Shillong, Oct. 3: A “people’s gathering” on land, natural resources and displacement will be held on the outskirts of the city where ideas and experiences will be shared to bring about political practices that ensure “equality, sustainability and justice”.
The gathering, which is being organised by Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR), a people’s group here, will be held tomorrow and on Saturday at Bethel Prayer House, Umniuh Road, Umbir village, about 15km from the city.
“The motive behind this gathering is borne out of the need to initiate a dialogue on land, natural resources and displacement in Meghalaya, an issue that has brought inequality and insecurity to the people,” social activist Angela Rangad, who is also associated with the group, said.
She was of the opinion that in the “corporate-influenced government” and non-governmental sectors, the categories of land and natural resources are viewed as objects to be cut and sold as any other economic good.
“However, such discourses and ideas have failed to address the needs of citizens, while also legitimising the further deterioration of more equitable traditional systems. This has led to the rampant rise of inequality in our society. Most of the major problems like poverty and insurgency are in reality problems of land systems or landlessness and privatisation of the commons,” Rangad said.
The people’s gathering, she said, will bring together campaign movements, groups and individuals from different places and backgrounds with their ideas and understanding on land and natural resources with the objective of evaluating the crisis confronting the traditional systems governing land and natural resources as experienced through various resistance movements.
Key activists from Odisha, Delhi and Manipur will also be present at the gathering. They include Prafulla Samantara, senior activist and national convener of the National Alliance People’s Movement, Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People and editor of Dams, Rivers & People magazine and Jiten Yumnam, secretary of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur.
“The vision of the gathering is that its participants will take back ideas and methods discussed at the convention to various grassroots struggle that are dedicated to ensuring that every person enjoys real justice and freedom,” Rangad said.