Land Struggle in Kerala Takes Decisive Step Forward

Communist Party of India

(Marxist-Leninist)

Central Committee

R-8, Pratap Market, Jungpura-B, New Delhi – 110014, Phone: (011) 24370233

General Secretary : Comrade Kanu Sanyal

Secretary, Party Centre : Comrade K.N. Ramachandran 

Press Statement

Land Struggle in Kerala

 Takes Decisive Step Forward

After the occupation of nearly 6000 acres of land by thousands of landless, agricultural workers families in Kerala in Wynad, Kannur and Pathanamthitta districts already, the land struggle has taken a decisive step forward when nearly 1000 adivasi, dalit and other landless families, under the leadership of Land Struggle Committee led by CPI(ML), occupied about 500 acres of land under illegal custody of Harrison Malayalam Limited (HML) now owned by Goyenkas in Meppadi village of Wynad from 24th January. Preparations are going on for mobilising the landless and to occupy agricultural land in other districts also with the slogan “land to the tillers”. 100 members of 50 landless families were arrested in Kollam district when they were trying to occupy Tenmala estate of HML on 27th January.After publishing an agrarian struggle programme demanding distribution of government land, surplus land, vested forest land, land illegally occupied by plantation owners, land held by plantations after the lease period was over, land illegally transferred by plantations, paddy land left uncultivated and land under the custody of land mafias, etc. amounting to more than 10 lakhs acres, organising campaigns all over the state and submitting memorandum to the state government, CPI(ML) organised land struggle committees mobilising thousands of Adivasi, dalit and other landless and agricultural workers families in different districts. Now the struggle for occupation of land is started.Though Kerala Land Reform Act came to existence in 1973, only a small part of the 4 lakh acres of surplus land was distributed to the landless. Similarly, though Adivasi Land Protection Act was promulgated by central government in 1975, the alienated lands were not restored to Adivasis. In the decades that followed land accumulation went on increasing, while the number of landless peasants and agricultural workers also went on increasing. No action was taken by consecutive governments to take over the illegally held land and to distribute it along with above mentioned type of lands to the landless, in spite of many struggles and assurances from government.It is in this context, CPI(ML)-led  Land Struggle Committees, after state-wide campaign, have started occupying the land. The committee leaders have asked the district administration not to create provocations through police interventions. It is a mass movement which will go on till land is distributed to the landless. If any untoward incident take place, as happened in Muthanga struggle five years back, the government will be fully responsible for it.CPI(ML) Central Committee greets the Kerala State Committee for launching the land struggle. It demands that the police forces should be withdrawn and the landless and agricultural labourers should be given the land they have occupied. State government should not put down the struggle for land by the landless going on in Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh under the leadership of the party using police force.  Even if force is used the struggles are bound to intensify and spread to more states. The Central Committee demands that the central and state governments should stop taking over and transfer of agricultural land for SEZs, for corporate farming and in the name of industrialisation and real estate development, and distribute surplus land, fallow forest lands, government lands and land occupied by land mafias to the adivasis, dalits and other landless peasants and agricultural workers. CPI(ML) supports the landless families who are participating in the struggle for land and calls on all landless people to join this historic struggle for land to the tillers.

         New Delhi                                                                      

                                                                      K.N. Ramachandran

         28-01-2008                                          Secretary,

                                                                     Party Centre, CPI(ML)

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