New Delhi 7th August, 2014
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED FROM DELHI
CONDEMNING THE GOVERNMENT OF RAHJASTHAN’S ATTACK ON RAJASTHAN SAMAGRA SEWA SANGH, A GANDHIAN INSTITUTION IN JAIPUR
VASUNDHARA RAJE LED BJP GOVT. INVOLVED IN LAND SCAM LARGER THAN ADARSH SCAM
· Shri Sawai Singh, senior Gandhian, President of Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh,
· Radha Behan Bhatt, Shri Surendra Kumar and Anupam Mishra of Gandhi Peace Foundation,
· Shri Ramchandra Rahi (Gandhi Smarak Nidhi),
· Medha Patkar (National Alliance of People’s Movements)
· Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, PUCL
THE JOINT STATEMENT ISSUED FROM DELHI
We the members of various Gandhian people’s movement and civil liberty movement and from National Aliance of People’s Movements consider it atrocious that the Jaipur Development Authority, directly under the CM Rajasthan has grabbed the land once purchased by the eminent Gandhians including Gokul bhai Bhatt, Gandhi of Rajasthan, by public money gifted during his felicitation, in a manner full of illegalities. The land 9.75 bighas was no doubt tried and acquired for the Jaipur airport project, but the process of acquisition was in way left incomplete, without mutation (not transferred in the name of R.S.S.S. ) and without taking physical possession. Therefore, the land was leased out to R.S.S.S, the original owner that continues to be so till date. Apart from questioning the lease operation, it is certainly obnoxious that a part of that land (0.75 bigha) was meanwhile transferred to Gokul Vatika Krishi Sahakari Samiti, another old Gandhian organisation that had land adjacent to R.S.S.S. meant for agricultural experiments, fraudulently changed from Agricultural cooperative to Housing cooperative at the behest of some IAS officers of JDA as well as the Minister of Urban Development.
JDA taking forceful possession of R.S.S.S. premises, on June 7th with police force and without any prior notice, evicting the resident Gandhian workers, is obviously an attempt to grab the prime land which has become worth 1500 crores. Instead of enquiring into the fraud committed by Gokul Vatika Krishi Sahakari Samiti (in which no senior Gandhians but the big traders as also successive IAS officers of the rank of Jaipur Development Commissioners and Prinicpal Secretaries of Urban Housing and Development, GOR) were the beneficiaries of the fraudulent housing cooperative society associated with it by name or benami), JDA and State Government has acted in protection and promotion of the land grab.
This has happened within months since Vasundhara Raje Government came to power and within days after Mr. Narendra Modi and NDA took over the Prime Ministership. This is a scam larger than Adarsh Society Scam, exposed by National Alliance of People’s Movement in Maharashtra.
Even if it is presumed that the 9.75 bighas of land belonging to R.S.S.S. since 1959 was acquired by the JDA in 1984 and compensation deposited in the treasury but not received by the R.S.S.S), since the Gandhians are in possession of the land holding till date i.e. beyond 5 years since the land acquisition award was passed, as per clause 24 (2) of the New Act, “Fair compensation, land acquisition and rehabilitation act ” 2013, the land has automatically vested with the organisation i.e. R.S.S.S itself. The encroachment upon the same by JDA in June 2014 ( fortunately not demolished) is therefore a serious crime that cannot be forgiven and forgotten. It is, no doubt, legally challengeable and socially condemnable.
This is, no doubt, an attempt not only to divert the land belonging to Gandhian institute, but to kill a tradition of non-commercial management of such institutions. Its no doubt an assault on the Gandhian ideology and active cadres that BJP Governments and RSS, their ideological mentor is known for.
We refuse to tolerate this act and warn the power holders that they will surely face a stronger, non-violent challenge at legal and social fora, soon.
It can only be avoided by
1- Returning the land and possession back to R.S.S.S with dignity and paying all the damages.
2- Accepting that under the new act, “fair compensation, land acquisition and rehabilitation act 2013”, the land vests with R.S.S.S. in spite of the old acquisition without taking possession.
3- Instituting a CBI enquiry into the whole episode and the years long fraud committed by JDA as well as Gokul Vatika Krishi Sahakari Samiti.
MEDHA PATKAR RADHA BEHAN BHATT ANUPAM MISHRA
SURENDRA KUMAR SAWAI SINGH KAVITA SRIVASTAVA
On the 7th of June, 2014, the Jaipur Development Authority directly under the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, in an absolute exercise of power, sealed the complete premises of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh which had existed on its own land since 1959. They threw out all the residents and their belongings, cancelled the allotment and took over their land. The insensitivity of the JDA team led by JDA official Pawan Arora and Subhash Mahariya, was such that in the scorching heat of 47 degrees, one resident who had recently delivered a baby, was asked to leave the room by evening, locking the kitchen and adjoining rooms that she could not even be fed. The 80 year old ex-Secretary of the Sangh, Rameshwar Vidyarthi, living with his wife in one room of the premises were thrown out with their belongings, similarly, the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh’s, Sh. Sawai Singh who had been living with his family, as part of the norms of the Sangh since the last thirty years also found himself with his family and their belongings on their road. I t is also important to know that the letter of cancellation of allotment and seizure of property dated 6th June, signed by Pawan Arora, Secretary, JDA, under the instruction of principal secretary housing development, D B Gupta, was handed over by the officials when they came at 11 am on the 7th June. It was an order of eviction and they came to evict.
The Jai Prakash Narayan founded bhawan of Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh in 1960, which was the main office of the organisation along with the Samadhi of Gokul Bhai Bhatt, the Gandhi of Rajasthan, was also treated with disrespect and sealed and as of now the whole place out of bounds, with all the plants around the Samadhi dying due to lack of water.
Since then the almost ten bighas of land of the organisation has been in the hands of the JDA. Altough on an application moved by the President Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, the Rajasthan High Court, gave a stay to the JDA to not to further sell the property. The Rajasthan High Court also recently made as interveners the Gokul Bhai Bhat Agricultural cooperative society, the main culprit behind the land grab of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh
A struggle in Rajasthan of all organisations working in the social sector in the State, has taken off for the restoration of the land back to the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh. Incidentally, this was the only space for all movements, progressive groups and NGOs, to have their meetings and workshops. This was the space from where the NREGA, the Right to Information, the Right to Food, the Forests Rights Act and many other legislations which were considered historic, found their genesis in meetings and discussions here.
Presently, continuous Dharna’s, Press Meetings and other protests are happening all the time. However, with the Government ignoring the whole issue and not responding or meeting the aggrieved party, it was decided that the issue must be raised nationally by Gandhian groups and other struggle based organisation so that once again an appeal could be sent to the CM of Rajasthan to look into the matter.
Annexure: Countering the Argument used by the JDA to evict the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh
The argument used by the JDA is that the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh violated the conditions of the allotment of the land in 2001. They had to get a Map passed by the JDA in a years time of its allotment, they had to take approval of construction activity and the space could not be used for any commercial and residential purpose. Notices were given earlier and JDA not being satisfied with the replies to these violations, along with constant notices from the Lok Ayukta to take action for these violations, they were cancelling the allotment.
Countering these lies the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh and his team of lawyers gave the following arguments. The Sangh land was in the erstwhile Chainpura village, which was bought in 1959 from a farmer and the registry is in the name of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. In 1984 when all the land in that area was acquired for the International Airport, the Sangh land too was acquired. However, it was never taken possession off. According to the new and old law, when land is not taken possession off in five years of the acquisition, then the land goes back to the original holder. Thus the land was always of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh since 1989. So this business about allotment becomes meaningless and the JDA. Also there was a Rajasthan High Court stay on the land since 2004 against the JDA allotment, which had handed over two bighas land of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh to Gokul Vatika Sahakari Samiti, with which many IAS officers are linked, this stay order was violated by the JDA on the 7th when it came to take possession of the land of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. The JDA has actually committed contempt. Moreover, since 7thwas a Saturday and next day was a Sunday, the Court could not be approached and therefore, it was JDA’s mala fide intentions.
However, even if we go by the argument of allotment of 2001, then it is the JDA which has violated the conditions and not the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh.
The condition was also that the JDA would give Rs 40 lacs for the construction of the Gokul Bhai Bhatt memorial, which the JDA never ever gave since 2001 to the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh,
Secondly, the executive of the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh was supposed to have two officials of the JDA and one from the Government, the onus of this lapse is on the Government and the JDA and not the Rajasthan Samagra SewaSangh.
The Map was supposed to be prepared under the guidance of the JDA, when did the JDA ever come forward and give its guidance.
The place was never used commercially, the so called use for wedding, were the stray two or three wedding of the family members of the staff. The kitchen run at the back of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh was for the participants who came for the constant meetings that took place, as the original objective of the Rajasthan Samagra Swea Sangh was to be a space for reflections and churning of ideas. It was the space in Rajasthan where activists from all over came month after month for such meetings.
The notices that were given in 2013 November and 2014 February, were duly replied too and if there was a dispute then the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, should have been called for a hearing, why was it never given a chance to be heard. Similarly, if the Lok Ayukta felt that there was an issue, then too they should have sent a notice to the Sangh. The Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, was never summoned by the Lok Ayukta. Principles of natural justice seemed to be compromised by both.
 See Background and Annexure at the bottom of the document, for more detail
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