Struggle for Land in West Champaran

CPIML has demanded from the Bihar Government to hold a week-long special Assembly session on the question of land redistribution. The party has criticised the government for holding a nominal session in the name of ‘Land Revenue and Land Reforms’ in the Assembly which was nothing more than a mere cover-up for the tacit protection being given to the land mafia, criminals and corporate companies trying to capture lands on various pretexts.

In W. Champaran district CPIML held protests in many centers including Bagaha, Narkatiyaganj, Mainatand and Sikata on 9 July with above demands and sent memoranda to the CM through these protests.

In this part of Bihar poor are facing threats of eviction from the lands which are under their occupation since more that three decades. Such lands come under ceiling, benami and government allotted categories. The land mafia in connivance with district administration, judiciary and the government trying to displace poor farmers and landless from their homes.

When the government is trying to dilute the land question through a token session in Assembly which was scheduled for 9 July, the poor peasants and common villagers asserted vehemently for their land rights as well as against the corporate mafiadom and came out in thousands in these Bhumi Adhikar Marches (March for Land Rights) to make the state government listen to their just demands.

According to report of the Land Commission there are 137000 acres of land in Bihar under illegal occupation of the mafia and feudal forces. Besides there are many feudal Estates which still enjoy thousands of acres of lands. The Harinagar Sugar Mills illegally has captured about 5000 acres of land. The government attitude remains anti-people and pro-mafia which again was evident in case of one erstwhile ruler of Ramnagar against whom Patna High Court had passed an order to give possession of land to poor landless but the district administration is sitting idle over the order since more than six months. However, same administration never sits silently when it comes to poor who assert their land rights. In Chiuntaha village of Mainatand block administration and criminals both are hand in gloves for displacing poor families from the lands their possession. The officials conniving with the criminals to the extent of giving them fake documents, doing illegal registrations of lands, wrongly interpreting court orders, and imposing false cases on hundreds of landless poor. The same administration has arrested Paras Mahato, a popular leader of poor peasants and adivasis in Bagaha block. He is now being evicted from his own ancestral land because he fights for the poor. In this area the Forest Rights Act has been rendered ineffective by the Tiger Reserve Project with the intention of displacing thousands of Adivasis from their traditional lands.

In another incident the administration has given eviction notices to the inhabitants of Shivpuri mohalla in Balmikinagar without any alternative arrangements despite the fact that the government can easily allot homestead lands to all evictees. There are thousands of families living on the land which was earlier owned by erstwhile rulers of Bettiah, after generations had passed these families still not been given land titles, making them further insecure and vulnerable to future evictions.

The CPIML through these Bhumi Adhikar Marches has also demanded to constitute a Champaran Land Tribunal to resolve land disputes.