Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

…more than courage it takes WILL to stand up against injustice !

Burning Polepally refuses to be mortgaged

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By Sujatha Surepally

“If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem”

Dear Friends,

Polepalli farmers are still marching with hope and courage against all odds. Yesterday they held a dharna at MRO’s office and Collectorate in hot mid day at Jadcherla.

I saw many farmers are sitting with the polluted chemical water bottles and placards seeking justice. Some people’s organizations were supporting the issue. Madhu Kagula, Telangana Aikyakarcharana Committee is the big source for struggle. There were some representatives from Hyderabad and other parts. Vidya Bhushan Rawat of Uttar Pradesh Land Alliance was also there among the participants, he came all the way to show solidarity. BJP also entered and took up the issue. Collector finally came out to speak to farmers. She assured that she will visit Polepalli SEZ villages in the first week of May.

Just wondering how major issues disappear in the pattern of vote focused politics and their hunger for votes. Such big hue and cry and tens of deaths of farmers and hundreds of women and kids thrown on to streets is not on the agenda of politicians. Thinking how much large a tragedy is needed for our politicians of any party in Telangana to acknowledge the Polepalli SEZ cruelty? All nethas and the party spokespersons speak of separate state and the golden era from there on. But no response from our nethas, organisations, scholars and others to framers suicides and SEZ war against the poor. Is it not important for the politicians who are contesting elections in this region? By what standards it is a small issue or what other issue is bigger and important than this?

Forty one farmers died! Women become widowed all of a sudden and are pushed into helpless situation of working like bonded labourers in their own fields. They struggled for years to bring this peace of earth onto land by hard labour. Many women were dependent on their sons and their grown up kids have abandoned without knowing what to do with the maddening situation. Mothers cannot leave their offspring although they lost everything. Small children are also working. Widowed women do not know how long they can feed their helpless kids. What is it?

What Telangana we are looking for? What will any party or activist lose by taking up the cause of Polepalli and demand justice to the Polepalli people? Will talking of Mahbubnagar issue and the deaths of our farmers stop the heroic parties and our great leaders from achieving telangana? How politicians who vouched to protect the interests of all the people of Telangana can ignore Polepalli deaths?

Shall we all say that we dont bother about burning problems and want only geographical Telangana? Because now it is elections time, we cannot afford to talk of any thing of people’s death or lives. And later we cannot talk because we do not have the power to rule the government and hence leave the exploited and cheated people to their fate for years endless between elections to elections?

If educated, intellectuals are not able to understand peoples issues fearlessly and without vested interests then who will stand by the people and who will build the movement for Telangana?

How can anyone be silent if their land is grabbed for peanuts? Are we becoming insensitive and numb even after seeing these women with hungry stomachs, hearts crying for justice with wounded soul and bodies? Jangamma, who is around 70 years old, with 5 acres land has 4 sons and 1 daughter, was a widow. She is holding a placard and saying that at this age she can’t work for the company, which destroyed her family and made her almost a beggar. She says she is forced to drink tears to survive the testing days and months and witness severe poverty, men becoming so mean and cruel than beasts, and her sons leaving her to her fate as they are broken and incapable of feeding her any more.

She is an orphan in her land and in the land that some scholars argue is the hope of development and the symbol of bringing Mahbubnagar into global map with the SEZ. Development orphaned her and widowed her. How she will survive now? Can any one imagine the plight of several women like this? This is the same case with older men too..deserted by son and unfit to work..

The great SEZ, which assured of jobs and big money, is not even paying proper wages. They work for 4 weeks and get only three weeks wages. Many outsiders are engaged in those jobs. Poor farmers don’t know whom to ask for justice. They lost hopes and say that they have no way to go. Women are showing their bodies how those iron rods are hurting them. They never did this kind of work earlier. Their bodies are wounded.. They do it still, because there is death otherwise…

Is this issue not important for Telangana movement? If not, then what is important? In Goa, they successfully stopped SEZ’s with strong protest, number of SEZs are reduced in Maharashtra, Bengal due to movements against SEZs.

Shankaraiah from BC community aged 34 years is one of three brothers owing a mere three acres of land. They all used to cultivate together. But now they all are dispersed and working as daily labourers. He showed family photo with his five daughters aged 13, 11, 10, 5 and 3 years. One daughter is deaf and dumb, living in hostel in Miryalguda, “Tell me how do I live now and how can I stop worrying of nightmares”, he asked the people.

What answer we have to Shankeraiah? He lived with his land and his limbs to grow food from his piece of land. Who has the power to pull him out of his living to say the nation or the politicians and the greedy stock market wants you to be out of it?

Ushamma, Ellamma, Rangamma many women and widows are sitting under the hot son for help. They are women, abandoned by sons who are also victims of a shock unimaginable. They are orphaned in their village and the whole community is wiped out. Keeping sanity is the biggest achievement in this situation. Those who could not take it have lost the battle. Some have died, others are paying price not less than that.

Those who are in dharna today at the Collectorate are aged and cannot work in the company. The work is different for them, many are above 50 years age, down, depressed and living a tragedy that we have no words to describe. They have nothing but to see insecurity, deceit, helplessness, and endless problems. Can this situation of our women and our farmers be our political manifesto?

Rural telangana culture never lets them cry in front of others for help or money. They live with hunger, with paruvu and maryaada and pride. They have their small little traditions because one helps the other. But what we see is the butchered telangana village now in SEZ villages. They are pushed to roads. They have no words only tears and sobbing and pleading for help. Who will come to their rescue? Is any political party today has anything for Polepalli in their manifesto or action plan?

Polepalli made its way to Human Rights Commission, human rights forums, media, and other parts of the country. Some individuals are slowly joining hands. Where are the telangana sympathizers gone?

Telangana can’t be HITEC city of any pride after losing its soul. Some people are already busy in making proposals and get money to ‘develop’ these orphans and some are busy making money by mortgaging these people and looting their lands to Aurobindo Pharma and Hetero Drugs. Are we part of them or partners of them in a way to remain silent and indifferent and tell ourselves once again that there is more important issue than this? Hats off Telangana Talli for producing great sons and daughters who can’t think its important to cover your nakedness and protect you from exploiters.

They have decided to protest elections. They are against political system not the parties alone. They want to show their agony and pain, show their power of disagreement. Why can’t we join hands with them? After all telangana is nothing but ooru, wada, aata, paata, paruvu maryaada.

They are planning to campaign against injustice, hold a big public meeting to show how these SEZs can destroy the lives of poor and those who have been silent also will be affected one day. At least now we have to be with Polepalli protest group, keeping aside our personal or political interests. Let our own people teach lesson to YSR or whoever, planning to grab our lives.

Helping hands are better than praying lips! Small act of help with those who are facing and fighting the SEZ is greater than million words and hundred manifestos Let’s help our people and our struggles. Let’s protect atma gauravam of our farmers and arrest hundred schemes to mortgage our villages before money bags offered by SEZ operators.

In Solidarity,

Jai Telangana,

Sujatha Surepally.

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Written by dilkibaatein

April 30, 2008 at 9:42 am

Posted in Articles, English

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