Skip to main content

'India is not for sale': Land rights movement plans nationwide agitation on August 9-10

By Our Representative
Following an online conference, India’s top land rights network, the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) announced that on August 9-10, 2020 it would hold a nationwide day of protest across the country under the slogan ‘India Is Not For Sale’ in view of the changes introduced to dilute environment conservation efforts through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020.
The slogan ‘India Is Not For Sale’ was adopted adopted the conference, in which 150 representatives of people’s movement groups participated. The August 9-10 protest would also focus on fresh moves reportedly being made to decimate the processes of social impact assessment and consent for land acquisition amidst Covid-19 crisis. In the meanwhile, it was decided to reach out to the people who might be affected by he Government of India move.
The day of protest would be preceded by a nationwide campaign on July 23 at block and tehsil levels to agitate people for land reforms, demand royalties for the use of natural resources as their rightful due, support working classes’ opposition to changes being introduced by the government in labour laws, and pressure government to take adequate steps to solve the crisis faced by migrant workers on their lives and livelihoods.
A communique issued by BAA following the virtual meet said, “The 73rd amendment to the Constitution gives credibility to the assertions of peoples’ movement groups. Hence it is important that it is implemented in adivasi areas in its letter and spirit along with implementing the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996” (PESA) and Forest Rights Act (FRA)”, insisting on the need for “peoples’ movement to emerge as pressure groups for this purpose.”
Participated, among others, by Hannan Mollah (All India Kisan Sabha), Medha Patkar (National Alliance of People’s Movements), Ulka Mahajan (Sarvahara Jan Andolan), Dayamani Barla (Adivasi, Moolvaasi, Astitva Raksha Manch), Ashok Shrimali (Mines, Minerals and People), Ashok Chowdhury and Roma Malik (All India Union of Forest Working People), and others, speakers shared the challenges faced by working people expressing concern on the government’s “non-collaborative nature” in deciding what is good for the country.  
Amidst Covid-19 crisis, instead of focusing on public health or social security, the government is seeking to indiscriminately sale natural resources to corporate groups
The BAA note said, “In the name of rhetorical development, the Union government has made natural resources a commodity for exploitation.” Referring to Covid-19, it added, “Even in the times of a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude, there has not been focus on public health or social security but on the indiscriminate sale of natural resources to corporate groups.”
The note stated, “The conference focused on the plight of working caste-class groups who continue to suffer immensely due to the negligence of state and union governments”, adding, “It has been amply clear that this regime is against the interests of common people and does not care about them.”
“In the time of a pandemic, when people are unable to come together and express their opposition, the imposition of various amendments and ordinances in the management and control of natural resources points to their high-handedness in the matter”, the note insisted.
Held in four sessions, discussions ranged on the changes in labour laws, challenges faced by migrant workers on their lives and livelihoods, commercialization of coal mining, negative impacts on agriculture, changes introduced to dilute environment conservation efforts through the introduction of EIA notification 2020 and the virtual decimation of the processes of social impact assessment and taking consent for land acquisition.
It was pointed out at the conference that the increasing attacks on forest dwelling communities by forest departments and atrocities by police as a widely used method of state violence had emerged as a major cause for worry. Speakers focused on the fact that the Union government has used the pandemic as an excuse to impose “anti-people” laws, seeking to hand over public resources to private players rather than take efforts to improve the conditions of people.
The note said, “Opposition to the government policies has been criminalized, and it was realized that a united opposition must be built for democratic movements to take shape”, adding, “While the government won elections with the slogans that they would not let the resources of the country get out, it is working overtimes to do the opposite and sell out natural resources to national and international capitalist groups.”

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

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.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara 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".

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

New rules to make lakhs of tribals vulnerable to summary eviction: NAPM tells MPs

Counterview Desk  The top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has said that the new Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022, pending in Parliament and may be passed any day in the current Budget session, needs to be “strongly opposed” in Parliament. These Rules will allow easy diversion of forest land for projects and companies without the consent of gram sabhas and will allow the eviction of forest communities without the recognition of forest rights”, it alleged.

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

FSSAI 'refusing to empower' citizens to have their right to informed choice on GMO

Counterview Desk  The advocacy group Coalition for a GM-Free India in response to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's FSSAI’s) “weak forms” for licensing of GM foods, has insisted on the need to have “strong regulations to ensure safe food for citizens”. Stating that this form is different from the FSSAI GM draft regulation which had come out recently for which it had shared its response, the NGO network said in letter to Pushp Vanam, joint director, Science and Standards, FSSAI, it is problematic that these forms were not shared at the same time as the GM regulation draft as it would have enabled more people who read and respond to it. Text: This is in regards to the notification from FSSAI asking for inputs on the forms. We find it problematic that these forms were not shared at the same time as the GM Regulation draft as it would have enabled more people who read and responded on the regulation draft to have been able to comment on the forms too. Our response to the