Come, Strengthen the Forces of New Democratic Revolution.
Dalits in Punjab and in Gujarat have unleashed a torrent of movements demanding their share of agricultural land. In Punjab, the share of the Dalits in the 1,58,000 acres of Panchayat land is 52,667 acres. There are also legal entitlements for them in the Nazool Lands. However, the actual possession of these lands has remained with the landlords and rich peasants. As per the agricultural census 2010-11, the SCs in Punjab, who are a third of its population, owned just 6.02% of the land holdings and 3.2%of the land area of the state. Of these operational holdings also a large proportion (nearly 85%) are said to be unviable due to the small size of less than 5 hectares. Since 2014, the Dalit peasantry organized under the banner of ZPSC (Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Samiti) and holding its red flag with the blazing sun firmly aloft, has begun to assert their claim over what is rightfully theirs. These lands used to be auctioned to dummy candidates of landlords; a gaushala in Sangrur district has been given land for 30years at the rate of Rs 7000 an acre by the Akali-BJP Govt. of the state where as the price for Dalits is over Rs 20,000an acre. This spreading struggle in districts of South Punjab has been met with police and landlord repression , false FIRs against ‘unknowns’ but the struggle rages on like a spreading blaze.
In August 2016, another struggle has been ignited by caste oppression, this time in Modi’s Gujarat where Dalits are 7% of the population. In the backdrop of this agitation is the growing and systematic campaign of violence against Dalits and Muslims all over India by the communal upper caste, patriarchal chauvinist RSS BJP with their contempt for the Dalits. The latest campaign has been to launch cow-vigilante groups in various parts of the country and attack Muslims and Dalits under this pretext. These extortionist groups are hand in glove with the police and have the blessings of the Central Govt. Following the beating up of four Dalit youth in District Una in Gujarat for skinning a dead cow, the Dalits of Gujarat, with the support of all democratic forces, are on the warpath. They are reflecting the new outpouring of anger, clarity and willingness to struggle that has also been seen recently in the movements against the suicide of Rohith Vemula, banning of Ambedkar Periiyar circle in Madras IIT etc. They are demanding possession of their share of agricultural lands with 5 acres being given to every Dalit family, they are demanding jobs and arms and arms training for self-protection. They are taking pledges to abandon their traditional occupations. According to figures available, 1.64 lakh acres of surplus land was supposedly distributed to 37,000 landless Dalits, but hardly any were ever given possession of their land. Other lands were earmarked for Dalit landless in Gujarat but they have never been given possession. As this struggle for land rolls ahead, so also does the retaliatory caste violence organized by RSS-BJP. Dalits returning to their villages in Gujarat on 15th August from the concluding mass meeting of the Freedom March against caste oppression (from Ahmedabad to Una), were attacked at several places and beaten up for daring to speak.
Attacks on Dalits have increased since the advent of the RSS BJP Govt. However caste oppression is the reality of India irrespective of the party in power. While over the years, various ruling class parties have sought to mobilize Dalit vote banks in the name of reservations in education and jobs with its promise of access to a share in the system, they have neither been serious in implementation nor attacked caste discrimination. In reality, the caste system has served as a source of cheap labour and hence source of surplus for ruling classes of society in India for centuries. This is because it gives religious sanction to condemn vast sections of working masses to the lowest standards of life. In the vast rural areas of India the oppressed castes are mostly poor and landless peasants, agricultural land is the principal productive resource and its ownership determines the social, economic and political status of any segment of the population. Thus did the Mandal Commission make land distribution its first recommendation in its Report, but this can never come on the agenda of the parliamentary parties of India who are representatives of the big capitalist and big landlords. Yet, this is the key to caste annihilation by the building of a new democratic society. Friends, come forward and support in every way the assertion of the Dalits in Punjab and Gujarat for their right over their land and their torrent of struggles to take what is theirs. Develop the movements of all sections of working people to strengthen the forces for New Democratic Revolution for land to the tiller. Such a society alone can form the basis for the annihilation of caste from society.
Delhi Committee, CPI (ML) New Democracy 23rd August, 2016