Fatuha-Azaad Nagar Colony Fire: Return of the BJP-Nitish Regime to Power has Emboldened Feudal-Mafia Forces

Close to 600 huts set up by shelterless poor families over some 20 bighas or 5 acres of land in Fatuha Assembly segment of Patna were reduced to ashes on March 10. At least one person has died in the fire and several children received burn injuries. For the 600 households every essential item of everyday life and livelihood are totally destroyed.

The huts were set up after a long struggle for housing rights by the Fatuha Committee of CPIML in November 2023. The colony was named Azaad Nagar after popular CPI(ML) leader Comrade Suresh Bind alias Azaad who had been killed by the feudal-criminal nexus on the polling day of the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 after casting his vote. It was under his leadership that the landless poor of the area had freed ceiling surplus and benami land from the control of feudal forces and staked their claim to land for collective farming and housing.

The return of the BJP to power following Nitish Kumar's latest somersault has emboldened feudal-mafia forces across Bihar. The land mafia are threatening to evict the poor. Azaad Nagar people have of late started receiving eviction threats. On 3 March five busloads of people from Azaad Nagar had joined the Jan Vishwas Maharally in Patna Gandhi Maidan. On 9 March Amit Shah addressed a rally in Paliganj, a constituency in rural Patna represented by CPI(ML) MLA Sandeep Saurabh and threatened to hang land encroachers upside down and the very next day Azaad Nagar was reduced to ashes.

CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya visited the fire devastated area on the afternoon of March 11 with a team comprising party MLAs Comrades Gopal Ravidas (Phulwari) and Sandeep Saurabh (Paliganj), Patna district Secretary and Polit Bureau member Comrade Amar, AIARLA General Secretary Comrade Dhirendra Jha and other local leaders. The fire has been a big blow to the lives of the Azaad Nagar residents, but it has not been able to weaken their fighting spirit and resilience. They remain firmly united in their battle for survival, justice and rehabilitation. Pressure will have to be exerted on the district administration for quick measures of relief.

Fatuha-Azaad Nagar Colony Fire