Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chengara Land Struggle Petition

Dear Friends,

Please sign the petition "Justice for Chengara Protestors" and circulate the message among your friends/contacts.

As some of you already know, a land struggle was launched on August 04, 2007, by the landless people (mainly Dalits and Adivasis) at Chengara in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, India. They have been marginalised and oppressed for generations.

They have claimed land in the Chengara estate, a rubber plantation, which had been leased to the "Harrison Malayalam Plantation" by the government of Kerala. The land lease exhausted in 1996. According to Laha Gopalan, President of the SJVSV (Sadhu Jana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi (SJVSV), leads this struggle), the land deal (for 1048 hectares) itself was illegal. The company ("Harrison Malayalam Plantation") has illegally occupied, excess land to the tune of 6000 hectares.

The landless people who have flocked there from all parts of Kerala demand that this government land be redistributed to them. This has been part of a long standing promise of the Government. Now there are about 7,500 families, and more than 30,000 people in the estate, living in makeshift arrangements.

Since August 3, 2008 a road blockade has been going on, led by the united front of trade unions defending the right of 80 workers in the occupied Chengara plantation. The Trade Union Action Council is planning a march on September 3, if these landless people are not evicted by then.

Human Rights Activists like Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, C. R. Neelakandan, Ajitha and many others have come in support of the struggle.

The landless adivasis have been oppressed and deprived of their rights for generations which resulted in the 1975 legislation of The Kerala Scheduled Tribes (Restriction on Transfer of Lands and Restoration of Alienated Lands) Act. But successive governments either left or right by their inaction either purposefully or by lack of will has shirked of the responsibility of implementing the legislation for the last 30 years.

Delhi Forum ( Web: has created an online petition, to bring justice for Chengara Protestors.

Please do sign this petition and circulate it widely amongst your friends and other contacts.

You may visit the urls listed below, to know more about this struggle.

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