Press Communiqué

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on November 27-28, 2001. It has issued the following statement:

On Port Facilities for US Warships

The Polit Bureau demanded that the government immediately stop providing port facilities to US naval warships which are involved in the military operations in Afghanistan. Two US naval ships have docked so far in the Chennai port. The second ship, the USS John Young is still at the Chennai port. A helicopter from the ship violated Indian airspace. It is shocking that the Vajpayee government is now seeking to cover up this illegal act by denying there was any violation of regulations. The Vajpayee government should apologise to the country for this incident

The helicopter incident is only a consequence of giving port facilities to US naval ships. The Vajpayee government is surreptitiously entering into a military alliance with the United States which has long-term implications.

Scrap POTO

The Polit Bureau reiterated the CPI(M)’s total opposition to the POTO. It is a despotic law which will be liable to gross abuse. There is no question of amending any particular clause and the entire ordinance has to be scrapped.

Right to Education

The 93rd Constitution amendment making education for children a fundamental right is an insufficient piece of legislation. It provides for the right to education for children from the age of 6 to 14. There is no provision for children below six years. Further, instead of vesting the State with the whole responsibility of providing education as a fundamental right, the parents of children are assigned this duty.

Further steps will have to be taken to make the right to education meaningful for all citizens. This will require adequate funds and priority being accorded to the public educational system by the Centre and the states.

Withdraw Coal privatisation Bill

The Polit Bureau demanded the withdrawal of the Coal Mines Nationalisation (amendment) Bill 2000, which provides for the privatisation of the coal industry. Protesting against such a move, all the trade unions in the coal industry have given a call for a three-day strike from 3rd to 5th December. Coal India has the capacity to produce sufficient coal to meet the needs of the country. The government should abandon the privatisation move to avert the strike.

Draft Political Resolution for Party Congress

The Polit Bureau discussed the Draft Political Resolution which will be placed before the Central Committee in its meeting to be held in January, 2002. After the Central Committee finalises the draft, it will be released for discussion within the Party.