Samwad Yatra Report, Day 50: Tumkur, Karnataka

 

 

 

 

 

 

The yatra team members were warmly welcomed by Jyothi Raj and members of Bhu Shakti Kendra in Tumkur. A meeting called by Bhu Shakti Kendra attended by 50 members of the organization walked from around the entire region. Mrs Jyothi spoke about how after many efforts of the Dalit Panchyat and Bhu Shakti Kendra, they had success in removing the discrimination in this region and also getting ensured land rights to about 10,000 Dalit landless families. Mr Joby gave a brief overview of the progress made by the organization after its inception in 1983. After an initial phase of Dalit Jagriti Samity, the mobilization began in 400 villages. Later after 2003, the Bhu Shakti Kendra was set up with the very focussed steps of cultural awakening on land, forest and water resources. This whole effort was transformed into the Dalit Panchyat after 2005, when the organization started building political awakening among the Dalit families. Later the whole efforts spread over 800 villages in 11 districts of Karnatka. It was a major political victory of the organization, when 686 members won the election at the panchyat level. Now, since 2007, the organization has also involved in Electoral Reforms campaigning at the state as well as at the national level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Land Cell of Bhu Shakti Kendra made a thorough research on availability of surplus land which can be redistributed to the landless poor in the state. This research is helpful for them to argue for land redistribution to the identified landless poor. After several campaigns and successful advocacy, the organization has achieved about 10000 acres of land for the landless poor. Mr Rangaya from Land Cell, spoke in detail about how they are systematically collected the petitions with a specified method based on classification of land. Then the petitions were used to fit the argument on the basis of availability of land or the pending process in courts. He informed us that Land Cell is an instrumental to bring hundreds of cases to the courts through taking the advantages of the PTCL (1979) Act meant for providing security to the tenants. The land cell also helped for facilitating legal literacy among the people and especially among women farmers. He explained that they also collected the signature of the landless people who are willing to get land and wanted to petition for getting the land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The yatra later visited the Bhu Shakti Kendra which is an orientation center engaged in cultural awakening about the land and mother earth.

Mrs Jyothi Raj and partners of Bhu Shakti Kendra strong shows their solidarity and support for the Jan Satyagraha. Mrs Lakshmi and Saroja the tribal leaders from Jharkhand have collected the soil of Bhu Shakti Kendra. Up to today, 51 soil samples from different land struggle have collected from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh.

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