After seizing the land from non-tribals in May last, the members of Chasi Mulia Adibasi Sangha (CMAS) have now started harvesting the paddy crop in Narayanpatna block in Koraput district of Orissa.
In the last three days, hundreds of men and women wearing red clothes and bandanas, have harvested paddy in more than 50 acres of land in the block, about 450 km southwest of Bhubaneswar.
Thousands of tribals had seized more than 2000 acres of land of non-tribals since May by hoisting red flags under the banner of CMAS. "We had distributed the land among the landless people. They had sown the crop and will now distribute the harvested paddy among themselves," said CMAS leader Nachika Linga.
He added that in the coming days, cultivation would be carried out in all 2000 acres of land they seized from the non-tribals.
Narayanpatna police inspector in charge, Gauranga Charan Sahoo, told the Hindustan Times: "We have not received any complaint regarding this from anyone."
In May, the CMAS held the Koraput district administration to ransom and ran a parallel administration as it started the campaign to seize land belonging to non-tribals.
Non-tribals were attacked and their properties damaged. Narayanpatna became a major conflict zone in the country as hundreds of non-tribal families fled the villages in the block since then for fear of being killed.
CMAS, on its part, maintained that the non-tribals had grabbed the land of tribals, making the latter landless in the first place. It demanded an amendment in Orissa Land Reform Act and vowed to launch similar agitations in other districts of the state.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik ordered the administration to book non-tribals if they had usurped tribal land. The state also appointed officers on special duty (OSDs) to monitor land related problems and provide legal solution to the tribals in retrieving their land in the block.
"The movement by CMAS is an anti-feudal, anti-imperialist movement against landlords and liquor mafia who had grabbed anything that belonged to the poor," said Gananath Patra, veteran CPI (ML) leader and advisor to CMAS.