Kabeer Katlat

Kabeer Katlat

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

During the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon Battle, the RSS goons had organized attack on the tens of thousands of dalits who had reached from different parts of Maharashtra. Though the names of these RSS men and their leader had come out, the then BJP government did not take any action on them; instead the SIT transformed the case as a conspiracy by the urban Maoists against the state and a witch hunt was started under which seven prominent human right activists including Sudha Bharadwaj are already in jail, denied bail.

When the present non BJP government took over, it decided a re-investigation of the case. But the Modi government got the transferred to the central agencies to block the truth coming out, and approached the Supreme Court for cancelling the anticipatory bail given to Anand Teltumde and Gautham Navlakha. The SC has cancelled the bail and allowed the central agency to arrest them. Not only the people of India, but the progressive sections all over the world have witnessed how the Modi-Shah fascist government has transformed the genocide led by RSS goons in Northeast Delhi a month back is being transformed as a conspiracy by the Islamic terrorists, and large number of Muslims, the real victims of RSS led genocide, are terrorized and arrested. So, CPI(ML) Red Star demands re-investigation of the Bhima Koregaon case under the state government, withdrawal of the arrest warrant against Anand Teltumde and Gautham Navlakha, and granting of bail to all the seven activists including Sudha Bharadwaj who are illegally detained.

CPI(ML) Red Star

22nd March, 2020 n

Historically, lion’s share of the oil price has been corporate-speculation that prompted even Lenin during the second decade of the 20th century to characterise the “oil question” as “shameless inflation of oil prices” and “criminal conspiracy of the oil magnates for the purpose of fleecing the consumer.” Viewed in this perspective, India under the Modi govt. is a typical case where its deliberate policy of shoring up speculative profits of Ambani-like private oil giants along with meeting state’s revenue mobilisation target makes India as the country having highest-ever domestic prices of petroleum products even as world crude oil price plunges to its quarter-century low.

In the context of COVID-19 pandemic coupled with contraction of Chinese economy, world’s biggest oil consumer, global oil demand has fallen by 2.5 million barrels a day leading to an abrupt fall in Brent crude prices by 35 percent to almost $ 30 a barrel due to the failure in striking a deal on production cuts between OPEC and Russia. This needs to be compared with the situation in mid-2014 when Modi came to power where world crude oil price was around $115 a barrel (in August 2014). According to estimates, for every dollar the price of crude oil drops, India gains approximately $1.5 billion (more than Rs.10000 crore on an average).

The natural outcome of this biggest fall in international crude oil price would be rapid reduction in domestic petroleum prices, lower transport charges, fall in production costs and a general reduction in prices and more real incomes as well as increased purchasing power for the people. But all these have been wishful thinking. Domestic petrol price in India still remains at $ Rs.70-mark as on March 10, 2020 more or less the same as that in August 2014 (when crude prices respectively at $34 and $115 a barrel).

Obviously, the dynamics of crony-capital controlled pricing of petroleum products under Modi regime can in no way be commensurate with global crude oil price collapse. Why crude oil price crashes on many occasions in the recent past have not been translated into domestic reduction in prices of petroleum products is obvious— it is due to the huge central and state excise duties. While the former’s share under Modi govt is ever-increasing, the latter is more or less constant. Integrally connected with this, corporate wealth accumulation by private oil giants like Reliance, Essar, Shell, Tata, etc. is also in horrific proportions. And taking advantage of the far-right policies of Modi, Aramco like companies are transforming India in to a “refinery hub” too. As a consequence, retail oil prices in India continue to remain the highest despite frequent crashes in global crude oil prices.

Thus, it is this ingenious use of oil as the most convenient tool of corporate loot by the fascist Modi regime and the crony capitalists integrated with it, that the domestic oil prices in India remain exorbitantly high even as world oil prices have come down by 35 percent. Two decades back, i.e., at the beginning of the 21st century, when world crude oil prices were almost the same as that of now, domestic prices of petrol, diesel, and LPG were available in India at around Rs.38, Rs.27 (per litre) and Rs.280 (per cylinder) respectively. And under Modi.1 and Modi.2 (during the last 5 years) the central government alone has looted around Rs.16 lakh crore from the people through huge taxes on petrol and diesel.

No wonder, and revealingly, in spite of being the staunchest adherent of corporate-sponsored GST, Modi regime is reluctant to bring petroleum products under GST—which would have made available petrol and diesel to common people at around Rs.40 even at the highest GST rates and assuming global crude prices remain at around $50 a barrel. Thus, other things remaining the same, it is this unparalleled “plunder of the interior” through artificial price-hike that obstructs the fall in domestic prices of petroleum products despite a historic collapse in world crude prices. n

 

Yes Bank Limited has become no bank. Late Thursday evening in Mumbai, RBI placed the private-sector lender under moratorium. Depositors will only be allowed to withdraw only Rs 50,000 rupees, equivalent of less than $700 for the next six months. It was in dire need of capital because of deterioration in its asset quality, NPA provisioning, and losses in its books. At the end of second quarter of FY20, its core capital ratio plunged as the NPAs went on rising. The gross NPAs was already at 7.4 per cent in September 2019. The bank need more than Rs 10,000 crores as capital even for its survival.

Though YES Bank CEO Ravneet Gill who in collaboration with political and business leaders, played leading role in the collapse of this prominent private bank by generously allowing the corporate forces to get huge loans without any means to return them, went on saying about various plans to get this capital deficit rectified, nothing materialized.

Now, the RBI and the finance ministry are keeping the speculation over merger with SBI and LIC alive to cool down tempers among the distressed investors and depositors. But

in the recent acquisition of IDBI Bank by LIC, the insurance giant had to pump in huge money to just save it, whose gross NPAs had spiralled to over 25-26 per cent.

If capital situation at YES Bank again deteriorates, the RBI will have no other option but to take it into its fold. The framework involves monitoring the bank, put restrictions on risky lending, and nurse it back to health. Clearly, the government and the RBI don’t want another bank to fail as there would be a chain reaction. Any failure of a bank generally leads to loss of trust in the banking system. In fact, it can impact the entire private banking sector, which now has over 30 per cent market share in deposits and advances.

The Finance Minister has made a customary assurance to depositors that there will be no loss to any Yes Bank depositor. Earlier in the day, RBI Governor said the central bank has a scheme to revive the beleaguered lender. “We will take swift action... and we have a scheme in place to revive the bank.” After the RBI placed Yes Bank under the moratorium and imposed withdrawal limit, the stock price of the Mumbai-based private lender crashed 85 per cent to hit an intraday low of Rs 5.65 on the National Stock Exchange. The Yes Bank’s fall has caused acute distress to lakhs of depositors, further increasing the financial crisis.

Now, the SBI is asked to take the burden of rescuing Yes Bank. That is the enormous loot by the corporate shall become the burden of SBI’s depositors. As Modi’s economics is to surrender all sectors including banking to corporate, it is only the beginning. Many more such bank crashes shall take place if this fascist regime is thrown out. n

 

Spain has resorted to such drastic health care measures to combat the spread of the disease, as situation worsens. Spain, the fourth most Covid-19 affected country after China, Italy and Iran has seen close to 600 deaths and about 14,000 positive cases until now. Though positive cases in India are still in the three digit figures and deaths in single digits, measures taken by other countries, both on ground and on a policy level, can become examples to follow. Spain ruled by a centre-left coalition, has taken an unprecedented measure to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in its country. It announced that private hospitals and health care providers would be temporarily nationalized to combat the spread of the disease. Health Minister Salvador Illa said private healthcare facilities and materials such as face masks and tests would be requisitioned for coronavirus patients, while companies and suppliers of needed equipment had 48 hours to notify the government. The government even called fourth-year medical students to reinforce health centres and hospital to increase the workforce in health care which is currently under immense pressure.

The spread of the disease has proved to be a challenge to health care systems of many countries. In many cases it has exposed whether a country’s health care system is pro-poor or is it just a profit-making sector. In India, many suspect that since the test are free and each test costs about Rs. 5,000, the government is reluctant on expanding testing beyond people with travel history, local transmission and now for health care workers coming in contact with positive cases. If that is the case then it is just the silence before the storm, one that India is not prepared to handle. While Spain has been lauded for taking over private hospitals, the question about what is being done for social security is still looming. People are out of jobs, daily wage workers are suffering and the economy has taken a hit for most part of the world. In such times, while Spain has taken care of health care, the financial burdens of those who have been forced into isolation continues to worsen and that is one more imperative arena the government needs to look into and act fast.

India, going by data, has the lowest COVID-19 testing figures in the world. India is conducting only about 90 tests a day, despite having the capacity for as many as 8,000. So far, 11,500 people have been tested, according to The Associated Press. As per Indian officials the WHO guidance does not apply in India as the situation is not so severe here. Since India is seemingly a less affected country, it needs to be prepared in case it needs to follow examples of such other countries and keep studying which of these measures are having a positive impact so the same may be replicated here as well, if the need to do so arises. n

 

STATEMENT OF AIKKS ON LOCKDOWN

All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha (AIKKS) strongly feels that curfew/lockdown for 21 days throughout the country, declared by Modi government, cannot be main method of combating COVID-19. Without announcing comprehensive economic package, this curfew announcement is only WHIP without biscuits.

AIKKS strongly believes that for a successful fight against COVID-19, Implementation of the instruction of the World Health Organization- “Test, Test and Test” for each and every rural people, particularly agricultural worker, landless and poor peasant, small and marginal farmer and women are obligatory for central and state government. It will help to create a national patients register (NPR). Central and state government will have to take all the medical responsibilities of the detected patients.

AIKKS is urgently demanding to central and state governments for a comprehensive socio economic package for the TRUE YES BANK of our country, our ANNADATA- peasantry of our country and rural people of our country. This package will be such that each and every member of our YES BANK will get adequate essential commodities including food for coming months, immediate cash transfer of ten thousand (10,000) rupees to each and every BPL families and those who have lost their employment in the coming months.

AIKKS is of the strong opinion that for a successful fight against Corona virus, development of scientific temper and fight against obscurantist ideas and practices like drinking cow urine and taking cow dungs is urgently necessary.

 AIKKS calls upon the Indian peasantry for united fight against Corona virus and communal virus, for a militant and united struggle for an effective socio economy and health package.

Pradip Singh Thakur

General Secretary, AIKKS,

Kolkata, 25-03-2020

STATEMENT BY WOMEN’S GROUPS & INDIVIDUALS


Delhi struggles to recover from the terrible violence in the north east which hit some of the poorest people in our country – tailors, scrap dealers, carpenters, and daily wagers. Scared and displaced Muslims, who were the primary target of this hate-attack, are still in relief camps, holding on to their children and their dignity despite this devastation. Hindu families who lost homes and properties are struggling to come to terms with this nightmare as well. Both communities bear the sorrow of lives and livelihoods lost in this senseless violence. We stand with each of them.

This is a moment when we need our governments to give us justice, reassurance and relief. But what we see instead is that the State, a section of the media, and vested interests creating even more hate. Instead of taking action against an earring police force, and against those who openly instigated and perpetrated this violence, we find them trying to pin the blame on the women for protesting peacefully. What we are witnessing is a concerted misinformation campaign that criminalises the protestors, spins conspiracy theories and targets all those who supported the protests. Anyone who has been to these protests will know how morally low this is.

These protests brought together all the colours of our country. We are proud that Muslim women led these protests, in the best tradition of our freedom struggle, and proud that we joined this struggle with them, in full measure as Indians – as students, women’s rights activists and queer groups, people’s movements, farmers and workers collectives, and as ordinary citizens; to fight for justice, harmony and peace for all. Clearly, something resonated in the soul of India, which is why in over 300 places, women sat and many still sit on our streets to be heard, to be visible as democratic citizens. This is surely what women’s empowerment is all about. This is what India must celebrate and stand behind.

Today, the rainbow that is India is being targeted. There is intimidation, FIRs based on falsehoods, threat of arrest against the protestors and those who stood with the protests. This politics of intimidation threatens all women, it threatens each citizen, and it must end. Now.

This vicious campaign against citizens of a free democratic country and our collective right to protest must stop immediately.

We say, across identities of religion, caste, class, gender, sexuality and ability that we oppose the proposed National Population Register (NPR), Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). We stand by the protestors and the right to protest. And we shall defend that right.

We demand that:

ACTION BE TAKEN against those who have conducted systematic hate campaigns, spread falsehood, instigated and perpetrated the violence.

FALSE CASES BE WITHDRAWN against protestors exercising their democratic rights.

The Union government WITHDRAW NPR-CAA-NRC, and initiate dialogue with the protesting women without any further delay.

The Delhi government DELINK the NPR from the Census.

STATE EFFORTS BE EXPEDITED to provide time bound relief and compensation to families of all who lost lives in the Delhi violence, and full rehabilitation to those displaced.

WE REITERATE OUR COMMITMENT to the values of peace and communal amity even as we continue our struggle

FOR the preservation of constitutional values

AGAINST NPR-CAA-NRC

FOR de-linking of the Census and NPR

FOR the protection of the democratic rights of the people of India to live, speak, believe, work, protest without fear.

We stand united. n

 

Page 10 of 75

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.