Martyrs’ of Arwal Massacre of 1986 Remembered

Tributes were paid to the martyrs’ of the ghastly massacre in Arwal. In 1986 police indiscriminately opened fire on peacefully demonstrating villagers killing twenty three. Dozens more were injured in this incident. 

37 years ago hundreds of landless people in Arwal (Bihar) were holding a meeting under the auspices of Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti to demand lands for their homestead. The land in question was a piece of 27 decimal land, where Gandhi Library stands today, that could have been redistributed by the then government of Bihar to protect their constitutional right to livelihood and life. But in a shameful turn of event that peaceful meeting became a site of a brutal massacre when a heavy police contingent led by the superintendent of police CR Kaswan started indiscriminate firing where 23 killed and many injured. This massacre was termed as the Jallianwala Bagh of Bihar, and CR Kaswan was given a nickname of General Dyer of Arwal by the local people. He was removed later from the district and an inquiry committee was set up to investigate those killings. Ironically the report of that committee has not been made public even after 37 years.

On 19 April 2023 floral tributes were paid at the Martyrs’ memorial erected in memory of those killed at the same place in the compound of Gandhi Library by hundreds of people. MLA from Arwal comrade Mahanand Singh, a leader of CPIML addressed the Pledge Meeting on this occasion and said that those landless poor sacrificed their lives for fighting to implement their rights enshrined in the Constitution. Even today we are facing the same urgency to preserve those constitutional values. Today this struggle is more severe and we all are working day and night to protect the Constitution and democracy from fascist attacks. 

The pledge meeting was also addressed by CPIML Arwal district secretary Jitendra Yadav, cultural activist Anil Anshuman, Lila Verma, ex-Municipal chairperson and RYA leader Ramakant Kumar.