Dr. B. Karthik Navayan
Land is worth dying for!
Brahmin-savarnas see land as property, but land is a livelihood for Dalit Bahujan Adivasis.
When Brahmin-savarna thugs defraud Dalits and Adivasis of their lands, they take away the livelihood of Dalits and Adivasis as a property in own their names on papers. Taking away the lands of Dalits is not only beneficial when selling those lands, but it also involves the operation of caste dynamics in the village. When Dalits own land, they grow their food, they educate their kids and that is against the village caste order; thereafter comes the encroachment of lands owned by Dalits.
For the majority of Dalit Adivasi and Bahujan masses, land is a livelihood, whereas it is real estate for Brahmin Savarnas. This can be observed with a little bit of common sense and understanding of everyday life in villages. Whatever small extent of land is owned by Dalit, Adivasis and Bahujan Masses will be used by them to grow foodgrains, vegetables, flowers and fodder for the cattle, etc. Whereas the tracts of the lands encroached by Brahmanical Savarna feudal-capitalists will become real-estate ventures, farms for commercial crops, industrial corridors, etc. Lands in the hands of Dalit Bahujan Adivasis will protect the environment whereas the lands encroached by Brahmin savarna feudal capitalists destroy the environment.
The late Guda Anjanna, Dalit revolutionary poet and singer, asked me to write a book on “How to get lands for Dalits?”. In that book that I published in 2007, I wrote on how to access rights under NREGA, Right to education, Right to information and Rights in Mid day meals etc. After reading those essays, Anjanna asked me to write a book or article on “How to get lands for Dalits”. I started writing in July 2018 but have not yet completed it. There are two things when we talk about “How to get lands for Dalits”: one, “to get the lands of Dalits that are encroached by non Dalits”, and two, “to get the lands for Dalits who do not have land at all”. The second point, that of getting lands for Dalits who do not have land is something beyond imagination in the present day scenario, because governments are more committed to give lands to the upper caste feudals and capitalists than the poor Dalits. This we have seen in several incidents where police and mafias grab land for projects by killing people. If any government is giving land to poor Dalits it is certainly appreciable. Some say that the communist and naxalite movements too failed in providing lands to Dalits as those movements were led by non-Dalits and instead, they successfully achieved the hidden agenda of acquiring lands or protecting lands of so-called upper castes. This is not a generalisation but there are such allegations as well as some verified facts.
The first point of how to get land for Dalits is about getting back the land that is encroached by feudal upper castes by cheating Dalits. This needs more attention. When Dalits are poor, illiterate and innocent, it becomes easy for the so-called upper caste feudals to cheat them, forge their signatures, and defraud them of their lands. In such cases, police deny their role saying that the matter is “civil in nature” and advise poor Dalits to approach the courts. However, if police know the law and are committed to implementing the law, they have to book such cases under IPC and prosecute the dominant caste culprits who are cheating Dalits of their lands. The newly amended Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2016 has also made it a criminal offence for any non SC ST individuals to encroach upon or dispossess SC STs of their lands. Most of the police officials never pay attention to such social protection legislation like SC ST POA.
When poor Dalit victims whose lands are encroached by feudal upper caste criminals, police and revenue administration ask them to go to court and file civil suits. However, filing of cases and follow-up of litigation in the court is expensive for such Dalits. Further, it is better to call such litigation as a tactic of the law instead of the practice of law. This legal way of getting back lands of Dalits needs to be studied to understand the working of courts in matters concerning the lands of Dalits.
These Brahmin Savarnas can go to any extent and any low tricks to get lands. When The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 was enacted, the feudal Reddy, Velama and some dominant OBC castes were required to release the bonded laboures working for them. Many such feudals hid the bonded labourers working under them. However, after they came to know that the release of bonded labourers will secure compensations and land to the bonded labourers, those feudals themselves produced such bonded labourers before the Revenue officials. Some allegedly misused the procedure to get benefits of compensation and land under the pretext of “releasing bonded labourer” but kept such bonded labourers as bonded labourers and took the benefits that came through the so-called release of bonded labours. There is no end to the lows of feudal caste criminals.
In some instances, the Naxalite movement has worked in favour of Dalit Adivasis in the protection of their lands from the feudal casteist capitalists. Let me tell you about my personal experience. In 1994, my elder brother Battula Prakash went underground as a Naxalite activist and worked in the forest areas of united Khammam and Warangal districts. His name appeared in the newspapers, as he was part of some incidents. The police raided our hut in our village; they mixed kerosene in the rice, destroyed the household things, etc and warned us to inform them when our elder brother came in touch with us. After this incident, this news of raiding of our hut spread in the surrounding villages.
After one week of this incident of raiding our hut, two feudal caste Doras (landlords) came to our hut in the morning time. My father asked them, “What Dora, you came to our hut?” They replied, “We need to talk to you, can we sit please?”. My father arranged a cot and they both sat. They also asked my father to call the elder brother of my father, which my father did. My father and his elder brother were standing and we were all watching. The Doras, then said, taking the names of my father and his elder brother, “Dubbaiah and Rajam, your father (that is my grandfather, Battula Muthaiah) had 5 acres of land adjacent to our land, by mistake of our cultivators, one acre of your land was included in our land and it continued till now that we have not observed. You may kindly take that land now with the help of the surveyor”. We got this land back. However, earlier, my father and his elder brother used to fight for this one-acre land as it was missing but both did not have the guts to question the Doras. What made it possible to get this land back? It was the entry of my elder brother into the Naxalite underground activism. Kindly note that this is a fact I am putting here and I am not advising anybody should become a naxalite to get back his or her lands. Many dalits entered the Naxalite movement but they did not get their lands, instead, they were killed in encounters and lockup deaths, and many are jailed with hundreds of criminal cases pending against them.
Do not allow Madiga family of Kamala & Jangaiah to lose their land
This present case of a Madiga family, Kamala and Jangaiah, is one of thousands of such cases of Dalits in Telangana and it could be one of lakhs of such cases in the country. Defrauding Dalit Adivasis of their lands has become the order of the day in this country.
Gaddam Jangaiah and Kamala are a Madiga family from Manchenpadu village, Nandigama Mandal in Ranga Reddy district. Madigas are a leather tanning caste which is an ex untouchable community that is constitutionally recognised under the list of Scheduled Castes. Kamala works as a health worker in a contract-based job and Jangaiah looks after their land and agriculture work. They have two kids; due to ill health of their son, they were in need of money to take him to a private hospital. Here is another point to be noted apart from the land issue. Kamala, despite working in a local govt hospital as a health worker, they were forced to take their son to a private hospital by spending huge money, by taking a loan. This reveals the lack of facilities in govt hospitals and privatisation of the health system which has become inaccessible to the poor.
In 2014, Kamala and Jangaiah had to approach a feudal politician in their village for the required money to take their son to a private hospital. They took a loan of Rs 190000/- from the village Reddy caste feudal Mr. Narakunta Naveen Reddy by putting the original land documents in his hands and put them under the risk of losing their land. When they tried to get back their original land documents by repaying the loan amount, they were abused with slurs touching upon their caste, beaten up, threatened to be killed, and later charged with criminal conspiracy, misled, and defrauded of their land by Mr. Narakunta Naveen Reddy in collusion with Sindam Mahesh, Rajasekhar and Raghavendar Goud. They made Jangaiah sign on the documents with coercion, threats, intimidation, and misrepresentation of facts, while they registered an Agreement and General Power of Attorney, making Jangaiah believe that they were only agreements that he was signing.
In the last two years, Jangaiah and his wife Kamala have submitted several representations to the Tahsildar, Police, Sub Registrar, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission to protect their land from illegal alienation. No authority has responded to them; those copies of complaints are available here – https://karthiknavayan.wordpress.com/2019/05/01/support-the-struggle-of-madiga-dalit-family-gaddam-jangaiah-and-kamala-for-protecting-their-land/. The tragedy is that among those authorities some are Dalits, who have become mute spectators to this illegal alienation of land of Dalits.
Jangaiah and Kamala are the absolute owners and possessors of the land in Sy No.112/163 extent 1-11 One-acre eleven gunta in Chegur Shivar and in Sy No 38/1/1/e -14 Guntas and 37/u1/e 7 Guntas in Mamidipally Shivar. Jangaiah acquired this land from his father. Right now, the land is under physical possession of Jangaiah and Kamala. Though those alleged criminals created false documents by harassing Jangaiah and Kamala, they never came to the land.
Jangaiah had taken a hand loan of Rs 1,90,000/- (One Lakh Ninety Thousands only) in the year 2014 from Narakunta Naveen Reddy, aged about 36 years, S/o Venkat Reddy, Village Modallagudem, Mandal Nandigama, Ranga Reddy District for paying hospital bills for his son. As security, Naveen Reddy kept original land documents, Patta Passbook of land in Sy No.112/163 extent 1-11 (One-acre eleven gunta) in Chegur Shivar, Nandigama Mandal, Ranga Reddy District.
In the March 2016, One Mr. Sindam Mahesh S/o Narasimhulu, Village – Manchenpadu, Mandal Nandigama, Rangareddy District approached Jangaiah and told that he will help to sell land at a higher price of Rs 27 Lakhs. Mahesh told Jangaiah that Jangaiah needs to enter into an agreement and take Rs 2 lakhs first, and at the time of registration, they would pay the full amount. Mahesh took Jangaiah to the Shadnagar registration office and made him sign on the white papers. Jangaiah signed the papers believing that they were the agreement. However, they cheated him by registering an Agreement of Sale and General Power of Attorney. As Jangaiah does not know how to read English, he signed the papers believing them.
Mahesh paid Rs 2 Lakhs and promised that he would pay rest of the 25 lakhs at the time of registration. Later, Jangaiah approached Sindam Mahesh several times and requested that the remaining money Rs 25 Lakhs should be paid and land should be registered in the name of K. Rajasekhar, the purchaser. After repeated requests, Mahesh told Jangaiah that, the registration of AGPA on Jangaiah’s land has happened according to the directions of Narakunta Naveena Reddy only and Sindam Mahesh acted on behalf of Naveen Reddy. Since the original documents are in the possession of Naveen Reddy, he played the game of getting the land registered in the name of his benami K. Rajasekhar S/o Yadaiah whose address is not mentioned in the registration document of AGPA. This is complete cheating, fraud and misrepresentation of facts.
Jangaiah and Kamala came to know about this AGPA registration when they approached the Tahsildar for new passbooks in 2018. The Tahsildar informed them that the land was sold and they will not get the new passbooks. Jangaiah and Kamala were shocked and filed a complaint with the inspector of police, Kothur, on 16/7/2018 against Sindam Mahesh S/o Narasimhulu, Village – Manchenpadu, Mandal Nandigama, Rangareddy District and K. Rajasekhar for cheating and defrauding them in collusion with Narakunta Naveen Reddy.A copy of the complaint is enclosed here – https://karthiknavayan.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/1-1.jpg?resize=219%2C219
Jangaiah and Kamala have submitted a representation to the Sub-Registrar, Shadnagar, on 24/ 10/ 2018 requesting them not to proceed for any further transactions on their land as the land was falsely registered as AGPA by misleading and obtaining signatures by saying it is only an agreement.
Jangaiah and Kamala approached Narakunta Naveen Reddy, requesting him to return the original land papers, and looking to repay the loaned money of Rs 190000/-. However, Naveen Reddy stared abusing Jangaiah touching upon his caste as “Madiga Lanjaa Koduka” (Madiga Bastard), you cannot pay my loan even if you sell all your lands. In addition, your loan will not be fulfilled. You have to sell all your lands to me; I will not give the original documents. Now you have to sell the other land to me otherwise I will kill you”. He abused and threatened to kill Jangaiah before all his family members, before beating him up very badly and registering another 21 gunta land in the name of M Raghavendar Goud, by threatening to kill Jangaiah in July 2017. Jangaiah and Kamala filed another complaint before the police in 12 November 2018 in this regard; the copy of the complaint is enclosed here- https://karthiknavayan.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/2-1.jpg?resize=219%2C219
The said accused are liable to be prosecuted under the -The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (PoA Act) – a special law to protect the rights of Dalits and Adivasis, which criminalizes the wrongful dispossession of and interference with the lands of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act says:
Chapter II – Section 3 (f) wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land, owned by, or in the possession of or allotted to, or notified by any competent authority to be allotted to, a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, or gets such land transferred;
(g) Wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his rights, including forest rights, over any land or premises or water or irrigation facilities or destroys the crops or takes away the produce there from
Explanation.––For the purposes of clause (f) and this clause, the expression ―wrongfully includes—
(A) against the person’s will;
(B) without the person’s consent;
(C) with the person’s consent, where such consent has been obtained by putting the person, or any other person in whom the person is interested in fear of death or of hurt; or (D) fabricating records of such land;
Since the police are not acting on their complaints Jangaiah and Kamala have approached the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission on 29 December 2018 and copy of the petition is enclosed here – https://karthiknavayan.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/4-1.jpg?resize=219%2C219
Jangaiah and Kamala submit that they are the owners and are in the possession of the above said land. If the land records are changed to the name of others, they will be put to serious prejudices, suffering and further injury. This Madiga family is requesting for appropriate legal proceedings against the Narakunta Naveen Reddy Sindam Mahesh, Rajasekhar, and Raghavendar Goud for criminal conspiracy, cheating, abusing and beating them, taking their caste names, and illegal alienation of their land with coercion, threats and intimidation
They specifically request Station House Officer Nandigama Police station to register an FIR based on the facts explained above and arrest the accused in the interest of justice.
You can write to the Station House Officer Nandigama and Commissioner of Police urging to register an FIR.
It has come to notice that apart from harassing Jangaiah’s family, the said Naveen Reddy has also harassed and grabbed lands of around 20 other families in that area. A CBI inquiry is required into all the allegations of land grabbing by Narakunta Naveen Reddy and his benamis.
More people have been cheated by Naveen Reddy and a fact finding with people’s organisation is planned by the end of this month. If you are interested to be part of the fact finding, please get in touch with me on Navayan@gmail.com
A CBI inquiry on all such atrocities committed by Narakunta Naveen Reddy in the area is necessary.
Do write to:
Station House officer – Nandigama Police Station – email@example.com
Commissioner of Police – Cyberabad – firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also write to Revenue Administration urging them to conduct an inquiry on the present status of the land and enter the names of possessors that is Jangaiah and Kamala who are real owners and possessors of the land:
Joint Collector – Rangareddy – email@example.com
PS: While poor Dalit Adivasi Bahujan are losing lands through cheating and forgery of so-called upper castes feudals, those Dalits who are educated and employed with Revenue departments have become mute spectators to this illegal alienation of land of Dalits in collusion with the alleged so-called upper caste criminals. Such educated and employed Dalits are an insult not only to the Dalit community but also to humanity. I am preparing the list of such educated and employed Dalits who benefitted out of reservations as a representative of SC ST OBC communities and disowned the communities after they got jobs. If you come across such educated employed SC ST OBCs, please send me their names and addresses to my email – Navayan@gmail.com
Dr. B Karthik Navayan is an Advocate and Human Rights Activist.