Ekta Parishad is a mass based people’s movement leading a country wide struggle for the land rights of the marginalized and excluded communities. It firmly believes in and adheres to the principle of non- violence and has effectively used for mass mobilization and protest such as padyatra and satyagrah in bringing together multiple people’s collectives and civil society organizations working on the issue of land rights. In 2012 Jan Satyagraha (an alliance of 2000 social organizations), in order to remind the government of its promises, launched a final and decisive country wide campaign comprising a yearlong Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra culminating in a padyatra, by over 50,000 people from the villages of the country, from Gwalior to New Delhi in October 2012. This campaign resulted in action, long pending, by the Government of India and an agreement was made between the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), GoI and Jan Satyagrah
Since the signing of the agreement on 11 October, 2011 a lot of progress has been made on some of the key issues and it will be appropriate to say that once again the time is ripe for a round of public debate and collective show of solidarity among civil society organisations that have been, for years, working on the issue land rights of the excluded communities.
In so far as progress on the agreement, between MoRD and Jan Satyagrah, is concerned the progress that has been made is as under:
- On 11 January 2013 the Government of India announced that an additional amount to the Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) outlay to enable purchase of homestead land for the landless beneficiaries of the scheme.
- The Homestead land Act is in its draft stages and likely to be tabled in the monsoon session of the Parliament. However its effective implementation would require immense public awareness and vigilance.
- The draft of Land Reform Policy is in its final stages and the policy is likely to be announced by mid March 2013.
- The framework for fast track courts and land tribunals is being worked out by the Ministry of Law and Justice and will be shared soon. It has an important component of legal-aid for the excluded communities.
However the implementation of this process would require great efforts from civil society organisations. State specific directives and advisories have also been drafted and ready for issue. However advisories are not binding in nature and their effectiveness would depend on public awareness and action from civil society organisations.
In view of the above we are organizing Two Days People’s Parliament on 13-14th April in Delhi.
The specific focus of People’s Parliament is to bring the Land Rights agenda in the current political discourse and commitment by different political parties. At the same time we also plan to demonstrate the collective strength.
This People’s Parliament is jointly organized by Jan Satyagraha/Ekta Parishad and National Alliance for Dalit Land Rights.
13th April, whole day is devoted for discussion with various political party leaders and social activists.
14th April, one the auspicious occasion of Dr BR Ambedkar Jayanti, we are launching the National Alliance for Dalit Land Rights.
The all concerned Ministers and political party leaders will be called for this people’s parliament. There is also plan to call 10000 representatives from civil society engaged with the actions on land reforms at grassroots and other levels. The media and other stakeholders will also be invited in this parliament.
Date : 13-14 April, 2013
Venue : Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
JAN SATYAGRAHA/EKTA PARISHAD NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR DALIT LAND RIGHTS