Politics of Criminality
Once people were disgusted with the CPM-led Left Front because of Chhoto Angaria and Netai incidents.

When Singur- Nandigram protests were happening, human rights defenders fought to defeat the government in power.

Today people are witnessing the barbaric massacre of Rampurhat. Reports are coming from television channels and newspapers. Earlier news was relatively less accessible. Today one can see that political leaders are analysing the incident in the media.

 But are all ready to accept these analyses? Was it a political action or reaction that killed these people? Some people are asking for judicial investigation. Some have demanded president's rule. Some has asked for CBI intervention. The Calcutta High Court has ordered CBI investigation. The state government has formed SIT. IC, SDPO & all other responsible officers have been removed. Though they have taken too much time, the police have arrested Anarul. Total 22 people have been arrested so far. But is that enough? Most are not happy with these measures.

Few questions remain still unanswered. Why are the ruling party workers silent? Who had previously prevented the main culprit Anarul's arrest? Why is there no control on the cadres? Why CM has to intervene? Who are the conspirators? The police have failed repeatedly—they even faltered with the numbers of deaths in Rampurhat—but why does the police minister show faith in them?

It is undeniable and clear as day- light that panchayat and municipalities are centres of powerful corruption networks in West Bengal.

With the help of party bosses and administration some people have used sand mining and stone quarries around Rampurhat to make a huge fortune for themselves. Bhadu Shaikh was one of them. He could amass millions and transformed himself overnight into a nightmare for his neighbours.

Anarul, a mason only the other day, is now the uncrowned king of the region; even the local administration has to obey him.

In 2018 opposition dared not field candidates in the 9 Panchayet areas under his thumb.

Should one believe that all such information was unknown to top party leaders of TMC? Claims on such illegal wealth would certainly lead to disturbances and such disturbances may have caused such carnage.

Many people including some women and children were first murdered and then thrown to fire. No statement is enough to properly criticise such carnage or massacre. Some more questions remain.

One must enquire the role of some of the opposition leaders who want 355 /356. Well, president’s rule is no solution. Do they assure people definitely that they do not want it only to dislodge the TMC-led government with this? Do they have any positive commitment? Ordinary people are very much astonished to see the reaction of the Bengal governor. In truth he was advocating in favour of a BJP government—a government that could not shirk its responsibility of punishing the guilty.

If anything one can't give the state government also a clean chit. How could people forget the role of Gnanvant Singh in Rizanaur Rahaman case? This person was made the chief of SIT. So, one has to welcome high court decision. Then how could one forget the role of judiciary who is directly or indirectly responsible for death of people like Stan Swami.
Asokendu Sengupta, Kolkata

Intellectual Terrorism?
What is a teacher supposed to do, particularly when one envisages the role in the context of nation building? Providing guidance on routine matters or being intensely informative is a general characteristic which will be beneficial for the students. Aristotle believed that human nature, habit and reason were important elements that needed to be cultivated in the educational process.

The Indic tradition believes that teachers can ignite perfection in the students: this concept of perfection is not confined to the syllabus of a teaching programme; rather it encompasses aspects which contribute to the enlightenment of a student and more importantly, helps the student contribute to the growth and development of the society. Hence, what a teacher speaks and does beyond classroom teaching is also of great importance for the nation as a whole.

Half-baked knowledge, views formed on the basis of partially understood issues and the ambition of creating space for oneself can be more dangerous than the most devastating missiles that technology has given to the world because the latter will have to be applied by the human mind which a teacher can control and regulate fully.

The objective of personal gains and the ambition of securing prominence in the world on the basis of something which one has not assimilated, can ruin a civilisation. It is completely unforgivable when there is a deliberate attempt being made to offer a distorted picture and provoke the young mind for action. After all an educational institution is the centre of learning: this space is instrumental to creativity and growth.

Wrong doings and misguidance from the teachers give rise to a set of ideas which can prevail over the reality and will continue to spread in the future as the young mind learns fast and propagates with great rapidity. That is how new history is created, surviving generations and wiping out the truth.

After watching the movie “Kashmir Files”, one is convinced about the power that a teacher possesses. And when that power is systematically used to direct the young mind in a specific way, it is devastating; it is intellectual terrorism.

Intellect is a double-edged knife: every wrong doing can be justified in a meticulous manner and a teacher with the power of articulation can build a completely false notion in the mind of the students. Especially when such efforts are made knowingly and with a purpose, the benefit of doubt certainly cannot be discounted for.

Wrong doings and misguidance from the teachers give rise to a set of ideas which can prevail over the reality.

The movie has resulted in huge political blame-game. The television channels are constantly engaged in political debates. But why is there no discussion on the teacher who provoked the students with incorrect narratives, as shown in the movie? If the allegation is not baseless, then there should be an enquiry committee against the person, and strong action must be undertaken.

After all, the educational institute which employs the person is a premier university in the country and the government must not let it pass. In the name of democracy, the academicians have no right to set up their own beliefs and pursue activities which are more heinous than organised crimes.
Arup Mitra

Russia–Ukraine Peace Accord
The New Democratic Marxist-Leninist Party views events in Ukraine in the historical context of US imperialist efforts to bully Russia using NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union. In this context the Party takes serious note of what US imperialism did to Yugoslavia and later Serbia, and still does to countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America.The Party identifies the conflict in Ukraine as one between the US and Russia, with the Ukraine government as a US proxy.

The Partyis of the view that Russia was forced to a defensive position by ceaseless expansion of NATO and US-backed regime change in former Soviet republics. It views the neo-fascist coup of 2014 in Ukraine as the direct source of the current crisis. It notes that the coup government encouraged anti-Russia, anti-Russian activities of its neo-fascist partners, and has been encouraged by the US and NATO to join NATO and the bid to join was heavily encouraged under President Biden since early 2021.

Russia, based on its security concerns, consistently urged Ukraine to abandon plans to join NATO. It also wanted Ukraine tohonour the Minsk Protocol of 2014-15 especiallyin the interest of peace in the predominantly Russian-speaking Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic in the Donbas region, which declared independence following the coup. Russia, which recognised the secession of Crimea after a referendum, refrained from recognising Donetsk and Luhansk Republics in the interest of peace. Increased provocation since early 2021 in breach of the Minsk Protocol and assertion of will to join NATO precipitated a crisis leaving Russia with four options:

1.   Do nothing and let Ukraine to join NATO
2.   Persuade Ukraine diplomatically or by threat to give up on NATO
3.   Invade Ukraine if it joins NATO.
4.   Launch a pre-emptive attack.

The first meant surrender to US imperialism. The second pursued since 2014 proved futile. The third would be too late and too costly in lives. Thus Russia had no choice but launch a pre-emptive strike, without which it would have faced slow strangulation by US using NATO.

The party recognises as genuine Russia’s concern about encirclement by NATO in the context of actions by US imperialism and about US intentions in Ukraine. The Party supports the desire of the majority of Ukrainian people for peace, and warns against viewing the issue as Russian expansionist aggression or as rivalry of two superpowers to capture a piece of land.

The Party is clear that Russia is capitalist and does not endorse Putin or capitalist Russia. It only defends an inevitable response of a state facing rising threat from the US on several fronts, most crucially the military front.The Partythus strongly urges an early end to the conflict based on:

1.   Neutrality of Ukraine with assurance of its not joining any military alliance that could threaten Russian security;
2.   Ukraine’sacceptance of the freewill of the people of Crimea to rejoin Russia, while the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics are monitored by a joint Russia-Ukraine administration for a limited period to let them decide their future based on their right to self determination;
3.   Russian assurance that it will not intervene in Ukraine subject to Ukraine’s protection of the rights of Russian speaking minorities against neo-fascists and the ‘far right’;
4.   A Russia-Ukraine peace accord free of meddling by US imperialism or its agencies.
New Democratic Marxist-Leninist Party

Tactical Nuclear Weapons
Russia’s war on Ukraine has brought renewed attention to tactical nuclear weapons, with the White House announcing on March 24 that it had a team of experts briefing NATO on contingency plans in case any such weapon is used.

As a defensive alliance, NATO has formally stayed out of the war, though many member countries have sent military supplies to Ukraine, from tiny Luxembourg to the United States.

According to a March 23 New York Times report, this contingency planning included options for what might happen if Russia used a “small” tactical nuclear bomb. These shorter-range weapons, often with small yields, are known as tactical nuclear weapons. Developed early in the Cold War and still in existence now, these weapons persist as part of the broader nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia.

On March 28, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, told PBS that “no one is thinking about using, about even the idea of using a nuclear weapon.”

But the war offers a good moment to take a look at just what a tactical nuclear weapon is, and how they differ from the kinds of warheads that are in ICBMs. From the dawn of the Cold War in the 1940s through the 1980s, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union invested tremendous amounts of time, energy and resources strategizing around nuclear weapons with the expectation that they would be used in a war over Europe. This led first the United States, and then the USSR, to develop and field nuclear weapons for the battlefield.
A Reader

One Ramchandra Dome
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has finally inducted a Dalit leader into its highest decision-making body. It took 57 years for India’s largest left political party to bring a Dalit leader into that position. The CPM inducted Ramchandra Dome (63), a seven-time MP from Bengal, into its politburo at its current party congress. It is indeed a welcome step. However, just inducting a Dalit leader will not make much of a change because the Left in India still does not have a clear stand on caste discrimination.

The problem of recognising caste discrimination has been very deep-rooted in the Left’s politics. The Left political parties understand class discrimination but not caste. Dome told the media, “As a communist, I would not consider myself the first Dalit in the politburo or any such thing.” This sole statement is problematic in the Indian context. In Bengal, the Communist parties have ruled the state for over 35 years but never gave any decision-making positions to the Dalits or the tribals.

The unspoken caste prejudice of the Left is the most dangerous one, and this has also been one of the key reasons behind the decline of their political significance across the states. In Bengal, the Dalit votes, which earlier used to be with the Communist Party, shifted towards the Trinamool Congress. But with time now, this vote is shifting towards the BJP. In left-leaning Bengal, no one wanted to look into the realities of caste discrimination with empathy. Similarly, the CPI (M) ruled Tripura for 25 years, but today the BJP has taken over the state. The reason behind this decline is the failure of the communists to recognise the tribal politics of the state. They believed that centralised decisions should apply to all but did not allow the tribals the needed political space. The RSS came into this vacuum and gave a platform to the tribals. Gradually, the tribal votes shifted towards the BJP, and they won.
Sayantan Ghosh

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Vol 54, No. 43, April 24 - 30, 2022