Pages

2007/11/29

Enough is enough



Gopalkrishna Gandhi




The ardour of Deepavali has been dampened in the whole state by the events in Nandigram. Several villages in Nandigram are oscillating from the deepest gloom to panic. Large numbers of armed persons from outside the district, have, it is undeniable, forced themselves onto villages in Nandigram Block I and II for territorial assertion.


Thousands of villages have consequently been intimidated into leaving their homes in villages such as Daudpur, Amgachi, Jambani, Simulkundu, Brindabanchak, Tekhali, Nainan, Kanongochak, Takapara, Sarengabari, Ranichak, Kamalpur and Keyakhali.

Even as of 4 pm this day (November 9,) I have received phone calls from responsible persons in Nandigram saying that several huts are ablaze. Large number of villagers have taken refuge in the local high school in Nandigram, bereft of food and personal security.


At the time of writing, the most accurate description for Nandigram is the one used by our Home Secretary, namely, it has become a "war zone". No Government or society can allow a war zone to exist without immediate and effective action.


I am fully aware of the fact that, earlier in the year, many villagers in Nandigram, who were perceived as sympathisers of the ruling establishment had been obliged to leave the villages and seek shelter in Khejuri. I am also aware of the apprehension that some Maoists, their numbers being unverified, are believed to have entered the area.


Those who had to flee Khejuri must come back with full confidence and dignity. And no quarter should be given to the cult of violence associated with Maoists. But the manner in which the 'recapture' of Nandigram villages is being attempted is totally unlawful and unacceptable.


I find it equally unacceptable that while Nandigram has been ingressed with ease by armed people on the one hand, political and non-political persons trying to reach it have been violently obstructed. Some of them were bearing relief articles for the homeless. The treatment meted to Smt Medha Patkar and other associates of hers last evening was against all norms of civilized political behaviour.


A group of the MPs and one MLA, representing the CPI-M met me this morning and urged me "to apply my good offices for the peace processes in Nandigram". Peace is the need of the hour in Nandigram. For that peace to come, I told them, effective action will have to be taken in terms of action initiated against those responsible for the March 14 events in due process.


The alert and observant people of West Bengal have a right to know that following discussions with political leaders like Smt Mamata Banerjee, MP, Shri Partha Chatterjee, Leader of the Opposition, West Bengal Legislative Assembly, Shri Pradip Bhattacharya, Working President, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, Shri Manas Bhuiyan and non-political persons, I have been in regular communication with the Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and requested the State Government to take certain immediate steps. These include (i) the immediate return of the ingressers; (ii) the giving of urgent relief to the displaced persons in Nandigram and (iii) the facilitation of their return to their homes.


I have also asked the administration to remove the new unauthorised manmade blocks at entry points to

1. Chandpur-Rai Para-Phulni More-Khadinbari-Nadia

2. Nandakumar-Kapaseria-ferry to cross over to Nandigram

3. Heria-Nandigram

4. Potashpur-Nandigram



in order that the isolation of Nandigram from the rest of the State ends.
I have made it clear that unless these steps are taken within hours, and the syndrome of "capture and recapture" is not ended, the beginnings for a resumed dialogue through the package announced by the Chief Secretary last night will not get off the ground and the peace talks process will remain grounded. Peace talks must resume soon and, despite the lateness of the hour, I welcome the pragmatic optimism expressed in this regard by our elder statesman, Shri Jyoti Basu.



Let me conclude by saying: Enough is enough. Peace and security should be restored, without any delay, from where they have been evicted from Nandigram.


--November 10, 2007



2007/11/26

LEFT AND INDUSTRIALISATION : CONFUSION AND OBSESSION

by Sunil
Lately, there appears to be some rift within CPM between left intellectuals and active politicians over the developments in West Bengal. During an interview with a T.V. Channel, West Bengal Chief Minister said, “Left economists are academic and not in touch with reality ........... I have read what Prabhat Patnaik has written. I don’t agree with what Patnaik has said”. (Times of India, July 1, 2007).

Prabhat Patnaik, a professor of Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, has long been associate of CPM and regarded as an important ideologue of the party. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board since Left Democratic Front come into power there. He is also the editor of the left side academic journal ‘Social Scientists’. As a JNU Professor, he has taught many CPM stalwarts such as Sitraram Yechury.

Bhattacharya’s diatribe is not limited to Patnaik alone, but also targets his wife Utsa Patnaik and Jayati Ghosh. They are also Professors of Economics in JNU. Why is Buddhadev angry with them?

The left intellectuals associated with the Communist Parties are in dilemma today. They know that the Left Front government in West Bengal is moving in a wrong direction. But they do not want to criticize it openly. Except Sumit Sarkar, all of them remained silent, when the local people struggled against Tata project in Singur. When Nandigram came up, many left intellectuals issued a joint statement which termed the developments unanticipated, unjustified and unfortunate, but did not comment on the West Bengal government or its policy of industrialisation.

But things did not stop here. The violence, conflict and repression continued in Nandigram and Singur. The debate on industrialization, displacement, SEZ and globalidation was intensified and sharpened by these developments. An honest intellectual cannot remain silent in such times. Finally, Prabhat Patnaik broke the silence. He wrote an article “In the Aftermath of ‘Nandigram’ in a prestigious journal ‘Economic and Political Weekly’ (March 341- April 6, 2006). He did not criticize the West Bengal government directly, but for the first time he took a clear position on Nandigram and corporate industrialization. He should be congratulated for his courage. His write-up is also a clear departure from the rubbish that Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat and their likes have been writing in defence of the West Bengal government.

He wrote another article in Hindu (June 26, 2007) lauding one year of the LDF government in Kerala. He said that Kerala has shown that an alternative is possible to the neo-liberal policies being pushed by the centre. His praise for Kerala government may be disputed, but perhaps this was also a clear and an indirect way to criticize LF government of West Bengal. Perhaps such articles have angered the West Bengal CPM.

But the contradictions and confusions are also apparent in what Patnaik has written. His EPW article is analysed here.

Patnaik is perfectly correct in claiming that tragedies like Nandigram are inherent in the operation of a neoliberal policy regime. The type of corporate industrialization possible in such a regime is necessarily anti-people. Patnaik refutes very well the employment argument for ‘industrialisation’. The direct and indirect employment creating capacity of the grande industry sector is negligible. Such an industrialization, in the context of present day capitalism, cannot take surplus labour out of agriculture into grande industry, as is being argued by its votaries.
Patnaik also accepts that the problem is not confined to corporate industry alone; it afflicts the entire spectrum of grande industry, for even in China, recent phenomenal growth rate in industrial output has hardly increased industrial employment. He also notes adverse long term fall-outs on employment of shift from traditional to grande industry and technological progress. He also acknowledges destructive effects on surrounding population, including peasantry.
Having said so, and recognizing the problems associated with industrialization based on grande industry, he clarifies that this does not mean that “industrialization’ should not occur. His reason for this is that grande industry provides as a whole, range of use-values which are part and parcel of everyday life for everyone. It is rather a perplexing turn and a weak argument. He seems to become suddenly conscious lest he be branded as an anti-industrialisation, anti-modernisation person or a ‘Luddite’.

What is Patnaik’s alternative then? Industrialisation should be brought under the aegis of the public sector or through the co-operatives of peasants whose lands are acquired, so that costs to the people could be minimized or avoided. He also gives the example of Soviet Union, where the grande industry came up within the context of a planned economy, and not a market-driven economy. They controlled the rate of technological- cum- structural change, and hence could successfully shift workers out of agriculture into grande industry.

But, Prabhat Patnaik and all the leftist intellectuals cannot afford to ignore two other important fall-outs of modern industrialization based on large scale industries and modern technology. One, Such an industrialization requires capital investment on a huge scale. This capital necessarily created by exploitation and destruction of agriculture and traditional industries plus colonial and neo-colonial exploitation. Simple exploitation of workers in factories is not sufficient for accumulation of capital on such a large scale. In other words, creation and exploitation if internal colonies and external colonies (or neo-colonies) is inherent and is a necessary condition of such industrialization, whether brought in a capitalist system or a soviet type system. Two, It is also becoming more and more clear that the requirement of natural resources for this kind of industrialization is enormous, which is creating new crises. Dispossession of local communities from their land, forest, water, fish etc., displacement and destruction on a large scale are also inherent in it. This has become a rule, rather than an exception. Therefore it is hard to avoid or reduce much of the destructive impact of such an indutrialisation even in a planned economy like Soviet Union.

Prabhat Patnaik draws our attention to the situation of ‘primitive accumulation of capital’ occurring in today’s India. Corporate industry uses its monopoly positions to demand concessions from the state exchequer to impose ‘conditionalities’ on the state government to the detriment of people, and to engage in land speculation. He calls it ‘accumulation through encroachment’. Marx used the term ‘primitive accumulation of capital’ to describe the process of displacement and dispossessions of peasants in 17th century England for the sake of industrial interests. But, if we look at the history of non-European world of last three centuries, is it not clear that ‘primitive accumulation of capital’ has always been occurring in some part of the world throughout this period, though it may not be visible in Europe in later period? In that sense, it is not exactly ‘primitive’; it is a continuous, ongoing and fundamental mechanism of industrial capitalism. It is a process to extract and capture the natural resources by dispossessing the people at the world level. This mechanism is based on force, many times brute force and barbarism, and it is not a market mechanism. The development of industrial capitalism is necessarily based on it. This facts is many times obscured by too much concentration in Marxist circles on capital labour conflict within a factory or a single economy.

When Prabhat Patnaik presents Soviet industrialization as a model, he owes an explanation as to why it failed? Why did Soviet Union and the communist bloc disintegrate? What were their internal contradiction ? Is it not true that, in order to bring same kind of industrialization as it occurred in capitalist Europe, Soviet Union also developed internal colonies, exploited the agriculture, dispossessed the peasants, increased regional disparities and developed a semi- colonial relationship with east European countries and Asian territories? Again, the problem is the modern industrialization based on grande industry perse. In this sense, there is indeed a conflict between this kind of industrialization and the peasantry, between it and people, between it and real socialism. The corporate nature of industrialization does matter, but only marginally. We need to look for an alternative to this kind of industrailisation.

“Sometimes, there seems to be a deep- rooted belief in superiority and inevitability of the modern industrialization in Marxist circles, which is quite similar to liberal capital circle. Because of this, they cannot think beyond it. They cannot think of alternative to it, in spite of its destruction and undesirable fall-outs becoming to abandon the path of socialism and embrace full- fledged capitalist globalization. The source of this belief is perhaps their attachment to the modern life style. It is reflected when Prabhat Patnaik argues that we cannot sacrifice the use- values created by grande industry, and they have become part and parcel of our everyday life. In the context of present controversies, it will mean that cars to be manufactured at Singur are a must, whether produced by Tata or by public sector. But it is the increasing needs of modern luxurious life which is causing irreparable destruction of lives of people dependent on these resources. It is causing global warming and creating unforeseen and unprecedented global-environmental crises. These are well-known and well-accepted facts now, but it seems that Marxist intellectuals have not integrated them into their thinking and analysis.

It is this attachment to, and an obsession with, modern life style and blind faith in modern industrialization, which take us to a path leading to Singur and Nandigram. If the model of development is the same, and ‘industrialisation’ has to be done in any case, Tata and Salem group naturally turn into friends and allies. Then many more Singures and Nandigrams will take place. Like China, West Bengal may remain a left or a communist –ruled territory in name, but a naked play of forces of corporate capitalism will go on. If the ‘left’ has to avoid this fate, its intellectuals will have to come out of this confusion. They will have to rethink and reshape their ideas and policies in the light of the new experiences today. It may be too late tomorrow.
---------
The author is the acting President of the Samajwadi Jana Parishad.

2007/11/21

The party’s over


West Bengal former left front minister Ashok Mitra on Nandigram

Till death I would remain guilty to my conscience if I keep mum about the happenings of the last two weeks in West Bengal over Nandigram. One gets torn by pain too. Those against whom I am speaking have been my comrades at some point of time. The party, whose leadership they are adorning, has been the centre of my dreams and works for the last 60 years.

Let me start with the Governor. Those who remember Anantaprasad Sharma or TV Rajeshwar would admit that it’s a great fortune of this state and the government that they have someone as gentle, well-mannered, sympathetic, modest and erudite as Gopalkrishna Gandhi as Governor. Let me also add that he had consented to the post because of the interest shown by the central leadership of the CPI(M). What has been his fault that the ruling party is so determined to declare him as its enemy? It is being said that the Governor has termed the return of those who were forced flee Nandigram to take shelter in Khejuri as illegitimate and unpardonable. This is nothing but a travesty of truth. He has not done so. He has condemned, in no uncertain terms, the way in which they have been brought back.

By now the machinations that went on behind the return is known to the world. The government had enough scope to rehabilitate these devastated people in their own homes through political mediation or administrative arrangements during the last 11 months. The attempts through unilateral threats, police action and indiscriminate firing had a tragic end. But there were still many avenues left to be explored. The government could have announced compensation for the family of the dead and injured after the idiotic incident of firing.

Promises could have been made to take action against the police officers and personnel involved in the crime. Days passed, the government did nothing.

The senior-most political leader of the state and the country had to take the initiative to call up Mamata Banerjee, sit and discuss with her a few conditions for resolution. The government was intimated about them but did not proceed. On the initiative of senior Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh, an all-party meeting was convened. That also got stalled due to the indirect pressure from the ruling party.

Meanwhile, as was inevitable, Opposition parties started using the unstable situation of Nandigram to their own advantage. The flame of tension was kept burning by a variety of organisations of different colours and class. The whining one hears from the ruling party over this has no rationale whatsoever. The responsibility of unspoken suffering of those who spent 11 months as homeless rests squarely on the shoulders of the government.

It is better to look further into the past. Nandigram was not after all the ‘first blood’. The Singur episode had happened before that.

The government does not like nationalised industries; they want to set up private industries in the state. Hence, there are promises to acquire land on behalf of the national, international capitalists. Since there was declaration of industrialisation in the election manifesto, and since they have won 235 seats, it was assumed that there was no need for preparations. All of a sudden, peasants were told: leave the land, the masters would set up industries here. If it had learned very little from the protests, clashes and the blood-letting at Singur, the government would have been more careful in Nandigram. But that was not to be, it remained as arrogant as ever.

Even the top leaders of the ruling party have been saying there was no existence of opposition parties in Nandigram. The government itself provided them with the opportunity to grow. The loyal followers of the ruling party declared revolt and those who were not with them were driven out. The onus of this rests on the government as well.

For 11 months, complete silence and inactivity were carefully maintained. No political or administrative alternative was explored. Suddenly, a new plot was hatched. As has been repeatedly admitted by the Bengal Home Secretary, the police was instructed to remain inactive. Mercenaries were collected from across the state. Workers of the ruling party encircled Nandigram from all directions. Birds, bees, flies, journalists — no one was given the permission to penetrate the blockade.

And then the light brigade of the ruling party charged in, beat the wayward militants of Nandigram to a pulp and into submission. Those who had fled returned. However, the moment of their return saw a parallel and opposite incident. Houses were torched anew; those who were inside Nandigram were butchered in a massive celebration of revenge. At present, the Nandigram sky is reverberating with screams of the recent batch of refugees.

The problem does not involve Singur and Nandigram alone. It is much more deep and serious. The repetition of mistakes has become a habit. Just consider this for a minute: it has only been a year-and-a-half since the Left Front has won a massive mandate. And what examples of arrogance and stupidity during this brief span. Come what may, we shall have control over every nook and corner of the state. The cricket board will get its chief elected by our dictates. If our candidate loses, we would say, “Evil power has won, we will chase him out.” We are an all-knowing government: from cricket, poetry, theatre, films to the magic of land acquisition — we know everything. Neither should anyone lecture us on the pros and cons of the nuclear deal, for we have won 235 seats. Jyoti Basu won more seats in 1987 but he was never heard to mouth such hubris.

Not only hubris, ineptitude also. Decades have passed shouting hoarse about universal education, and still Bengal is behind so many states. Money is flowing in from the Centre for employment generation schemes, there is zero administrative initiative. the hungry and the unemployed go hungry and unemployed. The Centre has arranged for wheat and rice. These are not even lifted so that they could be sent to the middle and lower classes through the public distribution system.

One can borrow SD Burman’s song to describe what the CPI(M) was in the state a few decades ago: “You are not what you were.” Ninety per cent of the party members have joined after 1977, 70 per cent after 1991. They do not know the history of sacrifices of the party. To them ideological commitment to revolution and socialism is simply a fading folktale. As the new ideology is development, many of them associated with the party are in the search for personal development. They have come to take, not to give. One efficient way to bag privileges is to flatter the masters. The party has turned into a wide open field of flatterers and court jesters. Moreover, there has been a rising dominance of ‘anti-socials’. For different reasons, every political party has to lend patronage to ‘anti-socials’, they remain in the background and are called into duty at urgent times. In the 1970s, these anti-socials had reached the top rung of the state Congress. I fear the same fate is awaiting the communist party.

I feel sorry for Jyoti Basu. Of the four ministerial colleagues who took the oath as members of the first Left Front government with him on June 21, 1977, only I am still alive. His current state — like imprisoned Shah Jahan — saddens me deeply. But my real concern lies elsewhere. Mamata Banerjee is the safest insurance for the current ruling party. Urban and rural masses may have become discontented with the Left Front, but whenever they imagine Banerjee’s ascent to power, the sheer terror of that possibility has made them vote for the Left Front. But if it comes to a situation that the hubris and ineptitude of leaders of the Left Front government frustrate them so much that they begin to think there is no difference really, it’s all tweedledum and tweedledee, that will be a real disaster.

For notice the behaviour, patronage, programme, mode of action, speech of Mamata Banerjee — she personifies fascism. My ardent appeal to the central leadership of the party, which I still love to think to be mine: please think it over. You shiver at the terror of Maoism. Will that shivering compel you to throw West Bengal into the gutter of fascism?

(This is an edited extract of the article that appeared in Anandabazar Patrika on November 14. It has been translated from Bengali by Debarshi Das)

Courtasy : Hindustan Times

2007/11/14

Nandigram Update:12th November 2007

Medha Patkar

Nandigram continues to be a battle zone, though the battle is a one-sided one,where CPI (M) goondas and criminals fight with sophisticated arms like SLR's,AK-47's, INSAS Rifles against the unarmed common people of the region. Peopleare being slaughtered everyday with police and administration backing and allthe while that the CPI (M) goons carry out their Clean Nandigram operation, thepolice remain silent and inactive spectators. Shame on this government andadministration that does not even have a word of regret to hide their blatantGenocide or even express an iota of sympathy for so many massacred people.

We have received news from various sources inside the villages that theterritories (moujas) that were to be occupied for the chemical hub are nowlying empty, deserted of all its inhabitants. Thousands of villagers have beencompelled to flee from their houses due to such incessant attacks by CPI (M)criminals. They are now living in camps in the core Nandigram area, while somehave been picked up and forcibly compelled to join the CPI (M) camps, wherethey are being used as human shields, during the daily attacks on the villagersby the CPI (M) criminals. This is not a police arrest but a mass abductionbeing carried out by armed CPI (M) cadres.

The worst attack was on the 10th of Nov '07, when CPI (M) led criminals hidingin fields and bunkers fired upon two unarmed rallies of 20 000 and 30 000people respectively in two areas of Nandigram. Many people are feared to havebeen killed – the total number is not yet known exactly as many bodies arestill supposed to be lying in the paddy fields. It is supposed to be rangingfrom a 100 to about 150 (and very wrongly reported by national and regionaldailies and AIR). We can know the final tally, only if everyone including themedia is allowed to enter the region, which until today lies barricaded offfrom the media and common people. No relief is being provided to thesedisplaced people, neither is anyone being allowed to enter the region, bylathi-weilding and armed CPI (M) cadres and criminals. They have burned downhundreds of houses in every village to ashes, demolished hundreds of villageswhere the silence of the cemetery reigns today as gun toting CPI (M) cadres onmotorbikes make their daily rounds of firing and bombing. They are reported tohave perpetrated certain cases of rape and molestation even.

The CPI (M) cadres are now compelling the abducted villagers to accept theircontrol and acquisitions. All these news confirmed by the Bengali media andmost dailies seem to be as if the CPI (M) is on a medieval conquering missionand with each chapter of inhuman barbaric assault upon the unarmed commonpopulace of Nandigram, they hail their victory of recapturing lost kingdoms!Many of the injured are in the Nandigram hospital; some in Tamluk hospital;some have been shifted to the Kolkata SSKM hospital. There is e severe dearthof doctors and medicines for treatment of bullet injuries as medical suppliesare also not being allowed to reach the hospitals with the approach roads beingbarricaded by the armed CPI (M) hoodlums. Even the CRPF that reached yesterday was not allowed to enter the region by the armed CPI (M) criminals. It seems likely that they too are to work in alliance with and under the control of the State Government.

While in Kolkata we have organized a very successful Two-day token Fast andDharna programme in alliance with various fraternal organizations like PASCHIMBANGA KRISHAK & KHET MAZDOOR SANGATHAN, HAWKERS SANGRAM SAMITI, NAPM ACTIVISTS, FORUM OF ARTISTS, CULTURAL ACTIVISTS & INTELLECTUALS, JANATA DAL (SECULAR), SUCI, and many individuals from Nandigram (Radharani Aarhi- a gang rape victim of Nandigram) MATANGINI MAHILA SAMITI from Singur and intelligentsia of Kolkata and Bengal.25 people fasted for 2 days. Relief materials were collected and almost Rs. 60 000 collected in these two days. Many eminent artistes and famous personalities of Bengal came to our Dharna Manch to express their solidarity with us –Film Directors- Aparna Sen, Rituparno Ghosh; Poet-Litterateur- Tarun Sanyal, Joy Goswami; Actors-.Singers- Anjan Dutta, Bibhas Chakraborty, Artists- Suvaprassanna, Shipra Bhattacharya; RSP MLA- Manojit Bhattacharya, Geeta Sengupta (presently in the Left Front in power) to name a few. Many eminent film personalities withdrew from the ongoing Kolkata International Film Festival in protest against the Nandigram killings. Some refused their awards and posts even. The Forum of Artistes, Cultural Activists & Intellectuals, organized a rally from here but it was intercepted by the police and stopped at two places. Later they held a demonstration by singing songs that again was attacked by the police in spite of the presence of eminent personalities and some were even man-handled by the police. 41 of the artists were imprisoned under Sec.151 same as the arrests made in Madhya Pradesh during the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Jointly, with all the fraternal participating organizations, we have met theGovernor and submitted a Memorandum of demands for immediate stopping of these barbaric assaults on the people of Nandigram. Similarly we have written to the Union Home Minister. But our repeated attempts to meet the Chief Minister have all been washed down the drain, as he has not even responded.

Today we are proceeding to Nandigram with all the collected relief materialsand have informed and written to the D.G. of Police for protection. Let us seehow far we can proceed.

INDIA: The state government of West Bengal is promoting organised crime

The Asian Human Rights Commission issued the following statement on November 13, 2007.

Nandigram, a remote village in West Bengal state of India is once again in front page news in the country. This remote village in West Bengal was in the news 11 months ago when violence erupted in the village. The Communist party led state government used force to silence the protesting farmers who were agitating against the proposed acquisition of their land by the state for establishing a special economic zone. The state government with the aid of the local police and its party carders silenced the protest using brute force. The violence resulted in heavy loss of life and property, which is still not completely accounted for.

On 10 November, 2007, violence erupted again in Nandigram. This time too the violence was spearheaded by the party carders of the ruling political party of West Bengal state – the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). On the first instance and even now, the state government is defending its position of justifying the use of force. The only exception is that this time the local police remained confined to the police station when the party cadres shot at will on protesters. The death toll is yet to be ascertained and the villagers are in the grip of fear.

The state government on both occasions said that the use of force was to bring the region back within the control of the state administration. While debates are underway arguing for and against the state government and its actions, for an ordinary person the incidents reported from Nandigram raises a few questions.

Had the state administration consulted the local people before it decided to acquire their land? If yes, whether such an acquisition is justifiable? Had there been any credible procedures and mechanisms in place to compensate those who could loose their land? If the administration had withdrawn from the proposal of acquiring the land what erupted the current tragedy?

What prevented the administration from resolving the issues in Nandigram through legitimate means? Why did the state government employ its party carders to ‘repossess’ its control of the area? Was the ‘repossession’ for administrative control or an action looking forward to the oncoming local body elections? Even then what justifies the use of illegal force by party carders? What happened to those who lost their relatives and property in the earlier incident? What will happen to those who suffered in the recent incident? Will the government and the justice mechanisms in the state be able to prosecute those who are responsible for loss of life and property? Which law in India authorise organised violence to curb protest? Above all what is that matters to the state government of West Bengal – the people or the party?

The government in any country or region has a constitutional obligation to promote and protect the life and property of the people within its jurisdiction. Whatever be the political ideology the government believes or follows, such ideologies must not supersede the paramount law of the country – the constitution.

While the constitution of India guarantees certain rights and privileges to the state administration, it equally guarantees the citizen certain rights, which the government by oath and mandate is bound to protect and fulfill. Nandigram as of today is the sad reminder that the state government of West Bengal has failed in their duty. By justifying violence the state government has breached the inalienable constitutional guarantees of the people and has played fraud upon the people and the constitution of the country. Such a government is promoting organised crime. On these counts the CPM led West Bengal government is no different from its counterpart in Gujarat led my Mr. Narendra Modi.

No one other than the West Bengal state government and their political think tanks and their supporters will concur with the idea of using organised violence to curb protest. A government which has played fraud upon the constitution that it has sworn to protect and the people it is duty bound to serve has no legitimacy to continue in authority.

.......................

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Asian Human Rights Commission - Statement

2007/11/10

Socialist International condemns emergency rule in Pakistan


The Socialist International issued the following statement on November 5, 2007.

The Socialist International condemns the suspension of the constitution and the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan, and calls for the immediate restoration of democratic governance and the full respect for fundamental political rights and civil liberties.
The International is especially concerned by and denounces the house arrest of the Chief Justice and mass detentions of lawyers, political figures and human rights and civic activists, and calls for their immediate release.
There are no political developments or social conditions that can justify this blatant resort to authoritarianism in any country. Anti-democratic behaviour, in fact, only provides further opportunities for extremists who seek to take advantage of unstable situations.
The Socialist International reiterates its belief that democracy and the respect for the will of the people are the only way to peacefully and effectively resolve the difficult issues faced by Pakistan, and calls for free and fair elections to be held in the country as scheduled.


2007/11/08

Prominent social activist dead

Jalpaiguri (PTI): Prominent social activist and leader of dalit and adivasi people, Jugal Kishore Raibeer (61) died of cancer here on Tuesday.
Raibeer, who was the all-India President of the Samajbadi Jana Parishad, died at Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital, his family said on Wednesday.
Condoling his death West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi said he was devoted to the cause of the have not.
Leaders and personalities from different parts of the country, including the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patekar, expressed grief over the death. Thousands of people gathered at the residence of Kishore, who was very much popular particularly among farmers and teagarden workers.


Courtasy :The Hindu (Copyright © 2007, The Hindu.)

Medha Patkar roughed up by CPI-M men near Nandigram

Kolkata ,November 08, 2007:NAPM leader and Social activist Medha Patkar was punched and roughed up by supporters of West Bengal's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) at Kapaseberia in East Midnapore districtdistrict, about 125 kms from Kolkata while on her way to Nandigram.
There were CPI(M) men carrying red flags who blocked my car and some other
vehicles which were going along with mine to Nandigram. I was hit on the face
and they tried to pull my hair and was about to drag me out of the car
,
Patkar told PTI over phone from the spot.
Her car was damaged but she was unhurt. She and those accompanying sat on dharna on the road leading to Haldia and refused to budge.
Medha told the local media that there was no need to impose Article 355 in Bengal. She called for the immediate surrender of arms by both warring sides in the strife torn area. She felt the Centre should have intervened long ago and sent in Central forces. She also said that the road to Nandigram should always be kept open because everybody needed to use it.

Jugal Kishore Raibir Paid Last Tributes


Jalpaygudi (M N S) : - The funeral of the President of the Samajawadi Jana Parishad, Jugal Kishore Raibir, was held in Jalpaygudi Wednesday evening.

Jugal Kishore Raibir (60) passed away here on Tuesday November 6th, 2007 after a three months battle with cancer.

Leaders from across the political spectrum paid floral tributes to Jugal Kishore Raibir. Senior Socialist leaders like Vinod Prasad Singh, Yogendra Yadav, Shivapoojan Singh, Somnath Tripathi, Viswanath Bagi and Thousands of people visited the Samata Centre at Jadeswar in Jalpaygudi to pay their homage.
The photograph by Malayalam News Service (M N S)

2007/11/06

Jugal Kishore Raibir - The Great Revolutionary

Shri Jugal Kishore Raibir Was born on Jan.1 1947 at Jalpaygudi, West Bengal.
He had been associated with people’s movements all over the country through his work with Dalits and poor backward people for more than thirty seven years. He had been actively involved in the languages movement led by Dr Lohia, the JP movement in 1974 and the numerous farmers movements and anti-Dunkel(W T O) movements of the last few years.




The young Jugal Kishore Raibir was a true representative of post 1974 generation who have consistently participated in a politics for complete transformation of society, economic policy .

In 1995 and 2007 he had been unanimously elected the president of Samajvadi Jana Parishad party.

Photographs by Malayalam News Service (M N S)

Jugal Kishore Raibir passes away

k
Jalpaygudi (M N S) : Jugal Kishore Raibir , National President of the Samajwadi Jana Parishad (that is the Indian Socialist Party) passed away on Tuesday November 6th, 2007 at Jalpaygudi,West Bengal. He was 60.
He passed away at around four o' clock Tuesday morning after a short battle with blood cancer . Funeral Will be in tomorrow evening.
The photograph by Malayalam News Service (M N S)