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Gandhian institution gets back land in Jaipur

The Samagra Seva Sangh had bought the land, measuring around 8 bighas, with a token sum in 1959 to establish its office.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Rajasthan Samagra Seva Sangh, one of the leading Gandhian institutions in the State, has got back its land at a prime location in Jaipur seven years after its allotment was cancelled and the buildings seized by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime. The institution proudly celebrated Gandhi Jayanthi on the premises on October 2.

The Samagra Seva Sangh had bought the land, measuring around 8 bighas, with a token sum in 1959 to establish its office and opened a Gram Swaraj School there to promote Sarvodaya and Gandhian thought, and organise conferences and training camps. The land also has the samadhi of freedom fighter Gokulbhai Bhatt.

The current value of the land, situated in the State capital’s Durgapura area, runs to crores of rupees. The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) had sealed the complete premises, thrown out all the residents and their belongings, and taken over the land on June 7, 2014 with the claim that the allotment conditions had been violated by its commercial use, and that construction had been carried out without the approval of maps.

Gandhian activists had accused the JDA of trying to convert the property into real estate for land sharks. The Samagra Seva Sangh had claimed that the sealing of the land and buildings amounted to the BJP’s “direct assault” on a civil society institution opposed to its ideology.

An empowered committee headed by Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal decided to restore the land to Samagra Seva Sangh last week after a prolonged agitation by the Gandhian body, which also brought the issue to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s attention. It pointed out that the samadhi, founded by Jayaprakash Narayan, was locked, and the evicted persons were waiting even after the change of government.

Samagra Seva Sangh president Sawai Singh told The Hindu on Tuesday that since the institution had purchased the land with its own money, the title deed should be issued in its favour “without any conditions”. “This will eliminate the threat of acquisition by any government opposed to Gandhian principles in future,” Mr. Singh said.

The participants in the Gandhi Jayanthi celebration offered all-religion prayers and threw light on Samagra Seva Sangh’s role in promoting the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement in Rajasthan, by which about 6 lakh acres of land was distributed to landless villagers. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had visited some of these villages in 1986.

Gandhian activists will also observe Gokulbhai Bhatt’s death anniversary at his samadhi on the Samagra Seva Sangh’s compound on Wednesday. Mr. Bhatt, a member of the Constituent Assembly, also served as the first president of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee.

Samagra Seva Sangh’s joint secretary Basant Hariyana said the Congress government had apparently acted fast after a warning was issued for launching a “non-cooperation movement” from Gandhi Jayanthi with the demand for respect for Gandhian ideals and compliance with the principles of natural justice.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 10:27:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gandhian-institution-gets-back-land-in-jaipur/article36848816.ece

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