Tribals and Dalits in Odisha organised Protest Rally in Sukinda demanding land rights

Sukinda: Hundreds of landless and homestead less people from different gram panchayats, i.e, Kharadi, Ampolba, Sukinda, Dudhjori, Lembo, Sansailo, Haripur, Hathibari, Kuchika coming under of Sukinda Tahasil staged protest rally and dharana on 11th March before the Sukinda Tahasil office of Jajpur district demanding land rights. The protest rally was started from Sukinda Cricket Stadium at 11 am and marched towards the Tahasil Office giving slogans i.e., “Patta Nai to Vote Nai”. The protest rally was organised by the local sangathan “Gaa Ru Andolan Abhijan’ . Susanta Mallik, the president of “Gaa Ru Andolan Abhijan’ gave welcome address in the public meeting held in front of the Tahasil office after the Rally.

Ms. Geetanjalii Mohanta , President of Odisha Manavika Adhikar Manch(OMAM) joining as guest speaker in the rally shared that due to the landlessness among the local tribals, dalits and other people, they are suffering a lot, they are being deprived from getting Indira Awash, Caste Certificates and other basic benefits under different antipoverty programmes and schemes.” “ While the same government is handing over hundreds acres of land to the private companies, the local people living from generations in the villages are deprived from a small patch of homesteaded land patta” she cried.
Extending support to the rally, Narendra Mohanty from Odisha Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan and INSAF reminded the Kalingnagar homicide by the police, the “Nagada episode” of Jajpur district and alerted the community to be more conscious over the false promises being made by different political parties in the upcoming General and Assembly election and not to fall in the trap of money and wine offered by them and to keep the prestige and dignity of common man while casting their votes. He called upon the people to be more organised in future and to continue their struggle for the land rights.
Joining the Rally, Manohar Chauhan from Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD) said, “After Forest Rights Act, 2006, all the gram sabha(village council) have become “gram sabha sarkar” over its common property resources and hence the community should understand what power FRA , 2006 has given to the local people. He said, “no community land (forest or revenue) belong to Odisha Govt. or Central Govt. and it belongs to the people of the Gram Sabha who have settled the village, who have named the village and have been conserving those resources from generations. So let the gram sabha do the public settlement of land, recognized land right to the landless and take resolutions asking the Tahasildar and Collector to obey its Order. He emphasized that if Gram Sabha is Sarkar over forest land under FRA 2006, it is equally empowered over revenue land. He called upon the protestors to stop saying the community land as “Sarkari Jami” and to take over all these community and forest land under the gram sabha sarkar’s control using FRA, 2006. He also demanded to scrap the 13th Feb anti-tribal and forest dwellers Supreme Court’s Order.
Pramodini Pradhan, Convenor of Odisha PUCL addressing the protest rally said, “ It’s a matter of shame that we say we have a democratic socialist State but reality is that even after 72 years of our independence, common people are still struggling for a piece of land and to have a house of its own. When the BJD Govt. in the State is asserting rights before the Central Govt. giving slogan of “Hak Mange Odisha” and when BJP Govt. at the Centre asking for “Jawab Manguchhi Odisha” whom the common citizens of the State will ask when their basic rights are denied.
Besides, Sushanta Mallik, the protest Rally was coordinated by sangathan members i.e., Lambodar Mohanta, Munnu Bhai, Biswanath Patra, Jagabandhu Dez , Susanta Mahanta and Pintu Mallik etc.
After the programme, over 1000 number of claim forms for homestead land was submitted in the Tahasil office and acknowledgment receipt was collected. The sangathan is also planning meetings have gram sabha meetings in the coming days and to make its community aware on the land right, forest rights recognized under FRA, 2006.

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