A Statement Issued by some individuals and friends in social movements
The Anna Hazare situation invites two common reactions: many dismiss it as a middle class driven “urban picnic”; and others, notably the mainstream media, describe it as just short of a revolutionary movement to establish “people’s power.” The same divide exists among progressives and those concerned with social change. Strategies differ on the basis of where one stands on this divide. The problem, however, is that neither of these reactions fully reflects the reality of what is happening.
Continue reading A Great Opportunity, A Serious Danger: A Statement
There are few more contentious and complex problems in India than those dealing with land and land rights. Rather than just focus on a single issue, a continuum of rights has to be established regarding land, especially in areas of access and reforms, laws and enforcement, use planning and management, administration and information, and its cross-cutting issues. The new and existing initiatives on land should be guided by the core values of pro-poor, conflict resolution, democratic governance, equity, and justice, as well as gender sensitiveness. Although land policy development is taking place, it generally lacks a human rights framework. Land is not simply a resource for one human right. While some rights have been recently established in the legal framework (like work, education, food), they all can be adversely affected by access to land, and the legal implications of it for a broad range of human rights is obvious. The Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bills should also be assessed on the basis of several international principles, interpretive documents and legal frameworks. Continue reading Land and Human Rights
In our continuing concern with the strange times that seem to have befallen our cities, lets not lose sight of the historic battle underway in the countryside. In the first instance of its kind, the referendum on the Maha-Mumbai Special Economic Zone being set up by Reliance has unambiguously returned the verdict of the farmers of Raigad- no SEZ in Pen! As Sanhati notes, the Tata’s 1500 crore investment in Singur sounds like loose change when compared to the one lakh crore that Reliance is planning to sink into 10,000 hectares. 22 villages in the Pen Tehsil voted against the acquisition of their lands at the paltry sum of 10 lakhs per acre. Unsurprisingly, Reliance Industries Limited has said the referendum is “not genuine”:
Continue reading Bye Bye Reliance: Pen Tehsil Says No SEZ!
If you are in Kolkata between 27 June and 2 July, you may do well to visit the Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre, Kolkata, for an exhibition of photographs of Singur. There will also be a panel discussion and a film festival. Continue reading Under Development: Singur