Intense dialogue with Collector, SP, Addl. SP for 4 hours: Offer of Land and house plots, fishing rights, fresh surveys from 20th January 

Jail Bharo Andolan in February, if promises are not kept

10th January, 2014: Surrounded and questioned by hundreds of adivasis for a second time yesterday, at the gates of the Collectorate, Alirajpur, the District Collector, Mr. N.P. Deheriya announced that he would immediately withdraw the charges of Sec 151, 107 and 116 (3) of Cr.P.C filed against 40 adivasis (including many elderly and 6 women) on the alleged and completely unsustainable ground of ‘breach of peace’ at the site of the Zameen Hak Satyagraha, Jobat.

Joined by Mr. Akhilesh Jha, SP and Mr. Saitaram Sastiya, Addl. S.P, the officials finally conceded that there was no disturbance to the peace by the oustees at Jobat. As the end of 4 hours long debate and dialogue with the Collector, the oustees and Medha Patkar convinced him that the occupation of government land at Jobat Farm was not in any way to disturb the peace of the locality, but was a measure undertaken, as a last resort, to assert the right to land and rehabilitation, which has been seriously affected, since more than a decade, when they have been facing the severe impacts of submergence. The following commitments were made by the Collector at the end of the dialogue: 

  • Cases of preventive detention under Sec. 151 would be immediately withdrawn.
  • The State would facilitate the process of seeking bail in the FIR of 2011 and the charge sheet in the same has also been filed.
  • The R&R Officer to begin showing land to the oustees from the 20th January and will ensure before this date that the land to be shown is cultivable and free of encroachment.
  • House plots will be offered in lieu of Rs. 20,000 given many years ago, without consent.
  • Surveys to be conducted in all the 13 villages once again to assess the actual and left our affected persons and properties.
  • Immediate registration of the proposed co-operatives of the displaced fish workers from Machliya, Umda, Bhiti and Chhota Khattali villages.
  • Assistance for irrigation facilities in the original villages by grant of 100% subsidized motor pumps.

The oustees also informed the authorities that the charges in the FIR of November, 2011 such as destruction of public property are completely false and fabricated and we shall fight this out in the court and also claim compensation for the losses caused due to crop destruction at the satyagraha.

The oustees asserted that this was the beginning of their struggle and expect the officials to keep up their promises, otherwise a massive Jail Bharo Andolan would start from February, 2014, with hundreds of women, children and cattle as well.  Later in the evening, many of the oustees, along with Medha Patkar went to the District Jail and met the satyagrahis and also conveyed  to them the developments of the day. The 40 adivasi oustees shall be bailed out by Monday. A brief chronology of the events in enclosed.

Idibai            Surbhan Bhilala            Kamla Yadav                 Meera (09179148973) 


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