Friday, December 7, 2018

Mass Production by the Masses : Kannaiyan Subramaniam at FAO's International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers

Kannaiyan Subramanian uses the successes of the dairy industry in India as an example of innovative produces resulting in sustainable self-sufficiency for small-scale food producers.

Kannaiyan Subramaniam is an activist with the South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (SICCFM), a member group to La Via Campesina South Asia. SICCFM is a coalition of farmers movement, founded on 2nd October, 2009, in a conference against World Trade Organisation and Free trade Agreements organised by Karnataka Rajya Ryotha Sangha (KRRS) and Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam in Bangalore, Karnataka. 

Kannaiyan Subramaniam can be contacted on

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Land is their life; name land to tenants

(File photo -Tenant farmers of Okara Military farms in a public meeting)

Supreme Court orders release of tenant leader framed in false robbery case

Today Supreme Court Lahore registry ordered to release Malik Salim Jhakar, a tenant leader of Anjman Mozareen Punjab, on bail. He was falsely inducted in a robbery case last year in November. For three days, the case was argued at the Supreme Court by our advocate Azam Nazir Tarrer advocate on the grounds that this is a false case and the only “crime” of Malik Salim Jhakar is that he is demanding land rights at Okara Kulyana Military Estate.

Farooq Tariq with father of Malik Salim Jhakar
Today, the judges of the highest court, asked the lawyers of the state that how come that Salim was carrying the identity card of the person who claimed that he was victim of the robbery even after few days of robbery. They asked the question how could a villager who accepted in the court that he knew Malik Salim because he lives next to the village of Malik Salim (accused) told the police in the first report (FIR) that he is robbed by an unknown person and later recognize him. That how could police claim that the 25,000 Rupees recovered from Malik Salim were the same that he has looted?
The Supreme Court two judges, Mr. Justice Manzoor Malik and Mr. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah both questions the truthfulness of the case again and again. The State lawyers had no answer to the questions posed by the judges.

Our advocate Azam Nazir Tarrer told the court that Malik Salim was inducted in over 80 false cases by the local administration since the last five years. He is one of the main leader of Anjaman Mozareen Punjab who are demanding land rights at Okara Military Farms. He was either acquitted or released on bail in all the other cases apart from one where he was sentenced to three years and appeal against that case is still pending.

After an hour of arguments, Malik Salim bail application for the immediate release was accepted. The elderly father of the Malik Salim who was in the court alongside with me was bloody happy.
The fact of the case is that Malik Salim came to visit me in Lahore late last year after he was released in all false cases spending two years in jail. The Okara administration came to know that he was in Lahore to meet Farooq Tariq. Very next day, he was arrested and within days of his abduction he was framed in a robbery case.

While Malik Salim was in jail during 2016, six persons were brought by police at Malik Salim village and were killed and later it was announced that religious terrorists were taking refuge at Malik Salim home. And Police killed then in an encounter when they went to arrest them. This was typical story of police after such “police encounters”.

I went to the press same day and contradicted police story and said that Anjman Mozareen Punjab is totally oppose to religious fundamentalism and also religious terrorism. This is a story by police to register more cases against Malik Salim family.

The case was registered against Malik Salim’s younger brother and he went in underground and escaped the arrest. Malik Salim came to me in Lahore in November 2017 after his release. He requested me that I should speak to late Asma Jehanghir to take up the case of his younger brother who is in underground for fear of arrest in this false murder case of six persons. Very next day, he was abducted and later this false case of robbery was registered against him.

A week before her death, Asma Jehanghir met Shamshad Ali at her office in Lahore, a local advocate from Okara along with me and promised that she will take up this case and also of Malik Salim arrest.

After Asma Jehanghir’s death, I requested Azam Nazir Tarrer, a close associate of Asma Jehnghir and member Pakistan Bar Council to take up this and Noor Nabi case. He accepted our request. This was done on volunteer basis. We cannot afford the fees of the lawyers like Azam Nazir Tarrer. He is at present lawyer of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and has taken up the cases of former prime minister and chief minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

Today, Azam Nazir Terror was called again and again by Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s friends because he has to appear in another court on his behalf. However, he prioritize to appear on our behalf at Supreme Court and got our tenant leader bail approved.

Last week, Azam Nazir Tarrer appeared on behalf of Noor Nabi advocate who is elected chairman of his union council at Okara Military Farms. Noor Nabi was also arrested on a similar false robbery case. There is in line with a pattern by police in Okara that whenever a tenant is released on bail, he should be arrested again on a false case. Noor Nabi bail application was also accepted last week.
At present Mehar Abdul Sattar, Younis Iqbal, Noor Nabi, Malik Salim Jhakar are in jail for demanding land rights at Okara Military Farms. Two would be released if they are not framed again in any other false case. Mehar Sattar is sentenced to 10 years by an anti-terrorist court earlier this year. His appeal against the sentence is fixed on 9th January 2019 at Lahore High Court.

We have not seen any other part in Punjab apart from Okara where dozens of false police cases have been registered against the leaders of a mass movement of peasants. There was a reign of terror at Okara for the tenants. That is still going on. Tenants are refusing to pay what they have paid for over 100 years as part of crop sharing. They are demanding to fulfill the demands of land rights on over 13000 acre of fertile land at Okara. Fifth generation of tenants are working on these lands. Almost all governments including the present Tehreek Insaaf has promised land rights to tenants. Without exception, no one has fulfilled the promise.

Today is a small victory of a movement that is going on since 2001. We say that military should hand over these agriculture land to the tenants living in 19 villages of the district. The land should not be cultivated by military institution. It should come out of a business that is not related to them.
This dispute at Okara is going on for over 17 years now. I appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to fulfill his promise made at a public meeting in Okara in 2013 that this land would be given to Okara tenants. This is a high time to fulfill the promise.

I also appeal to the chief of the army staff to take an interest in this ongoing conflict with the most down trodden section of the society, the tenants. They cannot go anywhere else. Land is their life and that is what they can do. Please grant them land rights and the honor and prestige of military would be at a better stage after this decision.

By Farooq Tariq, General Secretary, Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committe

(Farooq tariq can be contacted on Facebook)

Suggested reading :

This Land is Our Land: Peasants in Okara fight for their rights

Harvest of Hope | The struggles of tenant farmers in Okara Military Farms, Pakistan

Peasants demand land rights at Kulyana Military Estate Okara

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

‘Without participation of women, there is no liberation’: Peasant women’s meeting in Sri Lanka

Over 60 peasant women leaders from 20 different countries across the globe joined the Global Meeting of Women Articulation, organized by La Vía Campesina.

November 24, 2018 by Peoples Dispatch

Global Meeting of Women Articulation, organized by La Vía Campesina, an international peasant movement, began on November 22 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. This international meeting aims to reflect on the different challenges faced by peasant women and women in general. Over 60 peasant women leaders from 20 different countries across the globe joined the conference.

‘Long live peasant woman! Long live feminism!’: peasant women’s meeting in Sri Lanka concludes

“We understand that capitalism is the main source of inequality and that many forms of violence emerge from these inequalities.”

La Via Campesina
(Photo -La Via Campesina)
This article by Tanya Wadhwa, first appeared on Peoples Dispatch on November 28, 2018

On November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a global peasant women’s meeting in Sri Lanka culminated with a clarion call to end patriarchy and violence against women, and fight the onslaught of capitalism.

“Let us put an end to violence against women, break the silence, resist and confront patriarchy and capitalism…We must overcome barbarism, fascism and the lack of respect for the most fundamental rights. We must fight today and every day as a working class. We understand that capitalism is the main source of inequality and that many forms of violence emerge from these inequalities. That is why this struggle is such a class struggle”, emphasized La Vía Campesina (LVC) in a statement released after the culmination of event.

The Global Meeting of Women Articulation, organized by LVC, a global peasants’ movement, which began on November 22 in Negombo, Sri Lanka, concluded with a feminist solidarity meeting in Naula, a town in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. The conference was attended by over 60 peasant women leaders from more than 20 .countries across the globe. The main aim of the conference was to reflect on different challenges faced by peasant women and women in general, to strengthen organizational tasks at the regional and international level, and to construct an action plan for the training of women members of LVC.

A La Via Campesina poster calling for an to end to violence against women.

“I think it is our time now. Today, when I see women from different regions, with different skin color, speaking different languages, united by poverty and similar challenges, coming together in solidarity to fight against capitalism and patriarchy, I’m sure that in future all the women around the world will be free and will have equal rights”, said Torkia Chaibi, middle east coordinator, La Vía Campesina, Tunisia.

On the first day, peasant women from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe, associated with different social organizations shared experiences and problems they face every day. Some of the key challenges brought out in the conference were lack of equal rights, political power, decision making rights, and access to education, leading to exclusion of women; feudal mentality of men; differential wages and different forms of violence against women.

On the second day, a detailed continent-specific evaluation of the problems and struggles faced by women was carried out. The historical battles fought by women associated with LVC for their rights were recalled. Action plans to organize campaigns for issues pertaining to women on March 8 and November 25 were discussed.

Throughout the third day, debates were held on how to strengthen political alliances in the struggles of women and feminists and how to expand the reach of La Vía Campesina locally and internationally so that more and more peasants, small farmers and landless agricultural workers could be helped. Women were encouraged to continue fighting political battles within their country and to continue fighting for their rights based on the methods learned from the experiences shared by their comrades from different parts of the world.

“There is a need to strengthen peasants’ movements at the grassroots level. Farmers should be made aware of international policies and agreements, such as free trade agreements that affect them directly and how multinational companies are taking authority over seeds, food production, marketing and distribution. (…) We should encourage local production, local marketing techniques and promote local consumption”, said Nandini Jayaram, member of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, India.

On November 25, a field trip to Naula was held during which the delegates attended a session held by women leaders associated with the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) and Naula Women’s Federation. During the session, the members of these movements talked about the dangers of the Moragahakanda multi-purpose irrigation project inaugurated by Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena in June. They talked about how this project had been publicized as an initiative that would strengthen the hydro-electric system of the country and provide irrigation facilities to 81,422 hectares in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, whereas the truth was that it had eradicated 12 villages and added to the misery of more than 14,000 families, making them homeless and landless.

‘No more violence against women’, ‘not one more’, ‘enough is enough’, ‘no means no’, ‘we are equal’, ‘it’s our time’, ‘long live peasant women’, ‘long live feminism’, ‘there is no socialism without feminism’ etc. were some of the prominent slogans that resonated through the conference venue over the three days.