On 2nd September 2012, New Socialist Alternative – Pune organized a discussion on ‘Unemployment’. Earlier, we campaigned extensively to publicize the event producing 500 leaflets and around 80 A3 size posters covering 8 colleges in the city. In response, 34 students from different colleges turned up, apart from the members of the New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) which added up the figure to 42.
The following statement is with reference to the very recent incident of many North Eastern people in Bangalore and other cities in Karnataka (and now Chennai, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh) fleeing the city in their thousands to rumours of planned attacks against them after Ramadan in response to the communal violence against Muslims that took place recently in Assam. While rumours are yet to be verified or substantiated and no big instance of violence against the North Eastern community have been reported anywhere in the city so far, there is an added fear especially after the recent flare up of violence by misguided Muslim youth in Mumbai that was largely directed against the media and the police. The violence in Mumbai was deliberately instigated by few reactionary Muslim leaders with false propaganda and doctored images from the recent violence in Assam and alleged killing of Muslims in Myanmar.
New Socialist Alternative – Pune branch (CWI-India) has been working with Lokkalyan Mazdoor Union (affiliated to Hind Mazdoor Sabha – HMS) for quite some time now. It was felt that while we engage with workers taking up their workplace demands, it is equally important to raise the consciousness among them on various political, social-economic and cultural issues that they confront in their day to day life. Idea of running workers’ study circle was thus conceived and on the day of international labour day i.e. 1st May we conducted its inaugural session. The session was attended by 130 odd workers from various trade unions in the city. Had it not clashed with other May day programs at factory levels organized by few other trade unions, turn out could have been larger.
Last year Social Justice department of central government issued a circular making changes to the scheme of post-matriculation scholarship for students belonging to OBCs (Other Backward Classes). It has changed the scheme from ‘committed liability’ to ‘funds limited’ implying all OBC students would not get scholarship. Also as many as 1175 courses like BCA (Bachelor of Computer Applications), BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) have been excluded from the scheme altogether. Issues came to fore earlier this month when many students didn’t get scholarship amount and colleges threatened them not to allow to write exams unless fees were paid.
Recently concluded municipal elections in Pune saw no party gaining clear mandate though NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) topped the seat tally and has formed post-election alliance with Congress to gain majority. Citizens were quite fed up with NCP-Congress alliance that ruled last 5 years when overall living conditions and quality of civic amenities moved from bad to worse. This partly reflected with NCP, largest party gaining merely one third i.e. 51 seats out of 152.