ON August 7, the whole state of Tripura stood in solidarity with the struggling masses of Bengal as the CPI(M)’s call to observe “Save Democracy in Bengal Day” received huge and spontaneous response from the masses all over the state.
In all the subdivision headquarters of the state, processions and meetings were organised by the divisional committees of the CPI(M). In other areas, similar processions and meetings were organised by the local committees.
In Agartala, braving incessant downpour, a slogan shouting procession started from the Children’s Park, before a packed street corner meeting took place at Paradise Chowmuhani. The procession was led by CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar, CPI(M) Sadar divisional committee secretary Samar Adhyo and others.
Addressing the gathering, Bijan Dhar said more than 100 leaders and cadres of the CPI(M) and other Left Front parties had been murdered in the last two years of the rule of Trinamul Congress (TMC) in West Bengal; more than 30 workers of the Left Front were killed during the last panchayat elections alone. Thousands of people have been evicted from their houses. All the democratic norms were thrown to the wind as no opposition candidates were allowed to file nomination in more than 6000 of seats. Thousands of booths were captured and ballot papers were snatched. Orders of constitutional bodies including the State Election Commission, High Court and even the apex court were disobeyed. It is another thing that despite all this the Left Front fared well in the areas where we could offer resistance by mobilising the masses. These results do indicate that the mass base and support of the TMC are shrinking.
Bijan Dhar said these incidents of murder of democracy are not new to the people of Tripura. We had the same experience here from February 1988 to February 1993. Here too the people’s resistance led to the defeat of the semi-fascist rule of Congress and TUJS. He said, in West Bengal today the attack is not confined to the CPI(M) or Left Front alone. The TMC is not sparing even its former ally, the Congress, or its current ally, the SUCI. In 1972, after the elections to the Bengal state assembly were rigged and a reign of semi-fascist terror was initiated, we had warned that this would not be confined to Bengal alone. That caution of the Left was vindicated when internal emergency was imposed in June 1975. History shows that it is not the communists but the reactionary bourgeois parties who try to uproot the bourgeois parliamentary democracy.
Dhar further said we express our complete solidarity with the masses of Bengal who are fighting for saving democracy and the rights of the people. We believe the parivartan of ‘parivartan’ in Bengal is invincible. In the national level too, the UPA is trying to avoid the parliament and it promulgated the food security ordinance. This is a clear tendency towards curbing democracy. The working class and its political party must attach primary importance to this movement of saving democracy in West Bengal and in the country as a whole. (Rahul Sinha)
THOUSANDS of people marched through the streets of Kolkata on August 7 to protest the attack on democratic rights of the people in recently held panchayat elections in the state. At the call of the Left Front, the march started from Esplanade and went on up to College Street. Biman Basu, Suryakanta Misra and other Left Front leaders were present in the rally.
In a public meeting after the rally, Biman Basu condemned the violent attack on Left Front activists and general people during the elections. He said, the Left Front government declared general amnesty to all political prisoners just after assuming office in 1977. In contrast, the TMC government is blatantly using the administration to arrest hundreds of opposition activists on false cases.
Suryakanta Misra said the Left parties conducted struggle for democracy before the Left led government took office in the sixties and seventies. When Left Front was in office, the struggle was not restricted to Writers’ Building alone. The Left parties continued with the struggle in the fields and streets. Now, under a new situation the fight will continue despite terror.
Misra said, in the panchayat elections the people have sent a warning signal to the TMC government. If they fail to respond to the signal, they will face the wrath of the people.
THE results in the recent panchayat election in Bengal do not truly reflect the verdict of the people as the entire election process had been vitiated with booth capturing, rigging, violent attacks on opposition etc, said CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat in Hyderabad on August 02, 2013. He called upon people outside Bengal to extend full support and solidarity to the heroic fight of Bengal comrades to defend democracy and rights of the people.
Karat was addressing a solidarity meeting with Bengal Left Front organised by the CPI(M) Andhra Pradesh state committee. The meeting held in Sundarayya Vignana Kendram was presided over by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and state secretary B V Raghavulu. Among those who spoke included CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, CPI state secretary K Narayana, RSP secretary Janakiramulu, Forward Block general secretary B Surender Reddy and CPI(ML) Liberation leader Uday Kiran. Although CPI(ML) could not send its representative to the meeting, it sent a message expressing solidarity with the fighting comrades of Bengal. CPI(M) central secretariat member V Sreenivasa Rao was present on the dais.
Karat in his speech depicted the grim picture of Trinamool violence in Bengal during the recent panchayat polls. He said it was during the Left Front regime of 34 years that the panchayat system in Bengal came into existence and became an important instrument of empowering the poor peasants, agricultural workers and others in governance. This had resulted in a big change in rural Bengal. The main aim of Trinamool Congress behind this violent campaign to sieze the panchayats is to undo this empowering. They do not want the poor to have any say in deciding finances and other aspects of panchayat rule, he said. Around 4470 booths were openly rigged; counting process was also manipulated in many areas to ensure victory of TMC candidates. He cited how TMC goons threw bomb and killed the husband of CPI(M) candidate Manwara Biwi in the presence of TV crews for daring to contest the elections.
Karat said he did not agree with those who cite the panchayat poll results to say that TMC has gained strength in rural areas. “Trinamool Congress won these panchayat elections on this false basis. If they think they can continue to dominate the people of Bengal in this violent manner, they are wrong. There is plenty of evidence in the recent polls that people have begun to fight against this goondaism”, he said.
Yechury in his brief speech in Telugu said what is happening in Bengal is a serious class struggle. The TMC government is bent on reversing the land reforms programme of the Left Front by which over 11 lakh hectares of land was transferred from the rich to the poor. There would be more efforts in this direction in the coming period, he felt. The violence and undermining of democracy in Bengal, if not checked, would result in undermining of democracy at the all India level, he warned. In this connection he drew a parallel with the events of 1967, 1972 in Bengal and the imposition of national emergency in 1975. “We had warned then also that it is not just an attack on the Left but an attack on democracy itself. Now also it is an attack on democracy and the rights of people. We have to learn lessons and prevent the danger”, he said. Yechury also called for widespread solidarity actions. Earlier, a booklet brought out in Telugu detailing the present situation in Bengal was released by Yechury on this occasion.
Responding to the call of the Party central committee to observe August 7 as 'Save Democracy in Bengal' day, many rallies, hall meetings were held across the state of Andhra Pradesh. Effigies of Trinamool Congress government were burnt in many mandal headquarters.
Impressive rallies were taken out in Khammam and Warangal districts as also in Srikakulam town while hall meetings were held in Medak, Karimnagar, Guntur, East Godavari districts. CPI(M) central committee member S Veeraiah addressing the meeting in Karimnagar termed the Mamata Banarjee regime as a fascist one and called on people to participate in the struggle to save democracy in Bengal. (INN)
Several hundred activists, men and women, workers, youth, students, on the call of the CPI(M) held a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on August 7, 2013 demanding an end to reign of terror, assaults, arson and murders let lose by Trinamul Congress goons in West Bengal.
The dharna was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury, Central Committee member and general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha Hannan Mollah and Central Committee member and Delhi state secretary PMS Grewal. Delhi state CITU president K M Tiwari and working president of Delhi JMS Asha Sharma also addressed the dharna. Delhi CPI(M) secretariat member Vijender Sharma presided.
The speakers strongly condemned the attacks by Trinamul goons and demanded that they be stopped immediately. The speakers pointed out that in recently held panchayat elections, there were widespread attacks on the CPI(M) and Left Front workers. Around six thousand CPI(M) and Left Front candidates were physically prevented from filing their nominations. Twenty four CPI(M) activists were killed by Trinamul goons between June 3 and July 25. Over 4,700 booths were captured by them. They also emphasised that if these are not stopped in West Bengal now, then there is a danger to democracy in the rest of the country as was witnessed during Emergency in mid-seventies. Today’s dharna was also an expression of solidarity with the fighting people of West Bengal who are braving and struggling against the Trinamul terror, they said.
ON the same day, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat addressed a mass meeting in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, saying that the state sponsored violence and terror in West Bengal is not only against the leaders and activists of the CPI(M) and other Left parties but also against the people of West Bengal in general, including intellectuals, students, youth and women.
The programme was organised by the CPI(M)’s Jharkhand state committee on the slogan of “Save Democracy: Against the Politics of Terror and Violence,” as a part of the countrywide programme of the CPI(M). She referred to the violence, terror, booth capturing, frightening the candidates and sympathisers by the TMC during the recent three- tier panchayat elections.
While elaborating the prevailing situation in West Bengal, she said the terror and violence being faced by the people were not seen before. She said that state sponsored terror and violence targeted the elections to the three-tier panchayat bodies because since the year 1977 to 2008 the panchayats of West Bengal had shifted the class balance in favour of the poor through land reforms. Maximum land was distributed among the landless and other poor during the tenure of the Left Front government. This was the reason that free and fare elections to panchayat bodies could be held during the Left Front government’s rule and that women, dalits and minority people won not only in the reserved seats but also in several general seats. The achievements of the Left Front government in the arena of decentralisation of powers to the grassroots level were unique. She said the attacks on the people in general were aimed to shift the class balance from the poor to the rich and to weaken the panchayati raj system in the state.
The TMC government is not only capturing the panchayats by means of terror and violence but also making mockery of democracy. In the first stage, 6,196 candidates were not allowed to file their nominations. Those who could file nominations while facing threats were brutally attacked; women candidates of the Left Front were the main targets. Their relatives and supporters were attacked; their houses were burnt. The TMC has also showed contempt for any independent institutions, whether it is the State Election Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, or it is the High Court and Supreme Court, Brinda Karat stated. The TMC has made the use of criminals for this state sponsored vandalism. It is nakedly providing shelter to all sorts of criminals. Criminalisation of politics has resulted in alarming deterioration of the law and order situation in West Bengal. Sharda Chit Fund and other corrupt practices have been exposed during the rule of the TMC, the speaker stated.
Another important aspect of the precarious situation of West Bengal is that the Left forces and the democratic people of the state are courageously fighting for their democratic rights, even at the cost of their life. This is the reason the Left parties have won more than 19,000 seats in the recent panchayat elections. On this occasion, Brinda Karat held that we have to take an oath for solidarity with the struggling people of West Bengal and to intensify the Left movement and struggle of the toiling masses in Jharkhand.
Gopikant Baksi, secretary of the Jharkhand state committee of CPI(M), presided over the meeting. Ramchandra Thakur and Prakash Viplav, members of the CPI(M) state secretariat, moved the condolence resolution and political resolution respectively. CPI(M) state secretariat member Surjeet Sinha, CPI(M) state committee member Sanjay Paswan and RSP state secretary Radhakant Jha also addressed the meeting. CPI (M) state secretariat members Mohd Iqbal, Sudhir Kumar Das, D D Ramanandan, Prafull Linda and Gita Jha, Ajay Kumar of the CPI and Jayant Pandey of the AIFB were also present in the meeting.
The state committee of the CPI(M) has decided to hold mass meetings, conventions etc throughout the state in the coming days, especially in district headquarters and industrial centres on the question of defence of democracy in West Bengal. (Gopikant Baksi)
RALLIES and demonstrations were organised at Ropar, Raikot, Ludhiana Satnaur, Hoshiarpur, Nangal, Bhawanigarh and Balachaur in protest against the mounting attacks on democratic rights of the people of West Bengal by the TMC government led by Ms Mamata Banerjee.
Addressing the rally at Ropar, Raghunath Singh said the democratic rights of the people of West Bengal have been under threat since the TMC government came to power in West Bengal, and hundreds of leaders and workers of Left Front parties, especially of the CPI(M), have been killed by TMC patronised goons and anti-social elements since then. Condemning the ongoing violence, misuse of state machinery and the recent rigging of panchayat elections, Singh said all the democratic, peace and justice loving people of Punjab would stand by the Left Front of West Bengal like a rock. He recalled the achievements of the erstwhile Left Front government of West Bengal under the leadership of late Comrade Jyoti Basu, adding that that was the government which protected the life of thousands of Punjabi people in 1984 after the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi when the whole country was in the grip of anti-Sikh riots. The speaker also appreciated the role of West Bengal Left Front in national politics, and its firm position in defence of unity and integrity of the country, democracy and secularism. It also goes to the credit of the Left Front that it has been uncompromisingly opposing the anti-people and anti-national economic policies of both the UPA and the NDA.
Bhoop Chand Channo, Jatinderpal Singh, Darshan Mattu, Sukhminder Sekhon, Mohinder Kumar Badhonwan and several other party leaders addressed the protest rallies in various parts of the state.
THE Bhubaneswar district committee of the CPI(M) organised a procession and demonstration in the city against the TMC politics of terror and violence in West Bengal. This was part of the Save Democracy campaign at the call of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau.
A large number of party cadres took out a procession from the Bhubaneswar railway station and proceeded towards the Lower PMG Square a where protest demonstration was held.
The demonstration was addressed by CPI(M) state secretary Janardan Pati, state secretariat members Dushmanta Das and Suresh Panigrahi, state committee members Tapasi Praharaj, Puspa Das, Jameswar Samantaray and Sarat Das, CPI(M) local committee secretary Pravat Panigrahi, trade union leader Naba Mohanty, tribal leader Sala Maranadi and SFI leader Bikash Nath.
Addressing the protesters, Janardan Pati said the Odisha state unit of the CPI(M) is committed to stand in solidarity with the Bengal unit of the party and the fighting people of the state. He appeals to the Left and progressive forces and the media in Odisha to understand the gravity of the Bengal situation. He added that the ongoing political terror and violence would not last long as the people of Bengal would fight and defeat it as they had done to defeat the semi-fascist terror regime between 1972 and 1977. This, he said, is high time the entire party must stand unitedly and resolutely with this crucial struggle to defeat the politics of terror and violence. (Suresh Panigrahi)