People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 31

August 01, 2010



‘All-Party Parliamentary Team Must Visit Kashmir


THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) is of the opinion that an all-party parliamentary delegation must visit the Kashmir valley and listen to the opinions of all kinds of people. This was the demand the Central Committee of the CPI(M) made after its recent meeting heard the report from its state secretary about the conditions in the valley.


CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, informed the media about this decision at a press conference on July 23 afternoon, after the Central Committee met in New Delhi from July 21 to 23. He was of the view that such a step would also ensure a role for the political forces in bringing the situation under control.


Underlining the gravity of the Kashmir situation, Karat reminded that since June this year, the episodes of arsoning and stone-pelting as well as the actions by the security forces in response have claimed the lives of 17 young men. He also stressed that the central as well as state government has, from the very beginning, been unable to comprehend the alienation of the Kashmiri youth. It was unfortunate that the government has not to date initiated any meaningful steps for dialogue with various shades of public opinion in the valley.


The CPI(M) leader also declared that the issue of rising prices would be forcefully raised in the monsoon session of parliament. Replying to a query about the BJP also raising this issue, Karat recalled how the Left parties had continuously been raising this issue for about a year and intensifying their agitation over it. In the context of the monsoon session of parliament, the CPI(M) leader also demanded that the government must keep in mind the lessons of the Bhopal gas tragedy and desist from pushing the Nuclear Liability Bill through. At the same time, he also demanded that the government must get the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill passed in this very session of parliament. Warning the government against any move to allow FDI in the retail trade, Karat said various organisations and groups of the retail traders would be involved in the campaign on the issue.


Drawing attention to the involvement of Hindutva elements in terrorist activities, the CPI(M) leader said it is now no more confined to isolated acts. He criticised the government for not taking up this threat in earnestness, adding that now at least the government must wake up as the involvement of these elements in the bomb blasts at Malegaon, Ajmer, Hyderabad and some other places has clearly come out and the investigating agencies have interrogated even some  top officials of the RSS. Karat also referred to the growing terrorist activities of National Democratic Front (NDF) in Kerala where its supporters recently cut down a professor’s arm. The CPI(M) general secretary stressed that communalism and the rise of terrorist outfits are mutually linked and complimentary.   


Replying to queries coming from some presspersons, Karat lambasted the central government for its attempts to cover up the activities of the Trinamul-Maoist alliance that is unleashing violence against the CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal. He was reacting to the union home minister P Chidambaram’s statement characterising the CPI(M)’s contention on this issue as a canard. Karat pointed out that as many as 44 members and supporters of the CPI(M) in the state had been killed between May this year and July 21 when the CPI(M) Central Committee meeting started. He also reminded that the Trinamul Congress had constantly been demanding cessation of action against the Maoists in the Jungle Mahal area, though the union home minister’s sincere desire is to keep his eyes away from this reality. On the other hand, the CPI(M) has constantly been pointing out that ultimately it is the hapless tribal people who suffer in the crossfire between the ultra-leftist violence and the administration’s retaliatory violence. That is why, Karat said, the CPI(M) has always been stressing on the restoration of normal political activities in all such violence affected areas.


At the very outset of the press conference, Prakash Karat informed the media about the main agenda of the recent Central Committee meeting. Its purpose was to finalise the draft political resolution and review report, to be presented to the Extended Central Committee meeting which is to take place at Vijayawada from August 7 to 10. Around 380 delegates are to take part in this meeting whose purpose is to decide the political line of the party in today’s political situation. He reminded the audience that the holding of a regular party congress had to be postponed for about a year in view of the upcoming polls to the West Bengal and Kerala assemblies, and this was what necessitated the holding of an Extended Central Committee meeting.


Replying to some queries, Karat recalled that the CPI(M) and the Left were supporting the UPA government from outside at the time of the CPI(M)’s 19th congress, held at Coimbatore in March-April 2008. But the situation is different today and hence the political line of the party must also be different, Karat said. However, he rejected as “hypothetical” the question as to whether the CPI(M) could again extend support to a Congress led government in order to prevent the BJP from coming to power. As for the “alternative” envisaged in the draft political resolution, Karat clarified that while working for a viable alternative to the UPA as well as NDA, the party would chalk out some of the steps required midway. Replying to some other queries, the CPI(M) general secretary made it clear that the Left parties would jointly contest the coming polls for the Bihar state assembly.       


The following Central Committee communiqué was issued for the media on the occasion. 



THE Central Committee paid homage to the forty four members and supporters of the party who were killed by the Maoists and the TMC led combine in West Bengal since the last Central Committee meeting held in May this year. The Central Committee conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families of all the comrades who were killed.


The Central Committee expressed its deep grief at the death of sixty passengers who died in the collision between two trains at Sainthia railway station in West Bengal. The Central Committee conveys its heartfelt sympathy to the families of all those who were killed and injured.



Petroleum Price Hike

The Central Committee hailed the success of the July 5 countrywide hartal against the steep rise in prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. The Central Committee demanded that the UPA government rescind these increases and call off the deregulation of petrol pricing.

In the forthcoming parliament session, the Left parties will strongly raise this demand.


Kashmir Situation

The Central Committee heard a report on the serious situation prevailing in the Kashmir valley. Since June, there have been a number of incidents involving clashes between stone throwing young men and the police forces. Seventeen young men have lost their lives in this period.


The Central Committee noted that the all-party meeting had called for a credible enquiry into the circumstances which had led to the death of civilians in the recent period. But the process for such an enquiry has still not started. The security forces have to exercise restraint in the face of the protests. The Central Committee appealed to the young people not to go in for a confrontation with the security forces.


It is highly unfortunate that the central government has not taken any worthwhile step to initiate a political dialogue with all sections in the valley.


The Central Committee wants a parliamentary delegation to visit Kashmir immediately and hear the views of all concerned.


Terrorist Activities

Consequent to the arrest of three persons for the Ajmer Sharief dargah blast in 2007, it has been established that there are extremist Hindutva elements involved in terror activities. The Malegaon, the Ajmer Sharief and Mecca Masjid blasts have been traced to these elements. The interrogation of certain RSS functionaries by the CBI points to a wider network. It is imperative that all the links of such a network be uncovered and firm action taken against them.


The Central Committee expressed its serious concern at the activities of the extremist organisation, the Popular Front of India in Kerala and other southern states. The incident of the chopping off of the hand of a lecturer in Ernakulam district and the subsequent searches have unearthed the storage of bomb making material and other weapons.


There is an interconnection between communalism and the spawning of such terrorist activities. The CPI(M) will conduct a campaign against both Hindu and Muslim extremism and all forms of terrorism.


Gujarat Investigations

On the directions of the Supreme Court the CBI has been enquiring into the police killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife in a false encounter in Gujarat. The investigation has led to evidence involving the role of the Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah. Given the history of connivance of the Gujarat state government in the communal pogroms, this investigation should be pursued seriously.


FDI in Retail

The ministry of commerce has issued a discussion paper proposing the opening of multi-brand retail trade to FDI without any limit. This is the first step towards allowing multinational companies into the general retail trade in India. The earlier UPA government had allowed FDI in single brand retail.


The CPI(M) had brought out a comprehensive policy document on the implications of the entry of FDI in retail trade and the necessity for strict regulation of organised retail trade by Indian corporates.


The Central Committee decided to mobilise public opinion against the entry of FDI in retail trade.


Parliament Session

1) The Central Committee demanded that the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill be not proceeded with in parliament. The bill does not protect the interests of the Indian people nor assure their lives and safety.


2) The Central Committee called upon the government to bring women’s reservation bill in the Lok Sabha for adoption.


3) The Central Committee wanted the government to place its response to the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra commission report on reservation for minorities in education and jobs.


September 7 Strike

The Central Committee extended its full support to the call of the nine central trade unions for an industrial strike on September 7 on a five point charter of demands. These include steps to curb price rise, end to disinvestment in public sector and implementation of labour laws.


Extended Central Committee Meeting

The Central Committee discussed and adopted the Draft Political Resolution and Review Report which will be placed before the extended meeting of the Central Committee to be held in Vijayawada from August 7 to 10, 2010. The extended meeting will adopt the political tactical line of the party for the current situation.


Some of the current tasks set out in the Draft Political Resolution are:


1) The key task is to fight against the whole gamut of neo-liberal policies which are affecting the lives of the people in all spheres. These policies fuelled by imperialist globalisation are enriching the rich further and transferring resources to the corporates and big business. They are detrimental to interests of the working people. The Congress-led UPA government has pursued these policies for the past six years since coming into office in 2004.


2)  The fight against the neo-liberal policies means taking up the struggle at two levels. One at the level of policies of the central and concerned state governments and second by taking up the various issues of the people who are affected by these policies concerning their livelihood, public distribution system, land, job security, fair wages, access to health care, education and basic services. The Party and the mass organisations have to conduct sustained struggles on local issues and also launch state-wide movements on people’s issues. At the all India level and states level movements against the neo-liberal policies should be launched.


3) Communal politics continues to pose a danger as it is seeking an opportunity to push forward the communal agenda. The RSS and its political wing, the BJP, represent the main vehicle for majority communalism and the Hindutva ideology. Though the BJP suffered electoral setbacks, there is no let up on communal activities. In the coming days, the struggle against communalism and the Hindutva based activities needs to be carried on. At the same time, the party should be vigilant to counter minority communalism and extremism.


4)  The UPA government is working to strengthen the strategic alliance with the USA at all levels including military collaboration. This alliance influences domestic policies and is the main detriment to an independent foreign policy. The party has to step up the opposition to the Indo-US strategic alliance and its various manifestations. It should rally all the patriotic, democratic sections against this tie-up with the US and mobilise people for the pursuit of an independent foreign policy and against imperialist intervention around the world.


5)  The party should oppose the Congress, the prime mover of the neo-liberal policies of the UPA government, which represents the interests of the big bourgeoisie and favours a pro-US foreign policy.


6) The BJP does not only practice communal politics, it is a rightwing party which advocates neo-liberal policies. The party will politically fight the BJP and adopt tactics to rally the secular forces to isolate it. 


7) The CPI(M) will seek the cooperation of those non-Congress secular parties who are willing to come together to take up peoples issues, defend secularism and oppose erosion of national sovereignty both within parliament and outside. Wherever needed, there may be electoral understanding with such parties.


8) The party will lay stress on its independent role and activities.  The party will put forward before the people the alternative policies of the Left. The party will work to strengthen Left unity and to consolidate the forces of the Left while waging a determined struggle against the disruptive activities of the Maoists.


9) The entire party will work to rally the people  and the democratic forces to defend the CPI(M) and the Left in West Bengal, to help fight back the violent attacks and to overcome the adverse situation.