Friday, March 21, 2008

CPI goes ballistic over Pelosi`s meeting with Dalai Lama

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has severly criticised US Speaker Nancy Pelosi's meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and termed the Tibet issue an "internal affair" of China.

CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said

"The Government should see that their meeting does not turn into an anti-China meeting,"   .

Perhaps he had Kashmir in Mind when he gave a indirect warning

"All countries have internal areas where the situation is sometimes disturbed. There should be no interference from anyone," 

However, it was earlier in the year CPI was going all out (CPI) supporting the decision of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), which was spearheading the pro-democracy campaign in Nepal, to spurn the proposal of the monarchy to hand over power to the Alliance.

In fact, the same Mr. A.B. Bardhan  took  exception to India welcoming King Gyanendra's readiness to hand over power to the SPA.

CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said the Centre had reacted in a hasty manner.



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Thursday, March 20, 2008

In the Land of "Land Reforms" Kerala's landless dalits battle for Land

CPM always boasts about revolutionary changes brought about by land reforms ushered in by the communists, starting from the Kerala's first communist government of 1957. But Land struggle in Chengara,
Pathnamtitta district of Kerala by landless Dalits and Adviasis  a different story! The same CPM is now providing leadership to the group opposing this agitation.

Chengara Agitation started on 4 August 2007 demanding permanent
ownership of agricultural land through transfer of ownership from the
Harrison Company to the Landless Dalits and Adivasis. According to
Sadhujana Vimochana Samyukta Vedi (SJVSV), Harrisons Malayalam Limited got chengara land, 1,048 hectares, on lease for 99 years from Chengannur Mundankavu Vanjipuzha Matom and the lease expired long ago and they have not been paying any lease rent to anyone since 1985-86. SJVSV also allege that the company is in fact in possession of almost 5,000 hectares, not 1,048 as per the lease records. So SJVSV is   demanding 5 acres of land and Rs 50,000 for each Landless family.  C R Prakash, youth leader of the SJVSV says

"We've nothing against the plantation as such. We are only occupying land that belongs to us, which was encroached upon by the company. Let the government measure the land and show the company their limits."

RPG group's Harrisons Malayalam Limited is India's largest rubber
plantation company with nine major rubber plantations, and the second largest tea producer in south India, owning 10 tea plantations. The rubber and tea plantations are spread over more than 20,000 hectares of land in South India.

Ironically CPM, The party who brought in Land reforms in Kerala is leading campaign against the agitation. They alleged that the agitators have encroached upon private property, that there are landowners among them etc.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) State secretary Pinarayi
Vijayan has alleged that the agitation at Chengara in Pathanamthitta
district is being funded by U.S.-based imperialist forces. Mr. Vijayan

"there were authentic reports on the role of U.S. espionage agencies also playing a role at Chengara and the agitation was an attempt to grab land. Most of those on agitation there were not landless as it was made out to be. The backing given to the Chengara agitation was part of a U.S game plan to defame Left governments in India."

He also added that this was to avenge the strong opposition registered
by the Left parties against the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan  said that "certain other forces" were behind the agitations for land at Chengara. Not to be left behind,Chief Minister VS supported his Home minister alleging that those who were leading the stir were not landless and homeless people.

AK Balan, who is responsible for looking after the interests of the Dalits and Adivasis in the State as its Scheduled Tribes Welfare Minister was suspecting that there was an explicit move to transform the Chengara struggle into a Muthanga-type movement.One Adivasi and a police constable had been killed when hundreds of policemen had marched into the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary to quell an agitation by Adivasis for land to live on February 2003.

HISTORY REPEATS itself as farce, so went Marx's dictum. In Kerala, where his footsoldiers pulled off the first democratic win in the world, the Red party has turning against their own Policies and people in a vicious somersault.

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CPM: Land reform was for developing capitalism

Ask any comrade worth his salt on the biggest Achievement of CPM in India, the answer would be land reforms. However after Nandigram and Singur, comrades are questioning the rationale  of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government's policy of industrialisation by acquiring farmland. They are desperately looking for directions from the CPM leadership on how to go to the electorate in the coming elections. As the rural population is seething from the state government's aggressive approach in forcibly acquiring land for industrialisation that runs counter to the party ideology of championing the cause of poor farmers.

The Marxist Leadership is at pains to explain the shift in its ideological
and tactical line in favour of its class enemy - the capitalists. after much brainstorming, the CPI-M leadership has come out with a new theory during the Recent West Bengal State Conference. Now according to the Marxist Leadership:

"the land reforms programme implemented during the past 30 years was a process of capitalist development and it is wrong to find in it elements of socialism"

And as a logical corollary to this ideological line, they said

 "current industrialisation initiative is likewise capitalist in character. Both (land reforms and industrialisation) are two different forms of capitalist growth. Capitalism is the intermediate stage between feudalism and socialism. We have to use the  opportunities of industrial growth, while continuing the fight against its negative aspects and keeping in view the objective of abolishing the capitalist system".

I guess as per the new theory of CPM Capitalism is not that bad, after
all they have spend last 30 years implementing it! A "Petite
bourgeoisie" is not a hated word!

Source: By Uday Basu. Kolkata, Jan. 15. A ">The Statesman report

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kerala's New Feudal Lords

It is fifty years since Kerala Elected Worlds First Communist Government. They came to power promising to end feudalism and kingship and lead the state to Prosperity. Fifty years later, now we have a new generation of Feudal Lords, The Communist party Themselves!

Their Power range from Capturing (Reclaiming as CPM calls it) farmers land to setting up the calendar for farmers specifying when they should plant and harvest! They even decide on what means should be used to harvest the Paddy!

Unlike elsewhere in the country, no farmer in Kerala can use "bourgeois" things like harvesting machines, unless they have the comrades sanction. Each farmer must apply to the local office of the CPM’s Travancore Karshaka Thozhilali Union (TKTU), part of Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU), the party’s farm worker union. The union will then consider the applications on a case-to-case basis, send its own inspection teams to the farms. The comrade-inspectors will determine if enough of their union members are really not available to manually do what farm machines could do a lot cheaper and much more efficiently — at wages fixed by the union. Any farmer who dares to use a farm machine without union sanction has to be ready for the consequences.

C K Bodhanandan, TKTU general secretary Thunders

“Farm machines are good only for farmers, helping them make big profits. But they don’t benefit workers. We won’t allow machines to harm workers’ interests,”

Ironically, in this state with a mounting unemployment rate(A recent NSSO survey has found that Kerala has the highest unemployment rate) farmers seldom get enough workers to reap their crop in time each harvest season, and can’t use machines without the comrades’ nod, either.

TKTU chief Bodhanandan says the union has decided on a solution: Make all the farmers sow and reap, taking staggered turns and not at the same time as they have been doing. This is to fit their farming with the availability of union hands to do the farm work.

“We are finalising a calendar for farmers here. From next year, they should plant and harvest at the times specified in it for each, so that enough workers are available, so that they need not come to us asking to be allowed to hire machines,”

Who will educate this union leader "who has never stepped" into a Paddy field that rain and other events of nature necessary for farming Donot follow "Party Calendar".

Due to all the problems, farmers were forced to level paddy fields and cultivate less labour-intensive crops there. But there also, The "Feudal" Comrades had plans for the farmers!

The KSKTU launched the anti-reclamation stir. The anti-reclamation stir earned the sobriquet "vettinirathal samaram'' following the violent methods resorted to by the KSKTU cadre. It was CM Mr. Achuthanandan himself who had inaugurated the agitation in 1996-97. As part of the agitation, the KSKTU workers destroyed the crops completely and then they will plant the red party flag in the "reclaimed" land thus forceful occupying it!

Ironically, the Kuttanad Chethu Tozhilali Union office, where the anti-reclamation stir was inaugurated, was constructed in a filled up paddy field. Guess, the feudal Lords have their own rules!

The result: Harvesting was delayed due to stiff resistance of Left farmer Unions like KSKTU, to bringing in harvestor-machines and non availability of Farm hands compounded by the problem. The entire ‘puncha’ crop in Kerala’s once-acclaimed rice bowl, Kuttanad has been damaged due to untimely summer rains. Thousands of acres of paddy fields is submerged by summer rain over the last few days. Initial estimates by the district administration pegged the loss at around Rs.5 crore, unofficial estimates point towards a loss of at least Rs.10 crore.

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"Uprising" in Tibet adds Indian communists Misery!

These are not good times for Indian Communists. They are getting dragged from one issue to another and with every Issue their carefully cultivated Mask is slipping off! Last year, It was Carnage at Nandigarm, Few weeks back it was carnage at Kannur and now its their stand vis-à-vis the uprising in Tibet.

On Tibet, Sitaram Yechury, leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, refused to condemn the violence in Tibet, described by the Dalai Lama as 'cultural genocide' by the Chinese government.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Yechury said the clashes were an internal affair of China. He asked.

"How can we condemn the incidents in Tibet, which is an internal part of China?"

Ironically, Sitaram Yechury was part of the seven-member political delegation that had visited Nepal in Year 2005 to express solidarity with the people in their "struggle for restoration of democracy". After his trip to Nepal, he had proudly told reporters that the delegation told the Nepali leaders that while Indian political parties were in Kathmandu to express solidarity it was for the people of Nepal and the political parties to address issues such as the character of democracy and its structure, the role of the king in a future set up.
He had said

The struggle for democracy would intensify after the festival period of Dusshera and Deepavali. Last time the struggle for democracy in 1990 took 60 days and hopefully it would take less time now.

When asked about the incident of stoning and black flags being shown to the delegation on its arrival in Kathmandu, Mr. Yechury said,

"In a democracy there is a right to protest ... we only want the king to give such rights to all."

Well, We can understand the predicament of Mr. Yechury. That was Nepal "the Only Hindu Country" and this is China "CPM's Mentor"

Even in parliament, Usually at the forefront of action, particularly over human rights issues, the Left presented a muted picture as MPs cutting across partylines expressed anguish and concern over the crackdown on protesting monks in Tibet. They were even silent even when Gorakhpur MP Adityanath took a sharp dig at Left MPs, referring to them as "China's representatives" in Parliament. I guess sometimes Dogs Do not Bark and this is one of such times.

The Left's silence was all the more striking as the "Red" parties have spent most of last year strenuously denying that their opposition to the India-US nuclear deal had anything to do with their "soft" spot for China which has not been too comfortable about India officially becoming a member of the nuclear club.

Shamefully, they even tried to club Tibet Issue with Kashmir issue which even China has not done! CPI leader Sitaram Yechury said warned

"those who talk of Tibet should remember that Kashmir could well be India's Achilles' heel"

This reminds me of the story "King has new clothes" I guess in this case, it would be safe if we say "CPM has new clothes"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Morichjhanpi Massacre

The Left Government in West Bengal is not new to Mass Murder of Innocent Citizens. Nandigram is just the latest in the series. Before Nandigram it was  the Morichjhapi massacre of the 1970s, featured in Amitav Ghosh's Hungry Tide. There, it was East Bengal refugees in the Sundarbans who were cordoned off, fired on and the survivors evicted. The cost in lives is still unaccounted, but it is likely that thousands were killed.

In the 1960s and 1970s (especially after the Bangladesh war of independence in 1971, Mujibur Rahman’s assassination in 1975 and Zia-ur-Rahman’s coming to power) communal agitations were directed against the Hindus who had remained in East Bengal. Hounded out of East Bengal,  Bengali Hindus from East Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh entered West Bengal in the hope of settling down. They were however sent to various inhospitable areas outside West Bengal with the assurance that they would eventually be relocated in West Bengal. Ironically, during that time CPM Led opposition, denounced the Congress attempts to evict the refugees from West Bengal and promised that when they came to power they would settle the refugees in West Bengal and that this would, in all probability, be on one of the islands of the Sundarbans.

In 1977, when the CPM Led Left Front came to power, they found the refugee had taken them at their word and sold their belongings and land to return to West Bengal. In 1978 a group of refugees fled from the Dandakaranya camp in Madhya Pradesh and came to the island of Morichjhapi in the Sundarbans with the intention of settling there. In all, 1,50,000 refugees arrived from Dandakaranya1  expecting the government to honour its word. Morichjhanpi, an island in the northern-most forested part of the West Bengal Sundarbans, had been cleared in 1975 and its mangrove vegetation replaced by a governmental programme of coconut and tamarisk plantation to increase state revenue.

The state government was in no mood to tolerate such a settlement. It stated that the refugees were ‘in unauthorised occupation of Morichjhanpi which is a part of the Sundarbans government reserve forest violating thereby the Forest Acts’.  However, according to journalist Niranjan Haldar, who extensively reported and researched the carnage, the refusal of the Udbastu Unnayansil Samity, an association of refugees, to merge with the CPI(M) led to their eviction.

On the January 31, 1979 the police opened fire killing 36 persons. The media started to underscore the plight of the refugees of Morichjhanpi and wrote in positive terms about the progress they were making in their rehabilitation efforts. Photographs were published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika of the February 8, 1979. Fearing more backlash, and seeing the public growing warm towards the refugees’ cause, the chief minister Jyothi Basu declared Morichjhanpi out of bounds for journalists and condemned their reports. The repeated pleas from the dwellers of the island did not reach the mainland owing to the iron fisted control of the left front, over the media. The plight of the refugees was supposed to be published in parts in the Bengali Daily Jugantar,25th July, however after the first part, it had to be discontinued. Later the editor Amitava Chaudhuri wrote, how the CPM led government forced him to back off from carrying forth the further publications, in spite of the declaration of the forth coming 2nd part in the 25th July issue itself.

After the failure of the economic blockade (announced on January 26 – an ironical twist to Republic Day!) in May the same year, the government started forcible evacuation. Thirty police launches encircled the island thereby depriving the settlers of food and water; they were also tear-gassed, their huts razed, their boats sunk, their fisheries and tube-wells destroyed, and those who tried to cross the river were shot at. To fetch water, the settlers had now to venture after dark and deep into the forested portion of the island and forced to eat wild grass. Several hundred men, women and children were believed to have died during that time and their bodies thrown in the river. In all 4,128 families who had come from Dandakaranya to find a place in West Bengal perished of cholera, starvation, disease, exhaustion, in transit while sent back to their camps, by drowning when their boats were scuttled by the police or shot to death in Kashipur, Kumirmari, and Morichjhanpi by police firings. How many of these deaths actually occurred in Morichjhapi we shall never know. However, what we do know, is that no criminal charges were laid against any of the officials or politicians involved.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why do CPI (M) politburo member & Kerala Party Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan carry bullets in his cabin Baggae?

Last year Chennai airport security confiscating five live .38 rifle cartridges from the cabin baggage of CPI (M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan. He was on his way to Delhi for a party meeting. He had earlier reached Chennai via Paramount Airways flight

With the preliminary inquiry of CISF manning the Thiruvananthapuram airport suggesting that no bullets were found in Vijayan’s baggage before he boarded a Paramount Airways flight at 11.30 am to Chennai (before he was to take a Jet Airways flight to Delhi at 5.30 pm).

Pinarayi Vijayan said

“There has been a threat to my life,”

Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan added:

“Our leaders had been facing threat and he (Vijayan) procured the revolver on the advice of the home department.”

If Party Secretary of Kerala's ruling Party dont feel safe in Kerala and he has to carry his own gun for his safety the how safe is the common man?