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Gandhian institution sealed off by Rajasthan’s BJP govt

BJP -attack- Gandhians

Civil activists condemn the illegal cancellation of allotment of land to the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh and the sealing off its premises and vow to fight and expose Government’s plotting against civil society

By Team FI
A leading Gandhian institution in Jaipur, the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, was sealed off to its members with the residents, including the 80 year old secretary of the Sangh and his wife, were thrown out of the premises.

The eviction process was conducted by a team from Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) which is directly under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The team served a cancellation of allotment letter to the organisation which had been allotted the land in 1959 and since then based their operations here.

A letter issued by concerned citizens and members of civil society state that the JDA team, led by officials Pawan Arora and Subhash Mahariya, asked one resident who had recently delivered a baby, was asked to leave the room by evening, locking the kitchen and adjoining rooms that she could not even be fed. “The 80 year old Secretary of the Sangh, Rameshwar Vidyarthi, and his wife, living in one room of the premises, were thrown out with their belongings and are now on the road. Similarly, the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh’s, Sh. Sawai Singh who had been living with his family, as part of the norms of the Sangh since the last thirty years also found himself with his family and their belongings on their road. The JP Narayan founded Samadhi of Gokul Bhai Bhatt was also treated with disrespect and sealed and as of now the whole place out of bounds.”

As per the JDA, the allotment was cancelled because the Sewa Sangh had violated the conditions of allotment of land in 2001. The Sangh was required to get a Map passed by the JDA within a year of the allotment wherein the JDA would give approval for construction activity. The condition also stipulated that the space given to the Sewa Sangh not be used for commercial and residential purpose. The JDA had issued notices citing violations of these conditions and were not satisfied with the answers of the Sangh.

However, the Sewa Sangh and its lawyers inform that when the government acquired the Sangh land for the International airport, the government did not take possession of it and as per law, if the land is not taken possession off in five years of the acquisition, it goes back to the original holder which is the Sewa Sangh. Therefore JDA has no authority over the land and cannot cancel the allotment.

The letter alleges that the action was taken to “grab the property of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, convert it to Real Estate and grant it to land sharks. The concerned piece of land is in the prime area, next door to the Airport and Jawahar Circle on JLN Marg, that it is priceless commercially.”

Rajasthan has never seen such straight assault on Gandhian Institutions and ideology

The letter condemned the action and has requested the JDA and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to restore the land and the premises back to the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. “In the eventuality of this not happening, we will resist it tooth and nail and struggle against this high handedness of the Government and expose the Government for its assault on Gandhian Institutions and values,” stated the letter.

Presenting the entire text of the letter:

Statement by Concerned Citizens of Rajasthan

Dated, 8th June, 2014

Rajasthan Civil Society members outraged and condemn the assault by the GOR on the leading Gandhian Institution in Jaipur, the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh of Rajasthan.

• Premises taken over, buildings sealed, allotment illegally cancelled and all belongings and residents including a woman inpost delivery thrown out by the JDA
• Famous Gandhian Freedom Fighter, Gokul Bhai Bhatt’s Samadhi which was founded by JP Narayan also sealed and gates locked up.

In a shocking and arbitrary exercise of power on the 7th June, 2014, the Jaipur Development Authority, directly under the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, sealed the complete premises of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh which had been in existence on its own land since 1959. They threw out all the residents and their belongings, cancelled the allotment and took over their land. The insensitivity of the JDA team led by JDA official Pawan Arora and Subhash Mahariya, was such that in the scorching heat of 47 degrees, one resident who had recently delivered a baby, was asked to leave the room by evening, locking the kitchen and adjoining rooms that she could not even be fed.

The 80 year old Secretary of the Sangh, Rameshwar Vidyarthi, living with his wife in one room of the premises were thrown out with their belongings and are now on the road. Similarly, the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh’s, Sh. Sawai Singh who had been living with his family, as part of the norms of the Sangh since the last thirty years also found himself with his family and their belongings on their road. The JP Narayan founded Samadhi of Gokul Bhai Bhatt was also treated with disrespect and sealed and as of now the whole place out of bounds. It is also important to know that the letter of cancellation of allotment and seizure of property dated 6th June, signed by Shikhar Agarwal, Secretary, JDA, was handed over by the officials when they came at 1pm on the 7th June. It was an order of eviction and they had come to evict.

The intention of the JDA was clear. Which was to grab the property of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, convert it to Real Estate and grant it to land sharks. The concerned piece of land is in the prime area, next door to the Airport and Jawahar Circle on JLN Marg, that it is priceless commercially. The Raje Government in the earlier term was well known for its support to the real estate business interests but had spared civil society. This action clearly, sends a message to all, that this Government is merciless and it will get rid of all impediments to its design

Rajasthan has never seen such straight assault on Gandhian Institutions and ideology. We all condemn this act of the Government.

The argument used by the JDA is that the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh violated the conditions of the allotment of the land in 2001. They had to get a Map passed by the JDA in a year’s time of its allotment, they had to take approval of construction activity and the space could not be used for any commercial and residential purpose. Notices were given earlier and JDA not being satisfied with the replies to these violations, along with constant notices from the Lok Ayukta to take action for these violations, they were cancelling the allotment.

Countering these lies the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh and his team of lawyers gave the following arguments. The Sangh land was in the erstwhile Chainpura village, which was bought in 1959 from a farmer and the registry is in the name of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. In 1984 when all the land in that area was acquired for the International Airport, the Sangh land too was acquired. However, it was never taken possession off. According to the new and old law, when land is not taken possession off in five years of the acquisition, then the land goes back to the original holder. Thus the land was always of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh since 1989.

So this business about allotment becomes meaningless and the JDA. Also there was a Rajasthan High Court stay on the land since 2004 against the JDA allotment, which had handed over two bighas land of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh to Gokul Vatika Sahakari Samiti, this stay order was violated by the JDA on the 7th when it came to take possession of the land of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. The JDA has actually committed contempt.

However, even if we go by the argument of allotment of 2001, then it is the JDA which has violated the conditions and not the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh.

The condition was also that the JDA would give Rs 40 lacs for the construction of the Gokul Bhai Bhatt memorial, which the JDA never ever gave since 2001 to the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh,

Secondly, the executive of the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh was supposed to have two officials of the JDA and one from the Government, the onus of this lapse is on the Government and the JDA and not the Rajasthan Samagra SewaSangh.

The Map was supposed to be prepared under the guidance of the JDA, when did the JDA ever come forward and give its guidance.

The place was never used commercially, the so called use for wedding, were the stray two or three wedding of the family members of the staff. The kitchen run at the back of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh was for the participants who came for the constant meetings that took place, as the original objective of the Rajasthan Samagra Swea Sangh was to be a space for reflections and churning of ideas. It was the space in Rajasthan where activists from all over came month after month for such meetings.

The notices that were given in 2013 November and 2014 February, were duly replied too and if there was a dispute then the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Singh, should have been called for a hearing, why was it never given a chance to be heard. Similarly, if the Lok Ayukta felt that there was an issue, then too they should have sent a notice to the Sangh. The Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, never heard from the Lok Ayukta. Principles of natural justice seemed to be compromised by both.

As concerned citizens and members of civil society, from whom the space of Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh has been a space for carrying forward Sarvodaya, Gandhian and JP’s ideals, we condemn this act strongly, and request the JDA and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to restore the land and the premises back to the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. In the eventuality of this not happening, we will resist it tooth and nail and struggle against this high handedness of the Government and expose the Government for its assault on Gandhian Institutions and values.

We are,
1. Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL, Rajasthan
2. Aruna Roy, MKSS
3. Radha Kant Saxena, PUCL Rajasthan
4. Nikhil Dey, MKSS,
5. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL Rajasthan
6. Shankar Singh, MKSS
7. Renuka Pamecha, WRG
8. Mamta Jaitly, Vividha
9. Komal Srivastava, BGVS
10. Vishwambhar, Digantar,
11. Arvind Ojha, Urmul Trust
12. Narendra Gupta, Prayas, Chittorgarh
13. Khemraj, Pratirodh, Chittorgarh
14. Virendra Vidrohi, Matsya Mewat Shiskha Vikas Samiti
15. Maulana Hanif, MMSVS
16. Kapil Sankhla, PUCL Jaipur
17. Kamal Tak, RTI Manch
18. Mukesh Goswami, RTI Manch
19. Harkesh Bugalia, RTI Manch
20. P N Mandola, Lok Sampati Sanrakshan
21. Rajendra Kumbaj, Nagrik Manch
22. Nishat Hussein, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society,
23. Nisha Sidhu, NFIW
24. Sumitra Chopra, AIDWA
25. Ashok Khandelwal, Rozi Roti Sandharbh Kendra
26. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi, PUCL, Rajasthan
27. Pritam Pal, Health Activist
28. Yogendra Upadhyay, Educationist
29. Ashok Mathur, Writer
30. Anant Bhatnagar, PUCL, Ajmer
31. Dl Tripathi, PUCL Ajmer
32. PL Mimroth, Centre for Dalit Rights
33. Satish, Centre for Dalit Rights
34. Ajay Kumar Jain
35. Shyam Menariya, Astha
36. Bhanwar singh, Astha
37. Ramesh Nandwana, PUCL, Rajasthan
38. Chandra Bhandari, PUCL Rajasthan
39. Ashwani Paliwal, PUCL, Udaipur
40. Kailash Meena, PUCL, Sikar
41. Kailash Kumbhakar, Academy for Socio Legal Studies, Jaipur
42. Bhanwri Bai, Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti
43. Richa, Jan Chetna Samiti
44. Mahesh Bora, Advocate and the PUCL
45. Usha, Vikalp
46. Tara Ahluwalia, Mahila evam Bal Chetna Samiti
47. Kusum Saiwal, AIDWA
48. bhanwar Meghwansihi, Writer and Journaist
49. Krishan Takhar, PUCL
50. Moti Lal, Sanklap, Kota
51. Brij Mohan, SARD,Sirohi
52. Apurwa Asher, Film Maker
53. Prof Sanjay Lodha, Political Scientist