People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXVII

No. 25

June 23, 2013

 

CPI(M) Workers Court Arrest All Over Rajasthan

 

Rajendra

 

IT was a pride moment for the state of Rajasthan that over ten thousand people, despite the blazing heat at 48 degree Celsius of temperature, and notwithstanding the season of marriages in the state, marched and courted arrest in mass civil disobedience in Rajasthan on May 31, as part of a countrywide action programme. As reported earlier, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat courted arrest outside the Collectorate in Jaipur, along with 500 protestors, on this day.

Next day, all the prominent newspapers carried the news along with photographs.

 

PROCESSION, RALLY

AND COURT ARREST

After the rally organised at the Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi on March 19, 2013, called for a mighty civil disobedience movement between May 15 and 31, a two day meeting of the CPI(M) state committee in Jaipur on April 12 and 13 decided to held statewide picketing of government offices at the tehsil and district levels all over the state during May 25 to 31.

 

The picketing was to press the demands like right to land and housesites, curb on price rise, right to food, right to education and health, right to employment, social justice, an end to corruption, farmers issues, no to FDI in retail trade, and against the anti-people policies of state government during the last four years. All the district committees then held their meetings to chalk out strategies for the success of the picketing programme. CPI(M) state secretary and secretariat members attended these meetings.

 

Though the CPI(M) and its mass organisations are not strong in Jaipur district, all the branch committees were activated and street and gate meetings were organised. Party workers distributed pamphlets in Jaipur city.

 

On May 31, party workers gathered at Khasa Kothi circle and proceeded towards the Collectorate via the district court. Picketers raised slogans against the policies of the state and central governments. There was a heavy jam on the road due to the procession. Womens participation in this rally was very encouraging. The picketers organised a meeting at the main gate of the Collectorate.

 

Prakash Karat congratulated the people for joining the picketing despite the scorching sun. While addressing the rally, he explained the political, social and economic situation of the country elaborately. He said that in order to create a better India, it is imperative that six basic rights of the people are ensured. This can be done only by changing the policy direction in our country, he added.

 

IMPERATIVES

OF THE DAY

Karat stressed that implementation of land reform policies by distributing surplus land to the landless must also guarantee housesites to each landless household. He alleged that the people are suffering a lot due to incessant price rise. He said universal right to 35 kg of foodgrains at a maximum price of two rupees a kg and scraping of the APL-BPL based fraudulent poverty data collection would be in a right direction towards ensuring the right to food. He further said that stop to forwards trading in foodgrains and other essential commodities would help curb the price rise.

 

The CPI(M) general secretary alleged that that education is being handed over to education mafia and that there are moves to open the retail trade for foreign corporates. He said that privatisation and commercialisation of education and health services would make the sufferings of common man totally unbearable. He advocated an increase in the allocations for education and health, and stressed that implementation of the Right to Education Act, strengthening of the public health services and strict regulation of the private sector are the need of the hour.

 

While talking about the right to employment, Karat demanded to lifting the ban on recruitment, stepping up of public investment, expanding the MGNREGA, and similar scheme for a guarantee of work in urban India.

 

Expressing anguished that the honour of women is in danger, the CPI(M) leader said the party demands curb on violence against women and one third reservation for women in legislatures and parliament. He declared that ending social practices like untouchability and anti-dalit discrimination, protecting the land and forest rights of adivasis, and providing equal opportunities in education and job for the Muslim community would ensure social justice.

 

Declaring the Manmohan government as the most corrupt government in Independent India, Karat said the new economic policies have created a nexus between the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and corporates. He told the gathering that to end corruption is the need of the hour. He further alleged that the LPG policies followed by the nine years long Congress regime and by the six years long BJP rule have made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

 

In his address, the CPI(M) leader also dwelt on the dangers of sale of public assets to foreign and Indian corporate houses, the reductions in subsidy on seeds, irrigation, fertilisers and pesticides, the central government making agriculture a losing proposition, peasant suicides, decelerating the rate of economic growth, and several other issues. He described the Congress and the BJP as two faces of one coin, insofar as corruption and economic policies are concerned. Karat asked the party workers to enhance the struggles against the policies of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation and for implementation of alternative policies. Sangharsh is the only way to a better future, he said, adding that the people must strengthen the non-Congress and non-BJP parties and increase the CPI(M)s seats in the coming assembly election in November 2013.

 

STATE GOVT: AN

UTTER FAILURE

Addressing the demonstrators, CPI(M) state secretary Vasudev described the four year Congress rule in the state as an utter failure. Amid the rising prices of essential commodities and all-pervading corruption so much that almost every minister of the state government is tainted, the whole system of administration has collapsed. Several police officers and more than 200 of the lower level officials are behind the bars on charges of rape, fake encounters, illegal killings and involvement in corrupt deals.

 

Vasudev said police atrocities cannot choke the voices demanding democratic rights and warned that the CPI(M) would not be cowed down in the face of police excesses. We would further intensify the agitation in the coming days, he asserted. He also reminded that the people have not forgotten the misdeeds of the earlier Vasundhara Raje government which had killed hundred of people in police firings.

 

CPI(M) district secretary Suresh Vyas also addressed the meeting.

 

When party leaders asked the protestors to defy the ban, there was an altercation between the police and picketers on the issue of entry into the Collectorate. Unprecedented police arrangements were visible; the police had virtually cordoned the entire area with barricades. When some women activists led by Sunita Chowdhary tried to enter the Collectorate by crossing the barricades, the clothes of some of them were torn off.

 

When the rallyists moved towards the Collectorate through the main gate, the police declared them arrested. But the insufficient number of buses to carry the protestors created a commotion for the police and administration. The protestors gheraoed the police vans and the adjoining roads were jammed. At last, the police arranged a few more buses to carry the arrested CPI(M) workers, though some party workers could not yet be put in buses whose number still proved insufficient.

 

All the arrested party workers were taken to Vidhayakpuri thana and released later from there.

 

The police registered 477 party workers as arrested while the party records showed a different number.

 

CPI(M) state secretary Vasudev, Ravindra Shukla, Duli Chand, Laxman Sen, Sanjay Madhav, Suresh Vyas, Rajendra, Kusum Saiwal, Harender Singh, Bhanwar Singh, Vijay Bahadur Gaur, Babu Lal Lugaria, Gilli Bhojraj, Kishan Singh and Sunita Chowdhary were among the state and district level leaders who participated in the mass civil disobedience programme.

 

DISTRICT LEVEL

PROTEST ACTIONS

The civil disobedience movement was conducted in many districts of Rajasthan during the last week of May. A partial report follows.

 

Sikar: About 450 party workers gheraoed the SDM office for more than four hours. It was led by Amra Ram, Rugha Ram and Harphool Singh. The SDM himself was encircled for many hours. The gherao was lifted when the picketers were declared arrested.

 

About 400 cadres and supporters of the CPI(M) including Pema Ram, MLA, B S Meel and  Mohan Singh Fauji were arrested for laying a seize on tehsil headquarters at Laxmangarh. The tehsildar, SDM and others vacated the office. Government work was completely paralysed during the protest action.

 

The Khandela tehsil unit of CPI(M) staged protest under the leadership of  Amra Ram and  Subhash Nehra; 400 workers participated in the gherao where women outnumbered men. Prior to the siege of SDM office, party workers organised a public meeting.

 

Pema Ram, Rama Avtar Lamba and Sohan Gurjar led the protestor in Neem ka Thana tehsil. Ram Prasad, Abbas and Mehla led the action in Fatehpur tehsil.

 

On May 31, more than 1000 protestors held a spirited demonstration at the Sikar Collectorate. The protest in the Collectorate premises was led by Amra Ram and Pema Ram.

 

District administration made some additional arrangements as a contingent plan. It deployed one additional SP, two deputy SPs, more than a dozen inspectors and about 500 policemen to stop the protestors from enter the Collectorate premises. Earlier, 350 party workers in Pilibanga, 400 in Bhadra and 125 workers in Nohar gheraoed the tehsil headquarters, and were arrested.

 

Shri Ganga Nagar: About 3500 party workers and supporters organised a big public meeting on May 31. Het Ram Beniwal,  B S Rana, Bhuramal Swamy and Gurucharan Singh Mod led the protestors. The police arrested all those present in the meeting but did not have enough buses to carry the protestors. Prior to it, satyagraha was organised at other tehsil headquarters in the district.

 

It is worth noting that Pawan Duggal, CPI(M) MLA from Anupgarh, was released from jail after 22 days, on May 29. He was arrested in connection with the serious charges foisted against him when peasants of this district were running a determined agitation for irrigation water from the first phase of the Indira Gandhi Canal, during 2004-08. (See Peoples Democracy, May 26, 2013.)

 

Dungarpur: The CPI(M) organised a "Chetna Yatra" here and it passed through all the tehsils of Dungarpur for a week. Then there was a padao (sit-in) for two days at district Collectorate on May 30-31. the police arrested 110 party workers on May 31. 300 party workers were present in the public meeting on the day.

 

Udaypur: 250 party workers in Kotda and 300 workers in Jhadol demonstrated in front of tehsil headquarters. The police arrested them and released later. There was an impressive meeting in Gogunda during district conference of All India Kisan Sabha.

 

More than 500 agitators gheraoed the Collectorate on May 31. Womens participation was impressive. District administration arrested all protestors and released them after a few hours.

 

B L Singhvi, Prem Pargi, Chanwal, Prabhu Lal Shrimali and  Rajesh Singhvi led the demonstration.

 

Jhunjhunu: There were demonstrations in Guragodji and at Jhunjhunu Collectorate. An agitation was already going on in Jhunjhunu in protest against a murder two days before May 31.

 

Bikaner: 100 party workers demonstrated in Lunkaransar, 150 in Dungargarh and 50 in Pungal tehsil. The police arrested them.

 

Alwar: 125 protestors demonstrated in front of the Collectorate and were arrested.

 

Bharatpur: 50 party workers demonstrated at Collectorate on May 31. A delegation submitted a memorandum to the collector.

 

Chittorgarh: 130 agitators protested in Chittorgarh and were arrested.

 

There were demonstrations and arrests in Bundi and Tonk also. Civil disobedience actions could not be earnestly organised in Nagaur, Jodhpur and Kota districts.