A team led by NCDHR met the Chiefminister and Minister of SC&ST ,Kerala on the ongoing land struggle at Chengara

A team led by NCDHR met the Chiefminister and Minister of SC&ST ,Kerala on the ongoing land struggle at Chengara
by udaya.
last modified 2009-04-06 14:24
http://www.ncdhr.org.in/latestinterventions/a-team-led-by-ncdhr-met-the-chiefminister-and-minister-of-sc-st-kerala-on-the-ongoing-land-struggle-at-chengara/

CM assured immediate intervention and reassured his govt’s commitment to destribute land among the landless and poor..

A Delegation comprised of NCDHR-NFDLRM members led by NCDHR National Secretary Vincent Manoharan met Chief Minister, VS Achuthanandan and the Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, A K Balan of Keralaand appraised of the ongoing struggle by the Dalits and Adivasis for land at Chengara ,Pathanamthitta district and demanded that land should be distributed to the Struggling Landless people and their interests and concerns should be addressed.
The Chief Minister assured the Team that the Govt has already initiated a process to identify the Government and surplus land and committed to the policy of distribution of land to the poor and the landless.
The Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes informed that the District Administration was already started surveying the land and assured to distribute it to the Struggling people. He also assured that the SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989 should be properly implemented to protect the Rights of the SCs and STs.

National Federation of Dalit Land Rights Movements (NFDLRM) is a National Platform of Dalit organizations, Land rights movements and Activists from all over the country. It is part of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, a Human Rights Advocacy Platform in India.

NFDLRMs concentrates in addressing the Socio Economic Rights of Dalits very particularly the issue of Land for Dalits. It mobilizes the Landless Dalits for Mass Action and under takes Advocacy and Legal Intervention to ensure land and livelihood and also upheld the issue of Civil Political Rights of Dalits who face the inhuman practice of Untouchability which has been identified along with Apartheid. We undertake Fact Findings on the Struggles of Dalits and draw attention of authorities concerned to ensure justice to victims and communities who strive for human rights, right to land and livelihood.

NFDLRM and NCDHR team visited the area and the People who struggle

· Manas Jena,National convenor,National Federation of Dalit land Rights Movements, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
· Mr. Lalit Babbar,National Co convenor,NFDLRM, Maharashtra.
· Mr. Arun Khote,National Media Secretary, NCDHR,NewDelhi
· Mr. R Prakash, NCDHR, Convenor, Kerala.
· Mr. Pradeep ,Human Rights Defender,Pathanamthitta.
· Mr. J .Vincent Manoharan,General secretary, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights(NCDHR),New Delhi.

The Team met the following persons:
· Shri .V.S. Achuthanandan,chief minister , Kerala
· Shri. AK Balan ,Minister of Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes,
· Mr. Laha Gopalan Leader of Sadhujana Vimochana Samyutha Vedhi – who leads the struggle
· Around 2000 people who participate in the fight along with Ms. Saraswathy, Secretary , SVSVS.
· Leaders of various Dalit organizations – KDP, AKPMS, Bamboo Workers Union, Dalit Unity Centre, etc.,
· Rev. M.J. Joseph and Johnson ,Solidarity Co-ordination Committee .

Major Findings:

· Dalits and Adivasis are the most neglected among the marginalized and the Landless in this state.
· Their life and livelihood is at stake and no successive Governments paid sufficient attention to address the demands of these people
· This struggle is going on fro a long time and the people withdrawn from such a similar struggle 8 months back as per the assurance of the Government to allot land.
· Harrison’s Malayalam Plantations Corporation is a Private Company which holds thousands of hectares of land in the state and cultivates Tea and Rubber Plantation
· It was told that the company violated the conditions of the Lease agreement and sublet and even sold lands under its hold.
· This company also encroached large areas of land and occupy it illegally .
· It tries to extend the Lease period and argue that even though the land belongs to the Government the Rubber Trees are the company’s.
· CITU , the trade union of CPI(M) , the major constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front in its attempt to protect the interest of the Plantation workers , so far didn’t show any interest in the struggle
· The Dalits and Adivasis allege that the Government always come out with the customary reply that there is no surplus land in Kerala to allocate to the landless.
· Therefore the Dalits and Adivasis now demand the govt to seize the land under H&C company ,as the lease period is already over due and distribute among the real owners of the land who are rendered landless.
· The Non Dalits and the Land Mafia are eying the land and they do not want the Dalits and Adivasis to get this high cost fertile land .
· Media silence is conspicuous – may be with a notion to block this struggle and to create a myth among the general public that this struggle is disoriented and the strugglers disappeared from the scene.
· Dalit Movements yet to join this struggle but they start expressing their solidarity in different ways.
· The Solidarity Committee formed by Navchetana is active in giving visibility to this issue through various strategies like Satyagraha, consultations, cultural activities, holding public meetings, poster campaign etc.,
· NFDLRMs initiated by NCDHR visited the area a month back , met the struggling people and assured its solidarity and support and came out with a poster campaign.
· The district Collector has assured the Struggling People that the whole land in question will be surveyed and the surplus land will be notified as Government land and will inform the Government on the demands of the Ds and Ads.

· The Landless families of Ds and Ads registered with SJSVSV and moved in to the hilly area to pitch their tents demanding land. The number is increasing day by day.
· The people who have pitched their tents in the Hills are not dared to move out of the site either fearing an attack from Goondas of the Company or the Government will use force to evict them.
· But they seem to be determined even to face bullets for their cause
· They suffer from hunger and various diseases like chikungunya which is worsened by monsoon.
· Children stopped attending schools because of this struggle.
· The sick ,aged and disabled are the worst sufferers both physically and mentally.

The Demands

· SCs, STs ,Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims should be given land for housing and cultivation for a decent livelihood. The title deed should be issued in the name of the Women and Men.
· The struggling Dalits and Adivasis in Chengara and other areas should not be evicted as they are struggling for their livelihood
· The lease agreement with Harrison Malayalam Plantations Corporations and other Private parties should be cancelled and the land should be distributed among the Dalits and Adivasis
· Legal Actions should be taken against H&C and similar companies other than cancellation of the agreement .

· Medical assistance should be provided to the strugglers as they suffer from Chikungunya and other communicable diseases.
· The poor and land less families should also be provided with interest free loan without any collateral security for housing and agricultural activities like land development, irrigation, purchase of agricultural appliance, seeds etc.
· SCs and STs(POA)Act 1989 should be implemented strictly by the state government to protect the communities from the practices of untouchability and caste discrimination in all spheres.
· Any effort by the Harrison Malayalam Plantations corporations to evict these Struggling people by any means should be prevented by the Government and it should protect the struggling Dalits and Adivasis.
· The Surplus land in the State should be identified by implementing the Land Ceiling Act and the same be distributed to the landless Dalits, Adivasis and other Marginalised Communities.

APPEAL :

All Dalit and Adivasi Movements, Political Parties and Civil Society Organisations are requested to express their Solidarity and Support at all possible ways and means to strengthen the Struggle of Dalits and Adivasis of Chengara for land to ensure a secure Life with Dignity

Contact Details to enlist support to this Struggle :
Mr. Laha Gopalan ,State President – SVSV
Ms. Saraswathi, State Secretary – SVSV
Pattanamthitta PO
Kerala .
Laha Mobile: 092491 01709

Manas Jena
National Convenor – NFDLRMs
Lalit Babar
National Co-Convenor – NFDLRMs

VINCENT MANOHARAN
General Secretary – NCDHR

2 Comments

  1. October 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM

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  2. October 7, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    […] original post here:  A team led by NCDHR met the Chiefminister and Minister of SC&ST … Tagged with: […]


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