Nepal: Revolutionary Maoists say, we will defend the landless peasants’ land reform

[The Revolutionary Maoists led by Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya are leading the fight against the “establishment ‘Maoists'” (Bhattarai and Dahal/’Prachanda’) who have reneged on their revolutionary oath to landless peasants and Dalits and agreed to return the lands which had been seized from vicious, abusive, and absent landlords during the People’s War and were redistributed to peasant farmers. — Frontlines ed.]

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Kathmandu Post:  “Maoist row over returning property”

Revolutionary Maoists burning 7-point Agreement to return lands seized by landless peasants

KATHMANDU, NOV 07 – The Maoist hardline faction led by Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and party establishment camp are at odds over returning property seized or occupied by the party.

Return of property seized or occupied by the Maoists was one of the key points agreed to in the seven-point deal signed on November 1. The Baidya faction has, however, said it will resist every effort that is made to take away the land from the poor farmers and the landless.

A day after UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal issued a circular to the party’s lower organisations directing cadres to assist in the process of returning seized property, a gathering of the Baidya camp in the Capital on Sunday directed its activists to thwart the ‘takeover’.

“We will retaliate if anyone tries to take over the land from the farmers,” said Maheshwor Dahal, the Maoist central committee member of the Baidya faction.

The government should first come up with an alternative arrangement for the farmers and the landless, he said. The dispute over the return of property has also surfaced at the local level of the Maoists with the party’s hardline faction adamant on its refusal to go with what was agreed to in the seven-point agreement.

Hari Bahadur Gyawali, the Kailali district in-charge of the Maoists and a Baidya supporter, warned of ‘bloodshed’ if the authority tried removing the landless farmers and freed Kamaiya (bonded labourers) from their land.

“We captured land with orders from Pracha-nda and Baburam and distributed it to the landless and Kamaiyas. Now, we cannot throw those people out on the roads,” Gyawali said.

The establishment faction, meanwhile, has vowed to enforce the party’s central decision. “No one can stop the central directive. The land will be returned,” said Hari Bahadur Chaudhary, Maoist district secretary of the establishment side. Records at the District Administration Office showed that around 1,354 hectares of land of more than 200 people in Kailali is under Maoist control. The Baidya faction in Sankhuwasabha called a press conference on Monday and said seized property will not be returned unless the government comes up with an alternative for the current tenants.

“We are against the decision taken by the establishment side and we demand the agreement be scrapped immediately,” said Rajendra Karki, the Sankhuwasabha district joint-secretary of the Maoists. The Baidya team has said return of the seized land is possible only after a scientific land reform commission is formed to address the plight of the landless. In some parts of Dang, Maoist activists are accused of looting paddy from farmers. Janardan Sharma of Srigaun VDC-3 claimed that Maoist activists seized 33 quintals of paddy grown on his land four days ago.

According to the Maoist Victims’ Association, over 2,000 hectares of land in Dang is under Maoist control. The party is even taking away crops produced on the land.

“The Maoists are looting the produce from the farmers, while the authorities concerned are silent on the matter,” said Lokmani Giri of the association. The Bardiya local administration has started collecting data of the seized property. The Baidya faction has, however, warned it will not let the authorities take away the land distributed to the landless farmers.

As part of its plan to return such property to the rightful owners, the government is launching a campaign from Bardiya under the monitoring of Nepali Congress (NC) leader Krishna Prasad Situala and Maoist leader Suresh Singh.

The dispute within the Maoists, however, has not let the local administration create a favourable environment to return the property, said Sanjay Gautam, the NC district president.

(Reporting by Mohan Budhair and Ganesh Chaudhary in Kailali, Dipendra Shakya in Shankhuwasabha, Durgalal KC in Dang and Kamal Panthi in Bardiya)

Posted on: 2011-11-08 09:03

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