Events in the Delhi unit of the CPI(M) have taken an unfortunate and a regressive turn with the expulsion of Albeena Shakil, women activist and former student leader from JNU, from the party for alleged "anti-party activities". A short blogpost carrying information on the events.
Albeena was a popular student leader in the Jawaharlal Nehru University over the past decade and is remembered for her yeoman work in instituting the Gender Sensitive Committee against Sexual Harassment among other achievements in the progressive campus. Later, as a women activist, she was involved in the organisation of home based workers in various parts of Delhi besides working for other causes. She has also been a regular contributor to Pragoti.
The expulsion of Albeena seems to be on rather flimsy grounds and has happened a few days after the expulsion of her spouse Prasenjit Bose who had resigned from the party on the grounds of opposition to the party's support to Pranab Mukherjee's nomination. The sequence of events that led to her expulsion - letters exchanged, showcause notices etc - are now in the public domain (selective bits of which have been published elsewhere in newspapers). The full details (Showcause and Albeena's reply) are attached in this post after receipt. It is left to the reader to judge the judiciousness (or what looks like the certain lack of it) of the disciplinary action.
This blog post also carries a message from colleagues of Albeena in the student movement in JNU and former SFI activists whose unit itself was dissolved by its national leadership - also for taking a position in political dissent - and whose views (and counterviews) have also been carried by Pragoti.
Statement titled, "AGAINST KANGAROO COURTS TO SILENCE POLITICAL DISSENT" published here. And reproduced below -
We the undersigned were expelled from the primary membership of the SFI in a SFI Delhi State Committee Meeting held on 10.07.2012 for taking a dissenting political position against the CPI (M)’s decision to support Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential Elections. We have learnt that Comrade Albeena Shakil, who was anelected member of the CPI (M) Delhi State Committee has been expelled from the Primary Membership of the CPI (M) in a CPI (M) Delhi State Committee Meeting held on 11.08.2012.We are issuing a statement against this undemocratic expulsion.
We the undersigned have learnt that Comrade Albeena Shakil has been expelled from the primary membership of the CPI (M) on 11.08.2012 for “indulging in anti party activities”. The decision was made in a Delhi State Committee Meeting of the CPI (M) with 17 members voting for the expulsion and 4 opposing it. Prior to this decision another CPI (M) Delhi State Committee meeting held on 20.07.2012 had decided to remove Comrade Albeena from all elected positions in the CPI (M) and Janwadi Mahila Samiti (AIDWA). This decision was in brazen violation of the norms laid down in the CPI (M) Constitution, which categorically says that all decisions regarding disciplinary action (except summary expulsion) have to be taken in the presence of the individual concerned, so that the individual gets an opportunity to offer defense in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
The Delhi CPI (M) leadership flouted the CPI (M) Constitution and initiated disciplinary action against Comrade Albeena. One Delhi State Committee Member of the CPI (M), who has also been a former secretary of the SFIUnit in JNU, had resigned from the Party after the State Committee meeting of 20.07.2012 protesting against the unconstitutional action and unjustifiable persecution. Comrade Albeena was called for the meeting on 11.08.2012 in order to sanctify the earlier unconstitutional decisions and make her listen to further malice. No concrete evidence was provided for the so-called “anti-party activities” in both these meetings except Comrade Albeena’s participation in a National Convention on Campus Democracy and Lyngdoh Recommendations organized by the JNU Students’ Union held on 21.07.2012 and an SFI-JNU Activist Meeting on the JNU student movement held on 1.08.2012. On both these occasions, no act/comment against the CPI (M) was made by her. Comrade Albeena had signed an appeal addressed to the SFI all-India President to resolve the differences with SFI-JNU in a political and democratic manner.
In the State Committee meeting of 11.08.2012 Comrade Albeena tried to persuade the Delhi State Committee members to adopt a non-confrontational approach towards the SFI-JNU and open political dialogue with them in order to resolve the differences. The fact that this has been construed as “anti-party activities” by the Delhi CPI (M) leadership exposes its undemocratic and authoritarian mindset.
Comrade Albeena has been elected to the JNU Students’ Union 5 times since 1997, first as a councilor from the School of Languages, then as JNUSU Joint Secretary; twice as the JNUSU Vice President and finally the JNUSU President in 2001. She was in the forefront of the struggle against the communal forces in JNU. She had also played an important role in the struggle for the formation of the Gender Sensitization Committee against Sexual Harassment in JNU. As the JNUSU President in 2001-02, Comrade Albeena provided leadership to the struggle against the imposition of the communal Xth Plan proposals by the BJP-led NDA regime in JNU. She went on to become the Delhi State Secretary and All-India Joint Secretary of the SFI in 2005.
After completing her Ph.D in English literature from JNU, Comrade Albeena has been working as a whole timer of the CPI (M) in Delhi, with responsibilities in the Janwadi Mahila Samiti. She has been an elected member of the CPI (M) Delhi State Committee since 2007 and the AIDWA Central Executive Committee since 2010. Comrade Albeena’s work in the CPI (M) and JMS included work among poor home based women workers in Delhi, especially in the Muslim dominated areas of Old Delhi and Okhla.
The disciplinary action against Comrade Albeena has to be seen in the aftermath of the draconian and vindictive action against the 4 of us and the “dissolution” of the entire SFI Unit in JNU for a taking dissenting political position vis-à-vis CPI (M)’s decision to support Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential polls. The desperation of the CPI (M) leadership seems to have only increased after TMC’s decision to support Mr. Mukherjee rendered the so-called “tactical masterstroke” into a laughing stock. All those who have had any association with the SFI in JNU in the past are being threatened and intimidated by the CPI (M) leadership to fall in line and contribute to their disruptive and anti-democratic agenda. The CPI (M) leadership’s paranoia has reached such proportions that all norms of party organization functioning are being thrown to the dustbin to target “suspects” and silence those who have a different opinion. In Comrade Albeena’s case, the Party leadership’s actions further betray a crass patriarchal attitude where she has been victimized for the political actions of her spouse.We appeal to all progressive and democratic sections to condemn the unjust expulsion of Comrade Albeena from the CPI (M) and firmly combat the self-destructive trends within the Left movement,epitomized by the CPI (M) leadership.
Roshan Kishore, P K Anand, Zico Dasgupta, V Lenin Kumar
|Albeena Shakil's Reponse to Show Cause Notice.pdf||89.44 KB|