Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

Wage Violation in NREGA in tea plantations of District Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

Wage Violation in NREGA in tea plantations of District Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

21 June, Delhi: Gross violations of NREGA have been reported from Kalchini Tea Garden located
in Kalchini GP (Kalchini Block) in Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal of the provisions. Under the
scheme for revival of closed tea garden, NREGA was extended to all workers in the closed gardens.
It was specified that the work under NREGA would specifically be works permissible under the act,
of community benefit and not directly accruable to the garden management. This would include
land development, drainage, irrigation channel, connectivity. Absolutely no plantations and
plucking would be allowed. The Kalchini Tea Garden has suffered a decade of closure and,
consequently, the workers have been rendered destitute longing for any and all kinds of work for
pay. It was thus brought under the NREGA by the gram panchayat.

From 13 December 2010 to 31 March 2011, all 2003 permanent workers of the Kalchini Tea
Garden were put to work under the MGNREGS within the confines of the garden, to construct
drainage systems. The BDO, Kalchini, visited the garden to oversee the progress of the work while
it was on, along with the Pradhan of the Kalchini Gram Panchayat indicating that it was a Panchayat

i. Non-payment of NREGA wage: Workers at the various sites have been paid daily wages ranging
between Rs. 30 and 50 on an average. The rationale for payment of this provided by the gram
panchayat was that the base wage was being taken as Rs. 65, the then current wage of tea garden
workers, as the work was being done within a tea garden. Further, given that the workers engaged at
the site were tea garden workers, the gram panchayat was also making deductions for PF, electricity
payments, etc. This is in clear violation of Section 6(2) of the NREGA.

ii. Job Cards and Post Office Pass Books seized: The Pradhan and his office seized all the Job
Cards and Post Office Pass Books at the commencement of work. The Job Cards and the Pass
Books have not been returned yet to any worker, in spite of repeated requests by the workers.
iii. No muster roll at site: No muster rolls were at the sites and no details of projects were shown to
the workers in spite of repeated requests from the workers.

iv. Violence at Worksite: Ruffians from two ostensibly warring ethnic parties in the region also
joined hands to silence all opposition or questionings of this state of affairs. They collectively
threatened the workers who filed complaints with the panchayat with dire consequences.

We immediately demand that:

• an enquiry is initiated in the matter
• NREGA is implemented in the tea gardens of Jalpaiguri district as per the provisions of the Act;
• ensure that the rights of workers under NREGA are not violated;
• action is taken against the Jalpaiguri District Collector, garden management and other officers,
who failed in their responsibility to implement the NREGA as per its provisions and also to protect
workers from acts of criminal intimidation.

Vaskar Nandy, President
Paschim Banga Cha Bagan Sramik Karmachari Union

Campaign for a Just Wage for Tea Plantation Workers Launched

Campaign for a Just Wage for Tea Plantation Workers Launched

With 1692 registered tea producers and nine auction centers, the tea industry sees an annual
turnover of over Rs. 9000 crores. North Bengal has about 450 gardens spread out in the Darjeeling
hills, Terai and Dooars region that are registered as sellers in the Siliguri tea Auction Centre with
about 3.5 lakh permanent workers. It is estimated that more than 25, 00,000 people are dependent
on the tea industry in the region. The last 10 years has seen many changes within the tea industry of
the region.

Closed and Abandoned gardens

In the last decade or so the region saw large number of tea gardens closing down. More than 50
gardens had closed during this period affecting a huge section of the work force. 4 gardens continue
to be abandoned. Interestingly, despite the crisis, till 2007 the tea industry in West Bengal saw only
8 workers’ strikes as against 202 lockouts! Of about 14 tea gardens abandoned by their owners, few
were run by the Operative Management Committees (OMC) – a committee initiated and formed
with the workers of the garden to keep the plucking of tea leaves happening so as to provide
subsistence sustenance to the workers of the garden. Most of these have now reopened with the
Special Tea Fund released in 2007 by the ministry of finance of the Government of India but are
functioning under the constant shadow of closure.
During this same period the region also saw a large number of starvation deaths. Nearly 1500
workers from the closed gardens died of starvation during this same period. Studies show that 70%
of the people of closed tea gardens are in the Chronic Energy Deficiency III stage. The Central
government announced the Financial Assistance to the Workers in Locked-out Industrial units
scheme (FAWLOI) for providing financial assistance to every worker of closed gardens, but it did
not extend the same benefit to the bigha or casual workers whose ratio to the permanent workers is
now almost at 1:3 and is ever increasing with the managements moving towards more induction of
casual workers especially in the cases of plucking for the inferior CTC tea.
The Supreme Court in its order in August 2010 had directed the Central Government to invoke the
Tea Act 1953 to take over the gardens that are closed within six months. The Central Government
has not only failed to stop closures in the industry, it has also failed to implement the Supreme
Court order.

Labour Rights Violations

The tea gardens have been violating the basic provisions of the Tea Plantation Labour Act with
impunity. Provisions of crèche, medical facilities, ambulance, and house repair have all become
things of the past. Moreover, many tea gardens of the region have also not deposited the provident
fund dues of the workers amounting to over Rs. 77 crores while the state government has provided
full support to the garden owners by being silent observers.
Further, a system of productivity linked wages was forced by the management and the Government
of West Bengal in 2005 during a very low ebb in the workers movement which led to the
introduction of a pro- rata system of wages that entails plantation workers to deliver a pre-agreed
productivity level to earn their basic daily wage. In case they fail to achieve this target, there is a cut
in the daily wage. However, extra productivity is also awarded with incentives. This productivitylinked pro rata system of wage setting that is contingent on the collective bargaining power of
negotiating trade unions is always fraught with the high possibility of huge losses in wage
depending on the bargaining strength of the trade unions. Given that the wages in the tea industry
are abysmally low, even lower than the statutory agricultural minimum wage in the state, this
system has actually perpetuated a system that can amount to payment of a wage lower than theminimum wage which according to the Supreme Court amounts to ‘forced labour’. This system has
also re-introduced child labour into the tea gardens. To meet the production targets, women workers
are forced to bring their children to supplement their work.

Towards a Just Wage

Wages in the tea plantation sector have always been set through tripartite agreements which have
been infrequent and skewed in favour of the plantation owners. With the sustained crisis in the
plantations and the recent Supreme Court directive for invoking the Tea Act and the upcoming
elections, the state government has felt the pressure to propose a minimum wage for the tea
plantations last year below which no wage can fall.
The government proposal of minimum wage for the plantation workers falls short of providing the
basic needs of a worker as proposed by the 15th ILC norms and subsequent Supreme Court orders
supplementing it. It is therefore time to build an alliance with all progressive trade unions to
campaign for a minimum wage linked to dearness allowance with 100% neutralization that will not
just provide the subsistence needs of workers but also ensure that there can be no productivity
linked wage cuts.

In taking this demand forward, Darjeeling Terai Dooars Chia Kaman Union, Pashchim Banga Cha
Sramik Karmachari Union, Terai Sanngrami Cha Sramik Union and the All West Bengal Tea
Garden Labour Union have come together to launch a joint campaign on minimum wage of Rs. 245
per day for the tea plantation workers as per 15th ILC norms and subsequent Supreme Court orders.
The joint trade union initiative will also campaign for the implementation of the Plantation Labour
Act and in case of sick and closed plantations demand the implementation of the Supreme Court
directive of 2010.

On behalf of the joint campaign, Ashim Roy, General Secretary, NTUI

Constituents of the joint campaign:

Ram Ganesh & Pradip Debnath
All West Bengal Tea Garden Labour Union (CPI-ML, Kanu Sanyal)
Ganesh Rai & Kailas Khawar
Darjeeling Terai Dooars Chia Kaman Mazdoor Union (CPRM)
Tapan Nag
Paschim Banga Cha Bagan Sramik Karmachari Union (NTUI)
Abhijit Mazumdar
Terai Sangrami Cha Sramik Union (AICCTU)

NTUI Statement On the Fight Against Corruption

NTUI Statement On the Fight Against Corruption

Workers’ life and work experiences are very different from those of the middle class and the ruling elite; so is their experience with corruption.
For the middle class, corruption is a mechanism to accelerate government procedures in the public or private sectors. For the working class,
corruption deepens their experience of subordination. Instances of corruption that are directly experienced by the working people are the
result of the unequal power relations that govern workers’ daily interaction with public institutions and is therefore contributing to a sense of
distrust and loss of faith in these institutions. There can be little doubt that corruption affects the working class disproportionately more than it
affects economically more privileged sections of society.

The present nationwide campaign against corruption led by Anna Hazare representing a visible section of people from the elite and middle classes,
has also captured the imagination of a section of our working class. The participation of the working class comes in part from its own experience of
corruption but also in part because of the campaign’s ability to champion the idea that corruption causes poverty. The latter proposition is a
smokescreen for the structural causes of poverty, of inequality and for the deliberate policy choices government makes that result in these inequities.
Corruption as a cause of poverty only adds strength to the neo-liberal demand for minimal government control and regulation which advocates of the
Washington Consensus advance when calling for “simplifying rules and replacing administrative processes with market mechanisms [as] strong
measures to reduce corruption”. The fight against corruption cannot be fought in isolation but must also be a fight for more regulation of capital
rather than less regulation of capital. This means that the fight against corruption must include demands for legislation and effective implementation
of the laws that govern capital alongside rigorous and stringent implementation of the laws that govern work, the provision of social security and social protection and all laws that provide working people access to their basic needs.

Corruption necessarily flows from above and is deeply rooted in how capital seeks to maximize profits and not merely a product of corrupt civil servants
or a grasping political class. Petty corruption as, it is being portrayed, beginning from the lowest rung of public institution, which affects even the
poorest of the poor,  is only possible as there exists a system of distribution in which the spoils of corruption are shared. This too emanates from the very fact that the political class that forms governments today frames policies seeking to limit its own role in order to further interests of capital. Capital, on the other hand, at all times in alliance with a section of the polity and the civil service, seeks concessions in order to expand the share of profits through access to resources and soft, porous and where possible complicit, regulation. Hence capital not just corrupts government for easy access to regulation but also seeks privileged access for expanded profits. In the present phase of imperialist globalisation, there is a very thin line between profit maximisation and corruption. Absence or limiting state intervention does not lead to elimination of corruption. “Market-mediated” corruption is rampant in those sectors with minimal government intervention. The scale of corruption in our country has acquired enormous proportions with the expansion of the private sector, the decline of government’s role in economic activity and reduction of regulation.

The present government has like its predecessors, despite various manifesto commitments, failed to display the political will to put in place a set of
legislation that would address the issue of corruption in the polity, in the civil service and in the judiciary at the national level and create an enabling framework of legislation within the states. The public display of the lack of political will combined with the deplorable and unwarranted arrest of Anna Hazare and others on 16 August 2011 aroused public emotions against government. Government is today very correctly seen by citizenry as not allowing democratic dissent against its actions or legislative proposals. Civil protest remains the essence of opposition for those who choose to remain outside the electoral system in a parliamentary democracy.

The *Jan Lokpal* proposal that is being pressed by Anna Hazare is unfortunately for an all-encompassing top down unitary authority with powers
that it is claimed, will substantially reduce corruption. Apart from the fact that the proposal seeks an un-democratic lateral graft on the framework
of parliamentary democracy that would both be open to abuse, and possibly corruption within such an authority, it would also end up centralising power
and undermining democracy itself. There are several other views on possible legislative measures to fight corruption, including the one advocated by the
National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, that also hold the possibility of widening democracy.  The movement led by Anna Hazare has also
not been receptive to other views and has been setting a timetable that leaves no room for the vast diversity of Indian civil society, including the working class, to participate in the debate. It cannot be assumed that the mass of people who have turned out to support Anna Hazare’s movement necessarily support the framework of fighting corruption or the time table that Anna Hazare has put out. The movement led by Anna Hazare has also not been democratic and has employed motifs, symbols and statements that go against the grain of an egalitarian and just society and polity.  The New Trade Union Initiative recognises that citizenry in very large numbers is revolted by the scale of corruption, the enormous inequality of power that it creates and a sense of helplessness that goes with it.

In failing to recognise this popular sentiment, government has squandered an important moment in advancing its alleged fight against corruption. Parties
of opposition of the right wing have as is their wont looked for an opportunity to isolate the parties of government and on failing to do so have retreated to the comfort of the parliamentary space. Rather than ensuring that popular sentiment and widely held resentment is channelised in order to voice the plurality of views that exist on the issue in our country, unfortunately the left parliamentary parties too have ended up doing the same thing.

The NTUI recognises that we have not been adequately responsive to the situation. As a national trade union centre we too have the responsibility in taking forward the sentiments of membership. And as a step in that direction the NTUI call’s upon government to ensure that it provides adequate consideration to all positions that exist and ensures the widest possible debate within an acceptable time frame.

Gautam Mody
24 August 2011


New Trade Union Initiative

How Modi Government is Victimizing a Police Officer for Speaking Up About Gujarat 2002

Chronology and List of Dates

Victimization of Rahul Sharma, IPS Gujarat


Rahul Sharma Deposes before the Nanavati Shah Commission

Speaks in Detail about the CD of phone call records submitted by him as also by the Failure of the Gujarat Police to Further Investigate the Gulberg and Naroda Patiya killings thoroughly and in an impartial manner


Victim Witnesses apply to the Special Investigation Team to make him a witness in the Gulberg Case. SIT had not made him a witness before this, inexplicably


Ten months later he is examined as a Prosecution Witness in the Gulberg Trial- PW No.330 exb.1213 when he speaks of the failure of the Gujarat police to investigate the case professionally


Thereafter 2009, 2010

He records statement in thi connection with the SIT, AK Malhotra. Information of his statement being recorded and its contents are leaked to the Gujarat government by someone in SIT


4-2- 2011

Gujarat questions IPS officer for furnishing riots call data

Rahul Sharma served Notice


Late Night Wednesday August 10 2011

Rahul Sharma being Charge sheeted Under the Official Secretars Act By the Modi Government









Rahul Sharma being Chargesheeted Under the Official Secretars Act

By the Modi Government


Gujarat EDN, TOI 11AUG2011     OSA slapped on Rahul Sharma

Govt Clears Chargesheet Against IPS Officer Behind Damning Phone Records

Ajay Umat | TNN

Ahmedabad: In a clear counter-offensive on senior officials not toeing the political line in the probe into 2002 riots and subsequent encounters, the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat has decided to charge-sheet deputy inspector general (DIG) Rahul Sharma for indiscipline and violation of Official Secrets Act (OSA).
The departmental action comes on the heels of the suspension on Tuesday of another DIG Sanjiv Bhatt and reflects the danger that police officers face for defying the government on this sensitive issue.
The chargesheet cleared by chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, it is learnt, accuses Sharma of passing on information to the Nanavati Commission, which is probing the Godhra incident and post-Godhra riots, without the permission from the government. The other allegation is that Sharma violated his service conduct rules by alleging before the special investigation team (SIT) that phone call records collected in the Naroda Patia investigation had been destroyed.
In May 2002, Sharma was asked to assist the investigations into the Naroda Patia massacre (95 dead). As a part of the investigation, phone call data of of entire city of Ahmedabad was collected. This data revealed the links of political leaders with police officers and their movements during the peak of rioting.
The then joint commissioner of crime branch, P P Pande, had handed over a set of two CDs, containing the data, to Sharma and asked him to analyse the records. Sharma copied the same in his home computer on the hard-disk but before he could study them he was transferred to Vav, Surat. As per his statement before the Nanavati Commission, he had sent back the CDs to Pande through a police messenger just before relinquishing his charge.
Phone calls that nail the mobsters
Then minister of state Mayaben Kodnani and state VHP general secretary Dr Jaydeep Patel had been arrested in February 2009 by the SIT when the data analysis of phone records done by Jan Sangharsh Manch corroborated the statements made by eye-witnesses. In October 2004, when Sharma was asked by the government prosecutor to appear before the Nanavati Commission for cross-examination, he handed over 2 CDs to the commission copied from his home computer. He submitted the same CDs to the SIT, then led by former CBI director R K Raghavan, in May 2008. He had argued that it was most surprising that the mobile phone records had been destroyed even while the matter was pending before the Supreme Court. These records were the only scientific evidence available to nail the truth.

Reinstate and regularise the 60 illegally terminated workers at the Haldia Dock Complex

NO to Contract Work!

Statement by NTUI

Reinstate and regularise the 60 illegally terminated workers at the Haldia Dock Complex

Press Release, 8 August 2011, Delhi: The New Trade Union Initiative stands in solidarity with the Haldia Dock Complex Contractors' Shramik Union in its fight against the contract labour system and the illegal termination on 1 July 2011 of 60 workers of the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) employed at the Berth No. 10 Rubber Tyred Yard Gantry Cranes under the control of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT).

We congratulate the 2,000 workers at the HDC led by the Haldia Dock Complex Contractors’ Shramik Union for the success of the 4 hour tool-down industrial action held on 3 August 2011 which brought the port operations to a stand-still as the loading and unloading of containers from eight ships were suspended. The 60 workers who were illegally terminated have been continuously employed in the container yard for loading and unloading of containers for the last 5 years, despite two changes of contractors. This clearly indicates the sham and bogus nature of the contract arrangement. The NTUI demands that the KoPT immediately reinstate the illegally terminated workers and regularise their employment.

The company contracted by the HDC to take over on 1 July 2011 the Operation & Maintenance of four Rubber Tyred Yard Gantry Cranes, at the Container Parking Yard of Haldia Dock Complex, Mumbai based Land-Marine Equipment Services Private Limited, has ignored both the Additional Labour Commissioner’s advice to reinstate workers within 7 days, and the tripartite agreement reached on 18 July 2011 wherein they agreed to take back all the workers. The NTUI condemns the Land-Marine Equipment Services management’s blatant violation of the law of the land and visible lack of willingness to engage in negotiations in good faith for a resolution of the issue. The management of KoPT, as the principal employer has also failed in ensuring the implementation of the Additional Labour Commissioner’s advice.

This is not the first time that the contract workers of the HDC have had to fight for fair working conditions and security of tenure of employment. Over the years, HDC has gradually changed its workforce composition and created a small core of permanent employees and a growing body of workforce under temporary contract who are employed under precarious working conditions. This weakens the bargaining power of the workers.

The total workforce strength at HDC is 6700, of which 3200 are permanent workers and 3500 are contract workers. There are 600 contract workers in regular and stable jobs in different divisions who receive wages between Rs 165 to 270 per day, with limited benefits of ESI and PF, far below the earnings of permanent workers engaged in the same work. It is deplorable that these workers are kept outside the category of regular employment and exploited. The NTUI denounces the complicity of the principal employer KoPT in allowing for the contractualisation of the workforce and discrimination of contract workers in the facilities under its control. We condemn KoPT management’s use of this discriminatory practice as a tool to divide workers and marginalise contract workers and the unequal treatment given to contract workers. The NTUI upholds the right of equal pay for equal work and right to security of tenure as regular workers.

The struggle of the Haldia Dock Complex Contractors’ Shramik Union is a part of our common struggle and NTUI is committed to ensure the success of this struggle.

The NTUI demands that the Kolkata Port Trust and the Land-Marine Equipment Services management:

  • Reinstate all the dismissed workers immediately
  • Absorb contract workers employed in jobs that are perennial in nature into the KoPT workforce
  • Stop engaging in unfair labour practice and stop violating labour laws

The NTUI calls upon the Regional Labour Commissioner and the Chief Minister of West Bengal to defend the rights of the most vulnerable workers, the contract workers, and ensure that both KoPT and the Land Marine Equipment Services management follow the due process of law.

For more information,contact:

Anuradha Talwar, Convenor-NTUI West Bengal State Committee and Secretary, NTUI (09433002064)

Pradip Roy, Co-convenor-NTUI West Bengal State Committee (03322192306)

Tool-Down strike at Haldia Dock Complex

Tool-Down strike at Haldia Dock Complex

Workers at Haldia Dock Complex of Kolkata Port Trust staged a successful tool-down strike on August 3, 2011 from 2 pm - 6 pm. This action by more than 2,000 workers brought the port operations to a stand-still. The workers organised under the banner of Haldia Dock Complex Contrators' Sramik Union are protesting against the illegal termination of 60 workers of the Haldia Dock Complex (P & E Division) who were working last five years at Berth No 10 Rubber Tyred Yard Gantry Cranes (RTYGC).

The 60 workers have been working for the last 5 years. These jobs are of regular and permanent nature of work . They are recruited by port and put under the contractors. There has been changes of contractors, twice in the last 5 years but these workers have continued to be in work under successive contractors. They were employed in the container yard for loading and unloading of containers.

The contract of the previous contractor terminated on June 30, 2011 and on July 1, 2011 Land- Marine Equipment Services Private Limited from Mumbai assumed charge of the Operation & Maintenance of four Rubber Tyred Yard Gantry Cranes, at Container Parking Yard of Haldia Dock Complex. Immediately they terminated all 60 workers of the RTYGC. This is illegal under Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 and Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 . The work is currently being managed by 15 workers brought from outside.

The 60 workers have started a sit-in-demonstration at the gate since their termination. The port authorities moved to the office of Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) to settle the matter. After a conciliation meeting on July 20, 2011 the Additional Labour Commissioner strongly expressed that these workers cannot be terminated and they must be reinstated within 7 days. The representative of the port authority in fact expressed his satisfaction at the performance of the 60 workers. The port authorities as the principal employer are still to implement the advices of the ALC.

A bilateral meeting took place on July 18, between the union and Land- Marine Equipment Services Private Limited in the presence of the local Member of Parliament where it was mutually decided that all workers would be taken back. However, the contor has violated the above decision. The principal employer, i.e. The port authorities have remained silent on the issue.

The workers of the Haldia Dock Complex are prepared to launch further struggles for their demands which might lead to an indefinite strike if their demands are not met within that time. There might be attacks on them from the contractor, the port authorities, the administration, police, local politicians and their goons. Already there have been instances of threats and intimidation against the workers during the tool-down strike.

We count on your support and solidarity to make this struggle successful.

Please send press statements in solidarity with the struggle. Letters to the Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust, M L Meena, Fax:(91-33) 2230-4901, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Dy. Chairman, HDC, Kolkata Port Trust Manish Jain Fax: (91-03224) 264877 & (91-033) 2230-5438 e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional letters and faxes to the Minister of Shipping, G K Vasan,  Fax: +91 11 2335 6709, Mukul Roy, MoS, Fax: +91 11 2373 0084 and the Secretary, K Mohandas, Fax: +91 11 2371 6656.

The Tragedy in Norway : Learning from Muslim Fundamentalists

The Tragedy in Norway: Learning from Muslim Fundamentalists


By: Farooq Tariq


32 years old Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 92 on 22ndJuly 2011 in Oslo has used similar techniques in bomb blast and shooting of the children from his most hatred enemy, the Muslim fundamentalist. He did not rest on one attack but planned two actions to maximize the damage. While the Norwegian police was busy in handling the aftermath of the bomb blast scenario in the afternoon, he was able to shoot the youth at a summer camp for over 90 minutes without any resistance.

The technique of two attacks, one to divert the attention and second to maximize the damage is been successfully used by Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan on several occasions.

In a similar action, two back-to-back suicide bombings and a cracker blast killed 40 people and injured over 175 inside the crowded shrine of Data Gunj Bukhsh a year before on 2nd July 2010 in Lahore. However, in Norway, the planning of Anders Behring Breivik was much better and more calculated than his counter parts in Pakistan. There have been several similar actions carried out in Pakistan where not one, but two actions were planned.

Anders Behring Breivik who had held several positions in one of Norway’s biggest political parties, the Right-wing Progress Party, from 1999 to 2007 was described as a “right-wing fundamentalist Christian” by Norwegian police. He had close links with the Pakistani community in Oslo at one time in his life, it is now revealed.

“A few years ago… I had different priorities in life,” he wrote in a series of messages obtained exclusively by The Washington Times, he said that his “best friend for many years (in my childhood) was a Pakistani. He resented everything about Norway and Norwegians (me being the exception). I have known a lot of Muslims over the years which triggered my interest for Islam. Anders Behring Breivik was full of hate against Islam and Marxism.

 He wanted to teach lesson to Labour Party, (it renamed Labour Party from Norwegian Labour Party in 2011) who had soft attitude towards Muslims.

 The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway. His office on the 20 floor was severely damaged in the Friday bomb blast in which over 6 tons of fertilizer was used.

 The party was founded in 1887 in Arendal and first ran in elections to the Parliament of Norway in 1894. It entered Parliament in 1904 after the 1903 election, and steadily increased its vote until 1927, when it became the largest party.

 During the 2009 general elections, seven parties are represented in parliament: the Labour Party (64 representatives), the Progress Party (41) the party of Anders Behring Breivik, the killer, the Conservative (30), the Socialist Left Party (11), the Centre Party (11), the Christian Democratic Party (10) and the Liberal Party (2).

 The tragic action shows that “Islamophobia” is reaching to an extreme and adopting similar actions of Muslim fundamentalists. The indulgent attitude of the main stream right wing conservative politicians and courts has not helped to cool down the emotion of the extreme sections of the Christian religious fundamentalists. Earlier this year, the acquittal of Right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders of charges of inciting hatred against Muslims by an Amsterdam court indicates that Islamophobia is on the rise in the West and is promoting extreme groups to go further.

 Islamophobia refers to unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam. Such fear and hostility leads to discriminations against Muslims, exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process, stereotyping, the presumption of guilt by association, and finally hate crimes.

 On Saturday night, a video emerged in which the killer, posing with weapons, appears to set out his motivation for the attacks, calling for the eradication of Islam and Marxism from Europe.


A keen body builder and gun enthusiast Anders Behring Breivik, writing on the internet, he cited his hatred for Muslims and enthusiasm for the English Defence League. On the social networking site Twitter Breivik posted a quote on July 17 by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill:“One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

 Anders Behring Breivik used the material as Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan would use for bomb blasts. It emerged that he had run a farming business and only 10 weeks ago had bought six tons of artificial fertilizer, which he is believed to have used to make the car bomb that was detonated in Oslo’s political district.

 It is interesting to look into his mindset that was building gradually over the years. On “Fear of Islam Taking Over Oslo” he blogged: “There are political forces in Oslo who want mass-subsidised and low-cost 'Islam-blocks' in Oslo West for 'better integration'... If this ever becomes the case, most of Oslo West will move to Bærum (and most will eventually follow).

 He believes that the number of Muslims in Western Europe is “reaching critical mass” and that “there is a core of Cultural Communist elites in Western Europe who really want to destroy Western civilization, European traditions, national solidarity and Christianity.” But he believes an impending economic meltdown will generate armed grassroots resistance in Europe. He spelled out his beliefs in what he saw as the threats to the European identity posed by radical Muslims and multiculturalists.

 He once again referred to Pakistan and particularly NW Pakistan (North West Pakistan) in one of message. “The Muslim ‘ghettofication process’ on the east side of my city is pretty radical. Most of these Muslims are religiously conservative non-educated individuals from NW Pakistan and Somalia which makes it even more challenging. The only positive aspect I guess is that they live in their own enclave (parallel society) with little to no interaction with Norwegian society.”

 “The biggest challenge in all of this is that people don't have a clue what Islam is,” he wrote “The key is therefore to propagate the truth about Islam.

 He is against multi cultural society. His attack was mainly against the Prime Minister's party. One attack was in the city centre which damaged the Prime Minister's office, Norway's largest newspapers VG's head office and some other buildings nearby were damaged as a result of the explosion. The second attack was an island Utøya which is just outside of Oslo. That island is a political icon of Norway. Youth wing to the Labour Party, AUF, had their annual summer camp there and around 700 youths attended. On Saturday, may be first time in history of Norway, all cinemas, restaurants and clubs were closed in Oslo. It is irony that the only media speculated without any investigation that it is an action by Muslim was a Muslim main stream media, the Al Jazeera, who said it was Muslims who were behind the attacks.

 One of the known writer and actor of Norway, Toni Usman wrote the following after the incident,

 “Fundamentalists do not have distinctive features such as facial appearance, skin colour or religion. It can be anyone person(s) and can choose to attack anywhere.

Norwegian democracy is unique in that the Prime Minister along with other Ministers can go about their daily lives without security by their side. Norway’s King can travel by public transport without anyone batting an eyelid and it is this democracy which is under attack.  All public places such as clubs, restaurants etc are closed. Parliament House is surrounded by military soldiers. Oslo city centre looks like a war zone. After these attacks Norway will never be the same again. So much emotional trauma has been caused and nothing can compare to this. Everyone is in deep shock. In peaceful Norway, nobody could even think that a Norwegian Christian extremist nationalist would be able to perform an act which is in the same category as international terrorism”.

 Labour Party Pakistan expresses its solidarity with the families of the deceased in particular and with the people of Norway in general. Now, the religious fundamentalists are learning from each other and it is making the lives of the people in the advance countries more miserable and leading to an uncertain future.

The progressive forces of the under develop countries and develop countries have to forge more close association than what it has been seen in the past. It has to take decisive political actions against the rise of the neo fascist and an alliance of all the progressive forces must be one of the main strategies. There has to be a concrete programme to fight religious fundamentalism. It has to combine an immediate dealing with the terrorist attacks and curbing the activities of the fascist forces from their strongholds along with an overall plan of action in economic, political and social fields.

 The forces of religious fundamentalism organize on an international basis. A fight against them has to be organized at that same level. The Americans’ "war on terror" is fueling more religious fundamentalism. It is seen as a war on Muslims. The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by the imperialist forces is providing the religious fanatics a political justification for their terrorist activities.   Clearly occupation must end. The campaign against religious fundamentalism must be part and parcel of an anti-globalization campaign by all progressive forces. We must oppose both occupation and religious fundamentalism.

Farooq Tariq
Labour Party Pakistan