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Home > ML Update > Vol. 20, No. 17 > Victory for People’s Movement: Mahadalits Build Huts

Victory for People’s Movement: Mahadalits Build Huts

Attacks on the poor, mahadalits, landless, workers, farmers, education, and social justice have increased in Bihar over the last 27 years. When the Nitish government first came to power, they promised social justice and justice with development, created a new ‘mahadalit’ section and a Mahadalit Commission, and constituted the Bandopadhyay Commission for land reforms. The mahadalits and poor thought they would be brought into the ambit of development and would at last get their rights. But what has actually happened is the exact inverse.

The land reform commission recommendations included 10 decimal land for the landless, bhoodan, ceiling, and homestead, land for parcha holders, parchas for those already settled in such lands, and possession for parcha holders. But in reality JD(U)-RJD supported feudal dominant sections recapturing these lands by intimidating and attacking the poor and mahadalits and destroying their hutments while the government and administration are either mute spectators or openly aiding and abetting these feudal goons. The CPI (ML) being the party which supports the landless and the mahadalits, their leaders are either being slapped with false cases or murdered.

In this series of forcible land capture, feudal dominant sections set fire to Munshi Musahar’s house in Banauli village, Agiaon block, Bhojpur district, on 22 February 2017 in the daytime when the men had gone out to work and the women and children were gathering fish at the pond. Guput Rai and his sons torched Munshi’s home and cut down 5 mango trees on the excuse that the Musahar huts faced his (Guput Rai) farm lands. It is to be noted that the Musahar families have been settled on this Bihar government land for the past 50 years.

On getting the information, Munshi and the other musahars went to Narayanpur thana to register an FIR but the police refused to do so and Guput Rai threatened Munshi with death if he filed a case. When CPI (ML) leaders got the information, Manoj Manzil and other leaders went to the thana. Under pressure the police finally had to register a case against Guput Rai and his sons on 24 February. On 25 February Munshi Musahar, aided by Party leaders rebuilt his hut in the same place where it had been burnt down. A protest meeting was then held at the spot attended by hundreds of local people.

Within one month, another such incident took place in the same block. The mud huts of Narayan, Fagu, Narad, Shivdhari, Binod, Sanjay, and Dular in Agiaon musahari were razed with JCBs by feudal dominant sections. Very soon material (earth) was brought from the BJP MP’s fund and a brick road was built on the spot. The mahadalits appealed to the DM and CM but got no justice and they, along with their women and children, were left homeless. On 1 April the CPI (ML) blockaded the Agiaon-Gadhani main road for 8 hours. Under pressure, the BDO, CO and DCLR came for talks and assured the people that their huts would be rebuilt, the earth from the new road would be utilized for making their new homes, victim would get compensation and Indira Awas, 120 musahar families settled in Kharaicha Musahari would get parchas and action would be taken on the errant officers.

On 2 April the mahadalit families led by Manoj Manzil and other leaders dug up the newly built road (built on 20 bighas of land with the intention of grabbing the land) and used the earth and bricks to rebuild their huts. A total of 17 mahadalit families built their huts here. Panicking in the face of this agitation and its success, the administration has registered FIRs against Manoj Manzil, Raghuvar Paswan and others. It is to be noted that in the same panchayat, for lack of parchas in Kharaicha Musahari, RJD MLA Arun Singh and his goons have captured the land from 3 sides. Therefore, people from both the Musaharis participated in the agitation and demanded parchas. The DCLR has admitted the legitimacy of their demand and promised that parchas will be given within one week.

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