Adhikar Yatra for Social Justice and Rights

Towards the Adhikar Rally on 19 February called by the CPI (ML) Bihar State unit, Adhikar Yatras are being organized across Bihar between 11 and 17 February. The Yatra includes street meetings, marches, and village meetings to disseminate the Rally’s slogans and agenda. The main Yatra started from Beguserai on 11 February led by Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, Dhirendra Jha, Rameshwar Prasad, Prabhat Kumar Choudhury, Shiv Prakash Ranjan (AISA), Suraj Kumar Singh (Insaf Manch) and other leaders. Hirawal convener Santosh Jha and people’s poet Nirmohi Ji are also participating in the Yatra.

The Yatra began at Beguserai where 5 Left leaders including three from the CPI (ML) were killed by feudal criminals. Addressing the public meeting at Begusarai on 11 February, Comrade Dipankar spoke about the havoc wreaked by the Note Ban on the poor and working class across the country, who have lost their livelihoods and jobs. At the same time, he said, Bihar is daily witnessing incidents of social oppression even as the Modi and Nitish governments are singing a duet praising each other’s Note Ban and Liquor Ban. Mahadalits and minorities are being targeted; mahadalits are being evicted from their lands, but the Chief Minister pretends to be unaware and the Opposition BJP is lending implicit support within the Assembly. In these circumstances it is the CPI (ML) which will play the role of a strong and meaningful Opposition.

The Yatra then proceeded to Baliya where Comrades Dipankar and Meena Tiwari addressed the meeting; from Balliya it went on to Khagariya where AIARLA President Comrade Rameshwar Prasad addressed the meeting. On 12 February the Yatra reached Bhagalpur where the speakers demanded punishment for the perpetrators of the Arariya killings, the Bhagalpur lathi-charge, the Hajipur gang rape and murder of Dika Kumari, the brutal rape of a minor girl of a minority community in Govindpur, and the burning of a basti in Teentenga in Rangra block. Tributes were paid to Bhagat Singh at Tilaka Manjhi Chowk.

The Yatra then proceeded to Naugachhiya where meetings were organized at Tetri Jiromail and Rangra chowk. Next, the Yatra reached Katihar where a large meeting was organized at Kursela attended by dalits, poor, and adivasis in large numbers and addressed by Com Mahboob Alam. A Sabha at Manihari was attended by adivasis with their traditional weapons. A Press Conference was also held at Katihar.

The Yatra reached Purnea on 13 February and paid tribute at the statue of Com Ajit Sarkar and then proceeded to Arariya district, receiving a huge welcome in Arariya town. Jan Sabhas (meetings) were organized at Bhajanpur, Forbesganj, Rahariya, Pethiya and other villages. Martyr Com Kamleshwari Rishidev’s wife Rekha addressed the Rahariya meeting and said that by murdering our comrades our voices cannot be silenced. Party leaders met the family members of Com Satyanarayan Singh Yadav in Pethiya. Com Dipankar said that the Nitish government’s claims of social justice were false and hollow; otherwise why have they not arrested the culprits of the Rahariya killings? Adivasi Raju Hansda was beaten to death in the Kishangarh thana; a dalit girl was raped and murdered in Eastern Champaran; Ram Pravesh Ram and Garho Paswan, fighting for ceiling land rights in Beguserai, were killed by goons associated with the JD (U); but none of these killers have been arrested yet. In the last 5 years dozens of poor and mahadalits have been killed in Bihar, but the government is not acting against them. The truth is that the claims of social justice are only a pretense; the reality is the reverse.

After Arariya the Yatra proceeded from Triveniganj and Madhepura (Supoul) and reached Saharsa where they were received by Party leaders and a large number of people. A march was taken out from Thana Chowk to Kahra Kuti. A meeting was organized at Purikh where dominant forces had recently killed two mahadalits. The meeting was addressed by the wives of martyred comrades Vakil Ram and Chano Ram and their injured brother and nephew, AISA leader Comrade Shivprakash and others, all of whom stressed the need to fight for justice.

On the fifth day the Adhikar Yatra visited the ongoing agitation against the disastrous Baghmati project at Benibad, Muzaffarpur. The hunger fast of the protesters was withdrawn on that day – the 9th day of the indefinite fast – following an administrative assurance to stop construction work on the project. The Adhikar Yatra then held meetings at Tikapatti, Dekuli and Supaul Bazaar in Darbhanga where people are fighting to defend their land and shelter rights.

On the 6th day the Adhikar Yatra reached Dika Kumari’s village Fetehpur Kasturi in Muzaffarpur, where a large gathering of villagers including Dika’s mother Kusmi Devi welcomed the Yatra, and Aftab Alam of Insaf Manch as well as CPI(ML) leaders addressed a public meeting.

The Yatra will arrive in the Bihar capital Patna on 17 February where a massive public meeting will be held at Kankarbag Tempo Stand, after which the Yatra will end with garlanding of statues of Dr Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh.