November 13, 2022

Jharkhand: AIKS State Conference in Ranchi

Surjeet Sinha

THE seventh AIKS Jharkhand state conference was held on November 5-6, 2022 at Silli in Ranchi, which is just five km away from the Purulia border of West Bengal.  The venue was named Rajendra Singh Munda Nagar after the former AIKS state president and three-time ex-MLA. The stage was named after Jyotin Soren and Vishwadev Singh Munda.

The venue was decorated with the photos of the leaders of the historic Santhal Hul revolt against the British in 1855, martyrs Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu; the legendary anti-imperialist martyrs Birsa Munda (martyred on June 9, 1900) and Bhagat Singh (March 23, 1931); and martyrs of the AIKS.

The conference began on November 5 with a rally and public meeting of hundreds of peasants, who included several peasant women. The public meeting was presided over by AIKS state president Suphal Mahato, and it was addressed by AIKS president Ashok Dhawale, finance secretary P Krishnaprasad, state secretary Surjeet Sinha and state joint secretary Ehteshan Ahmad. The November issue of the Left journal Jan Johar was released on the occasion by Ashok Dhawale.

All the speakers attacked the Modi-led BJP-RSS regime for its land grab of tribal land for the corporates, refusal to implement the Forest Rights Act, its anti-tribal amendments to the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, and refusal to give legal guarantee to a remunerative MSP, a peasant loan waiver and compensation for drought.

They called for flag hoisting programmes all over Jharkhand on November 15, the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, which is a national call by the AIKS in preparation for its all India conference at Thrissur, Kerala, from December 13-16; massive joint demonstration on November 26 by the SKM on the Raj Bhawan at Ranchi on all burning national and state demands of the peasantry; and intensive preparations for the huge joint Delhi rally of the CITU-AIKS-AIAWU in April 2023.

The delegate session of the conference was attended by 237 delegates, including 21 women, from 15 districts. After the flag-hoisting by senior most state vice president Ramdev Singh, floral tributes to martyrs and the condolence resolution, the conference was inaugurated by Ashok Dhawale. The report was placed by Surjeet Sinha, followed by a district wise group discussion at night.

On November 6, 20 delegates took part in the general discussion on the report, and enriched it with their experiences of struggle. After the reply, the report and the accounts were unanimously adopted.

The credentials report was placed by Prem Chand Patar. 113 of the 237 delegates were adivasis, 74 were from backward caste, and 13 were dalits. 46 had experience of jail life, and 41 had experience of underground life.

The conference unanimously elected a 35-member state committee, which in turn elected 13 office bearers, with Suphal Mahato as president, Surjeet Sinha as secretary and Virendra Kumar as treasurer. It also elected eight delegates and two alternate delegates to the all India conference.

After the concluding speech by P Krishnaprasad, the conference ended with the enthusiastic determination to consolidate and expand the AIKS manifold in Jharkhand.