Kisan Mahasabha's Vidhan Sabha March for Bindukhatta

The fight for revenue village status for Bindukhatta has been going on since the 70s under the banner of the red flag. In the initial stages the demand for making Bindukhatta a revenue village had been raised only by the CPI-ML for a long time. Gradually, seeing the popularity of this demand among the local people, all political parties started making this promise regularly before each election. But this promise ended up unfulfilled like all other electoral promises of the BJP and the Congress. In spite of coming to power by turns in Uttarakhand, neither the BJP nor the Congress took the trouble even to pass a proposal for making Bindukhatta a revenue village. As if this neglect was not enough, the Harish Rawat led Congress government passed an interim ordinance making Bindukhatta a municipality on 19 December 2014. Incensed by this step which was the complete reversal of their demand, the people of Bindukhatta led by the Kisan Mahasabha started a movement against it. Initially panchayats were organized at the local level. On 28 January the kisan mahapanchayat at the Bindukhatta tehsil HQ at Lalkuan led by the Kisan Mahasabha, in which thousands participated, sent out a clear message that this anti-people move by the Congress government and the local MLA and Uttarakhand Minister Harish Chandra Durgpal is going to prove costly for the govt. The Mahapanchayat declared hat if the govt does not revoke the interim municipality ordinance, the Vidhan Sabha would be gheraoed in the budget session. The Congress and the henchmen of the local MLA declared a jansampark abhiyan (campaign among the people) in favour of the municipality status for Bindukhatta. But this campaign fizzled out on the 3rd or 4th day itself because of the people’s opposition to it. Meanwhile, the Congress govt underhandedly issued a full ordinance making Bindukhatta a municipality. Sensing the effect of the people’s anger and protest, the ordinance issued on 24 February was published in the newspapers on 11 March. The objections filed by the people were not even given a hearing.

On 17 March 2015 hundreds of Bindukhatta residents holding aloft red flags and led by the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha came out on the streets of Dehradun to protest against the hush-hush manner in which the govt was trying to make Bindukhatta into a municipality. When this huge rally festooned with red flags and banners marched from Dehradun railway station to the Assembly, the city of Dehradun did not remain unaffected. The degree of outrage at Bindukhatta being made into a municipality can be gauged by the fact that several very elderly men and women who normally found it difficult even to walk, travelled helter-skelter all night in general compartments to reach Dehradun and then marched on foot for a distance of over 5 km. A short distance from the Vidhan Sabha, when the police stopped the march by erecting barricades, the protesters started a jansabha (public meeting) on the road.

Addressing the meeting Kisan Mahasabha Uttarakhand State President Com. Purushottam Sharma said that the people of Bindukhatta want ownership rights over their land, which wil be possible only if it gets revenue village status. If it is made into a municipality, it will become impossible for Bindukhatta residents to ever get ownership rights to their land. He pointed out that the ruling Congress is hatching a conspiracy to deprive the people of Bindukhatta of their ownership rights, and the BJP with its deafening silence on this matter is supporting the Congress.

Well-known Uttarakhand kisan leader and frontline leader of the Bindukhatta struggle Com.Bahadur Singh Jangi said that the local MLA had promised the people that Bindukhatta would be made a revenue village but after winning the election he did not raise this issue even once. He stressed that after being made into a municipality all lands after transfer of hands would become “nazool”, and the land tax at the ‘circle rate’ would be beyond the capacity of the poor people of Bindukhatta. This would leave the poor people no option but to sell their land to the land mafia.

CPI-ML State standing committee member and Nainital district Secretary Com. Kailash Pandey said that the history of Bindukhatta has been one of constant struggle. The people here have got roads, electricity, water, health care facilities, and ration cards only after fighting for their rights. Similarly, he said, we will get ownership rights to our land by fighting the revolutionary fight under the banner of the red flag.

Bhuvan Joshi and Anand Singh Sijwali of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha, CPI-ML Garhwal committee members Atul Sattee, KP Chandola, Pushkar Dubadiya, Govind Jeena, Kamlapati Joshi, Basanti Bisht, Lalit Matiyali, Rajendra Shah, Kamal Joshi, Bhuvan Bhatt, Parvati Devi, Lakshman Suyal, Mohini Devi, Gopal Gadiya, Pushkar Panda, Govind Koranga, Pushpa Deoradi, Manga Singh Koshiyari, Pushpa Mahar, Kamla Devi, Hoshiyar Singh, Keshav Dutt Phuleriya, Kundan Singh and others led the protests in front of the Vidhan Sabha.

During the Vidhan Sabha protest a delegation from the Kisan Mahasabha met the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and conveyed the people’s anger and opposition to the forcible conversion of Bindukhatta into a municipality. The Chief Minister assured the delegation that if the people are opposed to it, the government would not be stubborn and would consider the matter once again.

Liberation Archive