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Samwaad Yatra Report from Kanoor district of Kerala (Day 13)

Today, we said goodbye to four of our friends from Europe who were travelling with the Yatra: Mamaji, Michel, Delphine and Lukas. All of them enjoyed the experience of travelling with the Yatra for a few days. The first meeting of the day was then held at Gandhi Bhavan of Kanoor and chaired by Mr. T.P.P.R Nath, a senior social activist of Kanoor. One of the discussed topics were the policies proposed by the actual parties. Mr. K.P.A Rahim, president of Kerala Sarvodal mandal and chairman of Hind Swaraj Forum, said that all ideology based political parties have deviated from their core ideology. Each of these parties during their formation was committed to the problems of the poor. But over time, he said; it has been observed that they forget the poor once they have the power. The issue of poverty is then entirely absent in political discussions. As a result, the people that trusted and supported the politicians of these parties are left behind.Meeting at Gandhi BhavanCh. Abhuakraj, head of Kerala Shanti Samiti (Kerala Peace Committee) urged the Yatra to come up with a proposal for a new land-reform on the bases of its deeper understanding of the failure of the first land-reform. A yardstick of the success of this Yatra in the state would be the initiation of a dialog process on land-reform in Kerala.The linkages between and solidarity between communities and movements were also part of the discussion. Dr. Nath said that there is a lack of healthy linkage between different groups that are carrying out individual struggles. With regard to Jansatyagraha, he emphasized the need for diverse struggles to come together and support each other.
Mr. Sarfuddin coordinator of Kerala Against Corruption campaign launched a signature campaign during the meeting demanding investigation of the corruption in the construction and maintenance of Pazhasi dam.Later during the day, the Yatra visited Arlam. 2000 Adivasis have been re-settled here on 3500 acres of what was once a national agricultural farm. It is clear that the government thinks it has completed its job by giving these people land because the leader of the community said that there have been no visits from the government officials or elected representatives since the resettlement. However, the people have very little support in terms of training and other services that are needed to advance them further socially and economically.Adivasi at Arlam farmsThe final meeting was at Thellankery panchayat of Kanoor district. The meeting was attended by the panchayat president Mr. C. Chandran, Mr. Balsan K, a leader of the local communist party chapter, and Mr. U. Valachandran Menon, an active leader of the local Congress party chapter. Mr. Chandran said that the panchayat has a long history of land-struggle: The first struggle was before independence in which under the inspiration of Marxist thought, people had occupied land. But after independence, the government had transferred some of this land into the hands of powerful sections of the community. He urged all leaders of the community to go past ideological and political boundaries and work together to support the national struggle for land-reform headed by Rajagopal P.V.Prayer during the meeting at ThellenkaryMr. Balsan said that there have been several violent movements and revolutions and that these have not led to any desired result. He encouraged everyone to see Jansatyagraha as a unique opportunity to reach the objectives of long lasting struggles through a joint non-violent action. The meeting finished with Mr. U. Valachandran Menon asking about Rajagopal P.V’s working relationship with the India Against Corruption campaign, and his encouragement to the movement leaders to think about strategies to make the Jansatyagraha campaign a decisive struggle.

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