Eviction of Poor in Champaran

CPI(ML) Bihar State Secretary Kunal said on 3 December 2017 that the Nitish government is imposing the law from British times in Champaran. On the one hand he plays the hypocritical drama of a Champaran Satyagraha; on the other, he is hell bent on evicting the poor from the Betiya Raj land they have been settled on for over 30 years. So far 200 families have been displaced in Dolbagh (Betiya) following the Gandak river cutting and they are forced to live in the open in this bitterly cold season. The irony is that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is going to start his ‘Sameeksha Yatra’ on 7 December from this very Champaran. The government is forcibly evicting the poor from Bhoodaan land and is arguing that since the Land Reform Act had been passed, the land-owners had no right to give away their land in Bhoodaan. The government’s intent is to declare the Bhoodaan as illegal, snatch away the land from the poor and give it to capitalists and corporate houses.

A State level CPI(ML) team visited Betia on 2 December. The team consisted of MLA Mahboob Alam, Virendra Prasad Gupta and Umesh Singh. The enquiry team visited the Dolbagh area in Betiya where 200 families have so far been evicted and their homes razed. The team met and spoke to all the victim families and assured them that the CPI(ML) is with the poor in their struggles against this crime.

Com Mahboob Alam said that the poor are being evicted in that very Champaran which gave a new direction to the freedom struggle 70 years ago. This is a seriously criminal action and the people will give a fitting reply to the BJP and JD(U) for this crime. Even women protesting against the razing of their homes were brutally repressed by the police; children too were not spared. The Party condemns this repression.

It is well-known that a big portion of the 3.5 lakh acres of land in Betiya Raj is in the clutches of real estate, sugar, and indigo tycoons. There is a long standing demand that these lands should be acquired and distributed among the poor. But the Nitish government is today doing the very reverse. They are evicting the poor even from the small portions of land on which the poor have been settled and are handing the land over to capitalists. Apart from sugar mill and real estate owners, some of the lands are in the clutches of leaders from the BJP and Congress. While the land loot goes on, the government is giving the argument that it is merely the caretaker of the Betia Raj land and the Land Reform Act is not applicable here. That means, in effect, that the old British law will apply here! The government is bent on evicting around 8200 poor families in Motihari, Betiya, Bagaha, Majholiya, Madhopur Cantt and Madhubani Block . Notice has been issued to 4200 homes in Betiya, and the demolition of 1017 houses in the centre of the town has already started. Of these, 200 homes have already been razed despite the poor having settled in Dolbagh mohalla for more than 30 years. All of them have Adhaar cards; their names are on the voting list; some even have Indira Aawas.