People's Democracy

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


No. 05

February 3, 2013




BJP Goons Attempt To Murder CPI(M) Leader, Cadres


B Madhava


THE militant struggle, conducted by the CPI(M) in Arali in Ujire village of Belthangady taluk in Dakshina Kannada district, recently came to a conclusion when the party received an assurance from the assistant commissioner that surplus government land would be distributed among the homeless people, at the rate of 2.5 cents per family, under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Scheme.

However, when these poor people were, under the leadership of the CPI(M), continuing their occupation of the government land, a gang of around a dozen BJP goons brutally attacked B M Bhat, a member of the CPI(M) district secretariat, and two cadres on January 17, 2013. One of those thus attacked was a young lady comrade. 

One may note that as a part of the statewide agitations being conducted by the CPI(M) and by the mass organisations led by the party, a series of mobilisation campaigns demanding housesites for the poor were conducted in Belthangady taluk by the taluk committee of the CPI(M) over the last four years. However, the BJP government of Karnataka --- whose ministers as well as the former chief minister have been notorious for having grabbed hundreds of acres of government land and are facing criminal cases --- has not distributed even an inch of land to the poor homeless people of the state. 

It was in these circumstances that the CPI(M) launched in Belthangady a new phase of struggle in which 230 homeless people occupied 6.5 acres of government land at Arali on January 15, 2013. They built temporary huts on the land and stayed there day and night. The movement attracted wide publicity in the media. The assistant commissioner, who has the power to distribute housesites under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Scheme, then called the CPI(M) leaders and told them that the land occupied as a part of the agitation in Arali would be distributed expeditiously and urged the agitators to clear the occupation. Accordingly, the people removed their huts and started returning with a sense of pride for their struggle. But this was precisely the point when BJP goons suddenly appeared on the scene, stopped the car in which B M Bhat was travelling, pulled him out and assaulted him on his face. The repeated assaults were so severe that Bhat's face got badly swollen and he had to be hospitalised. Sumalatha, an 18 years old lady comrade, and the DYFIís taluk secretary Lawrence, who were travelling in the same car along with B M Bhat, were also brutally beaten up and had to be hospitalised.  

As per the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Scheme, the tehsildar of a taluk has to identify the surplus government land and hand it over to the taluk panchayat which would, in turn, pass it on to the gram panchayat. On its pat, the gram panchayat has to prepare a list of the people who have no housesites and distributes the land among them. In Belthangady taluk, according to the governmentís own list, there are more than 13,000 people who do not own any housesites. However, according to the information collected by the CPI(M)ís cadres, there are more than 30,000 people in this taluk who do not own any housesite. A year ago, the deputy commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district visited the Belthangady taluk, inspected the government lands most of which were encroached upon by the powerful local people, took steps to get the encroachments vacated and handed these lands over to the taluk panchayat for distribution among the poor people who do not own housesites. However, since nothing was done to distribute these lands as per the direction of the deputy commissioner, the CPI(M) restarted the recent phase of agitation to occupy the surplus government lands. 

As for the BJP goonsí attack on CPI(M) cadres, the partyís hypocrisy is evident from the fact, among other things, that while they refer to women as "mathas" (mothers), its goons had had no compunction in cruelly beating Sumalatha, a lady belonging to a scheduled tribe community. This physically fragile girl had hardly any strength to withstand the goons' attack. 

One of the assailants was caught by the CPI(M) cadre on the spot and handed over to the police, while others were absconding. The CPI(M) organised powerful protest demonstrations at Belthangady, Mangalore and other places in the state against the cowardly attack launched by the BJP goons. These protest actions demanded the arrest of all the culprits involved in the attack.

On its part, the CPI(M)ís Belthangady taluk committee has issued an ultimatum to the authorities to start the distribution of land before February 10, 2013, failing which the party would restart its agitation with still greater militancy. 

The CPI(M) has also pointed out the BJPís government in the state has dismally failed to do anything to give housesites to the homeless people. On the contrary, they could not tolerate the success of the CPI(M)'s struggle, which was why they attacked a CPI(M) leader and cadres out of desperation. One wonders whether the CPI(M)ís struggles in future will make them come to their senses.