Tillers stage rally demanding liberation

Rajbiraj, May 1

While the world was busy marking the 127th International Workers’ Day, tillers and their family members staged a rally demanding their freedom in Rajbiraj today.

The tillers took out a rally with various demands, including debt waiver, rehabilitation with land, equal pay and equal work, and formation of Haruwa Charuwa Commission with the initiative of Haruwa Charuwa Rights Front Saptari.

Deblal Ram, vice-chairman of the front, said many tillers and bonded labourers were yet to clear their debts though they have been working at the landlords for three generations. “The district is home to around 19,000 tillers and most of them are landless,” said Ram.

Former central member of National Land Rights Front Baldev Ram, said the tillers in the eastern part of the country have been living in debt for years. “The government launched the programme to free Haliyas in the west, but has not heeded to the similar plight of Saptari tillers,” Ram added.

Hiralal Paswan, a tiller from Mauwa of Saptari, complained that they were living in terror as the landlords and rich people of society would ask them to vacate the huts constructed on unregistered land.

Paswan lamented that the government had done nothing to uplift their status.

Sitadevi Ray, from Bishnupur VDC-7 of Itahari, bemoaned that they were having a hard time educating their children due to poverty. “Though we want educate our children, we cannot do it as we are debt-ridden,” Ray complained.

Ray demanded that the government waive their debt and provide them with employment and rehabilitation.

Secretary of the front, Lagen Sada, said their repeated pleas to the government to free the tillers had gone unheeded. “The World International Workers’ Day holds no meaning to us,” Sada said.