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Why Support Anti- SEZ People’s Struggle జూలై 19, 2008

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Appeals, elections, Mahabubnagar, NTPP, SEZ, TDP, Telangana, TRS.

There is interesting discussion going on Polepally. It raises many issues and puts forth different ways of looking at the problems and possible responses


Debate on politics, peoples struggles, movement for separate state and parties talking of Telangana refer to several inter-related aspects. Sometimes there is gap between people and the parties supposed to be their champions. People are fighting exploitation and the political parties maintain distance from the people. It is serious if people are at loggerheads with the political party. kanche chEnu mEsthe ? prajalu eTu pOtharu


Such situations demand whether one goes with people or party. Polepally is one such example and the debate in essence is grappling with this disconnect. Debate is required to address and understand the problem so as to resolve the conflict.


Polepally anti-SEZ struggle is four year old. Forty one farmers have died due to trauma, poverty and related problems caused by eviction from their land. Villagers were harassed, cheated and threatened to leave the lands and flee. They refused to submit and challenged the atrocities and employed every tool possible in their fight for justice. They approached all political parties, Human Rights Commission, media, RTA among other means. But in vain. All along the local Legislator from Telangana Rashtra Samithi Party was actively working for the SEZ lords. Much of the tragedy and the struggle would not have come to the notice but for the importance it got because of the May 2008 by-elections. Those who were starving and harassed by the authorities and land mafia took to elections and nominated 13 villagers to expose the injustice. They got around 8700 votes in support of their struggle. Former MLA lost.


The struggle continues for justice. Recently there was protest in Hyderabad where the villagers were glad to have the support of Devender Goud of Nava Telangana Praja Party who joined the dharna  demanding Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation to stop playing the role of looting poor people’s lands for SEZ lords. They propose to hold a Public Hearing shortly


Telangana e-groups have several mails on why and why not support Polepally struggle.


Some put forth an argument that it is not proper for the Polepally villagers to take ‘political process’  (like contesting elections, dharna etc). For this group Polepally people should confine to legal aid, and should not waste precious energies on fighting SEZ induced displacements which are plenty and are bound to rise if YSR government comes to power gain after 2009. Energies of politicians and others should be used optimally for causes other than Polepally. The group seems to advocate that Polepally and their supporters should not waste efforts on their problem. Instead they must contribute their might to dislodge Congress government.


Yes, Public Hearing may be partial relief. Also there is need to think of what is complete solution to the problem and those who advocate ‘No Action on Polepally’ must suggest the real solutions.


About how many politicians have done what in Polepally naramedham is public knowledge. Perhaps all politicians and their spokespersons failed to even read page one stories of Polepally in popular dailies like The Hindu, Eenadu, Aandhra Jyothi among others. Or they pretended ignorant while the death toll of farmers went up to 41 in sync with the collective political silence in Telangana.


All that the politicians & their spokespersons did in Polepally was to go in May 2008 and beg votes from the rest who have survived the disaster. Congress, TDP, TRS etc have been silent on the killings in Polepally. Silence on this issue was conspicuous. Like the silence of our politicians on Polavaram, Pothireddypadu, Begumpet airport, greater Hyderabad among other issues. 


A dozen killings in Kalinganagar shocked the world. Forty one deaths in Polepally and calibrated silence maintained to date by our polity and intelligentsia is surprising


A section of Telangana NRIs in their appeal to Congress MPs to vote against their party mentioned concern of Polepally. The Appeal asked what happened to the conscience of Congress leaders when farmers died in Polepally SEZ. True, our leaders owe an explanation.


Fears expressed by some friends about what could happen if the Congress comes to power again, by any chance. These fears are not valid. Because no other party said anything different from that of Congress. One can appreciate if any party fought against Polepally or SEZ in general. All parties in Telangana are like Congress on SEZ.  


Some friends suggested that we should not talk of Polepally before elections and some said we should not talk of it after elections. Some friends think we should not do anything on Polepally or any other people’s issues till we achieve our separate state. That we should have only a SINGLE POINT AGENDA. They expect all our problems will be wiped out one fine morning when we achieve separate state.


There is a different section of telangana supporters. They suggest that fighting for separate state and fighting against unjust policies and acts of the government are not exclusive and that need to go together. Immediate and concrete problems cannot be ignored for a separate state that is beyond weeks or months or years. People cannot sit comfortably and talk of change of power to some other party someday after one election or the next. Four years passed and another year will go for next elections. Issues cannot be ignored till there is a non Congress Government


One cannot expect the next government will be different especially when we have members of the alternatives like Laxma Reddy who acted as agent of Aurobindo Pharma that is responsible for death of 41 farmers


That’s no solution. We will achieve our state one day. But can we ignore some losses taking place now which are irreversible. We cannot get back our rivers hijacked to Andhra or Rayalaseema & thousands of crores of rupees wasted destroying nature & causing immense trauma to the people everywhere


Polepally protest is against something unjust. There is no guarantee that they will win. They are fighting because it is a non-negotiable like one’s self respect. They may succeed or not like any other struggle


We need to support the struggle because SEZ killings are not just


Bharath Bhushan


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