People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXVII

No. 01

January 06, 2013

 

 

 

Historic Land Struggle Begins in Kerala

Thousands Enter the Surplus Land

 

N S Sajith

 

AMID thunderous slogans of the sons and daughters of the soil and the fluttering red flags, hundreds of volunteers entered on January 1 the surplus lands in every district of Kerala, marking the beginning of a historic land struggle. All the 14 districts of the state witnessed on the day massive mobilisation of people who raised slogans in favour of distribution of land among the landless, protection of the Land Reform Act and protection of the paddy fields.

 

One may note that selected volunteers are to be deputed for the land struggle every day.

 

On the day, Bhoosamrakshana Samiti (Committee for Land Protection),  comprising the Adivasi Kshema Sabha, Pattika Jathi Kshema Sabha, Kisan Sabha and Agriculture Workers Union, announced that its volunteers were ready to go to prison and face other hardships as and when necessary. However, it was the Kerala Police that backed out, and refrained from arresting the volunteers.

 

It was exactly 43 years ago when the CPI(M) had launched a land struggle in Kerala under the leadership of late Comrade A K Gopalan. Commemorating that very struggle, which gave land right to lakhs of landless in the state, people came out in large numbers on January 1 to launch a second version of the land struggle. On the day, 250 volunteers accompanied by thousands of people entered the surplus land.

 

The Bhoosamrakshana Samiti has declared that every day a hundred volunteers will enter the surplus land. The Samiti has also declared that in case the government failed to distribute the surplus land by January 10, it would construct huts on the occupied lands.

 

At Vadakkekkalam in Thrissur district, CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan led the struggle. Thousands of people under the leadership of former assembly speaker and Pattika Jathi Kshema Sabha president K Radhakrishan entered the lands here. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan inaugurated the struggle at Kadamakkudi in Eranakulam district. All India Agricultural Workers Unionís leader A Vijayraghavan inaugurated the struggle in Thiruvananthapuram. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and state committee member M Vijayakumar led the struggles in Eranakulam and Thiruvananthapuram respectively. Central Committee members P K Gurdasan and Dr Thomas Isaac inaugurated in Kollam and Pathanamthitta.  At Pathananamthitta, volunteers put up red flag on a piece of land that was proposed for a private airport. Central Committee members Paloli Muhammed Kutti, P Karunakaran, Vaikom Vishwan, M C Josephine and K K Shailaja and state secretariat member Baby John led the struggle in other districts.

 

NEW CHAPTER IN

LAND STRUGGLE

Organised under the banner of Bhoosamrakshana Samiti, the people of Kerala are now set to begin a new chapter in the struggle for land rights.  The Samiti has identified and selected one lakh volunteers for entering the surplus lands all over the state. 

 

From January 10 onwards, the occupied lands will be distributed among the landless people in every area and small huts will be constructed thereupon. The Bhoosamrakshana Samiti is a joint platform of the Kerala Karshaka Aamgham (Kerala Kisan Sabha), Kerala Karshaka Thozhilali Union (Agricultural Workers Union), Adivasi Kshema Samiti (Tribal Development Council) and Pattika Jati Kshema Samiti (Dalit Development Council)

 

The surplus lands in every district have already been identified by the Bhoosamrakshana Samiti. The current phase of land struggle is aimed at distribution of the surplus lands among the landless people and protection of the paddy fields. Every day a fixed number of selected volunteers will enter the surplus lands identified in various districts. The Samiti has also decided to stage court arrest actions everyday and the volunteers, if arrested, would go to jail without seeking bail.

 

One may note that in Kerala no one can hold a plot of more than 15 acres, though plantations are exempted from this limit. 

 

Some of the leaders who will lead the struggles are as below --- Pinarayi Vijayan in Vadakkekkala estate in Thrissur district, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at Paravoor-Padannakkad in Eranakulam district; P Karunakaran in Kasargode,,  Paloli Muhammad Kutty in Malappuram, K K Shailaja in Wayanad, state secretariat member V V Dakshinamurthi in Kozhikode and Elamaram Kareem in Kannur, among others.