: December 15 Chetavani Rally at Sansad Marg : Extends Support to struggle of Karchana peasants against Jaypee Associates, Demand Release of 42 in Jail : Condemn Maharashtra government notification allowing easy conversion of agricultural land to industrial purposes : Demand Special Compensation Package to Draught Affected Farmers : Centre must Withdraw Environment Amendment Bill 2015 : Representatives of 22 States and over hundred people's movements, peasant unions and farmers’ organisations under Bhumi Adhikar Andolan decide on comprehensive agenda to achieve land rights and fight forced land acquisition, agrarian crisis and fascist politics :
New Delhi, November 20, 2015 : A two day national meeting was held on November 19 – 20, at Indian Social Institute, delegates from 22 states representing over 100 mass organisations converged, and discussed in detail the challenges facing the land rights movement and people of the country today. Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) brought together struggles against the draconian Land Acquisition Ordinance brought by the Narendra Modi led BJP Government and played a significant role in defeating the move. The BJP Government is now trying to push through State level legislations to allow land grab in the illusion that such united resistance would not be possible at the State level.
Representatives of various mass movements Medha Patkar, Hannan Mollah, Com. Satyavan, Ashok Choudhary, Prafulla Samantara, Dayamani Barla, Alok Shukla, Ulka Mahajan, Roma, Anil Chaudhary etc. spoke at the event and asserted a broad-based unity that will not only take forward the issue of achieving land rights for the peasantry, agricultural workers, forest dwellers, dalits and adivasis; but also fight divisive forces trying to communally polarize the country. The joint alliance resolved to strengthen the struggle at the state-level and outlined detailed resolutions tackling the major problems of forced land acquisition, fascist repression, agrarian distress, food security and livelihood security.
Ulka Mahajan of Sarvahara Jan Andolan, Maharashtra questioned the government’s development policies involving acquisition of large tracts of cultivable land, “There is no planning for the rural population of the country. Where will all those displaced by land acquisition for mega projects like the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor go? Why is there no democratic discussion or Parliament attention on such important matters? Bhumi Adhikar Andolan is not just a struggle to save land but also to save the environment, the rights of agricultural labour and workers, and most importantly to save our democracy.”
“Rights of people are being crushed for corporate profit. Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will take up problems faced by the country’s toiling masses today - the farmer, dalit and adivasi. BAA stands in solidarity with struggles against forced land acquisition and extends support to activists facing repression for demanding people’s rights. Systematic divisive politics are being used to divide the poor and we will oppose this by broadening the alliance especially at the state-level.” said Hannan Mollah of All India Kisan Sabha (Canning Lane).
Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will hold a Chetavani Rally along with Forest Rights Day at Sansad Marg on December 15th, since the Land Bill is with the Parliamentary Committee and NDA government under pressure from Corporates, has not completely given up its plan for corporate grab of natural resources. On February 24th, marking a year of BAA, the andolan will again come together at the Sansad Marg in massive number and demand land rights and restarting of land reforms program in the country.
Forced Acquisition and Fascist Politics
The joint alliance strongly condemned the NDA’s attempts of forcible land acquisition leading to unprecedented displacement of the most vulnerable populations. The alliance conveyed its strong rejection of mega projects such as industrial corridors, SEZs, manufacturing zones and land pooling schemes for establishing capitals, all of which are nothing but corporate land grab under the guise of development.
Faced with growing protests and unprecedented unity of people against the policies of the BJP Government at the Centre and States the BJP-RSS and their affiliates are resorting to divisive politics and deliberate communalisation. The andolan condemned the brutal attacks on dalits and minorities, the murders of rationalists and oppression of activists fighting for people’s rights. BAA expressed solidarity with mass struggles facing repression in Karchana and Kanhar in UP. An atmosphere of fear cannot prevail and will be opposed by BAA to build communal harmony and unity of toiling masses.
Land Use Policy and Land Reforms for Food Security
To take forward the goal of land rights Boomi Adhikar Andolan demanded a Land Use Policy to protect farm land from large scale diversion to non-agricultural purpose like industry and infrastructure. Priority should be given to the country’s food security and livelihood security, focusing not only on irrigated multiple-crop land but also single-crop land in rainfed areas which form 60% of cultivated area. Gram Sabha and panchayat should have control over the utilization of public lands and have an intrinsic role in development planning. The andolan demanded the implementation of FRA and PESA and opposed the dilution of environmental laws based on the recent recommendations of the TSR Subramanian Committee.
Unfolding Agrarian Tragedy
BAA outlined a comprehensive strategy to address the shocking levels of agrarian distress in the country today. Over 3.2 lakh Farmers have committed suicide since 1995 at the rate of one farmer committing suicide every half an hour according to conservative estimates of NCRB. In reality the human tragedy is of a magnitude unheard of in the entire history of humanity. The andolan demands income security for every agricultural household through a permanent Farmers’ Income Commission. MSPs should be declared at 50% above cost of cultivation in all 25 crops through procurement, market intervention and price guarantee. Farmers seed rights should fully protected instead of handing over seed control to MNCs through IPRs and GM expansion into crops like brinjal and mustard will be opposed. BAA strongly asserted the rights of cultivators and vowed to demand rights of Tenant farmers, Sharecroppers and Women Farmers should be upheld. The real cultivators should get full recognition and benefit of all support systems. Comprehensive support is essential for shift from high-input chemical agriculture to low-external-input ecologically sustainable agriculture and rainfed agriculture. The andolan opposed privatization of water resources and said that priority must be given to drinking water, domestic use and agriculture.
December 15th: Chetavani Rally on Forests Rights Day at Sansad Marg
January 26th: Two day State-level programs across the country demanding land rights and land audit
February 24th: Massive show of strength for land rights and land reforms program
State-level meetings and events will be organised as a run up to the above events.
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