During five days 5000 Adivasi, Farmers and Landless Labourers from over 12 states followed the Mathura Road from Palwal towards Delhi. With this 60-kilometers-footmarch Ekta Parishad and other organizations made a successful and impressive statement about Land Rights.
After Anna Hazare flagged off the Yatra, the anti-corruption-crusader and Gandhian gave solidarity to the demands of the landless people on the Parliament Street (Jantar Mantar) in Delhi. Because of his publicity in India, Anna Hazare was able to launch a massive protest in India´s capital. More than 200 social organizations and movements with thousands of followers gathered between the 23rd and 25th February to oppose the Land Acquisition Ordinance from the government. The 5000 indigenous people, Landless and Farmers on the Yatra, as well as the protesters and organizations on the Jantar Mantar and Ekta Parishad got huge support from political parties. The march is not only an expression of the struggle of Landless and Farmers; it is also a demonstration of the enormous power of nonviolence.
Protection of marginalized people put on the table of the Home Minister
During the weekend of the 27th/28th February 2015 the Yatra of Ekta Parishad had a big impact on the discussion about Land Rights all over the country: Every news channel was reporting about the protests and broadcasted live interviews with Anna Hazare or Rajagopal P.V. On the 23rd February when the Yatra was on the outskirts of Delhi, Rajagopal P.V. said, the Government should initiate a dialog with the landless people. At the same day, a delegation of Ekta Parishad including Aneesh Kumar, Ramesh Sharma, Shradha and Pradeep Priyadarshi was invited by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to put some proposals of Ekta Parishad on table. After that meeting, Minister Rajnath Singh discussed four points with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mainly about land distribution to Landless and how to protect the rights of marginalized people in this country.
The protests against the Land Acquisition Ordinance on the Parliament Street brought together thousands of people in the heart of Delhi. After a night in the capital, the mass of Advisai, Dalits and Landless labourers were singing and dancing under Ekta Parishad´s flag and celebrate their nonviolent demonstration in a proper way.
Ekta Parishad-leader Rajagopal P.V. takes a positive conclusion of the Yatra and the demonstrations in Delhi in an interview: “The person or our organization is not the issue. The issue is land. It does not matter who is the spokesperson”.
Land Rights back on top
About the goals of the march he says: “The country woke up again on the issue of land. The government is seriously under pressure and has to act. For us, the Yatra was also a visibility of nonviolence”. The leader of Ekta Parishad says: “Nearly fifty million people are homeless in India and can not live with dignity and possibility to earn livelihood.” The government has agreed to reconstitute the National Land Reform Council, which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rajagopal P.V. also explains that people always promote a quick result after such efforts like a Yatra: “Land rights were the issue of Ekta Parishad for the past 25 years. I am happy that land has become higher on the political agenda. That is a first step in the right direction.”
Ekta Parishad is seeking a redistribution of land. For now, the government has agreed to a homestead land bill, national land reform policy, and will do the amendment on the new Ordinance. But the actions of the last weekend in February in Delhi were just the beginning: On the 9th march, anti-corruption-crusader Anna Hazare, Rajagopal P.V. and other social activists are joining at Sewagram Ashram to discuss the next nationwide Land Rights action. This action was really special for the social movements of India because people like the social veterans Arun Roy, Medha Patkay, Rajendra Singh, Arif Mohamad Khan, Govindacharya all came together and raised their voice for Land Rights.
You can read the full interview with Ekta Parishad-leader Rajagopal P.V. on the website
Discover also the route of the march in this animated article
Some impressions about the Yatra from Palwal to Delhi you find beside. Most of the pictures were kindly provided by Akanksha Damini Joshi. You can also find a lot of information on Ekta Parishad´s website and on Facebook: