Mining Mafia, State Terror, Communal Forces Rule the Roost in Uttar Pradesh

Recent developments in UP have underlined that the Samajwadi Party’s Government is giving a free rein to mining mafia and communal forces, even as it unleashes repression on protesters. These recent developments include the attack on a CPI(ML) leader by mining mafia near Lucknow, the killing of another comrade in firing by forest rangers in Lakhimpur Kheri, the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and the refusal of the Government to implement the Nimesh Commission recommendations to identify and punish the police officers who framed Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid (the latter was killed in custody).

Senior leader and member of the CPI(ML) State Standing Committee of UP Ramesh Senger was grievously injured when mining mafia attacked him at the Bakshi ka Talab Teshil, barely 30 km from the state capital Lucknow on 24th August while he was returning with few other comrades from a mass contact campaign in a neighbouring village. He suffered multiple fractures in his leg and hands. Others injured in the attack include AICCTU leaders Surendra Prasad, Keshav Mishra and Santosh Kushwaha.

Of late the party had started its political work in this region adjacent to the state capital. On 10th August, a mass meeting was held to raise the burning issues of the rural poor of the region including illegal land grab of GS land, atrocities on Dalits and the rampant illegal mud mining going on with the connivance of the local police in the region. News about the ongoing illegal mining in the area was prominently covered by the press two days later. This angered the local mafia leader Sarabjit Yadav who threatened ML leaders with dire consequences.

On 14th August, he along with his dozen henchmen attacked the house of a local ML cadre Ramsewak Rawat who hails from a Dalit origin. The report of this attacked was lodged in the Madiaon police station. SC-ST Act along with other serious charges were registered in the case but the police did not dare to arrest the mafia. Emboldened by police patronage, Sarabjit again attacked Com. Ramsewak’s house on 15th August, ironically, Independence day. To protest against the repeated attacks and police inaction, a two day sit-in was organized in front of the DMs office on 16-17 August. A memorandum was presented to the DM demanding action against the belligerent Mafia. Here too, there was no action taken by the district administration.

Although a named FIR has been registered against the Mafia and his men, only two arrests have been made so far while the Mafia continues to roam around freely. Such is the state of the rule of law in ‘Akhilesh Sarkar’. After the Durga Shakti episode about the rampant illegal mining activities going on unabated in UP made headlines, Akhilesh Yadav went on record saying that his government would leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that such illegal activities are stopped. His government claimed that there is no illegal mining activity going on in UP and the allegations against the state government were baseless.

In the meanwhile, to press for the arrest of the Mafia, a two day fast was observed in front of the state secretariat (Vidhan sabha) on 26 th August. Com. Surendra, Sudhanshu, Ramsewak, Ramkali , Naumilal and Sarabjit sat on the fast. A state wide protest was organized by CPI(ML) to press for the arrest of the mafia and against the continuing police protection to the attackers. Protest marches and sit-ins were organized at Ghazipur, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Sitapur, Allahabad, Bijnor, Saharanpur and Moradabad. A memorandum addressed to the Governor of UP has also been sent from different centers of protest. It has been demanded that (1) The Mafia be immediately arrested (2) The Station Officer of Madiaon police station be suspended for protecting the Mafia and (3) protection be provided to Com.Ramsewak Rawat who is facing threats from the mafia.

On September 5th, CPI(ML) activist Narottam Singh, 40, was killed by forest guards in Kanp-Tanda village of Lakhimpur Kheri district, when villagers were opposing forcible eviction from gram-sabha land in the name of Project Tiger. This completely unprovoked and arbitrary firing has been strongly protested by the local people and the party. On September 9th, a Memorandum was sent to the President and Governor of UP through protests at district headquarters, demanding arrest of the forest ranger who fired and killed Narottam Singh, an end to eviction plans and compensation to the family of deceased and to the injured.

From September 16th onwards, a Dharna was held in front of the UP Vidhan Sabha by the party to protest against Muzaffarnagar riots, mining mafia- administration nexus and murder of party activist by forest ranger, and complicity with custodial killing. The Dharna is to be addressed on its concluding day by Com Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPI(ML).

While addressing the Dharna, Comrade Krishna Adhikari, CCM, said even an FIR has not been lodged against the forest ranger who killed Comrade Nrottam. Instead, FIRs have been lodged against 40-50 villagers including some party members. No state compensation has been paid to the family of the deceased.

The issue of Muzaffarpur riots was also raised during the Dharna. The speakers at the Dharna said that the riots occurred because of the laxity of the state government. They were a result of the politics of communal polarization being practiced by SP. In fact, The SP government surrendered before the communal forces. Even till date, none of the BJP and other leaders named in the FIR for engineering the riots have been arrested. The speakers appealed to the people of the state to thwart the nefarious communal designs of these parties and maintain peace and communal harmony.

From the Dharna, a charter of demands was presented to the Governor of the state. The main demands include-strict action against the culprits of the riots, arrest of BJP MLAs and other leaders named in the FIR, action against the forest ranger responsible for the death of Com. Narottam and a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to his family members. It was also demanded that mining mafia Sarabjit Yadav be immediately arrested and strict disciplinary action be taken against the police officers who are turning a blind eye to his illegal mining activities.

It was announced that if the demands raised during the Dharna were not adequately addressed, then the SP government would be exposed and made answerable for its failures in forthcoming ‘Jawab Do’ rally to be held in Lucknow on the 21st October.

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