REFUGEE FARMERS OF BENGAL LAUNCH AGITATION AGAINST STATE GOVT FOR RECORD-OF-RIGHTS; CASE FILED IN HIGH COURT

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Kolkata: Millions of refugees from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) came to India after having lost everything including land and livelihood after the bloody and painful partition of India. Refugee farmers were settled in different districts of West Bengal and were given farmland for cultivation to eke out a living. Although in some cases land deeds were granted, in most cases record-of-rights (parcha) were not issued. Therefore, even today, refugee farmers do not get any government benefits allocated for farmers including Krishak Bandhu, Bangla Sashya Bima, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, subsidised seeds, fertilizer etc. A mass movement led by Jai Kisan Andolan was announced today against the negligence of the state government in issuing deeds and parcha of land of refugee farmers. The first center of the movement is Bankura district; the movement will spread to all the districts in the coming days. A case was also filed in the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court today with the help of the legal team of Jai Kisan Andolan to remedy this longstanding injustice.

Avik Saha, National President of Jai Kisan Andolan, said: “Refugee farmers have fought tirelessly for recognition from Central and State Government. Some refugee families have not yet got the land deeds and the government department is not issuing parcha to those who have land deeds. Over the years, government officials have ignored applications of farmers under various pretexts and have kept things hanging. Thousands of applications are not being processed. Refugee families without land deeds and with land deed but without parcha have long been deprived of the benefits of many government schemes like Krishak Bandhu, Bangla Sashya Bima, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, subsidised seeds, fertiliser, Banglar Bari, Nirmal Bangla etc. Most importantly, the administration and the authorities are depriving the refugee farmers of their constitutional right to property. So, a state-wide movement against this injustice was started from Bankura district today. A case has been filed in the court. This movement will continue until the refugee farmers get all their rights.”

Jai Kisan Andolan’s Bankura District leader Nani Roy said: “Refugee farmers are demanding – give us land deeds, give us parcha, give us all rights, pay us all scheme arrears. Our slogan is – let’s get together and get ready to fight to get refugee rights. A writ petition has been filed in the Calcutta High Court today to compel the government to issue parcha to refugee farmers. Surprisingly, all political parties seek votes from refugee farmers but are indifferent to ensuring the most basic livelihood rights and necessities of these very farmers. Millions of refugee farmers are being deprived of legal and constitutional rights. There was no solution even after knocking on every door. Jai Kisan Andolan, an all-India farmers’ organisation, is leading a statewide movement to force the state government to issue parcha to all refugee farmers and the legal team of Jai Kisan is fighting the case in the Calcutta High Court. Our demands are:

  1. Grant deeds to all eligible refugees for homestead and agricultural land
  2. Issue parcha within one month to all refugees who have been granted land deeds
  3. Pay arrears of Krishak Bandhu and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi from inception till today to all refugee farmers
  4. Ensure coverage of all refugee farmers under Bangla Sashya Bima
  5. Ensure all refugee families receive benefit of government schemes like Banglar Bari, Nirmal Bangla etc.”

Dhirendra Nath Roy, a senior farmer and the petitioner of the writ petition filed in the Calcutta High Court, said: “The struggle of the refugees in Barajora block of Bankura, their hard work of cultivation on barren land and settlement in jungles are significant examples of their determination. I seek redressal of the grievances and injustices of the refugee farmers. Hence I have filed a case. Jai Kisan Andolan, Bankura District Committee has taken initiative to build a strong movement to fight against this injustice and realise the just demands of the refugee people. I salute them. My call to fellow refugee friends – build a movement to force the administration and officials to meet the just and legitimate demands of the refugees.”