Pawar dies 2-days into hunger strike, Pardhi’ fight for land continues

Apparao Pawar, 60, a resident of Beed’s Pardhi community, was sitting on a hunger strike in front of the district collectorate for two days on Sunday morning demanding a house. Pawar, who belonged to the ‘Pardhi community’, had been fighting for the right of land to build ‘pucca’ houses in the district for over a decade and passed away on Sunday.

Apparao Pawar, who was on a hunger strike in front of the Collectorate of Beed Maharashtra, died during the protest. Organizations of the Pardhi community have raised a protest in front of the collector’s office today to file cases of 302 against the officials who are guilty of this.

For Apparao, the fight for a house began around 14 years ago, when he claimed rights to land in Vasanwadi, about 10-15 km from Beed, where his family had been living for decades. Apparao’s family is one of about 500 homeless Pardhi families in and around Beed city alone, waiting for the government to find them homes.

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Now the state government has said that a committee would be formed to investigate the matter.

Ashok Tangade of the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NCDHR) said that the collector says he will buy other places for them but who will give land when Paradhi says he will build houses? Philosophy saw the places but did not succeed. At last Apparao started his fast in frustration.

“For about 30 years, Appasaheb lived in a hut on grazing land near Beed town. About 10 years ago, the gram Sevak of his village issued him the necessary papers so that he could apply for a house under the Sabari Adivasi Gharkul Yojana. He also got the first instalment to build a pucca house under the scheme. With the money, he also ordered cement and sand, but as soon as he started the construction, the local people started protesting. They claimed the land belonged to someone else and stopped the work,” said Ashok Laxman Langde of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch.

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NCP MP Supriya Sule, tweeted, “It is a matter of great outrage that a poor person who demands a rightful house has to lose his life at the door of the government. I humbly request Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to please conduct a high-level inquiry into the matter and take strict action against the persons in the administration responsible for his death.”

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