cases. Though
the police says that such groups have no right to put up barricades or
seize vehicles, no FIRs are filed against them; the question of arresting
them does not arise though these groups put their activities with photos on
the social media from which they can be easily traced.
The sprouting of these groups is no spontaneous phenomenon nor rooted
in the sentiments of ‘backward’ peasantry as often alleged or in whose
name these atrocious acts are being committed. The machinery of these
vigilante groups is well financed and well equipped. According to a report
in The Hindustan Times, “Engineers, realtors and private professionals are
among the 10,000 self-styled cow protectors spread across Gujarat in 33
districts, who are just a WhatsApp message or phone call away for hunting
down vehicles…” These groups operate under different names- Gau Raksha
Dal, Akhil Bhartiya Navayug Sanstha, Akhil Bhartiya Sarvadaliya Gau
Raksha Maha Abhiyan Samiti, etc. They work in close coordination with
police, filing FIRs and also clashing with transporters from the minority
community. Over 400 FIRs have been filed by these groups but there is
not even a single FIR against attacks by these groups. Such groups have
mushroomed in Rajasthan, Maharshtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgrah
with the backing of RSS-BJP Govts. in these states. In all these states,
there are many reports that the activists of these vigilante groups work in
close cooperation with the police in all these states. In brief, this is no
spontaneous reaction but a well coordinated drive by the RSS-BJP which
gets enough support from the police and administrative machinery. They
obviously float a myriad of organizations in different names and RSS-BJP
work to maintain ‘deniability’. But members of these vigilante groups are
supporters of RSS-BJP and the protection and cooperation offered by the
police and administration points to a scheme orchestrated from the top.
This campaign is also a money spinning device for the police and these
vigilante groups. They extort money from cattle traders. According to the
report in The Statesman referred above, going rate per vehicle in Haryana
is Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000 for police and Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4000 for the vigilante
groups. The latter takes a good part as they do all the leg work and police
comes to share the spoils. These extortion rackets with beatings of the
people caught and even killing them, ensure that these ‘gau bhakts’ are

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self-sufficient and even have a good income. Obviously with police and
Govt. support they even can extort even from those whom they donot
apprehend transporting cattle. RSS-BJP have devised this plan to make
these 'Gaubhakt' cadres self-sufficent.
This cow vigilantism conforms to a longstanding project of Hindu
communal groups. It has twin objective – consolidating Hindus against
projected cow slaughterers i.e. Muslims and also dalits who skin dead
cows for hide. In the frenzy created over the cow issue, even the latter are
targeted for disrespecting cows, dead or live. The cow was one of the main
issues on which communal strife in India was orchestrated in 1920s, which
was then dubbed as the “cow music issue”, the latter signifying the insistence
of Hindu communal groups on playing music before the mosques at all
times, particularly at the time of Namaz. The cow issue has been repeatedly
resurrected by the communal forces to divert the people from the real issues
facing them besides augmenting the strength of communal forces. While a
peasant may call the cow “gau mata” for the myriad types of support
extended to his and his family’s maintenance, these communal forces use
this “mata” to attack others. Peasants have traditionally been worshipping
many things, including cows, which have played an important role in the
past in the life of the community, but without having any qualms about
trading in cows, calves or bullocks and even wearing shoes made from the
leather from the hide of milch and draught animals. One should obviously
recall worshipping of agricultural implements and samples of crops like
sugarcane also in the villages of UP during Goverdhan. This recognition of
the role of cow and its progeny for the community had been catapulted by
the communal forces into an entirely regressive and anti-people agenda to
suit their interests and those of their colonial masters in pre-1947 period.
Interestingly, the issue, like that of Babri Masjid, had come to the fore in
the period when British were trying to divide the people of the country on
religious lines to extend their colonial rule in India by fomenting trouble
between Hindus and Muslims. In fact a number of studies have pointed out
that divisive and communal utilization by Hindu communal groups of several
issues started only with the advent of British colonial rulers in India who
sought to divide the people of this country in the interests of their colonial
rule.
It is worthwhile to note that Vajpayee led NDA Govt. had tasked a
Gandhian, Shri Dharam Pal, to prepare a paper on the history of cow
slaughter in India. Shri Dharam Pal summarized his study in a book titled
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“The British Origin of Cow Slaughter in India.” On the cover of this book
was published a letter by Queen Victoria to the then Viceroy of India, Lord
Lansdowne, dated December 8, 1893. In the letter Queen Victoria wrote,
“Though the Mohammedans’ cow killing is made the pretext of the agitation,
it is in fact targeted against us, who kill far more cows for our Army, etc.
than the Mohammedans.” This was on an agitation against cow killing which
continued from 1880 to 1894. But the communal groups never targeted the
British rulers on the issue.
The use of the cow was not only meant to target Muslims but also to
mobilize the peasantry of the country on a divisive platform. Peasantry in
India was groaning under the yoke of colonial exploitation and feudal
oppression. But the communal groups, sponsored as they were by the
colonial masters and patronized by feudal lords and princes, could not and
did not take up those issues affecting the peasantry. Many of these groups
were linked to important leaders of the Congress as well. However they
needed these peasant masses for their power games and hence mobilized
them on communally divisive issue. There have not been any reports nor
reflections of this issue prior to advent of colonial rulers in India. But this
aspect of the history is conveniently ignored.
Even today the cow slaughter issue is being taken up with zest when
the Indian agriculture and even land owning peasantry is facing deep crisis.
The share of agriculture in the national product has gone down much in
excess to the proportion of the people dependent for their livelihood on
agriculture. This is a result of the anti-peasant policies being pursued by
the successive Govts. of the big capitalists and big landlords. The lot of
the rural people has worsened over the decades relatively and in some
cases even absolutely. This distress is being reflected by the rising
agitations of the landowning peasantry in a number of states- Patels in
Gujarat, Jats in Haryana, Marathas in Maharashtra and Kapus in Andhra
Pradesh etc. These social groups are up in arms for reservation to secure
Govt. jobs as the agricultural income has not kept pace or has declined
due to rise in the prices of agricultural inputs and prices of agricultural
produce not keeping pace with it while the imperialist promoted agricultural
model has demanded ever increasing investment in the form of fertilizers,
pesticides, seeds, water etc. This has resulted in rising indebtedness of
the peasantry on the one hand and decline in the fertility of the soil and the
poisoning of land and underground water on the other. While addressing
these questions is not on the agenda of the Govt., they are seeking to

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divert these peasant masses into the abyss of communal mobilization by
throwing up issues like cow slaughter. The present phase of focusing on
cow slaughter is definitely linked to the growing unrest among the peasant
masses. RSS-BJP is trying to mobilize those communities which are rising
in unrest e.g. Patels in Gujarat, Jats in Haryana etc. to divert them from
agitation and for engaging their youth in these activities.
Hindutva is essentially upper caste chauvinism. It tries to rally all Hindus
against religious minorities particularly Muslims. It also tries to target dalits
and other oppressed castes. It disrupts the unity of the oppressed so
essential for their struggle against oppression and exploitation, it atomizes
this opposition. For Hindutva forces, cow issue has also two facets. While
live cows are wielded as weapons against Muslims, the dead are used to
terrorize Dalits. The cow is only a pretext, the real issue is suppression of
religious minorities and oppressed castes, the real issue is propagation of
the domination of upper castes. The mayhem unleashed against Muslims
and Dalits since RSS-BJP came to power bears ample testimony to their
designs. They target minorities particularly Muslims to demarcate Hindu
identity and they target Dalits to impose the old Hindu code on them. These
attacks are two sides of the same coin of upper caste chauvinism.
Attacks on Dalits have increased since the advent of the RSS-BJP
Govt. While caste oppression is a reality in India irrespective of the ruling
class party in power, with RSS-BJP in power, the upper caste groups feel
further emboldened to attack Dalits. After 2014, the year RSS-BJP came
to power, there has been a 40% increase in crimes against Dalits. According
to National Commission for Scheduled Castes, in 2015 there has been
higher rate of crimes against scheduled castes. The highest increase has
been in RSS-BJP ruled states- Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Among
the states where such crimes increased sharply, Gujarat was on the top
where 6,655 cases were reported. Rajasthan reported 8,028 cases while
Chhattisgarh reported 3,008 cases. Crimes against Dalits continue to be
high in the states of UP and Bihar with UP recording 8,946 cases and Bihar
7,141 cases. This data has been reported by the National Crime Records
Bureau (NCRB). From this it is clear that while crimes against Dalits are
reported from all the states (different ruling class parties are ruling in the
various states) the number has risen sharply in BJP ruled states since the
advent of RSS-BJP Govt. at the Centre. Crimes recorded against Scheduled
castes (NCRB) increased from 39,408 in 2013 to 47,064 in 2014.
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Corporate media had sold the Gujarat model to the people of the country
before 2014 elections. This propaganda was baseless even then on every
count. What really stands out for Gujarat is the suppression and crimes
against Dalits. According to a report in BBC, though Dalits living in Gujarat
are only 2.3% of the total Dalits in the country, crimes against Dalits are
many times over (roughly 16% of the total crimes recorded against Dalits).
Between 1990 to 2015, the period in which mostly BJP and that too,
Narendra Modi Govt., was in power, 536 Dalits were murdered and 750
Dalit women were raped in Gujarat. Conviction rate in this state in the
crimes against Dalits has been merely 4%. This did not find any mention in
the corporate product “Gujarat Model” but is giving rise to a sharp uprise of
Dalits across Gujarat.
Not only in increased crimes against Dalits in Gujarat under the watch
of Narendra Modi and BJP, the discrimination against Dalits is reflected in
many other spheres as well. Till 2015, 64,000 vacancies for Dalits in various
Govt. jobs in this state had not been filled. BJP Govt. has also done nothing
to give possession to Dalits over the land earmarked for them. In 1996,
250 villages were surveyed in Surendranagar district. According to this
Survey, a total of 6000 acres were set aside for Dalits in these villages but
they were not given possession and landlords held the land. Throughout
the country, Dalits did not get possession of the lands allotted to them. At
many places they were not even informed. In a case in Punjab, Dalits
came to know of such an allotment done in 1975, only four years back.
When they approached the authorities, they were told that the allotment
has become outdated! For them, millennia old caste code is not outdated
but allotment of a few decades back has become outdated. The struggle of
Dalits in Punjab for their share of panchayat land is spreading. In Gujarat
too, Dalit organizations are raising the demand for land which remains one
of the main aspects of eliminating caste in the country.
This is no accident. Narendra Modi and RSS-BJP believe in a strict
caste code for Dalits. Modi had written in Karmyog in 2007 that “the work
of cleaning toilets must have been a strong spiritual experience for the
Valimiki community.” By the same token, Modi might have seen a strong
spiritual experience for Dalits in disposing off dead cattle and even in being
subject to beating and extortion by RSS-BJP hoodlums. Only a trainee in
the RSS school of caste arrogance and social ignorance, could so defend
caste based professions and term the same as a spiritual experience.

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However, Dalits are fed up with this kind of spiritual experience and want
to give it up. Dalits, particularly their educated youth, are not willing to
tolerate any more this age old suppression, discrimination and violence.
They are declaring that they would not henceforth dispose off dead cattle
and are demanding land for their own sustenance. As several of them spell
out, their parents and older generations have suffered caste ignominy, but
they are not willing to suffer it any longer. They are rebelling across the
country and it is a welcome rebellion. A growing section of educated young
Dalits are questioning the very paradigm of ruling class policies and they
are willing to stand up and be counted for their convictions. Students of IIT
Chennai and Hyderabad Central University raised the issues concerning
the whole society. They do not just want to get crumbs for themselves but
are setting out to fight for a just and egalitarian society.
In perpetuating caste oppression, different wings of the state have lent
a helping hand. Judiciary too has not been far behind. Its repeated acquittal
of the culprits of violence and crimes against Dalits have emboldened the
upper caste chauvinists who see that no price has to be paid for such
crimes. This is where social reality trumps the formal legal equality. No
social conscience, leave alone national conscience, demands that these
criminals be brought to book. Tsunduru, Laxmanpur Bathe, Khairlanji, the
examples are numerous but the malady singular i.e. domination of different
wings of the state by the upper castes. Their meritocracy is deeply offended
by reservation for oppressed but is comfortable with allotment for money.
After all they alone have it!
It is quite obvious that this sinister design of RSS-BJP is being supported
by the police and administrative machinery. It is there in those states also
where RSS-BJP is not in power which only shows the deep communalization
of the state machinery which is ‘tolerated’ and used by different ruling
class parties and not objected to by any of them. Since the days of colonial
rule over the country, communal violence and rioting has been encouraged
by police and administration and the same continues. It is quite obvious
from the Partition Papers dealing with documents relating to partition of
India, how the colonial rulers helped in drowning the struggle of the people
of this country in a blood bath of innocent people. They try to show these
incidents as a madness overtaking the people to hide their own leading
role in these violent attacks. There has been no attempt to fix the
responsibility of preventing attacks against minorities and oppressed castes
on the shoulders of police and administration who enjoy so much power in
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this country. Every attempt in this regard has been frustrated by the ruling
class parties. Similarly, there is no provision to penalize the administrators
who violate the constitutional norms against Scheduled Castes in different
institutions. It only shows that all this is done with the connivance and
approval of the ruling class parties.
Worse still, with the help of corporate media they are projecting all their
idiosyncrasies as nationalism. How have Manu Smriti, Durga and the like
become symbols of nationalism? Those questioning these and myths being
projected as historical facts are being branded as anti-nationals. All the
myths and fables of Aryan conquest over the native tribes are being shown
as the symbols of national advance and national pride. For them caste
system is not degradation but a very laudable contribution by Hindu society
to social progress. It is this framework which is so assiduously preserved
by upper caste chauvinists monopolizing power and discourse. It is this
framework which needs to be questioned and demolished for social
regeneration and progress.
The increased attacks on Muslims and Dalits by cow vigilante groups
are part of the sinister design of the RSS-BJP and part of their Hindutva
project. With the help of the state machinery and aided by the corporate
media, they are diverting the attention of the people from the real causes
of their poverty, misery and destitution. Their campaign based on ‘cow
protection’ is a calculated attack on the oppressed sections of society and
their tool for extortion. Is there any RSS campaign against malnutrition,
hunger, begging or different forms of human degradation? While their policies
are leading to greater privation and worse conditions for the broad masses,
they are bound to intensify their conspiracies against the people. But the
people are resisting and rising against these attacks. They are often able
to beat back these attacks. But the need is to demolish this whole framework
which is degrading to the large sections of the people and which is opposed
to the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. For this,
revolutionaries should come forward to unite the people in class struggle
and also build struggles against this unequitous society. Attacks against
the minorities and oppressed castes must be resisted and defeated by
mobilizing the people into struggle. Those behind the present campaign in
the name of opposing cow slaughter should be opposed and defeated.

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Kashmir Erupts Again
Aparna

On 8th July 2016, Burhan Wani, 22 year old commander of Hizbul
Mujahideen, was killed by the armed forces in the Kashmir Valley. There
was no case registered against him in any police station but he carried a
ten lakh rupees bounty on his head. His elder brother had been harassed
by army personnel in 2010 to buy them cigarettes and then killed. He was
himself beaten up by the special operations group of the local police- all
this at the age of 15. A resident of Tral in South Kashmir, he went off into
the mountains and returned a recruit. Nearly two lakhs attended his funeral
in Tral (over one lakh according to a report in Hindustan Times 17th July
2016; photographs of the mammoth, orderly, unarmed gathering in HT,
Hindu and other English dailies on different dates in the ensuing week) on
9th July. The gathering was totally peaceful as all forces had been withdrawn
from the area. They did try but failed to prevent people from other areas
from reaching the funeral. The Army puts the number of the gathering at
7000. The funeral prayers had to be recited 40 times to assuage the sorrow
of the gathering. The Valley was in mourning with a spontaneous shutdown,
while the Independent MLA Engineer became the only mainstream politician
to organize a condolence meeting for Wani- the gathering was attended by
5000 people. The root of the Kashmir issue lies here. For the Indian army
and the rulers Wani is a militant who had spoken on social media about
taking on the armed forces and qualifies as ‘enemy’. For the Kashmiris he
is their youth torn down in flower, a victim, a hero and representing their
blighted aspirations, the generations lying in graveyards littering the Valley
and their hope in their future. They openly question the legitimacy of the
Indian state.
In the days since 9th July 2016, curfew remains in all ten districts, internet
services have been withdrawn in South Kashmir and since 16th July this
has been extended for the whole of Kashmir. Over 6000 have been injured
in the Valley, over 58 are dead (ET, August 9, 2016) and many hover
between life and death. Opting for ‘non lethal’ methods of crowd control
after 2010 (under Manmohan Singh Govt. and taking the option of Israeli
forces against Palestinians, besides that of US) pump guns with rubber
coated iron pellets have replaced bullets in the Army’s arsenal to ‘decrease
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fatalities’. These have been used to permanently scar the Kashmiris; 600
pellet injuries to 125 bullet injuries, of these over a 100 youth blinded by
pellets. Doctors in the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar have asserted that all
the injuries are to the face and top portions of the body i.e. not designed to
deter. Insha, the first to lose eyesight after being hit by pellets fired by
security forces, is 14 years of age. Many opinions are there that the pellets
actually used were not rubber coated and were irregular in shape in order to
cause major damage, but this can be verified from the pellets extracted in
the hospitals. More and more armed forces have been flown into Kashmir.
As the days advanced, three day total press censorship even of the
mainstream daily press, was imposed. All mobile telephone services were
cut except post paid BSNL services without internet facilities. However,
communication between the people of Kashmir and the rulers of India
including even the two ruling class parties of Kashmir - PDP and NC - who
rule the state on the strength of the Army in turns, have been cut for a long
time. Modi Govt. calls on Kashmiri parents to restrain their children, but
not for restraint by the armed forces and also does not restrain communal
propaganda. While mainstream press carries reports of how Amaranth yatris
were rescued by Kashmiris after their bus had an accident and escorted to
safety, TV channels are airing ‘eyewitness’ accounts of pilgrims being forced
to raise pro Pakistan slogans. Journalists are holding up posters in the
Valley saying ‘Journalism is not a crime’. Where there is no news, rumours
will flourish. The Kashmiri youth is on the streets in thousands, facing
pellets and the mighty Indian Army with stones - not even the Govts.
concerned are disputing that it is common people who are in the fight.
Kashmir has been successfully pushed over the edge once again.
Despite the mandate of an unboycotted Assembly election to keep the
BJP out of power, there is a BJP-PDP Govt. in the state in the backdrop of
a RSS BJP Govt. with its established position on Article 370, in the Centre.
Within months of the former, a policy is in place to build sequestered colonies
for Pandits in the Valley, instead of facilitating their return to their own
homes. A decision is announced to acquire land in South Kashmir to build
Sainik Colonies to settle the families of armed forces, all non Kashmiris.
Kashmir was on the streets in 2008 against land acquisition for building
permanent structure for Amarnath Yatris. As it is the Army is the biggest
land owner in Kashmir and its behavior is also of an occupation Army.
Communal conspiracies to change the demography of the State, which
have been on since 1947, are the background to the deepseated insecurity

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and fear regarding these land acquisitions: anyway, land in Kashmir cannot
be owned by non Kashmiris. The Sainik Colonies are to be built in South
Kashmir, the area of work of both PDP and National Conference; it is hardly
surprising that South Kashmir is out on the streets in July 2016. A senior
Army officer gave lie to the story of Wani’s being a chance encounter
(Hindu, July 2016) by stating that preparation had been made in North
Kashmir to contain the fallout; South Kashmir was the surprise, though it
quite obviously should not have been.
Clear cut changes in the level of protests have been there since the
advent of the new state Govt. Now when the armed forces go for encounters
with a small number of militants holed up in a house, people of the local
area gather in massive numbers and stone the Army, rising slogans to
chase it away. Angry Kashmiris protested when two dead youth were brought
to an abandoned house and ‘encountered’ (there is trophy money to earn) –
there was intervention by the High Court in this instance. This must also
be seen in the backdrop of reports since past two years of Kashmiri youth
again ‘taking to militancy’ in large numbers. The total lack of any move to
engage with the Kashmiri issue of right to self determination politically,
along with continual army occupation in escalating numbers are the reasons.
When the movement is at a lull, Indian ruling classes congratulate
themselves on successful suppression; when there is an upsurge they
resort to brutal repression and communalization while their fringe talks of
‘autonomy’. In the current agitation, it is from South Kashmir that new
forms are erupting, with youth storming police stations in thousands,
primarily with stones, entering paramilitary camps, and on 17 th July
reportedly an Army Camp. In places police stations have been set on fire.
The response is with pellets and bullets with the Army being forced to even
‘apologize’ for one death. No one in the Govt. has yet pointed out that
‘deterrence’ does not mean aiming at the upper part of the body.
India’s ruling polity and establishment are in denial. They see Pakistan
in ‘engineering’ each protest; that ‘synchronized protests are breaking out
in South Kashmir’ shows organization by Pakistan. They are asserting
that Kashmir is an ‘inalienable’ part of India, while pouring in more armed
forces in an area where there is one armed personnel for every 15 citizens;
thus they sound more like real estate agents. The stark evidences of an
ever further alienating people, of the anger and alienation of the youth which
stare out of TV screens and press reports evoke no concern, of course no
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empathy, but anger ‘how dare they?’ How dare they turn their backs on an
Army which gangrapes their women, arbitrarily kills their youth, which makes
people ‘disappear’ after the midnight knock, which litters Kashmir with half
widows (the husbands cannot be found) and grave yards, while the Indian
state-rulers, judiciary, army- ensure laws are in place that allow no
accountability. In Social media hate pours out, with the grieving youth
opposing India’s Army termed ‘pigs’, angry TV anchors asserting ‘our land’
to the Kashmiris saying ‘your army’. It is all about a ‘nationalism’ implying
Pakistani scheming, lily white intent of India’s ruling polity and ruling
establishment and Kashmiri people not having any opinion, struggle or
organizational ability of their own (i.e. Pakistan does everything). This same
week has seen the Supreme Court ruling on Manipur and AFSPA, where
among other comments, it has reminded the State that even those being
termed ‘enemy’ are citizens with rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Kashmir issue needs a political settlement. While festering since
the conspiracy between British colonialism and India's big bourgeoise big
landlords to drown the national liberation struggle,which they mutually
feared, in a communal cauldron, the passage of over half a century has
left its own marks on the situation. The purpose of that communal division
was to derail and disrupt the ant colonial movement by plunging the country
into a communal blood bath while transferring power to the ruling classes
organized under Congress and Muslim League. Thus the states of Punjab
and Bengal were torn asunder and the largest displacement of the century
affected. In this backdrop the over 500 princely states were asked to choose
between India and Pakistan. In Junagarh was a Muslim king with a Hindu
majority population, so here India’s rulers went for a referendum.
In this situation, arose the question of Jammu & Kashmir, a Muslim
majority state (Kashmir overwhelmingly so, but Jammu also) with a Hindu
Dogra king. In Kashmir an anti King movement was on since 1931 led by
Sheikh Abdullah. In 1947 October, as communal riots swept Punjab, anti
Muslim violence was perpetrated with the active participation of the Dogra
army in Jammu and some estimates are that two lakhs were killed apart
from thousands and thousands displaced, in order to change the demography
of Jammu. The J&K Assembly (set up by the King in response to the
movement in the state but which did not have any powers) voted for going
to Pakistan. The King toyed with the idea of an independent J&K and had
even signed a 'standstill agreement' with Pakistan. In this situation, taking

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advantage of a tribal invasion into Kashmir from Pakistan, the Indian Army
moved into the state as the King signed a conditional Instrument of
Accession (central legislation on only three subjects) which was accepted
by the Governor General with the written condition that the fate of J&K
would be decided based on the will of the people, after the war (For details
see New Democracy 2015 December issue). Much of this is recorded in
the White Paper on J&K issued by the Govt. Of India in 1948 from New
Delhi. Sheikh Abdullah’s willingness to be part of a ‘secular’ country played
an important role in making this arrangement acceptable to the people of
J&K. This first Indo-Pak war ended in 1948 after the UN settlement signed
by Govts. of both countries promising to hold a referendum to decide the
fate of the dismembered state, which would allow the people to choose
between India and Pakistan.
This referendum enshrines the plebiscite of the Instrument of Accession,
has not yet been held and this is one way to allow the people of J&K the
right to self determination.
Many events have transpired, which have muddled this situation on
many counts. The first is the jailing of Sheikh Abdullah following dismissal
of his Govt. by the Central Govt. and his replacement with a puppet govt.
with its farcical 'endorsement' of the accession, the repeated Army propped
puppet govts. of Congress and later NC under Farooq Abdullah, the blatant
rigging of elections and the rule of the Army which propelled the turn to
arms since 1990, have all progressively alienated the people of especially
the Kashmir Valley from Indian state. This period could have been used to
win the people. Secondly, there is a definitive growth of an opinion for an
independent J&K, and this does not fall within the option offered by the
British plan for partition or by the 1948 UN Agreement. This demand was,
in the 1980s and 1990s, popularly represented by the JKLF (Jammu and
Kashmir Liberation Front). The forces which are in dominance since, do
seriously represent the longing for self determination but have a socially
regressive agenda. They view their movement as an ‘unfinished agenda’ of
the communal partition of India which, as already stated, had dismembered
states and nationalities to serve the agenda of British colonialism and India’s
ruling classes. Third, communal conspiracies have left their marks; in
Jammu where not only demographic changes were affected but where growth
of Hindutva outlook has flourished and in Kashmir where the movement for
self determination played into the hands of India’s rulers by not opposing
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
the Governor Jag Mohan sponsored Pandit movement out of the Valley,
quite apart from some senseless attacks on this section.
On the part of Indian ruling classes there has been one discordant trend
which is important to note in the chorus of ‘inalienable’ part of India. In
1948 Home Minister Patel held the opinion that the Kashmir Valley should
be allowed to leave India, which should retain Jammu, Ladakh and a strip
of South Kashmir connecting the two parts. Importantly, this is an opinion
voiced in RSS despite the ‘whole J&K integral part of India’ rhetoric and
thus also is being raised the communally loaded question that if the Valley
is to be allowed self determination, so too should Jammu and Ladakh have
separate rights and why should J&K act as a whole ? Those leaders from
Kashmir who represent the issue of J&K as an ‘unfinished agenda’ of
Partition, must remember that partition dismembered nationalities and
provinces on the basis of religion. To take over land in South Kashmir and
segregate Sainik Colonies and Kashmiri Pandits here, amounts to creating
a bridge eventually.
Equally relevant for the Kashmir people is the status of the people in
the part of Jammu & Kashmir under Pakistan. While Pakistan’s ruling
classes have been very careful to show a political non interference in the
area, the poverty of the people is scarcely inspirational. Pakistan’s rulers
have also spared no efforts to nurture dissent and to offer support to the
self determination movement just as India’s rulers spare none in fanning
dissent in Pakistan. But the cause of the upsurge and alienation in the
Kashmir Valley rests squarely with India’s rulers. The call for azadi, is first
and foremost, a call for liberation from the rule of the Indian Army. The
thousands and thousands who are on the roads are questioning the legitimacy
of the Indian state.
The revolutionary movement must mobilize the people and join hands
with all democratic forces to demand that democratic rights be immediately
and fully restored in the Valley. Armed forces should be completely withdrawn
from civilian areas, PDA and AFSPA be repealed forthwith. All ‘encounters’,
both past and present must be fully investigated, just as the Supreme
Court has observed in the case of Manipur. However festering wounds of
army atrocities like the mass gangrapes in Kunan Poshpora, the so called
drowning of two young women in Sopore and those cases of fake encounters
where there was not an iota of doubt must be immediately placed before
the criminal courts for trials on daily basis. It will help not a little if the

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leaders of the Kashmiri movement come forward and facilitate return of the
Kashmiri Pandits to their own districts and homes which is their right as
Kashmiris. Many Pandits, in a welcome move, have expressed dissent
with the move of the GOI for separate colonies. The Indian rulers esp. the
RSS Modi Govt must be stopped from sequestering the Pandits to further
communal conspiracies in the Valley. People of India must be mobilized
against the provocative Sainik Colonies proposed to be set up in Kashmir
Valley.
It is important to take note of the fact that as the people of the Valley
are coming out in massive numbers repeatedly against Army brutalities,
as the Army’s brutalities are on the rise due to the outpouring of anger from
the people, as people of India are themselves experiencing brutal repression
on just struggles, more sections in India are acknowledging army excesses
in Kashmir and willing to speak out against them and support the restoration
of democratic rights in Kashmir. A section are also willing to take a relook
at commonly propagated distorted and communalized historical facts to
understand what really happened. Women’s organizations in Delhi had jointly
demanded repeal of AFSPA before the Verma Commission though this
was not the position of the ruling class ‘Left’ parties. All these are welcome
developments and must be taken forward. It is also necessary that common
people of India, whose democratic rights are always under threat, should
speak for the rights of the people of J & K and NE, in order that their fight
for their own be both genuine and justified.
The struggle of the people of Kashmir is for self determination. This is
also the demand enshrined in the Instrument of Accession of J&K signed
by King Hari Singh. The ruling classes of India and the State have
succeeded in propagating it as restricted to a demand of the people of the
Valley and in communalizing the perception of this demand. Parliamentary
‘left’ parties are also confined to stating the question as only for restoration
of democratic rights. So too the CPI (ML) Liberation even through support
to the right of self determination of the people of J&K was a part of the
programme of CPI (ML) even at the time of its formation. Thus, along with
supporting the struggle for restoration of full democratic rights in Kashmir,
there must be exhaustive propaganda of the historical facts, of events as
they really happened, so that the communalized, cooked up and distorted
versions as well as all the organized hate propaganda which passes as
‘patriotism’ can be exposed. This will help to mobilize the people of India
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
to demand that India’s rulers respect the right of self determination of the
people of J&K.
The struggle of the people of J&K is part and parcel of the struggle of
the people of India for genuine freedom and democracy through new
democratic revolution. The people of India must make the concerns of the
people of Kashmir their own because the rulers certainly will not.

Supr
eme Cour
ves F
or Some
Supreme
Courtt Mo
Mov
For
Accounta
bility Under AFSP
A
Accountability
AFSPA
The evidence collected so painstakingly is doubtless both gruesome
and undeniable. The struggles of civil rights activists countrywide as well
as the pressure of democratic movements and people’s growing
restlessness with the obvious violence of state forces have also had some
effect. Thus it is that while earlier Supreme Court judgements did not
intervene much in the total flouting of laws by armed forces under cover of
AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), the Supreme Court Bench of
Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit made some observations on 8th
July 2016. Though not focusing on the growing demand for repealing
AFSPA, the observations discuss its legal boundaries.
The case under consideration was of 1528 fake encounters in Manipur
in a decade upto 2012. A petition had been filed for a SIT (Special
Investigation Team) into these by hundreds of families of victims in Manipur
under the banner of Extra Judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association.
Of the cases mentioned, 62 were earlier investigated by the NHRC (which
had concluded that half of the cases were fake encounters) and by a Court
appointed Panel headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Santosh

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Hegde. The Supreme Court Bench has now ordered the processing of the
rest of the cases and a presentation of the data of the 62 cases so that it
can decide which agency is to investigate them. But despite the massive
number of cases as well as the devastating evidence, the Bench did not
question the need for a law such as AFSPA. The AFSPA, enacted in 1958,
has its origin in a colonial law made by the British to crush the Quit India
Movement.
In their observations, the judges have not accepted the Central govt.’s
contention that Manipur faced an unconventional war-like situation. The
Bench held that the area is ‘internally disturbed’ and the people living there
are citizens.
The observations of the Judges extend to several questions that are
repeatedly raised by Central govts. over the years, irrespective of the ruling
class party or formation in power, whenever the issue of lawlessness of
the armed forces in AFSPA areas arises. They were also evidently raised
in response to this petition. Thus the Judges have turned down the Central
Govt.’s position that every armed person in the disturbed areas breaking
prohibitory orders runs the risk of being considered an enemy. Not only
can such a person not be branded as an ‘enemy’ or an active member of a
banned or unlawful organization, “before a person is branded as a militant
or terrorist or insurgent, there must be commission or some semblance of
violent, overt act.” Further, even if the enquiry proves that the victim was
an enemy, there must be a probe whether the force used by the armed
forces was excessive or retaliatory “….killing an enemy is not the only
available solution”. The Court has also observed, “There is a qualitative
difference between the use of force in an operation and use of such deadly
force that is akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.” However, in all
these utterances, the Bench has paid inadequate heed to the evidence
placed before it, even though it has commented on it, noting that the petition
says that arms are placed in the hands of dead victims to justify ‘encounter’
claims. The armed forces will definitely make up proofs of the culpability
of victims as well as for the quantum of force used from the side of the
state. The basic reason is not being addressed, i.e. the state’s own viewpoint
that movements of nationalities for the right of self determination and for
which the reasons are rooted in the history of the country, need to be
crushed by brute force. It is this basic notion that the Bench has refrained
from addressing, bypassing it by simply stating that the AFSPA area in
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
Manipur is only ‘internally disturbed’ and not a war-like zone.
The Supreme Court Bench has struck a blow at the so called ‘immunity’
of the armed forces in AFSPA areas from ‘criminal liability’ and this can be
an important method to bring accountability. The Court has observed, “there
is no concept of absolute immunity from trial by a criminal court.” To the
Central Govt.’s plea of resulting demoralization in the forces, it has been
forced by the evidence before it to counter, “... spare a thought for the
equally unsettling and demoralizing picture of a citizen living under the fear
of the gun in a democracy” and “the alleged enemy is a citizen of our
country entitled to all the fundamental rights under article 21.” Again, “It
does not matter whether the victim was a common man or a militant or a
terrorist, nor does it matter whether the aggressor was a common person
or the state. The law is the same for both and is equally applicable for
both” … “This is the requirement of a democracy and the requirement of
preservation of the rule of law and the preservation of individual liberties.”
It does stretch the imagination to think that the aggressor being a common
person or state are ‘equally placed’ when the state stands charged to
maintain the rule of law. When the armed forces of the state get away with
gang rape after abduction of Manorama, alleged to be a Naga militant,
when her body is found with bullet injuries in her private parts but the
allegation is that she was shot while escaping and the lie cannot be nailed
due to AFSPA, then immediate judicial action is needed and the state
cannot be held “equivalent” to an individual aggressor. In the cases before
this Bench was one of a 12 year old Manipuri boy dressed to go to school
and sitting in the verandah of his home. He was dragged out by the security
forces and shot dead in front of his pleading family. Even such cases have
not moved any bench of the Supreme Court to review the AFSPA itself.
The Supreme Court Bench has stressed the need for a thorough enquiry
into every death caused by armed forces in disturbed areas to assess
“Any excessive or retaliatory force beyond the call of duty”. It had before it
concrete evidence of 62 cases of which it had examined six in detail.
Under existing practice, the NHRC is supposed to get an enquiry
conducted into every encounter death and satisfy itself about the evidence.
On the one hand, the NHRC has submitted before this Bench that it does
not have the power to force the state to appear before it or provide answers.
On the other hand, NHRC and its state bodies, all appointees of the Govts.

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from amongst retired IPS officers and judges, do little to inspire faith that
they would act as defenders of constitutional rights.
Revolutionary and democratic forces and people of Manipur, other parts
of North East and of J&K have long been struggling for repeal of AFSPA.
There is also the struggle of Irom Sharmila who had been on indefinite fast
till AFSPA is repealed and whose message was answered by repeated jail
terms. There are thousands of “disappeared” persons in J&K as a result of
this law. Women of J&K and North East have faced the entire spectrum of
sexual violence at the hands of armed forces repeatedly and relentlessly
due to the immunity from accountability. The experience of mass gang
rape at Kunan Poshpora by 19 Rashtriya Rifles in 1991 and brutalization
and murder of Manorama in 2004 by 17 Rashtriya Rifles personnel are only
some among the worst. The atrocities under AFSPA pushed Anupam Lumb,
the organization of Manipuri mothers, to demonstrate naked before the
Army Headquarters in the state. Several children have been ‘encountered’
by the armed forces both in North East and in Kashmir as part of their
bravery against an ‘enemy’.
It is only the total brutality of the armed forces in AFSPA areas as well
as the pressure of movements that made Justice Verma, who had upheld
AFSPA when he was Supreme Court Chief Justice, be party to the
recommendation of the three member Verma Commission post 16
December 2012 that AFSPA be ‘amended’. Only a democratic mass
movement can force repeal of AFSPA even while judiciary is forced to
give concessions on defacto amendments in order to justify continuation
of such a law. The observations of this Bench of the Supreme Court are
said to be in accordance with a 1950 judgement of the Court in the case of
the Naga movement. Pressure of the armed forces on the successive
Govts. is such that not one provision of AFSPA will be repealed without
struggle.

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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

Brexit: Born out of crisis and is
going to further aggravate it

The British people in the 23rd June 2016 referendum have voted to leave
European Union (EU). It is a reflection of deepening economic crisis in the
imperialist countries and growing disenchantment of the people in developed
capitalist countries with political establishment. Response of the Govts. of
developed capitalist countries to the explosion of financial economic crisis
in 2008 has only increased the gulf between rich and poor. Govts. have
rescued the corporate while the burden of the crisis has been placed on the
shoulders of the common people whose conditions have deteriorated since
then. While profligacy of the rich has been rewarded austerity has been
imposed on the common people. In a number of European countries
unemployment is high and even in the countries like UK where it is not so,
the new jobs created are low paid and casual or part-time in nature. On the
other hand there has been cut is social security and there is increasing
privatization of health services and education putting a lot of strain on the
common people. College fees have skyrocketed. Loan burden on the people
has increased sharply. World financial economic crisis continues though
its effects vary in different countries. It has made the world economy and
economy of imperialist countries very unstable.
In this context, people are rising in the capitalist countries against
established parties of the ruling bourgeoisie whose notorious two party
system works like tweedledum and tweedledee. In Britain too, the explosion
of anger against the political establishment was palpable. The Leave vote
gained majority while the leadership of both main parties, Conservative
and Labour, had campaigned for remaining in EU. While the leadership of
the campaign to leave EU consisted mainly of the Conservative Party and
the section that left it to form UK Independence Party, nearly half of the
labour voters are also estimated to have voted to leave EU despite Labour
Party leadership pitching for remaining in EU. Campaign to leave EU painted
horrific picture of migrants flooding UK, Remain campaign banked on their
propaganda of adverse effect of Brexit on British economy. Regarding
migrants, while refugees from the countries which have been victims of
imperialist aggression have dominated the propaganda, the real concern
has been migrants from East European countries which have become

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members of the EU. While British bourgeois rulers have all the sympathy
with these countries but only to the extent that they oppose Russia, any
way this sympathy does not extend to welcoming them home.
In brief, the vote can be taken to be a manifestation of the anger of the
people against the political establishment. Sanders’ campaign in USA has
also been fed by a similar anger. More importantly, people’s rejection of
established parties is quite obvious in Spain, Italy and several other
European countries. And this is so despite Syriza of Greece which had
won elections on the platform of not compromising on bailout package,
betraying its election pledge to surrender before the troika of IMF, EU and
European Central Bank. People’s anger is real. However, this anger has
yet not reached the stage of discarding this decadent system. It is
concentrated on charting a new course within this system. But the
established ruling class parties are wedded to implementing neoliberal
economic policies and hence this anger is mainly directed against neoliberal
economic policies.
The ongoing crisis and resultant anger of the people has undermined
Social Democracy in European countries which has been an instrument of
class peace between capitalists and workers. On the one hand people’s
struggles have burst forth against the impact of the Govt. policies on their
lives, and on the other rightist forces of the ruling classes have been
strengthened. Neo-nazi, anti-immigrant groups have become strong in a
number of European countries. Ruling bourgeois parties have not been
confronting these gangs, rather they are implementing policies against
immigrant workers and refugees in the name of keeping these neo-nazi
groups in check. This only shows that these gangs are linked to ruling
bourgeois parties and draw their sustenance from them.
While British Prime Minister Cameron had promised to hold this
referendum to prevent split in conservative voters in the last elections, it
became a channel of expression of anger and despair of the people. Now
some of the ruling class politicians are criticizing the very decision to hold
the referendum saying people should have no say in such vital decisions,
their choice should be strictly regulated. Earlier, the ruling politicians of
Europe had refused to respect the verdict of the people of Greece.

Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
had held a referendum on secession in recent past and in this election in
which independence lost narrowly, Scotland has strongly voted in favour of
EU. Brexit may give another opportunity to Scotland's voters to exercise
their choice in the changed circumstances. “Union” may be truncated not
only in Europe but also in United Kingdom.
Another important impact of Brexit would be on relations with Russia.
Britain had been a strong voice in EU pitching for escalation of conflict with
Russia. It has also been a bridgehead of US influence in Europe though US
has other influences as well. East European countries that mostly stand
for sharper reaction to Russia may have now to reckon with a different
European dispensation. The 'New Europe' which had sided with Bush-Blair
war against Iraq may have to accommodate with ‘Old Europe' more clearly
dominated by Germany and France which had opposed that war. It may
become increasingly difficult for US imperialism to mobilize European Union
against Russia. There is already a mood in Germany and some other
countries to dilute sanctions which were imposed against Russia after her
making Crimea a Russian territory. German Foreign Minister has also
criticized recent military exercises in Poland as provocative. EU without
Britain may be more amenable to deal with Russia. This aspect may have
importance in the current multipolar world.
European Union has been a project of European big bourgeoisie for bigger
say in the international affairs besides making European markets their
preserve. This project has been a long term dream of European big capital
but has been torpedoed by the contradictions among the big bourgeoisie of
European countries. These contradictions have again come to the fore.
The extent of cascading effect of Brexit will become clear in near future,
the contradictions among big bourgeois groups are bound to grow.
Prime Minister Cameron has announced his decision to quit. There may
be more changes in the ruling and main opposition parties. However, anger
of the common people which manifested in this vote, is not going away.

(Statement issued on June 24, 2016)

While impact of the Brexit on economy of the UK will unfold over the
years, the impact in two spheres may unfold in the short term. Scotland
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50th anniversary of GPCR

Understanding the
Significance of May 16th
Circular
Amit Chakraborty
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Great Proletarian Cultural
Revolution (GPCR). On 16th May 1966 GPCR was initiated by the Communist
Party Of China (CPC) under the leadership of Com. Mao Ze Dong.
Fifty years back GPCR spread revolutionary waves across the world.
GPCR in China organized an all out struggle against the Capitalist roaders
in the Party and State. During GPCR CPC pursued a socialist development
strategy characterized by cooperative and state (public) ownership and
control of the means of production, planned wealth distribution and resource
allocation, struggle for elimination of economic and political inequalities
and class privileges. GPCR strived for the dominance of the interest of the
immediate producers at the workplace and of working people in all spheres
of society including control over politics and ideology. GPCR was an
alternative path for revolutionary reconstruction of society rejecting
Khruschev’s ‘phoney communism’. May 16th Circular marked the beginning
of that glorious revolution.
In GPCR, CPC conducted a revolutionary experiment to bring about a
socialist transformation of both the social structure and upliftment of
consciousness of its people. Unfortunately Com. Mao led Cultural Revolution
(GPCR) which not long ago was widely praised as an innovative and
revitalizing socialist alternative for China’s development and also seen as
a revolutionary model worldwide at present, is described by the present
CPC leadership as a “ten year disaster” that was responsible for a political
and economic catastrophe suffered by the party and the country.
After the Communist victory in 1949 and with the successful socialist
transformation of China in the early 1950s, few people in the Communist
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
leadership thought of uninterrupted revolution, Revolution as a process to
be continued through a prolonged period of contention and of struggle.
Revolution was mainly regarded only as the act of seizure of power- act of
destruction, whereas the building of a new economy and society would
require a different method- act of construction. In the May 16th circular, Com.
Mao was quoted saying that there is no construction without destruction.
'Destruction means criticism and repudiation; it means revolution. It involves
reasoning things out, which is construction.’ The circular explained ‘Put
destruction first, and in the process you have construction’. MarxismLeninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought, was founded and has constantly
developed in the course of the struggle to destroy bourgeois politics and
ideology thus proletarian politics and ideology was constructed. The February
1966 document, however, emphasized that ‘without construction, there can
be no real and thorough destruction’. This amounted to prohibiting the
destruction of bourgeois ideology and prohibiting the construction of
proletarian ideology and was diametrically opposed to Marxist dialectics.
In the three decades after the 1949 Chinese revolution, people saw the
revolution through a progression of several mass movements, such as the
Great Leap Forward, the Anti-Rightist Movement in the 1950s and the Great
Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the 1960–1970s. Mao’s theory of
uninterrupted revolution was put into practice and it maintained that even
under socialist reconstruction the Revolution must continue. The line of
socialist reconstruction taking class struggle as a key link was put into
practice during GPCR.
The GPCR was perhaps the most unique example of a country in search
of a path that would resolve continuous contradictions between socialist
path and capitalist path and pursue an independent and self-reliant
development. After the initial success of the transition to socialism, the
following questions remained unanswered:
Was the aim of the revolution merely to build up China’s “wealth and
power,” or was it to entail the creation of a new socialist person as well, the
true successor of socialism? How can a strong socialist society in the
direction of achieving common prosperity be built in a backward society
and how to deal with the problem of scarcity of technology, resource and
capital? Mao’s approach to resolving these problems emphasized the role
of people’s power, rather than technological productivity to be relied on as
input for mobilization.

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Mao firmly believed that motivation derives from consciousness, which
in turn comes from social practice. Motivation is the source of moral strength,
such as dedication, devotion, determination. Consciousness and motivation
reinforce each other and can be transformed into material force through
man’s labour.
Mao ‘s slogan of ‘Put Politics in command’ politicized the question of
economic development. The idea was not to challenge the concept of
economic development but to use politics to maximize the mobility of human
resources and the efficiency of all social forces for the development of the
economy. The aim of mobilization of the GPCR was “to revolutionize
people’s ideology and as a consequence to achieve greater, faster, better
and more economical results in all fields….”
In this backdrop we should review May 16th circular. This famous
circular was circulated ‘To all regional bureaus of the Central Committee,
all provincial, municipal and autonomous regional party committees, all
departments and commissions under the Central Committee, all leading
party members’ groups and party committees in government departments
and people’s organizations, and the General Political Department of the
PLA’. Opponents of cultural revolution argue that in GPCR Com. Mao
bypassed the Party and put his individual line into practice. If you go
through the May 16th Circular and its endorsement by the Central Committee
in the August meeting and in the Plenum of the same year you will find that
the allegation is utterly false. The GPCR and May 16th circular were part
and parcel of the democratic tradition of proletarian organization.
In this circular the Central Committee decided to revoke the ‘Outline
Report on the Current Academic Discussion made by the Group of Five in
Charge of the Cultural Revolution’ which was approved for distribution on
12 February 1966. The circular concluded that the outline report by the socalled ‘Group of Five’ was fundamentally wrong. The Central Committee
and Comrade Mao Tse-tung, at the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth
Central Committee of the Party in 1962, formulated the guiding principles
on the question of classes and class struggle in socialist society. The
February report was counter to the line of that meeting.
Many times questions are raised that GPCR and related struggles are
related to establishing Com. Mao ‘s personality cult and defeating his
opponents. It is true that Cultural revolution and May 16th circular was
aimed at Liu Shao Chi’s line. But what was that line? It was an anti Marxist
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
political line. The outline of Liu’s line as depicted in February 1966 document
violated the basic Marxist thesis that all class struggles are political
struggles. That is why it was opposed. The criticism against Mao was
answered by Engels more than a hundred years ago. Engels once said that
throughout their life Marx and he fought against opportunist lines of all so
called socialist leaders who protected capitalism but not against individual
capitalists because to them their fight was against capitalism not against
individual capitalists. The same thing holds true for Com. Mao during Cultural
Revolution.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution constituted a new stage in
the development of the socialist revolution. Although the bourgeoisie had
been overthrown, it was still trying to use the old ideas, culture, customs
and habits of the exploiting classes to corrupt the masses, capture their
minds in the endeavour to stage a comeback. Com. Lenin warned the
proletariat about this possibility. The May 16th circular of GPCR encouraged
the proletariat to resist this comeback. It encouraged them to meet headon every challenge of the bourgeoisie. The objective was to struggle against
and overthrow those persons in authority who were taking the capitalist
road.
The bourgeois press boasts about ‘freedom of speech’; essentially it is
freedom of the ruling classes. In a class divided society ‘freedom of speech’
has a class content. Comrade Mao Ze Dong at the Party’s National
Conference on Propaganda Work in March 1957 gave a call to “open wide”,
‘To “open wide” means to let all people express their opinions freely, so
that they dare to speak, dare to criticize, and dare to debate.’ May 16th
Circular fought against those Party leaders in authority who negated the
class content of ‘opening wide’. This Circular showed the proletarian path
of ‘opening wide’ which led to the beginning of big character posters from
Peking university to Shanghai commune, from Tsinhua university to Hopei
province. Students, workers, peasants and PLA cadres came forward
against the opportunists, self seeking leaders and capitalist roaders.
GPCR marked a new stage in the socialist revolution. At the Tenth
Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party, Comrade
Mao Ze Dong said: to overthrow a political power, it is always necessary
first of all to create public opinion, to do work in the ideological sphere.
This is true for the revolutionary class as well as for the counter-revolutionary
class. May 16th Circular put this correct line into practice and tried to use

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the new ideas, culture, customs and habits of the proletariat to change the
mental outlook of the whole of society.
Nowadays, while evaluating the experience of socialist construction in
China and Russia, it is frequently mentioned that the communist party
leadership tried to replace class rule of proletariat by rule of communist
parties, but if we look at the CC resolution on May 16th Circular it declares :
‘In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the only method is for the
masses to liberate themselves, and any method of doing things in their
stead must not be used.’ Com. Mao and CPC were well aware of the problem
and tried their best to fight it out.
When CPC began the counter-offensive against the wild attacks of the
bourgeoisie, the authors of the February 1966 document raised the slogan:
‘Everyone is equal before the truth’. This is a bourgeois slogan which
completely negates the class nature of truth. This slogan was used to
protect the bourgeoisie and oppose the proletariat, oppose Marxism-Leninism
and Mao Tse-tung Thought. May 16th Circular exposed the myth of ‘equality’
and showed ‘there can be no other type of relation, such as a so called
relation of equality, or of peaceful coexistence between exploiting and
exploited classes, or of kindness or magnanimity.’ CC of CPC, while
defending May 16th Circular, taught us: ‘Trust the masses, rely on them
and respect their initiative. Cast out fear. Don’t be afraid of disturbances’.
This reliance on masses not on administration and bureaucrats was the
spirit of Cultural Revolution.
May 16th Circular teaches us to Firmly Apply the Class Line of the
Party.
Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? For all revolutions this is a
question of the first importance and likewise it was a question of first
importance for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Opponents of
Cultural Revolution state that in the name of class line debates were resolved
by coercion. The reality is just its opposite. CC of CPC instructed: The
method to be used in debates is to present the facts, reason things out,
and persuade through reasoning. Any method of forcing a minority holding
different views to submit is impermissible. They said: “The minority should
be protected, because sometimes the truth is with the minority. Even if the
minority is wrong, they should still be allowed to argue their case and reserve
their views.”
They categorically mentioned ‘When there is a debate, it should be
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
conducted by reasoning, not by coercion or force. In the course of debate,
every revolutionary should be good at thinking things out for himself and
should develop the communist spirit of daring to think, daring to speak and
daring to act. On the premise that they have the same general orientation,
revolutionary comrades should, for the sake of strengthening unity, avoid
endless debate over side issues.’ Throughout the revolution this was the
CPC’s approach. Throughout the course of GPCR, Central Committee of
CPC instructed People’s Liberation Army to participate in political debates
and not to intervene with arms. In GPCR, excepting few exceptional
circumstances, nowhere was there coercion by state or adminstration. None
of the opponent leaders like Liu Shao Chi or Deng were arrested or
sentenced. On the other hand, after opponents of Cultural Revolution came
to power, they arrested four revolutionary leaders (defaming them as Gang
of Four) and sentenced them.
The CPC declared ‘In the course of the movement, with the exception
of cases of active counter-revolutionaries where there is clear evidence of
crimes such as murder, arson, poisoning, sabotage or theft of state secrets,
which should be handled in accordance with the law, no measures should
be taken against students at universities, colleges, middle schools and
primary schools because of problems that arise in the movement. To prevent
the struggle from being diverted from its main target, it is not allowed,
under whatever pretext, to incite the masses or the students to struggle
against each other. Even proven rightists should be dealt with on the merits
of each case at a later stage of the movement.’
There were allegations that in the GPCR the struggle of the proletariat
against the old ideas, culture, customs and habits left over by all the
exploiting classes over thousands of years were taken up hastily, but CPC
said that struggle ‘will necessarily take a very, very long time. Therefore,
the Cultural Revolutionary groups, committees and congresses should not
be temporary organizations but permanent, standing mass organizations'
and instructed that these be built ‘not only for colleges, schools and
government and other organizations, but generally also for factories, mines,
other enterprises, urban districts and villages’.
They decided to institute a system of proletarian democracy ‘like that
of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolutionary
groups and committees and delegates to the Cultural Revolutionary
congresses’, where ‘The lists of candidates should be put forward by the

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revolutionary masses after full discussion, and the elections should be
held after the masses have discussed the lists over and over again.’This
was the great heritage of proletarian democracy which the GPCR aimed at.
In the struggle of the proletariat against the old ideas, culture, customs
and habits left over by all the exploiting classes the Great Proletarian
Cultural Revolution took up the task of transforming the old educational
system, old principles and methods of teaching as the most crucial task.
Most if not all of these schools were dominated by bourgeois intellectuals.
Students from workers' and peasants' families were negligible. That anti
people policy of admission and examination in education was completely
changed. May 16th Circular cleared all the obstacles against that initiative.
Education combined with productive labour and serving people was its aim
so that those receiving an education develop morally, intellectually and
physically and become workers with socialist consciousness and culture.
To revolutionize people’s ideology and as a consequence to achieve
greater, faster, better economic results in all fields of work, the masses
were fully aroused and proper arrangements were made. Special care was
taken of those scientists and scientific and technical personnel who had
made contributions. Towards them the policy of “unity, criticism, unity”
was pursued. The policy ‘to carry on both the Cultural Revolution and
production without one hampering the other, while guaranteeing high quality
in all our work’ was the policy of May 16th circular. Therefore the idea of
counterposing the Great Cultural Revolution to the development of production
which the present CPC leadership is carrying out is incorrect. Several
scholars including William Hinton, Mobo Gao, Dongping Han have published
their works on GPCR where they have shown the immense success in
production during GPCR and exposed the Dengist school of falsification.
This May 16th Circular was sent, together with the erroneous document
issued by the Group of Five Committee on 12 February 1966, down to the
level of all party committees and they were asked to discuss which one is
wrong and which is correct. Party committees at all levels were instructed
that they should be pupils before they become teachers and they should
try to avoid being one-sided or narrow minded.
These democratic methods were followed at the time of implementing
the 16th May Circular of GPCR.
The CPC leadership again and again warned the people by saying: ‘Those
representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the party, the
government, the army, and various cultural circles are a bunch of counterAugust, 2016

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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political
power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the
bourgeoisie. Some of them we have already seen through, others we have
not. Some are still trusted by us and are being trained as our successors,
persons like Khrushchev, for example, who are still nestling beside us.
Party committees at all levels must pay full attention to this matter’.
All could not easily conceptualize the theory that a capitalist class
existed inside the party. All did not understand the significance of the words:
‘Some are still trusted by us and are being trained as our successors,
persons like Khrushchev, for example, who are still nestling beside us.
Party committees at all levels must pay full attention to this matter’.
But once conditions were ripe, a bunch of counter-revolutionary
revisionists seized political power and turned the dictatorship of the
proletariat in China into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Many people did
not comprehend it at that time which was explained by the Communist
Party of the famous Long Bow village in the following way:
‘We didn’t really have any idea what the capitalist road was. Mao talked
about it, explained it, but we didn’t have any clear idea of it, what it might
mean in practice to our lives. It is only now, since the reform, since the
responsibility system, since we have had to contract everything out for
private profit that we have had some experience of the capitalist road and
can form an opinion of it.’
Chinese people have learned from their life’s experience.Communists
all over the world fighting for Socialism are everyday learning from GPCR.
Our party CPI(ML) whose formation is intimately related to this glorious
revolution, on this fiftieth anniversary of May 16th Circular, should feel proud
to hold high the banner of GPCR and politics of May 16th Circular. To carry
forward the class struggle & fight against imperialism, its lackeys and
revisionism we must educate ourselves and understand the significance of
May 16th Circular.
Ref: 1) Circular of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution May 16, 1966
2) Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (Adopted on August
8, 1966)

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Mahashweta Devi’s death is a
great loss to the struggling
people of the country

"I have always believed that the real history is made by ordinary people.
I constantly come across the reappearance, in various forms, of folklore,
ballads, myths and legends, carried by ordinary people across
generations. ... The reason and inspiration for my writing are those people
who are exploited and used, and yet do not accept defeat. For me, the
endless source of ingredients for writing is in these amazingly noble,
suffering human beings. Why should I look for my raw material elsewhere,
once I have started knowing them? Sometimes it seems to me that my
writing is really their doing.” said Mahasweta Devi regarding her own writings.
This is really the essence of all her writings.
Starting from the ‘Story of Etoa Munda’ written for children to
‘AranyerAdhikar’, ‘HajarChurasir Ma’, ‘Bashal Tudu’, ‘Droupadi’, ‘Rudali’
and many other works of fiction, all the characters of Mahasweta Devi’s
novels and short stories are oppressed people, mostly oppressed tribals of
the Chhotanagpur plateau who fight relentlessly to end this oppression by
privileged ruling classes and by the state. Her characters never succumb
to the existing oppressive social structure and for this reason, her writings
never make the readers pessimistic and cynical, rather they rouse their
anger against the existing social order, against class, caste, gender
oppression and inspire them to fight for changing that order.
Very naturally, she did not keep herself silent regarding the glorious
people’s movement of the twentieth century, the Naxalbari peasant uprising
and the armed peasant movements led by the communist revolutionaries
in its aftermath. ‘HajarChurashir Ma’, ‘Droupadi’ etc. are examples of
excellent writings, narrating the time of Spring Thunder over India.

Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
the great poet and writer Manish Ghatak, who was linked to the Tebhaga
movement. The famous writer, dramatist, filmmaker and member of the
undivided communist party, Ritwik Ghatak, was her uncle. Brought up in
such a communist cultural atmosphere, Mahashweta Devi, throughout her
life was with the struggling people of India. Both the content and form of
her writings are from the masses and to the masses. Moreover, she was
among those few intellectuals who honestly practised in their lives what
they have written in their books. She formed many organisations of the
tribal people — particularly among Lodha Shabor and Kheriya Shabor
communities. She fought to de-stigmatise the Shabors who were labelled
as a criminal tribe from the time of British rule. She founded and ran a
magazine named Vartika, where the writings of the rural oppressed people
were published and which also published very important and rare documents
on the Tebhaga movement.
She used to stand in solidarity with the struggling people, be it Kanoria
workers’ struggle, Narmada Bachao Movement or the recent peasant
movements of Singur and Nandigram when the Left Front Government tried
to snatch peasants’ land on behalf of big corporate. She also strongly
opposed the planning of so-called urbanization of Shantiniketan by the
then Loksabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and built up a protest movement
to save the environment and ecology of the surroundings of Viswabharati
from where she had graduated. When the Trinamool government of West
Bengal killed Com. Kishenji, she criticized the government and termed it
as a fascist government.
In spite of all these, her relations with the Trinamool supremo Mamata
Banerjee and positions taken by her in her last few years regarding some
of the actions of the Mamata government are not beyond criticism. However
her whole life, her works are very much greater than this.
The West Bengal State Committee of CPI (ML) New Democracy deeply
mourns her demise.
July 29, 2016

This eminent people’s writer took her last breath on 28th July, 2016. At
the time of her death, she was ninety. Though it is a natural death due to
old age, yet it is a great loss to her readers, to the revolutionary intelligentsia,
to the tribal people, to the oppressed toiling masses of India.
Mahashweta Devi was born into a communist family. Her father was
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Punjab : Dalits' Struggle for their
share of Panchayat land and
Police Repression
Vikas Bajpai

purposes (New Democracy, 2014; Gill, 2001). The struggle of Dalits for
staking their right over this land started in the year 2014 and at the present
moment their major demands in this respect are:
·
The government should eliminate the dummy Dalit candidates put
up by the landlords and rich peasants from the process of auctioning the
Panchayat and Nazool lands.
·
The land should be auctioned to dalit peasants at a very nominal
price.3

A Janhastakshep team visited some of the villages in Sangrur district
of Punjab on the 28 and 29 May, 2016 to investigate reports of police and
landlord repression on the struggle for agricultural land being waged by
Dalit peasants in over hundred villages of the district. The team comprised
of Ish Mishra, Prof. at Hindu College, Delhi University; senior journalists
Sh. Rajesh Kumar and Sh. Anil Dubey and Dr. Vikas Bajpai, Asst. Prof.,
Jawaharlal Nehru University. The team wishes to acknowledge the generous
support of friends from APDR (Association for Protection of Democratic
Rights), Punjab in the conduct of this inquiry.
Apart from visiting three villages – Bald Kalan, Bhadoh and Kheri, the
team had extensive interaction with peasant men, women and youth; activists
of PSU (Punjab Student Union), NBS (Naujawan Bharat Sabha) and APDR;
village Panchayat representatives and the District Collector.
Issues involved in the movement by Dalit peasants

·
Third, there should be security of tenure for the Dalit peasants
over the land earmarked for them.
2.

1. Land : The assertion by the Dalits of different villages for their
share in the productive resources of the villages of which agricultural land
is the most important in the context of the agrarian economy of an
agriculturally advanced state like Punjab.
In the ongoing struggle the demand for agricultural land has presented
itself in the form of taking control over the share of Dalits in the ‘Nazool’ 1
and ‘Panchayat’ lands2 which have hitherto been under cultivation of
landlords or rich peasants and other influential persons for all practical

33

Caste oppression :

Struggle against caste oppression is an integral part of this movement
by the Dalit peasantry in Punjab. The struggle for social emancipation from
caste based oppression is linked to the power relations between the landless
Dalits and the dominant landowners, Jat Sikhs, that derives from the inequity
in ownership of the means of production, of which land is the most important.
The struggles for social and economic emancipation have moved in tandem;
and as the findings shall bear out, the latter is almost a pre-condition for
the former; at least for the poorer rural Dalits who constitute an overwhelming
majority among the scheduled castes.
3.

The Dalit peasants in different villages of Sangrur district and adjoining
areas of Barnala, Patiala and Mansa district of Punjab have been agitating
under the leadership of ZPSC (Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Committee). Based
on our deliberations, the team could identify the following issues as the
focal points of the ongoing struggle:

August, 2016

Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

Police and Landlord repression :

Though mentioned last this was the immediate reason that necessitated
our visit in first place. The present struggle of Dalit peasantry threatens to
upturn the social and economic status quo in the villages, and hence has
attracted the first response that the establishment is capable of i.e.
unleashing repression.
General features of the struggle
Some of the common features of the overall struggle that the team
noticed and which the people in different villages themselves highlighted
are as follows:
Initiative of progressive Students
An important feature of the ongoing land struggle in the district is that

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this struggle was launched on the initiative taken by former leaders of
students and youth belonging to the Punjab Students Union (PSU) and
Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS), some of whom have had long standing
commitment to revolutionary movement.
The inaugural struggle of the ongoing movement was led by Com.
Gurmukh Mann, former leader of PSU (Punjab Students Union), when the
Dalit peasants in Sekha village (now in Barnala district, but was part of
Sangrur district in 2014) forcibly captured seven acres of Panchayat land
for collective farming in 2014.
Participation of the Women
A particularly noticeable feature of this struggle has been an equal and
militant participation of Dalit women who have borne disproportionate brunt
of police brutalities. Our team had reached Sangrur late in the night of May
27. We were told by the comrades of ZPSC that that day itself around 23
Dalit men of Janeri village were picked up by the police while they were
sitting on a dharna on the Panchayat land. The women of the village also
got into the police vehicle, insisting that they also be arrested along with
their men folk. The police had to forcibly evict them from the vehicle.

Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
the ruling class parties such as the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiromani
Akali Dal, Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) or Aam Admi Party
(AAP) had shown any worthwhile concern for the struggle. While the ruling
BJP and Akali Dal combine had been openly hostile; the state leader of
BSP did come to address a rally of ZPSC and issued a statement of support
later. Congress has largely kept silent on this issue.
AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal has
had time to visit the dera of a Sikh preacher, Bhai Ranjit Singh Dhadhrian
Wale located on the Patiala – Sangrur highway on 26th May, but did not
deem it fit to visit the villagers in Bald Kalan who had been injured in brutal
lathi charge by the police on May 24. Mr Bhagwant Mann, who is the AAP
member of Lok Sabha from Sangrur, had not bothered to even issue a
statement let alone visit the peasants injured in the incident at Bald Kalan.
Findings regarding the issues involved in the movement
We are not presenting here in full detail the findings of our Report which
has already been published elsewhere (EPW, Vol. 51 (25), 18 Jun, 2016).
However, the main findings are being summarized as under:
Police and Landlord repression

The new found confidence and pride in their struggle exuded among the
women in all the three villages that the team visited.
The spirit of the struggle
A noteworthy aspect that the team noticed in different villages of the
struggle is the united endeavours of Dalits of these villagers. One important
reason for this is that it is not possible for these families to counter the
current onslaught on their movement by the administration and the landlords
individually and hence the need for unity.
The allotted land in all the villages is managed by a committee elected
by the Dalit families. The collective nature of land utilization to various
extents is decided by the leaders of the ZPSC is more attuned to the
needs of the struggle. It depended on the quantity of land available for
utilization and the understanding of Dalits participating in the struggle.
Role of Political Parties
Protesting Dalits peasants in different villages informed that none of
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The dominant landlords, a large section of whom are affiliated to the
Akali Party, and their acolytes in the state structure have been alarmed by
this land struggle and have teamed together to put down this movement of
the Dalit peasantry.
On May 24 a huge police force was mobilized by the district
administration to conduct the auction of the Dalit land of Bald Kalan village
at the BDPO (Block Development Projects Officer) office at tehsil
headquarter Bhawanigarh even as Dalit peasants and ZPSC activists from
Bald Kalan and several other villages protested outside the auction site.
When the administration refused to yield to their demands the agitators
moved to outside Bald Kalan village and staged a dharna on the Patiala –
Sangrur highway.
Even as the villagers peacefully staged the dharna, two Dalit boys, who
were drunk, of the Dalit families of the village siding with the landlords
ploughed into their dharna on motorcycles at the behest of the landlords.
When the villagers beat up the boys the police resorted to a heavy baton

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charge for more than half an hour on the protesters including old men,
women and children. Villagers also alleged that the police opened fire in
the air and on their tractor to scare them.

Fourteen people were grievously hurt in the baton charge. Two of
them suffered multiple fractures and had to be taken to Patiala Medical
College Hospital for treatment. Several women who showed us the the
bruises on their bodies said that they were beaten up by male policemen.
The villagers also asserted that, at the behest of the local Akali Dal
MLA, Prakash Chand Garg, the doctors at the government hospital at
Bhawanigarh forcibly discharged the injured persons despite the fact that
they were in severe pain. They were then taken to Rajendra Hospital
(Government Medical College Hospital) Patiala, where again the hospital
authorities insisted that these persons would be attended to provided they
will not hold the police responsible for their injuries.
On May 25 the police filed an FIR – No. 0075/2016 under sections 307
(attempted homicide), 353, 186, 323, 148 and 149 against seventy nine
persons including twenty unknown persons. Till now 7 people from Bald
Kalan are in jail. A series of FIRs are being lodged and arbitrary arrests are
being made by the police in several villages.

District Collector Arsh Deep Singh Thind said that ZPSC is a group
of people who have been provoking the peasants in different villages
to commit violent acts. He justified the arrests in the name of
maintaining the rule of law .

Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
villages. Soon 16,423 acres of land was freed from the clutches of the
landlords and rich peasants in about 65 villages. As the movement grew,
need was felt for forming an organization to deal with the specific
organizational and agitational issues of this movement. It was at this juncture
that a conference of Dalit and small peasants belonging to the Jat peasantry
was called in Badrukkhan village in February 2014 in which representatives
from eighty villages took part and ‘Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Committee’
was formed to guide the future course of the movement. The participating
peasants themselves chose a red flag with a glowing sun in the centre to
be the symbol of their struggle.
The founding conference of ZPSC was followed by another big gathering
of about 1000 representatives from thirty villages of Mansa district in 2015
and further show of the gathering clout of the movement was demonstrated
on March 20, 2016 at Garrachon village of Sangrur district in which 4000
peasants participated. Starting from Sekha village of Barnala district the
movement has now spread to more than 102 villages in Sangrur district
alone, apart from some parts of Patiala, Barnala and Mansa districts.
In Punjab the total land of the Panchayats is 1,58,000 acres, out of
which the share of Dalits comes to 52,667 acres. Village Bald Kalan
located on the Patiala-Sangrur highway in Bhawanigarh tehsil has
emerged as the biggest centre for this struggle. This is owing to the
fact that the village Panchayat has a huge 375 acres of land under its
control and thereby the Dalit land also adds up to a substantial 125 acres.

The struggle started with the objective of restoring the possession of
Nazool land in the village to the Dalits of the village. As has already been
mentioned, even though there were legal entitlements for Dalits to have
share in Nazool and Panchayat lands, the actual possession of these lands
had remained with the landlords and rich peasants.

ZPSC had earlier forced the government to auction the land meant for
Dalits at half the rate at which it is auctioned to non-Dalits. However, this
price still comes to around Rs 23,000 to Rs 25, 000 an acre which still
poses difficulties for the Dalit families. Earlier this year the district
administration allowed leasing of thirty acres of Panchayat land in Jhaneri
village of Sangrur for a ‘gaushala’ (cowshed) at the rate of Rs 7,000 an
acre and that too for a thirty years period. ZPSC is now demanding that
land be leased to them also on same terms. The villagers argued – “If the
land can be given for animals at Rs 7,000, then why can it not be given
to us at the same rate? We are after all living human beings.”

Seven acres of Nazool land was captured in Sekha village in 2014.
This greatly enthused the dalit peasants in different villages and they
approached the organizers to help them get possession of land in their

The district administration has been refusing to concede this demand.
When contacted by us on phone, the District Collector Mr Thind admitted
that the land has been given for ‘gaushala’ at a huge loss of revenue to the

The villagers however remain undaunted by the repression unleashed
by the administration and the landlords.
The land question

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NEW DEMOCRACY
government, but said that the rules did not permit the same for these Dalit
peasants. He had no answer what rules permitted this for cattle while the
marginalized peasants are being denied the same.
The case of Kheri village; a travesty of social justice
In Kheri village we went straight to a plot of around three to four acres
of land a little distance from the village. We sew that the villagers had
pitched their tents on the land; were running a community kitchen on the
spot – all signs that they had launched ‘Occupy Homestead Land’ movement
in earnest and seem to have dug in their heels for a long haul.
In Kheri village, which also lies in Sangrur district, the issues are two
fold – that of agricultural land meant for dalits and the issue of possession
of homestead land allotted to eighty five families as far back as 1976.
Since the Panchayat land for Dalits is even less over here, the dominant
issue is of getting possession of the homestead land. Until four years back
these eighty five families of the village did not even know that homestead
land had been allotted in their name by the Government in 1976. Of these
85 families, 56 approached the ZPSC for help.
The affected villagers in Kheri told that the government records, as of
date, continue to show this land in their name. After occupying the land,
they had gone and met the District Collector to ask him to facilitate the
possession of the land officially. On being shown the current status of this
land in official records, he is reported to have told them to keep sitting on
the land. However, due to subsequent lobbying by the landlords of the
village with political leaders, especially the local Akali Dal MLA, Prakash
Chand Garg, the district administration is now insisting that they vacate
the illegal occupation of the land.
The District Collector Mr Thind asserted that when these villagers have
themselves gone to the court, they should at least wait for the court’s
judgment. On being asked whether the people can be expected to respect
the legal process when the law enforcing agencies had kept silent for all
these years over their not getting possession of land endowed to them as
far back as 1976; Mr Thind’s reply was that he could not be held responsible
for something that happened far back in time.
Caste oppression
The significance of this struggle from the standpoint of fighting caste
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
based oppression, especially in a state like Punjab where Dalits constitute
a high proportion of the population, is undeniable.
There is a great chemistry in these developments which is changing
the rural society in the areas of the struggle for good; and hopefully, forever.
In every village people, especially the women asserted – “eh sadde aatamsammaan di ladai aa. Assi pehli vaari aap noo zamindaran to azad mehsoos
kar rahe aan. Hun sadde kol aapni zameen aa; sannu ona de kehtan ch jan
di lodh nahi” (This is a struggle for our self-respect. It is the first time that
we are feeling independent of the landlords. We have our own land; there is
no need for us to go to their fields now).
ZPSC leader of Bald Kalan, Jarnail Singh said – “asal ch zameendaran
nu es gall da dukh aa ki eh zameen wale kyon bande ne? Pehlan saddi
kudiyan ona de khetan ch jaandiyan san; oh mada-changa bolde san.
Saadiyan aurtaan di koi izzat nahi si. Saade bande mazoor bhai ne; pehlan
kadi kaamm milya, kadi nahi. Vele baina painda si. Zameen Milan toon
sadda saal aram naal lang jaanda aa. Hun saanu ona de agge jhukkan di
koi lodh nahi” (The truth is that the landlords cannot digest the fact that we
too have land now. Earlier our girls had to go to their fields (to get fodder),
and they would say nasty things about them. Our women were not respected.
Our brethren are simple laborers; sometimes they would get work, sometimes
not. They used to sit idle; but with access to land, our year goes by in
comfort. Now we do not have to bow before them). A young man in early
twenties volunteered – “This land is a big guarantee for our future. The
government isn’t giving jobs anyways.”
The traditional power equations in these villages are changing; rendering
asunder in turn the age old caste bondages. One needn’t ruminate to figure
out that the agent of change has been ‘the struggle for land’. This change
does not owe to the electoral victory of a Dalit messiah or any kind of
governmental affirmative action, important though these are for the
democratization of our society.
The proportion of scheduled caste (SC) population in Punjab, at 31.94
percent, is the highest amongst all states of the country as per the 2011
census. This amounts to 4.3 percent of the entire SC population in the
country. The ten year growth rate of the SC population in Punjab is 26.06
percent as compared to 13.89 percent for the entire state (Government of
Punjab, undated). Out of the total, 73.33 percent of the SC population lives

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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

in rural areas, and fifty seven villages out of the total 12,168 inhabited
villages in the State are 100% SC villages. These demographics underline
the significance of ensuring the well being of SC population for overall
uplift of the Punjabi society.

immediately in the interest of justice and public harmony.

Agricultural land is the principal productive resource in Punjab, ownership
of which determines the social, economic and political status of any segment
of the population. It is in this respect that the SCs lag far behind all other
segments. As revealed in the agricultural census 2010 -11, the SCs in
Punjab owned just 6.02 percent of the land holdings and 3.2 percent of the
land area in the state. Of these operational holdings also a large proportion
(nearly 85 percent) are said to be unviable due to small size of less than
five hectares.

·
The district administration should allot the panchayat land meant
for Dalits at very nominal price without any commercial motive in order to
ensure the wellbeing of these marginalized sections of the society.

Future prospects of the struggle
The Dalit peasants we met in Bald Kalan and other villages are very
much aware of the dangers inherent to limiting the scope of their movement
to the present level and do realize very well the need to take along other
sections of the peasantry. Jarnail Singh of Bald Kalan did say – “Aje o
ladai ch sidda shamil nahi ne, par Jattan ch vi jede chotte kisan ne oh
sadde naal ya. Assi te kehne aan ki e saddi sanjhi ladai aa; assi onna layi
vi ladan nu taiyar haan” (Even though they are not yet directly involved in
this struggle, but small peasants among the Jats do support us. It is our
view that this is our common struggle and we are prepared to fight for their
demands as well.)
Stressing the long term goals Jarnail Singh said that they would later
demand that ceiling for land holding should be reduced and that land should
be redistributed.
Our demands and conclusion
In view of the findings of our visit and the existing socioeconomic realities
of life in the villages of Sangrur district visited by us, the Janhastakshep
team demands from the present Akali Dal-BJP coalition government in
Punjab:
·
That all false cases filed against the protesting dalit peasants in
different villages of the district be withdrawn by the government forthwith
and all arbitrary arrests that are being carried out should be stopped
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·
All men and women languishing in jails should be freed immediately
unconditionally.

·
The Dalit families in Kheri village who had been allotted land for
homesteads should be given possession of the same without further ado
and law should be implemented in the spirit of justice rather than selectively
to maintain the benefits of the dominant sections in the village.
·
The policemen guilty of committing brutalities on villagers in Bald
Kalan village should be booked under law and compensation be given to
those injured in police action.
We can have an idea of the direction in which this movement is headed
from the reply we got from Baksish Singh, a highly educated youth in the
village of Bhadoh, to our question – why did you choose the color of your
flag to be red; because it is blue that is considered to be the color of the
Dalit movement in the country? His straightforward answer was – red is the
color of revolution. We couldn’t have agreed more with Baksish.
(Footnotes)
1

The Nazool Lands (Transfer) Rules, 1956, Punjab, define ‘Nazool’ lands
as “land situated beyond two miles of the Municipal limits, which has
escheated to the State Government and has not already been
appropriated by the State Government for any purpose“; or it is “such
other land as the State Government may make available for being
transferred under these rules“ (Govt. of Punjab, 1956). In the state of
Punjab much of the Nazool land comprises of the remainder of land
belonging to Muslims who migrated to Pakistan at the time of partition,
after a part of this land was given to the Hindu and Sikh families that
migrated from Pakistani Punjab to the state. Provided this land has not
been appropriated by the state government for any other public purpose,
it is meant to be leased to the scheduled castes and other backward
castes for cultivation. Some part of the Nazool land also comprises of

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land that came to government’s account in cases where there was no
heir to the land.
2

The village Panchayat (village council) has certain land under its
jurisdiction that is earmarked for use for purposes directed at the welfare
of the people of the village. ‘The Punjab Village Common Lands
Regulation Act, 1961’ has a provision that out of the total cultivable
land available with the Village Panchayat and which is proposed to be
leased, “thirty percent, ten percent and ten percent, respectively shall
be reserved for giving on lease by auction, to members of the Scheduled
Caste; Backward Classes; and dependants of defense personnel killed
in any war after the independence of India." (Government of Punjab,
1961) However, the practice has been to reserve 33 percent of the land
for Dalits while no land has ever been reserved for Backward Classes
or dependents of defense personnel.

3

At the present moment the practice is that the opening price set for
the auctioning of the land earmarked for Dalits is half of the price at
which the Panchayat land not meant for Dalits is auctioned; and that
every year there should be at least ten percent increase in the opening
price. However, recently the Sangrur district administration leased thirty
acres of Panchayati land for the purpose of opening a ‘gaushala’ in
Jhaneri village at the rate of Rs 7,000 per acre for a period of thirty
years; whereas the minimum price at which land was leased to dalits in
the district last year was Rs 23,000 an acre.

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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

Failed Coup in Turkey and
the Emerging Equations in
the Middle-East
Aditya Prakash
The failed coup by sections of the Army and Air Force in Turkey and
the subsequent massive arrests and purge in military, police, judiciary,
education department and press by Erdogan Govt. to tighten its control
over the country have been both the result and cause of intensifying
contradictions in Turkey and the larger Middle-East. This intensification is
linked to growing contradictions among imperialist powers and among the
regional powers aligned to them.
To go briefly into the events preceding, Erdogan’s project to carve out
an area of influence in Levante with the blessings and aid of US and other
western powers, has come a cropper. Islamic State, emerging from the
resistance of Iraqi people against US led aggression and bolstered by
imperialist machinations in Syria, has unnerved the monarchies in the region
which are caught between supporting the Sunni Islamist groups and
suppressing their own people. While they embarked on these objectives as
complementary to each other, these groups are threatening to assume a
life of their own becoming players in their own right or along with their
benefactors. Arab Spring, that upsurge of the people’s struggles in Arab
countries which imperialists and their allies sought to utilize to their own
advantage, has been drowned in the blood of ruthless suppression and
sectarian strife. Democratic and dictatorial faces have flitted across the
stage acclaimed by some powers and declaimed by other powers. The
amorphous middle class nature of these upsurges was no match for the
hardnosed power brokers of monarchs and military dictators. These outbursts
of people’s anger were sought to be utilized to usher in a new Middle-East
of the US imperialists’ dream, suppressing this anger with military boots
when it threatened their allies and attempting to direct them towards regime
change where it was against the rulers not to their liking.

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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

In shaping these tumultuous events the decline of US imperialism played
an important role. Faced with disastrous wars of occupation in Iraq and
Afghanistan resulting in killing and maiming of thousands of Americans
and drowning of trillions of dollars in the war quagmire and explosion of
financial economic crisis resulting in piling up of huge debts and bringing
the effects of the crisis on the shoulders of the people, workers and middle
classes, US imperialism could not sustain its unilateralism of Bush period.
It could not throw its military into further conflicts in the Middle-East as its
earlier military adventures and killing of hundreds of thousands and
displacing millions of Iraqis and Afghans had made the people of these
countries further steeled in their resolve to fight US imperialism. Though
the leopard might become weaker, it cannot change its spots. It planned to
achieve its hegemonic designs by means other than dispatching its army,
feet on the soil, to these regions. In this latter period, US's adventurous
policy of regime change in Libya and Syria though without stationing large
number of its troops on their soil but by launching air attacks and arming,
training and directing the mercenaries to achieve its objectives, was put
into practice again killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions.

In Libya, Gaddafi Govt. was overthrown under the cover of western
airstrikes. But the resultant conflict led to the rise of several militias
controlling different parts of Libya. The west supported Govt. was driven
out of capital Tripoli and western powers are backing military commander
Haftar’s forces. Shocks emanating from Libya shook a large number of
countries of northern and central Africa. In Libya itself, some of the forces
loyal to Gaddafi and some Islamist groups emerged as Islamic State
controlling Sirte and a strip along the sea coast. But in Syria, the other
target of West backed regime change, the struggle prolonged with Assad
Govt. holding on in battle against jihadi groups financed by Gulf monarchies
and armed and supplied by Turkey, US, France and other western powers.
Besides loyalty of the armed forces of Syria, support from Iran and Hezbollah
of Lebanon and Russia played a pivotal role. Russia and China opposed
Western powers’ efforts to seek UN Security Council approval for intervention
in Syria. US Admn. was not willing to send its armed forces in any case.
Rise of Islamic State in 2014 further complicated the situation, emerging
as the main opponent of US backed Govt. of Iraq and Russia backed Govt.
of Syria and displacing other Islamist groups from several parts of Syria.

Turkey had opened its borders for the flow of fighters, arms and supplies
into Syria with whom it shared a long border. It threw away the mask of
zero problem with neighbours and good relations with Assad to join the
move to overthrow the Syrian Govt. Coming of Muslim Brotherhood to power
in Egypt for a brief period after the Arab Spring boosted them to claim
Turkey as a model for ‘democratic’ Arab countries. In those heady days,
Erdogan and his allies dreamt of a neo-Ottaman hegemony of the MiddleEast. Relations with Iran which had been smoothly developing till then
were also downgraded. To position themselves as champions of Arabs,
Turkey’s Muslim Brotherhood leaders made a great show of their concern
for Gaza leading even to deterioration of their longstanding relations with
Israel. In brief, Turkey was positioning itself as the local policeman for
western imperialism. However, the contradictions within US led camp came
to fore with the strong opposition from Saudi led Gulf monarchies (barring
Qatar) to MB rule in Egypt. MB is hostile to these Gulf monarchies and
thousands of its activists are in jail in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf emirates.
MB’s Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. Western imperialist powers
which were trying to come to terms with MB, soon accepted the military
rule giving a rude shock to MB rulers of Turkey where too, military coup
had been common.

With US and other western imperialist powers unwilling to intervene and
anti-Assad forces increasingly dominated by Islamic State and Al Qaeda
affiliated Al Nusra, the war reached a stalemate. In this situation, Russia
launched its air strikes against Anti-Assad forces in Syria in the name of
combating terrorism. Russia increased its forces at its Syrian base and
stationed a strong naval contingent in the Mediterranean injecting a new
element into the ongoing complex conflict in the Middle-East. Turkey’s
influence on the events in Syria was totally marginalized with Turkey
carrying the burden of US led and Saudi financed adventure in Syria. Syrian
Govt. with Russian air support could take back many areas particularly
from the forces close to Turkey and those specially ‘trained’ by US and
other western imperialist powers. The attempt by Turkey to shoot down a
Russian air force plane further narrowed its options in Syria with Russia
stationing monitors to track down planes over Syrian sky and with its
international isolation over the incident. Turkey is an important member of
NATO. After USA, it has the largest ground forces among imperialist powers.
But when Turkey tried to drag NATO into its conflict with Russia over alleged
violation of its airspace, the NATO response was very guarded.

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45

While Turkish leaders’ plans to overthrow Assad went awry, another

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important factor started growing in the conflict which seriously affected
Turkey. Kurds living in northern Syria bordering Turkey and Iraq started
asserting their rights over their area. This area was any way detached from
the areas controlled by Assad Govt. Kurds of Northern Syria (Rojava) waged
a heroic resistance against Islamist groups for control over the area. Their
successful resistance against Islamic State in Kobane galvanized Kurds
in the entire region. Kurds made a significant advance towards realizing
their national aspirations which have long been suppressed by the states
in the region. Largest number of Kurds live in South Eastern Turkey and
Turkish Govt. has since long been suppressing their national rights including
their language and culture. Rising strength of Kurds in Syria particularly
their relations with Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK) seriously alarmed
Erdogan and other leaders. On the other hand, US imperialism has been
collaborating with some sections of Syrian Kurds in its drive to oppose
Islamic State which brought it in conflict with Turkish Govt. which chided
USA for hobnobbing with Kurdish ‘terrorists’. Turkish authorities realized
that the Syrian adventure had been a costly affair for them. They tore away
the earlier agreement with PKK and launched military operations against
Kurds in Turkey which have created war like situation in Southeastern
Turkey.
In the period since Arab Spring, the pro-US forces and jihadi groups
had gained in strength in Turkey. They operated freely here with the approval
of the Govt. But the Syrian situation and renewed fight with Kurds increased
internal turmoil. Adverse situation in Syria and rise of Kurd forces was
leaving Erdogan led MB Govt. with no option but to follow US footsteps
and be part of the US-Israeli designs in the area including a ‘controlled rise’
of Kurd forces which were aligned with US imperialism. Rulers of Turkey,
rather than utilizing US and other western imperialist powers in their game
of carving out larger area of influence in the region, were being sucked up
in the US-Israeli designs which were not to the liking of the rulers of Turkey.
Turkey was asked to fight Islamic State and tolerate rule of Kurds in Syria
bordering Turkey. Erdogan led MB felt squeezed in this tight embrace and
started openly criticizing US and western imperialist powers.
This led to escalation of conflict between Erdogan led MB and followers
of Fethullah Gulen, Islamic preacher based in Pennsylvania in USA. The
two had earlier cooperated closely in fighting ‘secular’ Army establishment
in Turkey. Followers of Gullen with the support of Erdogan Admn. had
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
infiltrated Army, police, judiciary and different wings of the administration.
Gullen’s followers run a vast network of educational institutions, hospitals,
charities and religious establishments across Turkey. These elements had
served Erdogan by staging trials of ‘secular’ Army officers in a series of
trials against attempted coups by the Army officers. Gullen followers, while
running almost a state within a state and a vast secretive network in different
wings of the state, base themselves on the Derveshi tradition of Sufism in
Turkey. But the real conflict came when the Gullen network opposed
Erdogan’s attempts to corner more power in his hands and to go against
the interests of western imperialism. The dwindling strength of Kemalists
in the Army and other wings of the state had lowered the utility of the
Gullen network for Erdogan led MB. The extensive reach of the Gullen
network and its dominance over several aspects of social life is well known
in Turkey. US has not only sheltered Gullen on US soil but allowed him to
conduct his activities.
The first open salvo in this battle was fired by the Gullen network in
judiciary. They started trial of Erdogan loyalists on charges of corruption.
Erdogan called these trials a judicial coup. Since then Erdogan and his
associates have been targeting the Gullen network. This internecine struggle
would have continued but for the change in the relations between Erdogan
and Western imperialist powers, particularly USA.
Erdogan dismissed Davutoglu, the pro-West Prime Minister who had
challenged his authority in the Govt. and had tried to marginalize him and
his followers after the inconclusive elections when MB led ruling AKP
(Justice and Development Party) had failed to win majority. Erdogan
replaced him with his loyalist. He also tried to mend ties with Russia. He
wrote a letter apologizing for downing of Russia's air force plane, a demand
from Russia which he had earlier refused. There were reports that Turkish
Govt. had tried to establish contact with Assad led Govt. of Syria. Erdogan
also talked of improving relations with Iran. In brief, Erdogan was trying to
reset relations with Russia and Iran. On the other hand, media associated
with ruling AKP tried to point fingers at US for creating troubles in Turkey.
Even the attack at Istanbul airport was painted by the media as a CIA
operation. Erdogan led AKP Govt. had been irked by western criticism of
their attack on the Gullen network and by US attempts to rope in Turkey
into its changed strategy for the Middle-East which had little scope for
advancing the interests of Turkey as envisaged by Erdogan and his

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associates. This US led framework included Kurd forces in Syria which are
an anathema to Erdogan and MB. Souring of relations between Turkey and
USA had been going on for some time. There has been growing perception
in Turkey that western powers want Turkey to do their dirty work but not to
include Turkey into European Union.
The coup went into action on the evening of July 15, 2016. Army units
came out into the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. Air force planes bombarded
the Parliament building. 16 air force planes flew from NATO base at Increlik.
Erdogan was taken hostage. However, the Army command and police took
speedy action and a major part of Army and police took a stand against the
coup. Erdogan could speak on TV calling on people to come into the streets
against the coup. Lack of participation of the main command of the Army
made its failure a common perception. From the conduct of the coup it is
apparent that it was ill-planned or might have been forced at a time when
preparations for the same were not yet completed. From what has emerged
after the coup, it was quite a serious but premature attempt by certain
forces to take over power. It is quite possible that the coup was preponed
due to some leaks about its preparation. It is being said that the coup was
to be timed prior to a meeting of the Military Council in August, in which a
number of Gullen supporters were tipped to be demoted and new officers
were set to be promoted. However the hand of the coup plotters was forced
due to this information being leaked to the Army and police authorities.
According to Fars News Agency of Iran, it was the Russian intelligence
which tipped off the Turkish authorities of the impending coup. This piece
of information, not confirmed by other sources however, is lent credence
by the reactions to the coup attempt.
What is interesting is the reaction of different powers to the coup attempt.
Western powers including US Admn. waited for the coup to fail to mouth
their opposition to the coup and support for democratic institutions. Even
Gulf monarchies including Saudi Arabia waited for the outcome before giving
their reaction i.e. condemning the coup. On the other hand, Iran came out
openly against the coup even while the same was in progress. Russia also
reacted adversely to the coup at an earlier time. This pattern of reaction
showed that coup plotters were favourably disposed to the western powers
and were viewed with suspicion by Iran and Russia. In Turkey the opposition
parties condemned the coup and lent no support to the coup plotters. After
the coup Erdogan Admn. went into overdrive to cleanse the Army, police,
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
judiciary, education department and other wings of the Govt. of the followers
of Gullen. Western powers, which were slow to react to the coup, were
quick to react to these large scale arrests and dismissals.
After the coup there is widespread opinion in Turkey that US Admn.
was behind the coup while Gullen is being projected as the main perpetrator.
A cabinet minister was the first to make this open allegation which was
later asserted by other ruling politicians. Even Erdogan himself alluded to
this in his statement. The involvement of air force units from NATO air
base, participation of military commanders from the US base in
Southeastern Turkey are some of the pointers about the origin of the coup.
Media in Turkey and this time not only ruling AKP controlled media is
openly talking of the US backing of the coup. There is a mention of a US
General Campbell who has been NATO commander as a mastermind of
the coup. Fox News carried a report against this insinuation stating that
Campbell was in their studio when the coup unfolded as if it was any proof
against his involvement in the coup. US Secretary of State John Kerry
himself condemned such insinuations and also asserted that following of
democratic norms is a must for membership of NATO which is an obviously
false but significant allusion to continuation of Turkey as NATO member.
There is also talk in Turkey about the agreement on refugees hammered
out between EU and Turkey and whether or not it should be scrapped.
While it is very difficult to decisively prove the involvement of US
agencies, the political and military developments in the region, the reactions
of different major imperialist powers and regional powers allied to them to
the failed coup, and the plethora of circumstantial evidence being bandied
by media in Turkey point towards involvement of US in the coup. Any way
that is the perception which is being openly encouraged by the Govt. which
has not hidden its suspicion of US agencies being behind the coup.
Involvement of military units – army and air force – from NATO bases give
some credence to this wide perception.
Another interesting feature of this failed coup has been the opposition
to it from Kemalist elements in the Army and Air force. These forces have
been the main carriers of the earlier coups. Their strength has however
been depleted by successive trials and arrests, dismissals and jail terms
under the charges of plotting coup, a systematic campaign conducted by
AKP Govt. with the help of the Gullen network. In this coup these elements

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have opposed the coup by the Gullen network and are participating in purging
the state agencies of the followers of Gullen.
Since the failed coup, Erdogan and AKP Govt. have made certain moves.
In the foreign policy arena, Turkey has apparently tried to normalize relations
with Russia. The two air force pilots who had shot down the Russian air
force plane have been arrested among the participants in the coup. Through
this Erdogan Admn. has sought to emphasize that the shooting down of
the Russian plane was the handiwork of the forces of the Gullen network in
the Air Force. Turkey has also opposed stationing of US naval vessels in
the Black Sea to counter the Russian fleet, though earlier they had demanded
it to prevent Black Sea from becoming what they used to call a Russian
Lake. Improving relations with Iran may be another area of thrust of postcoup Erdogan Admn. However, it is yet to be seen whether the present
moves of Erdogan Admn. are to pressurize the US and its western allies to
deliver Gullen for trial in Turkey and placate Turkey Govt. in other ways or
a real move away from the western alliance. While the answer to this question
may yet be in the making depending on a number of factors, this much is
clear that this would not be business as usual with US and other western
imperialist powers. The disquiet which these relations were facing over
some period past is going to develop into marked change in relation within
the alliance.
This development coming after Brexit, has put a lot of strain on the
western alliance. Exit of Britain from the EU has severely dented US
influence in Europe. Britain has been its bridgehead for influencing Europe.
After Brexit, US has been strenuously emphasizing that it would not make
any difference to the military alliance of NATO. Howsoever US may strain,
Brexit will cast its shadow over the US influence in Europe. US attempts to
pit new Europe, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe which came
out of the Soviet orbit, against the old Europe, mainly Franco-German
alliance, will definitely suffer a setback because these countries of Central
and Eastern Europe would need and remain under the umbrella of the
European Union which provides outlet for their trade and their workforce as
well as is the supplier of capital goods. Recent NATO summit in Poland
could not hide its disquiet. With waning of US influence in Europe, US
fears that European powers may not become willing partner in its game of
pushing NATO to the east and combating Russia. These powers may adopt
a softer line towards Russia whom US Admn. is increasingly perceiving as
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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
a rival in Europe and Middle-East. With post-coup developments in Turkey,
US may be faced with further erosion of its influence in these regions i.e.
Europe and Middle-East.
In the Middle-East, US is caught between rival claims of Saudi Arabia,
Turkey, Iran and their allies. Israel anyway remains its main ally in the
region. However, it is the situation in Saudi Arabia which is causing the
main concern for America. Saudi led and US supported and aided offensive
against Houthis and Yemen Army has not altered the ground situation in
Yemen, which largely remains under the control of Houthis and Yemen
Army led by Saleh. The recent visit of the Saudi prince to Israel has angered
the Palestinians. Though Saudis have denied the official status of the visit,
but it has fooled none. Israel continues to expand its grab of Palestinian
land and most of the Arab countries are so much embroiled in their
existential battles, that they have totally forgotten Palestinians and are
courting Israelis. However, resistance of Palestinians against Zionist Israeli
rulers continues.
Further decline of US imperialism and its allies in the crucial MiddleEast may give rise to newer areas of struggle and protests. As progressive
forces are weak in the region, these protests may take different forms but
undermining of the old order is definitely on.
Developments in Turkey in the totally unsettled situation of MiddleEast have come at a particularly bad time for US and their allies. Their
surrogates in Syria are being battered by Syrian Army with Russian air
support. Aleppo siege is the recent example of expanding control of Assad
regime. The only successes that US forces have scored are with KurdArab forces in some IS areas. And it is this that will have important influence
over developments in Turkey. Turkey reckons that it may share common
perception with Iran, Russia and even Assad Govt. in Syria towards Kurds.
None of these really support Kurds’ national struggle. In particular Iran is
against them. Assad regime does not have to bother about it at present but
may have to reckon with it in case it is able to extend its control over
Aleppo and nearby areas. Russia is likely to go with its regional allies. It is
this common perception which may bring these erstwhile rivals on the same
page.
On the domestic front, Erdogan and AKP are targeting the Gullen
network. However, though they may appear to have been strengthened

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after the failed coup, but this may not be a reality. The opposition parties
had come out against the coup including pro-Kurd HDP. The overall people’s
anger against the coup may handicap Erdogan who had sought to
increasingly marginalize other opposition parties. Erdogan has called an
all party meeting against the coup attempt and has permitted opposition
parties to hold rallies after several years. However, Erdogan and AKP are
trying to keep pro-Kurd HDP from this emerging scenario. The increasing
economic difficulties at home will also undercut influence of Erdogan and
AKP. High growth rate over the last decade and more have been crucial in
cementing control of AKP in the social and political life of Turkey. The
deteriorating economy may compel AKP to come to terms with other parties
at least for the time being, particularly in the aftermath of the failed coup
when it would seek to tighten its control over different wings of the state,
particularly armed forces.
The coup attempt was in a way the continuation of politics by other
means. It was an attempt by the Gullen network, with overt or covert support
from US imperialism, to overthrow Erdogan and AKP from power. They too
would have tried to whip up anti-Kurd hysteria as the documents allegedly
seized from the dumps of coup plotters indicate.
Over-extended US imperialism is finding it difficult to placate all its
allies with their different interests in the region. Rise of Islamic State and
its increasing reach in western imperialist countries has further complicated
the situation for US imperialism which has to cooperate with Iran and Russia
in the fight against IS while pursuing its basic agenda of diluting and
eventually eliminating Russian influence from the region. These apparently
contradictory steps are confusing their allies and alienating their supporters.
But US imperialism cannot help the situation.
Rulers of Turkey did not grasp the emerging complexity and jumped
into the cauldron. They have been badly burnt in the process. The failed
coup is not the last in the unfolding turmoil in the region. But the development
shows the limits of the capacity of the largest imperialist power, the US, in
shaping the events in the region and in the world at large.

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Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

'Spectre of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar'

A note on Dr
basahe
b
Dr.. Ba
Babasahe
basaheb
Ambedkar
Pravin Nadkar
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar died more than fifty years ago yet his 'spectre'
continues to haunt the Indian social and political scene. His body rests
permanently at Chaitya Bhoomi in Mumbai but his ideas refuse to die.
More and more people are attracted to his ideas about social discrimination
and his single minded dedication to social equality. He has emerged as a
key iconic figure for the unity of majority of downtrodden castes across
India. As vote bank politics has become a panacea for success in electoral
politics in India, it has become all the more important for the parliamentary
parties to idolize him and claim his legacy. People are still at the stage of
iconic worshipping of this great social visionary but are largely ignorant
about his theoretical postulates and political moorings. Different political
parties highlight those legacies of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar which are
suitable for their own political practice. At the same time a new generation
of radical and critical social thinkers is also genuinely attracted towards
his bold and rational critique of Hindu conservatism. The Rohit Vemula
episode in Telangana has clearly demonstrated the powerful influence of
his ideas among the progressive students across caste lines.
Among the Indian Communists, there have been different assessments
about the significance of Babasaheb’s role in history. While appreciating
his zeal for social reforms, the Marxists differed with his strategy of giving
preference to constitutional Bourgeois Democracy against the concept of
Dictatorship of the Proletariat. They stressed upon the urgency of
developing the class struggle first. Babasaheb on the other hand, was of
the opinion that since castes represented not merely the division of labour
but division amongst labourers themselves, the goal of class unity could
not be achieved without giving priority to the caste struggle. Dr. Babasaheb
had thus come to a firm conclusion that the Marxist insistence on class
struggle was unsuitable in Indian conditions. He also termed the left in

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India as being blind to the caste oppression. In a way, Babasaheb had
correctly emphasized the urgency of the caste struggle (struggle for
elimination of the caste system). It is not possible to raise the feeling of
class unity among the downtrodden without addressing the caste question,
which poses itself as a stumbling block for their unity, at the outset. Caste
discrimination and oppression in India has been a powerful weapon in the
hands of the Indian elite for exploitation of the large sections of the labouring
class. As such, dealing with the struggle against caste demands immediate
programmatic attention.
In his famous theoretical work 'Annihilation of Caste' Dr. Babasaheb
says, “The economic reform contemplated by the socialists can not come
about unless there is a resulting in the seizure of power. That seizure of
power must be by the proletariat. The first question I ask is : will the
proletariat of India combine to bring about this revolution ? What will move
men to such an action? It seems to me that other things being equal the
only thing that will move one man to take such an action is the feeling that
other men with whom he is acting are actuated by the feeling of equality
and fraternity and above all, of justice. Men will not join in a revolution for
equalization of property unless they know that after the revolution is
achieved, they will be treated equal and that there will be no discrimination
of caste and creed. The assurance of a socialist leading the revolution
that he does not believe in caste, I am sure, will not suffice. The assurance
must be the assurance proceeding from much deeper foundation, namely
the mental attitude of the compatriots towards one another in their spirit of
personal equality and fraternity.” The Communists do not agree with the
idea of postponing the class struggle for the sake of prior reforming of the
mental attitudes. Communists believe that the feeling of unity and the mental
attitude of equality is formed in the process of participation in the class
struggle. The class struggle awakens the consciousness of the workers
in terms of their common socio-economic interests and the necessity of
political unity influencing their mental attitude towards each other positively.
Any way, the communists are also for the abolition of the caste system.
It is very important to note that there is no need to counterpose the two
tasks of struggle against caste and class struggle. It is necessary to gain
an insight into the operational aspects of Brahmanism and its pernicious
influence on Indian society from the works of Dr Babasaheb. It is necessary
to take inspiration from Dr. Babasaheb to launch a powerful mass movement
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against caste system and build a practical and complementary relation
with the ongoing class struggle in India. The apprehension that the struggle
against caste would cause deviation in the class struggle is unfounded. It
would be simplistic to presume that struggle against caste will result in
division among workers on the basis of caste. It is important to understand
that the divisions already exist and struggle against caste should help to
do away with such divisions. It is necessary to look at struggle against
caste as a process of doing away with caste prejudices among the working
people. The nature of caste contradictions among the working people is
non-antagonistic. The way to handle the non antagonistic contradictions is
education and persuasion through a method of unity and struggle.
One cannot just brush the issue of caste contradictions among the
working people under the carpet in the name of class struggle. In the course
of immediate struggles based on class issues working people across caste
lines have regularly displayed their propensity to unite irrespective of the
caste barriers. We have also seen, on the other hand, outside the workshop
level or the rural labouring sites, they still remain divided into separate
social groupings as castes and sub castes. It means that mere participation
in the struggles relating to class based issues does not automatically result
in doing away with the influence of the hierarchical caste system upon the
workers.
Dr. Babasaheb had correctly identified the problems stemming from the
mental attitudes of the higher caste workers towards those from the lower
castes. Their tendency to remain within their caste domains in the social
and cultural sphere comes in the way of their class unity. Here the class
interests do not conflict but the caste relations are an impediment to the
class unity. While conducting struggle against caste it should be
remembered that the stress should be on reforming the upper caste attitudes
of the workers belonging to the caste higher in status to the caste lower in
status. The complex of superiority among the workers belonging to the
castes at the upper level of social hierarchy towards those at comparatively
lower level is one of the main impediments in the unity of workers. This
problem has to be dealt with at the level of struggle against caste among
workers. Whereas, when it comes to the ruling classes, they want to
preserve and support the discriminatory and exploitative caste system to
their advantage. Here the class interests conflict. It is in the interest of the
workers as a class to unite whereas the ruling classes want them divided

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into separate camps. The organizations of the upper castes supported by
the ruling classes are the enemies of the working masses in the caste
struggle. As such when it comes to approach regarding caste struggle with
the ruling classes, it should be of no unity and only struggle. In this case
the nature of caste contradictions is antagonistic. It is thus necessary to
make the distinction between the two. Another important thing to note is
that the caste struggle should not be seen as merely a struggle between
different castes but as a struggle of all castes for the elimination of caste
system as a whole.
Historically, it is obvious that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and the Indian
communists were not on the same page regarding the approach to the
caste struggle or about the political route to be followed for the goal of an
egalitarian society, common to both. The colossal contribution of Babasaheb
and his leading role in fighting the caste system is obvious and historically
undeniable. However the sincerity of the communists and their commitment
to rejecting the caste structure of the Indian society is undeniable and
needs to be recognized. Whether it is the famous Telangana armed struggle
where a number of Scheduled Castes, O.B.C. communities and Adivasis
got an opportunity to elevate their economic and social status through
struggles, number of the Adivasi struggles carried out all over India by the
Communists to protect tribal rights, their trade union struggles benefitting
the Dalit workers constituting a large section of the Indian working population,
Naxalbari struggle where poor peasantry and landless labour were identified
as the leader of the movement in the rural areas - all these movements are
indications of the engagement of the communists with the Dalit population
in an effort for their better livelihood and social status. The communists
however did not focus sufficiently on a distinct social struggle for abolition
of caste system to the advantage of the class struggle. Given the new
democratic stage of the revolution in India, it would have helped to secure
support of various sections among the four class alliance from the stand
point of abolition of the caste system.
The assurance of establishing a just society was drafted in the Indian
Constitution by Dr. Babasaheb but he had expressed doubts over the
implementation of the same. His statement during the third reading session
of the Constitution says that "On the 26th January 1950, we are going to
enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in
social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be
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recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In
our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic
structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long
shall we continue to live this life of contradictions ? How long shall we
continue to deny equality in our social and economic life ? If we continue
to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in
peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment
or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of the
political democracy which this Assembly has to laboriously build up." He
thus pointed out the political nature of the social problem of caste system.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a constitutionalist and he stood in support
of the idealistic notions of Democracy inscribed by him into the Constitution
and thereby shows his illusions about the same but he also shows his
awareness about the futility of mere formal declarations. Babasaheb had
also said that if the Constitution fails to give justice to the people and
remains merely a piece of paper then he would be the first one to burn it
openly. His statement is a veiled warning to the establishment, it betrays a
concern for urgent implementation of steps in the direction of social and
economic equality. Above all, his commitment to the objective of social
equality, in terms of freedom from economic exploitation and social
discrimination, does not clash in any way with the programme for the new
democratic revolution.
Dr. Babasaheb, during his life time, was not completely free from the
influence of socialist ideas of his time. As he realized the limitation of a
mere social struggle and decided to form a political organization, he chose
to call his political set up as "Independent Labour Party". He meant to form
a working class organization sans caste. It is obvious that he was aware of
the social identity of the majority of backward castes as working class and
he saw the need to link the common interests of the socially backward
castes with the other sections of society. He tried to politically coordinate
his work with the Communists after that but he was not satisfied with his
experience and he then dissolved that Party to establish "Scheduled Caste
Federation". This step marks his decision to return to the focus on the
issues of oppressed castes. He tried different ways to promote the interests
of the movement. Repeatedly he is seen to have addressed the working
class identity of the Dalit population.
His joining the Colonial Government is a controversial decision taken

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under the consideration of distrust towards the local elite seeking to claim
political power under the Congress leadership and his expectations from
the Colonial Government about implementation of social reforms. As a
Labour leader and as the Labour Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council
between 1942 and 1946, in 1943 he brought the Indian Trade Unions
(Amendment) Bill for Compulsory recognition of trade unions. The workers
did not have the right to a recognized Union before that. It was a step
ahead in labour reforms, as before that workers could register the trade
unions but could not get the right to recognition. For this act of joining the
Union Government he was seen as giving precedence to the social agenda
over the political. Many social reformists during that period had taken such
a path. He stood for promoting industrialization and mechanization of
agriculture. It is not a very well known fact that Dr. Babasaheb wanted
State Socialism as the character of the Government in the proposed
Constitution of India. Even though he embraced and preached Buddhism
as a way of life towards his end, he often favorably compared Marx with
Buddha. His observed that the goal for both was the same but they differed
in the way to achieve the same.
He was a humanitarian and his heroes were Kabir, Jyotiba Phule and
Periyar. His motto was emancipation of Dalits and Hindus from the clutches
of Brahmanism. He never hid his views to suit his political career. He was
a principled man and he resigned from the Nehru Government's cabinet
when the Government refused to back the Hindu Code Bill proposed by
him. He left Congress when he realized that Congress was compromising
the interests of the oppressed castes for wooing conservative Hindus who
had a strong political clout in society. He moved the Bill for Abolition of
Mahar Watan without bothering about the political consequences of his
action on account of the backward consciousness of the Mahar community
in those days. He described Mahar Watan as a charter of social slavery of
Mahars in which untouchables were dependent on patronization by the upper
castes for their livelihood and food, water etc. He differed vehemently with
Gandhi on many issues publicly without compromising and stood firm on
his principled positions without indulging in opportunism. While evolving
his own theory of caste he explored the need of both social and economic
strategy for the emancipation of dalits. He did not shy away from addressing
the economic aspect of caste relations in the name of rejecting it as
economic determinism. It is said that as his political moves were not aimed
at opportunist self promotion, despite his tremendous contribution in
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promoting the social interests of people at large, he could not have a very
successful political career to match his contribution to Indian society.
In order to evaluate Dr. Babasaheb from the Marxist point of view, it is
necessary to see as to which side of the progressive movement he stood.
We see that he was decisively on the side of the working masses. He was
never found on the side of the conservatives supporting their reactionary
agenda. He stood for progressive values and humanitarian ideals. His
actions were aimed at doing away with the caste divisions among workers.
His concern was to unite the workers on socially equal footings. He
challenged the centuries old exploitative and discriminatory social system
organized in the name of Hinduism. He even gave a call for a combined
struggle against Brahmanism and Imperialism (bramhanaee and ingrajaee,
to quote his colloquial description of the two). He dealt a powerful blow to
the social prestige of the ruling elite. He thus helped to turn the wheel of
History forward. His contribution in the field of social struggle inspires the
revolutionary movement in the country even today. His theoretical works
provide deep insights into the operative part of the Brahmanical system of
social hegemony and exploitation. His exposure of the caste system is of
help to the revolutionary movement for participation in class struggle,
especially for grasping the ideological realm of the superstructure. In the
year of his 125th birth centenary we should grasp the reality of the caste
oppression and caste division of our times and creatively include the tactics
for struggle against caste in the strategy of class struggle.

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MLPD on the Refugee Issue and
the Situation in Europe
(The increased influx of refugees into Europe from Asian and African
countries subjected to imperialist aggression has forced the different political
forces in European countries to take a stand on the issue. While on the
one hand reactionary forces are taking an anti-refugee stand and launching
propaganda against refugees from third world countries, the revolutionary
and progressive forces are taking a stand in favour of refugees. It has
emerged as an important issue in European countries. We are here
publishing parts of the Contribution of the Marxist Leninist Party of Germany
(MLPD) dealing with the refugee issue and the situation in Europe. - Editor
Editor)
Only one year ago, the Merkel-government was internationally known
for her alleged "welcoming culture" towards refugees. Indeed, due to the
pressure of the masses, they had to open the borders and so, more than 1
million refugees came to Germany within a year.
By closing the Balkan route, increasing military measures against the
streams of refugees from Africa and making a deal with the Erdogan regime,
the Merkel/Gabriel government achieved that the stream of refugees coming
to Germany has clearly decreased. For bourgeois politicians, the solution
of the refugee question consists in letting as few refugees as possible into
their country. That does not lead to there being one single refugee fewer.
On the contrary. In 2015, there were 60 million refugees in the world. It
certainly will take some time for the refugees to find new ways to come to
Europe, but the problem will not get better in future, but worse.
And the number of these refugees will continue to grow because the
underlying causes of flight remain and the general crisis-proneness of
imperialism is increasing. Hunger, wars, unemployment, environmental
catastrophes. From Bangladesh alone, 20 million people will be fleeing
within the next10 years as a result of climate change. 100 million people
from Africa will be fleeing from their countries because of war,
unemployment, fascist terror and environmental catastrophes. The
government's image of promoting a humanitarian welcoming culture has
long faded. We can see more and more clearly what inhumane measures
are employed against refugees at the borders – this has already led to an
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active resistance of the people in refugee camps in Greece.
The German government is further dismantling the right of asylum, and
with its new integration legislation wants to degrade asylum seekers and
refugees to second and third-class citizens. We resolutely reject this
discrimination. It has absolutely nothing to do with a dignified behavior
towards refugees. We are proletarian internationalists! We stand for the
unification of the working class worldwide; we stand firmly at the side of all
oppressed worldwide. The refugees have fled from their countries because
they cannot go on living in the old way anymore, and the ruling powers are
not able to receive them in dignity. This leads to a situation of political
crisis and is also an important basis for the refugees’ politicization. We
have to win them over to fight for their social rights and finally to join the
struggle for a societal alternative and the international revolution. The crisis
of bourgeois refugee policy remains the government’s Achilles’ heel that
MLPD uses to encourage people to get active against the government.
The reactionary character of German imperialism becomes more and
more evident because of its refugee policy and is not accepted by the
people. So we find ourselves in a situation of obvious change – a situation
in which we as Marxist-Leninists are especially challenged. In this situation
the Marxist-Leninist slogan "Workers of all countries and all oppressed,
unite!” is gaining new influence. It is our task to actively support and promote
this internationalist movement. The MLPD is growing into a new role in
society. We are planning an offensive of world outlook in order to strengthen
the struggle for socialism in connection with the national elections 2017.
With the AfD, a ultra-reactionary, extremely anti-people party with a
nationalist and racist program that has been able to establish itself in
Germany for the first time in the postwar period during the last months,
they received partial results above 10 percent in some state elections.
This has not been possible for the openly neo-fascist parties because of
the anti-fascist attitude of the masses. Nevertheless, it would be
oversimplifying to describe the situation in Germany as a shift to the right.
There are very opposing tendencies developing among the masses, which
are expressions of a social polarization. On the one hand, the growth of
right-wing, neo-fascist, racist tendencies. On the other hand, a clear
awakening of anti-fascist and anti-racist activities, a strengthening of tradeunion militancy, growing activities of young people, internationalist
willingness to help and solidarity, as well as the increasing number of people

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searching for a societal alternative. This is accompanied by politicization
among the masses. The main tendency is still the progressive change of
mood that started in 2015, even if the countermeasures of the ruling powers
have influenced the political climate noticeably.
The social polarization undermines the mass basis of the grand coalition
of CDU/CSU and SPD and their long “proven” system of the petty-bourgeois
mode of thinking. In some polls the SPD has already dropped to less than
the historical mark of 20%. In a survey of May, more than two-thirds of the
population declared that Angela Merkel – for years the most popular among
German politicians – should not be Chancellor anymore after the next federal
elections.
We have to be vigilant towards the fascist and racist tendencies.
However, we should not be taken in by the theory of a shift to the right,
which seeks to make the population responsible for the government’s shift
to the right.
At the same time, we advocate a progressive refugee policy here in
Germany. We suggested to build a House of Solidarity in the recreation
facility in Truckenthal. We want to take up mainly Syrian-Kurdish refugees
there. They shall get the opportunity to continue to advance their
achievements of democratic self-administration and, if they wish, return to
their own country later. In the meantime hundreds of volunteers have helped
in the House of Solidarity and have collected and contributed many
hundreds of thousands in donations. The music festival at Whitsun, which
was supported by MLPD and Rebell, was consciously organized as a benefit
event for the House of Solidarity.
The progressive culture of the festival combined with the rebellious,
anti-fascist spirit and the struggle for democratic rights and freedoms of
the refugees. The whole festival with its 1,600 participants was pervaded
by a revolutionary and internationalist atmosphere.
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Victims of Fire in Colony in
Kakinada Must Be Compensated
The thatched roof huts of residents of Mahatma Jyothi Rao Phule Colony
in Parlova Peta area of Kakinada caught fire on 29th April 2016. Nearly two
hundred and fifty families became homeless in this calamity. The hard
work and sweat put in by the residents in building this colony was reduced
to ashes. Though the Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of Andhra
Pradesh, N. China Rajappa, visited the victims and announced that the
State Govt. would stand by them, subsequently the Kakinada City MLA,
the Tehsildar (Urban), the RDO in charge, visited the spot and said that the
people had encroached on this site and that there was no G.O. to rehabilitate
the people on such a site. In this situation, several days after the fire, on
5th May, CPI(ML)-New Democracy along with IFTU and AIKMS led the
victims for a Dharna against the Govt’s inaction. Memoranda were submitted
to the District Collector and the Municipal Commissioner.
In 2012, people who owned no houses cleared the bushes, weeds and
grass in the port area here, made the place habitable and built huts for
themselves. The port officials and civic officials promptly approached the
Collectorate, used police to force the people to abandon the area and fenced
the site. The people approached the CPI(ML)-New Democracy and mass
organizations for justice and built their huts in the area for the second time.
Again the port officials and police intervened and torched their homes, with
the people incurring heavy losses of their possessions. A Dharna was
conducted near the Collectorate on the demand of filing a case against the
police. Subsequently, the people built their huts in the same area for the
third time. This time the housing officials, revenue officers and a huge
police force crushed the huts with heavy equipment on 11th February 2015.
Cases were filed against the residents and some part of the land was
seized back. The remaining land was used by 250 of these homeless
families to build homes to live in. Now again their homes have been
destroyed. Several of them were injured with some even needing
hospitalization. Despite their pitiable condition, the Govt. of AP has not
bothered to provide any relief or remedy. The victims of the fire at Mahatma
Jyothi Rao Phule colony, who have lost their homes, must be compensated
by the State govt. by giving house pattas at the site and giving monetary
compensation.

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