October 10th 2017, was observed across Thane-Palghar district in Maharashtra as the 72nd Martyrs Day of Jethya Gangad and four other Adivasis and the 21st death anniversary of the legendary CPI(M) and AIKS leader Comrade Godavari Parulekar. Despite heavy unseasonal rains, over 15,000 people participated in marches and public meetings in Dahanu, Vikramgad, Jawhar, Wada and Shahapur tehsils and also at Bhilad in Gujarat, across the Talasari border. Adivasi women in thousands participated in all these actions. The Martyrs Day actions were organised jointly by the CPI(M) and the AIKS.
Keeping in mind the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, this time an impressive public meeting of over 5000 people was held at Bhilad in Umbargaon tehsil of Gujarat, where the CPI(M) will fight the assembly seat. Bhilad adjoins the village Talwada, which saw the first firing by the British police on the Warli Adivasi Revolt on October 10th, 1945, killing Comrade Jethya Gangad and four other Adivasis on the spot. There have been 60 martyrs of the Red Flag since then in Thane-Palghar district, victims of successive Congress and BJP-led regimes.
The Bhilad meeting was jointly organised by the Umbargaon tehsil committee of Gujarat and the Talasari tehsil committee of Maharashtra. This meeting was addressed by Dr Ashok Dhawale, Kisan Gujar, Barkya Mangat, Hasmukh Warli and Bharat Patel (our prospective assembly candidates in Umbargaon and Surat), Vansha Dumada, Laxman Dombre and two women leaders of AIDWA - Savita Davre, Chairperson of the Talasari Tehsil Panchayat Samiti and Smita Valvi, Chairperson of the Talasari Municipal Council.
All the speakers came down heavily on the BJP government at the centre and in both the states. The BJP became so nervous at this show of strength of the Red Flag that it immediately organised a public meeting of the Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani at the same spot on October 12.
At Vikramgad in Palghar district, over 5000 people led a militant gherao of the Panchayat Samiti and wrested their local demands. At Dahanu in Palghar district, over 3500 people marched to the Tehsil office and won their local demands. In Wada and Jawhar tehsils of Palghar district and Shahapur tehsil of Thane district, successful meetings were held.