The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at New Delhi on April 15 and 16, 2003. It has issued the following statement:
US Occupation of Iraq
The invasion of Iraq by the US and British troops has led to large-scale destruction and a terrible toll of lives of the Iraqi people. This brutal and criminal war has been exposed for what it is in the past four weeks – a blatant conquest to occupy a sovereign Arab state and to capture its valuable resources. To achieve this, the US has used lethal weapons of mass destruction in the form of cluster bombs, fuel-air explosives and thousands of missiles. The massacre of innocents in Baghdad and other towns has been condoned by the American and British leaders as part of the exigencies of war. History will not forgive George Bush or Tony Blair for their unpardonable crimes.
The pretext for this war has been thoroughly exposed and blown to pieces. There are no “weapons of mass destruction” that have been found, nor were the Iraqi people waiting to be liberated. Instead, the Iraqi forces put up determined resistance against the over-whelming and wanton use of military force.
The loot of the Iraq National Museum has destroyed at one stroke the precious heritage of the Iraqi nation and mankind – artifacts and cultural products of the world’s most ancient civilizations. The fact that the US troops allowed this pillage makes them culpable for this act of cultural genocide.
The world is witnessing the shameful spectacle of an occupation regime being put in place with an American general acting as the proconsul. Now Iraq will be “reconstructed” by the destroyers utilizing the funds generated from Iraqi oil. The United States has rejected calls for allowing the United Nations to play the major role in the post-war set-up, disregarding even the views of its loyal ally, Britain.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the Vajpayee government give up its double-faced attitude to the American aggression. It should demand that the United Nations be handed over the responsibility for running an interim administration and the withdrawal of the occupation forces. The Government ,apart from extending humanitarian relief, should not participate in the so-called reconstruction under the US occupation regime. Getting sub-contracts to profiteer from Iraq’s misery is not acceptable to the Indian people.
The Supreme Court has refused to entertain the Vajpayee government’s request to vacate the order prohibiting any activities on the acquired land and for maintenance of the status quo. With this, the Government has no other option but to firmly uphold the law and prevent any activities by the VHP which are inimical to the Court order. The BJP efforts to assist the VHP in its activities to subvert the law must stop forthwith.
In this context, the Polit Bureau strongly condemned the provocative speeches and activities of VHP agitators like Praveen Togadia. It supports the Rajasthan government’s step to prohibit the trishool distribution ceremonies and the measures taken to enforce them.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Polit Bureau noted the heinous moves of the extremist groups to disrupt the efforts to restore peace in the state after the Mufti Mohd Sayeed government was formed. The Nadimarg massacre of 24 Kashmiri pandits was part of this design. Instead of loose talk about preemptive strikes, which apes the illegal stance of America, it would be better if the Vajpayee government take steps to strengthen security in the state in cooperation with the state government.
West Bengal Panchayat Elections
The Polit Bureau heard a report about the preparations for the panchayat elections to be held on May 11 by the Party and the Left Front. The sixth panchayat elections involves 59000 seats in the three-tier system. The Party is confident of victory for the Left Front for the sixth successive time. It is in the face of this certain outcome and the steady erosion in its mass base, that the Trinamul leader, Mamata Banerjee has begun making wild charges which have no credibility whatsoever.
The Polit Bureau strongly condemned the severe repression unleashed by the Antony government against the LDF opposition. The brutal lathi charges which injured hundreds of CPI(M) and LDF leaders and activists on March 17 is unprecedented in the history of Kerala. The anti-democratic posture of the Antony government was evident in its refusal to accept the minimum demand for a judicial enquiry into the Muthunga police firing. Such repression is resorted to by a government which is facing increasing opposition for policies which seek to reverse the progressive gains made by the state.
It is in this background that a division surfaced within the Congress party which was reflected in the elections to the Rajya Sabha seats. A rebel nominee was able to muster one-third of the Congress party’s legislative members.
The Polit Bureau fully endorsed the steps being taken by the Kerala State Committee of the CPI(M) to intensify the movement against the anti-people policies of the Antony government.
Change In Election Procedure For Rajya Sabha Seats
The Polit Bureau expressed its strong opposition to the legislation to amend the procedure for election of members to the Rajya Sabha. The bill proposes to make the election of Rajya Sabha members by the Members of Legislative Assembly by open ballot instead of the present secret ballot system. Secondly, the legislation does away with the requirement that a candidate of the Rajya Sabha belong to the state concerned. This goes against the basic premise of the Rajya Sabha that the Rajya Sabha is the Council of States as provided in the Constitution. The upper house represents the states, recognizing the federal principle. The new system will be a perversion of the Constitutional and federal principle. The secret ballot system cannot be given up because of some parties inability to exercise minimum discipline over their MLAs. Floor crossing and bribery cannot be checked by giving up the principle of secret ballot. Though the bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha with the support of the Congress and other parties, the CPI(M) appeals to all political parties not to abandon the basic principles. The bill should not be proceeded with.
Support to 21st May General Strike
The Polit Bureau extended its full support to the strike call given by the central trade unions on a six-point charter of demands to be held on 21st May. Various other mass organisations of the peasants, agricultural workers, women, students and youth have decided to join this protest action in support of their own demands and in solidarity with the working class.
The Polit Bureau called upon all its Party units to extend help to the preparations for the strike and to rally the widest support for this all-India protest action. The 21st May strike will be a clear signal to the Central government that its policies of privatisation, cutting public investment and not providing relief to the people will be strongly resisted.
Review of Work on the Agrarian Front
The Polit Bureau discussed a draft document reviewing the work of the Party on the Kisan and agricultural workers front. After finalisation, the draft will be placed in the next Central Committee for discussion and adoption.
Next Meeting of the Central Committee
The Polit Bureau decided to hold the next meeting of the Central Committee at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from 7th to 9th June 2003.