Parliamentary Left
Your editorial critique of parliamentary left (12-18 July, Frontier) is apt. The CPI and CPI(M) left the agenda of revolution ages ago. They are chasing a mirage to capture 'power' through parliament. But they've been unable to retain the 'power' even in their earlier established enclaves.

The ruthless neoliberal agenda of the global corporates that presently ruling the roost needs to be fought tooth and nail which requires building up of massive and militant people's movement and demands enormous sacrifices.

The parliamentary left, abandoning the revolutionary goals is comforting in safe havens of power corridors away from troubles and tribulations of mass work, militant struggles and state repression. They want to enjoy the 'privileges of the right' and 'pride of the left'. But they even lost the nominal pride of the left when they brutally suppressed the people's struggles of Nandigram and Singur. Now, people are equating them with social fascists. So far they have cohabited with almost all the ruling class parties. When Chandra Babu Naidu was the "CEO" of Andhra Pradesh who was running the show under the World Bank's agenda, CPI(M) was shamelessly befriending with Telegu Desam Party. When they forget the dictum that 'people are makers of history' and reduce masses to just voters, what kind of left politics is left in these parties?
P S Mukherjee, N Ravi,
V Subrahmanyam,
Political Prisoners at Vizag Central Prison, Hiroshima Day, 2015


‘Democratic Deficit’
Vaskar Nandy's article 'Democratic Deficit' throws some light on the building of socialism. This may not seem new but still its reiteration was necessary at this moment of despair. And of course, he has spoken, as usual, very clearly, one question however, still haunts us—who are these vanguards? The party system is mainly managed by middle class whole timers and when the party comes to power, these people in the name of vanguard of the proletariat control the working class among others. Whether the party becomes really the party of the workers? Moreover, in the AES, the technocrats had played a great role in managing the economy and were all members of the communist parties. How then the future states captured by the workers will be turned into workers' state? My precise question is whether the communist party also requires a new structure as far as its membership is concerned?
Aswini Kumar Pramanik,


Political Prisoners
It is reported to Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) by the relatives and friends of Prisoners of Presidency Correctional Home (PCH) that thirty (30) prisoners have resorted to hunger strike to press for their legitimate rights as prisoners . But, the prison authority has curtailed their rights further in retaliation of such peaceful form of protest. The torture is let loose on them in the form of increasing lock-up period, solitary confinements, disallowing them to go to jail hospital themselves, stopping regular visits by doctors, restricting phone calling facilities, threats by welfare officer of severe consequences, severely restricting interviews by friends and relatives etc.

Undeniably, the physical structure of prisons and the archaic rules of management of these punitive institutions endowed them with a cover of obscurity in which fundamental human rights could be unofficially violated and officially denied.

As the oldest existing rights body in the country and in view of Ranchod Vs. State of MP (1986 16 Reports MP 147) Court Ruling, APDR has a right to listen to their complaints directly in greater societal interest.
Dhiraj Sengupta, General Secretary,
Association for Protection of Democratic Rights


‘Adultery’ and 100 Lashes
The public flogging of a man and a woman by local officials in western Ghor province in Afghanistan for "adultery" is abhorrent and Afghan authorities must hold to account those responsible, Amnesty International said.

The couple was illegally sentenced to 100 lashes by a primary court in Cheghcheran town in Ghor. One of the court's judges later carried out the punishment in public in the presence of police and other officials on 30 August 2015, but it only came to public attention after being broadcast on Afghan TV.

"Afghan authorities must immediately launch an investigation into this case, and ensure that all those responsible are held to account. Reports that this horrific punishment of 100 lashes was handed down by a primary court that is part of Afghanistan's formal justice system are deeply worrying," said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International's Afghanistan Researcher.

"Corporal punishments constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and in this case, with the degree of violence and humiliation shown, may amount to torture. Such punishment is prohibited under international law. The fact that this couple had apparently been sentenced for 'adultery', which should never be a crime in the first place, make this case even worse."

"This is far from an isolated example of cruel and unlawful punishments being handed down and carried out in Afghanistan, which is particularly common in the informal justice system that still exists in many parts of the country. The Afghan Government must do more to impose tighter supervision of all courts, formal and informal, and also abolish corporal punishment entirely."

The Taliban and other armed insurgent groups are also often responsible for meting out corporal punishments in public, as well as carrying out public executions.
Amnesty International,


Dhabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi...
Prof M M Kalburgi hailing from Dharwad Karnataka, a renowned rationalist scholar and former Vice-Chancellor of Hampi University, Karnataka, was shot dead on 30th August 2015 by unidentified gunmen at his residence, at point blank range. The murderers, escaped on a motorcycle. The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) strongly condemns the murder, which is suspected to be yet another atterppt of right wing extremists to kill persons with rationalist views.

Earlier, leading rationalist and anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on 20th August 2013, and left leader and outspoken critic of Hindutva, Shri Govind Pansare was murdered in Kolhapur on 20th February 2015. This latest foul murder of Prof M M Kalburgi, along with the earlier two murders, is suspected to have been committed by right wing religious extremists.

With a BJP government at the Centre providing tacit support, right wing Hindutva elements are emboldened and are increasingly coming out openly against persons who are merely critical of Hindutva ideology. They are intolerant of persons who differ from them, and deliberately get "hurt feelings" or "hurt sentiments" at the slightest excuse. They choose to interpret even mere discussions, debates and statements about Hindu practices and rituals as an insult to Hinduism, and resort to threatening and attacking speakers and writers. They have also been indulging in "moral policing' accompanied by violence. If this trend is not immediately checked and turned back, the people of India will lose their freedom of speech and association, and India's secular democracy will turn into fascism.

So far, despite considerable popular uproar regarding the premeditated killings, the police has been unwilling or unable to make arrests in both Dabholkar and Pansare murder cases, which took place in broad daylight, just like the murder of Kalburgi. What is common to all three premeditated murders is that the victims had all been repeatedly threatened by right wing extremists due to their rationalist views and opposition to obscurantist beliefs.


Protest Against Meat-Ban
People bear so much when during holy days of Ramzaan (Muslim festival), even major roads are blocked for Namaz. Likewise even national highways are blocked for Kanwarias before holy Shivratri. India is a secular country where there should be respect for all religions. Therefore people from all religions and faiths should pay respect to Jainism when several state governments have banned sale of meat on certain days keeping in view sentiments of people following Jainism. It is significant that vegetarianism is spreading fast even in advanced countries, and famous non-vegetarian hotels serve only vegetarian dishes in holy days of navratras.
Madhu Agarwal, Delhi

Vol. 48, No. 18, Nov 8 - 14, 2015