People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 05, 2007
State Bandh Total, Lathicharges In Several Districts
Govt’s Inhuman Repression On Land Struggle
M Venugopala Rao
THE police resorted to lathicharge and arrested the agitators in several districts during the statewide bandh on July 28, 2007. The bandh call was given by the CPI(M), CPI and mass organisations and was supported CPI(ML), CPI(ML-Liberation), MCPI(U), ML Committee and TDP. Bandh was observed protesting the heavy repression let loose on the poor people and workers of the Communist parties and mass organisations during the picketing of district collectorates and revenue offices on July 26, demanding house sites, arable land and implementing the Koneru Ranga Rao committee recommendations. Many political parties and mass organisations condemned the police brutality and the insensitive attitude of the government.
Rasta rokos, rail rokos and dharnas were conducted, processions were taken out and effigies of the chief minister were burnt in several districts on the eve of bandh. The police resorted to lathicharge in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam districts, injuring several people. Thousands of people were arrested all over the state. Police raided the CPI(M) Hyderabad city committee office and the CPI(M) and CPI office in Cuddapah, the home district of the chief minister. The bandh was successfully observed everywhere with the closing down of shops, banks, cinema halls, hotels, commercial establishments and educational institutions and government offices despite the all-out efforts of the police to foil it. Traffic came to a standstill. Most of the RTC buses did not ply in the state. Thammineni Veerabhadram, Central Committee member and MLA, and Y Venkateswara Rao, state secretariat member of the CPI(M), Chada Venkatareddy, leader of the CPI legislature party and its state secretariat member K Ramakrishna, TDP MLA G Sayanna and Manda Krishna Madiga, leader of the Madiga Reservation Porata Samathi were among the leaders who were arrested by the police in Hyderabad.
The leaders thanked the people and all the political parties who made the statewide bandh a success, stating that the people and the workers, braving police lathicharge, had foiled the attempts of the government to make the bandh a failure. They criticised the action of the police in raiding the hunger strike camps at midnight and shifting the leaders, who were on indefinite hunger strike, at many places all over the state to hospitals. They explained that the workers were asked to withdraw the hunger strike still going on here and there to facilitate continuation of the land movement in other forms. Raghavulu and Narayana announced that the movement would continue till the problems were solved by the government and appealed to the people to get ready for the agitational programmes to be taken up in future, just as they had done till now.
On July 27, late in the midnight, the police arrested B V Raghavulu, K Narayana, P Madhu and other leaders of the CPI(M), CPI and mass organisations who were on indefinite hunger strike at Indira park in Hyderabad and shifted them to Gandhi hospital. When the activists present at the hunger strike camp obstructed the arrest of the leaders, they were arrested and taken to police stations.
Savagery: A woman protestor forcebly dragged by her hair by male police
Earlier, on July 26, on the call given by the CPI(M), CPI and mass organisations, thousands of poor people laid seize to the district collectorates and mandal revenue offices in the state, demanding the government to solve their demands for house sites and land and protesting its unresponsiveness. The police resorted to heavy repression on the agitators, with indiscriminate lathicharge, manhandling, using water canons, tear gas shells, employing mounted police to chase the agitators away and misbehaving with women by dragging them by their hair, tearing their clothes and kicking them with their boots. Many people were injured and some of them, including women, got unconscious unable to bear the police brutality. The police arrested thousands of people and leaders in this connection all over the state. On July 25, in support of the indefinite hunger strike, rasta rokos, rail rokos and demonstrations were held all over the state. In this connection, too, the police resorted to lathicharge at many places and arrested thousands of people and leaders and workers of the Communist parties and mass organisations.
On the insistence of the Left parties, discussions were held in the legislative assembly on July 26 on the land issue. Replying to the discussions and the demands raised by the members of the CPI(M), CPI and other parties, the chief minister announced that a special commissioner would be appointed to discharge the responsibilities of identifying and taking possession of the assigned lands alienated and giving the same to the poor. He promised to take necessary steps to remove legal impediments for giving pattas on the lands encroached by the poor and middle class to the extent of 200 to 600 square yards. The chief minister said that after normalcy was restored, the issue of withdrawing cases registered against those who participated in the land struggle would be examined. He promised to give compensation for assigned lands acquired by the government on par with what was being paid to patta lands. Rajasekhara Reddy announced that out of the 104 recommendations made by the Koneru Ranga Rao committee, 74 recommendations would be implemented as they were. The talks failed because of the adamant refusal of the government to concede the demand of appointing a commission for implementing the recommendations of the Koneru Ranga Rao committee. On July 27, three rounds of talks held between the government and the CPI(M) and CPI failed, with no positive response coming from the government on the demands of the Communist parties. Nomula Narsimhaiah and Chada Venkata Reddy took objection to the view of the chief minister that there was no need for agitations and made it clear that without struggles, problems of the people would not be solved. They made it clear that the chief minister was evasive and not clear on the stand of the government regarding the demands of the poor people raised by them.