SC, ST communities launch joint stir in Kerala

October 10th, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, Oct 10 (IANS) A joint agitation committee representing various Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities in Kerala will launch a statewide stir Friday to press its demand for a second land reform in the state.About 30 different organisations will launch a joint agitation Friday evening at Kasargod, the state’s northern district.

Kerala had introduced land reforms in 1957 which sought to give permanent tenure to all tenants, to establish the right of tenants to purchase the land they tilled, and to put a ceiling on the land a family could own.

Addressing reporters here Friday, the committee’s general convenor Punnala Sreekumar said: “Land reforms earlier only ensured very little land for the families. This is not sufficient. We demand an acre of land for each family.”

He said for the first time in the state, the SC and ST communities have decided to coordinate their struggle for land.

The agitation committee asked Kerala Public Service Commission to take over the appointments of staff in the government-aided but privately run educational institutions so that the SC and ST communities can get job reservation benefits.

Leader of Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha (AGMS), a tribal outfit, M. Geethanandan said: “There are about 300,000 landless families in the state, while 1.2 million acres are in the custody of large and medium sized plantation owners.”

The agitation committee said they will mobilize two million people for the state-wide campaign. A blockade will be organised Nov 5 at the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram and at all the district collectorates.

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