Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for February 5th, 2010

West Bengal’s “Communist” Leaders Amass Huge Fortunes

Posted by Ka Frank on February 5, 2010

CPM bonfire in Lalgarh region

This very revealing article appeared in The Week on February 7, 2010. It gives some perspective on why the adivasis of the Lalgarh region, the farmers of Nandigram and Singur, and increasing numbers of the oppressed in West Bengal are targeting the ruling party, the Communist Party (Marxist) as an exploiting and repressive force.

Comrade bourgeois: Many communist leaders in West Bengal amass huge fortunes

Rabi Banerjee

Himangshu Das is the zonal committee secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Khejuri, Nandigram. A member of local zilla parishad, he gets a salary of Rs 1,500 a month. As district committee member of the party in East Midnapore he earns another Rs 1,500. These are his only known sources of income.

But, people of Nandigram say Das is a crorepati [one crore = 10 million]. He has a palatial house with air-conditioned rooms in Khejuri, and owns a car and a bike. Villagers allege that he siphoned off funds meant for the local civic bodies. In August 2009, they attacked his house, dragged him out and beat him up in public. Das fled the village with family and is yet to return. “How could a communist leader amass such huge wealth? He had become a crorepati and behaved like an industrialist,” said Manik Maity, a villager.

Not long ago, communist leaders in West Bengal were known for their simple lifestyle. Today, three decades after the Left Front started ruling the state, they live in palatial houses, drive expensive SUVs, own shopping malls and factories, and wear branded clothes. Ironically, they are still driven by the same philosophy—uplift the proletariat. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News | 1 Comment »

India 2010 Terror Assessment

Posted by Ka Frank on February 5, 2010

The terrorist state at work: Victims of police and Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh

This article appeared on South Asia Terrorism Portal.

South Asia Terrorism Portal, February 2010

The good news first. Under a new leadership, a moribund Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been galvanized into unprecedented action by the shock of the November 26, 2008, Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorist outrage in Mumbai. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database, total terrorism/insurgency related fatalities have fallen from a peak of 5,839 in 2001, and from 2,611 in 2008, to 2,226 in 2009. Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which accounted for an overwhelming proportion of casualties (4,507) at this peak, has seen the most precipitate decline, with 377 killed in 2009.

Every year since 2001 has seen continuous diminution in total fatalities in J&K, and 2009 was the third year running with total fatalities below the ‘high intensity conflict’ benchmark of 1,000 killed. Consistent with past years, moreover, the bulk of fatalities have been inflicted on the terrorists, accounting for 65 per cent of the total of 377 killed in 2009.

Across India’s Northeast, total fatalities dropped from 1,054 in 2008 to 843 in 2009. Even Manipur, the State worst affected by a multiplicity of criminalized insurgencies, saw a marginal improvement, with fatalities declining from 492 in 2008 to 416 in 2009 – a figure that is still devastatingly high in this tiny State of 2.4 million people. Counter-insurgency (CI) gains in Manipur are, however, tentative and remain reversible, with little evidence of civil governance in the State. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News | Leave a Comment »

Sri Lanka: US-China Rivalry Behind Intra-Ruling Class Struggle

Posted by Ka Frank on February 5, 2010

Chinese-financed container port under construction in Colombo

This article appeared on the World Socialist Web Site on January 29, 2010.

Behind Sri Lanka’s political infighting: US-China rivalry

Peter Symonds

In the wake of Tuesday’s presidential election in Sri Lanka, Colombo has become a hotbed of rumour and intrigue as the two factions of the ruling elite backing the winner, Mahinda Rajapakse, and the loser, General Sarath Fonseka, manoeuvre and position themselves for open political warfare. Far from putting an end to the campaign brawling, the election has set the stage for deepening instability.

The extraordinary events of the past three days have included: the surrounding of Fonseka’s hotel by heavily-armed troops, government accusations that he was planning a coup, counter-accusations by Fonseka that the government was about to arrest or assassinate him, a demand that the election be annulled and threats of legal action from both sides.

What is behind this bitter rivalry? The two men have essentially the same domestic program. General Fonseka was part of President Rajapakse’s inner cabal as it ruthlessly prosecuted the communal war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in the LTTE’s defeat last May. Fonseka now pledges to renew Sri Lankan democracy, but like Rajapakse, he is responsible for war crimes and gross abuses of democratic rights. If he fears assassination, it is because he is intimately acquainted with the operations of the pro-government death squads that murdered hundreds of politicians, journalists and ordinary people over the past four years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Background | 1 Comment »