Zameen Samadhi Satyagraha against land acquisition in Neendar village, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Villagers protest neck deep buried in mock burials to oppose forced acquisition of their land by the Jaipur Development Authority to build new housing.


Description

A new form of protest against forceful and unfair land acquisition, known as Zameen Samadhi Satyagraha was started on Gandhi Jayanti (2 October, 2017) in Neendar village located on the outskirts of Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. Villagers are protesting against the acquisition of over 1,300 bighas of land for a housing project by the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA). The protest was preceded by a 15 day dharna (peaceful sit-in), which according to the protesters had no effect. Rallies and demonstrations had started sometime in mid-September. [1] This led to the current form of protest by staging their mock burials. One of the protesters, 90-year-old Nanthi Bai, said her family has lived on the land the government wants to take away for seven generations. “I have brought up my eight sons here in this land and I have 20 grandchildren… if you take me away from my land where will I go? I don’t want the money I want my land,” she told NDTV [2]. According to Nagendra Singh Shekhawat, the leader of the Satyagraha, more than 80% of the villagers did not give consent for this forceful acquisition. The process of acquiring this land began in 2010. So far only 274 bighas of land has been surrendered. Many villagers complain of intimidation by the JDA officials for surrendering land. The farms here are rainfed, with cultivation of both rabi and kharif crops (the two seasonal harvests). The problem also intensifies because most of the families are not holders of the land titles, because of which JDA claims the houses of the villagers to be illegal [3]. On the other hand, the builders who were promised the land from JDA are also not sure about the status and are also planning to protest against JDA [3]. More than 1000 protesters are currently on the site of the mock burials, with about 650 of them being women [4]. They have been celebrating all the festivals such as Diwali, Govardhan puja and Bhai dooj while still buried. State Congress chief Sachin Pilot (from the opposition party) had said that at the time of festival season, men and women have buried themselves in pits as a mark of protest and the government was unable to resolve their problems. “The government should reach out to the protesters and amicably resolve their issues,” he had said. Nagender Shekhawat, who is heading the Nindar Bachao Yuva Kisan Sangarsh Samiti told Al Jazeera that "nearly 5,000 families, including farmers, are going to be affected by the acquisition. Farmers have been protesting since the land acquisition notice was issued in 2010. They do not want to give up their land as they use it for agriculture and animals. Government wants to destroy their source of income. We oppose the government move." [5] After 30 days of the protest, the Vasundhara Raje-led government of Rajasthan finally agreed that JDA will hold fresh survey for the land on October 30, 2017. The representatives of farmers, during the discussions, agreed that meanwhile construction work will be allowed to begin. [6]

Basic Data
NameZameen Samadhi Satyagraha against land acquisition in Neendar village, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceRajasthan
SiteNeendar village, Jaipur
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Urban development conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe JDA had planned to acquire 1,300 bighas of land –1,100 bighas of which is privately owned – for a housing scheme announced in January 2011, wherein 10,000 houses would be built. It had already taken possession of 600 bighas by early October and deposited Rs 60 crore in court for the acquired land.
Project Area (in hectares)215
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population5,000
Start Date01/02/2010
End Date30/10/2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesJaipur Development Authority
Relevant government actorsRajasthan state government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNindar Bachao Yuva Kisan Sangarsh Samiti
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Women
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Zameen Samadhi Satyagraha, by staging mock burials
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseUnder negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.After 30 days of being buried neck deep in the ground, the state government met with the protesters and agreed to conduct fresh surveys for the land.
Sources and Materials
Links

3. A full report about the protest against the land acquisition
[click to view]

5. Coverage of the story in Al Jazeera
[click to view]

News article about the ongoing peaceful protest
[click to view]

1. Full description chronologically of the entire 30 days of Satyagraha.
[click to view]

2. More information about the protest as reported in the Wire.
[click to view]

6. Coverage of the story in India Today
[click to view]

4. Article about the villagers celebrating festivals neck deep buried in protest.
[click to view]

Other Documents

Zameen Samadhi Satyagraha. Source- PTI Protest by villagers of Neendhar village against forced land acquisition.
[click to view]

Women protesters celebrating Diwali. Source- ANI
[click to view]

Protest site on the 18th day
[click to view]

Villagers neck deep buried
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorBrototi Roy
Last update04/12/2017
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