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The fight of the other India

October 31, 2007
Text and Photographs: Vicky Nanjappa

On October 2, over 25,000 people set out on a historic march from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to New Delhi. Adopting the ways of Mahatma Gandhi, they embarked on a non violent padyatra to highlight their struggle for lost land and livelihood.

'Give us our land, or give us jail'

Demanding that they should not be dispossessed from their land in the name of development, villagers from across the country had come together in the hope of being heard. Some said their land had been encroached by the rich and the government was not acting upon it. The marchers also included people who had land titles but the promised land had yet not been given to them by the government.

On October 28 they assembled at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi. The next day their representatives met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and appraised him about the various problems faced by the landless people.

Dr Singh, while assuring all support, announced a time-bound mechanism to look into the 'unfinished task in land reforms.'

An expert committee, headed by Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, will look into these issues. It will make its recommendations to the National Land Reforms Council to be headed by the prime minister.

The announcement has been made, but it remains to be seen, how soon and whether it would be implemented at all.

A cross-section of Indians, who took part in the Janadesh Yatra, speak about their plight.

Also read: 'No foul play in Singur land deal'

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