A hundred thousand people set off on month long March for Justice in India
11 October 2012
Last Wednesday, up to one hundred thousand dispossessed people from all over India embarked on a month long March for Justice across Northern India, from Gwailor in Madhya Pradesh to the capital, Delhi.
The marchers, who will walk for 350km, are mainly made up of tribal people and small farmers a large proportion of whom are women, are demanding that the Indian government recognise their land rights. In India, millions of people face being thrown off their land to make way for commercial activities including monocultures to make biofuel, mining and tourism. War on Want last week joined activists in a vigil to send greetings of solidarity to the marchers.
The marathon protest has been organised by Ekta Parishad, a national organisation which organises the rural poor to demand land reform in India, that the government respect their land rights and implement pro-poor legislation. This protest is a follow up to a similar march organised by Ekta Parishad in 2007 ended in the setting up of a National Land Reform Committee to begin real land reform in India. However, since then Ekta Parishad says that the government has failed to show real political will to effect real change.
The marchers believe that this time it will be impossible for the government to ignore their demand for real land reform. The Indian government did try a last ditch attempt to head off the protest by engaging in hurried negotiations with march organisers, however it was decided that they would go ahead with the march after the government refused to sign any agreement.