[Protesters put a truck on fire during the 2-day trade union strike in Noida.]
A union leader was killed in Haryana and factory units damaged in Delhi suburb Noida in sporadic violence on Wednesday as the start of a two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions evoked a mixed response with banking services paralysed and public transport disrupted. Kerala, Tripura and Bihar were among the worst hit states where normal life was thrown out of gear while stray incidents of violence were reported in Odisha and Karnataka. Protest marches were taken out in several cities.Flight and rail operations remained unaffected in the strike called by 11 trade unions against UPA’s economic and alleged anti-labour policies.
Reports from state capitals said financial services were crippled and bus commuters faced difficulties.
In Noida Phase 2 area, workers clashed with factory owners in a hosiery complex and set ablaze vehicles prompting authorities to deploy PAC in the area. Workers went on a rampage and damaged industrial properties, police said.
From Sector 82 till Greater Noida entry point, which is the industrial belt, workers set ablaze a car, bus and a fire engine, police said.
“People just barged in, looted everything in sight and even tore our registers,” an industrialist said while another said every single building in the hosiery complex had their windows broken and many vehicles were set on fire. Continue reading →
Root Cause: A fear of loss of livelihood accompanies anger in Charkudih and nearby villages
By Sudeep Chakravarti, LiveMint
[Photo of farmers agitating against the government’s land acquisition activities. Photo: Hindustan Times]
The rain has softened the dirt lanes in Charkudih. The slim strip of tar that brings me to this tiny village is cracked. In what passes for the village square, a child, too young to be in school, wails as he slips in a pool of muck and dung. Hens are more adroit. The surrounding green is compensatory: Lush fruit trees and knee-high paddy. A short walk away the Subarnarekha river marks the state border in this part of eastern Jharkhand. Across lies a stunning line of cloud-crested hills in Purulia, West Bengal.
This is usually a quiet time. But there is already much excitement in Charkudih and 14 neighbouring villages of Sonahatu block. A steel company—among India’s top five—wants much of their land. A document I possess marks the details of the plots to be acquired by the steel maker, totalling about 6,400 acres.
Embedded in the phrase “to be acquired” is obfuscation, confusion and apprehension far removed from lofty corporate pronouncements; even the ongoing government-and-business versus greens tug of war over land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation. This is a tiny story about some farmers’ initial encounter with corporate will.
About a dozen of us huddle in a tiny room of a resident that evidently doubles as Charkudih’s clubhouse. A card game is in abeyance. A grimy table fan awaits electricity. A battered black and white TV set is hooked up to a small battery, both dead. A calendar of a brick-making firm is turned to September.
Locals say there hasn’t been any public meeting to discuss the project. They first twigged on to it last year when some local land agents started visiting landowners—farmer-owners of tiny plots to landlords—with a simple message: jameen bech do (sell your land). The price: `5 lakh an acre. When villagers queried the purpose, they received evasive answers. A few have sold land to agents—villagers share their names—but when they queried the local revenue officer in whose names the purchased lands have been registered, they were shooed away. Continue reading →
KOLKATA: Scores of youngsters from Jadavpur and Presidency universities have launched a cyber campaign against chief minister Mamata Banerjee for branding a group of students “Maoists and CPM cadres” for asking her uncomfortable questions at a TV talk show.
“Can anything be funny and terrifying at the same time?” says one post. “She is ruining the anti-Left movement which was a very hard fought success,” says another.
Mamata had stormed out of the show after accusing Presidency student Taniya Bharadwaj a “Maoist”. The CM alleged that she was being asked “only CPM and Maoist questions”. The video has gone viral on the internet.
Tweets and posts have flooded social networking sites, condemning the chief minister’s “irresponsible and uninformed” remark. They demand that Mamata apologise to Taniya for the “slander”.
Facebook is abuzz with messages from students urging each other to join a campaign against “politics of terror” and make sure that Taniya and the other students who were present at the show (being recorded at Town Hall last Friday) were not persecuted. Many students have uploaded the TV clip of Mamata calling Taniya a Maoist and invited Netizens to view it and lodge their protest.
Shashank Shah, a Jadavpur University international relations student, who was present at the show, said his university mates felt scared initially.
“They were worried about being taken to task for angering the chief minister. Word went around that the police were looking for our telephone numbers and that we could be questioned for our supposed Maoist links. But soon we found that these fears were unfounded and realized that we should rather be protesting the unfair comments and not be afraid. We condemn her remark and will carry on our campaign on the internet,” said Shah.
“It was unfair on her part to call Taniya a Maoist without even knowing her. She owes her an apology. Aren’t Maoists and CPM supporters Indian citizens too? Don’t they have the right to demand answers from the chief minister?” he asked. Continue reading →
April 16: Pamphlet issued by Uchhed Pratirodh Committee — Nonadanga, Kolkata
On 30th March, the present TMC-led West Bengal government, its administration and police have demolished our temporary shanties with their bulldozers, set fire to them and tried to evict us from the area. We tried twice to organize peaceful sit-in protests and demonstrations in the nearby Ruby Hospital crossing to publicly highlight our condition and demand our legitimate right to housing. Instead of listening to our concerns, on 4th April, police forcefully broke and dispersed the gathering by rampant lathicharge; some plain-clothes personnel also pounced on the unarmed women.
Though majority of the protesters were women, no women cops were present at the site. Police kicked Rita Patra, a twenty-one year old woman in advanced pregnancy, nor did they spare two-and-half year old Joy Paswan, whose head was hit with lathi. Many of the injured were taken to the Calcutta Medical College, where some of them were admitted. And the second demonstration on 8th April was nipped at its bud when police arrested majority of the protesters and whisked them away to Kolkata police headquarter (Lalbazar). Late in the night, the protesters were released except seven of them, who were produced in the court and charged with various false and ridiculous charges including illegal gathering, illegal possession of weapons etc. All of these seven people are from different democratic organizations and individuals who came in support for us. To make matters worse, a section of the media, especially the ones loyal to the ruling party, are continuously branding the protesters as ‘Maoists’ and cooking up entirely distorted stories, to the point of being preposterous. The arrested seven were remanded to three days of police custody till the 12th; in the next hearing, they were sent to jail custody up to 26th April. One of the seven has been charged under UAPA and sent to CID custody till 21st April. Surprisingly, about forty lawyers, allegedly having allegiance to the ruling party stood against the accused in the courtroom along with the public prosecutor. To add to the instances of virtual clampdown, unprecedented in recent times, police again arrested about seventy protesters on April 9th they were about to start their protest march from the College Street square. Continue reading →
JAN MYRDAL the internationally acclaimed author will talk on the War on People in India
SUJATO BHADRA will speak on atrocities by Joint Forces in Jangalmahal in West Bengal
The Indian government’s war on people in central and eastern regions has entered its second phase with the deployment of the Indian army. The surreptitiously declared war on the people of this country codenamed Operation Green Hunt (OGH) which was launched in September 2009 by the Indian government is continuing unabated till today. In fact in the recent months, the ruling coalition at the Centre in connivance with political parties of all hues in power in the Central and Eastern states have intensified their brutal war on the poorest, most maginalized and oppressed people of the subcontinent. Contrary to the rhetoric of not deploying the Indian Army in direct combat, the Government of India has increased the number of troops in the region with the intent of crushing the growing people’s resistance against its policies. It is well known that the first batch of 2000 Army personnel were sent by the government to the forests of Narayanpur District in the Bastar on 3 June 2011 with a plan to occupy an area of 600 square kilometres, albeit in the name of Jungle Warfare Training. Just six months later, another 2500 personnel descended on the forests of Bastar on 4 November 2011. Though the Central and Chhattisgarh governments maintain that they have set up this so-called Jungle Warfare Training Centre in Bastar merely to put pressure on the Maoists and to dominate the region militarily, the real purpose is to hand over the vast swathes of mineral-rich forested lands to the Multinational Companies and to evict the people who have stood up to defend their jal-jangal-zameen, their very existence. Continue reading →
Relatives and supporters accompany the body of Kishenji, a senior Maoist rebel leader killed by government forces in eastern India, during his funeral procession at Peddapally village in Karimnagar District of Andhra Pradesh, India, November 27, 2011.
by Amit Bhattacharyya
On 24 November 2011, the body of the Maoist leader Kishanji, with multiple injuries all over the body, was found in the Burishole jungle of the Jhargram area of the West Medinipur district of West Bengal. One of the main operatives of the Chidambaram-Mamata joint forces, Mr. Vijay Kumar, the DG of the CRPF, described it as a ‘clean and successful operation’. The mutilated body bore marks not only of bullet wounds, but wounds of four types. One was the bullet wounds; the second was the wounds caused by sharp weapons; the third was wounds caused by burning; and the fourth was the wound caused by pounding parts of the body such as fingers by heavy instruments. Facts such as these drive home the truth that Kishanji was captured in some other place, tortured to death and then his dead body was placed on the spot and a drama concocted in defence of the so-called encounter theory. The WB chief minister, after keeping mum for three days came out with a theory at a by-election campaign meeting that the joint forces told Kishanji over the microphone to surrender before shooting him down—a claim refuted by the villagers themselves in their conversation with the 22-member investigation team formed by civil rights bodies that visited the spot and adjoining areas on 1 December 2011. And this so-called encounter was engineered at a time when the process of dialogue between the government interlocutors and the Maoist state leadership of WB was on. The revolutionary intellectual, Varavara Rao, one member of the group that came to take Kishanji’s body to his native Peddapally town in Karimnagar district, declared that for the last 43 years he had been witnessing dead bodies—killed either in real or fake encounters—but never before was he the witness to a body that bore marks of so much injury. This brutal killing of the Maoist leader, Kishanji by the Chidambaram-Mamata combined forces will go down in history as a crime against humanity.
The killing of top Maoist leader Kishenji raised a controversy on Friday with his supporters and some political parties alleging he was eliminated in a fake encounter, a charge denied by CRPF which said it was a “clean” operation. The Maoists demanded an independent probe into the circumstances leading to the killing of Kishenji in Burisole forest in West Midnapore district on Thursday. A call for a two-day bandh in West Bengal from November 26 was also given by Maoists in protest against the alleged fake encounter.
“Kishenji was killed in a fake encounter. To protest this we are calling a two-day statewide bandh from November 26 and a week-long protest,” Maoist state committee member and spokesperson Akash told PTI on phone from an undisclosed location. Continue reading →