2009, ഫെബ്രുവരി 24, ചൊവ്വാഴ്ച

UPDATE Chengara Land Struggle 24.02.2009

7000 odd families continue to live in Chengara for the 19th month. The challenge ` living is struggle’ has become real for the dalits, adivasis and dalit Christians. They were gathered from their desolate living conditions across the state and at Chengara, a community is taking shape. They have places to live. They cultivate even if in a small way. They have common worship .They have regained their spirituality and are on the way to a culture emerging from the struggles they have been waging although.

They say, they are not in` samaram’ agaist anybody. They are living there. The tents with plastic roofs have given place to semi permanent huts with raw earthern bricks and tin sheets. It is the trade unions which have been trying block the passage of dalits and adivasis in Chengara and to defeat the struggle of SVSV who are in `Samaram’ now.

Against this general background, the details are mentioned:

1) Being election time there is greater interest in the UDF ( Congress and the allies) for taking up the Chengara struggle and pressing for solution. The opposition leader held a one-day fast at Pathanamthitta on the 14th of Feb. Some of the cultural leaders viz. Poet Sugathakumari attended the programme as there was so much neglect and opposition on the part of the ruling LDF regime.

2) The condition of the people at Chengara still is precarious. For the last few months they were tapping the rubber trees and the urgent financial needs were met. But being slaughter trees, the yield is diminishing fast. With the coming of summer months, they are under strain for water. That brings contagious diseases such as chickenpose , skin problems, diarhea etc.,. No medical help is available in the area . They have to travel 15-17 Kilometres to reach the govt. hospitals at PATHANAMTHITTA. The district administration has not cared to offer medical help to the people in distress.

3) The obstinacy and the political insensitivity of the CPI (M) is coming to a head. Their craze for neo liberal development has made them deaf to the voices of the people. The Chengara land struggle Solidarity Committee held a public meeting in Eraviperur on the Republic Day claiming the peoples right to the basic resources specially land.

4) The LDF government gives a false propaganda to the claim for land by the landless .In the reconciliation talk by the government in December 2008 , they invited around 27 Dalit, Adivasi organisations including SVSV* . The Chief Minister announced a mega scheme for 5000 crores of rupees offering land and house to all the landless in the state .What is meant is that the government will give the land necessary to build a house ie., 3 or 4 cents of land and Rs.50.000 for house construction. This is again resorting to the same refrain the government has been playing; dalits are destined for only 4 cents of land. The basic demand that SVSV is raising ie., land for making a living is totally sidelined. The majority members of the dalit groups agreed to CM’ s offer their singling out SVSV as the disobedient lamb; the old game of the colonizers.

* SVSV – Sadhujana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi, the organization leading the struggle in Chengara

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