Saturday, March 9, 2013

Western Jatha in Warli Tribal Revolt Region

The Western Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha journeyed into the historic Warli tribal revolt region in Thane district on its second day on Saturday, March 09. Impressive meetings were held in Dahanu, Jawahar and Talassery towns, which were the epicentre of the tribal revolt in 1945. It may be recalled that the Warli tribals led by the Communist Party and its legendary leaders Godavari Parulekar and Shamrao Parulekar revolted against the big landlords, sahukars and the British in 1945. The landlords who were holding thousands of acres of land each as absentee landlords had to flee the area due to this rebellion and the lands were re-occupied by the tribals. 

Ever since this region has been a stronghold of the Party and the struggle for land continues till date in different forms. There is a concerted effort by the descendants of absentee landlords and sahukars to recapture the lands from tribals. With land rates zooming up because of proximity to Mumbai, there is an urgency in this effort by them using the government machinery. The CPI(M) has in few cases resorted to direct action and demolished whatever structures were being built in such lands and ensured possession of tribals continued. It is an ongoing struggle.

Today, as the jatha reached Dahanu town centre around 1 pm, thousands of people who braved hot sun, greeted the leaders with shouts of 'Inquilab zindabad'. Majority of the gathering were poor tribal women. Jatha member and Maharashtra state secretariat member Mariam Dhawale speaking first in the meeting attacked the NCP-Congress leaders for trampling the rights of tribals.

Sitaram Yechury in his speech lambasted the prime minister Manmohan Singh for stubbornly refusing to strengthen the Public Distribution System in the country. “Here is a prime minsiter who preferred to fatten the rats that were eating the rotting foodgrains in godowns rather than feed the starving millions in the country”, he said. This region, particularly Talassery, has faced severe drought in the recent period. But the PDS here is in a shambles with rampant corruption fostered by the nexus between ruling NCP-Congress leaders, officials and police. The CPI(M) is engaged in a big struggle to prevent this corruption. Recently it directly caught a truck of PDS ration that was being siphoned off to private godown. Although the administration was forced to slap cases against the dealer and few NCP-Congress leaders, it finally turned out to be an exercise in whitewash.

Mohd Salim said the prevelance of aneamia in 70 per cent of pregnant women in the country is due to the lack of food security for the people and wondered how the rulers still have the courage to keep talking of development. Nilotpal Basu explained the purpose of jatha and the need to intensify struggles to better their lives. CPI(M) Maharashtra state secretary also addressed the meetings.

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