After thousands of India's poorest marched in the largest ever rally for land justice, the government appears to have caved in to their demands, agreeing to establish a task force to review existing land programmes and promising to take concrete action.
It's early days yet, and many government promises in the past have been broken. But now it's clear this mass movement is here to stay, this victory could be a major step towards giving India's poor the simple justice of a place to live, and a place to raise their families in dignity.
Several weeks ago, over 50,000 of India's poorest people began walking – in worn sandals and even bare feet – the 350 km from Gwalior in the central state of Madhya Pradesh to New Delhi, the nation's capital. Organisers were expecting the numbers to swell to 100,000 along the way, to become the largest non-violent multi-day march in history. And it produced the desired result, with the rural development minister Jairam Ramesh finally signing a 10-point plan in front of marchers.
Of course, this battle is far from over. Protesters have warned that if there are no draft laws within six months, they will resume their protest – next time with double the number of people. The task force is due to meet on 17 October to start preparing a road map for land reform. Continued pressure will be essential to make sure these vital reforms don't fall by the wayside.
Sources: Avaaz Daily Briefing, Guardian, New Internationalist