People's Democracy

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


No. 22

June 03, 2012

Massive Response to Protest Call


ON May 31, the Left parties jointly held protest demonstrations all over Delhi against the savage rise in petrol prices.


A central protest demonstration was held at Delhi Gate where the traffic was disrupted for more than an hour. National leaders of the Left parties ---- CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI(M), Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, Central Committee member Basudeb Acharia, Central Secretariat members Hannan Mollah and Jogendra Sharma, both and, CPI(M), veteran communist leader  A B Bardhan (CPI) as well as CPI national secretaries D Raja, Amarjit Kaur and Atul Kumar Anjan participated in the demonstration.


Others to participate in the demonstration were CPI(M) state secretariat member Vijender Sharma, CPI state secretary 0Dheerendra Sharma, and Forward Bloc’s state secretary Dharmendra Verma.


Prakash Karat, A B Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury, Basudeb Acharia, D Raja and Jogendra Sharma addressed the demonstrators. They criticised the UPA-2 government for the unprecedented rise in petrol prices and demanded its complete withdrawal. They said the plea of the government that the oil companies are incurring losses was a blatant lie. They said the Indian Oil Company had a profit of Rs 7,400 crore. With their profits rising, the government was also making money through ad valorem tax on petrol. The government was not taking any steps to reduce the prices of essential commodities and the current rise in petrol price would further increase the cost of living and further burden the poor. They announced that the protest would continue and daily dharna would be organised at parliament during the next parliament session.


All demonstrators were arrested by the police, taken to Daryaganj Police Station and released later.


Massive protest demonstrations were held, traffic was jammed and effigies of the prime minister were burnt at Peeragarhi Chowk, Mangolpuri Chowk, Karari Chowk, Bawana, Jahangirpuri, Sonia Vihar, Nanaksar Chowk, Seemapuri Chowk, Karkardooma Chowk, Mother Dairy Chowk, Okhla-Kalindi Kunj, Meethapur, Dabri Mor Chowk and Karol Bagh-Manakpura. 


Andhra Pradesh

Eleven Left parties in Andhra Pradesh had called for a statewide bandh on May 31 protesting the hike in price of petrol and also demanding reduction in power tariff that was hiked recently by the state government. The BJP and TRS also gave a call for bandh separately on the same day.

The bandh evoked good response from the people of the state, particularly in urban areas where the anger of the people against the frequent price hikes was much in evidence.
Hundreds of Left parties activists took out a rally from Narayanaguda X Roads to RTC X Roads in Hyderabad registering their protest against both the central and state governments. The protestors were led by CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu, state secretariat members Y Venkateswara Rao and Ch Sitaramulu, CPI state secrtary K Narayana, leaders of CPI(ML) New Democracy, MCPI(U), RSP< Forward Bloc, SUCI and other parties. The protestors deflated tyres of Road Transport buses that were plying on the route of the procession. They also forced closure of shops on the route. 

A huge contingent of police forces obstructed the rally before it reached RTC X Roads leading to tension in the area. They arrested Raghavulu, Narayana and other leaders amidst resistance from the activists and took them to different police stations in the city. Condemning the high handed behaviour of the police, Raghavulu warned that both the governments can ignore the anger of people at their own peril. The leaders were later released.
The response to the bandh in other parts of the state has also been encouraging, stated leaders of Left parties.



On the day, Jammu regional committee of the CPI(M) held a protest dharna and demonstration at the Press Club in Jammu, at the call of Left parties against steep hike in petrol today. A large number of party activists participated in this protest. Participants holding red flags and placards in their hands raised slogans against the price hike in the petrol. A procession started from the Press Club and, after passing through the main bazaars like Jewel Chowk and Gumat Chowk, it culminated in a rally at Indira Chowk.


CPI(M) regional committee’s secretary Sham Prasad Kesar denounced the hefty hike in petrol price by more than Rs 7.50 per litre by the government of India, which is the most cruel and atrocious onslaught on the mass of the people who are already reeling under the continuing rises in the prices of all essential commodities. This happens to be the 18th price hike of petro products under UPA-2 regime since 2009 as well as the steepest of all. It is shocking that the country witnessed the steepest price hike of petrol when the price of crude oil is falling in the international market. The sharp decline in value of rupee, making the crude imports costlier, is being projected as the reason for price hike in order to offset the losses of the oil sector companies. However, the sharp depreciation of the rupee’s value is due to faulty policies of the economy managers in the governance of the country. So the question is why the mass of the people should be made to bear the burden of these mandarins’ follies. Secondly, the impact of decline in the value of rupee on oil sector companies, which deal with national assets, is not a story of unmixed losses alone. 


While addressing the gathering, Kishore Kumar, Banarasi Dass, Dharam Singh, Sohan Lal, Paramdeep Singh, Ganesh, Bawa Ram, H D Bhomick and Sunita Bhagat said the volatility in the prices and production of fuel as well as in the value of rupee vis-à-vis dollar are also the reflection of the present unstable geo-political world situation in the midst of a deepening economic crisis. In such a situation, it is the political responsibility of the government to ensure that nobody makes undue gains from either a falling rupee or from rising oil prices when the entire economy and the mass of the people are bleeding in distress owing to such negative developments.


The CPI(M) regional committee demanded total rollback of the hike in the petrol price announced by the government and warned it against any move to hike the diesel, kerosene and LPG prices. The committee also demanded that the government must review and restructure its taxation, fiscal and pricing policies about petroleum products.



The CPI(M) observed protest day all over the state on May 31 by staging angry demonstrations against the highest ever increase in petrol prices. Party workers took out a protest march through the main streets in Rohtak and put up a sit-in at Bhiwani Stand Chowk. Such protests were organised in other districts as well.


CPI(M) state secretary Inderjit Singh, among others, addressed the protesters rebutted the lies being put forward --- that, for example, oil companies were incurring heavy losses --- as reasons behind the hefty hike. On the contrary, the three major public sector oil undertakings --- IOC, BPCL and HPCL --- have earned net profits during 2010-11 to the tune of Rs 7445.48 crore, Rs 1742.06 crore and Rs 1539 crore respectively, the speaker disclosed.


Singh also said that the people of the country were being treated as sheep whose wool is harvested as soon as it grows over their bodies. He also countered the myth of subsidies by describing the whole exercise as manipulation of figures.


In Hissar, CPI(M) and CPI workers held a protest meeting at the Bus Stand and marched through the bazaar while shopkeepers kept their shops closed in protest against the petrol price hike. Main bazaars remained closed in Sirsa also, while the Left parties’ workers took out a procession here.


Inderjit Singh claimed that the CPI(M) had organised independent or joint protest actions in Fatehabad, Bhiwani, Panipat, Gurgon, Jind, Kaithal, Faridabad, Karnal, Kurukshestra and other places. On behalf of both the Left parties, he thanked the people for effectively expressing their anger. He hoped that good sense would prevail and the government would roll back the price hike.