Red Flag will smash the demonic feudal forces in Runnisaidpur of Bihar

The ugly head of feudal oppression has yet again dared to raise its head in Bihar. The CPI (M) led agitation on the question of land which has now entered 7th day in the Runnisaidpur village of Sitamarhi district of Bihar was barbarically attacked by feudal goons at the behest of local police, the BDO and the circle inspector. This attack has left Binda Sahani and Angari Devi with serious burn injuries, while many other people have been injured as well.

The agitation is on the demand for the issue of pattas to the 316 landless families who have been occupying 10.7 acres of  ceiling surplus land for years now.  What is being witnessed in Runnisaidpur is the microsm of the land question in Bihar. This is the test case of the hypocrisy of the bourgeois-landlord order when it comes to the land question.  No step has been taken to implement land reforms in this state. According to the 1971 agricultural censuses, 17 lakh acres of land were estimated to be ceiling surplus in Bihar. But landlords used courts to obstruct the implementation of land reforms. Out of the 2000 cases pending in various courts, a majority are related to the landlords owning land above 200 acres.

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In Bihar, there are several big landlords like Maulchand (22,000 acres), Raghubansh Singh (19,000 acres), Hasibur Rahman (10,000 acres), and Ram Gulam Sahu (28,000 acres). As many as 416 landlords own, on an average, 785 acres each. Some 12,000 religious trusts and their “gods” own large tracts of land, more than one forth of which is under the illegal possession of landlords. Lakhs of acres of Bhoodan land are still under their possession.

According to article 5(I) (III) 07,72 of the Bihar Ceiling Surplus Land Act, district magistrates have the right to cancel the illegal (benami) transactions of land. But nowhere has this provision been used. Landless persons have the right to get the patta for their housesites, but they are being evicted from there. Sharecroppers, instead of getting a 75 percent share of the produce as per the act, are being continuously evicted.

 Bihar has a tradition of land struggles. Before independence, a number of land struggles were organised here in the 1930s and 1940s, under the banner of Bihar State Kisan Sabha, led by Swami Sahjanand Saraswati, Karyanand Sharma and others. After independence, struggles to protect the sharecroppers and for distribution of ceiling surplus and government land were organised in the 1960s and 1970s, though they could not be continued due to disruption by the reformist and sectarian elements.

In 1993, a joint convention organised by the mass organisations led by the CPI(M), CPI and CPI(ML) decided to initiate a land struggle. But the CPI deserted the movement while the CPI(ML) demanded “nationalisation of land” instead of its distribution and began to side with the landlords at many places to attack and kill our cadres. AIKS units, however, continued the land movement, capturing over 40,000 acres of land. More than 200 cadres were martyred in these struggles in the last 15 years.

The report of Bandyopadhyay  commission that says that there are 22 lakh acres of illegally possessed land in the hands of the landlords and their musclemen, has been put in cold storage. If these excess lands are distributed amongst the poor people, poverty can be eradicated to a greater extent.

CPI (M) has been taking organizational efforts in the last few years to give a new militancy to the land struggles in the state and the ongoing agitation has to be seen in that perspective. Let us be assured the red flag and the landless holding those red flags are going to smash the demonic fedual forces of Runnisaidpur and elsewhere too!

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