CPM leader gunned down by forest mafia in Mirzapur of UP
CPI (M) leader Comrade Himmat Kol has been gunned down by forest Mafia in Halia of Mirzapur district, UP. His blood soaked body was found in a forest stream. He was also the leader of the Agricultural Workers Union in the region.
Himmat Kol was instrumental in developing the movement of the Party against the encroachment of the forest land by the mafia and for protecting the land & livelihood of the forest dwellers. This murder shows the connivance between the forest mafia, forest guards,the police and the ruling class’ politicians.
Himmat Kol was sitting participating in the ‘Durga Puja’ function of his village, when he got call from an unknown person. He left the venue and was not seen after that until his body was found in the forest stream by one of the villagers, a day later.
The Mirzapur district has large tracts of forests which merge with the Terai region and have been a target of forest mafia. These forests are important not only from the point of view of the timber and other products, but also because it lies on an important strategic point on the India-Nepal border and is routinely used by smugglers as well.
Forest rights Act is being routinely violated in the region. Further, the forest department and the police use most inhuman forms of exploitation to evict adivasis from the forest land. The Van Samitis (Forest Committees) have not been democratically constituted, because of which the adivasis are deprived of the right to forest land claim. The Allahabad High Court has directed that Van Samitis should be formed and said that the Gram Sabhas, Van Samitis and administration should ensure proper disposal of forest rights claims. In a verdict of 24 November, 2017 the High Court has stayed the displacement of people living in forest areas. The Supreme Court has issued a clear directive that nobody can be displaced without first making proper rehabilitation arrangements.
(The lady with the red shawl is Comrade Chinta and sitting just behind her is Comrade Himmat Kol.)
Comrade Himmat Kol was the leader of the adivasis who are fighting this regime of looters. He had to pay with his life for the fact that he spent almost four decades of his life in the people’s struggle for land,livelihood and dignity.The only tribute to Comrade Himmat Kol can be in intensifying the struggle for which he gave away his life. And, the adivasis of Mirzapur shall do this indeed!
Comrade Himmat Kol Ko Lal Salaam!
Comrade Himmat Kol Amar Rahein!