Sunday, November 9, 2014

NAPM's 10th Biennial National Convention Ends in Pune // New National Committee Constituted // Massive Convergence of People's Movements on December 2 in Delhi Opposing corporate communal onslaught on Indian Constitution

 The fundamental character of our Constitution is sought to be beaten out of shape and the very social fabric of our society is sought to be destroyed to perpetuate rule by a fundamentalist-religious-corporate cabal - Pune Declaration

New Delhi, October 3 : In the backdrop of brutal murder of three members of a Dalit family in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district; recent communal violence and frenzy in Delhi ahead of by- elections (as seen as part of strategy of BJP in election bound states); and significant dilutions and proposed amendments in land and environmental laws to facilitate corporate loot of natural resources; and move to amend NREGA, labour laws, RTIs etc., NAPM's Tenth biennial convention ended on November 2 at historic Rashtra Seva Dal campus in Pune.  The Convention was attended by over 1000 persons from 18 states and marked 20 year long journey of NAPM against neo-liberal economic policies, religious fundamentalism, patriarchy and casteism. The Convention ended with a call for united action by the secular, socialist and progressive forces to combat the rising fundamentalist and fascist forces in the country today. The draft Pune Declaration, read out at the Convention noted that,

The fundamental character of our Constitution is sought to be beaten out of shape and the very social fabric of our society is sought to be destroyed to perpetuate rule by a fundamentalist-religious-corporate cabal.

Our journey to establish a democratic socialist politics in this country faces major challenges today as the crisis of capitalism in developed world is looking for new markets and hobnobbing with the corporate and political elite of our country to establish crony capitalism here.

In last twenty years two major political camps (UPA and NDA) have come in unison to implement the agenda of neo-liberal capitalism and most of the political parties have come to accept that. This needs to change and only people's movements in collaboration with other political forces can do that.” [from the Pune Declaration to be finalised and circulated]

Significant Resolutions Passed
The Convention passed the following  resolutions :
  • condemning and demanding punishment for those responsible for the atrocities against dalits and adivasis and bring changes in SC/ST Act making it more effective;
  • demanding punishment for murderers of Mohsin Sheikh and Narendra Dabholkar;
  • Centre to stop immediately the increase in height of Sardar Sarovar Dam and also stop illegal construction of Statue of Unity without statutory clearances;
  • government must take action against illegal land grab by thermal power plants in Eastern MP and other places;
  • need for protection for RTI activists and punishment to those responsible for death of several RTIS activists in past many years and enact Whistleblowers Protection Act soo;
  • stop illegal evictions in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and implement Rajiv Awas Yojana;
  • ensure fair prices for farm produce and appropriate compensation to farmers for crop failure due to natural disasters;
  • social security for migrant and unorganized sector workers and roll back changes to labour laws derecognising right to form union and promoting hire and fire practices;
  • rolling back of significant change in labour laws, land laws, state highway act and halting of illegal mining in Rajasthan;
  • Stop amendments to the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act in Jharkhand;
  • withdraw false cases against journalists in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh;
  • withdraw field trial of GM cops at Rahuri Krishi Visyapeeth in Maharashtra;
  • implement Prohibition Act of 1956 in Orissa and ensure prohibition across the country;
  • cancel proposed dam on Painganga river in Yavatmal
  • and many others.

National Fishworkers Forum in a resolution demanded enactment of 'Fishers Rights Act' on line of Forest Rights Act, strict implementation of CRZ notification and enactment of CRZ Act to ensure stopping illegal constructions, rampant violations in name of creating infrastructure for tourism promotion and a large number of thermal & nuclear power plants and PCPIRs alongside the coast of India.

The Convention also demanded that Indian government initiate steps to withdraw death sentence awarded to five fishermen from Tamilnadu in Sri Lanka and ensure immediate release. The Convention condemned large scale land grab by Indian corporations in African countries and committing of human rights violations in garb of business promotion and trade.

The Convention expressed solidarity with the ongoing, 'Standing Struggle' of Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha in front of Kerala Secretariat for last 120 days demanding land rights and their right to dignified livelihood.

The Convention demanded withdrawal of 'coal ordinance' which is in complete violation of the recommendation of the SC judgment canceling the licenses given to many corporate houses. It also demanded that government must recover huge loans given by the public sector banks to these corporations, who must not be allowed to default, nor be sanctioned new loans or allotted new coal blocks.

Forthcoming Actions, Events, Conventions and Programmes
A number of actions and programmes were finalised after intensive discussion over the course of three days in 15 thematic group discussions and plenary sessions. It was decided that

  • NAPM would mobilise for the massive convergence of people's movements on December 2nd in Delhi protesting move by NDA government to amend the Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement and Rehabilitation and Transparency in Acquisition Act, 2013, NREGA, RTI Act, Forest Rights Act, NGT Act, EIA & CRZ Notification, labour laws and so on. Rally would demand implementation of the National Food Security Act, new Land Act, NREGA, Rajeev Awas Yojana in its current form and enactment of laws to ensure decent pension to all;
  • hold programmes across the country opposing changes to new land act before the commencement of Winter Session of Parliament;
  • participate in the Coastal yatra from Mangalore to Trivandrum starting from November 21st organised by National Fishworkers Forum;
  • support public hearing on domestic workers in Delhi on November 11;
  • participate in 30th anniversary programmes organised by Bhopal gas disaster survivors;
  • join ongoing rashtriya shiksha yatra demanding education for all and common schooling system;
  • join 24th November porgramme by Maharashtra organisations at Chaitya Bhumi to defend democratic principles and rights enshrined in Constitution;
  • campaign against GM field trails in Maharashtra;
  • join ongoing 100 days foot march demanding prohibition in Tamilnadu;
  • participate and support 29-30 November national convention in defence of democracy in Dhinkia, Orissa;
  • join Janjagran rally on January 30, 2015 in Odisha demanding implementation of Prohibition Act 1956;
  • Join Repeal AFSPA yatra organised by Save Sharmila Solidarity campaign;
  • take part in religious harmony yatra and programmes organised by Khudai Khidmatgar
  • participate and support many other events and programmes to be organised by affiliated organisations and fraternal networks.
  • Organise regional and national meeting on Industrial Corridors and start campaigns to protect agricultural land and conserve environment;
  • organise a national tribunal on atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis;
  • 3 day national convention on violence and discrimination against women and sexual minorities.
  • Organise five regional and one national level yuva shivirs in coming year with specific focus on political training of youths and establish Janvikas Kendras in each of the regions
  • Activate in next six months working groups on key issues concerning people's movements, as was decided at Thrissur Convention in 2012.
  • organise 'Lawyers for Social Justice' programme in every major states and constitute lawyers team to support ongoing struggles and fight fabricated cases against activists;
  • organise regional and national meetings on electoral reforms to push for proportional representation system;
  • establish a working group on finance to ensure greater accountability and transparency on Indian banks development and infrastructure funding;
  • work to create effective channels of communications to increase outreach and dialogue with its membership and public at large using all existing forms of communications (old and new both) and cultural expressions.

Constitution of New National Committee
The Tenth biennial National Convention also reconstituted the National Committee, comprising of Advisers, National Conveners and National Organisers. The new team has the following members :

Advisers : Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Dr. B.D. Sharma, Dr. Binayak Sen, P Chennaiah, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Sister Celia, Anand Mazgaonkar and Dr. Sandeep Pandey

National Conveners : Prafulla Samantara & Lingraj Azad (Odisha), Dr. Sunilam (Madhya Pradesh), Gabriele Dietrich (Tamilnadu), Suniti S R (Maharashtra), Arundhati Dhuru (Uttara Pradesh), Sujato Bhadra & Amitava Mitra (West Bengal), Dayamani Barla (Jharkhand), C R Neelakandan (Kerala), Ramakrishnam Raju (Andhra Pradesh), Kamayani Swami & Mahendra Yadav (Bihar), Krishnakant (Gujarat), Kailash Meena (Rajasthan), Rajendra Ravi & Madhuresh Kumar (Delhi), Rukmini V P (Karnataka) and Faisal Khan (Haryana). Gurwant Singh and Ko Sugumaran will be contact points for the state of Punjab and Pondicherry respectively.

National Organisers : The newly constituted National Conveners Team also appointed Meera (Madhya Pradesh), Kanika Sharma (Delhi) and Jabar Singh (Uttarakhand) as national organisers.

National Committee will co-opt more members in its next meetings to ensure broader regional, community, religious and thematic representations to be able to respond to the new challenges and implement the programmes as decided.

Jan Sahyogi Manch consisting of eminent supporters and professionals will be created who would support the various initiatives and programmes of the alliance.

Medha Patkar, thanked the outgoing national convening team and while congratulating the new team said that “in the next two years we must strive to put halt to the corporate plunder of land, water, forests, minerals, fightback brazen attack on secular and plural framework of society, on freedom of expression and criminalisation of dissent, and arrest the growth of fundamentalist forces and rising violence against dalits, adivasis, women and minorities. There is a growing need to work for bringing credible political and electoral reforms to break the increased hegemony of business over politics and ensure proportionate representation to various sections and communities and work for building alternative politics in the country.” 

She also added that NAPM must continue to support the genuine efforts for building a political alternative in the country towards achieving the goal of democratic socialist republic. She expressed her hope that new team will carry forward the mandate given to it by this convention in all its earnestness.

Lastly, new convening team and NAPM Maharashtra thanked all the youth volunteers and members of people's movements, its supporters and workers who managed the venue, residences, meeting places etc. It also expressed its gratitude to the members of the fraternal alliances - National Fishworkers Forum, National Campaign for People's Right to Information, All India Forum on Right to Education, New Trade Union Initiative, Right to Food Campaign, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Samajwadi Samagam, Jan Sawasthya Abhiyan, PIPFPD, PSAARC and others who attended the convention and helped chart future programmes and stratgies. The convention ended with the songs of freedom and hope from Kabir Kala Manch, Salsabeel School children and others.

NAPM Team (For details write to napmindia@gmail.com)