Thursday, March 13, 2008
Vibhava Avakasha Jatha – Rally for Right to Resources
2008 - March 4th to March 8th
Trivandrum to Kottayam
Jana Munettam is a state level collective of all marginalized communities in kerala who have been deprived of democratic rights, social justice, political power and resources. It is a collective of marginalized to fight for social justice and equity through democratic means. In kerala Dalits, Adivasis, women, fishing communities, unorganized workers and other marginalized are being suppressed and pushed into extreme forms of deprivation and daily humiliation. Systematically keeping aside the dalits and adivasis, resources that should be equitably shared are being enjoyed and controlled only by some communities. This kind of monopoly and control cannot be tolerated in a democratic state.
Land, water, forest and political power has been usurped by upper caste communities and it can be seen clearly that 75% of the landless in Kerala state are dalits and adivasis. This also establishes that control over resources is most definitely caste - based. Upper caste community collective thinking and political designing is what has resulted in this deprivation of land for the dalits/adivasis and establishing of ownership by the upper castes. The historical land reforms and other progressive policies of kerala state has not yielded any justice to the dalits and adivasis and has only tried to sideline them with 3 and 5 cents of land. The result has been the 12500 dalit colonies that have emerged and into which dalit communities have been trapped. Adivasis have been pushed out of their rightful forests and are forced into adivasi colonies. These caste based monopolies have converted land into a commercial enterprise for profit only and have extracted all productive value from it while depriving marginalized communities of their livelihood and dignity.
Further, in the name of lease agreements, national/ international capitalist monopolies have been allowed to control land in the state. These trends have put the whole state of Kerala in crisis.
The right of the marginalized to stay and work on their land is what has been taken away. At the same time, all these monopolies have control over lakhs of hectares of land illegally. History shows that this monopoly has resulted only in more profits for themselves and not for the state’s development. For 90 to 100 years this injustice has gone on and all governments in Kerala have helped and supported these monopolies through its policies. In 2010, 75% of all plantation lease agreements are expiring. This information has been denied to the people and there are moves by the government to re -lease the land again to the monopolies.
The Vibhava Avakasha Jatha of Jana Munnettam calls out to all marginalized to come together and demand their rights over land. Only through this right over land can the dalits and adivasis and other marginalized communities move towards other social interventions. As our great leaders, Ayyankali, Appachan, Pambadi John Joseph, and Kandan Kumaran have strongly advocated - the first step to progress is land ownership.
This is the only structural/fundamental reform that will result in social justice and equity. Any development that does not address the core issue of land will only further marginalize the historically marginalized communities in kerala.
It is this call that Jana Munettam through this Vibhava Avakasha Jatha is placing to the marginalized communities of kerala.
The demands it is placing are as follows:
Illegally occupied land in the hands of caste – based and capitalist monopolies should be taken away and given to the marginalized for agriculture and livelihood. This is the basic expectation from a democratic state. The time has come for democratic principles to be upheld and for land to be redistributed.
To fight for this, all marginalized communities, dalits and adivasis must demand rightful return to agricultural land and leave their colonies.
It is a Call for everyone to join the Jatha and create a new consciousness for equity and justice. The Jatha with a powerful cultural team will cover 5 districts of Trivandrum, Kollam, Allapuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam.
Jana Munettam is the kerala chapter of the National Alliance for the Right to Education and Equity (NAFREE) and we have come together to stand in solidarity with NAFREE for its demands of protection of child rights, implementation of CSS and fighting anti people policies. JM puts forward its first demands for Land and Dignity of all dalit and adivasi men, women and children through this Vibhava Avakasha Jatha.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
The deprived people of Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Manipur have declared the final struggle for regaining their ownership rights over land, forest, water and mines which are taken away from them in the name of development. The declaration was made in a mass meeting after a massive rally of 10 thousand people at Rourkela organized by the Nafre Jan Andolan, who is facilitating to unite mass movements, struggles and people's organizations in a platform to fight against displacement, SEZ policy, dual education system, AFSPA, communal fascism, neo-imperialism and to ensure child rights in India.
The Jan Hakk Rally began from Birsa Chauk, Rourkela at 11 O'clock in the morning and turned into a mass meeting at Parade Ground in the afternoon. "Stop displacement in the name of development", "Withdraw the SEZ Policy", "Jindal-Mittal and Tata-Bata, go back", "Introduce common school system for all" and "Stop killing people in the name of religion" are the main slogans raised by people in the Rally.
The Jan Hakk Yatra witnessed the different kind of people's participation this time, where tribal women carrying their babies on back, raising slogans and walking through the streets about 4 kilometers in the blazing sun of the beginning summer. Another remarkable thing was that more than 60 percent participants were tribal youths who have understood the agony of displacement which their families have under gone due to Industry, Mining, Dam, Sanctuary and other development projects.
The mass meeting began with an inspiring song and followed by the series of slogans. In his welcome address the convenor of Voice for Child Right Orissa A.K. Azad said that the time has come to say "No" to displacement because it has destroyed our livelihood resources, culture and identity.
While addressing the masses the member of NAFRE Gour Gopal Sardar said that the NAFRE People's Movement is fighting against displacement, SEZ policy, dual education system, AFSPA, communal fascism and neo-imperialism in the country and it will continue till all the marginalized people get justice.
Faisal Anurag the spokesperson of NAFRE said that we have seen the governance of all the political parties and their economic policies are more or less the same. All the parties have exploited poor and the marginalized. Therefore now the time has come to see the people's politics. The people have to decide that what they want. How can people of IMF and Americans decide the fate of our country?
Speaking on the occasion the convenor of Manipur State Alliance for Education, Mantu said that Manipur is still under the control of Military even after 50 years of Independence. There are Military camps in the schools, which caused the deprivation of rights to education of children. The human rights violation is rampant and innocence people are being killed in the name of terrorist. The force has been given power to kill anybody at any time therefore we demand for repealing the Arm Forces Special Power Act.
K.C. Mardi the convenor of CREJ Jan Mukti Andolan said that the 60 years of Independence has only given tears to the tribals and local inhabitants. They are betrayed in the name of development therefore we have taken pledge for not giving an inch of land for Industry, Dam and Mining". He said that the SEZ policy is to cheat people therefore we demand from the governments to withdraw it.
The convenor of Bihar Lok Adhikar Manch Uday said that this is the historical movement because thousands of displaced people have come out of their houses to fight against displacement, SEZ policy and communal fascism. We should take pledge to fight against it and we all will win the battle.
Tribal Youth leader Jerom J. Kujur said that our freedom fighters had a dream for the equitable and just society but it was not realized in last 60 years of independence therefore we must fight for the real freedom for the deprived people. The member of NAFRE Jan Andolam Lakhi Das facilitated the mass meeting and the president of Damin Adhikar Morcha Baburam Kishku gave the vote of thanks.