'We Want Homes, Not Hate': People's Parliament of Rural Poor At Ayodhya

THE Sangh and BJP have been stoking hate over their campaign for a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, only to divert people’s attention from the failures of Modi Government. Rural poor are having none of it, though. At Faizabad district (now renamed Ayodhya), rural poor held their own People’s Parliament on February 9 organised by AIARLA demanding, not a “home for Lord Rama” but a home for each rural household! They demanded the right to land, housing, food, education, health, dignity and equality. People thronged into the venue, Gandhi Park, in a very impressive march through the streets of Faizabad chanting slogans against Modi-Yogi governments.

This assembly was addressed by All India Agricultural and Rural Workers’ Association national general secretary Dhirendra Jha. He condemned the present governments in Centre as well as UP for working in the interests of big crony corporates like Adani and Ambani against he wishes of the people. More than 70 million citizens today are being deprived of very basic amenities like land, house, food, health, education and even the employment, he said, while nation’s more than fifty percent assents have been concentrated in the hands of only 9 capitalist families. This has to be resisted through united people’s assertion.

He also reminded the protesters of the revolutionary legacy of the Faizabad which is the land of syncretic culture where great martyr Ashfaqullah Khan laid his life and communists organised rural poor to fight against the oppression of feudal remnants.  

Honorary President of AIARLA and ex-Member of Parliament Rameshwar Prasad also addressed the People’s Parliament. He called for the redistribution of lands to the poor homeless and to work hard to elect their own people’s representatives in the parliament. He exposed the farce of Modi’s latest rhetoric the Aayushman  Bharat Yojana.

The AIARLA President Shriram Chaudhary raised the issue of huge land tracts under various maths and temples while more than 40 percent rural population doesn’t even posses land for homesteads. Governments have utterly failed in providing basic amenities and needs of people, then constructing temples can not be their agenda unless there is an ulterior motive. He demanded to enact a law to guarantee a minimum wage of Rs. 600 per day to every rural workers and to give employment for at least 200 days in a year.

CPIML Uttar Pradesh State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav also addressed the gathering. He said the Forest Rights Act is being completely violated by the Yogi government by displacing poor forest dwellers and adivasis from their ancestral lands. He demanded amendment in this Act to strengthen rights of poor, tribals and scheduled castes which dwell or survives on forests as well as rights of the castes like Kol and Biyar which have not yet been included in the lists of tribals for obvious reasons. Comrade Sudhakar vehemently condemned the killing of left-tribal leader Himmat Kol perpetrated by the nexus of BJP leaders and demanded to the arrests of killers.

Ayodhya Rally

 

Satyadev Ram, MLA in Bihar Assembly and veteran leader of AIARLA addressed this parliament and emphasised the need for a separate law for guaranteeing the land for the homestead to every person. This People’s Grand Parliament was also addressed by TR Balu, Jeera Bharati, Shankar Kol, Anil Paswan, Md. Sayeed, Kanshiram, CPI leader Ramtirth Pathak, CPIM leader Matabadal, RYA’s Atiq Ahmad and Rakesh Singh, AIPWA leader Meena Singh, LIC workers’ leader RD Anand, Akhilesh Chaturvedi and Rajesh Sahni. CPIML Politburo member Swadesh Bhattacharya attended this People’s Parliament as special guest. The following resolutions were passed:

  1. Give entitlements of lands to Dalits and poor on the lands where they are already residing. Make a national Register of landless and homeless citizens and make the Right to Housing a fundamental right.

  2. Stop displacing dalits, tribals and poor from lands without ensuring proper rehabilitation in districts Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Faizabad, terai region of UP and other places.

  3. Stop rampant corruption in construction of toilets and also, increase fund to at least Rs. 50000 per toilet.

  4. Provide Old Age pension to all above 55 at minimum Rs. 5000 pm.

  5. The People’s Parliament condemned stay ordered by the Revenue officials on the lands occupied for homesteads by 26 landless including Sahodara Chauhan in Faizabad district and demands to revoke this stay and ensure rights of all these landless.

  6. The People’s Parliament condemns Modi and Yogi governments for encroaching over the rights of Dalits, Adivasis, and poor on land, housing, education and employment and opposes any dilutions in the provisions of reservations for the socially discriminated and deprived sections of society, which is their constitutional right. This Parliament demands to withdraw 10% reservation for the general category and to bring an Ordinance to withdraw the 13-point Roster in educational institutions. This is a necessary step to ensure the rights of SC-ST-OBC over the reservations.

  7. This People’s Parliament demands to make Right to Work a Fundamental Right in the Constitution.