9th April 2015, Patna/ New Delhi: More than 300 satyagrahis have been taken into custody with brutality by the Bihar Police, when they were holding a peaceful satyagrah in front of the Bihar Vidhan Mandal in Patna today. Under the banner of Bihar Nav-Nirman Abhiyan, nine people’s movements and organisations, namely Kosi Nav-Nirman Manch, Jan Mukti Sangharsh Vahini, Parchadhari Sangharsh Vahini, Lok Sangharsh Samiti, Dalit Shakti Sangathan, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Parivartan jan andolan, Lok Sangharsh Morchaand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti, came together to demand people’s right over land and livelihoods. The specific demands included:
- Ensure Forest rights of 1 lakh people who have been denied so far
- Ensure land rights of those who possess parcha
- Guarantee rehabilitation and resettlement of 3 lakh people affected by Kosi floods
- Provide equal land rights to women in the total amount of land for distribution
- Ensure land rights of those who are affected by floods and river erosion
- Give individual parcha to every homeless family
The satyagrah and arrests in Patna is yet another reminder that the movement for land rights is intensifying in every state, district, village and basti of this country. Despite the State’s apathy, use of brute force or the draconian land acquisition ordinance to facilitate corporate loot of our resources, the assertion of right over land and resources will only gain strength. While the Bihar government is taking a welcome step to oppose land ordinance, they still have the responsibility and the use of force against peacefully protesting Satyagrahis shows their commitment to land rights.
We demand immediate release of all satyagrahis and urge the government and state authorities to accept their just and fair demands.
Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad –Samajwadi Janparishad, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti &Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah &Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru & Richa Singh –Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union &Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini &Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi