19 August 2007
The All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan held its plenary meeting in Thane on August 19, 2007. Justice Hosbet Suresh, President of the Lok Raj Sangathan, chaired the meeting.
The Convenor of the Lok Raj Sangathan, Prakash Rao, presented the action taken report referring to the key resolutions adopted by the AIC at its last plenary held on May 6, 2007.
Reporting on the onslaught of the state on the people through ceiling and demolitions, and the work of the Lok Raj Sangathan in defence of the right to livelihood, including right to housing and shelter, the Convenor pointed out that the brave residents of Transit Camp, Kalkaji, in Delhi are once again standing face to face with the ceiling and demolition squads of the state. The Delhi Regional Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan was providing resolute leadership to this struggle. The AIC appreciated the role of fronts like the Saanjha Manch which had been forged by several organisations of Delhi including the LRS who had come together on a common banner in defence of the right to housing and shelter for the urban poor. The AIC meeting noted that the Maharashtra government is contemplating changes in the Urban Land Ceiling Act as well as other legislations that will directly and indirectly affect the right to housing and shelter of working people. There is need to organise a broad resistance to this.
The AIC meeting appreciated the work of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), which had been established through the initiative of a number of organizations and individuals, including the Lok Raj Sangathan. Since its establishment in March 2007 at a Convention in Delhi, the CJAR has campaigned for the necessity for fundamental reforms in the judiciary. Recently it has brought to public notice circumstantial evidence revealing the serious improprieties that had been committed by the former Chief Justice of India Justice YK Sabharwal, in the handling of ceiling and demolition cases in Delhi. It appears from this evidence that some of the mall builders, who were widely suspected to be active players in the ceiling and demolition drive, had established a business partnership with the sons of Justice Sabharwal during this period.
LRS has been actively working, together with traders organizations to oppose the growing take over of retail trade by Indian and foreign monopolies. It hailed the All India protest action organised on August 9, 2007 by the Vyapar Rozggar Bachao Andolan, in which LRS was an active and integral part. The AIC meeting noted that despite massive opposition from peasants and broad sections of toiling people to the setting up of Special Economic Zones, the Central and state governments seemed hell bent on pursuing the same course. The meeting assessed the intervention of the LRS in the struggles of the people against SEZ’s in different regions of the country positively.
The work done during the run up to the elections to the Delhi Municipal Corporation from January to April has been continued without letup. The Delhi Regional Council of the LRS has been paying attention to the building and strengthening of the Jan Pratinidhi Manch. In this period, the Jan Pratinidhi Manch has been taking up issues of concern to the people. In different wards, the Lok Raj Samitis and Sangharsh Samitis have taken up agitation with the Councilors, MLA’s as well as government departments to voice the concerns of the people. These have included a systematic campaign for getting ration cards to those who do not have it, as well as toilet facilities in slums. The Lok Raj Samitis in different areas are being strengthened in the course of taking up the concerns of the people.
The 60th anniversary of independence and the transfer of power were marked by important public discussions organised by the Lok Raj Sangathan in Delhi, Mumbai and other places. In these meetings, it was brought out that transfer of power in 1947 did not lead to sovereignty being vested in the people. All the institutions and laws — the edifice of colonial rule was deliberately retained and strengthened. The Constitution of India, the political system and process, the party system of rule, present Indian Union which denies the existence of nations and peoples, the judiciary, the administrative services, the police and armed forces, the laws relating to land acquisition, forests, etc — were all shown to be part of the colonial legacy, which are preventing the Indian people from marching forward on the highroad to progress. These meetings highlighted the great urgency of Indian people leading the way in establishing a system of direct democracy in place of the existing representative democracy which marginalises and deprives people of power. The interventions by activists working in diverse streams of the struggle clearly showed that vesting sovereignty in the people is the central problem today, that must be taken up for solution.
The AIC meeting hailed the initiative of the Lok Raj Sangathan, the Communist Ghadar Party of India, the Mazdoor Parishad and other organisations in launching the Ghadar jari hai… abhiyan. In this period, the Lok Raj Sangathan had organised numerous meetings all over the country to popularise the history of the glorious Ghadar of 1857, and the innumerable uprisings that preceded and followed it. In Tamilnadu, nearly 60 organisations of workers, peasants, women, youth and working people, had come together in one banner in the end of May to form an organising committee for ghadar jari hai in Tamilnadu. The Tamilnadu Regional Council of the LRS is one of the main initiators of this campaign, along with the Unorganised Sector Workers Union and the NAPM. District level meetings have been held in many districts to chalk out a plan of campaign which links the solution of the problems facing the toilers and tillers today with the lessons of the Ghadar. And right now, a four day campaign with street corner meetings is going on in Kanyakumari District, to be followed by one in Tuticorin District.
In Mumbai and Thane District, the response to the Ghadar Jari Hai…campaign has been inspiring. Numerous meetings have been held in colleges and educational institutions, and amongst people at large.
The AIC meeting appreciated the work of the Bangladesh Bharat Pakistan Peoples Forum, the Teesri Swadhinta Sangram Abhiyan, as well as others who had organised meetings in different parts of the country — Palasey, Bithoor, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi, Agra, Delhi, Aligarh and other places — to popularise the great Ghadar
The AIC noted that the first issue of the Ghadar Jari Hai magazine has been very well received. This magazine is a vehicle for the movement for enlightenment which Indian society desperately needs.
The AIC heard the report of the work of strengthening the organisations of workers, peasants, women, youth, students and other sections of the people. It appreciated the work of the All India Workers Council, the Kamgar Ekta Chalwal, the Ladaku Garment Workers Union, the Purogami Mahila Sangathan, the Hind Nauhawan Ekta Sabha, the Peasants Union of Tamilnadu and other such organisations. It hailed the work of the UNI employees in successfully resisting the onslaught of the monopolies trying to take over the institution and the resistance struggle of mill workers of the Kanpur Textile Union and of Century Mills in Mumbai. It appreciated the work of uniting the workers of Gurgaon under one banner undertaken by the fighting workers of the Honda Union.
The AIC meeting heard the report of the escalating state terror in India and internationally under the name of the "war against terrorism". It noted the importance of the work that Lok Raj Sangathan has been doing, of bringing to the attention of people all over the country the problems of the peoples of the North East and Kashmir, who are denied their national rights and terrorised by the state security forces under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. It condemned the draconian Chattisgarh Public Safety Act under which leading activists of the PUCL have been locked up in the dungeons of the state for over 3 months! It hailed the struggle of the Australian people in defence of the rights of Dr Haneef, which forced the Australian government to ultimately release him.
The AIC meeting noted with grave concern that the strategic Indo-US alliance, motivated by the plans of our rulers to make India a world class imperialist power, poses a grave danger to the people of India and to other peoples of Asia and the world. It called upon the Indian people to resolutely oppose this strategic alliance.
The AIC meeting discussed the relentless persecution of people of the Muslim faith by the state and its agencies. People have been hauled up, arrested and tortured, locked up for months and years on end, and the so-called proof of their "crimes" were nothing but "confessions" extracted under torture. The AIC meeting resolved on specific steps to defend the rights of people who are the victims of state terror.
The AIC meeting affirmed that the Fourth All India Convention of the Lok Raj Sangathan would be held in Delhi on November 17-18, 2007. The theme of the Convention would be Building the Future — Organising for Peoples Power. Apart from the report of work, the Convention would discuss and ratify an updated program of the Lok Raj Sangathan. The All India Convention of the LRS will elect a new All India Council to guide the work of the LRS for the next two years. The All India Convention will be preceded by the holding of Regional Conventions in different regions and the election of the Regional Councils. The dates for the different Regional Conventions were affirmed.
The AIC meeting concluded in a militant atmosphere after adopting some important resolutions.