Landless farmers demand agricultural lands, residential plots

Landless farmers protesting outside the Deputy Commissioner's office in Raichur on Wednesday. -PHOTO: SANTOSH SAGAR   | Photo Credit: SANTOSH SAGAR

Holding banners and flags and raising slogans, nearly a thousand landless farmers who arrived from different parts of the district marched from Ambedkar Circle to the office of Deputy Commissioner here on Wednesday demanding cultivable lands for landless and residential plots for homeless.

The protest march and the agitation was part of a Statewide strike called by Bhoomi Mattu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horata Samithi, a struggling platform of different organisations and individuals for a common demand of cultivable lands for landless and homes for homeless.

Speaking at the protest venue outside the office of Deputy Commissioner, Kumar Samatala, State convenor of Karnataka Janashakti organisation that was part of the platform, opined that parties that led successive governments in the State did not have any moral right to celebrate the birth centenary of former Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs who introduced land reforms in the State with a clear intention of providing cultivable lands to poor and genuine tillers.

“Unless the right to shelter and right to cultivable land are upheld as fundamental rights of farmers and labourers who are completely dependent on agriculture, even the Siddaramaiah government has no moral right to celebrate Devaraj Urs birth centenary. By displaying its commitment of providing five acres of land for every landless farmer and a housing plot for every homeless family, the State government should meaningfully celebrate the birth anniversary of the iconic leader who made significant progress in economically uplifting the rural downtrodden,” Mr. Samatala said.

R. Manasayya, leader of Karnataka Raitha Sangha, attacked the Union and State governments for ‘backing’ public-land-grabbers.

“Millions of acres of forest lands, revenue lands, lakes, tanks, gomalas and other public spaces are encroached by big landlords, industrialists, corrupt politicians and the like. Instead of clearing these encroachments and distributing the cultivable lands among landless peasants, the governments have always targeted poor farmers who have been cultivating government lands for earning their daily meal,” he said.

The agitating farmers demanded that government constitute a high-power committee with the Chief Minister as it head to take quick decisions and implement them in a time-bound manner. “Some of the representatives of farmers’ movements should be included as members of the committee which can take quick decisions on the matter of identifying government lands and distributing them among landless peasants. The committee should also focus on regularising the bagair hukum lands to their genuine cultivators. At the same time, land tribunals should also be revived to deal with the dispute arising in implementing land reforms,” he said.

Thousands of landless farmers form all the districts would march to Bengaluru on August 20 with the same demands, Mr. Samatala said.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 6:21:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Landless-farmers-demand-agricultural-lands-residential-plots/article14499308.ece

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