Land Struggle in Palamu District

Dominant and anti-social elements had forcibly captured the petrol pump land near Daltonganj taken on lease by Shahpur resident Divya Bharti. In spite of the Palamu District Deputy Commissioner twice issuing NOC and demarcation by Chainpur CO, the dominant section criminals refused to vacate and Divya Bharti could not take possession of the land. Divya’s father Ramlagan Bhagat who was an advocate is no more and Divya is a student at JNU. Divya sat on an indefinite hunger strike from 21 March 2017 in front of the Collectorate demanding possession of the land. AISA and CPI (ML) activists started mobilizing support for her and against the feudal-dominant criminals and a strong message on this issue went among the dalits and workers. The whole town was asking the question that when NOC and demarcation have been done, why is possession of the land not being given to Divya? The electronic media ‘Johar Palamu’ gave regular coverage to the hunger strike. Even then the Deputy Commissioner took no initiative in the matter.

On 27 March, the 7th day of the hunger strike, the entire CPI (ML) Garhwa district committee led by comrades Kalicharan Mehta, Sushma Mehta and Kishore Kumar joined the hunger strike. Angry protests were held at the office of the Deputy Commissioner on a 7-point charter of demands including possession of the land for Divya and a resolution of the widespread land issues in the district. Thus, through the AISA-CPI (ML) protests, a strong public pressure was built and finally on the evening of 29 March a representative of the Deputy Commissioner came to the spot and gave the assurance that Divya would be given possession of the land, after which Divya partook of juice and broke her hunger strike. Thus, an impressive victory was scored in the matter of obtaining possession of land. This struggle further establishes AISA-CPI (ML) as a strong champion of land rights. The issue is also seen as the victory of dalits against feudal powers.