India

With the appointment of hardline Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), the Indian Peoples’ Party (BJP) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown what an extremist force can do when freed of the restraints of coalition partners or parliamentary numbers.

A March 10 trial court judgement acquitted 117 workers from Maruti Suzuki’s automobile factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India of charges of murder. Eighteen workers were convicted of minor offences.

However, 13 workers – all leaders of the Maruti union – were found guilty of murder. The Maruti workers plan to appeal the verdict in the High Court.

Why are workers being jailed for murder? The story at Maruti is a familiar one in India’s industrial scene.

Where unionisation is a crime

Veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) leader Comrade Srilata Swaminathan passed away in Udaipur (Rajasthan) in the early morning of February 5. She was 74.

Comrade Srilata suffered a stroke on January 28 and was rushed to a hospital in Udaipur where she breathed her last following a cardiac arrest.

Farmers, fisherfolk and students across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have been protesting since January 16 to protect the region’s tradition of Jallikattu (bull taming).

Usually conducted in January during Pongal (harvest) festival, it creates economic gains for farmers across the state of 70.5 million people.

Jallikattu is a 2000-year-old cultural practice in Tamil Nadu, where youth seek to hold on to the hump of a bull as a display of courage. There is evidence of this sport in the ancient literature and in sculptures across the temples in Tamil Nadu.

We Shall Fight, We Shall Win
Produced by All India Forum for the Right to Education
2016

The All India Forum for the Right to Education (AIFRTE) has just released a documentary about its struggle against the privatisation of education in India. The film, We Shall Fight, We Shall Win provides a rare glimpse into grassroots voices for public education in India.

Tens of millions of public sector workers in India went on strike to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push for privatisation and other right-wing economic policies.

“This strike is against the central government, this strike is for the cause of the working people,” Ramen Pandey of the Indian National Trade Union Congress told Al Jazeera.

Since the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Wani, a Kashmiri independence fighter, by Indian security forces in a village in south Kashmir on July 8, hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris have once again taken to the streets in protest.

Kashmir is occupied by India and the territory is also claimed by Pakistan. Many Kashmiris, however, are struggling for independence.

A long political campaign in the south Indian state of Kerala has again been played out according to the pattern followed for the last few decades. The Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) defeated the incumbent Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in May 19 elections.

The elections continued the state’s recent history of swinging between the UDF and the LDF. The two fronts have alternated in power since 1982.

India has been hit by a wave of student unrest, centred on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which has been spurred by government attacks. These attacks include demonising protesters and arresting activists simply for criticising the actions of the Indian state. JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar is among several activists charged with sedition.


Photo: Kavita Krishnan.

The article below is abridged from an editorial in ML Update, published by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.

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