Gandhian institution reclaims land in Jaipur

Rajasthan Samagra Seva Sangh, one of the main Gandhian institutions of the state, reclaimed its land in a prime location in Jaipur seven years after the cancellation of its subdivision and the seizure of buildings by the former Bharatiya Janata regime Party (BJP). The institution proudly celebrated Gandhi Jayanthi on site on October 2.

The Samagra Seva Sangh had purchased the land, measuring about 8 bighas, with a symbolic sum in 1959 to establish his office and open a Gram Swaraj school there to promote Sarvodaya and Gandhi thought, and to organize conferences and training camps. The land also has the samadhi of freedom fighter Gokulbhai Bhatt.

The current value of the land, located in the Durgapura region, the state capital, amounts to several million rupees. The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) sealed the entire premises, evicted all residents and their property and recaptured the land on June 7, 2014, claiming that the conditions of allocation had been violated by its commercial use, and that the construction had been carried out without the approval of the cards.

Gandhian activists had accused the JDA of trying to convert the property into real estate for land sharks. The Samagra Seva Sangh claimed that the sealing of the land and buildings amounted to a “direct assault” by the BJP against a civil society institution opposed to its ideology.

An empowered committee headed by Minister of Urban Development Shanti Dhariwal decided to return the land to Samagra Seva Sangh last week after prolonged unrest from the Gandhian body, which also brought the matter to the attention of Chief Minister Ashok. Gehlot. He pointed out that the samadhi, founded by Jayaprakash Narayan, was locked, and those evicted waited even after the change of government.

Samagra Seva Sangh President Sawai Singh said The Hindu Tuesday that since the institution had bought the land with its own money, the title deed had to be issued in its favor “without any conditions”. “This will eliminate the threat of acquisition by any government opposed to Gandhi’s principles in the future,” Singh said.

Participants in the Gandhi Jayanthi celebration offered prayers for all religions and highlighted the role of Samagra Seva Sangh in promoting the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement in Rajasthan, whereby approximately 6 lakh acres of land were distributed to landless villager. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited some of these villages in 1986.

Gandhian activists will also observe the anniversary of Gokulbhai Bhatt’s death at his samadhi Wednesday in the Samagra Seva Sangh complex. Mr. Bhatt, a member of the Constituent Assembly, was also the first Chairman of the Congress Committee of Rajasthan Pradesh.

Samagra Seva Sangh co-secretary Basant Hariyana said the Congressional government apparently acted quickly after a warning for launching a “non-cooperation movement” by Gandhi Jayanthi with demand for respect for Gandhi’s ideals and respect for the principles of natural justice.

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