Massive Demonstration by Khatta & Forest Dwellers in Uttarakhand

Khatta dwellers and forest dwellers took out a huge rally on June 11 at Lalkuan (Nainital) under the banner of All India Kisan Mahasabha to protest against the atrocities and oppression unleashed upon them by the Bahuguna government. The rally was led by AIKM State president Purushottam Sharma, CPI-ML State secretary Com. Rajendra Pratholi, Com. Bahadur Singh Jangi, Com. Ghulam Nabi and others.

For the last two years these khatta and forest dwellers have been fighting for implementation of their basic civic amenities and forest rights Act. Comprising about 1 ½ lakhs of the State population, they are still deprived of basic amenities such as ration card, health, education, roads, electricity, water, Panchayat Raj, MNREGA, old age pension etc. Under pressure from the AIKM, the administration had started some work for their basic amenities, but after the elections, ensconced in power, the Congress government has started oppressing them. On 17 May, 25 forest dwellers including women and children of the Chhedkhatta basti, including the family of Ghulam Nabi were beaten up under the leadership of the SDO of the Forest department, and three vangurjar youths have been sent to jail. The watering places of their cattle have been blocked and they are threatened against cultivating crops in their forest villages. Cheedkhatta forest dwellers organized a meeting on June 3 where it was decided to organize the huge rally on June 11.

Addressing the rally, Com. Rajendra Pratholi castigated the Bahuguna government, accusing them of aggravated oppression upon the khatta and forest dwellers. Com. Purushottam Sharma remembered the atrocities of May 17 and warned the government that unless the oppression is not stopped immediately, AIKM would gherao the state secretariat. He demanded that the cases slapped on the gurjars of Cheedkhatta be immediately withdrawn.
The 500 strong rally started from old Tehsil and marched through the bazaar to reach new Tahsil, where a memorandum to the Chief Minister was submitted through the ADM.

Liberation Archive