Landless poor led by CPI(M) activists occupy lands in Banjara Hills and Mahindra Hills

Following a complaint Banjara Hills police arrest 500 persons and send them to Goshamahal

Huts, party flags hoisted in another 11 areas in the city including four new areas

HYDERABAD: Activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) took the fight straight into the ‘VIP area’ by laying siege to a vacant land in Banjara Hills, as part of their second phase of land struggle launched here on Wednesday.

Thousands of poor swooped on about three acres of land under the aegis of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Khairatabad zone at Banjara Hills Road No.2, a stone’s throw away from Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s old residence even as police kept a restrained watch.

However, by evening, following a complaint by land owners, Banjara Hills police arrested 500 persons and sent them to Goshamahal. The congregation of protesters sent traffic haywire for sometime in the area.

Huts were also put up and party flags hoisted in another 11 areas in the city including four new areas on the day.

Pitch tents

While thousands of poor - daily wagers, domestic servants, petty traders dominated by women pitched new tents in Bandlaguda in Nagole, Church Colony in Ramanthapur, Chilkanagar in Uppal, RTC Colony in Malkajgiri, Mallapur, Nacharam, Jammigadda in Kapra and Jawaharnagar in addition to earlier ones, struggle spread to new areas like Banjara Hills, Kalyannagar, Ganesh Nagar in Uppal and new area in Mahindra Hills.

‘Disputed land’

Notwithstanding a sign board showing the ownership details of the land in survey no.151/4 of Banjara Hills, Saiseshagiri Rao of Khairatatabad Communist Party of India (Marxist) Zone Committee claimed that as per the Sheikpet mandal revenue records it was a disputed Government land. Men and women from various basthis of Sanathnagar, Khairatabad, Karawan, Borabanda, Mehdipatnam, symbolically demarcated small plots by using saris, small stones in the land and squatted in them.

6,000 acres

About 4,000 acres of Government and 2,000 acres of disputed land was available in Sheikpet mandal, Mr. Rao said.

Struggle to continue

State CPI(M) executive member Y. Venkateswara Rao speaking at Mahindra Hills said the struggle would continue till the poor were given house sites or houses. Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Nomula Narsaiah visited Bandlaguda site.

Seething with anger, women questioned how they could live if 80 per cent of their meagre earnings went for rent, electricity. “For the last 20 years, we had been pleading for shelter. Even if we have to lay down our life, we will fight till we get house sites,” they said.