The first is the Jan Satyagraha by the Ekta Parishad in which close to a hundred thousand people have started a long march along the national highway from Gwalior to Delhi demanding land rights. People and organisations have come from all over India to Gwalior after a year long mobilisation process by the Ekta Parishad. These are all people who are demanding that they be given land for building their homes and carrying out agricultural activities. This is in fact the second time that such a march is being taken out. Five years earlier in 2007 also some 25,000 people had marched to Delhi and sat on a dharna there till the Government had agreed to set up a National Land Reforms Council with the Prime Minister as Chairman and members from the Ekta Parishad also apart from other politicians and bureaucrats to find a way to provide land to the people. However, not a single meeting of this Land Reforms Council was held and instead in the five years since the number of evictions of people due to development projects and from forests and government land has increased manifold. That is why the Ekta Parishad has now launched this second yatra. Two Ministers of the Central Government did come down to Gwalior on 2nd October with some assurances that the demands of the Ekta Parishad regarding land reforms and provision of land to the poor under the various statutes enacted for this purpose would be met. However, they refused to give anything in writing putting forward the excuse that land is a State Government subject and so the Central Government could not do anything without their consent. So the people have decided to march to Delhi and stage a sit in there till their demands are met.
The second is even more bizarre. There is rampant corruption in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Barwani district like there is in most other parts of the country. However, in Barwani there is a militant mass organisation of the marginalised poor named Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) which is waging a battle against this corruption. The thousands of members of this organisation are demanding that the MGNREGS be implemented properly and wages be paid on time. This has been a long battle that is continuing for more than five years now. Things have now come to a head, however, with the politicians and bureaucrats ganging up against JADS to try and crush it. They first tried to get the leaders of the organisation externed from the district and when that failed due to a hue and cry raised by human rights organisations, they have now begun issuing direct threats to the organisation. When the organisation took out a rally of thousands of women and children along with a few men today to press their demands for action against the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and for payment of their pending wages then the local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) along with a few hundred of his supporters blocked their way. Despite this being a peaceful rally for which permission had been taken from the administration the police in armed riot gear instead of acting against the MLA for his obstruction have stationed themselves between the JADS members and the MLA's contingent and are doing nothing and there is a stalemate for the present. Since the JADS has announced that it will not leave Barwani till the pending payment is made and action is taken against all the politicians and bureaucrats who have clearly defalcated large amounts of public funds a long struggle is on the cards. Here is a press note from the organisation that gives the details -