The official 'Right to Food' (RtF) campaign pamphlet says it comprises an informal network of organisations and individuals working towards attaining the right to be free from hunger. This includes accessing food-related rights, right to livelihood, land rights and other forms of social security too.
Divided into 3-day interactive sessions, the national convention on RtF held parallel workshops on the first two days and a massive rally to the godown of the Food Corporation of India on the concluding day, after passage of many related resolutions formulated during the deliberations.
On the third day, about 6-7 truckloads of people parked themselves close to the FCI building, marched to its gates, passionately sloganeering and breaking into loud claps as campaign leaders urged aam admi to start demanding their rights, especially their right to food. Bemused passers-by watched on, wondering what's with the sudden jamavada of people, from where did they come and where did they vanish to after the impressive demo. Most of the people we encountered on the roads while on our way to the FCI were orange-clad shiv-bhakts or kavadiyas, on their way to the Shiv temple.
As a participant-observer, one could only attend two workshops at max since they were all happening simultaneously and at different venues on first two days. I attended the 'hunger and starvation' and 'the PDS system' workshop, the proceedings of which I will pen down here as well, but later, as that would take lots of time.
Then I got to speak in detail with people like Gracy Jajo, an activist from a conflict-afflicted region of the Northeast, who corelated a war-like situation with difficulty in accessing right to life, right to food becoming a secondary demand in that context . Local MLA George Tikrie gave me verbal and pictorial evidence of the state government's operation green hunt, as in, how that affects people's right to food amongst other rights. Praful Samantara spoke to me at length about the relevance of the conference and also Binayak Sen, though briefly, while we walked back from the rally to our respective trucks.
More pictures first, details of these conversations will come later.
For more photos, click here.