People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 10, 2007
LAND STRUGGLE CONTINUES
CPI(M) HOLDS MAHA DHARNAS IN 17 DISTRICTS
Police brutality on display in Mahbubnagar
M Venugopala Rao
THE massive struggle for land for house sites and pattas on lands already occupied under the leadership of the CPI(M) and 195 mass organisations led by Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers’ Union is continuing intensely despite heavy police repression. On the call given by the CPI(M), thousands of people participated in the maha dharnas held in 17 district collectorates and at some district and mandal revenue offices on June 4, 2007. Rallies, rasta rokos and dharnas laying seize to the collectorates demanding distribution of house sites to the poor were held. The police who were deployed in large numbers resorted to lathicharge at some places and arrested leaders and workers of the CPI(M) and mass organisations and the poor on a massive scale. In Mahabubnagar, Nellore, Warangal, West Godavari, Ananthapur, Medak and Prakasam districts, collectors and other officers talked to the leaders and promised to resolve the issues. With these maha dharnas, functioning of the district collectorates came to a grinding halt. At some collectorates, the agitators cooked food and had their meals there during the struggle which lasted for several hours. Holding red flags and denouncing the repression by the police and the unresponsive approach of the Congress government in the state to their demands, the agitators raised resounding slogans. Everywhere women participated in large numbers. Poor people from different parts of the district concerned thronged the places of maha dharnas in their resolve to continue the struggle till their demands for house sites are met. Delegations of the leaders submitted representations on the demands to the collectors and other officers. The agitators demanded the government to withdraw the cases registered against B V Raghavulu, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and state secretary and other leaders, workers and the poor and release all those arrested and jailed in connection with the ongoing agitations.
Addressing thousands of people who participated in the maha dharna at Nalgonda, central secretariat member of the CPI(M), V Srinivasa Rao, lashed out at the state government for its vilification campaign against the agitations of the poor for house sites and made it clear that the response and mobilisation of the poor who turned out in large numbers to participate in the agitations was proof enough for the seriousness of the land issue. He pointed out that the government was not in a position to tolerate the demand of the poor for distribution of lands, including the lands illegally occupied by the influential people. Explaining that lakhs of acres of land in the state was in illegal possession of mafias and that the chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy also was among them, Srinivasa Rao warned that if the government did not fulfill the promises made during the elections, the people would dislodge it. Leader of the CPI(M) Legislature Party, Nomula Narasimhaiah, MLC Ch Sitaramulu, MLA J Ranga Reddy and district committee secretary of the Party, N Narasimha Reddy participated in the agitation.
Not sparing even the old and the infirm
In Mahabubnagar, police resorted to brutal lathicharge severely injuring 17 agitators, including women and another 13 agitators received minor injuries. State leaders of the CPI(M) John Wesley and Chandra Reddy and district committee secretary of the Party K Gopal led the agitation.
The police announced imposition of prohibitory orders in Khammam to obstruct maha dharnas. Central Committee member of the CPI(M) and MLA, Thammineni Veerabhadram, MLA Katta Venkatanarsaiah, and Khammam district secretarty of the Party, P Sudarsan, Municipal chairperson Afroze Sameena and DCCB chairman T S Prasad were among the leaders arrested by the police. Choudhary Tejeswara Rao, Srikakulam district secretary of the Party was among the leaders arrested by the police.
Leaders of the CPI(M) and mass organisations who participated in the maha dharnas held in different districts included - state secretariat member of the CPI(M), S Mallareddy at Karimnagar, Lanka Raghavulu, state committee member at Adilabad, state secretariat member of the Party, Jakka Venkaiah, president of A P Rythu Sangham, S Ramarao at Nellore, Member of parliament Dr M Baburao, East Godavari district secretary of the CPI(M) D Subbarao and MLC K George Victor at Kakinada, J Umamaheswara Rao, Krishna district secretary of the Party, at Machilipatnam, M Sitaram, West Godavari district secretary of the CPI(M) at Eluru, State president of CITU R Sudha Bhaskar at Warangal, D Ramadevi, Guntur district secretary of the Party at Guntur, G Obula Kondareddy, Anantapur district secretary of the CPI(M), CPI district secretary M V Ramana, MLC P Raghunadha Reddy and state secretary of A P Agricultural Workers’ Union Venkateswarlu(?) at Anantapur, state secretariat member of the CPI(M) and MLA M A Gafoor and Kurnool district secretary of the Party T Shadrak at Kurnool, J Anjayya, Prakasam district secretary of the Party at Ongole, and local leaders of the Party at Sangareddy in Medak district and Nizamabad.