A number of organisations, that had been staging a dharna under the banner of Janandolana Mahamaitri demanding a relief package for farmers for past five days, ended the protest on Friday. They demanded that all legislators support the resolutions proposed by K.S. Puttannaiah, Sarvodaya Party MLA, in the State Assembly.
Meanwhile, several other organisations including the Bhoomi Mattu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horatara Samithi launched a dharna under the leadership of veteran freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy demanding housing and regularisation of bagair hukum lands to the farmers who had been cultivating lands in the fringe areas of the forests since several decades. Leaders and activists of several organisations, including Karnataka Raitha Sangha, Karnataka Janashakti, Bharatiya Krishik Samaja (Samyukta), Karnataka Dalit Sangarsh Samithi, Karnataka Rajya Raith Sangh, Janasangram Parishat, Aranyamula Budakattu Samudayagala Okkuta, Grameen Kulikarmikara Sanghatane and Dalit-Damanitara Swabhimani Horata Samithi joined the protest.
By Rashmi Munikempanna
On November 21, as legislators prepared to start on the winter session of the Karnataka Assembly at Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi, Karnataka (South India), a series of coordinated protests erupted in different cities across the State. These protests, organized under the leadership of Janandolanagala Mahamaithri (The Alliance of People’s Movements) sought to bring lawmakers’ attention to the problems crippling rural Karnataka. Protestors had been on a campaign trail for a month prior, mobilizing cities and villages with a three-point demand: a complete waiver of loans of farmers, farm workers and women’s self-help groups; and, a scientific compensation for crop losses plus the implementation of a comprehensive drought management plan.This is the first campaign for the Alliance, which announced its formation at a conference in Mysore a few weeks ago. The Alliance has brought together diverse people’s movements in Karnataka to collectively ask for accountability from those running the State. Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Working President of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a major constituent member of Mahamaithri, stated, “This attempt at coming together articulated new desires of hope”– for the future, for an imagination of collectivity.
A veiled tension started building up here on Monday morning on the very first day of winter session of the State legislature just when Ministers and legislators started entering the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (venue of the 10-day winter session). Members of various farmers organisations led by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha staged a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office before proceeding to the Vidhana Soudha.
District Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene president D R Duggappa Gowda has warned of laying siege to Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi during special legislature session beginning on November 21. He told reporters that they have also decided to stage an aggressive protest as the govenment is not taking any steps to solve the problems of the farmers. Duggappa Gowda said more than 1,500 farmers have committed suicide. Malnad and arid regions are reeling under drought. Crops like coffee, cardamom, paddy and coconut have already dried, pushing farmers who have borrowed loan from cooperative societies and also banks to the brink of uncertainty. The condition of the people and the livestock is no different as food and drinking water have remained a mirage.
Janandolana, a people’s struggle launched by the Bhoomi Mattu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horatara Samiti, is set to make its presence felt for the first time in Belagavi. Its activists, led by veteran freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, have decided to launch an indefinite Satyagraha in front of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha on the eve of the winter session of the legislature, which commences on November 21.Leaders and activists of several other organisations, including the Karnataka Raitha Sangh, Karnataka Janashakti, Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Janasangram Parishat, Aranyamula Budakattu Samudayagala Okkuta, Grameen Kulikarmikara Sanghatane and Dalit-Damanitara Swabhimani Horata Samiti will join the Satyagraha.
Farmer leader and Karnataka Sarvodaya Party MLA K.S. Puttannaiah will move a private member’s bill during the winter session of the State legislature scheduled to be held this month-end at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, said Chamarasa Malipatil, honorary president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.Addressing a media conference here on Wednesday, he said that Janapara Sanghatanegala Mahamaithri, a conglomerate of different people’s organisations, would launch an indefinite demonstration outside the offices of the Deputy Commissioners in all districts on November 21 in support of the bill.
Meanwhile at Belagavi, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene held protests to mark the completion of a year of Mahadayi agitation.They said the farmers’ stand stood vindicated with the tribunal asking the Chief Ministers of the riparian States to solve the dispute amicably through dialogue. The tribunal could have made the same observation when the farmers put forward the demand a year ago, said KRRS State vice-president Basavaraj Mallali.
The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene (Kodihalli Chandrashekhar faction) has ridiculed the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal for its “belated realisation” that the Mahadayi water dispute can be resolved through talks. They staged a protest here on Friday by whipping the portraits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for their failure to resolve the dispute.
The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha has urged the Union government to change the National Water Policy to incorporate a clause empowering the Centre to take decisions on disputes related to sharing of water for drinking between riparian States.