COLOMBIA: Colombians not alone in struggle for Land Rights--Indian Land Reform Movement calls for South-South Solidarity and Global Action in 2012

CPTnet
4 April 2011
COLOMBIA: Colombians not alone in struggle for Land Rights--Indian Land Reform Movement calls for South-South Solidarity and Global Action in 2012

 

In early March 2011 representatives from around the globe, including Colombia team member Eloy Garcia, gathered in New Delhi, India for three days.  The event, convened by Ekta Parishad, was a planning session for forming a global alliance called "South-South Solidarity— Global Action 2012."  

 Ekta Parishad (“Unity Forum” in Hindi), is a federation of 11,000 organizations and counts more than one million supporters in at least fifteen Indian states.  Ekta Parishad espouses the Gandhian principles of nonviolence and works at the grassroots level so that all Indians can live in dignity with access to land, forest, and water.

 Rajagopal, President and founder of Ekta Parishad, said that the agenda of the South-South campaign will culminate in India with a march of 100,000 people walking for 350 kilometers from Gwalior to Delhi.  He told the international gathering, "We are not here to change regimes; we are more committed to changing the system.  2012 will be about changing the social, economic, and political system.  While we are acting in India, we are looking for partners in different parts of the world.  We need to draw the attention of the world to the levels of poverty and degradation our countries are facing world wide."

 After the meeting, representatives from the different continents participated in a local Ekta Parishad demonstration involving 15,000 landless leaders from throughout India.  The march started early on 8 March with an estimated 15,000 leaders from fourteen different states.  The leaders and international delegates marched side by side to the Indian National Parliament, but were eventually stopped by police barricades, riot tanks, and police.  Faced with this obstacle, the leaders determined they would sit in place and block the road.  The group then moved in orderly fashion and took a seat, row upon row, in the street while waving their flags.  They waited in silence with their legs crossed in the hot sun for a representative of the government to appear so they could express their demands for land reform.

The march participants had been prepared for the long wait on the previous day when Rajagopal made a plea for determination and sacrifice on their part, saying they must have discipline and train themselves for the struggles ahead.

The fifteen thousand people waited until a government official arrived and announced that a meeting would be held regarding the issue with the Prime Minister that evening.  The participants then stood up and in orderly fashion began the march back. 

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See Ekta Parishad newsletter: JAN SATYAGRAHA : AN HISTORIC MEETING TO PREPARE 2 YEARS OF ACTION