Resolution on Agrarian and other Rural Struggles

6. In many places – Karbi Anglong in Assam, Sunderban in Bengal, and West Champaran in Bihar to take only three examples – people are also being evicted in the name of wildlife conservation, tiger projects and promotion of tourism (even as the number of tigers is steadily coming down, Valmiki Nagar in West Champaran had 54 tigers in 1997 and only 7 in 2010!).

7. Given the prohibitive political cost of state-led land acquisition, as exemplified most strikingly in the emphatic defeat of the CPI(M)-led Left Front government in West Bengal in the wake of the peasant resistance and popular outburst triggered by the events in Singur and Nandigram, the ruling classes have however become wary of the state playing a direct role in forcible land acquisition. The amended Land Acquisition Bill that has been approved by the UPA cabinet seeks to assign the main role in land acquisition directly to the corporate sector with the state playing the role of the facilitator with promises of better compensation. Instead of scrapping the infamous 1894 Land Acquisition Act and the SEZ Act 2005, the two Acts that have declared a veritable war on Indian agriculture and the land-dependent population, the government wants to promote corporate land-grab by giving a free hand to the land mafia, real estate barons and other corporate interests. The Robert Vadra-DLF deals in Haryana and Rajasthan and the land deals made in Maharashtra by the companies run by former BJP President Nitin Gadkari clearly indicate the extent of political patronage behind the ongoing ‘land rush’ at a time when capital is facing a deep and prolonged crisis in many key sectors of production.

8. To resist this ‘land rush’ and save agricultural land from the clutches of the corporate sector has emerged as a key agenda of the peasant movement across the country. Peasants are however not alone in this resistance – experience shows that struggles against land acquisition almost always tend to acquire a broad-based militant character. The Adivasi communities are also playing a heroic role in this resistance. In mineral-rich areas which are home to large sections of India’s adivasi population, land acquisition and mining loot have emerged as two sides of the same ugly coin of corporate plunder and predatory accumulation resulting in systematic displacement of adivasis from their hearth and home. The struggle for protection of agricultural land must therefore be waged in close collaboration with the anti-eviction struggles of the adivasi people with the land and mining mafia as the twin targets and the call for legal protection of agricultural land and forest land and nationalization of all mineral resources as the strategic demand to rally large sections of the working people in united struggles.

9. The task of protecting agricultural land and safeguarding
the rights of the agricultural and adivasi population must be taken up as an essential and integral part of the larger battle for a pro-people development strategy in opposition to the ongoing disastrous course of pro-corporate development that considers agriculture in general and small-peasant agriculture in particular as a dispensable liability. While developing active resistance to every case of forcible land acquisition in our areas of work, we must make all-out efforts to broaden and deepen our intervention in anti-acquisition struggles and forge close ties with the fighting people. In forests and adivasi-inhabited areas we must stand by the adivasis in resisting illegal land transfer and for strict enforcement of land-protection laws (for example the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act in Jharkhand) and the provisions of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

10. The state has virtually abandoned the agenda of redistributive land reforms. To pay lip-service to the agenda, the central and state governments occasionally set up commissions, but the reports of the commissions are soon consigned to the waste paper basket. The National Council for Land Reforms set up in January 2008 under the leadership of the Prime Minister held not a single meeting till late 2012 and the recommendations made by the Committee on State Agrarian Relations and the Unfinished Task in Land Reforms continue to gather dust. In Bihar, the Nitish Kumar government shied away from implementing even the minimal recommendations made