People's Democracy

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


No. 46

November 13, 2011




Kisan Tehreek Holds Sixth State Conference


      G N Malik


THE Jammu & Kashmir Kisan Tehreek, an affiliate of the All India Kisan Sabha, held its two-day sixth state conference at Khanabal (Anantnag, Kashmir) on October 29 and 30. The venue was chosen in view of the importance of South Kashmir in the history of peasant struggles in the state during and immediately after the autocratic rule of the Maharaja and his feudal chiefs.


The conference began with a big public rally on October 29 morning, at Dak Bungalow in Khanabal, with a number of prominent kisan leaders and the Kisan Tehreek’s state president and general secretary addressing it. M Afzal, the Tehreek’s Kashmir region secretary, underscored the importance of the kisan movement in Jammu & Kashmir and highlighted the role of small and marginal peasants in the overall transformation of society. Abdul Hamid Wani, a senior leader of the organisation, described the kisan struggles in the state. He asserted that despite some setbacks the ongoing struggle of the working class alone could help in the uplift of the peasantry and enable them to live a dignified life.


The Tehreek’s state general secretary, Malik Ghulam Nabi, underlined the challenges before the peasant community in the country and especially in J&K. He alleged that solutions and remedies proposed by the government for the problems facing the peasants are in practice proving counterproductive and against the interests of the poor and marginal peasants.


Nurul-Hudda, a national level kisan leader, severally criticised the neo-liberal economic policies of the UPA government, saying that these policies aim to favour the corporate sector and big business at the cost of the common peasants and other toiling masses. He further stressed that small and marginal peasants cannot hope to gain anything substantial from the policies of the present central government.


Accusing the successive governments of disappointing the peasant community in J&K, the speakers cautioned that the state could witness strong protests if the peasants continued to be deprived of their rights. They deplored that despite the much publicised economic growth in the country, the poor and especially the small peasants have become poorer and their condition is getting miserable. “If the situation continues to be like that, the day is not far off when the peasants will come to the streets to fight for their rights,” they emphasised.


Sham Prassad, a senior trade union leader from Jammu region, greeted the participants and highlighted some specific problems facing the poor peasants.


Mohd Yousuf Tarigami, a well known trade union leader of the state and an MLA, also addressed the rally, deploring the attitude of the government vis-a-vis peasantry and other working masses. He said even the theoretically peasant friendly schemes of the central government have failed to benefit the peasants who are facing great odds. This he said is mainly due to poor implementation of these schemes. “The schemes are formulated but are never implemented on ground,” he added. When the peasants make a demand for meagre subsidies, the government says it has no money to concede it. The same government, however, never rethinks when it comes to increasing the salaries and perks of the ministers, and thus adding to the huge unproductive expenditures. At the same time, corruption is at its peak in the state, he said, adding that a common man cannot get even a ration card without giving a bribe. “Even in the case of centrally sponsored schemes like the NREGA, a villager has to pay a bribe in order to get a job card.” Tarigami strongly advocated the withdrawal of AFSPA from the state, adding that various political parties and the government are enacting an unnecessary drama and politicising an issue which is essentially human.


Kishore Kumar, president of the J&K Kisan Tehreek, concluded the open session by thanking the participants for attending the rally during a very busy harvest season and some trying circumstances. He expressed the hope that the kisan movement would strike deep roots in J&K and launch an organised result oriented struggle in the coming days.


The delegates session of the conference started in the afternoon, with 210 delegates and observers from 14 out of 22 districts of the state participating. Nurul-Hudda inaugurated the session while Malik Ghulam Nabi presented the general secretary’s report. The presidential address was read by senior leader Abdul Hamid Wani. Twenty delegates took part in the discussion on the general secretary’s report. The conference adopted ten resolutions, including those on universalisation of PDS, human rights violations, strengthening of the panchayati raj institutions, land acquisitions, and redressal of problems of Gujjars and Bakarwals.


The report was unanimously adopted on October 30, after the reply by the general secretary. The conference elected a 45 member state working committee with Kishore Kumar as president, Malik Ghulam Nabi as general secretary and Ghulam Rassol Ghanai as its treasurer.


In his concluding address, M Y Tarigami emphasised the importance of building a strong kisan movement in J&K. He stressed that a vigorous kisan movement would create a favourable atmosphere for the genuine democratic movement in the state.