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

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”