“The Govt. of India and Odisha state government have agreed in principle that housing is a fundamental human need. In the government’s policy documents it is also found one fifth of the worlds population have been forced to live in slums. Forced displacements due to capital intensive mining based industrialization with rapid urbanization, large-scale migration is taking place from rural to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities. In the absence of equity based urban planning along with short sighted urban policies create shortage of housing, water, sanitation, education, healthcare, and social security and leading to dismal living conditions for urban poor.
“We express our concern that the Odisha Development Authorities Act which provides for earmark 10% of the urban land for the housing of socio economic weaker sections of the society, it is not carried out while master plan is prepared or the BDA, Housing Board like Govt. undertaking agencies have not taken the housing rights issues of the urban poor populations.
“As for the Govt. statistics in the year 2007 a housing short fall of the about 1.5 lakhs units was estimated in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack regions alone. But as for the Govt. statistics in the year 2004 there were more than 68 thousand urban poor families residing in the Bhubaneswar. As for the Rajib Awass Yojana Socio-Economic Survey there are 77,338 slum families living in 415 slums in Bhubaneswar. At present there are more than 450 slums existing in Bhubaneswar and the slums mostly exist in the public lands.
“We are surprised to know that even though the Union Govt. and the Odisha Govt. accept the fact that housing is a fundamental human need, but the Odisha Govt. in contrary to its proclaimed policy i.e Policy for Housing for All in Urban areas, Odisha-2015 which was published in the Odisha Gazette in 22nd August 2015, have decided that any slum dweller who is having any land/ house in any part of the country shall not be eligible for consideration of allotment of a house under RAY / BSUP / PMAY / HFA besides the state Govt. has decided that the slum dwellers shall have to make an affidavit with an undertaking that they will vacate the slum land voluntarily even without transit accommodations and facilities. The above two decisions of the Odisha Govt. which is not only anti people but also contrary to the policies of the centre and the state, the same was very scrupulously carried out by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
“The Notifications of BMC No. 11417 and 11422 dated 2nd July 2016 publised in Odia dailies such as Sambad, Samaj and Dharitri reflects the same anti people decisions of the Odisha Govt. The above notifications have forced us to come to the street to fight for the justice in general and social justice in particular. Basti Surakshya Mancha has already agitated it in black and white form through email communications with you all on dated 5th to 15 July 2016, But we got no result as yet.
“The urban poor population of Bhubaneswar have again been betrayed by the Odisha Govt. by using BMC as its agency to displace the slum dwellers forcefully with an empty slogan of slum dwellers rehabilition under RAY / BSUP/ PMAY HFA (Awass). In this context we have no hesitation to say that the Patharbandha and Mahisiakhal Slums which were decided for in situ development in the year 1993-94 is yet to see the light. 192 BSUP EWS housing units which have been constructed in 2008 for in situ developments of Tarini Nagar and Aurobinda Nagar have not been allotted in favour of the said slum dwellers. With all honesty, we can say that as on today no slum family has been provided with a piece of land or a small housing unit during the year 2000 to till date but in the contrary it is about more than 60 slums have been bulldozed without any permanent rehabilitation facilities.
“We reiterate our genuine demand that housing is an integral part of livelihood, which should be provided by the Govt. to all including unorganized workers living slums close to their place of work. We request you to consider our genuine grievance that, all the slum dwellers who have occupied public lands in Bhubaneswar shall be rehabilitated under the principle that housing for all close to their place of work and as an interim step we request the Odisha Govt. to immediately withdraw the two objectionable conditions.
“We have come to understand that in spite of all assurances the government is trying to eliminate all the slum dwellers from the above noted things under the cover that they have land in their native villages. We demand that amended notifications be published by the BMC authority. The Govt. should change the policy against slum demolitions and ensure alternate site and house in case any silum areas are taken or rehabilitation and in this case in situ development ensuring satisfactory housing for all”.
virtually gheraoing it for hours when their leaders and leadig activists discussed their problems with the officers of district administration. Almost two thirds of them were women, many with their young children. As the rail communication in the area is not effective and as local trains are few, many of them had to spent two nights at the railway station to participate in the rally. But since the housing and land question is a life and death problem for them even seven decades after independence, under the banner of the party committees and AIKKS they decided to surmount all difficulties and participate in the rally, turning the maidan and then the few kilometers to the Kacheri red with their banners and flags, raising militant slogans all through.
CPI(ML) state secretary com. Brajbihari, other leaders comrades Sunila, Ram Sanehi, Rambali and many leaders of the Housing Right Committee gave leadership to the rally. Com. Brajbihari explained the importance of the day, 9th August, the Bharat Chodo Andolan day of 1942, when many from Sithapur had rallied for independence. Freedom fighters from Sithapur also became martyrs in whose memory the Shahid Minar was built. But in spite of these martyrdoms it is the corporates like Ambani and Adani thrives, while the masses are denied the land and housing, their basic rights.
Addressing the rally com. K.N. Ramachandran, General Secretary of the Party pointed out the significance of the struggle for land, housing and social justice for which people are rallying all over the country under the banner of the party and mass organizations. It was when the promises given during the freedom struggle were betrayed, the Naxalbari Uprising took place putting forward the agrarian revolution in the agenda of people’s movements. Now when we are observing the 50th anniversary of the great people’s uprising the land question is not even taken up by the central and state governments. They have enough land to give to corporate and real estate nafias, but no land to give to dalits, adivasis and other oppressed masses. So the struggle for land, housing and social justice should be intensified everywhere. He extended all support to the movement of the agricultural workers and peasantry of UP. Adv. C.B.Singh com. Bhagavathi Singh also addressed the rally along with other leading comrades calling for intensifying the movement for social justice fighting against corporate-communal raj promoted by vested interests.
Following this by 2pm the march started to the collectorate through the main road and virtually gheraoed the Kacheri when the discussion started with the district administration. Once again, the authorities assured the distribution of all available land and completing housing for all houseless families.
The peasantry has declared through their slogans that unless these assurances are fulfilled they shall advance towards direct action to capture the land and to put pressure for housing and other social justices. In the context of coming UP elections this mobilization for basic demands
The meeting decided to organize campaigns in all states for land, housing and alternate employment. It decided to intensify the campaign for banning the Go Rakshak Sena like Brahminical outfits.
The meeting decided to expand the All India Coordination Council by co-opting eight more comrades from different states. The Central Working Group of comrades JP Nerala, Umakant and KP Singh was expanded including Dr Rajaram, Tuhin, Sanjeev, Brij Bihari, Hari Shankar. The meeting decided to bring out its organs Caste Annihilation and Jati Unmulan by the middle of October. The meeting successfully concluded on 21st August evening.
The attack on dalit men in Una for allegedly skinning a dead cow by so-called cow protection committee men, products of the Brahmanical hate ideology of RSS strengthened by the support provided by the Modi government has rocked the country and brought forward the significance of the caste annihilation in present situation. The powerful upsurge of dalits and other oppressed sections along with democratic forces in the state was joined by the Caste Annihilation Movement (CAM) activists also. The central working group of the CAM issued a statement in Delhi condemning the incident and calling of all democratic forces to intensify the caste annihilation campaign and to boldly resist such onslaughts by Manuvadis. During the Una mobilization, many groups walked in solidarity with the march for the entire 10 days or at least for a few days with people coming from UP, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Telegana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra etc. The oppressed classes and sections, the minorities, progressive political forces in the state also declared solidarity and participated in the Yatra.
The local police in Una and the additional police deployed by Gujarat Government took a full 3 days to make the first arrests of the rioters supporting BJP who had been attacking Dalits, vandalizing vehicles and threatening those who wish to join the rally. These under hand tactics by Gujarat Govt of letting the rioters have a free hand shows how threatened they felt by the Dalit Asmita Yatra and wanted it jeopardized desperately. All credits to the tens of thousands who attended the Dalit Mahasammelan and in the Dalit Asmita Yatra for not falling for the provocations which was a tactical ploy to undermine the great march.
Una Dalit Atyachar Ladai Samiti, the group spearheading Dalit protests in Gujarat, will intensify its agitation by blocking trains and taking their protests outside the state, its leaders said. Members of the Samiti are currently on a 350-km march from Ahmedabad to Una to galvanise the community in the state and protest against the growing atrocities as well as what they is the ruling BJP government’s apathy. The march - Asmita Yatra - will end on August 15 with a public meeting. “On 15th, we will give a deadline to the government. And if our demands are not met by that deadline, we will organise rail roko in Ahmedabad,” Jignesh Mevani, convenor of the Samiyhi said..
The Samiti has demanded the immediate arrest of all those who can be seen in the video thrashing the four Una men and prohibit them from entering the state. They want policemen, who helped the accused, to be booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act.
They have asked for the withdrawal of false cases lodged against the members of Dalits community. They want allotment of land to Dalits who don’t wish to continue their job of skinning cows and an assurance that those who have been given land on paper, get possession the as well.
They also want employment for the scheduled caste members under the Smart City project and permanent jobs for all sanitation workers under Nagar Paloma as well as benefits of the sixth pay commission.
Before the rail blockade, the group plans to conduct a rally from Mehsana to Gandhinagar in north Gujarat.
It is becoming clearer day by day that even after the institutional murder of Rohir Vemula and the massive people’s resentment that followed, the Modi government has not learned any lessons. The thrashing of dalit youths at Una by Go-Rakshaks and growing attacks on dalits all over the country were crossing all limits of tolerance, and now the dalits in the state joined by the minorities and all democratic forces have launched a massive resistance movement organizing a militant march from Ahmedabad to Una declaring on 15th August that hereafter the dalits will not bury the carcasses of dead animals and let the Brahminical rulers arrange for it. In spite of the half hearted speech of Modi which came very late criticizing the Go-Rakshaks, it is clear that it is the RSS parivar which is promoting these criminals intoxicated under Manuvad. If dalit oppression and caste based atrocities continued under the long Congress rule which followed caste appeasement policies favoring the Brahminical forces, under BJP rule prompted by RSS it is outright Manuvadi aggression over the downtrodden classes and sections. It has taken caste based oppression to unprecedented levels. What is happening all over the country is a reaction of the heinous acts of Manuvadi forces..
History teaches that oppression will not be tolerated for ever. Now what was started with the intistutional murder of Rohit is reaching new heights after the thrashing of dalit boys by the Brahminical forces. Millions of the oppressed masses are coming forward to resist. If the Navnirman Movement of 1973 in Gujarat started turning the table against Congress rule, now the dalit movement spreading in Gujarat supported by all progressive forces has provided a new impetus to the resistance against the Modi government, which is bound to intensify in coming days. This is the manner in which the fascicization of the country should be resisted and reversed.
The protest march and the agitation was part of a state-wide strike called by "Bhoomi Mattu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horata Samithi" (Struggling Committee of landless and Houseless People), a struggling platform of 27 organisations including Karnataka Raith Sangha, Karnataka Janshakti, TUCI, RYFI, AIRSO, KVS and individuals for a common demand of cultivable lands for landless and homes for homeless. It was formed at convention organised at Bangalore on 30th June 2016.
Speaking at the protest venue outside the office of Deputy Commissioner, comrade Kumar Samatala, State convenor of Karnataka Janashakti that was part of the platform, opined that parties that led successive governments in the State did not have any moral right to celebrate the birth centenary of former Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs who introduced land reforms in the State with a clear intention of providing cultivable lands to poor and genuine tillers. “Unless the right to shelter and right to cultivable land are upheld as fundamental rights of farmers and labourers who are completely dependent on agriculture, even the Siddaramaiah government has no moral right to celebrate Devaraj Urs birth centenary. By displaying its commitment of providing five acres of land for every landless farmer and a housing plot for every homeless family, the State government should meaningfully celebrate the birth anniversary of the iconic leader who made significant progress in economically uplifting the rural downtrodden,” Mr. Samatala said.
Comrade R. Manasayya, state president of Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), attacked the Central and State governments for ‘backing’ land-grabbers. “Millions of acres of forest lands, revenue lands, lakes, tanks, gomalas and other public spaces are encroached by big landlords, industrialists, corrupt politicians and the like. Instead of clearing these encroachments and distributing the cultivable lands among landless peasants, the governments have always targeted poor farmers who have been cultivating government lands for earning their daily meal,” he said.
The agitating farmers demanded that government constitute a high-power committee with the Chief Minister as it head to take quick decisions and implement them in a time-bound manner. “Some of the representatives of farmers’ movements should be included as members of the committee which can take quick decisions on the matter of identifying government lands and distributing them among landless peasants. The committee should also focus on regularising the bagair hukum lands to their genuine cultivators. At the same time, land tribunals should also be revived to deal with the dispute arising in implementing land reforms,” he said.
As a next step, the "Bhoomi Mattu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horata Samithi" has decided that on 20th August thousands of landless farmers form all the districts would march to Bengaluru with the same demands.