People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 26, 2007
Memorial For Mudigonda Martyrs Unveiled It Will
Be National Struggle - Prakash Karat
Prakash Karat addressing the massive public meeting in Mudigonda after unveiling the martyrs column
M Venugopala Rao
PRAKASH Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), unveiled on August 21, 2007 the 38-foot martyrs’ column constructed at Mudigonda as a memorial to the martyrs of the brutal police firing on July 28, 2007. Seven comrades became martyrs in the police action while participating in the struggle of the poor for house sites and land in Andhra Pradesh. Karat unveiled the martyrs’ column in the presence of thousands of people coming from different districts who kept raising thunderous slogans paying tributes to the martyrs and expressing their redoubled determination to continue the land struggle to achieve the aims for which the seven martyrs sacrificed their lives. Karat paid revolutionary homage to the martyrs. The members of the families of the martyrs and several people who were injured in the police firing were present on the occasion.
Addressing a massive public meeting organised on the occasion, Prakash Karat warned the Rajasekhara Reddy government that if it did not concede the demands of the poor, the second phase of the land struggle would be intensified from the 22nd of this month till the government agrees to the demands and it would be extended as a national struggle by the Left parties for house sites and arable land to the poor. Even after the police firing at Mudigonda, the YSR government continued to resort to repressive measures on the people waging struggles for house sites and land, foisting false cases against them and the workers of the CPI(M) and evicting the poor from the lands they had occupied and removing their huts, he criticised.
A view of the martyrs memorial column
Prakash Karat assured the people that the national leadership of the Left parties would participate in the land struggle and would not hesitate to go to jails along with the people. Lashing out at the opponents of the land struggle and rebutting their insinuation that the Left parties had taken up the land struggle with an eye on the coming elections, he reminded that the heroic Telangana armed struggle provided inspiration for land reforms in the country and that the first communist state government in the country formed in 1957 in Kerala under the leadership of Comrade E M S Namboodiripad was the first to implement land reforms. It was the Left-led governments in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura that have been implementing land reforms and the communists were for implementation the same all over the country, he explained. Even after 60 years of independence, a substantial part of the population continued to be homeless and landless. He found fault with the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh for going back on its promises given during the last elections to provide house sites and land to the poor. Earlier, the landlords used to oppose land reforms and the struggles for the same. Now big business houses and multinational corporations wanted to grab the lands meant for the poor and landless, he said. The Left parties wanted the government to address the agrarian crisis that had resulted in suicides of thousands of farmers in the country. Karat found fault with the YSR government for not setting up an independent land commission and not changing its approach relating to distribution of alienated assigned lands. Appealing to the people to continue to participate in the second phase of the intensified land struggle at a greater level, he paid homage to the seven martyrs, reading out their names, and asserted that collective responsibility should be taken to come to the rescue of the families of the martyrs.
Prakash Karat reminded that the stand of the Left parties on India-US nuclear agreement – that it would endanger our independent foreign policy and national interest – was explained to the Manmohan Singh government. Karat announced that the Left parties struggle against American imperialism would continue. Giving a go-by to the policy of non-alignment followed during the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, the present Congress government was enmeshing the country in the strategic alliance with the US. He criticised the conduct of joint naval exercises with the USA in the Bay of Bengal from September 4. He said that not only foreign policy, but also economic policies were being dictated by the IMF-World Bank-WTO combine and the Congress government was following the same. Within the coming few weeks, the Manmohan Singh government would have to decide whether it would go with the US imperialism or remain with the people of the country, said Karat emphatically amidst thunderous response from the massive gathering. Opposing India-US joint naval exercises, two jathas from Kolkata and Chennai, one led by A B Bardhan, general secretary of the Communist Party of India, and the other by himself, would reach Visakhapatnam on September 9 culminating into a massive public meeting there. Prakash Karat reminded that it was the American fleet which had entered into the Bay of Bengal and threatened us during the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 and appealed to the people of the state to strongly protest India’s joint naval exercises with the US.
Some of the people who were injured in the police firing at Mudigonda were invited to the dias and introduced to Prakash Karat, who enquired about their condition. Prakash Karat also released a video CD on the martyrs of the Mudigonda police firing.
K Narayana, state secretary of the CPI, Thammineni Veerabhadram, member of the central committee and MLA, Y Venkateswara Rao, state secretariat member, Dr M Baburao, MP, S Rajaiah and K Venkatanarsayyam MLAs of the CPI(M), B Veeranna, leader of the CPI(ML), Tummala Nageswara Rao, Khammam district president of the Telugu Desam Party, and others participated in the programme. Secretaries of the Khammam district committees of the CPI(M) and CPI, P Sudarsan and K Sambasiva Rao, presided over the meeting.