People's Democracy

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


No. 23

June 06, 2010




First Phase Of Land Reform Jatha Concludes


N K Shukla


A land reform kisan jagaran jatha that started in two parts on May 14, concluded on May 27 with a huge rally in Sundarayya nagar of Samastipur district. This jatha started from Darbhanga district and passed through the districts of Madhubani, Sitamadhi, Muzaffarpur, East and West  Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan, Saran and Vaishali before entering Samastipur. Another  jatha that was flaged off from Begusarai concluded at Bhagalpur on May 25, which covered the districts  of Khagaria, Saharsa, Madhepura, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia and Katihar. Thus, these two jathas have covered almost all the districts of north Bihar.


The first jatha was led by Lalan Chaudhary, president of Bihar unit of the All India Kisan Sabha and the second was led by Abdhesh Kumar, state secretary of AIKS. Sarangdhar Paswan, president of Bihar unit of AIAWU had joined the first Jatha on May 14th itself, but after getting injured on May 16th at Madhepur block of Madhubani district when goondas of land grabber landlords attacked the jatha, he was hospitalised in Patna. Later, Dinesh Kumar, state secretary of AIAWU joined the jatha and continued till the end of the jatha. AIKS joint secretary, N K Shukla participated for two days in each jatha.


The second phase of jathas will start moving in the first week of June to cover the districts of south Bihar. These jathas will pass through thousands of villages, small towns and district headquarters, addressing hundreds of big and small meetings. They are part of preparation for a big rally of peasants and agricultural workers to be held at Patna on June 14, the day of martyrdom of Comrade Ajit Sarkar who was brutally killed by the goons of landlords on June 14, 1998 in Purnia town.


The main demands of this jatha are -implementation of the recommendations of D Bandhopadhya Committee report regarding registration and protection of share croppers, taking over and distributing ceiling surplus government waste land and Bhoodan land and allotting minimum ten decimal land for house sites to each of the landless. Besides demanding fare wages to agricultural workers, corruption free employment to each needy adult through MGNREGA and issuing BPL card to each needy poor were also demanded. Other demands include supply of proper seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, adequate power to peasants and opening of purchasing centers for all the major crops. These campaign jathas have aroused big expectations and awareness among the sharecroppers, landless, poor and marginal farmers, who are living in constant fear of eviction after vicious anti- poor campaign by the pro-landlord leaders of various non-left parties, who organised a so-called kisan mahapanchayat on May 9, in which representatives of landlords from all the known non-left parties of Bihar like, JDU,BJP,RJD,LJP and Congress participated.


It is to be recalled that the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, in order to hoodwink the poorer sections, appointed a committee headed by retired IAS, D Bandhopadhyaya to suggest measures on Bihar agrarian situation. Bandhopadhyaya submitted a report to the chief minister in which he has recommended the registration and protection of sharecroppers, who constitute one third of total agricultural workforce of Bihar. He also estimated that if ceiling is implemented properly and Bhoodan land and government waste lands are taken for distribution, then every landless of this state will get at least one acre land for cultivation and ten decimal land for house sites. It will decrease the migration of agricultural workers and will certainly boost the agriculture of Bihar. Besides, we are asking for help to small and middle farmers,  to provide cheap inputs, assured marketing facilities and proper crop insurance. But the chief minister neither presented the report to the cabinet nor to the assembly for approval or implementation. He has publicly announced that he is not going to implement the recommendations of D. Banhopadhyaya committee. While pro-landlord, non-left leaders of Bihar are creating a situation of fear and eviction for lakhs of sharecroppers who have no legal proof till today, these pro- landlord leaders are also trying to create confusion among the small and middle farmers and the employees, armymen, widows and others, as if they are going to loose their land once the sharecroppers are registered.


In this background, the Bihar state units of AIKS and AIAWU decided to take up the fight by mobilising the poor, sharecroppers and landless along with appealing the middle peasantry and middleclass, employees and other democratic sections for support. This decision was taken on March 31, in the state kisan council meeting held at Darbhanga, in the presence of S Ramachandran Pillai, national president of AIKS. Later the state unit of AIAWU also decided to participate in this campaign. Because of the threat from the leaders of the so-called kisan-mahapanchayat to the sharecroppers and because of the instigated attempts to mobilise middle class to attack the poor, landless and sharecroppers, the jatha campaign and agitation had become a must. Therefore, a state level joint convention was organised at Patna on May 12 last which was attended by hundreds of cadres and leaders from almost all the districts of Bihar and representatives of other sister organisations like CITU, DYFI, SFI, AIDWA, AILU, Employees’ organisations, cultural front activists and others. The AIAWU joint secretary, Suneet Chopra and the AIKS joint secretary N K Shukla represented the all India centre in this convention and pledged all the support from both the organisations in this big fight for the implementation of land reforms in Bihar, which is a must for the development of agriculture also in Bihar.


Now the cadre of both the AIKS and AIAWU have started moving from village to village listing the names of landless and sharecroppers and also of those landlords who are still holding illegally thousands of ceiling surplus and other government  lands. After the Patna rally of June 14, widespread struggles and direct actions are being planned which will pave the way for a new phase of land struggle in Bihar.