India: Maoist land reform for tribals and landless farmers

The Telegraph – Calcutta 

Wednesday , May 26 , 2010


Dharampur (West Midnapore), May 25: Maoists in Lalgarh have said they would distribute among the poor and landless the land and property belonging to CPM leaders and workers who have fled the area. 

A local Maoist leader said on Sunday that the rebels would resist if the administration tried to “hamper” their “land-reform initiative”.

“CPM leaders like Anuj Pandey (the zonal committee secretary of Binpur), whom we consider anti-people, have become rich by exploiting the poor. We have taken the decision (to distribute land and property) for the benefit of the tribals. We will fight back if the government tries to hamper our mission,” Ratan, a member of the Dharampur local committee of the CPI(Maoist), told The Telegraph.

The Naxalites are distributing leaflets, informing the residents of Lalgarh and Dharampur — where they plan to start the “mission” — about the move.

“These reactionaries (CPM leaders and workers in Lalgarh) are anti-people. They have fled their villages because of the people’s movement. We will have to take possession of their land and property and distribute them among landless farmers and day labourers. If there is not much land, then farming should be done by forming co-operatives,” the leaflet said.According to CPM sources, more than 50 party leaders, workers and supporters have fled their homes in Lalgarh and Dharampur in the past two years. In June last year, Maoists drove out Pandey from Dharampur and demolished his two-storey house.

Explaining the “new initiative” of the Maoists, Ratan said that while distributing land and other assets among the poor and the landless, they would “take into account their financial condition and daily earnings”.

“We will turn the ponds belonging to the escaped CPM leaders into fisheries, which will be run by co-operatives. We are creating a database of the land and other assets available,” Ratan added.

Pandey, who has taken refuge in Midnapore town, said he was helpless. “I have left everything behind. What can I do if they (the Maoists) take away my land and property?” he said.

West Midnapore superintendent of police Manoj Verma said the police would take action if the victims lodged complaints. “If we receive any complaint, we will register a case of trespassing against the offenders and initiate legal action. We can also start a suo motu case if we have enough evidence that land has been forcibly occupied,” he said.

Intelligence sources said they had informed the state government that Maoists from Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand had assembled at the Bhalukbasha forest, 30km from Lalgarh town, on Tuesday.

“A group of 42 armed Maoists has arrived at the Bhalukbasha forest. They are carrying explosives like gelatine sticks. We believe that they have come to either carry out a major operation or resist any attempts by the government to stop the Maoists’ initiative,” an intelligence official said.


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