The Dalit Farmers of Osmanabad: Yatra Day 73

A public meeting was organized in Gajwada village of Vashi Tehsil in Osmanabad district by Manav Haq Adhikar (Campaign for Human Rights) and Bhoomi Adhikar Aandolan (Land Rights Movement).     Campaign for Human Rights began its work on the issue of untouchability and atrocities against dalits. We heard an example of these attrocities in the story of 2 dalit brothers who committed suicide publically because the land they were cultivating was grazed by the powerful sections of the community. Their crops were destroyed.

Campaign for Human Rights works in 1000 villages in 6 districts of Marathwada region of Maharashtra. CHR works with the framework of existing laws and policies and tries to get those laws and policies that are pro-poor properly implemented. In 2004, CHR gave a call to farmers in the Marathwada region to reclaim Gairan lands. Gairan lands are grazing lands that were given as Inami land by the Nizams. 50,000 farmers reclaimed 1 lakh hectares in response to the call given by CHR.  In 2005, the government issued a notice to acquire land from this village through MIDC for Pataka Industries. In response to this notice, the Gramsabha passed a resolution against the acquisition stating that this was against the farmers of the village.

The farmers are waging 3 struggles simultaneously: 1.) increase the productivity of their land 2.) with the government for land and 3.) fight with the people from powerful sections of the community who are resisting the land distribution to the marginalized sections of society.

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