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Posts Tagged ‘Punjab’

Crackdown on Struggles of the Rural Poor in Punjab

Posted by Admin on July 24, 2009

amirdascommission_protestSoon after the Lok Sabha elections, the Akali-BJP Government of Punjab has unleashed an all-out offensive on the rural poor in Punjab, and on the CPI(ML) which was leading their struggles. Since 21 May, over 1300 agricultural labourers and labour leaders, of Mansa, Moga, Sangrur and Bathinda districts, including 511 women and 42 children, were confined in Punjab’s jails. As we go to press, virtually all activists and leaders of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and the CPI(ML) in the state – nearly 40 – remain in jail. In spite of the fact that many of them got bail, the government contrived to keep them in jail by naming them in ‘open FIRs’ which they had earlier filed against unnamed persons. Jasbir Kaur Nat, a National Council Member of the AIPWA, was among those jailed.

The arrests have happened in the course of a struggle for homestead plots and NREGA job cards which the SAD-BJP State Government had promised but failed to deliver. The SAD-BJP Government launched this offensive immediately following the Lok Sabha elections, where the results reflected the disenchantment of the rural poor with the government.

All though the bulk of those arrested were eventually released – after up to a month in jail – a state of undeclared and selective ‘emergency’ continues to be imposed on the CPI(ML) and its mass organisations. Even the most peaceful protests and ordinary political activities is facing a crackdown. Read the rest of this entry »

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Naxal activity noticed in Delhi, says Govt.

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2009

New Delhi (PTI) The Government on Wednesday said intelligence inputs suggest Naxal activity in Delhi, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

“As per available inputs, certain Maoists activities have come to notice in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

He, however, said there were no reports of Maoist violence in these areas.

He said the government has adopted an integrated approach in dealing with Left Wing Extremism activities in the arenas of security, development and public perception.

The country has witnessed a total of 1,128 incidents of Naxal violence till June 30 this year which left 455 civilians and security personnel dead.

A total of 107 naxalites were killed and 861 arrested during the same period.

The Hindu

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Nandigram issue raked in Punjab

Posted by Admin on December 8, 2007

Chandigarh: Several representatives owing allegiance to various apolitical organisations are touring Punjab to highlight the plight and repression of West Bengal Government against the residents of Nandigram.

Addressing a joint press conference here today, the representatives said that they would be holding meetings at various places of Punjab, including Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa and Moga till December 11 to “expose” the alleged pro-liberal, pro-imperialist and anti-people nature of the CPI(M) government in West Bengal.

Terming the West Bengal Government’s propaganda against them as “incorrect”, they sought support from all sections of people of Punjab, including radical organisations like Dal Khalsa. They said that the alliance of Trinamool with the Maoists is “obnoxious” as Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) comprised of several political forces including parts of the CPI(M).

“The government has named people as Maoists who are actually either Trinamool leaders or ordinary villagers or students who came to help people in Nandigram,” they said. The representatives included Deboleena (Matangini Mahila Samiti,West Bengal), Gauranga Mondal (Bhumi Uchhed Pratorodh Committee, Nandigram), Jharna Giri (Matangini Mahila Samiti, Nandigram), Krishna Mondal (Matangini Mahila Samiti), Raja Sarkhel (Peoples Democratic Front of India) and Darshan Pal (Peoples Democratic Front of India).

Source : PTI

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Punjab: Fighting for relevance

Posted by Admin on September 14, 2007

Fighting for relevance

in Jalandhar

“THE revolution is not dead. The problem is that people see the naxalite movement as a purely violent one,” says Darshan Singh Khatkar, secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy, one of Punjab’s largest naxalite parties. He is involved in reviving the naxalite movement in the State.

The movement, after breaking away from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) because it did not want to join the electoral process of a “comprador” state, soon entered what naxalite leaders call the “glorious phase of people’s struggle”. This phase lasted until 1969-70 and succeeded in radicalising a large section of the youth by linking itself to the students movement. However, there was a gradual shift from the agitation and resistance mode to targeted violence. In 1969, the CPI(M-L) formally adopted a policy of elimination of “class enemies”. “This shift from systemic critique of the status quo towards a policy of individual armed annihilation alienated the movement from the people,” says Amolak Singh, general secretary of the Lok Morcha Punjab, an open front that has ties with several naxalite organisations. Punjab’s political establishment was unimpressed by the policy of annihilation, and by 1970-71, Amolak Singh says, the movement had lost 90 cadre to police action; many more were tortured and several went missing.

By 1972, the movement had changed decisively from a “glorious people’s struggle” to a fringe movement. Over the years, it has spilt many times into new formations, each espousing a different formula for revolution. However, they all shared one fundamental weakness – a failure to understand the complex ground realities in Punjab. While the first phase of agitation was successful, largely owing to the rhetorical appeal of the movement, the second, which constituted structural changes, proved difficult. “The socio-economic conditions in Punjab are very different from those in the Compact Revolutionary Zone,” admits Darshan Singh Khatkar. “Punjab does not, and did not, have the kind of land concentration that was seen in the rest of the country.”

The land reforms of 1971-72 restricted land holding in the State to seven hectares in the case of land irrigated for two crops and 20.5 hectares in the case of dry land. The Land Ceiling Act was often flouted, but that did not create the sharp divisions necessary for a widespread uprising for land rights. Instead, local resistance was building on issues such as minimum support price and the escalating costs of agricultural inputs following the Green Revolution – issues that did not occupy central spaces in the naxalite programmes. “By adopting a policy of indiscriminate killing of landlords, the naxalites killed a lot of people who were seen as protecting peasant interests,” says Balvir Parwana, a journalist with a Punjabi-language newspaper. “Most landlords were oppressive and tyrannical. Exposing their tyranny would have won the naxalites an important mass base. By killing them, the naxalites only made the landlords appear to be martyrs.”

Dr. Paramjit Singh Judge, author of Insurrection to Agitations: The Naxalite Movement in Punjab, told Frontline that the movement was predominately a Jat Sikh-led one. This restricted its reach to the middle peasantry. In spite of the active presence of revolutionary Dalit poets such as Lal Singh Dil and a few Dalit leaders, Dalits, who comprise almost a third of Punjab’s population and almost all of its landless tenants, were not mobilised. Under pressure from the Indian state, these internal contradictions were only accentuated, and by the late 1970s, the naxalites had lost the plot completely, he said.

In the early 1980s, the Khalistan Movement sounded the death knell for the naxalite movement. Not known for their policy of negotiation or appeasement, the Khalistanis eliminated all those who stood up to them. Acting on Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale’s assertion to get rid of all those who denied the existence of God, the Khalistanis killed communists of all shades systematically. The ones who embraced the Khalistan Movement were, however, spared. Former naxalites are quick to point out that a limited number of cadre deflected, that too in their individual capacity. At least one group – the Paigam (or Veenu) group led by Malvinder Malli – joined hands with the Khalistanis on the issue of Punjabi nationalism.

Today, the naxalite movement in Punjab is a largely fragmented one, its constituents differing principally on the relationship between it and the existing political process. While New Democracy regularly fights local and State elections, other naxalite organisations prefer to distance themselves from the electoral process. These parties are also divided on somewhat cabalistic issues of intellectual debate.

The movement seems to be fighting for relevance in the State. Poverty, inequality and oppression have not been eradicated, and Punjabi society is still recovering from the trauma of militancy and state repression. In this situation, any group that suggests an armed insurrection against the state is unlikely to win a large support base.

Also, by turning their back to the existing political process, many groups have painted themselves into a corner. Since they have neither a mass base nor an armed militia, the naxalites have no real means of exerting pressure on the state. On the other hand, the groups that have chosen to fight the elections, such as the New Democracy, are yet to show any results of consequence. Party leaders, however, concede that fighting elections has brought them a degree of legitimacy they previously lacked. “We also realised that we were in no position to implement the boycott,” a senior leader admitted.

While they have successfully organised village-level agitations against corrupt government officials and police intimidation, larger systemic changes seem unlikely at present. By conceding their demands, the state will only grant legitimacy to a movement that is decidedly anti-state. While “land to the tiller” and “a complete transformation of the existing system” still top the naxalite manifesto, the movement has been forced to accommodate less glamorous, yet equally important, issues such as exploitation by moneylenders and commission agents, minimum support price for farm produce, and free electricity for farmers. There is a growing realisation that for the common man, the link between small everyday struggle for work, food and security and larger issues such as the World Trade Organisation agreements and neo-liberal reforms is tenuous at best.

“Today they do not take up day-to-day issues, then how can you expect them to take up guns?” asks a cadre from the Communist Party Reorganisation Centres of India (M-L).

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Invitation for Kissan Panchayat

Posted by Admin on August 9, 2007

(Farmer’s Convention)

On 24-25 th August, 2007 at Amar Ashram (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Hall),

Near Polo Ground, Patiala (Punjab)

To – – – – — — – –

– – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Friends,

Hereby, we invite you to attend a Kissan Convention, being held at Patiala on 24 th and 25th, August 2007 by the People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI) and its constituent organisations, working in the agriculture sector. The convention is addressed to the burning issues that confront the peasants of India today. It will take up the question of indebtedness and suicides of farmers and the threat of land acquisition for various projects including SEZ. It will also arrange a session to discuss various movements going over on these issues thought the country, and ways and means to coordinate all these movements to initiate a countrywide united movement.

Program Sheet

24-08-07 (Friday)

First Session : Inaugural Session

Presided by Dr B.D. Sharma,
Convener of PDFI & Retd. Commissioner Govt. of India

Inaugural Speech
: Gursharan Singh, Noted Artist and Dramatist

Welcome Address : Balkar Singh Dakaunda, President, BKU (Ekta), Punjab

Introductory Speech : Dr. Darshan Pal, PDFI

Chief Guest : Prof. Jagmohan Singh , General Secretary, AFDR, Punjab.

Second Session : Indebtedness and Suicides of Farmers

Presided by Madhuri, Jagruk Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, MP

Papers to be presented by

Dr. B. D. Sharma ,. PDFI- Indebtedness of Farmers : Reasons and Solutions

Prof. Sukhpal Singh , Agriculture University, Ludhiana : Agrarian Crisis : Indebtedness and Farmer’s Suicides in Punjab

Prof. Ranjit Singh Ghumman , Punjabi University, Patiala : Peasantry, Problems of Rural Area and solution

Mr. Buta Singh Burjgill , Gen. Secretary, BKU (Ekta), Punjab: Indebtedness of Farmers and peasant’s struggle.

25-8-2007 (Saturday)

Third Session : The Land Acquisition for various projects including SEZ, Displacement and Coordination of People’s Movement

Presided by Ramachandra Singh, Bhoomiheen Kissan Sangharsh Samiti, UP

Papers to be presented by :

Prof Sucha Singh Gill
, Punjabi University, Patiala- On Special Economic Zone

Arjun Prasad Singh , PDFI – On Displacement

Representative of BKU (Ekta), Punjab : New Economic Policies Displacement and Peasant’s struggle

Fourth Session

Presided by Dr Darshan Pal, PDFI

1. Reporting and Discussion on the ongoing Movements and Struggles on Issues and Demands of Peasants/Farmers, specially against Indebtedness, Land Acquisition, Displacement and SEZ

2. Future Coordination of various Struggles/Movements and Organisations for Building a United All India Farmer’s Movement.

3. Resolutions

In this Kissan Panchayat (Convention) , most of the organizations working in different parts of the country on the issues and demands of the peasants/farmers are invited.

Your organisation is cordially invited to take part in the Kissan Panchayat (Convention) . Please make sure your presence and contribute in deliberations, strengthen the solidarity of peasant organisations and build a mighty movement against WTO, MNCs and anti-peasant policies of Indian rulers and states.

Participating Organisations:

BKU (Ekta), Punjab, Milkmen and Dairy Union, Punjab, Bhoomiheen Kissan Sangharsh Samiti, UP, Kissan Sangharsh Samiti, Moradabad, UP, Mukti Vahini , Mainpuri, UP, Jan Mukti Morcha, Azamgarh, UP, Jan Mukti Morcha, Basti-Gurakhpur, UP, Bihar Kissan Samiti, Janwadi Mazdoor Kissan Sabha, Bihar, Chhattisgarh Kissan Union, Jagruk Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, MP, Adivasi Mukti Morcha, MP, All India Praja Poratala Samiti, AP, Bharat Jan Andolan. Andhra Pradesh Rythu Coolie Samgam (APRCS),

Contacts : 094172-69294, 094176-24866, 09410477775, 099684-22834, 094630-47216, 011-24353997, 094253-13918

With thanks

On behalf the Sub Committee on Agriculture Crisis,

People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI)

Dr. B D Sharma (011-24353997 ), Madhuri (094253-13918) , Rakesh Rafique ( 09410477775), Arjun Prasad Singh (099684-22834) , Balkar Singh Dakaunda (094176-24866) , Harjinderjit Singh (094630-47216) ,Thomas Mathew

and Dr. Darshan Pal (094172-69294)

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