The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at New Delhi on March 14-15, 2020. It has issued the following statement:
The coronavirus pandemic is currently in its second stage in India. The Ministry of Health has officially stated that this virus has been located in 13 states with a total number of officially confirmed cases in the country standing at 110 and growing. Of these, two patients have died and only ten discharged. The ICMR has warned that India has a 30-day window to prevent this pandemic from reaching the third stage. The third stage will have horrendous consequences.
The Polit Bureau calls upon all its units and cadres to create awareness and scientific temper amongst the people to follow the required precautions to ensure the containment of this pandemic. The Central and state governments must combat the spread of unscientific obscurantist preventive methods purveyed by many.
The Polit Bureau hailed the efforts of the LDF government in Kerala which, once again, displayed its efficiency for containing the pandemic through its universal public health system and limiting the damage.
India remains at the bottom of all the affected countries in the world in terms of testing of suspected people. More testing centres must be made available on a war-footing where all suspected persons should be tested promptly and consequent action should be taken. It is necessary to equip our rural areas with basic public health facilities which are very inadequate today.
The government of India must assist all the states in ensuring that such an infrastructure is put in place immediately to contain this pandemic. The allocations for health must be substantially increased to ensure that a proper health care system is put in place in the country. In this context, the Polit Bureau denounces the fact that the Central government, having issued orders to the states permitting the utilization of State Disaster Response Fund for dealing with this pandemic, has within hours issued `partial modification’ by which compensation to families who have lost a member to this virus and for treatment of positive cases has been withdrawn. This has to be reversed immediately.
The Central government should draw up contingency plans to create a fund which can render assistance to workers in the informal sector and organized sector who may lose jobs or get laid off due to shutdowns because of this epidemic.
CAA/NPR/NRC Protest Movement
The sustained peaceful mass protests against the CAA/NPR/NRC have continued all across the country. Following the lead taken by Kerala state government, more and more state governments have come out against the NPR and NRC in different degrees. Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Pondicherry and Rajasthan have announced that they shall not proceed with the NPR. Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Delhi, Odisha and Bihar stated that they shall not implement the NPR unless it adheres to the 2010 format. A ministerial committee is looking into the matter in Maharashtra.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament that nobody will be marked as doubtful citizen in the NPR updating process is of no consequence as long as the Rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2003 remain. If the Home Minister is true to his words, these Rules, particularly in numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be scrapped. Consequently, the provision for the NRC contained in the amended resolution would be rendered infructuous and, hence, the 2003 Citizenship Amendment Act must also be amended. Unless these measures are undertaken by the government of India, the peaceful protests will continue.
The Left parties had given a call for observing March 23, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, in protest all over the country highlighting the opposition to the CAA/NPR/NRC, condemning the communal violence in Delhi and against the unprecedented economic burdens imposed on the vast majority of our people. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, large gatherings and public meetings will be avoided. But the martyrdom day will be observed as it has been the practice all these years.
Delhi Communal Violence
The ghastly communal violence in Delhi is strongly condemned and a court-monitored independent investigation into these crimes must be conducted in a time-bound fashion. The perpetrators of this violence must be severely punished under law.
There have been instances with video footage going viral on social media of how the police force aided and abetted the criminals who perpetrated such violent attacks. This must be thoroughly investigated by a time-bound judicial enquiry.
The Polit Bureau strongly condemns the claim of the Home Minister on the usage of the face recognition technology for identifying those responsible for this communal violence. Government, itself, has admitted before the courts that this technology had an accuracy rate of only 2 per cent in 2018, which dropped to a mere 1 per cent in 2019, unable to make even a gender distinction. This opens up possibilities for harassment and persecution of innocent people. Moreover, there is no legal framework or any judicial order to use such technology for such identification.
Relief Work: Responding to the call given by the CPI(M) to collect relief funds for the victims of this communal violence, more than rupees six crore have been collected, so far. The Polit Bureau congratulates the Kerala state committee of the CPI(M) for the two-day mass collection from the people amounting to Rs. 5,30,74,779. The collections are continuing across the country.
A relief committee formed by the Delhi State Committee of the Party is working to provide the much needed relief to the families of those who lost lives, to treat the injured and for rehabilitation of those whose homes have been burnt and livelihoods snatched away.
Jammu & Kashmir
The Polit Bureau welcomed that, finally after seven months of detention under Public Safety Act, former Chief Minister, Union Cabinet Minister and currently Member of Parliament, Farooq Abdullah, has been released.
However, the clampdown in Kashmir continues. The draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) was invoked against former Chief Ministers of Jammu & Kashmir – Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti. Thousands of people continue to be detained even after seven months. Lakhs of livelihoods have been destructed. Normal day-to-day activities simply do not exist.
All those detained from the night of August 4/5, 2019 must be released forthwith. Clampdown on communications must be withdrawn. Conditions for the restoration of normal activities of the people must be restored immediately. The democratic processes, under the Indian Constitution, must be reestablished forthwith.
J&K statehood with special status, as it had under the Indian Constitution, must be restored immediately.
Under the Constitutional Scheme of things, the judiciary in India is not only independent but has a very important role to safeguard the rule of law under our Constitution. Recent happenings of delays in delivery of justice, midnight transfers of High Court judges and the delay in taking up the challenges to the abrogation of Article 370 and the CAA have not evoked confidence amongst people and are not in the spirit of their utmost expectations. There are criticisms from many quarters that the judiciary is being pressurized by the Executive and abdicating its responsibility. This is unfortunate and must be set right urgently.
Toppling of State Governments
The Polit Bureau strongly denounced the brazen horse-trading and the use of threats, intimidation etc to enforce defections of MLAs in order to topple democratically-elected governments and violate the people’s mandate like it has happened in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier too, in Karnataka and elsewhere, similar tactics betrayed the people’s mandate in the states. These are anti-democratic acts which make a mockery of popular verdict of the people and democracy.
Relentless Economic Onslaught on the People
The economic recession is causing unprecedented misery for overwhelming sections of our people. Highest levels of unemployment, agrarian distress, closure of factories and retrenchment, price rise continue to impose overwhelming economic burdens. On top of this misery, the government has now massively hiked duties on petroleum products which will have a cascading effect on price rise. At the same time, the country’s national assets are being sold for a song.
Crony Capitalism: As a worst example of crony capitalism, yet another private bank has collapsed – Yes Bank. The record shows that the loan account of the bank increased spectacularly from Rs. 55,633 crore in March 2014 to Rs. 2,41,999 crore in March 2019. The bank was saddled with huge loans given to corporates favoured by the ruling regime.
In a classic instance of privatization of profits and nationalization of losses, the State Bank of India has been asked to bailout this bank. Over and above the writing off of loans given by the banks to the cronies of the Modi government in the past (Rs. 7,78,000 crores since 2014 and in 2018-19 alone, the write-offs were Rs. 1.83 lakh crore), they have recently waived off an additional Rs. 76,600 crore of 33 rich borrowers. Till date, the names of the rich defaulters of their cronies, who looted public money that was given to PM Modi in 2015 by former RBI Governor, Raghuram Rajan, is not being made public.
Polit Bureau Call
The Polit Bureau has decided that on all these issues of mounting burdens on the people, public campaigns will be conducted keeping in mind the conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic. Protests against these conditions will be coordinated with all sections of our people – with the youth against unemployment, with the workers against closures, loot of national assets, privatization of the public sector, retrenchment and for minimum wages, with the women against growing crimes, atrocities and burdens caused by economic recession, with the farmers and agricultural labours against the intensifying economic agrarian distress, with the students, the dalits, the tribals etc.
(for CPI(M) Central Committee office)