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Letters

Silencing Dissent
The arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and his colleagues was certainly the continuation of the escalating effort to impede free speech and democratic right to protest in India. The police were still on witch-hunting the activists around the campus and more police atrocities would ensue. This was most certainly, a deliberate attempt of the Modi Government to suppress the left opponent. How a Vice-Chancellor who was supposed to be the guardian of the students, can hand over the list of the contending students to the police is open to question. The way the Vice-Chancellor wanted to suppress the free speech in the name of Constitution resembled the occurrence happened in Jadavpur University 2 years back and it clearly showed that the administrations of the higher educational institutions in India had become part and parcel of the fascist ruling establishment.

The chauvinist activists of ABVP— the student wing of BJP were worsening the situation and the Government deliberately brought them into play to spread hatred and communalism, the sole purpose of which was to choke the protesting voice.

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar be released unconditionally without delay.
M M Parvez Lelin, President,
Faisal Mahmud, General Secretary,
Bangladesh Student Federation, Dhaka

Santosh Rana Quits
The withdrawal from party membership by Santosh Rana has been accepted after long consultation between him and the PCC, and other leaders and members of the party. On 11 February, three state committee secretaries assigned by the central committee to make a final effort to convince Santosh Rana to withdraw his resignation were unsuccessful. As such a consensus has emerged in the PCC to let the matter rest there finally.

Santosh Rana therefore ceases to be a member of the CPI(ML) as he wishes. Santosh Rana took this step when his opinion on the current situation in West Bengal and the major tasks that follow from it was rejected by the PCC. He is of the opinion that the Trinamul Congress is the main enemy in West Bengal and the Left Front should be supported to defeat it. Of late he has also welcomed the possibility of a Congress-Left Front alliance for the imminent assembly elections.

The PCC, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the present assault on democracy by the Trinamul Congress party and the violence that accompanies it is a continuation of the state of affairs during the long rule of the Left Front. The difference is that now the party in power lacks the discipline, cold calculation and spin of the former rulers. We consider the present conjuncture as one that spans the rule of both the Left Front and the Trinamul. As such, we hold a position that is equidistant from both these forces.

In a last ditch attempt to convince Santosh Rana to resume his membership, the PCC sent a high-powered team to tell him that the PCC has convened a Plenum to discuss our differences by allowing him and others to distribute their opinion at every level before the Plenum so that an informed debate can take place there. Once Plenum decides, then it will become binding on all members. Santosh Rana rejected the proposal and insisted on opting out of the Party. So be it.

Along with C P Reddy and Satyanarayan Singh, Santosh Rana is the third General Secretary that the PCC has lost since its formation. The first two engineered splits, but Santosh Rana goes alone into the night.
Vaskar Nandy,
Interim General Secretary (PCC), CPI(ML)

Attack on Peaceful Meeting
Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, West Bengal (WSS, WB) strongly condemns the attack on the members of Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity's (PBKMS) youth group. The young men had planned to have a meeting at Otebala village, Balarampur PS , Purulia district with people of the surrounding villages on 11th February, 2016. The meeting was to focus on the rights of people regarding food and work as given in the MGNREGA , NFSA and other Supreme Court orders. PBKMS informed the local police station at Balarampur about the meeting on 10th February 2016 and was given an assurance of having a peaceful meeting by the local outpost.

Despite this, on 10th Febiuary 2016 evening a group of miscreants, many of them drunk, took out a procession, shouting slogans of not allowing the PBKMS to have its meeting. They were led and instigated by Gautam Mahato, who is a TMC leader and a Karma-dhyaksha in the Balarampur Panchayat Samity.

On 11th February, 2016, relying on the police's assurance that the meeting could take place peacefully, 6 members of PBKMS's youth committee, from Paschim Midnapore and South 24 Parganas arrived to participate in the meeting. They were to be joined at 2.30 PM by the General Secretary of PBKMS, Uttam Gayen and State Committee members, Anuradha Talwar and Swapan Ganguly.

At about 11 AM, a group of miscreants led by Gautam Mahato attacked the house of Pankaj Mahato, where the six youth committee members were resting. They attacked Pankaj's house and the 6 people present there with lathis and boulders. As a result of the attack, the six young people were injured and two of them received head injuries. The miscreants also burnt part of the pandal for the meeting and disrupted the stage.

Surprisingly, the police instead of taking action against the people who had beaten them took the 6 youth who were injured into custody. Pankaj Mahato's house was also searched, accusing the family of sheltering Maoists.

Though after the intervention and dialogue, with OC the injured got treatment and an assurance of protection for future meetings of PBKMS is obtained, it is clear that the present political scenario of West Bengal is not conducive for dissenting voices. Incidents to intimidate and threaten those who are exposing corruption and misdeeds of establishment party are common. This is a continuation of intolerant and undemocratic political culture that has existed in West Bengal for past few decades. Accusations of being Maoists and of misusing the police in this regard are especially common in blocks like Balrampur, which are part of the so-called Left Wing Extremist affected areas. As dissent is suppressed heavily, corruption also flourishes in Government programmes.
Saswati Ghosh, Nisha Biswas
WSS, WB

Sramajibi hospital
Sramajibi Hospital, much against the current of time, has been trying relentlessly to accomplish newer milestones to fulfil the expectations and needs of the society from time to time in keeping with its aims & objectives. Some of the recent ones are as follows:

Sramajibi Pathshala—a community education centre, is shortly going to be established at 104, Dewangazi Road, Bally, Howrah—which will encompass all our training courses, namely, Medical & Para Medical, Nursing as well as small scale Industrial training programme apart from running of Sramajibi School—all under one roof. A renowned University of Kolkata has kindly agreed to offer due recognition for this programme. This is a matter of pride for all of us.

"Shramajibi Swasthya" patrika in a renewed way will be published and distributed quarterly from now onwards with definite regularity. These issues will be worth preserving. The February 2016 issue is now ready to hit the stands. Please collect and renew membership—the form for which is enclosed in the patrika itsef.
Dr Anil Kumar Saha, Secretary,
Belur Sramajibi Swasthya
Prakalpa Samity

Frontier
Vol. 48, No. 38, Mar 27 - Apr 2, 2016