“Maruti, Go Back” - Battle cry of the Gujarat farmers
More than 5000 farmers and their family members from Hansalpur near Dalod village in Gujarat celebrated the Independence Day on 15th August with slogans of “Maruti, go back!” along with the hoisting of the flag. Maruti Suzuki company has announced a plan to invest Rs. 4000 crore for a big factory in the Bechraji-Hansalpur area. Since then local farmers have been protesting continuously. The demonstration on 15th August was the largest so far.
The BJP led Modi government has assured every kind of assistance to the Maruti Suzuki company. For this purpose, the Modi government has declared Mandal Becharaji area, which included 44 villages, as a “Special Investment Region (SIR)”. However, the farmers from all these villages have declared that they will not surrender 50880 hectares of fertile land for the factories and are opposing this plan. The peasant leaders have have clarified that what the government documents are showing as barren land is actually fertile land. Due to the resolute opposition of the farmers, the Gujarat government has been forced to declare that 36 of the villages will not come under the SIR.
The farmers organised under the “Jamin Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat” are saying that the remaining eight villages are also dead against the project. The demonstration of 15th August was a manifestation of this opposition. An effigy of a Maruti car was burnt in this demonstration. The police arrested two peasant leaders by saying that the demonstration violated the prohibitory orders. The farmers have declared that “they did not need anyone’s permission to hoist the flag on Indian Independence Day” and have escalated the struggle. They are demanding from the government that the opinion of the citizens of the remaining eight villages be ascertained, as to whether or not they want this “Special Investment Region”, by an independent committee headed by a retired judge of the High Court.
Whether it be the Congress or the BJP government, the intention is to acquire lakhs of hectares of fertile land, whether commonly or privately owned under one excuse or another, in this same manner. Similarly, the people are also resolutely opposing such attempts. What is needed is that all those who are opposed to this move, must come together in one front to mount a united opposition. Workers throughout India support this struggle since they know very well that these projects of the government are to benefit only the big capitalists and that if fertile land is used for industry then the food security of the whole country will be compromised.