(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 01, 2001
Ajit Sarkar Is Immortal
ON June 13, 1998, the AIKS and AIAWU had jointly held a land convention in Patna, attended by some 300 militant cadres from all over the state. The convention gave the call to seize land, announcing June 26, of that year as the date by which lands that were uncultivated, government lands or ceiling surplus lands would be targeted for launching "take-over movements".
The very next day, on June 14, henchmen belonging to the landlord-criminal-bureaucrat nexus struck. They murdered the popular CPI(M) MLA, Ajit Sarkar who was the guiding light of one of CPI(M)s leading centres of land struggle, Purnea district , and two other comrades, Ashfaqur Rehman and Harendra Sharma. They shot them in broad daylight in Tatma toli and fled.
Who were the killers? They were Anand Margis like Rajan Tiwari, later discovered to be hiding in the house of a BJP MP, in Delhi, and the henchmen of Pappu Yadav, a criminal using the cover of Parliament for his nefarious activities, who is now in jail and expelled from the Samajwadi Party that he had used as a shelter. It now transpires that he has also defrauded the courts in the matter of getting bail. Slowly but surely the law has tightened the noose around his neck.
There was a complete bandh in Purnea on June 15, and a total Bihar Bandh on June 17, in which hundreds of protestors were arrested, including Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi and Subodh Roy, CPI(M) central committee members, Nripendra Krishna Mahto(state secretary of Forward Block), Tarakant Prakash (state secretary of RSP) and Deolal Singh (MCPI leader) at Patna. The only party that tried to belittle the issue was the BJP, but now we know that they were involved in the conspiracy to kill Ajit Sarkar, so they could hardly have done otherwise.
This brutal murder could neither prevent the land struggle from going on, nor the election of Madhavi Sarkar, the widow of Ajit Sarkar from winning the seat after his death. More recently, they have failed to prevent his statue being put up at R N Shah Chowk as they shamelessly put forward the idea of putting a statue of Netaji Subhas Bose there; but expectedly, there were no buyers for the scheme as the mass of Purneas people wanted the statue of their beloved leader, Ajit Sarkar, there. And they got their way.
THIRD ANNIVERSARY OBSERVED
Thousands of people gathered on June 14, 2001 on the occasion of Ajit Sarkar's third death anniversary in Purnea, in front of his newly installed statue at Ajit Chowk. Most of them were adivasis who are forced by landlords, criminals, heartless bureaucrats and a savage police, to live in grinding poverty. But Ajit Sarkar and his comrades had taught them to come together in mass actions and take over the land they used to till for others who took the harvest and left them to starve. It was fitting that his wife, Madhvi, the former MLA, gave a stirring call to continue and expand the struggle for land and promised her full participation in it, after they had all laid flowers at the spot where he and his comrades had been murdered, a spot that is marked with a memorial today.
Those who addressed the rally were Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, CPI(M) state secretary and central committee member, Avdhesh Kumar, AIKS state joint secretary and CPI(M) state secretariat member, and Suneet Chopra, joint secretary of AIAWU and CPI(M) central committee member.
The speakers recounted the passion with which Ajit Sarkar had dedicated himself to the cause of the poor and vowed to carry on the Purnea land movement under a collective leadership in future. This was all the more necessary as job opportunities have become nil and the only way to survive was to take land to grow food on.
Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in his speech highlighted the importance of the recent elections in five states in which BJP has lost ground in all of them. On the other hand, the West Bengal Assembly elections showed that a stable alternative had been chosen by the people for the sixth time running, a world record. Similarly, in the country as a whole, where the Left was much weaker, the emergence of the Lok Morcha had emerged as a ray of hope to replace the BJP in UP and at the centre.
Suneet Chopra pointed out how the CPI(M) countered the politics of conspiracy and murder with those of mass awakening and resistance.
He highlighted the fact that growing unemployment and hunger today in the country is totally an outcome of the government's policies. There was plenty of development work to be done, and some 52 million tonnes of grain rotting in FCI godowns could be used to finance food for work schemes. He criticised the policy of BJP that was importing the expensive machinery of the multinationals from abroad in preference to the cheap labour at home for digging canals, building roads and even harvesting. He said it was shameful that the government is preferring to throw thousands of tonnes of grain into the sea rather than give it to the poor, who are dying of hunger in many parts of the country. He called for the economic struggles to be integrated with a political drive to throw the BJP out of power both in the states and in the centre.
The meeting was presided over by Rajendra Singh and was also addressed by comrades of Ajit Sarkar in struggle: Sunil Singh, Khalil, Parmanand Soren, Sibu Singh, Nagendra Mandal, Mahzar Hassan, CPI Leader Nand Kumar, and the newly elected CPI(M) Zila Parishad President from Supaul District, Baburam Yadav.
The meeting ended with resounding slogans like Ajit Sarkar, Ashfapur Rahman, Harendra Sharma, Amar Hain! Ajit Ke Hatyaron Ko Phansi Do! Bhoomi Andolan Tez Karo!