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The great March of landless people, Jan Satyagraha, started its way to Delhi

Jan Satyagraha Yatra 2012 (Gwalior to Delhi)

50, 000 people, adivasis (tribals), dalits and other marginalized communities of India left the Mela Ground in Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) to start the Jan Satyagraha March for Justice on October 3. On this first day, they covered 22 km, taking the national highway leading to Delhi. [ See Route Map ]

The Jan Satyagraha March for Justice aims to give a voice to the poorest communities of India that are asking the right to live in dignity. The main demands of this huge non-violent action, directly inspired by Gandhi, are a new land reform policy which would guarantee access to land and livelihood resources, and a law establishing the right to shelter. As negotiations with the government were intense during the last 2 weeks, the march was about to succeed even before its departure. Unfortunately, the proposal of the government presented yesterday on the Mela Ground of Gwalior by the Minister of Rural Development M. Jairam Ramesh was too noncommittal in meeting the expectations of the marchers and the leadership of Jan Satyagraha. The march, they decided, was necessary to keep the pressure on the government. Prepared over the course of four years by many Indian organizations, and led by the Gandhian leader P.V. Rajagopal of Ekta Parishad, the Jan Satyagraha is supported worldwide, and many non-violent actions (marches, forum, exhibitions, etc) are held in various countries in solidarity with the Indian marchers.

Objectives of Jan Satyagraha Campaign

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A comprehensive National Land Reforms Act and effective implementation and monitoring institutions to provide access to land and livelihood resources to the poor landless, homeless and marginalized communities.

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In order to begin the process of land re-distribution to the poor landless and homeless (rural and urban), all available legislations, policies (Central laws as well as State laws) need to be compiled in a comprehensive framework and implemented in a time-bound manner.

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Progressive recommendations made by various committees constituted by the Central and State governments on the issues pertaining to land that are pending for attention, should be seriously implemented

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A legal provision should be made whereby women will have equal right over current land holdings of the family as well as new land entitlements that are distributed, and this should be done within the next plan period. Government should proactively ensure that women get all benefits that farmers are entitled. Single-women should ensure an independent title on priority basis.

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Natural resources like land, water, forests and minerals that provide sustenance livelihood to any group cannot be appropriated for other purposeswithout full prior informed consent. Even in an extra-ordinary condition when these resource are used for any other purpose after obtaining full priorinformed consent, it should be through a lease arrangement with the individuals and/or the community.

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Non-implementation of pro-poor laws or violation of fundamental and legal rights pertaining to land, water, forests and minerals by administrative and other officials should be made a punitive offense.