Web posted at: 4/18/2009 6:37:4
Source ::: Internews
HYDERABAD: In a desert area bordering India, life is a grind for peasants who had long hoped for a piece of land to call their own.
Marwa Kohli is only interested in the allotment of a piece of land for her Chanura-like home, a particular type of house that could only be seen in Tharparkar, a desert area bordering India but she seems to have lost all hopes of getting one.
She was busy cleaning a small quantity of pulses sent by her father Bonyo from Khipro.
She still feels comfortable with what she is doing to earn her livelihood by breaking stones in Deh Sonwalhar of Kotri taluka after having fled from the clutches of a tyrant land-owner of Naukot around eight years ago.
April 17 is International Peasant’s Struggle Day which is commemorated in memory of 19 landless peasants killed by Brazilian police on this day in 1996. The victims belonged to Landless Movement (MST) in Brazil. They were trying to get access to land.
But Marwa is least interested in any such International Day. She needs a home of her own.
Deh Sonwalhar’s Sikandarabad area is an unofficially declared hari camp for those haris who were settled in the last one decade either by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) or those who have themselves managed to escape from bondage. Other such camps are located near the shrine of Baba Salahuddin, Kotri, Zealpak cement factory and Husri. Spread over an area of around 35 to 40 acres, this precious piece of land seemed to be at the mercy of land grabbers in the absence of a clear cut policy of the government. Jamshoro district revenue officials appeared helpless to protect it. This un-surveyed land is being fast encroached upon by land-grabbers more than liberated haris because former are busy constructing homes.
Marwa Kohli settled here with her husband about eight years ago when she fled from her landowner’s clutches. “My two sons were murdered there by those tyrants and I couldn’t do anything.
When we approached police, they didn’t do anything either. I had no option but to leave the land as I had lost patience to bear insults, excesses and abuses by the henchmen of landlord, which had become a matter of daily routine,” she said. She had to leave her livestock there as well, she said. “I had goats. I loved them, but I couldn’t bring them with me,” she said. Her sons Chakhio and Joddo had been killed after having been beaten on lands, she said.
These liberated haris are not dependent. They are working as daily wagers in shops and mills while their womenfolk supplement their income by breaking stones for contractors of road sector. “It takes around two to three weeks to fill a vehicle with broken stones and we are paid around Rs1,400 or so,” she said.
Her spouse, Tago, is an old man and now he is not as energetic as to support his family financially. Sikandarabad area lacks basic facilities and it was perhaps in year 2000 when then deputy commissioner Dr Riaz Memon had tried to get land vacated.
But he had to give-in as the then Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson had intervened. There are reports of wrongdoings being committed in haris’ name and immoral activities are taking place there also.
It also appears that present PPP’s unique policy of land for landless peasants seems to be not covering these liberated haris who belong to this oldest profession of tilling of land as they don’t have any other skill.