Home India 30-year-old land conflict comes to a head

30-year-old land conflict comes to a head

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Cattle grazing on ragi field cultivated by SC families of Hosa Rangapura village in Chitradurga taluk.

Livestock grazing on ragi field cultivated by SC families of Hosa Rangapura town in Chitradurga taluk.


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The debate associates with 15 acres and 32 guntas of grazing land in Chitradurga district.

A 30- year-long dispute between two neighborhoods over cultivating a grazing land (gomala) at Hosa Rangapura in Chitradurga reached its peak recently when members of one community let a herd of livestock to graze on ragi sown by the other.

While the Madigas (SC) who cultivated the land are stressed over the crop loss, the Nayakas (ST) keep that the previous had no right to till the grazing land.

After the Nayakas apparently let their cattle to feed upon the crop on July 26, the Madiga families staged demonstrations in Chitradurga. The district administration has stepped in and deployed cops to avoid clashes in the village, as it had actually happened over the same concern in2010 The concern has a history going back to 1990 when 22 SC families started to cultivate 15 acres and 32 guntas of grazing land in the village. They had actually sent applications looking for grant of the same land repeatedly. However, their pleas were declined by the Taluk Bagair Hukum Committee in2010 They were also apparently assaulted by Nayakas in the exact same year, leading to a series of demonstrations under the banner of Swabhimani Dalit Shakti in October 2010.

No alternative

S. Shivalingam, the president of the organisation who led the protest then, told The Hindu, “The SC households have been cultivating the land for 30 years as they have no alternative land to till. Then Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy told the families to quit this land guaranteeing them grant of an alternative land. We stated we would continue to till the exact same till the option was granted,” he said. Noted writer and thinker Anand Teltumbde had visited the town throughout the protests.

The Earnings Minister’s pledge was not fulfilled. The Taluk Bagair Hukum Committee was reconstituted and the new committee allowed the households to cultivate the land, but did not approve them land, citing that it needed information from the federal government. This was challenged by the Nayakas.

Chitradurga DC Vinoth Priya, in her order in February 2019, withdrew the authorization mentioning that the stated land was needed for the livestock. “The concern went to the land tribunal, which also supported the DC’s order. Now, we have actually taken the problem to the High Court. The matter has not show up for hearing due to the lockdown over COVID-19,” stated Mr. Shivalingam.

Subsistence farming

As they have done over the years, they sowed ragi and incurred the wrath of the Nayaka neighborhood. “We interested the authorities and district administration to protect our crop, however that did not take place. All these years we have actually been growing ragi, which is our food. For the rest of our requirements we work in others’ farms as day-to-day wage workers,” said S.T. Maruthi, among the youth who led the protests. Mr. Maruthi and other households agree that they do not own the land, however ask what gave the other neighborhood the right to ruin their crop.

Bhanu Prakash, a supporter and resident of the village from the Nayaka community, argues that the families had no right to cultivate the land. “The DC has declined their appeal and the very same has actually been promoted by the tribunal,” he said. There are around 300 head of livestock in the town and they require grazing land, he argued.

Chitradurga tahsildar J.C. Venkateshaiah maintained that the land came from the government and nobody would be enabled to cultivate it. “The families had no right over the land. The cops have reserved a case against those who cultivated the land,” he stated.

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