CPI (M) and terrorists Wednesday, Dec 16 2009 

AKG CentreIt is stated policy of the CPI (M), or for that matter any of the mainstream political parties, that they would have no truck with extremist outfits and terrorists. However, in practice, this may not be so.

There is little doubt that both the UDF and LDF had hobnobbed with extremists as part vote bank politics. As a result, extremists could take deeper roots in districts such as Malappuram. The network is deeper than that had come to light so far. However, the police, under political pressure, is still reluctant to strike at those who aided the network to take deep roots.

Now with media reporting about Soofia Maudani’s alleged involvement in the Kalamassery bus burning case and unearthing of part of the terrorist network in the State, it has become difficult for political parties in the State to openly associate with Abdul Nasir Maudani’s People’s Democratic Party. However, the CPI (M) is still in two minds with party State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and Chief Minister V. S.Achuthanandan leading the opposing camps. (What a fall for a communist party!)

It is to be remembered that the State Assembly had passed a resolution seeking the release of Maudani from Coimbatore Central Jail. Achuthanandan had gone to Chennai to meet the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and plead for Maudani. The cost that Tamil Nadu extracted was the Assembly resolution in favour of release of Neyyar waters to Tamil Nadu.

So, the promise of any politician that they would not have any truck with extremist organisations in future is to be taken with a pinch of salt. Eternal vigilance by the public would only ensure that the mainstream political parties would not stray into extremist camps.

Related post:

Terrorism: Kerala could be a sitting duck

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Terrorism of a different order Saturday, Jan 10 2009 

A queue for petrol before a petrol bunk on Friday

A queue for petrol before a petrol bunk on Friday

The fuel shortage that gripped the country following the strike by oil sector offices association should be an eye opener to all. It showed that we can strike heavier than the terrorists. And the official machinery and the people could be taken by surprise when the petrol bunks dried up one after another. Nothing much different from the situation we faced when terrorists struck Mumbai and other places.

If the strike had gone on for one more day, several sectors of the economy and critical services would have come to a standstill. Of course, that is hypothetical. However, we cannot still guarantee that it would not happen tomorrow.

As a country we are ill-prepared to handle any king of emergency or disaster ranging from terrorist attacks to natural calamities. Though we have disaster management policies and agencies to handle industrial accident and natural calamities, few districts have assessed the risks they face and are fully prepared to act in the case of emergency. Preventive measures are hardly taken ever taken even if there is prior warnings about disasters. Perhaps that is nothing when compared to communal clashes and strikes which we fail to prevent even if there is advance intelligence.

General strike could cause backlash against trade unions Friday, Aug 22 2008 

Normal life comes to a standstill during hartals and bandhs

Normal life is hit during hartals and bandhs

Organising general strikes for political reasons and turning them into bandhs could ultimately jeopardise trade union rights.

First of all, let us think why political parties turn strikes into bandhs and call for hartals. As has been discussed earlier, it is because of their failure to mobilise support for strikes and agitations among the workers and members of the public. So, they are using intimidation. Intimidation can succeed in the short term, but not on the long term. There would come a time when people would rise against the intimidators.

Workers are not voluntarily joining strikes, as their lot is good in most sectors. In the past, they resorted to strike owning to desperation. This desperation is no more there in case of most of the workers. It is notable that employees in the IT sector are generally opposed to strikes and hartals. Naturally, this has its impact on the trade unions and incomes of their leaders.

Owing to disruption of works caused by repetitive strikes, now there is consensus that IT units and special economic zones should be excluded from strikes and other union activities. This has hampered the trade union rights of people employed in technoparks and special economic zones. Even a Human Rights report of American State Department some years back said that trade union rights were being denied to the workers of Cochin Export Processing zone. That situation continues.

Now with trade unions and political parties blocking even the movement of private citizen’s in the name of general strike, public opinion is likely to change against all kinds of strikes. Already there is a backlash against the trade union movement in Kerala because of the tactics adopted by them in the past including the infamous ‘Nookukooli’. Now, Labour Minister P. K. Gurudasan says that ‘Nookkukooli’ is not a labour issue as no labour was involved. However, the government is not willing to treat it as a law and order issue.

The general strikes are being called when many services are needed on a 24×7 basis. The backlash to their disruption and paralysing of the administration and economy even for a day will be severe.

On a hartal day Wednesday, Aug 20 2008 

The 24-hour general strike today was total in Kerala. Stops, restaurants and even petrol bunks were closed. But a few opened shop by the evening for some brisk business …

A few restuarants at Palayam in Trivandrum opened shop in the evening to provide some succour to people dependent on hotel food

A few restuarants at Palayam in Trivandrum opened shop in the evening to provide some succour to people dependent on hotel food

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Hartals galore in Kerala

Hartals, the weapon of bankrupt political parties

Kerala to be paralysed for the nth time

Kerala to be paralysed for the nth time

Kerala to be paralysed for the nth time Monday, Aug 18 2008 

Hartal in Kerala

Hartal in Kerala

After around 80 local and Statewide hartals this year, Kerala would be paralysed for another day as part of the nation-wide general strike.

This time, the organisers would not be content with blocking road traffic. They would picket trains in all districts through which a railway line passes.

None can dispute the right of workers to go on strike and the farmers to support such an action. However, the strike is obviously politically motiviated. Little doubt that it is being organised with an eye on the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Hardly any of the issues raised by the trade unions such as neoliberal policies of the Government are urgent in nature. As the election is near, what the left parties should have done is to promise a change in policy and better deal for farmers, if they elect the third front to power. The demands should be specifically incorporated into the election manifesto as promises. It should also clarify stand on other policy issues such as special economic zones.

Then, campaign for victory and support of the people for the change in policies. If the people support the demands, the third front would be elected to power. Then, there will be no need for general strikes. If defeated, the Left should respect the verdict of the people (in favour of liberalization and nuclear deal).

The disease of doctors’ strike in Kerala Wednesday, May 14 2008 

Patients waiting for doctor at a Government Hospital, KeralaDoctors under the Kerala Government have been on a serial agitation for quite some time now. Today, they are on strike for the nth time.

The off and on stir, which began in December 2007 over pay revision, has been disrupting medical services in the State for long. Most of these days, barring some intervals, the doctors were on what they call the “non-cooperation’ or work to rule agitation. Crucial campaigns of the government were held at ransom.

Doctors may have a reason to ask for more especially when the prices are going up. The Government says it cannot revise the pay scales of just one category of government service on preferential basis. Instead, it agreed to pay some additional sums as allowances.

That did not satisfy the doctors. So, they have decided to put the patients at risk. It is high time that the Government either settled or suppressed the strike once for all. The people cannot be victims of perennial strikes.

There also seems to be a game plan by some quarters to keep the medical services in disarray to help the private hospitals. Besides doctors, equipments also strike work in government hospitals so often. Medicines and para medical staff are always in short supply.

The financial stringency of the government will not allow it to increase the salaries of government doctors on par with those in the private sector. The job market today is increasingly becoming competitive. If the doctors feel that they are competitive, they should quit government service and join the private hospital, instead of going on strike. If shortage of doctors in government service becomes acute, the government will increase salaries without the doctors having to launch an agitation. Will the doctors take the challenge instead of trying to undermine the system from within?