The New Indian Express, 15 Dec 2014, Thiruvananthapuram: Activist Medha Patkar was in the city on Sunday to offer support to the lengthy ‘Nilpu Samaram’.
“158 days of the standing satyagraha has been completed. It is shameful for the government of Kerala not to have resolved the issues in spite of there being a dialogue with the Tribal Development, Forest and Social Justice Ministers and the Chief Minister as well as KPCC chief V M Sudheeran and leaders of ruling parties,” she said.
Medha said that she would be meeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy later in the night with members of the National Alliance of People Movement and other activists to discuss the issue.
“They are ‘Adivasis’, the original inhabitants and everyone else has come to encroach upon their land,” she said.
“A K Antony, in dialogue with the then Central government led by A B Vajpayee, had committed to the Adivasis to give 5 acres of land per family, including to those who were displaced unjustly, unconstitutionally and undemocratically. But that did not come true after one or two years of implementing. Whatever enactment the UPA government brought out, whether the New Land Acquisition Act, Forest Rights Act 2006 or PESA, none has been fully implemented,” she said.
She added, “While Sudheeran and his colleagues are fighting the anti-liquor battle, which we are all for, they say they have almost reached a total consensus (on the Adivasi issue). Why is the outcome not visible?”
She said that areas like Aralam, where the number of Adivasis is more than 8,000, should be grated the status of a scheduled area, and thereby ensure good governance.
She compared the satyagraha, to the agitation for Narmada. “We are used to standing on the waters of Narmada. The Modi government has decided that the water level be increased from 122 m to 139 m. Billions of trees, temples, mosques, schools, dispensaries, houses, townships and 245 villages are going to be drowned, if the Modi government goes its own way, considering only the interests of the corporates of Gujarat,” said Medha.