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Archive for September 26th, 2007

Police terrorise villages for Maoists

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

Police raid villages for Maoists

Sttaesman News Service

KRISHNAGAR, Sept. 25: Police have been accused of unleashing a reign of terror among villagers in Poragacha as well as its surrounding villages because of their alleged involvement in Maoist activities. This comes following the recent attack on a CPI-M party office at Poragacha and the incident of rifle snatching from police personnel from Bhutpara in Nadia's Kotwali police station area. Since the attack, Nadia district police have conducted raids in the villages of Poragacha, Banshberia, Hejulee, Digri, Sitanathpur, Pukurgachi, Govindapur and Chandpur ~ Mathpara in Kotwali police station area.

In most cases, according to the villagers, police have arrested innocent people, just because they happen to be relatives of one alleged Maoist activist, Mr Basudev Biswas. During the raids, the police allegedly physically tortured villagers, detaining them at various police stations for four to six days without being booked in any particular case.

According to the family members of one such victim, a 19-year-old girl, Pulti Haldar, was picked up by the Chapra police when she was sleeping with her mother Mrs Jharna Haldar in her house at Digri on 19 August. She was reportedly detained till 23 August and when her father went to the police station to know the cause of detention, police refused to disclose anything. When her father lodged a complaint before the court, police allegedly concocted a story and booked her under Narcotics Act. Again on 22 August, the Kotwali police, without being accompanied by any woman constables, raided the house of Mr Biswas at Poragacha and picked up his wife Mrs Kalpana Biswas since he was not available. They allegedly dragged Mrs Biswas out of the house and then raided her maternal aunt's house at Poragacha. Later, Mrs Biswas was taken to the police station and she was released after six days without any definite charges. Mrs Biswas' relative, Mr Krishna Biswas was also allegedly subjected to torture in the police station before being released the next day. Recently, a fact-finding team of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights visited the victim families and spoke to them.

http://www.thestatesman.net

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Adivasis of Gujarat brutally attacked by forest and police officials Crops destroyed and tribal leaders indulged in criminal offences

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

September 17, 2007

Protest Rally on 17th September, at Surat

 

Friends, more than 250 forest officials and local police along with talluka magistrate (Mamledar) armed with weapons have entered into the cultivated forest land and destroyed about 200 acres out of three thousand acres of their standing crops in Ummarpada talluka of district Surat, on 5th September. Forrest officials have started their operation at 7am in the morning without informing the villagers. When the local leaders of Lok Sangharsh Morcha have tried to intervene and making dialogue with the officers they have opened fire and used tear gas, too. About 3 thousand villagers of nearest villages, who have quickly reached over there for saving their crops, protested this unlawful act of forest department. The estimate of damaged crops is being evaluated about 25-30 lakhs rupees. The police action was led by Mr. S. N. Patel; DFO of Ummarpada & Sagabara rang. Police has lodged the criminal case against 58 tribal leaders under section 307, 395, 397, 398, 186, 332, 333, 435, 427, 353, BP act 135.

 

The victims are displaced of Ukai Dam project belonging to the 16 villages of Talluka. They are residing in this area since 1971 after their displacement and continuously cultivating land since then. They have submitted their claim to the district magistrate of Surat and forest officials several times demanding their legal rights over the possessive land. But nobody has taken response for resolving the issue. Tribal of this area were never objected or served any notice/ warning by forest department against their longstanding cultivation ever before. The tribal of this area who had earlier fought for the enactment of forest law, 2006, demanded for legal right over their land, forest department has started the move to dispossess them from their land.

 

Significantly, the tribal of this area are having no access for any means of livelihood except the small holding of land which is in possession since long without the legal right. Due to the lack of recourses lakhs of unemployed youth are forced to migrate from this area for their livelihood every year. Surat district is among those which are uncovered by NREGA despite of having the huge number of laborers in rural areas. People of this area are deprived from educational rights and health facilities, too.

 

While, the forest department and local administration have initiated the move for dispossessing tribals from their own land at huge level, the Chief Minister of Gujarat is making announcement for tribal welfare under his "Ban Bandhu Yojana" and declaring for development packages looking at coming assembly elections have been proved futile after Umarpada incident and exposed the attitude of state government.  

 

Protest Rally on 17th September at Surat

 

Lok Sangharsh Morcha is holding a massive tribal rally on 17th September, 2007 protesting the brutal attack on tribal by forest department and local police in Ummarpada, talluka, district Surat. About 20 thousand tribal are expected to join the rally demanding immediate expulsion of DFO Mr. S. N. Patel, action against other responsible officials, withdrawal of false criminal cases lodged on tribal leaders, compensation for damaged crops, legal rights of tribal over the land, free from police terror in the effected area etc. Rally will also raise the issue of abdication done by central government denying the enforcement of 'forest act, 2006' enacted by Parliament.

 

It is requested to all of you kindly send the fax massage to Chief Minister of Gujarat protesting dispossession of tribal from their land . Fax no. is 079-23222101, 23222020

 

We feel highly obliged if you pl. ensure your participation in SURAT RALLY on 17th, September, 2007.

 

Thanking you,

With regards,

Ambarish Rai/ Pratibha Shinde

 

Lok Sangharsh Morcha

 

 http://sabrang.com/news/2007/17sep07.htm

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Women’s safety a poll plank in JNU

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

NEW DELHI: Long live Guevara and down with US imperialism. Student leaders at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are known to invoke these slogans seeking votes in the varsity union polls. But this year, they will go beyond the macro national and international issues and raise questions on safety of women on the campus in the wake of the recent cases of sexual harassment, molestation and eve teasing on the otherwise vibrant premises.

In July, a Kenyan allegedly molested three Phd students at Ganga dhaba. Three weeks later, four outsiders visiting Ganga dhaba passed lewd remarks and attempted to molest a couple of women students. Recently, nine research students of Sanskrit alleged that their department head C Upender Rao had asked for sexual favours to ensure speedy completion of their research work. All these cases have been reported in the gender sensitisation committee against sexual harassment (GSCASH), a body to deal with such issues.

Keeping these recent incidents of sexual harassment in mind, CPI(M)-backed Students Federation of India and CPI(M-L)-backed All India Students' Association of India (AISA) have been demanding quick redressal of such cases by GSCASH, which is accused of being inept. "Eight years back, when the GSCASH was constituted, students had enormous faith in it as their complaints used to be addressed and resolved in the specified time limit of three months. However, with the lackadaisical and inept functioning of this body for past few years, students are not sure if GSCASH can bring justice to them as none of the sexual harassment cases reported in the past two years have been solved," said Albina Shakil, state SFI secretary, who is also a former GSCASH member.

She added: "Even as sexual harassment cases have been rampant on the campus, there is no speedy inquiry by GSCASH. It's a big cause of concern for us and would be brought up in the elections." Despite ideological differences with rival SFI, AISA too feels there is a need for a safer campus. "To check the increasing number of sexual harassment cases, we need to beef up the security and speed up inquiry process," said outgoing JNUSU general secretary and AISA activist Sandeep Singh.

The right wing party, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also demands more democratisation of the GSCASH. "At present, the body has elected students members besides representatives from administration too. It should be converted to all students' body," said Manoj Kumar, party's state executive member.

All major political parties have been demanding the inclusion of domestic violence under the purview of GSCASH. "Since JNU is a residential campus, cases of domestic violence have been reported but they die a silent death. Though the administration has accepted that such cases should be considered by GSCASH, we demand that it should happen at the earliest," said Shakil.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com


sonia.sarkar@timesgroup.com

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Starving in Madhya Pradesh

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

Hungry and dying

ANNIE ZAIDI

Hunger and malnutrition stalk Madhya Pradesh villages despite schemes to improve the services of anganwadis and nutrition centres.

A.M. FARUQUI

At Kairi Chowka village in Raisen district. There is no anganwadi here and the nearest ICDS centre is about three kilometres away.

HUNGER is unpalatable. For a government that wishes to assert that it is not callous, it is particularly so. But hunger, with a capital H, is a pill that millions of people in Madhya Pradesh continue to swallow.

In 2005 and 2006, Frontline reported acute malnutrition from Sheopur and Shivpuri districts in Madhya Pradesh. Since then, there has been some change: new schemes have been announced; the recruitment policy for anganwadi workers has changed; there is a new menu for the anganwadis; and more Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) are being opened. Anganwadis are Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) centres.

However, it would be wise to keep in mind that not all changes have been positive. According to the 2005-2006 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), the percentage of underweight children in Madhya Pradesh increased from 54 in 1998-99 to 60, and the percentage of wasted (extremely malnourished) children from 20 to 33.

POOR COMPENSATION

Many changes over the past decade have pushed villagers who once had enough to eat into a spiral of food insecurity and the uncertain arms of the public distribution system (PDS). There appears to be a direct link between access to forests and hunger in tribal hamlets. Madhya Pradesh has 29 national parks and reserved forest areas, and each of them has meant displacement and deprivation for the tribal people. Take Balharpur village in Shivpuri for instance, less than an hour's drive from Shivpuri town.

About eight years ago, its residents, most of them belonging to the Sahariya tribe, were moved out of the Madhav National Park and dumped upon a stony, non-irrigated tract of land near the highway. Earlier, they had lived close to a river and had water for both farming and drinking.

During the non-farming season, they collected and sold tendu leaves, herbs and honey to be able to buy things needed to supplement their diet. Each family had cows and goats. While moving, the villagers set their cattle free near the Balhar Mata temple in the forest. They were certain they would not have access to grazing land in the New Balharpur village. They were right.

NO ROOF OVERHEAD

Today, the village has neither fields nor cattle nor jobs. What it does have is people like Makkobai. Her husband and one son already dead and confronted with the prospect of losing her other son and daughter-in-law, she was forced to sell off her roof.

Each family was given built houses, without toilets or taps, when they relocated; rough slabs of stone placed in a lattice formed the roof. Makkobai sold these stone slabs for Rs.2,500. She sleeps in other people's houses.

Makkobai should have been entitled to a health card, issued under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Upchar Yojna, which would have provided the family free medical treatment worth Rs.20,000. But she does not have one. Another widow, Bisna, shrugs off the suggestion of visiting hospitals. "What will the doctor do? There's nothing to eat anyway." Like others in her village, she is almost entirely dependent on subsidised PDS rations. Everybody does not have a "yellow card", the Antyodaya ration card, which marks the Sahariyas as the poorest of the poor. The Sahariyas are entitled to them, being a Primitive Tribal Group. Not surprisingly, malnutrition amongst the children is plain to see, even to the untrained eye.

They also claim that the Guna Grameen Kshetriya Bank allows each family to withdraw only Rs.8,000 of the Rs.20,000 given as compensation for displacement. And most of it has been spent repaying loans taken at interest rates as high as 100 per cent. The rest of the money was set aside for "land development" purposes.

The very phrase "land development" makes villagers spit in anger. Jamna, an elderly widow, told Frontline: "What are you supposed to do with your stomach until this land gets developed? And how will the land be developed without water? All we have is one functional hand pump."

The men have been forced to migrate to places such as Ghati-Gaon near Gwalior, where there is work in the stone quarries. They live a whole month in the quarries and return with no more than Rs.500, and often with tuberculosis as well. There are 26 widows out of a total adult female population of 87.

Another village in Shivpuri district, Amola, which was displaced in August 2006 to make way for the Manikheda dam project, presents a gloomier face. It is now home to Lakshmi, the six-month-old baby who has just returned from the NRC in Shivpuri. She was discharged after 14 days but remains a "grade four case" – severe malnutrition that, if untreated, will lead to death.

The village has no pucca houses, and the administration did not provide toilets either. The Sahariya women are distraught since people of other castes or communities refuse to let them use their fields. They even threaten to bury the women alive if they attempt to enter their fields.

Even the five quintals of grain, which was promised as interim relief for displacement, did not materialise. Some families got pattas but others were already farming the same strip of land. Most of the villagers migrate or work for contractors, filling dumpers with sand for Rs.20 a day, or walk to the nearest forest area and cut wood.

LOSS OF LIVELIHOOD

A young woman, Kusna, threw an axe and a small bundle near this correspondent's feet and sat down. She had been collecting wood all day, which she sold in the nearest town market for Rs.30. "The bus fare cost me Rs.10. What was left bought me this bundle of leaves, which I will cook tonight as vegetables. Earlier, we could collect gum, honey, herbs. Now what?"

Now, there is the iffy dependence on rations and the struggle to obtain "yellow cards". Even this battle is an uphill one. Recently, the panchayat secretary was suspended after he was arrested for irregularities. He had allegedly tried to sell Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards for Rs.500 each.

The day Frontline visited Amola, an unidentified man had dropped in earlier, claiming to be the new secretary. While he was yet to take charge, the villagers alleged that he was already asking for bribes: Rs.10 a card. Little wonder then that as budgets for schemes grow, so does food insecurity and the great corruption initiative. In Sheopur district, there were instances of gross irregularities concerning the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Frontline found such irregularities in Patalgarh village in 2006 too, where several children died of malnutrition.

According to Uma Chaturvedi, a fellow of the Right to Food Campaign for Sheopur, there are fresh attempts to fudge cards. "For example, in Naya Gaon in Vijaypur block, which is one of the 28 villages displaced for the Kuno National Park, people worked for and were paid for two to four days on an average, but all the cards have entries stating '77 days'. The villagers met the District Collector to complain about the resultant embezzlement in May, but so far no action has been taken."

She added that in other villages in Sheopur, such as Rohni and Ranipura, people are demanding wages pending since March, or compensatory unemployment allowance, but, again, to no avail.

CM's backyard

A.M. FARUQUI

MAKKOBAI WITH HER surviving son. She had to sell off the stone slabs that formed her roof and now sleeps in other people's houses.

Sachin Kumar Jain, who works with the Right to Food Campaign, admits that the State government at least has the decency not to turn a blind eye to hunger. "Under pressure from the media, the Supreme Court and civil society groups, the government acknowledged the problem; even the bureaucracy has shown some political sensitivity. Yet, hunger is a problem even in Budhni [in Sehore district], which is part of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan's constituency."

According to reports by Raju Kumar who works with Vikas Samvad, Bhim Kot, one of the villages in Budhni block, is rife with malnourished children. "We weighed the children and found that 24 out of 25 were malnourished. Nineteen years later, and despite having corresponded with the C.M., they still don't have an anganwadi or access to health care."

Despite policy changes, major loopholes remain. Safe drinking water is not considered a part of crucial nutritional needs. In villages such as Kairi Chowki in Raisen district, there are 10 hand pumps, of which only one functions.

There is no anganwadi in Kairi Chowki either, which is also part of the Chief Minister's parliamentary constituency (he was a Lok Sabha member when he took over as Chief Minister). The nearest ICDS centre is about 3 km away.

Here, when the new ration cards were released, many people found their names struck off the BPL list. Among them were people such as Munshi Lal, who is in his 80s but receives no longer the old-age pension.

In the neighbouring hamlet of Dhoop-Ghata, things are better. Many of the families have a cow or a goat and some chickens, and they are peacefully allowed to graze their animals, without interference from the forest administration. There is an anganwadi and the worker is efficient. The nurse makes regular visits and the children do not appear to be severely undernourished.

Even so, life is terribly hard. The women set out at 3 a.m. They walk to Abdullaganj, the largest market in the area, to sell a bundle of firewood, for as little as Rs.40. Then they walk back, cook the noon meal and start walking again – to the forest to collect wood.

A visit to the NRC in Shivpuri district is both heartrending and educative, in the context of the demographics of hunger. Nearly all the mothers and children admitted are Sahariyas. Phuliya, a woman from Khaniyadana block, had brought along her two-year-old girl Choti – all skin and bones. While she acknowledged that she got her full ration regularly, there was not much she could do to help her own child: all she could feed the baby was dal and roti.

The NRC officials claim that they also have a hard time keeping the mothers in hospital for 15 days. Most women are worried about other children left behind at home. In the attempt to save one, they dare not risk losing the rest.

The Director of the Department of Women and Child Welfare, Kalpana Shrivastava, agrees that the main problem is that whatever the State provides can only be supplementary nutrition, whether it is through ICDS or mid-day meals. It is hard to tackle malnutrition if hunger is a chronic problem.

The State has been trying. From only daliya or panjeeri, the menu at anganwadis now includes poha, laddoo and halwa-puri. The process is also decentralised, with the money for supplies being sent directly to a joint account between the anganwadi worker and the local mothers' committee. There are also attempts to "celebrate" every Tuesday as Mangal Divas, wherein pregnant women will be treated to a godh-bharai, birthdays will be marked, and so on.

Pockets of chronic malnutrition will be allotted Rs.6 a child, instead of Rs.2, whereby children will get three meals at the anganwadi. The worker and helper will also be paid extra.

Kalpana Shrivastava also claims that, in compliance with the Supreme Court's orders, all ICDS centres sanctioned in 2007 will be made functional by the end of September. "The new nutrition policy will make a difference, but things take time to fall into place." Organisations such as the United Nations Children's Fund are also focussing on nutritional rehabilitation. Dr. Manohar Agnani, former Collector of Shivpuri, who was instrumental in setting up the model NRC in 2006, is now a consultant for UNICEF.

TREAT THE CAUSE

The target is to get 100 NRCs up and running by the end of the year and 313 by 2008. However, UNICEF State Representative Hamid El-Bashir agrees that there is a need to scratch the surface. "The ICDS is an excellent programme; it is wide-reaching and ambitious. But the State government also needs to look at income and unemployment. We can treat the symptoms, not the cause."

Yet, the NRCs are a much-needed measure in a State, which confronts the certainty of a definite number of hunger-related deaths every year. Even if the situation is improving slowly, it still looks very bad once you translate percentages into numbers. According to the 10th survey of the Bal Sanjivani Abhiyan in the State, 47.5 per cent of children under six are malnourished, of whom 0.67 per cent suffer from severe malnourishment.

This is down by 0.11 per cent from the ninth survey, but, as Dr. Agnani points out, "with an average rate of 30 per cent mortality [for the severely malnourished], this means that hundreds of children will die this year. In Sheopur district [which accounts for 2.56 per cent of the severe category], up to 600 children could die."

It is a frightening fact that, despite the best efforts of concerned groups and recent policy changes, within a year, 600 children in a single district will have died because there was not enough food to eat.

Sachin Kumar Jain offers another sombre reminder – most of the dead and dying will be Dalit or Adivasi tribal children. "Do you know why the Sahariyas are a Primitive Tribal Group? Amongst other parameters, it is the fact that their population is decreasing or stagnant. It is true that they bear more children, but it is also true that most of the children die. This is the result of a policy of exclusion. Schemes are only a petty compensation for depriving people of their rights."

http://www.flonnet.com/stories/20071005502202800.htm

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Scandal In The Palace

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

By Arundhati Roy

25 September, 2007
Outlook India


Scandals can be fun. Especially those that knock preachers from their pulpits and flick halos off saintly heads. But some scandals can be corrosive and more damaging for the scandalised than the scandalee. Right now we're in the midst of one such.

At its epicentre is Y.K. Sabharwal, former Chief Justice of India, who until recently headed the most powerful institution in this country—the Supreme Court. When there's a scandal about a former chief justice and his tenure in office, it's a little difficult to surgically excise the man and spare the institution.

But then commenting adversely on the institution can lead you straight to a prison cell as some of us have learned to our cost. It's like having to take the wolf and the chicken and the sack of grain across the river, one by one. The river's high and the boat's leaking. Wish me luck.

The higher judiciary, the Supreme Court in particular, doesn't just uphold the law, it micromanages our lives. Its judgements range through matters great and small. It decides what's good for the environment and what isn't, whether dams should be built, rivers linked, mountains moved, forests felled. It decides what our cities should look like and who has the right to live in them. It decides whether slums should be cleared, streets widened, shops sealed, whether strikes should be allowed, industries should be shut down, relocated or privatised. It decides what goes into school textbooks, what sort of fuel should be used in public transport and schedules of fines for traffic offences.

It decides what colour the lights on judges' cars should be (red) and whether they should blink or not (they should). It has become the premier arbiter of public policy in this country that likes to market itself as the World's Largest Democracy.

Ironically, judicial activism first rode in on a tide of popular discontent with politicians and their venal ways. Around 1980, the courts opened their doors to ordinary citizens and people's movements seeking justice for underprivileged and marginalised people. This was the beginning of the era of Public Interest Litigation, a brief window of hope and real expectation. While Public Interest Litigation gave people access to courts, it also did the opposite. It gave courts access to people and to issues that had been outside the judiciary's sphere of influence so far. So it could be argued that it was Public Interest Litigation that made the courts as powerful as they are. Over the last 15 years or so, through a series of significant judgements, the judiciary has dramatically enhanced the scope of its own authority.

Today, as neo-liberalism sinks its teeth deeper into our lives and imagination, as millions of people are being pauperised and dispossessed in order to keep India's Tryst with Destiny (the unHindu 10% rate of growth), the State has to resort to elaborate methods to contain growing unrest. One of its techniques is to invoke what the middle and upper classes fondly call the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law is a precept that is distinct and can often be far removed from the principle of justice. The Rule of Law is a phrase that derives its meaning from the context in which it operates. It depends on what the laws are and who they're designed to protect. For instance, from the early '90s, we have seen the systematic dismantling of laws that protect workers' rights and the fundamental rights of ordinary people (the right to shelter/health/education/water).

International financial institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the ADB demand these not just as a precondition, but as a condition, set down in black and white, before they agree to sanction loans. (The polite term for it is structural adjustment. ) What does the Rule of Law mean in a situation like this? Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, puts it beautifully: "The Rule of Law does not do away with unequal distribution of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such indirect and complicated ways as to leave the victim bewildered."

As it becomes more and more complicated for elected governments to be seen to be making unpopular decisions (decisions, for example, that displace millions of people from their villages, from their cities, from their jobs), it has increasingly fallen to the courts to make these decisions, to uphold the Rule of Law.

The expansion of judicial powers has not been accompanied by an increase in its accountability. Far from it. The judiciary has managed to foil every attempt to put in place any system of checks and balances that other institutions in democracies are usually bound by.

It has opposed the suggestion by the Committee for Judicial Accountability that an independent disciplinary body be created to look into matters of judicial misconduct. It has decreed that an FIR cannot be registered against a sitting judge without the consent of the chief justice (which has never ever been given). It has so far successfully insulated itself against the Right to Information Act. The most effective weapon in its arsenal is, of course, the Contempt of Court Act which makes it a criminal offence to do or say anything that "scandalises" or "lowers the authority" of the court. Though the act is framed in arcane language more suited to medieval ideas of feminine modesty, it actually arms the judiciary with formidable, arbitrary powers to silence its critics and to imprison anyone who asks uncomfortable questions.

Small wonder then that the media pulls up short when it comes to reporting issues of judicial corruption and uncovering the scandals that must rock through our courtrooms on a daily basis. There are not many journalists who are willing to risk a long criminal trial and a prison sentence.

Until recently, under the Law of Contempt, even truth was not considered a valid defence. So suppose, for instance, we had prima facie evidence that a judge has assaulted or raped someone, or accepted a bribe in return for a favourable judgement, it would be a criminal offence to make the evidence public because that would "scandalise or tend to scandalise" or "lower or tend to lower" the authority of the court.

Yes, things have changed, but only a little. Last year, Parliament amended the Contempt of Court Act so that truth becomes a valid defence in a contempt of court charge. But in most cases (such as in the case of the Sabharwal…er… shall we say "affair") in order to prove something it would have to be investigated. But obviously when you ask for an investigation you have to state your case, and when you state your case you will be imputing dishonourable motives to a judge for which you can be convicted for contempt. So: Nothing can be proved unless it is investigated and nothing can be investigated unless it has been proved.

The only practical option that's on offer is for us to think Pure Thoughts.

For example:

a. Judges in India are divine beings.

b. Decency, wholesomeness, morality, transparency and integrity are encrypted in their DNA.

c. This is proved by the fact that no judge in the history of our Republic has ever been impeached or disciplined in any way.


d. Jai Judiciary, Jai Hind.

It all becomes a bit puzzling when ex-chief justices like Justice S.P. Bharucha go about making public statements about widespread corruption in the judiciary. Perhaps we should wear ear plugs on these occasions or chant a mantra.

It may hurt our pride and curb our free spirits to admit it, but the fact is that we live in a sort of judicial dictatorship. And now there's a scandal in the Palace.

Last year (2006) was a hard year for people in Delhi. The Supreme Court passed a series of orders that changed the face of the city, a city that has over the years expanded organically, extra-legally, haphazardly. A division bench headed by Y.K. Sabharwal, chief justice at the time, ordered the sealing of thousands of shops, houses and commercial complexes that housed what the court called 'illegal' businesses that had been functioning, in some cases for decades, out of residential areas in violation of the old master plan.

It's true that, according to the designated land-use in the old master plan, these businesses were non-conforming. But the municipal authorities in charge of implementing the plan had developed only about a quarter of the commercial areas they were supposed to. So they looked away while people made their own arrangements (and put their lives' savings into them.) Then suddenly Delhi became the capital city of the new emerging Superpower. It had to be dressed up to look the part. The easiest way was to invoke the Rule of Law.

The sealing affected the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people. The city burned. There were protests, there was rioting. The Rapid Action Force was called in. Dismayed by the seething rage and despair of the people, the Delhi government beseeched the court to reconsider its decision. It submitted a new 2021 Master Plan which allowed mixed land-use and commercial activity in several areas that had until now been designated 'residential'. Justice Sabharwal remained unmoved. The bench he headed ordered the sealing to continue.

Around the same time, another bench of the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of Nangla Macchi and other jhuggi colonies, which left hundreds of thousands homeless, living on top of the debris of their broken homes, in the scorching summer sun. Yet another bench ordered the removal of all "unlicensed" vendors from the city's streets. Even as Delhi was being purged of its poor, a new kind of city was springing up around us. A glittering city of air-conditioned corporate malls and multiplexes where MNCs showcased their newest products. The better-off amongst those whose shops and offices had been sealed queued up for space in these malls. Prices shot up. The mall business boomed, it was the newest game in town. Some of these malls, mini-cities in themselves, were also illegal constructions and did not have the requisite permissions.

But here the Supreme Court viewed their misdemeanours through a different lens. The Rule of Law winked and went off for a tea break. In its judgement on the writ petition against the Vasant Kunj Mall dated October 17, 2006 (in which it allowed the construction of the mall to go right ahead), Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia said:

"Had such parties inkling of an idea that such clearances were not obtained by DDA, they would not have invested such huge sums of money.

The stand that wherever constructions have been made unauthorisedly demolition is the only option cannot apply to the present cases, more particularly, when they unlike, where some private individuals or private limited companies or firms being allotted to have made contraventions, are corporate bodies and institutions and the question of their having indulged in any malpractices in getting the approval or sanction does not arise."
It's a bit complicated, I know.

This was exactly when his sons went into partnership with two mall developers. Sealing helped malls; Sons & Co raked in the bucks.

A friend and I sat down and translated it into ordinary English. Basically,

a. Even though in this present case the construction may be unauthorised and may not have the proper clearances, huge amounts of money have been invested and demolition is not the only option.

b. Unlike private individuals or private limited companies who have been allotted land and may have flouted the law, these allottees are corporate bodies and institutions and there is no question of their having indulged in any malpractice in order to get sanctions or approval.

The question of corporate bodies having indulged in malpractice in getting approval or sanction does not arise. So says the Indian Supreme Court. What should we say to those shrill hysterical people protesting out there on the streets, accusing the court of being an outpost of the New Corporate Empire? Shall we shout them down? Shall we say 'Enron zindabad'? 'Bechtel, Halliburton zindabad'? 'Tata, Birla, Mittals, Reliance, Vedanta, Alcan zindabad'? 'Coca-Cola aage badho, hum tumhaare saath hain'?

This then was the ideological climate in the Supreme Court at the time the Sabharwal "affair" took place.

It's important to make it clear that Justice Sabharwal's orders were not substantially different or ideologically at loggerheads with the orders of other judges who have not been touched by scandal and whose personal integrity is not in question. But the ideological bias of a judge is quite a different matter from the personal motivations and conflict of interest that could have informed Justice Sabharwal's orders. That is the substance of this story.

In his final statement to the media before he retired in January 2007, Justice Sabharwal said that the decision to implement the sealing in Delhi was the most difficult decision he had made during his tenure as chief justice. Perhaps it was. Tough Love can't be easy.

In May 2007, the Delhi edition of the evening paper Mid Day published detailed investigative stories (and a cartoon) alleging serious judicial misconduct on the part of Justice Sabharwal. The articles are available on the internet. The charges Mid Day made have subsequently been corroborated by the Committee for Judicial Accountability, an organisation that counts senior lawyers, retired judges, professors, journalists and activists as its patrons. The charges in brief are:

1 That Y.K. Sabharwal's sons Chetan and Nitin had three companies: Pawan Impex, Sabs Exports and Sug Exports whose registered offices were initially at their family home in 3/81, Punjabi Bagh, and were then shifted to their father's official residence at 6, Motilal Nehru Marg.

2. That while he was a judge in the Supreme Court but before he became chief justice, he called for and dealt with the sealing of commercial properties case in Delhi. (This was impropriety. Only the chief justice is empowered to call for cases that are pending before a different bench.) .

3. That at exactly this time, Justice Sabharwal's sons went into partnership with two major mall and commercial complex developers, Purshottam Bagheria (of the fashionable Square 1 Mall fame) and Kabul Chawla of Business Park Town Planners (BPTP) Ltd. That as a result of Justice Sabharwal's sealing orders, people were forced to move their shops and businesses to malls and commercial complexes, which pushed up prices, thereby benefiting Justice Sabharwal's sons and their partners financially and materially.

4. That the Union Bank gave a Rs 28 crore loan to Pawan Impex on collateral security which turned out to be non-existent. (Justice Sabharwal says his sons' companies had credit facilities of up to Rs 75 crore.)

5. That because of obvious conflict of interest, he should have recused himself from hearing the sealing case (instead of doing the opposite—calling the case to himself.)

6. That a number of industrial and commercial plots of land in NOIDA were allotted to his sons' companies at throwaway prices by the Mulayam Singh/ Amar Singh government while Justice Sabharwal was the sitting judge on the case of the Amar Singh phone tapes (in which he issued an order restricting their publication.)

7. That his sons bought a house in Maharani Bagh for Rs 15.46 crore. The source of this money is unexplained. In the deeds they have put down their father's name as Yogesh Kumar (uncharacteristic coyness for boys who don't mind running their businesses out of their judge father's official residence.)

All these charges are backed by what looks like watertight, unimpeachable documentation. Registration deeds, documents from the Union ministry of company affairs, certificates of incorporation of the various companies, published lists of shareholders, notices declaring increased share capital in Nitin and Chetan's companies, notices from the Income Tax department and a CD of recorded phone conversations between the investigating journalist and the judge himself.

These documents seem to indicate that while Delhi burned, while thousands of shops and businesses were sealed and their owners and employees deprived of their livelihood, Justice Sabharwal's sons and their partners were raking in the bucks. They read like an instruction manual for how the New India works.

When the story became public, another retired chief justice, J.S. Verma, appeared on India Tonight, Karan Thapar's interview show on CNBC.

He brought all the prudence and caution of a former judge to bear on what he said: "…if it is true, this is the height of impropriety…every one who holds any public office is ultimately accountable in democracy to the people, therefore, the people have right to know how they are functioning, and higher is the office that you hold, greater is the accountability…." Justice Verma went on to say that if the facts were correct, it would constitute a clear case of conflict of interest and that Justice Sabharwal's orders on the sealing case must be set aside and the case heard all over again.

This is the heart of the matter. This is what makes this scandal such a corrosive one. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been devastated. If it is true that the judgement that caused this stands vitiated, then amends must be made.


But are the facts correct?

Scandals about powerful and well-known people can be, and often are, malicious, motivated and untrue. God knows that judges make mortal enemies—after all, in each case they adjudicate there is a winner and a loser. There's little doubt that Justice Y.K. Sabharwal would have made his fair share of enemies. If I were him, and if I really had nothing to hide, I would actually welcome an investigation. In fact, I would beg the chief justice to set up a commission of inquiry. I would make it a point to go after those who had fabricated evidence against me and made all these outrageous allegations.

What I certainly wouldn't do is to make things worse by writing an ineffective, sappy defence of myself which doesn't address the allegations and doesn't convince anyone (Times of India, September 2, 2007).

Equally, if I were the sitting chief justice or anybody else who claims to be genuinely interested in 'upholding the dignity' of the court (fortunately this is not my line of work), I would know that to shovel the dirt under the carpet at this late stage, or to try and silence or intimidate the whistle-blowers, is counter-productive. It wouldn't take me very long to work out that if I didn't order an inquiry and order it quickly, what started out as a scandal about a particular individual could quickly burgeon into a scandal about the entire judiciary.

But, of course, not everybody sees it that way.

Days after Mid Day went public with its allegations, the Delhi high court issued suo motu notice charging the editor, the resident editor, the publisher and the cartoonist of Mid Day with Contempt of Court. Three months later, on September 11, 2007, it passed an order holding them guilty of criminal Contempt of Court. They have been summoned for sentencing on September 21.

What was Mid Day's crime? An unusual display of courage? The high court order makes absolutely no comment on the factual accuracy of the allegations that Mid Day levelled against Justice Sabharwal. Instead, in an extraordinary, almost yogic manoeuvre, it makes out that the real targets of the Mid Day article were the judges sitting with Justice Sabharwal on the division bench, judges who are still in service (and therefore imputing motives to them constitutes Criminal Contempt): "We find the manner in which the entire incidence has been projected appears as if the Supreme Court permitted itself to be led into fulfilling an ulterior motive of one of its members.

The nature of the revelations and the context in which they appear, though purporting to single out former Chief Justice of India, tarnishes the image of the Supreme Court. It tends to erode the confidence of the general public in the institution itself. The Supreme Court sits in divisions and every order is of a bench. By imputing motive to its presiding member automatically sends a signal that the other members were dummies or were party to fulfil the ulterior design."


Nowhere in the Mid Day articles has any other judge been so much as mentioned. So the journalists are in the dock for an imagined insult. What this means is that if there are several judges sitting on a bench and you have proof that one of them has given an opinion or an order based on corrupt considerations or is judging a case in which he or she has a clear conflict of interest, it's not enough. You don't have a case unless you can prove that all of them are corrupt or that all of them have a conflict of interest and all of them have left a trail of evidence in their wake. Actually, even this is not enough. You must also be able to state your case without casting any aspersions whatsoever on the court. (Purely for the sake of argument: What if two judges on a bench decide to take turns to be corrupt? What would we do then?)

So now we're saddled with a whole new school of thought on Contempt of Court: Fevered interpretations of imagined insults against unnamed judges. Phew! We're in La-la Land.

In most other countries, the definition of Criminal Contempt of Court is limited to anything that threatens to be a clear and present danger to the administration of justice. This business of "scandalising" and "lowering the authority" of the court is an absurd, dangerous form of censorship and an insult to our collective intelligence.

The journalists who broke the story in Mid Day have done an important and courageous thing. Some newspapers acting in solidarity have followed up the story. A number of people have come together and made a public statement further bolstering that support. There is an online petition asking for a criminal investigation. If either the government or the courts do not order a credible investigation into the scandal, then a group of senior lawyers and former judges will hold a public tribunal and examine the evidence that is placed before them. It's all happening. The lid is off, and about time too.


Click here to sign the 'Investigate Justice Sabharwal Petition' to the President of India

© Outlook Publishing (India) Private Limited

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Conflict among desperate Chinese revisionists

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

Intro note:

In a recent “Open Letter” in China (of 12.07.2007), reproduced today in a message to the MLL mailing list (whose description among other things says, “We stand in the tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, and we are proud of this.”), some representatives of the ruling revisionists in China who apparently are holding relatively high posts among them have expressed a relatively quite strong dissatisfaction with the policies of the main ruling revisionists there.

In the below, I’m reproducing that message, so as further to contribute towards making that document from China known. It’s a quite interesting and tell-tale one, in my opinion.

Some excerpts from that document were brought already, for instance, by the UK Conservative newspaper The Telegraph in an articleNews with brief comments” (NWBC), the next day. on 18.07, which I commented on in item 285 of my series ”

This “Open Letter” is a clear sign of how very hard pressed are all those traitors to socialism in China, the new exploiters and really fascist-type oppressors there, by the vast majority of people in China, and by the vast majority of people on the whole globe too. It’s a sign of how desperate their situation already is, despite their regime’s being massively supported and held under its arms by all the forces of international imperialism.

The persons who signed that “Open Letter” even pretended, in it, to be “adherents of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought”. They of course are not that, as can clearly be seen in that document of theirs. If they were, they would be calling for the overthrow of the revisionist, fascist regime in China – and such a just and necessary call in the conditions now reigning there of course can only be disseminated “underground” and at the risk of most severe persecution. Most probably such calls have already been put forward in China too, perhaps in many places there, but the imperialists, to whom support of the present arch-reactionary regime in China is vital, of course are doing everything they can to prevent any such from becoming known to the masses of people in other countries.

The desperate fear of the Chinese revisionists precisely of Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought is manifesting itself internationally for instance in the fact that, in fascist manner and with the support and active co-operation of the US and other imperialists too, they have erected a “Great Firewall of China” – see a website also called by that name and bringing information about that “Firewall” – which blocks many websites from even being accessible from within The People’s Republic of China itself.

Furthermore, the Chinese revisionists several times recently have engaged in their fascist-type activities, intended to suppress the dissemination of information and of criticism against the reactionaries, also internationally, by massively attacking with technical disturbance actions such an important website as the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA) in order to prevent everybody on earth from accessing it. (See for instance my NWBC item 241 .) In this manner, the regime of the revisionists in China even is acting as a spearhead, in a certain respect, of the entire present-day international system of capitalist-imperialist oppression.

The authors of the recent “Open Letter” in China are adherents and representatives of that regime too, for instance openly lauding that infamous traitor to socialism in that country, even the main perpetrator of the overthrow of it, in 1976-78, Deng Xiaoping, calling for his – likewise arch-reactionary – policies to be followed and openly vilifying that massive resistance against them by the people which was expressed in the countrywide demonstrations in May-June 1989. (On that overthrow, see above all Info #270en Subjects in postings” section under “China, the overthrow of socialism in”.) and also other Infos listed in my homepage’s “

Here follows that message to the MLL mailing list which reproduced the recent “Open Letter” in China.


[QUOTE:]

Från: editor_revdem@indiatimes.com
Datum: den 9 augusti 2007 02:49 [CET]
Till: marxist-leninist-list@lists.econ.utah.edu
Ämne: [MLL] Chinese Maoists speak up

OPEN LETTER

Chinese Maoists speak up against the economic policies of the Party and government

Our Views on the Black Brick Kiln and Other Incidents and Recommendations for the 17th Party Congress

by Ma Bin, et al.

Let us refer to a famous poem by Mao that stirs excitement among us all: “A cuckoo is crying in the midnight until she throws up blood; she believes that her crying can bring the east wind back!” We deeply hope our respected leaders will stir up the east wind!

General Secretary Hu Jintao and the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Standing Committee Members, Members and alternates:

In your June 25 speech at the Central Party School, you highlighted the importance of strengthening inner-party democracy, asking all party members to increase their awareness of anxieties. According to this call, we make the following recommendations.

The Shanxi black brick kiln incident has been uncovered, and some similar cases are still being discovered. For us communists, it is neither right nor possible to treat or even speak of such incidents as inevitable phenomena of the primary stage of socialism. This was obviously a capitalist scene, incorporating certain scenes of cruel exploitation, and the tragic, dog-eat-dog world of primitive accumulation under feudalism and slavery. The mission of The Communist Manifesto and of the CPC is to eliminate exploitation and to liberate all mankind, and these incidents are totally contradictory to our philosophy.

The Shanxi black brick kiln case shows that there are many dark sides of our country that run completely counter to the socialist system and communist ideology. For example, mining accidents that have occurred constantly for years have claimed the precious lives of many good workers. The private coal mine owners take advantage of these workers to squeeze out millions and millions to fund their own luxury cars and residences — some of the large enterprises owned by the wealthiest men increase by billions every year. If these things continue to develop unhindered, will what we are building still be a socialist system? For instance, the state-owned enterprises, which many of us have worked hard for several decades to build, have been undermined by a variety of methods, sold off or even given away for nothing, becoming what is euphemistically called collective enterprises, although they are in fact private. Former party secretaries and plant bosses become big capitalists, while continuing to act as party members and secretaries. Is this consistent with The Communist Manifesto and the Communist Party’s founding principles? Needless to say, in the whole country, the vast majority of SOEs were also developed bit by bit through the hard work of hundreds of millions of working people under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee.

Now, the majority of property rights does not belong to the people and have become the property of private owners. Those manual workers, migrant workers, and even child laborers in the private sector, workshops, mines, and shops receive low wages to do extraordinary work while others suffer the injustice of unpaid labor in dark environments. We are afraid that this is not the only instance of black brick kiln abuses, and there may be many similar cases in other places. We eliminate pornography and illegal publications every year, but it is said that millions of women are forced to engage in the cruel physical ravages of prostitution. As a result, a number of parents and children of these families suffer through life. Do we really have no way to deal with these problems? Must we take a “laissez-faire” approach?

We still have a lot of large and medium-sized state-owned enterprises that can be managed well. There is no reason to be auctioned to foreign enterprises only for them to grip our domestic market and squeeze our national economic development. The media recently reported that the state will allow foreign capital to enter the Chinese military industrial enterprises and purchase shares in joint ventures. Even if the approval was granted only for the production of ancillary equipment and parts, it is still very disturbing and should be opposed. Without reliable auxiliaries, how can we expect reliable weapons? Regardless of the weapon, it only takes one problem with parts to make normal operation impossible, and any explosion can cause fatal accidents! In addition, they will steal our intelligence, know our capabilities, and encroach upon our entire military production system!

We have a number of provincial, municipal, and county leaders who do not highly regard national wealth and property and will do nothing when it is cheaply sold to others. Compared to domestic private enterprises, joint ventures, and wholly foreign-owned enterprises, how much of China’s current GDP is produced by state-owned enterprises? Can our basic economic institution, which is underlined by public ownership, withstand the test of time? Why have state agencies, including the Department of Statistics, not announced the statistics on proportion among different ownership sectors in the economy for many years? Workers and farmers have lost their status as masters, and the workers are either temporarily laid off or permanently unemployed with modest compensation. New land exploitation of the farmers and rich peasants, which we uprooted in the 1950s, has already begun to occur in rural areas.

In the process of economic reform, the top-down style of growing corruption, degradation of many leading cadres, and betrayal of the motherland and the people run rampant. The above issues are indeed shocking and infuriating. But every time, issues are only highlighted separately during a specific period of time. Soon after, big issues are turned into little ones and little ones turned into nothing at all. There have been very few instances where the problem is dealt with in a manner appropriate to its severity. None of the major leaders are held accountable for their actions and are dismissed or prosecuted. Only a few extremely severe cases of corruption have resulted in a few years of imprisonment, or death penalty with reprieve at most. Corrupt officials are seldom sentenced to death. In the past, a lot of these cadres might have been good, and it was only wrong ideological tendencies that caused them to betray the party and people.

There are countless concerns and troubles occurring every day, and the list goes on: bubbles in the stock market, increased prices, removal of factories without guidance, resettlement of people, speculation of real estate, soaring prices. In addition, the low-end exporting policy has led to low wages and exploitation of workers, high energy consumption and heavy pollution, etc. More seriously, some localities defy central orders and do not report to the central government or simply ignore instructions from above. The illegal black brick kiln scandal exposed us to very serious problems regarding the future of the Party and the country, which we should now face without hesitation. This is the “cause” we are working for. Is it possible that we have digressed to the wrong road, which will lead us elsewhere?

Now, the expanding social gap has become one of the largest in the world. According to recent World Bank estimates, China’s GINI index of 0.469 has already surpassed the U.K., the U.S., and Japan, and even developing countries such as India, Indonesia, and Egypt. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said that, if reform and opening leads to polarization, it is obvious that we are digressing. Digression is nothing but a mistake and the road of capitalism. Reform and opening have already been occurring for so many years, and yet the above social issues are only becoming more serious with development. Why do we still insist on the wrong things?

On the surface, some skyscrapers have been built, along with a lot of joint ventures or foreign-owned enterprises, and state-owned enterprises have merged and expanded. But if we look past appearances to the truth, we see that the problems are growing, especially the above-mentioned dark issues. How should we respond? Can we say on the surface of the facade is the road to a better-off life? Foreign bourgeoisie and the capitalist state leaders are secretly delighted about two things: the surface of the facade and speech that sidesteps and covers conflicts. Our people see that these negative issues have not changed after all, and are anxious and fearful about the Party, country, the peoples’ future and destiny, and worry that they themselves will eventually have no one or anything to depend on.

The tragedy of the Soviet Union’s and socialist Eastern European countries’ collapse and the lessons from the decline of the international communist movement that took place after the 1980s are still fresh in our minds. Imperialism, capitalism, and their agents, have encircled and suppressed us in the areas of politics, ideology, economic and political finance, educational methods, national defence and the military, diplomatic, and national issues, and religion. They have penetrated very deep. However, we see that the effects are not great, and their measures are not effective. Although we often talk about peace, cooperation, and harmony, there are indications that they are doing whatever they can to prepare the military siege against us, ready to launch a war of aggression or the threat to use force. We can currently say that the Party and government have seriously detached themselves from the people. Precarious is China’s socialism! The Chinese people have reached another extremely critical time!

Faced with this kind of domestic and international situation, the majority of party members, especially the old comrades who had received Party education for many years, were are all burning with anxiety, waiting for the Central Party to take effective measures and act quickly and courageously to resolutely lead the whole party, the armed forces, and the people from the “evil path,” the danger of which Comrade Deng Xiaoping warned of long ago.

We hope in the near future it is necessary to convene the 7th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress, which should, from the black brick kiln incident as the breakthrough, summarize and reflect upon our political ideology and basic guidelines in order to, again, uphold the truth and correct the mistakes. In the 17th Party Congress we should make the decision to establish Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as the political ideology that meets the needs of the majority of people. We sincerely recommend to the Party Central Committee that the brick kiln incidents are not excluded. We cannot talk about this issue superficially while doing nothing (the just-concluded 28th meeting of the NPC Standing Committee adopted a “Labor Contract Law,” yet the media did not show the chairman, vice chairman, and members of the Standing Committee saying a word of the Shanxi black brick kiln incident). It should be seen as a very important breakthrough and an alarm calling for the whole Party to correct the wrong path we are on.

Chairman Mao said: “the Communist Party is the core power leading our activity, and Marxism-Leninism is the guiding principle of our thought, whether our ideological and political line is correct decides everything.” This is the undeniable truth. Comrade Hu Jintao said: “at any time and under any circumstances, we must always hold high the great banner of Mao Zedong Thought.” This is completely correct. We fully and strongly support such reform and eagerly look forward to implementing it practically and effectively in the future.

Our party has a glorious tradition, which is: be open and upright, do not engage in machinations; breed unity and not division; unite under the correct determination. In the interests of the people, we overcome difficulties and strive for a greater victory. Therefore, to have a fully democratic environment, the Central Committee must set an example for the entire party, and create a new situation of freedom that allows party criticism of fine traditions and cadres’ ability to speak their minds. The CPC Central Committee needs to listen to the majority of people, especially the workers and peasants, concentrated in line with the correct Marxist views, and establish the 17th Party Congress as one which opens a correct path, achieves united victory, and is of great historical significance. We must adhere to the truth without hesitation, and be ready to correct mistakes, which is a very arduous task.

We recommend that we launch a study of Marxist theory before the 7th Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee and the 17th Party Congress. The central government should decide to select some important documents of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, such as The Communist Manifesto, Anti-Duhring, The State and Revolution, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, “Serving the People,” “Yu Gong Yi Shan,” “Study Bethune,” “Combat Liberalism,” “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” and other works of Chairman Mao, as well as the full lyrics of two songs, “The International” and “The Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention,” and have members of the Central Committee Central Commission of Discipline Inspection and representatives of the 17th Party Congress to run classes of seriously study. We should also organize and help all of the Party members to study as long as they have the ability to read.

We recommend that, before the 7th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress of the CCP and the 17th Party Congress, we should begin to criticize democratic socialism, socialist revisionism, and bourgeois liberalization according to Marxism. Without abolishment, there is no establishment; without difficulty, there is no success. Without criticizing these erroneous ideas, it is impossible to truly uphold Marxism as the guiding principle and political guideline, and it would even undermine the construction of socialism. At the turn of spring and summer in 1989, because of bourgeois liberalization, a counterrevolutionary riot broke out. Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the nature of the riot was “bourgeois liberalization and opposition to ‘The Four Basic Principles.’ The goal of the riot was to “subvert our country and our party.” The most important lesson is that “we address the importance of the ‘The Four Basic Principles,’ ideological and political work, anti-bourgeois liberalization, and anti-spiritual pollution, but we lacked consistency, action, or did not tackle these problems adequately.” He also pointed out: “In the 6th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress of the CCP, I said that we needed 20 years more to fight against bourgeois liberalization. Now it seems that it will be more than 20 years. The rampant spread of bourgeois liberalization will lead to extremely grave consequences” (Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, the third volume, 305, 374).

Today the spread of bourgeois liberalization is greater than ever. In addition to the aggressive propaganda of bourgeois liberalization, there is another thought of bourgeois liberalization disguising itself as Marxism, and that is democratic socialism. It seriously distorts Marxist scientific socialism and denies the fundamental principles of scientific socialism — public ownership of instruments of production and dictatorship of the proletariat. It is attempting to turn China into a bourgeois country, which is the vassal of Western countries. It may confuse people because it disguises itself under the cloak of Marxism. We should seriously criticize it.

In short, we must thoroughly criticize all wrong anti-Marxist thinking, and establish order from this chaos to ensure the guiding status of Marxism. We suggest that the 17th Party Congress make decisions to restore the party as a vanguard of the working class, correct the wrong ideas of “dual vanguards”, and change the erroneous regulation that allows capitalists to join the party. The vanguard nature of the working class has been clearly regulated since The Communist Manifesto. As early as in 1879, when the heads of the social democrats, Bernstein, and others opened the doors of communist parties to the “educated, philanthropic” assets, and attempted to change the Party into a “full party,” Marx and Engels immediately denounced the idea, and said that if they persisted in this thinking, they would have to resign or at least remove themselves from Party leadership positions (see The Complete Works of Marx and Engels, the third volume, 367). Since the establishment of the Communist Party of China, we have been maintaining the fundamental principle that the CPC is the vanguard of the working class. On June 9, 1952 the CPC Central Committee stressed in a document that: “No party members should be allowed to exploit others (regardless of whether it was feudal exploitation or capitalist exploitation). If they are reluctant to give up exploitation, or continue exploitation through kulak or other forms, they should be unconditionally expelled from the party.” On September 16, 1956, Deng Xiaoping, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, pointed out that “in the report on the amendments to the Party constitution, Party members must engage in labor and not exploit the working people. We must make every Party member firmly draw a line between labor and exploitation.” These fundamental principles had been maintained until the 16th Party Congress. Since the 16th Party Congress, there has been a closer relationship between the Party and bourgeoisie but a more distant relationship between the Party and workers, peasants, and working intelligentsia, and this is quite dangerous. We recommend that the 17 Party Congress restore previous regulations about the characteristics of the Party and the requirements for membership, readopting the correct Marxist stance.

For those capitalists who have already become Party members, we can give them two options: 1. Continue to be Party members by ending exploitation, returning the instruments of production currently used for exploitation to the Party and People’s government, and becoming laborers that depend on themselves; or 2. Automatically resign from the Party and continue to be capitalists, but love the country, obey laws, and make contributions to the motherland. Some of them may join democratic parties on a voluntary basis.

Looking at the current facts, we have to confess that China’s reform is heading towards changing public ownership to private ownership and socialism to capitalism. If the 17th Party Congress continues firmly down this path, a Yeltsin-type person will emerge, and the Party and country will tragically be destroyed very soon. However, since the specific conditions in China are different from the former Soviet Union’s, the Chinese version of Yeltsin may not publicly announce the dissolution of the Communist Party, change the name of the country, or sell our territory. Rather, they will use Marxism-Leninism and the five-star red flag to disguise themselves and deceive the people. How did this problem begin? The answer lies in 20 years of implementing the wrong policy guided by wrong ideology.

We cannot solve the fundamental problems only by adding a few social welfare policies and imprisoning some corrupt officials if we are not able to break ideological restraints, correct the privatization of the reform policy, and change the wrong regulation that allow capitalists to become Party members. Without these changes, we will face endless disasters. We hope that the Central comrades in leadership can truly understand the significance of these issues.

We sincerely hope and suggest that we thoroughly deny the wrong theories and paths, thinking and approach routes to completely break away from the wrong theoretical ideas. We should take firm action to return to the revolutionary road and list Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as the Party’s sole guiding ideology, rather than only airing another wave of words. As long as we implement the above policies faithfully, all the serious problems existing in politics, theory, ideology, culture, education, economy, agriculture, industry, military, national defence, diplomacy, foreign trade, government officials, corruption, and the elimination of pornography, illegal publications, and gangs will be fundamentally resolved.

Faced with such a grim situation and in this extremely important historical juncture, we also recommend that the Central Standing Committee and the Politburo consider the best options, eliminate the various negative factors, and overcome adversity to change the current negative situation. The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau should call on the entire party to relate the reality of China today with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought on the proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship, the history of the Communist Party of China, the history of the international working class struggle, colonial history, and study them. Leading cadres should not worry about personal gains or losses, but rather ensure that all true views of Party members can be expressed.

Given the long absence of inner-Party Democracy and rigid hierarchy, Party leaders have detached themselves from the people, and erroneous working styles, such as bureaucratism, sectarianism, formalism, opportunism, and liberalism run rampant. Most of the people have acclimated to taking cues from the boss rather than speaking their own minds or putting forth different ideas. If this problem cannot be solved, the Party Congress and NPC will not have positive results.

Therefore, we recommend that the CPC Central Committee makes an official decision and informs the whole party that the Central Committee members, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection members, representatives of the 17th Party Congress, and all of the Party members criticizing the government or putting forth different ideas should not be blamed, placed in prison, supervised, or killed, and their relatives and friends must be kept safe. We must enable everyone to speak the truth. It is imperative to recall and carry forward the spirits and lessons of the Zunyi Meeting during the Long March and Yanan Rectification Campaign in the 1940s.

Meanwhile, our Party should make a decision to welcome the retired former Party and state leaders to support the Party Congress and NPC. As for the propaganda that has been proven wrong, related comrades should, following the Party’s discipline, actively avoid any restatement of these expositions and be wary of making historical mistakes. The central leaders should hold high the great banner of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as a guide, and take the lead in conducting self-criticism. They should seek truth from facts and adopt the attitude of “speaking the truth without caring about losing face” to systematically and comprehensively summarize the experience of reform and opening in the past 30 years — what progress or error has been made and what lessons can be learned in order to uphold the truth and correct our errors. We should make policies that truthfully consider the principles of socialism and the interests of workers, peasants, and the people. Regardless of how principles and policies are made or who is responsible for them, as long as they are anti-Marxist, they are inconsistent with the interests of the people previously mentioned and should be totally rejected.

The economy may be temporarily impacted, but it will gain the sincere support of the broad masses, and will therefore greatly promote political and economic unity, as well as greater development. We have friends all over the world, and we will develop.

On the issue of how to select candidates for the 17th Party Congress, we suggest that the Central Committee adheres to the principle of meritocracy. The candidates must be the ones who uphold Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought, become close to the people, contribute to peoples’ interests, as well as the cause of Communism, dare to maintain truth, correct mistakes, and have high moral standards and ability, and are self-disciplined rather than caring too much about personal gain or loss.

We suggest that the Central Committee adjust the name list according to the situation of the 7th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress and 17th Party Congress. The decision should be made through competitive elections regulated by the Party Constitution, which was the case in the 7th Party Congress.

We suggest that the Central Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the General Secretary be elected by all the representatives of the 17th Party Congress or the Central Committee in direct competitive elections.

We firmly believe that if the leading comrades of the Party Central Committee can make up their minds, realize the problems we face, and truly return to the Marxist-Leninist Mao Zedong revolutionary stance without fear of pain, shame, evil, or pressure, we can summon the spirit of revolutionary struggle, work together to overcome difficulties, turn the tide, captivate the world, and firmly correct the direction of socialism.

We can also unite the whole Party and all the comrades who participated in the 17th Party Congress and make correct Marxist and Socialist policies through study, discussion, debate, and united understanding, thinking, and action.

Only through the above actions can the 17th Party Congress be a successful, united, and historically important one, which holds high the great banner of Marxist-Mao Zedong thought and follows the correct path. The Chinese people and our friends from all over the world will support and praise us. The Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo will also be successful. We will certainly be able to build a better country, and the Chinese people will be able to have a better future.

Finally, let us refer to a famous poem written by Mao that stirs excitement within us all: “A cuckoo is crying in the midnight until she throws up blood; she believes that her crying can bring the east wind back!” We deeply hope our respected leaders will stir up the east wind!

Please deeply consider the above proposals and adopt them.

Ma Bin (former consultant, State Council Development Research Center)
Zhou Chuntian (former director, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Advisory Committee)
Li Chengrui (former director of the State Statistics Bureau)
Qin Zhongda (former minister of the Chemical Industry Ministry)
Mao Linchun (former deputy minister of the metallurgical Industry Ministry)
Wu Fanwu (former State Department Bureau of Foreign Experts)
Yang Shouzheng (former Chinese ambassador to the Soviet Union)
Hua Guang (wife of Zhang Haifeng, former Chinese ambassador to Romania, and former minister of political affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Romania)
Han Xiya (former alternate secretary of the All China Federation of Trade Unions)
Zang Naiguang (former deputy chief executive of the Bank of China)
Xu Chengzhi (former director of the Political Affairs Department of the PLA Railway Corps)
Long Guilin (former chief of staff of the PLA Railway Corps)
Bai Xuetian (former political commissar of a People’s Liberation Army tank division)
Chen Xiao (former deputy director general of the Political Affairs Department of the PLA Navy)
Yu Quanyu (member of the CPPCC National Committee, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
Xu Fei (associate professor of the Communication University of China)
Mo Mengzhe (editor, Institute of Contemporary China )

July 12, 2007

Translation by Nicole Dabney, Ying Zhang, and Guanhui Dai. This open letter was posted to A-List by Henry C. K. Liu, who says that it is “creating much debate in Chinese political circles.”
Source:mrzine.monthlyreview.org/china070807.html

Posted in China | Leave a Comment »

Tribals prevented from paying homage to martyrs

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

4/21/2006

BY V L Srinivasan & S Anil Kumar

Indervelli (Adilabad Dist), April 20: “People’s heroes are immortal,” says the inscription on the 15-foot-high memorial erected in this tribal village in memory of 13 (by official count) Gond tribals who were shot dead at the spot by the police exactly a quarter century ago.

Tucked away some 18 km from the national highway, Indervelli, also known as the second Jallianwala Bagh, caught the world’s attention when police opened fire at a massive gathering of Gonds who had come to attend a meeting organised by the Grijana Rythu Coolie Sangham on 20 April 1981. While police records show that only 13 persons were killed, the toll was estimated to be much higher, and scores of others were injured.

As is its wont, the district administration decided not to allow a single villager in the vicinity of the memorial to pay homage to those who fell to the hail of bullets, and posted more than 500 police personnel from three sub-divisions — Utnoor, Mancherial and Adilabad.

To ensure that the tribals did not congregate at the venue, the authorities imposed Section 144 in all villages between Gudi Hathnoor and Utnoor mandals for three days.

Buses and autos were not allowed on the road leading to Indervelli, causing much hardship to the people, especially students appearing for the Class VII common examination, in nearly two dozen villages. ”Today is the last exam and we are somewhat relieved,” said 12-year-old Ganga, a resident of Emaikunta. She has had to walk with her peers to Indervelli, which is three km away, in the scorching sun to write the test.

”We did not allow the tribals here because the Naxalites would then have mingled with the crowd and created a law and order problem,” a senior police official told Express.

Apparently, the anxiety stems from the alleged seizure of literature by the special operations group in an “encounter” with Naxalites that purportedly revealed that the Maoists were planning to hold a massive rally to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the incident.

Pittabongaram village head Wetti Rajeshwar, whose mother, Isrubai, was one of the witnesses to the outrage and who died just two months ago, said there had been no development of their rain-dependent area. ”My mother was not paid any compensation after the incident. No one gives us the pattas and we don’t know what to do,” he said.

Kinaka Mankubai is another eyewitness. She suffered two bullet injuries in her shoulders and has been leading a lonely life as none would marry her and ekes out a livelihood by working as a labourer. ”She too did not get any relief from Government,” Rajeshwar said.

Determined to honour the martyrs, Indervelli ZPTC Kanaka Tukaram, vowed the tribals would visit the memorial after five days.

Posted in Andrapredesh, Martyres week | Leave a Comment »

Rebels’ kitty swells by Rs 40cr each year

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007


Ranchi, Sept. 25: A section of contractors, transporters and businessmen involved in illegal mining pay over Rs 40cr annually as levy to CPI(Maoist) in the state.

The Maoists have presence in about 18 districts at present and are currently engaged in covert exercises to cement their base in six districts in Santhal Pargana.

Inputs garnered by the state police and intelligence agencies suggest that rebels collect levy mainly from the illegal miners of iron ore and coal.

Even a section of contractors involved in government projects and transporters oblige the extremists by paying hefty amounts at regular intervals. Else, they cannot run their business, intelligence officials said.

A part of the levy, claimed the additional director-general of police (special branch), G.S. Rath, is sent to the central committee and a part to the local committee.

“This illegal money is also used to carry out various training programmes, purchase explosives, arms and ammunition,” said the additional director-general of police (special branch).

A recently prepared seven-page report by the state police headquarters, “Naxalite scenario in Jharkhand state”, reveals that levy collec- tion has become a serious threat for the development of the state.

The report stated that the police were able to recover over Rs 1.75 crore from some of the over 2,500 arrested rebels since the creation of the state.

Besides, 8,500kg of explosives, 2,000 weapons, 45,431 ammunition, 1,033 bombs and landmines were also seized during different combing operations and raids against the rebels.

Police officials confessed that the money seized by the state police is “peanuts” compared to the amount collected by the rebels in the state in a year.

Against this backdrop, director-general of police V.D. Ram has directed the district police chiefs to go all out to arrest and lodge cases against the rebels harassing businessmen and contractors for levy.

Spokesperson of the state police R.K. Mallick said the number of cases lodged against the rebels has increased enormously in the recent past.

“We are working to create a situation where the rebels would not dare to demand levy from any quarters,” Mallick said.

The report also claimed that the Maoists have planned to unleash more planned attacks on police, railways, paramilitary forces to loot weapons and demoralise jawans in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Bihar in the near future.

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Posted in Jharkhand | Leave a Comment »

The Political Stand Off In Nepal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007


By Harsh Dobhal

25 September, 2007
Countercurrents.org

This week, Maoists have resigned from the government after most governing parties opposed their demand that the monarchy be abolished before the elections scheduled in November. They have clearly accused PM Koirala and his Nepali Congress of trying to protect King Gyanendra and have warned to start a new “people’s revolt” for the abolition of monarchy. Maoists were quick to gather that conservative elements in political parties are gathering together. Other coalition partners contend that the decision about Nepal’s future political system should be decided by a special assembly after the November elections.

Having suffered for decades at the hands of a brutal, Royal Nepalese Army, armed police and king’s other security forces, the people of Nepal rose in millions during the April revolution last year with a clear objective in mind: abolition of the centuries-old monarchy.

Despite American, Chinese and Indian chess games of diplomacy, the people of Nepal succeeded in putting their stamp on history and the king was forced to retreat and give up his absolute and unlimited powers. As in all revolutions, there was always the danger that the forces of reaction would regroup and old hawks of Nepali politics will try to have their way.

After over a decade of underground struggle, Maoists came over ground, disarmed and joined the government with the Seven Party Alliance. They put forward a series of unprecedented proposals for the restoration of true democracy, the disarming of the militia and drafting of a new Constitution. It was a brave decision by Maoists to outline the roadmap for a brave new Nepal.

Maoists, as much as the people, were always clear that monarchy should have no place in Nepali politics, that the country should be immediately declared a Republic. They never had any doubt that Nepal needs a general election, having abolished monarchy where the most marginalized – the dalits, the adivasis, madhesis, vanvasis, women, minorities and other weaker sections – will have adequate representation.

At that time the move was seen as an end to their armed rebellion and this little, beautiful Himalyan nation appeared to be on the threshold of a new era. This week, Maoists have resigned from the government after most governing parties opposed their demands that the monarchy be abolished before the elections scheduled for November.

They have clearly accused Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and his Nepali Congress of trying to protect King Gyanendra and have warned to start a new “people’s revolt” for the abolition of monarchy. Other coalition partners contend that the decision about Nepal’s future political system should be decided by a special assembly after the November elections.

The Maoists had earlier joined the interim government in April 2006, after signing a peace agreement with the government. The new developments simply signify the fact that Nepal’s politics has been slowly but steadily lapsing into complacency from such momentous changes that were paving the way for not just consistent and lasting democratisation of the State but also its secularisation from a declared only Hindu State.

Maoists were quick to gather that conservative elements in political parties are gathering together. However, these forces would be compelled to come to negotiation with Maoists as the tide might rise once again. Maoists may have lost some ground after April Revolution of last year, but they have enough base to win back that ground. And they know it, for otherwise none is going to be as hard hit by new developments as Maoists who had laid down their weapons at a time when the mood in Nepal was upbeat.

The crisis that had been gathering over Nepal howsoever surreptitiously during past few months bode ill for the Maoists. And, they had no option but to take a strong decision to quit the government. Koirala had sadly been missing this till the Maoists decided to part away with his dispensation. Even if the country goes to polls on November 22, the appeal of the Maoists would be powerful, as they have raised more basic issues than merely electing legislators. So it is in the best interest of the government and the people to see as to how the Maoists’ participation in not just polls but the political process is won back.


India has come under Nepalese ire, for Koirala has been blamed of toeing New Delhi’s line. Yet, the fact is that the Manmohan Singh Government is grappling with its own crisis where the Left is miffed by it over the nuclear issue and it lacks the kind of cohesion that it had until last year when the Nepal crisis was solved.


India can facilitate in solving a crisis in a neighbouring country like Nepal, but it can only ill afford to dictate anything to any one. The move by Maoists has raised fresh questions about the peace process and stability in Nepal. Will the feudal, pro-monarchy forces and their external patrons come together for maneuver? Does the political mainstream of Nepal now belong to these elements or to radical forces?


Is the spirit of the April revolution still lingering in the hearts of Nepalese people? Are some of the parties engaging in a conspiracy against the peoples’ aspirations and demands? The answers to these and many other questions will unfold in coming weeks and months.

(harshdobhal@gmail.com )

Posted in Nepal | Leave a Comment »

Dalits to organize ‘Dhikkar Rally’ to mark 1 year of Khairlanji incident

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 26, 2007

khairlanji one year

On September 29, several Dalit organisations across Maharashtra have planned to organize a ‘Dhikkar rally’ in Bhandara just to mark the 1st anniversary of the murder of four members of a Bhaiyalal Bhotmange at Khairlanji village.

On September 29, 2006, four members of the dalit family were reportedly massacred in Kherlanji village in Bhandara, near Nagpur in Maharashtra.

The incident was reported first in some Marathi daily and the mainstream media did not provide any space to this incident till October first week. Some political parties had organised a protest but it remained a mere ritual.

DNA had reported about the incident on October 7 that Surekha, 44, and her daughter Priyanka, 18, were beaten and gang-raped in front of villagers for an hour before they fell dead. According to the report, Surekha’s sons, Sudhir and Roshan Bhotmange, were murdered in the same incident on September 29.

Bhiyyalal, the head of the family, had managed to save his life when his family was attacked. Later, online media exposed the matter that led it to the nationwide protests. [1], [2]

Now, several Dalit organisations has decided to hold a rally in Bhandara and more than 30,000 people are likely to attend the gathering on September 29. According to the report, a a Dalit cultural front from Mumbai is the main organiser of the rally.

The Khairlanji incident had even given a chance to the various divided Dalit groups to be united against the state government’s poor action taken in this matter.

Later, Naxalites had even taken keen interest and even issued warnings to deliver justice to the perpetrators of the crime. At present, a fast-track court in Bhandara is hearing the case.

Bhandara District Collector S M Sarkunde said that he was unaware of any proposed rally. He said:

We get to know about it only through newspapers. Protests may be held, but we do not think there is any reason for additional security.


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