News Wrap


On November 7th a sustained brutal attack was launched by upper caste men on agricultural labourer Jagmela Singh breaking his legs. He was subsequently admitted to the PGI in Chandigarh, where he succumbed to death 9 days later. For a considerable period Jagmela was involved in a feud with upper caste members who earlier attacked his relative. They kidnapped Jagmela from his residence in Chandilewal village and forced him to consume urine which led to internal poisoning. He succumbed eventually to wounds in a Chandigarh hospital due to negligence. Immediately after his death a prolonged protest was launched outside Lehra SDM office. The victim's uncle was a leader of the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee. Jagmela was survived by an 80-year-old mother, a 33-year-old wife Manjit Kaur, daughters Simranjeet, Navjot and son Tanvir. Seven years ago Jagmela's unlcle Gurdev faced a similar assault.

After a 6 lakh compensation cheque was given by Minister Vijay Inder Sangla the victim's body was cremated in a heart touching funeral on November 19th in Chanilewal village in Sangrur creating vibrations of setting the venue aflame. Slogans reverberated revealing rage at its crescendo, demanding justice and punishment to the culprits creating vibrations of setting the venue aflame.

ZPSC chief Mukesh Malaud and representatives of other organisations said they would keep meeting senior officers till the fulfilment of all demands.

A sustained protracted struggle is being launched by revolutionary democratic organizations of Punjab mainly the Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Commitee to secure justice. A militant protest campaign was undertaken encompassing over 50 villages in Sangrur district as well as Moga and Patiala taking the fury of the dalit community to simmer at its boiling point with spirit of vengeance literally written on their faces. The protest areas were literally lit with red lamps. Also very sustained solidarity programmes launched by the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union in Singhevala village Bathinda and the Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union in Sangrur in addition to support from youth and student organisations. Solidarity was also given by organisations of the landed peasantry like the Ugrahan, Krantikari and Dakaunda factions of the Bhartiya Kisan Union as well as the Kirti Kisan Union. Very formidable integration of youth in the protests.

ZPSC convenor has pledged to launch an agitation if the 50 lakh compensation and employment opportunity is not given to the victim's family. The authorities also promised to take action against the culprits. However they did not accept any charges of negligence which was dishonest. The victim's wife Manjit Kaur with great resolve stated that she would not leave any stone unturned until complete justice was delivered in terms of compensation financials and workwise as well as punishment to all the culprits.

Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu has directed Anurag Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Health, to probe the charges of alleged negligence on part of the medical officer concerned in providing timely treatment to Jagmale Singh. The official has been told to submit the report in three days. An official spokesperson of the Health Department said as per media reports, Jagmale Singh was initially taken to the Government Hospital and the medical officer on duty did not discharge his duty properly and did not file the MLR.

What is pertinent is that Jagmela did not die an accidental death but was a victim of the negligence of the medical authorities. The assassination plot of the upper caste killers gained the patronage of ruling class politicians, being their relatives. It is not one Jagmela I but thousands of dalits who face similar fate in different forms. Democrats must bear no illusions from the promises of the representatives of the rulers who are part and parcel of the social system that perpetrates such attacks and has to be countered in its very backbone for a proper solution. Such deaths are indirectly part of the ruling class conspiracy to suppress any democratic aspirations of the dalits in Punjab.

The Naga Questions
The government of India should not rush into a Naga solution by declaring deadlines to ensnare itself like in J&K but should patiently involve all stakeholders from within & outside the state of Nagaland without marginalising NSCN (IM) & evolve towards a solution with peaceful dialogue process to the satisfaction of all and NSCN (IM) must acknowledge that, there are now others whose sensitivities will have to be kept in mind.

Colombia held its first local & regional elections since the signing of the peace deal between the government & the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (RAFC), which ended a gruesome half century of civil war. The right wing suffered significant defeats in the local elections. Among the important victories won by progressive forces was the election of Claudia Lopez as the mayor of Bogota city.

Chile and Her History
Chile is experiencing the largest political crisis & public unrest. More than 1.2 million people protested in the Streets of Chile's capital. Santiago, not just against the 4% hike in metro-fares. That was the drop that brought the glass to overflow. Years, decades of neoliberal policies, brought hardship & poverty-& inequality to Chileans. Chile is the country with the world's 3rd largest inequality in wealth.

Beirut is Burning
Beirut almost has no public transportation, electricity shortages. contaminated & erratic water supply. Garbage has been piling up along the streets & suburban roads. On top of all this, the government decided to impose a tax on WhatsApp calls it suddenly became a big deal. "The last drop", perhaps. The city exploded. Barricades were erected. Tires were set on fire everywhere.

Protests in Iraq
Thousands of Iraqis, mostly young men and women, took to the streets of the capital city of Baghdad and other cities to demand an overhaul of the political system of the country. The protests were called over the failure of the successive Iraqi governments to tackle the issues of unemployment, poor service delivery and deep-rooted corruption. The current political system was created under the US occupation of the country in 2005 without any real grassroots support.

British Elections
"We stand for the many. Boris Johnson's born-to-rule Conservatives protect the privileged few. They've slashed taxes for the richest & vital services & support for everyone else. But real change is coming. We will end the Conservatives' great rip-off by putting rail, mail & water into public ownership. We will invest in every nation & region, rebuild our public services & give our NHS, schools & police the money they need by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone".

Back to Home Page

Vol. 52, No. 26, Dec 29 - Jan 4, 2020