People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 13, 2006
CPI(M) Prepares For August Campaign
THE Tripura state committee of the CPI(M) initiated the preparation of the August campaign through a state-level convention attended by the members of all district committees along with members of the state committee and LC members of West Tripura districts, apart from the Party workers of Agartala town. Party state secretary Baidyanath Majumder explained the 10-point platform of demands coupled with four-point state demands while Polit Bureau member Manik Sarkar elaborated the importance and significance of the campaign movement in the perspective of the present national situation.
Between July 7 and 14, district level conventions were held in all the district headquarters as part of preparations of the campaign and these were addressed by the state secretariat members. These were followed by grassroots-level mass meetings, conventions in all the gram panchayats and village committee areas and nagar panchayat areas, which received tremendous response from all sections of the people in rural and urban areas.
Presently, the third phase of the campaign movement is being organised through sub-division and block-level rallies to be held between August 7 and 13. It is expected that mobilisation in these rallies at Dharmanagar, Belonia and at Bishalgarh shall cross the earlier records of the recent past.
The August campaign movement shall culminate in a massive central rally at Agartala town slated for August 18, which would be addressed by Party general secretary, Prakash Karat. It has been planned to mobilise people from the sub divisions of West Tripura district for this rally.
The state committee has brought out a special booklet for the August campaign explaining the 14-point charter of demands. Priced at Rs 2 each, this is being widely sold to the people in every rallies, processions and jathas etc.
The state government of Tripura has made a strong demand for early completion of erection of barbed-wire fencing along the remaining 120 km out of 856 km Indo-Bangladesh border. It also reiterated the demand for urgent grant of Rs 93 crore for providing rehabilitation to the families affected due to construction of border-fence. These demands were raised at a high-level review meeting of the top police officials, chief secretaries of four North-Eastern states i.e. Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram along with the heads of the security forces operating in these states, convened by the union home ministry on August 4, 2006.
Barbed wire fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border, though imperative for maintenance of security and effectively combating the anti-national separatist extremists, has become a matter of serious concern for a section of the Indian people settled very close to the borderline. Because of the compliance of international law barring any permanent construction within the 150 meter range of the actual border line, many dwelling huts particularly in the densely populated sub divisional towns like Sonamura, Kailashahar, and Belonia etc. including the capital city Agartala have fallen beyond the fence creating isolation of the dwellers from the mainland and thus alienating them in an unusual nature. Apart from that, agricultural fields of many farmers, either partly or entirely, have fallen outside the border fence. Most of such affected farmers are poor marginal farmers. Though cultivating of such land is possible – under the strict vigil of the BSF jawans – harvesting of crop from those plots remains quite uncertain. Thus being deprived of cultivating those lands, the families suffered worst type of economic onslaughts for no fault of their own. In a rough estimate, dwelling huts of about 7000 families and around 15,000 acres of land belonging to several thousand farmers have fallen outside the fence so far erected. Many families find that both their homestead and land, the only source of living has fallen outside the fence.
No government having concern for the well-being of the common people can remain indifferent to the plight of these innocent people. Quite justifiably they demand for resettlement and a minimum compensation for their loss of land. So the state Left Front government sought from the central government Rs 93 crore for this purpose. But the UPA government led by Congress is paying no heed to the just demand of the state. The state government also made a strong plea to expedite the completion of the border-fencing. Most importantly, the hilly areas from Kanchanpur to Raishyabari, the entire eastern border of the state, which the insurgents use as their corridor to cross over from their Bangladesh dens, remains incomplete and porous for the militants. As the border-fencing project was undertaken mainly with a view to resist the separatist militants from cross-border trafficking, it will be of no use if the project is not completed early. It is most urgent particularly, because, fundamentalists and imperialist vested interests active in Bangladesh maintain very close links with the insurgents of North Eastern region. They will keep striking at the lives and properties of the Indian people till the fence is not completed.
Echoing the voice of the women of the country, the women of Tripura under the aegis of All India Democratic Women’s Association held protest demonstrations on August 4 demanding early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill providing 33 per cent reservation for the women in parliament as well as state legislatures.
Rallies, protest demonstrations etc were organised in all the district headquarters of the state. In Agartala, women of the town and its suburb first assembled in a procession at Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhavan, defying the drizzly weather. Then the main procession was brought out which spiraled through the streets of the town and reached before the Akashavani Bhavan at North gate of the town. There, the women leaders addressed the rally presided over by Chhaya Bal. The speakers presented their strong plea in favour of their demand and cautioned the central government thus: “If our demand for passage of Women’s Reservation Bill is not materialised in the current session of parliament, the country’s women are preparing for even stronger and bitter struggle to be launched in the days to come.”
Similar militant women rallies and protest demonstrations were held at Jirania, Belonia, Sonamura, Bishalgarh, Teliamura, Kailashahar, Khowai, Dharmanagar etc.