Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

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

Polepally Bhu Satyagraham Report

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Polepally Bhu Satyagraham held from 25th September to 2nd October, 2008 was a remarkable experience to the farmers affected by the SEZ in many ways and also to those who had come to Polepally to join the agitation in solidarity.

It gave us lot of confidence and helped get people’s support. There were many volunteers to work, and some resource constraints. Friends made contributions in different ways. At least, we were able to provide one meal. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed monetarily or extended their solidarity in other forms.

Land issue and ‘Peoples Telangana’ became the socio- political milieu which attracted many sections. Whoever came to Polepally had something to talk and something to take back. Mega Star Chiranjeevi became real star in politics after Polepally visit. CPI secretary K Narayana visited once again and assured us of his party’s support.  Several people’s organizations, students groups, trade unions,  from Hyderabad have visited the Satyagraham and extended their support. Government and ministers issued statements filled with half-truths, justifying their stand and propagating their ‘best rehabilitation package’.

Polepally struggle became an important issue for media –print and electronic for more than a week. Polepally highlighted SEZ atrocities and demanded people’s response. Many groups expressed their stand and assured to work on SEZ issue.

The first day was painful for the Polepally Anti-SEZ Committee with police harassing and creating nuisance and preventing us from putting up the tents for Satyagraha. The place where we wanted to put the tent was rejected by Police. They did not allow us to put a tent in front of Aurabindo pharma.   We were told that the entire place is in the hands of ‘APIIC’, not even a few yards space to sit for silent protest. Madhu Kagula with a great difficulty got one patta land (place) but that was too far for the villagers to come and sit.

We were threatened that if we enter APIIC land we will be arrested immediately. This caused a lot of dilemma and also led to frustration amongst us. People were angry and wanted to stop the construction work at Aurobindo and Hetero drugs. As expected, there were more police than us. Villagers were furious, and restless but kept their cool.

The struggle committee decided to sit on the road without tent.  Rathnamala, Hema, and student representatives were with the villagers. Finally, we got the permission when DSP Madhusudhan Reddy came to see the arrangements in the evening. The Committee explained him that it was a Satyagraha and they will follow the rules.

Polepally was already in news because of Chiranjeevi’s visit. Next day morning Chiranjeevi’s office people came to us and discussed  about his visit.  We could not accept many of their fancy ideas.  Polepally was suddenly the fancy of ‘fans’, and there was media and ‘fans’ everywhere.

All TV channels telecasted Polepally events live throughout day. Polepally Committee representatives were talking with media about his visit, bhu satyagraha and the struggle against SEZ.

Within minutes of Chiranjeevi’s arrival, the Bhu Satyagraham tent was razed to the ground. Many were injured in the stampede that ensued. Chiranjeevi spoke about SEZ and the plight of people when the government turns into a broker (dalaari). Protesting farmers were unhappy that he didn’t come to meet them personally and sit with them. Talking to fans or media was not the expectation of the villagers. Someone was wise enough to bring him back and he spoke to the farmers again.  He told that the Andhra Pradesh government was dalaari and that the state must stop giving farm lands for SEZ (pacchani polaalani  ivvoddhu). With national media covering this visit, the news about injustice in Polepally SEZ reached all parts of the country.

Consequently, we hear everyday a statement from Govt condemning Chiranjeevi’s comments and also rolling out false information about what YSR government has done to dying farmers affected by the Polepally SEZ.  WE have issued a press statement condemning the half-truths being circulated by the govt.

Almost all political parties visited the Satyagraha except TDP and Congress. CPI (ML) New Democracy, BJP, BSP, TRS, and Praja Rajyam party leaders paid a visit.  TRS Ex-MLA, who the villagers say was acting as an agent of SEZ developers also visited the village and pleaded mercy of the villagers who were about to slap him for all his deeds. Last day of the satyagraha was hectic with visits of K Narayana, state secretary of CPI, Nagababu from Praja Rajyam, and Laxma Reddy of TRS.

CPI state secretary K Narayana is the only person who came out openly that they will see to it that these SEZ companies are stopped.

People are questioning every party and asking what is their stand on Polepally atrocities and loot and also on SEZ Act.

Prof Haragopal said that this movement will remain in Telangana history forever. Many people praised that women are playing a great role in this movement.

Several activists and scholars from Telangana and other parts of the country also visited the village. They include Balagopal, Gaddar, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Dr. Bharati from VIRASAM, Sandhya from POW, U. Sambasiva Rao, Pasham Yadagiri, Hanumandlu, Chikkudu Prabhakar B.Ramulu, K Srinivas – Andhra Jyothi Editor, and many other representatives from revolutionary parties, trade unions, student organisations and many more.

Volunteers had a taste of Telangana people’s hospitality. Their openness to share poverty and enduring constraints with a smile was a great learning to all of us. Their commitment to the cause is inspiring many people to join hands. We started cooking at the Satyagraham site. We walked in those green fields collecting fire wood. Sitting and eating on those fields is a beautiful memory.

Volunteers will never forget the love, affection showered on them and also the sad stories of loss and undying spirit of Polepally struggle.

Looking forward to your continued support to strengthen the struggle till we achieve our lands back.

Salute to all those hungry stomachs, sitting in the tent losing their daily bread for a bigger cause…

Jai Telangana!

Sujatha Surepally

Written by Sujatha Surepally

October 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm

One Response

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  1. I need a job completed diploma in eee in govt polytechnic with 76 percentage

    k naveen

    July 20, 2015 at 9:03 am

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