People's Democracy

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


No. 22

June 03, 2007



Land Struggle Intensifies And Spreads Across The State


B V Raghavulu participating in the land struggle in a village in Ranga Reddy district



M Venugopala Rao


POLICE repression on the leaders and workers of the CPI(M) and mass organisations and on the poor waging resolute struggle for land for house sites intensified with daily lathicharges, arrests, registering of false cases and sending them to jails. In about 114 centres the police resorted to lathicharge. Eight thousand cases against the poor and the workers of the CPI(M) and mass organisations have been registered and 952 people were sent to jails of whom 332 are still in the jails. Non-bailable cases have been registered against B V Raghavulu, Polit Bureau member and state committee secretary of the CPI(M) and on several secretaries of the district committees of the Party charging them with land grabbing and with several other sections under the Indian penal code. D G Narasimha Rao and Nandyala Narsimha Reddy, secretaries of the Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda district committees of the CPI(M) are in jail for past several days. Ch Babu Rao, Vijayawada city secretary of the CPI(M) was under police custody for some days. Earlier, Mantena Sitaram, West Godavari district committee secretary of the CPI(M) was put behind the bars for raising voice on the issues of the tribals. Similarly Ch Narasinga Rao, Visakhapatnam district committee secretary of the Party was jailed for waging struggles on the issues of the people displaced under Gangavaram port. In connection with the struggle of the people displaced under Thotapally balancing reservoir, CPI(M) MLA K Lakshmana Murthy was put behind the bars.


CPI(M) Guntur district secretary D Ramadevi being arrested by police



Under the banner of 195 mass organisations led by Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers’ Union (APAWU) and supported by the CPI(M), thousands of poor people in almost all the districts in the state intensified the struggle for house sites in rural areas from May 19 braving lathicharges, arrests and false cases. Leaders of the CPI(M), APAWU and other mass organisations led the struggles in the districts. At several places, the poor occupied government lands, cultivable lands, fish tanks in hundreds of acres of assigned lands and forest lands, cooked food there itself and stayed there. Repression by the police, forcible eviction and arrests of the poor and leaders of the CPI(M) and mass organisations continued at several places, besides demolishing the huts erected by the poor on occupied lands. On the first day itself, thousands of poor people participated in the struggle for land in 132 centres in the state. On an average, the struggle continued in about 200 centres in the state every day. The response to the struggle for occupation of land is unprecedented, said P Somayya, president and B Venkat, general secretary of APAWU. They appealed to all the political parties to participate in the struggle. Strongly condemning the repression on the poor by the police, they warned that notwithstanding the repression by the government, the police and the landlords, the movement for land occupation would forge ahead with double the vigour and resistance to the repression. B V Raghavulu led the struggle at Kappadu village of Ibrahimpatnam mandal in Ranga Reddy district, ploughed the ceiling lands and announced its distribution to the poor. The police registered a case against him under non-bailable charges.


A meeting of different political leaders was organised by the CPI(M) at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad on May 23 in support of the struggle and condemning the repression by the police. Leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, TDP, TRS, CPI(ML), CPI(ML) New Democracy and Lok Satta participated in the meeting. The meeting demanded the government to hold an all-party meeting to discuss and resolve the problems of land and house sites faced by the poor in the state. Making several suggestions, the meeting asked the government to allot house sites free of cost to the poor and regularise the house sites and houses which are in the possession of the poor and middle class people. It demanded the government to take possession of the lands under illegal occupation of influential people and distribute the same to the poor. A policy regarding the utilisation of urban lands to meet the requirements of the poor and middle class people be announced, it suggested. In every layout, government or private, a specific percentage of the land should be allotted to the poor and middle classes, the meeting demanded. The meeting asked the government to appoint a high level committee to solve within six months the land issues in urban areas. It demanded the government to make the report of the Koneru Ranga Rao committee on land issues public and hold discussions on it with all political parties and mass organisations. The other demands included - a list of assigned lands alienated and of its illegal occupants be published, a special ministry be formed to implement land reforms in a time-bound manner and monitor the land issues, the cases registered during the movement of land occupation by the poor be withdrawn and under the Rajeev Gruhakalpa programme, houses should be constructed with fifty per cent subsidy. B V Raghavulu, who presided over the meeting warned that the struggle for land would be intensified further if the government intensifies its repression instead of solving the land issue. He said that the meeting decided to conduct struggles on land issues separately and collectively.


In the background of these wide spread struggles of the poor for house sites, the Congress government invited the CPI(M) and CPI for talks on the issue. Chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said a workshop with voluntary organisations and political parties would be held on the land issue and asked the leaders of the Left parties to stop the struggles for land till then. The government did not respond to the demand of the CPI(M) and CPI for making the report of the Koneru Ranga Rao committee on land issue public and implement its recommendations. They made it clear that till then the question of halting the struggle for land would not arise. While the government invited the Congress also for talks, the leaders of the Left parties felt that it would have been better if the government invited all the political parties to the meeting as they were supporting the struggle for land waged by the CPI(M) and 195 mass organisations. Talking to the media later, B V Raghavulu asked how would it would be possible to discuss the issue in the workshop without making the recommendations of the Koneru Ranga Rao committee public. He found fault with the explanation of the chief minister that houses for all were being built under the Indiramma programme, pointing out that there were several deficiencies in the programme. State council secretary of the CPI, Dr K Narayana demanded setting up of district-wise committees with the Left parties.


As the struggle got intensified and extended to all over the state, the government released recommendations of the land committee. The CPI(M) and CPI, in a meeting with the chief minister on August 2, 2004 requested for appointing a committee on land issues. The issue came to the fore during the discussions the government had with the Maoists. In the G O issued appointing the land committee headed by Koneru Ranga Rao, minister for municipal administration, the government stated that it was appointed on the request of the Communists. The committee made 104 recommendations in its report submitted to the chief minister on December 28, 2006. While most of the recommendations are favourable to the poor, some of them, which are controversial, need to be amended appropriately. Taking objection to releasing only the recommendations of the committee, the state committee of the CPI(M) demanded the government to make the full report public. Referring to the statement of the minister for revenue that a workshop would be conducted on June 12 on the recommendations of the committee, B V Raghavulu demanded the government to make its stand clear on the report. Pointing out to the delay in submission of the report and release of recommendations of the committee, Raghavulu asked where was the need delaying in the name of studying the report, reminding that the chief minister had announced that the cabinet had approved the report and that a committee of ministers was formed for implementing the recommendations. Finding fault with the government in releasing only the recommendations of the committee, APAWA released the complete report of the committee. The struggle of the poor for land occupation is continuing all over the state with a firm resolve to obtain house sites.