Police Firing on CPI(ML) Protesters at Garhwa

On 2nd March, the police at Garhwa, Jharkhand, fired on CPI(ML) supporters protesting against the alienation of Dalit land and state repression, killing one young CPI(ML) member.

In the village Korga, of Ramuna block in Garhwa district, 700 acres of land rightfully belonging to people of the Dalit Bhuiyan caste, had been grabbed by the feudal forces on the basis of forged papers. This dispute dates back to 1932, the High Court has ruled in favour of the Bhuiyan caste on this matter, in spite of which the feudal forces backed by police and administration continued to hold on to the land. The police had been framing false cases against the Dalits. One week before the firing, police came to the village to arrest Bhuiyan people in false cases, and the villagers chased the police away and recovered their comrades from the clutches of the police. On 2nd March, the police again went to Korga, beat up people, and arrested one innocent person. In protest, the villagers blockaded the National Highway 75. The police lathicharged the protesters and injured several. They then fired on the demonstration, killing 25-year-old Vikas Bhuiyan (who had been a CPI(ML) member for the past 7 years) on the spot. The villagers continued the protest and the police eventually retreated. The protest continued all night, joined by CPI(ML) leaders including State committee member Kalicharan Mehta, Sushma Mehta, and Ravindra Ram. The blockade was lifted on 3rd March at 11 am when the police agreed to the protesters’ demands. The DC and SP agreed in writing to lodge an FIR against the SHO and Inspector, ensure a job and compensation for the dependents of the victim, and hold a joint meeting within a week to ensure a resolution to the land dispute.

Garhwa district remained closed on 3rd March in protest against the firing. CPI(ML) protested against the firing in every district of Jharkhand. 4000 people protested at the spot of the firing in Garhwa, defying a police force of 700.

Tribute was paid to Vikas Bhuiyan on 3rd March, where protesters observed a minute’s silence and pledged to continue the struggle. CPI(ML) CC members Janardan Prasad and Rajaram Singh rushed to the spot on 3rd March from the Central Committee meeting at Gaya, and were joined by SCM Anant Prasad Gupta in a central investigation team.

The CPI(ML) held a protest march in Ranchi against the firing and the move to cut back on adivasi seats in the municipality elections.

Liberation Archive