(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 07, 2008
Protests demanding Reduction in petrol & diesel prices
The following are the state reports received so far on the protests observed jointly by the Left parties, TDP and Janata Dal (Secular) against the UPA government’s refusal to reduce the petrol and diesel prices.
In Tamilnadu, thousands of people took part enthusiastically in the demonstrations called by the Left parties, TDP and Janata Dal(Secular). In Chennai and the coastal districts, the parties raised the issue of flood relief along with the reduction of petrol, diesel prices.
The statewide demonstrations were held in more than 100 centres. The leaders, cadres and supporters of CPI(M), CPI, Janata Dal(Secular) and All India Forward Bloc have participated in a large scale. In Chennai, N Varadarajan, state secretary of CPI(M) led the demonstration. He demanded the reduction of the prices of petrol and diesel immediately. Also, he urged both central and state governments to speed up the flood relief work. He demanded that the people affected by the rain and flood should be given Five thousand rupees each.
Mohammad Ismail, state president of Janata Dal(Secular) took part in the joint demonstration at Nagercoil, Kanyakumari district. He inaugurated the demonstration held there. P V Kathiravan, state general secretary, All India Forward Bloc joined the demonstration in Chennai.
The speakers at the demonstrations came down heavily on the Congress led UPA government that refuses to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel. They questioned the rationale behind the reduction of aviation turbine fuel price when the poor people are suffering from the price rise. The reduction in price of petrol and diesel will result in bringing down the prices of essential commodities, they urged.
On the call given at the national level, opposition parties in the state conducted dharnas and rasta rokos all over the state on December 2, 2008 demanding reduction of prices of petrol and diesel. At several places, the police arrested leaders and workers of different political parties. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and state secretary B V Raghavulu, president of the Telugu Desam Party, N Chandrababu Naidu, CPI state secretary, K Narayana and president of Telangana Rasthra Samithi, K Chandrasekhara Rao were among the leaders arrested. Protesting the arrests, people agitated at several places. The leaders were released later. The issue figured in the proceedings of both the legislative assembly and legislative council. Denouncing the attitude of the central and state governments in not reducing the prices of petrol and diesel and the taxes on them, members of TDP, CPI(M), CPI, TRS, BJP and CPI(ML) New Democracy walked out of the legislative assembly.
A massive dharna was held at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad. B V Raghavulu was obstructed by the police from participating in the dharna. Terming the police highhandedness atrocious, Raghavulu sat on the road at Khairatabad and strongly criticised their action in not allowing him to proceed peacefully to meet the governor for representing the issue to him. Later, the police took Raghavulu and state secretariat member of the CPI(M) Y Venkateswara Rao to the dharna centre where the police arrested them along with Chandrababu Naidu, Narayana, Chandrasekhara Rao and other leaders and workers and MBT leader Amjadullah Khan and took them away to different police stations. The leaders criticised the government of India for not reducing the prices of petrol and diesel, though it reduced prices of aviation fuel several times. They warned the government that they would conduct their agitations in various forms till the government reduces the prices.
The people participated in larger number at various places in the dharnas and rasta rokos in different district headquarters and at several mandal headquarters demanding reduction of prices of petrol and diesel on the call given by the CPI(M), CPI and TDP. Dharnas and rasta rokos were held in Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram, Guntur, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Anantapur, Sangareddy, Ranga Reddy, Khammam, Nalgonda and Warangal districts. District leaders of the three parties led the dharnas and rasta rokos. At several places in Hyderabad, leaders and workers of the parties conducted rallies and burnt effigies of the minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Murli Deora.
Raising the issue of arrests of leaders of opposition parties, the leader of the CPI(M) legislature party, Nomula Narsimhayya demanded a statement from the minister for Home on the arrests of leaders of the TDP, CPI(M), CPI and TRS. Leaders of TDP, CPI and TRS also insisted on a statement by the minister. As K Jana Reddy was not in the house, another minister T Jeevan Reddy said that the election commission had issued a notice to Murli Deora for announcing consideration of reduction of petro prices during the election period to some state assemblies. Raising slogans against the government, the members of opposition parties rushed to the podium of the speaker and the proceedings of the house came to a standstill. The house was adjourned.
(M Venugopala Rao)
At the call of Left, democratic and secular parties, protest rallies and demonstrations were organised all over Punjab and Chandigarh by CPI(M) and CPI. Over ten thousands peasants, industrial workers, agricultural workers, youth and women took part in these rallies.
There was a good response to these actions at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Sangrur, Rajpura, Patiala, Garhshankar, Hoshiarpur, Mukerian, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Taran Taran, Bathinda, Barnala, Rakot, Firozpur, Shahkot, Pathankot, Ropar, Nangal and Batala.
Reports of actions from other places were also received. The rallies were addressed by Charan Singh Virdi, acting state secretary of CPI(M) Bhupinder Sambhar, state secretary of CPI and other leaders of both parties. The leaders said that the UPA government is doing injustice and cheating the Indian people by not reducing the price of diesel, petrol and LPG even after the price of crude oil in the international market came down from 167 dollar to 49 dollar per barrel. They said that the central government is providing opportunities to the big oil companies to make huge profits at the cost of the common man. They said that the Indian people will not tolerate this. They strongly demanded relief for the common man by reducing the price of petrol, diesel and LPG immediately.
Dharna and demonstrations were held all over the state by the Communist Party of India(Marxist) in several districts of Haryana demanding reduction in the price of petroleum products in the wake of heavy fall down recorded in the crude oil prices in the international market.
Addressing a dharna at Rohtak, Party state secretary, Inderjit Singh decried the UPA government for allowing the private oil companies to make heavy profits at the cost of common man. Balbir Dahiya explained that speculative policies of USA were responsible behind artificial spurt in international prices of oil which has led to financial crisis in recent months.
A two minutes silence was observed in the beginning paying heartfelt tributes to all innocent Indians and foreigners who were killed in the Mumbai terror attack and praising the sacrifice made by valiant persons of the security forces in rescuing many others.
Protest actions were also held in Bhiwani, Hisar, Sonipat, Panipat, Kaithal, Karnal etc. The protests were part of the national call given by four Left parties, the JD(S) and Telugu Desam Party.