Home > ML Update > Vol. 20, No. 15 > Land Rights Satyagraha in Bihar to Mark Champaran Satyagraha Centenary

Land Rights Satyagraha in Bihar to Mark Champaran Satyagraha Centenary

CPI(ML), AIARLA and Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) organised a state-wide Land Rights Week from 25-31 March 2017 to mark the Champaran Satyagraha centenary year.

The Bihar government is trying to end the inherent identity of Champaran and publicize it as a mere tourist attraction, whereas the centenary year of the Champaran Satyagraha which is an example of the historic fight of farmers against the British Raj and its atrocities The Nitish government is celebrating the anniversary of the Champaran Satyagraha but only after deleting the fundamental spirit and content of the Satyagraha. It is well known that the basic objective of the Champaran Satyagraha was freedom and land rights for farmers. The struggle that was fought then by Champaran peasants, still continues even today. It is the biggest irony of today that lakhs of families do not have land to live on, and more than 60% people are landless in Champaran. Nitish Kumar, following the footsteps of his predecessors, has washed his hands of land reform. Not only are the poor and dalits deprived of their right to thousands of acres of ceiling, bhoodaan and other such lands, but they are even being driven away from their ancestral lands.

In this situation the Champaran Satyagraha centenary is being remembered as the year of land reform agitations. The land reform Satyagraha week was organized with the demands: to implement land reform recommendations; 5 decimal housing land for all landless people; parchas to be given to poor who have settled on lands; new urban land ceiling law; all urban poor to be given housing land; stop eviction of poor without first making proper alternative arrangements; parchas for dalits and poor on dakhal-kabja lands; all forest dwellers to be given legal rights to lands as per forest land rights law; registration of and all government facilities for sharecroppers; stop eviction of Sikmi sharecroppers and give them their ancestral land rights.

The Satyagraha week underlined the importance of, and immense pain rendered to population by, incomplete land reforms in Bihar. More than 60,000 people participated in the Satyagraha, and 30,000 applications were submitted by them, once again emphasizing the importance of land reform.

The second phase of the Satyagraha will be carried out at the subdivision level from 2 to 8 May 2017 during which applications on land issues will be filled and submitted to the government. A 24 hour Satyagraha will be staged in front of the Champaran DM on 21-22 April 2017.

The All India Kisan Mahasabha will observe 10 May as Land Rights Day on the issue of farmers’ loan waivers and a Land Conservation Act instead of the Land Acquisition Act.