Monday, December 14, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Fwd: Threat to Dalit Adivasi livelihood in Tarai

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Vidya Bhushan Rawat <>
Date: Dec 14, 2009 6:37 PM
Subject: Threat to Dalit Adivasi livelihood in Tarai

'Tarai main Dalit Adivasi Asmita pe badhata Sankat'

'Threat to Dalit-Adivasi livelihood in Tarai'

by Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Language: Hindi

Duration : 35 minutes

Land Rights activists belonging to National Land Alliance went on a
Padyatra to highlight the issue of land rights of dalits and tribals
in the Tarai region of Uttar-Pradesh and Uttarakhand in December last
year. Tarai is a fertile belt on the foothills of Himayalas and
consist of districts like Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar, Lakhimpur Khiri,
Pilibhit, Baharaich, Gonda districts of Uttarakhand and Uttar-Pradesh
states. The Padyatra started from Golbohji forest village in Palia
district of Uttar-Pradesh on December 13th, 2008. After traveling
20-25 kilometer a day, the Padyatra finally culminated at Harinagar
village in Kundeswari (kashipur), Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar today on
December 28th, 2008. During these 16 days, the marchers did social
audits of various villages, addressed village community meetings and
talked to students in different colleges and schools. They talked
about human rights, humanism and challenge of climate change and
threat to our environment. Some of the activists well trained in
miracle exposure programmes also displayed their skills in these
educational institutions and village Panchayats. During these 16 days,
the Padyatris stayed at village Panchayat Bhavans, slept in the tribal
areas and visited large part of those villages which are still facing
discrimination and exclusion in their daily lives either from social
system or from the government departments.

The main reason of this Padyatra was to highlight the importance of
land and livelihood issues of the Dalit-tribal communities in tribal
region of Uttarakhand and Uttar-Pradesh. Communities such as Tharus,
Boxas (a Primitive Tribal Group), Tongiyas is a matter of great
concern as they remain isolated and excluded in the general set up of
both the states. The condition of these communities is particularly
alarming in Uttarakhand because of lack of understanding of
Dalit-tribal culture and popular mass support. In the Tarai region the
sale-purchase of tribal land is prohibited yet most the tribal land
today has been transferred to dominant communities here. The tense
peace exist here as these communities are so well oppressed that they
find it difficult to explain their conditions to outsider as the goons
of the powerful communities and land mafias always spy upon them. Both
the Tharus and Boxas are victim of the forest department also and
border police also.

In its last leg, the Padyatra reached Harinagar ( Kundeshwari) today.
After 16 days and crossing over 350 kilometer of Uttarakhand and
Uttar-Pradesh state, the reason of culminating the Padyatra in
Harinagar, Kundeswari was to support the demand of over 150 landless
Dalit families who have been fighting for their land rights for the
past 20 odd years when they were brutally thrown away from the land
they had been tilling for many years and which was declared ceiling
surplus by the Commissioner of Kumaon, Nainital. Despite favorable
verdict from the highest courts of the land, the government of the
state did not have the courage to implement the ceiling act there and
provide land to these peace loving people who had shown their faith in
the constitution of India and did not resort to any unlawful
activities. Social Development Foundation has gone to Supreme Court
against the empathy of the Uttarakhand government against these people
but shockingly the government of the state in a brazenly shameless way
suggested that the Dalits do not hail from the district. In the same
affidavit the government justify giving land to those Sikhs who were
declared encroachers by the Supreme Court and who actually were
responsible for excluding and discriminating against the Dalits. We
ask the question to the state government as how come these people got
land under ceiling act and what was the criteria used for them ?

Now, based on our experiences and fact finding during the Padyatra, we
have produced a 35 minute documentary ' Tarai main Dalit Adivasi
asmita per badhta sankat' i.e. 'Threat to Dalit-Adivasi livelihood in
Tarai'. The documentary is based on direct interviews with victims who
have lost their land to various dominant forces in the region
including land mafia, forest department and irrigation department. It
gives you a live picture how Tharu, Boxa villages are on the verge of
extinction and how the Dalits despite court's order have not been able
to get their legitimate due.

The struggle for social justice continues in this hostile region of
India where political parties, social action groups, media have kept
conspicuous silence on non implementation of land laws including
redistribution of land and implementation of land ceiling act. Our
effort is to bring these ugly facts to you so that as activists,
jurists, media persons, government officials, political leaders, you
would be able to take it further. It is a voluntary effort hence we
have not been able to create more CDs. We request your support for it.
Those who would be interested can write to me for CDs and DVDs. The
contributory price for CD would be Rs 200/- and for DVD Rs 500/-.

We would be screening the documentary at different places including
colleges, social action group's programmes. Friends, who would be
interested to organize any event or discussion on issue are welcome
and can contact me for the same.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Visit my blog at

For information on the issues, movements and priorities of Scavenger
community in India please log on to
For information on civil society initiatives on Muslims in UP please log on to

For Social action, land rights, right to food and hunger issues
support Social Development Foundation at


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