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March (Padayatra) – Demanding Justice for Laximpet Massacre

Dalits were massacred by dominant communities on 12th June 2012 in Laximpeta, Srikakulam District. A joint action committee (JAC) was formed at state level demanding justice. A series

of activities were taken up on behalf of JAC in the past 3 months and a March (Padayatra) was held from 13th to 16th October 2012 starting from Laximpet till Srikakulam. A 300 member contingent ranging from 14yrs old to 75yrs old has continuously participated in the Padayatra for all the 4 days covering 100 kilometres approximately. DSS being the member of JAC and its convener being the Co – Convener of the JAC has participated in the March. The padayatra contingent paved tributes to the deceased at their tombs in Laximpet and started of the March at 10 am. The main demands of the Padayatra are:

· To distribute all the 250 acres to the dalits

· To establish the special court at Laximpet

On the first day the team covered Maddivalasa, Sitharam puram, Vangara, Madduvalasa, Sarasanapalli, Arasada, Unukuru and halted at Poram for the night.

On the second day i.e on 14.10.2012 it started at Poram and covered Venkatapuram

Madduvalasa, Sarasanapalli, Arasada, Unukuru and halted at Poram for the night.

On the second day i.e on 14.10.2012 it started at Poram and covered Venkatapuram, Ambada, Peda Chirlam, China Chirlam, Borada and reached Rajam by evening. The streets of Rajam were on their heels with the slogans and the emotional songs by the cultural teams. A human chain (Manavaharam) was formed in the main centre of Rajam followed by public meeting. The Padayatra proceeded until V R Agraharam and halted there.

On the third day i.e on 15.10.2012 it started at V R Agraharam and covered Nagulavalasa, Pogiri, Palakhandyam, Santavuruti, Ponduru, Rapaka and halted at Lolugu.

On the 4th day i.e on 16.10.2012 it started from Lolugu and covered Chilakapalem, Ambedkar University, Echherla, S M Puram, Nava Bharat Junction and reached Srikakulam in the afternoon.

A mammoth Rally with hundreds of people and Human Chains were organised in the main centres of Srikakulam and reached Ambedkar Bhavan for the concluding Public meeting. The representatives of various dalit organisations in the JAC have addressed the gathering and the main demands were clearly explained.

The Convener and Co-Conveners have addressed the public in important centres and

all the villages’ en-route. They have detailed about the Lakshmipet massacre, the interventions made so far, the response from the police and revenue, the attitude and reluctance of the government, the progress made so far. The cultural teams of Praja Kala Mandali, Arunodaya and DSS have sung powerful songs and have won applauds of the crowds. The dalit women and youth have responded overwhelmingly in all the places and have participated in the Padayatra for short distances. The villagers came forward and have received the Padayatra team with drums and dances and took into their villages and provided good hospitality.

Impact:

· For the first time in the history of Andhra Pradesh many dalit organizations have come together and participated in the Padayatra which is an indication that the agitation will go a head in strong way amidst lot of repurcations from the local ministers and the government.

· It has proved that the collective effort will have synergetic effect.

· The Padayatra has sent strong waves to the government that the JAC will not leave until the demands are implemented.

· It has strengthened the victims and witnesses and has increased their confidence levels.

· It has increased the self confidence among the dalits and the youth in all the villages of the district that all these organizations are behind them in their struggle for asserting their rights.




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