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Brick walled buildings, Monuments that reminds me of my history textbooks faded pictures, Elite malls, green & red buses, super fast Metro transport, a flare of fashion, politics in Jantar Mantar & the ever enlightening India gate… More than all the ‘Aaha’ factors of Delhi, Being a person who lived all her life in another City I definitely raised my eyebrows wide for the “Bus Rapid Transport System” (BRTS) in Delhi.

BRTS has been a controversial project as it is a cutting edge technology that would drastically improve the transport systems of India (So that at least the foreign directors can think of better scenes to portray India than the stereotypical traffic shots where Bus, Auto & Cycle stands perpendicular & create chaos in the main road). While on one side the BRTS makes us raise our collars & keeps the excitement of having a cycle lane high there are a lot of criticisms including the ones like “In BRTS opposed to normal traffic intersections, there are six different movements of vehicles along the arms of the intersection. The two extra movements are that of the buses on the BRT lane, which means that all commuters using the BRT or even passing through have to wait much longer. As the waiting time increases, the traffic tail lengthens much more than it normally would and there is a corresponding ripple effect on traffic,”

While agreeing & understanding the nuances involved in new technologies &  change adaptation & management,  one needs to resort to intensive research & debating.

But, A recent incident came as a shock; you would probably know by this time what I am trying to talk about. For those who are not-  “Around 2 am on 13th May 2012 someone brought bulldozers to BRT corridor and broke about 350m of bus lane median at sheikh sarai and chiragh delhi”. To read more on it

(http://www.indianexpress.com/news/brt-dividers-removed-transport-dept-to-lodge-fir-against-study-team-member/949450/0)

(http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/article3427426.ece)

While the case on the disturbances caused due to the BRTS was filed, and the Court has ordered the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) to conduct further study on the same & the CRRI started the same by trial testing the same. While Col B B Sharan from the NGO called Nyayaboomi not only alleged the DIMTS authorities to destroy the BRTS barricade by claiming himself to be a CRRI member & that he had the court order when actually has the impudence of going ahead & mentioning on the website of Nyaya Bhoomi, the NGO that filed the writ in the first place, the Home Page states that they are carrying out a “crusade” against the BRT and have invited “citizens” to vote on their site. Since the time this was put up (probably about three weeks ago, there have been exactly 42 votes, 26 of them by car drivers and 6 by two-wheeler drivers and only 5 by bus commuters (the rest are others). As expected the cars and two wheelers want the BRT to be abandoned, while the bus commuters want it to stay! Such is the state of participatory democracy in this country!

It’s high time we all wake up to the realities of our lives… We have a lot to discuss debate, understand & fight for as tax payers of the country.

Hope to see you all in the discussion at the Delhi Forum office on 19th May 2012 (Saturday) at 2pm. Dunu Roy (Hazards Centre) & Rajendra Ravi Bhai (INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY AND SUSTAINABILITY) would help us in bringing clarity to the debate on BRTS.

Make sure that you pass on the invite to your friends who are interested to understand the issues around BRTS, Researchers, Students who are working on Urban Development & renewal issues.

Kindly click the links to see a few photographs of the bulldozed BRTS lanes, Letter by Dunu Roy, News on BRT, Cabinet’ Decision on BRT and Summary of record of HCBS meeting.

Photos_of_damage

BRT Letter by Dunu Roy

News on BRT

Cabinet_Decision_No1248_dt_30July07_BRT_Cabinet_Note

Summary_of_Record_of_BRT_HCBS__Meeting_chaired_by_Haroon_Yususf_TptMinister_on_6Dec2007

The address of Delhi Forum office is :

Delhi Forum
Address: F- 10/12, (Basement), Malviya Nagar,
New Delhi INDIA – 110017
Phones: 011-26680883 / 26680914
Near Malviya Nagar Gol Chakkar

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Media collective Delhi Solidarity Group welcomes and invite you to the release of 3 mile to Gorakhpur…

Directed by Prem Piram, the film is about the proposed Nuclear Power Plant in Gorakhpur village of Haryana.  Its 30 minutes long and the film will be followed by adiscussion with the affected people from Gorakhpur village who have been protesting against the proposed plant for the last fifteen months.
Date- 20th October 2011
Language- Hindi with English Subtitles
Venue- Indian Social Institute, 10- institutional area, Lodhi Road, behind Sai Baba Mandir.
Time- 4.00 PM
For any queries
contact 011-26680883/ 914
9868769256

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SANGHARSH INVITATION

National Action against Land Acquisition Act, 1894
AGAINST Amendments, demanding new comprehensive legislation

&
TO PROTECT Jal, Jungle, Jameen, Khaneej & Livelihood Rights
Sansad Dharna 3rd – 5th August, 2011, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Dear Comrades,

Forced displacements and land grab have been the curse of our country, since colonial days and which has continued even after ‘independence’ under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Today, the use of the legislation for land grab by corporates aided by the Indian state has got us on the verge of nothing less than a civil war in India. It is nothing but a national shame that we have democratically elected governments who neither know what has been the magnitude of the misuse of this legislation, nor understand the affected people’s plight. Movements who have been opposing LAA have also been for long demanding community control over natural resources and the right to livelihood – some of it achieved under comparatively progressive legislations like the PESA Act, 1996 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Unfortunately, these very legislations are today under threat of being not implemented or worse misused for distributing land titles to some.

Sangharsh collective has planned a National Action to be held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi against Land Acquisition Act 1894, for repeal and replacement of the same with pro-people comprehensive legislation, along with other pressing people’s demands. The dharna will be joined by adivasis, dalits and other marginalized sections including farmers, forest workers & forest people, fishworkers and other marginalized sections of India’s rural people. The working class poor from the cities who face eviction on a daily basis from their dwellings and their livelihood and those who are threatened by various developmental activities too will join the dharna and so are the peasants whose land is constantly being taken by the urban development authorities for urbanisation.

We will be assembling at Jantar Mantar, from the 3rd to 5th August 2011, during the monsoon session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, demanding the repeal of the existing colonial Land Acquisition Act and demanding its replacement by a comprehensive legislation that takes care of the need for land, the land use alterations that are required for genuine public purposes and for land reforms for distributive justice. The strategies of this national action were decided and discussed at various dialogues between the people’s movements working at different stages on the mentioned issues, the latest being the National Consultation held on May 6th 2011 on the issue, in Delhi.

The process of Sangharsh was initiated in 2006-07 by various people’s movements who were working on the issues of land rights and forced land acquisition. We came together with a charter of demands in Sangharsh 2007, which was one of the first such collective actions by hundreds of Indian movements together in front of the Indian parliament with a comprehensive political positioning. Since then, the collective has been also demanding a white paper from the government, on all the land acquired since independence along with a current status of all the displaced. We also have been demanding a moratorium on new acquisitions until a parliamentary review is complete.

If one just looks at the last decade, people’s movements have successfully resisted land grab in Kalinganagar, Niyamgiri, Singur, Nandigram, Sompeta, Jashpur, Latehar, Chandrapur, Haripur, Raigad, Karla, Kulu valley, Narmada Valley, Jagatsinghpur, Mumbai and hundreds of other places. Farmers, peasants, landless labourers and others have together fought to protect their land and livelihood rights. In the same vein communities dwellings in forests have fought to claim their rights over the land they have been residing for generations and earning their livelihood from. These farmers, adivasis, dalits and working class people have given their life, while trying to defend their right over the natural resources which supports their livelihood and to which they belong against the state’s notion of ‘eminent domain’ and development.

After recent  incidents in the Greater Noida region, an environment has been created whereby every political party is demanding passage of amendments to the existing Land Acquisition Act and the UPA government proposes to do so in Monsoon Session of the parliament. However, UPA leaders from Manmohan Singh to Rahul Gandhi have not been making it clear as to how some superficial amendments will change the basic structure of this colonial anti-people process and approach. They are only exploiting the lack of clarity among the political parties on the issue and trying to turn a blind eye to the long standing demands of the people’s movements. They are also capitalising on the World Bank and DFID/USAID supported land policy documents backed by certain sections of the Indian civil society that similarly demand repeal the land acquisition act, but for the purpose of aiding the corporatization of land. Hence this dharna is more significant at this juncture when the government needs to listen to the clear voices from the ground. The recent announcements by the new Rural Development Minister Sri Jairam Ramesh accepting formulation of one comprehensive law and not two separate legislations is a welcome move, but this is only the first step.

Other than the general focus on Land Acquisition Act repeal and replacement with a comprehensive legislation, the dharna would also address specific issues around: Dams (in Narmada Valley, North East India, Himachal and Central India), Thermal & Nuclear Power projects, Urban displacement, Forest Rights and Community Governance, struggles against Corporations (POSCO, Jaypee, Adanis, Tata, Coca Cola, Vedanta, Mittal, Reliance, Jindal, etc), and protecting livelihood rights of rural and urban communities in the form of statutory government entitlements such as demanding a Universal PDS and adequate beneficial rights to BPL members and oppose any move at introducing cash transfers.

In this journey, apart from the initiators of the Sangharsh collective, last year Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti-Assam and some new groups joined the collective process. This year along with comrades from more than 15 states, friends from Narmada Bachao Andolan, Khandwa ; Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Jan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti-UP; POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Ekta Parishad, Jan Kalyan Upbhokta Samiti and some farmers’ groups from NCR have offered to join Sangharsh, agreeing to the demands of the collective. They will also be mobilizing for Sangharsh 2011. We heartily welcome their participation and expect that this will strengthen the overall process.

We invite you all to join us in Delhi at Jantar Mantar from August 3rd to 5th to resist forced displacement and land acquisitions across the country and demand for a comprehensive legislation on development planning that will end the regime of forced displacements. Do send in your confirmations for the same and also support our efforts in whatever ways you can. We are looking for volunteers for various things and also resources for meeting the expenses of the programme. For details do get in touch. All the campaign documents are available at http://napm-india.org/node/326

In solidarity,

Akhil Gogoi – KMSS, Assam
Arundhati Dhuru, Sandeep Pandey, J P Singh, Manesh Gupta – NAPM, UP
Ashok Choudhary, Roma, Munnilal – National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers
Bhupender Singh Rawat, Nanu Prasad – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & NAPM-Delhi
Bilas Bhongade – Gosi Khurd Prakalp Grasht Sangharsh Samiti & NAPM – Maharashtra
Chitranjan Singh – INSAF
Dayamani Barla – Adivasi Moolwasi Asthitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand
Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, MP
Gabriela Dietrich, Geeta Ramakrishnan – Pennuruimai Iyyakam & NAPM-Tamil Nadu
Gautam Bandyopadhyaya – Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh
Guman Singh, K Upmanyu – Him Niti Abhiyan, Himachal Pradesh
Rajnish Gambhir, Ramchandra Rana – Tharu Adivasi Mahila Kisan Manch & NFFPFW, Lakhimpur Khiri, UP
Manju Gardia – Nawa Chhattisgarh Mahila Sangathan & PSA – Chhattisgarh
Mata Dayal, Rani – Birsa Munda Bhu Adhikar Manch & NFFPFW-MP
Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan & National Alliance of People’s Movements
Prafulla Samantara – Loksakti Abhiyan & NAPM Odisha
P Chennaiah, Ajay Kumar, Ramakrishna Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula – APVVU and NAPM Andhra Pradesh
Rajendra Ravi – NAPM, Delhi
Shanta Bhattacharya, Rajkumari Bhuyian – Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & NFFPFW, UP
Shaktiman Ghosh – National Hawkers Federation
Simpreet Singh – Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan & NAPM-Mumbai
Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union, NAPM – Karnataka
Sunita Rani, Anita Kapoor – National Domestic Workers’ Union & NAPM, Delhi
Ulka Mahajan, Suniti S R, Prasad Bhagwe – SEZ Virodhi Manch & NAPM – Maharashtra
Vimalbhai – Matu Jan Sangathan & NAPM-Uttarakhand

for information contact :
Seela Mahapatra: 9212587159, Madhuresh Kumar: 9818905316, Vijayan M J: 9582862682
c/o: 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi – 110014   # 011-26680914, 26680883
email : action2007@gmail.com Web : http://napm-india.org/node/326

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Friends,

News has just come in from the Sangharsh delegation that had a long meeting with Mr. Jairam Ramesh that the Renuka Dam Project has been scrapped by the Government. The MoEF, according to the Minister decided to scrap the project due to the environment violations and the forest violations it would have caused.

The project was being opposed from its early stages by people through the Renuka Dam Sangharsh Samiti and the Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, supported by many others at the national and regional levels. It is indeed a step forward in the struggles for community forest rights and the implementation of Forest rights Act, also…

A great victory to the people’s struggle…

In Solidarity,

Sangharsh Media team

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DANTEWADA PADYATRA, SATYAGRAH AND JAN SUNWAI

For the People’s Right
to say No to displacement and Tribal Genocide

And to demand
the right to live with justice and peace

Raipur / Dantewada

In order to build public opinion and to support the tribal people in their demand to stop this displacement and genocide and to reclaim their right to live with justice and peace, several community based and people’s organisations, union and human rights groups from Chhattisgarh and outside are planning a series of activities in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.

1.  Padyatra: 14 December to 26 December 2009

2.  Dantewada Satyagrah: 25 December 2009 to 5 January 2010

3.  Jan Sunwai: 6-7 January 2010 (the date may be advanced or postponed by a day)

for complete invitation click here

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PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS TO DENOUNCE FORCIBLE LAND GRAB

SHELVE THE LAND ACQUISITION AMENDMENT BILL AND NATIONAL REHABILITATION BILL

BRING IN DEVELOPMENT PLANNING ACT WITH RIGHTS TO THE PEOPLE

People’s Movements to present their position before Public, Parliament and Government

Dharna and people’s parliament at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 23-24 July, 2009

ALL ARE INVITED

THE UPA GOVERNMENT IS AGAIN TRYING TO put up the two Bills, amendment to the Land Acquisition Act and the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill before this Parliament.

The amendment is worse, since it incorporates ‘private’ purpose into ‘public’ purpose and rehabilitation offered is without any guarantee of land and alternative livelihood to those displaced.

The Acts would not bring in fair and just rehabilitation but push and facilitate more displacement than ever!

The Draft Development Planning Act, approved by the National Advisory Council and its Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi in January 2006 had consent of the people’s organisations but that is shelved and weak anti-people draft is brought up by the ‘Empowered Group of Ministers’ including Kamalnath, Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and others. WHY? We must ask.

Let’s gather in large numbers at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on July 23rd and 24th to assert our right to land, water, forests, fisheries and minerals.

Demand a decentralized development planning based on Article 243 of the Constitution, PESA 1996 and Forest Rights Act, 2006.

We should compel the Government to:

  • Repeal Land Acquisition Act of British Legacy •
  • Issue a White paper on land acquisition, displacement and rehabilitation for the last 60 years.
  • Shelve the two Bills and hold a national consultation on the NAC approved draft along with the displaced people and the people’s organizations.
  • Institute a Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee for the discussion on the two Acts.

The detailed Invite, background documents and contact details follow.

With regards and In Solidarity,

Medha Patkar, Anand Mazgaonkar, Ashok Chowdhary, Gautam Bandopadhyay (09423965153) (02640-220629) (9868857723) (9826171304)

Guman Singh, Simpreet Singh, Madhuresh, Vimalbhai

(9418277220) (9969363065) (9818905316) (9891814707) **********************************

Proposed Land Acquisition (Amendment) And Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bills Will Only Accelerate Displacement Not Rehabilitation

People’s Movements to present their position before Public, Parliament and Government

Dharna and people’s parliament at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 23-24 July, 2009

Thursday, July 23 2009

12 noon – 200 pm : Inauguration of the Dharna.

Remembering the movements, peoples, martyrs in the anti-displacement movement in past 62 years since independence.

Surendra Mohan to light the torch of Resistance.

Medha Patkar to give an introductory history of resistance covering the struggles since post independence and talking about very well known and also less known important struggles, remembering people and their courage.

 Sharing on the struggles and the key questions raised by the anti displacement movements across the country. Ashok Chowdhary, Gautam Bandopadhyay, B D Sharma and others. Kuldip Nayar, Rajendar Sachar, Ramaswamy Aiyar, Prashant Bhushan, Usha Ramanathan and other supporter friends from Delhi to join.

 Lunch 2-3 pm

3.00-6.00 pm : Assembly of Movements

Movement groups to narrate their experience of the displacement, struggles, and the displacement.

7.00 pm onwards Dinner and film screening

Day Two : July 24 Friday

Peoples parliament / Jan Sansad Begins 9 am onwards Starting with a presentation on the points from the Bills and our proposals for the National enactment. Presentation to be made by Vimal Bhai MPs from different parties to join too.

Movement groups to make presentation linking LAA and R&R Bills with the Forest Rights Act, Agriculture Policy, Coastal Zone issues, Tribal policy, Trade and Climate Change.

2.00 – 3.00 pm Lunch

3.00 – 4.00 pm Further strategy planning

4.00 – 5.00 pm Press Conference

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DEHRADUN DECLARATION

12 June 2009

During the process of enactment of the Forests Right Act (in 2006), the National Forum for Forest People’s and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) passed two important resolutions in the second National Conference held at Ranchi: 1) Establishment of community governance over forest resources

2) To resist commodification of forests and related resources

Over the last 2-3 years, in many states including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal, we have taken significant steps in realising these resolutions. In many villages we have been successful in forming Forest Rights Committees on the basis of Forests Right Act (FRA). On10-12 June 2009, we forest peoples; adivasis, forest workers and other forest dwellers, from 16 states of India have converged at Dehradun, the forest capital of India – discussing, debating and uniting to send a strong message to the whole world. The following is the declaration from the conference on‘Resisting commodification of Forests; Establishing community governance over forest resources’, adopted as ‘Dehradun Declaration 2009’.

We, the forest people of the world – living in the woods, surviving on the fruits and crops, farming on the jhoom land, re-cultivating the forest land, roaming around with our herds – have occupied this land since ages. We announce loudly, in unity and solidarity that let there be no doubt on the future: we are the forests, and the forests are us and our existence is mutually dependent. The crisis faced by our forests and environment today will only intensify without us.

This is no ordinary crisis. Not merely, a climate crisis – or in your words this magnified self-created monster of a financial crisis. We believe it’s a crisis of Civilizations. It’s no ordinary clash but a fundamental clash between our knowledge systems; of being, of nature and your wisdom, technology and the demonic tendencies. Your world rests on ideas of power, territories, boundaries, profit, exploitation and oppression and you try to own everything, including Mother Nature. This is what drives your civilisation. You need this world of oppression and exploitation; to survive and feel good. If you want to include us in your world by ‘civilising’ us, we will happily choose to remain uncivilised. Call us savages, we do not care! We have learnt amidst these trees, this water, this air, and other forest beings- a life of freedom, of being without boundaries, and yet never forgetting the boundaries of nature. You need your legal monoliths, and structures of governance to attempt to tide over this crisis but for us the laws of nature, learnt and assimilated over generations are sufficient.

You talk of attaining Independence on August 15 1947… What’s that ? We, the forest people and the forests have been independent since ages. You tried enslaving us; by trapping us in your illusion that believes in converting living beings into slaves – hollow occupants of servile bodies – a life of death; by capturing our forests, establishing your false laws of oppression and exploitation – contradicting the fundamental laws of nature. We know the way you exploited and enslaved our native American comrades in other parts of the world. Let us remind you that you behaved no differently than those feudal and imperialist ancestors of yours. We, therefore, reject your unnatural law, your civilization of tyranny and cruelty. What freedom? We see no freedom, in being driven out of our forests, separated from water, land, fields, trees, air, and friendly animals, to the ecosystem to which we belong. What freedom, which doesn’t forget to chain its own brothers and sisters. False Freedom! We see no truth in a society that remains haunted by the prosperity of a few capitalists, whilst, never forgetting to oppress the workers, adivasis, dalits, women and poor of the world! We reject you!

Forest Rights Act, you need it more than us. If you think you are bestowing rights on us, then you are wrong. We have lived with these forests for ages. Our ancestors, gods, goddesses, friends and life lived in this and will continue to live here. We don’t define rights, we know what is ours and to whom we belong. We are the forests, forests are us. Out of necessity, if you want to talk the language of rights, we are ready for it. It’s your need to recognise our rights over the forests and correct the historical injustices and exploitation. However, if by granting pattas (land titles) over a portion of forest, you conspire to control, commodify and sell the rest of the forests, then you are wrong. We understand your vested intentions and are determined to save the forests from your corrupt desires of exploitation, developmentalism, ill-sighted conservation and technological fixes.

If you think the ghosts of commodity capitalism are going to chain our minds and souls for eternity, then you are mistaken. From the forests, the nature we have learnt that power is not infinite, exploitation is not infinite too. We, the labouring workers, adivasis and dalits don’t treat the forest a resource to be exploited but as something which lives and supports life.

There is a climate crisis around and no amount of free trade, capital or technology will eliminate the roots of this crisis. You forget that the crises has emanated from the way your society is structured – an edifice based on an unending desire for resources and a way of life that sees nature as an object of exploitation and extraction. Fools! You are doomed to bear the brunt and suffer the pains of your actions, but we ask you – Why must we suffer? You have intruded in our lifestyle, in the rhythm of Mother Earth. You have corrupted the environs by your vehicles, industries, arms, and development and your actions have created a crisis in our homes. You have sinned against the essence of our being, and amidst our rage and tears, we reject the basis of your being: a thought – of mistrust, of control, of vicious self-interest, of injustice, and blame.

How dare you blame us for a climate crisis? It is the product of un-natural practices, and it has devastated our lives. How could you- cut our trees unthinkingly? Temperature is increasing, rainfall is diminishing and the forests are burning- consuming themselves in pain. Now you want us out of our habitats in the name of conserving our forests! You kill, unsparingly, relish in “terrorizing” busts of tigers, decorating your mantelpiece – all pointing to your moral sensibility – and – yet you have the audacity to tell us to leave the forests so that you can protect the Tigers! What law do you know? Who are you to teach what is legal? You are illegal – contradicting the very law of nature – of coexistence. You have no solutions – you only destroy.

You may not care of our times, but, spare a thought for the coming generations, their inheritance. Do you wish to present to them a world of chaos and destruction? Are you so blinded by your greed? At least, now – in this crisis – we need to unite, all civilizations, and forest people of the world, to resolve the crisis, to restore our relationship with nature.

Today, at Dehradun, we call for and welcome the solidarity and harmony of all world’s forest people; workers, adivasis and fellow travellers, on this journey to realizing the fulfilment of our existence, in communion with our forests. We warn your civilization that we are a people, united in struggle against the structure of capitalism – of greed, thievery and profiteering. We warn the nations of the world, that you must not forget to honour our existence, or else – from deep within our hearts – we shout out loud: NO MORE SILENCE! We will rise from the ashes of your devastating fire! To resist your order, undeterred by your traps. We will rise – a united forest people – together, in strength and solidarity, to challenge the very fabric of your civilization, and become one with nature, again!

Arise! Forest People of the World Unite! Zindabad!

National Forum of Forest Peoples and Forest Workers, India

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