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Archives for : April2018

Varanasi farmers use their blood to writer letter to PM Modi


  1. Thousands of farmers have decided to write letters in their blood to PM Modi to get their agricultural land back.
  2. “I am writing this letter with blood, do not mistake it for ink. I want my land back, don’t think I am a beggar,” read one such letter by farmer Mewa Patel.
  3. These lands were “forcefully acquired” in 2003.
VARANASI. Thousands of farmers have decided to write letters in their blood to PM Modi to get their agricultural land back.
It started yesterday with more than 50 farmers using their blood to compose a letter. The farmers would continue writing letters till April 8 and would then send all these letters to parliamentary office if PM in Varanasi.”I am writing this letter with blood, do not mistake it for ink. I want my land back, don’t think I am a beggar,” read one such letter by farmer Mewa Patel.

In 2003, under transport nagar policy (TNP) in Varanasi, using land acquisition, lands of 1192 farmers were forcefully acquired. Farmers allege that due process wasn’t followed, and the lands were taken away from them and “illegally” registered in the name of Varanasi development authority. The work on TNP is yet to begin till date.

Deprived of due benefits from government, these farmers have been agitating for long. On Sunday, they assembled under the banner of Uttar Pradesh kisan khet majdooz Congress in Barwan village.

The farmers claimed that they have been compelled to write letter in bloods as they got no relief from PM Modi despite repeated appeals.

The farmers threatened to lay down their lives if government fails to return their lands constitutionally.

Content courtesy: Navbharat Times

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On the Imperative of Transnational Solidarity: A U.S. Black Feminist Statement on the Assassination of Marielle Franco

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference—those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older—know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” – Audre Lorde

On March 13, 2018, Marielle Franco, a black queer woman, mother, sociologist, socialist, human rights defender, councilwoman from the favela of Maré, tweeted about 23-year-old Matheus Melo de Castro, who was shot in Rio: “Another killing of a young person possibly committed by the Military Police (PM). Matheus was leaving church. How many more must die for this war to end?” The next day, as she was leaving an event,“Jovens Negras Movendo as Estruturas” (“Young Black Women Moving Structures”), in the neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, she was executed. Around9:30pm, an unidentified car pulled up alongside hers and assassin(s) shot thirteen shots into the car, murdering  Marielle and her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes, leaving her assistant alive. The 9mm bullets that hit Marielle in her head and neck came from a lot of ammunition the Federal Police had purchased in Brasília in 2006. Military Police used bullets from this same lot to massacre 17 people in Barueri and Osasco (the São Paulo metropolitan area) in 2015.

As black feminist scholars from the United States whose work focuses on racism, sexism, and anti-black violence in Brazil, we stand in solidarity with black women and black communities in Brazil who are mourning the politically-motivated assassination of Marielle Franco. We recognize Marielle’s death as part of a larger pattern of state-sponsored killing, terrorization and silencing of black Brazilian communities. We know that she was killed because she identified and denounced anti-black state violence, particularly that tied to the current federally backed military occupation of Rio de Janeiro. We also know that she was killed not solely because of her race, gender, sexuality, class or political beliefs but because of all of those things combined. Her death is an alarming, brazen, political act of violence. Marielle was a black woman who espoused black feminism, denounced police violence, spoke out boldly and unabashedly about racism and classism, and fiercely defended and invested in her community (a favela). As such, she was a threat to the white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist, imperialist global social order. But her death is not a sign of the strength of this order. Rather, it is a sign of its ever-expanding weakness.

Marielle was born and raised in the Complexo da Maré, and she died representing this community. Maré and other communities like it have long served as a laboratory for brutal policies of austerity, violent policing, and military occupation. Her master’s thesis in sociology explored this brutality at length, particularly tying it to the militarization of the Brazilian police forces and the occupation of the majority black, majority poor favelas of her city, Rio de Janeiro. As an active member of the Party for Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), Marielle challenged the status quo of negligence and abuse waged by so many political parties on poor people of color in Brazil. It is no accident that just days before her assassination, she was slated to be the rapporteur of the committee to review the recent federal intervention in the military occupation of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

We are aware of the transnational significance of Marielle’s murder and its links to global practices of anti-black genocide. Brazil’s black population is the second-largest African descendant population in the world, and it has been the target of brutal and violent policing practices for decades. Brazil’s crisis of police violence cannot be separated from the context of anti-black, deadly policing in the United States that motivated three black queer women to initiate the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2013 and expand it into the Movement for Black Lives. However, it is important to recognize that Black Brazilians have also been speaking out and organizing against anti-black police lethality and brutality for generations. Black resistance can be traced back as far as the wars between slavery-era quilombos (maroon communities) and Portuguese military forces. This is important to remember if we consider that contemporary police apparatuses emerged throughout the Americas first in direct response to the threat of black revolt during slavery. As such, black people have resisted violent, racialized policing since the epoch of slavery throughout the entire region.

Thus, we have come full circle. While there are explicit and implicit connections between the U.S. Movement for Black Lives and Brazil, the current movement against anti-black genocide in Brazil is an organic extension of generations of resistance against anti-black state violence in Brazil. Marielle was one of a cohort of black queer women leading the global fight to end anti-black state-sponsored terror. She had even committed herself to learning English through intensive readings of the works of black feminist scholars such as Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Angela Davis, among others, as a concrete way to link Brazilian movements to ideas and struggles for freedom and justice taking place around the world. If we recognize the Movement for Black Lives as a global coalition to fight against anti-black state violence, then Marielle Franco is yet another martyr for this global movement.

We feel compelled to place Marielle’s life, activism, and untimely death within this broader context of Brazil’s 500-hundred-year history of oppressing African descendant and indigenous peoples, and ongoing struggles for inclusive citizenship and democracy within the context of increasing authoritarianism. According to Human Rights Watch, in 2016 the police killed 4,224 people in Brazil. It may come as no surprise that the majority of those killed are black. If recent experiences of police killings of black people in Brazil tell us anything, they tell us that police often act with impunity. Let us not forget the case of Claudia Ferreira da Silva, a black Brazilian woman who was killed by police officers in Rio de Janeiro on March 16, 2014–nearly four years to the day before Marielle was killed. Claudia was shot by police during a gun battle with alleged drug traffickers in her neighborhood. After she was wounded she was stuffed in the trunk of a police car and her body was dragged for approximately 250 meters before the two officers stopped the car and stuffed her limp body back inside. She was dead by the time she arrived at the hospital. The officers charged with her death were never convicted, and have even been involved in eight more murders in the last four years.Marielle’s story also reminds us of the killing of Luana Barbosa dos Reis–a 34 year-old black woman from São Paulo who was beaten and killed by police officers in Riberão Preto. What precipitated her beating is telling: a masculine-identified lesbian, Luana protested when police officers stopped her and insisted on frisking her as if she were a man. When she refused to comply with being patted down by men, police officers beat her so badly that she suffered internal bleeding and eventually died of a stroke.

Marielle Franco’s brutal murder highlights disturbing practices of state violence and repression in Brazil, as they impact the black, and particularly black poor, population. This continual oppression has long been overlooked by the international media and in much academic scholarship. As a city council member and activist in Rio de Janeiro, Marielle defended the rights of black women, favela residents, and the LGBTQ community in a highly unequal and segregated city. While Rio de Janeiro was in the international spotlight just two short years ago as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, the police and military occupation of the city’s majority-black favelas was largely hidden from mainstream Brazilian public discourse. Policies of genocide and extermination have been enacted against black communities in major cities throughout Brazil since its founding, and have only heightened in recent years. In this sense, Marielle’s murder is a continuation of a long-standing state practice of killing Black people.

The fact that Brazil’s current political situation is eerily similar to the country’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) is cause for international alarm and action. The coup that forced Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, from office in August 2016 has hastened the country’s downward political spiral and the swift reversal of democratic and inclusive policies that were, hard won by black activists – and black women activists in particular. The country’s rightward shift has exacerbated a political climate in which activists, even those as prominent as Marielle, can be killed. We are particularly concerned about the impact of the current democratic crisis in Brazil on black communities, and its relationship to increasing rates of state-sponsored anti-black violence and death. As progressive communities throughout the world mourn the death of Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, we should also realize that her tragic murder is but one of thousands that are committed against black women, men and children in Brazil every year. It is estimated that a black person is killed in Brazil every 23 minutes

The egregiousness of the targeted assassination of an elected official has mobilized people throughout Brazil and around the world. We must maintain this momentum if we want ensure the safety and well being of black women like Marielle and communities like Maré. As tragic and shocking as it was, sadly, Marielle’s assassination was not an anomaly. In Brazil there have been at least 194 politicians and activistskilled in the past five years. Many of them have been killed for daring to question the hegemonic social structures intertwined with U.S interests. We cannot mourn her tragic death while ignoring our own government’s complicity and involvement in her death. Brazilian police forces responsible for brutality have been trained by the FBI and the New York Police Department. Agricultural oligarchs with ties to U.S. multinational corporations and politicians routinely kill indigenous people in land speculation disputes. And we cannot forget that Marielle spoke out boldly against the coup that ousted Brazil’s democratically-elected president with support from the U.S. State Department. Given the global dimensions of anti-blackness and the transnational circulation of practices of state violence and militarized policing, we believe profoundly that we must organize on a hemispheric and global level.

Marielle will forever be remembered by those she represented, and those she inspired, for recognizing their humanity while others only saw them as targets to be marginalized or annihilated. On the night of her death, Marielle quoted Audre Lordesaying, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own” (1981, “The Uses of Anger”). As black people in the Americas we must commit ourselves to continuing the work for which Marielle died. We must affirm the need to center black women’s lives and experiences in our struggles for liberation, not at the expense of our broader multi-gendered communities, but precisely because “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression” (Combahee River Collective Statement).

Collective vision for liberation is necessarily transnational–our struggles are inherently connected. We are heartened that the world has been moved by Marielle’s death. This show of international solidarity is a turning point. But we call on all of us to maintain this watchful eye for the months and years to come. Marielle’s assassination was not the first, and unfortunately, it is most likely not the last bellicose act in this global struggle. The fight for black life requires us to remain vigilant at home and abroad. Justice for Marielle means justice for us all.

Marielle, presente! Avante pretas! A luta é de todos nós!

Kia L. Caldwell, African, African American & Diaspora Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill

Wendi Muse, History, New York University

Tianna S. Paschel, African American Studies, UC-Berkeley

Keisha-Khan Y. Perry, Africana Studies, Brown University

Christen A. Smith, African and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin

Erica L. Williams, Sociology and Anthropology, Spelman College

On the Imperative of Transnational Solidarity: A U.S. Black Feminist Statement on the Assassination of Marielle Franco

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Veteran Socialist leader and former Maharashtra minister Bhai Vaidya passes away #RIP


Vaidya was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at the Poona Hospital.

Veteran socialist leader Bhai Vaidya passed away on Monday evening.
Veteran socialist leader Bhai Vaidya passed away on Monday evening.(HT File Photo)

Veteran socialist leader Bhai Vaidya, also a former home minister of Maharashtra and president of the recently relaunched Socialist Party of India, passed away on Monday evening following a prolonged illness, said doctors treating him. He was 89 years old.

Vaidya was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at the Poona Hospital. Abhijit Vaidya, Bhai Vaidya’s son had earlier said, “He complained of pain in the abdomen a month back and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was attending programmes and protests even five days ago when his health got worse and consequently we moved him to the hospital.”

Born on June 22, 1928, at Dapode village in Pune district, Vaidya began his journey in activism and politics as a 14-year-old taking part in the freedom struggle. He later became the mayor of Pune.

Kumar Saptarshi, chief of Yuva Kranti Dal (Yukrand), said, “Passing away of Bhai Vaidya is a major loss to the society. I have been fortunate to have known him and worked with him for very long. He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts. He worked extensively towards improving the condition of backward people. He introduced the backward class to true secularism.”

Social activist Subhash Ware said, “Although we were expecting this news since the last four days, it still is very difficult for us to accept the fact that he is no more. Bhai Vaidya’s death has created a major vacuum in the state.”

His contribution to the field of education is unparalleled, added Ware.

Over a political career spanning 60 years, Bhai Vaidya was elected multiple times as a corporator for the Pune Municipal Corporation. He became the mayor of Pune and was the first president of the All India Mayors Association. He was also minister of state for home and is remembered for many reforms in the police department, especially for changing the police uniform to full pants. He was Pune’s mayor in 1974-75 and state home minister in 1978.

He also made a significant contribution to the freedom struggle. He led the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement for a unified Maharashtra in 1957 and was arrested during Emergency in 1977. He has authored books on socialism, the Mandal commission and educational reforms among others.

Vaidya also formed unions of unorganised workers in the state. He is the recipient of several awards such as Goa Krantidin, Moulana Sadbhavna, Samata Bhushan and Mahatma Phule. He always remained a staunch socialist and progressive ideologue. Even during the infamous Emergency, he remained defiant as the mayor and organised a 20,000-strong rally at Shaniwarwada and was arrested. He has been in jail 28 times.

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Ugly Male Chauvinism and Misogyny in Indian Parliament #Vaw

No laughing matter


Renuka Chowdhury, whose Parliamentary tenure ends soon, talks about being mocked at and insulted repeatedly by her male colleagues.

Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury

 Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury

Not one to take it sitting down, Congress minister Renuka Chowdhury has made it a point to hit back at misogynistic comments time and again. About a month ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a jibe at the minister, comparing her laugh to that of a character from the Ramayana. And this time around, Renuka has been body-shamed by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

For the uninitiated, during her farewell speech at the Rajya Sabha, Renuka alluded to the fact that she knew Naidu when she was several kilos lighter, and said, “He (Naidu) knows me from many kilos before. Sir, many people worry about my weight but in this job, you need to throw your weight around.” To this, Naidu replied, “My simple suggestion is, reduce your weight and make efforts to increase the weight of the party.” And the House roared with laughter! It is worth considering here that when the Vice-President of the country gets away with such comments, it will only encourage fellow Indians to emulate him.

 We speak to the Congress politician to find out her views on some of the events of the past.

Misogyny is omnipresent
“You claim you (Venkaiah Naidu) know me. But does knowing me reduce my stature as a colleague in Parliament? I am as much a member of Parliament as anyone else. What gives anyone the liberty to speak like that?” asks Renuka, adding, “Last time around the Prime Minister did it too. Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju did it, when he uploaded a video showing me as Surpanakha and quickly deleted it when I said that I will file a case. We’ve had another Parliament member Tarun Vijay saying that we tolerate ‘dark skin’; look at people from South India! Misogyny is present everywhere and we won’t accept it be it from people of our party or another party. This is shameful and a yardstick to show the challenges faced by women.

“Years after Independence, when the Constitution empowered us to vote along with men, we are still struggling with basic fundas. Do they talk about men like that? Do they tell men ‘Why don’t you lose weight?’ or ‘Why don’t you get a haircut?’ or ‘Trim your beard’.”

Notably, although Renuka hasn’t taken any action against Naidu yet, she has tabled a privilege motion against Kiren Rijiju in  Parliament. “This hasn’t been taken up yet. So, on April 2, I will stand up and ask what happened to it. My motion should be addressed!” she states.

On being laughed at in the Upper House
“I deliberately changed it to light banter because I did not want my farewell to become a bitter issue. It was my last speech. Even last time the Vice-President had said to me: ‘Why don’t you go and see a doctor?’” says the minister.

Men should be taught good behaviour 
Narrating an anecdote, Renuka says, “On the other hand, you have men like NCP’s D.P. Tripathi, who is a brilliant parliamentarian. He said during his farewell speech that we were together in supporting Vandana Chouhan’s return to Parliament. And that ‘she is a young lawyer and a very good parliamentarian. So proud that my party chose a woman!’ Other parties should also do this. He also added that she got it because she deserved it. There are only a handful of men in Parliament who talk like that. What a pity! What he said was not widely reported, but what these crude men say gets all the attention. And they are very happy to get that two-paisa publicity.”

Renuka adds that women should be responsible for effectuating change in the opposite sex: “We have to show men how to behave. We have to show people who is a real man — one who is confident enough to stand up and say I respect a women and not someone who thumps tables when the loutish Prime Minister talks rubbish.

“Ministers should learn from colleagues like Mr Tripathi and realise how greatly he rose in stature in front of the entire country. Being a man is not just about growing a moustache from your nose to ears, or having a six pack. Only those men who lack self-respect and self-esteem behave like this. They think that by being so crude it crushes women. But those days are over when we would sit and cry; now we hit back. Nothing proved it better than the Twitter handle, #LLRC (laugh like Renuka Chowdhury). Crores of women came out and said they wanted to be Surpanakhas, and not Sitas. I couldn’t believe the kind of support I got.”

She continues, “There is a huge responsibility that all of us collectively share. If children are going to be witness to discriminatory behaviour by parents and grandparents who ill-treat their daughters-in-law, it will give birth to misogyny. The rules of the game have changed. Men are lagging behind and need to catch up with the new world order, where none of this is tolerated. That is a challenge though! You have to teach a taxi driver that the lady sitting in the back of the car is not your sexual fantasy. We are not ornamental decoration for offices either. We haven’t left our homes and our security for your enjoyment. If we say no to men, they need to understand it as a ‘no’, not as a ‘maybe’!”

A call for inspiring examples
Renuka feels that if other women come forward to share positive stories about the men in their life, it can help bring about a change. “I think there should be a column where women can talk about their lives and the decent men they live with. The positivity might help. When I was the minister of women and child development, I had women come up to me and say: ‘Ma’am my husband is a perfectly nice guy when we are all alone, helps me in housework as well. But the minute his friends come in, he starts getting authoritarian and bullies me.’ We asked the guy why does he do that? He said men shame us saying ‘biwi ke palloo se jude ho’ and you are not man enough. Men come under peer pressure too. Such men need to see other men who behave decently. We also hear stories of men who stand up for women. We should celebrate great men like that. These are real men, not the ones in movies who say hasi toh phasi,” she elaborates.

It is embarrassing: Jaya Bachchan

The Naidu-Renuka incident has not gone down well with MP Jaya Bachchan either. She says, “I don’t speak as much in Parliament unless I am very angry. Living with someone who is only angry on screen, and not otherwise, has worked on me. We hear a lot of ‘wonderful’ language in the August House that we represent. It is embarrassing… it is not embarrassing when you hear it, but it is when you know that men in our country have not been educated, which is why they use the kind of language that they do. They don’t have the knowledge and they don’t know how to respect women.” Jaya was perhaps also referring to Naresh Agarwal’s comments on her here, when after losing out to her, he had said, “I have been compared with those who dance and work in films.”

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No doctors at Chhattisgarh CHC, woman delivers premature baby in auto-rickshaw

Rashmi Drolia| TNN | 

Illustration for representational purposeIllustration for representational purpose
RAIPUR: A seven-month pregnant woman in labour for several hours gave birth to a premature baby in an auto-rickshaw after she was allegedly asked to go to private hospital in absence of doctors at community health centre (CHC), being it a Sunday in Chhattisgarh‘s Koriya district.
The woman was being taken to the district hospital in the auto when she delivered the baby on way with the help of a ‘mitanin’ (woman health worker).

Though the block medical officer said that he had asked the nurse at the CHC in question to send the woman to his home, the family chose to go to the district hospital in fear of being overcharged. The condition of the newborn is stated be critical and is admitted at NICU.

The family of the woman identified as Sunita, 25, was quoted as saying that the nurse staff at CHC in Pipariya region told them that the child was stuck upside down and she would need to undergo C-section, which wasn’t possible in absence of the two doctors including the BMO. As it was Sunday, there was no hope of any doctor turning up and the staff asked them to go to home clinic of block medical officer Dr Suresh Tiwari, who reportedly also runs a private hospital.

Nurses told them that only BMO could take decision in such case.

In a haste, the woman’s family decided to transport her to the district hospital at Baikunthpur, nearly 45km away and also feared that they would be overcharged by the doctor for surgery at his hospital. Instead of running from pillar to post, they hired an auto and proceeded for Baikunthpur.

The family was accompanied by a mitanin and they were 20km from the district hospital when the woman went into the labour and delivered the baby. The mitanin assisted her and immediately rushed her back to the CHC, from where the woman and her premature baby were shifted to the district hospital.

When contacted, BMO Dr Suresh Tiwari told TOI, “The CHC staff is not at fault. The woman came at around 10.30am and was told she couldn’t have a normal delivery. The gynaecologist was also on leave, but before the staff could suggest them further, the family disappeared from the centre. They didn’t even sought for Mehtari Express or ambulance which are always parked on the premises to deal with such emergency cases. It was the duty of the mitanin to suggest them to take an ambulance if they decide to take her to district hospital, or should have contacted me.”

The family returned by 12.30pm with the baby and were provided primary treatment before shifting. The condition of the baby is critical while woman is healthy, BMO added.

While Chhattisgarh boasts about excellent health services for expectant mothers, TOI has reported in October last year that state had lost as many as 3,184 newborns and 221 maternal deaths were reported in span of six months.

Also, in a similar incident in August, a pregnant tribal woman was forced to deliver the baby at a playground near a sub-health centre in Jashpur district after the doors of the centre were allegedly found locked in absence of staff, again being it a Sunday. The woman, who was going through severe labour, also had to walk down nearly two kilometres after calls made to 108 ambulance and 102 Mehtari express proved futile as the number was found busy.

Meanwhile, Koriya collector Narendra Dugga has ordered a probe into the case. He said that there seems to be a communication gap between the mitanin and the nurses at the CHC.

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National Protest against the Assault on Cattle Economy and Lynching of Dalits and Minorities.


In Memory of Pehlu Khan

|New Delhi| April 3rd 2018 marks one entire year since Pehlu Khan’s death, a dairy farmer from Nooh district of Haryana who was attacked by a group of 200 cow vigilantes affiliated with right-wing Hindutva groups in Alwar, Rajasthan. It is shameful to see that the Rajasthan govt. has still not made the case a priority – to deliver justice to the victims or address the increasing cases of cow vigilantism. There is a growing threat to the power of democratically elected state-government and courts from quasi militant groups such as the gau-rakshaks, who have undermined the Right to Life of individuals and communities, especially in the rural agrarian belt.

Various militant and political outfits such as RSS and VHP have regularly attacked cattle traders under the guise of “gauraksha” (cow protection). Pehlu Khan’s family is still struggling to come to terms with their loss and live a normal life. The delay in this case clearly shows not a lack of evidence, but a lack of will to bring the killers to justice. The role of the local police officials in the subduing and diluting of the cases, including threatening families and friends of the victims of filing false cases, destroying evidence and adopting a strategy of false encounters must also be looked into.

Com. Hannan Mollah stated that since Pehlu Khan’s lynching, over 300 more cases have been reported, the victims were dairy farmers, dalit and Muslim cattle traders, and none of them have received justice even now. It is time for the nation to agitate against such politically motivated murders; as a democracy, India cannot standby as innocent farmers, traders and other social minorities are murdered in broad daylight.

Bhumi Adhikar Andolan continues its demand for justice for these victims, for immediate relief to be provided to the families of the victims of these attacks and strives to provide support to the families of the victims. It also condemns the protection given to these gau-rakshaks who have run havoc across the country, and are visibly operating with the patronage of local and state administration and political groups who have vested interests. Com NK Shukla stated that these repeated attacks on cattle traders and dairy farmers are part of a bigger design to undermine the dairy sector of the country. He further added that these attacks are creating havoc on the lives of the farmers who are already distressed because they are not getting a fair MSP, they are burdened by debts and being pushed to commit suicides.

Maulana Hanif also said that the repeated attacks on the Muslim community in Mewat is a result of a larger political propaganda, he stated that the need of the hour is for all the communities in Mewat to unite and stand as a strong front against such communal forces.

At the protest organized on 3rd April, 2018 at Parliament Street in Delhi, leaders of the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan called for nation-wide struggle against increasing cases of violence meted by right-wing groups in the name of cow-protection and of vendetta against all progressive movements and of continued attacks on dalits and minorities.

It is mentionable that Bhumi Adhikar Andolan had also organised a two day National Convention and Photo Feature on the same issues in March, it was attended by farmers, political leaders, social activists and academicians from all over the country.


Bhumi Adhikar Andolan also announced its support to the call for a countrywide protest called by Jan Ekta, Jan Adhikar Andolan on the completion of 4 years of the Modi Government with the slogan “Pol Khol, Halla Bol!”

The protest was addressed by: N. K Shukla (Joint. Sec AIKS), Phul Singh (State Sec. Haryana AIKS), Com. Hannan Mollah (Gen. Secy. AIKS), Jiten Chaudhary (MP, Lok Sabha, CPIM), KK Ragesh (MP, RS. Kerala, CPIM), Pehlu Khan’s Family, Com. Bharat Singh (State Secy. Uttar Pradesh, AIKS), Maulana Hanif, Shifat Manager (Alwar), Com. Ramesh  (AIKMS). 

Bhumi Adhikar Andolan


National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), All India Kisan Sabha (Ajay Bhawan), All India Kisan Sabha (36, Canning Lane), Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Jan Sangharsh Samanvaya Samiti, Chhatisgarh Bachao Aandolan, All India Kisan Maha Sabha, All India Agricultural Workers Union, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Sanyukt Kisan Sangharsh Samilti, INSAF, Delhi Solidarity Group, Kisan Manch, Bhartiya Kisan Union Arajnitik Asli, Mines Minerals and Peoples, Jan Adhikar Jan Ekta Andolan and Others.

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Swords, CDs and Pen Drives: How Riots in 9 Bihar Districts Were Planned and Executed

People were called in from outside the state, and arms and inflammatory material was freely distributed, say sources.
Newsclick Image By Sumit

The spate of communal violence in Bihar that spread to nine out of 38 districts was “not at all spontaneous” but “pre-planned” and “manufactured” to achieve “political gains”. There were prior inputs, say those who are closely monitoring the situation, regarding this plan but the alerts were not acted upon to prevent the communal atmosphere from getting disturbed.

Sources said CDs and pen drives containing provocative songs were distributed ahead of Rama Navami apart from new swords, sticks and hockey sticks.

One person was killed and around 65 were injured in communal clashes that erupted after Ram Navami processions in nine districts – Bhagalpur, Munger, Samastipur, Siwan, Gaya, Aurangabad, Kaimur, Nawada and Nalanda. Several people have been arrested in connection with these riots and over a dozen of them are BJP workers, including two senior leaders – Mohan Patwa and Dinesh Kumar Jha. One of the primary suspects – Arijit Shashwat, the son of Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in the Ashwini Kumar Choubey, is on the run.

“It was pre-planned and the aim was to polarise the society on communal lines. People from neighbouring states such as eastern Uttar Pradesh had been called in to take part in processions (to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Rama) and begin the violence. New and common faces have been spotted in different districts, leading the processions and instigating people to indulge in violence,” two high-ranking officials of the state police told Newsclick on condition of anonymity.

“Thankfully, locals understood the conspiracy and did not take part in the violence. Had their involvement been there, the situation would have been beyond imagination,” one of them said.

Asked about the lapses on part of the police, they said the places where the administration was alert, attempts to create tensions were either foiled or controlled. “Investigations are on, the culprits won’t be spared. They will be brought to book,” said the officers.

Two senior journalists, Newsclick spoke to, also said “it was a pre-planned attacks” and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had “inputs well in advance” that a conspiracy was being hatched to disrupt peace in the state. “Therefore, he (the CM) had appealed to people with folded hands during Bihar Diwas celebrations not to get misguided,” said veteran journalist Gyaneshwar, the editor of website LiveCities.

Asked if the chief minister – who is also the home minister of the state – had the information that something of this sort could happen, what steps did he take to prevent it from occurring, he said, “I can say it with conviction that Nitish Kumar did not want that to happen because of the fact that such violence would dent his image and damage his party’s (the Janata Dal United) prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It is the BJP (which is alliance partner of the Bihar government) that will enjoy the benefits of communal polarisation and therefore, its leaders actively participated in vitiating the atmosphere in the state.”

To establish his allegations, he said that the state had no tradition of organised processions on the occasion of Rama Navami.

“Of late, the festival has been completely politicised and is being celebrated as display of strength. With political patronage and backing of saffron outfits, people in large number – armed with swords and other weapons – make forced entry into Muslim concentration areas and raise provocative slogans. Surprisingly, we have seen active participation of BJP leaders in such events. We heard Aurangabad MP Sushil Kumar Singh who said that ‘there is a reaction to an action’ (on March 26, following which communal clashes erupted). He instigated the violence,” he added, asking “What kind of culture is this and where are we as a society heading to?”

He alleged that swords were being distributed in several subdivisions of Bihar along with CDs and pen drives containing objectionable songs. He claimed he too has such a pen drive in his possession that has an objectionable song ‘Topi Pahanne Wale Ko Bhi, Jai Shri Ram Kahna Hoga’.

“We are also Hindus. We never went to purchase swords ahead of Rama Navami. From where were such a huge number of swords and other weapons brought? I have information that they were brought from outside, stacked and distributed in a planned manner. A senior officer told me the number of swords sold this year ahead of Rama Navami had not been sold in the entire district for the past 10 years. The administration must investigate this as well,” he said.

“For festivals such as Dussehra, Saraswati Puja, etc., funds are collected from public donations. But in this case, no one came asking for donations required to organise Rama Navami processions. Who has funded the event and from where it came from? It should also be probed,” he concluded.

Another senior journalist Shailendra Dixit told Newsclick,“If you connect all dots, you will conclude that it was planned riots designed by vested interest. Bihar was tactically chosen this time because of its peaceful atmosphere. UP is volatile, one small ignition creates a huge fire. It exposes the people behind that. Creating low-scale violence, a particular party is trying to polarise the society to ensure large number of seats from Bihar where public sentiments are visibly in favour of the opposition party – the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).”

A senior JD(U) leader said the BJP wants to use Bihar as a laboratory of communal violence. “This is the only tool they use to win elections,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Asked why the CM is silent, the infuriated leader said, “Amit Shah had recently said that Nitish Kumar had come to us, we had not gone to him for alliance. We never compromised on secularism despite the fact that we had an alliance with the BJP for the past 10 years. This time, Amit Shah and Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) are dictating the terms. They are in fact ruling the state and Nitishji is acting like a puppet. What maximum he can do is, he will dial Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and appeal to calm down the situation.”

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