Thousands of peasants gheraoed (surrounded) the Nohar Block office in Hanumangadh district under the leadership of the Kisan-Mazdoor-Vyapari Sangarsh Samiti and Lok Raj Sangathan on 16th January. The peasants were protesting the non fulfilment of their demand for the promised supply of water from the Sidhmukh feeder, Nohar feeder and Amarsingh branch; they were also demanding that the stealthy diversion of water from the canals be stopped. Communist Ghadar Party extends its wholehearted support for the just demand of the peasants.
Peasants win a victory through their protests
The peasants achieved a victory on 22nd January during their talks with the administration. The officials representing the administration who were present at the talks accepted the peasants’ demand that all the water should be made available. The talks were held between the peasant leaders, the authorised officials of the Water Department, and SDM Nohar. Following these talks, the peasant leaders halted their protests. But they also warned the administration that should there be any cut back on the water supply, the peasants would immediately resume their protests. Several peasant leaders were present at the talks.
It should be noted that the peasants of this region have been carrying on their struggle for their share of irrigation water since several months now. Each time, the administration has promised to resolve the issue but no steps have been taken towards that. This is why the Kisan-Mazdoor-Vyapari Sangarsh Samiti has mobilized a large number of peasants for a showdown that will force the administration, government and the Irrigation Department to take some definite steps towards providing irrigation water for the peasants.
Preparations for the demonstration had been going on since many days before. Peasants started gathering at the Nohar Peasants Rest House since early morning on 16th January. Following this, thousands of workers and peasants marched on the Block office.
The demonstration was led by Madan Lal Benival, Com Om Sahu, Vice President of the All India Council of Lok Raj Sangath – Com. Hanuman Prasad Sharma, Com. Niyamat Ali, Adv Rajendra Sihag, Jhuglal Khati, Krishna Saharan, Sher Singh Benival, Ramgopal Sharma, J D Chaudhury, Mange Ram, Anil Lata, Bhojram and others.
When the police blocked their march towards the Block office by barricading the road, the leaders converted the rally into a meeting right there.
Addressing the meeting, the leaders said that the crops in the region were getting destroyed because water for irrigation had not been provided. It made no difference to the administration. The speakers raised the demand that there should be no reduction in the water provided for irrigation to Nohar Block and the police should take steps to stop the theft of water.
Speakers said that peasants were being attacked when they tried to stop the water theft; police were not taking any steps against this theft. The speakers demanded estimation of the crops that have spoilt due to cold and frost, and immediate compensation for the same. They warned the administration of a no-holds barred struggle if their demands were not heeded to this time around.
At this point, the Administration sent an invitation to the peasant leaders for talks. The Additional District Collector, the Additional Inspector of Police, the Executive Engineer of Irrigation Department and the office bearers of the Samiti were present at the talks. The leaders of the Samiti insisted that the competent authorities must deal with their demands since the matter cannot be resolved without their orders. When the leaders of the Samiti remained adamant that the authorized officials have to be present for the discussion, the same was scheduled for 22nd January with the District Collector and Chief Engineer. Following this, the meeting was concluded, with yet another warning from the peasant leaders that the struggle will be intensified should the discussions not yield the desired results.