Angry Farmers
It seems the government machinery which is so arrogant towards common people, listens only to voices of aggression. The officialdom sat meekly, almost scared recently on the dais in front of a large gathering of Aagri community farmers, men and women, during a public hearing on Metro 9 railway line.

Scared indeed because there were two police officers on the dais to keep the people under control in the hall of Nagar Bhavan of Bhayandar municipal corporation on the outskirts of Mumbai.

The farmers were clearly angry over a move to acquire their homes and farms, a robbery of their livelihood.

Officials of MMRDA Mumbai Metropolitan region development authority tried to explain the environmental impact of the Metro line, the technical aspects, the alleged benefits and so on but the audience was in no mood to listen to this stuff which they found so irrelevant when they faced an assault on their very survival.

Before the meeting began each participant was given a slip with a number written on it. When someone wanted to ask a question, he or she was asked to reveal the number for identification.

None of these people cared one bit for this and gave their mind to the officials. A revenue official in charge of land acquisition faced a particularly rough time. People were also angry that they were being asked to report their grievances to the Thane district office which is far away.

The case of the farmers was also put forcefully by a retired professor of chemical engineering Suresh Ranade. What right do you have to acquire land for the Metro car shed when you have not finalised the site? he asked and they had little to offer in terms of an explanation. He was warmly applauded by the land holders.

A villager bluntly told the officials that people here may be less educated but they understand issues better.

No decision can be taken from above and imposed on a village, the voice of the gram panchayat has to be respected, heard. Clearly, the government machinery does not care a damn for the Constitutional amendment on decentralisation, the autonomy, rights of common people.

Metro Line 9 is an extension of the Red Line from Andheri to the Sahar airport CSMIA and Dahisar to Mira Road. This line will be unique from the other metro lines because it will run on a double-decker bridge. There will be a flyover on the first deck and the metro will run on the second deck. The flyover will start near the proposed Shivaji Chowk (Mira Road) metro station and will end in Bhayander (West) via Mira Bhayander Road. It shall provide interconnectivity among the Western Express Highway, the Western suburban railway Line, sources claim.

But the project is also apparently driven mainly by the real estate developer lobby out to oust farmers from their farms, grab the land for high rises for the rich.
Vidyadhar Date, Mumbai

AGNIPATH scheme is a well thought out scheme within which future vision of Indian nation is designed. The policy vision behind this scheme has its dangerous ramifications.

Henceforth, by this scheme, the state is taking the responsibility to spend tax-payers’ money for training and disciplining of the labour force which has hitherto been the responsibility of corporate employer for training and disciplining its labour or employee during probationary period. Four years of service in the army can now be construed as the probationary period for disciplining the young labour force.

It is heard from horse’s mouth that the oligopolistic corporate like Apple said, “Give us disciplined young labour force, we will do the rest”. FICCI has upheld the scheme with glee and greed for super-exploitation.

Agnipath scheme is a scheme for creating skilled disciplined cheap labour for corporate capital. But this is one side of the story. It was also designed with an intent to incorporate RSS foot-soldiers in army for training. It’s designed to serve the interest of corporate-RSS nexus, not the unemployed youths who aspire to get employed and serve the army.

Skilling and disciplining are two important factors for Capital Accumulation.

Indian ruling class is bent on combining Chinese and Israeli model in their so called development drive and statecraft which has a dangerous ramification.

There is a new term “Skill India” coined by the Modi regime. “Skill China” is a disciplined cheap labour under “one party authoritarian state”. “Skill India” with military training is, in addition, an ideologically militant society (the presence of a militia unlike people’s militia) to support “one ideological Hindutva state” like Israel.

Oppose the scheme tooth and nail and demand its repeal.

Jungle Raj
On 30th April, 2022, the perpetrator BSF stopped Ms Rabiya Bibi on the road and started physically torturing her. He did not pay heed to the repeated pleas of the victim that she was fasting for Roza and therefore was physically weak. The perpetrator slapped and punched her and later started beating her with sticks. The torturous acts of the BSF critically injured the victim on her face and forehead and she was admitted to the Sarapul rural hospital for treatment. The victim also lodged a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Basirhat District Police on 1.05.22 via registered post. However, no action has been taken against the perpetrator till date.

The incident violates the rights guaranteed in Article 19 and 21 of Indian Constitution and also the premise of Article 7 and 12 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal No. 8 and 16 of the Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by United Nations and in both these international instruments; the Government of India is a party and have agreement.

A criminal case must be registered under section 156 Cr.P.C. against Mr Jafar Hossen associated with ‘G’ branch of 112 Battalion, Bithari Border Outpost and proper investigation must be conducted regarding this matter and the perpetrator should be punished. The BSF should be posted at the zero point and not in the villages??The victim should be provided with legal and medical support
Kirity Roy, Secretary, MASUM
& National Convener, PACTI

On Ranajit Guha
Somak Mukherjee has enlightened the frontier readers about the different dimensions of scholarship and thought of Ranajit Guha, the eminent historian and thinker of our time (June 19-25, 2022). It may be stated in this connection that Ranajit Guha played the role of a critical intellectual during the Emergency declared by the Congress regime of Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s. At the height of human rights violations during the Emergency, Guha observed: “…it will be fair to conclude that democracy in India has long been dead, if it was ever alive at all…The Emergency declared on 26 June 1975 represents a qualitative change in her assault on Indian democracy only in the sense that scavenging is different from killing. It signifies that so far as she is concerned no democracy is better than a dead democracy…The corpse, however, might revive, rise from its grave and walk our parched plains and dusty streets yet again. (‘Indian Democracy: Long Dead, Now Buried’: 1976)

Samar Sen, the founder editor of frontier and close friend of Ranajit Guha, had a tough time during the Emergency. In his personal letter to Ranajit Guha (April 6, 1976), Samar Sen communicated that tamasa had increased a lot in Kolkata, and many of his Coffee House friends started avoiding his company.

The best way of paying tribute to Ranajit Guha, on the occasion of his birth centenary, is to contribute to the tradition of critical scholarship and journalism.
Arup Kumar Sen,

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Vol 55, No. 1, Jul 3 - 9, 2022