CPI(M) demands abolition of #deathpenalty


Monday, May 13, 2013, 20:13 IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Decribing executions as “inhuman”, CPI(M) on Monday said it stands for abolition of death penalty in the country as it is “arbitrarily implemented” and advocated imprisonment till death in rarest of the rare cases.

Prakash Karat

Decribing executions as “inhuman”, CPI(M) on Monday said it stands for abolition of death penalty in the country as it is “arbitrarily implemented” and advocated imprisonment till death in rarest of the rare cases.

A decision on the party’s position was taken at a two-day Central Committee meeting of CPI(M) that ended here yesterday.

Addressing a press conference here, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said the Central Committee discussed a note presented by the Polit Bureau on the abolition of the death penalty and decided that it will advocate the abolition of capital punishment.

“In India, death penalty, as it is in practice is arbitrarily implemented. It is inhuman…Instead of capital punishment, the party wants in rarest of the rare cases and most heinous crimes, life imprisonment should be extended for the entire life of the person convicted with no scope for remission,” Karat said.

He said the Politburo had been discussing the issue since last year.

Referring to the controversy surrounding the execution of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, Karat said he was denied what was provided in the law about right to appeal after the mercy petition was rejected.

“Afzal was denied this opportunity and his family was not informed also,” he said.

The CPI(M) leader said 97 countries have abolished death penalty and it was time for India to change its statute.

Last month, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury had said that the party were willing to discuss and consider death penalty for rapists.

 

Angry Jeetan Marandi vows to continue stir for poor


JEETAN

 Mukesh Ranjan | Ranchi |  Pioneer, April 1, 2013

Aggravated after his release from the jail after five years, Jeetan Marandi is all set to expedite his movement for the cause of the release of thousands of innocent tribal people lodged in various jails on the pretext of being Naxals.

Jeetan, a prime suspect of the Chilkhari massacre in which Anup Marandi, son of the former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi along with other 17 other people got killed, awarded death sentence by a Giridih Court, was released from Birsa Munda Central Jail on Thursday.

“I am not happy even after my release, as thousands of poor and tribal people are still lodged in jails without any substantial charges against them. My acquittal has exposed the intention of the suppressive Governments at the Centre and in the State,” said Jeetan.

“Had I not been acquitted, the intention of the Government would not have been clear,” added Jeetan. “They are trying to keep me away from my wife and son and have put my wife in the jail with a four-year child with her,” he alleged.

He was arrested allegedly because his name resembled to a Maoist Jeetan Marandi for whom cops had been looking for. There had been wide range of agitations across the country after Jeetan’s arrest on April 5, 2008.

Even Human Rights activist Binayak Sen came in open support of Jeetan Marandi terming the death sentence to the tribal artist as unlawful. An artiste and a tribal rights activist, Jeetan was well known for utilising the power of music to speak against government atrocities on the common man, especially tribals.

He was speaking to the media persons during a felicitation ceremony organised, by Jeetan Marandi Rihai Manch, after his release from the jail at Namkom Bagicha in Ranchi. Jeetan is to be felicitated in Giridih on Sunday.

Jeetan, who also narrated the police atrocities he had to go thorough while he was in jail and looked determined to work for the cause of over 6000 tribal and 10,000 other  people lodged in jail under Crime Control Act. He also accused the State and the Central Governments of conspiring against him to put in the jail to suppress the voice of the poor and downtrodden.

As the Government wants to label Jeetan’s family as a sympathiser of the CPI (Maoists), it has imposed a false case against his wife Aparana Marandi along with her four-year child in jail a few months back. The kid has not even seen his father’s face,” said Central Committee member of the Marxist Co-ordination Committee Sushanto Bhattacharya.

17 people got killed on the spot at Chilkhari on October 26, 2007 while 12 got injured in the massacre. Two more people died later during investigations. During a cultural programme at Chilkhari, a few unidentified persons started firing indiscriminately on the crowd present at the function.

Jeetan and other three were convicted under section 143,342,379,149,120B, 30, 149, Copyright Licencing Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act along with 302.

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE- CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya Arrested while Entering Koodankulam


 

Press Release

 

CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya

Arrested while Entering Koodankulam

 

New Delhi, 1 October 2012

 

CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya along with other CPI(ML) leaders was arrested today at Radhapuram, a few kilometers away from Idinthakarai, the site of the protest against the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant. CPI(ML) Politburo member S Kumaraswamy and Tamil Nadu State Secretary Balasundaram and other CPI(ML) leaders of Tamil Nadu were also arrested along with him.

At Tirunelveli town this morning, local CPI(ML) leaders were detained by police and prevented from proceeding to Idinthakarai. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya and his team had proceeded directly to Indinthakarai from Tuticorin airport, but were stopped by a huge posse of police, at a short distance from Idinthakarai.

A Convention organised by the All India Left Coordination (AILC) at Mavalankar Hall, New Delhi yesterday had given a call for a fortnight-long Solidarity Campaign in support of the anti-nuke agitation at Koodankulam, from October 1-15. The CPI(ML) General Secretary’s visit to Koodankulam on October 1 was to kick off the solidarity fortnight. A videotaped message of Koodankulam struggle leader SP Udayakumar was also screened at the AILC Convention yesterday.

After his arrest, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said, “Why are citizens being prevented from meeting and interacting with the protesting people of Koodankulam? Such arrests expose the utterly draconian conduct of the Central Government and TN State Government, which are attempting to choke off the people’s protests by sheer force.” Commenting on the Koodankulam struggle, he said, “The names of places like Chernobyl and Fukushima became well-known after terrible nuclear disasters occurred there. But Koodankulam has become known the world over, for the brave agitation to prevent a disaster.”

 

Prabhat Kumar,

For CPI(ML) Central Committee

 

Immediate Release–Convention Demands for Victims of Bathani Tola Massacre


Convention Demands for Victims of Bathani Tola Massacre

Calls For Countrywide Movement Against

‘Massacre of Justice’ by the Bihar HC Verdict Acquitting All Accused

New Delhi, 24 April, 2012

A Convention was held in the national capital on ‘Bathani Tola Acquittal: Political Complicity and Issues of Justice in Feudal and Communal Massacres’, on 23 April in the evening, at the Gandhi Peace Foundation. The Convention had been held in the backdrop of the Bihar HC verdict earlier this month acquitting all the accused in the Bathani Tola massacre in 1996 of 21 dalit and Muslim landless poor, all but one of whom were women and children. The Bihar HC overturned a lower court’s verdict of 2010 sentencing three to death and twenty to life imprisonment.

Introducing the issue, Kavita Krishnan, Central Committee member of the CPI(ML) said that the Bihar HC verdict had serious implications for the struggle for justice, not only in the Bathani Tola case but for all victims of feudal-communal massacres in Bihar and the rest of the country. The verdict disbelieves the evidence of eyewitnesses, by suggesting that had they really been present, they too would have been killed by the perpetrators. The verdict therefore implies that only the dead can be accepted as truthful witnesses to a massacre! If we declare it impossible for there to be any survivors and eyewitnesses to a massacre, then how can we ever convict any perpetrators of a massacre?

Prof. Anand Chakravarty spoke about the deep chasm between the rule of law and ‘justice’. He said that ‘justice’ should be understood not just in a judicial sense but in the wider sense of economic, social, and political justice. Citing instances of judicial bias against the dalit and adivasi agrarian labourers, he quoted the Tamil Nadu High Court verdict in the Kilvenmani massacre of 1969, which had found it ‘astonishing’ and ‘difficult to believe’ that ‘rich men, owning vast extents of land’, one of whom even ‘possessed a car’, could be guilty of burning alive 42 dalits! In the context of the Rupaspur (Purnea) massacre of 14 adivasi sharecroppers in 1971, he quoted the words of a well-known advocate who had justified the massacre, “It is because of me (i.e the landlord) that he had the land, it is because of me that he had a livelihood … Now he is violating that relationship by refusing to share the crop; this is a breach of trust which cannot be tolerated.” Prof. Chakravarty spoke of the principal social contradictions of Bihar, in the backdrop of which the Ranveer Sena had conducted more than 23 massacres in Bihar in the 1990s. The apparent reason for the massacres lay in contestations over land, wages and social dignity, he said, and the mobilizations of the radical Left groups on the latter issues, he stressed, were largely demanding rights within the Constitutional framework. The real reason for the massacres, he felt, was that the assertion of the underclass was viewed as an act of defiance against the hierarchical class and caste order. He held that the Bihar Government today, for all its rhetoric, is actually deeply inimical to the economic, social and political entitlements of the oppressed classes, and that therefore the prospects of justice for the latter are quite weak.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan spoke about the entrenched upper class and caste biases in the judiciary, and about how difficult it is for the poor and oppressed to approach the Courts for justice, or even to prove their innocence when they are falsely framed for some crime by the state machinery.

Prof. Nandini Sundar of Delhi University said that we should be hopeful and confident that the people of Bathani Tola would get justice – not so much because one has faith in the judiciary, but because one has faith in the commitment of the people and the party towards the struggle for justice. She said that the verdict seems to blame the survivors and witnesses for the weaknesses of the police investigators and prosecutors. She questioned the underlying assumption that the Bathani Tola massacre was a result of group rivalries (i.e between CPI(ML) and the Ranveer Sena), and that the survivors’ political affiliation made them ‘unreliable witnesses.’ She said that P Chidambaram was being opportunist when he asked why no one demanded justice for the Bathani Tola victims; since he himself was in the habit of branding those who raised such matters as ‘Maoist sympathizers.’

Jaya Mehta, economist and activist, spoke of her visit along with a team, to Amausi in Khagaria district of Bihar, which was the site of a massacre in 2009. She pointed out that in stark contrast to Bathani Tola where the Ara verdict had come out in 14 years later, a verdict sentencing 10 musahars (‘mahadalits’) including Comrade Bodhan Sada to death had come out within four years. She held that Amausi verdict to be deeply unjust and out of sync with the facts on the ground as emerged from the team’s preliminary enquiry. Noting the Bihar Government’s back-tracking on the question of land reform, she stressed the need for a united Left movement on the question of land reform and land rights to the oppressed.

Comrade Ramji Rai, politburo member of the CPI(ML), said that 16 years ago, Ranveer Sena committed the massacre in Bathani Tola, but now, what we are witnessing is a judicial massacre of Bathani Tola. And the foundations of this massacre of justice, he said, were laid long ago: when the Nitish Kumar Government came to power and disbanded the Amir Das Commission that been set up to enquire into the political patrons of the Ranveer Sena.

He reminded that the Bathani Tola massacre was a virulent feudal-communal backlash against the bid at political and social equality by the poor and oppressed of Bhojpur. The CPI(ML) had won two Assembly seats at Sahar and Sandesh in 1995 – and this was the immediate backdrop in which the Ranveer Sena came into being. He recalled speaking to Sheetal Choudhury from Ara, who had said that Bhojpur had witnessed a ‘little revolution’ (chhoti moti kranti) that had forced the feudal forces to accept the dalit and landless oppressed as political and social equals. The massacre was intended to punish this assertion and reestablish the old order.

He pointed out the strong ideological and political linkages between the Ranveer Sena and the Sangh Parivar, and the communal overtones of the feudal massacre at Bathani Tola, in which Muslim families had been singled out for the most barbaric crimes. There was documentary evidence, he said, that the Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh had called to ‘throw out the red flag from India’s soil.’ Reminiscent of the Bajrang Dal, Brahmeshwar had called for liquidation of the ‘Naxalites,’ saying that when Hanuman burnt Lanka, he had not spared women and children. Brahmeshwar Singh, mirroring the nationalist posturing of the Sangh Parivar, had called his organization the ‘nationalist’ (rashtravadi) peasant organization. Nitish’s predecessor Laloo Prasad, in spite of his anti-communal posturing, had never acted against the Ranveer Sena. Brahmeshwar Singh, the Ranveer Sena chief, had never been named in any of the FIRs of massacres. And the Nitish Government had failed even to oppose the bail plea of Brahmeshwar Singh, allowing him to walk free!

Comrade Ramji Rai called for a countrywide declaration of rejection of and struggle against the ‘massacre of justice’ represented by the Bihar HC verdict on Bathani Tola.

The Convention ended with recitation of poems by the people’s poet and balladeer Vidrohi.

CPI(ML) Statement – Condemning Conspiracy to Implicate the Party in Jharkhand Blast, Demanding Intervention to Secure Release of Leaders Abducted by Maoists


CPI(ML) Condemns Conspiracy to Implicate the Party in Jharkhand Blast,

Demands Release of Arrested CPI(ML) Activists and

Intervention to Secure Release of CPI(ML) Leaders Abducted by Maoists

New Delhi, January 22, 2012

The CPI(ML) strongly condemns the conspiracy being woven by the Jharkhand police in Garhwa district to falsely implicate the party in a landmine blast, as a pretext to unleash repression on the party’s growing assertion among rural and adivasi poor.

The facts are as follows:

On 21 January 2012, an agitation by local villagers demanding the shifting of the proposed site of a health centre was being led by elected mukhiya and CPI(ML) activist Ramdas Minz, at Barga village in Bhandaria block in Garhwa district. The police arrested Comrade Ramdas Minz during the agitation, but the protest continued, blockading the road with the demand that the Bhandaria BDO meet them and address their grievance.

Comrade Sushma Mahto, elected Zila Parishad Chairperson and well-known local leader of the CPI(ML) was coming from Garhwa by car to the protest site, along with CPI(ML)’s Jharkhand State Committee member Comrade Akhtar Ansari, and another Zila Parishad member, an adivasi woman named Hirwanti Devi.

A land mine blast by Maoists in the same area claimed the lives of several policemen, though the BDO’s car, apparently on the way to meet the agitating villagers, passed safely. When Comrade Sushma’s vehicle approached the area, the Maoists stopped the car and snatched the gun from Comrade Sushma’s bodyguard. Comrade Sushma, her bodyguard Sunesh Ram, CPI(ML) State Committee member Comrade Akhtar Ansari, Hirwanti Devi and the driver of the car, Ahmed, had their hands tied behind their backs, and were abducted by the Maoists.

Alarmingly, instead of making efforts to rescue the abducted CPI(ML) leaders and others, the Jharkhand police are falsely implicating the CPI(ML) in the landmine blast, alleging that the roadblock and protest were being held by the party as a ploy to ‘lure’ the policemen into the Maoist blast. Several of our activists, including Comrade Ramdas Minz, elected mukhiya from the CPI(ML), are being tortured in police custody. The DGP of Jharkhand is refusing to acknowledge that Sushma Mahto and other CPI(ML) leaders have been abducted!

In Garhwa, the police and local administration have for some time now, launched an all-out drive to falsely implicate the CPI(ML) leaders and discredit the party, to crush the growing assertion of the party in the area. Not long ago, the police raided the home of one leader of the party, and later claimed to have found fake currency there (without bothering to produce any evidence by way of seizure documents, etc). The police then, in a deliberate attempt to tarnish the party’s credibility, alleged links of CPI(ML) leaders with ‘ISI’. Similarly this time, the police are making an outrageous and mischievous attempt to link a peaceful, democratic protest being led by the party with a landmine blast by Maoists.

It is highly unfortunate that the Maoists’ actions have provided fodder for the police to intensify their repression on people’s movements and democratic struggles. Moreover the Maoists’ actions of abducting/assassinating elected people’s representatives, CPI(ML) leaders and other social activists – as in the case of assassinations of CPI(ML) MLA Comrade Mahendra Singh, as well as social activist Niyamat Ansari – is extremely reprehensible. Such actions of targeting and eliminating those activists who resolutely stand up for the rights of the rural poor, do immense harm to the cause of people’s movements.

We condemn in the strongest terms the attempts to frame and falsely implicate the CPI(ML). We demand the immediate release of arrested CPI(ML) activists in Garhwa, and urgently seek the intervention of the Jharkhand State Government and the Central Government to secure the speedy and safe release of all those, including CPI(ML) leaders and elected representatives, abducted by the Maoists.

Prabhat Kumar,

For CPI(ML) Central Committee

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