Uttarakhand AISA Organizes 5th State Conference

AISA’s Uttarakhand state committee successfully held its fifth state-level conference on 21-22nd December in Dehradun. 50 representatives from 6 units across the state participated in the conference. The hall where the conference was held was named after former JNU Students’ Union President Comrade Chandrashekhar, who was shot dead on 31st March 1997 at the behest of former RJD MP Shahabuddin. Also, during the conference, the town was named after Comrade Nagendra Saklani who was martyred on 11th January 1948 in Kirtinagar fighting against monarchy in the Tehri region.

Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, AISA’s national President Sandeep Singh said that in the first decade of the 21st century, AISA has been increasing its reach in the student community, which is reflected in the increased support for the organization. In the entire country, people are becoming disillusioned with ruling governments. People have been thinking of ways and means of countering the growing assaults on campus democracy, corruption and the loot of public resources. Various government have clearly shown that they are hell-bent on converting education into a commodity which can accessed only with those with money to purchase it. Various scams have come to light, and the entire chain of forces which enable these scams to take place has also been revealed. Politicians, bureaucrats, heads of business houses and representatives of the corporate media have been implicated in these scams but no action is taken on them by the powers-that-be, because those implicated are the very same people essentially running the governments.

Comrade Ravi Rai, national general secretary of AISA, addressed the conference after Comrade Sandeep. He said that AISA had played a major role in the movement for an independent state of Uttarakhand. However, the intension of AISA’s participation in the movement for a separate statehood was not merely the formation of a state and bureaucratic apparatus separate from Uttar Pradesh – the intention of the movement for statehood was to ensure better job and education opportunities for the students and youth, as well as better facilities for poor farmers. Genuine development was to reach each village. The movement for statehood is not known despite these issues and these demands of the people, but rather because of these demands.  In the days to come, AISA has to be an integral part of the peoples’ movement, and has to lead the student movement for realization of the dreams which drove the movement for statehood.

Comrade Girija Pathak, former President of the Kumaon Students’ Union and member of the CPI(ML) state committee also addressed the conference. He recalled that in 1984, when the powers-that-be introduced privatization for the first time, there was an overall atmosphere in favour of privatization. Many people felt that privatization could possibly improve their situation. At that time, it was our organization which started a debate amongst the people, pointing out that privatization would eventually destroy our aspirations for a dignified livelihood. When people were only seeing the policies without visualizing their impacts, it was AISA (PSO) which took on the responsibility of making people aware of the impacts of privatization. Today, the impacts of privatization are there for everyone to see.

The inaugural session was addressed by former AISA national President Comrade Indiresh Maikhuri, the Garhwal area in-charge of CPI(ML) Comrade Kailash Pandey, AICCTU state secretary Comrade K.K. Bora. The outgoing state committee then presented the political-organisation report, and various representatives commented on this report and participated in the debate on the report. The report was then passed by the conference.

In the concluding session, a 17-member state-level council was elected. The council then elected a 9-member executive, and 5 office bearers. Malathi was elected as President, Pawan Nautiyal as secretary, Lalim Matiyali and Varghese Vamola were elected Vice Presidents, while Ashish Kandpal was made the joint secretary.

A Campus Without Students?

Jamia Administration Cancels Admission of 300 Students!

AISA Organizes Massive Protests Against Draconian JMI Administration!!

The anti-student administration of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has cancelled the admission of as many as 300 students, citing the spurious excuse of ‘shortage of attendance’. It is to be noted that these 300 students were given absolutely no notice, no notice, by the JMI administration before this drastic step was taken. The administration decided to throw out these students and jeopardize their careers, even though there are several irregularities in the manner in which attendance is taken in classes.

Moreover, this recent display of its anti-student, undemocratic nature follows a long pattern of authoritarianism, where democratic voices and rights are being steadily trampled. Whenever students raise genuine demands, the administration has tried its level best to scuttle the student movement and clamp down on protesting voices. The JMI administration has installed video-cameras to monitor activities of students, and has in fact created an environment of virtual emergency. The Proctor Office of the JMI is essentially running a police state in the campus.

AISA has demanded that all these 300 students must be readmitted and their exams should be rescheduled. If required, the students will sign individual undertakings agreeing to meet the university’s norms on attendance. However, the dictatorship of the JMI administration has to be fought, and the struggle for campus democracy has to be taken forward. With these demands, AISA organized a massive protest demonstration on 14th of December 2010 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Students from JMI, Delhi University as well as JNU participated in this demonstration.

AISA has resolved that if the ousted students are not taken back by the administration, then the ongoing movement against the current JMI administration will be intensified.

Condemn Assaults on Democracy: Raipur Sessions Court Convicts Dr. Binayak Sen, Sentences Him to Life Imprisonment!

On December 24th, the Raipur Sessions Court delivered a shocking and shameful verdict convicting noted human rights activist and peoples’ doctor Binayak Sen for ‘sedition’. And on the basis of this charge, the court has sentenced the 58-year old Dr. Sen to life imprisonment, which is the maximum possible punishment for sedition. This judgment came at the end of a so-called trial in the court of law – a trial that was nothing but a farce in the name of justice.

For many years now, Dr. Sen has been targeted by the Chhattisgarh government for being one of the most vocal voices against the state-sponsored genocide under the garb of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh. We have not forgotten that prior to this ‘trial’ in the Raipur Sessions Court (which was clearly politically motivated), Dr. Sen was imprisoned in jail for more than two years on the basis of extremely dubious ‘evidence’. He was repeatedly deemed a ‘security threat’ by the Chhattisgarh government, and was even denied bail not just by the courts in Chhattisgarh, but by the Supreme Court. It was only after a prolonged national campaign exposing the real intensions behind his arrest and imprisonment – a campaign that was supported by several rights activists and doctors from all over the world – that he was finally released on bail in May 2009. And now, the Chhattisgarh government has succeeded in sending Dr. Sen back to jail, this time for life.

It is to be noted that throughout Dr. Sen’s trial, the prosecution failed miserably failed to show any evidence linking the highly respected paediatrician and human rights activist with the Maoists. Any pieces of ‘evidence’ were lacking the most basic proof of authenticity. Firstly, the most important ‘evidence’ presented by the prosecution is a letter allegedly seized during a raid on Dr. Sen’s house. This letter does not contain signatures of Dr. Sen himself, and is not included in the list of items noted in the seizure memo. For the Court to overlook such overwhelming proof of faked evidence, and instead to convict on the basis of such faked evidence, is nothing but a travesty of justice.

During the trial, the prosecution more than once showed itself in a ridiculous light. On one occasion, the prosecution displayed its rank ignorance when it argued that Dr. Sen’s wife Ilina Sen’s conversation with the ‘ISI’ showed her links to Pakistani intelligence – whereas it was in fact a conversation with Walter Fernandes of the Indian Social Institute, a well-known institute in Delhi. For the court to give credence to a prosecution case that was reduced to such farcical and absurd arguments is a shame.

AISA strongly condemns this verdict, and calls upon the progressive and democratic forces in the country to launch strong protests against this state-sponsored witch-hunt. Not just this particular verdict, but the Chhattisgarh government’s concerted attack on each and every voice protesting against state repression, forcible displacement and corporate land grab has to be unequivocally protested.

Red Salute to Comrade Rajesh!

With a heavy heart, we have to convey the tragic news of the untimely death of Comrade Rajesh Ranjan, an activist of AISA and CPI(ML), who passed away of a sudden cardiac arrest on the morning of 26 October 2010.

Rajesh joined the AISA as a student of BA Korean in JNU. Throughout his student days in JNU, he was actively involved in the revival of AISA in JNU – he was an AISA office bearer as well as the general secretary of the AISA JNU unit in 2007-08. He also contested JNUSU elections as a Councillor candidate.

Rajesh was actively involved in the student movement in JNU. He was rusticated by the JNU administration in 2007 for participating in the movement for minimum wages and workers’ rights in JNU. In fact, he was one of the first students in JNU who established a close rapport with workers in the campus, and got to know of the large-scale violations in workers’ rights in JNU. Students as well as mess workers in Mahi hostel (where he was a resident for many years) will remember the role Rajesh played in raising their issues. Rajesh was also part of the group of students who got involved in teaching and taking classes for the children of the construction workers in our campus.

Always an activist who was most serious and committed towards revolutionary politics, he remained active even after his student days as an activist of the CPI(ML). He was part of the AISA Headquarters unit in Delhi, and was also a member of CPI(ML)’s and AISA’s publications team and the website unit, and was also involved in the publication work of AIPWA’s Women’s Voice and AICCTU’s Shramik Solidarity. Comrades could always count on the solid, dependable, hard-working Rajesh at all hours of day and night.  He would also render all kinds of help in organising a variety of people’s protests and movements. His cheerful and simple nature easily won the affection of all the friends and comrades with whom he worked.

There is no measure to the grief of his family (including his parents and sisters), loved ones, as well his many friends and comrades. We are all yet to come to terms with his shocking and sudden loss. We bid him adieu with tears in our eyes and our hearts full.