We need your solidarity urgently for the Adivasis people!
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Adivasis people are on a hunger strike continuously at the Rahata Tahasil office from 6 October 2003, demanding their rights of land ownership. Only four Adivasis are sitting for hunger strike because of prohibitory orders. Two hundreds Adivasi huts and more than thousand acres of their crop was destroyed by the Maharashtra State Farming Corporation (MSFC) with support from the police in Rahata taluka, Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on 21 July 2003.
Now the State Farming Corporation is now sowing the land, which the Adivasis cultivated for almost two dedicates. However, at the same time, thousands of acres of land under the management of the State Farming Corporation are still lying fallow in the near vicinity. It clearly shows that the corporation is cultivating the land only to show that they have a land ownership and they are using the land productively.
Please send your appeal to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra as soon as possible and ask him to look into the Adivasis¡¦ demands and take speedy action to protect their rights. The sample letter is attached below.
To see our previous urgent appeals regarding this case, please visit:
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
[John P. Abraham’s letter to Basil Fernando, the executive director of the AHRC on 5 October 2003]
We just want to share with you our woes and agonies. It was raining here for several days. It pains to see the drenched huts. It also pains to see the land, which the Adivasis cultivated for almost two decades, now being sown by the State Farming Corporation. Paradoxically thousands of acres of land under the management of the State Farming Corporation are still lying fallow in this vicinity.
The people are living in a pathetic condition. Their huts are in bad shape because they lost even the bamboo of their huts during the brutal demolition. Our efforts to stay the sowing operation by the Corporation got delayed. The case will go to court only by Monday.
A writ petition against the amendment of Ceiling Act has been filed to the High Court in Bombay.
We are on a hunger strike from 6 October at the Rahata Tahasil office. Only four are sitting for hunger strike because of prohibitory orders. Could you please send appeals to the Chief Minister asking him to look into our demands.
John P. Abraham
Please write a letter to the Chief Minister of the State of Maharashtra in accordance with John¡¦s request. A sample letter is attached below.
1. Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde
Chief Minister of Maharashtra
6th floor, Office of the Chief Minister
Maharashtra 400 032
FAX: + 91 22 23633272 / + 91 22 22029214
SALUTATION: Dear Chief Minister
With copies to:
1. Justice Shri Arivind Sawant
Maharashtra Human Rights Commission
Fax: +91 22 22885858
2. Vijay Sonkar Shastri
National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
c/o The National Human Rights Commission
Sardar Patel Bhavan
Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110 001
FAX: +91 11 2334 0016
SALUTATION: Dear Commissioner
3. Mr. Jean Ziegler
Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
c/o Sally-Anne Way
Assistant to the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
IUED, 24, rue Rothschild
CP 136, CH 1211 Geneva 21
Fax: +41 22 906 59 83
4. Mr. Miloon Kothari
Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211, Geneva 10. Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 90 10
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER
Mr. Shri Sushilkumar Shinde
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
6th floor, Mantralaya,
Mumbai, Maharashtra ¡V 400 023
Fax: +91-22-23633272, +91-22-22029214
Dear Mr. Chief Minister Shri Sushilkumar Shinde,
RE: Hunger strike of the Adivasis in front of Rahata Tahasil office calling for their land rights
I am deeply concerned about the 200 Adivasi families rendered homeless due to evictions in Rahata taluka, Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on 21 July 2003. 200 Adivasi families, including children and women (three of whom had just given birth) were rendered homeless in the pouring rain without any prior notice of demolition. An appeal on the right to the ownership of the land in question, filed by the Bhoomi Hakk Andolan Samiti (Land Rights Movement committee), is pending with the Revenue Commissioner at the Nashik Puntamba. Therefore, it is unjust to demolish the houses and rice fields of the Adivasis.
In 2001, the Aurangabad bench of Mumbai High Court, in response to the writ petition filed by Bhoomi Hukka Andolan Samiti, had asked the government officials to follow the Supreme Court ruling which says that until the case is finally disposed off, the tribals shall not be evicted.
However, the state forcibly evicted the Adivasis from their homes and destroyed their crops. It shows clearly that the state has violated the Adivasis right to feed themselves and has exposed them to the threat of hunger and malnutrition.
I urge you to look into the demands of the tribals who are on hunger strike at the Rahata Tahasil office. Their right to housing should be protected until the legal process is finished. I also urge you to take steps to resolve the issue of land ownership and I request that immediate action be taken to uphold justice and protect the civil liberty and human rights of the Adivasi people.
Kim Soo A
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)