People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 14, 2006
against the attacks of moneylenders turned land mafias on poor peasants in
collision with local police, the All India Kisan Sabha local unit organised a
demonstration at the block head quarters of Sitarganj block in Udham Singh Nagar
district of Uttarakhand on April 26. The demonstration was led and addressed by
N.K.Shukla, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, Bacchi Ram Kaunswal,
president, Gangadhar Nautial, secretary, Surendra Sajwan,vice president, Shiv
Prasad Deoli, treasurer Uttarakhand state Kisan Sabha and Satya Prakash,
president state CITU, Madan Mishra secretary state DYFI among others.
of refugees who had come from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were rehabilitated
in 13 villages of the then Nanital district now named Udham Singh Nagar. Each
refugee family was given 5 acres of land. Bad terrain, undeveloped land and lack
of capital forced a good number of refugees to borrow and get engulfed in the
debt trap of moneylenders. They were forced to pay high interest rates - some
time even 100 percent per year along with compound interest. They had to
surrender their land to the moneylenders owing to the debts and thus became
bonded labourers on their own land. Though legally these lands belong to
pattedars, they can neither be purchased nor sold.
Unit of All India Kisan Sabha with the help of state committee took up this
issue and invited Suryakant Mishra, Minister of West Bengal and one of the Joint
Secretaries of All India Kisan Sabha to visit Udham Singh Nagar in January
2005,where it was decided to organise movement for liberation of these lands. In
September 2005, Brinda Karat M.P. and Polit Bureau member of CPI(M) also talked
to district magistrate on this issue.
February 15 to April 10, six rounds of talks were held between displaced
pattedar peasantry and moneylenders in the presence of revenue officials. But no
settlement could be reached due to the reluctance of moneylenders in connivance
with government officials and land mafia, to handover the lands to pattedars.
April 15, moneylenders and their goondas with the support of local police
attacked the poor displaced pattedars in Shakti Farm village. Many pattedars
were injured. The Police on false report arrested Ahlad Sarkar, Paritosh Viswas,
Ramesh, Sudheer Mishtri, Susheel Malakar, Suneel Malakar, Nirmal Pal, Jagdish
Viswas, Nirmal Maghi, Gobind Dakua, Shri Nath Baragi, Harendra Majumdar,
Sailendra Das and Birendra. Besides
arrest warrant was issued against many others. And local police refused to
register FIR against moneylenders. That was done only after the state Kisan
leaders approached the S.S.P.at district headquarters.
This heinous crime of local police siding with moneylenders and land mafia has exposed the class character of Congress led state government who shed crocodile tears day and night for poor and landless.
the very next day of attack on April 16, local unit of CPI(M) and Kisan Sabha
organised a strong protest demonstration before the Sitarganj police station,
which was led by Vijoy Ravat, state secretary of CPI(M), Bacchi Ram Kaunswal,
president and Gangadhar Nautial, secretary of state Kisan Sabha.
The movement is continuing. The displaced pattedars are sitting on indefinite dharna on a piece of 3 acres of land in Shakti Farm village. Tension is prevailing because of threat from moneylenders turned land mafia and local police. This is the beginning of first militant land struggle in Uttarakhand after independence.