CPI-ML New Democracy, Land Struggles, Protests

Bihar : Landless & poor peasants resist armed feudal-goonda attack

bihar-map-1rxic0dKulhadia village of Durgawati thana, Kaimur district in Bihar is situated between the new four-lane highway (GT Road) and the grand chord railway line. A large portion of the land of the village was owned by Raghunath Singh a landlord of Benaras. In order to evade appropriation of the land by the Govt. under the land ceiling laws the landlord had got a part of the land (plot no 190) recorded in the name of temple deities (Shivji, Ganeshji) although their existed no temple or deities, this being the common practice at that time in Bihar. The physical possession of this plot of land has been in the hands of landless-poor peasant dalit families of the village for over 40 years who have been regularly tilling it. This landlord died childless and various disputes are continuing in the courts among his relatives for inheritance.

On 14 June 2013 at around 9 AM, Sudhakar Singh a BJP leader and son of Jagdanand Singh RJD MP from Buxar and a big feudal of Kaimur District along with a mob of over 100 feudals and their goondas, mainly from other areas and a few from the village, marched to the said plot of land along with 6 tractors and started to forcibly till the land. On seeing this, the landless and poor peasants of the village including women gathered and rushed to confront the encroachers. The feudal goondas mercilessly assaulted them with lathis and hockey sticks but the villagers bravely resisted for some time. But when the goondas resorted to firing the villagers were forced to retreat some distance.

By this time the SHO of Durgawati thana arrived with police force but instead of taking any action against the assailants, the police provided protection to them and the tilling continued under its supervision. Infuriated by the role of the police, the peasants rushed to the nearby highway and sat on a dharna on it completely blocking all traffic on the highway. Seeing the situation aggravating, on the advice of the local police the feudal goondas quietly slipped away. The peasants refused to discuss anything with the local police and the highway jam continued for over 3 hours. Ultimately when the district SP arrived and assured the peasants of police action against the assailants and FIR was recorded against Sudhakar Singh and the other feudals and goondas, the road jam was lifted.

At least 16 peasants including 8 women were seriously injured in the assault by the feudal goondas. At least 7 persons including one woman had gunshot injuries and almost all of them had severe lathi, hockey stick injuries. Two persons with head injuries and one with fractured leg were referred to B.H.U. for expert treatment.

CPI(ML)-New Democracy held protest demonstrations in Sasaram and Mohania and burnt effigies of the JD(U) state govt. on 16-6-2013. The RJD has remained silent on this major incident. The BJP has in the press declared that the said land is rightfully the property of the ‘Sone valley development foundation’ managed by Sudhakar Singh. It appears that this plot of land was surreptitiously mutated in the name of one Ajay Singh of Benaras and four of his brothers falsely shown as descendants of the deceased Raghunath Singh and then subsequently sold to Sudhakar Singh’s ‘foundation’. The blatant connivance of the state administrative machinery is obvious in this illegal land transfer because land recorded in the name of deities cannot be sold and cannot be used for any other purpose and no transfer proceedings can be undertaken by the administration without reference to the actual occupiers of the land. But in Bihar the complete subservience of the state machinery with feudals is a well known fact. However, despite all these odds the landless-poor peasants of the village are determined to defend their right to this land and are preparing to intensify the struggle. Aggression of feudals and land mafia on this and adjacent land is bound to intensify in the future because for them it is now not simply agricultural land but very high value commercial land being situated near the highway and with a cement factory having come up on the opposite side of the highway. Sudhakar Singh has already built a B.Ed. college near this disputed land and in fact this college was the place where his feudal goondas for this attack were first assembled together and preparations were made.