ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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could go to the booth and caste their votes. In the course of this campaign the IPF organised education camps on voting rights for the Dalits and prepared them for going to the polling booths on election day and casting their votes. In the cities and the state capital, the IPF organised well-attended seminars against booth-capturing. It fully realised that the Dalits could cast their votes only if attempts by upper caste landlords and their henchmen to capture polling booths werefoiled. So it made the anti- booth-capture campaign the most important plank of its election strategy. It prepared lists of professional booth-capturcrs and warned them to desist from their dirty games or be prepared to face the consequences. These lists were also given to the district administration to take action against the booth-capturers. The CPI-ML (Liberation) also decided to deploy its armed guards to resist the armed might of booth-capturers. On the other side, the feudal lords and notorious booth-capturers began elaborate arrangements to counter the anti-booth- capture campaign by organising themselves under the banner of a so-called Kisan Kumbha. In the Kisan Kumbha upper caste landlords belonging to all parties, including the CPI, participated. As the Lok Sabha elections drew nearer, cases of kidnapping, beating and killing of IPF supporters increased. And when despite all this the oppressed Dalits, most of them for the first time in their lives, queued up before the polling booths, the feudal lords came out with their guns. Their armed onslaught reached its height in village Danwar Bihta in Ikran block, about 65 km from Arrah, the district headquarter of Bhojpur district. Around 30 IPF supporters were killed here by landlords led by panchayat pramukh Jwala Singh, a Rajput landlord and a local Congress(I) leader, who had taken an active part in organising the Kisan Kumbha.

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