Chengara Land Struggle

Reported by

Sooraj H SLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

November 22, 2019

Location of Conflict




Reason or Cause of Conflict

Commercial Agriculture/Agro-Business



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)







Kerala Land Reforms Act 1963, which put forward the "land to the tiller" policy turned out negative for the Dalits and Adivasis. Under this law, the tenants of the land (settled farmers belonging to mostly upper and middlecastes) became the owners. The labourers (Dalits and Adivasis) were left landless. In 2001, the Adivasis in Kerala had led a monthandahalflong struggle under the banner of the Adivasi Gotra Mahasabha. With the demand that each of the 45,000 landless Adivasi families be provided with five acres of cultivable land. The government of Kerala then had said that land would be identified and a recommendation would be made to the Union government that Adivasi lands be included in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution so that the land could be alienated at a later date. In January 2007, as reaction of the broken promise, the United Struggle Front of the poor for Liberation (Sadhujana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi, SJVSV) started the first attempt to reclaim land. They chose the Chengara Estate of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd. (under the RP Goenka Group), with whom the Lease was expired and illegal land holdings were noticed. Protesters (Dalits and Adivasis) demand the government to collect the land illegally possessed by plantation owners like Harrisons Malayalam Ltd. and pass it on to them. In the initial phase, the Dalits and Adivasis occupied about 125 acres of land. Afterwards, they reclaimed the whole estate (about 6,000 acres), which is spread out on 7 hills. At one time, there were as many as 7500 families. They pitched tents on the occupied land and started tapping the rubber trees in the estate, eking out a living in due course. They demand land and labour to live. The Chengara Package which was promised to the protesters in 2009 by the state of Kerala also turned out to be negative to the Dalits and Adivasis. The second phase of the Chengara Struggle thus started gradually after 2011 and continue till now. The first phase of the Chengara Land Struggle (Chengara Bhoosamaram) which started in 2007 ended with the then Chief Minister's (V.S Achuthanandan) promise of 0.25acre land and financial support in the year 2009. But the promise was not fulfilled or not implemented benefiting all parties. Against the 7000 families protesting, only 1432 were identified to be eligible for the Chengara Package. The second phase of the Chengara Struggle thus started in 201011. Blockade of Food, Water, Power and Healthcare facilities. Children have to travel 15kms to get to schools. Wage labour is restricted. Fake charges arrests, illegal detentions and prosecution. Incidents of torture, rape and manhandling.

Region Classification

Type of Land


Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):



Starting Year


Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Revenue Department of Kerala

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Laha Gopalan

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Harrisons Malayalam Ltd, RPG Group

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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