CPI(ML) teams visited Badkagaon several times since the massacre and have exposed the facts. Agitations are ongoing, demanding justice and accountability from the State Government that is grabbing land from the poor at gunpoint.
On October 1, the 16th day of the ‘Kafan Satyagraha’ (Shroud Satyagraha) by farmers, the police attacked sleeping protesters including women and children at the dharna site at 3 am. The protesters fled in panic, with the police firing in the air and brutally lathi charging the protesters, who fled towards nearby villages of Chirudih, Dandikala, Churchu, Sanbarsha, and Kanki Dandikala. The police entered the villages, continuing to spread terror, breaking down doors and entering homes to beat up people and uttering abusive threats. In the face of this terror, some of the villagers and protesters defended themselves with sticks and stones. At dawn, the police sought to preempt the likelihood of a massive protest, by firing randomly on the people at the CO’s order. Three teenage schoolboys and a tailor were killed in the firing. There are rumours of more deaths but only four bodies could be found. 72 are injured, many severely.
There has been a movement since 2004 in Badkagaon and Hazaribagh district against land grab for the NTPC project. The project involves forcible acquisition of 767 acres of raiyyati land and 30.12 acres of government gair mazarua land. The land has been given to NTPC for a 30 year lease for Rs 70000 per month. The 767 acres of raiyyati land is multi-crop land, which is extremely fertile and supports at least three crops every year. This land is being forcibly acquired, without any consideration for taking consent from farmers, nor for due compensation, or for provision of alternate land or livelihood. Farmers are demanding that forced land grab be stopped – no acquisition without consent; and even where land acquisition takes place, it must be according to the 2012 law.
The Badkagaon and Gola firings are not random excesses by the police. They are part of a concerted plan by the Raghubar and Modi Governments to unleash intensified repression on people’s movements and dilute laws to appease corporations. The movement against land grab in Godda for an Adani power house is growing, and the Badkagaon and Gola firings are intended to have a chilling effect on the movement in Godda and elsewhere in Jharkhand.
In the past months the Raghubar Government has sought to evict thousands of adivasis, dalits and poor people of Jharkhand from Government gair mazurua lands. The Government attempted to impose a new domicile policy, that would dilute the rights of Jharkhandis to land and livelihood. The Raghubar Government has also attempted to pass ordinances to subvert Jharkhand’s tenancy Acts – the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1949. The ordinances proposed to allow diversion of urban and rural lands of ST/SCs and OBCs for commercial use by corporates, real estate brokers and so on. Shamefully, the CM Raghubar Das tried to use communalism to tarnish the protests against this brazen dilution of Jharkhandi people’s rights – he recently declared that protests against the ordinances amending CNT and SPT Acts were sponsored by Christians!
The PMO has also given orders that the civil administration must follow para military orders in Pakri Barwadih (Badkagaon) – a violation of civil liberties and imposition of undeclared Emergency to suppress protests.
In protest against the Badkagaon firing, the CPI(ML) held a protest march and burnt the CM’s effigy on 2 October in Ranchi. On October 3, protests were held in all districts in the State. On the same day, CCM Shubhendu Sen, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav, Dayamani Barla, Xavier Kujur, Pacchu Rana, Baijnath Mistri and others took a fact finding team to Badkagaon and met the victims’ families and injured persons. The CPI(ML) team was joined by CPI and CPI(M) teams that held a press conference jointly after the visit. At the Press Conference, a call was given for Justice Marches to be held all over the State on 5 October against the massacre, with the slogan ‘Give Us Justice Or Give Us Jail,’ and ‘Raghubar Das Must Resign.’
Meanwhile the police and para military continued to unleash terror on villages and violently evict villagers, preventing journalists from covering the violence. Defying the imposition of a ‘ban’ on visits, a CPI(ML) team comprising Shubhendu Sen, Javed Islam and Xavier Kujur once more visited the area along with teams of other Left and Opposition parties. They were prevented from visiting the affected area but sat on a dharna at the spot where they were stopped.
On 5 October, spirited protests were held at district headquarters all over the state demanding resignation of Raghubar Das and warning ‘Appeasement of Corporates and Betrayal of Jharkhandis Won’t Be Allowed!’ On 17 October, Left parties and Opposition parties have planned a Badkagaon March and Sankalp Sabha (Pledge Taking Public Meeting.)
Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch (JSM) held a protest programme on 5 October at Albert Ekka Chowk asking ‘Whose blood was shed?’ and ‘Why are we getting corpses instead of the promised ‘good days’?’ Filmmaker Shriprakash, Shekhar from Samvad, Prof Mithilesh of Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, MZ Khan of Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, Xavier Kujur of Jharkhand JSM, Gautam Singh Munda, Soni Tiriya of women’s cultural team Prerna, young social activist Josephina Panna, RYA’s Jagmohan Mahto, Saba Parveen and Navreen of AISA and many others participated in the event, which was conducted by Anil Anshuman of JSM. Posters with lines of poetry were displayed at the event.