The Shaheed Mela (Martyrs’ Fair) in memory of the martyrs of 1942 Quit India Movement was organised at Lasarhi in Bhojpur on 15 September. This is annual fair held every year at the Martyrs’ Memorial which was erected with the efforts of comrade Ramnaresh Ram to carry forward the legacy and spirit of the freedom movement. Thousands of people, men, women and children, as well as CPI(ML) activists came to the Mela to pay tribute to the martyrs and to pledge to carry forward their legacy. CPI(ML) Central Committee member comrade Nand Kishore Prasad hoisted the tricolour on this occasion followed by a two-minute silence and floral tributes to the statues of the martyrs by all attendees.

This year the Mela was inaugurated by CPI(ML) Politburo member Swadesh Bhattacharya who said that the land of Bhojpur is a land of struggles and martyrdoms. People in this region, men and women, actively participated in the freedom struggles since 1857. They also laid their lives in 1942 for a democratic and free country and their struggle continues even today against feudal oppression and every kind of inequality. This legacy was reflected in the struggles and lives of comrades like Ramnaresh Ram. Today this same struggle is being fought against those who betrayed the freedom movement and who unfortunately have been brought to the seat of power through the backdoor by Nitish Kumar. Today’s government in Bihar is working against the interests of workers, peasants, women, dalits and students-youth endangering democracy and quest for an egalitarian society. Those who brokered with the British colonial rulers have now become brokers of corporate fascist forces. We need to fight to defend every democratic right be it the issue of land or agriculture, or education or health, or be it our right to freedom of speech or any other democratic right in every village and every panchayat. This is the only way we can carry forward the legacy of our martyrs.

Comrade Sudama Prasad, CPI(ML) MLA in Bihar, cautioned against growing communal tension in all regions of Bihar and called upon to resist every effort and conspiracy by fascist forces to create communal riots in the coming festival season. He hailed the struggles of the peasant martyrs of Lasarhi and called upon the distraught farmers to fight against the anti-peasant policies of the government.

JNU Students Union ex-General Secretary Chintu Kumari and Youth leader Ajit Kushwaha pledged to intensify the struggle for freedom of speech and for people’s democratic right to dissent. They condemned the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh and said that fascists’ bullets strengthen our resolve for treading the path of martyrs for a true democratic society. They hailed the recent victory of united left in JNU and the farmers struggles in many parts of the country.

Revolutionary Youth Association leader Manoj Manzil said that same forces who betrayed in 1942 are now attacking on the dignity of poor-dalit-deprived people, on the struggle for ceiling surplus land, education as well as other basic demands. The people in power are the proponents of an unequal and exploitative society and they must be defeated.

CPI(ML) leader Quyamuddin Ansari reminded all of the glorious legacy as well as the struggles led by comrade Ramnaresh Ram. Youth leader Raju Yadav also addressed the meeting.
Jan Sanskriti Manch Bihar Secretary Sudhir Suman addressed the Shaheed Mela where he called upon to strengthen the people’s unity against the admirers of Hitler and Mussolini in India. These forces are engaged in spreading false rumours, communal frenzy and killings of innocents while at the same they are looting the natural resources and public treasury as well. Veteran leaders Siddhanath Ram and Upendra Yadav also addressed the meeting which was presided over by comrade Vimal Yadav.