In the Anantpur area, the yatra first visited two sites of industrial displacements. Mr. Gangai Reddy of the Ananta Paryavaran Parirakshan Samity and Andhra Pradesh Dalit Samakhya in Kadiri informed us in Anantpur alone about 22000 acres of land has transferred for a SEZ. In Amadagur, Kotwarpalli village, the yatra learned that the Andhra Padesh Industrial Corporation has acquired 13000 acres of land from the villagers.
The next day in Lepakshi, the yatra had a review meeting. It was noted that since the Yatra has not visited all the districts where the Dalit Alliance is active on the issues of land rights of the people, the sharing of the group will be also shared with the entire membership of the Dalit Alliance. The Yatra has mainly visited sites of SEZs, Nuclear Plants and Land Acquisition, however there are other areas of concern such bauxite mining which also have to be included in the larger canvas of the struggle.
In Hindupur, the yatra learned that the villages of Tumkunta and Gollapuram are the worst affected villages in Anantpur district after the SEZ proposals. A public hearing was called by Andhra Pradesh Dalit Samakhya and local organizations there. Later a rally was also organized by Dalit Samakhya and submitted a memorandum to the Mandal Revenue Officer of Hindupur.
The Yatra then spent two days in Bangalore. On the first day, a consultation was called by Vimochana (an organization devoted to raising the issues of womens’ rights) along with other organizations in Bangalore. The focus of this consultation was to bring forward the issues around ‘reclaiming the commons’ towards a sustainable land use system. Another session was focused on campaign experiences moderated by Mr Rajendra Prabhakar, a representative of People’s Campaign for Right to Water in Karnatka. He opened the debate with comments about how land should be treated as common property rather than as individual rights.
On the next day, the 19th of November, the Karnataka Mahila Vedike arranged a rally of 2500 people starting from Freedom Park to Banappa Park in Bangalore city. 95% of the participants were women coming from different parts of Anekal Taluk. Other organizations such as Sangamam, Dalit Sangarsh Morcha, Karnataka Rightist Sangha and other activists working in slum areas and among adivasis took part in the rally and public meeting. Rajaji was the chief guest. Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan also participated in the public meeting.
The Secretary of the Karnataka Dalit Mahila Vedike, Smt Yeshoda spoke on the present scenario of land-grabbing, displacement, threat and anti-poor state government policies. She said that the human beings spends 9 months in their mother’s womb but they spend the rest of their life in mother earth and therefore, land is life to the dalits and landless. Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan lashed out against the anti-poor programs of the government. She said that Ambedkarji gave every citizen a right to live. It is high time to expose the account on land holding. . She assured the yatra of her support of the struggles of Ekta Parishad.