People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 38

September 19, 2004

Forest Land Struggle Won In Gujarat Victory To Kisan Sabha

Kuber Bhai Bhambhi


THE Adivasi farmers of Antarsuba, Sabarkantha district, won the struggle for forest land. They had been ploughing 257 acres of land for the last 45 years. However, the forest department had forcibly evicted them from this land. Forty-two families, having almost 200 members, were dependent on that land. As they started to plough in the month of August, the forest officials stopped them.


The officials had rushed with their horse-riding police force to take possession of that forest land. The Adivasi farmers were organised under the banner of Kisan Sabha to protest against such action.


The farmers were detained with their ploughs and bullocks and were taken to range office at Antarsuba ashram. The protesting farmers insisted that they have possessed and cultivated the forest for 45 years, and they would not leave its possession. They refused any other alternative for their livelihood. They were prepared to face the consequences because this ancestral land has been the only source of employment and support for their families. The Kisan Sabha leaders Kanti Bhai Parmar and Kuber Bhai talked to the range officers and advised them against evicting the Adivasi farmers from their land.


The officials understood the situation and withdrew under such strong pressure. The conservator of forest, who had rushed to the site, had to declare that the forest department would not evict them at this juncture.


This was an achievement of the Kisan Sabha since the tribes could save their land under the banner of Kisan Sabha for the time being. They realised that only Red Flag and Kisan Sabha were always ready to protect the interests of the Adivasis and poor people. The influence of Kisan Sabha among tribal people has increased since more than 200 villagers have taken membership of Kisan Sabha in Antarsuba village.