On 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.
While addressing the rally Rajagopalji of Ekta Parishad said that the ground realities of land grabbing and injustice done to dalits and other marginalized communities including adivasis, fishermen, nomadic tribes and Muslim women were alrming and his 45 days of yatra through Kerala, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh had given him a first hand experience of the miseries of 50% of the population of our country. He added that independent struggles against land acquisition and deprivation are going on all around at small levels. He stated that the need of the hour is to join hands for a change in the system and policies at national level. Civil society organizations should be able to pressurize the government to articulate policies and programs for an equal share in land and livelihood resources and opportunities.
The Secretary of 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. Karnataka Industrial Development Board, the corridor projects, express highways, the Nice company–all are acquiring land for making more profits and forgetting the miseries of the poor. As a result, the poor are becoming wage labourers. She posed questions about the benefits of all these high tech projects to the poor people. In her words,“what they are asking is only a small piece of land for cultivation to feed their family. The government says adivasis are destroying the forest, but in fact they protect the forest. Others loot the forest and make money. Do we expect these thieves to protect us who have an eye on all our little resources?
The Vice President of Karnataka Dalit Mahila Vedike condemned the politicians, stated that earlier the jails were meant for criminals and thieves; now they are full of political leaders; it has become a mini Secretariat.
Kodiyali Chandrasekhar of Karnataka Rajya Raiyat Sangha undoubtedly stated the policies ofthe ruling government which are to take away the land of the poor for multi-national companies. He criticized the government’s initiative on Global Investors Meet in Agriculture that is going to take place very soon in Bangalore.
Shri 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. This will give a shocking picture as to who possesses most of the land in this country. She stated that in 10 years, 180 lakh hectares of agricultural land has been diverted for non agricultural use. No political party is interested in protecting the poor; as given in the Forest Rights Act, there has been a “historical injustice done to tribals and other forest dwelling communities”. In this scenario, she reiterated the need for continuing the struggle of Ekta Parishad and fighting together for a national change. She mentioned the incidents taking place in Chhattisgarh of government acquiring village common land. Slowly the authorities are going to touch the tea and coffee gardens of Nilgiris and Kogagu. She was confident of succeeding in the struggles or movements of people, as happened in the case of POSCO. In concluding her speech, she urged all civil society organizations, farmers and mazdoors to protect small pieces of land; not to give up land for throw away prices to corporates and powerful lobbies like Reddy brothers. She assured her support in the struggles of Ekta Parishad.
Shri Manohar of Sangamam, an organization working among trans-gender group pointed out the necessity of rehabilitating and providing a source of livelihood to those who have kept aloof from their own homes and society.
Finally the all friends of Karnatka Dalit Mahila Vedke announced that all members are very concerned with the issues of Jan Satyagraha campaign and they also committed to join the larger action in October 2012.