The 33rd national conference of the All India Kisan Sabha that started at the Subbarayalu Reddiyar marriage hall here on Wednesday paid glowing tributes to the victims of the Kilvenmani massacre in which 44 Dalit agricultural workers were burnt alive in a small hut in 1968.

When the Dalit farm labourers of Kilvenmani in Thanjavur district were demanding higher wages, 44 of them were herded together in a small hut and burnt to death by the goons of landlords.

To signify such an incident in which the poor farm hands sacrificed their lives for their cause, a real hut has been put up as the backdrop of the stage at the conference. To show that the roof is on fire certain artificial prop ups have been put up. A rural ambience has been created by putting mud pots, instead of the usual floral decorations, on the podium.

All India president of the Sabha S.Ramachandran Pillai in his opening remarks said this was for the third time that the national conference of the AIKS was being held in Tamil Nadu. The first one was held at Meyavaram in April-May 1959, the second one at Madurai in January 1968 and the third one was now being hosted by Cuddalore.

Mr Pillai said that the Tamil Nadu unit of the Sabha had been launching many a struggle for upholding the cause of the peasantry. “The Kilvenmani struggle is a notable one in which 44 agricultural workers were massacred by the landlords.” On behalf of the AIKS he saluted the martyrs.

State president of the Sahba K.Balakrishnan, MLA, said that the backdrop of the stage was a tribute to the glorious struggle and martyrdom of the Kilvenmani farm labourers. Due to this prolonged militant struggle, all the gruesome exploitation of the landlords had come to an end.