Bordering the Nation
The eminent scholar of border studies, Sandro Mezzadra, has recently made the following insightful observation: “…it is easy to grasp the relevance of studies that over the last decades have investigated the mutations and the proliferation of borders with respect to migration. Again, many of these studies have emphasised the ‘necropolitics’ of borders, the proliferation of fences, barbed wires and walls…, processes of militarisation and the refinement of technologies of control.” (Citizenship Studies, Vol. 26, Nos. 4-5, 2022)

Sandro Mezzadra’s observation finds contextual meaning in India in the light of the year-end statement of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah. Reportedly, speaking at an event (December 29, 2022) to launch the ‘Prahari’ app for the Border Security Force (BSF), Shah said that fencing could not be done at some places due to difficult topography. However, construction of 140 km of fencing and 400 km of roads had been completed in difficult places, along with construction of 120 border outposts. He further said that borders could be permanently secured only when border villages were populated by patriotic citizens, and asked the border-guarding forces to use the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP) for the same. (See The Hindu, December 30, 2022)

The above narration gives us a hint of technologies of border control and surveillance mechanism of the hyper-nationalist Indian State.
Arup Kumar Sen, Kolkata

Jose Maria Sison
The New Democratic Marxist-Leninist Party (NDMLP), Sri Lanka expresses amid profound sorrow its highest respects for Jose Maria Sison who led and guided the Philippine revolution as founding chairman of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), founder of the New People’s Army (NPA) and pioneer of the People’s Democratic Government in the Philippines. The NDMLP considers Sison among the greatest Marxist Leninist thinkers of present time and an indefatigable revolutionary fighter.

His life since days as a youth leader and activist has been one of revolutionary struggle to uphold and promote Marxism-Leninism and national democracy. In the process he waged relentless ideological and cultural struggles against anti-communist forces to build the Communist Party of the Philippines from its humble beginnings into a formidable mass political force.

He was an outstanding Marxist Leninist ideologist upholding Mao Zedong Thought as Marxism Leninism in the era of neo-colonial revival of imperialism, and he persevered against revisionism within the CPP to reset the Party firmly on the foundations of Marxism-Leninism.

His leadership guided the CPP’s growth into a strong revolutionary political force, even when it was forced underground by the martial law regime of the brutal dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and inspired the masses to shake the foundations of the martial law regime.
SK Senthivel, General Secretary of New Democratic
Marxist Leninist Party, Sri Lanka

Massive Evictions in Assam
On December 26, 2022 around 40 families in Kanara Satra in Assam’s Barpeta were evicted due to alleged illegal encroachment. Only a week prior to this, another major eviction drive was carried out in the state at Batadrava Than in Nagaon district. “Approximately 400 people were evicted today,” the officer said. “Between 45 and 60 structures, all of them semi-permanent, were demolished. There was no resistance from those evicted; the whole process was carried out peacefully.”

A Congress MLA, Sherman Ali Ahmed was detained after he staged a protest against the demolition and demanded rehabilitation of those evicted. “The government must stop evictions without giving suitable rehabilitation to eviction victims. I demand that these people be rehabilitated within one month,” Ahmed told the media present at the spot.

The eviction drive in Nagaon was to clear 1,000 bighas (1.35 sq km) land which ended up evicting 359 families. After this massive eviction, the Congress had staged a walkout in the Assam Assembly. “All people, whether Hindus or Muslims, will have to vacate Satra land. We request people to leave encroached land, otherwise we will carry out eviction drives,” said Assam CM HImanta Biswa Sarma. Satra is a form of Hindu Vaishnavite monastery.

As reported by, the authorities have evicted 4,449 families since May, 2021 when the BJP government came to power.

Earlier protests against demolition drives have resulted in the murder of innocent people by the state. On September 23, 2021 two residents of Dhalpur were killed by police firing during an eviction drive targeting a minority Muslim community in Assam. One of them, Maynal Haque, was protesting against the evictions but 12-year-old teenager Shaikh Farid had nothing to do with the protests.
Sabrangindia, 02 Jan 2023

Bhima Koregaon
Five years on, Bhima Koregaon congregation still faces right wing resistance.

On January 1, 2018, the annual event had sparked off a caste violence. Two groups had clashed with each other along caste lines in the adjoining areas of Koregaon Bhima, Sanas-wadi, Kondhapuri and Shikrapur on Prune/Ahmednagar Road. While one person was reported dead, several others suffered injuries.

Violence had erupted after activists had organised an event in Pune on December 31, 2017, commemorating the battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818, when a force of Mahar soldiers of the East India Company defeated the 28,000–strong forces of Peshwa Baji Rao II. The battle is seen as a Dalit victory against upper-caste oppression.

The organisers comprised a group of activists, political leaders and retired judges, who came together at Shaniwar Wada in Pune, under the banner of the Elgar Parishad (Congress for Speaking Aloud). The organisers included former Supreme Court judge, Justice P.B. Sawant, and former Bombay High Court judge, Justice B.G. Kolse-Patil.

The event saw songs, street plays and speeches on various issues, including Dalit rights. Many activists even slammed the Narendra Modi government in their speeches.

The speakers included Jignesh Mewani, Radhika Vemula, Umar Khalid, Vinay Ratan Singh, Soni Sori and Prashant Dontha. Khalid, who is currently in jail, gave a fiery speech on taking inspiration from Koregaon-Bhima battle to fight “modern day Peshwa rule of RSS and BJP.”

After stone-pelting at the location, allegedly by right-wing groups, clashes broke out, which led to state-wide protests for several days as Dalit protesters called for a Bandh in Maharashtra.

According to the NIA, 16 people played an active role in “provoking” the crowd at Bhima Koregaon with their speeches and triggering violence. The 16 accused were arrested: While three persons have been released on bail, one person died in custody. The remaining 12 continue to languish in the prisons of Mumbai. In August, 2022, the Supreme Court granted 82-year-old activist and poet Varavara Rao–held as an undertrial in the case since August 28, 2018–permanent bail on medical grounds. Five years after the infamous arrests, the annual event continues to face right wing resistance.
A Reader, Pune

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Vol 55, No. 29, Jan 15 - 21, 2023