(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 15, 2009
JUSTICE P D DINAKARAN ISSUE IN TAMILNADU
AIKS Leader Arrested in Land Retrieval Movement
S P Rajendran
ON November 9, Tamilnadu police arrested CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and AIKS general secretary K Varadharajan, along with about 500 other persons including nearly 200 women, at Tiruvallur near Chennai. The arrest took place when they were staging a demonstration demanding the retrieval of fallow lands in Kaverirajapuram village from encroachment and their distribution among the landless farmers and agricultural workers of the area.
The demonstrators, who converged under the banner of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam and the All India Kisan Sabha, raised slogans urging the state government to retrieve the fallow lands encroached by the Karnataka High Court’s chief justice, P D Dinakaran, at Kaverirajapuram in Tiruttani taluk of Thirvallur district.
GUARDIAN OF LAW
OR VIOLATOR OF LAW?
In the said village, Justice P D Dinakaran and his family have illegally occupied vast tracks of government lands and water resources. Due to this, many people of the village and especially the dalit people have been suffering from livelihood denial.
The persons who are managing the farmland occupied by Justice Dinakaran are continuously intimidating the village people. The concerned government officials are, however, reluctant to take action and protect the rights of the people, due to the pressure and influence of Justice Dinakaran.
The district collector of Tiruvallur has already enquired into the illegal land occupation and sent a report to the Chief Justice of India, stating that Justice P D Dinakaran has occupied the government and private lands in violation of the laws of the land.
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) later ordered another enquiry through the director, Survey of India, into the illegal land occupation and asked him to submit a report.
Unfortunately, in none of these enquiries were the dalits and the landless poor of the village heard. These are the people whose families have lived in Kaverirajapuram village for centuries. They are also the most knowledgeable about what the pattern of land distribution and possession was there in the village before Justice Dinakaran started acquiring property there. These are also the people who have been denied access to the common resources and who have suffered deprivation due to the actions of the judge and his people.
Further, newspapers too have widely reported that after the collector’s report, persons employed at Justice Dinakaran’s farm have removed the fence around the illegally occupied government and village common lands. Even after the villagers complained about the destruction of evidence, the district administration and the police have not been doing anything since the matter involves the chief justice of a High Court.
In this situation, K Balakrishnan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam that is affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha, wrote a detailed letter to the CJI, requesting him to ensure that a fair enquiry was conducted. This was necessary so that true facts could be placed before the collegium without any destruction of evidence. He also urged that Justice P D Dinakaran should be relieved from the responsibilities of a judge till the completion of the enquiry.
In this background, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam and Thiruvallur district committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) announced their plan to commence a land retrieval movement at Kaverirajapuram on November 9.
Instead of taking any action against the encroachers, the district administration invoked Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and issued prohibitory orders in Tiruttani taluk. Hundreds of police and striking force were deployed in all the parts of the district, particularly in Kaverirajapuram on the previous day, November 8, to intimidate the villagers.
In the evening, the district administration called for peace talks with the Sangam leaders. When the leaders arrived at the venue of the peace talks, the police cowardly arrested them. Those arrested included Sangam treasurer and CPI(M) state secretariat member P Shanmugam, the party’s Tiruvallur district secretary K Selvaraj, its state committee member P Sundararajan and others.
Condemning the arrest, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam general secretary K. Balakrishnan alleged that instead of implementing the 2-acre land scheme, the State government was suppressing facts about the illegal grabbing of land. “Besides clamping prohibitory orders, the government has deployed heavy police force in Tiruvallur district. The people of Kaverirajapuram are not able to move out of their houses,” he alleged.
Balakrishnan called upon the people to take part in the land retrieval movement and defy attempts by the State government to curtail democratic movements.
On the next day morning, the land retrieval movement started with a procession as planned, defying the curfew. AIKS general secretary K Varadharajan, CPI(M) Central Committee member U Vasuki, veteran leader G Veeriahian and others led the movement. When they tried to march ahead, the police arrested them.
CPI(M) state secretary N Varadarajan urged the state government to immediately release the leaders. “The government should also revoke the prohibitory orders and restore normalcy in the district,” he said.
Pointing out that he had no difference of opinion with the CPI(M) when it came to reclaiming the government lands, Tamilnadu chief minister M Karunanidhi said the government had to examine all the documents before proceeding to take action in this particular case. “The state government never said that it would not take action. A case is also pending in the High Court. The government cannot act in a hurry,” the chief minister said in a statement.