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Big Adivasi Demonstration Against Land Grab

Chhattisgarh, Jashpur District

 Gathering for the big demonstration.

April 9, 2010, there was a big demonstration in the Manora Block of Jashpur district at the Centre-Indian state Chhattisgarh. There were more that ten thousand tribal villagers from the region. Women and men walked sometimes more than twenty kilometers from their village to attend the rally. They started at 4 a.m. from their homes. Women carrying children also could be seen walking from kilometers away to participate. I felt very humbled seeing their grit and commitment to fight against the land mafia in their region.

The meeting started at 10 in the morning and went on till 4 in the evening. It was a very disciplined gathering in full democratic spirit. People including some of the local elected leaders spoke in tough and challenging language. Speaker after speaker talked of not allowing the corporate mafia to enter their villages if need be by force of their might, the people's might.

 A lot of speeches.

After the meeting they marched for more than two kilometers together in a line shouting slogans against the corporate land grab, Jindals, TATAs and the land mafia planning to do mining and large dam constructions in their region. They gave a memorandum to the regional officer at the Tahsil (sub district) warning against the land grabbing by the companies supported by the State.

The question is that if the State and corporate machinery does not listen to the democratic voices of people and they are cornered by the state violence led by the armed and paramilitary forces, what should the ordinary citizen in this situation do? Should they be singing peace songs before being killed and displaced by the land grabbing state mafia? Or take up methods of self defense to protect their lively hoods and their identity? 

When they will use force to protect themselves against the ruthless powers, middle class people probably will lose their sympathy for this movement. However, their struggle will go on with or without the intellectual support.

Go to next page: photo series commemoration Adivasi fighters for autonomy
Go to overview articles and photo series about resistance in Jashpur district

Photos: Peasant Autonomy - Creative Commons