PM Faces Protests in Assam Demanding Justice for Com. Gangaram

(We have carried reports of the protests following Gangaram Koal’s murder in the May 2013 issue of Liberation. Comrade Subhas Sen recounts developments and initiatives taken recently.)

Assam erupted in protest against Comrade Gangaram Koal’s heinous murder on 25th March. The series of militant protests, and solidarity by all Opposition parties barring BJP, forced the Assam CM to declare in the Legislative Assembly on April 1st that he would order a CBI enquiry. Now, nearly two months after that declaration, the people of Assam are asking if it was a cruel April Fools’ Day joke on part of Tarun Gogoi? Because the CBI is yet to be notified of any enquiry into the assassination!

On 2nd April, the effigy of Raju Sahu was burnt at Panitola in protest against derogatory remarks made by him on a TV channel, against the people of Gutibari village, the village of Comrade Gangaram. Commemoration meetings were held and effigies burnt at several places. A citizens’ convention was held at Rajgarh of Dibrugarh district. On 4th April, 10 organisations held a joint protest rally at Jorhat. And on 8th April, a Cycle Rally was held at Rajgarh.

On 11th April, a mass commemoration meeting was held at Panitola with 42 organisations and 3000 people, in spite of heavy rain. The organizations included the Chah Janagushthi Sangram Samity, Chah Janajati Jatiya Samanvaya Samity, Assam Tea Labour Union, ASYO, the Brihattar Asamiya Juba Manch, the All Assam Moran Students’ Union, Motok Juba Chatra Sanmilan, Sara Assam Bengalee Juba Chatra Federation, the ATTSA, AASHA, Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union, AIPWA, AICCTU, and their affilitates ASCSS, Gramin Shramik Santha, ASPWU, AAUPKSS, Jana Sanskritik Parishad and others.

On 12th April, a Citizens’ Convention at Guwahati was held at the call of the Jana Sangskritik Parishad, People’s Forum for Democracy and ASCSS. Noted intellectuals like Dr. Hiren Gohain, Dr. Dilip Bora, Dr. Paramananda Majumdar, progressive senior journalist Prakash Mahanta and senior advocate Shantanu Borthakur, as well as TU leaders of NEROWCE, APBEA, ASPWU, AITUC, AIUTUC, UTUC, Assam Asbestos Workers’ union, Assam Carbon Employees’ Union, Building workers’ Shramik Union, Gana Kantha and CPI(ML) participated.

On 22nd April this year, Party Foundation Day was held resolving to carry forward Comrade Gangaram’s legacy, and making concrete plans to overcome the big blow and forge ahead. On May Day, a 1000-strong rally was held at Tinsukia, where workers marched with red flags aloft, defiantly saluting the martyrs and telling the rulers that from Haymarket to Panitola, the dreams of workers’ martyrs refuse to be killed. At Sonitpur, 200 workers from 6 tea gardens and also at the panchayat level participated in the May Day programme.

On 11th May, a State level March and convention were held at the call of ASCSS at Press Club Guwahati. 15 organisations including the Brihattar Asamiya Juba Mancha, the Assam Chah Janagushthi Suraksha Samity, the All Assam Moran Students’ Union, NEROWCE, AIPWA and others participated.

On 12th May, a large party cadre meeting with 200 cadres, mostly district secretaries, was held at Guwahati. On 15th May, when the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came to file Rajya Sabha nominations, he was greeted at Guwahati University with black flags by AISA and CPI(ML) activists led by Com. Balindra Saikia, who blockaded the road for half an hour.

On the same day, party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya paid a visit to Comrade Gangaram Koal’s house. One kilometer of road leading to the house was decorated with red flags and scores of people marched in a procession with Comrade Dipankar to the house. Comrade Dipankar met Comrade Koal’s wife Sokhila Munda, who has bravely faced the terrible adversity, and is determined to continue the struggle with revolutionary determination. A mass meeting at the house was addressed by Comrade Dipankar. PB member Comrade Rubul Sharma and Com Subhas Sen also spoke.

The protests will continue till the Congress Government is forced to arrest the accused including MLA Raju Sahu, and till the CBI enquiry begins. The party plans to gherao the Tinsukia district Court on 7 June, and the Dibrugarh District Court on 14 June, followed by other districts too.

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