Subsequent government policies have for long ignored the demands of its most poor and marginalised sections. The attempts at diluting the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 was met with huge resistance and struggle faced by the government from all sections of people; farmers, fishworkers, dalits and adivasis and landless groups came together across the country to resist the draconian clauses on doing away with social impact assessment and consent from affected people. Massive rallies in Delhi and everywhere else in the country made the government go back on its ‘urgent need’ for more acquisition and passed the buck to the states to design laws to facilitate land grabbing and plundering of natural resources. The struggle has brought trade unions, farmer unions and social movements closer in highlighting the failure of the government to ensure constitutionally-protected rights of adivasis and other forest dwelling communities.
The attempts to dilute the progressive Forest Rights Act, 2006 are also ongoing and the role of central and state governments in ignoring the provisions of the law points to the complete disregard for laws and constitutional processes. In Chhattisgarh, the state government has gone so far as cancelling community rights of adivasis to favour mining in declared No-Go areas, even though Gram Sabha resolutions in 20 villages have vehemently opposed mining. The ignoring of environment laws to focus on development also needs a special mention.
It is an attack on all fronts. On one hand, whistleblowers, human rights defenders, journalists and activists across the country are targeted, beaten up and portrayed as ‘anti-national’ elements and defaulting corporations are given tax exemptions in the tunes of thousands of crores. Bhumi Adhikar Andolan condemns and demands immediate action on the recent attack on Soni Sori in Bastar, targeting of students in JNU, high handedness of the police and administration in collusion with goons, and the hate politics propagated throughout the country.
On 24th February, 2016 (Wednesday) a massive rally of farmers, workers and various movements is being organized at Jantar Mantar, where thousands of farmers, workers, fisher folks, adivasis and project affected people from ten states will be converging on Feb 24th to protest against these issues.
Last year, the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (Land Rights Movement) which is an umbrella network for many farmer unions, trade unions, social movements and other intellectual individuals and groups had come together for a massive rally at Jantar Mantar. The media had picked it up and the subsequent pressure had made the government go back on its amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.
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