For Immediate Release 29thNovember, 2011
Displaced Adivasis cultivate Government land at Jobat
Hundreds of Oustees demand immediate land based rehabilitation
as one week of Zameen Haq Satyagraha concludes
Jobat / Alirajpur: The Madhya Pradesh Government and the district administration of Alirajpur watched mutely as the displaced adivasis of the Sardar Sarovar and Jobat Dam Projects went another step ahead in their Zameen Haq Satyagraha and actually cultivated the government land at Jobat with their own bullocks, which they have occupied. The oustees began cultivation of the land under the Jobat Agricultural and Seed Production Farm since yesterday and have started the first task of sowing the maize crop.
The cultivation began yesterday morning in the traditional adivasi style, with the elderly members of the community and long-time strugglers, Bava Mahariya of village Jalsindhi and Mangliya Daya of village Bhadal worshipping the ‘deve daani’, Mother Nature and Mother Earth. The oustees are determined and state that they will continue with the Satyagraha until they actually receive their share of cultivable, irrigable and suitable land from the Narmada Valley Development Authority. The nature-loving women and men have also resolved to nourish the maize crop throughout the coming season and reap the harvest as their rightful share.
Although the farm authorities have complained to the local police against the oustees for ‘illegally encroaching’ on the government land, no ‘action’ has come forth thus far. Evidently, the authorities cannot easily brush aside the fact that the oustees are actually asserting their long – standing legal rights within a democratic framework. Further the authorities are also aware that as per the High Court’s Orders, the State had to ‘compensate’ the oustees for violation of their fundamental rights, when they had lathi-charged them way back in 2007.
It is notable that there are hundreds of adivasi families affected by both the projects in Alirajpur district and Badwani district (SSP), but none of them have been rehabilitated till date with cultivable and irrigable land as per legal and judicial stipulations. After 15 years of dialogue with and agitation before the state and central authorities and utter non-compliance with binding Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court, the SSP oustees have resorted to this satyagraha, as a last resort. The oustees have also given a call and challenge to the Chief Minister of the State, Mr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan to immediately intervene and prove his commitment to the adivasis, who he claims are his ‘brethren’. All the project-affected families realize that the act of cultivation on the government land is only the beginning of another long-drawn struggle with the State, which has deprived them of their basic constitutional and human rights for more than a decade and a half. They, however, continue to battle peacefully with the same grit and hope.
Jamnibai Nahadriya Kamla Yadav Tersing
Contact:Shrikanth: 09179148973 / 09893789098