February 24, 2009 12:25:53 am
Over 30 tribal women from Mugaon,around 60 km from the city,came to the city demanding that their lands be restored to them. Tribal representatives spoke at a public “lok sabha” convened at Shaniwarwada on Monday.
Over a period of 10 years,many of these tribals signed away their lands to companies. They built a road right through our land. We have told them we dont want money,but only land in exchange for land. But till date there has been no rehabilitation. We have seen neither money,nor any land, said Leelabai Margale.
In all,over 1,500 people on behalf of tribals,hamaal workers,aanganwadis,domestic workers,agriculture workers,auto drivers,rag pickers,hawkers,construction labourers made representations at the lok sabha.
Our familys land of 45 acres is no longer with us,the agents asked my in-laws for signatures in exchange for some gifts and money. They had no clue what they were signing away, said Thumbabhai Walekar,who along with Leelabai spoke at the lok sabha. In the 1970s,the government granted tribals land as part of land reform measures,but nearly 50 years down the line,very few still have managed to retain them,activists said. It is illegal for tribal land to be sold to non-tribals.
The mock lok sabha was an attempt by the citys leading socialist organisations like Rashtriya Seva Dal,Rickshaw Panchayat,KKPKP and many others in mobilising the unorganised workers to raise such issues,that other wise go unheard,activists said.
We have the numbers,but it is unorganised. If we get them together,then our demands too will be met,” said Nitin Pawar,leader of unorganised construction workers.
Three leaders of the Rashtriya Seva Dal Rajiv Bangi,Ravsaheb Kadam and Subash Ware played the prime minister,the opposition leader and the speaker of the present lok sabha respectively. Thumbing their collective noses at the political establishment,these mock leaders came up with very cheeky lines towards the end of the lok sabha. Called to speak,Bangi,dressed like Manmohan Singh,said: I am very ill. These days Im ill often. It was difficult…but Madam wanted me to come here. I have heard everything,unemployment is high,there is terrorism as well,but still India is still growing. Very soon,it will become famous, he said. Raoaheb Kadam,dressed like Advani said,my party has decided to make the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, he said.
Earlier,the “lok sabha” opened with representatives of children between one and six years old. The government has ignored the needs of children in the 1-6 age group,as the government policy is targeted at children between 6-14 only, was the representation made by young children. Free education,no donation,No mandir,no masjid,education and employment are must were the slogans.
The maal dhakka workers have asked for pension and permanent designations at the railways. We work at goods shed of the railways,but we are not employees. Tell Lalu Prasad,even we want Prasad, said a worker.
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