People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 02, 2007
Second Phase Of Land Struggle Launched
Thousands Of Acres Occupied By The Poor
M Venugopala Rao
CPI(M)-led poor people proceeding to occupy land in the posh area of Banjara Hills in Hyderabad
THE second phase of land struggle for house sites and land has begun all over the state on August 22 with greater intensity on the call given by CPI(M) and CPI. Thousands of poor people took part in it at various places, occupying thousands of acres of land and setting up huts and Red flags. The Congress government is continuing to use the police force to suppress the movement, resorting to lathicharge, arresting thousands of people, and foisting cases against them. Leaders and workers of the CPI(M) and CPI, and at some of the places of the Telugu Desam Party are leading and participating in the land struggle. The poor have been resisting and protesting the repressive measures of the police by holding dharnas, rasta rokos and laying siege to government offices. The poor have been not only reoccupying the lands from which they were forcibly evicted earlier, but are also entering into new areas in the course of the land struggle every day.
On the first day of the second phase, in addition to eight places where they had set up huts during the earlier phase, the poor people launched struggles in another four places and more than fifteen thousand people set up huts in Hyderabad, including the government land at Banjara Hills near the residence of the chief minister, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. The police arrested about 800 people, including the area leaders of the CPI(M). Y Venkateswara Rao, state secretariat member of the CPI(M), participated in the land struggle at Mahendra Hills in Secunderabad. Under the banner of the CPI(M), the poor people occupied lands at several places in four mandals in Medak district, and at nine places in Warangal district. In Khammam district, about ten thousand people participated in the struggle and hoisted Red flags in about 12,000 acres of land in Khammam town and in another five divisions. In Ranga Reddy district, at three places, about 6500 people set up huts in government lands and occupied lands in Dundigal. In Chittoor district, the poor laid siege to the office of the Tirupathi municipal corporation and occupied land in Madanapalle. Similarly, the poor occupied lands at several places in East Godavari, West Godavari, Cuddapah, Prakasam, Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Adilabad districts. In Visakhapatnam district, the poor under the banner of the CPI(M) occupied about 14 acres of land at Yedumetla Marripalem illegally encroached with benami names by the minister for Housing, Bothsa Satyanarayana and hoisted Red flags. The poor led by the CPI(M) secretary of Visakhapatnam district, Ch Narasinga Rao, ploughed the land. In Guntur district, the poor led by the CPI occupied land at Macharla. In Prakasam district, the poor led by the state secretary of the CPI, K Narayana, staged protest sit-in at the salt lands of Snowwhite salt company at Chinna Ganjam, foiling the attempts of the police to obstruct the leaders from reaching the area and arresting the district leaders of the CPI. The president of All India Kisan Sabha, Atul Kumar Anjan, also participated in the struggle.
On August 23, the poor people in Vijayawada, on the fifth day of their struggle, occupied lands and set up huts at several places in the city. R Arun Kumar, all-India president of the SFI, participated in the struggle and extended solidarity to it. In Guntur district, the poor occupied government, assigned and temple lands at five places. In Prakasam district, led by the secretary of the district committee of the CPI(M), Jala Anjayya, and secretary of the division committee, G Venkataramireddy, the poor started occupying lands of a temple at Markapur and got an assurance from the tahsildar to allot the land to the poor, if not used for the programme of Rajiv Swagruha. At several places in Krishna, Chittoor, Warangal, Visakhapatnam and Mahabubnagar districts, the poor occupied lands and set up huts on them. While Miriam Venkateswaralu, state committee member of the CPI(M), participated in the occupation of land at Keesara in Ranga Reddy district, Nomula Narasimhaiah, leader of the legislature party of the CPI(M), led the land struggle at Mahendra Hills.
CASES FOISTED ON 10,000 PEOPLE
On August 24, in Hyderabad, the poor people along with CPI(M) workers, put three naamas on their foreheads and expressed resentment against the unresponsive attitude of the Congress government. In connection with the land struggle, the police arrested Y Siddaiah, state secretary of the CITU, and others at Kandrika in Prakasam district. In Khammam district, under the banner of the CPI(M), land struggle was conducted at 250 centres in which about 30,000 people participated and occupied about 22,000 acres of land. CPI(M) MLAs Katta Venkatanarsayya, ploughed the land occupied at Sivayigudem, and Sunnam Rajayya ploughed the land occupied at V R Puram. The police foisted cases under charges of land grabbing and non-bailable sections on about ten thousand poor people in the district. When the police resorted to lathicharge on the poor occupying lands at Chintaveni camp in Hasanparthy mandal and burnt the huts set up by them, the poor conducted rasta roko. In Visakhapatnam district, led by the state committee member of the CPI(M) and MLA, M V S Sarma, the poor occupied lands encroached by the members of the family of the late Dronamraju Satyanarayana, former MP of the Congress party. In Vijayanagaram district, led by the CPI(M) MLA, Kolaka Lakshmanamurthy, the poor occupied Maxworth lands of the former chief minister of Tamilnadu, Jayalalitha, at Poojjrguda. Land struggle continued in Krishna, Srikakulam and other districts also.
ATTEMPT TO ATTACK B V RAGHAVULU
On August 25, a local leader of the Congress,
Jallepalli Saidulu and some workers of that party, holding sticks and axes and
questioning occupation of land by the poor led by the CPI(M), tried to attack B
V Raghavulu, Polit Bureau member and state secretary of the CPI(M), when he was
leaving Tallampadu in Khammam district after participating in the land struggle
and addressing a public meeting. The workers and other leaders of the CPI(M)
protected Raghavulu and chased the Congress workers away. Raghavulu said that
the attempt to attack him was deliberate and that having failed to suppress the
land struggle of the poor, the government was resorting to direct attacks.
Unable to bear intensification of the land struggle, the Congress leadership was
encouraging violent activities, he criticised. Raghavulu made it clear that the
movement could not be stopped by attacks and repression and that solving the
land issue was the only answer. The attempt to attack Raghavulu was strongly
condemned by the state committee of the CPI(M), state secretariat of the CPI,
CPI(ML) and several political parties and mass organisations. Protest rallies
were taken out at several places. Raghavulu participated in the sthala jagarana
– being awake during the night at the land - at Singhnagar Dysney land in
Vijayawada and expressed solidarity to the struggle of the poor. Land struggle
continued in Chittoor, Cuddapah, Ranga Reddy and Vijayanagaram districts. The
poor led by D Ramadevi, CPI(M) secretary of Guntur district occupied 250 acres
of land at Vinukonda.
Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and MP, strongly condemned the attempted attack on Raghavulu and warned that the people of the state would rebuff such strong-arm tactics of the Congress. He made it clear that the CPI(M) was not for conflicts. He regretted that physical attacks were being made on the leaders of the Left parties in a systematic manner, even while the central and state governments were claiming to hold talks on the land issue.
The police registered cases under charges of land grabbing on B V Raghavulu, P Sudarsan, CPI(M) secretary of Khammam district and on another ten leaders for participating in the occupation of lands at Tettelapadu village of Tirumalaipalem mandal in Khammam district on August 25.
On August 26, V Krishnaiah, state secretariat member of the CPI(M), led occupation of 370 acres of barren land by the poor at Garapadu in Guntur district. On August 27, landlords and their followers attacked the CPI(M) leaders and the poor who went to occupy the island lands at Totlavallur in Krishna district in which CPI(M) leaders A Nageswara Rao, M Venkateswara Rao and another five leaders sustained injuries. Landlords of Vallabhapuram in Guntur district have been enjoying these government lands over the years. When about 200 poor people of that village went to occupy these lands, the attack on them took place. The poor retaliated and occupied the lands and set up Red flags. In Kuppam of Chittoor district, the stronghold of the TDP president and former chief minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, about one thousand poor people led by the CPI(M) occupied 12 acres of land at two places and set up huts.