Skip to main content

Dalit land rights meet off Ahmedabad decides to monitor Gujarat govt "promise" of allocation within 6 months

By Our Representative
While it has taken the self-immolation of Bhanubhai Vankar for the Gujarat government’s to decide to provide physical possession of land within six months to all those Dalit families who have received but only on paper, Gujarat's largest Dalit rights organization Navsarjan Trust has declared it would help the process by compiling list of all such cases to ensure the “expeditious allocation” across Gujarat.
Around 150 Dalit grassroots workers from several of Gujarat’s districts, gathered near Ahmedabad, agreed that they would prepare a complete list of the cases where allocations did take place during the land reforms days, yet the dominant sections never allowed Dalits to take their physical possession.
The list would also include the names of those Dalits who have not received title of the land they have been tilling for tens of years, though they were handed over land under the “land to the tiller” policy of the 1960s.
Activists at the meeting agreed that Dalits should not demand land as a community. Several other backward caste communities, such as Kolis and Thakores, too face similar problems. They should also be involved in preparation of the list.
Also, Right to Information (RTI) pleas should be filed at various levels to find out whether the state government has actually begun the process of land allocation. The RTI applications, it was suggested, should be filed within one month of the announcement that Dalits should be made legal owners of the land they actually should be cultivating.
Addressing the meeting off Ahmedabad, Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan said, during the last Vibrant Gujarat summit in January 2017, top Indian and world businessmen were assured that the land to be allocated to them for setting up industries would be cleared within 45 days, no one has heard of such an assurance for Dalits.
The result is that, while the bottom 50% of farmers is in possession of 3% of agricultural lands, the top 10% about 54% of the land, Macwan said. Added two activists from Mehsana district, Bharatbhai and Shantaben, irrigable land next to the Narmada canal is all in possession of the dominant sections, while the deprived sections have only barren or rainfed land.
Kiritbhai from Mandal taluka of Ahmedabad district said, there were Dalit farmers who were tilling land for eight decades, but they haven’t yet received the title, and are always under threat of being evicted. Arvindbhai from Ahmedabad district said, in 40% of cases, Dalits do not know where their land is, though they are legal owners on paper.
The situation was found to be similar almost everywhere, whether it was Surendranagar, Rajkot, Junagadh, Patan, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha or Panchmahals district. In Vadodara, Anand or Kheda districts, the view was strong among the participants that most of the Dalits were agricultural workers and they did not possess “any land.”
Activists from Patan and Banaskantha wondered, why was land immediately allocated for go-shalas or cow sheds, but not to Dalits. Those wanting to set up ashrams, too, were handed over land liberally. But the deprived sections had no such right. And if the Dalits demand land, they are forced to migrate out and live are displaced.
Addressing the meeting, former BJP MLA Siddharth Parmar, a Dalit, who joined the Congress ahead of the December 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, suggested that the Dalits should not demand the land that has been encroached upon, as it would bring them in direct conflict with other farmers. They should, instead, demand land elsewhere from the government.

Comments

TRENDING

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Why crib? 4.5% is far better than pre-1980 'Hindu rate of growth': Subramanian replies

By Rajiv Shah
Even as sticking to his original argument that India's gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 has been overestimated by 2.5%, renowned economist Arvind Subramanian has said in a fresh paper that his estimate of post-2011-12 growth rate at around 4.5% is surely not "implausibly low", as some of his critics have been arguing following his controversial June paper.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

UP's Sonbhadra killing of 10 tribals highlights 'failure' to implement Forest Rights Act

Counterview Desk On July 17, as many as 10 people, including three women, were killed and 28 injured when a village head and his supporters opened fire on a group of tribal farmers in Ubha village of Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh. While the firing took place following a clash between over a land ownership dispute, it reportedly highlights failure of officials enforce Forest Rights Acts (FRA) and Survey Settlement in favour of tribals.