On behalf of Tamil Nadu Land Right Coalition – Tamil Nadu & Puduchery, the Karur district coordinator Mr. Karikalan took a move to retrieve panchamy lands in September 2014. He, along with landless dalit people, made a petition to the District Administration requesting the retrieval of panchamy lands, which were in the hands of non-dalit community people, and the distribution of panchamy lands to the deserving landless dalit people. According to the information sought through Right to Information Act, 484 acres of panchamy land are available in Karur district. Therefore, they demanded that, excepting the panchamy lands that were in the dalit people’s utility, the lands which were in the hands of caste Hindu people must be retrieved and redistributed to the landless dalit agricultural labourers. However, government took no steps to fulfill their demands.

Following this, 1463 people filed petitions with the District Administration, requesting lands and house sites in Jamabandi (a government programme for addressing the issues of landless and homeless people) which was organized by the district administration in July 2014. So far, there is no sign of action taken by the district administration in this regard.

Therefore, in order to seek the attention of the government on the applications made by landless dalit people for acquiring lands, house sites and panchamy lands, Karur coordination committee of the  Tamil Nadu Land Right Coalition – Tamil Nadu & Puduchery organized a demonstration on the 10 of October 2014 in front of the Head Post office in Karur. The 10th of October was chosen for the demonstration in commemoration of Mr. John Thomas and Mr. Elumalai, who died of police firing twenty years ago when they were in the struggle for retrieving panchamy lands.

M L.A. Samy giving interviews

About 200 people gathered in front of the head post office and raised slogans for asserting their right over land. The Karur district organizer of Tamil Nadu Land Right Coalition – Tamil Nadu & Puduchery Mr. Karikalan presided over the demonstration. The State Joint Coordinator of Tamil Nadu Land Right Coalition – Tamil Nadu & Puduchery Mr. L. A. Samy, also Executive Director of AREDS, WSM’s partner, gave interview to the media persons. He said that government should take steps at war foot level to redistribute the panchamy lands that have been occupied by non-dalit community people, as this is illegal, in Karur district as well as in the state.

Besides, advocate Mr. Lourdu Savio, Save Amaravathi River Environment Movement Mr. Thennarasu, the president of Association of Karur District Groundwater Protection and Farmers Affected by Dyeing Effluents Mr. Ramasamy, vice president of Palaiyajeyangondam panchayat Mr. Velu, SWATE activists Ms. Backiyam and Ms. Janaki and the coordinator of Karur District All Trade Unions’ Federation Mr. Rajasekar spoke in the demonstration.

The following demands were put forth by the demonstrators:
• Government should take action on the petitions made by dalit people for panchamy lands
• A special RDO must be appointed in each district for retrieving the panchamy lands and other government lands that have been in encroachment
• The confiscators of panchamy lands must be prosecuted under SC/ST Act
• Government should give up its drive to transfer the panchamy lands for establishing industrial estate  

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