People's Democracy

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


No. 24

June 16, 2013



CPI(M) Organises Mass Picketing Actions



IN Jharkhand, at the call of the CPI(M) Central Committee, mass picketing and agitation programmes took place at more than 80 centres in Sahebgunj, Dumka, Pakur, Deoghar, Jamtara, Gumla, Godda, Lohardaga, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Chatra, Ramgarh, Garhwa, East Singhbhum, Saraikela-Kharsawan and other districts, besides Ranchi, the state capital.

The main demands of the party included allotment of forest land to the tribal and other people traditionally living in forest areas, providing foodgrains at the rate of Re 1 per kg to all the poor people, and withdrawal of the process of omission of names from the BPL list.


Reports of actions at a few places are being printed below.


Dhanbad: As a part of the nationwide mass picketing programme against price rise, corruption, violence against women, and for food security to all, a mass picketing programme was organised at the deputy commissioner's office in Dhanbad by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).Under the leadership of Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, 816 CPI(M) workers courted arrest here.


The programme started in the form of a huge rally which commenced from the mining director’s office, passed through the main streets and Randhir Verma Chowk, and finally reached the DC office where it changed into a mass meeting which continued for about three and a half hours obstructing both the entrances of the office. Addressing the gathering, Brinda Karat said the corrupt district administration was paying no heed to the problems of the people but sustaining the coal mafia and other anti-social elements. She also spoke about the neo-liberal policies of the Congress and the BJP which are serving the vested interests of the rich, including foreign capitalists, at the cost of the toiling masses of our country. The public distribution system is in a very bad condition and the poor are not getting foodgrains, though the government godowns are filled with 6.5 crore tonnes of foodgrains. Rampant corruption is only worsening the situation. Though the UPA government has placed the Food Security Bill due to public pressure, it has serious shortcomings. It would, for example, provide only 25 kilograms of grains instead of 35 kilograms per family and there would be payment of cash in place of foodgrains. The CPI(M) would intensify its struggles against the anti-people policies of the state as well as central government, the speaker said.


The SDO of Dhanbad received the memorandum from the picketers at the Collectorate gate but the agitation and picketing continued as there was no assurance on part of the former to resolve the problems related to curtailment of the BPL list, restoration of land rights, violence against women etc.


At the order of the SDO, 816 CPI(M) workers and leaders were arrested. These included Brinda Karat, CPI(M) state secretary G K Baksi, S K Baksi (coal workers’ leader), Prakash Viplav (state secretariat member), Suresh Prasad Gupta (district secretary), Shivbalak Paswan and Ramkrishna Paswan.


Ranchi: In Ranchi, on May 29, the mass picketing action took place at the Collectorate under the banner of the Ranchi district committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and under the leadership of CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat.


A mass procession commencing from Jaipal Singh Stadium preceded the picketing programme and picketing at the Collectorate. The meeting here was presided over by Sanjay Siddharth, member of the CPI(M) state committee. Brinda Karat, Gopikant Bakshi, Rajendra Singh Munda (state secretariat member and former MLA), Sufal Mahto (Ranchi district secretary), Subhash Munda, Rangowati Devi (member, Zila Parishad, Ranchi) and Manju Munda addressed the meeting. Brinda Karat said while the Forest Rights Act has been passed, it has not been implemented in Jharkhand. Further, in the name of Greater Ranchi Master Plan, tribals are going to be evicted from their lands, defying the provisions of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act. The CPI(M) would intensify its struggles against these policies of the government, she said.


The SDO of Ranchi received the memorandum from among the picketers at the Collectorate gate and assured that the demands including withdrawal of omission of names from the BPL list and implementation of the Forest Rights Act, would be met by the government. Participation of tribal youth and women from different parts of Ranchi was remarkable.


Chatra: On May 28, mass picketing was organized at Hunterganj block of Chatra, an extremist affected district. It was attended by around 2000 toiling people. Brinda Karat was the main speaker here and demanded, among other things, issuance of pattas of vested land under the possession of the poor people and cleaning of silt in old canals for irrigation, a task which the administration has been neglecting since long. The meeting was presided over by Ramdeo  Singh, secretary of the Chatra district committee of CPI(M), while state secretary Gopikant Baksi, Banwari Singh and state committee member Sanjay Paswan also addressed the meeting.


Godda: On May 30, a Jan Satyagraha was organised at the district headquarters here. The programme was led by Brinda Karat. Defying heavy rains, about 1000 party members and supporters actively took part in the picketing. CPI(M) state secretariat member Prakash Viplav also addressed the gathering. The deputy commissioner of Godda came out of his office to receive the memorandum from the protesters.



IN accordance with the call from the March 19 mass rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi at the culmination of the successful Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha and subsequent Central Committee decision to organise mass picketings between May 15 and 31, 2013, the Odisha state unit of the CPI(M) organised action programmes at several centres.


The issues included the right to land and housesites, right to food, curb on price rise and a universal PDS, right to education and Health, end to corruption, and no to FDI in retail trade. The issues concerning farmers, like irrigation, fertiliser subsidy and remunerative prices for agricultural products, prominently figured in the list of demands.


When the Odisha state committee of the CPI(M) met to discuss the matter, it decided to include some local burning problems of the people also. It decided to go in for a campaign and propaganda between April 15 and May 14 in various villages and other localities through group meetings, pamphlets, handbills and wall writing, and thereafter organise mass picketings and dharnas for a week between May 15 and 31.


Accordingly, group meetings, sahi, village and local level meetings were organised at various places throughout the state. On behalf of the party’s local and district committees, the charter of demands was sent to the respective administrative authorities at the block, tehsil and Collectorate level in advance.


In spite of the scorching heat, hundreds of people assembled everyday in front of the block, tehsil and Collectorate offices to press their demands. In most of the cases, the authorities discussed the issues with the representative of the party, and certain demands like providing kerosene oil through the PDS were achieved. In some cases the authorities also conceded the demands like providing land to some landless who have appealed for the same. In certain cases the authorities agreed to provide doctors in the dispensaries where there is vacancy. The authorities also released the arrears pending for the NREGA work in certain cases.


It was reported that about 12,000 people in 41 blocks and six municipalities in 16 districts of the state participated in the programme.


Protest against Chit Fund Scam: The state of Odisha too is no exception to the chit fund scams and both inter-state and intra-state chit fund companies have cheated lakhs of poor people of Odisha. According to newspaper reports, the amount cheated now exceed Rs 3000 crore. There is a nexus between politicians, businessmen and administration and police officials involved in it. The state’s vigilance department is unable to take action against the ruling party politicians who are involved in it.


On behalf of the CPI(M) protest demonstrations against the chit fund scam were organised at Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Brahmapur, Rourkela, Puri and Nayagarh. The party has demanded strong legislation against chit funds and non-banking financial institutions, a CBI probe under the supervision of the judiciary, confiscation of both movable and immovable properties of the owners of these chit funds, and distribution of the confiscated amount among the depositors proportionately. The CPI(M) has also been mobilising the depositors on the issue. (Jagannath Mishra)



ON May 31, the Jind  district unit of CPI(M) in Haryana staged a protest demonstration against non-implementation of the MGNREGA, deletion of several hundred families from the BPL list, dismal health conditions, attacks on dalits and weaker sections, and increasing sexual assaults on women and girls. The demonstrators also demanded remunerative prices for crops to farmers and allotment of house sits to the landless families, while raising some other burning issues.


Protestors including many women reached the DRDA complex and shouted slogans at the main entrance. CPI(M) state secretary Inderjit Singh attacked the state and central governments for their false claims about progress. While overwhelming sections of the people were being deprived of basic livelihood means as part of the neo-liberal economic policies, these governments were brazenly allowing a loot of the nation’s wealth by the corporate sector.


Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) came out to listen to the grievances of the protesters and received the memorandum from the party leaders. He invited them for a discussion and assured a resolution of the problems. Other leaders present included Phool Singh Sheokand, Prakash Chander and Ramesh Chand.