People's Democracy

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


No. 29

July 22, 2007



Land Struggle Intensified


M Venugopala Rao


CPI(M) MP P Madhu addressing the poor at Jawaharnagar in Hyderabad


THE struggle of the poor people for land and house sites that commenced on May 2, 2007 under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is getting intensified day by day in Andhra Pradesh, with no positive response from the Congress government to solve their genuine demands. On July 15, under the banner of CPI(M), the urban poor in 101 towns and 2358 wards in cities in 23 districts of the state participated in mass hunger strikes. More than one lakh poor people participated in the mass hunger strikes organised all over the state. The leaders of the CPI(M) announced that the struggle would continue till the government resolved the demands of the poor for house sites. They also warned that the government would have to pay a heavy price if it sought to suppress the struggles of the poor. B V Raghavulu, Polit Bureau member and state secretary of the CPI(M), inaugurated the hunger strikes at three places in Vijayawada and announced that if the government did not take steps to solve the land issue, indefinite hunger strikes would be commenced at all mandal centres and towns from July 22. Around ten thousand poor people participated in hunger strikes in 150 centres in Vijayawada.


In Hyderabad, the mass hunger strikes were held at eight places in which Central Committee member of the CPI(M) and MP, P Madhu, and state secretariat member of the Party, Y Venkateswara Rao, participated. The police arrested 150 people participating in the mass hunger strike at Choppadandi in Karimnagar district.


Mass Hunger Strikes



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10, 000



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West Godavari





East Godavari

















Protesting the approach of the Congress government on the land issue, the state committee of the CPI(M) organised a one-day mass hunger strike on July 16 at Indira Park in Hyderabad. Led by B V Raghavulu, several leaders of the CPI(M) and of the mass organisations participated in the hunger strike. They included Y Venkateswara Rao and S Mallareddy, state secretariat members, Dr M Baburao, MP, S Punyavathi, G Ramulu, B Venkat, B Tulasidas and J Venkatesh, all state committee members, P S N Murthy and D G Narasimha Rao, secretaries of the Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy district committees of the CPI(M), and KVPS state general secretary John Wesley. Central Committee members of the Party, Mallu Swarajyam, Tammineni Veerabhadram and Paturu Ramayya, leader of the CPI(M) legislature party, N Narasimhaiah, and MLAs M A Gafoor, S Rajayya, J Rangareddy and M Narsimha visited the hunger strike camp and expressed their solidarity. Addressing the camp, Raghavulu appealed to all political parties to help solve the land issue raised by the CPI(M). He found fault with the Congress government for terming the peaceful struggles of the poor for house sites as being anarchic. Raghavulu made it clear that the Left parties were waging struggles for house sites for the poor, that there has been no anarchy in the struggles and that those who had shed their blood and were sent to jails were the Left leaders, cadres and the poor. He asked the government to prove its sincerity by solving the demands put forth by the CPI(M) on the land issue immediately.


The struggle for house sites was marked by laying seize to the offices of the district collectors and mandal revenue officers, relay hunger strikes and dharnas on July 16. The police resorted to lathicharge on the leaders of the CPI(M) and the poor who laid seize to the Vijayanagaram district collectorate. Relay hunger strikes were organised at 62 centres in Ranga Reddy district, while dharnas were held at six towns in Medak district. The struggles continued in Nalgonda, Warangal, Kurnool, Anantapur, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Nellore, Prakasam, Krishna, Guntur, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and West Godavari districts. The CPI organised dharnas in Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Khammam and Medak districts.


Protesting the attitude of the Congress government on the land issue, CPI(M) MLAs and MLCs, with posters hanging round their necks, conducted padayatra from the office of the CPI(M) legislature party to the legislative assembly on the first day of the commencement of its monsoon session on July 16. Criticising the government for its repressive measures on the Left leaders and the poor for waging struggles on land issue, N Narasimhaiah said that the issue would be raised in the assembly and the government would be made to stand as the accused before the people.


Earlier on July 8, on the occasion of completion of sixty days of the commencement of land struggle in Hyderabad, mass hunger strikes were conducted in greater Hyderabad at 664 centres in which about sixty thousand poor people participated, with a determination to continue the struggle till their demands are achieved. P Madhu inaugurated the mass hunger strike at Indira park which was organised by the Hyderabad city committee of the CPI(M). Speaking on the occasion, Madhu demanded the government to take special steps for solving the land issue in the coming assembly session. He lashed out at the Congress government for resorting to repressive measures on the poor who were setting up huts on government’s lands and winking at grabbing of its lands by influential people. Pointing out that the persistent struggle for house sites had its impact on all political parties, Madhu announced that chalo assembly would be organised, if the government did not respond positively to their demands.


The police arrested B Venkat, general secretary of A P Agricultural Workers’ Union and state convenor of 195 mass organisations, who is actively trying to mobilise intellectuals and mass organisations on the land issue, on July 9, in connection with a case registered against him relating to land struggle in Ranga Reddy district in 1998. He was produced with handcuffs before the munsif magistrate court at Ibrahimpatnam on July 12. On a complaint, the magistrate had ordered for removal of handcuffs and issued notices to the police officers and constables concerned. Leaders of the CPI(M) and mass organisations strongly condemned the vindictive attitude of the government in arresting Venkat on a non-bailable warrant in a decade-old case and violating human rights by taking him to the court with handcuffs.


State secretary of the CPI, K Narayana, was arrested on July 4 in connection with questioning the officers concerned who were getting the huts of the poor people removed in Koyyalagudem Mandal of West Godavari district and a case of treason was booked against him. The next day, Narayana was remanded to judicial custody till July 19 and sent to Rajahmundry central jail. Later, he was released on bail. The CPI and CPI(M) strongly condemned the arrest and registering a case of treason on Narayana.